Women’s Month, Year of the Woman: Stephanie S!

Thank you to the wonderful women who answered the call to be interviewed. It takes a lot to open up about who you are.  You are who you are and this process can be a little intimidating.  Thank you to all of my volunteers.  As women we all have unique situations that vary but collectively we go through much of the same things.  Not just for this month or for the #METOO movement, let’s all bond as one.

Stephanie S., is a mother to two beautiful girls.  Her oldest is actually her niece that she has raised since she was 13 until the age of 18 and her youngest is her biological daughter, she’s 4-years-old.  She’s been with her husband for 16 years and they will be celebrating their 9th wedding anniversary on May 9th.  She’s one of a few in her family to graduate high school and college and have gone onto graduate school.  She still has 3 more classes to go before she graduates. She was laid off in 2015 and found two jobs the following year in 2016, but she’s only working at one of those jobs and couldn’t be more happier.  She is finally in a place that she enjoys where she is currently.
What she would tell her younger self:
The life ahead of you will not be easy, but keep faith in God and trust that He will not give you more than you can handle.  Also, you need to relax more, things will work themselves out in the end. 
Lessons for her daughters:
Nothing in life is truly free.  Be honest, be kind, and the world will be yours. 
Love: Don’t rush into it.  If you truly want to know if your partner is right for you, please don’t be afraid to bring them to meet your father or me. 
Career: don’t settle for comfort.  Find a career that you’re truly passionate about and makes you happy to go to everyday.  In the end, if there’s anything in all three that you feel uncomfortable with, let someone know.  Don’t be afraid to tell anyone.
Our future and where we want to be should be something that we attempt to work at all the time. Nothing is simply going to be handed to us.  I asked where Stephanie sees herself in 5 years:
In a better position at my job.  I love my place of employment, but would like to advance to higher position.
What are the things you have accomplished:
Well, when it comes to personal accomplishments, I’d say, participating in art shows.  I love art and to be able to participate in art shows has been such an honor and a joy to share my own work with others who love art just as much as I do. 
Another personal accomplishment is that I decided to go to grad school to get my Master’s degree.  I haven’t finished my grad schooling yet, but I will soon or at least hope to. 
Career accomplishments, I would say is jumping into a position that no one else wanted and ended up being the best person they had done the job.
I think we tend to hold certain people in high regards.  This #METOO movement has allowed some of the ones we hold high to be seen differently.  No matter who it is, if you have sexually assaulted, harassed or abused another woman regardless of which roles you may have played, how much money you have, even if you are someone’s boss, it’s not okay.
What are your thoughts on the #METOO movement:
To be honest, I didn’t want to believe that some of the things being said about celebrities like Bill Cosby were true, but when you have so many women coming forward, then there must be some truth to the allegations.  It’s great that more women are coming forward and ousting their tormentors/abusers.  Women shouldn’t be afraid to speak out.  Value your self-worth before you value where your career can take you.  I feel my youngest is too young to truly understand what the movement means so I’m unsure of how I plan on using the movement.  The closest thing I can think of to tell my daughter would be, “If you don’t like someone touching you or you feel uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to tell anyone.”
What are the things that Stephanie is looking to accomplish or crush:
The major thing on my heart that I hope to crush is completing my graduate degree.  When I do go back to complete it, I will have to pay for my three classes and I just can’t afford to pay for them right now.  So as soon as I can afford it, then I will complete my degree. 
Lastly what does self-love look like to you:
Accepting myself for who I am.  I am a person who is shy, but is trying to be more vocal when I need to be.  When having a rough day, listening to music every chance I get.  When I’m home, I wait until my daughter is in to bed to sit at my desk and write in my bullet journal or plan things out in my other planners.  And as silly as it sounds, I like to straighten my hair sometimes because it makes me feel good about my looks.  I chose to give up drinking sodas in order to care about my health.  I was drinking sodas to keep my energy levels up especially when I was at work, but I realized that as long as I’m laughing and staying productive at work, my energy is generally high or at a normal level.  Plus, I don’t get headaches anymore.  In place of sodas, I’ve been drinking more water.  Still working on getting to bed at a normal hour, but I will get there in time. 
Stephanie thank you again for participating.  I am sending positive vibes that you will get the funding you need to complete your master’s degree.  Do NOT stop just because you have this hiccup in the road. I hope your daughters know just how smart, how beautiful, how strong you really are.  I hope through your example that others around you will know continue to have purpose and move towards that purpose daily.
Another note if you’re looking for a photographer in central Pennsylvania, take a look at her information:
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I Will Now….

