Monday, September 7, 2015

Fighting Wolves

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life.

"A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy. "It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego."

He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

-Cherokee legend

Friday, September 4, 2015

Bullshit vs Insanity

Yet another post where I find myself nodding along, thinking I could have written most of it myself.

Can we be reasonable in our approach? Can we be intentional with our goals without having to go to extremes to get there? Let’s find a happy medium and enjoy the things that life offers. We can find middle ground in all areas – family, friends, fitness, nutrition, and work. Do you have areas to improve in, or do you already see yourself living somewhere in the middle of bullshit and insanity?
I am working on living in the sustainable middle...join me!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Chase Your Dream Job

Where are you in this bubble?

I love accounting & spreadsheeting & bookkeeping and all the usual office-y things (truly, I love them!), and I'm good at it. BONUS: the world needs it, and will pay for it.

So, bliss found: just go do accounting, right?

Almost. I've been doing accounting for the past 16 years, and I've come to an additional realization: WHERE I do it, WHO my time is benefitting, also matters to me. Hugely. The only thing in this world that I have complete & total control over is what I do with my time.

I simply cannot spend my time, my one most precious & completely priceless commodity, at a business that I don't care about. Now, I used to care about the company I just left (after 9.5 years), but it changed; I still cared about the people, but not about its mission & goals. I don't think the world needs the product they are selling. I no longer enjoyed my daily work because of the unreasonable demands on my time. I've been hanging out in the "career" & "satisfaction" crossover of the bubbles for the past year or two. But I simply didn't feel fulfilled giving my time to a company that didn't share my personal values. And when I realized that was my problem, it became clear that exiting was my only option.

I DO think the world needs the service my dream employer (NSS) is selling. I LOVE the place like it's my second home, and the trainers there are part of my carefully-curated tribe. NSS changed my life for the better in every possible way, and so if I can give them my time to help them change MORE lives, then I will. I must. It's my bliss!

However, I'm having to do a little compromising to get there. They can't take me full-time, can't quite justify the expense of a salary for me five days per week. But we settled on three days, and I can make that work by spending two days a week at an accounting firm. So, I'm now out of my unwanted corporate job, and at my dream job three days per week, & my almost-dream-job two days per week. Wow! Am I ever lucky!


It's not luck, not one little bit of it. None. Let me tell you the story of how I've arrived at this "perfect job" scenario:

Thirteen years ago (13!), I picked up a part-time job at DBB, an accounting firm in my hometown. The work was different from my usual bookkeeping, and the coworkers were super-duper-uper nice, so it was actually quite fun to do. Putting in about 15 hours a week doing taxes helped me save up a nice chunk of change. Even after changing my FT job to 30 miles away, and moving 10 miles toward that job, I continued to work tax seasons, driving past my own home to work a second job a few nights a week, and ALLLLL DAY Saturday. It got long, but since it was winter, I wasn't really missing much besides laziness at home on the couch. With a promotion at my FT job, and the distance, I scaled back to Saturdays only, still unwilling to give up the easy money, or disappoint a business that relied on my expertise & expressed their appreciation for me every single day that I worked there. Some years, such as the three years I also trained for a spring marathon during that same timeframe, it was beyond stressful. I chipped away at my sanity to fulfill that job. But it always felt worth it, because the place adored me. I skipped ONE tax season, to train for Boston for the third straight year, but I unhesitatingly went back the very next year (and quit with the spring marathon nonsense).

So, I am now at that job two days per week, plus Saturdays during tax season. I'm excited that I'll be able to help them out more, and I'm excited about the kind of work I'll get to do, because it's my favorite of their workload.

I eased my way into NSS over the past 6 years that I've been training there. I started by making them some Excel templates, enthusiastically helped whenever they had questions in my area of expertise, made sure they knew my skills/love of spreadsheets/financial nerdery, and within a couple of years, they asked me to take over some of the bookkeeping to free them up to do what THEY do best. Because I love the place & what it has done for me, and want to help them do it for others, being there full-time would be my ultimate dream job, and I told them that, often. I made it a top priority in my life to be just as invaluable to them as I could be, trusting that eventually they'd grow big enough to need me more. I gradually did more & more things for them (things they didn't even know they needed, sometimes!), made myself helpful in assorted areas, and worked late on Fridays, on weekends, on holidays, whatever was necessary to get the weekly work in - until finally this winter it became pretty clear to all of us that one afternoon per week was no longer enough time for me to get everything done. I offered up this half-time gig idea, and told them what I would need to make (a pay cut for, but higher than they were anticipating, I'm positive) - and they agreed to absolutely everything.

Just like that, I am at that job three days per week, and I. Could. Not. Be. Happier. They know I want to be there full time, and I am confident they will soon be feeling just as adamant that I need to be there every day - so all we need is the growth to justify it and the P&L to support it. I. Can. Not. Freaking. Wait.

So anyway, all of that babbling is to show that I've worked my ass off to put those two jobs at the top of my priority list, always. Hence, the "luck" that I've landed this dream-job-combo? It's not luck at all. It's pure hard work, determination, the internal drive to be added value to them, an asset they need. I've sacrificed my free/fun time, I've sacrificed my sanity at times, but they have been entirely worth it.

Just like pretty much every success story out there, I worked my ass off, and when the time was right, the opportunity was there to accept the payoff of all those invested years. I've taken a pay cut and lost all kinds of generous big-company benefits to work this combo, but I've dumped a thousand truckloads of stress out of my life, I am working at places aligned with my very core, I've gained my very life back, and I. Could. Not. Be. Happier.

And, my dear sweet soul, there is not a single solitary unique thing in my long-winded story. You can write your own history of how you landed at your dream job, too. You can. You must. I promise you: it is worth the sacrifices you will make for it it happen. Because the sacrifices you make to work a job you hate are not, and never will be, worth it.

So, what is your dream job? What's your ultimate, perfect, ideal, fulfilling gig to pay for the rest of your life? Where can you find your bliss?

What will you do with your time, your single most precious, priceless commodity?

What steps can you take NOW to move you toward that life?

How can you work your ass off to achieve it? 

Opportunity is missed by most because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. 
-Thomas Alva Edison

Your bliss awaits.

Run toward it with open arms.