Archives for posts with tag: inspiration

Friday July 20th was the ten year anniversary of Damage Control, my video game and geek culture blog. Although the blog was created in June 2008, it would take another month after its creation for articles to start going up. In celebration, some of us wrote retrospectives. A common theme was how we all never expected the blog to last for a decade. The original idea behind the blog was to keep writing after graduating from college. After we took on full-time jobs as journalists the blog would slowly fade away. As 2008 came to a close, it became clear that landing a decent job in journalism wasn’t going to be a reality as the country moved into the Great Recession. Even as we made our own career decisions and did what worked best, Damage Control remained because it was an enjoyable way to express our creativity and maintain a connection to writing.

A decade after graduating from college (and founding DC), my life didn’t quite head in the direction I expected. It took nearly two years for the Great Recession to end, and by then I had not landed a journalism job. I was fortunate at to have my evening part-time job for nearly seven years at that point, and I wasn’t in danger of being laid off. It also provided various benefits such as medical, which helped ease a lot of stress. As for news industry jobs, either I was turned down, or the qualifying positions came with long hours and very low pay. I eventually found myself in retail, got roped into multi-level marketing, briefly dabbled in real estate investing, did some freelancing, tried ghost writing, and worked with Karen and Epic Careering for a few years. All of this before I was able to land full-time by chance at the evening part-time job I originally had. Ten years after the recession, the journalism print industry still isn’t in a good place. Although my dreams didn’t come true, I felt like I may have dodged a very stressful life.

It is fairly common for journalists to be laid off from their publications, especially smaller ones. Sometimes the reasons are due to staff cutbacks, other times the publication itself may fold. The cutbacks for the New York Daily News are making huge waves as journalists use the news as an opportunity to keep sounding the alarm of stagnant wages, poor work-life balance, and a dying medium. While I can’t say what life would have been like if I had made it in journalism, I’m still happy for the opportunity to write, whether writing is in the form of a paid gig like my time with Epic Careering or as part of a passion project.

 

How has the last ten years been to your career? Has it stayed on track or changed in drastic ways?

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Keyboard and mouse.

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I’m really grateful that my company allows us to work from home more often. It’s so convenient to not have to worry about getting in to the office if I have an appointment or a lot of errands to run one day. Another aspect of working from home is having the opportunity to tie up loose ends if needed outside of regular work hours. This takes a lot of stress off of my shoulders, but doesn’t put unnecessary pressure on me to work during my free time at home.

One thing I worried about when I first started working for this company and began to take advantage of the work from home policy was that I’d feel obligated to complete tasks once I got home at the end of the day. I didn’t want to feel that I couldn’t leave work at work, and it hasn’t been a problem at all. I don’t feel any pressure to be working all the time; in fact, I feel more organized and comfortable with my job because I can be flexible with my hours, to an extent.

The reason I’m writing about this is because late last week, my family decided to put down my childhood dog. It was devastating. My extremely accommodating and understanding manager agreed that I could work from home for the morning on Friday. If my company didn’t have this policy, I would’ve taken the day off. But I was able to get some work done and also take my mind off of things for awhile. I can’t explain how appreciative I am of of my company.

I’m so lucky to be working at a job I enjoy with plenty of opportunities for growth and development, and with such caring managers. How about you, readers, do you work for a caring company?

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Coming up next month is a big-to-me event: I’ll be turning 30! I went back and forth with myself about whether or not I would write a post about this big birthday milestone, but why not? I’ve talked to some people that said they dreaded turning 30 and others who celebrated it. I identify with the latter group; I’m so ready to be out of my 20s. I think because by the time I turned 28 and then 29, I felt like I was moving forward in different ways than I was in my 20s. I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers, but I’m really getting to know myself and what I like, don’t like, what my dreams are, and how I can work to achieve them. Someone recently told me that she believes a person really gets to know and understand themselves in their 30s, and I’m already starting to feel some of that.

I’ve always been pretty shy and quiet but within the past few years I’ve slowly been gaining more self-confidence and a sense of authority on some things. I don’t feel uncomfortable speaking up at my job anymore; I’ll have been here for 3 years in August (I can’t believe it!), so I feel that I have the right to speak from at least a little bit of experience! I’ve also been making new friends through work and through my other friends. I have a few close friends from growing up, high school, and college that I treasure, and I’m able to make friends with whole new and different groups of people. Not that I couldn’t do that in my early 20s, but I feel as though I’m cultivating deeper, longer lasting friendships now.

One of the biggest differences I’ve noticed recently is that I’m completely comfortable with how I spend my time. Maybe one night I come home after work and want to do nothing–that’s okay! I can sit in my sweatpants, eat dinner, and stare at mindless TV all night if I want. Or, what if on Saturday I want to run around doing errands, hanging out with friends, and more from the minute I wake up until the minute I go to sleep? That’s okay too! I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything or trying to be someone I’m not. That feeling, probably more than any other, is so liberating: I’m becoming me.

I’m excited for what’s ahead and I can’t wait to start this next decade with all of you, dear readers!

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This week is starting off a bit rocky for me. I got very little sleep during the past two nights and it’s really taken a toll on me during the day. I tend to have a little more trouble than usual getting to sleep on Sunday nights (probably due to the stress of the weekend ending and the work week beginning), but this past Sunday was brutal. All told, I probably got four solid hours of sleep, but that wasn’t necessarily in a row–I kept waking up and it took me ages to actually fall asleep in the first place. Last night, I slept at my grandmom’s because I had to get up bright and early this morning to take her to the airport (I swear, that woman has a more active social life than I do :)). My sleep was uninterrupted for the most part, but I did not get nearly enough (I had to wake up at 4:30! I didn’t even know that ungodly hour existed!). The upside is that I get to leave work early this afternoon since I came in much earlier than usual.

Needless to say, I’m not exactly brimming with enthusiasm today. I have a to-do list that encompasses everything that I need to get done, from small to large tasks, tasks that must be done immediately, and larger, more time-consuming tasks that must be completed over time. I revise it every day throughout the day and edit it so I have a nice, clean to-do list to start the day with the next morning. Today, I was able to pare the list down a bit to the essentials so as not to overwhelm myself and, also, to minimize errors on my part. I know that if I rush or frantically try to get a big task done in my current exhausted state of mind, I’ll make mistakes that I’ll want to kick myself for later. It’s important to give yourself permission to be tired or overwhelmed while you’re at work, as long as you work out ways to overcome it or deal with it in a healthy way. For me, that’s doing what absolutely must get done and not overdoing it with any extraneous tasks that can wait until tomorrow when I’m (hopefully) much more alert! I’m finishing up my necessary tasks for the day and when I leave in a couple of hours, I’ll still have accomplished something at work.

I know it’s hard to go easy on yourself sometimes, especially when a lot of us are our own worst critics. It’s important, though, to give ourselves some slack every once in a while if we’ve had a bad day or week, are struggling with something personal or professional, or if we’re just unusually tired (or not feeling well). This contributes to a healthier overall state of mind that’s necessary to keep us going every day; this way, we can achieve our dreams and take measured steps toward success.

How about you, readers? Do you cut yourself some slack on days when you’re just not up to work?

20180410_131520My own personal work planner.

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