Archive for July, 2009
Things here in Savannah are going well. Not much to report other than my new job has been great.
I am being spoiled. My new company is great with 12 paid vacation days a year, a great set of coworkers, and a really supportive organization.
I moved into my (own!) office today, and I was given a blackberry to use. I don't know how to use the blackberry yet, but I am sure I will be addicted soon enough.
My coworkers are all my age. We were all hired together as a special "team" and though none of us has previous experience in this industry- we are excited to start impressing our bosses.
I was sad sad sad to leave my old job- but I think I def made a good move to start this new job.
Started the new job and love it so far. I really like the job atmosphere and I like the people with whom I will work. I think this next year will be very exciting at work with a lot of ups and downs. I am a bit sensitive so I hope there are more ups than downs! Hopefully I will be very successful here. I am optimistic. Day 1 down and ready for day 2.
I posted this over in the forums but I know that people who blog don't venture over to the forums a lot and vice versa.
In my ever ongoing quest to get BB on board with our finances and to increase his financial IQ, I thought that introducing some graphs and charts to our refrigerator method might help us out a bit.
I want to be able to create some charts that I can use to visually help him and I understand where our finances are compared to our goals.
We currently pay an extra $100 a month on our mortgage- but in times of 'want' BB suddenly thinks that we can keep the extra $100 "this month." I want to create a graph chart to help him see how important it is to save the extra $100.
We have some savings accounts designated to save for various goals...once again BB sometimes thinks we can raid the savings accounts if the need arose. I want to create a line graph so he can see the importance of compounding interest and disciplined savings.
And BB never thinks we have enough accessible spending money. I want to create a pie chart so he can see how much money we really do have to spend compared to what we save.
...And maybe it would be fun to create a pie chart showing how much of our money is geared towards different spending categories such as bills, food, entertainment ext.
Hey it's Sunday afternoon and I am suddenly motivated.
I don't have Microsoft excel. Is there a website where I can create these graphs for free? Does anyone else have visual graphs that they use or is a column like budget the extent of what everyone is doing?
I start my new job tomorrow. Everyone keeps asking me if I am excited. Not really.
My last day at my old job was Friday and I really hated to go. I did really enjoy the job and for once I quit before I was burned out! So that was a rather sad day.
I start the new job tomorrow and will be in the library training all week. I know learning the process of financial aid will be tough and I actually am not looking forward to the brain strain all week.
I am looking forward to meeting more people because there were about 6 of us hired together and we will be working together on a new graduate program the school is going to start in the fall. I think I am the only financial aid person- but we will still be working very closely together to get the program off the ground.
I am looking forward to wearing the cute clothes I bought yesterday to prepare for the job. I spent $150 yesterday at the mall. Sadly only $70 of it was on work clothes. Even sadder the $70 only covered 2 tops and a pair of shoes. The rest of the items were tank tops and t shirts.
And finally I am looking forward to the new paycheck. After revising my budget I learned that I will be able to start saving $200 a month towards the big home renovation we want to do in a few years, I will start putting $165 a month away for retirement and receive a company match, my regular spending account will increase by $115 a week, and I will be able to put another $90 a month away for the 4 travel trips BB and I have planned for this year, starting in September.
So who is still going with the no air conditioning challenge?
Everything here is quiet. It's nice. I am still settled and content with life.
I have a friend from early high school that recently asked me for money. He has asked me before so it does not really bother me- but I think the first time he ever asked me to "invest" in his business plan- it was handled wrong and I think our friendship was forever altered. Maybe not forever...but it's been about 3 years and I am still on guard when I think about him.
The first time he asked he called me up and kind of jumped into this "I have such a good idea...it's going to make so much money...my father wants to be involved with me- this is our plan and it's so simple I know it will be a success." speech. He caught me off guard b/c we rarely talk on the phone- I had not heard from him in a few months (not uncommon), and I was like, "ok. Good for you! Starting your own business! Whatever floats your boat!"
He continues to tell me that he and his father have it all worked out, and his father already has so much experience owning businesses that it is a cant miss opportunity.
Then he jumped into the hard sell, "all I need is 15k to get it started. Why don't you be an investor and we will just send you checks every month?" That totally blew my mind and I was stunned really.
