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’ll be patient

I have been on the brink of sneezing for the last two days. It’s torturous. Every once in a blue moon, I will sneeze, but as soon as it’s over, I immediately have to sneeze again and it stays like that for the next couple hours.

Been busy, been sick, looking forward to spring. My days consist of sleeping, commuting and working with some evening obligation most weeknights. But tonight Kevin and I went to see a show, something I bought tickets for in February, and we had a lovely time together. Mike Birbiglia is a favorite comedian of ours and neither of us had ever seen him live – it was a great show. We braved hail on the way home but it was worth it.

Some big changes are coming to my life pretty soon. I’m not exactly sure what direction they’ll take yet, but changes nonetheless and I’m excited and grateful.

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?

pretty dresses and dry mouths

We got some great news last week! Harvard Sailing Team’s “Boys Will Be Girls” video has been nominated for Best Viral Original in the The Comedy Awards. This is really exciting for us, especially because the other videos nominated are unbelievably funny and star some of our favorite comedians. I mean, Chris’ face in this collage from their website is next to Jim Carrey’s face?! WHAT!

This is the debut year for The Comedy Awards. They were created by MTV Networks and Comedy Central, and the board that chose the nominees is comprised of some amazing comedians and heavy hitters in the entertainment industry. Conan O’Brien, Billy Crystal, Stephen Colbert, Chris Rock, Lily Tomlin, Whoopi Goldberg…just to name a few…oof, I just got a little nauseous. Just knowing that even one person from that list might have seen our video is humbling and makes my mouth dry.

The awards show will air on Comedy Central on Sunday, April 10, and according to the website, it will also be simulcast on a bunch of other networks like VH1 and Nick at Nite. Nick at Nite! Twelve year old me just lost consciousness.

The one catch is, we don’t get to GO to the actual awards show unless we WIN. Getting to go to the event, accept an award, and wear pretty dresses would be incredible exposure for us, and would probably also one be of the more exciting evenings of our young lives. But all that aside, it’s obviously an incredible honor for us just to be nominated.

The Comedy Awards says that the winner will be selected by a group of  “professionals from the comedy community-including producers, writers, performers, directors and stand-ups.”

BUT the online-only category winners will ALSO be decided by votes from their fans.

We’d love your vote!

And this is one of those where you can vote once a day (ugh) so…maybe if you’re my mom or my cousin, you’ll vote once a day! 🙂 I’m not holding my breath that we’ll win – the other videos in the category are brilliant – but maybe we’ll have a shot!

Thanks so much in advance for your vote and support.

mixed bag

"Another Psycho" shoot - image via P3 Entertainment

A mixed bag update on this sunny Thursday:

We’re screening the HST short film we shot over the summer “Another Psycho” (the one we made with the $10,000 grant from the Friar’s Club!) tomorrow night at The PIT in an evening hosted by the HST girls. Looking forward to it. The awesome production company that helped us make the film, P3 Entertainment, posted some behind the scenes shots on their Facebook Page recently and it reminded me what a great time we had shooting our little movie.

The warmer weather and sunshine we’re enjoying in New York City today has certainly improved my mood.

I’m also feeling pretty good physically. I’ve lost 10 pounds since the beginning of the year doing the new Weight Watchers Points Plus program. (As you may or may not know, I lost 115 pounds in my early twenties through Weight Watchers. I put 10 of it back on last year because of a lack of food mindfulness and a change in my daily routine.) I wasn’t desperate to lose these 10 pounds – I was actually okay with having gained them – but I did want to avoid having to buy bigger pants and to have more energy, so it’s nice to have lost them. If you’re looking to shed a few pounds, this Points Plus thing they rolled out at the end of last year is pretty fantastic. I recommend it.

I haven’t been exercising a lick besides walking around the city and my occasional yoga practice, which is more than enough for me right now. I used to bang out 5-6 days a week at the gym – for years – and finally got to a point where that just wasn’t interesting to me any more. Maybe it will be again someday, but I’m not in the business of forcing myself to do things I really don’t want to do. So for now, this is fine. I am excited for the warmer weather to tempt me outside for an occasional jog or bike ride. Moral of that story: exercise to FEEL GOOD. Not to lose weight. And do active things you enjoy! No sense slogging through a workout feeling miserable. If you love the gym, go for it. If it’s not your thing, there are so many other options.

