Gasp! I’m a working woman now

And here we go. Probably another reason to my irregular posts (which I need to stop apologizing for :/) is this clear distinction I made of myself and who I was, when I started working to who I am now.

Here is an article I wrote recently which really made me think about how I have manage to hold a steady grip of who I am in this crazy world of careers and work. The audience for this piece, primarily college students who need a small introductory picture to what we think working is going to feel like, as to what it is, actually.

Today feels like one of those reflecting I-don’t-feel-like-working, and sit by myself in a coffee shop and write type of days. Sighs.

Let me know what you think!

The work life: Expectations vs. Reality

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As the seniors approach graduation day, and as the juniors move on to their next year, all of us at one point have thought about the biggest step we can take in adulthood.

Getting a job.

I know what you must be thinking. We should simmer down and get serious about our future. We should bid goodbye to the freedom and frolic college used to give us, and now narrow ourselves into this big, (maybe) bad world of careers and positions, pay packages and  incentives, we should tone down this vibrant dressed college student into a grey suited corporate individual and act more stringent about what we would consider, work life attitude.

Woah. Let me stop you right there.

Hi. I work in an advertising agency, and I’m not going to lie, but it’s anything but boring.

I listen to EDM music, sip on green tea, eat a lot of chocolate, twirl around in my chair and oh, I occasionally work too.

I write ads, think of visual concepts, pitch a few marketing strategies and recently took a swing at digital media campaigning.

Sounds like a pretty picture? It’s not.

Reality is, it does have its downfalls; the timings, the monetary scale, the creativity blocks, the ego clashes, insecurity of your skills, and the feeling that your little bud of an idea will never work, why pitch it?

You find days where nothing works out, you have no reason to be here, you think your entire career move in this company will be for nothing, you don’t belong, this isn’t you… resignation is just a step away…

And you don’t know what to do.

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Honestly, all jobs are going to make you feel this way at one point. They are going to seep out this cheery college student persona and your surroundings will force you to become this glum individual who churns out mediocre results just like everyone else, with enough force.

Even with a job as creatively demanding as mine, there will be days when you feel like your career doesn’t make sense right now and graduating college did not prepare you for this life of monotony and silent despair.

To that I say, put your foot down, and tell it to STOP. And, Chill. Out.

Who said getting a job means chaining yourself to a desk, working hour after hour, day after day, going home to find some quiet time, rinse and repeat?

Who said working means that you would have to lock away your most lively you and carve out this mechanical being that would answer to a boss and consider coffee a staple diet?

No. Not when you find yourself in a job that suites you so well, it doesn’t feel like a job, but second nature. Or, what you make of the job given to you, and how you furnish yourself to make that career choice a meaningful one, a better one, and most importantly, a fulfilling one.

Keep on doing what you do and don’t ever stop; read, listen to music, wear colorful shirts, watch movies, play video games, socialize, make new friends, watch endless you tube videos, eat, and do everything that makes you a happy, radiant individual, with this zest for more than a work life.

You want to live life.

And enjoy the benefits of work, the excess allowance, the recognition, the smiles, the learning, the feeling of being young and energetic with dreams and aspirations that have no limits…

It’s up to you to mold what you have into the best experience for yourselves as no one else can do that for you. Don’t let the monotony of it all get anywhere close to you. You weren’t meant to be like everybody else. You were meant to be different, to stand out.

So start acting like it and results will follow through. Keep yourself true and collected, manage the harder days and brutally drag yourself out of those blue, muddy days if you have to.

Live on the principle that there is so much to do, see, learn and achieve in life and when needed console yourself that the future will look as promising as you wish it to be and you cannot wait to see what more life has in store for you.

And you know what the best part is? 

This is just the beginning.

 Images courtesy Google.

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I no write good

“People need to be made more aware of the need to work at learning how to live because life is so quick and sometimes it goes away too quickly.” — Andy Warhol

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To those reading this surreptitiously from a laptop, or desktop given to them by the officials of their very first job, within an environment where you are constantly pressured to perform, let me ask you something:

How do you feel?

