Thursday, December 30, 2010

I'm a Stress-aholic...

There are people who do something too much. There are those who drink, the ones who gamble, others who shop, but me, I stress. I remember in the 9th grade on the first day of school they said we were going to have finals, yeah those things at the end of the school year, I was sick for the next two days. When I finally returned to school I was even more stressed out because I missed assigning seats, getting books, and two days of work, all because at the end of the year I was going to have to take tests.
My parents recognized I had a problem and forced me to take a class to learn how to deal with my anxiety. I was there with middle aged adults whom I assume had chosen to be there. With my normal teenage angst I half listened, half blamed my parents, and hoped they didn’t spend money on the class because it basically was the instructor reading us the packet. Did it help? Sure it did! I then channeled my stress from migraines to stomach issues. When someone would point out that it was stress I just seemed to channel my stress to something new, my latest trick is itching, which I seriously need to focus back to the tummy so I lose a few pounds to fit in my pants thank you very much yummy holiday foods and candies.
I wish I knew how my stress worked, or why I can never relax. I always have something to blame for my new stress. I did work in the extremely fast paced world of cars. I did play sports growing up, and tried as hard as I could in school. I went back to college as an adult so had the stress of school and planning a wedding. Then I had the stress of being unemployed with constant interviews and the judgments. Now I’m employed, at a wonderful place where my boss will freely drop anything to answer even the smallest question I may have, and yet I am still stressed out.
It then occurred to me tonight as I was washing my face. I looked up into the mirror as the water dripped off my face as it does in commercials, and realized I am a Stress-aholic. Anyone who knows me well is reading this they aren’t surprised, they are probably shocked I ever figured it out. Most people don’t realize on their own they have a problem. My husband will say to me as I am yelling the rules of the road to some person that can’t hear me because, well I’m in my car and they are driving away, “they can’t hear you, what good is that going to do,” and reminds me that it’s not healthy what I am doing. But I would argue it’s better “out” than leaving it in, using the example of a rollercoaster and how if you scream when you get off you don’t have to throw up…yeah it’s totally the same.
So as I looked in the mirror stressing out about my new job beginning and trying to figure out in my head when I get my first holiday for a break, it hit me. There is nothing difficult about my new job. I had gone in for 7 days and I can confidently say that I am more than 90% with all of the computer aspects of the daily job. Yes new things will come up, but I’m smart! Why am I trying to freak myself out?! Then I began to think about how nice everyone is, calm the environment is, and how willing my boss is to include me in every aspect of the organization so I can learn! So why am I still stressed out as I am writing this? Because I am a Stress-aholic, and I don’t know how to live and function without stress in my life.
People say that my blog has helped them, and I want you to know, it helps me more. Because of the blog I literally have to evaluate myself, like I am conducting this great social science experiment. Without blogging I have felt lost, and honestly it has caused me stress-I know shocking! But the blog has relieved my stress in so many more ways. So, I’m not saying everyone should blog, because not everyone wants people to know the torrid details of their interviews, or driving habits, but I suggest a journal. Chart what you are doing to help with your job search, or if you have a job, or you are a stay at home parent and you feel stressed, write. When I was 19 I would go for runs at 1 am if the stress became too much, most people can’t do that, myself included or my pants would fit. So I have found writing to be a great relief. It doesn’t have to be for you, but do what is, because stress holds us back, and well since it’s time for resolutions why not make one this year…I will make a conscious decision to try and live as stress free a life as I can by not adding unnecessary stress to my daily life. Hold me to it and make a resolution for yourself!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Getting schooled

It’s been a while since I have posted anything. I’m on a part time basis through the holidays because I need to get so much done, and I am lucky they are being flexible with me. The last week I have already learned so much. Mostly it isn’t just the responsibilities I have, but that my boss will include me in every meeting so that I can learn everything there is to know, because he knows I want to.
But I said there was so much more I wanted to tell you all before this blog had to change or alter since I am no longer going to be unemployed! I wanted to talk about education and why it is something that you should think about. When I decided to go back to school the economy was pretty stable, or so most of us thought. Housing prices were through the roof, and then BAM one month in, the economy collapsed and I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that in two years when I graduated, “things would be better.”
When May came and went, and I realized that the job front was not looking so good, I looked back at what I did and began to wonder if I made a mistake. Was going to school a bad decision on my part? Or was closing my eyes and taking for granted that everything would be better my mistake?  Either way as I struggled with my choice of major, my choice of school, and my choice to leave my job during school, I sat on the couch and began to wonder what I had done to my life.
Now, this all sounds like I would scream “DON’T do it! School is bad!” But that is not the case at all. Because without school I never would be on my way to doing something that I’m actually excited to see where it goes. Sure I loved working in the car business, but ironically I felt stuck. I felt like if I “only had my golden ticket (that’s what I called a college degree) then I would be anything I wanted.” I had been approached to apply for corporate jobs twice by reps of brands I had worked for, and when I said I didn’t have a degree, I was automatically not qualified anymore. All of a sudden I wouldn’t do, when just 15 minutes ago you were telling me how perfect I would be?!
You are never too old, too broke, too smart, or too “out of practice,” to go back to school. If you are thinking about it, check it out. Think of it as another job you are applying for, you don’t HAVE to take it if you don’t want to. Think of it as fulfilling a dream. Don’t assume you will have time later when you do have time today. My plan if I hadn’t gotten a job for the spring semester was going to be to audit a class or two. If you don’t know what that means, it’s when you go to class for a small fee, and get to sit there and learn. You don’t have to take the test or write the papers if you don’t want to, you don’t get credits towards a degree for it. But if you are considering school, why not do a baby step? I just love to learn, so my thought was, take classes I hadn’t taken while in my undergraduate because I hadn’t had the time.
If you are reading this and thinking, “school, ugh, I’m so over school!” Then don’t worry about it. BUT, if you are thinking, “it’s always been in the back of my mind,” then don’t think, check it out. Unemployed, employed, here is the thing, if you don’t go and try, then you will never know. At 28 I stopped my course of my career, asked my future husband to support my decision, went back to school and fulfilled a dream of mine. I had no direction, my plan because to me, “Graduate” seemed like enough. During school I made Dean’s List every semester as a sign to him of how much I appreciated his supporting me, but also to show how serious I was about this.
Last night as we planned our new budget with a “working Joanna again in the house,” we stared at the debt and for the first time got excited to see it could go away in our spreadsheet of “how to pay the debt down,” as we tried to decide who to pay what amount first. You don’t have to go to one of the most expensive schools in the country to create debt. But you can never give up on yourself and if that means getting a Bachelors degree, your Masters, maybe a certification, then do what you need to do to not only show yourself you can do it, but to say, “hey I will never stop learning,” because you can teach this old dog a few new tricks, and for me I feel my BA did just that. I’m a college graduate, I have an entry level job, and if it wasn’t for taking a chance, I never would have made it here to be writing this to you. So think of it this way, what do you want? No one is going to hand you a degree, you do have to work for it, and those of you who are reading this and are back in school, congrats on doing the hardest part and good luck on finals!