088 - Career Hacking the Tech Industry with MILLENNIAL BOSS

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51 - 96 Jonathan Mendonsa All right let me go on stage for you guys today on the show we're talking with J. from the fire drill podcast and it's criminal to try to shorten all this but let me just give you the short and sweet. TheT.L.D.R. J. has moved to three states in the past three years in the pursuit of financial independence. Career hacking like a pro taking your income from 33 K to well over 100K and then double that within five years through mercenary salary negotiation which she likes to say she won three out of four times. This is going to be an incredibly actionable episode. We're going to dive into how a female is able to graduate with a poly Sci degree and then somehow leverage that into the highly competitive tech world through the art of career hacking and to help me with this I have my co-host Brad. Here with me today how are you doing buddy.
IT, career
96 - 119 Brad Barrett Hey Jonathan I'm doing well. The way you set that up I just cannot wait for this conversation. I mean J. has a little bit of everything in her story. Frankly I could have used her negotiating skills. That was something I was woefully unprepared for in my own life and hopefully she can pass on some really concrete and actionable tips to the audience. So with that J. welcome to the podcasts.
119 - 120 J - Millennial Boss Thanks for having me.
120 - 134 Jonathan Mendonsa Well J. this episode is going to be all about career hacking. It is not going to be about college hacking because I don't think that your optimal self really started firing on all cylinders until after you graduated and realized you didn't know what to do with your degree am I right about that.
134 - 155 J - Millennial Boss No exactly. I mean I thought I did everything right. I got about 17000 dollars worth of scholarships so I applied to as many as I could. But after hearing your interview with Travis I realized that I've probably made the wrong decision with college choice. I went for prestige and the best school I could possibly get into and not the one that makes the most sense from in our life perspective.
college, scholarship
155 - 163 Brad Barrett Jane were any of the other colleges that to gain acceptance to. Did you have better financial aid packages or merit scholarships.
college, scholarship
163 - 180 J - Millennial Boss I only applied to one and I could have went to the state school in my state and I chose not to do that because I thought that I would get into this great school which I did. So I would my mind wasn't even there. And I remember I had friends who made the decision one of my friends turned down an Ivy League school and I just didn't understand why she did that. And now I totally get it.
180 - 196 Jonathan Mendonsa And I know Brad that you have a similar story where you kind of had your pick of colleges and you made kind of a more mercenary approach to do the one that is going to have the lower costs and I think even if you're going to say that you are being sub-optimal and otherwise you look back at that choice and you say that really did make a difference on your outcome.
196 - 216 Brad Barrett Yeah definitely did. But unfortunately I didn't even go as far as like you said J. Travis. That was an amazing story and made me just feel terrible about myself and the decisions that I made. But I have to say still the 17000 in scholarships that you earned. That's pretty impressive in and of itself. How did you go about that do you recommend.
216 - 235 J - Millennial Boss I went for mostly local scholarships and part of it was growing up in an affluent town where I wasn't as affluent as the other people. So in high school from a need perspective I met the eligibility for the scholarships. But I was at the same place school wise academic wise as my friend. So I think I was just more competitive for some of the scholarships.
235 - 251 Jonathan Mendonsa Well talk us through your strategy here so your year graduating you know you're a senior in college you're graduating and you chose poly as a major but I know that right now you're working in tech industry so what's the thought process here are you going to or are you going to change the world through liberal arts. What's the plan.
IT, college
251 - 285 J - Millennial Boss I had no plan going into college I took whatever class I wanted to take. I started out thinking that I would be a biology major and I would be a doctor. And then I changed my mind about five core classes in decided that I love learning about international relationships and I think really it stem to wanting to travel I didn't travel very extensively growing up so when I had the opportunity to study abroad when I was in college that completely changed my perspective and I thought I wanted to major in that. Because everyone gives you the advice you should major in your passion. And it wasn't until after college that I sort of second I regretted that.
college, relationships, travel
285 - 292 Jonathan Mendonsa So talk us through this you graduate college and you now have this poly sci degree that how much student loan debt did you take on for this.
college, college-loans, debt
292 - 293 J - Millennial Boss I had about 25 k.
293 - 298 Jonathan Mendonsa OK. All right. Not too bad. So you graduate in other jobs just waiting for you.
298 - 335 J - Millennial Boss No. And I was very aggressive about applying to jobs but I had internships and I had good grades so I kind of had the whole package I was a college athlete. So I thought this should be easy and it wasn't easy for me. I mean graduating in 2011 it wasn't 2009 but it wasn't much better and it was very hard. I remember a lot of friends who were unemployed at the time too. And we were just racking our brains applying to every job that we could possibly apply to. And some point in the middle of the summer after I graduated that's when the light bulb went off and I realized I'm not going to wait around for something good to happen to me. And me just to get lucky. I need to start taking action. And I I sort of changed my whole trajectory right there.
335 - 345 Jonathan Mendonsa Yeah I was thinking the other option is you could just go back to school right. That's the key card that everybody else seems to have. Oh we'll just do two more years. I think we need our masters that's when we were eligible to get our first job.
345 - 353 J - Millennial Boss Yep I definitely had friends who who went that option and I mean for some of them it was a great choice. But for me especially coming out with student loan debt. I wasn't ready to go right back to school.
college-loans, debt
353 - 366 Jonathan Mendonsa Let's talk about taking action like what does that mean for Europe polizei major and there's no jobs available for poly sci majors at least you know in your small world at this particular point in time nobody is knocking on your door asking you what is taking action.
366 - 493 J - Millennial Boss Actually look like all my friends and I we would go to Starbucks the unemployed friends and we would apply to jobs all day and we would drink expensive lattes which we couldn't afford. I think ahead had 100 dollars left in my in a bank account at the time and they were telling me that they were starting wordpress blogs about their lives and my life was very boring at the time. So the idea of writing about it every day just sounded awful. So I created a blog about study abroad because that was my passion. And I got so into it. I mean I was doing this night and day and from there ended up opening up doors for me because a student travel startup found my blog and asked me for an informational interview so they could understand the student travel online space. And then after that I was so passionate about it they invited me to work for them for free. And I did that for two years. So that kind of helped me move forward and start creating and then on the personal front I decided to take action by volunteering more at my local library. But before this I was always a joiner. I had joined sports teams. I joined volunteer groups. I joined classes in communities at school but I had never created anything in my life so I went into the library and I don't know what made you do this at all. I just decided I need to do something. So I went to a librarian and asked her Can I start a Gifted and Talented Program at the library for third graders. That was something that I did growing up. I did a gifted and talented program and I thought it was an awesome experience and I really look back fondly on it. So I decided why couldn't I go get back and teach. Right now I'm not employed. This will be a great time to do that. So I advertise in the local library newsletter and the first week one kid showed up and I was so embarrassed I made this big deal about it and I try to get a friend to do it with me. And I felt like I had failed. But the second week that one kid and his mom told all of their friends and parents are so competitive that I had a class of 10 students there for get the Gifted and Talented program. And between that and then to study abroad experience I ended up putting those things on my resume and I became this person who just creates things and doesn't just join things that other people have created.
library, travel, volunteering
493 - 526 Brad Barrett Wow I became the person who creates things. What an interesting interesting statement and I love that. I mean who gave you permission. Right. Like I think that's what with so many people get held back by. Where did you have the audacity to to start this gifted and talented programs so many people would say Oh but I'm not an educator. Oh but I'm not this I'm not that. Where will I get the space. Will anybody show up. Do you remember what you were thinking at the time like that is so impressive. I just love for you to put yourself back at that time period and just think through. How did you have the guts to do that.
