Monday, December 30, 2013

Blog Lovin!

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Lessons Learned + Holiday Cider

Hello Blog Dearest,

Well, we are past the Christmas holiday and on the road to New Year's now.  Christmas was at our house this year and included a full feast in the evening with my aunt, uncle and cousins.  The highlight for me was getting gifts from my sisters since we are all at the age now where we can buy separate gifts.  The highlight of the meal my Mom prepared was the Turducken with crawfish stuffing we ordered.  (For those of you who don't know, Turducken is turkey inside of a duck inside of a chicken.)  Mmm delicious.  I also enjoyed the cider punch I threw together at the last minute.  I will include the approximate recipe below for those who are interested!

I am looking forward to ringing in the new year in two days and starting with a clean slate on Jan 1, 2014.  After I lost my job at the end of October, my Dad suggested that I make a chart/list of the ways I gained, grew and what I in turn, would be able to transfer to a new employer as a result of my 1.5 years at the company.

So, here goes...

What I gained (Personal, Interpersonal):

-I learned to not take things as personally.  I am naturally a sensitive person but I have learned not to let what other people say at work get under my skin.  Cold calling all day has helped with that.

-I learned to interact well with people of all ages and backgrounds. I tried to sit with different people in the office for lunch in order to expand my horizons.  In cold calling I spoke with every kind of person under the rainbow.  You catch people in all kinds of emotional states when you call them out of the blue!  And the response you get can vary from very negative (i.e. "Never call me again!") to very positive.  Cold calling was like a box of chocolates, I never knew what I was going to get.

How I grew (How I see the world differently):

-I am.....More willing to speak up in a team setting.
         .....More aware of the inner workings of the corporate world.
-I came to the realization that no one has it all figured out and no one is perfect.
-There is nothing wrong with being lighthearted while working.  As my Pops says, "Take things personally, but don't take yourself personally!"
-I have decided that people are inherently selfish and look after their own interests, myself included.  And there is nothing wrong with that!

What is transferable to a new employer or possibly my own business:

-My persistence
-Hard work ethic
-Organizational skills
-Ability to call anyone and everyone over the phone
-Enhanced interpersonal skills face to face

And of course, my cider recipe below!

Hot Holiday Cider recipe

Half gallon apple cider
8 ounces orange juice
3 cinnamon sticks
Star anise to flavor

-Mix all ingredients above in pot then heat on stove until desired temperature is reached.  

Monday, December 16, 2013

Getting in that Christmas spirit

Only 7 more shopping days til Christmas!

I went out shopping with my sister on Saturday at both Target and Ross.  It was every man/woman for himself/herself.  People were scrounging among the discount items like wilder beasts after the last piece of prime rib.  Ok maybe I took my analogy too far but it was packed like no other in Ross.  The check out line snaked around half of the store!  Target was just as packed and we could hardly find a parking spot in the lot.  We ended up having to walk half a mile to the store.  I may be exaggerating just a little.

I am relating to you my chaotic shopping Saturday to say that it when it comes to Christmas shopping, it's a jungle out there.  Have we lost sight of the meaning of Christmas in all of our rampant consumerism?  Has the hustle bustle of the nation's peak shopping time disguised the true meaning of the holiday?  Why are we all acting as if stores will run out of goods?  When I was younger I would laugh off questions like this writing the commentators off as grumpy adults who didn't like to shop.  I guess now I am one of those grumpy adults!  Or maybe as you get older just see things in a different light.  Don't get me wrong though, I will still take the brand new purse and makeup, Mom!

<3 RK

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Last day on the job: Going out MC Hammer style

Dear Blog,

In my previous entry I said that I would relate to you the details of my recent layoff.  At the time it was terrible but now that I look back on it, it is a rather amusing story.

It was Blast from the Past day at work.  The theme was to wear something from a decade past.  This was the third 'Spirit day' we were having at the office.  This day was preceded by 'Head to Toe Day'  where we wore crazy socks/hats and Wear Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Day.  As with the other office Spirit days, I took this day very seriously.  My team of course consisted of all men and I was the only one who participated in any of this.  Not that I cared anyway.  I had decided that I was going to fully take advantage of any dress up days I was ever afforded at work.

