Friday, September 14, 2007

The Only Child Syndrome

Since Labour Day weekend, work has been complete mayhem.
I work for a boss that gives me zero direction, too many responsibilities and only two assistants. The amount of work piled on me could fill the day of at least three managers. I'm starting to feel the pain. I'm starting to come to the scary conclusion that I am inviting these kinds of people into my life. Why am I like a magnet for any job that requires I give my life over to complete a work week? It's stupid and I feel stupid, too.

I'm sure there are more than a few of you out there that knows how it feels to have work piled on you because you're a hard worker and you just get things done. Therefore, most managers will treat you like a donkey while the person sitting next to you (the moron with the big degree) has fewer responsibilities with a bigger salary. Sound familiar? Welcome to the corporate world. It's going to be a bumpy ride.
I'm still trying my best to figure out why I work so hard. Why do I care so much? Why can't I be like Dick or Jane and leave the office promptly at 5pm everyday--regardless of unfinished projects sitting on my desk?
I always come back to the Only Child Sydrome. I'm an only child and always felt the need to be the best--at anything and everything. I felt that my parents only had one chance to be proud of their child. I couldn't screw things up and just wait until a younger sibling came along to make them happy. I couldn't sit back and relax because an older sibling was a Noble Prize Winner or a star athlete. Nope--all the pressure to perform was on me at all times.
I wish I new more only children--there should be a support group for us!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Where Did August Go?

It's now August 21st and I just want to know where the time went.
I've been so busy this past month, I can barely think straight--too much going on in my head.

Work is going well, for the most part. Things are quite hectic as we are opening new stores all over the place with not a lot of turnaround time.
Being in retail means I must wear ten different hats everyday--something I dislike but not enough to get out of the industry entirely. I guess I'm a masochist.

I haven't done much writing lately which makes me feel anxious and guilty. I feel like I'm neglecting my child or something. The good news is I gave some of my work to my 'uber editor' and friend, Peter to take a look at. I told him to be brutally honest and I know he will as that's why I chose him in the first place.
Actually, out of all my friends, he's the only one that can understand what it means to feel the need to write.
I think it's important to surround yourself with friends that have similar interests, even if it's only one friend--that's better than nothing. Writing has a tendency to make you feel isolated and misunderstood as a lot of time is spent alone with your thoughts.
When I lived in New York, my friend Daniel was my art gallery/museum friend, Mark was my writing friend, Marianna was my getting wasted friend, Judy and Cara were my concert-going friends, etc., etc....
In my opinion, this is the best way to live a balanced life. Oh, and coffee...can't forget the coffee--and it goes so well with friends!!!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Staying Motivated

Motivation has never been easy for me.
I'm one of those people that require instant gratification--I hate waiting for anything therefore I lack the motivation gene. If there is such a thing.
Since I've started working again (it's been four months already!) I find that I am losing my motivation to write. Truth be told, I haven't worked on my novel in about three months. It's bugging me. I can't seem to set aside the time to write. The problem is I feel so close to finishing the damn thing yet so far. When I think about all the editing it's going to need, I cringe. See what I mean? It's all about instant gratification. I want it all now. It's alarming.
It's so hard to focus on what you really love to do when all you can think about is work. My job is taking over my life again and I don't know how to stop it. I don't want to become my career again. I want to be me.
I love what I'm doing now but I have to admit that it is pretty stressfull. Not only am I managing categories and a sixty million dollar budget, I am also managing people. Yes, people. The most difficult 'things' to manage.
I guess the key to happiness really is balance. Too much work and not enough play will make you miserable. Too little work and too much play doesn't pay the bills therefore, you're miserable again.

Ok, I've gotten that all off my chest. Now, I'll go listen to Madonna. She always knows what to say.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Power Within and We Still Need Cheerleaders!

