Why I Gave More Than 2 Weeks Notice

lessons-from-the-mat-2

Recently, I moved to a new city and got a new job. Knowing that I was leaving, I had a choice to make; I could give more than the standard two weeks notice, and risk losing my job and pay immediately, or I could give my employer more than the standard amount of notice and hope that this would allow me to transition smoothly.

As I considered how much notice to give, I scoured the internet and asked trusted loved ones for advice. Although it seemed to be a hotly contested topic in business, I decided to give more than two weeks notice for three reasons.

1. Financial discipline gave me freedom. I have been carefully disciplined with my finances. Because I had money saved up, I was able to make what I felt was the right choice. Financial discipline is important because you never want to be torn between deciding to do what is right, or keeping food on the table. By giving a lot of notice, I risked going months without a job. My financial discipline gave me the ability to do what I thought was right, regardless of the consequences – it gave me freedom to follow my gut. Luckily, it worked out in my favor and I was able to continue working, but I had to be financially prepared for the worst-case scenario.

2. I believe in leading from the bottom. I was, at first, torn about what to do, but I felt like giving advance notice to facilitate a smooth transition was the right thing to do. Ultimately, I chose to talk to my manager about leaving in advance because I decided that it was important to lead from the bottom. The type of leader I want to be is straightforward and honest. If it didn’t work out, and I ended up unemployed for a few months (which I thought was a very realistic possibility), I would be able to sleep easy knowing all I had done was be honest.

3. Most of all, I felt like it was the right thing to do. I started being asked to make commitments I could not keep and starting projects I knew I would not see through. I wanted to be a good team player, giving extra notice so that I could be honest about my ability to support these initiatives. I knew I was taking a risk, and many trusted confidantes reminded me that I would likely be let go as soon as I gave notice, but in my gut it felt like the right thing to do.

Leaving a role will be different for everyone. For the record, I am not trying to tell you what to do in this situation, but instead explain to you how I made a difficult decision in the hope that the way I thought through it can make your decision easier. I am ultimately very satisfied with the choice I made, and feel that by being honest I left a lasting positive impression on my employer.

How much notice have you given for leaving a job? Do you feel like you should have given more or less?

Happiness Project Part 3: Be Where I Am

This post is from my Happiness Project series. I believe that I will have achieved something great if I live a happy life. I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about how to improve your career, but a successful career that you are passionate about is only one facet of a happy life.  To learn more about what a Happiness Project is, and why I chose to pursue one, please read my first post, Why I’m Starting a Happiness Project.

Lessons from the Mat

Now more than ever in my life, it is important for me to enjoy what I have now, not what is coming ahead. Luckily, I have so much to be grateful for and I have some big changes coming down the road. In the next few months I am moving, heading to Europe, starting a new job, getting a dog, and planning a wedding. With so many things ahead, it is difficult, but extremely important, to focus on being where I am.

So in this phase of my Happiness Project, I intend to focus on the underrated importance of appreciating where I am. I will enjoy the nitro brewed iced coffee from the cafe that soon won’t be across the street. I will focus on the positives of my current job, and do my best to finish on my strongest note. I will savor my last yoga classes at my favorite studio. I will celebrate the exciting changes to come with the best of friends, who will soon live farther away. I will look around during my favorite running route, knowing that soon that won’t be the norm.

I have learned that while long term goals are motivating, and exciting experiences ahead bring satisfaction, even during the lead up, it is important to balance the excitement with the enjoyment of what I have right now. I won’t claim to have found the perfect balance of this, but I will actively focus on being where I am during this phase of my Happiness Project and let you know if I learn any tips and tricks along the way.

Lessons from the Mat: Take Yourself Lightly

This post is from my series: Lessons from the Mat. I’ve practicing yoga regularly for about five years. I also ran the social media properties for a yoga studio in my college town for a year. If you’re not a yogi, don’t feel as though this series is not for you. This series is not about the yoga, per se, but about what I’ve learned on my yoga mat over the years. The purpose of this series is to share the lessons yoga has taught me with you. Please join me in learning some #LESSONSFROMTHEMAT.

