Tag Archives: job

How I’m Doing On Goals and Pseudo-Resolutions

I resolved to focus on my career, bought an interview suit, and am now on the fence about even looking.  My reason for this change of heart is that I want to enjoy my shorter commute and low-stress job. It’s not that my job is without its stresses and deadlines;  it’s just that I’m a seasoned pro here who knows my job well, including short cuts and knowing the right people to ask for help in most situations. Any new job entails a learning curve and possibly longer work hours and the main reason for our move was to increase my time with the kids.

What I have done:

  • I sort of updated my Linked In skills/profile.
  • I read one or two articles related to my field.  It’s a struggle as I’m constantly tempted by other reading materials.  Now if I can apply what I read to my work, that would be a bonus.
  • I emailed my boss about upping the game in terms of building my skills at my current job. I figure that if I’m too lame to make a serious move and check outside options or go for higher titles, then I should make the most of my current situation.

Still, it feels like the new suit hanging in my closet is a constant reminder of my backpedaling ways!

In other areas:

I ate french fries two days in a row.  I didn’t make a resolution to eat healthier but eating worse is never a goal of mine!

I have not stepped into my gym in months.

I have prepped dinner a few nights but still find it a challenge to make the most of my extra half hour per night.

I am trying to not let the house fall into utter disorder/mess before cleaning.  I sweep up almost daily and try not to let things pile up.  This is good in a way as I’m learning that big cleanings are a bigger chore and headache.  The not so good part is that I end up doing more cleaning overall.

I have snapped at my husband (and others) much too often.  Not doing well in terms of appreciating loved ones.

I’m still a stressful basket case at times (though no longer due to traffic and commute!)

I have done some armchair activism but nothing more.

I signed up for a class — nothing related to work, just fun time with the kids.   I can’t wait…

I’m taking a photo a day. It’s not about being creative or artistic, although I try my best. It’s about documenting the small things in life from a messy sink to messy desk to a messy family life.  A mess is what I got…

So even though I didn’t officially make resolutions, in the back of my mind, I still have some goals that I’m trying to achieve..or not.  How are you doing on your goals and resolutions?

I’m Grateful For…

Eons ago, I tried writing down things I’m grateful for on a daily basis.  My list usually looked like this:

  1. Coffee
  2. Commute wasn’t too bad
  3. A loved one (rotating from parents to husband to friends)

After a while, it was a rather mechanical process and really didn’t do much good.   Writing the same things on the list day after day didn’t do anything to increase my feelings of gratitude!

So in light of this little insight, I’m writing a longer post about why I’m grateful for my job even though I don’t feel appreciated or rewarded enough right at this moment.   And that’s the hardest thing, isn’t it? To appreciate something that isn’t making you very happy at that moment. Anyway, here goes:

I’m grateful that I was able to keep this job during the recession.

I’m grateful for a good work environment, supportive co-workers and an honest boss. 

I’m grateful that this job allows me to buy basics like household goods and food, save for retirement, and still have room for eating out, cleaning help and the occasional massage. 

I’m grateful that it provides medical and dental coverage and paid vacations. 

I’m grateful that this job makes use of my education.  It is not mind-numbingly dull and I get enough new challenges to keep me interested but not so much that I get burnt out (usually).  

I’m grateful that it makes me middle-class.  

I’m grateful that my time is my own at this job. I have projects and deadlines but no one micro-manages me or my lunch breaks ; they just know and trust me to do my job well.

Even though right now I can’t afford to travel now, I’m grateful that this job has paid for vacations to exotic lands in the past.    

Even though I clip coupons and shop sales, I’m grateful that I can afford to stockpile and I can afford to buy items even if they’re not on sale. 

I’m grateful that this job allows us to enjoy some “tech” luxuries like cable, computers and cars.

I’m grateful that this job allowed me to buy a nearly-perfect wrap dress from a favorite online store. Nearly perfect because while I love this brand’s style and quality (and it was a steal at over 80% off list price), I haven’t worn it yet and it can only be worn during  cold weather and would look better with boots which I don’t have.  Still, I love it already….

I’m grateful that this job means that emergencies don’t derail our lives.

What are you grateful for? 

Say No To Bitterness…Tips To Improve Your 9 to 5 Work Life

In my earlier post “How Not To Be That Bitter, Old Person In The Corner Cubicle“, I linked bitterness with the mid-life crisis.  The longer you’re in the work force, the more crap you encounter, the more jaded you’re likely to be. That’s not to say that I haven’t encountered bitter disillusioned young people of course!

Since I have a middle-aged perspective, I thought I would share more concrete ideas on what I’m doing to avoid this burnt-out attitude.  I’m not 100% successful but being aware of this tendency is half the battle.  A job has a huge impact on your finances so it’s worthwhile to invest some time into making the most of it.   
1 ) Start An Interesting Project on your own
Recently, without my boss’s consent or encouragement, I put together a report that provided research stats, analysis and ideas for an upcoming major project.  I know that my boss was impressed that I took the initiative. The verdict is still out whether this will give me the opportunity to lead the project but I know the contribution will be remembered and will be a factor during evaluations.  More importantly, instead of browsing the web or emailing friends during downtime, I kept myself engaged as I researched and wrote up the report.  I learned a lot in the process and that puts me in a good spot should we move forward.
The financial angle: I’m not patting myself on the back and saying I’m a star employee but this type of thinking can help anyone further their career and get a bigger raise.
2 ) Take Classes
I’ve been fortunate to have employers that encouraged and paid for additional training. I know that not everyone is so lucky. Even within the same organization, I’ve noticed that some bosses are more likely to pay for training than others and not all employees benefit equally.  At my last job, I initiated the idea for taking professional training and was the only one who got it approved and paid for.  Those classes kept me motivated and happier on a day-to-day basis until I was ready to quit.
Huge Savings: I took about 8 classes averaging $695 plus books and parking, which means a total savings of approximately $5,560 – $6,000.
3 ) Start Interesting Side Projects (like a blog!)
If you’re not able to develop skills on the job, you can still learn new skills on your own.  It may be more costly without employer help but some things are free. You can start your own blog to improve your writing skills, volunteer to develop other worthwhile skills or take online classes for Excel, PowerPoint, Web Design and other essential skills.
Side Income? I’m not blogging for money but you never know if a writing/blogging opportunity may come up.
My basic mantra is that’s it’s important to always keep learning. The happiest retirees I know are the ones who are taking classes, traveling, or finding ways to keep mentally and physically active.  Studies have shown that your senses come alive when you are thrown into new situations.  This can mean anything from learning a language to trying new foods or even taking a stroll through unfamiliar neighborhoods.
I know that my advice won’t work for all fields or in all situations. If you can’t muster any enthusiasm for your job, it’s important to remember that a job doesn’t have to be your passion.  This interesting article about loving your day offers even more perspective.  Sometimes it’s good enough to just do your job well and call it a day!