Another month has passed, just about.
July was fairly calm all around. I was off for most of the first week because I was supposed to be in St. Louis for a conference that didn't happen.
We celebrated our 28th anniversary on the 12th with dinner at a local Italian place we like. They had 2-person tables set up along the sidewalk out front which was nice. Well spaced and the sidewalk is covered. Plus it faces east so by dinner time, it has been in the shade for a while so not terribly hot.
Work has been picking up slightly but still low compared to normal. Not too many COVID suspects but still a handful every week.
Financially, all is well. I just paid 3rd quarter property taxes. I get paid tomorrow and my take home jumped $500 because I maxed out the SS tax for the year. I wasn't expecting that so it was a nice little surprise.
Nothing else too exciting to report. I hope everyone is doing well, staying cool, and staying safe.
Viewing the 'Work/Career' Category
Another month has passed, just about.
They announced yesterday that restaurants can resume outdoor dining on 6/15 and that salons and barbers can reopen on 6/22. I couldn't care less about salons as I cut my own hair and have for years, but the two main things I've missed during quarantine have been the gym and eating out. Gyms are still closed but restaurants will start coming back in 2 weeks.
We are not typically ones to dine outside. My wife has bad allergies and it's rare for the weather to be cooperative. Either it's too hot and humid or too cool or windy or raining. I'm trying to think of the local places we like that have nice outdoor seating areas, especially ones that are covered. That way the sun and/or rain isn't an issue. There is one Italian place nearby that has a great patio space. With social distancing requirements I'm not sure how many people they'll be able to accommodate at a time but if DW is willing, maybe we'll do dinner there one night once things are up and running. They have short rib that is to die for.
Work seems to be gradually picking up, though some days not so much. We saw 22 patients on Thursday and I think they saw 23 on Friday, but then I saw 4 yesterday. However, 2 of our sites that had been closed reopened yesterday so that may have been part of it. I was only in 9-1 today but we had seen 8 when I left so that was decent.
I was planning to attend a medical conference in St. Louis in early July. I booked the hotel months ago. I realized that I haven't heard anything about the status of the convention itself so I went to their website last night and sure enough it has been cancelled.
I checked my saved email and it turns out that while I had made the hotel reservation, I had never actually registered for the convention which is why I didn't get a cancellation notice. Makes sense.
I went on and cancelled the hotel stay this morning. Fortunately, I had the good sense to not book airfare in advance so I don't have the hassle of having to cancel that.
Looks like I'll have a little staycation in July. No reason to cancel my PTO. I have more PTO than I will likely use this year anyway. I might as well use it. Hopefully by July we'll at least be able to do something fun with some of that time, even just a day trip or two. Who knows at this point?
Well, there's not really much in the way of news but it's been 2 weeks since I posted so figured I'd check in.
Our daughter wasn't eligible for unemployment because her last job was with a non-profit and they don't pay into the system. The look back period ended 9/30/19 and she had only been at her current job about 2 months at that point and needed to have 20 weeks of work history.
There may be a silver lining, though. She got a call from her manager the other day and it sounds like they got money from the payroll protection program as she said they may be able to pay her for 8 weeks worth of income. She's waiting for confirmation and details.
I'm working same as always. Urgent care is still very slow. The hospital census has been gradually increasing but not to a point where they are overwhelmed and calling in more help. I'm hoping that remains the case and they won't need us. I really don't want to go work there.
DW is managing okay. She and her mah jong friends got set up with an online game platform so a couple of times a week they get together virtually and play. They use a 2nd device to Facetime so that they can all see and talk to each other. They'll probably keep using that system even after quarantine ends at least sometimes because it means nobody has to drive around. It will be great if we have bad weather or someone isn't feeling well but can still play without getting others sick.
We've become regular Zoom users, as I'm sure lots of you have. We've had meets with our bourbon club, our Disney friends, family members, and more. What a great resource to stay connected with everyone. I've used it a few times for work also for updates and meetings.
At work, we've been very grateful for some of the community support, mainly in the form of free food. We've gotten lunch from Five Guys and Mission BBQ, free smoothies from Smoothie King, and free donuts from Krispy Kreme among other things.
Financially speaking, the quarantine has really cut down our spending. Less gas, less dining out, less unplanned shopping, no outside entertainment - it's all added up to over $3,000 of reduced spending compared to the first 4 months of 2019.
I hope everyone is hanging in there. Stay safe.
It's been 2 weeks since I posted. Things are going reasonably well. Work remains slow but also very stressful. I'm having dreams about work pretty much every night. Several of my coworkers have said the same. Constantly working with the threat of catching COVID from our patients is really taking its toll mentally on all of us.
