another last day

Last day at the ol’ law firm job.

Not my first law firm job. My second. The one I had to take after I made a big fanfare about quitting my first law firm job and spent a year figuring out who I am and what I want to do with myself.

Well, I think I’ve got it figured out. For now, anyway.

Life, right?

Can’t wait for 5:30pm tomorrow. New chapter! Spring.

another perspective

I’ve had a great weekend but I’m glad it’s over. I drank way too much both Friday and Saturday nights, had so much fun, got to catch up with a bunch of good friends, and we did our first HST show of the fall season, which was a blast. But I’m really paying for it today. My tongue feels fuzzy and my eyes ache.

What’s worse is that I had to work today. On a Sunday! I landed a great temp gig at a law firm. (A law firm?!! I know, I know.) It’s very temporary, just three weeks, and the money is good. I’m actually excited to go back to an office environment to remind myself what it’s like. And temping for these three weeks will give me room to do a lot of fun, creative stuff this fall.

I went into the office for just a few hours today, met the woman I’ll be assisting and did some work. It was easy and fine and I’m eager to do a good job.

One of the big things I’ve realized since leaving my desk job last year was how much I allowed myself to feel like a fraud when I worked there. That fact has been at the forefront of my mind so often lately that I wrote an article about it for Spring this week called “Job Fraud.” I felt like a liar at my old job, like I didn’t belong, like I had to pretend every single day that I cared about what I was doing and wanted to keep doing it.

But going back into an office today for the first time in 11 months made me realize that I don’t have to feel like a fraud just because I’m working a gig I’m not passionate about. There’s another perspective.

I’m trying to make my living as a writer, an actor, a comedian, a blogger, and whatever else comes up that inspires me – and I work hard on those pursuits every day. They’re careers that take time to build and don’t pay a lot when you’re starting out, so I still have to have some paycheck gigs to make ends meet right now. But for the first time in my professional life, I don’t feel resentful about the paycheck jobs. I feel grateful for them. Because I’m using the rest of my energy to build something better.

So, I’ll let you know how it goes!! Assisting an attorney again will be a little like I’m visiting an old life, stepping back in time, but armed with the wisdom I’ve gained in the last year.

I don’t have to feel like a fraud. I’m a creative professional whose fab office skills will pay her rent this month. And I’m proud of it.

will work for margaritas

WANT.

These are chicken mole tacos from the cute little Mexican place near our apartment. I’d love a plate of these bad boys right now, along with a blood orange margarita and a scoop of their incredible guacamole. But I just got back from Las Vegas, you say? Where I drank margaritas the size of footballs? Yes, well. I’m not ready for the summer party to end.

A scrumptious dinner out isn’t gonna happen this week, though. And probably not next week either. It’s shaping up to be a very busy month…and I’m discovering that October will be similarly packed.

Between writing, rehearsing, performing, babysitting to help make ends meet and working on a few other fun projects, I’m almost as busy as I was back when I was working the 9-5 shift. (The difference now is that I actually like what I’m doing with my time.)

One of the best parts of 2010 so far has been all the traveling I’ve gotten to do. I was married to my office job schedule last year at this time so trips out of town were few and far between. This year I’ve had time to go to Montreal, Chicago (twice), Vegas, and this fall I’ll go to Philly and Florida…AND to Los Angeles for the first time in my life!

The LA trip will be a whole week with Harvard Sailing Team. We’re doing a show and taking care of some other biz on the West Coast – can’t wait! I loved being near that part of the world this past weekend, so I’m excited to go back in just a few weeks. I’m looking foward to the weather, the change of lifestyle pace, and catching up with a bunch of old college and high school friends who live in Cali now.

In the meantime, it’s still warm and sunny here in New York and even though the kids are all marching back to into school this week, it doesn’t quite feel like summer’s over for me yet. Maybe I can talk Kev into a Mexican night out this weekend. ūüôā

a perfectly good job

This morning while cleaning out some old stuff on my computer I found something I wrote last year after I quit my job. There were about six weeks between the day I told my boss I was quitting and the day I finally walked out of there for good, which was just long enough to make me a little crazy.

Even though I’d been planning my escape for months, those six weeks of in-between time gave me plenty of opportunity to reevaluate my decision and reconsider my motivation. It was confusing – once I finally had an end-date on the horizon the job became so much more bearable that I almost enjoyed it. I knew I still wanted to quit, but I couldn’t help but wonder if I was giving up a perfectly good job. I wrote:

It’s not a matter of this job being so awful. I grew out of that a while ago. It’s a matter of it being too easy to stay. It’s a matter of it being a “perfectly good job.”

