I never knew anything else other than to work and work hard, which was my identity until, I understood my professional passion.
Are you driven? I think this is my DNA.
My grandparents, were always working they seemed affluent and relaxed but later I learned that my grandfather and grandmother were actually hard driven with many talents and skills. My grandfather had a Phd in Fine Art, he was a Teacher, Principal and Professor. However, this didn’t just happen as hw constantly achieved new merits and credentials in all types of work and trades. Overtime, he was in the Navy, owned a antique store as well as working on docks moving sand bags so he could support his family.
My grandmother worked for Brooklyn College for the Office of the Dean and she was a force to be reckoned with. They both would work together during working in the camps their children attended. By the time they retired from their professional career my grandfather served as President of the Brunswick Art Council and grandmother was right besides him as Executive Secretary.
My father and mother were both Artist. My father can do almost any trade (carpentry, electric, plumbing, exterminator) his real passion was music. He basically was an instrumentalist and could play any instrument he especially loved guitars. My mother was a painter and this brought her so much peace.
When my mother had to run errands, she would leave me with her friend who worked in a textile factory. I am not certain where as I was a child but I learned a great deal seeing people working very hard and then I would help the ladies and they would often send me home with treats and money in my pocket. When my mom would pick me up, she would insist they take their gifts back, but they were strong older woman who insisted she needed the help. My mother never liked anyone to help her financially as she was very head strong and determined to collect all her credit. I would usually put any money I found or had in my mother jar in the kitchen. I would later watch her scratch her head and tell my father she is an artist and no good at math as she always seems to miscalculate her apron (jar).
The actual lessons I learned from these experience was that the only way to earn money was to work hard. Be professional and have integrity.
There was one time I worked for a restaurant that I loved so much and we were bought over and now I was a barista on the weekends in the east village of New York City. I also worked for the a clothing store called Andy’s Cheapies, their schedule was very flexible as I would just pop in and start working. Because this job was very flexible with me I was able to also work during the week uptown at the movie theater. If I could go back in time I would not change a thing as my work ethic really came out from these experiences.
Around this time I had applied for another job that I always wanted to do and they hired I ended up giving up all the jobs but kept the restaurant, which I kept on and off for the next year are so only because I loved it.
Soon, this job began to become more of a career and my salary and standards really started to change. I was now married, and we moved to a different state. I started getting seizures and I realized I couldn’t do it all as sometimes I would have seizures in the street and train so at this point I was now married I decided to really leave all jobs and take a break. After the first month I was restless and so was my mind. I was given an opportunity through a friend (my early networking) who gave me high paying temp assignment. I love this experience I got to work so many places like, CBS, NBC, MTV, VH1, UFT, Nickelodeon, Spike TV … I mean really name the acronym I probably worked there. Here is when I started make connections that I have until today. Now, when working for Viacom I started to meet many famous people especially when I worked for TRL that is where I met Mariah Carey, Carson Daily… just to name drop. Although they probably don’t remember me I certainly ran home to tell my hubby about it. The thing is I was never starstruck as I have always encountered celebrities while growing up in New York City.
When I worked at Warner Music, I met a famous rapper however at the time I did not know who he was. I listened to so much music but the new rap I was current, so I had no idea who he was. I remember I made him wait in the lobby, and he said to me, “what’s your deal, don’t you know who I am, I am a celebrity…” I laughed and was “I am sure you are let me give you credit where it is due…” he said,” what’s your name…Fanny you must be Fantastic…” This made me laugh because I already was told this before him and this is my Fannytasticlife, right. I told him after that I need to correct him and that I am Fannytastic, and he looked at me as was like “for sure.” After this whenever I would see him, he would say that’s Fannytastic, and I would be sitting in the reception like “yup.” I remember hearing him on the radio being interviewed and saying “he dealt with a cool girl named Fannytastic” I remember thinking that was me… and laughed at that, I had to laugh.
Well around this time, I was given an opportunity to work for the United Federation of Teachers. At first, I was uncertain because the position was as an entry level temporary employee (temp)and the salary was lower than what I wanted. I asked my grandfather about it and he insisted I take the job and explained to me how he was a proud teacher and he marched with Albert Shanker. I took the job and it was one of the better experiences I have had. I was promoted several times to finally working for the Negotiations Department.
As I worked there, I still had other jobs on the side as I always felt it was needed and that was how I was raised. While with the Negotiations Department I apprenticed for Lucille Swaim, who actually hand wrote the first contract in 1965. She was an amazing leader and negotiator. She has a face mask in her office that I believe was a hockey or catcher’s mask and every time I saw it reminded of the story. She was in a tough negotiation where they threw the contract at her. It hit her right in the face, and they got her that as a gift for future negotiations. Lucille was that tough, an intellectually powerful woman. While working for her I was in school and she would tell me that I needed to maintain an A average, which I did. Although, it had nothing to do with my work she insisted on maintaining a high standard, which kept me wanting to strive for better.
I was then promoted to work for the Special Education Department for Carmen Alvarez, who was Vice President of Special Education At Large, she had over 250 thousand members in addition to General Education, Functional Chapter Leaders. Carmen Advocated for parents, children families, teachers and community and I had the pleasure to serve her. While working for Carmen I also maintained my role as manager of Negotiations, Manager of the Functioning Chapter Leaders and Liaison to Positive Learning Collaborative. This was one of the highlights of my career as I truly learned to develop professionally and refine creatively.
