I count myself as one of the lucky ones who was able to find a career that I love being in! I picked the right major that helped me get to where I am. I honestly can’t even figure out exactly why I majored in Digital Design because I barely had any skill with computers. I had an art background, but there was so much I had to learn to even catch up to my peers. Fortunately, I did catch up and I’m still in the career that made the most sense for my major. I’ve been through different jobs and taken risks, but it’s all paid off and I’m pretty darn happy!

It amazes me when I hear about someone who changes careers entirely and risks everything! A friend of mine that I met at my very first job is doing exactly that right now. She’s always loved photography and she’s been doing it through the years. She decided to finally strike out on her own to try to make it her career. It’s only been a few months since it’s happened and it’s slow going for now. Hopefully it will start taking off soon! Los Angeles is a hard place to make it in when you’re starting out in any career. A big city can have more opportunities, but there is also more competition too.

Definitely check out her photography!
Howl and Rose

Jacky’s pretty darn amazing I would say, and she definitely has that special touch that brings out the best in her subjects. I count her as my favorite photographer actually. She took our engagement photos and as soon as I start a family, I’m booking her for sessions!

Taking risks
The biggest risk I’ve ever taken is to try freelancing with a small (but reputable) company. There was the possibility of full-time, but it never came to fruition, and I ended up with a few months of not having any work. It did pay off in the end though since it was a very good experience. For my friend though, she is starting over from the beginning. That means not a lot of money coming in and she has to work her butt off even more. I don’t love the times when I was starting out and money was tight and it took creative methods to make sure bills were paid. In the end though, she’ll be doing something she loves and getting paid for it! The perfect career right?

Starting a career
Knowledge and experience are the two biggest things to be able to start a career. Many people I know who have started over have gone back to school or taken special crash courses. For Jacky, she’s been working on her photography for years and has a small portfolio put together. In her desired choice of career that’s pretty darn essential. My four years in college taught me a lot about design and the internships I had gave me experience even before I graduated.

Making it happen
Not everyone can make it in their career unfortunately. Some people aren’t cut out for it and others aren’t right for it. The mindset now is to do something you love and get paid for it. Not so according to the older generation. Having a stable job was the most important, and loving your job was a very small priority. For me, I want to work in a career I love and get paid for it! It’s taken awhile to find a company and job that fits me well that I look forward to going to work. I’ve worked long hours and nights to get to where I am, and I still work really hard to keep at the top of my game. No matter what, it always takes hard work and patience! I still have a far way to go, but I hope that I’ll make it.

 

What’s the riskiest thing you’ve ever done when it comes to your career?

 


 Photo Credit: tapasparida via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: tapasparida via Compfight cc

Today was my very first day back to a traditional full-time job! For the past year and a half, I was freelancing and working strange hours. An opportunity came along that I couldn’t pass up, and so I’m back at a normal 9 hour, 5 days a week, permanent office job. In my industry, it’s actually not uncommon for people to go back and forth depending on what company they get to work with and what works for them at that particular point in their life. Some people have always been freelancers and would never consider full-time. Others love being full-time and wouldn’t like being a freelancer. It’ll be an adjustment for sure, but for now I think it’ll work out for me.

I’m definitely going to miss making my own hours and not having to go into an office every single day. I had a lot of freedom to go out for a two hour lunch, but I was working much later hours since my work day was more spread out. I wouldn’t have considered freelancing at all if I hadn’t mostly been working with one company either. Many others jump from company to company and are never in one place. Being self-employed didn’t mean I could do whatever I wanted to either. To some extent, yes I could as in I could take on projects I liked. I still had to work with other people and satisfy clients.

I loved the flexibility of being self-employed, but I really disliked the taxes portion. My life has been moving forward, and it was time to make a change when the right opportunity came along!

What works for you now might not work later
I’m really glad that I was able to be self-employed for a year and a half. It was a really good experience and I learned a lot from it. At different points in my life, I might go back and forth between self-employment and full-time, but it’s whatever feels right at the moment. I’ve been freelancing for a while so a regular full-time job is fine now. Later on, I might miss the flexibility and want more freedom in how I plan my days.

