Does “Glamping” defeat the purpose of camping?

What is glampingAs much as I consider myself to be an active and somewhat adventurous person, I don’t think I can consider myself outdoorsy. My parents were not outdoorsy people, thus I did not have a lot exposure to the great outdoors until I was a young adult in my early 20s. That may seem quite shocking, considering I live in a country (Canada) where it is known for its beautiful landscape. Who wouldn’t want to experience what the national and provincial parks had to offer? Well, my parents. The idea of sleeping outdoors and cooking outdoors never really appealed to them. It seemed like hard work. (When you really think about it, it is! But if you really enjoy doing that stuff, then it probably doesn’t seem like work to you). I often wondered if this reminded them more of their childhood and they saw it more as a chore, rather than a fun experience.

I have gone camping on several occasions, ranging from car camping to backcountry camping/ portaging for four days in one of the largest provincial parks. For those of you who are unfamiliar with portaging, it is the method of hauling your water craft (such as a canoe) and equipment ( food, clothes, water, tent, cooking gear, and the list goes on) over land between two bodies of water. My ex and I would canoe for 3-4 hours each day and carry our canoe and cargo to our campsite and set up.

Was it an amazing experience? Absolutely. The water was so clean, calm and peaceful.  It was just us and the sights and sounds of nature. We didn’t encounter any bears, thankfully, but still put our food in a bag and tied it up in a tree, away from our campsite.   Imagine being able to seeing a night sky full of stars and city noise pollution being a million miles away.

Would I do it again? It’s a definite no. Why? If you think plain old car camping is a lot of work, then backcountry camping and portaging is not for you. It helps to be in somewhat good physical shape, since you are constantly hauling gear and paddling to your campsite. There were no garbage cans at the sites. We had to bring EVERYTHING with us. Getting to your campsite to set up before dark is everyone’s goal. But just imagine trying to PADDLE to your campsite before dark.  I went portaging several years before I was fit, but even now I still wouldn’t do it again. It was just one of those, I’ll try it once, to experience it and say I did it.

So you must have already figured out now that I’m not too fond of camping. I do appreciate the scenery though. I just can’t sleep properly in our big comfy king sized bed, let alone sleep in a sleeping bag with the sleeping mat. Mosquitoes LOVE me, I mean REALLY love me. Just how caffeine doesn’t seem to keep me awake, bug spray does not seem to work on me either.

I do appreciate the fact that camping is a frugal and fun (for some people) form of vacation. That is one of the reasons why my bf and I did it during our East Coast trip, to save money on accommodations.  However, “glamping” is a not so frugal form of vacation. Glamping is one of those new words that you’ll hear and have to look up on urban dictionary. It is a fusion of the words glamourous and camping. Glamping is luxury camping.

This is how glamping.com defines glamping:

“Recently, a global trend has caught fire that offers outdoor enthusiasts an upgrade on rest and recreation. It’s called glamping, a new word for a new kind of travel, defined as glamorous camping. When you’re glamping, there’s no tent to pitch, no sleeping bag to unroll, no fire to build. Whether in a tent, yurt, airstream, hut, villa or treehouse, glamping is a way to experience the great outdoors without sacrificing luxury.”

So you’re not sacrificing luxury, but from what  it seems, you may be sacrificing your wallet. This is an extreme case: the  Four Seasons Tented Camp in Thailand goes for $1729 USD/per night.  Whereas a yurt rental in California goes for $145/night. Might as well get a hotel room. Does an actual bed in a tent seem ironic? Or just plain weird?  One would think that because I am an odd person who likes experience adventure, but hates rolling up sleeping bags, glamping would be perfect for me. Probably, but the frugal side of me doesn’t seem to think so. I almost feel like it defeats the purpose of really experiencing camping. Call me crazy, but I like to experience things in an “authentic” way. I like to think of myself as more of a traveller, than a tourist.

Perhaps glamping is only meant for extremely wealthy people or celebrities, because they are perceived to be high-maintenance (Hello, J. Lo).

What are your thoughts on camping and “glamping”?

