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Weak Friends are the Best Friends

14 Jul

My memory isn’t as strong as some, constantly deleting irrelevant information to make way for the new. Its why I can go all Sunshine-on-the-Spotless-Mind on most of my past relationships.  Delete enough photos and evidence, I can forget all the snide remarks, half-truths, or the time one of them barely made it to my 29th brunch and birthday party.  Hangovers, am I right?

In the midst of an old profile pic one of the, mostly-removed-from-my memory, dude has a comment….about a comment.  Indicating that my post was phishing for “likes”.  I don’t know who spends their time patrolling the internet, giving out demerits for gregarious popularity and an over abundance of friends.  Trolls, maybe? But I don’t live under a bridge and I’m not tracking likability.

It brings me back to a conversation I’ve been having about real friendships.  The kind where your friends are able to share difficult information with you.  But its not these deep friends that are going to indiscriminately like, post, and read piles of information.  Your bestie can braid your hair, but isn’t going to build your network.  Its what Adam Grant, author of Give and Take, calls “weak ties”.

I see you being judgey. How do weak friends make you strong? Its your weak ties that are able to keep you afloat in the ever booming and extending network.  Even better, when you’re collaborating with so many others, their interests come back to you, too.  Reasons why I enjoy Urban Geek Drinks, brought to you by my favorite weak tie friend Jon Geeting. A local space where people from across Philadelphia can meet, make a new friend, and bring projects to life.

Why should you care about how many likes you receive on your latest podcast or photo?  Something you’re putting out is connecting IMG_3654with a wide audience, far beyond your family unit, and its packing a punch.

You’re likability is now your network to success.

So, cheers! I’ve made it.

I have over 2000 connections on Facebook. Albeit, I lost a few along the way.  The overwhelming number are weak ties. Here’s to a slamming network of collaborators bursting at the seems.  I cannot wait to celebrate your every success.

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Goal-Ready Friends Need Only Apply

10 Jun

I wrote for an essay contest.  Do people still do these things?

I have to give it up to the theMuse.com, this is one of the easiest ways to farm out the grunt work of finding the creative and nuanced ways to rethink careers, advice, and another Top 10 List.  Why do it yourself if you have millions of followers?

Hello?  Hive mind, tell me my fortune. They’re not wrong.  Let me have your expertise.  I can try it on for size, implement, and revise.

I love theMuse and other searing websites, like GetBullish because they remind me that we all have a lot to learn from one another and that my attitude issues, are just a symptom poor perspective.  If you haven’t notice, I’m devouring the heartland at a scorching rate.  

I’m building an empire of side projects, like essays for fun.

 

Career advising is a part of my job description these days, not because I was expertly trained in workforce development or because I can nail anyone’s leadership style in less than five seconds, but because my hobby kept finding its way into conversations on the job. And not just water cooler chatter, real, genuine conversation about choice, passions, and the pains of personal discernment.

I left one of largest cities, flooded with young blood and brimming with the energy for change, from one of the most prestigious universities in the U.S. where political and pop culture icons regularly graced our halls, and diverged from a litany of friendships…for a position in rural Iowa.  For the chance to build my side project into effective change.

It seems crazy to walk away from the allure of what may have been my success. Ten years ago, I would have told you this was all that I wanted. And it was. I had dreamed up this idea of my life and created it—the American dream in true Millennial form.

I’m not sure there is any way to learn this fully without the experience. What I would share with my younger self may not have made a difference.  It may not have even made it across my threshold of awareness for such a stubborn, determined girl.  But I would hope she could see these headlines.Good job

 

Unemployment is the gift of agency.

The anxiety of unemployment can set anyone up to jump at the first good thing. Some folks are lucky enough to be able to pass up a mediocre position or two (that’s called privilege) before settling in for something really engaging. I struggled with waiting to hear back from employers, and my fierce survival instinct kept me hunting for jobs late into the night. It was hard to keep my emotions tempered and not let the mounting feelings of desperation pour out during phone interviews.

