Bartender, Intern, & Night Owl: How To Do It All

When someone works in a “white-collar”, 9-5, or office job, they are often considered someone succeeding in life and officially an “adult.” These jobs come with benefits and paid time off that make you feel valued and human instead of an hourly slave. Office jobs also let people to come home in time for dinner and evening relaxation, while reserving the weekends for extracurricular activities like Sunday drag-brunches (my favorite).

On June 3rd, I finally graduated from the City College of New York after four years, one month abroad, eight “hell weeks” of overnight studying for finals, and hundreds of cups of burnt deli coffee. Throughout my college years, I successfully entered courses that began after 11 A.M. The few times that I had to endure a dreaded 9am class (God help me), I spent half of the class fighting to stay awake. That’s why it makes sense that I chose to be a waitress to pay bills, since I didn’t start a shift until 5pm, leaving no room for my early morning nod-offs.

After I graduated from college, I began a full-time internship that would challenge my late-night way of life. The internship is from 8:30am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. I know you’re thinking, damn, they couldn’t even give you that half-an-hour at the beginning of your shift. Normally, I would bitch too. However, these hours are set up so that the extra thirty minutes you spend Monday through Thursday allow you to escape work early on Fridays at 1:30. Damn, am I thankful for that little perk.

Transitioning from an evening job to a nine to five is like trying to teach a cat how to swim and like it.

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How working seven days a week feels.

 

Your body fights waking up early, sometimes before even the Sun has made an appearance. Your eyelids are so attuned to sleep, that if you close them for even another second, an hour magically flies by and bam! You’re late for work. It can take several days or even a week to stop feeling like you’re going to die as you transition into an earlier schedule.

Remember those last days of summer vacation back in the day, when Mom would start to make you go to sleep earlier every night to get you used to that school schedule again?

Yeah, that shit never gets any easier, I promise.

Like the overachieving (broke) asshole I am, I didn’t transition. I decided to carry both my weekend job and my new weekday internship at the same time because, I don’t know, I hate my bed or something.

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Spending my summer at the office has had its pros and cons. Usually, I reserve the summer for all of the shenanigans I had to deprive myself of during the school semester. Concerts, beaches, all that good stuff. However, as a new graduate, I had to sacrifice sleep and fun in order to officially be welcomed into the adult world of “work all the damn time.” Despite most of the summer spent behind walls in an office with an overactive AC, I learned a lot about how to balance my two insanely different jobs while still maintaining a healthy social life.

The three obstacles one must learn to overcome are as follows:

  1. Waking  Up On Time

All of my life, I’ve been a creature of the night. In High School, I would spend all day in school, then stay after for sports or musical, and STILL stay up that night until 1am writing or playing videogames, just to get up the next day at 6:15AM and do it all again. When I first started my internship, I had problems waking up on time, even after setting ten alarms on my phone. Eventually, I figured out that my body had become adjusted to my ringtone and learned to ignore it while I slept. Sometimes, I would hear the alarm in the background of my dreams, instead of being jarred awake. The solution to this problem ended up being to set a different alarm on my computer that was louder and, get ready for it, didn’t have a snooze button. That way, procrastination can’t work against you.

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2. Keeping Busy

This is hands down one of the biggest adjustments for those just entering the “functioning-adult” workforce. As a bartender, it’s impossible to feel bored at any given moment. There’s always something to do in a restaurant, especially when you only work on the weekends when it’s busiest. When my guests are all sipping their delicious drinks, I clean up, bother the service bartenders, or dance to the outplayed playlist that’s looped on the speaker. Now, when you apply that almost ADD quality of always needing to be busy to an office job, you have yourself a bored Britt who’s leg can’t keep shaking. It’s not that I don’t get work. It’s just that I finish my work too fast. My boss passes me files to log, scan, and deliver. For most people, this work gets dragged out for as long as possible. I can’t do that. I was brought up on the notion that no matter what job you have, whether it’s as a janitor or a CEO, you must do your best at this job. So, I do my office work like I’m bartending a full bar, oftentimes leaving me bored for hours on end.

 No matter where you work, there is always time for a selfie.

