I went to a career counselor this morning. It cost $125 for an hour, but she knew I was trying to pack a lot into one session so it turned into more like 1.5 hours. She definitely didn't have to spend that much time with me, and I think it was money well spent.
While I don't have a clear picture on what my career should be yet, she did help me clarify why I'm not happy in my current job, and common themes that have been prevalent in my life (my inability to deal with authority, my love of creative pursuits, etc.) She sent me home with a ton of reading material including a workbook on communication, which she said is a birthday gift to me (oh, yea, it's my 26th birthday today. I'm not sure how I feel about that.)
One interesting part of the session was when she had me identify, of the following four areas, which is most important to me, and rank the rest -- people, ideas, data, and things.
I ranked them in this order: ideas, people, things, data
Then she asked me what order my current job had those things...
People, data, things, ideas.
Right, so I'm depressed because what I value most -- ideas -- is least valued in my current position. The question still remains - how do I find a job that values ideas most?
In the meantime, the counselor convinced me to try to stay at this position for as long as possible, or at least until I have a game plan for something else in place. Which makes sense, it would be stupid to quit right now. And even stupider to put myself in a position to get fired.
I might go back to see her again, but in the meantime she's given me a bunch of tests and quizzes to fill out to find out more about myself and my values. I think I'm pretty aware of my values and wants, but it helps to put them all down on paper.
I also have an appointment with a psychiatrist next weekend, but I think I'm going to put that on hold because I just got accepted into the second phase of screening for a drug study on bipolar disorder. I'm not 100% sure I have bipolar disorder because I don't necessarily have long periods of mania, but my mood is all over the freaking map at any given time of day. I know I have depression and depressive episodes, I'm just not clear on the mania. I don't recall every being so hyper for days straight that I couldn't sleep or that I'd do something risky. However, I do get super manic when I feel like I've accomplished something and it usually sends me on a skyrocketing mood trip for a few hours or even a day. A therapist I saw a few weeks ago thinks I might have rapid cycling bipolar. I don't know what I have. Something is up with me and my moods, anyway.
So the option is to spend $285 on one appointment with a psychiatrist or to get screened for bipolar for free. I chose free. I have no idea what the quality of the screening will be, but at least they can tell me if I have bipolar or just depression. I can't imagine I have pure depression because I go up and down. I know people who are always down, feeling empty and agitated. That's just not me. I have my down phases, when I can barely move, I'm totally exhausted, and find no meaning in life. Then I have my up phases where the world can't moved fast enough for me. Yet I feel "depressed" in my manic phases too, it's just a total different kind of depression. I guess it's more irritability and panic than depression. I just hate answering questions about when I had a manic phase or a depressed phase and how long it lasted. I have no idea. I just know that I'm not depressed as of this second.
In December I start group therapy, which is $50 a session. I think that may help me a lot, at least with my social issues. And my social issues are a HUGE problem which hinder my ability to live to my potential.
This is all costing a lot. On top of this, I'm getting some dental work done which is costing a few hundred dollars above what insurance covers.
I just know I need to sort out my mental health issues. I've gone through so much counseling / therapy and even some medication in the past, but it's all been for anxiety or depression or ADD. I've never been treated for bipolar. Maybe that's the problem.
Nov 24, 2009
I went to a career counselor this morning. It cost $125 for an hour, but she knew I was trying to pack a lot into one session so it turned into more like 1.5 hours. She definitely didn't have to spend that much time with me, and I think it was money well spent.
Nov 23, 2009
I wonder what it's like to be at a job where I am successfully in charge of projects, and feel like I'm maintaining quality over years of work in one location. At the moment, I'm falling, faltering, and getting to the point of no return. It seems it's time to move on, but where do I move on to? My job is so specific, I don't even know how to put what I've done for it on a compelling resume. Lately, I haven't been doing enough. I'm not sure what to do. I want to do a good job, I want to help the company, and I feel like I am helping the company, but I just have a hard time showing how I'm helping the company to my boss and the rest of my superiors. It's easy for the engineers and designers to show how they benefit the company, or even those in charge of business aspects, but I'm not really in charge of anything. Which limits what I can do to help. Not that I could help.
