Sep 13, 2010

When Your Career Ladder Looks Like a Jungle Gym

My resume was a great conversation starter at an MBA recruiting event I went to this weekend. My takeaways were that I can likely get into at least one of my top choice schools if I manage to get a really, really high score on the GMATs (as in, over 700.) Most schools seem to like that I'm not the typical MBA candidate, which is a good thing.

But this post isn't about my quest to get an MBA, or it isn't directly about this quest. Instead, it's about moving up, down, and diagonal on the career "ladder."

My current job is a huge leap up from any positions I had before in both responsibility, salary, and company respect. But it's a six month contract which is ending soon, and likely won't be renewed (more to do with the state the company is in than my work here, my boss wants to keep me on.) So I'm in a pickle. Where do I go from here?

The biggest problem is defining my career goals and understanding how my next steps will get me there. Incredibly, with the large-name company on my resume I'm getting calls back on my applications from other respectable companies. That's not to say I'll get past the first interview, but the phone is at least ringing.

It isn't clear where I'm supposed to step to go up in my career. Most of the jobs I really want require an MBA or a lot of luck. Then there are all these very good jobs that are all so very different and can lead me in very, very different directions. Do I want to do customer support? B2B or B2c? General marketing? Social media marketing? How do these answers change when each option has a specific company attached to it? How do they change when each company has a salary attached to it?

Honestly, I'd be happiest doing online customer support. Because I love helping people and solving problems. That role is at an excellent company, but I bet my pay would be cut in half. Or maybe I could negotiate a little more, but I can't imagine they'd pay a customer support person the same amount I'd make as a marketing manager or even marketing assistant. I'd be happier in the short-term, and there's a chance getting a foot in the door at this company can lead to bigger and better things, but is it really a step up in my career? Should I care?

When it comes down to it, I need to look at what I'm good at and what makes me happy. I know I get the most reward out of helping people, solving problems, etc. Those types of jobs don't pay as well as selling to people. Ideally I'd find a role where I can solve problems and help people while developing and marketing products. That may require an MBA. Right now I can possibly get hired as a social media manager, but that career path is limiting. It's also all marketing and not as much about improving a product. It can be, it just depends on the role, product and company.

Regardless, the pickle I'm in now will only continue to, well, pickle, before I can take a bite and discover the taste of my future.


Sep 8, 2010

Graduate School... Costs a Fortune Before You Get In

Forget the cost of tuition, room and board, the cost of applying to graduate school is fiercely staring at my quivering piggy bank like an angry honey badger ready to pounce on an unsuspecting snake long before I've even scribbled a sentence of my application essay.

To get into a top masters program -- MBA or otherwise -- you need to stand out for more than just your GPA. When your GPA makes you stand out for the wrong reasons, you're far behind the curve. It isn't clear if it's possible to run really fast and hard to make it over that hump (ie pay expert consultants a lot of money to teach you the right speed to run and how your feet should hit the ground every step of the way) but the consultants surely will tell you that without them, you'll be sitting down where you started, exhausted, looking up at a giant insurmountable lump of your future.

The cost for a live or online GMAT study program is somewhere around $1000 - $1400. There are cheaper programs, of course, and plenty of ways to get some books and study on your own, but many advise to take one of the classes if you're the kind of person to underachieve on standardized tests. But for the candidates who really want to do well, you can pour hundreds or thousands of dollars more into private tutoring... just so you'll break 700 or 750.

Consulting by admissions experts for the top programs is even more painful. One program I was examining the other night cost $3500 for a full package of help and edits to apply to just one school. Plenty may argue that putting $5000 - $10,000 into preparing yourself to apply for a top ranked program is worth it because on the other side of the hill... long after the field trips and late nights getting intimate with statistics... there's a miraculous salary increase that will improve your overall lifetime earnings by, well, something around a lot of money, give or take a decimal point. But that's IF you get in. All the coaching and test-taking advice in the world may never be enough. It's a gamble either way. And if you can do it on your own (obviously there are plenty of people who have got into top MBA programs without draining their savings on outside help) then why seek out an expert?

Looking at my semi-healthy bank account, I can't fathom draining my cash or stocks for this kind of coaching. And maybe that's why I'll never be an MBA student or even masters student. I figure, if it's not meant to be, it's not meant to be. And, meanwhile, am somewhat jealous of the people in the world that can afford such coaching, and their Harvard / Stanford / Wharton / Kellogg / Haas / Ross pedigree.


