Sunday, February 15, 2015

What I've learned being a case manager and why you might like it too



To be honest I didn't even really know case managing was a job or thing when I first started out as psychology major in college.  I knew I loved psychology and thought I wanted to be a psychologist and/or counselor some day and that seemed the most logical route.  Everyone was always commenting on there being no jobs for people with a Bachelor's in Psych and I pretty much assumed that was the case.  I had no idea the vast amount of people employed in psych and social work related positions that (usually) require a Bachelor's degree in Social Work or Psychology (and a few other majors are sometimes accepted as well).  I will likely still be working in that position for little bit longer but I'm nearing the point where I am starting to look back on what I've learned.   



1.  I think if you are planning on doing something in the behavioral health field with a Masters or PhD you should at least consider working in a case management or similar role for a while.  The amount of knowledge it gives about the ins and outs of the public health system is especially valuable info that you really can't get any other way.

2.  It's very rewarding many (most?) days.  If you stick with it long enough to watch people actually make huge strides and changes in their lives it really is a wonderful thing.

3.  You'll never get to the end of your to-do list, but you'll learn to be okay with that. I'm sure there are a lot of other jobs that have this same problem but it feels like an acrobatic feat sometimes to stay in compliance with things that must be done, accomplish other really important tasks, but actually do things that impact your client.  All of those things that you have to do - some of the time, they don't feel like they serve the client that well.  Which is really no one's fault but a huge flaw in the system.  It's given me a lot of insight into how the public sometimes recognizes a problem, the media's reporting of the problem skews or simplifies the issue, the legislature tackles the issue with something that sounds like a good idea and the result is red tape and paperwork which further hampers things at times.  I don't have all the solutions but I can more clearly see what the problems are, and that is something at least.

4.  You'll never be bored.  NEVER.  I can't think of a single day I have even had time to be bored or have a bored thought.  The day flies by and 8 hours is never enough time for your work day. If you're lucky you'll work somewhere that doesn't allow you to work over 40 hours.  When I first started working I thought that was a dumb rule (because, see point 3 above, hello, endless to do list).  But it's not a dumb rule because people would work themselves to death if the expectation was there for over-time or salaried employment for case managers. 

5.  When I say you'll never be bored, I don't just mean because you'll be too busy to be bored.  I mean every day is actually really interesting and intellectually stimulating - emotionally taxing sometimes too, but also rewarding.  You'll go through a slew of emotions every week and most days, you'll probably enjoy how you spend your time (at least that is generally my experience).

6.  If you work in children's services you'll probably have more insights about parenting - whether you are a parent or not - than you've ever had.  And you'll probably feel like a better parent than you've ever felt.  Which is not to say that all the parents you'll work with are doing a bad job.  Some of them are doing a great job under difficult circumstances.  I'm sure there are unique insights those who work with adults have.

7.  You'll learn to love people, or at least like them, that might have seemed impossible to like before.  You'll learn to judge people a lot less.  I remember when I used to sometimes get an assignment and read through the file and get nervous about how I was going to relate to a particularly intense and difficult teenager or whatever.  Then I would meet them and learn they love to play chess or some other weird little factoid that would give me an in to getting to know them a lot better.   Conversely, people/kids who appear to be perfectly fine are often battling some really difficult things you can't be aware of by looking at them.  Without a doubt I just don't assume anything about people anymore.

8.  If you work with kids your heart will break like pretty much all the time. And you'll learn to be okay with that because that just means you are still human, and that's a good thing.

9.  You will expand as a person in ways that will surprise you. 

10.  You won't make any money and that's a problem - however, there are lots of ways you can move up in the field into other roles that earn more.  Still, it's not something that anyone is going to pursue because of the financial gain involved.  For me, the experience was worth the low pay at least for the period of time I have worked in the field and certainly for some people, if it's a secondary income, that's not so bad.  

Sometimes even people who don't have a degree in a relevant field can get a job in case management if they have relevant job or volunteer work experience so it's definitely something to consider if you believe it might be for you.

When I'm not a case manager anymore in about a year, I'm sure I'll miss many things about it. 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Movies I Dug in 2014

In no discernible or important order whatsoever, here is my annual list of movies that I really dug and you maybe will dig too.

 I've not seen every movie that I wanted in 2014 so some will have to wait until Netflix or Itunes.  Which means the list is not comprehensive and you may have seen something amazing that I missed. I keep a running list of movies I intend to catch up on some day, but there are always more than I can possibly keep on top of.

These are the movies I saw this year that I considered the best of 2014 which ended up being a "top 14" list. 

