Posts tagged future

try to keep up…

Since I’m all over the map these days, I figured I’d just run through the schedule here so people who care can keep track:

March 28-31: Nice, France: The new code word for reminding me I’m about to embark on a really bad idea.
April 3-6: Valencia, Spain: World Superbike with Britt
April 8-11: Bilbao, Spain: Guggenheim, crazy Easter parades, Spa with circus people
April 20-29: Paris, France: Shop till ya drop with friends
April 30-May 4: Jerez de la Frontera, Spain: MotoGP!!!
May 7-12: Chapel Hill, NC, USA: Graduation!!!
May 13-20: NYC: beg for work, hang out, etc.
May 22-24: Atlanta: track day, hang out, enjoy springtime in the south
May 25-29: Express road trip to San Francisco via Marfa, TX with Yaron, if he can stand it again.
May 30: San Mateo, CA: Maker Faire with Dave and his critters
May 31-June 4: Monterey, CA: Sustainable Brands International Conference: beg shamelessly for work, make lots of new friends.
June 5-…depends on the efficacy of my begging efforts. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Future Tripping

I poached this nugget of inspiration from http://brandautopsy.typepad.com/brandautopsy/ writing about this book- “THE KNACK,” by Norm Brodsky.

“Business is just a means to an end. The question is, what’s the end? Where do you want to go in your life? Where do you want to be in five years from a family standpoint? What do you want to earn? How much time do you want to take off?”

Now I generally try to avoid making decisions out of fear, opting instead for the more hopeful option. But this economy situation is kinda hard to be hopeful about. While tailoring my job search as best I can, and brewing up a new venture that could be a recession darling, I am still in a complete panic that this ridiculously expensive degree is all for naught. I could walk right back into my old life, make just as much money as I did before, which could be more than I’ll make in a new job, but then I’d have to slit my wrists. I’d rather move into my parent’s basement and start my own company than waste this degree.

Last week, Brezny told me (and other Aries too I suppose, but you know, we’re inherently self-obsessed) to "As you seek to take your game to a higher level, unveil your personal version of the corkscrew illusion twist rodeo spin." ie, to perform the seemingly impossible. So I am looking for a job where I can make more money, save the world, and be challenged and inspired daily. ๐Ÿ™‚ No time like the present, right? The following week he told me to have mind-blowing sex, and well. My mom reads this so let’s just say I’ve been dating the nicest Senegalese boy (10 years my junior) the past month. He’s so gorgeous and so sweet. I recently found out he’s Muslim, too, like the other 95% of Senegalese. So I teased him about not praying 5 times a day, and he showed off his Arabic (one of the 10 languages he knows) writing skills. The cool thing about Muslim boys is they don’t drink. Love that. For some reason he doesn’t understand me when I speak French, so he’s forcing me to improve my Spanish, but I’m starting to teach him English.

So in contemplating what business to start with what little savings I’ll have left upon graduation, I have an idea that should be fine, but want to do something even more socially redeeming. We’ll see. When I told Baxi how much I spent on tuition he was pretty stunned. He’d have spent the money buying up beachfront property back home and renting it to rich tourists. Not a bad idea… I hope to visit Senegal while I’m here, but I am starting to clamp down on the spending, not knowing how long after school I’ll need to live off my savings. ๐Ÿ™ Although that money could last a lot longer in Africa, and there are plenty of opportunities for MBA’s to help entrepreneurs there.

So what is the End? For me, where I want to go NEXT is back to LA. Europe is great, but LA is my home, and the older I get, the less interested I am in moving around. In 5, 10, 20, 50 years I want to be settled into my fab house in the Silver Lake hills, married to someone wonderful, with a dog and a cat and a few motorcycles in the garage, and plenty of time to sleep late and play with all of the above. And travel to exotic, interesting places and support their local economies…

I can visualize my ideal home and lifestyle so easily, but when I try to visualize my ideal job or company, I get nothing. It’s like a giant blank void. Does this mean I’m going to just have a pile of money land in my lap? Or does it mean I’m too disconnected from reality? Or just that I am changing careers so I can’t possibly know what it’s like from the inside of my next career? Going to London reminded me what my goals were 20 years ago, and that I haven’t quite reached them. Kinda jolted me into taking stock and being more careful with my money. But I also feel like it’s so late, there was a certain sense of "what the hell have you been doing all this time?" as I walked the streets of the city where I could easily blow through millions of dollars in days and have so very much to show for it. What I’ve been doing is finding ways to align my values more closely with my actual earning capacity. Sure, I could’ve chosen a more lucrative path, but I valued my free time more than a closet full of the latest designer clothes.

