March 24th – “It’s perfectly acceptable to rely on your network of friends and associates to connect you with the career opportunities you seek. But they will only send you down the same paths you’ve already been on.”

I laughed out loud when I read the horoscope this morning because it’s true!

A friend sent me the same job posting TWICE in the past few months for a political pop culture website. I was going to tell her this the next time I saw her so we could have a laugh about it or complain about how unrealistic employers expectations are, but today was the perfect opportunity. I had already scoped out this organization before and decided not to apply for any positions for several reasons:

  1. It requires proofreading which I hate.
  2. It’s demanding.
  3. The pay is REALLY crappy. I make about the same amount working part-time for what they’re offering for full-time work! Maybe these organizations are looking to fill their jobs with students/retired folk/the independently wealthy? I’m none of those.

I’m sure that she didn’t see the salaries before she sent the postings to me. I don’t think she wants me to work below the poverty line. Otherwise, I will be freeloading off of her for a long time! I’m already cheap, so I’ll be very annoying if I become even more frugal. Just this week, I gave myself a haircut instead of paying to get it done. I think it looks great, but my friend may think differently!

It’s a real shame that show “Extreme Cheapskates” is cancelled. There was a lady who ate cat food tuna instead of regular tuna just to save 30 cents. This lady was a millionaire, which made it even weirder! That could be me. I can see it now!

Okay, so I’m not going to live out that fantasy in this lifetime. My horoscope also gave me this suggestion:

Welcome advice on the 23rd and 24th. Yes, even unsolicited suggestions. True leaders recognize the value of differing opinions. Don’t follow blindly, but do think about the information.

If you have any advice about anything, including job offers, please do send it my way. I’m welcoming all of it today. I may not act on it, but it could give me some new ideas!

March 13th – “The temptation is there to work less and earn more, but it never works out that way.”

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Thank you for the reality check horoscope. I would love to work less and earn more, but I know that it won’t work for me.

I really can’t complain about my current financial situation. Although I’m working less, I am still able to live comfortably. What more can I ask for?

For the last year and half, I’ve been more than happy to work part-time even if that means less money. My expenses have decreased tremendously because I don’t need to pay for convenience. I cook most meals, clean my own home, and when I can, I walk instead of drive. With more time to invest in writing, painting, and trying out a new ice cream recipes, there’s little need to go out and pay for experiences to make life interesting.

Yesterday, I went to a party with my partner. I think this is the 4th time that we’ve hung out with his friends (within the last 5 years). He’s antisocial (but not socially awkward), so we rarely spend a huge chunk of time with others in a social setting. It was the perfect day for a barbeque and I made new human and non-human friends.

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Who cares if I’m not earning more. I don’t. Life is pretty good!

February 7th – “The right people will easily buy into your latest brainchild. You have a lot of good energy flowing through you right now.”

Thanks for the boost of confidence, horoscope! That was exactly what I needed today.

For the first time ever, I SUPER over prepared for an interview. It’s not that I was ever under prepared before, but I haven’t tried that hard to make a good impression on anyone in a long time. I don’t think I even worked that hard to get into graduate school or defending my dissertation! Honestly, I don’t know if that’s a good or bad sign.

On one hand, it’s great that I put so much time and energy into getting myself ready for today. A whole week to be exact. It shows that I was committed and took the interview seriously.

On the other hand, what the heck is wrong with me?! Is my self-esteem that low? Did I over prepare because I don’t have any faith in myself? Where did my confidence go?

It’s probably the latter, but I’ll leave that for another day to consider. For now, I’m happy that I went through the process and got an interview. Two years ago, I wouldn’t have done it. That’s good enough for me.

My horoscope has been sending me lots of good vibes this week and is keeping me on my toes. Yesterday it told me to “act quickly,” and I did. I wanted some time off and got a coworker to cover for me. Today, my horoscope advised, “You and your darling have plans — big plans” and we do. We booked a trip to Italy? It’s been five years since we’ve gone away together, so it’s long overdue.

