Category: career

Aries New Moon Goals

So I’m a couple of days late with posting my goals for the Aries new moon. This is in part to the craziness that we’re dealing with now (the novel coronavirus pandemic; where the total numbers in the US have topped 100K), and as I’ve told several people—my two goals are to 1) not catch the virus; and 2) get through the insanity with my sanity intact. That said—posts are probably going to be sporadic again for the next couple of months.

So the moon moved through the Aries constellation earlier this week, and with it started a new astrological calendar (as Aries is the first zodiac sign)—therefore in a way we can try to start things over again, or start anew depending on your views.

So what are some things that one can work on during the Aries new moon (and actually in general since a good portion of the world is still under quarantine)?

Those things include:

            Taking action on dreams and plans.

            Make a 12-month plan

            Be courageous in moving towards achieving your goals.

            Have some fun

            Focus on you

Then if one looks to see what house Aries is passing through—for me it’s passing through my 6th house or my daily work and health zone. So for me that means I actually should sit down and try to develop a daily schedule that will allow me to focus on both aspects of my life currently: fitness/health and personal/professional development (and job searching).

So what are some of the things that one can do during this time to improve things in their sixth house?

            Recommit to some type of exercise program

            Think about (correct if need be) your eating habits

            Help someone out this month           

            Talk to your boss about any work concerns you might have

            Read a book on positive thinking

            Eat healthy lunches or dinners for one month—no exceptions

            Learn to meditate

So I always find it a little uncanny at times how accurate the moons transition is through the houses (especially when I know there are certain things I should be focusing on). This is again one of the areas (namely the nutrition; though working on my transition plan is still high on the list as well). I am happy to say that I’ve been sticking with a workout program (I’ve only missed three days out of the last five weeks—two days last week and today).

So which things am I going to try to focus on over the next few weeks?

            Making a 12-month plan. I tried last year and probably went too far into detail in some areas and totally overwhelmed myself.

            Continuing with Morning Meltdown 100 (should finish it up in early June)

            Work on my eating habits (try to start getting a few more servings of fruits and veggies in)

            Read a book on positive thinking (or at least on positive psychology)

            Continue to meditate nightly

And as the insanity continues to run wildly around—remember: Progress, not Perfection

No Comments AstrologycareerfitnessHealthNew Moon GoalsPandemic2020Personal Developmentprofessional development

February in Review

Well the leap month is over, and we’re a sixth of the way through 2020. I actually would like time to speed up for once—this year isn’t going the way I was hoping, and therefore I almost want it to be 2021. I had decided that during my “reboot break” I was going to take at least one trip for fun/relaxation and then at least one trip for networking/work stuff. Well, it is looking like it will possibly be just networking/job related trips for the foreseeable future—why? Because of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus—SARS-CoV-2, which has been spreading around the globe since December of last year. I’m not to keen on getting on a plane for an extended period of time with other people, plus there are now numerous travel restrictions to various countries. So I’m going to be keeping an eye on the virus and news and decide towards the end of March if I’m even going out to Boston in April.

I’m getting better at some aspects of the reboot break than others—but I’ve also gained some insight into those areas as well (there will probably be another blog post on this topic at some point in March). But it has been a little over two months since I started the break, and while I haven’t made as much progress on the health and fitness—I think I’m making enough that it’s time to start really trying to work other areas of life also into the day-to-day habits/goals/things to work on.

But first, it is time to look at the goals that I set for February and see how I did with each of them:

The goals for February included:

At least 413,000 steps (a little over the 14,230 steps/day—but it is a nice round number)

Reading at least 3 non-fiction books

Working out daily (alternating between Barre Blend, LIIFT4, and possibly Morning Meltdown 100)

Personal/Professional development (listening to podcasts, working through various e-courses and other course bundles, networking, and interacting more on linkedin)
Money log/weekly-check ins/No spend days—work up to no spend weeks

Work on editorial calendar(s)—blog, personal/professional development/fitness & health/mental health—determine the direction(s) that the blog is going to be going in for 2020 and beyond

And for February the phrases: “Progress over Perfection” and “Don’t fear failure. Fear being in the same place next year”

So how did I do with each one of them?

At least 413,000 steps (a little over the 14,230 steps/day—but it is a nice round number)

            This is something that I’ve been bad at doing—getting my daily steps in. I probably only reached about fifty percent on the step goal for the month (208,873 steps). Part of the problem—it was a little too cold/rainy/wet for doing daily walks and practicing my photography. Yes, I could have done the walks and listened to podcasts, but I didn’t. So if I’m going to try to reach my 5 million steps by the end of the year, I’m now going to have to aim for basically 14,943 steps a day—or just round it up to basically 15,000 steps a day for the rest of the year. I’m even behind on just trying to get to 3,660,000 steps. So anyway you look at it—I need to start getting off my butt and moving around more.

Reading at least 3 non-fiction books

I finished reading “The 12 week year: get more done in 12 weeks than others do in 12 months” by Brian P Moran and Michael Lennington. I’m actually going to try to implement a 12-week year, possibly starting in April (I need to try to get things planned out a little better before hand).

I also finished “Permission Granted: Be who you were made to be and let go of the rest” by Melissa Camara Wilkins.

While it’s only been two books both January and February—at least I’m being steady on the number of books. I’m thinking that I should keep the number of books read to be between two to three—if it’s more great, but it should be a minimum of two books.

