…and the season has changed

There we are at the premiere of our short film “Another Psycho” at the Friar’s Club Film Festival last weekend! We’re standing with the incredibly talented gentlemen who directed, edited and produced our idea into a fantastic little film. The premiere was a blast. I wish I had some better photos but I left my camera battery at home (Boo!! Hisssss!!!). For those who have asked, I’m not yet sure when we can show the movie to everybody, or if it will be online. I’ll definitely let you know.

Other than that, where the hell have I been??

I’ve been working! Still temping at the attorney’s office, which has been busy and exhausting. Today’s actually my last day! (Phewf.) I’ll be working from home for the rest of the week, rehearsing, writing, planning my class, etc.

And then on Saturday I’m going to Los Angeles for a whole week with Harvard Sailing Team! I’ve never been to LA before, if you can believe it. So I’m excited. I’ll get to see some old friends, enjoy the warmer temps, and we will be performing as a team for the first time ever on west coast. Cannot wait.

I am gonna miss Kev and the kitties and the beautiful autumn weather we’re having here in New York, though. I’m loving October so far. It is definitely (and finally) fall here.

So, I have some pretty big and surprising news to share. Major changes are underway. No, I’m not engaged or pregnant. It’s news relating to this professional journey I’ve been on the for the last year! I can’t tell you just yet, though. Sorry. That’s so lame, I know. Soon enough…

I can say that in two weeks it will be one full year since I quit my boring desk job. When I left that office on October 16, 2009, I could not have imagined or anticipated the path that would lay ahead of me. It’s been a year full of excitement, surprise and even frustration and disappointment at times. But all in all, it’s been one of the smartest things I’ve ever done for myself.

Hope you’re all having a happy Monday.

More soon!

lessons from my summer

How pretty is this little girl? I was so happy to see her and her brother this morning when we got home from the airport.

I’m back from a Labor Day weekend in Las Vegas! I was a bridesmaid in my cousin’s wedding at the Mandalay Bay – we had a lovely time. And the bride and her new hubby looked beautiful and happy. (Thanks for a fun weekend, Mal!)

Wedding activities aside, Vegas kicked my ass. We partied a lot, rode the giant coaster (on which I broke my glasses), won some money, lost some money, won some more, and everything in my suitcase smells like cigarette smoke and that weird floral scent they pump into the casinos.

I hadn’t been to Vegas since I was 15-years-old. I love it there. Love the weather, the lights, the 24-hour party, the gambling, the people-watching. I could never live there, but I’ll visit any day.

Now we’re back in NYC and a new week will begin bright and early tomorrow morning. I’m reflecting on what a weird, but unexpectedly life-affirming summer I’ve had. It’s been spent worrying sometimes about where my next paycheck’s coming from, and celebrating sometimes exciting successes along my new career path. I feel hopeful and curious about what the coming months will bring.

This summer has taught me a few key lessons.

1.) Money is fluid. It’s meant to come in and out of your life. To bring yourself to a state of panic when funds are low does nothing but cause you unproductive discomfort. Do what you love and the money will come. It’s true.

2.) Support other people. There is enough success, love, money, happiness, fulfillment and inspiration to go around. Being genuinely happy for other people doesn’t take anything away from your own path – it makes you feel good. And being selfish or competitive is transparent.

3.) You can be your own worst critic or your own best friend. It’s up to you.

I’m so excited for fall, you guys. I’m looking forward to a lot of travel, a lot of work, and my 30th birthday in exactly 2 months. I’m also looking forward to some exciting changes on the blog in the month of October.

Have a great week!

thank you!

Yesterday I vowed to combat my Blackberry obsession (it’s really more like a neurotic tic) for the next few days, at least. It’s the perfect week to be less connected since half the world is on vacation, plus I’m headed to Vegas tomorrow for my cousin’s wedding! I can’t be medically dependent on my phone when I’m trying to win jackpots, you guys. Get real.

So when I checked Twitter last night before bed, my jaw dropped to discover that The Frisky had posted my article yesterday afternoon! I had no idea it went up.

And I was even more surprised to find a bunch of really thoughtful, positive comments. So thank you for reading, commenting and for your emails, tweets and Facebook messages. I’m truly, truly humbled by all the generous and warm responses.

The truth is, it’s a little intimidating to post such a personal story on the Internet. I’m not a particularly private person because I don’t see any need to keep secrets. But telling a story like this in all its scandalous glory on such a widely read site still involves some letting go on my part.

More than anything though, I am reminded that I have nothing to hide. In short, I went through an incredibly difficult time in my early twenties that felt like a death as it was happening. Sure, there are some embarrassing details associated with the whole mess, but I can’t be ashamed of any of it. It happened. And it’s a story I’m compelled to tell.

If readers can relate, are moved, or if it helps them with something in their own life, I’m honored.

things can shift in an instant – my interview with jordan reid

Jordan Reid is the cheerful, creative writer and television host behind the blog, Ramshackle Glam, a great site that offers everything from simple, yummy dinner ideas, to reviews of hot vacation spots, to how to’s for fixing up old furniture or making homemade pickles.

But the talented 29-year-old wasn’t always quite so fulfilled in her professional life. A couple years ago Jordan found herself unhappily employed at a law firm – it was a corporate job that left her feeling frustrated and uninspired. One day, after an irritating incident in the office landed a mess of obnoxious emails in her inbox, she’d finally had enough. So she quit! And she’s glad she did. (Click here to read Jordan’s post from August 2009 about the day she quit her job.)

