Here is to 1 Month

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Today is my 1 month mark at PetsMart!

Still so excited to be working there and meeting other animal lovers who truly care about their pets.

With only one real hiccup that happened yesterday, I believe I’ve been doing a decent job and can easily see myself working there while going through my CPA courses, which will start mid-September.

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[Writer’s Pen]

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Writer’s Pen

I’m not sure what got me started, but I’m pretty sure I will never remember. I’m not sure what made me pick  up my pencil and made me write something I didn’t have to for school or for my parents, or for anything that needed to be written down. Can I explain it as an overactive imagination? Considering I was about 10 when I began writing, it’s quite plausible.

I remember a scene from that wonderful TV series that was cancelled before it could really begin, Almost Human, where two of the main characters share a very cute scene where John uses a pen to write Valerie something on a piece of paper. Doesn’t sounds like anything usually cute or memorable… but this show is based in the “not-so-distant” future, where nearly everything is digital and on tablets and computers. Pens and pencils were obsolete. It was amazing to think of such a state of the world.

It would be pretty amazing to see though. That is the one thing I dislike about my personal writing process: I prefer to write on paper first, then type it up. Killing trees is not on my agenda, but that is how I write. It has always been that way for me, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. I love the feel of a pen in my hand. It feels right than just tapping some keys and watching words appear before my eyes. Too clinical for my tastes, I think at least.

But, I digress. The way I write influences what I write and how I write. It was pens and paper that got me started write in the first place. Why on earth would I take away what got me started?

[Playing Adult]

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Playing Adult

“I believe that everyone else my age is an adult whereas I am merely in disguise.”
― Margaret Atwood

Acting ones age these days isn’t as simple as it sounds anymore. Every year youth’s inch closer to adulthood, they are given more responsibility and more opportunity to shape what sort of adult they will become. Though who they are, their interests and hobbies, and their career plans may be constantly changing, they will eventually settle into a lifestyle. The problem, some would say, is that it isn’t the right lifestyle for their age, or gender for that matter. What is the right lifestyle at any age anymore?

We have 20 year olds dressing like they are 40 in order to look beyond their years so they can be taken seriously. Then, we have some 40+ year olds dressing as though they’re still in their younger years. On the other hand, we have the opposite of both as well: 20 year olds looking like they’re 12 and 40+s dressing as though they already live in a nursing home. Which is supposed to be considered proper anymore?

Usually, people dress the way they would be most comfortable doing whatever it is they love. Often that means a certain range of clothing would be found in their closet, and there isn’t anything wrong with that. You may have a 61 year old babysitting children who are 10, so dress comfortably, and more importantly, in a way to keep up! Other 61 year olds may only garden, or read, or still go motor biking with their adult children and grandchildren. What I would wear on a motor bike I probably wouldn’t wear while gardening, or babysitting for that matter.

I hear often as well, ‘oh you’re too old for that now.’ I call bull on a lot of activities and everyday clothing that is completely interchangeable no matter what your age is. So I say dress to suit how you feel, what you do, and in what makes you feel the most comfortable for yourself. Meaning: dress for you. It’s an idea that floats around mothers when talking to their daughters about self-image and respecting your body, but never really associated with everyone else. Dress to respect yourself. It isn’t a difficult concept. People just need to stop complaining about things beyond their control.

Act the age you feel. Dress for what you do.

Everyone relax a bit already.

[Crossroads][Should I…]

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Reaching a crossroads is never really easy to resolve. Not knowing if you are actually at a crossroads is far worse, I find. I am right there at this moment. I have completed the Creative Writing Program through Humber College and am still unsure as to where to run to next. I know many of you will think I am too young to have my whole life figured out, but I would at least like to have an idea of what to work towards.

I am so confused and frustrated it brings me to tears sometimes. What am I supposed to do with myself? My spare time goes towards my writing but that could take ages to complete. So, what else do I do that I can achieve short term? I have thought of something I find interesting to do (bookkeeping) but my father doesn’t approve of course.

You’re probably thinking, why do you need his approval if you’re an adult? Good question, excellent question really. It’s not really about that money on education; I have a great credit score and a line of credit that would hold all my expenses until I finish the necessary courses to begin working. So, what’s the problem?

