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Archive for the category “professional life”

There Are Times You Just Gotta Jump

I’ve said it numerous times that as we get older, we really get comfortable with fear.

So much so, that we decide not to try things, not to get hurt, not to fail, not to endure some kind of loss that may or may not come with whatever it is we are deciding NOT to do.

It’s sad. It’s a terrible place to be and I’ve been there.

Fear can paralyze us.

It can prevent us from loving who we want to love, fighting for what we want.

It can keep us under the illusion that we are safe.

But while we are merely surviving in safety and sucking up air, eating from time to time and using the bathroom. It’s kind of like we are just waiting around to die.

Sometimes life forces us to action, whether we like it or not.

So there are some schools of thought that we should be active and proactive in our actions so we can at least have a real say in our decisions instead of life forcing us to do so at the last-minute.

There is a give and take of energy in this universe. And what we do put out there, it does come back.

I won’t lie.

I was scared of letting go of my relationship for real, but even though I was calling myself dating, I wasn’t fully open to the prospect of going all in for some other man who entered my life. I won’t say the men I’ve dated recently were the one anyway, but it wasn’t until after my last interaction with my ex, I coined the phrase, “He is unable, therefore I can’t.”

He was unable to truly love me in the way I needed most. And if he can’t do it, he can’t do it.

The realization was something that actually gave me comfort in letting go.

I opened myself up to the possibility of rebuilding our relationship, but because he was so consumed with life happening to him, and a recent job loss, he did not have room to give me what I needed, and I had decided I no longer had the time or energy to wait.

My vacation allowed me time to step away from my life that was suffocating.

I was just working everyday, but not living.
I was constantly online looking for men, secretly hoping one of them had the answers to my happiness.

I took a chance, and overspent some money, but I went to a different country. I tried new foods, I snorkeled for the first time, and jumping off of a boat into the ocean was probably one of the top things I was most scared of, despite having on a life vest and travel mates who were excellent nurses assuring me nothing would happen to me.

There was fear, the vest and the team of nurses weren’t going to be enough. If I jump off this boat, I may go all the way down. Would this be my last day because I was being reckless? I’m not the strongest swimmer.

But even with all of the coaxing, I knew deep down, I had just enough to keep me afloat. I was more comfortable with water than I had ever been in my life and that I’d regret it if I didn’t at least try.

When you do something like that and over come a fear like that, and you finally learn how to breathe through the snorkel and finally look down, the world opens up to you in a crazy way. I opened my eyes and I just looked down, I breathed easier and I found myself excited like a child seeing the circus for the first time or the ocean.

I saw fishes of all shapes and sizes and colors, I saw the coral and I was amazed that I could have such a moment.

After spending most of my mornings in deep prayer and journaling, I came home refreshed.

I ate new food and met new people. I was blessed.

So what was going to change when I got home?

Was I going to go back to the gym again after work? Was I going to go back to my tee shirts?

Was I going to really go ahead and go to school?

I found myself looking up online programs, and thanks to the pushy nature of the admissions offices and their knack for intense follow-up, I was meeting deadlines.

I was purchasing books to help me study for the GRE.

I was studying for the GRE.

And today, I paid for and scheduled my test. Nov. 17. EEEKKK Hitting the panic button.

Am I still scared, yes. But I have a renewed sense of purpose I haven’t had in a very long time.

I was telling a friend that it felt natural to make peace with the end of my career in journalism and that I was allowed to have a new calling and a new dream and it doesn’t diminish what the old career and old dream meant to me.

In fact, it is a foundation. It’s still a career that was originally rooted in service and informing the public and making a difference and improving people’s quality of life through education and knowledge. So the transition to public health isn’t a wild leap. It’s an extension of where I am in my life.

I’m not looking forward to the test, but I am looking forward to starting the study and the research and the new challenge.

An urgency for my life sprang up in me.

I was no longer a child. But I am of the age where most people get married and have children and buy houses and I’m not in that group either.

I could take two years to do this for me.

I can jump off of the boat and see my new life spread before me and I can be proud that I went ahead and tried.

My Graduate Degree May Just Cost Less Than Starting A Family In Two Years

The decision to pursue a master’s degree in 2014 wasn’t an easy one.

All I could keep thinking about was the debt.

My father told me when I graduated from college nearly 10 years ago, that “the next one’s on you, kid.”

And I appreciate the sacrifices he and my mother made to give me an opportunity to have a fantastic education and experience that shaped my career and the rest of my life and how I was to see the world.

So this one’s on me.

I mainly decided to go back to school because it felt like this was the right time. I am so single it’s not funny, so I can’t blame a man for being a distraction, and I have no children to take all of my time, energy, youth and money.

Things at work have settled out, and if I can just hang on for two years, it’s all to the good. I can have my degree and get the professional change and new challenge I’ve been wanting, but just stopping short of getting with my current skill set and knowledge and experience.

Cool.