526 - 573 J - Millennial Boss I think truly that I had hit rock bottom and it was a really hard identity shift for me because I am someone that I got all the scholarships I went to a great school. I got good grades. I was a college athlete. I studied abroad. I did everything I had internships I did everything I thought right. So to be in a position after school was just frankly embarrassing. I mean it was Beris of the situation I was in. I was living back with my parents. I love my parents they're amazing and I'm lucky to have that opportunity but it wasn't where I wanted to be at the time. So I think for me I just hit rock bottom and I actually remember in my very juvenile sense of what that moment was. I went out to a bar in Boston with my friends and I went to order a very crappy 5 dollar rum and coke and my card declined. That was like a real low point. Like who are you. What are you doing with your life. And from there I just I started moving.
college, scholarship
573 - 590 Brad Barrett That's amazing. So I mean today you are a financial independence Podcaster of great renown and a handful of years ago a five dollar charge got declined. That's incredible. I mean have you ever reflected on what an incredible journey that is.
590 - 617 J - Millennial Boss Honestly sometimes I think about how the past decade has been and I mean it's been seven years since I graduated from college and yeah I am impressed. I mean it's cool. I don't I don't mean to say this to be cocky in any way but I kind of became the person that I wanted to be and didn't know how to be. If that makes sense like I think 21 year old me would be like Hi5 I'm so glad that you know it. I don't know how.
617 - 634 Brad Barrett That's amazing. That's amazing. How would someone else become the person they wanted to be. I mean really. And I say that with with sincerity. Could you help somebody else do that. But I'm sure there's so many people out there that have hit that rock bottom and would just really want to take action but they're too scared. What do you tell that person.
634 - 670 J - Millennial Boss First thing is that you just have to do it. And I understand the scared part it's not like I'm not scared. And you know the embarrassment and putting yourself out there you may think it's weird like it especially you know being 21 years old you're very worried about being weird and what other people think. At least I was so strolling into the library saying like Hey can I work with kids and start this program I just felt like who does that why should I do this. But you just got to push past it. And once you do it once you do something really small that they just it just builds on itself and you just can't wait for the opportunity to come to you if you want an opportunity or you feel like you deserve an opportunity. You get to make it for yourself.
670 - 710 Jonathan Mendonsa I just want to set the frame that you know very much what we're going to be following you. We're following you on this journey right now and your journey is that of what have you created. What have you built. Right. That's just the theme that I think you'll see over and over again. But I want to go back to this gifted and talented class that you set up with these kids at the library. What was that. I mean what were you doing. What were you offering for them. Was this you're teaching them how to do math. This is an extra school session. You said that this left this kind of warm feeling when you participated in something some as a child. So this isn't a J. original this is something that you saw it was valuable and then you iterated it and you made it your own for the purposes of sharing it with these kids like walk us through that what what service were you actually offering.
710 - 792 J - Millennial Boss Yes so I knew there was a need in the community. The woman who used to run the program she had retired pretty soon before I did this. So I knew that this wasn't being offered anymore in the community and that people would be probably interested in doing it. I remember growing up some of the things we did we did code breaking for example like the Wingdings you see on the Microsoft Word we could get an entire page full of code and then we could figure out what the sentence were and I don't mean code in the way that you know we were talking about coding in tech. I'm talking about like truly codes like code breaking and things like that. An enigma machine type code yes. Yes like things like that or fun challenges where you had to build whoever built the tallest tower out of marshmallows using only like three toothpicks or whatever these little challenges that kind of spur your brain and creativity when you're little you have that ability. And it's funny when I was my friend and I ended up doing with a friend and I would recommend to anyone who's nervous about doing this yourself. It's OK to start it with a friend at first I didn't really get comfortable doing solo things until later. It took me to have some a buddy to do it with but the two of us we would look at some of the code that the third graders were doing. And when I ultimately did get a job I got a job in a period of his time. I remember sometimes I wouldn't have time before work to like really code break myself. And they're hard doing them as an adult. I don't know if you have the same creative brain that you did when you were in third grade. I mean I was so impressed by these kids.
792 - 818 Brad Barrett So J. I wanted to just talk quickly about two years of working for free for this Travel site or a travel company. What does your financial life look like at this point. So you're teaching a gifted and talented program and you're working for free. Are you still living with your parents at that point. How are you earning even like tiny little bits of money just to even pay for coffee or anything like what is your financial life look like at that point.
818 - 884 J - Millennial Boss So I pivoted to apply to different types of jobs than I would previously and I'm kind of mad at myself for not considering these jobs when I first graduated from college. Because when I first graduated from college I had friends that they were working at Goldman Sachs and actually I had an interview there and I didn't get it. I was very devastated by that and I was only looking for these prestigious kind of right out of school the job that would pay you know at least 60 thousand dollars a year whatever. And by July after I graduated I realized you know what this isn't happening for me. I need to pivot and I want to take any job I possibly can. And I'm not going to be snooty about it I'm and take a job. So I got a legal assistant job which at that time I just I already decided I didn't want to go to law school but I needed money I needed a job. I just needed to get some experience and get my foot in the door. So I was doing that at the time and I think my savings rate was off the charts. I don't have I can't get into my bank of America account the time to figure out what it was but I think it was 95 percent or something. I and I didn't know about F.I. or anything. I just had really low expenses I was living with my parents and I just decided to bank as much money as I can so I could save for something bigger.
college, savings
884 - 897 Brad Barrett So there was some aspect of intentionality it wasn't FI intentionality but but you were saving for a purpose. It wasn't just willy nilly oh but save some money on a greater purpose.
897 - 918 J - Millennial Boss I've never been a saver but you know. I had a comfortable upbringing but I wouldn't say I had a great amount of financial means. It's not like my parents would say I decided to move in a different city. So I think oh here's you know 2000 dollars so you can put a down payment or get a deposit for your rent and so you can get furniture. It wasn't like that. So I knew if I wanted that I had to save up for it. So I did.
918 - 926 Jonathan Mendonsa All right so this is your first real paying job at this particular point in time and you're making roughly around 30000 dollars a year. Is that close.
926 - 937 J - Millennial Boss I actually started making forty thousand but later I made thirty thousand so I went down before I went up. Oh that's doing that. And then I was working for the startup at night. On top of doing a legal assistant job.
937 - 991 Jonathan Mendonsa I just want to track this because your trajectory which will cover is is shocking and there's so many people that got degrees that aren't serving them and want to transition or want to pivot that think they can't because they can't go back and redo their early teens. I don't want to gloss over anything I want to capture every single step as we go. But I think it starts with this. This first job that you got when you got out of school you have as poly sci degree a bachelor's poly sci degree. You're applying for all the jobs that everybody wants that you can expect to in theory you could get with that degree so 60000 dollars a year that's what you're shooting for. All of them rejected you or didn't return your phone call or didn't give you the interview. So you lowered the bar and you started applying for anything that would take you. But this is still tangentially related to your degree in terms of how you would stack your resume when you're applying for this job. You would say hey by the way I'm a poly sci major this legal assistant job would be a good fit and you got the interview right.
991 - 1012 J - Millennial Boss Yes. And I mean I had to tell the story of you know look at my background this is a good fit. I'm ultimately going to law school which at the time I knew I wasn't doing that. But I just needed a job. So I would recommend anybody you know if you want to go down one avenue sometimes you may get there through a convoluted route you can't go straight there.
1012 - 1016 Jonathan Mendonsa Yeah don't necessarily tell him that you're pursuing early retirement don't lead with that.
1016 - 1019 J - Millennial Boss Definitely not.
1019 - 1039 Jonathan Mendonsa All right let's go let's go deeper so I know that your story doesn't finish with you being a legal assistant like what is your next transition here a legal assistant that has also built a website and done some volunteer work with a company that has some similar related interests. You also have this gifted and talented program that you've put together. What comes next.
1039 - 1070 J - Millennial Boss So based on those two experiences I completely scrapped my college resume. I mean I kept that I was in the honor society and all those things on there. But I added that I was working with a startup and I added the experience from the volunteer program. And then I started floating my resume out to other places. And one of the postings I saw was an internship at theU.S. Olympic Committee for someone to work in digital media and the work that I was doing with the startup and with my own blog seemed to be a natural fit. So I applied and I ended up getting an interview and the job.
