Check out the Speaking Of, Founder’s Mission video with Bolun Li, founder of Zogo Finance.
Bolun founded Zogo during the summer headed into his sophomore year at Duke University. He is on a mission to help Gen-Z learn about financial education through gamification on the *free* Zogo app. Bolun has an amazing story and an intense passion for financial education.
Holy cow, I wrote my original “goals” post on January 22nd. It’s pretty amazing how much the world has changed since then. How could we have known that less than 2 months later, “coronavirus” would be something we’d see plastered all over the news and be at the forefront of our minds?
Even though the world certainly changed, I thought it would still be good to do something “normal” and check in on the goals I set in late January.
So, here’s where things stand (original text in black, 7.31.2020 update in purple):
I work for the same company I did in the south, which is pretty awesome because it means no commuting in the snow. Well, as mentioned in a previous post, I was laid off, but on the bright side, still no commuting in the snow! 🙂 Also, even brighter, I am now working on my Speaking Of show and I’m excited to see that grow.
I still need to lose weight (insert face palm emoji here…). I’m working on that with Caleigh. (GOAL:) Get in shape. For real. Once and for all. I don’t want to look at another damn picture and say “wouldn’t it be lovely if I ____.” I want to look at a picture and say “yes, that paid off. I’m so glad that I no longer use the whale emoji in texts to my friends when talking about heading to the pool or beach.” Well, Caleigh has done absolutely amazing with this. I am doing okay! I have lost about 15 pounds since Jan. 23rd, so that’s good – especially since we’ve been out of the gym since mid-March when covid closures started happening.
I still need to get this blog going (insert emoji of a clock here – what the heck have we been waiting for???) –I’m working on that with Dawn. I’m really proud of this one! I have been doing weekly posts on here, weekly short videos, AND weekly interviews, which is my favorite part!
I haven’t gotten to have Thanksgiving dinner or go to the mall with Bret Michaels (insert heart emoji here…) – honestly, that’s such a dream of mine, haha! I’ve met him a few times and he is the nicest human alive. I’m not even sure how he’s a real person. I have to get to hang with him at the mall for an afternoon at least once in my life! Well, shucks. This still hasn’t happened. I must figure out how to make this happen! I did get his book, which is lovely. I also just saw you can have him do a digital greeting. ❤
I still need to figure out how to make my dream of having a talk show come true – I’m trying to find the solution to that too. That one takes a lot of work. Or maybe I’m overthinking it. (GOAL:) FIGURE OUT HOW TO LIVE MY PASSION. Seriously. Guys, I know this must sound stupid on some level. She wants to talk for a living. I know that sounds nuts, but seriously, it’s what I want to do, it’s what people have done, and I need that to be me so that we’re not having this same conversation again in Jan. 2021. I want to be living my passion so that my family and friends are proud of me and think of me as someone who actually lives their dreams, not just fantasizes. Hooray! Okay, I’m MOST proud of this. I have been doing weekly interviews. I can’t even believe how amazing this has turned out. I started doing videos with Dawn shortly before I was laid off, and then started doing my interviews right after the lay off. I’ve done about 8-9 interviews in as many weeks and have more scheduled. I’m seriously so excited about this. This will be my career. It may take time, but it will be, and that is FABULOUS!
Figure out how to get the sassies (what I call it when my daughter is sassy) and periodic tantrums to go away and have the sweet smile return all the time. I know a smile 100% of the time is nuts too, she’s a kid, not a robot, but dang, I miss seeing that ever-present smile. She is still SO happy, but she’s also sassy sometimes. The other day on the phone with a customer service person, he asked if I had any other questions. I said yes, do you have any tips about toddler temper tantrums? He got a kick out of that, but sadly he had no tips to share. I continue to work on this! Things are improving (most days!). We tell her to make decisions by using her brain and her heart, and treat people nicely like Daniel Tiger, but it’s still a work in progress!! Being out of a normal routine and out of situations where she’s playing with other kids regularly has definitely up-ended things, but we’re taking it day by day!
Okay, looking over that, I’m actually doing pretty well. Who knew this “writing down your goals” thing was so helpful, haha! I’m hoping for continued progress when I post the next goals update at the end of the year!
Is it me, or does time just seem to slip by, and there never seems to be time to get it all done?
