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Posts tagged with: work from home

It’s Good to Be Back

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I’m so excited to be writing here again. I was shocked when Ashley’s post mentioned we had been writing here for 3 1/2 years now (we started the same week.) I feel like I need to go back and re-read where I’ve been sometime soon to prove how far I’ve come. Just a recap of what comes to mind:

  • We lost our home and moved into a tiny apartment.

    Not sure what we would do without board games. Between work, gymnastics training and school, board games keep us sane!

  • We sold our giant van.
  • We lived survived and thrived living in 900 square feet with all five of us and our 4 animals.
  • I lost my primary source of income.
  • We spent 9 months ‘glamping’ when I could no longer afford our apartment. I’m grateful for the gift, it kept us from becoming truly homeless or spending a single night in a shelter.
  • We had to say good-bye to all our animals in one way or another, but enjoyed raising chickens while we were glamping.
  • We moved to another state earlier this year and in with my grandmother.
  • I got a great new job.
  • I continue to work 2 part time jobs and a variety of odd jobs.
  • We rented our very own home in Georgia, leaving one of the twins in Virginia, and now we each have our own bedroom after 3 years of tiny living.
  • For the first time in a LONG time, we are not living paycheck to paycheck.  But I still have a long way to go in learning to make better money choices and becoming truly debt free.
  • And this is where we begin today.

So much has happened during my life on BAD. I can’t wait to see where we go next. I write this as Irma rages outside. I was so grateful to be able to work from home today and tomorrow while she moves on through. We’ve had some limbs fall on the roof, one took out our backside neighbors brand new fence. We will wander out when it’s over and see the damage, but for now I’m just grateful for a cozy home.

I’ve made some terrible financial decisions lately. And it’s huge for me to be able to just say that. I even said as must out loud to a friend this past weekend when we went out for chips and dip. Thinking with my heart instead of my head. More on those coming soon. But I definitely recognize that I have a problem.


A Little Good News on the Job Front

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I’ve been offered and accepted a part time job.  It’s contract work, so no benefits, but it is what I have been doing and the pay rate mediocre at best.  But it is skilled labor and on the outskirts of my field and for a company that is VERY HIGHLY respected in my field.

So beginning in January, I will get between 15-25 hours a week which I can work from home at my leisure.  I figured that it’s great to know I will have some money coming beginning in January and it’s something I can do in conjunction with another job until I get back on my feet…firmly back on my feet!

So yeah!  The job hunt is still on…looking for full time, corporate work with benefits and maybe Relocation Expenses or a Signing Bonus!


Coffee Date

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I saw this posting-style over at Gina’s blog (it’s a fitness/healthy living blog and its great! She posts lots of free workouts, youtube videos, etc.). Anyway, I loved the idea of a virtual coffee date (or wine date) and wanted to do one! We’re at that level where we can have a coffee date, right? I think so! Let’s get started!

If we were having coffee right now…..

  • I’d tell you about all the fun things I’ve got going on in the coming weeks! A dear friend had her baby shower this past weekend, a new friend has invited us to her son’s first birthday party this weekend, and my Mom and sister (and their husbands) are coming to visit for a long weekend the first weekend of October! I cannot wait!!!!! In the entire time we’ve lived away from Austin (first moved away in 2007!!), this is the longest we’ve ever gone without seeing my family! In the past we have always gone back once during summer and once during winter and we didn’t go back this summer (we went to visit my Dad in Utah instead) and aren’t planning to go back for Christmas like we usually do, so I have been Missing them with a capital M!!!
  • I’d let you in on a little secret I’ve been keeping… I registered for my first post-baby half marathon and am freaking out about it! The registration was only $30 (I got the early-bird discount months ago), which is one of the cheapest prices for a half-marathon I’ve ever seen! Since I dumped the gym, I’ve been training (for free, thankyouverymuch) but am so painfully slow! I’m worried whether I’ll finish by the time cut-off (It’s the Tucson Get Moving half-marathon, so its geared toward a non-elite crowd, but I know many races have actual cut-offs and I’m so scared I won’t finish in time!)
  • I’d tell you about how well debt reduction is going. It’s been 6 months and has actually been easier than I thought. I credit it all to having a written budget. Of course, I’d say that in one breath and in the very next I’d tell you about the very real house fever I’ve got going on.
  • I’d tell you about the girls – they’re getting so big! I am in love with their preschool and even though it costs a small fortune, I think its one of the best investments we’ve ever made (investing in our children!!!) I’m so glad we decided to go this route (even though it was a very tough decision).
  • I’d also talk about my job(s). My teaching job is going well, but is a LOT of work this semester! I’m teaching two writing intensive courses that require a lot of feedback and I feel like I have so many students!!! Usually there are lots of “drops” with writing intensive courses but for some reason this semester everyone seems to be sticking around. I love to teach so I’m glad that something is resonating with the students enough for them to stick with the challenging courses, but it means a LOT of grading for me! My research job is also going well. I’ve mentioned before, but I’ve gotten into such a terrible habit of putting it all off until Sundays and then I’m working frantically all night trying to make my Monday morning deadlines. I always finish on time, but I might be up until midnight or later. I have GOT to get things under control so I don’t keep doing this! I’ve come to dread Sunday nights instead of looking forward to them as a time to recharge for the coming week. Need to change this!