1070 - 1094 Jonathan Mendonsa So I want to pause there and I'm sure Brad wants to weigh in as well. But it sounds to me like for this setup while I'm sure that somewhere on your resume you had listed that you are a poly sci major and that you're working as a legal assistant. That isn't the hook that got you past the gate keeper in H.R. It was that you had built this website that you had this experience. It's things that you did without the permission of the four year college degree am I right about that.
1094 - 1102 J - Millennial Boss Yes. I never would have gotten a phone call if I kept my original resume. It was all the stuff that I had helped with the study abroad and the student travel.
1102 - 1127 Brad Barrett And when did you actually decide to make that shift with the resume. That's like a very concrete thing. Throwing away your old life in a sense or OK that might not have worked. But here's what actually has worked like I'm picturing this as this seminal moment. Did you really put a lot of fun into that. Like ok I'm really changing from here forward or was it less monumental I guess than I'm than I'm picturing.
1127 - 1136 J - Millennial Boss I would recommend someone to be more thoughtful about it but at the time this all happened naturally it was just a sequence of things.
1136 - 1161 Jonathan Mendonsa So I'm usually I'm looking at my quick sheet here. And I believe just based on the timeline that you sent me this is roughly 2013 and you just got this I guess internship at this Olympic training facility so you've leveraged you know the what have you built model that we were just talking about and you grabbed this internship this has to be a pay cut though right. You are a legal assistant making 40 K a year they surely weren't able to match that in an internship role.
1161 - 1162 J - Millennial Boss No it was 9 dollars an hour.
1162 - 1170 Jonathan Mendonsa So this non-linear progression I mean we're moving forward. I mean this this story is leading to a really really awesome place. But it doesn't always go straight up.
1170 - 1176 J - Millennial Boss No I believe in the Sheryl Sandberg approach to your career that it should look like a jungle gym and not necessarily a straight ladder.
Guest_Catchphrases, career
1176 - 1181 Jonathan Mendonsa And even at the time when you're going to forty to nine dollars an hour you feel confident about this.
1181 - 1214 J - Millennial Boss And no I mean I guess if you still I still had big goals for myself. But the opportunity to move to Colorado and work at the Olympic Training Center was a very cool opportunity. And sometimes where you work is more important than what you get paid. So having that brand on my resume any time I go into an interview now and I've since worked at some more big brand places. When you work at some of the best brands in the world people are happy to talk about that experience in an interview and it helps you later on. So I don't care if they paid me five dollars an hour or two dollars an hour. That experience was invaluable.
1214 - 1235 Brad Barrett So how did you leverage your time at the Olympic training center for future jobs. Talk me through what you actually talked about in future job interviews et cetera. As I understand it you're a digital marketer for the Olympic Training Center or theU.S. Olympic Committee. I'm not sure precisely who it was but talk me through what that practically looks like.
1235 - 1296 J - Millennial Boss So at that time because I had experience with a startup and through creating my own blog I could be more valuable to them than probably a traditional intern because the traditional intern responsibilities you are supposed to help fulfill sponsorship rights on social media for like Hilton and other companies that sponsor the Olympic Training Center. But I was very interested in their web analytics and I had access to their Google Analytics and I could see where people were coming from on the website and I could help them meet their goals. I knew that they wanted to get to a certain goal. This was leading up to the London Olympic Games which was a really cool time to be an intern there. But they really had this like traffic goal and all these things and because I had my own experiences through the study abroad stuff I was able to add more value to them and I did outside projects that they didn't ask me to do and I just made up had meetings with my boss like hey this is what I did this week and I put some time on her calendar to discuss it. And we actually implemented it and it resulted in like a 200 percent traffic increase or something crazy. So I started really changing how it operated in the workplace too.
1296 - 1330 Jonathan Mendonsa Wow so you're actually positioning yourself to bring you know what have you built. Type ideas to your boss so instead of your boss giving you a task list can you checking off on it before you go home for the day. You're bringing them ideas you're bringing them projects that you've done and again in your mind it's twofold. One it's obviously making you more valuable to the company that you're working with but it's also adding to your own resume because now your resume becomes a list of accomplishments which are very tangible and will kind of propel you down this career hacking pipeline that we're talking about.
1330 - 1373 J - Millennial Boss Yes. And I saw the result of it after four months into the five month internship. So on theU.S. Olympic Committee front that was the first internee had a full time offer and then I had actually technically had to because some other people who were looking for someone who has post MBA to do some type of digital advertising position they didn't know that I had just graduated college like a second ago because of some of the work that I was doing and I had to be like No I don't have an MBA and I'm actually only 22 or something. So I did end up getting that job. But on the outside front so I had even more stuff to put on my resume and I actually had an interview with MTV for another internship in New York. So it was kind of cool like I started getting bites when previously I didn't I didn't ever get anybody so my resume.
1373 - 1376 Jonathan Mendonsa Olympic training facility is a really solid thing to have on a resume.
1376 - 1380 J - Millennial Boss Yeah I mean it's a good brand and people enjoy talking about it.
1380 - 1410 Jonathan Mendonsa So all of this is a factor and I think our audience listen this is a pretty good idea of what initially may have looked like a real setback going from 40 down to nine dollars an hour backup to 33. You know that's a jungle gym. Well some people would initially say I'm not really moving in the right direction there. But I think now as we start to see some of these accomplishments very quickly your perspective changes and you're like wow this is really starting to come together. But how do you go from where you are now to the tech industry what seek sequence of events gets us there.
1410 - 1493 J - Millennial Boss I got a full time offer in Colorado to continue working full time for theU.S. Olympic Committee. I worked for one of the sports that rolled up until the committee and I just had the interview with MTV and actually the interview went really well. So I had no reason to think I wouldn't get the job I probably had a good chance of getting it. But I decided I met Doug my husband and he was planning on staying in Colorado after the internship ended and I thought this is a really great guy and I don't want to leave and miss this opportunity we had just started dating like 3 months or something and I knew that when you're 22 and you start dating someone long distance is not going to happen at least for me. So I decided to stay in Colorado. I worked at the sport that rolls up into the Olympic Committee for about 10 months. It was a wonderful job and it was a great experience. But I knew that I had bigger goals for myself and I decided to apply to tech jobs. I had sort of got some experience through working for a startup which by that time I'd worked for it for two years and I was promised equity but we never actually never actually resulted. We'd apply to some startup incubators like startup Chilla and Y Combinator and we didn't get in but I put that on my resume that I had worked for the startup and I had managed some of the website development. We had a 15000 dollar budget. So when I applied to my first job in tech it wasn't a tech company but I had that small experience and that was enough to get me that first entry level tech job.
1493 - 1528 Jonathan Mendonsa There's something that comes to mind and even though you said when it came to meeting Doug you are not able to be mercenary in terms of choosing your living location that was like at least one particular strand too foreign. I think you made the right choice there. When it comes to jobs I know that you are absolutely willing to instead of just trying to beat your head against the wall if you're bumping up against that ceiling. Just take a horizontal Lane and move next door to the competitor or move next door to someone else that maybe will give you more upward mobility. Is that how it works in the tech industry as well. Or was there basically you could just you could do everything within one company.
1528 - 1585 J - Millennial Boss I mean if you are lucky enough to get an internship at Google straight out of school or during school and then get hired into a company like that once you're in your and you can ping pong around and do whatever you want but to get in there it can be really challenging and very competitive. So I had to sort of sidestep so I applied to a financial services company and I worked in the tech and the I.T. department and that gave me experience in actually I mean I've worked in both technology companies and the financial services company and I would say from a early 20s mentorship and career development perspective that's the place to be because you have people that have been in their career for you know 40 something years and at this point they have a high level of respect in the organization they have a lot of power. And what I've found is that they're very interested in taking these young people and teaching them everything they know and moving them up through the ladder. And I haven't seen that yet at a tech company. I think it moves too fast and age wise they seem to be not quite as diverse.
1585 - 1595 Brad Barrett So were you getting background info on financial services generally or was this really just like the tech aspects of that particular company in your profession.
