This topic has been on my mind for awhile. I can list a handful of people who have heard an earful of this already. (Thank you, handful of lovely people who I love.)

“Your job is stupid” isn’t something you hear…to your face. But you feel it with a person’s looks, her nonverbal response and if you’re lucky, a sugar-coated version of it. It usually sounds something like this, “Oh…that’s…cool….*awkwardly*”

When I was a kid, I went through life thinking that I had a few options for a career. Everything else beyond these choices amounted to nothing. I had to choose.

  • Doctor
  • Nurse
  • Engineer
  • Teacher
  • Nun

That was it. Everything else didn’t count; it wasn’t realistic or sustainable. These five options.

Then I got to college, I got to spread my wings a little bit more and doors that I didn’t know existed started to open. But then I got tunnel vision, again. Because my school, my peers and my parents brainwashed me into thinking that I’m supposed to get a full-time, well-paying  job after college. Something sustainable. Something “respectable.” That’s the next step. And I internalized it. I became that kid again, and I thought to myself, “I have to get a full-time job after college …or I’m a lazy piece of shit.” It’s sounds a little harsh, but we were all probably thinking it. Especially if you go to a competitive school. Especially if your peers who are getting jobs before they graduate.

I felt pretty shitty. I was one of those grads that didn’t have a job immediately after college. It wasn’t that I wasn’t applying. It wasn’t that I wasn’t getting interviews. I wasn’t getting hired – and that feels pretty shitty. It doesn’t soften the blow when a recruiter says “You’re impressive…but we decided to go with another candidate.”

So, I kept applying, worked for my parents and traveled in between. Then I took a job that I didn’t love because I felt the pressure of not having one. Then I quit that job, and then I took a job that I liked more but might sound less “respectable.” It was a barista job. I made coffee and I served coffee. I cleaned dishes and I counted the till. I collected tips, and did the occasional hair flip for more tips. And I learned so much at this job. Beyond coffee history, the science of espresso, and Square troubleshooting- I learned about people. The people behind the bar, the people in front of the bar, the people outside of the coffee bar. Arguably, I learned more about the art of communicating, service and team work than any of my other internships, combined.

Most importantly, I learned that no one’s job is stupid. Leaving my job, I have so much respect for everyone in the service industry (and any industry). Where we are in life – as long as you’re moving forward, and you kind of like what you do – what else is there? Maybe [health] benefits…I hear those are cool. But people have a sense of entitlement. That we are supposed to have great jobs because we have a 4 year degree, or we put in our time with multiple internships, or we know someone who knows someone.

We’re not guaranteed anything in this life, and that includes a furthering education and a job. Those are privileges and by-products of continuing hard work…and possible trial-and-error.

If you’re at a job that you love, congratulations. Continue to learn and grow, put in the work, remember to be thankful and don’t forget to  share.

If you’re at a job you hate, make moves. I don’t regret for a second for leaving my job as a fresh grad, 4 months into it. Trust your gut, it’s usually right. Remember to move forward, fight for what you want and that it’s okay to try new jobs (whether or not it’s “respectable,” because re: no one’s job is stupid).

 

 

Yeah, I put Leslie Knope into the title of my blog post, because I can do whatever the hell I want.

…also, every year, I aspire to be her in the gift-giving realm. Not just for Christmas, but for birthdays, made-up holidays and everything in between. If you’ve mentioned something, if I’ve found something online when I’m in a searching black hole – you bet your ass that I’ve written it down on some Post-In note or flimsy piece of paper.

Granted, I’ve lost some of those papers and notes, BUT, I have some. (What are sentences? I may be writing this blog post after drinking. So what? Who cares? I’m gonna edit most of my spelling and grammar errors the following morning today.)

ANYHOW, I have quite a bit of Post-It notes, papers and links. Here’s how you can kill it at Christmas Chrismukkah this year.