One of the best perks about my internship is that I am allowed to have headphones on while I work. Although I do play some upbeat music, I try not to do that too often for fear that my bosses walking by my desk will notice me low-key twerking in my seat. Aside from music, podcasts and comedy segments on Youtube are great ways to pass the time.

3. Being Social

Working seven days a week is a sure-fire way to execute your social life. But, there is a way to implement some fun in your packed schedule. If you have a weekend job like me, I usually allocate either Friday or Saturday night to go out to the bar with my coworkers after work. Although this will almost always be after midnight, it’s an opportunity to allow your night owl to spread its wings and have an awesome time. Even though you’ll be out very late, you’ll have plenty of time to wake up late on Saturday or Sunday.

The biggest drawback when trying to go out late during the weekends is the horrible adjustments your body will have to endure when trying to get back into the office groove come Monday at 6:45 A.M. If you would rather keep your sleep schedule as close to your weekday requirements as possible, go out after work for Happy Hour specials with either your coworkers or friends that have been begging to hangout with your busy ass all summer. It will be cheaper, easier to get more people together, and fits into your 9-5 schedule pretty nicely.

In life, there will always be something new to adjust to, be it a new job, relationship, or workout routine. People can conquer challenges like balancing two jobs if they figure out how their body works and how to make time for themselves so that they don’t stress out too much. When you feel as though you can’t balance your hectic life anymore, then it’s time to take a break and go on a vacation. This doesn’t have to be an expensive trip to Fiji. Just taking a weekend away from the constant responsibilities that threaten to smother you can let you recharge your battery as well as give you the time to reevaluate your life and see how you can make it just a little easier for yourself.

For instance, I recently took a trip to Cancun, Mexico for a week with my family (Spoiler: I’m posting about this sooner rather than later). Just that week allowed for me to recharge my batteries and come back to my seven day work week with a smile on my face, as well as a thoroughly worked out liver.

Remember, we all die one day. Don’t spend every waking moment worrying or working.

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Don’t be this guy.

 

Why We Should Appreciate Pokemon Go

My post from last week touched upon heavy issues regarding policing and racial tension in the United States (Here it is in case you missed it). As a writer, I find it important that I open my mind and concentrate my thoughts into issues that affect both me and the society I live in.

However, all work and no play makes Brittany an asshole. Actually, that’s probably why your boss at work is an asshole, or anybody that puts in 40+ hours of work a week and doesn’t put in time for fun.

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Working seven days a week is not fun.

 

I think it’s safe to say that Pokemon Go came at a time when many of us needed a break from life. Many people are balancing one, two, or maybe even three jobs, along with spending time with their loved ones. They can’t take time off to go on vacation or get away from their responsibilities. Just from my experience in New York City, people look most miserable in a packed car with no heat at 7:30 A.M. heading toward a job they hate.

If I were to ask you what is your favorite videogame from your childhood, I bet I can name a few options that come to mind immediately. Many of the 70’s and 80’s babies will claim Pacman, Mario, and Donkey Kong.

For the 90’s babies, myself included, we grew up with Mortal Kombat, Sonic the Hedgehog, Crash Bandicoot, Tomb Raider, and… Pokemon.

I think I can hear you groaning at your computer screen right now, as you feel where this post is dragging you and all you’re thinking is, “Ah shit, not Pokemon Go. I’d rather talk about that Kim and Taylor nonsense than read more about that stupid game.”

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*sniffles* If you don’t remember crying to this, you’re not a real Pokemon fan.

 

Wait a moment. Don’t go. Listen, I get it. Pokemon Go follows you everywhere and you might not even play it. It’s annoying when you’re rushing to work and that guy stops right in front of you to catch a Pikachu. Maybe your kids are pestering you to download the game on your phone because they don’t have their own phones.

Listening to people talk about Pokemon Go can be annoying, but it can’t be worse than listening to Melania Trump plagiarize Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech.

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Don’t worry hon, I’ll wait…

We all know that first and foremost, Pokemon Go is a videogame that distracts from a daily routine and responsibilities. But I can list five true benefits of playing the game:

  1. It encourages real interactions and team-work with other players.
  2. You must explore new areas in order to find certain Pokemon.
  3. It’s okay for all ages (as long as children are supervised).
  4. It does wonders for your mental health, for those that have anxiety or depression.
  5. It’s freaking FREE.

