Tag Archive | work

WO: Weekly Obsessions

You know the saying, “If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans”? I feel like that’s the definition of how this past week has been for me, folks.

You may already be well aware how Type A I am about planning, organization and attention to detail. Pshhh, that all goes out the window when the 24 hours in a day seem to vanish in the blink of an eye.

Between multiple birthday celebrations, a work trip (with a surprise snowfall!), candidate interviews, review cycles and a whole lotta other #firstworldproblems, I’m still dumbfounded that it’s already (and yet, only) Wednesday.

So here’s my penance offering — please enjoy and don’t @ me, bro!

 

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WO: Weekly Obsessions

MILD GOT SPOILER AHEAD. If you didn’t watch this week’s S7 premiere, scroll on down. Allow me to complain, for just a moment, about Ed Sheeran’s appearance in Sunday’s episode. I know I juuust said I liked the guy, but that doesn’t mean I want him showing up in Westeros. What were they thinking? Grrrr…

Image Credits Listed Beloq

  1. Sacramento: In more important news, I traveled to California’s capital city Sunday to prepare for orientation at my new company’s HQ. It was 105 degrees when I arrived, so my first impression was not the best. It turned out to be an interesting city, though, with decent food options and some incredibly nice people. I look forward to return visits in the near future, too!
  2. Volcano Candle: I don’t recall ever receiving a candle for my birthday before, but this year I was gifted with THREE. All of them smell amazing, but I chose to burn this scent first and it didn’t disappoint. You know how that feeling when you walk into a room and are instantly calmed, just from the smell? Yeah, that’s what this little guy does. It’s sheer perfection.
  3. Purging: Before moving into my new apartment, I had the help of some friends who were supportive of me purging the heck out of my space. While those efforts were super successful — I donated 10+ bags of goodies — I still find I need to cleanse my stock of stuff. I started diving in this past weekend and have the ultimate goal of finishing on Saturday. Who says being a grown-up isn’t fun? This is thrilling stuff, you guys!
  4. “Ruby Tuesday” – The Rolling Stones: Naturally, I always think of this song when saying goodbyes. It’s a gimme for that, but it’s also one of those songs that always transports me back in time and puts a smile on my face. I simply can’t hear it without getting a little misty-eyed and reminiscent of fond memories. Take that, Ed Sheeran.

Images courtesy of: Sactown Magazine, Zanadia, Life’s Next Chapter Coaching, Discogs

30 Before 30

In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’ve researched countless “things to do before 30” lists. And while there are plenty to choose from, I kept coming back to “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.”

The List was originally published in Glamour by columnist Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Over the next 30 weeks, I’ll be tackling each item on The List and reflecting about it here… publicly (gulp). I hope you enjoy and we can grow together. After all, turning older is a privilege denied to many.

By 30, you should know…
28. Who you can trust, who you can’t, and why you shouldn’t take it personally.

Remember when The List covered such fluffy topics as umbrellas and makeup? Trust is far and away one of the most difficult topics for me to discuss on this blog — isn’t it ironic, Alanis?

I’ve been through all sorts of ups and downs in personal and professional relationships. I’ve trusted too much and been burned. I’ve been given too much trust and done the burning in a moment of anger. I’ve trusted too little and burned myself. Trusting and burning, trusting and burning, rinse and repeat.

Courtesy of JeremyChin.com

What does legendary gossip columnist Liz Smith say about trust? Well, she’s got more than 50 years of experience in the business, pissed off many — from Sinatra to Trump — and she’s lived to tell the tale.

Smith’s tips are as follows, with (you guessed it!) my own take below each:

You can usually trust a gal who says it like it is.
This may come in many forms, but I’ve personally tried to live by Maya Angelou’s words: “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.” This opens up a debate of show versus tell, but I think the point is the same: Most people aren’t living double lives. How they treat a customer service agent, hired help, someone in need… it’s pretty telling of who they are as a human being.

When it comes to romance, heed these words: Trust and verify.
In today’s dating world, we have the ability to research a potential match before we even meet them. There’s the episode of “How I Met Your Mother” which explores the battle of mystery vs. history, i.e.,  wanting to know you’re not meeting up (or already dating) a psychopath, but wanting to keep some mystery alive. My take? It doesn’t hurt to know some basics, like their name, their age (range, at least), what industry they work in… and of course, their app bio says a lot about how much they value words and/or the English language. But some things can also be discovered on a real, live date — and make for a hell of a story after.

