Week In The Wallet: Hitting the Nadir Edition


Apparently we got 10 inches of snow overnight, so I decide to stay home and work from the comfort and warmth of my couch. I still have a few meetings to attend so I can’t be completely asocial, but it is far less than my 4-5 hour daily average.

Luckily for me, I did a bunch of food prep over the weekend, which means I already have lots of food to eat. I end up having salmon, roasted Brussel sprouts, and schmancy mediterranean-inspired cauliflower (read: roasted cauliflower tossed in a sauce of mixed tahini, honey, rose water, and olive oil) for both lunch and dinner.

After I finish up my work for the day, I decompress by rewatching old episodes of Game of Thrones. It is unfortunate, really, the decline in quality with regard to dialogue from season 5 to season 6 (and yet worse in season 7), but gosh darn it, I’ve invested this much time into it, I’m invested to seeing the series end.

At some point, I muster up enough energy to visit the gym and run a couple miles on the treadmill. Then I sleep.

Daily spend: $0


I head to the office early and crunch through my to do list before the daily onslaught of meetings.

For lunch, I visit my favorite burrito joint nearby. The one thing I miss about living in the Southwest is the Tex Mex, the food here just doesn’t compare. But I’m hankering for a burrito and this one is pretty good. ($10)

In the afternoon, a couple very minor victories happen at work, so I decide to celebrate by stress eating two bags of BBQ potato chips. Wait, what? (Looks down at the BBQ dust on my keyboard.) Whoops.

After work I go to my weekly core class. I’m pretty happy with having stuck to this routine as long as I have. My core is nicely defined at this point, though I’m pretty resigned to the fact you’ll probably never actually see a six-pack or anything of the like. But it’s there… under the layers of potato chips. I promise.

Once core is over, I take a quick shower and heat up some more salmon, Brussel sprouts, and cauliflower for dinner and sign up for an evening call with Australia. I then draft a couple blog posts and finish the night with too many videos on the internet. Look, I’m not proud of this behavior, but can you tell me this Julie Andrews-esque 7 rings parody isn’t worth it?

Best comment: How do you solve a problem like Maria? Money.

Ugh, before falling asleep I get sucked into a former coworker’s media presence. They’re a professional writer now, and a good one at that! What am I doing with my life? Why does any of this matter when global warming is just going to wipe away humanity anyway? (Climate change-induced existential crises are my cure to go to bed, by the way.)

Daily spend: $10


Thank God it’s Friday. Wait. Dammit.

I have a bunch of meetings over the next couple days, I often average between 15-20 hours a week, some days far worse than others. I feel like with each new thing I learn about our existing product, I have opened Pandora’s box, unleashing a fresh new hell unto my life. Note to self: be less curious and detail-oriented for your own sanity.

I grab Indian buffet for lunch, which should fill me up for the rest of the day. ($15)

I learn that a customer decided not to use our product because of something I said in a meeting with them. The meeting was totally amicable, I thought, but they had about twenty users and some unrealistic expectations about our offering that would have required us to bend over backwards to meet at the expense of much more important projects. For comparison, everyone is working really hard to meet the needs of multiple customers launching this year, each with users in the hundreds of thousands to millions.

I am secretly relieved they’ve decided to go in another direction since it means we can actually focus on our strategic customers launching soon, until the CTO calls me into an hour-long meeting at five to figure out how they lost this account. After about the twentieth time they’re like “I am not saying it is your fault” and “don’t worry I’ll fix it” I start to realize, no actually, he is saying it is my fault and that we really are going to make this big of a deal over this negative-ROI account.

I cry in front of my CTO and grand-boss. I go home and cry some more. My night is pretty much just sobs.

I am frustrated and angry for so many reasons- that we made these promises in the first place, that I didn’t get to talk with customer until two weeks before they launched, that now we’re going to be forced to do a bunch of work for this teeny tiny non-strategic account when there are other big regulatory things that need to get done oh my god. I am also angry at myself- for not being cut out for this job, for crying, for taking this seriously at all.

I can’t. Can’t what? I don’t know. Brain broken. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. I feel so fucking wrecked.

Daily spend: $15


I am still upset when I wake up the next morning. I look for more jobs to apply to, but I know I don’t have enough experience yet to be a good candidate. Maybe I can go back to my old job. I know things are dark when I start thinking like that. I was miserable there. I am miserable now. You know when I am not miserable? When I am not working. I check my balances. Seven years to go, if I’m lucky.

I get to the office. I do work. It is fine. For lunch I eat leftover Indian food, salmon, and Brussel sprouts.

In the evening, my husband and I play a legacy style board game with some of our friends. It is horror themed. I die pretty quickly in the game, so I spend most of the evening sitting on the couch catching up on work.

We usually rotate who pays for our takeout order, person who pays gets to choose the restaurant. Not my turn this week. Indian food? I end up with shahi paneer and peshwari naan.

Daily spend: $0


Smooth morning at work, which is nice. Eat leftover Indian food for lunch.

