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.

what I’m leaving behind

Only FIVE MORE DAYS at this law firm job! I can’t wait to get out of here.

I’ve been at this job for six months, perhaps the shortest amount of time I’ve ever spent in any permanent position. (Except for the few weeks in 2007 during which I was an executive assistant to the red-faced Napoleonic owner of a very wealthy construction company who closed his door each day and figuratively castrated all the grown men he could fit inside his office, but I’ve tucked that month away into the dark recesses of my mind only to be revisited when I finally write my book entitled “Crazy People: New York City Bosses and Why You Might Be Better Off Looking Into Unemployment or Developing a Street Drug Addiction”).

I can’t decide if my stint here has felt longer or shorter than the six months it’s been, so I’ll just say it feels like it’s been exactly six months. It’s no secret that I haven’t loved this job. That’s not why I’m moving over to my new position at the PIT (yay! can’t wait!) – I would have been interested in the PIT job regardless, but I’m still ready to get outta here.

I’ve spent these six months wondering if I’m just a broken employee – someone who never grew the right kind of spine to quietly tolerate a paycheck job that she’s not particularly into, since I seem to have such a hard time keeping my mouth shut when I don’t like where I’m working. I marvel at some of my friends who have paycheck jobs, don’t really care for those jobs, but continue to power through everyday without complaint.

Well, I’m not quite so valiant. I’ve mostly bitched and moaned since day one at this place. At age 30 I certainly wish I was more mature, but I guess I’m not. It’s a personal reality I’ve accepted.

I’m excited about a lot of things related to this transition.  One small but very lovely aspect of my new job is that I won’t be an assistant any more. As much as I’m still happily pursuing comedy, acting and writing, I’ve had a little voice in the back of my mind since I turned 30 that’s been saying, “If this acting stuff doesn’t work out, what “career” will you have to fall back on? Assistantship? You’re gonna be a 40-year-old assistant some day? LOSER!”

And even though I know that kind of negative chatter isn’t good for much, and even though I’m also well aware that to have any kind of stable career at age 40 or any other age is a wonderful thing, I’m pleased to finally have an answer for the judgmental part of my brain who likes to pose those rude, cynical questions. “I’m NOT going to be an assistant any more, you cruel, jealous bitch.” That’s what I’ll say to that bitch. And maybe I’ll add, “I also had a giant cookie this weekend. AND I ATE THE WHOLE THING. What do you think of me now?” She’s gonna be so pissed.

Anyway, all this is to say that I feel lucky to have such professional good fortune right now. I’m grateful to get to leave behind what I’m leaving behind, to get to move on to something I’m really looking forward to, and to have a whole week off in between to get pedicures and eat chocolates (or giant cookies!).

the psychic

When we were in New Orleans I went to see a psychic! The meeting was a gift from my aunt. She and her best friend had had their cards and auras read when they’d visited before and I loved listening to their experiences, so we decided to find someone to read me.  Plus, it sounded like a fun way to kill a little time between daiquiris.

So we found a little voodoo shop where they offered readings and I sat down with ________. I can’t remember her name. Can you believe it? That’s either a really bad sign or a really good sign.

Either way, I spent half an hour with this friendly older lady who closed her eyes tightly and tried to “feel my energy.” I like astrology and will happily read about it from time to time, and I can suspend my disbelief with things like ghosts and mediums and the existence of auras. I’m not a believer nor a detractor. I’m just along for the ride and happy to participate and explore.

So it was fun to watch this sweet woman try to pick up clues about me, either from my tone of voice or the information I was giving her, or because of her innate ability to read my energy. I don’t really care which it was, and perhaps they’re one in the same. Regardless, it was a fun self-indulgence to have someone talk to me about myself for 30 minutes straight.

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my big news

We just got back from a long weekend trip to New Orleans with family which was fantastic. We were celebrating my stepdad’s 50th birthday and I’d like to think we did so in style. I’d never been to New Orleans before and I can’t believe I hadn’t been – it was incredible. I loved the weather, the vibe, the flowing daiquiris, the amazing live music and the whole culture. We stayed in a big, old stunning vacation home and I’ll share pictures soon. All in all, it was a great trip and the perfect indulgent refresher from crazy city life.

Then, yesterday, I gave my two weeks notice to my boss at the music law firm. (On a Sunday because he left for a week-long business trip to London last night.)

