I Listen To These Six Podcasts Every Week (and You Should Too!)

I realized when I was writing this post that I’ve been listening to podcasts for a long time. My very first podcasts were The Bob Edwards Show and the Answer Bitch show. Both were on XM radio (this was pre-merger with Sirius) and the only place you could get the episodes was from the iTunes store. I’d download episodes to my iPod classic and listen to them in the lab as I worked (so you see how long it’s been, since I haven’t worked in a lab since 2012!).

Over the past 2-3 years, podcasts have really exploded, along with the ways that you can listen. I use Spotify for 99% of the podcasts that I listen to regularly, and I keep Stitcher because that allows me to listen to This American Life. I’m sure you can also listen to podcasts via Apple Music, Soundcloud, Stitcher, or other podcast services.

My full podcast subscription list has 40+ shows, but I listen to these 6 shows every single week…


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The Read

I came to show late, like maybe Year 3 or so? It was around the time that Beyonce dropped the self-titled album. I was just coming around to the fact that I was indeed a member of the BeyHive, and Kid Fury and Crissle helped me feel comfy with that fact. Those two are my cousins in my head, and I love their commentary on what’s happening in pop culture, and their advice to listeners. New episodes drop on Thursdays and it’s the first thing I open on Thursday mornings. I love this show so much, that I traveled to Chicago to see them live back in 2017, and it was totally worth it. They also have really cute merch - the Break Up With Him sweatshirt is my personal fave to wear.


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The Nicole Walters Podcast 

I discovered Nicole when my friend shared one of her videos on Facebook. I’ve been following her on Facebook & Instagram and really loving her authenticity. When her podcast dropped, I was blown away at how timely it was for me, as a newbie entrepreneur. The episodes are about 30mins which is the perfect amount of time for me, and I really love the stories she tells about her entrepreneurial journey.

If you’re a budding entrepreneur, this is the podcast you should be listening to!


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Reply All

I stumbled on this podcast by accident but I was instantly hooked. I grew up on the Internet, back when it consisted of IRC chat rooms and AOL dialup, so a podcast about the Internet is right up my alley. They’ve done some great stories, like tracking down phone scammers in India, or how fraudsters work on Amazon, or figuring out how robocalls manage to make it seem like they are calling from your number. My favorite episode is the one that shows how easy it is to fall for a phishing scam.


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Stuff You Missed In History Class

I’m a history buff - if I hadn’t majored in chemistry, history would have been my next choice. There’s so much to learn and that’s why I love this podcast. Every episode is well-researched and there’s a variety of topics. I’ve learned about so many figures and topics that I’d never heard of thanks to the show, and even with people I was familiar with, I learned a ton more than I thought I knew. Also I really enjoy the hosts! This show has been around for a long time so I highly recommend going through their back episodes as well. It’s great listening on your commute, or on a road trip, and most of the episodes are family friendly, which is a plus.


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Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me

I think I discovered this show when I was driving in a rental car that didn’t have satellite radio, so I stuck to NPR. Yall know I love a good quiz show, and I was delighted to discover a nerdy yet funny quiz show on NPR. Each week there’s a different panel of celebs who compete to see who knows the most about the news from that week. I tune in every week and I’ve even attended a live taping when the show came to Minneapolis. I’ve also met two of the panelists - Brian Babylon & PJ O’Rouke - and they were both gracious and delightful.


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The Pitch

The first time I listened to this show, it was at the recommendation of Rachel Miller, who sent a link to the Tushy episode to the APW Slack with a "YOU MUST LISTEN TO THIS” message. After listening to that episode, I went back and listened to the entire catalog. In this show, a startup pitches to a panel of investors, and you get to learn about a new company while also hearing the types of questions that investors ask. Not only am I learning about how to run a startup and how to pitch, I’ve learned about several new interesting companies.


Have you listened to any of these podcasts? What are you listening to regularly? Let me know in the comments!

This One Experience Taught Me Patience and Persistence

By nature, I am not a patient person.

