A lot of people come to New York City to become something, to get their names known and become famous. The city is thriving off of creative minds, and that’s why they call it “The City That Never Sleeps.” For me, it has always been hard to grasp that there are a number of people who venture to the city to land their dream jobs in the corporate world. It’s hard for me to fathom what it would be like to work in a corporate office confined to a desk all day long. And sure, there are a LOT of corporate environments that incorporate a desired cultural aspect, like Google or Uber.
We’ve all seen the perks of working at Google. I mean a nap room? Really? If only I could land a job there, I would probably never actually work. You could find me in the nap room in a deep slumber, getting my full eight hours. I would sleep through lunch breaks and ever so delicately drop grapes into my mouth like the real dainty princess that I am.
For a lot of young New Yorkers, and even experienced city dwellers, it’s understandable that jobs like that are hard to come across. Usually, you have to know someone, or work your way up in the rankings from an internship. But what happens when you’re 25 and finally realizing what is it you want to pursue your career in? Do you have the support to quit working for money and partake in an unpaid internship to build up your resume? Is someone going to pay your overpriced rent and ConEd or PSEG bills while you spend your weekdays on coffee runs hoping to catch your big break? (Coffee runs are actually highly unlikely in internships these days, as most internships are great learning experiences and an incredible way to get your foot in the door somewhere).
The majority of us don’t have this luxury, which is why I spend my time at my office sitting at my desk, finding alternative ways to flow my creative juices, like writing this article for example. I’m part of the lucky few that are able to get away with doing a lot of personal things at work. I work in Human Resources and spend majority of my day on Instagram, internally cracking up over funny dog memes and relationship posts, and then direct messaging the posts to my friends to give them a good laugh at 1:30 p.m. on a Tuesday.
When I turned 25, I went through what society likes to call a “quarter-life crisis.” It exists, I assure you. I wanted to go to college for Fine Arts, and had the opportunity to attend some top-notch schools (that I couldn’t ever afford). But I chose to get my education in a business and communications related field from FIT, which is actually a great and very affordable school.
Three-and-a-half years after graduating, I found myself at yet another dead end job, spending eight or nine hours a day watching the time pass. I started to think of what I actually wanted to do in life. What would make me happy? If you’re a friend of mine, you know that all I want to do in life is be a mom. But you can’t get paid for that type of full-time career, and you can’t apply for it either.
Being a mom is a life goal. So at the age of 25, I had to reevaluate what I was doing and begin to set a plan and answer the bigger questions: What is my purpose? How do I see myself spending the rest of my life?
I was inspired by a few of my friends ― one friend in particular who I won’t name drop but is a well-known female comedian. When I met her she was working for an investment company and fighting for check spots every night, hopping from one comedy club to another in search of five minutes of stage time. She couldn’t wait to leave her office job, and I know that she was nervous and scared as hell to make the leap.
Eventually, she maneuvered a way to get fired from her job so she could fulfill her dreams of become a famous comedian. I watched her over the past five years build her network and build her following. I watched her form into one of the funniest women in the world. She is now a correspondent on a well-known nightly show, writes and stars in her own series, and tours the world as a headlining comedian. I couldn’t be more proud of her, and I also couldn’t be more inspired by her. Just by watching her work her way up and grab the comedy industry by the balls, I thought, “I can live out my dreams, too.”
I thought about painting and decided that was a hobby of mine, not a career. I thought about a career in fitness and then thought about all of the certifications needed and years of unpaid time dedicated to branding yourself and building a following. For sure, that works for a lot of people, but I couldn’t see it for myself.
I started thinking deeply about what I actually could envision myself doing. Then it came to me: writing. I love to write. And for once in my life the thought of pursuing a career in writing started to become a vision that grew and grew until I could envision myself living life as a famous novelist working on producing and directing her own film. And I decided I need to do everything in my power to make this happen. So I started writing not only for pleasure, but also for work. I started spending hours at my desk in the office working on a concept for a novel and writing it out. I started journaling everything into a document so maybe I could pull an idea from a real life experience. I started reminiscing on old memories and childhood events that I could write into a memoir or a web or TV series. And now I’m writing this article, in hopes to add onto the portfolio and also just to feel good about what I’m doing.
Just because you’re working at a desk job living the 9-5 life that you never wanted, doesn’t mean you can’t work on other projects and work on fulfilling your dreams. I can tell you right now, I don’t plan on working the corporate 9-5 job for the next 5-10 years, but that’s just my personal preference. And I’m sure there are a lot of people reading this thinking, “What is she talking about? I fight for my dreams everyday... I’m already doing this.” Or, “Good luck, Sweetie. Say goodbye to solid paychecks and stability. You’re never going to make it (spoken under their breaths).” But there are also a lot of you who are probably reading this feeling inspired.
So how do you get through eight hours at a desk wanting to crawl out of your own skin? You manage your time and remind yourself of what you’re passionate about and you work on it through the day. Unless you want to be in the corporate 9-5 world.,. then this article may not be for you, and that’s fine. Or it may inspire you to move up from your admin role to an associate role, and then to a more executive role. And that’s great, too!
The most important thing is that you keep yourself motivated and you hold onto your dreams. If there’s a moment that you start to feel lost, re-focus and recharge. Get back on that saddle and ride that bull! (Horrible metaphor, but I feel this at least nine times a day and that’s the metaphor that motivates me to keep pushing. Also, are there even saddles on bulls or is riding a bull just a wild free for all?) So if you ever feel like you’re working in circles and lose your train of thought, remember there are a lot of people out there feeling the same way. You’re not alone, and the motivation will come! Trust me!