Tag Archives: Demanding to be heard

My Mother; The Blogging “Expert”

Acquiring blog readers is hard.  Simple as that.  At times, the vast technological universe that many of us partake in can make it difficult to attract those that are the target audience you are searching for.  However, that involves you actively trying to attract an audience.  When I started this blog back in January of 2011 it was for me to share experiences that were taking place at work, at home and within my day-to-day structure.  I’ve blogged about my divorce, my job changes, working with other managers, fashion, sewing, dating, dancing, running and living with Fibromyalgia just to name a few of the most popular topics.

I started the blog as a way for me to get things off my chest that I wasn’t able to openly talk about until people started mentioning my blog.  Placing links to my blog on my personal Facebook was a way for me to share with my friends and family what I was going though.  During my marriage I lost touch with many people and have been trying to rebuild those relationships ever since.  I thought that maybe if people had an opportunity to see all the pandemonium that was going on in my brain they would understand what had been going on when we lost touch.

Outside of my circle of friends it never occurred to me that there might be others out there that are interested in hearing about my sewing projects or management techniques.  Who knew that my stories of being a 21st Century Gal would be that interesting to others?  Oh yes, that’s right…my mother!  Even at 29 it is still hard to admit that my mother is almost always right.  See what I did there with the “almost” part?  I’m sure there is something out there she might not be right about; such as biomechanical engineering or space travel.

It was my mother who started blogging before me and has shared her tips and tricks, so I guess I haven’t acquired these readers all on my own.  I might make management sound amusing, but you should see what my mom can do with the topic of cancer.  Never thought I could be laughing about cancer, but that’s how things work under her roof.  Anything and everything has the potential of being funny.  I’ll tell you what, it is rough knowing that as a teenager but quite amusing when you finally grow up and realize your parents aren’t as uncool as you once thought.

Thanks mom for sharing yet another life lesson with me.  Check out her blog, The World According to Alexandra, if you’re looking for a good laugh.  She even makes bodily functions funny instead of shamefully disgusting.  Thank you to my readers who stop back regularly.  For those of you who are just lurkers I invite you to subscribe to my blog and stick around for a bit.  There are some big changes on the horizon and I can be you won’t want to miss out on them.

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Filed under Blogging, Culture, Dance, Dating, Fashion, Female Management Skills, Friends, Parenting, Sewing, Taking Charge of One's Health

Fibro Friends Unite!

Calling all Fibromyalgia sisters and brothers! I’ve got questions and I’m hoping you have answers. How many of you work in a full-time, part-time or from an “at home” capacity? Each Monday I ponder how I’m going to survive my 50 hour work week since I can’t picture myself not working. Many people, and even a few that also suffer from Fibro, have let Matt and I know that all the stress in my current job is adding to the aches and pains. I’ve acknowledged that and each day try my hardest to remain calm and carry on. I’m drawn to industries that are innately stressful and fast paced. From what I’ve heard that’s everything I should be staying away from, but alas that’s just not going to happen so I’m accepting ideas. Do you have a good tactic that helps you continue on in your normal work field?

As I mentioned in a recent blog, the temperature in the office is way too cold for my joints so I keep a blanket at my desk to bundle up in. Oddly enough I fit in with the rest of the snuggies that everyone is styling around here, so no one has ever questioned it. Therefore, I still haven’t told anyone about the challenge I face each day. When I started my job I made the decision that I would keep my mouth closed as I felt my Director would see it as a weakness and immediately look for a way to get me off of the payroll. Even though I learned that my work week would include a mandatory 45 hour a week schedule I still decided it would be best to stay quite. Now I’m being encouraged to work closer to 50 – 52 hours a week, despite the lack of business as this is my slow season, and I’m wondering if even a traditional employee would speak up about how working that many hours in a slow season is silly.

