Take a Breath

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Yesterday, I had an impromptu conversation with my mentor at work. I’ve been feeling really burnt out, and unable to find a balance between my personal and professional life – whatelse is new. While I was speaking to him, he said something that really stuck:

You’re doing too much.

I’ve always been ambitious because I always strive for better. I’m grateful for what I have, but I am always challenging myself to be better, to do better, to grow. 

In spite of my ambition, he did a really really good job at breaking things down for me and putting things into perspective. He was absolutely right, there is A LOT going on in my life:

  • I’m still learning my role at Indeed – I’m only 6 months in
  • I moved 2 months ago
  • I’m maintaining 2 blogs
  • I’m taking online courses
  • I’m cultivating a mindset of gratefulness and peace
  • Lastly, who could forget the 40+ hours of TV  shows I watch a week. Although, it really seems like that amount is going to have to decrease due to all of my other passions in life.

There are a few other things happening, but you folks get the gist. He was right. At this point in time, I am doing a lot, maybe even too much. BUT, that doesn’t mean something has to give just yet.

Once he was breaking everything down for me, I realized what I needed – a schedule/plan. It’s so easy to push things off until a later date. It’s so easy to put a figurative pin-in-it and forget about it. It’s easy to say you’ll “do it later” especially when later never comes.

I’m not at the point where I want to dial things back, but I do need to slow down and reevaluate my life and figure out my next steps. I need a plan, and SMART goals, and fucking time management. I need to take control over my life, and stop letting myself get eaten by this day to day hustle.

I love choices and options. My friends hear me say it all the time – why should I have to choose? Nevertheless, I’m starting to realize that there is power in choosing. There is power in deciding what’s valuable, and deciding what you put your energy towards.

I’m not ready to slow down YET because my job brings me joy and happiness; my blogs feed my passion; my courses help me grow; meditation and energy healing feed my soul; and TV, yes, watching that much TV makes me genuinely happy. The things I’m choosing to put my energy towards is making me happy. It’s feeding my spirit and it’s showing me I’m on the right path.

It’s a lot, I won’t lie. It’s overwhelming at times, but that’s why I’m so grateful for this conversation because it came at the perfect time. It reminded me that it’s okay to slow down, to amend your dreams, to take time for yourself throughout the day.

I definitely need to take a breather, but what I need more is to be me – the me-est of them all.

I will create a schedule. I will find time for my passions without feeling overwhelmed. More importantly, I will be me.

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The Universe Works in Mysterious Ways

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Thursday morning, I was on the subway listening to some soca music making my way to work. As I was jamming, a random thought popped into my head – I want to go to Harlem.

I want to go to Harlem.

What a random ass thought. I’ve never been to Harlem before, and I would love to go, but why did that thought pop into my head at that time? So, I tried to analyze my own thought – English in me came out. What I realized is that I didn’t want to go to Harlem Harlem, I wanted the sense of black community and soul. I wanted Luke Cage. I wanted this.

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I wanted to feel connected to something greater to me. A pretty random intention. Old Me, probably would have just ignored it, but New Me felt like this was important. If this is something that I’m craving on a subconscious level, then this is very important.

I put my intention out there in the universe with my Carnelian stone in my hand and meditated on that intention for a while. Yes, I did this on the subway on my way to work. Nonetheless, once I got to work – work happened and this little moment disappeared.

Fast forward to the end of the night, where one of my coworkers tells us about a bar called D.W. Alexander, my team and I were going to grab a drink after going Go Karting and dinner for our Team Event. #insideindeed

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In either case, my co-worker said she thought I might enjoy the atmosphere there because it has a library vibe. Look for yourself…

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From the moment, I stepped into the bar, I could totally picture myself just sitting there with a drink in my head reading a wonderful book. BUT folks it gets better – there was live music at the bar the night we went there. Usually, I hate live music in a bar because it’s always rock, but today it was soul music. Turns out every Third Thursday of the month the bar turns into the SoulFest Lounge. Who the fuck would have thought? The exact type of music I wanted to hear earlier today.

Added Bonus: The performer who was performing was wonderful. I felt chills and goosebumps so many times. D.W. Alexander: The Speakeasy in the Heart of Toronto, and we happened to go on the third Thursday of the month.

The Universe Works in Mysterious Ways.

I’m not a very religious person but ask and you shall receive. It’s never failed me now. I’m not sure if it was the moment in the subway, the crystal in my head, or just luck that my colleague brought us to this awesome place. Whatever force or energy brought us there, I’m grateful. Extremely grateful because I now know where to go when I’m in the need for some soul and good black company.

Pride Parade in Toronto: Walking with Indeed.com

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This past Sunday, I got the chance to walk in the Pride Parade in Toronto. More than that, I was able to do so with my best friend and my company, Indeed.com.

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Although my bestie does not work at Indeed, she was definitely rocking the swag. This experience was honestly the BEST experience of my life. You can laugh or blame the alcohol, but honestly, it was the people I was surrounded around that MADE this experience for me. People who were showing their authentic self, unapologetically. Being themselves without holding back, without hiding, and without fear.

Representation matters! I will continue to shout it from the rooftops, and this year, not only, did I see people expressing who they are, I saw BLACK people expressing who they are. Being apart of a minority who checks a lot of boxes of otherness in my identity, I always love when people, especially, black people being who they are.

I could go on and on, but I want to keep this short and sweet. I never felt so included, so loved, so seen, and so me. The only thing I would change was the weather, like why did it have to rain on my parade. All of those who came out know that the rain DID NOT stop us!

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I absolutely LOVED that the theme or slogan that I saw everywhere was “Celebrate Diversity.” I hope that this notion of celebrating diversity means that we celebrate ALL forms of diversity. I strongly believe that Pride is not just about diversity in sexuality and sex, I believe its about inclusivity for ALL people.

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My Boss WAS a Dick

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Now, I am not saying saying “my boss was a dick” because he is no longer one, I am saying “my boss was a dick” because I am not longer working for him.

When I got my first full-time permanent position I was excited; even though, it wasn’t in my field of study. I was ecstatic because I was 22 going on 23 years old, making 33K a year with relatively no bills. If I added everything up, I probably spent $500 on bills a month, which left plenty of money for me, food and alcohol.

Nonetheless, after my first month on the job, my boss – the woman who hired me – was fired, and less than two days later a new dickish boss started working. I tried, I really did try to make the best of a bad situation. I tried to make him feel at home, to feel welcome. However, two months into the job and I was miserable.

He made all these empty promises. He gave out half-ish compliments such as “you actually did your job well.” He made rude and unnecessary questions – “what are you doing? What do I pay you eight hours a day for?” I was the Activities Director. I planned and hosted activities, organized major events and sold trips to the students. After planning a Holiday Party for 200+ students and staff, several staff members and students LOVED the party. Activites. Games. Food. Beverages. It was a lot of work, but it was really well done. Nevertheless, my boss found me and said nothing. Actually, not nothing, he basically said it wasn’t a disaster and would have been better if I had alcohol. Alcohol for a school events with minors. *include face palm here*

Now, don’t get me wrong, I know that I’m young, but I’m not naive. I know part of the gig is working with people you don’t get a long with. I know that there will be personalities clashes, BUT I shouldn’t wake up every morning dreading going into work because of ONE person. I shouldn’t have anxiety attacks when hearing my bosses voice. Nor do I need to be recognized for the work I accomplished, but the very least I should feel appreciated, and I didn’t. Simply put, I wasn’t appreciated because I wasn’t.

As a result, I did what any person in my position would do – I found another job. It took about 4 months, but I am NOW employed with Indeed. I’m very happy and excited to be working with this company. I haven’t even started and I feel more welcomed and at home with Indeed, then I did at my previous job. I’m making more money and I finally have benefits – something my dickish boss has been “working” on for 6 months.

Anyways, I could ramble and give examples as to why he was dick; in addition to why I and other didn’t like him BUT we reached the part of the story where I got my revenge.

Ever since my new boss was hired, he made it very clear that he believed my position in the organization was unnecessary. He made it clear that he thought planning and executing activities for 100+ students was easy. Even when the auditor stated that the students loved “the teachers and the activities” – activities that I planed, he rolled his eyes and walked away. As if it was ungodly for the students to actual appreciate my position.

This, when I received my offer from Indeed, I gave my current employee two weeks notice. However, at the end of week one, I dreaded coming into work. Just knowing I had to see him and deal with him for another week brought me physical dread and anxiety, so I emailed him and told him I wouldn’t be coming into work that week.

Was what I did unprofessional? 100%

Do I care? NOT AT ALL!

When you’re a boss, when you’re in a position of power- your personality and presence makes or breaks a workplace. Your employees don’t owe anything to the organization or the job, but their loyalty to their boss will either make them stay or leave. People will give up promotions or wage increases, if it means working with a good boss. In other words, who you work with is JUST as important if not MORE important than who you work for

All I’ve been thinking this extra week off is – since my position is so unnecessary and easy, good luck hiring and training someone to do “nothing.”

How you treat people matters, and if you treat them like shit – best believe karma will come and kick you in the ass.

Job Searching is a Job in Itself

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Yes, I am currently working. However, I am not where I want to be. As a result, I’ve been job searching. I really want to work in my field, and although I really like working in the Student Services Industry it doesn’t give me much of a chance to utilize my English literacy skills. I recently went on an interview – well, two interviews – for an editing position. I was getting all the right vibes, they liked me and I liked them. One of the employees was actually giving me tips on how I should complete the editing test.

Th first test I did, I got 73% – not very good. But they liked me enough to call me in for a second interview. I re-did the editing test and I got…88% a lot better than the first time. They told me they would let me know by Monday, so I waited. It’s the waiting that’s hard, the not knowing. Eventually, Wednesday rolled around and I got a call.

The owner informed me that I didn’t get it. According to him, an employee, who is currently an Editor wanted the chance to become an Editing Supervisor. They pleaded their case. According to him, it was a tough decision. He could either go with me -who they liked and thought would fit in well – or they could go with someone who was already working with him. He did tell me in my first interview that he’s “loyal to a fault.” He always tries to promote within. So my job, the job that should have been mine disappeared right under my eye. He said the usual lines – “I’ll keep in touch. I’m keeping your file open. I’ll let you know when something is available.”

My mom called “bullshit.” She said if they wanted to hire me they could have. Who knows she could be right. The thing that sucks is that I always get this far. Not to be cocky, but organizations and companies always love me. They love my personality, my education background, and my potential. Then it comes to the part where I have to stick the landing, get the job, and shit like this always happens.

I don’t have too much to complain about, I know I’m lucky. Instead of looking for a job, I’m looking for the right job. I’m lucky that I can still pay my bills. I’m lucky because I have a job. However, my appreciation for what I have does not mean that my feelings aren’t valid. Job searching is hard. They say “job searching is a job in itself.” I just have to have faith, and pray that the right position is coming my way.

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One of my coworkers of color came up to me and said, “I love that you are wearing a headscarf.” This brings me life. I’m so happy!

When is the “right” time?

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When is the right time to take a leap of faith? When is the right time to make a change? When is the right time to jump into the abyss? The answer is never. There will NEVER be a right time to jump out of your comfort zone, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t…

For the longest time, or as long as I can remember I wanted to be a teacher. So straight of high school, I applied to a joint Bachelors Degree and Education Program, 6 years then 2 degrees: BA in English and French and BEd. However, in my last year of university, I decided on a whim to apply to Master’s program. By the grace of God, I actually got into a program very last minute with funding. I abandoned my dreams of teaching in a high school and pursued my new dream of teaching in a college.

The big difference between the two (high school and college) was the amount of freedom I received as a teacher. Becoming a TA and teaching first-year students English Literature was my dream come true. More than that, I was good at it and I loved it. Choosing the material. Making lesson plans. Teaching. Answering Questions. Marking essays and exams. Man, I could mark forever.

The issue is that once my courses finished, my thesis deadline kept getting pushed back. A one year program turned into a year and semester. I am currently still working on it, seems like it’s going to be two years. The further the deadline, the further my motivation went. I felt like I was chasing a pointless dream. I felt like I was chasing the dragon, chasing that first high that would never happen.

Thing is, even if my masters was done to teach at the college level you need minimum three years of experience. How do you get teaching experience if people won’t hire you? Oh, it’s a very simple answer, you don’t. Catch 22, you need experience, they won’t hire you, so you never get the experience. Thus, instead of working in the area that I love, I’m working somewhere that I don’t mind. It’s good enough money, and it’s simple enough, but it’s not what I want to do. I settled. Well, I can’t even say settled, I grew up. Similar to everyone else in this capitalist world, I have bills to pay and I need a job to pay those bills. But I think I’m ready to stop settling, to work in an area that I actually love. Not something I could be good at, or something that I could see myself doing, but something I want to do.

This is me making that change, and stepping out of my confront zone. Choosing to be inspired. Choosing to be excited and energized. I will finish my thesis. I will get my TESOL certificate. I will get teaching experience. I will teach in a college. My goals and dreams will come true, I just have to be patient and diligent.