Friday, July 13, 2018

I'm Scared

It's not often I say that I'm scared. I grew up in a house with three brothers and a sister that spent a significant amount of time terrorizing me.  It wasn't uncommon for any one of them to crawl on the floor into my room where I was sleeping and jump out of the shadows all in hopes to make me cry.  That's what kids do, right?

There are things that make me uncomfortable, like sketchy situations, walking in an alley, letting my dogs out in the middle of the night in the north woods.  Does it scare me?  No.  Not really, just uncomfortable.

A gaggle of clowns might set me off. (Is that what they are called? No, I looked it up.  A group of clowns is called as clown alley).  I might even go to say that they might set off a panic attack.  Not sure why.  My mom dressed me in a real life home-made clown costume when I was 5. I thought I was cute.  When I think back to pictures, it freaks me the hell out.

So when it comes to being scared, the only thing that is really kind of weighing on me is my impending surgery.  Last year I went through a series of biopsies, two of which were unsuccessful, and the third was paired with a D&C - not a fun experience.  Needless to say, my symptoms never stopped, and here I am a year later going in for a hysterectomy at 48 years old.

That doesn't bother me.  It's not like I need that baby factory anymore.  We have two grown children, and there is no baby fever for me.  I've been told that the procedure is a laparoscopic hysterectomy coupled with a mesh sling (sounds fun, right?). Now, I wouldn't go googleing this because it is simply gross.  I'm going to be left with my ovaries so that I don't go into premature menopause.  Little do they know, the night sweats, excessive crying and all around moodiness is here. I'd like it to leave.  Soon.

When it comes to being scared, I think that what is bothering me the most is what I will be like after the surgery.  I started a new job under two months ago, so timing sucks, but frankly I'm sick of having to take stock in Playtex and feeling like I'm lethargic all the time.  One surgeon says I'll need at least eight weeks of recovery; the other says six weeks.  I want to go back to work as soon as possible.  I don't have the luxury of truly resting.  

I know I have a good support system at home. My husband and oldest son will bear the brunt of taking care of me.  Our youngest son will only have a few days of me being off my feet before he embarks on his third year of college.

The docs told me my surgery will take at minimum four hours, and then I'll spend the night in the hospital, likely fully medicated.  I hate taking pain pills.  I didn't like it when both pregnancies ended in cesareans, and I don't like it now.  I'm worried about being under the knife, knowing that everything is out of my control.  I'm worried knowing that my husband will be sitting in the waiting room, likely wringing his hands, and quite potentially any staff he encounters at the hospital if he doesn't get quick enough answers.

I'm scared of thinking that I might not be the same when I come out of surgery.  Does this make me less of a woman?  Will I feel differently?  Can I still do all the things I love to do?

I know women go through this all the time...apparently about 600,000 annually in the United States.  Sounds like alot, right?  Not when you look and there were 157,000,000 women in the US in the 2010 census.  

17 days until I go under the knife.  17 days to prepare for a necessary surgery.  17 days to figure out how to not be scared.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

It Was Just a Cup of Coffee

Way back when I started my grown up career journey, I was faced with what I felt was an impossible task.  I had to get coffee for my boss on what seemed like an hourly basis, and it never seemed to go right.  Too hot. Too cold. Not dark enough.  I want sugar, dammit!  I felt like Goldilocks and swore he was the reincarnation of Sybil.

After I attended college and got married, I held jobs where I thought I was above what I was asked to do.  I was young and foolish, thinking that there is no way they want me to do what some people asked me to do.  What I realize now is that coffee was just the tip of the iceberg when it came to bosses and coworkers.  Their quirkiness (lets be honest, assholish behavior) was enough to make your head spin.  

In the fashion of Jen Mann's Working with People I want to Punch in the Throat, I give you a snippet of my life at work.  In no particular order, in order to protect the innocent, (who am I kidding, they are all guilty), I give you a handful of people I've worked with that are lucky to have made it out alive.

