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My ‘ Catitude’ strikes again…

The Cheshire Cat from “Alice in Wonderland”!

A few months ago, I wrote about a situation at my job where a coworker called me out for having a bad attitude (you can read all about it here).

In a nutshell, I have often been called out for having a bad attitude, and as of January 2018, I decided it was really annoying and I should probably do something about it before I really started standing in my own way.

Since then, I’ve made an effort to smile when I’d rather have resting bitch face; made small talk when I’d rather listen to podcasts in the comfort of my office; and I’ve taken deep breaths instead of blurting out my initial reaction.

It sounds really small, but these are big changes in my world.

A few weeks ago, an opportunity was presented to me at work. It was an opportunity that would mean more responsibility, working with new people, being a part of strategic decisions, and making more money.

So, I threw my hat in the ring.

But I heard that not too many people were excited to see my name – how could she think she could manage people when she’s so rude?

I understood their thoughts, but I was crushed. Even after all the work – and effort – I’d been putting in, I was keeping myself from moving forward in my career.

Granted, these were opinions coming from people that have never worked with me, but still. I had an honest conversation with my boss and asked her if it was a lost cause.

And I wasn’t just talking about the recent opportunity; I was also talking about my job in general. If I’ve ruined my reputation so bad by just a few things (writing short emails, not saying thank you fast enough, etc.), then it was time for me to find a new job and start over.

She said it wasn’t a lost cause, but I still needed to do more self-reflection on my attitude.

So, I’m working on that, and I also volunteered to give extra training presentations (for which some people openly said they wouldn’t attend), I’ve sent cheery and informational emails, I’ve blindly agreed, and I’ve picked up extra tasks.

Most of these things have gone ignored; emails go unanswered, trainings will be unattended, and people will likely still think I’m rude.

Perhaps my attitude will always be my struggle.

And hey, if I never get a promotion, well, that’s another problem for another day. But in all honesty, it hurts my heart that people think I’m “fucking rude” (that’s the phrase that was said to me).

Yeah, I can be a smart ass. But fucking rude?

I certainly am not out to hurt people, and I’m always just trying to do my work as efficiently as possible, which I understand can come off as short. I also understand that perception is reality, and I have to be careful with how my coworkers perceive me.

But the people who’ve said these things about me work in another state – they didn’t see that I cooked and delivered dinner for my coworker and her family when they moved into a new home, when I helped someone in another department write a lengthy email because she couldn’t get her thoughts down, or anytime I make the morning coffee because our administrator is bogged down with phone duty.

I’m not asking to be praised for these team tasks – it’s what people do for each other, and I want people to see me as helpful, not hurtful.

I suppose time, and continuous effort, will tell.

I know that at most jobs, you can’t really be your full self – but I’ve never had to work somewhere where I have to watch every word, pay attention to my facial expressions, and my emails. Is this adulting?

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Life after vacation.

Le sigh.

Hey yo! I’m starting this week off with an apology – I know I only blogged twice last week, which was not planned. Vacation kicked my ass!

I got back to Austin Monday night around 9:30, and by the time I got home, showered, got myself ready for bed, and watched “Southern Charm”, it was after midnight. When I arrived at work on Tuesday, there was all sorts of unnecessary drama that I did not need.

By the time things were starting to feel back to usual around the office – I even got things organized there, and started catching up on all of my podcasts again – the power went out and completely jacked up our internet, leaving us to work from home for a day and a half. Ugh!

It took me much longer to get back to my “normal” life than I thought. And I wondered… is this vacation after 30? I’ve always heard people complain about jet lag and adjusting back to regular life after vacation, but never really experienced it. Whew, not until now!

But, I did take a few dance classes last week, and then used my weekend to help get myself back in order.

After all of the junk (but very delicious) food and drink I had on vacation, I was excited to clean out my fridge and hit the grocery with a list of fresh produce. I am happy to report that my fridge is now full of Naked Juices, fruit, raw veggies, boiled eggs, and soda water. I’ll be living off that until I feel skinny again.

I spent a majority of my Saturday volunteering for the Austin Film Festival – an event that’s become very special to me. There was an opportunity to earn some hours by passing out fliers for their kids’ Summer Camp… I ended up walking 12,000 steps going door-to-door, and even ran from a couple of roosters on my route! It did nothing for my vacation fatigue, but it was an interesting way to spend a Saturday.

I also finished reading a book – so look for that review right here, on Friday for Blanche’s Book Club.

I did a few chores around the house, and have, at the very least, prepped my laundry for a trip to the laundromat tomorrow. And finally, I got word that my Blog Class at UT was confirmed for this semester, and it starts on Wednesday night! I’m so excited to be back teaching, and am looking forward to meeting a new group of students. Teaching is such a thrill for me and I’m excited to share my love of blogging to a new set of students.

So, I’m hitting the ground running this week – I’m back at work, back to dancing, blogging, teaching, and eating healthy (I even made veggie “sushi”) for awhile – at least until my next vacation, which is planned for the end of June. Summer is here, y’all, and I love me some summer adventures!

Isn’t it true, that when you take a vacation, you just want to keep taking them? I feel like whenever I go on vacation, I try to think of ways I can adjust my current life so that I can take more vacations and/or travel to more places. Then I just simply WISH that my life was a vacation, but I suppose it wouldn’t be as special if that were the case… or would it? I’m willing to be the guinea pig.

And so, I’m back – and I’m finally feeling refreshed. I’ve got some fun stuff planned for the blog this week (“Southern Charm” recap, a John Mayer review, Blanche’s Book Club, etc.), so I hope you’ll stick around. It’s good to be BACK!

Attitude is everything.

One of my favorite quotes.

Very rarely in my life have I been praised for my attitude. Since I can remember, I was told I have an attitude problem. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about attitude, and how it affects the makings of my days.

When I got my first job post-college, I was one of the youngest people there, and I was coming in with fresh ideas and I was really excited to implement them. But, I was up against a really old and traditional way of doing things, and many of my coworkers weren’t interested in change. I pushed back as much as I could – I got side-eyes, and stern conversations, until I was eventually fired after seven years.

After that, I got a dose of reality, and worked like I’ve never worked before. Over the course of the past few years, I feel like I’ve tried to have a better attitude; a more positive outlook on things, because sometimes that’s all I have.

When I started my current job, I met someone – a coworker – with possibly the worst attitude I’ve ever seen. I mean she HATES everything, including but not limited to, In-N-Out, California, the Midwest, shepherd’s pie, Trump, everyone who voted for Trump, reality TV, Fox News, Megyn Kelly, protestors, anti-choicers, slow internet, border patrol, blue states, going to work, planning ahead, big trucks, flying, traveling, being tired, traffic, and the layout of Austin.

