Actively Participating in Your Work Environment

Yes, I threw this together on a whim while at work drafting the monthly newsletter.

Yes, I’m sure it’s peppered with flaws, but I’m not looking for you to edit and nitpick your way through it.

Yes, I was inspired because of recent events surrounding my place of business and how people treat each other to shine a light on an otherwise ugly subject that oftens gets swept under the rug.

Yes, I was feeling sassy. I came to play, baby – let’s do this.

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Actively Participating in Your Work Environment

Recent events inspired me to bring attention to how negative thoughts, ideas, and feelings can substantially affect our time at work. Not just our own, but how it also affects others surrounding us. As we walk in the door and prepare ourselves for our work day, we make an active choice on the kind of attitude we will choose to embrace for the day. We choose whether or not to be affected by our patients, peers, leadership, or other external factors.

Dissatisfaction at work is a common trend in the United States. There was a Gallup study done in early 2017 indicating that 51% of U.S. employees did not feel connected to their jobs. The same study reported that 16% of employees are “actively disengaged,” meaning they’re tuned out and miserable. For these employees, their workplace is toxic. This stress can impact their physical AND mental health, resulting in anxiety, loss of sleep, anger or depression.

High absenteeism, lack of positive feedback and growth opportunities, and bullying are all signs of a toxic work environment. Workplace bullying can come in several forms: aggressive communication, gossiping, and passive-aggressive communication.

So how do we acknowledge this trend, move past it, and turn a negative environment into a positive, thriving place where we all feel safe and happy?

Our identities are tied to our work. Being recognized and appreciated makes others feel valued and boosts sense of self and self-esteem (which is protective in terms of depression and anxiety). Close to 50% of employees will at some time in their lives struggle with mental health issues. Working in healthcare we see a rampant amount of patients walk in with the appointment notes of, “anxiety, depression, mood.” We understand and take the concerns of our patients seriously, so why is it we have trouble engaging with one another the same way we would engage with a patient.

How to Cope:

  1. Don’t be helpless – change how you react.
  2. Set Boundaries – put limits on what behaviors you’ll accept and what kind of office politics or gossip you’ll allow yourself to get pulled into. Leave work at work.
  3. Engage more – if you see something wrong, try to fix it. If you see harassment, don’t let it go. Be an agent of change. If you see uncivility or unprofessionalism occur and you choose to be a bystander, this allows that behavior to flourish.
  4. Do things to de-stress – Exercise, Spend time with friends or groups away from work. Avoid co-workers who drag you down with complaining.
  5. Find self-esteem elsewhere – If you’re not receiving the recognition you feel you need from work, spend time doing something that you love (and are good at).
  6. Be present – Even in stressful situations, DO NOT disconnect. Listen and engage without
  7. Meditate – take a class and practice meditation to keep yourself calm.
  8. Focus on the positive – by nature, we’re in tune with the negative as a survival instinct. (It’s more important for people to notice “the bad stuff like snakes and poisonous berries than it was to remember beautiful sunsets.”) But look for the good work of others and positive in your life. Keeping a gratitude journal has been shown to increase levels of happiness as well.
  9. Have compassion for yourself – Don’t beat yourself up about mistakes. People who are more self-compassionate are more likely to bounce back from failures.

Soft Skills

What are soft skills and how do you get/develop them? Why do we constantly hear them mentioned during our staff and individual department meetings? Why are they so important?

Well, unlike hard skills, which can be proven and measured, soft skills are intangible and difficult to quantify (analytical thinking, verbal and written communication, leadership). Did you know, that most managers care more about your soft skills than they do technical abilities (reading comprehension & math). Why? Soft skills are so revered because they help facilitate human connections. They are the key to building relationships, gaining visibility, and creating more opportunities for advancement. Basically, you can be a rock star in what you do, but if your soft skills aren’t cutting it, you’re limiting your chances of career success.

So what soft skills do you need for your career?

  1. Communication – both written and verbal communication skills are extremely important because they set the tone for how people perceive you. They also improve your chances of building relationships with coworkers.
  2. Teamwork – success is the result of many people working toward a common goal. When employees can synthesize their varied talents, everyone wins (bonus: having friends at work can also boost your job satisfaction). Team players help build a friendly office culture which helps retain employees AND attract top talent. Furthermore, being able to collaborate with your coworkers strengthens the quality of your work. Try lending a hand when you see a coworker in need (“Hey, I know you have a ton on your plate. How can I help?”)
  3. Adaptability – You need to be flexible when things don’t go your way, you must be able to find alternate solutions. Change is a constant force and being able to shift gears in a moment’s notice is critical. Push yourself to be an early adopter of change.
  4. Problem solving – When something goes wrong, you can either complain or take action. Learn how to think on your feet. Always approach with a solution, not a problem. Sit down and think through how you’re going to address it BEFORE bringing it up.
  5. Critical observation – critical thinking allows you to bring fresh ideas and intuitive solutions. To be a critical observer, you need to be able to analyze information and put it to use.
  6. Conflict Resolution – Being able to resolve issues with coworkers will help you maintain relationships with peers and work more effectively. Being able to constructively work through disagreements with people is an indicator of maturity as well as leadership. The best way to resolve disagreements between coworkers is to address issues directly, but delicately.
  7. Leadership – Having confidence and a clear vision can help influence your coworkers and get them on board with your ideas now and in the future. Being a leader is not merely about getting people to do what you want. Leadership means inspiring and helping others reach their full potential.

So – How Do I Handle a Frustrating Day at Work?

Don’t take it personally, bad days at work can be caused by a number of things. If your bad day was set off by someone else’s negativity, don’t take it personally. If someone else was angry, upset, stressed, frustrated or just plain mean, it’s important that you not internalize their actions or behavior. Don’t bottle up how a bad day made you feel. Communicating how you feel to someone else can help you work through how you’re feeling.