When I started this job I didn’t expect to stay here for a very long time, but I also wasn’t sure what was in store. Maybe I’d get used to the comfortable salary and the free metrocard and stick around for a year or more. But it seems that wasn’t in the cards.

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i recommend

I recommend getting together with a group of like-minded women once a month for the sole purpose of supporting each other’s career goals.

Now you know.

I owe a sincere thank you to my friend, M, who came up with the idea to do just that and then asked me to be a part of it. Now we have a monthly brunch gathering with a small group of creative, hard-working New York ladies.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect out of this experience, since the goal was to gather women from all different fields and industries.

We have a photographer, a couple career and life coaches, a former actor, a birth instructor, someone who blogs about food, someone who wants to get her PhD in something fascinating, someone who owns a business with her husband, someone whose husband occasionally works for her, women with careers you’ve never heard of and careers you’ve envied and careers with impressive resumes. And I’m there too. 😉

In my free time, I mostly hang out with people in the entertainment industry. My best friends are comedians, actors, writers and filmmakers. My boyfriend is a talented director (and actor and editor and producer and and). My best friend is a Shakespeare director and teacher.

While these ladies, although some of them participate in my industry and understand it just as well as they understand their own, all come from very different career paths. But after only two brunches, I’ve gotten a ton of out of coming together with them. They each have their own struggles and challenges and their own unique perspectives to share about everybody else’s stuff.

Sounds pretty feminine, right? It is. We listen and share and have positive body language and drink mimosas and it’s about as girly as it gets. I’m grateful to be a part of it.

Who doesn’t need a dose of that once a month?

For me personally, I’m excited about what lies ahead in my career. Nothing’s perfect, but I’m learning to enjoy and make the most out of the process. I fully expect that optimism to take a nose-dive soon enough, as it always does for me, but that’s part of the fun, right?

talent. luck. discipline.

The hardest part about the career game I’m playing right now – the one where I have this day job that doesn’t exactly do it for me so that I can support the dream career I’m working toward in the meantime – is the waiting.

Sometimes I feel like I’m over here treading water from 9-5 while I figure out the rest of it. And sometimes I wonder how long that’s gonna take.

I know it’s different every time I post – I like the day job, I hate the day job, I can live with it, it’s really healthy for me, I want to kill myself. And as inconsistent as that might be for you who are witnessing this journey, it feels just as inconsistent for me. I really do hate the job one day and feel grateful for it the next. It supports me financially and affords me the opportunity to keep pursuing my goals, but not without a serious drain on my mental and emotional state.

I guess that’s called a catch 22.

Lorne Michaels’ was recently on “Master Class” on the OWN Network (yes!) and he said something that has since been running through my mind. He said that the three things required to make it in this comedy world are talent, luck and discipline. And then he added that even when you have all three you’re not guaranteed to succeed, but you have to have all three to even have the option.

Heartwarming and terrifying all at once. Of course there are exceptions to his rule, but he’s right. Talent and luck are obvious, and anyone I know personally who has been successful as an actor, writer, comedian, etc. worked very hard to get there.

Lying in bed last night, a list of my own popped into my mind. Not necessarily a list of things one needs in order to be successful, but traits that I personally need to keep cultivating to stay sane.

Patience, trust, optimism and discipline.

Maybe not it’s not the humblest move to selectively edit wisdom from the guy who created Saturday Night Live, but you won’t tell him, right?

The thing is, sometimes I wonder WHAT THE EFF I’m doing. I’m 30 years old and I’m still playing dress up, playing make-it-up, putting on little performances, little skitties, writing stories and giggling with my friends. I never grew out of it. And I want to make a CAREER out of that? Because I am who, again? Someone special? Or just another one of the people in the sea that is this industry, fighting to earn a paycheck.

But on the flipside (and drawing from that necessary optimism), I remind myself that there are jobs to be had in this industry, I’ve watched so many of my peers move to the next level, I get to do what I love almost every night of the week, and most importantly, nothing is more exhilarating to me than performing and writing.

Last Friday night, we did an HST show with only half the team because the other half was out of town. We play each other’s parts all the time but I was nervous about one particular sketch. I’d never done it before and it’s kind of intense. But I did it. It went well, people laughed and enjoyed themselves, and felt like a million bucks afterward. It reminded me how capable I am, and that I need to trust myself more often. It also made me feel like I’d just run a mile or eaten a really incredible meal.