Lessons from the Mat

This morning, during my 6:30 am yoga class, the teacher offered some excellent wisdom. She quoted Baron Baptiste, yogi and author of many books about yoga, saying you can “take the pose seriously, but take yourself lightly.” This resounded even though I was half-asleep. It was absolutely perfect timing for this reminder because I am in the midst of the second phase of my Happiness Project, focusing on lightening up. I slip into being hard on myself all the time, so I have to actively practice lightening up.

This reminder, however, prompted me to think about not only lightening up on myself personally, but also in my career. Baron’s quote goes beyond the mat. Take your work seriously, but take yourself lightly. Think about the people you have enjoyed working with most. The best people I have worked with are always those who are deeply passionate about and committed to their careers, but who at the same time do not take themselves too seriously. I value those who can find the humor in any situation and those who are ready and willing to admit mistakes and take ownership of their actions. I strive to emulate their ability to be ambitious and driven while maintaining humility and a sense of humor.

In blog quotes

Let’s seek to find the balance between taking our work seriously and ourselves lightly. While it is a difficult balance to strike, and we may never get it quite right,  is it not a goal worth pursuing?

Want more? The Benefits of Routine.

Mid-Year Reading Check In

Weekend Reading

I cannot believe we are already halfway through 2016. This year has been an absolute whirlwind for me. Although I have been busy, I have prioritized reading. Thanks to my diligence, I am already well on my way to exceeding my 2016 goal of 20 books. I have even almost matched my number of books read in 2015 (15) in the first 6 months of 2016. I’m very proud of that accomplishment. Here are the books I have read so far this year, listed in the order I read them:

 

I’m currently reading three books:

 

I compiled a list of My 2016 Must Reads. You can check out an update on my progress here. I am taking a long vacation soon so hopefully I will get even more reading done. You can see what is next on my list by looking at my Goodreads profile. What have you read so far this year? Do you have any recommendations for me?

Happiness Project Part 2: Lighten Up

This post is from my Happiness Project series. I believe that I will have achieved something great if I live a happy life. I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about how to improve your career, but a successful career that you are passionate about is only one facet of a happy life.  To learn more about what a Happiness Project is, and why I chose to pursue one, please read my first post, Why I’m Starting a Happiness Project.

Lighten Up

I stole this one from Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project. I’ve always been oddly serious for someone my age. That’s okay, because it’s part of who I am. I’ve always been ambitious and goal driven, dismissive of frivolity, and I just don’t get the hype around many of the things people my age enjoy. Being mature and serious has many advantages as I’ve thankfully seen in my studies, in my relationships, and in my career, but I’ve always been quick to want to grow up too fast. So my resolution for this month: lighten up.

This is not easy for me. I am the girl who has three planners and saves almost half of her income. I schedule every hour of every day. I’ll never be Adnan Syed from Serial because I document where I am and what I do every hour of every day. I can tell you how many times a week I worked out on any random week in 2013 and how many times I achieved my goal of being out of bed by 6:30 am in March 2016. So my resolution this month is to go easy on myself. If I don’t wake up on time, or achieve my workout goal, or find myself frustrated at work, it’s alright. I am so hard on myself, truly my own worst critic. So taking a break from all the measuring and managing of this project, I’m lightening up.


Now, let’s be clear: I am, by no means saying that I am going to inauthentically pursue that which others find fun in an effort to act my age. But I am going to challenge myself to lighten up. I spent many years trying to fit in with people my age, and eventually realized I’m a serious person and that that’s okay. It’s authentic. One of Gretchen’s “Secrets of Adulthood” that guides her Happiness Project  is, “You can choose what you do; you can’t choose what you like to do.” It took me many years to realize that what I like to do is different than many of my peers. So I’m taking inspiration from a quote I saw on Instagram and lightening up on myself by practicing JOMO (Joy of Missing Out) and doing what I personally enjoy.

Here are some things I’m lightening up on myself about:

It’s okay that a music festival is my idea of hell.
It’s okay that some days I like reading fiction more than I like reading the Wall Street Journal.
It’s okay that I don’t and probably will never like running.
It’s okay that I like getting ready, getting my nails done, and feeling pulled together even though that feels vain.
It’s okay that at first I had trouble making new friends in a new city; finding friends in adulthood is hard.

