A Time for All Things – Even Upheaval

Ecclesiastes 3 mentions that there is a time for a lot of things in life. Solomon tells us that there is a season for all things. Most recently, that change has been a shift to a world of unknowns and general upheaval.

In 2015, I moved to Missoula in the fall. One of my best buddies lived here and offered that I move in with him and his two roommates. That move changed my life in a lot of ways, but one of the things that were birthed during that time was the dream of owning my own business. After just turning 24, I created my own computer repair business and opened up an LLC for it. I had done quite a bit of computer work in the past, so I thought I would be able to make the jump to working for myself. At the time, I was quite wrong.

That phase did not last very long due to my poor planning, marketing, and sales skills. I didn’t know what I was doing, to be honest, and the lack of cash flow proved it. Instead of making money, I was sliding back financially as I started putting everyday expenses on a credit card. The issues came to a head when I realized one month that I wouldn’t be able to make rent if I didn’t do something different. What followed was wild, but I will give you the short version:

October 2015 – February 2016 – Broke down and got a $9/hr., part-time job working at a hotel front desk.

February 2016 – July 2017 – Promoted to General Manager of the same hotel when the former GM was canned. This is what I would count as my first real, full-time, benefits-included job. At 24 years old, I guess I was an adult?

July 2017 – Marry my wonderful wife and I have to leave the (almost) perfectly good General Manager position for us to move to Forest Grove, Oregon only three weeks after we said our vows. We blew off the idea of not making multiple major life changes all at the same time! This was a challenging season.

August 2017 – October 2017 – Wife starts grad school and I am jobless without knowing a soul in the new area of Oregon we call home. Living in an 800 sq. ft. apartment, I start to drive for Uber and Lyft to help us make ends meet, but we are mostly living off the generous wedding gifts of cash and gift cards we received from friends and family. I am seriously questioning my ability to provide a decent life and some sort of income for my new bride and our one cat.

October 2017 – The call finally comes… a Managed IT Services company out of San Francisco takes a huge chance on me and hires me without meeting me in person, for a fully remote position on their help desk. I thank God and simultaneously can’t believe my good fortune. Things start to turn around.

October 2017 – March 2020 – The new job is stressful and I am drinking out of a fire hose. I thought I knew a few things about IT but the job is proving in the first six months how little I know. Working from home 100% of the time also proves to be isolating. I use the time to pick up a few IT certifications and bust my butt to learn as much as I can. Since I am our single source of income, I redouble my efforts and also get a job with Pizza Hut delivering pizzas. Some days I work 8-5 and immediately hop in my car after work to drive pizzas, only to return around midnight. Safe to say this is the hardest I’ve worked in my life. We make tremendous strides as a result, allowing us to finish paying off my $23,000 worth of student loans, AND the $11,000+ in credit card debt we came into the marriage with.

Wifey is working hard at grad school and graduates with flying colors in the spring of 2019. She starts looking for new jobs in a few different places, but we both long to be back in Montana. She lands an incredible job back in Missoula, we are blessed to move home. Our first six months back in Missoula are in my in-law’s basement; they are generous to let us live rent-free while we save furiously for a down payment for a house with our newly-found dual income.

We make an offer on a house in December of 2019 and close and move into the house in mid-January of 2020. Only able to put 5% down on the house, we are beyond thankful for our finding a place to call home.

A short rabbit trail for a moment: in late 2019 I was in talks with a recruiting company about a great job opportunity in the greater Missoula area. All seems to go well with a few interviews, and what seems to be a certain offer. The offer never comes and I feel a little bit burned and miffed as I felt a bit led on by the whole process. But that wasn’t the last I had heard from the recruiting company. In early 2020 my phone rings and lo and behold it is the recruiter from before. I’ve emotionally moved on and still working the same remote IT job I had been for two and a half years. The recruiter asks if I’m still interested in the new job. Their first pick for the position had gone south only a few weeks in and they needed to fill the position again already. Miffed and a feeling a little bit insulted and being a second choice, I tell them I will only accept if the annual salary is $10,000 more per year than what we had originally talked about. Coming from a position of power (I had a job and didn’t need this new one, and this recruiter REALLY needed to fill this position), they reluctantly accept my counter offer. I begin a new IT job.

April 2020 – August 2021 – We all know what happened in March of 2020, but in case you had forgotten, this thing called COVID kicked up in the US and we all were dealt a new normal to deal with. The new job is going well and I am pleasantly surprised by the combination of having less stress, less work, and more pay all at the same time. The commute is a bit brutal however, at an hour one way on days I am in the office. The job proves to be less demanding than what I was expecting, and I admittedly grow restless.