Everyday, there’s a long list of things to complete: work, dinner, exercise, and of course taking care of your children, pets, etc. – taking care of kids and pets are a given, so they don’t need to go onto any kind of to-do list. But, taking care of them certainly does require time.
How do you get it all done? How does anyone? So many days it feels like hopping from one thing to the next, and before you know it, the King of Queens, or Golden Girls, or whatever show is on and you’re drifting off to sleep (btw, it’s always King of Queens in our house).
I’d like to think that most days, I’m pretty good at fitting everything in, but I often think that I should be doing something else, or something more. I definitely have mom guilt when my daughter knocks on my office door to see if I’m done for the day. And then when I am, we usually have to do something other than play – walk the dog, make dinner, etc.
It’s weird to think how things are still so busy, even in the days of mostly staying at home because of the ongoing pandemic. Still, somehow they are. Because things are *somewhat* normal, we’re now back on the schedule for kids’ classes, pet events, and the periodic small social event (seeing a close friend), and it seems more busy.
There doesn’t seem to be an answer for this. Just trying to be “present” in whatever part of the day it is seems to be the best we can do. It’s hard to let that guilt go, or that nagging feeling that you still have a few items left on the checklist that haven’t been completed.
I know that everyday is a new chance for me to learn how to avoid the guilt and the drive to get more done… but man, it’s hard to do! I think I’m getting a little better at it, but it’s definitely a process.
It’s also hard when there are so many things to be excited about – a new playset my daughter wants to use, or a new opportunity for Speaking Of (woot woot!), and training to do with the dog (that is really fun – especially because our dog seems so excited when she gets it right!).
I guess I just have to forget the idea of perfect balance. Some days, I’m in the office more. Some days, I am hanging out with my daughter for a while and we order dinner instead of make it (I’m working on this too, haha, you may have read my other post about dinner). It’s all okay.
Sometimes, it’s just not smart to compete – especially when it comes to keeping up with the Joneses or other peoples’ successes. But man, it’s tempting!
I live in a neighborhood with a lot of new homes, and I’m pretty sure every single house is doing something to their house. It’s actually pretty funny because the houses that are the oldest (but still very new) are the ones doing bigger things, like getting pools. In the second group of homes, there are lots of new decks, patios, and flooring. In the newest area, people are getting their driveways widened, working on landscaping, etc.
It’s so easy to get caught up in that. But, it’s definitely not productive. I mean really, what is the goal (and again, why is it so tempting!)? I find myself with little tinges of jealousy when I see people getting the pools, or a Volvo or Range Rover, or see thousands of likes/comments/shares on posts, but that really just doesn’t make sense.
Aside from the pool, which I am convinced would make life more happy (hahaha!), what would a Range Rover add to my daily life compared to the 1-year old SUV I currently have? With covid still impacting things, there’s not even many places to go. Where would I drive that Volvo or Range Rover???
And as far as any grass is greener thinking about anyone else’s career successes, that just doesn’t make any sense either. Not that it stops me, but still. I often find myself thinking, ugh, I wish I could, or she’s done this or he’s done that. I then have to remind myself that I don’t know their story.
Even if we’re friends on FB or LinkedIn, that doesn’t mean I know the whole story and don’t know how they got to that point – I try to remember the analogy of success to an iceberg: success is just what you see, but there’s a much bigger part of the iceberg below the service. It’s silly to compare or compete with what others are doing.
I have to remember that I am only living MY life. Worrying that someone else has achieved more or faster than I have is truly senseless. I’m writing my own story. It’s definitely a story with a pool in the pages, but as for the rest of it, I’m learning as I go. This is the first time in close to a decade that I’ve had the ability to really think about what I *want* to be doing, and that’s pretty awesome. I am really proud of myself for working on Speaking Of, and treating it like a career – because I intend it to be.
I need to give myself the time to let it develop and grow. And with that, I need to be patient – which is admittedly one of the things I struggle with – and as long as I’m persistent and consistent, things will work out how they should for me.
My best friend loves the quote “What is for you shall not pass you.” That is perfect and so true!
Check out part 1 of the Speaking Of interview with Jessica Brewer, COO of AmplifiedAg and former Benefitfocus executive! This is my first 2-part interview. It was really hard to cut this one down from a nearly 1.5 hour chat to 25 minutes!
