Tag Archives: underemployed

How Are You Using Your Water Buckets?

You’ve heard us talk about “water buckets.” It’s even in the name of the website. But have you ever wondered what we’re talking about when we refer to them? Do you know what your water buckets are and how are you using them?

Your water buckets are those things you use to catch the “rain” of blessings that you’ll need to sustain you, not today, and maybe not even tomorrow, but at some point in the future.  Preparation is one of the keys to success. While you can’t know every possible bad scenario that could happen in your life, you can have a plan to better prepare yourself for how to deal with those circumstances as they come.

Everyone should keep water buckets around. Maybe it’s maintaining your own savings account after you get married; or learning how to turn your hobby into an income stream for your family. Perhaps as a single adult, you decide to take in a roommate so that you put the extra funds away for that emergency. Or as a family you purchase a house with the purpose of turning part of it into income property to help you pay your mortgage off early. Water buckets are ways to save money and resources today so that you have them to use later when you unexpectedly need it.

If you’ve been through a divorce, and suddenly found yourself dealing with the shock of returning to just one income; or your spouse carried you on their insurance, and now you’re having to pay for your own, along with the mortgage, and that new car that at the time seemed like a good idea — then you understand the concept of having the advantage of having something in those buckets to help with your transition.

Maybe you’re single, just lost your job, and now there’s no second income to fall back on; no one else to help pay those bills or provide some of the health benefits that you just lost. Or you and your spouse figured you’d “get around” to getting life insurance when you got older, only now they’re gone and you’ve had to use all of your savings to pay funeral costs.

Perhaps you still have your job, but with the cost of everything increasing, you’re just barely making enough to cover your monthly expenses, with no room for anything else. But then the brakes go out in your car, and there’s no coworker or bus line within 10 miles of where you live, offering no alternative but to some how get the car fixed.

If any of these scenarios sound familiar in your life or with someone you know, then you understand that life is full of unexpected surprises and unplanned stops in the middle of places you never imagined. And while we can’t control some of the circumstances that may happen to us, we can control how well we’re prepared to take on those events when they happen.

Being prepared for life’s unexpected turns means being willing to create and then implement a plan now, so that you are where you need to be, have what you need to have, or are on your way to accomplishing steps to help you if or when a crisis hits.

So when it’s raining outside, the grass is looking green, the flowers are colorful and all the trees are thick with foliage, don’t worry about your neighbors or friends looking at you strangely because you’ve placed your water buckets around the house to fill up. Maybe they haven’t checked the forecast to know that there’s a drought coming. Be thankful that you’re going to be ready for it.

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What is Catching Raindrops in Water Buckets?

As we approach the sixth year anniversary of the start of Catching Raindrops in Water Buckets, I want to revisit its beginning. It’s interesting how things seem to work in a cycle. Once again, we’re watching the stock market, as it plunges one day and then regains points one or two days later. While the unemployment numbers look good, people are still underemployed, working jobs for less money today than they were 10 years ago. The rising cost of housing and the new mortgage laws have kept some people from attaining that American Dream, while struggling to find reasonable cost of rent in many markets.  And while the interest rates are rising, and the cost of living is higher, most people haven’t seen a significant increase in their paycheck since before the economic crash a decade ago.

I started Catching Raindrops in Water Buckets first as a writing assignment for myself. I used journaling as a way to process the massive changes that were happening in my life, particularly the time period following my change in jobs. Change, itself, was new to me. I had many other jobs before, having started working part-time as a young teenager, and full-time right out of college. But all of my positions were “upwardly mobile.” They weren’t all financially mobile, but each one prepared and positioned me for something that built upon the next level – until reaching that level where the financial rewards started paying off.

I was brought up to always live within whatever means I was in at any particular time in my life. Whether I was saving money for high school band trips; or to pay my own college tuition; or buying my first car after only a year at my first job, I learned how to practice discipline, patience, and planning in order to take care of the things I needed to take care of. And while I wasn’t perfect at it, I worked hard to be smart with my finances. I opted to live at home during college. I had three roommates when I finally got into my first rental house after Graduate school. And my first car was safe, boring, and inexpensive!

But in December, 2008, things changed. And those changes didn’t line up with my plans. They were a shift away from my otherwise, upwardly mobile status in life. And it was playing out in a non-temporary way.

There I was, along with hundreds of thousands of other people around the country, trying to deal with the impact of a Recession that few people saw coming, and most people had no idea how much it would personally impact them. I woke up one morning, and realized that the “normal” life I’d built for myself had been uprooted. So the only sanity I could hold on to was through writing. It was my means of processing the entire episode. Through that, I realized I was going to have to change some things; not just for this moment, but forever.

book with coffee cupAs I was going through my own world of “adjustments,” I watched others trying to make it through theirs. Not every life adjustment had to do with a job loss – but all of them impacted financial stability in some way. Friends going through divorces; neighbors impacted by a spouse’s inability to work; loss of income after the loss of a spouse; people dealing with unexpected medical diagnosis amidst inadequate medical insurance; unexpected legal issues that were emptying bank accounts; and a host of other issues, including people working fewer hours, or dealing with a cut in pay to prevent layoffs.

