Posts Tagged ‘work’

Why I no longer want to be an entrepreneur

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , ,

Every now and then, it seems like the world is beating me up. These are the best times for growth, but boy are they challenging. I’d been feeling rather downtrodden for the past week or two – a combination of illness and challenges with work were making me feel less than adequate. I was weak, always exhausted, and not nearly as productive as I wanted to be (and thought I could be). A looming sense of failure followed me around and made me question myself. It reminded me a lot of why I decided that being an entrepreneur might not be for me after all.

Back in early 2012, I had reached a point professionally and personally that gave me the courage to quit my job and start my own ventures. A year later, I had learned a lot and decided that the lifestyle wasn’t what I was looking for. I found that I couldn’t shut off from work and the stress of it followed me at all times of the day. I like more balance in my life, but it was hard to justify not taking care of work whenever it came up. I’d feel guilty if I didn’t handle things right away. It began to take over my life, even as I was seeking more control over it.

Today I came across an article on that rang so true to me. It’s about the psychological price of entrepreneurship and talks about how taxing it is to manage your own business. When you pour your heart and soul into working on something, it can really drain you. If it doesn’t work out the way you had hoped, it’s easy to take that as a personal failure. That certainly does a number on your confidence. When you decide to pursue entrepreneurship, you better be ready for a crazy rollercoaster. And for me, it’s just not worth the stress. I don’t crave the recognition or attention at that scale, nor do I want to pursue that sort of money. So why would I put my health, my relationships, and my mental state at jeopardy to chase after that dream?

two kittens cuddling and sleeping together

If I could, I’d play with cats all day. So cute!!

And going back to my recent low, the article explained that some people experience strong emotions on both ends of the spectrum. You get really excited about things, but you also get really depressed about others. I may not be as bad as some people who are extreme to the point of manic, but I do think I feel emotions more strongly than many. It’s a double-edged sword, where I find myself easily joyful, but at the same time I can fall to deep sadness quickly. It may prevent me from taking greater risks for immense rewards, but those “rewards” are something I didn’t want anyway. Instead of money or power, I want to enjoy my life with Panda. I want time to hang out with him, to go to yoga classes, to have peaceful moments with my cats, to cook together, to enjoy trips… so really something more stable is suitable for my goals.

Once I’m done with my 365great series, I’ll start up a weekly series related to that, sharing ideas and tips for how to enjoy life more and stress less. Our culture is so caught up in accomplishments that we often forget the value of the richer experiences in life that may not produce an award or a higher paycheck or other recognition.

Furniture building

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses,Tags: , , , ,

Today started off well, with little traffic on the roads! Since DC has so many workers who observe federal holidays, most people were off to MLK Day. When I got to work, it was a more troublesome story, with spotty internet and phone for the first hour. By the time I finally got service back, I began to discover that any phone calls made would be in vain since everyone I was trying to contact takes federal holidays. Sooo I got to work on our new Salesforce migration, making sure any data that didn’t make it over was in the system.

At noon, we met for a company all-hands so the CEO could tell us about our move to the new office space! I’d been hearing about it ever since I started and finally it’s almost here. In fact, one week from today we officially start on that side. How exciting! At 4, a bunch of us volunteered to go over to the new space to build furniture. Between desks, chairs, side tables, and stools, we had our hands full for the next 7 hours. I just finished up at 11 and I’m feeling good about helping out with our new furniture. I was too busy building for many pictures, but here’s what I got:

large room with tons of white desks

The new place is sooo much bigger! We won’t even take up a quarter of it.

view of reston town center ice rink and sunset in distance from nearby building

Spectacular views are to be found on all sides, like this one of the ice rink.

two mesh ikea lawn style chairs freshly built with cardboard boxes in background

The very first chairs I worked on happened to be quite challenging.

three motorized desks newly built with adjustable heights

After building four types of chairs, I spent the rest of the evening making these handy motorized desks. I think I need one for my home!!

