the post where I talk about my new job (aka, the post where I am so excited about quitting BR)

If you’ve been paying attention to Facebook, or if you’ve seen me in person, or maybe even if you were a stranger passing on the street and happened to catch my eye, you probably already know that I have a new job, and I quit Banana Republic. I am very, very excited about this development in my life. So excited, in fact, that I can’t quite believe that my last day really is on Saturday. Let me emphasize: last day.

Now, what you’re probably really interested in: I am now employed as a full-time sales consultant at the Wentworth Art Gallery.

You might be asking, “what do you know about art?” Very astute question.

I know it’s pretty. And if it’s good, it will make you feel something the moment you see it. And that is honestly about it. But according to my new boss, you don’t need to know art to sell it — you just have to be a good salesperson. I’m still excited, however, about learning as much as I can about art, and even a little about interior decorating.

I also know that the art I will be selling is very expensive. Meaning that a $2,000 painting is relatively cheap for the Gallery, and that is already a very intimidating number. Many paintings are in the $10-20k range, and there are even a couple which are $100k. I’m still trying to wrap my head around that number.

But you know what? I thought that a $500/hr sales goal at BR was intimidating, and my average sales per hour was well over $700 for the hours we were open. In fact, I just found out that I sold a little over $400k in my career as a Sales Associate at BR. And that number is astounding.

And you know what else? I knew absolutely nothing about fashion when I started at BR. For the first month I worked there, my daily outfit consisted of khaki pants, a black shirt, and either a scarf or the one Banana-Appropriate piece of jewelry I owned. Now, I am considered one of the better stylists at BR; multiple guests know me by name and regularly seek out my advice. I actually know what I’m talking about when it comes to fashion. And I’ve only been at BR for just over a year.

I admit: selling art is incredibly different from selling clothing. People are used to spending money on clothing — and while I have become adept at convincing them to buy more than they originally intended, they come in on their own.

But people do not “shop” art. They pass through, they admire, and they leave. For the most part, they generally have no intention of buying (though if you meet someone looking to drop a couple thousand dollars, feel free to send them my information!). I have to figure out how to convince them — tell them — to buy art. And succeed. And while this intimidates me, it also makes me excited: I am going to succeed, no matter how difficult it might be.

So the next chapter: learning about art, and learning how to sell it. I am anxious, nervous, intimidated, curious, and — most of all — excited.

***

PS – while I am aware that I might return to BR in the future, it will be under the following conditions: (1) it will be for fun, because I like fashion and the discount, and not because I need it to have a roof over my head; (2) it will not be at Lenox, but rather at a smaller store, which would be less stressful and more personal.

PPS – and because I really am so unbelievably excited, I might throw a party after I get off BR on Saturday. Literally, a party, with alcohol and happy people and music and snacks. Anyone interested?? Because there is a celebration to be had. And I don’t know how to throw a party involving alcohol, because I’ve never had any interest in doing so before. Now, however, I totally understand the urge.

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role models

Even though I have only known Jennifer a couple years, I have always admired her. She is smart, happy, passionate, and kind — literally all of the time. I have never heard her say a negative word that I can remember. Most importantly, I’ve noticed that while she is aware of the flaws of her friends and acquaintances, she would just rather focus on the positive aspects of their personalities instead.

On the other hand, I see myself as relatively negative. I am aware of the positive characteristics of friends and acquaintances, but I am much more likely to notice — and more importantly, talk about — their flaws. If I find someone immature, ignorant, annoying, or rude, I am sure to let everyone know about those imperfections.

I had the opportunity to get to know Jennifer a little better last night, and of all things, I found out that she spent three years as a nun. This little tidbit of information rocked my world. While I am sure she already possessed a kind, positive, and accepting personality before her stint as a nun, I like to think that she has had extensive training in accepting the flaws in others. I would also like to think, more importantly, that she has practiced not pointing out those flaws endlessly to everyone from close friends to strangers.

But that does not mean I cannot change my attitude, as well. A lack of training should not serve as an excuse to focus on the negative, rather than the positive.

When I started the New Year, I (belatedly) added this goal to my list: Try to appreciate the good in others, rather than point out and get frustrated with their flaws. This goal was inspired by Jennifer’s attitude to others even before I knew of her service as a nun. However, the conversation we had last night reaffirms this goal in my mind. She is my role model for a positive attitude towards and about others, no matter if they are present or not.

I’m not saying that I will always have nice things to say about others. In fact, if someone outright frustrates or offends me, I will not stop myself from vocalizing those specific grievances. But I will NOT repeatedly tell my friends about how annoying / frustrating / offensive that same person is weeks or even months down the road for no better reason than their past actions. Past actions are just that: over and done with. Move on.

