How to Make Money with a Mess


FRIENDS | “The One with the Dirty Girl”

I feel like I’ve been handed something I thought would take years to accomplish. Part of me is irritated that I didn’t pursue a management position years ago when it became clear that I was built for leadership. But I can’t throw away the last 8 years of work. I learned a lot about human nature. That has to be worth something.

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Quiet Fire

Fire, Black and White by colleen721 |
“Sit in the chair,” Joshua Fields Millburn admonished in a recent podcast by The Minimalists. Stop putting off your writing and just sit down. The more ritual you build around the act of writing, the less likely you are to ever do it.

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Romy 1 by Futz |

Wednesday night I browsed my computer to dust off my resume. It’s not the first time in the last five years. Apparently I’ve updated that resume three or four times, but nothing has ever come of it, except maybe a raise when I mentioned that I had other options. But I’m sick of coercion. It isn’t satisfying to get what you want by holding someone’s feet to the fire. And I’m probably stupid to think they would come back offering more later. They never intended to offer me what I have now, so they’re certainly never going to offer me more.

Continue reading Wanted

Millennial Virtue

…Thinky… by GreenEyesOfRain

I’ve been mulling something over these last few days. There’s something about reading a bunch of studies about millennials that makes me sad for our generation.

“They’re not likely to stay at a job for more than three years.” Why is that? Do we have a massive sense of entitlement? Are we a fair weather friend to the organizations we work for?

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Taking the Night Off


I’ve declared a glass of red wine and no homework tonight for me! I’ll tackle the 12 pages of papers and 8 hours of reading I need to do this weekend. I usually spend Thursday nights at a friend’s house, drinking decaf coffee and catching up on life; otherwise I would never see her or the other friend I meet there.

The three of us are completely maxed out at the moment. One of them is an adjunct professor and she’s in a doctorate program. The other is a nurse, has four kids, two of whom she’s recently adopted, and her husband is in a doctorate program. They’ve become my sounding boards over the last few years. I don’t know what I would do without them. Between their crazy lives and mine, we have plenty of empathy to go around.

Here’s something I’ve been thinking about: I chose this crazy life of constant activity, so why not own it? Why complain about being busy, when really, I chose to do everything I’m doing. No one forced me to go back to school. No one is poking me with a cattle prod at work telling me to be awesome. No one would judge me if I just did a simple birthday party for the girls instead of the elaborately planned days I put together at least a month ahead of time. No one would think less of me if I didn’t get straight-As.

I’m this great on purpose, so I’ve stopped complaining about how busy I am, and I’ve started sharing the joy of my full and happy life. I’m healthy enough to keep up with it. My mind is buzzing with intellectual ideas. My relationship with the girls has never been better. Spike and I are doing an incredible job supporting each other (seriously, I don’t know what I’d do without him). Life is stellar! But nothing!

I could talk about how I’d love to have a self-cleaning house, but that’s really just another point of productive pride for me. I can be this awesome, and keep the house from looking like a catastrophe… most of the time. This week is a joke since our new plumbing sprang a leak. I’m sitting in the living room listening to the whirr of the carpet restoration fan (#thankgodwerent). My desk and its piles of books are pulled away from the wall. All the activity of the week can be told in the items strewn about the couches and tables. I’m not cleaning tonight, though. I’m writing. It’s taking some willpower, but I’m doing it!

Have I mentioned I’m an early-riser now? Our older goddaughter decided she wanted to be in choir and orchestra this year, so she starts school at 6:45. My alarm goes off at 5:45, which has never happened more than one day at a time in all my life. The truly awesome part about it though is that I work 7 am to 4 pm. The extra hour in the evenings to skip traffic, spend time with the family, and run errands is definitely contributing to my happiness factor. It’s also giving me an hour at work every morning with absolutely no interruptions. My stress levels have fallen out of sight! Who knew? Going to bed at 10:30 is weird for me, though. I don’t know when I’m going to get used to yawning at 9:00.

That about does it. I’ve run out of steam. Thank you for your comments and encouragements and thoughts. Here’s to you and your superb writing! I think about you all often.

