What to do when you realize you are burnt out, but can’t afford to quit

YOU make a plan.

IN February 2019 I realized something was horribly wrong. I was depressed and had been depressed for months but did not know why. I dreaded getting out of bed to go to work. Doing work I used to enjoy took more effort that ever. I buried myself in credit card debt to try find some happiness. The core of the problem, I finally realized, was my job had burnt me out. My whole life was suffering because I could not find a way to make myself happy any more. I needed to make some major changes, but I knew I needed to woman-up and make a real plan to change my life.

I CALLED my therapist. I had not been going regularly for a few years and knew this needed to be my first step in fixing my life. So far, it is the kindest thing I have ever done for myself.

WE made a plan. Well, I made a plan, she let me know if I was going off the rails. My job as a data analyst was ruining me. I used to enjoy my work, loving throwing myself into a new project. My boss is still a great boss, and the idea of letting him down hurt me. But it’s my life, not his nor my parents. I needed to come up with a new plan to change. I started calling it EmilyChange2k19. Never pass up the opportunity to give your plans fun nicknames.

SO many things crossed my mind. Should I work as a paralegal for an immigration law firm? Could I afford to take the necessary pay cut to become a paralegal? Or could I become a history teacher, a profession I have always been interested in. But could I afford the additional degrees I would need? Clarity came when I realized the two things I am most passionate about: travel and helping people. Very basic, I know. But at least it was giving me some kind of framework when deciding my future.

THEN there was the elephant in the room. The debt I had gotten myself into. Credit card bills, a small personal loan, my car, my student loans. If I were to make a major change, I would need to buckle down and pay off my (non-student loan) debt as fast as possible. I created a stringent budget. I’ve always tracked my spending on an excel spreadsheet, but this time I was determined. I made my plan to be free of consumer debt by April 2020. As of 15 September 2019, I am 30% to my goal.

NO I haven’t quit my job. Nor have I fully dug myself out of debt. But I am so much closer to my goal now than in February. EmilyChange2k19 has a solid framework and a realistic schedule that will allow me to move from the corporate world into being a freelancer. These are my intentions.

  • I will pay all off non-student loan debt by April 2020
  • I will quit my corporate job by July 2020
  • I will become a digital nomad

THIS blog is where I will document my process of gaining independence. Welcome to DonaTravels: from Burnout to Bliss

3 thoughts on “What to do when you realize you are burnt out, but can’t afford to quit”

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