Monday, April 30, 2018

This is the Time to Shake Up Your Career




Are you completely and totally over your job? Are you sticking with it anyway because you feel like it’s your only choice? All too often we buy into the sunk cost fallacy, thinking that with all the time, energy, and effort we’ve put into our career, it would be impractical to give up on it now. 

The decision to leave a job you loathe is even harder when you have a family depending on you. Between insurance benefits, your kids’ school, and the bills rolling in every month, there’s simply too much to lose by shaking things up now.

But the truth is, you have much more to lose by staying in a situation that makes you unhappy. Your kids don’t benefit from an unhappy mother, your spouse doesn’t benefit from a miserable partner, and YOU don’t benefit from spending your one and only life counting down to the end of each day.

There’s no denying that making a career change comes with risk, but the rewards can be tremendous. You could find better pay, more vacation time, improved benefits, or the opportunity to be your own boss, but none of those are the greatest benefit of leaving a job you hate. So what is? Better mental health

Nothing takes a toll on your mental wellness quite like the chronic stress of spending 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year overworked and unfulfilled. According to the University of California, Berkeley, chronic stress can lead to mental illnessesthat affect you throughout your life. And the effects of stress don’t stop with your mind. Don’t believe me? Just read this rundown from the American Psychological Association, which explains how stress affects everything from pain, to heart health, to digestion, to reproductive health — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

But even if you appreciate the importance, figuring out how to go about a career change isn’t easy. If you’re crying in your car on the way to the office, it’s time to get serious about taking steps to get out. Here’s how:

1. Consider if you’d be happier at a different position in the same field. If an overly-demanding boss or toxic company culture is behind your dissatisfaction, you may be able to find a similar position with a company that treats you better. Or if your current position isn’t particularly stimulating, spending time on professional development could help you move to a more fulfilling role. If not ...
2. Weigh your passions. If you didn’t have to work, what would you spend your days doing? Is there any way to take that passion and turn it into a profitable career?
3. Assess your values. What kind of lifestyle do you want to lead? Do you want flexible working hours and ample vacation time, or is job security more important to you? Do you want a job that makes a difference, or just one that makes ends meet while letting you pursue passions in your downtime?
4. Consider your skills. You’ve cultivated a set of skills in your current career, and there’s a good chance many of those same talents could be valuable in a different field.
5. Try it on. Once you’ve narrowed in on a few options, try them on for size. Spend time volunteering, freelancing, or taking classes to see what sticks. Doing this on top of your full time job will be a sacrifice, but it’s best to keep the financial security until you have a plan in place.
6. Make the switch. With a little experience under your belt and a clear vision of what you want, it’s time to get serious about your career change. Start sending out resumes, attending networking events, and enlist help from your contacts.

Taking risks is scary, but spending the rest of your working years dissatisfied and stressed to your limits is even scarier. No matter how old you are or how many years you’ve spent doing the same thing, it’s never too late to try something new. Plus, it’ll be so much easier to get out of bed in the morning.

Article written by Julie Morris 

Ms. Morris is a life and career coach who strives to help others live the best lives that they can. She believes she can relate to clients who feel run over by life because of her own experiences. Ms. Morris spent years in an unfulfilling career in finance before deciding to help people in other ways.  

Image via Unsplash

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Saving Money with Kids

Let’s be honest, kids are expensive. It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s clothing, extra curricular activities, school supplies, food or diapers; there is always SOMETHING you have to buy for your kids. Sometimes these are things that are necessities, like clothing since they are always growing or just for fun, like tickets to see a show at the theatre, but either way the expenses exist and add up. I consider myself  a very savvy shopper, in fact my friends always know to come to me first to see how they can potentially save money, so I figured I’d share my top three tips I save money throughout the year (not just on kids but myself and my household, too) so that I can spend more money on the fun stuff, like professional photographers and vacations!

I do most of my shopping online, but a lot of these tips can be used in stores as well.

