I tend to shy away from challenge. When things get tough, I give up pretty easily. My mom even told me so (and when your mom says it, it’s probably true). I joked that I would consider going to medical school (like my brother). She said I would never be able to handle it, because I would give up at the first sign of difficulty.

What my mom said is true, to a point. Math was always difficult to grasp, but I studied it because I was interested in it. It was worth it to me to spend so much time and energy understanding it, because it didn’t feel like work. But once I became discouraged and lost confidence in my ability, it felt like work. The payoff wasn’t worth the effort anymore.

My interest and motivation has always been highly influenced by my supervisor. For example, I never liked math until I had one incredible professor in college who brought the subject to life for me. In graduate school, my conflicts with my advisor directly resulted in my deciding not to continue pursuing a Ph.D. Now, my motivation to work has been all but erased by the awkward work environment created from the strained relationship with my boss.

This dependence on my supervisor has been both an advantage and a disadvantage. When relations are good, I’m happy and I work well (often seemingly independently motivated). When relations are bad, I’m discouraged and lose all drive; tasks that used to be interesting and challenging become laborious and cumbersome. As a result, lofty ideas and goals become unrealistic and impractical fantasies.

So here is my solution to my own shortcomings: go into business for myself. I’m too easily swayed by a supervisor, so why not become my own supervisor? In doing that, I would force myself to stay motivated, because there are no other alternatives. Sink or swim, basically.

Given my interests, skills, and background, the most practical business I’ve been considering is private tutoring. Having seen my company run from different perspectives (I’ve done sales and accounting, but I’ve also helped in production, shipping, quality assurance, and customer service), I think I have some idea on how to run my own small business (I might be eating these words later). I should be fine, especially if I get a lot of advice from Amy (I’m strongly considering partnering with you).

I still have a lot of reservations regarding making the leap into becoming self-employed (often considered a euphemism for unemployed). There is substantial risk involved, and I still have confidence issues, but maybe that’s exactly why I should do it.


One Year Gone

A whole year has passed since I started working with my current company (the anniversary was yesterday, technically). I probably should be happier about it, but in many ways, I’m already planning my escape.

When things were good (and I felt important and competent), I deluded myself into thinking I possibly had a future with my company. After only a few months, I was given a lot of responsibilities (beyond my original position). All the managers trusted me and relied on me. I felt almost like a manager myself. I wanted to be a manager. I wanted to learn, and I was motivated to learn everything about everything.

Yet somehow it all fell away about a month ago. I admit I made mistakes (I always take responsibility for my mistakes, I hate passing blame), and the problems have all been resolved, but the work environment has irrevocably changed. My boss still doesn’t seem to trust me; she barely says two words to me unless it’s absolutely necessary. Without her trust, I no longer feel motivated to learn or even work.

As much as the situation sucks, it has given me an opportunity to take a step back and think about what I want out of my job and out of life. This job was always supposed to be a stepping stone to something better. Everything I’ve learned in the past year has given me the boost that I needed. Now it’s just a matter of finding my next step. To take that chance I’ve been considering.

Six More People

At the end of the day on Friday, six more people at my company were laid off. Now most departments only have one manager and one worker (accounting still has one manager and two workers, including me). If sales and/or the economy get any worse, there won’t be a company left at all.

Now, more than ever, is the time to finally motivate myself to look ahead. I always decide to do something productive but never get around to doing anything. I’m so afraid to take risks and make mistakes that I just have ideas but never take steps to realize them.

I can’t keep waiting. At the rate things are going, I may not have a job much longer. How do I motivate myself when I know I’m not good at self-motivation?

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Outsmarting Myself

I still haven’t decided if I want to join the price change team, but I’m leaning toward taking the job. I’ve been frustrated a lot lately by the fact that I can’t motivate myself to be productive. If I stay at home all day, I end up playing my DS Lite or surfing the net all day without realizing it.

If I’m already out of the house, I’m more likely to sit down at Borders or Starbucks and do what I need to do. I would basically use the price change schedule to outsmart my lack of self-discipline. It’s easier to work with my limitations rather than try to change them, right?

I’m tutoring my friend from work again tomorrow morning. That should be a good excuse to get me out of bed and be productive. Speaking of tutoring, my mom found out that I wasn’t charging my friend anything for my services. She was so upset that she didn’t say anything. She sort of changed the subject and left the room. I don’t think she understands that there’s more to tutoring than just money.

Waking Up Is Hard To Do (Unless I Have To)

My body is really weird. I have a hard time waking up in the morning, but only if I have nothing scheduled early in the day. For example, I get up around noon on days when the only thing on my agenda is working the closing shift at Target. I set my alarm for 8:30am, but it doesn’t help. I turn off my alarm, I think about getting up, and then go back to sleep for four hours. When I do get up, I’m still sleepy.

On the other hand, when I had to wake up at 5am to go to the Planorama a week ago, I got up right away and was fully awake. I can get up easily when I need to wake up. If I want to get up early but don’t need to, then I won’t.

I can’t even fool myself. If I make a plan to study or run errands in the morning, I won’t wake up. But if I make a plan to meet a friend in the morning, then I’ll wake up with no problem. I need someone else relying on me in order to motivate myself. Weird, huh?


I did nothing all day. The only time I left the house was to get the mail. Waiting for my job at Target to start and taking a little time off from studying leaves me incredibly unmotivated. I don’t even feel like playing video games or reading books, activities I like to do more often when I have the time. Now I have all the time in the world, but everything seems really boring.

There are things I should be doing too. Since a lot of my relatives come over for Christmas, I should be cleaning and putting things away around the house before then. I also should be working on polishing my cover letter and resume to send off to actuary and teaching jobs. But for some reason, I can’t bring myself to do anything when I stay at home all day.

I have a friend in the actuary profession who suggested that I start studying for the next exam as soon as possible instead of waiting until January. I won’t really be sacrificing my Christmas like last year since I’ll already be home, so I ordered the next study guide. I’m actually looking forward to next week. I’ll be working and studying at the same time, but at least I’ll be doing something productive.