It’s not challenging. And I don’t have to move around too much. And I can call in sick from time to time. And if I surf the internet for a whole day, or for whole days, I don’t get in trouble. The people are mostly nice and sometimes we get free lunch and I can wear casual clothes and go to the gym on my lunch breaks. So why am I quitting?

I’m quitting because staying might lull me into complacency for the rest of my life. I refuse to be 30 and have a job that I don’t care about. I want to have a career that I love. I want a big, dreamy, crazy, fun, exciting, suitable-for-me career.

I’m not quitting because I hate it, or because it’s torture, or because it’s sucking my soul – it’s really not. I’m quitting because if I don’t leave now, I might stay forever. And that’s not good enough.

I was right. It was a good job, but it wasn’t good enough. As I’ve said dozens of times in the past year, what I’m doing now isn’t perfect either, but it’s so much more ME. I’m more professionally fulfilled than I’ve ever been. Best of all, I’ll never have to wonder what-if…because I’m finding out.

ten months + really good stuff

(Photo from HST’s short film shoot: by Eric Michael Pearson.)

It’s been just over 10 months since I quit my job to pursue work that makes me happier.

I cannot say that these last 10 months have been easy. There have definitely been trying, confusing, stressful moments. But what strikes me most is that the time has passed regardless of what I’ve been doing with it. I’ve been able to survive and have had a lot of rich experiences along the way.

I’m so lucky to have received a humbling amount of support from my mother, my boyfriend, my friends, some of my family members – there’s no way I could have lasted these 10 months without them. And even though it hasn’t been perfect or simple, I’m so glad I set out on this journey when I did. I will turn 30 in November and I feel a sense of relief to be far away from my office assistant career and well into a career that inspires me.

Still, the month of July was tight and stressful. Although I was able to take advantage of a bunch of amazing opportunities, including a life-affirming trip to the Just For Laughs festival in Montreal, I was nearly broke for most of the month because I was traveling so much, and it was a worrisome experience. I didn’t know what would happen next.

Kevin, thank God for his faith in me, reminded me regularly during that time that things would work out when they were supposed to, that I had to have faith that the energy I was putting out into the world would come back to me, and that some sign would show me I was on the right path soon enough. He was right. The month of August has been full of good surprises.

First of all, I’ve had a great time writing articles for the Spring site, and I’m going to keep doing so in September. It’s an honor to be part of their mission.

Secondly, I found out last week that I’m going to be teaching an Acting for Sketch Comedians class at the PIT in October! I come from a family of teachers so I’ve always kind of railed against the teaching profession. But this opportunity is a great way to utilize my comedy acting skills and training to help other people – and get paid while doing it! Plus, my mom’s all excited about it.

Things are moving along at a motivating pace with Harvard Sailing Team. We shot our short film this past weekend, which was almost an out-of-body experience – a dream come true for all of us. We worked with an incredibly talented and professional production team and watched our little movie become a reality before our eyes. It was unreal in the best way. And now we move onto the next batch of projects, which are just as exciting – we’re so lucky to get to share it all with each other. What more can you ask for than living out a dream, surrounded by your best friends?

Last, but certainly not least, I found out yesterday, right after I woke up from a nap filled with wild, crazy dreams no less, that I sold an article to one of my favorite websites, The Frisky. On a whim, I pitched them a piece last month, something I’d really poured my heart into. But I never heard back, so I assumed it was a dead-end. Then I got an email from the editor yesterday telling me that she loved the idea and wants a draft before the end of the week! I was elated. Still am. I’ve done a fair amount of freelance writing in the last six months, but it’s been a personal goal of mine to sell an article like this to a site like theirs for a while now. Meeting goals is THE BEST FEELING.

Although I’m definitely sharing these little bits of good news to toot my own horn (because sometimes you gotta), I’m also sharing them to make a point: Making a major life change doesn’t happen overnight, especially if you’re transitioning out of something stable and into something totally unstable and unknown. But I’m starting to realize that the people who succeed in pursuits like these are those who don’t give up easily, and who work their asses off in the meantime. I’m still perfecting the second part – working my ass off – I know I could always be doing more. But I’ve got the don’t-give-up part down pat.

This journey keeps affirming two things for me: Have faith in yourself because only you know what’s right for you. And trust the universe. It will always catch you.

the dream and the reality

I’m still adjusting to being back in New York, having spent much of July traveling and being out of my element.

