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Adulting Career Finance Girl Boss Lifestyle Money Matters

Goals Progress – September 2018

Summer’s almost over and the pumpkin spice is all over the place, but I’m not complaining! It’s crazy that 3/4ths of the year has already gone by, but I am pretty pleased with where am with my 2018 goals – especially the financial ones. Pretty cool what you can accomplish when you have a set plan! (says the Project Manager!! lol)



 

Career Goals

I’ve still been telling myself that I need to start studying for my PMP (Project Management Professional) certification. I also think it’s good to brush up your resume every once in a while just to keep it fresh, so that’s now on my to do list. I swear I will get some movement in this area in September!

Fitness Goals

August was definitely the month of fluctuation. I got down to my lowest weight, but then spiked back up to my heaviest and finally normalized into my current average. I’m sorry guys, I can’t give up my food! I did keep up with the lifting, which is more than I’ve done in the past, and I feel live I’ve seen change even though the scale might not agree. Like I keep saying, it’s definitely the eating, but one of these days I’ll find that balance. I think I’ll start tracking what my maxes are though just to keep me motivated. 😉

  • Barbell Squats: 125 lbs – yay 10 lbs more than last month!
  • Lat Pull Downs: 70 lbs
  • Seated Rows: 70 lbs – 5 lbs more than last month!



 

Financial Goals

I’m extremely happy to report that as of 8/31, I HAVE PAID OFF MY FIRST LOAN! I’ll be sharing a separate post, with more details on how I tackled this loan and paid off ~$10,000 in 6 months but damnit I am pretty proud to be able to cross off a goal on the list. This leaves me at 28% down to the road to being debt free! It’s a pretty hefty accomplishment I think, but I was sitting and looking at the numbers and in reality almost 24% of my payments didn’t go to principal! That’s such a crazy thing to think about because I’m aggressively trying to pay it down – if I paid the minimums every month, that percentage would probably be so much more! Nevertheless, I must keep chipping away because right now debt free is looking like October 2019 and that’s only 13 months away!

Blog Goals

I think I must have a one track mind because I’m pretty obsessive about my financial goals, which leaves me with very little motivation on the other goals! As usual, blog goals have been slow and steady. I definitely had less motivation in August and posted way less than I did the month before. Traffic increased a little with my dabbling in Pinterest, but I just haven’t been consistent. Consistency is key in everything! As of today, I’m at 2,967 followers, which is less than 100 more than I had last month, but some progress is better than none, no?



Until next month!

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Career Finance Fitness Girl Boss Lifestyle

Goals Progress – June 2018

2018 is just flying by and I can’t believe we’re already halfway through the year. May was much better progress for me in all areas than April was (read my original goals post here) but I think I might hit a little snag here in the financial area this month because I have trips to Las Vegas and LA. It’s honestly really hard keeping up the motivation in all areas because I naturally would rather bum out on the couch than do anything productive! But like one of my favorite Confucious quotes says, “It doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you don’t stop.” I’m constantly telling myself everyday, Don’t stop. Keep going. It’s coming.



Career Goals

Two of my certificates expire this year, my Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) expired in May and my PMI-Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) expires in 2 weeks. I’m such a procrastinator and totally missed the deadline for my CSPO, but luckily they had a grace period. All I had to do was pay $100 for a renewal and it moved the expiration date to May 2020. The ACP cert is harder because I need to get I think 30-35 PDUs (Professional Development Units) which you can get through courses or I think volunteering? I decided to sign up for a self-paced online PMP (Project Management Professional) course so that I can start prepping for that certification, so now I need to get off my ass and actually open the course, but baby steps!

“It takes 4 weeks for you to notice a change. It takes 8 weeks for your friends and family to notice. It takes 12 weeks for the rest of the world. Keep. Going.” • I got “serious” about my body goals in the beginning of May and in the first 2 weeks I saw my weight going down. Then all of a sudden I started gaining weight and 4 weeks later I’m almost 10 lbs heavier than when I started. #seriouslyWTF 🙄🙄🙄 The scale is SO discouraging and I have to tell myself everyday to keep going. But I LOVE how much stronger I feel 💪🏽 I’m lifting heavier, HIITing harder, leaner in some places, and rounder in the right places. 🍑 It doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you don’t stop. 🙌🏽 • #wednesdaywisdom #fitspo #fitspire #instafitness #goalgetter #goaldiggers #staymotivated #fitnessjourney #humpday🐫 #dfwblogger #dallasbloggers

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Fitness Goals

I’m finally seeing decent progress in the fitness area, although I did gain a few pounds and it’s totally discouraging, I’m going to keep telling myself it’s the muscle I’ve been building. I measure myself at my waist, the largest part of my belly (i.e. my problem area), and hips and I’ve lost a whole inch around my waist and belly. This week marks the start of the 5th week and overall, I feel stronger and like my stamina has been building up. Right now my schedule looks like 5 AM HIIT 3 days a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday), afternoon HIIT Wednesdays and Fridays, and weightlifting in the afternoons the rest of the week. I’ll drop in a hot yoga class here and there when my muscles start feeling tight and sometimes I run when I have to fit something in and I don’t have the time. I hate running, getting up at 5 AM sucks, and the number on the scale makes me want to say eff it, but like I said, I just keep telling myself keep going, it’s coming.



