first day

“Can You Hear Me Now?” – Week #8: Radio DJ

"HOWDY!" from College Station, Texas!

For those of you who have never heard of the place, it is the home of the Texas A&M Aggies, and the place where I earned my undergraduate degree.

This week, I've been co-hosting with Radio DJ Niblett of Candy 95! I'll be ending the Program as I started: In a laid-back fashion (Remember when I worked with a virtual company during Week #1??). My blogs this last week will follow that atmosphere. Each day, I've been working the nightshift: 6pm to 11pm CDT.

Night radio is a lot different from radio at any other time. You have fewer people in the car, and as result, less outside interactions with listeners and less time to develop character and emotions. A night Radio DJ has to rely a LOT on quick and funny bits to keep listeners listening. It's not easy at all. The wrong person could easily buckle under the pressure of having to constantly be on their toes.

As Niblett's co-host, my job is pretty easy, I have to admit. My reading material is QUITE different from that of last week. Celebrity gossip can never be compared to the history of the Glen Canyon Dam. At least once a day, I read a "breaking" news story. One story was about some guys who dressed up as ninjas and robbed a Manhattan jewelry store on a Sunday at 2pm. Another story was about a man who violated his ex-wife's restraining order by adding her on Facebook. Real foolishness that you can't stop listening to, basically.

In addition to reading stories and discussing the One-Week Job Program on the air, I laugh a lot. At least 50% of my time on the radio has been me of giggling. I've surprised myself with this. My goal throughout the week has been to lower that percentage. Not far, being back in my college hometown has been relaxing. It's been nice to hang out with old friends and work at the same time. I didn't work a lot while I was in school, and in addition to working at night, this week has been new in a crazy way.

Oh yeah! I forgot to tell you how I even made it to College Station, Texas.

Looking for transportation to my job last week was not easy because, saw where Page is. The only way to get to the town is by car or plane. The planes are itty-bitty, just like the airport, andddd it can cost 300 bucks for a 1.5 hour flight. Ridiculous. As I said in another post, I was lucky that my friend, Katie, had just moved to Phoenix and was willing to drive for so long so I could get to my seventh one-week job. However, the weekend after my job ended, she wasn't available.

I did as much as I could do to find a ride from, which wasn't a lot, so I finally used craigslist. The next closest major Arizonan town to Page is 2.5 hours south - Flagstaff, Arizona. The greyhound bus stops here, so I made that my focus for ridesharing. I got a response right away, but I killed that connection quickly. The guy hadn't even read the details of my posting, and just wanted to make extra money beyond gas. The way he was talking, he could've just driven up, taken my money, and taken off with my belongings when I wasn't looking. I followed my gut feeling that told me to run far away fast, which was a good move on my part, I believe.

Something told me to post on the Phoenix site as well, even though I would be asking for someone to do what Katie did essentially: drive alone from Phoenix 5 hours to Page and pick me up, then drive south 2.5 hours and drop me off at Flagstaff, then drive back to their home in Phoenix. Also, since I was trying to catch a 2:00pm bus, the person would have to leave at 6:30am at the latest from Phoenix. It was a long shot.

I also kept checking for ride offer postings, and the morning of my last day as a river guide, I saw a possibility:

"I am offering a clean comfortable mid-sized suv to move you and/or your things. Insured, prompt, reasonable rates, all with a smile. Drop me an email with your itinerary and I will respond. Appreciate the business!"

The person indicated that his/her location was "all over." I was running late, and I had no other option, so I sent an email. Now Sean may have been less likely to think twice about finding a ride this way, but if you were previously unaware, Amanda, Kieley, and I are ladies. Unfortunately, we have to be extra careful when we look for places to work and sleep. Someone's gotta have a knife around here, I thought to myself. I'll be just fine.

But obviously all news was good! And thankfully, because I totally forgot to get a knife. Typical me. The driver, whose name turned out to be Mike, is a very nice man who was looking for extra income after being laid off. He brought a friend along for the ride, a woman named Desure, whom he had met through giving her a ride just as he did me. We had good breakfast, conversation, and listened to good music. I arrived at the Flagstaff Greyhound station with a lot of time to spare, safe and sound. Mike had kept his promise - ride, smiles, and all.

We still correspond to this day.

