Rant: Day Job vs. Passion

I’ve been going back and forth in my head for a couple of weeks now about this. I’ve been applying for a bunch of jobs and I’ve been tossing back and forth between applying for only what I’m passionate about or applying for jobs that I’d simply be good at. 

Whenever I mention passion to my much-older cousin, she says it’s dangerous to be fixated on mixing your career with passion. Passion implies forever, and our careers don’t necessarily need to be forever. Especially nowadays when people have several different careers during their lifetimes.

I want to find something I’m passionate about doing because whenever I meet people who are passionate about what they do, I feel a tinge of jealousy – I mean, obviously, right? It was always ingrained in me growing up that I should do what I love and what I’m passionate about, but is that not really the way it is? Just because a very small percentage of the population has managed to find a job they absolutely love, does that have to be what we all strive for? Because it’s almost as hard to find as finding your “soulmate.”

Why isn’t it good enough for all of us if we find a job that pays us so we can live our lives and pay the bills and take the occasional vacation? A job that we might happen to be good at, even though it might not be something we’re particularly passionate about doing? 

So, at first I was limiting my job applications to only companies for which I could muster up some degree of passion. Then I realized that those jobs are super few and far between and maybe my cousin was right: just find a job with people that you like (or can at least tolerate), that pays you well, and that you’re good at and, live your life outside the office. 

I went to school for theatre management and took an extra several-month course in commercial producing after graduation. I worked in theatre and the pay was lousy and the hours were even worse. I loved some of the shows I was working on, but even though I loved (and still love) theatre, I knew it wasn’t the end of the world if I didn’t work in the industry anymore. It was my passion and I could do it outside work. 

Isn’t that generally what passions are anyways? Things you do in your free time? Yes, I’d love to teach yoga full-time, but that path is hard as fuck, and you have to hustle, and I don’t know if I’m cut out for that. 

So, in the meantime, I’m going to try to teach (for $$ or volunteer) yoga on the side and then get a job that I’m good at. I’ll try my best not to work in an industry that I find revolting (again) and be content that maybe I’m not 100% passionate about what I do from 9 to 5 every day. My life outside of work is more important at the end of the day: friends, yoga, meditation, theatre, music. 

And if you make your passion your day job, is it really your passion anymore? Just asking. For a friend. 

Real Clothes

I don’t know what real clothes look like anymore. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but I feel like I’ve forgotten how to put myself together. After spending four weeks in yoga pants, five days a week, and desperately avoiding having to put on clothes other than sweaters or leggings, I now can’t even remember what I used to wear to work on a daily basis. Damn you, yoga teacher training and general laziness.

I’ve had a few interviews in the past two weeks and it’s been a struggle to force jeans onto my legs. And I’ve lost 6 pounds in the past month (yay!), so it’s not that they no longer fit! To quote the poet Cher Horowitz, they’re just “so binding.”

I had an interview today for a temp job in the HR department of a fashion company and when I went out it was a fashion company, my first thought was, “oh shit.” I wasn’t sure how I was going to convince these people that I gave two fucks about fashion when I clearly don’t. I ultimately decided upon a 5+ year old black wrap dress from Old Navy with black boots and a hot pink leather jacket. 

(Let’s not talk about how the recruiter gave me the wrong address for their offices and the offices are actually located an hour+ away from me via subway. In the end, I chose not to go or to reschedule. Because the fashion industry sucks and Whitehall Street is really hella far away.)

How should I rectify the situation? I thought an inventory review of my closet was in order. IS in order. Meaning, I have yet to do it. But I will. Soon enough. After a season of leggings and sweaters, I have no idea what else is left in my closet. Does that happen to anyone else?

Nevertheless, here’s to trying to dress like an actual human being again. 

One Post

I haven’t written very much in the past month because I’ve been in my yoga teacher training intensive which means I was busy from 9am until 6pm, Monday through Friday, then another hour or so for my commute each way to and from SoHo, so between the actual class and the homework, I had zero time to write.

But it was a transformative experience. It really was. The week before the training started when I saw my kundalini teacher for the last time, she told me I’d have a transformative experience and she wasn’t lying. I truly did. We all did. Every single person in the training with me is going to be a friend for the rest of my life. There were so many tears during our closing ceremonies. 

Today felt like the first day of the rest of my new life. It sounds so cliche but I’m just free writing right now to break the silence on here. I’m not sure what exactly I want to do next, but I know that applying for every-and-any job is no longer a good option. I have savings and I don’t spend a lot, so I can take my time. I’ll teach where and when possible. I have insurance, albeit not very good insurance, but insurance nevertheless. (At least until the ACA is repealed!)

Fear can fuck off for once. I’m going to try this my way. 