 

Financial Goals

I am really proud of myself in this area because I feel like it’s where I see the most progress. It’s still kind of daunting looking at the total numbers and it really does feel like a huge sacrifice, but it’s really motivating seeing the graphical progress! As of today, I’ve paid off 20% my debt and I’m on track to paying off my first loan in 2 more months. I feel like I’ve been low key obsessive about this goal, but I feel like most people don’t really think about how much money they’re bleeding off of interest rates. For this loan, in February I paid $81.93 in interest, in March $37.70, April $29.25, and May $23.39. That’s a total of $172.27 in interest – which could have been a plane ticket to another city! I’ve consistently put $1000+ over my minimum payment on this loan since February, which is why the total monthly interest charge has been steadily declining, but it really stresses me out thinking about the other ways I could’ve used that money.

But overall progress is great, I can’t wait til I start aggressively tackling my car loan in August/September, but I’m definitely gonna hit a little bump this month because I’m meeting my family in Las Vegas in 2 weeks then meeting up with my sister in Los Angeles the week after. I pay off my credit cards in full every month to avoid interest charges and it just doesn’t make sense to rack up charges when I’m trying to pay off my debt. Also, I’m working on consolidating some of my old 401k and HSA accounts so that I have a better idea of my overall net worth. Jeez, I sound like such an adult!

Blog Goals

This area has definitely been slow and steady. I’ve been more consistent on IG posting and I did manage to put up 3 posts in May, but I really have to get grinding here. I think I over think things too much and really just need to churn out the work. My goal for this month is to post more than I did last month (3 posts) and start dipping my toes in Pinterest marketing.

Categories
Career Finance Fitness Lifestyle

Goals Progress – April 2018

CAREER

My existing certs are going to expire so I need to get some PDUs under my belt quick to keep them active but I honestly haven’t looked at my options yet. I still really want to get PMP certified so I’m hoping I can find a class that fits my schedule.

FITNESS GOALS

As usual, finding my balance is not going well. Going on vacation to Hawai’i for my birthday in March really set me back and I haven’t been able to find that motivation. I am still going to be the gym/working out regularly but my diet is horrible. I need to get back on it because summer is seriously right around the corner.

FINANCIAL GOALS

I am happy to report that I’ve been making significant progress on my financial goals and am currently at 10% progress! I’ve been obsessed with getting rid of this debt and since I buckled down in February, I threw an excessive amount of money at my debt. We’ll just say that it’s enough to fund 2 big international trips which makes me sad because if you know me, you know I live to travel. But sacrifice now to play a lot later!

BLOG GOALS

I don’t know if my blog progress is worse than my career progress! I’ve been really horrible about putting in the work to see the growth, but I do have a few Hawai’i posts planned so I’m hoping that’ll get the ball rolling and give me a spark of motivation. I have been slowly building my IG following, but XOMO has been at a complete stop but I swear I’m gonna get my ish together one of these days.

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Career Girl Boss

To The Men Who Stand with Women in Tech — Thank You

I recently read I’m so tired and I’m not even a woman and it kicked me right in the feels reading from a male perspective who actually empathizes with women. I’m thankful that these things are noticed and grateful for all those who do something about it.

 

In the past 6 months, there’s been a lot of news about the “Culture of Harassment”, about the Uber CEO’s inappropriate emails, and a number of women coming out with their own stories. While my heart hurts hearing about these things, I fully believe that for every negative, there is a positive, and for every douchebag out there, there’s a real man offering support.

 

I know, because I wouldn’t be where I am in my career without them.


 



 

When I was interviewing for a job my last year of college, I was rejected for a position because the recruiter said I wasn’t technical enough. (Mind you, I was graduating with a degree in Computer Engineering.) I applied for the same job a semester later and received an offer. I later volunteered at a recruiting fair at my alma mater with said recruiter. He remembered me and afterwards, wrote a glowing praise email to my boss. My favorite comment from which I will never forget: “…where she is long and humility and short in ego. She has a long and successful career ahead of her.” That email set the tone of my career.