I had huge warning bells going off in my mind and wanted to get as far away from the subject as I could. The idea he presented to me...did not appeal to me. I could not see much of a profit margin, and this idea sounded a little too close to a mainstream technique that is already in use...and not really rolling in popularity. He might make a profit- but not enough for me, himself, and his dad to share and realize this as worth the risk or time. Beyond that- his father does have experience owning several small business like a cleaning comp, a laundromat and I guess he was very very successful...but lost EVERYTHING over 10 yrs ago due to tax evasion. Since then the parents have really struggled to live and my friend has been trying to support them from his own full time job.
So I politely told him that I don't feel comfortable investing in a business, and I don't have any liquid cash anyways because I was saving for a house. He didn't argue, just ended the conversation and that was it.
After that I did not hear from him for a YEAR. I was feeling "off" about the whole thing and sent him a friendly email later that week and got no response. I periodically contacted him on myspace or facebook and left him funny or friendly messages and got nothing. He was totally ignoring me. Months later I was headed back to my hometown for a vacation (did I mention he and this business he wanted me to be a part of is over 1200 miles away from me?) and wanted to hang out. Nothing. No response at all. I had always planning to invite him to my wedding but because he was not talking to me I didn't.
Recently-about 7-8 months ago he just sent me an email. It was just a "I don't remember why we were fighting but it's all in the past and I hope things are going well for you." email. I accepted his "apology" and just tried to be normal again.
So catching up with him, I found out: his father had been diagnosed with cancer and had been in treatment for almost a year. Now he is in remission but the whole family is pretty shaken up. The family has a lot of bills and my friend has been 100% focused on his family and keeping things together financially and emotionally for them.
I just felt a bit deceived. Clearly he learned the news about his father and wanted to put into action a plan that they had shared together as a last tribute to his father. Rather than turning to me for support, or to talk- he saw me as a bank and turned to me for money. He was ready to have me invest in a plan without telling me the 3rd partner was not going to be able to participate at all- and he as the primary business man might be too distracted himself to even be able to run the business efficiently.
So I felt I had dodged a really intense bullet. I wish him the best but the whole thing reminded me why you do not loan or invest in a friendship. The whole incident is always on my mind when we talk, but I know he was acting impulsively and emotionally and probably doesn't really only think of me as a contact who might be able to give him easy money.
So last night he IM'd me. He started off with how he earns almost 100k a year to do a job that is so easy and he really wants to challenge himself. Aside from his govt job, He is currently running the businesses his father had re-started after the whole tax incident and earns "about 25k" a year from those businesses. And although he makes 125k a year he is bored and has a "really great idea that he wants to start and his goal is to make a million dollars in 6 years off an initial 50k investment." I saw where this was going instantly and just couldn't believe it was going to start again. I steered the question away from him flat out asking me for the money but he mentioned several times about needing an investor.
I am just annoyed because he kept throwing that he earns so much money (far far more than I currently earn from my job) but has no available cash to pursue his "dream" of starting this business because he gives all his spare money to his parents. It's noble to support your parents, but with his current method of having no organization- only giving them money is kind of throwing good money after bad. I look at this guy who earns very very good money and lives in an apartment, has no outward trappings of wealth and apparently has zero savings. He is living paycheck to paycheck- not because of his lifestyle, but to support his parents lifestyle. And they are not really getting back on their feet either- everyone is limping along. There seems to be no organized budget at all in the family and stretching money does not seem to be anyone's strength. Clearly earning the money is not anyone's problem- I do believe the family has a good work ethic- but a person can never earn enough money if there is no organizing where it goes. I look at small character traits like that and realize that being in business with this family (from 1200 miles away) would drive. me. crazy.
So that was last night. I am curious to see if I ever hear from him again.
Update first: I decided to take the University job. It was the maternity benefits that did it for me. I want the option to have a baby even though I don't want one right now. That, and the title of financial aid director looks better than office manager for future resume needs. So hopefully I LIKE this job that I start in 2 weeks!
Now for whats on my mind currently:
I am finally settling into life with BB being gone. This has been a difficult season being separated from him because now we have the house to take care of. Or while he is gone- I have the house to take care of.