But you know how you sometimes have to talk yourself into an expensive trip or purchase and justify reasons you should do it?

Welp, I basically thought to myself, if I got married in the next two years, there are some numbers floating around the Web that report the average wedding these days would cost about $25,000.

That translates into about a year of grad school. Cool.

I’ve found other numbers that over the course of your child’s life you’ll spend about $241,000. The first two years, you’ll spend about $26,000 on your bundle of joy. Some sources like WebMd.com says, you may spend up to $15,000 just in hospital costs alone when you give birth.

So, now that I think about it. If I got married and pregnant and had a baby in the next two years, my degree (especially if I’m blessed with scholarships and grants) might actually turn out to be a bargain! Ha!

Blank

I was thinking about something last night and this morning.

My goal in life is to not be ridiculously wealthy. I would like to comfortably pay my bills and not have to think about it and when I want to travel, or eat out or buy something I really like, I don’t want to have to feel like I’m sacrificing to survive, or living from check to check. Just a simple existence. And I’d like to buy a house someday.

This became clearer when I went to the transitional housing shelter to drop off the food I made. The woman in charge was a fellow former journalist, her husband also in the business. She seemed like she was passionate about what she was doing and generally happy.

I already knew a long time ago (and I’ve mentioned it here) I want to work in mental health advocacy or with a program that helps women and girls.

It’s a new goal.

As I watch the world of journalism morph and die all around me, seeing talented friends and colleagues lose their jobs everyday, and the decline of great journalism for whatever it is that’s out there now (even though there are great blogs and non-traditional forms of media that I love), my initial dream of being a great reporter, who ends up writing a great weekly column well into retirement is over.

I’ve been fortunate to have lived my dream in a number of ways. I wanted to be a newspaper reporter and I did it. I got to cover awesome events and go to places and meet people I would have never imagined.

I wanted to become an editor and that was a major achievement for me. And I’ve been one for nearly 7 years. God is awesome. And as this industry changed, I was changing with it. Even though I was getting further and further away from writing, I was learning about content management systems, social media, video, podcasting and broadening my skills.

Sometimes I felt like the odd woman out working for a very specific kind of media company that most folks when I attend media conferences haven’t heard of. But I’ve been stable and blessed.

So the question is what now?

I’ve got no kids, I’ve got no husband. As my father has told me numerous times, if I want to switch gears at any point, I have the right to do so.

I have amazing friends who have taken insane leaps over the last few years. They’ve gone back to school, they’ve left stressful, unfulfilling jobs, they’ve even left the country and they are all doing just fine. They still have places to live and food to eat.

What real risks have I taken?

I’ve been wondering what’s next? And instead of wanting a Pulitzer, I want to be more impactful on a smaller, micro level.

I don’t want to run from new challenges.

I didn’t realize how sometimes, there is a great challenge in being comfortable because now you have to hold yourself accountable for what you do next and the level of energy you put in towards that.

When you are grinding for your life, it’s easy to make goals and decide you have no choice but to achieve them.

I thought to myself that this is the first time in my life that I didn’t have an immediate do or die goal.

I’ve wanted to buy a modest house or condo, but it freaks me out and I haven’t really saved money.

The tee-shirt company is still in limbo because I’ve made the excuse that I need to get my credit card balance down to something more reasonable so I can use it to buy inventory.

I dream of going to Greece and my goal is to do it next year.

But unlike when I was a kid or a college student, my future hasn’t seemed so clear lately.

In fact, it’s felt blank.

Love life? Blank.

Professional life, blank.

There once was a time where I thought maybe I wanted to be like my bosses’ boss and run a bunch of publications and deal with the politics and madness.

Eh, not so much.

Being like the woman running the transitional shelter seemed waaay more appealing as of late.

I used to always think about doing more, or the awards I didn’t win. Or that maybe my career as a reporter was too short. I missed having front page stories and bylines and rushing off to do a story.

But I’ve always been where I’m supposed to be. I’ve been blessed. I’ve had moments and achievements to be proud of that no one can take from me. I’ve fought for my respect, for my paycheck, for my current position.

I’ve tried to aid other people in their personal and professional success and offer encouragement and support.

So I have no clue what’s next. But I’m starting to notice that as I get older, I’m wanting a simple life of giving back and service. I don’t need to be flashy, or have a corner office but I want to lead a comfortable life full of food, loved ones and travel.

I don’t think that’s a bad goal…

Be You In the Face Of Intimidating People Anyway

This post is inspired by a quick little message I got the other day, via LinkedIn.

An old boss who always seemed to terrorize me, and was never satisfied with my work and who never praised me, came out of nowhere to congratulate me on my latest promotion.

I asked a friend (who was in the trenches with me at the time and knew this person well) if I was terminally ill, or if he was terminally ill. She laughed. Then we made jokes about the old jokes about he and I having sexual tension.

I thanked the ex-boss for the compliment and noted that it meant a lot to hear it from him that he was proud of me.

He quickly responded that he has always loved my grit and determination and advised me to never lose it.