I never wanted to be a cheerleader.
Remember high school when all the girls were just crazy about the whole cheerleading thing? Well, I was not one of them. I like to think of myself as an orginal, a pioneer if you will. I hated following. I hate being told that I had to do something just because every other girl was doing it. Most of all, I would not appreciate being told "take one for the squad!".
So, I finally figured out what Girl Power really means. I finally figured out what it was that drove all those hormonal girls in high school over the edge when the topic of cheerleading came up: it has a lot to do with 'The Power Within'. Most of the men out there think it's just because girls want to show them how cute they are but I think cheerleading is more for the girls benefit than it is the boys. We just want them to think it's all about them, right girls?
Now, I'm not exactly sure what 'the power within' really is and where it comes from. All I know is, I have 'the power'--it just took a very long time to find it and I didn't need a cheerleading outfit to locate it.
I attended The Power Within Conference this past Monday and was pleasantly surprised--I actually enjoyed the speeches about Girl Power.
They had a great lineup of speakers this year:
Ariana Huffington
Mia Farrow
Kelly Armstrong (Lance's Mom)
Hilary Swank
Dr. Antonia Coello Novello (my favourite speaker)
Cassie Campbell
Terry Savage
Jessica Holmes (she was the hostess)

Check out their website and if you ever get the chance to attend, do it. It's well worth it. You come out of there feeling like you can build a house with your bare hands! Or, change your own damn flat tire!
My favouirte speaker was Dr. Novello (the former Surgeon General of the USA) because you could see and feel the power in her belly. She had the kind of presence and power most of us only dream of having. I wish I could speak as well as she does--I was quite jealous.
See, typical woman! Jealously rules over everything.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Preoccupied with Hypochondria

I knew I was a hypochondriac when I went to the emergency room one day, thinking I was going to have a stroke when all I really had was a pulled muscle/nerve. A shooting pain was running up and down the left side of my body so I automatically assumed I was going into cardiac arrest.
Every time I get any kind of ailment, I automatically go into panic mode and I start mentally writing my will. Unfortunately for my friends and family, all I'm going to leave them is a bunch of bills but that's another story.
Anyway, last week I had my first (and my last!) root canal and was put on antibiotics. I don't like antibiotics. It does a number on your body (for most people) and if you're not careful, you can become immune to them, if you take too many.
I've been on antibiotics before so I know what to expect: side effects. This time, my side effects were worse than ever before. I feel nauseous, grouchy and sleepy, among other things. So, this morning, instead of going to the emergency room, I called my dentist and he said "just stop taking them. The infection is, most likely, gone,". I'm sorry but 'most likely' isn't good enough for a hypochondriac. I have six more pills to take so do I take the rest and deal with the side effects in a mature manner or do I stop and hope 'most likely' means I'll never have to go on antibiotics again?
I'll keep you posted......isn't this engrossing?

Friday, March 23, 2007

Interviews, Interviews and MORE Interviews!

I've had three more interviews this past week but must wait it out to hear back as it appears to be holiday season for hr departments. I've been told "I'll be on vacation next week" about three times already--my patience is wearing thin. Oh, let's face it; I have no patience left!
I have a solid five years experience in my industry and I always thought that number held some importance. Here's the problem with the five year mark: I have too much experience for half of the jobs out there and not enough experience for the other half. I'm in career limbo!
During this ordeal I have learned that hr departments don't care about you after you've come in for an interview. You become another faceless application in a pile of other faceless applications. They forget your name, they forget your salary expectations and most of all, they forget your skills and abilities. They only call you if you have the job. They rarely call to tell you 'thank you but we are going with another candidate' because that means they would actually have to do their job. I hate hr. I will never forgive hr for the torment they have inflicted on me and my career these last few months......
That felt good! Venting helps.

On a happy note: I received some much-needed retail therapy yesterday via H&M. Madonna (my idol) launched her new clothing line with the company yesterday so, naturally, her biggest fan had to support. Not that Madge needs the money but I needed the retail therapy so I was happy to oblige her.
Now, all I need is a job so I can actually wear this stuff.