Germaphobes BEWARE: I reuse my eating and drinking utensils

eating and drinking utensils

There. I said it. Are you grossed out and refuse to read on?

I used to (and still am to a certain extent, especially when cooking) be one of those people who would use a dish, cup or fork for one little bite or sip and then toss it into the sink. When we first moved into our house, I did this even more because we now had a dishwasher.

Neither my partner nor I had a dishwasher in the household growing up. I didn’t have one in my apartment either. Let me just say, along with the microwave and washing machine, the dishwasher is up there in terms of best inventions ever to save time and money.  I HATED washing dishes growing up and dreaded having to wash them in my apartment kitchen sink when I got home from work.  They always took up so much of my time. I never seemed to wash them right away. I always had this (and still do a bit from time to time) tendency to just let them pile up like a tower of Jenga blocks just before it topples over.

My significant other, on the other hand, would use his plate, glass or bowl more than once (maybe even three times) before deciding that it would need a wash.  At first I was appalled and grossed out by this because I grew up with the notion that dishes and cups were used only once before washing. Things would get left on the counter and get automatically washed before I could even think about using them again. They were automatically assumed to be dirty.  Once they were put in the sink, it was a sign that you couldn’t use it again. My dad was a bit of a clean/organized freak, so maybe that was why.  That got passed on to my sister, but unfortunately not me.

She even offered to organize my house for me and that offer still stands.

When I brought this habit into the household, my partner claimed I went through way too many dishes, cups and cutlery at one time.  He’d ask why our dishwasher got full so quickly and so frequently. We’re only two people. Being the practical guy he is, he would point out that rather than letting those cereal crumbs solidify on the bowl, I could have easily given the bowl a quick rinse and use it the next morning.

Common sense, right?

It makes common sense and financial sense too. I wear my clothes (with the exception of undergarments, workout gear and socks) more than once if they don’t stink and have been barely worn, then why can’t I do that with the plates I eat on? Less stuff used to be eaten with, hence less things going in the dishwasher. The dishwasher is used less frequently, thus saving us money on our electricity/water bill.

It took a while like it does to change any habit, but I now often rinse my stuff a few times before throwing it into the dishwasher (although not as much as my partner). Sometimes if someone eats dinner before the other person comes home, due to after work activities, the other person will just use that same plate. No muss, no fuss.

 

 

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?

 

Education as a Luxury Item

Just like food, shelter and clothing, I consider education to be one of the basic necessities in life. While there is the option of getting it for free, there is also the other option of paying a fortune to learn. Is it worth it? Find out my opinion in Suburban Finance.

 

The Cost of Playing Hockey

Cost of playing hockeyHockey is expensive to play and can be expensive to watch. The following is an excerpt from my post: “The Good Ol’ Expensive Hockey Game

When it comes to hockey, I wouldn’t consider myself a huge fan. Although being Canadian and a hockey fan are at most times synonymous, it was never really my cup of tea. The only two times I would get into hockey were during the play-offs and during the Olympics (It was the Canada vs. USA battle for the gold medal). That was where the real excitement was. I thought watching it during the regular season was boring. Then again, I find watching most sports on television quite boring.

Read the rest at Suburban Finance

 

How I View Long Weekends

It’s almost July and tomorrow is Canada Day. That means the 2nd official long weekend of the summer. With respect to long weekends, I prefer to have the Monday off rather than the Friday. Friday is already practically the weekend. Everyone is more relaxed and happier at the workplace, knowing that they are one step closer to the weekend. I’m ok with coming into work on Fridays. Now Monday is a completely different story. We all know how hard it is to get through Mondays. Even with a cup  of coffee, I still find it hard. I anxiously wait for it to be over and then I can breathe a sigh of relief. When I know I have Monday off, I feel so much better, knowing that I can sleep in and skip over that horrendous start of a week. Now Tuesday becomes a Monday, but it’s a short week, so it’s not so bad. You know you can get through it because there is one less day to go through.

