Archive for the ‘the 9-to-5’ Category
This photo I know is just another sunset photo to some, but it was taken from the top of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa and means much more to me.
You’ll notice that a lot of my Favorite Fotos are from South Africa. That’s because it was truly the most beautiful space I’ve ever been to on this planet. The coast of Maine is up there too.
Anyway, we raced to the top of the mountain nervous that we had underestimated just how tough the climb was and that we wouldn’t get there in time to see the sunset. But we made it. With enough time to grab a quick glass of wine too!
The feeling of finally getting to that top of the mountain was amazing. For some reason when I was in South Africa I had very few worries. On that day, climbing a mountain to see the sun set was my challenge. It was all that mattered on that day and I accomplished it.
South Africa was the one time in my young adult life that I can point to and note that I was literally care free despite leaving a lot of loved ones and an unknown path back home. Perhaps it was because I felt guilty that if I did worry it would be insulting to those in the country who endured countless tragedies and hardships, or maybe because I knew my trip would end in a month and I had to become saturated in each and every moment and enjoy it.
When I recently left for California I also left loved ones and headed for a path un known. However, it has been much more difficult than my journey to a seemingly much more dangerous place. Maybe it’s because it’s a permanent move or maybe it’s because I’ve lost loved ones back home while here making the separation from family a harsh reality, but either way those carefree moments that I seemed to encounter daily in South Africa have been few and far between since arriving to San Francisco without a job.
Life is much more difficult when we have expectations. When we have dreams. When in South Africa the dream was to have as much fun and experience in one month as possible. The dream now is to have a life time of fun and experience. In order to get that the stakes and challenges have become much greater than climbing a mountain.
Just yesterday, I started a my new job, I’m officially a 9-to-5er, or rather a 9-to-6er! Everything I have been working towards is the past year is finally concrete. While this is most definitely only the beginning of a new dream, for the first time in a long time, I feel like I did when I climbed to the top of that mountain years ago.
I stumbled upon this Fast Company article by Rae Ann Fera this morning, “How to be a happy and successful creative freelancer (or work with one).”
It really hit the nail on the head for me in line with many of the sentiments I have about freelancing.
Especially the whole having an office aspect they touch on.
There is one very distinct pleasure that freelancers find when they first establish themselves: the ability to go tech-toy shopping and write the spree off at tax time.
Says Bodge, “Having a great setup at home was always important to me even before I was a freelancer but now buying toys is fun because I can just tell my wife it’s for work and it’s a tax write-off.”
Shock of shocks, the freelance contingent we spoke to are doing their part to keep Apple stocks nice and high. MacBook pros are the central nervous system of choice, though whether or not a dual-screen 27” cinema display is part of the packaged depends largely on the creative focus. “My Mac Pro with dual 27” screens and Aeron chair is my cockpit and I see these screens more than I see the back of my own eyelids,” says developer Bodge. “It’s a seriously pimped out machine that can handle anything I throw at it. Never be cheap with your computer or chair if that’s your job.” Some creatives, on the other hand, prefer smaller gear for those days when working in the garden at MoMA is a must…”
While my funds are still fairly limited, I’m not out buying fancy new MacBooks or other advanced technology, I can confirm that having an office space is a big help! It most certainly helps create structure and better work practices in my mind. Having a space where you work is vital to keeping your personal life and your work separate which I feel is also necessary.
I love a lot of the points this article drives home about freelancing. One of the first, and most important ones is getting those first few years of experience. Hence the reason I’m somewhat trying to reverse my current social media consulting approach. I’m currently trying to partner up with a public relations firm in attempts to gain more experience and better my techniques. While I greatly enjoy doing it on my own in some respects, I miss the part of being a team.
Something that the article doesn’t touch on is the importance of collaboration. Now I’m not saying you can’t collaborate when your running your own show. In fact, I think you can often do more on par, targeted collaborating. You just have to have the social ability to surround yourself with positive, influential people. One thing I’ve recently started to notice is how surrounding yourself with people who have a negative energy about them can really bring you down and stump your creativity without you even realizing it.
The other night a fellow struggling artist (would we call me that?) stopped in to the bar for a quick beer and we got to chatting about our mutual quarter-life crises. He was telling me how some of his art work was finally getting some long-over due attention, from what I hear, and he was starting to make a little bit of cash. I was happy for him, but I wasn’t envious. He was still struggling. He was living his passion and has seemingly more woe than wealth (not talking financial here) to show for it.
We then got to talking about my desire into PR. The main reasons being:
- I want a 9-to-5 job, incase you’ve been reading my blog and didn’t pick that up.
- It’s an industry that still allows me to greatly utilize my writing and my creativity.
- It gives me satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment.
- And, lastly, you can make a decent amount of money doing it.