I would say that one of the best parts about the past eight weeks has been making friends anywhere and everywhere, not just at work or home. I can't get enough of people and how they operate in their own way. It's way nice to have more reminders that my Psychology degree wasn't a complete waste. :)

More later!

- M

Follow me on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook!

“You’re a What.” – Week #6: Association Professional

I'm back in my home state for a little bit, in the city of Austin, Texas! It feels so good to be here. Here's the weekly hour and mileage update: ~769 miles from Denver to Austin by bus.

~5806 miles traveled overall.

~83 hours spent traveling overall.

And here's the trusty weekly map update:

// The Everlater widget requires javascript to work properly. You can view michelle's One-Week Job Program! or get your own free travel blog.

Haha that map is looking a little messy! This week, I'm working with the Texas Society of Association Executives (TSAE) as an Association Professional! I know you probably don't understand that job title because I had issues of my own before actually working with the company. Let me try to help.

Every job is a part of an industry. Every industry has an association for it. Some examples:

Park Ranger --> National Recreation and Park Association

Teacher --> National Education Association

Facility Manager --> International Facility Management  Association

Some industries have state-based associations, country-based associations, international-based associations, or a combination. If you take time to do more research, you'll quickly find out that there is an association for nearly everything. Associations are a wonderful way to network with other professionals in your industry, to spread awareness about your industry, to be kept abreast of the latest developments in your industry, to improve your industry, etc.

Associations have so much power and potential for personal and communal growth. The funny thing is that if you're not in an association aka not an association professional, you may have HEARD of the word, but you most likely have no idea what associations do, much less how influential they are. TSAE is an important association, because it's the "association of associations" in Texas. In other words, it's "industry" is the association industry, so its main goal is to provide education, awareness, networking and many other things for associations. So, if there is an association for nearly everything, the "association of associations" handles anything that has to do with nearly everything. I hope you're less lost by now. In short, I'm working in the big leagues right now. TSAE ain't no joke. Go me.

When I decided to take on this job for a week, I had very limited reasoning in mind. I say this in retrospect. First, I remembered Sean's experience with this job over two years ago, which he described in his book. Then, I noticed TSAE was on the list of OWJ-Friendly Employers that Sean gave us as we were choosing jobs for the program. There was a note next to the TSAE employer listing that said "would be better than last time" - meaning that the proposed experience would be better than when Sean went to visit.

Of course I had to go after reading that.

It wasn't easy getting to Austin though. I had an altercation with a smug bus driver about my luggage, missed my transfer bus because the smug bus driver put us 45 minutes behind schedule, and had to sit through the hollers and whistles of not-my-type-men during a 90-minute layover in Dallas. The last part wasn't surprising. Not because I'm confident, but because I've had a Greyhound layover in Dallas before. And I've live there for 22 years.

I arrived in Austin 100 minutes late, and was met by Beth Brooks, President and CEO of TSAE. What a calming change. I came off the bus feeling beaten, emotionally and physically. When Beth opened her vehicle trunk for me to place my luggage in it, she pointed at a case of beverages:

"You like green, tea right?"

Tired, I laughed and smiled...but in talking with her on the way to her house, it was clear Beth had really done research on me. She referenced several of my blog posts, which prompted some good conversation. At one point, she indicated that she had an extensive background in swimming and offered to give me lessons. I immediately began to relax because it was nice to know that someone had invested time in me before even meeting me in person, the same way in which I would show interest in someone else. We both like to do our research!

Beth lives with her husband, David, and her 16-year-old son, Matthew. I feel special because she has let me into her home for an entire week. This is the first time that I’ve lived with a family unit and – have I mentioned how calming and relaxing my time in Austin has been? I think it’s because this week is the closest I’ve come to being with my own family again, being so close to Irving, having a family-related routine, and coming to a house of two parents and a younger child after a full day of work. It reminds me of my own family members. I miss them.


When we got to the Brooks' house, David was close to finishing dinner, which is around the same time every night. I've been recording the meals so I can reproduce them later! Good culinary ideas. After a good discussion about travel, food, and diplomacy, we (play the Wii, then) all slept.

The week began strongly. Beth had an important training session to give early Monday morning at 8am. She wanted me to attend, but she let me sleep in first. While I was beginning my sixth one-week job, Matthew was beginning his first day of driver's education! Cute, right? David had to drop him off around 9am, so I rode with them. Dressed in business professional attire, I sat in on the meeting, which lasted until close to noon.

