Day 15, or ‘I’m So Over This’

Try to think back to an unpleasant day you had at work.

Maybe it’s not a difficult task. Maybe it is. Depends on how you would describe unpleasant.

I’ve had unpleasant days where co-workers have flat out yelled at me for minor discretions. I’ve had days where I’ve dropped IKEA furniture pieces on my feet. And then there are those days I’ve been called in to plunge the toilets in the men’s restroom.

Yet, nothing is coming quite near to the feeling I’ve had this past week, having returned from spending the holidays at home with my family.

I haven’t had one of those typically terrible days at work where all I’ve wanted to do is crawl home and lick my wounds. Instead, my days have become…mundane. I’ve come to the realization that I am ready to move on from my current job.

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Somebody needs to update her resume…

Immediately after concluding this I felt dread, anxiety, and guilt. I think in America we’re conditioned to firstly, work constantly, and secondly, have an undying gratitude to our employers. I remember as a kid going in to work with my mom on occasional Saturdays, just so she could make sure she was ahead of the game come the following week. She was incredibly passionate about being a dedicated and productive employee.

I feel guilty for wanting to trade up my position and for wanting new challenges. It’s almost like a betrayal to the company that has taken such good care of me for the last year. I don’t think these feelings will ever go away completely; I’m a people pleaser and I do very much adore my current workplace. However, I don’t want to be someone who stays where they are because they’re too afraid of hurting others or of new opportunities.

In times like these, I find it helpful to go straight to the worst-case scenario. If I found a new job this year, what would realistically happen?

What if my boss gets upset? Ultimately, she should not have final say over my life choices. She’ll have to deal.

What if the new place ends up being a terrible fit? Hopefully interviewing with the company will weed out any major warning signs, but in the end it’s a gamble. I know that I can handle whatever obstacles that are thrown at me, and if I need to move on then I will.

What if I can’t actually find a new job? Sometimes our imagined timelines don’t always pan out, but it’s important to never let the goal fade. I would keep searching in earnest, reimagining a new deadline or plan if the first couldn’t be reached.

I have learned so much in the year plus that I’ve spent in Los Angeles, and especially with my current employer. I plan on staying on a little longer in 2016, but I’ve got a lot of career ahead of me that I think I’m ready to take the next step on, despite how nerve wracking it already feels. In the mean time, I want to dedicate myself to learning as much as I can from my mentors, as well as developing relevant skills on the side (hello web design!).

Have a great weekend everyone 🙂

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Day 13

Confession time: this week I’ve been a little…absent minded. Whether it’s been at work or home, I haven’t been 100% there and focused. Except for when I ate an entire bag of jelly beans the other night and finally hung our new lamp fixture in the dining room.
Have you ever reached a place where you find yourself slacking a bit? I used to be the queen of always finding things to do. Now, I’ve let a few things slide. Like laundry. And meal planning. And going above and beyond at work.

Today I sat in on an interview with a potential intern and I listened as my boss explained to the interviewee what kind of hard working individuals we hire. “We’re looking for people who are willing to improve at whatever it is they’re doing, at least 10% every day,” she concluded.

Where can 10% take you?

10%. I walked out of the interview fixated on that number, and it stuck with me for the rest of the day. 10%. As I was cleaning up our office, I suddenly thought what if I clean this, but 10% better than what I’d normally do? What would that look like? Before I knew it, I created a rain readiness bucket for our future battles with El Niño (think: lots of rain).
10%.

Such a small number, but even that much of a percentage had me thinking about how to do what I was currently doing, but better. It’s a small enough step to not be daunting, but encouraging enough to make me want to push for higher quality results.
May you push yourself for that 10% today in whatever you do!

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Day 7

You guys…this is it.

This is the moment. The moment where I realized that I have no excuses left. For anything.

Let me explain.

This morning, as I was opening the office with my co-worker, we starting chatting about our goals. And if you’ve read this blog with any sort of regularity, you’d know I’m a huge sucker for goals and anything goal-related.

My co-worker is a fresh faced lad who graduated college only last summer. He told me he was anxious to get going on his goals, which mainly revolved around getting back into doing standup comedy, practicing his swing dancing (he’s a classy guy), and figuring out where he wants to take his career.

I applauded his effort, but reminded him not to be too hard on himself. He did, after all, just graduate college.

And suddenly, I realized that I did not just graduate college. I graduated

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Me as a fresh faced grad! Alas, it’s time to get moving on my life’s to-do list.

college going on two years ago. Until this point, I had always let that be just one of my reasons to let my own goals slide.

