Friday, April 20, 2018

2018 Goals Part 5: Find a Job That Makes Me Feel Valued and Pays Me What I’m Worth, Part 1

Wow, it’s been a month! And I’m finally ready to tackle 2018 goal #5: Find a Job That Makes Me Feel Valued and Pays Me What I’m Worth.

I’ve worked at my current job (in accounting) for almost 12 years. I started as a temp in June of 2006 – a week after I moved to Cincinnati for good (third time’s a charm!) – and was hired on “officially” in January of 2007. I work with some amazing people, and I wouldn’t trade that part for the world. I definitely enjoy certain parts of my job too, like the research related aspects; the things that keep my mind focused and engaged.

For a while now, though, I’ve been in a state where my role feels very stagnant. As an accountant, I typically perform the same functions daily, weekly, and monthly, but over the past few months, even my usual job duties have begun to dwindle. This has left me feeling underutilized and undervalued as an employee. I’ve often wondered if they have been winding down my responsibilities so they can eventually get rid of me.

Recently, I’ve been trying to be more proactive, inside and outside of work. For instance, I’ve taken part in many the “Leadership Development” options the company offers, but so far I’m not seeing any results from it (at least as far as it helping my case goes). I do enjoy the classes, so it does give me something to look forward to when I go to work, but I wish I could understand why it seems like they have lost faith in my abilities. We have annual reviews, and my reviews have always been super positive, so I genuinely don’t understand where it comes from or if it even means anything negative. I mean, maybe my perception is off and they do have something planned for me? Either way, all of this has all left me with a significant amount of self-doubt, particularly when it comes to pursuing greener pastures.

I’ve always been too hard on myself. When I do something well, I typically think, “Anyone can do this.” If myself and 100 other people are vying for the same job, we’re likely going to have similar educational backgrounds, and be team players or detail-oriented or great multi-taskers. So I find it difficult to pinpoint what sets me apart from others. This is especially true if I’m if competing for a role in an industry in which I may not have the ideal experience the company is looking for. How will my current skillset translate? What am I great at that other people may not do as well and might make your life easier? I have my MBA, but so far it has just been a glorified and expensive piece of paper.

Historically, I’ve also been the type of perfectionist that has lived by the adage, “If I can’t do this perfectly, I’d rather not do it at all.” This has made me a jack-of-all-trades, master of none type. I feel like I’m ready to branch out now; to fly, but I’m not sure I’m ready for the insecurity that often comes with a new job at a time when I really need to have a steady, stable income to tackle my debt load. I also have an unfortunate amount of debt (oh past mistakes), so presently there’s no way I would be able to take less than I do now. It makes me feel stuck.

So I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to figure out what I want out of life with respect to my career, and how I might be able to use the experience I already have to discover my next calling. I know I need to make some proactive changes. I can’t afford, mentally or financially, to let things go on as they have been. But what to do?

People always say, “Do what you love and the rest will follow!” My struggle has usually been that I’m passionate about numerous things, but many of those things are in industries that don’t historically pay well. And I love money! Strangely, I do know accounting is probably not something I want to continue further, at least as far as pursuing my CPA, which is pretty much what you need in order to achieve executive level status these days, at least in a mid to large-sized company. Realistically, accounting was never my first choice, though. At the time I was considering it as an option, it was more of a, “What can I do in order to get out of food service, but still make as much money as possible, as quickly as possible?” I was experiencing food service burn out, and wanted to pursue something a bit more stable, but I didn’t have any interest in restaurant management at the time. Accounting seemed to fit the bill, and be a great skill to possess. It’s an industry that will always be kicking. I don’t hate it. I just long for something a bit more creative and innovative. Something I can feel really passionate about. 

Part 2 coming shortly…

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Catching Up

I’ve done a few other fun activities in the past few days, but haven’t been reporting. I need to get back on it! On Monday, March 5th, I went to Al Rosa Villa, the club where Pantera’s Dimebag Darrell was killed (RIP), to see Septicflesh and Dark Funeral perform. I need to start getting some good pictures whenever I go somewhere. Sometimes I remember, and sometimes I don’t, and sometimes my phone camera just isn’t up to the job when the room is too dark and the ambiance from the fog machines are permeating the air. This was one of those times. I love when bands dress for the part, though, and none of the bands at this show disappointed, except for the local opener. I was not impressed with them. The second band was one called Thy Antichrist. They had the face and body paint down! The singer’s paint job was so good that we couldn’t decide, until we saw him up close later, if he was wearing some kind of shirt with a ton of tight, mini black straps. Dark Funeral were enjoyable. I know they are kind of a classic in the black metal scene. This was my 2nd time seeing Septicflesh, and they were awesome as usual. I love the symphonic metal elements.

While I had fun, I’m getting so tired of concerts being on weekdays (especially Monday’s) and in cities two hours or so away. Living in a city dominated by country music lovers really sucks! I can enjoy some country music, but I’d much rather see more rock and metal come through here. At least the summer will bring some of that to Riverbend.

On Wednesday, March 7th, I went to Jungle Jim’s in Eastgate where they were having an introduction to their new Wine guy, TJ. I thought it was fun. He started the night with a light champagne, and ended with a very good red, but I can’t for the life of me remember what they were called. I went to a second tasting on the 15th with their usual wine guy, Eric, and have since decided to purchase myself a wine journal for the future ones I attend. I think I’m going to start going every Thursday from now on, which is the normal night for it. I’m really interested in learning more about everything wine, beer, and spirits.

