how do you manage people?

There’s never a good time to become a manager. Just like there’s never a good time to…have kids? (No personal experience here, but I assume. Seems like work.) Get a perm maybe? I have yet to find a good time to wear pleather leggings. Leggings as pants, yes. Dress for comfort forever. PLEATHER LEGGINGS? Why are you ruining a good thing?

According to society, not unlike other rights of passage, there appears to be a list of things you check off and then magically you are ready for this. Tenure, “experience”, new pants…that’s about it. Then you are ready!

I didn’t ever have the desire to be a manager. My reaction was always:
responsibility

But I guess this is what happens when you’ve been at a place long enough and YOU don’t want to do the things you’re doing anymore. So…here we are! I’m in charge of two other humans. So much so that I haven’t made time to hire the third.

WOE IS ME, I know. I KNOW. Shut up you.

scott-pilgrim-its-hard

In this crazed world where I paid for an education that has tricked people into thinking I know things, I find myself in all too familiar territory. I do not know what I’m doing.

Is this what parenting feels like?? Good gravy. I cannot have kids. How are you people doing it? The offspring! I literally cannot keep fish alive. You are all heroes.

what is happening

All of the criticisms I had for previous managers, especially the things I said to their faces, are inducing queasy reflection. I must have been a nightmare of an employee. My unquenchable thirst for information in combination with being utterly transparent with their perceived shortcomings, must have made me one really annoying subordinate.

chillax

As I marched into the role of ruler of my tiny army; I vowed to do things differently. Make the time. Listen to the words. Make shit happen, dammit!

On a daily basis work is difficult for heaps of reasons. But then all the sudden these other people are coming to me with their struggles as if I have the keys to the solution kingdom.

nope gif

But I committed to being different! I’m doing the things! I made all this time! What do you want from me??

That’s the whole problem. It’s not about me.

It’s not enough to make the time – be present.

It’s not enough to listen – what are they saying? What are you doing with that information?

It’s not enough to make things happen – if it’s not the things they care about.

So I still don’t know what I’m doing. But what I can offer is what I’m learning:

  • Time inherently has value. But if you’re borrowing it from someone else, you need to add value to it.
  • People are humans. That may be obvious but at work I think we forget that people have lives and cognitive thinking that happens that isn’t work related.
  • Connections build trust. I think it’s difficult to assist when you don’t have all the information, and the information isn’t volunteered if you aren’t trusted.

What advice do you have to offer for managing teams or people?

how do you manage people?

why the fuck not?

wake up, get ready, drive to work, work, work out,  meetings for 6+ hours, work more, go home, work more, fall asleep watching grey’s anatomy reruns. repeat.

this is not my life.

except that it might be.

Is this what being an adult is? You looking in on a life that you don’t recognize as your own? Every day you make small choices that become one big thing you call “your life”, and it’s not what you thought it was going to be?

How do I find someone that’s my partner in crime? It’s so hard and lonely going through this madness alone. But I want to be with someone because I want them, because they’re my person. Not because I’m lonely.

I want a person who’s going to call me out when I’m not being my best self. Someone who reminds me what makes me, me. What makes me happy, what makes me dance. So we don’t end up here. From the outside looking in wondering how this all happened. I can survive without my person, but I could live an adventure with them.

Is it okay to quit if the thing you’re quitting you feel is slowly killing who you are? Or at least the person you want to be, or the life you would rather be living? Say it’s okay.

What’s the thing you aren’t doing that’s holding you back? Why the fuck not?

why the fuck not?

where you going? can I come with you?

What do you do? How did you meet? Where you from? Where you going?

Have we become obsessed with what “our story” is? We live in this new and strange world where we can put on display whatever kind of life we want our peers to think we live. Has this made us more more vain? Less honest? More adventurous? Or perhaps we were always this way.