I just graduated college, I have plennnnnnty of time to do [insert task].

I’m new to Los Angeles! I just need to get familiar with the city, that’s all.

Nobody ever gains success until they’re at least 25 anyways….

I’ll start [insert creative project] as soon as I’m settled into adulthood.

The list goes on.

I have been my own worst enemy from day one by not holding myself accountable. I based this on the reasoning that as a new grad, I needed to get some sort of “footing”, both mentally and physically in the city.

The truth is, time is ticking, and I have too much to do to let it slide by. If I want to turn my dreams into plans, I need to use every day to its fullest. No excuses.

Happy goal planning!

Workplace Warfare

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I love my job, but work isn’t always fun. Especially when things aren’t meshing well with your fellow co-workers. T is about my age, and has worked with us for many months now, and is hardworking and funny. Except when something bothers her. Which seems to be a lot of the time. Little things easily aggravate her, slow drivers make her see red, and watch out if it’s just a bad day – you become her verbal punching bag.

On top of this, it’s become difficult to see where my job ends and hers begins. Technically speaking, she’s the assistant to the assistant (me), but my boss has been taking to treating us as the same person. This is problematic because some days I catch her doing my job for me, and not necessarily doing it well.

I hemmed and hawed over what to do about this for a while. I asked my mom for advice, I complained in hushed whispers to other co-workers, and silently fumed, but this was getting me nowhere.

Getting my professional game face on!

Getting my professional game face on!

Finally, I did what I should have done all along: I asked my boss if she and I could have a sit down. To prepare, I made a list of everything that was not working well for our department, and some possible solutions. I tried not to focus on specific incidents that had happened, but larger, overall trends. This meeting wasn’t about my feelings, it was about how we could better our office and improve cohesion.

When we chatted, it was a private talk between just my boss and I. I broached every subject from an angle of ‘this is what I noticed, how can I help improve this?’. The meeting was incredibly productive, with my boss listening intently to my issues and promising to make changes on her end.

Of course, there were changes to be made on my side as well. She pointed out many factors I hadn’t even noticed before, little things that had helped get us to where we were now. I tried not to take it to heart, though. Again, this wasn’t personal, it was professional.

Know that like in your personal life, the relationships in your professional life can and will be complex at times. There will be friends made, and there will be enemies made. Unlike your personal life, though, your professional life has to remain just that – professional. Had I punched T in the face following her volley of rude remarks, I would have been fired.

Your job is never to suffer; if things are so bad in your office that you consistently hate going to work, you might want to dust off that resume and find something else. If you’re having trouble with only a couple people, remember that you’re there to enrich your professional life and to help your company succeed, not to make BFFs with everyone and the receptionist. If you can, keep your distance, but more importantly – keep your cool!
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Write Right

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If there’s anything I’ve learned from, well, life, it’s that communication is key. Key to getting things done (and done correctly), key to learning and sharing ideas, and key to one’s well being. I’ve lived in southern Cali for almost a year now, and the one thing that eases homesickness is keeping in touch withphoto 1 my loved ones back east.

Luckily, today we have websites and apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. to keep us in the know how. I can text my mom and Skype my dad and Snapchat my cousins all from my phone. Technology has been key to keeping me and the loop, and alternatively reassuring my family that I am, indeed, surviving out here.

One of my absolute favorite ways to say hello, though, is through a good old fashioned letter. This dates back to my American Girl stationery days – in cleaning my room, I’ve come across dozens of half-finished letters to schoolmates and family members (hey, I never said I wasn’t a procrastinator!).

Even now, there’s something fun about writing a little diddy to someone, popping it in the mailbox, and waiting expectantly for them to receive it. Because who doesn’t like getting something besides spam in the mail? It’s a personalized, handwritten treat that I think has gotten the shaft with the advent of tech.

Lately, my letter writing has gone into a slump, so over the weekend I “created” my own stationery to write to my grandparents on. A quick life summary later and voila! A letter has been born.

photo 3If you’re not feeling that ambitious, regular old stores like Target carry a variety of blank notecard & envelope packs that range from adorable to chic. The Paper Source is another letter writing haven, packed with cards to stamps and everything in between.

Happy writing!

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The Day I Forgot My Boulder Holder

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There’s a funny story in my family that recounts the time a friend’s daughter had to have her father bring her a pair of underwear at high school, because she’d forgotten to put them on that morning. Endless laughter was brought forth in re-imagining the scene of the father, red faced, having to discreetly bring his daughter her favorite thong between classes. What a hoot! Who could be so forgetful?

I may have just topped this anecdote.

