July 9th – “All kinds of dynamic partnerships become a priority over the coming six months ruled by this [new] moon, as does spending more time in your own town or city.”

For the 3rd time in the past 30 days, the streets near work have been closed down by the police.

The first time was for a hit and run. A pedestrian died while walking his dog across an intersection that I use regularly.

A week later, the Golden State Warriors won the championship and there was a parade to celebrate.

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It was nice to see people out on the street for a happy event, but I couldn’t help remembering what happened not too long ago.  

On Friday, there was a huge fire at a construction site near work. It displaced about 700 residents in the neighborhood and closed down the streets for the entire weekend.  

It would be silly for me to think that these are all signs that I need to quit my job sooner rather than later.  No, the world doesn’t revolve around me! I’ve already stayed a year too long and it’s time for me to go.

I have been actively been pursuing opportunities near home and have a few things in the works. It’s going slow, so I better get started on those partnerships my horoscope keeps bringing up. The sooner I move on, the more time I’ll have to make cat beds for Little Rooks!

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May 28th – “You are what you do; own up to it instead of trying to separate your work from your life, and you’ll be much happier in the end.”

Yes, I am what I do. I don’t like to be defined by work, but it is a part of who I am whether I choose to identify with it or not.

For a long time, I hated being associated with my work because I felt that I was being limited. I had so many other things that I wanted to do. Well, that was the problem. I had things I wanted to do, but I wasn’t doing any of them! I’m happy to report that I’m no longer in that situation. Here is what I do:

Five mornings a week, I am a jogger. I tell people that I like to jog, but I really should give myself more credit than that.  I’ve been doing it for 20 years, so I am entitled to call myself a jogger.

A few days a week, I am an expert at work. I have knowledge that very few people do and it takes years to acquire the expertise that I have. My clients come to me for help and trust the recommendations I give them.

Every day, I am an intellectual who likes to over analyze culture and read books on history, politics, and theory.  Trust me, you do NOT want to watch a movie with me!  I like to watch bad sitcoms like Fuller House just to see how race, gender, and social status are portrayed. I think there’s something to learn in everything, even the crappy stuff.

Most days, I am a cook. I try new recipes, make things from scratch that many people would not, and prefer home-cooked meals than eating out.  

I am also a blogger. I document my experiments, thoughts, and feelings and share them with a few readers every week. By the way, thank you for reading! I’ve only been blogging since September and it’s great to know that someone out there reading my stuff!

Finally, I am a writer. Perhaps, this is the most difficult thing to call myself. I still struggle with my writing, rarely have perfect grammar, and am not a fan of proofreading. Nevertheless, writing is still something that I do and like.  Believe it or not, I even have some published articles out there.  Am I am a writer? Yes, I am!

September 20th and 21st – “Pretty much everything is open up for negotiation…Have a list of what’s acceptable and isn’t and don’t stray from it.”

At past jobs, I’ve consistently put intrinsic rewards above extrinsic rewards. I loved learning, working on meaningful projects, and becoming friends with my coworkers. I needed to believe in what I was doing and enjoyed being in the company of people I cared about and respected. What this also meant was that I consistently took lower paying jobs than what my skill level offered.

This is not to say that I have been doing what I loved this entire time.  I took jobs that I could find some intrinsic value in, but it wasn’t exactly what I loved. I have been financially independent since I was 17 and needed work that paid me enough to cover ALL my living expenses, bills, college tuitions, and those awful used cars I kept having to buy new transmissions for. I was responsible for myself and didn’t have a back-up plan when things didn’t go right.

My situation now is quite different. I am debt-free (yep, I paid off that $55K I owed for graduate school) and enjoy the luxury of having enough financial security that I can take a little time to decide what I want to do next.  Does that mean that I should go and “do what I love?” I’m not so sure about that. After reading an enlightening book called Do What You Love And Other Lies about Success and Happiness by Miya Tokumitsu, I’m not convinced that I want to continue putting time in any job that doesn’t compensate me well for the work I do. Click here for her interview if you want to get a better idea of what the book is about.  I no longer dream about having a career, or working long hours on some exciting project that is intellectually or creatively challenging.  All of that sounds too exhausting! To help me clarify my direction, I took a second look at my priorities.

A year ago, I prioritized things that I valued most in my life and I think it’s still the same today:

  1. Health
  2. Intimate relationships (my significant other and pets)
  3. Learning
  4. Relationships
  5. Work
  6. Finances
  7. Family *I’m sure at a future date I’ll explain to you why they are at the bottom of the list.

I’ve changed a whole lot over the years. Ten years ago, work and learning would have been on top, with everything else falling to the wayside. Fifteen years ago, I prioritized my intimate relationships and finances.

For work-specific values, I’ve definitely made some changes:

Last Year:

Flexible/part-time

Local/remote

Creative

 

Today:

Good pay

Local/remote

Easy and low stress

 

Time and energy available to spend with my significant other and pets, work on my garden, and exercise

It feels a little disappointing that I put “good pay” and removed “creative” from my lists, but hey, how am I going to get myself out of this rut I don’t don’t change anything?