The Bastard.  On any given day, I was asked to order flowers, cookies, and gifts for my boss.  No big deal, right?  Au contraire.  They had to be sent to his wife...and mistress.  And before you ask - he always spent more on his mistress.

The Closet Politician.  This coworker thrived on all things politics  She would stay up for 48 hours straight during any given election, then come to work work to impart her wisdom.  What's even better, she devoured celebrity gossip and everything royal, like they were her best friends.

The Egomaniac.  His wife took half his fortune, and he numbered his girlfriends and did their homework.  In the middle of a corporate meeting, he opened his laptop to project a presentation and a half naked girlfriend was what our staff saw.  Needless to say, he never again was allowed to set up his own presentations.

The Foreigner.  His wife taught her English and she referred to staff by their pronouns instead of names.  It wasn't uncommon to walk into an early morning screaming match.
The Yes Man.  Agreed to everything without taking into account the consequences for his staff.

The Doing Business On The Side One.  Could do their own job, but instead ran a personal business out of the non-used workout facility.

The Sneaker Outer.  Finish a meeting at 3:00?  Perfect.  Out of the mouths of babes: "I have so much work to do, I'll be in my office."  3:02, hear them pack up and sneak out the back door.

The One Who Wasn't Funny.  I'm all about inappropriateness.  It makes me laugh, because I don't have a stick up my ass.  This one, however, thought that all female staff was trying to slowly kill him, and proceeded to be funny even when a dog died.

The Alrighty.  Every time a task was started or completed, this one said alright.  I would have been ok with that if it was Matthew McConaughey.  

The Drinker.  It's one thing to have a drink after work. It's another thing to talk about bar hopping every night of the week and show up late every morning.
The Stealer of Ideas. Nothing like having your staff work on a project that was scammed from another company.  Or have someone mock up a strategic plan, that gets presented as your own work, even though half the people in the room knew it was done by someone else.

The Liar.  Many people embellish their resume.  This one lied about finishing their college degree and where they had previously worked, yet they were hired and ultimately promoted.  Twice.

The Vacationer.  The one that treated company business trips like their own personal vacation provider.  Need a volunteer to go abroad? Absolutely!  Working a trade show in the deep south?  Shit, I can lay on the beach and no one will notice my tan!  Order steak and lobster and $100 bottles of wine?  I'm on it!   My assistant can kiss ass and get my expenses put through.

The Original Selfie Taker.  When you have downtime at a conference and you and your coworkers scroll through social feeds of people you don't like at work, be careful.  You may come across a gem of a senior leader in the locker room at their gym taking a bathroom selfie, with stall behind them and the obligatory flash blocking their face.  Or if you are really lucky you may see that same person sans shirt in the lobby of your office after hours.

The All-Day Luncher.  How much food can one person pack in over the course of eight hours?  For the love of all that is holy, stop cooking fish in the microwave.  Please stop crunching carrots.  And if I have to listen to you make a tink, tink, tink sound as you rummage around in your homemade yogurt housed in a mason jar, I'm gonna flip my shit.
The Scientologist.  So many things could be said, but I fear for my life and that of my husband and kids.  I'd rather if Tom Cruise didn't send his church mafia to my front door.  Just know that you've never really experienced a wackadoo, unless you experience someone that worships LRH.

The Pig.  Your cube is disgusting.  Crumbs and spilled coffee do not belong on your desk, nor on the front of your shirt.  Garbage belongs in the waste basket, not overflowing in to the aisle.  Wash your fucking dishes.  I am gagging on the mix of ketchup, mayo and ranch dressing you seem to favor.  And for fucks sake, change your shirt and pants.  You cannot possibly own 12 of the same button down shirts.

The Unequal Opportunist.  Never gave anyone credit for their own work.  Often lied to the person that actually did the work and took it as their own.

