Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Scene I, Act I

They say the first 30 days are the hardest. At least I think they do, whoever they may be…September 30th marked the first month of the rest of my life. I can’t believe it went by so fast but I am certainly going to use that speed as a judge of how fast I need to make things happen.

The freedom that came with the first week post-job followed by the panic of the second week has all balanced out at this point. I found a job waiting tables at a very nice restaurant in Union Square. The place is busy and should make for what is an ideal set up.

As it seems, 80% of the staff seem to be actors, writers, singers, dancers, and everything else in between. Apparently I’m not the only person in the city who decided waiting tables is a great gig to have while looking for your next gig.

The people are great and certainly full of personality. Everyone seems to be very supportive of each other, as it seems everyone is in the same battle just taking on a different enemy. I have already heard the words “auditions,” “castings,” and “rehearsal” spoken between servers, which make it all seem so real. I am here, I am in this world…

A month ago I was using terms like EOD (End of Day) and “Hard Stop” (The time a meeting MUST end). There were the slacks and buttons-downs I wore as a uniform every day that has now given way to my ninja (all black slacks and shirt) uniform. Changes are clear and are probably only going to continue to happen…

My goal for the first month was to find a job seeing as though this city seems to run quite efficiently on the American Dollar and I was running out of them quickly! Well, mission accomplished…Next on the agenda is find out just what it is that I want to do, want I want to be, and how I’m going to make that happen.

This month will be a big transition month. The transition from office days to dining room nights, from weekend warrior to weekend worker, and from climbing a ladder to paving a path…

Thanks for listening

Friday, September 22, 2006

Order Up!

I suited up, double checked that I had everything, did one final look in the mirror to make sure everything was in place and then it was off to work. I was officially a man in uniform. I mean I’m not one of New York’s Finest or even one of New York’s Bravest…I’m one of New York’s Ninja’s!

That’s right I was wearing, and will continue to wear the uniform at least three or four nights a week, all black from head to toe. To the untrained eye I may look like a manic depressive, but no, in fact the all black uniform is usually a staple at most trendy, hot, sexy, (insert more adjectives here) restaurants in this city.

The first day went well but seemed a bit overwhelming at times. That’s usually the case with a new job. There seems to only be two different speeds at first. There is completely ludicrous speed accompanied with so much information your brain starts to swell and then there is slug speed because you’re a bit bored due to the fact you don’t know how to do anything. I guess that as the hours start to pile up, the two speeds seem to meet somewhere in the middle.

I spent most of the night in the kitchen, working and learning about the food from the executive chef. It’s the first time I’ve been in a restaurant kitchen in over two years but they’re all the same. They’re fucking crazy! There are a million moving parts that all seem to work together so that every Tom, Dick, and Jane in the dinning room gest what they ordered in a timely manner.

Throughout the night I did cruise through the dinning room. It’s a beautiful place with great lighting, great fixtures and the attractive clientele to match it. I’d be lying if there wasn’t a little tug at the reality string while I glanced at each table. That was me enjoying my cocktail and petit filet just a few weeks ago while talking business. Not anymore my friends. And after a minute of reminding myself why I made the choice I did, I was right back in where I wanted to be (mentally speaking), after all I was still at work.

Thanks for listening

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Diving Encouraged

There is not a clear cut straight path to follow anymore. I gave that up weeks ago. There are no nicely painted signs showing exactly how much farther to the next destination. Hell, I don’t even have those lights that will illuminate in the case of an emergency directly me to the closest exit! (Don’t forget the closest exit may be behind you)

I supposed that’s one of the biggest changes I’ve had to accept with the new the life choice I’ve made. Sure, there are thousands of books and probably just as many experts offering their advice and expert opinions of how to get where I want to go…It’s not like I’m following a junior leadership program set up by the top management, all the time knowing I’m on the right track for success. That luxury ended just as fast as my former company’s contribution to my 401(k).

I have to admit it’s equally as excited as it is scary. My time in the corporate world was great, I did really enjoy it, up until the very end…It always came natural to me. How to act, how to carry myself, what to say, what not to say, it was all pretty easy. I think the biggest factor behind that was growing up with my mom playing the role of Mrs. Corporate America.

The story is a bit different now. Talk about uncharted waters. I have jumped into a world that is about as foreign to me as Christmas carols are to the Jihad! I’m guess the plan is to just keep searching, reading, asking, anyone, anything I can get a hold of to try and gain more knowledge about this industry. I guess I could continue to bullshit my way through this chapter in life too, but that might start to run out…

Thanks for listening

Monday, September 18, 2006

Keep on Keepin' on

It’s good to be back. I know I should have been back sooner but just couldn’t seem to get my ass in front of my computer with the intent to write. God knows it wasn’t because I haven’t had the time.

A lot has changed in the past few weeks. All the changes were certain and I knew were coming my way. I don’t deny that…only that I’m not sure if I knew exactly what these changes would actually feel like. We make changes in our life all the time. The small changes seem to happen quite frequently…new shampoo, a different flavor syrup at Starbucks, new hair style, while the larger changes, for obvious reasons are spread much farther apart.

My last day in the corporate world was August 30th, a Wednesday which means it’s been almost three weeks now. The first week was a wash as that Friday I flew to Houston to see the family and decompress before coming back to the city I love so much five days later. That means it was the middle of the week once my return flight landed and I sprinted out of the gates to pound the pavement to find myself a job!

