Thursday, November 20, 2014

I'm a WEEEner

Its been a tough day. Not tough in that anything difficult happened, just that it was a long day.

So, I may have mentioned (I'm kidding. I know I've mentioned) that I love my new job. Well, today I loved it just a little bit more.

The company has a month all company meeting. It's a quick little meeting for an update from the executives and a few other house keeping things.

The also do this thing called Thanks Unlimited. Basically during the month if you've felt someone has gone above and beyond and want to thank them, you send an email to that person and copy the alias for Thanks Unlimited. Then at the meeting, 5 are pulled at random and read. Those 5 win a gift card or gift certificate to something.

Well, guess who got thanked and won a gift card?

That's right...

This girl!

And apparently a new employee has never won within the first 2 weeks of employment.  Hah.

I was thrilled to have won, but also felt a bit awkward in that I don't like being the center of attention...Still, I'll take my $5 gold star and go buy some coffee with it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Blerg

Minimums blog requirement day.


I've got this cold that had been lingering and finally hit. Which means I've got nothing in my noggin to write about.



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cardinal rule #1 - broken


I did it. I made my first mistake at the new job. I knew it was just a matter of time. While I’m a perfectionist at heart, I do realize that mistakes are part of the game. I try to avoid them at all costs, but ESPECIALLY in a new job, you know they’re going to happen.

Mistakes are different than failure to me. Failure is a whole other topic I may broach soon. 

I made the number one cardinal mistake for project managers.  I didn’t check the outgoing deliverable against the scope doc! And guess what, the client found some discrepancies. 

Turns out that the dev made some very useful design decisions, but didn’t tell me. And because I didn’t check the scope doc against the deliverable, the client found the discrepancies. That’s the LAST thing you want to happen. This company, in particular, really prides itself on quality and no mistakes. 

I see this as a learning opportunity. I think within your first month you get a few free passes. This should certainly be the exception and not the rule. 

Another fun fact about this company…

Monthly they do this company meeting called Thanks Unlimited. Essentially throughout the month peers send “thank you” notes to managers for a job well done, or something they’ve gone above and beyond with. Then those names are all pulled out and the thank you read. Prizes are to be had…

I bring this up because your’s truly got nominated by a couple folks with respect to my introducing them to Quick Parts in Outlook.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Hey! I’m talking to you!


Do you ever have conversations, out loud, with yourself? I do all the time. In fact, I sometimes giggle at the fact I’m talking (or in some cases, arguing) with myself. Out. Loud. 

I worry that I’ve had conversations out loud in public, but really can’t prove that I have. 

The other day on the way to work, I had, what I consider, an amusing argument with myself. It went something like this. 

Me1: OOOO Under Pressure. I love this song.

Me2: Who sings it?

Me1: David Bowie.

Me2: Are you sure it’s not Queen?
Me1: Nope. David Bowie.

Me2: Are you sure? Cuz I swear it’s Queen.

We listen … 

Me2: You know it does sound like David Bowie. I swear Queen sang this.

Me1: Wow, you might be right. It is Queen. But it sure sounds like David Bowie.

Me2: When we get to the stop sign, we’re gonna check the interweb.

Stop light turns green.

Me1: dammit, now we have to wait. But I swear it’s David Bowie.

Me2: Wait, didn’t you just say it was Queen.

Me1: Dammit!

So when I got to work, I googled it. Turns out they both did a version of this song. I was pretty thankful I wasn’t losing my mind. Then I checked my iTunes and I have BOTH versions. No wonder I was confused. 

Do you ever have funny conversations, out loud, with yourself?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Traditions

This morning as I was sitting, cuddled in an afghan, I started thinking about Thanksgiving. That led me to thinking about Christmas. And that led me to thinking about traditions.

Traditions. We all have them. Some of us love them. Some of us think they're not necessary. I think that might be a generational thing though.  I happen to think traditions are a celebration of our family and the lives of the ones who came before us.

