Stand Up For Yourself, Even When You Have Everything To Lose

They say sticks and stones will break your bones but words can never hurt you.

I beg to differ.

Because every time I’ve ever let someone talk down to me, I’ve felt like absolute garbage. And I think bad or negative encounters stay with us longer than we like to admit. There are some people in this world that are just plain nasty. You can be as sweet as pie to them and they always find a way to cut you down. Sometime we don’t even know how we feel until hours after the encounter occurs. In instances of confrontation I’ve always walked away, but I’ve learned to let the other person know that I’m not going to take it from them and their behavior is not acceptable.  Confidence is something that’s learned in time.

——–

The first time I’ve had a bad encounter was when I was working at Auntie Anne’s pretzels. 18 year old me as standing by the cash register selling hand rolled delicious pretzels. A customer had asked for extra butter on her cinnamon sugar pretzel and as I was putting in the bag after she had paid she says, “You’re disgusting. You just touched my pretzel with your hands.”

I said, “No ma’am, I’m using the tongs to grab these. But if you like I can give you another one”

“Okay, I want these.” She points to the cinnamon sticks which are 75 cents more.

“Okay, but those are the cinnamon sticks, they’re more than the regular pretzels. They’re 75 cents more.”

“Well, I don’t know why I should pay more for them.”

“You get more pretzels with it, that’s the price Ma’am.”

My coworker who sees me struggling, tells me to just give her the sticks for the same price.

“I usually can’t do this, but I’ll give these to you for the same price as the pretzels.”

“You know what, I should get these for free since you’ve wasted so much time.”

I’m starting to get really aggravated. “Sorry, I can’t give food for free”

We go back and forth like this and this nasty woman tells me I’m just a cashier and I’m a loser.

She takes the pretzel sticks and then throws it at me. This adult woman just threw food at me!!

I had never been attacked like that in my life and she literally just laughed as this 18 year old high schooler cried tears of anger and frustration.

That day I learned some people are just sadists and just take pleasure in hurting, humiliating and taking advantage of people in fast food.

That altercation sat with me for a few days. I wished I stood up for myself more and wondered what it was about me that gave that woman the impression I was someone to pick on.

———–

My first tour as a NYC rental broker was equally as bad of an altercation. It was literally my first day showing and my senior agent had these two recent grads looking for a 1BR under 2300 in midtown. And if you know Manhattan, you know that’s a dirt cheap rent anywhere. I had no idea what my senior agent Kevin had told these girls but I met them at the corner of 56th and Lexington and had them sign the Fee agreement for the apt they were about to see. I was so nervous. I wasn’t even trained on anything yet, and I probably came off as really green.

“Why do I have sign this?!” One of the girls demanded.

“There’s a fee with this apt. I can’t show this apt unless you agree to a brokers fee if you rent this”

The girls eyed me suspiciously, then signed it.

We went off to see the apt down the street.

“This is a terrible apt, not what we saw online. You wasted our time.”

I called Kevin to confirm that was the apartment they had called on. He confirmed and told me to ask them if they wanted to see any of our other apts in that price range.

I don’t remember what was said next but they were picking on me, double teaming me and complaining about, “how I switch and baited them and that the’ve seen better apartments with other agents.”

I just wanted the appointment to end. “Well, it sounds like I don’t have anything else to show that you would like, I’m sorry.” I said tersely.

“What a waste of time!”

“I’m sorry you feel that way.” And then I left.

One block later I’m on the verge of tears wondering if I can really cut it in real estate.

I was happy that I kind of stood up for myself but hated that I felt so small.

—————-

Today a client tried to move in a day early. These are literally professional hustlers and were fighting us every step of the way. They had their movers at the building. And were furious that they couldn’t move in rent free, one day early.

“You all knew we were trying to move in a day early!!” Professional finger pointers.

My manager was trying to resolve the problem but was making it worst with his lack of tact. “I’m sorry I can’t just give you these keys and have you get one days free rent.” ?????

These people were desperate to get keys with all their stuff ready to move so they started throwing my name under the bus. “I signed leases with Alex and we talked about this!”

