October started off with a bang. That seems to happen to me quite often though…going for a long time with nothing going on only to have several big ticket items practically tripping over each other. In this case, it was some of NYC’s finest offerings (for me at least).
I’m pretty sure that the severe delay in posting a recap of last month is all you need to know about how last month was. So here’s a very short, far less formal recap:
It’s my 3-year anniversary at my job, so here is some advice I have upon reflecting that passing of time. This draws from some of my own experiences, and from a few other friends in similar positions as I.
Be mindful of supportive, but neutral people.
There are certain people, maybe those in Talent Development (if your company has that) or maybe even HR, or just upper management that you’ll want to go to for advice. It’s important to remember that, while they seem and usually are supportive of you, often times they are also quite neutral, neither rooting for nor against you, per se. They aren’t out to get you…but they also aren’t on your side exactly either, so much as they are looking at the best interests of the company. No one at your place of work automatically is championing you, and no one is obligated to be, even if they agree to meet with you or offer some friendly advice in the moment. Which is why it’s so, so important to find people who are–allies, mentors, managers who you can speak to confidently and confidentially to assess things and seek advice from. Some times, HR just has so many people to deal with that they will feed you lines just to have something to say. They’ll make a lateral move seem like a good strategy because the company is too small and they don’t know what else to do when there’s no upward mobility and morale is low. This applies more if you’re in a less specialized area like management versus an artist or technical role. Know what is safe to include and leave out of conversations depending on who that person is and what role they occupy.
It sounds paranoid to tell you to be mindful or how much you share or think you can trust different people at your job just because they are polite and offer advice. You just really need to know who is in your corner. I’ve personally gotten too comfortable with the wrong people in the wrong situations and have had it negatively affect me, and a lot of the above are things I’ve heard from others in similar positions.
Listen to the older people in your department.
I’m lucky to work in a department who have people who used to work in 2D animation, way-back-when, at places like Disney. They’ve got the stories. That being said, they are also the ones whose advice I find most valuable. And when people who have been in the industry for 20 years (and much more) and seen it change so much, you listen. When someone who is 40 years old warns you that the opportunities that they thought would come to them after years of hard work never came to them, you take note. You see them now trying to make things for themselves, start asking for things, and you heed their advice sincerely when they say “don’t be me in 20 years.” It’s eye opening and humbling.
Perception is everything, unfortunately.
In so many aspects of life, image is what drives people. While we all wish life was a proper meritocracy, there’s a fair amount of bureaucracy to wade through. This is especially true when you’re at a smaller company. Word travels fast, whether or not it’s true. People who don’t know you at all will think they know you based on a one-sided 20 minute conversation. People will gather in rooms to discuss your future without your input, will misinterpret a comment you made, will make you feel uncomfortable with being yourself and open about your passions. You show interest in something not 100% related to your career path and suddenly you’re not committed. You’ll notice people who seem unaffected by these things, and others who the goalposts are constantly being moved around for. Regardless of intentions or future plans, it’s important to act the part. It’s disheartening when you are sincerely invested and it isn’t seen that way.
Side projects are important.
Even at the world’s greatest job you will have bad days. Even if you are working at your dream job or dream company you will have bad days. It can be dangerous, as an animation fan, to work in animation. It’s sort of like the idea of never meeting your idols. See get to see how the sausage gets made, but you may not be able to stomach the process at times. Which is why I think and am learning myself how important side projects are. That being said, depending on the type of side project you have, you want to keep it on lockdown, or else perception issues will likely arise.
But it’s important to remember that your job or career is not your life. It should not define you. I say that knowing fully well that that’s not even accurate, at least in the US. We do put a lot of emphasis on our identity being tied to our career (just start up a conversation with anyone at a bar or party and the first thing after name is “what do you do?”). You just need something else, be it an escape or the thing you really want to do. There’s nothing wrong with working a job you’re not as passionate about (but still perform well at) in order to support yourself in other ways.
I hope these don’t sound negative so much as honest, solid, and helpful.
It’s been crazy for me to realize that it’s already been so long that I’ve been at Blue Sky. The last five years of my life have not really felt like mine yet. My time at SVA feels like a blur, like I witnessed it through the eyes of a totally different person. And I don’t even mean that in an “I’ve changed so much you wouldn’t recognize me” sort of way so much as things kept happening so fast, things went from high highs to low lows so frequently that all I could really do was hold on and worry about processing it later. Still downloading…
This month has been one of the worst for my mental health in a while. I haven’t felt this bad since my second year at SVA when I wanted to fling myself from our 10th floor window. Things eventually..not turned around so much as just straight up changed for me, so here’s hoping that’ll be the case here again. Or maybe turn around. I’m open to any and all suggestions.