I’ve always been this way so I can’t blame it on social media, or our instant gratification culture. It’s just my personality - I want what I want when I want it, and that’s usually right away. I think it’s because I’m a researcher and a planner, so I put a lot of effort into making a decision, and thus when I come to a conclusion, I want the payoff right away. I did all the work of figuring things out and making a plan, so I deserve the results as soon as I complete that work, right?

If only life worked that way. In fact, most of life doesn’t work that way. Everyday we do work that we don’t know is going to pay off. We might have an agreement that it’s going to pay off, or other people may have gotten a good result, but it’s not guaranteed that I’ll get the same result. Right now, I’m typing this on my lunch break at my corporate job - on Thursday, I expect to be paid for the work I put in over the last two weeks, but something weird could happen and I might not get paid. It’s an extreme example, but yall get my point.

I’m also not very persistent. I think it’s because growing up I was allergic to everything outside in nature, and I loved books. So instead of rolling around in the grass, I just wanted to stay in my room and read (also I wasn’t allergic to the books, but I was allergic to the grass). While my brothers spent years pursuing athletic pursuits, I had short stints in karate and volleyball before I gave them up for pursuits that came easier to me.

For years I walked around believing that patience and persistence were not in my wheelhouse. I have lots of great skills and qualities but patience or persistence were not among them. I told myself this story for YEARS. Until one day, I realized that it wasn’t actually true anymore - I just simply failed to recognize what patience and persistence looked like in my life.

What made me realize that I had these talents after all? I had an “aha!” moment when I reflected on my natural hair journey.

I spent most of my life relaxing my hair, and I decided to go natural in 2008. Originally it was simply a goal to grow out my relaxer and get to know my natural hair texture, and then see how long I could grow it out. By 2011 by natural hair reached my brastrap when stretched and it was a major time commitment to detangle, wash and style it every week. So in October 2011 , after much research, I decided to start locing my hair. I knew that it would take some time to get the gorgeous locs that I saw on other people, but I was commited to the process. I spent two years battling frizz and shrinkage, and trying to make my hair look presentable while it went through the initial locing phase. In that time, i learned to look past what my hair looked like day to day, and to trust the process. I didn’t know when it would happen, but I knew eventually I’d have the type of locs that I initially coveted. I grew so detached from the process, that I didn’t even realize that I’d achieved my goal until a friend pointed out to me how long my hair had grown. I’d survived the shrinkage phase and come out on the other side with the hair I’d always wanted. I’m now 7.5yrs into my locs journey, and I regularly get stopped and asked about my hair.

During the two years of the “ugly” shrinkage phase, I could have given up. I could have said “forget this!” and combed them out. Or I could have stressed myself out worrying about how my hair looked, and felt bad about myself. Detaching from the process, and making the active decision to just stay the course, is what allowed me to have the patience and persistence to go through the difficult time.

So why have I been thinking of myself as someone with no patience or persistence? Because the one place where I’ve struggled with this the most is with my body acceptance journey. Over the years I’ve had periods of weight loss and gain, and judge myself over it. I’ve tried lots of different strategies - tracking, daily weighing, challenges - and while I’ve had periods of success, nothing has really stuck. I know what to do, I just struggle with consistency and continuing to stay the course.

Thinking about my hair journey has allowed me to reflect on the type of person I really am, and what works works for my life and my personality. Giving myself more credit, and also grace, has gone a long way in changing the narrative that I’ve told myself around patience and persistence.

Serena Williams Can't Believe She Has A Kid, And Neither Can I

 
Me and my girl...
 

A few weeks ago, Serena Williams, aka the world greatest athlete (don't debate me, debate your mom) had her first child, a baby girl. We all got a chance to see little Alexis via Instagram, and also the sweetest video chronicling the months until her debut. From the video, it's apparent that both Serena and her fiance are complete saps, which I appreciate because I am also a sappy mama. 

