Motivational Monday: The Trade Off

As I mentioned a week or so ago, I was recruited for a position with another firm. I didn’t end up getting an interview because the person I would be replacing had almost as much experience as I’ve been had time on this Earth. Nonetheless, it was flattering to know that someone was willing to pay more for my skills. I got another call from a recruiter and went in for a pre-interview on Friday. We went through the usual vetting process. I made it clear that I was happy where I am and if the company still wanted to speak to me, I’m up for it. These 2 experiences have helped me see more clearly what I’m (financially) worth.

It gives me a bargaining chip when the time comes. Not only are other companies willing to pay 25% or higher for my skills, I’m one of 36 people in the entire company with a Series 65 or 66. That’s out of 1500 employees. They’re getting me for bargain basement prices and they know it. However, I would need more than a 25% raise to take that leap of faith. Yes, yes, I know some of you are shaking your heads right now like I’m crazy. I probably am. Why would I turn down a 25% raise? It’s simple. I know my priorities.

I’ve had some really, really shitty bosses. Who hasn’t? I’ve been lucky enough to have one of the best bosses I’ve had in a “big girl” job for almost 2 years now. I know that my salary terms are hilariously out of sync with what I would be offered. While the recruiter said salary was negotiable for this position, I doubt they’d come back with another 25%. That’s what it would take for me to risk having another boss who makes my life absolutely miserable. The recruiter was very up front about the company. They’re a start up back office type clearing house. They’ve only got about 40 people, but the positions they’re looking to fill are all brand spanking new. I doubt they have the budget to give me a 50% raise.

I promise this isn’t a post strictly about my salary or me tooting my own horn *giggle*. It’s about knowing what trade offs you’re willing to make.

A wise person once said every decision is a trade off. What you gain on one side, you lose on the other. You may gain more money, but you lose security of knowing what you’re getting every day when you go to work. What you may gain in more personal success, you can lose in personal privacy. What you may gain in strength, you lose in flexibility (literally). What you gain in toughness, physical or emotional, you might lose in perspective. Hell, it could be as small as choosing ice cream over gummy bears because only one fits in the grocery budget. It could be as large as moving to another state and leaving the in person connections behind. It will take an unacceptable trade off  or two before you figure out what’s worth it. I’m a firm believer in the benefits of knowing what you *don’t* want. Some people think that’s overly negative. I think allows more room for possibilities that never even crossed your mind.

As always, take everything with a grain of salt (a lime, and a shot of tequila). Consult your doctor before taking my advice. ;)

Motivational Tidbit Takeaway: Know what it’s worth.

XOXO!

Twilight Thursday: Twilight Chapter 1 or Forks are for sticking in eyes

Alright readers, here’s a little something fun for you. I am attempting a feat so great, so masochistic, I must share it with the Internet. I was hilariously entertained and inspired by this series of blog posts. She had me laughing so hard I was crying at certain points. I thought “why not try that myself?”. Amazon hooked me up with all 4 books in the Twilight Saga (and a saga it will be) for about $10. Every Thursday, I’ll be posting my commentary on a chapter. And we’re off…


The book opens with a quote from Genesis. Considering my first thought upon opening the book was “Dear God help me through this”, it’s appropriate.

We begin with this little gem from the first page of the first chapter:

It was from this town and its gloomy, omnipresent shade that my mother escaped with me when I was only a few months old.

Why hello there, passive voice. As someone who purports to have a degree in English Lit, Meyer should know that passive voice is reserved for work based emails where you’re trying to call someone an idiot without calling them an idiot. It is from this I infer Ms. Meyer has never held a job which requires passive aggressive emails.

Bella then declares that she’s moving to Forks (in active voice), a town she just said she hates, of her own accord. Alright, I’ll go along with motivation TBD. After a paragraph long description of how one gets to Forks, she mentions again how much she hates the joint. This is less than a page after the first mention of moving. Heard you the first time, Stephanie. Right before Bella almost faceplants getting off the plane, passive voice strikes again.

Charlie was waiting for me with the cruiser. This I was expecting, too.

They have an awkward conversation about the origins of the truck Charlie has procured for Bella. Charlie mentions the previous owner, Billy Black, whom Bella doesn’t remember.

“He used to go fishing with us during the summer,” Charlie prompted.  That would explain why I didn’t remember him. I do a good job of blocking painful, unnecessary things from my memory.

Da fuck? Really? Granted, I’m not one to enjoy hanging out in a boat skewing a water dweller for sport, but I wouldn’t class it as “painful” or “unnecessary” on the memory scale. Unless “fishing” is a euphemism for ol’ Billy whipping out his trouser trout for all to view, Bella can calm the hell down. She gets in the house without falling up the stairs and settles in.

