A lot of fanciness for a simple girl

I stuck around this month. I played badminton with a couple friends the first weekend, hung out with alumni from my graduate college the next weekend, spent MLK Day weekend with my boyfriend in SF, and was very much a homebody last weekend. My boyfriend has never been to a Women’s March and I considered taking him the Saturday before MLK Day, but did laundry and yoga instead. He made some digital art that Sunday and I did another hour of yoga. We cooked together for an Indian holiday on MLK day. We also went to a beach where my boyfriend took a perfect picture of the wind in my hair in the sunset, it’s currently tied as my 4th most-liked post on Instagram. Last but opposite of least, my boyfriend got me a super pretty watch for my birthday and planned a dinner at what I swear is the fanciest Indian restaurant in the city. They had a tasting menu for restaurant week so we had a full 3 course meal. It was inventive and filling and delicious, I can’t even… Two of the dishes I got were topped with gold foil!

Tidying Up by Marie Kondo is all the rage right now. I tidied the files and photos on my personal laptop, thumb drives, and microSD cards and took a backup of my personal files from my work laptop last weekend. I’ve been meaning to do this for a long time; it felt good removing it from my todo list. The next steps are to backup my personal laptop and phone, and tidy my external hard drive. Also, I had a pile of old clothes that were too worn to donate. Did you know that H&M takes back such clothes for textile recycling and gives you a 15% off coupon for bring them in? I don’t know what they do with the clothes, but it eases my conscience knowing I didn’t just throw them away and I got a 15% off H&M coupon to boot.

I worked out 15 times this month, keeping to my thrice a week schedule. Moreover, I had gotten my mom to start a 30 day workout program over the holidays. She finished the foundation and has now moved on to a second 30 day program, I’m so proud of her for taking charge of her body! I scheduled an optometrist appointment as well as my yearly DEXA scan. I’m planning to use up FSA funds from last year to get contacts and may get prescription glasses or sunglasses using this year’s funds. Since I’ve let my hair grow out for the past 1.5 years, I have A TON of split-ends and badly need a haircut but oh well. Overall, I’m content on the health front.

Financially, there’s a lot going on. I made my backdoor Roth IRA contribution for 2019 and invested it all in ITOT. I have to fill out and mail in a form in order to convert my Traditional IRA monies into Roth, so I’m super jealous of my boyfriend who can convert his online. I also introduced my boyfriend to the helpful graphics on Personal Capital from which you can get a handle on your asset allocation and sector breakdown. I find those and the Investment Checkup page the 3 most helpful pages on Personal Capital. My manager brought up compensation during one of our weekly 1-1 meetings. I was happy with my compensation but that meeting made me research what the market rate is like, just to check. The conclusion: I’m still happy with my compensation.

In terms of work, I’m totally failing my 2019 goal to become more engaged with my industry. But I have become a slightly more productive worker in the past 6 months, my manager said so. I still don’t have a plan for achieving this goal, but I realize I have to let some other things go in order spend more time on my career. I’m not sure what to let go yet so I’ll cool my expectations for now while I focus on making time and space for this.

After Health? Career.

Happy New Year! I booked flights last minute and arrived at my parent’s house on Christmas Eve, I flew back to the west coast on New Years Day. I spent a lot of time with my family and had an amazing time. I’d worked from home the last time I visited and hadn’t gotten much time with family then. This time I was on vacation all week so I went on a walk with my mom, helped her start a 30-day exercise program and configure her phone settings, and bought my dad some badly needed new pants. I also read Anthem by Ayn Rand, The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells, and Little Moments of Love Catana Comics by Catana Chetwynd, among others. Our family went to an amusement center where my mom played laser tag for the first time. I had a lot of fun on the ropes course they had hung from the ceiling too!

I’ve taught my boyfriend about personal finance for the past year and helped him fund a backdoor roth IRA for 2018. I’m getting fairly advanced with my own financial life as well. I took advantage of the downturn in December to tax loss harvest and move money from a fund with a 0.17% fee to one with a 0.03% fee. Since I closed my rollover IRA in 2018, I’m funding a backdoor roth IRA for 2019 now.

I was a health beast in December; I worked out 22 times, including 13 days in a row at the beginning of the month! This means I’m starting 2019 feeling caught up on exercise and I’ll be happy as long as I continue working out thrice a week going forward. I can finally breath through my nose again thanks to Flonase, it’s soooo freeing because I’m very particular about having my sinuses clear at all times. My sister even commented on how soft my arms felt! My hands and arms used to be really rough and dry 3 years ago, they’ve improved a lot since I established a skincare routine earlier in 2018. I’m really proud of how I’ve designed a healthy lifestyle in 2018.

My goal for 2019 is to become more engaged with my industry. Since I work at a large company it’s easy to work a bare minimum and stop growing; I also work on a mature application so it’s hard to move fast. Incidentally, my two remaining quarterly goals from last quarter got rolled over into this quarter, and I was assigned one new goal this quarter. I’ve spoken to a couple people working at smaller companies in the past month and their work is a lot more self-directed. They learn things outside of work and help apply those things at their jobs. I want to get closer to that. Perhaps I’ll read an industry article every day, learn a new technology and get certified for it, or take an evening class. I need to come up with a plan this week and stick to it.

For anyone in the tech industry, I’d love to hear about what you’re planning to learn next and how 😀

Frank Career Conversations

I’m back from vacationing in China and it was amazing!!! Not just the country itself, the trip gave me faith in my boyfriend too. I’d gotten a Chinese visa and booked flights a week before I took off so I landed in Beijing with zero preparation. My boyfriend met me at the airport and took care of almost everything for the week we were there. It really helped that I could forget about everything stateside, and focus only on him and what was around us. He noticed how carefree I was too.

I went full speed at work as soon as I got back. I have three goals to finish by the end of this year and I finished the easiest one in October. I unblocked one goal remaining from last quarter in October as well. I’m working on the second goal right now and am making progress, but I’ve been slacking this week so I might buckle down this weekend to make up for it. I paid to do traffic school and plan to take the course online this weekend as well.

My manager is being very frank with me during our 1-1’s and she’s making me realize that as hard as I’m working right now, I still need to get a lot better at work. I asked her openly what was missing between how I perform and how someone at the next level would perform and she answered that there’s 3 things I need to do in order to get promoted:
1. Execute consistently on my tasks and deliver them on time. My manager also added that I should do this independently, not wait for others to hand me solutions. I’ve struggled with this in the past because I would distract myself with one-off things that ultimately were not important.
2. Lead others to complete a project. I’m not too enthused about this one.
3. Take initiative outside of my team by mentoring others, teaching at the company’s new hire bootcamp, etc. I wonder if this is really necessary…
Honestly, I’m thankful that I can even have such open discussions with her. And knowing what’s needed helps me see where I am in my journey more clearly.

I worked out 11 times in October and worked out for 7 days in a row last week, but I’ve been sneezing and having a stuffed nose since late October. I tried taking allergy pills, changing my bedding, upping the heat in my apartment, and getting a couple of massages but nothing’s worked. It’s more annoying than debilitating so I’ll deal.

Financially-speaking, the market tanked and my net worth decreased month-over-month. But more importantly I read the White Coat Investor’s articles on contributing to a backdoor Roth IRA. The article “17 Ways to Screw Up a Backdoor Roth IRA” really laid out the details and gave me confidence to get started. I finally cashed in my Rollover IRA and will roll it into my 401K this year so I can start making backdoor Roth IRA contributions next year. I’m excited!