I wish he had a bit of faith in me, to trust I know what I’m trying to do. But, true to form, my father wants me to become a fully qualified accountant… It’s an excellent career path for sure, but would I be any good at it? Crossroads: I’m not liking it at all.

Mental Update

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If you have read my blog the last few days, you know I lost my 14 year old Australian Shepherd, Willow on Friday morning. I’m still reeling from the thought that she’s gone. Currently, I am off from work this week and visiting my father in Beaverton, On. Away from everything, I’m hoping for a bit of space and a change of pace to get my mind back on track. I plan on getting a lot accomplished this week, so stay tuned for more Uncanny Sublime ^_^

I also was to mention my Campaign on IndieGoGo to raise some funds for writing, editing, and publishing books, and to get my editing services up and running. I’m looking to raise about $260 for these materials. Now, it doesn’t seem like a lot and a small amount that I could probably raise on my own through work… Well the truth is, my budget is extremely tight. Working retail about only a little above minimum wage with unsteady hours while going through a writing program and working on my stories, I don’t have a lot of cash to spare. Whether it is through a small donation or kind words of encouragement, everything is welcome.  You can find the campaign, and it’s perks, [HERE]

There is only 20 days left in the campaign and any help is greatly appreciated!

[Opinion][WANTED or LOST: Hardworking Youths]

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Opinion Rant – WANTED or LOST: Hardworking Youths

            Are they actually out there anymore or have they just become a little lost in finding payable employment? In all honesty, I think many have become too focused on dreams that require steppingstones to reach all that they want. I was lucky when I found my first job, I was humbled and appreciated all I learned working at a house and home store. I learned what sort of worker I was, what I could do, and what I needed to work on. I’m in my 20s now, but when I see some of these 16 to 20 years old, I feel sorry for them. Just because they are young and educated, they are not in fact entitled to whatever they want.

            You may recall that I work in retail, at a dollar store, in order to afford the things I need. Though I do enjoy the atmosphere, the people, most of the customers, etc, I do not plan on making it my career. I do, however, see it as a steppingstone and a means to an end in order to fund my true career: writing. I handle my job as I would my career, whether it paid minimum wage or 100k a year. I treat my job in this manner because, just because it is retail and minimum wage, I would still want to receive the same dedication to their work if I were shopping there. That being said, currently I work with 4 18-20 year olds and workers of that age can go two ways: very well or very, very badly. Three of them are doing just excellently! The last however, well she is the reason for this small rant.

            I do think most hardworking people and most parents would say that, although they want the best for their kids, which includes a well-paying career, everyone needs to begin somewhere. For many teens that means retail and that means working in a store that you may not particularly enjoy. I know this well, and being someone who was very fortunate in my first and second jobs, I do my best to make sure any new associate is treated very well and taught everything they need to know. Never do I give up on someone; no matter how long it takes for them to fit in I do everything I can to get them to that point. Sometimes though, there are individuals who just will not or are not capable of accepting the help that is handed to them on a silver platter. This young girl for some reason mistreats customers, disrespects her managers (including myself), and even the store manager and assistant store manager. It goes without saying that we have done nothing to provoke this behaviour from her, but she seems to think she’s entitled to be paid for doing the bare minimum while on the clock.

            I understand that it is ‘only retail’ and many think extremely little of people working it, but I do believe it is an experience that everyone should have because it gives you empathy. Retail is such a large industry because it needs to support so many people and families in providing just their basic needs. So why, when someone is hired into a decent position with people who are kind and willing to help out wherever needed, they feel the need to act as though they beaten down every shift they have? If they think they are too good for the job or that the job isn’t worth their effort, than why apply and go through an interview to be hired? Why take up a decent job that someone else needs more than and will do better in because they need to?

            This particular girl does have aspirations of being a vet but when I offered to help her prepare, she interrupted me, sassed me, and ignored anything I attempted to say to her. I have actually reached the point of giving up on helping her any further than work-related. Honestly, I hope she does end up hired if only to teach her that she is not above anyone else in her position just because she is young or had a rough childhood or for any other reason. We, I, want her to succeed at whatever she puts her mind to, I really do but at the same time she needs a good swift kick to her ego.

