In this episode, Emily interviews Dr. Leslie Wang, an associate professor of Sociology at UMass Boston. Over the last several years, Leslie has become a certified life coach and secured her niche as a coach for academic women publishing their first book. They discuss how Leslie manages what are essentially two full-time jobs on top of becoming a new parent during the pandemic and how she is using the revenue her business generates. Leslie speaks openly about her plans to take a leave of absence later in 2022 to try out coaching full-time so that she can finally decide whether to stay in academia or pursue her business.
Links Mentioned in this Episode
- PF for PhDs: Set Yourself Up for Financial Success in Graduate School (Workshop)
- Outsourced Children: Orphanage Care and Adoption in Globalizing China (Book by Leslie Wang)
- Chasing the American Dream in China: Chinese Americans in the Ancestral Homeland (Book by Leslie Wang)
- PF for PhDs Community
- Dr. Leslie Wang’s Website
- Dr. Leslie Wang’s LinkedIn
- PF for PhDs Subscribe for Mailing List (Access Financial Advice Document)
- PF for PhDs Podcast Hub (Show Notes and Transcripts)
00:00 Leslie: I wanted to leave when I knew that what I was leaving for was much more compelling to me than trying to escape where I was at. I haven’t had that chance yet to a hundred percent devote myself to this. So that’ll start in May when my classes are over, and then I can really test it out, like fly the coop and just see what kind of happens, and still give myself some time to make a decision.
00:29 Emily: Welcome to the Personal Finance for PhDs Podcast: A Higher Education in Personal Finance. I’m your host, Dr. Emily Roberts. This is Season 11, Episode 10, and today my guest is Dr. Leslie Wang, an associate professor of Sociology at UMass Boston. Over the last several years, Leslie has become a certified life coach and secured her niche as a coach for academic women publishing their first book. We discuss how Leslie manages what are essentially two full-time jobs on top of becoming a new parent during the pandemic and how she is using the revenue her business generates. Leslie speaks openly about her plans to take a leave of absence later in 2022 to try out coaching full-time so that she can finally decide whether to stay in academia or pursue her business. I am requesting your help with something. I’ve developed a new program for prospective graduate students titled Set Yourself Up for Financial Success in Graduate School. It’s a year-long interactive workshop that gives prospective graduate students the tools they need to understand their funding offers, select a financially supportive PhD program, and navigate the financial transition into graduate school. If you’re a regular podcast listener, you’ve probably heard me mention some free live webinars under this title that I piloted this spring.
01:57 Emily: I believe that many of the financial pain points of graduate school could be alleviated or eliminated by helping prospective graduate students develop a realistic financial picture of what their life in graduate school will be like if they choose a specific program. I also believe that PhD programs will take notice when prospective PhD students negotiate their stipends and benefits or decline their offers of admission citing insufficient financial support. If the programs receive the message that the financial support of graduate students is vital to their academic and personal success from yet another source, that can only benefit current graduate students. If you like this idea and wish that you had been given access to such a workshop when you were applying to and interviewing for graduate school, would you please recommend the workshop to an appropriate host? I primarily have McNair programs in mind as sponsors for the workshop, but I’m sure there are other appropriate programs at the undergraduate or postbaccalaureate levels. If you were part of a McNair program or other similar professional development or fellowship program, I would really appreciate you recommending that the director of that program check out this workshop at PFforPhDs.com/prospectiveworkshop/. Please cc me if you do email them so that I can pick up the conversation. Thank you very much! Without further ado, here’s my interview with Dr. Leslie Wang.
Will You Please Introduce Yourself Further?
03:38 Emily: I am delighted to have joining me on the podcast today, Dr. Leslie Wang. She is an associate professor of sociology at UMass Boston, and on the side, she is a certified life coach working with academics. So, I’m really excited to hear about this, you know, balancing the full-time job with the side hustle and how the finances work out with that. So, Leslie, I’m so excited to have you on the podcast. Will you please introduce yourself a little bit further to the listeners?
