Do You Write Consistently? Or Do You Need A Bit Of Help?

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We all like to think that we’re good at writing. I know I do! But sometimes, it feels as if I don’t have the motivation to write, when I know I have something that needs to be said.

I’m oftentimes exhausted from working my 9-5 rat race career by the time I get home, so I don’t always have the energy I need to function properly. I try to post every few days, but I feel a lack of motivation to do what needs to be done. I know at this point whether or not I should even begin a post or postpone it until later.

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Then again, it seems that, once in a while, I’ll have the motivation to keep going once I’ve started. At these times, I”ll be able to keep going for a good twenty minutes, by which point I’ve been able to pound some good, solid six hundred word posts with much gusto, and without even so much as a hiccup in keeping my train of thought. (I know twenty minutes doesn’t seem like a lot, but if you think a blog post has to be really long, think again. Some of the most powerful blog posts in the world get straight to the point in a measly 250-500 words, and this is where you can concentrate on multiple blog posts per day if you’re highly proficient.)

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The part that takes the longest is the proofreading afterwards for content flow and spelling, and once in a while I’ll post something, only to later read it and discover a few errors. That has nothing to do with motivation as it were– that I’ve typed out my article is typically enough for me to move on with my day.

So, here are a few tips that I would recommend to someone who might be having a hard time maintaining consistency, or just content creation in general.

Write In The Morning

I find it much easier to type anything and everything out in the mornings, because I’ve been able to rest my mind for a few hours. If I’ve awoken from a particularly refreshing sleep, then I tend to write with great strength, speed, and accuracy. On those days when I haven’t slept well, I’ll just end up reading. If you have poor sleep, there’s a good chance you’ll wind up not having the energy to put your thoughts to paper properly.

My creativity takes a serious hit after a rough night’s sleep, and no amount of caffeine will save me from the soon-to-follow rampant destruction my keyboard tricks me into writing.

If you decide to incorporate a morning routine before starting, then have at it. Nothing beats a sense of routine to ensure you get the best out of your writing. Meditation, yoga, or a short exercise routine are all excellent for promoting mental clarity and blood flow.

Carve Out At Least Fifteen Minutes To Write Down Ideas
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Fifteen minutes is almost all you’ll need to get ideas for a quick blog post or journal entry. If you break any project down to sections, you will be able to create main points, content flow, and above all, you can get your main point driven home without fluff or filler words. Being verbose is for lawyers, anyways.

If You Already Have Plenty Of Hand-Written Journals, Convert Them

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I think this is one of the best content sources ever. If you feel as if you’re lacking creativity, but you still have the urge to write, then perhaps it might be suitable to source content from some of your personal journals. I know at least some of you have some journals stacked up in your closet from high school– dig into them! look around for some interesting entries, and convert those into digital format! Journals from your past might contain some memory-jogging material, which you can then use to explain certain stories.

Read Beforehand In Your Niche

This goes particularly for people whose specialty involves writing about what really matters to them, or for those who are excellent in a particular niche or area of interest. It always helps to have that little boost of motivation from the masters in your arena in such a way which allows you to create your own twist to your material. As an example, I did some reading into this book to allow me some motivation to write about writing.  By the way, reading primarily in your niche almost guarantees you’ll have valuable perspective and fresh ideas for your own content.

As it turns out, being an authority for a niche means you’ll be a source of information– people everywhere are hungry for information. If you’ve been involved in your niche for a while, your chances of success are a bit higher than the person who’s simply trying to find his or her niche from the get-go. If you’re anything like me, you’re in the latter of the two groups.

If you found any of this information relevant or helpful, I would appreciate some feedback!

One more thing about writing: If you’re really wanting to write it’s going to take exactly one thing– you must actually write. I had it told to me this way once, and it’s been a really good little motto: “You don’t look at someone’s artist portfolio and wish you could draw. If you truly wished you could draw, you would already have started a long time ago. Never wish; always do.” –Anonymous, unless someone has the source of this non-verbatim quote.

If you are running an established blog, what kind of advice would you want your readers to know? I’d love to hear about it in the comments1

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My Personal Passive Income Stream Idea(s) for 2018?

I have been watching lecture after lecture, video after video, and reading blog post after blog post of some of the best passive income streams. I have learned a great deal of information from each of these methods. I’m keenly interested in making money online and I’m in a mindset right now to put out as much helpful information and energy I can to help others watch or learn my journey from my personal rags to riches (no, I’m not entirely homeless, but I’ll be damned if I keep having to struggle every month). I’ve almost made it a personal goal to improve my financial situation, since I’m going to be the determinant for my future anyways– I cannot keep relying on others’ help for this.

