Tag Archives: working girl


calling noun, a strong urge toward a particular way of life or career; a vocation.


Several weeks ago after a tough few days at work, I started reading The Art of Happiness at Work, by the Dalai Lama. I purchased this book probably close to a decade ago at the Ruben Museum of Art in Manhattan – a regular visit of mine while we lived in Brooklyn. I never read it. It traveled with us from Brooklyn, to Maplewood, and now here, to Cranston – never having been read. The pages yellow but the spine not broken or creased. I started reading without intention or expectation, not much expecting to finish it like so many other books I pick up and leave half read and discarded. However, I did finish it. I read it with a voracity I haven’t felt for reading since I finished the Elena Ferrante series…and I emerged profoundly changed from what I learned.

One of the concepts that the book discusses is calling and how it is important to happiness at work. The book delves into the problem of calling as relates to assembly line workers or people whose work is mainly to earn a pay check – not so much what someone loves or feels an attraction to doing. I am lucky that my job is my professional calling and that I have found it…and ultimately, I really shouldn’t complain or be unhappy. It also forced me to remember the path I took to where I am and the many years I worked at jobs that had no calling.

My very first really job – outside of camp counselor, lifeguard or waitress while in high school – was in a factory soldering circuit boards for 8 hours a day. My father was diagnosed with a stage 4 glioblastoma and underwent brain surgery at Columbia Presbyterian hospital in Manhattan on the day I was supposed to arrive for freshman orientation at Providence College. Neither of my parents attended college. My father enlisted in the navy after graduating from high school and my mother didn’t finish high school. Needless to say, I was stunned, depressed, confused and in need of a job. My father was the sole breadwinner of the household and being somewhat intelligent and 18 years old, it was the only choice.  My aunt was the floor manager at a factory that made Harmonizers – these black boxes that musicians use to distort their guitars to make them sound like Jimmy Hendrix. We went to work every morning together where I reported to my bench and was handed a pile of green Harmonizer motherboards and tiny bags of circuits to solder in the same pattern, over and over again.

Sometimes I would get a different type of board to solder and an engineer would show me the new pattern and the new circuits, but it was mostly the same thing, over and over again. As one can imagine, I quickly grew bored – although a very proficient solderer. I became fast enough that I could get all of my boards soldered in a few hours and would have to go take labels off of RAM chips that came back from aeronautic navigation devices that the company also made. It was in this boredom that I started to appreciate the circuits themselves – their different colors and minuteness. They came in all sorts of attractive striped patterns, almost like glass beads, and I started secretly soldering them together to make bracelets and rings. I will be truthful here. I had no conscious interest in jewelry back then. Even in high school, I had no interest in jewelry, make up or clothes. And I had no passion for jewelry when I was making these odd circuit soldered bracelets. They just sort of happened and I liked making them. Maybe there was something going on subconsciously back then, but I highly doubt it.

I went on to go to college, graduated and worked in finance for years thinking that I was going to take my series classes and become a trader, fulfilling my Melanie Griffith dreams as a Working Girl…but I always knew that wasn’t a calling either. I just wanted to make money and was probably influenced by the thought of a young Harrison Ford in a business suit.

The day I realized my calling was on my first day of work at a small watchband company in Rhode Island. I interviewed for a job as an assistant product manager – not really fully understanding what that was – and got it because I had passed a v lookup and pivot table test when no one else they interviewed could. I spent my entire first day making 80/20 reports for the Director of Marketing and was as happy as a clam. I was surrounded by watches, watchbands and jewelry – and the entire supply chain making it available to customers existed right around my little, fabric paneled cube. It was fascinating and new…and I fell in love with it. I had sent an email to China…CHINA! I was amazed. I went straight home and told my husband that someday this job was going to help me get a job at Tiffany’s (This is not a lie. You can ask him.) …and it ultimately did.

