Funemployment Report: December 2014 to mid-January 2015

As I expected, December and the first half of January were not very productive months in terms of my funemployment. We spent two weeks of December in California (on vacation, I suppose) and the first two weeks in January involved a lot of shopping on my part in preparation for starting my fellowship. I did make a bit of progress on my goals, but I was stalled from completing some I needed Kyle’s help on because he has been crazy busy at work.


In this period I gave my PF-for-grad-students talk at a second university. It went very well! I received many thanks and compliments after the talk, including from a person who told me it was the best talk of any kind she had seen in three years!




Goals for December 2014 to mid-January 2015


1: Create a website to advertise my personal finance for PhDs (at various career stages) talks. Grade: C


I have the site completely written and the video clips picked out. We also decoded to house the site on Grad Student Finances instead of buying another URL. But since I need Kyle’s help to actually get it online, I haven’t yet.


2: Put together my three prioritized presentations. Grade: C


I completely drafted only one of these three presentations. I’m putting one on the back burner for now. The third one I’m still interested in putting together in the near future.


3: Pitch my presentation(s) to target institutions #1, 2, 3, and 4. Grade: B+


I’m really proud of myself for putting myself out there in pursuit of this goal. I pitched institution #1 in person and got a positive response. I have a date for the presentation penciled in pending funding. I pitched institution #2 through email and got a flat no. I pitched institution #4 through email and am in discussions with them. I haven’t yet pitched institution #3, for no good reason.


4: Launch Grad Student Finances. Grade: C-


I finished writing the core content of Grad Student Finances but as I haven’t settled on the home page layout it is not online yet. This is another one I need Kyle’s help with.


5: Write a guest post about PhD Stipends. Grade: 0


Nope! No guest post yet for PhD Stipends. I just need to sit down and do it.



Extra Money Paid in November


My goal for my contract work in November and December was $1,000. Both of those goals were made a bit more difficult because of the holidays, but I did accomplish them both. In November I earned $1084 (paid in December). In December I earned $1208 (earned in December). My goal for January is to earn $500 in contract work.



Goals for My Fellowship Period (mid-January to mid-April 2015)


During the period of my fellowship, I really am trying to keep expectations low for how much I can accomplish. Not only am I working full-time again, but I have an hour commute each way.


1: Pitch PF-for-grad students talk at 2-3 universities local to DC and one conference.


I want to try to line up a few more talks in the DC area before I move back to Durham. It might be getting too late to schedule them so I need to accomplish this goal very soon.


2: Pitch PF-for-prospective-grad students talk at 5 colleges.


This is one of the talks I have fully drafted. I think it’s a good fit for colleges like my alma mater so I will start pitching the list of colleges that send a high proportion of their graduates to PhD programs.


3: Pitch PF-for-grad students talk at 5 universities.


I picked 5 because I wanted a definitive but accomplishable number, but I don’t have the whole list determined yet.


4: Get Grad Student Finances online, including both the core PF content and the talks section.


Finally, finally! I need Kyle’s work to lighten up a bit to enlist his help. At least all the content is there. I just need to finalize the layout of the home page, which I’ve already sort of planned out.


5: Solicit Grad Student Finances content from 10 (former) grad student bloggers.


Once I have GSF online, I need to start populating it with content from (former) grad students. To that end, I will ask bloggers I know to contribute, and then I hope the non-blogger readers of the site will catch on and start submitting their own material.


I need to figure out how to make the most of my two hours of commuting each day. Unfortunately, at most only about 60 minutes of that is (generally seated) on the Metro (could be as little as 30 minutes standing some days). I don’t have consistent internet access, either. I’ve been reading or writing on my iPad most of the time, which works pretty well. I just need to determine the type of work (blog post writing? getting through my blog reader? drafting emails?) that is best suite for the Metro time.


Over what period do you prefer to write goals? How much can you reasonably accomplish on your personal projects with a full-time job? Are you able to work during your commute?


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14 Responses to "Funemployment Report: December 2014 to mid-January 2015"

  1. Fiby says:

    Was one of the institutions you pitched to the one I go to?

    Sounds like you’re making good progress with respect to your goals!

    1. Emily says:

      Yours is the one I haven’t yet. 🙁 I’ll try to get to it this weekend! There really is no good reason I haven’t except that I kind of want the website up. But that’s not a good reason because I can just send the YouTube links.

  2. Brooke says:

    I get a little queasy on the metro because of smell/crowding/breaking, so I limit my activity to readying/commenting on blogs. I will occasionally outline posts, but not write. If I take the train in to Union Station I will crank out my computer and actually write. Too much work to write on a tablet for me. I get a lot of emails for work sent on the Metro, but people tend to miss the full picture because they are reading and responding quickly.
    Brooke recently posted..6 Ways to Make Extra Money This Year

    1. Emily says:

      Thankfully the only aspect of working on the Metro that bothers me is the tight space. I don’t want to elbow my neighbor as I type on my iPad or laptop. I don’t really like commenting on blogs on my phone (or sending important email responses, as you said) because it’s easy to make typos and such, but I can definitely read and flag for follow-up. It will be an ongoing exploration for me.

      1. Brooke says:

        I tend to not follow up like I should though! I end up reading but not circling back to comment. I recently switched to Bloglovin, which is easier for commenting that Feedly. Bloglovin loads the page up where you can comment; you have to quick through to the website for Feedly. That might help.

        What is easy to do on the Metro is social media. I can read my feed on Hootsuite an retweet / write up tweets pretty easily on my phone. Again, you end up consuming more than producing, but it is still useful time.
        Brooke recently posted..6 Ways to Make Extra Money This Year

        1. Emily says:

          Thanks for the suggestions!

  3. I can’t write on subways either, but I often get reading done (and you can do it standing, so that’s a nice bonus.) Good luck pitching DC-area universities!
    C@thesingledollar recently posted..Zero Food Waste 2015: Week 2 (plus Braised Coconut Chickpeas and Spinach)

    1. Emily says:

      I haven’t done a lot of reading PDFs on my iPad until this week, but it worked quite well! I’m not sure I would want to use it while standing, though, in case I drop it or fall into people because I’m not steady enough.

  4. My husband reads technical stuff on his commute. So it’s a little bit productive.

    It’s fantastic that you post your goals, even when you don’t finish them. You’re being very accountable!
    Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom recently posted..Signup for SwagBucks to Make Money Online

    1. Emily says:

      I’m not much of a goal-setter or follow-througher so this is a bit unnatural for me and I kind of feel like a failure for getting Cs. 🙂

  5. Congrats Emily! What’s the name of the university? I hope I can attend to one of your talks.

    1. Emily says:

      Are you at a university now? If so, you can try to book my at yours. 🙂

  6. […] been working hard on the speaking side of things: My speaking website is now online! (Done with Goal 4b!) It’s super simple right now but includes outlines of my talks and a handful of video clips […]

  7. […] goal for each month this summer is to earn $1,000 from this job. I was able to achieve that last November and December, which were my only fully available months after my assignment volume ramped up last fall and […]

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