For months I kick around the idea of revamping my IT business that I had started 6 years prior. The idea of trying to do something again that had originally failed is daunting. I can hear the voices of doubt and uncertainty tell me I can’t do it. I failed before, what makes this time any different? My lovely wife ends up being the deciding factor- she tells me to do the d*mn thing and “jump” already.

I quit my perfectly good, nice paying, cushy job.

I restart my IT business, but this time instead of computer repair, I am offering Managed IT Services. After working for the San Francisco-based MSP, I catch a vision for what I could and would want to do for potential clients: provide expertise, calm and confidence, answers to difficult technical issues, and honest, transparent communication. TechNellogic is reborn.

Today marks the 7th Monday since I (re)started my own business. It is scary, thrilling, discouraging, motivating, and so many other things all at once. I have signed a handful of clients, and I am enjoying doing projects here and there for other clients. While it doesn’t feel like much now, I am optimistic about what this endeavor will lead to long term.

A special thank you to one of my readers who was kind enough to send me a message asking for me to start writing again. Writing is a wonderful outlet for my soul, and it gives me life. All too often we don’t focus on those things that do give life to our eyes, our hearts, and our souls. Thank you to that reader for reaching out and motivating me to write this long-overdue post.

5 thoughts on “A Time for All Things – Even Upheaval

  1. This is a great post. I’m so glad you had the time, space, and desire to write. What a journey…front desk to GM in one fell swoop? Being able to dictate the terms of a new job? And then quitting that job to pursue “more?” Super interesting and inspiring.

    So does this mean you and the wife are student loan debt-free? I apologize if you didn’t want to discuss that or if that is a later post.

    In any instance, it sounds like you married very well. In terms of personal finance, that seems to be like winning the lottery.

    Congrats on the new business! I hope you continue to share your journey.

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    1. I appreciate that! Me too, it was good to write again.

      Yes, the move from part-time front desk to GM was a pretty huge jump. Definitely an uncommon career jump. The same could be said for the opportunity to call out the terms of the new job. My wife would say I could probably learn to be more “content” in life. I have a strange drive to do more and try to be more so that often drives me to look around and see how things could be different. In that regard, I am a bit of an eternal optimist. I’ll be the first to tell you and anyone else that I’ve had some extremely fortunate breaks in my young professional career. I’ve gotta give God the credit for it.

      I just updated the debt paydown page, so you can reference that for more detail, but no, we still have about $39k in student loans. They are all federal loans so of course payments and interest haven’t been a thing which has been huge. I have a feeling that either partial or full loan forgiveness is still a possibility, so instead of making any payments we are diverting the cash to either saving or other financial goals for now.

      My wife is a gem and the light of my life, she is also a very hard worker and an incredible speech pathologist. We are fortunate to both be in the mid to higher-income side of things. As I’ve mentioned, we are extremely fortunate. I did not grow up with a lot (never had it bad, my family was single income and my Dad was an educator), so it is new territory for me to find ourselves with a good income.

      Thank you very much! I looked up your blog and will be curious to watch for your updates as well. Always happy to share ideas or offer encouragement in your debt repayment journey! You can do it!

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  2. “I have a feeling that either partial or full loan forgiveness is still a possibility…” I would disagree with this statement. I don’t think student loan forgiveness is broadly popular. I think it is really on popular with people who have student loans. I think pursuing more reasonable interest rates and having a federal refinance program (instead of consolidation) would help a larger swath of borrowers but…we will see.

    Again, so glad that you are writing again.

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  3. OMG, he’s back! I just assumed you had paid all of your debt off, had saved enough for an early retirement, and were sitting on a beach in Same, Esmereldas sipping spiked batidos de coco and eating handfuls of patacones!

    Congrats on the (re)new(ed) venture! That’s exciting. We should catch up soon, man. Three weeks ago I was celebrating the nearing finish line of our debt payoff journey (December 2021, two years ahead of schedule) and already planning on how I would redistribute our snowball starting in January… and then my faithful ’07 4Runner blew a piston at 260,000mi. Devastating on so many levels, but especially because in this market my meager ‘car savings’ were not sufficient to purchase a replacement outright without needing to finance a portion of it. So the debt journey continues… *sob*

    Shoot me an email and let’s chat soon!

    -Voth Daddy

    Like

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