A couple weekends ago while I was treading lava, I read a book.  
I think I used to tell good stories. At least I can remember a time when I didn’t feel so alone. Or so sad. Didn’t look at my life and not remember how I got here. Edit

Somewhere along the way, fear got to me. Fear of making the same mistakes over and over again. Fear that change, no matter how much you need it, may not turn out the way you hope. Fear that the story I weave, it may not be perfect. Fear that I may chose one path, trip and fall on my face, maybe break my other leg. Who knows. Edit

We could all stand to be more bold in the face of fear. To not care so much what the story is and how we tell it to other people. Are you in love with your story? Should we be? When you put pen to paper, are you okay with what’s there? Do you need to like it? Edit

Life isn’t easy. It isn’t all pretty. It isn’t all Instagram and Pinterest worthy. That life isn’t real. What’s saved in your drafts? What isn’t pushed out for the whole world to see? What’s on your mind? I want to know that story. Who are you? Where’d you come from? Where you going? Can I come with you? Fuck perfection. Just don’t be boring.

where you going? can I come with you?

fire and quicksand.

I had a day at work, which turned into a week, which became a month, and digressed to a point where I’ve been underwater while simultaneously feeling like the room is on fire and also the floor is quicksand – FOR A WHILE. Yep.

For what felt like a decent amount of time I was running on pure adrenaline. I was fueled by the idea that I was working with a passion. With passionate people. Towards a goal that ultimately was bigger than the task at hand. It’s the kind of stuff that makes me happily sacrifice sleep, normal eating habits, and sometimes showering (::shifty eyes::), because “it’s all worth it”. And honestly when you’re that IN something you’re not really thinking about if that light at the end of the tunnel is your saving grace. Or if it’s a train that’s about to end you.

For a multitude of reasons I’ve justified the behavior, even when I know it isn’t healthy and I’ve been down this rabbit hole before. In the last couple of months it seems like I’ve hit the breaking point a couple of times actually. Probably because my work has become my life, and that makes everything personal. It’s tough when you don’t have a center of gravity that isn’t a self-imposed one. Because you’re the one calling all the shots for yourself. Nobody pours MY cereal. Lay off me!

But that’s also the problem isn’t it? I don’t have a kid, or a dog, or even a plant that beckons for my attention. And where do I displace all this time on my hands? Into work. A place that at the end of the day, will not remember me when I leave. Will not thank me for coming in on the weekends. Will never love me back. It’s a serious problem. One that I try to always logic my way in out and of, and inevitably always find myself on the losing end of an argument. Usually with my laptop or something. I hate you robot.

This weekend I took a few hours to go lay in a park and read a book. I turned off my email completely because I can’t resist checking it, and I took a break. It was only for a couple of hours but even for that brief moment, things made more sense than they had in awhile. And I was sighing from relief and because the sun was on my face, instead of in response to the taunting number of emails mocking me.

I read a book by Austin Kleon called Show Your Work, and had one of those moments that I’ve heard my family describe when they read scripture or something. They read a passage and they just knew, God had lead them to that exact page to read that thing to give them direction. Say what you will. I think you find the answers you are looking for, when you stop looking so hard for them. I found mine here.  fire and quicksand1

fire and quicksand2

I constantly jump to conclusions or think of the worst possible scenario first. My mind believes that if I can prepare myself for the apocalypse, somehow that will save me. But let’s be real. I’m not Rick Grimes. Even if I was, zombies are scary as shit and there’s no prepping for that.

fire and quicksand3

I’m so afraid of letting people down. But the reality is, if you put yourself far enough out there, you’re going to fail someone along the way. Whether you yourself consider it a failure or not. Even if you try your hardest, if you are that person that challenges the status quo – you will have non believers, doubters, frenemies.  fire and quicksand4

This is what I will always struggle with. I have yet to figure out the balance. It’s a struggle because having friends, significants others, close family relationships – they are what keep you grounded. They provide that gravity to the reality. But the way I conduct my life, it doesn’t leave room for that. But more on that another time.

*PS can I just say that I do indeed feel like a total douche sometimes for crying about how I invest my time poorly? Especially when I don’t have a child, or mortgage, or a million other things other adults have. But here’s the thing. I don’t have those things. I don’t get the struggle. I’m sure in 10 years when maybe I have some of that, I will look back and want to punch me in the face for being naive. But for now, this is tough.

fire and quicksand.

let’s talk about sugar

I was that kid that had to test whether or not irons and stove tops were actually hot half a dozen times before I got the point. It seems this behavior has carried over into adulthood since I am a glutton for punishment these days. You see, every year I make a sort of resolutions list for myself that includes the usual goals and aspirations but also a couple of “do-shit-that’s-out-of-your-comfort-zone” items and this year included a sugar detox. At the time I liked that coupled with my physical fitness goals this rounded out self-improvement type things. Oh and also, it’s trendy. I had no clue what I was setting myself up for and that seems to be a recurring theme of this year.