Unprecedented Nuts

Insane Asylum Office by Diesel74656 |

I may have made academic history. I just turned in the first of my three papers for this class two full days before the deadline. It’s probably too soon to make this claim, but I feel like I’m growing. I have completed 40, yes forty, classes in my career as a student and I don’t think I’ve ever turned in a paper early. Granted, I still have 66 pages to read and a 300-word forum post to write before Wednesday, but let’s focus on the fact that I don’t also have a six-page paper looming over my head.

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The Calm

I start school in a week. Five years ago I thought I was going restart my life, and here I am finally hitting the Play button again. In 16 short months I’ll be done with something I meant to finish 10 years ago, but here’s the silver lining: I have 10 years of work experience now, which means I can launch straight into an MBA program when I’m done. Better yet, I’ll qualify for an accelerated program that will only take 17 months to complete.

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5 am

I was on the road for work again today. Six hours in the car plus seven hours of training a new admin. I’m spent. But at 5:00 this morning, when I got on the road, I had the rare opportunity to witness the activity of people who appear to exude excellence.

At five o’clock in the morning, people are out running. I’ve heard of this rare breed, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen them in their natural habitat. The moon is still up, and these people are attacking the day!

I couldn’t help but wonder what some of them must be like. Are they all classic, type-A personalities? How long have they made a habit to go running that early? How often do they go?

I’m truly fascinated, but not quite inspired to take up the habit myself. Someone has to “sleep in” and smell the coffee. It might as well be me!

But What If…

anton petukhov |

I had another appointment with my naturopath on Wednesday. We talked a bit about the stress I’ve been under because of the Legal Guardianship hearing and dealing with the girls’ dad. I mentioned that my job is a drag, but I’m afraid to do anything about it right now because we have so many balls in the air. It sounded like wisdom when I said it, but he challenged me. What if there’s a big open door I’m not walking through because I’m afraid?

I’ve been playing around with a business card design for years, literally. I first created the file in July 2012. Every so often I get asked about my side business, but I don’t have anything that I actually says I have one. So I determined to finalized the card design yesterday. Then I realized I would be a joke if I didn’t have a website on the card, so naturally, I designed and launched a website yesterday that describes who I am and what services I offer.

The next client question I needed to answer was, “How much is this gonna cost me?” It’s a key question that, obnoxiously, never seems to get answered on a website; like it’s a big secret you’re not allowed to know unless you talk to a salesman. It always feels underhanded and shady to me, so I determined to answer that question with some brainstorming and business planning.

I browsed other business consultant websites and read through example contracts. After a few hours I realized, at the rate I’m worth, I could replace my current job if I had four (4) clients per month. Really, just four? Yes, four. And since I already have a full-time job I can afford to be selective. I don’t have to bend over backwards to please the first schmuck that wants to hire me. I can say, “No, I don’t think it would be a good fit,” and not hurt for it.

The last piece of the puzzle I resolved was a complete business consultant agreement: my first “internal form.”

I’m beaming with pride a bit at the moment. These plans are for me… Finally! I’m putting muscle and skin on a bare-bones dream I’ve had for a long time. It’s exciting. Exhilarating, even! All it cost was some time, $26 to register my domain name with WordPress for the year and $19 to order the business cards.

I’m in business! Realizing that it’s not that hard was the biggest hurdle. Now I have something legitimate to follow-up on a conversation about my skills. All I have to do is watch for an open door.


Guess what can squash an awesome day… Trying on pants. Seriously, just don’t do that. If you find out that you’re being promoted to a salaried position for the first time in your professional career, and you decide to take the family out to dinner to celebrate, for the love of God, don’t go shopping for clothes afterward. Wanna know why? Because the stress you’ve been under working on that promotion has added three – yes THREE – full sizes to your pants over the past three years. Your cute, little, size-eight butt has exploded. It doesn’t look like this anymore:

Size Eight - Spring 2011
Size Eight – Spring 2011

Congratulations on your promotion. Now go to bed and figure out how to shrink yourself back to normal tomorrow.