Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The return of the former twenty-something.

We need to talk.

Or rather I need to talk. As I've said in a previous post (almost two years ago) I suck at blogging. I don't mean to suck by any means. It doesn't mean I haven't had anything thing to talk about. The original focus of my blog was about my journey through learning about financial literacy. The problem is, with my line of work, I'm not really allowed to talk about it...to a point. The crux is that I cannot say anything that could be misconstrued as an endorsement or advice. Add to the fact that I was trying to monetize through book reviews and sales and the like and you can see how easily the line can be blurred. I essentially got lost in the mire of picking and choosing the topics I could talk about. After that the following year was emotional to say the least. I'll touch on that in a later post.

So what am I doing here now after all this time?

Like I said, I need to talk. I need self-care, now more than ever. Even among the people that I consider to be my friends I feel like no one really "gets" me. It gives me a lot of undue social anxieties. I've found that I spend a lot of time alone because of this. I'm trying to force myself into more social situations and I'm actually doing better...but I'm cognizant of the fact that I'm not always living as the best version of myself. There are things I want that are just outside of my grasp because I get so overcome by feelings of self-doubt, judgement and perceived expectations which may not even actually be happening outside of my own head. Getting these things out of my head along with the aforementioned anxiety issues is the explicit reason why I'm choosing write. Rather than restricting myself to a singular focus and putting myself on a self-imposed timeline I'm just going to say what I need to say when I need to say it. I may or may not announce this on facebook. I doubt anyone will come here to read it. Damn sure didn't read it the first go-around. But that really doesn't matter anymore. This is my safespace from here on until I put this down again.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Year of the successful failure (in-review)

Warmest regards to you all,

I will not beat around the bush...I suck at blogging. It has been almost 2 years and some change since my last blog post. My last post was the day before my 30th birthday. As of today we are nearly 10 months past my 31st and 90-some-odd days before Christmas. Moreover I have not been able to monetize this venture or keep up with my reading goals. Within the confines of the "blogosphere" I have failed. The reasons I have failed though...come from my successes. Don't make that face. I know what your thinking. Allow me to explain in the following month-by-month breakdown.


I got a new job.

You'll note from my previous blog posts about work that I had a hate-hate relationship at my job. I hated my job but I hated the idea of quitting if I didn't have another job lined up even more. I'm a single parent with a car payment, a crap-ton or debt and virtually no savings so I didn't have the luxury of saying "F**k this". For several months I basically lived on Indeed.com, throwing my resume at the wall to see what it stuck to. I saw a listing for a major online brokerage house. Per the description it was almost identical to the work that I was currently doing. The main difference is that this company was essentially going to pay me to learn to become a stockbroker. Instead of helping with cable bills I was helping with brokerage accounts. It seemed like the same cattle call type that got me into Comcast and it worried me. Hiring like this is mainly designed to weed people out and I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to pass my brokerage license tests (I'm very math-averse). If I didn't pass in two attempts I would have been out of a job. My worry soon gave way to desperation as the possibility of getting paid more (and moreover not being at Comcast) was to great to ignore. I applied, I interviewed, I got the job! I wrote my resignation letter the same way James Bond did in Casino Royale: "I hereby tender my resignation from Comcast Corporation effective December 12th 2013." At that moment I made the decision that failure was not an option. I locked myself away and studied my ass off.

January 2014

I officially became a stockbroker.

I passed my tests!!! This was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my entire life. Even so, what I learned to pass the test is only a mere fraction of it's real world application. I'm literally learning on the job.

February - May 2014

I tried to buy a house.

In later posts I will go into detail about my house hunting process, or lack thereof. Long story short,  have too much student loan debt to qualify for a decent mortgage.

June 2014

I took a debt-less vacation to Disneyworld.

There's going to be a post about this too at some point. You don't need credit cards as long as you plan ahead correctly.

August 2014

I moved out of my parents' house.

I will go into specifics about my apartment hunting process, or lack there of, in later posts.

September 2014

I was in a serious car accident.

This is something that I am still currently dealing with. Definitely will be some posts to come. Just so you know, it wasn't my fault and (obviously) I'm alive to tell about it. 

October 2014

I got a promotion.

I was promoted to a different department at my company, with a better schedule and higher pay grade. I'm still having a little trouble getting back off the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, post accident.

Haven't had too many significant events since then up until now, save the loss of my maternal grandmother this past April. In all honestly I've kind of been off my game. Not firing on all cylinders. Some of this I do blame n the accident. I was out of work for a while and had some meager emergency savings, but I've been slow to replenish it back. If another catastrophic event were to occur in the near future it's a safe bet I'd be pretty much assed out. That scares me to no end.

I'm also discovering that I'm acquiring a taste for some of the finer things in life. I'm getting a travel itch. I'm craving good food and new experiences, maybe a couple of nicer things in the wardrobe. By no means am I wanting to bankrupt my family in these pursuits but it's something I feel I want to explore a little more now that I'm getting older.