Have any of you come forward and told your employer or HR department about your Fibromyalgia? How was your information received? I’m not looking to be treated any differently than a traditional employee. I appreciate being pushed to strive for more as that matches with my natural work style and determination. However, if I cannot justify how a traditional employee should be working 52 hours during a slow season then I cannot justify how I should be either. At what point do you speak up and do you mention that each of those 52 hours is harder for you to tackle then all of those around you?
My adaptability skills have allowed me to do my best to continue pushing forward no matter the job obstacle that is thrown my way. I think that has to do with the fact that I still possess the same passion and drive inside as I always have. All my years of dedication to my art form taught me that you can only improve by putting in the hours of work. In my mind I’m still up for the battle no matter the job ahead, but now there is a point where my body decides it for me that it’s not going to allow me to physically keep up with what my mind is pushing me forward to do. It’s never stopped me from performing my job, but it has slowed me down when it comes to physically moving about on occasion. On those days I tend to avoid my Director so he doesn’t notice my sluggish movements, but it made me wonder what others of you do if you haven’t told your employer.

Please share your stories, tricks of the trade, and any other helpful information that you think can potentially help another Fibro friend. I’m always happy to hear any helpful suggestions that can help not just me but anyone else that might stumble upon my little blog. Thanks Fibro friends!

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A 21st Century Approach to Human Resources

I am thankful that I have a job.  Really I am.  I am watching people I love trying to find a job and seeing the struggle of participating in the process without having current employment.  However, I still find myself frustrated with the fact that my one year anniversary with my current company is 2 days away and that will also mark my ten month anniversary of looking for a job that gets me back to where my passion remains.  After about two months in my current position I realized that the gripes of the last employee here were less based on his bitterness for being fired, but more accurately based upon the lacking structure coming from our superior.  If only I realized that before I accepted the job.  C’est la vie.  I can’t turn back the clock so I’ve been trying to keep looking towards the future.

After ten months of in-depth searching, I’m starting to realize that it’s less of whether I am actually equipped to do the jobs that I’m applying for and more about beating the computer that scans my resume before it makes it to an actual human.  If you background is in something clear-cut such as accounting then I would think it would be easier to guess the key words you need within your resume to get past the scan.  However, if your pursuing  job in entertainment with a vast and varied background then guessing which are the most important key words is like flipping through the dictionary and randomly stopping on any given word.

I’m exhausted from trying to play the word game and beat the scanning systems.  What happened to the days when you could talk to actual people and put your resume in their hand?  I’m applying for jobs in the arts and entertainment which most will agree is an outgoing industry based upon talent and creativity.  With that being said, it just boggles my mind how in such a creative industry I’m given one opportunity to submit a very structured and rigid resume of my background and ruled out based upon that before I’m given the chance to demonstrate my actual talents.  Just for fun I decided to submit a resume that was more creative than my normal one and yet included all the same information.  I formatted it slightly different, changed the font and reorganized the order of items listed.  By no shock of my own it was returned to me with a denial email faster than my traditional resume.

Here I sit, frustrated and creatively stifled awaiting a company to take a chance on me so that I can once again surpass their expectations.  Since most places won’t let you even drop things off in person any more I’ve given up on the idea of sneaking into a decision maker’s office and performing a grand performance of my qualifications.  Therefore, I’m going to attempt what my loved one did on her blog since it caused a small stir within her job search…

Good afternoon internet visitors!  I’m well educated in two very different, and yet very similar, industries in a standard higher educated sense as well as with many years of hands on experience.  The flexibility and adaptability skills I possess are only surpassed by my dedication to creatively inspire others to action to get to common goals with a little style along the way.  Give me the chance to bring my talents to your company and I promise to exceed any projections you set for me while keeping a smile on my face all the while.  My creativity is screaming to be let loose from its current cubicle and I would like to put it to work for you instead of the HR computer scanner that won’t let me get through to you.  Therefore, for your viewing pleasure and random perusal you’ll find my complete resume below.

