One month in: Getting balance / Getting ahead

yellow brick road
Image by airdiogo via Flickr

Life is hurtling by.

It’s terrifying.

Here’s what’s going on, one month on into 2012.

Getting balance

I’ve crossed off a few things off my life list – making pasta, ice cream and mac and cheese from scratch, for starters. Between the cookbooks I’ve been given and the blogs I read, I have no shortage of recipes to keep me on my culinary toes. Bonus: it’s a good way to practise photography.

I started learning Daughter by Pearl Jam, which includes a pretty funky tuning.

I’ve also looked into volunteering opportunities and reached out to a few, so we’ll see if any pan out.

Elsewhere, I have a weekend trip coming up in a few days (hurrah!) and fitting in runs, reading, guitar and relationship time. Surely this can’t last?!

Getting ahead

I headed back to work on the 5th. This gave me a couple of days to get settled in and get ahead before the full daily routine resumed. And it gave me the chance to get organised with my files and folders on my work computer – something I BADLY needed to do. Now to keep it up…

I’ve signed up to receive Ramit Sethi’s (of I Will Teach You To Be Rich) Dream Job course material via email. Most useful IMO so far have been his email scripts and videos with mock salary negotiation skits – I picked up some great phrases for future use. For all the things they teach you at uni, email etiquette in business communication is not one, and for all the negotiation advice to be found, actual wording is tough to come by.

I’m getting more active on my IRL Twitter account, making an effort to reach out and engage; getting more active in LinkedIn, now that I’ve found some groups that aren’t so spammy and full of self-promotion; and commenting on the odd industry blog under my real name. This does make it a pain switching between accounts. A work in progress, I suppose.

And I’ve hopped on the Codecademy bandwagon, in particular, the Code Year programme. Basically, they email you every week with a list of exercises to complete. By the end, the idea is you’ll be competent in Javascript.

  • A few thoughts thus far: It’s a good idea. The gamification and points earned element is fun.
  • BUT. I feel there’s too much content covered in each silo. Slow it down, really drill home each new lesson, and do fewer of them in a week.
  • Some of the exercises are poorly worded and some of the hints are confusing or unhelpful. Thankfully, there’s a user forum for Q&As.
  • For me, the jargon is overwhelming. And the syntax! I’m used to very basic HTML, which makes sense to me. Here, I feel I’m passing each step but not really learning, or gaining a real understanding of what I’m doing.
  • If you were any good at algebra, some of this may be less painful for you.
  • Personally, I’m not sure how useful Javascript will be. I’m planning to stick with it as long as possible. But probably more valuable is really knuckling down into the front end CSS, which I do plan to tackle on my own.

And just for fun, I’ve started up mock forex and stock portfolios on Investopedia. It’s unlikely I’ll be doing either of these in real life, but improving my financial literacy can only be a good thing, and a simulated environment is the best way to start. In picking my companies, I did some research on the likes of CNN Money, where you can find information on companie –  financials, forecasts, etc. Of course, when it’s play money, you don’t necessarily take as much care as you would with real dollars, and it wasn’t till I’d bought about 10 stocks that I realised I was being charged $20 a pop on each transaction. (To date the extent of my individual stock investment experience has been in the Neopets stockmarket. Remember that site?) And I’ve done the same on the NZX, but the size of the stockmarket would seem to limit potential returns.

So, how has the year started off for you? What are you doing to make the most of it?

5 thoughts on “One month in: Getting balance / Getting ahead

  1. I like the idea of the Codeacademy. I tried to teach myself C++ (for real, I had a little bit in college), but quickly got bored of it. I am going to check it out!

  2. I (was) good at algebra and calculus but coding and html scare the beejeezers out of me. I wonder if I should try. Probably, since that’s the way the world is going. Maybe I’ll try that code academy thing, unless you think there’s a better starting point.

  3. How did making pasta from scratch go? I’ve always wanted to do that. Did it take an insane amount of time?

    The year started off pretty well for me with an amazing vacation, but now I’ve run into some problems with my condo and I don’t know when it’s going to close, so I had to find somewhere else to live. That was a bit hectic, but I think I’ll be okay in the long run :) The bright side is that this gives me more time to save and I’ll be in an even better financial situation by the time I do actually close!

    P.S. I love the new layout!

      1. I think my favorite part is that it actually takes up more of the screen. My current one is the best one that I could find lately, but it is way too narrow for my screen. And I only have a 13.3″ laptop screen!

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