During the meeting, Beth was being a huge help to the American Association of Equine Veterinary Technicians and Assistants (AAEVT). If I remember accurately, they were in the process of building up their association to full status, and were in need of some guidance. Beth knows her stuff. She has been in the association business for a long time, having been with the Texas Dental Association and Texas Pest Control Association before joining TSAE. The meeting was almost four hours long because it takes a lot of work to run a successful association. Many topics were discussed, such as how to prevent a board of directors from failing, how to dissolve situations of interest conflict, and how to choose and develop an effective organization spokesman. I took a copious amount of notes, and even took note of Beth's speaking technique. Can't go wrong with chunking!

After the meeting, I met Josh, Shirley, and Alaina, some of the TSAE staff. Josh is the Communications and Marketing Manager, which means that he oversees and controls all TSAE content, whether that be through the magazine, the website, emails, social media, PR, and any sort of technology. Shirley is the Business Development Manager, so she oversees membership and sponsorship, implementing tons of recruitment and retention methods. Alaina is the Membership Services Coordinator, so she - in her own words - "makes sure members needs are met." Whatever that requires, Alaina gets it done.

By about 2pm, I had received a rude awakening. I thought I knew about associations, but I had no idea. So much goes on in one day! Josh gave me my first task: writing press releases. TSAE has an annual conference, during which they give out awards. My job was to write the press releases for the award recipients! Josh has a strong background in journalism, so this sort of work is very simple to him. In giving me this task, he hoped to help me improve my writing skills, and understand the communications world more. He gave me a college journalism textbook to take some pointers from as well!

I worked on the press releases until about 4:30pm, and then Beth and I left the office. The family and I had dinner and discussion - this time, about sustainability. The night ended with the Wii and dessert.

My Tuesday started early with Beth - an eye-closing 7:25am. I dressed down-er this day, and went back to work on the press releases. I sat in on the weekly staff meeting around 10:30am. I have to admit that I was dozing off because I had no idea what everyone was talking about, but it was impressive to see how prepared everyone was to talk about their responsibilities. With a staff of seven, I suppose it's hard to get away with slacking off!

BETH BOUGHT US ALL TORCHY'S TACO'S FOR LUNCH. If you ever go to Austin, go to Torchy's. Wonderful tacos. Wonderful chips. Wonderful queso. Several of my friends (including me) have gone to Austin SOLELY for the food, and then driven back. Beautiful. THANK YOU, BETH!!!!

After lunch, I finished one of the three press releases. Josh and I went over his comments, and I went back to work. I finished all of them around 3:30pm, and spent the rest of the day organizing my excessive amount of one-week job notes. I then went home with Beth and ate dinner, played Wii, played guitar (Beth got out her classical!), and watched "America's Got Talent" with the family. I can't stand that program. Well, I suppose I can...because we watched it the next night too.

So What About You?

Do you have any questions about the association world ? Let me know, so I can get the answer for you! You never know, it could hold your dream job...

Until next time...


Follow me on YouTubeTwitter, and Facebook!

"...I Need A Drink." - Week #5: Coffee "Connoisseur"

I'm disgustingly late with this post! I apologize! I meant to update last night, but I fell asleep 10pm. Scary. I AM IN DENVER, COLORADO! It is beautiful here. Map time again:

// The Everlater widget requires javascript to work properly. You can view michelle's One-Week Job Program! or get your own free travel blog.

And to keep that travel count going...

~1979 miles from Boston to Denver by airplane.

~5037 miles traveled overall.

~59 hours spent traveling overall.

The last time I was on an airplane was about a decade ago. My employer was so kind to buy me a plane ticket this week! Though I missed "Going Greyhound" (of course this is a joke), I was ready to try a new traveling method. I never mentioned the fact that my driver's license and health insurance card were stolen last Monday. I've been dealing with the consequences of that for over a week now, and it has been very stressful.  Losing these items is probably the worst thing that could happen to me, considering what I'm doing at the moment (especially during the one week I was flying and not Greyhound-ing!). Good thing that the "worst thing" isn't so bad.

