job

365 Challenge: Day 175 – Current Job

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Current Job: job I currently hold, better known as, soon-to-be-author

writer

OK, so I’m not famous right now, but a boy can dream!

Sunday posts, the end of each week, have become a theme on This-Is-My-Truth-Now, organized by groups of five (5) focused on interesting things about my life. I’m continuing the trend of the seventh day, ending the week on Sunday, as a list (we know I love them) that provides more in depth knowledge about me.

  • Weeks 1 – 5: Primary ethnicity groups and nationalities
  • Weeks 6 – 10: A to Z Favorites
  • Weeks 11 – 15: Colors with an important meaning
  • Weeks 16 – 20: Cities I’ve lived

The current set of 5 Sundays covers the major groups of roles / jobs / positions I’ve held over my career. Though I have had about fifteen titles over the years, when I broke it down into smaller groups, week five is all about the job I currently hold: AUTHOR.

When I first organized this series of Sunday posts, I thought I’d end with the last one (technology), but I decided “a look to the future” was more important than a “summary of the past.” I had a post months ago with the word ‘writer‘ and don’t want to repeat myself. In that one, I talked about the steps a writer goes through. Today, I want to discuss the type of author I plan to be, as well as what I believe the role of an author should be among the crowd of a very saturated field full of brilliance.

writer

Every job has a purpose and a client. Nobody works without a reason or without someone to serve. It’s easy when you have a boss who guides your goals and work ethic. It’s not so easy when you are on your own trying to figure it out, or worse yet, have hundreds of people to satisfy. As an author, you are tasked with delivering a little bit of everything to a variety of personalities with a limitless set of perspectives and opinions. It can be quite scary or it can be very fulfilling. When I think about why I want to be an author, it’s fairly simple. I enjoy making people happy. And people includes myself.

As I go about my business each day, from cooking to mailing a letter, my mind is always active. I see characters, hear conversations, conjure up conflict. All because I am highly creative when it comes to building a world for other people. It’s almost like auto-pilot in some respects. When you have a physical or tangible job, you often don’t focus on each step, whether it’s lift the bucket, mix in the cement, pour the water, spread the paste… whatever it is you are doing as part of your job. It’s the same for me as an author. My fingers hit the keys. The pen releases ink. The words get saved. And somehow, a few hours later, there’s a finished chapter full of fantastic and not-so-fantastic content. It’s not as if I’m consciously typing away, thinking about every little word. Sometimes a character shows up with green eyes, and when I read it later, I wonder how did I decide on that? I didn’t stop while I was writing to say, “should they be blue or green?” When I edit, I might stumble upon a theme where I consciously change descriptions to present a more holistic image. But during that initial draft, it sometimes happens without me even knowing it.

In reality, I do know it. I know it because when I put the garbage out last night, I might have seen a green box in the recycle bin and stored it away for later use. It happens all the time. I heard a word someone says on the street and it shows up in dialogue the next morning. I feel a pain in my leg while working out and somehow incorporate that into a scene the following week. Things just happen for authors. At least for this author. It’s a beautiful thing, but no more beautiful than all the efforts everyone else puts in to complete their jobs day-in and day-out. What’s different for an author is figuring out how to make your readers happy. And that’s the important part for me. As much as I want to get some praise, build an amazing piece of literature or earn money, those are never the first things that come to mind when I think about why I want to be an author.

People need a break from life. They need to be entertained. They need to find knowledge. They need alternative opinions. They need to be inspired. They need to feel loved. They need to cry. They need to know things might not be okay at first but there’s always a tomorrow to look forward to. When I started the 365 Daily Challenge, and it was about my own thoughts and future, I was a little bit nervous to share so much about who I am. While I’m basically a good person, I have made mistakes, hurt others and failed to do the right thing. But so has everyone else. And so have the characters jumping from my head and on to the pages you read. And that’s where it comes together for me. I want my writing to speak to people in a way they didn’t know they needed. I want someone to find hope in their own struggles by seeing what happens to another person. I want to find inspiring words to help people figure out how to move forward with every aspect of their day. It might seem odd, but it’s what runs through my mind as I develop plot, setting and character descriptions.

When I’m officially published in less than two months, I feel I have a responsibility to carry this effort forward not only as a writer but as an author. And there’s a difference in those two words, at least for me. A writer creates fiction and non-fiction. But an author is someone who gives his/her life to their readers in a way that establishes a relationship. I want to be able to interact with readers, hear ideas, understand what they like and dislike. I enjoy getting messages across all the social media platforms making connections with people through every medium possible. Life is too short to sit in a locked room for hours every day, writing and writing until you get to the point that you have a brilliant piece of work, but no one to read it, to feel it, to embrace it… to share it with.

