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You might be aware that today is my last day in my current role. I’ve been here for 1 1/2 years of bittersweet work, but I am incredibly excited to be joining the team at my new place of employment where I’ll be a Community Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator. It will definitely be a challenging role, especially since I feel a bit rusty, but I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can do together to build awareness for the organization. Anyway, since it’s my last day here, I wanted to spend today’s Truth Thursday contemplating some lessons I’ve learned about work and life.

1. Never sacrifice your own well-being for a job for any reason – Being one who’s never had a lot of money, I’ve been well-accustomed to working multiple jobs to make ends meet. In school, for instance, I once worked three jobs while going to school full time. After school, I also had periods where I worked multiple jobs, and more recently, had days where I went straight from one job to another. Working like this can earn you more money, but I found it significantly diminished my happiness. Nothing, not even money, is a worthwhile enough reason to work yourself to death.

2. Maintain a strong work-life balance – You will hear me proclaim this a lot. I am a huge proponent of work-life balance. While I enjoy working and would work even if I didn’t need to, work-life balance is incredibly important to me as well. I find that it’s a refreshing way to enjoy more of life and still stay connected to my work, which helps me enjoy both aspects of life more thoroughly. And while I want to enjoy my career and the work that I do, it’s unrealistic to expect that my career will give me absolute happiness. Only having a life outside of work can balance out the two sufficiently.

3. Never stop trying to find a career you enjoy – Will I ever find a career that I love? Maybe, maybe not. But I do think it’s realistic to expect that I can find a career I enjoy – even if that means that I try out a few career paths before I settle into one. I haven’t become a veterinarian, an actor, a pastor, an event planner, or a PR gal, but I have taken pieces of each of those roles that I enjoy and try to incorporate those aspects into my work. It is never worthwhile to be stuck in a job that you hate or that makes you feel bad about yourself. It is worth dedicating time and effort into finding a fulfilling job you enjoy.

4. Seize smart opportunities whenever they come your way – Obviously I’m not telling you to make bad decisions, but don’t pass up exciting opportunities just because they seem a little risky. I purposely do not have a solid plan for the next five years because I don’t want to feel stuck on my own set path. I would much rather be open to anything that comes my way, and then I can decide from there if it’s a worthwhile opportunity at that time.

5. Keep your work comrades close – We spend 1/3 of our working years with our coworkers, but many of us know almost nothing about them. Studies have shown that people who have good relationships with their coworkers enjoy work more and work in a more positive environment. I myself have garnered some great relationships thanks to my work at various companies, and many times, these coworkers helped me survive. Try to build close connections with worthwhile comrades and then keep them around if you do leave the company. You won’t be sorry.

What have you learned in regards to work and life?

Every once in a while, I need a change. I don’t mean something small, like sleeping with my head at the foot of the bed or eating dinner for breakfast. I need huge change. Just like every person, I start wanting more. When things are going poorly, I have a hard time accepting that this is it. I move rather often and like redecorating – my mom moved a lot when we were kids, so maybe that’s part of it, but it’s also because I like change. I want to keep my life fresh and alive. I hate stagnancy.

My life has felt fairly stagnant for over a year, which includes a low-level depression. I really want to break out of that rut, and I feel like freshening up some aspects of my life will help. Here’s where I need your help!

I want to reinvent myself. I want a makeover!

Bearing in mind that I have almost no money to spare (so all suggestions have to be super inexpensive), I would like to gather makeover ideas. I’m trying to become more fashion-oriented and want to update my wardrobe. I also want to change up my hair style. To do this, I’m going to post weekly on something that I’m looking to update – clothing, shoes, hair, etc. I would LOVE your feedback and ideas!!!

Here’s where I bare my soul, somewhat abashedly – I’ll provide my specs in each post and post a picture or two to give you an idea of what state I’m currently in. Once I start updating things, I’ll post my progress and get feedback on if I’m going in the right direction. Ready?