I wanted to set the record straight so I went talk to the client and try to smooth things over with some understanding. He started saying how ridiculous the whole thing was and how we’re holding him and his girlfriend hostage by not giving him keys etc. He’s telling me we don’t know how to do our jobs. He was raising his voice and getting in my space.

A part of me felt small again, like that day I felt when the woman threw pretzels at me. But I was thinking, I don’t need to apologize and if this becomes a full out confrontation, I’ll just leave.

I said calmly, “you don’t need to talk to me like that.”

“You messed up our whole morning and my girlfriend is late for work, I’ll talk to you how I want to!”

Oh yeah? I threw my hands up and said, “I don’t need to indulge this.” I started walking away calmly and called him disrespectful.

I got over it but it was funny how everyone in the office was so quiet when he attacked me verbally. Not even my manager knew what to do. He later brownnosed his way back into the client’s good graces.

I told my manager, “I don’t care, one day I might get fired for not sitting down and taking it from client’s and I’ll just have to move on to the next property.”

He seemed shocked that I would be so bold and tell him he can’t make me be nice to these assholes.

——————–

I’m actually a very introverted person and when people attack me for something that’s I did, I take responsibility and offer a solution. But if that’s not enough, I know how how to take my losses and walk away, while politely telling someone they are out of line.  Gaining self confidence and self-worth comes from knowing when to walk away.

Life is a slippery slope and we end up taking the treatment we think we deserve.

Don’t let anyone make you feel small. Stand up and speak up for yourself when people try to step on who you are and take advantage. If you think people will stand up for you, they won’t. Nobody stood up for me in any of these scenarios, sure they sympathized with how I felt, but no one stood up. I could have lost my job for not giving good customer service but I took the risk and guess what, I didn’t lose my job!

Some of you might be reading this and thinking, it’s not worth the aggravation and that you should never risk your job for your pride. And maybe I’m giving bad advice. But in my heart and in my soul, I know that every time I don’t stand up for myself I’m allowing myself to be treated as less than and accepting that as truth. I know it probably won’t change how nasty some people are. If standing up for myself doesn’t do much else, at least I set a boundary with myself on what I’m willing to accept. Ego shm-ego.

The workplace is a tough place, and you always have to remember to look out for #1. Learn how to be assertive at work and fight for your own agenda. No ones going to stick up for you and no one’s going to defend you. And while most jobs require some level of customer service and hospitality, it doesn’t mean you should allow your self to be treated like a doormat and disrespected.

Jobs come and go but your sense of self and how you are to be treated by other people is 100% on you.  Self confidence is everything.

Thanks for reading, if you liked this post feel free to follow, like and share!

Flashpass to Retirement: FiRE and LeanFiRe Strategies

“If only I didn’t have to go back to work.” I think this WAYY to often, especially on my Sundays before I have to clock back in for my work week.

My friends say, “Alex, I think it’s time for a new job. You’re burnt out. There’s another company that can be the right fit for you.”

But I think it’s much more than that. I think I just don’t like work. I don’t like feeling obligated to go and be somewhere at a certain time.  I don’t like commuting. I don’t like being on teams I didn’t choose for myself. I don’t like not being able to spend my time as I choose. And at the bottom of all those things I don’t like is the basis for a job. In college, I didn’t like not having money either so I went into the world and made a career for myself.

Sometimes I have to remind myself to grow up.  Like, having a job is just part of life. An absolute majority of our society NEEDS to work in order to put food on the table or clothes on their back. But then I started to wonder about an alternative. What if, I didn’t have to work? What would it take to live like that? Is it possible for me?

That’s when I came across FiRe or Financial Independence and Retire Early. I’ve been following Personal Finance on Reddit for a while and stumbled across the subreddit. It’s not just people retiring early at 50 instead of 63. It’s people retiring earlier and young at 35 and 40! I honestly can’t look through this subreddit without feeling a tinge of jealousy. I really want to be those people.  I want to know how to retire early. I also want to know how much I need to retire early.

The concept of FiRe goes beyond Personal Finance-which discusses getting out of debt, buying a house and paying for college.  As well as other difficult financial choices that neither high school or college ever prepared us for. FiRe is just specifically about retiring early and what it will take to get there and the kind of sacrifices you need to be willing to make.