1)   If shopping online, I ALWAYS shop through Ebates, which has a browser for desktop computers and an app if using a mobile device. Just go to Ebates, first, and then search for the store you are shopping at, and it will tell you if you are eligible for a certain percentage cash back on your purchase. Some stores are as little as 1% and others are in the double digits. Once a quarter, Ebates, will send you your savings through paypal or a physical check. It’s super easy and free money for the shopping you’d be doing anyways.  Since I’ve been using Ebates,  , in the beginning of 2015, I’ve earned over $500! Some of my favorite stores that I shop at on there are Target, Kohls, Children’s Place and Raise (more on Raise next!). Ebates,  even offers cash back on Amazon, although the categories  that are eligible vary depending on the day.



2)   This next tip is helpful for in store shipping and online shopping. There is a website and app called Raise. Raise sells discounted gift cards for pretty much anywhere and everywhere. Before I go to a store, or even while in the store, I’ll pull up my Raise app, and put in the store and see what gift cards they have for sale. Almost always I can find a discounted gift card for the store I’m shopping at or restaurant I’m eating at and if they offer the e-giftcard, the delivery is almost instant and you can use on that trip to the store/restaurant or save for another day. They put the digital giftcards into a wallet on the app (or if home you can print out!) that you can use online or the stores can scan at checkout. Instant savings, and sometimes they are around 20% off! or more! And since it’s just another payment method instead of cash, debit or credit, you can still use coupons and rewards programs. Save even more by going to Ebates, (mentioned above) first and  then search for Raise and get an additional 1% back on the gift card purchase. I also buy discounted gift cards from Raise and then load into some of my apps such as Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts (usually have 15-20% off there!) to be used later and earn rewards against them through th various apps.  There are grocery stores, restaurants, retail and so many other options. Note: sometimes they only offer physical gift cards that are mailed for free to your house, so keep that in mind when trying to buy gift cards for same day use (the type of gift card is clearly noted on Raise).

3)   If you are disciplined enough with credit cards (I know a lot of people can’t do this), charge everything you buy with a credit card that earns some sort of rewards (airline, cash back,  hotels, etc), and then pay off the balance in full each month, and that’s free money you are earning that can used for free stuff. We literally charge anything an everything possible on our cards, and with that we earn enough points to go on a few free flights each year and stay in hotels for free on points. We personally use a SPG Amex to earn hotel points and Delta Amex to earn free flights, and then a Southwest Visa for the places that don’t accept Amex and then pay off all the balances in full each month so that we don’t have to pay any interest, so it’s truly free benefits. Note: We do use cards with annual fees because of the extra benefits offered, but there are plenty of credit cards out there that offer rewards without an annual fee. 

4)   And now for the best part, this is what I call the Triple Dip! Use that rewards credit card to buy the gift card from Raise which you buy through Ebates, and earn rewards, get dscount on the gift card and get cash back on Raise! Sometimes you are only earning pennies, but this seriously adds up to some serious cash through out the year, and it’s all FREE for the money you’d be spending anyways!

Hopefully these tips will help you save some money, my family definitely benefits from this. I know some of this seems time consuming, but I’ve been doing it for years now and eventually it becomes second nature, even got my husband into using these tips (he saved over $300 when he just bought his new golf clubs from Calloway plus earned us some credit card points!)

If you want to check out any of these sites, click on the links to the pages, and through my affiliate links you’ll get the following benefits: 
Raise:  $5 off after you make your first purchase (w/in 30 days of signing up)
Ebates: Get $10 back after you make your first purchase



Full disclosure: If you click on one of my affiliate links, I will get the same value as you in rewards. ($5 at Raise and $10 at Ebates)

Monday, July 25, 2016

Follow through Friday - 2 week update, not on Friday

Another almost 2 weeks have come and gone since my last update. It’s been a bad two weeks for me. First of all, the 1st week, we were on vacation for most of it and I had nowhere to run besides outside, and it was too hot and I was too exhausted (5 kids under 4 in our house, is exhausting, even if we were on “Vacation” LOL). We also ate A LOT of junk and drank a lot of beer, and since I wasn’t home on Friday, I wasn’t able to get my weight. I did get one walk in, one morning with the kids, but it was late in the morning and brutally HOT. I made zero good decisions in regards to food, besides some fresh fruit here and there. 