It's been hard, the house is a bigger responsibility than I anticipated, and it's a constant burden- worrying about the house/having to do something regarding the house. I feel like I am getting so far behind in housework/ errands. It has made me very resentful of BB being gone, and I have felt overwhelmed trying to juggle everything. I feel I never have time to relax. I don't know how single parents do anything- I don't even have a kid and I am stretched!
But this weekend I have caught up. I was able to relax this afternoon. I finally feel happy to be alone, finally feel independent, free and empowered living alone. Up till now I felt like I was missing half of me.
I think it's partially the new-found freedom I have now that I feel comfortable to venture out of my house and go on long walks. I have been taking longer and longer walks everyday and it is just my new thing that I love to do.
Yesterday Casey Jones and I walked clear across town, then walked to a dog park, a people park and finally came home. Today we walked down to the river to see the crowds out for the 4th of July. We stopped in every park we passed and just watched the people walk by. It was wonderful.
I feel so relaxed right now. The yard was mowed. Grocery shopping is done, vacuuming done, and tonight I am going to sit down on my front porch and watch all the fireworks going off in the street.
It's been a GREAT 4th of July. I finally am at peace with my life.
So I gave my 2 week notice at my current job and my boss was disappointed but understands that a 50% raise is too good to pass up.
Then a few hrs later after talking to his father (family owned/run business) my boss tells me he is willing to match the pay of the University job!! He says he really thinks I am worth it, he sees a lot of potential in me and because I am doing the work for 3 offices- I save the company the salaries of having a staff member in each office, so they have the money to match my University offer.
I totally did not see this coming.
It's been on my mind all day long. I told him I would give him an answer in the morning.
I don't know!! I totally go back and forth.
My current job is a small family run business with a staff of maybe 10 employees. It has a team environment where everyone helps each other because promoting the business is in everyone's best interest. It is limited though. It has been around 30 yrs and each office contains an office manager (me) and a technician. So there is no room to be promoted- unless I want to be a technician (which they would love for me to do but I could not do it well at this point and know it). But there is room for added responsibility. They are trying to grow the business in client base and getting into presentations, training, and reaching out to connect with the communities. I am busy now but could kind of write my ticket at this point about being a point person down the road. But it's an industry that does not really interest me, dealing with a population that also does not really interest me. Though I like how transparent the business side of it is to learn. Because it's just me there- I see and deal with all aspects of running the business. I appreciate that.
Then the university. Big corporate company. I have several packets of paperwork pertaining to rules and codes. I know it is going to be hierarchy and office politics. Different departments and bureaucracies. And I don't know really what my job will be like. I have never done it before- don't know how my job responsibilities will play out.
But! University is paying me good money (though current company will match it). University is also providing benefits (I currently pay $200 a month for my own benefits...current company cannot provide that)and 2 weeks paid vacation a year- starting this year! (current company provides 1 wk vacation starting 2nd year...though they do let me slip out to run errands or let me go 15 min early when we are not busy.)And University pays for 80 hrs of sick time a year. (current job has a flexible policy, nothing really set in stone.)
And! I am working in finances at the university. An area that has always interested me. Though I will not get to see the whole business process- just my little piece that I do then pass on and around it goes. And I do love students. So it is a population that interests me and I enjoy interacting with.
So it's kind of small homey somewhat rewarding job that is not at all prestigious but has potential to send me to a high position of responsibility quickly....
...or big. corporate, possibly politicky university job that is prestigious and pays better (when you count in the benefits) but might keep me trapped in the same role...forever with lots of ABILITY to move up- but maybe not much ROOM to move up.
Maybe I should see how much the difference in pay would be. If I pay $175 month in benefits- that is $2100.00 a year I currently pay for just me. University is giving me 3 options between $140-180 month that will cover me AND BB. So that might end up being about even but BB gets covered too.
2 weeks paid vacation is REALLY enticing. I have a lot of travel plans come up every year.
Looking at it long term- what job do I see myself at longest- neither. I am horrible but I tend to switch jobs/get burned out around the 1.5-2 yr mark. I'm not an ambitious person. I like my personal life over my working life. I am pretty sure that once I get pregnant within 5 yrs I will try to become a SAHM.
So really this is a short term decision. It's a big decision to make- but really I think I will be equally happy at either job.