the race + an update

Today was my first full day alone at the temp job. I didn’t finish working until 9:30pm! I went in for a few hours on Sunday too. Boo. Today was a race against the clock, filled with lots of important legal details I was terrified to screw up.

I honestly don’t think these two weeks will be that bad (and ca-ching, ca-ching! the money’s good!), but right now my back is on fire and I’m exhausted.

It’s funny to be revisiting this lifestyle where I can’t fit in a workout, barely have time to eat lunch and feel like my retinas are burned into my head on the hour-long commute home. That stuff, along with the disjointedness of coming home knowing I won’t have time to clean up or do laundry for a week and a half, is some of why I quit my job. I’m not build for the nonstop race, I need time to reset.

In other news…

Harvard Sailing Team‘s new short film will premiere at the Friar’s Club Film Festival this weekend, and we all get to go to the screening! We worked hard on our little movie and had a great time making it, so we’re excited to watch it on the big screen. There’s also an after-party and an awards ceremony. Should be a super-fun weekend.

Jen+Steve, my two person improv team, won our first round at the PIT’s Sketchprov tournament. Winner of the whole event gets $2500. You never know!

My Acting for Sketch & Scripted Comedy class starts October 21. I’m excited and nervous! Eep!

And I’m still doing as much writing as I can, whenever possible.

Fanny & Jane…I haven’t mentioned in a while – huh? Well, as you know, we took a summer hiatus. The unofficial and official answer about what will happen this fall is: we don’t quite know yet. We know we can’t have the same experience we had last season, which was very productive, busy and lucrative, but it was also SO MUCH WORK OH MY GOD. And not in a great way. So stay tuned. Decisions will be made soon.

Oh, and shut the front door, I’m turning 30 in a month and a half. Yeesh.

If time allows I’ll try to do some classic desk-job updates while I’m at work this week! It’ll be like old times. 🙂

i remember now

I told you in my last post that I’m temping in an office for the next three weeks. I wrote, “I’m actually excited to go back to an office environment to remind myself what it’s like.

Well, I remember now! IT SUCKS.

I mean, it’s fine. But it’s not my thing.

So far I’m doing a good job, staying focused and not allowing myself to feel like a fraud. I’m keeping in perspective that I’m more than someone’s assistant. It also helps that I know it’s only temporary, and that I have a full, colorful career on the outside.

But I also remember all too well when this corporate world was my every day and I didn’t always feel so hopeful. It makes me sad to think about the years I spent feeling trapped and unhappy.

So, why does it suck? Well, first of all I’m exhausted! After an hour working on a legal document I need three coffees and a hard smack in the face. The harsh lighting makes me feel grouchy, my commute this morning almost resulted in the death of everyone in my immediate vicinity, and the stupid printer jams all the time! It’s 2010! How is that still happening?!

I also can’t stand the fact that I’m always hungry, thirsty or really have to pee when I’m sitting at that desk. I can’t seem to strike a balance of physical contentment no matter what I do.

Still, I have had a few positive reminders that I’ll definitely take with me when these three weeks are over:

1. After lots of years of experience, I’m good at this type of job. I don’t like the work, but if I was so broke that I didn’t have another choice, I’ve got this skill set to fall back on.

2. Making it my business to do a good job no matter what task is in front of me is more fun (fun?) and easier than being pissed off and resentful. Taking notes instead of pretending I’ll remember everything helps too.

3. Getting older makes some things harder, but it makes a lot of things easier. I remember when I started my first-ever law firm job at age 23. I was terrified. Now I’m just amused.

4. If you’re not happy in your job you don’t have to work there. I’ve already passed so many people in the halls of the office who look a little dead inside. I want to slide them a note that says “Remember, you have options…”

they got us

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. The story I (and the rest of the world) blogged yesterday about the disgruntled assistant named “Jenny” who quit dramatically her job via dry erase board – WAS A HOAX. Ugh.

The girl’s real name is Elyse Porterfield and she’s an actress who answered an ad posted by a guy who, along with his business partner, “just wanted to prove to myself that I had it in me.” Great. Apparently you do.

As embarrassed as we all might be for believing the story (238,000 Facebook users shared the link and 31,000 people tweeted about it), the success of this hoax proves that a whole lot of people really do daydream about quitting jobs that don’t fulfill them, and they’ll happily celebrate when somebody else has the courage to do so.

