What to do..

So I have been struggling with what to do next with my life. Sure I love my job but really long to do that ‘thing’ that will bring me total fulfillment. I have a few ideas as to what this next career may be but to move forward in any area I need to work on it during my time at home. This means working on my dreams at night. The problem is that I am usually so tired and just don’t feel like doing anything – which was the case tonight. I could not get motivated to do anything. How am I ever going to move forward with anything?

But then I thought about a funny art project I had started Sunday and was suddenly excited to finish it. I am not very artistic but I want to be. I love Inkscape and want to explore being a vector artist. It was nice to do something that furthers an interest of mine even when nothing was appealing. Well at least something was – drawing.

If I can just keep it up who knows. I might even improve.

Home Alone..Now What?

Rae is in school and my husband went to work today(he had been sick the past two days). So now I am home alone for the first time since we moved to Texas. Oh how I have such big plans for learning and working from home. Maybe my ambitions are too high because right now I just feel overwhelmed and not knowing where to start.

Today I am going to do some cleaning and a little learning – definitely some blogging. This may take a few days to get used to.

The Summer that Wasn’t..

Ah, so many plans for this summer and none are coming true! I blame my husband as he has taken another job out of state. We move later this month – so we have been saving money for the move and packing. The good news is we are moving to a great city with lots to do – plus school won’t start until the third week of August giving us about a month to have our summer fun.

We will still be in cheap mode since we will be waiting for the new paychecks from the new job. I’m planning now by spending as little as possible and saving my freelance money. The good news is that when we get moved, there will be plenty to do and some of it will be on the cheap. I really want to start a blog about moving and our journey but also really don’t. Maybe I make a Tumblr account and chronicle our adventure in pictures. Or maybe I could just blog about it on one (or all) of my existing blogs.

Old Skills Needing Updating

In the fall of 1998, I went back to college to study computer networking. I finished a two-year program where I learned a lot about computer networking with Novell Netware, some Windows NT, a little programming with Visual Basic, and some classes using the IBM’s AS/400. When I graduated, I felt confident that I had a good, solid start to any job. I was able to find a job and use my skills. Then I found another job and then I got pregnant(a glorious blessing). After the birth of my daughter, I stayed at home with her until she started Kindergarten. For almost a year now, I have been working.

Now I am ready to make another change and I am seeing that I cannot make a change until I update my skill set. This is where it gets tough – deciding which direction to go. Do I go back to school to learn or do it my own? I think I will compromise and learn online. I won’t be going for a degree but there are so many websites with good information either for free or a nominal price. It will take me longer to do it this way since I have to overcome my procrastination tendencies. That is one good thing about school – it helps you keep a steady pace.

It is frustrating to know a lot but that the knowledge is so dated it’s really useless. This shows me that you should never stop learning. Hopefully I can regain my collegiate learning ability on my own. It will be cheaper and work better with my schedule. If I take too long, then I may have to go back just for the discipline.

“Working” Again

After the birth of my daughter, I decided to stay at home. It was the best time of my life. While it took some adjustments getting use to one income again, it was worth it to be home with my daughter.

About a year ago, I went back to work full-time. The stress of getting behind on bills and seeing no way out was getting too much to bear. Landing a full-time job helped us get back on track financially while relieving a lot of my stress.

Now that I have been working, I am beginning to feel more stress again from several sources. Money will always be a stress but now I feel stress from work. My job isn’t very challenging and I have a lot of down time. Maybe too much down time as I daydream of all the things I need to be doing at the house. While working has helped us financially, I have gained back nearly all my weight I previously lost. Eating out and little time at home has left us getting fatter and our house messier. I would much prefer just the money stress than all of this – hence the reason I really want to earn money at home.

I was earning money at home but when you work for yourself, you are always searching for the next opportunity. It can be frustrating because you will apply for many jobs but only get a few. We will make it work – we did it before. This time will be different with less bills and a money plan that is reachable on just one salary.

So working has been a blessing but not a complete one. There will always be life stresses. I’m happiest when I’m at home even if it stresses me just to have to depend upon myself to make money.

Runaway Employee

Today I was thinking about my job and how I probably still wouldn’t be here if I had not worked here before my daughter was born. Being back in the workforce is difficult. I miss being at home for my daughter but I do like my job.

I had tried going back to work at year ago but left a few weeks into the job. I just couldn’t stand it. I missed my little girl and did not like this interruption to our lives. Now I am at a much better point to return to work as my daughter is in school but still it’s hard to be away from home.

Going back to work is hard as it takes up way too much time. There is so much that I could be doing. I hate to admit that going back to work has made me less productive. Oh the irony. I do more “work” at home than at my job.

So I do feel the need to have my time all to myself again. But for now I will stay put even though some days I feel like running. It does make for a nice daydream.