1595 - 1613 J - Millennial Boss I did. I had to I had to learn some financial services things in order to succeed in the role. And at the time I didn't really know aboutF.I. but it was very helpful and looking back on it I know a lot of stuff about taxes and distribution and you know RMDs for example that most people don't know but I knew I learned through my job.
RMD, tax
1613 - 1627 Jonathan Mendonsa So looking at this kind of jungle gym type experience like is this the the most direct path for someone that is trying to kind of do this dramatic pivot. I mean is this basically what it looks like or looking back now is there a more streamlined way to go about this.
1627 - 1691 J - Millennial Boss There's definitely a more streamlined way. So I mentioned what helped me is that I had experience through the startup. Also I got my master's online. I paid for it through employer reimbursement which was a great perk of working where I worked but now I would do a totally differently after working in tech. There are hackathon. I actually just went to a hackathon hosted at Facebook last weekend and that can be a great way for someone who wants to get into tech to get tech experience. For example at a hackathon you you get go into teams and you work the whole weekend to build a project and let's say that you're someone that has a skill set in a certain area or you're just starting to learn like Python for example but you don't have mobile development skills if you go to a hackathon you can get the whole team there you can get someone who can do mobile stuff you can get someone who can do the UXO you can get a project manager who puts it all together and you can actually come up with a finished result that you can put on your resume and walk away from that experience with. And when I talk to the other people who were at the hackathon that's the reason they were doing it because they wanted experience to put in their resume and ultimately get into one of these companies.
1691 - 1735 Brad Barrett Yeah that's fascinating because that reminds me of a conversation we had with Ryan Carson from treehouse where basically he's looking at coding as a trade job and not something that you need a four year degree or an advanced degree for. But it's actually like proof is in the pudding. Scenario where you're learning significant skills and then proving them against putting your projects on I think it was github that's what he said. And that reminds me of what you're talking about with that hackethon. Talk me through how that would work like would you tell someone to get a four year degree if they're looking to get into this world. Is that still valuable or are going for these specific skills first. Better maybe.
1735 - 1856 J - Millennial Boss I think at the same time a lot of places still require a four year degree to get in the door. Not every place does so depends on where you want to work. But these are great ways to distinguish yourself and prove that you have the skills exactly what you said the proof is in the pudding and I think that's how tech sort of works nowadays. So what I would do is I would search online for communities to get involved with affinity groups. That's huge. The hackathon that I attended last weekend it was for diversity and inclusion so if you were in certain affinity groups now you don't need to be in an affinity group. There's a million hackathons. that don't have this but you know if you are in an affinity group there could be events in your local area that you could find out about eventBright is another Web site that has information about it meet up Facebook. So I am someone that I join all of those communities. And when I see an opportunity like this I jump on it. So after the hackathon Facebook sent me an email saying hey would you like to work for us. You know we saw you attended the hackathon blah blah blah blah. So you can get on their recruiting list by attending free things like the hackathon too. I will say that I had to become the type of person who takes advantage of these opportunities and seeks them out because previously I wasn't I. Like I said I'd join things but I wasn't trying to network and actually networking had kind of a negative connotation in my mind because I thought it meant that I was trying to be political or I was trying to you know that sometimes people are really like the person that puts themselves out there like that. But if I had these certain goals I had to force myself to do it. I have a post on my site that I call being a woo girl and why people like woo girls. And it's someone who's super friendly and really goes out of their way to meet people. I didn't ever used like that type of person because I thought they were being fake. But you can't make these connections if you don't put yourself out there to make the connections. And I would say 90 percent of the stuff I did to put myself out there didn't work like. I went to a million meet ups. I joined Liva League which is a women's kind of online group and they have chapters across the country and I went to a million of those meet ups and they weren't successful but I had a few things that worked out. So the bets I took a bunch of bets and some of them really paid off.
1856 - 1860 Jonathan Mendonsa J. you mentioned something called an affinity group can you explain that for our audience.
1860 - 1915 J - Millennial Boss Sure. And this is kind of a controversial topic in tech especially given the Google manifesto thing that was sent out. And I have a lot of formed opinions on it. Does being a woman in tech but there are opportunities for women for people who identify as LGBTQ for for people who are Asian or black or any other type of affinity group to sort of network and form up with other people who identify in that affinity group or are allies of that affinity group to get access to opportunities that they wouldn't otherwise have access to. Now whenever I say something like that usually one of my guy friends is like how come I can't have that. It's like well because you get that every other day like every other group is a men's group. OK. So let us do that as well. But you know if you are someone who can identify in one of those affinity groups this is a way that you can kind of break through some of the barriers that you may see for yourself in an industry like technology where it's very difficult to get ahead.
1915 - 1926 Brad Barrett Were there any specific ways that the affinity groups have helped you directly. Can you point to one or two jobs or interviews that you got or connections or anything like that.
1926 - 2019 J - Millennial Boss Sure. So my first one the biggest one I think out of all of this for me was going to the Grace Hopper Celebration which is a giant one of the biggest celebrations in the world for women in technology. And I ended up getting a scholarship to that. So even though I was working full time and I had a good tech job I was I had student loan debt. This is before I discoveredF.I. and I was getting my masters online at night. So I googled women scholarships because originally I was trying to get a scholarship to cover more of my master's program. Even though a lot was already covered through my work I was trying to completely eliminate the cost and I end up finding this conference. And they had a small amount of scholarships for people who were currently in graduate programs to pay for you to go to the conference. And I knew like even though you know them paying for me to go to the conference it wasn't that expensive of a conference per se but I would be part of this group where companies would be looking. They are purposely recruiting as they're saying like oh crap we need more women in technology positions. They would go to conferences like this to kind of scrape more names. So I knew if I was part of that special scholarship group I would get an added boost maybe an extra look at my resume and every little bit helps and in a very competitive industry like this. So I ended up doing the scholarship application which was kind of awkward actually because I was a young manager and had asked one of my direct reports to write a recommendation for me which any made Negeri like even if you think you have people on your team that liked you and support you. Kind of weird to add to put yourself out there like that. But I think my entire expression in my mid 20s it was just like forcing myself to be uncomfortable and putting myself out there so that I could get ahead.
college-loans, debt, scholarship
2019 - 2049 Jonathan Mendonsa I mean it sounds like what you're saying is that if you had just stayed in your first job and tried to just earn your way and just stay in this one place and be the best employee that you could possibly be here that that was not going to allow you to double triple and multiples of your income. It was more that you were willing to change your geographic location the entire field that you were in and then you were willing to use some of these other actionable tips that you just talked about. That's what allowed you to multiply your income.
2049 - 2088 J - Millennial Boss Yes. And in salary negotiation. So when I did that first leap I was making thirty three thousand yet. I asked for 65000 which is like Who are you. You know you don't have any experience you're you only have like two year you just graduate college two years ago and now you want to get paid this type thing. But I did my research and I got a good sense from the job that they were interested in. And I went for and actually asked for 70 which is kind of crazy but I have examples like that all through five years of my career where I just did it. And at this point I have a strategy for negotiating my salary. I think it's very important especially for women to do this or else chasing money the rest of your career.
2088 - 2091 Jonathan Mendonsa Let's talk about the strategy. Let's roll it out.
2091 - 2134 J - Millennial Boss Sure. So in my opinion there for conditions that will tell you whether or not you have the power to negotiate your salary. The first one is you're very qualified for the position. Second they're very interested in you three. You don't need the job. And for you're not asking for that much more. You don't have to have all of those. I think if you have two of them it's a gamble if you have three out of the four then you have a much better chance of doing this. And the reason is for the first one you're very qualified that's obvious. I mean I think particularly a lot of women they won't apply for jobs unless they check off every box that's listed in the job description. I think a lot of us who got a job and then look back at the job description of everything they said they wanted were like oh wait. What we do now doesn't really match what they said.
2134 - 2138 Jonathan Mendonsa You are a liberal arts policy psych major and your work for tech companies.