As part of the Emergency Operations Plan, they have all of us urgent care providers getting oriented in the hospital so that when the surge hits, they can send us there as additional help if needed. I haven't done any inpatient care for just over 20 years so I'm not sure how much help I can be. I did a little orientation yesterday so I at least have a general concept of where things are and what the workflow looks like. But if I actually have to start working there, I'll need a great deal of help and support.
Passover was essentially cancelled thanks to COVID. We always host the seder at our house which obviously didn't happen. My cousins in NYC did a Zoom seder but none of us really felt like participating.
I'm trying my best to exercise regularly which is hard with the gym closed. I have gotten out to walk/jog several times and I've been doing some floor exercises at home with what limited equipment we have. I figure it's all good and better than nothing but I look forward to being able to go to the gym again whenever that happens.
Financially, things are pretty normal since I'm still working full time. Our daughter has been out of work since 3/13 and filed for unemployment. She got the debit card a couple of days ago but hasn't actually gotten her first payment yet. We're hoping that her place is able to reopen and doesn't go out of business. She'll be devastated if it does.
Not much else happening since the world is pretty much all closed. I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy at home and being super careful when you must go out.
I realized I haven't posted for a couple of weeks. Heck, I haven't even been reading anybody else's blog. Obviously, it's been a crazy time, and being a healthcare worker, I'm not on lockdown like so many others including my wife and daughter. I've still got to go to work every day and that's been a whole new level of crazy with the rules and guidelines and policies and procedures changing pretty much daily.
On the plus side, patient volume at urgent care has plummeted. My theory is that with schools closed and so many people working from home, there just isn't that much routine illness going around. Also, with all sports and activities suspended, gyms closed, etc., we're not seeing all of the sports injuries we typically get. So we've been quite slow.
On the other hand, we're on the front lines of the COVID-19 stuff. We are seeing plenty of patients with respiratory symptoms so every person who walks through the door is a potential case and we need to act accordingly. That is quite stressful for all of us.
In addition, because of the decreased volumes overall, we're starting to worry about our jobs. They have already stopped urgent care services at 2 or our 8 sites and reassigned providers to the remaining 6. But we wonder how long that is sustainable when we're seeing about 1/3 of our normal volume. Colleagues across the country are reporting their urgent care clinics are cutting back operating hours or closing sites entirely. Some providers have even been laid off. So obviously that's a huge concern for me.
The "good" thing is that I work for a large hospital system, not an independent urgent care company. If the situation reaches a point where they really feel they don't need some of us in urgent care, they may reassign us to other clinical duties, especially if the hospitals start getting overwhelmed with COVID patients and/or a lot of providers are out because they are infected or at least quarantined due to exposure. So at least right at this moment, I think my job is safe, but I know that could change at any moment.
My daughter's job shut down a week ago Saturday and they were officially laid off a few days later, making her eligible to file for unemployment. She was upset about that and is hoping that her job opens again whenever appropriate. Her manager told her they definitely want her back but there is always that chance that they might trim staff or simply fold if they can't financially stay afloat.
My wife is managing pretty well with the whole situation. She doesn't work outside the home so her routine isn't quite as disrupted as ours, though it's still affected. Other than us taking a couple of family walks, I don't think she's left the house for well over a week. She normally does a weekly volunteer gig packing home meals for the elderly, plays Mah Jong every week, and does another monthly volunteer thing for a blind support group. All of that is gone for now. I know she's also really worried about me, afraid that I'll catch the virus at work.
And of course, we can't ignore the financial impact this whole mess is having. Last time I checked, our portfolio was down about $230,000. I'm sure it recovered a bit yesterday and today but that's still a huge loss on paper. I did do some buying over the last couple of weeks so I'm hoping that will help when the recovery ultimately happens. I got some stuff at pretty rock bottom prices (I hope) so that will goose the returns some when things start going back up.
I guess that's long enough of a post for now. I hope everyone else is holding up okay through all of this. Stay safe. Stay healthy. And STAY HOME!
They finally gave us extra help at work. We now have 2 providers for 4 hours per day on Monday, Friday, and weekends. It definitely helped yesterday as we saw 22 patients from 9-1 which I couldn't possibly have kept up with by myself. Now I just have to hope the volumes support adding a 2nd person on the remaining 3 days of the week since I work Tuesday and Thursday by myself.
We went out to dinner last night to a place we like. The restaurant sent out an email yesterday morning with a $10 off deal one day only. I'm guessing they thought business might be light due to bad weather, or maybe that was just a coincidence and they were going to send that offer anyway.