My goal as an author is to publish 3 books per year. That’s a lot. But I’ve always been an over-achiever. It takes me about 2 months to write and 2 months to outline and edit. At that rate, I could be successful in reaching the 3-book goal. Maybe it’ll be 5 every two years just to play it safe. In between, there is so much more. From networking to building a bridge with readers, not just online but in person. And for me, it can’t ever be about sitting in a bookstore signing a copy and saying “next.” That’s not who I am. I’d rather sell less books and meet people more frequently. I’d rather make enough money to survive and be happy before earning millions simply because people flock to it. What good is it to me if someone reads the book and I don’t know how they felt about it? I know I can’t connect with every reader, but I’ll certainly go as far as I possibly can with trying to.

And I hope some day to expand beyond fiction. Sure, I can write a mystery or romance or fantasy novel if I set my mind to it. But what if I can cross platforms through something that both helps people navigate their day and tells them a remarkable story. I woke up the other morning thinking about a book I feel the need to write. It’s basically “The Adventures & Lessons of X.” We are all “X” in this novel. Like the 365 Daily Challenge, it would be a frequent and regular story full of characters just like us, but with an opportunity to show people the brighter side of life. And I feel like that’s what could set me apart from being just “another writer” versus “an author who make a difference.” And I mean no offense to writers in the former description. They are brilliant and valuable for everything they deliver. But that’s not who I am. My mind is already plotting out the next iteration of the 365 Daily Challenge. I think it needs to be an electronic-only installment series based on fictional characters who go through life, facing the challenges we all face. Maybe meant to start with someone in teenage years, learning all about how to live the best life possible. Not a self-help book. Not a list of things to do. A shared connection between me and readers that helps us all find someone to relate to on many levels.

Perhaps I make no sense. Perhaps this resonates. In the end, the only truth I want to get across here is that my greatest hope in this new and hopefully final role of my career, which will extend for a very long time, as an author, is to truly deliver what readers want to receive. With that, I’ll sign off, as I’ve gotten more philosophical than I planned. Thank you for listening and being so incredibly supportive. I am blessed.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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365 Challenge: Day 174 – Line

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Line: (a) the type of work you do, (b) a TV quiz show that ran from 1950 to 1967

line

I have been a fan of game shows since I was a small child, watching Price is Right whenever I found myself home sick from school or catching Jeopardy after dinner each night. As I grew older, I navigated to other quiz shows, occasionally catching a re-run on network or cable television. Sometime last year, W suggested we give the TV quiz show ‘What’s My Line?’ a chance. He often watches shows that are older than either of us, earning a nickname that in my opinion is absolutely spot on. He doesn’t agree and forbids me for ever sharing it. Ah, I digress. We watched an episode and I immediately found myself hooked. It’s now recorded through our cable on demand system, and we usually catch a few episodes each week before bed. When I asked him for ideas on what I could pre-post about, he suggested this show, hence today’s 365 Daily Challenge word being ‘line’ as a tribute to this wonderful blast from the past.

The show first aired in 1950 on the CBS network, running until 1967 when it was unfortunately canceled. It’s been re-booted a few times, and had versions all over the world, but I have only watched this original one. There is a host and four panelists who regularly appear on the show, along with 4 to 6 different guest contestants. The basic premise: panelists ask questions of the contestant to try to guess their line, that is, their type of work. The question must be in the form of a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, and if it’s ‘no,’ then the contestant gets a point. After 10 points, equivalent to $50, if the panelists haven’t figured out the exact line of work, the contestant wins the money. If the panelist does guess the line, then it was just a fun quiz for everyone to watch; they do keep whatever money they earned up until the panelist guesses correctly. One of the guests each night is a celebrity or person with some level of fame, called the ‘mystery guest,’ and in those segments, the panelists wear a blindfold so that they cannot see the person. Often the audience reactions will help navigate the line of questions, as laughs or boos will help decide how to proceed.

The re-runs we’ve been watching are from the mid-1950s and usually have the same 5 panelists and hosts, so I am only focusing on them; however, given the show ran for 15+ years, and there were multiple deaths, there are a slew of others that participated from time to time. John Charles Daley hosted the show. The four panelists we most often see are Dorothy Kilgallen, Arlene Francis, Bennett Cerf, and Fred Allen. Each were quite famous on their own, but the show helped boost their careers even more. The panelists needed to have a certain star appeal, but also know a lot about the goings-on in Hollywood and politics in order to guess the mystery guest each week. Whenever they were on vacation, others filled in on the panel, including stars such as Betty White and Desi Arnaz. For the most part, I am familiar with the celebrities that join as the mystery guest, but they have definitely stumped me on a few. It’s amusing to watch them use different voices or sounds when their own voice is too recognizable.

