Tag Archives: career women

Checking in on Your 2009 Goals and $10 a Day

So it’s already February, and I have to ask:  how are those New Years’ Resolutions and 2009 goals going?  Most people fall off the wagon 6 weeks into the New Year.  Don’t let it be you!

 

Most of us (me included) set goals to get financially AND physically fit this year.  It’s not as easy as it seems, is it?!  Well, I’m here to be the annoying person who gives you your February “Reality Check” to help you stay on track. 

 

I was scanning my book shelf the other day to gather ideas for this post and came across Jean Chatzky’s book, “Pay it Down,” which I purchased at the peak of my over-spending days.  The book is based around the idea that you can get out of debt on $10 a day. 

 

I’m a huge believer that debt and overspending can be traced back to psychological factors and/or personal insecurities.  So before we get to the part where we find that $10 per day, I must ask: How did you get into debt in the first place?

 

For many women, the reason is simple: we needed to fill the gap of what we make and what we need to live.  For many others, we had inadequate savings to bail us out of an emergency.  Lastly, many women have a spending problem.  Although society constantly makes jokes out of shopping too much, i.e. the new movie “Confessions of a Shopaholic,” it is a serious problem for many.  Retail Therapy is a topic that deserves its own post, but in the meantime consider if you may be guilty of this “disease.”  Regardless of your reason, identify it so you can stop history from repeating itself in your life!

 

Did you follow my advice and get out ALL of those icky credit card statements at the end of 2008?  What did you see?  If you haven’t done this yet, you need to.  You should know exactly how much debt you have, and how much debt you’d like to end 2009 with.  Yes, a number is required here.  You aren’t allowed to say “I want to have less debt and more savings” because that is not a clear goal that you can work towards. 

 

Back to finding an extra $10 a day.  The obvious answer is to cut lattes and going out to lunch but for many American’s, this isn’t the answer.  We like to get out of the office and we have a Starbucks addiction, fair enough.  $10 a day is about $300 per month.  I took inventory of my own spending habits and wanted to share ways that I found an extra $300 per month to put towards debt or savings:

 

  • Going out.  My biggest spending weakness.  I’m not at ALL saying don’t go out.  Live it up, have fun but just keep an eye on it and maybe limit the # of nights you go to the bars if it’s cutting into your pay check too much.
  • Books.  I can’t stop buying books on amazon.com!  I suppose this is a healthy way to spend money, but I’ll admit sometimes I buy more books before I’ve even started reading books from my last order.  Perhaps I should consider going to the library for FREE…
  • Gym Membership.  Jean Chatzky says that if you use your gym 0-1 times per week, then it may be time to cancel it because you are wasting money.  This is a matter of personal values and choice.  For me, I can’t imagine life without my gym, but if you aren’t using yours consider cutting it.
  • Travel.  Don’t go unless you can pay for your ticket in full.
  • Hair.  Platinum blonde is super expensive.
  • Manicures/Pedicures.  Do you really need them every week?

 

You get my drift.  In order to reach goals, you will need to identify your weaknesses and hang up’s.  I don’t want you to start living like a pauper who wears ugly clothes, has roots and never goes out-gross!  I don’t think that is realistic.  Find out what you value, and maybe have less of it.  If you really can’t part with being blonde, for example, find a way to spend less on being blonde, or better yet find a way to make more money (yes, part time jobs are GREAT!) so that trips to the salon are no longer a burden you need to charge on your credit card.

 

I’d love to hear more of your ideas on how you can save $10 a day (or $300 per month) because I know there must be a thousand ways to do it.  I could use the advice just as much as any other girl could.  Please share your thoughts!

 

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Leave the Drama at Home: Personal Issues and Your Day at the Office

369014983_153e8b24e6_mOne of the biggest challenges young career women face is leaving their personal lives away from the office. Up until your first job, it’s totally normal to vent to everyone around you about the breakup you are going through with your boyfriend, the fight you are in with your best friend, or how rough you are feeling from going out last night. Unfortunately this type of talk is not well suited for most work environments if you are hoping to be seen as a leader and a professional.

It is inevitable that we are all going to go through rough patches at home or in our personal lives. The challenge is not bringing it to the office. Going through some of these things for the first time in Corporate America myself was difficult and taught me some important lessons about balancing personal issues with your job.

First, there will be good days and bad days. The bad days are REALLY bad, and you may feel like you can barely function at work. This may mean catching up on filing or organizing to stay active. Make sure you aren’t doing something that requires tons of “brain power” or attention to detail if you are having a terrible day, because chances are you are distracted and will make some big mistakes, leading to more stress later.

Second, don’t recruit your co-workers to participate in conversation about your personal drama. Women often feel healing through talking about what is bothering them. Unfortunately, this is usually not ideal while at work. Not only do you look stupid, but it’s a waste of time and eventually everyone is going to get sick of hearing the latest update of what’s going on. Soon enough your co-workers will start avoiding you like the plague, consider you immature and unfocused.

