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We Are Only What We Are

Career, Life

Dear You;

I was reading Marie Claire this evening and came across an article about women’s style at work and how we can now wear so much more than just the standard power suit. Awesome, right? Yes and no.

For one thing, every woman that is featured is wearing an article of clothing that is at least $2,500 (that’s just for one article of clothing, not the entire outfit). Secondly, all the women are under 30 years old, and third most if them are CEOs of some company.

Again, this is great! Young women are shown to be independent, powerful, smart, and successful. But I do have some issues with this article that I think outweigh the positive things about it. For starters, the woman in the photo above is 24 years old and is
“founder and CEO of PoPTips, a market research firm that analyzes social media trends”, and is wearing a Valentino dress that is worth $3,490 and Louis Vuitton shoes costing $1,360. Wow! Quite an accomplishment for only being 24! But wait…well shit, for one thing, I’m already 20 and don’t have a chance in hell at being anything close to this by 24. Furthermore, she is 24 and the founder and CEO of a market research company and we are talking about weather she prefers a cotton dress or a poly-blend skirt suit? Maybe we can ask her how the frig she accomplished starting her own business and how she can make enough money to buy Valentino anything!

Maybe I am just being jealous, but I think that these types of articles tell young women that if you haven’t made it by 25 then you probably won’t make it ever and that making it is really not something to be that proud of, it’s more impressive that you have a great pair of shoes. Now, to be fair, I’m sure that the magazine meant this article to be empowering – wear what you want, to hell what others think – but I can’t help feel inadequate when I read things like this.

Is it just me or do articles like this put an unreasonable expectation on young women to have their lives figured out, have a great career, and a killer wardrobe right now? I mean my credit card limit is only $1,000 you can’t really expect me to by anything worth more than that, can you? I feel like these types of stories just undermine all the hard work that goes into creative a great life for yourself and kind of destroys confidence in twentysomethings because we can’t possibly live up to such high standards.

Love Zoey.

Couple kissing

Listen! You Are Great!

Love

Dear Single;

I have a friend that I love dearly. She is smart, funny, cute, skinny, and adventurous and anyone would be lucky to have her in their life but she is in a very bad relationship right now with a guy that treats her like dirt. He doesn’t respect her, none of our friends like him, he smashes plates, throws things, and yells at least a couple times a week. They have been dating for two years now, live together, and are soon moving to a new city where she has no support of friends, family, or a job. I am actually afraid for her because there is no back-up plan for her if things don’t work out.

I want to scream at this friend of mine and tell her to just leave him but I know she won’t. So I am going to tell all of you guys: If you are not happy with a man, leave!

You are worth more than this guy is giving you credit for, I promise. You are smart and pretty and young and have everything going for you. Even if you have this goal of being married and having 2.5 kids by 30 this is no reason to stay with a man that does not treat you like a queen.

I have been in this kind or relationship before and ending it hurt more than anything else; it truly felt like I was dying. But now that it is over I wish that I had ended it sooner. Today I am with a guy that lives for me. He wakes up early to make me breakfast, rubs my feet after a day when he has been working, works overtime so that he can save more in order to buy a house with me, the list goes on and on and on. I love him and he loves me and I am so happy.

If you are with a guy and he doesn’t give you butterflies, if he doesn’t kiss your forehead and tell you you are beautiful, if he doesn’t give you EVERYTHING you want in a partner you need to leave him. Don’t wait until you are married with children to figure out that you deserve better. I wish I could personally support every woman who is unhappy in a relationship and tell her that she deserves better than she has but I can’t.

  • To every high school girl that thinks she will never be loved by anyone else;
  • To every middle aged mother that believes she has no other option;
  • To every university lady that wants more out of a relationship;
  • To every woman that doesn’t believe she is good enough to be loved;

You are wonderful and deserve everything you have ever wanted. There are billions of people in this world I can 99% guarantee that there will be many more people than love you. You are powerful and independent and there are people worse off than you that have done it. Please, I beg you, do not settle for less than what you want and need in a relationship.