Sep 7, 2010

What Salary Buys Happiness in Your City? $75k or $160k?

Today, the Wall Street Journal attempted to figure out just how much money (yearly, salary-wise) you need to be happy in any given city in the US. The article is quite relevant to the money tiffs my boyfriend and I have been having over how much a person / family needs in the Bay Area to be happy.

The whole concept is based on a study that says once people earn $75k, any additional income does not improve their happiness. But we all know $75k goes a lot further in the middle of nowhere than in Times Square. The WSJ attempted to figure out what $75k means across the US based on the cost of living.

Of course, my city is the second most expensive in the country, requiring an income of $118.5k to be happy. Only New York, which would require an income of $163k for the same level of happiness, is more expensive (and much more expensive at that, though I feel quality of life in the Bay Area is much higher.)

The chart is an interesting comparision of just what equals a really good salary in different parts of the country. This is the first year I’m, in theory, earning $120k (though likely only earning a little more than half of that due to on-and-off contract work) and I can attest to the fact that this is the first year I feel happy with my salary and quality of life. I’m living cheaper than I have to in order to save money, but that’s more because I’m going to end up earning $80k this year and not $120k. I can see that extra $40k just pushing me up to the amount where I’d feel stable, would be able to spend a little on things like… a car that has functioning air conditioning, and still not break the bank.

Hmm, maybe I should move to Dothan, Alabama.

Then again… they need to factor in how happy people are in each city to figure out the true cost of happiness where people live. In the Bay Area, I think happiness is cheaper because there’s so much to do outside – for free – and weather is generally decent enough to spend a good chunk of the year outside. Whereas, in Chicago, you may need less money to hit this target salary of fiscal happiness, but then that happiness is much more expensive… to keep yourself entertained all year long, you have to pay a lot more.

What do you think? What salary would you need to make in your city to reach the ultimate “happiness” a salary can offer before the excess is just luxury, without affecting your emotional state?


Clashing Long Term Fiscal Values in a Young Relationship

My boyfriend and I have been together four years. I quickly fell in love with his kindness and calm nature, which contrasted with my oft-anxious and somewhat self-centered relationship with the world. Mostly, though, I found that after dating a law student for two years I felt much more comfortable in a relationship with someone who had less motivation than I did than more. With the lawyer, who had an Ivy undergrad education and a JD from a top-10 school, I could never equal his level of success (or so I thought at the time) with my average schooling and internship salary.

Thus, dating a guy who wasn’t striving to become the next Joe Jamail was a refreshing relief. With the attorney, I always felt like he looked down on my choices and with that my depression over uncertainty, my 21-year-old lack of clarity. Enter my current boyfriend with his lack of concern over professional title or climbing up the corporate ladder, and I felt safe. With him, I felt comfortable moving up my own corporate ladder. It’s not that he is stupid or anything, he too has a degree from a top school with a high honors mark on his diploma to boot. So intelligence is not the factor here, more so, it’s the fundamentals of what motivates a person.

Four years later, my boyfriend and I still have little arguments about money. He doesn’t like discussing finances – which, fair enough, is not something two people dating oft discuss prior to marriage or at the very least engagement. After being unemployed for a year and not applying to jobs, he eventually landed a low-paid, part-time internship (one that I had completed earlier) and after that found an hourly editorial job at a non-profit that paid less than I made at my first non-profit job. It was obvious he hadn’t cared to negotiate for a better starting wage, but mostly I was proud of him for finally getting out of his funk and getting a job.

The years go by… and neither of us are by any means perfect. I manage to get fired from… a few jobs… because I lack motivation when I believe my contributions would be better contributed by a robot. As I learned to force myself to do my job no matter what, I got laid off because that job was no longer needed. To my credit, every time I lost my job I managed to practically double my salary in my next position. I moved across industries and tried out a lot of different things to figure out where I would be fulfilled. I realized that I am, to some extent, motivated by money – not by having nice, flashy things, but by watching my networth increase… my maxing out my 401k… by feeling that I may one day have enough to afford a house, even in the Bay Area.

My boyfriend, on the otherhand, spent those three years working at the non-profit. He did his job very well, followed orders, increased productivity in the company by making many of the processes more efficient. He never asked for a raise. His boss gave him a very small “raise” when he decided to work less hours and go 1099 contract instead of W2 hourly. He’s still making $20/hr, while I’m billing upwards of $80/hr on some of my projects.