Monday, February 5, 2007

All or Nothing

I have had three, rather intense interviews since wednesday and I am pooped. In the last five months, I have gotten zero calls and then 'BOOM'--All or Nothing, I suppose.
My last one was just this morning and it was no different than the other two. Same old boring questions; 'can you tell me about a time when you had to handle a difficult negotiation' and 'why do you want to work for us?' and 'what are your strengths and what are your weaknesses'. Same old, same old. Human Resources should try to be, well, more resourceful, if you ask me.
As you ask the same questions over and over again, are you not going to get the same canned response? I think so. I try not to give the usual answers but sometimes, when you just want to end it all, you tell them what they want to hear.
On Friday I had a very intense and nerve-racking interview with the Vice President of merchandise for a large, well-known retailer here in Toronto. I had a migraine, I was almost late and it was freezing cold that day so needless to say, I was not in the best of spirits. He asked me where I wanted to be in the future and all I could think of was the south of France, sitting by the water, eating bread and sipping red wine. I didn't tell him this, of course but I really wanted to. I also wanted to tell him to stop bombarding me with the interogation questions and to move out of the way, I'm about to jump out of that window behind you.
Interviewing has got to be the worst thing about having a career in anything. When you have a job and you are 'playing the field' it's a bit different. When you are like me, out of work for six months, you can come off as desperate, if you're not careful. The last thing I EVER want to be is desperate. Life is way too short to feel desperation and to take a job simply for the paycheck. IMHO.
So, that's it for the interviews for awhile, I guess. I haven't applied for anything in a couple of weeks as there is not much out there.
Regarding work, I have also made the decision to commute, if necessary. The downtown Toronto market is saturated in my field of work; I can't find anything. So, these three interviews I was just blabbing on about are actually just outside of Toronto. Therefore, if I do become gainfully employed by one of these companies, it's back to commuting via a four-wheel-prison (aka:car) for me.
I used to commute a lot when I first got back from New York in 1999. I was living just west of Toronto with my parents for awhile but was working and going to school downtown. I can't tell you how bad my road rage was. There was no amount of drugs that would cure me of it. Even caffeine (my best friend) could not help me in my daily struggle. Picture this: it's 8:45am, you have to be at work by 9am. You are about five minutes away from the office in traffic so dense, you feel claustraphobic and can hear all the other cars' radios blasting the traffic report. You are sweating, you are hungry, you are ready to drive your car through the back-end of the idiot in front of you. Now, picture going through this every morning for about a year. That was me. I hope the new Sheri, the one that has lived the easy life (taking the subway) for the last six years is no longer suffering from automobile psychosis. After all, doesn't aging make you less impatient? I could be wrong.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Countdown to Oscar

I, like many of you, LOVE to watch the Oscars. For me, it's a tradition that started when I was probably seven or eight. My earliest Oscar memory was the On Golden Pond , Charriots of Fire year which was 1981, I think. I remember thinking how great it would be to go up on a big stage, with an even bigger dress and accept an award for best actress in a leading role, like Katherine Hepburn did that year. (I was rooting for Meryl Streep at the time! )
Speaking of Meryl, this woman is amazing. She's been nominated fourteen times! She has won only twice--what is wrong with the Academy? Surely, this woman deserves more than two Oscars?

We have until Feb 25th (5pt/8et) to watch all the nominated films so get busy, people. I still have to see Babel, The Last King of Scotland, The Queen (although, I really don't want to see this film), Blood Diamond and Notes on a Scandal. Then, I'll be pretty much caught up on most of the Oscar buzz.
The thing that strikes me as funny this year is the outrage over the snub Dreamgirls got for best picture. Funny, I'm not surprised. How could a film with Beyonce as a leading actress be nominated for best picture? Highly unlikely. Beyonce is about as exciting as unbuttered toast; a piece of unbuttered toast could probably portray a character better than she ever could.
Glad to see that Jennifer Hudson was nominated though. Love her! Hope she wins and I hope Beyonce stays home in bed, with a pint of Ben & Jerry's, crying her eyes out over the lack of attention she received for the film that was supposed to make her a star. hee. hee. You can't win them all, honey.

