A little less than two weeks ago, I was called into my boss’s office on a Friday afternoon and he began the conversation with those dreaded words: “There’s no easy way to say this…”
It’s the worst feeling in the world, especially when it had nothing to do with your performance, the company just needed to downsize. Unfortunately, it’s an all too common reality these days. After my initial freak out, I put all the advice I’d collected in career classes, seminars, and school workshops into action. (In the interest of full disclosure, I’m still looking. But I’ve been told to get ready because it’ll take a few months at least. *cringe*)
Get the word out.
The old wisdom was that you shouldn’t let it be known that you’re unemployed because it makes you look desperate or weak. But with unemployment still hovering around 8% nationally, and 20% for twentysomethings and recent college grads, that stigma has really gone by the wayside. Other people must just be embarrassed. It’s not the easiest thing to admit.
On the list of the most stressful life events, moving in with a significant other is somewhere near the top. I can personally attest that it’s there for good reason. Moving in with a boyfriend or girlfriend is extremely different from living with roommates, and I know couples who’ve broken up because they jumped in without being fully ready. If you’re about to move in with your significant other or you’re considering it, here is some hard-earned wisdom from my first year of cohabitation.
Assess whether or not you’re actually ready to move in together. I mean for real.
Have you been together less than a year? Stop reading this. You’re not ready. I’m serious, just don’t. Hit the one year mark and then we’ll talk.
Haven’t had real, productive fights yet? Get out of here now.
Are you moving in because one of you just got kicked out of your current living space or is going through some major transitional period or is short on cash and needs a place to live? Find another solution, even if it’s temporary. Moving in because you “have” to is just going to add undue stress to an already stressful situation and possibly lead to a breakup that could otherwise have been prevented.
Source: iStockPhoto via Forbes.com
If you’re anything like me, you were shocked to discover that dating in your twenties is nothing like dating in high school or college. For one thing, the stakes are higher — people start talking about the future and it’s not some distant, made-up thing. Some people are looking for things that you are not looking for, or vice versa.
It’s also a lot more ambiguous, particularly if you’re not on the same page but unaware of it. And even if it’s clear-cut from the beginning, spoiler alert: some relationships end.
The upside to breaking up when you’re still attending classes is if you get publicly upset, people give you a break. I was in high school only for the era of America Online profiles and away messages, but I can only imagine it’s gotten more explosive and emotional since then, what with Facebook, Twitter, and the fact that everyone has a blog. The point is, there is a certain part of your life where it’s completely normal to have a sobbing fit in the cafeteria after you’ve been dumped. But as you age, and break-ups actually hurt more because you’ve invested time and dreams into them, you’re supposed to be mature and calm.
But how do you do it? How do you keep your 9-to-5 when getting out of bed feels impossible? Your blog writer has been in the trenches so you’ll hopefully have a better path. Here are my (totally unprofessional) tips:
One day I’ll sit my children down around the fire and tell them about the olden days before the internet, when you had to go to the bank to withdraw or deposit money and keep track of your balance on a funny little thing called a “register.” And yes, we used to pay with things with dirty little pieces of paper called “cash” – not debit cards.
Even now you might wonder why you need to balance your checkbook and keep a register when you can access this online or from your phone. There’s a few reasons you should have this skill. First, even banks make mistakes. Wait, let me rephrase that: especially banks make mistakes. If you keep your own records, while it’s not totally solid or legal proof of your case, it will help you more quickly pinpoint the problem if something goes wrong. Second, most banks have delays of several business days until credit and debit transactions are posted, so when you check your balance, you may think it reflects purchases you’ve already made when it doesn’t. And finally, if you record your spending, you’re less likely to make unnecessary spending and you’ll have a better idea where your money goes when you’re ready to put together a realistic budget.
I learned this lesson the hard way a few years ago when I got lazy and just checked by available balance occasionally withouth keeping tabs on my own. I overdrafted myself because I didn’t notice a paycheck bounced when my company switched payroll accounts. Had I been keeping track like I should have, I would have noticed the mistake earlier and I wouldn’t have incurred so many fees.