I talked with Jessica about her passion for STEM, her career path, the challenges of being a woman executive, defining career moments, and more!
In part 2, you’ll hear more about Jessica’s journey, career, and motherhood.
Here’s part 1 (interview topical timecodes on YouTube):
Check out the latest Speaking Of interview, where I talk to Gervase Kolmos. Gervase is a certified mindset coach for moms. For 7 years she’s been helping moms navigate the waters of “motherhood AND,” not “motherhood OR” through her companies Shiny Happy Human and The Champagne Society.
That’s what I ask myself every evening. Thankfully most of the time my answer to myself is yes. I can always say “yes, I’m meeting my daughter’s needs”. I’m speaking more of the “quality” time. Mom guilt is a daily struggle.
My daughter is very attached to me and wants to play 24/7, but life is often in the way. Whether you’re a stay at home mom or a working mom, or a work from home mom, or a hybrid of those, you probably experience the same thing. There are always so many things to do, and it never seems like there’s enough time to play.
I’m not sure what the perfect balance looks like to me, but I know that it’s not what I feel like I’m doing most days. There’s always something to do, and it doesn’t seem like there’s much that can be eliminated. Walking the dog, doing cardio (only 30 minutes at home, so it’s not like that’s taking much time away from playing with my daughter), making dinner, cleaning up after dinner, showering, grocery shopping, paying bills, the list goes on. I guess the key would be to do better streamlining the things that can be more efficient – perhaps meal planning, etc.).
Or, maybe there is enough time and I have an unrealistic ideal of how much I should be playing with my daughter? Maybe I’m just not “present” enough when I’m with her. Ugh. The struggle is constant. I feel guilt when I’m doing something other than being with her, and I feel guilty when I am with her but am not playing because I have to do something like make dinner.
The daily struggle is what leads to the nightly question of whether I was a good mom that day.
I was recently laid off, so I should have more time to spend, but am using about 4-5 hours a day to work on things like this – writing this blog, shooting the Speaking Of videos that I recently started, doing my weekly videos with Dawn, editing all of those videos, looking for regular jobs, etc. Those are all valid, but I feel guilty because I’m doing something other than playing with her. It’s still less than the time in a standard workday, but the guilt is just the same.
I suppose the key is to make the most of the time that I do have, and *try* not to get mad at myself for doing the best I can. It’s totally valid to exercise, and to walk the dog, and to make dinner (or at least pick it up…), and to work. It’s tough to let go of guilt, but I’m working on it.
I “lost” my job in a mass layoff due to COVID-19 a few weeks ago. Isn’t “lost” an interesting word? I know where my job is – it’s at my old company, but as per the official definition below from dictionary.com, I “no longer possess or retain” the job, so I suppose it is “lost.”
It’s super weird, and yet, kind of exciting. That probably sounds weird, right? I mean, I spent all of my 30s (so far) there. I was there for 8.5 years, and I appreciate everything that I was able to do, the skills I learned, and the people I met.
While working at my last job, I had the opportunity to do some really cool stuff like building a team to manage corporate culture, and managing all philanthropy for the company. I created those roles, and that’s awesome. In a tech company, there are few roles like the one I created and filled, and I was lucky enough to do that.
There are certainly some bittersweet things about being “gone.” Although I have been working remotely from a different state for some time, the end is now official. I said bye to so many people before I moved – and even to the buildings on the campus – and didn’t know it would be goodbye forever. I thought I’d be back a few times a year for certain things. Now, if I go back, I’ll get a visitor badge. How bizarre.
I remember my interview – which was actually rather entertaining because there was a mixup. I was told by recruiting that it was an in-person interview and my manager (who is now my friend, Nina) was told it was a phone interview. So, there I was, sitting in the lobby, while the receptionist tried to track down my future manager but couldn’t find her because she was in a room trying to call me for the phone interview. Thank goodness I felt compelled to check my phone and saw missed calls and a voicemail from her asking if I still wanted to interview. Then she walked down the stairs and the receptionist was like, that’s her! She flagged my future manager down, and then I had a very informal interview.
