All posts tagged: Work

A Few Things I Learned as a Freelancer

Until very recently I was a part of the “gig economy,” along with millions of Americans in my age group. The experience was exciting, but if I’m being completely honest it was also terrifying. The stress of finding work – consistent work – and being able to earn a living wage is something I could write an entire essay on. For now, however, there are plenty of other great articles out there on this subject already (including Why Freelancers Are So Depressed by Anya Kamentez). Instead, I want to share some of the healthy habits I cultivated while leading an on-again-off-again work life. Being a freelancer can be fun and rewarding, but also exhausting, depressing, and isolating. Because my work was inconsistent, when I wasn’t on a gig I often found myself feeling unmotivated, frustrated, and lonely. In order to overcome that hurdle, I needed to create positive habits, which I wish I would have realized earlier. So for the days when you don’t have a gig, or if you work freelance from home, here’s my …

Surviving Stress & Other Things: The Election, DAPL, & Grad School

Lately I’ve been so busy with school that I’ve completely neglected this blog, as well as many other aspects of my life. So to jump back into it (because I may finally have a bit more free time) here are a few things that have recently been on my mind: The election → With the U.S. presidential election just three days away, I am scared. My friends and family are scared, and a large portion of the country and world is too. What if donald trump* becomes our next president? What then? I truly believe that with trump in the White House, the future of our country is at stake. I won’t feel comfortable, let alone safe, with an inexperienced, fragile, and hateful racist/sexist/xenophobic billionaire running our country. I am so exhausted by this entire election that there’s not much more I can say here other than, please vote. Please vote for Hillary Clinton. Whether you like her or not, she’s our only viable option (see: 25 Reasons Why I’m With Her). By not voting for Clinton, you’re allowing trump the possibility of …

Getting Lucky

I used to work for a person who was a total jerk but gave me some sound career and life advice: You create your own luck. While there are numerous factors which may impede both our daily and long-term pursuits (race, gender, class, disability, etc.), we can always be our best selves. As someone who is motivated, though often scared of truly putting myself out there, sometimes I seem to get in the way of my own potential. I second guess my ability and worry about what people may think of me or my work, and as a result, I usually play it safe. But if you pay attention to many of those with successful careers who weren’t born with immense privilege (Queen Oprah comes to mind), at one point – or more like many – they put it all on the line. They certainly got lucky when making their way to the top, but they had to work hard to get lucky. What is required of someone who creates their own luck? They’re assertive, confident, and driven. They are unflappable and unafraid …

Millennials & the Age of Social Media

For the first time in U.S. history it’s been predicted that the current crop of young-adults (also known as Generation Y or Millennials) won’t be more successful than their parents. As a middle class millennial gal, this information is especially concerning for myself and my peers. Isn’t doing as well as our parents (if not better) the epitome of the middle class, American dream? Our grandparents worked hard to give their children more than they had, and our parents went on to do the same. Some consider millennials to be a notorious group of entitled jerks (and many of us are), but I can’t help but feel affected by more complicated issues than generational narcissism, like the current demands of the economy, our broken education system, and the consumer-driven values of society at large. I also feel that the internet has propelled us into a bunch of “chronic comparers.” Though oftentimes unknowingly, we are constantly comparing ourselves to the online facades of others. Just one look at an Instagram feed and you can see images of your peers attending Harvard or vacationing in Hawaii. Online, everyone (including you and me) is …

Embracing Failure

When I first started this blog (once upon a time called juliavanvalkenburg.com, ha!) I wrote a post about embracing failure and why making mistakes is essential to our personal growth and discovery. That post was deleted during an overhaul not long ago, but I decided that it was a topic worth revisiting. What is failure, anyway? When I first wrote about failure, my approach to the topic was far less nuanced. Now, I no longer subscribe to using that word. Beyond getting an F on a paper or exam, can someone even objectively fail? We don’t fail, but we certainly mess up. We realize something isn’t right for us and we move on. We react. We make a mistake and respond by shifting our approach or perspective. We hopefully make decisions that are better for ourselves and others as a result of our mishaps. This isn’t failure, this is growing. So when I do use the word failure, I don’t mean it in the objective, pass or fail, hyper-success-driven American way of thinking. I mean hitting a wall and realizing there’s another path around it. …

Ways to Break Out of a Creative Rut

This was originally posted last February, but I’m back in a creative rut and I thought it was the perfect time to revisit it and try to take my own advice! Please share your tips and tricks for getting out of a funk in the comment section below.  * * * I’m in a creative rut. So what do I want to talk about? Tips for getting out of a rut, because I know what I have to do. Take a few days to focus on yourself… I’m a huge fan of “mental health days” – but if you don’t have paid sick days or are simply too busy at work to have the opportunity to take time off, be sure to do little things for yourself throughout the day. Buy a cappuccino from your favorite coffee shop, go for a walk during your lunch break, cook your favorite healthy dinner, and make sure to start that TV show you’ve been meaning to watch for months. Relax and take a few naps… When you’re not at work, take it easy. Sometimes the weekends are …

Happy Labor Day (But What’s it Really All About?)

Happy Labor Day! But what’s it really all about? Labor Day takes place on the first Monday in September. It’s a celebration of the social and economic achievements of the American labor movement. The first Labor Day was held in New York City in 1882 by the Central Labor Union. Over 10,000 people marched in solidarity as “a day of the people.” Oregon became the first state to officially declare Labor Day a holiday in 1887. Following the deaths of 30 workers and injuries of 57 at the hands of the U.S. military during the Pullman Strike of 1894, Congress unanimously voted to approve legislation that made Labor Day a national holiday. In Canada Labour Day also takes place on September 1st, and in many other countries a similar holiday takes place on May 1st.

Women in Media

As a woman in hopes of someday working in the film or TV industry, women and media (both their roles within the story-world and behind the camera) have interested me for many years. Now that I’ve graduated, it has become even more important. As I continue to read about film, TV, and upcoming premieres, I can’t help but notice that women are completely underrepresented. Every movie I’m looking forward to seeing this fall is about men, starring men, written by men, and directed by men. And most TV shows follow suit. What’s unfortunate is that women are outnumbered in significant roles both on-screen and off, from the make-up chairs to the editing suits. Though there are amazingly talented women within the industry, the playing field is far from equal. Consider this: Ever since the 1970s, the gap between how many women attend college in the US and how many men do has continued to grow in favor of the women. But despite the fact that more women pursue higher education than their male counterparts, we have yet …

Lessons Learned: Post-Graduation

This past spring I was swamped. I had two jobs, an internship, and a full course-load. I was also trying to finish my thesis project and last semester of my undergraduate career. Now that I’m maybe 1/1000th as busy as I was then, I don’t even know how I made it through. College was a lot of fun, but I was running on an empty tank for the last two years and was happy to finally get to re-fuel. That was a seriously dorky analogy, but exactly how I felt. In the midst of the most stressful year of my life, I sat down and thought about the lessons of college – specifically my last year. I wrote them down and ended up with a pretty intense list. Now that I’ve graduated I have a few more thoughts. LESSONS FROM UNDERGRAD (IN PARTICULAR, SENIOR YEAR) Know who you are. Know your self worth. You are stronger than you think. People will always doubt you. At least a handful, if not more. You doubt others too. …