work

How to Enjoy Work

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Photo from Unsplash by Lauren Mancke

I think it's important to find work that you enjoy, even if it doesn't pay as much as you like. Obviously it's important to earn enough to live independently and have enough, but studies have shown that there's a certain income that once you exceed it, your emotional happiness doesn't get any better.

Personally I've found that you need to enjoy work and like who you're working for. I've had jobs where I disliked my supervisor. I disagreed with how they treated and managed their employees, and not just me. I also disagreed ethically with them and felt that while not breaking the rules, they were bending them.

As a result, I disliked them and working with them. It made it hard to go to work each day and a relief to go home each night. I was living for the weekend or the time when I could quit.

The Wall Street Journal wrote an article about how Americans don't value flextime at work enough. I read it and completely agreed with it. The jobs I've loved have been the ones where I've felt valued, had a good company culture, had respect, and where I've been able to work from home or switch my hours around to accomplish the same amount of work, just in different hours.

My skills can be done from anywhere with a computer and internet so it can be frustrating when forced to work from an office within office hours all the time. When I had the flu and no sick-time, I wanted to work from home, but it was work at the office or don't work at all. So I worked from the office.

Flex-time and an enjoyable work environment are more important to me than a higher salary. I'd thought up until recently that it's okay to hate your job, it's a job. You just need to do it and do it well and you can do what you want after work and on the weekends. But that's not a great way to live. It makes you dread work, which is a large chunk of your life.

And it's important to have some passion for what you're doing. I haven't found my passion I don't think-unless it's blogging or hiking. I've worked in some pretty boring industries but loved it because I loved what I was doing and who I was working with. So while passion can make a difference, it hasn't yet for me. I haven't had a job I was passionate about, hopefully I'll find one at some point, but for now, I'm going for happy and content.

So as I look for jobs in the future, I'm going to look for ones with a good environment and with flexible work hours. Hopefully I'll be able to find something that is enjoyable and fits those criteria.

Do you have any advice for to finding a good place to work?

Lauren Ralph Lauren Dress

I saw this dress on a mannequin at Macy's a couple of weeks ago and went in search of it in the store. After a few minutes of searching without finding it, I finally asked an employee where I could find it. It turns out that the one on the mannequin was the last one left in the store. So I asked if she could take it off of the mannequin for me and she obliged. The dress is sleeveless and versatile. I can dress it for a cocktail party, for a day at the office, or for hanging out with friends. I'm excited to wear it around!

Northwest Pearls: Lauren Ralph Lauren Dress

Northwest Pearls: Lauren Ralph Lauren Dress

Northwest Pearls: Lauren Ralph Lauren Dress

Dealing with a Long Commute

Northwest Pearls: Dealing with a Long Commute Before this year, I had never taken the bus. But when I got an internship that's fifty miles from home, I started to take the bus. Who wants to put 100 miles on their car everyday?

Between my front door and my desk it was about a two hour commute. On a good day it's as little as an hour and forty minutes. On a bad day it could be three hours. (Once it was three hours and ten minutes one way.)

Needless to say, I did a ton of reading.

I kept my phone and Kindle charged so that I could use them on the bus. I went to bed early so I could wake up at 4am to catch an early bus so I could leave work early and get home at a decent hour. It was quite the adjustment. I spend four hours of my day, five days per week, commuting.

Once I got used to my new way of life, it wasn't so bad. I would get home, eat, work-out, shower, and get a thing or two done before bed. Then repeat the next day.

I can't complain about my commute too much though. Some people have been doing it for years. But my Kindle has been a lifesaver since I started. Sadly the Kindle I have had since high-school graduation broke. So, after a little mourning because I liked it so much, I ordered a new one.

It's nice but I don't like it as much. I wish they had page-turning buttons on it like my old one. I don't like the touchscreen for a few reasons, one being that if I rest the Kindle on me while I'm rummaging through my bag on the bus, the pages may turn.

But enough about the Kindle.

Dealing with a long commute is tough, and I no longer have any pity for anyone whose commute in an hour or less. (One of my coworkers once complained that it took 20 minutes to get to work. Then he asked me about my commute.) But liking my internship paid a huge role in my commute. While it's not fun to spend 20 hours a week commuting, at least I liked my work and who I was working with. That made a huge difference.