I ran across many hundreds of tidbits of information ranging from investing, real estate, drop shipping, driving people around, harnessing your knowledge to help others in your field, and perhaps more than I can mention at this moment. The latter idea (harnessing my knowledge) is perhaps the greatest service I can offer to everyone. Not only will it let me feel better about having been useful to more than just my locality, but as I’m already deemed an expert in this field, I felt that maybe the little golden nugget that helped me was this video right here. Ms. Perkins mentions about three in this video that I know beyond all shadow of doubt that I can perform with ease, and it could be almost exceedingly profitable for me, since it has been my top strength for decades now. In no particular order, these three clicked for me:

COURSE CREATOR

As someone who has gone to school for greater than half of his life, in a setting not suited for people like myself [read: standardized education], I’ve come to realize that it was never about myself having had a problem– it was always the means by which information was delivered by the instructors (to memorize and quote upon a test, almost like a legalized form of plagiarism). It was never the instructors’ fault, though I blamed them and hated having to speak to them about why I couldn’t understand how this, that or the other. It dawned on me recently that I am going to have to put forth my own energy to teach people in a field that appears to be in decline since the advent of text messaging– English and writing. Not once before my 30s did this occur to me. I was always interested in the feeling of excellence in my writing and expressing it to others just for the sake of having them read my content, but it never occurred to me to help anyone out. Given platforms like Fiverr and Udemy, however, I’m currently in the process of developing my skills, improving my own knowledge, and reach a global audience where it counts to actually utilize my skills to assist those who are studying English, whose first language might not have been English. This is where the internet will come in handy.

I’m not a certified educator, but I know well enough how to research using verified and trusted sources for information (the dictionary and thesaurus, and some of my English textbooks that I never threw away). Using these tools, I’ll be generating a decent Udemy course and helping people edit books on Fiverr (as well as write blog posts and guides, as I have been already) . But it’s going to take some effort on my part, because my speaking skills for video presentation are crap.

EDITOR

This one is right up my alley. You know how people are considered grammar Nazis? It turns out that their keen recognition of grammatical errors isn’t just out of the desire to sound like a b-hole on purpose– we just point out flaws in writing that would make communication far easier for the rest of native English speakers and readers. It turns out that this skill is useful in not only providing assistance to those whose writing skills might not be the pinnacle of their skill set, but also to those who wish to become writers, and have a great message to give to their readers– but they don’t have the time they need or the energy necessary to perform self-editing and corrections for their works.

Enter people like myself. This is a very skilled arena on Fiverr, and I’m waiting until I can take a week-long vacation to focus strictly on doing exactly this, because that would mean a significant amount of my skills could be focused just in that aspect. There are more people writing books than ever before in history, and there aren’t really enough people editing books to keep up with that demand. Here I was, on Facebook, pointing out errors for free, when my knowledge of writing could have been much more helpful to a wider audience who actually appreciates that kind of behavior because they had something to tell the world about their experiences, their fan fiction, or their otherwise deeply-rooted past and how they reflect on it now. These are things I’d never once become aware of before, and it’s all dawning on me in record pace. My mind is now full of ideas that I can’t keep up with, and all my energy is almost wasted on working full-time for someone else. I’m not even that good at my job.

COPY WRITING

This doesn’t have anything to do with law, rights, or anything of that nature. I’m not blandly verbose enough to care about being a law student (thank you, George Carlin). Instead, what this entails is capturing the attention for those people who do shop for things on a regular basis online, who are looking to obtain some means by which to save money, or almost blatantly stated, advertisements. I’m not really huge on clicking advertising links, but I understand the amount of my own attention they’ve garnered over the years (I looked at ClickBank). I’ve paid a bit more attention to these than I realized; perhaps not enough to write splash pages, landing pages, or sales funnels– but certainly enough to have some attention-grabbing text that will astound anyone scrolling through Facebook or Twitter or any of the other social media platforms currently available. Facebook ad managers are willing to pay people to create content along these lines, and I’m thinking that it might be more than lucrative, in my experience.

Between the three of these, I think I can make or earn enough to replace my day job. In between working for these, in fact, I could be writing my own series of e-books that will supply a passive income stream. I know it sounds like a lot of work, and perhaps it is– but passive income takes a lot of work up front. If I could create this lengthy blog post in a matter of 40 minutes before work, then don’t you think maybe I might have a chance to go about seeking alternative sources of income that don’t guarantee the shortening of my life and deterioration of my health over the long run– for a partly retirement? I’ve rarely taken major chances, and I don’t gamble, but this is one thing I have great confidence in.

One thousand, two hundred thirty words. Forty minutes. That’s the ticket right there, everyone.

Investing into myself

I realize that, in order to get the most out of life, you have to be willing to put the work into what you think is your most valuable asset or group of assets. One of the best investments you can make is to invest into yourself, according to multiple financial gurus. So, if this (you) is (are) the greatest asset of your life, then what sort of resources do you think would be the most fitting towards your financial future?