The JetBlue guy’s awesome story remains true, though! Phewf.

quit your job like a rock star – the dry erase board story

(Update! The following story is a hoax. As cool as it would be if it were true, it’s not. Boo! Hiss!! But you can still be inspired by the concept…right?)

Omg! This is so awesome. Fresh on the heels of the JetBlue flight attendant story, you’ve gotta check out the story and pics of a girl named Jenny who quit her job in a brilliant fashion yesterday morning.

When Jenny finally snapped after overhearing her boss make a sexual remark about her, Jenny dramatically quit by taking 33 pictures of herself holding dry erase boards which, all together, spelled out her farewell message – including a delicious reveal about how her nasty boss really spends all his company time. And then she emailed the pictures to the entire company!

Click here to see all 33 pictures and read her story.

I love it. Take your life back, Jenny. Good for you.

You guys, I think the universe is telling us it’s Quit Your Job Week. Is it your turn? 😉

so I scrubbed the hell out of the shower

This day was a long one. I’m sitting on the couch now, at 12:30am, after a 15-hour non-stop day, grouchy, hungry and too stubborn to do anything about any of it. (I mean, I’ll probably have a snack.)

I’m tired. I’ve been working a lot. Long hours. For days. I don’t think I’ve taken an entire day off in a long time. Woe is me, right?

YES. WOE IS ME.

Today was a mixture of a lot of things – some pleasure, some business – but it may have been too much because I’m down for the count now. I’m lucky to have the option to sleep in tomorrow. Very lucky.

I was rereading old blog entries recently, entries from when I was still working at my desk job and trying to keep my negativity in check, trying to keep my situation in perspective, and daydreaming about, well, now. A time when I’d be freer and “happier,” I assumed.

I am MUCH happier in many ways. But this is also a tough, tiring road. Building a career from what often feels like scratch, working toward stuff that sometimes feels elusive, intangible and undefined, laying in bed every night wondering what the next day will bring, what the next month will bring. I know, I know, there’s only power in the Now.

Tell it to my bank account and my busy mind.

I don’t mind the struggle. It exists. And I wouldn’t go back to that desk job for anything. Things are…good. I’m content within my unrest, if that’s possible. I feel further along on this journey to figure out what the hell I’m gonna be when I grow up than I ever have before. Good things happen every single day.

I do yearn for a time when my career is not the first thing I think about in the morning and the last thing I think about at night.

All in good time I suppose.

Anyway. I got home tonight, feeling all those things and a million others, feeling all mixed up and hot and sweaty and sick of everything. And I went into the bathroom to rinse off. I brought with me a sponge and a bottle of all-natural cleaner, almost unconsciously. And then I turned on the steaming hot water, got undressed, got in, and scrubbed the hell out of the shower.

I have no idea why I did that. I’ve never done it before. But it felt great.

how to quit your job – 5 steps

If you want to quit your job, you are like a staggering number of people in America today. CBS News recently reported that only 45% of US workers find their jobs satisfying. And that’s lowest rate ever recorded in the 22 years they’ve been studying the issue.

If you aren’t happy at your job, why not take the plunge? Yes, there are risks. Yes, it can be scary. But quitting your job to pursue something that makes you happier and more fulfilled is never riskier and scarier than the alternative: remaining stuck a mindless cycle of dreading every day and complaining over a tub of ice cream or a bottle of wine every night.

I quit my job and lived to tell the tale. I worked as a grouchy office assistant for many boring years and it made me want to commit mass murder. I was the ugliest version of myself when I worked at that job. I was dismissive, short-tempered, difficult and I loved rolling my eyes behind people’s backs. (Okay, I still do that.)

Now, 7 months after quitting, I’m happier and more hopeful than I’ve been in years. I might even be a little smarter too. I’m not an expert, I’m just someone who’s been through it and come out thriving on the other side.

The list I’m about to share might seem simple. That’s on purpose. No matter what we may have been led to believe by maybe our parents, our culture, or our bank accounts, quitting your job is simple.

Scary? Risky? Non-traditional? Maybe.

Rocket science? Absolutely not.

Here’s how I did it:

1. Decide WHY. I knew I felt unhappy at my job, but I had to determine exactly why, or I wouldn’t know what I was aiming to fix.

Start by asking yourself why you don’t like the work you do. Is it the people? The atmosphere? The work itself? Is it you? Are you making the situation worse than it is?

Be honest and specific. Make sure you truly know why you want to quit.