Flash back to this past Thursday. I’ve just finished a really kickass workout at the gym – I’m dripping with sweat, ready to shower and get ready for work. Normally, I pack my gym bag the night before, making sure I’ve got my towel, clothes, and makeup. That way, I don’t have to pack it in the morning at 5AM when I’m sure to forget something important.

I root around the bag for my flip flops and towel, and that’s when I realize what I haven’t got: a bra. And of course, this is the day I wore my workout shirt with the built in padding. And of course, I don’t have a single alternative.

My heart is beating in my ears as I ponder my options in the shower. There’s no way I can run back to my apartment, the LA morning traffic would guarantee I’d be late. Maybe I could stop at a store on the way?. I’d probably have to wait until a few hours later, when the Target down the street from work would be open.

I dried myself off and dressed, trying to get used to the feeling of being…bare.

Here’s my lo-down on bras:

  • I, like most women my age, have been wearing bras since puberty, even though I told my mother at the onset that there was no way in hell I was ever going to grow breasts, because they were horrifying.
  • The boob gods heard my prayers, because I check in at barely a B cup
  • Just because I don’t have much going on chest-wise doesn’t mean that it isn’t absolutely obvious when I don’t wear a bra
  • I don’t wear them to bed, nor sometimes on early morning runs to the coffee shop

As I continued prepping for the day, I kept reminding myself that bras are not a necessity! Shirts and shoes, yes. Bras? Nope! There are no rules dictating when or how to wear them. Over hundreds of years they’ve come in and out of fashion, and many women put them on every day tumblr_nlvbso3h5Y1se6x8po1_500without much thought. For some, it’s for support; for others, it’s to create a different illusion of what a we as a society think a breast should look like. Seeing a woman’s nipples through her shirt isn’t the rage right now. Bralessness is instead thought of being something indie or hipster-ish.

“I’ll look just like Kate Moss,” I tittered to myself silently as I walked out of the gym, conscious of the way my girls were moving wildly around with every step.

At work, I was even more self-conscious, arching my shoulders so my shirt would hang away from my body. I was sure everyone would look and see and realize. I went back and forth between feeling liberated and part of my own “social experiment” – if my coworkers saw, would they think any less of me? Would someone pull me aside to talk about ‘appropriate work attire’? Why is this bothering me so much? – to feeling almost naked, exposed. I didn’t want anybody seeing this nonsensical, jiggling production that was my chest. I wanted everyone to be able to focus on what I was doing and saying, rather than my appearance.

Two nerve-crushing, unbearable hours later, my social experiment was done. I was stressed out, thinking about what I’d do if I had to go up or down another flight of stairs, and was having trouble focusing on work. My co-worker and friend, whom I’d confided in about the whole stupid thing, finally pulled me aside and handed me two pieces of gauze and medical tape. I thanked her profusely before booking it to the bathroom, where I was able to tape down the more noticeable aspects and stabilize the jiggle effect.

After this, my day did a complete 180, and I nearly forgot about the whole thing until I came home and changed into my PJs.

What can I take away from all of this?

I got a cold dose of American culture, that’s for sure. In forgetting my bra, I was confronted with how bodies are so hyper-sexualized that seeing my silhouette through my shirt felt incredibly wrong and unprofessional. We wear these things daily, even when someone like me (who doesn’t need the added support) has no good reason to.

The whole scenario has got me thinking about all of these invisible aspects that guide women’s lives and dress codes daily. For now, though, I’ll stick to my Aeries and my Victorias Secrets, and will be sure to check my gym bag twice.

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Derailed: The ‘oh too familiar’ journey back on track

UntitledAs you might have noticed, there has been some radio silence from the East coast. Posting, among other things, has fallen by the wayside these past few weeks. My nutrition, fitness, and temperament are just a few items on my resolution checklist that have not gotten the self care they deserve. It has been slightly scary how easily and quickly this derailment has happened. The mixture of stress, travel, and an over-abundance of “priorities” has caused my mind to turn to mush. So long to the daily workouts or the weekly budget check-in’s. For a quick second, I found myself believing that I was grounded in this stifled state.

So here we go. I will paint you the scene that is bringing me back on board.It is mid-afternoon on a weekday in downtown Boston. I sit with my Sam Adam’s Seasonal brew ( yes, not ashamed of my 2 o’clock hoppy pick me up) in this low lite restaurant. Why now, Why here? I will get to that soon.

I begin to realize that my motivators to keep me moving forward are the first things that get neglected. Once they have been neglected, I begin to feel stifled and stagnant. This increases my stress levels; which is what made me derail in the first place. This twisted circle is something I think we can all commiserate with. How do we get out of it?