Continue reading “let’s talk about sugar”

let’s talk about sugar

inconvenient and uncomfortable truths

One week ago I had a moment where everything changed and though I would like to say it took me by surprise, I think it was a long time coming. I actual cried for the first time since breaking up with my boyfriend of three years in April. After three months I was beginning to question whether I was a completely soulless being but I told myself it was because this time it was right for it to be done. It was easier to move on because it was time. Which is true. But I tend subscribe to this coping mechanism where I logic my way through tough situations because fact over feelings is something I have control over. Its so much simpler for there to be a clear wrong and right, a yes and a no, and I like it that way. I’ve been denying my emotions over this because feelings man, they’re hard.

inconvenient and uncomfortable truths

the one with all my people and happy peaking.

As if running down the west coast of California in a van full of the Internet wasn’t enough, when we were gathering to begin that journey I agreed to run another half marathon come June. Truth be told it wasn’t really about the running at that point, just like running Ragnar was more about getting to hang out with amazing people in a small confined space for 48 hours. This was about going to the city of Forks where the Twilight books are based, then going to run 13.1 miles. Essentially the conversation in Nicole’s apartment went something like…

Me: (looking at the million twilight books and critical essays congesting her bookshelf) Are these all of yours?
Nicole: Yes, I’m obsessed. Don’t worry, we’re running a half marathon in Washington so we can go to Forks.
Me: Umm, THAT’S AMAZING.
[incoherent ramblings about amazing glittery vampires and how running is clearly supporting the cause by having a race in a neighboring town]
Nicole: You should definitely come.
Me: OKAY, YOU CONVINCED ME.

This trip was incredible on so many different levels and I was legitimately on a happy-high for weeks after retuning. I wish it was possible to bottle up that emotion to experience over and over again because it breathes new life into you, and gives me such a healthy dose of perspective. When is the app for THAT coming out? Smug-as-Fuck-omatic app, someone get on that.

Above all else this was a huge self-realization weekend for me and here were some of my big takeaways:

  • Get Your Chi On.
  • You guys, there is so much nature out there! Which I mean, duh. But when I’m running the boardwalk everyday I look at the ground because I’ve seen it before and the taste of pavement is really not the best. But truly the northwest is fucking beautiful everywhere and I couldn’t get enough of it. I have over 200 photos from just day one of trees and we didn’t even have a full day of frolicking in the nature. There is something incredibly humbling about walking through a giant forest of trees and knowing that while we are all typing away at our busy lives, they’re out there making us air and being contributing members of the ecosystem. Thanks trees.
    I also get so terribly wrapped up in money all the time. As in, I’m always straddling the line of “well I need to save for my future because offspring, and car troubles, and retirement”. Then the “hey, remember how you are in your 20’s and it’s okay to enjoy your life?” And then here are all these trees and beautiful waterfalls and God or Mother Nature or whoever was like “here are all the pretty things FOR FREE, you’re welcome!!” And just…I felt so amazing and zen when I came home. That is a real thing people – get yourself some zen.

  • Love What You Love.
  • For a long time when I knew I was not religious anymore, depending on the company I was with I would alter my answer of whether I was or not because I knew people would judge me for one answer or another. I absolutely hated doing that because I was either lying to myself or to others instead of just owning how I felt and what I did or didn’t love. The thing is, I could go on and on about why I love Twilight, why it was amazing to go to actual Forks, and why I excitement cried when I saw the Cullen house. (And I mean if you want to, email me.) But not everyone wants or needs to hear that but if someone were to ask, yeah I heart Twilight and I’m happy to talk about it. The difference is, you aren’t doing yourself or anyone around you any favors by pretending to be anything or anyone other than yourself. If you were obsessed with juggling or sloths or whatever, sure I might not get it. But I would respect that that is your passion and you owned it. It just doesn’t make any sense to me anymore to not be who you are 100% of the time. It’s exhausting and if you are surrounding yourself with people where you feel the need to be anyone other than who you are? Probably not the kind of people you need.