For whatever reason this year I included where I saw it and if I was alone or not because, I don't know, somehow it seems like that might provide context that may or may not matter. 


1.  Adult World 

This move is one of those "if you blinked you missed it" - most theatres never carried it and the release was not wide, even I watched it on Itunes because I missed it the one week it was in the theatres here in Phoenix.  And every one knows John Cusack is my jam and so you'll automatically be suspicious of this pick and think it's all due to my Cusack near-obsession.  But you'd be wrong!  I have long ago abandoned the notion that a movie is automatically good just because it has Cusack in it (and recently I am sad to report there have been a spate of disappointing movies from our Dear John) but this movie is the exception to all of that and I genuinely liked it very much.  Emma Stone is a young poet who is slightly deluded about the path to success and John C. plays an aging punk poet named Rat who disabuses her of her deluded notions.  I read somewhere that John's character may be an alternate version of Lloyd Dobler had Lloyd grown up to realize his optimism was badly misplaced and gone the route of curmudgeonly misanthrope instead.  (If you aren't a huge fan of "Say Anything" you have no idea what I'm talking about right now.  If you've never seen "Say Anything" you might as well quit reading the rest of this blog post and RUN to the nearest Apple TV or Amazon Prime and rent that movie immediately so that you can get your life back on track since clearly, something is terribly amiss and in need of fixing).  Anyway, don't get too excited this isn't on the level of Say Anything.  But it is great work by Cusack and a subversive comedy that I found very cute and fun. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 54% which is not great, but I think it's a solid little movie you should try out for size.


2.  Million Dollar Arm 

This is a move that honestly I probably never would have seen except I was going to the movies with a friend to the Harkins at Tempe Marketplace and we couldn't sort of agree on anything and I just finally suggested this because I think Jon Hamm is cute and figured I could live through any movie where Jon would be featured prominently on the silver screen and I could just ignore the hum of whatever nonsense was wrecking the rest of the film.  But geez, I was totally wrong and honestly this was one of those cute feel good movies that somehow manages to get the cute and the feel good all in the right proportions and you kind of stumble on to this thing that warms your heart when you think your heart is all frozen over and unwarmable.  Basically Hamm's character goes to India to recruit baseball players from cricket players and hijinks ensue which sounds kinda dumb (hence my initial hesitation) but ends up being a really sweet story (based on a true story, which always helps in my opinion) and Hamm is adorable and Lake Bell is also in this and I really think she is  awesome and really I only have good things to say about this movie.  It's also totally clean and PG too so if you have kiddos and you're looking for a "family movie" this is a good one.  Rotten tomatoes gave it a 61% but the user score was higher at 70%.


3.  Land Ho

Basically Land Ho proves that I didn't only go to movies based on cute guys being in them cause these guys are pretty old and clearly I didn't go just because there was someone in the film I had a crush on (which I am now worried you'll think due to film #1 and #2 on my list both having actors I think are pretty dreamy).  My 17 year old daughter and I saw this at Harkins Camelview and gosh darn it if I don't love that art house theatre with all my heart.  You know, it's not that easy to talk a 17 year old into going to a film about 2 old dudes who travel to Iceland, but she's a good sport.  She really liked this movie and so did I.  It's more or a less a contemplation on aging and getting the most out of life at any age.  Iceland is beautiful and this made me want to go there on vacation and there was just a lot to love about this.  And honestly one of these dudes did seem pretty cute to me by the end of the movie, making me question a lot of prejudices I have about older men.  So many movies are about people in their 20s or 30s and it is really nice once in a while to remind people about lives lived beyond what might consider ones "prime".  The critics liked this with an 80% rotten tomatoes score, but the public was less enthusiastic at 56%.  I attribute that to this being a movie where nothing is blown up, there are no car chases and many people may accuse it of being "a movie where nothing happens".  And they would be totally wrong about that because in my opinion, quite a lot happens and especially, if you're keen on this sort of thing, something might happen to you internally while you watch, which in my opinion is the best kind of movie. 



4.  Finding Vivian Maier

This one we also saw at Camelview 5 and actually my 17 year old was the one who really wanted to go to this.  It's a documentary about a nanny who was secretly an incredible photographer.  She captured some amazing images on film but the photos were not discovered until somewhat recently.  The story is mostly about the photography, but also sort of the mystery of who Vivian was, and not only who people thought she was - but who she really was, which almost no one really was aware of while she was alive.  It made me think a lot about the lives we sometimes live in private and how often we really don't feel known or understood by others and what it all means.  I think you'd have to be pretty immune to the beauty of photography not to enjoy this film.   Pretty much everyone loved this with a 94% rotten tomatoes critic score and a 89% user score.




