Bacon Jobs and Other Goals for 2012

January 07, 2012 @ 01:57 PM • Comments (18)

Bacon Jobs vs. Bacon Grease Jobs

People who know me in real life are probably sick of me saying, "I work for pennies." But it's the best quip I have to describe the fact that I make very little money. And it is a quip, not a complaint. I knew when I applied to work at my church that I would not be paid the equivalent of what I could make elsewhere for the same work. Everyone knows that. You take a church job like mine because you have a sincere passion for using your gifts to enable your church to better reach out to people who are hurting. You take it to give back to the people who have always been there to support you. You take it because you really can't stand that the church website is done in Microsoft Publisher.

(Side note: the job does have a lot of perks, like an overwhelming amount of grace and friends who come into your office to pray over you when you're having a rough morning and a ridiculous amount of homemade desserts brought in by people from the congregation.)

The other thing I've known from the beginning is that my time at this job would be limited. My mom has been able to work as the church bookkeeper for 15+ years because she is married to my dad, who has been bringing in the real bacon at his job for 30+ years. I don't have a Mr. Skirts, so if I'm going to get out of the house and start pursuing my goals as an independent adult, I need a job that pays in bacon, not bacon grease.


Pursuing the Bacon Job

I had tentatively set in my mind that I would start pursuing a Bacon Job in mid-2012, which is just around the corner. I'd also penciled in a move to San Francisco for the fun of it.1

In order to make those dreams a reality, there are two really big hurdles I need to jump over.


Hurdle #1: Online Portfolio

After years of fighting it, I've decided that I'd like to pursue web design as a full-time career. If I could do that as a freelancer, awesome, but if I end up working in an office, that's cool, too. I actually think cubicles are adorable.

But I haven't had an online portfolio of my design work (which is mostly print publications now) in a really long time. This hasn't stopped hundreds of people from stopping me and asking me to build them a website or design business cards for them, which just goes to show the power of word-of-mouth testimonials.2 Still, I eventually want to be able to have all or most of my work online — as proof that I can sometimes make pretty things, as evidence that I am obsessed with pretty ampersands, and as a means of getting constructive feedback from the design community.

I have a system in place to host and organize all of the content. I simply need to collect that content from all of my various computers, sift through it to find the crème de la crème, upload it, and write up accompanying descriptions for each project.

Deadline for collecting the content: January 10, 2012
Deadline for sifting through the content: January 20, 2012
Deadline for uploading the content: January 31, 2012
Deadline for writing up the accompanying descriptions: February 28, 2012
Deadline for launching online portfolio: February 29, 2012


Hurdle #2: Personal Finances

I am writing this blog post on a $2,000 MacBook Pro, one of the three computers in my possession.

I work for pennies.

. . .

If you haven't already guessed, my personal finances aren't in the best of shape. Things really got out of hand this month as student loans came back to haunt me. I can't realistically expect to knock out $80,000 in student loans before I move out of my parents' house, but I can make those repayments (and payments on a future home) a lot easier by eliminating credit card debt.

This is something a lot of my peers are dealing with right now. I'm so proud to know so many young people who are either in control of their finances or on a really solid path toward getting there. It's not easy with shiny new temptations being released every day, being talked about on Twitter, etc. I found myself looking at iPads and other tablets online before I even knew what I would do with one. What is wrong with me?

"Get out of debt" has been a resolution for too many years in a row, and I'm realizing it's something I can't do on my own. I'm joining forces with Shannyn of frugalbeautiful.com and several other amazing ladies who are committed to being Debt-Free Divas with her. I met Shannyn at the 20SB Summit in August 2011 because I was wearing a TARDIS sweatshirt. At the time, I thought it was entirely unfair that someone so stunningly beautiful could also be a Doctor Who fan and a beauty blogger who had her finances in order. Since then, nothing has changed. It's still entirely unfair.

I'm going to stick with using mint.com to set up my goals and my budgets, since they do a beautiful job of tracking that sort of thing. But first, I need to actually know what I'm going to be spending in 2012, and that's something that Mint can't tell me. I will need to sift through paperwork and emails to make sure I know the full amount due on all of my credit cards and student loans, along with minimum payments and interest rates. I'd like to look into either consolidating my loans or requesting lower payments from the individual lenders (at least until I can afford to pay more). I also need to round up receipts for annual and monthly membership fees and weed out the things I don't need to be paying for right now. (Sorry, Hulu+. It's not you. It's me.)

