Archives for the month of: December, 2014

Christmas is over. I hated typing that sentence! Alas, it is true. We’re still smack in the middle of the holidays until after New Year’s, right? That’s what I’m going to tell myself.

After all the Christmas stress and shopping and parties and more parties and family and gift-giving and eating (so much eating…), it’s no wonder I feel exhausted! Then I also took a look at my bank account and it looks exhausted, too. It’s been a rough month, but I want to talk briefly about finances. Moving out on my own and working at my first “big-girl job” have both taught me (along with my parents) valuable money-saving tips. I have a great habit now of, when I get paid, immediately transferring some money into my long-term savings and then some into my short-term savings (my weekly “allowance”, if you will), and then calculating how much I’ll need for bills, gas, groceries, etc. Because I take a little bit of time each month to do this, I feel SO MUCH BETTER for the rest of the month. Sure, I make lots of jokes about being “poor,” but I don’t struggle. I can’t eat out for each meal or go on shopping sprees and that’s okay with me! I feel so responsible and secure and adult when I plan out my monthly spending habits.

I think learning how to budget and plan for what’s ahead was one of the biggest challenges for me after moving out. I did some budgeting before, but never on a large scale. I also know that my parents would jump in to help me if I ever truly needed them (if, for example and God forbid, my car died unexpectedly), but I really like that I haven’t needed them yet. It’s so liberating to be able to say that I can take care of myself.

I wish all readers a healthy, happy, and successful new year ahead! Don’t be afraid to start your budget–you’d be amazed how much easier it is than you think :).

Money fan
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Photo courtesy of Chiot's Run - "O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree".

Photo courtesy of Chiot’s Run – “O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree”.

Lately I’ve been noticing how the people around me talk to each other.  And how I talk to myself.  I find that we all are saying a lot of “haves” and “shoulds”. For example, “I have to stay up all night and cook for Christmas” or “You should be doing something more productive.”

To the former, there isn’t a need for a “have to” in that sentence. Even if things seem as though you HAVE to do them, it’s a choice.  Just like going to work everyday.  You choose to go to work everyday so that you can pay your bills to support your lifestyle.  You don’t HAVE to.  It’s helpful to change the way you talk to yourself in those ways because it makes things that feel obligatory and monotonous inside of your control and choice.

To the latter statement, there isn’t a need for “should” to be in there.  Whether you are talking to yourself, a family member, or a friend, the word “should” is inherently a critical word. It carries with it a load of baggage of what you “should” be doing. It only intensifies anxiety or resentment towards oneself or others. If you eliminate it from your vocabulary, you may just find those negative emotions fade away and you will be able to actually make progress if you are instead compassionate with yourself and others.

Happy Holidays, everyone.  May it be free of “Have tos” and “Should dos”.

Heidi’s great post about networking last week really made me think about whether I’m being proactive in connecting with people professionally (spoiler alert: I could do better). These thoughts culminated last Friday at my office had their annual Christmas party and I found myself talking to a few people that I hadn’t spent much time with before. I’m so glad I did!

I work in a large office, but my group is fairly small. Each one of us may not know everyone in the department enough to say hi and chat on a daily basis, but at the bare minimum we know who we all are by name and face. It felt great to sit at a table for dinner with several co-workers and get to know them in a more relaxed setting. It reminded me of this informative article from Forbes, which discusses the best way to network at a holiday office party. I think one of the best parts about talking to co-workers at an office party is that it is already a less stressful situation. I tend to overthink social situations because I’m naturally a shy person, but if I’m comfortably surrounded by familiar faces in a fun atmosphere, I’m much more likely to strike up a conversation with someone and be confident about it.

I know it’s a little early for New Year’s resolutions, but I think I’d like to try to be more aggressive about networking. I want to get my name out there and let people know that I’m here, I’m smart, I’m capable, so let’s chat!

What about you? What are some recent networking events you’ve attended?

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"Networking" by jairoagua on Flickr (http://bit.ly/12YxfK6).

“Networking” by jairoagua on Flickr (http://bit.ly/12YxfK6).

Nothing. Move on to the next person!

Karen taught me a great phrase to say to yourself when someone is unwilling to talk to you which is, “Some will, some won’t, so what? Next!”  Recently, some people have been inviting me to connect on LinkedIn and I’ve been sending them messages back to ask if we could introduce ourselves on the phone or Skype (another helpful suggestion from Karen).  Some of them will view my profile and then not contact me again.  I could take this as an insult or make up stories about how I’m not good enough or experienced enough to make the person want to talk to me.  Instead, I choose to say, “Their loss!” and move on. Contact other people and soon enough someone who is truly interested in sharing contacts, ideas, and strategies will come along.

Networking sometimes can be a tricky business and if you’re not careful about how you , could have you doubting yourself. Don’t doubt. If someone treats you badly or doesn’t even want to talk to you, pick up your head and keep moving.  If you genuinely want to help people, you’ll eventually have success and end up meeting some amazing friends, bosses, or future business partners.

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