I’m sure for most sitting in a pub isn’t the exact way to get back on track, but here are someways that I have…will use to ignite the momentum I once had.

1. Location, location, location- the factors that often push us over the edge are things that we surround ourselves with everyday. That is why, here in this pub, I am finding my way back. The hustle and bustle of the city is easing my stress and helping me to focus on what is important. It is just enough separation to get the job done. It is in this separation, I see a fuller, clearer picture. .

2. Be scared. I wrote a few months back about incorporating an element of fear into your life. I still work to do this daily. Often times, I get derailed into an overly comfortable state.  If I want to be this bigger, better person,I need to be scared and take the steps necessary to get me there.

3. Prioritize. I am very easily guilt-ed into situations. Whether it is babysitting my alien sister or spending that extra day with my man friend, I let others take more control of my decisions. Although these are positive situations to be in, I always neglect to consider myself. (This is where self care comes in) It is importance to prioritize yourself. I may not be number one on the list but I need to remember to do something that solely benefits me.

Here is to getting back into my rhythm, cheers!

Jess (2)

Table for one: A Pintrest Dinner

I have finally taken the leap into the adult world by moving into my own place-well, room. I am realizing the level of freedom that comes with living alone is quickly overshadowed by all the responsibilities that comes with it. From budgeting to taxes, the copious amounts of adult related responsibilities pile up quick. More importantly, the responsibility of feeding myself is the most challenging.

I am no stranger to cooking. It has been a love since my toy kitchen days. I am also a lover of food shopping. Yes, I enjoy the days of clipping coupons and shuffling carts around Coca Cola displays. However, these fun activities quickly lose their kick when it is done for only one. Balancing a budget and cooking for one is difficult and a little boring. On one hand, it makes sense to get the chicken that is on sale. But,does it make sense to get 10 lbs. of chicken to get the sale? And if I did buy 10 lbs of said chicken, what can I do with it?

If you can guess, I can never pass up a sale. I turn to Pinterest to help solve my dinner woes. Specifically, last night I needed a little help. Here is what I had to work with: 5 lbs of drumsticks (.99/lb you can’t beat that!), 1.5 lbs of carrots, and 1.5 lbs of sweet potatoes. Here are the recipes I found:

Yet again, Pinterest saves the day. This $6 dinner held my budget in tact and allowed this solo diner lunch and dinner for a few days.

Jess (2)

It’s All About Them Goals

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Let’s face it. I’m a dreamer and not a do-er by nature. Remember my Pinterest boards? I’m loath to admit that they’re filling up again with all of my projects-to-be. Every day I get on a roll scouring the Internet for new and exciting crafts and recipes, only to be brought back into reality by one of my biggest faults: I’m terrible with follow-through. Take, for example, that basket-weaving kit a former employer gave me over the summer. Where is it now? Half-completed in a plastic bag on the floor in my room. Not much good it’s doing there.

If there’s one thing I’ve gotten right, it’s that I’ve limited myself to just one project at a time. Thus, if I don’t finish the basket or outright hand it off to someone else (any takers?), I am not allowed to move on. My room at home in NH is the place where half-knitted scarves and failed art projects go to die.

Now the holidays are creeping up, and I’m slowly going out of my mind. I want this to be a crafty Christmas, but my mind is seriously jumbled right now. Between Christmas gifts, party planning, travel arrangements, work, writing projects, I’m starting to feel a little overwhelmed.

My best solution when I’m overwhelmed? Dig into some Rocky Road ice cream. THEN, I like to get down and set some goals.

Here are the steps to achieving your goals (no joke, I have these written down in my daily planner):

  1. Acknowledge the purpose. Why are you setting this goal, what is it for?
  2. Develop your vision into a solid goal – it needs to be specific and measurable. A good rule of thumb is to write down your goal as though it has already been completed.
  3. Make a plan to reach your goal. You should be specific. If you’re approaching your goal one step at a time, arrange these steps in a logical order, and list the actions you’ll need to take with each. Then, get started!
  4. Work your plan. Spend at least 15 minutes every day to review your goals and steps, inspire yourself, and renew your dedication.
  5. Lastly, it can be helpful to visualize your goal. A photo collage is a great example!

Okay. My first step was to write down every goal I could think of that I wanted to achieve between November and January. It was a fairly long list, but it helped me to divide everything into different categories, like ‘work’ and ‘Christmas’.

Can you tell I love planning?

Can you tell I love planning?

