Saturday, December 15, 2012

Something Closer To What We Call "Stability"

I suppose it’s time to tell you about my new "big girl" job.

I’ve owed you this blog post for quite a few weeks but, as you might understand, the dust from my last shaky jump into the unknown needed to settle before I blasted any inner thoughts over the internet.

So let’s flashback to New York’s mild days of mid-October:

That’s me. I’m sitting at my desk in the vast Huffington Post newsroom.  Most likely on deadline, and probably a little bit hungry, I’m frantically typing something tech-related. There’s two disposable cups perched on the edge of my shared desk – one full of water; the other drained of coffee.

Someone nearby is smashing a sandwich into their face, and the noise becomes distracting. While I struggle to find the correct turn of phrase about Apple’s latest whatever, all I can hear is the smack, smack of lips.
Then a phone rings.
Then two reporters start talking.
Someone’s laughing.
The TV blares above my head.
My Gchat pings…. and pings, and pings, and pings.

I quickly grab my headphones and stuff them into my ears, praying I can block out the nasty sound of what is probably a mild form of OCD. Now we can see me glance at the clock. Did you catch that twitch? Yes, I’ve got 30 minutes to make this article into something publishable.

Oh... that face. 

But before continuing, I stare at the empty, coffee-stained paper cup still sitting on my desk. Can you see those wheels turning? That’s right… I’m thinking about the promise I made to myself in 2010.

Many temporary jobs ago, I decided I wouldn’t bring a coffee cup to work until I had a salaried, fixed position within a company. This future mug was my secret reward, while this cynical thought was my slight motivation and persistent reminder that every publishing job I’d obtained thus far had been as stable as that damn paper cup.

It’s not that I wasn’t happy. In fact, the longer I worked for good ol’ Huffy, the more I appreciated my experience. I was getting paid to write! I had national bylines, and relevance, and editors tearing apart my work, and deadlines to make, and valuable lessons to learn – that’s the dream, right? “THAT’S why you’re HERE,” I would think to myself.

But the truth is, loan payments loomed. PB&J sandwiches began to make my stomach revolt. I craved a certain responsibility, and maybe even the next experience. I also knew there wasn’t a permanent position for me at HuffPost.

So I left.

Last day on the job. 

I won’t lie; the process wasn’t quite that easy. There was a series of interviews and edit tests that dominated my evenings, while a growing pit in my stomach reminded me that I’d become quite fond of my home at AOL headquarters.

Still, there’s never been a job I haven’t enjoyed, and already I’ve happily immersed myself back into the world of print publication. I’m now the official web editor of Kiwi Magazine. (An editor? An editor! Insert silly squeal of delight here.) Social media growth, blogger platforms, daily site updates, quick copy – these are my pet projects I’m more than thrilled to develop.

But let’s flashback to New York’s not-so-mild days of late November:  

That’s me. I’m standing in the lobby of 770 Broadway, receiving my first job offer. It’s raining, so my hair is probably a mess, but then again so is everyone else’s. Boots are squeaking across the marble floor. Umbrellas are opening and closing on cue, like life has been previously choreographed.

I’m all genuine smiles as my next boss tells me the good news, though I know my departure from Huffington Post will inevitably be bittersweet.

But do you know the first thing I thought? Over salary negotiations, and vacation days, and contracts -- the very first thing to cross my mind as a full time employee was this:

"I can finally bring a coffee mug to work."
And so I did. 

The new office, located  in mid-town.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

"Yes" To The Dance Of Conversation

I was standing on the balcony of a penthouse apartment, located deep within New York City’s gentrified East Village.  It was a seasonably warm Monday night in December, and the town sparkled like stars under our noses.

The man to my right (whom we shall call M) and the woman to my left (whom we shall call B) appeared to be actors, or at least the “theater type,” with their perfect diction piercing the night air alongside the clink of half-filled wine glasses. Our hostess was The Reverend – a striking and dignified woman – who joyfully stated that “the choir came over every week for dinner.”

My new friend B had a high-pitched voice and cat-eyed Kate Spade glasses. Her hair was cut short and her clothes fell just right, giving the actress a casually posh appearance. To put in simply, B was the kind of go-getting gal you’d write a book about. 

Then again, nearly every person who occupied that penthouse had the look of a fascinating story about them.

“How’d I get here?” I thought to myself as M and I discussed everything from art exhibits to hurricanes to the sheer brilliance of some new flick.

Oh, I do so love a random soirĂ©e! How we dance that conversational waltz, attempting to briefly bond with strangers, never to be seen again... It’s fascinating to care about the trivial or noteworthy, half in jest and half for the challenge of greeting humanity’s neediness with a sure quip and clever grin.

Not to mention the captivating tales of life one can uncover. If I had the time (and if you cared enough) I’d write down the dozens of observations my brain clung to as M, B, and a whole cast of others glided effortlessly around the apartment -- sequins, cheese platters, and all. 

But I suppose the true story is that my friend Kortlyn has a set of benefactors, or “sugar parents” if you will, who graciously bought us poor girls tickets to see a show. The performance was something else, with music written by Larry Hart, a few songs preformed by Linda Hart, and a little ditty by The Reverend herself that had something to do with “stomping your Prada for God.”

Sneaking pictures

Then, before we knew it, Kortlyn and I were led to the cast's after party by the generous upper crusts of New York. To the northeast we walked -- bubbly in hand, patchwork makeup on our faces.

Finally, up an elevator we went. As our motley crew stepped into the  apartment, the greeting ritual commenced with a few “I’ll take your coats,” and several “The food and beverages are right this way.”  The top floor apartment was humble by city standards but the space and view were something I rarely witness.

So that’s how we got to the balcony of penthouse in New York.
On a Monday night.
In December.

And all of this just to say…

There will be those quixotic moments in life when you’ll want to say “yes” to any offer that comes your way. And then there will be those sulky periods of time when you’ll simply want to say “no,” "no way," or "hell to the no" at even the best of requests.

I suggest refraining from the later. 


Here  was my favorite clip from the performance:

"Big hair" gets you closer to "Gaauhd." 
Yeah.... it was like that