Posts Tagged 'Working mother'

Self-Help Yourself Right into Your Career

I’ve been reading self-help books. There. I said it.

And you know what? I love them. Granted, I’m only on my second, but these two have already made a positive change in my life.

The Power of Your Subconscious Mind and The Power of Intention deal a lot with discovering the personal and financial abundance available in your life. Here’s an excerpt I read in The Power of Intention the other day on how to make your intention your reality:

Initiate actions that support your feelings of abundance and success:

  • Act on those passionate emotions as if the abundance and success you seek is already here.
  • Speak to strangers with passion in your voice.
  • Answer the telephone in an inspired way.
  • Do a job interview from the place of confidence and joy.
  • Read the books that mysteriously show up
  • Pay close attention to conversations that seem to indicate you’re being called to something new.
Yesterday, I overheard the voice of woman I couldn’t see. I was almost immediately able to put some pieces together of her physical makeup. Her voice sounded heavy, muted, and tired. I pictured a young, disheveled woman with a look that says “You don’t need to like me, cuz I don’t really like myself either”. Not to pat myself on the back, but I was right. Point is, we give off what we carry on ourselves. We put out what we put in.
When we were in Key West this spring, I was talking to someone who told me of a person who showed up to a job interview and said, “You don’t have to hire me. I don’t really know if I want to work here anyway”. This is, of course, an extreme example of the point I’m making, but you can give off that attitude to an interviewer, or a client, or a prospective job, the same way without actually using the literal words.
If I wear a garbage bag on a date with you, you’ll have reason to believe that I’m not interested in you enough that I’d put any effort in looking nice. If I go to a school dance and sit in the corner, you’ll have reason to believe I don’t really want to dance with you. If I speak to you as if I’m afraid of my own voice, you probably will be too (or at least put to sleep by it). And if I walk around all day believing that I’m never going to succeed at my career goals, I probably won’t.
But if I “dress” for success, I just might get it.

5 Do’s & Don’ts of Surviving a Networking Event

International Special Events Society - ISES

Last night, I attended a networking event for our photography company and our video production company.  It was held by the International Special Events Society (ISES) and called “Meet the Masters”.  ISES describes its purpose as:

“to foster enlightened performance through education while promoting ethical conduct”

I define it as:

“an opportunity to shmooze and try to impress a bunch of people I can hopefully get to work with me in the near future”

After arriving at the Bel-Air Bay Club, I did a casual strut into the cocktail hour, wearing my classy, yet strong ensemble of black pants and a red button-down (eh hem, flowers and frills make me feel weak and vulnerable, so solid colors and straight lines only).  But as I flung my black jacket over my arm, I looked into the crowd of 100-something people all drinking, mingling, chatting, having fun with their little name tags, I realized, “I’m alone.  I know no one.  Oh sh*t”.

Going to these networking events can be gut-wrenching, anxiety-making, flashback-to-middle-school-when-everyone-was-friends-with-everyone-except-for-you kind of feeling.  So here are the do’s and the don’ts of surviving a networking event, without vomiting, and with possibly a few business cards in your pocket at the end of the evening:

 

DO: Dress professionally and with class.

DON’T: Dress like you’re there to get some… unless, of course, you just want to get some.

DO: Get a beverage from the bar immediately so you have something to do while standing around, talking to no one, like a big fat loser.

DON’T: Get shnockered and make an ass out of yourself by dancing on the table with some strange guy’s tie in your teeth (and the guy still attached).

DO: Go up to the first guest at the event you see who looks like they might be enjoyable to talk to about your lines of work.

DON’T: Go up to the cute waiter with the Pigs in a Blanket and ask him how he got into his line of work, while you see how many Pigs in a Blanket you can shove into your mouth without everyone else seeing you’ve eaten all the snacks.

DO: Listen carefully when people are telling you about their business.

DON’T: Listen to the voice in your head telling you there might be a huge booger hanging out of your nose.  If there is one there, they already know it, and if you wipe, then they’ll know for the rest of the evening that you had a booger on your hand.

DO: Carry business cards with you, even when you’re going to the restroom.  You never know who you’re going to meet.

DON’T: Carry a rubber chicken around, saying “I am the Egg Man!”   Just cuz.

 

Needless to say, since you’re reading this blog right now, I survived the evening.  I walked up to a few strangers, stuck out my hand, and said, “I don’t know anyone here.  What do you guys do for a living?”  And it, for the most part, worked.

… But maybe they just liked my rubber chicken.

 

Babies Like Haggis

We arrived in Glasgow, Scotland, early last night.  It’s a fancy, corporate-type hotel, that attracts a lot of business-types (eh hem, that’s us).