So I'm thinking of switching it up and changing careers yet again. But to what? What is it that I'm good at? And not only what am I good at, but what can I do day in and out and not get bored of?
I love feeling passionate about what I do. But sometimes too much passion drains me. I need a happy medium. I really enjoyed freelancing because I could do a project for a while and then move on to the next. I didn't enjoy the instability or additional tax taken from contract work. Or not being able to get health insurance.
I really feel lost right now. Like I've come a long way and yet I'm all ready to go back to where I started. I don't want that. But what do I do? I read job ad after job ad and I don't have the qualifications for any of the jobs I'd be interested in. I don't know how to get them (outside of academic requirements.) I just feel stuck. And worse than stuck, I feel I will become unstuck and fall backwards.
minted by her every cent counts posted at 8:24 PM
Nov 20, 2009
I haven't been to a therapist in a while. The last time I went to a mental health professional, I went to a psychologist who diagnosed me with major depression and gave me Lexapro.
A few months later when I was out of a full-time job, I was unable to get health insurance because I had major depression on my record.
Now that I have health insurance again, I wanted to pursue mental health counseling.
But it turns out all the counselors I've found (that call me back) are not on my insurance. Plus, due to my high deductible insurance, it doesn't really matter anyway because it is unlikely this year I will hit my $1500 deductible. I am at about $600 right now.
At the moment I'm likely going to do:
Group Therapy: $200 / month (and that's a discount)
Career Counseling / ADHD Counseling: (2x a month) $240 / month
So that's $420 a month on mental health services. None of which are covered by my insurance. Not that they should be. It's just, well, it's a lot of money. I'm earning more this year than I ever have before, but also spending a lot more on things like this. I wonder if it's worth it. How much counseling can a person get. It would be cheaper just to get a refill on my antidepressants from my regular doctor, instead of going to counseling.
But then, if going to counseling can help me remain employed, then it is worth it, right? I mean, what's $420 / month versus not having a job at all?
I wonder how helpful these various counseling methods will be. They are all so very expensive. I make enough money where I should be able to afford them ($75k / year). It just seems like I shouldn't be spending that much on my stupid depression, anxiety, ADHD, and other mental disorders. And this isn't even including seeing a psychiatrist who could prescribe me meds.
minted by her every cent counts posted at 3:57 PM
Nov 14, 2009
I took the GRE for the second time today. I'll admit I didn't stick to my studying plan, which might have made a difference in my scores. Well, honestly, I think I might have been able to improve my Quant score with studying, but Verbal is a tough one to crack, especially with ADHD and the time limit.
So I took the GRE in 2005 and got 520v and 580q (4.5 AWA). I had to retake because those scores were old and the program I want to apply to wants scores within the last 2 years. Today, I took the test again and got 470v and 580q (guessing similar AWA). Ugh.
I just get so frustrated taking timed tests. I can't focus, especially on the comprehension section. If the test was done on paper I'd do better, but for some reason the font they use on the screen just doesn't work for my eyes. I can spend so much time reading an article and realize I don't remember one thing I just read. Unfortunately, ETS doesn't make it easy to get any sort of accommodations for people with ADHD or LDs, which I'm starting to think I have (I was diagnosed ADHD in elementary school, but I honestly think I might be dyslexic or something. My sister is, and if it's genetic, it would explain a lot about my problems with concentration and reading.)
I'm not totally depressed about my scores, though. I'm leaning towards wanting to go to business school, which means I still have the GMATs in front of me. The GMATs are supposed to be a harder test, but if they test reasoning more than vocab, I'll likely do better.
I hate the stupid argument essay topics on the GRE. I'm not good at picking a side on an issue that I don't have a strong opinion on. For instance, the essay question (which is available on the ETS website -- I'm not allowed to reveal test questions, but since this is already public information...) was about whether people should pursue scholarship or research that doesn't contribute to society. Uhmm... so I kind of blanked. I couldn't think of anything someone would research that wouldn't contribute to society, even if that contribution was indirect. I ended up writing about that, which I'm sure was not what they wanted. Then my analyze an argument essay was rock solid... I'm good at finding flaws and explaining them (or so I'd like to think, I'll see what my scores are in a few weeks).
