Sunday, May 18, 2014

Happy Anniversary: a tribute to goal setting

I'd like to start by saying that I am feeling INCREDIBLY grateful today. Exactly one year ago today, I graduated from Millersville University of Pennsylvania! To date I have never felt more accomplished or surrounded by love than when I heard all of my family screaming when my name was announced at commencement.


Graduating marked a turning point for me: professionally and personally. It was the impetus for a lot of wonderful changes in my life.

Today I wanted to take some time to review all the changes that have happened since I became a college graduate. Changes, I'd like to add, that were made possible through goal-setting.

Before Graduation

My post-graduate journey though goal-setting actually began about 2 months prior. In March, my boyfriend (Jared) was awarded a fantastic opportunity to open up a new branch of his organization in Miami. Our original post-graduation plan was for me to move in with him in NYC where he was currently working and where I actually had a job lined up.

However, we agreed this was an opportunity that he could not pass up. The question of whether or not I would join him was still the issue.

Without exaggeration, this was the hardest decision I ever had to make (complete with tears and sleepless nights). My dream had ALWAYS been to "make it" in NYC.

Thankfully circumstances changed, opportunities presented themselves, and in April we decided to commit to the move to the "Latin Manhattan" in September.

As a goal-driven person, my goals for the next few months were to (1) spend time with family before the move, (2) build my résumé to be more "hireable," (3) find a place to live in Miami, and (4) find a job before the end of the year, preferably in classical music.

May thru Early September

I affectionately call this period "the family months." Here is a list of all of the wonderful memories we made before the big move.
  • Immediately after graduation, my Mom, Dad, brother, and I went to last Vegas for a week. That was a crazy trip! Glad I remember so much of it ;)
  • We spent July 4th with my godfather - who we haven't seen in quite a while. We all had a great time reconnecting and reminiscing. 
  • In early July, we spent a week in OCMD with Jared's side of the family. I always enjoy spending time with his family, and this trip was particularly fun! To top it off, his baby sister Maria was born early into the trip!
  • After a weekend trip in mid-July to Miami to get to know neighborhoods, Jared and I found a stunning apartment to stay in for the first 6 weeks of our move. We still didn't know enough about the city to make an informed decision on a permanent apartment - but this was a great start! Goal #3 was part-way complete.
  • At the end of July, Jared and I spent a week in Wildwood, NJ with my entire family. I always love this week - it really brings us all close together.
  • In early August, Jared and I spent his birthday weekend in Boston. It was a romantic and adventure-filled weekend. Boston remains one of my favorite US cities.
  • Later in August, Jared's sister announced she was having a baby! (Note: he was born early this month and I can't wait to meet him next weekend!)
  • In mid-August we moved out of our Brooklyn apartment. Phew - that was an undertaking. Our few weeks of packing up our stuff and putting it into storage was complete with hilarious memories we won't soon forget. After this, I moved home for a month while Jared flew to Brazil for a business trip.
  • Finally, Jared and I said "goodbye" to our entire family at our going-away party.

Little Maria

As you can see, Goal #1 was accomplished... and then some. Words cannot express how grateful I am for the time I was able to spend with the people that are most important to me.

During all of this memory-making, I also applied for over a dozen positions, posted my résumé on countless job sites, volunteered for the production team of a few music industry conferences, maintained this blog, and took on many Graphic Design and Social Media clients (Goal #2 was off to a good start).

Unfortunately, no company wants to hire someone who currently lives a thousand miles away. I was eventually told to wait until after the move to apply for positions. Goal #4 would have to wait.

September 18 - Moving Day

Of course a simply trip on the Auto-Train wouldn't THAT easy. My 17-year-old car's battery died along the way, and we had to get our car jumped TWICE before making it to the Auto-Train in Virginia (and once again when we arrived in Florida). But even then, the hard work hadn't even started.

September 19 - October 24

Moving is freaking hard! In this 5-week period, Jared and I had quite the to-do list.

  • We had to find a PERMANENT place to live. As every one of our family members can attest, this wasn't easy at all (some neighborhoods in Miami are SKETCHY and many are way out of our price range!!). After a dozen apartment visits and countless hours on the Internet, we finally signed the lease for our current apartment in mid-October and moved in the first week of November. Goal #3 - DONE!
  • Jared needed to find a car. Miami is a commuter city, and one car was NOT going to cut it. Thankfully this was relatively quick and painless!
  • Car registrations, voter registrations, license applications, leases... I felt like there were a solid three weeks where our spare time was filled with paperwork!
  • Most importantly - I needed a freaking job! During this time frame, I applied for jobs daily and went on at least two interviews a week. However (as my generation can attest) finding your first real job in this economy is really, really hard.
    After several weeks of disappointment, I either had to (1) settle for a job I really didn't want or (2) find a different way to find a job. I chose option 2.

November 2013

I accepted a Marketing Internship position at the Florida Grand Opera. Originally I took the position to meet the professionals and learn the ins-and-outs of the industry I ultimately wanted to end up with. It turned out to offer so much more than that.

December 2013 - Present

At the end of 2013, I was offered a full-time, salaried position for a position that was made for me - Marketing & Development Associate. Goal #4 was complete!

My old "office"

Although we were able to celebrate this accomplishment over the Christmas holiday, the next few months were quite the whirlwind:

  • 30 opera performances
  • 15 donor events
  • Learning how to deal with Miami traffic
  • Experiencing the joys and convenience of a crock pot dinner
  • Half a dozen trips home to see family and friends
  • Friends getting engaged and married
  • Trying to learn Spanish
  • Babies being born (not ours, FYI!!)
  • The loss of a pet and the welcoming of a new one
  • Half a dozen art fairs corresponding business trips to those countries
  • Student loan payments
  • Researching the proper thread count for sheets
... the past 5 months really flew by! Boy... did we accomplish a lot!