Leslie-Knope-Esque Gift Ideas:

  1. For the person who loves homes and Texas: Fucking Cacti Coasters. But not just any coasters, the cacti leaves ARE YOUR COASTERS. …The link…I realize is from a UK-based site. I think they’re pretty cool.
    il_570xN.842791835_8qar
  2. Cocoon Grid-It Organizer or Carry-On Cocktail Kit – for your traveling friends. The ones who are always jet-setting…or going to places for work. It’s an easy way to organize stuffs. It would even work for someone you know who keeps losing their shit, literally. Now they have a grid to keep it all together. If they lose the grid, well…whoops. Cocktail Kit looks bougie and nice for your cocktail-enthusiasts…or serious travel-drinkers.
  3. A subscription to InkDrop. It’s a subscription service (yeah, I know) that delivers ink and pens every so often. Who wants to go to Target and/or order from Amazon? NO ONE. If you know someone who still uses pens (everyone), this is a pretty great thing. It’s $10/month! Although…now that I think about it, if they’re a pen snob – opt out. I repeat, opt out.
  4. A cook book. I’ve got a few ideas up my sleeve, but I’m afraid whoever is reading this will find out and then the surprise will be ruined. I think a great resource is NPR’s Book Concierge. They have other suggestions other than cook books. But if you know someone who loves to cook or wants to dabble in it, this may be the push they need. It’s timeless.
    Cookbook-Cover-818x1024
  5. Five packs of La Croix – this is more a personal request more than anything. Those things are expensive! (Or can add up at least…). Also, go to Target because they have a wider range of flavors. Honestly, I would be thrilled if someone gifted me a pack of La Croix and a pound of good bacon.
    lacroixvariety
  6. Make something. You can always make something. A personalized scarf (I don’t know where I’m going here), a coffee mug with your face on it (Justin Timerlake/Jimmy Fallon style), a detailed, watercolor self-portrait. I’ve always wanted to gift one of my friends a tapestry of my face. Get creative and be weird. Listening to a ‘Dear Hank & John’ podcast, John Green gifted his mom a shoebox. Hold on. It was a shoebox that contained little notes of all the things that made his mom great. That’s pretty dang sweet. Etsy can be your best friend.
  7. Adele’s ’25’ album. I already have it, and it felt like Christmas when someone gave it to me. Who’s going to go out and buy it themselves? OBVIOUSLY many, if you’ve been reading Billboard…or talked to anyone. But CDs are “outdated” or something. Buying something that someone is hesitant to buy for themselves is a pretty good rule of thumb. Or practical things. Is that too adult? I’m rambling. I’m just saying, you can’t go wrong with Adele. The person probably doesn’t have it, but secretly wants it.

If all else fails and you have no idea: get an Anthropologie candle and a Lush bath bomb and call it a holiday.

I’m glad to be home…in Houston.

Who else is shocked by that statement? Since the day I moved back to Houston (sometime last May, then February in The Loop), I’ve always had my eyes set on Austin.

People would never hear the end of my love for that city. Where did I get my favorite beer? Austin. Where did I get that Texas necklace? Austin. Where was I going next weekend? Austin. Where do I want to settle? Austin.

Always Austin, always. (?)

But for a couple of months now, I feel like I’ve been disillusioned by the feeling that Austin is my end goal. In actuality, I feel pretty far removed for the place I used to seek solace. The city changes every time I see it. And while my job and my career have led me back, I feel all sorts of feels.

Confusion. A little betrayed. Reconsideration. Like an adult looking at their childhood home. Nostalgia, but feeling replaced.

It’s strange for me to say all of this, to feel all of this. Austin changed my life (bold statement, I know). The city life, its people and school. I mean, even the damn coffee shaped me to be who I am today. There’s a reason why I have a triangle tattoo over the city, but now I ask myself, “Where is home now?”

…or am I in some weird transitional coping phase? Because I feel comfortable here in Houston. I know where I can dump my savings (aka the multiple local bakeries). If I need beer, Houston has plenty. Running has been a bit of a flop (Town Lake is #1), but I know Houston has some places…

Comfortability has never been something that I’m comfortable with admitting. Ironic, I know. But I think a little bit of all of us like that feeling. It’s familiar. It’s easy. Shit. It’s easy. Isn’t that supposed to be a BAD sign? Or am I so fixed on this idea that it’s a bad sign? You know what Sandy says, “Don’t fixate.”

