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Welcome To The Real World, Dori

In August 2007, I found my dream job.  Or, more accurately, my dream job found me. It was totally unexpected; through a friend who had a coworker who knew someone else, I learned that there was a position available doing internal corporate communications at Merrill Lynch, in the Human Resources Communications group. The timing could not have been better — this was exactly what I needed at exactly this time.

From day 1 — scratch that, from the day of my interview — I loved it there.

I left my interview giddy. Even though my morning started out stressful — I had never, until that time, even heard of the World Financial Center, much less knew how to find it from Fulton Street — I was smiling with excitement as I met up with my roommate to hand her my suit jacket after the interview.

I don’t usually leave interviews feeling this type of joy. But I knew this interview, this job, was different. I knew it was it.

And it was.

While I loved my first job as an email and internet copywriter at Doubleday Entertainment — I was surrounded by fun people my age and we always went to happy hour and ate lunch in the break room together — this position at Merrill Lynch was the career. I had a Masters degree in Corporate Communication, and I focused specifically on internal communications within large organizations. This was my dream job.

After my first few weeks there, I realized that I did not feel that old dread on Sunday nights. I actually looked forward to going to work on Monday morning. Of course I preferred the weekends, but that sick Sunday feeling so many of us know was simply not there. I loved my team; I loved my work. I was learning so much and doing so much. I felt like I was home. I decided, at the ripe old age of 24, that I would like to retire there.

On a mid-September day in 2008, when Lehman was suddenly no more and Merrill was coming close to the same fate, the news on that Sunday evening that Bank of America bought my beloved company hit me hard. I knew, right then, that my fairy tale was over.

The changes at work were almost immediate. The head of my team took a new job. The rest of us slowly dismantled, becoming submerged into different groups within the Bank. That’s what we called it; either “the Bank” or “BAC.” And my job changed.

Even though from the surface I had a pretty sweet deal with the Bank — I worked from home, took Core Fusion classes and went out on runs when I felt like it — I was becoming increasingly unhappy and frustrated. My work, which was so engaging and challenging and fun at Merrill Lynch had become tedious and boring. I was no longer doing corporate communications. I was just updating a website, sometimes in Japanese (an annoying venture when you don’t know Japanese), having huge conference calls late at night before Memorial Day (where it is not a holiday in Japan), with practically no support. I had never met my new boss or anyone on my team, who lived in North Carolina, Tennessee and who knows where else. Needless to say, it was not fun.

Also, I was bitter about what happened and I blamed the Bank — even though without that buyout, I likely would have been out a job altogether. But I missed what used to be. And this was not it.

So when a new opportunity basically fell in my lap last fall, I took it. It wasn’t an easy decision, but because it involved social media it seemed like a step in the right direction, and I wanted out. But it wasn’t right. And once again I found myself unhappy. Not only unhappy, but questioning my decision in the first place. Did I really have it *that* bad at the Bank? Isn’t working from home and essentially making my own hours something I was lucky to have? I got to work out at any time! Take all my favorite instructors! Run!

But of course it is easy to look back and forget just how bad it was. Why is that? In some ways being able to forget pain is a great thing (from what I hear re: childbirth), but I think I would feel more secure if I didn’t look back on every aspect of my life with the fondest of memories. Everyone who knows me can remember how miserable I was. But suddenly, there I was again. Not feeling good in my career. Not sure if I made the right choice.

But less than a year later, something totally unexpected found me. Once again I found myself leaving an interview excited. And then somehow, suddenly, I had a job offer. And given the shift in my interests and career goals since my days at Merrill Lynch, this new offer was an entirely different dream job — but a dream job nonetheless.

When I got my Merrill Lynch offer I accepted it right away, on the spot. But my life and my interests and my goals are nothing like what they were in the summer of 2007.

Before I could accept, I had to really think about what my life has become over this past year, because it has drastically changed as a result of my blog, my NBC New York column and my overall interest in fitness.  Accepting this position would mean longer hours. It would also mean a longer commute to a different state. It would mean being less accessible during the day. My days of 6 pm exercise classes would be over. And, depending on the needs of my fro, my AM classes would be as well.

Dori jewfro 1 Dori jewfro 2
[My fro]

And then of course there is NYC Marathon training — something that won’t last past November, but still, a massive, time-consuming part of my life right now — especially given all my fears.

The challenge will be finding that balance. Yes, I know it is the same balance many of you search for, or work towards, or want to find or already found. Welcome to the real world, Dori, everyone has been saying. I know. Time to grow up.