And hey, if you're dealing with a long commute, just try to focus on the happy things, read a lot, bring your chargers with you, and try to get some rest. And while it may be bad at first, I can say that I got used to my commute pretty fast. Yes, I was happy when it ended, but I didn't hate it like I had at the beginning.

Do you have any advice for a long commute?

Advice for Applying for Jobs

Northwest Pearls: Advice for Applying for Jobs I've been applying for jobs lately and it can be stressful and discouraging. But hey, at least we have computers and the internet. We don't (usually) have to fill things out by hand and mail them in! Here's a few bits of advice I have for you:

  • Keep a spreadsheet of where you've applied to, what position, the link to the posting, if you've applied, the date you applied, and if you've heard back. It helps to keep everything organized and it's nice to see what places you've applied to
  • Reward yourself for applying. Have a cup of tea or a piece of candy
  • Look daily or almost every day at new postings on job boards
  • Keep everything updated
  • Network
  • Do informational interviews. Get to meet people and maybe get some introductions to others in your field
  • Don't give up. We can do this!

Can you think of any advice to add?

Getting Through the Last Weeks of School

Northwest Pearls: Beating Senioritis My best friend asked me to do a post on getting through the last few weeks of school. She has senioritis. Bad. And her solution so far has been to drink "8+ cups of coffee a day" and to watch "Disney movies while doing homework to distract from the pain."

While totally admirable there may be other, better, ways to get through the last weeks of school. (And if you're going to graduate school, your grades matter so you can't check out.)

  • Start studying before finals week. That way you don't have to cram everything in.
  • Don't drink too much. It'll affect you the next day and probably won't be worth it.
  • Find something to relieve stress such as exercising, a massage, hanging out with friends, etc. Anytime I get stressed I know that a workout on the elliptical or a good run will help me out.
  • Have fun. It's your last bit of school and chances are you won't see these people very often from now on. Treasure your friendships.
  • Reward your studying with treats such as sweets or an episode of a show. At the end of every quarter, my bff gets a celebratory cupcake. It's something to look forward to and a light at the end of the tunnel.
  • Find the best place for you to study. You may like solitude and silence or you may like the lounge. But find a good place that you can concentrate.
  • Study in groups if that works for you. It can be fun and can help a lot.
  • Take care of yourself mentally and physically.
  • Keep your notes organized. Title, date, and add page numbers to them.

Now, to be honest, I figured out that I had a high enough GPA and knew enough of the material that I could somewhat check out for the last bit of school and still graduate with honors. I'm a good test taker and I have a pretty good memory in regards to schoolwork (I had also re-read certain textbooks throughout the semester so I would retain the knowledge) so I spent about 2.5 hours studying during finals week (I probably should have spent at least 10-15 hours studying.) But I decided that spending time with friends was more important to me than finals. My decision worked well for me. I still graduated with honors and I spent time with friends. Although, I did get lucky, the stuff I studied ended up being on the test while the stuff I didn't study wasn't. (How often does that happen?!)

And while I wouldn't recommend what I did for everyone, it did work out for me and if you know you can do it too without any consequences, it might be worth it.

Sadly there's no cure to senioritis, you just have to keep yourself motivated and in the best spirits to keep on going. You're almost there!

Have you found any helpful ways to battle senioritis?

Another Person's Success Isn't Your Failure

Northwest Pearls: Comparison

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Another person's success isn't your failure. These are words I've been trying to keep in mind. I get onto social media and see friends announcing that they got into their top grad school or that they've got an internship in Europe and I'm over here like, "I get a two day weekend this week because a trip I was going to go on didn't work out." (I usually work six days per week. Also, I'm incredibly glad I had a two day weekend. I'm exhausted.)

I graduated with a four-year degree in three years at age 20, and I currently have a paid internship in the field I want to go into as well as a side-job. And still I'm judging myself for not having a full-time career and feeling like a failure because at age 21, I haven't found a full-time career.

I judge myself too harshly. I constantly compare myself to others and I envy them and where their lives have taken them. But it's something that I, and maybe you too, need to work at.