04:01 Leslie: Of course! First of all, Emily, thank you so much for having me on. Again, my name’s Leslie and I am an associate professor of sociology at UMass Boston. I received my PhD in sociology from University of California Berkeley in 2010. After that, I moved to Vancouver for two years to do a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of British Columbia. After that, I moved to Michigan for a year where I did one year of a tenure-track position at Grand Valley State University. And then since 2013, I’ve been at UMass Boston. And then, so in terms of my research, I am a feminist qualitative researcher who studies issues related to families and work and migration between China and the United States. And so, I’ve published two books with university presses. The first one is called Outsourced Children: Orphanage Care and Adoption in Globalizing China. That was based on my dissertation, and it was published by Stanford University Press in 2016. And then last year in 2021, I published my second book, which is called Chasing the American Dream in China: Chinese Americans in the Ancestral Homeland, and that was published by Rutgers University Press. And then I’ve also been a certified professional life coach since 2019.
Becoming a Life Coach
05:19 Emily: Alright. So, you have the academic chops for sure. Congratulations on your promotion to associate professor! And I want to hear more about the life coaching, because that’s what sets you a little bit apart. So, why did you start down that route of becoming a life coach?
05:36 Leslie: So, I decided to pursue a nine-month intensive life coach training and certification program in 2018. And so at the time, I was going up for tenure, you know, as I mentioned, I had moved three times in four years for this job. And by then I was feeling really burnt out. I felt really overworked. I felt like I didn’t have any boundaries with my job. And I also was tired of working in a fairly dysfunctional, emotionally unsupportive environment. And so, I was initially going to wait until after I got tenure to start my training. And that was always in my head, like, let me just put everything on hold until after tenure.
06:18 Emily: That’s familiar.
06:18 Leslie: Right, right. I attended a weekend-long coaching training program, and this was in Los Angeles. And I just felt so drawn to the work. I felt like there was an immediate impact that I had in making the world better that I hadn’t felt from the kinds of academic work that I had done before.
06:39 Leslie: And I realized I was looking for that feeling all the time through my research and my teaching, but I got it through coaching instead. And so, I changed all of my plans and I signed up for this program. And, you know, it took place in LA, and I was living in Boston. So, I flew back every six weeks for almost a year, and this was pre-pandemic, so all the trainings were in person. And so, you know, my goal as a coach was actually really trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my own career. It was totally like self-focused to start with. I was really unclear whether the problems I was facing and the unhappiness that I was feeling could be solved by moving to another faculty position, or whether I would be happier potentially outside of academia, which is not something I had ever considered before. And I just really needed to figure that out. And I can say now that I’m confident that I will be happier outside of academia. I’m moving towards making that happen in the next year or so, as we can talk about. But you know, that’s essentially why I started down that path, and then I’ve stayed with it because it’s really, really fulfilling. It’s been extremely satisfying and a really interesting new challenge.
Finding a Niche as a Writing Coach
07:54 Emily: Life coaching is quite general, but I understand you have a focus within that broader category. So, what kind of coaching do you do?
08:02 Leslie: So, now I am a writing coach and I work specifically with women scholars who are publishing their first book. And so it’s become very narrow. But it took me a while to get to this point. So I’ve been coaching now for three or four years, and I started out by coaching, like, I think everyone does this, but coaching anyone who would be coached by me. So this could be my friends, my colleagues, their partners. I coached women. I coached men. I coached you know, grad students, postdocs, faculty members, just to get a sense of like just the coaching itself and how does this feel and let me develop my own own style as a coach in the way that you do when you become a teacher. It’s like, you don’t exactly know the first time you walk into a classroom, what your style is going to be, how you’re going to react to things.
08:50 Leslie: So, I just had to build up that skillset. And then over time, I came to realize that if I really wanted to make this a go, so move it from a side hustle into being like an actual career, I really did need to focus on something. Because general life coaching at this point is so common. You know, everyone’s a coach, and you don’t actually need to be certified to be a coach. And I think it’s great that there are so many folks out there that want to help other people. And there are a lot of people looking for help. But in order to have like a message that lands with people, it needed to be more about an issue that I could help them solve that was more tangible than like live a happier life. Because that is really the goal, I think, of all life coaching, but having the goal of like let’s work together to help you create a sustainable writing habit and create an empowered mindset and be able to take the reins of your career and become comfortable being visible and getting your ideas out into the world and changing the world with your ideas.
