Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Misfit Con

I love the message of this conference.

Misfit Con Fargo 2013 from Misfit, Inc. on Vimeo.

"Perfect is always the horizon.  To reach that horizon you can keep walking toward it, and you should, but there's always going to be another horizon."

"Making Better Best".  It sounds like a lot of work.  It sounds like a never ending journey.  It's walking toward that horizon and never stopping to rest.

It sounds tiring to me too.  I bet you aren't giving yourself enough credit. You are probably walking toward the horizon each day, even if you're only taking baby steps and accomplishing tiny goals.  Recognize all that you are doing to be the best you that you can be each day.  Some days for me it really is as simple as keeping a snarky comment to myself.  The horizon is to not let the negative thoughts enter my mind, but in the mean time, keeping things to myself that don't need to be said is a good step.

Be proud of yourself and all that you are accomplishing.  Those feelings are the best motivation to keep you going.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Back to School - Decide on a Degree

What do you want to do with your life?  Who the heck knows the answer to this question when they're 18?! If you're 18 or younger and you know what you want to do with your life, good on you.  Seriously.  I admire your style. I certainly didn't know.  And when I graduated with my bachelor's degree, I still didn't know.

A few years later, I have a better idea.  Now I'm choosing a master's degree.

Analyzing yourself - What courses have you enjoyed in the past?  I was really into the marketing class that I took during my first four years of college.  So interested that I recorded each lesson so I could go back and listen to the ones that inspired me.  Asking yourself what parts of each of your previous jobs you loved or hated is also a good way to analyze yourself.

Job searching - I've found this is the best way to determine what degree I would like to pursue.  I typically use for my job searches. (Full disclosure: I have never gotten a job that I learned about through Indeed.  I very rarely ever got interviews from jobs I learned about through Indeed.)  However, Indeed has a nice feature that will send new job postings to any of your customized searches to your email, and I'm a total dreamer.  Vitamin C implied that you'd think it's so cool.

<div align=center>
Sidenote: a) check out those cool 90's moves! b) wish I looked that good in yellow. c) I fell down the rabbit hole of 90's music and lost an hour of my life.

Look at some of the jobs you'd love to have.  I created a spreadsheet with some of mine, writing down the title, organization, degree requirements and experience requirements.  I got at least a 3 job postings per dream job to compare, and eventually I knew exactly what it'd take.

Talk to people - Once you narrow down a few degrees, talk to a few people who earned that degree and ask them how it helped them land a job.  Were there a ton of options out there?  Did their degree make them feel pigeonholed?

What Didn't Work for Me:
Tests - All those career tests told me what I may be good at, but not what I would love.  They didn't help me at all.

Asking others how they found their mojo - What I did discover is that most people haven't.  And the ones that have say "they just knew".  Maybe people just didn't want to talk to me.

Working within tight timeframes - "I have to decide before I graduate high school!", "I have to decide before my sophmore year of college!", "I have to decide before I graduate with my BS so I can apply for an MS!"  I felt pressured.  I felt like I was making decisions because they had to be made.  I needed a little time with less pressure.

My decision:  Marketing


Ironically, the first class of my Master's degree was Decision Making Analysis.  Why don't they teach you this in highschool?!  One of the first techniques we learned was so applicable that I have to share.  This one is for all you number freaks like me.

Step 1: List your potential majors on a sheet of paper with some space in between.
Step 2: List the pros and cons about each one.  Try to keep the total pros/cons the same (how I did 3 for each)
Step 3: Rate each one on desirability from -100 (completely and utterly undesirable) to 100 (super-awesome-fun-time)
Step 4: How likely is this pro or con to happen? Give each a percentage.
Step 5: Get a rating for each pro/con by multiplying desirability times the probability.  Don't forget your negatives!
Step 6: Total your ratings for each major.  The one with the highest total rating might just be your winner.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Avoiding the After 5 Burnout

Have you reached that point in your life where you suddenly freeze and think "Whoamygosh, I'm turning into my parents!"  Not that we don't want to be like our parents.  Maybe you had that thought when you realized you're a rockstar cook like your dad.  Rock on! (and please do share your recipes)  Or maybe it was when you freaked out about wet towels on the floor.  I get it.  Sometimes our patience goes on holiday without us, and it just makes us freaking mad!

As a species, we observe, judge, declare we will NEVER do the observed item, and then, years after our declaration, lapse into doing exactly what we rebuked.  And sometimes, parents are observed.  I'm just saying, it happens.  A total coincidence.

I'm talking about the 5pm burnout today.  Growing up, I observed (where? who knows...) that life after 5pm consisted of sitting on the couch and watching TV until bed, at least 4 days a week.  I vowed to never be that person.  After all, there was life to live out there.

I'm dancing on the edge of that line.  I need to be pulled right back to the me side, and stop flirting with the side that I observed.  When it's not the TV, it's the computer.  I validated the computer because I was "learning" or "connecting" or "applying for jobs" but when I'm honest, I am mostly wasting my time being sedentary.

I know all the excuses.  I'm totally there.  I just really don't want to be.

Ideas to fix the problem:

  • Get out of the habit - I think that I set myself up to fail by watching TV during dinner.  Once it's on, you're glued to it.  Perhaps this can be remedied by purchasing a dining room table.  Or maybe only allowing one episode and then having to find something else to do.
  • Get 8 hours of sleep every night - Sometimes energy is the problem, not habit.  I'm going to try to get 8 hours of sleep each night and see if that gives me more energy to be more active after work.  That means a 10pm bedtime for me.
  • Get the other involved - This isn't going to work if my partner is on the couch while I'm trying to get off it.  I'll need to get him on the betterment train too.
  • Eat clean - Another energy booster, so I'm told.  I'll try to eat well and see if proper fueling helps motivate me to move after work.
  • Help cook - My significant other cooks for me 95% of the time.  I offer moral support (read: sitting in the kitchen while he cooks and talking to him to prevent him from becoming ridiculously bored, which would surely happen if he didn't have my voice as a backdrop) but that's not really enough.  Maybe I'll pick up some cooking skills along the way.
  • Free up the weekend - I want to have as much fun as possible on the weekend.  I do not want to do laundry, gardening, cleaning, etc. Why save all these tasks for my precious days off?  If something only takes a few hours, it can be done in the evening to keep me off the couch.
  • Make weeknights fun - I like lists.  Maybe you don't need one.  Maybe you just need to think about other activities you could be doing aside from watching TV on the couch.  Props to your brain power.  I'll make a list of activities we could be doing instead of vegging out.

I can't wait to share what works for me this week!

Back to School

When people consider ways to improve themselves, continuing their education is almost always a thought.  In 2011, I finished my bachelor's degree and while I thought I'd eventually get my masters, I wanted to do it slowly on the side.  I simply wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do with my life yet, and didn't want to contniue going to school to put off "real life".

But now, I've decided that I need to go back to school and get my master's degree.  Join me on the journey.

Here's the breakdown:
  • Decide on a degree
  • Choose a school
  • Determine costs per credit and configure into budget
  • Complete application requirements
  • Register for classes
That all seems way too easy.  Why should I wait?

*Image credit to