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Work: Caring Less Until They Let Me Care More

I've been at my current company for more than 1.5 years. It's a record for me. In the past, I've lasted a year on average before calling it quits for one reason or another (documented extensively in my posts tagged as "work"). My current job isn't exactly a passion of mine. I took it because it was the only thing I could get at the end of 2020, when the job market was still in pretty rough shape thanks to the pandemic. It's dull. Most of the time I feel like Helly in the show  Severance  as she slouches at her computer and drops numbers into bins for eight hours a day for reasons unbeknownst to anyone but the powers that be.  I made it through my first year at my company as an underpaid customer service rep mostly because I had a supportive boss and collaborative teammates. Last December, after a frustrating negotiation in which it was made clear to me that I am a mere cog in the giant company wheel, I was promoted to a new (but still tedious) role with a
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Receipts From A Spendy Summer

So sorry for the radio silence: it's partly due to legitimate busy-ness (non-stop deadlines at work, training and travel for a running trip, doctor's visits, ever-present domestic chores, a bout of covid that hung on for a couple of weeks) and partly due to me apparently preferring a good nap and Netflix binge over writing on my blog when I have some down time.  When last I posted, I was trying to recover from our June disaster-cation. I am happy to report that the rest of the summer has been much better from an enjoyment standpoint, but it has also been rather expensive. The money comes in! The money immediately goes out!  I feel like I'm living in that opening scene of the Pixar movie Up where the main characters keep trying to save for a dream trip only to have it foiled again and again by surprise expenses. Here's a list of what we've been spending on: 1. New tires ($880) - We bought our car used in 2021. It came with a decent set of winter tires, but the tread

June Wasn't A Good Month.

The mountain vacation I'd been planning and looking forward to for months and months was a total bust. The hotel -- which has received rave reviews in the past -- turned out to be a dump with paper-thin walls, a broken mirror, holes in the ceiling, and dead bugs in random places. The forest was closed due to fire restrictions, so we couldn't hike; even if it had been open, it rained the entire time.  We came home three days early. The hotel refunded $250 of the $1400 we paid when we reserved our suite. I'm still coming to terms with the fact that we threw >$1K down the drain. I went to see my doctor, whom I have known for more than five years, about irregular bleeding that was freaking me out. She spoke with me for 30 seconds and then dumped me on her trainee, a dude who looked to be approximately 25 years old. He asked me some questions about my period and then ordered some blood tests; this would have been okay (albeit better as a telehealth visit) except that neither

So About The Economy...

Everything's expensive right now: Food. Gas. Rent.  The stock market's looking slumpy. We're apparently on the verge of a recession/possibly already in a recession. Given these circumstances, we probably won't be able to max out our retirement accounts or fully pay off the student loan this year. They seemed like reasonable goals a few months ago; now, not so much. To help prepare for possible economic turbulence, we've been making some adjustments to our finances: 1. I reduced my retirement contributions by about half. I'll still get the employee match and I'm still putting in a decent chunk of my salary (20%), but we need more liquidity at the moment.  2. We're bolstering our savings account. We still have an emergency fund, but we hacked out a pretty big piece of it to bring the student loan balance down to ~$10K. I'd like to have a little more cash on hand in case of layoffs at my company (since my industry will definitely feel the effects of an

You Know Yourself Better Than Anyone Else Does

Lately I've been feeling pretty unhappy at work: bored, unfulfilled, disengaged, and disconnected. Like the stereotypical cog in the giant wheel of capitalism.  Those of you who've been around for a while are probably rolling your eyes like, AGAIN?!? Again with the job issues?! Don't get me wrong: I'm not going anywhere; I'm certainly not quitting. But I wouldn't say that I'm satisfied. This situation has led me to think about the challenges I faced and the choices I made that helped land me in this role. After all, content management was never a career I aspired to. I just somehow... ended up here. Ten years ago, I was certain I was destined to be a scientist, which was a solid assumption given that I was enrolled in a Ph.D. engineering program at a reputable school. I was making acceptable progress toward my degree, presenting at conferences, and winning research grants. My goal for most of my time in grad school was to become a tenure track professor at a

This Rent Is Bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

I ushered in the last day of the month as I usually do: by paying our rent while grumbling into my cup of coffee. I was particularly grumpy today because May 31 marks the first day of our new 12-month lease. Like most renters in the low-supply, high-demand housing hellscape of 2022, we now find ourselves shelling out substantially more t han we did a year ago just to keep a roof over our heads. Everyone loves a cute little mountain town, and so housing costs here have always been an issue for everyone but the wealthy. But now they're absolutely out of control. The median listing price has soared to $725K, and it continues to increase every week. So do rental costs.  We frequently find ourselves saying goodbye to friends who've given up on trying to make it work and are moving to more affordable locales or who simply want to get more bang for their buck in a LCOL (lower cost of living) area.  Although I love northern AZ for many reasons and hope hope hope we can stay here after

Is That The Finish Line Off In The Distance?!

Before I launch into my silly blog stuff, I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the school shooting in Texas a couple of days ago. Not that I know what to say at this point. If little kids getting massacred in what should be one of the safest places in their lives doesn't inspire a complete overhaul of our gun laws, I don't know what will. To say it's depressing is a massive understatement. Social media is full of action steps we can take (donate! sign a petition! reach out to representatives!), and that's helpful, but at the end of the day what we need is for Congress (specifically the Senate, specifically Republicans in the Senate) to take action. We shouldn't have to beg; it's their job. But they refuse to do it because money and power rule their lives and because as much as they claim to be pro-life, they're really just pro-their own interests.  So sure, I can sign a petition. Sure, I can make a call: "Hi, it's me, begging you to *checks