I have unfortunately been around a lot of people who have had life changing occurrences in their lives. It could be that they are sick, they were at the brink of death, or sadly have lost their life.  The one thing that resonates with all of them that NOW is the time to live.  They want to live their best life because their life is in a balance.  The time to live is everyday you wake up.

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No life isn’t perfect.  It’s not supposed to be but if you have a bucket list, don’t wait until your moments away from kicking the bucket to live. Live on purpose now.  What are you waiting for?  If there is a trip you want to take, start actively saving. How much will it cost?  Research all aspects of the trip.  What can you cut to get you there?  Is it a few Starbucks trips, or maybe it’s spending less on others.  Whatever it is, be active towards those goals.  Wake up every day with purpose.  Wake up with direction and desire to be better than the day before. Today is the best motivation you can get, start now to do what you need for you.

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You have life.  You are here for a purpose.  Don’t sit idle waiting for greatness to drop out of a sky, take control and crush your goal list!

 

 

How to Ace Your Job Review

So you got the job, now what?  It’s time to for your yearly review.  Cue in the celebratory music and toss some confetti.  You made it through and its now time to ace the review.

There are a few things you need to do before the review to ace it:

  1. One never get too comfortable.  You know how you dressed when you first got the job verses after you been in your position let’s say 6 months after, cut it out.  Always dress to impress.  I do not care if you have been at your job for years.  Dress accordingly.  How you present yourself matters.
  2. Be on time. Have a track record of being on time. Life happens to all of us but trust and believe if you have a track record of being the “late one” it will come up.  Get to work on time.  Remember what you prayed for when you were in the faith line, get there, be on time, and work.
  3. Know your job and do it well.  You can’t ace your review when you haven’t been doing your actual job.  If you find in the midst of your job that there are areas where you aren’t doing your best, ask for help immediately and before your review.  The amount of people who fluff off inconsistencies makes no sense.  You do realize that your boss knows it and sees it. If training isn’t available then get yourself some.  There should be a wealth of friends that you can call on that can assist you in getting a few areas on point.  If not, get new friends. Either way your employer will appreciate the effort.
  4. Come to your review with areas that can be improved whether it be for yourself or for the company.  Make sure it’s not a list of complaints only. This is called taking an initiative.  Take it.  Coming with suggestions even if it is secretly complaints will look better than just having complaints.
  5. Be on time for your review if not early especially if you are meeting in an area of your office or your boss’s office.  Do not be late.
  6. Watch your tone and your language.  You should be authentic but keep it mind it’s a job.  I am a direct person but in certain arenas knowing the climate of your company matters.

During your review please bring a pen and a pad to write down notes.  One of the most irritating things you can do is come to your review unprepared.  This will come off badly.  Smile, and look your boss in their eyes.  Communication starts as soon as the meeting starts. If you find there is an area of improvement, take the criticism graciously.  Do not try to over explain.  Just note it and improve.  If you disagree, wait until its your turn to speak without cutting off your boss. If they have you write your comments down on your review sheet then do so.  Make sure especially if you are asked to write anything to check your emotions before you write.  You do not want to come off in a negative tone.

If you know that going into your review there are some areas that you KNOW you didn’t do well, think of ways to spin it.  Reviews are like mini interviews and you should always treat it as such.

Lastly ask questions, ask if there is anything that you can do to improve even if you are a model employee.  Never get comfortable in your position that you aren’t looking for ways to do better.

Congrats you have made it through another year!!

 

 

Ask Toi: I got questions….

So because I haven’t been doing a good job in answering questions that come in publicly so today is an Ask Toi drop.  I am answering a series of questions publicly that I have already answered readers privately.  Looks like some of you had some personal ones for me too, that’s fine.  If you have a question remember you can ask it at toitimeblog@gmail.com