We returned to the city to news from our landladies that the whole house has termites (meaning our apartment has to be exterminated), and the exterminator broke the main water line, causing some serious plumbing drama.

On top of all that, Kevin had his wisdom teeth removed on Tuesday. So that and all that goes with it has been happening around here too. (He’s still recovering, but doing okay!)

This summer, for better or worse, hasn’t been a period of R&R by any means. And all the essential things that have filled my schedule this month don’t pay me like I want them to yet. That’s okay – I’m alive and well-fed and happy and healthy. I choose to accept that this is where I am on this journey.

Still, I caught myself daydreaming a few days ago about my old lifestyle when I had a desk job. Blasphemy, I know. I don’t miss the daily commute, the irritating coworkers, the constantly ringing phone, navigating midtown, trying to fit a workout in on my lunch break, hoping I can get out early enough to make a show or a rehearsal, calling in sick to go to an audition or shoot a video.

But I do miss the consistent income. That and breakfast from Pret A Manger are the only things I miss.

I daydreamed about being able to spend money on buying new shoes, jumping on a plane for a last minute trip to Florida, renting a car for a day because it’s fun, blowing a ton of money at the grocery store buying up whatever I please, getting my nails done every week – that kind of frivolous stuff. I can’t wait for the day when that is my lifestyle again.

But the trade off for having those things back then was that I was totally miserable at my job almost every day. I was stuck and unproductive and uninspired, I felt like my professional life didn’t make me excited and proud. I was swiftly approaching 30 and I wasn’t on my way to the career of my dreams. And that just wasn’t good enough.

Beyond that, if I still had an office job I wouldn’t have been able to go to Montreal for six days (and have one of the most memorable experiences of my life). I would have had to finagle the time off to go to my cousin’s weekday wedding. I’d be worried about getting time off in the fall to go do an HST show in LA, I’d wonder if I could get time off to go out of town for my 30th birthday in November. I’d be stressed and resentful and feeling locked in. All for a job that paid me a salary but provided little else in terms of incentive.

So if I have to choose, I’d still rather have my freedom and have control over my own professional destiny than have a steady paycheck. That’s just who I am. And I have faith that someday soon those two worlds will collide and I’ll be a billionaire. Or I’ll at least be somebody who’s willing to spend money on weekly manicures again.

August is going to be another busy month. We’re taking a trip, shooting a short film, I’m going to be doing a lot of writing and planning, Kevin’s starting a new job, and I’m hoping to squeeze a few more juicy drops out of summer.

It’s been 9 months since I quit my desk job to pursue work that makes me happier. This is where I am today.

blazing

We’ve been having some seriously blazing temps here in NYC for the last week. I love warm weather, but these have been painfully hot days even for my taste.

This morning was a smidge cooler than it’s been though, and a bit overcast – a welcome relief especially on a day when Harvard Sailing Team trekked out to World’s Fair Marina in Queens for a photo shoot!

We spent a fun, easy morning at the marina with our fantastic photographer, Eric Michael Pearson.¬†I can’t wait to share the pics.

After the shoot was over, I grabbed some lunch in the city and then I spent the afternoon putting the finishing touches on a huge batch of red velvet cake bites (3o0 of them, to be exact) to ship off to Arkansas tomorrow morning for a friend of a friend’s wedding. This is the official official 100% without a doubt last order Fanny & Jane will be doing this summer. The bride placed her order back in December, so I had to honor it, even if it means overnighting the cake bites to her in a tightly packed cooler. Hopefully they’ll arrive intact!

And now I’m off to see two of my HST teammates in their two-person sketch show, The New York Smiths. Chris and Rebecca moved to LA earlier this year (which you probably know if you’ve been reading this blog for a while) and they’re back for the month of July! Looking forward to seeing what changes they’ve made to their adorable show.

When I get home tonight, I think I’ll crash onto the couch, wish I was a millionaire for about thirty minutes, and then I’ll get back up and do some writing work. Because I’m not quite done yet today. Oof. It’s been a long week.

There’s a stiff drink in my future.

when it’s hard

So, as you know,¬†I quit my desk job 8 months ago to pursue stuff that makes me happier. And I’ve been doing that. I’ve been writing, which I love, I’ve been baking, which I also enjoy very much, and I’ve been acting, telling jokes and having fun collaborating with talented people, which makes me feel very happy and alive.

I’ve received so many emails and comments over the last year from people telling me that what I’ve done inspires them. Thank you!! That makes me feel humble and grateful.