A Leap of Faith

Ever since I was surprised by a layoff in early November, I’d been contemplating doing a 200 hour yoga teacher training intensive with one of my favoriteeeee regular teachers (the inspiration Chrissy Carter!) for the month of January because it just so happened to be almost perfect timing. I just need a way, other than unemployment, to sustain myself until then. 

But then I’d been woo’ed by a recruiter to take a temp HR Generalist position at a tech start-up. The pay was pretty low, but it looked like a cool company, so I said I’d do it. The recruiter also said it had potential to be permanent and as soon as I saw the office and they gave me a bag of swag, I was like, “OMG I’M STAYING FOREVER,” and my yoga teacher training dreams disappeared faster than the color from my cheeks from the 4 AVENUE WALK from the subway to the office that the temp job was in. 

After about two weeks, I started to get pretty miserable though. It became clear that this wasn’t becoming a permanent thing in addition to the pay being stupidly low, and despite my “boss” being a lovely person who I had things in common with (meditation! rose water spray! rolfing!), she arrived late every day (her own schedule, whatever!), spent most of the day in meetings, and couldn’t answer my questions as she didn’t know a whole lot about HR – she had been thrown into her role with no flotation advice just as I had been. She gave me projects to do with no instructions and she wasn’t there to answer questions.

As I sat at my desk last night, I realized I was miserable. I knew I didn’t want to stay and I definitely wanted to have another plan, which was a surprise to everyone, including myself. Ever since college, when I interned and/or went to classes during the day and worked selling merchandise at Broadway shows at nights and on weekends, in addition to volunteering to do other production related things, I looked forward to the day when I’d be able to have a “regular” 9-5 job after which I’d be able to have my life and see shows, do yoga, and whatever else I desired. 

But after the last couple of weeks, I started to kind of admit to myself that maybe that’s not what I want to do after all. Maybe, as much as it kills me to say it, a “regular” job isn’t what’s right for me. Or maybe I was just in the wrong field. But instead of trying yet another job, I decided to sign up for yoga teacher training. I input my credit card number, submitted my application, forwarded the confirmation to my yoga teacher, and left for the day after offboarding someone.

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I arrived, as previously scheduled, at my yoga studio that night for class with my teacher and when she arrived she gave me a hug and told me congratulations. Shortly after, I received a phone call from the recruiter telling me that my assignment was over because they’d hired a generalist. The universe had my back and things all synced up. I’d found a job for the interim weeks before training and now I was free from it. 

I’m really excited for the training. It’s a big step and it’s a big commitment, for sure, but it’s better than sitting around and taking another job that I might end up hating. All of the reasons that I didn’t think I should do it are still there (I don’t really want to be a yoga teacher, per se; I’m not flexible enough; I can’t even do a handstand!; It’s expensive!; My arms are short!; I’m not fit enough!) but they’re at least fading into the background now that I clicked the ‘confirm’ button.

If you’ve done 200 hour yoga teacher training before, I’d love to hear some tips and insights, if you have any. 

Stay Put

I’ve jumped around in terms of jobs for the last couple of years. It all started when I was laid off from the job that I was kicking ass at for 3+ years in 2012. I took advantage of my severance and got back into theatre with an internship that led to a job that worked me to fucking bone. Were there free theatre tickets? Yes. Were there lots of We’re Curing Cancer attitude? Oh, fuck yes. And BTW, we were not curing cancer. What would’ve happened if I had just stayed put and taken advantage of the comps? Who knows. I’d probably have burnt out after another 6 months of that schedule. 

So I left for a job at another theatrical ad agency that was numbers-related but not sitting in the dark back dungeon of the finance department. Unfortunately, this meant more We’re Totally Close To Curing Cancer attitude. Which, despite our best efforts, we weren’t doing anything close to that. My manager, who was basically my age, had hired incorrectly and they scrapped my role, and me, completely after 7 months. 

After that gig ended, I immediately transitioned into my favorite role to date, where I stayed for 10 months until I was woo’d away from the prospect of more money. I kind of wish I hadn’t left, though there was just a huge round of layoffs there recently (every internet media is coming to terms with the fact that you can’t sustain a business off ad click revenue alone). But fuck regret. “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

In between that was the Job From Hell which only last 3 months before the company’s merger and overall business strategy tanked. Good riddance, assholes. 

But as August transitioned into September this week, it occurred to me that I’ve been at my current office of employment for 8 months. And I was like, “Wow, I’ve been here for a while.” And I started to get itchy and make a switch again (there are so many exciting companies out there!) but I decided that I should do something different and stay put. 

Having Many Jobs on your resume is something that baby boomers are having to come to terms with right now. The next generation, apparently, isn’t satisfied to stay at the same job for 35 years for just a paycheck. And good for us. Money is only worth so much. Having to switch jobs is an inconvenience but it hasn’t all been bad. I thought recently about what I’ve learned in the last few years and I came to the conclusion that I wouldn’t trade the knowledge that I’ve gained for a steady job anywhere. (Not to say that there aren’t perks to having one job for many years – security! comfort! – but job hopping isn’t as bad as all the olds say it is.)