The idea of passing something down to a generation makes me smile. It's as if you're bestowing some treasure on a young one. It makes me smile when I think about the traditions that were passed down to me. And more importantly how I react to them not happening when I think they should (ie. someone changing the plans and thus the tradition doesn't happen).

Then life happens. And some of your family traditions change because the person who the tradition was about or with is no longer with us. This saddens me greatly.

Case in point, the tradition of the DadUnit and I shopping for the MomUnit's Christmas gift on Christmas Eve. It all started one year when the DadUnit delayed buying her gift and called me with a "fun day".  Traditionally, we'd go to lunch then shop for the MomUnit and then the DadUnit would buy me a special gift. Over the years this day became very important to me. The DadUnit and I rarely spent any alone time together and this was a chance for us to recharge our relationship and spend some quality father/daughter time.  I miss him every Christmas.

One year, the DadUnit wanted to go shopping on the 23rd. I threw the biggest hissy fit because it wasn't the tradition. He got mighty angry at me calling me spoiled and a bunch of other comments.  I held strong though. I can be stubborn if I want (stop rolling your eyes).  Then when we did go on the 24th, the store he wanted to buy the MomUnit's gift from was closed. DOH! But to the DadUnit's credit he never said, "SEEEE! Had we gone when I wanted to go..."

There's also those traditions I created in my life. Granted they aren't going to be passed down, per se, but they're my traditions all the same.

My favorite Jenn Tradition is putting up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving.

See having my birthday right after Christmas means the tree comes down on the 26th. So really the tree is only up for a month. I'm certainly not one of those houses that keep the tree up through January.

This year I have a new tree. Mrs. Braspir and I headed to Costco yesterday so I could see the trees and if I wanted to spend the $$ to buy one. She had one last year and I just loved it. And she was already going to Costco so I just joined the fun.  That and there was no WAY the tree box would fit in Sparky.

I found one. And it's a beauty. I cannot wait to put it up. (and I'm sure the demons are saying, "We cannot wait to bring it down.") You'll have to wait for pictures.

I digress.

Almost all the traditions appear to be around holidays, at the moment I can't even think of any that aren't. I love traditions...all kinds.

What about you? What are your favorite family traditions?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Goals and Such


Y’all probably know I’m a goal oriented person. I tend to make goals in the beginning of the year, and I tend to check in on them quarterly.  99% of the time my goals aren't what I’d call “lofty” or “awe inspiring”. They are, simply, goals.  My goals in particular. 

I've shared my goals here on a regular basis, and I've shared my updates on said goals on a regular basis. I've not done that in quite a while, and I’m not going to do it now. Hah. 

As I start this new job, goals and expectations are critical to determine so that I can be successful at this job and ultimately become a full time employee.  The first day the boss told me he’d be sending his initial thoughts on expectations and goals, but he’d like me to come up with some as well. 

Easy. 

And done. 

But here’s the hard part. How do you quantify goals? 

When I’m setting my professional goals I always remember to use the SMART method – Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound.  My own personal goals I’m more carefree with how much of the SMART method I use. But when it comes to my job, it’s vitally important that I include all those elements in my goals.

In addition to that, I have a template. I know. You’re shocked and stunned that I have a template.  Now I don’t generally share this template with the boss. This is MY template. This is for me to track my goals and objectives.




I think what’s critical here is to really think about what you want to accomplish. Don’t just jot things down. Take the time to really think about these.



The first section is all about overall goals/objectives. I've broken them down into sub-categories of Top Priorities, Value, Goals, Overcoming Challenges, Habit Improvements. Then I've put trigger questions to help me think through these.

The second section is all about career development. How do I, as a professional, want to improve? These are broken down into Personal Growth, Immediate areas of improvement, and open issues to resolve. Admittedly the open issues section I hardly use. I kinda feel it’s covered in the immediate areas of improvement.

And the last section, to me, is really important. Innovation. What new ideas can I bring to the table? Over the years I've contemplated moving the “Value” line down to this, but haven’t done that yet. The very subtle difference to me is the Value is where I can add value to the team and to my boss. How do I make his life easier?

