And Some Helpful Solutions

Ever wondered how being in a job that seems to literally suck the life out of you can impact your spending habits? Even if you’re making a good sum of money, you might have trouble managing it because of a lack of satisfaction and fulfillment in your working life. This isn’t uncommon, I’ve been there, and though I don’t have a lot of scientific validity to prove my point, I can guarantee you’ll be nodding your head in agreement (well, if you’ve ever hated your job) and to me, that’s scientific enough.

Given that we spend an average of 55% of our waking hours in the workplace (though, I would argue for more hours from some of us hustling babes) we damn well better be happy with our work, or there’s going to be a whole lot of “alternative fulfillment methods” going on during that other 45% of the time.

And lookey here, I’m listing 3 cringe-worthy coping mechanisms I’ve used before that didn’t do me much good in the bank account department. Check ‘em out:

1. The “I deserve it” Justification

You could quite honestly apply this to anything you spend money on when you’re unhappy in your full-time gig, but the number one “turn to” which I’ve seen myself and friends fall back on is that little guy named Vino (or Cerveza if you’re into the hops).

Don’t get me wrong, it’s 100% A-Okay to have a glass or two with friends or even with yourself, but when it becomes a remedy to quell the long days of stress and unhappiness, that’s when we need to reevaluate. Yes, the happy hours and casual drinking habit does a number on the pocket book (even the two-buck-chuck adds up) but it also puts negative pressure on our mind, our body, and our relationships. Moderation is good – “My boss sucks” drinking + crying… not so good.

Solution(s): Laugh it out or Nap it out.

Instead of treating yourself to a depressant when you’re already pretty beat up about work, treat yourself to a refreshing nap (lord knows you need it) or even go to bed way too early for a couple days. Getting a good night’s rest does some amazing things. Hanging out with your funniest friends, sans booze, or watch some standup comedy on Netflix or YouTube—Laughing is my cure for rough days at work. That’s why I joined Second City’s Improve Training Center last year.

2. Energetically Exhausted

You know that terrible feeling called “Monday morning”? That’s a sure-fire sign that you really don’t like that job of yours. When we dislike our Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and even Friday mornings, it’s because we’re energetically exhausted—either because our job is stressful, we work long nights, or we just don’t play to our strengths in our day-to-day. Our energy gets drained to the bone—to the point where we get home from work at 2AM just to wake up at 6AM, eat a single elk stick for breakfast, grunt to our roommate and head back to work. Oh, was that just me?

So, what happens when you’re energetically exhausted? A whole lot of “just gonna buy a toooon of coffee and get take-out for lunch today” that’s what! Low energy translates into no motivation to wake up early and prepare for the day, as well as not having enough willpower to cook when we get home from work. So what do we do? We do what’s convenient, and what’s convenient can be pricey.

Solution: Moderation.

You know I would NEVER tell you to kick that coffee habit because… well, I’d be a total hypocrite. But here’s the rub about eating out, not only is the cost exorbitantly higher than what you could save by making food at home, but you’re also doing your energy (that thing that is keeping you from waking up in the first place) and your waistband a disservice. Go ahead, ease into it by making just one packed lunch a week. See how much you’ll be saving in the bank and how much energy you’ll gain, then let it snowball from there.

3. Look For Outside Fulfillment

Ever go on a shopping spree to “buy all the things” because you think it will make you feel like a million bucks, but instead you end up spending a million bucks and just feel broke? It’s not uncommon to look outside to clothes, technology, new handbags and shoes to make us feel better about how much work is sucking right now. We look for ways to fill that void of being unfulfilled, but let me tell you, material things will not do it, and you know that too.

Not to mention that women our age tend to spend $1,000 a year on new clothes, on average. For the unhappy, unfulfilled career-girl who can more likely afford the shopping spree? I’m going to argue that the number gets bumped up a couple notches. Looking outside for fulfillment is a big one and it’s a direct reflection of how we feel about ourselves. Not that we don’t like ourselves and who we have become, but perhaps that we don’t quite enjoy how we’re applying our skills in our current work, so we look for something, anything, to get us to feel good inside, even just for an hour.

Solution: Look for a side hustle for fulfillment.

What’s a side hustle? A part-time job, a freelance opportunity or even a money-making (or non-money-making) hobby that you become engrossed in and inspired by. My side hustle for the longest time was the She Did It Her Way Podcast I co-founded with two fabulous friends. It allowed me to apply my content creating and podcasting skills, introduced me to tons of inspirational women, and eventually, landed me a full-time hustle after leaving my 9-to-5.

Overall, being unhappy with your career can lead to impulsive spending habits, inefficiencies in your budget, and even take a toll on  your physical and mental health—which will then come back to bite your wallet in the behind. Whether you need to remedy the problems by surrounding yourself with the right people, hitting the gym (hard.. like GTL hard), or looking within to do some serious soul-searching, there are solutions out there.

Don't hesitate to be honest and truthful with yourself and your bank account.