2138 - 2158 J - Millennial Boss Yes. And it's honestly when you're saying that I'm like Who am I to even do that. Like what's wrong with me. Why would I even put myself out there like that. Of course I don't belong here of course I don't want to be here. But you got to put yourself out there if you want to change your life. You can't be like Oh why didn't make the right decision when I was 18 somebody is going to give up. I mean you have to like you have to put yourself out there adn then make you make sure you catch up later on.
2158 - 2179 Jonathan Mendonsa I love that criteria. You're absolutely right. You know I think all of us at some point said oh I want to. I want to ask for a raise but I don't want them to fire me. It does not ask for a raise or get fired like that it's a false dichotomy. My understanding as you get better at this you realize that the worst they can say is no. At which point you have options on your side. Right.
2179 - 2240 J - Millennial Boss Right. In my opinion I don't think it's best to ask for a raise like especially a large raise within your current role. Because one thing especially having been a manager when someone comes to you and six months ago they accepted a job at a certain amount of money and then all of a sudden six months later they think the job pays like 15 K more and you're like well like this a job doesn't pay that much more. This is you just accepted this for me. Having been on both sides of the equation there I don't think I think people who think they're going to make more money in their current job. It's if you're being severely underpaid then yes. But the average person you've got to go by what the market dictates. And it's a lot easier to kind of reset back to market value when you're in a different role and you're in a different position. So I would actually encourage people to say is my job or my scope of responsibility that much different from when I started out. And is it the role that I don't like and I want a different role and then I want an opportunity to reset with a salary negotiation there or I want to stick it out in my current role but know that there's a certain limit to how much you're going to get. And companies are very weird about giving off cycle races and things like that. It's it's just a harder battle to fight.
2240 - 2258 Jonathan Mendonsa There's one more question I want to ask of you specifically because you're on both sides of this as a manager and as an employee looking to optimize their salary. So how do you go about researching fair salary and in particular how close do you come with flirting with that line. We're trying to figure out what your co-workers are making now.
2258 - 2338 J - Millennial Boss So I think Glassdoor is awesome. And in the places that I've worked it's been pretty accurate when I've taken a look at my salary and looked at why it was listed there. It's a great start. The second thing. Do you have anything like somebody who can tell you what the position pays. So for example in my very first job out of college the legal assistant job the woman that I actually would have been replacing she was moving on to law school. In the interview somehow we connected so well and she was like Hey I just want to let you know they are bringing on an intern to make 20 dollars an hour and I only make 18. Make sure that you asked for 20. She gave me information. I was like oh my god thank you. Because I never would have known it was OK to even ask that. Who can be that person who can tell you hey this is what we get paid or just so you know I get a pay change and you should do it. If there's a way that you can get it in through someone that way then that's great. I don't actually believe that sharing information among colleagues I mean it's a great way for pay transparency and I mean especially just being someone who's a huge advocate for women in their careers. I'm I'm very supportive of a pay transparency but at the same time I don't know if that's the best way to do it with a co-worker like is or someone maybe who is in the role but in a different department who can give you a sense or who can give you a list the scales. Like sometimes managers have access to the pay scales and you can say OK well if I'm a middle of the road person or I'm a newer I'm at entry level this is kind of the bracket that I'm working with.
2338 - 2358 Jonathan Mendonsa That sounds very reasonable and I completely agree with your take on that. It kind of mirrors my own kind of philosophy. Glass doors brilliant and it especially since it allows you to target not only employers but also specific geographic locations. It really does give you some good access. But I love this idea of you do need to know what is fair compensation for this.
2358 - 2393 Brad Barrett So J.. So many people have limiting beliefs right. They sit in their job. They're making that 33000 in their in their first job. And sure they might see that another career or another profession another role whatever it may be offers a 70000 salary or 100k salary but they don't know how to get from here to there. And I'm curious your mentality from saying OK that's a job I can do even though I have a poli-sci major and I'm in this entry level job. How did you get from here to there mentally more than anything.
2393 - 2486 J - Millennial Boss Sure. I think I have always been someone who thinks that I can do it. Like oh I can probably figure that out. There's not much that I I do that I have. I try to have the mindset where I'm like I can do this because as soon as I feel like I can't do something and defeated I mean it's a self limiting belief and I'm just done. So I think for me I stuck my neck out and I put myself out there for jobs that maybe at first I didn't have every single qualification there but then I had to make sure that when I was in that job I caught up and I got my confidence back to perform to the level that I was expected in that role. So for me I started getting my master's online and information systems and that was something that no one recommended that to me. But I realized if I want to continue to move up here I need to have some street cred and I'm working with engineers on a daily basis. I need to have those fundamental concepts down pat so I can be more effective in my role. So I ended up looking up my works tuition reimbursement policy and then maximizing that every single year. And the team manages some hacks so I can get it paid for as much as possible. At this point in my career I went to make it clear that I I went very fast up the food chain up the salary chain all of that. Now I'm at the point that I'm optimizing for happiness. I wouldn't say I'm so close to fire that that's why but I want to be happy every day. I don't want to just want to jump ship for money and by staying in my current company which I love. And I have flexibility with and I'm doing well and I really like the people it's worth way more than me to jump for an extra you know whatever amount of money they offer me.
career, mindset
2486 - 2503 Jonathan Mendonsa Let's talk about the statement. So you said I'm no longer optimizing for money at this point I'm optimizing for happiness. That's an incredibly FI statement right there. You're career focused your career driven. You're clearly crushing it at every level. Walk us through your light bulb moment with regards to financial independence.
2503 - 2563 J - Millennial Boss I readMr. Money mustaches blog. And truthfully the FI concept did not sink in right away. I actually recommended the blog to a co-worker and was shocked. A year later when he told me he was four years away from his retirement date because it wasn't something that I read and immediately thought you know I know a lot of people it blows their mind. I didn't have that quite reaction to it and as someone who's so career driven it didn't quite make sense to me to be honest. But then when I heard from the coworker that he was just crushing it I realized it's not about retiring early. You can still love your job you can still want to get ahead in your career and you know be the CEO of a company if you want to get all the way to the top. But having the option to do something else having the money and the support and the safety net that fi gives you it just takes the pressure away. So your career can be you know you can if I want to do something different tomorrow or you know I want to take a job that doesn't pay as well or whatever I can do that because I have the safety net that fi has enabled me to do. And I just think about things totally differently now.
2563 - 2581 Brad Barrett Just real quick. So that co-worker that you turned them ontoMr. Money Mustache and then they're four years away from FI. Was this someone who just took action right away or was he already saving was he already on the path. But without knowing it. Talk me through that because that's really interesting to me.
2581 - 2627 J - Millennial Boss He was already on the path and it signaled to me that he would like this blog because he was someone that had paid off his student loan debt very early. He was a saver. He didn't like to spend very much money on clothes. At the time I think I went away on a work trip with him and another co-worker and she was kind of joke ragged on him a little bit with some of his views on this stuff. And I said you know what you are you sound like you remind me of this blogMr. Money Mustache. I think you would really like it. Then a year later he stopped by my cubicle is like Hey remember that blog I'm four years out but we were all mid 20s at the time and he calculated four years out based on him living by himself with him his entire life. And I think you know I talked I caught up with him a little bit ago and things have changed. You know he has a significant other now he has different plans for a family and a future. And I think it's different now.
college-loans, debt, family
2627 - 2633 Jonathan Mendonsa So it's like Travis's story that for from studenloanplanner the failed early retirement.
2633 - 2640 J - Millennial Boss Yes exactly. And then you can recalculate your number a million times I mean once you put it down you're not set. No one's going to hold that against you.
2640 - 2650 Brad Barrett So where was your financial life at this point findingMr. Money Mustache. Did that have any type of immediate impact at all. Talk us through where you are at this point in your life.