A week of yo-yoing

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , ,

I’ve been ill for a week, but not entirely. I’ve had so many ups and downs that I can’t figure out what’s for real anymore and when I might get better. Take today, for example. I started off the day strong, almost feeling better. The morning was filled with meetings out in DC and when I got back to the office, I was doing ok. But then in the afternoon I started to crash, hard. I couldn’t think straight. I could hardly keep track of what I was doing. I had very little energy for anything requiring effort. By 5 I had just about given up on getting anything else done.

This week has felt like a month and it’s been rather stressful. My mind is so foggy I don’t trust myself to make sense. Sometimes my eyes hurt so bad I can’t see properly (especially alarming when I’m driving home). Sometimes my head hurts enough to halt all thoughts (or at least jumble them up). I can’t even focus enough to write a blog post the way I want. In fact, I’m pretty useless in anything but consuming content. I’ll stop producing awful content now and try to regain my sanity.


laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , ,

sleeping on side with face half covered by blanket

Being ill makes me want to hide in the covers.

I woke up sick today. Got to work just fine, but then was absolutely knackered. My throat is super dry. I have to clear it a lot. Breathing is slightly painful at times (better if I breathe a certain way through my nose, but it’s tiring). This might be TMI, but I was dry heaving a lot (don’t worry, my gag reflex system works such that I never throw up – only once in my adult life due to food poisoning). I drank lots of tea and mixed in some honey. I think it helped. I also had an Advil, which eased things in the afternoon. Wasn’t focusing well, and felt awful about it. The minutes dragged by like hours. What do you mean it’s only been 10 minutes? I feel like that was an hour ago. I rescheduled a meeting with the CEO to make some calls together. Was he disappointed? I couldn’t tell, but I was at myself for him. Alas, between being sapped of energy and dealing with physical pains of a sore throat and headache… I wasn’t up for the task. I feel guilty, but it is a fleeting thought. There are other pains to try to ignore now. I did manage to make it out to lunch with my work bestie. Thankfully, she drove. The restaurant was very toasty inside – perfect. I got a spicy sub sandwich (maybe not the best idea for my throat?). I made a pathetic attempt at work for the rest of the afternoon. I’m sad at how ineffective I think I was, but I did manage to get a few projects underway.

I had to leave earlier than usual (at 5ish) for my yoga class. By then I was feeling not too bad. The slight fever had subsided. I fell asleep during meditation as usual, then went through the yoga class not pushing too hard but taking challenging poses as I could. Somehow I was sore, which might have been yoga yesterday… I didn’t realize how not moving for three weeks had made my muscles weak. During class I felt ok, but now I’m not doing as well. Perhaps the Advil wore off? Perhaps I should keep active? I’ve been keeping warm in bed, which feels great so long as I don’t move. When I get out, my aching back protests. I feel feverish. I even managed to pull a muscle in my foot. Once again, might be TMI, but I am still dry heaving. It’s an awful feeling. It’s worse when I’m hungry but I don’t want to eat much. Loss of appetite and all. Everything throbs, everything aches. My nostrils are getting irritated with breathing too. Meanwhile Panda’s been sick for a few days and he’s been sleeping already. He probably gave this to me when he helped cook this week.

Am I making sense? I’m too tired to reread. I guess I should sleep but somehow checking something becomes browsing something becomes reading articles upon articles. It’s like the Wikipedia rabbit hole I often fall into. Lost, again. How many things have I read now? Yet the ache of my eyes (if they ache at all, I can’t tell) is drowned out by the dull pain throughout my body. Should I take a bath? But I might not ever get up. It is so much effort. Maybe tomorrow, then. Here’s to hoping for a good night’s rest. I should really try that oregano oil from my Homegrown box. Tomorrow.

Oh, and I guess I should take some pills.

Journey of happiness

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , ,

Would you rather be accomplished or happy?

I’m not saying these are mutually exclusive, but if you had to choose, which one is more important to you? I’ve found that in the quest for happiness, people often get caught up in accomplishments that don’t make them happy. Again and again you hear to do what you love – the success will follow. Yet, time after time, you see people putting job titles and salaries ahead of their personal fulfillment. Rather than choosing the roles that would bring them the most satisfaction, they choose the ones with higher prestige, larger paychecks. It’s quite the phenomenon.

girl at outdoor piano smiling with gleeful expression of joy

Some things bring me pure joy.