The following week, last week, I was in a funk. I think I was truly exhausted from vacation and has zero energy to do anything besides go to bed right after the kids went to bed during the week. Had I not paid for my personal training session on Thursday, there is a good chance I probably would have skipped that as well. Zero running, other than the 5k Race (Race # 2 of the Cool Summer Mornings 5k Series) I ran on the Saturday before vacation. It was SUPER hot out and I struggled during it, mostly because of the heat I think. I actually started getting the chills, which I think is a sign of heat exhaustion, so I slowed down and walked a little more and listened to my body. My official time wasn’t awful considering the circumstances, just hoping the August race is a little cooler.  

Luckily, I was able to get on the walk station quite a bit at work so that helped. I honestly didn’t finally feel good again (refreshed) until today, Monday, and now I’m ready to tackle this week, which I’ll save for my post next week. So this is short and sweet, and really only being posted to help keep me accountable and for me to look back on.

Friday, July 22nd, 2016 
Weight: 159.2

Exercise from Friday July 8th – 22nd:
Saturday 7/9 - 3.1 miles in 31:39 (10:13 pace) - 5k Race
Wednesday 7/13 - 1.15 mile walk on vacation
Thursday 7/21 - Personal Training Session at HitFit Gym

Walk Station – 7.28 miles (multiple days)

Total Weekly(x2) Running Miles: 3.1
Total July Running Miles: 14.14

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Follow Through Friday - a Travel Week

Well look at that, only 3 weeks in and already fell half a week behind on blogging. Better late than never I suppose.

I started off my 4 day weekend by going to the HitFit Gym on Friday for the circuit training and then ran a Virtual 5k (#OrlandoUnited5k) on Saturday with a friend from MRTT. We actually ended up going more than a 5k since we got caught up chatting and forgot to turn around at the half way point. We ran into some other MRTT ladies who were coming back from a much longer run and they asked us how far we were going and we told them and they were like um, well then shouldn’t you have turned around by now and that’s when we realized we went too far. We ended up running back with them so it was nice to have additional company. 


I ended up needing to go to Chicago (well the suburbs) for work that week and took advantage of the nicer weather while there. I got in two nice runs on two different trails. I loved how there were so many to choose from. On Wednesday, I ran a 5k on the Busse Forest Elk Bicycle Trail, which was a really nice trail in Arlington Heights. I loved how shaded it was, made it feel 10 degrees cooler than it was. The humidity was also much less than it is in Florida which makes a dramatic difference. 


The next day I found a trail that went in a nice loop around a the Skokie Lagoon. I always prefer to run in a circle vs. out and back so this one intrigued me. I was a little disappointed with this trail though as the first 1.5 miles were next to a very noisy highway and then I assumed you'd be running next to the water since the trail went around the lagoon but it was pretty overgrown and you could only see the water in a few spots. I mean it was still nice and shaded, I just was envisioning something else. It also had quite a few "hills" that I wasn't expecting since the trail on Tuesday was pretty flat. I ended up walking a lot more than I normally do because of the hills and I was super thirsty (probably because I didn't drink enough water earlier in the day and it was pretty hot out). Over all though my exercise was great this week. And since I didn't get in my Walkstation walks this week since I was out of the office I did get in a nice walk one morning on the treadmill at the hotel. 


I wasn't great with my eating this week though, so I was pleasantly surprised to see a drop in weight on Saturday morning. (I got home Friday afternoon so waited until Saturday to weigh in). I indulged in both the 3rd and 4th as we celebrated the 4th of July holiday and then ate out every meal the rest of the week since I was on the road and even got ice cream one night.

G was up in Chicago for work as well so we were able to meet up for dinner and went out to two nice dinners together (one to celebrate his birthday which also included some drinks).

And I had unfortunately to drop out of the StepBet I was so excited about last week because my Fitbit decided to die. Everyone says they usually only last about a year before they die (you know, right after their warranty runs out) and I've had mine almost 2 years so I knew it was coming. Luckily,they issued me a refund since the game was still in the practice week so I didn't lose my money at least. I'm pretty bummed about it though because I thought the challenge was going to be hard and well, challenging! And now I have to spend money replacing my Fitbit, so that sucks. I think I'm going to switch to Garmin since they tend to be more reliable.