As silly as I think it is, it’s kind of amazing how often my horoscope gives me the messages I want to hear. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, it may seem like my horoscope gives me good news most of the time. It doesn’t. I get my fair share of warnings like “better stay away from others today because you’re in a mood” (which it does get right most of the time!). I just choose to write about the good stuff or turn the negative predictions into “teachable moments.”

I want to attract good energy and what better way to do that than to put positive energy out there. Here are some positive thoughts that I send to you, dear reader: You are intelligent, creative, and have really good taste in reading!  =)

December 12th – “You might be so stuck in your head that you fail to notice early warning signs of a minor health problem that could interfere with work.”

Have you ever heard of “computer body”? It’s what your body turns into when you use the computer all day.  It is bad posture, neck and back aches, and weak muscles from not moving around!

This weekend, I spent hours on the couch reading and watching the new season of Fuller House, so not only do I have computer body, I also have couch body.

Now that I’m trying to take my new writing project more seriously, it means that I’m spending more hours hunched over my computer or a book. It helps that I have a standing desk both at work and at home, but that’s not enough.

Moving around and keeping circulation going is essential for everyday life!

At my desk, I did mini stretches and exercises. I have no shame and don’t care how I look in front of others. Isn’t my health more important?!

Here are some things I do that help me. I do all of these very slowly except for number 4.

  1. Shoulder rolls
  2. Neck rolls
  3. Half Windmills/Arm Rotations (Put your hands on your shoulder and make full rotations). This is great for people with shoulder injuries. Full rotations with your arms fully extended put extra weight and stress, so this is a better option. This is probably the BEST should/arm stretch that I do. The effects are immediate!
  4. “Raise the roof” motions. You might feel silly about this, but after a minute or two, your arms and should will warm up nicely!
  5. Plies
  6. Rond de Jambe
  7. Attitudes Only if you have space!

For anyone who spends too may hours at your desk, I highly recommend standing desks. It encourages you to move around and fixes some of the bad posture issues that come with sitting in chairs. The best part is that you don’t have to spend any money to get one!

I do have a fancy standing desk at work, but at home I have a make shift one by putting an old bench on top of my desk. Before that, I used a plastic storage bin and cardboard box! The options are endless!

November 20th – “It’s a good day to accomplish your goals if you don’t let yourself let go of them first.”

It’s easy to give up on goals.  There’s a million excuses one can make, but sometimes certain goals are not worth having.

To be honest, I don’t really care about (career) goals at the moment. As a former over achiever, I’m happy to do less and accomplish less. There’s nothing wrong with slowing down and smelling the flowers for a change.

I was ready to let go of today’s goal of submitting a job application that I felt lukewarm about. However, my horoscope advised me not to and I already ignored my fitness scope for the day. I didn’t think it would be wise to snub ALL my predictions for the day. I’ve already learned the hard way!

***

With that out of the way, I worked on my second predication of the day.

Power comes from being open to new ideas. When confronted, don’t resist. Consider.”

It was too late to go out in the world today, so I started on Sleight of Hand by Peter S. Beagle. It’s a collection of short stories and it didn’t disappoint.

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In “The Rock In the Park,” two kids help a family of centaurs (NOT pictured above!) who are lost in modern day Bronx. Using a magical brush created from hairs from the centaurs’ tails, a boy draws a map which will lead the centaurs to Mexico where their fellow centaurs have already migrated to for the winter.

The story made me wonder about all the things that I miss when I’m “too busy” and not paying attention. For all I know, there could be centaurs, unicorns, and other magical creatures hanging around my jogging trail at night. I’m not outside often enough to know what really goes on out there. Heck, they might be there right now, and maybe I just can’t see any of them!

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November 13th – “Beware of self-fulfilling prophecies, especially unconscious ones.”

Self-fulfilling prophecies are the worst because there’s no one to blame but yourself!