Never trust your instincts when you’re angry.
Remember how I said people show you who they are? This might be the one exception. Who hasn’t been frustrated with Comcast after 90 minutes on the phone with them? If you can recognize it in the moment, at least, you can mitigate any major faux pas and save yourself the embarrassment of feeling like a total A-hole. Same goes for traffic temper tantrums, though I think we’re all thankful I haven’t driven regularly in nearly five years.

Assume you can’t trust anyone who’s just handed you a contract.
I don’t have a mountain of personal experience with contractual obligations, aside from rental leases and a million Terms & Conditions I’ve toootally read through. But Smith’s point is 100% valid: Get legal advice before you sign anything! I’ve asked for second opinions on work contracts, and I’ve learned the hard way to get freelance agreements well-documented in writing. Feeling the burn? All right.

Life’s just too short to take every little betrayal personally.
This one may be the hardest of all, because it’s natural to feel like certain behaviors or responses are directed toward you. And with social media, Lord knows some of those are directed at you. Instead of getting into a Twitter feud or FB debate, I’ve learned to not engage. If it really irks me, I might privately message or call the person to try and talk it out. Yes, the trolls are real. But holding onto hatred for them only hurts you.

There are no real secrets, so you might as well tell the truth about things.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Public Relations 101. Only you can manage your story. If you’re not up front about certain things — whether it’s being a single mom on the dating scene or messing up at work — the truth will come out. Maybe not right away, and maybe not even with the person you’ve offended. But it will, so why not manage the message and take ownership from the start?

Truthfully, this entire post made me sweat 😅 But being open and vulnerable with you all is kind of the whole point of this series, right?

30 Before 30

In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’ve researched countless “things to do before 30” lists. And while there are plenty to choose from, I kept coming back to “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.”

The List was originally published in Glamour by columnist Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Over the next 30 weeks, I’ll be tackling each item on The List and reflecting about it here… publicly (gulp). I hope you enjoy and we can grow together. After all, turning older is a privilege denied to many.

By 30, you should know…
26. What you would and wouldn’t do for money or love.

Well, duh. Of course I had to start with that softball of a joke.

Seriously, though, this week’s List item could very well be one of the most important challenges. Why’s that, Wittyburg, you ask? Well, because this requires you to know yourself… and you likely haven’t learned about the lengths you’d go (or wouldn’t) for money and love without making a few mistakes.

To navigate this tricky task, our narrator is Lauren Conrad. Yes, THE LC, goddess of high school drama “Laguna Beach,” and then “The Hills,” “The City” and basically all of my domestic dreams. If you were in high school at any point between 2004 and 2009, you binge-watched right along with me and envied LC’s life.

Courtesy of Alchetron.com

Long gone are her days of reality TV, but Conrad’s life is still enviable. She’s built multi-million dollar brands in The Beauty Department, her fashion lines, books and more. She also married a cutie named William Tell(!) and is expecting their first child any day now.

What wasn’t enviable about LC’s former life? Broadcasting her ups and downs as she navigated love and career on national television. While she always looked flawless and generally handled herself with class and charisma, there’s something to be said for putting it all out there at 17.

Thankfully, Lauren’s left us some lessons from her days on reality TV (and since):

What she’d never do for money:

  • Be a phony.
  • Be a manipulator.
  • Work a job she doesn’t love.

What she’d never do for love (at least never again):

  • Turn away from her family and friends.
  • Lie to herself about whether a guy is interested.
  • Sacrifice her own happiness.

(BONUS!) What she will always do for love, no matter how humiliating:

  • Care about the small stuff.
  • One word: Karaoke.

Lauren’s lists made me think about my own lessons, naturally, and there are certainly some parallels.

Being true to yourself is a core component to being successful, in my opinion, but you don’t always have the luxury of time to learn who you are before entering the workforce. You may be thrown into a situation — heck, at 22 or 52 — and have to make a decision that could define (or redefine) your character. You may be asked to do things you’re not comfortable with, and not know how to say no without “getting in trouble.” It’s not easy to make those tough decisions, but it often says a lot about what you’re willing to compromise.

In that same vein, you may be fortunate enough to avoid relationship ethics until well after formative years. I can thank puberty and my tomboyishness for that, but I was also able to discover myself as a person and navigate personal relationships before having to make difficult romantic relationship decisions. I’ve since learned what I will and won’t tolerate, plus what I need from a partner in order to pursue a future with them.