Ever have those times in your life where time seems to just stand still? Time just doesn’t seem like a consistent idea to me – one minute, it’s flying by (generally when I’m having fun) and the next, every second is painfully long (generally when I’m dreading something). Here are a few times life has ticked by ever so slowly for me:

1.The seconds after my grandma died – Not to start out on a dark note, but it’s the truth. I was in the room when my grandmother died (my whole family was). As you may recall from my secrets post last week, my grandmother was one of the most important people in my life. She was my best friend. When she died, I remember thinking over and over in my head for at least a minute (probably 5 seconds in actuality) something like, “You can’t die. You can do this. Come back.” Moving on after that cheery note…

2. Waiting for pregnancy test results – Let me immediately avert the fears of any parental figures reading this – I am very, very safe when it comes to birth control. I’ve never had real reason to think that I was pregnant. I have had, however, a few health issues (UTI, stomach pain of unknown origins) for which doctors decided I should get tested, just in case. Longest. 20. Minutes. Ever. I knew I wasn’t pregnant and it was the longest 20 minutes ever. Yikes. I’d hate to take that test when actually worried about being preggers.

3. Running – After the dramatic nature of the first two, this seems mundane, but I hate running. Hate it. I suck at aerobic activity and I really need to work on it. I warm up every workout by walking, then running, for a total of 5 minutes. Every second drips by when I’m running. I’ll keep my stride, but it sucks.

4. Traffic when running late – I deal with this a lot of mornings. I only live about 5-10 minutes from work, but with traffic, it can easily take 20 minutes. Usually I handle it fine, but occasionally you get those days when you’re running really late. It’s those times when you scream at other drivers for making stupid mistakes, flip off really rude drivers, and do all those other things that we all do but judge other people for doing. Oh, traffic.

5. Waiting for the results of a major life change (i.e., grad school, job offer) – The worst part about this? The waiting game doesn’t just take a few minutes, it can take weeks or months. For example, I applied to grad school in October. I find out in March. I only applied to one school. Their decision affects almost every area of my life because I’d be moving cross-country. It also affects my boyfriend’s plans for the future. Waiting for something this exciting, this monumental, is painful. But it makes the result that much bigger.

When has time stood still for you, good or bad?

Kate and Nick came up with this great idea to blog truths about yourself. It takes a surprisingly long-ish amount of time to think about such things, but I’ll try to do it on a semi-regular basis.

1) I love dark, dangerous-sounding music. Trip-hop, ambient, whatever you want to call it, this music keeps me sane.  Massive Attack, Blue Foundation, and especially Portishead (which admittedly I’m not always in the mood to listen to) are absolute favorite musicians of mine. Antimatter is a newfound favorite of mine. I like a variety of music, don’t get me wrong. In fact, I have everything from classical to Adele to Disturbed to Miley Cyrus on my iPod. I have a strong love for female singers such as Ani D., Garbage, KidneyThieves, and Fiona. But there’s just nothing like a dark piece of mood music.

2) I couldn’t live without my calendar. I’m relatively type-A and love organization, so I guess that’s part of the reason. But I also have a tendency to overbook myself way too much, so I never know what’s going on without the aid of my calendar. If I schedule something, whether that be a lunch, a speech practice, or even just a reminder to go to the gym because I actually have time, I write it on the calendar. I buy a calendar for the upcoming year in mid-November or so. It’s kind of ridiculous.

3) I volunteer with a teen services clinic called West Suburban Teen Clinic (WSTC). I love this clinic. They offer repro health care and mental health services to teens and young adults. They provide community education. They go into schools and talk about a variety of issues that plague teens. They’re amazing. I do social media for them, so check out them out on Facebook or Twitter!

4) I love traveling, but the rare times I get to go anywhere, I end up in the San Francisco bay area. Perhaps it’s because I lived in that area for seven months, perhaps because I plan to move back, perhaps because I know people so I get to see them (plus it’s cheaper!). All I know is that three of my last four vacations have been to California. I have a never-ending list of places I want to go, but that’s where I end up! Maybe when I move back, I’ll actually go elsewhere.

5) I have life to-do lists. I have a list of things to do before I die. I just finished a 101 Things to Do in 1,001 Days list, an idea which you should check out if you’ve never heard it. I love setting goals and then achieving them. It pushes me to do something, even if it’s as little as “ride a mechanical bull.” Plus I get the miniature high of crossing it off the to-do list when it’s complete!

More to come, but feel free to share some of your own truths!

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