My Focus Right Now: Food and Job

When it comes to making changes to lifestyle, habits, or just starting something new, it’s hard to do everything at once. So, although I have several things I want to work on I’m targeting two for the moment – food and job.

Food – I hate cooking. Ok, hate’s probably too strong of a word, but just slightly. I would rather clean the bathroom than cook. Mostly because it takes me five minutes to clean the bathroom and even if I cook something quick there’s still at least five minutes of cleanup to do afterwards.

And so between getting ready to move, then moving, the knee surgery, I let myself get lazy with food prep to focus my energies elsewhere. The bit of “cooking” I have done has been of the pull it from the freezer and reheat it variety. Which is better than going out for every meal, but still not great for the wallet or waistline. Also, I’m a picky eater and will only eat a few different frozen meals. I’ve tried bringing cold cut sandwiches to work but the overly-strong AC in my office makes me crave hot meals.

But the move is done, I’m still limping a bit but don’t need crutches, which means it’s time to try to get back into the habit of actually cooking. I say that like I’ve actually been in the habit, even though my cooking sprees tend to die after a few weeks at most. If at first you don’t succeed try, try, try, keep going, try, you’ll get there eventually, try, try, don’t give up yet, try, try again. And again. You might need to tweak your approach after the first couple of failed tries, but keep working at it.

Which is what I’m doing, I’m going to try to get back into the habit of cooking again. A few things I’ve learned from past attempts:

  • Keep frozen meals on hand in case of cooking failure. Resorting to them is still better than eating out and it alleviates some of the “what if I get it wrong” stress.
  • Start simple. It’s easier to get back into it by using familiar recipes first, then experiment.
  • Don’t stress over saving every dollar possible. It’s okay to not use the absolute cheapest ingredients, or even splurge on some nicer cuts of meat once in a while. Once I have more of a routine and know what ingredients I need to keep on hand it will be easier to shop for bargains.
  • Cook in batches. I’m perfectly fine with eating the same meal for an entire week, unless it didn’t turn out too good.
  • Anything that came out barely edible or worse – and can’t be fixed – needs to be thrown out immediately. It doesn’t happen too often, usually when I’m trying a new recipe or I get distracted while cooking.
  • I need to learn to freeze stuff properly. I’ve seen too many things come out of the freezer frost-bitten or just plain freezer burned, and freezing will allow me to make larger batches and not have the food go bad before I can eat it. I wonder if I could cook some components, like brown rice, in a large batch and freeze in portions to be thawed and used later…
  • I also need to be more realistic and flexible in my meal planning. I always eat lunch but I don’t always eat dinner, so planning to have 10 meals during the week will likely lead to spoiled food. But sometimes I do eat 10 meals. Learning to freeze things properly will help with the above.
  • I need to be more flexible with recipes. Just because something calls for ingredients I don’t like doesn’t mean I should discard it immediately, it’s often very possible to adapt it to something I do like. The same goes for a spice I don’t have, or a specific cooking item…
  • I need to actually look for more recipes. Now, before I need them.

Ok, that was more than a few, and there’s more but I’ll stop here. I guess I have enough to do a whole post just on cooking…

Job – My second focus right now is figuring out what to do about my job. As I mentioned in my last post there are some changes at work that I don’t like and it’s making me think about moving on. In fact, when a headhunter called last week to see if I was looking I said yes and I’ve already had two phone interviews for a new position. Except, the last one was Tuesday and I haven’t heard back about it, so it might not go any further.

Which is just as well because really, what do I want in a job? A flexible schedule is one of the big things I’m missing at this current job. The ability to work from home on occasion is pretty much a need as well. A full-time work-from-home position would be great. My dad’s girlfriend recommended me for a position like that at the company she works at but I’m not really qualified so I don’t expect anything to come from it.

So I know I want a flexible schedule and the ability to work from home, but that alone isn’t a fulfilling job so what else? My current position allows me to design elements of the application from the ground up which I enjoy, but I don’t want (and am not qualified for) a full software architect role. I prefer working in small teams but if I was to ask a potential employer about the role, what should I ask? I’ve been in this field for over three years now, you’d think I’d have a better idea but I don’t.

So that’s why “job” is a focus. It isn’t just about job hunting, but figuring out what it will take to make me leave my current position. Or if I even want to leave, there are still things there that I do like and there are benefits to staying with this company for a while. Maybe I should start looking for alternatives to full time jobs, like freelancing. I’ll need to do a lot of research for that last one, and even start freelancing on the side first before quitting my full time job, but it’s definitely an option…

Obviously, if I didn’t have a job I’d be plowing full steam ahead on the job hunt. But I do have a job, a decent job even, so I have the luxury of time and pickiness. I jut have to actually make a decision instead of just pondering the issue as I’ve done in the past.

Are you making anything your focus right now?

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