This opportunity is amazing. Turning it down was not even a consideration; rather, figuring out how I will balance everything before accepting was something I needed to do for my own peace of mind. Especially given that I already feel spread thin.

Here are my plans for balancing my new job with fitness and writing:

  • Cut NBC New York GO Healthy NY column from every week to every other week
  • Take lots of new classes before job begins so I am not struggling to fit in new classes while marathon training
  • Maybe* write some NBC New York posts ahead of time, although I am a procrastinator and work best under pressure
  • Wake up at 5:00 am every day — not just designated exercise and writing days — to get extra writing/apartment cleaning/anything else done. Accept that I am a morning person and will never, ever be productive at night. So quit trying.
  • Longer morning runs will require a 4:30 am wake-up — or earlier
  • Embrace the world of 7:30 and 8:00 pm Refine Method and Core Fusion classes — just because it is dark outside does not mean it is bedtime
  • Quit being a baby about getting home after 9:00 pm in the winter. Deal with it!
  • Take more rest days, and know that this is not only OK, but necessary — especially given my new late home arrival times
  • Be flexible. Accept not being able to do everything all the time.

*10 bucks says that doesn’t happen

And then I need to balance the rest: relaxing and resting (I HIGHLY value my time spent doing nothing), watching Childrens Hospital with a cute boy (Franklin & Bash has officially been abandoned due to its general badness), seeing my friends, attending my weekly stomach appointments and, the hardest challenge of all: look somewhat presentable on a daily basis at work. No more going to work looking like Gangy.

Gangy Lucille Bluth Arrested Development

Of course, all these changes are worth it. This is the career that I want.  I have no doubt in my mind that I will feel challenged, fulfilled, worked hard, productive, inspired, creative and happy at my new job. This is the career I have been working for. Every class I’ve taken, every article I’ve written, every tweet or Facebook post, every networking event — they all led to this one opportunity.

I could continue to be unhappy for hours and hours every day at my current job but have lots of time to do my own things, or I can spend my day being productive, doing the exact thing I have been working for by doing “my own things” all this time.

The majority of our days are spent at work. Being happy and fulfilled will make me happier in everything else. Will it be harder to get to my classes and finish my writing and spend hours upon hours doing nothing as I so love to? Of course. But it will be worth it.

And finally, read my long overdue Core Fusion review on NBC New York GO Healthy NY: Dori’s Quest: Core Fusion, Body- and Life-Changer


40 thoughts on “Welcome To The Real World, Dori

  1. CONGRATULATIONS, Dori! I love this post and love reading about your job history. You are going to thrive in this new role and I can’t wait to follow you on your new venture. It’s great that you have a plan of attack for embracing your lifestyle change — smart girl!

    Also, your fro is amazing. I’m shocked by it. Can I please see it in person sometime?

  2. I was thinking about myself when I read about your transition to the BAC job (okay but really, when am I NOT thinking about myself?!) At my last gig, the company got bought, my boss (and BESTIE) got the axe and my job went from being a total department badass to basically being a website updater and everybody’s bitch. Oh, and went from having one boss to having TWO. I was bored to tears and despised everyone. Now I pretty much hate this job too, but it’s still way better than the last one. Heh. But I’ve never been all that ambitious. I don’t live to work, I work to live. Good luck in your new adventure! I’m sure you’ll find the right balance.

  3. Congrats and good luck! This new job sounds like it is going to be perfect for you and a wonderful opportunity. I loved reading your whole work history since I’ve known you starting from the bank job.

  4. Congrats on the new gig – I am so proud of you!! I know it’ll mean lots of changes personally for you, but you can totally make it all come together, you’re already thinking about it the right way. I had to do the same thing when I took my current job – with 3 hrs worth of commuting to balance with a job, my love of running, barre n9ne, etc. And once you get into the situation, you find a way to make it work and create your own balance. You got this!!

  5. Congrats on the job! Sounds awesome! And you are def going at it with the right approach. It’s a big change forgot but with some adjustment and repriorization, you will be just fine. These steps will get you there :)

  6. Congratulations Dori! The new opportunity sounds awesome. I am often in the office until 8-9 PM. In the beginning it was very hard for me to adjust to the new lifestyle but a year later I have completely adjusted. I get up at 5:30 everday and workout. Soemtimes (not often) I get out at 6 PM and I can take an evening class.

