Day 10 | $0 paid | $90,717 till freedom

Financially speaking, today could have gone a lot better.

No Saturday pedi-cabbing. I canceled three morning meetings at work to go downtown and get my chauffeur’s license so that I could ride this game-day Saturday and make up to $400. Without the license, the pedicab owner, we’ll call him Nick, wouldn’t put me on the schedule. So I texted him as soon as I got the license, and he texted back that the Saturday slots were already full and I would be the first alternate. Fail.

I got back to work at around noon and over 80 emails had accumulated in my inbox during my morning absence. I answered about ten of them before my afternoon of back-to-back meetings kicked off and put me even further behind in my inbox-clearing efforts. Fail.

Broken bike. On my way from downtown to work, I stopped to fuel up my bike. I tried to start it up after I was done filling it, but the engine kicked over only a couple of times before the battery died and the starter became inoperable. I had to get off the bike and run-start it. To run-start a bike, put it in neutral, get on the left side of the bike with both feet on the ground, squeeze the clutch lever with your left hand, grasp the right grip with your right hand, then run with the 400+ lb beast until you pick up sufficient speed, throw your right leg over the bike, sit down, shift into first gear with your left foot, let go of the clutch, and roll on the throttle. If the bike is going fast enough to start the engine, you’re good to go. If not, the bike will skid to a stop and you’ll have to repeat. Onlookers will laugh. You will not.

This problem has been rearing its ugly head ever since last week. The curious thing is that the bike starts up just fine if it’s cold, but refuses to start up if it’s warm.

I called up the shop, and the tech told me it could be one of three things: a bad battery ($170), a bad starter ($200), or a bad charging system ($400). Fail.

No promotion? I still haven’t gotten a formal offer letter for the internal promotion, and the VP just issued a hiring freeze. Fail.

No roommate? The potential roommate still hasn’t confirmed our 7:30 PM interview for tomorrow that I emailed her about 24 hours ago. I’ve already turned down four other candidates because I promised her that I would hold the room for her. Fail. I lose $15 for every day I hold this room open for her.

Net net, today was not a profitable day.

To top it all off. My city is burning and an enormous inferno is putting people out of their homes and destroying memories. Fail.

…Actually, that kind of puts my whiny little complaints into perspective, doesn’t it? This morning, my neighborhood smelled like a huge campfire and the air was thick with smoke. There was no cause for alarm, however, since some weird atmospheric phenomenon had diffused the smoke over the entire city and the fire was actually many miles away from my house. I should be safe. The same cannot be said for a lot of people, however, many who have already lost their homes, some who have lost their lives. My heart goes out to them.

Net net, I actually have a lot to be thankful for.


Filed under General Status Updates

13 responses to “Perspective

  1. Ron

    While the No-Saturdays thing is a temporary fail, turnover is a reality in any workplace and I can’t imagine pedi-cab driver turnover is any less than average. (My uneducated guess would be that they turn over drivers more often than you think.) In any case, you’re next on the list and if/when someone turns out to be a flake. If you’ve demonstrated reliability they won’t hesitate to swap you in. Additionally, you might be able to drive for another company on Saturdays so look around.

    I also think it’ll be a tall order to work a pedi-cab shift AND a full shift at another job. Even if you are in good shape, you’re going to be pretty beat after towing people around on bicycle. Having one full day off will enable you to leave your schedule open that day for a possible third job.

    Finally, I know you are amped up now, but to achieve long term positive results (without burning out) you have to be somewhat realistic. You also have to count maintenance tasks like household chores and grocery shopping.

    If you give up literally every spare second of time you have, the odds of you crashing and burning before you achieve your goal are high. Just like with rest days when lifting weights, having some form of mental downtime is important to keep going sustainably. (I know a lot of people were referred here by Ramit Sethi; Ramit’s “80% Solution” comes to mind. Basically he says that people get too caught up in doing things 100% perfectly, then get overwhelmed and it results in inaction. His argument is that an 80% solution is better than 0% implementation of a great plan.)

    In short, all work and no play make Jack a dull boy. Not to mention a dull, uninteresting, unavailable boy that doesn’t get laid for the next 10 months. Personally, I’d say having some small semblance of a social life and taking maybe 12 months to pay off the loans is not a bad trade off. It also may be the difference between you seeing it through to the end or becoming overwhelmed and depressed halfway through.

    That said, you’ve set yourself a big-hairy-audacious goal and you have my full support. Best of luck!

    • No doubt, Ron. I worked the pedi-cab gig two days in a row, going to bed on Saturday at 4:30 AM and waking up at noon, and it was pretty hard to fall asleep at 11 o’clock that night for work the next day. I think I’m finally going to get some down time this weekend to go out with friends, so really looking forward do that. I agree with you–it’s all about balance.

  2. Keep slogging away at it. Think of this when you have that ridiculously good day.

  3. How about eating ramen noodles only? 🙂 Sodium overload! Might I warn you against taking on female room-mates?

  4. Re: your bike — what do you ride? Also, I have a bike I ride in the city, and basically if you’re just doing city riding you’re gonna kill the battery unless you can get it to 3,000 rpms for a bit to charge up (I learned the hard way). If you can keep it on a battery tender at night you should be fine, if you can’t get some higher rpm riding in. (and you’re right about people laughing while push-starting a bike)

    I’ve had male and female roommates – the biggest worry should be if they can pay the rent, not their gender. But that’s your prerogative.

    • Charlie, I’ve got an ’04 Honda CBR600RR. I don’t think it’s a problem with revs. I keep it at around 6k, and then when I shut it down after riding for awhile and restart it, the battery dies. The female roommate is working out so far 🙂

  5. Momo

    i’m a new reader and am enjoying your experiences very much–i laugh every post. i’m on the other side of the spectrum, by still being in college (i’m 19) + and planning to have my DNAP by 35. it wouldn’t be a financial goal if i didn’t say that i wanted to do all this debt free.

    good luck at killing your debt. i hope you continue posting daily too!

  6. Pingback: I Get a Pass | No More Harvard Debt

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