After the writing section, I went through the verbal section. I started getting easier words fairly early on, so I assume I got all of the first few questions wrong. Even with the easier words, I felt lost. I am just not good at analogies, EVEN WHEN I KNOW THE WORDS.
This... from a girl who got a 1230 on her SAT back in the day. My intellect has all but depleted.
I hate how the verbal section skips around from one question type to another, and then back. Just when my brain is getting comfortable with analogies it will be time to do a comprehension section, then back to analogies, then opposites of a word (which there were a lot of) and so on.
The math section would have been easier had I prepared more. I'm not sure how I managed to get the same exact score I got last time (580) but in any case, that's not a good Quant score. I also ran out of time so filled in random bubbles for the last 6 or so questions (of 28) today. That probably didn't help much, although maybe I am better at guessing than actually solving the problems.
This all leads me to ask... should I even apply to grad school? I know I struggle with academics, so why should I put myself through all of that? Even in an MBA program I'm going to have a tough time. Yet, looking at my career, I feel like I need to do something to go from where I'm at to where I want to be, and that something is looking more and more like "grad school" every single day.
I guess I want to know if I'm just unintelligent or if I actually have learning disorders. I used to test well early in my life, but not so much anymore. Like, I'd be ok if someone could just test me and tell me I'm dumb. I'll quit my job and go work as a waitress or something. Maybe I'd be happier. But part of me thinks that underneath all the confusion in my brain lies someone with really strong reasoning skills and even a slightly above-average level of intelligence. I just don't know how to prove that to anyone, or how to make use of it.
Nov 11, 2009
I've been rather depressed lately. Whether or not I'm clinically depressed, I don't know. Unless someone has been abused or has obvious genetic-caused psychosis, I don't really believe in mental disorders.
That said, I'm yet again on a downward spiral. I'm bored at work, yet feel stuck because there's no where to go. I'm only bored because I have no power or control over anything. And because people don't like me, don't trust me, and don't want to hear me.
Ultimately, this all ties to money. This is the first year I'm making a good salary in my life. In one year I've managed to make over $60k. That's incredible. What would be more incredible would be being able to maintain that. And it's just not likely.
Some of you commented on my last post about career that you'd rather have a career you don't feel personally attached to, so you could just focus on enjoying your life outside of work. I guess I just can't live that way. I can't detach myself from anything I do. Either I care too much or I don't care at all.
I took the Myers Briggs test again. I used to be an INFP but the older I get the more INTP I become. I was 70% "T" when I took the test today. Everything about INTP's speaks to me, as do the careers mentioned for the type... architect, scientist, engineer. Yet that isn't what I was, academically, trained to do. I don't see how I can go from where I am to where I might be happy.
Sure it's possible. But it will cost A LOT. And is it worth it? Will that really make me happy? I'd only know after going into massive debt on my quest. And that may make me even more depressed than I am now.
I'm going to see a career counselor this month. On my 26th birthday. As a gift to myself. Maybe she will help me find a direction. Clarity. I spoke with another career counselor for a free consultation on the phone and she basically told me... a few decades ago women didn't have any choice. So you are doing fine. You just have a lot of choices now. Don't worry so much.
I can't help but worry. I see dollars and cents in my future. Savings that could be. Not that my desired careers wouldn't be lucrative, but getting there just seems impossible.
That said, I'm not sure how much longer I can stay where I am, doing what I do, feeling so helpless. The salary may be great, but I can't hide it when I'm miserable. I'm so so so lucky to have a job right now with the unemployment rate at double digits, but I still feel so... empty. I don't think I'm gaining any skills at this job that are transferrable, I'm at a dead end. Any other job with the same title requires me to be more extroverted than I am, and I'll never be an extrovert. I just don't know what to do.
Nov 7, 2009
I've decided that even though my potential graduate education will likely cost me $150k+, I'm going to focus on saving $100k and take out loans for the additional $50k. That will be more reasonable to pay back AFTER grad school, even though the interest will cost me. I may be able to convince my parents to let me borrow from them, that extra $50k, which I will pay back.
