I’m African American and was living paycheck to paycheck and sleeping on an air mattress. Now I make over six figures! My future’s looking bright thanks to OE.
Life Before OE – Living Paycheck to Paycheck
I was stuck in the rat race. Living paycheck to paycheck, making a little under 20k a year loading UPS trucks. I also did stock trading on the side hoping to do that full time one day. So, I graduated college with a business degree and had no job offers since I didn’t land any internships. I was depressed. I applied to over 50 positions. All I could afford was a small, 1-bedroom apartment with no furniture besides my air mattress from Walmart that kept defaulting so I had to tape it up.
You may be thinking, why not move back with my parents? Well, I refused to move back across the country to live with them because home was a toxic environment – think of people who like to keep you down. I valued my solidarity and the peace of mind it gives me rather than being in that toxic environment.
About a year after graduating and loading trucks, I lucked out and got offered J1 after running into a friend from college at the store. He helped me land an interview with his company. J1 started me at 50k (before taxes) a year, which was life changing at the time. But with bills, rent skyrocketing each year, student loans, and other surprise expenses to pay (car breakdowns, personal loans, etc.), I never got out of living paycheck to paycheck. I could never really get ahead on that salary. And then things changed…
‘OE’: A Life-Changing Catalyst
I remember vaguely hearing about a woman who worked a couple jobs remotely, but didn’t think much of it. Fortunately, my J1 is so laid back and easy with good job security to boot. You’ve got to be an absolute slacker to lose your job here. I’ve got stories for days on co-workers keeping their jobs after doing some of the dumbest things on the clock. Chloe’s note: if you’re sitting in front of your computer to clock in eight hours a day, you might as well squeeze in as much productivity as you can towards making more money. Watching YouTube or gaming all day doesn’t pay.
Anyways, I’m logged on for 40 hours a week, but I’ve mastered my job to where I get all my work done, and then some, in only 10-15 hours a week. Plus, I looked for remote job opportunities years ago, back when it was called telecommuting. But there were only a handful of those jobs open, and it was usually nursing/coding, two things I know nothing about. Then the Covid pandemic hit…
My Lightbulb Moment
My God. To be painfully and brutally honest, this pandemic has been the greatest thing to happen to my career. Possibly even my adult life. It’s weird to say that because of all the death, confusion, and uncertainty that was going on in the world, but this pandemic has done wonders for my career. My J1 moved all of us home, and I was able to save so much money on transportation and car maintenance costs.
With less financial burden, my mental health significantly improved. I got way more sleep and had more energy to go to the gym to improve my physical health, which led to less medical issues and expenses. I spent more time outside. Lost 25 pounds in 3 months while adding muscle. The list goes on. My productivity at J1 actually increased. And of course, many companies started hiring remotely thanks to the pandemic.
That lady I mentioned earlier that worked two remote jobs was always in the back of my mind. And one day I woke up and decided that I don’t have to keep living like this. I had nothing to lose. I’ve been at J1 for several years, and have mastered it to where I’m only working a couple hours a day. I’ve earned all my supervisor’s trust and support. I figured now would be the perfect time to parlay my college degree and work experience into another remote position.
Land Remote Jobs – First Step Towards A Better Life
So, I dusted off my resume, beefed it up a ton, and started applying to remote positions. I applied to over 100 jobs and was rejected or/ ghosted over 100 times. I contemplated settling for just another regular, non-remote part time job but I refused to settle.
Over the next 3 months, I went through several interviews and follow ups, and eventually landed a remote position paying 75k plus bonuses! This was the highest paying position I applied for and I couldn’t believe I got it! I know it’s nowhere near the pay of all the techies but you’ve got to understand…all I’ve ever known was living paycheck to paycheck, being one accident or layoff away from homelessness. And now, seemingly overnight, my income would be more than doubling! I could build a safety net. I could finally get ahead in my life!
Also, at the time of getting J2, I had no idea OE was even a thing. I stumbled across a YouTube video and a screenshot of the Overemployed community was in it for like two seconds. I paused the screen to write it down and checked it out. It was refreshing to see a whole community of people working in a similar way as me.
My New ‘OE’ Life Today
Fast forward six months after getting J2, I was able to pay off my car, increase my 401k contributions, add more capital to my trading account, establish an LLC and emergency fund, and finally buy myself a bed, lol!
I just need to finesse this for another year or two, then I should be able to work for myself full time. Also, J1 has made me come back to the office 3 days a week not too long ago, so I’m thinking of picking up a J3 in order to drop J1. I have a follow up interview tomorrow, and a couple more in the next week.
I’ve been able to work J2 from my desk using my phone’s hotspot, a second laptop/monitor, and a docking station. Chloe’s note: don’t forget to invest in your tech setup before scaling up to J3 and more.
I have my own separate office in my building. I kind of feel bad about possibly leaving J1 because they gave me an opportunity that paid me more than anyone was willing to at the time, and they were so laid back and patient with me as I learned how to do my job. They don’t micromanage, and barely say a peep to me as long as I get my work done.
They’ve given me a 3% raise every year – I know, I know, inflation has exceeded 3% but I’m still grateful. I don’t think I could be in this position as a non-techie if J1 didn’t give me a shot. We’ll see how it goes. Regardless of my own internal guilt, things are looking up!!!
Chloe’s note: Have an inspiring ‘OE’ success stories to share? Hit up Isaac on Discord or Reddit. Or simply email him.