09:57 Leslie: All of that ended up being easier to package into something when it was around book writing, which I had done already myself. And therefore, I can say like, Hey, this is my experience. I suffered a lot during that because I was so alone. And let me help you not have to go through those things, make it faster and easier. And then in the process you can live a happier life.
10:23 Emily: I think that niche makes, well, first of all, nicheing down, I’m obviously a fan because I have the nicheiest niche ever <laugh> of, you know, grad students and postdocs and early-career PhDs talking about finances, in particular. So, I’m all in favor of nicheing down. And this is an obvious one that has a connection to your current career. So, if you do end up leaving your current position, or whatever, for this side hustle becoming the full-time thing, it’s a little side-step. It’s not like this massive upheaval in your entire career.
Balance and Boundaries
10:51 Emily: So, you mentioned that you, you know, started down the certification route in 2018 and you were experimenting at first, and then you found your niche. Currently, how are you balancing the demands of your full-time position with this side hustle that’s growing into maybe its own full-time thing?
11:07 Leslie: I have to say, it’s not easy. I am essentially working two jobs at the same time. And so, it was fine for a while when, well, so if I back up a little bit, I had to stop coaching for all of 2020, because I had a baby early in the year, and then COVID hit. And so, that time happened to coincide with my sabbatical, but basically, the whole year was eaten up by childcare. That’s what I did. And so I was not working on the business. It was kind of like, I was just thinking and processing. I was listening to podcasts like yours, and I was thinking, you know, what are the next viable steps after I returned to my job, which I did last September. And so, juggling them, you know, teaching and doing faculty work in the time of COVID is hard.
11:59 Leslie: It’s much harder, I would say, coming back in the middle of the pandemic than before. And my life changed completely in the middle of that too. And so, for now I am juggling two jobs, and it is really about you know, can I practice what I preach in terms of what I work with my clients on: setting really strong boundaries, figuring out the things that, you know, inspire me versus drain me, and trying to say no to everything that drains me, if possible. That still doesn’t compromise the quality of my students’ learning, or I still want to fulfill all of the obligations of my job in terms of being a good colleague. But there’s a lot of gray area in there that, if you’re not really strong with your boundaries, you end up taking on more and more and more to the point where you are completely burnt out.
12:56 Leslie: And so, if I did that and I had the coaching, then I would be burning out twice sort of <laugh>. So, I’ve just been like, you know, with my job, like these are the hours I’m working my job. These are the committees I’m on. I know exactly how much time all of those things are going to need. And then there are certain things that I’ve stopped doing because I realized that I didn’t enjoy them all along. So, things that I felt like I had to do, like for example, present at conferences. I attended every conference. I never even questioned it. Except for the fact that when I got there, I didn’t enjoy them that much, especially when there were like 4,000 people milling around. And so, things like that, I’m like, I don’t have to do those things if I don’t want to. So, it’s more about asking myself, like, what do I want to do? And then I can take on more coaching because that’s what I want to do. But it’s definitely not easy, especially when you’re juggling parenthood.
13:55 Emily: I think this is a theme that often comes up when people start a side hustle and/or become a parent, or just have some other thing going on in their life that’s very demanding of their time and energy that they want to be demanding of it, right? They want to devote their time and energy over to that side. It does force you to create better boundaries in your full-time job instead of just saying, “Oh, my entire self is being given over to this job and take, take, take take, take everything you possibly can.” So, it sounds really healthy, although it’s a lot of work, obviously for you, he parenthood and the essentially two full-time jobs. I can definitely see how, and this applies for people in positions other than yours as well, that being forced to create those boundaries is ultimately a really healthy thing to do in all of these different spheres of your life. Is that how you feel about it?
14:42 Leslie: I completely agree. And one thing I was going to add is that I have stopped getting involved in any politics. So, any of the departmental and institutional drama that I used to get really sucked into, out of choice, really, because I was curious and it’s like, what’s going on? And how do I help fix this? And I realize like some of these issues, they are so systemic. I’m not going to be able to change them, especially in the time that I have left. And so, that’s part of it too, is when it comes to, I think more about energy than about time. And my energy, I’m not spending on the things that I used to worry about as much. So, that’s really helpful when you do have actually less time to work with.