This is "Ghost" by Kader Attia at the Saatchi Gallery in London. Stunning.

reasons to get up in the morning

Well, back in North Carolina, I thought my sleeping habit was primarily caused by my ridiculously comfortable Tempurpedic bed. That was a part of it, but here I am sleeping on (what feels like) bare springs, and still unwilling to get out of bed in the AM, even after a good night’s sleep. That will change tonight, as my memory foam topper has arrived and I am going to pick it up today! Here, I’m also eating sugar again (it’s damn near impossible to avoid), so that contributes to the problem. You would think I’d spring from the bed, eager for another day of relentless exploration of this great city. But I don’t. This morning I dragged my computer into bed, hoping Telsey (the only unlocked wifi in the area) would come through again. But she didn’t. So I cleaned out my inbox, something that sorely needed to get done. In doing so, I came across a form letter from BCG, a consulting firm I’d applied to for an internship. It was "personally" inviting me to attend their on-campus recruiting events. I recall ignoring it because it was a form letter, and figured I didn’t need to go since I wasn’t thinking about consulting anymore anyway. At least not that kind of consulting. 

But it got me in kind of a funk, on top of the extremely vivid dream I had of meeting Greg Mortenson and telling him he’d given me the courage to go ahead and start my own company. So I had this dream I was in this Italian specialty deli here in Barcelona, and trying to pick out some food, and it was a problem. It was crowded, they didn’t have exactly what I wanted, and I didn’t want to wait in any lines. Nothing unusual there. What was unusual was that Greg’s assistant was with me, and complaining about how Greg was outside chewing gum again, and she kept trying to get him to chew tobacco instead (don’t forget, I live in one of the smokin’est cities in the world. it’s disgusting). So I went outside to say hi, and told him how I’d been reading "Three Cups of Tea" and it has inspired me so much, getting me out of the fear of starting my own business. Which wasn’t something I’d been aware of before this dream, but I guess it has. In conjunction with other factors…

See, the thing is, I have this crippling fear of rejection. I have avoided dropping resumes on a number of jobs because I applied to their internship programs and was rejected, so I really don’t see why I should go back for more. Hence, my having ignored BCG’s bit of promotional material. So I had this great summer internship, and a few more sememsters of top-notch education. But I’m still me, so I don’t see how the experiences of the past year will change someone’s mind about me. I haven’t even been dropping resumes with new jobs I’m thinking about, because I simply abhor putting myself on the auction block only to be shot down. This isn’t some product, project or business I’m trying to sell to people, it’s me. So it’s personal.

In any case, I wrote up this job description for myself in response to the numerous job postings that interested me, but seemed to be looking for someone specifically not like me. It was so disheartening. And because someone I admire mentioned that her current employer asked her to write her own job description, and because I don’t have a pat answer when my career counselor asks me "what is your dream job?"

My dream job is this, as far as I know:

Recent graduate of one of the top MBA programs in both sustainability and entrepreneurship with 14 years of experience in apparel product development seeks ideal position. Job should be based in downtown Los Angeles, with 10-30% travel to interesting, exotic locales. Company should be exciting, glamorous, dynamic, and interested in becoming more environmentally and socially responsible, and willing to actually change. Coworkers are a scintillating bunch of hardworking smarty pants who don’t take themselves too seriously and love what they do.

Duties include: researching and analyzing fascinating industries, market data, and customer insights, networking, brainstorming & working with an awesome team, preparing and conducting presentations, developing new products, teaching people who are willing to learn, asking the hard questions, providing an alternative POV, working on multiple projects/tasks throughout the day, and having fun with coworkers while doing all this.

