Glamour Magazine to Reese Witherspoon, January 2011: What would you say you love most about your life?
RW: Sunday mornings. Even when I was a child, Sunday morning was the barometer for how the week was going to go. You can learn a lot about yourself and what you’re doing and who you’re with on a Sunday.
I am happy to spend my Sunday with you, and hope you find today’s post cute.
One of the lessons I retained from Sesame Street is C is for Cookie. I am currently living large this Sunday at Levain Bakery with what the New York Times labeled, “the largest, most divine chocolate chip cookie in Manhattan.”
When baked, the cookie doesn’t spread out flat (thanks to the secret recipe), so it is not only big, but fat. Because of the size of the cookie, the centers are not entirely cooked. Sort of like many 20-something Careers. Which brings me to a call I received almost a year ago.
There was my life-changing phone call I mentioned in Home is Where the Dessert Is. That’s a little ahead of the game. Before that call, came a different one from one of my best friends, who’s name is coincidentally C.C.
“I HATE him!” C.C said softly. She was sobbing. She hardly ever cries.
“What’s wrong? What happened?”
“He called me the C-word. And I DON’T mean cookie!”
C.C. had moved to Los Angeles in search of change—the experience of living away from home and starting a career. After interning, interviewing, and the sweet taste of recession 2008/2009, she finally took an assistant position (which she was overqualified for) with the hope of, “you never know where this will take you.” She commuted an hour and a half every day to work, and it took her to a cantankerous, prone to cursing boss.
I was disheartened with my own job. After layoffs earlier in the year (publishing and magazines were hit hard by the recession), my marketing coordinator responsibilities extended to ad operations, production, research, and many other functions that are typically positions in themselves. At first, and still now, I was grateful for my role. I learned everything I know from this job, and it was a fast, robust education that thoroughly equipped me to do anything at a magazine. I didn’t want to complain, because I was happy to even have a job given the economic climate. That being said, I was soon overworked, felt under appreciated, and like C.C., had a capricious supervisor. My day to day experience felt like a continual castrophe.
My dissatisfaction at work was the chief contributor to my unhappiness at home, and certainly played a significant role in the crumbling of my relationship. And how can it not? It’s unrealistic to expect work life to not effect personal life when we spend 8-10+ hours a day at the office. The “leave work at the office” mentality is a nice thought, but a lofty goal for driven men or women—especially in major markets, and especially when you spend said hours there.
We aren’t always going to get along with the people we work with, or the people we are in relationships with. But we have to respect them. (Side note: Seth Godin’s blog post today is all about mutual respect at the office, with a nice tip to sign notes, “With Respect”). At work, we are charged with solving problems immediately, and rewarded for efficient solutions. In relationships, thing don’t always happen when you want them to. People aren’t always ready to talk or handle a situation when you are. And like baking a perfect cookie, you have to wait for everything to cool in relationships. The conflicting tactics are…confusing.
C.C and I stayed in our jobs because we had to. You never have to stay in a bad relationship.
Every job in our twenties isn’t supposed to be perfect. They are supposed to be opportunities to learn and develop a skill set. Part of that education is often committing to what is right for you, and learning about what is wrong. One interesting position came from A Life in Translation blogger, Jaime Varon, in a guest post for the Brazen Careerist all about the reasoning behind quitting a job after two weeks and learn more from job hopping.
The time in these positions made us realize how lucky we are now. You can’t know good without the bad. C.C. came home from work one evening and caught up with a neighbor who was appalled that she was getting home from the office at 1 a.m. He hooked her up with an HR contact at a major entertainment corporation, and she is now part of that very company herself (hint: Cinderella).
When I walked into the Hearst building, it felt like a castle in a cloud. I knew I wanted to be there more than anything. Much more than I wanted to reconcile with Him. I had my first interview. Then a second. And then received another call. With an offer.
Sometimes things come when you need them the most. Amidst the chaos of my relationship ending, wondering where I would live, and fighting the change, came a different kind of change. A chance to be something more. And an opportunity for a fresh start.
I love going to work every day. Love it. I get to be creative, and have a voice. I work with cordial, caring people who have become friends. But I never would have had the awareness of my luck without knowing the flip side, or the capabilities that make me an asset without climbing the ladder. And with my check, I can go out and buy cookies.