Posts tagged ‘The Real World’

July 21, 2011

My Home, the Office

Maybe it’s because I’ve always had a minor infatuation with office supplies (really, who doesn’t?), but when I was growing up, I was kind of excited about the idea of working in an office.  This was plenty before Michael Scott or Jim and Pam made it cool.  This was just me, my best friend, and the pens, paper, and old telephones our parents let us use to pretend.


I realize now that with the exception of my job at Borders, all the time I’ve spent working in and after college has been in an office setting.  Sounds super exciting, right?  Exactly the adventure a globetrotting college student looks for in the midst of her higher education.


Actually, it was.  From my school’s internship office to a couple of publishing houses, then a literary agency, and then another publishing house, I was always surrounded by people who were smart, funny, and passionate about their jobs.  And, of course, Post-Its.


Now I am happily discovering how my assistant positions in the workforce have prepared me for my job as stay-at-home-mom and co-manager of a household (apartmenthold?), freelance business aside. This post was prompted by the realization that my trips to Office Max are becoming more and more frequent.  While some of the items I’m looking for are for business-related, most of them are intended to keep things rolling on the home front.  Really, there is as much organizing, following up, and filing to do in a home as there is in an office.


For example, I have a plastic bin with hanging folders containing everything from medical and insurance information to keepsake cards John and I have given one another or received from family to forms we’ll need to file our taxes next year (hooray!).  I’m in and out of that box at least once a week, either with something new to file or to retrieve some tidbit of information.


Because I am internet-recipe-hunting obsessed, I also have a binder with printouts of recipes I’ve tried or want to try.  The OfficeMax trip this week was, in part, to purchase tabbed dividers to better organize the binder (check it out—aren’t they beautiful?).  For the first time in my life, I’m consistently using the three-hole punch that fits in the binder.  My room was always messy when I was younger, but now I find not having piles of paper all over helps to keep my brain on straight.  Having a small desk (read: room for only one stack at a time) has been a real help on the organizational/sanity side, as well.


As helpful as most of my office experience has been, there are some things I picked up that aren’t really applicable at home.  At my last job, I once (or twice) almost tipped a file cabinet on myself by opening both drawers at once.  Yes, I was pregnant both times.  Yes, I will blame it on being overtired or just too darn hungry to think.


Still, now when I’m putting laundry away, I’ll only open one drawer at a time, because I forget that in a dresser, more than one drawer can open at once.  And maybe because a little bit of me is afraid the dresser is going to fall on me.  Thank goodness I don’t have to worry about that occupational hazard anymore.


And thank goodness there are just as many uses for Post-Its at home as there are in a cubicle.

June 13, 2011

It’s Not About You

This week, we’re spending some time at the beach with our families, so blogging is taking a backseat.  We’ll be back in full force next week, hopefully with some photos and stories of family firsts!  In the meantime, I offer something I read lately that was good food for thought.

Enjoy the sunshine wherever you are!


In the midst of commencement season, I came across this article, aptly titled “It’s Not About You”, on the New York Times website.  It offers an honest and insightful perspective on the gaps between what this year’s graduating class has been taught in school and what they will need to succeed in the world.

Essentially, the point is made that while learning about yourself is important, it should be part of the everyday activity of your life—not something you go off and do on any variety of compartmentalized, romanticized journeys.  The people who have been great successes in our society are the ones who didn’t always do what made them happy, but did what needed to be done in heroic ways.

Op-ed columnist David Brooks writes, “Most people don’t form a self and then lead a life. They are called by a problem, and the self is constructed gradually by their calling.”

He goes on, “Fulfillment is a byproduct of how people engage their tasks, and can’t be pursued directly. . . . . The purpose in life is not to find yourself. It’s to lose yourself.”

Umm, isn’t that last bit a paraphrase of the Gospels?

I was encouraged to see someone talking so much sense about the state of our society, about the situation in which my and future generations will find themselves.  I’m also challenged as a parent by the obstacles Brooks rightly suggests we’ve placed in front of these future generations.

As a mother, too, this strikes a chord with me.  Motherhood is a journey, not a destination, and I grow every day by the way I approach my tasks, whether they are as clearly significant as one day choosing a school for Jacob or seemingly insignificant, like folding socks and peeling carrots.

I don’t know how long the full article will be posted, but get it while you can here:

As always, I welcome your comments!

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