Instead, I will let my frustration out, and I will move on, and I will remember that on average, there is more good in a person than bad. Why not stay positive?

“If you think twice before speaking once, you will speak twice the better for it.” – William Penn

mid-january reminder: focus

I just wanted to give an update about my challenges for January, now that we are approximately halfway through the month.

1. No more Coca-Cola. This has been going okay — I have had exactly two cokes since the beginning of the year. The first was after Hot Jam at Fellini’s, and it was intentional — I really just wanted the sugar after a good night of dancing. The second was from a vending machine, and it was an accident — I pressed the button by habit, and didn’t have any more money to buy a water instead (and the tap water at work tastes like metal). But otherwise, I’ve been doing well.

I think the lack of Coke has done something really good for my skin — I usually suffer from a very red face, especially around the nose and cheeks. However, this past October during the first No-Coke challenge, I thought my face was clearing up again. Now it’s happening a second time, and I’m really excited — coincidence? I think not. If this turns out to be true, I will never drink Coke (on a regular basis) again.

2. Pay only in cash, and track my spending. This has been going well, except for the times I forget I only have $4 in my wallet and I have to buy lunch at work because I left the house late (like today). I’ve been pretty careful about tracking everything, and it’s been a little eye-opening. Hopefully next month, it will be easy to budget out!

3. No buying clothes. This has been incredibly hard — as soon as I made this resolution, BR rolled out an entirely new line of clothing. When I went into work, literally the whole store was different — and what wasn’t different was cheaper than when I’d left. It was like a candy store, but mom told me I couldn’t have ANY OF IT.

A couple weeks later, though, and I’m feeling really good about this decision. It’s actually taken a bit of pressure off at work — the need to buy something because “it’s SUCH a good deal,” or something along those lines.

4. 20 Mins of Reading a day, min 5 days a week. This has been going very well — I’ve already finished one book, and I’m about five pages from finishing a second (which will happen once this post has been published). Of course, I’m frequently reading more than 20 mins — this challenge is just meant to keep me from being distracted by all the shiny apps on my phone during break time.

5. Manbattical. This is hard to quantify how I’ve been doing. Have I flirted with boys? Probably — it’s hard to define the line between flirting and being friendly, sometimes. Have I kissed or gone on dates with any boys? No — I’ve been good there. But have I been asked or prompted for either of those things in the first place? Also a no. I am not actively pursuing any of the boys I was interested in before the new year, but it’s not like they are actively pursuing me and I am using my will-power to resist them.

I think, for the manbattical, I need to actively resist catty remarks about boys, as well. I think it will help me define and maintain my own personal boundaries.

As a side note, it is really hard not to at least daydream about boys. And while that’s not technically in the terms of the manbattical, I sometimes feel like I’m cheating the system a little bit…

***

My focus for the rest of January:

  1. Do not obey old habits to press the Coke button on the vending machine.
  2. Bring more cash with me.
  3. Resist catty remarks about boys, and focus on not flirting by habit / accident.

I won’t lie. I feel a little like the cat. Except, maybe there are too many targets to focus on?

the manbattical: gaining some clarity

This January, I began a manbattical as one of the challenges for the 365 Days to Awesome Series. As follows, a list of the most common questions I receive in response to this decision:

  1. What is a manbattical?
  2. Are you going to become a lesbian?
  3. Why would you do that to yourself?

Well, let me answer some of these questions for you.

  1. From Urban Dictionary: manbattical (n): an extended period of time where a straight woman or a gay man purposely refrains from dating and/or having sex with men; literally, a man sabbatical.
  2. No. I like boys. Why is this always the second question people ask?
  3. That’s a much longer explanation, and what I will now attempt to address.

Here’s the deal: I don’t know what I want when it comes to dating. I have a tendency to enter casual relationships just because a guy is attractive, available, and mildly interested.

I have found that these to be low standards.

I am not saying that I regret any of the relationships in my past – in fact, I believe that all relationships help us grow, and teach us something about ourselves. Additionally, I have had a couple very serious relationships which are still very important to me. However, I do believe I could be more judicious when starting relationships; in the same vein, I feel I could be more astute in judging when a relationship has run its course.

Thus, we see the meaning behind this manbattical: by distancing myself from men, I hope to gain some clarity in my life and determine what I need and want in any given (albeit unique) relationship.

Assuming that every relationship is inherently different, I hope to understand my needs entering individual relationships; similarly, I hope to understand when a relationship has run its course so that I might end relationships which are no longer emotionally or physically satisfying to some extent. Finally, and almost most importantly, I hope to avoid starting relationships casually; instead, I would rather begin a relationship with more purpose – not just because a boy is available and vaguely attractive, but because a boy provides friendship and makes me happy.