5.  The Grand Budapest Hotel 

This film is the typical stuff you expect from Wes Anderson.  Goofy, Eccentric, and a "Wild Ride" all come to mind.  An old fashioned "farce" of sorts.  Anderson's films always have that kind of dreamy, "this only makes sense because I'm asleep" thing going for them.  The intricate sets and costumes and set ups are so delicious in Grand Budapest, I think it's one of his best films.  If you DON'T like Wes Anderson films, I still think you might like this one.  Give it a try.  My daughter and I saw this at Camelview 5 and later bought it on Itunes as well.  Most everyone loved this too with a 92% critic score on rotten tomatoes and an 86% user score.

6.  The One I Love 

This was a surprisingly awesome film.   And impossible to describe.  Like I don't know what to say.  Weird, quirky, magical, odd, subversive.  Like if you took a relationship and held it up to a fun-house mirror as a means of marriage therapy. My daughter and I saw this at Shea 14 and she really loved it too.  It's funny and romantic in a very unconventional way and it definitely poses new questions about relationships that might make you think about surprising and complex questions and "what does it all mean".  Rotten tomatoes critic score of 80% and user score of 79%; I did hear someone who left the theatre at the same time as us say "I honestly don't know how I feel about what I just saw, I have so many questions!".  It is a great movie to discuss with other people afterwards. 


7.  Palo Alto 

This might be the favorite of this whole list.  Although I wanted my daughter to see this with me, I ended up attending alone at Camelview 5.  It was just such a great portrayal of teens and weird suburban/urban angst and poor parenting practices so common today.  You get the sense in this film that parents only exist on the periphery, if at all, and everything feels precariously tilting towards a dangerous collision for these teens as a result.   Gia Coppola proves herself to be a worthy embodiment of the family name.   The acting here is great, you do actually feel like you're just watching these teens in their natural habitat and Emma Roberts is very good and Jack Kilmer (son of Val) is excellent.  This film also has the best soundtrack of any all year and if I only saw it for the exposure to new music it would have still been worth it, but luckily the film itself is really great.  73% rotten tomatoes score but only 53% users score which I largely attribute to people who had different expectations for what type of movie it would be.  Again, many complaints by users that it was "slow".  This in my opinion was the genius of the film.  Didn't weeks and days go by agonizingly slow when you were a teen? Didn't it almost feel like you literally had to kill time to get it to move?  You really feel very much compassion for the teenagers in this film even if some of them are kind of awful to each other, because clearly the adults in their lives aren't offering them much help navigating this tricky territory. 


8.  The Lunch Box 

My daughter and I saw this together at Camelview 5 and it was a great feel good romance.  Set in India the premise was simple yet effective.  You're never quite sure if things will work out or not all the way up until the very end and I like it when movies are not predictable and leave room for some ambiguity.  If you are looking for a cute film that won't challenge you too much but might be a little different from the norm (it's a foreign film set in India) then I think you'll really like this one.  96% on rotten tomatoes for critic score and 87% for users. 


9.  Boyhood 

This film really doesn't need my recommendation, lots of people loved this and it has gotten a ton of press for being shot over the course of 12 years.  But you really can't say enough what a marvelous trick that is to watch characters age on film over more than a decade.  The story is compelling and I thoroughly enjoyed this.  I also saw this with my teenage daughter at Camelview 5.  I saw a lot more movies with her this year than I usually do - probably because she has gotten old enough to appreciate the same types of films I do.  She really likes this since it is about a kid growing up and becoming who they are meant to be.  Watching the boy change and grow is interesting but I found myself immersed in watching the adults change as the children grow.  Sometimes we fail to realize how much raising children and watching them grow changes us too. 99% critic score on rotten tomatoes and 89% user score.

10.  The Skeleton Twins 

I had kinda high expectations for this film and although it was less funny than I imagined it would be, it was also more poignant than I expected.  Sometimes it was actually really funny, but overall the tone of this is much more serious than you might think and I actually think that's it's strength.  Bill Hader plays the gay twin brother of Kristen Wiig and they have not seen each other in a long time.  The movie opens with each of them attempting suicide and it becomes more clear as the movie progresses why they didn't speak for 10 years and why each of them has some fairly serious mental health issues.  Besides dealing very compassionately with some issues of depression and family complications as well as providing some good comic relief sprinkled through out, I also love this because it shows this really special and great relationship between a brother and sister - that's kind of the love story here, sibling love, which is not something that gets touched on much in movies except in a very tangential way.  Here is plays the starring role in the films heart and for that, I really loved it.  I think it also delved into some issues regarding humanizing some pretty interesting human frailties that I also really appreciated.  I saw it alone at Scottsdale Cine Capri and I also now own this movie in my Itunes collection.  Critics and users also pretty well like this too with 87% and 77% respectively. 