2. Decide WHAT. What next? New office? Home office? New career entirely? New city? Decide what you want out of your new lifestyle. If you already know what you want to do – great! You’re well on your way.

For some people, deciding what’s next is the hardest part. Just remember, it doesn’t have to happen right away. Spend some time paying attention to details about yourself that you might not always consider. Like, do you like walking to work? Do you mind commuting? Do you want to work with people, or by yourself? Ask friends and family to tell you where they think your strengths lie. There’s information in those details. Take the time to figure it out.

I didn’t know what I wanted to do next when I set out to quit. I knew I wanted to work for myself, have more control over my own schedule, feel creative, productive and active. It took me about a year to mold that into a career direction. Once I quit my job, I ended up opening an online bakery, becoming a freelance writer and focusing more on my comedy career. And I’m still growing and changing all the time.

3. Decide WHEN. Give yourself a goal date. This helped me tremendously. When I was 27 years old I promised myself that I would quit my desk job by the time I turned 29. When that date rolled around a year and a half later, I briefly considered NOT quitting yet – maybe I could save more money, maybe it wasn’t the right time?

Ultimately, though, I knew I owed it to myself meet the deadline I’d set. When I really thought about it, a new reality was already within reach…so why not go for it? It was the right move. It got me out of a job that I could have stayed in my whole life.

What will it take to get to the next step? Classes? Networking with a new group of people? Delving deeper into a hobby to discover how you might be paid to do what you love? Determine what smaller steps you’ll need to take between now and then. Then set a deadline and commit to it.

4. Save money. From the moment you decide you want to quit your job – in fact, even if it’s just an inkling in the back of your mind – start saving money. Check out my article “10 ways to save for a desk job escape,” which I wrote a few weeks before I quit. Cut corners when you can and trust that you are building an essential nest egg to help fuel your journey outta the doldrums.

My savings was account one of the best things I did for myself. I was able to pull in new income shortly after my desk job ended, but I needed that savings to float me through a few tough months later on and to make ends meet along the way. I was really amazed at how far it took me.

5. Commit to yourself. This is the most important piece of advice I can give you. If you want to quit your job, only your commitment to doing so will make it possible. People who decide to change their lives actively change them, they don’t sit around waiting for it to happen. Lay the traps, write the plans, shake off the fear, bide your time – yes. But after that time is up, take action. There will definitely be days when it feels like a big mistake, the wrong decision, the path of most resistance. On those days, return to the WHY and the WHAT to strengthen your resolve.

You’ll never know what can be if you don’t follow your bliss. Go for it.

stupid brain

I took the day off today – something I don’t get to do as often as I thought I would when I quit my desk job last year.

I’ve been working a lot of hours lately – writing, baking, performing and rehearsing. I can’t wait for those hours to be fewer some day, but for now I am building something. It takes time!

It’s hard for me to take a day off – it gives me anxiety. I feel like there are things I could be doing, should be doing, like opportunities and paychecks are slipping through my fingers. It’s kind of ridiculous. So today, instead of staying cooped up in my house on the computer all day long, I decided to shut my own stupid brain up and enjoy the beautiful, warm spring Saturday, guilt-free.

exhaustion

You guys, I’m exhausted. Since Kevin and I got back from Chicago last week we have both been going non-stop.

It dawned on me the other day – this first year of having quit my job is going fabulously so far, I could not have imagined it would work out the way it has – but once it’s over, I think I will look back on it as a hard year too. Sometimes, it’s hard.

There’s a certain sense of pressure to make it all work, to succeed, to accomplish this thing I set out to do. Of course, I’m already doing it, so there’s no sense dwelling in places that aren’t happening now, but we all know that’s easier said than done.

I am so lucky to have so much support and unconditional faith from my mom, my stepdad, my boyfriend, my friends, my cousins, my aunt and uncle, even my therapist. I am a lucky young lady. And I would not be able to do this all without their undying encouragement.

I don’t feel pressure from them to succeed, interestingly. The pressure is from the inside out. I know this life – one I’ve built for my own fulfillment – is possible. So I try to prove it to myself daily.

Even though the next month, with all of its unknowns, always lurks around the corner, I’ve got to remember to check in with where I am right now. I’ve been pleasantly surprised so far, so there’s no reason to assume that won’t keep happening.

I’ve been working long hours and I’m tired. I go non-stop most days. I lay on the couch at night for maybe 30 minutes, if that, before I pick up the next task or project that I work on until early in the morning. These aren’t complaints, just observations. Nobody else has created this but me, so it must be how I work best. Better to turn off the judgment.