It was nice to be alone, not to have to smile and look pleased; a relief to stare dejectedly out the window at the sheeting rain and let just  few tears escape. I wasn’t in the mood to go on a real crying jag. I would save that for bedtime, when I had to think about the coming morning.

We’ve now hit Page 9. Meyer has once again whacked us over the head with the fact Bella doesn’t want to be there. Then why the hell did you go in the first place? There better be an epic reveal by the end of this chapter. And no, because without it there would be no plot otherwise doesn’t count.

You know in situations where you meet the parents and all of a sudden the kids make more sense? I finally saw where Ana (50 Shades) gets her penchant for self deprecation even though she’s the definition of attractive in North America. Here’s how Bella so eloquently describes herself:

Instead, I was ivory skinned, without the excuse of blue eyes or red hair, despite the constant sunshine. I had always been slender, but soft somehow, obviously not an athlete…My skin could be pretty – it was very clear, almost translucent – looking – but it all depended on color. I had no color here.

So you’re skinny with alabaster clear skin and somehow that’s an issue? Bitch please. Of course, none of this would be complete without:

Good luck tended to avoid me.

*facepalm*

Meyer then goes on to contradict herself in fewer than 3 sentences:

Finding the school wasn’t difficult, though I’d never been there before. The school was like most other things, just off the highway. It was not obvious that it was a school; only the sign which declared it to be Forks High School made me stop.

So if it wasn’t hard to find, how was it “not obvious” that it was a school? The term not hard to find typically implies something is easy to identify based on location. Yet the sign made her stop. Whatever you say, hon. Bella did follow it up with this comment:

Where was the feel of the institution? I wondered nostalgically. Where were the chain link fences, the metal detectors?

I wasn’t aware high schools in Phoenix also doubled as mental institutions. Unless, of course, Bella did actually escape from a mental institution. That would make so much more sense.  Bella meanders her way into the office and remarks that a woman wearing a purple tee shirt makes her feel overdressed. It begs the question what exactly is the dress code at this school / not mental institution? I guess she left the orange jumpsuit in Arizona.

Bella goes off to class and observes there are, in fact, other white chicks at this school. Go her. Then, once again, the child mimics the parent.

I flushed tomato red.

At least she hasn’t hit crimson or garnet. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time. She has, of course, read every book in her English curriculum. Because, you know, Phoenix standards are far, far superior. For those keeping score at home, it’s page 17 and I’m still waiting for an explanation as to why she moved there in the first place. In the next class, after a snarky comment or two about other classmates trying to help her, she trips over herself again.

At lunch, we have the Cullen clan with a side of snark. Oh joy! People whiter than she is. *slow clap* The quintet are introduced as Emmett, Jasper, Edward, Alice, and Rosalie.

Strange, unpopular names, I thought.

I’ll concede that Emmett and Jasper are less common names. I fail to understand how Edward, Alice, and Rosalie are “strange”. I don’t think hicks name their kids after 18th century children’s book characters or British royals. I get that Meyer is trying to set up the fact their names were mainstream, or close to it, at the time. If she really wanted to hit “strange”, she should’ve read a few more baby name books first. Imogen and Asher, I’m looking at you. Bella meets Edward’s eyes and here we go again:

I bit my lip to hide my smile.

I know when a dude looks at me like he’s going to rip my head off and snack on it,  it always gets my no-no bits tingly. Enough of that, time for the next class!

Next to the center aisle, I recognized Edward Cullen by his unusual hair, sitting next to that single open seat.

It’s awfully polite of Edward to give his hair its own seat. Not sure where the rest of him ended up, but wherever that was, it provoked the AnaBella hat trick:

I looked away quickly, shocked, going red again. I stumbled over a book in the walkway and had to catch myself on the edge of a table.

The hair offered no comment.

Once again, the class is something she already studied. Way to go Phoenix public schools! Though apparently they don’t like their students to stay in shape as they only require 2 years of P.E. vs. 4 in Forks’ main center of secondary learning. On page 26 out of 28:

Forks was literally my own personal hell on Earth.

I’m going to ignore the misuse of the word “literally”. I will, instead, direct Ms. Meyer to this video. You’re welcome. Enter my mantra: Why the hell did Bella willingly move to Forks in the first place? We’re a page and a half from the end of the chapter. I’m sure the reveal has been totally worth the previous 27 pages.

My wait proved to be in vain. Bella catches Edward trying to escape from the biology class. The hair, however, was perfectly happy with the schedule. The chapter ends and we have Chekhov’s interstate move. I have, by the grace of God, survived the first chapter.

Only 113 more to go…

XOXO!

