Upgrade Skills?

During the last few weeks, I have been debating if I should upgrade my skills at my current position at work by taking some extra classes during the evenings with the possibility of gaining a certificate in my field. Currently, I am having a hard time figuring out  if the extra money invested in education will be worth it in the long run in terms of my overall financial health.

The position I am currently in doesn’t have the most room for growth available without furthering my eductation as the industry I work for is very specific. I currently enjoy the field I work in but it will not be something I would want to do until retiremement. This has nothing to do with the job I am currently working for as it is more myself and the need to be free from work eventually. Since I am expecting higher pay by upgrading my skills, I am hoping this will result in more money saved and a faster road to financial freedom.

After viewing all of my options, I have broken them down to the following:

Option 1: Upgrade my Skills by furthering my eductation

This requires the most money from the 3 choices but can prove to be the most beneficial in the long run. I can realistically expect at least a slight increase in pay and more opportunities of getting a better job in the future if all doesn’t go well at my current employer.

Option 2: Look for a higher paying job

I tend to find this a little risky since the job I am currently in has been tolerable for the most part compared to jobs I had in the past. However, there is always something better out there and I might find some luck if I look hard enough.

Option 3: Wait it out

I work for a pretty big company so there is bound to be some form of opportunity in the future. I just feel that I have more potential in terms of responsibilities and income and feel the need to act now in investing in my career by upgrading my skills.

With classes starting in September, I have some serious thinking to do in order to come to the conclusion that I feel comfortable with and feel that will truly help me financially. Here’s hoping that I make that right choice!

The Stress From Work

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The last few days have been very stressful for me at work. I am in the process of learning new procedures that are taking place in my company and in the near future, I will be the “go to guy” for all these new processes. I am going to work earlier and going home later trying to learn as much as possible and trying not to fall behind on my existing priorities. Overall, not a good week for me at all.

Stress!

After quitting my second job, I thought my work related stress was going to be reduced significantly.  That has not been the case so far.

For a person such as myself who doesn’t really enjoy working to begin with, the added stress caused by extra work, annoying co-workers or just living through the daily grind of Monday to Friday is something I do not want to do for the rest of my life.

In the mean time, I must find ways to reduce stress at all costs as it poses a  really serious health risk in the future. In times like this, I try anything possible to limit the amount of work related stress by doing the following:

Take Breaks

Taking a breather every now and then helps cool me down. Doing something as simple as walking around the office or taking a quick stroll around your building quickly makes you regain control of your nerves. I have done this and never heard any complaints from anyone.

Eat Lunch Outside the Workplace

I am not suggesting going out and spend money on food. What I do sometimes, if the weather permits, is go outside to a park close by and eat my lunch there. It is really peaceful as you have nature surrounding you and it literally feels like you escaped work for a while as the scenery and environment are so different.

Enjoy Personal Time After Work

Very simple yet so many people do not follow this rule. I for one am also at fault here sometimes as stress from work does get to me. I would suggest trying to do activities that you enjoy and do not give you time to reflect on your day at work. Playing sports is great for occupying your mind as well as activities such as reading a book, hanging out with friends, loved ones and pets.

Have Goals

A great stress relief, in my opinion is planning for an escape. Even if your plan for escape is a while away, planning makes you feel like you are heading in the right direction. Maybe your dream is to start your own business? If that is the case, why not take some continuing education courses to set you on your path? Want to be a writer? Start up a blog! The world wide web is an excellent place to write about  your hopes and dreams and you might even be profitable from  it.

Nothing can completely relieve you from work related stress but doing things you love is always beneficial in the long run. You might even be one of the lucky ones and actually enjoy your job. If that is the case, good for you! Sadly, a large percentage of people in North America are unhappy at the workforce.

For now, I am going to continue to pursue my goals and try to live each day as it comes. This is never an easy task, but nothing really is in life. If life were easy, we wouldn’t have to work to begin with. 🙂

Posted in Work. Tags: , , , , . 1 Comment »

Freedom! – My Second Job is No More

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The last couple of days have been pretty hectic for me as 2 major events just took place in my life.

Yesterday, I finally paid off the remaining debt on my car loan which I am extremely proud of. Today, I gave notice to my part time job that I am leaving in 2 weeks. I was debating with myself when would be the proper time for me to once again, live on a single income. I like to move fast and see results, so I decided to pull the plug on the second job very quickly.

