I started this blog to track a slow and steady path toward financial independence. All plans get sidetracked at some point, and the key is to adapt and adjust to keep moving toward those plans.
Having been in job search mode four months ago, I realize my skill set is in a niche area. There are many more applicants than positions out there for my type of work. On top of that, I work in oil and gas, which is notorious for its booms and busts.
Four months back, I was fortunate to land a new job. It was a step up in challenges, responsibility, and an increase in pay. Three months into the new job, the company announced it would be acquired, and I have since learned the new company does not have a position for me.
I have shelved portfolio contributions for the near future. My immediate portfolio goal is to just keep reinvesting dividends. At the same time, I’ll invest in myself, likely in the form of education. I thankfully have a decent amount stashed away separately that will keep me afloat. I started this blog to keep an honest account of my journey, and that means posting the disappointments as well as some of the great months I’ve already had to this point.
I am actually in a great position. I have good contacts in my industry, and solid years of experience. I’m in a steady financial spot, having just taken care of some needed home improvements and covered the cost of a wedding (I’m married as of last week!). Most importantly, my wife and I have our health. We love doing low-cost activities (board games and hiking come to mind). And we are both committed to eating well, but also on a good budget (homemade chicken soup and vegetables are great in the winter).
I’m also fortunate that my wife has a great job and a pretty cool side hustle of her own. So, despite some moments of initial panic and despair, I have to remind myself that I am pretty lucky.
We are going to prioritize any debt we have. I wanted to cushion myself through the wedding, so I put the home improvements on a no-interest loan. We also have some car payments and a small amount of student loans on her end. Paying these off up front will reduce our total living expenses substantially, really just leaving us with the basics.
The basics include a home mortgage, utilities, phone plans, etc. Budgeting all our expenses would have been a good first step after being laid off, but luckily we already track our budget and each recurring monthly or annual expense.
I have a few options. I can
- Apply to new jobs like crazy
- Consider grad school
- Consider a developer boot camp
Applying to new jobs
It helps that I just had four solid phone or face-to-face interviews prior to landing my current job. My resume is completely polished and up to date, and my interview skills are practiced and sharp.
Location is an enormous consideration. Despite having a niche skill set, I believe my background would make me a good candidate if I was willing to relocate anywhere in the country or the world. I have thought long and hard about this, and in the past I did relocate to wherever the work was. For now, I am aiming to stay where I am because I love the lifestyle here.
I made a list of potential employers in my area. I put out the word to friends and contacts in the industry. I have some interesting possibilities, but nothing concrete. The truth is that I may need to look outside my industry, which brings me to:
Considering grad school
Grad school would give me a chance to go in a different career direction. Finance and data science are two paths I have interest in. Both would require large time and money commitments, not to mention taking the GRE/GMAT and applying to programs.
Considering a developer boot camp
Thanks to my financial habits, I have the luxury of stepping away from the workforce for an extended time. I can also afford tuition for the right program. I have been interested in developer boot camps in the past, but never had the time or the luxury to walk away from an existing career.
I have had interest in code since first using it in college. Since then, I’ve taken some free online courses in different languages and built my own data importer/viewer at work using R. Time and money investment is much lower than grad school.
I’ll stay open to new possibilities in my industry, but immediately work toward a developer boot camp
I get excited thinking about a possible career switch. It’s not what I had in mind a few months ago, but I have the chance now to step back and do anything I want to do.