11.  Only Lovers Left Alive 

This I saw with one of my oldest friends at Camelview 5 and immediately upon the opening of the film I knew I was really going to dig it because the open was so unique I've never seen anything like it done as effectively before.  Immediately you are drawn into this weird world of vampires that is totally different from any way you've seen them portrayed before and not only that, the director manages to make us feel that we are on some kind of weird drug trip right from the get go.  I mean, that's a neat trick don't you think?  I have not seen this on the small screen so I don't know if the feeling of being drugged works as well if you are watching it at home.  The entire movie you feel like you're in this really interesting world and even if you could argue that not much happens (and for reals, that is a good argument you could make I suppose compared to pretty much any other vampire movie you've ever seen) I feel like this vampire movie packs more philosophical punch than any other I've ever seen.  It's beautifully shot and completely worth a look even if you generally shy away from vampire films.  The critics gave it an 85% and the users a 79%. 


12.  This Is Where I Leave You

This movie I had super low expectations for because it really did not get great reviews but I went anyway with my daughter to Shea 14 because as I recall we were bored and there weren't that many options.  I suspected with Jason Bateman in it I'd at least have a laugh or two ( I dig that man and he always can make me laugh) but then I ended up being pretty surprised by how well done the movie was and how much I really liked it.  I had never read the book so I don't know if that would have changed my opinion or not but I just thought it was way better than it was given credit for.  It's basically about all the complicated ways we interact with our families and in our relationships, it's about regret and embracing our lives in ways that make the best of what is.  It's kind of about how painful it is to try to grow up to become who we're meant to be and how we sometimes take a lot of side roads before we get there.  We make compromises and we learn to be okay with them - or maybe we don't.  Basically the premise of this movie is life is messy.  But also kinda funny if you look at it the right way.  The critics really didn't dig this and gave it a 42% but the users took more kindly to it with a 62%.  Make of that what you will, maybe I'm just a big fan of Jason Bateman, Tina Fey and Adam Driver but I think you might like this.  The critics mostly seemed to criticize that it was too sweet.  I don't know, I like a little sweet with my bitter once in a while.


13. Whiplash

I saw this alone at Shea 14 and I really dug it.  It's intense and it is about a drummer who is in a special ensemble in a prestigious music school.  His musical director is a fanatic who borders on being abusive and then crosses the line into abuse many times during the film.  The movie makes us ask questions about what it means to be successful, where pressure to succeed crosses over into something unhelpful and what does it take to truly become a musical genius or to be "the best".  The movie takes a few twists and turns and ends up being somewhat surprising even though the majority of this movie is literally watching someone drum their guts out.  I don't even feel particularly interested in musicians or drummers and I still found this really fascinating and great. The critics loved this and gave it a 96% and the users whole heartedly agreed.


14. Wild 

I saw this at Camelview 5 with my daughter.  She and I both really liked it.  In fact, it's right up there with my favorites for the year and I think the reason why is it felt personally meaningful to me.  Basically its based on a true story where a woman hikes all the way from Mexico/California border to the Canadian/Washington state border.  She is fighting some personal demons and she learns a lot about her self in the process.  I think if you can allow the film to sort of wash over you there's a lot you can learn about yourself here too regardless of what your personal challenges might be (she's kicking heroin and mourning the loss of her mother and her marriage - your tragedy does not need to be nearly that extreme).  We all travel our own journeys and hopefully those journey's do something similar for us where we learn self-acceptance and test our mettle.  If this is something you've experienced or are going through now, I think you'll really like this.  The critics mostly liked it too, giving it a 92% and the users gave it an 81%.  


15. Under The Skin 

This I saw with a friend at Camelview 5.  I almost didn't put it on the list because it is so fricking weird and I just...well, this movie took me days and weeks to process what I felt about it.  But the thing is, it really stuck.  Like I actually thought about this movie a lot.  This is one of those movies that made me go do a whole google search afterwards to figure out what it all meant and to see if my conclusions were even correct or at least in the right general train of thought.  Just know, this whole deal is totally bizarre and you really will not know what in the heck you are watching and you'll feel completely off balance by the whole thing.  BUT, you sure as heck aren't going to be bored and if this doesn't give you something to chew on I don't know what on earth would.  So I highly recommend it, but also offer you extreme caution that it won't be anything you expect.  I'm not going to try to explain the actual plot because it will ruin it.  The critics pretty well dug it at 86% but the general public came away pretty confused with a 52%.  Not surprising.  But you know yourself well enough - do you like stuff that is sort of weird and subversive and not obvious and will make you work to think and figure out what is going on?  then you'll love it.  If you don't have that sense of adventure about your film choices - go ahead and skip this one! 