In addition to the $10 off, I had a $20 gift card that we got as a bonus for buying a $75 gift card last month. Finally, I hadn't yet used the $100 gift card my staff gave me as a holiday present. I think we ended up using about half of that card.
The storm didn't do much here. We got a dusting of snow and some sleet but it wasn't bad and the temp was back in the upper 30s this morning so nothing froze over night.
Last year, I pretty regularly picked up an extra shift, maybe once or twice a month. But I haven't done that for at least a few months. We hired a lot of new people so there haven't been nearly as many open shifts, and I was just kind of burnt out and didn't feel like working any more than I needed to.
Recently, I've been paying attention to the openings again. Two or three times in the past few weeks, we've gotten a text or e-mail saying they needed help last minute but every time I've either already been working or had personal plans. Yesterday we got a message that they needed help at one site from 1-5pm today. I was free, double checked with my wife, and took that shift.
I hadn't been to that site for ages, probably close to 2 years, so it was nice to go there and see everyone. It wasn't terribly busy which was also nice. And the other doc on with me is pretty new. We've met at meetings but I never really had any time to talk and get to know her.
And, of course, we get paid $140/hour for weekday per diem shifts so I made an extra $560 for giving up my afternoon. Not a bad deal all around.
CCF suggested this idea and I thought it would be fun. Post a comparison of where you were 10 years ago and where you are now, and talk about what happened in the interim. So here goes.
12/31/09: Total financial assets (not including home)
12/31/19: Total financial assets (not including home)
12/31/09 Mortgage balance: $92,285.99
12/31/19 Mortgage balance: $0.00
So our net worth went up by $1,026,044.29.
Major financial events of the last 10 years, and I'm probably forgetting some
Bought my car in 2012, paid off in 2013
Bought my wife's van in 2013, paid off in 2016
Daughter attended college 2014-2018, all loans by her and us have been repaid
Paid off mortgage in 2019; now totally debt-free
Began a job transition in April 2016 that was completed in November 2017 and now earn more than double what I made at the old job
I think those are the real biggies. Obviously, lots of smaller things, car repairs, home repairs, travel, medical expenses, and all of the other normal stuff. It's pretty powerful to look back like that.
Tomorrow is payday. I got my final stub of 2019 yesterday. That covers the pay period that ended 12/14/19 so there are still 17 days remaining in the year but they will be paid in 2020.
My YTD income was $245,000. Add in those last 17 days and my total gross for the year will be $256,000.
At my old job, which I left at the end of September 2017, so just over 2 years ago, I was making half of that. I am incredibly happy and grateful that I made the change. My new job is so much better in many ways, not just the salary. Better benefits, better working conditions, better hours, better coworker interaction, better everything pretty much.
It's been a very good year.
We got our quarterly bonus this week. I'm happy to get it, of course, but I do get a bit annoyed by how it is calculated. Parts of it are based on my performance, satisfaction scores, and adherence to quality metrics. I'm fine with all of that. I did miss one of my targets this quarter but that's totally on me so no complaints about that.
The problem is that parts of it are also based on the overall performance of everyone, their scores, and their adherence to quality metrics. That means I could be doing a stellar job and still miss out on incentive money because others aren't doing their jobs as well, which is exactly what happened. Fortunately, it was a very small amount of money involved but it's still frustrating as it is something I have absolutely zero control over.
Ultimately, I'm very grateful for this job and for the compensation I get for doing it. I'm making the most I've ever made in my career by far.
I posted a couple of weeks ago that I unexpectedly got a new contract at work that included a substantial raise. I thought the numbers needed to be adjusted based on my hours. I was finally able to confirm that the numbers I got were actually correct.
I thought my raise would be $15,833.
My actual raise is $40,493!!!
I am shocked and obviously very pleased.
It will be a couple of weeks before I get the first new paycheck to see how my take home changes but it should be around 2K/month. I have to sit down and figure out what we're going to do with the added income but what a nice problem to have.
I love my job but sometimes they're a little weird, or at least a bit lacking in the communications department.
I got an email yesterday afternoon that they are issuing updated Employment Agreements. They attached my new contract for me to review, sign, and return.
1. I had no idea a new contract was coming.
2. I knew that our per diem pay rate had gone up so I wasn't surprised to see that in the new contract.
3. Our regular pay also went up and they added a "weekend premium" to the compensation. I have no idea what that is or how it was calculated.
4. I'm 99.9% sure that the numbers they sent me are for 40 hours/week but I work 36 hours/week so I need a new version that has my actual numbers.
I've emailed the corporate person who handles the contracts and my immediate supervisor asking for clarification on a few items so I'm waiting to hear back from them.
