Monday, November 18, 2019

Awesome Things About My Job (part 1)

During orientation I learned that the site of my new employment has a half mile outdoor walking path. I played it cool on the outside when I heard this, but inside I exploded with confetti and violent fist pumps. I'd been trying for more than a decade to develop an exercise routine that I could maintain through all seasons. Work and school schedules were obstacles I eagerly allowed to stand in my way.

Item #2 on my list of things I planned to do after graduation was to develop that long-delayed health activity. A half mile paved and maintained path inside a secure facility is the answer to my prayers. I go out every day on my breaks and take a lap, sometimes two. I get exercise, fresh air, and natural daylight.

I go out in all weather. There was that one day it rained, and I decided to stay inside. Longest day ever. I felt exhausted and miserable by the time I went home. It was reminiscent of plowing through long days at my desk to make up for time I took off to attend classes. Since then, I've forced myself to go out at least once a day to break up the day and to prove to myself that I'm worth the effort.

Providing the walking path is just one thing my employer does to encourage healthy living. There's a member of the HR department whose entire job is devoted to coordinating events and rewards to promote wellness. I've never worked for a company that put this kind of effort into employee care.

Life is good.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

That looks familiar

He: What kind of bug is that? (points at dot crawling across the ceiling)
Me: A dead one.
He: (crushes bug) Huh. You were right.
Me: Yeah, it looked a lot like the other dead bugs I've seen in the past.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The New Job

When I first introduced myself here at Ack!Thbbbt!, I was a music radio DJ trapped in a newsradio job. I took you along with me as I escaped radio and sought sanctuary at video news company where I was hired as a social media manager, and it was there that I learned about a thing called SEO (Search Engine Optimization). I found it very interesting, and it reminded me that I had once been extremely fascinated with how websites worked. So fascinated had I been that around the turn of the millennium I had pursued a website development certificate at a local tech college. I finished about three courses before life and children proved too difficult to continue. But, this SEO job made me remember that something existed in the world that was as intriguing to me as radio once had been.

When the video news company went bankrupt, a series of fortunate events landed me a job as an SEO Specialist at a small website development company. There, I nurtured and grew my website knowledge while attending a big girl university. In six years' time, I turned my 30-year-old associate's degree in Marketing into a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication with an emphasis in Public Relations.
I took my six years of website development experience and my brand new shiny degree, and I got a new job.

My New Job
I am an SEO Specialist for a company that owns a chain of retail establishments located throughout the midwest. To be more precise, I am their first ever SEO Specialist. They didn't have one before me. They hired a 53 year old woman to take the reins of a job that is only as old as one of today's college graduates.

To be truthful, this is not where I expected to end up when I decided to leave radio seven years ago. I thought I'd fall into a non-profit gig easily, thought I was a shoe-in for a library public relations position. I declared to The Husband many times that I wanted to make a difference more than I wanted to make money. But you know what? After making lousy money at small companies for most of my life, I'm kinda digging working for a large established corporation that pays well and offers benefits.
Does that make me a sell out? Maybe.
Does that bother me? Nope.
What I am... is surprised and delighted to find how comfortable this feels. When I was much younger working to earn my associates degree in business, this is the kind of business job I imagined I'd get. But I think it's good that I worked at all the other jobs first so I could fully appreciate how nice it is to work for a well-run company.

After watching and worrying as I spent decades in radio moving "town to town, up and down the dial", Mom and Dad would be very happy to know that I've finally gotten the stable, grown up job they had always hoped I'd get. :-)


My friends and family can't understand how I could walk away from a 30 year career in radio and turn into a computer nerd. But, you can see in just two paragraphs how short and sensible that journey was, right?
See, you guys get me.

Monday, September 30, 2019

The Job Interview

"So, Roses, what do we need to know about you that we haven't already discussed?"

The entire interview so far had gone extremely well. Compared to all the interviews I'd had over the past two years, this one was by far the best. I had solid answers to all of the questions. It was less of an interview than it was a conversation about website design and search engine optimization.
I felt more comfortable with every step of the application and interview process for this position than I'd felt with any of the other positions I'd applied for, even the ones I thought I really, really wanted.

"So, Roses, what do we need to know about you that we haven't already discussed?"
This was going to be the last question of the 45 minute long job interview. The three man panel waited for my answer. 

"I can't think of anything" was what I was going say. It was a poor answer, but it was a safe one. We had already covered all the strong points I had carefully prepared to share, and I figured I could only do myself harm by trying to make up something completely new on the fly. I paused for just a moment to assess that this short lame answer was the way I wanted to go, and then I committed.


In the moment between that first syllable and the completion of my less than stellar answer, a picture of a cat on the desk caught my eye. I'd been looking at that cat picture intermittently over the past 45 minute long interview, but only now did it occur to me that we were sitting in my potential boss' office and that picture most certainly had to be a picture of his cat.
This man had a picture of his cat on his desk. Not his wife's picture. Not his kids' pictures.
His cat.

"... have a cat."