Setting Boundaries and Saying No
15:28 Emily: I think that’s probably a lesson we’ve all learned during the pandemic where, suddenly, your time is very, very differently allocated. Maybe you’re not commuting or other things like this, but the energy becomes the key thing of how much can I really devote to this, that, or the other? And I have to, you know, allocate my resources carefully. Do you mind giving an example or two of some like specific boundaries you have with your full-time job? Whether it’s time or energy or, I mean, you already listed I’ve dropped certain kinds of non-required commitments, but do you have any other examples of boundaries?
15:57 Leslie: Sure. I mean, at this point, my schedule books out pretty far in advance. And so, there’s only so much I’m going to take on in a day. So for example, when there are some committee assignments and they want to throw on a meeting in like the next day or like a few days from that, I just say, no. I already have commitments. Even if there’s nothing actually over that time, it was time that I was going to use to decompress or to commute or, right? So, instead of like being like, “Okay, well I’m commuting, let me throw on this call.” I realize, unless it’s like something that I’m in charge of and they really need my input, it’s okay for me to say no. Especially when there’s like five or six people on this committee. And so, these things happen all the time. And normally I would say yes, but I also feel like, you know, people have to respect that folks have a lot of things filling up their schedules, and sometimes you just can’t make it.
16:59 Emily: I think this is another common like pandemic lesson, right? Like you literally cannot schedule me in Zoom calls all day long every day because I will not get any work done, period. So just, you can’t have it happen. You have to block out. I don’t know if you’re actually using time blocking, but you have to block out time in your schedule for these other things that have to fit into your life. So, I love that example.
17:20 Emily: Emily here for a brief interlude. If you are a fan of this podcast, I invite you to check out the Personal Finance for PhDs Community at PFforPhDs.community. The Community is for PhDs and people pursuing PhDs who want to take charge of their personal finances by opening and funding an IRA, starting to budget, aggressively paying off debt, financially navigating a life or career transition, maximizing the income from a side hustle, preparing an accurate tax return, and much more. Inside the community, you’ll have access to a library of financial education products, including my recent set of Wealthy PhD Workshops. There is also a discussion forum, monthly live calls with me, and progress journaling for financial goals. Basically, the Community exists to help you reach your financial goals, whatever they are. Go to PFforPhDs.community to find out more. I can’t wait to help propel you to financial success! Now back to the interview.
Financial Side of Having a Coaching Business
18:25 Emily: Let’s turn to the financial side of having this business. How are you using, if you are, the income that you’re generating from it?
18:34 Leslie: Yeah. So, let’s see. I think last year I was coaching only from about May to December because that’s when we got childcare. In that time, I earned about $40,000 from coaching, and all of that went right back into the business. All of it. So, the big things were paying for a business coach who I worked with for half a year to develop an entire huge plan for how I was going to turn this into a full-time sustainable career. Let’s see, I hired a website designer to go along with it. Professional photoshoot. I was also part of a 12-month-long, let’s see, business kind of development program that was sort of like a coaching program. So, that took a chunk. And then all the costs that go along with starting and maintaining a podcast. So, I’ve been like starting my own podcast that hasn’t launched yet.
19:35 Leslie: So, there was a whole financial side of that as well as like the time that it takes to learn all of those skills. So, pretty much everything is back into the business. And you know, somewhere, I heard that advice of, you know, the first $75K of your coaching business should go back into the business. And I’m pretty much kind of following that. But I do think that that investment, when I was ready to make it, because it wasn’t at the very beginning, it was once I felt like, “Okay, I do know what I want to do with this, but I need help doing that,” that was a really good time for me to invest.
