Over the past fifteen years, I’ve had a friend or two suggest that the opportunities I’ve gotten were available to me only because of my age, location or looks. While I undoubtedly experience white privilege and humbly acknowledge my staggering good looks fortune in being born to a nice, middle class family in New Jersey, I’m always saddened when people see it this way.
Following my heart has taken everything I have, and even some things I don’t have – yet. Getting to the pot of gold at the end of the dream rainbow is sweaty, scary and sometimes bittersweet business. So scary, in fact, that the only way to calm my [project manager] nerves is to discuss it in –oh my god I’m so excited– graphical format.
Stopping to question Every. Single. Negative thought and asking, “Is this true or is this a story?”
Letting go of the belief that anyone else’s opinion of me has anything to do with me.
As you can see, NONE of these things was easy, or pleasant, or preceded by 100% assuredness. There will never be a “right” time to do something that scares you. But the universe doesn’t care how old or young you are, how over or under qualified. When it sees someone taking risks to follow their heart’s calling, it will take note, and oftentimes instantaneously, step in and give you whatever you need – even when you’re not sure what that is.
So, whaddya say? Are you ready to do what it takes in order to achieve your dreams, even if that includes the “impossible”? Your heart is a badass and (s)he just might require that of you.
I love my coworkers and get to do a lot of cool things at my job. Last week, however, involved the kind of work you should only do if you hate joy.
Now, I’ve done a lot of event planning in my day, and it can be hugely rewarding. But even in those cases, it’s filled with chaos and unpredictability. No matter how much you plan pray, anticipate, pray and prepare pray, nothing ever goes 100% smoothly. You just have to hope no one else notices.
When I got to the event location last week, my stomach dropped. Not enough chairs. I had requested more chairs the night before, but it still wasn’t enough; people were filtering in late and filling the aisles, disrupting the meeting. In four years, we’d never had such a turn-out. A great problem to have, but once again, experience and pre-planning did diddly-squat, resulting in me looking like an incompetent asshat.
I stood against the wall trying to tell myself it wasn’t a big deal, my stomach knotting as I begun to realize there was no way we were going to have enough time to transition from the current meeting set-up to the one beginning 15 minutes later.
And I was going to have 100+ people, including The Big Boss, there to witness me not making things happen.
When the dreaded 15 minute transition period hit, the A/V crew ran around plugging and pulling things from the podium while I frantically tried to set up my laptop and connect to the new audio conference line.
“Is the speaker here?” Big Boss asked.
I smiled serenely. “He is! [Coworker] just went to get him!”
I returned my gaze to the computer screen, checking to see if I had the updated presentation materials that had come in minutes before. Hurry, hurry, hurry, I thought, knowing pretty soon my screen would be projected in front of 100 people so I’d better get the hell out of my inbox.
Okay, download new slides to desktop, close Outlook, sound off, Instant messenger off, PowerPoint slides open for each of the speakers, oh crap you need the webcast link from the email, open Outlook, get link, dial in, is screen working yet, where is the new A/V team, why can’t I hear anything on the line, do we have enough lavalier mics, where is the handheld, holy crap it’s loud in here and I can’t hear the operator, this is never going to work, oh my god, why did we think this was going to work, is the speaker here, is he mic’d, oookay now everyone is seeing a picture of my dog (just kidding I totally wanted that to happen), does Big Boss have her intro notes…
Okay. Okay. We have lift off! Holy sh*t what is that box on the screen and how do I get rid of it? Okay, okay, we can just slide it over here in the corner… okay, we’re fine, we’re fine…Oh my GOD that’s the wrong slide deck, say hi to Uncle Jesse again everyone…okay, we’re moving along now…oh for the LOVE OF ALL THAT’S HOLY his mic isn’t turned on…
Once the main speaker took the stage, the next 45 minutes went by in a blur, my only thought being, Please please please let that be the updated version of his slides WITHOUT ANY EMBEDDED VIDEOS DEAR GOD PLEASE and let everyone on the line actually be able to hear. The speaker was a pro and fielded questions from a lively, engaged audience, allowing me to convince myself that in the end, the entire thing was a smashing success.
As soon as it ended, I grabbed my lap top, made a beeline for the parking lot, and wept into my ice cold coffee.
To event planners everywhere: I bow down to you (which you probably can’t see because you’re too busy wiping snot off your travel mug). …Can you please share your secrets?
On Monday, my manager, Karla, and I enjoyed lunch during one of our biweekly check-ins. After covering business, we dug into fun stories from our personal lives. We laughed, I finished my tray of warm, delicious bhindi masala, and left her office with, as usual, a skip in my step. Life is grand!
When I returned to her office later that afternoon, I noticed something strange on her desk.
“Did I do that?” I asked, horrified, picturing my steaming, fragrant lunch resting on the gleaming, elegant wood in that exact same spot just hours earlier.
Karla burst out laughing. “I wasn’t going to say anything…”
I immediately started Googling replacement desks.
Now That’s What I Call Commitment (2 of 3)
Okay. I can’t take credit for this, but I just love it.
This is a sign around the corner from my house. You know when it looked fantastic? Halloween.
Do you know when I took this picture? Yesterday.
At least they’re ready for 2019. This project manager approves.
I Just Wanted an Excuse to Post this Picture (3 of 3)
Did you know I went to Dubai in 2016? …That’s okay. Most people missed it. Even people in Dubai. A fairly last-minute meeting brought my boss and I there for a whirlwind 36-hour trip.
A fellow project manager was our tour guide and he crammed in lots of exciting stops for us. My boss was especially tickled when he took us to a restaurant called The Meat House.
At one point, he brought us to The Dubai Mall and led us towards a little kiosk. Before we knew what was happening, people were handing us shiny things, saying, “Put this on. Now hold this.”
My boss and I glanced at each other warily, but it was too late. There was no getting out of this.
Anything you’re apologizing to your coworkers for?
Last Thursday, I wrote a post on the fly while waiting to find out if I still had a [project management] job. Literally.
After three and a half hours of focused work and productivity, I finally got the alert that someone in senior management was ready for me. I steeled myself and entered her office.
“I don’t envy your job today!” I said as brightly as I could. I was relieved no one from Human Resources was present; it was just the two of us. Apparently, they trusted us not to staple anyone’s face or set ergonomically correct chairs on fire.
She gave a kind hello, but didn’t beat around the bush.
Even though, yes, this was the career equivalent of, “I love you, but I’m not in love with you” or “It’s not you, it’s me,” I’d have time to blog, to bake, to blog about baking…
…to stop and smell the roses, to follow signs from the heavens…
And I knew someone who’d be particularly happy to have me home every day.
Another silver lining to all of this? The outpouring of support and encouragement from colleagues, friends, family and you. Some of you have even contacted me offline about job opportunities, and the ridiculously thoughtful Misty of Misty’s Laws just sent this care package:
My last day is the 18th, and after that? Well, if you thought my blog contests were epic before, hoo boy.
Have you ever made or considered a major career change?
I know it’s been a little over a week since I’ve regaled you with talking animals and my ceaseless wit, so I thought I’d pop in just to let you know my life is in utter turmoil.
I kid, I kid.
Right now I’m sitting in a spare office waiting to see if I still have a job [in project management]. They’re laying off 20% of my division’s workforce this month, and today everyone in my department is getting called down to the principal’s office to find out their Fate.
You might think this is an odd time to blog. Especially since I might have a lot of time to blog in the very near future (ba-da-BUM!), but what else am I gonna do? Work?
Nah. I’d rather reminisce about last weekend in Hershey, Pennsylvania, where I did a little of this…