leave your mark, by aliza licht

leave your markI am a fan of Aliza Licht’s alter ego, DKNY PR Girl or @DKNY on Twitter, as well as a follower of her personal success. Through social media, I have come to be a supporter, so I bought and read her book, Leave Your Mark: Land Your Dream Job. Kill It In Your Career. Rock Social Media. In the midst of all of this, life happens and Saturday, sadly, Beau Biden passed away. He was only 46 years old. Prayers go out to his family.

Perspective can be a timely thing.

Licht’s book is an easy read, though it did take me a while to finish it. I am not just starting out in my career. And while I found the end of the book with social media tips and the anecdotal stories throughout the most interesting, I do think it’s geared towards those who are early on in their career. Here’s where I make the above connection in reference to Beau Biden… Life is short.

I did not know Beau Biden personally, but his passing at such a young age has truly made me think. I just finished Licht’s book, focused on how to have an amazing career and from what I’ve read, it seems like Licht really does, so she knows what she’s talking about. But the amount of time, effort, and energy she describes you need to invest in order to have an amazing career, is staggering. It leaves no time for anything else.

At one point in the book, she discusses the positive aspects of always checking work email, even while on vacation. It helps you stay connected and on top of your game even while you’re away. But I don’t want to stay connected and on top of my game while I’m on vacation. I want to have nonsensical conversations with my family about nothing. I want to browse in stores I will probably never be able to afford. I want to drink fruity drinks with umbrellas and ask the wait-staff how they managed to wind up in tropical paradise. To imply that you have to always be work ‘on’ is rather depressing to me and I think a bad message to send to those just starting out in their career.

I enjoy my day job. I would even argue that I’m quite successful as far as my career goes. But staying hyper focused on  your career to the neglect of other aspects of your life is not only sad but it’s wrong. I don’t know what the right work/life balance is. And maybe there are some who relish career first and everything else secondary. But while Licht’s book makes light of some of the situations she’s in, I would never want to be in a situation where I’m looking at a camp for my child but all I can focus on is what’s happening with work (actual book example). That’s called not being present.

We all get caught up in a busy work life. At times, we all bring it home and it’s hard to shake off the big project, the phone call, the meeting that happened that day. Speaking of work, the head of my group stated in no uncertain terms during a meeting last week that we all need to take vacation. Relax. Recharge. It makes you a better employee. It makes you more productive. It also makes you more well-rounded.

So much of Licht’s advice was sound and prudent and while she often states the obvious, there truly are some who may not know better–and for that, valuable lessons’ shared. However, I can’t imagine spending every waking moment focused on how my day-to-day routine and enjoyment of life will help get me where I want to be in my career. There has to be time for fun. There has to be time for naps. There has to be time to be present. Because whether you’re 46 like Beau Biden, or 106, life is short and personally, wishing I had spent more time working, even when it’s something I love, is not a regret I foresee having.

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wicked (the play)

wickedThere is good in Baltimore. There is culture and positivity. While that clearly has not been the focus the past week, it’s important people know that it does exist here. And while I’m not a Baltimore native, I hate for only the negativity to be highlighted when speaking about the city. So…

I was pretty sure I was the last person on the eastern seaboard who hadn’t seen the play Wicked. Therefore, a couple of weeks ago, when I saw that it was here in Bmore at the historic and restored Hippodrome, I had to take action. Years ago, I tried reading the book and got to about page 20 and gave up. However, I heard from friends and critics alike that the play was great and a must see–so I did.

In case you’re not familiar, Wicked is the story of the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz. Yes, it’s her side of the story and what a story it is. The tale of her parents marriage, how she was conceived, and ultimately how her father and society treated her because of her green skin is pretty tragic. She goes through a period where she is somewhat accepted by her peers at college but due to her principles, beliefs, and fight against the oppression of talking animals, she once again becomes an outcast–this time for good. Not only was her background surprising, but so was her relationship with Glinda, as was her love interest.

The production overall was done really well. The sets were creative and often down-right pretty. The acting, singing, and comedic timing were essentially flawless. Admittedly, I was surprised that there was so much humor in the play, but it worked.

It’s impossible not to see some of the parallels between the Wicked Witch of the West and some of the citizens of Baltimore: the racism, oppression, discrimination, etc. Of course, in the play everything is resolved after final act–if only it were that easy in real life.

When all is said and done, I liked it and I’m glad I finally got to see it. I love The Wizard of Oz and whenever I catch it on tv, I always find myself watching. I didn’t love it like so many before me, but I would recommend it–especially if you’re a fan of the The Wizard of Oz. Much like the city of Baltimore–give it a chance.