Welcome everyone, to SydneyOwen.com!
I am pleased to introduce you to my blog, version 2.0. This is the second new look since it’s inception in October – and with each makeover, it’s getting better.
In an effort to have some street cred for SXSW, I thought I’d nix the .wordpress part of my URL and go for the gold. As I figure out how to work out the HTML and new themes and widgets and plugins, my site will reflect the ultimate goal: my brand.
For now, I’m just glad I figured out how to get it up and running. Stay tuned to see how the style changes and evolves into a site as diverse as I am.
In other news, 6 weeks till SXSW – I can hardly believe it! I started picking sessions via the brand new my.SXSW and it’s looking like I’ll have a pretty awesome schedule of sessions to get to!
PS – my plane ticket was only $227 on Continental. That’s the lowest I’ve seen since I started looking in November.
A colleague of mine, Nick, and I were emailing back and forth today and he asked me, mid-professional conversation,
“do you ever get phantom phone vibrations? It has felt like my belt has been vibrating all day. Talk about annoying”
And I was thinking, okay, I’m not the only one who is perpetually checking their phone to see if they are missing calls, texts, emails. I do this at work as I walk from one end of the bar to the other, convinced that my pocket is alerting me of something important.
Nick said the phantom vibe annoys him because it makes him feel like one of those d-bags that is always checking his phone. I am one of those d-bags – and I’m not afraid to own that fact because 90% of the time, I did miss a call, a text, or an email.
So, a remedy for the situation? Turn off automatic email checking, and do it manually. It will decrease the amount of vibration, causing you to check your phone. Here is a list of 10 reasons why you should turn off the auto checker. Number 8 on the list? You look like a tool if you’re always checking your phone.
Plus, you don’t want to end up here.
So the real question that’s blowing my mind is this: am I imagining the vibe, or does my iPhone have a mind of it’s own? Do I want so badly to be connected that my side feels phantom vibration to reassure me that I am?
My iPhone just vibrated. 11 new emails.
What will I be when I grow up? Well, it’s almost time for me to make a choice. When I think about where I am and where I’ll be in a year, 5 years, even 10, my mind does one of two things: shuts down or starts spinning with ideas.
My dad always told me I could be whatever I wanted to be, if I stuck my mind to it. And I’m starting to think he’s right. Why? Because he has done three major career changes in his life, one of which included a cross-country move.
The difficulty with career change and measuring it is it’s hard to define. Is it simply switching occupations, a promotion or changing career fields all together? In my dad’s case, it was the latter.
Dad started off as a caterer, then he opened his own restaurant with his mom in the 70′s. When Welcome Home (their restaurant) didn’t work out as some restaurants don’t (90% failure is a myth, fyi), he eventually wound up as a GM for Olive Garden and Bennigan’s.
I was born during his tour with Olive Garden, which moved us from Overland Park, KS to Tulsa, OK, where my sister was born. With two girls under four and my mom not yet back to work, his job was our families only source of income. When he got tired of 18-hour days and never seeing his family, he took a job as a newspaper carrier, working nights to spend the days with my sister and I, and so my mom could go back to work. He was, in essence, a stay-at-home dad (the definition of which, btw, is ever-changing). I think his presence in my life growing up is why we’re so close today, and I think it had a great influence on my confidence as I was growing up.
He did the newspaper thing for 15 years – and made a really good living at it. Then, when online newspapers started to take effect in 2002-2003, the distribution rates started to drop, and it became less prosperous. My sister and I helped on the weekends when we were growing up, and during the summers in high school, I would work 5 nights a week and got a great paycheck for it.
In 2005, my mom had the opportunity to transfer to a hospital outside of Orlando. We wouldn’t have the income from the paper route anymore, and we didn’t know what living in Florida would be like. But we did it. We all moved down here together, and dad started his company, Dream Cruise Vacations.
He is the only employee of Dream Cruise Vacations, but he has a couple other agents in different parts of the country that he works with. Since booking travel is a commission based business, the strength of the industry directly affects his income. Fortunately, even in times of great economic stress, people are still traveling – as he has been “in the weeds” (a restaurant term for really, really, really busy) since last year.
His days are long, and he works around the clock to keep up with the demand for cruise vacations, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. He lives for this. He spent 50 years in Kansas, where the summers are like being in a convection oven and the winters are similar to that in the Arctic Circle. He looks outside every day at his sparkling pool and the swaying palm trees and is thankful to be here.
