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9e7bc83e540281b518053fb6f9e07f26recently, i had dinner with a couple of old friends – women i’d met during study abroad in 2006, back when we were wee babies just testing the waters of the world – and we got to talking about what we’d all been up to the last few years. ashley, who i hadn’t seen since 2008, had finished up her time at yale, gone on to tour the world with her a capella group, and then spent 2 years in the peace corp in malawi. from there, she’d traveled the world some more, and done all together “good for the world” things. martha, who i’ve stayed very close with, went back to boston to finish her nursing degree, went on to work in head trauma, you know, saving lives and shit like that, and just spent the latter part of a year doing an incredible kidney disease research project in nicaragua.

and it got me thinking: what the fuck am i doing with my life? see, as a kid, i thought i’d be doing great things. i went through a phase where i exclusively read lurlene mcdaniel novels, convinced that it was my destiny to be a pediatric oncologist. then there was my foray into songwriting, with a stint at a couple open mics, when i thought i’d be the next fiona apple, a teenage lyrical genius (guess that crown went to lorde). then i got into writing, really into writing, and i thought, i’m going to write stuff that will change the world.

i thought people would read my writing and feel things, that my words would give people goosebumps, that they’d make people laugh and cry and fight and make up again. i thought i’d do something great with this one singular talent i’d been given (especially since i’d failed so miserably at pretty much everything else i’d tried). i thought that if i couldn’t save the world with what i did, i’d save the world with my writing.

and here i am, 28 years old, working in PHARMACEUTICAL ADVERTISING. while my friends are doing things like attempting to cure kidney disease in sugarcane workers and bringing relief and calm to places in crisis.

and i know that we don’t all get to do great things. we don’t all get to change the world. we don’t all grow up to be the sorts of people that little kids look up to, that young people aspire to be.

but i sort of thought i was doing to, you know?

couple that with the fact that the internet and the blogosphere (i’m looking at you, pinterest) is FILLED with mantras like the one above, constantly reminding us that if we don’t do what we love, we’re failing. that if we DO do what we love, we’ll never work a day in our lives. that if we’re not doing chasing our dreams and making our passions a reality, we’re doing it wrong.

it can get overwhelming. it can make a person with a perfectly reasonable career and a great job feel like absolute shit. because here’s the truth: not all of us get to do what we love. the single mom who’s trying to make ends meet? she doesn’t get to do what she loves. she just has to go to work.

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i’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how we got to this place in society – a place that so relishes our ability to say, fuck a career, fuck a stable salary, fuck benefits, i’m just gonna DO WHAT I LOVE. how we got to a place where pinterest-pretty is pervasive, where everything is about showing just how beautiful and perfectly styled and amazing our lives are, each and every day.

here’s the thing: that shit? it isn’t real. as my friend molly said the other day, “not all of us save the world. some of us just wake up and go to work.”

or, as my mother said to me this weekend, when i explained that i was feeling kind of shitty about my job, “some of us save the world on the side. that’s what you do.”

it’s true, isn’t it? that sure, some people do amazing, incredible, life-changing, world-changing things. and i should be proud, thrilled, amazed, to call some of those people my friends. they inspire me to be a better person, to ask more, to learn more, to do more – but i don’t have to do those things in my day job. i don’t have to wake up each morning and say, goddammit, i am so fucking THRILLED to go to work today. sure, i can say that some days (and honestly, some days, i do), but the rest of the days, i can just be satisfied. satisfied to have a great job, to work with great people, to have a job that enables me to live in the greatest city in the world, one that pushes me and teaches me every.single.day. of my life. i can be satisfied to have things that others in the world can’t take for granted. things like a 401k, and health insurance, and the knowledge that i’ve got a paycheck coming in every 2 weeks.

those things aren’t glamorous, and they aren’t pinterest perfect, and they most certainly don’t amount to saving the world. but they are a luxury, and they make me lucky. because someday, my boring job will enable me to give my children the sorts of experiences my parents gave me. they’ll allow me to send my kids to summer camp, to take them on vacation, to show them the world, to give them perspective. and maybe i wouldn’t have those sorts of luxuries if i worked at a tiny non-profit.