And here are a few more that I almost included: 

Calvary 
Chef
Begin Again 
Enemy

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Identity Crisis

Well pretty much an entire fall has escaped me without a single blog post.  Not that I didn't want to blog - I did.  And not that I didn't think of things to blog about - because I have a list I keep on my phone of ideas.  But due to a multitude of factors, it didn't happen.

I don't know what this blog will end up being.  It's having an identity crisis of sorts.

I still have things I'd like to blog about that are design oriented in nature.  I'm still obsessed with beautiful imagery, photography, lovely kitchens and luxurious bathrooms.

Is this not the prettiest room in the universe? Does it not make you happy just to look at it???


But I also have things I'd like to say or share about good mental health.  Since I'm working on becoming a licensed therapist, I have some doubts at times about how much or what I want to say about that given the possible likelihood that future clients may stumble on this blog looking for information.  That could be good, and has the potential to be something positive, but it's something I really need to think more about.  In fact, I need to take a good look at whether I want to keep the blog at all (or if I should just make it private - which of course no one would read and then it would just be a diary, and I have another diary app for that purpose really).


This thought is at the root of how I see therapy - helping clients see and think a little differently so that they have the tools to create solutions in their lives, live life more fully, and have peace.

I've had this blog since 2005 - I'm not too keen to totally give it up really.  It contains a lot of thoughts, feelings and ideas that really represent me and I like the idea that if my grandchildren wanted to know more about me someday, reading my blog might be valuable (sort of - or they would at least know what sort of interior design I really liked back in the "olden" days).

I often feel like blogging parenting advice, because the longer I work with kids in case management the more I feel like I did a pretty good job with my own parenting and I think it might be valuable information sometimes. 
I feel like I could write loads of lists like this...

It's more an abundance of things that I would like to blog about that makes it confusing and difficult to focus in on one thing, rather than a dearth of ideas.  This blog doesn't know what it is anymore because it wants to be too many things and therefore, slowly, is is just quietly humming along with no new posts.

I still get around 200 unique hits per day (way down from the days when I got around 500 per day and largely due to me not posting new posts) and if you check out pinterest you will see many of my blog posts are re-pinned there, and that still happens almost every day too.  There's something oddly satisfying about that which I don't really want to completely give up.  It makes me feel the tiniest bit like a writer (though I know that's a ridiculously crazy way to call myself a writer).

Screen shot of my blog posts people "pinned" in the last week or two 


So coming up you may see posts on the adorable nursery my son and daughter in law put together for my (impending!) granddaughter.  Or I might tell you about how to raise children who have a good appreciation for arts and literature.  I might talk with you about the single most important piece of parenting advice I can give anyone.  Or it might be that I'll share some ideas about good mental health. It might be some photography that I decide to blog about.

Or maybe I will still be quiet for a while longer.

But I doubt it.  I feel like I've been quiet quite a bit, and I'm ready to not be quite so quiet anymore.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Saving My Sanity (or Ma Santé Mentale)

I discovered something that has been saving my sanity lately.

Some days I am so busy and things are so crazy at work, I don't know how to slow down when I get off work.  In fact, sometimes I am genuinely surprised at how overwhelmingly busy work can be.  Sometimes I look at the clock and it's 3 pm and it feels like it should be 10 am and I am slightly panicked about how much I still need to accomplish before the end of my day.  I never end my day having accomplished everything I set out to do in the morning.  My job will always have a never ending task list that I will never actually reach the end of.  I  have accepted that but it does make my brain a little crazy.

Once I leave work I generally probably have some sort of school work I should attend to.  If it's not reading it's a paper, or articles, or presentations or a test.  You get the idea.  I read and write all day at work and then I read an write at home and if I have free time I am always trying to squeeze in either more reading that is also in relation to school and I feel will just help me be a better counselor OR I collapse on the couch and stare at The Real Housewives of Orange County for a hour while my brain does almost nothing.

It feels like I am either in full academic/psychology/behavioral health mode or my brain needs to completely escape.  And this is frequently a problem.  Because I find that my brain does not want to turn off.  Sometimes I literally cannot sit still for a whole episode of the Housewives just because my brain is still too engaged.