I’ve only been at this job for a few months, so I’m sure I’ll learn more about her least favorite things, but you see my point. Eventually, I understood that we weren’t going to have much in common, which is okay.

But what’s not okay is how she treats me. On several occasions, she’s ignored me when I’ve said hello or tried to speak to her. She’s slammed the door into my desk, tossed the company credit card at me, and said racist comments about white women in front of me.

So, I started trying to limit my interactions with her. I wasn’t sure how to maintain my professionalism while still talking to her. But even then, she went to our boss and told her I didn’t talk to her. My boss asked me what was going on between us, but before I could answer she said, “I know she’s really rude and racist toward white people.”

Uhhhh, ok? What more did I need to say? How is this okay?

About two weeks later, the problem hadn’t been addressed, and instead of directly addressing it, my boss simply told our entire team that whatever was happening needed to stop and we were not required to be friends at the office.

Uh, what?

Sure, I agree, we don’t have to be friends. But isn’t there a standard for the way we treat each other, as humans? I’ve never worked at a place where it’s totally acceptable to be blatantly rude to your coworkers.

My boss said if we have problems with each other, we need to address them directly. Ah, so there’s the catch: the ole it’s all on ME game.

Basically this takes the pressure off the leader, and puts the responsibility on the employee. If you have a problem, you figure out how to resolve it. If you don’t resolve it, then you must be okay with it.

So, what’s the best way to approach someone and say, hi, it hurts my feelings when you ignore me?

In all honesty, this entire ordeal has really made me look at myself and reevaluate. Am I someone who needs friends at work? No, but I do like to be friendly to those around me. Am I too scared to speak up when someone is disrespecting me? No, but I probably need to figure out a professional way to handle it.

No matter what, though, I’ve realized just how much it sucks to show up to work in a decent mood, only to discover that even just one employee has a bad attitude. It can bring down the entire team, for the whole day – and for what?

But I know it’s up to me to try and maintain a positive attitude. And just when I thought that wasn’t possible, I met up with one of my blogging students for a tutoring session. As we parted ways, he told me how much he appreciated my patience and my help with his blog.

He’s a retired professor, looking to write for leisure now that he has the time, and I was able to help, and without realizing it, I’d made a difference. At least I know things aren’t all bad.

And so today, Monday, I’m going to try to keep things positive. It may mean lots of coffee and podcasts in my ears, but I’ll be smiling.

Finding pride in the soles of shoes.

Nice collection, girl.

**The following is a piece of original writing I entered into an essay contest. It didn’t win, but I like it, and I thought you might, too. Happy Humpday, y’all!**

Each employee was to schedule a meeting with our new manager to discuss our job roles, challenges, and goals. My meeting was set for a Thursday afternoon, and I’d taken a few notes on my iPad before heading downstairs to her office.

But when I entered her mahogany kingdom, I was met with an employee from Human Resources. My new manager and I weren’t going to be discussing my job, but rather, the fact that my “services” were no longer needed.

For nearly seven years leading up to that day, I’d served as the Web Editor for a large, state university. I’d written stories for the website, reorganized departmental sites, led national advertising campaigns, and created social media strategies for the brand. I’d just received the largest raise in the office due to my hard work over the years.

That day, my previous work, all of my experience – it meant nothing.

“Any questions?” my boss asked.

There were papers to sign in front of me, and I was given strict instructions to pack up my office (do not touch your computer or any other university property, they said), and would be escorted out of the building and was never to return to campus.

“Yes,” I said, working to move my jaw. “Why is this happening?”

I was told that it was an “at-will” termination, which meant that according to state law, I could be terminated for any reason, at any time, without warning, and without being told of the reason.

So, I went to my office where there were empty boxes waiting to be filled. I was watched as I packed, and escorted to my car, walking past the offices of my former fellow employees.

I’d built my life around my job, which had become my career. I’d stayed in the city, 15 hours from where I grew up, for this job, and had little intent to leave. I lived in a coveted loft, a place I would soon come to resent given the high rent and my lack of funds.

The next day, I started applying for jobs. I applied for jobs like my life depended on it – because, in a way, it did. I applied all over the country, for all sorts of positions that sounded remotely interesting. When weeks passed without so much as a phone call, I started looking for short-term work as well.

The holidays were approaching, so I applied for retail positions that would at least get me out of the apartment and I could earn a paycheck.

Around Thanksgiving, I accepted a position as a part-time associate at a shore store near my apartment. My first shift was scheduled for five hours, but a few hours in, I was asked if I could stay until the store closed, making it a 14-hour shift. I said yes.

It was hard work; I was on my feet, and I only got a 30-minute break. The store was constantly busy, and I quickly learned shoe style numbers, sizing, and how to reasonably make a sale. The pay was only $8 an hour, so I’d packed a peanut butter sandwich in order to avoid the food court.

That night, I cried on my short drive home. I was fairly certain my feet had never hurt quite so bad, and I wondered how long this was going to be my life. My next shift at the store was scheduled to start in just eight hours.

I quickly missed the comfort of my desk, my office, and the luxury of simply knowing how to do my job. But I kept on, working as many shifts as I was allowed and picking up extras for fellow employees when they needed time off. I wasn’t going home for the holidays that year, so I could just keep working.

As the days passed, I sometimes saw friends or old coworkers in the store. It was awkward having to explain my situation. Even a few family members turned on me, making condescending comments about how I was “just a shoe salesman at the mall” now.

For a moment, I hung my head in shame. But, my friend who worked in Human Resources for an ad agency and often served as my workout partner, offered some wisdom.

“Head up,” he said. “Everyone has a job to do.”

He was right. There are all sorts of jobs that are less-then-glamorous, and they are held by employees doing what they need to do to get by in this life. It doesn’t really matter if it’s part of their passion or their intended journey, it was a job that needed to be filled in order for the ways of the world to keep going.

No, I didn’t go to college to work at a shoe store, but I was making an honest living, and I was applying for other jobs during my time off. I also accepted two additional retail jobs, and got a promotion at the shoe store, making my work week at least 60-hours.

I learned how to operate three different cash register systems, memorized the opening and closing procedures for each job, and started to find joy in the little things – greeting and helping customers, getting to know my coworkers (despite our 10-year age difference), and going to bed each night knowing I’d done everything I could that day.

That year, I spent Christmas alone. In fact, Christmas Day was my only day off in weeks, since it was the only day all of the stores were closed. I found comfort on my couch, with my heating pad, and my decorated tree that I’d reluctantly pulled from my closet in November.

