2017-12-13 Big News Today!

I’ve been unemployed for five and a half months. I’ve rested, rejuvenated, and rediscovered a sense of purpose for myself in this life.

As of today, December 13, I’m back on the payroll!.. Woo-hoooo!!

In the past month I began to get more serious about finding the right job for me. I had narrowed down my requirements and options. I did a little networking and opened my mind to different possibilities.

I passed my resume to a friend who passed it on to a company he does work for. In just a few short weeks, I had a series of conversations with the co-founders and they apparently liked what they saw and heard. Last week they indicated they were interested in hiring me for the role of Technical Writer. How perfect is that??!

If I took a short trip back in the past and revisited those times I wrote about what I was looking for in a company and a job, it would not take long to recognize this opportunity is spot on!

1. Remote work with flexible hours. ✅

2. Not more than 30 hours a week so I still have time for parenting and school. ✅

3. Great company with smart people and good culture (as verified by my friend). ✅

4. A wage that meets my needs. ✅

5. A job that utilizes my current skills AND is more focused on something I’m passionate about.. writing! ✅

What’s the down side? We’ll see. It’s a 4 month contract to start so it’s potentially not permanent. Still, it alleviates my concerns about the immediate future.

I was not sure how I would feel going back to work because I have enjoyed my time off so much. The truth is that I’m quite excited about it. I’m looking forward to working on something new and contributing to a team. I sent the signed contract in this morning and have my first official meeting today. Yes!

Living the Dream,

~Miss SugarCookie

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2017-12-12 How Do They Do It?

This past weekend I had an interview with the manager at my gym for a position as a front desk attendant. For those who don’t know, there’s typically a person who stands at the info desk near the entrance to the gym and is responsible for greeting people.

The other job responsibilities include, as I discovered Sunday, cleaning, running the cash register, and answering the phones. No sales, no membership discussion, and “no stress”. It really would be the perfect side gig for me to pick up a shift here or there for some extra spending cash. Right?! But there’s a catch. The pay.

“Minimum wage”, he says. “Our hands are tied on this one and it’s dictated by corporate”. When he said that I just smiled and nodded because that’s what you do in a job interview.

So what is minimum wage in Nebraska? Nine dollars an hour. NINE DOLLARS AN HOUR. What??

My first jobs in the 90’s were all minimum wage. One was a waitress which was 2.15 an hour plus tips. The others were 4.25 I think. When I moved to Nevada, I landed a gig at the Treasure Island Hotel that was 75 cents above the minimum which I believe was around 5 bucks an hour. That was 1993.

That means, boys and girls, that in 24 years, the minimum wage has only been raised by about 4 dollars. This varies from state to state, but not by much.

There is no way in Hell that this increase covers or matches the cost of living increases that have also happened in the last 20+ years. Plus, the government is also taking a much bigger cut for taxes than ever before. And don’t even get me started about the extra cost of healthcare.

I’ve done the calculations recently looking at tax brackets and figuring in things like social security and Medicare. It’s out of control. For a person making a 9 dollar an hour wage, about 20% is going to come right off the top, leaving about $7.20 for “take home”.

For someone working 50 hours a week, which they would have to do just to survive, it comes out to less than 20K a year. That’s just insanity.

The intent of minimum wage is supposed to be a wage a person can live on. It’s not intended to be a supplemental or student wage. A person entering the work force as an unskilled laborer should be able to pay for housing, transportation, and food. And perhaps that’s possible, but there is no way for anyone to save or plan ahead for emergencies or, god forbid, other things that increase their quality of life like vacations or entertainment.

It makes me wonder how people who earn minimum wage do that. It also makes me wonder how corporations get away with that as an offering or policy. I mean I know how and why they do it. The bottom line is King and as long as people accept it, they will keep doing it.

What I’m really asking is how do the people dictating these policies sleep at night? Do they have no conscience? Have they gone so far in their own life that they have forgotten what it’s like to be at the beginning? Perhaps they started from a place of privilege and have never been there at all. In any case, it’s sickening.