Shake it off & don’t take it home. When work sucks, it’s all too easy to bring our stress and unhappiness home with us. To shake off a bad day, leave work at work. Try to establish an end-of-the-workday routine that helps signal the official end of the day. This way, when things don’t go so great, your mind still gets to process that work is over – and now it’s time to go home, relax, and do something that makes you happy.

Do something that makes you feel great. Put an end to your bad day by seeking out things you know make you feel empowered, confident, and happy. That might mean doing a yoga routine when you get home. Maybe grab your favorite book and a glass of wine and treat yourself to a quiet evening. Or if your extroverted, you may get your energy back by taking someone on a coffee date. Just make sure you engage in healthy habits. You won’t bounce back from a bad day or feel better if you overindulge in food, alcohol, or an hours-long TV binge. You need to bring yourself back up – not sedate yourself with activities that keep you sedentary and disengaged.

Vent or rant if you need to. Sometimes you just need to, and that’s okay. Get it all out, but put a time limit on the complaint session. Moan and whine for 10 minutes, then be done and move on – go do something that makes you happy.

Evaluate what happened. Hopefully, one or more of these strategies can help you bounce back after a bad day at work. But before you move on and put everything behind you, take a moment to reflect on what didn’t go so great. If you can evaluate what went wrong, you can better understand how to avoid doing the same thing in the future.

This should help you be proactive – rather than reactive – and you may be able to prevent a bad day from derailing your week before it even happens.

In conclusion

We have seen a significant shift in the environment, attitudes, and team work in our clinic recently. I felt it appropriate to draw attention to this instead of sweeping it under the rug. Please remember to take accountability for your own actions. Try to come to work with a positive attitude, if you’re struggling to remain positive – grab a cup of coffee or maybe take a walk with a coworker. Respect your peers, we are all in this together doing the best we can with the tools we have available. We rely on one another to complete our jobs. If you see someone having a hard time, offer to help. Do not abandon them if you know you have the knowledge and skills to help. And above all, remember to be nice, respectful, and professional.

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As the Smoke finally clears…

The title seems fitting, considering Seattle has been submerged in a cloud of smoke for the what feels like forever (maybe 2 weeks? I can’t remember anymore.)…

It rained last night and the smoke has finally started to clear and what we’re left with is what feels like the beginning of fall.

The leaves are flowing in the street and where the smoke once was, now we have grey clouds with the sun fighting to peak through.

This is my last week working in Veterinary medicine.

Maybe.

I have had the privilege of working relief at a clinic in North Seattle due to a referral from a wonderful veterinarian I previously worked with years ago. We had been Facebook friends and fellow beachbody coaches on our journey seeking financial freedom and more time at home. She had posted on Facebook that the clinic she was working at was seeking FT, PT and relief techs — I took advantage of the opportunity and went to work.

What a great place to come in to. So welcoming and happy to have an extra hand. The veterinarian had talked me up and made me blush when I had others come to me saying how excited they were to work with someone so experienced. I was flattered, especially since I hadn’t worked with her in almost 2.5 years.

But now I have an opportunity I have to take.

I’m scared, but I know that I have to start somewhere.

So here starts my last week working in veterinary medicine. But like I said previously, maybe. Cause Lord knows, if it doesn’t work out – I can always go back.

I’ve been more emotional that normal. Usually I’m very good at approaching my feelings logically and realistically. But now I find myself crying at the drop of a hat.

What’s wrong, you ask?

I think everything is starting to sink in. The next month is going to go by so fast and so many big changes are happening. My heart is invested in things more than I’d realized and when I sit back and try to look at the last 3 months, it’s overwhelming.

“It’s hard for you to love Jackie, because you’ve only been able to focus on surviving. Someone will appreciate that about you. You just have to meet the right person who makes you stop worrying about surviving.” — my mom, yesterday in the car.

We were talking about how much my life has changed since last year. I’ve already taken you down the road once or twice before, so I wont do it again. Otherwise it’ll start to look like I’m seeking sympathy, which, let’s be clear — I am not.

I was telling her about how Monday is such a big day for me. On top of being a super busy one. Not only do I find out if the guy I met in May, who left in July – who has text me every single day the 4 weeks he’s been gone – will be returning to Seattle or not. I have an appointment with Swedish’s employee health nurse which is the LAST thing I have to do prior to starting my new job on the 21st. I have an appointment at 1pm with my therapist & an appointment at 4pm with my life coach. Oh, and I’m getting a haircut – so there’s that, too.

This may seem so silly, but I’m going to share anyway.

Anytime there is a significant change in my life, I cut my hair. It’s funny how the last time I actually substantially cut my hair was right before my 28th birthday. The year EVERYTHING changed. Which would basically start the snowball that would move into my 29th year here, and I can only hope brings more positive than negative things for my 30th.

I know change is inevitable, but I’m really hoping for GOOD things this year instead of traumatic, dramatic, painful events.

With friends moving away, me continuing to live alone (with the exception of Butts & Todd), I am reminded now more than ever that this journey I am on is not mine to choose or decide. There is a reason for everything. In the darkness, you can always find light. When you’re in pain, remember things get better. I may not be where I thought I would at 30, but guess what — I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Because even though there are things I want or would like for myself, as my mother would say…

“It’s good to want for things, Jackie.” — thanks mom.

Cheers to my last week as a vet tech. For next monday I begin my new journey.

 

Until next time,

Xo-Jack

Realistic, not Optimistic.

Today I have some exciting news to share.

And no, the photo I attached to this blog has nothing to do with the contents. But how cute is Butters? Seriously. Animals are just the best companions. <3

Remember how scared I was of that math placement test I had coming up? Well – I studied my ass off (www.khanacademy.com & www.mathhelp.com) and finally went into school to take it.

