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Seeking advice on energy management/risk taking in global pandemic

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Anything related to matters of the mind

Cat Lady

Bronze Contributor
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Speedway Pass
Apr 26, 2018
98
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Portland, OR
I'm on week 14 of working a full-time job doing essential services government contracting (fully remote though for a friends company), 15-20 hours a week managing the finances of a startup radio station (as an executive staff of the nonprofit station and partial owner of the s-corp that runs the commercial station), and 10+ hours a week running my own business.

And I need to figure out how to not die from the stress. I can't handle these kind of hours and stress; I'm not 25 anymore. What is the secret?

Some context:
My own business was previously my full time gig, a bootstrapped operation with just a few contractors. The demand for the content (personal finance media) has gone up in the current economic crisis and I'm doing my best to SERVE my audience, but about half my revenue is gone - retail sales of books and stickers and speaking fees. That means I'm breaking even on my own business, and taking no salary from it, just paying contractors and overhead. Luckily I have two other jobs paying my bills.

And...well...I just can't do this anymore. I'm falling apart. I can't stay focused on anything, really. My performance has gone down at all my gigs. My health is suffering.

My coping mechanisms (a bike commute and ~1 hour of figure skating a day) are gone.

The stress is higher than ever- our revenue is down at the radio station as underwriters have to pause, I've applied for so many loans and grants (no PPP yet...) and I had to lay off two staff members. But we still have to operate 24/7 as a radio signal. The plan was to bring me up to full-time last month so I could stop working my other job, but we don't have the finances to do that now.

I have a disease that is exacerbated by stress, and it's also 99% dormant for me by treatment with an immunosuppressant- but that immunosuppressant means I'm not sure I'm going to be able to travel again or even go into the office or studio or go skating for another 6-9+ months. Immunosuppressed people are the last to be allowed to reintegrate.

I don't know what to do. Quitting my job at the radio station would be the "obvious" solution, but it is the thing I like doing the most, am the best at, and the area with the most entrepreneurial. It supports my own business. But it is the biggest uncertainty. My "day job" is rather stable as it is part of government contracting. But as we know - slowlane is a false feeling of stability.

How do people work these many hours? What can I do? What would you do?

extra: My liquid cash emergency fund right now is only equivalent to about 10 months of my average expenses, though my expenses should stay roughly steady through the end of the year (locked in rental contract, health insurance locked in and out of pocket maximum met).
 
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The-J

Dog Dad
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Aug 28, 2011
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You know what to do but you're afraid.

I was in a similar situation to you not too long ago. Had a great gig working as an executive at a marketing agency.

I lasted 7 weeks, lmao. 80 hour weeks were the norm. I had one day off that entire time. And I hated most of the clients. Some of them literally sold scams, and the CEO had no problem with it.

The decision to quit was actually quite easy for me. Not because I wasn't afraid, but because I knew staying there would be bad for my mental health. I was already feeling nauseous just logging in and getting on calls with the team. Resentment was building up. I wasn't going to the gym anymore. My meals became nothing but restaurant delivery. I stopped spending time with my fiancee.

Add on top of that some extra stress from personal issues and there was no way I would have been able to be most effective. So that's what I told the CEO on the day I quit.

I had my priorities very clearly laid out: my health trumped all, and that was non negotiable.

Some people might think I was being a pussy. I don't care. Health is wealth. I know some people work 80 hour weeks in companies for a long time. Maybe I'm the lazy one for refusing to put 80+ hours of my week aside to make someone else rich. I still feel like a pussy for letting go of 6 figures to work for myself.

So take back your health, and remove the thing that's wasting your energy the most with the least amount of future upside.
 

Cat Lady

Bronze Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Speedway Pass
Apr 26, 2018
98
218
Portland, OR
So take back your health, and remove the thing that's wasting your energy the most with the least amount of future upside.
I guess, the issue is that none of the normal rules apply right now. I have benefits and a salary in a stable recession-resistant industry - that is actually good for the world (it is genuinely good and important stuff) - and the work itself isn't hard. It's just running SQL queries and doing simple data work. It's just hard to do on top of my other stressful part-time work (my own business and the radio station).

The way to take back my health while maintaining economic stability for myself would be to quit the radio station - the job that causes me all the stress.

BUT it's also the industry I truly care about with the biggest potential for growth. As is my own business. But the job pays me $950 month at 15/hrs a week, is in a state of financial stress right now, and has no benefits other than PTO. (I technically qualified for health insurance through my day job this month, but I had to keep my own self-employed insurance since I had already hit my OOP max for 2020 and my drug costs a highway robbery.) My business can't afford to pay me right now, and won't until retail businesses recover and I can travel safely again or I can focus on building up syndication again, which is paused right now as most stations are in full financial shock.
 
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