Tag Archives: work

Brief Inauguration Post

Washington monument

Eight years ago, the company I was working for had just moved to a new office. There was no cable, so we were trying to watch the inauguration of President Barack Obama online. A bunch of us had gathered in a conference room to try to stream it, but it wasn’t working. After a bunch of unsuccessful attempts, someone finally said, “Okay, we’re going to Amrhein’s.” Word spread fast, and just like that, everyone got up, grabbed their coats, and headed to Amrhein’s, the restaurant down the street. It seemed like most of the office was there. We all cheered after he was sworn in, and it remains to this day one of my favorite memories of working there.

Now I’m at a new workplace, and a little over two months ago, I was sure that I’d be at work to see the first black president succeeded by the first female president. And while there is an endless list of reasons to be sad about Trump’s inauguration tomorrow, I just want to focus on one: Hillary Rodham Clinton not being the one leading us for the next four or eight years.

I really, really wanted her to be president, and that would have been true regardless of who ran against her. There’s much more I’m thinking and much more I could say- but for now, I’ll leave it at this. I’m still with her, and I am deeply sad at the loss of the chance to live in a country led by President Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Look Forward

This was not a good year for me by any stretch of the imagination.

And honestly, it’s only partly because of the fire. While that sucked, it’s pretty much behind me now. What’s not behind me is the persistent loneliness that was the dominant feeling of this year.

I remember back in 2008, I had a coworker who lost her apartment in a fire remarkably similar to mine– it was a fire that was caused by someone else’s cigarette, it killed one person, she had renter’s insurance, and her apartment wasn’t damaged as badly as the others, although she still had to move out. At the time, I felt so bad for her. Now that I’ve been through it myself, I find myself envying her, because there is one key difference between her experience and mine: she was (and still is) married. I had to go through the whole thing alone.

A few days ago, someone asked me who I call when I have a bad day. The question surprised me, because…I don’t call anyone when I have a bad day. Like, it doesn’t even occur to me to call anyone. And I realized that it’s something that people in good relationships take for granted: that when they have a bad day, someone will be there for them.

I might never have that.

The year certainly had its bright spots (my new job is definitely one of them), but overall, I spent too much of this year very unhappy. I’m doing my best to make changes in my life, although I know there’s no guarantee that I’ll be successful in making those changes.

But if I had to tell you one thing I’ve learned from this year, it’s this: it’s important to give yourself things to look forward to.

Buy a ticket to that thing you love. Plan a trip. Sign up for a race. Take a class. Mark your calendar for when that book/movie/TV show comes out. Do what you need to do to keep yourself going.

Because when your future seems uncertain, when you don’t know if your life will ever turn out the way you want it to, when it seems like all the good things in your life are behind you, the best thing you can do is give yourself a reason to look forward.

I Quit!

So…I quit my job on Monday.


…Okay, that makes it sound a lot more dramatic than it really was. As much as I’d love an opportunity to yell, “I quit!” and storm out of someplace angrily, that’s not what happened here. In reality, I accepted a new job and quietly gave my two weeks’ notice.


Since it’s generally not a good idea to blog about looking for a new job while you currently HAVE a job, I’ve kept quiet about the job search here. But in reality, I’ve been contemplating a career change for a long time. I thought about leaving a couple of times prior to this, but every time I did, a really good reason to stay came along. Like I was going to make my number. And then I was going to make my number again. And then I got offered a free trip to Grand Cayman. (Yep. I’m quitting the company that just sent me to Grand Cayman.)


Finally out of reasons to stay, I started job searching. I’d been thinking about moving out of higher ed publishing and into…higher ed. Research showed me that there were plenty of jobs out there for which I was qualified and that paid as much or more than my current job. And since this is Boston, where there are so many colleges that I can’t think of all of them off the top of my head, jobs in higher education are not exactly scarce. I applied, I went on interviews, and I eventually accepted a job in faculty affairs at a university in the area.


The job offer came, funnily enough, on my eight-year anniversary at this company. It’s so weird to think that I have been at this company for EIGHT YEARS. So much has happened since then. My first year at this company, I was twenty-three and so broke that I spent months looking forward to my first business trip. After that trip, I also got to go, for the first time, to Philadelphia, Chicago, DC, St. Louis, Savannah, Atlanta, Cincinnati, and, of course, Grand Cayman, among other places. I met so many awesome people, many of whom have also left by now. I gained confidence, especially after being promoted from my first job quicker than I ever dreamed I would. I had a lot of success working in SALES—if you told me in college that one day not only I’d work in sales but become one of the company’s top salespeople, I would have said you were crazy. And there have been a lot of good times: crazy holiday party stories, hanging out in bars after work, playing on our terrible (but fun) softball team, the sales meetings in various cities (including that one time we were almost two days late and my luggage went missing), getting to know a host of new coworkers after a big merger, and Obama’s first inauguration, when, after realizing we’d have a hard time watching it in the building, basically the whole office got up and migrated to the restaurant on the corner to watch it there. This company has been such a huge part of my life for so long that it’s going to be really weird to work anywhere else.


