A Slight Setback

Last night I received an email from the Picton Castle, which represents a slight setback in plans for going on a voyage. Due to COVID-19, they have opted to push the trip back until Summer of next year. Given that I registered for Leg 3 of the journey, this means that I may not be joining the ship until October/November 2021.

This brings with it a couple of problems, the most significant being that I may not be able to sustain a job for that long. My contract ends in September of this year (having already been extended very generously from June). I am conscious of the fact that my continued employment is a drain on the finances of our research project, especially now that we have hired personnel to replace me. Essentially, I have an ever-diminishing role in the project (by design), and it does not make practical sense to continue paying me to the detriment of our research goals.

I should perhaps emphasise here that I do not want my employers to continue paying me if I am not providing tangible benefits to the project. It is too important that the work is completed.

I had initially planned on being unemployed from October to January, at which point I would join the ship. Assuming my employment terminates at the end of September, getting through these few months should not be a major challenge. But having to sustain on savings until October 2021 is a much greater problem.

There are some steps we can take to remedy the situation. When the Picton Castle releases its new itinerary, I can apply to join on Leg 1 instead of Leg 3, reducing the amount of time that I will need to keep myself afloat by as much as six months. This would make a huge difference, although I think it is a little sad to start a voyage without being able to see it through to its conclusion.

I am rather fortunate in that I am a software engineer with a very diverse skillset. Although I haven’t interviewed in a long time, I can take the intervening period in the build-up to Christmas to polish up my C.V. and put in some applications for short-term contract work. If I can find employment up until I leave for the Picton Castle, then this setback may even prove to be a boon as I can further build my savings.

In the event that I just have to tighten the belt and stretch my current savings a little further, this is not impossible. I currently live at home with my parents, so rent is not an issue. I can cancel subscriptions to services such as Dropbox, Netflix, Spotify, etc. which, when put together will probably save a surprising amount. I would very much like to keep my gym membership and continue paying my phone bill (which doubles as my Internet) even though combined they represent about €90 per month.

I have a good library of books, a decent laptop with an Internet connection, and more D&D paraphernalia than you can shake an enchanted sword at. I reckon I have plenty of stuff on hand to keep myself entertained without further discretionary expenditure. It will, admittedly, be difficult to manage my tendency towards compulsive spending, but that’s all part of the challenge.

There is always a solution. I’m writing this while still relatively raw from this little piece of news. The impact of this initial disappointment makes it difficult to motivate oneself to tackle solutions, but I’m as determined as ever to have my day at sea. We’ll simply have to let the waves settle and we’ll judge the course when the conditions are clearer.

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