From the retrospect of being one of those individuals very recently acquainted with the toils and excitements of the work life, have you ever faced a situation where everyone in your professional life is constantly telling you ‘you can’t do this’ or ‘you think you can do this, but you really can’t’?

Have you?

Because I for one use to question the very same skills I was appreciated for in college i.e. writing.

Was I a really good as writer as I thought I was? Or was I just kidding myself?

Is my grammar that bad that I am constantly reminded that I need to work on it? And I am nothing in comparison to the superiors in the field?

Now, if I am not, am I a lost case? And if I am, is it mere career ego that’s making them push me down?

Nope. It’s neither. Because believe it or not, it’s probably the most important learning experience you will ever come across, and I would advise you to make the most of it.

How so?

It’s quite simple. I don’t doubt my skills in writing, yes my grammar may be off a couple of time, yes, my word composition may not even make sense to anyone who is not me, but I don’t have a problem with the corrections that come my way.

I will admit that it did get on my nerves at one point. People 2 or 3 years older than me probe and poke everything I do, and at times sharply point out things that weren’t mistakes to begin with, but a mere difference in choice of words. And yes, I did question my skills in writing and it did shake a better part of my individuality.

But then I realized this has to be the best way to just get better and better! All these people correct because clearly they know something more. They have been in the field longer and hence have discovered a few tips that may help you move further. So why not pick out that ‘something more’?

The trick is to absorb criticism in the right spirit. And also differentiate which pieces of criticism to take in and which ones to throw in a dark bag at the back of your mind, because you never know when the ones which weren’t applicable then, would be so in the future.

Nothing is wasted, and nothing should be. Everything you learn should be neatly sorted in folders in your head: useful, spirit enhancing, soul crushing, ground breaking, fascinating, un-heard of, sheer nonsense etc. and dealt with accordingly.

The most you can do is to make sure that if you ever do have a wide-eyed, fresh out of college person working under your guidance, you would probably not be as harsh as your superiors were at one point, towards you.

Because no one in the entire world has the power to tell you that you are not good enough. Who were they to judge you in the first place? In their eyes, you even may be a threat, or a force that surpassed their skill when they were you age.

Or you may be someone they found potential in, and they want to mold that potential in the most optimal way. Can you blame them?  

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I don’t see the point of fearing it anymore, I say go for it and explore all the opportunities it give you, and who knows? Their faith in your skills may just be the reaffirmation they needed to grow.

So I no write good, remember?

But I is wanting to write even more awesome-er.

And therefore, I shall learn.

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Pictures courtesy Google.

 

 

Activate Inactivate; The how to guide of work pick-yourself-ups

So I kinda have been out of action for a little while and with good reason!

While moving houses, starting a new job, managing whats left of a social life and still making time for family, I have managed to learn a million things on multi-tasking, mood swing(ing), days where the only person who can pick you up- is you, and a whole new brace of the real world.

So this is what I tell myself: Breathe.

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Which I think I have mentioned in my previous posts, but this time it has been way more applicable. How so?

Well let me explain with a way you could probably relate.

When you start something new, or do something new, you sort of lose yourself in the enthusiasm of it all. And then you fizz out little by little and the excitement dies down. Or how my mom likes to call it, the shaken up coke bottle.

If you shake up a coke bottle and then unscrew the cap, the drink with spray out with so much force initially, but after a while the fizz would die out. Which is EXACTLY what I am.

And sad to say, I sort of succumbed to the bleak confused world of the work life. A little.

Alongside a lot of other side projects which all got me thinking, whats the point of doing them, if I’m not enjoying what I do? And its creating more of a confused mess rather than keeping the creativity color in me alive.

So this is what I did:

  • I started writing at work

Yes, believe it or not but the answer to everything I to write it down. And I sort of started writing a lot at work, not only because I have free time on some days, but because since I am in the work environment, I can focus better on what I have to do.