I’ve got to say, I don’t quite subscribe to this “follow your dreams” advice. I mean, the general concept makes sense, but when it comes to the nuances of real life, it’s a lot more complicated. It’s easy for people to take this idea and go wild, thinking that whatever they do they must love all of it. It’s too easy to say, “Oh I enjoy this but not that so maybe it’s not the right thing for me.” To me, it’s important to enjoy what you do more often than not, but you’ll never find a career that you love every aspect of. Maybe you’re loquacious and you get to talk a lot, but also need to handle paperwork to get deals closed. Maybe you’re extremely introverted and love doing research, but need to then present your findings at meetings. Doing only what you love can be a bit of a cop-out… it can encourage you to throw in the towel too soon, giving up on something because certain elements are challenging.

It’s something I struggle with all the time – how much do I enjoy my career path, my role? When I get to do what I’m best at and like doing, I’m in the zone. It feels fantastic and rewarding. When I have to do what I’m not strong in and struggle with, I’m at a loss. I try and I try but boy is it hard! My only solace is that when it’s finally over, that rush of relief can wash over me and provide some comfort. On my journey of happiness, I am constantly learning, growing, and evolving. Similarly, I’ve found that in my personal life I travel a parallel path. I’ve learned that finding happiness is not about getting to a destination – after all, what makes us happy is changing too. Rather, it’s about adapting along the way and enjoying the experiences. I’m trying to make the most of each experience and find something to smile about.

It’s funny how all this time I’ve been trying to “find myself” there’s been no “self” to find, really. I am who I am; I am how I am. As I tried to figure out what would make me happy I failed to realize that I was thinking too much about a future self that doesn’t exist yet (and may never exist, depending on what choices I make now). Am I brave enough to let go of all that worry and just live in the present? I crave a certain amount of stability and I feel like I have more control over the future if I make decisions based on how I think it will go. But really, you never know. So maybe I can explore this stage of my journey of happiness a bit more thoroughly while I’m here. I’m just afraid that acting without regard to that fuzzy future will make it become something far worse than I’d want.

Happiness now doesn’t guarantee happiness in the future. Oh, dilemmas… I still can’t quite let go of wanting to feel accomplished AND happy. I’ll try to tip the scales a bit more towards happy though. We’ll see how it goes. 🙂

365great Day 283: Whole Foods

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , ,

365great challenge day 283: whole foodsI love the smell of Whole Foods. It’s comforting to me, that mix of herbs and fresh food mingling. Their use of warmer colors in their stores is also a welcoming sight – none of that harsh whiteness of other stores. For a grocery story, I want a more homey feel and the combination of how their stores look and smell totally give me that impression. I’ve spent my fair share of time there, demoing a variety of products back when I was a product demonstrator. I’ve been to almost every single Whole Foods in the Greater Los Angeles region. There’s always so much to discover and I could spend ages in there finding new products to try. I also find grocery shopping can be such a cute thing, romantic even (yeah, I’m weird), so I love watching people shop. I also have great memories of delicious lunches at the El Segundo location. I miss that.

365great Day 281: gifts

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , ,

365great challenge day 281: giftsWhile I’m generally not into gifts and presents, they’re still fun to get sometimes. The surprise element of getting something combined with the mystery of what it is can be a fun and exciting experience. I enjoyed the white elephant exchange at work today and it reminded me of some of the joy that comes along with gifting. I was careful with what I chose and I’m sure it will be appreciated by the recipient. Some people went with silly gifts for a laugh, others went with totally random stuff and it was interesting seeing what it all was. You can find some funky items out there! It’s also really nice to get gifts for those who usually do without, which is why Panda and I will be donating a toy to kids each year. Ultimately it comes down to the experience of sharing time or care (for me at least), and that’s why gift-giving can be so great.