Love Zoey.

Lier Lier

Uncategorized

Dear Pants On Fire;

I’m just trying to eat healthy. No you’re on a diet. Seriously why do we lie to ourselves (and others) so much? Is it just me? I tend to lie about things that I don’t even need to lie about! It becomes sort of comical at times. Like just today my boyfriend asked if I was really going to eat that entire box of Peak Freans and, although I did intend to eat every last one, I told him “no, I’m just going to have two because I’m trying to eat healthier”. And when he asked if I was on another diet I replied, “no, I’m just going to be more healthy”. What a bunch of bull! Why lie? What seriously is the point of telling him an untruth?

And the truth is (see what I did there!) I lie to myself all the time, too. I tell myself in 5 minutes I will start that paper, or I’m just going to have one cupcake but in the end I know I will not start that paper until the night before it is due. I guess maybe it has to do with procrastination but I’m pretty sure it’s more than that. I read a book called ‘The Power of Habit: Why We Do Things in Life and Business‘ by Charles Duhigg and in his book he writes that willpower is like a muscle and in order for it to work we have to work out. Is telling the truth the same way?

I don’t have an answer to that. Just a though!

Love Zoey.

We Don’t Get Weekends

Career, Life

Dear Old People;

(Exams are done!! Woop!)

I think Generation Y young adults (a person born from ~1980 to ~1999) get a pretty hard time in today’s working world. The Huffington Post wrote an article titled “Are We Raising a Generation of Helpless Kids?” back in 2012 that describes some of ways in witch Gen Y young adults are helpless and totally unnecessary for society. I liked the article and it was pretty funny to read about parents calling their child’s professor and demanding a higher grade on a test. But I think articles like this are really degrading and looks at the world through an old fashioned lens.

Millennials are chastised for being on our phones constantly, we are told that we don’t work hard enough and that the reason we aren’t getting dream jobs is because we don’t stay at a company long enough to ever get promoted. Constantly we are told that our generation is lazy, too concerned with instant gratification, and have been so badly damaged by our parents “babying” we will never amount to what previous generations have done.

I’m sorry but F-you! This is total crap! We live in a world where technology is on all the time and if you aren’t using at least some form of it then you are probably dead.Technology is great for millennials, and we use it well, but the downside to it is that we are now expected to know EVERYTHING! Really, with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, WordPress (the list goes on) I feel guilty if I don’t know the latest trending hashtag, or that new YouTube video that is so hot right now.

Millennials are expected to be on call for our employers 24/7 (Case and point: literally I have zero scheduled shifts this summer, it’s all on-call so that means I can’t go more than 30 minutes away from work at anytime during my 4 month term). Weekends, vacations time, and sick days really don’t exist anymore. And if you are not OK with giving up your life for work well too bad for you because you are replaceable…

There are so many people still working because no one planned for retirement and it is crazy hard to get jobs now never mind leaving one after 6 months to go to the next one. I know countless people that have been working for the same company for years and still are only working an entry-level position. We can commit! We are just so afraid to ask for a raise in fear of being fired that we would rather quit and at least keep a good reference.

Maybe it is true that we have been babied by our parents. But not all of us have! Not all Gen Y people have had their parents give them money to go to school, or let them live at home until they are 30, or bought them a car, or yelled at a teacher for a better grade for their child. I think the stereotype that Millennials get is really harsh and it’s not OK to just assume that older generations know more or have a greater value in society.

Common, give us some credit. Or don’t, we will be taking over the world in the next 10 years anyway.

Love Zoey.

The Start Of It All

Life, Love

Dear Stress;

I have been doing the Blogging 101 Challenge and this is assignment #3: What I Was Thinking When I First Started Blogging

I feel so stressed out about everything lately.

I’m worried about getting a job because I have just completed my second year of university and I want to start my career. My boyfriend already has started his career and I just feel like I’m not getting anywhere: I have no money, no time, lots of ambition but not much else, no experience. I get I’m in university and it’s all supposed to happen like this but it’s not easy or stress free.