This isn’t to say that I would judge anyone for working a job that makes $20/hr – there are plenty of jobs I respect out there that earn this. If you’re talking about $20/hr in Kansas, that’s also a very different income than $20/hr where the average small house costs over $1M. But this is where we always get into our little tiffs about money… I argue that before I have kids, I’d like to have an average yearly dual income of at least $150k. Long-term, I see no reason why that dual income can’t be $300k. And I would feel more comfortable in life, before deciding to have children, to know that we’d make that kind of income in our lifetimes.

My boyfriend thinks I’m crazy. Maybe I am. $150k for a family income is not unreasonable, but the majority of people in America live on much less than that – and many of them have healthy, happy families. I just look at my current spending – which could be more frugal, but is by no means extravagant – and wonder how I’d ever be able to save for retirement and pay for a house and potentially pay back graduate school loans, all while also affording children (I want two or three of them within the next 10 years.)

My boyfriend, who also wants to return for graduate school (either to become a teacher or psychology researcher) will never care about income above and beyond middle class. It’s not that he’d mind if his field paid more, he just will never be the type to push for raises or chose a job because it pays better. And as much as I admire that about him – as much as I feel safer in my own career journey knowing that my partner will accept me and love me if I make $30k a year or $200k a year, I still feel like sometime down the road this difference in fiscal values will start to hurt us a lot more than it does now.

There are times when I think of what it would be like to continue my search for my life partner, and I just can’t imagine being with anyone else. I love this guy to death, and again, I couldn’t be with someone who cared that much about money. If anything, I know that I’m most comfortable bringing home the bacon because then I feel I have more right to be in charge of the household finances. My mom is clueless when it comes to money and my entire life my parents have argued about how it should be spent. As my father was the one bringing home a single income (albeit over $200k by the time he retired) he never felt she had any right to be involved in financial decisions. If I was with a guy who understood finances more than I did… and made more money… then I might end up in that situation too. So I’d rather be the one in charge, making more money, and with a guy who maybe doesn’t care that much about his salary.

It just makes me nervous about limiting my choices later in life. What if I want to take a year off to spend time with my newborn child? What if I want to work part-time to be able to go to my child’s plays during the school day or drive them to soccer practice? On the whole other hand of this, I’m terrified of knowing I’m worth “$200/hr” or whatever my going rate would be at the time, and then deciding not work that hour because I want to spend it with my family. It would almost be easier to have less money, have a stable job, and never feel like my time is stamped with a dollar value. Or, at the least, have a partner who earns as much as I do, or around the same amount, so we could contribute to a goal income for the year… and enjoy the time we have off without the calculator in my head exploding over lost income opportunities.


Sep 3, 2010

September Networth: $77,434

Will I or won't I hit my goal this year of a $100k networth? It's possible. I'm at around $77.4k right now.

I need to be extremely frugal over the next four months to hit my goal.

As far as income goes, I'm expecting:

Potential September Income

Project A: $10000 pre-tax this month
Project B: owed $1600 + potential income of $3200 (pre-tax)
Project C: owed $300 (pre-tax)

Total: $14000 pre-tax... ~$9000 after tax.

I'll prob spend $2000 this month on rent, food, insurance, gas, health, etc.

So if I can do +$7000 this month I'll be at $84k.

That leaves $16k that I need to make in 3 months between Oct & Dec, or $5.3k per month after tax.

It's possible for Project #C I will start a $5k-$10k per month contract for 1 month. That would help a lot! Project B will likely pay around $3200 pre-tax for part-time, though it's not guaranteed. Project A is likely ending this month.

I plan to donate 10% of any income above $100k that I earn and 15% of all income above $120k, if I happen to earn that much, 25% of all income over $150k. It's not much, but I like the idea of donating a portion of income I earn over $100k.


I Will Teach -- Me -- to Be Rich

Earlier today on my lunch break I opened up the PDF first chapter of Ramit Sethi's "I Will Teach You To Be Rich" and read through it quickly.

One part that stuck out was early on when he poses the question "what do you define as rich?" He argues that you first must figure out what rich means to you in order to get there.

What does "rich" mean to me?

It means...

  1. Having enough passive income to not have to work.
  2. Having enough passive income to fund my own business.
  3. Having enough passive income to fund my own business and fail. Maybe 3 times.
  4. Being able to work when I want, for who I want.
  5. Having enough money to donate large sums each year without feeling like it hurts my ability to achieve above goals.
  6. Manage to do this while also having a family with 2-3 kids and supporting an upper middle class lifestyle and occasional splurges.

