When Quitting is an Option and How It Cost Me About $400

Quit work

Since I work part-time at the gym, phrases such as “Don’t you dare quit” and “Quitting is not an option, but finishing is,” are part of my vocabulary. In this case, quitting is bad.

However, quitting can be good. Such as quitting bad habits like smoking, excessive drinking, spending, etc. Too much of something is never a good thing. Except when it comes to money, right? ;)

I think the most important part of quitting responsibly is knowing when to quit. Actually realizing that you’re at a loss and that it needs to be cut.

Yesterday was the day I decided to drop an online DE university course I was taking for work. Since it was almost a month into the winter semester, I would only be reimbursed half of the tuition, which would come out to about $400. Yikes! I would have to give that back, plus $400 of my own money to my work since they paid for it.  Although $400 will not be detrimental to my budget, it is still $400 taken out of my savings.

But it still bugs me, knowing that initially I did not want to take this course. I should have listened to my gut. I was DREADING taking this course, yet I registered for it anyway. I figured I would suck it up and then take a break during the summer. I took one last summer.

WORST IDEA EVER!!!

At least for me.  Although summer school exists and some universities even have summer semesters  because they’re a good way to catch up, get ahead or are mandatory, I still think they should be outlawed.  Students and teachers have summers off for a reason.

Why did I decide take this course? It’s part of a certificate that could be beneficial to my work and I like learning. I’m nerdy that way.

However, each and every time I have taken a course for this certificate, I have HATED it. It didn’t cost me anything financially because work would pay for it and reimburse me the cost of the textbook if I passed.  It cost me another precious part of my life.

MY TIME.

You would think that if it was an online DE course, it would be a breeze.  Uh, no. There was a LOT of work involved. Work that was done mostly on the weekends, because of my two jobs.  Working on my blog, which I enjoyed, took a seat on the back burner. :(

When it comes to taking courses for work, there should be some incentive. I guess the incentive was that work would pay for it, but after taking a couple of courses, I began to realize that it wasn’t enough for me. Why?

SEVERAL REASONS

  • It wasn’t required for my job
  •  It didn’t relate specifically to my current job too much. Nor would the courses really relate to any future jobs I would be interested in.
  • Completing the certificate wouldn’t guarantee me a pay raise or make more desirable as an applicant for future job postings
  • The fact that it was taking up so much of my time was a huge one. I felt this time could have been better spent trying to make more money, working more on my blog, spend more time with my family and friends, etc.
  • I didn’t find it that interesting.
  • I would have rather taken a non-academic, general interest course- one that I probably would have enjoyed more. I wouldn’t mind putting money towards that.
  • With every course I took, I was losing more and more motivation. It was like banging my head against the wall and dragging my feet at the same time.

There’s no deadline to complete the certificate, so if I really wanted to, I could always go back and do the rest of the courses. However, I don’t see that happening any time soon.  In terms of priorities, it seems like the least of them right now.  We’re also starting to do renos on the house, so I want to have time to plan and help out my partner whenever I can, which is usually during the weekends.

So quitting the course was the only best option.  I was kind of  on the fence initially and thought I could push through for another 2.5 months.  The more I thought about it though, the more I wanted to drop it.

I feel a lot better now.  As if a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.  I mentioned this to my mom earlier today in a phone conversation and she felt that it would help me in my career path. She and my dad are huge believers in focusing on education. In fact, they didn’t want me to get a job in high school and wanted me to focus on school.  They’re from a different time with a different mindset.

Education only gets you so far. Sometimes it can be a waste of money. Sometimes you just have to cut your losses.

It’s ok to drop courses if you feel they’re not working for you. Both Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard and look where they are now! They realized that school wasn’t working out for them and wanted to focus on something else.

Quitting can be an option and sometimes it may be the best option.

 

Have you ever had to quit something that you initially thought would help you out at first, but didn’t? Do you think I should have continued with the course?

 

It’s a Party and You’re Invited (And Bring You Wallet)

tupperware partyI thought Tupperware parties were a thing of the past, something our grandmothers would go to for a social event. Although they are not as prolific now as they were in the 50s and 60s, they still exist. I just happened to peruse the Tupperware site to find that there are even different themes for the parties. Who knew?