2650 - 2726 J - Millennial Boss I'm crushing my career I have this incredible sponsor who is opening up opportunities for me letting me manage a team. I got a really high salary for my age and you know I told you some of my struggles with getting a job out of college so I had felt like I made it. And I had student loans but because I made money I didn't quite connect the fact that I was doing anything wrong or I should be saving more money or anything like that. I think I put 4 percent into my 4 1 K and I called it a day. But slowly I started becoming more interested in the movement specially after hearing that my co-worker had this great success with that. And I saw online thatMr. Money Mustache was going to this Ecuador Chautauqua thing I've always wanted to go to Ecuador. But I kind of needed a group to kind of push me and for some reason I just did something crazy and I said you know what. It's already closed let me just email the organizer to see if maybe there's a waitlist or there's an extra spot available. I lucked out. There were two spots I brought my my husband my my boyfriend at the time and the two of us just flew down to Ecuador to meet people that we never really met before. And I didn't even know if it was a real thing to be honest I thought it was just kind of weird and you know something I would do I guess because I do things like this. But it ended up being an incredible experience and the people we met that week truly affected us and they launched this entire fire journey.
career, chautauqua, college-loans, savings
2726 - 2759 Jonathan Mendonsa So let's talk about the fire journey because on your end there's so much more tied to this. I mean I know that while it's actually incredible. And we'd kind of have to pick which way we want to go with this story but we've spent a lot of time talking about the career hacking. I know that on top of that you are a voracious side hustler and you have your own kind of resume there and then on top of that you've built this podcast that have blown up. Is there any sort of linear fashion in which all these things start to land. How do you go from meetingMr. Money Mustache and hanging out with the crew in Chautauqua to where you are now.
career, chautauqua, hustle
2759 - 2854 J - Millennial Boss So I went to Chautauqua. I metMr. Money Mustache but more so the week that I was there I got to know Brandon from modify and Here's Jeremy from Go curry cracker and Jim from Jim Collins N H blogs very well. There's a small group and I also think that everyone kind of not took pity on us but everyone helped us out because they saw these you know two 20 somethings who just didn't know what they were doing and the fire community is so nice they'll just offer advice to you and if you're open to it you can just sucked up all of that like a sponge. So I left that trip thinking what am I doing. I can I have the ability to turn all this around. I am extremely lucky and fortunate that I had this awesome job that gives me the ability to do that. And I'm glad for the work that I put in previously to get that job. So we started moving paying off my student loans first paid off my student loans. Then my husband still had student loans and a lot of people. They feel weird about paying off their spouses student loans and we weren't even married at the time but I was just on a mission. We wanted those things gone so we paid off those. I ended up getting a great job in California. I flew out there that hugely accelerated our path of fi. We had a downsize though and we had a house in Colorado that was just way too big for two 20 somethings I don't know why I think I just got really swept up in it all. I had a Subaru that I just bought completely new sold the car changed our whole lifestyle based on meeting these people in Ecuador because I saw how they lived and I realized you know I want to live. I will live like that I want to have the option to do whatever whatever life takes me even though I'm happy with my life now I want to give myself options and I have to take radical changes to do it.
chautauqua, college-loans
2854 - 2892 Brad Barrett So before you get on this plane to Ecuador you're saving 4 percent in your 401K and it sounds like that's mostly about him. Then you come back and now you're paying down your student loans you're paying down Doug's student loans and just crushing this. Not to ask a really oddball question but like where did the money come from. What were you spending it on. Two weeks before Ecuador but once you got back you all of a sudden weren't like what did you actually cut. Because presumably this money was getting spent on something. What did you cut to make these changes to be able to pay down the student loans so aggressively.
401k, college-loans, savings
2892 - 2968 J - Millennial Boss Well part of it. I didn't have that high salary for very long necessarily. I mean I got this great job and then this is all in a matter of just a few years so I had maybe had it for a year or something. I got the car so the car payment the car payment was three hundred eighty seven dollars a month but I determined that it cost me about 700 dollars technically when you consider how much I drove there when you consider registration fees and insurance and all that. So selling my car even though I took a huge hit on it when I sold it because having a car for 15 months I mean it depreciates like crazy. It just kind of stopped the bleed there and then we rented out our house. We tried to sell it but we ended up renting it out. And then we moved into a smaller apartment. I switched to a different job I was working at a financial services company and I started working at a tech company and with tech especially living in Silicon Valley. If you move to the Mecca of tech they will reward you very well financially there and I was ahead in Silicon Valley. Truthfully we didn't stay there very long because it just wasn't the right fit for us. It was extremely hard to move from Colorado which is the most amazing state on the planet. I mean we love living there to the heart of it all. In California I mean it was great from a tech perspective and a career perspective but you know squished into his little apartment we were paying something crazy like twenty six hundred dollars a month to live there. And it was very hard.
IT, career, insurance
2968 - 2973 Jonathan Mendonsa I think 26 hours a month probably on the low end of there.
2973 - 3025 J - Millennial Boss It was the low end. And truthfully you know part of this is that I married my best friend and he's amazing and I know how our relationship works. I mean he is the bio hacker and I am the career hacker and the money hacker. So I've always pushed him like do what you love and he's found a career that he loves. But when we move to California I mean he to leave his job and then he was kind of forced to start over again. And at the time he was unable to find work that was quite as consistent as what he previously had. And from a breadwinner perspective I didn't want to put us in a situation where you know if something happened to me or I lost my job we couldn't afford to live in silicone valley anymore. So that was another thing like if we wanted to live comfortably it put tons of pressure on on me to be sure that I could provide every month and I mean that that totally freaked me out. So we didn't last there necessarily long and I love where we live now.
career, relationships
3025 - 3034 Brad Barrett And now is this where the side hustles come in. Is it because you didn't want to rely on just that one income. Is that where this plays into your life I guess.
3034 - 3072 J - Millennial Boss I think it kind of does. I mean I I really don't like relying on one source of income and it makes me happier in my job when I know that I have these other sources of income when I know if I lost my job tomorrow doesn't matter I could start over because I have these little streams of income all over the place. Part of it is that I like it it's fun. We've had some incredible people who come on the podcast that when they tell us their stories. Gwen my podcast cohost we like each other we're like hey we could do let's do it. So we've been starting some side hustles based on that. But I think it really comes back to you know they say the average millionaire has seven sources of income. I want to be that person that has seven sources of income I want to be relying on one thing ever.
3072 - 3079 Jonathan Mendonsa So you got the podcast right now. And you have the Etsy store and you have your main gig. Anything else?
3079 - 3089 J - Millennial Boss Well I have sold on Craigslist in the past but I haven't done that so much recently. But yeah it's been really the blog it's very successful I mean last year I made over 20 thousand dollars on the side.
3089 - 3094 Jonathan Mendonsa Oh yeah and the blog so podcast blog etsy store and then your W-2 so you're 4 out of 7 currently.
3094 - 3101 J - Millennial Boss Yes and technically we rented out our house in Colorado so we had rental income but we're trying to sell it this summer. And then I want to get AirBnBs.
3101 - 3107 Jonathan Mendonsa Oh man. Yes you are. You're touching the box on five out of seven you're so close you've almost got the game beat. It's incredible.
3107 - 3144 J - Millennial Boss I know. I just I get so inspired by everyone in this community and I think a lot of people would say it's smarter to double down on what you have. You know I have a great W-2 job I should focus on that. But pardon me it from a risk perspective I like having multiple streams of income. But now it's just who I am now. I mean I find this fun and I've learned so much and I think what I've learned on a side in the side hustles has helped me in my day job because I am now a small business entrepreneur. And if you can optimize something at a really small level it makes when you're optimizing something for a big company it gives you that kind of micro perspective that you would that you would have missed previously.
hustle, smallbusiness
3144 - 3181 Brad Barrett Yeah I mean that certainly sounds like the talent stack that we're constantly talking about here on the podcast where just becoming a more varied person learning new skills and information and it really does touch on every little aspect of your life and you almost you can't envision where it's going to take you sometimes. But you know that it makes you more valuable person it's neat to see that you've actually seen that look at your day job because that was going to be my next question was with all these sinuses how do you feel that it's impacted your day job positively or negatively. And also your desire to be there.
