Stuck at a job you hate ?

Should you stay at your job that makes you miserable ?

So many times in life I just wanted to jump from my job, but if you do not have a safety net in place, that can be a dangerous thing.

I have heard stories of people getting ill from work, not because they were exposed to something (in my line of work that is a possibility), but from stress. Unless you work at a mine, or an industrial facility, then your worse exposure is probably from the guy who sits in the cube next to you who came to work sick.

Headaches, nausea, anxiety, I have experienced all these symptoms from too much stress at work. The first job I had out of college was in a high pressure, deadline drive, profit machine of a job. My job directly involved making or losing millions of dollars for the company. The job was very stressful, but it paid very well, and the stress got to everyone at one time or another. I had constant headaches, panic attacks, stomach aches, things I never normally experienced. I saw the life force literally getting sucked out of people, just so they had a few extra bucks on their checks.

A lot of people hate their jobs, they do not believe there is a dream job. I am feeling myself slipping into that category, I grew up with the belief that everyone hates their job, but they go anyway. I have a limiting belief that I am stuck with my current job, and there is no such thing as a dream job.

But what can you learn from job that makes you miserable? What you learn certainly cannot be taught in your dream job. I hated my corporate job, but it was a learning experience that I could have not learned anywhere else. A few key lessons for me;

Money does not solve your problems. I earned a very generous raise, and I thought it would make me feel better, but it did not. I could not even enjoy spending my money, more money did not bring me happiness. The stress , headaches, nausea was still there.
I enjoy working hard, but on my terms, not anyone else’s
There are some, actually most people that are motivated by money, and they will become monsters to get that money at any cost
If a company pays you a lot of money, they OWN you
So many people will stab you in the back if it makes them looks good
You always need a plan for your next move, have plan A, B C all in your back pocket and ready to go.

Any job that steals your life force, you need to quit. Fortunately when I was working for corporate, I knew from the get go that I was only going to stay a few years, make some money and jump ship. I had an escape plan from day one.

If you don’t have a plan, make one ! Plan your escape and your next move. Once your job has gotten to the point where you are getting sick and miserable, you need to get the fuck out ! Change your life situation, and take a hard look at why you are still there. If you are in a job that you hate why are you still there ?

Are you trying to impress someone ? Family or co workers?
Will you let someone down if you quit ?
Is it your only option in town ? Would you have to move to find a better job?
Would you have to take a pay cut to leave ?
Are you the breadwinner in the house and you have others depending on you?

There are countless reasons , but what can you do to get out ? Think about what lessons you have learned from this job, what skills you have picked up ? Are there anymore to learn before you leave ?

Dont give up so easily

Don’t give up after the first try

Or the Second,

Or the third.

If I could go back in time and give my younger self a lesson, it would be that you cant give up so quickly, There is no magic light switch that you can flip and get instant results. I used to think if I put in a little hard work, I could coast the rest of the way to what ever finish line I was chasing.

Early in life I figured out that I didn’t have to put a lot of effort into my school work and I could still pass, I didn’t care about impressing the teachers, well most of them anyways. I only tried hard in life in areas that I wanted to, areas where I thought it might benefit me later in life. I knew that in the real world outside of school I was not going to be doing algebra on a daily basis in what ever job I would get.

Fast forward in life and you cant do the same thing in college. Some of the classes, yes, but if you want to graduate, you are going to have to put in a sustained effort to get to that much anticipated graduation day. You had to play by their rules, jump through hoops. The first time I failed a class it was a wake up call. I learned that you could not coast through life. If I had given up, after the first time I failed a class, I would have never made my way to graduation day.

I went to college with a full awareness that academia and the real world are two different things, and I was going to run into some professors that did not have a realistic view of the world beyond the class room. Much of the practical knowledge I learned is long forgotten, but the lessons and philosophies I learned will stick with me forever.

Life isn’t easy,
Life requires grit
What you put into life you get out of it.
You cannot coast through life and expect great results

If you give up on the first try, you might be livin in a van, down by the river !

Rich Dad Poor Dad Book Review

Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!

