• Inspired: Food for thought from an English major

    One of the first blogs I ever discovered was An English Major’s Money. Sadly, she gave up blogging there not long after I stumbled across it – but this week (I really don’t know why) I returned to the site and literally read almost every post in her archive. On the surface, we have a lot in common. We both left uni with a coupla grand in the bank, but without student loans. We both got given $2000 upon graduation from family, and live in very expensive cities. I guess you could almost say we even both work in publishing, although very different facets. And we both lost significant amounts of money thanks to old housing situations

    On the other hand, EM came from a well-off family and was, for lack of better description, a very intellectual person. Check out her fabulous posts on grammar; unlike me, she can actually articulate just WHY a sentence is wrong, and that is why a) I majored in communications, not English and b) I no longer tutor English. Ultimately, she made the decision to go to grad school, because like a true arts major, she had a love of learning. Here, she defends English and other humanities majors, and while I don’t roll in circles where dinner parties are held and conversations on academics and literature are the norm (nor would I really want to, by and large), I can appreciate many of her points. Personally, I know grad school is not for me. I did enjoy many of my papers – theory on what shapes the news, for example, and most of all, political science – but original thinking was not my strength. I don’t feel I could add to the landscape of research out there. And BTW, when I talk polsci, I mean things like how political theories and how politics affects us on society. “In how class and money and economic history have shaped the more ethereal realms of our lives. Including how we relate to our families; including who our friends are,” as EM writes.

    But the post that electrified me was this one.

    Am I supposed to sit in my office and wait to get married and have kids and send them to college and retire, go home worrying about the balances of my accounts, watch a movie, fill in the day’s expenses into my budgeting software, go to sleep? For years?

    (Okay, so I’m not guilty of doing that. I categorise my expenses throughout the month, but I will never be the kind of person who tracks expenses daily. I struggle with balance – I have an addictive personality – and that just isn’t healthy for me. T sees me a total money geek already, just because I like to know where our money is going, and actually use the tools my bank provides – if only he knew!)

    That post spoke to me. I stayed up past midnight reading it and pondering how it related to me. Are my priorities messed up? Should I be focusing more on living my life while I’m young, and enjoying it?

    Personal finance bloggers often scoff at needing to find one’s purpose. They advise, instead, settling down at a well-paying job and keeping financial goals in mind. My priorities are different. I will make the money work, honestly I will, just as long as I can figure out what I should be doing and find a way to be doing it. This doesn’t mean that I should be reckless, and it doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t educate myself on how to deal with money, but money is not the point. It is not enough to sustain me. I need to pursue a life driven by a sense of purpose.

    I don’t honestly feel I’m living a life of intention. For me, I feel the key lies in finding a happy medium – that of a point somewhere in between an all-consuming purpose (for some, that might be quitting the 9-5 to live on a boat, or retiring by 40), and that of financial stability. I don’t want to struggle – I’ve had enough of that already, thanks – but I do want to expand my horizons, too. An ex-coworker had no desire to leave the country; all she wanted was to be able to buy a house, and have a family. I want those things too, but I need more from life. And I’m not sure how to work toward achieving this. Perhaps something like the 100 in 1001 days that so many bloggers are doing?

    Which begs the question: am I focusing too much on money, or the lack of it? What’s really more important to me in life? At some point, I need to stop dreaming of seeing other countries firsthand, and start planning. I have no concrete goals. Maybe I want to leave NZ before I’m 26 (if for no reason other than that STA Travel has special deals for students and those under 26). I definitely want to travel with T beside me, although we have no idea, financially, how that might be achieved at this rate. Right now, I suppose I’m just trying to save as much as I can, although I have since set a number for this year – $10k). I have a feeling though, that it’s never going to be enough, especially as I have a problem with spending large amounts of money, even if they were intended for that purpose.

    So yes, this concludes a very creepy, fannish post in which I have linked to a single blog more times than can possibly be healthy. If she ever stumbles across this, I hope she’ll take it as a compliment.

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  • Link love (Powered by peanut butter and ankle boots)

    What I’m reading:

    Ad Working Girl on getting down and dirty (not like that!) with the head honchos. With my new title and all, and one project in particular, I’m finding myself liaising much more with the big boss and generally participating more. Usually I’m pretty invisible – I get on with my work, especially on my weekends (I’m alone for half the shift, so I get free rein and to play music as loud as I want). But for now, I’m going to have to step it up.