Canvas Christmas

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , , , ,

It was holiday party time at our office today! We did a white elephant and then hung out at a place with pool, shuffleboard, foosball, darts, and other such games.

canvas christmas tree with twinkling lights and presents underneath

white canvas ornament with company logo hanging on christmas tree

large pile of mini candy canes in carboard box

collection of white elephant presents on desk in conference room

White elephant time!

cardboard box with star wand, make a wish sign, and red belt wrapped together

The most creative gift of the bunch.

posing with purple and pink lez zeppelin t-shirt from white elephant gift exchange

I ended up getting a Lez Zeppelin t-shirt… apparently some women sing Led Zeppelin songs.

people gathered around shuffleboard tables

And the rest of the night was spent drinking, eating, gaming, and chatting.

Weird. Wonderful.

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Yesterday. What an… unusual day. Today. Another oddity. (But scattered in between were precious moments of wonder too.)

Let’s start from the beginning. I got to sleep in a bit yesterday because we had our condo walk-through scheduled for 10. It wouldn’t make sense for me to go to work first, so I just met Panda there. I originally planned on going to Target first to go return some stuff and get a notebook, but the time I allocated for that got taken up by a challenging deicing process. I’d completely forgotten about the icy rain the night before and found my car encased in one solid layer of ice.

tree branches completely encased in layer of ice

I woke to a very frozen world!

car door handle completely covered in layer of ice

I couldn’t even open the car door by pressing the button.

top of car covered in ice with small stick pointing straight up encased in ice too

Haha, there was even a bit of ice standing straight up around that little stick thing. Nothing can escape the layer of ice!

iced over pine trees with tops missing from breaking off due to the weight of the ice

As I was cleaning off my car, I heard crackling and I thought someone was pouring hot water on ice, but it turns out the trees were breaking apart.

When I finally got it all off the windows, I headed to the condo. Along the way, I was careful to keep a distance from the other cars. The van in front of me started shedding ice sheets when it picked up speed and eventually my own came flying off too. We met at our new home and were taken inside by one of the guys who manages all the construction. He showed us all the light switches, faucets, doors, rooms, plugs, appliances, windows, heating and cooling systems, plumbing, etc. We have a lot of low flow options to help save water, including the toilet, shower heads, and kitchen faucet. I played with a bunch of the windows, which flip inwards so we can easily clean the outside. Smart! The demo guy was baffled that I wore a heavy jacket and multiple layers, yet bounded around barefoot, even stepping outside like it wasn’t freezing out. I’d never thought that was weird and suddenly I felt like a nymph or something after that, haha. It was fun to see everything brand new and ready for use! This is our new place!!

new kitchen in condo with stainless steel appliances, wood cabinets, and granite countertops

I’m so glad we went with stainless steel appliances. Lovin’ the kitchen!

large open space of living and dining room with cherry hardwood floors

I joke about turning this into a dance studio… wouldn’t that be cool?

master bathroom with standing shower, bath tub, sinks on opposite sides, and toilet

I can’t wait to have a shower where I don’t have to deal with a curtain!!

master bathroom sink with vanity area, dark granite countertops, and light wooden drawers

This sink is mine and the opposite one will be Panda’s. I might need some of his drawers though. 😛

master bedroom in new condo with tray ceiling

The master looks smaller when it’s not the model home, but we don’t want a giant space anyway.

paperwork for new condo with manuals for appliances and other instructions

They provide us with a ton of manuals so we can figure out how to operate and maintain everything.

hallway of new condo with hardwood flooring

On the opposite end is my favorite room, the most massive one that’s about the size of a two-car garage. I would love to get a grand piano and pool table in it, lol. Totally not happening anytime soon, if ever. But the dream lives on… From this room you can see straight down to the kitchen.

hallway bathroom with standard countertop and tiles

The hall bath is for the other bedrooms and guests. It’s the only counters that aren’t granite – the upgrade just wasn’t worth it.

new condo porch with white railing and view of houses in back

Oh I’m going to love hanging out on the porch when it’s warmer.

evergreen oil lamp from homegrown collective november 2013 box made with pine cones, evergreen clippings, berries, and parrafin oil in mason jar

I brought along my newest craft as a house warming gift to bring some holiday cheer to the place!

bush with leaves completely frozen over

It’s so fascinating how the ice created that layer over everything.

front door entrance of new condo

I doubt we’ll be using the front door all that much, except to pick up packages that don’t fit in the mailbox!

front of new condo with frozen driveway, one garage door open and one closed, and brick facade

Hello beautiful. I can’t wait to move in!