I have a job for the summer at the BC Ferries but it’s on call and I don’t know if I want to give up my entire summer (although it pays like $22 an hour). I know Evan, my boyfriend, and our friends will want to go on road trip and camping and go to the river and all the fun stuff summer has to offer and if I take this job I won’t be able to do any of that with them. Plus I hear that the Ferries are really challenging to work for because of long hours and hard work. I’m OK with that but I might not have any fun either and I only have so many chances at a real summer left.

I’m stressed about school (exams). I have beZoolander talks about the small desksen studying and working so hard and it doesn’t seem to be working. Maybe I’m not studying right but seriously Economics is the hardest thing and I don’t understand it. We don’t even get practice questions we are just expected to know what we are doing…I don’t know what I’m doing. I pretty much failed my last test and assignment and I actually don’t know what I did wrong. Like I still think my answers are reasonable and I got about 50% on each of them (the test and the assignment). Everything about university seems hard – even the desk sizes suck!

I’m stressed about money because I want to buy a house in a couple years and I also have to pay for the next two years of school – never mind graduate school. And it’s not even the down payment I’m worried about, it’s making enough money each year to qualify for a mortgage, thus needing to start a real job. Plus I don’t have enough money to pay for school next year and I’m sure I’ll be fine with that but it’s just one more thing.

How are you even supposed to deal with stress? They never taught us that in school. I just don’t know what to do. I don’t want to do this anymore. I’m so tired and I just feel like going under my covers, watching Bridezillas, and never coming out. I’m sure billions of other people feel this way but it’s just hard to know what to do.

It feels like everything is moving so fast and every time I reach out for something I can’t grab it. Everything is spinning and I don’t know if it’s just too much stimulation or if I’m going crazy. The world is such a hard place.

Love Zoey.

Liebster Award (yay)

Uncategorized

Liebster Award 2014 Dear Liebster Award People;

Today I was nominated for my first Liebster Award so I’m pretty excited! I want to thank Emily at Another Look At Life for the nomination,  I love your blog and I’m honoured that you like mine too! For those of you who don’t know what a Liebster Award is, here ya go:

“The Liebster award is awarded to bloggers with under 200 followers to try to promote their blog a little and also bring together a community of bloggers. The rules of the competition are as follows:

  1. The nominated user must provide a link back to the person who nominated them.
  2.  Provide 11 facts about yourself
  3.  Answer 11 question set by the person who nominated you
  4. Choose 11 more people and ask them 11 questions!”

So here I go! Here are my 11 random facts about myself:

  1. I have lived in five cities in my life, all in BC, Canada
  2. I have a ridiculous fear of missing out on something, anything
  3. I have an irrational fear of pregnancy and becoming pregnant
  4. My favourite thing to do is travel with my boyfriend. However, whenever I leave home I am instantly home sick
  5. I really, really love apartments with floor to ceiling windows
  6. I don’t like lettuce or peanut butter
  7. My pain tolerance is pretty much zero. Everything hurts me
  8. I have never liked riding in elevators
  9. Terraria and The Sims are the best games ever created
  10. Harry Potter is my life
  11. And lastly, I really hate social media (Facebook is OK but if I could never have known about SnapChat that would’ve been great!)

And now onto the questions that Emily asked me:

1. How are you doing today? Do anything interesting? :)

Well today is Easter so I just slept in, ate a TON of chocolate, and played the Last of Us with my boyfriend! Tonight I am going to my grandparent’s house to have turkey dinner with them :) I’m actually feeling pretty zen today which is surprising because exams are coming up next week and that’s super stressful.

2. What was the inspiration behind the start of your blog?

To tell you the truth I started my blog because I just wanted a place to talk about how stressed out I feel about life. I am too cheap to buy a paper diary and blogging is free so that’s why I started. But now that I have been doing it for a couple weeks I love the blogging community! Everyone is so nice and supportive and it’s nice to get some feedback on my writing and stressing.