Self education. This means, very simply, that you take the time to learn from the people who know finance, life coaching, or education principles that would launch you to a world of success and happiness. Now, I’m not saying I know anything more about this than the next person. I do know and understand the importance of books. I have plenty– they just don’t get read. I work a physically-demanding job, so eight hours of my time every day for five days a week is immediately followed by naps, then dinner, then back to sleep again. I don’t watch TV, so I don’t think that’s going to be so much of a problem. Actually, I don’t even really get onto social media much. My biggest time waster is gaming, but that’s not doing anything for me.

Right now, as it stands, I have to take a bit more time to develop my writing. I have a very strong affinity for this, but I rarely find myself motivated enough after the hard workdays to stay awake to find any time to do anything but try to rest. So my blog posts don’t even come out once a week. Sometimes, yes, I can manage, but other than that, I’m usually taking care of chores or other stuff.

When it comes to investing into yourself, the first thing you’re going to have to find is time– time to read, time to watch a few informational or educational YouTube videos related to your self-investment, and time to put into practice all that you’ve learned and read thus far. I have heard that applied knowledge is really what constitutes power; knowledge alone is power in reserve. That’s the potential energy you read about in physics, which is a ball sitting atop a hill with a flat top. Kinetic energy, then, is energy motion–applied knowledge is the ball rolling forward, accelerating a little faster with each passing moment in time. This is the very fundamental explanation behind becoming something better than you ever thought could be possible.

So, that’s well and good! You have just learned a little about how to invest in yourself! Below, I’ll be listing a couple of books that I personally have in my library, which I have read and refer to whenever I feel stuck.

1. Think And Grow Rich! by Napoleon Hill

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This is the quintessential book for anyone wishing to really get into the mindset of becoming wealthy in all aspects of their personal lives. I’ve read this a couple of times, and each time I go through the pages, I see something that applies to a new feature of my path, which, had I only read this book once, would have passed me by– I would have missed an opportunity otherwise. It’s focused on how the wealthy made their money, by using nothing more than the will of their mind to become rich. Now, there are multiple paths to becoming rich, and thought alone will not get you there. A “burning desire” is what really helps to forge your path to wealth, because it forces you to think about how to go about developing yourself, which is ultimately the path you take in life to obtaining your wealth.

Anyone who has ever read anything about finance has heard about this book. I recommend it only because it’s helped me a little bit, but I’m not claiming to have utilized it to my full potential; it’s only a small stepping stone!

2. The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

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This book has introduced the idea of limiting my spending habits to such an extent that I have an emergency fund for immediate use, since a good portion of the population for my demographic seem to not have such a thing. His recommendation is to have at the very least $1,000 for emergencies, to start. Later, this increases, but at least you’ll have this available and at the ready, before taking on some of the next steps towards financial independence.

Now, this book is more common sense than anything, focusing on eliminating your debts through your own efforts first and foremost and living below your means (this term will become apparent to those who are only hearing this for the first time). Rather than buying the latest hot gadgets, the focus is to really only get what you need for your daily life until you can realistically afford the small luxuries.

Last, but certainly not the very least, two books from the same author:

Rich Dad, Poor Dad and Cashflow Quadrant by Robert T. Kiyosaki

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These two books are more geared towards the person who has already developed their financial literature, and has a more confident approach to how they’re going to move from the left side of the quadrant to the right side. This is the path I’m currently taking. Now, these two books have done quite a lot for me in addition to the other two which I have mentioned, because they’ve exposed to me a mindset and perspective which I wish I would have had when I was much younger. Of course, I never did listen to my parents’ advice, so here I am struggling financially– but the difference here is that, after a couple of years of consideration, hard thinking, and long hours of physically working too hard, I realized that life doesn’t have to be as such. It’s a humbling thing, understanding your flaws and accepting yourself for who you are after years of self-deceit. I’ve been on the left side of the cashflow quadrant for a long time, and I feel it is now time to start taking steps to get to the other side.

Not only am I doing this for my future, but for the future of my family and siblings and nieces and nephews. I hear so many stories of personal success, and it never occurred to me that I should be doing the same. After watching a few videos from Jeff Rose on YouTube, I’ve become more motivated to doing what it really takes to succeed. Now, it’s going to be up to me to find a niche or career path which is best suited for me, but perhaps I should just start right here on my blog. Blog posts are a good foundation for stepping into another realm of financial security and decisions.

Featured Image of money from these guys at The Green Head.

New to Affiliate Marketing?