Dentist appointment in the afternoon. I Lyft my way there. ($9.36) I get my teeth cleaned and the dentist convinces me I should buy a custom retainer to wear at night for my grinding. Sometimes I wake up with a lot of jaw pain and I do worry what all the stress is doing to my teeth. The hygienist is a newbie though, so it takes her a few tries to get a mold. ($275)

Another legacy board game in the evening with a different set of friends (this one is space themed!). Again, not my turn to tank. We order from a mediocre sushi place our friends seem to really like. I get a caterpillar roll and gyoza.

Daily spend: $284.36


I wake up too early and spend my morning mental energy to catch up on work until noon. I then proceed to like in bed until four, which is when I get hungry enough that I feel like I have to eat something. Some leftover Indian food will do as a snack.

My husband and I have tickets to see Endlings by Celine Song. We drive nearby about an hour and a half before the show to see if one of the nice restaurants nearby will take us. It is six, so pretty early yet. I check the wait while my husband parks the car. I find out the wait is 45 minutes and text my husband to ask if he has a plan B. Meanwhile, he gets in a fender bender.

After my husband exchanges license plates with the other car’s owner, he manages to find a spot and we eat at a cheap, good enough burger joint. ($13) He tells me about the accident. Luckily nobody got hurt and the damage on both their vehicles was just cosmetic. But this also means our insurance is probably going to go up again (he had another at-fault accident about four years ago).

I ask if he got the other driver’s phone number. I’d rather pay cash for the cosmetic damage than the pricey insurance forever. He didn’t, sadly, and feels bad. I don’t want this to ruin our night, so I remind him that I am glad that nobody got hurt and this is why we save up money, so that situations like this don’t matter so much.

I am, underneath the comforting facade, extremely annoyed by his driving behavior though– not just this accident or the last one, but the parking tickets and the default to using his car at all when we go to really bad areas of the city to drive in when it would be so easy to just rideshare over. But I keep it all inside because, again, I just want a nice evening. He seems to feel better after a bit of coddling. We go to the show.

The show itself is splendid and really resonates with me as a second-generation American. The story is ostensibly about three free-diving women in South Korea. But, more than that, it’s about the writer’s own immigration to America: her cultural assimilation, lacking the feelings of ownership over her native culture, a contemplation of where the ambition that made your parents immigrant for your sake manifests in you, how to do better for your child once you’ve hit the global lottery.

Just, yeah, so good.

Daily spend: $13


I snuggle into bed with my laptop and watch a couple episodes of Manhattan Love Story. It is okay. ($3.97)

I walk over to a newer actually reasonably priced grocery store that’s opened up about a half mile from my house. The meat and dairy there is all humanely-raised local stuff and the produce, while not all organic, seems to be sourced well enough that it is all fresh without the usual issue of under- or over-ripeness I frequently experience at the big chain supermarkets. I get bananas, blueberries, avocado, spinach, Cabot cheddar, and white corn tortillas. ($19.03)

I head to the crunchy part of my food shopping experience and pick up fresh pierogis at a nearby shop ($8) and fresh sushi-grade salmon at the fish market ($16.66). Finally I pick up a couple slices of apple crunch pie that I get for a 50% discount through the Food for All app. The general premise is that restaurants want to offload their leftover items at the end of day that they’d otherwise throw away, so they’re willing to give steep discounts on them. They’re in NYC too, so highly recommend you check it out and see if it fits your lifestyle/preferred food choices. ($4.97)

After so much walking, I’m starting to feel like myself again.

Before I start cooking, I cut up and toss some of the salmon I just bought with sesame oil, aji mirin, and soy sauce. So good! I also snack on some leftover cubed gouda sitting in the fridge and boil the pierogis I just got, which I pair with leftover greek yogurt and sauerkraut. Nom nom nom.

For the rest of the week, I pan fry the rest of the salmon, make soboro beef from a block of ground beef sitting in the freezer, and oven roast snap peas with carrots and onion. Really, I’m just trying to eat down my fridge this week.

After I cook, my husband and I rewatch an episode of the OA to prepare for season 2. We each eat a slice of pie and, suddenly, my body hits an energy wall and I fall asleep on my husband on the couch. He lovingly lays approximately seventy blankets on top of me and I take a three hour nap that I desperately needed.

By the time I wake up, I’m not feeling capable of eating a full meal, so I blend a smoothie from  banana, blueberry, spinach, avocado, and greek yogurt. I end the evening with an hour-long core circuit then go to bed.

Daily spend: $48.66


Total spending: $371.02

I am not really proud of how I handled this week. I am not being resilient to setbacks and I have been stubbornly clinging to my anger instead of doing the things I know divorces my mind from the stresses of work like cooking and exercise and reading (my brain, it is mush now). It’s like I’m addicted to feeling bad and I don’t like the effect it is having on my outlook. I felt like a mean and cynical version of myself by the time the weekend hit and I don’t like being that person.

