Wish Me Luck

I’ve been interviewing for a new job, and tomorrow is the second in-person interview (following up an informal phone interview, a formal phone interview, and an initial in-person interview). If all goes well, I’m hoping to walk out of that office with a job offer tomorrow. That would mean that I can stop working two jobs after this month, and I’ll have free time to pursue some passions…like finishing up the first draft of my Camino story, planning my next big hike, starting to learn Spanish, and getting in some serious kirtan and meditation time.

So, good folks of the interwebz, any and all good thoughts are appreciated tomorrow around 3pm CST. (Or anytime, really. Don’t feel constrained by time limits. The world needs all the good energy it can get right now.)

XO!

 

 

An Attitude Adjustment

There’s a new employee at my part-time job, and they’ve got a defensive streak that really makes them unpleasant to interact with. This has created unnecessary turmoil in my life lately. Of course, I’m treating it as an exercise in learning how to filter my language to avoid unnecessary drama while still attempting to get things accomplished with difficult people. But more than that, I’m choosing to use it as a lesson in letting go, on a couple of levels – in letting go of expectation, negative emotion, and memories of things that are just not that big of a deal, in the scheme of life, the universe, and everything. In other words, I’m giving myself an attitude adjustment.

The other day, my coworker was nearly 10 minutes late, which might not seem like much, but is a big deal since there’s only one of us at a time. Whoever is manning the desk overnight can’t leave until their relief gets there, which is a problem if that person has a day job (as all of the night auditors at this hotel do). The person didn’t bother to call to let me know, so when they finally walked in, I was already late to Job #2.

On my way out the door, I asked if they had my number and explained that from now on if they’re running late they should call to give a heads up to whoever is working the desk. My coworker immediately started making an excuse about a car broken down, with an offer to show me photos of the car that had broken down, to which I replied, stupidly, “I don’t care.” Not meaning “I don’t care about your problems,” but rather “I’m not your boss, you don’t have to prove that your car was broken down.” It was an unfortunate turn of phrase, and I regret that I didn’t realize immediately that what I’d said could potentially be hurtful.

It didn’t hit me until later that I’d said something that could be interpreted a different way if you didn’t know me, so when I saw my coworker today, I explained myself and apologized for using the phrase “I don’t care” when we were talking. The person rolled their eyes at me and snorted. Awesome.

Of course, also today there were several things that a couple of our newer employees had mistakenly done over the last few days that I had to spend about an hour fixing last night. Part of my job is to fix the problems on reservations, but also let the morning shift know what’s going on. When I let my coworker know what had gone on overnight, they started passing the buck immediately. Keep in mind that this person is brand new. It doesn’t matter if they don’t know how to do something – it’s expected. But instead of “Oh yeah, I might have messed that up,” or “I think that was so-and-so who did that, but I don’t know how to fix it, could you show me?” all I got was “It’s so-and-so’s fault. I was training him and he did it wrong. Etc.” Mind you, I have no clue why a brand-new employee who doesn’t know the reservation system is training another new employee, but that’s out of my control. Also, if you’re “training” someone and they do it wrong, as the trainer, you should be equipped to correct the problem then and there, or at least leave a note so someone else can fix it instead of waiting for the night auditor to catch it in passing.

Oh well. It’s not my fault that this place is crazy, and there’s nothing I can do to fix the crazy. It was that way before I started, and it will be like that long after I’ve moved on. The only thing that is firmly within my control is letting go of the angst I’m feeling over working with people who are not interested in accepting responsibility and taking advantage of the opportunity to learn and excel. This is my part time gig, not my career. It’s not my life, and it has very little bearing on my future, other than helping me pay off credit cards. It is within my power – and indeed, my responsibility – to watch my language, and never say things like “I don’t care” again – because obviously I do, very much. But it’s up to my coworkers to accept apologies, and to volunteer to learn things that will help get the drama and shambles under control.

It is also within my power to spend all day tomorrow looking for writing and editing gigs, so that if I have to keep working these long hours, at least I can do so from home, where I can control the quality of my surroundings and work output.

Inner Collaboration

I am in the process of building up amity between myself and myself – encouraging collaboration, as it were. It’s slow-going, but I guess I’ll get there at some point. For awhile now, I’ve been working at being more mindful, teaching myself to pay attention to my fleeting thoughts and impulses, to discover why I often regard myself with such negativity, and why certain destructive behavior patterns have developed to shape my life. My eventual goal with mindfulness is to be able to practice a larger degree of self-love, while curbing my most troubling behaviors – namely binge eating and excess spending. I started recording my daily thoughts/struggles over on my second blog, 50 x 36, a month ago, and it’s helped me to spot patterns and give extra time to thoughts that would have just skittered away were I not endeavoring to write down the details.

