Posts tagged ‘career’

What’s in Your Fortune Cookie?


I’ve had quite a few spot-on fortunes from my fortune cookies in the last few years, in that they’ve really told me what I needed to hear at that particular time.

I got this one a week ago:

“There is but one cause of human failure.  And that is one’s lack of faith in one’s true self.”

This was my next most recent one:

“The world will soon be ready to receive your talents.”

And before:

“You will become an accomplished writer.” (!)

These are some others that I found still on my fridge:

“Failure is the chance to do better next time.”

“Be yourself, and you will always be in fashion.”

“Your dreams will bring you into a profitable venture.”

“You will soon have the opportunity to improve your finances.”

“You will win success in whatever calling you adopt.”

“Avert misunderstanding by calm, poise, and balance.”

And the mysterious:

“Someone you have overlooked in your past will cause great changes in your life.”

What’s in your fortune cookie?



Time’s Up

I am determined to create a new habit that I’ve never been able to form:  time limits.  When I was in Honors 5th grade, my parents had a conference with my teacher about the hours and hours I was spending every night on homework.  My teacher couldn’t believe I was spending so much time and suggested that I put a time limit on my work.  I was to give myself a specific amount of time for an activity, and when the time was up, I had to stop.  This never worked for me.  As a semi-perfectionist, I found the thought of not finishing an assignment completely appalling.

Unfortunately, this is why I procrastinate.  They say that perfectionism and procrastination go hand-in-hand, and I can attest that it is certainly true for me.  And knowing myself and that I want my work to be completely perfect, and knowing I could take forever on it, I put it off.  Thus, procrastination is my survival form of time management.  If I put something off until the night before, I know that I will have only that night to work on it.  I will have to get it done during that time, or it will not get done.

Though this system has worked for me, it is clearly not ideal.  The deadline looms in front of me, and it’s all I can think about, even as I’m working on other things.  Stress and worry are not worth the time I save by procrastinating.

So, my new plan is 1/2 hour chunks.  And to get myself to do what that fifth grade teacher attempted, so long ago.  When my 1/2 hour is finished, I am done. (with 5 minutes lee-way!)

How has this worked so far?  Well, it’s worked a little.  I have been able to keep my writing to a half hour.  It’s fairly easy to keep exercise to a half hour, too.  But, cleaning was a disaster.  Do you remember when I mentioned that I have a hard time stopping an activity at a 1/2 hour?  Wednesday I began my 1/2 chunk plan and spent a total of 5 hours cleaning.  Yes, 5 hours.  I have justified this by deciding I did not need to do any cleaning for the next five days, to free up extra time for the activities I did not get done, i.e. practicing and schoolwork.  Also, it’s Spring Break, so it’s a great time to get some housecleaning done.  The basement looks much better, the living room looks great, the kitchen area is much improved. . .  etc etc

And I think they key to this plan working is scheduling in free time.  I think that was the problem all long.  How am I going to get all of my half hours done AND free time?  I don’t know.  But, here’s the daily plan:

  • 1/2 hour practicing clarinet
  • 1/2 hour writing
  • 1/2 hour exercise
  • 1/2 hour schoolwork (grading/planning)
  • 1/2 hour cleaning
  • 1/2 hour career development
  • 1 hour free time

What am I going to do on nights that I have orchestra and band?  Not sure yet.  I’ll probably have to knock half of those out (including practicing, obviously).

Well, cleaning, writing, exercise, and free time are done for today. (Got my hair done! :-))  Time to tackle the other 3 bad boys (girls?).  Clock is ticking. . .

<p><a href=”″>Image: photostock /</a></p>


Yes, so I’m an introvert.  Don’t get me wrong, I love people.  I like being around people.  But I have those introverted tendencies: I don’t like small talk; I get tired after being around people and need to recharge, etc etc.

When one is trying to figure out what to do in life and needs to make connections, it becomes tricky, being an introvert who also doesn’t like to ask for help.

Today I wanted to smack my head, looking over the events of the day.  I did branch out and take a leap, and visited a career center and went to a job fair today.  (I almost chickened out on the second one, but I pushed myself ahead, and I’m glad I went.)  But looking back, I realize things could have gone better.   My posture was slouched.  I could have made more eye contact.  I didn’t get names.  I didn’t have questions in mind ahead of time.    (I began by hovering around people who were already asking questions and eavesdropping on their questions.)  And at the career center I spoke so softly I might as well have had laryngitis.