20:11 Emily: And I think this points out one of the real advantages of launching a business while maintaining your full-time position. Because your personal budget does not, if you want to take some of that money home into your personal budget, you have the option to, but if you don’t and like you, you want to reinvest essentially 100% of it, you have that flexibility in your personal finances to be able to, you know, the business is funding itself at the beginning and you don’t need to draw a salary from it right away. I have to say, I took completely the opposite approach when I started my business of like, this is my income and I am very reticent to spend any money like on the business. And that’s something I’ve had to unlearn over these years. It’s something I’ve had to like pry out of my brain, this like frugal nature. It is very different when you’re running a business versus running your own household how you choose to manage the finances. So, I’m really interested, you know, to hear about your journey initially. Now you mentioned that was for 2021. What is 2022 shaping up to look like for the financials? Like are you going to start taking any of that income home?
21:13 Leslie: I would say I pretty much have started. Yeah, I’m probably projecting that I would make around 65 to 80 this year. I am going to take a leave of absence this fall. So I won’t have, you know, I’ll have half of my faculty income. And so, basically, I have been slowly easing my way out. I wanted to get to a point where I felt like the risk did not feel like such a huge risk anymore. Like, I had proven to myself that I had a sustainable, profitable business. And also that I wouldn’t have regrets in leaving tenure and leaving, really a job that a lot of people would die to have. And I fully, fully recognize the privilege that I have, you know, come into through my entire career. And that said, I feel still very drawn to having even more flexibility and having even more autonomy and freedom and all of the things that I value so much about academia, I can have even more of once I’m running my own business. But I had to get to a point where I felt confident enough that I could do this. It’s not going to affect my family’s, you know, wellbeing in any way. And so, that’s why it’s taken me a few years.
Making a Final Decision Whether to Leave Academia
22:41 Emily: I really think that, given the particular job that you have, the risk is mostly not financial. It’s mostly the I’m going to leave this position and it’s, I don’t know what you put your personal likelihood on it, but the ethos is you can never get another job like this again, right? Once you’ve gotten the job, you can’t leave the job. And you can tell me if you think that’s actually going to be true for you, if you ever decide to change your mind again. But I’m curious about how you see this plan like playing out, if you’re comfortable discussing it. You’re planning on going on a leave of absence. You mentioned that’ll be at half-salary, so still a little more runway being provided to you. That’s great. At what point will you decide, okay, I am going to go back to this academic job full-time, or Nope, I’m officially out and I’m done and I’m a coach now?
23:29 Leslie: I need to decide by the end of this year.
23:33 Emily: Okay. So you have basically, like the fall semester, essentially, is your leave of absence.
23:36 Leslie: Mm-Hmm <Affirmative> I think that would be the fairest to my department as well. I don’t want leave them in the lurch. And it’s also not even about my position anymore. It’s more, I wanted to leave when I knew that what I was leaving for was much more compelling to me than trying to escape where I was at. It took me a while to get to that place, but now I’m definitely feeling that, but I’m still in the job. So, I haven’t had that chance yet to a hundred percent devote myself to this. So that’ll start in May when my classes are over. And then I can really like test it out, like, you know, fly the coop and just see what kind of happens, and still give myself some time to make a decision.
24:24 Emily: That is so fantastic. I mean, I’m sure it’s based on, you know, your particular position in academia, but I would say that academia generally, once you get to your level does provide these opportunities for flexibility in a way that other kinds of jobs wouldn’t, right? You just have to quit the job. Like that’s it, there’s no leave of absence. There’s no negotiating, you’re done with the job. And I love what you said about, you know, wanting to make sure that what you’re going to is more compelling than just merely the feeling of, I need to escape where I am right now. Because that’s something that comes up in the FIRE movement, the Financial Independence and Early Retirement movement. I don’t know if you’re familiar with it in the personal finance space.
25:01 Leslie: Mm-Hmm <Affirmative> Yeah, a little bit.
Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE Movement)
25:03 Emily: So, for the listener, the idea is, you know, especially for the retire early aspect of FIRE, this would be retiring very early, like when you’re 30 or 40 or 50, much, much sooner than the typical retirement age. And a lot of people who join this movement feel very fueled by getting out of their current job. And they think that the way out is to retire early. To just, I’m going to generate this big enough nest egg to give me financial freedom, and then I never have to work this job again. But now that there’s been, I don’t know, 10 or 20 years of early retirees, the wisdom coming back from them is don’t make it about the current job, find a job that you love and it’s maybe worth it to stay a few years longer. Maybe if you took a pay cut or something, but find work that’s compelling to you. You can still pursue the early retirement, but don’t make it about escaping from your current reality. Find a job along the meantime that’s a little bit more fulfilling than the one that, you know, you’re trying to escape from. So, I really love that you pointed that out and that you’re just taking such slow, gradual like deliberate steps toward this, because it is a big deal to leave this kind of a job.