I don’t really like this ominous zodiac prediction, but it’s probably giving me good advice. Hey, it can’t be rainbows, kittens, and butterflies every day!

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I would not like to scold my future self, so I took time to think about my thoughts and actions. I asked, “What am I doing unconsciously to sabotage myself?”

I’ve been juggling a lot recently and the coming week won’t be any easier. I usually work part-time, but next week, I’ll be at the office full-time. I’ve been telling myself that I won’t be able to get any non-work work (i.e. painting, baking, and all the other fun stuff) done because I won’t have time. I better change my attitude and not throw in the towel before the week has even started!

To help me accomplish all my non-work work, I’m going to make sure that I sleep well, get plenty of exercise, and have a specific focus each day. I usually hate schedules, but I’ve been so frazzled that I need a plan.

Monday – Submit Application

Tuesday – Painting

Wednesday – Baking

Thursday – Submit Application

Friday – Painting

Saturday & Sunday – Article, Reading

My revised self-fulfilling prophecy: I’m going to be a ROCKSTAR next week and get all my projects done on time AND have fun doing it!

November 8th – “Get ready to greet a brand-new day.”

Yesterday’s horoscope advised me to, “think twice before hitting send.”  I wanted to follow up with some networking contacts, but decided to wait a day. Mondays are not good days to send emails anyway because people are usually swamped after weekends. According to some studies, Tuesdays mornings are the best time and day. I already received one response so I think those studies are right!

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I’m ready to greet the new day!

To start off my new day, I switched out my warm weather clothes for winter wear. I found this shirt from last year. Is November too early to wear a Christmas shirt?

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I didn’t think too hard about it because my zodiac reading told me that it wasn’t time to relax yet:

Despite all your various successes, remain coolheaded and continue to work relentlessly.

I have a stack of books to read, applications to work on, and paintings to paint. To help me get through the day I made some almond thumbprint cookies filled with blueberry, apricot, and rhubarb jam.

This is one of the easiest recipes I make. Sometimes I substitute more almond and oat flour when I don’t have regular flour. It turns out great each time! If you’re busy and pressed for time, I highly recommend it. It’s hard to mess up and is sweetened by maple syrup.

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Vegan Almond Thumbprint Cookies

 1 cup oat flour

1 cup almond flour

1 cup wheat flour

½ cup oil

½ maple syrup

1/8 tsp salt

Some jam or jelly

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients except for jam/jelly. Roll into tablespoon balls. Makes about 2 dozen.
  2. Use spoon, thumb or teaspoon and press down into to each ball
  3. Fill balls with jam/jelly.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 17 to 20 mins.

The original recipe is here.

November 5th – “All you have to do is keep your eyes open and maintain a willing attitude.”

That’s easier said than done!

My unwillingness to be open to new people, experiences, and even ideas is a choice I made following a tumultuous time. I guess it’s time to make a different choice today if I want to reap the benefits of my horoscope!

Since my networking event on Tuesday, I have been imagining what my life would be like if I followed my old career path. I asked myself:

Would I have time to do all the things I do now?

Would I stay up every night working?

Would I be financially comfortable with long term part-time work?

Would I fall back in my old routines, insecurities, and judgmental behavior?

Would I be happy?

The truth is that I don’t know any of the answers to these questions or any others. I don’t have psychic abilities. Today’s horoscope also told me that, “You can’t see the future, you can only aim for it.” Those are wise worse indeed.

There’s no point in letting my fears paralyze me from approaching an unknown future. If I’m not willing to be open to new opportunities, I won’t ever be able to move from my current state.

Willingness can be a super power if you have it!

I never really considered willingness as an important part of life, but it does determine what we can do and where we can go. I took a 7 Habits course years ago, and one of the things I remembered is their talk about willingness. I think this is how the chart looked like:

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Willingness is especially important when you’re working with other people. If they aren’t willing, then it’s a dead end. What is comes down to is this: if you want results for yourself or others, everyone has to be willing.

