If I could summarize my 2022 is one word, it would be “unremarkable”. 2022 is definitely not a year I’ll reminisce fondly about.
This year was challenging for me, in general. I get that my challenges, or perhaps “temporary inconveniences”, are “first world problems” for a lot of people, but it doesn’t mean that they weren’t real, or that going through them was easy for me.
Acknowledging My Privilege
Being able to blog about my life and personal finance matters is a privilege in itself.
Being born in France and living in Canada for the past 16 years are also privileges.
Being able to do what I did in 2022 is a privilege as well.
I’m very well aware of those. I’ve written about it a few times.
The most challenging aspect of my 2022 was on the job front. With a little more hindsight, I can now write it’s not that surprising.
In 2022, I quit my job with nothing lined-up, not once…but twice. Let’s rewind a little bit.
Back in October 2019, I left a previous job that I had worked at for over 7 years to become self-employed. Unfortunately, my timing couldn’t have been further off, as Covid hit a few months later.
Fast forward to August 2020, my savings were dwindling and the emergency benefits put in place by the Canadian government were coming to an end. Although it’s not what I wanted to do, I had no choice but to return to an Accounting job.
I’m not negative or complaining by writing the above sentence. The were a few benefits to landing this job:
- Regular paycheck and benefits: this job paid well and also offered some benefits. These are luxuries you don’t have when you’re self-employed or unemployed. The effect on my life was immediate. I was able to rebuild my savings and contribute to my retirement plan, not to mention easily paying for all my regular expenses.
- Working from home: this was one of the main reasons I accepted this job. Being able to stay at home meant I didn’t catch the dreaded Covid bug and had more control of my schedule due to an almost inexistent commute. Working from/staying at home was also very beneficial for my health. Between February 2020 and January 2022, I lost 20 lbs. I haven’t put any of them back.
- Learning opportunities: I learnt a few things while working at this job.
However, I quickly realized the culture and management were toxic. I did my best to make it work for 18 months, but after that time, the toll on my mental health was no longer manageable or sustainable. No job is more valuable than my health.
After extensively reviewing and analyzing my financial situation, I called it quit. At the time, I had nothing lined-up, although I was in talks for job # 2.
In hindsight, I now realize I wasn’t in a position of making a sound decision after quitting job #1. I was drained both physically and mentally, and definitely needed more time to recover from that job. I guess that’s why the say “hindsight is always 20/20″…
Anyway, job # 2 turned-up to be a bit of a disaster and more importantly, a disappointment. The tasks I was doing in this short-lived job had nothing to do with what was discussed in the interview. I knew it wouldn’t change so I didn’t waste my time trying to make it work. I negotiated my exit with my former employer. They agreed to handle it as an end of contract, rather than a resignation which made eligible for E.I. In return, I agreed to stay a little bit longer and help with a project.
This gave me the time to take inventory and also recover from the mental and physical exhaustion, as well as from Covid. After 2.5 years and despite being jabbed 3 times, I caught the dreaded bug in August. I didn’t land in the hospital, but it was an uncomfortable and unpleasant experience.
Since then, I received a 4th vaccine, one of the many privileges of living in Canada.
Most importantly, I had the time to figure-out what I want to do next.
For all of the above, I’m actually immensely grateful. Not necessarily for the inconveniences, but for the fact I had the resources to deal with them.
In 2022, I worked full-time 8 months in total and received EI benefits for 3 months. I didn’t earn anything at all for 1 month.
The main impact has been on my emergency fund. I’m grateful for being disciplined and regularly contributing to it over the years. I’m glad it has been here to bail me out. It’s not the first time it happens, and it probably won’t be the last either.
As much as I don’t like dipping into it, that’s why my emergency fund is for.
In 2022, I was also able to fully contribute to my sinking fund for property taxes and paid these in full and on time. I have however fallen a little bit behind for 2023. I still have plenty of time to figure that one out.
As for my retirement contributions, I had earmarked an amount for 2022. I contributed it just before leaving job # 1. That was non-negotiable. I timed my resignation based on this. I haven’t figured-out anything for 2023 just yet.
Afterwards, I chose to redirect financial contributions to my emergency fund. I am also glad I did this, given how everything unfolded.
I didn’t incur any debt in 2022. The only debt I have is my mortgage.
Overall, I’d say the financial impact has been modest at this stage. I’m grateful for that too.
Accounting has been the plan B for the last 2.5 years. At this stage, it’s no longer what I want to do. It’s then no surprise that I struggled professionally this year, as I was working in a field that no longer appeals to me.
Nonetheless, I am grateful for the last 12 years that I spent working as an Accountant. It has been very good to me financially, and by extension for my life in general. Accounting is a good field to be in. The pay is higher than other office jobs and the opportunities plentiful. The field is pretty much recession/crisis-proof. Companies and non-profits always need accounting staff.
Should I wish or have to return to this field, I know I’ll have no problem doing so.
I explored many career options. I didn’t limit myself. I researched everything that I was interested in to see if I could make a living out of it, but most importantly what was really talking to me. There were a lot of possibilities that I could make a living of, but only 2 that really, really resonated with me.
Option 1 wasn’t doable financially. It would have required me to return to school and the tuition fees were really expansive, more than for my MBA. A few other things were also not to my liking.
Option 2 is something that I first thought of 5 years ago. At the time, I quickly dismissed the idea. I was lacking credentials, among other things. This part has since been taken care of and the idea resurfaced in 2020, at the onset of the global pandemic. Because of the lack vaccines and various restrictions, I put the idea on the back-burner once again.
Fast forward to late 2022, vaccination is underway and most restrictions have been lifted worldwide. Now is the perfect time to revisit the idea and explore it further…which is exactly what I’ve been doing. I’m taking it a step further in 2023 by doing a “practice run” so to speak.
I’m not going to disclose what I want to transition into just yet. I don’t know yet if this is something that I can actually do, as I’ve never tried it. That’s what the “practice run” is all about. There are also other aspects that I need to figure-out. I will discuss the matter further on this blog, in due time.
It certainly is reinsuring to see I have options. I’m grateful for that too.
That’s it for my 2022 review. I almost forgot to add that during this challenging yet unremarkable year, I had the support and love of a few close friends and my family. That’s the real deal! I’ll be forever grateful and thankful for this.
I also want to thank you, my readers, for visiting and following my blog over the last 8 years. You’ve kept me going. Thank you!
As usual, I am taking a break over the holidays. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
See you in 2023!