Thursday, June 25, 2009

Who Needs a "Regular" Job?

I am sitting in the middle of Bryant Park in New York City writing this blog post – really channeling my inner Carrie Bradshaw – when I realize that this place is packed, and it’s Thursday at 2:30pm. Too late for the lunch crowd, too cloudy for the tourists. Who are all these people? What are they doing? And shouldn’t they be at work?

This is the same feeling I have when I get out of my office on a weekday and cruise by Santa Monica beach, visit The Grove, or get stuck in traffic. How it is that so many people are out in the world, rather than sitting behind their computer at the office?

While it’s possible that these folks may be enjoying a personal day, traveling to a meeting, or running errands during a lunch break, I think it's more likely confirmation of my inkling that not many people in LA work “regular jobs.”

Of course a “regular job” is the kind that I’ve had my entire life – and generally includes driving to an office building at the same time every morning and working in front of a computer for 8-10 hours a day, five days a week.

Certainly there are many people who have jobs like this – probably the majority of the workforce - but when I think of the lives of my friends who don’t – the actors, musicians, moms, writers, trainers, etc – I often feel slightly envious of what seems to be a glamorous and carefree living. No schedules! Sleeping in! Something new every day! A regular job seems bland and rigid in comparison.

So as I sit here writing, wondering what life would be like if I could sit everyday in a sunny park in a far away city and make a living, I consulted a few friends who have “not regular” jobs to see if it’s all it’s cracked up to be. From what I can gather, there are three major downsides:

  • A Severe or Nil Schedule: Many of these professions include a schedule that has a furious work schedule – up to 16 hours a day – and then…. nothing. Insane work hours highlighted by periods of none.
  • Not Steady Income: A fluctuating work schedule lends to an erratic revenue stream – making loads of money punctuated by making none. This means that you must be a good saver or financial strategist on order to maintain a steady lifestyle year-round.
  • Self Discipline Needed: When the confines of being responsible to others and collaborating as a team are removed, all that is left to rely on your success is…. You! Without a sincere and directed amount of willpower, success is harder to achieve. And as I think more about it, this trait is probably the main difference between my freelance friends who are successful and those who are just getting by.

I have self-discipline – but really only in bursts – and I’m not a great saver. I also need to share my successes and struggles, for which I rely on my co-workers and business partners, who reside in my office building.

So while it would be great to sleep in every day, head to the beach on a whim, or work furiously at 3 am, I feel that I might be better suited for a “regular” job. Now, more than ever, the conventional routine of people relying on me, an office desk to coordinate from and a bi-monthly paycheck seem rather reassuring. But hopefully one day I will be in a position where I can comfortably embrace some of the more enchanting aspects of a free-lancing lifestyle.

Thank god I am getting some experience “working” here in Bryant Park.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

I Own a Cat...

I have been warned repeatedly by my friends not to talk/write about my cat. This advice has surfaced often in conversations pertaining to first dates, facebook profiles and framed photos on my office desk.

However, this month’s Oprah magazine - devoted to humans’ love for animals – featured several articles about people talking about their pets. This included a brief article by senior editor and fellow cat owner, Jessica Winter, who owns a cat that looks and acts much like my darling Peaches.

So if Oprah and her senior editor can espouse their love for their pets, I feel I can buck the wisdom of my friends and take a moment to express my deep affection for my darling Peaches.

Especially since I am the most unlikely person to love a cat.

I grew up severely allergic to the two cats that took up residence in our home – both rescues that recognized my aversion to their place in my house and treated me accordingly. But my mom and sister loved them – and they needed good homes! - so really I had no choice. I blamed them for just about everything including my perpetual stuffy nose, the occasional smell of cat pee, and not being able to wear black.

I thought I would forever be “not a cat person” - until two summers ago – and three months to day that my ex-boyfriend moved out of my apartment - when a gorgeous little kitty began camping out in my apartment complex.

I was struck by her size – so small, but not a kitten – and her beauty: she is truly the prettiest cat I had ever seen. The entire apartment complex was taken with her and everyone tried to take her in. But she had a little issue getting along with other animals – she actually tried to attack them- and as the only non-pet owner, she obviously considered me her last hope for a good home.

She arrived at my porch, hungry and meowing, and being the over-nurturing person that I am, I fed her tuna – everyone needs to eat! – and wished her all the best at finding a home. But a couple nights later, feeling a little lonely, I left the door open and left our relationship to fate. Two minutes later she was sitting on my couch purring uncontrollably – and she’s been there ever since.

She hasn’t been the easiest cat to love – in addition to a fierce attitude, she has liver and heart conditions that require two daily medications and annual EKGs, she pees in the plants when she’s mad, and refuses to be held for more than a few seconds. But when I come home, she greets me at the door with a loud hello, sits with me while I eat dinner and brings a presence to my house that makes it feel like a home.

So although I sometimes wish that Peaches would conform to the traditional cat roles of curling up in my lap, playing nicely with other pets and sleeping for most of the day, I actually appreciate her more because she refuses to do so. She lives and loves in her own terms.

Which kind of reminds me of someone else I know... funny how animals seem to find owners of the same breed.

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