 

When I was a QA analyst, I had weekly one on one meetings with my boss. From the beginning, I think he sensed my insecurity, but saw potential in me. He pushed me to take classes and certifications, genuinely cared about my career growth, and let me move on when opportunity knocked. I credit him with teaching me to stop focusing on the minutiae and zoom out to see the bigger picture.

 

When I was given the opportunity to be a project manager  —  something I thought would’ve taken years longer — my direct manager walked me through processes, but still gave me room to grow. He encouraged me when I was nervous about presenting to the VP, answered all my stupid questions, and showed me that really understanding a business model can give you an upper hand in finding a technical solution. He still jokes that if I ever needed a job, he would make room for me, wherever he is.

 

Then there was the manager who had my back when I made a mistake. The director who unknowingly gave me a confidence boost when he allowed me to take responsibility because he “wanted to empower me.” The executive who told me to keep going in my career because “it’s hard to find people like you.” And I can’t forget my male colleagues who reminded me to be fearless and just go for it.

 

It’s no secret that the IT world is saturated with men and I hate knowing that so many bad apples have given many women in tech bad experiences.

But I’m a woman in tech and I’ve had so many good experiences.

 

There’s still room to grow in terms of equality, but we should celebrate the wins along the way. Women are not better than, but the world is better with women. To the ladies out there, keep your head up. And to the men who stand with us, thank you.




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Career Girl Boss Life Lessons

The Best Career Advice I Ever Received

 

I recently watched a TED talk by Drew Dudley and it’s a great talk about leadership, but a question he posed in it made me reflect on my own life. He said,

How many of you guys have a lollipop moment, a moment where someone said or did something that you feel fundamentally made your life better?

It struck me mostly because I had been thinking this past week about the things that have led me to where I am today. It’s still pretty early in my career, but I definitely have had my own lollipop moment.

 

My last year of college at UofA, I spent most of my free time applying to jobs. I can’t even remember how many I applied to and how many interviews I went on. I remember it being the worst because I was about to be a new college grad with no internships under my belt and the only relevant work experience I had was working part-time at an IT Help Desk for one of the colleges on campus.

 

Tech interviews were especially stressful because I’d often get asked to write some code on the spot or verbally draft up some logic over the phone. It didn’t help at all that I suffered badly from Imposter Syndrome, but I sucked up my nerves and went through every interview I got hoping that somebody, anybody, would say yes. At the end of every interview, they always asked if I had any questions and my favorite one to ask was this:

 

What’s the best career advice you have ever received?

 

I’d get great reactions and thoughtful answers – I really wish I remembered them all. But there was one answer in particular that’s stuck with me.

 

I was interviewing for a Software Developer position in Ithaca, New York. I had interviewed with one other person in the company and they wanted to set up a second interview with their Vice President at the time; she had seen my resume and wanted to speak to me herself. We had a great conversation; she seemed intrigued by my background and satisfied with my answers.

 

When I asked her what’s the best career advice you ever received? she replied:

 

Never take a job that you know how to do.

 

I was confused by what she meant and she explained, when you take a job you already know how to do, you’re not learning anything new. It doesn’t mean take a job that you’re absolutely unqualified for, but take something you can learn and grow in.

 

I was surprised – and relieved. Mostly because I had felt so unqualified and inexperienced for most of the jobs that I was interviewing for, but also because it put things into perspective. It’s guided me every time I’ve come to a crossroad in my career. Every time an opportunity came up, I’d be scared that I wouldn’t know what I was doing and the advice always came to mind.

 

 

There have been several times where I felt completely inadequate. Like I wasn’t smart enough, wasn’t good enough, or I didn’t deserve to be in that position, but I’d remind myself that it’s okay to not know everything. I’d take a step back and realize that the few things I didn’t know how to do, I could figure it out with some help and guidance. Pretty soon, those ‘unknowns’ became familiar territory.

 

 

In Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In, she brings up research that found that men apply for a job when they meet 60% of the qualification, but women only apply if they meet 100% of them. It’s surprisingly true. I know that I’ve felt that way and I’ve even seen this in practice – my male friends have much more confidence applying to jobs than my female friends.

 

That confidence comes with time, experience, and a little bit of faith in yourself. I’ve found that as long as you have a great attitude, a willingness to learn and work hard, you’ll figure it out. Don’t be afraid to take that job, or at least apply for it! You never know – it might just be exactly what you needed.

 

I ended up not getting an offer for that position. They had asked if I was willing to relocate and even though at that point, I would’ve gone anywhere, it probably wouldn’t have been the best decision. I think they were willing to give me a chance, but in hindsight, they knew it wouldn’t have been the best fit for me. I didn’t even have a clue where Ithaca was and having a little Hawai’i girl moving from Tucson, Arizona to upstate New York would’ve been some serious culture shock.