So I'm back now. And I'm hoping this will get me back on track. While most of my subject matter remains the same, I have to be a little more careful about the things I discuss. Due to the nature of my employment I have to be more conscious of anything that could be considered or misconstrued as advice. I am neither licensed nor qualified to give any financial advice. I'm not going to be giving any endorsements on any products. I can talk about what I use and what I've tried but all my opinions are my own and should not be viewed as a recommendation of any kind.

With all that being said...let me pickup my paintbrush and get to work!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The end of an era

" It's not the way I hoped how I planned bust somehow it's enough." -from the song Save the Best for Last by Vanessa L. Williams
So this is it. Today is my last day as a twenty-something. In the last 10 years had a child, survived cancer, graduated college, learned to drive, bought a car and a ton of other bits of "life stuff". I didn't want my last post to be too heavy so I thought it be fun to do a quick questionnaire about me. Here's the famous Pivot questionnaire from The Actor's Studio.
What is your favorite word?

What is your least favorite word?

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

What turns you off?

What is your favorite curse word?
"got" dammit

What sound or noise do you love?

What sound or noise do you hate?

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

What profession would you not like to do?
Middle School teacher

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
What do you want to do first?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

10 Simple rules for getting a resolution from Customer Service

Greetings Monetary Minions!

We are deep in the thick of November; right at the doorstep of the frivolous spending frenzy that is the holiday shopping season. Chances are you are going to be giving or receiving some 74th edition of gadget when the 75th edition came out only a week later. Or a 100 piece play set that somehow seems to only have 99 pieces…the missing part essential to holding the whole thing together. Or an appliance that you just know is broken even though you didn’t even begin to read the instruction manual on how to turn it on. One way or another you’re going to need help. In some shape or form you’re going to end up playing the customer service game.

Now I know…you HATE dealing with customer service, right? They don’t care….they don’t know anything…they’re just out to take my money…blah-zay blah-zay blah! I will readily admit that there are tons of cases where this holds true. However, as a frustrated customer service rep, I have to tell you that we are not (always) the problem. Much of the consumer heartache and pain comes from the consumers themselves by trying to buck the system and make mountains out of mole hills. It’s always believed that the customer is always right. I hold a different standard: THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT…EXCEPT WHEN THEY’RE WRONG. But fear not friends, consider this post to be the machete you need to get through the customer service jungle.

1.       Don’t be an ass.

You win more flies with honey. We understand you’re upset. We understand something ain’t right. But calling in to curse people out doesn’t make us motivated to help you more. If anything you could be flagged as an abusive customer and no one will deal with you. We put these things in your account notes, you know.


2.       DON’T BE AN ASS.

It bears repeating. After our mandatory greeting we will ask you what the problem is. What you say next is going to set the tone for the entire call. If you go into the conversation with a condescending or snippy rude attitude we will go into defense mode automatically. It doesn’t mean we won’t help you…but the apprehension will be unnecessarily high, which is something you especially don’t want if you want to have some exceptions made for you.


3.       Don’t just push zero to get to a “live person”.

The phone tree is there to make sure that you get the correct person to assist you with your problem. I can’t tell you how many times a customer explains to me that they have an Internet problem and get mad at me for being a cable rep and have to get put back on hold to talk to Internet. I didn’t push that button…you did.


4.       If I tell you I can’t do something for you it’s not because I don’t want to…it’s because I CAN’T!

You can’t blame McDonald’s for poor customer service if you ask them for a taco and they don’t give you one. I once had a customer who wanted to escalate to my supervisor because I couldn’t reset her user name and password and she just couldn’t believe that I refused!! I fix cable…that’s it! Not only that, she didn’t even have Internet service.


5.       You don’t always need a supervisor.

In my experience the actual need for supervisor intervention is quite rare. People think asking for a rep’s supervisor is like tattling to their parents…but when you come on the line and demand to speak to one it can delay your resolution. I don’t know about other call centers, but if their supervisors are anything like mine they are going to go through hell or high water to avoid taking that call anyway. And when they DO take a call most of the time they only end up rehashing the same information the rep gave them.


6.       Don’t bog us down with unnecessary information.

Don’t get me wrong, we’re not heartless bastards. It’s just that we have metrics to meet. If it’s a slow day we don’t mind making small talk. But on a day when we have calls coming in every 2 seconds we would much rather help you with your issue than to hear about your cat named Capt. Fuzz Cheeks.


7.       Make sure you have everything you need before you dial.

Again time is of the essence. Many agencies have it in their policy to tell the customer to call back if they don’t have all their stuff together or if the customer places the agent on hold for a certain length of time. I know that this seems unfair, especially if you were on hold for a long time. But look at it this way: You’re probably on hold because the person before you had to go get their info. Also…and this is crucial for any subscription service…make sure your bill is current.