Finally, as Conrad puts it, “…just because you love somebody and they love you back doesn’t mean your relationship makes sense or that it’s a good one for you both to be in.” That may be the hardest lesson of all for me personally, but it’s one I’ll carry with me and apply to all relationships — romantic, personal and professional — for a long time to come.

Courtesy of Pinterest

30 Before 30

In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’ve researched countless “things to do before 30” lists. And while there are plenty to choose from, I kept coming back to “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.”

The List was originally published in Glamour by columthe nist Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Over the next 30 weeks, I’ll be tackling each item on The List and reflecting about it here… publicly (gulp). I hope you enjoy and we can grow together. After all, turning older is a privilege denied to many.

Courtesy of MemeGenerator.net

By 30, you should know…
19. When to try harder and when to walk away.

Similar to last week’s task, this challenge made me think a lot about what it means to quit.

Often seen as a pejorative term, quitting is frowned upon — usually without taking into consideration our human and humble needs. It doesn’t have to mean you’ve given up, or you haven’t tried hard enough or some other iteration of being a whiny baby.

To be clear, it’s understandable why “winners never quit and quitters never win” was drilled into our heads as kids. The point is about learning resiliency, and how there will often be things in life you have to do — whether or not you want to.

I was on a cycle for years of starting the year strong with Girl Scouts. We’d come off an amazing summer trip; I’d be pumped for the year ahead; and then around the time we had to sell cookies or calendars, I wanted out. Girl Scouts was dorky, or I was frenemies with a troop member or camping was gross. My parents wouldn’t let me quit mid-year, though — I was to see myself through the end of the year and then I could choose to not sign up for the following year. And what would always happen at the end of each year? Another amazing summer trip, and we’d start the routine all over again.

What if my parents had let me quit any of those times I cried dramatically about hating it? I wouldn’t have completed thousands of hours of volunteer work; nor earned my Silver Award, my Gold Award (the highest honor in Girl Scouts) nor my college scholarship for scouting service. I wouldn’t have continued what have become some of my longest-lasting friendships. I wouldn’t have cried at the thought of my former camp suffering from a massive brush fire last weekend.

Instead, I would have learned it’s OK to give up when things get tough.

I went through similar lessons in my years of athletic competition. Whether it was a practice, scrimmage, game or tournament, I’d want to give up when I just wasn’t feeling it. But I’d learn at the end of each season how perseverance paid off and hard workers were often rewarded. Setting records, learning leadership, forging friendships — these are just a few of the perks of sticking a tough situation out. And earning those after you’ve been ready to give up is all that much sweeter.

Now, what’s equally important, is knowing when to walk away.

This is one I clearly haven’t mastered, as evidenced in last week’s essay. Comedienne Kathy Griffin writes this week’s response to The List, and she provides the classic example of leaving an unhealthy relationship.

The problem for many of us, though, is not seeing how unhealthy a relationship is until we’re out of it. Hindsight is often 20/20… so how do we bump it up into foresight?

Objectively, you can look at the data. See what patterns emerge from past relationships (or jobs, or friendships… you get the idea). Do you leave feeling used or bad about yourself or some other negative way? Is it really possible for the situation to change, or are you giving it your all without ever receiving anything back?

Griffin points out how stereotypically easy it is for men to move on from relationships. They leave without looking back. But women, often, are “more analytical and accommodating. We tend to hang in there and try harder.” That’s not necessarily wrong of us, but it can explain why we can feel like it’s our fault if/when things don’t work out.

The point this week, I think, is finding the balance and trusting your instinct. If you feel you should try harder, then set a timeline to check in with yourself again and see if things have improved. Don’t give up, per se, but reevaluate what’s worth your precious time, effort and energy. And if you feel it’s time to walk away — or all of your friends are saying so because they’re acknowledging what you won’t — then know that you will be OK and aren’t a failure for doing so.

At the end of the day, it isn’t selfish to prioritize your needs and learn these lessons. It’s self-care.

30 Before 30

In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’ve researched countless “things to do before 30” lists. And while there are plenty to choose from, I kept coming back to “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.”

The List was originally published in Glamour by columnist Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Over the next 30 weeks, I’ll be tackling each item on The List and reflecting about it here… publicly (gulp). I hope you enjoy and we can grow together. After all, turning older is a privilege denied to many.