First Ad Job:
I like process. I’m really good at process and I kick a job’s ass when I get into a good groove. I don’t like sitting in a closet from 8am through 6pm/7pm though.

Second Ad Job:
Digital media planning is not for me. There’s no process. It’s basically just guessing. I also realized I didn’t like being client-facing. Let me do my job and not have to deal with the clients. And again, I don’t like working 10-11 hour days.

Internet Media Company:
I realized I’m good at the finance stuff and that I really liked HR, too. I like the process that goes along with both finance and HR. I like being involved in the interviews and the onboarding. I realized I didn’t like being bored, though.

Temp Job:
After the last job imploded (not my fault), this was about to become permanent before I realized I didn’t get a flying fuck about bookkeeping for the 1%’s ridiculous weddings/anniversary/birthday parties. The people I worked with were great and the work was easy, but it also wasn’t enough work. Bored AF doesn’t begin to describe it.

Current Gig:
I’ve realized all over again that I like the tech and internet world. I like working with engineers. I like HR and operations. I love recruiting. And I shouldn’t let a period of downtime at work make me want to jump ship. I like working for a company that’s doing something useful.

So, I’m staying put because I like my work and the people I work with. I’m trying something different because as things at any job become routine, I realize I’ll get bored easily, so I just need to sit tight while the company grows. 

When I was working in advertising for the first time in 2013, that was the first time I heard of Natasha, Pierre, and The Great Comet of 1812. It’s now headed to Broadway and I can’t wait to see it in an actual Broadway theatre, since that’s where they planned to put it in the first place.

The lead producer, Howard Kagan, when he signed on with the agency originally planned to produce it in a Broadway house. Shortly after he changed his mind and thought an off-Broadway house would be better suited for the unique show. Finally, though, they decided they’d build their own space in a vacant parking lot in the meatpacking district. Is this show ever going to go up? we’d say quietly in our seats.

It did, though. I saw it that spring and it was lovely. They transformed that parking lot into an awesome nightclub (way better than anything that’s currently in the Meatpacking District) and the food and atmosphere were incredible. The performances were also awe inspiring.

The next incarnation of The Great Comet hit the vacant parking lot on the corner west of the Richard Rodgers Theatre on 46th Street and 8th Avenue. I didn’t see that version but I’d imagine it was more of the same – which would be nothing short of a great show.

But it’s finally here. With Josh Groban attached to it. It has a theatre which I’m certain is under a massive amount of construction and I will totally go see it. There won’t be a free meal, most likely, but it’ll be a smart score and fantastic voices. 

I’m excited and you should be, too.

Small City

There are 10 million people (give or take) in New York City. That’s a huge number of people, you say. Yeah, that’s a lot of people, totally. Except for when you’re all living within 10 miles of each other. Then not so much. That person who you thought you’d never see again? Oh hey, sitting next to me on the subway!

Anyways, it’s not always bad. Usually it’s comical, or even good! Lots of relationships start because people live near each other (though they oftentimes end and I’m not sure if that’s because of the proximity or just because lots of relationships end, but I digress). We live in this city for ease of access to everything, so we take the good with the not-ideal. 

Anyways, on my floor in my apartment building, there’s a family at the other end of the hall that’s a mother, father, and son. The son is probably in his mid-20′s and he’s a ghostwriter for CEOs and smokes a lot of pot (I can smell it). He’s a super nice guy though, stoner tendencies aside.  

Well, I was waiting for the elevator and my office building this morning and who walks into the lobby? That guy. I looked at him like, “I recognize that dude, but wait, I don’t work with him…” and then it clicked. I think the same thing went through his head, too. He told me his office just moved into the building. 

I couldn’t believe it. How random. It’s a small town that I live in. 

PS: Also small world-esque: A coworker of J’s lives in my apartment building. We run into him all the time now in the elevator!

Old Times

It’s only my first week at my new job and I’m already loving it. I’m working with awesome people and doing stuff that I love. #startuplife 

Tuesday in particular was the best though, it was really totally like old times at the last start-up that I worked at. I am, once again, working within spitting distance of my friend Ben and there’s a Calexico cart at the end of my block in Madison Square Park. So what’d we do for lunch? We did our thing: meeting up for burritos. Delicious burritos. The best burritos that you can get from a cart in the city, in my opinion.

Later on in the day, the marketing associate, who sits next to me, and the CTO asked about ClubMed (the 5 minute meditation break that I used to lead at my old job). Apparently this really sparked their interest when I mentioned it in my interview a couple of weeks ago. 

So, when 2pm rolled around, we all gathered in the conference room and took a 5-minute pause in our day. It’s a small company – 12 people – and I was shocked, and happy, to see that everyone got in on it.