Where I am:

oh, for the greater good…when all I really want is my bed.

ARIES (March 21-April 19): "During his time in the Senate, former U.S. presidential candidate John McCain has been a strong advocate for Native Americans. As chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee, he sponsored or co-sponsored seven bills in support of Indian rights. And yet Native Americans voted overwhelmingly for McCain’s opponent, Barack Obama, who has no such track record. When asked why, Native American author Sherman Alexie said that unlike most other groups, Indians don’t vote merely for their own narrow self-interest, but rather for the benefit of all. They felt Obama would be the best president for America. That’s the standard I urge you to use in the coming weeks, Aries. Stretch yourself as you work hard for the greater good, not just your own."

Highly appropriate, Mr. Brezny, considering what’s been on my mind this week. It’s hard to maintain my values here, while adjusting to a new city with different values. For example, to me, recycling is just the baseline. In Barcelona, it’s a weird thing that few people do. I am going to have to approach my roommate and tell her I want to take the recyclables to one of the street recycling depots. There are some big recycling bins around town, but apparently no recycling with apartment trash. There’s recycling at school, which is nice. And bottled water. People here swear the tap water is poison, but I’ve been drinking it and feeling fine. There’s even some old fashioned taps in parks to refill my bottle at. I paid 60 euros for a Brita faucet filter, and am waiting until my roommate seems to trust me a little more (I think she thinks I’m strange, but then, I am) before I spring this frightening concept on her. How do I convince someone in Spanish that filtered tap water is cleaner than bottled water?

I want to be cool, fit in, but I also want to be me. I don’t feel like myself right now, I feel like a total noob. Which is normal, especially considering I’ve spent the past 18 months in the backwoods of North Carolina. OK, so people from the real backwoods of NC might argue that Durham is actually a rather cosmopolitan city, but you know. Compared to Barcelona, it’s hicksville. So I’m glad I’m here, but I’m back to the feeling I had while living in Paris of being an outsider. No matter how fluent I become, I simply can’t express myself fully in a 2nd language. It never feels "real." Which is why I came out of my shell while living in Paris. I had always been afraid to speak my mind (no, really, I swear) and doing so in a foreign language, even if it was just cursing out a shitty waiter, really helped prepare me for New York City.

Tonight was an exercise in frustration around this whole nonsense of being in a "foreign" country. If the world is so small, why does it cost so damn much to make a call to the US on a cell phone? It’s not like we’re using undersea cables anymore. WTF? I have been trying to find a memory foam matress topper because I am a princess who has a swank CA King tempurpedic sitting in a warehouse in Durham. I can sleep on nothing else. Yet a 2" sliver of foam (ok, special foam, the cheap foam is cheap) costs at least 300 euros. It’s $70 at Target. argh. If I at least had a bike… but I’m waiting until it gets a smidge warmer, because well, it’s a good idea to get settled first and because it’s cold as f%&k. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have snow-capped mountains. like, hollerin’ distance away.

oh boohoo

pobre mio. I just realized I’d been looking at the 2008 GP calendar, and that I’ll only be able to make one GP while in Europe. Quel triste. At least Laguna’s on 4th of July weekend so I know I won’t miss that!

On the bright side, Valentino Jr. is adjusting well to his new (temporary?) home with his grandma and grandpa, so I will not have to worry about him while I’m in Spain. He is chilling on my bed right now, even though he has a disturbing preference for relaxing under the bed (a tight spot for a cat of his size) all day. At least he acts like a normal cat at night.

My parents just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, and the party will continue in La Jolla this weekend, when the whole family schleps down there to help them celebrate the actual day. I’ve been in more of my parent’s weddings than I have of my own (2 or 3 to 0). They’ve renewed their vows a few times, and this time we had quite a large cast, what with my brothers, their wives, Dave’s 3 kids, my mom’s sister, my dad’s niece, and my cousin. My cousin Diane and I, being the single ones, marched down the aisle arm in arm just like the married couples. That was fun because not all of my parent’s friends know Diane so we were fake lesbians for a moment in a traditional Episcopalian church.