Of course, if we were having coffee I’d want to know about you and how you’re doing, too! How’s the job? Where are you in the debt repayment process? Do you have any major obstacles in the way? What are your plans for the coming holiday season (I realize its only September, but the holidays will be here before we know it)?

If I know me, it’s been awhile since our last coffee date. We should do this again soon sometime!!!

*Hugs*


Working with young kids

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Disclosure:  This post was written on Saturday, which will be obvious in a moment since the kids are in preschool on Mondays.

The kids were supposed to go down for their nap 45 minutes ago. They generally nap for about 1.5 hours these days. This is absolute GOLD time in terms of my work and productivity.

So, I was working but had to pop in to say that I’m currently siting here listening to my girls laugh and talk and generally wreak havoc in their room. They’re still in cribs so they’re not actually destroying anything (other than my sanity); the term “wreaking havoc” was just hyperbole.

But yes. I’m a little worried that this may be the end of naps, or a sign of things to come. What on Earth am I going to do once they stop napping entirely? Horror!

To date, I have preferred not to work while they’re awake. I try to be a Mom when they’re up and work when they’re asleep (either during naps or at night). Sometimes hubs will take over on weekends (if he’s not working) and I’ll sneak into the room to get some uninterrupted work done.

But if the wee ones stop napping soon, I’ll be forced to try to work at least a little while they’re awake.

Tips or suggestions for this? I’ve tried to find books at the library on working from home with kids, but they all seemed to be geared toward older children who don’t require as much supervision as two unruly toddlers do.

Also – as an aside – I have tried to work while they’re awake before, and it has usually not been successful. They can be in the middle of independent play and doing great…but as soon as they see me grab the laptop, they just have to have my attention/be in my lap/read a book/etc. I swear, my laptop is like a toddler magnet (and, unfortunately, all of my work is done on the computer)!

They’re really cramping my work-style! ; )

In the meantime, let’s knock on wood that this nap boycott was a one-time thing! *fingers crossed*


I got a raise!!!

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Can I get a “woohooo!!!!”

But before we get too excited, let’s have a little #truth.

I don’ know if you can really consider it a “raise” because what happened is I took on additional work. So, yeah, my income is going to raise (and not by just chump change…a pretty decent upward improvement), but it is in exchange for additional work.

It was a bit unexpected, but I’m very grateful for it. Even though I’m not an “employee” (I work on a contract-basis), I still somehow feel like a very valuable “team member” at this particular university, we’ll call it University A (remember – I work for multiple universities, but I don’t feel comfortable divulging where). I feel well compensated for my work and have established a great working relationship with the faculty, administrative staff, and other contract-employees as well (all done through distance & technology – pretty amazing!)

So I’ve given it a great deal of thought and, although this may disappoint some, I think this new development has rendered this conversation moot. I hope you will not be angry with me! I had been thinking about reducing daycare to save money for a LONG time….it was not something I was just spouting off randomly and have taken back just as suddenly. Instead, I’ve made the calculated decision to leave our situation as-is for now (care 3 days a week instead of reducing to 2). The additional work I have picked up more than makes up for the $200 in savings per month, many times over. And with additional work, I really believe I’ll need the extra day of childcare per week. Also, as an aside, last week the girls were only in daycare 2 days instead of 3 (the provider had a pre-planned trip that left us out-of-care for a day). OF COURSE, this is when the WORST ALLERGIES OF MY LIFE hit! I felt like I was dying from the sinus pressure, migraine, non-stop sneezing, etc. I looked like I had pink eye because my eyes were so puffy, swollen, red, and watery (I took a picture, but I’ll spare you the gory image). Let’s just say….very little work got done. And now I’m way behind (and I don’t get paid until my work is done, so that’s a problem!) And it just made me recognize how valuable our current childcare situation is. $50 WELL SPENT, if you ask me!

That was a long side-note – let’s get back to the employment situation…

Of course with contract situations there is no guarantee of ongoing work. But, so far, I have been made to feel very safe and secure in our current situation at University A. I will say that this situation is with online teaching, so I get a new contract every semester. I don’t see the current situation changing anytime soon.