By 30, you should have…
15. A solid start on a satisfying career, a satisfying relationship, and all those other facets of life that do get better.

Legendary anchor and journalist Katie Couric writes us into our halfway point this week. She begins by telling us she spent her 20s focused on her career, allowing work to take priority over her love life.

Sound familiar?

I don’t know if it’s because women are becoming more vocal, or because we have social platforms to have more public discussion, or because I’m nearing the end of my 20s myself, or some combination of the above… or none of those things at all.

I do know it’s a constant conversation among my circles for women to feel like they must choose one over the other: career or love?

Courtesy of MyStyleProject.com

Part of this is, unquestionably, biology. If we meet a partner at 25 and marry by 27, we still have some “good years” left in us to have children. Men, on the other hand, can possess none of Mick Jagger’s millions and have children well into their 70s.

Putting that aside, there’s also an expectation for most, if not all, women: We should want to have children. If we don’t, there must be something wrong with us. Or we just don’t know it yet. Or we haven’t found the right person (because who would ever choose to be a single mother?). As I once heard from a wise mother of two, “Any fool can have a baby.” Yet there’s still this need from society for all women to become mothers.

I’m getting deeper than Couric’s message was, but I felt it a necessary piece of the Career vs. Love debate: So much of this boils down to a woman’s choices and her desire to put herself first.

Courtesy of ClipArtKid.com

As I’ve often discussed on this very blog, and IRL ad nauseam, I’ve put my career ahead of most other things. In my seven-point-five years since undergrad, I’ve sacrificed some friendships, ended some romantic relationships, often worked tirelessly without need of recognition — and as long as I could get to a certain career milestone before 30, it’d all be worth it.

I’ll hit that career milestone on Thursday, as my role in my current company shifts. And you know what? I don’t know yet that it was worth it. Sure, I’m thrilled to hit this arbitrary goal I set so long ago. But I still question my career choices often and wonder where my next years will take me after this hurdle is overcome.

Part of that may be my inability to be completely satisfied. And while I should save that for a therapy session, I do question if accomplishing this career goal means I can finally ease my foot off the go-getter gas a little and refocus on romantic relationships. If I can allow myself to be loved, to be taken care of, to let my walls down and be vulnerable again.

Couric even briefly touches on losing her first husband to cancer, and how “the ability to accept and adapt gracefully to life’s twist and turns is one of the greatest skills you’ll learn.”

I know the ride’s not over yet, but I’m certainly going to buckle up for the journey ahead.

Courtesy of PinkSkySerendipity.com

WO: Weekly Obsessions

A huge thank-you to all who reached out with messages of love and support after last week’s heartbreaking loss. If I learned anything from Michelle, it’s that you can find reasons to smile even in the darkest of days.

Image Credits Listed Below 

  1. Little Girl Turns Sister into a Zebra: This may be the new “Charlie Bit Me.” Honestly, is there anything cuter than videos of tiny tots with posh accents? 3-year-old Sovereign took a permanent marker to her little sister’s… canvas… to turn her into a zebra. Why, you ask? Because she “loves being zebras.” Duh, mom.
  2. Response to Talia Jane’s Open Letter to Yelp: The viral open letter to Yelp highlights just how clueless many millennials are. That’s not to say we aren’t all clueless in our 20s, but now we have the world as a social media stage to broadcast major mistakes. Pro tip: Negotiate for a livable salary, don’t sign a lease you can’t afford, don’t be too proud to live or work in less-than-ideal conditions, and don’t go credit card poor before the ink on your diploma dries. This response puts it far more eloquently than I can in a few sentences.
  3. “American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson”: This miniseries is already a few episodes in, but you can still catch up! I didn’t expect to be so captivated, but the always-provocative Ryan Murphy has done it again. It’s chilling, gripping and an absolute roller coaster — the all-star ensemble cast will, no doubt, be nominated for every accolade available. Despite it being more than 20 years since the murders, it’ll bring you right back to the heart-stopping Bronco chase and trial in no time at all.
  4. “7 Years Old” – Lukas Graham: Something about this song haunts and humbles me. Maybe it’s that he covers a 60-year life in less than four minutes. Or it could be how fragile and fleeting life is, which Graham identifies and reflects on beautifully. Whatever the reason, I can’t seem to stop listening to it on loop.

Images courtesy of: Daily Mail, Medium, FX, Genius