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Throwing resolutions in the trash

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Katrina's Letter Of The Week

January 8 · Issue #136 · View online
Every week, I'll write you a letter. A letter about anything, really. My goal is just to make you think.

I considered taking a different approach to my letter this week to talk about coup attempts in the USA, but there are plenty of places where you can get far better coverage than I can provide.
This break reminded me a lot of my first holiday working far from home. Now clearly, the pandemic controlled the travel plans this year, but as I began writing resolutions going into 2021, I couldn’t help but think of the person I was 10 years ago. I wonder if they would even recognize me if we passed each other on the street. 
Doubtful. 
I was living outside Boston and worked at a very large job board I’m sure you’ve heard of. I couldn’t afford the $700 ticket to fly home that year for the holiday. My Mom, the ever strict budgeter, had no sympathy for me when I called. “If you can’t afford the ticket, you can’t buy the ticket. I’ll see you soon.” I sobbed as I realized it would be my first Thanksgiving alone. 
While my employer had plenty of money to sponsor SuperBowl campaigns, my salary was pathetic. It was 2009 in the middle of an enormous crash and let’s face it - they took advantage of unemployed talent to save money. I was broke and not trying to negotiate my way out of a job, so I took the crap salary. It was barely enough money to have groceries for the month without going into debt, let alone the money to travel. 
I remember my big Thanksgiving dinner that year: a caesar salad from Legal Seafood. It was a pathetic salad, and I was mad by the time I finished it. As a foodie, I’m still annoyed at that food choice. Please don’t judge me. I would make better decisions if I could do it again. 
On the drive home, I made my New Year’s Resolution early. I was never going to spend a holiday alone again because I couldn’t afford the ticket. My life had to change now. 
Admittedly, remembering that drive makes me emotional as we head into another year. My life has changed more than I could have predicted. 
Remembering that drive and my life back then is also why I tore up the resolutions I started to write a week ago. 
Thinking back on life over the last ten years, I know that I don’t need to sit around writing resolutions if I want to change my life. If I tried to predict it all, I would be wrong. That’s the only certainty I have about what happens over the next year, or 10. 
Instead, I resolve to stop making resolutions. I’m going to live my life all the way right now. Because life-shattering, cry it out, build you up, and alter who you are change is never the outcome of a New Year’s Resolution. 
Change is unexpected and surprising—a sum of a million little things, known and unknown. Change is alignment with the path you were always supposed to be on. Change is hope. 
I think we can all agree hope is hard to find but precisely what we need going into this year. 
Well, that and a decent meal. *mumbling curse words about caesar salad….*
————
I set salary resolutions, and do you know what happened? Nothing. There’s only so much job-hopping you can do to bump your salary and get a livable wage.
My other disadvantage? I didn’t know what I should ask for. Money is and was a taboo, so I didn’t ask anyone else what they made until I was drunk with my co-workers in a bar only to realize, yet again, I was still underpaid. 
Posting salaries would have helped me a lot, and I believe that kind of transparency could help many people.
I’m proud to say my home state of Colorado is doing something about it that will impact every remote job and jobs posted in the state. I wrote about that on the blog this week. If you are posting any remote jobs, you have to read this. 
Cheers to hope and hard work- 
Katrina

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