Wait, let me go back. First, let me tell you that I love me some Serena Williams. I remember my high school days, knowing exactly one thing about tennis, and still spending hours watching whenever Serena or Venus was on the screen. I've spent years rooting for Serena, even waking up at the crack of dawn to catch her win the Australian Open. Beyond her dominance on the tennis court, I admired her fierceness and her determination to not be "just" a tennis player. She's not just the best tennis player ever, male or female, she's probably the best athlete out here, male or female. We can have a debate about it if you want to, but you're disqualified if any of your arguments are rooted in sexism. 

Anyway, my kinship with Serena got a million times stronger when I saw she tweeted this:

Immediately I thought, "OMG IS SHE ME???? HOW DOES SHE KNOW MY LIFE?" Apparently I'm not the only mama surprised that she did indeed grow another human and is now responsible for them. 

It's such a strange feeling to be in a place that you never expected to be, and that's me when it comes to motherhood. I truly never pictured my life with a child in it, until I met my husband. Even during my pregnancy, as BabyPi kicked me constantly, I didn't have a good grasp of what it would be like to be someone's mama. Like pledging or marriage, you truly don't know what it's like until you're in it and experience it, I suppose. 

I've had so many moments of "oh shit, I'm someone's mama!" in the early months of my daughter's life. I'm still not used to it, and it's still kinda weird(?) to think of myself as a mother. When I think of who I am - who Jareesa is at the core - "mother" is not the first adjective that comes to mind. Not defining myself as a mother first, or solely as a mother, is extremely important to me and how I view myself.. but at the same time, I'm so amazed that I have that title at all. Is this what it's like when you win the Powerball or something? Like you assume something is unattainable and then it happens and you're just...in a constant state of "did that just happen?" 

At least once a day I have a moment where I'm amazed that I'm a mom, and usually it's because Phi giggled at me, or grabbed my face for a kiss, or did some other adorable thing. She's such a joy and even when she's fussing, I'm reminded that she's my joy, my baby girl, and I'm her mama. I know we'll have so many more moments in the future, that will make me equally proud and happy to be Phi's mama. 

Progress On My Stuff To Do In 2017 List

I wrote this list back in February I think? It's July so that's a good time to check in on the progress I've made against this list, right?

This is version 2 but expect to see numerous updates of this list throughout 2017...and if you don't see updates you have my permission to ask me why the fuck I haven't updated my list. Accountability and whatnot...

  1. Finish Phi's baby blanket (this is kinda cheating cause it's like 90% done but I'mma put it on the list anyway) - DONE! AND SHE LOVES IT! 
  2. Post on BGU at least once a week - I'm trying 
  3. Find freelance writing opportunities - DID IT! 
  4. Pitch freelance writing opportunities - DID THIS TOO!
  5. Try knitting socks using the two circular knitting needles method - STILL SCARED
  6. Go see my family so they can meet Phi - DID IT AND THEY LOVE HER TO PIECES
  7. Finally try knitting a hat on double point needles - BOUT TO DO IT
  8. Get pretty and take photos of already knitted items 
  9. List already knitted items on Etsy
  10. Update my LinkedIn page with my APW internship. - DID IT!
  11. Apply for opportunities in Atlanta - STILL DOING IT, NO LUCK YET 
  12. Search for homes for sale in Atlanta - HAD TO STOP CAUSE I FOUND TOO MANY I LIKED
  13. Convince Meg that I should be Chief Data Officer for APW - I'll start off as "Data Guru" tho...ok maybe not "guru" cause all the startups use that term and it's corny...but basically I wanna be the queen of all things data & sales & marketing for APW, I just need a better title than "queen of all things data & sales & marketing". - TRUST ME, I'M TRYING
  14. Take a girl's trip - no baby, no husband.
  15. Help my cousin soror plan her wedding
  16. Get ordained to do weddings in Georgia
  17. Convince someone to let me officiate their wedding in Georgia
  18. Go to Elise's yoga class twice a week - STILL TRYING
  19. Take the baby to Bring Your Own Baby yoga class at Blooma - WASN'T REALLY INTO IT
  20. Pay off my last credit card that carries a balance (I'm actually really proud that I'm down to 1 credit card that's carrying a balance, trust me this is an accomplishment) - MAKING PROGRESS!
  21. Find a reliable babysitter so I can go out with my husband to stuff - THE HOMIES HAVE FILLED IN HERE & WE'RE GRATEFUL
  22. Book a cheap flight deal so we can take a trip as a family, preferably an international trip so Phi can get a passport stamp. - STILL LOOKING!
  23. Go back to the Primal lifestyle, at least 80% (I'll be shooting for 100% but I know that's unrealistic for me) - I'M LIKE 50% SO FAR.