I was met with so many obstacles to take this test that day. I showed up, paid my $1 for 45min of parking (The test is 45 questions in 20min — 45min of parking SHOULD have been enough). I went to the testing offices and showed them the voucher that I received for attention a 2 day workshop on financial aid services… I got the voucher because I scored high enough on my CASAS exam. The testing monitor told me I needed to head to the cashiers office to obtain a receipt.

Ooooook – fine. No problem.

Get to the cashiers off, she looks up my student ID – oh look, no money available on my account. So the cashier then tells me to go to the woman who issued the voucher and have her put the money in my account.

Oooook – fine. No problem.

So I head to go see the woman who issues me the voucher, she applied it toward my account — back to the cashier.

Cashier: It’s still not in the account, I don’t know what to tell you. Here, take this paper I printed off and highlighted “no funds available” and see what she has to say.

Ooooook – fine. But now I’m starting to run out of time on my parking, and I’m cutting it close to the time they refuse to allow students to test after.

Back to the woman who issued me the voucher.

She says, “What the heck! I put the money in there. Oh crap – it’s cause the system is still stuck on summer quarter and this is issuing for fall. Hang on – let’s go see what we can do.”

So we walk back to the administration building and find a woman who can help us by switching the system temporarily, then back to the cashier where — TA DA! — I now have my money in my account and collect my receipt and can walk back to the testing offices.

Oh wait – now I have to go talk to security/parking enforcement and ask them not to ticket/tow my car, because now I’ve been parked there for 42min trying to get everything taken care of.

Me: Hi… um… the cashier told me to come talk to you because I was originally only going to be here for 20min for my testing, but then I’ve had some complications getting funding taken care of and now I’m hoping you wont ticket me because I’m going to be parked there longer than planned. Could you please not?

Parking/Security guy: No problem, that’s the least of our concerns right now is monitoring visitor parking, we’re short-staffed today. Good luck on your test.

YESSSSSS – back to the testing offices.

Where at this point, all the anxiety about testing I had has now been transferred to anxiety about the stupid parking/payment arrangement. So – I’m exhausted at this point and ready to go.

Grab my scratch paper & pencil and get to it.

20min later and some extra surveys they made me take after the test, and I’m done!

I walk out to the main entry where they grab my results off the printer and say

Monitor: Well, you did about as well as you could’ve done.

Me: What does that mean? *starting to sweat at this point*

Monitor: You score a perfect score, 500/500 — 100%. Good for you!

Me: Oh god. You’re serious! Omg. Omg. Omg. All that studying paid off! Omg. Omg. Can I hug you? I’m so happy. I’m just tickled. Now what?

Monitor: Well, now you have to take the advanced math test.

Me: Shit.

Monitor:  You still have time today if you want to just take it now

Me: Um… no, let me go home and study and maybe I can score 100% on that one, too!

I immediately called my mom, no answer, then I called Scott (my step-dad) who couldn’t answer because he was at work, but texted me immediately to ask how it went. Then I called my brother Taylor, Jacob & Ryan. All of whom answered my call and congratulated me. Then I called my friends Ilana & Nina to share the good news – who also congratulated me. Then I called my sweetheart who was driving crossed the country and was currently in Missouri – he couldn’t answer, so we text and his response was:

J – “F-yeah! I knew you could do it! I’m so proud of you!”

Me – “**blushing** thanks babe!”

Now, I’m not usually one to toot my own horn, but after studying my tail off for 3-4 weeks and being up until 4am the night before, having to juggle getting a shift covered so I could take this test, and then studying even right BEFORE the test – being met with all those obstacles — I was F’n STOKED!

Now I just have to study for the harder test. Ugh.

More good news to share though…

A veterinarian I previously worked with (about 2.5yrs ago) made a post on Facebook that her clinic was looking for some help. Either someone to work PT/FT/relief. I thought, how great would it to be to work with someone I know, some place closer (it’s about a 30min drive from my home) and make some extra money? I sent her my resume that night and heard from her hospital in the morning where we scheduled a meet & greet for the following day.

Also that day, I heard from a hospital I had applied to 2 months ago. We had a brief phone interview that landed my an in-person interview for later that week.

I went to the interview and was offered the job within 10 minutes. They showed me around the clinic and introduced me to everyone and told me to expect my offer letter later in the week.

I couldn’t help but feel pressure to accept the position as well as embarrassment for being shown around like a show pony. I was anxious about it because here I was — finally getting my foot in the door to a fantastic healthcare company, one where I can go anywhere once I’m hired. But yet, the stress of trying to juggle school and a FT job seemed to make me feel increasingly panicked.

I countered their offer. Hoping that they would either:

  1. Pay me what I was asking.
  2. Rescind the offer so I didn’t have to worry about making a choice.

They didn’t quite match my offer, but increased what they had.

I accepted the position.

I start August 21.

Sooner or later you must take some risks. I’ll be heading into a completely different field. One I have no serious experience in, no current mentor to help me, and I’m scared. I’m scared of how I’m going to do it all and perform to the high expectations I’ve set for myself. But the thing about being good at something, really good, is that you have to fail – a lot.

When I was applying to positions at veterinary hospitals I had no experience. It took me 3 years of applying to a clinic in west seattle before I finally started my own business (remember Sticky Situations?) and that’s when they called me in for an interview. I was once again, hired on the spot. I was so excited to start working in a field I was actually passionate about. I continued to work as a barista in the mornings and then drive to west seattle to work at the clinic. I did that for a few months until my stand was sold to someone I had a tough time getting paid from, so I quit.

I worked as a receptionist and was lucky enough that a veterinarian took interest in the fact I wanted to be more “behind the scenes.” He taught me EVERYTHING. I was so lucky to have that opportunity. All I had to do was refine my skills – but at least I had the knowledge behind them.

Transitioning over to the next clinic was much easier because I already know the position and what it entailed. I was able to further my skills and knowledge while working there and it was so much easier since I already had the background to support me.