I think writing things down this week was helpful, though, in alerting me to the fact that I am not living well right now and that I need to make systemic changes to feeling good. I cut out vague internet time in January and I think that was good. I may need to do that ago to help myself refocus my energies and get my brain to stop craving immediate feedback and emotional highs.

How was your week? How do you decompress after a long day? Do you find that routine effective in decreasing your overall stress?


8 thoughts on “Week In The Wallet: Hitting the Nadir Edition

  1. Ha, I know exactly what you mean about Game of Thrones. I loathe some of the things the show’s writers have done (all that extra violence against women and sexual violence), but nonetheless, I’ll be seeing the show through to the end. And ugh, sorry to hear about the bad meeting at work 😦 – I think I’d die a little inside if I was made even a bit responsible for bringing in business or keeping it. (It’s one of those things lawyers really need to know if they’re going to stay working for law firms in the long term, but they generally don’t expose associates to it much so I’m not sure how people are expected to learn how to do it at larger firms before they’re up for partner.) I have very little interest in ever having that be part of my work, though that will probably… prevent me from accomplishing certain types of things in my career.

    The Food for All app sounds like a very cool idea! I’ll check it out, though would probably only be able to make some use it if there were a good number of restaurants doing it in my neighborhood. Best of luck with getting refocused! I’ve been thinking a bit about my use of social media and its effect on me. (I’m still a bit perplexed to so recently find that I’m not actually immune to some of the less productive side effects of social media even though I barely post anywhere but my blog or comment on other blogs, all places that stay nice and friendly. Reddit, Twitter, and even Instagram can be a pox. And yet I just can’t quit because they still, in the end, also bring some good and educational things into my life.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did business development for my last job. For me, I don’t mind losing customers if it is necessary. I have seen the pain of dealing with small, stingy, high-maintainence customers and sometimes the best thing to do, especially if there is more demand than you can service, is be strategic about the accounts you take on. For instance, most white shoe places have minimum retainers and vet clients. I think startups just tend to not adopt that mindset because there’s a mindset important in early stages that every user counts (even when sometimes in the broad scheme of things, they don’t).

      I am so glad I’m not on social media. (Ponders to self, is blogging a part of social media?) Would definitely make my internet addiction so much worse.


      1. Ah ok – I think it would drive me completely batty to be seriously involved in bringing in business.

        Although I think blogging is technically social media, I find it a lot more “controlled” than other, more current platforms. With things that move as quickly as Twitter, I feel like it’s too easy to be misunderstood, between the character limit and the way conversations play out, it’s hard to get a full grasp of the context of what’s being said. And I’d feel too exposed, because anyone in the world would feel entitled to be able to come by and leave a snarky comment. I sort of need to use it for some work-related things, it’s actually a pretty good way of getting breaking news from the legal sphere if one follows the right people!


  2. Great read! Hope you don’t mind me deriving entertainment from what has been a very rough week for you. I also hope it goes without saying that you’re a terrific writer with a distinctive voice.

    Thinking back on my corporate days, I handled stressful situations by just walking out of the office, often unannounced, and hiding in a coffee shop somewhere with a large cup of green tea and the Kindle loaded to a favorite book I’ve read many times before. Then I just skip to a passage that makes me feel good, not for what it’s about, but because of the music the words make. My go-tos are: A Long Goodbye (Raymond Chandler), A Wild Sheep Chase / Dance Dance Dance (Haruki Murakami), and The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald).

    By the time I stroll back into the office with my half-finished tea, I couldn’t give less of a fuck. People literally become invisible.


    1. Also, if I’m being completely honest, my sociopath brain kicks in. In your case, I’d look at the CTO and think something along the lines of:

      “This guy actually gives a shit about losing a negative ROI customer. Sad. To be a C-suite exec, and be entirely incapable of distinguishing between what is and isn’t worth your company’s time. Hope that’s not a mentality he applies to the rest of his life. Lemme just manage him with kid gloves and say or do whatever is necessary to keep him reasonably happy, so I can move on with my life.”

      Obviously, this isn’t a great thing to admit to another human being. But it happens to be true in my case.


    2. Aw, thanks Ivan. I’m glad someone managed to benefit from my misery. 😉

      I admire your ability to not give a fuck. I feel like I put too much stock in what other people think of me, even those that I find infuriating. Unfortunately, for all the ways I find them bafflingly frustrating, upper management is actually pretty brilliant in other ways, which means instead of being able to think “what is with this idiot?” my brain defaults to “what am I doing wrong to not be able to communicate this properly to this person I sometimes admire and/or am I missing something here?” It’s emotionally exhausting.


  3. I’m sorry (very belatedly) you had such a tough week!

    I can’t quite understand the mindset of throwing good money after bad in a situation where, even as as start-up, you have much bigger concerns than a 20-user customer. I’d have been just as frustrated as you and I wish you had the standing to point out what a foolish business decision that was.

    Needing a night guard for stress-sleep-teeth grinding was one of the signs I didn’t recognize at the time that my work / life choices were really bad for me. I hope it passes for you once you get out of here.


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