Dear Diary, 12-18-2016

Dear Diary ….

Okay. No. This won’t be diary entry, but it will be informal (might not even proof read, not that I ever do anyhow) and kind of an update on my life in general.

Where to start …. well, Made by Chanel is doing pretty good. That is my wax tart and candle business. Well, right now it is solely such wax products. My limit on eBay has increase to 120 items. SO EXCITED. Last night I made 7 new bags. Three Lavender, one Rose, two Love Spell, two Chocolate Covered Cherries. Today, I am working on refining my eBay listings.

I have started training at a tax service office. Over the next few months, I will be preparing people’s tax returns. Oh, what fun. Actually, I kind of am excited about it. I am considering going back to school to earn my CPA. Just considering though. I also really want to earn my MS in Applied Economics.

The Economist has a GRE vocab study app thing. Downloaded it and now creating flashcards/study cards. I think the US might be a gerontocracy. Think about it. What is the average age of congress? It will also vary between localities, but… I think the US might be a gerontocracy. That in and of itself is not a bad thing, BUT it definitely has its pros and cons. I might write an article expanding on this idea.

For Christmas I have decided to make duck, kimchi mash potatoes, rice pudding, and sangria. Haven’t decided on what else to serve. Also, haven’t decided whether to have it Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

Oh, and two more of my mice have cancer and will need to be put down sooner rather than later. Arrived in St Louis with 10 mice, currently have 5, about to have only three. This is sad. My husband has voted against attaining more mice and doesn’t want to get a cat yet. We have also decided I am not responsible enough or patient enough for a dog yet. Ugh! I want more animals!!!


Answering “Why Do You Want to Work Here?”

Applying for work is a daunting task. Especially if you are like me and have been at it for MONTHS. What’s also dreadful is the interviews. Personally, I hate interview questions. One question should be easy to answer though. That is, if you have already answered it.

“Why do you want to work here?”

Now, everyone’s situation is different. This outline is ideal for those who are in a situation where they can be picky about their next (or first) career move, but even if you aren’t there, try to incorporate as much pickiness as possible. Try to not just apply with anyone for anything. This will help with answering “why here?” Also, being picky now will lead to a happier, healthier, and stronger career. … or at least I hope it will for me.

Here is my process for looking for a job:

[Disclaimer: I currently have a seasonal position with a company that does not meet all the criteria below. However, this is a test position for me. It will answer the question of whether or not I will enjoy this kind of work and the industry. If I do, then I will pursue more related career opportunities.]

Create a list of potential employers

This step is pretty easy and there are several ways to go about it. One way is to open up yellow pages, yelp, really any business directory will work. Businesses hire people. That is a good place to start if you are completely lost. Next you have to narrow down that list because let’s be honest, you don’t want to work just ANYWHERE, nor are you qualified to do so.

There are a few ways to narrow down your search. A good place to start as any is the commute. It must be within X distance from your residence. Available parking when you get there, ei is there designated employee parking. Or, there is public transit reasonably near by.

Another way to narrow it down is by awards. Best Place to Work 2016. Safest Place to Work 2016. Fastest Growing Businesses in [the Area] 2016. You get the idea.

The last–and best–filter is industry, which will be covered later on in the article.

Choose a job function

You might be desperate for a job. Either you just graduated, are about to graduate, just got laid off, or maybe you quit suddenly. Do everything in your power to not allow this desperation to influence your application process if it can be helped. After all, an income will only make you happy for a while, and then you will start nitpicking the job and even the company. Pick a job function, or at least a short list of functions to start with. Do you enjoy cooking? Problem solving? Data entry? Do you thrive being around new people frequently?

My suggestion is that for this step, create a list of job responsibilities you would like to have. That can make it much easier to determine which listings to apply to.

For me, operations is more my thing. Manage the overall files and applications. Make sure that things get where they need to go, and people have what they need to have. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense for me to apply for a sales — or “client management” — position.

Choose an industry

Some industries are just naturally more interesting to us, while others are naturally more daunting. What are your interests? Make a list of activities, products, services, and topics that interest you. Just about everything is a business and all industries are hiring. Like politics? You could join a political campaign, a media company to cover an election or politician, or a marketing company specialized in politics.

Maybe cats are more your thing. Again, join a company that is either directly involved with cats or a company that works with cat (animal) companies. You get it.

My thing is finance and economics. Therefore, I should apply with mutual funds, wealth management companies, risk management companies, banks, think tanks, or economic research companies.

You should probably also make a list of industries where you would not want to work. This will make it easier for you to not apply to those.

Identify the locations currently available and scheduled expansions.

This step can be a little difficult. Some companies make it really easy to see where they are located and others not so much. Go to the corporate website. Some companies have multiple websites. If the website looks like it is for clients or customers find the “careers” or “investors” link. Those are usually located in the footer of the page–the very bottom, in small font, and a hard to see color in contrast to the background.

This step will be beneficial to you in many ways. One, it will show you where local locations are. That gives you more options. Two, it will show you national and international locations. That gives you options later.

My spouse and I have no plans on “settling down” anytime soon. We are in a location for the duration of the opportunity. Right now we are in St Louis so he can earn his PhD. When he graduates, we will be looking across the nation and the world for our next opportunity because why not? Therefore, my preferred employer will have locations nationwide, or even more ideally worldwide. This way, when he graduates, he is not stuck looking only here, nor do I necessarily have to quit working for a company I enjoy. Overall, we are keeping our options open.