A few years ago, I would have said "making over $50k a year." Well, that was never rich in my mind, but it sure came close. I recently reviewed my social security statement for the past six years and realized that with the exception of last year, my largest yearly income to date was $25k. Last year I made about $63k. This year, I should hit $80k-$100k. And that still doesn't feel rich. I feel less rich now than I did when I was making $25k because instead of wealth being impossible, it instead is a hard, yet achievable road of long hours, late nights, working for 'the man', or finding the right startup to get lucky at.

If I never have kids, never buy a house, avoid graduate school, and maintain my current level of saving ($50k per year) with a 5% rate of return on average, I'll have over $1 million by the time I'm 40.

But is that rich? Not at all.

What does "being rich" mean to you?


Sep 2, 2010

Graduate School -- Calculating a Reality Check

I've been doing a lot of daydreaming about graduate school as of late. If I can manage to get past the GMATs and possibly retake the GREs for a better score, there's still one more overwhelming knot I must tackle: reward vs. cost of a graduate degree.

Today, I started a spreadsheet to attempt understanding just how much money over time each of my top-choice programs would cost me. I tried my best to fairly estimate how much it would cost for a year including tuition, room, board and other necessary costs. My top-choice schools range from $30k a year to $80k a year. Most programs are 2 years, some are 3. Some are MBA programs, others are in design research. My top choice is in both, and happens to cost the most when lost salary is added in (it's a 3 year program.)

Based on my current income, I feel it is safe to say that I could make $100k average per year during the time I would be in graduate school. So to understand the total cost of school, I've added that yearly lost income. Granted, I could freelance and consult on the side during school or obtain scholarships and other work situations, but at this time I'm looking at the cost of graduate school w/ no work vs. working full time. And I can't handle the results of my calculations.

My top choice school, which would grant me an MBA and a Design masters degree, will cost approx $500k over 3 years. (WHAT? A HALF MILLION DOLLARS?) It's $160k total, give or take, without the income loss factored in. Quite frankly if I continue on the professional track I'm on now I can probably match any income bump I'd get from having an advanced degree.

Now, the thing is, I'm not going for my masters degree for a raise. I'm going because I want to give myself a fighting change to lead product management for an innovative company. That leads me to wondering, however, if I'd be better off investing that $500k in starting a company instead of going to grad school.

Even the in-state program that I'm interested in will cost me $260k over a period of 2 years including lost income. How can I justify this kind of spending?

This all comes at a time when my networth is eeking closer and closer to $100k. At the moment, that seems like A LOT of money. But when I look at the cost of these graduate degrees (and the cost of life in general), it seems like pocket change.

Looking ahead to the future I know I won't have the luxury to save as much as I do now. I'd like to start a family when I'm in my early 30s. My boyfriend is also planning on going to school so will have loans as well. Once I go to graduate school my value will be entirely in the amount of time I work in life. These days I feel like it's a waste of time to do anything other than work... all my freelance projects earn me additional income - why spend time outside at a park when I can be earning valuable cash to invest when the market is down and I'm still young?

Not that I'm complaining... life is going really well, esp given the current economic circumstances. I'm just trying to figure out how to justify graduate school to myself when on paper (eh, Google docs spreadsheet) it just doesn't make fiscal sense. Then there's this whole "having to get in" issue as well.


Aug 30, 2010

Making Sense and Losing Cents of the Economy

Like everyone else who has a dime or more invested in equities, I’m concerned about the future of the stock market. Whenever the market looks so bleak, everyone is concerned. And that’s usually the best time to invest. Yet with my yearly investments becoming more sizable, this feels a lot like Las Vegas. Even with diversification, it doesn’t help when all (or most) stocks are on red.

After receiving my paycheck for the past months and reimbursed expenses, I realized that I’m sitting on $16k liquid in my checking account. Part of me hates writing about this because I know I’m so lucky to have the luxury to ask the question “where should I invest?” But this may also be a temporary income boost and I want to invest wisely.

Yesterday, I pulled out my social security statement and studied my yearly income since 2002. Other than last year, I made somewhere between $0 and $25,000 each year. Last year, I broke $60k for a full year’s worth of work. This year as of Sept 1, even with 2 months of unemployment (unpaid), I have earned around $70k this year. And with the way some contracts are shaping up, I expect to make an additional $10k to $30k by the end of the year. So now I face the unlikely problem in a time of economic crisis – what do I do with all this money?