During the interview, I met the team. One of them asked about my husband, and I said he worked at a home improvement store. The guy said, oh, so he wears a vest? I jokingly said, “Yes, he wears a vest. Nothing else. That’s his whole uniform. No pants, it’s weird.” My future coworker laughed and my manager seemed impressed because she said he was “a tough egg to crack.”
In total irony, I wasn’t offered the official job until another phone interview with a man I called “the culture detector,” who made sure that potential associates were a culture fit for the company. I never in a million years would’ve imagined that I would’ve ended up creating and building a culture team at that company. It was such a unique position that I held pre-IPO, though the IPO, after the IPO, and through a major leadership change. It’s not often that people get to see culture through that lens. I’m so thankful that I did.
Through my role, I met so many associates. I got to work with them, learn about their stories, help them with their goals, contribute to their passions through matching donations and organizing volunteer events. How lucky, right? I also managed associate perks, so I really was the “shiny/happy” part of the company, a role I was privileged to hold.
I remember my first day on the job and being so nervous, and also being so excited! My first week featured on-site massages, a software release party, free lunch, and working in a building with free slushy machines.
I remember meeting the man who would become one of my best friends, Jody. I remember the first time he asked me to lunch – he wrote a note, like an old-school, on paper, note – drew a picture of his signature dog with the words “I’m hungry.” I still have that somewhere. I had no idea that he – who started 1 month after me and was laid off on the same day as me in the mass layoff – would be become one of my best friends. He has one of the most varied life stories of anyone I’ve ever encountered, and I can’t believe how lucky I am to have had 8 years of lunches to learn about them.
I remember meeting (my now close friend), Jaclyn, who started at a folding table as a contractor. She was at a folding table because we were growing so fast that there weren’t enough desks during the busy season. Her desk was right by the bathroom, and even that couldn’t dampen what I’d eventually coin as her “Spirit Sparkles.” She put her Spirit Sparkles to good use on the culture team, and continued to brighten the company as she progressed in her career. She, too, was impacted by the layoff, but I know that she’s off to do something amazing.
I remember meeting Lisa, who was interviewing for the receptionist position. I had no idea why I was asked to interview her, and had no idea that I’d end up being good friends with her and she’d become part of my work and friend group (She’s also an A+ jam maker. Seriously – no one makes better strawberry jam). She’s organized, upbeat, fun, and gives good advice. She moved on shortly before the pandemic, so my whole crew is gone!
I remember emailing the CEO/Founder of the company when I had my daughter. His family donated millions to build the new children’s hospital (that now bears his name) shortly before my daughter was born, and thanks to the role I worked in, I was able to meet the team at the hospital. I had no idea that when I toured the NICU while I was pregnant that my daughter would soon become a patient due to her early birth. The CEO emailed back right away with encouragement and his cell phone number.
Now, that is all over. I won’t ever be on a lunch break with my friends (shout out to Jody, Jaclyn, Lisa, and Nina). I won’t be able to organize another family event there.
But, that’s okay.
I was there for 8.5 years. I was comfortable there. The role was awesome, but it was something I did for years. I never expected that I’d be one of several hundred laid off due to a pandemic. It actually seems weird to be part of history in that way. But, I really feel like it was the best thing.
I got the call, and I wasn’t even upset… or even surprised. I mean, as I said, my job was at a tech company, so my role of culture and philanthropy (while important) didn’t contribute directly to the product. It’s not like I was in engineering or sales or account management. I worked in associate happiness, so by default my job required spending money, and when we got news that layoffs were happening, I assumed I would be on that list.
Is being laid off a positive? Not in the moment, right? You have to figure out money, and all the other things. It also creates a surprising amount of things on your to-do list (outplacement services, unemployment, transferring benefits, retirement accounts, updating your resume, job searching, etc.). BUT, I really feel like this was a tremendous opportunity. How lucky to be pushed out of the nest????
What would I be doing in 5 years if this didn’t happen? Probably working there in the same role. Where will I be in 5 years from now? I have no idea, and that’s really pretty awesome and exhilarating!!!
Is it a coincidence that Dawn and I started working on this blog and the videos a few months ago – before the pandemic happened? I don’t think so. I think it was meant to be.
