Most people know me as a work-a-holic who not too long ago thought having one day off a month was sufficient.

According to my Italian Catholic upbringing being labelled lazy is the ultimate insult. The hard-wiring of my brain makes me twitch when I don’t follow through, so even if I don’t like what I am doing, I’ll make sure to get it done regardless.

Recently I was faced with a situation that required compromise with the hard-worker part of my brain. There were three options for moving through this circumstance, which really can apply to any crisis: swim – work with it, float – accept it, or drown – it kills me. Never do I have patience for floundering in inaction, and if something destroys me I go down fighting. I usually swim or float, and in this particular circumstance, it took a creative set of strategies to make that happen.

Like most artists in NYC I have a slew of gigs to make steady cash. Ten months ago, in order to preserve my love of humankind, waiting tables and bartending became gigs not worth doing. As soon as I quit the service industry the chip on my shoulder turned into a glacier primarily because I am impressionable and just read The Secret. I wondered: How productive is it to serve hors d’oeuvres when I want to be the one ordering them? The elitist private college graduate (ahem, on scholarship) part of my brain egged me on: “Lauren, there are two types of people in this world: the servers and those who are served. Why confuse the universe by putting yourself into the wrong ranks?”

Enter the recession and the summer. Work on all fronts was slow. The phone rings and I got an offer to work a catering job—I racked my brain for an excuse but found none. Very very reluctantly I agreed to plunge back into serving for a night.

The gig was at a nameless famous jewellery store on 57th street and 5th avenue for the “Fashion Night Out” city-wide extravaganza. When I walked into the staff meeting, with the air of my actor/model self, the boss said: “You’re in the wrong place—this area is just for waiters, the other room is for the models.” The chip-turned-glacier on my shoulder melted (partly) and I retreated to the oversized coat closet where it came out as tears. “I am so fabulous, how could I have sunk so low?”

I had to act fast—was I going to sit there like a loser floundering in the coat closet or was I going to get over myself so that I could just make some goddamned money? I made a deal with myself: if I found a way to work as little as possible I could get through the night without losing my last shreds of dignity. Because working hard it would mean that I was investing energy and that I cared about or needed the job (which was true, but I was going for survival here). And if either of those feelings were true then I would not be the person I was trying to create. Convincing myself that going against my natural hard-working instinct would ensure survival, I exited the closet and walked out onto the main floor.