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“He” vs. “She”

29 Jun

Disclaimer: I’m not a feminist. I’m a proponent of earned income, position, and opportunity.

The other day, I was on a call with a client I’ve been working with for several weeks and a nice, professional relationship was developing. This gentleman was without a doubt traditional, conservative, and near retirement. Without getting into detail, we ran into a little hiccup that was beyond my control. During a conversation, I suggested that he speak with our Vice President who’ll be able to handle the issue much better than myself. He replied, “Sure, put him in touch with me.” That “him” is a lady.

Now, this isn’t the issue to me. In reality, “he” is the appropriate, gender-neutral term when speaking of a person who you do not know. However, I couldn’t shake it. There’s a lot in the news recently about women in the workplace, particularly this article on Why Women Can’t Have it All, which was posted first in the Atlantic. To summarize the too-long-for-work essay, Ann-Marie Slaughter, a high profile foreign policy analyst, says that women cannot be both an involved, active mother and a ladder-climbing, advancing professional – at least not at the same time. She points out the generational differences explaining that younger professional women find the idea of having a baller career and being a perfect mother exhausting and impossible. I happen to agree.

There have been a few driving forces and ideas in my life these days: Starting my own business, being creative, growing a stronger network. However, there’s one underlying factor I always dream about. And that is balance. I want to work my ass off for days, weeks, months, years…whatever. But when I need downtime, I’m 100% cool with turning off all of my devices and having some peace. Further, I dream of the day I have a kid or two and it’s perfectly cool to bring them into my office, which is of course well-equipped with a few games to keep them occupied. Running a business and running a household shouldn’t be impossible. With technology, a good partner, and a flexible working environment, women should be able to have it all.

To me, life is all about balance. That balance applies to my diet, schedule, work life, family time, and social schedule…really, every part of my life. I feel like die-hard professional women lose that balance and I won’t have it in my life. Maybe this is coming from the young optimist in me, however I get giddy (and motivated) when thinking about fulfilling all of my dreams – on my own time.

Where I’ve Been Finding Inspiration this Week…

29 Mar

I’m not sure about you, but inspiration can, at times, be hard to find. This month, I’ve had heavy weight on my shoulders due to a few large-scale copywriting projects (talk about writer’s block!), work on my mind all hours of the day, and a budding side business which desperately needs focus and attention. With my energy all over the place, I’m left with wondering how to maintain my creativity, energy, and inspiration needed to do great work.

Cue a week of self exploration. The past few days have been full of internal debates, self-criticism, and a personal need to bring positivity and new energy back into my world. My job requires me to be active and moving 8am-5pm M-F. To be successful, I can’t allow my brain to get into this rut for too often and for too long. This is why when a string of fun, thought-provoking events, ideas, and content came into my world – I wrapped my arms around them all and was thankful. Here’s what happened:

Social Media Professionals Network – Just meeting and collaborating with peer professionals can provide a boat load of ideas. Our first Pittsburgh Social Media Professionals Speaker Series event was last week in the beautiful Pennsylvanian on Liberty Ave. Our round table conversation provided me with a reminder to never settle. Never stop learning. (PS – you should plan to join us for the next event.)

This Book: Social Media ROI  by Oliver Blanchard – If you are in online or digital marketing, pick up this book. Written specifically for C-level execs, Blanchard reviews everything from hiring strategic digital marketing managers to introducing a social media program to your corporation. Fascinating read. Found new perspective and outlook from this one.

The Stairmaster. No joke. Stepping away from the problem (either physically or mentally) helps to think about the issue from a different perspective. Dealing with writer’s block is difficult while I feel pressure to type. On the stairmaster, I think about the topic and words seem to just flow like water.

Long, Lost Friends – Energy found from friends and connections. Last week, I reconnected with a close friend during a wake. Yes, the reason for our reunion was pretty sad and is still is a weight on my mind (related blog post in progress) but seeing her has been a source of excitement and energy in my world. Conversations with an old friend bring up ideas and plans from that stage of life that I had long since forgotten. Conversing with her has brought up a sense of optimism. I cannot wait to continue these discussions.

Entrepreneurs – Finally, D and I have begun working with onlyinpgh.com. If you aren’t following them on Twitter, do so quickly. Their new project called Scenable is going to be seriously groundbreaking. The excitement, drive, and passion start-ups have is probably the best place to find inspiration. Especially from this one. Their drive to improve Pittsburgh communities is seriously remarkable. Not to mention, their 60-70+ hours/week of dedication makes my standard work week look pitiful!

I’m a true karma believer. Good things come in your life if you welcome them in. This week, I begged the world for new energy and that’s certainly what came. Thanks, yinz.

-Katie

Quit Slackin’

13 Mar

Make it Happen

This is the motto I live by. These words run through my head practically every morning, afternoon, evening, and late at night….

“Get Shit Done”…”Make it Happen”…”Just Do This Already” 

Why have I chosen this to be my first topic on gchatwithus.com? Well, between Liz and I, we have tons of ideas, wants, dreams, and plans. Really, tons and tons. I’m sure we’ll blog bits and pieces as this venture continues. However, none of our big dreams will become reality by hangin’ low and doing the same old routine. Clearly, I fall into the Type A realm, but there comes a time when you realize – if you REALLY want *XYZ* to happen, it’s time to put some moves in motion.

Three years ago, I graduated from Pitt and felt so lost. My parents did a great job preparing me for this moment, but damn did it feel overwhelming. After racking up a few $K to the credit card, several spontaneous weekend get-a-ways, and flat-out overdoing it in my social life – I came to this ‘A HA!’ moment: enough is enough already. We coined the term: “you gotta get your life together” and that’s exactly what I did.

What was the tipping point? Moo-lah. Dinero. Bones. I got to the point where I just didn’t know how much was in the bank at any given time. So unsettling. So Scary.  My mother once told me, “they day you can talk to me about your financial situation without tears is the day you are in control.” This lasted about a year or so until I went full force into my own little personal financial bootcamp. This will definitely be something I write about often. Pulled myself out of debt, built up a serious emergency savings, and got a great start with retirement – all within 2 years. Damn that felt great. I haven’t cried about this since.

This sense of ‘gotta make this happen’ extended into the rest of my life. I learned quickly that to reach my dreams, I need to think out of the box. Problem solve. Constantly learn. Dream big.

Why am I putting this into words today? Because this determination isn’t easy to maintain. This past weekend, I was a machine. Accomplished work for both my professional and personal lives plus enjoyed a beautiful weekend. Soaked up the productivity bliss. That determination carried into Monday. Tuesday morning, gone. I fought with myself the entire day to stay focused, keep pushing, MAKE SHIT HAPPEN.

A walk, clear mind, healthy foods, and an up-beat Pandora station eventually did the trick. But man, all I wanted to do was pin pictures to my Pinterest boards all day!

I’m sure some of you have been in my place. Nothing I just said was ground-breaking – however, it’s comforting to know that everyone has a mental personal struggle to keep focused, driven, and productive.

-Katie

"I'm Possible"