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Changing My Mind

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I mentioned last week that I was in the final interview round with not one but two companies, it was a great feeling, and for a fleeting few days, I had these grand plans dancing around in my head.  But reality started setting in as I started running numbers.

First, I should tell you, I did not get the Cincinnati job, which was frankly an answer to prayer as the thought of moving to a new city where I know no one was very overwhelming, not to me personally but as a single mom.  But during the few days I waited before the interview and finding out, I started thinking.  The salary was a good salary, very good.  But several things would have eaten it up immediately upon arrival leaving us living on less than we have in the past….

  1. I would need a whole new wardrobe. I know negligible in the long run, but would need it pretty quickly.
  2. Currently, I have bartered for Gymnast’s training.  Not only would I not have that at the new gym, but the costs at the new gym are AT LEAST 3x that of our current gym…3X…so we are looking at a minimum of $500 a month, minimum.
  3. I would have to hire some help because I would be spending 40+ hours a week in the office, I would need to hire someone to come in and help with the kids, not full time but definitely a few hours several days a week, at minimum that would be $600 per month (used $15 per hour at 10 hours a week and I’m not even sure how realistic that is.)

So in the end, I was grateful that I did not get that offer.  It would have been tough to turn it down knowing our current situation, I am relieved I did not have to make that tough decision.

Now for the local job which I had a final interview for last Wednesday.  I left that interview super excited, really like the team I would get to work with, the job is expansive so I would get to put my current skills to work as well as get the opportunity to add some new ones.  The money was, at first, reasonable in my mind.  It was more than $15,000 less than the Cincinnati job, but I figured with no move expenses, barters already in place, etc.  It would be okay and allow us to stay here.

Then I got home and started running numbers.  I used -30% as the baseline of what I would be bringing home after benefits, taxes, etc.  I will be bringing home almost $1,000 less than I was previously, working at least 10-15 more hours per week, need a new wardrobe and still need to hire someone to help with the kids some.  And on top of that, if you have been reading my posts for a while, we live in an expensive housing area.  That has ALWAYS been a problem for us, and exactly why I decided last fall to move away from here if we hadn’t found something by April of this year.  Ugh!

Now we come to the point of this post…based on the points above, I have decided to resurrect my consulting business and focus on building it again.  I have not made this decision lightly at all.  I REALLY, REALLY wanted the stability a ‘real’ job would offer, the benefits, the vacation time, the work without the need to constantly sale and market myself.

But, on the flip side, I REALLY, REALLY can not stomach the idea of being away from my kids so much, especially with no other adult in the picture.  And I know this sounds petty, but I HATE dressing up, I have always said that if I can’t wear my jeans there, I should probably not be there.

So here is a rough account of where I stand right now:

  • I’ve currently contracted out 30 hours a week beginning next week (first week of March.)  I’m not making the hourly rate I need on all hours, but I am on some, and I have the possibility to grow both of these clients with good, consistent work.
  • I’ve secured an additional 4 short term contracts doing website work.
  • I’ve paid for a 1 month subscription to one of the freelancing sites I’ve gotten a great deal of work from in the past.  (Subscribing lessens the percentage of my fee that they keep for work procured.)
  • I’m planning to re-up my LLC and business license this next month.
  • I’m planning to re-brand and re-launch my corporate site: epoh.com in the next month.

Now the only caveat to this is that I have been working primarily with two recruiters looking for corporate work.  I plan to keep my resume out there, but with the caveat that I am looking solely for work that allows at least 50% remote work and that I am willing to relocate through August of this year at which point, I will withdraw the offer to relocate until after the next school year.

I do not know if we will stay here next year, housing continues to be a BIG headache and financial drain for me.  But while we have free housing over the next several months (move at the end of April to the RV,) I am going to explore all options.

One more thing to note…I have going to add more teaching to my schedule if we stay here next school year.  Currently, I am teaching two classes, 1 hour a week each.  I plan to teach at least 4 classes next fall if we stay here.  That will not only cover the cost of the kids homeschool co-op classes, but also bring in some income.

This has been a really, really hard decision.  I know many will not understand 1) my commitment to being available to my kids, 2) not being willing to send my kids to public schools and 3) my other reasons for not wanting to take on a full time plus, in the office corporate job right now.  Rest assured, I am still very committed to get out of debt, perhaps even moreso than before after this experience.  But I know, really know, that my kids are my number one priority, and I’m willing to live on less, to be present in their lives for every moment possible while they are still young.

