Monday, March 19, 2012

I Forgot I Still Have Three Jobs

What's that? You need coverage? I'm your girl!
Remember when I finally got a full-time job in January?  It's my first full-time job EVER, and the first time in three years that I'll actually have health insurance.  Because I still like my previous job (and I can always use a bit of extra cash), I stayed on as an on-call librarian, and am filling in at University Library while the head of reference is out on maternity leave (basically until the end of the semester).

It only seems fitting that while I was at my first day back at University Library, I should get an email from Public Library, where I am also an on-call librarian, asking me to cover some shifts over the summer.  Of course, I'm happy to help out, but after adding these extra days to my calendar, I started to panic a bit and feel like I was going back to that old schedule of no days off that very nearly made me crazy.  That feeling was amplified by the fact that I basically agreed to go to work immediately after running a 1/2 marathon.  I mean, I think I did.  My boss (former boss?) just sent me an email saying "you go girl!" So I assume that means "come to work."

However, one thing I have to remember is,  filling in at a library is really not like working there.  I don't have projects to work on, I don't really have any responsibility other than being there, and I have the bonus of people being really happy to see me--with time-and-a half on Sundays!  It's totally low-stress.  This is something I need to keep in mind.

I have to say, and please don't think this is me complaining, but working full-time has been a bit of letdown as far as my take-home pay is concerned.  I'm making less with this job than I was working part-time at two (sometimes three) places because now I'm paying for health and dental insurance, 401k deductions and union dues.  It was a bit of a jolt when I realized how puny my take-home pay actually is, especially since I have all this extra time to amuse myself with adventures.  I certainly make enough to live a comfortable life, but it's still shocking how a month of treating myself and then getting slammed by a major car repair bill have kind of decimated my cash flow.  I feel like I live a frugal enough life that I should have a bit of extra money. I rarely eat out, I don't go to movies that often, I don't shop recreationally, I don't do all of those things that financial advisors always tell people to cut out when they're trying to save.  Yet, I still feel broke.

When I wind up in a situation like this, I look at how other people live, and try to figure out how they can afford it, which is not a very healthy thing to do. Does anyone else ever do that, or am I just weird?

For instance, I used to work with this guy who was really into video games.  He was a stereotypical nerd, and we got to talking one day about travel.  He made a remark about how even though he really wanted to travel, he'd never be able to afford it.  Then he did the thing that I hate most and basically said that I was spoiled and my parents had paid for all my travels (not so).
This is not how I travel
 So I looked at him and asked, "how much do you spend per month on video games? How much do you spend on movies and tv on DVD sets?"  He had just paid me cash for my DVD sets of the show 24, seasons 1-3, so I suspected the number would be high.

His answer, "about $200."

My response, "That's $2400/year and plenty for a trip to Europe."
This is much more my scene
 The point of that story is that I'm letting my thought process get out of whack.  I need to stop feeling poor because I'm not poor.  In the grand scheme of things, I'm pretty well off and I don't need more than I have.  And if I don't want to take these extra work shifts, I need to get better at saying no.

No wallowing and no lamenting my lost free time!  If I think I'm broke, I should work when given the chance; if I think I'm tired of working so much, I should just say no.  It really is all up to me for good or for bad.

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