Working out daily (alternating between Barre Blend, LIIFT4, and possibly Morning Meltdown 100)

            This has been off and on for most of the month—though I have been consistent this last week with starting Morning Meltdown 100—so I’m probably going to continue with that one and see afterwards on doing either Barre Blend or another round of LIIFT4. The new goal will be finishing Morning Meltdown 100—which if I do just one workout a day (which is how I’m going to probably do things), I’ll be finishing it beginning of June.

Personal/Professional development (listening to podcasts, working through various e-courses and other course bundles, networking, and interacting more on linkedin)

Okay I’m getting a little better on this one—joined an accountability group within the cheeky scientist association, and am focusing on things a little more. I’m trying to post at least one to two articles a day (taking usually Sunday off) from various science/business news sites. I’m also reaching out to various people at different companies that I would like to possibly work at—just to find out a little more about the companies (namely the culture, day-to-day activities, and balance). So that is slowly moving along. I’m listening to podcasts at night, while looking at companies and so forth. Haven’t worked through that many e-courses, but that is hopefully going to change some in the coming months.

Money log/weekly-check ins/No spend days—work up to no spend weeks

            This is something that I was so-so on. I managed several no-spend days, but since I really didn’t have a February money log set up in the journal—I didn’t really keep track of the days when I did buy an e-book, or needed to order something from Amazon. Again, this is something that I’m going to be working on in the coming months—I’m actually thinking of a bare-minimum spend March challenge (blog post coming later this week possibly).

Work on editorial calendar(s)—blog, personal/professional development/fitness & health/mental health—determine the direction(s) that the blog is going to be going in for 2020 and beyond 

I’ve realized the reasons why this task (making editorial calendars) is so damn difficult for me: 1) I usually have either too many ideas bouncing around in my head (and I don’t always write them down), 2) I can’t think of anything to write on, 3) I can’t decide on the picture that I want to share in a photography challenge, and 4) I’m still haven’t totally decided on the direction(s) that the blog is going to be going in for 2020 and beyond. I mean right now it is a combo personal/professional development, travel, crafts, health/fitness, and just about anything else that catches my fancy—so basically a lifestyle blog (and I’m not even sure what type of lifestyle). Though I may keep in that general direction while I’m trying to figure out what I’m doing with my life going forward.

I have been able to keep the phrase “Progress over Perfection” front and center while I’ve been doing things this month. The phrase “Don’t fear failure. Fear being in the same place next year” is a little harder to keep front and center—because right now I’m stuck in the middle of the fear zone, though I’m moving out of it very slowly.

So moving into March (which is the last month of the first quarter of 2020), the goals will include:

At least 465,000 steps (breaks down to 15,000 steps/day)—this is to get back on track to hit the 5 million steps goal by the end of the year.

Reading at least 2 non-fiction books

Working out daily—continuing with Morning Meltdown 100 on BOD

Personal/Professional development—listening to podcasts, working through various e-courses and other course bundles, work via the accountability group, networking, and interacting more on linkedin.

Money log/Weekly-check ins/No Spend Days—actually try to have a bare-minimum spend month (again blog post coming later this week, early next week)

Work on editorial calendar(s)—blog, personal/professional development/fitness & health/mental health. Determine the best direction(s) for the blog to go in for 2020 and beyond.

Then remember: “Progress over Perfection” and “Don’t fear failure. Fear being in the same place next year”

No Comments careerfitnessjob searchingMonth in ReviewPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentRebootBreak

January 2020 in review: Start of a new year and a new decade

Well January is over, and we survived the month—and I’m like three days late in posting my monthly review. It’s a sad time when the phrase WW3 is trending on social media by the third day of the month. I haven’t been regular in posting to the site—I haven’t started the photography challenge (but I started it late last year as well), and when it comes to creating content—I realized that I have about five or six different drafts of things in regards to my career transition.

It has been not quite two months (which will be next Friday) since I’ve started my “reboot break”—and I think I’m still in the progress of trying to get my health and fitness under control.  We’ve had a couple of “snow” days this month, and I think I’ve managed to make a couple of walks around Boomer Lake.

The goals for January included:

At least 434,000 steps

Reading at least 3 non-fiction books

Working out daily (Barre Blend starting January 6)

Personal/Professional development (listening to podcasts, working through e-courses, working through other course bundles bought)

Money log/weekly-check ins/No spend days

So how did I do with each goal?

At least 434,000 steps—I fell behind on this goal this month. I think that there have only been about five or six days that I actually hit (or surpassed) the daily step goal of 14,000 steps. I managed to get a little over 230,000 steps; so I managed a little over 50% of the monthly steps.

I need to try to kick it up a notch or two for the rest of the year, if I’m going to hit my yearly goal of 5 million steps (so to hit that goal, I’ll need to kick it up to a little over 14K a day (~14,230/day).

Reading at least 3 non-fiction books

I managed to finish (in total) two books this month. Though in truth, the first book was actually started at the end of 2019, and finished within the first few days of 2020.

So the two books that I’ve finished:

            Like She Owns the Place by Cara Alwill Leyba

            Choose Your Best Life by Gary Williams

The book that I’m currently reading and will finish in February:

            The 12 week year: get more done in 12 weeks than others do in 12 months, by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington.

Working out daily (Barre Blend starting January 6)

It has taken me a little longer to try to get into some type of workout routine. One thing is that I’m going to be doing the workout probably in the evenings—the puppy (Chaos) would rather get me to play than just lie there and sleep while I’m doing my workout.

I restarted the program at the end of the month. I’ve decided that I’m going to be doing my own calendar and that is going to be going between a couple of different programs—Barre Blend, LIIFT4, and possible Morning Meltdown 100. I’m thinking that going between two or three different programs is going to be the best way for me to get back into a routine.