There were people around me who were trying to just “deal” with the things happening to them. Not all of them seem to understand that part of dealing would need to include an adjusted mindset. It was what I learned through journaling. I realized I couldn’t continue to focus on what was “normal” in my life prior to the major changes that had just happened. That normal didn’t exist anymore. I couldn’t keep doing the same things; at least not in the same way. I had to adjust to the new situation I found myself in. And I wanted to help other people; namely women, to do the same.

That’s why I took Catching Raindrops in Water Buckets off the pages of my personal journal and onto the Internet with this blog site and Facebook group page to share information and to encourage peer-to-peer participation. Women helping women work through issues and situations that they may not be ready for, or could use an extra perspective in dealing with.

Catching Raindrops in Water Buckets focuses on teaching, sharing, and learning how to use what you have today to help plan for what may not be there tomorrow. I hope there are some of you willing to share your story too!

Adjusting Your Life to Your New Normal.

Holding the Date…

Life is full of unexpected surprises and unplanned stops in the middle of places you never imagined ending up. And while we can’t control some of the circumstances that may happen to us, we can control how well we’re prepared to take on those events, and what we do with them when they occur.

So life took you in a new direction; one you weren’t expecting. Okay, so now what?

Basic RGB

Stop trying to maintain the lifestyle you once had, and start living the new life you have today.

Learn how to adjust to and love your new normal!

Catching Raindrops in Water Buckets: The Conference…Coming March 20-21, 2015

Creating a Revenue Stream for Your Life

I teach in the Recording Industry department at a local university. One of the classes I teach is called Music Survey. It explores the three main revenue streams of the music industry. The first time I taught the class was as an Adjunct Professor. I was working full-time with my own company, and teaching three courses. As I read through the book to prep for class each week, I was reminded of something I’d promised myself almost three years earlier. When I left my former job, I told myself I would never again work for just one company unless it was my own. And at the point that I decided to launch Gloria Green Entertainment, I also decided then that I would seek out multiple means of earning an income, so that no one thing could ever be pulled out from underneath me again.

As I was teaching students about the various ways to generate revenue, and stressing the importance of creativity and diversity in those streams, I continued to seek out multiple sources of income earnings myself. And while my age may put me on the forgotten line for those of us born in the 1960s, frequently left out of true marketing, psychological, or social demographic studies – other than being referred to as the Me Generation, thanks in part to the success of the Michael J Fox Pepsi campaign, and a series of Brat Pack movies from the 1980s, my mindset and lifestyle plants me firmly on a different line – that of the entrepreneurial-minded Gen Xer and tech-loving world of the Millennials.

So as a woman; especially a single woman, I have made it a point to try to encourage my friends to seek out opportunities to turn their hobbies and passions into a means of financial reward, while keeping their day-jobs. It is the spirit of Catching Raindrops in Water Buckets; and it is becoming the necessity of adjusting to your new normal. In the wake of five years of financial instability, where job security is a phrase of the past, seeking entrepreneurial opportunities just makes sense. And no, you don’t have to put together a 10-page business plan; you don’t have to have an MBA; you don’t even have to know how to run a business, although understanding how to balance a checkbook would definitely come in handy. What you do need is passion, a drive for hard work, and to surround yourself with good friends who will help you realize your dream, and maybe even come along side you in it.

I know talented women who have various abilities and skills that they could monetized, but they’re afraid of the idea of running their own business. That’s not to say that starting a company is easy and everyone should do it. Quite the contrary. Way too many first-year companies never make it past a few years. My challenge to my female friends isn’t about quitting their day jobs and giving up their profit share, 401-k, and retirements to chase a dream. It’s more about extending your ability to realize your dream by starting something more – like those incredible cookies you bake and give away as Christmas gifts every year that no one can stop talking about; those birthday cakes you decorate for your family, and every year more friends ask you to make some for theirs; the homemade cards you make from recycled paper; or the soaps you make using your own garden herbs. You love giving them away, but there are people out there who wouldn’t mind paying to have them.

I have friends who offer services ranging from copyediting to house sitting; and those who taught themselves new skills, like web design and photography. Even the ability to help others get organized can be turned into a nice side business.

So over the next few weeks, I’m going to share some stories of women; average, everyday women I know, who for various reasons, have taken a talent, a passion, or just a desire to do something else, and created a secondary stream of income; some out of need, some out of want, but all are growing a new business for themselves.

Perhaps you’re one of those people; someone who has created something more than the 9 to 5 job that pays the mortgage. Maybe you’ve gone from a two-income family to a one and you had to find another means of support for the family; perhaps you’re one of thousands of people who are currently underemployed, working at a job earning much less money than you were 3, 4, or 5 years ago. Creating another income source helps to close the financial gap. Maybe you’ve had several unexpected bills – after all, life happens – and the salary you have barely covers the bills you’ve created. Or maybe, like me, you’ve been burnt before, and never want to rely on only one income source. Whatever drove you to the desire to start something new, I’d love to hear from you here, or follow us and share the link to your website on our Twitter page @CatchingtheRain.