Category: Work

Life Updates

I haven’t meant to completely abandon my blog during the week but lately, life has been busy and has left me completely drained and unmotivated to sit by my computer in my free time. Sonic woke up me up early today, on my rest day from running of course, so I have a little time to write before I head off to work. Here’s what I’ve been up to when I haven’t been blogging…

The big thing I’ve been doing is balancing work and school. Boring, I know. Working in academia, I’ve always experienced slow times (summer, the holidays, etc) and busy times (fall and spring) but this year has been incredibly hectic. We’ve put in a few grant proposals and submitted multiple papers and abstracts on top of our normal workload. It’s always good to be busy at work but lately, it’s been wearing on me a lot. Plus, school-demands have picked up quite a bit as well. I’m actually only taking one class right now but it has a lab component on Saturday’s that pretty much kills my day. Fortunately, I’m almost done with this quarter (and chemistry forever!) and I’ll have my Saturday’s back in just a few weeks. My schedule will also become a lot more applicable this Spring-Fall with taking all of the psychology, anatomy, and physiology classes that are pre-reqs for PT schools. I can’t believe I’ll be applying to PT schools next fall.

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I’ve also been spending more time than usual working out. Between running 60+ miles/week and doing the 30 Day Shred 5-6 times/week, I’m spending a lot more time in workout clothes sweating than I ever have before. It’s been good for me though as working out tends to help me focus and vent off any frustrations. I like to start my day with a run (my form of yoga…) and then do the shred when I get home from work (so long as I don’t have a ton of homework/work to do in the evening). It’s nice to do something for me in the evening before making dinner and sitting back down at my laptop. Plus, I’ve seen a ton of fitness gains both physically and mentally. I plan to finish the shred next week so perhaps I’ll write a post recapping my experiences but needless to say, I’m finally realizing cross training is worth it. My running has improved and I feel more athletic than I have in a long time. It’s a shame that I just realized this now, at one of the busiest times of my life.

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In addition to school, work, and fitness, I’ve been trying to fit in some wedding planning which has been a huge source of anxiety for me. I’m not an event planner and I don’t really enjoy planning these types of things. I would LOVE to hire someone to read my mind and plan my wedding so that I can just show up the day of and enjoy myself. I’m slowly ticking things off my to-do list in my spare time over the weekend (ha, Sundays) but there are so many things to think of and details to consider. At least we have the biggies picked out – the  date, the space, my dress, my bridesmaids dresses, etc. but we really need to get going on some other things. Any advice on how to manage it all?

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Between being all sorts of busy, I’ve been pretty good at staying connected with family and friends and finding time to do other things that I love, like read. At this point of my life, I know that when things get out of balance for me, I become unhappy pretty quickly. I know that I need a little downtime every day and that I need to spend time with the people I love in order to feel like myself so I’ve been trying my best to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

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Lately for me, this has involved watching Dexter with Ian, reading lots of Irving (I’m definitely going through an Irving phase), checking out new restaurants, and celebrating birthdays, new jobs, and other things with friends. In addition, Ian’s brother had a baby over a month ago, so we soaked up some time with the little one before they left town for the winter. #minijetsetter.

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So all in all, life is pretty good right now. More hectic than usual but also so full of new opportunities and love.

Do you function better when you’re busy?
How do you maintain work-life balance?




Live to Work or Work to Live?

Recently, I’ve had quite a few conversations and even read a few articles about the disconnect between people’s dream jobs and what’s available in the job market. It seems to be a hot topic right now and something I think that resonates with a lot of people, especially 20-somethings who are relatively new to the workforce, so I thought I’d share my rambles with you guys and get your thoughts.

I remember thinking when I was in undergrad that I would go to grad school, get my master’s degree, and then it would be easy to find a job that I was passionate about and in my field. Well, that’s not exactly what happened. Don’t get me wrong, I really like my job (I’m working in public health research (my field), I have responsibilities, I’m a valued employee, I like my coworkers and my boss etc..), but if you had asked me two years ago if I thought I’d be doing what I do now, I wouldn’t have believed you.

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You see, to do what I really want to do, I need to go back to school and get a degree that is going to take upwards of 5 years to complete. While it seems like going back to school is no-brainer, I’m not sure I’m ready to go back yet. For the first time in my life, I’m working to live, not living to work. I have so few responsibilities outside of the office (just Sonic, really) that it’s easy for me to prioritize having fun, vacations, and running right now.

On occasion however, I start to feel guilty about not being ready to go back to school. I wonder if there’s something wrong with me that’s making me less determined than other people. In reality though, thinking this way is crazy. Even if I decide never to go back to school, I’ll be just fine. I have two degrees and work experience and while the job market is tough (I’m not trying to discredit that), I’d be able to find something to do, even if I wouldn’t be passionate about the work or even really like the job.