Another truly fantastic part of the show are the sponsors: Stopette and Remington Rand. When Stopette advertises the perfume and deodorants, it’s absolutely hilarious to hear the words they use and see the images and graphics in support of the products. Whenever they say ‘poof,’ I crack up laughing because it’s just so absurd to think this sold more products. But I also know it was quite a different time and television was relatively new for this type of advertising. I keep comparing it to the TV show Mad Men, wondering how these commercials ever got a green light approval. When I watch Remington show us what their razor is capable of doing, and someone plugging it into his car while driving, I lose it. Or when they literally shave the fuzzy skin off a peach to show you how close it can get, I am unable to stop myself from cackling. The best is when they show the computers that will change the filing system for women who are trying to keep track of records for their tired old bosses. It was a different time, one I wish I lived in for a few years. Oh, the humor of it all.

Below is a link to the Wikipedia page so that you can read up on its history, as well as all the different hosts, panelists and guests. The concept of the show is pretty spot on, especially when you think that people’s jobs have always been their identify. Even now in 2017, when you meet someone new, they ask you what you do for work. I can imagine nearly 60 years ago saying to someone, ‘what’s your line?’ during introductions. As much as things change, they always stay the same, wouldn’t you say? Apart from learning about people, you also learn what type of jobs were more popular back during this time period. For instance, they brought on the strangest things like a flag pole climber. I remember watching that episode being stumped as to how that could be a job. As an audience member, you know the person’s job, as it flashes on the screen, so it’s not like I waited until all the questions had been asked to find out. But realizing what people did for work is pretty amazing.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What%27s_My_Line%3F

If I had more time, I would have posted a bit more about each of the hosts. I have a connection to all of them, albeit in weird ways. One of them was a founder of Random House, a publisher. Another was a gossip columnist, a writer of sorts. I am an author, so this was something cool for me to see. And on top of all that, one of the panelists died under very mysterious circumstances. She had been reporting on something very controversial to the JFK assassination, when suddenly she was found dead of a very odd drug overdose; many believe she was murdered for the information she had been about to publish!

Sometimes nostalgia kicks in and you want to watch a little piece of history, to connect to things maybe your parents or grandparents lived through. And for some of my friends on here, you may have even watched this show the first time around as a child. I’ve love to hear your thoughts on it. How about all of you — ever watched the show? Have another cool blast from the past like this to share?

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Book Review: The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse

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4 out of 5 stars to The Art of Hiding, a family drama novel published in July 2017 and written by Amanda Prowse. I adored this book and am so glad I read it; let’s get right into the review.

hiding

Why This Book
A few months ago, I’d finished reading ‘The Idea of You,’ by this author. I really enjoyed the book, and when ‘The Art of Hiding’ showed up on my NetGalley feed, I had to request it. I forgot that they approved my request until last week, when I went to select whatever was next to be published as my next book to start reading. I’d been so busy writing my own novel, I missed the publish date for this one. So I quickly read it in 2+ days to get caught up.

Plot, Characters & Setting
Nina McCarrick, a mid-30s mother of two boys, 10 and 14, lives a wonderful life on a beautiful Southampton, England estate. That is, until her husband unexpectedly dies and she learns all was not what he’d been telling her. Suddenly losing her life high up on the hill, she’s forced to turn to all her friends and family for assistance. One person takes her in, helping re-build a life for both Nina and the boys. Nina begins to learn the difference between losing your own identity and being part of a married couple. Sometimes, it isn’t a good idea to give up control of all aspects of your life, as when it comes crashing down, you’ll have no idea what to expect.

Approach & Style
I read this novel through Kindle Reader on my iPad over the course of two and a half days. It is about 300 pages long, divided into 15 chapters, all told from Nina’s perpsective in third person point of view. The language is simple but meaningful; it reads itself as you feel immersed in the world Prowse has created for her readers. You could probably read this all in one day over 4 to 5 hours if you kept focused, and it would definitely be an enjoyable read.

Strengths
Prowse tells intricate family stories full of complexity and drama; not so much with everyone around the main characters, but within their small family unit. I felt the same way about one of her other books, and I’ve now come to realize this is her style; this is who the author is and what she excels at.

Nina is easy to relate with, given she is a new widow and has young boys to care for. She has no job, her skills are mostly outdated according to anyone she runs into. You immediately feel a strong connection with the woman, wanting to see her succeed. She’s a wonderful mother. She doesn’t sugarcoat the truth either. She dances around it a bit, hoping not to devastate her children, but she also knows hiding their situation will do more harm than good.

It’s not a suspense story, yet I only put it down because it was midnight and had to wake up early the next morning. You feel as though the events unfold right in your own living room as you are reading, and simply do not want to miss a moment of the beauty and pain inside this family.

Concerns
Very little with this book. It wasn’t a huge and amazing story that captures a tremendous amount of ground. It’s simple and thought-provoking. I felt it could have used a little more clarity around the death of the father and the days leading up to it. At the same time, it all came as a shock to Nina, so why shouldn’t it come as a shock to readers, too. But in the end, I would have connected a bit more strongly if I had some current history. Just a smidge.