3. What is your favourite thing to do in your spare time?

I really like to read but I find that unless it’s the summer or I’m on vacation I don’t really read much (other than textbooks). So if I did have a few days off I would just love to sit around, not think about anything, and just read some books (classics and financial/management planning are my favourites). But on a regular basis, when I come home from school or work I just like to sit with my boyfriend, talk, and watch Boarder Security or Cops.

4. If there was nothing stopping you, what would your dream job be?

I have been thinking a lot about that lately. I think what I want to end up doing is become either a personal financial planner or a mobile mortgage manager. I want to help people reach their financial dreams of buying their first home or retiring with enough money to travel the world. I’m not super into sales but I like building relationships so this seems like a good fit. However, I would eventually like to own a bunch a real estate and make at least half of my income off of buying, selling, and renting out properties. So maybe I will end up becoming a realtor. I’m not really sure but I have been playing with that idea a little bit.

5. What is one object that you couldn’t live without?

This is going to sound super immature but I really couldn’t live without my stuffed panda bear. I was given him the day I was born my a nurse that worked in the hospital (I’m not sure why she bought him for me but she did). I love him more than anything else I own.

6. What trait to you value most in a best friend?

Evan, my boyfriend, is my best friend and I really value his truthiness. He tells the truth even when it means he is going to get in trouble. I lie a lot and it’s not something I am proud of and so I really admire him for telling the truth all the time.

7. What/who inspires you?

So many people inspire me that I don’t know if I could list them all. But I think the one thing they all have in common is that they are just normal, average people that created an amazing life for themselves through hard work, not luck or chance. For example, my finance professor went to school to become an engineer and, once he finished his degree, realized he hated it. He went back to school to study financial planning and now is starting to take over a local wealth investment firm from a very respected and wealthy man in the community. He isn’t taking over that business because his father was the owner or because he knew the right people. He worked super hard to get where he is and now gets to live a dream life.

8. What song(s) do you like to listen to when you study/work?

I listen to a lot of classical music when I study. I just find that it makes me concentrate so much better.

9. What is one experience that especially changed you as a person?

You know, it’s funny that you asked me this because just yesterday I posted “Battles To Be Won“, a post about how I haven’t really had any life defining moments. I think just doing the everyday things as well as possible is what has made me the person I am.

10. What is one thing from your childhood that you would like to re-live?

My mom would take me and my brother to a place called ‘Gold Stream Park’ in Victoria, BC every spring to see the salmon spawning. It is probably my favourite memory from my childhood and I would definitely relive those trips if I could.

11. What are three of your future goals?

Wow, big question! Well here is what I have so far: (I know these goals are ridiculously specific, I’m a business kid, this is how we do things)

  •  Graduate from university in 2016 with no student debt and a GPA of at least 3.5
  •  Purchase my first property (my own home) by the time I have my 22nd birthday on February 15th, 2016
  •  Start working in my field of study, preferably at Coastal Community Credit Union by the end of this summer (2014)

After these are met I really don’t know what else I could want. Maybe make enough money to go back to Europe. I’m not sure.   And now I would like to nominate Ashley, Polly, MS, A Worried Student, Kauruna, Wishing Well, Miki, Squid, The Narcissist, Perfect Manifesto, and Maizy! I love all of your blogs and I’m so happy to be able to nominate you guys. My questions for you are: I did steal some of these from Emily, they were such good questions!)

  1.  What has been your favourite travel destination and why should I go there?
  2.  What is your advice to the younger you?
  3.  What are you most proud of?
  4.  If nothing was stopping you what would your dream job be?
  5.  Who/what inspires you?
  6.  What are three of your future goals?
  7.  If you could be someone else would you be? Who?
  8.  What do you find most challenging in life?
  9.  What is your favourite quote?
  10.  If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life what would it be?
  11.  Are you happy?

Please post your response in the comments because I really would like to read all of your responses. Thanks, have a good one!