So when it comes to the idea of calling I tend to believe that it’s not such a simple thing. It’s almost a bit like fate or falling in love. You don’t really know when or how it will strike or what the actual calling will be. Now that I think of it, it really is a lot like love. A lot of waiting and searching, patience and perseverance – always with the possibility of ultimate failure. I am very lucky in that I have this career and job that I truly love and have a calling for, but the job itself is not the calling. The calling is that if I lost my job tomorrow, I would still work in jewelry – whether making it myself, reading about it or buying it. It brings me joy – a joy that would not have been found without some tough times, confusion and sorrow along the way. When I remember this, being happy at work is no longer a difficult thing. It is the most natural way to feel that there is.



Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


voulu adj. lacking in spontaneity; contrived

How many words do you know that end in a “u” like this one? I don’t think I know any others, hence the reason I chose it.   Voodoo ends in an “o” but that doesn’t count. It’s the “u” that makes this word special. For some reason this word makes me think of the Lululemon shopping bags they give out – because spending 80 dollars on something you are going to sweat in should come with a little free inspiration. So in the spirit of spontaneity, I am going to ponder some of these sayings from my shopping bag as an exercise for today’s post. Now some of these quotes are well known and wise, while others sound like they came out of the mouth of some type A, female, yoga freak psycho…so I’ll include both varieties.

Do one thing a day that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Okay. I think have this covered. I wake up and deal with a screaming child that’s usually covered in urine and jumping on a crib mattress. I also face several different kinds of poop – baby, dog and if I’m not careful, some other kinds when we go to the mountain for a walk or run. Poop is very scary. I don’t know if Eleanor got the verb in her quote right though. Am I supposed to drive the wrong way down the highway or drink bleach? I suppose in the Lululemon yogaverse I’m supposed to do a head stand in class and be in the moment while fearing that my $80 tank top will flap down and expose my flabulous belly…

“Salt + High Fructose Corn Syrup + Butter = Early Death”

What if I dip a carrot in it?

“Friends are more important than money.”

Does this hold true if you go shopping with friends? I would think that the two would cancel each other out. What if you wanted to buy a special present for your friend and you have no money? What if the friend is dying and it’s the very last thing you can do for that person before they expire? What if you and your friends have no money and you can’t buy food? No, wait. What if you and your friend have no money and you need to eat but the only way to get money is to not be friends anymore? What’s more important then? Gotcha Lululemon.

“This is not your practice life. This is your actual life.”

Shit. I thought we were just practicing and I’m already sucking at this. Well, I’m going to stay in bed and eat donuts all day since I’ve already screwed this up.

“Visualize your eventual demise. It can have an amazing effect on how you live in this moment.”

So this morning while munching on half of a banana I visualized my death. Hm. Now let me go do something that scares me. Hand me the bleach and a donut because this ain’t practice. Tootles! I’m going to drive the wrong way down the highway now!

“The world moves at such a rapid rate that waiting to implement changes will leave you two steps behind. DO IT NOW, DO IT NOW, DO IT NOW!”

This is the last quote because the bag is yelling at me now. Unfortunately, I know people who live like this – many of them. I had never really met anyone who was like this until I moved to NYC and worked on 5th Avenue. They are the perfect young ladies in the Chanel boots with perfect teeth and pencil skirts. They carry their lunch in little Lululemon bags and talk about their Wall Street boyfriends and where they ate dinner last night. They can take you down with one swipe of their perfectly manicured paws in a meeting and then pop 3 Aderalls in the ladies room 30 minutes later. They are on top of their game all of the time – except they are ALL THE SAME. Like little fembots from an Austin Powers movie waiting to shoot you with their boob guns.

The thing is, if you are constantly forcing yourself to change, eventually, you will not be the same person. Change is good on a small scale. No one is perfect and I think trying to be a better person or eat less fat is a fine thing to strive for. It’s a matter of what you are changing and for whom. So DO IT NOW is a dangerous thing. If anything, Lululemon should be a little ashamed of this quote on their bag. Yoga is about being in the present, meditation and self acceptance – at least when you are doing it right. This element is important even in Bikram, which is pretty intense.