Rich Dad Poor Dad

This book has been around for a while, and I recently picked up the 20th anniversary addition. This is a book that I would have never read a few years ago, but recently I have been coming to some realizations about life, and I started looking into personal finance and money. I have read a lot of blogs and watched countless you-tube videos on finance and one book that kept coming up was Rich Dad Poor Dad. Many people recommended it, and said it really changed the way they think about money. There also is a lot of controversy about the author Robert Kiyosaki. There are some mixed reviews out there for sure, and I like to read the controversial stuff and make the decision for myself. A lot of people that criticized it think that the story is not true, and Rich Dad was not a real person and Poor Dad was not actually poor. To me , it doesn’t matter if its true or not, the book never says either way, but I was more interested in the philosophy and mindset towards money. I really liked the book, at the end of each chapter there was a section of questions and review, it made a good recap on the information and made you think about your own situation.

The book is pretty simple really, no complex investing or schemes. Here is a breakdown:

Rich Dad – has money work for him. Is an investor and or business owner. Pays himself first, and taxes second. Buys assets not liabilities.

Poor Dad – Works for money, is an employee, works for someone else or is a self employed person. Pays taxes first and himself second. Buys liabilities, not assets.

We probably have all heard about assets and liabilities before, but I had never really given it much thought. Here is another simple breakdown

Assets- make you money (passive income)
Examples – a rental property, mutual funds, ownership of a business, stocks, etc..

Liabilities- cost you money
Examples – a car, debt, (credit cards etc.) loans, anything you buy that doesn’t make money, like a big screen tv.

This book really shifted my beliefs toward money. You will never get rich working for someone else, you have to buy assets, not liabilities. It is full of examples and stories, and I would recommend anyone who is wanting to learn more about money and finance to check out this time tested classic !

Master your Mental Strength – Book Review

I just finished reading this book and its great way to kick off the new year. If you are looking to up your game in life, check it out !

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do

Amy Morin

This book caught my attention from Amy Morin’s Ted Talk about becoming mentally strong. The description used the analogy that we have to build mental strength just like physical strength. I am into working out my physical body by doing yoga, hiking, jogging, etc, but I never had the thought that you could work out your mind in the same way. There have been some areas in my life where I want to make changes, but I always seem to get stuck or not get very far or just get bored quickly and not getting the results I wanted So after hearing Amy’s Ted talk, I picked up this book to see what she was talking about. The thirteen things are:

1) Don’t waste your time feeling sorry for yourself
2) Don’t give away your power
3) Don’t shy away from change
4) Don’t focus on things you cannot control
5) Don’t worry about pleasing everyone
6) Don’t fear taking calculated risks
7) Don’t Dwell on the past
8) Don’t make the same mistakes over and over
9) Don’t resent others success
10) Don’t give up after the first failure
11) Don’t fear alone time
12) Don’t feel the world owes you anything
13) Don’t expect immediate results

Whether you are trying to start a new business, facing a layoff, dealing with family members, trying to work out more, whatever it is you are trying to do, this book can help you.

At then end of each chapter there is a summary of what to do and what not to do, and there are tips through out the book that you can apply to just about any situation in life. Amy is a licensed clinical social worker, college professor and psychotherapist, she has a wide range of inexperience that she put to use in this book.

A few areas in my life needed a little kick in the pants, and this book has helped me move my goals into high gear !

I am going to a few blog posts on the 13 things coming soon !

Why I don’t set New Years Resolutions

Every year someone you know will be setting new years resolutions. They are going to lose weight, go to the gym more, stop eating afternoon cookies, read more, write that book, this list goes on and on. In the cold and dark of January the yoga studios will be full, gym memberships skyrocket, the parking lot at the gym is full. But come February, the yoga studios are calm again, there is parking at the gym again, and a lot of new gym memberships have been sold, but most people fall back to their old routines of not going to the gym and eating cookies.

I have always wondered why we set set goals for January, that is the worst time of year. Its cold outside, its dark, windy, snowing, raining, everything is covered in ice. Well at least where I live in the northwest. The weather isn’t any better in December, but at least there are the holidays too look forward too, and eggnog. Whats the difference between December and January ? A number on the calendar ! It will change from 2017 to 2018.