Personal/Professional development (listening to podcasts, working through e-courses, working through other course bundles bought)

So I have been listening to podcasts most nights (there have been a few nights that I haven’t listened to them). The two main podcasts have been the Team Beachbody Coach Call-replay and Onward Creatives.

The first podcast is just listening in to the different Monday morning wakeup calls with Beachbody and various coaches each week. I’m still working on getting back on track with my fitness and health, so listening to the podcast is a way of keeping a toe in the whole “coaching” business—since Beachbody does have the disclaimer that they don’t guarantee any monetary gain for anyone as a coach. Currently I’m bouncing around with the idea of possibly quitting coaching (that while I do have a handful of “clients”, they aren’t really ordering, and therefore I don’t have that much to “lose”).

The second podcast is one that focuses on being in business for your self—as they say bridging the gap between being creative and the business side. I enjoy listening to the podcast, even if I’m not going into business for myself quite yet. I’ve been getting some ideas and just enjoy listening to someone else’s perspective on things.

I’ve also slowly been trying to work through various e-courses, but haven’t quite figured out the best method/order for working through the courses—do I alternate between personal and professional courses or do I try to alternate between topics within one of the areas? So this is something that I’m going to be working on during the early part of February so that I can plan things out for the next few months.

Money log/weekly-check ins/No spend days

I managed for about half the month to keep a log of money spent, and managed about half the month in weekly check-ins as well. In terms of no spend days I think I had probably about fifteen to twenty days. A goal going forward is that other than a few choice spending days, pre-ordered books, and bills I don’t spend any money for the month. I’m thinking that this may be more in March than in February due to the fact that I’m going to be taking Chaos in for a check-up at the vet’s and I’m not sure how much it is going to be running. Though I may try to make February a low spend month as well.

So I managed to get started this year with various areas, I made strides in certain areas (managing to read two and a half books, working out the last week of the month, and starting to keep track of what I’m spending my money on), but there were also areas that I fell short on—namely getting my steps in. So there is areas for improvement, and areas that I can add to or build off of.

And for January the phrase: “Progress over Perfection”—so I did mange to embody this phrase for the month of January.

The goals for February will include:

At least 413,000 steps (a little over the 14,230 steps/day—but it is a nice round number)

Reading at least 3 non-fiction books

Working out daily (alternating between Barre Blend, LIIFT4, and possibly Morning Meltdown 100)

Personal/Professional development (listening to podcasts, working through various e-courses and other course bundles, networking, and interacting more on linkedin)


Money log/weekly-check ins/No spend days—work up to no spend weeks

Work on editorial calendar(s)—blog, personal/professional development/fitness & health/mental health—determine the direction(s) that the blog is going to be going in for 2020 and beyond

And for February the phrases: “Progress over Perfection” and “Don’t fear failure. Fear being in the same place next year”

No Comments careerfitnessHealthMonth in ReviewPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentRebootBreakReflections

Admitting that I’m a procrastinator and how I’m going to deal with it in 2020

So, I’m a little over a month into my reboot break. I’ve done a little soul searching, some reading, adopted a puppy from the local animal shelter, a few walks around Boomer Lake, tried to get back into a fitness routine, and so far have put off trying to draft a master plan/outline for the year.

One thing I will admit to is that I’m a procrastinator—if I don’t want to do something I will either find something else to do, or I will keep saying that I’ll do the task tomorrow (and depending on the task—keep saying tomorrow).  I’ve realized that the procrastination wasn’t that bad while growing up—there were deadlines for homework and things like that (and as a child—at least I couldn’t get away that much with the procrastination), but it started to develop once I hit college, and has gotten slightly out of hand since.

When it was time to think about going to college, I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to major it (I enjoyed numerous subjects in school), and I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go. I had an average grade point and had an okay score on the ACT—neither of which were going to get me very far if I wanted to go to school out of state. I already had the mindset that I wasn’t going to take out a loan for school (even if I was eligible for any that were halfway decent), therefore that meant going to the state college in town.

I had decided to go the science route (as at that time everyone was saying something along the lines of “major in what will pay the bills, and minor in what you enjoy”). I could have gone into business—but the thought of sitting behind a desk all day bored me, so I went the science route. I started off thinking wildlife ecology & management, but once I found out that the lab exams for one of the courses was out in the field looking at plants (that wasn’t so bad)—but you had to identify them by their scientific name (my spelling is bad at the best of times—I’m glad that there is spell check), I decided to switch to biochemistry and molecular biology.

I still took classes that I found interesting, and this resulted in me taking seven years to finish my undergrad—but I got two bachelors’ degrees (biochemistry & molecular biology, and biology), plus a minor in history (I was two classes shy of a sociology minor by the time I graduated). Throughout these seven years, I learned several things about myself—first and foremost the testing anxiety was still front and center. I did well in the humanity and social science classes, but the other sciences (where my majors were)—those were a struggle at times when it came time for the tests.

I’d found that certain areas of both degrees were more interesting than others—for example I enjoyed learning cell and molecular biology more than I did organic chemistry and physics. I also found that I could pull historical facts forward faster than I could pull the method and byproducts for an organic chemical reaction.

I remember that I was probably a year or so away from graduation and wasn’t sure if this was the direction I wanted to go—but was also unsure of which direction to go in. I therefore push onward, took the GRE (got an okay score—not great—remember I have huge test anxiety issues, especially if the test is all computerized—which the GRE was at that point), and applied for different graduate programs.