My other thing I have been experiencing lately is this feeling that this schedule is relentless and never ending.  Sometimes it really doesn't seem there will ever be a time in my life again that will involve free time of the sort of would like to find.  Or vacations.  I can't find the time to do so many things I would like to do because at least for the next year and 1/2, the time to do those things just doesn't exist.  I know I will get through it.

Saving my mind right now is Duo Lingo.


What the heck is Duolingo you may ask.  Well it's a phone app on which you can practice language skills in several other languages and the best part is, it's free.  

I learned some french in high school and college but I have never been proficient.  I LOOOOOOOVE this app.  When my brain can't turn off I just flip open this app and start practicing French and feel myself just completely in some sort of fantastic zen space.  Sometimes I can't stop and I have to force myself to move on to other tasks.  My french is getting so much better.  Yesterday on NPR there was a press conference in french which they translated - but I understood well over 50% of it before the translation.  It's awesome.  

If you want to brush up on a language you once kinda sorta learned a little of or if you want to learn one you've never tried I highly recommend it. It's like playing a video game but it's not a waste of time. 


Also.  I really want to go to France when I have a different situation wherein I can actually leave my house for an extended vacation at some point in the future.  My goal is to go the year I turn 50.  So learning French better feels like it is increasing my likelihood of having a better vacation. 

Which brings me to my one other sanity saver which I've discussed before.  Pinterest images of the places I'd like to go in France. 

Provence

French Riviera

Monmartre

Cannes

Neptune Fountain - Versailles

French Riviera

Provence 

Versailles

Burgundy

  


But for now it's back to two papers I need to write.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Why I think it's still okay to tell people to "do what you love"

a short rant on something that's been bugging me for a while...

Recently there have been a few articles, social media commentary, and some backlash in general on the idea of imparting advice to people that they should "do what you love and love what you do".  The reasoning seems to be generally that it is a somewhat snotty idea that people actually have this as an option - that not all of us can be photographers, and film majors, and craft heirloom yak yarn on our wooden spindles while listening to indie folk rock and sipping on $8 Oprah Chai Tea Latte.  Or something like that.  I guess the idea is that only a privileged few get these sorts of options and it is both delusional, and unhelpful to suggest that everyone will have the economic freedom of choosing a career based on what you "love".  Also, there seems to be a bit of a backlash based on the fact that "work" indeed involves (or should) actual "work" and that we should recognize and applaud those who do jobs no one "loves" particularly but which must need to be done because society would literally fall apart if everyone picked "twee" careers like costume design and hand blowing glass because where would we get garbage men?

Mkkkk

But I totally disagree.  And the reason I totally disagree is that it sends a really dumb message to either young people feeling out their futures and to adults who want to go back to school or switch around what they are doing.  The best advice by far is still, and probably always will be, do what you love.  And the reason is relatively simple.  If you do what you love you will likely be good at what you do.  And if you do what you love you will likely be satisfied with your work.  And as well you will likely excel beyond the other people who are also doing that thing - especially if they are not doing it because they love it.  And the biggest reason is probably the dictum if you do what you love you actually work a lot harder but it won't seem so much like work, thereby, increasing your likelihood of further success.

The world is always going to be full of people who hate their jobs, are terrible at their jobs, do a job just for the paycheck, who can't keep a job to save their life, who are never satisfied and who feel totally stuck.  And this is usually due to a variety of reasons and one of them is that they aren't doing what they love, they aren't working towards doing what they love, or they have no idea what they would love.  It's not the only reason - there is some general other issues at place which of course sometimes is lack of opportunity, socioeconomic barriers, and other societal issues.  And while this is always true in the MACRO, it is very rarely true in the MICRO.  And by that I mean that I tell all my economically disadvantaged youth who I case manage to DO WHAT YOU LOVE.  Because there is usually always some way to make that happen.  I see talent and potential in almost everyone -  and yet, very often they believe due to their circumstances, or poor advice their parents give them, or because they don't believe in themselves, that they may be stuck doing things that they don't want to do.  Usually it is a lack of self esteem and the ability to believe in themselves.

I sometimes hear college educated people say "college isn't for everyone".  I mean really?  That sounds about as classicist as anything I've ever heard anyone say.  It's not for everyone but it is for you right?  In my job I very often get to see people's IQ scores.  It is shocking to me how often some poor kid who is doing terrible in school and generally comes from a background where no one has gone to college and no one expects anything from this kid - how often these kids actually have a relatively high IQ score.  These are kids who get told "college isn't for everyone" "school is hard and it's not for everybody".