Battles To Be Won

Life

Get out of bed and live your life

Dear Average;

Reading through my Reader and the Freshly Pressed blogs, I was thinking about what to write about today. I read a story about a drug addict and how it affected the family and friends around him. It was a very well written story, lovely in it’s bleakness, and it got me thinking about my great story. See, the thing is, I don’t have one. Of course, everyone has stories to tell (that’s what Facebook is for!) but I do not have a Great Story. I didn’t grow up with drug addicted parents, I wasn’t abused in anyway during my childhood, I wasn’t bullied at school, and I have never had to go to bed hungry. There is not Great Story of life life, yet.

I may never have a Great Story with pain and hardship and lost loved ones. But that does not mean that I can’t be an inspiration to others. Sometimes it is the mundane, the day-to-day, the sameness that is the hardest to overcome and thus the most inspiring. Life is hard in general and I am always amazed at people who have gone through an awful event and come out alive. And or course we all go through our own kind of tremendously difficult events in our lives but I can’t honestly say that I have had a very challenging life with many life altering hardships.

However, I can say that I have lived an average life to it’s fullest. I have gotten up everyday and enjoyed myself! I have loved, worked, cried, eaten, and traveled to the best of my abilities and I’m proud of that. I may not have overcome an addiction but I have overcome self doubt. I may not have over come cancer but I have managed to get many part-time jobs on my own, without the help of anything but my resume. I may not have been in the middle of a gun fight but I have gotten out of bed on days when every inch of me was screaming to go back to sleep.

We are all trying out best out here and it is harder for some people but that doesn’t mean that life isn’t equally hard for everyone. We all have our own battles to win and if that battle is going for a 10 minute walk everyday, or getting an A on that test, or learning to ski then that is your battle. That is your Great Story because it means something to you. I am not living your Great Story I am living mine! I am no less of an inspiration to others and myself because I have not lived through a movie worthy story. I am an inspiration because I have lived through the story of my life and I have done so everyday for my entire life. I have persisted and worked hard and I have made it to where I am today because of the many battles I have won in my own world, in my own life. I got out of bed this morning and I am proud of myself.

Love Zoey.

Freedom in the shape of a bike

Change? Is it?

Life

Dear The Impossible;

If we know something won’t change should we try anyway? Anne-Marie Slaughter recently spoke at a TED conference about choosing family over career. You should really watch the talk because it’s very inspiring and it’s too complicated for me to summarize in a quick paragraph. So don’t be lazy, just watch it!

Her talk got me thinking about change and if it is really possible. Of course we want men and women to be seen as equals, and of course jobs in the home are just as important as jobs in the corporate world (CEO’s, Presidents, etc.) but as a society in general it isn’t seen that way. As a woman, if I want respect from my male peers I have to be successful in my male peer’s worlds. That is, I have to be chosen for a job over them or I have to know more about stocks and bonds than they do. But if I would prefer to just stay home and take care of the household – kids, cooking, cleaning, etc – then I am not respected (I’m called a trophy wife and told to not eat that cupcake so that I don’t get fat). We know that it is very hard for a person to work outside the home and in the home at the same time without a nanny or grandparents to take care of the kids. Yet still it is not as valuable to be a stay at home mom or dad is it is to make six figures a year in some office building in downtown Vancouver.

How do we change this? Is it even possible? I know that change takes time but do things ever really change? Maybe it doesn’t seem like things change because change happens over decades and by the time it has really changed the ones that started the movement are dead! If we know somethings won’t change should we try anyway? I just think there are things in this world that will stay the same no matter what we do. If we really wanted a change we would have to reset the entire universe and start fresh. That’s why revolutions work so well, you literally rip down everything and start new again. But without destroying what we already have I don’t see away for a society to really truly change. Am I wrong?

And I’m not saying it is men that make things unequal. We just need to have a new range of “equally respected choices” (Anne-Marie Slaughter) that allows homemakers to be respected just as much as financial planners are. But is it even possible? Does change really happen? I’m not so sure.