            Why is it that the younger generation is not interested in working and earning their future? Yes, technology is far more accessible and consuming, but there are many careers that are based solely around those fields, most of which make very good money. Is it simply that we are just becoming lazier, that we do not have someone, like a parent or teacher that pushes us to be all we can be? I have no idea why anymore. I have no idea why, regardless of any aid presented to some of these kids, they are compelled to put up walls and barricades of their own making. I hope this generation and all that come after it find a means to become motivated because if they don’t, we’re all in serious trouble.

[On Finishing and Going Back to School]

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Come May 2014, I should be returning to the world of post-secondary school and it has gotten me thinking about my time away from university. What have I really done with my time? Have I accomplished anything of worth? At first glance, I would have to say ‘no, I don’t think I have,’ which is a little disappointing for me.

However, I did keep myself employed (though in retail) as I was recovering from being severely ill, which I will go into another time. I mainly focused on keeping a steady income and trying to enjoy my time away from the institution of the education system. As time passed, I came to a slightly disturbing realization: I missed school. I missed the unlimited access to knowledgeable professors, the structure of having classes planned out for you, the constant flow of new and familiar faces campus provided. I also realized I was wholly unprepared for leaving that environment.

I think that the majority of us young people are unprepared for the massively unstructured life outside of school. Being prepared goes far beyond having employment and being able to afford basic needs. You could look at it like a pyramid: at base level you’re in school, live at home have a part-time job; mid-level, being in post-secondary programs, living on campus/with parents/renting an apartment, with a part-time job; top-level, going through additional schooling (Master, PhD, etc) or a full-time employment but still renting. The point of the pyramid is the position our parents expect us to aspire to: full-time, high paying career, a nice home, and thinking about starting our own family. Well, other than telling us that we need an education to attain that point, does anyone really explain how to reach there?

I say no. Many of us expect to own a house or property once we are older… Has anyone explained how much of a down payment you need, or even how much money you should expect a house to cost each year? How about the cost of property tax? How about filing taxes in general? How about investing your money? What percent of your income per month should you be saving? At what time should you being saving for retirement? There are so many questions that young people have but only know of the internet to find answers, and we all know how reliable the internet can be.

Would you like to know where I found out quite a bit of this information? I love to death but it was certainly not my parents. I gained many of these answers from two T.V. shows: ‘Til Debt Do Us Part and Property Virgins. By watching quite a few episodes, I was able to learn the basics of managing my income, how much and what I should be spending my money on, how much I should be saving for years from now, and the cost of buying and keeping up a home. How to deal with these expenses and dealing with debt are lessons we need to understand as soon as possible.

Many students have loans and OSAP to pay back once their semesters are over. Did you know a student loan coverts into a regular loan when you turn 25? This means the structure of the loan changes and the pressure to pay it back increases. Here is a common misconception: you have two loans or credit cards, one is $5,000 at 5% interest, and the second is $7,500 at 3% interest, which should you pay off first? Many would say the second because the amount is higher, but they would be wrong. Chances are, by the time you pay off the higher amount, more interest would have accumulated on the lower amount, potentially growing it to higher than the $7,500 loan. It is small bits of knowledge like this that could save students thousands of dollars of in interest. Paying the minimum on your debt will never see you out of it, which means you’ll never  be able to afford, comfortable, the things you want in life.

I was lucky; I was able to find some of the answers myself because I left the T.V on after watching some other program. These are just scratching the surface of the things parents should be teaching their children. I’m sure some parents believe our schools should be teaching children this. Well guess what, they haven’t started yet, so what are parents waiting for?

Having been extremely lucky and exceedingly grateful that my father has paid for my schooling, I don’t have to struggle with massive debt just yet. Now he was, and still is, a smart man because he contributed to an education savings plan for myself and my siblings so there would be money available for post-secondary school. He also instilled in us a strong work ethic and not to settle for anything less than we deserve. That is the effort that parents need to be investing into their children’s futures.

That work ethic though, I did not see much of it working in my retail position. Granted, you could say, ‘It’s only retail,’ but if you can’t put the necessary effort and energy into a remedial job and develop your drive to excel, how can you expect that drive to manifest when you finally get into the career you want? There is no much give and take to achieve what you want but unless someone who knows all this takes the time to share, nothing is going to change.

At the beginning of this I stated that I miss school and perhaps it is because I have experienced the reality of living in our world as it is outside of childhood. I managed to learn everything I’ve stated and more, so really… I guess the last six months have been a little more productive than I thought.