by Elizabeth S.
This post has been one I’ve been dreading for a few days, because I let myself down. There was another post I had planned for today, but it hinged on me actually working on the steps that I mentioned in my last post, and I took none of those steps. Not a one. This week was a professional and emotional hurricane, as many weeks have been for me this summer. That’s not an excuse, and I need to plan for these better.
It’s another new work-week, and I am profoundly behind on everything. It’s not usually like this. The project I’m on, which was supposed to take about two weeks, has taken over six weeks so far. We continue to find new pieces to add into the scope of the project, and it’s exhausting. Some curveballs lobbed out of nowhere have meant that my carefully-crafted agenda might as well be garbage. Those surprises landed me with two full days of crisis calls, culminating with the senior VPs and I hanging up the phone at 8:30PM Friday night. Prior to that, on Wednesday I was woken at 5AM for a similar work emergency. That one concluded with me wrapping up one of my employees’ shifts at 7PM. I had called him in early to help and there was no one else to cover the evening.
As the person who manages the people who support our products and clients, I sometimes need to drop everything and set up a command center when things go awry (as seen Wednesday and Friday). The other days of the week, I worked until 8 or 9 PM trying to get ahead on the project that won’t end. The demoralizing thing is that I am an exempt employee, so there is no overtime pay in my future. My boss is generous with bonuses, raises, and stock options, and I can take almost unlimited time off when it’s slow. Historically, I’ve tended to not do that, but that changes now! Dedicated vacation time is the first thing I’ll take once my new hire is trained, late summer.
My ex (Mike) has been at my house, helping with my animals and housekeeping. He’s happily unemployed and is the only person available who knows how to care for my diabetic cat. I am eternally grateful he has been able to give me a hand, but it’s messy and difficult for each of us. I am not paying him, but I did get him some wine and steaks to say thanks. He’s been eating all his meals here, but they’ve been cheap. We went for half-price chicken wings on Tuesday and he paid for himself (we each paid $20 tax and tip included). Otherwise, we have eating inexpensive leftovers. had fish tacos for a couple days made from frozen fish, and I also made a giant pot of chicken soup from some chicken in the freezer and stock made from veggie and bone scraps laying around. I did a big shopping trip on Sunday and he sent me money for his share, so if he’s around this week, it will cost me nothing.
What to do next?
I don’t want to make promises I can’t keep. My checking account has about $150 and other than $15 I’ll need for some groceries towards the end of the week, I don’t need to spend any more money. This workweek is going to be just as hard as the last one, and my single objective will be to minimize spending. I’m in the middle of my rent paycheque, which is usually difficult to save money on. I need emergency meals for the freezer at home and work, and I’ll have some ready to bring in for Tuesday.
Next up is a spending diary for this paycheck on Thursday. My next paycheck is Friday, and I’ll set aside my first big chunk of money into savings then. I’m giving myself a deadline of August 9th for those calls to my service providers. It will take time to inquire about lowering fees and to get a meeting at the bank about consolidating debt. Realistic goals are important here!