I Heart Tupperware

I like Tupperware. Who doesn’t? It makes food storage, meal prep and lunch packing a breeze. They’re good for the environment because they’re reusable. (Note: while I do use Tupperware containers for storage, I don’t heat up my food in the microwave in these containers). You can buy it anywhere in so many colours, shapes and sizes. You can’t store food with just one, so of course most Tupperware is sold in multiples.

Would I go to a “party” that is selling them? No because I don’t want to feel obligated to buy something at what is supposed to be a social gathering. I see it as more of a social shopping environment. Yes, it gives you something to do at the party, but even my anti-social self would prefer just to eat, drink and be merry. I know there is no pressure, but I would feel bad if someone went through all this effort to host a “selling party” and barely got any sales.  I know the feeling all too well of what it’s like to try to sell something. If the hostess was a relative or a close friend, then I would feel even MORE obligated to buy something.

The Appeal of Tupperware Parties to Women

Back in the day, Tupperware parties were a big deal.  During the 1950s and 1960s, the man was at work and makin’ the bacon. The majority of women were staying at home doing the cooking, cleaning and taking care of the kids.  Women could really relate to the Tupperware parties because they were the ones in the kitchen and were experts at hosting dinner parties. Tupperware was something they used in their everyday lives.

I think these parties appealed to women because not only was it entrepreneurial, at the same time it was friendly and social. The host would be someone you knew or your friend knew, someone who appeared to be trustworthy and knowledgeable about the product.

The Evolution and Benefit of Having a Product Party

The Tupperware party has now evolved into parties that sell other items such as beauty products, jewelry and kitchen gadgets. There are even parties that promote sex toys. These are known as passion parties.

While I personally would never host one, (because I suck at sales and I already get exhausted from hosting regular parties) product parties are a great way to develop entrepreneurial skills and make some extra cash. Most companies will offer discounts on the products for the hostess. They offer flexible hours and you can make your own schedule. Best of all, you can work from home, if this is one of your ultimate goals.

Have you ever hosted or ever been to a Tupperware party or something of that nature?

I Suck At Sales And I’m Okay With That

I Suck At SalesIn my post Shying Away from Success, I talk about being shy and how I felt that it held me back in certain aspects.  Although being shy doesn’t hold you back completely, it does in certain professions. One profession that really stands out in my mind is sales. You definitely can’t be shy if you’re a sales rep trying to sell a product or a service. You have to be convincing, slightly aggressive, and charismatic.

My Early Years As a Sales Rep

Growing up, I never had any entrepreneurial sense. It didn’t run in my immediate family.  I never had a lemonade stand. Come to think of it, I don’t remember ever seeing a lemonade stand on my parents’ street growing up.

I remember having to do a lot of fundraising for my school when I was a kid. Every kid must have tried to sell those $3-$4 boxes of chocolate covered almonds at least once in their childhood. This was back in the day when nut allergies were unheard of and weren’t so much a health concern in schools.

Around the holidays, we were given this brochure of very nice but expensive wrapping paper, ribbons and bows to show as we tried to convince people to buy them. This was before people realized you could buy reusable bags for a $1 at the dollar store.  While wrapping paper is nice and it is fun to unwrap the present (vs wrapping the present), it almost seems like a waste of money. I wouldn’t bother buying expensive wrapping paper if I knew it would get torn to shreds.

I barely sold any of those items. I think neighbours and relatives bought those things out of pity for me. I asked, no wait, more like harassed and begged my parents to sell chocolate covered almonds and wrapping paper at their workplace.  They must have really enjoyed that.

Convincing People To Make Last- Minute Purchases

In my last year of high school, I worked part-time at an office supply store.  I mainly worked as a cashier.  At cash, there was always an item of the week  that we had  to sell. After I did the usual spiel: Hi how are you, did you find everything you were looking for, I had to insert, “Would you like to buy (blank) for $?” The item would often be something that people normally wouldn’t think to buy. With that being said, I often got the polite, “no thanks” and left it at that.  In my mind, it just wasn’t worth it.

