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You Aren’t Trapped: How I Changed My Work and Life To Make Me Happy
This week begins a new chapter of my life. I have been giving you little hints about what that is over the last few months, but today I am sharing more about what exactly that means for me. But first, the back-story that led to me making this huge change to my life in order to make myself happier:

 

We Paid off $80,000 of Debt in 18 Months

Seven years ago when my husband and I got married, we decided the best thing to do was take on lots of debt to keep up with the Jones’. We continued to make large purchasing decisions such as buying brand new cars, traveling abroad, and refusing to really think about our financial future.
Three years ago I happened to be reading another blog that was about getting out of debt. The writer said she followed the advice from Dave Ramsey’s book, The Total Money Makeover and got out of debt. So I checked it out.
When you have lots of debt, thinking about getting out of it is very overwhelming!  What I liked about this book is he put it all into baby steps, which just made it so easy! With the advice in this book, my husband and I were able to pile away our income, do as much as possible to decrease our expenses, and paid off $80,000 of student loan, credit card, and car loan debt in 18 months. (And yes, we did celebrate when we finished). We still can’t believe it and are so happy that we made the choice to work our butts off early in our lives instead of just putting it off until later.
I am writing this today hoping that I can inspire just one other reader to take a different path for their financial future just like the other blogger who helped me change my life.

What Does Paying off Debt Have To Do With My Career?

Everything. Without debt controlling your life, you can make life and career decisions that really make you happy. You have nothing hanging over your head nor do you have student loan, credit card and car loan bills piling up to pay. You have savings available for emergencies and you aren’t living paycheck to paycheck wondering if you will ever have the life and career you dreamed of. Not having to worry about debt allows your mind to open up so that you can really think about what makes you happy and what you really want to do with your life. That is exactly what happened to me.
My husband and I got out of debt in April ’12. For the last few months, I have been able to really think about what I want to do for work. I have been able to think about what makes me happy and what type of work fits best for my interests, values, and mission in life. I have been able to explore creative work assignments and new career opportunities that I could never have thought about with debt hanging over my head.

I Decided to Take a 50% Pay Cut

Yep, that’s right. This week, I made the bold move of starting a part-time arrangement at work.  But, I don’t see this as stepping down. Instead, this arrangement is giving me the opportunity to open up my creative side and apply myself in other places. Since going part-time a few days ago, I have already received another job offer and a teaching opportunity at a University. These things would never have opened if I hadn’t taken the time to evaluate my future career and myself.

I untrapped myself and other options came flooding in for the other “part-time” of my life.

After this experience, I truly believe that your financial decisions and priorities directly affect your career.  If you need to pay bills and students loans, you may continue working at a job that you may not enjoy just because you have to pay those bills. Which is fine! But, set a goal to pay off your debt in the next year or two and then move on to something that makes you happier!
Get yourself out of the debt that is clouding your professional future and instead find areas that you will succeed at even more because you are passionate about them. There are so many things you can do if you aren’t worried about paying off your debt. You could travel, start a business, or take a 50% pay cut to explore and evaluate your professional future like I did.

You aren’t trapped. Plan your work around your life, not your life around your work.

P.S. If you want to know how I was able to go part-time, it’s really simple. I just asked. That’s it and my boss said yes. So what are you scared of asking for at work? A raise? A promotion? Just ask.  What’s the worse that can happen?
P.P.S. This also goes to show why it is so important to work your butt off and do the best you can at work because down the line, when you really need something, your boss and co-workers will trust you and they will work around what you want and need.  That’s what happened to me after 7 years of working really hard for my clients and company.
P.P.P.S.  This also means that I get to do more fun things on this blog like write more, return all your comments and create more free resources for you! Stay tuned for upcoming announcements!

Do you feel trapped? How can you start taking steps to untrap yourself?

Hi, I'm Anna!

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