    Is there anything (Spokeo) worse than Facebook, asks FB? Thankfully, I’m not an American. I have plenty out there on Google under my real name – most of the pieces I’ve ever had published, actually – but I would be pretty freaked out if my home address and what not were out there for the world to see.

    SF Money Musings struggles to get to grips with being a first-time manager. I definitely recommend reading Ask a Manager – fantastic blog for both employers and employees!

    And here, an amazing story of a courageous and brilliant journalist who worked to tell the story of Mexico’s undercover sex trafficking trade.

    A review of SATC2 that made me chuckle with the line “There’s more cleavage in this film than at a pro wrestler’s wedding”.

    Katie is searching for passion and direction. “I don’t know how people find satisfying jobs that they enjoy going to, that they feel they were made for. My husband has a pretty good idea of exactly what he wants to be doing, and the benefit of that is, he actually has something to work toward, rather than being like me and just floating around in a cloud of indecision all the time.” In my case, the situation is reversed, but I feel her pain.

    PR vs Media: In which Tiff explains that he’s just not that into you, and similarly, journalists just aren’t going to call PRs to say no thanks.

    Funny about Money wonders whether there’s a PF blogger glass ceiling. Well, the types of blogs I enjoy (and write) certainly aren’t the most marketable or profitable. But I’m not in this for the money, although offers are always welcome!

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  • Passing on the love

    A big thanks to Slam Dunks, who’s presented me with (as far as I recall) my first blog award ever!

    I haven’t been reading his blog long, but enjoy his style, especially posts like this one. He also posts on regular topics such as Missing Person Monday, You-Tube Video of the Week, Officer Dummkopf and Travel.

    To accept the Prolific Blogger Award, you just have to:

    1) Link back to this post; and,

    2) Select and notify 7 other bloggers for the award.

    Here are seven great bloggers I pass this award on to:

    Pear

    Carrie

    SS4BC

    Jessie

    Sarah

    Serendipity

    Me in Millions

  • Life in the spotlight

    Does anyone remember Donna from That 70s Show? (She now appears in some late night TV drama with the name Autumn Rd or something equally boring…okay, Google reveals that it is in fact October Rd). Anyway, she was on House last night as one half of a couple whose incessant blogging is testing their relationship. She was also really sick and had a heart condition, but I’m not interested in that for now.

    The episode starts off with them fighting because, er, she blogged in detail about their last argument.

    “I want what’s between us to stay between us!” he says.

    Blogging, she says, helps her feel connected to others. People read about her life and leave comments, which to nonbloggers sounds downright insane, but to us is just par for the course. She blogs all. the. time. And right before she goes into surgery, she even tells him: “I wish you had a blog. I wish I knew what you were thinking.”

    I think I can pretty confidently say I’ll never get to that stage.

    I try not to blog about work. Something major happened last week that I really wanted to write a big post about, but that would have given away where I work, and I’m really not comfortable doing that. I certainly didn’t feel qualified to write about it on my real name blog, either (which has pretty much gone on hiatus.  I’m not really interested in major political or media issues, nor informed enough to write about them. Then it was meant to be where I review movies, restaurants, etc, but until I wind up my voluntary gig – which, you guessed it, mainly consists of reviews, because they’re easy to knock out, and demonstrates my ability to write in different styles – that too is on pause).

    I rarely blog about my relationship. We’re far from perfect. We have issues. I blog about one of the taboos – money – but I don’t write about sex or religion, and I don’t write about our fights…even when he irritates me to no end by, say, missing out on something he’s wanted for a long time because he couldn’t be bothered to do the groundwork beforehand.

    The person you know as me is only a part of me. The only way you could get to know all facets of my personality is to know me in real life and spend a lot of time with me. Such is the nature of being a semi anonymous blogger. And even if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t want to air out all of our dirty laundry. I respect his desire for privacy, and I want to focus on the positives, rather than dwell on the negatives, which are always so much easier to remember even without documentation.

    As it is, I often find myself thinking about how I’m going to blog about something that’s happened to me. That’s totally reasonable. But I never want to find myself living like I’m on a reality show and living for a blog.

  • Carnivalistic fun

    My post on whether mystery shopping is worth the time and effort was included in the Carnival of Personal Finance, Haiti edition at milliondollarjourney and reimodels (possibly the most number crunching I’ve ever done here to date!).

    Meanwhile, forgive my slackness on the clothing challenge front. Here’s two days’ worth!