Whereas the Innovation is really about improving on the team or company.

You’ll notice there’s no time information on this template. That’s by design. When I’m filling this out, I rarely get to the deep level that would be appropriate for a time. Instead, I generally take these goals and build a PM’s favorite tool – a work break down structure. That’s right, roll your eyes.

At the end of the day, you can’t possibly expect to achieve goals without a plan. You've gotta figure out what are the steps you need to take to achieve these goals. Enter the work break down structure. (even I think I’m a nerd at this point).

Goal setting, to me, plays a pivotal role in guaranteeing I’m living the best life I can. I full recognize not everyone likes setting goals. And that’s ok. Whatever helps you be a better person will work for you. How I set goals won’t fit everyone. Still, I wanted to get this out there to the universe because if it helps one person, my work here is done.

So how about it? Do you set goals, personal and professional?


Friday, November 14, 2014

What is the hardest word for you to say?


This question was posed to the lunch table today. This was, naturally, after we discussed some TV show I’d never heard of and it sounded like they were all speaking in tongue.

One of the guys here, appears to be worldly and deep, but not in an arrogant, “look at me” kind of way. He just seems connected to his life and in the present. Anyhow, he posed this question to the table.

There was silence – which I’ve gotta say doesn’t happen much at the lunch table.

Then one guy pipes up, and another, and another. Everyone seeming open to share what the hardest “word” is for them to say. “Word” became phrase really, but you get the drift. The answers were sweet, heart felt, and silly. One guy saying, or trying to, “familiar” was the hardest word for him to say.  That broke the ice a bit and the silliness ensued. Literally speaking, mine is “ambiguous.” I can’t say that word right for my soul.

It got me to thinking though, what is the hardest word or words for me to say.

Rather instantly I knew, there are two word (phrases) that are tough for me to say.

“I’m sorry.”

And

“I was wrong.”

I know I’m not alone in this. I’ve known people who would never EVER say “I’m sorry.” Sadly it cost them a lot of relationships. And I’ve known a lot of folks who cannot admit when their wrong.I’ve tried in recent years to be very cognizant of the “I was wrong” phrase.  Depending on what the situation is, admitting you were wrong can really change things. Admitting it can really open up the communication channels. So why is it so hard to say?

I think we all want to be right. But I wonder if it doesn’t stem from my childhood somehow. The biological father had a need to always be right. And the DadUnit, at times, had a need to be right. The difference to me was the biological father just HAD to be right, whereas the DadUnit was just stubborn. Subtle difference, but different all the same.

I’m loathed to blame my current behavior on anything that happened in my childhood, because I think as an adult we can grow past that, but this one I think might be a childhood quirk.

I also wonder if it’s not because I essentially grew up as an only child. I didn’t have siblings around during my teenage, informative years, and I wonder if that soloness played a role in my wanting to be right all the time. I mean, I was right all the time. Who was there to contradict me? Or challenge me?The “I’m sorry” phrase I think stems from the same root. I’m wrong and I’m sorry are very similar in nature. I’m constantly looking inward and trying (albeit not always successful) to improve my behavior. This one is one I have to work on every time it comes up.

So, what’s the hardest word/phrase for you to say?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Top 10 Guilty Pleasures


In an attempt to hit a blog everyday this month, I've had to dig deep into my blog topic library to find something interesting to write about. As I was going through, many got deleted with a sigh and a "What the hell?" But this one struck me as something kinda interesting. 

Come on … admit it. You have guilty pleasures. We all do. And really I think many of what used to be "guilty pleasures" aren't as taboo these days.  And the definition of “guilty pleasure” I think has changed over the years.  Some things were way more taboo 20 years ago, then they are today. For example, watching TV. I don’t see that as a guilty pleasure, I see that as part of my everyday life – and I’m ok with that. I suppose some folks who are more with it than I may consider TV a guilty pleasure, but it’s not on my list. 

