Freedom

When I learned that I didn’t need to do anything to make a man love me, I experienced freedom.  Before this discovery, I read countless books, blogs, articles and opinions to find the 8th Wonder of the World.  How to win a man’s heart.  There is no magic. Only Divine Order and time. It’s about being open to experiences & circumstances that you would have otherwise avoided like the plague.  It’s about developing a new routine and stepping out on faith. You must also understand that your heart and love is a gift to another to be won, cherished, respected and adored.  You deserve reciprocity in a relationship; it is time to stop pursuing unrequited love once and for all.    

It’s time to write a new chapter and turn over a new leaf.  It’s about making eye contact with men and smiling at them versus looking at the ground, being distracted by your phone or even by your girlfriends when you’re out.  Even though a male friend told me this many years ago, I still underestimated the power of paying attention to who was paying attention to me; who was checking me out.  There was a time when I thought that I needed to play it cool and appear disinterested and coy; even when the opposite was true.  I walked in the scent of inaccessible, unbothered and untouchable.  And so it was. I don’t know how many men I repelled by my unavailable consciousness.  

Oddly, there were men who did approach me despite my deceptive aura.  Those men were likely thrill seekers and those who loved a challenge.  And nothing more.  Once the game was over or they had mastered whatever they sought out, they revealed themselves to be as disinterested as I appeared. It’s funny how we get back what we give out. 

There is nothing wrong with wanting to be a part of a couple.  There is nothing wrong with being happy. In fact there is something very wrong about not being happy.  Just be patient when love finds you because sometimes it appears indiscernible.  Some people are single so long that fantasy overrides reason and reality. There is nothing wrong with a “must have” list in terms of your ideal mate’s values, attributes, resources, et cetera.  Just try to maintain this list in pencil rather than ink. 

Someone once said that the good that we seek is always seeking us.  I am living proof that this is true in all things…even in love.  

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Entitlement 

We are living in an era of entitlement which is becoming increasingly evident in media and pop culture. There is a reality show for everyone. If I am a gamer, I can via Twitch find amateur fame there (and ironically, without having any ounce of gaming experience or interest.) If I have a wifi connection and a smartphone, I can have my own reality show also anytime I want to, thanks to platforms such as YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram and probably countless of other social sites that I am not cool enough to know about.  
This degree of entitlement has literally spilled over into the “real world” and unfortunately into the work force.   No one wants entry-level pay; everyone in every position demands to “get paid” regardless of the job he or she has, or the skill set this individual brings into the job market. Everyone deserves to be a Highly Compensated Employee for possessing undefined and unspecified qualifications.    I’m not a compensation expert but I do have experience in compensation related matters, thanks to my experience working in Human Resources.  

Generally speaking, employers pay their employees based upon the job description and skill level involved to successfully perform the essential job requirements.  Because this is not a piece about Compensation, I won’t go into all of the components of how pay ranges and scales are determined.  There are many companies that major corporations consult with to help them administer their pay and benefit programs.  These HR consulting firms provide scientific data based upon the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics information.  The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides extensive demographic information on just about all quantifiable metrics based upon geography, job industries, as well occupational outlooks, etc.  

I provided the aforementioned information to demonstrate that compensation is no longer decided by one person.  In today’s job force, your direct supervisor or Manager often has minimal decision making or direct control of your rate of pay.  At best, these individuals can decide or influence yearly pay raises, performance -based incentives; beyond this, your pay is what it is.  Unless you work in the private sector or for a business owner who makes the day-to-day operating decisions for that company.  Quick sidebar, I am not minimizing a member of management having influence over performance-merit reviews and/or compensatory incentive programs.  Working for a “stingy” boss who treats incentive dollars as if they were self-funded, can create major financial setbacks for his or her direct reports that are far-reaching and often difficult to recover from. 

Now back to the mindset of many American workers today.  I appreciate that everyone wants to be paid.  I understand that we all have bills to pay, commitments and personal responsibilities. This is called being an adult.  Being an adult and having responsibilities there of, does not automatically dictate nor entitle any of us to assign an esoteric compensatory value to how much an employer “should” pay us.  

No one can pay you for what you’re worth. I definitely cannot assess a financial value to how much I am worth as a “unique, unrepeatable, Spiritual being.”  I can however, as a mature adult, take a critical assessment of my educational level, professional skill sets, credentials, qualifications, professional/career experience, certifications, training,volunteer history, internship experience, time-in position, and come up with a salary equivalent based upon these credentials.  At issue is many, if not most of us are incapable of doing or blatantly refuse to do the same.  

I am not pro employer or pro corporate greed.  I am well aware that there are pay disparities among men and women and in 2015, there remains a huge delta between how much people of color are paid versus our white counterparts. Proverty is a legitimate crisis that affects us all as a human race; hunger, illness, a lack of access to quality education, jobs, housing and other basic quality of life concerns do not discriminate.  The rising cost of health care, namely the cost for life-sustaining prescription drugs is shameful and disgusting. 