It was months into a new position before I had a moment to reflect. Unemployment had been one of the healthiest breaks in my life. For perhaps the first time, I set my own agenda, made my own food, and kept a regular weekly schedule.  I wish, in that moment, I had understood the power of my own agency.

Only recently have I returned to such a pattern, this time with paid work as shared priority with my personal health. I would want to know that my time, the way I spend it, is a valuable asset in my success.

 

You don’t owe anyone, anything.

I had already accepted a position in another state and was midway into packing up my life when a second, more lucrative job was offered, which didn’t include moving and came with way more prestige. I had an ethical dilemma on my hands, so I called up a friend in the New Jersey Department of Employment to discuss my next steps. Her advice would be the single moment of clarity in this decision. She said, “This is America. You don’t owe anyone, anything.”

Perhaps not the good employee behavior I’d been taught or the type of loyalty I’d like to portray, but she was right. Why tie my entrepreneurial spirit down to a dead end job?  My younger self should know being bold will have its consequences.  They are worth it. Say no, don’t shy away from difficult choices, be your own trailblazer.

 

Give Gratitude.

I never expected gratitude to be my blind spot. Today, it’s part of my foundation in building positive work culture and relationships among staff. But I wouldn’t understand the necessity of gratitude until I needed it the most.  Brene Brown recently said,

If we really want more authenticity and vulnerability, and we know that it leads to more creativity and innovation, then why do we continue to create organization and family cultures that punish people for showing up as their whole selves?”

Don’t wait to give gratitude, it’s part of acknowledging who you are and being able to share that with your colleagues.  Gratitude is part of building a better more creative environment, personally and professionally.

While there may be many things I would hope to teach myself, I’m glad I’ve learned from my community as they helped shape me as a leader, employee, and friend.  I have such gratitude for my initial mentors, my first supervisor, and my students, who never cease to challenge me.

I am most surprised to find I’m braver than I’d imagined. Pushing myself beyond my areas of comfort, uprooting my life to better become the person I’ve dreamed about.  More so than ever, I’m better at taking my own advice.

Speak Louder Than Words

3 Jun

For years I burned CDs and made mixes for the people I cared about.  Today, some folks still make annual compilations of the year, I’m always a fan of the new Girl Talk. I hear tape decks are back in style. 

The last mix I made was over six years ago for Drew, and long time musician and my then boyfriend.  The mix making was really his wheel house and one of the ways he showed his love for me.  A small, intensly thoughtful gift.

The last year and half have posed some of my most difficult challenges, most obviously my struggle with depression, continued negative patterns in relationships, and understanding the role of positive communities (personally and professionally) in my overall health.

I made this mix for all the folks who played a part in the last few months.  Designed from start to finish in chronological order from January 2015- May 2016.  I know it certainly hasn’t been easy and I honor each of you in your own way. Love shouldn’t be scarce. So, I love you and wanted to make a small, thoughtful gift to share.

Time Passes

12 May

There is nothing you will read here that isn’t at least 2 years old.  A few new edits and few moves, but everything feels a bit dusty, slow, and left behind.

This is what failure looks like.

It feels like drowning without knowing you can’t swim.  Doing your 100% in the wrong direction. This is 3 years of being totally consumed by things other than myself. By my work, by the interests of others, by energy poured into another with no return.  Sounds bleak.

But where would I be without my crass humor?  My ability to be in the most dysfunctional situation and find beauty.  Bleak is a literal exposure to the elements, likening its softer existence to being windswept.  I am windswept. I’m stormswept with levees to break.

Change isn’t a warm, comforting feeling, like a down blanket on a cold winters night.  Its a gut wrenching jolt into the cold waters of reality, where I find myself wriggling in the bitter chill, gasping for air.  Because I can’t breathe when I’m drowning, no matter how much I dream for the sun.  