Better stability
With the amount of lay-offs in the last few years, full-time jobs aren’t as stable as they used to be. If the company is doing well though, it’s still much more stable than being self-employed. You might not know if you have a job lined up next, and there might be weeks or months where nothing comes through. Some people really don’t mind this and just think of it as a vacation. For others, it can be extremely stressful always looking for your next job opportunity. I didn’t love that feeling of uncertainty. If my husband didn’t have a stable full-time job, I wouldn’t have been able to be self-employed for so long.

Different opportunities
Every company works in different ways and has different projects and clients. Some companies work exclusively for only one client and day-in and day-out end up doing the same thing. Working with different companies will allow me to be able to work on a varied number of projects. One company could work mostly with creating websites, and another could be more about animation. They work to their strengths of course and usually become well known for doing certain types of projects.

Being a freelancer versus full-time will be different in many ways. A freelancer can come and go as they please, and they don’t need to be bothered with office events. With full-time, you are a part of the company and will be more involved in everyday activities and events. You’re more immersed in the company culture and expected to participate. You’ll definitely get to know your coworkers very well. One big minus of freelancing is that sometimes you don’t see people very often and you work alone. Of course, this all depends on the person and if they actually want to work with others or not.

 

Day two tomorrow! It’s hard to believe, but it’s full-time for me now.

Have you ever been self-employed and gone back to full-time? What were your reasons?


Happy Friday! To kick it off here’s a short blog carnival!

Here’s some tips on saving gas. Everyone could use a bit of this!
Elizabeth Atwood presents 10 Tips For How To Save On Gas posted at rockabyeparents.com.

Make some money through YouTube! Didn’t realize you could do this actually.
Martin Poldma presents How to Earn Money Through YouTube: 7 Steps posted at Success and Personal Development Blog.

Here’s a positive story about being laid-off and being better off afterwards!
Mr. Utopia presents I was Laid Off and Lived to Tell posted at Personal Finance Utopia.


Photo Credit: Sjaek via Compfight cc

Bunnies don’t have anything to do with self-employment, but they’re cute so why not?
Photo Credit: Sjaek via Compfight cc

It’s not uncommon for people working in my industry to be self-employed. I never seriously considered it before and was fine with a full-time job. When a really good opportunity came along though, I took the plunge and became self-employed! It’s been about a year and a half since then, and I’ve definitely learned a lot and am glad that I did it! I wouldn’t object to going back to a full-time position if it was the right place, but self-employment really broadens your skills and can challenge you a lot more.

There are definite pros and cons to being self-employed. Organizing and scheduling your own time, staying focused on your work, paying higher taxes, having to pay quarterly taxes, etc. To each their own. Some people like being full-time employees while others like the flexibility of self-employment.

How it happened
I definitely wasn’t looking to become self-employed at all. In fact, I was looking for another full-time position. A really good company offered me a month-to-month freelance contract though, and so I took a chance. Since then, I’ve actually been working steadily with that same company. I work project-to-project now, but it’s been pretty steady overall, other than a few months of “vacation” when the holidays came around and the industry got slow. Plus a month or two off around the time I had my wedding. I only knew a little about what self-employment would really mean, but now after time has passed, I know a bit more.

The pros
Freedom and flexibility!!! With self-employment, you can choose what you want to work on. My situation is a bit different in that I work with one company steadily. Since I’m on a lot of their projects, I go in about three days a week and stay home 2 days a week. I try to work the hours they work, but as long as you get your work done, it’s totally fine. Many self-employed people in my industry usually go to different companies based on each project. Generally, they also only work on one or two projects at a time too. Depending on the company you freelance for, hours can be 9-5 or any hours you set. Days I work from home, I usually break up my day so that I can go out for a 2 hour lunch or run some errands. It frees up my weekend a bit to do the things I want to do.

It’s different for everyone, but I’m really liking it! I mostly work from home actually and even on the days I go in, I’m only there for a few hours. I happen to live pretty far away so not having to drive into an office every day really helps my overall well-being. I absolutely detest driving in traffic, and my round trip commute can end up being 2 hrs long. My setup works for me since I get to work from home, but I get a change when I go in.

One of the best parts is less wasted time. Sometimes it feels like you’re always stuck in meetings and nothing ever gets done and everyone just talks. My time is used more wisely and I’m in less meetings.