Love Zoey.

Elevator Speech

Career

Dear The 30 Second You;

You know when you buy a new car and then suddenly you see that same make and model car EVERYWHERE? I just found out about Elevator Speeches and know I am seeing blog posts, news articles, and presentations about this thing that apparently didn’t exist to me until a few hours ago. Well, for those of you who don’t know what an elevator speech is let me explain. An elevator speech is a 30 second ‘speech’ that tells people what you have done, where you want to go, and what you can offer to the person you are talking to. Pretty much it’s a sales pitch, a mission statement.

FYI: An elevator speech is named so because one is supposed to be able to be recited in the time it takes to go from the top floor of a building to the bottom.

It is supposed to be used when selling yourself in interviews (think ‘tell me about yourself’), networking events, and general business schmoozing. But it got me thinking about what my elevator pitch and who it is I want to tell people I am. If I had to come up with a pitch for myself in the next five minutes I would have no idea where to start.

I can come up with smooth lines in job interviews, pitches that tell the employer why they should higher me, but when it comes down to a personal elevator speech I draw a blank. What really defines us? Where have we been? Where are we going? And what do we have to offer? It’s kind of an interesting experiment, seeing if you can pitch yourself to someone in 30 seconds.

I recently read a blog post by David Cummings that talked about elevator speeches. He argues that people need to come up with a story. He says, in his article, that in order to make a listener interested we must provoke excitement and passion. We must understand that we are not delivering our pitch for ourselves, we are trying to entertain the listener. That sounds kind of like the opposite of what I hear most of the time (do things for yourself, you are the only person you need to please, etc.) but it’s comforting for someone to just come out and be like you know what, impressing people is how you get ahead in life. That’s just the way the world works. I appreciate that.

So what’s your elevator speech? Have you ever tried to come up with one? What was the reaction of others?

Love Zoey.

Miata and BMW

Time And Love

Career

Dear Spare Time;

It has been said over and over again that you should do for a living what you would do in your spare time anyway. This, I am coming to realize, is so ridiculously true. Evan, my boyfriend, is obsessed with cars. He loves working on them, reading about them (the only thing he actually reads is car magazines and articles on the internet about cars,  looking at pictures of them, everything. He loves cars. And no shocker here, he is a mechanic. It’s what he was born to do. He loves going into work everyday and comes home with enthusiastic stories of steering racks, oil changes, and used-car inspections. He’s 20 years old and already knows what he wants to be when he grows up – and is getting there at an alarming rate. Needless to say I am so proud of him.

Evan has always loved cars (he was making model cars with his dad in the 3rd grade) but not all of us are so lucky as to know what we truly love so young in life. Looking at what we do in our spare time is a helpful indicator of what we want as a career but most of the time we are so tired from the day that when we finally do have a minute to do what we want (instead of making dinner, working, volunteering, going to the gym, etc, etc.) we usually end up just vegging out on the couch because we are so tired. I’m pretty sure I won’t get a job watching The Walking Dead so what else is there?

I don’t read very much (it’s hard to come home and read when you have spent 6 hours in class reading) but when I do pick something up it usually has something to do with real estate or financial planning. Lucky for me that is what I am going to school for and I really, really love it! But that’s not what I was doing at 10, or 16, or even 18 years old! I was reading “To Kill A Mocking Bird” and hanging out with my friends. As I have gotten older, though, I have realized that pretty much everything I do in my spare time does have a connection to finance and business. For example, I LOVE watching any TV show with Gail Von-Oxlade in it – Princess is legitimately my favorite show. Furthermore, I love looking at, organizing, and reading about money and savings. Seriously, I have a plan in place for buying a house and retirement already because I love doing that kind of thing!

So I guess the point is don’t worry if you don’t really know what you love. I don’t have everything figured out but if I could go back to my younger self and tell her one thing it would be to not worry about it so much. If you just keep living and having new experiences I’m sure you will find something you truly love to do so just get out there and try something!

Love Zoey.