Fucking forks in the road. Dad is wrong. Where is this straight path he speaks of? It’s nonexistent. Missed Exits, no feeder and no U-Turn’s. Only forward. But where forward?

I’m sorry if you’ve arrived at the end of my blog to find that there is no resolve. Welcome to my current world. I thought accepting my dream job was going to help me feel more stable and at peace with my future. Aside from the great opportunity, the end city was what got me. Instead, I find myself torn between a place I use to call my home, and a place I might see as home.

houston sky

I don’t get you, Houston.

[Sidebar: My boss is probably going to read this, and I have a feeling that he’s not surprised? I don’t know, we’ll talk about it at our next meeting…hi, Michael. *waves*]

 

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

As I looked out my window… I thought, “Shit. Let’s not start a blog like this.

…yet here we are.

I started writing this in San Diego, but I’m making minor edits here at home. The last time I was in San Diego, I documented all of my days. This time, not so much. There was no project and no agenda. Earlier last week, Lamar asked me, “Do you have anything on your list that you want to do while you’re here?” I told him, “No, there was only one thing: to get out of Texas. And I’m out of Texas…that’s about it.

It was great. One that almost made me miss my flight on purpose…but I actually almost missed my flight. It always feels like I’m an extension to the family, but with bonuses. I couldn’t ask for more, and if I did – shame on me. I’m really #thublessed. If I had to speak about today one day: well, I was able to wake up whenever (but hella early because WHAT GIVES, Daylight Savings). I was able to work a little, research where we should go for lunch, pop in a boutique store, get cultured by Old Town San Diego and peruse. No agenda, no project, no rush. Everything kind of fell into place. There was no grand adventure. It was nice. We ate dinner together, watched a movie and then all went to bed early. That’s what vacation is, right?

I posted a status that said something about me never leaving. But alas, I woke up, got dressed and boarded my flight. After trips, I get introspective. Sometimes it’s surface level, and sometimes it’s abstract. So, without further ado, some thoughts. This is mostly for me to remember later down the road, and an ode to Camp Damata 2.0…here it goes.

Minor Observations [and Lessons] from Camp:

  • I texted my parent-friends the most on this trip. Ironically, not my [REAL] parents – but I missed them too.
  • Parents are rock stars, truly.
  • I can’t imagine if I had 3 other siblings. It’s too much work with just 1 sib RN, TBH.
  • High schoolers are weird. But this gen is kind of next level weird. I’m not saying I wasn’t weird in high school. I guess I’m saying that high school is a weird time…
  • Pigment is a cool ass store in North Park.
  • I really love Texas, but I don’t look I’m from there. Note to Self: get more Texas-flag-themed shirts.
  • California – San Diego – you’re very different than Texas. From sunshine tax to mountains & beaches in the backyard, you’re different. I don’t know if I’ll ever get over driving, seeing mountains in the distance and being in a constant state of awe.
  • ALSO, you don’t know how to deal with rain, but neither do we…
  • I look young, y’all. Even to Youths. *hair flip*
  • Halloween here is REAL. I mean, it’s real everywhere, but we made a photobooth backdrop. #2legit2quit
  • A Halloween-candy-eating-marathon is something that I succumbed to because of its accessibility. It was everywhere. I had M&M’s coming out of my jacket pocket. What’s self control?
  • Who knows how to unclog a toilet? Shae. Not me.
  • Apparently, the next Camp Damata is the Vegas edition…you can sign up with me, CAROLINE and HANNAH.
  • Hauling your ass to your airplane gate 7 minutes before it leaves is not as easy as Home Alone [sorta] makes it look. TSA is unforgiving, always.
  • OH. PS. EVERYONE. Never fly Spirit Airlines. It’s never worth it.

When you’re at Camp Damata, you better be in for the ride. And even if it’s brief, you feel everything.