Would I have ever fully “bet” on myself and left that comfortable corporate job? Probably not. But, how I choose to move forward is now a decision I have to make and can really think about. I love it.
I want to look back at the day I was laid off as the turning point in my life. I want to be proud of what I chose to do and how I took action to achieve my goals. I want to be able to say that I’m living my dream.
So to summarize this layoff, I say:
Thank you so, so, so, much for my time at the company. I grew so much there. I lived so much life during the time I was there. I started as an almost-30 year old who was newly married, and over time I bought a house, got a puppy, my husband got a second degree, he entered a new career field, I had a miscarriage, a high-risk pregnancy, a daughter with a 3-month Nicu-stay, lost my dad, and faced a serious health issue in my family (all is fine now). That’s SO much life. On the job, I was able to grow my career and learn so much, and really become an expert at what I did. I’m a different person now. How could all of that *not* change you?
I appreciate all of the opportunities, the friends I made, the beautiful campus I worked on, and the flexibility I was granted during my daughter’s time in the NICU.
And also, thank you for the layoff. Thank you for putting me on that list, and forcing me to grow once again. I grew a lot at the company, and I will grow again now, because I have to. I may never have taken this step, but I’m so thankful to be here now, at this crossroad, figuring out what’s next. KNOWING, something else great is next. It’s time for a new adventure.
I always wanted to work for reasons that most people want to work, and that reason is MONEY! I started working when I was fifteen years old as a bus person at Norwin Diner where I learned to quickly clear and clean tables and bus dishes back to the singing dishwasher.
The work environment was great since most of the employees were either my age or these cranky but funny, older waitresses, who had a smoker’s cough and deep voice. I fondly look back and remember one of these older waitresses selling ‘made-to-order’ erotic Christmas cookies for co-workers – more specifically, naked snowmen with more than your standard snowman parts. What a gem this lady was! I honestly think that she made more money doing this than being a waitress.
After a little over a year, I abruptly quit ‘the diner’ when someone got sick all over a table, and it was my job to clean it up. My boss said to me, you gonna clean that up? And I replied, nope, I am going home. I realized in that moment that I would never make it as nurse and chalked it up to some good life experience.
After my busing days were over, I worked in various other fast food chains before finishing my college studies and then returning to college as an adult to pursue my accounting degree. As I gained my experience in accounting at various companies, it helped me to ‘check-the-box’ in what I really wanted from my career path. Sure, I probably made some poor decisions in leaving some companies too soon, but I always felt that if I evolved from the work, or the learning ended, that I needed to move forward. I love learning and working hard.
However, it all changed when I became a mom, because I wanted to stay home!!! All the other mothers in my neighborhood stayed home, so I felt all eyes on me when I would pack my baby up in the car to drive him to daycare. I also got the mom-guilt at work, because I worked with all men; they would say, why aren’t you at home with your baby? It was a rough scene somedays. I did this for four years until I could finally step down from a full-time job and start looking for a part time accounting position.
I made it my mission to consider everything that I wanted out of my next job leap. I like to compare and think of my frequent career changes as that old tv show, Quantum Leap, always jumping into my next adventure. Pay, hours, flexibility, distance, and limited customer service – a lot of accounting jobs are a glorified secretary role, especially when you are the only girl in the office. I was not going to lower my standards.
Fast forward to my current job as a remote, part-time accountant, all my expectations are met and my employer and client value my input. Now the other side of this equation is that I no longer have daycare support and there have been cases where some ‘people’ think that I have all this extra time – so not true!
My job demands an intense schedule, so work is constant. I also find myself missing the comradery of other employees, so I often advise my son’s soccer ball, Wilson, for final decisions, haha. But at the end of the day, working remotely has drastically changed my life for the better. I get to continue my profession, and my mombligations (I just made that word up, mom + obligations). In addition, I know longer have to get rush myself to get to work, and I am available at a moment’s notice if my kids need me. My point is that you don’t have to settle for a job, there are satisfying careers, but it will require work.
So, it’s been a while. Like a few years. But, here we are, trying to get back on track and start writing this for real this time!
