It’s 11:00 p.m. on Sunday and I’m cautiously scanning my blog entry for errors. I post once a week on Sundays, and I’ve already received two texts from friends wondering when I’m going to post. It’s my last night in Chicago. I head back to Atlanta the next day and I’d rather be with my cousins discussing world politics or lamenting the pains of the recession. But this is the life I’ve chosen, to be a full-time employee and a blogger on the side. There isn’t much room for anything else.
Because of the recession, everyone is working extra hard, putting in time and effort to be noticed, to be appreciated and just to help your company out of the pits. On top of that, I’m an Associate, entry level, so I have such a long way to go and so much more to prove. My work hours are often long. I can’t remember the last time I left promptly at 5 p.m. I think back to early 2008 when I was a student, and no one could reach me after 10 p.m. because my motto then was 8 hours of sleep or nothing. But now, it’s more like “6 hours, wow, great, I can work with that.”
It is so much harder than I thought it would be. Blogging is brand building. You set a standard, an expectation to your readers and you can’t renege on that unspoken contract. Each Sunday, my readers expect a certain standard of writing. They expect engaging and thought-provoking topics that make them pause, think and contribute. I’ve gone from 50 unique visits a day to 200 and counting. Each week as the blog grows, I have to push myself harder, be innovative and be true to my brand. It’s a headache. But it’s completely, absolutely worth it.
My career to date hasn’t been a conventional one, and I suspect that’s the way it’s going to be for a very long time. My resume reads like a combination of two different people.
My first job was as a TV Presenter. I co-hosted an entertainment show for four years. During the same four years, I wrote my first book, a science fiction novel called TENDAI, and joined my mother’s management consultancy firm. By the time I was in my second year at undergrad, I was working at my mother’s firm, co-hosting and co-producing the entertainment show, writing for a children’s TV show and maintaining a 3.9 GPA. After undergrad, I signed on full time to a management consultancy firm and landed a gig as a News Anchor and Broadcast Journalist on the very same day. My life was crazy for a long while.
Then I started graduate school at NYU and things changed. I just had no time to pursue my interests. My first year at Stromberg/Ketchum was no different. I just could not find the space or time to even write in my diary. I hadn’t written anything in two years. I decided that in some years, when things were slower, I’d find my way back. And then the recession hit and everything was literally falling apart. One Tuesday, I was listening to our EVP talk about two difficult lay-offs we’d just done. As I stared at him and watched his lips move, I knew, I just knew, this was it. There would be no later, no perfect moment, no perfect nothing. If I wanted to write, I had to do it now. I went home that night, picked up my computer and started writing my romantic novel CIRCLES. I haven’t looked back since.
I agree it is hard to pursue your interests in an economy like this. It is hard to think about joining that part-time band whiles you’re barely holding onto your job. You struggle with the notion you can’t do both. Everything becomes a chore, a necessity to earn money. You don’t typically hear about lay-offs and think, great, let me start voice lessons again! But trust me; there will honestly be no better time than the present. That elusive perfect moment you’re waiting for just won’t happen.
It’s been a long difficult year. I’ve worked hard at it all. And one of the greatest lesson I’ve learnt is I can do it. Simple. I know can do it. It’s a cliché and it’s corny – but that is because it is so true. Instead of fighting against what sounds ‘idealist,’ just embrace it. Idealism, realism, they’re just terms. No one should tell you what’s real, what’s plausible and what’s not. Whatever it is you want to do, I believe you can do it. No matter how impossible and drastic it may seem, it can still be done. Maybe that is why Nike is so successful with its ‘Just Do It’ slogan. It resonates within us and our inner struggle to be who we want to be.
In the end, I’d say enjoy it all. Make it fun, for yourself. I truthfully didn’t enjoy it for the first few months. It was tedious and I was drained. But now, I look forward to coming into work, sitting at my desk, and figuring out how to tell a company’s brand story to employees. I love lounging in my sofa at night, checking my blog and cracking up at the ridiculously funny comments on the posts. My readers are hysterical, complete class acts and I love them to bits.
I love every single thing that I am doing right now. And as long as I enjoy it, I’ll keep doing it.
Boakyewaa Glover is the author of the upcoming book CIRCLES. Boakyewaa lives in Atlanta where she’s an Associate Consultant at Stromberg Consulting. Her self-titled Life and Relationships blog can be found at www.boakyewaaglover.com.