Writing these things down makes them feel true. Some of these may seem silly or surface-level, but I need to lighten up on myself and accept them. If I can do that by sharing them,  maybe I can let go and just pursue that which I really enjoy.

In the spirit of lightening up, here’s a confession that I won’t admit to most people: I watch the Bachelor and the Bachelorette. Is it two hours of my life that I could be doing something far more productive? Absolutely. Do I work out on Monday nights during the season? Usually not. I’m usually so embarrassed by this. Girl bosses don’t watch reality TV. I judge myself harshly every time I watch. I get in a pattern of self criticism where I think, “how dare I waste two hours of my time on something so frivolous!” So to lighten up, I’m letting myself watch the Bachelorette. Unembarrassed. Not sorry. Because it makes me happy, and that is something I should never be sorry about.

Want more?  Read part one of my Happiness Project: 5 Ways I’m Choosing Experiences over Things.

My 2016 Must Reads – June Update

It’s time for a mid-year check in with My 2016 Must Reads. In 2015, I read 15 books. My 2016 goal is to read 20 books. Since I’ve already read 11, and have three currently in progress, I’d say I’m well on my way toward reaching that goal.

my top five reads of 2015 (1)

Of my six 2016 must reads, I’ve read two, and one is currently in progress. I also recently saw the movies made about two of them, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail and The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, so I’m putting off reading those until later in the year when the story is less fresh in my mind. Here’s the breakdown:

READ:

Do the KIND Thing: Think Boundlessly, Work Purposefully, Live Passionately – Daniel Lubetzky

I absolutely loved Daniel Lubetzky’s book. It was filled with practical advice and interesting anecdotes from throughout his career. There is so much to learn from someone so passionate and driven to leave the world a better place than he found it. I hope he writes another book! One of my favorite things in Lubetzky’s book was his discussion of the importance of “thinking with AND.” Too often, we set ourselves up with false compromises. Thinking with AND rather than OR allows for more possibilities and allows you to be more creative. Since reading this book, I’ve been noticing the areas in my life where I create a false compromise and trying to discover how I can approach those areas with AND rather than OR.

The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun – Gretchen Rubin

If you’ve been reading the blog lately, you know I loved Gretchen Rubin’s book. It inspired me to pursue a Happiness Project of my own. I’ve seen criticism that the topics Rubin addresses regarding happiness are “first world problems” or petty, but I thought it was an excellent examination of how you don’t have to be facing difficult life struggles or be unhappy to take charge of your happiness.

IN PROGRESS: Tough Choices: A Memoir Carly Fiorina

TO READ: The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine– Michael Lewis, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail – Cheryl Strayed, Meditations from the Mat: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga– Rolf Gates

WANT MORE? To see the full list of books on my radar, visit my Goodreads profile.

 

Happiness Project Part 1 Update

This post is from my Happiness Project series. I believe that I will have achieved something great if I live a happy life. I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about how to improve your career, but a successful career that you are passionate about is only one facet of a happy life.  To learn more about what a Happiness Project is, and why I chose to pursue one, please read my first post: Why I’m Starting a Happiness Project.

Choose Experiences

During the past month, I focused on choosing experiences over things. My focus over the past month certainly paid off, but I will continue to be mindful of the temptation to choose things over experiences. Here’s an update on my five choosing experiences goals from part one of my happiness project:

  1. Go one month without shopping.

I didn’t do this perfectly. I’ll admit that I ordered my new Simplified Planner and I’m not sorry about it. My planner was the exception because it’s one of the few things I use every day and it allows me to plan for my valuable experiences. Without it, I surely couldn’t make time for meals with friends, weekend trips, or remember to get experience gifts for friends and family in time for their birthdays! I think it was helpful to take a spending break and to focus on using that money toward experiences for myself and others. I didn’t really miss buying “things” and had way more fun at dinners with friends and reading four fantastic books: The Heart and the Fist, The Husband’s Secret, Do the Kind Thing, and Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future. Note that as I began this project, I decided to treat books as experiences. I learn so much from every book I read, and I’m certainly not going to make a habit of depriving myself of those learning experiences.