so what if i haven’t written my life-changing novel yet? so what if i don’t save lives daily? instead, i get up and go to work, and i get paid to write each day. my 16 year old self – she’d be pretty proud of that, pharma advertising or no pharma advertising. do i feel uninspired sometimes? sure, but that’s why i started this blog. do i feel like i could do more sometimes? sure, but that’s why i volunteer, and donate my time and on

 

 

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J. Crew | F/W 2014 Presentation Photo by Bryan Derballa

oh, friday, i am so happy you are here! the weather in new york today is supremely dreary; we’ve got a san francisco-style fog thing going on, and i can’t wait to crawl into my bed at the end of the day. for a short week, this week was very, well, long. i spent tuesday and wednesday at a research session for work (read: many, many hours in a dark, windowless room listening to people talk on the other side of a two-way mirror – i could see them; they couldn’t see me). traveling for work, and being a part of research, is a relatively new thing for me (more on that here), and while i love the opportunity and what it represents for my career, it’s also exhausting. i never sleep well in beds that aren’t my own, and staying up way past my bedtime just really isn’t my thing.

last night, i joined my old coworkers for a bachelorette party at a karaoke place in korea town. it was beyond fun, but man, i am struggling today. here’s how you know when you’re getting old: when even 3 glasses of wine gives you a hangover. i actually feel much better than i thought i’d feel, given that i chased that wine with a shot of fireball, but i also have the distinct sense that my head isn’t quite connected to my body. i didn’t make it to bar method this morning (needed the extra 1.5 hours of sleep), but i am hoping to get to soulcycle tonight to spin out all the tannins and toxins.

the rest of the weekend involves bar method and brunch and shopping and dinner – all my favorite things – but i’m also banking on it involving early nights and lots of sleep. i’ve barely been home this week, and i’ve got another busy week ahead. i need some time to decompress, clean my apartment, pet my cat…you know, the usual.

so, now that i’ve got that wacky rambling off my chest, here are some things i loved this week.

on the importance of “stupid” ideas. as a creative, this is always refreshing to hear. many of my favorite concepts have come from ideas or fragments of ideas that i’ve couched as, “this might be stupid, but…”

three reasons why the carrie diaries deserves a third season. because anna sophia robb actually has SJP’s mannerisms down pat, because the creators dared to touch the aids crisis (and did so pretty darn well), and because season 3 would actually bring us closer to the NYC savvy carrie we know and love.

pentagram rebrands the tonight show for jimmy fallon. this is just plain cool. i used to work with an art director (who i still believe is quite possibly the most creative individual i know) whose dream gig was to work at pentagram. read this, and you won’t blame her.

bounce bounce bounce bounce...in other jimmy news, this is the best thing ever.

jess lively interviews liz schneider. i’m a relatively new reader of liz’s blog, sequins & stripes, but i sure do love her eye for style. as someone who writes a blog more because she likes pretty things and likes to write (but doesn’t ever expect it to go anywhere), i’m always fascinated by the women who have turned their pet projects into real live businesses. 45 minutes of goodness, i tell you.

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today is my last day at my current job. on tuesday, i’ll start from scratch. fresh pens in my “s” mug. fresh folders on my desk. fresh faces, a new desk, a new office, a new commute. new people, new work, new life.

work is a funny thing. you try not to let it consume you, as much as possibly can, but in reality, unless you’re working for yourself, you’re spending 8-9 hours a day with your coworkers. who soon become your friends, not just the people you sit next to in the conference room a few times a week. which makes them all the much harder to leave when you decide to pursue a new opportunity.

i’ve spent the last year and a half LOVING the people i work with. sure, there have been some exceptions, as there always are, but for the most part, i’ve been thrilled to come into work each day. which is why when i was offered a new opportunity, i almost didn’t take it. because when you’re happy, and comfortable, your mind tells you not to leave. comfort is easy, simple, like putting on your favorite sweatshirt, the one that smells like home.