I decided that I should try to stretch my wings and I applied for several different programs that were out of state (plus at the last minute, decided that I would also apply to my alma mater as well—as the ultimate fall back). So I applied to four different programs out of state, and while I managed to get an on campus interview for one of the programs—none of them panned out. Either my grades weren’t high enough, or they didn’t think I could handle the PhD program and suggested that I should apply for the masters program instead (PhD programs pay you to learn, masters programs for the most part don’t)—so I was lucky in that I was able to get into my alma mater for grad school.

This wasn’t my first choice, but I was going to make it work. I spent a year in a structural biology lab, before I realized that wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life. I then switched to a plant molecular biology lab, where I was actually being challenged in learning. I hadn’t worked with plants that much before joining the lab hadn’t done any RNA work, and I found things enjoyable for the first time in a few months in grad school. Also it was nice to be told that within four years I should have learned as much as possible and it would be time to move on. The only drawbacks for those years in grad school—there was no real mentoring in how to “properly” write a scientific paper or proposal, and there was no real career mentoring.

After graduation I managed to land a post-doctoral position at one of the many universities in the Greater Boston area. While I enjoyed the time out in the area, I had ignored some red flags that I shouldn’t have and struggling since to figure out exactly what I want to do with my life and career. I’ve realized that one should never really take a position in a newly started lab unless they are willing to put in fifteen or sixteen hour days six days a week. I only learned a few new things, and started to slowly realize that I probably wasn’t cut out for academic life.

Coming back home, and bouncing around at my alma mater (first a postdoctoral position, and then two staff positions), has only highlighted the fact—I still haven’t found that position/job/title/occupation that is my “calling”. There have been things that I’ve enjoyed over the past seven years, but there have also been things that I really disliked over the past seven years as well.

So how does all this tie into my admitting that I’m procrastinator?

Going to sidetrack a little and give a little background on procrastination (see how I’m procrastinating?).  For years, it has been said that procrastination is a time management issue—and that definition is easy enough to see—we do something else to avoid doing what we originally needed to do. Now it is being toted as an emotion management problem (https://www.fastcompany.com/90357248/procrastination-is-an-emotional-problem). Basically, we procrastinate or put things off that we may (or may not) have attached negative emotions to.

So, I’ve admitted that I’m a procrastinator—which means that I’m admitting to having negative emotions attached to certain ideas or tasks. So which tasks/ideas/goals have I either consciously or subconsciously attached negative emotions to?

            Getting back into shape—I’ve been out of shape majority of my life (never was really big on sports growing up nor being all girly and dressing up/wearing makeup). I had managed to lose a good amount of weight twice in my life—first time was out in Boston (I was walking my dog at least twice a day, and cooking for one—though most of the time weekday dinners were a peanut butter sandwich), and then again about six months or so after moving home. At that point I joined an accountability group on Facebook that was being run by a old high school classmate—I lost probably about twenty pounds or so, but then after a bike accident (where I royally bruised my lower left leg) and job issues—I’ve put the weight back on (with added interest—I’m probably at my heaviest since college). Why do I have negative emotion attached to getting into shape? In part—I was picked on throughout school (or at least up to going to college) about my appearance and weight. So there are still those issues that I need to work through—basically I need to remind myself on a daily basis that I’m losing weight to live my best possible life—not someone else, and I’m not losing the weight to make anyone else happy either.

            Transitioning into an industry position—this is more tied into my anxiety, and the worry that I’m going to make another wrong turn (like I did with my first postdoctoral position). For the most part, I like to have a good idea of how things are suppose to go—I knew that with the postdoctoral positions, I had to work hard (though I did limit the hours to more or less “normal forty hour weeks”) and I would have to read a lot to brush up on the subject matter (as both were new to me areas). Going into industry—there are numerous different directions that one can go in, the job may or may not be totally steady (depending on if the company is bought out, merged with another, or if it somehow goes bankrupt), and about a hundred different other issues. Also it comes down to whom you know, and who is willing to put in a good word for you—and this is totally tied in with my anxiety.

            At times I have problems with trying to do small talk, and networking—it isn’t that I don’t want to meet new people and expand my network—I do, but I have this underlying fear from childhood that people are going to be interrupting me and correcting my speech. This comes from the fact that when we moved to OK from MA, I ended up in speech therapy for years because of the fact that I learned how to talk in MA. In case you didn’t know people in MA have a tendency to drop the “r” in words—so since I learned how to talk in MA, I had a northern accent. The teachers and school officials decided that I needed speech therapy to learn how to pronounce my “r”—I spent five years in speech therapy, plus had teachers correcting my speech in class. I then got into the habit of not really talking in public settings—and this is something that I’m trying to work on. I know it is a slightly irrational fear, but it is still there lurking in the back of my mind.

            Choices—there are so many different choices for what one can do in industry, it is almost like being a kid in a candy store. While I have several different options listed out about what I’m curious about—I have a fear that the one I may chose could be the wrong path. Though as I’m told—I won’t know if I like, unless I try it. This is also tied into the networking problem—I don’t want to feel like I’m wasting people’s time if I decide that their path isn’t the same one that I actually decide to go down.

            Needing to have everything planned out. I will admit that I do like to have an idea of all the steps, and any and all possible results and endings before starting something. I mean instead of picking just one area of Indian art for my paper for art history in high school, I wrote basically a thirty-page paper covering everything that could fall under the umbrella of Indian art.