There are a lot of reasons I’m leaving, none of which have anything to do with the people at my company. I won’t go into all of them, but the simple version is that, while I’m glad I made the move to sales almost four years ago, I did so because I wanted to move up within the company, and that is no longer a goal of mine. Education is something I’m passionate about, and I realized that working in higher education in some capacity would be a good fit for me. I don’t know exactly what my future holds career-wise, but, although I did have a panicky OH NO WHAT HAVE I DONE moment after I resigned, I hope I’ll enjoy my new job and the people I work with there and that it will open up some great opportunities for me.


Right now feels like the right time for a change. So I’ll take it.

Pete Campbell Dance

Heaven and Hell…Aka Grand Cayman

Okay, I’m finally going to write about the Grand Cayman trip. Here we go.


I found on New Year’s Eve that I’d been chosen to attend my company’s CEO Summit. Essentially, I had two good sales years where I made my goal, which, by some measurement of performance over time, placed me in the top 10% of sales professionals company-wide. I’m not quite sure how that happened, but if the result is a free trip to Grand Cayman, I don’t really care.


Everyone could bring a guest, so, since I don’t get to see her nearly enough, I asked Christina. She was going to be in Boston the preceding weekend anyway for her sister’s graduation, so she stayed in Boston a night longer. This was during the two weeks post-fire when I wasn’t in the sublet yet, so we got a hotel room near the airport. I figured out how to stream the Mad Men finale online (even though we had to be up super early for our 6 AM flight the next day, there was no way I was missing it), and the next morning we were off.


I knew the trip was going to go well when we got to the hotel and, within about five minutes, someone handed us a free rum punch.


There were, I think, a total of eighty-eight people from sales there, plus a bunch of higher-ups and everybody’s guests. There were a handful of people I’d met in passing before, but no one I knew well. They were from all over the place—all over the country but also foreign countries. I met people from Australia, England, and Tunisia, among other places. I met a lot of people from LA. Other than some managers who work in the Boston office, I was the only person from Boston there. I was also one of the youngest people, which was weird—in the office in Boston, I work with people who were born in the 90s and don’t have the same pop culture touchpoints as me. And I’m almost positive I was the only person there who was both single and childless. The vast majority of people brought their significant others and most of those who didn’t either brought one of their kids or at least had a significant other back at home. I’m pretty sure everyone thought Christina was my girlfriend until we explained that we were friends who lived on opposite coasts.





But most of the colleagues and guests that I met were really nice and interesting. On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday there were mandatory dinners that we attended with everyone at the summit, one of which culminated on releasing these lanterns over the ocean. We also had went on a couple of sponsored activities with colleagues. One was a sunset boat cruise on our last night there. The other was a trip that included snorkeling and a visit to Stingray City, where you can swim with stingrays!


Christina and I also rented a cabana and spent a whole day there, lounging on the beach and having food and drinks brought to us.


On another day, we went to Hell. Literally.


Yep, Hell is a rock formation in Grand Cayman. There’s even a post office so you can send post cards from hell. Christina sent one to her dad’s church.


Also, free booze. SO MUCH free booze.


It was an awesome trip that came at the perfect time—and it was all free since it was a work trip!

Some Good Things

It’s been a bit since my last post, and I’ll write about something more interesting pretty soon. Sometimes it’s hard to find things to write about when life is good. Which it is right now, I’m happy to report. Not because of one huge reason (I’m still single, sadly), but lots of things are going right lately. And it can be obnoxious to talk about how great your life is (see this article!), but on a blog about my life, I do want to share what’s going on with me.

So here are some reasons I’ve been happy lately:

-One of my goals for the year was to write more fiction, and I have. A long time ago, I used to try submitting short stories to magazines, but after awhile I just…stopped. Until this year, when I started submitting a couple of stories around. Recently, I found out that one of them was accepted! My short story “Things You Don’t Know I Know about You” is forthcoming in The Sierra Nevada Review, and it will be out in May. Yea!

-I made my sales goal at work, which means I’m getting a bonus in a couple of months.

-I completed a 10K yesterday and got a good time for me! I finished in 53:29, which is a 8:37 pace, faster than I usually run.