26:03 Leslie: It’s a big deal emotionally, I think, for academics to leave academia, and to still, I’m fortunate to be in a position where it’s a choice, where I don’t feel forced out. And that’s extremely empowering. But also that’s work that I had to do in my own mind around feeling that it was a choice and feeling like I had other options and creating other options, too. So, I think that there’s a lot of grieving that goes along with giving up something that you have invested decades of your life into, your identity is fully intertwined, with your social networks are probably very much dependent on, and especially, you know, we, in our PhD programs, we’re socialized into thinking that the tenure-track position is the way. Like, that’s your way to happiness. And so, that’s why I feel like I did all of the things that I wanted to do.
27:02 Leslie: You know, publishing and getting a job and then getting tenure. I did all of these things so that I could know for myself, like, are these the things that will actually make me happy? And realizing, not so much. It didn’t feel that different. Like once these things happened, like I’m glad I did them. Glad for the experience. And then I also realized that if I really ground myself in my core values, like those weren’t really the things in the first place that I was really inspired by. So, you know, now I’m in a position where I can make a new choice. And that feels really scary. And I think getting used to that fear and still moving forward anyway, is a big part of the work.
27:47 Emily: I think this is such an important message for the listeners to hear if they are still somewhere on this academic track. Grad school, postdoc, first position, you know, as an assistant professor, et cetera, et cetera. It’s okay to reevaluate. You don’t have to accept the messages that academia tells you that this is the perfect position that everybody wants and everybody’s going for. It’s okay to evaluate your own self and figure out anywhere along the way, if something else will be more fulfilling for you. And like you, they can do this slowly and gradually and make sure that it’s the right decision. That’s okay. Or if it’s not your personality, you can do it abruptly, too. Nothing wrong with that.
Best Financial Advice for Another Early-Career PhD
28:26 Emily: This has been such a wonderful conversation, Leslie. I’m sure there are going to be some people who want to follow up with you. Can you tell us where the listeners can find you?
28:33 Leslie: Yes. So my business is called Your Words Unleashed, and that is my website. So YourWordsUnleashed.com, and my podcast has the same name.
28:43 Emily: Perfect. And we’ll end with the last question that I ask of all my guests, which is what is your best financial advice for another early-career PhD? And this can be something that we touched on during the interview, or it could be something completely new.
28:57 Leslie: So, great. I have a couple of suggestions. So, the first thing, people probably hear this all the time, but in terms of tangible things that I’m really glad I did was I hired a financial advisor right when I got my job. And so, it has been this major mental relief to have someone else on my team who just knows a lot more than I do <laugh> about finances and can give me advice or even, you know, sometimes just tell me what to do. It took this huge mental load off of me. So, when I first hired my advisor, her name is Inga Timmerman and she is actually an academic herself. And she specializes in working with academics. So that was important for me. But when I hired her, you know, I was 35, I was single, I had just moved to Boston.
29:47 Leslie: I had almost no savings. I was really afraid to confront my financial future. I had just been sort of ignoring it until I got a job. And so, you know, we looked at my finances together. So, it made it less scary. Rearranged some investments, increased my retirement contributions, and once we did that, like I knew that my financial future was safe. And so, that in itself is like worth every penny. And she’s also helped me figure out all the next steps. So, in the time that I’ve worked with her, I got married, I had a child, she’s helped me plan out next steps with my business. And so, it’s like having, she’s like a friend who just knows a huge amount about what I should do with my finances. And she understands academia. And so, that has been one really great thing. So, hiring a financial advisor.