But now I find myself in a bit of a pickle. I’m starting a new field and have no idea what’s expected of the position. I’m scared. One thing that my mom and Markie keep reminding me and that I keep telling myself is, “If they don’t let you find balance so you can work and go to school, or you don’t like the job, you can always quit and go back to doing relief work.”

It’s so true. I need to stop putting so much pressure on myself to excel at everything and force a commitment when I don’t want to.

So for now, I’m just “trying it on” and giving myself the space to think realistically about the outcome.

I often struggle with something called, “future casting or fortune-telling.”

For those of you who don’t know what that is…

“Fortune telling is a cognitive distortion in which you predict a negative outcome without realistically considering the actual odds of that outcome. It is linked to anxiety and depression, and is one of the most common cognitive distortions that arise during the course of cognitive restructuring.” — http://cogbtherapy.com/cbt-blog/cognitive-distortion-fortune-telling

Basically – I think I can predict that’s going to happen and immediately assume the worst case scenario. Which almost NEVER happens — but if I ruminate on it, I’m sure I could MAKE it happen.

Just as we have the power of positivity and using that positive energy to manifest good things in our lives, we have the power of negativity and using that negative energy to manifest our biggest fears.

There is security that comes from working a job FOR someone/a company. It means I don’t have to completely rely on myself to get work and generate income. I return to working for someone else and receiving a normal paycheck. (Not only that, but the benefits are AMAZING!)

With that security – I decided to take myself shopping, bought myself some new clothes and scheduled a hair appointment.

I also decided that depending on my sweethearts schedule, I would use the money I’ve saved up and take a weekend trip to go visit him in Atlanta for the weekend prior to starting my job — that is, as long as everything works out.

I don’t work hard for nothing. I have a “realistic” approach to things which others can view as optimistic or pessimistic. I choose to take a step back, examine the facts, and make a decision based on those facts.

I don’t consider myself to be a risk taker. But once I do take that step back and examine how I’ve handled the last 2 months of my “unemployment” I realize I took the biggest risk of all. I took a leap of faith in myself and I achieved more than I thought I  was capable of.

Often we sell ourself short. We assume we can’t do it. We’re too scared to even try. We’re comfortable with what we’re good at and find ourselves feeling like we’ve committed to something so we must sacrifice ourself and our well-being for some other “greater good.”

To me, this was sacrificing my mental/emotional health for a job that didn’t appreciate me. I was good at my job. I arrived on time, performed my duties above and beyond the expectation, but in the end – God had a different plan for me – so I was fired.

But guess what, it would’ve gone one of two ways:

  1. Allow the negativity to swallow me and fall into a pit of depression
  2. Relax, take pride in my work ethic and come to terms that I wasn’t happy there and that the job I had wasn’t going to ever be “it” for me.

Take some risks. Have some faith. Be realistic. Stop worrying. Read a book. Drink a glass of wine. Spend time with family and friends. Find work/life balance. Be your own role model. Never give up on yourself. Follow your heart. Recognize your potential. Be brave and unapologetic (unless, of course – you’re a dick and should apologize).

If there’s one thing I’ve learned – you can succeed at whatever you put effort into. You will fail. You will fail so many times. But guess what, the toddler that kept falling down while attempting to walk, eventually walked. Because they were determined to do what felt like an impossible task. Keep that mindset for yourself while you’re an adult.

Responsibilities will always be there. Pay your bills on time. Monitor your credit. Be financially aware. Take risks, dream big, work hard.

It’ll pay off.

 

Until next time,

xo-Jack

Exploring new truths

So much growth! So much change! So much release!

I never would have thought that losing my job would be the best thing to happen to me. I have this new sense of direction, a curious nature for self-discovery, and the scary parts of myself I keep hidden… I’m learning to share.

I want to share something that’s SUPER exciting! I received a grant for school which will help cover a portion of fall, winter, and spring quarter for the 2017-2018 school year! It’s not much, but it’s a start. It means I can stop moping around and being all “I’m never going to be able to afford this!” and can transition into, “I’m not smart enough to do this!”

Just kidding. (kinda)

I have been studying my little tail off. Seriously. The last math class I took was in 2006, it was ONE quarter of, Math 095. That’s not even college level math, guys. I HAVE TO place in college level math for it to count as credit toward my pre-req into nursing. So… I’ve literally started from the bottom and have worked my way up.

It’s always nice to give yourself a refresher on say…

Long division? Wait what’s a remainder again?

Multiplying and dividing fractions? (1/2 x 5/8 = ? uh – what?)

Or how about those stupid algebra equations (2x=5 so what does x=?).

And ones I’m working on right now — simplifying square roots. STFU. THROW THE BOOK. BURN IT.

Why can’t I just say, “Hey! I know how to calculate drugs. If sally weighs 100lbs and her dose is 5mg/kg for her antibiotic, what’s her dosing = 227mg” <– see, I’m smart. Isn’t this all I need to know?

NOPE.

So there’s that. Which makes me want to gouge my eyeballs out. So if anyone is good at math or happens to be really good at explaining how to solve algebraic equations — please find me and help me before I give up on my dreams (ha!).

The next thing I’ve been putting effort into is finding out why I do the things I do.

You see, I have a pattern of behavior in relationships or during times of stress/anxiety. I recognize the pattern, yet I don’t understand the root cause. I’d love to explore this more and figure out WHY I do it.

So…

I scheduled an appointment with a therapist.

I also JUST got off a FaceTime consult with a therapist/life, love, career coach (her name is Markie and she was fabulous!).

I’ve gotten mixed reviews from friends/family who I’ve told about this.

I get a lot of:

“Why?”

“You just have to accept this is who you are, you can’t change.”

“It’s probably my fault you are the way you are.”

“You’re wasting your money, they’re just going to manipulate you.”

