Monthly Archives: March, 2013

What does Easter mean to you?

i am disproportionately proud of combining the naiveté of this picture with this fab emo quote

i am disproportionately proud of combining the naiveté of this picture with this fab emo quote

In case you haven’t heard, today is Easter. I have a number of Christian friends who I’m sure are celebrating in style today. They are incredible people.

So what does Easter mean to those of us who may not subscribe to organized religion?

I think it’s an incredible opportunity to reflect and connect.

There’s power in prayer, be it religious or not. Knowing we are not alone in this universe. Even if we simply think and honor the small ways in which we are all connected – we become kinder. Humbled. Mindful. Peaceful.

Maybe it’s a good day to decorate easter eggs just as a meditation (which is typically a ridiculously messy way of celebrating, but I digress). It can just be a celebration of our life on earth, if nothing else.

I wish you the best of days!

Have you ever been afraid to slow down?

There’s something oddly glamorous about the single mom who hustles – going to school and working full-time in order to provide for her family. We all wonder how she does it, secretly believing we would easily be able do the same should we be in her situation.

But it’s only glamorous as long as she succeeds. What happens if she collapses into a ball on the bathroom floor (she will do this success or no success), but she doesn’t get up ready to face the day in the same way after? She decides to quit school and give up her “dream.” Or now she’s going to take out loans (that she’ll never get out of) so she can afford to “just” go to school. Either way, it somehow seems like she failed, when her cup runneth over in the first place. As a society, we praise and vilify this woman.

I remember when Mariah Carey had her nervous breakdown in, maybe, 2001 and had to be hospitalized for her exhaustion. You know, Glitter-era Mariah Carey. She was unstoppable her first ten years as a pop star, and the next minute she was a joke. Even with all she’s accomplished professionally since then, I haven’t looked at her in the same light. She’s tainted. She couldn’t take the pressure, I think.

I’ve been working two jobs the last two months in an effort to pay off credit-card debt. I rob Mary to pay Peter to pay Paul. Or something like that.

I learned the hard way: There’s nothing glamorous about calling one of your best friends and telling her, between violent, teary fits, that you won’t be able to make her wedding. There’s nothing glamorous about telling someone who is putting his or her faith in you that you can’t complete a task for them. There’s nothing glamorous about not having a moment to. stop. Or a minute to care.

Now that I have to slow down, because my body won’t continue to function if I don’t, I’m scared. Those things, you know – the dark ones that swirl around you as you sleep whispering soft, self-defeating thoughts in your ear, they get louder when you’re less busy.

What are these things trying to tell us? And who’s telling us it’s vital that we outrun them?

 

A quote for a Sunday.

Sunday

Employees to Entrepreneurs: One mistake and your ass is grass.

Image

My experience as a Task Rabbit, a virtual and in-person assistant who works with “task posters” on a contract basis, has made me question everything I thought I knew about business and capitalism and treating people “right.”

I recently signed up to deliver boxes of produce from farmers’ markets to chic, higher-end restaurants in the city. On Saturday mornings. At 7am. My first delivery was last weekend. The process took about 3 hours, required the use of a dolly, was somewhat humiliating because I have a master’s degree, and my car – its seats coated in dust – is still in need of a good vacuum. For my labor, I made $50.

I drove home, egg mcmuffin in hand, checking in with myself on how I felt about the payment. I can be hyper-sensitive to people taking advantage of me. I decided this person wasn’t. And since I was saving this person money by agreeing to work outside the site so that he didn’t have to pay posting fees, it was a win-win situation, and I had a recurring job. Later that weekend, he paypal-ed me. We would get in touch the following Thurs re: the next weekend’s deliveries. And life went on.

The naive employee in me, who is excited to be a part of new endeavors, emailed the fine purveyor this morning – “Hey [name redacted]! The LA Marathon is this Sunday – how do you want to handle the delivery routes?”

Taskposter response: “No worries. No deliveries this Sunday. By the way, would you take $40 per delivery instead of $50?”

And here I was, one second excited to help this person out – ready to be on his team, and the next, an employee scorned.

It’s not often you find someone who is as engaged in your work as you are. But when your funds are limited, what’s more important – human capital or getting the best deal?

