Friday, January 25, 2013

A Return to the Corporate World

How do you make the hard decisions? When to take a job? When to stay? When to go? When to end a relationship? When to jump in with everything you've got? Lately it seems that these are the questions I've struggled with the most.

When I returned to the United States several years ago, I decided that I would focus on my career. I would "climb the corporate ladder" but in order to do that I needed to come up with a list of what I wanted in a company. I interviewed at various places, I networked, I kept my eyes and ears open and I turned down jobs. Wait, what? That's right, I turned a couple down, to the utter shock and dismay of at least one of my parents. Few understood why I said "no" to good companies and good positions in a down economy, but I knew what I wanted. I kept looking and I had confidence in my ability to find it.

I started doing contract work and it picked up significantly, before I knew it I was running my own schedule and working with a start-up company to build its marketing program. This wasn't my plan at all, yet there were a number of great qualities about the position. In September, the company experienced some financial trouble and my contract wasn't extended. We parted ways; I returned to the hunt.

After a bit more contract work and some job searching, it all paid off when I was offered the ideal position at the end of November. During the interview I loved the people I was meeting, the opportunities the job offered, the location and the size of the company. It hit all the main points. Following Thanksgiving I started the new role, excited and wide-eyed. I'm about six weeks in and I'm still enjoying its ups and downs. I just wish I could apply the same successful approach to dating and relationships.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Such a Great Quote

It's so fitting to come across this quote at a time when I'm unsure of my future. This is the second time it's inspired me to move forward. The first time it took me to New Zealand. Where will I end up this time?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Human Library?

While researching social media I came across this strange phenomenon: A library that loans out people in a human library.

Basically, you "check out" people to have a 45-minute conversation about who they are and hear their story one-on-one. It's to help us get past our prejudices and the stereotypes that exist around someone that we've never actually had any interactions with like a gypsy, a transvestite or a person of a different religion.
It started in 2000 at the Roskilde Festival. A poster from the event said in big bold letters: "Don't judge a book by it's cover" and then in Danish underneath, "especially when its not a book." The far right corner continues in Danish:

"Borrow a person you normally would think you would not like. We have a wide selection of unpopular stereotypes. Everything from gays to hip hoppers to immigrants. Take a walk, have a talk or dont. Just remember to give back the person within two hours".

The event was so popular that it has since spread across the globe. Here's a video from The Guardian, regarding an event in England:

I love the idea that a personal conversation is being used in such an interesting way to fight prejudice and stereotypes. In this case, it's marketing for a good cause. And possibly a good back-up plan if my other career options don't pan out. I'm just not sure if I would be a better "book" or "reader."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

When Risk Doesn't Pay

Risk can be a great fact, it's created a lot of wonderful memories in my life. But when it doesn't pay out it can feel like a punch in the stomach. Yesterday, I felt that direct hit when I was laid off from my job. It was a risk when I stuck with the company last Spring on a contractual basis. Unfortunately, the company is struggling now, so I'm back at home looking for work.

My favorite comfort foods
Specifically, my position was cut due to the financial situation at the company. Although I knew the company was struggling I had thought my blow had been dealt when my weekly hours were cut from 32 to 20 less than two weeks ago. As far as I knew I was going to continue through the end of the year with fewer hours but with a job. Unfortunately, that changed.

During my particular meeting, I was reassured that it was a decision that was made based on the company's finances and not on my performance. It was meant to be reassuring, but it was all I could do to stop from breaking down. I couldn't even concentrate on putting pen to paper to leave my personal contact information. And when the meeting finished, I was asked to leave the office without saying a word. So I took a few minutes alone, put my chin up and walked back to my desk, packed up my things discreetly and made my way out the door. But that meant that I couldn't say goodbye to my co-workers who I have become friends with over the last 9 months. I couldn't pass along my contact information or wish them luck with the remainder of the year. That was probably the hardest strain of all.

Pesto kept a vigil
What I don't think all companies understand is that some of us know it's about business. It's not personal, there are still a lot of people that are depending on companies to make good financial decisions right now so that they can keep their own jobs. But if you take away too much of the personal feel, it becomes just cold. I was left with a hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach. Fortunately, I know that tomorrow is a new day. Now back to my Oreos and wine...

Things to be thankful for:
- Good friends and family
- A cat that keeps me company
- Books to temporarily take me away from reality one page at a time
- Better tomorrows