On occasion, the relationship Nina had with others felt a bit fake. I thought it was necessary to the plot in some places, but it was a little too much in other places. Sometimes the balance between her being a lonely and hidden wife versus a lonely and hidden widow losing everything wasn’t as clear as I’d have liked it to be. A few extra paragraphs explaining how she interacted with her ‘friends’ before she became a widow might have helped give it more substance and a range between the two people she needed to be during the course of the book. I also think her ‘lows’ weren’t low enough, meaning she needed to struggle more in finding a job, not being able to pay bills. There was some of this impact, but a few things were a little too hunky dory for my taste.

Final Thoughts
Amanda Prowse is quickly becoming 1 of my top 10 favorite authors. I actually marked five more of her books as ‘to-read’ today since I’ve read two and given then both 4’s. I’m going to search NetGalley after I post this review to see if I can get my greedy little hands on more. This woman can really write stories that straddle that line between heartbreak and the promise of a better day.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 168 – Technology Jobs

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Technology Jobs: jobs I held in the technology field across multiple companies over the last 15 years

tech.jpg

Sunday posts, the end of each week, have become a theme on This-Is-My-Truth-Now, organized by groups of five (5) focused on interesting things about my life. I’m continuing the trend of the seventh day, ending the week on Sunday, as a list (we know I love them) that provides more in depth knowledge about me.

  • Weeks 1 – 5: Primary ethnicity groups and nationalities
  • Weeks 6 – 10: A to Z Favorites
  • Weeks 11 – 15: Colors with an important meaning
  • Weeks 16 – 20: Cities I’ve lived

The current set of 5 Sundays covers the major groups of roles / jobs / positions I’ve held over my career. Though I have had about fifteen titles over the years, when I broke it down into smaller groups, week four is all about the jobs I held in the largest portion of my career — technology management. I worked in the three primary industries and companies during this period: (1) telecommunications, (2) retail consumer products, (3) entertainment, media and sports industry.

  • Senior Vice President
  • Vice-President
  • Director
  • Project Manager
  • Senior Business Analyst

 

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In last week’s segment, we ended me with working as a process analyst, designing and documenting all the policies, procedures and processes that were used to run the technology department in the company where I worked. Once that project was completed, they broke apart my group and assigned us to different parts of the organization based on skill-set. I’d apparently picked up on the requirements gathering, testing and training components of software development, which meant I would become a Business Analyst (BA). In this role, you meet with all the prospective users of new software to document their needs and requirements. You then work with the programmers and developers who code them. Once the software is built, as a BA you participate in testing the new features and then training the end users in how to make it work for them. I held this role for about two years, promoted to a Senior BA, focusing on the software our company built for email, cable on demand and internet-based phones in the telecommunications industry. I enjoyed it most when I delivered a product that made my customers happy. I also loved building and writing the testing and training plans.

My mentor pulled me aside one day, noting that I have incredibly strong management and organizational skills. She wanted me to become a project manager, which would oversee all these initiatives to build the new software rather than be the person on the team actually building them. I thought it would be a good career option, so I took courses, got certified and became a project manager. Around this time is when I took a one year hiatus and moved to California, where I worked for Sephora US in their corporate division. I blogged a bit about this in the San Francisco post, so I won’t repeat it here. I enjoyed working there and wish I was back in the wonderful world of consumer products and retail.

After returning to NYC, I implemented at least 30 new systems over the following few years until the financial crisis in 2005 when the Sarbanes-Oxley financial control regulations were implemented on all public companies. I was asked to lead this initiative for one of the parent companies subsidiaries, which meant I had to commute into NYC every day to meet with the various business areas. I took this initiative on for about 6 months and when it was completed, the CIO asked me to join her as a Director in her organization. Soon after, I found myself living in Long Island, taking the train 90 minutes each way into Manhattan to work as a middle management level leader in the technology department.  This is when my career took off and I developed a very special bond with my mentor. She’s now someone I consider family and we talk all the time.

Over the next 8 years, I climbed the corporate ladder and ran nearly every part of the whole department during my tenure. I also worked heavily with our legal, procurement, human resources, communications, operations, finance and audit departments, building my full range of corporate skills. By the time I left in the summer of 2016, I’d amassed an enormous amount of knowledge about how companies work. All of these skills are things I apply every day in my personal life, but also that my personal life taught me how to best do in the business world. When you’re organized, and you take a very holistic approach to things you do, these are known as transferable skill sets. Even now, as I focus on building out a plan for launching my first book and then the second one, it’s all these skills I’ve learned, which will contribute to making me successful in the future.