Looking through the subreddit, I can’t help but feel…what’s the word for it? Ah yes, INADEQUATE. I feel inadequate because here are these 19 year old kids that are planning their hustle for the next 10-15 years to be totally independent off a job! At 19, I was buying Frappachino this and coach shoes that.  I was twiddling away my hard earned money because, at the time, I didn’t consider my minimum wage slave money to be……real money.  It was just money I was earning before I had a career; before I made a real salary.  Talk about regret over missed opportunity. Regardless, now that I’m aware this is possible maybe there’s time for me to turn things around.  I’m making 3-4X what I was making on minimum wage, so hopefully I didn’t miss too much of an opportunity.

Personal Finance and FiRe pretty much go hand in hand but FiRe is a long term game. Once you pay all of your debts and start really gaining wealth, FiRe commits to continuing to live a modest lifestyle until you reach your FiRe goal date. For people that are successful at FiRe, this means living at your parents home until you’re 30 or putting a $10K pay increase towards a portfolio option instead of taking a much needed vacation. It means couponing; living on a cash basis and giving up the convenience of the credit card.  It sounds so simple, “Just don’t spend money? I hate spending money, I only spend money when I need to!” But DO you? Do you REALLY??  Credit cards/subscriptions, Venmo are super convenient. For credit cards, any points you earn on the card are already spent on the overspending you did due to the “convenience.”  And we all like convenience. Retiring early means less convenience and less money spent on pleasures that we usually indulge in as a reward for hard work.

It takes an incredible amount of self control to retire early. Year after year, you’ll need to make sacrifices in your own indulgence, spending habits and choices. Vacation to Miami with friends? Nix that. Those really nice designer shoes? Nope. Weekly happy hour bar tabs with coworkers?  Um, no. Forget about the new car lease and living without roommates.  What you’re sacrificing in quality of life now, you’re planning to get back later when you’re able to retire 15-20 years early.

You’ll also need to be somewhat knowledgeable on tax laws. Should I invest in a 401K or IRA or both? What should I do after I max on my contributions? I’m about to surpass my income tax bracket, what can I do to minimize this years taxes? These are decisions you can’t just leave to the wind when planning an early retirement. Because year after year the wrong decision will cost you.

Once you start saving all this additional money, how do you optimize it to allow an early retirement? Well that’s entirely up to you. Some people invest in individual stocks, mutual funds or rental properties, or a mix of diversified options. The choice is yours depending on the skill set you have. Some people like to park their money and not think about it again until they need it, some like to be more involved in the trades, others like the idea of home equity. Some enjoy high risk, others low risk. To make FiRe truly effective you’ll need to take some risk to optimize your hard earned money.

Now let’s talk Lean FiRe. What is that? How could FiRe get any leaner, you’re already cutting out the pleasures of life! Oh it can get leaner.  Way leaner. Some of you may have read this article rolling your eyes, like “I don’t make that kind of money, Alex. I’m not overspending and there’s nowhere to cut.” Lean FiRe is early retirement for those who make an average or below average earnings. I swear, the Lean FiRe Reddit is no joke! They will make feel shame for your current lack of retirement plans. These are people making 40K -70k a year (or less!), and killing it with their retirement goals.

How do they do it? Incredible sacrifice and resourcefulness. These are people who really hate their job and are like, “Oh hell no! I can’t be doing this forever!”

I read about this one guy that ditched his car even though it was a 40 minute bike ride each way. Luckily he lived in a place where the weather was nice nearly all year round. He was saving money off of the weather! Other people are gardening and living off the literal fruits of their labor and land, thus cutting down food costs.

Then there are the people who are extreme in their housing solutions. One guy was homeless for a year! You heard that, homeless! Like, living in his car and showering at the gym while going to work every day and pretending he had a home. The moral of that story is that he really saved a lot at the time since housing is probably our largest expense. A lot of Lean FiRe people take to frugality and minimalistic living. There was one couple that bought a Tiny Home and lived in a trailer park. Their Tiny Home cost 15k and they bought it outright, then parked their home for a couple hundred dollars a month at a trailer park. They really didn’t need to earn so much money after that.