Third, as tempting as it is to email your friends and family about how you are feeling all day, you are better off closing that personal email and focusing on work. Why? Because nothing is going to change by 5pm. Also, the more you start emailing, the more you get sucked in. Time will vanish; you will be behind on your work and worse off from where you started. Before you know it, your bosses and clients are upset with you for things you forgot to do thanks to your emailing spree, and you feel even more stressed out and upset then you did to begin with.

Lastly, do nice things for your self to get through the day. For me, this means getting a manicure at lunch, stopping at Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks on the way to work, or taking a walk at lunch. If you’re going through a breakup, remember to think about all the movies that feature girls who went through bad breakups and then ended up better off for it (Legally Blonde, The Holiday).

If you’re going through something personal, no one expects you to be perfect. It’s inevitable that people have bad days. Just try your best to put a smile on and stay as focused as you can. If things get really terrible, it may be best to take a day off to clear your head. The last thing you want is for your co-workers or superiors to think that you are incapable of doing a good job at what you were hired to do.

Nicole’s Review of Suze Orman’s “Women and Money”

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As featured on justthrive.com!

Only Suze Orman could talk about two topics as sensitive as Women and Money so honestly and accurately. In her eighth book, Women and Money, Suze uncovers the mysterious stumbling blocks that so many women face when it comes to their finances, “It doesn’t matter if I am in a room full of business executives or stay-at-home moms, I find the core problem to be universal: When it comes to making decisions with money, you refuse to own your power, to act in your best interest.”

Women are typically the givers of the world: they are always putting others before themselves, nurturing their families, and sacrificing for others. Suze is NOT suggesting women replace “nurturer with narcissist.” She says, “I simply want you to give TO yourself as much as you give OF yourself. By taking care of yourself financially, you will truly be able to take care of those you love.” She asks why women don’t show their money the same attention they show every other relationship in their lives and claims it is because women have a dysfunctional relationship with money.

It is this dysfunctional relationship that has intrigued me personally to start a business to help educate women about their finances. My belief is that it is not intelligence or information that women lack, it is a mental “block” that is holding women back. Suze points out that so many women feel they must be all things to all people, “mother, wife, dutiful daughter, supportive friend, school volunteer, cheerleader at home and at work.” With the demands of life, it’s easy to keep denying the importance of learning new things that may be uncomfortable or hard to face. It is much easier to deny that money exists, say you are just “too busy” or blame others for your financial shortcomings.

My favorite chapter of Women and Money is called “The 8 Qualities of a Wealthy Woman.” I like it because it sheds light on what many women are not doing and clarifies how changing our thoughts and behaviors will improve our relationship with money.

For example, numbers 1 and 2 are harmony and balance. When you are in harmony, what you think, say and do are aligned. How many women do you know who say, “Oh I’m fine!” or “Ok daughter, you can have that new ___” even when they don’t feel that way or can’t afford it. That leads us to quality 3: courage. Courage gives you the ability to make sure your thoughts, feelings, and actions are aligned. So many women fear that if they say no, they may hurt someone else or not be loved as much. Suze points out, “It’s so much easier to hurt yourself than to hurt someone else, isn’t it?” When you think logically about that statement it is so true, yet women do it several times a day.

I believe that courage is important because it allows women to set boundaries with quality number 4: generosity. Women are known for being too generous with their time, support, love and money. Suze points out that the act of generosity must benefit the giver as much as the receiver, or it is not true generosity.

Quality 5 and 6 are happiness and wisdom. Quality 7 is cleanliness, which is really just another word for organization. And lastly, number 8 is beauty, which is a combination of the other 7 qualities.

Notice I haven’t gone into any detail about the technical side of money in my review. Suze Orman and I could sit here all day and tell you about the importance of saving, investing, and organizing your finances but if you don’t have a relationship with money first, you will never stick to making good decisions with your money. Just like losing weight, we have to get to the bottom of what is really causing that “stumbling block” in order to conquer it.

Applying “The ‘Next!’ Principle” to Rock Rejection

The fear of failure is the #1 reason most people never reach new heights in their personal and professional lives. Perhaps people feel that too much could be lost if they try something different or get out of their comfort zone. The truth is, nothing is lost considering you never had what you were looking for in the first place.

Think logically about a very simple example for a minute.

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Going on a blind date. The cost is the initial discomfort, being nervous and possibly being bored for a few hours at dinner. The benefit is meeting someone new, overcoming a fear, enjoying a new restaurant, and potentially building a new relationship. Why focus on the cost of the initial 30 minutes when you could focus on the possibility of a new friend.

And so what, he never calls again. Who cares?! You overcame your fear of going on a blind date, you learned about his random career that you never knew existed before, you tried duck for the first time and realized you had a mutual friend from college who you end up re-connecting with. It sounds to me like you gained something rather than lost it.

But then again, that’s all up to you and your perspective.

 
Plug in any relevant scenario here: Getting a D on a huge exam (been there more than once), being deceived by someone you love (experienced it) or having a less than stellar performance review at work (umm guilty).