Here are a few ways I've come up with to keep thinking positively:

  • Dwell on your accomplishments. Don't be arrogant, but know that you have worth and you have accomplished things.
  • Stay off social media (this will be hard to impossible for me, I love to blog and I use my Facebook for work, but I know that I often compare myself to my friends on social media.)
  • Remember that everyone is different. They live differently and they have different goals.
  • Know that everyone has flaws.
  • Know that everyone has bad things that they're going through that you don't know about. Just because you don't know what they're going through, doesn't mean that they're not struggling.
  • Be grateful for what you have and who you are. There is no one out there like you. You are unique and loved.
  • And a little Bible verse for those of you who this may help: Jeremiah 29:11 "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" This helps me because it reminds me that I'm being looked after and loved.

Do you have the same problem as me? What helps you to not compare yourself?

Tips for Working From Home

Northwest Pearls: Working From Home

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I've been fortunate this past week and a half to be able to work from home. It saves me a long commute and I get to sleep in a few hours. But working from home has its own annoyances; here are a few tips if you do, or are going to, work from home. Side note: these also apply to homework.

  • Keep your personal cell phone off and away. You (probably) don't look at it at work, so why have it within reach at home?
  • Shut the door to the room you're in. It keeps people and sound out (to an extent.)
  • Have a schedule. Set an alarm. Get up. Just because you're working at home, doesn't mean you should wake up at ten.
  • Tell your family to leave you alone. Seriously.
  • Use a program like Cold Turkey to keep you off of anything that can distract you.
  •  Eat meals away from your computer. This applies to both being at work and home. It allows for a change of scenery and position and it's not good for you to eat lunch at your desk.
  • When you're done, put work away and out of sight. That way you can relax.

Are there any tips you've found help you for working at home?

CPR/AED/First Aid Class

First Aid Sign

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I've been wanting to take a First Aid and CPR class for a while and I finally had the chance!

I should have taken a class last summer when I had loads of time on my hands, but I didn't. However at my new internship I had the opportunity to take one. The CPR portion was practicing reviving our dummy, the AED (the defibrillator, you know the thing with paddles you use to restore a heart's natural rhythm), the teacher demonstrated that with a test defibrillator and a dummy, and we learned about first aid and what to do in different situations.

There were about 15 of us plus the teacher. It was a five hour class with 45 minutes for lunch. I highly recommend you taking something like that. You should really learn these things from a trained professional, I'm definitely not giving you any advice. But I like that I now have this knowledge and hope I will never need to use it.

I do still want to learn a few more skills, I wouldn't mind a wilderness course, and I would love to learn how to sail. Maybe one of these days I will!

Have you learned anything new lately?

Taking the Bus

I've never taken the bus before this week. Since I've started my internship I have a long commute and I have to put a lot of miles on my car and pay for gas (thankfully my car is diesel and gets 45ish mpg.) But I decided to try the bus. I get nervous about new things. I was kinda afraid I'd miss it, though worst case scenario is I take the next one or drive myself to work.

So I looked up the schedule, made sure I had exact change, and got there 10-15 minutes early. I let someone else go first because I didn't know what I was doing and then we formed a line with me 2nd in it.

I had my money in my pocket, ready to take out so I didn't hold anyone up. Then I paid, asked if I was supposed to get a ticker, no I was not, and took a seat.

Then my stress was gone for most of the commute until the bus started to stop in the city. People pressed a button to request a stop. I wasn't sure when to press it, yes I knew my stop, but I was trying to figure it out so I asked the person in front of me who gladly helped. He then got off and the girl across from me volunteered some information. Someone else pressed the button for my stop so I was okay for then. Then I just had to walk 10-15 minutes to work.

During lunch I took a walk to where I would be getting on the bus, a different area than I had gotten off. I found it, timed my walk, and then later when I left work, got there super early because I had gotten to work early and I didn't want to miss my bus.

It was late, so I was a little worried I had missed it, even though I had gotten there probably 20-25 minutes early. But it came around, I had my money in my pocket for easy payment, and I got on. The man in front of me in line was the man who had sat in front of me in the bus on the way to work.

I was good until people started to press the button for the bus to stop. I thought that the stops were automatic and became worried about the button pushing, "should I press it next? What about next week? Should I press it if someone else doesn't?"

So I asked someone again and they helped me out. I wasn't wanting to talk to strangers but my route and the bus times for me line up with work commuters and they're not scary people, they're just people that have the same long commute as me because they live far from where they work.

I'll be taking the bus fairly often to work I think. It's nice to just sit back. And they have lights overhead in the bus so you can read! Next time I'll be taking my book.

Have you done anything new lately?