On Thursday, March 8, I went to the Aronoff Center downtown to see Neil Gaiman speak. Gaiman is a writer of fantasy and children’s books, and he has a great sense of humor. He started off the session by reading from an essay he had written for The Reading Agency, Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading and Daydreaming. You can find an edited version of the essay here:
He also did Q & A’s throughout with questions people had submitted beforehand and read pieces from some of his works, including Freya’s Unusual Wedding from Norse Gods. I’m really glad I went, even though I couldn’t even give away my extra ticket!

On Wednesday, March 14th, I went to “Reality Bites: 90’s Trivia” at Darkness Brewing in Bellevue, KY. Darkness makes some really good beer! On this night, I had their Grand Mimosa, which lives up to its name. You can have too many if you’re not careful because it tastes just like one. The trivia was a lot of fun, and at the end of the main rounds we were in 7th out of 23 teams, which isn’t too bad. We lost all our points in the final round, though, with a very random question about a commercial that premiered during the 90’s TV show, Herman’s Head. I actually watched that show, but more power to you if you remember commercials from the 90’s.

The past couple of weekends, I have also done some hiking at Shawnee Lookout in North Bend, OH, and East Fork State Park in Tate Township, OH. Both days had amazing weather, and I got some much needed exercise. Plus View:
I think I’m finally all caught up, but I’ll have more soon!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

A Review of BrewRiver GastroPub – Sunday, March 4th

To cap off an already awesome weekend (last weekend), my boyfriend’s cousin invited us to dine at BrewRiver GastroPub, another place I had never been. This time I pulled out my phone to get some pictures because I can’t keep having these boring, wordy blog posts or no one will ever come back!

BrewRiver opened in 2012 off Riverside Drive in Cincinnati (the East End). Their menu features classic New Orleans-style recipes, such as Shrimp Po’boys, plus your standard pub food, like burgers. They also carry 23 different craft beers on draft, but strangely, we ended up ordering a couple of beers they serve in cans, including the Monk’s CafĂ© Sour Ale (pictured) and the Abita Purple Haze. Both were very good.

The interior features exposed ductwork, and the walls old, black and white photos of Cincinnati, specifically of our riverboat heritage. The bar is setup impressively appearing to be the focal point inside an otherwise smallish space.
We started the meal portion of our night with appetizers. We ordered two: the Smoked Gouda Pimento Cheese and the Crispy Cilantro Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms. The Smoked Gouda Pimento Cheese is served with sourdough crostini’s, but they also brought the untoasted bread, which I thought was terrific. It offered differing textures. The cheese blend was good, especially spread along the toasty bread. The Crispy Cilantro Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms were tasty as well, but I wouldn’t say they stood apart from other stuffed mushrooms I’ve tried.

I’m not sure why I decided against something New Orleans-inspired, but I wish I hadn't. I wasn’t overly impressed with my burger. I ordered the Natchez, which is considered a customer favorite, and it was a bit overcooked for my taste (they only offer “pink or “no pink” as cooking options). It really wasn’t much to look at either. I tend to like burgers piled high with fun! I wouldn’t call it terrible, just not a burger I could recommend based on this experience alone. The fries we ordered; however, were interesting and flavorsome. You can’t find truffle oil-infused fries just anywhere, and I love all things mushroom.
When I go back, I will definitely try something Cajun, like the Shrimp Po’boy. My friend ended up ordering one, and it came out looking very great (I believe she approved).
I’ve recently read that BrewRiver is having some financial difficulties due to construction that took place along Riverside Drive. Apparently, one of Cincinnati’s main downtown waterlines started leaking in 2017, and while the city immediately took action to avoid a major landslide, BrewRiver saw their business decrease significantly as access to the restaurant was interrupted. The restaurant itself also saw some damage.

If you’re so inclined, they currently have a GoFundMe page setup to help with the associated costs:

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Drake's Florence

Drake’s Florence – Saturday, March 3rd 

My birthday! The evening started out at a friend’s house. They fixed me dinner (bless their hearts) consisting of steaks, fried potatoes, and a vegetable medley, plus a few mixed drinks. We had MMA on in the background. I was prepared for a relaxing evening, but the topic of dancing came up amongst the ladies in the room, mainly about how they hadn’t been out for a while, and we ultimately decided to go to Drake’s in Florence, KY, on Houston Road.

Drake’s is another one of those strip mall bar and restaurants. I don’t say that as a negative, it just doesn’t look fancy from the outside. Apparently, they have multiple locations regionally, throughout Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, and Alabama. The most interesting thing about the place is that they serve typical bar food, like burgers and sandwiches, but they also offer a fairly extensive selection of fresh sushi. I didn’t get to try anything this time, but I would go back. I would definitely like to try the Elderflower Mule if I return.

We arrived around 10, and things were slow, so we sat and talked over drinks for a while (I selected the Taft’s Cherrywood Amber again). We were beginning to wonder if we picked the right place, but around 11, a DJ finally got things going. He played a lot of the typical pop-rap songs, like Drop it Like It’s Hot and Back That Azz Up. A lot of people were on and off the dance floor. We had a good time! Props to my man for picking us up when we were ready to go home.