Deadline for collecting loan and credit card information: January 31, 2012
Deadline for minimizing student loan payments: March 10, 2012
Deadline for collecting recurring fee information: February 13, 2012
Deadline for cancelling unnecessary recurring fees: March 31, 2012
Deadline for getting out of debt entirely: ?
Deadline for setting a deadline for getting out of debt entirely: March 31, 2012


So to Wrap Up (with Bacon)

This is probably the longest thing I've posted to rachelskirts.com in years. But one of my favorite things about blogging, the thing that has kept me writing for a decade now, is that it's a tool for building communities. Shannyn is building a community for people who insist on being fabulous and debt-free. Hannah is building a community for people who want to Stop Being Crap. Pham sees potential communities that don't yet exist on YouTube, and he makes them happen. I don't know what my community is, but I know that I so deeply cherish the friendships I've made here. You've encouraged me to meet so many goals already, and I hope I can do the same for you.

If you've made it this far, I owe you a piece of bacon. If I still owe you a signed piece of bacon from the days of the Bacon Famous podcast, I guess I owe you two pieces of bacon now.

Deadline for giving bacon to everyone who reads this blog post: the day after I get my own TARDIS.


1 And because I've seen every episode of Full House at least fifty times.
2 Or there is a time bubble surrounding my county and keeping it in the Dark Ages, before computers and Photoshop and the internet came into existence. My family is immune to the effects because my dad is a child of the computer gods.

Credit for the photograph of the Golden Gate bridge belongs to Anthony Larson.
Credit for the photograph of the bacon heart belongs to Jim.

gRegor
gRegor

You probably already know this since you're a smart bacon-cookie, but I think Dave Ramsey's "debt snowball" method is really good. I recommend it to everyone.

I like the new font a lot! It looks really good on the sub-headings. I was never really a fan of Trebuchet, honestly.

Oh yeah! I totally forgot about the signed bacon! Two pieces of bacon for me! Exclamation points!

P.S. This post made me hungry.

Rachelskirts
Rachelskirts (in reply to gRegor)

Yeah, I don't know why I was so afraid of using TypeKit for body text. Trebuchet MS is not the worst font in the world, but I've been tired of seeing it on my blog for a while. So. Tada.

chris
chris

I was wondering about the podcast. Is it safe to delete it from iTunes now? There will be no more episodes?

Rachelskirts
Rachelskirts (in reply to chris)

Honestly, I don't know. I would love to do more episodes. Adam was the one who backed out. I think he didn't feel like anyone else would appreciate us talking about nothing (and he didn't want me to generate topics). So if someone else demanded that we do a five-minute rant (Bacon Bits: New Feature!) on a subject of their choice, we might get back on track.

Ahem.

Shannyn  @FrugalBeautiful.com
Shannyn @FrugalBeautiful.com

Girl, Girl...GIRL.......whatchu talkin' about you're totally hot and I adore you! I'm so glad to have a Whovian blogger friend who also has seemingly fabulous tastes in just about everything! So glad to have you on board and I seriously need to get a TARDIS sweatshirt like NOW...I have though accumulated two Threadless Who tees, a TARDIS bank and a heat activated mug lol.

You are going to have a phenomenal year- not only have you posted your intentions but you are actively working to get sh*t done and collaborating with the interwebs to make it happen.

Seriously though- I adore your style and love your blog layout still, it's going to be an amazing year!

Erini
Erini

SO PROUD AND HAPPY. Even if it means you moving to the other side of the country.

I've gone back and forth about doing web design/development full time. I think I could do the design part now, but not sure I want to write the code and build everything. But I know that's part of the thrill of it all for me, so we'll see what happens. Currently, I love being the "digital learning coordinator" at work. Hoping to ride this one out for a while. (But still rebuilding my site/portfolio anyway.)

Anyway... Super excited to see your new portfolio! I've seen a little bit of your work in the past, and lady, you are amazingly talented.

phampants
phampants

Wait, what am I doing?

Seriously, if you need anything, ask. I'm only DM or text away. Let's make the best of Chicago before you take your first journey to the Shire. :)

Gilligan
Gilligan

Well, as long as you keep paying more than the minimum, you'll do well. If you can't, the Debt Snowball is a good method, but I prefer the Debt Avalanche, where you pay down the highest interest first. Takes a bit longer for the first, but you pay less in interest overall.

Speaking of interest, I wouldn't necessarily recommend consolidating all your loans unless you're going after sending fewer payments each month. I looked into it and I'd end up paying more in interest over the long run.

I've got a deadline for my debt-free date, but it's accelerated by the fact that all my spare money and even "rent" money is going towards them. I can't wait! (So I might have some free money to buy a few shiny toys down the line.)

