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March 18, 2004 - Thursday, 10:00 p.m.
You know, it wouldn't have been so bad if I'd never thought my raise was any particular number. I would have probably been happy with what I got. But what really sucks is that my 'congratulations letter' was typed up wrong, and when I got my check today it just didn't match up. I hoped it would be because my merit raise and promotion raise were separate, but no such luck. The end result is that my raise ended up being about 1/2 of the size I was originally told. So what seemed like a really outstanding reward for work well done, seems just mediocre. So that made for a disappointing day. Definitely a downer.
However, if even for a moment I questioned my decision to go to graduate school it was promptly wiped away today. Andy wasn't exactly bubbling with enthusiasm for my choice in graduate programs, though he said he wasn't trying to be discouraging, he was. He told me that he thought my strength was in technical work. And I think he was suggesting that perhaps I'd like to rethink it and think about perhaps becoming an engineer. Now this was nice of him to say, but I just see it as a huge plus for managing engineering type people. I like engineers, I like the way they think, I like the kind of work that they do. I understand lots of the reasons for doing things the way they do. I was raised by an engineer, come on. I do understand them. Even Dan told me last night that he feels that my engineering background is very solid and that I could manage engineers. He said my mind works and that he thinks of me an an engineer. It was a huge compliment. It was very sweet of him to say all that. If he'd been in the room I would have wanted to give him a big hug.
I am sure that Andy got me about the best raise that he could, but it's not enough, and simply exemplifies why I am in school.
As I sit in my classes I know that I am learning alot, and I certainly hope to have the opportunity to apply it in the real world. I think my greatest fear is that I'll get done with this degree and I'll be unable to find a position utilizing it. (Which was pretty much the case when I graduated from college with my undergraduate degree.) And I'll have student loans to pay back, with no increase to my wages.
It is sad to feel like I need two incomes to survive, but I do. However, there is just me to make an income, so the only way to accomplish that would be for ME to have two jobs. At this point, I am unable to do that... school is my 'second job' at the moment. In a couple more years my kids will all be out of the house and then I can just stop spending all this money on food and stuff. Work two jobs if I need to, and dig myself out and onto more solid ground. I know it's going to take me a good 10 years to get to where I want to be financially. I keep hoping that getting this degree is going to help make that possible in a shorter amount of time. It seems like the last ten years I have been steadily going into debt trying to raise three kids on my own. (No seems about it... it's what has happened.) And I know the only way to change the tide is to just stop spending money... I never felt like I could stop when I was trying to raise my kids... you have to buy clothes, new shoes, school supplies and endless amounts of food. You can't just say... Hmmm... we are short on money this month so.. um... no food, okay? And those size 6 shoes are just going to have to do for your size 10 feet, okay? Not. I went from two incomes to one income making house payments. Which has almost always been 1/2 of my income. HALF!!! I remember my mother telling me that the formula is... your house payment should be 1/4 of your income. Never happened for me. Was always 1/2, so there was always just a little less money then I needed. So creative financing allowed me to raise kids, buy clothes for them, take them on vacation once in a while, buy some fun things, and feed them...etc... I used my equity.. of course... figuring that if in the end I'd raised my kids and though they didn't have everything, they had enough of the things that they needed or wanted that it would be worth the loss of my house. Now I never lost the house, but shall we say it costs me more now then it did when I bought it, but still if liquidated would leave me with.. well nothing... but not negative too much... I thank God that I had the house and the equity, cuz it allowed me to raise my boys. Now I'd rather not lose the house, but it is going to take some work on my part to own it out right ever.
Gah! Did I just ramble on and on about finances??! Sorry... I can only hope that my dad never surfs the net and stumbles upon my site. Am sure he'd be mad to know how I've handled things financially. I guess I never saw another way to do it. For 15 years I've tried to go back to school to get a graduate degree so I could increase my income base, but it was hard to be a single mom, work full time (and often 2 jobs) AND go to school. I tried.. but I could never make it happen. But THIS time I am going to complete this. I have a goal that I can see as attainable. And that increase in my pay will help to back pay all the money I didn't have that I spent to raise the boys. The day I am done with that and the last thing is paid off and I have the deed to my house in my hand I'll give such a big sigh of relief. I figure I'll be nearly 60 by that time, but it'll feel so good.