Monday, April 27, 2009

I do not know what to do... Is this a time to quit?

As I mentioned in my last post, I have literally - LITERALLY - not had a day off from work since the beginning of January. This is because I have two long-term contract jobs that are in the same field but that come with two entirely different sets of requirements. Keeping up with both of them is a challenge. I have little choice but to chain myself to my computer seven days a week. 

I know. I did this to myself. I chose to take on all this work. Has it been a huge pain? Yes. Has it been financially helpful? Very much yes; we're now quite close to getting rid of the credit card debt altogether.

Last week, when my workload was exceptionally high and we had guests in town for a visit, there were several times when I felt like I was going to have a panic attack. Being the Type A, high-anxiety person I am, I am no stranger to panic attacks. But I try to avoid them. I hate feeling like I can't breathe. I hate feeling all jangly and crazy inside. I found myself thinking, "This is not how a 30-year-old person should feel on a regular basis if she hopes to have a long, happy life."

I am working too much. But the working... is working. It's making the debt go away. It's allowed us to build up some semblance of a savings account for the first time ever. It's making me think, "Hey, maybe we could buy a boat one day..."

Here's the dilemma. I think all of us in this household would feel a lot more relaxed if I quit one of my jobs. It would allow me to spend more time with our son, and it would give Trent more time to get his work done (we don't put our son in daycare, so one of us has to watch him while the other works). I might even get a chance to read a book or paint my nails or get back into running or brush my hair. :-P On the other hand, this would reduce our income by 30-35%. It would put a major damper on savings. And while my other job has been very good to me over the last three years, it is not a guaranteed position. Neither of them are. These are contract gigs. Theoretically, they could go up in smoke, though at this point they're probably some of the most stable gigs out there.

Plus, Suze Orman has yelled at a lot of people on her show for quitting their jobs at a time like this, when the economy is so off kilter. Maybe Suze has some perspective that I don't. Maybe she is right. Maybe I just need to stick it out for the rest of the year, at least.

What would you do? Quit the job and live on a lower income (with the worries that a lower income could bring), or keep the job (for at least a few more months), despite the hassle and stress?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Back! And somewhat conflicted.

Though I'm not sure anyone is reading anymore.

I stopped posting for a few weeks because I got a bad case of This-will-never-work-itis. Several issues factored in:

1. Money. Money, money, money. Why is sailing so damn expensive?

2. Pirates. I admit, all the recent craziness with the Somalian kids with guns and the cargo ships and the French sailboats and all that freaked us out a lot. We didn't really have grand plans to sail around the world anyway (not initially), but right now, piracy seems to be on the rise, and not just off Africa's coast. We've heard it's also becoming more of an issue in the Caribbean, too. If it were just the two of us, we'd probably do our best to avoid problem areas and not worry too much about it, but with a kid, the prospect of doing something that could put him into that kind of danger seems stupid.

Again - I realize this isn't a problem everywhere. Maybe we were watching too much CNN.

3. Getting back to money, it doesn't seem like a particularly smart way to spend it. Boats deteriorate, and so does everything associated with them.

4. We've been busting our butts to work and save money and pay down debt, and it's been stressful. We've made major progress on the credit card front, but sometimes the good paychecks don't seem worth the fact that I am essentially putting in 4-8 hours a day, 7 days a week. I haven't had a day off since January 7.

So we started tossing around ideas like buying a farm in Montana or taking a couple of months at a time to see the world via planes, trains, and automobiles. These dreams are pricey, too, but not *as* pricey as going on a 2-3 year sailing adventure. They're more reasonable. If we work hard, we are pretty sure we could make these things happen in 5 years or so.

Here's the problem, though: I can't muster much enthusiasm for these alternatives. They just don't seem exhilarating enough (we're weird). What I've realized in the past couple of days - and Trent, too - is that this is one crazy plan we have to pursue. I'm not sure if we'll be able to do it in five years. We may have to push it to 10 to save our sanity. But we want to sail.

*  *  *

On the credit card front, we're about 75% of the way to paying them off completely. As soon as that's done, we'll start ramping up payments on our student loans (which I'm beginning to think are even more cursed than the credit cards). We've managed to put some money into savings, though much of it may disappear in the next two months; Trent's computer shows signs of being close to the end, and he'll need a new one.

Sometimes I just wish I could look into the future and see what happens. Is all of this hard work worth it - or should we be slowing down and enjoying life more right now?