The definition of guilty pleasure really depends on who you talk to. Some, like me, think they are things that aren’t really “taboo” but are things I love to take part in, but am embarrassed to say I do them at all. Others will think a “guilty pleasure” is something out of the norm, almost immoral that people take part in. P*rn for example is one of those guilty pleasures. 

Years ago when I worked at The Cat Shack (not its real name) one of our Christmas party themes was "Guilty Pleasures". It was a gift exchange and the gift had to be your guilty pleasure. You can imagine what types of things showed up.  My guilty pleasure at the time will be on the list below, but I'm happy to report I no longer partake in this guilty pleasure. 

So for your convenience here is my list of 10 Guilty Pleasures. Not in any order of importance.

  1. Donnettes – I just love those little chocolate Hostess Donnettes. I have been known to buy an entire box of them and finish them in a day or two. They’re just so darn good.

  2. The Making of Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders TV show – I admit, when I first saw this on TV I watched it because I was sure it was going to be an absolute train wreck. Turns out that this organization really does have high standards for their cheerleaders, and the show is pretty darn interesting.  The entire process of what these girls go through is fascinating. I do, often, roll my eyes when they say things like, “Its my only dream and I would just die if I don’t make it.” Really? You’re ONLY dream.

  3. Enquirer or other rag magazines – You know the type. “Alien found in the Bronx”. “Child grew to 4 years old in mom’s womb” – these type of magazines I used to LOVE to get and read. In fact, Blueberry and I would often grab a handful of them and read them out loud on road trips. I’ve given up this particular guilty pleasure as I can find that stuff on the Internet.

  4. Smut novels – Oh yes…the “Romance” novel. I got hooked on one particular writer in college and when a new book comes out I am Johnny on the spot to buy it and read it immediately. I’ve since branched out some, but admit I particularly like the historical romance novels. And as I’ve gotten older I tend to just flip past the actual sex scenes cuz they just are so ridiculous.

  5. Fried foods – see this is one that I think isn’t as much of a guilty pleasure as it used to be. But man, put something fried in front of me and you’d better step away.

  6. Being lazy – sometimes on the weekends I don’t move my butt off the couch and I don’t change out of my jammies. And sometimes during the week I get home and do the same thing. THIS has changed a lot in the past couple of months as sitting and being lazy adds to the girth.  Now the idea of being lazy does feel like a guilty pleasure and not the standard.

  7. Listening to a guy with an accent talk – so this really depends on the accent. Latin accents, British accents, Scottish accents, Irish accents – all fair game. US Southern accents on men are somewhat attractive to me and I’ve been known to swoon at times over them.

  8. Bubble gum pop songs – I can’t help myself. They are usually really catchy and have really good hooks. Those type of songs totally get stuck in my head. I’d add to this particular guilty pleasure that I listen to Barry Manillo on occasion and I listen to Kenny Rogers on occasion.

  9. Pizza – This is a new guilty pleasure. In my previous life of eating whatever I want, I never felt guilty eating pizza. I’ve not had pizza in 8 weeks and I’ve gotta say, I’m starting to crave it. I will soon break down and treat myself to a slice or two of pizza.  This will now be on my guilty pleasure list.

  10. Salted Caramel Latte – OMG…they’re really only available this time of year. And OMG they are so sickly sweet and so full of calories (even if you try it with NF milk it’s still not great) but once or twice during the holiday season I look forward to my Salted Caramel Latte in a Starbucks Red cup.

So there ya go. My list of guilt pleasures. What are some of your guilty pleasures?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wanting to be heard....


One of the many advantages of being the new kid on the block is you get to ask dumb questions and figure out the lay of the land with an excuse like, “Hey! I’m new.” In my past jobs I’ve found that the first month is really critical in setting up working relationships.  It’s not like you only get one chance, but it is your opportunity to figure out how best to work with your new team and even more important as a PM, how best to communicate with them. 
 