Even With a Couple More Sales Positions, I Never Got Better At It

When I was in between professional jobs, I worked at a clothing store. The difference about this clothing store was that rather than individuals getting their own commission, it was a group commission, so everyone got a piece of the pie when clothing got sold. In a sense that worked out for super shy me, because I barely sold clothing on my own.

I hate small talk and I’m horrible at it. Imagine trying to engage in small talk for 7.5 hours/day, several times a day. It was VERY HARD for me. I’m not a naturally bubbly, cheerful person (more like dry and sarcastic), so most conversations often felt fake, repetitive and forced. I just didn’t have the natural ability to convince people to spend money in the store. The fact that I didn’t really want to be there most days didn’t help too much either.

I also tried my luck at personal training. I thought, hey I like working out and motivating people. Personal training seemed perfect.  The training part wasn’t so hard once I had a few clients. It was the selling part to get clients in the first place and trying to convince them to continue on before their sessions were over that I struggled with.

As part of the training, there was role-playing and tips on how to convince potential clients to sign with you. I felt I even sucked at that. Have you ever tried to convince people to drop several thousands of dollars for training? It’s not easy. At least for me it wasn’t.  Everyone wants to look good. But not everyone wants to drop the money or even put in the time and effort. Who can blame them? Personal training isn’t cheap!

If you really think about it, the gym is a social atmosphere. Especially during weekdays in the evening and Saturday mornings. It is prime socializing time. I envied the trainers who seemed to know everyone and had no problems talking to anyone. It was a struggle for me to even have conversations with people about their workouts and convincing them to have me put them through a workout.   I knew that it took a LOT of time,effort (more than I probably put in) and patience to become successful as a trainer. Patience was just something I never had a lot of to begin with.

So my frustrated self  gave up after about six months. I felt I hadn’t achieved much in six months and was losing more clients than actually gaining them. Nobody was renewing their contracts with me.   At that point, I felt defeated. I felt I had made a huge mistake and should have stayed in retail instead. I had too much pride and couldn’t back to it even though I should have until something else came up.

They say you should never give up and that quitting is not an option. Sometimes quitting is an option, but not quitting completely.  After all those experiences, I came to the conclusion that I sucked at sales and I was okay with it.

I also remembered that there are other things that I don’t suck at and I’m okay with that as well.

 

Aside: A high school French teacher of mine always got mad when people would say that this sucks or another person sucked.  He would say, “That doesn’t suck. VACUUMS suck”

(Harty-har har).

 

 

Shying Away from Success?

Shying AwayAn interesting discovery I have encountered while reading comments on other blogs, is that several of them have claimed to be introverts. When you think about it,  it makes quite a lot of sense. As Pauline from Reach Financial Independence, replied to one of my comments about relating to her as a fellow introvert, “I guess it is easier for introverts to communicate behind a screen.” While many claim that the technology revolution has decreased the amount of face time, ie face to face interaction, at the same time perhaps it has made us appreciate the live connection made when one meets up with someone for a coffee or drink.  To keep in line with the subject of this post, perhaps it has also enabled introverts to find a way to communicate effectively without fear of being judged and being criticized, seeing people’s expressions and reactions.

For as long as I can remember, I have always been a shy person. My parents constantly remind me that they often asked the kids if I could play with them because I was too afraid to ask them myself.  I had a crush on a guy in high school for almost four years, but never had the guts to ask him out. Of course, it didn’t  help either that he was also shy. Although going away to university has made me open a little bit more, I still find myself feeling quite shy and awkward in certain social situations. Now the friends I have had many years would scoff at me from time to time  would insist that I’m not shy. But then I point out to my university friends, the reason I became friends with them was because they started talking to me first. I was never one to approach people directly, even to this day.  I am not comfortable approaching complete strangers or am able to build strong relationships right from the get go. This is probably one of the reasons why I was never very good at sales or at being  a social butterfly.

