Tag Archives: career

“Timing…” A guest lesson by MaRae Fleming.

Often times, we get caught up in planning our lives out.  There is nothing wrong with planning and figuring out what we want to do with out lives, but when it begins to consume us, that is when it creates a serious problem.

For a longtime I just felt stuck. No matter what I tried to do, it just seemed like I wasn’t making any progress. I was planning my life out like crazy but nothing was happening. I was at a complete standstill and it was the most frustrating thing ever. One day I had just started writing in a new journal and for me it symbolized a fresh start. I wrote an open letter to God fully surrendering everything to him. From that moment my situation changed.

You can’t expect God to fix your situation when you’re still trying to control it. Sometimes God puts you in certain places to get you where He wants you to be. You are exactly where you’re supposed to be right now. Stop trying to rush your process! Everything happens when it is supposed to.

Timing is everything.

-Lesson by MaRae Fleming-

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MaRae Fleming is a sassy and fabulous young woman making her own path on the world while pursuing her dreams!  She is a college student, blogger, and lover of all things fabulous. You can catch her sharing about fashion, natural hair, and her journey through life on her blog The Always Fabulous.

Lesson #363: You can’t make them understand.

7/19/15.

Wait.

I can explain.

I swear this is not as angsty as it sounds.

As you all may know, I’m in Los Angeles for the summer with 20 other students. I have an internship that I love in which I work from 9am to 6pm—give or take—four days a week. Tack on an hour before and after those times to factor my the traffic-heavy commute, and that’s an eleven hour day. The one weekday I don’t have my internship, I’m in two entertainment industry classes for a total of six hours of my day. We have a homework assignment and mini-project for the classes each week. Weekends are “free,” but they’re packed with adventure, considering we’re only here for two months.

Welcome to my life in California.

I like to have fun, and I want to make memories. But as you may have sensed in previous lessons,

I like to keep busy.

My to-do list is constantly growing and growing, I’m constantly up to a million things, and I’m always on the go.

The trip is quickly coming to an end, and there are so many “real life” things I need to complete before my time on the west coast is over.

Let me fill you in on how my list is looking.

I need to complete a final project that consists of putting together a verbal and visual television series pitch, start an original screenplay that’s due before the first day of my final video production class at the end of August, finish the editing of a wedding video that I shot over a month ago in June, film and edit two fun and informative videos for my internship that I planned on making before I leave E! (that are not required… I’m just an overachiever), organize additional research that I put together prior to the start of my internship into something presentable and feasible, edit together clips of my LA adventures for my YouTube series (which is currently just not happening), plan and edit a book trailer for a close friend and client, and stay on top of this blog just days before it’s over.

My head is actually spinning.

Sometimes I don’t know where to start. Like Andy advised, my plan has been to work deadline to deadline.

But what are you supposed to do when your deadlines are all at the same time—and there’s 4 or 5 of them to meet?

On top of the stress coming from myself and the looming projects I’ve created,

there’s the stress coming from others—whether they mean to induce it or not.

I am truly struggling with the balance to make this experience the best that it can be (though it already has been—no doubt in my mind), and being productive.

What makes this to-do list more stressful than any other I’ve had before, is that in one way or another, my future depends on the success of a lot of the items.

Most of my life questions in the past month have gone like this:

Stay in on this beautiful Friday night to write a blog post and work on whatever which project?

Or go out on the town and have the time of my life?

Like I said, I’ve been having an absolute ball why I’m out here. I never pass up the super big opportunities, but it’s the little ones here and there that add up to make me feel guilty and a little bit sad sometimes.

One thing that I pride myself on, is that give everything I do 100%. Ask anyone who knows me: I’ll stay up until 5am to get something exactly the way I want it. In one lesson a while back, Chiquita mentioned that whenever we put our name on something—we put our stamp of excellence on it. And I live by that. I move slower because of my attention to detail, and I am self conscious about that a lot of the times. People tell me that my work ethic is good, and other people tell me that my work ethic bad—but I don’t need anyone to tell me that I know it’s both.

