riding bitch

The life of a writer and survivor of loss.


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20 Reasons to Love Your Day Job

On the heels of my last post about not complaining, here is a fresh perspective on why you should love your day job, from the obvious to the not so obvious. (Okay, so “love” might be too strong a word.)

1. Regular Pay Check – Even if it’s not enough to live on, it’s probably more than unemployment pays.

2. Benefits – Along with #1, this is the reason most of us stay: paid sick days, paid vacation days, healthcare, 401K, etc.

3. Paid Jury Duty – Technically, part of #2 but I feel like it’s such a perk it deserves recognition. I recently got a jury summons and asked HR how many days (if any) would be covered. My company pays TEN days of Jury Duty. Granted, if I get chosen and the trial lasts for months, this will only cover two weeks, but that’s better than nothing!

4. Taxes – Sounds odd, but (if taxes are necessary) I actually appreciate that one third of my paycheck is taken out for me. Left to my own devices, I’m not sure I’d have the willpower to put that much aside.

5. Free Air Conditioning and Heat – I live in Los Angeles and it’s freakin’ hot here (this morning 87 degrees Farenheit at 8:30am).  Better to sit in the cool air conditioning at work and not rack up my own electric bill.

6. Free Food – Someone’s always leaving something in the kitchen or conference room. Last week some execs left the conference room early and we assistants descended on the sandwich trays like a pack of hyenas. This morning there was a banana on the kitchen table (snagged it!). The other day there was an entire bag of Clementines (delicious!).  I try to ignore the cakes, pretzels, caramel-covered popcorn, chocolates, bagels and other treats people leave.

7. Lifetime Supply of Girl Scout Cookies – If that’s your thing.

8. Free Condiments – Salt, pepper, sugar, fake sugar, oil & vinegar, ketchup, mustard, relish. Let’s not forget the free toothpicks.

9. Free Tea, Coffee and Filtered Water – Free water, people! Bring your jugs to work.

10. Free Stationary – Do you know how much paper costs? Me neither.

11. Free Office Supplies, Fax Machine, Scanner & Copier – The less said about this the better.

12. Free Toilet Paper – Okay, I’ll stop with the free stuff (but it does add up).

13.  Mailing Address That Isn’t Your Home – Definitely has its advantages.

14. Phone Number That Isn’t Your Home or Cell Phone – Also has its advantages, especially if you have caller ID.

 15. Free Internet Access – Not that you should be on the internet at work, but just in case you need to do some research… you know, for your boss.

16. Structure to Your Day – Let’s be honest, if you didn’t have a day job, would you get out of bed at the same hour, take a shower and dress up every day? Actually, I do know a journalist who wears a suit when he works from home, but that’s because he might have to rush out for an interview. Personally, I find the structure helpful. Sometimes it feels like cattle punching in, but at least I know where I need to be and when.

17. Personal Interaction – In this digital era, it’s nice to actually see real people every day. Plus, in my experience our co-workers are often super supportive of our creative pursuits. When one of us actually breaks free, everyone celebrates.

18. Holiday Party – The one day a year when we’re allowed to drink and dance at work. Yay! (More of these would be nice.)

19. Time Away From Spouses, Homes, Children & Pets – We all love our families and homes, but isn’t it nice to get away from them for several hours? I know I get a lot more done when I’m not with my dog, next to a refrigerator, couch, bed or television. In an ideal world (when I no longer need a day job), I would still work in an office away from home.

20. Motivation – Having a day job might be feel soul-sucking, but that just gives you even more reason to pursue whatever does fulfill your soul. If your job makes you angry, use that to motivate yourself the hell out of there!

And as a bonus:

21. A Day Job Provides Stability So That You Can Take Risks – You might be stressed at work, but you’d be even more stressed if you were unable to pay your bills. As this Forbes.com article says, the best time to look for a new job or opportunity is when you have a job :  “… You can take your time and if a great opportunity comes up you can take it if you want or you can wait for the next one.” You’re in control.

Do you have a day job? 

What are some other aspects that you appreciate?

 

 


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A Life Worth Living (Daily Prompt)

Yesterday, I ran into a colleague and fellow writer in the hallway at work. “I gotta get outta here,” he said, shaking his head, “THIS year.” “Me too,” I responded and raised my right hand. We high-fived each other and parted in opposite directions back to our assistant desks. 

When I interviewed for this job, my late husband Kaz had just been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and we had just become engaged. We had no idea how long he would live, let alone work. We needed another steady income, support network, all the benefits and stability that come from a regular 9-5 gig.  

The following year, as life became a swirling storm of stress, unknowns, and emotional highs and lows, my boring assistant job became an oasis. A place where things were normal, where my responsibilities were easy and banal, even pleasantly (at the time) mind-numbing, and where the stakes weren’t life or death. I was so grateful, I started baking things and bringing them to work. Even Kaz was surprised by that. I worked full-time throughout his illness until he went on hospice. Then I took several weeks of personal leave. I returned to work three weeks after he passed away. May 2014 will be my four year anniversary, the longest I’ve been at any job.

I had wanted to quit immediately. After seeing his young, vibrant life end so short and so quickly, my soul screamed for a more purposeful existence. The banal, mind-numbing routine that I once appreciated now seemed like a dead-end, and I suddenly realized everyone I worked with was miserable. But I could no more leave my job than I could lift a car. Grief was like a choke-hold, making me physically weak and mentally delirious. Depression lead to a complete lack of motivation. Even after the depression lifted, I still felt utterly confused as to what do do with my life.

I can’t say any of those reasons are why I’m still here now. Now, I’m basically biding my time, building up my arsenal and stockpiling my supplies for the day I eventually leave. Ever since the Vermont residency, I’ve been slowly but consistently making progress towards my career goals. In the past six months alone, I have accomplished the following:

Made an exploratory trip to Georgia and new contacts, completed a new director’s reel (you can see it here), took a television pilot writing class and a seminar on how to write a film business plan, continued writing memoir and received valuable notes from a trusted/respected colleague, wrote a new bio, continued developing feature film screenplay and received notes on that too, joined several professional organizations and started networking again, applied to two fellowship programs, did my taxes (early!), started Tweeting (@nivaladiva), accrued almost 2,000 followers to this blog, and almost 1,000 followers on Instagram (@nivaandruby).

Life has been hectic lately, and it’s about to get more so. I recently blogged about dating, but honestly, that’s not a priority right now. What matters most to me, other than my health, family and friends, is my career. Call me crazy, but I don’t want to work merely to pay the bills (which this job barely does anyway). I want to enjoy and be mentally and creatively challenged by my work. I want to work with people who inspire and push me to be a better artist. I also want to make significantly more money than I do now.

My finger has been on the “quit” button for some time now and pretty soon, I’m gonna pull the trigger. It’s scary as hell to think about what will happen after that. I literally wake up nights thinking: “I know how I plan to make money, but will that plan actually work? Can I make enough money?” The optimist in me says “Yes! Just stick to the plan.” The doubter in me is tied up and gagged until further notice.

In response to today’s Daily Prompt: If You Leave


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Love Life (Photo)

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Just found this photo from two years ago when I did the Brain Tumor Walk in Orange County, CA, in honor of Kaz and others. We walked 5K and raised thousands of dollars for brain tumor research. It was an inspiring day with lots of shared stories, embraces and tears. There were also lots of signs. This one was my favorite.