As an exercise, I mapped my career choices in these four quadrants. There were 5 things that were in quadrant D (willing, but unskilled) and 1 thing in quadrant A (not willing, but skilled).

Coincidentally, the career in quadrant A was what my networking event was about. One of my contacts even followed up with me which was eerily predicted by my horoscope of the same day. The horoscope said, “This may be exactly the motivation you’ve been looking for.”

Am I starting to sound like a nutcase or do you see the same connections?

For now, I will take all that’s happened this week as SURE SIGNS that I’m moving in the right direction!

 

November 3rd – “Do not put off the boring stuff just because it’s boring. Get it done as soon as you can — and then you can hang with your favorite people.”

I did a bad thing today. I didn’t follow my horoscope!

I worked most of the weekend and it’s catching up to me now. I had quite a lot of work to do today, but was too tired and unfocused.

Instead, I spent part of the day improving my cat photography skills.

Here’s Mr. Ox meditating on a zafu pillow.

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Little Rooks is a manx with a bob tail.

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This guy is a neighbor’s cat who has been hanging out in my yard regularly looking for moles to hunt. My partner named her Regina, but we aren’t positive if she’s a he, so I call her “Reggie.”

 

I think this is a pretty good head shot.

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Since I didn’t follow my horoscope today, I suffered the consequences.  I was supposed to meet a friend in the evening after I finished working. I didn’t do any work and he ended up cancelling. I don’t think it was a coincidence at all!

I spent the rest of the night finishing the my Nutella jar and did the work I was supposed to do earlier.

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It’s late now and I’m tired.

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I swear I’ll never go against my horoscope ever again! Okay, we all know that’s a lie. I think I’ll need to suffer a few more times before I learn my lesson!

November 1st – “Branching outside your comfort zone energizes you, increases your options and adds to your resume.”

dsc06962I HATE networking at networking events.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy talking to people and making new friends. I am very friendly and have no problems starting conversations with strangers.

What I don’t like is having conversations with a specific agenda in mind. That is not interesting to me. When I do go to these types of events, I don’t usually connect with anyone who will benefit my career, and end up hanging out with people who I think are fascinating. Sometimes these strangers become good friends, so I don’t consider my non-networking schmoozing to be a waste of time.

Despite my strong aversion to networking, I went to an event tonight. It was time to branch outside my comfort zone.

I decided I would network the old school way and do what I was supposed to do: meet people who could help me in my field. Surprisingly, I LIKED all the people I needed to talk to! This was a first!

I left feeling energized, like I just increased my career options. That’s another point for my horoscope!

***

As I was writing this post, I started thinking about networking some more. At tonight’s event, over half the people were sitting by themselves and not networking. That was very surprising to me. Perhaps they were too shy, didn’t find people they wanted to talk to, or didn’t know how to network? I don’t know.

Out of curiosity. I checked out the top 3 articles on networking on Google:

How to Network:  8 Tricks

How to Network The Right Way: Eight Tips

How to Network: 12 Tips for Shy People

These articles mention some of the same tips, i.e. following up with your new contacts after an event. Out of the three, the 2nd article by Forbes is the best:

True networking occurs when there’s an understanding that everyone in the room has equal value. In its purest form, it’s about people enjoying other people, communicating passions and connecting with others who share those passions. It’s about listening, figuring out what others need and connecting them with people you think can help, without any designs for personal gain. The most successful networkers build genuine relationships and give more than they receive. They go beyond thinking, “What’s in it for me?” to ask “How can I help?”

I think this is great advice, but I still think there are a few things missing from all of these articles. I think the most important thing is to know yourself and others:

  1. Develop self-awareness: know what your values are, how you behave, and what you want. Being aware of our thoughts and feelings also helps build confidence and squashes insecurity!
  2. Develop social awareness: be conscious of other people, what they’re feeling and thinking, and what they want. If you know where others are coming from, you’ll be able to make a connection with them.

Do YOU have any tips to share?