It took me eight months to find a job that fit my career path and offered a salary with benefits. The job was in another state, and I worked my retail jobs until the day I moved.

There’s no doubt that it was the most difficult eight months of my life – there were very few days off, no health insurance, and a very tight budget I had to follow. But, I’d somehow made it work. I kept my loft until moving day, never missed a bill, and I learned how to juggle the schedules of three jobs.

I also learned a lot about pride and hard work. At most job interviews, they ask how you’d describe yourself. I’d said I was a hard worker before, but now I’ve truly lived it. I’ve worked when I thought I couldn’t even stand, I’ve done jobs that some people wouldn’t even consider, and I’ve smiled when people from my career-life would whisper, “What are you doing here?

There are days when even my current salaried gig isn’t all I dreamt of during my long shifts in the retail stores. But no matter what job I have, at any point in my life, I know I’m going to do it with my head held high.

Take pride in the ability to get up each day, and do whatever it is you have to do to keep going. Find joy in the walk to the office, the people you see each shift, or the discovery of all the new things you’ve learned.

Almost two years after unexpectedly losing my job, I still carry fears that it will happen again, but then I remember that I made it work. Sure, it wasn’t easy, but I did it, and I found some good in that chapter of my journey.

Looking back, my job at the university had its perks, and it looked really good on my resume. But it wasn’t challenging, and there was no room for growth, meaning I would have had to leave eventually. How it happened wasn’t any sort of dream scenario, but it forced me out of my comfort zone, and into the reality of another person’s shoes.

I’m just so tired…

This is me, dragging ass every single day.

If you’re a fan of “The Golden Girls”, you may recall a two-part episode where Dorothy is complaining of extreme fatigue. At the time, she is working as a substitute teacher, and she’s so tired, she can barely complete a day’s work.

She goes to several doctors, and most of them tell her the same thing – that she’s getting old, and yeah, old people get tired. But there is one doctor who finally tells her something is wrong: she is suffering from a rare, but treatable, illness. She is so happy to have a diagnosis that she treats herself to a nice dinner, where she runs into one of the stupid doctors and tells him off – it is a sitcom, after all!

Lately, I’ve been feeling a lot like Dorothy did in those two episodes. The only thing is, I’m not a senior citizen (although my social calendar would show otherwise). I ‘ve traced my recent fatigue back to around the time I started my new job, which was also the same time I started working out more and eating a much healthier diet.

Too many variables, I know! And now I don’t know if it’s one of those things that is causing me to be so exhausted I nearly fall over before 3 pm, or if there is something medically wrong with me. Here’s a mental list of the things I *think* could be causing my sleepiness:

  • Stress/emotions of new job
  • Body adjusting to new diet
  • Reacting to additional, more intense workouts
  • Thyroid problems
  • Lyme disease
  • Lack of sleep

Let’s consider the list. My job isn’t what I would classify and stressful, but it does have an emotional side to it. The thing that affects me is the difference in the schedule – it’s still 9-5, but each day is different from the next, and many of those days begin earlier than 9 if I’m going downtown to the Capitol for a hearing. I definitely think there’s some sort of adjusting curve, and this job has already taught me two things: 1. I’m a creature of habit, and 2. hanging out with white men in suits really sucks the life out of my soul.

True story.

Okay, the new diet. Basically I’ve taken “clean eating” to the next level, and am trying to eat very little meat – with most of my meals being vegan-approved. While these meals have been nothing but delicious, my mom made a good point that I may not be getting enough protein to keep me energized throughout my day. According to Google, I need 46 grams of protein a day, and I definitely don’t think I am. So, a food journal may be in my very near future.

I went from taking a few dance classes a week to taking at least 7, with several of those being cardio-dance classes. I’m in a constant state of soreness, and perhaps my body is not quite as strong as I think. I don’t know if I buy this excuse alone, but if I’m not getting enough protein and working out double than before – it could be the cause of my fatigue.

Thyroid problems/thyroid disease. I’ve always associated thyroid issues with weight gain and/or energy levels. When I Googled it, basically everything can be a symptom of thyroid disease, and sometimes diagnosing these problems can be tough. However, I’m not ruling this out of the picture, because it does run in my family.

Lyme disease. Because we have all either seen “Real World: Seattle” or “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”, and we’ve seen how Lyme disease either makes you bedridden or completely insane. I have been paranoid about having Lyme disease ever since the Christmas Mouse crossed his annual path in my apartment. Blanche caught him, and I’m convinced she got it and now I have it. But I Googled it, and it turns out you can really only get Lyme disease from a tick. And I’ve never been bitten by a tick (knock on wood).

Lack of sleep. Imagine that! Not getting enough sleep is the story of my life, especially in the last 7ish years. For a year or so, I suffered from terrible night tremors, which I usually awoke in a sweat, sometimes crying, and often too scared to go back to sleep. I also had a terrible time sleeping during a nasty relationship with a restaurant manager. Note to all: Don’t date someone that’s not on your same schedule. It’s just too much.

Anyway, I have found that the only way I can truly get a good night’s sleep is really preparing for it. I mean make sure the bed is just right, don’t drink, set the oil diffuser, put in my mouth guard, take a Rest EZ (natural sleep aid), and ensure I’ve set a solid 8-9 hour window for myself to snore away. Sounds complicated and high maintenance, I know. It’s annoying, even for me.

The other issue is that, frankly, I have a lot on my plate. As many of you know, this blog is a hobby for me, which means I am usually writing it at 10pm the night before it publishes. After work each day, I usually do two hours of dance, I get home around 8:30, shower, eat dinner, and by that time, it’s time to write my blog, and basically go to bed. If I want to do anything else in the evenings – such as read, cook, watch TV, etc. – that means cutting into my sleep time. And most nights, I am just not ready to mentally turn off the light even though my body is way past ready.

So, how the hell am I going to resolve this issue? My original idea was to use this week as a week to make an effort to go to bed early and see if actually getting 8 hours of sleep solved it. But alas, I have already failed at that, with late night dance rehearsal (for a performance on Friday), a mid-week visit to the Capitol (meaning up at 5:30 am!), and a 2-hour private blog class that I’m teaching. Whoops.

By the looks of my calendar, I am free on Sunday. So, I’m making it a priority to ACTUALLY relax on Sunday. I’ll be really busy on Friday and Saturday to get everything done, but on Sunday, I need to relax and get to bed early. Then next week, I’ll focus on getting rest and making sure I get enough protein. We’ll see how that goes… Don’t worry, I’ll report back.

I’m just so tired.

Won’t you sing me to sleep, and fly through my dreams, so I can hitch a ride with you tonight? And get away from this place, have a new name face, I just ain’t without you in my life.