Choose other criteria that are meaningful to you, such as identifying current scandals

There are many other criteria that you can use to narrow down your shortlist from everyone to just who will benefit you. On my list includes “scandal free” or at least scandal light. It is important to know the company you where are working, or where you want to work. Google it. While you are at it, Google the leadership team. Especially the leader you will be directly, or indirectly, reporting your activities (meaning your boss, or boss’s boss’s boss’s boss, you get it).

There are scandals you can forgive, and those you cannot. Bluebell had the listeria outbreak. In general that can be forgivable, incidents happen. Research why it happened and the company’s responsible. Same with Chipotle. Find out to the best of your ability why and how it happened, and determine if leadership responded in such a way that meshes with your personal ethical code of conduct.

For me, the Wells Fargo scandal is unforgivable. Leadership should not have such strict criteria for keeping a job that an employee is tempted to break the law. If such pressures are unavoidable, the employees should be so closely watched that when they do cross the line, it is found out IMMEDIATELY. John Stumpf did not respond in a way that sits well with me. It took way too long for the company to announce that the toxic practices would be ended. As a result, even with him gone, I cannot trust anyone in leadership there, at least not for a while.

Once I worked for a call center that dealt with extremely sensitive information. Therefore we were watched like hawks. Accidental slip ups where strikes against you. Purposeful “slip ups” and you were terminated on the spot.

A banker’s fiduciary responsibility should NEVER be in question.


The easiest way to answer why do you want to work here is to answer it before applying.

Interviewer: “Why do you want to work here?”

You: “Aside from having the position and growth opportunities I am looking for in a company. I want to work here because this company is multinational. Life events and whims may lead me to want to live in London in five years and I would prefer working for a company that has a position there. It would make the idea more of a possibility and less of a dream. Also, you are on the list of Best Companies 2016 in the area. Which is what lead me here in the first place.”

Body Transformation – Entry 3 (Day 18)

Last week was Thanksgiving.

Good news? Only gain 1 lb between three Thanksgiving meals. GO ME!

Bad news. Basically, I did not workout last week. Mostly because I didn’t want to do so. My excuses include 1) we were traveling 8 hours and I didn’t want to be stiff during the drive thus not being able to contribute causing hubs to drive the entire 8 hours, 2) my body was hurting in bad ways. I was having joint issues with my hips, knees, and ankles. Also, apparently I am experiencing something called “shin splints.” That’s the name my Facebook friends are calling my aching shin that feels like it is going to break.

So what have I done since Sunday, November 20th, 2016? Sunday, I walked 3 miles. Then came up with the “forget about it” plan described above. Thursday I did have a short post Thanksgiving Day meal walk. That was a little over a mile, but my pace was horrible due to pain in my legs plus slow walking companions. Though I shouldn’t blame them. My legs hurt at the time, so I would have been slow with or without the company. The company was nice. Also, I walked a mile last night at an okay pace.

Over the course of last week, I thought about how I wanted to change up my routine. Walking the five miles a day was nice. Experiencing it and telling people “I walk five miles everyday” brought great joy in my life. The problem though was that I couldn’t do much after that. The walk had to take place in the morning or else I wouldn’t be able to move the next day. After the walk, it was painful to get up and make lunch, go to the bathroom, etc.

My biggest problem was that even though I was in pain, I would be energized to do more.  Frequently throughout the day, I would get the urge to do kickboxing or some other similar aerobic exercise, but be completely unable to do it.

From the get go I wanted to have other parts to my workout aside from the five miles. The five miles were preventing me from doing other things though. So, over the last week I convinced my self to drop the five miles down to one mile and add in a 20 minute workout. Today was my first day with this new workout.

My workout today in time (h:m:s):

Crunches 00:02:23
Leg Raises 00:05:01
Push Ups 00:01:26
Squats 00:01:13
Star Jumps 00:02:41
Arm Extensions (3 lb weight) 00:04:11
Arm Curls (3 lb weight) 00:04:09
One Mile 00:22:23

The whole workout was about 43 minutes 43 seconds. Now of course, each activity was not completed in one go. Each was performed in 15, 20, or 30 second reps depending on my capability. For example, one round was 30 seconds of crunches, 30 of leg raises (one leg at a time), 20 of push ups, 15 of squats, 30 of star jumps, 30 of arm extensions, 30 of arm curls (approximate times). Then I would start again. I did as many rounds as I needed to complete 20 minutes. Did an extra rep of crunches and leg raises because I was just short the 20 minutes.

Between the stopping and going of turning apps on and off for my workout, it took a total of about an hour. After the mile, I timed my shower and getting dressed. Took me 27 minutes 14 second to undress, shower, blow dry my hair, dress, brush teeth, and put on makeup.

Why did I did I make a point to record overall times? To see how long it would take me to do this in the mornings before work. What I have decided is that I need an hour and a half for the workout (showering is part of the workout because without it my colleagues and customers would hate me). In addition to needing about 30 minutes for breakfast.

Therefore, if I have to be at work at, say 9:00, and it only takes 30 minutes to get to work, adding 15 minute cushion for unexpected delays I would need to get up about 6:00 each morning. Totally doable because I am a morning person, for the most part.

This is supposed to be a life style change. I don’t want this weight loss to be a one time event. I want to lose it to be healthier and be able to do more. That means it has to be a part of who I am. Which means I need to make time for it, and my preferred workout time is in the mornings anyhow.

Remember, your weight is a life style. Some of it isn’t up to you, but some of it is. Take control of what you can control. Diet and exercise are in your control. Do what you can, and as always consult your physician before making diet and exercise changes.

Happy Holidays!