3181 - 3236 J - Millennial Boss When I made this last move I picked a job that I was genuinely interested in and part of that is it's it's not necessarily related to what I do on the site at all but there is a clear crossover and that that was important that I had to be fully 100 percent interested in what I do during the day to be happy and I am. But I think the biggest takeaway is is that I am super efficient now. I am a very productive person. Having all this stuff going on has made me productive I can't goof around. I can't surf the web aimlessly I can't do any of that. I don't have the time for it. So it has taught me to just bang out whether it's you know a Web site or a podcast episode. Whether it's something at work I can focus and I've honed those focused skills and outsourcing to and scaling. Those are things that I wouldn't say I struggled with at my job but now that I have experience from all these outside things where I've I've outsourced stuff I've I've figured out how to scale how to move faster. Those are things that I bring to my day job that make me better.
3236 - 3268 Jonathan Mendonsa Let's talk about optimizing for happiness. So there's kind of a contrast here. You could optimize for income and if your W2 job if that's 80 20 if you're making most of your income from that you could just work more hours you work harder. You could do more career cleaning continue to go up the corporate ladder where you could optimize for happiness which kind of you know maybe you're selecting force was a specific location or you're selecting for location independence. Like practically of that kind of alla carte menu what does optimizing for happiness with your W-2 income job. What does that look like.
3268 - 3342 J - Millennial Boss The first thing. When I was looking for a job I wanted a job at a tech company that had flexibility. One thing that I've noticed from working at a more traditional Fortune 500 company to a tech company. The tech companies I worked at were a little bit more flexible so the hours while not every place is like this. It's not quite an 8 to 5 30 or 86 the same way the other companies will be. So what that means is if you want to come in at nine thirty one day because you want to go to the gym in the morning or at 2:00 you don't feel very productive at your desk you can pick up your computer and go to another part on campus and do work for an hour and a half. Nobody is watching you. And that was a huge thing for me. I didn't want to have the type of job where you know the person sitting next to you is judging you like where did you just go for the last hour or something like that. And I think people who are in jobs like that can totally relate it's just it just the worse we're all trying to do the best job we can at our day job and the extra pressure of feeling like you're being watched is something that I did not like. So what I've noticed is that some companies have a lot more flexibility with that. And as long as you're productive and you're your results driven and you get the job done then they will allow you to have some more flexibility with office presence at least.
3342 - 3350 Jonathan Mendonsa This is ultimately the final straw for Brad. This is why he went rogue and went full on entrepreneur was that lack of flexibility right Brad.
3350 - 3389 Brad Barrett Yeah I really did hit home. It was just one of those kind of arbitrary rules like you're describing J. where the person next to you is watching what time you get into the office. And there was just this random change that all of a sudden the work the workday started a half hour earlier and it was basically just a screw you type moment. They said you have to come in. You're not getting paid anymore. It's just it doesn't matter what your work output is. It's just that's the rules and he said the few in the few money and I Kanawa it's amazing that there are still companies that operate on that level because what should matter is your work output.
3389 - 3449 J - Millennial Boss Yeah and there are a lot of companies that are focusing on the flexibility right now. So that's great. I mean I think before when I didn't realize this type of company was out there I was I was stressed out about having a corporate job but now what I've realized is the corporate job is not keeping me from doing anything. It's in fact making me better. I mean I talk about how the side hustles make me better the corporate job makes me better at my side hustles I can just tell I mean how I'm able to operate with the blog and the podcast. I didn't necessarily learn I have been doing this for a while but I learned that in my day job. So there is this kind of crossover where I'm learning skills in both direction and I don't feel stressed out because I found a job that they really value me and I'm doing a great job for them and I'm learning tons and I don't feel like I'm I'm trapped at all in everything I want to do in my life. I mean I go to the gym every day I have time especially my husband and my dog. Recently I took away the one blocker that was making me a little bit stressed out about my job which was the work remote policy. And that's been a huge relief.
hustle, workfromanywhere
3449 - 3454 Jonathan Mendonsa So tell us more about that what are you now allowed to do and do you have to. Can you work promote full time.
3454 - 3581 J - Millennial Boss So the biggest stressor for me with this whole fi journey I lived in Colorado I lived in California and I'm living in Washington and my family lives on the East Coast. And then I married someone whose families in the Midwest. So you know we get two weeks of vacation a year. We are spending those two weeks visiting family and after doing that for six years you get tired you want to take a vacation just the two of you and just relax and not do anything and we're not able to do that. And I really miss my family and I miss his family and we have these wonderful people and friends back home that we want to spend more time with. So it makes it kind of stressful and I worry you know am I choosing FI over or over being with family am I choosing to work these great high income jobs. Because I know it'll Get me faster to FI and I'm missing opportunities that I'll never get back with aging parents or grandparents or things like that. So someone at work started the conversation about working remote and I decided this was my opportunity. My boss had previously he wasn't very open to us working remote or working at home but I kind of put together this proposal with my other co-workers and before I never would've done this especially I have had management experience and I didn't want my boss to feel like we were trying to do a mutiny or something over him because he's fantastic and we all love working for him. But we put together a proposal of the different scenarios that we wanted to work remote or work from home and there were things like working out of another office so that we could visit family or working remote. One day when you we're traveling maybe we're traveling internationally can we work at another office internationally. Because it makes more sense than than being in the office. He ultimately he approved it. So my biggest blocker which was feeling guilty about visiting family I can work out of the office where my family is where my husband Stanley is wherever we want whenever we want to. So that. That to me just kind of open my mind I never would have asked for that if I didn't have financial security from FI if I didn't have the side hustles that I knew I could hopefully grow to a full time income if I needed to. It kind of gave me the confidence to do that. And now you know I don't see my full time job I love it. It's fantastic and I can see myself having a long career there.
career, family, hustle, workfromanywhere
3581 - 3632 Jonathan Mendonsa You know it's interesting this is something that Brad has highlighted. It's not just job or no job it's a can you select the parts of it that aren't working for you and remove those. And so much easier when you have that F-You money when you have that financial runway because you're not worried you're not worried about how you're going to keep the lights on. You can make a choice or a decision or hold the line on some that really does have value for you. And this story is you know I think it's so actionable and it's and it's so inspiring for someone that may just feel trapped and I'm sure that you're going to have people listening to this and say that is me and I'm still stuck and I'm trying to figure it out. And this just showed me some possible options. So you know on their behalf I want to thank you for sharing your story and also you know for people that want to connect with you connect with your podcast. What is the best way for someone to to find the work that you've been doing and reach out to you.
3632 - 3638 J - Millennial Boss Go to a fire drill podcast dot com or search for firedrill podcast in iTunes.
3638 - 3644 Jonathan Mendonsa All right now on most shows that would be the end of the episode but on this show J. we would love to give you the chance to tackle the hot seat. Are you ready for this.
3644 - 3647 J - Millennial Boss Yes.
3647 - 3674 Speaker In a world drowning in debt and rampant consumption. Trapped by the chains of lifestyle inflation. These questions highlight the secrets of Boals who are broken free. Welcome to the ChooseFI hotseat.
3674 - 3679 Brad Barrett All right. J.. Question number one your favorite blog. That's not your own.
3679 - 3696 J - Millennial Boss I'm going to give a shout out for my best buddy Gwen from fiery millennials. I love Gwen she's hilarious and one of my favorite things about her blog. She definitely has a more diary type blog where you can go back to the beginning of her FI journey and read every single post and it all builds upon each other. I love that style of blog.
3696 - 3708 Brad Barrett Yeah we love Gwen here. She was a prior guest on the podcast and met her a bunch of times in person. I'm curious like where did you guys meet. I mean you're cohosts together. Like how did that come together.