There was silence for the briefest moment as my potential boss blinked, then one (possibly both) of the other men muttered, "Here we go."

My potential boss scrambled for his cell phone, "Let me show you pictures of my cat!"

Boom. I had stuck the landing.

For the first time after an interview, I drove home feeling confident. Normally I'd replay every answer and too late think of better replies I could have given. But this time I knew every answer had been a good one. It was an amazing feeling.
I texted The Husband as soon as I got home and let him know that it had gone very well.
One hour later, I received a call with the job offer.
I had never had someone want to hire me so enthusiastically.

My cat got extra treats that day.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Post Graduation Naptime Is Over

When friends and family had asked me what I was going to do after graduation, I knew they were looking for a vocational answer, but I had joked that the first thing I was going to do is nap for three solid months.

Honest, I meant it as a joke.
But I've kinda really done nothing for the past three months.

Remember that list I made earlier this year?
Yeah, I've done none of it.

In fact, I've done the opposite of item #9 on the list.
I had intended to immerse myself into my job, but instead I ended up getting a new job within a month of graduation. No one seemed surprised by this except for me.

Today is my one month anniversary on the new job, and it's everything I had hoped it would be and more. I will tell you more about it once I wipe the sleep out of my eyes and get out of these pajamas.

Life is good, my friends.
Life is good.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Things I Learned in College

I learned:

  1. How to write a decent media release.
    Before I took the college course, I thought knew how to write a press release. I even believed I knew how to write a very interesting one. I learned that I was wrong. Media releases aren't supposed to be fluffy and flowery; they are supposed to be factual and informative. They're not supposed to cleverly tease out the information, either; they're supposed to deliver the basic facts right up front. Now, when I read a fluffy, flowery release that doesn't include who, what, where, and when in the first paragraph, I get annoyed by the ignorance.
  2. That youth is not an age as much as it is a culture.
    Does the younger generation speak a different language and have a different mindset from my generation? Sure they do. Is it wrong? No, it's just different. Different isn't bad; it's just different.
    While many of my peers were complaining about how "kids today" are whiny and entitled, I was learning how to work with them and understand their culture. I learned there are just as many young jerks as there are old jerks, just as many young lazy slackers as there are old lazy slackers, and there are just many quality young people as there are quality old people. In many ways, our two cultures are similar.
  3. Time management.
    I had always considered myself a procrastinator because in most cases I would put things off if no one cared when they got done. However, I learned this isn't always an accurate label. Yes, I am better at completing a task when there's a deadline, but I learned that I'm also that annoying student who hands in assignments two weeks early when possible. I like to get tasks off my plate as soon as possible if there's any chance something might go wrong that might make me miss a deadline such as a computer malfunction or traffic congestion... or a last minute assignment that I missed on the syllabus.
    Furthermore, I learned that I can get a lot done if I can just get myself to start somewhere. Ten page term paper sounds huge and impossible while pick a topic sounds quick and easy; so I start with that. I learned to transfer this tactic to my home chores; do five loads of laundry sounds daunting but sort the colors sounds quick and easy. Lather, rinse, repeat.
  4. More employers want to talk to you if you have a Bachelor's degree.
    The closer I got to graduation, the more invitations I received for job interviews. With a completed degree on the horizon, I turned into a finalist for several awesome positions. I'd gotten very few interviews based on experience alone. I had suspected a degree would improve my chances, but I really hadn't expected this much of an impact.
  5. How to be nicer to myself.
    I didn't learn this in a classroom. I didn't even learn this from the campus counselor I'd been seeing regularly. It came to me one cold, winter night after class. My car was the last one left in the campus parking lot. It looked so alone and cold. As I settled into the driver's seat and caressed the cold steering wheel, I talked outloud to my car.
    "Let's get you home to a nice, warm garage," I told it. "Treat you nice after a long, cold day."
    At that moment, it occurred to me that *I* had had a long, cold day, too, but I hadn't attempted to comfort myself at all. I realized that I speak nicer to inanimate objects than I speak to myself. I hadn't realized until then just how severe my negative self-talk had gotten. The next morning when my alarm went off, my inner voice yelled it's usual, "Get up! Quit whining, you lazy baby. Go! Go! Go!" But I consciously shushed the yelling, and I thought about how sweetly I had spoken to my car the night before. From that morning on, I've made efforts to be nicer to myself, and it has been a game changer.

Monday, April 08, 2019

The Mother-In-Law: 1923 - 2019

She wanted to be a nurse, but she earned a teaching degree to please her mother.
Her gift was helping students with special needs. She didn't choose this gift, it chose her. One student at a time, her classroom became filled with the "problem" children. When there wasn't enough time during school hours to help them all, she began tutoring out of her own home evenings and weekends.

But she never lost her desire to heal the physical body.
When her husband's debilitating disease made itself known, she read everything about it and learned dietary tricks that held it at bay. She identified nutrition deficits in her students that, once addressed, changed their lives in ways no one would have expected.