While I was very good at all of these technology jobs, it was not my primary passion. Choosing to leave this life was not an easy decision, but it was the best step in my career last year. I may go back in the future if I decide writing doesn’t work out for me, but I will be very cautious about the type of environment and industry I choose. I want to have a passion every day when I “go to work,” not a feeling of being disconnected from the things that make me happy. And this will lead us into the fifth and final portion of my list of careers, next week, when we conclude with “writer.”

Or is it comedian???

If you really want to know more about this side of my life, I have another professional WordPress (WP) website called “The Art of the Balanced Perfectionist,” where you can see my resume, projects and philosophy @ https://jamescudney4.com.  Anyone else work in a company for over 15 years? In technology? Have thoughts on these worlds? Share away…

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 164 – Work

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Work: mental or physical activity as a means of earning income; employment

work.jpg

As I began preparing my Sunday post for the next round of jobs, I realized that I never covered what the concept of a job means. I found something I had drafted in part awhile ago, realizing it was apropos to dust off and release as a clean and new version to stimulate our 365 Daily Challenge discussions. For most of us, jobs exist to provide money to meet the basic staples of life:  food, water, shelter, warmth, etc. For some of us, jobs aren’t a requirement (That’s not me!). We may have a significant other, parent or spouse who pays the bills. We may be retired or amassed an income of wealth where work is no longer necessary.  We may be too sick to work.  For those of us who work because we need to “put the roof over our head,” there is an extreme variance between selecting a job we like and selecting a job we do not like.

Our jobs are generally chosen early on in life… or at least the general type of job or industry we will work in.  When we finish school (be it grammar school, high school, college or graduate work), we enter the workforce in some fashion.  Many of us choose — and are lucky enough — to go to college for 4 years right after high school.  By my fourth year, I was tired of school and wanted to enter a true workforce.  And I did, but I never went back for a graduate degree, which I do regret in many ways and find myself contemplating whether I should do so now.

Regardless, by choosing college, we choose to enter a certain type of workforce where we are in the business world putting in a typical 8 to 9 hour day, 5 days a week and the occasional night or weekend overtime requirements… (ok, for me it’s more like 12 hours a day and way more than occasional nights and weekends — but that’s an entirely different thread from this one.)

Whether we’re in technology or finance or sales or marketing or human resources doesn’t matter.  What matters is that there is a fairly routine expectation of putting in a full day’s work for a full day’s pay.  Our pay grows as our experience and commitment grows. It’s up to each individual person to find their own work-life balance, at least in the USA where they like to work you to the bone!

But what if it’s still just a job.  We may have good days. We may have bad days. Sometimes the unsettled feelings we have can go on for years.  We can blame the culture of the company, or we can blame ourselves for staying for so long.  We can blame our family for living in the same place, making it hard for us to want to move somewhere else, or we can blame society for making changes and transitions too difficult.  We can blame a lot.

And that’s probably part of the issue.  We really should only blame ourselves.  And blame only goes so far.  We can choose to leave. We can choose to move on. We can choose a different path.  Yet we haven’t always done so generally for fear of losing money or not being busy.

So I started thinking… do we know what will make us happy in a job?  We’d all like to think so, but are we really sure…  Is it about the hours?  Is it about the pay?  Is it about the people?  Is it about the volume?  Is it about the benefits? Well, actually… shouldn’t it be about the actual work?  Shouldn’t it be about tasks that we enjoy doing?  Shouldn’t it be in an industry we relate to?  Shouldn’t it be about something in which we have strong interest?

The answer is  generally “yes” for most people; it is undoubtedly “yes” for me. Some folks want a job that is different from all the things they need or choose in their life simply to have variety or to not get too invested or attached in any one single thing.  For most of us, it needs to be something we have passion for.  Passion not in an obsessive way. Passion in a way where we enjoy doing the work all day and although the day is over, we want to go home and get away for a bit because we know it will be there again the next morning and will continue to keep us happy.

Back to blame…  we can’t blame others for not letting ourselves get to that “yes.”  We have to make the plan. We have to prioritize all the steps and pieces. We have to weigh each item and possibly decide some needs won’t be met immediately.

If we keep telling ourselves this and thinking beyond the immediate perimeter, we will eventually start to believe.  But it’s hard. And it always will be unless we keep at it every day until it becomes part of our routine and experience. We need to get away from blaming, complaining and getting frustrated.   We have to put ourselves in the driver’s seat and accept all the decisions we need to make to move forward.

I chose to follow my heart last year around this time and left a very promising career in technology (you’ll hear all about it in Sunday’s post) to become a writer (which you’ll hear about in the following Sunday’s post). It’s not easy. It’s scary. But there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t realize how grateful, lucky and happy I now am.

How have you chosen your jobs or made the changes necessary to get in the driver’s seat for your career? What’s next in your occupational world?