I felt filled up. What other information do I really need.

So, I’ll pray for patience, trust, optimism and discipline…and the wisdom to defer to Lorne Michaels’ list too.

eff you, january!

I’m NOT a January person.

I mentioned a couple posts back that I usually hate January but this January was feeling easier. Well, I was WRONG. I hate this month. Still and always. And someday I will be wealthy and/or flexible enough to go away somewhere lovely for the entire month of January (and February and March?) and swim my troubles away in a wave pool.

For now, I live in a big, beautiful, insane city that challenges me every day, and there is nothing redeeming about living here in January. The bitter cold aside (we awoke to 6 degrees this morning – near torturous when one must walk everywhere one needs to go!), the constant darkness, the lack of sunshine, the fact that there are a completely unnecessary 31 full days up in this bitch all pushes me to my limit.

I mean, who put 31 days in January!? WHY.

I really did think I was getting by just fine. I figured I’d hunker down, snuggle in with my little family and hibernate until Spring. And I’ve tried to do that, despite a very busy schedule. But my January demons haven’t been tricked by my optimism. They’ve just been patient, waiting for me to let my guard fully down.

And now, for the past – oh – five days, I’ve been a total lunatic. I’ve been rageful, hateful, spiteful, quick to judge, quick to roll my eyes, irritated by every single anything that crosses my path, hopeless, unmotivated, disinterested and generally pissed. I hate everyone. Sorry, it’s not personal.

I hide it well, which probably makes it worse for my innards, but no one should have to deal with my ire. It’s not attractive or fair. I don’t feel this way for prolonged periods of time, just for a few miserable hours in a row. And then the fog starts to clear and I check the closets to make sure I haven’t hidden any bodies and go about my day. But holy hell is it exhausting.

What’s nice is that I’ve grown up chronologically and emotionally in the last several years and I’ve learned to see these depressing chunks of time as what they are – some kind of chemical reaction in my brain and body. They’re not evidence of my being a horrible person who is destined to fail at everything in life and probably end up in prison for accidentally (“accidentally”) committing homicide.

It could be the lack of sunlight and necessary nutrients, or the cold weather, or my hormones during this particular week, or the fact that I haven’t been running lately – I know all those things can play a part. So I’ll take a walk around a few city blocks, grab a cup of coffee, have a piece of chocolate, have a piece of fruit, or read a fun blog or website to shake myself out of it. That tends to work. But it doesn’t make the actual process any more fun. Feeling this way is like a migraine. It comes on, stays for a while, and goes away a little while later. But instead of a blinding, piercing headache, it’s venom toward All That Is.

Look, I’m not proud of it, I’m just sharing.

Today, after hiding all scissors in the office from myself, I realized I should probably just take a walk and get a damn cookie and a cappuccino. So I did. And it worked. The fresh air, the caffeine, the sugar – it all helped. I felt a dozen times better. And I’ll probably try to do a little yoga tonight to clear out more cobwebs.

Right now I’m going to go do an improv show (also very therapeutic) and then head home to my boyf and my cats, all of whom could not make me any happier if they tried.

not rocket science

My only New Year’s resolution this year is to wake up earlier.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a notoriously late sleeper. If I didn’t feel obligated to participate in adult society I might sleep until noon every day. When I was working for myself from home last year and had a much more flexible schedule I would struggle to get out of bed before 10am after staying up until 4.

But now my day job starts at 9:30. And I exhaust myself when I try to grab a few extra minutes of sleep and inevitably wake up later than I intend to and stumble out of bed, hoping to make coffee and get dressed while I’m still unconscious.

I’ve always known, deep down, that waking up earlier would be a positive thing for my life. I could imagine the cool, quiet mornings alone in my living room, sipping coffee, stretching out on a yoga mat, maybe doing some writing. But sleep is a vixen and despite my best intentions, I always let her lure me back in. There are few feelings I adore more than falling back to sleep after my alarm goes off. It’s perfection…Until the alarm goes off again.