She would have been a spectacular nurse.
If she had had the time and means to publish the things she learned, she'd have also been famous.

She was generous with her time.
She was generous with her knowledge.
She was smart with her money, and she was generous with that, too.

A few years ago, when she couldn't find an assisted living facility that met her needs, she bought a house and hired a 24/7 nurse.That's right; she made her own personal assisted living facility built for one.

She was far better than my writings ever gave her credit for.

She was The Husband's mother, and she passed away quietly this morning just shy of her 96th birthday.

Friday, March 08, 2019

Things I Want to Do After May 18th, 2019

After five and a half years working full-time while pursuing a Bachelor's degree part-time, I will finally graduate on Saturday, May 18, 2019. The following is a list of things (in no particular order) that I want to do with my new-found free time beginning May 19th.

  1. Reacquaint myself with this blog and its beautiful family of followers. In addition to writing more, I want to read more and catch up with everyone else. I have missed you guys.
  2. Develop a healthy exercise habit that I can maintain for a lifetime now that my schedule won't be changing every semester.
  3. Read. A lot. Books. Magazines. Blogs. If it's not a textbook, I want to read it. A lot.
  4. Delete apps from my phone that are on there only because I used/needed them for school. The university made everyone download an alert app for the sole purpose of having a way to alert students and faculty of active shooter events on campus. It's a great idea, and fortunately they've never had to use it. But, it's sad that something like it needs to exist, and I'll be glad to be able to remove it from my phone.
    Conversely, I'd like to put Facebook Messenger back on my phone, not because I want it as much as because people keep sending me messages on it and I hate having to set up my laptop to see what the message is... which is almost always a stupid article someone mass sent to everyone on their friends list, thankyouverymuchfornothing. 
  5. Design some crochet items that people will actually want to own. OMG, you guys, you wouldn't believe the amount of yarn I've accumulated over the past 5 years. Since I haven't had the time to use it, it's just been piling up. I have baskets full, and a cabinet full, and bags and bags of the stuff, yet I cannot stop buying more. Criminy, the stash of plastic bags I plan to turn into plarn is downright embarrassing.
  6. Create an Etsy page to see if anyone would buy the crochet items I make.
  7. See if selling crochet items at a craft fair would be as successful, rewarding, and fun as I imagine it should be.
  8. Marie Kondo the heck out of my house. I watched the first season of her series on Netflix, and I'm inspired. I will probably break the rules and start with yarn instead of clothes.
  9. Focus, for the first time, on the job I've had for the past 6 years without the weight and distraction of a class schedule and homework on my mind. When I worked in broadcasting, even when I was home relaxing, I was thinking of things I could do that would be awesome at work. I miss that, and I want to feel that way again. My current employer has never gotten that best part of me. He has been extremely gracious and flexible with my work schedule since the day I began working for him, and I think he deserves to finally have the kind of employee he always thought I could be.

Sunday, February 03, 2019

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Many apologies, my friend.
I can't remember the last time I posted an update for you.
The truth is, college has drained my brain. After spending my days at a full-time job and my evenings doing homework, I have nothing left for blogging. Not even during summer and winter breaks.

Have any of you ever given birth?
You know how between contractions you completely zone out and focus on recovering from the last one so you're ready for the next one?

Semesters have been like contractions.
And the breaks in between have been fully devoted to recovery and preparation.

Can you feel me?

But here's the good news:
After eleven contractions, I will give birth to a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication with an emphasis in Public Relations THIS MAY.

"Pot of Old" by Roses - 2017
The painting to the right is the final assignment piece I submitted for an intro arts class two years ago. It's titled, "Pot of Old".
Can you tell that I was sad and tired when I painted it?
If you have trouble translating, those are all my classmates marching into the distance with their new jobs, gold balloons they got the end of their rainbow/college careers. That's me in the foreground wondering if there will be any good jobs left for me; but all I see are the wilted leftovers no one else wanted.

But I'm feeling much better about everything now. I've interviewed for several jobs already, and I think I'd have snagged one or two of them if only I'd been finished with school. The Husband is certain that any job I want will be mine once my schedule is truly free again.

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It's so close, I want to run.
Every reading and writing assignment I complete is one step closer to that graduation date. So, I've been working ahead as much as I can.
I am counting down the weeks. There are 13 left.

And this morning, I had the thought that I'd like to get back in the habit of regularly posting here.
Maybe I will be stress-free enough, finally, that the ideas will come back.
And maybe those ideas will be funny again.

That would be nice.

So, I'm just sending a note from school to let you know I'm doing fine.
I look forward to seeing you in the spring.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Answer Is Black and White

Elder Son is studying Visual Arts in college. His semester began yesterday. We had this exchange...

Me: What class did you have today?
He: Lighting

Today was his second day of the semester. We had this exchange...

Me: What class did you have today?
He: (something I didn't quite hear but almost thought I did)
Me: Did you say Darkening?
He: No, "Marketing".
Me: Oh! Well, yesterday was Lighting, so hey, today you could have had Darkening.

He actually laughed at that one.