            This is also coming from again my first postdoctoral position—I thought I had everything planned out, but then the rug was metaphorically pulled out from underneath me. It isn’t fun realizing that one needs to move back in with one’s parents in order to get out from the mountain of debt that one finds themselves in. So now I’m trying to figure out how to plan out every single step of everything and finding myself in motion paralysis.

So now that I’ve admitted to being a procrastinator and the two main areas (health/fitness and career) that I’m procrastinating in, how will I go about getting past the procrastination and making progress on each area?

As I was reading some different pages on procrastination and emotions I found the following three sentences to be profound:

            “Viewing the whole task (e.g. project or paper) all at once will only frustrate you if you have unrealistic expectations. Realize you must break the task into smaller pieces and you cannot do them all at once. The next key is just start whether you feel like it or not.” (https://socialanxietyinstitute.org/procrastination-wasting-our-time-and-increasing-our-anxiety).

Then I found the following ideas that had to deal with procrastination along with social anxiety:

            Make a list of tasks and prioritize what needs to be done

            Reward yourself for completing difficult tasks

            Use relaxation strategies to deal with anxiety about completing tasks

                        Some of the techniques include: deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, autogenic training, and guided imagery.

(https://www.verywellmind.com/procrastination-and-social-anxiety-disorder-3973931).

So now I’m going to name the two big tasks (relating to fitness/health and job transition). Then I’m going to brainstorm how to break those two big tasks into easier to handle tasks. In addition I’m going to brainstorm an award system for each big task. Finally I’m going to break down the tasks into monthly/weekly/daily goals—with the rewards being based on hitting the larger (weekly or monthly) goals. In other words—I’m going to be working on my long term plan (other wise known as five year (or ten, twenty year) plan.

Sites with their links have been included that I found interesting and used in the post.

No Comments careerfitnessHealthjob searchingPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Update on Reboot Break

So I’m about a month into my reboot break, and am still trying to figure out the best routine. One thing I’ve noticed after going through notes that I’ve taken over the past couple of years—I need to try to find (or actually rediscover) my “voice” or who I am. I’ve realized that I’ve spent the past couple of years just drifting along, and when it comes to trying to answer personal/professional development questions such as “who are you” or “what is the difference between you and someone else for this role”—I can almost generically answer the first one, but can’t come up with answers of what makes me unique for roles. I realize that I’ve spent years blending in with my surroundings and trying to stay in the background unnoticed. This all comes from childhood and being a victim of bullying—not of which was physical, and I learned it was better to pretend to be invisible and blend into the background than draw attention to the situation.

While it is nice that I’ve identified the problem (my unconscious moves to blend into the background), now I need to work on breaking those patterns. I need to rediscover things that I enjoy doing (things that make me uniquely me), and then determine the best ways of weaving those hobbies into “transferable skills” for job interviews. I would say that I’m fairly confident that I should move R&D scientist down the list on interesting job titles (as it is more or less my comfort zone), and start trying to step outside of what I’m use to doing to see what grabs my interest in terms of the other possible job titles.

I’m thinking that the list is going to now look something like this:

            Health Economist

            Market Research Analyst

            Scientific/Medical Writer

            Market Communications Specialist

            Clinical Data Analyst/Manager

            Quantitative Analyst

            Patent Analyst

            R&D scientist (up to R&D manager)

Though the top seven are more or less fluid (I just rearranged a few from how I’ve previously listed them).

So this week is going to be spent getting back into a workout routine, spending some time practicing photography, puppy training (I adopted a puppy just before Christmas), reading, working a rough draft of everything that I would like to accomplish this year, and looking more into the above roles.

Once I remember (or better yet remind myself) of things I like to do, that aren’t related to work, I will be that much further on my path to finding the optimal industry position to transition into this year.

No Comments 101 Goalscareerjob searchingLifestyle Challengesno spend challengesPersonal DevelopmentPetsPhotographyprofessional developmentRebootBreakReflections

Decade in Review: 2010 to 2019

So most people were doing the decade comparison in pictures over various social media sites—I’m not going to do that, mainly because I let my health and fitness slide enough that I’m back to basically the same weight. But I can try to summarize the past decade and maybe that will allow me to try actually projecting ahead a few years (so that I can actually push myself out of the “weeds” or “quicksand” that I feel like I’ve been stuck in for the past few years).

I started out the decade by finally finishing graduate school. I had promised myself that I would be done with school by the time I hit my 30th birthday and I was (more or less). I managed to finish two out of the three requirements (the third was what held up my diploma another five months). But I walked across the stage and accepted the diploma holder for my PhD in May, I presented and defended my dissertation in July, and then dealt with rewrites of my dissertation that finally earned me my diploma in December of 2010.

I took a post-doctoral position out in the Boston area in July of 2010. This required me finding an apartment that was close to public transportation (since that was how I was going to be getting to work every day). I managed that, but then hired the worst possible company to move my stuff out there (luckily they’re now out of business)—to the point that I slept on an air mattress for a month before my furniture and things showed up. I also hired pet movers to move my dog (Chewi) and cat (Pancakes) out there, and I will use them again when I move for my next position (as I also hired them to move Chewi and Pancakes back home when the job folded under me and I had to move back home in 2012).

So from August 2010 to December 2012 (with a short visit back for Christmas in 2011) I was on the east coast. I did manage to visit Maine, NYC, and Connecticut; with drive-troughs of New Hampshire and Rhode Island (to get to Maine [New Hampshire—though I think it was also a brief stop] and then Connecticut & NYC [Rhode Island]). I didn’t do as much traveling in the area as I would have liked, due to 1) not having that much money—postdocs aren’t paid great, even in large cities [they don’t take cost of living into consideration], and 2) I didn’t feel comfortable always hiring a pet sitter (did that once for the trip back home for Christmas 2011).