It does magic for you, I can assure that. So I began to write down all the side projects which I was involved in and prioritized them in matter of importance. Obviously, work being first. Then came furniture shopping for the new house, then came this blog and other writing projects. And then my ever pending reading list, gaming list (sighs) and so on.

  • Changed to a better work lifestyle.

Since I got used to sitting down a lot, I started feeling low, lethargic, eating unnecessarily, and oh god-that sick bloated feeling wouldn’t go away. So I formulated a work habit. I walked a bit of my route to work, stuck to my every faithful green tea, started drinking water every time I wanted to munch and divided my lunch into 2 parts, one to eat during lunch time, and the other during a coffee break at 4, hence eating less but enough.

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  • Perk up the office table!

Oh this part was fun. I started customizing my office cubicle pin up board with my things, dropped in a few feng shui charms, added a cup of glitter pens (alongside normal ones) and a few of my favorite quotes and things to do.

I guess when you see something bright every day, you sort of turn your mood in for the better. Also, inspiration can strike from anywhere!

  • Text.

Its awful for some to even include this here but frankly?

I am a serial text-er and I LOVE it. I love getting texts, I love texting people. I love the constant (or frequent enough) exchange of happy (sensible) lines of conversation to keep you going through the day.

Whatsapp is highly addicting and also fun when you are in groups with loads of people sharing utmost random of random-est things that make you smile and helps you remember, all is not lost if a pitch you LOVED doesn’t get approved.

  • Sorting things out inside.

Honestly, no one can do this but you. You wouldn’t believe the amounts of things I have discovered about myself which I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t just sat down and thought them through. Of course, don’t over think it, but think enough to know what you’re doing, where you are going, what you want to do, when, how, why, who, everything.

Go for a walk, have a cup of hot chocolate on your own and just try to harness the positive energy inside you. Its there somewhere, I can guarantee it. A flicker of sunlight, a ray of hope, a glass of optimism, anything. Its embedded there somewhere. Just dig a little to find it.

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But its there alright.

More than anything else, this post was for me, to remind myself its ohkay to lapse out, as long as you don’t live in it. Walk right out of it when you are done, more uppity than before. But its ohkay to fall back a little. We all have out moments and projects, and busy lives to manage, juggle, piece together and even make.

I guess we all need a little reminder sometimes.

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Images courtesy Google

Walking Into Adulthood Crisis

I don’t know how most of you will be able to relate to this, but I for one am facing a… walking into adulthood crisis (WIAC). And what the heck is that?

Let me explain.

Since we were in school, we always had a step of things moving forward. Like from elementary you knew you would go to middle school, then high school and then college… and here you sit at your first job with all these individuals around you thinking, so what next?

Now don’t get me wrong. I know where I am heading with this on the work front. Like, work for a couple of years an do a post graduate degree. But… what after? Whats the point?

Why?

Whats the meaning of all this and whats my goal?

And the answer I have right now: I. Dont. Know.

And frankly? Its unnerving at times. I don’t know what I am suppose to do anymore and there are so many things running around in my head, I am unable to find a direction for myself. The mere thought of being an adult is scary at times because you realize have this clear expanse of life and you don’t know how to fill it in. What do you do? Whats the point?

Sighs.

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I know, hard truth isn’t it? One day, you are happy and cheery at  your first real job, invigorated with this whole realm of fascination and the next, you question your entire existence. Why does that even happen? You dont know. What can you do to it? Hmm….

So lets do something, I am going to write a list of things I can do to stop myself from fearing a blank life’s canvas and continue being motivated in doing what I do. That is living. 

  • Make short term goals

Achievable in nature and not something totally out of the blue. Things like, lost a few kilos (or pounds) saving up to buy this really expensive bag, that classy dress or finish that book you always wanted to read or tv show series you always wanted to see (Dr, Who for me!). So many things to keep yourself occupied with, because the last thing you want to feel is… that your life leads absolutely no where. And not like, this is going to give you the meaning of life and achieve nirvana, but… it will help you look forward to something ALL the time. And really that’s what counts the most. Small little things.