I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember, walking through my life with my hands full at all times. My friends are usually supportive and encouraging, and many understand. But at the same time, I’m definitely not a stranger to shady looks and judgement from people (even those who are close) who don’t understand why I am the way am, and the amount of work it takes to constantly be creating.

You work too hard. You do too much. Why don’t you just go to bed? Why don’t you do it a different time? Why do you do it at all? Why don’t you just go out and have a good time for once? Why do you never go with us?

I know that I need sleep. I know that I should have fun. I know that I am only skin and bones, and that I’m human, and that I have limitations. I know that to a certain degree, these people are definitely right.

But I do know that how I feel and the passion for the things I take on are right, too.

On Tuesday, I met up with a new friend, Mojan.

She is a wonderful and beautiful person, making it on her own in LA. She did the same program two years ago as I’m doing now. After Mojan finished her internship at Fox that summer, she immediately knew she wanted to move to Los Angeles. Upon returning to her junior year of college, she took double the classes, talked her way into getting the right signatures, graduated a year early, and moved to California. She’s now an Executive Assistant at ABC, as well as an actor, model, and singer.

I saw so much of myself in her that it was scary. Every piece of advice she was giving me related directly to every thought and concern that I’m having in my life right about now.

One of the very first things she told me was this.

“People wont understand, and you don’t have to make them. It’s not your job, and you shouldn’t have to.”

Mojan told me that when she went back to school after that summer—and even when she returned home after moving to California—many people questioned her career choice, her career path, and how she was going about all of it. They didn’t get the long hours, and the instability of it all, and the fact that you have to work your way up without knowing what’s next in order to get to where you want to be.

I’ve always felt a little surge of frustration upon hearing things like this too—even on my small scale of staying in to finish a project and constantly having to hear about it.

Although I understood the exact feeling of frustration that she was talking about, it was one of those things where I didn’t really realize how much it bothered me until someone else pinpointed exactly how I was feeling.

You know you aren’t crazy, because someone else has felt it too.

I thought that one day—especially in LA—it would magically become clear to me.

I thought that all of a sudden, I would be able to discern between when it’s the right time to have fun, and when it’s the right time to be productive.

But it’s not that easy, because nothing ever is.

I don’t think it ever will be.

But from what I’ve learned, from what I’ve experienced, and by the Grace of God—

something has become a little bit clearer to me.

Here’s what I know.

Believe in yourself and in what you do, and never stop.

It’s not going to be easy.

And you yourself are going to want to quit at times.

But just know that in the end—

if this is what you want, and if this is ultimately what brings you joy—

the blood, sweat, and tears (I know about this one) are so, so worth it.

And you’re the only one who needs to understand that.

Day 363.

Lesson #362: The tale of a perfectionist’s nightmare.

7/17/15.

As a detail-oriented perfectionist, I bring this news to you with a heavy heart.

You don’t have to get it perfect the first time around.

At my internship, a good percentage of my time goes into transcribing interviews.

Word for word, we write down exactly what the interviewer and interviewee are saying in the video. It helps when a producer can quickly scan over a log to decide which pieces of the interview they want for a story, rather than having to watch and listen to minutes and minutes of footage.

Keep in mind that these interviews are usually ten or fifteen minutes; sometimes thirty minutes to an hour.

This whole time, my strategy was to listen to each sentence, write down exactly what they were saying, and then move on to the next one.

The two other interns I work with were finishing much quicker than I was. I was disheartened and confused as to why it was taking me longer. I quietly chugged along, my fingers quickly flying over the keyboard.

Today, I decided I didn’t want to feel that way anymore.

I wanted to know what I was doing differently, so I asked.

Another intern named Sarah told me the method to her madness:

Do now, fix later.

She would press play, write as much as she could, pause it, and then do that all over again until she reached a break in the questions and answers. She wouldn’t look back at the section until the end, then she would go back and add missing words and take out wrong ones and fix misspellings.

What.

Why hadn’t I been doing that all along?

I was so intent on getting it perfect the first time in order to dodge having to go back and fix a mess that I kind of made a mess anyway.

Or at least—I made a mess of myself.

