Aug 28, 2010

Eat. Pay. Money can't buy you Love.

Life has been too busy, for better or worse, to update this blog as frequently as I have in the past. Mostly, though, I'm afraid of being found out -- I know far too many people who are experts in finding things online accidentally or otherwise, thus I'm concerned about writing details of my professional or fiscal life at this point to identify myself. Heck, one gal who read my livejournal for a few years guessed this was me just by my writing style and some other details. What, am I the only insecure yet semi successful gal who writes in run-on sentences in this world?

In any case, it's time for a real update. I'll take my chances and hope that I don't say anything too incriminating here to get me into trouble in the real world.

This summer I spent most of my time traveling for a business trip, and then a short vacation since I was already abroad and needed a breather. The best part about it -- other than seeing some cool new places and having great professional opportunities -- was how much money I made in a month. I ended up working extremely long hours and billed about two months worth of work in one month's time -- which is especially great since my contract will be expiring soon and it's not sure yet whether it will be renewed.

I'm not too concerned on that front, though. I've already made more money this year than I did last year, even with just seven months of work. I also have a few startup projects that I'm working on which are extra income streams -- though they're more to keep me sane (I can't just work on one thing at a time) than for the money. Then again, I've found consulting in my field can be quite lucrative. Sure, self employment tax sucks, but once you can call yourself an expert in something you can get away with charging enough to cover that and then some. What I really love about those jobs, though, is the ability to work from home. I'm so much less anxious at home so I get much more done and do better work. Ultimately, I'd like to find a full-time job or consulting work that I can do mostly at home.

That brings me to my current plan to actually apply to graduate school this year. It's definitely the right time for me to do this, if I'm going to ever go to grad school. I'm 26 and I'm not getting any younger. I want to have my graduate degree by the time I'm 30 and given that a few programs I'm looking at are 3 years long, it's now or never. And now is a great time... I don't have an extended full-time job (even if my contract does get renewed it will end in another six months) and my consulting projects could feasibly continue into grad school if my bosses feel I add enough value to the company, and ideally I could work a few hours a week to cover some of my basic expenses outside of loans.

Still, I wonder if grad school has a place in my life. This year (not counting my two months of unemployment) I would have made over $120k -- most graduate programs, even top-ranking ones, boast that their graduates that are on the high end of the salary scale score jobs that pay that must post graduation. Of course, the reason for me to go to grad school isn't exactly for salary alone... it's about having more flexibility in my career, more respect, and more knowledge. I just wonder how much that's worth... because I seem to be doing ok so far -- which I'm proud of and also somewhat guilty about, given the state of the economy. I certainly don't feel like I deserve the income... yet I know I'm most comfortable in the upper middle class, and I don't expect my boyfriend to ever get me there. It's all on me.

My goal this year was to end 2010 with a net worth of $100k. Even though I've been making a lot and saving a lot, the stock market (as we all know) is not doing well enough to boost my savings to that goal. Right now it looks like I might hit $80k... which means I would have saved $30k this year (not so bad.) I might be able to make it to $100k if some of these side projects work out, but that's all up in the air. It's tough because some weeks I love working the extra hours and other weeks I just wish I had time to have a life! For instance, I've been spending all day working... instead of hanging out with my boyfriend and enjoying the nice weather. Hopefully I'll have a few hours away from the computer tomorrow.

I have a hard time sticking to my goals because everything in life is so transient. Working for a big corporation has been a great learning experience, but I also struggle to find motivation in working for 'the bottom line' when even my direct superiors and their superiors don't have a lot of say in what we're doing. I definitely like working for smaller companies where you have a say. Then again, in a bigger company it's a bit easier to just hang on for the ride... do what you're told... which is nice sometimes. But not what I want to be doing for the rest of my life.

Well, I have to get back to work. I don't know if anyone still reads this blog since I never update, but if you do say hi as knowing folks still read will encourage me to write more. :)


Robin said...

I enjoyed this post!

Anonymous said...

I know who you are but don't let that stop you from posting. Your doing great, Sarah ;-)

her every cent counts said...

Wait, which Sarah are you? :)

eemusings said...

Hey :)
Still reading. Not going anywhere!

Anonymous said...

hey! love your blog (even if it isn't updated frequently). keep it up!

me in millions said...

I know what you mean about worrying that someone will find you out.

"What, am I the only insecure yet semi successful gal who writes in run-on sentences in this world?"

No. I do that too!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, people still read your blog, kept diligently checking for when you'd get back in business.You and I are the same age and going through the same sort of career, savings issues so i still wanna hear what you have to say, keep it up.

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