The Heat Seeker.  In winter, the office was set at 75.  In summer, no air conditioning because they got cold.  The thermostat was in their office.  Everyone else suffered.
The Pregnant Hypochondriac.  Morning Sickness?  Yes.  Hyperemesis Gravidarium.  Yes (and did you know that the princess had it too, and we are due on the same date?)  Said she craved celery.  You have got to be kidding me.

The Entrepreneur.  No.  I don't want to buy Lula Roe, Jamberry, Norwex, Tupperwear or Oils from you.  If I did, I'll contact you.  Stop messaging me.  And do you even work here?  How could you possibly have the time?

The Upward Climber.  Had no respect for anyone unless they were a superior.  Managing up is the only way to go.  Everyone else could suck it.
The Sneaky Filter User. Be careful. Snapchat is her best friend.  And you may be her enemy.

The Micro Manager.  I'd like to say they didn't know they were micromanaging, but I really believe they knew, and got off on it.

The Bathroom Eater.  Honey.  I hear you eating the Cheetos.  You repulse me.

Now, before you think I'm all bitchy and judgmental, this is done out of survival.  Thirty plus years of working will do that to you.  Misery loves company, and I guarantee if you worked with me, you may recognize some of the individuals above.  I guarantee coworkers would probably have choice things to say about me.  As a side note, some of the people above are the same person.  I didn't work with all assholes.

So when I think back to it just being a cup of coffee I was so worried about, that was the least of my worries.

Monday, January 1, 2018

New Year. New Attitude.

2017 was very humbling.  I'm glad it's behind us as a family.  I have the most supportive spouse and boys, and for that I am grateful.   I have friends I can vent to, and some family that I know is there for me.  I belong to some really great online groups that know just when you need to have a meme war, full of all the things you shouldn't say.  Kind of like George Carlin did.  I love it.

This week will bring a fresh start.  I'm not much into resolutions.  I always seem to break them.  I was lucky enough to schedule several interviews and I know that this is the week that I'm going to land back on my feet.

Despite the way things have been, I tried to stay positive.  Not an easy task when you continuously talk about yourself and get no traction.  I've questioned every interview and interaction I've had in this search.  It's a lot harder looking at 47, then it was even five years ago.

I have read countless books on the Law of Attraction.  I've started changing the way I've always done things.  I spent nine days away from all of this just to get recharged.  I highly recommend it.

Don't ever assume you are safe in your career.  Trust your gut, and if there are red flags, get out while you can.  Take chances.  Embrace choices.  Say thank you to those that help you, and don't be bitter to those that don't.

This is my week.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

New Years Eve Eve

2018 is almost here.  The day before the end of this year.

I'm ready, as is my husband, and a good handful of friends, and some family, to get on with putting this year behind us.  I know I'm looking forward to a fresh start, and to have to stop looking for a new job.  Next week is the week...I feel it (it helps having four interviews).

Everyone says things happen for a reason.  I try to think that, but sometimes life just sucks and you just deal with it.  At least that's what my husband says.

I have friends that swear by positivity and putting good out into the world.  I have others that are stressed and life has left them broken, and all they say is screw the world.  The best way that I know to get through life is be a survivor.  You never know what life has in store for you.  I certainly don't.

What we see on social media is a fraction of what someone's life is really like.  Granted, sometimes there is just too much info shared, but whatever floats your boat.  That's the beauty of scrolling past or unfollowing someone's feed.  There are only so many happy memes I can look at without wanting to gouge out my eyes.  And I'm sorry to say that I just don't care when you post "I can't even" with no context, or decide to share something about someone that you have had not an ounce of interaction with, but feel it's necessary to flood my feed with whatever it is you think your friends might care about.

Our family has spent the last nine days decompressing this year.  Tomorrow night there will be no parties or spending a fortune on dinner.   Midnight will come and go without any hoopla, instead life will go on while we are most likely tucked into our beds, fighting with our dogs to get off our numb legs.