Christmas was nice this year, we had a lovely adult brunch at Gary & Colleen’s, the highlight of which for me was tormenting their adorable dog Roxy. Roxy has a thing for light, she’ll chase any sort of light there is, and a laser pointer drives her into a complete frenzy. Colleen made me stop before I gave the poor thing a heart attack, as dogs aren’t exactly prone to indulging in fun in moderation. But it was so fun watching her chase that thing all over the house. I want a dog so bad.

movin’ along

Well. my lil’ ol’ life just doesn’t seem that interesting after all the excitement and drama of that historic election. plus I’ve been posting elsewhere. I am a regular at http://kenanflagler.wordpress.com/ and have really gotten into sharing interesting articles with all my friends on facebook, along with my pithy comments about the articles. So I have less time for this free-form forum.

I’m getting ready for the big move, found a great moving & storage company- http://www.trosainc.org/businesses/moving/index.htm I was trying to find a super-secure storage place, as the one near my home looks like it may be home to the gypsies who beg for spare change at the corner. Trosa is an awesome organization that helps addicts and alcoholics recover, and gives them jobs. So instead of their insurance company paying for their rehab, they pay it off in trade. They have a reputation for being the best, most professional people to work with.

Continue reading movin’ along

My future

Nice! It seems I’m prepared for the zeitgeist. According to this article: http://www.fastcompany.com/resources/design/dziersk/connecting-the-dots-112807.html?partner=rss

and the book I’m reading “A Whole New Mind,” the future needs people like me. People who have been happily nurturing their creative “side” all along. People with design educations and experience, and good business sense, and for maximum (shareholder) value, people with a damn good business edumacation. Yep, that’s me. So how many of these g-d resumes and cover letters do I have to send out before the universe places me in the position where I can be of maximum service? Bleh. It’s been so long since I had to hustle for work, I’ve become spoiled. I’m so used to people recruiting me, and being able to pick who I want to work with, this aspect of changing careers is brutally painful. I suspect it’d be so much easier to just start my own company, but I await inspiration. Still no word from my dream job, and I submitted (even the jargon is so wrong) to them over a month ago. Now I have to tap friends of friends on Linked in, 97 of which have worked for this company, and see if I can get some answers.

OK, the Drama continues….

Woohoo!!!! I am so happy to still be in the running for UNC!!! C’mon North Carolina! Not only am I excited about the opportunity to go to such a prestigious school, but the real estate there is practically free. I could actually MAKE money by paying cash for a $100k 3 bedroom townhouse and bringing in a couple roommates. Ideally fellow MBA students who won’t mind helping me figure out my math homework in exchange for which I’d help them with their writing assignments. And still have a lot leftover to start up a company or put as a down pymt on a place somewhere else.

Dear Susanna:

The MBA Admissions Committee at The University of North Carolinaโ€™s Kenan-Flagler Business School has placed you on the waiting list for the class entering August 2007. There were many highly qualified applicants in the pool, and we were unable to admit immediately many excellent candidates.

Your candidacy is important to us, and we would like to consider your application again in the next admission round. Decisions for that round will be issued on March 12, 2007.

You may elect to stay on the waiting list for further consideration, or you may withdraw your candidacy. Please let us know your preference by sending an email to Sharon…

We cannot predict the number of waitlisted applicants that will be admitted, but we expect to admit a significant number. Last year, eleven percent of the admitted applicants had been previously waitlisted. For more information about the waiting list, please read the enclosed Frequently Asked Questions About the Waiting List.

We appreciate your interest in UNC Kenan-Flagler and look forward to your response.

aaaaarrrrrrrggggggghhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I HATE waiting!!!! The suspense is killing me!!!!! The “notification deadline” mentioned below is 1/29/2007. 14 days from now. I want to know nowwwwww. I was patient enough for the first two months, but since January began it has been increasingly difficult. Luckily they spell it out in no uncertain terms. “…we ask that you please refrain from contacting us to request an interview.” So I know not to call them up and say “Hey, I think my e-mail’s acting weird, can you send that invitation again? Like on paper?” hehe.