For instance, I want to have all of my Christmas gifts bought early this year. If I get them out of the way earlier on, it’ll be less for me to stress about as the holidays get closer. To make it more specific, I’ll make my goal to have everything bought by Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving). Here’s my plan:

  1. Brainstorm a list of everyone who’ll be getting gifts & cards this year.
  2. Brainstorm ideas for gifts for those listed.
  3. Budget a set amount per person.
  4. Shop!

As a final step, I’m adding due dates for each of these steps to my calendar. I may be a procrastinator, but the only deadlines I’ll be pushing this year are my own.

Happy goal setting!

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adult |əˈdəlt, ˈadˌəlt|

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I’ve technically been an adult since I turned 18 years old in 2011.

I only just realized it very, very recently.

Graduation: the last major hurdle before impending adulthood

Graduation: the last major hurdle before impending adulthood

Jess’s article about being part of the Boomerang Generation really stuck with me, and I got to thinking about how the different generations compare. NPR is always totting the statistics to me: now, more than ever, Millennials aren’t reaching the classic milestones as quickly as their predecessors. We’re putting off buying houses and cars, getting married, and more. It’s the norm now – and this is especially true for many, many people I know – to move home with mom and dad to save money and to get their lives together before they embark out on their own. Seemingly, adulthood (as its been classically defined) is being delayed.

If you’ll graciously allow me, for just a moment more, I’d like to re-visit some well known facts about my 22-year-old self: I’ve moved cross-country, I have my first full-time adult job post-college, I pay all of my own bills (including rent), and I can make phone calls to strangers without getting nervous and hanging up. By all means, I am a mostly-developed human being.

So why haven’t I felt like I’m apart of the adult demographic?

The other night, I was home alone after work for the first time in a good while. I cooked up an actual meal, settled down on the couch, and eagerly switched on some mind-numbing TLC via Netflix. My choices were limited, so I ended up going with What Not to Wear.

At the start, my inner critic came out full force and I found myself yelling at the hosts on the screen.

Clinton & Stacy

Clinton & Stacy

“She LIKES her T-shirts and jeans, WHY CAN’T YOU LEAVE HER BE?” And so forth. The episode was about a production assistant in Hollywood who had been feeling pretty lonely since arriving there. The stylists threw away her boxy clothes, revamped her hair, and applied some smoky eye – voila! She was a new woman.

By the second episode, my ‘boos’ were more subdued. I watched as Stacy and Clinton plucked a 22-year-old woman off her trapeze (by day, she was a hairstylist) and out of her tight, fur-clad ensembles. At first, she put up a fight. She was a really great person, she insisted, once people got to know her. But first they had to get past her bold and mismatched style.

I agreed with her. She should be able to wear whatever she wants! It’s her body, her life. How dare other people refuse to sit in her chair at the hair salon simply because she had paired a bustier with zebra leggings and called it an outfit?

Stacy and Clinton sympathized with her (as much as they can, I suppose), but calmly explained that we don’t live in a utopia. We live in a society where people’s impressions of you begin the moment you walk in the door. What you’re wearing, how your makeup/personal grooming is, and how you’ve done your hair are all, unfortunately, factors. Unless you’re rich and famous, and then you can do whatever you want.

I began to see What Not to Wear in a new light. Sure, it still had its downsides (e.g. some unnecessary slut shaming). Nonetheless, it brought something important to my attention: I may be this twenty-something adult in Los Angeles, but my appearance hasn’t quite caught up. Call me stubborn, but I found a look that suited me a long time ago, and have since refused to change it. Long slightly wavy mermaid-length hair, tank tops and loose blouses, big glasses, a swipe of mascara, dark wash skinny jeans, and Sperry Topsiders. Comfort, minimal effort, and maybe an ounce of style were involved. Maybe not even, if you’ve seen photos of me from any family holiday gathering.

At my most hipster.

At my most hipster.

As previously mentioned, I’m a job holding adult. Not a chai sipping college lass poring over film theory books in the library. Something, finally, has to give.

Luckily, as an office production assistant, the transition won’t be too difficult because the dress code is very lax. Still, it’ll be important to find a balance between comfortable to move around and work in, and professional. I’m starting to realize why people keep mistaking me for an intern – I’m still working that inexperienced/student vibe. With a little inspiration (hello, Pinterest) and a bit of shopping, I’m going to give my look a swipe of chic adulthood. Soon, I won’t be anyone’s intern-look alike.

Except on the weekends, when I shall continue to wear bear pajama shorts and no makeup and parade around my apartment as I please.

p.s. For an interesting read, I encourage everyone to check out this article from The New York Times about how the adult as we know it is dead in America {I got a haircut anyways}.

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