March 2020 archive

Life Without A Manual – Work From Home Edition

For over 12 years, I worked as the Director of Programs and Communications for a large congregation.

What does a Director of Programs and Communications do? Well, in a nutshell, I used to call myself the synagogue’s “cruise director.”

I planned the programs and events. I made announcements. I wrote trip itineraries and nailed down all the details. I worked with the most amazing people — everyone from clergy, staff and board members to speakers, musicians and entertainers. I connected people with similar interests.

I also made sure the food was prepared properly; the temperature was on a comfortable setting; people were enjoying themselves; and everything ran on schedule. Kind of like a cruise director.

And here’s the funny thing…all this has left me pleasantly surprised at how prepared I am for other jobs and life experiences — including working from home during a pandemic.

These days, I’m asking my family the same questions I asked fellow congregants.

Is there enough food? Is it good?

Does everyone have what they need?

Do you know where you are going and what you are doing?

IS EVERYBODY HAPPY??!!

Seriously, it’s been a lot of fun and a lot of work. We’ve had some laughs, nice family dinners, a few meltdowns (mostly by me) and multiple trips to Giant for brownie bites and alcohol.

It’s like working at the synagogue all over again – except these “members” have seen me in my pajamas. 🙂

 

We’re All In This Together

My dog, Chloe, is pretty happy these days. Normally, she spends a good part of her day at home alone while we are at school and work. Although I wouldn’t put it past her to invite her dog friends over for parties once in a while when the humans are away. But those days are over, for now. She has her humans back, and we aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

I live in Montgomery County, PA and thanks to this pandemic, we are on – I guess you would call it a lockdown – for the next two weeks. All schools are canceled including public, private, religious and others. I’m guessing home-schooling and online schools remain unaffected. In addition, gyms, theaters, malls and entertainment venues are closed. Small businesses are making their own decisions as to whether or not to stay open. Large gatherings are canceled. In my school district, school events are either canceled or postponed through Memorial Day weekend. Medical centers, urgent care, doctors’ offices, pharmacies and grocery stores remain open. I understand the local liquor stores are experiencing an influx of customers as if it were New Year’s Eve.

While this mandatory form of social distancing may seem extreme, there have been 13 people tested for coronavirus in our county which is more than half the number of the entire state. My thought is this is due to lots of people in my area who are able to or need to travel for work and may have contracted the virus along the way.

I, for one, am grateful that our governor has taken this pandemic seriously and taking action. Without getting too political, I can’t say the same for the federal government.

I am not panicking – although sometimes my hypochondria gets the best of me.

I am grateful.

I’m grateful to be able to work from home.

I’m grateful that both of my kids are here.

Chloe is grateful for the company and more frequent walks around the block.

I’m grateful to have jigsaw puzzles to do, books to read and blog posts to write. As a side note, I’m pretty sure my current situation will result in a lot of material for this blog. After all, we are literally living life without a manual.

We will get through this. We have no choice. We’re all in this together.

Stay healthy, everyone!

 

 

I Should Be Writing

I haven’t written a blog post in a while. I have started and stopped about 25 different posts since the end of January, but I didn’t think any were worth publishing.

You see, I have this problem. Maybe you’ve heard of it. It’s called imposter syndrome. It’s a psychological condition in which one believes that despite all their accomplishments, people have an intense fear that others will find out they are a fraud.

Yes, I know. I’m being ridiculous. I know I’m not a fraud, but let’s face it I’m not an author either (yet). But, it’s a process. It’s a long process to go from writer to a blogger to an author. I’ve been doing the writer part since the fourth grade. I wrote for the school paper in high school and in college, I minored in journalism. I was the features editor of The Quad, had a popular weekly column, worked weekends as an obituary writer and then landed a reporter’s beat after graduation.

But then, I decided to put down my reporter’s notebook for a 9-5 job because I didn’t think I could make a living that way and have a family. I didn’t have a mentor or anyone back then to encourage me and tell me otherwise.

Since then, I’ve been dabbling in writing for the last 20 years. I’ve been a blogger, a storyteller, a scriptwriter, an editor, a presenter, a communications manager and, most recently, an email marketing expert.

But I no longer think this dabbling crap is enough for me, and here’s why.

If you came to my house and looked at my bookshelves, you would find writing magazines, books about writing and grammar, prompt decks and a poster on my corkboard with a list of quotes from famous writers about…can you guess…writing!

In the drawers of my desk are countless notebooks and yellow legal pads filled with things I’ve written for the writer’s workshop I’ve attended casually for years.

If you looked in my Yahoo inbox, you’d see emails from websites like Writers Write, Writer’s Digest, Poets and Writers, WOW – Women on Writing and so on.

If you read my mind, you would discover the plethora of personal stories still untold, the lists of people I want to interview, several book chapters and ideas, blog posts and more.

So, I’ll say it right now. I’m not an imposter.

I’m a writer.

And I feel like the universe is trying to tell me something.

Seriously, what the fuck am I waiting for?

 

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