A few years back, I, like many of you saw the long weekend as an opportunity to get away.  To get out of the city and go the cottage or go camping. However lately, the idea of going away from the long weekend seemed like more of a turnoff with all its traffic and crowds at the grocery store, beer store, LCBO. You plan to leave early on the Friday only to find out everyone else pretty much had the same idea and now you’re stuck in traffic for two hours with the rest of them.  You get to your campsite or cottage, but it doesn’t seem so tranquil and peaceful because everyone decided to go to the cottage and camping that long weekend.  Its freakin’ crowded everywhere. Maybe you like crowds, drink your face off party atmosphere. Been there, done that. I got most of my partying out in the my early 20s. I’ve got news for you young’uns. It gets harder and takes a lot longer to recover from hangovers when you get older. But maybe you’re lucky enough to have your cottage in a quiet, secluded place and lucky enough to leave at an hour where you won’t hit traffic.

I think the worse part about the long weekend is the drive home. Everyone decides to leave at the same time and now your two-hour drive has turned into a  four-hour drive. That’s four hours of your life you’ll never get back. You’re completely exhausted by the time you get home.  I guess by this point, it’s quite obvious I detest traffic. I’m lucky enough to not have to deal with it during my weekly commute. I once did a two-hour round trip to get to work. It sucked the life out of me and I said to myself, NEVER AGAIN.

Lately I’ve been staying local when the long weekends roll around. To be honest, I’d rather take an extra day off  and make an extra long weekend or make my  own long weekend during another weekend. I really, really like the idea of not having to deal with traffic. If you were a commuter that had to deal with traffic everyday for work, why would you want to put yourself through even more traffic? Is it really that worth it? Come to think of it, are owning cottages really worth it? (I don’t think so, unless it is a rental property). Everything is just so much more quiet and less crowded. I like to think of long weekends of an opportunity to catch up on whatever you fell behind in, whether it be housework, yard work or even hanging out with friends. You’d be surprised how many people prefer to stay local when it comes to long weekends. You can still have the BBQ or bonfire.

I felt pretty productive this long weekend. I got a lot of things crossed off my to-do list that have been on my to-do list for quite some time (including writing another post).   I still managed some relaxation here and there. If only every weekend was a long weekend.  Maybe for some of you it is.

How do you view long weekends?

EDITOR’S NOTE: I just noticed when I published this, the date said July 1st. July 1st is actually Canada Day, not the day after, as one may believe from reading the intro to this post.

Do You Believe in Luck or Do You Make Your Own?

Do You Believe in LuckGrowing up my mother often told to stop thinking so negatively or being negative. For as long as I could remember, I was never a naturally positive or naturally happy person. I wouldn’t call myself a cynic, but I would definitely consider myself to be a pessimist or when I felt like being a real smart ass, a realist.  I’ve told my members that I’m not a naturally happy-go-lucky person which they found hard to believe because they always see me happy. The thing is, I have to try hard and get into a happier more positive state of mind before I set foot in the gym. Some days are easier than others, but it never comes naturally. Once I’m there greeting them and talking to them, I feel a bit more positive. After a hard workout, I feel like sunshine and lollipops, but beforehand I’m not.

I’m sure we’ve heard that saying about the power of positive thinking. I’ll be honest. I don’t believe in that. I don’t believe in luck either. Probably because I never felt I had it.  You know those people who seem to have it all together and an endless supply of horseshoes up the rear end? Do you consider them lucky?  What if they worked their asses off to get it together? As I said before, I don’t believe in luck. What I do believe in is hard work, grit (I love that word. GRIT.), fortitude, and strength. I believe that is what will (usually) get  you the good fortune you deserve.

Of course there are those people who work their asses off day in and day out, and can’t catch a break. And there are those people who don’t deserve ANYTHING, but have EVERYTHING.  What about them?  I’ll just consider them anomalies, even though there are quite a few people out there on either end of the spectrum.

I have never considered myself to be a lucky person nor do I know the “right” people. I’ve had my share of my misfortune. I consider myself accountable for it, but at the same time in hindsight, (although it is easier to say this in hindsight because it is 20/20), I am glad I went through it because it made me a stronger person.  Sure I had low points and broke down quite a few times, but I dusted myself off and put myself back together and pushed on. I had no idea what the future would bring or if anything good was coming my way anytime soon, but all I could do was keep pushing.