Me too. I mean, it seems like one of those American Dream stories– two parents, one a housewife and the husband a hard worker, putting in 40+ hours per week, all for the pile of debt which won’t be paid for years because of minimum payments and the annual percentage rate keeping their principle in check. Dad gets tired of working so hard and spending so much time away from family eventually. I mean, I’m there right now. I’m frustrated with the amount of time I’m trading in for the amount of money I get paid. This isn’t about me, though. It’s about the thousands of other people who have done exactly this thing and felt as if they were wasting their lives away, paying someone else’s mortgages with their mortgage payments, or a land owner’s house being paid by the multiple tenants in the apartment complex.

Eventually, the paradigm shifts for those who are keenly aware of their own preferences in life. Instead of working for their dollar, people have figured out a way to make their dollar work for them. For these individuals and families, it is nothing to place six hours of their time over the course of a whole week and spend the rest doing a hobby they love to do, or traveling and hosting a blog or YouTube video blog to show to the world where they’ve been, experiencing different cultures the world over, while the masses who have not figured out their secrets to wealth building are left feeling hopeless because they’re working a basic job somewhere for minimum wage. The difference here is simple: those who have become successful have become aware that their time is not worth a measly $10.50 an hour. These individuals, then, have decided that their time is best spent just enjoying life.

That’s where I want to be. I know that the life I’m living right now can be described (as someone once put it) as “trans-financial,” identifying oneself as feeling as if they have tons of money but were born into a family that either budgets very poorly or doesn’t budget at all (I found that here). I know it seems like a funny thing to say, but the reality is that people don’t know their own potential, just as much as I don’t know my potential– and just as with any highly successful person, my personal paradigm is shifting into a mindset where I’m no longer working for my money; I’m no longer aware of the importance of a job, personally, because I keep telling myself if I could just develop a sense of how to market, how to become an affiliate, or how to just work my mind a different way, and actually UTILIZE the power in reserve which has endearingly become called “knowledge,” then I could also enjoy a life of luxury, boat cruises, excellent savings, or even just a nice Zippo lighter to add to my collection, I could become more relaxed about life than scraping change and recycling cans and bottles just to make some extra money here and there. I know what it’s like to struggle, and I can only imagine what financial independence feels like.

Now, I’ve been finding affiliate marketing to be a wonderful niche unto itself, and this is for good reason– it is one of the most popular ways for an individual to potentially make tons of money. There are tons of resources available online, and for the last ten years I have not been utilizing the internet correctly. If you’re familiar with Uber or Lyft, you know that ride sharing is more profitable for individuals than simply re-selling physical products from your own home on eBay. Vitamin supplements are still extremely popular. There are probably more links than I can mention in this one post, because you might be looking at more characters in that post than exist in pi.

Now, I can’t guarantee to any of you out there that my method of blogging versus owning an actual brick-and-mortar business will be of any real success. I actually have to be going to bed right now, because I have to work in the morning, but wouldn’t it be nice to know that you can earn money while you sleep, for real? I look forward to hearing some information about how you became successful in a niche!

Overtime As A Custodian

So if you’re like me, and work a full-time job, you might hear the wails and lamenting of people who have it so hard because they have to pull overtime once in a while. I, on the other hand, tend to welcome some extra overtime work. The reason for this is because my job is not very difficult. As a custodian, there are only so many difficult things to do, which, given that I have experience, are not that difficult at all. Just a minimal amount of training over the course of a year and a half has allowed me to clean houses at breakneck speeds. I have the capacity to earn over $30 an hour based on my expertise, but I choose to clean houses once a week to avoid burnout.

So, back on track– overtime. Some people have too much of it,and it is reflected in their paychecks. It is also reflected in their health as well. I once knew of one guy who works over 100 hours a week, and had done so for a few months straight. Between the time he started and the end of that hefty chain of work he had gone from a relatively happy person to looking terribly pained. When I work overtime, however, I welcome it with open arms, because it only occurs once a year. It is to strip and wax a floor. That’s it. That’s all. Anyone with half a brain can figure out how to do this type of thing.

So what about overtime has it become such a huge deal when a certain amount of work is necessary, and a company is excessively reluctant to pay overtime? If I were the head of a company which commanded a large workload, I would most certainly be happy to pay overtime or increase the work force to accommodate for job requirements. But, in my field of work, which is basic cleaning, such a thing is unnecessary, much less unavailable except in office environments.

I’m looking at it from multiple perspectives, and I’m pretty sure I can be a one-man workforce for housecleaning. This is not a difficult arena. I can Ajax any mildew and bathtub scum away, given enough elbow grease. My vacuum cleaner is perfectly capable of whisking away dirt from hard-to-reach corners and dust bunny escapees which survived the pass of my dust mop (I need a new dust mop head). I might be relatively new to this industry, but if this isn’t the most simple way to make money, I don’t really know what is (affiliate programs notwithstanding).

The most difficult part of my job is pricing. I know I mentioned earlier that I have the capacity to earn more than $30 an hour, but if I can clean a three-bedroom house in two hours, I ought to be requesting more moneys. The problem with this is that I hate asking people for money. It might just be a comfort level thing on my end, because I certainly know I like paying people who know what they’re doing to help me with something with which I have zero experience.

