The Devil I Know

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Just when I had found a way to go straight, which in my case is finding a fulfilling career where I get job satisfaction and enjoyment in addition to money, the old life sucks me back in! A bit hyperbolic I know, but the idea is still the same.

The career change didn’t work out.  After weeks of trying to accommodate all the demands of my new employer to be, I found myself incapable of fulfilling their demands to their liking.  I couldn’t help but think that had I discovered this path straight out of college, I would have been successful at it. I wouldn’t have minded the salary, the restrictions and would not have had too much to sacrifice. But I’m in my late 20s now with a 6-figure student loan debt, and a mortgage both of which I want to get rid of as soon as possible. Giving up a decent salary for a job that not only pays less but also effectively forbids me from finding alternative streams of income is not something I’m willing to do.

When I returned from my first trip to China, I immediately entered the interview cycle and pretty much made my rounds at all the usual establishments. As I’ve stated so many times, professional development is one of my career goals and it factored heavily in my search for a new job. But the idea that I can change my career into financial planning, a career that not only puts me in a position to help people but also learn so much that I can apply directly to my life was more than intriguing. It’s all I ever wanted. I think it was clear that I was excited about that field too. Which is why I had gotten that far in all the interviews and also gotten a job offer in the field. But ultimately, what I had to give up was far too much for what I would have gotten.

I was willing to give up my real estate business. I actually acted on this decision and put my license on inactive status per their recommendation.  I also made peace with the fact that I will have to get their authorization for every property I would purchase from now on.  I gave them my guarantee that I would not look for investors in their client base. I never wanted to do that anyway. I value control over my projects way too much to involve other people in them. In addition to these, I was willing to even put the China venture on hold. I was going to sell everything at a discount to some store owner and be done with it if it meant I could have a shot at a career in this field. These were essentially all of their demands.

But then I did something that they did not like at all. I tried to negotiate. I had gotten a job offer in my old field that included various benefits and thought I could leverage that to get them to pay for some of my tuition. A lot of companies provide money to go towards tuition expenses for their employees.  So in the middle of me giving up everything, I asked for this one thing. I wanted them to pay for the remainder of the tuition I would have to pay. They did not like that one bit. The response I got was not just a no, it was more like ‘how dare you?’ Well, I did not like that either. I would be paid half of my old salary, left with no way to make any side income and now I can’t even get a basic expense covered? At this point, I had enough.  The ‘how dare you?’ email was followed by another email in which they pretty much suggested that maybe I should just take that other job offer because I’m negotiating for things that I want and that is not something that’s encouraged at the organization. It gave me a pause; If they’re treating me this way before I even start to work for them officially, how will they treat me once I get in there?? What will my life look like getting paid peanuts and trying to stretch my funds to cover everything? Can I even live under these conditions without a side hustle? Can I afford a career change that demands so much? The answer was no. No, with a six figure student loan debt, a mortgage, and this much ambition, I cannot take up a career that will essentially have me Oliver Twisting for the foreseeable future.

So I went back to the dark side, I responded to the offer letter with a counter offer. I requested an increase in the salary they had offered and benefits related to tuition reimbursement. I also requested a guarantee that there will be a discussion related to increasing my salary to match my credentials once I have completed my studies and graduated with my MBA.  They were willing to negotiate. So now, with the potential to earn a high income once more, I have created a plan to tackle my debt and the F.I. goals are back on track.  The basic idea, no matter how complex the methods are is to increase income, reduce expenses, pay off debt with the surplus, then acquire assets.  I have a detailed plan. But I’ll save that for the next post.

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