While working here I loved my job, this is the most important part of growth professionally to love what you do. Now, currently if you do not love your job do not quit, keep it, and find your passion. Who are you? What is your labor of love… meaning your workforce of love! Not what you do… but what you dream of that makes you happy. Now, your passion may not pay the bills and that is why you will keep the job that does so you can make your passions work for you.
Personally, I love law, comedy, motivating, coaching. When I was in college I was told to focus on one part of law to drive me, but I studied various levels of law and at took additional courses at other colleges to really have a robust level of understanding. Although, I was often advised to focus on one thing… this is a problem. Passion is not always a narrow road and I like to have a world of knowledge and to be a wealth of knowledge. Here is the difference. A world of knowledge is the information you attain in your growth a wealth of knowledge is what you learn as you grow that is considered valuable.
Collaborated with many lawyers one in particular that I gave a challenging time to, as I could not resist. He constantly would need Lucille to go over contract items. Lucille directed me to physically point it out as she did not want to be disturbed for items beneath her… yes… I know. So, this lawyer would come over and ask for direction and I would specifically say: Article 6, Section 2, Item B… and to his surprise it would be right there. The point here is that not only did I do my job, I knew my job inside-out.
Folks this is the secret right here it is called longevity, your specific trade secrets what makes you the most valuable about your job is understanding not just the direction, mission and overall understanding of your career but the same for the positions above and below, to the left and the right. The critical piece that separates you from the competition. I would even say in addition to your passion being the oracle will help you more than anyone else grow.
While doing this job, I would also do Paralegal work usually on the weekends, sometimes I would do notary services at a restaurant for the community outreach, Citizenship Now hotline for CUNY, I would also do other extracurricular, civic and volunteer duties that filled my calendar as I felt enriched.
We ended up moving deeper into New Jersey, although I lived Jersey City it was an extremely fast commute to work. When we moved it became three hours in the morning and evening commute with various trains, transfers, and connections. I had to rethink my career and lifestyle. I was not about to give up our gorgeous home. I worked with my beautiful boss and we were able to see I could retire. Although, I was three years shy of benefits I was able to retain my pension as I was vested. It is then I exited, and this was the was bittersweet. I was sad to leave but happy to start the next chapter of my life. They treated me so nicely with love, affection, and respect.
Being raised in this professional environment in all of these experiences in such a manner of respect, dignity and humanity I am often shocked when I work other places that I am not addressed with that same level.
Well, When I moved, we realized that the benefits piece was especially important because although my husband career had the higher salary the benefits were not where we required. So, I started working for a medical office where I had to use my pull from resource of skills. So over the years I was able to attain: Payroll, Medical Billing, Human Resources, Training, Workforce Development, Benefits and Compensation, Accounting, Paralegal, Notary, Management, Project Leadership and of course Comedy.
Then recruited to work for another company, and I took that opportunity. It was fun, thriving and technologically advanced. The experience was amazing and I was able to utilize my technical skill and become a Subject Matter Expert, which change the course for myself as I decided to enroll into my graduate program. Because I was not in a leadership role here, I was able to be sillier and more open with my schtick.
Prior to working here I was always the boss, in charge, almost Maleficent, however now I was able to relax and my comedian who had been hiding all these years was finally able to show herself.
Years ago, I mean decades, when I worked at the World Trade Center. I would spend time together in the West Village of New York at this place called the Olive Tree not to be confused with the restaurant Olive Garden. The Olive Tree had a Comedian Theater attached where famous comedians we all love and adore today, would perform there like Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Colin Quinn would always be there. Often, I would even go alone and usually a certain comedian would buy me drinks and ask me to be his girlfriend and I was there to have fun. Do not get it twisted I drank more Shirley Temples than I did Amaretto Sours, I was an attractive eighteen-year-old.
Anywho, the times were different back then, but the one thing he would do was try to get me on stage. He would laugh the loudest at my jokes and I was like no way. One day, I went on stage when I am not sure if it was Manny or Norm the owners was not there and I did three sets, they were about 10 minutes long. The first one was terrible, the second not so much booing and the third with the five people in the audience applauded. I really liked that feeling.
I would continue to go and hangout with them and really to observe and learn. I do not know if they remember me, but I remember this amazing time. I had a fun experience and to this day sometimes their movies come out and I just feel so proud and as if it is an obligation that I need to support them and watch it. Some of you may wonder why if they don’t know or remember me, it is because I remember when they would write their jokes on a napkin or say hey “tell me if this is funny” and I would sometimes say “nope” but it was so honest and genuine. These experiences helped me cultivate who I am today…. a failed comedian… no, a person with a passion for telling stories.
Remember your experience are yours, they belong to you. Your moments belong to you. I have had to rise and fall, and rise and fall again, over, and over but what stays constant is that I always stay true to myself.
Blogging since 2015 and recently due to the pandemic I started podcasting and this has become a new therapy and a new job. That I love!!!! When looking back on my life I never give into the idea that this is what I am doing now because I always turn it into whatever your “workforce of love” is. I then keep it separate from your job and make it your passion and work the hardest there and the smartest at you job.
Keep one foot at your job and the other foot in the reality, which is your dream. Your life does not stop at your job. Make sure you pay your bills and use the opportunity to fund your dream. You need to tap into the passion you yearn for. Live your dream, establish your goal, and reward yourself.