For any who are curious, I hope this helps explain my motives a little. I appreciate all questions, comments, rude remarks, and advice. I hope that towards the end of April I will have a follow-up post helping to identify what qualities I have determined to be essential to any productive relationship, if such qualities can be quantified.

For now, I will just wallow in my lack of flirting. Trust me. It’s a challenge.

lack of foresight

Concerning two goals which started this month and go for an extended period of time: #1, no more Coca-Cola, and #6, manbatical (aka, no more boys):

I probably should have staggered the goal of giving up my two favorite things, instead of attempting to give up both at the same time. The urge to drink a coke and flirt endlessly with all the cute boys is challenging, at best, to overcome.

January Goals

In the 365 Days to Awesome, I’m going to attempt to set and evaluate monthly, quarterly, and bi-annual goals. Or however often I feel, really. Some goals are personal challenges, and some will be meant to help meet my year’s goals. Here, I’ll list all the goals I am setting for myself this month, the time limit on those goals, and any stipulations / exceptions / methods for completion I’ve thought of so far.

1. No more Coca-Cola. Projected End Date: June 2012. I did a thirty day challenge last fall which I found to be challenging, rewarding, and healthy. So starting today, no more Coca-Cola. This promises to be particularly challenging at dance events, but that’s why I have tea, right?

2. Pay only by cash, and track all my spending. Projected End Date: Jan 2013 (assuming the world doesn’t end in December). I plan to use this information to create a budget for February, so that I might start using an envelope system for my expenses. I really want to get better at managing my money.

3. No buying Clothes. Projected End Date: June 2012. Speaking of managing my money, I will not be buying any clothing until July. This does not mean I cannot acquire new clothing, of course — clothes swaps are always viable options. And if necessary, I can always donate some of my clothes to Plato’s closet for a credit and obtain new clothing that way.

4. 20 Mins of Reading a Day, Minimum five days a week. Projected End Date: Jan 2013. This is an attempt to help decrease the amount of time I spend browsing the internet for no apparent reason, rather than reading or socializing or being generally productive (see? New Year’s Goal assistance!).

5. Manbattical. Projected End Date: April 2012. I have recently decided to 1) focus on myself, and 2) reevaluate what I want out of relationships. Part of this is so that I can really focus on finding a job I like and / or going to graduate school for a career I intend to pursue. The other part of this means eliminating useless relations with people I have no intent to pursue for a relationship. That doesn’t mean I’m looking for my “one true love.” It just means I want to be more decisive about who gets my attention and why. To achieve both goals, I am going to ignore boys for a little bit, no matter how hard it is (get it?).

***

There will be more specific goals as I get in the groove of things, including various one-time goals, week-long goals, and definable accomplishment goals. For now, I just wanted to get some of the big ones under way.

Right now I’m making a spreadsheet for expenses, as well as one to track the goals month by month (success, failure, specific moments…).

Most importantly, I am open to suggestions for goals and challenges; I am especially looking for qualities or habits which you like about yourself or which you would like to have. I want things that make a person more well-rounded, more interesting, or more competent. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

I am so excited about starting this project. I’ve honestly been thinking it up for at least a month now. Whoo, beginnings!!

365 Days to Awesome: a Series

Once upon a time, I started and completed a personal challenge almost every single week. Or at least, that was my goal, and I was relatively good at it. But with moving twice last year, having two jobs, and generally being too busy to do anything, Seven Day Challenges fell to the wayside.

As such, I will be re-vamping my challenge format and goals. Each month, I plan on re-evaluating my challenges, creating new ones, and generally moving towards the goal of being More Awesome.

What is “More Awesome,” you ask?

More Awesome is that person you’ve always wanted to be. For me, it’s the person who has purpose and works towards their dream job every day. The person who is fashion-savvy, good at small talk, and fun to hang out with.The person who is so on top of their finances that they can save money, travel, and dance all the time. The person who does yoga, dances, runs, and eats healthy. The person who reads more books than should be possible considering his or her schedule. The person who knows all the classic dance routines (from the Big Apple to Thriller) and has a fantastic style of movement.

Is this starting to make sense? As redundant as it sounds, I want to be the person I’ve always wanted to be. I might even want to be the person who makes others say, “Man. That girl is awesome. Did you know that she ____?”

While this series does sound a little egotistical in theory, it’s really just a self-improvement challenge. One that I am especially excited about. Look forward to some year long challenges, as well as some challenges for the month of January, very soon.