Shit I Will Do Or Make Happen In 2017

This is version 1 but expect to see numerous updates of this list throughout 2017...and if you don't see updates you have my permission to ask me why the fuck I haven't updated my list. Accountability and whatnot...

  1. Finish Phi's baby blanket (this is kinda cheating cause it's like 90% done but I'mma put it on the list anyway)
  2. Post on BGU at least once a week
  3. Find freelance writing opportunities
  4. Pitch freelance writing opportunities
  5. Try knitting socks using the two circular knitting needles method
  6. Go see my family so they can meet Phi
  7. Finally try knitting a hat on double point needles
  8. Get pretty and take photos of already knitted items
  9. List already knitted items on Etsy
  10. Update my LinkedIn page with my APW internship.
  11. Apply for opportunities in Atlanta
  12. Search for homes for sale in Atlanta
  13. Convince Meg that I should be Chief Data Officer for APW - I'll start off as "Data Guru" tho...ok maybe not "guru" cause all the startups use that term and it's corny...but basically I wanna be the queen of all things data & sales & marketing for APW, I just need a better title than "queen of all things data & sales & marketing".
  14. Take a girl's trip - no baby, no husband.
  15. Help my cousin soror plan her wedding
  16. Get ordained to do weddings in Georgia
  17. Convince someone to let me officiate their wedding in Georgia
  18. Go to Elise's yoga class twice a week
  19. Take the baby to Bring Your Own Baby yoga class at Blooma
  20. Pay off my last credit card that carries a balance (I'm actually really proud that I'm down to 1 credit card that's carrying a balance, trust me this is an accomplishment)
  21. Find a reliable babysitter so I can go out with my husband to stuff
  22. Book a cheap flight deal so we can take a trip as a family, preferably an international trip so Phi can get a passport stamp.
  23. Go back to the Primal lifestyle, at least 80% (I'll be shooting for 100% but I know that's unrealistic for me)

New Year, New Life

So I just remembered that I had a blog. Ok, that's a lie. I've remembered for months...it's just be hard to write. I'm not exactly sure why I found it hard to write here, but I did. So I just kept..avoiding this space even though I know that the best thing for me to do is to write regularly, no matter what it is.

Beyond not having the motivation or strong desire to write here, I also had a few things happening. My pregnancy was somewhat all-consuming but not in a bad way. I just got really into the experience of being pregnant and everything that came with it. My instinct to research everything went into hyperdrive during my pregnancy - I Googled everything I could Google. I read books and I joined FB mama groups (some are better than others, let me tell you) and I talked to all the mamas I knew. And then I waited and waited and waited some more for #BabyPi to show up. She is my child, so she took her sweet time and decided she was going to come when she was ready, which meant she showed up on the first Friday of 2017. Thanks for dashing my hopes of a tax deduction!

The first six weeks have been hard and fun and fulfilling and challenging and more. Josephine (aka Phi) is such a sweet baby, and I'm just in love with her. She loves to cuddle and honestly, I love having that excuse to cuddle with her for hours. Overall she's a pretty chill, happy baby but she's still a baby, so we're dealing with middle of the night feedings and fussy evenings. Overall though, I'm overjoyed that I decided to take this plunge into parenthood.