  • Make lists

Oh boy. Lists. Any kind of list, EVERY kind of list. Just write things you always wanted to do, or get, or try or something. Anything. Take a notebook, some colored pencils or glitter pens ( you know you want to use them shiny things) and write down every god damn thing you want to achieve/want/say/try/wish for. As the lists grown bigger you know that you aren’t lost at all. You have all these hopes and dreams and aspirations, and you are continuously doing something every day to achieve them. Today is just one day. Let it pass.

  • Write

Write like the world is producing too much paper and you are its only hope to use them and stop the world from turning into an over spill of paper. Ohkay, that was a horrible metaphor but you get the point. I kid you not, for me, writing has been the only constant thing in my life as the world around me changes. Change is not a bad thing but it gets you down at times knowing things will not be the same. And everyone always has a lot to think about, but not a lot of trust worthy individuals to share them with, so why not write down everything that is in your head? It will keep you calm if you are anxious, settled if you are jumpy and clear if you get all muddles up inside with all thats going around you.

  • Breathe

Thats what I am doing right now and its helping me chill the fudge out. Its normal to feel this way, I know I am feeling unsettled and anxious about the future but I also know that right now there is nothing I can do about it immediately. So, I am just breathing and letting things fall into place. Sounds so simple, doesnt it.

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That’s all I can do right now. Yes, I still feel a little vulnerable on a few fronts but that doesn’t mean I am going to hide myself from experiencing life in all its adventurous glory. Yes, we all have those days and I don’t think there is anything wrong in feeling that way once in a while. It just gives us clarity on the things we HAVE to think about. So its fine. Its perfectly fine. Lets just not make a habit out of it, otherwise it just makes you a whole lot pessimistic.

Right. So.

Hi, I am feeling a little off today and I think its perfectly normal to do so. I am now going to go home after work, make myself green tea and find a friend to talk to while sitting on a bunch of pillows and throwing a huge blanket over myself. Aaaahhhh. =]

What are you going to do? Let me know!

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Pictures courtesy Google.

Things To Know About Your First Real Job

So I have been working with this advertising company for exactly 10 days now and the information I have come to know, realize, read about is immeasurable. Its just a new world altogether so everything you do is on another take on things, So take it from someone who is experiencing it first hand, whatever they tell you about the work life is a Lie till you have experienced it yourself first hand. SO many people, so many thoughts, realizations, everything. So what are the list on things to know about your first real job?

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Here we go:

  • You are going to get fat if you dont get in some routine exercise daily.

Though I dont think much of this applies if your job entitles you to walk around a lot, or go to places and get your butt off a chair. But in my job? Yeah. I sit at a desk from 10 to 6. With the occasional trip to the lunch area or the bathroom or my boss’s desk. This bothers me because I have been a victim of chubbiness when I was younger, but… Due to an (unfortunate) obsession with my weight back in the 9th grade, I lost most of my unwanted fat, lost a good amount of weight, and slowly… My love for food overcame my weight obsession and my days of calorie counting were over! And since then I maintained a fluctuating healthy weight with no compromise on food whatsoever. And being (nearly) 6 foot tall helps the metabolism bit too. Heh.

But thats not the point. The point is… I need some exercise soon.

  • You NEED to have other plans/events/activities to do.

Sitting in a 4 x 4 cubicle, literally spells monotony. If you aren’t careful, you will slowly slip into the shades of grey, fifty or how many ever in number (book is awful) yourself. Which you NEED to avoid at all cost. Notice me Capitalizing the ‘NEED’. Because you have to, have to, have to, have something to look forward to, or to do or experience. It is vital you do your job alongside the a side project to keep your inner vitality and creativity safe from the monotony monsters.