-I’ve been better lately about exercising and not eating crap.

-My roommate and I got a better Internet connection. I then joined Netflix, and then I bought a Roku. The Roku has massively improved my life. I’m now catching up with TV shows I should have been watching. Parks and Recreation is now one of my new favorites—I’ll do a post in the near future about everything I’ve been catching up with. Breaking Bad is probably next.

-But I’m not starting Breaking Bad until baseball is over because RED SOX IN THE ALCS WOO!

-It’s fall and the weather is lovely and I recently went apple picking because YEA NEW ENGLAND.

-I’ve picked up a little side project editing college essays for high school kids, and I’m enjoying it.

-The Boston Book Festival is coming up this weekend- I’ve meant to go every other year, but have always been busy. This is the first year I’m making it.

-BC’s football team still isn’t great, but they’re at least better than they were last year.

-I saw a great play called The Power of Duff last weekend. After I see a good play, it makes me want to see [Allie Brosh] ALL the theater! [/Allie Brosh] So maybe there’s more theater for me in the near future.

-Speaking of Allie Brosh, her book is coming out at the end of the month!

-My friends are awesome, although that’s not new.

-My furry friend is also awesome.

Two Weeks in August

Well, I’ve had a crazy couple of weeks—good-crazy, though. I spent a week in Dallas for my company’s national sales meeting, flew home, was home for about twelve hours, and then went back to the airport to go to DC, where Erin and I stayed with Jackie and hung out with Tiana and Pam. Here are some of the highlights from the past two weeks:

    • ·         I ate an insane amount of Tex-Mex and cheesecake in Dallas and drank a ridiculous amount of free alcohol.
    • ·         I learned that putting my right thumb on top when I cross my hands makes me “sexy” rather than “sneaky.”
    • ·         I toured Dallas Cowboys stadium with my work team. I admit that I wasn’t that excited about it when I first heard about it, but being out on the field in this HUGE stadium was actually pretty cool.
    • ·         I swam in a hotel pool that had a freaking swim-up bar! Best way ever to celebrate my sessions for the week being done.
    • ·         I crossed an item off my bucket list by riding an mechanical bull! And I have video evidence:
  • ·         I went to the Newseum with Erin and Jackie, where you can easily spend a whole day.
  • ·         Erin and I met Pam for lunch. Pam, after being surprised to hear that Dawson’s Creektook place in Massachusetts: “I don’t know things I should know.”
  • ·         Erin, Pam and I went to the Holocaust Museum, which was horrifying and intense.
  • ·         Then we decided to get pedicures, and Jackie was going to join us. After Jackie texted Erin to say that we should walk to 14thStreet, Erin said, “We’re on 7th. How far is it?” Jackie: “Well, it’s seven blocks.”
  • You know how sometimes when you’re not quite asleep, a weird thought enters your mind? Before bed, we saw a notice in Jackie’s apartment lobby that said that an exterminator was coming the next day. So, not quite dreaming, I thought, “What if the exterminator comes while Erin and I are still asleep and tries to exterminate us? Like, hmm, here are two rather large bugs?”
  • ·         The next day we met up with Tiana and went to the National Zoo, which was awesome and FREE. There were pandas!
  • ·         We also really wanted ice cream but couldn’t find any except what was in vending machines. Erin really wanted a chipwich but somehow the vending machine gave her Scribblers instead. The look on her face when she opened them was priceless.
  • ·         Then we went back to Tiana’s place to get her car and met her adorable (and HUGE) Tibetan mastiff, Kiro. He was very happy to make new friends and cuter than anything in the zoo!
  • ·         Then we drove up to Baltimore to see the Sox/Orioles game. The game didn’t go so well, but Camden Yards is a nice park! It was my first time seeing a Sox game anywhere other than Fenway.
  • ·      The next day Erin and I met up with my friend and former chorus buddy Amy, then headed to the airport to get ourselves back home.
Back to life now. Time to squeeze in as much summer-y goodness as I can before summer’s officially over!

Some Good News

I try not to write too much about work here, but I have some very good work-related news that I’m going to share with you.

As most of you know, I have worked in editorial at a large textbook publishing company for over four years. While I love it, I’d gotten to the point where if I wanted to move up any higher on the corporate ladder, I’d need to get some sales experience. I’d tried unsuccessfully numerous times in the past to get sales jobs, but on Monday, I finally got one. On November 7th, I will begin working as a sales representative at the same company I work for now. It’s an inside sales job, so I’m just moving down a couple of floors.

I’m very excited! I really love working in the industry I’m in, and this is a great career move for me. I loved working in editorial and there’s a lot I’ll miss about it- I had great colleagues and a boss who is one of my favorite people on the face of the earth (like, really- that’s not sarcasm), but it was time for a change.

