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Career, Personal Development, Theatre, Writing

Just Keep Writing

September 18, 2016
just keep writing

Sometimes, the world doesn’t seem to leave you alone, doesn’t seem to allow any time for you to pursue the things you want. Even though it happens from time to time, and although it can be emotionally and physically draining, your ability to bounce back is what counts.

So, when it feels like you’ve fallen, and the weight of the world is on your shoulders, and those around you aren’t giving you what you need, then gently ask that world to shove off for a while, lift yourself up, dust yourself off, and just keep going. Just keep writing. Get out the negative aspects, and focus on the positive. Try to squeeze in a full night of sleep every now and again too.

Getting Punched in the Head

About a week and a half ago, I got punched in the head. About three times. In the side of my head. It hurt like a bitch. I got caught in the middle of a student fight at my teaching job at the high school. It happened at the beginning of class.

Apparently, some of the students caught in on video with their cell phones, but I refuse to watch it. I don’t want to relive it, and I’d be spared from seeing how awkward and helpless I probably looked. I couldn’t fight back, can’t punch, grab, or push, because I want to keep my job. The two students were girls, and it seems when I say that, people automatically assume they were tiny little adolescents swinging feathery slaps. But no. One of them was six feet tall, and both of them were full grown and eager to get in anyone’s face.

I was sent to the clinic, then to an urgent care, just as a precaution. Headaches and an uneasiness sent me back to the urgent care again, where they prescribed me pain meds. Those pain meds made me ill, and I nearly passed out at work on Friday. I went and had a CT Scan just as an extra precaution, waiting for the results now. On the way home, I pulled over and threw up. I know. Disgusting. The side effects didn’t wear off until later that night. An entire week and a half was sabotaged by this incident. Did I mention the car I was using broke down on the way to work in the middle of this past week? My father in-law and I spent an entire day (a work day) replacing parts on cars, getting tow trucks, and getting said cars to the repair shop.

Finally, this past Friday night I had to forgo seeing my cousin who was here for the weekend from Mexico.

Quit Your Bitching

It’s so easy to bitch, whine, and moan. Anyone can do it. Toddlers do it well. Some teenagers too. You and I, however, don’t have to wallow in self-pity. It’s harder to focus on the good. And I had a lot of good things happen recently. I wrote a monologue that got accepted to be performed in the 26th Annual 10×10 Scriptwriters Houston Showcase.

I have been so excited since receiving that acceptance email. For weeks, I have been talking about it, and I invited a bunch of close friends and family to the performance.

But my plans to attend this past Friday were cancelled due to being ill. My cousin came into town, my brother was going to go, possibly others. I even told the Artistic Director Nicholas Garelick that I’d be there that night. But nope. Just wasn’t possible. I will however be going this coming weekend. I’m grateful that there is another weekend of performances. It is going to be bad ass! The monologue will be performed by Robert Jacobs.

The monologue comes from early drafts of my novel, and I’m excited that this piece was able to be transferred to the stage. I am looking forward to writing more stage pieces in the future. For right now, I’ve turned my focus to the first part of my novel and a book of poetry which will follow. Yes, that’s something else that’s freakin’ awesome. I’m so close to publishing my first book.

Staying Focused

This is definitely one of the hardest things for me to do. I’ve gotten side tracked on a million things since starting this blog post. Last night, it took me three hours to pay bills. Not because of how many bills we have, mind you, but because I took a break to paint with my son, I sent direct deposit information to my employer, and other little things. With a whirlwind of events like getting punched in the head, having vehicles breakdown, getting sick on pain meds, all with a pregnant wife and a toddler at home, it can get tough to keep writing.

I have to forgive myself, and try to squeeze in even a minute of writing whether its in my journal, on my phone, or on the computer. I’ve got to be like Dory. I am focused on the positive. I am focused on my family. I am focused on my writing. I am wondering what time the book store opens. I am wondering if Noah could sit through a movie at the theater. I am thinking I should check Facebook. I am- NO! Reign it in, Alex. Reign it in.

Hope to see you at Pearl Theater this weekend!

Map:

14803 Park Almeda Dr.
Houston, TX 77047

Business, Leadership, Uncategorized

9 downsides to being a leader at work

June 5, 2014

kevinspaceyhouseofcardsBeing a leader isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. You’re probably thinking: putting your feet up on the desk and barking orders at people both sound like pretty cool ways of leading. And hey, if that’s all leading was about, then I’d be the first to sign up. So, you got a big promotion. Or you’ve been told that you’re a natural-born leader. Your ego is a bit inflated, and you get excited. One day, you’re “gonna be at the top”, the “decision-maker”, the “one who signs the checks”.

