Category Archives: Work & Career

Day 176: Confidence Builders and A New Start Up

bulb copyI’ve never been much of an entrepreneur. Don’t get me wrong, I’m highly driven and creative but I prefer a cushy job at a large corporation over the thrills (and challenges) of working in a start up environment. Last weekend in the dead middle of night, I was suddenly struck with an idea. I dreamt up an unconvential blog-based business that combines three of my long-time passions: beauty, fashion, and writing.

Immediately I messaged N and shared the details of my proposed business. He was very supportive, encouraging me to think through the strategy and bring my vision to life. To launch this project, there would be a hefty amount of technical work required, but N offered to walk me through it when the time came. The web-tech area isn’t my forte and the mere thought of purchasing a domain, constructing a website and configuring the back-end was intimidating. After we concluded our impromptu late night conversation, I couldn’t fall asleep. The wheels in my head were spinning. Ideas were brewing. In other words, my mind was on fire.

The next day, I was amped to start laying the foundation for my new venture. But step one involved my least favorite activity: the tech set up. I braced myself and prepared to call N so he could explain the online purchasing process. That’s when the email arrived – the email confirming my recently aquired business domain name and accompanying email address. To my surprise, everything had already been linked to a server and set up for me. All I needed to do was log in! Realizing this was important to me, N went ahead and completed the tech set without me even having to ask.  Most boyfriends give their significant others flowers and chocolates. Mine gave me my first website, and the vote of confidence to start thinking like an entrepreneur.

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Day 140: The Man in Black and a Little Magic

magicI entered the world famous Hollywood Magic Castle looking forward to an evening filled with delicious food, good company and a little magic. My boss’ husband has access to the exclusive members-only club, so my work group was able to host our annual holiday party there. The Magic Castle’s strict dress code requires guests to be dressed to the nines, so tonight was set to be a classy affair.

Upon uttering “open sesame,” a sliding door disguised as an ordinary bookshelf opened to reveal the hidden front room. There, I noticed a few of my colleagues already mingling by the bar with tall glasses of wine in hand. The room’s decor was everything you’d expect from The Magic Castle – fun, fantastic, and completely over the top. There were oil paintings of men in top hats with 3-D eyes that followed you around the room. Colorful floor-to-ceiling circus posters of Harry Houdini were plastered on the walls. A close-up magician sat behind a table, wowing the crowd with clever sleight of hand tricks. After absorbing the grandness of it all, I wandered over to my co-workers to chat before dinner resumed.

That’s when I spotted him.

Passing through the sliding door was a man dressed in all black. I’m not normally one to stare, but as a self-proclaimed fashionista, I couldn’t help but take a moment to admire his garb. He sported a perfectly-tailored black suit with a black dress shirt underneath. His black tie, adorned with a crisp silver tie bar, had subtle texture that weaved together shiny and matte fabrics. And in his chest pocket sat a tiny white pocket square which provided  just enough contrast to make the entire look pop. I continued my conversation, all the while glancing at the man in black out of the corner of my eye. This was supposed to be a business event, but I couldn’t help but be drawn in.

To top it off, the man’s handsome face was as aesthetically pleasing as his outfit. In this eclectic and wondrous room bursting with people, he managed to stand out from the crowd. I suddenly noticed him gaze in my direction and begin to move forward. For a second, I almost looked up and made direct eye contact. My soft cheeks flushed and my heartbeat quickened as I instinctively felt the man’s steps coming toward me. Then without warning, we found ourselves face-to-face, a mere four inches apart. He slowly leaned in and pressed his lips against mine.

“I’m so glad you made it,” I said, as a smile crept across my blushing face.

“Me too,” N replied. “Tonight is going to be fun.”

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Day 104: Work and a Surprise Therapy Session

I’ve known this executive for some time. Handsome and wildly successful, he’s well-respected around the office. Leaders enjoy working with him and the assistants blush and giggle like school girls behind his back. As a mutual member of the “under 35” crowd, we often gravitate toward each other during work events and engage in casual conversation. The extent of our interaction is totally surface though – perhaps a passing “hi” and “bye” in the hallway. But little did I know that a routine meeting with him would soon turn into a surprise therapy session.

After outlining the new communications strategy, our meeting wrapped up. I expected him to depart, but instead he lingered in my office for a moment.

“So, how’s everything going with you?” he asked, assuming a more informal tone.

“Oh, fine,” I replied. “It’s been super busy around here with the recent announcements.”

Not seeming to hear me, he appeared distracted and deep in thought.

“Yeah, things have been crazy,” he offered up. “Well, in my personal life that is.”

I wasn’t sure how to respond. Did he expect me to pry and inquire about his personal issues? Should I just sit there and nod quietly in agreement? Thankfully, he didn’t give me much time to make a decision as he suddenly launched into the tale of his recent break-up with his girlfriend. He spoke about heartbreak, the challenge of coping with loss, and the fear of starting over. I could see the hurt in his eyes and it was apparent that he just needed someone (anyone) to talk to. Fortunately he picked a good candidate because I know, all too well, what he was experiencing.

I’m innately very nurturing so I shared my break-up story with N, and talked about how important it is for a couple to be fundamentally aligned. We also discussed the pros and cons of online dating and I advised him on how to create an optimal profile (seriously, it’s an art). He seemed to relate to my relationship with N, and understand that you must prioritize your needs and find a counterpart who is stable and secure. By the time we finished speaking, it was obvious that he was in better spirits and much more optimistic about dating life post-break-up.

It’s funny; sometimes we don’t recognize the human side of our co-workers. Prior to our conversation, this executive was just that – an executive. An uptight business drone in a perfectly-pressed dress shirt and slacks. But now, I view him as someone with dimension and personality. I doubt that our “therapy sessions” (his words, not mine) will continue, but I’m glad that I was able to reassure him and provide some words of encouragement, if only for a moment. This unexpected encounter also solidified for me the universal nature of human emotion, especially when it comes to relationships. We all experience love and loss. Even the office drones.

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