Work and Life – That is the balance

Work and Life – That is the balance

gettyimages-170068121-1024x1016In the creative field, I’m constantly reading articles, interviews, and posts about how to maintain a work/life balance or how to grasp the daunting reality that there isn’t one and everyone just needs to deal with it. Some pretty intense thoughts to say the least, however, I’ve found equilibrium.

My life motivates my work. I recently went through a pretty confusing break up with my 10-year long boyfriend, I’ll spare the gruesome details but my reality was sleepless nights and tear stained pillows for weeks. Unfortunately everything seemed to fall out of place during the holidays so I found myself entering the New Year broken-hearted, hurt, and oddly distracted.

At first, I was so consumed in my feelings of loss and sadness that there were days that I stayed in bed. But it was in lying there sulking that I realized the story behind my pain and began to write. By putting a name to these feelings, a timeline, characters, and just the realness of my situation into words I found comfort. I went back to work after the holiday break with a fire from the story that I had written and shared with friends. I decided to throw myself into work whole heartedly despite what was going on around me.

Often times, I feel like women have two ways of dealing with emotional distress or just relationship issues. Either we’re so sad it’s all we think about in this seemingly depressed state for a while or we try to completely distract our hearts by busying ourselves with anything else. For me finding this balance was almost balancing both of those. Putting this focus on work and writing wasn’t to distract my pain but instead use it my benefit.

I got to work about 2 hours early daily and really went into grind mode, translating my feelings into focus on all things for my team brand. How can we scale? What can I be doing better to get us to where we need to go? What will the rest of this year look like? This is my balance. Not only feeling but truly being productive despite the flaws in my life made up for the loss I was experiencing. While I know my work won’t comfort me at night, during the day, however, I find peace in productivity.

I can’t say that this particular way of thinking can be an end all be all for all, but it can be a shift of mindset for those who may be experiencing similar situations. Life will always be a factor, it will throw curveballs at us when we least expect it that sometimes may boost our confidence or maybe hurt it. But if we have work that  we really care about and work we enjoy, that work can and should motivate us and work for us with life’s battles. Way easier said than done for sure, but what do we have to lose?

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How I Got a Dream Job After College

How I Got a Dream Job After College

I knew  I needed to be doing something after graduation. I also knew that something wasn’t going to be a retail sales position.

Spring semester of my senior year of college was grind season. I wanted to have as much fun as possible with my friends, travel, and finally be done with homework, tests, and lectures, but at the same time, I wanted to prepare myself for the much talked about “real world” ahead. So, I made lists. Everyday.

I made brand new ‘to-do’ lists at the beginning of each day. Detailing when assignments were do, how far I had done them, and at which point and time they should be completed. I reserved rooms in the library for days in the week that were dedicated to job applications. For approximately two to three hours, I would research companies and industries I thought were interesting, I would search for positions like beginner to intermediate fashion assistant, public relations, social media management, assistant editorial, and all related positions under the sun, on job search engines like Indeed, Monster, Craigs List, and honestly Google. I worked two jobs during school, so I made sure homework was always done either right after class, or during the slow times at my office morning job. There were times I even found myself scheduling meals with friends!

It was crazy, but for me, it worked. It worked because I work well with schedules. I took on many different roles in school and took part in so many different activities to diversify myself, the people around me, and the skills I gained. It even got to the point where people knew before anything got done, it had to go on my list.

When April came around, all of my time spent on job applications started coming together. I was receiving follow up emails, phone calls, and had scheduled interviews for when I got home after graduation. I was in awe. I just couldn’t believe the hard work was going to pay off. They say it all the time, but when you actually look back and see how far you’ve come is when you truly appreciate the journey.

I graduated on May 17, 2015 with my Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations with a focus in Journalism. I was hired on spot of my second interview with Atlantic Management Group to be a marketing representative for their new product line called Makeover Essentials, the following Thursday.

Those might have been the best and worst 3 weeks of my life.

I completely misunderstood the job description. When they said marketing team, I thought I was going to be putting together campaigns to our demographic of men and women who believe in great makeup for an even greater price. What I didn’t see coming was me walking up down Flatbush Ave in Brooklyn, NY for 6hours a day with a set of 20 make up kits hoping someone would want to buy one for the amazing price of just 20 bucks! Oh, I mean $21.75 after tax… but who was giving a girl selling make up out of book bag tax? And if I was lucky, I’d sell the flat iron I held underneath my arm for the whopping good deal of just 40 bucks today!

I knew the job was weird from the first day. But I kept going back for the 3 weeks because I realized I had the gift of gab.  I was dropping bags like Santa on Christmas. I had guys not even taking the bags but giving me $20 because they liked my hustle! I even got a free trip to Texas. (But that’s a whole other story, sorry folks, maybe next post)

I left shortly after making enough money to pay for a trip to Canada for a festival in Toronto.

For me, working isn’t all about the money. It’s about waking up every day and genuinely loving what I do with an additive that the money is also good. I wanted to do something that inspired others, added to the world, or just simply be a part of something bigger than myself. Selling bags of make up, hoping to get enough people on my team to level up, wasn’t that.

So, I ended up being where I never wanted to be. Jobless.

But I never wanted to feel comfortable doing nothing. I woke up every morning for a month and a half at 7am like I had a job. I went back to creating lists and formed a routine. I worked out each morning for about two hours a day, showered, ate, and spent the rest of my afternoon applying to jobs, going on interviews, and reading. I put so much pressure on myself because I didn’t want to be a burden on my parents, or feel like they put all their money into school for no reason. Failing them wasn’t an option.

I went weeks with nothing. No calls, no follow ups. But I still tried to wake up everyday energized to begin anew. I tried to think of the time as just another summer break. I scheduled some random hangouts with friends, but I tried not to go out too often. I felt going out was only called for if you had something to celebrate, and as far as I was concerned, I was in no position for party hats.

It wasn’t until my mother had to sit me down and tell me to relax a bit. “You just went away to college and graduated. Those are two different things. Not many people can say that. Just because you aren’t where you want to be right now, doesn’t mean you’ll never get there. Enjoy the time you have off while you can, because when you do start work, you’ll miss it.”

She was right.

I eased up on the schedule, but still added to my resume and began doing a little freelancing for a fashion and social media buzz blog through a friend from school. That connection sparked the idea of taking advantage of the people I knew.

I spoke to people from my church, camp, places that I used to work, and began handing my resumes in to everyone. The more people’s hands it was in, the more chances of someone actually reading it. Yelp, a digital marketing firm, and Adobe got back to me within that same week. I went from having nothing for 3 weeks to having 3 job opportunities in one.

I thought about the creative direction I wanted to go in, my love for magazine, design, and just writing as a whole and realized Adobe’s 99U team would be the perfect opportunity to wake up to each morning. After going on countless interviews, meeting the team felt natural and it was easy to talk about things I loved with people who could relate.

While I made the choice to work for Adobe over the marketing firm, and they made the choice to hire me as their Assistant Editor, I’d say Time finalized everything for the both of us.

Key Takeaway:
We have to realize that things happen in our lives not when we want them to, but when they are supposed to. Failure, disappointment, financial burdens, highs, and lows, they are all a part of the journey to whatever it is that you want to do, and where ever it is that you want to go. In order to get up, you must be willing to fall, but what separates those that are standing from those still on the ground is the push you make after each let down. Make lists, make connections, and take advantage of the people and situations around you. Rest and start again.