My question is, how long would it REALLY take me to save $100k? That's a lot of mula.
Or, I guess my real question is, how much can I save before applying to school for fall 2012. That's two years away.
I'll say I have 24 months to save. At $2000 / month that's only $48,000. Sheesh.
I think, if I went totally frugal, I might be able to sock away $2k / month. But what's the point when it wouldn't even cover one year of grad school?
Current Income: $3418 / month + $100 medical + approx $350 post-tax in freelance income (which is my "fun" spend)
= $3868 / month (income)
Currently that goes to...
(scroll down for budget table, something is wonky with my HTML causing a huge gap below but I don't know what. Brownie points if you can tell me why there's a huge white gap here.)
|item||cost||type||total||remainder||12mnth savings||5 year savings at 5% interest|
|Laser Hair Removal Loan||$250||fixed||$1070||$2798|
|Voice Lessons (2x)||$190||?||$1755||$2112||$25,344||$179,389|
|Group Therapy (4x)||$250||?||$2005||$1863||$22,356||$158,240|
|Career Counseling (2x)||$200||?||$2205||$1763||$21,156||$149,746|
|Class at Community College||$50||?||$2255||$1613||$19,356||$137,005|
|Clothes & Beauty||$300||?||$2355||$1313||$15,756||$111,524|
|Medical & Dental||$200||medical||$2555||$1013||$12,156||$86,043|
|Stocks & ETF||$300||savings||$3155||$1013||$12,156||$86,043|
So basically, if I keep saving the way I'm saving now, in five years, when I'm 31, I'll have an additional $86k in savings (assuming 5% growth rate, not sure that's fair to assume over 5 years).
With my current 30k savings added to just $12,156 / year at 5% growth I will have:
$108,817 (5 years savings)
If I could save the most possible (getting rid of all non-fixed spending) I could hypothetically save $198,630 in 5 years.
This is assuming my job and income stays the same, which is unlikely. I will likely be unemployed or see a decrease in salary over those five years. There is also a chance I may see an increase in salary.
However, if I see a large increase in salary, the value of going to graduate school, from a financial standpoint, becomes less appealing. If I get to the point where I'm a billionaire (yea, right) I'd go back to school in a second, because then cost wouldn't be prohibitive.
Well, at this this has proven that if I keep saving like I am saving, in 5 years I can afford to go to grad school, take out only about $50k in loans, and leave grad school only $50k indebted with no emergency funds. Uhhh... do I really want that?
All of the graduate programs I'm looking at will cost about $150k for 2 or 3 years. Thus, I want to save $150k before applying. Is that possible? How long would it take to, realistically, save $150k?
If I cut out things I don't really need... voice lessons, dance class, gym membership, etc, I could get my monthly expenditures down significantly. Still, $150k is a lot of money.
I don't want to take out loans. I don't want to graduate from grad school in debt. That seems counterproductive to fiscal growth.
I have $30k saved now, though half of that is my retirement savings. Do I want to touch my retirement savings? At least that doesn't count towards my FAFSA AGI.
Ok, so to save $150k ...
$12500 / month for 12 months (1 year)
$6240 / month for 24 months (2 years)
$2500 / month for 60 months (5 years)
$1250 / month for 120 months (10 years)
I bet I could save $1250 a month, but that means I won't be going to graduate school until 2020. And by then, tuition will cost much more. So this saving up for my tuition seems impossible.
Right now I'm taking in between $3,000-$4,000 / month.
Cutting out all extraneous costs, $1250 / month would be possible to save.
But then... I won't be saving for retirement in the next 10 years. I won't be saving for anything else. And I won't be living life. Oh, and I won't be able to afford to have children. Which all kind of sucks.
How on earth does anyone justify graduate school (unless it's all paid for?) How does anyone justify any education (I can't believe how much my parents paid for my undergraduate degree!) Then again, at the time my dad was making over $200k / year, which, even after taxes, made it possible to cover my $120k undergraduate education. They really should have made me go to the equally--good state school that I got into that would have cost a lot less, but I'm glad they didn't.