Career-wise, I’ve decided I need to be doing more. I do a lot right now as it is and I love it…and it’s also hectic and insane at times. But it makes me feel alive and happy when I have a lot of projects going at once. I’d rather err toward that than feeling bored or unmotivated. Gotta work hard while I’m young!

End transmission.

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.

my job and my career

Kevin snapped this as he was walking home from the subway late last night. I was already fast asleep when he arrived and woke up at 7am to an email from a partner at the law firm telling us all to stay home. Snow day!

I’ve come off the ledge since my last post. Turns out I was experiencing some PMS-inspired moodiness. No one died and I’ve felt a lot better over the last few days.

This is the second time I’ve had a real snow day off from work in the last month. What could be better??

I’ve realized something recently that I can’t deny. This job is exactly what I need right now. I’m hesitant to say that because I don’t want to have to work there for a long time. But the circumstances of my current career situation being what they are, I’m grateful for this setup.

I’m surprised and delighted every single time I get paid. I have relative flexibility in the sense that I haven’t had to miss anything yet – I’ve been able to take off for important HST shows and I’ll get to go on a family trip in April. My health insurance just kicked in last week and that’s a nice feeling, and I’ve been able to make a serious dent in some minor credit card debt I’ve been carrying around.

PLUS, Kevin’s able to work from home right now managing HST gigs, working on his own projects (He and some colleagues launched SiCKPUPPY.tv this week!), playing Mister Mom to our two babies cats and doing some important research on what we’ll do next with Fanny & Jane.

My boss has been out of the office this entire week. It means I have time to put toward my own career goals…saying nothing of today, of course, which I’ve spent at home in my pajamas doing laundry and writing. He travels a fair amount and it’s always a welcome break when he’s gone. When he’s in the office, I generally want to be instantly whisked away to another world. But it’s all still bearable. And in exchange for the support this job is providing my lifestyle? I’ll take it.

I had a great time on Sunday at brunch with a few incredible women I’d never met before. The get together was organized by our dear friend Michelle (the When I Grow Up Coach), who knows us each personally and thought we might make a good group of ambitious Brooklyn ladies who can support each other in our disparate career journeys. It was a relief to meet and connect with these women, who are all exploring and uncovering how to navigate their careers as entrepreneurs and creative people. Our conversation was reassuring and comforting.

After I told my story, who I am and how I ended up where I am today, I heard myself saying “The reality of my life is that I could have to quit my day job in three months to write a movie, or I may end up having to go to LA to make a TV show next year. Or anything else…or nothing else…And there’s the bakery, and my writing stuff, and teaching. And it’s all exciting but it can also be a real challenge to be patient and let it all unfold.” (That isn’t exactly what I said, but who can remember.)

So as hard as it is to be patient, I’m working on letting it unfold.

the new theater

Our beloved comedy theater, the PIT, where I perform and teach, has moved to a beautiful, huge new space across town.

The old theater was a fantastic space and so much great stuff happened within those walls for me personally and for Harvard Sailing Team. But the new space just raises the stakes. To quote my friend and the artistic director of the PIT, Jeff, the new theater is a “game changer.” For sure.

HST has done two shows there since the space opened (we perform every Friday at 9:30) and they have been two of the most exhilarating, challenging and rewarding shows we’ve done in a while. There’s nothing in the world like the feeling of doing a good comedy show that makes a room full of people laugh hard. It’s a drug.

My improv team The Baldwins also does a show once a week on Saturday nights and those are a blast too. We perform with another critically acclaimed group called Big Black Car. Kev and I are about to head out the door to that show right now! (And then we’ll get some sushi for dinner…and I’m not saying I’m going to drag him shoe shopping too, but I’m not not saying it either.)

The point is, I’m so lucky – we all are – to get to perform in this awesome new theater, which lends some serious respect to the crafts we’re practicing up there. I’m a lucky duckling and this is a period in my life I will probably always remember fondly.

Also, if I may continue to brag about my comedy group, HST won a big-deal award earlier this week which really caught us off guard. It’s called the Nightlife award. The ceremony is in a couple weeks at a renowned venue called Town Hall and we get to perform in the ceremony in front of hundreds of people, many of whom are probably going to be stars, producers and directors, and many of whom we have all idolized for years. So excited! (You can read more about the Nightlife award, past winners and how we’re big theater dorks on the HST blog.)