I have a good friend that is slightly obsessed with Pokemon Go. Let’s call him… Red (he’ll appreciate that one). When I say “slightly,” I mean he’ll roam the streets of Washington Heights to catch rare Pokemon at 4am. Months ago, when the game was first announced, Red told everyone that he would quit his job and travel the world as a professional Pokemon trainer. That dream hasn’t quite happened (yet?), but the game has done some interesting things for him.

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Roxie, I choose you?

With respect to his privacy, Red has been going through a tough time regarding his personal life and living situation. When I visit him, he often smokes and tells me about his problems, venting to me because he cannot escape his life by taking a much needed vacation.

Instead, he turned to Pokemon Go. Since the game has been released, I’ve seen Red change dramatically. Whereas a regular video game can encourage laziness, Pokemon Go made Red go outside. He left his apartment and began to walk around, chasing the virtual Pokemon that led him back out into the world. He gained back his happy-go-lucky personality and became more optimistic. Red is no longer looking at the HP bar as half-empty, but as Half-full (okay that was a bad joke, but I just had to).

I mean, I don’t know about you, but I think I would rather see people obsessively playing Pokemon than obsessively drinking to cope with their lives.

Aside from the adults that grew up with Pokemon, there are children that have benefited from playing Pokemon Go.

This child I babysit has an obsession with Pokemon cards. The kind of obsession where he’s constantly asking me to buy him cards or negotiating with me to allow for 15 minutes of watching the Pokemon television show before his bedtime.

We’ll call him Ash 😉

Last week, his mother asked me to join her and Ash at the park to catch up. I hadn’t babysat in almost a month because of scheduling conflicts. Ash’s mother and I watched Ash play in the sprinkler with other kids. She told me how he had become more introverted since her divorce from Ash’s father.

I thought about what I could do for Ash. Suddenly, my iPhone vibrated, signaling that a Pokemon was in the area and ready to be caught. I waved Ash over and showed him my phone.

His eyes lit up as he saw the little Pokemon wiggle in front of a waiting Pokeball.

“You mean there’s an Eevee right there by that tree?” he said.

“Yes! And you can catch it for me,” I said.

Then we proceeded to run around the park, as Ash caught Pokemon and I made sure he didn’t accidentally transfer my Level 875 Golduck.

Later, while Ash played and his mom and I talked alone, she thanked me for being there for her son.

Pokemon Go isn’t a life-changing solution to all of our grown-up-too-mature-for-videogames problems, but it sure as hell is a nice get away that fits perfectly in the palms of our overworked hands. Even when the mass obsession dies down and people begin to move on from its initial hype, I know that Pokemon Go did more than just annoy some people on Facebook with funny memes.

It helped my friend find happiness he could hold onto.

It gave the kid I babysit a sparkle in his eye, just from being able to catch an Eevee in the real world.

It made me feel like a kid again, only worrying about my phone dying and not about my adult problems.

So next time you feel like complaining about Pokemon Go, just remember one thing:

Don’t be an asshole. Let people have their fun.

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*****

Next week I will be away in Cancun, Mexico, taking that vacation I’ve been fantasizing about since January. I’m using this opportunity to take a crack at the travel blog world. I’ll be posting short travel blogs, similar to diary posts, in which I talk about my adventures while I’m gone for the week. It will be a daily occurrence (or at least I will try to make it a daily occurrence).

I want to thank everyone for following this blog and supporting my work. I really do appreciate it.

The Cost of Freedom

Finding a topic for this first blog post was like trying to mentally prepare for a first date. I sat myself in front of the mirror and thought of all the cool ways I could make my splash in the blogging world.

I wanted to come off as funny, but not too funny. A cutie, but not a try-hard. Snarky but not an asshole (ok maybe a little bit of an asshole).

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Something like that.

All weekend, I distracted myself with work and watching Bob Ross paint beautiful landscapes  instead of putting my hands to the keyboard and pumping something out. Finally, I set a deadline, hoping that the time crunch would force me to produce some Grade-A material to share with you all.