Now, looking at my future, I'm trying to balance how much my career is worth versus being in debt for the rest of my life. I realized that I missed the mark in terms of my undergraduate major, though even with the right major I lacked the maturity at the time to make the most of my education. Not that I partied a lot or anything, I just didn't want to be there. I didn't know what I wanted. I felt like I had to be in college because that's what you do after high school. I didn't really know WHY I was there. To get a liberal arts education? To get a technical education? Yea, it wasn't clear. I got a taste of a few different things, but now I really need some sort of focused trade-school-esque education to get where I want in my career.
Speaking of, I'm contemplating seeing a career counselor to help me figure out where that is. I went to my career counselor in college quite a bit, but he wasn't much help. Maybe the ones that cost $100/hr are better? Apparently it's normal for an INFP like myself to spend way too much time thinking about all the possibilities without ever acting on them. So I just need some guidance. An adult guidance counselor. I'm starting to think I need that more than therapy. I mean, I know my issues. And yes, I can work on them all my life. The daughter of an upper-middle class everything-is-fine-with-our-family sociopath and a narcissist is bound to turn out a little messed up, right?
I'm just SO TIRED of living my life afraid of failure in the eyes of my parents. I'm looking forward to paying for my own education because then, even if they look down on me for my choice, or roll their eyes at it, I know it's coming out of my wallet. It's my education to make the most of, not theirs. Not theirs to waste, either.
I went to a new therapist this morning... a first meeting intended to place me into a group for group therapy. I'm very interested in group therapy because much of my issues, especially those relating to my ability to succeed, are rooted in my complete lack of ability to communicate. It is painful because I know I come off like this conceited bitch because I'm terrified of giving compliments even though in my head 99% of what I'm thinking is a compliment and 1% is "you could just tweak this one thing and everything would be even extra special great." How on earth do you say that without coming off like a suck up? Agggh.
Well, I know I've completely failed on the communication end in my current company. I've learned a lot from my mistakes, yet I still make them, and no one really wants to hear my thoughts anyway. Because they are often inspired by a gut feeling more than solid research, so their standpoint is beyond fair.
I just have concluded that ultimately I need to be in a job where I am a problem solver. I am always bursting with solutions and to not be allowed to say them (even though I often do anyway, to the disappointment of my coworkers) is suffocating. I know my ideas are not always right, but I love to collaborate and throw ideas out, bounce off other people, turn an idea into a solution.
I've spent my free time this week reading about countless masters programs. MBA programs. HCI programs. ID programs. Design masters programs. With a foundation year for people who didn't major in design in undergrad. International programs. Online programs. Part-time programs. Dual degree programs. Weekend and evening programs. Programs that can only be completed if you stand on your head and clap five times while hunting wild boars. (Okay, okay, I haven't found that last one... yet.) I am overwhelmed by all the options and the potential cost of all those options. Any of those options.
All the stress is enough to have me retreat into the status quo forever. And maybe that's what I'll do. Or maybe I don't need grad school to do what I want. Maybe if I can just believe in myself enough I can take a few design classes, get a portfolio together, and shift my career trajectory. I don't know. I'm obviously more confused than ever. It's the typical quarter life crisis. Except I kind of know what I want. Or at least I know I want to be solving problems. To be in charge of solving problems. Creatively. I'm most comfortable as a leader, not a follower, but I need a team of equals. I wish I had some realistic support. I won't get any from my parents and my boyfriend doesn't understand the financial consequences of grad school... his mother is going to pay for him to get a graduate degree if he doesn't get a full ride (his undergrad education was much cheaper than mine, so it makes sense that his mom still has money left over for his graduate education.)
I just wish someone sat down with me in senior year of high school and forced me to take a year off and work before going to college. I wish someone explained why despite "liberal arts" magical allure, ultimately you should be using college to get the skills you need for a job. A job that you'll actually like. Not just one you're qualified for because you have a BA.