The easy answer is: spend it. Not on wasteful purchases, but things that I need or will need soon. I could buy a new car, or a “new” used car. Or I could invest in property somewhere (though that requires stable long-term income, which I am not confident I’ll have, especially with my plans to go back to school in the next two years.) So where do I put the excess cash?

I’ve already maxed out my IRA and will, within this month, max out my 401k (no match, bummer.) I will likely put another $2000 in my HSA which is invested in very low-risk funds. My IRA is in Sharebuilder and I bought 5 funds – the gold ETF, the silver ETF, two high-dividend ETFs and a REIT ETF. My 401k is invested in a mix of equities and bonds, and I’m not clear what is in it exactly. With a large chunk of my savings this year going into my 401k, I’m concerned that in the next ten years we’ll have deflation, high taxes, and my 401k will turn to mush.

But I’m willing to take that risk with $16.5k because it could be a very good time to invest as well. I’m just not sure I can stomach taking that risk with more money. Not without understanding the real economic situation in this country and the world. History doesn’t always repeat itself, or even if it does it may take a longer time to turn around. I’m young now, I can handle that, but if the next 5-10 years will be lost decade #2, why should I play?

The whole media fueling the fire is disturbing as well. I can’t tell how much of the stocks slipping these days is all the fear stories about how bad the economy is doing. It’s a domino effect that goes in a circle downward. What if all the news resources lied and said the economy was turning around and there’s a ray of sunshine close ahead? If people would invest and spend money than… well, that seems to be the only way to dig ourselves out of this mess right now. I don’t know if I agree with that, but what else can we do? We need people spending again so companies will start hiring again. That’s how capitalism works, right?

But it will take a long time to trickle down to lower and middle classes. The media couldn’t lie for that long. News would get out that the future is not so sunny. And everything would crash again.

Or you can just – apparently – print money until the cows come home and thus make every dollar worth less and less and less. That can’t be a good thing.

Right now lots of big names in economics are saying that we may have a “double dip recession” or – worse? – a depression… because we never actually recovered from the first recession. I wish I understood economics jargon more so I could make sense of this, this, this and this ... and the thousands of other economic gloom and doom stories I'm reading.

Any feedback from those of you out there who are more economically savvy?


Aug 29, 2010

3 NSF Fees from Bank for Same Transaction: The appropriate acronym is WTF

My bank (which will remain nameless) charges me a $35 fee when I don't have enough funds to cover a transaction. Normally I'd say -- ok, that's a bit steep, but it's my fault for sending out a check that I can't cover with funds in my account. But this summer things got a bit wonky.

For work I need to put all of my expenses on my card and then get them reimbursed. I ended up spending a lot more than I expected and although my American Express payment wasn't due, I wanted to make sure it was paid of asap. For some reason I thought I had enough money in my account to cover the $3500 payment. Well, I didn't. I found this out by seeing a $35 charge on my account activity page. Crap, I thought to myself, I can't believe I just wasted $35. So I was going to let it slide.

Then, two days later, I saw another $35 fee. I called up my bank to find out what's up. Apparently American Express is allowed to automatically try to get the payment through a bunch of times, and each time they try it hits my account with a $35 fee. I called up American Express and they told me that once I approved the payment, it's all done automatically, and I had to wait for it to be denied.

So I called up my bank account and after a few minutes of begging got them to remove one of the $35 fees. I hoped that American Express would be done with the requests for payment, but a few days later another one showed up on my account. I called my bank again and the conversation went something like this:

"Can you waive the $35 fee because I am already paying a $35 fee for that transaction. I now have the money in there to pay for the entire American Express payment and then some. I'm a good customer (yada yada) so can you help me out this one time?"

"No, sorry, it won't let me do that, we already removed one fee."

"But it's for the same transaction. It didn't even pay it, it was returned to American Express. I will probably have a fee from them as well."

"I'm sorry it's all automated there's nothing I can do... ... ... unless ... unless you have some sort of hardship, are unemployed or something...?"

(A pause. I wonder how much I should stretch the truth)

"Well, my job is ending soon" I started, adding "my job is ending next week."

"You should call us back next week," she starts.

"What? This is ridiculous." I brought out my inner actress here. "My job is ending... next week, and you can't put that I'm unemployed now? I will be unemployed next week. On..."

"Today is your last day?" she adds, as if trying to help me through my lie.