In case you were wondering, Flying Without an ID is more than possible! Despite the fact that my afro was heavily untamed, I was wearing destructed jeans, a bright orange T-shirt, and a bright yellow jacket with a picture of a cat on the hood, all in an effort to be comfortable, the Boston TSA let me through the security checkpoint. Arriving three hours before departure and having other proofs of identity helped too.

Boarding the plane, I sat in the middle...something everyone on the plane seemed to be avoiding. The guy in front of me

sat in a row that already had an occupied window seat. He sat in the aisle seat. I made a motion like I was going to sit in his row and kinda waited...for him to move in so I didn't have to climb over his body. He gave me this horrible look. As if I was about to take his freedom away from him or something evil like that. I shrugged, and stepped over him obnoxiously as payback for his facial expression. Rude.


Well, I don't fly often, so I guess I'm not at the point where I can be picky.

As for the flight: takeoff scared me. My ears popped. I chewed gum.  I drank some water, slept, ate some peanuts, and Nabisco crackers. The landing was smooth, and as a result, didn't scare me.

After my baggage took forever and an hour to emerge from the carousel, Tommy Thwaites, owner of Coda Coffee Company, picked me up and put me straight to work. Can't waste the first day of the work week, I suppose! Some Coda coffee carts were in the wrong spot at the Denver Convention Center, so I helped Tommy move them from one space to another. I hadn't been in Denver for 30 minutes, and I was already exercising. I thought lifting my bags from the baggage carousel was going to be the end of it!

Coda Coffee Company is a wholesale coffee roaster. Founded by two brothers, Tim and Tommy Thwaites, Coda prides itself in being environmentally-friendly with all of its processes. I found Coda Coffee through the site, whose mission aligns with that of One-Week Job's. I read about the many companies that are featured on the site, and for some reason the name "Coda" stayed with me. Per my nature, I "went with it", contacted Tommy, and here I am in Denver! You can watch Pursue the Passion's video about Tommy and Coda Coffee here to get to know the business better.

With a team of about 13, tasks such as tasting, blending, roasting, bagging, flavoring, grinding, packing, delivering, selling, advertising, etc. come together every day to provide cafes and businesses with high-quality coffee. This week, I'm getting a taste of as many tasks as I can so I can get the full Coda experience. After Tommy and I finished moving the carts, we went straight to the Coda office. I was introduced to Issac, Adam aka Duncan, Marciano, Bane [Bah-nay], Trestin, Seok, Todd, Jessica, Brian, Courtney, Stevan, and Tim, Tommy's brother and Coda co-owner.

Introductions were quickly followed by some time in the flavoring room with Issac. He then gave me a brief overview about the difference between coffee blends and single-origin coffees while teaching me how to weigh and bag the whole beans. Things slowed down a bit after that, so I started up with my life questions with some of the Crew. Around 4pm, Tommy and his wife, Jessica, took me and my luggage home.

This week, I'm staying with friends of friends, newlyweds Brittany and Dean. They've only been married for a month or so, so I'm constantly worried that I'm not giving them enough alone time. They insist that I have nothing to worry about, and their actions convey that entirely. I'm having trouble being treated so well, but I'm slowly accepting it...mostly because my fatigue leaves me choice. After I settled in, they generously took me out to eat. The night ended with a discussion of "old tv shows" while watching current ones. Not even being in Denver for 8 hours, I had already decided that I really loved my job and accommodation for the week.

Yesterday, I spent a good deal of time learning about roasting with Todd, the Roast Manager. I learned how to grind coffee for espresso with Bane, after which I went on delivery runs with Tim in Boulder! The mountains were a pretty sight, and it was fun to meet some of Coda's customers who were happy to receive new product. It was also nice to get some good discussion in with Tim as we drove around. Traffic hit us on the way home so we ran out of topics...and ended up talking about politics and religion. Heavy. Just like I like it. :D

Tuesday ended at 4pm as well, and I was truly exhausted in a way that I had never been before. I think it was a combination of drinking two substances that I wasn't used to, mate and an ultra-spicy chai, lifting coffee, and being in the hot warehouse. I did manage to cook some chicken on Brittany and Dean's George Foreman grill. THAT THING IS AMAZING. Someone should have told me about it earlier!  I cooked in an empty house, because my hosts were out at a movie. I wanted to wait until they came back so they wouldn't have to be quiet, but I couldn't make it.

I passed out to Kathy Griffin.