I drove up to Orlando to stay with my parents for a bit during winter break and Dad said to my mom: “you know, I wondered today if this is what it was like when I was working 18-hour days at the restaurant and never saw you, and you were raising the girls on your own. And I just want to say I’m sorry, I had no idea how hard that could be.”
Have you changed careers? Is your degree relevant to your field? Did you go a completely different direction than you had planned to while you were in school?
Extra, extra, read all about it! Being obsessed with instant results is a part of being a card-holding member of Gen Y. Critics of Gen Y, including this guy say we’re too lazy, we’re spoiled, we have a tremendous sense of entitlement and that we’re too self-centered. Well, sure, I slept in until noon every day of my winter break, I treated myself to fine wine and new clothes when I should have been saving for spring semester, and I emailed my career mentor and asked her for Christmas present advice – does that make me a bad person? Maybe. But it’s unlikely. As someone recently told me, my “pros far outweigh my cons”. And to you sir, I say duh and thank you.
Not wanting to disappoint the critics, and staying true to the perceptions of Gen Y, I needed some instant gratification after realizing the results from killing myself on the treadmill won’t show up overnight. So while I wait for the calories to burn, I thought I’d give my blog a facelift.
I imagine like my hairstyle, this new blog theme won’t hold for long – but it’s way better than that basic WordPress default.
I’m off to my first class of spring semester. I’ll update everyone on what I decided to do about school after I get out of class, so sit tight – it’s coming.
How was your holiday season? Do you have a resolution? What do you think of the new look for Sydney On: PR & New Media?
Penelope Trunk made a good point on her blog earlier this morning. I commented, and my comment inspired me to elaborate on why Christmas at my “office” sucks.
I’ll tell you what I hate about Christmas at my “office” (read: restaurant). I hate that one of my coworkers says “Merry Christmas” to guests as they leave. I told her we should probably say “Happy Holidays” so we don’t offend anyone, and she said “well I didn’t get that memo, and I’m saying Merry Christmas”.
I hate that we’re tuned in to Sirius’ Christmas channel from the day after Thanksgiving on. I can only take so much of the carols. And the volume at which we project said music through the restaurant is at borderline obscene levels. Add to that my said coworker above loves to sing at the top of her lungs while making martinis for the regulars. It’s annoying.
More over, I hate the guilt that I feel, this year in particular, because I can’t afford to buy presents for people. Sorry, but I’d rather have a roof over my head and the electric paid. I’m a “starving” college student, I have maxed out all of my cards, I am living night to night on tips alone – I don’t have the money to get the stuff that you won’t buy for yourself.
Christmas at work would be better if we got bonuses. Then I could pay my Verizon bill on time. Christmas at work would be better if I didn’t work in a restaurant. Who wants to eat at a steakhouse on Christmas? Nobody – they’re all at home with their families, like I wish I could be as well.
Why do I hate Christmas at work? Maybe it’s because I come from a very loose Christian background. I was baptized Lutheran but I can count the number of times I’ve been to church on two hands – half of those times for funerals or weddings.
My dad’s parents were Jewish – but we don’t practice. We eat Matzo crackers and Matzo ball soup around Passover but that’s about the extent of our Jewish life. We practice when it’s convenient – say, when, we’re hungry for Matzo ball soup. That’s about as into it as we’ve ever gotten.
Personally, I wouldn’t mind working Christmas if I thought we’d bring in more money than it takes to keep the lights on in that place. When I was at Disney, I worked 12-15 hour days before and after Christmas – because those are the highest attendance days of the year. I got OT and Holiday pay – which brought me up from $7.53 an hour to like $10. Whoa.
My sister, for example, is still at Disney. She’s a PhotoPass coordinator for the resorts on property and will be in charge of six resorts tomorrow with no direct management to report to.
Our Christmas has never been traditional. We always did our own thing once we realized that getting together with everyone on my Dad’s side of the family sucked. Seriously, like 50 people packed into a clubhouse at somebody’s golf course or Aunt Paddy’s complex, cold food, old people – it wasn’t our scene. After my sophomore year of high school, we started taking vacations instead of putting up a tree.
My idea of what Christmas is differs drastically from those around me. My friends always have to pick their jaws up off the ground when I tell them my family doesn’t do presents.
Well, until this year. Now, because my sister is at Disney every day around Christmas, we’re doing presents again. We can’t get organized enough to do a vacation because of our schedules, so we’re doing our Christmas on Sunday, and going back to exchanging gifts. Read above paragraph for my thoughts on gifts.
What is the holiday season like for you and your family? Do you have a “traditional” holiday (whatever that means in your world) or has your family created their own traditions?