However beyond these key issues that we have no direct control over, I am frustrated that there is an overwhelming mindset of zero personal responsibility.  My employer does not dictate how or where I live. My employer does not decide how many children I have; the cost of child care, how much my rent or car payment is; how much it costs for public transportation, or how much it cost to shop at Whole Foods and Trader Joes.   These are personal and individual decisions.   These are not the equivalent of transferable skills that require or support a raise.   I have a black belt in shopping therefore if pay was determined by how much money I spend or feel that I need to live my life, I’d be the highest paid person in the world.  I’m just saying.  

It’s ridiculous to demand a six-figure salary because someone else is earning six-figures.  Are your skill sets and educational level identical? I am a proud graduate of Columbia College; I am not going to insult your intelligence or mine arguing that my esteemed arts and media college is the same as Columbia University in terms of academic prestige.  I don’t make the rules and more than likely you don’t either.  I don’t think that my quality of education from Columbia College is diminished in any meaningful way to me.  I went to and graduated from the college that I chose. If I wanted to attend Columbia University I’m fairly certain that I could have. 

It’s about being real and stop thinking that people owe us for showing up to the same job everyday-the equivalent of doing the world a favor.  You, me going to work helps you and the company we chose to work for, further our individual objectives.  This is business, not personal.  If you want (I want) to earn more money, figure out a way to leverage your (my) marketable skills and assign a fair market value for it.  If you have minimal job or business skills, change that and do your work to gain more skills.  Relocate, do consultant work, go back to school, take an online course or a professional certification program.  Do an internship if you can’t afford to pay for school or take out student loans. There are options and resources available if you seek them out. 

The entitlement mindset believes that someone else is supposed to do something to make his or her life better. The adult reality is, being and living better is an inside job. No one will or should do it for you.  

Confession

It’s my turn. All of my life and before my own choosing, I have been selfless. I never wanted to be perceived as the God-awful selfish person that we are taught to despise.  I have been understanding and helpful. I said yes when I really wanted to say no; this occurred more often than I care to count. I have gone places or was invited primarily because I’ve always been the friend with a car.  Not to say that those in need of transportation did not love me or genuinely want me around; it just didn’t hurt to invite the girl with the flexible social calendar out to play. 

I babysat relatives when I was a child myself. I spent over 8 years in Human Resources which was the epitome of a character building experience…actually there a few other analogies and adjectives that I could assign to that role but I will spare you.  I’ve always held customer-service oriented jobs which mandate that you emote a high degree of selflessness consistently and at all times. No one feels like being nice all of the time.  I’ve been with my present employer for my entire adulthood.  Which means that I’ve endured everything human while maintaining a job and having to demonstrate a high degree of empathy, personal conduct, professionalism and business decorum despite whatever was going on with me and my life.

I’ve encountered and endured devastating breakups. I had relatives and loved ones pass away and I had to remain normal when I felt as if my world had been shattered; when it felt as if my heart had been dragged and stomped upon.  When I was miles away from my family and friends; when I was learning life lessons through hard decisions and learning how to accept the consequences when I failed to make good choices.  I dropped out and re-enrolled in college too many times to count before earning my degree.  I made irresponsible financial decisions and I had to learn the earth/shattering/humbling lesson of budgeting and not spending money that I did not have (still mastering this but I’m much better than I was!) 

I’ve matured through the phase of wanting people to like me as I tried to fully understand who I was.  I lived my life on an unreasonable pedestal at times and I have been much harder on myself than anyone has ever been on or towards me. 

I’ve been to the club. I’ve been to this Happy Hour, that party, social event; living in New York for over 8 years, I have met lots of people who know lots of people…some of whom are famous or almost famous.  I’ve been to the opera. I’ve seen shows on and off Broadway. I’ve been to Fashion Week; eaten at just about all of the recognized eateries in New York.  I’ve stayed up well past my bedtime many times.  I’ve partied in all of the boroughs.    I’ve done some pretty cool stuff and I’m happy about what I’ve been privileged to do; to be exposed to; to meet and experience since moving to New York. Now, I’m no bumpkin; I am from Chicago so I didn’t live a “sleepy hollow” existence prior to moving here.  

It’s time to trade in my dancing shoes, Ladies and Gentlemen. It’s time to get off of the merry-go-round. As the old saying goes, “a Lady always knows when to leave.” Like a pair of shoes, I have tried on the “Sex and The City” lifestyle (not completely) but in a similar fashion (pun intended.)  And I’m good today. There is more to life than drinking $15 cocktails; struggling to wear at least one designer label every day; it’s not about filling my days with “stuff”anymore. Today, I hold a higher emphasis on the quality of my life versus the quantity. Pleasing me is a daily habit/goal.  Instead of spending my free time on my phone, I try to work on my self-development and improvement.  I accept that I don’t know everything and if I keep doing what I’ve always done, I’ll keep getting what I’ve always gotten.  

It’s about me and it’s about time. This is not to say that I no longer care or have room to care about everyone else, because I do.  I just have to give from a different place that has nothing to do with codependency or lack.