Sunday, June 11, 2017

Round Up

Well, I asked for my raise. I got a "let's keep talking about it" response, which is not terribly surprising. I think I will probably get something ahead of the next company-wide cost of living adjustment, but what it really tells me is that this "promotion" is somewhat temporary - I had suspected that my department may be reorganized again within a year, which would take these strategic decisions back off my plate, and I'm now fairly sure that that's the plan. Which is also fine with me - we're doing fine on my income as it is, but I felt like I should advocate for myself since the workload did increase. And I probably will get something out of it, because the sales numbers certainly don't lie. I have a chance to have a one on one conversation with HR later this year as well, and I will bring it up then if nothing has happened by then. 

This post on Habits vs Goals was great. I've pretty much stopped doing goals posts for this reason - I don't really have goals per se anymore. I try to develop specific habits (bring lunch to work every day, 100 push-up challenge) and those aren't motivating to report on. But they make a bigger and more longer term impact on my life, so that's where my focus is instead. 

I've been trolling through J Money's blog directory looking for new pf blogs to read. It seems like the blog world has really changed a lot in the last year or two - so many blogs have turned into "content" machines, and fewer of the personal blogs that I really like to read still exist. I don't read blogs for personal finance advice anymore (if I ever did) but more for people's personal experiences, choices, goals, hopes, and dreams, and those are getting harder and harder to find. Maybe people are talking about that stuff on Facebook or something instead? I don't know. 

Where do you find new pf blogs to read?


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Am I a workaholic?

I've been back at work for not quite a year and a half. I've been the breadwinner since September. I am managing people for the first time, charged with turning around the sales of a failing business division. I am in meetings 30 hours a week. I get over a hundred new emails per day, on a good day. I wear a ton of hats at work, and jump from project to project many times throughout the day. I travel on average once a month.

I love it - I love learning and being challenged and figuring out strategy and helping a team come together and seeing our hard work reflected in our numbers. I love feeling like I'm contributing to something larger than me and supporting my family and putting my education and experience to work. I feel weird about the idea of retiring in 12 years (almost twenty years early) given how much I wanted to be back in the workforce.

But sometimes, when I am answering emails or correcting proofs at 10 p.m. or 6 a.m. because I didn't have time to sit at my desk all day long, I wonder if it's all too much. I think I draw pretty firm boundaries - I come in at 9 and leave by 5 every day. I do not have work email pinging my phone. I tend to not work on weekend days. Most evenings, I do an hour or two of work simply to stay on top of things. Each time it gets really busy, I think, well, it's just this project and it will get better after the deadline. Which is always true, until another big project comes along.

My dad is a workaholic. He has worked 16 hour days as long as I've known him. He does not take vacations. When I visited him as a child for two weeks in the summer, sometimes I wouldn't see him except for dinner the entire time. When he came to meet Pickle, when she was in an incubator fighting for her life, he brought his laptop and worked from the hospital. When he had a major health scare a few years ago, he swore he was going to cut back, and he did change some of his eating habits, but he is still in the office before sunrise and leaves after dark. And I believe that he really loves what he does, but I don't think he's been happy a day in his life. His work IS his life.

I'm trying to keep that difference in mind. My work is what I do and how awesome that I get this chance, but even when I am pulling out my laptop before bed, I have to ask myself why am I doing this. Is it because the place will fall down without me? (no) Is it because I can't interact with my family because I don't know who they are? (no) Is it because people at work schedule too many meetings and not enough time to do the work that comes out of those meetings? (yes) Is it because I'm not delegating enough? (possibly)

The minute I feel like I NEED to do work outside of work or else the whole house of cards will come crashing down, I will know that it's gone too far and I need to change direction. But I don't want to get all the way to that point - I want to catch it before I lose myself to my job. As a person, I always feel like I need to be busy and productive; I have a hard time not doing something. Even on my days off at home I have a to-do list of one kind or another. So it's a fine line that I feel like I'm always balancing.

Do you worry about being a workaholic? How do you watch out for that tendency?

Friday, June 2, 2017

What we don't spend money on...and some things we do

Peanut and I sometimes can't figure out why we don't often feel strapped for cash when we're living on one income and saving almost 30% of that for retirement. We figured the other day that there are some pretty standard things we don't spend money on that are pretty big money pits.

1. Alcohol. Peanut doesn't drink at all, and I drink very rarely. Like, a few times a year, and a single drink each time. (And when I say Peanut doesn't drink at all, I mean that he has never consumed alcohol in his life.) And booze is expensive! The cost is not the major factor for us, probably, but it sure doesn't hurt.

2. Travel. I travel plenty for work, and we go to see my family once a year in another state. But we haven't taken a vacation since our honeymoon which was almost seven years ago. We are planning our first getaway since kids for later this year, but we'll pay for it using points from all my work travel. So romantic, we are.

3. Cable. We've never had cable. Sometimes we're not sure it's worth it to pay $9 a month for Netflix. That's how often we watch TV.

However, we aren't total luddites, and we do spend money on some stuff.

1. Experiences with the kids. I have total working-mom guilt and I tend to do fun stuff with the kids when I'm home on the weekends. Crayola Experience, Children's Museum membership, the zoo...I'm all for it. I try to pack lunches and look for coupons and deals, but I definitely don't regret the money I spend doing stuff with them. We won't be a Disney-every-year family but when we do go, we won't skimp out either.

2. Technology. We each have a smart phone (although we have Ting for our carrier, for cheapy cheap!) and we have....an absurd number of computers in our house. Like, twice as many computers than humans, easily, not counting tablets and phones. We also have a Google Home and a Vive virtual reality thingy. (Would you guess that this is my hobby, or Peanuts? :p) We have lots of smart lights and other sensors hooked up to each other, so we can tell the house to turn off the lights or have a dance party in the living room. There are more things that we'd like to do to get connected to the Internet Of Things, but we're waiting for some of the kinks to work themselves out of the first and second generation AI before we spend more money on it.

3. Movies. I like seeing movies in the theater, by myself. AND I get popcorn. That's my mom's night out. I don't go every single week but a few times a month isn't unusual. It seems ridiculous compared to what it would cost to wait for it to come out on Netflix, but as a hobby it's one of the cheaper ones I've had.

Are there some things you think other people would be surprised you don't spend much money on? What about "pf blogger" taboos that you do spend money on?