Which Way

You know how when you are driving somewhere, and you aren’t quite sure about how to get where you are going… and you approach an intersection and you have to sit and think for a minute about which way is the right way to go?

That’s where I’m headed right now in my life.

For the last five-to-ten years I have been coasting along, just making ends meet. I’m tired of this. I want to take things to the next level.

The question I need to answer, though, is: How?

  • SITUATION: I currently have an Associate Degree in Marketing. I’ve done pretty well with this so far in life, but I know I can do better. The problem is, nobody is willing to pay me what I think I should be making with just an Associate Degree. It sucks. I have a ton of work experience in everything from Desktop Publishing to Pre-Press Graphic Design to Sales to even some management… but without that slip of paper that says “BACHELOR’S DEGREE” or even, hopefully, “MASTER’S DEGREE”, I’ll be stuck making the same amount of money for the rest of my life.
  • SOLUTION: I need to go back to school. I WANT to go back to school.
  • PROBLEMS: Money. Time. Current job. Current living situation.

At this point, however, I meet the intersection and need to make a decision based on the options presented to me:

  • OPTION ONE: I would stay at my current job and go back to school in Chicago. I would take accelerated courses to complete a Bachelor’s degree and, eventually, a Master’s degree. I would either stay in my current apartment or find something cheaper or live with roommates to cut expenses. I would quit all chorus involvements and scale back as much as I could to concentrate on making all of this happen.
  • ADVANTAGES: I would have to make a lot of sacrifices to concentrate on accomplishing this task, but at least I will still be able to have the life I am currently enjoying. And not having to leave Chicago would be the most ideal situation.
  • DRAWBACKS: My current employer does not offer any type of tuition reimbursement, so I would have to figure out how to pay for all of this on my own. I would also have to completely re-work my work schedule to fit in necessary classes.

  • OPTION TWO: I would move back to Wisconsin and live in Kenosha again. I would find a job and an apartment and completely change my life– but concentrate on getting my educational goals completed so I can resume living my life the way I want to live it.
  • ADVANTAGES: Kenosha has a much lower cost of living than Chicago, so I could easily get a nice place to live in, still be able to go wherever I wanted to go (Chicago is only an hour away), and pursue my educational goals. I could even work in Chicago if I wanted to commute– but that would be a LONG commute.
  • DRAWBACKS: Moving back to Kenosha would feel like backpedaling to me. But I’m willing to backpedal if it means a better life in the future.

  • OPTION THREE: My parents are again considering moving out of their house and into a smaller apartment. They are considering selling their house– the house I grew up in– to me. I would live in the house and it would be mine. I would then find a job in the area while pursuing my educational goals while living in the house.
  • ADVANTAGES: I love my family’s home. It would be great to call it home again. And in this scenario, I would actually own my own home without having to put a lot of my own money into it. The house is in really good shape. Plus there is the advantage of keeping the house in the family– none of us wants to see someone else living there. I would also be closer to my parents, who are more in need of help as they get older. The rest of the advantages match Option Two.
  • DRAWBACKS: Backpedaling, but to a different degree. At least in this scenario I would actually own something. Then there are the considerations of: Taxes, assessments, repairs, maintenance… I’d have to do it all myself. Am I up for that kind of challenge?

  • OPTION FOUR: I would find a new job in Chicago that offers tuition reimbursement and would be willing to pay me a little better so I can afford to pay for the schooling I would need. I would stay in my current living situation or change it if necessary. The rest of the options match Option One.
  • ADVANTAGES: Same as option one, but with the added advantage of tuition reimbursement.
  • DRAWBACKS: Finding a company that has this type of benefit in place that will hire me based on my current credentials.

So as you can see, there is a lot for me to consider. But whichever direction I choose, I will be taking a very important step into my future… and I am ready to do it. I just need to figure out which step is the right step.

And that’s the hard part.

What would you do in this situation?

Rick needs…

I saw this on Brandon’s blog tonight and thought it was pretty clever. Oddly enough, I hadn’t seen anyone else do it. But then, I haven’t exactly been the best blog-reading friend as of late. (Sorry everyone.)

Anyway, open up Google and in the “Search” window type your name and then “needs”, in quotations, just like I just typed it.

Then hit search and see what you come up with.