It's probably true.  School is not for everyone.  Some people really do struggle with school.  But often they have other talents and skills.  It's totally cool if that talent is welding, cooking, dancing or a plethora of other things.  Sometimes school is important and sometimes, less so.  But learning your skill, craft, and honing your talent is always going to be important. 

Someone is always going to be the dude who digs the ditches - either because that dude actually likes digging ditches or because that dude got stuck through a series of circumstances, digging ditches.  Society is never going to just be full of people who play the lute and hand raise goats and make artisinal cheese. But gosh darn it if that's what you want to do, you should totally go for it.  There are always going to be people who will just do a job for the paycheck.

And this is not to say that just because you decided to open up that little antique shop like you always wanted that it's not going to be work.  It sure as heck is going to be work.  Most jobs, no matter how much you like what you're doing, have acumen for it, or are otherwise suited for your career, will be easy.  But it will be easier, than doing something you hate.  The worst day at a job you're well suited for is better than the best day at a job you aren't.

I'm super glad that at the age of 46 I am working towards doing what I really want to do.  It feels good even though it is a challenge.  If I wasn't doing this I can think of at least 3 or 4 other things I also would have loved and probably could have done as well and all of them probably would have been challenging to obtain success at.  But all of them would have been worth it.

Don't let anyone rain on your parade.  Go do what you want, what you love, what interests you, what you're talented at, and what you feel like doing.

Jobs that I think I would have loved besides being a counselor:

art curation/art historian

(this is Jill Dawsey, she's been a curator at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, SF Museum of Modern Art and Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.)

Interior Designer

(I've said before I'd like to BE Mary Mcdonald, but if I can't actually be her, I think I also would have loved to be an interior designer who is as successful as her)


boutique owner

(Georgeann Bryant owns local Frances Boutique, it is absolutely charming and lovely and when I was younger I used to think I would love owning a boutique - it still sounds appealing, but I think the "business" part of it might be challenging!  Even still, if you have the right personality and skill set, this would be an awesome career)

Fashion Editor


 (well we can't all be Grace Coddington, but what an awesome job!)

Advertising: 

(and we can't all be Don Draper either - BUT, I often believe I could have been good at a career in advertising or marketing, I even like the idea of being the person who does the focus groups and travels all over doing that)

Jury consultant: 



(this always appealed to me I think for the same reason psychology and counseling appeals to me - but in this job you're just figuring people out and making hunches about behavior rather than dealing with them directly.  I still think I'm really good at being able to do this.  I can predict people's behavior pretty accurately)

Writer

(when I was young I really only wanted to be a writer more than anything in the world.)

English or French Teacher:

(last, but certainly not least, I did consider becoming an English or French teacher - I think I would have liked it and been pretty good at it too)


All of the careers I've listed are careers someone might try to talk a person out of for a variety of reasons, either because they seem too hard to achieve, or it's too competitive, or the pay isn't particularly good.  There's always a downside it seems to everything and if there is, you can be sure people will feel they have to let you know what that downside is.

But take heart - there are plenty of upsides!  Decide what you most want and then work hard for it.  SOMEBODY has to do the job or have the career you're dreaming of - it might as well be YOU.




Sunday, June 01, 2014

This is a Public Service Announcement

this week a saw girl with a really giant sign on her forearm that said REPENT,  a girl with a purple unicorn, a teen with a saying that was misspelled ("tomarrow may never come"), and a man with a spider web on his face.  so this post is a public service announcement to assist people looking to get a tattoo. 

first off, I don't really want you to get a tattoo. not for some of the reasons you might think, but mostly because I think it's really really hard to know that you are actually going to want something permanent like that. I have art at home that I love, but I am not even sure I'll keep all of it forever you know? so there's that. And then the other thing is there are so many terrible tattoos in the world and I just feel that you don't need to contribute to that trend. and even though you don't think you are going to chose a bad tattoo - well, I am worried that you might anyway. and you won't even know it. not right away. today i saw a woman with elvis on her arm. I'm sure it seemed like a good idea at the time but I can assure you that it was not. so mostly probably if you are thinking of getting a tattoo - maybe don't. but if I can't talk you out of it. here are some that I approve of. I know how condescending and awful that makes me sound. but I don't really care. I just really want to see a world with less bad tattoos. maybe that means no tattoo for you. maybe that means at least get something good if you're going to do it. k? ok.

you know - more like this...









And less like this...



See also HERE

that is all.



Saturday, May 03, 2014

How Pinterest Saves My Sanity (and some other stuff)

Remember when I used to blog like, oh I don't know maybe 10 times a month or something?  It's a vague faraway thing - but I kinda remember it.