Why use a new year to set goals that you know you most likely are not going to achieve anyway ? Is it because everyone else is doing it ? Its just a fad to do it at the turn of the year. Sure a new year means you are getting a little older, maybe a little fatter from all the eggnog you drank (maybe that gym membership isn’t such a bad idea after all).

How many people take a look back at their new years goals in March and check their progress ? Not many, by the time the flowers of spring come around most people have long since forgotten their new years goals.

Setting new goals and actually following through requires on going accountability. If you want to set lasting goals you need to set them much more often and check your progress at regular intervals. You have to take small steps. Sure you want to set big goals, but you have to break them down into bite size chunks. If your goal is to go to the gym more this year, think about how much you went to the gym last year. Did you go twice in January and call it good ? Or did you go 3 times a week all year ? Setting a goal and forgetting about it doesn’t do any good. It takes work !

Instead of setting non specific goals like going to the gym more this year. Set something like, I am going to go to the gym once a week in January and see how I feel. In February I am going to go twice a week and try some new machines. In March I am going to join the yoga class. At the end of each month you can easily measure your goals and re evaluate your future goals. Didn’t make it to the gym twice a week in February ? Why was that, was it something out of your control ? There was a blizzard and you woke up to 3 feet of snow blocking your driveway ? Or was it something that you did like stay up a little too late watching that new show on Netflix ? Don’t beat yourself up for things you can’t control, but you can take responsibility for the things that are in your control.

The first thing I do in a new year is perform a postmortem on the last year. So what did you do in 2017 ? was it everything you set out to do ? Did you just even set out to do anything new in 2017 ? which goals did you achieve ?

I like to call it my 2017 autopsy. Yea I know its not as fun and sexy sounding as a new years resolution, but 2017 is DEAD ! GONE ! January is time to take the last year and reflect, what did I do right ? Wrong ? What can I learn from my experiences last year and apply them to next year. I don’t want to repeat the same mistakes, follow the same rocky road.

What did you do in 2017 ? how can you leverage what you learned last year to improve this year ?

On Personal Development

I was first introduced to the Myers Briggs system when I was working for a large company, it was part of their career development for the employees. It worked a little too well for them, as much as they tried to keep me from leaving a promising corporate career, I learned that I didn’t enjoy what I was doing because I was trying to fake being an extrovert.

Learning that I was INFJ changed my life. I didn’t know it at the time, but it would change my outlook on life entirely. Its been over 5 years since I discovered those 4 letters, and I am still discovering new things about it today.

I found out I am not the only weird one out there, there are actually others who are wired like me ! Not many, as I don’t think I have met one in real life, but they do exist !

My corporate mentors taught me a lot, but one thing I didn’t agree with was always fixing your weaknesses. Fix the weak link, a team is only as strong as its weakest member. Sure you need to work on your weaknesses, but why not leverage your strengths instead ? Why have the person who is a terrible public speaker present a meeting to the big wigs at corporate ? Why have the guy who is terrible at writing write an article for the news print ?

Everyone should work on their weaknesses from time to time, but if you are going to do a big project, why take a fish out of water ?

My personnel development is always changing, every time I learn something new I add it to my list of things to do or not do. Part of my plan was starting this blog to document my journey and be able to see my progress over time. I have a lot of things going on, from creative writing to personal finance . A few of my goals are:

-Finish my novel – I have been working on this since 2014, I am not going to disclose to many details yet as I am not quite ready.
-Set aside more time for creative pursuits (see above)
-Create passive income – part of my financial goals
-Grow my passive income to replace my active income/work for myself
-Write at least 2 blog posts per month
– Exercise at least 3x per week

All of my goals require me to get up a few hours before I go to work. Currently my day job requires me to work 10 hour shifts, and when I get home I am almost always too tired to do much besides eat dinner and relax. In order to get things done I have to do it before work. Also I have 2 small children at home and my wife works full time, and if you have ever tried to get any work done around small children you know what I am talking about, the only time the house is quiet is around 4am.