So here is a quote that would be more fitting to be on a yoga bag:

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Gandhi

The world would be a better place if we spent less time on changing ourselves and more time trying to change the world around us through our deeds and actions. This is the change we should DO NOW.


Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


oneiric adj. relating to dreams or dreaming

As my husband can attest to, I love to sleep. Perhaps I have ADD or some other disorder, but during the day I just can’t relax. Work has always been the thing to set me straight and provide me with a course for concentration and focus, but since I am at home now with my son, I find it difficult to avoid boredom. I’ve never been good without human company. As shy as I can be at times, I need human contact to feel occupied and useful. So being a alone with a dog and a one year old in the suburbs is a form of torture for me…and somedays I count the minutes until I can retire and surrender my brain to slumber.

When I sleep, I feel like I am watching some strange and bizarre movie. My brain finally lets go of trying to organize and solve problems and my imagination takes over. When I was a kid I developed the ability to force myself to dream about certain scenarios…most often I wanted to be in the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark or Working Girl (I had a thing for Harrison Ford). I could insert myself into the action and adventure scenes. I don’t know if this is some special kind of ability or not, but it helped me to escape from the unpleasantries of my childhood. I could be anywhere or anything I wanted to in my dreams, no matter how implausible or crazy…and no one knew about it or could tell me not to.

As I grew older, I stopped forcing myself to dream things and just let my brain do the inventing. This was fun as my brain connected different things I had seen or known from different parts of my life. This is pretty much how I dream currently.

In college, I finally just slept. I don’t remember dreaming during that period. I was pretty busy and slept as little as I ever have either due to school work or just going out and having fun. My brain was pretty much filled up during my college years. I was writing a lot and facing a life of possibilities.There was just too much going on for me to really dream at night. When I did dream, I had the same recurring one of driving my car into a lake…or off a bridge. I still occasionally have this dream and sometimes I fear driving near water. I am always backing up into the water in my dream and once I am immersed, I wake up. I know it has some sort of deep meaning, but I don’t care to know what that is. I spend enough time analyzing my conscious life. I don’t want to know about the secret passages in my brain.

Pregnancy was a new milestone in my dream life. I dreamt too much when I was pregnant. I had recurring dreams about dropping my baby on the floor repeatedly…and losing him. I had dreams about someone taking him away from me or Dan being pregnant. Pregnancy dreams for me were more nightmarish than anything. Sometimes they were funny. I don’t remember all of them specifically but I remember telling other people about them at the time, mostly coworkers. They served as good stories.

The reason why I am even on this topic is because I had a dream last night that a specific company I am interviewing with called me back in for another interview (I’ve been in twice and met the founder of the company). Lately my dreams are manifesting my worries and fears. I am dreaming the next phase of actual events in my life, only I am creating these absurd and disturbing scenarios. I suppose it is a way of forcing myself to be grateful for what I have, showing me nightly that things could be so much worse. Or perhaps I am just afraid of what comes next…or bored to tears by the present.

Life was so much simpler when I was a kid and hanging out with Harrison Ford every night…

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,


hodiernal adj. relating to the present day

Today is a hazy 66 degrees with the sun just beginning to burn off the fog of the morning. Graham has just finished 8 ounces of formula gone down for a nap. I am roasting eggplant which will be assembled into a vegan muffelata sandwich that needs to marinate for at least 3 hours before we eat it for dinner. When Graham wakes up, he will eat something pureed and then we will head out to the mountain for a run. When I am done writing this post, I will check on the eggplant, fold some laundry and eat some soup for my own lunch. Stella is somewhere sleeping and the painters two houses down are done with their annoying sanding machine. The neighborhood is suburbanly quiet as it’s too early in the season for landscapers. This is what is going on today in my life.