Oh, one last thing…in conjunction with starting my business back up, I am committed to spending the summer when we are not on such a heavy school schedule, renewing and gaining some new certifications in my field to 1) make me marketable and 2) increase my skills and maintain them so I am ready when the right opportunity presents itself to return to a ‘normal’ job.

Sorry for the book…

Update: As of Tuesday night…still no word from the local full time job, but the recruiter did text today and say they expected to hear in the next couple of days…


20 Comments

  • Reply kbgirl |

    I can’t help but think here lately, every time I read a post from Hope, that it is full of excuses.

    I know you have been handed some bad cards but this is a blog about paying off debt. You are not able to work on that goal right now so I’m just wondering if maybe you should quit this blog until you are able to be back on that journey. Just a thought and I know some won’t agree.

    Good luck in all you do.

    • Reply Hope |

      KBGirl,
      I certainly respect your opinion, and you are right I have not been able to make much progress on my debt in the last few months.
      As far as excuses? I’m not sure what excuses you are referring too…I haven’t gotten a job offer despite 4 months of full time looking and at least a dozen interviews. I cannot tell you why that is. My only explanation is that those jobs are not what I am supposed to be doing.
      On the other hand, I have a commitment between two clients for 30 hours of consultant work per week…that’s not too shabby for not even soliciting the work.
      As a result of these two things…well, it just makes sense for me to pursue the avenue that is providing regular work. And income. And thus, being hopefully able to get back on track with paying down debt.
      And with free housing and utilities for a while…well, I do believe I will definitely be able to save and pay down some debt.

    • Reply Maureen |

      Kbgirl,

      Although you are entitled to your opinion, part of most debt journeys include weathering the storm-whether that’s inconsistent income or some other factor. Let’s commend Hope here for not taking on substantial new debt and being creative, resourceful, and mostly positive in a stressful time not many could handle with such grace. I do not always agree with Hope’s choices either, but I do commend and respect her for the effort she has put forth.

  • Reply Kim |

    I am proud of you. You live life on your terms and with your family in mind! Good for you!! I work 40 hours a week at a job I hate where I’m very underpaid for my education and workload. I wake up everyday and think why?? I believe being able to confidently build your own business and maintain it is amazing. You have done this before and done it well. Dig deep, hustle, and pray. You are going to come out of this slump and dominate!!!

    • Reply Hope |

      Kim,
      Thank you, thank you! For your support and sharing your perspective. That is my greatest fear is that I will return to a 50+ hour work week away from my kids and as a result…they will essentially be raising themselves. If I had a spouse to share some responsibilities, I’m sure I would have a different perspective, so I have to work with what I’ve got…
      And for now, they are my priority! I am definitely ready to come out of this slump and dominate! Something!

  • Reply Teresa |

    Putting time with your kids first is very important! I commend you on making decisions that allow you more time we them.

    • Reply Hope |

      Thank you, Teresa, I definitely get alot of slack for this decision, but I KNOW in my gut that at least that part is totally spot on in my decision making. I appreciate your support!

  • Reply Katie |

    Just curious. If you get offered the local job, why not try to negotiate for more money?

    • Reply Hope |

      Katie,
      You are absolutely right…and when/if I get an offer I will definitely give it my full consideration.
      I have specifically prayed for God to make my path VERY clear as I feel that my own decisions have gotten me to the financial/housing mess I am in so don’t trust my own judgment these days. Thus far, I feel I am doing what He would have me do because 1) I have not gotten any other options to make money despite my credentials and work experience and 2) I have literally had work being thrown at me when all I have been trying to do is get into what I considered a ‘safer’ job situation.
      I still haven’t heard anything regarding the local job I hoped for…but if I do get an offer, I will definitely look at all angles!

  • Reply Kay |

    I love what you’re doing to further your career and your family life simultaneously! Its incredibly inspirational as a college graduate who has differed loans for months and continue to work on my career. I don’t know if this will help at all but I have used http://www.reducemydebts.com to aid in my journey to pay my debt off without working myself to a pulp. If you choose to look into his company I hope it helps you like it has me!
    God Bless!