But you know what… I’m still curious and would really like to explore what these experts have to say about the reasoning why I do the things I do. I think it’s totally and completely healthy to explore your feelings/emotions/actions — and even better when you can’t seem to find a reason why you do them!

A friend politely described me as being “emotional stunted.” She didn’t mean this in a negative way, but simply was explaining that I have a challenging time understanding and connecting to my emotions. I do a phenomenal job of avoiding them or just forgetting I have them at all.

Until I start drinking.

And anyone who knows me or has received a phone call from me after too many martinis or glasses of wine… they know what happens when I start drinking.

I start crying.

Everything boils to the surface and I turn into a hot drunk mess of feelings.

So I suppose my goal is to learn how to actually get in touch with my feelings and better understand how to express them or at least learn a new coping strategy.

She, Markie, also happens to be a certified therapist but cannot practice psychotherapy outside of Colorado. She also is a certified: life, love, and career coach. Which she CAN practice outside of Colorado.

Our meeting was brief, 30 minutes, and I scheduled a second meeting because of something a friend told me. “Give it 3 times, if you don’t see or feel something within 3 visits/calls/video chats – then find someone else.”

I found her on a website called: growingself.com <– and NO, I do NOT know how I found this. It might be a scam, but I don’t think so. I signed a contract and set up a second session — we’ll see how it goes from there.

I received some news today that has me feeling TWO things. One – pride. I am sooooooo proud of them for achieving this huge goal that they didn’t think was attainable. I am soooooo sad, because the future is more unknown than ever with them. So now what? Do I stay and “go with the flow,” “enjoy it while it lasts,” or “cut it off before it hurts more?”

The answer I arrived to is, “enjoy it while it lasts.”

Why did I choose this? Because I run away from all my problems. When something hurts, I run away. When I think something is going to hurt, I run away. But guess what, you can’t enjoy the good without the bad. I am honestly super excited to enjoy my July and revert back to my high school summer glory days of summer love that ends all too soon.

As much as I want to explore what could be, I have to be responsible and continue my studies and not get wrapped up in the world that is romance. My former self would tell me, “GIRL! RUN AWAY. This man is going to do nothing but get in your head and you’re just going to want to follow him! So stick to your fucking goals and quit running away from your dreams. SERIOUSLY.”

So – logic wins and so does the heart. Enjoy the summer but school starts in the fall and that’s your priority. So go get it, girl.

Let’s move on to another tangent.

I had a tarot reading yesterday.

Yes – Tarot.

I met this super amazing woman named Amy, through my friend Megan, last summer.

I was inspired by her recent astrology spread and heard she had a friend who did tarot readings at no charge. I was immediately interested and reached out to her hoping she would do a spread for me. Since then, she’s done 4. I’m kinda obsessed.

Because of the recent transition I’ve made in my life, I was feeling a little uncertain in my path and direction, depending on my tarot readings, it can reaffirm or just confirm in general my paths and choices.

One thing that really stood out to me was that during my reading, her friend noticed a hummingbird that buzzed and hovered above Amy’s shoulder during my reading, then buzzed away shortly after it ended.

WHAT DOES THIS MEEEEAAAANNNN!?

Amy called me to ask me if a hummingbird meant anything to me, and my immediate response was, “yes. well, kinda?”

To make a long story short…

There is a family I see twice a week to help give fluids to their kitty, Benjamin.

They have two hummingbird feeders in their backyard, which I had to bring in every night and out every morning in december while I was pet sitting for them (for 30 days!).

The hummingbirds NEVER left. Those little squirts buzzed around and waited for me to bring the nectar out, or simply brush the snow off when I would bring them in at night.

This family, and this home, are very special to me.

They/It reminds me I have so much to learn still and provides me with so much laughter, joy, and learning. This family has been a surprising blessing in my life.

I was told I would have a “helper” on my journey — the card was the Emperor.

For those that know tarot know that the Emperor is an authority figure, someone you look up to/admire. A parent, supervisor/boss, or partner.

Basically – someone you turn to for advice that you trust and actually listen to and want to make proud.

The dots connected and I follow the trail to the hummingbird house where Benjamin’s family resides. In the hummingbird home, his mama resides. For her privacy, I will not share her name — but she knows who she is, as do most of my very close friends and family — after speaking with her this evening, she knows she is my Emperor on this journey. <3

Anyway.

I guess I got distracted and forgot where this was going.

Or maybe it was the rose I had earlier at the hummingbird home.

Or it was the Titos + La Croix I just drank.

(again – I drink to avoid feelings aka — not care that I have them and then over share. whatever.)

I have so much left to do, and all the time in the world. It’s about fucking time I remembered that I enjoyed my 20s and lived it up and when I’m old and gray I can tell the young ones to do the same damn thing. Because your 20s were made for mistakes and learning.

So make mistakes and get messy.

I’ve got 2+ months yet to make mistakes before it’s not cute anymore.

HA!

 

<3

Until next time,

xo-Jack

There is no other choice

Here comes the word vomit. Hold on to your seats!

By now, if you’ve been following my blog, you saw in my last post that I parted ways from my former employer. If you didn’t read it – you should, I shared a really amazing story that a co-worker shared with me that is INCREDIBLE. So do your soul a favor, go read it!

This last week has been EXHAUSTING.

Why is it, there’s something about stress and anxiety that absolutely sucks all the light and energy out of you?

I’ve been pouring over the internet, filling out form after form, updating and customizing resumes & cover letters, scheduling and participating in meetings with the local community college… it’s been NON-STOP.

Since I parted ways with my former employer I have applied to FOURTY different jobs. Seriously. 4-0.

Want to know how many call backs/interviews I’ve had?

2.

I’m sure a lot of my applications are still under review, so I’m honestly not concerned about the lack of response… but there is this this undeniable little voice keeping me awake at night.

