Ch 12: Self Advocacy · Increasing Income

Endurance 101

Wow, rough reentry! Having completed my part on four life pieces, I handed off the next steps to those with the power to wrap them up, then headed out on my trip. Upon my return, I learned that exactly four out of four had done absolutely nothing. Three days left to secure over $4000 in cash, as well as multiple non-cash pieces. Whoa! Fatigued by a long drive, transitioning a child with autism, and pummeled by a virus, I had to decide: Take it on, or let it go.

One piece I could do literally nothing about, so I let it go. That may well have a low-grade permanent effect. Too bad! But, I can’t control what another person didn’t do, sometimes there’s no strategy for fixing what someone else broke, and if four things are broken at the same time, we may need to prioritize which ones to fix.

I chose to drop the one with no long-term gain (except pride) and to chase the three cash-based ones.

In one effort, a conversation went like this:

Me: Hi, just checking that this form has been processed?
Office: No, not yet. We process within 3 days, though.
Me: Okay, it’s been five, and the deadline is upon us, so can that be processed now?
Office: Well, I can’t process it myself and I don’t know when the person who can will, but it’s always done in 2-3 days.
Me: Got it. So, we’ve just reached the end of five days. How can I get it looked at?
Office: Well, if you’d like, you can always send it in earlier.
Me, but only in my head: (wtf? We go back in time?)
Office: Wait, did you send it that day or did we receive it that day?
Me, again mostly in my head: Both. (I used this hot new tool called email.)
Office: Oh, well if you emailed on the 21st we probably received it on the 22nd.
Me, in my head: (But you sound younger than 117 years old, so I’m thinking you’re already aware that emails usually land almost at the same moment of send. Also, that still equals four days, which is more than three.)

As you can see, my brain (but, thankfully, not my audible wording) was quickly moving to the sarcasm it develops only in exhaustion and anger.

I had done my part. I had even “sent it in earlier.” A month earlier. But others had not moved on theirs.

In such moments and weeks, I feel defeated. I’ve done all my steps, precisely as I’d been told to. It seems to make no difference to offices that are chock full of policies but not so full on meeting them. In those moments, I have a decision to make. Let them take the $4000, or push to take it back.

When I was broke, such moments were critical to my financial security. Now that I’m not broke, there is more to grapple with: Is it worth it? Why not just let it go? This year, because it’s already been a bit of a write-off, I decided to push. In this case, all my previous effort had positioned me as eligible to ultimately speak with a supervisor.

By Friday 330pm, despite everything, my accounts were suddenly up by $4600. I slept like a baby, and woke Saturday to an improved bank account, a clear head, and a clean slate. Whew.

Dealing with money stuff can suck, but if we push through a given piece, we can end up with more. If we’re already wealthy, such effort and stress may not be worth it. If we’re not quite wealthy yet, or have been losing ground, one good push may well be worth it. Like with birthing a baby, the pain is soon forgotten and the end result worth it.

4 thoughts on “Endurance 101

  1. Hi Joon,

    My “money sucks” moment was different today, and definitely won’t net me $4000!, but I enjoyed reading your conversation – especially the parts in your head. 🙂

    My money sucks moment is because I am in a new relationship and I am trying to “do money differently” in this relationship. OH my freakin’ goonies. TALKING ABOUT MONEY requires endurance.

    I needed to hear just that piece this morning.

    Because as I got angry and sarcastic (in my head) at my partner I was thinking, “Is this relationship even worth it if it is this hard to talk about this one, very small, aspect of money life??? Quit now and save yourself the trouble!”



    This kind of effort may not result in cash, but will be so valuable in other ways. Well, typing that I realize I don’t actually believe it in this moment. But I do hold that as an article of faith, I guess. Keep going, it’s going to have a positive benefit eventually.




  2. Dear Annie,

    What a great point! (I love when you guys chat away in a comment, such that it is all further reframed for me and maybe anyone else reading.) YES! For many of us, ANY talking about ANY money takes endurance! For sure.

    And, yes, ALL effort has gain—whether of cash, of deeper understanding of a partner, of increased capacity to do whatever is hard for us, etc.

    Your comment, too, gives me insight into my last relationship. For me, talking money there always felt “worth it.” But, I think you just described what happened every week for my last partner 🙂 For him, any conversation—with a boss, the mother of his children, the tax man—about money triggered an immediate sense of overwhelm, fatigue, defeat. So, he’d just hand it over in some areas and cheat in others. Interestingly, he really enjoyed manipulating financial situations—that was actually super fun for him, an entire hobby—but the very thought of a conversation just did him in. I think for him, when I initiated what I think are normal, healthy, mellow conversations about money, he arrived immediately at the, “Oh my god, is this relationship worth it if I have to converse about financials?!?” I appreciate understanding that more now.

    For me, it becomes emotional only after I’ve done an immense amount of work toward a promise, and am being stonewalled. For others, the same intensity can arrive as soon as the very topic comes up. It’s all legit.


  3. I’ve read your reply to my comment several times, Joon, and even read it out loud to my new realtionsihp person as I tried to explain where I am coming from.

    Thanks for your thoughtful post and reply. 🙂


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