I'm not going to give any winner predictions yet because I really want to see those films I just listed first. I do have some favourites already, though. Like Little Miss Sunshine. I've seen it about five times already--I can't get enough. It's adorable, it's funny and highly entertaining.
The Departed was awesome. I told you all in my last blog how great I thought Mark Wahlberg was--I wasn't exagerating. Take a look at the nominees.....he's nominated for best supporting actor!

Here's a list of the nominees in most of the categories:

Performance by an actor in a leading role:
Leonardo DiCaprio - BLOOD DIAMOND
Ryan Gosling - HALF NELSON
Peter O'Toole - VENUS
Performance by an actor in a supporting roleAlan Arkin:
Jackie Earle Haley - LITTLE CHILDREN
Djimon Hounsou - BLOOD DIAMOND
Eddie Murphy - DREAMGIRLS
Mark Wahlberg - THE DEPARTED
Performance by an actress in a leading role:
Penélope Cruz - VOLVER
Helen Mirren - THE QUEEN
Performance by an actress in a supporting role:
Adriana Barraza - BABEL
Cate Blanchett - NOTES ON A SCANDAL
Jennifer Hudson - DREAMGIRLS
Rinko Kikuchi - BABEL
Best animated feature film of the year:
Achievement in costume design:
Best documentary feature:

Best foreign language film of the year:
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score):
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song):
"Love You I Do" - DREAMGIRLS
"Our Town" - CARS
"Patience" - DREAMGIRLS
Best motion picture of the year:
Adapted screenplay:
Original screenplay:

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Birthdays After Thirty

My birthday was on January 9th--I turned thirty-something.
Isn't it funny how you want to avoid the bday at all costs when you get into your thirties? As children, we long for the birthday. It's that one day of the year that belongs to you and you alone--unless you are a twin, of course.
My favourite birthday was my twenty-fifth. I was living in New York at the time, debating whether or not I should move back to Toronto to go to school and 'make something of myself'. I was a mess. My friends took me out dancing, got me drunk and we ended up sitting in our favourite diner at 5 am. The reason I remember this particular bday so much is because I was at a crossroads. The crossroads in your life you will always remember. I liked the feeling of the unknown facing me. It was scary and exciting at the same time--that's a difficult wave to ride but when it comes your way, ride it.

So, I have no New Year's resolutions and I don't plan on making any. I think resolutions are pointless as you always end up failing at them which makes you feel bad about yourself. If you do want to make resolutions, how about ones you can keep like 'I want to watch more TV in 2007' or 'I want to drink more wine in 2007'. Now those are attainable goals.

I finally saw The Departed last night. It was incredible. What a great movie and an amazing cast. Leo needs the Oscar this year so I hope he get's it for this movie--it would be a treat for him to win one for a Scorsese film.

Here is yet another reason one should learn a second language:

Being bilingual can delay onset of dementia
Study: Keeping parts of brain active can stave off Alzheimer's up to 4 years

Updated: 2:52 a.m. ET Jan 14, 2007
OTTAWA, Canada - People who are fully bilingual and speak both languages every day for most of their lives can delay the onset of dementia by up to four years compared with those who only know one language, Canadian scientists said Friday.
Researchers said the extra effort involved in using more than one language appeared to boost blood supply to the brain and ensure nerve connections remained healthy — two factors thought to help fight off dementia.
“We are pretty dazzled by the results,” Professor Ellen Bialystok of Toronto’s York University said in a statement.
“In the process of using ... two languages, you are engaging parts of your brain, parts of your mind that are active and need that kind of constant exercise and activity, and with that experience (it) stays more robust,” she later told CTV television.
The leading cause of dementia among the elderly is Alzheimer’s disease, which gradually destroys a person’s memory. There is no known cure.
Bialystok’s team focused on 184 elderly patients with signs of dementia who attended a Toronto memory clinic between 2002 and 2005. Of the group, 91 spoke only one language while 93 were bilingual.
“The researchers determined that the mean age of onset of dementia symptoms in the monolingual group was 71.4 years, while the bilingual group was 75.5 years,” the statement said.
“This difference remained even after considering the possible effect of cultural differences, immigration, formal education, employment and even gender as (influences) in the results,” it added.