30:40 Leslie: The other thing I would say is a bit more abstract, and it comes out of my coaching work. And so, I really encourage people to sit down, reflect, and identify your top five core values. And so, these are qualities that make you feel inspired and motivated, and if they’re not present in your life or you’re not sort of living into them, then something feels off to you. And so, you know, my advice is, you know, make sure your career decisions are always in line with these values. And this is the first exercise I do with all of my clients. And people are always surprised at what comes up as their core values. I think oftentimes we think we know what they are, and then you ask people really what they are. And they have like 40 things. It’s not really like the corest of the core values.
31:32 Leslie: And so, I would consider this to be financial advice because our career decisions are ultimately financial decisions. And having core values as your guide means that you have an internal compass and a way to make decisions that is separate from externally imposed criteria of success that is given to us by academic culture, or by our advisors or, you know, people we see like succeeding in all these ways that are prescribed, right? And we feel like we need to be that way in order to be successful. And so, you know, I think when you’re really grounded in your values, you can feel like you’re choosing your own path rather than feeling like you’re limited to doing only one type of work in one type of setting. And so, really, I just feel like for me, like always being acquainted with my values has let me see other possible avenues.
32:33 Leslie: You know, where I have been able to use my skillset, do work that I care about very deeply while also making a better living <laugh> and being happier, you know, than if I was to stay where I was. And so, I say all of this because I’ve gone through a huge mental and emotional transition to get to this point, and I’ve come through it knowing that I can actually become more fulfilled and more successful running my own business. And that is not something I ever would’ve thought, you know, even five years ago, let alone when I started this journey when I was 24. So, that’s basically financial advice as well as some coaching advice.
33:19 Emily: It’s excellent. And it’s the foundation of financial planning, financial considerations, should be, as you just mentioned, identification of your core values. And it’s something that gets overlooked. I overlook it quite a bit as well because it’s not very like tactical. It’s not like use this app or, you know, something really that you can put your hands around like that, but it’s something that has to be done. It’s the baseline work that you really need to work through to, as you said, have a fulfilled life. And career and finances are very closely tied together in this respect. But you can have, and once you identify those core values, you can see how they play out in your career. You can adjust your career if necessary. You can see how they play out in your finances. And of course, just your adjust your finances to better, you know, be in alignment with those. Because then you’ll really feel like you’re using your money optimally and not, you know, wasting it here or there and not getting value from those dollars.
34:14 Leslie: Yeah. And I think what’s really interesting is that, for so many of my clients, their core values are things like fun and peace <laugh>, calm, self-care. And they’re like, how does that work into work? And it’s like, actually, we can find ways to pull those qualities into your work life so that you can feel, if you’re prioritizing those things, then you’re going to eliminate some things, you’re going to increase other things. And then hopefully be happier and more financially successful along the way, right? It’s always just about like, because you’re attuned to yourself.
34:51 Emily: I have a feeling that the values that you just mentioned, you have at least one of those based on the boundaries that you have mentioned earlier, setting with your work. Because I can see how those boundaries have created that in your own work life. Well, Leslie it has been such a pleasure to speak with you. I really hope the listeners got a ton out of this episode, because I know that I have. It was great to meet you and thank you so much for coming on the podcast!
35:12 Leslie: Thank you so much for having me! It’s been a lot of fun.
35:20 Emily: Listeners, thank you for joining me for this episode! I have a gift for you! You know that final question I ask of all my guests regarding their best financial advice? I have collected short summaries of all the answers ever given on the podcast into a document that is updated with each new episode release. You can gain access to it by registering for my mailing list at PFforPhDs.com/advice/. Would you like to access transcripts or videos of each episode? I link the show notes for each episode from PFforPhDs.com/podcast/. If you’ve been enjoying the podcast, here are 3 ways you can help it grow: 1. Subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or whatever platform you use. 2. Share an episode you found particularly valuable on social media, with an email list-serv, or as a link from your website. 3. Recommend me as a speaker to your university or association. My seminars cover the personal finance topics PhDs are most interested in, like investing, debt repayment, and increasing cash flow. I also license pre-recorded workshops on taxes. See you in the next episode, and remember: You don’t have to have a PhD to succeed with personal finance…but it helps! The music is “Stages of Awakening” by Podington Bear from the Free Music Archive and is shared under CC by NC. Podcast editing by Lourdes Bobbio and show notes creation by Meryem Ok.