But I did visit Salem and Rockport, in addition to wandering around Boston. The trips out of state to visit friends and family allowed me to see a little bit of other states—though if I move back there I would like to spend more than 24 hours in NYC playing tourist.

Being out in the Boston area was fun—I made numerous friends and enjoyed exploring the area. It wasn’t the greatest decision career wise though—I only learned a few new techniques, and the position ended on a sour note between my advisor and me. One thing I learned is that I should always try to listen to that voice that warns that there could be issues with the job—I ignored it, and found out that yeah, there were issues with the job.

Christmas 2012 saw me moving back home from Boston. While I could have tried to find something in the Boston area, truthfully at this point I was pretty well financially broke, and emotionally burnt out. I decided that it might be best to regroup, where I knew that I could save money, and maybe figure out what I was doing with my life. But of course, I wasn’t sure what I was going to be doing—I just knew that I really needed to find some job so that I could start paying off all the credit card debt that I built up living in Boston (see above note about how postdocs are paid).

2011 also saw my parents bringing another dog into the family—a Great Pyrenees/Bearded Collie mix that we named Boozer (she was fascinated by the sounds of cans opening when she first came into the house). She was also served as a transition dog for my dad, as we weren’t sure how much longer the St. Bernard had (though she lasted another three and a half years).

I managed to get another postdoctoral position within my alma mater department working with yeast. This meant that I was learning a new biological system (previously I’d work with plants, bacteria, insects, and cell cultures), and new techniques. Alas, the money for that position only lasted a little over a year (and the fellowship I tried for I didn’t get [in part due to being back at my alma mater and not asking my first postdoc advisor for a letter of recommendation]), 

Luckily I managed to find a one-month teaching position that paid well. It kept me busy during part of summer, and reminded me that I did enjoy working with students. I spent the next few months putting out job applications—I luckily managed to get another position within the department this time working directly with undergraduate students. I had to write my own job description after being hired as no one knew exactly what the position was suppose to entail. I coined the job title “senior research specialist/undergraduate research techniques instructor” as I was doing both—research and trying to teach students the basic techniques they would need to know for doing research in a lab.

This was a job that I really enjoyed for the most part—working with students, working on different projects and just generally not being bored (again for the most part). The only drawbacks were working with certain people (and you can have personality conflicts no matter where you go). So this position lasted from basically mid-September 2014 through July of 2017; it was terminated due to funding issues and I became unemployed for the third time. This unemployment period lasted longer than the other two (probably could be considered a sum of the other two), but again I managed to get another staff position within the department just after Thanksgiving in 2017.

2015 was also a slightly off year as it was the year that we had to say goodbye to our St. Bernard Speedbump. She was a loving goof ball that got along with all dogs, and was a cuddle bug.

Now this position taught me a few more things, and it was a paycheck. It was a yearly position that would be renewed if there was funding available for it—so always fun working and wondering if there would be another contract to sign or if you were going to be told sorry only ‘x’ months left. So after signing another contract in November of 2018 I decided that no matter what, this would be basically the last year at my alma mater.

2018 was also another off year as we lost three more dogs—we lost Spelunkers in February due to cancer, and then we lost two other dogs in October (within a span of four days) due to both old age and other health issues (heart problems and cancer). So to say that I was more than happy to see the tail end of 2018 was an understatement.

2019 was an okay year—we adopted two more puppies (my mom got her puppy in May—a boxer mix that we named Rolex (so she could say that she had her watchdog), and then I adopted a puppy about a week before Christmas (a male blue heeler/border collie/aussie mix that I named Chaos—because bring another dog into the house right before the holidays was to introduce Chaos). So yes, two new puppies with names that make a play on words.

This was also the year that I decided that I would quit my job and take a “reboot break”. Since I realized that I could truthfully say that I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, I needed to take a break, regroup, and then focus on my career—I don’t want to say that going through college and earning a PhD was for no reason—I’m going to dedicate time to figure out what the best path for me is in terms of a career change that still will allow me to make use of the skills that I picked up over the past twenty plus years (yes, I figured out that my academic career reached the legal drinking age awhile ago—and since I wasn’t totally happy within that arena it is time to figure out what arena I want to be in).

Here is to 2020—the start of a new year, and a new decade. It is a blank slate and I am capable of writing whatever narrative I want for my life. I control the direction that my life goes—all I need to do is fix the oars, patch the leaks, and look up to the stars. I open myself up to what the universe will send my way.

No Comments careerfinancesfitnessHealthjob searchingLifestyle ChallengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

2019: A Year in Review

So 2019 has come to a close, and now it’s time to reflect back on the year (with its ups and downs, hills and valleys).

This was the year that I decided that I needed to do some type of major shakeup career wise—this wasn’t to say that I was totally unhappy with my job—something needed to change though. I had decided that I would hopefully either transition into an industry position, or I would resign my position, take some time off to re-center myself and then refocus on my job search. I ended up going with option number two—my “reboot break” started shortly after the Thanksgiving holiday.

I’ve realized over the past few months that I’ve more or less been in a “coasting” mode for the past couple of years—never really thinking of where I want to be in five or ten years, just focusing on trying to get through the day and the week to the weekend. It’s hard to figure out the next direction to go in, when you’re stuck in the weeds with nothing but a slightly broken oar to propel yourself—you don’t get very far.