With that being said, does being introverted or extroverted, determine what job is suited best for you to a certain extent? My first job out of university was working in the project management department for a pharmaceutical company. It involved a lot of interaction with the external client.  I was not very good at making small talk and interacting with people I barely knew. Needless to say it was not my cup of tea. I found jobs that didn’t require a lot of negotiation and socializing were more my cup of tea. At least I think they are for the time being. I know networking is critical in one’s career, but I feel I don’t know how. I don’t know the right questions to ask or the right people to talk to.  Most of the jobs I have had, I have applied for on my own, without the help of a connection. Now I am by no means, bragging about it. Looking back at my two years of unstable employment, I wish that maybe if I had networked and had connections I may have not been in that temporary mess. Maybe I would have been a lot further in my career or in my life in general. Who knows?

Ironically enough,  in a couple of my relationships, including my current one, I have saved the guy grief and embarrassment, by doing the asking out myself. Why? I have no idea. I guess I felt that these guys were worth it to overcome my shyness (and indeed they were), worth getting to know better, before some other girl snatched them up. More irony  would be the fact that I teach fitness classes. Members often find it hard to believe that I am a shy person and say I don’t seem like it when I’m on stage leading the class. I still get a little nervous from time to time, but I know it’s my responsibility to be that enthusiastic, energetic motivator to the people that need it.

I actually get really nervous going to social gatherings where I don’t know everyone. I suck at those meet ‘n’ greet things.  I feel anxious and uncomfortable if I’m not in conversation and everyone else is. I never know which one to join when I’m in the middle of two at a dinner table. I just sit and listen.  I’m not a big fan of ice breaker  introductions where you have to talk about yourself.  This may sound awful, but aside from the fact I sometimes decline invitations to save money, the other reason is sometimes that I want to avoid being social. It’s especially nervewracking when I only know the host and no one else and have made the brave mistake of attending the function on my own. It’s always  handy to have a wingman to talk to when everyone else knows each other  and it doesn’t look as awkward.  I envy the people who are naturally good at being social.

Do you consider yourself an introvert or extrovert? Do you think being shy holds you back in any way? Do you feel it can slow down your path to success?

Remembering the DJ (Desk Jockey) Days

Remembering the DJI have been out of the office environment for over four years now.  Long gone are the days in a cubicle, answering phone calls, e-mails, teleconferences, 5 meetings in a day and preparing reports for review and approval. Do I miss it? I’d be lying through my teeth if I said yes. The only things I miss about it are the going out for lunch and waking up at a normal hour. I have always been an active kid growing up, so maybe being restricted to sitting down 8 hrs/day, 5 days/week was killing me inside. I would stare at the computer, hammering away at reports till my eyes got dry and my brain got numb. I found it difficult to sit still and pay attention to what went on in the meetings. Let’s just say my notes weren’t the greatest and I had no desire to get better at note taking.

I have to hand it you readers who do have the desk job and have had it for years. I am even more impressed if you have a desk job you actually enjoy. I don’t know how you guys do it. I’ve had two desk jobs within a two-year span and was somewhat unsatisfied with both. They were the jobs that I thought were okay for the time being.When asked during my review as to what my goals were and what is my five plan, all I thought was I didn’t want to move up in the department or the company.  I couldn’t see myself doing this long-term. So I quit. There were other reasons I quit, many of them stress-related, eventually taking a toll on my health.  Although I had applied to hundreds of jobs afterward, every job I managed to get an offer for just somehow ended up being a non-desk job. I got the interviews for the desk jobs but never the offer. Maybe I wasn’t meant to work a desk type job.

Without going too much into detail about my job, I’ll narrow it done somewhat for you. I work in the public sector, along with thousands of other public servants, who are responsible for a certain type safety of Canadians. I wear a hard hat, uniform and safety shoes. I have a badge, which I must admit is pretty cool and I do enjoy showing it when asked to provide identification. The only time I’m at a desk is during my breaks checking emails and the odd day I’m assigned administrative duties. They encourage job shadowing for different job positions to find out what your potential interests are, so there’s always an opportunity to learn and grow. How great is that?

It took me almost four years to get this job.  I’m not a very patient person to begin with, but I guess good things come to those who wait. I’ve finally landed a job within an organization that a meaningful purpose and is a place where I see my career developing into something worthwhile. I’m actually motivated to work hard and learn as much as I can.

I still have a part-time desk job though. Except the YOU’RE the one reviewing  my report. I hope I have your approval.