looking forward

Hello! I hope you’re well. I hope you’re practicing social distancing and doing what you can to look after your mental & general health, and that of others. I know I’m likely addressing some members of the underlying health condition community, and my ❤ goes out to you.

If you’re still going to and from work every day because you must, thank you. You are much appreciated. If you have the option to work from home and have been doing that, I thank you, as well. If you’re out of work because these times haven’t been kind to your industry – you’re in my thoughts, and I wanted to come back to the blog to do just a little light ranting on that subject.

I’m in a very privileged position that I’m able to think about my post-pandemic plans without too much financial anxiety. I’ve been making post-pandemic plans, actually, as a way to keep my general anxiety under control. I figured out pretty quickly that entertaining conversations about how this thing or that will be ruined forever because of this virus is a huge trigger. I don’t know if anyone else is feeling this, but some of that “they’re saying such and such store or restaurant will never recover” talk makes me straight up angry. Have we just decided on this? Will we speak it into truth by talking about it? Is all of this down time not the perfect time to make plans on how to help each other out when we can be active people in the world again?

This backstory is dumb but just…hear me out. I mean, what else do you really have going on right now.

I’ve been working from home since my birthday last week (weird birthday gift Universe, but okay) and while I’m definitely grateful for being able to continue working and having space to do it in, being home this much has me coming up with all kinds of little changes I want to make around the house.

…I know this feels like a bad pre-recipe story but again, please bear with me.

I was working with a little peach candle burning away on my desk last week, since Sean’s virus-fighting method was to leave onion halves in a bunch of our windowsills to “cleanse the air.” I remembered buying this candle at Marshall’s as a cheap treat last summer, and realized there’s not much life left in it. “I’ll go back and buy another couple when this is all over,” I added to my mental to-do list.

I don’t know why, but it immediately occurred to me that instead of dropping $3 at Marshall’s, I should probably spend a few extra bucks at any of the small, candle-selling shops in the city that will really need that business post-pandemic. I realized that this also applies to pretty much all of the things on my list. Yes, it will definitely cost more to buy something at one of those shops over something from a massive store. But if you can shop small…shouldn’t you? At the very least, shouldn’t we make that effort when those businesses need us most?

There’s been plenty of times in my life when the cheapest option was the only option, and I acknowledge that that’s reality for a lot of people. I’m very familiar with that situation, believe me. If you’re mad because what I’m suggesting is simply not an option financially, then this probably isn’t directed at you. We all do what we gotta do – there is no judgement.

To everyone else who wants to do some spring/summer shopping when this is all over (again: WHEN THIS IS ALL OVER, not now) whether it’s for clothes, home goods, beauty products, birthday gifts, whatever else – I’m begging you to do as much of it as you can outside of big business!!!

Three! Exclamation! Points!

And you CAN do this without breaking the bank. I’m still pretty cheap, lest we forget. Just do a little research beforehand and give yourself plenty of time on the day you go on your hunt – I promise you can find plenty of what you’re looking for within budget, it just takes a tad more effort.

Also, I’m not just talking shops here. I see you, pubs/restaurants/cafes.

If there was ever a time to go somewhere other than Starbucks for coffee (sorry Starbucks employee friends, I love you but your company will be okay) THIS WILL BE THE TIME. Excited to get back into the world for snacks and drinks? Awesome! Do that (when it’s safe), and tip your waitstaff/bartender! For bonus points: y’know that friend who always orders the higher shelf liquor or more expensive food and then barely tips? Now is a great time to tell that friend to maybe do the opposite of that.

…in the meantime, if you’re having food delivered, throw your delivery person a little extra if you can. (Big emphasis on “if you can.” I can’t stress enough that I’m not asking anyone to do more than they’re able to.)

All I’m saying is that if you’ve been able to make money through this weird, weird time, and your life hasn’t been totally shaken up…consider the actions you can take when we’re safely able to be consumers outside of the internet again. This is no complete solution to getting small businesses back on their feet, but it’s a pretty easy adjustment that could make a difference if enough people partake.