The truth is, you waste your sweet time by walking on egg shells, correcting everything gone astray, and avoiding making a mess.

Because let’s be real.

You’re going to make a mistake, regardless.

Today I learned that sometimes you have to let things go wrong before they go right.

And while I bring you this news with a heavy heart,

I also bring it to you with a huge sigh of relief.

Make a mess.

You’re going to do it anyway.

Day 362.

Lesson #360: Bad day blues?

7/15/15.

Remember this day?

I lied.

It gets worse.

The night after I got less than two hours of sleep, I stayed an hour and a half late at my internship finishing up work. Exhausted and ready to go home, I was forced to confront one of my worst fears: being stuck on an elevator. First in complete disbelief and then in complete panic, I called my mom to  tell her my final goodbye and that I love her. Finally, security answered my emergency call.

Turns out I wasn’t stuck. Interns just aren’t allowed to be there that late and my badge stopped working.

It was the best.

I walked past the man at the front desk with my head hung in embarrassment. I was the real life Damien from Mean Girls. (“Don’t look at me.”) I got in my car only to be reminded by the bright orange light on my dashboard that I had no gas.

By the time I got to the gas station, I was sobbing on the phone to my parents like a five year old. I felt out of place at stoplights and intersections, in a business blazer much like the other people making their way home.

Except I was 20. And crying.

Thinking about it now, I realized even though it absolutely sucked and all I wanted to do was sleep when I got home, nothing about it was too too bad.

I wasn’t hurt, I didn’t lose anything, and no real damage was done.

I don’t really know what I learned today.

But I was thinking about how long I’ve been writing this blog, and how many bad days I’ve had, and how you’ve had to hear me talk about all them—because whatever it was was happening in my life at the time.

And that’s just it.

It is what was happening… at the time.

Bad days happen.

They happen, and they keep happening, and they will happen until the end of our time.

It’s what was happening at the time.

It’s strange—because there’s so much power in that statement.

What’s happening “at the time” can consume our lives.

It’s what we know in those moments and days, and sometimes it’s hard to think outside of that.

So let it.

Like my very first lesson, use bad days as an excuse. (I mean… this blog was a product of a bad day and it turned out pretty okay, right?)

It the perfect reason to ugly cry, scream a little, give up momentarly—

and then reset.

And that’s the best part of it all.

Sometimes we need to crash and burn to rise again.

Day 360.

Lesson #359: Don’t you, forget about me.

7/14/15.

Another day, another lesson.

But it’s Tuesday—so you know what that means:

Some amazing, motivational, inspirational life and career advice.

Today in class, an amazing couple named Erin and Soon Hee Retting came to speak with us. Erin is a film editor for 20th Century Fox (he’s edited productions such as X-Men: Days of Futures Past and Fantastic Four…wow), while Erin is a producer and composer.

Let’s jump right in, shall we?

Here are 10 things I learned from this awesome duo.

1. Always take time to know and understand your Plan B.

Have a Plan B.

Why?

Because on your way to Plan A, you’ll always come across your Plan B.

When class began, Erin took a student’s laptop in the first row and held it up. The very first thing he asked all of us?

“What would happen if your computer died right now?”

Everyone shuttered at the thought.

“If my computer died, I would die,” Shelby, one of my friends and peers, responded.

Erin told us that in one of his first and earliest films, by the time he went to turn in the master track, the dialogue was off by two seconds. Luckily, he had everything backed up on disks. And if he didn’t… well… you get the picture.

So what’s your Plan B?

On your way to the top, you may have to use it.

2. It’s a waiting game.

Much like Ross from Glee, it took Erin one year, four months, and four interviews to get the job he has with Fox. So don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.

3. Interviews are fun.

Says no one ever. But they can be. Think of your next interview or interviews as a series of conversations. Be yourself. Chat it up. It’s like getting coffee with an old friend except for the fact that you just met but whatever. Let them get to know the real you. You obviously have the skills to be there. Now just prove them right.

4. It’s going to take time.

And it’s going to take a lot of it.

Things always tend to take a LOT longer than you originally thought they would,

especially if you want them to be great.