Anyway, that's enough rant for tonight. I hate that I always sound so spoiled. I just want to pay my way through graduate school, work hard, and feel like I own my successes and my failures. I want to own... me.
Nov 6, 2009
My medical AND entertainment costs are adding up, and I'm behind in accounting for them. I really need to sit down and make a budget for all of these costs. Some are not necessary, of course, but I'm still struggling to understand how much money I should/can spend on LIVING versus SAVING.
A reminder... I do have $8k in a CD for my emergency fund as well as another $4k in laddered 6 month CDs. I'm about $150 from maxing out my Roth IRA for 2009, and I have put about $5k in stocks & ETFs over the year. Additionally, I overestimate on my taxes so I will have enough to put at least $3k into my Roth for the next year to get it jump started. Plus I put $100 a month into my 529 plan, which may or may not be a stupid idea.
However, I'm worried my current medical and non-medical "fun" spending is going to hinder my savings at all. Basically, I really need to budget. I don't think I'll be getting a raise this year... (I don't know if companies like mine give raises, esp in this economy.)
Here's the thing. I have decided that I want to spend on ME. That is, on making myself a better person, inside and out. But all of this soul-searching guidance and external beautification is expensive. Very, very expensive.
This weekend I want to come up with a serious budget, but right now I just want to look at my major expenditures per month. Please don't judge yet -- I KNOW there are many things here that I don't need, and that I'm very fortunate to be able to afford such things! I know one day when I have a family or even after I go to grad school and have to pay back loans I will have much less flexibility in spending on myself.
Extra Monthly Costs:
$250: laser hair removal financing plan (over 18 months)
$250: group therapy to deal with social issues (4x month) OR
$200: career counseling (2x month)
$190: voice lessons (2x month)
$60: one dance class
$32: gym membership
There are actual medical bills I need to sort through:
$2000: one-time necessary (non cosmetic) dental work (this is beyond my insurance coverage)
$400: foot doctor, 1 consult, xrays & 1 follow up
$100: gynecologist ultrasound
On top of all this, I'm trying to get a grasp on how much graduate school will cost me. I'm completely confused about financial aid. If my savings will hinder me from getting need-based financial aid, shouldn't I spend it all before applying to a grad program? That sounds counterproductive, but if they really decide on your financial aid based on how much you're making and how much you have in savings, I should spend all my money and quit my job! I'm just not 100% sure I want to go to grad school yet, so I don't want to spend all my savings yet. Oy.
Nov 2, 2009
Tiffani G Peterson presents Credit History Repair: What If It’s Beyond Repair? posted at Credit Repair Secrets.
Jacqueline Gharibian presents 5 Tips On Credit Repair posted at Debt Management Help,Get Debt Help, saying, "In today’s world, credit is essential. Most of us use credit almost every day without even thinking about it: credit cards, car payments, house payments, etc.
Lulu presents Why I Am Keeping My Budget The Same After A Salary Increase posted at How I Save Money.net, saying, "Even though I got a salary increase I am going to live on my previous budget."
Kelly Whalen presents restaurant savings: coupons, books and sites to save your bread posted at the ¢entsible life, saying, "I cover ways you can save bread when eating out. This post also includes my appearance on a local morning show."
Ken and Daria Dolan presents Simple Ways to Save Money on Your Utility Bill From "Daily Money Dish", A Blog by Cindy Butehorn, Ken Dolan, Daria Dolan: Dolans.com posted at Dolans.com - Daily Money Dish, saying, "With winter right around the corner and heating prices already heating up, here are simple ways to cut your utility costs!"
FIRE Getters presents The Witch of Wall Street - Henrietta "Hetty" Green posted at FIRE Finance.
money, savings & life
Khan Ben presents B-Schools Seek Boost By Targeting Women posted at Higher Education and Career Blog, saying, "Some of the nation's top business schools are scrambling to break a glass ceiling on female enrollment. Here's how they're trying to reach out to prospective students."
Sarah Eliza presents Wallet-Friendly Ways to Make a Difference TODAY, aka "Broke" and "Charitable" can still go hand-in-hand! ;P posted at Devastate Boredom, saying, "Thank you for your time and consideration! :)"
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