I’m fortunate enough to not have to live on minimum wage. I’ve come a long way myself, and truthfully did not realize this was a thing until I started looking into it.

This job at the gym would be perfect for me (if I had the spare hours, which I probably won’t). However, I can’t, in good conscience, work for a company that refuses to give what is probably 20% of their work force any more than the minimum. Shame on them.

The person I talked with on Sunday is supposed to call me today to let me know if they want to hire me. I’m ready.. “No thanks!”.

I’m Out,

~Miss SugarCookie

2017-12-07 Let Me Eat Cake

This morning I’m back in my happy place on “my” elliptical machine staring out at an almost completely empty gym. All the working people are probably already on their way to or at work. All the Non working people are probably not up yet. 😜 The exception to that seems to be people who are retired and.. well.. me.

I think my problem last night was caused by the number crunching. In light of the job situation change soon, I wanted to be absolutely certIn what kind of income I require. I had previously gone through July, August, and September expenses compiling all the data but for some reason I stopped there.

I went through October which was an interesting month to look at because for the most part I had completely reined my sending in, but then I went to Hawaii which threw in a pretty massive fluctuation. This anomaly was split between October and November so for one month it did not seem too harsh. Even still, the bottom line was staring at me and I realized I have to factor in spending for travel as a part of my lifestyle. It truly is a part of my lifestyle I don’t want to sacrifice.

Once I had my target monthly figure the real number crunching began. The questions?.. How much do I have to work, hourly, and at what rate to hit the target?

Something came up this week which I was not previously familiar with. This was the possibility that my income might end up being 1099 instead of W2. This means that I have to not only factor in possibly paying for my own healthcare but also Social Security and Medicare tax. This is roughly another 15% that needs to be accounted for. Damn.

Contract employees typically get paid more for this reason (or they should). I’m glad this came to light before I enter into any negotiations. I’m also glad I did this extra crunching because now I have actual figures in mind.

Of course I’m still asking the universe to let me have my cake and eat it too. I want to work less and get paid more. Ideally I want to work an average of 30 hours a week but still make enough to hit my monthly target. Oh.. and I also want the frosting which is to be working on something I want to be working on with smart, cool people.

Ok universe, do your thing!

Today I’m not only looking forward to having a job interview but also getting my ducks lined up to enroll in school. Two more hoops to jump and I’ll be set.

Depending on how all that goes I may or may not have time to put my HVAC hat on. We’ll see.

Bring on the Cake,

~Miss SugarCookie

2017-12-07 Negative One Hours Until Tomorrow

This is the first time in a long time that I could not seem to fall asleep shortly after going to bed. The clock has turned over time and it is now tomorrow, which means everything I may reveal probably happened “yesterday”. The last couple days in general have been full of lots of things. There has been a lot that I did and a lot that I did not do.

I went to the startup collaborative’s “one million cups” session which was interesting as always, but sort of feels like a waste of my time. I’m not likely going to find a job or discover the new “best” thing there, but it is a chance to network a little bit and get more comfortable doing that. I’m challenging my own social anxiety more than anything else.

I applied for two more jobs online bringing my weekly total to seven. I originally targeted three a day, but I’ve adjusted my goal to ten a week plus communications with five other known contacts about potential contracting. So far I have done two of the latter. The folks in California seem really interested in me and I have another interview with them tomorow.. er.. today.

What I didn’t do is probably a more telling story…
1. I didn’t hit my daily step goal.
2. I didn’t blog (making up for that now I guess).
3. I didn’t get to ordering my official transcripts so I can register for school.
4. I didn’t look into filling out my financial aid forms.
5. I didn’t work on my HVAC issues (though I do now have the new hardware to do this).
6. I didn’t eat any vegetables (unless you count the ones cut up in the home-made chili I had for lunch).

