Tag Archives: Multiple Careers

Tips For Adulthood: Five Things Barbra Streisand Taught Me

Every Wednesday I offer tips for adulthood.

This Wednesday’s list comes from the interview I watched last Friday night with Barbra Streisand on the Jonathan Ross show. As I gushed on Monday, I think there are a lot of things about Barbra that make her truly admirable. But some of what I learned about her during this interview also resonated with my views on adulthood:

1. Be Gutsy. One mark of adulthood is the willingness to put yourself out there. Streisand is nothing if not gutsy. In addition to her many different professional endeavors, she’s been outspoken on her political views for years. Have a look at her website. In addition to the usual fan memorabilia and updates about her new album, there are links to articles about public policy and a list of “truth alerts” to correct public figures when she thinks they are lying. Gutsiness is also a feature of her personal life. In the Jonathan Ross interview, she told the story of how – the first time she met her husband – she reached out and touched his hair without thinking. That act sparked a relationship of 11 years (and counting…).

2. Be Vulnerable. At the same time, it’s important to admit your weaknesses. My favorite moment in the Ross interview was when she confessed that she’s terrified about performing in front of live audiences where she can see people’s eyes. Huh? 30 top ten albums and you get nervous in front of crowds? But she does. And that explains why she so rarely performs in small venues like nightclubs. I liked her more once she admitted this about herself.

3. Try Different Things Inside Your Career. What sets Streisand aside from many other stars of her generation is the sheer variety of things that she’s done in her life professionally (and succeeded at). Actress. Singer. Songwriter. Screenwriter. Producer. Director. She simply hasn’t allowed herself to get stale and that’s because she’s always taking on new challenges.

4. Try Different Things Outside Your Career. But equally impressive are the things she’s done outside her career. In addition to her foundation – which has contributed money to all sorts of political and environmental causes – she’s currently at work on a book…about architecture. Lots of celebrities write auto-biographies and it looks like she’ll do that, too. But in the meantime, she’s thinking mostly about design. Wow.

5. Don’t Write Off Plastic Surgery. Hey, I’m not usually one to advocate “getting work done.” But I must say, Barbra has clearly put herself under the knife and she looks pretty impressive for 67. It made me think twice, anyway…

*****

Guess he’s not Jewish after all. Or maybe he is. Read my follow on about Ahmadinejad’s alleged Jewish roots here

Image: Village Vanguard by Luizfilipe via Flickr under a Creative Commons license.

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Free Pimms and iPod Chairs: Why I Really Joined the PTA

Last Wednesday I found myself in an upscale, Italian furniture store called Natuzzi (pronounced, in case you’re wondering, Nah-TOOT-see). I’m not exactly the home furnishings type (though I did notice the leather chair where you can plug in your iPod and listen to it in surround sound and made a mental note to never, ever bring my husband here).

I was there because the store had generously sponsored the annual quiz night at my kids’ school and, in exchange, I was arranging for an event to be held at the store next Autumn.

I do this sort of thing quite a lot, actually. In between blog posts and article pitches and agent queries and whatever else I’m up to as a writer, I’m also frequently dashing off emails to the local bakery to see if they’ll donate a cake or nipping into the local off-license (liquor store) to see if they’ll slide us some free Pimms for our upcoming Summer fair. (Never tried Pimms? Get thee to an English pub tout de suite!)

People get involved in the PTA for a lot of different reasons. It’s a great way to make friends, to improve the resources at your kid’s school and to feel on top of what’s going on at the school.

All true.

But while I’m active in the PTA for all of those reasons, the main reason I do it is because it uses a different part of my brain.

As a writer, most of my day is spent (a) alone (b) typing and (c) in my pajamas. So when I go to a meeting or organize a project or cajole someone into donating money to the school, it’s a way to use my now dormant (but bursting at the seams) administrative gene, the one I left on the side of the road the day I left an office job (along with Karaoke night and bagel Fridays). Sigh.

Marci Alboher has a great book called One Person, Multiple Careers: A New Model for Work/Life Success in which she describes the advent of what she calls “slash careers” – e.g., police officer/personal trainer or violin maker/psychologist.

The thrust of the book – which I’ll talk about some other time – is that slash careers enable people with multiple interests to realize all of their professional dreams. But having a slash career (yes, parenting counts as a slash!) is also a way to utilize different parts of your brain.

For me, then, doing the PTA is about taking my Admin side out of the garage every so often, dusting it off, and going for a whirl – though I’m sure there are many parents at the school who’d love it if I just gave that part of my personality a rest!

And, hey, whenever I get a bit too overzealous in my PTA duties, my friends offer me some Pimms and all is right with the world…

*****

The website Babble offers an arch, funny take on parenting. Read here for a tale of one woman’s reluctance to embrace the PTA, only to discover that she found it quite gratifying.

Image: Pimms No. 1 by Naughty Architect via Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

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