In the four years I’ve worked here, so many people have come and gone. But I’m glad that I stumbled into something that I actually enjoy doing all day long. A lot of people my age can’t find work, or at least can’t find something that makes them happy, but I am thankful every day that I am where I am career-wise. I can’t even imagine how different my twenties would have been if I hadn’t gone to work at this company.

I tried posting this on Facebook yesterday, but sadly, GIFs don’t work there. I feel like doing the Pete Campbell promotion dance from Mad Men:

Pete Campbell Dance


There are plenty of things about my life I want to improve. I want to meet the man of my dreams so I can get married and have kids. I want to lose weight. I want to get back my motivation to write fiction. I want more money and to be able to travel more and eventually buy a house. . But I’m glad that work is now exactly in the place I want it to be.

Adventures Driving in Boston

I don’t drive very much anymore, and that’s fine with me. In fact, I kind of hate driving. Well, “hate” is a strong word, but given a choice between being a driver and a passenger, I always choose passenger. (Please don’t read any deep meaning into that statement. My life is not a Volkswagen commercial.) I get nervous easily, as I’ve discussed before, and since I started driving ten years ago, I’ve been a nervous driver. But the last time I drove a car on a daily basis for more than a few months was my senior year of high school. In college, I couldn’t have a car on campus, and I could get pretty much anywhere I wanted to go on the T. After college, I deliberately chose apartments and jobs that had T access, and thus began my love-hate relationship with the T.

Not having a car means that I have to rely on rental cars when I do need to drive, and driving cars that don’t belong to me make me even more nervous. I joined Zipcar, but rarely used it, and after a bad experience with them, I quit rather than renewing my membership. I nearly had a nervous breakdown when I had to rent a car during a business trip to Georgia (and, for the first time in my life, got pulled over, due to a taillight that was out).

And then this past Thursday, I needed to rent a car again, this time to drive a longer distance than I’d ever driven before, and by myself at that. One of the authors I work with was having local sales reps, along with my boss and me, to lunch at his beach house in Narragansett, which is way the hell at the bottom of Rhode Island. About an hour-and-forty-five-minute drive. Eighty miles, according to Google maps.

I was scared to death.

I know it doesn’t sound like a long way or a difficult thing to do, especially for someone who’s been driving for ten years. Most people would just get up and drive there without a second thought. But although I don’t understand why some people are afraid of spiders, I know that it’s a very real fear. Be assured, so was this one. In fact, I spent the whole week worrying about it. What if I got into an accident? What if I hit a pedestrian or cyclist? What if the car broke down? What if the tire blew out? What if I got lost and completely missed the lunch?

The car I rented was also in a busy area of Boston, an area in which I’d never driven. After an initial bit of panicking in the parking garage I was leaving from (OMG it’s raining and the windshield wipers don’t work! Oh…yeah, they do.), I was off. I found the highway I needed to get on with no problem.

And then I got in the wrong lane.

I think I spent literally an hour trying to get back to where I was supposed to be. In the process, I drove over most of the city, on several highways. I went through a toll booth, something I’d specifically tried to avoid when I printed out the Mapquest directions. I swore out loud at people doing dumb or inconsiderate things. I paused at the end of a street, trying to figure out where I was, only to be impatiently honked at. Ah, road rage, I thought, feeling a flash of anger rise within me. This is where it comes from.

Finally, I got back on the highway. While driving around Boston, I’d been on the verge of tears, wondering if I should just call and say I’d miss the lunch and unsure if I’d ever get there. But once I got on the highway and realized I could get to where I was going, I started to relax. The whole driving around Boston situation started to seem funny. I even started singing in the car, the way I do when I’m driving around my hometown. When I finally got there, I was a bit late, but not late enough that I missed the lobster and clam chowder we were having.

It seems really easy to boil this whole experience down to some kind of platitude or cliché like, “Keep a sense of humor,” or “You have to face your fears,” but it’s not that simple. The thing is, you always know things like that in the back of your mind, but you’re so scared or upset that they never quite make it up to the front. There’s a great line in the book Empire Falls by Richard Russo that’s even a car analogy: “Not giving a shit, she’s realized, is like the defrost option on a car’s heater that miraculously unfogs the windshield, allowing you to see where you’re headed.” And what is fear if not giving too much of a shit?

I’m glad I had this experience and that I made it to Narragansett and back unscathed. I think I may re-join Zipcar. A car of my own is not an option now for financial reasons, but when I finally get one, I’ll already have the worst of driving in Boston behind me.