Many years ago I was told by a seasoned PM that the key to being a good PM is to learn everyone’s language.  I really didn’t understand what that meant until I worked on a team that had several different roles. I mistakenly assumed that everyone spoke PM and would clearly understand what the objectives etc for the project was. I would be wrong. The project was falling into the depths of hell, and this seasoned PM I turned to for advice. 
 
She told me when reviewing how I had asked for things, or worked with the team that my main problem was communication. When I bristled at that, thinking I was a fine communicator, she calmly said, “No you need to approach each personality type differently.” 
 
Ahhhh
 
She went on to explain and I took notes. Each time, now that I’m in a new role I do three things with regards to my communication:
 
I adapt to the personality type language.  For example, the way I casually talk to people about the weekend, is fine. But if I want them to do something for me, I need to change how I approach it. If I want to get through to a developer, for example, I generally just tell them, as succinctly as possible, what is I want. It’s been my experience that developers just want to know their task in black and white. No fluffy stuff. 
 
And with a new team, or company, I adapt myself to speak their language. I’m on their turf now and for me to “fit in” I need to start talking like them.  And stop getting your feathers in a ruffle with the “BUT you need to stand out” idea. Trust me. If I am a successful communicator, I will stand out. 
 
The second thing I try to do, is a bit like “fake it until you make it”. I try to mimic the speech around here. Depending, again, on who I’m dealing with, I may try to change my speech patterns slightly to meet theirs. This is hard for me, but it does come in handy once in a while. I’ve especially found this useful when talking with executives, or when something is going south and you need to give bad news.  I read somewhere that the way people relate to their world is generally through visual, auditory or kinesthetic (sight), sound and sense. Their past, (education, where they grew up, experiences, etc) all comes into play with how we all communicate. So, if I can adjust ever so slightly, my message may be heard more. 
 
 Here are 3 common situations I’ve found for understanding how to communicate:
  1. Sight: Is there someone who just doesn’t SEE eye to eye with you, no matter how plain your message may be? We’ve all had this person right?
  2.  Sound: Is there someone who just can’t HEAR you, even when you think you’re coming in loud and clear? Again, we all know this type of person…they appear to be listening, and they go off and do something completely different.
  3.  Sense: Is there someone who just won’t FEEL anything except the bone they have to pick with you? Um, yah. And sadly, I’ve been this person.
Each of these situations is actually the same kind of problem wearing a different disguise.  I’ve found if I’m not getting my point across, it may be as simple as matching my speech to their way of speaking. The seeing one is an easy one for me since I’m a visual person. If they just aren’t getting it, sometimes drawing it out helps them “see it”. 

And the last thing I do that is essential in being a good communicator (remember, communication is speaking AND listening) is I ask questions…lots of questions. In many cases, especially when its about an issue, I ask pointed questions.  I never underestimate the power of asking pointed questions. It generally gets the conversation going in a direction neither of us can foresee. 

So today I reminded myself of these points. I’ve been here for a week now and while it’s a comfortable environment where everyone seems to get along, I think communication is still going to be key.  There are still team members with whom I’ll be “directing” and I will still need to make sure they hear my message.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

When in Peru...

Machu Picchu has been on my bucket list for, well, as long as I've had a bucket list.  The reality is I'll probably never get there.  Still, one can dream.

And since one can't go to Peru, Peru came to me.

Tonight was our monthly dinner club and we went to Wyraqocha Peruvian Restaurant.  This little restaurant is new and small.  They didn't open until 6pm and are only opened for dinner. I'm hoping they open for more than dinner, but understand the business model for a new restaurant.

Tonight was also Mr. Landlords birthday so it was extra special.


I had some weird drink that was WAY too sour but flavorful. It tasted a lot like a very sour margarita sans Tequila.  I didn't finish it because it was just too much for me.

For dinner I had some filet mignon treat. Little bite size pieces of filet mignon and red onions on top of French fires. So bizarre, but OMG soooo good. It was so good in fact, I neglected to take a picture.

After dinner, being Mr. Landlord's birthday we got these little shortbread cookies that had dulce de leche in the middle of them. Wow. I could eat a ton of those, and I'm not a sweets person.