It all takes small steps, one of my biggest goals is to leave my current job and not work for another employer. I am going to be self employed and work entirely online. I want to travel with my family and its not easy to do it when you have to go into a day job for 40 to 50 hours each week.

As an INFJ a few things I have picked up over the years,
I need alone and quiet time – hiking does wonders
I need some sort of outlet for my creative energy, whether it is working on building/fixing something in the garage or writing my novel, the energy gets stored up and or wasted if I dont put it to good use
I need to exercise regularly and eat well, sounds like common sense, but getting exercise and fresh air does wonders for your soul
I need a balance of social time and alone time

I listed a few of my goals for personal development, what are yours ? Any suggestions ?

INFJ Burnout

What is it about the INFJ burn out ? I cant quite seem to conquer it. To me, just about everything in life gets old after a while, every job I have had eventually turns into the movie Groundhog Day. Its life on endless repeat, and when I feel like there is nothing more to be learned, my brain just shuts off.

Its been a viscous cycle all my life. At first I go head first full steam into something I like, I am obsessed, but after a while, I learn all there is to learn, and I am done. Ready to move on to something else. The only problem is, life doesn’t always follow the same cycle.

A college class requires you to keep working on the same thing for months on end.

An employer wants you to work on the same thing till you retire.

I could go on, but how do you get life to go along with your tendencies. Do you get burned out ? Or do you keep going ? I have known a lot of people who are quite comfortable with endless repetition, and they don’t mind doing the same thing day in and day out, in fact they get quite comfortable doing it and get upset when their routine gets thrown off. A detour ruins their day/week/year etc. I love detours !

I need new stimulation frequently to keep me motivated and interested, I am all in or all out. A lot of advice you read out there says to follow your passion. Ok, but what if your passion changes all the time and I am not even sure what my passions are ? Sure there are a lot of things I am interested in, but after a while it changes.

For example, I used to love working on cars. I liked taking an old run down car and bringing it back to life. This was when I was much younger, and I fell to the allure of my my inferior function Extroverted Sensing. I liked working with my hands, and I was quiet good at it, but I made the mistake of wanting to do it for a living. I started off early in my career as a diesel mechanic, very quickly I learned I was not able to do things on my schedule and my way, as employers are only in it for profit, they want things done fast and with short cuts. They don’t really care about too much else. I wanted to do things right, and to do things right it takes, time, and that is not profitable. I burned out quickly, when I worked on cars for a hobby, I could stop when I wanted, take my time and do the job right, but not so when working for someone else.

Fast forward about 15 years and I still like cars, and I like to work on them in my spare time, but I could never do it for a living again. Now I know that my inferior function is fun , but using it too much will lead to burn out.

Infj’s out there, what do you do about burn out ?

The grass always looks greener on the other side

Sometimes its hard to get over that fence, but when you do, and you look back, you realize the grass was green the whole time, you just had to see it from a different angle. Sometimes it hard to see outside the bubble you live in.

Its hard for the gold fish to experience life outside the fish tank. Some people live in a small opaque bubble, others in a large transparent bubble, some are always trying to expand their bubble and see what is on the out side. How do you know what you don’t know ? Some people let their bubble get smaller and smaller and they are ok with it. Their worldview shrinks so slowly they don’t even realize it . You cant call yourself worldly if you don’t travel more than a few miles away from your house.

There have been a few times in life, well actually more than a few where I suffered from grass is greener syndrome. I would be in a situation, and I felt like all I needed was a change , or a jump over the fence, and eventually I got there, just to realize the same problems are on the other side of the fence too. But since I was in my bubble I had a hard time seeing what was on the other side of the fence. There have a many times when I was in a menial job, or one with terrible working hours, and getting over the fence was a stepping stone into a better situation. A lot of companies want smart people, but people not smart enough to realize they are being taken advantage of. I lost a job, due to a price crash of commodities, and I took the first job I could find. I had a baby at home and needed some income. The first job I got wasn’t great, but it was some money coming in. It was seasonal, as in I was going to get laid at the end of the season, but it was better than no money coming in. I only worked there about a month before a better opportunity presented itself, and I put in my notice. The last day of work, my boss had to give me a ride home (I had a company truck that I had to return) and I was talking with him, and he told me, “ I need smart people, but people who are not smart enough to realize that they can get better jobs”. That quote has stuck with me, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that is how a lot of the world works.