The view from our hotel room in Glasgow

The trip, so far, has been a wonderful culture shock.  Being half English myself, I’ve been to the UK many times before, but I’m still fascinated by how different the UK and US are, considering they’re both Western, English-speaking places that carry so many cultural and political similarities.  In any one conversation, for example, you will find a number of things a Brit will say to you that leaves you scratching your head.  From their name for levels in school (“secondary” vs. “high school) to the fact that our word for “napkin” is very similar to their word for “diaper” (which makes dialogues with restaurant waiters when you have your baby with you very interesting) these conversations will make you think you’ve landed in some parallel universe.  However, I always appreciate their politeness in the most unnecessary places…

As I retired to the bathroom for the first time since arriving in our lovely, family-style (that’s with a baby cot) hotel room, I found something I always enjoy seeing in hotel bathrooms: a little sticky thing holding down the first square of toilet paper.  This is visible proof that our hotel room has either never seen another human being before me, or that the last person’s remnants have been completely erased from existence.  Of course, neither of these things are true.  But it is that little sticker on my neatly folded piece of toilet paper showing me it’s a brand new roll (even though it isn’t) that makes me feel just a little bit better about sleeping in a bed, sitting on a toilet, calling from a phone, hitting buttons on a remote control that a million people have before me.

Shooting the welcome reception

We started the gig we came here for today, shooting a video of the World Parkinson’s Congress as a promotional tool for the next conference in 2013.  We went through 4 tapes (way too many), 4 batteries, a couple of memory cards, 9 interviews, 3,000 people walking around, an exhibit of quilts, 20 bagpipers in kilts, and 2 pairs of very tired feet.

The WPC quilt exhibit

All in all, a success.  Now, we await our 3rd bout of room service since we arrived while hubby digitizes the footage and I (sort of) watch D.B. Sweeney on an episode of (not my favorite) CSI:NY.

The cherry on top of our day was tonight when we learned that our little Monkey likes one of the most famously hated foods: haggis.

Monkey eats haggis

Wales aren’t just fish anymore…

We’re in Wales (and have been since yesterday).  Last night we stayed at The Trefeddian Hotel in Aberdovey on the western coast, a hotel I had been to twice as a child, and where my late grandmother spent two weeks every summer for thirty years.

Trefeddian Hotel, Aberdovey, Wales

It was a lovely trip down memory lane, though way too short.  Once again, we are in the middle of a rush-here-rush-there trip.  Our first 10 days of our trip, spent in NYC, were more relaxed, but since we got to the UK last week, it’s been non-stop having to be one place while getting ready to be at the next.  It’s tiring, and with a baby, everything takes longer: a 4 hour trip takes 5… a casual stop at the gas station (excuse me, “petrol”) becomes a crying extravaganza.  We are now settled in our bed (me, hubby, and baby, all in a full-size bed) in the guest room at my cousins’ house in Rhosemor, Wales.

My cousin's town

SPEAKING OF WALES!  Have you ever heard Welsh?  No?  If you want to know what it sounds like, read English backwards, and add in some Hebrew “chhhaah’s” wherever you want.  We had a great time driving the last couple of days while looking at all the road signs.  Here are some for your reading pleasure:

Another joy of traveling with our 8 month old is that there has been no break from her whatsoever.  None.  We’ve been traveling mostly without a playpen, so we can never leave her on her own (nothing is childproofed) and she is fully present (and terribly awake) for every nice dinner, every lunch with old family you want to catch up with, and she’s totally jet lagged, so she goes to bed at eleven.  Right now, however, she sleeps on my left, after one of the most difficult evenings with her ever.  We didn’t even bring up the fact that she’s probably wearing a dirty diaper, and that we might want to put on her pajamas.  The child is finally asleep – leave her there!

Monkey sleeping on one of our long car rides

If you’ve never visited the UK and are overwhelmed with the question of, “what does one eat while traveling in the UK?” Well, I’ll assuage that anxiety – pub food.  And then… pub food.  We have it for lunch and dinner pretty much every day.  You would be hard pressed to find any other type of eatery.  Since I no longer indulge in beer, some of the fun has been removed, but I can take fish n’ chips practically every day of the week.  And how about those Yorkshire puddings!!  And roast beef?  Shepherd’s Pie anyone? Just throw me some battered fish, some chips (French fries), some mushy peas, and the “red sauce” (ketchup) and I’m good to go.  Tomorrow, we go to Scotland… Haggis maybe?  I think I’ll stick to the more English cuisine instead.

But this trip to visit my family (and show off the Monkey) has been, as always, lovely.  I had lunch with my 97 year old great aunt, and have seen multiple cousins.

Me, the Monkey, and my Great Auntie Glee in England

While driving to Newbury the other day, my father said that he has always been sentimental for family, and for keeping those strong connections though, has he made clear, without the “clawing kind of neediness [for sentimentality]”.  I think I’m about the same (and also hope I don’t have the clawing way about me.  This side of the family lives so far away that we see them every year or two at the most.