…I can even give you another riveting, real-life, non-candle example.

Me yesterday: *breaks soap dish*

Me @ myself: I should go to Flying Tiger and get at least one more soap dish when this is all said and done, since they’re a hot $3.

Myself back @ me: No you know what, I should see what I find in a vintage/thrift store, or maybe a little bath/beauty type boutique…I’ll do a Saturday morning of poking around SoHo or the village. I’ll probably find a new candle, too. OOH and I can maybe make it a day and meet up with friends after at the pub I’ve never gone this long without visiting…yes this is beautiful.

You like that? Not too radical, right?

By the way, if you aren’t in a big city, I think this totally still applies. To be honest, I’m not really aware of how badly small businesses and the service industry are hurting in small towns due to forced closures and social isolation. It’s been a whole mission to keep up with the changing closures and curfews here, and I think there may have been more extreme measures taken in NYC than more rural parts of the state (and other states) – I’m not positive. But still, can it hurt to shop small anyway? I feel like…no!

It’s only by chance that I’m not still waitressing right now, or working in a farmer’s market, or peddling art on the street. Not a lot of time separates me right now from the me who would’ve been completely helpless during this time. That’s a fact that gives me chills, and gets me fired up to support those in my community who are in that position. I’m actually so fired up that I’m going to go off of private mode on Instagram to encourage people to share this post with others.

I’ll leave you with my hope that you’re finding some kind of peace in all of this. Thanks for sticking around. This will either end sooner or it will end later, but it will end. 🙂

“of course I’m proficient at Excel” and other slight exaggerations

I love how every time I come back, I start with “I didn’t mean to not write for the past two weeks orhoweverlongwhatever” and then give you some weak excuse for my absence.

Anyway, I’m going to do that again. But this time, the excuse is very what the heck.

In my defense, I thought I had a job. Twice. As far as I know, I do have a job right now. But do I? Let’s investigate.

Job #1: Dogwalker

Being that I’ve owned multiple dogs, have professionally cared for dogs other than my own, have a clean record and common sense, you would think that I could pull off the task of getting hired as a dog walker…and technically, I did. I went through two interviews for a dog walking position: one with an office manager and one with the owner of the company. Then I had a whole 5-hour shadow day that involved meeting dogs and going on walks, learning how pickup and drop-offs work, and learning how to use the company’s app. It went really well, and I’m not just saying that because I have inflated confidence. The dogs liked me, the staff seemed to like me, and my shadow-ee even assured me that I’d get a good review. Not too sure about “shadow-ee” as a word, but I’m going to press on.

The night after my shadow experience, I received the “congratulations you’re hired!” email and was instructed to fill out some paperwork and send it back to the office. I went to my local library the next morning to print everything (cost me $2, mind you) and had all of it filled out and sent back within a few hours.

Just over an hour after I sent everything back to the office, I received a response from the woman with whom I had my first interview and had been emailing this entire time. This email stated rather abruptly that something “came up” and therefore they had to rescind the offer. Good luck, though.

…okay. These things happen. It could’ve easily been something weird on their end, like realizing that they had overcommitted to hiring new people and ran into a financial problem. And yet. Despite having a clean record and no weirdness to even turn up during a background check, the paranoid part of me became fully convinced that something sketchy and awful did come up to lead these people to think that I wasn’t suitable for this job.

I asked, very politely and with a disclaimer that I fully respect the company’s decision, if I could have any more information about this sudden change. I mentioned, per the advice of one of my lawyer friends (thank you, love you) that I had shared quite a bit of personally identifiable information with the company, which gave me good cause to be concerned about the sudden change of plans.

Alas, I received no response. This still seems a bit weird to me, but I did see with my own two eyes that the place is a real business, and I have no money for anyone to steal from me even if they wanted to…so what is there to worry about, I suppose.

To the dogs I met that day, it was a true honor. To the dogs I’ll never meet…I still love all of you.

Job #2: General retail!