I don’t have any answers (although I suspect the maxim “moderation is key” is helpful here). But I do know that when these situations arise and you don’t take care of them well, you leave people with bad tastes in their mouths, for you and your burgeoning company. And more quickly than you can snap your greedy little entrepreneurial fingers, a fruitful partnership is (potentially) irreparably damaged with one bad seed.

I didn’t make it to SXSW. Or, the concept of the sunk cost.

maybe we can commiserate next year GC

maybe we can commiserate at SXSW next year GC

Remember learning about the “sunk cost” concept in an economics’ class? Essentially – you buy a ticket. For a concert. When the date of the concert comes up, you find you can’t go. Your friends will tell you to sell the ticket to recoup some of the cost. In the economic world though, it doesn’t matter – you already lost that money.

As I’ve been saving and paying down debt, this concept has been helpful to me. (Thought it’s super counterintuitive.)

This weekend the annual SXSW festival is making its way to Austin (film, music, interactive). I was excited to attend the interactive portion, for which I paid $895 *hangs head in shame*. I planned to hear Tim Berners-Lee (REAL inventor of the Internet – hope Al Gore doesn’t run into him, as Al will also be there) speak along with Elon Musk (the Tesla and SpaceX entrepreneur) and The Oatmeal. Shaquille O’Neal will be talking about how to effectively utilize social media. Organizers, last-minute, announced there would be a Grumpy Cat appearance. There were panels on how the online porn industry is changing and on the developing role women gamers are playing in the industry. Does it get any more weird, eclectic, incredible?

And what was a doable trip a few months ago suddenly became undoable. I couldn’t get work off – ok, so I can’t see the Oatmeal. I’ll just go for the weekend. But it’s $400 to change my flight. I’ll just use my American Airlines’ credit card.

It’s easy to feel like we’re losing money if we don’t take advantage of something we paid for that has a deferred value. The truth is if I had paid that $400 to change my ticket, I would have been $400 poorer. That’s it. The $895 I paid for the conference is resting peacefully back in December 2012. In an effort to revive it, I would have had to spend more money.

There’s a power in letting go of our sunk costs. Of accepting right where we are. I think I saved $400 this weekend. Let’s go with that.

If you haven’t delved into the SXSW Interactive sphere, I suggest following the coverage, if you’re into that sort of thing. Austin Chronicle.

The Task Rabbit experience. Or, I am too busy.

Image

There are two situations I don’t like being in: being bored and being overwhelmed. Shouldn’t that crap end after college? I think everyone can relate.

Four weeks ago, I decided to become a Task Rabbit to make some extra money. I’m on a kick to get out of debt as fast as I possibly can. What is a Task Rabbit you ask? Well, basically someone’s, anyone’s, bitch.

I work as a virtual assistant for a bunch of people through the website. The tasks are extremely varied. Someone right now wants a rabbit to pick up cupcakes and deliver them to a friend for her birthday. On Monday. At 6am. Extra money for dancing. I totally bid. But last week I read a BOOK and summarized the chapters for a total of, you guessed it, $8. This came out to less than $1 an hour. The VA marketplace is all over da map.

As I struggle to find time to blog, I thought I would use this entry to share a few takeaways from my whole experience.

No. 1: COMMUNICATE – oftentimes the posters don’t know how to articulate exactly what they are looking for. If you want a good laugh, just sign-up to be a task rabbit and look at some of the descriptions.

No 2: Do not take on too many tasks at once. You end up letting people down, and then you just want to relieve the pressure by eating a lot of ice cream (which you have delivered, of course). And then you gain weight and lose your pride.

I wrote this in-between tasks and mini-Twix breaks. Excel is waiting.

Studies have shown (I prefer to bury the lede thank you) that the happiest people are busy, but not overwhelmed. Good to know; now, how to get there?

Andrew James Taggart, Practical Philosopher, Ph.D.

Do You Want to Lead the Most Excellent Human Life?

Donald Robertson

Stoic Resilience Blog

INALJ

Information professionals finding & sharing jobs & job hunting advice!

Millennial

Young Catholics, An Ancient Faith, A New Century