Instead, I opted to do meet ups, and coffee, and chat with people almost all day until I was ready to be home and be alone. Once it got to that point, I opted to make cookies (gluten free of course) instead of eating healthy or getting more exercise. All evening I sat at my laptop researching one thing or another until I decided it was time for bed. That’s when I realized my mind was crazy-busy and I’ve been lying awake in the dark ever since.

Right now, I have my sweet kitten on my lap and I’m still not feeling tired. My sister and I talked about doing the “whole 30” together, which I’m completely uneducated about so I may go surf the electronic superhighway for info on that. I’ve heard people talk about it before but never looked into it.

Perhaps more on that tomorrow (aka/ later today),
Ciao,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-12-05 The Tuesday Transition

The kids are at their dad’s house and I’m waking up to an empty house, which always feels weird no matter how often I have to go through this transition. I always tell myself it’s going to be good because I can sleep in, but then Tuesday comes and I’m awake around the usual 6:30 with no ability or desire to try and fall back asleep. I always tell myself it’s going to be good when they are graduated and off on their own life path, but I think I’m in denial about that too. I like our morning routine even though it’s quite trying at times. I like having them here, laughing and complaining and filling the house with activity. I’ve only got a few more years.. I really need to make the most I can of it.

One part of our normal morning routine is dropping them off at school. It’s a reason for me to get up and get dressed and by the time 7:45 AM rolls around, I’m energized and ready to get out the door. I typically dress for the gym so I can go there right after, and in recent weeks it has worked out great. I start my day with 10K steps and a writing session from the elliptical. I would guess that at least half of the blog posts in the last three weeks were written at the gym. That’s maximizing my time for sure!

Without that motivation to get the kids up and going though, I find myself not getting dressed as quick and not really feeling like jumping in the car to go anywhere. And this morning it’s cold outside, so that makes it even harder.

Yup, it’s just me in my big, beautiful house wth only my pretty kitty, Kayla, and no where to be and no one to be accountable to. It’s kind of a bummer.

I’m going to try and get motivated to go to my new job, which is looking for a job, but that doesn’t exactly sound appealing either. My original goal for December was to contact or communicate with three people/businesses a day about potential employment but I truly did not start that until yesterday. I put in three job applications and sent email out to two people.

One was a guy I met last week at 1 million cups who is developing a health care product/system which prevents falls in hospitals and the other was one of the founders of a healthcare contracting/consulting company out in California. I actually have a meeting with the latter today at 3PM.

Anyway.. I’ve got to get up and start something. I’m not sure what that will be yet, but if I don’t start, I won’t ever get to the middle or the end.

Happy Tuesday,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-12-04 Part-Time Problems

Monday morning again and my head is full of things I want to put on the to-do list this week. The challenge? Making the job search a priority.

Sadly, the issues I had this past with my HVAC, iPhone, and laptop ended up being welcome distractions from what should be my main goal. Despite that though, I now have two rockstar resumes that focus on specific jobs and am ready to start applying.

I had previously considered taking a part time job just to earn some quick cash to ease the Christmas strain. I’m sure that when the Baby Jesus arrived he never intended for his birthday to cause People monitary stress and depression (not that I’m depressed but The holidays cause lots of people to feel both stress and depression).

Also.. as a benevolent, omnipresent being, I’m pretty sure He never intended people to wage wars or die “in His good name” (Lily Allen said it best with her song “Him”). I digress.

This past weekend I not only put in an application at my gym but also attended an informative session about becoming a Jazzercise instructor. The problem with both of these is that they do not and will not pay enough to meet my minimum (which I knew already). They would merely be supplemental to some other gig. Still there would be value in both.

For the gym, it would be interaction with like minded adults, which I don’t have enough of but also that it would be super convenient to pick up some shifts since the gym is 5 blocks from my house and I’m there every other day anyway.