When I was in high school, I was a naive, wanna-be anarchist that had long hair and a “f**k- you-authority” attitude (sorry Grandpa!). I listened to a lot of Nirvana and the Ramones and went to high school in a poor city where a majority of the teachers were kids who got picked on too much when they were in school and were on a power trip to get the “cool” kids back.
I didn’t need money. There was more to life than money and to conforming to consumerist society. I swore I would never be a part of it. I just wanted to write and I never wanted to sit at a desk from 9-to-5.
Enter me seven years later. I am aching for a 9-to-5 job. One that ultimately has me assisting in fueling a consumerist society. What can I say?
Maybe it’s because there aren’t any jobs now and I have always had a tendency to want the things which I cannot have.
Nah I don’t really believe that. But I do want that job, and, more importantly, I want it to pay. I know I may sound like a total sell-out, but hear me out.
I’m too stubborn and too independent to ever work a job where my creativity was stifled. Further more, I have a great support system who knows the real me and won’t ever let me lose touch with myself.
But money matters. And it matters so that I can do all those things I love and believe in. I don’t want to make a ton of money to have a nice house or a sick car, I want money to live comfortably, to travel, to experience life to the fullest and then write it all down. One does not get to do that for free. In fact, very few paid writers get to live that lifestyle.
So here enters the question that many 20-somethings are toying with, “Do I fund my passion or do I live my passion?” Each individual has to ask themselves that on a case-by-case basis, but I think the answer lies in what will bring you the most amount of happiness, of love of true life, for that is real wealth.
“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” ~Charles W. Eliot
“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.” ~Mark Twain
“Books let us into their souls and lay open to us the secrets of our own.” ~William Hazlitt
“In reading, a lonely quiet concert is given to our minds; all our mental faculties will be present in this symphonic exaltation.” ~Stéphane Mallarmé
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” ~Richard Steele, Tatler, 1710
“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.” ~Harper Lee
Reading, like grocery shopping, is a past time, a hobby even, that I think many people do without even realizing how special it is.
I love to read. Given my current hours, I’m trying to make more time to read before work. But due to all the other work I’ve taken on, I spend most of my morning, as I’ve discussed, running around like a crazy person multi-tasking my behind off, not always so successfully.
As I get out of work much later at night, reading instantly puts me to sleep if I try and read before bed.
I am trying to take 30 minutes before I have to leave for work to sit down and read, but it doesn’t always work out that way. Usually I’m using those 30 minutes to make one of my infamous make-shift lunches or tie up emails, etc. that I did not get to during the day.
Reading is, no doubt, a relaxing activity. It’s hard for me to spend 30 minutes of my go, go, go-style day relaxing, but I am trying!
However, due to the growing stack of books in my room, the activity now even seems daunting at times! How am I ever going to read that many books?!
How it is that I can turn a relaxing, enjoyable activity into a seemingly impossible task says something about my mental state these days and my inability to CHILL OUT.
Hence the above, said implemented 30 minute reading program, greatly encouraged by those concerned with my stress levels these days.
I keep reminding myself that I’m working towards something and that soon a sense of normalcy and some more free time will return.
The idea of coming home, cooking dinner, then snuggling up on the couch to read a book is so, so attractive to me.
This past Saturday, I had the entire day off! A rarity in my life for the past 6 or so years working in the “industry.” You can imagine my excitement and my need to not let a moment un-enjoyed pass. We spent the day at the Farmers Market in Deering Oaks park and then went to the beach for a picnic, finishing off the perfect day with some cold beers and grilled, grass-fed chicken. This past Saturday in itself is another reason I want a 9-to-5 job.
Anyway, I took some photos for the Sustainable Food News facebook page and thought I’d share on my blog as well. I love the Farmer’s Market in the park on Saturdays. No one is unhappy. Apparently shopping local and organically really puts people in a good mood. I agree!
“The barkeep-drinker relationship is a sacred one – like with a doctor, or a priest.” ~Anthony Bourdain on The Layover: San Francisco episode
This is the bar I spend most of my nights, and Sunday brunch, behind.
That’s a lot of time. A lot of funny, happy and even disturbing moments have happened at this bar. Mostly happy.
The souls that sit their behinds down upon these uncomfortable, but spin-able bar stools, have acted as a soundboard, assistants in my character development, a sources of entertainment and my therapists over the past few months.
I envy these 9-to-5ers who can call themselves regulars or just patrons passing though. I long to have the title of a bar regular. Where I can go into a bar, sit down by myself, have a nice dinner and a glass of wine and stumble upon unplanned conversation, be it with the barkeep or my bar stool neighbor. Where the bar tender remembers my favorite glass of wine and the troubles of my day job. Soon enough!