Late night drives. All along in my car, I can’t help but start singin ‘ lines from all our favorite songs. And melodies in the air, singin’ life just ain’t fair. Sometimes I still just believe you’re gone.

And I’m sure the view from heaven beats the hell out of mine here, and if we all believe in heaven, maybe we’ll make it through one more year, down here.

-Yellowcard, View From Heaven 

Podcasts I’ve been listening to, Part IV.

Happy Friday! It should come as no shock that I’m still deep in podcast land; listening to as many episodes as possible to make it through my days in a cubicle. Thanks to other podcast listeners, and just general digging, I’ve managed to find some new (new to me) shows to keep me occupied when my usual podcasts haven’t posted a new episode yet.

Risk! I heard about the Risk! podcast from listening to another podcast (so meta), and I was pleasantly surprised once I started listening. Here is the “About Us” section from the Risk! website:

RISK! is a live show and podcast “where people tell true stories they never thought they’d dare to share in public” hosted by Kevin Allison, of the legendary TV sketch comedy troupe The State. The award-winning live show happens monthly in New York and Los Angeles. It’s featured people like Janeane Garofalo, Lisa Lampanelli, Kevin Nealon, Margaret Cho, Marc Maron, Sarah Silverman, Lili Taylor, Rachel Dratch, Andy Borowitz and more, dropping the act and showing a side of themselves we’ve never seen before. The weekly podcast gets around a million downloads each month. Slate.com called it “jaw-dropping, hysterically funny, and just plain touching.”

Dear Sugar. I believe I heard about Dear Sugar from another podcast, also. Most podcasts feature ads for other podcasts and I think this was one of those situations. I’ve just started listening to this one this week, so I’m only a few episodes in, but so far, I’m getting a more doctor-scientific-ish version of “Dear Abby” – type of vibe. Here’s the website description for the podcast:

The universe has good news for the lost, lonely and heartsick. Dear Sugar is here, and speaking straight into your ears. Hosted by the original Sugars, Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond, the podcast fields all your questions — no matter how deep or dark — and offers radical empathy in return. New episodes are released weekly.

The Moth. I heard about The Moth on the season 5 finale of “Girls”, when Hannah goes to a live storytelling event, ready to spill the beans about Adam and Jessa:

I didn’t realize it was a podcast, too, until I saw it on the top podcast charts. Here is the brief description from The Moth website

The Moth Podcast features re-airs of all new episodes of The Moth Radio Hour, plus additional stories from our vast archive recorded over the past two decades. Episodes are released every Tuesday.

The stories are a mixed bag; they are all true, but some are hilarious and some are really sad. I listened to a few stories from middle school students during a “takeover” week. If you’re into stories, this is a goodie.

2 Dope Queens. A coworker recommended this one to me and I will be forever grateful, because it is so hilarious, I listed to all 13 episodes within two days. I am anxiously awaiting new ones! A little bit about the show, according to the website:

Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams are funny. They’re black. They’re BFFs. And they host a live comedy show in Brooklyn. Join the 2 Dope Queens, along with their favorite comedians, for stories about sex, romance, race, hair journeys, living in New York, and Billy Joel. Plus a whole bunch of other s**t.

What podcasts are you guys listening to? I’m always looking for new ones and I’d love to hear your ideas! Have a fantastic weekend, and stay safe…and dry! See you here, on Monday 🙂

Simple ways I’m tackling life.

It will come as no surprise to anyone that I’ve been in the midst of tough times; because, well, that’s the kind of thing that happens as the years pass. We have good times and bad, and getting through the bad times is often when we learn the most about ourselves and the people around us.

I’ve written a lot over the years about happiness – ways to shift your mood and feel happy now, or finding happiness from within (which inevitably fills my inbox with emails about finding Jesus) – but what do you do when the going really gets tough, when you can’t turn to your wallet, or possibly your friends or family, or job, or any of the usual crutches to perk things up?

Several years ago, I read “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin – the first of her several books on how to make, and live, a better life. The book was highly criticized because Rubin is pretty privileged, but that really doesn’t get annoying until book two. I actually really enjoyed “The Happiness Project” and have turned to it in the recent weeks as I tackle life like a 12-step plan, one day at a time.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve really done some searching in my life to discover the small things that make life a little better, and I’m sharing them with you in hopes they help you, too.

Getting up earlier. As nerdy as it sounds, I’ve spent the better part of the last year getting up at least an hour earlier than I need to. Why? Well, truthfully, I really like being able to get things done before I have to go to work. I don’t usually leave important tasks for the mornings – some days I get up to write for an hour, or watch TV, or perhaps I just want to take my time getting ready.

When my life started to turn dark, I noticed right away that I started hitting the snooze button a lot more, to the point that I barely had time to brush my teeth and run out of the door each day. And it took me awhile to realize that it just wasn’t working. So, I got right back into my early morning habit, and it’s amazing how much it helps. I can spend time on my patio drinking coffee with Blanche, or tidy up my living room so it’s clean when I come home, or even just eat breakfast at my counter instead of at my office. I can also do my hair and get my makeup right so I go about my day with confidence. This one little move makes it feel like I have more hours in the day, and that they’re not all taken up by work.

Getting more sleep. This probably sounds quite contradictory to the previous tip, but I realized that I’d been staying up too late, and really for no reason other than to avoid the next day approaching. It was time I invest in myself and the first step toward that was getting a good night’s sleep every night.

Many, many people struggle with getting sleep, and it’s an issue I’ve had for several years. Everyone probably has their own approach to getting a solid night of sleep, and even Rubin covers this topic in her book. She goes about it the traditional way, skipping out on work, television, or anything stimulating an hour before sleep.

That doesn’t really work for me – instead, I told myself that I wanted to be asleep at 11 pm on work nights. So, around 10, I started winding things down, washing my face, turning on my essential oil diffuser (with lavender), and sometimes taking melatonin. I also stopped drinking during the week. I still watch TV in bed, or sometimes read, but it usually doesn’t take long before I’m asleep. And if I want to stay up late to watch a certain show (such as a political convention) or read a book or work on a meaningful project, then so be it, just as long as it’s not a daily habit.

Accepting the challenges. When things hit the fan, whether they be a growing pile of bills, burnout from workout, or a broken heart, everyone has two options: 1. starting a diet of NyQuil and sleeping in hopes things get better, or accepting it and figuring out how to kick its ass. I chose the latter, and I can say that while accepting reality does suck at first, it makes me feel more in control of my life, and at the very least, I can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Many of my current issues are financial, down to my last dime. So, a challenge for me was creating a budget and then slashing it to live off as little as possible. Once I accepted this challenge, I’ve discovered that I can live on a lot less than I did before, and I’ve made new discoveries, such as how many meals you can get from a single rotisserie chicken, and how to fix a ceiling fan in order to use less air conditioning.