  • Reply Sarah |

    I really feel that you think things through and make informed, well thought out decisions. Hopefully, you will be able to save some money this summer while living in the RV.

    I work out of my house and have flexible hours. I’ve done this for sixteen years. The thought of dressing up and working full-time scares the heck out of me. I don’t think I could do it so I get it.

    Also, this situation isn’t forever.

    • Reply Hope |

      Sarah,
      You are so right…it is not forever. The kids and I have taken to calling our upcoming RV adventure…’glamping’ for the summer. We got the term from the owner’s daughter, they do it regularly and have since they were little, accounting for the not 1, but 4 RVs on their land (only ours will be set up, the others are actually used for camping.) This is something that people choose to do, all the time. I don’t understand it, myself, not being a camper, but it will be an adventure.
      It’s nice to hear from someone who has worked out of their home as long, or longer than me, people who don’t just don’t get how hard it would be to make a transition back to a tradition work environment.
      Thank you for supporting what I feel is the best decision for us right now.

  • Reply Rebecca |

    As a single mom of three who works outside the home, I can tell you that my kids are absolutely my “priority” and I hardly think that they are “raising themselves.” There are a million ways to raise well-rounded, confident, kind children. I can respect your choice, so please don’t discount mine. Here’s an interesting article from Harvard Business School on the ways in which kids benefit from having moms who work outside the home: http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/kids-benefit-from-having-a-working-mom.

    • Reply Hope |

      Rebecca,
      I am truly sorry, in no way shape or form did I want to come across as judging someone else’s choices, believe me, I get that enough in my own life that I would never want to cast it on others. In this case, I truly am just looking at my own life, own kids, own circumstances…as a single mom I think we all need to work on raising each other up and supporting whatever works for our individual families.
      So as a single mom, I applaud you, however you make it work. We don’t have a choice do we, we just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and getting our kids through. Please, please don’t take the choices I make as judgments of yours at all, certainly not what I am going for in sharing my story and mindset here.

  • Reply Walnut |

    I would say to keep your options open. You don’t have to decide whether or not to take a job until it is offered to you. Take any freelance work that comes your way and focus on generating cash flow to get you through. You’ve done an awesome job staying optimistic thus far and you’ll just have to roll with the punches until a path makes itself apparent.

    • Reply Hope |

      You are absolutely right. I would certainly seriously consider any offer that came in…especially from a ‘financial security and stability’ viewpoint. I just know that I can’t keep waiting for something to happen, especially with work coming in pretty much on it’s own.

  • Reply Malady |

    I don’t think Hope is casting judgement on you specifically, or even on working mums. She’s just saying that for HER this is the best choice – for HER, at this TIME, with her FAMILY and in HER own particular circumstances.
    I work out of the home too Rebecca – and I am a single mother too. Like you, I make choices every day about how I raise my child – and you know what, If I had the courage to be a freelancer I would do it tomorrow. BUT, I have a terrific job that I love, close to home, with flexible hours, a caring team and a wonderful manager, and it pays me very generously. So for ME, in MY circumstances, that is the best choice. I’m sure that you’re making the best choices for YOU and YOUR family too. This isn’t about bashing anyone for their choices. I’ve never read anything that Hope has written that way.

    • Reply Hope |

      Malady,
      Thank you for your words and understanding that I am truly being selfish in my evaluation based on my own life and do not in any way want to cast judgment on any one else’s choices/life. I am so glad that you have found a position that gives you everything you need to be a single mom, I KNOW how valuable that is, and kind of why I am pursuing my own path.

  • Reply Judi |

    I’m a little disappointed with some of the comments on this post. We are a community that encourages finances, and while that may include tough love to support bloggers through tough decisions, these negative comments are not of that variety. Please everyone keep your critiques to financial topics that are aimed at increasing productivity (anyone can criticize but the most helpful advice gives a way to improve situations).
    Hope you have shown incredible fortitude in tough times and you have made many difficult decisions that have guided you. Good luck in starting up your freelancing business again and in your glamping adventure!

    • Reply Hope |

      Thank you for your kind words of support, Judi. I have certainly been grateful for the tough love and critiques as well as the support many have offered on this blog. Without it, and the changes I made as a result, these last few months would have been much worse!

So, what do you think ?