I'd like to close this post by saying that, looking back on the past 12 months, it's really satisfying to look back and see all that we accomplished. I highly recommend you do the same!

Setting goals and following through with them has made the past year one of the best in my entire life. Can't wait to see what the next year brings!

Wishing you all the best with your goal fulfillment.

x Brittany

Monday, May 5, 2014

It's been a while...

Hello all - It's been quite a while since I've last written. Getting a new job in a new city can do that to you, I guess. Needless to say a lot of time has gone by since I've written a good, ol' fashioned blog post.

It seems only fitting that the topic I want to examine today is time...

Out of all of the resources we as a society have at our disposal, the only truly irreplaceable one is time. Those 4 seconds you took to read that sentence are gone, and they'll never be back.

Why then, in our modern society which has recently shifted its attention to the preservation of our natural resources, are we creating a new generation of expert time-wasters? 

We are completely inundated with technology that has made passing-time a multi-billion dollar industry. Technology which, I might add, that is training our brains to become lazy and inefficient. Yes... smart people are making fortunes off of technology that makes people stupid.

"Watchathon" and "binge-viewing" are common ways to pass time nowadays. I mean, who HASN'T measured units of time in episodes before? Netflix and Comcast's On-Demand survive off of this method of marathon-viewing. However, binge-watching an entire series of House of Cards (no matter how awesome this show may be) is little more than an entertaining way of letting your life pass by.

On a related note... we've become a generation of multi-taskers. We check-in to every new location we go to, we tweet while we watch The Grammys, we take pictures of all of our meals to post on Instagram... the list goes on. While this skill can oftentimes be an asset, constant multi-tasking causes us to be constantly absent from the present moment. Our phones (filled with their games, apps, and other enticing features) have become extensions of our experiences.

However every moment we stare at that pretty display, that's time we lose from truly engaging in the moment... and then some. At the most basic level, multitasking even two minimally engaging activities (like surfing the web and watching television or taking photos while cooking a meal) leads one to be additionally inefficient at both activities. Texting while driving is illegal for a reason, right?

A fascinating article I read states:

...multitasking is a misnomer. In most situations, the person juggling e-mail, text messaging, Facebook and a meeting is really doing something called “rapid toggling between tasks,” and is engaged in constant context switching... the distraction of an interruption, combined with the brain drain of preparing for that interruption, made our test takers 20 percent dumber. That’s enough to turn a B-minus student (80 percent) into a failure (62 percent).

KISS: Keep it simple, silly. Dedicate your mind to really engaging in one specific task. Think of your life in terms of experiences rather than actions. You'll most likely accomplish your task more quickly, completely, and effectively than before... and you'll probably have more fun doing it!

When all is said and done... all of this time we're spending plugged-in and tuned-out detracts from your ability to create the only reasonable substitute for lost time: memories. Our constant distractions and endless routine of comfort-seeking can be crippling, causing us to miss some life-enhancing opportunities. Although there is no such thing as a "time refund," by creating memorable experiences, we are able to relive our most meaningful moments indefinitely.

This video I saw today really drives this point home:

Finally, and most simply, those 6 hours in front of the television or on your phone most certainly could have been put to better use. Let me clarify that I am NOT saying that TV, apps, games, etc. are evil. Not at all! They are a great way to relax and enjoy yourself. Like a cold beer after a long day's work, sometimes you need that. But remember to treat it like a treat! We don't account for beer in our daily diets - it's an added bonus! Why should we account for time-wasters in our daily schedules?

All I am trying to accomplish with this blog post is that I think we should start making conscious decisions when it comes to our minds and how we are treating them. We've become so conscious of treating our bodies well, but we've become so lazy with our minds. It's time to become more mindful of our minds.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Mourning Becomes Electra

I admit - I dropped the ball.  As you can all see by the time stamps on these posts, I have neglected "Breaking the Business" for over 2 months while transitioning from life in the North East to our new Miami home.

Between traveling down here, finding an apartment, buying a car, searching for a job, continuing my Cyber PR work, and TRYING to establish a new daily routine, this blog really just fell by the wayside.  Despite the fact that I am still trying to balance working two jobs, I am ready to restart this blog!

On Sunday the 17th, I was lucky enough to enjoy Florida Grand Opera's production of Marvin David Levy's Mourning Becomes Electra.  Based on Eugene O'Neill's play of the same name, Mourning has its roots in the ancient Greek play Oresteia by Aeschylus.

Filled with passion, betrayal, Freudian psychology (i.e. incest), suicide, and murder; Mourning Becomes Electra follows the Mannon family as they struggle (unsuccessfully) to escape their terrible fate.  Needless to say, I didn't leave the theater wanting to frolic through a field of flowers.

And then there's the music.

This through-composed opera unfolds like a theatrical symphony.  With only one aria in the entire piece, I was in awe of the complex interplay between the orchestra and the vocalists.

Beautifully and skillfully composed by Levy, this piece is the epitome of contemporary dramatic opera. Bursts of atonality and disjointed melody lines were brilliantly offset by hints of heart-wrenchingly sweet motifs and romantic phrases, such as the one here: (copyright 2013, Florida Grand Opera)

However this opera is not "beautiful" by any traditional definition of the word.  While the duets, trios, and quartets were undeniably dramatic and affective, the dissonant harmonies and lack of "sing-able" melodies have left some audience members with a bad taste in their mouths.

Negative comments include:

If you notice, all of these complaints are about the content itself (as opposed to poor voices or acting).

So I need to ask: what defines a great opera?
More importantly, what do YOU hope to see in an opera production?