“If you are selected for an interview, you will be notified via email anywhere from 4 weeks after submitting your application up to the notification deadline. We will not begin to interview Round 1 applicants until January.”

Meanwhile, I’ve started a new math class, just for kicks. It’s an MBA math prep course and I’m in love with the teacher. He’s a retired business magnate with a Doctorate in Business Admin, and a very sunny disposition. He says that if you think math is hard, it’s just that you didn’t have a good teacher. I always wondered if that was the reason I only understood Algebra with that teacher I had while hospitalized in high school. I though maybe it was some weird brain chemistry shift, considering all the changes I was going through in there. But no, it must have been the teacher.

Let’s just hope that Mr. Hong can break through that wall of resistance I keep banging my head on every time I look at quadratic equations. Because if I have to be hospitalized in order to understand this stuff, perhaps I’m meant to be doing something else. Like selling the condo, loading up the 4Runner and roaming Africa….

…with my laptop, my malaria pills and my fucking hand sanitizer….to quote Leonardo di Caprio in “Blood Diamond” He was insulting a writer, accusing her of being “one of those UNICEF people, trying to save the world” and damn if he didn’t nail it. In Tanzania, my cohorts and I all had our malaria pills, hand sanitizer, (toilet paper) and some of us even brought our laptops.

In other news, I’m beyond obsessed with Dr. Who. Like to the point where people might worry about me. I’ve seen “The Girl in the Fireplace” episode 3 times now. 2 were within 24 hours apart. I want to make a movie of what happens when Madame de Pompadour joins him to travel the universe, building and decorating her way through a million galaxies, while they live madly, passionately in love…

The Alchemist…

This book was suggested to me by a few people. Already having a 3 foot pile of books I intend to read, I bought the audio version. Unabridged, but still much less work than reading. I prefer reading, but really don’t have the time. So it’s nice to be able to tear through an entire book while hunched over the grindstone, working away.

Great book, by the way. Inspirational story about a boy who follows his heart, doing exactly what he wants and chasing a dream. Fabulously funny ending. Got me thinking, as my stomach clenched into knots while doing the same job I tired of years ago…

What did I dream of as a child, before I started listening to people who said “You can’t do that!”?

Well, two major dreams have always stayed with me:

1) To fall in True Love, just like in all the fairy tales (including The Alchemist), with someone who feels the same.

2) To travel the Universe, meeting citizens of many exotic planets.

Most days, #2 seems a far easier task than #1. Traveling the Earth is certainly an acceptable substitute for interstellar travel, until the opportunity presents itself. Lord knows Tanzania certainly felt like a completely different planet! I’m not interested in blowing my wad on some cheesy trip to the moon with Richard Branson, no. As much as we’ve done with technology here in the past century, I don’t see humans propelling themselves beyond the solar system in my lifetime. No, instead I’ll steal from one of my all-time favorite authors, Douglas Adams. But instead of sticking out an electronic thumb, as did Ford Prefect, I’ll just send the call out on the ethernet here. No, I’m not crazy, just open-minded. So hey, if you’re from another planet, and you happen to be reading this, hit me up. I’m curious. Show me your spaceship, Zaphod! I recently discovered the new Dr Who, on BBC, and damn, it’s cool. I want to be Rose. But more stylin’. And with fewer trips to Earth. But then, I guess it’s cheaper for them to just shoot on Earth and in studios done up like spaceships than to create all kinds of realistic alterna-planet sets.

It’s not like any of this has to happen tomorrow, I’m even over the idea that I need to fall in love by a certain age, but you know, it’s gotta happen someday. What was neat about The Alchemist is that the closer he got to his goal, the more impossible it was to stop the quest. For quite some time now I have been convinced that I am put where I need to be when I need to be there, and it’s been good. But now that I’m waiting to hear from Berkeley and UNC and it’s getting down to the nail-biting wire, I am considering my other options. A wonderful one just blossomed, and it’s nice to know that there’s a small window of opportunity for me to do something I desperately want to do. It’s not #1 or #2, but would certainly involve travel to Africa and well, you all know how I feel about African men…