By the time we finished, it was about 11:30 and Panda and I went to get an early lunch together before going to work. Apparently I’d missed a fire alarm at our office that morning and not long after arriving, I was heading to the restroom when the doorbell rang. Since I was on my way, I went to answer it and found a guy from the power company telling me he had orders to shut off our power. I thought I’d been pranked and the shock of that announcement had me completely baffled. A lot of people weren’t in the office due to the weather, so I didn’t even know who to get. We eventually got that sorted out… whew!

melting icicles on car's mirror

By the time we went to lunch, the icicles were nearly all melted.

footprints in snow on grass next to path

Some people decided that walking on the grass was better than the path, I guess.

trees branches covered in layer of ice from winter storm

Good thing these trees were trimmed last month, or the branches might have broken off. This looks so surreal.

Later in the afternoon, Autumnfall asked me to accompany her to the local grocery store to get some candy canes for a promo we’re going to run. Along the way, we had a ton of fun admiring our surroundings, getting pictures of iced over plants and the scenes along the walk. That’s when we saw that breathtaking hawk make a pit stop. As we were nearing the store, a random guy said, “Hey ladies” in a rather creepy way and as we were checking out, this old man stood waaay too close to us even though the line was for four possible registers. Just adding to the strange occurrences of the day. Back in the office, we took some time for a photo shoot with the candy canes and got some pretty hilarious shots. More to come on that, when the promo starts (we’re giving away candy canes)!

walking path flooded with muddy water after winter storm

Our walk turned out to be quite the adventure, with giant puddles and hawk sightings and tunnels to go through. Oh, and creepy men too.

bush with all leaves iced over from winter storm

More iced up plants!

red berries and green leaves of plant covered in layer of ice

Iced up berries!

plant with brown branches and black berries covered in layer of ice from winter storm

Ok, ok, just one more iced plant picture!

thickening fog obscuring cranes atop new construction building

The fog was thickening and starting to obscure the cranes up top.

rectangular ice fallen from pine trees onto pathway

I promised no more iced plants, but here’s just some ice that fell from pine trees!

After work, I made that Target run I’d meant to do in the morning. I ended up exchanging one item and realizing that the other was from Charlotte Russe – oops! And of course I left, completely forgetting that I wanted to get a notebook too. There’s another Target on the way home, so I figured I could go there and also swing by a gas station for gas, but I completely blanked on the exit and missed it. I reeeeally need to write out my thoughts though, so I decided to make a slight detour to yet another Target. When I arrived, there was a girl crying her heart out near the front. It reminded me of how I’ve been feeling lately and I sort of wish I could bawl it out too. But for now, the tears won’t come even when my heart is heavy. Maybe the writing will help. While browsing notebooks, I found a really fun set of festive ones. Even better is that they’re eco-friendly. Always a plus in my book!

colorful bunch of towels hanging out to dry in target store

I thought this looked funny so I took a picture and then a Target guy happened to come to collect them and he explained that they use them to wipe off the carts. Since they don’t have a dryer, they just hang them where they can. How nice! A wet cart is certainly no fun to shop with.

very foggy night with street lights glowing yellow and blurry on the road

Ooh, the fog is really settling in now.

set of three notebooks by green inspired in blue, green, and red with gold dots and quotes

My newest thought-catchers. 🙂 So pretty!
The blue one says “Looking at the stars always makes me dream.” -Vincent van Gogh
The green one says “Happiness is a bright and shining thing.” -Unknown
The red one says “Joy delights in joy.” -William Shakespeare