Who knows? This might just be a useless article on the internet, but I would really like to hear your opinions as to how you’re charging based on house size, square footage, etc. If you’re in the cleaning industry and you have been at it for a while, and you have some advice to offer me in terms of how I should be pricing against “competitors” or other cleaners, I am all ears.

They say becoming a leader requires good listening skills, but listening doesn’t do a thing unless you apply the expertise to your repertoire of actions. I’m putting this to the test. Let me hear your words of wisdom and encouragement!

Sleepless On A Work Night

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If I didn’t know any better, I would say that the overdraft fees from my bank have caused my peace of mind to be in a bit of an uproar. Now, what’s life without a few hassles here and there?

Of course, if I had paid more mind when I paid the bills before, I wouldn’t be in this mess. You see, what I do is simple: The morning of my direct deposit, I immediately go pay my phone, cable, gas, electric and some other bills online, while my coffee is brewing. The problem here is also simple: Some places will not take the funds until the following week. Hence, this is a bad thing that gets me almost every time. It had been several months since my last overdraft fee, but this time I think I took out a bit too much to pay for food. I mean, feeding people is kind of a good thing, right?

So, what does one do about it? Well, there’s nothing you CAN do, really. The banks won’t pay all of those overdraft fees back. They’ll give you half of it back, and come up with some lame excuse as to why they can’t refund the full charge. I called once and their response was, non-verbatim: “We have an overdraft fee because we provide online services for our members.” I can’t think of a more lame excuse.

If they have the capacity to render your bank almost $200 in the negative, they have the capacity to remove one hundred percent of their charges. Their outright willingness to avoid  doing so is only minimally outrageous.

I wonder how many of their corporate people would be willing to try to live within their current means on $1,240 a month. I bet some of them wouldn’t care much for that overdraft. I bet they would flinch hard if it was going to interrupt their already-funded trip for an anniversary.

I have to rant because of how stupid I believe the overdraft fees are. They can charge multiple times per day, and the rest of the month is totally readjusted and re-budgeted until you can catch yourself up, even after paying the same amount in bills that you need to. I don’t see how banks expect this to be a good thing at all, except where lining the pockets of corporate is concerned. The way I see it– working full time just isn’t enough. I pay $300 a month in rent (that’s half, as my fiancee pays the other half), and another $600+ in child support on my own. I work for my local city. I’m among the lowest paid, as well as one of a few who are worked the hardest, and those in charge of the child support agency still see everything I make before taxes as the go-to number to base my income for such numbers.

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Lots of things are broken in this world. Regulatory schemes are insane, and much against the will of the lowest paid and hardest workers. Some of you might be thinking that I’m just here to gripe. Maybe, but the point here is that I don’t believe overdraft is anything close to beneficial for those who use banks. It’s actually causing me a lot of stress, and that’s not what living is about. I’m doing multiple online things in an attempt to make money passively, but it turns out that writing a book takes a lot of time, much more so if you’re exhausted from working a full time job. It takes a lot of time to build up minuscule payments on Amazon Mechanical Turk. It’s taking a lot of my weekends to build and maintain a website, be an Amazon affiliate, as well as be an affiliate for Karatbars— I feel as if I’m plowing myself into the ground. All it takes is a second job, but who has time for that when they’re tired all the time?

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I suppose it’s my fault, but the general work environment doesn’t allow people to get out of the rat race. I recognize it for what it is– work hard, pay for electricity, rent a box to live in, pay for gas, pay your insurance, pay for car maintenance, pay for your car, pay taxes on your food, pay for clothing, pay for cable, pay for this, that, the other, everything else– all before you save that little bit of pocket change that is supposed to go towards retirement. I’m prepared to wait until some of those contracts expire, and those who wish to use certain features in the household will be responsible for paying for those luxuries. I don’t watch TV, but I use the internet heavily. I’ll take that bill. I use the gas for my stove top percolator, so I’ll pay that as well. I’ll pay for half of the electricity, I pay half the rent already, as I mentioned, so that’s not a problem.

Boy, does it suck being a military veteran to come home to this free country.

It is morning time!

You know what that means, right? No? Well, I’ll tell you! I get to go to work! Not everyone gets to say they have a secure 9-5, and those of us who do have this option typically feel better off than the next person because their fast food job never treated them with retirement benefits, health benefits, vision care, and hourly wages of that type of magnitude! I mean, who doesn’t want to make more than $10 an hour? That extra bit of money in your hand by the next paycheck is always welcomed!