I must admit, it is going to be tough to adapt to living on the income only generated from my day job. Even though I was only working 2 jobs for a short amount of time, I really have grown accustomed to that extra $450 I got on a monthly basis. I am usually a creature of habit and like things to be pretty normal during my life.

I had somewhat of a plan before my dreams of quitting my second job became a reality. Paying off the car was the first step as it costed me nearly $300 a month. I am going to mentally think that the $300 not spent on my car will act as a supplement to the income I lose from quitting my second job. The way I look at it, I am only down $150 a month and  that is something I believe I can adapt to quickly.

My next step is going to be to figure out other means to generate income minus the slavery from working at a job. I am hoping to somehow earn some passive income or, work at something I really enjoy in which money earned would be a bonus. In the meantime, I am going to continue saving as much as possible while trying to enjoy life.

Time

One thing I am looking forward to is the extra time that I will be having once I am only at my day job. I am so used to working all through the night and day with barely anytime to sleep. Free time for me was just a memory.

That is not the case anymore! I am going to take full advantage of this free time by:

Trying to learn as much as possible  – I really like to learn by reading books and articles about subjects that are of interest to me. I fully expect to begin reading more books by borrowing them from the library and the occasional purchase at Amazon or the local bookstore.

Spend more time with family and fiance – Before my second job,  I always felt like I never had any free time on my hands. I now know the value of time and will try not to waste it doing meaningless activities all the time. More time spend with my immediate family and my fiance is something that I am planning on doing.

Spend time with nature – Sometimes, walking alone in a park surrounded by trees and hearing the trickle of a flowing creek creates inner peace and lets your imagination and thoughts come alive. Spending time and becoming one with nature is something that I plan to do more of.

Fun things!– I am a big believer in keeping some of your childhood with you as it gives you a greater appreciation of life and sort of calms the daily pressures and stress of adulthood. Playing video games, watching and playing sports, and just hanging out are all things I like to do and am not ashamed to admit it. One of our main weaknesses, in my opinion is losing our childhood as we grow older. How many of you think back to your childhood as the good old days? I sure do on some occasions.

I am really looking forward to the day when I will be financially free and will not need any income from a job. The thought of having that kind of freedom alone gives me the strength to carry on.

Posted in Life, Work. 5 Comments »

The Truth Behind Time Management

During the last 3-4 weeks, I have been working harder and longer than usual at my 2 jobs. I have little room for sleep and most of my free time has been hectic.

Most of my interests and hobbies have been put on hold while I was consumed on eliminating the remaining debt I have. This has had a big impact on my fiancee, who misses the free time we had together on some week nights and most weekends. She has also not been shy about letting me know that I am wasting my life at work and not enjoying life with her and with whatever else I could use my time for.

I brushed this off, I thought that I just wasn’t properly managing my free time and I could find ways to better the situation. Over time, I realized that this isn’t possible because of one simple fact.

You cannot manage time.

Time is not something that can be managed. We cannot control when it is night time or any other time of day and we can’t experience a time in the past that we enjoyed again in the exact same way. Time does not listen to us, it was here long before us and will exist long after we pass from this Earth.

What we can manage is ourselves. We should all view time as a lesson. Think back a day, a month or a year from now and you will find lots of time wasted in pursuit of materialistic goals and days wasted working and doing things that we really did not want to do.

Sure, paying off debt is a great thing and everyone should be debt free in most circumstances. Is working 2 jobs worth it? I am really questioning my time spent and might return to a single job lifestyle sooner then I have planned.

Money can be gained or lost, but lost time is gone forever.

Work – Lifes Biggest Obstacle

Ask anyone what their typical day consists of and I guarantee you that work will be mentioned somewhere in their answer. The answer you receive might also come with a look of bitterness when their mind gets forced to think about the daily grind of the 9-5 job.

As for the majority of humanity, they respond to work in two ways:

With bitterness: I know a great deal of people who hate their jobs and allow it to creep into their personal lives. They work day in and day out with the anticipation of treading along for another 40+ years doing this job or something similar.

Without much thought: Other people I know, work aimlessly at a job that offers them no personal growth or experience any self productivity. They work to please their boss and try to enjoy the very few hours away from work they do have.