So finally, I made it home and was watching The Voice and The Sing-Off. After about an hour of the air running, I started to wonder why it wasn’t heating up. I tried resetting the thermostat with no success, so I just turned off the air and bundled up. After doing some writing, blogging, and news watching, I went to bed. I didn’t sleep very well, waking up frequently once it started to get light out. Around 7, I looked out to see the snow blanketing everything. The plow trucks hadn’t made it in yet. I kept going back to sleep and waking up to check on the status of the roads… things didn’t seem to improve much so I decided to work from home today. I had trouble getting up and really working because of the chillier air. I waited a few hours before calling management to send someone to look at it. I learned that there’s an emergency option that uses the heater in the closet rather than whatever’s outside. They figured the outside one got frozen over (no surprise there) so it wasn’t working. I just need to wait for the ice to melt to use it like normal again.

layer of snow covering all ground, cars, and trees

Why good morning, snow.

barefoot on porch in sunlight with shadows of railing

I went outside once the skies cleared and appreciated the sun for a bit.

sun shining brightly through tree branches

When the sun came out, the snow melted from the trees quickly!

During what normally would have been my lunch break, I decided to take a shower. Now that’s one perk I like about working from home! When I want to refresh myself, I can just hop in the shower AND still have plenty of time to eat some lunch. Come 3 in the afternoon, I was getting antsy being alone with no one to talk to for so long while I tried to pound through work. I took advantage of another benefit of working from home and got changed into some workout gear, then went running! I can’t remember the last time I did that (sometime in college probably) and in snow? Gosh, that would have been over a decade ago. Still, it felt good to clear my head even if I was rather out of shape. I listened to some music and just tried to stay in that zone for as long as possible.

brown fungus growing on tree branch

It looks kind of gross, but it kind of reminds me of a fungus I like to eat called wood ears.

sofa sitting by side of road covered in snow from storm

Somebody had left some furniture by the side of the road, like this sofa. Would make for a pretty cool photo shoot!

When I decided to slow for a bit, I found a playground with a little climbing arch and climbed up to sit on it. It was so nice to peer into woods, groove to my music, and shut out the world for awhile. When it got too cold, I got up and jogged back. I had put the key to the apartment in my leggings thinking they were tight enough to keep it in place. When I was going up the final set of stairs, I stopped to pull it out only to find it was gone. I patted all the way down my legs and started to get worried… I guess I’ve learned a lesson about sticking a key in your pants. Doesn’t work so well when you’re jolting it around while running. Luckily, it had stopped falling down right around my ankle. Thank goodness! I then picked up with work again (albeit with slightly shaky fingers).

metal playground equipment with bars in arch shape

Saw this and couldn’t resist. I just had to climb it.

dblcam image of person with headphones in ears against blue sky and feet stepping on bars of playground equipment with snow on ground

Sitting on the bars, enjoying the amazing air as I watched a squirrel in the distance.

running trail covered in snow broken up by footprints

My running path was a little treacherous but I didn’t slip once. What a serene place.

I’ve felt off ever since returning from my extended Thanksgiving break. Last week was cut short since I got back halfway through the week, which kind of threw me off. Now this week has only been two days and it feels like the week should be over already. My internal clock must be all out of whack. I hope tomorrow brings a more normal day; I could certainly use some boring old normalcy in my life right now.

365great Day 239: wireless

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , ,

365great challenge day 239: wirelessWireless might be the single greatest thing contributing to our mobility in this day and age. I rely on so many wireless devices to make my day go smoother – laptops, smartphone, wireless mice, and wireless routers to name a few. It’s what allowed me to leave work around 7 tonight and keep working through the night until now (3 am). I fiiinally finished what I wanted to at work today, which I’m thrilled about, and I’m even more pleased with the fact that I could do that from the comfort of home. After all, I don’t want to be pounding away at the office until this time. I’m so glad my work is the type that can go wherever my laptop is. I never had to work in a time when that wasn’t the case and I’m very grateful for that. The flexibility that wireless offers is pretty great.


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