  • Being the Best Kind of Adults.
  • For anyone that has ever read my writing, you know that I have struggled with knowing and doing what I actually want, versus what I think I should be doing or wanting. Last year more than ever I focused on deciding what I wanted out of life, friends, and relationships and it is manifesting itself in what I am doing now. Four grown ass women decided to make money, register for this half, come spend all this time in beautiful nature and support a couple friends in making some magic happen. We chose to go to bed early, eat smart, wake up early to run, and all for what the cost of a box of crackers would be. In my world, that is what being an adult is. Having not just the ability to do something but taking action, and being honest about what you really want. So many people say things like “oh I wish I could do that” in response to x, y, or z things I’m doing. Well do you, really? Because if you do, then do it. Make it a priority. You are a grown up, you need to take the initiative to decide if something is actually what you want. If so, figure out how to make it happen.

  • Finding Your People.
  • Tying in to the Love What You Love takeaway, your people are the people that love you, no matter what weird things you love. Sure, some of the girls were not the biggest Twilight fans if you could call them fans at all, but regardless they came, they saw, and they were amazing. And when they want to fulfill some dream of theirs that isn’t necessarily my passion? I’ll be right there to support them and capture them excitement crying on video, because that’s what your people do. It’s no secret I’ve struggled to keep friends my entire life especially as I’ve so drastically changed my lifestyle over the years. But this weekend was definitely spent with ‘my people’. How do you know when you’ve found your people? When you don’t want to strangle them after spending a million hours in the car with them. They are willing to travel for their first half marathon and cover themselves in glitter. You can have deep conversations about kids and marriages yet also play the most provocative game of Would You Rather you have ever played. They are accommodating, understanding, hilarious, and wonderful people.

    On top of all the self realizations and constant happy peaking of this entire weekend, at the end of it all I ran my second half marathon. MY SECOND. Last year at this time I had done a 5k and was convinced that I never wanted to run a further distance. The whole time during the race was something like:

      “OMFG this race is the cutest! We are all starting together because its so small, because its the cutest! Look at all those trees!! So many trees. God the northwest is beautiful. SO MUCH FRESH AIR. Time for my bad boy romance audiobook. Yay. Mmm…grass, trees, COWS! We are in the middle of nowhere. And it’s lovely. I feel great. Legs, you are doing a great job, good for you. Water station! This is the cutest water station, they have cowbells. [around mile six] Well those miles flew by. This was the point in my last half that every mile was the furthest I have ever run. Why am I doing this again? I remember my leg hurt like a bitch last time. It isn’t hurting yet. You’re fine. Except I’m tired. My legs are getting tired. Fuck. Nevermind, everyone loves my glitter, glitter-high forever! Why are the mile markers so off of my gps…? How far are we running fools?! Is this really mile 10?? Oh my god these trees! It’s so fucking beautiful! Also this audiobook is great and I love, love. God, I want to be in love. Oh I love nature, and the people I’m with, this weekend has been THE BEST. Oh jeeze I’m having a moment. Am I crying? Or is that sweat? What is happening?? Aaaaahh too many emotions this needs to end. Okay, pull it together, just listen to the story. Okay I’m good. I love this story. My leg doesn’t hurt at all and I only have a couple more miles! Wait, why doesn’t my leg hurt? What’s wrong? Why does something have to be wrong, calm down. I just feel so good! These entire weekend has been so happy and this run feels amazing, this isn’t real! I probably actually passed out four miles ago and this is my hallucination in the ambulance. You are losing it, you have like two miles. Okay gravel. Why? Also, so many little hills. Why? Aaaaahhhh I see water!! Puget sound! Ice bath! I’m ready for this to be over! Where am I?! It’s so pretty! CONSTANT PEAKING. This is it. All of this. This is why I run.”

    After I crossed the finish line this little man that looked like the grandpa from UP gave me a Gatorade and a medal and a hug. When everyone finished we took group photos before stripping naked in a parking lot to put on our bathing suits on (because we just all ran 13 miles, and we can.) and jumped into the ocean for a community ice bath. Which even though was terrible at first, but was also the best – like everything else this weekend. That race was the cutest and the best I have felt when running, I already know its going to be the race by which I judge all other races.

    So what do you do when you return from a weekend of constant happy peaking with the best people? Well you appreciate knowing who you are better, and realizing what you need to be happy and how to make than happen more often. You plan all the adventures with these people because what is even the point of not partaking in life with people who are clearly willing to try new things? Life is too short not to know what you love, and love the shit out of it.

    the one with all my people and happy peaking.