Evaluating. Once unhappiness starts to settle in, it’s time to take a good, hard look at your life. For me, this meant looking at my finances and getting control of them. What kinds of monthly bills could I get rid of, or lower? What was I spending my money on and could it be taken out?

A few things, I found, could be eliminated. Some things I miss, but others were expenses I was paying simply because I was too lazy to cancel an account. Some things I couldn’t part with – such as my dance studio membership. Not only is dance my main form of exercise, it’s also a social activity for me, plus it’s creative, and a stress reliever. So, while I didn’t cancel my membership, I decided I’d make the most of it and attend more classes since my membership is unlimited.

I also looked at expenses I couldn’t change, like my rent. What would make me hate paying my rent less? One thing was that if I just got serious about keeping the place clean and tidy, and perhaps got rid of a few things. Turns out, cleaning felt productive, and I even have a box of things I can sell at a local bookstore. Part of my rent expense is a $30/month trash valet fee that is non-negotiable. I’ve never been able to use the service because of its strict time limits, so I talked to my leasing office to make sure I had all of the right information.

Turns out, they’re a little more lenient than I thought, so I was able to use the trash valet service twice last week – I just put my designated trashcan outside between a certain chunk of time and my trash is taken away for me. Now, I feel better that I’m not just wasting the monthly fee, and it saves me dreaded trips to the dumpster, which keeps my apartment even cleaner.

But evaluation doesn’t necessarily mean monetary things; for me, it also meant people. I started to recognize people in my life that were bringing me down – I cut them out. If they were only planning on being with me during the good times, it was time to let them go.

Reading & writing. Whether you’re a creative or not, I think it’s healthy to have some form of escape plan, even if it’s fictional. One of the first things I did when I realized I needed to penny pinch was get a library card. I have always loved going to the library, and there’s nothing bad about tackling a reading list. Now, I go to the library at least once a week, and I enjoy the tiny adventure of searching for books on my reading list, looking for any good DVDs to check out, and adding any of the library’s free activities to my calendar.

I have yet to master the art of journaling, as most things that come into my brain end up on this blog, but I know for some, writing privately is a great way to cope. When I lost my job almost two years ago, one of the first purchases I treated myself to was a thick notebook that had an inspirational quote on the front. As simple as it sounds, I used the notebook to hold my life together – lists of jobs I applied to each week, upcoming interviews, and my weekly work schedule as I juggled three retail jobs. I have since used the entire notebook, but have kept it since it was so helpful to me.

Making the most out of everything. I have always appreciated the small things in life, but now, I pretty much realized they’re all I’ve got. So, when a song I love comes on the radio (“One Dance” by Drake is my recent favorite; along with Justin Bieber’s new one), I turn it up and dance in my car. When I wakeup before my alarm, I get up and take a few moments to enjoy the sunrise.

When I was evaluating my expenses, I considered eliminating my Tuesday night latte ($4.28) from my life. But, I decided against it, as it’s a small expense, but more importantly, it’s an hour I spend each week reading between work and dance class, and it’s a treat to myself; a chance to just breathe. Instead of just grabbing your latte each morning, consider actually enjoying it, and the people around you. The coffee shop I go to is a game house; they host weekly war game tournaments, and Tuesday nights are very popular. And while I have no clue what these games entail, I enjoy seeing all of these people gathering for something they’re passionate about.

Take a break. This could mean a lot of different things for different people. For me, this literally meant taking a break. Before allowing myself said breaks, I’d taken less than three lunch breaks in the last year. I was overworked and burned out. So, I vowed to stop skipping my lunch breaks. Even on days when things felt crazy, I’ve taken a break; gone outside, taken a walk, sat on a bench and read a book. And, it’s pretty amazing how much good it does for the brain. It makes the work day seem so much shorter, and I look forward to it each day.

I also vowed to stop taking my work laptop home. I often took it home even when I had no looming deadlines, and at the very least, I would check my email before bed, or find a 30-minute task to complete. Not anymore. If I had too much work to complete within 9-5, then I was just going to have to tell someone that it couldn’t happen. And so far, I’ve been more efficient at work – probably due to my sleep schedule – and I’ve been way less stressed. Home is for being at home, not for work.

Creating new goals and working toward them. I am a dreamer, so I’m always thinking ahead. What do I want my life to be like in 3, 5, or 10 years? I honestly don’t know. But I know I’m going to keep writing and I am always working to continue my craft. Recently, I’ve discovered a great interest in teleplays and screenwriting, so I’ve set a goal for myself to write a script. I even bought myself a how-to book with a gift card I got for my birthday. Will my script see the light of day? Who knows! But I will work to find out. And who knows what will happen along the way.

 I’d love to know what kinds of things keep you going throughout the week! Maybe it’s your daily food journal, taking the scenic route home from work, or a weekly sewing class – share it in the comments!

What’s burnout & do I have it?

Burn out or just straight drop dead?

Burnout or just straight drop dead?

Despite my recent attempts to make Mondays better, I still find that I’ve become that person. You know, the one that is constantly counting down the hours until the end of the day, and absolutely counting down the days and hours until Friday.

I hate being that person.

So, how did this happen? I’ve been at my job for 10 months now; is it possible I’m already reached the breaking point? That can’t be… can it?

I’ve been hearing a lot about burnout lately – as in, “Don’t get burnout”, “Churn and burn”, in reference to typical agency life, which makes me feel like this is how it’s supposed to be.

I can say the past few months have been crazy at the office – we’re short on people and high on clients. It’s a tough balance to juggle, especially during the summer months when we all want a vacation.

My friends have asked me if I’m going to start looking for a new job. No, I say, what’s the point? I’ll end up at another office, doing the same thing, and still barely able to drag my ass to the coffee pot each morning. Is this something everyone goes through or am I just someone who really just hates work? Am I Peter Gibbons right now?

Regardless, I could totally go for some shrimp poppers right now, and there’s definitely no “Chotchkie’s” or other TGIFriday’s equivalent nearby.

So, what the hell is burnout – and is that what I’m feeling? I did some Googling to find out how to spot burnout and possibly…how to fix it.

