Weekly Review: 5 Random Things

  1. I had a quarterly review at work last week. I have learned to love reviews. What once would have been a scary concept for me, I now embrace reviews and feedback. I have really been busting my butt at work and it’s nice to see it pay off. We have about a million metrics to measure our productivity, so a good part of our reviews are going through our “stats”. Beyond the productivity part of the reviews, it feels great to get really good feedback.
  2. AV rode his bike 203 miles from Seattle to Portland 2 weekends ago to participate in “STP”. Coming from someone who has no interest in distance cycling, I have no idea why these events ever sound fun. But AV swears that it was a blast. Of course, while he was gone, it gave me plenty of opportunity to partake in the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I wrote about it here. Biking 200 miles or shopping sales at Nordstrom? I think I chose the better activity.
  3. Last night AV and I met up with some friends to attend an event called “Red, White and Brew”. I’m not entirely sure what the point of the event was, but it was fun. There is a new event space in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle. They had great food and served Washington wines (red and white..) and Washington beers (the brew).2014-07-25 20.49.16
  4. July is quickly coming to an end. Which is really bizarre to me. Where did this summer go? I am actually really excited for August to come since AV and I are going on vacation. But the fact the “back to school” commercials are already on is a little scary. Fall is right around the corner.
  5. I’m officially approved to sit for board certification. I got the email yesterday. I have to study. The exam will be March 1 in 2015. The testing fee is $800. I’ll admit that I am a little nervous but also really excited for the next step in my career and getting this test behind me.

Perhaps the most random 5 things over the last (2) weeks. Happy Sunday!

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5 EASY tips for SUCCESS for the Young Professional

Starting out in a new career can be tough. Being the new kid on the block is never easy. Plus, when you are new to the gig, it’s hard to even know what the heck you are suppose to be doing. You want to fit in…without blending in. You want to stand out…but not in a bad way. Do you speak up? Or stay quiet until you figure things out?

If you’re like me, everyone can tell that you’re new. I have been out of school and practicing PT for a little over a year now. While it’s nice to have a year’s experience under my belt, I have one thing working against me (well, sort of…). I look really young. I get asked frequently “How long have you been doing this?”. I can’t hate on “looking young” too much, obviously. I really don’t want to look older either. But it’s frustrating to climb the battle of skepticism of my patients, because they think/know I’m new….which comes along with skepticism of my ability.

Because of this,  I work REALLY hard to overcome my inexperience. I am the poster-child for professionalism. I make believers out of my patients because I act experienced. I act like a professional. I act like this isn’t my first year practicing. How do I do this?

I compiled 5 EASY tips for success that have helped me, and can help you as a young professional.
5 Tips for Success for Young Professionals

  1. Look the part. Dress professionally. There’s a fine line between style and professional dress. Make it a point to be wearing clothes that are clean, modest and appropriate for your job. I have to wear clothes that are not only professional, but that I can move easily in. While it’s nice to dress to your personal style, remember that the last thing your clothes should do is distract your co-workers or clients from paying attention to what you have to say. Do you want people to remember you by your cute new bracelet or your incredible contribution to the last meeting?
  2. Be on time. You could be doing everything right in your job, but if you show up late to work consistently, it will all be for naught. Being on time is something that millennials are constantly being knocked for. And for good reason, there is no excuse for constant tardiness. It shows laziness, disrespect and is downright unprofessional. This is such a small thing, but like I said. You could be doing all the big things right…but doing the small things wrong could make your effort futile.
  3. Lead by example. Sometimes being a leader doesn’t mean fancy titles or responsibilities. On the most basic level, being a leader is someone who others look to for guidance and example. By doing your best work, and exemplifying professionalism in all tasks, you can be a leader too.
  4. Think before you speak. This may be an obvious one, but I am a firm believer in active listening. It’s difficult to learn anything new when you are talking. Listening on the other hand, is the gateway to new knowledge. So take a step back from talking, truly listen in conversations. Don’t just think about what you are going to say next.
  5. Take feedback. Again, something that a lot of millennials struggle with is taking feedback without being defensive. Going to physical therapy school helped me tremendously in this category. Getting constructive (and sometimes downright mean) feedback constantly had something to do with that. Also, I was evaluated on my acceptance of feedback.  Yes, I was given feedback on my ability to take feedback. PT school is weird. When you stop being defensive, whether the criticism is warranted or not, it opens doors to improvement. Being a young professional means I don’t know all the answers, so the more feedback the better. Hearing that you need improvement in areas isn’t the easiest, but mentorship is so important to career growth.

What other tips do you have for young professionals?


A Day in the Life of a PT: GIF style

Just your average day in the life of a physical therapist…in GIFs. Enjoy.

Patients come in they tell us what is wrong…

knee pain

Sometimes, they get a little emotional…

Patients getting emotional GIF

It’s ok though, we take the “therapist” part of our title very seriously.  So we calm them down.

