It’s a Process – Weekly Therapy Takeaways No. 05

good-luck

Oh Geez, you guys, it’s been a doozy lately. Work has been a mess, packing up to move (maybe?) in two weeks has been a mess, closing on a house when my realtor is a mess and the seller is a mess has been. . . a MESS, working on a business plan for a dream I’ve been doubting for over a decade has been a mess, and my eating habits have been a mess. All of this leads to my life feeling like I’m constantly worrying about a tornado that could come at any time, then in the worrying I cause a tornado myself somehow.

I’ve been talking to Ms. Therapist about a combination of this MESS and my childhood a lot lately. It’s brought up a LOT of shit and while we’ve worked through some of it together, there’s a lot of it left that I’ll be working on for a good, long while.

Mental health isn’t something you can just slap a band-aid on and call yourself cured – despite how much I’m sure we all wish it was. Though I’m happy to have started on this journey I’m sometimes overwhelmed with the viewpoint I’ve got from here. It’s like being stuck on the top of a hill in a traffic jam and you can see below you that there’s at least another 20 miles of bumper to bumper traffic between you and your destination. If you’re doing well your gas gauge is reading at least half-full, your AC is in good working order, and you’ve got some good jams or podcasts to keep you company (or an actual person/furry friend in the copilot seat). If things are a mess, everyone’s horns are blaring, your windows are down for any relief from the heat, and the only thing that works on your stereo is the tape player which has had Hanson’s MMM Bop single stuck in there since the 90’s – it’s ALL you can listen to. I’m somewhere in between those two traffic jam rides right now. I’m hopeful that this house will go through and within 3 weeks I’ll be cruising at a moderate speed with some uplifting episode of “Modern Love” playing and I dunno, if I’m dreaming big, getting a text from a cute new boo.

Anyway, times are stressful right now and I’m incredibly thankful to have a therapist there to remind me that I’m ok. I’m working on myself and my life – this is a PROCESS and I need to give myself credit and patience to work through it all.

Sometimes I just gotta tell myself to hug it out. With my cat. Ellie. (for now!)

Finances are FUN 01 – Mint.com – DO IT!

Hey everyone, I’m here today to talk about a very sensitive subject. Some might say it’s the last of the taboo topics since so many people avoid it – when’s the last time you asked your BFF about their finances? But I bet you can remember when you last asked how their love life is doing!

This year I’m focusing on money management because I have the goal of getting out of debt in mind as well as working on my credit score. Today’s post is an introduction to a website (I get zero kickback from this, they are not a sponsor, I just really dig how helpful their site is) called Mint.com.

I’m gonna give you a super personal glimpse into my financial jazz because I’ll be an open book as I go on my journey to debt-free living to hopefully show others that this is something anyone can do – and there are tools out there that make it a lot easier on you. So without further ado, I present to you the very basics of Mint.com and what it can do for you!

  • Account Overview – this is where Mint tells you your overall cash value. I’ve linked my bank account, the only credit card I have, my student and car loans, my 401K, and then they have this neat thing where it estimates the worth of your car if you’re paying to own it. Note: Anything in pink is something I entered over sensitive information, Mint shows the bank name, etc.

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So you can see here that my net worth is a positive!  WOOHOO!  That is probably not a big deal to many people out there but for me, after being in credit card debt for a long time, as well as student loans then a car loan, this is a BIG DEAL.  This information on Mint is updated every time you log in, so if you put more on your credit card, your net worth goes down, but if you make payments on your debts, you get to see that number go UP!  It’s such a great feeling!

 

  • Account Transactions – This function is super helpful in that it forces you to LOOK at what you’re spending on.  Now, judge not lest ye be judged, dear friends!  Clearly I spent a lot on fast food during this time but by point this out, Mint is giving me the cold hard facts in a way that I can’t just avoid.  This also ties into an awesome budgeting feature where I tell Mint how much I’m allowing myself to spend that month on a certain category then it calls me out if I go over budget.

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  • Budgeting – This is the function that I mentioned just above. I set up this budget based on what I believed I would be spending every month in the categories below. Mint will send me a friendly email notice if I’m nearing the budget for the month, just to let me know “Hey, you’re getting awfully close to your budgeted allowance for fast food, perhaps you shouldn’t buy that cheesy bean and rice burrito on the way home!”  You can look at this information historically over several months to see if maybe you need to adjust your monthly budget on a certain category as well, for instance if you keep going over budget on groceries maybe you just set up the
    budget without actually knowing your true monthly expenses.

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  • Spending / Graphs – As a very visual person this function helps me to see where my money is going in comparison to all other categories. There are a ton of other functions that I won’t go into here but they’re really fun (no, seriously!) so take some time to try them all out.