This week we are heading to Destin from Tuesday through Sunday for our annual cousins trip / vacation which means lots of eating and drinking. I also won't have access to a treadmill and it's supposed to be super hot so getting any runs in will be tough but I did bring my running gear in hopes that I manage to log a few miles. We'll see how that goes! 

 

 

Saturday, July 9th, 2016 

Weight: 157.6

 

Exercise:

Friday – HitFit Gym Circuit

Saturday - 3.44 miles in 37:10 (10:48 pace)

Wednesday - 3.10 miles in 32:55 (10:37 pace)

Thursday - 4.50 miles in 50:13 (11:10 pace)

 

Walk Station – none

Regular Walk on Treadmill – 2.5 miles  

 

Total Weekly Running Miles: 11.04

Total July Running Miles: 11.04

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Follow Through Friday - Week 2

Week 2 of being back! Yey! Last weekend, I went away for a nice relaxing girls weekend with some friends to Singer Island, Florida. We didn’t do much besides drink and eat and hang by pool/beach and it was perfect. I didn’t go too overboard with the drinking or the eating and was happy to see only a .4 lb. gain when I checked on Monday. I had intentions of running at least once over the weekend, but that ended up not happening but I did swim a little and walked enough to hit 15k steps Friday (despite working half a day and driving 3 hours), 10k steps Saturday and just under 9k Sunday (again with 3 hours of driving), so that’s pretty good considering we only left resort once. After getting home late Sunday afternoon, I was tempted to just relax with G and the girls but I decided to meal prep for the week too so that has helped me be good all week at work and at night for dinner. I did have some treats on Wednesday after I gave blood since they encouraged sugar intake, I definitely probably went a little over board (2 cookies and a Danish) and had to cancel my personal training session for that evening since it’s not recommended to work out right after giving blood. On Thursday, I wasn't very good either though despite running in the morning. We had a birthday at work with some treats which I indulged in and then a going away happy hour for our boss that evening in which I had a few craft beers which wouldn't have been so bad if I didn't come home and eat tater tots and wings for dinner. So it shouldn't be a surprise to me that I didn't lose this week, but I didn't really gain either so I guess that's not as bad as it could have been.

 

Exercise wasn’t that great for me either. I was able to get on the walk station a lot at work too which always makes me happy. I got a relatively slow treadmill run in on Tuesday and then an even slower morning run on Thursday. Thursday’s run sucked. I don’t know if it was the 90% humidity (only 75 degrees at 6am), the fact I gave blood the day before, or that I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet, but my body just couldn’t handle it. My legs felt great, but the rest of me kept telling me to stop, so I just did a 2.5 loop around the neighborhood and came home.  I also found a new type of challenge would just help me get back into my running though, its call the StepBet (same company that hosts those DietBets I’m obsessed with). It’s somewhat similar to Diet Bet in the sense that as long as YOU hit YOUR goal, then you split the pot with everyone else who hit their goals as well. So, you wager money (looks like all the challenges are the same with a $40 buy in) that you’ll hit certain step goals each week, for 6 weeks (well really 5 weeks since the 1st week is practice). The goals are calculated by StepBet (I’m guessing based on your Fitbit – or other tracking device - history) and can’t be changed and you have to hit your active goal 4 times per week and your stretch goal 2 times per week and then have one “free” day without any set goal. I was actually surprised to see how high my goals were (especially since this past month I’ve been slacking on my running which contributes to a lot of steps in my history), which is good since it’s will actually be a REAL challenge to reach them each week. My Active Goal (4x/week) is 13,664 steps and my Stretch Goal (2x/week) is 17,538, which if I hit all of those and did NOTHING on my “free day” (which obviously I’d do more than nothing) I’d have to hit 89,732 and lately my weekly average has been closer to 80-85k steps so this will be challenging.

 

Friday, July 1st, 2016

Weight: 159.2

 

Exercise:

Tuesday – 4.02 miles in 45:00 (11:12 pace)

Thursday – 2.56 miles in 31:01 (12:06 pace)

 

Walk Station – 8.93 miles (multiple days)

 

 

Total Weekly Running Miles: 6.58

Total June Running Miles: 22.93