Definitely ask for lower payments, especially possibly based on your income, and most certainly cut and trim any excess so you can dump as much as you can towards the credit card first and keep going on the rest. Those things can be killer, you got that right!

And keep your comrades close! It's tough, but I've already seen that the relief alone is worth it. Snowball it up!

But enough about money. You've got some great goals, and moving to San Fran will be quite the memorable experience, I wish you the best! (It is quite a bit more expensive over there though. Ok, just one more about money. :-p)

Back to the web portfolio. You've got great stuff, and I'm sure gathering it all up will be an adventure for you and a treat for all of us once you get it up! Your particular brand of beauty, brains, wit and wisdom (I don't know of anyone else who's quite as passionate for Doctor Who and LOTR. :-p) have certainly dominated the area of geekdom you frequent, and brought you plenty of fine friends along the way. (There's not a social network or service that I know of that doesn't have a Rachelskirts account signed up to it)

I've got an idea to build websites as a freelance sort of thing (Killing off my debt), and I'll be working in Drupal for the most part (Well, the only part, as that's what I work with at work). Can I give you a call if I need design work? After March rolls around, I suppose.

In summary: Go out and conquer! The job market is available, and the debt needs defeating. With your friends urging you on, your soon-to-be debt free, frugal AND beautiful are titles within easy reach. (And you've got one in the bag already.)

My, I notice I speak a lot in the parenthetical. (Dual personalities maybe? I think not.)

MK (wait, i mean Ash...)
MK (wait, i mean Ash...)

congratulations, friend! you encourage me and excite me for your future - and what i can dream of for mine (even when i can't remember my own name...) ;) thanks for your honesty, your setting of deadlines, your candidness (is that a word??), and your excitement for the future while not discrediting the present or past. i look forward to seeing what happens next along with you (and maybe even being a teensie-tiny part of it)!

Joel D
Joel D

Funny, I just blogged about deleting my Mint account and starting with You Need a Budget. Jess and I are just trying to get a handle on our finances now too.

I like your goals. They're realistic and will give you some momentum while you still have a fair amount of motivational wind at your back. Praying you get that bacon job!

Rachelskirts
Rachelskirts (in reply to Joel D)

Small world! Also, how many sites do you write for, crazypants?

I really liked all that you had to say about Mint in that article, and I think your assessments of its shortcomings were totally fair. I do find myself getting lazy with Mint sometimes because it is so automated. However, as I've been mulling over this for the past few days, I've decided that, while my obsessive compulsive nature would love to enter every transaction manually and spend the rest of my life making every detail perfect . . . I have an obsessive compulsive personality. I would turn that into a full-time job/project and then abandon it the moment I couldn't keep the records as perfectly as I wanted to. Maybe some day, I'll have enough of a grip on my OCD/time management, but for now, the safe option is to stick with Mint and train myself to check in every day.

Anyway, if you do another review of You Need a Budget after a few months, send me a link. I'd love to know how it's working for you and Jess over the long run. If you pick up any budgeting tips along the way, I'd love to hear those, too. :)

And thanks for the prayers! Much needed and much appreciated.

Tyler
Tyler

Life, huh? It can definitely be a bummer. Especially when it comes to money. BUT I am proud to say, that you've got a good approach here. You realize your limitations, you realize what needs to happen, and you're taking steps to get there.

That takes courage, and good on you for it. If there's anything I can do to help, never hesitate to ask.

kaysi
kaysi

3 things... 1. As a fellow church worker, I love the benefits you listed of working there. I think the actually work I do is terribly unexciting but I LOVE my co-workers and the environment I get to work in each day. 2. I LOOOOVE San Francisco. It's only a few hours' drive from where I live. Have you been before? I'd love to live there for a time, though that's more of a dream than something I'd actually desire enough to pursue. But I hope you get there!!! 3. Mmmmmm, bacon... =)

The Mystery Man
The Mystery Man

I want bacon. I like your list of goals :-)

B
B

It looks like you have a great plan! I know it helps to have it all laid out in front of you. Good luck on reaching your goals!

jo silverman
jo silverman

You could always come to NYC and be a hotel maid. The NY Times ran an article today announcing the maids' new union contract: $59823 ($28.65 an hour), up from $46337, plus completely paid for health, dental, and optical (a full family plan) with no employee contributions and no co-pays. I'll not feel guilty about not leaving a tip at checkout.

Lisa R
Lisa R

Today is February 13th, 2012. I thought I'd check in and see how your deadlines are going!

Rachelskirts
Rachelskirts (in reply to Lisa R)

Thanks for the accountability. :) I'm planning to write a post about my progress this week! All things considering, I'm happy with my progress, but I do need to get back on track with a few of the goals.