Meanwhile, I don’t always know where the next significant paycheck is coming from and I’m confused as hell half the time. But I’ve gotten by (and eaten well) for 8 months. And I’m not dead yet. So hopefully I’m onto SOMEthing here.

Some times are fantastic, others are hard.¬†Today, for instance, I woke up feeling like I’ve lost my mind lately. I’ve been confused, moody, uncertain and feeling generally lost for a few days now.¬†Par for the course, of course, but still difficult.

I mentioned these feelings to the boyfriend this morning. And I ended up crying over my iced coffee.

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fanny & jane this summer

Before I tell you my big Fanny & Jane news, I have to share this shot of the Greenpoint Food Market that was featured on the New York Times Dining Blog today! You can see Faryn and me right there in the middle! (She’s in plaid and I’m behind her.) Mom! The New York Times!!!

Unfortunately, the related article isn’t so exciting. It explains that the beloved, “scrappy and creative” Greenpoint Food Market is canceling its June 26 event, due to New York City health code requirements that GFM vendors may not have been meeting.

It’s a real bummer that this fantastic market is going to be skipping a month. Fanny & Jane has participated for the last few months and it’s been a great experience. But I have faith that JoAnn Kim, the market’s founder, will be bringing it back in no time. She’s a savvy young woman, and the GFM vendors who stand behind her are nothing short of innovative, ambitious and talented.

Anyway, on to our own Fanny & Jane announcement!! I have some interesting news.

Faryn and I (and Kevin, who does more than his fair share for the biz) have decided to put the bakery on a summer hiatus. We’re going seasonal!

Why?

1. THE HEAT. There’s no good way for a small operation like ours to be making, shipping and delivering chocolate or melt-able sweets in the summer time. We’ve been doing it up until just yesterday and even that was really pushing it. For instance, I delivered sweets to the (fun! fabulous!) Blog Out Loud event last night in an awkwardly heavy cooler filled with ice packs. (Check out that link for some great shots of the event and our sweet treat table.) And even the ice pack method is a dangerous game when it comes to making sure the desserts arrive deliciously intact. This is our first summer with the bakery, so we’re learning!

2. THE PROCESS. It’s time to step back from the biz for a few months. I feel good about this decision, it feels right – it’s time to reevaluate exactly what we’re doing here.

We’ve had a ton of success since we went full speed ahead with the bakery last fall. We promised ourselves at the time that we’d just do the holidays, and then reassess. We learned a lot and had a fantastic (and exhausting) experience in December. Then 2010 came, and we kept going.

It’s been over eight months since we’ve given this our all. There are pros and cons, but either way, it’s time to take a minute and make sure we’re headed down the right path, without the daily and weekly challenges of actually baking the sweets distracting us from reevaluating things.

If I’ve learned anything in the last year, it’s that there is always time and room in business to step back and reassess what you’re doing. Businesses that aren’t willing to change, or aren’t able to embrace the unexpected are likely to fail. Flexibility is king when it comes to running a company.

We were not experienced business women before the bakery. You know – many of you have witnessed our journey from the beginning. And we’re still learning every day how to be entrepreneurs, own our own company, make room for other pieces of our careers, and make it all work.

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, Faryn and I both do a lot of other things besides Fanny & Jane. We’re sketch comedians, which can be a full-time job some days. Plus Faryn has a day job. (Although, she’s on a summer hiatus right now! Woot!!) And I do…whatever the hell else I do.

THE POINT IS , we both have fistfuls of goals and aspirations and we need a break from this one, even if it means turning down orders for a few months. There are certainly risks to this decision, but like I said, I know this is the right move. And the hot, sticky, melty summer is the perfect time for it. Make sense?

I can say that we absolutely love making sweets for you, and we are thrilled that you love them. The connections we’ve made with customers, other vendors, cafe owners, dessert lovers, bloggers and entrepreneurs alike have been wonderful and unexpected.

Expect Fanny & Jane back in your lives in the fall. We don’t know exactly when, nor do we know in precisely what capacity.

I can’t wait to find out.

And thank you, as always, for your undying support.

a job perk

One of the best parts of my job(s) now, especially when compared to working at that boring desk job, is how often I get to walk around New York City.

Since no two days are the same for me lately (also awesome), I end up in different neighborhoods for different reasons all the time. I get to experience such a wide variety of urban life every day and it makes me feel incredibly content.

Yesterday HST had a meeting with a company in the East Village (lotsa good stuff happening!!). When I was in college, I lived in the East Village and spent almost all my time below 14th street. It’s amazing to realize how much has changed in that neighborhood since I moved here 12 years ago, and also how much has stayed the same.