Dudes.  I really like to write.  I like to blog.  Maybe someday, but that someday is not now.  Actually sometimes I think if I can just get through school maybe I will write like for reals, just because I do love it and I keep imagining a world where I craft expertly perfect sentences that convey all kinds of intriguing and irresistibly genius thoughts.

I think sometimes my problem is that I am way too interested in way too many things.  And right now I basically have time for like one of those things.  And I feel like my brain is getting stuffed with all kinds of useful things in that one area - but I feel kinda sad sometimes that my brain does not know much else.

Things I love and that skitter around in my brain seeking attention:

Photography
Films
Reading/Books
Interior Design
Architecture
Friends
Food
New Restaurants
Old Restaurants
Road Trips
Travel
Foreign Languages
Politicky stuff
Kids
Ideas
The BEACH
water
grass
art
museums
dusk
sunsets
getting lost
figuring stuff out
driving
driving at night
wandering
journals
poems
needlework
quilting
pop culture
warm air
dogs
connections
big ideas
little ideas
white on white on white
bold colors
dirt
things that smell awesome
curated stuff
colors on colors on colors
spiritual enlightenment
comfort


I do think sometimes that I have a possible tiny bit of adult ADD - because my brain has a hard time turning off.
almost every night before bed I have a ritual where I can look through my pinterest feed and categorize and chose things I love.  It is hard to explain how gratifying this can be.



I may not have that many people who religiously follow this blog, but I have 1500 people who follow me on Pinterest.  Which is kind of weird and gratifying at the same time.  At least when I feel like I don't have time to really convey my thoughts anymore, there are some people out there who look through their pinterest and by seeing some of the things I pin, are understanding a little bit about what I am thinking about at the moment.  

I'm not sure what this all means - from a psychological standpoint.  But I spend all day thinking from a psychological standpoint - so I'm not going to overanalyze it too much.  

I'm just going to keep pinning for now.  


(and I'm going to go ahead and pat myself on the back for some of my clever captions on my boards - because sometimes you might as well pat yourself on the back)


These are clothes or people I find ridiculously beautiful and believe they need to be admired the same way you might admire a work of art



I may not be able to wear some of these IRL - but in your fantasy life you can wear anything you want


I never went to prom.  this should explain all you need to  know about this board. 



sometimes you see something and just sticks with you, and later, you can call it up as  "happy place"



architecture or architectural details I think are swanky.  and bee tee dubs, don't be surprised if I try a pink door someday. don't say I didn't warn you or something. 



Oh sigh.  House Interiors are my drug of choice. 


sometimes I get a genius idea for a room color scheme 



lights are just cool, i wish i had more carefully chosen the ones in my house currently, so i like to imagine how i will change things if given the chance


art i would like to own, or see, or admire or think about or whatever




stuff related to movies or music i love 



sometimes I dream of getting away - or going back 



I like to torture myself with lists and lists of books to read when I already dont have time 




its' creepy slightly yes.  



I never tire of looking for accessories i may or may not buy



actually I have bought almost every perfume I've ever pinned because I pin it after smelling it as a reminder to myself to buy it or ask for it.  it's a good strategy 



sometimes I care about new make up ideas 


I'm not a natural red head, but I try 


things that are nostalgic, but weirdly, usually end up in my decor somehow after I pin them 



you'd be surprised how many times I wander over to this board to bouy up my spirits 


children are adorbs and so are there clothes, plus i figure someday, grandkids 



sometimes I show things on this board to my talented daughter and she actually creates them in her advanced ceramics class and brings them home 



sometimes I PRETEND that I cook



I may never have to plan another wedding but who cares.  women have been buying stupid wedding magazines since the dawn of time and we will keep on doing it as long as there are pretty flowers and dresses and general gorgeousness involved.  if we don't use it ourselves we will use it to judge someone else's wedding and why they did it all wrong. 


I don't know.  there's something so appealing about this stuff


I like parties dude. 



If I am being kind to myself I might consider some of these things as healthy options 



I dig mens fashion almost as much as womens. maybe more so sometimes. 




children's lit is the best 



I consider chairs i can't afford just for the hell of it, and just in case I find a good knock off or can offer advice to someone who can afford the chairs.


when I am an old lady I will return to stitching the heck out of stuff for the pure zen pleasure of it all 


sometimes I imagine I will buy the perfect gift for people.  then I get too busy and shop at the last minute and suck at gift giving.  but I like the ideas. 



I know people say this all the time - but generally speaking, I would be such an awesome wealthy person.  I would not buy frivolous crap or blow all my money on a really expensive car or a too big house or the wrong kinds of stuff.  


I know all the right kinds of stuff. 






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