This tired is a good kind of tired, though. Tired to the bone from having worked hard for what I want.

i quit my job today – the reprise

I was reminded today how often the phrase “quit your job” leads people to this blog and then I noticed that my post “I quit my job today” gets viewed a lot. So I went back to reread that old post, because I haven’t looked at it in a long time.

The post, in part, shared an excerpt from something I’d scrawled on the back of an office document earlier that week at my desk job:

The paperwork piles up and I stare off into space pretending it doesn’t matter. I am distracted by my own boredom every thirty seconds. I am completely unchallenged. Even if I were doing something “interesting” here, I’m not sure I’d be able to stand it. It makes me wonder if I have A.D.D. or a bad work ethic. In reality, I just don’t belong here.

There was no big moment, no final straw that led to this decision. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I wrote a long annoying blog entry draft last week about whether or not I should quit now or quit in January (after we get a small holiday bonus). I reread it after I wrote it and I knew I couldn’t post it. Because I was just sick of hearing myself talk about it. I thought, This is not the kind of problem I want to have. This is not going to help anyone else on their journey. This is just spinning wheels. This is avoiding taking a risk. This is a waste of my time. I’m not wasting any more time. I’m going to pursue work I’m passionate about and that’s all there is to it. No amount of waiting-until- January is going to improve my life.

When I read that, how far I’ve come really struck me. That used to be real. And now this is real. I guess I’m being hit upside the head every day lately with how many strides I’ve made since I quit my job. And that’s really nice. It makes me wonder what the point of this blog is anymore.

Maybe the point is just to continue telling my story. I like to tell stories.

The rest of that old entry said:

I’m going to pursue work I’m passionate about and practice trusting that the money will come. I’m not going to focus too heavily on my bank account (and what’s in it or not in it). I am a responsible person and my bills will get paid.

I am, however, going to set some specific goals, goals related to freelancing writing, blogging, the bakery, and using the value that is my weight loss expertise to help other people.

One afternoon last summer, Kevin and I were swimming at the local pool. I had been at this job for almost a year at the time. I knew I wasn’t ready to quit any time soon, I knew I had to plan and prepare and lay some foundation for myself first. And I also didn’t have any idea what I wanted to do once I did quit. I just knew it wasn’t my destiny to work in an office. We stared up at the blue summer sky and splashed our feet in the water, and I said to Kevin, “No matter what I end up doing, no matter what direction I choose, my only commitment to myself is that I will quit this job before I turn 29. That’s a year and a half from now. So I have plenty of time to figure it out.”

I turn 29 in two months. Here we go.

Brought me back, that did. I’m in a different zone now entirely. I’m sitting in my apartment about 75% of the way through my work day today. I’ve written, I’ve baked, I’ve worked on bakery paperwork, I’ve worked on Harvard Sailing Team stuff, soon I’ll go make a delivery and do an improv show. I’m starting to think of ALL of it as work – work I love to do, but work just the same. My day will end late tonight – I’ll probably come home and write some more. And we leave for a semi-business trip to Chicago in the morning. WHEW!

I’m loving it.

the brooklyn bakery examiner

I did not take this adorable photo, nor did I make this adorable cookie. This is the Pumpkin Whoopie Pie from One Girl Cookies, a Brooklyn bakery. And the photo was taken by Kathy YL Chan, and posted on her site, Serious Eats NY, The Dessert Files. (Yum.)

So, speaking of One Girl Cookies, I want to share with you guys my first published article as the Brooklyn Bakery Examiner (!!) over at Examiner.com. My short piece is called “The Story of One Girl Cookies – a Cobble Hill, Brooklyn Bakery.” Click here to read it.

I am so excited to continue to write this column. As you’re all well aware, I love all things sweets. I also love many things Brooklyn. So this is a match. I already have a bazillion ideas in mind for places to write about and explore. I’ll probably even have to revisit some of my favorites from daily dessert. Do you remember the trip I took to Baked in Red Hook, Brooklyn? That was one of the best days of my life.

(July. Coming soon to a city near you.)

Yeaaah, so this isn’t gonna be too bad at all, this new gig. In fact, I can’t think of many other things I’d rather be doing.

p.s. I’ve heard rumors that it’s going to be almost 80 degrees in NYC this weekend. We’re going to the beach, right? (I’m kidding…Am I?)