I really thought my days on the Earth were numbered and that the Rapture would commence once I closed the email. But I smiled. I felt validated and was left thankful, the Good Lord gave me a little more time.

Some folks would say I shouldn’t care, and what this old boss thinks of me shouldn’t matter. But he finally stepped up, and damn it, I do care. It felt nice. I told you I was awesome, mean boss! Now you see me! Ha! I still became somebody anyway!! I’m still in the industry! Ok, that was immature.

Moving on.

I’ve had a couple of bosses who were terribly hard on me early in my career. I mean, I really felt like it was bordering on abuse or hazing and I’m not exaggerating or complaining like today’s young folks who are really wack (for a prime example of our über entitled next generation, read this http://doanie.wordpress.com/2010/02/23/mean-professor-tells-student/).

But from time to time, when I just couldn’t take it anymore, I would have moments where I’d face off, toe-to-toe with those folks, job security be damned. When I had those moments, I secretly dared them to fire me, because I knew I was right.

There was even one instance with the boss that I mentioned, who told me to my face he felt I was too green and that my well-connected and highly respected recommendations were “overembellished.”

So I went off. And I even went as far as saying that despite all of that, I wasn’t going to quit, or be pushed into quitting. So if you are going to fire me, you call security and have me escorted out. I didn’t come all this way, and move my life to a vastly different part of the country, not to do what I came to do.

When I took another job, this editor and another difficult editor did say I reminded them of themselves as a young reporter and that they were so hard on me, because, well it was a hard business. They congratulated me and wished me well. While I disagree with how far they took the tough love without balancing it with necessary praise and acknowledgement of improvement, hey, it was a life lesson. I did get a tougher skin.

A second boss, who was at the job I landed in after the first mean boss, may have been even rougher than the first.

I was on assignment with this boss out of the country, and when he said something out of line, I looked at him dead in the eye and said, “You are impossible. Your expectations for this situation are completely unreasonable.”

He looked back at me and said that no one has ever said that to him. He actually smiled. The next day, we were having dinner at the top of the CN tower in Toronto, on him.

He was angry when I quit that job, but I told him I was underpaid and the conditions of the workplace were not conducive to my growth and things that I was promised upon taking the job never happened. I have to make the right business decision for myself.

In turn, he held my last check, citing that according to my contract, I had to pay back my relocation expenses and upon receipt, I could then have my last check.

I negotiated a signing bonus with my new job, to get me out of that wack deal. A mentor loaned me money to pay my rent until the whole thing was resolved.

Sometime after that madness, a person I deeply respect said that boss actually spoke highly of me and said he respected me.

To hear that from such a complicated person, who had ego that rivals that of Kanye West, I was shocked. Especially since he was so emotional about me quitting and was heard saying that I had no integrity for breaking my contract.

So what’s the point of all of this?

I often hold back. Sometimes it seems like I back down. But every now and then there are the moments where I stand up, put the fear aside and stand up for myself and for what I really believed was right, no matter how intimidating the person was/is/ or pretends to be.

And in both situations, I may have found out way after the fact, but I eventually found out that through those moments, I gained their respect.

That said, I didn’t cuss anyone out, or say something disrespectful, but I firmly stood my ground and spoke my truth. I’m sure God was looking out for me, because maybe other people have gotten fired for doing such things, but I still stand by it. Sometimes you have to show people that you demand respect no matter what level of the game you are in.

The sweet little LinkedIn message was a reminder to, as that ex-boss said, never lose my grit and determination.

In some cosmic way, he might have been right on time with that…

Professional Bullies Are Real. Stop Those Jerks Too

When there are people in your life who continue to bully you, block you from achieving your goals, who seem to take pleasure in your failures and rage when you succeed, all of these high-minded people remind you to never sink to their level.

These folks are apathetic to your cause and it’s the right thing to say.

Higher minded people take it a few steps further and psychoanalyze the person and tell you that these people are over compensating for what’s lacking in their life, and for whatever reason you represent or remind them of what’s wrong with them.

The very awesome book that I recommend to everyone called “The Four Agreements” calls all of this not taking stuff personally.

Don’t take people’s negative attitudes, their rejection of you or your ideas, or what seems to be a real dislike of you and anything about you personally.

They may even say, “you are ugly,” “you are stupid,” “you can’t do that.” But when people lash out on you, it really isn’t about YOU. It’s about their baggage and their stuff and their hurts from the past. It’s a deep thing to accept, when folks are saying YOU and using your name and then bashing you to others.

I’m talking about all of this because there is a woman on my job who I’ve had serious problems with over the years. At one point she was my supervisor, and that’s when things got horribly bad.

And it couldn’t have come at a worse time. She seemed to pounce on me even more when my engagement ended. She’s even waved her hand in my face a month after my relationship ended bragging about a new ring her husband gave her. She said, “I know you are going through what you are going through, but you’re still a woman and we like shiny things.” She was delighted to add, that she knew my world had fallen apart, so let me flaunt my ring and my husband and my marriage.