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And you know what? Many, many, many people have jobs that they’re not passionate about. It may be because their passions just don’t fall into typical job categories or because there are no opportunities available in that field (or better ones in a different field). Further, some people may not want to mix their passions with work so they choose to do something else and pursue their interests in their free time. All of these scenarios are totally acceptable and my insecurities (and those I see in my peers) make me wonder when the idea of working to live started to be considered inferior to living to work.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to only work between the hours of 9-5. There’s also nothing wrong with wanting to work long hours or weekends because you absolutely love your job. Everyone is different and interests and needs change over time so why do we put so much pressure on young adults to get as much schooling as possible, find the perfect job, and become immediately successful?

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Thinking about these issues has reminded me that life is about the journey and experiences not the destination. I’m almost positive that I will end up back in school at some point but in the meantime I’ve promised myself that I will not feel guilty for enjoying the live to work balance I’m currently experiencing. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime period for me and I plan on enjoying it to the fullest (or at least working on convincing myself not to feel guilty…).

Thoughts on this topic?
Do you live to work or work to live?




Transitions

Even though I turned 18 almost six and a half years ago, I haven’t considered myself an “adult” until recently.

My journey to adulthood has been a slow and gradual one. When I turned 16 I got my license and a car, when I was 18 I moved away to college, on my 21st birthday I had my first drink (;)), after college I moved away to Chicago, and then recently I finished a masters degree and started to apply for a more permanent job (there is more school in the works for me…eventually). With each step came an increasing amount of responsibility. First there was buying gas for my car and then I had to remember to pay my rent on time. Next, I had to get a job (undergrad) and budget money and then I had to learn how to navigate a new city. All of these things were difficult at first but over time became second nature.

However, when I graduated with my MPH I knew things were about to really change. Finding a job was no longer only about “getting experience”, I had to consider salary and benefits. Also, bills that my parents paid when I was in school started to fall on my shoulders (I was so lucky to have some help while in school). I had to make a decision about which health insurance plan and transit card I wanted to have, knowing that their costs would be taken out of my paycheck each month. Along with all of this, work became more demanding (as it should with more experience), student loans started staring me down, and my general responsibilities grew and grew.

Now, I’m not complaining at all! I’m actually very thankful that I have a full-time job that offers me benefits and that I have parents who have helped me along the way– I am eternally grateful. But, I’m not going to lie and say that I’m not a little crazed right now. Every week I start out with a to-do list and work my way through it during the week. Lunch breaks are spent making calls or running errands so that my free time at night can be spent relaxing. I never thought that being an adult was going to be easy but the transition from graduate student (who worked half-time) to full-time employee has not been simple.

Maybe I’m just in an adjustment period? Maybe things are my life is just busy right now and will calm down soon? Who knows, but for now I’m just going to keep spending time with friends, running, eating (duh!), and picking away at the seemingly never ending to-do list.

My runs have been good too. Yesterday I ran a recovery 4 miles at a slower pace. My legs were definitely feeling a little sore after my last few runs and it felt nice to stretch them out. I must say that I love my long/hard run days but I also look forward to my shorter ones. It’s nice to have a quick workout sometimes!

Besides that life is good. I have a busy but exciting weekend ahead of me including book club and a Lady Foot Locker sponsored event. Exciting!

What keeps you sane?




I’m Back

Sorry for disappearing for the past 2 days or so, I was working on a huge assignment that I really wanted to get done by today and I’ve spent every spare moment of the last 36 hours hyperfocusing on my project. The good news is I finished and turned it in this morning, the bad news is my sleep has definitely suffered the past two nights. Four hours just does not cut it! Anyway I’ll try to recap what you’ve missed.

Workouts
I did my best to workout despite my time-crunch because nothing helps manage my stress and keep me sane quite like a good sweat.

  • On Wednesday I went to the early hour long cycling class and then hit the pool for a mile swim. It’s always really hard for me to do sprints in the pool after spinning, but I find swimming for distance incredibly relaxing and refreshing.
  • Yesterday, I ellipticalled for 45 minutes. I was planning on going to a spinning class in the evening but decided that my time was best spent working on my assignment. I was bummed that I had to skip, but I definitely appreciate the extra hour of sleep today.
  • This morning I ellipticalled for 45 minutes and then cycled for 15. I wanted to do more but I needed some time to finish my project. Sacrifices!

Miscellaneous
Our apartment has been so hot the past few days! Like over 80 degrees indoors. Unfortunately, because we live in Chicago, the building can turn off the heat but won’t turn on the AC until May. We also can’t open our windows very far because they’re not screened and we have a very curious furball. Needless to say, we’ve been keeping the light off, avoiding turning on the stove/oven, and sleeping on top of the covers at night. Ugh! Oh well, it could be worse… I mean it could be snowing right now.

What are your plans this weekend? I plan on checking out the green river tomorrow and partaking in the city’s shenanigans. Life is all about balance right ;)