Free time and anxieties

The schedule is one of the great thing about my new job. There’s no worrying about having a project sprung on me and having to cancel evening plans. It’s really important for me to be able to schedule my time as much as possible so I don’t get exhausted and end up sick. (I basically have to schedule downtime to prevent running out of steam.)

Since I finished my MBA coursework, I have been adjusting to having free time, especially on the weekends. My commute eats up basically all my free time during the week, so the difference is not so extreme yet. I’ve been working on paying off some debt I incurred during the six months I was unemployed. While I was getting my budgeting software back up and running, I reviewed my student loan situation. Thankfully, my MBA debt is not that bad, due to some employer reimbursement and some scholarships. Still, I’m getting the itch to try to start paying them off faster than just making the minimum payments. I’ve also been coming to the realization that even a small apartment might be out of my price range for a while.

The free time coupled with the desire to pay of debt and build up savings has had me thinking about ways to pick up a part time job. Even bringing in $200 a month would be a huge help toward my student loans.

MEANWHILE… The job market seems to be getting worse and worse. Friends on both coasts are dealing with layoffs and furloughs and all kinds of crap. My own dad recently got word that he’s spared from this round of layoffs, but he’s being cut back to four days a week instead of five. That’s a 20% reduction in pay and no guarantee of being safe from layoffs down the road.

So I’m feeling very lucky to have landed my job before hiring froze. I’m grateful that I’m in an organization where people don’t really get laid off, with a career path including planned promotions for the next 3 years. But I am so, so stressed about my parents’ situation. I am the doof who has moved back in with them 3 times since college. I’m the one who has asked them to pay for things like medication when I couldn’t afford the co-pays. I’m living under their roof right now, rent free, chipping in with groceries and chores.

They haven’t asked me for anything. But I am stressing and I’ve been doing some big time reflection on my move out timeline. Right now, I think the best thing (not perfect thing) for all of us would be for me to plan to stay at least another few months. This would allow me to pay rent, which would help my parents until my dad can get a part time job (or win the lottery). I would also be able to save money and pay down debt.