Bottom line, if I'm reading everything correctly (and it's accurate), even if I adjust to 90% of the numbers they sent me (36 hours vs 40), that would come out to an overall raise of about $15,800. But right now, I have no idea if that's accurate. I'll update when I know the answer.
I said I'd try to blog more regularly so figured I actually need to post every couple of weeks.
I made our latest mortgage payment which brought our principal under the $10,000 mark. The end is near. I expect to pay it off in August most likely so that's exciting.
I haven't picked up any extra shifts at work the past week or two. I need to take a look at the schedule and pick up something in the coming weeks.
My wife and I are doing an overnight getaway this weekend. We're just going across the river into the city. There's a whiskey bar we've been wanting to try (we are big bourbon and whiskey fans). We didn't really care for their dinner menu so we're eating at a different place in the next block and planning to then go to the bar for drinks and dessert. The only problem with that is that we couldn't reserve a table just for that so we'll have to wait for space at the bar on a Saturday night. Hopefully around 6:30-7:00 it won't be too crazy yet. We're using a free hotel voucher for our stay. Just have to pay for parking.
Haven't done any decluttering lately. I'm hoping spring brings a nice weekend soon when I'm off and can start attacking the garage.
Need to start working on plans for our June trip to Dallas. The hotel was booked months ago but I haven't bought airfare yet. DW has been browsing the tourist sites looking for things to see and do when we're there.
I can't think of anything else of significance from the past couple of weeks so I'll stop there.
I've never been that active over here on the blogging part of the site although I'm very active on the forums. I'm going to attempt to change that. I like answering questions and helping people there but I'd also like a place to share more of my own (our own) journey.
Let me start by re-introducing myself here. I'm Steve. I'm 54, married for 26 years, one daughter age 23. I'm a family practice physician who spent 24 years in private practice. Starting in April 2016, I gradually transitioned to working in urgent care, first going per diem, then part time, and finally full time in November 2017.
The result of that job transition has been a dramatic change in our financial situation. I went from earning about 120K to earning about 210K. The new position also has much better benefits including cheaper and better health coverage, a 401k with match, and more.
Another big change in the past year was our daughter graduating college. We paid for the 1st 2 years with the 529 money we had saved since she was little. We paid the 2nd 2 years mostly out of pocket so that was a bit tight as we were spending about $3,000/month for that. Once she graduated, our disposable income jumped up basically overnight.
The next big change will happen in a few months when we pay off our mortgage. I'm not exactly sure when that will be but no later than the November 1, 2019 payment. I expect to do it before that though. That will free up a total of about $1,700/month. I'm still debating what to do with that money going forward.
One thing that has been on our future list forever is buying a house in Florida and potentially moving there. As I am very happy in my job now, which wasn't the case previously, I'm actually finding that the drive to move isn't really there, but I do like the idea of getting a place of our own down there for vacations. We rent a condo or townhouse every time we go down, almost always in the same development. Last time we were there in November, I started looking at the real estate listings and we can definitely afford to buy one of those homes as a second home once our house is paid off. We haven't seriously talked about it or looked into it in great detail but I know that we can swing it if we decide to. I know a couple of realtors down there who I trust and plan to contact when we're actually ready to look for real.
I'm going to stop there for now but, as I said, I plan to make an effort to hang out here more and tell more of our story as long as people want to hear it.
Have a great weekend everyone. I'm working but also have some fun plans as we're going out to dinner with friends tomorrow night.
Our daughter got a job today! She graduated from college in May and we all agree that she could time some time off to decompress from the whole college experience. Honestly, having her back home really doesn't cost us much and is actually tremendously cheaper than having her in college so money wasn't an issue. And she hasn't just been sitting around playing video games all day as she is a supervisor for an online crisis support hotline, but that's a volunteer position. She has also been doing some video editing work for them, also volunteer.
She and we have some travel plans between now and November so I was concerned that nobody would want to hire her once she told them that.
Anyway, she started getting kind of bored now that it's been 4 months since graduation and she kind of feels bad that she's not doing more with herself. So we got the weekly email update from our temple and it said that the early childhood center was hiring. She previously worked there for a couple of summers so decided to apply. The director did a phone interview with her today and called back a couple hours later to offer her a job.
We're not sure when she starts but I'm guessing probably Monday. She'll be doing 24.5 hours/week at $14/hour. That's perfect as she wasn't looking for full time at this point. But I'm figuring that should net her about $275-ish/week after taxes. That will allow her to accelerate repayment of her student loan (she only has 7 months left anyway at the rate she's been going) and start contributing again to the Roth IRA she opened in high school. And still leave her plenty to beef up her savings, cover more of her own expenses (like contributing to auto insurance for one thing), and have money for some fun stuff, too.
Hopefully it all works out well for her.