When I was in college, my best friend Katie and I had this funny little thing we would do when we were at2391037726_277a933af6_m our favorite bar Brick Street (which now has 90’s night-how bizarre) our senior year at Miami. We would meet new guys, chat with them for a few minutes or maybe even dance to a song or two, then give each other the signal: “Next!” We would take a break for a minute, then move on to mingle with new people. If we weren’t impressed (or if they weren’t impressed with us) we would just laugh and shout “Next!” and move on without taking anything personally or thinking twice about it.

I must say, Katie and I still apply “The ‘Next!’ Principle” to our lives today. We’ve both had jobs that didn’t work out and dated guys that didn’t work out. We never sat and sulked in what happened or viewed our decisions as mistakes. We just said “Next!” and moved on to the next adventure.

In order to apply The “Next” Principle, you must be willing to take responsibility for yourself. This means no blaming, no complaining and no trying to change others. You also must view failure as a huge opportunity. If people say your idea stinks, think “wow, I must be on to something!” If a prospect says no, consider it a maybe.

 
Understand that failure is a huge illusion created to hold people back. This is probably why there is only a small percentage of really successful people: those are the people who were able to take risks to reach greater heights.

 

Katie decided not to go to medical school after spending 4 years studying her butt off in pre-med. She could’ve sulked about the money and time that was spent on her pre-med education. Instead, she picked herself up moved to Chicago and started a new career path for herself without looking back. She is now a Registered Investment Advisor who owns her own successful company. Yes, she deals with the stock market and manages a growing portfolio even in a turbulent economy. I too decided to start my own business at age 24 while working full time when several people told me I am way too young and inexperienced and could never pull it off. Here I am.

If Katie and I let our fear of failure get in the way, I highly doubt we would be dating great men, loving our careers, and living in Chicago.

So when the going gets tough, just say “Next!” and leave the past behind. Life will always present you with new obstacles along with plenty of rejection and disappointment, but it is all how you choose to move on from those situations that will determine your outcome.

5 Reasons You Should Have a Mentor

1529456848_2329b8d616_mHaving a mentor is said to be one of the most important keys to success. I believe this is especially true early on in your career and while you are still in college.

Here is why I believe you should find yourself a mentor:

1. They’ve been there and done that. You can learn from your mentor’s mistakes and avoid making them yourself.

2. You can talk to someone who is an unbiased third party. They see you for you. Your mentor may notice potential in you that you might not see in yourself. Better yet, they are not your boss so you don’t have to worry about things coming up in your review. And, they are not your parents so you can actually listen to them!

3. They have a whole different network of contacts and connections that you don’t. These connections are priceless and can help enhance your career in ways you couldn’t yourself.

4. It’s the best free service you could ever get. AND you’ll probably gain a life-long friend.

5. Your mentor may introduce you to a career path or business opportunity that you did not know existed before.

Now I’m sure you’re asking how the heck you can find yourself a mentor. Well lucky for you I have a solution.

Allie Osmar of thecreativecareer.com is now matchmaking mentors and mentorees. If you are looking for a career mentor, please fill out this form and Allie will get back to you as soon as she finds a great mentor for you.

Allie and I are always available to help too, just ask!

Thoughts on Being “am-BITCH-ous”

If you’re looking for a shot of girl power, pick up the book “am-BITCH-ous” by Debra Condren, Ph. D. The cover of the book states the definition of am-BITCH-ous as: “a woman who: 1. Makes more money 2. Has more power 3. Gets the recognition she deserves 4. Has the determination to go after her dreams and can do it with integrity.” I read this book almost two years ago and its lessons have stayed top of mind ever since.

I think many women view the word ambition as a dirty one. Which, ironically, is the title of Debra’s newest41vcjkds2el_bo2204203200_pisitb-sticker-arrow-clicktopright35-76_aa240_sh20_ou01_2 book “Ambition is Not a Dirty Word.” Some women may try to be overly polite in the workplace due to their fear of seeming too “ambitious.” This often means less pay, fewer promotions, and letting others take credit for your ideas.

Although we’ve seen several women in our generation crack the “glass ceiling,” many others still live in fear of carrying out their deepest ambitions. I’ve never quite understood where this fear comes from!

This may be a controversial topic for some, but I’m going to go ahead and keep writing… I’d love to hear your feedback on this too, so leave some comments!

I believe that women are the only ones holding themselves back from living out their wildest dreams and career aspirations. There’s no doubt that society may make it a bit harder for women, but honestly we have two choices: we can either let it bother us, or keep on truckin’.

Going to college at Miami of Ohio exposed me to some very interesting female perspectives on ambition that often left me feeling confused and frustrated.

Here are the types of false beliefs that I have heard girls express:

• “Guys aren’t attracted to really smart and successful women because THEY want to be the smart and successful ones.”
• “I’ll be perceived as less feminine if I show too much of my ambition.”
• “I’m waiting for Prince Charming to come, then I won’t have to worry about being ambitious.” (Um, get real!)
• “Well, I don’t know EVERYTHING about my field, therefore I know nothing. So I will just keep hiding in the background and play it safe.”
• “Oh no, I’m not ambitious! I’m hard working.” (Again, avoiding the word ambitious)

Have you heard women say these types of things? Have you ever had these types of thoughts? If so, where did your fear of ambition come from? What made Ambition a dirty word?