Looking for a Job

Life: I took a weekend roadtrip with my bf a few weeks ago and flew to Texas last weekend. I’m also looking forward to two friends flying in from Texas over Memorial Day weekend! 😀
– I flew to Texas to celebrate my best friend graduating with a Masters this past weekend. A mutual friend from our college also attended and it was really nice catching up with them.
– My boyfriend’s parents are visiting for a couple months so I hardly get to see him once a week. Needless to say I really miss him and it’s highlighted the need for me to move and be geographically closer to him. The San Francisco Bay Area is a huge metropolitan region spanning 9 counties and maybe 100 miles north to south depending on how you’re measuring. My boyfriend and I live 45 miles and 2 counties away so it’s definitely a trek to see each other. It’s time to change this.
– I’m reaching out to a lot of friends, classmates and colleagues asking them to refer me to the companies where they work. It’s at this point that I’m thankful that I’m on good terms with so many people in my industry and area. I referred quite a few of them to my company when they were looking for a job and they are giving me lots of advice and resources going into my job search. The most valuable advice is coming from friends who attended interviewing bootcamps as these friends know how to structure and manage time and companies.

Health & wellness: I worked out 13 times in April, so actually stayed pretty even with March numbers. But definitely dropping drastically in May.

Financial:
– I got my state tax return, this definitely helps with my cash flow situation.
– I’m so glad for having cash on hand right now. I have $6K in my checking account on top of about $6K in cash I’m holding in my brokerage account. This amount is counted in “Stocks” but I’m currently thinking of it as an emergency fund I can transfer to checking if necessary. This will tide me through at least 3 months of unemployment, though I’m hoping for under 1 month without a salary. I’m also planning to sell recently vested RSUs as usual but I may keep the proceeds in cash until I find a new job rather than reinvesting them immediately.
– I cancelled my ESPP contribution and I’m doubling my 401K contribution for the remainder of my employment because I don’t think my new company will have such a generous matching policy as my current company.

Career:
– I am searching for a new job, both because I came to grips with reality in my current job as well as to move closer to my boyfriend. I feel like I’ve been walking a tightrope for the past 6 months. Either I do things with an eye for the long term and blow through deadlines or I hit deadlines and ignore any work that’s not absolutely essential to the task at hand. I prefer doing the former while my manager prefers me doing the latter. Both of us finally lost patience with the ensuing disappointment, and I officially resigned yesterday. My last day is around mid-June so I have time to line up what I’m doing next.
– I’m giving a lot of thought to where I want to be next. There’s many aspects of my work that I enjoy like my teammates and the technologies, but engineering here is very much run by committee which gets frustrating. I work at a tech behemoth so I’m looking to join a small or mid-sized company now. I also want to keep making a similar amount of money which is hard because I’m very much stuck here with golden handcuffs. I think this is something I’ll figure out as I interview at more places and talk to more people.
– I’m in a good spot in terms of interview prep. Prepping for software engineering roles involves a lot of studying data structures, algorithms, and system design. I started practicing data structures and algorithms on leetcode.com in February and have solved 80 questions so far including a few hard ones. My interview prep on the side may even have correlated with my unintentionally slacking at work over the past few months, I’m not sure. I took a break from interview prep in April in a last ditch effort to salvage my job and I’m glad I did so, but it didn’t work so now I made a plan to get the most well-rounded practice from my prep time. The take-away here being: Trust my gut and dive in immediately and whole-heartedly when it says I need a change.

Finally Focusing on Work

Life: Still local since the last entry. Still planning on visiting a friend in mid-May. Still haven’t booked flights yet.
– Highlight of my month: I went to Women Who Code’s Connect 2019 conference in SF. I volunteered for WWC so I got to attend for free. I really enjoyed getting to learn about all the amazing women working in my industry.
– I went to San Francisco’s Cherry Blossom Festival in Japantown last weekend. The weekend before I met a friend to walk in Golden Gate Park for an afternoon.
– I’m Konmarie’ing my boyfriend’s apartment to some extent by giving him closet and drawer organizers. I commute to and from his place so nowadays we spend most nights together. We also attended a friend’s engagement party together this past month and got invited to another friend’s wedding in July.

Health & wellness: I worked out 14 times in March. But I’m skipping the evening classes I usually attend at the company gym lately and working late instead. I won’t match this number in April.
– I got a DXA scan earlier this week and I’m composed of 36% body fat, which put’s me at 80th percentile for 20-somethings. I was at 36% one year ago, I plateaued. I need to start watching what I eat, especially sweets, in order to make progress getting a healthier body. -_-
– I tried out a few dance studios nearby and decided I like the fitness classes at my company’s gym the best.