But, as you grow older, you begin to realize that things change. Your perspective begins to focus its shift away from buying extravagant items, such as an expensive pair of shoes to match your fashionable jeans which were made to look used, or another CD to add to your growing collection.. You begin instead to look forward to putting some away, what little is left after your child support is removed every paycheck. You put some here for retirement, some here for gas and electric bills, some here for diapers, most here for car payment, insurance, food, replacement socks and t-shirts, internet, phones. And then, you have to prepare for dinners, your personal breakfast foods (I like eggs, but once in a while it’s nice to just eat a bowl of oatmeal in the morning).

How is there ever enough time to enjoy life with all these requirements? Well, I’ve been thinking about this for a while. I know there is no way that my life is intended to work for someone else while begging for a higher wage. At the same time, I’m glad I’m not working in fast food or part time anymore because those types of jobs were not exactly within the realm of “desirable” when it came to what began to matter most in my household. I needed something bigger for myself, and for my fiancee and her daughter. (And my dog. He’s a family member too, even if he does poo indoors BAD DOG!)

I’ve been searching for solutions to my particular set of financial problems and this blog is helping just a little bit. It gets my mind off of life for the little bit of time I’m able to come to write or make updates. At this time, I must begin to prepare for work, but if anything changes for financial betterment, then I should let you know here. I know I need to start a website, but that’s a first-of-the-month thing (which approaches rapidly).

If you have something you would like to suggest, I’m an open book! Speaking of which, please check out my book here.

If you just want to say you enjoyed it, that’s cool too. I like feedback, and critique. See you all later!

Life, And Related Stuff

Doesn’t it ever seem that the more work you put into something, the higher the benchmark is set for your achievements? I feel that this is what is happening to me at work. I’ve managed to become one of the most diligent workers at my workplace, and although people who work with me also have the capacity to do what I do, I don’t see anyone else actually doing it– so I don’t know if whether I’m conceited about my work or I just happen to generate a lot of comments from the customer base. Maybe I put way too much passion into what others would consider a terrible job.

I remember one day, my shift supervisor was having a hard day, or a bad day– you never can tell with this person. Anyhow, s/he tells me that if I don’t pick up the pace of my work that I’ll get written up. The next day, I amped my speed up and the shift supervisor took notice about it. Later on, at the next “bread bash” (what used to be a quarterly meeting regarding up-and-coming menu items and recognizing employees for their achievements, et al [which I’ll not go into]) I was presented with a WOW! pin to tack to my hat. The reason for it was “fastest improvement of an employee.” It seems one can get a WOW! pin for just about anything, but perhaps it was more to not let me feel left out because all the coworkers whom had been hired alongside me also got themselves some WOW! pins. From that day, I continually worked my way into a routine which was befitting me, and now I’m really able to enjoy speaking with the customers for a bit regarding their meals and even shoot a breeze or two with some regulars because I’ve mastered my particular position.

Well, it seems that the hard work I was putting in wasn’t going noticed because I was beginning to feel myself in a rut from which there was no escape. Washing hundreds of dishes in a day while cleaning 31 tables (7 of which are dedicated booths, 5 of which are combination booths and free-standing chairs, and the remaining 19 solely tables, arranged meticulously at 45-degree angles with chairs turned at 45 degrees to allow for maximum walking space)(Yes, I’ve been there too long. This is what the post is about, after all), re-stocking condiments and dry goods to include small, medium, and large-sized lids, three sugar substitutes, two different types of packet sugars, salt, pepper, mayonnaise with olive oil, mustard, spicy mustard, Tabasco sauce, butter, honey and lemons for tea, straws, napkins, drink stirring sticks, coffee lids, and coffee sleeves– as well as brewing four different coffees once per hour, two at a time only, three different iced teas and one iced coffee– and topping off with actually filling a sink with the water that you need to wash four different sizes of bowls (two dedicated to soups and two dedicated to salads, one of the salad bowls being used for broth bowls), large trays, small yellow trays dedicated to pastries, knives, forks, spoons, and a plethora of pans provided by the line people, silicone or rubber spatulas, scoops with the little swingy arm thingy, souffle pans, cookie sheets, whisks, and and assortment of non-serrated chef knives and serrated knives– seems like a lot to memorize for a 6-hour shift and can easily lead to burnout, exhaustion, and irritable moods. But hey, $Dollars an hour seems like it’s worth all the while. This last “bread bash” they recognized my achievements with dining room etiquette, customer service, and I suppose a whole host of comments in favor of my working habits by customers. And it does hang on the wall at this moment.