Well, I hate to bust your bubble, but leading an organization or team is not always as glamorous as it seems. Now, don’t get me wrong: leadership is a skill that you should strive for, practice, and develop. It’s one of the four pillars of management and it’s vital in today’s business world and society. These are 9 downsides of being a leader at work as outlined by Andrew J. DuBrin from the College of Business at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

1. The myth of the 40-hour work week

Say goodbye to overtime pay. Once you’re on salary. It doesn’t matter how many overtime hours you work, you won’t get a dime more (unless you get bonuses). Now this is evident in so many industries. In my current position, I have worked 50-60 hour weeks, without any overtime pay. If your job or projects are flexible, then you may be able to do some of this work from home, but you’re still not compensated for it. Even when I was teaching, if you were in the arts or sports, then you could expect to work 60-70 hour weeks. If you have kids, that means that you’re spending more time with other people’s kids than your own.

2. “May I have another please? An aspirin?”

The number of headache-inducing problems rise with every second that passes while you are a leader. This can be attributed to contingencies. Example: The project demands an intense and comprehensive marketing and advertising campaign. The launch has been expedited. Everything is due next week. Your lead graphic designer just had a baby, so is on leave. Your lead copywriter got another job. And the only thing your intern has learned is how to make a decent cup of coffee. The better the leader you are, the easier it is to handle these types of issues.

3. “Publish-” Er- I mean, “Perform or Perish”.

This can be one of the most stressful things to deal with. If the company doesn’t do well, then who’s to blame? You better believe, that if you’re a leader, the CEO s going to come gunning for you. You better pray that he has a very in-depth knowledge of the market, industry, and organization if the reason for poor overall performance is out of your control. If he or she doesn’t, then you WILL be blamed.

4. They expect miracles from peanuts.

As a leader, you will often be faced with a situation where you are responsible for a goal, that you have little control over. If you are asked to get a fully loaded web and social media marketing strategy executed, you are going to need a budget. If you’re asked to construct a building, fully equipped with state-of-the-art technology and design, you are going to need some kind of budget. There isn’t a way around it. This really comes down to authority. And, no, I don’t mean YOU pay out-of-pocket and then submit expense reports. That is complete BS. No money. No work. Comprende?

5. Oh, so alone.

Be careful getting too “buddy-buddy” with your teammates. If you get promoted, you’ll be the one deciding their fates- who gets promoted, who gets fired, evaluations, the whole nine. Then what happens? The team goes out for drinks after work, and they don’t invite you. They’re actually going to talk shit about you. It’s true. Get over it. That’s why you shouldn’t hire your close friends.

6. You have to be a people person.

Man, do I hate people. Well, I really love them too. What’s a guy to do? Being a leader means that you will be dealing with people on a daily basis. This means that after you fire John, you’ll be up late at night wondering how he, his wife, and kids are going to pay for their mortgage next month. Say goodbye to college, John’s kids. You did this. Now if you can master being a people person, more power to you. Being a people person isn’t about feeling guilty about firing someone, it’s about being sure to provide employment resources and references for one of your displaced team members, a.k.a. John.

7. Politics is a bitch.

Yup, it’s in your backyard, it’s in your house, it’s in your office, and it’s probably in your pants. It’s in every office in EVERY industry. Don’t believe your pal who brags about how their job doesn’t have that much politics, because it’s all a load of crap. Start learning how to negotiate, and politics will get easier to deal with when it comes up.

8. “We just want different things”.

Conflicting goals is often a source of trouble for you in a leadership role. It is already hard enough to get everyone on the same page, but then Bob has something completely different in mind. Lots of meeting are gonna result from this one. If you’re lucky you won’t have to fire him, and you’ll still achieve your goal. What if he doesn’t budge? Well, there’s a little thing called compromise. This is why being a leader involves a mutual partnership between the leader and the follower. (Yes, I said “follower”. Good leaders are also good followers.)

9. The evil businessman.

Being a leader of a large organization or business often comes with the public perception that you’re evil, selfish, greedy, and generally an overall bad guy. “But, Alex, I’m not a bad guy.” Whatever. You are in the eyes of the “people”. You’ll get people to change their perception once they see some action. Actions always speak louder than words.

Do it. Be a leader.

Don’t let these nine downsides of being a leader discourage you. They are just a realistic view of the challenges that leaders face. Be ready to face them. Everyday. Move on. Be strong. Go lead.

Peace out.

-Alexander