They came in the cute little wood box that was opened like a gift. The candle you see there is a shot glass full of homemade corn nuts and a candle. Clever...

At the end of the day, the food was good, the service was good - well up until they broke the internet and then couldn't run credit cards and then didn't have the old fashion swipey thing and had to write down our cc numbers.  Technology!

I wouldn't necessarily go back to this place. It was good, and one visit was enough. Their  menu is small and not overly interesting to me. The food was good, I'll give them that.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Moooooo

Don't ask about the title. I was drawing a blank.

Am I the only one who’s finding it hard to believe it’s the 10th of November? I know I say it all the time, but my word time is flying. 

Today was a tough Monday.  I had some, we’ll call it, sleeping issues last night that kept me awake and sadly if I don’t get my 8 hours, I struggle a bit the following day. I had a weird acid reflux thing last night that had me in a coughing fit from hell. I will spare you the gory details, but suffice it to say, I slept sitting up for a good part of the night and a garbage pail nearby. Thankfully nothing ended up coming up, shall we say, but man it sucked for a good hour or so. 

During my coughing fit last night, my little boy demon, Linus, who was nowhere to be found prior to this, ended up sitting by my side. There was definitely some look of concern in his eye and I felt like he was checking to make sure I was ok. Now, if it were a dog, he would have been there to offer comfort and support. But I’m pretty sure Linus was there to make sure I didn’t keel over and thus not be able to feed him. All joking aside, it was rather sweet. Lucy? Oh she was sound asleep and didn’t even bat an eye. 

I noticed last night, I’m a bit behind the game this year. It’s the 10th of Nov and I’ve not ordered my Christmas cards.  Stop rolling your eyes. Usually by now, I’ve got them ordered, the letter written, the cards addressed and I’m ready to go.  This year, it’s sneaking up on me. Maybe if I get them ordered next weekend I can have them for Thanksgiving weekend and get those babies done.

Seattle SIL and I sat after Sunday dinner last night and talked about Turkey day. It’ll be a tough week for us as it’ll be one year since we lost BigBro. It feels like yesterday some days (and some days I still don’t believe it’s true). We’ll be celebrating Turkey day at her house, splitting the food work this year.  It’ll be nice to be around family and have that extra support. It’s still going to suck, I won’t lie.  I'm going to do everything in my power to make this a happy, memory filled day.  I'll try to keep in my mind, "WWBBD?" What would BigBro Do?

In other news, I went to the gym RIGHT after work. I expected it to be busy in there at 5pm an it wasn't. Yay.  I did just cardio because I neglected to eat something prior and was starving. I was starting to feel a bit light headed and opted to just go home.

Now you won't be surprised that when I'm hungry I make bad choices.  While, it wasn't a horrible choice, my dinner wasn't exactly what was "planned" and certainly not within my dinner calorie range. I'm still below my calories for the day, but frankly I won't be doing that again. I checked the calories online after and was like, "Holy SHIT!"


 

Sunday, November 09, 2014

November Sunday Dinner

Hello my little kittens. Here we are on day 9 of the blogging for every day in November. I warn you now...these blog posts may not be overly exciting or long...and yes that's different from normal.

This weekend flew by. And tomorrow I get to start a full week at the job.  I'm excited for the learning curve that's in front of me and the organization in this company.  I can tell I'm going to feel like this is home for me.

I might have mentioned that I worked out yesterday. For the first time EVER, I did squats.  Let me tell you...I am so sore today. There are muscles that are hurtin' that I didn't even know I had. That doesn't seem fair at all. And while I'm whining, I'd like to complain all my "so called" friends who never warned me about how much squats could hurt. Rude.

Today was Sunday dinner. I had a small group this month, by comparison to the 15 I had last month, there was only 7 of us.  Such a small group means I can do BBQ ribs.  And that's exactly what I did.  I made two racks and not a single piece of meat was left. Not even a teeny tiny piece.  It was clear we liked them.