And anytime I tried to pick myself up, apply for a fellowship or come up with a new and exciting idea to pull me out of the funk, there she was trying to shoot it all down. She went as far as making a bootleg version of my idea and trying to present it, and compete with me, to the point of interrupting my meetings and even asking if her version was better than mine.

Everyone in the room was shocked. But I felt fine. She showed how ridiculous she was and this act helped me solidify my case.

I was fixated on this woman. I had anxiety everyday over this person because I felt like she was always watching me, and always wanting to see my downfall.

The back story is this woman, I think really wanted to be close friends with me and because she was older, thought she should be my mentor. When I basically wanted to keep things professional and had boundaries with this woman, I think it offended her.

But after I pulled back some layers, I realized she was a sad, sad person. But she’s horribly prideful and has a tendency to be bossy, smug and not very nice to people. She was always posturing to show people how smart and capable she was.

As adults often say to children, bullies operate in keeping you silent. And the same was here. She was a bully. Plain and simple.

She’s a small woman, plain, and she didn’t even have super impressive credentials, but she knew how to manipulate people and situations where people would give her what she wanted to shut her up or not be bothered with her.

The day I finally stealthily built my case against her, I went to see the big boss. After hours. The boss basically told me they valued me as a worker and that no one should work under the conditions I was working under. They removed this person as my supervisor, and moved my desk to the other side of the building. My big boss said that I should not have suffered so long, and I should have spoken up sooner, but I handled the entire situation with class and dignity.

Since then, I’ve been able to grow and blossom and change titles and get raises. Since then, she’s had some professional humbling experiences. I never delighted in them though, but cosmic justice was being served.

Yesterday, this same nemesis came to my desk and smugly asked me why I had a personal mission statement and why I had it hanging in my cubicle.

She was also interrupting yet another lunch at my desk, so this vexed me even more.

But calmly, I told her it reminded me of what’s important to ME. I wanted to tell this chick, why don’t you have one?

I realized after that this woman had no vision. She’d already resigned her life to what it was and she didn’t like that I liked myself, or that I had ideas, or that I had a life outside of this job. She’s married and has two beautiful children, however, she’s a hollow person. And there are rumors of her husband actually being gay. To make matters worse, she makes jokes that he is more effeminate.

So, yes. I feel bad for her. I’m sad that she hasn’t done the self work to find her self-worth, or she hasn’t found out that she doesn’t have to snuff out my light to make her dull ass light appear to shine brighter.

Nothing about this woman strikes me as genuine and real. She’s always scheming and trying to figure out how to stay ten steps ahead of everyone and this woman, in one period of my work life spread her poison to me. She refuses to let her self be real, or vulnerable, which is essential to living a better life.

I’m thankful to be free of it, and to see her for what she truly is.

She bristles at my confidence and tries to cut it short. I did let her get to me a bit yesterday, and then I realized, I know myself now, better than I did when she was bullying me, and I proved to both her and myself she could not bully me anymore and from that point on, things only got better for me.

I like using the word bully, because we associate it with kids and teenagers. Bully, bully, bully…I’m singing the song.

We need to lift the veil off of the everyday grown bullies sucking up coffee rather than Capri Sun, or sitting spreading their poison in your carpool. This crap is not healthy. This crap is not simply “competition,” and survival of the fittest. We need healthy, whole people working to make our products and services better and we need work cultures that promote that concept and expose the foolishness.

We need to talk about the folks who publicly shame you if you didn’t buy five boxes of their kids girl scout cookies. We need to shame the idea stealers, the credit takers and the folks who play mental professional warfare with us every single day.

Human resource folks need to take the time out and discuss workplace and professional bullying. It will make people take sick days, it will make people drink after work, it will make folks come home and bring that negativity to the house, it will ruin relationships. It may make people take their own lives, or finally lash out on the bully. My ex told me he hated that I talked about this woman every day and it was ruining his day and it impeded me from even asking about his day or listening to him if he had a rough day.

So I’ma call it what it is. We have grown folk bullies running rampant in our workplaces, who seem to believe that everyday they are on Survivor or the Apprentice and that it has to be them or you. Do not accept that crap, and don’t get sucked into playing their game. Call it what it is and get folks to address it. You are not crazy, you are being bullied, and no you are not too old, and don’t let your age shame you into silence. Bullying unlike Trix, ain’t just for kids.

So just because it isn’t taking place on the playground or the locker room, it’s in a corner office at a Fortune 500 company, in the mailroom or in cubical land, or a hair salon, or an auto shop or even in academia. IT’S BULLYING.

People, we got work bullies. Grown ass folks who should know better doing the bullying and grown ass folks who know better and know what it is taking the bullying. We have to stop it here too.

And if you are a popular person at work, and you see someone else getting “picked” on, reach out to that person and help them stand up. You don’t think that now that we are grown these behaviors don’t hurt any less? Get out of here.

