Flip a Coin

Several big life decisions have been looming over my head lately. They all came to a head today making me unfocused and anxious most of the day.

It started when an old employer forwarded me a job opportunity that she recommended me for. She said that I was the first person she thought of after reading the requirements. I was flattered and so grateful that she is still looking out for me, even though I have not worked for her in almost two years. Shows how much networking really can help in life.

I read about the position, what was required, what was expected, and what it paid. The position did sound like something right up my ally.

Problem number 1: I already have a job that I am not actively looking to leave. This may have been different 6 months ago, but not right now. While I still want to get into a field I love, I have unfinished business at this one. I don't actually want to leave until I accomplish what I need to there.

Problem number 2: I really want to move. The east coast has been driving me insane! I need to get away and fast! I can't think about taking a new position if I'm leaving the area, but this one sounds almost perfect for me.

These 2 main problems, also caused other ones to spin off.

What if I still haven't finished what I need to at my current job when my lease is up?

What if this new career opportunity is what I'm meant to do?

What if I can't find another opportunity that is comparable to either of these?

All of this went through my head while I was showering. I usually relax in the shower. I can't relax when freaking out. It was not a good start to the day.

Then, a very wise woman told me to flip a coin to make any and all of these big life decisions. I was at first very confused. This is a smart, successful woman who I respect professionally and personally, would she really make a life decision based on a coin flip?

Luckily she explained a bit further before I had to also rethink how I felt about her as a person. She told me that if I flip a coin, with heads being move and tails being stay and I get heads, I will know everything I need to. It's the reaction you have to the outcome that makes the decision. If the coin says move and I am disappointed then I guess I'm not ready to move.

Her theory scares me as much as elates me. I would love to just MAKE A DECISION and be done with it so I can plan accordingly. But, if I realize I'm not ready to move a brand new can of worms is opened about what to do with my life here.

Can I flip a coin to decide if I'm going to flip a coin to make this decision?


Like Hilary Duff when we were 16, it's about time for a Metamorphosis! The Real Post Grad is going to be changing soon and we want you all to be ready for it.

First and foremost, we are going to begin accepting contributors to this little blog of ours. We don't mean guest posts, either, we mean legitimate contributing writers. Eventually you all must get tired of reading about just our opinions and experiences. Ok, maybe it's more like WE are tired of reading about just our opinions and experiences. We aren't the only Post Grads out there, so lets hear from more of them! We will add a page that outlines requirements for that.

Secondly, we will be changing our layout pretty drastically. Allison has been working very hard on a new design that we are very excited to share with you all!

We hope you will stick with us through these changes as you all are the reason we do this. Happy Hump Day!

My Love/Hate Relationship with Taxes

Now that all the W2s and 1098s have been received, it is time to get your taxes done Post Grads!

It's ok, you can do it. They aren't THAT hard.

However, they piss me off like none other. Now that we are no longer paying tuition, we no longer qualify for the American Opportunity Tax Credit. This credit is meant to help families afford higher education. Apparently now that we are repaying loans we don't need as much help.

I am also not yet 25 years old to qualify for the Head of Household tax credit. I don't know how much this one is for, because I've never gotten it, but how can they take away one credit and leave us in limbo for 2 years before we qualify for anther? I'm still the head of my household, even if I'm not 25.

Up until this tax year, most of my income that was taken through the year was returned to me. Up until this year I also was not working a full time, salaried job for an extended period of time. This year, I did not get the majority of my money back. I got maybe 1/4 of it.

After filing my taxes I came to the realization that as young, single, moderately successful members of society, we get absolutely screwed by the American tax system. My mother got 6 times as much back because she is over 25 and has 2 dependents. It's like the government is encouraging us to procreate!

Now, as much as I hate the unfairness of the tax system, I also love surprise money. Have you ever found a $10 bill in a coat pocket from last winter? Tax season is like that for me; finding money I forgot I had. My refund is enough still so that I can use it to explore the world. Ok, not the world, just Iceland, but that is still pretty awesome. Without my refund I would never be able to afford such a trip.

The tax system needs some revisions, but I suppose I cannot complain about surprise money too much. Have you all filed yet?

How To: Email Your Future Self

We're big fans of reflection here on TRPG, and I'm also a huge fan of planning things. When I heard that there was a way I could actually plan reflection a year in advance, well.. I just had to share it with you guys.

FutureMe.org allows anyone with an email address to write an email that will be delivered in the future. Isn't that crazy? You can choose whatever date you'd like to have the email delivered, but I chose the one exactly one year from the date I wrote the email. You use the form on their website to write whatever you want to yourself, send it out into cyberspace, forget about it, and then get a little email in your inbox reminding you what life was like exactly one year ago to the day. The internet sure is magical.

I wrote my letter back in October. My family was going through some tough times and I just needed a space where I could vent everything that I was feeling. So I wrote to myself. I can't remember everything I wrote in the letter, but I'm excited to receive it in October and think about how much my life has changed for the better. It's already changed so much in just the past few months!