Saturday, November 08, 2014

Checking In

This is the first time when changing my life choices that I've not weighed myself weekly, or daily. I used to weigh myself every morning because I just felt I needed to know. It's absolutely the wrong thing to do.  It can be motivating, but can be demoralizing too. The motivating part was, "Oh look! I lost 2 oz." As if that mattered in the grand scheme. 

But that's where I was emotionally.  I needed that number to feel confident that making these food and exercises choices were the right thing to do.  And it was the right thing to do, but I wasn't really looking at it as  "life changing" choices.  I saw it as temporary.

I didn't realize the real chatter in my head was telling me, "Thank god this is temporary. When I loose X number of pounds I can eat whatever I want."

You see what's wrong with that right?

This morning, I pulled my scale out from under my bed and weighed myself.  I've lost 11 lbs.  That's 11 lbs in 8 weeks.  Slower than I want, but slow and steady wins the race I think.  The thing is, this number really doesn't matter to me.

That's weird to me.

The PM in me needs to know what's what at this 2 month milestone. 

The new Jenn, however, knows that in these 2 months a lot has happened.  And sure I would have loved to see the 3 lbs a week they talk about at Positive Changes (the message in the hypnosis is 1 to 3 lbs a week. I suspect the 3 lbs are for young chickens, not almost 46 year old chickens.)

Don't get me wrong, 11 lbs feels great. What I know to be true is this:

11 lbs is 11 less than I was.

11 lbs is 11 lbs closer to being healthier

I've made some great choices with regards to food

I joined a new gym and love it (in fact am dressed right now to go at 10am)

I've only had fast food twice in 8 weeks. Once because there was no other option. And once because I was craving fries. I paid the price for that last one.

I'm very content with my progress emotionally and physically

I'm optimistic about my future.

So there you go.  I'm on the right track. I feel great and I'm ready to see, honestly see, this as an actual life change.  I've realized that I can still have those wonderful foods I love. I just can't have them two times a day. Or every day.

Friday, November 07, 2014

It's all in a days work


So I've completed a full week on the new job.  I'm so very excited to be here, I can barely contain myself.  One of the many things I've grown to love about this place so far is they have a unique and sometimes quirky culture.  From our lunches together as one big team/family, to the (sometimes) over-the-top informality, to the ability to hold each other to really high standards without getting nasty, I think these things about working here are pretty cool. 

Quirky case in point.  Imagine if you will and open work environment. Cubicles. Some offices, but mostly cubes.  They're blocked off, mostly, but you can hear what the person in the cube on the other side of the wall is doing. 

Mid-morning on Wednesday, a cell phone rings.  You hear a "Oh crap." Then you hear a dozen or so people yell, "YAY!! Doughnuts on Friday!!"

With such a small group, and open group, they figured it would be a fun way to deter people from leaving their wacky ringers on and walking away from their desk.  The best part is it was an "old timer" … he has got nothing but crap the entire day. 

Another quirky, but fun thing is there's a HUGE, and I mean HUGE jar called "The Swear Jar". And yes, you got it…it's for those who cuss in meetings. Apparently it doesn't count if there's just casual conversations, though depending on who you ask this isn't true.  The cost is one dollar and this jar is almost full.  I guess they throw themselves a big party of some sort when the jar reaches capacity. 

On Thursday, this guy that I may or may not have a crush on already, stopped by to see how things were going for me. He's only been here for a year and a half. He hit on something that has been in the back of my mind…when is the honeymoon period going to end? He said after a month he was sure it would end, and it didn't. Then two months, then three…and now a year and a half later he still loves this place.  It was exciting to hear that this could be a company that is what it appears. 

I'm trying very hard to be optimistic about that. 

Now, I've just got to hit the very high expectations that have been set in front of me. 