8.       Have a heart.

Many call centers are open 24X7X365. We want to be able to spend time with our families on weekends or holidays but our jobs dictate that it can’t always happen. Getting yelled at because you can’t admit that you got in over your head by buying Little Timmy’s bike unassembled should not be the highlight of someone’s Christmas.


9.       If I’m asking you to do something…just do it.

I understand that there are some people who are complete technophobes and would rather have other people just deal with the problem. But there are people who shy away from doing the most simple tasks. The conversation usually goes like this.

 Me: Push the power button please.

You: Which one it the power button?

Me: The one that says power.

You: This is too hard! Can’t you just send a technician?

Me: It doesn’t require a tech. The box is just off. Turn it on.

You: HOW?

Me: Push the red button.

You: I don’t know how to do that. When’s the soonest you can have someone out?


I feel like Chris Tucker in Rush Hour; “PUSH THE GODDAMN BUTTON!!” It’s even worse if you’re the person that lies about doing something. I love those conversations because I often end up fixing their problem against their will and you can just hear the pride swallowing on the other end.

10.   Be reasonable.

It really grinds my gears when people have a false sense of entitlement. It’s understandable to want to be reimbursed for things you pay for that you aren’t able to use for their intended (keyword: intended) purposes. It’s also understandable to want to pay a fair price or lower for your goods and services. But when you get greedy you get rejected. An agent who is actually doing their job will not give you a refund just because you yell and scream. An agent that does makes it 10 times harder for everyone…including you! You worry about your rates getting raised when in actuality the company is sharing its business costs with you because no one wants to pay retail rates. And the ones that demand a month’s worth of credit on a 15 minute service outage are almost always the ones that demand a Dom Perrigon level of service on a Pabst Blue Ribbon payment plan.
Feel free to add anything you think I may have left out.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Home Stretch

Whad'up my Numismatics!

Today is November 6th, 2013...30 days until my 30th birthday. As I reach the end of my twenties I have to admit I've been kind of down lately. I do have a few things to be proud of. Since starting this blog many of the goals I set publicly for myself have been reached. In the past 60 days I have:
  • Opened a 529 account
  • Started an investment portfolio focused on dividends
  • Spent less money than I made in 1 month
  • Skipped work once a month to do something fun.
With all that I have done though I can't help but feel out of sorts with where I am. I'm still light-years away from where I want to be and it is frustrating at times. Everyday I live in fear of being fired from a job I hate. I've gone on several interviews but so far none have come through. There was even one where I've been playing phone tag with the recruiter for days. She left me a message wanting to discuss the position which pays TWICE what I make now...and she won't return any of my calls. I also got an email from my current job telling me I'm being considered for a position and to reapply...but I've gotten written up (again) since then and I'm ineligible to transfer for 90 days (again). I'm still in the same room I grew up in....not sharing it with my son who's almost as big as me. I thought I was going to do so much more and be so much more at this point in my life. Since hindsight is 20/20 I look back and see all the wrong turns and fearful indecisions I've made. I want to reach back, grab my twenty-something self by her shoulders and shake her to get her to wake up and stop being scared of everything. It's maddening!

I started this blog because I don't want to be that person who internalizes all of their misgivings rather than learns from them. I am coming to terms with the fact hat what's done is done. Just like an airplane you have to move forward and pick up speed before you can move upward. I have to keep building upon good fundamental foundations. Something is going to come through for me soon. No one will hold me back but me so I'd best be getting out of my own way. :)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Been Away

Hello my Fiduciary Falcons,

My sincerest apologies for leaving you in the throes of my absence. It has been a very busy few weeks for me. If you've read my past posts you know how I feel about my current place of enslav--er--employment, so I have been actively searching to change jobs. I hesitated to do this at first because I didn't want to have to start over playing the benefits game (i.e. the 90 day waiting period). Recent events that will be explaned in a later post have changed my mind. I had 3 interviews in the past week. Unfortunately none of them panned out but I remain optimistic.

I've taken 2 major steps in my journey to financial independence:1) I have opened my portfolio of dividend paying stocks. 2)I have, for the first time ever, ended the month cash flow POSITIVE. For the end of September I was able to spend less money than I took in. I never realized how hard this was to do untill I actually accomplished it. I was able to do this by going on a semi-cash diet. Every Sunday I've been going to the ATM and pulling a small amount of "walking around" cash out of a Christmas/Summer Camp account. I don't know about you guys, but something in my psycology tends to change when I actually have some bills in my pocket...especially $20 bills. I feel less inclined to break them and I begin to think twice about swiping my card to pay for small items.

I'm gonna have a slew of new posts coming your way the days to follow. For now , rock out to this song I heard this morning. I decided it's gonna be my theme song for the rest of the year.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Update: October's book

Hey kiddos,

Just a quick post to let you know about the book I'm reading this month:

Soldier of Finance by Jeff Rose.

Click here to purchase the book from Amazon while showing me a little love in the process. Review will come at month's end.