3708 - 3738 J - Millennial Boss We both went to the Chautauqua but we went different weeks and I was searching for Chautauqua recap coasts and I found her blog and at the time it seemed very rare that someone else who was young was writing about this and was into this and especially another young woman who worked in tech. So we skyped and then it was the start of a wonderful friendship. And then last year I said hey you know what. There aren't necessarily many women fire podcasters out there. Let's start a podcast and that's helped grow our friendship even more.
3738 - 3748 Jonathan Mendonsa Well you guys are blowing up and doing a fabulous job. I guess we'll go ahead and transition right into question number two. Your favorite article of all time. Now this can be one that you wrote or somebody else's.
3748 - 3760 J - Millennial Boss The shockingly simple math behind early retirement. I know everyone chooses that but there's no clear way to present how possible it is to to retire early than that post in my opinion.
3760 - 3767 Jonathan Mendonsa No it's just so simple so clear it's low hanging fruit easy easy.
3767 - 3777 Brad Barrett Yeah that is a tried and true favorite and one that everyone should read unquestionably alright J.. Question number 3 your favorite life hack.
3777 - 3836 J - Millennial Boss That's a hard one. We talked about the take action. Life hack. So I guess what I would say is approached things with an abundance mentality not a scarcity mentality. Originally when I was pursuing fire I thought there's only space to worry about me getting to FI. What I've realized is the more that I give to others and think that I have enough for myself and I will. I am resourceful I know how to make money there's more money coming to me and to kind of be more generous with that. It's helped me so much so in example I talked about the student loans how my husband and I were just dating and I said you know what I mean to help him pay off his student loans or similarly of my parents I found out that they had Parent PLUS loans. I think in this community we can get very obsessed with our net worth and our money. And if you're not going to help the people that you love and make their lives better and use what you have to improve their financial situation of others around you in the knowledge we have then you know what are we really doing this for. So for me it's approaching things with an abundance mentality and I think it's opened up a lot of doors for me.
college-loans, hotseat-lifehack, networth
3836 - 3839 Jonathan Mendonsa Question number 4 your biggest financial mistake.
3839 - 3875 J - Millennial Boss I think when I first got that big job my husband and I were so excited and we we bought the most. I wouldn't say it was the maximum that we could have got from the bank but it was pretty high up there and we had no business at the time buying our dream home and also then I went and I bought a new car and then I got a wonderful dog who is the love of our pup life. But doing those three things in the span of six months I think we really lost it so that I would say is our biggest financial mistake and it took us a little while to unwind from that.
3875 - 3878 Jonathan Mendonsa But the dog was definitely not a life mistake.
3878 - 3885 J - Millennial Boss No he's he's our best friend. We love him so much. I'm surprised he hasn't made an appearance during this episode. I'm glad.
3885 - 3893 Brad Barrett He's got a couple minutes. You've got a couple minutes. All right J.. Question number 5 the advice you would give your younger self.
3893 - 3931 J - Millennial Boss I think he would tell my younger self to just not put so much pressure on yourself and to try to get to the highest level possible because I mean life is not a race and I am definitely someone who wants to optimize everything to get to the quickest path possible. I want to rise up the food chain at work. I want to make the side hustles profitable I want to have the most traffic blog and podcast and all of that. But lately I've realized that it doesn't really matter whether I get to that point now or five years from now. It doesn't. So I've had to really re-evaluate on that and step back and it's something that I'm working on.
3931 - 3952 Jonathan Mendonsa I know we do have a bonus question for you and a lot of our shows spends time talking about things that you don't buy you know kind of saving that money and putting it towards building that perpetual moneymaking machine. But ultimately all of us do make purchases based on value and so the question is what is one thing that you purchased over the past 12 months that is bringing the most value to your life.
3952 - 4000 J - Millennial Boss I have a panda planner and if you've ever heard of it but essentially it's a gratitude journal and daily planner that I have my husband has one. And then we also gifted one to my sister that she uses too. And every day you write down the three things that you're grateful for the three things you're excited about your schedule for the day and then the tasks that you want to accomplish for that day. And you there's a calendar says and things like that. So it has a lot of utility in terms of planning your life but just starting every day with those three pieces of gratitude. It makes a huge difference and I've never been someone who's been into it. My husband he's until like meditating and he said to the headspace and he's a really fit person so he's into all that stuff. I didn't really believe it but I can say that I'm in a better mood when I do that every single morning had my coffee and I do my gratitude. And it makes a huge difference on Outlook.
4000 - 4018 Brad Barrett That's really cool I've never heard of panda planner before but I just google it and not take a look. So it sounds like a cross between the five minute journal and like an actual calendar or a schedule or. That's how you're using it also on an ongoing basis just as few minutes in the morning right.
4018 - 4047 J - Millennial Boss Yes exactly and it really has you focus on your priorities for the day and what are the tasks that I actually have to do. And I noticed when I first started using it I would put tasks that I didn't have to do or I just would fill it up with things that just wasn't reasonable for me to accomplish and now I'm just getting much better at it. And it all comes back to how how can I be really productive and focused. Because all this going on and part of that is that every day I say OK what did the actual three things that I have to do today both at work and in my entrepreneurial stuff and in my personal life. And it just gets me super focused.
4047 - 4050 Jonathan Mendonsa J. thank you so much for coming on the podcast. This has been a blast.
4050 - 4052 J - Millennial Boss Thank you guys for having me.
4052 - 4099 Jonathan Mendonsa Brad J.'s story stories a story of triumph and it is one that so many college graduates have this moment of deflation when you realize that all of your hopes and dreams were pinned on that bachelor's degree you've been told and marketed to. That the bachelor's degree was going to solve everything. And as you were getting out you realize that it's not sufficient all by itself. It requires a strategy that requires intentionality. I think in many cases many graduates realize that and then just settle and then just never do anything else. They don't realize that you know this career advancement it's not necessarily a linear path forward it's what it is she called a jungle gym right. And. I love seen proof of concept. I love the fact that she laid her vulnerabilities out there and then showed us how she was able to succeed in spite of all of that.
career, college
4099 - 4170 Brad Barrett Yeah and this is such a story of skill stacking. It really is. I mean she just picked up a little bit of knowledge and a little bit of information by starting her own blog working at that travel company going to these hackathon. I mean just like all these little things and it's this amazing story of triumph. It's easy to look at her today and say oh she's at a tech company and she's got this great position managing people and making a boatload of money. But it wasn't that long ago she was working for nine dollars an hour picture that arc. She was a college athlete at a top tier university had all the internships had everything right. The Greens senatoretc. and then she had to start from the very bottom making nine dollars an hour after jumping career. That's why it's such a fascinating story. She was willing to do this and she didn't just give up. She doubled down and said hey I need to make a success so what can I do. I can start a gifted and talented program I can do this. I can do that. It's a wonderful story. I was just so blown away impressed and big thank you to J. for coming on and telling her story.
career, college, talentstack, travel
4170 - 4232 Jonathan Mendonsa If you got value from today's episode have you been getting value from the episodes up to this point. Take one second. Just press the subscribe button on the platform you're listening to this on. It just lets the providers know you're getting value from the show and you want to be here. When we produce additional content if you want to support us and what we're doing here at ChooseFI. Here are four easy ways. 1 leave us an iTunes review. If you want to do that. Just go to ChooseFI dot com slash iTunes to use our page to sign up for travel credit cards. If you want to travel the world with miles and points instead of your hard earned dollars then just go to ChooseFI dot com slash cards and get started today. 3 If you're working on the milestones of FI set up a personal capital account to track your progress and use our affiliate link. It's completely free and just go to ChooseFI dot com slash PC P as in Paul C as in cat and 4 and most importantly find your friends co-workers and family members who might be open to this message and tell them about the podcast. Have them start with episode 38 the Why of Fi and right behind that have them go Listen to Episode 21 the pillars of FI It is a fantastic starting place. Alright my friends the fire is spreading. We'll see you next time as we continue to go down the road less traveled.
4232 - 4240 Speaker You've been listening to ChooseFI radio podcast where we help middle class America build wealth. One life hack at a time.

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