Anything I have ever achieved in my life has been through what I have mentioned before. None of my professional jobs, including my current one have ever been through a “connection”.  It took almost four years to get my steady job with the federal government. Perhaps I am “lucky”, because my job is considerably more secure and has good benefits, but I chose to apply for it. I chose to go through the testing and interviews. I chose to accept the job.  Out of all the jobs I had during my co-op experience in university, I enjoyed the government work terms the most. Probably because they were more laid back. :P Perhaps you are “lucky” because you are self-employed  and you are your own boss.  You chose that route for whatever reasons, you took that leap,  worked for it and now you reap the rewards.

Love (along with winning the lottery) may be one of the few things that ties in with luck, but even then you still have to work hard at it to make it successful.

When it comes to your life and well-being, I wouldn’t count on luck.

Too Canadian for My Own Good?

Canadian for My Own GoodOne of the great things about living in Canada is that we are very accepting of different cultures and embrace them to a huge degree.  I would like to think that most newcomers would not feel too out-of-place considering there are many “cultural corners” in the large metropolitan cities.  Most of them manage to keep their culture and at the same time embrace Canadian things such as poutine, ice hockey and maple syrup.

Although both of my parents immigrated from the same country, they did not meet until they arrived in Canada. It wasn’t right away either. My mom was living in the east coast for a bit, before she moved to Ontario.  At that time, the 70s, it was easier to get a job and you didn’t have to have “Canadian” work experience.  There weren’t as many people coming to Canada back then.

Fast forward to the 80s. Growing up, I was one of the few non-Caucasian kids in my class. Majority of my friends were Caucasian. The neighbourhood I grew up in was mostly Italian and Polish. Obviously, there was absolutely nothing wrong with that. Perhaps that may attribute to why I have a love for pasta. I’m a very picky eater and to make things sound worse, I don’t even really like my culture’s food that much.  I love certain ethnic foods such as Italian, Portuguese, Thai, and Lebanese, but not the stuff I grew up eating. Perhaps I got sick of it eating it all the time?

Every now and then, we would get a new student in the class who came another country. It was one thing to be new, but to be the new kid from a completely different country and not speak English very well was a whole  other story. I remember vividly some kids making fun of the new kids because of the way they dressed and the way they spoke English. I also remember them just sticking together because they felt safer and more comfortable that way. Having lived in Canada all my life, I can’t even fathom what it would be like to leave your country, come to a foreign one as a kid and experience a culture shock. Having traveled to quite a few countries, I still haven’t experienced culture shock.

Fast forward to the late 90s. High school was bigger and a little more diverse. We all know high school is all about the cliques. Jocks, nerds, goths, skaters, etc. There were also a few ethnic cliques. I was never part of them. I just hung out whoever I got along with, regardless of their background. A few people from the clique with the same ethnicity commented on how I hung out with Caucasian people. I didn’t see this as an issue and I couldn’t understand what would it matter.  I can’t help it if the environment I grew up in was with mostly people of European background.

Growing up, my parents only spoke English to me and their mother tongue to each other. I tried taking a language course in high school for extra credit and as an effort to be more cultured, but I still can’t carry a conversation. My mom took cultural dancing when she was young, but I was enrolled in ballet and jazz lessons instead. I tried again in my last year of university to join one of the ethnic social groups. At the first encounter everyone else seemed to know each other and my anti-social self just got fed up and left.

People who were born and raised in another country often talk of back home and visiting back home. So wouldn’t it be fitting for me to go and visit my parents’ home? To learn more about where my parents’ came from and the culture? Last time I visited the country I was 11. It’s been 20  years.

Does it seem bad that I only want to go out of guilt? I know despite all its shortcomings, its a beautiful country, visited by many tourists. But it’s not even in the list of  top 10 places I would like to visit before I die.