I had for the previous few weeks been sending out resumes, cover letters, hell even pictures (New York restaurants are quite image conscious) to just about every restaurant from the Hedge Fund flooded Financial district to the Over-Stroller Populated Upper East Side. All of this really got be a whole lot of nothing…

The low point, as I’m sure it was for the rest of the city for much more heartfelt reasons was September 11th. It was a clear day, exactly the same type of weather that fell upon the city 5 years earlier. I woke up late after drinking too much the night before (the last thing I needed to do while being completely unemployed) and it hit me!

I quit my job, hit the eject button on my career, and honestly didn’t know when or where the next check was going to come from…Doubt started waving his nasty pointer finger from side to side all too close to my face. “What the hell was I thinking? How the hell am I going to be able to do this?”

All of these questions bum-rushing my brain set the rest of my body into a huge panic. Maybe not a huge panic, but just the “nothing tastes good, why do I keep waking up 55 times a night?” kind of panic. You know…the fun type!

However by weeks end and thanks to the amazing group of people I have in my life all was settled or at least much more manageable than Monday. My family and close friends have been more than I deserve. It’s like I have a 24 hour phone-a-friend line I can use whenever and however often I need it.

That day was a good day looking back because it was a real day. I needed to realize that this wasn’t going to be easy. If it were, wouldn’t more people take the chance? I don’t remember ever hearing an interview with a well established writer, singer, actor, producer who said…”ya know, the whole thing was pretty easy. It just sort of happen with very little effort or struggle.”

I now know that there will be bad days and probably even gut wrenching days where I might second guess my choice, but I also know there will be great days to follow. I made this life changing decision and plan on seeing it out to the end…

Thanks for listening

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Write it down. Write it over and over again. Keep it somewhere that you read it over and over again. Make it more than just something you want to do, make it something you will do!

All of those lines or phrases have probably been written in one form or another a million times and can be found, printed multiple languages in every Self Help section of any Barnes & Noble. I don’t think that makes their message or the reason behind them lose importance. I am a big believer in “Thoughts Are Things,” and all that mumbo jumbo that you always seem to hear very successful people screaming from the back seats of their Rolls Royce Phantoms.

About 3 months ago I wrote my own little mantra and I just realized I haven’t read it often enough. Not at all! I sprung out of bed one night, grabbed a Bic pen and wrote, right on my white wall “Do Something Big Today.”

With the life changes that are coming up at a rocket’s pace, I need to keep reading that over and over and over again. After all, that’s the long term goal for everyone right. I mean, big doesn’t mean Celebrity Status or an Estate in East Hampton. “Big” could be the perfect house with the perfect family in the perfect little town in Middle America. “Big” should mean something different to everyone and probably does.

But the question is, “what do we do on a daily basis that helps us obtain what we really want? What do we do on a daily basis that helps us get us to where we want to be?”

Thanks for listening

Monday, August 21, 2006

It's the Little Things

It’s funny sometimes when you have an idea in your head about how your next hour, day, or even week will go. You’ve got some plans here and there, you’ve got some things you want to do and then some things you have to do…You know there will be few little surprises along the way – after all, that’s what keeps it interesting, that’s what makes it “life.”

Knowing that I’m about to throw all regularity and routine out the window in just a few weeks, I welcomed a couple of those little surprises with open arms this weekend. I’m still in the hunt to find a source of income once I’ve flown the cube so I’d be lying if I said that’s not a bit stressful. However, I’m usually equipped with my perma-optimisitc-glass-half-full mantra so that helps balance out the stressful obstacles soon to be in my way.

Those surprises though, damn they sure do help. They’re not huge boxes wrapped with a bow sitting on top, no they're much smaller. It’s funny because on the right day they can be so minute and yet make all the difference in the world. It seems as though it’s usually a familiar face or voice that makes these little surprises worthwhile. Whether it’s a phone call out of the blue or simply catching up over a long lunch, these usually small blips on the radar can make a world of a difference.

Thanks for listening

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Head Of The Class

I was recently pondering over my soon to be life changes when I came across a couple of questions I’m not sure if I can answer. Will I be joining a different class of the city now? And if so, is there interaction between the two classes? Am I leaving one side behind and welcoming the next with open arms?

Maybe I’m being a tad dramatic but I don’t think I am, really. New York City can be funny like that…Sure it’s the World’s Capital from Fashion to Finance and has the money to prove it, but there is certainly a very distinct class structure. It’s not solely based on last names like I’m sure it was 100 years ago when the Carnegies and Rockefellers were cruising down 5th Ave. And to tell you the truth, I don’t think it’s easy enough to say that it is based on money alone, but it sure is a factor.

Two months from now when I’m a starving artist (who doesn’t want to lose a few pounds) and waiting tables at some nice hot spot downtown, and sadly making probably more than I am now, will I be looked at differently when I explain what I do for living? Isn’t “what do you do for a living” always one of the first questions we ask the opposite sex in our first encounter as if to size them up instantaneously by their title as if we were back in the days of York. (The original one, not the New one)

After all, what’s the difference between a broker who works in real estate verses one who works in bonds, other than the obvious? They both have ‘professional’ jobs, they both probably do well financially , they both work ‘normal’ hours, right? That’s apples to apples!

But what if our brokers are dead even, neck (tie) and neck (tie), they both have ‘it.’ But then all of the sudden, one broker says he’s actually an actor or a writer, and he’s waiting tables right now while he’s chases his dream? Does the race become not so close? Does our AWOL broker fall drastically behind? What if our brave broker does just as well financially? Is there now a separation of participants, a serperation of classes?

I am extremely interested to see how situations like the one above play out in the future for yours truly. I know there will be more than a few opportunities to see exactly if this city of mine is as divided as I think she is…