Today, I'll be doing my normal bagging, lifting, and product-pulling, but I'll also be coffee-tasting with Tim...maybe even making some drinks! I forgot to mention one more thing...that I know nothing about coffee. And I don't drink it. I always liked the smell, but that was about it. Half the world drinks coffee, and I never understood why. As a result, one of my goals with this Program was to find out. I'm breaking down some of my false assumptions, and am on my way to stomaching my coffee black, MHM!

There is a mountain (get it?) of information when it comes to coffee. I am not yet in a position where I can explain what I've learned so far. Right now, I'm just trying to read, watch, and remember as much as I can, so the next time I go to a coffee shop, I don't have to ask the barista what a "mocha" is. Small goals can bring big victories. Oh, and did you know that Denver has 300 sunny days a year? Neither did I. I haven't been to one cold city during this journey. I definitely thought the opposite would happen. Darn you, Summer! I don't want it to be freezing, but it'd be nice to not sweat for a whole week.

A woman can dream...


Follow me on YouTubeTwitter, and Facebook!

"I'm in Food Shock" - Week #4: Pizza Lady

I have a confession to make. I didn't choose my job this week. That was part of the deal as a participant in this Program, but I just got lazy and decided to choose only seven jobs and make someone else choose the eighth.

Just kidding! Well, not about the not choosing. About the laziness. This week, I'm working at one of The Upper Crust Pizzeria locations in Boston, Massachusetts. More traveling, heyyyy:

// The Everlater widget requires javascript to work properly. You can view michelle's One-Week Job Program! or get your own free travel blog.

The trip on Saturday was my shortest at only four hours, ~217 miles. That means I've traveled ~3,058 miles by bus. So amazing.

I suppose I should explain why I didn't choose my job for this week. A friend of mine, Marsha, is in Boston for a summer internship. After Boston, she'll be off to Europe for the fall semester. Yes, that would be nine whole months of separation! We couldn't have that. We decided that if I got the One-Week job opportunity, I would make a serious effort to come to Boston for one of my weeks.

There was a moment where I had this crazy idea that it would be DOUBLY growing if I were to trust my job to another person. It would've been even more crazy to put my future into the hands of someone I had never met before, but I wasn't about that much risk at the time. I wanted to not only be surprised, but I also wanted to show my love for a dear friend by trusting her enough with something like this.

If you've been reading my blogs, you may have come to the conclusion that I enjoy putting myself in uncomfortable environments. I don't blame you. You're most likely correct. I don't know why I do it; I just like it. And besides, there are many instances where I'm slow to branch out. Remember that I'm a picky eater. And that I don't know how to swim. Oh, I actually don't think I've told you the last part. Ah, that's alright. More about that at a later time.

So anyway, Marsha, per her relentless and ueber-thorough nature, became an OWJ PR Rep for the weeks leading up to the first day of the program. She worked really hard to promote the idea and convince employers to take on someone else, whom they wouldn't even meet until the first day on the job! Great gumption. According to her, she encountered a little bit of the flaky, the apathy, the vague, and the angry during her search. She had her own criteria for job choices, all in an effort to - yes, you've got it now - help me become a better person. I choose my friends well. :)

I had no idea what I was doing on Monday when  I came into Boston Saturday morning. Remember how I decided not to sleep Friday night? Well, it was a bad plan because as soon as I settled into Marsha's apartment, we were off to see my employer 30 minutes later! Job #4 turned out to be at a pizzeria! I didn't really show it, but I was really happy. After all, my first employer who left me hanging was a pizzeria owner. Things worked out well. In choosing my jobs, it was very important for me to work in the food service industry. As one of my friends told me one day: "Food is a basic human need."

Saturday afternoon, Roberto, the manager, put me right to work. He had one of the employees, Courtney, give me an overview of how things worked at The Upper Crust:

Though exhausted, I already felt a part of the Upper Crust family. This was a huge relief, considering the week before. So far, I've learned about different beers and wines, how to take orders in person, how to cut limes/lemons, how to make sangria, how to write management letters, how to clean more efficiently, and much more. I'm hoping to convince Roberto to let me make a pizza soon! I'm done with my second day as a pizza lady (I work every day from 10am to 5pm), and I feel as if I'm really helping the business out. This means so much to me.