  1. Have you ever gotten into a fight with a woman over your husband? No and yes. When I was in undergraduate school I have gotten into some verbal tussles even though I knew basically my husband aka boyfriend at the time was the one who had gotten me into the situation in the first place.  There was a girl on campus who he tried to talk to in the very early stages of our situationship at the time.  We were not an item but my thing is I didn’t take too kindly to him pushing up on the girl and the girl and I lived in the same dorm.  I didn’t verbally attack her, she was pretty and I definitely saw what he saw.  However I let the both know at the same time in front of others that I wouldn’t be the one playing a back and forth game.  He must have agreed because as far as I knew it stopped that day.  Another time on campus he took a number from a woman and the woman knew we were dating.  I blamed him for that and let him have it.  However my friends and I still call her a little nick name and I let her know that I wasn’t the one for the undercutting.  Since then its been little petty things prior to marriage.  At this point in my life, we have known each other too long, I ain’t fighting.  I’ll go Lemonade and he will “lose his wife.”
  2. Have you ever lost a job and if so how did you handle it?  I was only laid off on one job when I had my daughter.  They laid off about 40 others at the same time.  It was hard.  My oldest daughter had asthma and I had to be off a lot to take care of her.  I believe in my entire heart that is why they allowed me to be in the number to be let go.  However it was the best thing in the way to happen to me.  I got engaged a week before, I was able to take care of my daughter full-time, and it pushed the move to Philly that helped to shape me into a better version of myself today.  Now back to how I handled it, at first I was pissed.  Technically I could have gotten an attorney.  I just completed my paperwork to protect me from the very thing they were doing but at the time I had too much on my plate and didn’t feel like going back and forth.
  3. What should I do if I feel like I am burned out from my job? First you need to do some soul-searching.  Are you burned out due to the fact that you shouldn’t be there any longer? Sometimes we stay in places we shouldn’t and then wonder why we are burned out.  You may have stayed longer than you need to be.  It may be time to find a new career path or a new job.  Anytime you are in a parking lot crying or willing yourself to a place you are in the wrong place.  You may just need to take a few days off.  Even if you can’t go anywhere, a staycation is what you need to get your spirits together.  Over working yourself is never a good thing.  So make sure you place breaks and stops in your work and home balance.
  4. If your man hasn’t proposed should you stay?  This is something that ONLY you can determine.  You have to balance what makes sense.  If you have only been together for a few months, marriage shouldn’t be in your horizon so soon.  I truly believe staying with a person through at least all of the seasonal changes is ideal.  You need to get a sense of how that person deals when they are angry, upset, hurt, or feel betrayed as a few examples.  These things still look like Power Puff Girl cartoons in the early stages when men are still in the impress you stage.  So get to know a person.  I am not one for giving an ultimatum.  I think as a woman you need to give yourself one.  If you say that you have been with this man long enough and you have stayed through the tears and fears and he just won’t put a ring on it, make a date in your mind and stick to it.  Do NOT share this date with anyone but yourself. You don’t need your friends in your ear telling you a bunch of stuff they WON’T do if they were in your shoes. You don’t need a please don’t leave me ring either. It should be genuine.  I had a date in my mind and my now husband never got to it. We have been married for 5 years.  If you can’t keep a promise to yourself on a date and stick to it, telling him won’t change that either.  That is why the ultimatum to yourself is more important.  If you tell him the date you will leave if he don’t do, you will regret it because you will always wonder if he did it for you to stay or not.
  5. If sex is a deal breaker how can you tell a man this without hurting his ego?  You can’t.  Sorry but not sorry a man and his sex is a package deal.  For some men its there one go to.  So to tell a man who the sex isn’t good and he’s not pleasing you will not go over well.  I am not saying that many people haven’t had this talk and it worked out, I am saying is that they will be bruised.  IF they love you they will try to step it up.  However when you say that sex is a deal breaker this means to me that you have had the talk and no matter what is being said it’s not working in the bedroom and now you are ready to leave and find the one where sex is amazing with.  Be careful and make sure that is what you want.  Sex is important.  I don’t buy into the whole sex is secondary bit especially in a committed relationship or marriage.  When you speak of staying with one person and not cheating than sex should be satisfying and it should be for both partners.  I have dated a man in the PAST where sex wasn’t even close to be satisfying.  I left.  It was a personal decision for me and I was fine with making it.  I was honest and I tried to make it work after I had “the talk” but it didn’t work.  I was crystal clear in letting that man know that if I stayed knowing the sex wasn’t working I would cheat and I felt it more honorable to leave than to stay.  He may not have liked it or agreed with me but again it should be satisifying for both.

How to Get Past the Annoying Co-Worker

So we all have them right?  Unless you are in business for yourself you have to work.  I was always taught if you don’t work, you don’t eat.  There are no handouts.  Let me say even if you have landed your dream job, having others who you have to interact with can get annoying.  It doesn’t mean you have to be at your wit’s end.

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I am a firm believer in life not to allow any one person to get into my spirit so much that the sight of them makes my eyes squint.  Now that is not to say that it hasn’t happened. It’s getting warmer out and although you would think that moods would be jolly people are people. These tips I am giving are the ones I use and reuse all the time.