With my other “employer” (said in quotations because, again, I’m not technically an employee since its a contract-based job…we’ll call this University B), there is not as much job security. This job is mostly research-based, so whenever the current project is completed I could be out of a job. At this point I’ve been working with University B for 6 months and have worked through completion of 4 separate projects (being asked back after the completion of each previous project). But this “raise” makes me feel much more comfortable because previously I earned my pay approximately 50% from each (research job and teaching job, respectively). This additional work (and associated pay) tips the scale to where I am now earning my full “old” salary solely at the teaching job. Any money from the research job is just gravy. So, as long as the research job continues, I’m coming out ahead. If the research job were to cease today, I’d still be making the same salary I’ve been accustomed to.

Doing contract-based work certainly requires some flexibility. You never know what the future holds and there’s no guarantees about anything.

But, with that said, a little birdie told me I could potentially be expecting another “raise” come the Fall semester at University A. *fingers crossed*  We’ll see!!!


Ashley’s Employment Situation

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First, I’ve got to express my internal struggle….

I have SO MUCH I want to share with you guys. I feel like the better idea you have of my life/work/financial/debt situation, the better equipped you will be to render advice, suggestions, and just provide comments and/or support. But I also don’t want to overwhelm you with ALL of this information at once!

So, bear with me. I have planned a mix of “content-heavy” posts (where you learn more about my financial situation), and “content-light” posts (where you can celebrate some of my successes – like paying off my Capital One CC today!!!! – or get an inside peak at things I’ve been doing to save money!)

Right now, let’s talk my job status.

DSCN2018

If you recall, I graduated in August 2013 and have been unable to find full-time employment since then. My “dream job” is to be a professor, but in lieu of full-time employment, I have been working part-time jobs in the meantime.

Currently, I work on a contract-basis (meaning, not an official “employee”, not eligible for health care, no job security) for multiple employers. My work is 100% online and gives me the flexibility to work how I want, when I want, and where I want (I choose to work in my yoga pants at home) ; )

My work is still in the area where I got my degree (teaching online and doing research). In addition to my paid work, I also work unpaid in a couple realms. First and foremost, I’m a Mom. My girls are currently in daycare 3 days a week, but I’m planning to talk to our provider about reducing to 2 days a week to save money. Either way, being a Mom is full-time and certainly requires a great deal of my time and attention. My other unpaid work (discussed below) I see as an investment in myself.

Soooo, I’m in a bit of a precarious situation currently. I have had advisers tell me that I can “free float” for one year, but if I haven’t found a job in that time I’ll basically be considered unhireable (have I mentioned the stiff competition in my field?) So to try to keep my hat in the ring, I have continued working on various projects with colleagues from my alma mater. These are 100% unpaid and do require a fair amount of time (trips to campus for meetings and to use specialized software I don’t have at home). Right now, my commitment is predominantly one of time, as my costs aren’t too significant (e.g., cost of daycare when I go to campus, nominal costs of gasoline and parking on campus). However, staying active in academia can boost my resume (we call it a “CV”) and help make me a more attractive candidate, so I see this as an absolutely imperative venture at this point (money and time be damned).

I plan to give the job-search my “all” for another full year. Remember, most positions hire in Nov-Jan for the following August, so my plan is to continue being active and applying for positions until August of 2015 (side note – There is still a tiny chance I could get hired this year…there are 2 schools left that I applied with who have not yet made hiring decisions). If by August 2015 I come up empty handed, I do have a few tricks up my sleeve that could potentially be quite lucrative. I hesitate to discuss it further at this time (on the off-chance that a potential future employer stumbles across this blog, I don’t want to disclose this information). If we get to that point, I’ll be happy to open up with you at that time. But currently, I’m committed to pursuing my dream job and giving it whatever time investment is required.

So, even though my work is “part-time”, it really feels like I’m working all the time because I’ve always got some kind of project going on and some kind of deadlines on the horizon. I don’t make a ton (the majority of our household income comes from my husband), but I make a pretty decent wage considering my paid employment is only a part-time, online gig. I feel very fortunate to have it so I am able to be home with my girls the majority of the time, particularly while they are very young (they’ll be 2 in a few months!)

A couple take-home points I’d like to make regarding my paid employment, in case anyone else is in a similar situation or could benefit from the advice:

  1. Network, network, network. Even if you don’t network, make sure you never burn any bridges with the people you meet.
  2. Let people see your work ethic, but also let them see that you’re “human.” No one wants to work with a machine.
  3. Be open to outside-the-box opportunities.

I never sought out my part-time employment situations, they all just fell into my lap. This was 100% because these people (former colleagues) knew my work and my personality and, even after moving on to other universities, they knew they could “count on me” on various projects, that I am personable and easy to work with, and that I am task-oriented and will work to complete projects in a timely manner. Never did I ever think I would be here – working at home, online, sitting in my PJ pants and wrangling twin toddlers. And of course I want the coveted professor position. But you know what? My employment situation is actually pretty awesome! I consider myself lucky, for sure!

As a random aside, I also have a few tricks up my sleeve to increase my income even currently….but those will be shared at another time.