  1. Use the money I save toward experiences.

I thought about documenting the things I thought about buying, but I found that thinking about it all the time made me unnecessarily stressed about money and that isn’t the point of a happiness project. I’m fortunate enough to be in a stable, financially independent position, and this practice made me worry about money more than I needed to.

Further, choosing experiences over things does not need to mean choosing delayed gratification. I choose experiences with friends and loved ones now, that I may not get the chance to have later. Attending my first Nationals game with friends on a beautiful spring day was worth way more to me than buying a new dress this month.

  1. Book a trip.

I booked a very exciting trip with my fiance that is sure to be unforgettable! Stay tuned for more about this adventure on the blog soon.

  1. Give two experience gifts.

I gave two experience gifts this past month. One of the gifts, however, I felt had to be coupled with a small physical gift. Next time, I’m aiming to feel confident enough with the experience gift that I’m giving to not have to supplement it with a physical gift. The other gift, I also coupled with a physical gift, but it was a book that I felt the person would find to be an extremely valuable learning experience. Gift giving is a way for me to practice what I preach, so I’m hoping through this practice that I can pass along the value of experiences to my friends and family.

  1. Eat out only with friends.

I stuck to this one pretty well. There were a handful of times I ended up grabbing food out alone: a long drive, a busy Sunday when I didn’t have time for meal prep, etc, but I’m not going to beat myself up about that. Life happens. Overall, I thought this was an effective way for me to choose experiences over things and a practice I’ll continue. I learned two things through this goal: I think a meal is always best enjoyed with great conversation, and it’s not worth beating myself up over arbitrary goals…sometimes Monday mornings are hard and I need that Starbucks latte.

Thanks for checking back to see my Happiness Project journey. 

Want more? Read Happiness Project Part 2: Lighten Up.

4 Habits of Successful People

I get inspiration for this blog everywhere, but especially by observing what the successful people around me do. I’ve noticed 4 habits of the most successful people I know. I hope applying them to your life can help you be a little more successful too.

2

Successful people remember the names of others. Over the years, I’ve started to cringe when I hear people say “Sorry, I’m not good with names.” I’m not judging those people because I used to say that too. But I’ve found that if I make a concerted effort, I can remember the names of others, and you can too! Remembering other people’s names makes them feel special and valued. Bonus points if you not only remember someone’s name, but use it frequently in conversation. I find that if I repeat someone’s name in my head three times when I meet them, and then use it during the conversation we’re having, I tend to remember. We’ve all been in a situation where we felt slighted when someone forgot our name. Don’t be that person!

3

Successful people involve others in their projects. If you take the time to ask others for their opinions, delegate, and give everyone a seat at the table, you’ll end up with a solution that is a sum of the group’s ideas, not just the dictation of the loudest person at the table. Additionally, your team members will feel valued and take more pride in their work. Win-win! Especially when pursuing a new initiative, it’s important to get buy in. People support what they help to create, so if you want someone on board with your idea, give them the chance to be involved in it.

4

You won’t always get the chance to learn the skills that you want, or need, to progress in your career during your 9 to 5. Successful people take the initiative to learn outside of the office, whether by attending events, asking others out for informational interviews, reading, or taking an online class. Successful people don’t settle for on the job learning, and you shouldn’t either.

5

Successful people lean in and speak up, even when they don’t feel like they have the authority to do so. I really admire co-workers when they have the confidence to take this action, and it almost always pays off! You were hired for your knowledge and opinions so contribute as often as you can.

There you have it, the 4 habits of successful people that I try to emulate, and I hope you will too. What habits of successful people do you notice and try to incorporate into your own life?

Lessons from the Mat: The Benefits of Routine

This post is from my series: Lessons from the Mat. I’ve practicing yoga regularly for about five years. I also ran the social media properties for a yoga studio in my college town for a year. If you’re not a yogi, don’t feel as though this series is not for you. This series is not about the yoga, per se, but about what I’ve learned on my yoga mat over the years. The purpose of this series is to share the lessons yoga has taught me with you. Please join me in learning some #LESSONSFROMTHEMAT.