It’s the, “You failed. You thought you could support yourself. You thought you had life figured out, at least for the time being, but you failed. And now look at you. You don’t even have a reason to wake up or get out of bed other than your DOG. You suck.”

It’s such a vortex, this ruminating spiral that sucks my self confidence and self esteem and spits out ugly, self-hatred.

I know there are a LOT of people out there who have it worse than I do.

I was smart, I saved my money.

I am a social butterfly, I have networked my ass off and because of that have incredible referrals.

I have my own business as a pet healthcare advisor.

I have a part-time job working as a nutrition consultant with Purina.

It could be SO much worse.

But honestly, I could’ve come home and just given up.

Thrown in the towel.

I’m sure there are plenty of people who would’ve done that.

But I’m also extremely prideful and I would never, EVER, let someone have the satisfaction that they destroyed me.

Because, duh – they haven’t.

I am bright and resilient.

I am like a kitty – I ALWAYS land on my feet.

What else have I been doing?

I’ve seen this as an opportunity to grow and expand in more ways than one.

I have decided I should take the knowledge I acquired working in vet med and apply it to nursing school.

Yep – back to school.

That means:

-requesting official transcript from 10 years ago (turns out I wasn’t the best student at 18… ugh)

-contacting MULTIPLE people at the financial aid office for grant opportunities, financial aid opportunities, scholarships, etc.

-attending mandatory orientations for the nursing program.

-calling former GPs to obtain vaccine records. Contacting clinics about TB testing, vaccine schedules, etc.

-HIV/AIDS testing, CPR certification, state/federal background checks.

-researching prerequisites and learning how to pay for them.

What ELSE have I done this week?

-Contacted state programs about financial aid/financial assistance.

-Scheduled meetings with new pet healthcare clients.

-Fulfilled existing contracts with pet healthcare clients.

-Complained to friends and my mom about how the FUCK am I supposed to do all of this?

 

I don’t have to. I don’t have to do it all. I could give up. But I’ve always seen the silver lining to adversity.

My life has been far from uneventful. Lord knows I’ve experienced a lot in my short time here on earth. But the ONE THING I can ALWAYS count on for me to continue to say to myself, time & time again.

“You must keep going. There is no other choice.”

So here I am.

Trying to figure out how I’m going to go back to school, at 30, and hopefully walk away with a degree – with as little debt as possible (especially considering I’m STILL paying off student loans from 10yrs ago — where I only went to school for ONE YEAR).

Beyond grateful for my friends and mom who have supported me and pushed me to do the hard stuff. Reminding me that strength comes from within – it’s how we handle the hard shit that makes us a better human being.

Networking is the most important skill you will ever learn. Whether it’s in-person or through social media. Through co-workers or friends. You should ALWAYS make a lasting (good) impression on everyone you meet. You never know when you’ll need to reach out to those you’ve networked with.

I’ll continue to update you while I’m on this crazy, tumultuous journey. So stay tuned, folks!

 

Until next time,

xo-Jack

Free Falling

We all make decisions that have consequences.

Sometimes we don’t like the end result, sometimes we’re satisfied, and sometimes we’re deeply confused or overjoyed.

No matter what.

There is ALWAYS a consequences behind an action.

For ever action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Today I’m coming from the deep unknown.

I firmly believe that God, the Universe, whatever you believe in – pushed me off a cliff.

This isn’t meant to be something to harm or hurt me.

I recognize that I was pushed because I have been standing on the edge for so long and too scared to jump. So, voila – pushed.

After 2 wonderful years at my veterinary hospital, we have decided to part ways. The overwhelming support I have received from my tech team and the veterinarians warms my heart and soul.

The lives I have touched and impacted.

These hands. These hands of mine that have scars to show the blood, sweat, and tears required to be a tech in the veterinary industry. The love, compassion, and healing they have been apart of.

It’s time to move on.

Under any other circumstances I’d probably be stressed beyond belief.

I have subconsciously (or maybe consciously?) been preparing for this moment over the last several months.

I am booked out with my pet home healthcare business until November.

My contract is still active as a Pet Nutrition Consultant.

I have saved more money than I ever thought possibly for what I was being paid.

I have prepared for this moment.

Now, just because I’m prepared, doesn’t mean I’m not scared.

Things are different this time.

I am scared, but I am comforted.

I had the privilege to spend 2 hours in the home of a client while she struggled with the decision to give the gift to end her dogs pain and suffering.

This woman is a grief and loss therapist.

But nothing prepares you for YOUR loss.

She inspired me to look at things differently.

Even when you think everything is okay, but you know it’s not going to get better, you must make a choice.

My wonderful friend and former co-worker shared this beautiful metaphor.

You’re traveling down a dead-end road.

You can’t see the end. You don’t know when it will come.

The path may be paved with speed bumps, pot holes, hills and valleys.

Twists and turns.

You know the end is coming, but you have no idea how long it will take you to get there.

But it’s coming.

Some people must travel down the entire road.

Some must see and experience all the speed bumps, pot holes, hills and valleys, the twists and turns.

Some know the end is coming. The result is that they are on a path to nowhere.

You get the choice to either travel the road knowing it ends, or realizing it ends and stop while you still can.

She shared this metaphor with our dear friend who was saying goodbye to her companion. To explain that no matter what, it’s not going to get better. It’s going to progressively get worse and you don’t know when the end is coming, but it’s coming.

What a beautiful way to ease me into this transitional period of my life. My friend had no idea what was to come when we returned to our clinic, or that her words would impact me in such a profound way. A way that would ease the pain and remind me that this career has been as challenging as it has been rewarding. That sometimes we are traveling down a dead-end road but don’t know when to stop or when to give up.

Now it’s time to take care of myself.

To trust I’m being guided and to be grateful for the relationships I have made throughout my journey and will continue to make.

Here’s to the future.

Here’s to bigger, better, and the great unknown.

Until next time,

xo-Jack

Ending a Decade

30.

It’s right there.