Product Specialists initial expectations:

  1. Supervise and distribute intake on all new work orders (easy enough, once you figure out what's what). This company is a company of processes, homemade tools, and really organized.  I love it.
  2. Project manage any size product job, from fast turn to massive profiling customization (again, easy enough)
  3. Consult with clients on course/curriculum builds (I'm going to start taking some Instructional Design courses to really understand this. And in time I'll become an expert with the product so this shouldn't be too hard. Aside from the crazy clients you may or may not get).
  4. Stay current with major trends in security, privacy, and compliance to ensure value add to customers as well as sales and marketing (Interestingly enough, this is very interesting and exciting to me. Who knew Privacy and Security could be interesting?)
  5. Master enough of hosting to handle any Level 1 hosting inquiries (Again, I'll need training on this and understanding of the systems. But in time, I feel confident this will not be an issue.)

 

Personal skills that the boss wants to see demonstrated - I love that he listed these out. In fact, in the email he said he reserves the right to add to these.

  1. Exceptionally clear and consistent communication of project requirements to all parties (sales, ops, customers); this will require that I understand our product and its production processes like the back of my hand, and it will take time. Though their product is pretty easy to understand at an elementary level. The deep stuff will definitely take time.
  2. Ability to make the "right" decisions quickly, where "right" balances customer satisfaction with profitability. At first, we'll  discuss how to make the right call, but he's really looking for someone who I can trust to make this call on their own, eventually.  This also shouldn't be a problem. Once I get the knowledge, and the confidence that I have the knowledge, making these decisions will come naturally to me. I hope.

 

So yah, I've got my work cut out for me, but it's not horrible. I'm game.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

I think I'm in love...

So Tuesday was my first day at the new job...and can I say? I'm in love.  I am not even sure where to begin.

Let me first begin by saying that the first day is often full of a lot of reading, not knowing where the bathroom is, not knowing the etiquette of the place etc.  And that adds nothing buy anxiety.  While anxious today, it wasn't because of any of those things.

It started with a meeting with the new boss.  He's "easing" me into it, though he said that with a wink and asked if I have good tennis shoes because I'm going to hit the ground running.  Which I replied that at least it will burn calories.  He gets my humor and for that I'm grateful.

After drinking from that fire hose, new boss took me around the office (40 people total) and introduce me.  Every single person, I kid you not, said "Welcome aboard. We're so glad to have you." It was like a script. Only to find out later that many of these people will be handing projects, or parts of managing projects off to me. Everyone was very welcoming and many stopped by during the day to see how I was doing. Love that.

After that the boss handed me off to the receptionist. She took me around the building showing me the in's and out's and here is where I fell in love.

First they have a new and improved boyfriend. And a wall of coffee options, and fridge FULL for misc creamers (full and non fat).



In the kitchen are two fridges. One is for employee lunches. The other full of (not pop) Starbuck Refreshers, flavored water, ok some pop, yogurt, string cheese, all the creamers, etc. ALL for employees.  The freezer is full of frozen meals, for employees. You get where I'm going here?

The counter has a snack basket full of good for you snacks (PopChips, nuts, protein bars, etc), a small basket of not good for you snacks, a HUGE basket of fruit, and a container of beef sticks.  All for the employees. 

Then, in the kitchen is this HUGE table with about 20 chairs around it. People eat lunch together.  The company subsidizes lunches. Three times a week, they order from some restaurant and pay half of the meal, you pick up the rest. Then they all eat in the kitchen together.  Crazy. On the other two days, they all seem to walk over to a couple of food trucks that come by, and then eat together.

I missed the field trip to the trucks, so I sat and drank water and got to know my new family.  Funny group of people who appear to all be foodies.  One guy (who I foresee me having a crush on) said to beware of the "MediaPro 15". He said he gained 15 lbs upon joining the company because of the food they offer. This girl ain't gaining that ...

Many people brought their lunches too and there was much discussion about what they were eating.  It wasn't simple soups or salads either.  I'm in trouble. I totally eat soup out of a can. And I said that out loud ... not too surprisingly they all laughed and said I'd fit right in.

The rest of the day was full of reading, reading and more reading. 

As I drove home though, I felt like I had certainly made the right decision.  So many surprises today that really helped me fell confident about this move. I can't wait to see what's in store.