Speaking of regulars, the regulars that sit at the bar at Petite Jacqueline, you know who you are, are some of the finest human being I’ve ever had the pleasure of being acquainted with and I truly feel blessed to be graced with their presences through the weeks.
Anyway, the one part of my job that I still find excitement in most days, is the unknowingness of who will come and sit at my bar and what kind of conversations we will have. There are definitely some dull nights in which only couples who don’t really want to be disturbed and canoodle in the corner come in or bigger groups who are namely interested in themselves or on those dreaded nights when I only interact with a handful of people.
Despite some of the slow times, most nights I have at least one intriguing conversation. And, call me selfish, but as the cruise director of sorts, most of the converstaions end up being about something I’m interested in. Whether it be my big move to California, the nature of the industry I majored in, trends in the restaurant industry, Boston, traveling, wine, food, etc. I get to have a conversation with a total stranger, someone who I may have absolutely nothing else in common with, about topics I find interesting. That’s definitely a perk to the job.
One of the greatest feelings is that sentiment of contentness you have after having a good, stimulating conversation about a topic you find interesting. That feeling, that hey, maybe the world does make just a little bit of sense feeling is so gratifying. It’s relieving. It’s what sets us apart from other species, that ability to connect with each other. And it happens, more often then many other places, at the bar. The bartender- bar drinker relationship is an age-old one that is truly unique.
I believe that is what Bourdain is referring to. Despite my dissatisfaction with my current occupation and my driving desire to be in another one, I think that being a bar tender is a VERY important job and I’m proud to hold the title for as long as I do.
I currently have two different lives. The one before 3:30 and the one after 3:30 behind the bar at the Bistro. These days I find that I love going to work behind the bar because it’s when I get some time to relax. I get to chat with the customers and mix cocktials, it’s really more fun then work.
That before 3:30 time has me cramming in getting my freelance PR and social media work done, going to meetings and making connections, exercising and doing any other errands I need to get done. That time stamp, 3:30, haunts my entire day. I am constantly estimating how long things will take and planning my day and wake up time accordingly.
I almost always over estimate all that I can get done in those few hours before the bar. Often the reason I overestimate is because I don’t factor in distractions.
Focus and motivation. The two hardest things for me to come by. Focus more so then motivation. I’m pretty stoked to be working towards a career in public relations which keeps me amped and raring to go most days. While I have no idea how I’m going to get there I constantly remember a quote my dad read me from The World is Flat:
“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion, or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle, or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle. When the sun comes up, you better start running.” ~Thomas Freidman
While I am usually eager to get up and start running, distractions often take away from that motivation. I place alot of this problem on my working conditions. I spend all morning in my apartment. When I don’t have meetings at specific times I find my focus is even worse. If I have meetings I at least know I have a deadline to get something done by.
However when I have unitl 3:30 to get a list of things done with no specific time or no serious consequences whether I get them done or not, it can be difficult not to stop and clean the kitchen, or the bathroom, or go through my clothes, or check facebook, or go through old pictures, or call a friend, or stop and have a conversation with my roommate, etc. etc. The distractions in my apartment are endless.
Simple solution: having an office.
If I had an office that was meant only to do work in, I think I would get a lot more done. Having a work space sets a trend for automatically putting you in the mindset of working, period. Given my lack of funds to rent office space, having an office is not going to happen until I have a 9-to-5 job.
Seriously. I should write a how-to-guide on how to survive for two weeks off of $100 worth of groceries- from Whole Foods. That’s right I more or less get by for two weeks off of one grocery shopping trip. Mostly because I know I’m only cooking breakfast and lunch and won’t have time to dedicate myself to preparing a full meal. Also because I’ve been doing this for years and consider myself somewhat of an expert. (blog post explaining this phenomenon coming soon)
Given as I’m almost always working during dinner hours, I typically have breakfast, a mid morning snack and then a late lunch/ early dinner right before dinner service at the restaurant starts.
I hate not having dinner every night! I want to be able to go to the grocery store every few days. (Though not with that mass influx of people from 4pm to 6pm, but I guess I could deal.) I want to be relaxed and attractive and calm and enjoying my grocery shopping experience like everyone else in Whole Foods.
I want to be able to go and chat with the attractive produce guy as to what veggies he thinks will best accompany my pasta dish instead of tearing through grabbing only a few perishable items knowing if I buy too many they will just go bad and won’t be money well spent towards the two-week grocery plan.
What a novel idea it is to me to be able to go to the grocery store with a list of ingredients needed to make dinner and take my time in selecting which ones are best! Where I could stop and chat with the overstaffed team of green apron-wearing Whole Foods employees and make stupid jokes that aren’t actually funny but you laugh at each other to be polite and then encourage each other to have a nice day. Seriously, this appeals to me.