Another day of our 5 1/2 week trip come and gone, and still haven’t lost our passports, our wallets, or our minds.  Most importantly, Monkey waved hello for the first time tonight.  Was it my cousin Kathy who made her do it?  Was it being in another country?  Or perhaps, was it just Monkey being a most wonderfully impressive 8 month old, and us being incredibly in love?  I’ll figure it all out tomorrow, I’m sure.

On to Scotland!

Turning Over a New Leaf

Today, I’m letting everything go.  That is to say, for the first two hours of the day I’ll do a great job of letting things roll off my back, and then I’ll forget about my mission until next Tuesday.

I went to the gym today – a key factor in building a business (or at least that’s my theory for today).  It’s the first time back there since the baby was born, and it felt great (awful) and revived me (thought I was having pulmonary spasms) and got me ready for my day (and a shower).  The endorphins said, “Hey, get your now-fabulously-toned-ass on that business-like couch, and get to work on those companies!  You’ll be a millionaire by Christmas!”  Okay, so free high.  But I’m starting anew today, and a big part of that is going to the gym.

My non-profound reason for this new rule is that if you just wake up, make coffee, and sit in front of the computer in your jammies until lunch, you’re far more likely to get down on yourself, and your company.  Since I decided to work from home, I told myself that I had to treat this job like any other: get up, get dressed, go to work, and when it’s quitting time, it’s quitting time.  So I try to stay on a schedule.  (Note: this schedule is frequently interrupted by fallen baby, wet laundry to be put in dryer, lunch that needs making – and eating, break to watch a couple of episodes of Sex and the City – don’t knock it, Candace Bushnell inspires me, and some sort of opening-mail or emptying-the-dishwasher type of work).

I don’t know how it’s happened, but so far (since I quit my teaching job in mid-June) we’ve been able to continue paying our bills.  When I quit, I did it with both of us knowing full well that we were not making enough money with our businesses to support our $4K a month lifestyle.  But we had me quit anyway.  And we just held our breaths as we jumped.  We haven’t made $4K a month since mid-June, so I’m not really sure how it’s worked out… but it has.

So today I’m gonna ride that optimism; that feeling of “we will be taken care of” and “everything will work out”.  I’m gonna ride it all the way to my lunch break… and maybe I’ll remember it again before next Tuesday.

All Give, No Get

Sitting in front of the computer all day, searching for ways to promote your business, only to find that spammers and wannabe-professionals-still-in-their-junior-year-of-college-looking-to-summer-intern-at-your-seemingly-successful company are the only ones knocking on your door, can be somewhat disheartening.

When starting your own business (and I mean s-t-a-r-t-i-n-g your own business from s-c-r-a-t-c-h) you find yourself spending a great deal of time working, and no reward to show for it.  It’s simple when you have a regular job (working for someone other than yourself): if you work at the Slurpee shop, you show up at a given time, sell Slurpees for the given amount of hours, and then a week, or two, later you get a check for the given amount of money.  Simple.  But when you’re starting your own business, you work (and work) with no guarantee that you’ll ever see a dime.

My husband and I recently started two companies of our own: a video production company, which focused mainly on producing promotional videos for clients and/or editing reels and commercials for individuals and small businesses, and a photography company, which focuses mainly on weddings and sometimes pregnancy photos and other personal projects for clients.  While my husband does most of the shooting and editing, etc, I do the business.  I spend most of the day sitting on the couch with my MacBook Pro on a lap desk on my (well) lap.  I look for ways to get our business’ names out there, while spending as little money as possible (oh yeah, we’re tapped out since I quit my job teaching 8th grade to take care of our new baby and run our companies).  Since we don’t have money to spend, I dig for the free ways to get ourselves noticed – but they’re slim.  And after a number of weeks on this couch, not one of the few jobs we’ve gotten recently have had anything to do with my work.  But feeling sorry for oneself does not a successful business make (for some reason I think Brad Pitt didn’t walk into his Thelma and Louise audition thinking, “I’m an ugly loser and I’ll never make a career for myself.”

So I keep on giving (and I’ll give more tomorrow) in the hopes that someone will call, or email, or send a pigeon, saying “Hey, I saw that ad, or that Facebook post, or that Tweet that the most-fantastic-business-woman-ever-to-start-her-own-company” sent out, and I’d loooove to give you money to work on my project.”

Eh, maybe tomorrow.

You gotta spend money to make money… you gotta lift some weights to get some muscle… you gotta kiss a few frogs.  You gotta give (and give) if you ever want to get (unless we’re talking about the Lottery, but I’m not gonna hold my breath on that one).


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