We perform amazing manual therapy techniques. We get praised for our magic hands…

Time to exercise. I swear we aim to motivate….

But some patients see us like this…

Eventually, patients get better. And they are really excited about it…

And when all is said and done…

 

 

I had WAY too much fun writing this post…


Bad Friends: Aint Nobody Got Time for That

There are many life changing events that can happen in your 20s. Going away to university, marriage, having babies, even divorce. These events are just a few examples that have major effects on friendships. I certainly have seen it in my own life.

So it’s no surprise that as I have gone through these life changes, that my friendships have changed too. With the dawn of social media, it has become really easy to become a crappy friend. To disconnect, if you will, in the real world with real emotions and communication and take the back seat with a more passive relationship online. Not to mention, it’s so much easier to maintain online friendships than a real world friendships. In college, friendships are easy to maintain. I lived with my best friends and had multiple classes with my other good friends. We saw each other every day, had many shared experiences and were going through similar successes and challenges.

Moving on to my mid-20s, my friendships began to change. Of course I made new friends in PT school. Most of which I will stay connected to in some shape, or form. But my early 20s’ relationships began to suffer. I no longer lived with my best girlfriends. I lived with AV. I got married. I went to graduate school. Blah blah blah.

As I noticed some of my friendships fading, I made a promise to myself that I would not be one of those girls that goes off and gets married, then forgets about her girl friends. I vowed to put the effort in. I made the phone calls. Set up the lunch dates. Wrote and mailed cards for birthday and anniversaries. For the majority of my relationships, my friends lauded my effort and it was the spark that our friendships needed to overcome our differences in geography or current life status. But not all friendships pull through this way. As I am settling in to my late-20s, I have come to this moment of clarity…

Crappy Friends?

After wasting time, energy and effort…I can conclude bad friends are not worth having. Here’s what you need to know if you have a bad friend. 

5 Signs You Have a Bad Friend

  1. You reach out to them far more than they reach out to you. Whether it’s setting up the next lunch date or invites to parties, you are always the one initiating the conversation. If you can’t remember the last time they called you? Then you have a bad friend.
  2. They act more like a frenemy than a friend. When friendships start young, it’s easy to get caught up with dreaming about life. I remember doing this with many of my girl friends. But if they act more jealous than happy for you? You have a bad friend.
  3. They’re opportunists. They only call upon you to hang out when it’s good for them. I have especially noticed this with kid’s birthday parties, weddings, etc. If you think they are only inviting you so that you bring a gift, that’s a crappy friend.
  4. They don’t celebrate with you. Friendship is about support, encouragement and celebrating with each other in life’s joys. If your friend doesn’t celebrate the big happenings in your life, either because they don’t care or are jealous….then you have a bad friend.
  5. They’re fake. This comes along with the social media world we live in. Most only post the “good” things happening in their life…which is inherently very fake. Whether they are fishing for “likes” or queens of the “humble brag”. If your friend can’t keep it real, they’re a crappy friend.

Friends come and go. They change and evolve. Cheers to the friends that make life happy and letting go of the people who have moved on to different relationships. And to bad friends? ….I do not have time for you.


Budgeting In 6 Simple Steps: Financial Freedom Series

AV here. When I introduced the Financial Freedom Series here,  I discussed what I considered 4 basic foundations to financial freedom. I started with budgeting. I can’t stress how important budgeting is. This includes setting up, managing, and adhering to the budget. Budgeting is not just keeping receipts or setting up a spreadsheet and hoping for the best. Budgeting in the G house is considered a lifestyle.  I’m  going to show you how getting on track with spending habits is the first step to making your financial goals a reality.  

The ‘WHY’: Our Personal Story

In the spring of 2010, Trish was accepted into PT school in Colorado. Initially, we didn’t plan on me going to Colorado with her. I had just started my career and didn’t think transferring to the Colorado office would be possible. [There’s a long story behind this, but being Canadian and in the US on a work visa meant I couldn’t just get another job very easily] Trish and I then realized we would be running two different households. So we put together a list of expenses of how much I was going to have to support her with. Remember, Trish wasn’t working, so the finances were all on me.  Reality set in.  I ended up having the courage to ask for a transfer (after only 9 months of work) and the transfer and another work visa were granted. So it all worked out.  Phew. Well sort of….

Even though we were not going to have to manage two households, we were still facing the challenge of being down an income. Enter: A budget. I had an early introduction to budgeting.  My father spent each and every morning updating the family budget, keeping track of the outflows, and monitoring financial goals. The payoff: my parents paid off their mortgage 10 years early.  I may have had an early introduction (did I mention my dad is a CPA as well?), but as I alluded to before, budgeting didn’t come natural to me. I have always enjoyed having the the best of the best. Expensive taste. It took a wake up call of Trish being a few months into PT school and my methods of managing my cash flow to get the better of me. I couldn’t handle the stress anymore of figuring out how to make things work. Paying for this expense on this credit card, and another expense on another card, etc… Sound familiar?  So I decided a makeover was necessary. 