But for the record, every stereotype you’ve heard about Boston drivers is true.

Waiting For My Real Life to Begin

I’ve been in a weird mood lately.

For the most part, I’m very happy with my life right now. I love my job. I love my apartment. As much as I bitch about the T, I love not having a car most of the time. And while I can’t deny that I’d love to have a boyfriend, I enjoy the freedom that comes with being single.

But do I want my life to stay like this forever? Can I imagine myself in twenty years, living in an apartment in Somerville, still trying to get a date, childless, dependent on public transportation, working for the same low salary? Could you tell the answer to that question before you got halfway through the previous sentence?

I have moments when I wonder if I’m stuck here—if anything in my life is ever going to change. The funny thing is that I’ve never been good with change. When I was a kid, my mom would always be asking me if I wanted a new comforter or a new jacket or something, and my answer was always, “No, I like the one I have.” And I’ve always dreaded changes like starting college or graduating from college or friends moving away. I guess that’s a good thing—it must mean I’m fairly content with my life.

But now, I find myself fearing things staying the same. I’ve written enough about wanting a relationship, so I won’t go into it again. But one reason I haven’t discussed is that even though I have great roommates and a great apartment, I’d also like to live alone for a little while, and I don’t think that I could live alone if I wasn’t in a relationship. It relates back to this—I think I’d feel cut off from the world otherwise. So I guess I simultaneously crave aloneness and companionship. Man, am I that hard to please?

I’ve mentioned before how hard I find it to imagine owning a house. I’m still years and years away from that goal. But I’ve been finding myself thinking lately about where I want to live when I am ready to buy…which towns are fairly close to Boston? Have a commuter rail station in town? Have a good public school system for my nonexistent children? Recently, I bought the issue of Boston magazine about the best places to live, and then I wondered why. It’s not as if I’m about to get married and buy a house in the suburbs with my husband. But I still like to think about the possibilities for where I might live.

I’ve written extensively about my love-hate relationship with the T, but the truth is that I usually enjoy saving a lot of money by not paying for gas or parking or insurance or repairs if anything goes wrong. Still, there are a lot of times that I just wish I could get in the damn car and drive somewhere. Market Basket, the blissfully cheap local supermarket, is two miles away from me, which is close enough that I can walk…but far enough away that I can’t carry more than a couple of bags back with me. I wish I didn’t always have to ask my dad to come pick me up if I’m visiting my parents, and that I didn’t have to take the commuter rail to visit Christina.

If I eventually take a certain job, though, I’d get a company car, which would be awesome, but scary in its own way. The thing is, I love what I’m doing for work, and I know that I definitely want to stay in publishing, but there’s a large part of me that wants to move on to the next step, scary and unfamiliar as it may be. I’ve been trying to do as much as I can to prepare myself for it, and I’m lucky to have an incredibly supportive boss who’s been helping me a lot with career development. It would be a challenge for me if it does happen, but I also feel like if I prove that I can do it, I can do anything.

And then there’s my stalled writing career, which is no one’s fault but my own. I just need to glue my butt to the chair and get the writing done. I don’t even want to think about how much I could have accomplished if I spent as much time writing as I do sitting around watching reruns of 1990s sitcoms.

So…I don’t have any answers. All I know is that where I am isn’t bad, but where I could be looks even better. I’ll be twenty-five in July, and I think a lot of people feel this way as they near the quarter-century mark. At least I know what I want, I guess. Stay tuned.

Work Anniversary Post

Weirdly, I’m not at work during a week where I’m writing about it. I’m on vacation this week, but Wednesday was my one-year anniversary with the company I work for.

I’ve said it before, but even at its most stressful, I really love my job, weird as it may sound to some people. I’ve gotten strange looks when I tell people I enjoy making textbooks, but I really do. A big part of enjoying it so much, though, is the people. Publishing doesn’t pay well, but it’s an industry that attracts a lot of nice, smart, interesting people. I can have a good conversation with just about anyone in my office. Interestingly enough, a lot of them are bloggers and/or writers—I recently described my office to a friend as being full of “the English majors that are sane.”

There are a lot of things about my life I wish would change (such as the first two words of my blog title), but work isn’t one of them. So many people my age change jobs constantly, and I can certainly see why—it can be hard to find a job that’s a good fit for you, and often something you think you’ll like turns out not to be so great. And for a lot of people, changing your mind about your career path means shelling out money for grad school…and if you change your mind again, shelling out more money for yet another degree.

I feel very lucky for the combination of circumstances that led me here. There was a time when I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue this career path, but now I think I do. I’m twenty-four and I love what I do for a living, and I can’t tell you what an amazing thing that is.