    I am sure in time things will become second nature :)

  7. Congrats on your new job Dori! Also, this post is why I love and will continue to love your blog. You aren’t quitting your day job to focus on blogging and tweeting about your hours-long workouts as a career. Not that I begrudge anyone of the many bloggers who do that, but it is very hard to relate to as someone who has to balance fitness and hobbies with the rest of my life, and I also find myself wondering what contribution it adds to the world to just work out and write about your meals/work-outs in a never-ending cycle. I am a super busy girl who also gets up at 4:30 am every day to squeeze it all in, and I often get home past 9pm… I can’t wait to read about your adventures in doing the same, for inspiration and what I know will be a hilarious take on it all. Good luck in the real world!

  8. Dori’s Quest will be ever two weeks? :-(
    Kidding. I will miss it but you have to do what’s best for you. Congrats on the new job. It sounds like you are really looking forward to it so it must be pretty amazing. You will have a routine in no time. Don’t worry about that. Till then I shall see you at the graveyard (730pm) shift at Refine!

  9. Congrats again on the new job!!! A job you love makes the time seem more worth it in the end, even if it means longer hours. It must feel great to be excited about work again :-)

    What’s the new gig!?

  10. Many congratulations on your new opportunity! I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and can’t wait to see you continue your genuine enthusiasm when I read your blog – how do you do it?! May 5am wake-ups do nothing to dampen your spirit!!

    I actually bought a Groupon for CF classes based on your blog and can’t wait to try them out…..but I’m also a bit scared because I have the stamina of a flea.

  11. Congrats on the new gig. I can completely identify with starting a new job and knowing from the start that it wasn’t right. Unfortunately, my dream job hasn’t come along quite yet and I’m still there (it’s been a year), but this posts makes me confident that one day, it will come!

  12. Thanks for sharing your story about your professional career–it’s inspiring and encouraging to read about you pursuing what you love and what makes you feel challenged and excited. I have always loved your blog, but your Gangy reference just knocked it out of the park for me today! :) Congratulations to you, and good luck on this next phase in your journey.

  13. Ok, So I re-read this post and the comments section twice to make sure I wasn’t asking a dumb question….but since you didn’t mention it, what’s the new job?

    P.S. LOVING the Core Fusion DVD’s so far!!

  14. Congrats, sounds so exciting! I’m a firm believer that everything plays itself out the way it’s supposed to, and that we learn from all the jobs we hate / aren’t right for us! This all leads us to the place we are meant to be, which looks like you found. Way to go! : )

  15. Congrats on the new job & all the best! I rock a fro daily, it works. And I commute outside of the city too for 1.5 hours each way (but not to a different state); while I can’t say I enjoy MetroNorth, 5.5 years later I’m still going strong – because I love the job (and the city). And I love your time management ideas already; and unfortunately I’m NOT a morning person, but that just means I have extra time to wake up since I’m still half asleep when I get on the train. Knock on wood, I haven’t missed my stop yet! But I do take a solid 40 min nap many afternoons.

  16. Dori, you are so inspiring. I love your passion and enthusiasm for all you do. I agree with one of the above comments, this is so much more interesting to read than the “oatmeal posts.”

  17. Dori! Congratulations! I am so excited for you! I have no doubt you will be able to balance it all.

    I am with you though – I have a hard time making those “late” classes. To this day I still have not taken the advanced Core Fusion class because it is offered at 6:35 which means I wouldn’t get home until after 8pm. Gah!

  18. I love your arrested development references on your blog…and how BRAVE you are. Not only do you live in “the city” but you have been taking risks with your career 2x already in the past year! Bravo for you for following your passion….will we get more details of what you do now? Either way I’m so happy for you. There are days when I hate my job but i’m too afraid of NOT having it then excited for what can be out there!

  19. AHH congratulations!! I’m soo excited for you. This job sounds like it’s going to be something you really love and finding that in life is sooo rare. You can’t turn the chance down. But – WHAT is the job?! I’m so curious to know. And what state will you have to travel to now?

    Again – so excited for you and you will make it work in your Dori way. You always do. :-)

  20. I love reading this…it gives me hope that despite my finance background one day people will pay me to write too! Maybe even an amazing company like NBC. Kudos to you!

    I have a feeling that you share my love for Japanese hair straightening? It saved my life. And I’m not being dramatic.

  21. I recently found your blog from what I have read I am awe of you! You have been through so much and never let anything stand in your way or slow you down! Congrats on this great opportunity. A commenter above said it – when it feels right you just have to go with it! I knew it felt right to move abroad for love… but I definitely didn’t have it all figured out! Can’t wait to follow your adventure!

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