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Posts tagged with: starting a new job

Shopping for Shoes but Nope


Last night, Beauty and I drove to the outlets about an hour from us. The intention was to find me some good, supportive non-slip work shoes for my part time job at the fast food restaurant. I have two pairs that they provided for me. However, after 6 months, my back is KILLING me.

I am certainly not used to standing for hours and hours on end. Okay, it’s typically 3-6 hours several times a week. But I’ve not done that in over 3 decades. And now I dread going to work there because of the pain I know will come. (Also, the pair that is the most comfortable now smells terrible, but that’s a whole other issue I have to figure out.)

So off to Sketchers we went…

Holy Cow, the cost of Work Shoes

Now I know that Walmart has non-slip shoes. The kids all purchased their fast food job shoes there. But I had heard such good things about the comfort of Sketchers and figured that is what I need to help with my back pain – support and comfort!

When I tell you that I was shocked at the cost of those shoes. My jaw dropped.

sketchers work shoes

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for buying quality and willing to pay for it. But in my pretty extensive experience having watched all 5 of my kids work full time jobs over the years that required these shoes…they don’t last. They have to be replaced fairly regularly. And not a single pair was less than $65 and most were $85+.

These jobs pay little more than minimum wage and most workers are part time. For instance, I make between $100-200 every two weeks. Not a lot of money.

My Daughter Pointed It Out

As I proceeded to try some of them on, it was my daughter who pointed it out. “Mom, you are going to spend more on shoes, then you make in two weeks. And you know you will have to replace them in a few months. They get wet and smelly.” (A wise girl, I wonder where she gets that wisdom?! – I’m joking goes, don’t jump on me.)

I thought I found a pair that were $64, but then realized they were not NON-SLIP. So I left empty handed.

We tried three more stores with no luck.

Tough It Out

I’ve reconsidered and decided to tough it out for at least a while longer. I have other things I would prefer to spend that kind of money on. It was nice to get out of the house. But it doesn’t make sense to spend 1/2 of a month’s income on a pair of shoes that I will most likely need to replace by the end of the year.

Maybe some insoles with help? And I’ve got to figure out how to deal with the smell. Ugh!

Diversifying Income


I just recently returned from a trip to Austin where we visited with family over the Independence Day holiday. It was lovely to see so much extended family all in one trip! My family and my ex’s family (my kids’ father) all live in and around the Austin area. Additionally, my husband’s family (his parents and brother) recently moved to the area as well. In one single trip, we’re able to visit with 3 different branches of the family tree!

In one of our many family get-togethers, my stepbrother was asking about my work situation. In a recent post, I talked about some financial struggles my university has been wading through. This has led to layoffs within my department, and low morale in general. My stepbrother joked, “maybe it’s time to start diversifying your income!” I laughed at his comment initially, feeling fortunately secure in my own job position, but the comment stuck with me and made me begin to think.

I’ve had a couple of “pipe dream” or “pie in the sky” type of career ambitions in the back of my mind for many years that I’ve thought may or may not ever happen. But now, I’m starting to look at these dreams in a new light. Might these dreams actually be feasible? Are they worth pursuing?

Big Dreams

For over a decade now, I’ve had a desire to write a popular press book. It would be something related to my career and area of academic expertise (not a novel or anything!). I’ve been published many times over in peer-reviewed academic journals and edited books, but I just recently published my first popular press article related to my career field. It felt really good! Similar to my writing for this blog. It’s very different than my normal academic style of writing and I really enjoyed it. It got me toying with the book idea again. Might it be time to re-visit this idea?

Additionally, I’ve always had this dream to be a “motivational speaker.” I remember speakers coming to talk at school assemblies from the time I was very young (I distinctly remember a couple in middle school, in particular) and I remember thinking “I want to do that some day!” Here I am, 30 years later, and I have never really taken this idea seriously. But why not? I have expertise in an area that would be particularly beneficial for business industry. Why couldn’t I be hired as an expert speaker to come talk to executives at some of these big companies, relying on my academic background to provide credibility?

More recently (within the last decade), I’ve also thought it would be so fun to host a podcast! I know the market for podcasts at this point is extremely saturated and, again, this felt like a pie-in-the-sky idea. Like, “oh that would be fun, but it will never actually happen.” But why not? Again, leaning on my academic background and area of expertise, why couldn’t I launch a podcast with a broader intended listening audience, given that much of my work is applicable to folks outside the ivory towers of an academic institution.

Symbiotic Relationship

All of these ideas, you’ll notice, are complimentary of my academic career. I’m not planning to leave my job anytime soon. It pays the bills and I feel fortunate to have a career I enjoy. But I could see that any of the above ideas, if coming to fruition, would be beneficial for my “day job” and vice versa. My academic background gives me credibility to speak on certain topics, and having a side hustle in any of the above categories would be great for my academic career as well. Aside from benefits to my career, I genuinely think I would enjoy pursuing any/all of the avenues I’ve outlined above (and maybe others, too!). They would bring a certain level of professional fulfillment and satisfaction that would feel like a big boost when morale in the academic workplace has taken a hit.

And of course, there’s the big(gest) benefit that I would be diversifying my income. I would be protecting myself in the event of additional layoffs or furloughs or whatever financial downturn situation may come next. If one income stream is hit, at least I will have others.

Time Well Spent

I have a sabbatical coming up this Fall, and I plan to use some of my time to research deeper into these ideas. For instance, with the motivational speaker situation, I’ll solidify the topic(s) I could speak about, and figure out how to “sell myself” in that way. I think maybe I’d need an agent to help me shop myself around. And maybe I would benefit from working with a career coach a few times? I will almost certainly need to create an LLC and establish a business Instagram account to have a social media presence. I’m looking forward to having the time away from the normal day-to-day of work to focus on some of these endeavors that will ultimately benefit my career, but also help benefit me personally outside of my full-time job, too.

Toward that end, I’d love advice if anyone has any to offer. Unfortunately, for privacy’s sake, I’m not comfortable disclosing my exact career area or the topics about which I could write/talk. But in general, if anyone has good resources I could read to find out more about diving into these types of endeavors, I’m all ears!

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