I found some really good ones… all frighteningly true… like:

  • Rick needs a massage.
  • Rick needs a fact checker.
  • Rick needs a soulmate.
  • Rick needs your support. (Unfortunately this was about Rick Santorum [ew] but I figured I need it anyway, so…)
  • Rick needs to be cloned.
  • Rick needs to apologize.
  • Rick needs your help.
  • Rick needs some rest.
  • Rick needs people who will hold the rope for him.
  • Rick needs to be aware at all times.
  • Rick needs sun!
  • Rick needs to get off his arse.
  • (What) Rick needs (is) a good woman. (Uh… I don’t think so, folks.)
  • Rick needs… to feel needed.
  • Rick needs to get busy.
  • Rick needs an immediate infusion of cash.
  • Rick needs to know!
  • Rick needs to get with somebody.
  • Rick needs to find something BETTER to do with his time.
  • Rick needs to be elevated so his fans can see him better.
  • Rick needs some help here.
  • Rick needs no introduction.
  • Rick needs a haircut.
  • Rick needs coffee… NOW!

and my ultimate favorite…

  • Rick needs a comment!

So get busy. I do need some help here. 🙂

Resume

I said “eventually”… I didn’t say how long it would be. 🙂

Things just weren’t working right with the blog since my near-disaster the other day… so I had a few things to figure out. First I noticed my RSS feed was all messed up, and everything from my podcast to feed readers were not getting any information. It seems to have either corrected itself– or something– but now it’s working.

Then came the worst problem– nobody had left any comments in the last 3-4 days. I mean, usually at least ONE shows up from time to time, but three days of NO comments? That just seemed weird.

I was starting to think I had been deserted; but thanks to Scott and Karen, who pointed out to me that they weren’t even WORKING, I figured out what was wrong. Thanks, guys. Once again, I owe both of you one.

I guess I really did make a mess of things … oops!

It pays to follow instructions. Leave it to a man to try to go on his own without them, right? 🙂

So, sorry if you tried to leave a comment and nothing happened. I wish I could say I got it, but it was lost in oblivion. 😦

BTW, check out the blog of a new friend of mine: Chris. I met him at a party this weekend… nice guy (cute too!) and some good reading. Hiya, Chris. 🙂

Oh, and I’ve added a nifty new tool that I learned about from my friends at the Feast of Fools (are you listening to them yet? Why not!?!) called FeedBlitz. Basically it sends subscribers an Email with your daily post with photos and everything embedded. You can subscribe to my blog this way by clicking here… and find out how to make it work for your blog as well!

UPDATE: YOUR COMMENTS HAVE BEEN FOUND! When I initially restored all the files I had deleted, something was wrong with my spam filter, Spam Karma, and that was what caused my comments to stop working. So when I uploaded new files and re-activated the plug-in, I discovered that Spam Karma had actually saved all of your comments! WOO HOO to Spam Karma! 🙂

That was close!

I consider myself pretty good with computers.

Over the years, I’ve worked myself out of some pretty hairy situations. I’ve had hard drives crash on me (more than once), hardware fry, software crash, and all kinds of crazy shit in between. And yet somehow I always manage to figure out what’s wrong, fix it, and move on.

I’m crafty that way.

Well today I almost blew it big time.

WordPress recently updated its software, and recommended to its users that we upgrade to combat some security issues. I’ve installed WordPress upgrades before, so I thought this was no big deal. I could handle it.

Wrong.

I got into my FTP site and started deleting files. Not just the files I needed to delete for the upgrade, mind you… oh no…

EVERYTHING.

I hadn’t backed up anything. I just started deleting. In the back of my mind, I could hear a tiny voice. It started softly, and grew louder and louder, until it screamed:

“Uh… Hello??…. HELLO??? HELLO!!??!?!?!! WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING!?!?!?!?

By the time I realized what a stupid mistake I was making, half of the important and integral files for this blog had been deleted.

“OH

SHIT!”

I quickly switched from dumbass mode to Mr. Fix-It mode, and went to my web server’s website in hopes that they have a recovery system in place.

They do. Thank God.

They take snapshots every two hours of my entire file system and save them just in case I make some stupid, lame-brained, bonehead kind of mistake that I would need to recover from.

This was definitely one of those times.

So for the next hour, I went through every single file of my blog installation and restored it.

One.

At.

A.

Time.

Because that’s the only way they would let me do it.

A small price to pay to have my blog back in working order.

So I’m back… and thankfully so. I can now sleep peacefully.

I’m sure you can too.

Aren’t you glad I share these things with you? 🙂