Me? Here is a glorious mini list I made in my head to keep me occupied:

  1. Finish all the damn video games I wanted to play. Currently playing Kingdoms of Amalur, then Portal, Skyrim, AC, and so on. I get an hour or two of gameplay every day if I can.
  2. I’m planning to read a lot. Especially my commute time to work. I load my dear dear 10 year old PPC with ebooks and read away! Currently I’m reading Silver linings playbook by Mathew Quick.
  3. Start up this blog!
  4. Surf Stumbleupon.com like never before! That is another way to keep me occupied for Hours and Hours.
  5. Plan things out. Like a weekend schedule or a Late Night Movie with my younger kid brother.
  6. Research. Ever wondered why the hair around your crown is so fragile? What your body shape is and what suites you? I always wanted to know, but never had the time to google it. So now I am. Alongside working of course!

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  • Talk to more people at work. It helps in many ways.

Networking  is not always using people to make contacts and get ahead of them. I like to think of networking at work as actually talking to people and getting to know them better. You will be working with them after all, so why not acquaint yourself more? It took me 2 days to talk to the girl who sits in the next cubicle as me. I really dont know why. For a week I used to eat lunch alone, thinking the people here have already formulated groups and I’d be just getting in the way, but as a matter of fact I didnt make enough effort. And they welcomed me with hardly any effort on my end. Now (well, for the past 2 days anyway) I sit with them during lunch. They may be a few years older but they are really friendly. Look what I was missing out on, so… you really need to put yourself out there.

  •  Be so SO humbled.

Soo…. I really hope I didnt give out the ‘Spoiled NRI’ vibe. These people are so nice, from humble beginnings and here I go flashing my Micheal Kors bag around for a week. Oh god. I am very humbled from what I have seen and the entire snob facade I had to deal with a majority of my life does apply here! Well… this one is a subjective truth because I know in most work places you dress to impress and get that promotion or whatever. So… I’m lucky that way. Its pretty chilled out here. And I So like it that way.

  •  Its a loooong way to go.

You just started your career! Depending on your priority in life you would considering facing the fact that you have just started and you have a looong way to go. Take my career profile for example. I want to be a creative directory in advertising. And for that I need to go through the levels of: Trainee, Junior copy writer, copy writer, senior copy writer and copy supervisor and then…. CD! Taking 6 months for each, or a year for that matter, it would take me anywhere from 3-6 years. 3 on the really optimistic end. And six on the practical end.

SO dont be disheartened.

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  •  Dont count how many restaurants you are going to visit before your first paycheck.

Save. Save like the world is running out of money and your meager salary will be worth millions soon.

That being said, be practical about you money. Initially we idealize what we are going to buy before we even get our salary. The feeling of financial (part) independence is very overwhelming. Dont let it get to you. Try to save at least 50-60% of your pay, it going to come in hand sooner or later. As for me? That reference was made because i do this thing with a friend where I go to new places and try out new cuisines, but back then, I was happily funded but my dear parents. Now…. its a new whole ball game.

  • Perk up your desk!

Trust me it helps you get through the day. I dont have much on my table right now except an evil eye charm a friend had given to me. But I already have major ideas the moment I get full time. Cant wait!

  • Breathe and STREEEEETCH

God, one week and my back is Killing me. And being tall really doesnt help. You sit at your desk, hunched over a computer screen and soon enough your back feels like crap. You have to take breaks and stretch. I know I need to, considering I get really weird looks from everyone while I do so, but I really dont care. I’m all neck stretch, arms stretch, back stretch, and aaaah. Temporarily. I started googling how to sit at work =| which level your computer screen needs to be and everything. I need a workout too.

  • Keep calm and well… keep calm.

Thats like a mantra in itself. I’m just sittting here, ready to finish week 2, looking forward to the weekend, reminding me I have a loving family and an eccentric set of friends to meet and make plans with and discuss everything there is to talk about work life and a new phase altogether doesnt really make much of a difference. But more of an adventure.

So here is to a new life, a start of one anyway, and I really hope my boss approves my concepts in the next ten minutes.

Back to work!