I guess a good place to start would be to do a whirlwind catch up. In the last 3 years I’ve lived a LOT of life. I’m pretty sure that I posted in the past about what a year 2015 was (if not, let’s just say it sucked. Miscarriage, lots of relatives died – including my dad, I had a high-risk pregnancy and delivered my daughter 3 months early, she had a 3 month Nicu stay). Well, 2018 and part of 2019 looked a lot like 2015, and the second half of 2019 looked a lot like 2004 – except for me… I’m about 40 pounds heavier than in 04 (WTH???). :O
Some of the notable points are our family had a serious health issue (all is well now, thank goodness), two of our pets died one month apart, and we had a major move. We’re back in the north again! People think we’re nuts for that, but look, Dorothy was right. What can I say?
Some things that haven’t changed:
I work for the same company I did in the south, which is pretty awesome because it means no commuting in the snow.
I still need to lose weight (insert face palm emoji here…). I’m working on that with Caleigh.
I still need to get this blog going (insert emoji of a clock here – what the heck have we been waiting for???) – I’m working on that with Dawn.
I haven’t gotten to have Thanksgiving dinner or go to the mall with Bret Michaels (insert heart emoji here…) – honestly, that’s such a dream of mine, haha! I’ve met him a few times and he is the nicest human alive. I’m not even sure how he’s a real person. I have to get to hang with him at the mall for an afternoon at least once in my life!
I still need to figure out how to make my dream of having a talk show come true – I’m trying to find the solution to that too. That one takes a lot of work. Or maybe I’moverthinking it.
Not starting a talk show definitely bothers me every day that I haven’t done anything about it. I figure 2020 is a good time to figure that out. Wouldn’t it be lovely to get it going before turning 40? Life has been very life-y since 2015, but that can’t be an excuse anymore. People do it and find a way, and I need to do that too. With everything being so accessible these days, there’s really not a reason to not do it. Here’s a cool article I read about it never being too late.
And here’s a meme that I love (and need to live by…) – note that I (obviously) didn’t create this meme, I found it on Google.
It bothers me that SO many people in my life know that about my longtime dream of having a talk show, and I’ve done nothing. I’m not one who cares what others think about me, but it bothers me that I could be perceived as a dreamer rather than a doer. How awful would that be? Do they put that shit on headstones “She dreamt of a talk show.” Ugh.
I was texting with someone earlier today and I wrote “I don’t care if it’s a talk show with an audience, it can be on youtube. I just want to get to a point where I a) do it, and b) can sustain myself doing it. I want that to be my job. I want to be like Caleigh. Cheer is her passion and she has built her gym into something amazing that I’m SO proud of her for. I want to build something amazing and have my family and friends be proud of me for it.” I have a cool corporate job, but getting to make people laugh and figure out why they are how they are is what makes me actually feel fulfilled. I LOVE talking to people and trying to learn about them.
I don’t have the answer, but I’m working on it. By the end of 2020, I need to say that I’ve been working on it and things are *happening.* I have put some videos on youtube, check them out!
Speaking of 2020, I’m not one for resolutions, but hey, for shits and giggles, I’ll put some things that would be nice to do down. Perhaps goals, not resolutions.
Get in shape. For real. Once and for all. I don’t want to look at another damn picture and say “wouldn’t it be lovely if I ____.” I want to look at a picture and say “yes, that paid off. I’m so glad that I no longer use the whale emoji in texts to my friends when talking about heading to the pool or beach.”
FIGURE OUT HOW TO LIVE MY PASSION. Seriously. Guys, I know this must sound stupid on some level. She wants to talk for a living. I know that sounds nuts, but seriously, it’s what I want to do, it’s what people have done, and I need that to be me so that we’re not having this same conversation again in Jan. 2021. I want to be living my passion so that my family and friends are proud of me and think of me as someone who actually lives their dreams, not just fantasizes.
Figure out how to get the sassies (what I call it when my daughter is sassy) and periodic tantrums to go away and have the sweet smile return all the time. I know a smile 100% of the time is nuts too, she’s a kid, not a robot, but dang, I miss seeing that ever-present smile. She is still SO happy, but she’s also sassy sometimes. The other day on the phone with a customer service person, he asked if I had any other questions. I said yes, do you have any tips about toddler temper tantrums? He got a kick out of that, but sadly he had no tips to share.
So, that’s it. Dawn and I are going to make a real effort to keep this blog up, and I will attempt to meet the other goals for 2020.