I came to Washington, DC in 2005 to work for Nautica as their district merchandiser. My daughter was 11 months old at the time and when I got the call for the job after interviewing three months prior, I had a week to move from Charlotte, NC to the DC area. I was in between jobs so at the time I was ecstatic to finally hear from them, it was Nautica! I grew up wearing the brand and now I would be a rep, making my own schedule and working out of my home. As a single mother this was a dream job so, I got my things and towed my red Montego Sport to the back of a U-Haul and drove from Charlotte to a small suburb right outside of Baltimore and have been in the area ever since.
My entire single mom story, sans 11 months, has happened in this area. That’s a story for another time but it’s still a part of every story if you know what I mean. I chose jobs, made moves, life choices, based on the fact that I was a single mom. And what I can say is that living in this area provided me the life I wanted to for my child, thanks to the jobs I was able to secure.
I stayed with Nautica more than 2 years before I was recruited by Urban Outfitters. By that time I’d put over 70,000 miles on my new Camry and was tired of getting stuck in traffic trying to get back home in time to get my daughter from daycare. I’d soon find out that no matter where I lived or what I did, this area is completely unforgiving in the traffic department so build being late into part of all plans, lol.
I stayed with UO for another 2 or so years, and then I up and decided to join the rat race that weaves the fabric of DC, the Government. Why? Because I was a single mom, and I wanted more money. Simple. So I started at Trinity University to get my Master’s Degree in Federal Program Management by night while working for a federal contractor by day. I finished the program in 2 years, with a child who wasn’t quite 5 years old yet. Obama was in office. I stayed at the contracting company for 5 more years…and then boom. After years of applying, trying, and praying I got hired as a direct employee.
I started from the bottom now I’m here in an office. The funny thing is after all of that climbing, trying, fighting, and 5-hour energy’s, it’s kind of boring. So here are some things I do to stay motivated while working a “normal” job:
- Multi-Task. Find interesting new projects to work on, but don’t limit yourself to just one. I for one have a hard time concentrating on just one job at a time for long periods of time. I’d rather a lot of projects moving simultaneously versus spinning all my wheels on one thing. Keep it interesting by working on a variety of things at once.
- Take a lunch. This sounds simple but it’s necessary. As lazy as you get sitting in one spot all day it does a body and mind good to get up and move around or go sit in your friend’s office for a few minutes. And eat! It helps keep your mind energized which helps you to finish your tasks which help the day go by quicker. See how that works? 🙂
- Get a work boo (or two). Y’all know “work wife” and “work husband” are trending so stop it. Get a work boo, someone you learn to trust of course. Not to get too intimate with, just someone who you can bounce ideas off of and have a human connection with. Keep rating officials off limit for this one though!
- Dress up. Yup, get dressed. Stop going to work looking any kind of way. This will help keep you sharp, while looking sharp, and people will take you as a sharp person. You’d be surprised how many people think you’re so much smarter because of how well you’re put together. Don’t ditch the suit after the interview. Keep the blazer and rock out and let people know how smart you are, even if it’s only an assumption. Lol.
- Don’t overwork. Leave it for tomorrow and go home! You don’t have a home? Well get the hell out of there any way and find something else to do. Work will always be there tomorrow, or Monday. Take your TGIF’s and enjoy yourself. No one will ever put on your headstone “She was a hard worker and stayed after work to get the job done.” That won’t come to not one person’s mind, m’kay?
I had to learn all of these things once transitioning out of my unconventional positions to a 9-5. I went from wearing jeans in a stockroom to having to sit at a desk and that can be a long hard sit if you never get your butt up during the day. Oh! I just thought of a number 6. Find things you like to do outside of work and do them. Get a hobby! Or second career. That’s how this blog was born. ♥
I’m still in traffic and still picking up little ones from daycare but it’s all good. DC has been pretty good to me but of course NY will always be my first home!
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Photo Cred: Pablo Raya
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