I know the idea of writing letters to yourself sounds a little cheesy. In fact, when I first heard about FutureMe I immediately thought about The Office episode where Micheal records happy and sad videos of himself  before he finds out if Holly is engaged so he can deal with his overwhelming happiness or heartbreak.

Cheesy-ness aside, I think this is an amazing tool for self reflection, and I would suggest that anyone, post grad or not, give it a whirl! I'm not sure if we have any college readers here, but I especially wish I knew about this website my senior year college so I could write a letter to my post grad self. All you need is an email address and a little time to reflect!

My Thoughts on Queen Anne Boleyn

I've been watching The Tudors on Netflix. Most of these thoughts are based on the character in the show, not necessarily based in historical fact. Although, I must say she was a very interesting person and I think she and I would have been frenemies had we lived in the same time period.

  1. She was the original duck face. Snookie had no idea she was channeling Anne Boleyn when she started
  2. Her guttural cries when her brother was beheaded brought me to tears. Maybe she did have a heart after all.
  3. She was a better Queen than Henry was King. This is the real reason she was beheaded. Henry didn't like competition. Anne was a bitch, in a good way. She got things done.
  4. Girl knew how to F%@#.
Please be aware that I have only just finished season 2 and have no concrete opinions on most of the subsequent queens quite yet. However, I don't think any will be as awesome as Queen Anne Boleyn.

Papyrus and Self Respect

Up until the summer before my junior year of college, I was the girl who always searched for approval from my parents, from my friends, and even from random acquaintances I barely knew.  I always wanted to be liked and as a result was always a bit timid about speaking my mind.

I could deal with the family and friends thing. Of course we want to be accepted by the people we love, right? I'm also lucky that I've never been pushed into something I didn't want to do by the people close to me. I know that most all of them have my best interests at heart. 

The one thing I could never stand about myself though was the need for approval by everyone. Was I going to be like this forever? Would I graduate from college and seek approval or acceptance from every coworker and acquaintance in the future? I knew things had to change.

I can pinpoint the exact day I was able to let this part of me go. I was interning at an art gallery in Washington DC and trapped in a small room for eight hours a day with my fellow public relation interns. It seemed like the room was divided in two groups: rich sorority girls and alternative hipsters. I was neither one of this things and I quickly lost any chance at becoming a clique member as the girls bonded over semi formals and bands I'd never heard of. Even though I sat next to a nice girl who seemed to be in a similar situation to me, it wasn't enough. I wanted to be at least marginally liked by everyone.

One of the hipster girls, *Meryl, was working on a card design for our company and asked us for font suggestions one day. Trying to be helpful, I scrolled through some font choices and told her I thought one called "papyrus" was pretty. Meryl looked at me like I had two heads and then started cracking up. She said, "Papyrus?? seriously?? my friends and I always make fun of people who like papyrus. Those people know nothing about design". 

from http://xkcd.com/
Normally, I would laugh along with a person like this because even as they insulted me, I'd still want seem laid back and likable. But this time I was silent. As she and a few of the other girls laughed, I had a revelation. This girl and her friends make fun of people for liking certain fonts. FONTS. Who does that? I suddenly didn't care at all what Meryl thought of me. I would never say that to someone who was just trying to help me! This moment seemed to spark a chain reaction of self confidence. Thanks to the font papyrus, I stopped trying to seem likable 24/7.

I think self worth is such  important lesson for post grads to learn. When we graduate college, we're plucked from our safe group of college friends that we've cultivated for four years and thrown into the masses. It's tough to accept that people will not always like you, no matter how laid back and friendly you attempt to be. Thankfully, there are also tons of great people who will. It's just a matter of weeding through the bad apples.

This is the time of our lives where we absolutely need to stay true to who we are. Let worthy people into your life, and for all of the Meryls of the world who don't treat you the way you deserve to be treated? Well, Cee Lo's got a song for them.

* name has been changed

The Dreaded Post Grad Question

I've met a ton of recent grads since moving to Rochester in 2010. More often than not, the conversations I've had with these new acquaintances start of with a question that's dreaded by many post grads: "so..... what do you do?"

I don't dread this question or judge the people who ask it. I completely understand that sometimes there are only so many things you can talk about with an acquaintance before things take a turn for the awkward. Being new to our jobs is a common bond between most post grads, so it's only natural that talk about them in social gatherings.

While I understand the time and place for filler questions like these, I just hate the way this one is phrased. What do you do? Well... I listen to a lot of music, teach piano for fun, enjoy trying out new restaurants, and love running outside when the temperatures warm enough.

But that's not the answer that society has prepped us for. "What do you do?" means, "what's your job?" While my job is definitely one thing I do over the course of the week, it's not all that I do, and doesn't define everything I am.

I've really tried to avoid asking this question lately, even in the most awkward of conservation lulls. Instead, I'll try ask a new acquaintance what brought them to Rochester. If they like their job, this gives them an in to talk about it. If they don't, they can direct the conservation towards other parts of their lives.

How do you feel about the "what do you do" question?