 

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 161 – Corporate Jobs

Posted on

Corporate Jobs: jobs I held immediately after college where I learned about corporate operations and business management

corporate.jpg

 

Sunday posts, the end of each week, have become a theme on This-Is-My-Truth-Now, organized by groups of five (5) focused on interesting things about my life. I’m continuing the trend of the seventh day, ending the week on Sunday, as a list (we know I love them) that provides more in depth knowledge about me.

  • Weeks 1 – 5: Primary ethnicity groups and nationalities
  • Weeks 6 – 10: A to Z Favorites
  • Weeks 11 – 15: Colors with an important meaning
  • Weeks 16 – 20: Cities I’ve lived

The current set of 5 Sundays covers the major groups of roles / jobs / positions I’ve held over my career. Though I have had about fifteen titles over the years, when I broke it down into smaller groups, week three is all about the jobs I held in the beginning part of my post-college career.

  • Quality Assurance Analyst
  • Copywriter
  • Associate Technical Writer
  • Process Analyst

 

 jos.jpg

When we left off last week, I’d just gotten my college degree with a major in English and a few minors in the business world. What’s a guy to do when he has to make that long drive home from Pennsylvania all the way back to Long Island after graduation? Search for this first job, of course! It was May 1999. I arrived home on Saturday afternoon. I took no breaks. First thing Sunday morning, I combed through Newsday, our local paper, and selected a bunch of jobs that seemed appropriate for a smart guy with no real specific business skills or knowledge of what he wanted to do. One of those jobs was for Cablevision, the cable provider in the tri-state area, whose headquarters were in Bethpage — also the town in which I grew up and lived. I sent out my resume via fax from my computer… so if that doesn’t date me, along with the 1999 comment above, then you aren’t paying enough attention!

They called me that afternoon… “Do you really live in Bethpage?” … I said Yes … {Aside: Why would I lie about this?} … They had me in for an interview the next morning at 9 and by 12, they’d called back to offer a job as a contractor with one of their current consulting companies. They called me a Quality Assurance Analyst. Since the world was going to end a few months later when the Y2K (Year 2000) arrived, they needed someone to read all the letters from their vendors on the status of whether all the products that Cablevision used were Y2K-compliant. {Aside: Personally, I’d have used the time differently if the world was gonna end, but you know, that’s just me being silly.} Since I had strong communication and technical skills, they assumed I’d be good at this type of work. I was the final member of a ten-person team hired that summer, and we worked side-by-side for the next 7 months all in the name of preventing a complete and utter computer meltdown glitch. I like to think we saved the world, since no glitch happened. Must mean I was 1 of 10 heroes or heroines, right? Anyhoo… I worked on databases, mailings, reports, metrics and presentations.

When it ended (Y2K, not the world in case you were wondering), they asked me to join a team moving to work on similar types of tools but in NYC. I said ‘no,’ as I didn’t want to commute over an hour each way. At 22, I still hadn’t spent a lot of time in the city and didn’t want to overwhelm myself. I’d also just moved in with someone who followed me back from PA, as we’d begun dating right before graduation. He signed a lease in Bethpage to be near me, so I couldn’t just up and leave, right? So… my contract at Cablevision ended, which lead me to searching for a job again. I applied for an Office Manager role at an advertising agency, but they talked me into accepting a job as a Copywriter. They liked my writing background and business knowledge, assuming I’d be highly creative in their campaigns. Let me just start out by saying this was the truly the only job where I’ve ever been fired. I was writing marketing copy for a mannequin company, trying to describe mannequins in brochures and catalogs for prospective buyers. I told the truth. They didn’t want the truth. They wanted it to sound dreamy and wonderful. I’m thinking… it’s a mannequin. You put clothes on it and sell things. How much copy do you really need? Cutthroat business, I suppose. After 2 months, they had the “talk.” I wasn’t working out, but I could stay for two days and then be out of a job. Me being the pushy guy I really never had been before… argued for two weeks, noting that’s what I would have given if I chose to leave. They understood and let me stay for 2 weeks additional pay. I looked them up a few months later. They had gone out of business.

Jobless again, but only for one day. My former boss at Cablevision called to say they had a full-time job for me. I interviewed with several people and accepted the role of Associate Technical Writer, where I was responsible for writing all the training and user guides for all the software systems utilized at Cablevision. My knowledge of writing, education and technology was a great skill, they said. And it actually turned out to be something I was quite adept at. One would think that with two titles including the word “writer” in my job role, I’d have tried to write my novel back then. But no… I had to do it the hard way. Go work full-time jobs for another 15 years before finally caving in. More about that in a couple of weeks tho… that’s not today’s set of job skills.