Growing up doesn’t mean you lose feelings as you age. We just train ourselves to stifle them even more.

Women, Negotiation and the $10,000 Rule

koratmember/freedigitalphotos.net

koratmember/freedigitalphotos.net

It’s a monster out here in terms of the job market and finding the right gig.

I read a disappointing, and yet truthful article this morning about how the way folks work and do business has shifted and that we basically will never see the days of staying with companies for 20 years, pensions, retirement and such.

As the world gets smaller, thanks to technology, only the hustlers and entrepreneurs will survive. Period. You’ve got to get your own hustle and work it to death and stack your money on your own terms.

It’s interesting that after reading this article with my breakfast, later I found myself  talking to a young woman at work, who I just love and want to see her do well. She has the same apprehensions I had as a young woman around 25, 26.

Her jaw dropped when I told her with a serious and straight face that I always ask for $10,000 more than my current salary for any new job.

A male I was dating, years ago gave me that successful gem, and I’ve never backed down from it. These days, I have dropped to as low as $8,000, but I simply cannot afford to go lower.

That’s bad business for my brand.

I am a single woman living in the DC area. It ain’t cheap. I gotta eat, pay rent alone and just live. Period.

And with my years of experience and what I’m bringing to the table, any move I make, I’m not doing it for less than $8-10,000 above my current salary. Period.

The young lady was shocked. She said in these times no one can afford to be so commanding.

I told her in these times, I can’t afford to work for less than what I am worth. I am a woman, I am automatically paid less than men. I am a woman of color, I’m often already paid less than my white, female counterparts.

The young lady I was talking to is a latina. I told her, asking for that amount is simply trying to break even. It’s basic math.

With time, you do build confidence. I explained to her, if I hadn’t asked for more money during various periods, the company would have never given it to me.

The second year with my company, I presented the evidence and I got an 8 percent increase to go along with the incremental increases we got annually. But at rates of 1 or 2 percent for those annual increases– if there aren’t any freezes that year– you still aren’t gaining much ground.

Closed mouths don’t get fed.

If I didn’t get the bump I got in the spring, If I never asked for the increase I got a few years ago, the pay cut we had to take in the fall would have been catastrophic.

Women, if you are putting in the work, and you have proven your worth you have to ask for the compensation.

You just have to.

You can’t be afraid. They can tell you no, but at least they know where your head is at and that if you do leave, they can’t be surprised because you did ask them for more money.

I’m not saying march up to your bosses’ office and demand a raise during crazy times, after a bunch of layoffs. No.

You have to read the climate of the economy and where the company is financially, before you have that serious talk with your boss.

Even in low times, it doesn’t hurt to remind folks that you have weathered the storm, contributed greatly and you want to be remembered for your dedication and service when times are good and the company has rebounded a bit.

Companies are always about their bottom line.

Women, we need to be about ours too. We cannot be martyrs.

Men have a tendency to not have a problem with feeling like they deserve more money than what they are getting. They’ll tell everyone so. Including their bosses.

There was a young man on my job, who had only been around for six months and was actually insulted by the 2 percent bump folks automatically got around review time.

Don’t be delusional, but don’t be a fool by not at least asking for what you deserve and what is an appropriate salary for your position and the region in which you live. Folks need to come correct at least in those areas, if nothing else.

And in my opinion, my male friend was right. $10,000 is the magic number.

By the time you are excited about a $5,000 raise, unless you are working at your dream job and most of your daily stresses have been completely removed, taxes have sucked out a good $2,000 and you’ll hardly feel it.

So tell me, am I nuts for thinking folks should tell a potential new job to shove it if they aren’t offering an increase of at least $8-10,000?

Isn’t the point of a new job/promotion to advance?

Are women getting better at the art of negotiation? Or are we still trying to keep the peace?

And I hate that. How is asking for what you deserve rocking the boat? I hate when women say, they don’t want to rock the boat or cause trouble because they had the nerve to ask for more money. Trust me, companies are counting on you not to speak up.  Once again, folks need to know where you stand and that you are aware of what you bring to the table, and that you know that they know you may not be getting properly compensated.

I’m just saying…

As Beyonce says, “Eff you, pay me.”

*Sidenote. Please have proof that you are killing it in the work place. Write down your accomplishments, save emails from superiors who praise successful tasks, bring back info from conferences… etc. If you are a lazy, unproductive bum, do not march your raggedy self anywhere asking for more money. Please have a seat.

Talking About Progress, People

Alrighty, so after my post about making promises to your self, even if it’s day-by-day, or week-by-week, I was asked to write about my progress.

This week taught me that you must have daily goals and you’ll feel better that you accomplished SOMETHING.

This week also taught me that if you don’t do every single thing you set out to do, as long as you accomplished something everyday, you are not a complete loser.

Mission one was to do an exercise in the morning and in the evening, everyday.

Ok. I did that on Monday. The other days, no dice. I started my period and things went to hell. But I did make sure, come hell or high water I have my morning workout.

