Recovery Redefined

I’ve written elsewhere that you can use your pain as the catalyst for figuring out your life’s purpose.

In one section of a chapter in Working Assets I talk about opting to have a purpose-driven life.

People who exert their time energy and labor on “Keeping Up with the Joneses” are less happy. They go into debt buying things that make them appear rich.

In the Andrew Hallam book Balance: How to Invest and Spend for Happiness, Health, and Wealth he talks about the four quadrants of success:

Having enough money.

Maintaining strong relationships (with yourself and with others).

Maximizing your physical and emotional health.

Living with a sense of purpose.

It’s living with a sense of purpose that is key to flourishing in recovery.

I recommend you buy Balance to have on hand. It’s one of the great personal finance books.

Whether a person can hold a full-time job or not the difference is in doing things that give you joy every day.

One person might bake a cake. Another person might ride a skateboard.

I’ve come to redefine recovery not as only possible when a person returns to having a normal life.

Hello–I worked in corporate insurance offices in the 1990s and wasn’t thriving. Even though I technically recovered.

My purpose as I see it that gets me going is to advance my vision of recovery in two ways:

From whatever illness or distress or trauma is in a person’s life. In whatever guise recovery comes to them as.

Healing is possible and there’s hope for healing.

I’m fond of using the skateboarding analogy as a recovery lifestyle that could suit a person.

In Working Assets I also make the case for doing volunteer work when you can’t work at paid employment.

In my view we must expand the definition of what constitutes recovery.

If you ask me the four quadrants of success should be achievable for everyone regardless of what we’re in recovery from.

This is because It’s Not About the Money. It’s Not About Acquiring Material Things.

Plain and simple recovery is about finding what gives us joy and going and doing that.

On and off the job.

Finding the job that is the right fit can enable a person to recover.

Pandemic Life Lessons

Showing up to a job through the pandemic has taught me life lessons about the nature of work.

Sadly emotional labor is often relegated to women. Working in a “pink ghetto” you’re often not paid what you’re worth.

What I’ve learned is that starting to fund a retirement account as early as possible–ideally by the time you turn 25–is the difference.

This is the difference between retiring when you’re 65 with a wad or cash. Or having to wait tables when you should be winding down all paid work.

The goal should be to be able to retire by the time you’re 65. The current age to take your SSA retirement benefit checks is 67. Signing up at 62 for this monthly check you will receive a reduced SSA income.

Watch out for a cheery letter from the CEO or President or Executive Director praising you for your hard work and dedication at the job through the pandemic.

Where is the hardship pay you might ask when you read this flowery email?

Part of being tied to our jobs is the result of engaging in consumer culture. Books have been written about this extensively.

While I don’t drink tea I intend to heat up hot chocolate in the winter.

Little things can perk us up and give us pep when we come home from the daily grind.

I intend to write more in the future about having gratitude in the face of working at a grueling job.

Coming up insight into how doing spring cleaning in January can help us beat the winter blues and blahs.

Letting go of the things that no longer serve a purpose in our lives is the start to setting our intention for the New Year.

Getting a Performance Review

Getting a yearly performance review at your job can seem if not capricious at least stacked against you.

At one corporate insurance job in the 1990s I wasn’t given a pay raise. At all. Zero. Zip. Nada in compensation.

At the job in the law firm library I wasn’t given a promotion. That’s when I obtained my union job. Here the pay raises are set via negotiation for all employees in the union.

Going over my performance review printouts was a case study in how to earn what you’re worth.

It’s been my experience that if you have a union job it’s hard for you to be fired. Unless you have a city job and low seniority and the city is experiencing a financial hardship. Like the coronavirus pandemic that shut down New York City. Then there might be “LIFO” layoffs of the Last in First Out.

Reviewing the performance reviews of two different supervisors can be illuminating.

How is it that one person can give you only a “Satisfactory” overall rating and another person gave you a “+” rating which is better with a few “Superiors” checked off?

You need to have a stronger constitution to deflect not getting a positive performance review.

If you don’t work in a union your job might be on the chopping block in the future if you keep getting sub-par performance reviews.

See: Kennedy Rolland, Florence. The Persuasive Negotiator: Tools and Techniques for Effective Negotiating. New York: Taylor & Francis, 2020. and Dawson, Roger. Secrets of Power Salary Negotiating: Inside Secrets from a Master Negotiator 3rd edition. San Francisco: Red Wheel/Weiser, 2010.

Ideally, you will negotiate a higher salary when the company makes you the job offer. They wanted you and only you. So getting into the habit of negotiating up front is key.

Role-playing this kind of negotiating with a friend or therapist or practicing if possible with a professional could help you become comfortable asking for the money you’re worth.

In the coming blog entries I’m going to talk about creating a side hustle for yourself. I recommend having a second job or income stream to bolster the pay you get from a “day job.”

This is because any time you work for another person your career–and its trajectory and eventual success–is often in their hands.

Creating a Weekly Routine

I find that imposing a structure to each week is a way to feel like you’re in control.

Creating a routine on Sunday for the coming week is my strategy for getting through the pandemic and beyond.

Automating recurring tasks can help.

I have my groceries delivered the same day every week. I budget in a set amount to spend on this food delivery so that the cost doesn’t fluctuate.

As I might have talked about before in here and in my Flourish blog it’s imperative to take care of your mental and physical health in a time like the pandemic.

The outbreak is still in effect in most cities and towns in America.

If you ask me this is the perfect time to create a routine.

I recommend the Julie Morgenstern book Time Management from the Inside Out 2nd Edition. She gives readers ideas for breaking each day into time zones.