I'm a slow learner, but I'm determined to master as much of something as I can. The entire staff, including the guys who actually make the pizza in the kitchen, have been so patient with me. They tease me a lot (including some of the customers, sigh) when I mess up, but it's so obvious how eager they are to share their love for the pizzeria with me. That keeps me going unashamedly.

When looking for a job for me, Marsha said Roberto seemed the most enthusiastic about taking me on. She said he was impressed with the program and was willing to teach me as much as he could for the week. So far, he hasn't disappointed. I'm making so many mistakes, and it's...really really exciting. Oddly exciting. Every time I've done something wrong (and sometimes I repeat my mistakes), I get to learn why, and that helps me to do the right thing the next time.

Oh yeah, another thing. The best benefit to working at Upper Crust is the free pizza. I may be sick of pizza by Friday, but I'm willing to take that risk for the extra money in my pocket. The worst thing about free pizza is swollen feet. The day I arrived in Boston, the weather was so humid that after walking so much and eating pizza (lots of sodium!), my feet, especially around my ankles, swelled up.

When I took off my shoes and saw this, I screamed. It's okay, you can laugh. It was funny and dramatic. Marsha gave me a calm-but-slightly-judgmental look, made me lie down, and put an ice pack around my feet. I was going to show You some pictures of my feet, but I decided that was gross. We went out later that night, and my shoes barely fit when I put them on again. Frightening!

While Boston in the summer is ridiculously hot in comparison to the rest of the year, it's beautiful. Not surprising since  it comes with so much history. Marsha called it a "small town in a big city,"and she's completely right. I really adore it here. So far we've gone to Boston Public Garden, a jazz bar, Harvard University (Can you imagine being in summer school with a bunch of tourists walking in and out of the building? Some of the students gave us angry looks...), Fanueil Hall Marketplace, and the Splash Fountain at Christian Science Plaza, among other places.  Gosh I love the Splash Fountain. Perfect place for cute-little-kid-watching.

We went to most of these places by way of "The T." I think I prefer public transportation. I've never owned a car, so it's really nice to know that most of the people around me either don't have a vehicle or might as well not have one.

And then there's the fact that I won't gain tons of weight because I have to walk everywhere. It takes me 15 minutes to walk to work every morning. Unavoidable exercise. It's a sweet deal.

I smell like dough, which is serious, so I'ma go take care of myself.

Talk Soon!


Follow me on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook!

"Mind The Mind"- Week #3: NonProfit Worker

I'm in New York, New York now. :) I've traveled ~679 miles this week, and ~2841 miles overall. Here's the trusty visual again:

// The Everlater widget requires javascript to work properly. You can view michelle's One-Week Job Program! or get your own free travel blog.

This week, I'm working with a nonprofit organization called the Jed Foundation. Their mission statement:

"The Jed Foundation is the leading nonprofit organization working to reduce the rate of suicide and the prevalence of emotional distress of college students."

This job is my first traditional one, for I'm working 10am to 6pm all five days. I have my own desk and computer too! The work that the Jed Foundation does is personal for me. Having experienced mental illness for most of my life, one of my focuses in life is to do all that I can to remove the unnecessary stigma that follows it. I made sure that one of my one-week jobs would give me knowledge to keep me on that path.

As far as my tasks, I'm doing my part to help move some of the Foundation's projects along. I expect that each day will be similar, and I'm okay with that. As long as I'm helping a cause I care deeply about in any way, I feel happy. I do have a hunch that the staying-in-an-office-all-day bit will not be my favorite thing, though. However, in addition to the Foundation's mission, I chose this job because I wanted to experience what is customary in careerism. It's good to question the normal by doing unique things, but it is also important to still experience the normal. That way, you can say you've "done it all", that you've made an informed move in regards to your future.

So about the actual CITY I'm working in.

I got into New York around 11am on Sunday, and was amazed at the size of the bus terminal. I later found out that the Port Authority Bus Terminal is the largest bus station so my awe wasn't exaggerated. Outside, I found a taxi quickly. The driver turned out to be Ghanaian! Having a cultural connection is always nice...but so is having good communication. He told me he knew the location of my lodging, but his driving conveyed otherwise.

So in the first minutes of my first visit to New York City, I was giving SOMEONE ELSE directions.

