5.17.2014

It's time to say goodbye, my friends.

Hello, pals: When I first started Postpositions on Prepositions, I fostered the idea to make this blog hyper-focused on local Arizona happenings. And then it evolved into composing random posts where I wrote just to write, and get the wacky stories and crazy emotions out of me. And I loved it.

Then, like many novice bloggers, when I would glance at ze gorgeous, big-time blogs with thousands of friends and slew of sponsors. I wanted this thing to be huge, and lovely, and thoughtful, and filled with a sense of me when you read it.

When I first began Postpositions, I didn't know what I was really doing, but I felt like it was the nerdy, quirky, and nonsensical me.

Now, I feel like this blog has turned into something else, and my voice isn't really here anymore. Maybe it comes through once in awhile, but what had originally been used as a summer hobby when off from teaching, has now turned into an afterthought without much heart or feeling for that matter.

And I don't think that's fair to readers or, well, me.

This has somewhat been a long time coming, and I don't exactly know how, but I just lost to whom I'm writing at Postpositions. Instead, I thought about creating a perception of the people that I knew were reading this blog and, well, that wasn't very me either.

Since being newly married, with a new job, and a new direction in writing, I think it's time to say goodbye to PoP. I'd like to begin another space where I can read my true thoughts and express the topics that I want without feeling... judged. Does that make sense?

I know that's really a me thing, but oh well: I think every creative writer who writes non-fiction deals with that.

I'm sure once I get my new space up and growing then I'll link up here. But for now, I want to thank all of the friends that I've made through encouragement, laughter, and ridiculousness shared on here.

So, just for now, I'm sending everyone those big thank-you's, warm fuzzies, and positive vibes. I'll be checking back here for comments and will certainly be sure to respond should you need a note.

Love, Brighid!

5.14.2014

5 financial and career lessons I wish someone had told me at 20.

Today, I had to make a decision: Cash out my 401K that I began in January of this year, or roll it over to my new company's retirement fund.

Making this decision was another one of those gnawing, I-wish-I-knew-more-about-financial-literacy-when-I-was-younger moments that I've frequently rethought over the past 10 years. For example, why do I only have a small 401K now (only $820)--at 29?

Sure, I have social security from past careers in teaching and writing, but wish I had invested in my future with a 401K when I first started my career instead of doing nothing about it because I didn't know what it was. Plus, I'm going to be taxed for cashing out this small amount of the 401K, which is going towards my current savings account toward a home now.

But.

Why am I learning about this information now?

As my husband turns 30 this Friday, and I turn the big 3-0 in a few months, I couldn't help reflect what advice I would give my 20-something self about careers, finances, and professional relationships:






1 |  Do not invest in a graduate degree unless you have a 10-year plan of what you want to do afterward. Although, I'm slowly getting away from the paycheck-to-paycheck zone (at the ripe age of 29--sarcasm), it was mostly thanks to student loans. My parents didn't pay for my undergraduate degree (unlike my husband's folks) and I also decided to pursue my Master's degree.

If you do the painful math or understand the numbers behind that education, that puts me at about $110,000 in total student loan debt. Oh, these were also public, in-state schools. This is $700 per month that I pay toward my education loans. And, by the time I pay my student loans off--let's say around 50--I'll have paid about 30 percent interest on that amount.

I cannot attest how much it was not worth it to receiving graduate degree in education, especially since I do not use it. (That's not to say that I'm waving a red flag for you not receive a graduate degree, but read on for my justification...)

2 | Just stick to your undergraduate degree and dedicate to yourself in a company for about five years that could potential reimburse you to receive a higher degree or better career opportunity. Honestly, I would have told my 20-year-old self to stick to a degree that is related to a skill that could easily transfer to another career if I wanted to potential switch careers down the road. (which I have twice so far).

For example, major in communications, international business, economics, English, digital design, engineering, journalism, etc. Do not major in a hobby like French, art history, history, or classics unless you know what you're doing to do--like, you have an internship at an art museum, Ms. Art History Degree, who would hire you after graduating. In fact, get a freaking internship toward your degree. You leave college with a recommendation other those from your professors.

I'm honestly grateful for my creative writing degree (a hobby during my teens and obviously my career now) because I've been using my writing skills for 10 years. However, looking back at my graduate degree, I would have forgone pursuing that education knowing that I just wanted to pursue writing in publications. Sure, saying I have a Master's a great... but if I'm not necessarily applying the degree with a salary to support it, then what's the point? I am stuck in debt. Seriously stuck in debt for what I can see until I'm in my 50s or 60s.

Now, a M.B.A. or J.D. would be a completely different story (ca-ching!), but I was not smart and did not do much research about teaching English and its availability of careers, pay, and lack of teacher support across the U.S. Plus, I lacked the confidence (read on) to believe that I could pursue law or any sort of doctoral degree.

Back to the point: Pursue a career with a company with educational reimbursement because you'll most likely find out what career you'd like to pursue in your late 20s and by that time a company would be willing to pay (for the majority at least) for that M.B.A., C.P.A., or J.D.