One of the benefits of taking inventory of my life and needs was that I came to the conclusion that, though I needed to move to a larger apartment, I’d never be able to move if I continued life as usual. It’s not a really great thing to realize, but I spent hours working and reworking my budget, and found that there was no way for me to save enough for a deposit on a new place with what I’m making at my primary job. To make it work, I’ve started picking up shifts at a second job, and cut back on every expenditure (except for the splurges I need to make to keep my cats healthy). I’m budgeting every move. No social activities, no spending money on myself (other than $30/week for groceries), and every single penny is going into savings. If I work 70-hour weeks for the next month, I’ll have saved up enough to move to a new place, assuming I can find something in my current range (which is a huge assumption, honestly, but I can only do so much).

After I’m done saving up for the new apartment, if I can keep up the work schedule, I will start applying myself to paying off my credit cards. Once that’s done, I’ll save up to pay off my IRS debt. Once that’s done, I’ll save up to buy a car, braces, and Lasik.

Hopefully, at some point in there, someone will either give me a substantial raise, or a job offer for a something that pays me enough where I won’t have to work quite so hard for so little money. But I’m sure something will come along. Maybe I’ll somehow magically beat the anxiety and I’ll get to go back to being a marketer, or perhaps I’ll figure out a way to put some of that savings towards my last two classes for the copy editing certificate, and open up my own little business. There’s also the chance that the kids’ book that I’m writing will get illustrated and picked up by a publisher. That would be cool, and I’m sure would pay at least enough to pay off a credit card or two, right? I’m not holding my breath for any of these, though. Got to keep moving forward with what I’ve got.

It’s 6 a.m., and time to make coffee for the continental breakfast bar, then put on my office clothes and head to Job #2. Catch y’all on the flip side.

 

 

Scrambled

Life’s kind of crazy at the moment. I keep thinking I’ll get on here and write a proper update, share some photos, talk about important things, but then I have a million and one things to get done IRL and never seem to make it back to the blog. I’d apologize, but I’m trying hard not to say “sorry” for being myself and living my life. I trust I’m not hurting you by being away; hope you’ve been having your own adventures, too!

I started a new job a few weeks ago, and am now working 40 hours a week as a front desk agent at two local boutique hotels. It’s not something I ever planned on doing, though I had mulled over being a concierge at one point. But funds were getting low, and one night as I looked through the New Orleans job listings yet again, one posting jumped out at me. The poster said that he was looking for “misfits” to join his team. My heart said “pick me!” I applied immediately, went in for an interview two days later, and got the job on the spot. Best of all, I LOVE it. It’s all the good parts of waiting tables, with very little of the bad. My job is all about making people happy while they’re on vacation, and since I love to travel and know what makes ME happy when I’m staying somewhere new, it’s all pretty intuitive. So far, people seem to be digging me, too. I’m really looking forward to getting better at the job and moving into a more confident role as a concierge/front desk agent/all around travel enhancer.

Besides that, I’m still working as a freelance marketer, though at the moment I’m mostly just doing proofreading and copyediting, which suits me just fine. I’m also back in school again, this time for a Copyediting Certificate at UCSD. I got an A- in my first class, Grammar, and am currently taking Copyediting I. My goal is to eventually transition into having my own copyediting agency. I love that it’s something I can easily do on the side while I’m at my hotel job. Nothing like making money at two places at once! Especially when you love both jobs 🙂

Let’s see, what else should I fill you in on? Oh yeah, I started selling Jamberry nail wraps. Actually haven’t kicked off my sales career just yet, but I signed up as a consultant. I love wearing them, and figured it couldn’t hurt to get a 30% discount on my own wraps while making a small commission on other orders. They’re so cute and easy to use, and I’ve been having a lot of fun playing with crazy patterns.

The only other bit of news is that I’m going pescatarian again, and maybe eventually back to vegetarian. I just can’t be trusted to eat meat without going overboard and eating an entire pizza or multiple Big Macs at a time. I’ll be turning 35 in November, and my biggest birthday wish is to get back to a healthy weight, seconded by wanting to have a healthy, young-looking complexion. People can never believe that I’m as old as I am, but I really want to keep that up for as long as possible. More water, more veggies, and paying plenty of attention to getting the right nutrients will take me very far. After I’ve got my food under control, I’ll add in daily yoga and running. But for now I’m just focusing on not calling Domino’s.

Haven’t gotten my hair dyed yet, but will update you once I get my next paycheck. Gonna get my hair fixed and buy a couple of cute work outfits – yay!

 

 

 

 

Making Space For Me

When I moved into this apartment over a year and a half ago, I brought much of my old life with me. Boxes and bins, bags, books, furniture, and with them, plenty of leftover negative emotion. Luckily, I also brought hope, and the first sparks of happiness. But as I’ve gone on making my nest here, I’ve come to realize that moving forward is harder when you’re holding on to too much of the past, be that physically or emotionally.