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Yeah, it didn’t work.

Monday, 4th of July. One day until my deadline to post on this blog. I linked up with two of my friends from my internship and spent the day at Coney Island. We drank Angry Orchards and sparked conversations with other people lounging in our area. I brought a notebook, hoping its presence would entice me to whip it out while I sunbathed. I had the right intentions, all the notebook did was collect sand at the bottom of my bag.

I was running out of time.

So, I posed a question.

What is the cost of freedom?

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600 Calories and your waistline. Luckily, you can split your freedom in half and share it with a friend!

Many Americans would exclaim proudly, “Your freedom has already been paid for by our ancestors and the armed forces!” *waves American flag, rifles fire rounds and eagles fly by*

Maybe July 4th is a defense mechanism to distract ourselves from the shitty things happening everywhere in this world. Terrorism. Hate. Gentrification. Literally, everywhere.

Maybe it’s because we really do like crowded beaches, overpriced hotdogs, and really shitty pictures of fireworks.(I’ll share my shitty picture later, I promise)

But I don’t think it’s that simple. Let me explain.

After many hours soaking up the sun, my trio decided to go to DUMBO to watch the Macy’s fireworks from the Promenade. I leaned against my beach umbrella, already fully committed to the idea that I would never write a blog post. Next to where we stood, a whole family dressed in ponchos joked around and took group pictures of them in front of the bay.

My friend Luis, bored and still a little buzzed from the beach, turned to them and said, “Oh my God, those ponchos are a fashion statement. I love them!”

One of them, an Asian man in his late forties, turned towards us and started laughing.

“Yeah, we saw a deal for these ponchos at this Rite Aid on the way here,” he said.

From there, we began to talk, exchanging random bits of information like strangers do when they’re bored out of their minds waiting for the same damn thing. (I swear, 2 hours waiting for those fireworks)

Finally, I asked him where his family was from.

“We’re actually from Orlando.”

When he said that, I gave him my full attention.

He proceeded to tell me how he was a professor at Valencia Community College, where several victims of the Orlando shooting attended. In fact, he had taught some of them himself, including Mercedez Marisol Flores. One of his coworkers, another professor, had planned to go to the Pulse nightclub that night, but cancelled only an hour before heading out to what would be the worst mass shooting in American history.

He stared out into the bay, surveying the sky where the Twin Towers used to reign before 9/11. Between every detail, he took a long pause and sighed, like he was lifting a heavy weight and putting it back down. And in a sense, he was. I could hear the sound in his voice; that somber tone that people acquire when they have felt tragedy close to home.

“You know what I keep thinking about?” he said, looking straight at me.

I could see the pain reflected in his eyes.

“Whenever someone thinks of Orlando, all they will think about is that tragedy. It’s really sad that all of this has happened.”

After a long silence (and still no damn fireworks), I thought to look around.

To really look around.

There were people everywhere. Like ants-all-over-that-potato-chip-you-left-under-the-couch-last-week kind of everywhere. Terrifying, I know. But the thing was, overshadowing that hidden desire to hide in my apartment away from civilization, pride swelled in my chest.

It was in that moment that I found the inspiration.

I looked around and saw old people, young people, brown people, white people, couples, single people, LGBTQ people, straight people. First and foremost Americans, and in that moment, nothing else mattered.

I turned to the poncho man and smiled.

“But we’re still here. And because of that, hate hasn’t won.”

And, I shit you not, the fireworks began as I said those words. Flashing blues, reds, and whites lit up the sky seconds before their sound ricocheted off my chest. And collectively, the crowd of people surrounding me, my fellow Americans, let out a long, “Woahhhhhhhhh!!!!”

For forty minutes, we watched a celebration of a country that is far from perfect, but still ours.

Because even in the wake of tragedy, we still dust off our scraped knees, wipe the tears away, and Stand Back Up.

For some, including our ancestors, the armed forces, and the victims of terrorist attacks like Orlando, freedom cost them their lives.

But on July 4th, freedom only cost some of us a train ride to a borough you don’t like, a few cold beers, and your time.

And now that you have made it this far, I reward you with my shitty fireworks picture!

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