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  1. Don’t take your work home-give yourself about 5 minutes or so after you get off or after you speak to a friend or spouse about someone at the job and then let it go. The more energy you give a person even if they are not in your presence the more they irk you.  Speak it and then release it and them.
  2. Know your supervisor.  Sometimes knowing who you have to report will help the situation.  There is always that co-worker that thinks he/she is your boss.  Speak up. You are only going to get more frustrated if you don’t.  You can professionally let people know where they can get on or off without being overly out-of-pocket. Little reminders of the such goes a long way trust me.  You have to professionally back people off of you.
  3. Don’t Speak what you won’t do.  If you are a talker and all you want to do is complain say that.  However never put out in the atmosphere what you are going to do if you don’t plan to do it.  People waste energy telling folks off and then don’t back it up.  In an office setting there should be protocol in how you handle conflict. Deal with the issue and attempt to set aside the emotions of the situation.
  4. Be cordial-stop thinking that you have to be your co-workers friend.  This false set of foolishness leads to more issues that can be squashed.  If you and the co-worker don’t hang out outside of the office, stop allowing them to be on your social media networks and crossing the friendship line with you.
  5. You are in control of you.  Adults should be their own person.  Learn that in some situations hi and bye works.  You are there to do your job or work on your projects.  When you forget that at times you get caught up.
  6. Don’t get caught up in office banter.  In order to have less problems learn when to disengage.

There will be tines when the list doesn’t work.  Gasp.  Yes people are people.  Find it inside of you to stay in control.  The biggest one is to learn to speak up.  It’s usually the ones who hold everything in, and complain the most who have the worst interpersonal skills.  They haven’t learned to walk in their adulthood.  That alone will solve a lot of office issues.  Never stoop to the annoying co-workers level.  Remain in control.  There’s a good chance they have rubbed others the wrong way as well.  Never let them see you sweat.  Since most of us don’t have bail money on deck, don’t lose control at work.  Walk away especially from work place violence-no one wins.  Take walks.  Take a break.

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Moving in Silence

So you are moving along on your goals but you find you are getting discouraged.  A part of that could be life.  Another part of reaching goals that makes things a bit difficult is when you don’t master the art of moving in silence.  Think about it.  A lot of distractions come from outsiders.  It comes in the form of questioning or feeling as if you have to justify your moves to others.  You are going to have to make some moves that don’t require an amen corner. Learn to guard what you are doing.  This doesn’t mean you have to walk through life in total quietness it just means be careful who you share your stuff with.  Not everyone is legitimately rooting for you.  Some are looking for you to fall or fail.

So when you need to pull back on how much you talk is one when you find yourself justifying your actions.  Its one thing for someone to have a difference in opinion on something you are doing.  They may be able to offer insight to help you get there quicker, but when you find yourself having to justify the plan than check yourself.  Let me give you an example, if you are working on a project where all is well but you have your naysayer in the background asking, well can you finish it?  What about the way I did it?  I think you are off base.  I think you can only go this far since that’s what I did….these are all things that are clear indicators you need to walk in silence.

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When you walk in silence only the key players are on a need to know basis.  You don’t directly or indirectly have to let anyone know what or where you are going.  Now I used to work for a company and they all would announce their goals to each other.  Did some fail? Absolutely more failure than success at times.  However they were all of the same mind. You share your dreams with others who don’t want to expand, aren’t looking to do better, and don’t want to make moves outside of choosing a new topic to complain and wonder why you feel like your energy has been sucked out of you.  Stop sharing things with everyone.

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Oh and on another note.  I love the ones who use subliminal messages especially on social media.  Don’t do it.  First do not kid yourself that you have a following of folks that want to know every step you take.  There are a million people doing the same thing you are doing. If you don’t want folks in your business than stop baiting people and then say mind your business.  Don’t post what you don’t want others to know.  You know the post you post a picture of you holding your significant other’s hand that you haven’t revealed, but get mad when someone says who is that. It amazes me the millions of don’t ask me about my life after I posted what I ate, who I am with, who I hate, who I love…..This year move in silence and let your goals speak for you.  Trust me your goals will do a better job.

Emotional Taxes

So today was something like an epic fail of sorts emotionally.  I can’t put my finger on one event that set me off but once I was there, it was hard to retreat.  I have been writing in my journal for over a year straight.  I have been trying to pinpoint myself in regards to what sets me off.  I found its normally when I allow someone to take space in my emotional bank, interest goes up but I am the one left paying the taxes.

I had a conversation with my younger self in my mind.  I looked back at my former younger self and realized that the fearless me had really taken a seat to having to adult.  I honestly wish at times I could have listened to my parents when they told me to slow down and stop trying to be so “grown.”  Now at 35 almost 36 this year, I actually have to be adult. I have to care what people who matter think, be responsible, and balance all of the pulls that the many hats of my life need.  Today I honestly just wanted to take people and slap other people with them.  I know what you’re thinking, why in the world would I say that? The answer is those were the emotions I felt.  I really get irritated when I can’t just tell people what I want or need, and they get it.  The long answer is the world doesn’t revolve around me.  I have not yet mastered mind reading.  I haven’t made enough money to go to a secluded island but I am working on it.  Life happens.  People are wishy-washy.  I am temporal in how I feel from moment to moment.