If I’d have stayed an extra week at my temp gig, I’d be miserable right now. I’m so glad I made the decision to cut it short and start my new journey. 

Just couldn’t.

I’d been temping as a bookkeeper at an event planning agency for the last (almost) two months in midtown and on Friday, that time came to an end. I was placed here by a staffing agency and the company was sold me as a marketing agency but it very much isn’t. I realized that when I sat down to review budgets my first week and saw that every other event was a wedding. And not just a wedding, a $1 million+ wedding.

I know: people are free to spend their money as they see fit. Fine. But I can’t wrap my mind around how some people spend more on a single day than most people make in a year (or ten years). Some were on far-away private islands. Some used private jets to get there. Others purchased iPads for all of their 200 guests. Yeah, it was those kinds of weddings. The “My Super Sweet 16″ of weddings.

Maybe I couldn’t stomach it because I’d love a courthouse wedding, with chicken wings and beer at a bar alongside friends and family afterwards, while wearing a cream dress that somewhat resembles a nightgown. Who knows.

I also learned that I’m not really good with hospitality. You know: pandering to the 1% of the population who think they’re special because of their upbringing or what the number in their bank account reads. This is partially why I’ve always liked bookkeeping/finance/accounting.
You get to be on the back end of the company and you don’t have to
bullshit with clients all day. My inability to be hospitable is important because I also did the bookkeeping for the child company of the larger company which sells mixers for margaritas and bloody mary’s, among other things. When I said I was sending out emails to stores who were delinquent in their payments (I’m talking about 3+ months), the other girl who works on the company immediately sought me out after the first one went out and asked me to, maybe, be a little softer. My initial reaction: Um, what? Why? They’re 3+ months overdue on a $70 bill. They need to get their shit together and pay us.

So: hospitality isn’t for me and I’m glad I learned that.

I digress.

Around the holidays, I’d sent out a few resumes because I was afraid they a) weren’t going to hire me full time (that was the plan) and I’d be jobless, or b) they would hire me full time and I’d have to do bookkeeping for the 1%’s ridiculously extravagant events for the rest of my life (#dramatic).

Believe me, I see the paradox there, too. I want a job, but I don’t want that job.

I was also bored as fuck, after only two months. Don’t get me wrong, the people I was working with were lovely and my boss was fantastic. It just wasn’t the right place. Luckily, an opportunity to work at a start-up that really excited me came up last week and I couldn’t say no, so I didn’t. This opportunity came along just after I’d convinced myself that the current role would be fine for now. I’d gotten over the initial disappoint of being at a place that plans million-dollar weddings. The flattering thing was that when I told my boss, she asked if she could make a counter offer. I politely-as-possible declined though. 

Anywho: I’ll be doing HR and operations (what I wanted to segue my career back into anyhow) with a dozen or so awesome, passionate people (including a good friend of mine).

I’m excited and I’m leaving the old job in great shape, better than it was in when I came along. I guess that’s all they can ask for. I’m really grateful for the opportunity to continue to refine my bookkeeping and people-managing skills at this company, though and not be broke during the holidays. That was cool too.

On/Up.

Take it to the Village

I’ve talked about choosing to be happily childfree on here a few times (that’s still true – #sorrynotsorry). I think people want kids purely for narcissistic reasons (I can raise a great child! They’ll so pretty like me! Or my husband! They’ll have great values that I will instill in them! etc.), which is fine because we’re all biologically programmed to want kids to some extent, although some people are probably just pressured into it, too.  I think babies can be really cute sometimes, for sure. They’re cute if they’re not ugly (yes, they exist), or happen not to be vomiting or crying, or spitting up, or pooping. Basically when they’re just little giggly blobs is when they’re the best. (And I use the word “best” lightly.) 

But here’s the thing: since this is something that a majority of people are going to decide they want, I do believe that we should make it easy to have them and also continue to be a working human being. One of my oldest friends, who is more like an older sister, really, is a stay-at-home mom of three and I have no idea how she doesn’t come close to blowing her brains out on a daily basis. (Her choice, and I hope she’s happy, but OMGKILLMENOW.)

My managing director just had a baby four weeks ago. She is adorable and has a great name. Instead of sitting home, doing nothing, or sitting home and trying to work from home (while possible, it’s still probably annoying), she’s in the office one or two days (usually half-days) a week with her baby. The first time I heard her cry, I was like, “OMG MAKE IT STOP.” But that’s only happened once and then I chilled out.

The baby likes to be held a lot, so while my managing director is sending emails or whatnot, she’s holding the baby or someone else in the office is holding her (quite happily, I might add, because like I said, most people want kids). I’m pretty sure this is the modern-day equivalent of your fellow tribe numbers helping to take care of your babies.

And I think it’s pretty cool.