So today, given as it’s my day off, I did just that. It was nice. I didn’t have the usual sense of anxiety that accompanies my typical frantic shopping trips in which I’m just trying to cross off another item on my to-do list. I went and slowly perused the veggies, the wine and the fish overly excited to accept the tips that the staff so willingly wants to give. (On a typical shopping endeavor the over-friendliness of the staff really aggravates me, but I’m pretty sure this is due to my feelings towards not being able to grocery shop more frequently and buy what I really want to cook. I’m sorry Whole Food’s staff, it’s not your fault. You’re just doing your job.)
I even joked with the bag lady about how I was going to eat the whole thing of whipped cream and strawberries that I bought! She loved it! In all seriousness it will most certainly be gone by the end of the night but she doesn’t need to know that.
While I say the reason is grocery shopping, I think it has more to do with wanting to have a sit-down dinner every night. I think it is important to sit down with your family, your friends, your significant other, whoever really, and have dinner. It’s a tradition of humanity.
Growing up my parents stressed the importance of having family dinner every night, complete with a glass of milk. Even in high school. We could go out after school and after dinner, we could bring whoever we wanted, well, almost whoever we wanted, over for dinner, but we HAD to be there. No exceptions.
As much as I begrudgingly followed this rule, I’m glad I did. We had some of the best laughs over that dinner table. Most of the time, however, it was a serious time in which we talked about what we did that day, how school was going, etc. As you can imagine of a family complete with two, rebellious teenage girls some serious fights occurred too. Salt, pepper and any other available condiments that could be used to cover up the rock hard, grey steaks my mum had made were passed aggressively back and forth. Or not. I remember frequently denying my sister the ketchup when she stole all the attention. My dad would angrily reach over my plate to grab it and pass it to her.
We look back now and laugh and cherish those moments of dysfunction. While you could probably make a reality television show out of our family dinners then, and now- still, I love that food, that dinner, has always brought us together and probably always will and am eager to get to a place where I can continue this tradition in my own ways.
I just finished my last interview for my surf story and am about to set out to work on writing it. But first, a snack: a cup of coffee and several spoonfuls of raw cookie dough. I haven’t gone grocery shopping in weeks as part of the save-for-California financial program I’m on. Sweatpants, slippers and big comfy sweater on I can’t help but laugh at myself and prey, ‘please let this story get published.’
These days I like to think I’m beautifully enduring a ‘quarter-life crisis.’ I am almost 25. I just resigned from a management position to become a full-time bar tender so that I could spend more time doing what I love. To pursue my passion for writing and my desire to break into the public relations industry. And the thing is, I’m actually happier! I am thrilled to be eating cookie dough and furiously writing before traveling to LA with my friends on Thursday. That actually encompasses a lot of things that I love: sugar, writing, traveling and spending time with my friends, helllooooo!
I look around, and while I’m only 24, the idea that there are people who are my age and just absolutely killing it and doing what they love makes me envious and gives me a heightened sense of anxiety, but is also inspirational! Why can’t I do that to? I can. I do not have to sign a contract and take a salary and live a “stable” lifestyle. That “stable” lifestyle idea actually makes me feel very mentally UNstable.
For generations before it was, without a question in your mind, you went to college, you majored in a profession, you got the job that correlated with that major and planned on doing it for the next 40-years. You married your college sweetheart started saving for a house and retirement. Then after doing the same thing day in and day out you woke up realizing there is very little that you love about the life around you, enter mid-life crisis. I’m not saying this happened/happens to everyone! But it did/does happen.
However, I think that way of life is nearing an end. Now a days, and I guess, in a way, we can thank the down economy for this, my generation is coming to the realization of how important it is to be surrounded by what you love at a much earlier age.
If it’s so hard to get ANY kind of job, why not get the one you want?
Companies get bought and sold, technology is advancing so fast, younger, smarter people are being pumped out of universities in mass quantities every year. Nothing is guaranteed. The world is changing rapidly at every second. It leaves us constantly questioning EVERYTHING. Our values, what we love, what we want, etc.
It’s not a ‘crisis’ so to say. It’s actively living. It’s being in touch with our true needs, wants and desires, and it’s a beautiful thing.
While I can’t necessarily do what I love for work right away, writing or pr, I can enjoy the struggle of getting there. Every moment becomes more significant. Every day off, every new adventure, every new bar customer, every human interaction becomes that much more meaningful.
The difference between the ‘quarter-life crisis’ and the ‘mid-life crisis’ is that in the current ‘crisis,’ I can still laugh and enjoy the unknown. My biggest responsibility is myself and my happiness. I don’t have responsibilities like mortgage payments, a husband and/or children. I’m enjoying the journey of getting these. Of getting to a point where I can healthily have these things, which, in turn, will theoretically make it so I appreciate them that much more when I do have them.
I love my ‘quarter life crisis,’ because it is my adventure, my journey into finding myself.