Theres also strategy to increase their income and put that money aside for retirement purposes only. These people were resourceful with their talents and skills.  They started blogging, and you-tubing to earn some extra cash. It’s a slow income stream but it’s cheap and easy to get into. Some opened etsy shops, making homemade soaps, balms, greeting cards, ornaments and whatnot. Some just did the good old fashioned way of getting a second job and driving Uber on the side.

Those Reddit subreddits really put me to shame. When I hear real life stories like that, I wonder WHY CAN’T I BE LIKE THAT?

Because I don’t want it enough. I’m not willing to sacrifice my daily pleasures or I do, and then I can’t stick with it long term. But practice makes perfect, and I’ll keep at it until I’m finally willing to make the sacrifice long term. In the meantime, I’m going to keep reading the inspirational stories FiRe and LeanFiRe have to share with me. Because with a little inspiration, who knows, maybe I’ll be able to retire early too.

Feel free to like, share and follow this post if you found it interesting.

Check out my other similar posts:

Why I Budget and How to Budget: Personal Finance In A Nutshell

and

Motivational Book Club: The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

 

Developing Personal Style: The Manly Edition

I’ve always loved the idea of a stylish man. GQ men and James Bond always come to mind for me. There’s something very attractive about a man that can dress well and as some might say, a “Je ne sais quois,” that makes a man irresistible. I pondered these questions for myself and wondered why I found certain qualities attractive.

My husband, K, did not have personal style in terms of clothes or possessions when I met him but he had a bit of swag and charisma. I wrote post on charisma not too long ago and it definitely helps you put your personal style to life but personal style is different.  It’s how you present yourself to the world, what’s on the outside as opposed to what’s on the inside.

Like I mentioned, K really didn’t have much in terms of personal style. He always wore the same shirts until they got pilly fuzz on them and started to curl at the bottom from being over dried too many times. He also always wore the same shoes until they started to wear through and look retro. And honestly, he didn’t really have a good reason to look put together; we were in our late teens when we met and barely getting by as young adults. Nevertheless, he would come dressed to impress whenever we had to go out to dinner or an event to go to.   In return, it made me want to dress up and look good for him because why should he be the only one that looks good? ?? Over time he has developed his own style that fits his personality but also says success and confidence.

Here are some tips to help you look as good on the outside as you do on the inside:

A Quality Timepiece

I always notice if a man is wearing a watch and if you’re close enough to him, you can see the actual brand he’s wearing. Surprise, surprise women will look at your watch, notice, and make inferences about it. I’m not saying you should get the most expensive watch possible, but picking a watch that says a statement about who you are and will add to your personal style.

The Timex Weekender Watch is a classic.  It’s a nice casual timepiece you can wear when you’re out in a polo and shorts or more casual with t-shirts.  Its good for outdoors and is easy to replace if lost or broken.  Timex is the perfect brand if you want to stay under $50 for a watch.  The Weekender Watch here is under $30.

Weekender-Watch.jpg

I also recommend Guess watches if you want a flashier look for less.  Most of Guess’s watches fall between $75-200.  I find the Guess watches to be a more affordable option over the pricier brand Movado.

Just look at the two nearly identical options for gold toned watches.  The Guess watch is $100 while the Movado option is $1000.  There isn’t much of a difference and Guess watches are just as sophisticated as the higher end brands.

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For a luxury brand, I would recommend Bulova, they are exceptionally good quality timepieces that are reasonably priced between $250-$600.  I have one of their women’s watches and I get constant compliments on mine.

I really love the Marine Star collection, This stainless Steel Chronograph watch is perfect for every day use since its waterproof.  I also love how the watch faces are on the larger side with plenty of chrome detail.

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A Nice Haircut:

K has beautiful thick hair. He also hates going to the barber. I don’t understand whyyy?? I love when his hair is freshly cut. Two months later his hair still looks good in an unkempt rugged sort of way? The point of this segment is to say your hair can say a lot about you. It says a lot about your grooming habits, whether you put time into your appearance or if you just let your mom cut your hair every 3 months.  Hair is the first thing people are going to notice about you so finding the right cut is important.

I’m not going to post any pictures of what I think good looking hair looks like, but to be honest, there are many different hair styles, cuts, and textures that are attractive.  Sexy beards are a thing too and some men have impressive beards that women turn their heads over.  So having a well maintained beard is also something to think about.  K, doesn’t really grow a great beard, though he tries.  His barber helps him maintain a nice goatee.  So talk to your barber, they know hair!