After 9 months, I was promoted and moved from an Associate Technical Writer to a Process Analyst, where I then began documenting all the business processes in the technology and operations departments, so that they had formal policies and procedures. It was this job which enabled me to get the mortgage to buy my first house in Plainview, a fixer-upper where for nearly two years, all I ever did was work 60 hours each week and then come home to do construction. Oh, the memories… I learned so much about how the corporate operations of a company’s back-office truly work. It set the stage for my transition into a technology role, which will be next week’s focus for the fourth week of my various job groupings.

No, that’s not me. At least not today. Maybe 15 years ago. I don’t recall.

As I look back on these first three years of my career after graduating from college, it really helped formulate the stage for my future. It was a combination of all the things I had learned in school and had talent for, except I had little passion for any of them. Sure, it had some writing responsibilities, but not creative fiction. And don’t tell me that mannequin campaign counts. I had proposed a series of brochures about the story of a model’s life, but they told me I was being too creative which was the job of the account manager, not the little copywriter. Can’t win, huh? So… I can really say these were all valuable even if I never really loved them as much as I did my other roles. But I will say one of these bosses did become the first of two great mentors I’ve had in my life. And for that, I am quite grateful!

How about you? Which job trained you the most for your current role? Or the role you’d like to have? Any horrible boss stories? I can’t write about mine as I am not sure who is and isn’t reading this blog. So I’ll behave myself.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 154 – College Jobs

Posted on

College Jobs: jobs I held during college years to pay for tuition and have some spending money

college.jpg

Sunday posts, the end of each week, have become a theme on This-Is-My-Truth-Now, organized by groups of five (5) focused on interesting things about my life. I’m continuing the trend of the seventh day, ending the week on Sunday, as a list (we know I love them) that provides more in depth knowledge about me.

  • Weeks 1 – 5: Primary ethnicity groups and nationalities
  • Weeks 6 – 10: A to Z Favorites
  • Weeks 11 – 15: Colors with an important meaning
  • Weeks 16 – 20: Cities I’ve lived

The current set of 5 Sundays covers the major groups of roles / jobs / positions I’ve held over my career. Though I have had about fifteen titles over the years, when I broke it down into smaller groups, week two is all about the jobs I held during college.

  • Day Care Worker
  • Waiter
  • College Department Office Clerk

First semester students were not permitted to work in lieu of having time to adjust to being on your own, away at a college campus. It’s probably for the best, as it not only gives you the ability to sort out your friends, schedule and identity, but it also lets you focus on looking for the the right kind of job. When I enrolled at Moravian College, I knew I wanted to major in English and Education, so I talked to both departments. The Education Department had already hired someone for the spring semester, but the English Department wanted to see how I did in the first year writing course before I started in the Writing Center as a tutor. I needed a job! I had a phone bill to pay. And needed cash to go on dates. To buy books. Whaaattt??

By luck, I met and chatted with the Catholic Chaplain at mass each Sunday, as I went to church back then. Father Pete was a great man. We talked for hours about life, pursuing hopes and dreams and figuring out our connection to God and others. I worked in the on-campus seminary office for a few months, helping as a clerk with various responsibilities until he moved on in the beginning of my sophomore year to a different school. I chose not to return to that office as a student worker, as the only reason I had taken the role was the friendship with Father Pete. At that point, the English Department hired me as a tutor for 10 hours per week.     Thye sed i culd right wel!    I worked with first year students to offer advice on papers, help them understand basic grammar rules and provide guidance on research options for their course topics. I was also offered 10 hours in the Education Department, helping to coordinate the senior year student teaching program with all of the local schools. Both were fantastic jobs, but I had to quit the Writing Center position in my junior year because the Education Department’s office manager had become sick. She was taking a 3 month leave of absence and the Department Chair hadn’t wanted to hire anyone else. I ran the office with another student, taking on about 25 hours per week, which was the maximum for any student worker.

All of these experiences taught me essential and critical office and business skills, eventually preparing me for my future in post-college jobs — an upcoming post. I made several great contacts, learned the art of negotiation and developed ways to build relationships and trust, beyond that of a professor and a student. It also helped push me towards obtaining teaching certification, which I ultimately stopped just before the final stage. After a year of student teaching, I had realized that if I taught children all day long, I might not be such a great parent at night, needing a break from it and wanting the opportunity for adult conversation. Ultimately, though I love the concept of teaching, I would not handle the politics in grammar and secondary schools these days. I finished out college with a minor in Education, added in Spanish and Business courses, and obtained a degree in English with two concentrations in writing and literature.

While school was out for the summers, or had minimal classes, both departments cut hours for students, which was fine for me. I ended up searching for jobs and took one related to my field and one unrelated to my field. Let’s start with my job as a waiter, perhaps one of my favorites. My father’s cousin owned an upscale Italian restaurant and hired summer workers. I had been there a few times, helping her with setting up menus on the computer and the screens for the cashier registers. She gave me a chance working as a waiter on the lunch shifts, a sort of test run to see if I could hack it. Apparently, I could! She soon put me on the schedule for Friday and Saturday nights. Despite being shy, I had a different persona when I was a waiter, one in which I was super friendly, slightly flirty and extremely attentive. I never dropped any food or drinks, rarely got abused my rude customers and usually came home with a really good amount of tips. I learned a lot from the kitchen staff, how to order food from suppliers and how to make drinks. Another great set of skills to pick up when you are 19 / 20, as I did this for both the summers after freshman and sophomore year.