If you haven’t guessed it already, both ways of thinking are wrong. The way I see it, if you are working in a company or field that you are really passionate about, then congratulations! You are the lucky few that get to experience this luxury!

Work can greatly discourage people from living the life they expected to live as a child and worse, prevent them from learning meaningful things in the present and future! How many times can you count during the last few months where you said to yourself that you would like to try something you never tried before? How about learning something new, maybe even spend more quality time with family and friends? However, when that time comes, you are too tired or stressed from work to even think about doing anything else? I need more than 2 hands to count from my experiences!

In modern times the 40 hour work week has become an acceptable amount of time spent at work. Our era has the highest totals of hours spent on the job compared to any time in known history! No wonder people are having a hard time in pursuing what they truly care about!

I am currently working 2 jobs and most of the time hate every minute of it! However, there are a few ways in dealing with this feeling of hopelessness that having an unfulfilled  job presents:

  1. Create a goal on what you would like to do with your life. This isn’t something tat you will think of right away but make sure you take your time as this is an important step.
  2. Map out a plan on what you would need mentally, financially and physically to make this happen.
  3. Create a time-line or action plan from the first two points to improve your situation.

You will find that planning an escape and following this plan will greatly increase how you feel about work. There is nothing more relieving then knowing you will be in a better situation in the future!

Remember that it is never to late to stray from the general public and start your own business or make a career change. Don’t even feel bad if you think a year of absence from the workforce will revive your will to experience life. Life is too short to waste working at an unproductive place when you can do something that can provide true happiness elsewhere.

My Current Life Situation

Hello again, for my second post, I have decided to get in a little more detail about what I am currently up to and what I am aiming to accomplish in 2009.

 As I mentioned in my first post, I currently work full time generating modest income.  I also have a second job which I work 2-3 shifts a week during the night in the retail industry and gives me an average of $400 of extra income after taxes on a monthly basis.This second job is extremely temporary as I am trying to pay off all of my remaining debt I have accumulated over the early years of adulthood.

Speaking of debt, here is a breakdown of what I currently owe and how I plan to pay it off.

Line of Credit: $2200: The income generated from my second job gets plunked into here as well as any money left over from my budget. I am expecting this debt to be wiped out by the end of August. (Which means the end of my second job Woo-hoo!)

Car Loan $3500: I am roughly paying 300 a month in automatic withdrawals from my bank account and once I pay off the line of credit, all extra money left over in my monthly budget will go in here. I am expecting this paid off entirely in November 2009

Now on to other points in my life, I am currently engaged to a beautiful lady who also shares the same passions as me and believes in the same values such as the importance of living debt free at an early age. We are now aggressively saving for a down payment of our house with an anticipated purchase date of June 2010. We each put aside $350 bi-weekly into a joint savings account and are always increasing the amounts we deposit. We are hoping to eventually put 500 each, bi-weekly to further increase our dream of home ownership.

What I plan to Do

Personal finance and frugality are only part of living a fulfilling life full of meaning.  I have noticed that during the last 12 months or so, I have been focusing TO MUCH on money and not taking notice of much else.

 Money isn’t everything and I am looking to incorporate the following in my lifestyle in 2009:

Donate to Charities: This is one area a really need to get cracking on. For 2009, I am planning on donating $300 to a few charities of my choice. This is not a great deal of money but it is a start. I really love all forms of wildlife and this is most likely where my first donation will be going to. I will post which charity I choose and a brief description why it has be chosen once this happens.

Volunteer:This will be a more hands on approach from my first goal of fulfillment for 2009. A charity or organization I strongly believe in is what I will be looking for here. One day a week, bi-weekly will be ideal for me.

Working on this blog:I believe that having key aspects of my life posted to the general public will help motivate me to live up to my goals. I also hope to inspire other people to live more fulfilling lives.

Spend more productive time away from work: It sure is great to be productive in the work force but most people spend there time away from work just recuperating in hopes of being productive for another work day. I am planning on finding other ways of being productive besides volunteering. Feel free to post any suggestions on what I can do to achieve this goal.

I believe this is enough for my second post. I am looking forward to posting my progress throughout the next few months and I will be adding more goals as they come by.