Suits

I think every man needs at least one nice suit. One that he can wear at a funeral, wedding or for a job interview. You always want to have one handy for an unexpected event, especially for an interview. Because you never know when you’ll have a great opportunity that requires you to dress your best. And between getting a fresh haircut and preparing for the opportunity, the last thing you want to spend your time on is a new suit with the right fitting. I love tailored slim fit suits. Dark blue is my favorite color, black tends to be too somber. The nice thing is suits can come in many different colors, textures and materials; so with plenty of options you can find one that fits and looks right for you. Suits tend to be expensive so you’ll probably need to start with just one and just maintain it with dry cleaning after every 2-3 wears depending on how soiled you feel like it gets. You don’t want to over wash or clean the fabric, because even with dry cleaning it can cause damage. In most department stores, you can get a good quality suit for $200-$300, especially during sales.

Surprisingly Amazon has a new program for clothes called PRIME WARDROBE,  I’m not really one for in person shopping and neither is my husband.  We usually just buy online and return by mail if we don’t like the fit.  It’s pretty easy.

Anyway, K had bought this Blue Tommy Hilfiger suit and look amazing in it for a wedding shower brunch we went to.  One of our friends had commented that he was always dressed so sharp for events.  Sometimes I feel like he goes over the top, even for simple or small outings.  But as he would put it, “You can be underdressed, but you can never be overdressed.”

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Getting Higher Quality Clothes:

I’m going to start this segment with a caveat, having expensive clothes will not help in making a man more attractive when he is out of shape or unkempt. I would say good grooming and good health are first attractors for women and for people in general. As for clothes, I’m not talking about brands and trends and all that. I’m talking about getting good quality timeless pieces that you can mix and match with other parts of your wardrobe to create a polished look. K used to shop at Express and Zumies and although their clothes were really trendy; they always felt out of style within a year. Getting good quality shoes, jeans, dress pants, dress shirts and jackets can really add to your style. I’m not saying to buy everything overnight but start with one piece then add another piece, then another as you’re able to afford it. As you buy more pieces, you can filter the lesser quality clothes out or just have a greater variety to wear.  My husband has recently gotten into Robert Graham dress shirts and Lucky Brand Jeans.  These pieces are a bit pricey ($150-$200 a piece) so we get them here and there, especially if we see any sales at the mall.

Tips for Maintaining Clothes

1. High Quality Jeans: Jeans overall don’t need to be washed a lot. Actually they should be washed on a need to basis in order to avoid fading and shrinkage. You can hand wash them in cold water and detergent for darks. Don’t wring them out to dry but rather ROLL as much water out of them. Hang them up to dry or tumble dry them with cold air.

2. Shoes: wearing the same shoes every day wears them much faster. You need to let them breath and to keep quality shoes for longer, so you’ll also need to expand your collection from one to at least 3-4 pairs of shoes for daily wear that you can rotate. You’ll also need one pair of dress shoes and a pair of seasonal shoes like sandals or boots. And this is to start, eventually you’ll expand further depending on your preferences.

3. Jackets and suits: require dry cleaning. You can spot wash areas heavily soiled areas like underarms and neck collars by soaking with water and a light detergent and scrubbing with a toothbrush, but anything other than that I wouldn’t recommend.

You don’t need to have the best wardrobe to get attention or get the best job, but your overall style will say so much about you!  They say first impressions are made within 30 seconds.  It’s important your style choices match who you are and what you’re trying to portray.  Most of all, personal style is a reflection of you.  It doesn’t come overnight but you want it to match the best version of you possible 🙂

Feel free to follow, like and share if you found this post useful

Check out my other posts:

Be Charismatic By Mastering Small Talk

What Does Your Body Language Say About You?

Motivational Book Club: The Defining Decade: Why Your 20s Matter, by Meg Jay

This is the best book for young grads about to depart for real life.  It’s the perfect self help book for those coming of age.  I gave this book to my younger sister after she graduated college. She was so fresh faced and optimistic and I kinda wanted her to experience adulthood without all the bumps and headaches I had to learn from. My older sister had read it, she was trying to understand the mistakes she had made in her 20s and why she was not so happy with her early 30s and recommended this book as well.