But if it wasn’t making me feel an eternal sense of entrapment in time, where all of the same exact routine-driven drivel seems to always await me every time I clock in, and impending doom every time I see an irate manager or shift supervisor seems to surge from within on a nearly daily basis, then I would not be sitting here talking about it. For you see, I’m what they call a “human being.” We’re a species that has limits! Recently, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to– nay, today I was HIRED. Screw it, it’s out on the plate now. I am going to my orientation this Monday and Tuesday. They called me after an intensive background check (military base jobs for civilians can be very thorough) showed that I am as clean as a whistle and ready to be trained. What I’m going to do is ensure that I balance working between the two places. Anyhow, back to my human comment– I’m always scheduled to do the exact same job. I’ve reached the limits of all that is exciting in that area of expertise. Whenever they do have me work somewhere else, the manager always says, “You did a good job today. Why don’t you do this more often?” Oh, well maybe if you talked to the schedule-writing person I could. They won’t even let me train for cashier even though I always beat everyone at counting change before they have a chance to push their buttons to give me the purchase total for lunches (Hey, 65% discount! Can’t really beat that perk).

I know I may be getting into a bit of exhaustive life changes by sacrificing a weekend, but at least I’ll be doing something with myself– but ultimately, I’m aiming my perspective towards a greater-paying job that is less physically stressful and more mentally stressful. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently about how things are turning out for me, and a low-paying job without benefits is not a future. That is not a sustainable way of life. Knowing my skills in typing were at least enough to submit my typing test to a recent job opening as an Office Assistant, I went ahead and applied for that job last week. The day before the position closed, I took my state typing test and scored 50 WPM at 95% accuracy. Their minimum was 35 WPM.

Some of you may be shaming employees in the workforce who are in menial grunt jobs and always feel that they’re not motivated enough to do anything else. This can’t necessarily be true because I have an image to keep up, and although I work in the restaurant business at the lowest pay for my region and have worked these types of jobs in the past for a majority of my life, I’ve always known that I am far too intelligent for such degrading work– but until recently, I never really saw where my greatest potential lie until I started my Morning Pages routine a couple of weeks ago. It’s not a matter of intelligence, it’s about providing a working environment for many different walks of life. I’m not suited for engineering work and somehow my ASVAB scored me strongest in engineering. Years later I would find out that I don’t have knowledge of advanced mathematics (read: algebra), and this would get in the way of my access to even an Associate’s Degree.

I sometimes wonder why we even have schooling when none of it pertains to actual education in financial matters, business, or arts and music, unless it’s an “elective” class or you go out of your way to find educational institutions which specialize in this type of work. Go to school and get a job? It’s far too generalized when we don’t even always know the best way to teach a child because they don’t know the style of learning they know. I blame television, games, and instant gratification practices. That’s just me and my opinion, but those who agree would be on what I feel is the right track towards reforming the education system.

So, wrapping things up here– not everyone in the lowly fast food job sector looks forward to staying there forever. Because our education system is so screwy, I find that many people simply stay put out of sheer fear for difficulty, or wish to remain in their comfort zones for an extended period of time. I’m only waiting until a new, higher-paying job opportunity comes along, and feel that many are also awaiting the same things. Some people are naturally suited for business ownership, teaching, music, writing, video editing, typist work, philosophy– and some people are naturally suited to accepting what’s given to them and stick to it just because it’s a job. I don’t know about you guys, but I feel that my time for food working has come to an end. I need a more meaningful job, and I’m searching around until it comes along. But I’ll also not stop and settle either. I’m needing access to more money to pay for bills and make it easier for me to discover a hobby which I can turn into a specialization. I feel that a handcrafted item for Christmas is better than anything made in China purchased at a chain store, and that I can actually benefit from creativity– not in the financial sense, but in the sense of well-being and goodwill.

Right. Now go out and celebrate Halloween if I don’t see you here before! And as always, until the next time I show up to write here,

Peach cobbler.

Repetitive Work Can be Stressful

I work at a restaurant which flaunts its style as being greater than your average fast food restaurant, all the while actually serving up some great food for the health-conscious. The place to which I refer is called Panera Bread. Yes, everyone — it is a greater job to hold than fast food. This is actually my tenth month working for Panera. Because of its heightened atmosphere in regards to the wall art, the striking yet warm colors, plentiful lighting, booths and tables galore, and all-around balanced music on the radio, many people realize that their average fast food diet seems to be doing them a terrible favor and turning to the few alternatives; juice diets, gluten-free diets, and other fad diets which don’t last much longer than a few weeks (none of which I currently follow, if this is what I may have inadvertently indicated). Outside of the bread, obviously, Panera has some feel-good, guilt-free soups on the menu which will not lead to extra pounds on the scale over time. That being said, nothing seems to have ever made work more difficult in the fast food (or namely, in our example here, fast-casual) than actually being a successful chain for the foodie who wishes to eat sensibly, as well as appealing to a different class of citizens altogether.