Had I not taken action, my fare would have been outrageous. Whether or not he was in denial or trying to steal my money, I'm glad I spoke up. I cannot lie; it was a confidence booster. :)

I arrived at my location a few minutes later, where I finally got to meet the owner of the Bed and Coffee (B&C), Anne. Anne is a charismatic, kind-hearted businesswoman and painter who is letting me stay on one of her couches for free. She helped Sean in the same way during the Project, so I am grateful to him for the connection. Harrison, Anne's assistant, gave me a tour of the place and gave me some helpful tips for staying in NYC. He's already made me aware of events going on so I can make the best of my stay. Very hospitable guy.

After I got settled in, a couple of us went to watch the World Cup final. You know how that ended:

I decided to take the Subway to work, to make the next morning smoother. I'm slow with directions, needing to physically walk/drive the path, so I'm hoping to confidently navigate the MTA by Friday. I successfully made it to work and back, sat at a lovely park for awhile, ate dinner, showered, and passed out in couch. I seem to be doing that a lot, passing out from the day. I think that's good. The good-tired, not the bad-tired. It means my life is going well. :)

Yesterday, I made it to my first day of work with time to spare, and Stephanie, the Foundation's Program Manager, put me right to work. I spent most of the day looking over website content, which kept my attention for the entire eight hours. If you haven't gathered already, I'm a real nerd when it comes to information search. After work, I had dinner...which was a huge mistake.

I ate McDonald's.

I ate McDonald's in New York City.

I don't know how, it just happened! Never again, I apologize (to whom I'm not sure)!

When I got back to the B&C, Harrison told me about this great live music show going on that evening. He wasn't forceful, but after the McDonald's error, I could see that he was trying to gently push me to get the heck out of the B&C and actually do something New York.

Though I meant to go out like a young person should, I accidentally fell asleep until this morning.

Sigh. Two strikes.

Currently, I'm back at the B&C from my second day of work, during which I did some research for a new project and a new website concept. I'm determined to do something this evening. It's not every day that you're in "The City"! I can sleep when I'm not awake! Which should be next week. Send me peer pressure vibes please.

So What About You?

Why Do You think I'm so terrible at being in New York for the first time?

I'm joking with the question, but You can answer it if you want. I'm embarrassed and disappointed in myself. Feel free to laugh at my ways...

Talk Soon!


Follow me on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook!

“Olive Juice!”- Week #2: Producer-Roadie-Rock Star

Hey from Ann Arbor, Michigan! This week's job has resulted in my first bit of traveling during the One-Week Job Program. i've now gone 2,162 miles by bus! Here's a visual for you:

// The Everlater widget requires javascript to work properly. You can view michelle's One-Week Job Program! or get your own free travel blog.

For all You travelers out there, i strongly suggest using Everlater as a journal for your adventures. It enables to you to blog, upload photos, embed videos, and do it by every stop you mark on the travel map. There's also an iPhone app. Check it out!

This week, i'm working with a 9-person musical percussion variety group called Juice.

Brandon, one of the members of the group, contacted Sean twice: Once during his 52-week Project, and again before the Program started. When Sean released Brandon's information to us, i responded to the email with one statement after doing my research:

"I love Juice."

i've said before that i'm completely moved by music. i can't read a note of sheet music, but it drives me. It gets me up in the morning, it makes my existence more lively, and it keeps me up at night. A quote by one of my favorite bands, Fleet Foxes, sums up how i feel:

"I can listen to music and instantly be anywhere that song is trying to take me. Music activates a certain mental freedom in a way that nothing else can, and that is so empowering. You can call it escapism if you like, but I see it as connecting to a  deeper human feeling than found in the day-to-day is a weird and cosmic thing, its own strange religion for nonbelievers, and what a joy it is to make in any form."

This is a feeling that i know many of us understand.

