Thursday, January 22, 2009

Why You Should Be Going to a Korean Spa

Korean spa. Never been? Here's the gist: you hang out with other naked individuals of the same sex, you sit in various hot/cold/wet/herbal/clay pools and saunas, and then you go in a big room to get scrubbed raw by a women in her underwear. A little awkward? Definitely. Totally random? Yeah, if you're not Korean. Nothing more than a masochistic indulgence? Not exactly.

The truth is, going to Korean spas can do wonders for your career. Here's how:

  1. You're naked. Uncomfortable in your own skin? Meek and quiet at work? Not for long. Shower, lounge, explore, and get scrubbed and massaged naked around other people is a sure way to get pretty darn comfortable in your birthday suit. Translation: more confidence in the office.
  2. Everyone else is naked. A lot of people hate networking events because they're shy, nervous, or just not really used to starting conversations with people they don't know. At the Korean spa, you're sitting in a hot tub full of naked ladies (or guys, depending on your chromosomes). You have to make eye contact with those naked spa-ers to avoid looking elsewhere, and you'll end up making conversation just to feel more comfortable. You might even have fun... when you're already naked, there are really no limits to the conversation! At that next networking event, you'll be a pro... because everyone there will probably be wearing clothing.
  3. You have to acknowledge your limits. A huge part of the spa experience is all of the different pools and saunas available. However, to prolong the experience, you have to listen to your body and alternate between hot and cold, wet and dry, etc. Learn to listen to your natural limits here, and you can better analyze your work load and effort levels.
  4. You are not perfect and never will be. You are dirty like everyone else. A lot of us deal with a crippling case of perfectionism. I'm one of those people. So, naturally, going to the Korean spa I figured they wouldn't be able to 'scrub' much off of me because of course I am a clean individual. As it turns out, Sarah, the elderly woman in the black lace underwear set, scrubbed a disgusting amount of dead gray skin off of my pasty, naked body. I asked her if I'd ever get to the point where she couldn't scrub anything off; she said NO. I will never be perfect, but I can do the best I can. That's all you can expect yourself to do in the workplace and in your career.
  5. New experiences give valuable new perspective. I enjoyed this spa experience because novelty gets you thinking in a broader spectrum. Are you boxed in at work? You should be trying new tasks and projects, reading different topics, or maybe finding a new job. Perhaps as a scrubber/masseuse at a Korean spa?
  6. You never know where the next opportunity lies. Perhaps that naked chick across the clay sauna is actually looking to hire someone like you. Or perhaps you just really like being naked and need to find a job that lets you wallow in your nakedness all day. You never know until you try, so why not try everything?

Friday, January 2, 2009

2009: Healthy, happy, and in control... I hope

I've always hated New Years resolutions. For as long as I can remember, they were always along the lines of "get skinny, find a boyfriend, be nicer to people". I never got much thinner, being a people person is not second nature to me, but at least the boyfriend found me about five years ago.

When January 2007 rolled around, I didn't make any resolutions. I had everything I wanted... and then the shit hit the fan. My 2008 resolution was to forget 2007 ever happened. But then 2008 became a continuation of miserable 2007: aroller coaster year full of joblessness, unfulfilled interviews, and major anxiety about moving to San Francisco. I moved here in June, found a job in late July, and things were rolling along well. Then, I started having debilitating, chronic migraines that were making me impossible to be around and making it very hard to focus at my fast-paced, absolutely crazy job.

So, for 2009, I'm not making resolutions. I am starting initiatives that will help me to sustain a relatively sane, healthy, and enjoyable lifestyle.

  • Address health issues head-on. My doctor called me while I was on vacation to tell me that I have a cyst growing in my left sinus, pressing on nerves and causing my headaches. Normally I would avoid this and see if it got better on its own, but I will confront it. Also under this category: get over my fears and finally go to the dentist.
  • Give my body what it wants. Since I was very small, I have thrived on multiple hours of physical exercise every day... this peaked my senior year of college when I was in dance rehearsal 11 hours/day, 5 days/week. I love being active, but have been too tired or lazy to really get out much. I'm going to get back into yoga seriously, do more cardio, and go on more hikes.
  • Get back into dance. You know you need to do something if it is constantly in your brain, whether you are sleeping or awake. I dream about ballet every night and choreograph in my head to the music in television commercials. It's time to get back into it. What's the worst that can happen? I could blow out my knee. A third time. No sweat.
  • Indulge my creative side. I'm a creative person by nature, but in working for a startup my creative endeavors were among the first victims of my new schedule. While the old standbys of photography and knitting are still there, I'm hoping that our buying a condo will help jumpstart a new DIY furniture refurbishment hobby!
  • Spend more time and effort on my personal brand. I gave blogging, commenting on blogs, and being generally active in marketing myself a huge amount of time when I was unemployed. Since starting my job, I've only made 3 blog posts. This needs to change! I will commit to at least one blog post per week, actual participation on Digg, less random Tweeting, and I'll read/comment more as a whole.