I would say don’t judge a book by its cover, it kind of has a bland and doctorish look to it but I found The Defining Decade to be a refreshing bit of truth in a world that says that your 20s are just an extension of adolescence.  But we all have to grow up and some grow up later than others.  Using your 20’s as a leaping post to get a head start on life could be the best decision you ever make.

I really liked how the author is a Clinical Psychologist and uses her client’s stories to highlight some of the hard choices and pitfalls a lot of 20 year olds go through. I mean in her work section, she’s very candid on how your 20s are a period to grow career wise. Not to put too much pressure, but the earnings you make between 20-30 can grow exponentially. I’ve seen it in myself. The first year in real estate, I made -$6,000. Now I’m making nearly $90K, five years later.  Meg doesn’t take bullshit about how you need to find yourself in your 20s.  She basically says that by the time you’re a young adult, you have two decades of experience under your belt. Maybe you don’t know exactly what best suits you as a career but you have a general idea of what your strengths are. The key is to use those strengths and put it towards a viable career.

Her discussion on relationships was also a great highlight. Meg says it best, that the biggest decision you’ll ever make in life is who you’ll marry. And most people don’t think twice about who they marry! They just fall haphazardly into relationships.

She touched base on cohabitating and how it affects the success of marriage. Cohabitating is not the same as deciding to get married. And the issue is that people start cohabitating and then slide into marriage. You don’t necessarily slide into it with the idea of what it takes to have a successful marriage. The book recommended a few key steps in cohabiting successfully.

I personally loved all the short stories about her clients, though I think she gave us the simplest examples of the type of clients she saw. Her writing was that of a concerned mother who had already experienced life and knew all the pitfalls.  Her story telling was very good but I felt like there was an underlying problem with all the clients she saw:  THEY DIDN’T THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE.  And, well, anybody who doesn’t think of the future and how to accomplish far off goals is going to have problems.

Other parts that caught my interest were the discussions on fertility, friendships and family.

Her discussion on fertility actually reminded me of an old friend who planned on having children EARLY.  She knew that her menstrual cycle was wonky and decided to see a fertility doctor at 20! The doctor told her she had some issues and she needed to start really thinking about having children right away if that’s what she wanted.  It was what she wanted, and she ended up marrying young at 22 and having her first child at 25, but not without struggle and treatment.  A lot of the women that Meg interviewed thought that they could easily have children at 40! They thought they had all the time in the world and felt resentment when they realized their fertility was on a timer..

I will rate this book as a thought provoking book.  I think it’s good for people who struggle with decision making and who might be waiting for life to happen to them.  The Defining Decade reminds you that time waits for no one and that you need to make your life and future happen now!  I don’t think she came up with clear solutions to the issues that her clients brought up but she did bring up some questions that I had to stop and ask for myself.  At times Meg Jay had a kind of judgy tone towards her patients, so I’m not sure if I would be interested in her as my own psychiatrist, but her writing is definitely entertaining.

Let me know your thoughts if you’ve read this book or are interested in other book reviews like this.

Feel free to like, share and subscribe 🙂

Check out my other posts as part of this book club:

Motivational Book Club: The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

Motivational Book Club: The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck By Mark Manson

Why Make A Blog: It Helps With Coping With Work

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Things have certainly changed a lot since I wrote my first post “My Job Is Killing Me.” I wrote that post and, subsequently, my blog because I was so sick of my work environment. Honestly, I’m still sick of it.  I’m feeling worn out from work and tired.  The one thing I can say is that I know I’m better suited for entrepreneurial pursuits.  Employment feels too much like modern slavery. Why make a blog? Where’s my time? Well, let’s just say it’s my way of coping with work.

I reached my breaking point and began to ask myself: can I really make a change in career? I really thought it over. My two talents that I have that are worth any salt are: real estate sales and writing.  I’m think I’m over real estate; the whole showing apartments in the city and renting homes is getting old. But can I really make a career out of writing?