I'm on maternity leave for another 6 weeks, so I have a good chunk of time on my hands. I'm going to use some of it writing and getting out all these random thoughts I've had in my head. I'm also plotting my next moves for 2017 - I put some things on hold in 2016 once I got pregnant, and now that Phi is here I need to kick things into high gear so we can make some moves.

Stay tuned...

 

Remembering That Time I Was Brave, So That I Can Be Brave Once Again

She Who Is Brave Is Free Last week, I had a breakfast meeting with my friend BL. I hadn't seen her in a while and I wanted to catch up, but I also wanted to pick her brain about business ideas. See, BL is my inspiration for where I want to be - not only does she have a successful corporate career, but she has an equally successful side venture. In short, she's doing what I want to do, so it makes sense to go to someone who is doing what you're looking to do, right?

Over some yummy breakfast food, I walked BL through my ideas, my frustrations, and my fear of putting myself out there and trying something new. She gave me encouragement, some ideas and some advice. She also gave me a bit of a wake-up, when she looked at me and proclaimed, "dude, you married someone from Twitter, you're already brave!" Ha. Yes, to most folks, marrying a person you met on social media seems like a crazy idea, so in that regard, I'm extremely brave. But I get what she meant - I've already conquered a fear and come out on top, so I simply need to do it again.

Later that day, as I was processing the day and everything we talked about, it dawned on me that there was another time in my life when I conquered a fear and came out on top. Ten years ago, I was a PhD student at my dream school. Up until that point, I'd achieved everything I'd set out to do. I'd made a few adjustments to my life plan, but overall I was still on the path that I'd set out for myself as a young teen, when I decided to pursue scientific research as a career. A PhD in chemistry was my last step before I embarked on an academic research and teaching career. There was just one problem - I was miserable! No one truly explained to me that life as a PhD student wasn't as easy as they make it seem. I found myself working all the time, either in the lab, or teaching, or taking my own courses. Once my coursework was completed, my workload grew due to qualifying exams and other commitments. I enjoyed my research, and I learned a lot, but I hated the other parts that came along with research. I hated spending hours running NMR samples, or analyzing GC-MS results, because using industry-standard spectral libraries wasn't allowed. Each Sunday, I got a pit in my stomach, because Monday was coming and that meant it was time for another meeting with my research group. I would sit in those meetings and pray that I had analyzed all my results correctly and prepped adequately, because if I hadn't, I'd be publicly berated by my research adviser.

I didn't realize it at the time, but I hated my PhD program so much that it manifested as physical illness. I already suffered from migraines, but they became more frequent in the second year of my program. I also developed tension headaches, which forced me to abandon my lab in the middle of work and seek a quiet, dark place to recuperate. A visit to the health center diagnosed me, and I was given drugs to help the symptoms, but they did not give much relief. As my headaches got worse, my confidence and self-esteem suffered as well. I'd always felt I was smarter than the average bear, but graduate school made me question my abilities. Almost every day I had an experience with a professor or postdoc that left me wondering if I even belonged there. Of course, it wasn't just me - we all swapped stories of how a professor treated us like garbage for not knowing the answer to a question, or received a bad test grade. My other classmates took it as par for the course, but I internalized a lot of the criticism I received.

The stress, the criticism, my health issues - I couldn't take it anymore. I considered other options, such as transferring to a different school, or changing advisers. In the end, it was clear to me that simply changing schools wouldn't solve my problem, because my problem was rooted in the PhD experience. A change of scenery or a different adviser wouldn't change that. I toyed with switching to a public policy degree, but while I enjoyed the courses and learning something new, but my heart was still in the sciences and laboratory work.

And that's when I pulled the trigger - I applied to graduate with a Master's in chemistry, instead of staying to finish my PhD.