I’ve also realized that I’ve been trying to focus on too many different areas at once (health/fitness, finances, moving my career forward, and trying to find time to do crafts to balance things out), that I’m going to try to focus on just two to four areas (health/fitness and moving my career forward are tied for number one, and then it will probably be personal/professional development (tied for number two, and tied into both areas at number one), and then some time for crafts.

This was I can probably set up an monthly calendar easier with just those “three” areas instead of considering them four to five different areas. This should also mean that I have more ideas for blog topics throughout 2020 as well (which is one area that I felt that I didn’t push forward enough throughout the year).

In terms of health and fitness—I’m slowly making my way back to a routine that works for me. I will probably stick with the workouts provided by Beachbody, but figure out the best nutrition plan on my own. I know that I have a major sweet tooth, and instead of depriving myself (and ending up binge eating sweets), I allow myself some sweets and try to balance it out with more fruits and vegetables throughout the day. I’m pretty sure that there will be more posts on nutrition and fitness throughout 2020 as well, as I work to get into the best shape of my life (I’m thinking of some trip later in the year that would require me to be in better physical condition than I am currently).

We also adopted a puppy back in May shortly after mother’s day. My mom decided that it had been long enough since losing her dog, that she was willing to get a puppy. So we adopted a boxer mix, renamed her Rolex and it’s been a crazy ride ever since. Then basically a week before Christmas, I decided that I really wanted a puppy (I know that I will never be able to replace Chewi), so I went with my brother to the animal shelter and adopted a blue heeler/collie/shepherd mix. Now we have a period of adjustment—Rolex is a little jealous of the puppy (mainly the amount of attention that I’m giving him)—but I chose the right name for him—Chaos (since I was getting him right before the holidays—I knew that I was going to be bring chaos into the house). Now, as I start looking forward again on my job search—the position/location will also need to be puppy friendly (nearby parks and so forth).

In terms of personal development I managed to read nineteen different books (though several of them were challenge books—where you pick a topic and try to work on it for a month or so). Several of the books related to finances (mine are okay—which is why I’m able to do the reboot break right now), decluttering (something that I really need to do—both for myself and ease my parents into it as well), and then just some good old fashion self-care (reboot break, and being reminded that I shouldn’t be waiting for others to give me a ‘permission slip’ to live my life). I’m hoping that in 2020, I double the number of books that read in terms of both personal and professional development.

I had gotten back into doing oracle/tarot card readings for a good portion of the year (quit doing them the last few months), and realized yet again my pulling back was due in part to me trying to fit in to molds that I don’t belong (worry about what prospective employers might think if they come across my instagram account). But I was reminded with reading a couple of books last month that I shouldn’t be waiting on a ‘permission slip’ from others—it’s my life and I doubt that I would be wanting to work for any company that doesn’t value everyone’s spirituality.

I had wanted to travel a little during 2019, but those plans never came to fruition—either due to not having enough vacation time earned, the weather (one major “fear” earlier this year was being stranded somewhere due to the weather and losing money since I wouldn’t be working & would have used up all my vacation time), or just not being able to decide where I wanted to go.

Hopefully in 2020 there will be more travel—both for mental health (since I’ve realized it has been over a year since I’ve taken a vacation) and networking/job search/hopeful job interviews, or a combination of the two types.

So while there was some change in 2019—there wasn’t as much as I’d hoped for—but I did manage to plant the seeds for change (namely in quitting my job) to occur in 2020. As we head into a new year and decade I need to remember that for 2020 I’m going to focus on “grow (th)”, “change”, “achievement(s)”, and “success”.

And remember: Progress over perfection. I’m also going to remember to “evaluate the people in [my] life; then promote, demote, or terminate. [I’m] the CEO of my life”.

No Comments careerHealthjob searchingLifestyle ChallengesPersonal DevelopmentPetsprofessional developmentYear in Review

Hiatus almost over

Well I’ve realized that it’s been probably a month since I’ve published anything on the blog. In large part due to trying to finish things up at work (and that stretched an extra two weeks), and then trying to figure out the best way of possibly restarting the photography challenge.

I’ve found that doing photography on the weekends relaxes me. I’m focusing on really nothing but trying to find another great nature shot–my only goal on the walk is to get at least fifteen to twenty good pictures out of the possible eighty to ninety pictures that I take. But I’ve noticed that with just walking at Boomer Lake, the poses of the birds change–but object of the picture doesn’t change that much. So now I’m trying to look for more song birds (and in the spring, summer, and fall–I’ll be looking for other things as well).

In other words–I’m trying to find more variety in the nature photography that I’ve been doing. One nice thing with starting my reboot break–I will have the time to try to do that (since I’m going to try to do a walk daily, though it may not always be in the morning). I’m also going to try to structure my time more so I can actually sit down and write more–blog posts (need to start drafting lists of different topics–have an idea (or possible request)–drop it in the comments), short stories, and then articles for linkedin.

2019 is going to be coming to an end soon (and where has the year gone?), and it will be the start of a new decade. I’m determined that this coming decade is going to contain better chapters of my life than the last decade has (yes I got my degree–but the career path has been bumpy to say the least). So here’s to making the goals and then breaking them down to a monthly/weekly/day plan to ensure that they’re achieved.

No Comments careerPersonal Development

Day 1 of Mental health/networking break: Travel from OK to MA

So yesterday marked the first day of my mental health/networking break in the Boston area. The day was spent traveling—I got up at the early, early hour of basically 3:30am and got to the airport by 4:15 and was through security and sitting at the terminal by 4:40—a full forty minutes before boarding was going to start. Both flights ended up being full, so I checked my duffle bag (with the hopes that it would make it to Boston on time—and it did).