For Jazzercise it would also be the camaraderie but also a financial win. I would be getting paid for working out instead of paying. Jazzercise is 60 bucks a month and in evaluating my spending I will admit that is one of the next things to get cut. I do love my Jazzercise but in the grand scheme of things, I should be able to do all the working out I need at home and the gym.

My gym membership is a mere $82 annually. That’s less than 7 bucks a month. Over 10 years ago I bought into a lifetime membership which locked that price in.. indefinitely. Last year my gym got bought out by another company and they are still honoring that contract. It’s AMAZING.

Anyway, I would be willing to let the Jazzercise go in order to not have to pay their membership fee, but a much better option would be for them to pay me instead. Right?

The catch is that the certification process costs about 1800 bucks. It would be an investment in the future for sure but the timing is poor. Pretty soon now I’ll be working again AND have 30 hours a week dedicated to the MFA coursework. I’m not going to have any free time to participate in the process.

Perhaps when I’m on a solid track with an established routine, I can revisit the “part time” scene. Until then, it’s time to push that job search stuff to the top of the list.

Time to hit it and git it!

~Miss SugarCookie

2017-11-30 The Last Day Of November

When I decided I was going to quit my job I had a very general idea about the timeline I would adhere to for the remainder of the year. In review..

July – Adjust to not working, reconnect with important people in my life, meet new people, and travel the Pacific North West. Check ✅

August – Focus on myself and health. I set goals, worked on gardening and exercising and started cooking more. I

Dipped my toe in the dating scene and that left me somewhat sour, but I tried it. ✅

September – Originally this month was supposed to be dedicated to figuring out what I wanted to be when I grew up. I did do a little of this but almost none of it was related to how to obtain income like I intended. Instead it turned into a second August where I was very self-centered in just doing whatever I wanted. In the end my grand life epiphany led me to submit an application for the MFA program. So I’m a way, I sort of accomplished what I set out to do. ✅

October – Presumably I would have my life figured out by this point so this month was earmarked for actually looking for a job. Instead what I did was have my third August. Ummm.. ok. I don’t think I can even pretend I was on track by this point. However, I still felt great about EVERYTHING.

November – Doing analysis for my financials led me to really determine what my needs are. By this point I should have been deep in job search land but was not. I procrastinated that daily as I looked forward to my escape to Hawaii. Oh yeah, Maui! My savings were dwindling daily and for the rest of my life I will never regret going. Add that Mantra to my list “No Regrets”.

Today is the last day of November and In my grand master plan I would be zeroing in on a new job. A source of income to sustain my family is a top priority at this point. It’s time to get serious. I think I’ve successfully separated what I want for my life from what I need. I can now look at jobs more objectively.

I don’t need to find something that will repel me up a ladder and also check boxes for life fulfillment. I’m getting that from the other aspects of my life. Im getting it from my children and relationships and writing and experiences. I’m checking the box for continued personal growth with the MFA and the Master Gardner program.

The job I’m looking for needs to satisfy a slim but probably still tough to find set of requirements.

1. A minimum income to sustain my lifestyle. Thank goodness I’ve always lived well inside my means.

2. Flexibility to allow me to spend a necessary amount of time on those items listed in the previous paragraph.

3. A good company with a good mission, vision, and culture.

The end result might be contract work utilizing my current skills and expertise or it could be a full time gig helping me cross over into different industries. I’m open to either. What I can’t have is something that is a copy of what I’ve done in the past.. stress, poor work life balance, and a lack of growth.

Today I’ve set a goal for myself to update my resume for a few very specific job descriptions and also my LI profile. I’m also intending to reach out to three contacts to start spreading the word that I’m available. I’m going to do three a day until I’ve exhausted my list. Yes, December is going to be the month I get everything rolling. I expect that will take me straight into the holidays when the whole world pauses and nothing gets done.

My residency for the MFA is scheduled for Dec. 28 through Jan. 6 so I won’t want to actually start a new gig until then. It’s going to work out perfectly… I’m confident!!

It’s Go Time!

~Miss SugarCookie