I could have pushed through three more years of research, and late nights in the lab, and writing papers. I could have written a dissertation and defended and graduated as Dr. Tucker. But it wasn't worth it to me anymore. My health was suffering, both physically and mentally, and I realized that a PhD wasn't worth my health. But it was so scary to make that decision. I feared judgement and ridicule from my peers, family and friends. I didn't want to be a quitter. I wanted to make people proud of me. And I wanted to fulfill that childhood dream of an academic research career. Quitting my PhD meant saying goodbye to that.

Looking back, I see now how brave I was to give up the path I'd been on for years, and decide to pursue something new. As much as I wanted a PhD, I learned that it wasn't meant for me. Leaving school and starting my career turned out to be a good decision and a blessing. But in the moment, it was scary and I was unsure it would pay off. Fast forward ten years, and now I feel the same way, only this time I want to walk away from a traditional corporate career. The fear I feel is bigger this time, because I have more riding on it - I'm not a broke PhD student living off ramen noodles, now I have bills and I've gotten very comfortable making good money. But my career is also a gift, and I have the luxury to pursue other passions while I work my day job, until I'm ready to make a move. And I have great friends to give me the push I need to take the first steps towards fulfilling my dreams and passions.

Big steps towards my dreams are coming soon - stay tuned!

I Changed My Definition Of Career Success

Successful career list  

I'm a typical Gen Y'er and if you're a Gen Y'er like me, you probably grew up with the same mantra - do well in school, go to a good college, so you can get a good job. Then work work work so you can get all the promotions and climb to the top of the corporate ladder. Making lots of money, having an executive title - THAT was success, and hence what we all should strive for. This mantra was repeated by our parents, our teachers, our mentors, and reinforced in the media. So I adopted it, and I set my sights on achieving it. I started college as an engineering major and interning at a Fortune 500 company. I switched my major to chemistry but headed to grad school, to further my training, and hopefully make more money after graduation.I had a brief flirtation with the idea of going into academia, but in the end I decided to go the corporate route.

When I started my "grown up" career at 24, I was full of new grad optimism and enthusiasm. I wanted to learn as much as I could, and overachieve so that I could get promoted, because that's what I was expected to do, right? So I volunteered for all these extra projects at work, and did the career development stuff that is pushed to new grads in large corporations. I believed all those stories that said if you work hard and don't be a lazy young person, you'll be rewarded. And I was, at least monetarily. My salary grew by leaps and bounds but that promotion? I had to change companies to get it. Despite my work, networking with allies and mentors and career development, for whatever reason, promotions in role weren't coming my way.

It's been almost ten years since I started my corporate career, and my view of success has changed drastically since I was a new grad. I had a feeling that my priorities and career goals had changed, and last week showed me that  my definition of success has changed as well.

Last week I had my performance review. I wasn't super excited about it and expected the worst, not because of my performance but because of the drastic changes happening within my company. I survived many layoffs in 2015, and the subsequent personnel changes resulted in numerous changes to my chain of command. I've had 5 direct managers, plus many VPs and other executives that I report to. When the review period started, I realized that there was no one left in my department who could reflect and comment on my entire 2015 performance, because everyone was gone. Crazy, right? So I didn't have high expectations for my performance review results. My score was decent, and I received a small raise but once again, I was not promoted. When I started with this company 3.5 years ago, getting a promotion was high on my list, but due to circumstances beyond my control it has yet to happen.

I expected to walk away upset, questioning myself, questioning if this is the place for me - the types of reactions that I've had before. This time I walked away with a #kanyeshrug and went about my business. And then I paused, and I asked myself if I should be upset because I wasn't promoted. Like my initial reaction went something like this:

Me: Still got a job? Getting more money? Cool

My brain: Wait, you're still at the same level you were when you started. Aren't you upset? You should be upset.

Me: Wait, I should be upset? For why?

My brain: You're supposed to get promoted! You're supposed to want to be an executive with a fancy title and a big office! Did you forget?

Me: OH. For real? I'm supposed to want that?

My brain: DUH! Everybody wants that...right?