So i jumped at the the chance to come to Michigan. i thought it fitting for me to be a part of a true musician's world, even better the world of a musical group. I wanted to see all the hard work that goes into writing and performing music - you know, all the stuff we listeners rarely think about. A musical group is a whole different beast in itself. The chance to see how a music act comes together, with the different personalities, stories, and skills, was intriguing to me.

i anticipated that it would be another heavy-shadowing opportunity, much like last week, so i prepared myself and have done my best to take note of every different situation i've been exposed to here. My bus arrived in Ann Arbor 4 hours behind schedule, after a tire blew out 15 minutes from my stop. This was on Sunday. i caught the group at the end of their weekly meeting, located in the building where Brandon and Erin, another member, work another job. In addition to being a musical act, Juice has its own musical productions company, Group Four Entertainment, Inc. Being crazy ambitious, they made the company as a way to legitimize and ease their tour-planning efforts. This is the "producer" part of the job title where I got to hear some talk about marketing, promotions, budgeting. etc. In a way, my job from last week was already helping me understand things!

i had missed most of their activities for the day, but the group took me to their basement practice grounds, another space that is an employer hook-up. i then went grocery shopping with Julie and Phil - their suggestion. Even though i was exhausted from the long bus ride, it was nice to have my own food in a new place right away. One worry that never had to exist. i felt grateful. We then ate some good steak and crab, and watched fireworks in celebration of the holiday.

Later in the night, Mel, a fifth group member, talked to me about the different parts of Michigan, describing Ann Arbor as the more liberal, environmentally-conscious area. It was helpful to get a sociological breakdown. In terms of my accommodation, i'm being spoiled. :) i have my own room for the week! Most of the groupmates live in the same complex, with the girls living in one apartment and the boys living in another. The girls were kind enough to set up an empty room for me, and it's so cute! Being the night owl i am, i stayed up late working on random projects while everyone went to bed the first night.

Monday was promotions day. i went out with Julie and Phil to run errands for different acts for a show that happens to be later today! We also ate some tasty doughnuts. Then, the team broke up into three groups to do what they call "flyering", aka placing promotional flyers for the band's show all around town. i got to go with Erin and Collin, a sixth member around Downtown Ann Arbor. During our time together, we walked through the original Borders bookstore, saw way too many coffee shops within a small distance, ended up on University of Michigan's main campus and the "Law Quad", and got to "spin the cube":

It was "Cool!" After flyering, there was an intense practice that consisted of lots of skill, weird instruments, and sweat. It lasted about 6 hours or so, and was incredible to watch. It made me a little envious that i hadn't received proper music training as a child. Oh! The "Rock Star" part of my job is that i have a few parts in the show! i got a chance to practice my parts as well. Two runs later, everyone went home. It was a tiring but productive Monday. Being a Rock Star isn't as easy as You might think. i slept hard this night.

Tuesday was laid-back for me. The general schedule for Juice is that everyone does Juice stuff Sunday through Tuesday, and then they can do other things for the rest of the week. However, this week is a bit different with shows on Wednesday and Friday, so flexibility is at a high. Yesterday, everyone clocked in at their other, "normal" jobs, including me. From nanny to bartender to salon manager to farmer to environmental non-profit worker, Juice comprises of some serious variety. The group members are so passionate about their music that they take on other jobs to pay the bills so they can keep doing what they love to do. This is in hopes that one day music will be all that they do. Inspiring. At 6pm, equipment touch-ups, dress rehearsals, and equipment take-down (the "Roadie" aspect) took place. The night ended around midnight, after which there was some pizza, talking, and heavy sleep once again.

Today is the big show. We'll be meeting early this afternoon, dressing in all black, to pack all the music equipment into a van, drive to the set, unpack and build, perform, take everything down, pack everything in the truck, drive back to the practice space...well, you get it.

So far, i'm really enjoying Ann Arbor. There are a lot of trees here, which fascinates the child in me. i'm fortunate enough to again be with good, passionate, (and TALENTED) persons who are caring  and fun to be around. Most of the members in Juice recently graduated from college. The group has only been together a year, and that is important to note because they basically started a musical act AFTER college. Most people would be too fearful to do this, believing that it's too late, that life after college is meant strictly for a 9-to-5. Juice had/has a different mentality. They figure that they could use the time that would be spent studying for making Juice even better, so they're doing all that they can do make this happen. Last night, i was talking to a seventh member, Alli. She told me that she was impressed by me. She said that most people my age, especially me, having experienced very little thus far, would take the reliable road:



While i was flattered by her statement, i found it surprising. After all, i'm simply doing what she and the others are doing. Putting all my energy (willingly, of course) into living with meaning, even if i'm not quite sure what that means.

So What about You?

Do You think that as humans we lose our "spark" as we get older? Do You think it's a common belief? Why or Why not?

I'll just let You answer this alone. Let me know.

Please, wish me luck today!


Follow JUICE on Myspace, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube!