Let’s get alive

Recently, as February weather has been feeling more like May here in Philly, I realized my enduring desire for change and why I may need to reevaluate that perspective.

To change, with love

I love change. To me, change is like a dear friend who consistently delivers a great time, every time.

Perhaps you are a creature of comfort and habit, and so you must currently feel repulsed at my pure adoration of change. Let me break down our “situation,” and all the offers change brings to the table. I love the change of season, I love moving and a new home, I love meeting new people, I love starting a new job, I love get rid of half my closet (more room for new goodies), I love new bars, I love new places—I’m sure you’re starting to get the picture. I’m aware a therapist would probably say this love of change comes from my inability to feel satisfied with most everything in my life. Minus relationships—I am good at finding, keeping and loving good people for a long time. I digress.

So— BOOM came the change in weather this weekend and with it an all-natural high similar to the feeling I get when given an alcoholic beverage or bacon in bed.

Let’s Get Happy

I’m sure we all can think of things that facilitate a natural substance-free high, which led me to my next thought: how do I emulate this high on a daily basis? I compiled a list of ways I am going to try to “EMBRACE THE MOMENT, AND LET GO OF THE NEED TO CONTROL,” (the caps are included because those mantras are still a work in progress for me).

  • Write, write and write some more. It fills my happiness cup to the brim and even if no one in the world ever reads this post, I will sleep better tonight because I lived a creative day.
  • Go for a walk. I never regret hauling myself (even if it’s just around the block) to get some fresh air and feel the outside.
  • Don’t react, let go. This one is still a work in progress for me, but the Four Agreements mantra, “don’t take anything personally,” helps me feel like this is an attainable goal.
  • Put the phone down. If I’m spending time with the ones I love, or just a live person, show some human decency and INTERACT.
  • Take a probiotic. I find my intoxicated-self running a personal advertising business for probiotics because I’ve been so impressed with their effect on my body. But for real, they work wonders on your gut, vagina and brain health, so take them.

All of these items force me to live in the moment, and not escape into a fantasy world of change. I don’t think about my “amazing,” yet nonexistent future home, job, car, blog, etc. Instead, I am fully ingrained in the moment, feeling some form of being alive.

I challenge you to make a list of ways you can improve your personal focus. Do you ever escape to an alternate reality to feel some type of way? If so, remember I’m with you, BUT together we can push a tad further outside our comfort zones and a little closer to feeling quality happiness, everyday.

Last but certainly not least, purchasing these $13 DOLLAR loafers from Primark, also makes me feel quite satisfied in the moment. Another win from this outfit are the Adidas leggings in which I have been frequenting/stalking the Center City Macy’s, potentially too many times.

Here’s to a weekend full of shoes less expensive than Tito’s, and life spent feeling ALIVE.

Hallelujah xx

What I’m Thankful for…

Since Thanksgiving is TOMORROW, I would like to share my list of current commodities I’m thankful for this year. Some items are a bit deeper than others, but what’s the point of life if you can’t laugh at yourself/joke when you’re not supposed to/eat popcorn in your bed?

Thanksgiving, interiors, gallery wall

  • My cohabited tiny box-aka my apartment. This June my boyfriend and I decided to move in together. The experience has been wonderful and almost too easy of a transition. I still love me some Meg Time, but living with your significant other isn’t too bad after all. Stay tuned for an additional post on our full apartment decor, pictured above.
  • Vodka: the one consistency in my life. Reliable, profound and eccentric, vodka is always there when I need her. She doesn’t punish me the next day and her relationship with club soda and lime is something we should all strive to emulate.
  • The NPR Politics Podcast. If you’re looking to get into your first podcast, or even trying something new: STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND DOWNLOAD THIS NOW. Seriously, this podcast has given me life and knowledge during this past year. With new episodes every Thursday, it’s easy to follow and gives you good citizen brownie points, because current events matter!
  • My new coffee treat: a Blonde Soy Misto. As the winter months approach, my wonderful (instead of “very special”. Alliteration sounds better) work pal Deirdre turned me onto this new coffee twist, which is essentially steamed coffee with soy milk. Lactose intolerant women everywhere: let us rejoice.
  • The art of looking up, literally. Living in a city can strip you of the experience of being in nature, but I recently read about the importance of looking up. It may sound silly but I find myself doing this all the time now. Simply focusing your gaze on the sky for a few moments is an effective way to improve your mood and center yourself. I encourage you to try this next time you’re stressed and note how you feel after.
  • GroupMe: An app where my intelligent, witty and sometimes morally corrupt pals come together daily to remind each other, there’s no line in comedy.
  • Last but certainly not least, my queen, my girl, my sun, my moon: Hillary Clinton. I am thankful to Hill, for lighting a fire under my privileged/safe/comfortable butt to go out and be the change I wish to see in the world.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

I am woman, hear me roar.

When I think back two weeks, I feel a sense of sadness. I feel as if I was in the eye of the hurricane, full of excitement for the future, yet blissfully unaware of the danger ahead. Then, like much of life, the storm hit and everything turned upside down.

Donald Trump is the President elect.

Let me be clear and repeat the sentiments I have already shared on my Instagram. I am a logical person who is obsessed with politics, and I have a deep sense of trust in our democracy. I trust America and the system of checks and balances implemented by our founding fathers to protect all people.

However, emotionally I was devastated. My devastation, like millions of others across America, took on many forms. First, there was sadness and shock, how could this happen? I spent most of Wednesday, November 9th crying, which in hindsight was a moving experience. I had the pleasure of mourning and watching Hillary give her graceful concession speech in the company of my fellow female coworkers.

Next came anger, because women deserved this. I wanted so badly for a daughter, mother and grandmother to lead, like they do in so many of our lives. I wanted America to break that final glass ceiling and I wanted Hillary to do it. Lena Dunham wrote an essay about the election, featured here on Lenny Letter. She described the feeling of injustice, and the system failing her. I instantly related to this notion: how lucky and sheltered I am that this is my first taste of heartbreak from the system. Dunham writes,

“It’s a privilege to be heartbroken by the system for the first time at age 30. So many people — those in the prison system, those with undocumented American relatives, those who are trans, who are queer, who are people of color, who are Muslim, who are trying to prosecute their abusers — have felt the crushing failure of the system over and over again. This is just another dark week. This isn’t surreal like a death or a bad diagnosis. This is their life.”

Finally—inspiration. Life goes on, and feelings fade with time, but I will not let go of this feeling. Currently, I am so inspired, so full of purpose and drive, ready to conquer the world ahead. Now more than ever women must come together. We must join forces to lift each other, love each other and encourage each other to make a decisive choice towards love, always.

I am lucky. I grew up with a Mother who told me I could be anything I want, all on my own. She never let me forget that being a woman is indescribable privilege. For all those out there who have been told otherwise, let me set the record straight. You are a fucking shooting star. Now is our time to rise up together for those who came before and for all who come after.

We must cherish the incredible sisterhood women everywhere share, and never forget love always trumps hate.

Sincerely,

A very nasty woman.

Above all, persevere.

dress, H&M, summer, blue, converse, chuck taylor

Liz Gilbert shared a story in her recent novel, Big Magic. The story struck a chord with me. It begins with a man, fed up with writing for no reward. The man asks famous American writer Richard Ford to share his advice for how to proceed. This man, sick of being told to “persevere”, begged Ford to avoid all guidance of that nature. According to my beloved Big Magic, he answered:

“Sir, I am sorry for your disappointment. Please believe me, I would never insult you by simply telling you to preserver. I can’t even imagine how discouraging that would be to hear, after all these years of rejection. In fact, I will tell you something else—something that may surprise you. I’m going to tell you to quit.

I say this to you only because writing is clearly bringing you no pleasure. It is only bringing you pain. Our time on earth is short and should be enjoyed. You should leave this dream behind and go find something else to do with your life. Travel, take up new hobbies, spend time with your family and friends, and relax. But don’t write anymore, because it’s obviously killing you.

However I will say this. If you happen to discover, after a few years away from writing, that you have found nothing that takes its place in your life—nothing that fascinates or moves you, or inspires you to the same degree that writing once did…well then, sir, I’m afraid you will have no choice but to preserver.”

Since I started working a “real” job again, it has been extremely difficult for me to stay motivated and dedicated to blogging. Perhaps because I am back in touch with reality, and reality is not always glamorous. I work long hours, go out to decompress on the weekends and am up to my ears in bills and student loans. This is not pretty; it’s not me posing in an alley in a dress and high heels. My life is very similar to most people; messy, complicated and often filled with stress and uncertainty.

Make no mistake, I have spent the past few months constantly questioning why I have neglected this blog and creative writing. Lately, I have struggled with feeling inauthentic posting anther photo of flowers next to my sandals. I want to create and share content that helps improve my readers’ lives. I want to inspire others to follow their dreams and never remain stagnant. I also want to be honest about what my life is like outside of a filtered Instagram “moment.”

So—what now?

I am going TRY to make this process as simple as possible. I am going to write. For me, writing is a lot like exercise (except I wish the effects of practicing were the same). I always feel better after I write. Writing makes me feel energetic, inspired and alive. So, why would I quit on something that takes nothing from me and yet gives me so much in return?

Heading back up to my somewhat sarcastic reference about flower Instagram posts, unapologetically, I am still going to post those “basic” photos. Sometimes life moments aren’t that serious and should be celebrated with a well filtered VSCO photo.

However, I DO plan to share deeper content around wellness and happiness, more frequently. I realized that I legitimately cannot name one person my age who is completely satisfied with their career, relationship, friendships, financial situation or mental health, myself included. I want to explore this topic and be honest that no one has it ALL together.

For now, I hope you join the next stage of my journey here on Madly Megan. I’m afraid I have no choice but to persevere.

Wine and Words: Part Three

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Wine, MadlyMegan

It’s been quite awhile since our last “Wine and Words.” With summer approaching, I wanted to wrap up the series to make way for exciting new content to inspire all of you right in time for Summer. I have been struggling to create authentic and inspired material to share with those willing to listen. But, I think after some serious “me” time and reflecting, I am excited for the road ahead.

For now, please enjoy the final episode of “Wine and Words.” Since we last checked in with Molly, Caroline and Kristen there have been significant changes for my dear ladies. You won’t believe me–but in the same week all three of these girls went from single to coupled up with new boyfriends. Keep your eyes peeled for a new relationship round table coming soon. But for now, grab a glass of your special medicine and read below to remind yourself life ain’t perfect.

Megan: What advice would you give your college-self, regarding your work or life path? If you could change one thing, what would it be? Since that’s the 20/20 hindsight we can offer right now.

I know personally I would get way more involved on campus.  Like I think to myself “why didn’t you do the newspaper or 40 clubs?”  I will pat myself on the back for my internships and going abroad. But I am an idiot for not getting more involved.

Caroline:  If you know what you want to focus on when you graduate, get involved in something that has to do with that. Your grades do not matter; your experience and the connections you make matter.

I will say my GPA was horrible, but I got called in for my interviews because of the two previous internships I completed in college, and connections I made, not my grades.

Kristen: I feel like I fixated on the GPA—took things too seriously and studied like I was becoming a doctor. I didn’t study abroad but looking back I wish I made it work.  I would definitely not change my career path though.

Molly: This may sound self-righteous but I’m really happy with myself in college, like I had five internships, and I joined the on campus TV station.  It prepared me because when I went on my first real job interview, I had a whole portfolio of every internship with highlights of my accomplishments mapped out in a binder.

The only thing I would change is studying abroad.

Megan: My last is a two-part question: on a scale of 1-10 how important is your career in your life, 10 meaning its most important, and one meaning its just a necessity. Where does your career sit in your heart now and in 10 years?

Kristen: I feel like for me it’s a seven or eight right now, and maybe in five years I’ll be pregnant or something, so I couldn’t see it going any higher than it is now.

Caroline: I thought I was more invested but when I think about it, I think I’m comfortable and it’s maybe a 5 or 6.  I think it’s also like I spend all my energy at work, I’m single, I don’t have a family and I don’t have any higher priorities right now then making money and paying rent.

I just don’t ever see it, unless I get in a position where I’m in a leadership role, I don’t see it increasing in this position. My goal is to find jobs I have more interest in and hopefully have it increase.

Molly: I think I actually see it increasing.  Since going from the position I just had where I could go to work with my eyes closed and say “okay that was a good day”—and now I’m at a higher level of work.  I’m putting myself at a seven because right now it has a lot of my attention.

My next thing is I definitely want to keep climbing the ladder and have a leadership role, where I get to use my leadership skills to manage a team.  So in that sense I think it could only grow and that’s important to me.

Megan: To close out this discussion we are all 25 or 24. If you could change one thing in your millennial life, good or bad, personal or work related, what would you change?

Caroline: How lame an answer is a boyfriend? I mean since I’ve started working I feel like there is definitely something missing.

I think maybe I’ve been in Philly my whole life, should I be looking in other cities for a job? But now I’m at the point where I’m like “I love Philly,” and I love having my friends.  So maybe I just want someone to come home to and listen to me vent about work.

But maybe this is just how all Millennials feel, like not 100% about anything.

Kristen:  I don’t know what I would change because I’m happy with my career, so I’m struggling with this question.

The one thing on my mind is that I wish I studied abroad or traveled more, like I don’t think I’m the type of person that’s going to do that now.  I would have to be stalked and pushed to do that.

Molly: My initial thought is I feel like to myself and people our age—the question of the “what if” is so prominent.  We are at a time where we are single, we have no families, and the only thing to worry about is work and ourselves.  So, the “what if” is like do I move, is this my real career path, what will life be in 5 years, but it won’t be answered.

Caroline: I think it’s almost worse sometimes that there is nothing tying me down.  Like nothing is stopping me from taking a job in Chicago.  So it’s like I hate not being tied down in some ways, because I hate having so many options.

Megan: We are a new generation of yes is always the answer and there are always options; so to think “oh I have 5 more years to f*ck around,” it can be overwhelming and daunting.

Caroline: I think traveling the world is just so much more of a common occurrence now, “like did you hear that kid teaching in Thailand” or “she just quit her job to do yoga full-time,” and it’s like should I be traveling around aimlessly?  You think so much more about what if I’m not doing something that I could be doing.

Kristen: Yes, I think social media makes people depressed and I think that’s such a prominent topic among people our age.

You see people doing all these cool things and you’re like “oh great I’m home on my couch.” I remember reading someone famous said they would never want go back to their 20’s because it’s like the “figure-it-out” years.  Millennials just overanalyze like oh I’m single, I’m miserable, what am I doing, because we have so much free time to think.

Caroline: You see other people hit landmarks that you personally are nowhere near and it makes you second-guess yourself.

In college everyone is doing the same thing, you go out and get wasted all weekend, and on Sunday’s everyone else in lounging in bed.  But now you wake up on Sundays, and you are like am I too old for this?

Kristen: I feel like if you’re single you wonder when am I going to meet someone, or get married or have babies?

Caroline: My point is the grass is always greener in your 20’s—if you’re single, you want a boyfriend, if you have a boyfriend, you’re jealous of how much fun single people are having.  I just think you have to get to a point where you are confident in yourself.

Megan: Right and I think that comes with age.  I struggle career wise with the fact that ever since I was little I’ve been writing in my diary these unrealistic expectations, like I want to be a model, and the first female president.  Sometimes I’m just like I wish I didn’t care and was content with whatever, but I do put pressure on myself.  I think that’s where my head goes when I think grass is always greener, that I should be doing more.

Molly: I think the happiness level thing is pretty funny.  I don’t know, and this is sad, but I don’t know if you asked anyone in their mid-20’s if you could find someone who could genuinely say I am 100-percent happy in my life right now.

Caroline: I don’t think anyone warns you that you are going feel like you’re standing on the edge of a cliff, and you don’t know which way to go.

Kristen: I feel like when we all graduated college we had these high hopes and expectations about certain things, and now you just have so many different pressures, there is more responsibility, as you get older

Megan: You are becoming your own person so we have to figure out how to have confidence in ourselves.

Molly: I think you find your happiness in the little moments that happen throughout the day, because there is no other way to look at life and be like I’m super happy at least everyday.

MegTime: Keep calm and work on

Welcome to the second edition of MegTime!

This week I want to focus on ways to find a work-life balance.  Inspired by recent events in my personal life, and also experiences within the lives of those closest to me, I would like to share some tips to help you (and me) chill out at work.

Conference calls, client emails, forgotten attachments, appointments and Outlook are all terms that can give the average person a near death experience on any given day.  Everyone handles a “crisis” at work differently.  Some people blame themselves, some blame their opponent and some don’t feel phased at all.  I suppose it’s the perfectionist in me, but I usually find myself falling on the “blaming yourself” side. It is easy to spend the remainder of the day feeling like the world is ending because you forgot a recipient on an email.  From what I’ve gathered from my friends, finding that healthy mental work life balance is a daily struggle.

How exactly do we, and should we, deal? Yes, it is JUST work, but I believe your ability to take responsibility for your actions directly reflects your character.

For the first tip, I look to one of the most consistent and reliable teachers: TIME. Spend enough time doing or feeling anything and chances are you will experience a change that leads to some type of peace.  Yes, when you first start a new job everything is unfamiliar and can be terrifying, but as more time passes the easier it all gets.  I believe this philosophy can be applied to all aspects of life, from a breakup, to a loss or even a big move in your life.  Eventually, the unfamiliar becomes familiar and with that comes comfortability and (hopefully) more success, with more confident work.  So, first thing’s first: give it time. It heals all.

The second piece of advice comes from my very own mother: MISTAKES ARE LEARNING LESSONS. My mom is hands down my favorite person to call in times of severe Meg-style panic attacks.  She has a grace under fire that I hope to one day emulate. For as long as I can remember my mom has always told me, “it’s okay to make a mistake. You will learn from it and chances are you will not do it again.”  She also never let me dwell (or wallow in self-pity) with said mistakes. No dramatics and cut the tears, mistakes are a part of life and without them learning would be a much more boring and time-consuming process.

Lastly, this a personal piece of advice I have picked up along my short, yet sweet, job journey: NO JOB IS GUARANTEED. I learned this the hard way when I was laid-off last May, but it is something I still hold close.  You could be the most productive employee around and sometimes the ax falls and you will find yourself in its path.  It’s important to remember, there will always be other jobs. Sometimes sh*t happens, so try your best and expect the unexpected.

Next time when you want to go cry in the bathroom (shout-out to a special reader at home), remember these three tips: give it time, mistakes are learning lessons, and no job is guaranteed.

Happy MegTime.

Welcome to MegTime

camel, leather skirt, sweater, HM

Welcome to the first edition of MegTime. Now that my days as a stay at home mom are over, Thursday has become my new favorite day of the week.  It’s not quiet Friday, but the week is BASICALLY over. You can push through a Friday hangover. It’s only one day.

So to celebrate this glorious day and to hold myself to providing you all with NEW CONTENT (I typed that in Caps in hopes my subconscious could see) I have established MegTime. Every Thursday I will feature something I am personally obsessed with, whether it be clothes, food, books etc. MegTime will be a sacred time for me to share a little secret I picked up the past week.

During this week’s MegTime I will discuss my love of camel and my new favorite book, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.

camel, leather skirt, sweater

In terms of camel, the color not the lumpy animal, this is the perfect shade to buy now that will continue to transition into the spring season. Camel  goes with everything—from denim to black to periwinkle, you will get a variety of outfits out of this color. In this outfit above I even challenged myself to step out-of-the-box and put together an entire camel outfit. So when you head to the mall this weekend, remember, camel or die.

big magic, book, self-love

Now on a more inspirational note, if you are looking for a way to inspire your creative side, immediately put on your shoes and run to the bookstore.  I have found the magic potion, and its a novel called Big Magic. I am a forever fan of Elizabeth Gilbert. I can pick up my copy of Eat Pray Love and sift through the pages with all my notes and signs of life, and experience emotions deeper than I knew possible. So when I heard she wrote a new book about tapping in your creative energy and never giving up on it, I was immediately hooked.

Big Magic grazes on the edge of a self-help book, memoir and a nonfiction novel, and it delivers. Gilbert uses real life examples of the way creativity has impacted her life and the universe. She is honest, clear and backs her claims with examples too inspiring to argue. If you are feeling like you are in a creative rut, or desire that creative spark in your life, I highly suggest investing in a copy today. I came away from the book feeling peaceful yet excited for what my creative path my lay ahead.

I leave you with one of my favorite passages from Big Magic, titled “Nobody’s Thinking About You,” and it goes: “We all spend our twenties and thirties trying so hard to be perfect, because we’re so worried about what people will think of us. Then we get into our forties and fifties, and we finally start to be free, because we decide that we don’t give a damn what anyone thinks of us. But you won be completely free until you reach your sixties and seventies, when you finally realize this liberating truth—nobody was ever thinking about you, anyhow.”

Making room for self-love in 2016.

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I am sending a long lost hello to all my readers—I am back and promise to never leave you for that long again.

I must admit that this past month I had fallen victim to a life of all work and play.  Although that may sound like all you need, I have been majorly missing balance.  The balance I am referring to occurs when I am practicing self-love.  Don’t run away because I’m getting all deep—self-love comes in many forms.

Self-love can be as simple as washing your face every morning, or going for a short jog on a Sunday. But it can also be as big as cutting out sugar, keeping a gratitude journal, or vowing off negative self-talk for one week.  In any case, self-love involves taking action, big or small, to enrich & improve yourself and your life.

Personally, my best self-love practices usually appear as challenges. My self-love goals for 2016 (now that my life as stay-at-home Meg is over) is working out three work days a week. Even though when my alarm goes off I want to hide under my covers and never emerge, I know that working out will improve my mental and physical state for the entire day that follows. I also know that working out in the morning causes me to choose healthier foods throughout the day, another way to practice self-love.

My second act of self-love is probably the most important: stick to a financial budget! I can openly admit that I am not the best saver, and my love of shopping, and my student loans have not exactly helped me.  SO—I developed an extensive, very specific money plan for 2016. If, like me, you are also unhappy with your financial situation, I encourage you to make a savings plan for yourself and try to stick to it for one month. I truly believe that financial stability creates stability in our daily lives and removes unnecessary stress.

My final self-love goal is to read, read, and read some more.  Most of us spend 40 hours-a-week staring a screen, only to go home and stare at a smaller screen, in the kitchen, on the couch, and in our beds.  I want to break this habit for myself.  Instead of rushing home from work to “play on my phone,” or mindlessly watch another reality show, I want to dedicate that time to reading.  Whether it’s a self-help book (my cup-of-tea), a magazine or a novel—I need to read it! I want the feeling of holding the actual book, highlighting my favorite parts, and forgetting about my phone.

I encourage you all to make a list three ways you will practice self-love this year. Make a list and tape it next to your light switch, or on your mirror, so that every day you are reminded how important it is to take care of yourself.

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#Wineandwords: Millennials in the workplace, part two.

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Welcome to part two of #wineandwords.  Enjoy it as much as I enjoyed finding this vintage leather jacket. TGIF.

Megan: Currently, does your future play a role in how you work, like are you working especially hard now, so you will have time for a family of your own one day? Do you all see that as a goal you are working towards, or is that something more in the distance?

Kristen: Personally, for me, it’s hard to relate because I’m 25, single, and living in the city. I’m not really thinking about the future, but teaching is unique in that I know this is my career and when I have a family I will be able to balance both.

Caroline: I just had my first evaluation and I didn’t think I would be so concerned with getting a raise or a promotion, but hearing my coworkers discuss it, and realizing where you can go, I think I was like “I want to move up and I want to move up fast.”

I want to have raises and promotions so that by the time I am 30 and I start having kids, I don’t have to stress about finding that balance. I definitely want to have something established before I get married and have kids; I don’t want to be distracted. So I agree with that.

Molly: That statement definitely resonates with me but I feel like that’s because in my brain I’ll always want my career to be a thing; career is definitely important to me.

I don’t ever foresee myself being a stay at home mom. I don’t think that’s right or wrong, I just think that’s how I’m wired. I definitely feel like I’m putting in the time for a reason. I want to move up, and I see lots of opportunities.

I had a meeting with the Vice President and he said a line to me that I don’t think he realized how much it drove me, but he said, “I didn’t hire you for the position you’re in now, I hired you for the next one.” That two-second sentence stuck with me and has been more of a driving force to do well because someone believes in me.

Megan: I’ve also read that Millennials are entitled; that we always believe we are over-qualified for what we’re doing. Whether it’s “we should either be getting higher salary”, or more recognition, whereas our parents come from the logic that work is supposed to be hard, because it’s work. As children of the social media age, you see fellow Millennials with these glamorous lives and you think “why can’t that be me?”. Do you identify with this way of thinking at all?

Molly: I’m embarrassed to admit the fact that this is so true. Today, I called a coworker on my way home and as I’m telling her all the “hard” parts of my day I’m like “she probably had a much crazier day than I did”. I’m like “Molly, shut up”. No one is going to come thank me for ordering a lunch for clients. So, yes, I think that is very true for Millennials, and I am guilty of that.

Megan: I recently read an article where a women described starting out as an admin and how she quit after nine months. Years later, when she hired another admin with that same work attitude she previously shared, she realized it’s not about “what can this company do for me, it’s what can I do for them”. She said that’s how you grow and succeed in the workplace, and that really stuck out to me.

Kristen: Yes, I can relate to that. I would do things at work, above my job duties, that I used to expect that I would get recognition for, but now I realize that doesn’t happen.

Caroline: I think we’re an extremely spoiled generation. But not financially, I think we are dealing with a lot more student loans, higher rent, and the pressure to move out of your parent’s house immediately.

But I think we are spoiled because we expect gratification, and in the workplace it’s recognized, but it’s not always spoken. You need to have enough confidence to know I need to go above my expectations, and it’s not going unnoticed, but no one is going to say thank you.

Whereas when our parents we were working, it was excitement over like “I can’t believe I have a 9-5 job with health insurance.”

Molly: Yes, and that generation is most of our higher-ups and that definitely creates a gap.

Megan: We were recently named “the Debt Generation”. Do you feel secure financially? How important is salary to you?

Kristen: I don’t have student loans, so it’s different for me. Maybe if I had loans, and car payments right now my salary would be more important, but I don’t, and I don’t necessarily feel like I need more right now. So no, I’m not stressed about my finances, and I’m also not a spender at all, and very OCD with my money.

Megan: I just had a discussion with my mom about this. I said I would rather have traveled all over the world than have savings right now, but that’s a personal preference. How do you guys feel about that?

Caroline: I’m also a rare case because I don’t have student loans, so that’s a burden I don’t feel that most of our generation does. I also had an amazing starting salary, which I think was just dumb luck. If I had started any lower than I did, I would feel more pressure with our rent, but I don’t so I’m just in a good spot right now.

But I am nervous looking into the future for events like a wedding or buying a car; putting a down payment on anything right now is just laughable. I don’t know when that’s going to change because I don’t see my lifestyle changing anytime soon. Right now I’m taking it day-by-day.

Kristen: But I do fear about the future when I’ll start having to deal with more bills, because I am someone who has worries and anxiety. I’ll think ahead and be like “f*ck,” when I have to buy a car shit’s going to hit the fan, because I don’t think rationally.

Molly: I’m in a situation where I feel like I can firmly say I probably have a higher salary than everyone in the room, but it doesn’t matter because I’m in the most student debt. On top of paying rent and other bills, I have no money.

But that’s also on me because like Megan, I would rather go on trips and have so much fun right now, than have money saved.

I don’t foresee my lifestyle changing in the near future, so am I worried about buying a house, and saving for my future? No, but I know I should get a handle on my finances, but I don’t see that happening for a couple more years.

#Wineandwords: Millennials in the workplace.

millennial, socks, wine

During these past few months of jobhunting, I found myself spending a lot of time thinking about work.  Apparently I was not alone, according to a recent study by PEW Research Center, Millennials (adults ages 18-34 in 2015) make up one third of the working population in America today.  Personally, I discovered so many of the “one-third” unsatisfied in the same workplace we will one day eventually dominate.

So, I enlisted the help of three of my friends, all with different jobs and career goals: Molly– Client services manager with a Pharmaceutical company, Kristen– First grade teacher at a Charter School, and Caroline– Knowledge management coordinator at a law firm, to discuss working and happiness as a Millennial.

Welcome to Madly Megan’s first of a three-part round-table-discussion, #wineandwords, on Millennials and our satisfaction and happiness in both the workplace and life.

Megan: Let’s dive right into this discussion.  As Millennials, what is the biggest stress of your job? Whether it is something you deal with on a day-to-day basis or a future stress that causes you anxiety? Please spill.

Molly: I can start because I have a lot of high stress lately.  I will say that part of that comes from being new in my role, and still proving myself.  Right now I’m in a place where the project that we’re working on is HAM, and everyone is overwhelmed and can’t get anything done, so it becomes a snowball effect.  But, I have to keep trying to do my best so I prove myself.

I also have internal personal stress because I don’t work out anymore, I buy all my meals out cause I don’t cook anymore, so it’s internal personal stress snowballing because of the insaneness at work.

Kristen: For me it’s more general, daily stress for all teachers that comes with dealing all the students and their different needs and learning styles. So I have to try to find balance everyday, which is something I think lots of people can relate to.

Caroline: I would say my first 2-3 months I felt extremely well equipped to handle my job.  I was receiving comments that I was doing awesome, and lots of words of affirmation, which I think comes from having three female managers and then a female head of our entire department.  They really build you up in the beginning and keep your workload even keeled so I felt like “wow, I am on top of the world”.

This past month because I did well, now I have a big project project to work on, but I’m forgetting to do minuscule things because I am so worried about the big picture.

I just feel like I’ve been missing a lot of steps lately.  I think that my greatest stress is messing up to the point where I feel like I’m inadequate now. It’s like a constant mental test, “can you do this?” because the projects are only going to keep adding on at this point.

Megan: Do you guys feel that you cope healthily with this stress? Or do you feel like it comes home with you and you can’t separate mentally from work when you leave the office?

Kristen: I feel like this year I’m better at separating it as a second-year-teacher, but last year I took everything home with me, as you guys know.

Megan: What was the change? How did you make the change this year?

Kristen: Just realizing it’s normal to feel stressed, and it’s also part of the job to have parents complaining and reaching out to you and dealing with students with bad behavior.  So experience has definitely helped me stay calm in situations I would’ve freaked out in last year.

Molly: I totally unhealthily cope with it, I do not do cope with it well. To the point where when I finally have two hours at my desk alone, my hearts racing because I feel like I’m not working fast enough to get it done. I also can’t sleep at night and I have dreams about my different programs at work.

Caroline: I think a new job will do that to you. I’m four months in and I feel that when I am done at five I can’t think about anything except eating away my stress.  It overpowers all mental ability to go for a run, or eat a salad, it’s just like I need wine and instant gratification.

I feel like every night I need to veg out, and turn my brain off and as soon as I’m in the door.  But then I dread my alarm going off the next morning.  I am hoping I’ll start to feel mentally motivated at 5PM as much as I am at work, because now it’s starting to feel I am using up all my energy at work, and by the end of the day I have none left.

*Opens Chips-A-Hoy bag, and pours more wine.”

Megan: So what I’m gathering is that we are all stressed in our own unique ways and deal with it in our own ways.  On a more positive note, what is your favorite thing about work?

Molly: I could never put into words how much I’m learning, especially about being in front of a client and acting professionally. It’s just, like, insane. I couldn’t put into words. I think it’s really good experience for my future. Secondly, the people that I work with motivate me to do better. Like, I love the people that I work with, straight up to the girls on my level, to wanting to do well for my manager and his manager because I like them so much as people.

Kristen: Yes, I agree completely. One of the main parts of my job I love are my coworkers. I feel I’ve grown so much as a teacher from watching them and working with them.

For me it’s also all about the kids, as cheesy as that sounds.  When they learn a new concept, or understand what I am teaching, like when they learn how to read I get major personal satisfaction.  It’s a great feeling like okay, it’s clicking, my students are actually learning what I am teaching.

Caroline: Yeah, I think I’m excited everyday to see my coworkers, I think coworkers can make or break your experience.  If you have good ones around if you can ask them questions, and it’s honestly a saving grace.  Even just where you sit, I know people who sit isolated away from everyone are more stressed and more confused because they don’t have people around they feel comfortable asking and checking in with.  I just feel like if you have people you can talk to and bring humor into every day, it makes it way more fun.

Megan: Somewhat off topic, but there is an idea amongst Millennials about “mindless vs. meaningful work.”  Where do you identify with that phrase? Essentially, how to you weigh the importance of work in your life; is work just work?

Molly: My new thing is that I have to put life into perspective. So when I’m feeling so overwhelmed to the point of bursting, I’m just like no one is going to die if I don’t hand in this excel spreadsheet.  I just try to remember this is not life or death; this is corporate America. This is capitalism at its finest: people killing themselves just so this corporation makes sick amounts of money.

Megan: Do you guys feel like in the future your job will be as important to you as other aspects of life? When you think about future, does your career cross your mind at all? Do you want your career to be important or will you just work because you need money to survive?

Kristen: I feel like I chose teaching because it’s what I wanted to do, and it’s a meaningful career, but it’s never going to take priority over my family.  I feel like people underestimate teaching when really it can be a major struggle.  Nothing compares to having 25 students in your own room and their ability to learn lifelong concepts in all on you.

Caroline: I definitely started out working to make money, to support the life that I want to have outside of work.  So originally I didn’t really care what I was doing because I wanted to be able to do fun things on weekends.  You want to be able to enjoy life, and unfortunately a 9-5 is usually what provides that security, unless you’re lucky enough to figure out something else.

But now I’m realizing you can enjoy what you do and want to succeed, but still have an outside life.  I think it’s very important to separate them.  I don’t think I will ever choose work over a family, I think that’s just how you’re wired and what motivates you.  I want to succeed but I don’t ever think my career will be a priority over external factors.

Come back next Tuesday for Part Two of #Wineandwords!