In writing the above hodiernal blob, I have started to think about how vastly different my life is as compared to this day last year. I was about 4 months pregnant with Graham and we were living in Brooklyn. My feet had not begun to swell up to twice their normal size yet and I was feeling pretty good (and getting big already.) I would head into work everyday and go about my business. I met with vendors, followed up on projects and dealt with the drama that came my way that day. These days I think a lot about going back to work and lately I am starting to doubt what I should do.

It has taken me awhile to learn that what I have now is freedom. I have struggled with this new freedom over the course of Graham’s babyhood. I always used to say with pride that I have never known a day without work since I was 16. My parents instilled the mentality that if you are not employed than you are lazy. I come from a working class family and I remember my dad working 3 jobs at one point so we could survive. Being busy has always been the goal and I have always been an incredibly hard and dedicated worker. But as I write this I have come to learn something very different about myself and the world. Just because you work hard does not mean you will get ahead.

The working world boils down to about 3 different personality types : laborers, careerists and intellectuals. My parents were laborers, not careerists – and I am a laborer. Laborers are people who work hard and put in honest work, sometime even physically difficult work. Laborers are not good at playing games, gossiping and making alliances. They go to work with the intention to put in a full day of thinking and doing and solving problems. They take pride in being punctual and dependable. They are the backbone of a company but never seem to rise above the middle. They establish deep friendships, but are never seen as popular.

Careerists are politicians. Their entire goal is to climb the ladder no matter the method. Going into work for the careerist is not simply about putting in a full day and getting things done. At all times the careerist has an ongoing campaign. They are always running for the next rung on the ladder. Work and performance is secondary to a true careerist. Establishing relationships, being seen as a leader and making sure the perception people have of them matches the criteria for their next promotion. Careerists are always working on the bullet points listed in their review. They tend to be ruthless in their endeavors. Personally, I tend to think they are of below average intelligence…but I’m a laborer and thus biased.

Intellectuals are the doctors, chemists and professors of our world. They go to school for long spans of time to learn their trade and are the smartest. However, having an advanced degree does not make you an intellectual. Professional students sometimes travel in the guise of the intellectual, but do not be fooled. True intellectuals are able to use their intelligence to provide for themselves. They convert the book smarts and theories into skills that can be used for the good of others and making money. They are the unique minority that is smart enough to make money off of their brain power alone. I admire intellectuals more than anyone else.

In viewing these categories, I have come to the conclusion that I am 80% laborer and 20% careerist. I don’t consider myself incredibly smart. I just work really hard. In order to do well in the corporate world, I need to get my careerist qualities to at least 60% – at least for the line of work I have chosen. I need to smile more and complain less. I need to give more false compliments and tone down the sarcasm. I need to be someone who I am simply not.

So should I strive to have a “career” because the world tells me it’s important? Am I even capable of becoming more of a careerist? If I am successful at doing so, will I even like myself anymore?

I think I am going to focus on the hodiernal task of assembling my eggplant muffelata…

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,
The Electric Oracle



A great WordPress.com site

Carter and Toby

a 'tail' of two friends

Ray Ferrer - Emotion on Canvas

** OFFICIAL Site of Artist Ray Ferrer **

The Grumpy Aristotelian

Unearthing truth, virtue, beauty and joy amidst the dreck


A great WordPress.com site

Bri Bruce Productions

Design | Publishing | Photography | Art


Life full of Jewelry and cats

Don Charisma

because anything is possible with Charisma

Perfection Pending

Stories of Perfectly Real Moms

Black. Bunched. Mass. Mom.

Raising Two Bi-Racial Boys in Suburban Massachusetts.

Hiking Photography

Beautiful photos of hiking and other outdoor adventures.

The Overstand Podcast

"Overstand the definition, then write your own."


Delving Further


Adventures in Motherhood

Mum's the word

a blog about real life. the good, bad and ugly.

A Small Press Life

Not just a blog, a philosophy