but what’s easy isn’t always what’s right. which is why when i was offered a new job two weeks ago, i decided to take the plunge. and i am terrified. because change scares the shit out of me, and always has. but that’s part of why i did it. because deep down i know that i need to do more of what scares me. one of my resolutions for this year was to embrace my fears, and stop holding myself back from trying new things simply because i was afraid of them. and while i know that there’s a chance that i’ve made a big mistake leaving this happy, comfortable place, i also know that there’s a chance that i’ve made the right decision, for me, for now.

i was talking through this the other day with my uber intuitive, smarty pants of a friend, liana, and you know what she said, in response to all my, ohmygodwhatifimadeamistake ranting? change is brave.

let me say it again, for good measure.

change.

is.

brave.

and i thought to myself, oh my god, she’s right. what i am doing, this leap of faith, this not knowing if i did the right thing, is brave. it’s brave because it’s scary, and because i can’t know if it’s right or wrong until i’ve done it.

my goal for this weekend, and for tuesday, when i walk into a new office with new people, and no friends, and no nothing, is to remember that i am brave. that i can do this. and that the very worst thing that could happen would be to realize i’ve made a mistake.

and really, that’s not the worst thing.

so here’s to being brave. to changing because we can, not just because we have to. to taking a leap of faith when it’s our only mode of transportation, and to knowing that everything will be okay.

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every so often, there’s a site, or a book, or a magazine article, or a blog post out there that makes you stop and wonder, “why didn’t i think of that?” the everygirl is one of those sites for me. it’s such a great idea that pretty much every time i visit the site, i have a, why didn’t i think of that? moment.

when i first moved to new york, i remember telling my mother that i was terrible at managing my finances (still sort of true, though i’ve gotten better over time). she recommended i subscribe to money magazine. so i did. except that money was for real adults with real money – and things like IRAs and roth accounts and stock market players – all things that were decidedly out of my financial reach for the time being. and i remember thinking to myself, why isn’t there a money magazine for people in their twenties? why isn’t anyone giving financial advice to young adults?

hold that thought. take it back an inch or two. why isn’t anyone giving GOOD advice to people in their twenties?

Imagehad i been more resourceful, or more motivated, or better connected, or who knows what, i may have had a germ of an idea that ever so slightly resembled the everygirl. but lord knows i wouldn’t have come close to the gem of a site that danielle moss and alaina kaczmarski have created. those two girls…hot diggity damn, they’ve made something amazing. the everygirl is a lifemap for women in their twenties, and holy hell, do i wish it had been around when i first graduated. i could have used a whole lot of help, and motivation, and inspiration…all of which is present on the site today.

in short, i pretty much bow down to danielle and alaina. i think they have a whole lot to be proud of, and i think they have turned what may have once been a baby of an idea into something spectacular. ladies, you are killing.it.

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with that being said, it’s no surprise that i was pretty darn excited, and shocked, and amazed and embarrassed and a whole lot of other emotions, to be featured on the everygirl yesterday for my career. yes, you read that right. this girl has a career. i mean, say WHAT? if you had told me that i would have a thriving career at a large ad agency and would be featured for said career five, even three, years ago, i would have laughed you straight out of town. and then i probably would have cried, because i wasn’t where i wanted to be.

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but you know what? i got there. we all get there, eventually – even if we don’t take the road we think we’ll travel on, and if it takes longer than we expect, or if “there” ends up being somewhere totally unexpected. we all get there.

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and at the risk of sounding like a bragging asshole, you guys, i’m kind of proud of myself (except for the fact that i look preggo in the picture above. oh well, can’t win ’em all!)

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i mean, i’m on pinterest. as in, images of me are on pinterest and are being repinned by people. WHAT WORLD IS THIS!? i can’t even believe it.

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so thank you, to danielle and alaina, for featuring my humble little career story, to kate ignatowski for making me look and feel like a real celeb, and of course, to my friends and my family, for keeping my chin up on bad days. and a little special shoutout to noelle and jo (who probably don’t read this, but just in case they do!) for believing in me enough to hire a green little wannabe writer, and for making me believe in myself.

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