Mission two was to be vegetarian all week to help jump-start the weight loss along with the everyday exercise.

Welp, I went pescetarian because I just needed more, um substance in my life and I was looking for good vegetarian recipes, but I wasn’t really inspired. Fish is my friend. In terms of food, I think I did really well this week with food choices. My snacks consisted of apples, baked Pepperidge Farms crackers and 80 calorie cheese sticks.

I said I was going to drink just water all week. Well, I went to the grocery store, so I picked up Tropicana 50 juice, almond milk and some orange juice, all low in calories. The majority of liquid I’m consuming is water, but I will have an ocassional glass of the low-calorie juices or the milk. All still good in my book.

So while I made some amendments to the promises, the point of training myself to live healthier daily is still prominent. I’m proud of myself. Especially today.

I’ve been bloated and angry, and this morning it was a struggle. For starters, things went wrong with my workout because I didn’t get up on time, so I felt rushed, and now I’ve learned in order to wake myself up morning workouts gotta be some form of cardio that gets me moving or some kind of yoga that allows me to do a lot of stretching.

No strength training, no abs (billy’s ab bootcamp workout is the truth!). So, even though I felt like today was a fail and I really wasn’t energetic or giving it my all, I pushed through. And I also realized what I needed to do to have an effective morning workout that would make me feel good about myself for the rest of the day. So it wasn’t a total loss although I was disappointed in my energy level and that I couldn’t lift it.

I learned an important lesson about myself.

Taking action on my fitness and eating has prompted me to take action in other ways.

I started looking for a new place and I found one that is bigger and more awesome at a price I’d be willing to pay, for a bigger spot. Now, pulling the trigger is something else, altogether.

I stopped waiting for that dream job to call me back and broke the promise I made to not apply for anything else until I heard a yes or no.

I saw two jobs I think I’d really like, (one of which would be totally different from what I do, and would be associated with a fantastic cause) and I went ahead and applied for them. There is no point in me just waiting and waiting and torturing myself. Would I like the “dream job”? Sure, but all of this inactive waiting is making me feel like I’m just standing still. And what’s today’s lesson?

Everyday, DO SOMETHING. ACCOMPLISH SOMETHING.

So by just sending out those apps two nights in a row, I felt better.

I did something. I took an action for my life.

For four days in a row, I exercised. I took an action.

Because I was tired of waiting on the dream job, I emailed the receptionist, with whom I believe I built a lovely rapport. I asked her if she heard anything. She told me there has not been an announcement about the position being filled just yet. She suggested I call the person I interviewed with to follow-up.  I may do that tomorrow.

From this, I deduce that either they are about to fill it, they’ve selected someone and the info just hasn’t gone public yet.

Or,

They haven’t filled it yet and they are still trying to figure it out.

Either way, all is not lost, just yet.

So that information still managed to be useful.

I took an action. I’ve been very cautious to not over kill on sending follow-up emails or phone calls, but I think I didn’t overstep my bounds in this instance.

So today’s point again is there is no progress without action. You have to take a step, you have to just do something. It may be painful, it may be risky, scary, uncomfortable, but doing something and knowing you put forth an effort does make you feel better and feel alive.

Even the King sang about action…

A Compass, When I Just Want A GPS…

One of my obsessions from 2012 that I will probably carry into 2013 is a compass.

Pretty simple huh? I might as well start fire with stones and sticks.

I have a Pinterest board dedicated to all things compass, primarily great jewelry or even a tattoo or two.

Something about a compass inspires me, because in my opinion a compass appeals to the side of us that’s willing to venture out into the unknown, but also gives a certain nod to the side that seeks security in at least having some clue as to what direction we are headed.

I admire the compass even more for what it did for folks, pre GPS, and how most of us can’t even look up in the sky and figure out direction according to the sun and stars.

The compass has a certain meaning to me. I featured a compass on one of the shirts I designed, with a heart at the center.

I hoped that the wearer of the shirt would “follow their heart” because, usually, as convoluted or as strange as it may feel, even counterintuitive at times; following your heart/gut/spirit or if you believe in God, and/or following what He’s saying to you will always lead you to the right place. Always.

But there are days like today, where I get tested about that.

As I wait almost a month to hear back from what I believe to be a dream job, things are going in strange directions at my current job, where a co-worker has pointed out, may actually benefit me. If I squint and cock my head to the side, I can sort of make out the potential truth in what this super optimistic person has said.

Prayer is a powerful thing, but I said this one particular prayer out of fear and mainly the fear of rejection: “Lord, help me to accept if I don’t get the dream job, and help me to accept it if it’s your will, I remain at the old.”

I feel like God has given me a compass, when I’m begging for a GPS right now.

He’s given me everything I need to move forward, but I want specific turn-by-turn directions.

Today, a compass, today, just knowing the sun rises in the east and sets in the west ain’t enough. I want to know exactly where I’m going.