5. It takes a village.

You can do it alone, but you don’t have to.

6. Keep in mind who you are giving your work to.

Make it memorable. Make it relatable. Make it good.

Speaking of good…

7. Do good at every job you do.

Even getting coffee. Seriously.

If a coffee comes back sloppy they’ll think: “Are they sloppy in the rest of their work?”

When you make it easier for the next person, they’re going to remember you. When they need someone or something in the future, they’re going to remember you.

Be organized, be professional, and have that Plan B ready.

Everything is connected.

Every task matters.

Everyone notices.

8. A, B, C. It’s easy as 1, 2… caring.

Build relationships. Never ever ever just network. Erin said the people he can remember every time are the ones who showed they really cared. Not the ones who are necessarily great at what they do—but the ones who just wanted to learn more. An intern he worked with used to stay 10 or 15 minutes after her paid shift and ask, “Can I see what you do?” She watched what he did because she wanted to know more, and she was the one he called when a friend asked if he knew someone for the job. It’s as easy as showing you care about someone, and that you care about what you do.

9. You’re only as good as your last job.

So again, make it great.

You won’t get it perfect every time,

but if you work your ass off like this is the last thing you’ll ever do—

your work will show for it.

10. The number one thing Erin wish he knew:

Keep in touch.

It’s okay to call someone you know or admire, ask them for a little bit of their time, and thank them for speaking with you. Tell them your desires, your goals, and what you want to do. Ask for advice, and take it.

But the key?

Call again.

Send a birthday card, or a quick message saying Hello or Happy Holidays. Stay on their radar, always.

Don’t expect someone to remember you after the first time. In fact, Soon Hee told us on average it takes up to seven times for someone to remember you after the first encounter. They might even forget about you after the first twenty minutes. But keep yourself in their loop, and place them in yours.

I was actually talking to Frannie, my LA roommate, about this the other day.

I shared with her one of my all-time favorite quotes, and now I’ll share it with you.

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This may not be The Breakfast Club,

but much like Erin and Soon Hee taught us today—

don’t let them forget about you.

Day 359.

Lesson #354: Staying late.

7/9/15.

Today’s lesson is about after hours,

but in no way, shape, or form is it hot or sexy or steamy.

I stayed at my internship an hour late today to finish up work after I was asked to do a few more things.

I usually really don’t mind.

But this time the sun was setting, and there was a total of four of us left in the office.

I was exhausted, I had a prior commitment that I had to push back, and after a really long day I just wanted to go home.

But as soon as I felt those thoughts starting to come on, I stopped and reminded myself how absolutely lucky I am to have this internship. I reminded myself how opportunities like this only happen once, and how someone needed me. I remembered that everything I do or touch, or everything I don’t do or don’t touch, has an effect on the final outcome. I remembered what I was here for, and that I was chosen to be here. So I sucked it up. I wouldn’t let them down.

As walked across the room to take something somewhere, one of the producers I was working with noticed and stopped me.

“How long are you supposed to be here for?” he asked.

“Until six,” I said. “I’m staying late today.”

The corners of his mouth flipped into a smile.

“That’s how you get ahead,” he said. “That’ll set you apart.”

I’ve always thought it was a myth—the whole idea of staying late and looking good for it. I’ve always thought, “Couldn’t anyone do that to look good?”

But tonight didn’t provide me with some huge realization that it’s not myth, or that in order to be great you have to stay behind.

It just made me realize that people are always watching. People are always noticing.

And that’s nice.

Scary,

but nice.

The real lesson?

Always do your best,

and do what has to be done.

Even if that means staying late every once in a while.

Day 354.

Lesson #348: Loving and living.

7/3/15.

It’s a wonderful thing when someone tells us exactly what we need to hear when we don’t even realize we need to hear it.

Tonight a great person told me something very important.

Focusing on one thing at a time is the best thing we can do for ourselves.

Put your full attention on that, relish in whatever you’re doing, and when you finish—put your heart and soul into the next thing.

Life is too short to spread yourself thin.

Put love into everything you do, but don’t forget to live.

Day 348.