    Monday’s outfit:


    Tuesday’s outfit:


  • Blogger crisis

    I’m starting to realise I have no particular niche, in this blog, in my personal life and in my professional life.  I’m not hardcore PF – I don’t do spreadsheets, I don’t do fancy graphs, or read the big PF writers. I like looking at pretty clothes and shoes, but in nobody’s universe am I a fashionista; I don’t keep up with couture, I don’t know designers. I’m not a hardcore media junkie, I don’t listen to talkback and watch TV. I can’t claim to be a muso.. I don’t even play anything anymore, or keep up with new music as I dislike so much of it.

    I’ve also been thinking about making this more of a ‘life’ blog, more personal (photos, etc) and combining in reviews and my portfolio – a little like what Amber has going on. That’s all the stuff I currently host on my posterous blog, which is home to my published work and other bits and pieces. Posterous is neat, but it doesn’t really lend itself to what I want. It’s a simple, bare bones interface; there are no pages, only posts. I’d probably import it all here, cutting out the hassle of maintaining two different blogs.

    I’m pretty wary of no longer being anonymous though, given that I’m in the media/publishing field. Part of the reason I don’t post so frequently on my other blog is because I devote more energy here, and because I’m so acutely aware that everything I publish to my name is going to be scrutinised and could be seen by my bosses and future employers as a journalist (ie., no swearing like a sailor a’la Nicole, although IMO it simply adds to her cutting wit). But at the same time, blogs can definitely play a part in getting you noticed and getting a job.

  • Getting social-media savvy

    I came across this ad for a social media intern on Twitter a few days ago. Ignoring the fact that it’s unpaid and in Cambodia, methinks the criteria are pretty damn tight! I wonder if they’ll find someone who fits their strict requirements, and is willing and able to get out there and support themselves for however long the internship is.

    – At least 150 followers on Twitter
    – At least 200 Facebook friends
    – Administrator or creator of at least one Facebook group
    – A blog with a Google Page Rank of 2 or higher

    Yikes. 150 followers on Twitter? Nowhere near, not even close. And the majority of mine are spammers. I might go private in the near future. Seriously, I briefly logged into Twitter at work (not a total no-no, we do use social networking) and checked out my latest new followers. All of them were…erm…NSFW. I’m talking porno, with profile pics of naked body parts, etc.

    200 FB friends? Nope. I’m refraining from friending anyone and everyone I know. I’m not wanting to play the popularity game. I even periodically go through and cull a few people once in awhile, usually people from high school who I have nothing to do with. I have about 10 friend requests which have been sitting for months and which I should hurry and up hit ‘ignore’ on. My Facebook profile is for people I actually care about and interact with – quality, not quantity. I can understand how more gregarious and well travelled/connected people can easily have 500+ friends, though.

    I think I may possibly be an admin on ONE Facebook group (which was created for a uni project) – does that count? And a blog with Google page rank of 2 of higher? What on earth does that even mean? I am not totally SEOoblivious but I’m a bit stuck on that one. I assume it’s along the lines of showing up in the top two pages when people search for terms related to your blog?

  • Why do YOU blog?

    Just a wee little topic I replied to on a 20SB thread.

    Why do I have a blog? I guess, to keep myself accountable. Tolearn more about money, and be part of a community.

    So I can be totally open about personal finance in a way i can’t IRL. I mean, I am pretty honest with the people I know, but none of them are in even a remotely similar situation financially speaking so it’s quite isolating sometimes. Nor do I want to burden them with my worries. So I vent here…

    To satisfy my narcissistic streak! Of course.   target=”blank”>i_love_blogging-787805

    And to a small extent, to be creative – I no longer play guitar, or write songs. I’ve tried photography and enjoyed it and might take it up as a hobby next year. I really enjoyed my advertising papers last year; the process of creating a visual and painstakingly refining it for hours at a time until it’s JUST right. But I wasn’t quite creative enough for it. My domain lies in writing, and maybe in page design – because I am LOVING doing page layout at the moment. Editing & Design is possibly my most favourite paper. Blogging isn’t super creative, but it does the trick for now given how little leisure time I have this year.

    And it’s addictive! When I first started I never imagined I’d be posting so frequently. I thought I’d run out of things to write about pretty fast. But I’ve been writing posts pretty regularly, and it hasn’t been difficult at all.

    What about you – why do you blog? Does it ever feel like a chore?