I want that phone call and the yes.

Or, I want my current job to say, hey, you’ve been through a lot and now that we’ve moved the one person left on your team to another department and it’s just you, because we can’t hire anyone else until um, March (who said I was going to be here in March to train them, eh? and I’m the only one now who does and knows this super essential stuff), we are going to give you a $20,000 raise to truly satisfy you and make up for the pay cut you had to take a few months ago.

So, all I’ve got is a compass on a shirt and the one in my heart and right now, it doesn’t seem to be leading me anywhere.

I hope I see the way clearly soon…

Holiday Crashers and Holiday Haters

Oh folks. It’s that time of year once again.

If you are blessed to have a gig, many of you are about to go to your office holiday shin dig.

The big willies will come down from their ivory towers to kick it with the worker Whos, who will try to imbibe as much free alcohol and eat as much free grub as they possibly can handle. After all, we deserve it. It’s the least they can do right?

Then the super ambitious folks, will take turns trying to find something of substance to say to the important folks, who will forget who they are on the ride home back to the Emerald City office.

LOL. I know I’m mixing so many stories and references. I’m amused, aren’t you?

Anyway, I’m no different. My company shelled out a decent amount of dough to ring in the holiday season at a local nice hotel/conference center.

There were a number of things I peeped at the party that was just fascinating to me.

One person in management had a super come up this year, while basically everyone else suffered.

And he showed it. And we all noticed it.

Homeboy strolled in fresh out of the Joseph A. Banks winter collection. I swear I heard Outkast’s “So Fresh and So Clean” when he hit the room.

With a large glass of cab in my hand, I said what everyone was thinking, “Oooh somebody’s brand new…”

So he gets the 2012 NeNe Leaks come up award. Congrats.

I’d like to give the Psy International Infiltration award to the Asian lady who just randomly crashed our holiday party and did not give a good gosh darn and made herself a plate, sat down, smiled a lot and pretended to be lost and unable to understand English.

She was from another event down the hall, and the organization holding it is quite international and quite medical. She knew some damn English. She came during the mingle wine and beer hour, and returned yet again when the buffet was on and then helped herself to some dessert and coffee.

I fell out. She was so gangsta, I could not be mad at her. I mean she really acted like she was supposed to be there. Man, I need her level of guts. I enjoyed her immensely. I strive to be like her in 2013. That level of don’tgiveadamnness is legendary.

Really.

Ok, so finally, let’s get to the more grinchly matters.

There’s a girl at work who is friends with a former friend. I’ve written about this former friend before and I think I’ve written about how this co-worker obviously hates me now due towhatever this former friend has said about me.

And this is how this chick was looking at me the whole party. Photo credit: MTV.com

And this is how this chick was looking at me the whole party. Photo credit: MTV.com

Like, I think this woman thinks I am personally responsible for H1N1, athlete’s foot, cramps, and death. We ended up sitting at the same large table at the party. She ignored me, which takes skill and concentration only sitting one person away. And hey, I’m not going to go out of my way to hate you equally when you are working so hard to dislike me. So I left her alone. She wouldn’t even get involved in general table conversation if I was speaking. The looks, just everything was too much.

The good news is, she’s relocating to another state and I’ve been working from home, so we don’t see each other that much anyway. But from the eye darts this woman has been throwing me, you’d think I’d slept with her husband and played a video with director’s commentary, sitting on his lap, playing with his hair at the holiday party.

So it leads me to wonder, what the hell did my ex friend tell this woman I did to her?

It doesn’t matter. God don’t like ugly. In fact, my homie God made it so that I won a $100 gift card to Best Buy!


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The whole table cheered and congratulated. The disgruntled co-worker, not so much.

Can’t steal my joy, I’m about to put $100 on a new laptop!!! Whoo hoo! Praise sweet baby Jesus!

I’ve decided not to give it any more energy, but it cracks me up how folks can decide to dislike someone who they were generally cool with and pleasant to and then suddenly act like this person was the first person to introduce rappers to skinny jeans. I’d hate them too, but that person deserves the kind of venom ol girl was serving up more than me. So once again this ex friend is a jerk, and has solidified that my life is loads better without her being in it. That kind of foolishness is annoying. Lord I’m glad I have mature, awesome friends in my life who don’t have that kind of time. Thank you again, sweet baby and grown Jesus.

It was like just the sound of my voice was grating on her last nerve. Once again, immature to hate someone by proxy, especially if they’ve done nothing to you and was always nice and polite to you.

So there you have it…

Speaking of office holiday parties, New Guy invited me to his… Yes, I’m blushing and smiling. Looks like things are moving along nicely… stay tuned.

There was a really funny do’s and don’ts list for holiday office parties that I saw earlier this week and now I can’t remember where to look. I wanted to share! I’ll have to add it later.

Have a great time this season, don’t lose your job!

Trouble Sleeping

I can’t sleep. I’m writing this post all riled up. I guess my bout of insomnia is a mixture of things. I was off today for Columbus Day and I basically stayed in my house since Friday evening.