Of green eyed monsters and sitting in parking lots

Remember how I said I was jealous of someone younger than me getting promoted faster than I was? How he got the office and fancy title to go with it? Then it hit me. It’s a damn good waste of time to be jealous over something that is, in the grand scheme of things, relatively trivial. I can be recognized for my achievements, and those of my direct reports, regardless of where we’re sitting. It doesn’t matter if there’s a door to close or we’re sitting in the parking lot. He’s a nice guy, he’s a good fit for the job, and all things happen in good time. I was told not to expect another promotion until late 2015 due to various politics, procedures, and budgetary concerns. I know my own worth and now I know what I’m worth to other employers. That’s something to be proud of regardless of what office real estate I occupy. Though sitting in the parking lot in July in Georgia isn’t much fun.

In other news, we’re about to finish Week 3 of the Couch to 5k program. I took a leaf from the half marathon training guide when we were out for our run yesterday. The guide suggested to run at a pace where you can still carry on a conversation. As a result, I added about a minute to my pace. Given the heat, it was probably a good idea. Even going out at 7p, it was still in the high 80s (29*C give or take). I *can* run an 11 minute mile, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Plus, trying to carry on a conversation helps distract from the time spent jogging. Right now it’s just about making it across the finish line in an upright position. I can worry about speed later.

Here’s to hump day & I have a surprise in store for everyone tomorrow. Muahaha.

XOXO!

Motivational Monday: Self Acceptance vs. Self Love

ac·cept·ance

[ak-sep-tuhns] 

noun

1. the act of taking or receiving something offered.
2. favorable reception; approval; favor.
3. the act of assenting or believing: acceptance of a theory.
4. the fact or state of being accepted or acceptable.

love

[luhv]

noun

1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
3. sexual passion or desire.
4. a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart.
5. used in direct address as a term of endearment, affection, or the like: Would you like to see a movie, love?
Thank you, Dictionary.com for a copious amount of definitions. Better too much than too little, eh?
Self love gets a ton of press. Every blog I read regularly touches on the topic in some form or fashion. I know I’ve written about it more times than I care to count. Self acceptance, on the other hand, seems to get left behind. In my experience, people associate “acceptance” with giving up or otherwise reaching a stopping point. I argue that this is not so. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, acceptance actually ranks higher than love. He refers to it as “self actualization”. This comes in the  form of creativity, problem solving, and lack of prejudice. Self esteem falls in a lower tier. You have to love before you can accept yourself. I’ll give you a second to ponder that.
When you love someone else, regardless of the relationship, you accept their flaws and shortcomings. You love them anyway. Now turn that inward. Once you love yourself, you can accept your own flaws and shortcomings. Accepting something isn’t giving up. It’s a sign of respect for yourself and others. So, so many blogs will give lengthy lists about showing self love. I’m a great lover of lists. I have them laying around everywhere. But what about self acceptance? What about yourself is static that you can learn to accept and respect? Here are a few of mine:
  • I’m very, very fair skinned. I think about the sun and I burn. I accept that. I wear big hats and buckets of sunscreen during the summer.
  • I’m 5’9″ (175cm) & pear shaped. Finding pants that fit is frustrating at best. I accept that. I wear skirts or dresses instead.
  • I was depressed & lost for a long time. I accept that. I can’t go back and change it.
  • I’m epileptic. I accept that. I respect the limitations that come along with it.
In short, live it, love it, respect it. It’s up to you what “it” is.
Motivational Tidbit Takeaway: R-E-S-P-E-C-T
XOXO!

Of hippies and inappropriate items as pillows

There’s a lot to be said for emotional distance putting things in perspective.

A month ago, we had hit the first day of Bonnaroo. I look back and what the hell was I thinking? I hate being outside. I hate being in large groups of strangers. I hate the sun. I hate bugs. I hate the smell of weed. I love esoteric music, but I can get that from the comfort of my Google Play account in my air conditioned apartment. Instead of kicking myself over it, I have to laugh. It was doomed to fail from the start. Most of it was the sleep deprivation. I totally understand why that’s used as a method of torture. However, I wouldn’t be ready to tell you the nuclear weapon launch codes. I’d have already ripped off your head and started using it as a pillow. The next dude in the door would have his work cut out for him.

Give yourself a little emotional distance. You may not be able to laugh at a situation, but you can get a better perspective. Whatever you’re struggling with, separate yourself as much as you can. Even a quarter of an inch is more than you were able to see before. You’ve got this. Someday, it’ll make a great story.

XOXO!

Of not wearing pants to work and turn offs

I was head hunted yesterday (a colloquialism for being recruited elsewhere while still employed) for the first time. I admit, I was flattered. The recruiter found an old resume hanging out online and called me based on that. I decided to play it straight and ask what company they were recruiting for and how much they were willing to pay. The company is a small, local independent firm. The minimum they’re willing to pay is $18,000 more than I’m making now. The maximum is $38,000 more than my current salary. My eyes about popped out of my head.