But, I had some definite “Yay!”s:

  • I went!  I risked!  I practiced! That’s the first step, right?
  • I learned!  Among other things, I learned that LinkedIn is super important — the career center stressed it, and immediately upon walking into the job fair, I heard one of the employers at a table asking “Are you on LinkedIn?”
  • I set up a career counseling appointment for next week.  I hope I get someone who is a good match.  I’m already thinking positive thoughts. . .

It was interesting which areas I was drawn to in the Job Fair.  Not a huge surprise to me, but still interesting:

  • Joliet Junior College — What can I say — there’s an educator in me, even if I’m just hanging around educators!
  • A Forest Preserve — What’s not to like about nature?  Didn’t sound like they had any positions I would fit into, though.
  • Senior Living  — This actually sounds like great work for me.  I’m not sure that I could make enough, but I would love to work with the elderly, especially those who are semi-self-sufficient and just need the little bit of help
  • Clerical work: I like to type and to file . . and I like computers. . .

(Aside:I watched a great clip from GYA today’s blog about Zig Ziglar: The Zig. It put things in perspective for me again today, and it reminded me a lot of me, like in my Just Do It — Be Happy! post. )

Well, it’s always good to know what’s out there.  Where do I go from here?  A little bit of work every day.  This was a great day for me.  Now I’ve gotta keep at it by getting into a regular routine.  That will be my next post. . .

Image: photostock /

After Today

I had a SIOP workshop today (Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol). It was the 4th of 5. And I really enjoyed it today. I was focused and invigorated the entire workshop, and I really enjoyed everything I learned. It made me think. . . Maybe Brian and my friends were right — maybe I am a teacher, afterall.  I mean, if I can get excited about this stuff. . .  doesn’t that say something?  But I know I can’t turn back.  Just because I’m a teacher does not mean that I should stay where I am.   So, now I’m thinking about tutoring again.  Imagine being able to apply these great things that I’ve learned, but one-on-one, in a home, with no papers to grade or homework to give!  Maybe I’m just looking for the right situation.  So, that’s the direction I’m going to take next.  I know I will find my way.

Image: tungphoto /

Early Mid-Life Crisis?

Yes, I feel like I’m going through an early mid-life crisis, and the worry tears me apart sometimes. I’m not supposed to have one of these until I’m 40, right? But, no, here I am at the young age of 30 trying to figure out what the heck I’m supposed to be doing with my life. And what makes it worse is that I’m an indecisive young woman who wants both chocolate AND vanilla, who hates closing doors behind her, and who would rather dip her toe in at every point in the river, rather than pick a location and wade directly across.

How did I get here? My good friend tells me that this is a normal part of the human process. It’s normal to change situations in life because we are changing beings. If you are a different person than you were 10 years ago, you may not fit in your job anymore. That’s a little more comforting than my explanation: I’ve been wishy-washy all through my life, falling into a major so that I could give myself some sort of identification and falling into a job because otherwise my parents might boot me out of the house. So, as you can see, her explanation is much more pleasant.

So, now what? Afraid to make a bad decision, and comfortable with the familiar (but also bored and frustrated with it), I can’t find a single job that truly interests me. And at this point, I’m not sure if I should be looking for the perfect job or looking for my “rebound” job that will get me from point A to point C. Anything that seems like it could be interesting also seems to have qualifications that I do not have, i.e. experience in that field. Where is the “looking for ex-teacher who wants to try something new, possibly involving writing or editing or something else creative and also leaves the world a better place?” job? (And I’ve actually tried to google something pretty close to that. . .)

A part of me wants a brainless job. And by brainless, I don’t mean a stupid job. I mean, I can go in, do my job without too much stress, and check out and leave it behind. I would like to have a job that isn’t 75% of my life. I remember some years ago I was reading a book with creative job options, and one that sounded particularly appealing was traveling around Europe picking fruit. Permanent career option? Hardly. Not even a full-time option, as it would be seasonal, but how completely lovely. Just me, the trees, and the European landscape. (audible sigh) The simple life. But then, I was the one in my foreign exchange college experience who imagined staying behind in the little Mexican village, instead of returning to the university and the states. I never pursued anything like either of those ideas, and now I’ve truly tied myself down with a mortgage, a boyfriend, and 3 kids( two cats, and a dog, which, let’s face it, are a lot less mobile than 3 human kids).

That means that for now I am a spectator on a stomach-wrenching stage as my pessimist :“You will never find an interesting job that you are qualified for AND doesn’t require you to move/leave your boyfriend and animals/sell your soul, etc” wages vicious battle against my optimist: “Your perfect job is just around the corner. Everything in your life has led up to this point, and you are exactly where you need to be. Just keep visualizing, believe, and go get it!”  And I really hope that the optimist is right!
Image: David Castillo Dominici /

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