Changing Jobs While Enrolled in the Debt Management Plan

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Changing Jobs While Enrolled in the Debt Management Plan

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Changing Jobs While Enrolled in the Debt Management PlanVonnie has been unhappy at her job for quite some time. She's been an aide in the preschool room at our church for the past six years. We don't believe the pay is comparable to that of similar positions elsewhere, and she also feels a lack of appreciation for her work.

On top of that, there is no vacation, no paid time off, or any time off for that matter that isn't due to school being closed.

If my wife needs time off, the procedure is to call the people on the list of substitutes to find someone to work for her. The problem is that she has never successfully gotten anyone on the sub list to work for her. Not only do they say, "No," but they act as if the phone call is an inconvenience and an intrusion into their lives.

But, the job is familiar to her, it's stable, and after all it is at our church.

A few years ago, when she had about half as many hours as she has now at the preschool, she took on a second job at our kids' elementary school as a paraprofessional. Paraprofessionals do many things in our public school district, but in Vonnie's case she was essentially a recess and lunch room monitor/coordinator. Her job was to ensure kids behaved on the playground and in the lunchroom and transitioned smoothly between the two.

I observed her one day when I came to have lunch with Tori on her birthday. She walked in, wearing her dark sunglasses and a bright florescent vest, carrying a bullhorn in her hand. As I watched her interact with the kids, everything about her screamed "authority figure," and you could see the respect in the kids' eyes when they talked to her. She was definitely in her element.

At the end of that school year, she was offered more hours for the next year at the preschool. The additional income was welcome, so she gave up her bullhorn and worked exclusively at our church.

Given her increasing unhappiness with her current job, I urged her to see if there were any openings on the public school district job board similar to what she had done before. As she scrolled through the positions scattered throughout our city at various elementary and middle schools, she stumbled upon an open position at the same school she had worked at previously. It was similar to the position she had held before only with more hours, as it included classroom tutoring as well.  

Gathering information about the position, we found the following positives:

1.) Fewer hours, but higher pay. She would earn just as much income, working fewer hours.

2.) Better "time off" policy. If she needed time off, she would just call the substitute line to indicate she needs a sub. That's it, taken care of.

3.) Paid during the summer. Payroll for the public schools in our city calculates your earnings in such a way that some amount of each paycheck is "deferred" to be given as a paycheck during the summer time. So even though school is off during the summer, she would continue to receive a paycheck. This means we wouldn't have to worry about saving up money to make up for lack of income during the summer, or the temptation to spend those savings.

While from a pay perspective this is a lateral move, from a "happiness" or "fulfillment" perspective, this is an excellent move for Vonnie and our family. 

Vonnie's last day at the pre-school was last Friday, and she starts her new job today. She has an excitement about her that I haven't seen in a long time. She put on her sunglasses and smiled at me as she walked out the door. I think I even saw her curl her fingers around an imaginary bullhorn.

Have you ever changed jobs when money was tight? How did it work out for you?

Related Links:

Can Money Buy Happiness?

Straight Talk on Debt: Times are Tough but so are You!

Questions to Ask Before Taking a Job


Travis Pizel, My Journey Out of Debt, CareOne Services, inc. BloggerTravis Pizel

Travis is a contributing writer for the My Journey out of Debt blog and is a very active member of the CareOne community forums. Travis is currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP). Travis very candidly shares his personal journey to pay off his debt and the tips he's learned along the way. As a father and husband he provides a unique perspective on balancing debt, finances, and family. You can also follow along with Travis on his personal blog, Our Journey to Zero. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

Follow Travis on Twitter @DebtChronicles



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  • Go Vonnie!! I am so happy for her and her new position--sometimes even when money is tight it isn't everything. Happiness and quality of life are more important :)

  • Changing jobs can always be a scary situation especially on a DMP. Luckily, you two have each other for support so making that decision to find a new job wasn't so intimidating. When I first started the DMP I switched jobs and it ignited such a financial disaster but eventually it worked out well in the end. The high-paying job I left was so soul-sucking I just couldn't do it one more day I didn't care how much they paid me. I left and worked for minimum wage at a diner for a few months to bridge the gap, eventually I found a better paying position at a place I had worked for a few years ago. It all worked out eventually, but if I could go back in time, I would have planned those job switches a little better. Good luck to you and Vonnie, I hope her new position works out great for her!

  • Love this and change is actually a good thing! Go Vonnie!!!!

  • You're right, CoachSuzanne, money means nothing if you're miserable at your job everyday....on the flip side though, if you can't pay your bills, that brings on a different kind of unhappiness.  We had examined the budget, and were ready to make the necessary cuts to just have her walk out the door, but luckily she was able to find this job opening and be offered the position.  

    She's so excited, and the kids and I are excited for her.  The first thing Tori did when she came home from school after Vonnie applied for the job was ask if mommy got a call or not.  She gave Vonnie the biggest hug when she found out mommy got the job.  :)

    I love seeing my wife bounce like she has been ever since she found know what they say...."Happy wife....happy life."  :)

  • Thanks for your comment, is true that having each other to talk to and work through this as a team was extremely important.  We could have made it had she just flat out quit (although some very difficult cuts would have to have been made)...and the plan would have been for her to continue looking for a different job - but she was definitely quitting.  The question was simply "when."  The timing worked out perfectly.....I just shake my head when I think about how things have moved along over the last few years.  Somebody upstairs is definitely looking out for us....

  • Thanks, Coach Tammy, this is definitely a good change.  As I was typing these responses, I got a call from was orientation day for her, and she just got done.  She was telling me so many things I couldn't process them all at once.  So many positives and perks that she just simply didn't have with her old job.  I finally had to ask her if she got all the information on paper so we could go over it together later.  :)  She's on cloud 9 right now.....and that makes me so happy it's literally making me tear up.  

    I will forward on all of the well wishes from the comments to her....she will definitely appreciate the thoughts and support!

  • How exciting for Vonnie!!  It sounds to me like it is an all around great opportunity!!  Besides money isn't everything if you aren't happy.  How awesome that she was able to find a position she enjoys while making the same amount she was making by working more hours.  As well as the fact you won't have to figure out a savings budget for summer times loss of income.  I am so happy for you and your family.  As others have said GO VONNIE!!!

  • It is definitely exciting, and a great's even better than we thought after looking through her orientation packet.  The not having to figure out savings for the summer is a HUGE win.  As always, thanks for your comment, mdavis1964!

  • Yay Vonnie!!  So happy for you and your family Travis.  Wish her luck from me.

  • Thanks so much for your support, Ali (Landow)!  I will pass your well wishes on to her.  On her first day, she got a "schedule" of what she is supposed to do, and when on a single piece of paper that was pretty worn out.  She didn't like how it was laid out, so we worked together to rewrite the instructions in a word processor, color code them, and print them out on 3x5 index card (to be laminated).  We then hole punched them and bound them with a ring which she can attach to her ID lanyard.  I know,  our participation in such organization is probably quite shocking.   She's lovin' he new job, and gushes about it daily.  Oh, and she did get her bullhorn back.  :)

  • I'm starting to think that our second vehicle isn't pulling its weight anymore. Since Vonnie started

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