Another great thing is being able to take as many vacations as you want for as long as you want.

The cons
Self-employment isn’t very stable, but then again full-time jobs aren’t these days either. There are times when I won’t have any work coming in. Holidays are actually a bad time because my industry slows down a lot. I’m sure a lot of other industries do too!

Paid vacations are another thing that I miss. Any days you don’t work, you don’t get paid for obviously. In a way, I don’t want to take any vacations!

I found out that employers actually pay about 7% of your income tax! I’ve had to learn a lot bout taxes and how to calculate and pay them quarterly. You can’t just pay them in a big lump sum once a year, you have to predict how much you will earn in a year and pay it in 4 quarterly sums. There are a lot of business deductions you can take, but you need to keep track of everything! Paying my own taxes really makes me appreciate all the money I earn. It hurts a lot more to pay it knowingly rather than getting it taken out of your paycheck automatically.

Individual health insurance is something I had to look into for myself. For the price I paid compared to the price my husband pays for me now on his employer plan, I was getting ripped off. Health insurance companies don’t care about offering individuals good health care plans, they care about the companies that will buy more policies. For the same price, my coverage now is 10 times better.

There’s so much I’m still learning about being self-employed! Taxes were extremely confusing and so was adjusting to keeping to my own set schedule. I love the flexibility in my schedule and how I only need to drive 3 days a week. For now, it works for me!

Are you self-employed or do you have a full-time job? What do you like about it?


Photo Credit: mark sebastian via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: mark sebastian via Compfight cc

Recycling may be pretty convenient when you’re at home, but what about when you’re at work? Single family homes usually have separate bins for trash and recycling. Apartment complexes have huge recycling dumpsters set aside. Business buildings aren’t required by law to provide any recycling at all though! I’m not sure why this is because I bet businesses use the most supplies! A typical office will run through tons of paper each day. Then there’s all the aluminum cans and plastic bottles that could be recycled too. You can definitely recycle whatever you use on your own, but what about the entire office?

Begin with yourself
It always starts with you. If you don’t do it then how can you expect others to? Set the example by showing others it can be done. If someone sees you doing something good, they might starting doing it too!

If you have recycling bins at home, make sure you bring back whatever can be recycled. Just because you don’t have a recycling bin at the office doesn’t mean you should toss that bottle in the trash. Documents might be iffy though, because there might be confidential information on them.

Think before you print
Since offices use the most paper, this is the easiest way to be more earth-friendly at work. I mostly just view documents on my computer and rarely ever print anything. Most of the time, there is no need to print anything out, and I just end up having to carry extra things around anyway. Documents with imagery also look much better on your computer screen than printed out. Unless the document is specifically made to be printed, it was made at a low resolution that doesn’t look good. If you do have to print, just make sure to use both sides of the paper and print in smaller type. Printers usually have a double sided printing option. You’ll also have less in your bag if you use paper wisely.

If you can’t print double-sided, try using both sides of the paper before recycling it. You can create your own recycled paper pad by clipping paper to a sturdy backing. Voila! You’ve got an instant notepad.

If it’s a small office consider bringing home the recycling
When I discovered that the office I work in a few days a week didn’t have recycling, I offered to take care of the recycling if they wanted to set up a collection area. When it came time to buy a new trash can, they opted for a nice simplehuman one that actually has two bins: one for trash and one for recycling.

Now once a week, I lug the office recyclables home and toss it in the bin. I probably look like a trash lady walking down the street lugging a ten pound bag of recyclables, but the extra effort is worth it for me. Not only do I make sure more items get recycled, I also work out my arms a bit! Plus, there’s the added benefit that if someone is out there looking for someone to mug, they will most likely pass right over me. Someone carrying round trash probably won’t have a lot of money.

Most offices are definitely bigger than mine though. Perhaps another person there can swap days with you instead so you have some support.

Ask why recycling isn’t available
You can also start the conversation by asking HR why recycling isn’t available. Sometimes it only takes one person asking to start something going. If people don’t say anything, then no one will do anything because they’ll assume nothing is wrong.

It’s just another step to making this world a lot more earth-friendly! Does your office promote earth-friendly habits? If not, what do you do to be environmentally friendly there?