Books Read: 1 The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up is a cute addendum to Marie Konmari (yes, of KonMari fame)’s other books (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy). Where Spark Joy plus’d Magic with new, specific info, techniques and illustrations, Manga throws you into a corny yet cute scenario via comic-book form. It too provided additional diagrams for clothing folding that I used with all of my graphic t-shirts. It’s a cute book to check from a library, and if you’ve read Magic but maybe need a little more push to actually properly use the KonMari method. I still haven’t done the full shebang that she advises, just little ones (which she specifically advises against but what can ya do). I’ve in the middle of a few books right now so hopefully I will actually finish at least one soon. : P
Blog Posts Written: 5, all on this website. To be fair, one of them was a quote I post every August 1st to celebrate Digimon’s anniversary, so that wasn’t much of a post. I have soooo many in my drafts though. I had one to post on eclipse day and totally botched it. I have far too many drafts that I think all slightly overlap each other in small ways so I’m worried I will accidentally post the same sentiments like 4 times in a row. But I already do that so why do I care?
Videos/Projects: Hahahahaha no
At the Movies: It’s been a pretty slow month for movies, actually. I can’t even remember if I did go to the theater at all. I missed out on a screening of Patty Cake$ at work which I am SO bummed about, so I may have to track that down. I still haven’t watched Okja, refuse to watch the US Death Note adaptation. I watched The Defenders despite not actually watching any of the previous shows (Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Luke Cage, or Iron Fist) and I enjoyed it despite some glaring flaws and frustrations (read: Iron Fist is a FUCKING BRATTY CHILD). Oh, I watched The Incredible Jessica James starring Jessica Williams. It was a cute little film. I also finally saw Colossal. It was NOT what I expected, but I definitely enjoyed it.
Oh, Dunkirk. That’s like, the one film I saw in theaters recently. It was aight. Oh wait! Valerian too! It was not aight. It was anti-aight. It had soooo much potential but was soooo painful. If you’re interested in hearing my actual thoughts about these two films and a couple more, you can listen to this 26th episode of my friend’s podcast, Action Film Autopsy.
I also saw a 35mm print screening of Ralph Bakshi’s Wizards, which is as big and beautiful a mess as I remember when I first watched a very terrible quality bootleg of it a few years back.
Highlights: The eclipse was a thing that happened I guess? My bf said something surprising to me the night before the eclipse. We were talking about how the next one that we’d be able to ‘easily’ see is in Montreal in 2024, and he was saying how he was looking forward to the one in 2024 more than the 2017 one. He said that the unknowns in between then and now exciting him, especially since right now neither of us are where we want to be. But that future one brings hope. Maybe, he said, we’ll be in two different places for work and we’d have to meet up in Montreal. Will we be married already? The eclipse itself was frankly interesting for about 2 minutes, and then everyone at the studio headed inside. It was a fun little break, and about what you’d expect if you weren’t in the path of totality.
This month there were a few fun fan-anniversaries to celebrate. As I mentioned, August 1st is Digimon’s big holiday, and this month also marked the 20th anniversary of the first Harry Potter book being published. Yesterday, September 1st also marked the date in the final Harry Potter book where the epilogue takes place–19 years later!
In general though it was a quiet month. You can tell when the only Instagrams I posted were a Digimon quote and this one from the farmer’s market I finally visited! Cross that one off of my previous post of a list of things I still want to do this summer.
Next Month: This September already looks and feels like a fly-over month. The bf is gone for the first chunk of it, on a trip to visit family that I elected to stay behind on. So I guess it will be nice to have a bit of quiet time? But even typing that feels stupid as I can and do get quiet or alone time whenever I want when he’s around? Like. I’d be doing the exact same thing I’m doing right now if he was here. If anything, I’d have more time since he washes the dishes!!
The next month as well as October look like they’ll have a few days each where I go into NYC, which isn’t my favorite thing in the world. But cool stuff and people are there so I have to suck it up and be a human. Bummer. It’ll probably be good for me though. I hope September is good for me.