The New York City native is known for more than just her current web and media presence. Jordan was also an original cast member on the fan-favorite “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” And she first emerged onto the blog scene via Non-Society.com, an often-criticized but popular “life-casting” site.

Jordan famously made the decision to leave Non-Society and strike out on her own when she began Ramshackle Glam earlier this year. After weathering the transition from one blog to another with grace and humility, hers remains one of my favorite sites. She writes with personality, heart and the refreshing ability to laugh at her own mistakes.

Had Jordan Reid not left a job that made her unhappy, Ramshackle Glam and all the other exciting aspects of Jordan’s new career may not exist today.

She graciously allowed me to ask her a few questions about quitting her job to pursue what makes her happy. Read on to learn what Jordan had to say about the risky decision she made, the people who supported her unconditionally, and her advice for anyone who wants to follow her lead.

Jordan, you were working at a law firm in NYC before you became a full time blogger and writer. You tell the story on your blog of the day you quit after some unpleasant emails from difficult coworkers made you realize you didn’t quite fit in. Do you think you felt out of place at that particular office or industry, or was it the corporate world in general that didn’t feel like the right fit?

Continue reading

welcome new readers! + 21 things about me

If you’re new around here, welcome! I’ve been so lucky to have so many new readers over the last few months, so thanks for stopping by!

And thank you so much for your emails or comments letting me know that my story on “follow my bliss” is something that resonates with you. Love to hear from you guys.

In the interest of all the new (virtual) faces around these parts, I’m gonna do a crash course “about me” rundown so you’re all caught up!

21 Things About Me:

  1. I’m 29. I’ll be 30 in November. Yikes!
  2. My boyfriend Kevin and I live near Prospect Park in Brooklyn with our two cats, Chawser and Kaia. I talk about those damn cats a lot on this blog. You can bet Kevin and I talk about (and coo at) them even more in real life.
  3. I quit my boring desk job as a receptionist at a law firm last year to…well…follow my bliss, i.e. to pursue work that makes me happier.
  4. I graduated from NYU Tisch with an acting degree.
  5. I graduated two years late because I dropped out somewhere in the middle to..uh..see how much I could screw my life up before hitting rock bottom. It was a blast. That’s sarcasm.
  6. I LOVE MEXICAN FOOD LIKE IT’S MY JOB.
  7. I really want a dog.
  8. I’m originally from the suburbs of Chicago.
  9. I lost 115 pounds in my early twenties through diet and exercise. I’ve kept the weight off for almost 8 years.
  10. Kevin and I have been dating for 3.5 years and we’ve lived together for 2. But we’ve been friends for over 8 years! ¬†I guess I’m keeping him. ūüôā
  11. When I was 21 I punched an ex-boyfriend in the mouth, got kicked out of the apartment we were living and ended up essentially homeless on the streets of NYC with $12 to my name. That’s obviously a much longer story. Continue reading

focus on the good – my interview with Julie Cook

One thing I’ve learned on this journey to follow the ol’ bliss is that not everyone has to quit their job and renegotiate their whole life in order to be a happy, fulfilled person. (Duh.)

Yes, that’s what I did. Frankly, that’s what I needed to do. There was no good way to make that boring desk job fit in with my life’s ambitions. But my path is not for everyone.

I’ve been finding myself more and more inspired lately by people who are joyful, passionate and compassionate no matter what they do from 9-5 – whether or not their day job is a huge part of their bliss, takes away from it, or falls somewhere in between.

The Daily Julie is a lovely personal blog written by the equally lovely and charming Julie Cook. She’s one of my favorite tumblr follows. (Mom, tumblr is another kind of blogging website where people “follow” each other like they do on Facebook or Twitter. I’ll explain more later.)

A stylish Southern belle who works in marketing/PR and describes herself on her blog as “a happy wife with a mostly sunny and slightly sarcastic outlook on life,” Julie was¬†gracious enough to let me ask her a few questions. And after my meltdown yesterday, I definitely needed to hear what she had to say.

Continue reading

sunday night

I’m sick, dudes. Head cold. I am congested like whoa and I could sleep away the entire next week of my life if you let me. No big deal, but that’s the report.

It’s been a busy, whirlwind weekend – I barely even know it happened. We visited Kevin’s family today for Father’s Day, had a nice time (got to see the new baby again!), and now I’m on the couch watching some weird puppet game show. Actually, Kevin’s watching the puppet game show, I’m his TV hostage. It’s only fair – I usually¬†commandeer¬†the remote.

Some highlights of the week upcoming:

  • Harvard Sailing Team is up for a $10,000 prize in this weekend’s Friar’s Club Comedy Film Festival. We’re one of 5 sketch groups chosen to be finalists for the contest, and to compete in a live show this weekend. Winner gets $10K to make a short film. Fingers crossed!!! (Come see the show if you’re in New York! Saturday night @ The UCB.)
  • My (beautiful, talented, kind, hilarious) cousin Trisha is coming to New York for the first time in years on Saturday. She’s gonna be here for a work conference but I’m hoping to trick her into spending a ton of time with me. And there will be margaritas.
  • I’m writing a weekly column in July for Spring Inspiration (!) and I’m stoked. I’ll be working on my first column tomorrow.
  • It’s summer! This Monday is the longest day of the year. I adore long summer evenings.
  • Cheap yoga: I decided to buy Vida Yoga NYC’s deal – $10 for one week of unlimited yoga and I’m loving it!

Good night, guys. The theraflu is kicking in.

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.