And that's when I had to have a quick DM chat with a couple of friends, who talked me off the ledge. I was totally fine until I started thinking, and all those rules about success that I was taught as a child started flooding into my brain. I grew up with a message that success meant a fancy title, a big office, the big money, etc. Everyday I see lists about the Top 30 under 30, or see LinkedIn updates from people I went to school with announcing their promotions and fancy jobs and whatnot. I've been conditioned to want a specific type of success but I have not been able to achieve that, at least not yet.

I'm OK with where I am in my career. During these ten years I've worked, I see what it takes to get to those high levels, and nothing about it is appealing to me. I don't want to spend my nights and weekends working. I don't want to have a company cell phone and spend every waking moment being available for work. I don't want to go on vacation but still log into work each day (that's not a vacation). I don't want to work 60+ hours a week, and not have time to do anything other than work and sleep. None of that is appealing to me. I love my work-life balance and I love that I can leave work at work and pursue other things in my free time. I don't love that my hard work doesn't directly benefit my bottom line, but I love that my direct deposit hits my account on a regular schedule.

I've arrived at a state of peace in my view of my career. I've realized that my passions lie elsewhere and that I value different things than I did when I was 24. I've learned that a successful career doesn't look the same for everyone, and that I have the ability to define success for myself. After a moment of angst, I realize that not getting a promotion is a blessing as well, as it gives me time to focus on the things I enjoy, and less pressure in the office. If I do climb a ladder, it's going to be my ladder, not a predetermined corporate ladder. I probably will never have an executive title, unless it's a title for my own endeavor. And honestly, I like the sound of CEO of My Thing better than VP of Corporate Whatever.

What say you readers - what does a successful career look like to you? Have you achieved it? 

I've Aged Out Of The Party Scene

nightclub, black nightlife March 17, 2016 was a milestone day for me. Yes, it was St Patrick's Day, but it's also the day that I discovered an important fact - I'm too damn old for nightclubs, especially on a school night.

This endeavor started out with the best of intentions. First Avenue (a nightclub here in Minneapolis, you probably heard of it thanks to Purple Rain) started hosting these Drake Nite parties. The premise is simple - charge $10 and have the DJ play a Drake mix all night. Sounds like a fun night to me, cause I love me some Drake. I missed the first few nights that they had, and my friend KS mentioned that she was interested in going to the next one, which was March 17th. Cool, we got some tickets and made plans to dance the night away at First Avenue.

Day of the party, I remembered that I'm old and that I had to work all day. Would I still be able to kick it after a busy day? Sure, I just need a disco nap! For the uninitiated, a disco nap is a nap you take in the early evening, so that you're ready to go out and party. When I was 21, I had no need for a disco nap, but at 33, I can't even think about being up past 11pm without one. So I got in the bed and had my 2 hour nap. When my husband woke me up at 10:15pm, I was ready to swing on him, that's how much I was enjoying my sleep. I briefly considered bailing, but we'd already bought tickets and I knew my friend really wanted to go.

We got to First Avenue around 11pm and I knew immediately it was going to be a bad idea. There were tons of drunk folks running around thanks to the St Patrick's Day festivities. Teenagers smoking cigarettes and other things surrounded the door, and were talking in the loud voice that all teenagers seem to use, as if they can't hear each other except when they are yelling. I got inside and was met by a sea of 18-25 year olds.

I attempted to hit the dance floor, but after I was bumped by the 3rd person, I could feel my anger building. So we retreated to the 2nd level, where we grabbed a drink and found a spot by the railing. The Drake set started around 1130pm and we had some fun dancing and singing along. My friend really wanted to go back downstairs to the dance floor, so we made our way back down to give it another shot. Yeah...I just don't have the patience for it anymore. The bumping, the stepping on feet, the lack of personal space - none of it is appealing to me. I survived maybe two songs before I escaped and went back upstairs. We finally called it a night at 1230pm and I was home and in bed by 1am.