Don't get me wrong, I hope you have a grand old time.  If you find it necessary to go out bar hopping tomorrow night, only to wake up with a wicked hangover on Monday morning, more power to you.  We did it a few years, but we were married young and had kids early, so going out on New Years more or less lost its appeal.  If you decide to stay home, sporting your pajamas while eating pizza straight from the box, have at it.  Or if you decide to go to an early movie and splurge on the large popcorn and pretzels, only to spoil dinner, you might be my spirit animal.  If you do go out, please don't drive.  Even if you think you are sober or you didn't have that much, you probably did, and you shouldn't be behind the wheel, or at the helm of a snowmobile.

Needless to say, enjoy these last two days however you want.  I'm covered in a blanket, nestled at our cottage while my husband watches UFC.   I'm looking forward to putting this year behind me.  2018 promises a brand new career, a 25th anniversary vacation, and an attitude that will stop me from worrying so much about everyone else.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

No Slowing Down

A month ago I posted about being on the other side of the desk, which is where I still am today.  Can you imagine how frustrating it is to have to talk about yourself constantly, and then question everything that comes out of your mouth?  Did I answer the question to the best of my ability?  Did I answer what they were looking for?  Am I who they want?  Should I just move on to the next instead of waiting waiting for a prospective employer to follow up?

As some of you know, I read a lot.  Having this time off has given me a lot of free time to read books, articles, blogs, posts.   (Please don't immediately think that life is all rosey over here sitting around reading books, eating Ben and Jerry's and playing with my dogs...that isn't the case).  What I've realized is that there are some many of us in similar but different situations. 

Social media becomes white noise after a while.  Everyone posting, but is anyone really listening?  I follow several bloggers and writers, and now much of my feed is flooded with their content, so I miss out on what friends have to say.  Sometimes that bothers me, sometimes it's a blessing in disguise.  All too often we covet what someone else has.  A great vacation.  A new car.  A maid.  Lately, all I covet is a job.  I know once I find a new position, everything else will fall into place.  Maybe I need to flip it and look at it from everyone else's point of view.  How do they perceive me?  Do I post too much about going out of town?  Do I cheer too much for my kids?  Have I flooded everyone's feed with inquiries about taking pictures?  Maybe.  But then again, does that matter?

You never know what a persons life is like unless you are living it.  Sure, it's all glitz and glamour on the outside, because that's what they want you to believe.  I wish that were the case...and frankly I hope that it is, and that they do get to go to Ireland for Christmas, or a spanking brand new SUV, or someone to scrub their toilets.  Maybe there needs to be more transparency...or then again, maybe not.  Maybe I don't want to know when you get something great, because I'm going to want it too.  Maybe I also don't want to know when you are pissed at the world, but decide to vague post and me guess as to who or what you are talking about.  I don't have time for that noise.

I'm thankful for a great support system at home.  My husband is the best and I often don't give him enough credit.  My boys know how hard it is on this end, and they tread very carefully when moms in a mood.  To be honest, sometimes that mood lasts for days.  I'm sorry guys.  

With Christmas fast approaching, there will be no slowing down, I will continue to send out my resume and make calls and send follow up emails.  I know in my heart that a job is right around the corner.  I need to make sure I don't get frustrated when people don't answer right away, because they have their own agenda.  I need to make sure that when it comes to researching the best methods to find a job or employment standards over 40, that I take them with a grain of salt.  Some connections say everything dies down in December.  Others say it is the best time to look since budgets open up in January.  You cannot believe everything you read.  Maybe I'm a cynic and think that there is more to a post, story, blog, than meets the eye.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Other Side of The Desk

As I sit and look for a job, I am once again faced with the question of how much rejection one person can handle.  Family tells me to hang in there.   Friends say it will happen when it happens.  Ex colleagues help with sending me postings.  But I still sit here and wonder why me.  I say all the right things.  I customize my resumes and cover letters.  I answer and ask thought provoking questions.