I’ve never worked a “traditional” retail position, since my preferred method of self-inflicted torture is food service. I have worked in sales – I’ve sold liquor and art and decorative bobbles and sandwiches, but all of those sales experiences took place in nontraditional retail spaces. For example, I managed a food stand at the US Open, once upon a time. That was a three week gig. Everything else, I sold in markets – Union Square, Rockefeller Plaza, other…parks, y’know. Just me and someone else’s iPad and card reader passing the days away under a tent.

However, there’s a store near my home that’s been hiring for a while, and I happen to like the brand and love the atmosphere of the store itself. I applied last week and after a pretty low-stress interview, was hired on Friday. I was told that I’d be hearing from someone about a group new-hire orientation that would take place once the manager got back from vacation.

I don’t know, guys. It’s been a week and I haven’t heard anything at all. What’s the story, here?

Part of me is convinced that the second I post this, that’s when I’ll get a phone call or email, and I know I should be rooting for that to happen. It’s well past time I get a bit of regularity back into my work schedule.

At the same time, I’m anxious, just as I always am when I’m about to start a new commitment. Part of my brain screams “their silence is a sign!! Keep looking for something else, quickly! Before they orientate you and you’ll feel too guilty to ever leave!”

I’m really trying to nurture a more reasonable part of my brain lately, the part that quietly suggests that I have to stop running away from everything the second things get real. It doesn’t help that two days ago I received a whole seperate email asking if I was still interested in a position I applied to three months ago. I said yes, because I’m chaotic! So now on top of not knowing what’s going on with the job I agreed to, I’m actually hoping to hear back from a job I originally went after three months ago.

It’s funny how much guilt ends up playing a role in this job search process. I’m blessed to have more than a few people in my life who have offered to help me find something within some office or another, or have advised me to pursue a certain industry over something else based on their own struggles and experience. Again, I’m so lucky to have people willing to gift me all of this advice and assistance. It just…feels really bad when I say “thank you” and then proceed to (mostly) not do any of the things I was advised.

See, I’m walking a very thin, confused line between being quite picky…and desperation.

Here’s the thing: Unless I find a fantastic contract/short-term job that pays well and offers a nice chunk of consistent work for a while, I’m looking for a job that I can stick with.

I don’t even mean as a “career,” necessarily. I don’t think I’m there yet, unless again, I get really lucky. It can be a survival job again, I’m okay with that. BUT if it’s a survival job, it cannot take up every waking hour of my life, preventing me from pursing anything else.

Let me add, I fully recognize my privilege in being able to say that. At the moment, I have financial support and I don’t have any dependents. This is in no way meant to shame anyone whose survival job(s) do take up every waking hour of their life, because they do not have a choice. That is a very real situation, one that surrounds me every day, and my awareness of that reality is part of why I’m so anxious to start myself down a road I want to be on as soon as possible.

The dog walking job wasn’t meant to be forever, just a source of some income while I carried on looking for something else. The retail job is a bit better – doesn’t pay much, but would be enough, and would still leave me some breathing time to piece together a long term plan. That job from three months ago would be a big commitment, but only for three months as it’s a contract position…and the pay would be worth it.

Positive side-note: it sure is nice to get back into reading lots of books in my downtime! AND I’ve successfully forced myself back into yoga! Yay! Something funky is going on with the circulation in my left leg and I’ve noticed that those left thigh veins are getting darker (and more painful??) so I’m trying to stretch myself out and flip myself upside down and whatnot more often. I’m holding myself to doing at least 2 out of these 4 things every day: yoga, writing, working out, and finishing a book. It’s going well. Small challenges, y’know?

Whatever happens with work, happens. It can’t get me down. This is my favorite time of year. It always feels like rebirth – the chaotic party marathon that is summer coming to an end, the change in the air and the comfort of settling into something fresh with new intentions.*

I hope you’re feeling good. Don’t forget to slow down. Use your library card. Flip yourself upside down. Walk someone else’s dog. Follow your dreams. Etc.

x

*Most blogger-y thing I’ve ever written, dear God. Sorry.

The end of August in pictures 🙂