The Mayo Clinic defines burnout as, “a special type of job stress — a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion combined with doubts about your competence and the value of your work.” They also offer a survey to determine if you’re suffering from burnout:

  • Have you become cynical or critical at work?
  • Do you drag yourself to work and have trouble getting started once you arrive?
  • Have you become irritable or impatient with co-workers, customers or clients?
  • Do you lack the energy to be consistently productive?
  • Do you lack satisfaction from your achievements?
  • Do you feel disillusioned about your job?
  • Are you using food, drugs or alcohol to feel better or to simply not feel?
  • Have your sleep habits or appetite changed?
  • Are you troubled by unexplained headaches, backaches or other physical complaints?

The Mayo Clinic says if you answered “yes” to one of those, there’s a chance you’re suffering from burnout. I answered yes to seven. Whoops.

Okay, so I may be suffering from burnout… How do I get over it? Forbes magazine offers some advice:

  • Take Relaxation Seriously  Whether you take up meditation, listening to music, reading a book, taking a walk or visiting with friends and family, truly think about what you’ll do to relax, and designate time for it.
  • Cultivate a Rich Non-Work Life Find something outside of work that you are passionate about that’s challenging, engaging and really gets you going—whether a hobby, sports or fitness activities or volunteering in the community.
  • Unplug  While communication technology can promote productivity, it can also allow work stressors seep into family time, vacation and social activities. Set boundaries by turning off cell phones at dinner and delegating certain times to check email.
  • Get Enough Sleep  Research suggests that having fewer than six hours of sleep per night is a major risk factor for burnout, not least because poor sleep can have negative effects on your job performance and productivity. It can lead to fatigue, decrease your motivation, make you more sensitive to stressful events, impair your mental function, leave you more susceptible to errors and make it harder to juggle competing demands.
  • Get Organized  Often, when people are burnt out, they spend a lot of time worrying that they’ll forget to do something or that something important is going to slip through the cracks. Get organized, clear your head, put together a to-do list (or an electronic task list) then prioritize. That way, you don’t have to keep thinking about those things because you’ll have systems in place to remind you.
  • Stay Attuned  It’s important to tune into the precursors of those conditions, physical signs that you might be under too much stress: more headaches, tight shoulders, a stiff neck or more frequent stomach upset. In terms of mental health, burnout affects depression, and if you’re depressed, that can also affect your level of burnout—it goes both ways. So, if the issues you’re struggling with are really serious and getting worse, you may need to seek professional help.
  • Know When It’s You, and When It’s Them  Burnout is sometimes motivated by internal factors and sometimes it really is a symptom of external ones. In the first case, you’ll need to ask yourself, “Where is this coming from?” so you can figure out what’s stressing you out, and how to maintain your internal resources to keep yourself motivated, doing your best work and functioning well. Some burnout really is the fault of work. To find out whether it’s time to move on, figure out whether your position is a “mismatch between your needs and what you’re getting working for that particular organization.”

I really like the first suggestion on this list about taking relaxation seriously. About two months ago, I vowed to not take work home, whether after hours during the week or on the weekends (provided I was not on any type of deadline with a client).

It was time I take weekends seriously, and get back to doing the things I love, like reading while laying out at the pool, cooking, sleeping in, and binging on tacky TV. And, pestering Blanche, of course.

And since then, I’ve kept true to my word. Honestly, it makes the weekends way better. I still get really sad on Sunday nights, but at least I feel like I’ve got a few days of freedom to do what I want and not worry about things at the office.

The second suggestion, I’ve always been pretty good about getting involved in things that are non-work related. But, recently my motivation has been drained on that front. I still go to dance classes after work, but I never have that stay-up-late drive like I once had.

And I don’t mean stay up to work; I mean stay up to read a great book or to paint my nails, or write fiction stories that no one will ever see… and that’s the thing that’s worrying me the most. Did I lose my hunger?

I’m starting to wonder if any “day job” out there is the one for me, or if I’m just not cut out for it. I’ve tried the freelance thing, and the stress of the constant hustle, sans-insurance, is not my thing either. But is it possible I could get the job I dreamed of – one where I do have steady work, but it’s at home, or in an office that has way less bullshit?

There’s a few projects I’ve been wanting to start regarding this blog, and just writing in general, and I sit in front of the TV every night and thing, “Damn, wish I had the energy to get THAT done…” Well, it’s time to stop thinking and start actually doing – because right now, the only way I’m going to find a lick of happiness in my life is to make small moves, outside the hours of 9-5, like this guy:

It’s a tough juggle, I know. But I don’t know how else I’ll find my way – and get to do what I have always dreamed of doing. So, if you see a bunch of new stuff around these parts, I hope you’ll participate – all we’ve got is each other, and one life to get everything we’ve dreamed of, done.

Don’t quit your daydream.

Daydreaming... one of my favorite things to do.

Daydreaming… one of my favorite things to do.

A few weeks ago, I was riding in the car with a coworker on the way to a work event. We started at the company around the same time and were talking about our goals in terms of where we want to be down the road in our careers.

She mentioned the fact that we’ve been out of college for 9 years (yeeessh), and currently, we’re in entry-level positions after making career changes.

“I don’t want to guess anymore,” she said.

I understood her point… but I can’t say I feel the same way.

I’ve always, always been a dreamer. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I think something bigger is still out there for me. And maybe that’s because I do have a wild imagination, or I’m nuts, or I just like to pretend, but I’m not ready to give up on those dreams.

I still picture my name in print under a headline at The New York Times. I wish that one day, I’ll see one of my books on an actual shelf, in a real bookstore. I want to start a podcast. I also want to hire an intern. I have recently become obsessed with screenwriting and maybe one day I can write a movie or a TV series.

I have always pictured myself going to some kind of awards show; and a really big secret? I’ve totally practiced my acceptance speech. I’ve also pictured myself getting married; particularly on a vineyard, wearing a champagne colored gown. In my daydreams? I’m just a few steps away from actually meeting John Mayer and us falling in love and living in a giant cabin in Montana. Blanche totally approves.

I want to live near the beach and be able to take sunset strolls in the sand. Maybe I’ll have a summer home. Maybe I’ll move to New York and write for my favorite blog, Manrepeller.

It sounds nuts, I know. And I also know that is the struggle that many creatives face – we have so many passions, but we cannot weigh which ones are more important than the others, or how to fit in to the boxes society tells us we should in order to successfully get by.

But I think now, more than ever, the innovators are blazing a trail for all of us. We don’t necessarily have to do the things our parents did in order to live the American dream.

So, are my daydreams setting me up for disappointment or do they have anything good going for them? I found several articles that listed the benefits of daydreaming, including one from Life Hack. According to the article, some of the benefits include:

  • Further developing your creativity
  • Improved memory
  • Improved performance and productivity
  • Lower stress levels
  • Build hope and anticipation

Sounds like a win-win, if you ask me. But I’m curious: what are you dreaming of? Are there dreams you know you really could accomplish within the next month, year, or five years? Are there dreams that seem impossible?

