Tag Archives: corporate

Lunch Break Creative: Tourist Edition

11 Jun

Working in an office environment can be stimulating and challenging: the day flies by when solving expense report mysteries like a corporate Nancy Drew. Sometimes though, I feel a tad stifled and in need of a little creative stimulation.  In my last post, I shared my personal mission statement, “live to create and serve” and resolved that I would find ways to incorporate creativity into my working life.

What could be more inspiring than a visit to the New York Public Library’s Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Gallery?

The current exhibition is Shelley’s Ghost:  The Afterlife of a Poet which focuses on writer Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) and his second wife Mary, best known as the author of Frankenstein. The gallery is tiny, perhaps 200 square feet, making it the perfect size to tackle in less than 20 minutes.  Particularly enjoyable were Shelly’s notebooks, a necklace made of P.B. and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s hair, and a copy of “A Cat in Distress,” Percy Shelly’s earliest known poem.

The thoughtful design of the exhibition was another highlight, evoking a creepy, gothic feeling.

In addition to the ephemera locked behind the cases, are small takeaway note cards with various quotes from Shelley.

One card reads:

MUSIC when soft voices die,

Vibrates in the memory –

ODOURS, when sweet violtes sicken,

Live within the sense they quicken.

Shelly’s Ghost:  The Afterlife of a Poet
Now through Sunday, June 24, 2012
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III Gallery
Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street
Cost:  Free

After enjoying the exhibition, I took some time to lollygag through Bryant Park, located directly behind the library on Sixth Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets.

Bryant Park boasts many wonders, one being an outdoor Reading Room with various books to borrow while sitting in the park.

Near the Reading Room, Istumbled upon a discussion of Jen Lancaster’s new book, Jeneration X hosted by In Her Shoes author Jennifer Weiner.

I thought, wait a second – there must be more events where this one came from!  And as soon as the thought popped into my head, a copy of the Bryant Park spring guide manifested before my eyes.  I snatched the precious pamphlet from the bored, teenaged attendant and realized that there is an author’s discussion every Wednesday at 12:30!  The series is titled, “Word for Word Author” and its purpose (according to the guide) is for “Bestselling authors [to] share tricks of the trade, answer questions, and sign copies of their latest books.” There is a similar program for poetry on Tuesdays at dusk (of course the poets have to be dramatic about it and have their program at sundown). On select Tuesdays at 12:30, the Reading Room hosts a book club of favorite Oxford University Press classics.  If you sign up early enough, a free copy of the book club selection can be yours.

Folks, this is just the tip of the iceberg.  There are also writer’s workshops, nonfiction discussions, and classic movie groups; and those are just the literary activities.  Other Bryant Park events include Yoga, Tai Chi, fencing, birding, juggling, beginner and intermediate language classes, and (be still my heart) knitting lessons. Not to be missed are both the world-famous HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival, beginning on June 18th and my personal favorite, Broadway in Bryant Park, beginning on July 12th.  Did I mention that every single event is free?

Who could have known that so many engaging activities are waiting for us just outside the doors of our climate controlled, sterile offices?  Let’s try something inspiring and new.  Let’s get lunch break creative.

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Lunch Break Creative

25 May

After reading The 7 Habits for Highly Successful People, I took Stephen Covey’s advice and drafted a personal mission statement.  I felt sheepish about this endeavor and wasn’t sure if it was prudent to spend so much time focused on ME, GLORIOUS ME.  Despite my hesitations, the exercise was immensely helpful.  For instance, if I don’t feel clear about something—or need to take a mental shower—I turn to my mission statement. I feel muddled all of the time, so this has been a big help in boosting my happiness. Here’s what I came up with:

Live to create and serve.

Make time every day for creative activity and welcome challenges.  Don’t give up because it’s hard.  Take pride in mistakes and learn from them.

Put first things first: if you are hungry eat, if its cold, put on a sweater and so on—this can also be applied to matters of work and spirit.

My home will be a comfortable, orderly place of beauty.  It is a reflection of my inner, creative spirit.

In all times and in all places, establish a culture of peace.  (This means work, too).

Family comes first.  Call family multiple times during the week—while walking home, waiting, doing dishes, preparing meals, etc.

Engage in positive, uplifting, and creative activities.

I’ve recently left the comfort of my Foundation job for the wild, unkempt garden of a law firm. This was a tough decision: working at a law firm doesn’t sound like me at all. Would this position lead to nothing but long hours and cranky lawyers in suits? I imagined running out at midnight to pick up another case of diet coke for the haughty attorneys while my children (currently unborn) sat at home crying for their lost mother. Despite my negative fantasies, I felt compelled to accept this unexpected position because it offered me something that my beloved Foundation could not: an opportunity for growth. Someday maybe, if I play my cards right, I won’t be an assistant.  If I work hard and put in my long hours (yes, the hours are longer than what I was used to) there is hope for something more substantive. In the meantime—while slogging through expense reports—how can I remain creative? How can I inject bits of creativity into my day?

My solution – become a lunch break creative.

What I have: the New York Public Library, Bryant Park, the firm’s break room, an exciting location, one hour, my hands, my heart, and my ideas.

The library boasts free Wi-Fi, a stunning facility, and endless research opportunities. Why not bring my laptop or iPad to spend time writing or researching projects?

Bryant Park also has free Wi-Fi and can’t be beat for writing or researching on a sunny day.

The firm’s break room offers coffee, snacks, and an endless supply of diet coke.  There is also a TV and long tables.  Hmmm, could I start a scrapbooking group using these fantastic tables?  I haven’t met one crafty person at the firm yet, although I’m sure they are out there.  A sorority sister of mine is both a lawyer and one of the most prolific crafters I know. Hope springs eternal.

My new office is located in the crossroads of the world, Times Square. There have GOT to be some creative outlets right outside my window. I just need to open my eyes and find them. Why not take a mini-vacation on my lunch break by checking out historic and noteworthy places?  I’ve used Forgotten New York as a resource for this in the past. *Gasp* I should speak to my former Foundation colleague and travel blogger, Action JoJo for ideas.  Stay tuned!

Do you have any hints for staying creative during the workday?