Want more? Get Uncomfortable.

2 (2)

The Baptiste yoga practice that I do is the same every class. If you’ve never tried doing the same workout, the same way, many times per week, the process may seem monotonous. This repetition, however, has taught me of the many benefits of routine.

The beauty of the routine is, it’s never really the same. I constantly find growth in the practice. I notice small ways in which I’m getting stronger and more agile every day. Some days, I don’t notice the gradual improvement. On others, I feel jubilant that I’ve done something a new way  for the first time, forgetting to acknowledge that each day I’ve taken small steps toward this goal.

Every time I go to my mat, the poses and their sequence are the same, but the experience is different. Some days are really easy. I think to myself, “I’m killing it today! Look at that pose I just did. I’ve never done it that way before!” Others are excruciatingly difficult. I think, “Why is this pose I have done the same way a thousand times so difficult today. What’s different?” But I’ve learned that every day is different, and you can’t judge yourself on your worst days. I have to go in with the mentality, in life and in yoga, that “every day is a good day, some days are just better than others.” Every single day that I make it to my mat is a good day. I’ve made a healthy choice. I’ve prioritized living a life filled with things that I enjoy.  I could lie on the mat for the entire 60 minutes and I still would have gotten something out of it: rest and relaxation. So while I’ll certainly never be perfect at reminding myself of this, I will continue to try to not let me judge myself on my worst days on the mat.

 
Routine also fosters my discipline, and beyond that provides a sense of control and comfort. If you’ve taken another Lesson from the Mat to heart by getting uncomfortable, you’ll realize that with routine that what once felt uncomfortable becomes your new comfort zone. You have to learn to walk before you run the same is true in business and in yoga.

5 Ways I’m Choosing Experiences over Things

This post is from my Happiness Project series. I believe that I will have achieved something great if I live a happy life. I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about how to improve your career, but a successful career that you are passionate about is only one facet of a happy life.  To learn more about what a Happiness Project is, and why I chose to pursue one, please read my first post, Why I’m Starting a Happiness Project.

Choose Experiences

This month, I’m focusing on choosing experiences over things. I’ve always tried to choose experiences over things, but flipping my values to be experience focused and to associate value with experiences more than with things is certainly something that I can continue to work on. I believe the practice of choosing experiences is so important to a happy life. Things don’t bring happy memories. Experiences do.

Here are five ways I’m choosing experiences over things this month:

1. Go one month without shopping

On April 14th, I began one month without shopping. I’m not a frequent shopper. I spend judiciously and am a huge saver, but I’m choosing to spend one month without shopping to prove to myself that I can and to concentrate on flipping what I value from things to experiences.

Side note: I’m counting books as experiences, so I’m allowing myself to keep buying both books and audiobooks — learning is growth!

2. Use the money I save toward experiences

Using a tip I picked up from a friend, I’m going to document the things I usually would have bought, but chose not to because of my commitment to go one month without shopping — looking at you Starbucks latte and Clinique Chubby Stick — and put that money in savings to go toward my next goal.

3. Book a trip

I’m planning on taking a very big and exciting trip soon, so I’m going to use the money I’m saving to book some sure to be unforgettable excursions.

4. Give two experience gifts

My best friend is graduating and my fiance’s birthday are both in the next month. I’m planning to give them both an experience gift that we’ll never forget.  For my graduation, my best friend gave me a trip to Nashville, TN. It was the most fun three days filled with awesome memories. The time we were able to spend together was worth so much more than any “thing” she could have given me. I hope I’ll be able to give her an experience gift that is just as meaningful and fun.

5. Eat out only with friends

I absolutely love enjoying a good meal with friends around the table. That expense is one of my most enjoyable activities and I find it to be justified. I can’t, however, justify it to myself when I order food or eat out alone because I’m being lazy. This month, I’ll only eat out with friends, thus putting my funds toward an experience that I enjoy.

Want more? Read about Why I Started a Happiness Project and check back soon for an update on how I did meeting my goals.