Additionally, during my sophomore year, and then again during my junior year summers, I worked for 35 hours per week at a day care nursery school. I was assigned the first year as the helper in a room for two-year-olds, and then I was given primary responsibility for a room of 3-year-olds. Knowing the kids were much younger than I planned to teach, it wasn’t a perfect fit; however, it was much better than working inside all day in a job that felt claustrophobic over the summer. I had two fifteen-minute breaks, plus 30 minutes for lunch. We took them to the gym for 30 minutes each day, plus 30 minutes outside for a walk around the property. We played games, read and tried to teach a few things around nap schedules. It was a really fun job, as I love children. I’m usually the one crawling on the floor, acting like a child myself.

It was a little awkward at first, as some of the two-year-olds needed their diapers changed, which although not something new for me (I had tons of younger cousins I often babysat), it felt weird to do that in public in a room with other kids and adults, knowing I was the only guy in the entire school. I think I might have been a ‘diversity’ hire — I mean no offense by that in terms of race or ethnicity, simply a little humor in that the owner was overly-thrilled I wanted to work there but also nervous what the parents would think. I wasn’t out to anyone during college, nor very obvious, but they must have known. Some of the girls flirted at first, but either I gave off signals or they realized their bark was climbing the wrong tree! I had to go through an extra interview process to meet all the parents at a drop-off and pick-up prior to being approved in the classroom. It was right at the height of all the laws changing to be more protective of children (rightfully so) and still at a time when it wasn’t quite normal for a guy to work in that field. It probably helped that at 20, I still looked 14 (just like at 40, I still look 18 21 27 33, and keep your mouth shut if you feel the need to say anything else), and although I was quite smart and adult-like in everything I did, I always came across as quote young and innocent.

I don’t think I could or would do that job again now. Not because I don’t love children, but because parents and schools are nightmares when it comes to all the do’s and don’ts in the classroom. I understand the policies and different teaching methods, but I have little tolerance for all the BS politics. I also probably wouldn’t want to be a waiter again, not because of the tasks or the duties, but because people are so rude on their cell phones to wait staff, it doesn’t feel worth it anymore. Whenever I’m a patron in a restaurant, I ensure I know the server’s name and find a connection point to keep dialogue moving throughout the time (s)he is serving us. That’s sorta the issue for me… they might be ‘serving’ us for that 90-minute period, but seriously, let’s all be friendly and open-minded about it. If the waiter is a jerk or difficult, then I just let them be cold and distant and won’t connect. Always their choice in the beginning…

How about you? What did you learn from your college or summer jobs after graduating from high school? Or what are your kids thinking about doing?

RECOMMENDED BLOGGER

  • Today’s 365 Daily Challenge recommended blogger to know is Karen @ Run Wright. I don’t exactly recall how or when Karen and I connected, but it was a good thing it happened. She’s a published author, has a fantastic personality and a bit of a fun quirky humor in all our conversations. We’ve chatted about everything from TV shows to running to what to do if your date showed up wearing a romper or a jumper matching the one you’d chosen. Yikes! We both live in NYC and might meet up one day, which could just blow the whole blogging world up — as there are many of us here (I already met one lovely lady). We could all start a club. Karen is a delight to chat with, interacts frequently and always pushes you to think outside the box a little. I’m very curious to see if she’d take over a 365 post one day, simply to see what kind of angle she’d pursue. I’m also very curious about this accent she tells us about. When I read her comments, I try to think about her typing it out on a mobile phone while hopping on the subway three cars down from me — wouldn’t that be ironic! If you want to learn more about her, check out the below blurb from her About Me section and then go visit the site yourself:
    • “I’m Karen but people who know me through the blog now call me Run Wright. It’s always funny for me to hear that but I love the validation.I’m a published author and my collection of stories, It’s Complicated: Short Stories About Long Relationships is now available on Amazon. I’m Jamaican but I’ve lived in New York City almost long enough to have lost my accent (not really)… My accent is most distinct when I’m excited (at least once a day) and always when I talk to my mom. I love running even though I’m not very good at it. I am a Chemical Engineer by training but my true passion is writing – it’s how I express myself best and it’s how I share my dreams with others. I write fiction, poetry, articles, short stories and I have a several novels on my computer that are almost ready to be published. I blog about running, fitness, goals, lessons learned, books, food and balanced living. I’m passionate about being a Christian and live to reflect God’s character.”

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.