About a year ago, I started getting rid of things. I sold things that could be sold on Ebay or Amazon, and put other bits and pieces out on the curb for passersby. Periodically, I’d look through my possessions and reassess how they made me feel. If I held a positive emotional attachment to an item, like the stuffed rabbit my grandfather gave me before he died, or the wooden cactus that reminds me of my dad, I’d keep it. If it affected me negatively, like presents from an ex, or clothes that reminded me of how much weight I’d gained, I found a way to get rid of them. Very slowly, my apartment began to feel lighter, less jumbled.

It’s crazy how much stuff one 400 square foot space can hold, because I’m STILL cleaning. Right now I have another ten items on Ebay, a list of products up on Amazon, and a big box of other stuff that needs to get listed tonight on Ebay and Craigslist. That, after putting at least a box of random things out on the curb every single week.

However, I think I’m getting somewhat close to the end. It’s time to go through my closet one more time to eliminate any pieces that don’t fit. I’ve ordered all new underthings (all in black, to eliminate time wasted each morning making such a silly decision as what color underwear to wear today). I bought a new size of my favorite jacket, the one that stopped fitting my shoulders when I started weightlifting. No use in holding on. I’m going to cull my shoe collection to 1/2 of its current size, since I only ever wear my sneakers, TOMS and Tevas anyway. I’m also going to sell my Arabian Nights book collection, and consolidate my jewelry boxes.

Once my belongings are pared down, I’ll revise my work station and get started with the big bad plan for my new year – building a new career identity. While I still have my job as online marketing director for my New Orleans ad agency, I’m also going back to school in a few days for a certificate in Copyediting. On top of that, I’m going to start making my origami & jewelry-making business, one piece at a time. By 2017, I plan to be a hell of a lot closer to the me I see when I close my eyes at night.

It is said that, “Fine words butter no parsnips.” Work is required. I am worth it. I will not wait any longer for the world to make space for me. I’ll just make my own, thanks.

 

 

These Choices

Today’s Daily Post prompt asks us to consider what we would do if we knew we couldn’t fail. It’s an appropriate question for this day, and is closely aligned with something my therapist asked me a couple of days ago and that I’ve been mulling over ever since. After listening to several days of stress-filled rants regarding my career (aspirations vs. actuality), the therapist remarked that I didn’t sound like I liked what I did very much. Would I consider changing careers?

I have this little nagging suspicion that after I return from Spain in November, I might be forced into this choice. Of course, I can hope that both of my jobs decide not to can me for leaving them high and dry for 45 days, but let’s face it – America does not believe in taking a break. Vacation days are for wusses. If we’re lucky, we get two weeks of paid vacation, but even then, we’re subtly (and sometimes not-so-subtly) made to feel guilty for desiring to use all of them. And that’s why people like me are slowly losing their minds. We need a break, and what’s more, we need a long one.

Working in America vs. Working in Other Countries. Click the image to read more.

Working in America vs. Working in Other Countries. Click the image to read more.

So I made this decision to love myself enough to give myself the break I so desire and deserve, even if it means that my employers can’t get along without me. I’d rather have to find new jobs than continue to put off this pilgrimage for another year. When I’m old and gray and too old to travel outside of my retirement home, I don’t want to have any regrets about missed opportunities to explore the world. I’ve told my New Orleans job that I plan to leave, and to be quite fair, my officemates are really supportive of my choice, even if they’re apprehensive at where this will leave them when I’m gone. I haven’t told the Chicago job yet, because I think it will lodge in my boss’s mind like a piece of grit in an oyster, slowly turning and growing into a giant pearl of contention. It’s not worth it right now to upset her. Maybe in a few months.

The other part of the equation is this sneaking suspicion that nothing I do really matters. I look around me, at my job, at my friends’, and it seems that we waste our lives sitting in cubicles, performing mundane tasks that ultimately don’t matter. I really enjoy marketing, but I can’t shake the feeling that I’m not helping the world in any way. And it’s no question that the continued exposure to technology is destroying my brain. I’m frequently too sad to leave the house, and have the attention span of an ADHD goldfish. My memory is measurably worse. It’s no real stretch to imagine dementia setting in sooner rather than later, and that’s terrifying to me.

Is this who I want to be? From a physical and spiritual standpoint, how can I afford to continue this trajectory? But from a financial standpoint, how can I not? It’s a conundrum. I wish that I could tell my 18-year-old self not to lose that full scholarship, or my 23-year-old self not to go to school for historic preservation. But killing those butterflies would destroy this world as I know it, and I’ll take the crushing student loan debt in exchange for the handsome writer who makes me coffee and laughs at my stupid jokes, thanks. I still have hope that some small changes will help me keep my sanity and figure out how to live a fulfilling life within the boundaries I’ve created for myself.