I’m optimistic but cautious about this resolution. I don’t have any huge plans for how to spend my new, improved mornings. I’m actually curious to find out what I end up filling them with. And truth be told, this could end in complete defeat. But I bought a new programmable coffee maker that miraculously makes me hot coffee while I’m still asleep. And spending that $24.99 on this resolution means I’m serious.

So this morning I successfully woke up much earlier than I did on weekdays in 2010, and even though I initially sat on the edge of my bed for a few minutes toying with the idea of scraping the whole plan until 2012, I eventually got up, poured myself some magical mystery coffee, did 20 minutes of gentle yoga and then ate my toast while I watched the news.

It’s not rocket science, but I felt a little more centered as I walked into the office this morning than I usually do.

Being back at work today is fine. I hate it. And it’s fine. There’s always a bit of culture shock when you return to a job you’re not thrilled about after a great vacation. But I’m grateful for the money this job provides me to, for instance, travel for the holidays, buy gifts, go to the movies, get new sweaters, stock our fridge full of NOT cookies and all the other relaxing, wonderful things I did over the holiday break. And I will keep that in mind today as I slog through hundreds of emails and dozens of files, bills, documents and agreements.

Hopefully gifting myself a more peaceful morning will help the first Monday of my 2011 unfold gently. If not, the Chipotle burrito I plan to have for lunch today will surely do the trick.

it’s time for a pot of coffee

I’ve been snuggled up in my house watching Dexter and Weeds for the last 20 hours. It’s been fantastic.

Tonight we’ll venture out to a New Year’s Eve party in Greenpoint with good friends. I’m thinking we’ll cab there and back and really enjoy ourselves.

My only plan for tomorrow is a yoga class. An indulgent, yummy, relaxing one.

Right now I’m off to make a pot of coffee.

I’m having a great holiday break.

 

the fantasy

As the year draws to a close I’m thinking a lot about what I was doing this time last year.

The entire month of December 2009 (and most of November too) was dedicated to the Fanny & Jane holiday rush. In fact, my blog entry last December 1 announced our December One Day Sale. And the remaining entries in 2009 went on to be about little other than baking and running a small business (without a lick of experience).

What a difference a year makes.

I had only recently quit my desk job this time last year and I was still basking in the glow of not having to go to work at an office every day. I adored not being beholden to that stupid office.

But I was simultaneously so stressed out, exhausted and nauseous from inhaling sweet treat fumes all day long and battling worry-induced insomnia every night that I could barely see straight.

I am eternally grateful to the fates that be – and to my own decision-making skills – that I’m not in that situation again this year. It was the right move for Kevin and me to put that project on the back burner for now. I honestly don’t think the world has seen the end of the Fanny & Jane menu, but I know I can’t run the business in such a hands-on way anymore.

And then came the few months of the late summer and early fall where I only wrote, performed and babysat little kids. That was also a wonderful but stressful (read: broke) time.

So here I am working at a desk job again. It’s over a month in to my time here and it’s still totally fine. It’s not, as I’ve said before, what I want to be doing, but it’s a necessity right now, and no one ever said this following bliss bullshit would be easy or without sacrifice.

For the most part, I get up every day, come to work wearing some ridiculous outfit that I would never otherwise wear if I didn’t have to play the role of business casual drone and push through the day focusing on the tasks at hand while dealing with my own career stuff as it comes up. Then I head off to whatever class, show, rehearsal or meeting I have scheduled for that night, finally get home around 11pm and spend a few minutes with Kevin before stumbling in to bed.

It’s not glamorous, my hair is often a mess, choosing what to have for lunch and dinner is always a hassle (?), and I feel grouchy and drained at the end of most days. Thank God for my boyfriend and my cats who make coming home at night more than worth it.

It’s also not that different from my old “desk job” lifestyle except that I’m older and wiser and know myself a lot better. And I’m more patient this time around, more willing to tolerate these circumstances and to let what will be unfold in its own time.

That place of patience can admittedly be a very difficult place to live in, but I don’t think I have another choice.

I do find encouragement in moments. I can sometimes catch glimpses of a potential future where all the things I do, love and want to pursue effortlessly come together in some magical career that fits me perfectly. One where I get to travel sometimes, work in an office sometimes, work at home other times and have a flexible schedule and go to the gym when I want to.

Sounds perfect, right?

I’m also like three inches taller and we finally found the right rug for our bedroom floor in this fantasy.