I even have a dream of having a working herb garden on my patio…totally doable, but I just have to DO it. I know dreams can seem silly, but I’m not going to give up on them. After all, they’re so beautiful and fun. Instead, perhaps I’ll dream up the plans to make them a reality. What about you?

“If I ever get around to livin’, it’s gonna be just like I dreamed.” -John Mayer

Office life: a lot like school?

Check out that cordless phone.

Check out that cordless phone.

Over these last few months, I’ve been thinking a lot about the different jobs I’ve had. I got my first job at 16, working as a hostess for Outback Steakhouse. At the time, I didn’t think I made much money, but looking back, the gig wasn’t so bad (restaurant minimum wage plus tip share).

My main job at Outback was to seat customers evenly among the waitstaff. I worked pretty hard to memorize the table map and keep on the good side of the staff — the ones that would put up with me. Other than that, I rolled silverware. And I did eat a ton of the Outback bread with honey butter. Don’t get me started on that high school metabolism!

While the money was good, of course, the hours sucked, and it was my first taste of restaurant life; one that isn’t necessarily fun or easy, but it’s a slippery slope. I also worked the front desk at a gym (which I was TERRIBLE at), worked at a scrapbook supply shop, served as a carhop at a Sonic-like place, and slung frozen custard at Ritter’s.

I have said it for years and I’ll say it again: if I could make a living selling glaciers and Boilermakers (two scoops vanilla frozen custard, pump of caramel, pump of hot fudge, whipped cream), I would do it TODAY.

While I am passionate about fine desserts, I loved working at Ritter’s because the people were so pleasant. Not only the employees (I worked at two different locations), but the customers were all so happy. No one is pissed off when they’re about to indulge in one of the finest treats on the planet.

But with Ritter’s, I felt it wasn’t just the product or the employees. It was about the entire franchise; that even though each location is owned and operated by someone else, it was developed with the mission of serving people something that was delicious and high-quality — something each and every employee could be proud of when they handed it out the window.

Sure, maybe I’m getting a little too serious about frozen custard right now, but when you really think about it, isn’t that the only joy we can hope for when we go to work each and every day? In my recent employment adventures, I’ve learned that there really ARE companies out there built upon principles that simply revolve around integrity, and in general, not being an asshole.

I’ve never thought of myself as a person who wanted, or really needed, to be liked. But I’ve also spent a lot of time being “okay” with that left out feeling; given the alienation slapped on my forehead as a creative in the world of cardboard boxes. There’s no denying it, I was really disliked at my old job. And whether that was because of my case of resting bitch face; my choice of clothing; or the giant Justin Bieber poster in my office, it probably had some effect on the way things ended.

As I embark on my new employment opportunity, I feel very lucky to find myself in an environment where integrity is a part of the company’s core values. There is no time for gossip, wallowing, or pettiness. Employees are not clocking in and clocking out — they are living and breathing the values each and every day in all they do. In general, they’re just not assholes. And they all happen to be passionate about similar things.

When this happens, you actually get a work environment that’s pleasant. What??? I was reading an article in Real Simple, “Why Your Office is A Lot Like Kindergarten,” that explains a few simple rules to make things work in the office. The main rule: don’t be an asshole. Honey attracts more flies than vinegar.

Sometimes, that’s easier said than done. I think it has to be built into the office culture — a culture of kindness, if you will. It’s not something you can force on people, and it’s definitely something that should be a part of the hiring process, because if you hire someone who’s a dick, it’s never going to change.

I general, I am a kind person. Sure, I can be a smart ass at times, but no one bitches about that. Perhaps, in my previous jobs, it was more about being not being accepted that gave me more of the vinegar effect. Just in case, I’ve decided to keep my Bieber poster at home.

Don’t hold it against me, Biebs.

Do I need a ‘work husband’?

Do I need a "work husband" to advance?

Do I need a “work husband” to advance?

Hey there! If you stopped by the blog yesterday and were disappointed to see the password-protected post, feel free to shoot me an email at holly@thebitterlemon.com (prove you’re not trying to spy on me or sue me) to request it. I wish there was a way to at least let followers read the blog, but WordPress isn’t THAT awesome yet. And hey, feel free to shoot me emails at anytime; I love to read.

Anyway, what I really wanted to talk about today is this: a recent article published by Fortune magazine, “The secret to getting ahead at work? Get a work spouse,” lists several reasons why I should probably get a work spouse.

According to the article, a work spouse can balance the duties of the job; allowing each team member to shine in her/her own way, while getting a TON of work done. It’s apparently a win-win.

I’m all for a winning situation at the office, but that phrase “work husband” or “work spouse” just bothers me. Something sounds so… Ashley Madison about it. Am I alone here? Take this, from the article, for example:

In many situations in our office marriage we have applied the life lessons learned over decades in our actual marriages, such as patience and commitment. The things we have in common – similar values, the joy we take in engaging with clients and developing relationships, and our devotion to community – have helped see us through.

I feel like the person who wrote that was a little more into it than anyone should be. An article published on AdWeek approaches the subject a little better, admitting there are pros and cons to having a work spouse.

  • Pro: the bond is second-to-none. Con: there’s a gray area between personal and professional.
  • Pro: greater productivity. Con: less productivity.
  • Pro: less stress for you. Con: animosity among others.

Not sure if your work friend qualifies as your work spouse? Have no fear, CNN is here with seven signs you have a work spouse:

1. You depend on a particular co-worker for office supplies, snacks and aspirin.

2. There are inside jokes that you and a specific co-worker share.

3. You can be bluntly honest with this person about his or her appearance, hygiene or hair (and vice versa). You’re comfortable enough to point out that the other’s hair is sticking up — or that someone’s fly is down.

4. When something eventful happens at work, this co-worker is the first person you seek out for a de-briefing.

5. At breakfast, lunch and coffee breaks, your closest co-worker knows what to order for you and how you like your coffee (and vice versa).

6. You and your co-worker can finish each other’s sentences.

7. Someone in your office knows almost as much about your personal life as your best friend or real-life spouse does.

…So, do you have a work spouse? If so, I’d love to hear about it! I don’t think I’ve had quite this serious of a “work” relationship, though I’ve definitely had something close. What these articles don’t address is the size of the office or the office culture where these types of relationships exist.

In smaller offices, focused on team work, I’m leaning toward the feeling that there’s not really a need for an exclusive “marriage” relationship. Thoughts?

Celebrating the lady boss.

Act like a lady, think like a boss.

Act like a lady, think like a boss.