Upon reading, speaking with others and experience- I think this is a necessary post. However with the saturation of information and media, it’s unlikely that this will make it to the eyes who need it the most-newbie Millennials who are about to graduate. Actually, this can apply to some people who have already graduated too.

Now, I’m going to go on with a disclaimer: I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, never have and arguably never will. But I’ve done a lot of shit (good and bad) and maybe my mistakes and victories can help you out.

A new dream of mine is to be one of those people who stand behind/next to their agency’s table and share the good word. A recruiter, but one who only goes to career fairs. Those daunting, awkward career fairs. Everyone’s muttering to themselves, timing when they should hand our their business cards…or when it’s okay to ask for the recruiter’s card. It’s more awkward than when you attended your 7th grade formal with your crush. Much anxiety. …am I hitting the right chord?

its-gonna-be-okay

If I were a recruiter, this is what I would say to the youths of the world. Some of these things are industry-specific. Some of these are University-of-Texas-specific. Nonetheless, I think you’ll be able to relate.

15 Important Things I Would Tell You at Career Fair:

  1. Whatever Murph tells you is probably true.
  2. Don’t send a resume with paragraphs of copy. Don’t send one that is more than 1 page. PLEASE check your dates and verb tenses.
  3. If you’re on social- be active or delete it. Ask yourself, “What’s the point?” Someone *will* look at it. Private Profiles are a thing though.
  4. Regarding Work-Life Balance: Successful ladies wake up hella early to exercise- so this should answer several of your questions (about me).
  5. You might work a shitty job (or 12)- but think of it as “market research…”
  6. Re: Shitty Jobs- get the hell out of there, ASAP.
  7. You will probably drink the same amount that you drank in college- but spread out. There’s a reason why Happy-Hour’s exist.
  8. Don’t get on your phone unless it’s for work, or unless it’s Tweet-worthy (this is mostly industry-specific).
  9. Always look at someone when he or she is speaking with you (don’t do #8 when this happens).
  10. Be kind, always professional but unapologetic about who you are and what you want. 
  11. NEVER be afraid to ask for more. More index cards, more work, more responsibility or more money. Make sure that the former two is followed by the last bit. Make damn sure.
  12. Re: #10- Never be embarrassed or weirded out by wanting to express your desire/geek-out for the job you want. People like that. …Anddd you should also like the job you’re applying for.
  13. SHIT AIN’T EASY. But that’s why you’re still in school. Relish in that.
  14. You will not get anywhere alone, but believe in yourself. These, I think, go hand in hand.
  15. This is super important- BE PUNCTUAL. Being late is like you’re screaming to your future employer, “PLEASE. DON’T HIRE ME. PLEASE.”

BONUS TIP: Always say, “thank you,” whether that is in email or card, after an interview, or any time really. Saying thank you goes a long way.

So fellow youths, if you see me at a table in the distant future- pretend like you’ve never read this, you’ll get your resume to the top of the stack (I kid, but also, am I? FIGURE IT OUT).

When in doubt…be like April, and believe that you are a beautiful, brilliant musk ox.

XO,

$thu$

Apologies, I frantically write this for two reasons: 1) I want to go to sleep already, and it’s almost 11PM. *insert grandma joke here* and 2) Halloween is right around the corner…I see it every time I turn the corner.

…if you can guess, it’s going to the that kind of post. Yes, it’s going to be SUPER LAME and about LAST-MINUTE HALLOWEEN COSTUMES. If you’re not into Halloween or lame-ness- PLEASE GO AWAY. You may not want to be my friend after this. Let’s go. Use your imagination, you might need it. (Yes.)