Financial:
– I filed federal and state taxes. But I think I made a mistake entering the cost-basis of the stocks I bought through ESPP so I want to go back and check whether I need to file an amendment.
– Grove was really good in getting my boyfriend more comfortable thinking about and discussing questions around finances and goals as a couple. He learned the concept of having limited investment options in a 401K and is thinking about the pros and cons of rolling over his old 401K vs. keeping it as-is. I was surprised to learn that he knew what accredited investors were and had done some research about becoming one.
– My boyfriend and I also discussed goals we wanted to reach before and after meeting with the Grove financial advisor. It’s made the future seem a lot more concrete and close-at-hand.

Career:
– I got a warning from my manager that I -need- to show results at work so I’ve been really diligent in the office for the past month. I use Pomotodo every day to track when I work and what I work on. I also plan what to work on each day and Pomotodo makes me keep re-focusing on completing those tasks.
– My boyfriend cooks more and it’s done alot freeing up energy and willpower I expend for food. I used to pick up dinner from a restaurant for both of us on my way to his home. Lately I have dinner at work while he cooks himself chicken breasts or other frozen food. He packs tea in my water bottle in the morning for me to drink during my commute to work. And he keeps oatmeal or can make me eggs in the morning on the weekends. Spending the night with him makes me feel less guilty about going to work early and staying late because we still spend sufficient time together. So him leveling up in the kitchen is indirectly helping me focus on my career.

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!

Designing My Life, Part 1

I started reading the book Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. It’s an interactive book that gives writing prompts every chapter. In the first chapter they advocate putting together a Health – Work – Play – Love Dashboard as a “You are here” sign to signify where I’m starting from. Here is mine; I’ve rated each area from 0 to 4 and written a small blurb about why.

Health – 4

This is the highlight on my dashboard right now. I’ve been exercising for months and I’m in great shape. I eat right, I move enough, I have a good amount of energy. I struggle a lot with impostor syndrome and disappointment in myself but I’m starting to pay more attention to my mental health. I’m trying to be more mindful, more grateful, more self-affirming. I’m trying to adopt a growth mindset and change the stories I tell myself.

Continue: Diet and exercise routine

Action Items: Develop a routine of self-affirmation, meditation, and gratitude.

Work – 2

I’ve stagnated in this area for all of 2018. I’ve been on autopilot at work through a reorg, a manager change, and a performance review cycle. I excused it by telling myself I was focusing on all the other areas, but now that I’ve made good progress on everything else I want to dedicate more time to my work. It’s not that I’ve been slacking at work, I got an “Achieves expectations” during the performance review earlier this month, but I could definitely dedicate more time, thought, and energy to it.

Continue: One thing I have started recently is to minimize context switching between tasks at work. For example, when I work with other engineers to finalize a design, I try to implement that design immediately after so I don’t lose the context and don’t have to remember the details later.

Action Items: Dedicate more time to my work. I am pretty productive when I do work, but I leave work early to go to the gym so I don’t give myself enough time to actually focus. I need to get to work earlier, or work a little in the evenings or weekends to make up for coming into the office later.

Play – 4

I’m happy with my friends and hobbies as they are. I’ve decided not to worry about actively reaching out to friends who hardly reach out to me. I only keep in touch with friends who reciprocate the effort nowadays. I play badminton and hang out with friends in person often. I’ve spent a lot of evenings setting up this blog and I’m happy with how it’s going.

Continue: Stay close with long-distance friends who keep in touch with me and hang out with people in person. Keep playing badminton. Keep posting monthly net worth entries on this blog.

Action Items: I’m spending a lot of time talking about personal finance in Facebook groups and on Twitter. I also check my account balances pretty often. I can de-emphasize this area.

Love – 3

My boyfriend’s goal for the past year has been to get a new job while working full-time at his current job. I carried our relationship in a lot of ways while he focused on his job hunt by applying to a lot of companies on his behalf, going over to his place so we could spend time together eating dinner, and in general not expecting very much of him. He’s conscious of needing to step up in our relationship now that he has accepted a job offer. I shared a list of how I want him to be more conscious of my time.

Continue: My boyfriend and I care deeply about each other. He is the one who kick-started my physical and mental health improvements, and I’ve greatly improved my communication skills with him showing me how.

Action Items: I should learn to let go since my boyfriend won’t need so much support anymore. And I will keep working on better communication.