Not every neighborhood is meant to be rebuilt.

I started reading again.  I believe there will be a lot of “agains”.

“The ‘Brilliant Masses’ are composed of nothing less than the many great people of our generation, the bright, the talented, the intelligent, and resourceful– far too many of whom are operating at a quarter-speed, unsure of their place in the world, contributing far too little to the productive engine of modern civilization…all feeling like they haven’t come close to living up to their potential… Being guided by the heart is almost never something an intellectually motivated person chooses to do.  Its something that happens to them–usually something painful.” – What should I do with My Life? by Po Bronson

Let’s not wait.

Let’s get dangerous.

Let’s make champions.

Make the Move

11 May

You know it.  Philly has been calling you, or at least all of your friends have been calling you from Philly asking for you to come “home” already.

Truth, Philly is dirty, trash strewn, and real.  I mean, really real.  Maybe the education system is not one you want to put your little ones through, as if you have kids… Eagles fans piss you off (lets go Steelers!)  or you’ve heard the troubled whoas of SEPTA.

But you are still interested in moving to our gritty city.  Why?  Because your neighbors are solid, and always there to lend you some sugar, or a beer.  Because your hood is the best, especially when you throw down the best block parties.  Because rent it cheap, work is abundant, and your urban family loves you hard.

Welcome home, come find your spot.

I Hate Spring

10 Jun

It makes me want to fuck like a rabbit.  These pollens make me stupid and what I “need” is a Greek tragedy to get over myself.  Where art thou Romeo?  I’ve got some nightshade and teen angst to kill.  So, I do the best to protect my total idiocy.  I put stop gaps in my behavior, reminders to check myself.  Is this me or Mother Nature?

I can curb my carnal instincts (someone punch me before I hurt myself). Although these recent articles beg for the realization that I might just be on point.

But not street dudes, harping around like a bunch of birds in heat.  I feel like I’ve stepped into Discovery’s Plant Earth segment about mating calls.  I hear you baby, cat calling, sidewalk hustling, lip smacking.  Aren’t there rules for this?

You know what will really win me over? Serenade me at midnight while I walk down a dark street. Slide your hand along my ass as you inappropriately linger too long in the trolley car.  Aggressively scream that you’ll steal me from my roommate who you’ve assumed is my boyfriend. 

Don’t get me wrong.  There are unbelievably awkward moments that result in successful relationships. Like the Fu Wah guy’s sister, for instance, was followed by an Eagles player that came into her restaurant and bought her flowers on the daily.  Maybe if he wasn’t a popular sports figure, we would think this was creepy.

I still think its creepy.  But I also think cute Asian chicks have their own personal seduction hell.

This is all to say how excited I am about Hollaback Philly!  They did some work in my hood and are headed to be a panel at the Trans-Health Conference this weekend.

 

 

Yo, white girl, you a 10!

Thanks, I wonder what a full 100 looks like?

Winter Never Looked So Good.

3 Dec

Winter in Delaware. Real beach life.

Space Filler

16 Dec

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell would call me a Connector, or at least that’s what my mother says. (I can’t say I’ve read past p.87 in the book). Ultimately, I seek out and research information and want to share it with anyone who can use it.  For me, this is typically location based.  My current location is West Philadelphia.  I am not a part of every circle here, but I intend to be.

So this is the beginning of my collection of information.  I will tag each post accordingly in hopes that a person like me, will find this, and use it.  The link to the right bottom says Greensboro N.C. Hot Bed (and first true love) is a link to the blog We Strike Straight.  Eric, the creator and moderator of We Strike Straight, asked me….first true love?  Greensboro is my first true, and awkward, love of a city.  From the outside Greensboro looks like a slow city catching up with the times, but just beyond the surface, an extensive and loving community awaits.  My first true love.

So there’s my beginning.  I fell in love with Greensboro N.C. and left it for Philadelphia P.A.