A lot of people hate their jobs, but they either don’t want to leave, or don’t have the ambition to learn how to do something they really want to. Or they have given themselves the golden handcuffs, The longer you stay in that job you hate, the smaller your bubble gets, the wall start shrinking, and you are not growing, and if you are not growing, you are dying.

So many things can limit your bubble, your job, your location, your school. But you can expand your bubble by seeking new experiences and new people. Some times its not always easy to get a new job, or the one you want just isn’t there. If you what you want doesn’t exist, why not create your own ?

The bubble is constantly pushing and pulling, you are expanding it when you go somewhere new, or take that new job in a new city. But eventually the new memories start to fade, and you need to make more to replenish the fading ones. You might start running into diminishing returns for the new experiences, and that’s when you have to realize the grass is green right under your feet, and choose your next adventures carefully.

How to deal with change

Hem and Haw

I just finished reading a book titled, Who Moved my Cheese ? Its a very short and simple book, it took me about an hour to read it. Its very simple but a powerful read. There are 4 characters; Sniff, Scurry, Hem and Haw. Sniff and Scurry are mice and Hem and Haw are Littlepeople who look kinda like people but are the size of mice. They all live in the Maze, and they all look for Cheese. The maze is an analogy for what ever you want it to be, your career, your persoal life, your relationships, etc. the Cheese is an analogy for money, your spouse, etc. you get the idea.

Every day the 4 characters leave their houses and run out into the Maze looking for Cheese. Their names have almost literal meaning. Scurry runs out into the maze and up and down all the corridors looking for his Cheese, he runs fast, but he needs a little direction, this is where Sniff comes in, Sniff uses his nose and chases the Cheese in a more methodical way, he sniffs and when he hits a dead end, he makes a note of it and sniffs his way into another area. He keeps going slowly with the help of Scurry until they find some cheese. They don’t over complicate things, they just go until they find their Cheese. They have jogging shoes, and they wear them until they find the Cheese, then hang them on their neck in case they need to put them on again. Each day they roam the Maze for Cheese and then return home at the end of the day.

Hem and Haw are more complex than Sniff and Scurry, they have emotions and beliefs that they follow and sometimes can get in the way of finding their Cheese. In the beginning they are the same as Sniff and Scurry, they put on their jogging shoes, go out into the Maze and look for the Cheese. They find cheese here and they are make note of it. They make maps and use tools to always look for new Cheese. Eventually All 4 characters find their way to Cheese Station C. Cheese Station C has more than enough Cheese for all of them for a long time, it is a huge pile of Cheese and looks like it could never run out.

Even after finding the Cheese Station, Sniff and Scurry continue their way of doing things, they are mice after all, they leave their houses, go out into the Maze and find Cheese Station C, eat their Cheese and go home. Hem and Haw are a little different, they move their houses right next door to the Cheese station, and they dont have to go out into Maze anymore, they wake up, walk right next door and have their cheese. They build their life around the Cheese, add rooms to their houses, invite friends over to share the cheese sometimes. They dont know where the Cheese came from or how it got there, but the most important thing is there is a lot of it. Hem and Haw get very comfortable and never go out into the Maze anymore,