Years ago I had been unemployed and a high school friend took a chance on me and offered me a really cool job.  I left after a few years because I thought I wanted more. I was burnt out and ready for a change.   He's now in the same boat and looking for his next position.

When I decided to go back to school and finish my degree I thought marketing was the right choice.  It was a toss up between that and human resources.   After I graduated all of my positions were in marketing.  A very hard task to do, given so many people aren't working in their chosen field.

My search has left me listless and frustrated.  I truly believe companies are just looking for that one magic candidate that fits this preconceived mold, and they look no further.  If you garner an interview, you have to not only listen but be able to think on the fly and tell them what you think they want to hear.  You need to make eye contact, but not be overly aggressive.  Be positive, but don't be eager.  Ask questions,  but don't be pushy.

I'm finding that many companies cross post, which can be frustrating for a candidate. Other companies post as feelers and really don't have openings.  Yet more post salaries which are completely unrealistic and blatant lies. So many recruiters don't work for you any longer.  If you don't fit one position, you fall off the radar until you contact them again.

So much what this world has come down to is the notion that you are what you do.  I'm a doctor.  I'm an electrician.  I work with horses.  I support an executive.  How about I'm a mom, or a brother, or a granddaughter.  Do people really care that much about what someone does for a living?  They shouldn't.  They should care that you are a good person.  They should care that you do the right thing.  Asking what you do, or who you are, is often a fishing expedition to see if they are worthy of whatever it is in your head you are trying to figure out.

My last fifteen plus career years have been in marketing.  I'm an RFP Writer.  I'm a Marketing Manager.  I'm the Director of Marketing.  What I've realized of late is I am so much more, yet it is nearly impossible to convince someone on the other side of the desk of that.  

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Pennies From Heaven

Two years ago, we lost an incredible man.  A man that took care of his family and showed his sons how to treat their wives.  He helped shape my husband and knew when to throw the gauntlet down when necessary.  Our boys grew up with him being one of their biggest fans.  He was there when they played soccer and baseball and football, and was there when they learned how to drive.  He would drive out of the way to just say hi, and would be there no matter the time.

Two years and fifteen days ago he went to the hospital because he wasn't feeling well.  We watched him slowly fade away before our eyes.  One night, after realizing he just didn't want hospital food, I took him his one of his favorites: homemade meatballs.  Sadly, he had trouble eating and did what any good dad would do.  He apologized to me that he couldn't eat.  I cried that night, and every night after because the man that filled in for my dad was losing his battle with cancer.  That evil coursed through his body, and took him.

I had 33 years with my dad when he passed away.  I had 27 with my father in law.  Both would do anything for their families.  Both would do anything for me.

I remember meeting my future father in law for the first time in my then boyfriends dorm room.  I was shy (go figure), and both he and my future mother in law came to visit.  He was completely unexpected.  He was a cowboy boot and hat wearing, gray beard sporting, seriously incredible man.  We joked, and both he and my mother in law made me feel welcome.

When you could get him to laugh, his laugh was contagious.  He wouldn't take shit from anyone. He was filled with dad jokes, some so bad you couldn't help but shake your head and make fun of him.

But that man would give you the shirt off his back, or that nasty hanky in his pocket, if you needed it.

As my husband sleeps as I write this, I know tomorrow's anniversary will be hard, as will Sunday when he would have celebrated his dad's birthday.  All I know is it gets easier.  Having lost my own dad 14 years ago, I know there was days I don't think about him.  It doesn't mean I don't love and miss him, it just means I'm healing.

Every time I see a penny on the ground I think of our dad's.  I know in my heart they are both watching over us, and throwing them down as they feast on diet Coke and Pabst, meatballs and potato salad, and lots and lots of memories.  I also know that when something goes wrong, they have had a little part of it, just to remind us to slow down and think before we act.