Brian and I did our own Q&A’s for the Sunday Routine website.
Brian and I did our own Q&A’s for the Sunday Routine website.
Rushing into a job doesn’t serve anyone. Not employers. Not employees. Instead, it leads to sloppy, torn up shreds of intent.
I am 27, and I have had many different jobs. For many reasons, mostly money related, but also because I lacked experience, I have taken mostly jobs that I didn’t want. These jobs gave me things I did want, like rent money, health insurance, dental insurance, 401(k) on top of a steady paycheck. Sometimes they gave me access to a network, or presented me with professional challenges I wanted to be able to say I had overcome. But mostly they were just the jobs I could get with the experience I had, and they were so unsatisfying that I quit them. I have never had the luxury of choosing a job based on how well it fit with MY vision of my future professional self, and therefore I have never worked somewhere I felt truly invested in. Either because I didn’t know what my future professional self looked like at 22, 24, or 25, or I didn’t understand what, in a career, mattered the most to me (enough that I could clearly seek it out).
It never occurred to me, before applying for a new job in the past, that I should SLOW DOWN. I was always all about the mad rush. See a job that sounds mildly good, rush after it, and take it for fear that no better, more suitable opportunity will come again soon. And then you know what? I’d be miserable in six months. That’s how it’s been with every job I’ve ever had.
Why it never occurred to me that I could prevent that from happening, I don’t know. I never thought to ask to meet with someone who works at a place of potential employment before ever applying for the position, and just talking to them. I actually mean like emailing the CEO and asking them for a beer! Having a conversation, making a connection, openly inquiring about them and their work and their company without any of the nervousness of a job interview, and not feeling bad if I decide I don’t like the job, don’t want to pursue it, and then saying goodbye to the person without any bad feelings. I’ve never thought about a job as something that could make me happy too - that I should be investigating as much as the job would be investigating me.
I guess this is not something you can automatically know without having done exactly what I’ve done, which is work a lot and figure out, through your mistakes, what you really want. But for anyone who is trying to carve out a happy career for themselves, the best advice I can give is to take it slowly. Learn as much as you can before making a commitment. Build relationships with the people you want to work for. And THEN try to get hired.
"Some of my best friends and I in Omaha did this thing called "Oprah Brunch" for awhile on Sundays where we had pot luck brunch and mimosas and watched the "Best of Oprah" DVDs. Talk about catharsis."
I am an artist, paintings conservator, decorative painter, gilder, paint analyst, designer and sometimes furniture maker and set designer. Johnson & Griffiths Studio is where it all happens.
Christmas in Brooklyn is so close to beginning!
I’m 27 years old, almost 28, and I’ve kept journals - extremely detailed, hardback journals written in deep black felt tip pen, in cursive - since I was 20. Only in the last year or so have I dropped off - I couldn’t really say why. I’m starting to bore myself? Anyway, now that I’m visiting home for Thanksgiving, hanging with my books and old junk in my adolescent bedroom, sleeping on a foldout love seat for the weekend (my mattress was given to a cousin), I’ve had plenty of time to re-read them. Wow.
Sometimes the past is the most annoying, disgusting thing, but other times, it teaches you something huge. Re-reading volume 1 (April-Sept. 2007) was totally worth it.
Ok. You know how you’ll be at a party or whatever, and you’re talking to people for the first time and making friends or networking. They’re like, “blah blah blah, I make my own soda on a soda streamer” and then “What do you do?” is always a question that occurs later on. And it’s a hard question, because not all of us are really proud of what we do, and we don’t like talking about it in detail because sometimes, we don’t have something called “a dream job” and part of us feels ashamed to talk about what we do, because we thought we’d be doing something else, or we feel better than our jobs, and we don’t want someone to judge us based on what we do.
This used to be a stressful moment for me in the past, answering this question. I think I literally avoided social situations so I could avoid talking about my job, that’s how embarrassed I felt about it. But now it’s changed. I get really excited to answer this question because now I can say, “I’m a copywriter….and I run a blog called Sunday Routine” and then I can talk about that, the blog that I run. And it’s the blog, not my job, that ends up connecting me to others! It’s my creative work that I do on the side, that makes me feel like I’m doing something I really love for myself, that makes people interested in me, and it earns me friends.
Wow. Awkward conversation: averted.
So here is the lesson: make yourself. Fuck. Your fucking job in New York isn’t everything.
It sucks when people are sitting around complaining about their job all the time, like it’s their job’s fault that they’re not happy people. Some people are actually happy to have that job, whatever job you’re complaining about, because it pays the bills, so that they can enjoy their life the rest of the time in the ways that matter to them.
