I sort of did this just last week. I quit my current teaching job for a contract position - while the annual salary is more, the hourly pay is less, and I no longer get benefits. The thing is though, I don't like teaching. If you don't like your job and want to switch fields, you will probably at some point have to accept lower pay. The new job also allows me to work from home and set my own hours, which is a HUGE draw.
I am super salad/soup oriented when it comes to lunches, because they are both dishes that I can play with to get fruit, veggies, protein, whole grains, and dairy. My go-to salad is a base of dark greens (baby kale, baby spinach, arugula, etc.) topped with walnuts or pecans, crumbled goat cheese, dried fruit (usually cranberries or cherries) and homemade vinagrette. I buy the trader joes mini-servings of goat cheese, because soft cheeses never last very long in my fridge. Then I can just throw the packet on top and crumble it when I mix up the salad at work. I keep little dressing containers and glug vinegar and olive oil in them in the morning, then shake to combine. Since everything but the greens last, I waste less. Soups are my favorite though, because you can freeze some and they don't get gross. I have done all types. My favorite is spicy butternut squash with spelt. Honestly, whatever appeals to you - make it from scratch on Sunday in a big batch, take some that week and freeze some for later in the month. We are currently doing a lunch soup club at work - three people bring soup to share with everyone each week, and we rotate - so you make a big serving once every three weeks or so and then have lots of options. IT IS THE BEST THING EVER. Oh, the other thing I do is make hot dishes. This week it's mexican lasagna: I layered corn tortillas, lime rice, beans, poblano peppers, salsa, and cheese a couple of times and baked at 350* for 40 minutes. I've also done ham and potato hot dish and MN hot dish (but with bechamel instead of cream soup from a can).
@jquick You all are sort of scaring me...I just went back to school for software engineering (my undergrad was in a liberal art and I have been teaching high school since). I already have a better-paying job at a local small company run by a woman, so it seems good, but seriously I'm afraid all of the work is just depressing and terrible now.
@lemur_niemer It is not just you. It is also me. And...pretty much everyone from Minnesota.
I live in Minneapolis, and I also wish that we had faster and more reliable public transportation. It is improving though - when the lightrail expansion into downtown St. Paul finally finishes, I will be able to take that into work. I disagree that the only people taking buses in this city are "marginal" or disabled somehow. A lot of my coworkers take the bus. It takes a little coordination and planning ahead, and some lines are better than others, but I do not consider living without a car "unthinkable".
@angry little raincloud I do not live in NYC, but I make about 2,000 less annually and my rent is comparable with utilities. (I am in a major city) I pay 160 a month for a gym membership for both myself and my boyfriend at a boxing gym and sometimes that is the only thing that allows me to remain sane. It is the best money I spend each month. No apologies for paying to workout somewhere I like. I will defend that financial decision to the death. (paying for the boyfriend is necessary because I only workout when other people will go with me, and he makes about 26,000/yr before taxes as a grad student)
@Worker Parasite Minnesota has that same blue law. Liquor stores are also not allowed to sell on Sunday :(
I misunderstood this - because when I hear lines I think "grocery store", and I have never been to a grocery store with 1 long line serviced by multiple cashiers - and I thought you were advocating fewer cashiers. I actually drive outside the city to go to a different grocery store than the nearest one (same chain) because the one near me is constantly understaffed and waiting in a grocery line for an hour is THE WORST. I do not want to chat with people. I want to buy my chicken and bread and leave.
I have a very similar background to the author - Global Studies degree, prestigious study abroad scholarship - and am not in DC mostly because I watched what happened to my friends who graduated the year before me who were not from the east coast. Most took service jobs and an unpaid internship and lived on someone's couch in DC for 6 months to 1 year before they were hired anywhere. That sounds like hell to me, and if a counselor had told me that was the cost of entry to most of the careers associated with my major, I would have studied to be an accountant or a programmer or really anything else instead.
The Minneapolis Institute of Art is always free to everyone (locals! tourists! students! millionaires! we love you all) except for the traveling exhibits that are a small additional amount. The Walker Art Institute, which is the contemporary art museum in MN is free every Tuesday. Both also do outstanding family weekend days once a month with activities and crafts for children. This has been my daily internet comment touting how awesome my home state is. You are welcome, and come visit anytime.