Debtor’s Prison

Debt is a prison.

It looks lovely from the outside – Easy Credit! Buy Now, Pay Later! Get Help with Medical Bills! But it’s a gold-plated trap.

This really came home to me this past week at the office, when I was “spoken to” twice for insubordination.

The two managers involved were surprised at my demeanor – what was wrong? Wasn’t I happy? Why the sudden change in behavior?

The answer is that I’ve stayed silent for over four years, keeping my head down and doing what I’m told. I was repeatedly spoken to in a harsh, condescending manner by my manager, received too much work, with deadlines that were too short, and with inadequate resources. I was often treated like a somewhat unintelligent 10-year-old.

Why did I tolerate this so long? Simple. I have a mortgage.

Not just a mortgage, but also an additional $30,000 of credit card debt. I actually used to have even more debt, but have now paid off $12,000 including a car loan. (The credit wasn’t for a designer wardrobe; a lot of it was medical bills, car repairs, etc. that accumulated over time). These bills created an unpleasant state of dependence.

I have six years of experience in Marketing, and that is really my preferred field. But at one point I was laid off, and took the first job I could get to “pay the bills.” That led me eventually to my current administrative position. Because of “the bills,” I didn’t defend myself if I was treated unfairly. This passivity, I now realize, just encouraged further abuse. If a dog doesn’t bite back, you’ll keep kicking him.

Recently, surveying other minimalist’s blogs and reading their books has helped remind me who I am and what I really want from life. Unfortunately, this has led to the current “insubordination” at work. It wasn’t intentional, but apparently my personality has undergone a change recently. I’m just not willing to settle for less anymore.

Finding another job (not easy in this economy) is an attractive solution.   But that really isn’t the key to the problem. The best answer is to break out of this debt trap I have put myself in.

I plan to save EVERY PENNY I can until I am out of debt. I have applied for part-time work to assist this goal. Once I’m debt free, I plan to stay that way. I’ll invest any excess in stocks and real estate to generate passive income. Eventually, my options will open up. Then, if I want to take a month off to visit Patagonia, Australia or Italy, no one will be able to tell me “no.”

It’s time to break out of prison!! Why don’t you join me?

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7 Responses to Debtor’s Prison

  1. Woo Hoo! I just paid my last debt except for the mortgage and it feels great. Now I am onto building a really solid emergency fund and then…FREEDOM! Stay focused and determined and it will happen faster than you think.

  2. Reggie says:

    Sorry to hear about your bad managers but I’m glad that you decided you’re not taking their behavior anymore.
    Like you, I have a background in marketing and it’s definitely not easy these days to jump ship to a new job. I think the best news is you have a gameplan to really start saving and paying things off so that you can get the freedom we are all looking for.

  3. Guess your managers don’t get paid enough to have better manners, huh?

    I’m so proud of you for moving forward with getting out of debt! What an inspiration!

    • Thanks! I was a little nervous to go back to work today but it’s been pretty calm. I will try to be nicer, and so far they are being nicer to me too!! But this situation has definitely provided some motivation to be debt free, regardless!

  4. Pingback: The Road to Freedom « Minimalist OC

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