Let’s start with what I do. Due in large part to my physical strength, my primary area of expertise is the dining room. This includes all of the following: stocking condiments; brewing four different coffees before their one-hour expiration for the duration of each shift; replacing the creamers (half-and-half and skim milk) as necessary; brewing tea as necessary or before their eight-hour expiration; stocking the quickly-depleted soda lids, straws, napkins in about five areas; replacing about eight sanitizing buckets before their three-hour expiration; resupply the line workers with bowls for half salads, bowls for full salads, soup cups, soup bowls, soup spoons (for our new broth bowl menu items), spoons, knives, forks, and grey trays; resupplying the cashiers with their yellow trays, coffee mugs, and silverware as necessary; cleaning spills, resupplying toilet paper and paper towels to the restrooms; keeping the hand soap filled properly; placing the cushions outside for the patio every morning that I work, wiping down tables in between all of this for patrons who have decided to leave their trays on the table during rush hour; and of course, keeping the supply of hot water for our variety of hot tea options updated every now and then. Not to mention, due to my height, are countless requests by the shorter workers to obtain items from 8 feet up without the use of a ladder. I also failed to note until now that, by far, the greatest demand in what I do lay in the fact that I have to wash every single dish which comes to the bus tubs (these are plastic bins which are designed to hold large amounts of stoneware dishes in the event of a rush hour. And these are utilized very, very frequently).

Sure, that seems to be a lot to remember, and mechanically, I am about as automatically wired to perform this job beyond the capacity for all others as I would be mechanically wired to auto-pilot anything. In the short ten months that I have worked at Panera, I have become an Associate Trainer for the dining room. By default, it seems that everyone has considered me to be capable of performing this job so much so that I exceed the skill of even those who have been here for many years. This is highly unfortunate for me because I also have to greet customers as they are asking me to wipe down tables; some of them like to chat about this-and-that. This takes away from me some capacity for perform my work accurately. But then again, I do it so often that I might even talk to a customer for upwards of 45 seconds before resuming what they call a “travel path” (the purpose of which is to resupply any depleting materials from the condiment stations, as well as busing tables before customers might leave a mess to clean for others who are intentionally waiting for a family to leave so they can get a booth despite all the empty tables to which they have easy access). And this I do five days a week, and have done for just about 7 months now.

In order to become an Associate Trainer, you must certify in three positions and have a level of expertise and knowledge sufficient to performing your job prior to being sent to a trainer class. I have held a certification for sandwiches and dining room (trust me, memorizing 13 or 14 different breads for specific meat combinations which are by default (unless requested otherwise by the customer) is a daunting task, in addition to having to summon these combinations in the blink of an eye, for those cashiers can fill a screen of orders quite rapidly). The tertiary of these which granted me Trainer status was obtaining my certification in salads. In actual despite of these three certifications, my primary area is dining room.

So what gives? Well, it seems that, although I may have certified in all three of the required stations, since I perform so well in the most difficult area of Panera I’m simply a great asset in terms of cleaning dishes and whatnot. Of course, I am not bragging about anything. I do forget from time to time that something runs out while I am busy with washing dishes. The straws run out frequently while I’m there. As do the mustard, olive oil mayonnaise (pretty delicious stuff, if you ask me), napkins, coffee, tea, lids, coffee sleeves — so I don’t perform perfectly. I’m far from it, but I’m so very much assigned my position that everything I need to know comes to me as quickly as simply typing out this post. This makes me the most efficient dining room worker in the eyes of the management whom are in charge of assigning the scheduling, noting my extraordinary height as being an advantage except for where I may actually have minimal use — in either the salad or sandwich station.

Both stations are designed such that each ingredient can be quickly accessed by the person working at that moment. But in my case, being very tall (I was last measured around 6’7” in the Navy, which is around two meters, give or take several thousand nanometers), when standing straight up I cannot see any of the ingredients in the back rows of these little refrigerators. I have to bend down to access them, and even when I can do so, there is a great amount of stress placed on my lower back, exacerbated by the fact that the leverage on the fulcrum which is my lower back is increased each time I extend my arm out to reach those ingredients. This makes me really badly suited for even doing such jobs. I get in the way and it makes me appear clumsy. How I earned my certification in these two stations without much injury is beyond me, but I do know that even though I can be called back to those two stations at any time, the reality is that I hold those positions so infrequently that it always seems to be a challenge to perform those two jobs correctly.

Working at Wendy’s and Sonic proved to have the same effect. I was too tall to reach the furthest sections of the fries without stooping considerably. I actually suffered spinal injuries in the Navy, and although I do get compensated for it, I am certain that these low-paying job are of even minute benefit for my back. Not only that, doing the same thing over and over while being tired of that particular position will lead me to a burnout, an action which I fear looms over the horizon in the future. When, I cannot discern. But when it does happen, I fear that I will have a very definitively difficult time recuperating and feeling motivated enough to look around for another physically-demanding job. Maybe I’ll look to attending college again after some time self-learning some mathematics.

Until the next time I arrive here, adieu.