"Yes, I don't have work on Monday," I said, "today is my last day."

"Let me see if that will work," she said. A few seconds later I had my $35 refund.

So... does this make me a bad person? Truth is I AM losing my job next month unless my contract gets renewed. Not on Monday, but fairly soon after. Really, though, I figure I'm paying the one $35 fee for my stupidity and the bank does not deserve a cent more.

Since fairness has nothing to do with bank fees, I also take a little consolation in knowing I'm heavily investing in bank stocks. If they're going to get bailed out by the government and charge ridiculous fees, I'm going to get in on that action.


Aug 28, 2010

Eat. Pay. Money can't buy you Love.

Life has been too busy, for better or worse, to update this blog as frequently as I have in the past. Mostly, though, I'm afraid of being found out -- I know far too many people who are experts in finding things online accidentally or otherwise, thus I'm concerned about writing details of my professional or fiscal life at this point to identify myself. Heck, one gal who read my livejournal for a few years guessed this was me just by my writing style and some other details. What, am I the only insecure yet semi successful gal who writes in run-on sentences in this world?

In any case, it's time for a real update. I'll take my chances and hope that I don't say anything too incriminating here to get me into trouble in the real world.

This summer I spent most of my time traveling for a business trip, and then a short vacation since I was already abroad and needed a breather. The best part about it -- other than seeing some cool new places and having great professional opportunities -- was how much money I made in a month. I ended up working extremely long hours and billed about two months worth of work in one month's time -- which is especially great since my contract will be expiring soon and it's not sure yet whether it will be renewed.

I'm not too concerned on that front, though. I've already made more money this year than I did last year, even with just seven months of work. I also have a few startup projects that I'm working on which are extra income streams -- though they're more to keep me sane (I can't just work on one thing at a time) than for the money. Then again, I've found consulting in my field can be quite lucrative. Sure, self employment tax sucks, but once you can call yourself an expert in something you can get away with charging enough to cover that and then some. What I really love about those jobs, though, is the ability to work from home. I'm so much less anxious at home so I get much more done and do better work. Ultimately, I'd like to find a full-time job or consulting work that I can do mostly at home.

That brings me to my current plan to actually apply to graduate school this year. It's definitely the right time for me to do this, if I'm going to ever go to grad school. I'm 26 and I'm not getting any younger. I want to have my graduate degree by the time I'm 30 and given that a few programs I'm looking at are 3 years long, it's now or never. And now is a great time... I don't have an extended full-time job (even if my contract does get renewed it will end in another six months) and my consulting projects could feasibly continue into grad school if my bosses feel I add enough value to the company, and ideally I could work a few hours a week to cover some of my basic expenses outside of loans.

Still, I wonder if grad school has a place in my life. This year (not counting my two months of unemployment) I would have made over $120k -- most graduate programs, even top-ranking ones, boast that their graduates that are on the high end of the salary scale score jobs that pay that must post graduation. Of course, the reason for me to go to grad school isn't exactly for salary alone... it's about having more flexibility in my career, more respect, and more knowledge. I just wonder how much that's worth... because I seem to be doing ok so far -- which I'm proud of and also somewhat guilty about, given the state of the economy. I certainly don't feel like I deserve the income... yet I know I'm most comfortable in the upper middle class, and I don't expect my boyfriend to ever get me there. It's all on me.

My goal this year was to end 2010 with a net worth of $100k. Even though I've been making a lot and saving a lot, the stock market (as we all know) is not doing well enough to boost my savings to that goal. Right now it looks like I might hit $80k... which means I would have saved $30k this year (not so bad.) I might be able to make it to $100k if some of these side projects work out, but that's all up in the air. It's tough because some weeks I love working the extra hours and other weeks I just wish I had time to have a life! For instance, I've been spending all day working... instead of hanging out with my boyfriend and enjoying the nice weather. Hopefully I'll have a few hours away from the computer tomorrow.

I have a hard time sticking to my goals because everything in life is so transient. Working for a big corporation has been a great learning experience, but I also struggle to find motivation in working for 'the bottom line' when even my direct superiors and their superiors don't have a lot of say in what we're doing. I definitely like working for smaller companies where you have a say. Then again, in a bigger company it's a bit easier to just hang on for the ride... do what you're told... which is nice sometimes. But not what I want to be doing for the rest of my life.

Well, I have to get back to work. I don't know if anyone still reads this blog since I never update, but if you do say hi as knowing folks still read will encourage me to write more. :)