It’s no secret that my company is one of the lowest paying in the industry. I witnessed it firsthand when I saw how much my new hires were making and how low their salary would still be after a significant raise. After consulting with my dad, Boy, and my boss, they told me to go for it. I submitted my application and now I’m waiting to hear back about an interview. On paper, I’m a pretty good fit. My licenses alone are good enough to get me through the door. With 6 years in the industry under my belt, I’d be surprised if I wasn’t offered the chance to interview. I always knew I could get paid more for what I brought to the table. What I’ve been missing in pay, I’ve been making up for in environment. This opportunity definitely put that into immediate and harsh perspective.

My tattoos are almost universally a turn off to more “legitimate” firms. It doesn’t matter how smart I am, how much experience I have, or what kind of promise I show. You have tattoos? Thank you, don’t call us, we’ll call you. My boss scoffed at the idea saying it was ridiculous that people should judge me based on it. The only thing our dress code mentions regarding tattoos is that they can’t be offensive. Unless I decide not to wear pants to work, my offensive tattoo will remain covered. Frankly, not wearing pants to work is a much larger offense. Should I be offered an interview, I won’t go out of my way to hide them. I’ll present myself in proper interview attire, but I’m not going to show up in a full suit and tights in July. Been there, done that, wasn’t worth the effort. I also don’t currently have a suit that fits. I’ve given up on the bullshit. Let my qualifications speak for themselves. If someone is unwilling to hire me because of my body art, then I have no interest in working for them. Officially, we’re a business casual office. Typically, I’m one of the better dressed ones. I do consider my audience and dress appropriately. If I’m going to be standing up in front of the president of the company and other execs, I won’t show up in a sleeveless top, no matter how well tailored, which shows my arms in all their glory.

My plan is elegant in its simplicity. Show up as I would on a “nice” day to work, be honest about my experience and expectations, then leave it be. If they offer me the job, I can always say no. If they don’t offer me the job, I’m no worse off than I am now. 

Watch what happens.

XOXO!

Of major life events and bucket lists

Everything in life is a relationship. Y’all know I love to make analogies to romantic relationships all the time. Right now, I can’t be in a committed one with dance.

I got a wedding invitation last week. A friend of mine is getting married in October. I’ve had her save the date up on my wall for months. You know how things tend to blend into the background when you stare at them too long? That was the case with me. I can’t take a week off for dance when I need that time off to see my friend get married. I’m also planning a trip up to Virginia to spend time with my niece for her birthday. In the grand scheme of things, I would feel like a horrible person for missing her wedding. I haven’t seen my niece since she was 2 months old. She’ll be 2 next month. I don’t want to put myself in a position where I have to be extra careful with my PTO. Doing the Friday night – Sunday afternoon turn around SUCKS. My friends and family are more important than a week of dance.

I’ve been wasting money for months on memberships that I don’t use. My schedule and my life just aren’t conducive to any kind of lengthy commitment. It’s much better for me to have a drop in card that I can use when I have the time. We need to be in a more casual relationship. It doesn’t mean I love it any less, there are just other things that have a higher priority. I’ve known for a long time that I needed to scale it back. I don’t know about y’all, but I get a heavy feeling in my chest. Now I know where the term “heart sinks” comes from. I try to ignore it, but that doesn’t make it go away. Who knew? I have to accept it sooner or later. It’s hard enough to walk away from a relationship where nothing went wrong. It’s even harder to walk away from a relationship where you still care, but it just isn’t working out. Might as well rip the bandaid off now.

As for fitness options, Boy & I are well on our way to the 5k. We started Week 2 on Saturday. My ultimate goal is to participate in the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February. I’ll be up to a 10k by the end of October. I’ll be up to half marathon distance about a month before the race. It’s definitely a realistic goal. There are tons of apps that will coach you through the various distances. My dad has done everything from a 5k to a marathon and his best distance is a 10k. It can’t hurt to try every distance to see what happens. For all I know, I may turn out to be a marathon runner. Plus, it’s something to check off the bucket list. ;) If someone had told me 6 months ago that I’d be looking forward to running every week, I would have thought they were insane. I think this “runner’s high” thing is real. Even though we’re panting and sweating out 5 pounds of water weight, there’s still the *high five* fuck yeah we did it!* feeling. So we only jogged for 90 seconds, but we did it. Baby steps.

You remember that comment I made about completing a triathlon? That was a real goal I set back in 2010. I went about it all wrong. I thought because I was doing CrossFit at the time (terrible idea, btw, but another blog post for another time), I was 100% equipped to handle an endurance event. Yeah, no. I burned myself out largely before I even began. I had no idea how to properly train. It’s still something I want to do, but one thing at a time. I *know* there’s an app for that. I doubt I’ll hit Ironman level (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, & 26.2 run), but who knows? I be crazy sometimes. The sprint distance (1/2 mile swim, 12 mile bike, & 5k) is a much more reasonable goal. :P

Good bye for the moment, dance. It was fun.

XOXO!