Still, what would I do if I knew I couldn’t lose? If I knew I could keep him AND achieve success in a fulfilling career? I don’t even know how to turn the hopeful part of my brain back on to contemplate that question at full capacity. Maybe when my feet meet the Camino, those gears will start to turn. Maybe I’ll be able to figure it out. I guess I’d cast my net wide. I’d look to new cities for opportunities. I’d look to new countries, even. I’d try to get into the film industry. I’d take this idea of writing a book and make it central to the way I live my life. I’d fold so many origami flowers that my apartment would be the envy of gardeners everywhere. I’d find a museum that wanted a ragtag history like mine, and would take a chance on me as a curator. I’d sing, sing, sing every day.

Sometimes I hate being both a dreamer and a realist. I hate how I crush my own spirit so much more efficiently than anyone else could. These choices seem so simple when I see them in writing. Why are they monumental in my imagination? Please, Santiago, help me walk back to my life, the real one, the one without fear.

Stop Wasting Your Time

Today’s Daily Post prompt asks us to discuss the concept that “good things come to those that wait.” As I start to cobble together my thoughts on this subject, I can say for sure that the first thing happening in my mind is a general feeling of disgust and irritation. It’s not that I don’t like to wait, or that I don’t see the benefits of taking your time and thinking through your choices. I’ve been known to let people cut in front of me in traffic without batting an eyelash, and I often read hundreds of reviews before pulling the trigger on making an important purchase. OK, “often” is an understatement – I feel a compulsion to read all of the reviews I can get my hands on, to have a handle on positive and negative potential outcomes – but that’s not what we’re talking about.

Overall, I am completely certain that in the past, one of my largest and most outstanding personality flaws has been my weird mix of patience, cowardice, and stoicism when confronting personal changes. It’s a deadly cocktail that’s kept me in place for far too long, waiting for just the right conditions to strike so I can finally make my moves. While the last bout of waiting hasn’t caused my life irreparable damage (at least that I can see right now – who knows what cracks are hiding under the slightly-banged-up surface?), it hasn’t done me any favors, either.

Throughout my life, all of the best things that have ever happened to me did so when I just went with my gut and took that leap of faith.

People with kids often say that that if you’re waiting to have a baby until the time is “right,” you’ll keep waiting forever. There’s never a right time. I think that’s something that those of us who’re more cautious, planning types should keep in mind. There will never be a perfect time to end a long term relationship, or move to a new city, or blow all of your money on that vacation you’ve always wanted to go on. But you’ll know when the time is decent enough. Take that chance. You might never have it again. In fact, you won’t ever have that particular chance again. Sure, there might be another opening that’s just as good, but really, you should be utilizing them all. Why have just one adventure? Why do just one thing that excites you, and expands your horizons? Why not aim for them all (or as many as you can, anyway)?

I just spent almost a quarter of my life waiting for life to begin. I let someone else tell me what I should be planning for, and what dreams I should just tuck back into my imagination and let wither and die. I should be saving all of my money for a house and children. I should be working a regular 9 to 5 job, to have time to spend with my family after work. I should learn how to cook because it’s something that everyone loves. Trips to Europe without money for nice hotels every night of the stay were a ridiculous expenditure for only half of a vacation. Trips anywhere at all were a ridiculous expenditure when I should be concentrating on saving for weddings and kids and mortgages. Spending money on nice meals in restaurants was utter stupidity when the same money would cook a week’s worth of food. Going to the movies was a waste of time and money when a DVD was the price of one ticket. Working for a non-profit wouldn’t make enough money to pay for a house, so helping people was probably out of the question. Why stop at being a marketing coordinator when I could run a department one day and be respected and make money to pay for a house? A house. Kids. A mortgage. A car. All things that I could want one day, but didn’t want then and don’t really care about now. (Although I’m getting tired of walking everywhere, so maybe a car might be cool sometime soon, I don’t know yet.)

Bottom line: I like to travel. I like living light. I don’t really care about money. I like having it, but I only like having it because it’s fun to spend. Sure, paying off bills and saving for retirement is smart, but putting a hold on your travel plans for the next 30 YEARS because it’s expensive to have children????? I’d rather go to London every year and just not have babies, thanks.

Good things can come to those who wait, yeah. But it’s a big fucking chance you’re taking at sitting back and hoping for the best, while ignoring all of the beauty and opportunity laid out before you. TAKE A CHANCE! LIVE! STOP WAITING FOR THINGS TO GET BETTER AND GO MAKE THEM BETTER NOW.

Stop wasting your time. It’s finite, you know. We’re all dying. We’re in a race to the end, but the end point is invisible. Live a little before you hit the finish line.