If you have work, be thankful. You are not entitled to have that job. No one owes you a job! That job is not yours to just throw around and shit on!
Make meaning in your life. Use the time that you normally waste to make meaning. Think positively. So many people have so much less money than you, are in terrible health, etc. And they still love New York.
Ok, back up.
I don’t remember the last time I did a blog post. But it’s been a minute.
Today I wanted to write because I’ve been thinking about culture. I think a lot of people in New York run on ego, way too much of the time. This is truly exhausting me. It’s like, every day people just want more and more and they don’t want to have to do much for it, and they don’t understand why they can’t just have this or that job, like someone owes it to them, or worse, LIKE IT WILL MAKE THEIR LIFE COMPLETE. OMG.
SO many people are obsessed with status.
I seriously think 99% of people who live and work in New York think like that – that the whole reason they are doing something is because they think it makes them successful in other peoples’ eyes.
I do not begrudge people for having dreams, or passions, mind you. But I do roll my eyes when it’s obvious a person has put their entire self worth into what they do for money. I have personally been SO MUCH HAPPIER, just generally EXCITED ABOUT LIFE when I’ve stopped thinking about my job as the definitive factor, the guiding principle in my life. When I’ve stopped being like YES MY JOB IS WHO I AM! Everything has been better: my love life, my social life, what I create in my free time, the things I now have time to do that I couldn’t make time for before because I was so busy worrying about work, about ‘success.’
I do not accept, anymore, being part of that group of people who, at work, want to complain.
It don’t make no damn sense to be here, constantly bash being here, constantly begrudge the fact that dreams did not match reality once moving here, and yet refuse to leave! It’s like if Ernest Hemingway decided to stop drinking in the middle of The Moveable Feast. What kind of story would that be?
If you’re going to be here, you have to learn to adapt. Don’t blame New York for the world not giving you what you thought you needed to be happy. Don’t blame New York for not giving you 85,000 a year to be a fashion writer, or an actor, or a successful business person. Chances are, the world is trying to tell you, whatever you thought you needed so badly in order to feel happy, it’s not what you needed after all.
If you want to get any peace in New York City you’ve got to plan ahead. Before 7:30 am, you can reasonably expect to walk out of your apartment, down to the water, and not encounter more than 10 people along the way, most of them with dogs. There are trucks, big trucks, at that hour, but you can learn which streets to walk down to avoid them. It’s worth trying, because at that hour of the morning, it can feel, for a brief time, like you are not in the city. On the weekends, the time block for peace and quiet is a little more flexible - it’s not until around 9, sometimes 10, that the streets fill up with hungry, hungover, brunch-goers and tourists making a general calamity of the streets. Before that, you can still walk around and experience the delicious pleasure of minimal human interaction.
Today I left the apartment a little too late - 7:40 - to experience any semblance of that misanthropic serenity. It wasn’t too bad - once I got past the Williamsburg bridge entrance, and got closer to the water, it got quiet again. I watched an old lady slowly walk up to the sidewalk from her below street level front door, and throw a huge pile of bird feed across the street, which a million pigeons flocked to. I strolled up River Street, which is always quiet because it’s short, and ugly, and lined with bottles of beer filled with urine, towards the East River Ferry dock, but once I got past Metropolitan, the chaos overwhelmed me. Condos! Condos, everywhere. Construction, a thousand feet in the air - SO LOUD! And then, around the corner from those condos, at 8:00, swarms of well-dressed people running to the water to catch their boat. Where are they going? Always rush, rush, rush.
Life in New York isn’t like this - taking long, unrestricted walks in the morning with a cup of coffee, sitting on a bench and watching the current of the river lap at the rocky banks, meandering back home right before 9 am just in time to shower, change clothes, and sit at my desk with a fresh cup of coffee to write in my blog. That isn’t life. That isn’t how you survive here. Not a chance.
There’s so much distraction here. All opportunities seem like good opportunities because they’re happening in New York. You have to distance yourself from that in order to see things clearly. You have to take walks and look at the city from the Williamsburg piers, and you have to feel it in your bones if this is where you belong. I always say, if something feels like it’s missing, it probably is.
I really miss the freelance life. I’m sitting at my desk in front of an open window with my first cup of coffee, and I’m wearing my robe. It’s 9:10 and I’m starting my work for the day in peace and quiet. No subways to jostle onto, no huge packs of people to dodge on my way to the office building, and then the elevator ride to the 15th floor, or the walk up the 4 stories - it all takes so much TIME, when the work I’m trying to do gets done the best when things are just like this. Me and the computer, in a robe, with some coffee.
This list is worth writing for two reasons. First, it reminds me of the things that are really different about me from even one year ago. Second, it’s proof that it takes almost three decades to become a real person.