Friday, December 13, 2013

Crying on the Job

Whew, catching up after a 4 day weekend in Utah visiting one of my bests is exhausting! First world problems, am I right? A recap post is hopefully to come. Such a fun trip but I'm thankful to be home. Hibernating and not traveling until May actually sounds appealing for the first time in my life!

Anyway, while I was in Utah, of course we chatted about work. We're both in similar situations where the workload increases even when the hours in the day stay the same. When the math doesn't add up, we're simply told "make it work" rather than getting any help to find a solution. The frustration has led us both to tears on occasion. Although it was comforting to hear that I'm not the only one that has cried during work, it's appalling that corporate life can lead to that kind of stress. I chalked it up to being dramatic and emotional and irrational sometimes (yup, I fully admit it!) but when I realized that others are in my situation, it just makes me sad.

Within 3 hours back to work after my trip, I was in tears again (I swear, it happened once in the spring and then once on Tuesday - it's not daily!) over complaints in my departments that fall on me despite my efforts to prevent these issues for the past year. After chatting with a coworker, she admitted she cries practically every other day because of work! WHAT? This cannot be normal!

Thankfully, one of my best friends made an excellent point that put things into perspective and changed my attitude. He explained that no matter what the job is, janitor, bus driver, or CEO of a huge company, it's going to be difficult and you're going to have to work really hard or you'll lose your job. You can have the hardest job that doesn't pay much but without it, you're still out of a job. To keep that resource, you have to make the most of it and work your way up. The experience and tears I put in now will lead me to a career with a few less tears if I try. If I keep a bad attitude and think I'm above a job that causes tears, then I'm going to be stuck here.

I think of those who drive a bus or work in fast food who are happy as clam and show up to work happy to help their customers. They entertain and make you feel valued. It can't always be easy to earn low wages and work hard but people do it and I admire them. I am not always in control of the conditions at work but I am in control of the attitude that I bring each day. That's what makes a world of difference and might just reduce my stress and tears. 

I am also thankful to have side jobs that do not cause any tears, like babysitting and writing resumes & cover letters. It balances out the tougher days in the corporate world and helps me bridge the gap between my salary and financial goals until I can work my way up.

I am lucky to have the job I have, it beats a lot of jobs, even on the days with tears. Since my attitude check, I've even been more focused, dedicated, and even content to work overtime to ensure my job is done well. The industry itself might not be my dream job but being proud of what I bring to the table encourages me to do the best I can.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

I'm a masochist

Lately I've been feeling overwhelmed by my financial situation. Understandably, considering I have $60,000 in student loans and an entry level  job. Even though I've tacked on 3 side hustles and work as much as I can, I feel like I'm barely making a dent or simply spinning my wheels.

As I think about it, I sometimes like to tell myself to be patient and not to beat myself up if it feels slow. I look for any opportunity to do extra work and I've exceeded all my recent savings goals. But then sometimes I realize I'm a masochist.

I don't just mean how I woke up one morning this week and realized I scratched my nose in my sleep to the point of having an obvious scab.

I mean no matter how much I want to meet these goals, I sabotage myself and delay progress. I realized I could already be at my savings goal if I didn't deplete my savings a few months ago to reduce my credit card balance. And even after making that sacrifice, my credit card balance climbed it's way right back up.

I try to be frugal for the most part but then I splurge on things I don't need and poof, my frugal efforts are worthless. It has become a vicious cycle and I'm sick of it. I need to stop sabotaging myself. I work way too much to have so little to show for it.

This is my come to Jesus pep talk as I buckle down to wrap up the year. I want to hit $4,000 in savings and pay off some serious debt in 2014. That's not going to happen if I keep my bad financial habits.

There's a weight loss quote that says, "nothing tastes as good as healthy feels." Well that's true for debt too. Nothing I splurge on is worth staying in debt for. I won't become an extremist but I need to buckle down and make my hard work literally pay off.

Here's to changes and kicking of 2014 with a bang!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

November Progress and December Goals

November was a great month, even with my shopping spree madness early on in the month. I was able to get myself back on track and I eventually exceeded my goal of saving $515.47 to reach the $3,000 mark.

My grand total was $595.93 after I set aside $150 for my travel/wedding fund. I like to have a graphic that shows my progress but my goals have changed a bit so graphics wouldn't make much sense.

Originally, I wanted to save $9,000 to include enough money for a down payment on a house (FHSA Loan), a older used car for whenever my car dies or if an accident were to happen, and $1,500 left over for an emergency fund. However, after a lot of consideration, I'm putting my house dreams on hold for now to focus on my student loans.

I have 2 loans that are currently interest only until March 2015. When that rolls around, the monthly minimum is going to be out of my reach. Home-ownership can be a great investment but there are too many risks to face with my debt as high as it is. Also, I'm very comfortable in my apartment and I'm not sure I am ready to give up the heated garage in the Minnesota winters.

So where does that leave me for December? I want to get my savings up to an even $4,000 to cover a car and an emergency fund. That way I can go bat shit crazy on my loans in 2014. But that means I would have to earn $919.54 in addition to my monthly $150 travel/wedding fund. Especially around the holidays, this isn't easy to do and I have no idea if I can pull it off.

As I look at the work I have booked already for December, it's surprising how close I could be. I certainly hope that's the case because I've been pulling 12 hour days this week, including Sunday. But as my elementary school library displayed, "If you can dream it, you can achieve it."