 

It’s kind of crazy to think how much of an effect that lollipop moment had on my life. I doubt that VP even remembers interviewing me. You never realize how much of an impact that moment makes until much later, but in retrospect, it ends up being so sweet.

 

Have you had a lollipop moment?
 What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
 Share with me in the comments!
 

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Career

When I Grow Up… – 5 Tips to Find Your Dream Job

“What do you wanna be when you grow up?”

As kids, we were constantly asked this question and were expected to have a legitimate answer in high school. If and when you get to college, you’re asked to declare a major, but so many of us pick one without really knowing what we want to do. You can be anything. You can do anything. But there’s a million options out there – how the hell are you supposed to know?!

 

via GIPHY

 

Some people grow up knowing exactly what they wanna be and go for it, others just end up sticking in the same job for years because it’s just easier. Over the course of a lifetime, the average person spends 90,000+ hours at work – if you ask me, that is way too much time to spend doing something you hate. I feel so blessed that I can honestly say that I love what I do, but figuring it out wasn’t easy.

 

I got my first part-time job at 16 and not really knowing what I wanted to do. I was never really sure if I’d make it in the tech world. I always loved it, but at one point I almost flunked out of engineering school and even post graduation, I still didn’t have a lot of confidence. So, how do you go from not knowing what I’m going to do with my life to finding my dream job? Looking back there were several things that led me to figure it out.

 

 

Random wall in Athens, Greece

 

1. TAKE NOTE OF WHAT YOU LIKE

In any job, there’s going to be things that you like and don’t like. Take note of what you like, they may serve you later. I’m not talking about the menial every day tasks, but the different aspects. For example, my first job out of college was as a Business Analyst. I liked knowing the business side of things, but it bored me out of my mind not being involved in the technical side of things. When I was a QA Analyst, I loved knowing the ins and outs of an application, but I wanted more of the business side. Knowing what I liked, and didn’t like, played a big part when I was figuring out what I wanted to do.

 

2. DON’T BE AFRAID TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT

When you’re used to doing one thing, sometimes it’s scary to think about switching gears or going into a completely new field or department. If you like the field you’re in, then definitely stay! But if you’re still unsure, maybe it’s time to try something new. My first job ever was working in retail at Forever 21 in high school. Throughout college, I was as a front desk receptionist at LA Fitness. My last few years of college I spent working at an IT help desk on campus. Post graduation, I worked as a Business Analyst and Quality Assurance Analyst before realizing that I wanted to be a Project Manager. Trying different jobs can be a bit intimidating, but all the times I pivoted my career were probably the most rewarding. I would walk in so scared and unsure that I could do the job and I walked out so much more experienced and definitely much wiser. If it doesn’t work out, it’s never to late to try again.

 

3. LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT OTHER PEOPLE DO

When you’re at work, you’re number one priority is doing your job. But as with any job, you’ll need to work with other people. I’ve always liked learning what other people do and how they got to where they’re at. Ask around, get to know what other people do and how it affects the business overall. Ask things like what it is that they do and how does it contribute to the bigger picture? What do they like and dislike about the position? It’ll give you more exposure to the business in general and to other jobs that you may not have known about. It’ll even give you some good perspective on how to better do your job. Learning more about other people’s jobs led me to finding more about the sales and marketing side of things (a whole new world for me) and it also made me realize how perfect my job is for me.

 

4. KNOW YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES

I know this point may come off as cliche, but self awareness is so important. One of the biggest reasons I love my job is that it really utilizes my strengths and doesn’t emphasize my weaknesses. I was never really the strongest programmer, but I really like knowing the logic behind the technology. I still wanted to use my technical skills, but I knew I wouldn’t be that successful as a developer. Being an IT Project Manager gives me the opportunity to do that – I’m still able to understand what’s happening in the backend of an application when I talk to developers without having to get down in the weeds and writing lines of code.

 

5. REMEMBER THAT MONEY ISN’T EVERYTHING

Research from a Gallup survey found that “people with an annual household income of $75,000 are about as happy as anyone gets.” Money isn’t so great when you’re stuck in a 9 – 5 that you hate. There have been several times when I was willing to take a pay cut if I knew that that job would launch me further in my career in the long run. Know your worth, but don’t get caught up with the numbers. It will fall into place as and when it should – as long as you put in the work.

 

 

Your dream job isn’t going to just fall in your lap, but you’ll never get it if you don’t at least try. Some jobs take years of experience to get to, so don’t get discouraged! But if you’re unhappy and feel like you’re destined for something else, don’t sit around and complain about it – go and take steps towards your goals! Life’s too short for mediocre, but also remember that good things take time.