3 | Save, save, save, save, save, save, save. And learn how to budget. My parents are the very definition of black and white. My dad was a city planner and economist, so of course he budgeted everything. He is considered a classic cheapskate, for great budget-related reasons. My liberal arts mom always made things worked thistight. She believed in spending to enjoy life and then working overtime to cover it. I am definitely my mother's daughter. If I want something, I will find a way to buy it and then work for it. I'm more of a, "Well, it's on sale so I'll buy it." Not a spend just to spender. (So sad that I need to give myself the that definition of a sale spender; if you're a spender, you're a spender)

At any rate, this spontaneous sale spending has led me not to maintain the greatest saving account. Since Adam and I are saving for a home-- hopefully $10,000 for a down payment by this time next year--I've learned to not blindly waste money. Like spontaneously getting an $.89 soda at Circle K, or divulging into the $19 crop pants sale at Nordstrom Rack with 5 percent cash back on my debit card. But like working out to get that hot bod, it takes work to save towards something worthwhile.

Adam's has me on, what I'd like to call a "rehab program" called You Need a Budget (YNAB for short). It makes you plug in your monthly paycheck once you receive it and assign money to spending areas (e.g., groceries, fuel, student loans, car payments, etc.) instead of blindly spending on using my debit card and relying on my Google calendar to alert me when a bill is due.

And it's embarrassing how much I unconsciously spend and where that money is actually housed. After using YNAB for one month, I haven't been too successful with budgeting. This has taught me a lot about how I spend--something I thought that I knew, but obviously not to what extent.

The point is: Know where your money goes. Don't just check your Chase account and leave it at that. Assign your money, apply willpower, and save at least $10 per month. It adds up--especially if you're 20. Imagine what savings you'll have when you're my age.

P.S. Since using YNAB over the past month, I've saved $1,100. Pretty nice, right?

4 | Make sure your car payment is no more than $250/month under $15,000. A car gets you from point A to point B during your 20s. That's it. So don't go all out and break the bank with a pair of wheels The reality is that you need to pay car insurance, fuel, deductible for any car accidents, and monthly car payments. So when you do lease a car, make sure that you have a steady job, someone financially secure (like a parent) to co-pay, and that your monthly car payment is 1/5 of your paycheck.

When I was 23, my brother got a new Mazda 3i. So I had to have that car. I just wanted it. You know, spend just to spend. I was living with my mom to save money (ha.), had a job at a newspaper with reasonable pay, and justified that my high monthly car and insurance payments for the $26,000 car would be my "rent." Well, then eight months later I needed to pay rent at a new apartment, more bills piled up, student loans kicked in, and I did not plan long-term whatsoever.

Guess what the car payment is, too? Oh, just $410 per month. And my car insurance when I first got the car? $189. And it's not a BMW. Thank god, thank god, thank god that I only have three more payments on it. Because guess what? More time to--say it with me--save.

5 | Confidence and having a good attitude goes a longer way than being the smartest person in the room with the highest level of education. I'm writer. It's what I like do. It's what I'm good at doing. Over the past few years, I've also been in curriculum teams, event teams, planning teams, and editorial teams where I had the highest level of education. This did not make me the strongest team player. And you know why? Because I lacked confidence and a voice even though I knew what I was doing. I compared myself to the talents of others, and just doubted my skills and contributions toward the team.

When I was 22, I was hired at Arizona Foothills Magazine as features editor. It was seriously a dream job for someone who recently graduated college in creative writing. I went for an associate editor's position and received the features position doing arts AND travel. I also managed Tucson Magazine's features, arts, travel, and buzz section. I traveled with the biographer of Blondie. I went to San Diego for a food-writing feature at the newest restaurants where celebrities ate. My friends were jealous, but I was the very definition of unhappy. But the whole time I thought: What the fuck am I doing here? I do not belong here whatsoever and have no clue what I'm doing.

Being surrounded by folks who were more seasoned in writing and public relations, I doubted myself so much that I talked myself out of it. To everyone else, they saw a smart, talented person. To me, I saw someone who didn't believe in her skills or put the effort into a daily work routine. I justified everything by wanting to be young and drink with my friends, hangout with my immature boyfriend, and go to concerts and stay at home being a couch potatoes.

With "figuring out what I wanted," it didn't matter what career I was in. I just needed to conquer my doubts and gain the head space of gaining my confidence.
 
Let me end with this: Don't have regrets, but do learn from them. You're stronger when you pull through things. Yet, if you're at a breaking point that you need to quit and recoup (like in a career) to realize what you want to do then take it. But sometimes ideas are just ideas; and when you're in that idea it's not always what you really needed. So plan ahead as best as you can, as early as you can, and test your strength.

5.10.2014

Ear calories: Dance while driving.

I am watching Jason Segal's SNL episode. His monologue is with the Muppets. And now Adam just came in from his room because I just cried/laughed from the "Red Flag" skit.  I haven't had an Ear Calories playlist in awhile, but the title is pretty descriptive. So do it: dance, bebbeeee. 

Dance while driving.
1. Fever Dream // Young Summer
2. Bizarre Love Triangle // New Order
3. Fall in Love // Phantogram
4. Heaven is a Place on Earth // Belinda Carlisle
5. Anyway You Want It // Journey
6. Girls // The 1975
7. She Drives Me Crazy //  Fine Young Cannibals
8. Inbetween Days // The Cure