I started my blog as a way to cope with work stress. I was also frustrated with not finding any solid advice on the internet. You can google, “Coping at Work,” and “Job Is Killing Me” and you find these BS answers to reducing stress. Like basically, suck it up and deal articles. Nobody really wants to say, “Hey! There’s something wrong with a work culture that forces you to be constantly connected, places unreasonable demands and gives you no job security.”  Specificially, American work culture is toxic with no means to negotiate work conditions, pitting employees against each other and manipulation.

I went into the workforce with a lot of hope and promises to myself that I would find purpose and happiness in my work. I envisioned work to have meaning, to make sense and to be a part of a team environment. Boy was I wrong. Maybe that’s not what I’ll find in a corporate environment but maybe I can coach people to find their way.  And even though that dream hasn’t happened for me yet, I’m determined to reach that goal of happiness and peace at work and not settle.  I mean, work takes up 40-50% of your “awake” time a year. That’s a lot of time devoted to one specific endeavor. And when I think of it that way, it’s like, you better make it count otherwise you need something to help with coping at work.

There are a lot of problems with my job. Mostly it’s caused by the bureaucracy and celebration of mediocrity. They literally hire people because they’re just sick of the whole hiring process and need to fill a role.  Rather then promote within and promote loyalty and hard work, they would rather hire outside and negotiate a lower pay rate. It stresses me out so much to think of how unfair it is, writing is my way of coping with work.

Since I’ve started my blog, we’ve lost a manager, two receptionists, two other managers in different departments, a director and two of the office staff. Like, 80% of our teams are gone! Due mainly to overwork and being overlooked for a raise or promotion. It’s horrible. Yet the organizational machine chugs on and continues to make a profit.

After my manager left, I confirmed she was cheating me out of my earnings for the past year. I also confirmed she was talking sh*t about me to upper Management.  She was a toxic manager.  That was pretty messed up considering she would tell me, “Don’t worry I’ve got your back.” I guess that teaches you to never take someone’s word for it and only look at their actions.  I learned that I needed to stand up for myself more in the workplace and not be afraid to rock the boat, even if it means there’s a period of discomfort.

I held the office together during her departure by working 6 days a week. My director was on site to help with the transition but she was a HOT MESS. Literally, barely getting by on her job and delegating her work to other people who are more knowledgeable and beneath her. She made sure she was getting her hourly lunch and leaving on time. She did NOT invest any time in helping me in the interim or doing more than her job required. I personally would not recommend working 60-70 hours a week like I was. And if I had to do it over, I wouldn’t have done the company a SOLID like that and worked myself to death. It was nice that I made some extra commissions, but still…no raise. And the recognition I got was pretty forced. “I can tell you put a lot of care in your work, and most importantly, it shows in your results.”

But I did learn a lot from her, her attitude about works was, “It’s only work.” She wasn’t going out of her way to make sure I was OK, she didn’t care that I was overdoing it. She actually encouraged me to take 2 hour breaks with her!!! I realized I needed to take a leaf out of her book and take a step back from work. Hard worker or slacker, you don’t get paid more for doing extra. Doing more, only causes burnout and anxiety, I need to care less about my job.

Now I’m in the middle of training our new staff, including our receptionist, intern and manager. It just feels so strange. I’m like the fake manager. I hired my receptionists and our intern. I’m training everyone, telling everyone what to do, overseeing all the work. But I’m not paid more and I’m not getting a better title. I posted on Reddit about this and they said that my career there is just going to stagnate and I should be looking for other work. I have put myself out there for other positions but I’m in such a niche industry right now. And the job offers I’m getting are not cutting it, in terms of benefits and pay.

Right now my solution is to keep building a side hustle (this blog) and try not to over invest in my job. It’s literally a circus like any other corporate machine.  It’s just hard to stay positive when you’re not recognized at work. They “promised” me a bonus and I decided that I would stay until the end of the year and see what happened. If things don’t progress, I can jump ship then.

For those of you who are in the same boat as me, stick with it until your next opportunity arises. Keep your head up and keep applying for better work. Start a new business idea! Make plans to back to school and grow professionally. But don’t give up! Things can be crap, people might treat you shitty but that’s just the path you’ll need to take before you’re next opportunity opens up for you! Trust the process and get going!  That’s the best way to cope with burnout and get back in the game.

I want to thank you all for following my progress and following where I’ve been. This blog has been a godsend and has helped me with coping with work.

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