One day all 4 characters show up to Cheese Station C and there is no more Cheese. Sniff and Scurry look around, realize the is no cheese, and don’t waste any time heading back out into the maze too look for new Cheese. Hem and Haw are just flabbergasted that there is no Cheese. Who moved it ? Why would they do that? What they didn’t see what that the pile of Cheese was slowly getting smaller because they ate some everyday, and it never got replaced. Hem is adamant that someone moved it and is playing tricks on them, and that the Cheese will come back someday. He gets angry and blames everyone else for the Cheese being gone. Haw reluctantly goes along, but after he starts thinking about his situation a little harder, he realized that someone didn’t move the cheese, actually they just ate it all, they Cheese pile got smaller and smaller, started getting moldy and eventually it was gone, and no one was going to replace it. Hem on the other hand , keeps holding out that the Cheese will come back, Haw wants to go back out into the Maze and look for more, it has been a long time since he was out in the Maze, he had grown fat and comfortable next to Cheese Station C, and at first he didn’t want to admit that the Cheese was gone, but after a while he realized that the Cheese is not coming back and he has to go look for more. After his realization, he tries to convince Hem to come out with him to look for new Cheese. Hem will have no part of it, he is going to stay with Cheese Station C until more comes, and he is not going to go back into the maze.

Haw goes back out into the maze, at first it is difficult, its been a very long time since he left the Cheese Station, he could hardly remember what it was like, at first he moved slow, and cautious, but he found a rhythm after a bit and started to remember what it was like. He found bits of Cheese here and there, but not much. One day he found some and took it back to Hem. Look Hem, there is new cheese out there ! Come out and try some. Hem refused, he didn’t want this new cheese, and refused to even try it. Hem was weak from lack of Cheese, but refused to try the new Cheese, still hoping that New Cheese would appear at Cheese Station C.

Haw left Cheese Station C, and went back out in the maze, he was actually starting to like it out in the Maze, it was a new adventure around each corner, he went to parts of the Maze he had never been before.

Eventually Haw found a new Cheese station, Cheese Station N. Sniff and Scurry were already there, and it looked like they had been there a while. There was enough Cheese to go around for a long time. Haw learned a lot, he learned that he is going to pay closer attention to the writing on the wall, and not get too comfortable at his New Cheese Station. He is going to pay attention to the details, and be prepared to go out in the Maze again if he has too, he will not wait until he Cheese is moldy or gone. He is going to keep him self in shape and be ready and embrace change.

This book has a very simple story, but after you read it, you will notice you have always known one of the characters somewhere in your life, whether its work, school, family. The lessons here can be applied to almost anything in life. You can read the entire story for yourself here Which characters are you ?

Public Speaking for Introverts

So, you have to make a pubic speech. Whether it is for school, or work or something different, many introverts have found themselves in this same situation. So what do you do ? Freak out that you have to get up in front of a bunch of people who you may or may not know, and talk for a while, no matter how long you have to be up there , it can seem like torture.

But, there are things you can do to make it easier. Yes, I know what you are thinking, you can’t hop on the bus out of town and skip the whole thing.

Its not all that bad, in fact introverts can be some of the best public speakers.

The key is to prepare, prepare and prepare !

I used to have weekly meetings where all the upper management would be there and I had to present my agenda. At first it was daunting, being right out of college, and having to present an something to a bunch of seasoned professionals.

I saw one of my co workers go into the meeting un prepared, he was late, didn’t remember what the plan was, he didn’t have his paperwork in order. I watched the management tear him to shreds, it was not a good day for him. I was not going to let that happen to me. Long before each meeting I would go over my plan, have all the paperwork printed out ahead of time( you know in case the printer decided to go all Office Space right before the meeting). I would go over and over all my materials, and try and think of every angle that could be asked. There were certain people who would not question me, but there were others that would want to know every little detail. I prepared every detail, every angle, tried to think of every question that could possibly be asked. I had an answer or plan for every single one, I didn’t want to be caught off guard.

Practice , and preparation are the key to a good pubic speech or meeting. Find someone who you can can be your audience, who can play the devils advocate. Make notes, but you should strive not to rely on them, keep them as a reference in case of a brain fart, or someone asks a question to throw you off topic.

Try to involve the audience at some point. Ask someone in the front row their name, and involve them a little bit, I find this helps you relate to audience, even if you are speaking to a complete group of strangers.

I still don’t enjoy pubic speaking, and I probably never will, but I can do it if I need to, and so can you. Its not as bad as you think, and the more you do it, the easier it will get. Once its over, you can breathe a sigh of relief.