Less than 5 months away.

When people ask me how old I am, I already tell them. 30.

What did 30 look like to me when I was 20?

So old. So far away. So much to do before then.

I figured I would be married, settled down, maybe a kid or two.

I figured I would either be a stay at home mom or have some swanky career.

I would’ve married up. By “up” I mean – I would’ve been with someone who was so far out of my league I worked everyday to make sure I could be worthy of that.

I didn’t have a location set in my head.

I didn’t know if I would still be in Seattle, or Austin. Hell – maybe I’d be outside the States – I didn’t have a clue where I would be, physically.

It was all so far away.

Well, now it’s not so far away.

It’s basically tomorrow.

Not really, but you get my point.

The last 2-3 weeks have been monumental for me.

I told you how I was focusing on changing my perspective from fear-based to love-based.

It has changed everything.

I have attempted to channel my thinking into one of abundance. Where I believe I have everything I need. Where money is a tool I use and not something to be wasted. Where things flow to me, and from me.

I know, it sounds bogus. But just give me the satisfaction of hearing me out.

Since I started practicing this new perspective, I feel an overwhelming sense of “being taken care of.”

Where I release things that are not in my control and allow the universe to dictate and guide my spirit.

I received a check in the mail from recology cleanscapes (the garbage company) for $100.(This check had been sitting on my mom’s counter for over a MONTH.)

I received a check from the dealership I purchased my car at for $40. (In no way did I think or believe I would be receiving money back from the taxes/licensing fees. My friend, who bought a car 2 days before mine – ended up OWING more in taxes and licensing, which led me to believe I would too.)

I received a bonus with Purina in an undisclosed amount – but more than I was expecting since I only work on Sundays.

I received my tax return, EARLY.

I received one of the largest paychecks I have ever received from my full-time position with the veterinary hospital.

I acquired 2 new clients in my pet healthcare business.

I met a wonderful person who has opened my eyes to new possibilities.

I purposefully choose not to let romantic relationships dictate my desires any longer.

I received a phone call about a new adventure I may have the privilege of participating in.

BOOM. BOOM. BOOM. BOOM!

As I sit here, pondering about the BIG decisions I will hopefully have to make in the next month, I can only be grateful for the doors that have opened to me due to my new perspective.

I was challenged to write a letter to myself, keep it in an area that I would see it every day, maybe even multiple times per day. This letter reminds me to accept love. To choose love over fear. To allow my intuition to guide me and quit over analyzing and over thinking everything.

To breathe, to be.

I have spent more nights alone in the last 2-3 weeks that I have my entire life.

When I first moved into my 830sq ft, 1bd/1ba apartment – I had dreams of parties and decorations. Planning girls nights with cocktails and face masks. Exploring new relationships and mostly — just learning how to be alone.

But, that wasn’t the case. I, instead, decided to have someone tag along for the ride. I invited an old relationship to be rekindled in a new environment, hoping for the best.

Alas, it did not work out.

After 7-8yrs of on-again, off-again – we came to the conclusion that we just can’t. Our love languages are completely different. We can’t find a way to openly communicate in a healthy way without hurting the other person. It was amicable. I will forever love him, he is my hero – but it is simply, not meant to be.

So now here I am, all by myself.

Best friends, moving away. Learning to love a city I have spent years of my life in and never truly explored by myself. Learning to accept things for what they are, what they can be, and what they will be.

I struggle to be alone. I have never had to spend time with myself. It forces me to out of my comfort zone.

The world is beyond my comfort zone.

New opportunities are beyond my comfort zone.

A new life – is just a step away – a step OUT, of my comfort zone.

Wish me luck on this new adventure.

 

Until next time,

Xo-Jack

Exhausted, Overworked, and Broke Millennial

I spend a lot of time wondering what the 50-60’s were like.

When a family could survive off of one income.

Well, that’s what the movies show. What my grandparents seemed to have had. Hell, even my parents were able to survive off of 1 income until I was about 14 (that’s when my mom became a nurse and divorced my Dad… no wonder she got that job…).

Yet here I am, like so many other people my age, slaving away.

  • Paying off student loan debt.
  • Paying off credit card debt.
  • Paying off car loans.
  • Paying rent by myself after getting screwed by TOO MANY ROOM MATES (ugh. We’ll get to that on another post).

In fact… I have found hundreds, nay – THOUSANDS of groups, books/audiobooks, podcasts DEDICATED to being financially secure and debt free.

Trust me, I’ve actually gone on missions so seek them out, read them and join them.

The common theme I’m learning is that debt and finances are MORE taboo to discuss openly than sex, seriously.

People are so incredibly insecure and private about their financial health. They are prideful. They lie about it. They continue to dig themselves in to a hole and refuse to acknowledge that they are absolutely out of control.

Asking for help is frowned upon, but how do we actually conquer this catastrophic epidemic.

We all know that the majority of issues in relationships revolve around finances.

That doesn’t even have to be a marriage.

For example… Let’s get personal.

When I was 18 years old I bought my very first car. It was a 2006 Ford Ranger (edge). It was my pride and joy. I absolutely had to have it. Loved it. I could not believe I was paying $256/mo to drive this sexy 4.0L beast.

After 2 years of making payments my mom went to refinance her home and my car showed up as a “ding” on her credit.

When I purchased the truck, I had NO credit. My mom had actually put $1000 down for me to get into the truck and co-signed on the auto loan with the intention that I would pay for it for the duration of the loan.

My mom was going through a break-up and went to refinance the house to have some liquid cash to pay off the other owner. In doing so, she had to pay off the remaining debt owed on my truck, $10,000.

Great! I no longer had a car payment! Thanks, mom!

Except… now I owed my mom $10,000 instead of the bank.

That was 9 years ago.

How much have I paid my mom? Um… maybe $500?

I don’t even have that vehicle anymore.

Why?