Pushing Past Things or People

I was asking myself what tools do I already have that can make me legit happy.  True happiness.  I am talking about joy.  I am not talking about the fake smile you have to give a boss to keep the coins coming in.  I am not talking about the spirit of agreement you have to give a spouse just to keep the peace.  I am talking about the joy that when others irritate you beyond belief, you can keep on making moves.  This mentality is so important for the person who is super unhappy that they are taking life’s journey alone.  FYI, you can be married and alone so this supersedes marital status.  People and things don’t always change. You however have the opportunity to change your response.  You can mentally retreat.  You can take a mental break.  You don’t have to stop making moves to satisfy whomever your mind tells you that you need to make what you want to align with your desires.  YOU can still recover a bad attitude, a bad mental space, raggedy thinking, etc.

The tools that I have to make my personal life better is my smile.  If you allow things to take your smile often times that in itself is an outward manifestation that your inner peace wasn’t taken but you gave it away.  Now let’s not get it twisted, life is no fairy tale.  There are bad days, mean-spirited people, and just an overall irritation for us all.  Smiling is a manifestation that all is well, smiling is your way of showing you that you are still alive and well.  Others may benefit from our smile, but your smile was first made for you.  My mother in law used to tell me that I didn’t smile enough and that was true.  I didn’t realize the power of my smile to keep me grounded.

Asking others to do for you what you won’t for yourself

Irritation comes in the form when you find yourself self-dependent on others to do for you what you won’t do for yourself.  We all need others to be successful, but there is a fine line between having others to see you through and being paralyzed by others not coming along for the ride. I was paralyzed when I moved to Philadelphia years ago.  It was normal in the beginning.  Then it went left when I would sit in the house and wait for my fiancé to come home to take me to a location 10 minutes away and I had a car.  Did I go to the location and get lost? No.  Did I even get dressed like I wanted to be somewhere?  How long was I gonna sit and wait?  A year.  Sadly a year I sat miserable waiting day in and day out.  Then get mad because my fiancé was supposed to support my sit out.  Everyday a new argument.  Everyday just paralyzed.  After I got mad, cursed, cried and threw a tantrum I realized it was 10 minutes away.  If I wanted something it wasn’t fair for me to expect it while I sat and did nothing.  If I wouldn’t get up and do things how could I expect him to do I for me. What and who are you allowing to paralyze you?  Everybody isn’t required to be everything to you all the time.  Seriously stop taxing others for places in your emotions you should be fulfilling or places God wants space.

So you’re irritated. So you’re ready to go on a slap fest. You have had it with the world.  Get it out. Acknowledge it.  Don’t just sit and not take care of you.  Don’t sit there apologizing a thousand times, get up and change you.  Do you know that defeat is more in our minds before it comes out of our mouth or someone else’s? If whatever is going on makes you feel hopeless, miserable, defeated, sad, down, upset, etc. don’t stay there.  Don’t do a year like I did for something that only would have taken 10 minutes.  Don’t give your joy and dependability to something and someone who you are requiring more from that you are unwilling to give to yourself or of yourself.

When my marriage at one point had hit a rocky point I was told from a trusted older married woman to treat my husband the way I would treat him if he was everything I wanted.  Wait, you mean I had to actually align my actions in spite of him.  No ma’am.  I do not want to be nice. I do not want to play fair.  I do not want to be loving and look past fault.  I want to be Petty LaBelle.  I want to argue until I win and he is mad.  I however want all of that in return.  How dare I want what I wasn’t willing to put out?  How dare I just sit and cry and not take care of me?  How dare I wait for him to apologize? No. I want what I want.  I want him to treat me like a goddess while I am out giving miserable, unhappy, unfulfilled vibes.  I want him to want to come home to a hot plate and be glad I didn’t throw his food in the trash while I chew his head off about a cup.  Duh, these are desirable traits. How much more you?  You want the universe, God, and a fairy dust to give you a good job but won’t show up to the job you have on time.  Wait, you want a husband but you really just want to be able to get one before the rest of your girlfriends just to brag.  You haven’t or even willing to do what needs to be done. How about those emotional taxes?  You don’t want to pay them but you want someone else to take care of them, right?!  How does that work?  Let me know.  Take care of you and still get things done.  Take care of you while you are in the limbo of life.  It will be the difference between being sound and just appearing sound.