Hola on this beautiful Monday! We are completely celebrating work and jobs on the blog this week, but of course we’re doing it in a fun way, per usual. Why? Is it because I got called into the office of my retail job and was told gossip is more important than fact? Or is it because Labor Day is upon us? Neither, really. You’ll find out tomorrow.

But today it’s all about the girl boss, because a new study suggests that female bosses threaten guys’ manhood. What? A study led by Ekaterina Netchaeva of Bocconi University in Milan that looked at male employees and their female bosses found that male subordinates felt threatened by their female bosses.

This high level of implicit threat appears to cause men to demand higher salaries during negotiations with female managers and to keep a greater portion of a bonus when asked to split it with a female superior.

The study found that, when negotiating with women, men attempted to get $6,500 added to their salaries. HMM.

In late 2014, a Gallup poll showed that men and women preferred male bosses — though there is an improvement over the years of people having “no preference.”

I find all of this a little disheartening. During my job hunt, I’ve been lucky enough to come across a few women CEOs, and it makes me really excited for my field. Of course, I want to see women in positions of power in all jobs, but seeing them in technology jobs is way cool.

It’s difficult to believe that even in 2015, we still aren’t at that place where a female boss is considered “normal.”

In May of last year, founder of Nasty Gal Sophia Amoruso released a memoir, “#GirlBoss” that offers advice on being a woman in charge.

A Girl Boss is someone who has big dreams and is willing to work hard for them. So being a Girl Boss is really about being the boss of your own life.

Perhaps Amoruso, and those similar to her, will pave the way for the world to feel a little more comfortable with a women in charge. What do you think?

Pic of the Week.

His and hers.

His and hers.

I’ve had a houseguest since Saturday. He’s a coworker, and needed a place to stay for a month while he works to save money for his apartment rent come July. He’s 19.

Welcome to Hotel Holly. Well, Hotel Holly & Blanche.

When my friend said he needed a place to stay, I wanted to help him. But I told him we’d have to set some rules. After all, my place is small, I’m used to living alone, and I didn’t want us to hate each other at the end of June.

So, he agreed, and here he is. So far, he’s insisted on being my “housewife” and has put away my clean dishes from the dishwasher, folded my clean clothes from the dryer, and shared his homemade pasta sauce. As I type this, he’s pulling a tray of homemade cheese bread out of the oven for us.

We’ll see how long this lasts, right?

I’ve never had a houseguest for an extended period of time, and although it’s a new experience for me, I think it’ll be a good one. When I was prepping my place for his arrival — dusting, mopping, sweeping, putting things away — there’s things I really started to appreciate about my apartment.

Sure, it’s small, but at least it has 10ft ceilings so we don’t feel cramped sitting in the living room. I also have plenty of tupperware for my houseguest’s leftover food needs. And I have a stock of candles, toothbrushes, and other toiletries for his use. And above all, my place is safe and quiet. At the end of a day’s work, those are the most important things, at least to me.

So far, it’s been kind of nice having someone around when I come home from the gym or from work. But I also have to pull myself away from impromptu cheesey bread and conversation when I should be doing freelance. Like anything, it’s a balance.

Maybe this experience will teach me something about living with someone. It’s not a romantic relationship by any means, but it’s already made me realize some things about myself — like I should do a better job at cleaning my dishes.

Pic of the Week.

A gift for my mom on Mother's Day.

A gift for my mom on Mother’s Day.

I spent all of last week with my mom, as she was in town to visit. I hadn’t seen my mom in an entire year! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to ask off work, so I still had to put in 40 hours while she was here, and a lot of our visiting time was early in the morning or late at night.

But nonetheless, it’s still fun to have your mom around. She cleaned my apartment, really getting my bathroom in tip-top shape, and she cleaned my bedroom carpet, and dusted nearly the whole place. I am really thankful for it, because it’s something I feel like I never have time to do.

We also got to eat some yummy local food (gator tacos, boiled crawfish), did some shopping, got our nails done, and just caught up (even though we talk every day).

For Mother’s Day, I gave my mom a few gifts, one of which was a bracelet from Little Words Project. I’ve become obsessed with them after following them on Instagram @Littlewordsproject. Basically, they make and sell bracelets that have words on them, words of encouragement. You give someone a word you think they need, and when they’ve gotten all they need from their word, they pass it along to someone else who may need it.

In April, someone gave me a “Courage” bracelet, which I’ve been wearing ever since. When I went home to Indiana, I gave my friend one that said “Imagine” and then I gave my mom this “Laugh” bracelet.

I love wearing it, and although it’s kind of silly to think, seeing that word (courage) really does give me strength throughout my day! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend with your moms and families.

Why are men obsessed with their jobs?

Yep, always working.

Yep, always working.

I’ve dated several men who are obsessive over work. I’m talking always working late, working on the weekends, using work as an excuse as to why we can’t meet for lunch or why it takes him 8 hours to respond to a text message.

And while the men of my past are probably horrible examples (because I think most of them hated me), I notice it even when I’m just “talking” to a guy.

Yes, I do appreciate a man who works hard, and who’s got goals — let’s face it, none of us would be dating a guy that didn’t have a job!

But isn’t there some sort of balance? While I do work hard and get my job done, I’m not obsessive. My career is different from my job. And at my job, hard work doesn’t pay off. So, I obsess over other things instead, like blogging, or freelance writing, or drumming up new ideas for books.

YOLO, folks. And I know that at the end of my life, I’m sure as hell not going to be wishing I worked harder.

So how can us ladies deal with our overworked men?

For starters, it’s important to understand that men are wired to be providers. Work means money, and working hard, could mean a promotion or a better job down the line, which means he can give a comfortable life for his family (which could mean YOU)!

However, there does have to be a balance, especially depending on what stage the relationship is at. An article on CNN.com explains that a workaholic is definitely different than someone who just has great work ethic and/or who loves their job.

Cutting to the chase, if the guy is obsessed with his job, and the relationship isn’t worth saving, then don’t. I dated someone for years who always chose work obligations and even weekend functions over spending time with me. It was hurtful, and I often pictured us years down the road, being married, and him still ditching me for an office crawfish boil (for which I was never invited to).

But if the relationship is serious, and worth saving, there are some things you can do to compromise.

  • Communicate. If there’s a project that needs overtime hours, perhaps that can be the night you go out with the girls.
  • Plan ahead, and keep them! Breaking vacations or an important dinner with the parents is where things really get rocky — plan ahead for these events, so your guy can work around them.
  • Get busy. When a boyfriend used his time to work, I used my time to do ME. Read a book you love, get a manicure, finish a project, visit the museum. Whether or not the relationship works, you’ll have improved yourself and not wasted a drop of time.