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  • Email Updates – Every week you’ll get an email from Mint letting you know where all your money went (if you opt to). I like it because it reminds me to go back and categorize my expenses (something you’ll have to do every once in a while to increase the accuracy of the budgeting feature). And again, it’s a nice colorful graph that makes me despise the fact that it’s numbers a little less.

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So there you have it, a very rudimentary introduction to Mint.com and how it can help you stay on track of your spending/saving/debt destruction! I really hope that if you haven’t started using this (or another similar site) you sit down and consider it. I can’t tell you how much it’s helped me get my poop in a group (my dear friend’s way of saying “get your sh*t straight” around her kiddos) with something that has seemed so overwhelming for such a long time. Even if you just take 10 minutes a day logging into Mint and looking around to get used to it for the first week, every single baby step is a giant leap toward your financial success. I know so many people like me who have just been floating along down the river of “Meh, it’ll sort itself out” for finances and really, darlings, there is a much better way.

So do it!!!!  Sign up on Mint.com!!!!  Go and get your financial poop in a group!!!!

 

 

How to Lose a Millennial in Ten Ways

I feel like I should have some sort of non-discrimination attorney present as I write this, that’s how heated I feel this discussion has gotten in the business world.

My name is Jessie and I’m a Millennial.  A Millennial with a strong work ethic, proven track record of success, passion for helping others, and all around positive attitude.  I will be the first to admit that I would not be the positive, business-minded person I am today without the guidance I’ve received from my Baby Boomer and Traditionalist mentors.  The experience that they are able to share with myself and other Millennials is invaluable and I try to tell them that all the time.

Now, I’ve got to put aside my “kitten mittens” and drop a few truth bombs here – because let’s be honest, there’s a lot of accusations flying around that I’m sure you’ve heard.  Millennials all think they’re so special!  Millennials don’t care about rules and only want to do things “their way”!  All Millennials do is text or email or spend company time on their phones or on Facebook!  Millennials have NO RESPECT!

Whoa whoa whoa!  Watch where you point those unkind and frankly, untrue words!  You know what Millennials truly are at their core, the only REAL thing you can say about us?  Millennials are different.  We are NOT Baby Boomers and we are NOT Traditionalists!  I have a secret to let you in on though, you Baby Boomers. . . you’re not like the Traditionalists either!  And you weren’t when YOU entered the workforce!  Remember when you Baby Boomers had your first jobs and you felt the cold, hard sting of judgment from your Traditionalist superiors?  It’s not a nice feeling, is it?

But fear not, my Baby Boomer and Traditionalist colleagues, I am here to help!  I’ve compiled a guide to the Millennial Mind, How to Lose a Millennial in Ten Ways, so that you can equip yourself with this easy-to-follow list of what NOT to do to the Millennials in your workplace!  Enjoy!