I’ve managed to at least feel like I did something constructive, by getting some car repairs done and applying to two more awesome jobs. One of the jobs is with an organization I’ve applied to about four times now. Geez.

The anxiety of job-hunting is maddening. As the days go by, I find myself getting more and more antsy. More and more dissatisfied. My faith is wavering. I’m trying to pray more. My heart beats faster as I try to sleep. I’ve been sleeping with low classical music in the background to calm my psyche.

Something has to give soon.

Anyway, with so much time to myself, it’s horribly easy to get into a funk, ask yourself questions about what you’ve done wrong in life and watch “Dirty Dancing” then almost killing an entire regular can of Pringles over the course of two days.

I’ve been thinking over a bunch of things.

My career/path.

My romantic life. Ironically, one dude who I turned down last year has popped up to ask me how I’m doing. Another sweetheart of a guy, but I just didn’t feel that chemistry on my end.

Was it a reminder that I’m shallow and ridiculous and destined to be alone I am because I keep relying on that feeling I get (the same feeling I knew I felt but still wound up hurt in the end).

It made me revisit and text the guy who makes my blood boil, yet toes curl. He was still up for a little fun and the exchange of dirty messages.

But as I edge closer to a year of no physical lovin, I want it to be right. I don’t want it to suck. I don’t want to get emotionally reckless with the handsome, intelligent, toe-curler, who sends me mixed messages.

One of my good male friends sat in my living room last night, determined to help me at least get out of the house and see a movie and told me, my expectations for awesome sex after my hiatus is a horrible idea.

He’s probably right. I’m also glad that he brought a bottle of champagne. His champagne and conversation did help make me feel better. I returned the favor by making ribs and chicken.

I also thought to myself, I have a couple of close male friends I love dearly and I’m super comfortable with them. I can say anything and they are accepting, they see me as a lady still (I can be raunchy) and they always laugh at my jokes. They get me.

If only the men I’m attracted to were like my close male friends.

Back to the other stuff.

I feel like everything is changing around me so quickly, but the optimism I had as a young 20-something who can take on the world, has certainly subsided.

You couldn’t tell me no. I saved rejection letters from publications I dreamed of writing for.

Because I knew I’d show them all.

And there are some accomplishments I’ve had that totally certified and validated me and I’m so thankful for them. What a ride.

But what’s in me right now? What is inside of me?

I keep trying to push, but it’s been tough. I feel worn out. I don’t know if it is me getting older and jaded, or if that thing in me that motivated people to say yes, is gone.

How did I get people to say yes?

Do I have to start lowering my salary requirements?

I shouldn’t have to. I’ve worked so hard for years. I deserve what I’m asking for.

Can I find a balance between money, career, the business I want to nurture and grow?

Who are my allies? How do I build new ones?

Who and what inspires me? How do I ramp up the inspiration?

I was a little girl who told people I’d be president and I’d be in the White House one day. I did it as a reporter while an intern in college and then later on with another news organization.

I’ve got to find that person again. No is never an option. I say I’m going to do something I will.

In my high school yearbook, my footnote for my senior photo said, the world was going to read my words. They have.

Something has to happen. While I’m disillusioned with mainstream journalism, I have to believe my job that blends writing and health advocacy is just around the corner and that one of these several jobs in that area will choose me. It has to happen.

That’s been the pattern of my life.

About six years ago, shortly after wanting to step into four lanes of traffic because I wanted a few days in the hospital and not wanting to go into a job I hated, an opportunity presented itself. I didn’t want to die, I just wanted a break. I watched the cars whiz by, and I was so tempted to just step in. Folks think I’m so strong.

And when I tell that story, they are shocked.

But that’s just it. We all get tired. We all feel like our problems, our inadequacies, they are all too much. And even though fighting through it is the “right” thing to do, and what we’re supposed to do, sometimes the effort it takes to just stand, keep our eyes open and even ball our fists takes everything you have.

Sometimes the most absurd thing like stepping into the street and getting a few days in the hospital sounds like peace.

We all think these thoughts in some kind of way. It may not be as far as self harm or suicide. It may be staying in bed with the covers over your head and not going to work. It could be ignoring your crying kids, or eating fast food in your car alone. Sometimes, we just get tired. We don’t want to be responsible, we want to be selfish, because fighting through is too tiring. It’s too tiring.

When another job seemed to be too much but paid too little, and I paid for my gas with couch change and I went to sleep hungry because I had to use my entire paycheck for rent, an opportunity presented itself.

I’m not in as dire a situation as the ones I’ve mentioned, and I certainly don’t want things to get that bad, but each and every time, just before I was at the very end of my mental and emotional rope, a window was cracked and I got out to the other side.

I’m hoping that the way I feel right now. This weariness, this tiredness means I’m toward the end of the battle and that the change I’m looking for, the bright side I’m aching for is just within reach.

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