I set my alarm for 730am, and I still had to drag myself out of bed with all the strength I could muster. I had one drink and got 6 hours of sleep, and yet I felt like I'd stayed up all night. So far I've consumed a venti iced coffee and I'm still yawning. As soon as my work day is over, I have a date with my bed for a much needed nap.

How did this happen? It didn't used to be this way! I remember being in college, being up all night long, maybe getting an hour or two of sleep, and functioning fine the next day. Now, if I'm up past 11pm, it's a momentous feat and I'm going to sleep in the next morning. I have a strict bedtime and not adhering to it is painful.

I see now why the 30+ crowd loves a day party - you can kick it from 2pm to 6pm, and still get your required sleep. And you don't have to worry about 18 year olds spilling a drink on you or stepping on your feet. I've learned my lesson - the next Drake Nite won't have me in attendance. I'll just throw on my Drake playlist at home, and dance in the living room. At least there, I'm guaranteed some personal space and a short commute to my bed when it's over.

*yawn*

Is It Time To Let Go Of My Pseudo-Anonymity?

anonymous blogger Back in the Internet Dark Ages, aka 2004, I started my first blog. Back then, Facebook was just a thing for Harvard students, Twitter was a long way off, and even Myspace was still just for musicians. AOL and AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) were a big deal, and if you did any interacting with anyone online, it was probably on a message board. Blogging was just becoming a thing, and lots of people were doing it just for fun - the idea that you could blog as a career hadn't been conceived yet. It was in this environment that on a whim, I went to Blogger and set up a blog. It took like 2 seconds, and there I had my own little corner of the Internet, which I called Confessions of a Grad School Slave. During setup, I had to choose a name, and I decided to go with Jubilance, which is my line name (and now a nickname, since I've used it so long). In a split second, I decided to be anonymous on the Internet, or at least as anonymous as I could be. I figured it would be a good idea to keep my online presence separate from my offline life.

Years of Blogging Anonymously

Honestly, I don't even remember what really motivated me to start blogging in the first place. I've never been a "diary" or "journal" kind of girl. Growing up I was addicted to young adult serials like The Babysitter's Club, Sweet Valley Twins, and Sweet Valley High. Every book, movie and magazine geared to tweet and teen girls all mandated that you must have a diary. Where else were you going to confess your love for the football star or lament how much your parents didn't understand you? As much as I tried, I just couldn't get the diary bug to stick - it just didn't appeal to me. But blogging somehow felt different. Perhaps it was the public nature - the idea that anyone could find it and read it. It wasn't just for me, it was for everyone, a public experience. But by using a pseudonym, was able to keep my blogging separate from my everyday life. It was an "extra", a thing I did on the side, when I felt like I had something to share.

I could never keep a diary, but the blogging bug has stuck with me over almost 12 years now. For most of those years, I wrote when I felt like it, mostly when I was struggling in some way and needed an outlet. Blogging was always an outlet for me, and never something I took seriously until a few years ago. I always looked at it as a fun outlet and not a practical career move. With the encouragement of friends, I'm finally taking my writing seriously.

Time To Let Go Of the Pseudonym

I realized the other day that while I started blogging with the goal of anonymity, I've done a really bad job of it. Anyone who knows how to use Google can figure out my real name, find my LinkedIn profile, my Twitter and other identifying information about me. As the 2016 writing fellow for A Practical Wedding, I'm publishing content regularly, under my real name. My goal has been to gain experience and build my portfolio, and hiding my identity here doesn't fit with that. At the same time, I love the Jubilance nickname and it will still be in use - on Twitter, my Disqus account, etc. But I don't feel the need to keep my online life separate from my real world life anymore. In the beginning, I felt that I needed to keep them separate for my corporate career, but now I see that writing IS my career, and I should embrace it.

Moving forward, I'm making changes to Black Girl Unlost, including updating the About Me page to reflect my true identity. It feels a bit daunting to put my name here, but also encouraged. Stripping the anonymity from BGU is step 1 as I move towards a freelance writing career and building my brand.