Here are my Last-Minute [Lame OR AWESOME] Halloween Costume Ideas:

  1. Dress up as an embellished phone. Jewels, everywhere. You are hotline bling. Boom.
  2. Wear your hair big and have cat-eye eyeliner. Dress in all black. Your body is the computer below. You’re ADELEcnet_inspironone23_gallery-01
  3. You can wear normal clothes, but also wear a dress or skirt at your knees. “Did you dress up?” “Yes, I dressed down.” (Anyone? This is pretty literal, and obviously, I wish I had more time to mock up some images.
  4. This is my personal favorite, hopefully I can do this myself. If I cannot, I at least shared. Imagine a purple heart-shape, rooted vegetable. But I look a little ill, a little grey and I am holding a box of tissues. I’m a sick beet/beat. Many thanks to Beyonce’s ‘Partition.’

    damn, someone BEET me to it.

    damn, someone BEET me to it.

  5. You’re a giant question mark. What are you? You’re Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez’s relationship: questionable.
  6. Stick a bunch of networks on yourself (i.e. ABC, NBC, AMC, HBO, TNT). What are you? You’re multi-channel. (This one is for those terrible marketing geeks…that would be me, the dummy who came up with this idea in her cubicle.)
  7. Find a cardboard and make it like a barrel. You’ll dress it like a peanut butter jar. When you go to a party, you’ll loop the same motion/action. What are you? You’re a GIF. Please don’t argue with how you’re supposed to pronounce it, the founder says, “choosy moms, choose G(J)IF.”
    jif peanut butter
  8. Wear a flannel and a beanie. Maybe some combat boots? There’s a store that probably has all of the things. Then, have a deck of flash cards that have a bunch of words and their connotation. You’re an urban dictionary.

There you have it. Those are all of my absolutely absurd Halloween costume ideas for you to enjoy/laugh/emulate/inspire to come up with your own. I can’t wait to see what we see this Halloween. OH ANOTHER [SLUTTY] NURSE, great. Tis the season.

I have a little fiddle-leaf fig plant that resides in my room. His name is Fig.

ANYHOW. This is the kind of fig tree that we have, and this is Fig:

vsco cam fiddle leaf fig tree

As of late, it’s been about feeding Fig (yeah yeah yeah, I’m a 62 year old woman, I know). It’s about making sure he gets enough sunlight and looking at the weather to see if he can go outside (they like temperate weather, but they also have moving trauma). If you’re a plant owner, you know it’s not easy. And if you’re like me, you’ve named and personalized your plant. This post isn’t about how to be a plant owner or taking care of a Fig- it’s about being a friend. A true friend.

Some of mine have left and gone overseas, some are not, but are still sufficiently distant. I consider myself lucky to have a few close to me. And I know who they are. I speak to them. And when I don’t, I still know what’s going on in their life. I know they’re invested in me and I am invested in them. There’s a mutual, intangible feeling that you’re on the same page. But recently, I’ve taken a look at who I surround myself with, and it doesn’t look too pretty. A part of me feels as though I’ve found community, and a part of me feels like I’m still grasping at straws. My friendship garden looks a little weedy, a little toxic and in need of care. Like Fig needs care. I believe that we should weed our weeds, people who are not beneficial toward our lives. People who do not add to our lives, just as someone would tell you to quit something that doesn’t add to your life (i.e. smoking, a fallen career, a significant other, eating too many chips, etc.). Just like a fig, or any plant, we have to weed in order to grow.

You’re allowed to do that. I think that’s something that people overlook, or something they let hang over them while the foster fake relationships. But friendships flow in and out. There are people who are no longer in my life, but I will always remember that 1 story or 1 lesson or 1 memory they’ve taught me.

I’ve never taken friendships lightly. I want to be able to really know my friends, support them and face hardship and dumb with them. That takes a lot of time, and we don’t have time for everyone. That’s why I take People Notes (but this is a topic for another time). The fact that we don’t have time for everyone saddens the crowd-pleaser, ideal person in me. But again, life is far too short to try and invest in everyone. Especially to enjoy and relish a relationship like a friendship. It’s sacred. Like gold-paint-feather-headdress-dance-around-a-bonfire-at-the-beach sacred.

If you have a good one: someone you feel comfortable with telling your poop stories to, someone you can rely on, someone who is on the same wavelength as you (despite differences), someone you have a good feeling about- and that’s not everyone- hang on to them. Feed them with your light and comfort and craughs (that’s crying + laughing, together).