I consider myself Canadian first and foremost. My parents’ background comes second.  I grew up watching Mr. Dress-up. I had a Roots sweatshirt. I listened to I Mother Earth (I had the biggest crush on the lead singer) and Our Lady Peace. I work for the Canadian federal government and my side job is with a Canadian owned company. So what if I’m too Canadian for my own good.

I ask you this, if you have recently come to North America from a different country, have you managed to still keep close ties to your culture? Or have you shed that skin and become Westernized?

If you are an 4th, 5th, 6th, etc generation Canadian or American, do you feel more Canadian/American than where your ancestors came from because your family has been in the country for so long?

Has anyone experienced something similar to what I experienced growing up?

Sleepless, but not in Seattle

Seattle SleeplessWhen one thinks of the basic necessities in life, food, clothing and shelter come to mind.  I would also add sleep to my personal list.  As you know, infants spend the majority of their time sleeping and as we get older, the average becomes 8 hours for adults. This may seem like a lot, but are there some days where you’ve had 8 hours of sleep and felt like you could have used more? I rarely get 8 hours of solid sleep, so consider yourself lucky if you can reach that magic number. My ears seem to become supersensitive as I try to fall asleep, thus I manage to hear every little sound and sense every little movement.  I toss and turn quite often, trying to get that perfect position to send me into the land of dreams. Although the neighbourhood we live in is super quiet, I can’t help but still wear earplugs. The bf snores here and there, so rather than waking up  in the middle of the night to block the sound or block his nose (ha ha),  I immediately put them in before bedtime.  They’re like my security blanket.

I am a very light sleeper and occasional insomniac. I am constantly tired. I am eagerly counting the days till the weekend so that I can catch up on the sleep I so desperately need.  I’m sure my earlier than a sunrise wake-up time and long hours at work doesn’t help too much either.  I have no choice but to come home and take a power nap before I rush over to my second job. You would think having two physical jobs would be able to knock me out just like that. If only it was that easy!

I have been a light sleeper and insomniac for as long as I can remember.  I have memories of reading books in the middle of the night just to make myself tired.  My mom is also a light sleeper. She also takes naps. She is quite sleep deprived to the point where she often takes sleeping pills to help her sleep. I haven’t gone that route yet, but as part of my quest to seek solid sleep I have recently started taken melatonin supplements.

What is melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain. It assists in the regulation of other hormones and maintains the body’s circadian rhythm (http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/melatonin-000315.htm/). The melatonin supplement has more to do with the timing of sleep, rather than actually helping you fall asleep. However, taken in higher doses, the side effect  can be drowsiness.  I have upped my dosage three times the normal amount and I still feel like a$$ when I wake up in the morning. According to the article Melatonin seen as a safe pill to nudge you into dreamland, the sedative like effect doesn’t seem to work on everyone. Just my luck.   The only thing I have noticed since I have started taking the supplement is that I have been dreaming some really weird dreams here and there. Even nightmares.

Prior to trying melatonin supplements, I tried the usual suggestions to help me sleep: warm milk, chamomile tea (I often have to wake up to pee in the middle of the night already) no tv or computer before going to bed, going to sleep at a normal time, listening to soothing music, exercising (not right before though).  Even counting sheep. I tried to imagine each of them jumping over that damn fence in a different way. NONE OF THEM WORK FOR ME!!!

It just boggles my mind constantly how people can pull all-nighters or thrive on little sleep. Just a coffee or two and they’re good to go. I’ve come to the conclusion that where I think drinking coffee will help and I happen to like the taste of it, it doesn’t wake me up. I like to think it will. One of these days. But it never does. It gives me that warm hug and disappoints me at the same time.  When I’ve been severely sleep deprived for a few days, all I can think about is SLEEP. I have to fight to stay awake while driving to and from work through loud music and blasting the A/C.

Whereas my mom and I are light sleepers, my dad and my sister are heavy sleepers and can pretty much sleep anywhere. They could probably sleep through a tornado. Where’s the fairness in that? I would give my right hand (it’s fine, cause I’m a leftie..ha ha) to get consistent sleep or get it more than once in awhile.

Hopefully this article didn’t put you to sleep. ;) What helps you sleep at night?

 

 

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?