Oct 19

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The pity party

Here’s the thing – I’m in no good space to be writing tonight. I woke up feeling cranky this morning and it hasn’t gotten any better as the day has gone on.  I know very well that a big part of the discomfort I’m feeling has to do with making a clear commitment to working on debt and now having to do the work to make it happen.  I’ve done a lot of truth-telling with myself over the last month, but there are still some hard realities to face, including that I am not currently making enough money to cover my expenses.

On yesterday’s post I received encouraging comments from two women who have significantly cut their debt over the last year. One of them, Gina, pointed me toward a blog post she had written with 33 ideas she and my dear childhood friend Josh had used to help cut their debt. Her post is terrific (and can be found here).  The issue is that of her 33 items, most of them are how I have always lived my life: I’ve never had cable; I don’t drink coffee; I take my lunch to work most days; I don’t subscribe to magazines; I stopped buying boxed cereal sometime around college. The places where Josh and Gina found wiggle room mostly don’t exist in my life.

You see, the problem is not that I’m an aggressive over-spender.  The issue is that I’m a chronic under-earner.  And truth be told, that’s not actually a financial issue.  That’s an issue of self-worth.

For instance, there was the time when a potential employer told me he’d hire me at $1000 per week, but when he officially offered me the job he said he’d pay me $650…and I didn’t question the discrepancy because I was scared of him (by the way – important lesson learned – if the negotiations for a job are difficult, the job will be too.)

I worked for a company where I was doing the technical work of the company AND acting as the office manager and I wasn’t even making an office manager’s salary…plus I was working as a contractor, so I wasn’t having taxes taken out and I had to pay self-employment taxes.

Do I sound like I’m feeling sorry for myself?  Well, the truth is that I am.  For a moment, at least.  I know the moment will pass and I’ll be able to look at it with a clear head again in a few days.  And perhaps that’s enough of a miracle for tonight – this too shall pass. I know that there is a way out…because there’s always a way out.

I know that part of my lesson is about trusting myself to make good decisions and starting to demonstrate that I value myself more highly.

But for a few minutes please excuse me while I indulge in a little pity party.

About the author

Leah Carey

Leah Carey is the Chief Miracle Officer of The Miracle Journal, where she writes about the large and small miracles that happen in her life every day. She is a life coach, speaker, journalist, freelance writer, and lover of life. In all of those pursuits, she works with people to identify what’s already right in your life so you can build an even more joyful and fulfilling daily experience from that foundation. You can find her on Facebook, , Twitter, and YouTube.

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  1. Gina Masters

    Leah – Thanks for reading and mentioning my guest post. I’m glad you’re issue isn’t aggressive over-spending, but I also understand about under-earning. Certainly in a real estate job the last few years, that’s been a challenge. So, I don’t know the specifics of how you make your money and in what areas you are under-paid, but I will be praying for you. If the job that you’re under-paid for right now is what you love, perhaps you can pick up a small side job to get your debt snowball moving?! Good luck!

  2. Cheryl Collins

    Sounds to me like you need to go to some of the “Occupy Wallstreet” protests if some of this debt is student loans. You will find a lot of people in the same boat.

  3. Leah

    Hi Gina,
    Thanks for your message (and the one yesterday that got this all started! 🙂 ) and for your good thoughts.

    I should make one thing clear – in my job at the newspaper, I’m actually making a livable wage. However, because of past decisions (ie – working at a lesser wage and not having taxes taken out) I’m being extra aggressive about having taxes taken out now, which leaves me with less take-home pay than I need to cover my expenses and make debt payments.

    However, with all of that said…moments after hitting “post” last night, I had the revelation that has been building for the last few weeks. I’ll share that tonight or tomorrow.

    Thanks for all your support, Gina! 🙂

  4. Leah

    Hi Cheryl,
    While I sympathize with some of what the Occupy movement is saying and doing, I’m not angry about the debt and no one forced me to incur it. I did so with full knowledge because of the choices that I made. I have always been capable of earning more money than I do, but I haven’t advocated for myself or put myself in positions where I was earning to my full potential. That’s the part that I now see needs to change!

    Thanks for your comment and your support. 🙂

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