How to lose a millennial in ten ways

  1. Don’t show us the big picture
    It drives us nuts to work on one tiny piece of the puzzle without knowing how it fits into the grand scheme of things.  You don’t need to walk us through the entire assembly line, just take some time to explain how what we’re doing fits into the overall goal of the company.
  2. Micromanage everything we do
    If a Millennial has shown competency in their ability to perform their work tasks then let them do their job, just like you would expect to be allowed the freedom from strict oversight in your own job!  As long as a Millennial gets the job done right and on time, there really isn’t a need to micromanage them, is there?  I’ve quit two jobs because of that horrible boss named Mike Romanager.  Awful guy, that Mike, constantly breathing down your neck.
  3. Don’t acknowledge our accomplishments
    Rumor has it other generations may be operating under the assumption that Millennials “think they’re special” and expect praise for everything.  Yeah, because you taught us that!  My Baby Boomer mom and dad taught me that I was special and they raised me with a healthy dose of praise (when warranted) so yeah, I guess I would have to say I do fall into that generalization.  I don’t think it’s such a bad thing, when a Millennial performs above and beyond or solves a previously unsolvable problem, to give them the kudos they deserve!  It will go a long way!  Feeling like we contribute to something that matters, especially when we’ve worked our butts off, gives a big boost to job satisfaction.
  4. Stifle any and all forms of creativity
    Millennials are used to solving problems creatively.  We are not ok with the “This is how it’s always been done” logic because if there’s a more efficient way to do something we want to improve the process, for everyone (including the company/bottom line).  Creativity goes beyond problem solving to cube decor (or perhaps try hoteling?) and even to the dress code.  While I do not have any visible tattoos (ok, one on my foot if I wear heels, flats, or sandals) I do enjoy them and I do have a fondness for fun-colored hair.  I work as an office administrator for an engineering firm and am fortunate to have proven my worth (and perhaps have a rather understanding, or at least permissive, Baby Boomer boss) so that I can have a fun pink streak in my hair.  I don’t see clients, I have met our company’s CEO (whose son’s fiance also has fun-colored streaks in her hair!), I work in my cubicle relatively quietly, and I do a good job.  Why should my having a pink streak of hair matter? It shouldn’t!  So loosen up a bit and allow your Millennials to express themselves more freely (within certain parameters of course, see point 5 below).
  5. Don’t give clear expectations
    Millennials grew up watching Youtube videos and reality TV as primary examples of how to “adult” so it’s no wonder that we require a more direct approach to direction.  If you want something done a certain way or you have certain expectations you would like met, make that very clear from the get-go.  Millennials are not mind readers; just spell out what you want, when you want it, and if you remember point 1, give us a little piece of the why too.
  6. Communicate on YOUR TERMS only
    I’ve heard so many people say that Millennials just don’t know how to use a good old-fashioned telephone any more.  Well, that’s just a lie!  We do use them; sometimes as vintage decor or to pose with ironically when running into a payphone out somewhere.  I’m only kidding.  The truth is, there are so many ways to communicate.  Personally, in the administrative field where I’m talking to dozens of people about any number of topics, I use email because it’s a CYA deal where I have that email as a backup if someone asks me to prove I said this or someone did in fact send me that.  At my company we have a communication system that includes a messenger application and I love it!  Sure, I could walk over to So-and-So’s desk to ask a question (or more likely just shout over my cube wall to them), but why do that when I can shoot them a quick message?  Sometimes a phone isn’t the best form of communication (I even have internet backup on this one).  Also, meetings are usually a waste of time.  This is based on extensive research that I’ve performed (happy hour conversations with many friends from various different companies) so it’s pretty much a fact.  The other generations seem to LOVE MEETINGS!  But us Millennials are over here working on ways to more efficiently communicate the ideas.  Creative problem solving in action!
  7. Don’t ask us questions
    If you’re a Baby Boomer or a Traditionalist and you find yourself wanting to learn more about Microsoft Office applications or anything on the internet, WE CAN HELP!  Millennials love being useful and technology is our specialty so please make use of our skills and allow us to help!  I heard a Baby Boomer colleague say they don’t have texting on their phone and when I investigated further I ended up showing them that they do in fact have texting and gave them a mini tutorial, Texting-101.  I’ve also helped the Baby Boomer and Traditionalist members of my business women’s group to learn how to use Facebook to keep in touch with their grand kids.  It was so nice to share something with them that I actually had MORE experience with after they’ve mentored me on so many facets of my career.
  8. Create an atmosphere of fear/hostility
    I once worked in an office where the boss yelled frequently, causing my coworkers and I to break out in tears more than any employee ever should at a job.  It was a horrible work environment but that angry boss did pay well so a lot of people had been with that company for several years.  I lasted less than a year.  Millennials don’t see a point in staying somewhere that we are unhappy.  Life is too short to cower in your cubicle every time that mean boss storms by, or to stick around when the majority of your coworkers are Debby Downers and office morale is into the negative digits.  We’re the generation of social media so is it any wonder we want to encourage office morale?
  9. Don’t challenge us
    Despite popular belief, Millennials are hard workers.  This generation has come into the workforce ready to prove our worth.  We want to be an asset to the company we choose to work for so don’t just give us a “job”, give us a challenge where we can contribute our unique skills to solve a greater problem, something they can strive for.  Try to find a way to view a position in a different light.  I work with numbers all day (I hate numbers) but when I look at them as a puzzle I need to solve they become a challenge that I can achieve.
  10. Treat us like we’re inferior (and talk behind our backs)
    The worst way to start any relationship is with a negative impression. Millennials, like all other human beings, can tell when someone is judging them.  If you want to have a positive, reciprocal, relationship with a Millennial simply treat them as an equal.  Yes, you likely outrank us in years of service and experience, but if you show us that we’re no different than someone of your own generation in your eyes, you will have our trust and respect.  I strongly advise against talking badly against Millennials, which I have overheard so many of the other generations do, even within earshot!  How do you expect me to want  to work with someone who openly badmouths my entire age bracket?  Keep your judgments to yourself!

Each generation comes into the workforce with different challenges and a unique set of skills to address them with.  It’s up to the more experienced generations to help the young whippersnappers to succeed. I’m calling upon our Baby Boomers and Traditionalists to be mentors, not anti-Millennials.  Complaining will only make you look like a jerk but if you volunteer your expertise and a little of your time, you can help us Millennials (and in turn, your company) to grow and succeed.  Perhaps you didn’t have that kind of good fortune when you were starting your career, but is that any reason to withhold it from Millennials?  No!