Because as soon as I didn’t have to make payments to keep it – I destroyed it. I went off roading in it, ding/scratched it, a friend helped me move and shattered the back window of it… I never replaced the back window and it started growing MOLD.

I eventually had my license suspended and quit driving my truck. With out a job, I was forced to sell the truck to pay off my debt.

I received $5000 for my truck. I paid off the debt I had accumulated from unpaid tickets, court fees, and reinstating my license.

How much of that went toward paying my mom? $0.

It comes up frequently that I still owe her money and makes things super uncomfortable… I know I still owe her, but I’m just trying to survive.

I hope I eventually get into a position where I can pay her off and settle that debt.

The reason I share this example with you is because finances AFFECT YOUR RELATIONSHIPS. We give money SO MUCH POWER over our lives.

What if WE told money what to do. What if we made our money work FOR us.

What if money WAS NOT a source of stress.

Everyone offers a different piece of advice.

One of the most challenging things I hear when I talk about finances and what frustrates me about mine is hearing, “Debt is just apart of life, Jackie. Get over it. You don’t even have that much debt. So many people have it worse than you.”

Um… OUCH?

Let’s break this comment down.

  1. Debt DOES NOT HAVE TO BE APART OF LIFE. It is a CHOICE.
  2. I REFUSE to get over it. It makes me uncomfortable — and that is a GOOD THING.
  3. Just because my debt does not exceed yours does not mean I don’t look at it with wide eyes.
  4. I don’t give a flying eff if people have it worse than I do because they were irresponsible with their spending.

How did I get into debt?

When I was 19 years old I lost my job as a loan car concierge for Toyota. It was 1 week before Christmas. I had just applied for 2 credit cards prior to losing my job and had every intention on being responsible with them.

After losing my job, I still wanted to do things, so I kept doing them. The only difference was I didn’t have the money to pay back to the credit cards. My credit limit on each card was only $250. Turns out, $250 can turn into $6000 if you don’t pay. Amazing how interest compounds, isn’t it?

Before I knew it – I was in debt, trashed my credit score, couldn’t buy a car, couldn’t even lease an apartment without a co-signer/room-mate.

What did I do? I ignored it. For YEARS. Because when $250 turns into $3000 it seems WRONG. Your pride gets in the way.

HOW DID THIS HAPPEN!?

GO AWAY!

IF I PRETEND IT’S NOT THERE, IT’LL JUST GO AWAY.

Eventually those derogatory remarks fell off of my credit score and I was able to rent an apartment, with a room-mate. I wanted to get my credit back into “worthy” shape. The goal was to attempt to boost it from the 400-500 score I had, up to at least 700.

So what did I do?

I got another credit card.

The stress, anxiety, and fear I had surrounding this idea is indescribable. The $7.95 I had spent that morning on my breakfast at Starbucks actually kept me awake at night.

I was terrified of repeating my past mistakes. I wanted to rebuild my credit, I knew this was the easiest way for me to do it, but it still scared the shit out of me.

Thankfully I was smart. I paid it off after every single purchase. I managed it well. I felt in control of my finances and learned how to function responsibly with my credit card.

Then, I went on vacation and kinda said, “screw it! I’m on vacay! Let’s party!”

That’s how I ended up with a $2,500 balance on my credit card.

OOPS.

Then guess what happened.

I had to move unexpectedly. That’s right. After being financially irresponsible, I had to move and spend MORE money on my credit card.

SHIT.

Thankfully I was moving somewhere that was more affordable, the cost of living was significantly less. Moving in with a boyfriend who made SUBSTANTIALLY more money than me helped me pay off that debt.

Then…. I broke up with him.

Then… I had to move, again.

Damnit, that jerk had thrown away almost all my stuff! Now I have to buy everything again, and obviously I must have it all right now. Otherwise, HOW WILL I SURVIVE!?

Great, so now that $0.00 balance was back up to $2,000.

Guess what happened then?

My car started to crap out on me.

Time to buy a new car.

Oh hey girl, you just got your limit extended, you have more money!

$2,000 cash + $3,000 credit card = down payment for your new car

So now I had to figure out how to pay down my credit card AND afford more expenses that came with renting an apartment by myself.

So here’s what I learned.

  • Life is unpredictable
  • Save your money, use cash, it’s less stressful
  • You don’t have to have everything you want
  • If you pay for things in cash, you’ll appreciate them more
  • Create a budget
  • Paying down debt effing suck

Now I’m juggling paying down 2 credit cards (because obviously I had to finance that shiny new Macbook air). Paying $1257/mo rent, utilities, cable/internet/car payment/insurance/food/pets/etc.

Life is freaking EXPENSIVE when you’re doing it by yourself.

That’s how I ended up with 4 jobs.

Because instead of giving up and pretending it would just go away.

I learned to persevere and be responsible.

So, now that you know my story. Now that I’ve opened up a door to you that shines a light on the ever taboo subject of debt and the irresponsible way we get there. What will you do?

Are you living in the same revolving door of spontaneous purchases? Impulsive purchases? Because “I can afford it” — which actually is your way of convincing yourself you can because you have a credit card?

  • My goal this year is to be credit card debt free.
  • My goal by the end of next year, is to be student loan debt free.
  • And my goal by the end of 2019 is to have my car completely paid off.

I believe in setting financial goals.

Setting “financial goals” does not necessarily mean paying down debt. But I do believe it means making your money work for you. To make your money work for you, you have to get to place where when you open up your bank account you don’t go, “WTF!? Where did all my money go!” Only to find out it went to: Starbucks, Target, that new nail polish at Ulta, etc.

Let’s dig ourselves out of this financial hole.

No one taught us how to be financially responsible. It’s not some kind of class we took in high school. It’s actually a skill you have to practice and develop. Get COMFORTABLE with it. Love your money. Work hard for your money. Make your money work for you.

Until next time.

xo – Jack