Monday, January 28, 2019

furlough lessons

"How was your furlough?" one of the managers asked.

"It would have been nice to have money coming in, but it was good," I said.  "I got to do a lot of things.  I really didn't miss work at all."

"I figured you wouldn't be one of those people sitting around twiddling their thumbs," he said.

Is this a compliment? I think so.  I'm finding that not everybody felt the same way as I did.  Understandable money worries aside, some people seemed lost without their work life.  They said they missed their colleagues and their routine.  They fretted about incomplete projects.  Some said it was traumatic.  Some were even angry that they weren't chosen to work without pay and others were.

I used to worry about work/life balance.  I work so much, especially in the summer, that I thought when it came to leave this career, I wouldn't know what to do.  As a wildland firefighter, you can't just half heartedly do your job, or you won't last long and you won't get anywhere.  You can't have one foot in and one out.

I've given up a lot for my job, but having this past month off has been reassuring.  There's so much more to life than work.  There's good friends, places to explore, and sweet cats to cuddle.  I won't have trouble filling my days.  If I want to see my former co-workers, I can: they live in the same town.

Ultimately it's important to realize that we are all replaceable at work.  Your supervisor and your supervisor's boss might care about you, but at the highest level that may not be the case.  You should be dedicated and have a sense of purpose, but don't make it your entire life.

We may be furloughed again in three weeks...I already have plans!

Monday, January 21, 2019

Stuff I do during furlough

I started this post with a bitter tone, but then erased it.  There's a lot to be mad about, but I'll attempt to focus on the positive for now.

My house is getting really clean.  I've never had a hoarder house or lived in squalor, but some walls got washed that may or may not have ever been washed since I bought my house.  I've read quite a few books.  Besides 1st Phorm, I'm looking into other ways to make money.

I've dreamed about trips that I don't think I should take right now and actually had flights in my cart before I deleted it, too chicken to incur the expense.  I've had plenty of time to bother  pay attention to the cats.  I'm making creative meals from forgotten items in the cupboards, to avoid spending money at the store.

I go snowboarding DURING THE WEEK and it's glorious.  No little kids cutting me off, and wide open runs.

I go hiking and snowshoeing with friends and don't worry about having to get everything ready for work the next day.

I go to the gym when I want to, instead of the busy times when everyone is leaving work.  There's days when I wake up and enjoy the feeling of not having to be anywhere anytime soon.

In fact, this has been sort of practice for the retirement life, and it's good.  I find I miss work very little.  If there's people I miss, I can always see them.  It's nice to know that it probably won't be too traumatic to make that transition.  I won't be lost, without purpose.

Of course, there's a price.  I'm about to miss a month of pay, and nobody knows how long this ridiculousness will continue, so it's hard to budget.  Other, non-feds don't seem to understand: they resent it when businesses try to help us out and think everything is ok because we will eventually get back pay.  When we do go back, there will be a nightmare of work ahead; who knows if we will even have any seasonal employees to fight fire this summer.

But we keep going, because that's what we do.  We do more with less, do the people's work, serve the greater good.  I'm proud of us, the ones who are driving Lyft and Uber and waiting tables to get by, and the ones who have to go into work and will get a bill for deductions instead of a paycheck, but haven't quit or had a meltdown.  These are some of the best people I know.  I only wish more people could see that.

Monday, January 14, 2019

One year as a CPT: What I've learned

About a year ago I  became certified as a Personal Trainer.  So far, although I've designed workouts for people, I haven't made any money through this certification.  This is my fault, because  1. I don't want to ask, and 2.  I already have a full time, demanding job (although not at the moment, because I'm furloughed due to the government shutdown).  But even though I'm an unpaid trainer, I've learned a few things in the past year.  Here are a few of them:

1.  The gym is not my happy place.  OK, I already knew this.  I go there, but it's not my passion.  I would much rather be outside to exercise.  Seeing the trainers at gyms, stuck inside all day and not making a lot of money, just reinforced my feeling that I don't want to be a full time gym employee.

2.  A lot of people THINK they are trainers.  People have disagreed with and contradicted me about certain exercises and their benefits, even though they haven't had any training.  I try not to let this bother me, because there is so much information and misinformation on the internet.  It's hard to know what to believe sometimes.

3.  Social media is full of trainers (or people representing themselves as such).  A lot of these people know how to work angles and poses, as well as use filters well.  Don't take all of it at face value.

4.  I took a continuing education workshop on sports conditioning drills.  I was kind of apprehensive, with bad memories of gym classes past.  But it was really fun and I learned several new exercises (moral: try new things).

5.  Seeing people improve their fitness in a few short weeks doing a workout you designed is really gratifying.

6.  If I end up doing this as a second career, I want to incorporate the outdoors in the workouts, like a class in a park or a beach.

7.  Additional certifications are really expensive.  For example, to be fully qualified as a Pilates instructor would be around $6,000.  There are a lot of really cool programs out there, but once you are certified you usually have to pay a monthly or yearly fee to stay certified.  You really have to weigh whether it's financially beneficial or not.

8.  Education is never wasted.  When I started studying, I really just wanted to learn more about fitness.  If I never end up teaching, or only have a couple clients, that's OK with me.

9.  I re-evaluated my own workouts.  When I first started lifting weights, I was taught by a bodybuilder.  Through the years, I kept doing the same exercises and reps, not really thinking about whether they were helping me meet my goals or not.  In some cases, they weren't.

10.  I'm secretly watching you! I notice people in the gym exercising with poor form, or showing clear imbalances in their muscle groups.  I don't say anything though: I'm not THAT person.

Have you ever taken a class or gotten a certification just because it interested you? Did you end up using it for work? What did you learn?

Monday, January 7, 2019

Side Ways

I've heard that some TSA workers, forced to work without pay because of the government shutdown, are calling in sick so they can take other jobs.  I really don't blame them.  They will get paid eventually, but they need money now. As a "non-essential" employee, I'm not working, and there's no guarantee I will be paid.  Luckily I have savings, but I know many people who don't and will soon be struggling to make ends meet.

Anyway, this post is about my "side business." I don't make much money off it, because I'm reluctant to be pushy, and I don't plan a lot of posts about it.  I think we have all read those blogs that used to be enjoyable and then became full of awkward sponsored posts and hard sells.  Social media is full of people trying to get others to join their MLM businesses or buy leggings, skin care, weight loss drinks, etc.  So I'll keep it brief and feel free to click on by.  New posts about winter adventures, fire memories, and various complaints will be up soon.

The company I'm a rep for is called 1st Phorm.  They make a variety of health and wellness supplements, protein powders, and products that aid in fat loss, muscle building, and heart health. They also put on transformation challenges several times a year.  It's free to enter, and the winners, who are ordinary folks who decided to make a change, get $50,000 or more.

The products I like the most are the energy bars, protein powders, the daily nutrient/vitamin pack,  a greens powder, and a supplement called Joint Mobility which relieves joint pain and contributes to bone, tendon and ligament health.

Best of all, 1st Phorm really wants to help people reach their goals. They are the first to say that supplements aren't for everyone.  They won't take the place of a good diet or exercise program.  They are for the gaps that exist in most people's diets.

If you're interested, my link is  I receive a small commission if enough purchases are made through this link.

If you have any questions, let me know! And thanks for reading.