The “HOW”- Start Budgeting in 6 Simple Steps

Budgeting to Financial Freedom

1- Take inventory of what is your current net worth is. Yes, you have a net worth. Write down a list of your assets as well as a list of your debts.  Focus less on the cumulative number, and more about what your “financial picture” looks like. Do you have a large mortgage, credit card debt, or substantial student loan debt? This is important. It allows you to make goals and determine what is a priority for you. For Trish and myself, paying off student loan debt is a high financial priority.  Budgeting gets nit-picky and detailed in a hurry- which is a good thing! But by starting this process by looking at the big picture, budgeting can help guide your plan to financial freedom and help motivate you at the same time. 

2- Determine your monthly take-home salary. If your income varies, take a look at last year’s income (or at least the last few months) and try finding a monthly average.  In a simple budget, money inflow = salary and money outflow= equal your spending. In my example below, I am going to set a monthly income at $2,000. 

Budgeting Salary

3-  Determine your expenses. Now that you figured out how much money is coming in, it’s time to figure how much money is going out each month. I’m going to break down expenses into 2 different categories. Fill in the categories by looking at where you spent money in the last year (or at least 3-4 months). 

  • Fixed expenses. These are expenses that don’t change in monetary amount every month.  Examples include rent/mortgage, car payment, TV/Internet bill, cell phone, and student loan payments. There are also expenses that are fixed in nature that are not paid out every month. Examples include different insurances, car registrations, etc. Split the yearly amounts of these into 12 installment for your budget. That way, you save up for these bigger payments monthly, and when they come around yearly, you have the cash in place.Budgeting Fixed Expenses
  • Variable expenses. These are costs that you expect to change (hopefully minimally) from month to month, and cash outflows are expected on a monthly basis. Examples of these include groceries, gas, utilities, etc.  Budget in the average cost for each category from the last few months. If you are unsure (because you don’t have records) start with a reasonable goal for that category. For example, you could set your grocery budget of $400 a month (or roughly $100 a week), which is typically sufficient for 2 people. Tracking your spending will help you determine what is realistic for your household and your city’s cost of living. There are also variable expenses that you will not be paying out each month. These costs vary and are not happening every month but on larger time scales like biyearly or yearly. Examples include gifts (birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas…) travel, vacations.Budgeting Variable Expenses

***For both the fixed and variable expenses categories, there are expenses that are not paid out each month. For these items,you will need to create a reserve fund account, where you will stock aways the funds each month. Then, when that yearly payment comes around (or Christmas shopping, for example) you can draw the amount budgeted and it won’t affect your current month. 

4- Make a list of “wants”. Budgeting is not only about the “needs” but also everything that you could spend money on. Decide how much you want to go out to eat or spend on entertainment. Instead of having multiple different categories on our budget, Trish and I both have “play money” accounts in which we can spend that money however we want. No judgments. Trish’s play money might as well be called “Nordstrom”…but like I said, no judgements! We also share a dining out and travel account. These “wants” are important. Examples include clothes, makeup, sports, concerts, etc. Set a limit. Allow yourself some “play money” but know your limit. Follow your limit. 

5- Set  goals. This is the key to financial freedom.  Take a look at your budget. If after you take your cash inflow and minus your expense/cash flow out…. and it’s only enough to buy a Starbucks latte, you need to finagle your budget if you want to have any savings. If savings is your goal, start by setting a reasonable goal for savings and go back to your budget to see where you can make cuts. Find enough cuts to make up your savings goal. If you do the math based on the example above, the total savings based on the budgeted amounts is $230 which is over 10% of the take home – a great start! Think back to step one. What is your financial goal? Maybe it’s not savings. For us, reducing student loan debt is priority. Therefore, Trish and I allot $1600 a month to student loan payments. Yes, that’s a big monthly payment. But we are paying way more than the minimum to pay the student loans ASAP. 

6- Organize yourself. There are plenty of tools to organize your budget. Here in the G household, I use YNAB. I really like it and find it simple to use. Finding a good system is crucial to your success with managing your budget. Find out what works for you and your lifestyle.  I love what YNAB has done for us. It has helped us streamline our spending and tracking habits. Which is why when Trish says something CRAZY like that she loves her loans here….she means it. We don’t worry about making these payments because we already have a plan in place. 

That’s it! These are six steps simple and basic steps to get you started on a budget.  Please feel free to leave any questions if you have any, or of course send me an email or tweet at Trish’s accounts. I’ll be back to discuss the next topic in the 4 foundations of financial freedom, insurance!

Financial Freedom Series