So, on the morning of October 25, 2013, I strolled into work as MC Hammer from the 90's.  I donned a bandanna printed with dollar bills, a baggy sweatshirt,  parachute pants, boots, several gold bead necklaces, and a chain that read "BOSS."  Yes, boss was written in all capital letters.  It is important to take into account that I am a short, petite woman and the exact opposite of  MC Hammer.  When I got to the office, my friend who had helped me put my outfit together was intent on taking pictures in the hallway.  She was dressed up as Janet Jackson and we took pictures with another girl who was dressed up as the one and only Whitney Houston.

The rest of the morning in the office was uneventful and outside of the occasional co-worker stopping by to compliment my outfit, I went about my work day with little to no interruptions.  I stepped away from my desk for something and came back to a missed call on my phone.  I looked at my computer only to find an instant message from HR head, Dan,* asking me to come to his office.  I didn't think too much of it as I had just opted into my company's insurance plan and thought he may have had some questions for me.  Or, perhaps I would be getting a promotion?!   I did feel mildly ridiculous for having my crazy outfit on.

"There is no easy way to say this but today will be your last day here," Dan said.  I paused to let the words sink in.  This was not what I had expected at all.

All I could think of was how crazy I looked in my MC Hammer get-up.  The next few minutes seemed to trickle by as I pondered how I could take off the money bandana on my forehead.  I slowly reached up to take the bandana off.  I still had my chain on though.  The one day in my life I chose to wear a BOSS chain and here I was being fired!  Dan made no comment on my attire.

My boss, Robert*, on the line while working from his remote office in the Northeast, explained that my position was not generating enough revenue for the team and that they were going to take a different approach to their marketing efforts after looking at the budget.  Really?  I couldn't believe it.  I told my boss and the HR director that it was a pleasure working with them.  Dan asked for me to give my key card back as well as the key to my desk drawers.  He said that it was company policy for me to gather my things and leave the premises immediately.

I boxed up my things in a daze hoping to make a quiet departure without attracting too much attention. My Janet Jackson co-worker asked what I was doing for lunch and I told her what had happened.  She was just as surprised as I was.  I told her that I regretted my outfit choice.  I went down the hall to my other friend's cubicle in HR who said that she would walk me out to my car.  As I stood by the car, I told her that it had been a good year and a half at the company and that it had become like a second family to me.  My eyes welled up with tears.  She said that we would still keep in touch.

I stopped at McDonald's to gather myself and order a McFlurry and fries to soothe my pain.  The drive home felt like a dream.  I held in all my emotions but I was still in a state of shock.

Mom was at home and she welcomed me in with a hug.  I relayed the story to her  in full detail.  Despite my sadness of being laid off unexpectedly,  I realized that I was actually glad I had worn my MC Hammer outfit that day.  At least I had gone out in style!

<3 RK

My lovely BOSS chain: Going out in style

Writing something everyday

Hello world,

I am currently taking a writing class where the instructor told us that the key to being a writer is to write something...anything...everyday.  I am going to try to implement this suggestion through the rest of December and into the new year.  If I don't write here then I will write in my journal.  Or, start working on my novel.  :)

I love writing and the process of putting down my thoughts on paper regardless of how silly or mundane they may be.  Writing brings clarity.   I find it therapeutic.   I have always felt better able to express myself through my writing as opposed to aloud.  Perhaps this has to do with my being an introvert?  With that said, I will often times have a great idea for a blog post or a scene for a story line but I won't write it down.  Why you ask?  I think I have a moderate fear of failure.  I question whether my words will be good enough.  I question the quality and flow of my writing.  Will the reader understand what I'm trying to convey?   So, I am making it my goal this month to write something each day.  Practice makes perfect, right?

The next entry will be Day 1 of my writing experiment.  Here we go...December 8, 2013...wish me luck.