In the coming blog entries I”m going to talk about setting up a weekly routine in more detail.

In August I would like to return to career topics.

Step 3 – Perspire

The goal I set was to use my paycheck to buy food and basic needs.

In Step 3 Perspire of the Changeology 90-Day Action Plan you use 4 techniques to carry out your goal:


You reward yourself for having achieved what you set out to.

To do this I bought myself a Revlon lipstick.


You do the healthy opposite of the negative behavior.

To do this I have cut down buying extra things.

Controlling the Environment

“Out of sight out of mind” sums up this approach.

When I wanted to stop wearing jeans to my job all the time I took the jeans and placed them in an out-of-the-way storage rack.

Today it’s easier to achieve my current goal because I’m not shopping in stores.

Enlisting Support

You ask people to be part of your support team. They can help you stay on track with your goal.

One of my friends and my therapist I talk with every week.

I have the goal of publishing a book about personal finance. I will write in this blog and in the forthcoming book about setting a financial goal like the one I’m executing now.

Living through the pandemic is the perfect time to cut down on spending.

A lot of us are forced to conserve cash because we lost our jobs. For others we’re at the time in our lives where we’re able to shift our focus to a goal like this.

I will be reporting back in the coming weeks how I’m coming along in Step 3.

Giving Americans a Universal Basic Income

The person who would’ve had my vote in the Democratic primary was Andrew Yang.

Alas, he dropped out a couple months ago.

Yang had a solid plan for giving every American citizen a Universal Basic Income of $1,000 per month.

His campaign website had detailed where the money would come from and how it would be paid out.

In countries in Africa and elsewhere in the world the government gives people a Universal Basic Income.

The Yang website countered the detractors of a Universal Basic Income. Andrew Yang detailed the benefits of giving everyone this guaranteed cash.

I’m in favor of giving American citizens a Universal Basic Income.

Like Yang foresees I don’t think the jobs lost to computer intelligence are coming back.

And we cannot fault individuals who are unemployed or underemployed. It’s not always their doing that they can’t get a job or hold a job long-term.

Detractors claimed people would use the Universal Basic Income to buy street drugs and alcohol.

Who are they kidding. I see no reason why the government can’t give every citizen $1,000 per month.

The fact as I see it is that in my estimation 90 percent of Americans would put the money to use feeding and clothing themselves without having to go into debt.

A Universal Basic Income could help workers that constitute the “working poor”–people who have jobs yet might live in homeless shelters because they can’t pay rent.

A Universal Basic Income would enable people living in recovery to see a therapist of their own choosing.

A Universal Basic Income would give people living in recovery the cash to pay their psychiatrist. [Most shrinks don’t take insurance round here and elsewhere.]

A Universal Basic Income is something to think about.

It should be kept on the table with the candidates remaining in the coming presidential election.

In the next blog entry I will return to talking about recovery.

Getting Money in the Crisis

For those of you who are employed and not at your job in this time of the COVID-19 outbreak I would like to tell you some good news:

The government has signed into law an Act that will give people money for having been impacted in this dire economic time.

If I remember those of us who filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019 will be given money.

It will be directly deposited into your bank account on file with the IRS.

If your account isn’t on file you will have to submit the claim yourself to get the funds.

It’s a tidy sum of money I can tell you.

The government has been generous. The amount of money you receive might be based on what your paycheck used to be.

Get what you deserve. Log online to check your account. Research if you’re entitled to the money and need to submit the claim yourself.

Either way it’s a tidy sum of free money.

In a coming blog entry I’m going to talk about the concept of giving every American a Universal Basic Income.

A Universal Basic Income is a financial security net whose time has come.

Managing in the Time of CO-VID19 Outbreak

I want to talk about real matters that impact those of us who choose to get a job instead of solely collecting SSI or SSDI.

We should have cash on hand readily able to be taken out for an emergency. This “peace of mind” fund should be in an FDIC-insured account at a bank. This way you won’t lose your money if the financial institution falls on hard times.

Getting paid while we’re out of work might not be possible in the time of the CO-VID19 outbreak.

This is where I champion getting a union job like that at a public library. Chances are you will get paid even when the library shuts down because of a crisis like this one.

This might not be possible. This is where the peace of mind fund gives you the cash to weather the financial storm.

Pay yourself first to build up this money. Direct deposit into a savings or money-market account at your bank a set amount out of each paycheck. Do this before you debit money for anything else.

It’s called “paying yourself first.” Some experts and I do too recommend saving eight months of living expenses in an emergency fund. The more you have squirreled away the more peace of mind you’ll have.

Going to a bank when you’re told to shelter in place might not be a good idea. This is where having $100 cash in your wallet can help.

I think having $10 in singles, $20 in five-dollar bills, and the rest in twenties can be good to have on hand.

Using your credit card judiciously [paying the statement invoice off in full every month] you can order in restaurant food to be delivered.

FreshDirect online in New York City delivers groceries and household supplies to your front door.

The PeaPod delivery service is available elsewhere.

The FreshDirect website has had glitches. Yet so far I’ve been able to schedule a delivery once a week. You can tip the delivery person in cash. Or use the drop-down button to pay for the tip inside of your payment for the food.

In the time of CO-VID19 I specify a $9 tip online. The person arrives with gloves and a mask on. The boxes are left outside your front door.

You can order from FreshDirect in New York City. See PeaPod for others.

In the coming blog entry I will talk about mental hygiene which is so critical in a time of crisis like the one we’re living through today.