How Not Getting a Job Changed My Life

Ok, that may be a little dramatic to say that not getting a job changed my life but in a way it did. A year ago, I applied for a job that I desperately wanted – mainly because I wanted a job. I needed a job and was hungry to return to work. After not getting this job, I bitched and moaned about said job for quite some time.

Now that I reflect on that job, I know that it wasn’t right for me but did lead me to a rewarding career. How is that possible if I didn’t get the job you might ask? Well, I will try to explain. See, the job was in software testing – something that sounded interesting to me. I had beta tested games before and absolutely love it so I knew that I would enjoy testing software. What I didn’t know is what testing software really meant. Sure, I figure it meant using unfinished software and looking for what doesn’t work. But beyond that, I really didn’t have a clue and it showed in the interview. I thought of software testing as a way in with this company and that I should aspire to be something other than a tester. Now I see the error in my ways of thinking.

Software testers are not developers looking to gain experience and to get in with a company. They are doing a job – one that requires it’s own special skills and talents. This I have learned since taking a job as a tester. I no longer believe that software testing is just a stepping stone to something else. Also I’m glad I am learning software testing through my own ventures than through a company’s. This way I will be exposed to more opinions, methodologies, etc.

So even though I was sad that I didn’t get that job last year, it worked out for the best – in fact better than I could have imagined. Finally I am doing work that I love again.

Steve Jobs and Living your Dream

Like many others, I was saddened to hear of the death of Steve Jobs. When he stepped down from Apple, a video started making the rounds of his commencement speech from Stanford a few years ago. I haven’t watched it yet – but hear it is something not to miss. Jobs followed his dream and encouraged others to do the same – live your life and not others. Pretty powerful stuff and especially poignant considering I feel I am at a career crossroads.

Lately I have been struggling with what to do with my blogs. I love blogging and have way more than I can keep up with – even when I was at home I didn’t blog on each blog everyday. I have also been searching for what I truly get from blogging and what I offer from my blogs. This is tough since I have one blog that I do make a little money from. That was especially important before I had a regular job but now I enjoy making a few dollars with it.

My ‘start-up’ blogs I plan to roll all into Raesmom. I no longer believe in the ‘one blog one subject because it’s better for search results’ mentality. I want to talk about whatever I feel like and hopefully someone – anyone – will want to read it.

My job right now is the means to an end of living our dream. I know what I love to do – so that is what I need to be doing. It is time to create some goals and set forth on the path to making our dreams a reality. I’ll expand more on this when I have a plan in place.

Working from Home

When my daughter was born, I knew I wanted to stay at home. I was able to stay at home for five years and loved early minute of it. Now that she is in kindergarten, I’ve taken a job outside of the house. It’s bittersweet to saying goodbye to being at home.

While the steady paycheck is really nice, I miss the freedom that comes with being at home. The weekends are full of errands, shopping, laundry, and cleaning – all the tasks that I could do at my leisure when I was working from home.

I joke that being a mom is the toughest and most demanding job I’ve ever had. There is no time off and you are on-call 24/7. Still it’s my favorite job and wouldn’t trade it for anything.

There is no time off when working from home. You are constantly thinking about ways to make money. Most of my work from home was freelance writing. I spent more time looking for work than doing that work. If I ever go back to working from home, I will do writing for fun and something else for money. The big pro and con to working from home are the same – you are responsible for your success. Some days may be great; other days may have you looking through the classifieds for ‘a real job.’ You have to take those good paydays and stretch them out through the bad ones. Some gigs may pay on time while others a little slower. You have to be prepared for the ups and downs.

Right now I am happy to enjoy a regular paycheck. I do dream of owning my own business and know that I have a lot to learn before that can happen. I guess there is no time like the present to get started.

Meanies Make More Money

There was a report that made the news this week that said that those who are difficult at work – mean even – make more money than those who are easy going – or nice. I just saw the news report and I haven’t read one story about this – so I’m commenting on hearing about two minutes of a news piece. Still I heard enough to form an opinion.

This doesn’t surprise me. I think people who are difficult – demand more in general. They are not going to take less money – in fact they may demand more than they are offered. So, while I’m not surprised that mean folks make more money, I would rather work with the nice ones.

I interviewed for a job several years ago where I was asked about myself. I mentioned that I was easy-going – which is true. This was probably my best trait at my current job. I was the calm in the storm and my boss appreciated that. Seeing as how I was up for the same job with a different company, I thought that trait could also be important to this potential boss. I was wrong. He asked me why should he care about that? When he asked that, I knew that this job wasn’t for me and just zoned out for the rest of the interview. Yes, he probably was a meanie, difficult to work with, and made more money than the nice guys in the office. While meanies may make more money, they will also drive off hard-working, nice employees that will affect a company’s bottom line.

So, I think I will continue my easy-going ways even if it means less money. Maybe one of these days I will find an employer who appreciates that trait and will pay me more even if I don’t ask for it. Yeah, I know, fat chance of that happening.