Today was the first time that I’ve flown into Atlanta, Georgia (nice airport for the little that I saw of it—luckily I didn’t have to go to far for the connection to Boston).

                 Souvenirs from Atlanta

I did buy two little souvenirs—a magnet for the fridge, and then a quirky little shot glass. I was very lucky with both flights, that I didn’t have a center seat; I had a window seat from Tulsa to Atlanta, and then an isle seat from Atlanta to Boston. Also with the trip from Atlanta to Boston, I can now say that I’ve flown over most of the upper east coast to get to Boston. The most trying time was waiting to get off the planes (both seats were in the back of the plane), especially in Boston. I think that from the time the plane landed to when I grabbed something to eat it was an hour (that’s how long it took to get off the plane, get to baggage claim, get on the bus to the T stop, get my ticket, get into Boston, and then find something to eat). So I’m currently not that hungry as I’m sitting in my hotel room writing this.

So once I got to North Station to connect to the commuter rail to get out to Salem I noticed that my cell phone had basically died—which meant that I didn’t have my map to pull up to find my way to the hotel (needless to say I did walk probably a quarter of a mile in the wrong direction before asking for directions). Steps are better than yesterday—but still below my average goal (but that is just the way it’s going to be for the current weekend).

So—finally made it to the hotel, and it is a very nice one at that (though missing a few things—namely a microwave in the room (I can do with taking showers since there are no tubs). Since I was late on booking my rooms for this trip, I was very lucky that I was able to find a room for two nights, and decided that I would stay in “The Hotel Salem”. This is a very nice posh hotel basically right in the middle of anything one wants to do in Salem (in terms of sightseeing). There is even a restaurant connect to the hotel, which makes it very easy to go and order an sandwich and take it back to the room (only to find out that the door lock batteries died and you now get to use an actual key to get into your room). Their sandwiches are superb—I ordered the roasted turkey and it was more than enough as it also came with an order of fries. I now have half a sandwich to eat later this week at some point (luckily the room does have a refrigerator so that is where the sandwich is [and hopefully if I don’t eat it tomorrow—I won’t forget it when I check out on Tuesday]).

             Looking down from the loft

Tomorrow’s plans are just sightseeing around Salem, relaxing, and all the other fun stuff one does on a mental health break.

No Comments careerPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmenttravel

Bubble thought approach to job searching

So July is here, and that means that in theory I have less than four months to figure out my transition plan if I want to get a job in industry this fall. As many know this is something that I’ve been slowly trying to figure out since I started this blog last fall—hard to believe it’s almost been a year for that (but that is totally another post for a later date).

One of my biggest problems has been trying to decide if I want to stay within my comfort zone (which would be on the bench doing research) or if I want to start venturing outside of my comfort zone and try something else. Lately I’ve been thinking more and more of trying to venture outside of my comfort zone, but at the same time be “within” other comfort zones (i.e. not taking a job that requires a lot of travel time).

So I decided that I’d try a different way of looking at this—I drew a bubble diagram. You remember those times in English class, when you needed to try to write a story and you tried to connect different ideas together to see which direction you wanted the story to go?? Well that is what I did—I wanted to see if there any ways of trying to connect career paths with things I already enjoyed doing.

Bubble thoughts

So with having basically my hobbies at the bottom of the page, I noticed that I could potentially have more interest in the health economics and outreach research position (as I am trying to focus more on my own health and fitness right now—I don’t want to feel like a hypocrite going into that position (trying to help figure out how to help improve the health of others while ignoring my own); or trying to go into a policy position. If I wanted to try to do that—it would be a position that either helped within the field of conservation biology or science education. As much as I’ve been thinking of getting my alternative certification for teaching science in a K-12 atmosphere—I don’t want to have worry about the potential of school shootings so this one is still a potential, but it’s on the back burner for now.

I wouldn’t mind going into a project management position, as it would still allow me to be close to research, but not necessarily the one doing it. I’ve also decided that if I was going to stay within research, I should think of going into a different sector (background is mainly biomedical/basic life science) and go either agricultural (biofuel or GMO) or potentially into cosmetic or something of that nature.

I know that writing will become a large part of any new position (and probably data analysis as well), so I am going to be trying to post longer blog posts (or new pages) here to help get back into writing. I know that there is a huge difference between creative writing and scientific writing (and that is where my troubles lay) and therefore will be trying to see how many either different types of reviews or even mini articles I can get written and posted this site over the next few months.

In addition, I know that I really do need to start brushing up on the business/healthcare/clinical side of things with the potential of trying to switch to an health economics position. So I made another bubble diagram of things that would be beneficial for me to start trying to either learn or start brushing up on for my transition.

Things to start brushing up on and/or learning

I have already started online courses in both web page design and project management (I just have to finish both courses). The web page design will help in both a science career and also as a potential side business (building web pages for other people). The project management course and certification will help in trying to get into a project management position.

I know that programming will be useful to know (so again I have bought some e-courses; I just have to go sit down and watch all the videos and take notes). I also know that I need to take an statistics course (which I will probably do on-line), and then there are difference business areas that I should at least be familiar with, such as economics (with various sub-fields) and marketing. I’m also going to start trying to brush up on a foreign language or two as well. It’s time to push myself to continue learning and progressing if I don’t want to be stuck in the same place for years. Learning is a life long process, I’m now just trying to un-stick myself from the stagnation that I’ve allowed myself to fall into lately.

No Comments careerjob searchingPersonal Developmentprofessional development