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13.1 Miles of Smiles

Despite looking like a healthy 28 year old with an active lifestyle, I wake up each morning facing a battle with Fibromyalgia.  After being diagnosed in May of 2011 I feel into a bit of a FIbro-funk and started feeling like I had lost a part of my identity.  After over 20 years of being a dedicated active dancer it was hard to face the reality that my pain would never completely go away.  One day I woke up and realized I was taking precious days for granted.  I needed to get my butt back in gear and take advantage of what I’m so very lucky to have, so I set a hefty goal for myself.

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On February 26th I donned my Livestrong apparel from head to toe and obtained my goal when I crossed the finish line of the Disney Princess Half Marathon 3 hours, 10 minutes and 4 seconds after crossing the starting line hand-in-hand with my most amazing boyfriend.  We were just two runners in the sea of over 19,000 others who were all there to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).  Paired with all of our fellow runners millions of dollars was raised for a cause that is near and dear to my heart.  This amazing organization has helped my family directly and I couldn’t think of a better first half marathon experience than one that would benefit LLS.  If the Disney volunteers weren’t motivational enough then the LLS volunteers and fellow runners were there to help push everyone across the finish line.

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Despite severe knee pains starting around mile 6, I achieved my goal of not giving up and finishing all 13.1 miles with a smile on my face.  It truly is a motivational run when you see how supportive all the runners are.  Women cheered each other on, inspired each other and my boyfriend showed me just how much he truly accepts me for who I am and all that comes with that.  My Livestrong shirt was stamped with the phrase “Fight Like Hell” and it became my motto of the day through the pain and slight rain.  I watched cancer survivors run to raise money for the organization that helped them each step of their way without any hesitation.  We ran as team “D.W.A.R.F. Awareness” in an effort to “Dance, Walk and Run for Fibromyalgia Awareness.”

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Having Fibromyalgia, I knew there was a chance that my body would be pushed to its limit in trying to complete a race that lasted multiple hours with strenuous activity.  Despite the few tears that popped up around mile 9 from the knee pain I knew I had a mission.  I was there to walk for those who couldn’t right now.  With each step the pain was more and more debilitating, but it reminded me of all that my loved one experienced during his multiple battles with Lymphoma.  I watched him lose his hair and his mobility, but he never gave up and I knew I was meant to do the same.  Each step closer to the finish line was for him.  His strength to wake up each morning and continue to fight for another day kept me moving.  I wanted to make him proud and complete the goal I set for myself when I told him I would finish no matter what challenge I faced.

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For those who wake up to the daily challenge of cancer, know that you inspire those around you.  You’ve touched our lives and we see your strength, even on the days when you might doubt it yourself.  I was fortunate to have an amazing boyfriend by my side to lean on for strength.  He is my rock like so many of the other runners are to those they love that are affected by cancer.  He held my hand, reminded me that nothing could stop me when I put my mind to it, and pushed me forward so I would achieve my goal.  His kind nature, acceptance and understanding of my challenges helped me give back to a loved one who has always been there for me when I needed him.  Without a doubt I would do it all over again and I intend to do so while I encourage others to do the same for this amazing organization.

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SOPs Aren’t “Someone’s Other Position”

Do you work in a place with strict rules that need to be followed for efficiency, safety or productivity?  Most people do.  However, I am coming to learn that my current job has an obscure list of rules that seems to change on an almost daily occasion and it is making it a bit hard to figure out my role.  I’ve been in my current job for almost 6 months as just last week attended my very first job training that helped me to better understand, in theory, the way my job is supposed to work.  This might be the first time in history that I’ve worked for a company that didn’t have any form of an orientation or training when I started.

I will say that as a hands on type learner I have enjoyed teaching myself the ins and outs of my position, but I will follow that up by adding that it would be a bit easier to move forward if I knew exactly what I could and couldn’t do.  In my past I remember rolling my eyes at companies that had a multiple day orientation, but now I actually find myself longing for it so that I can feel as if I am informed.  My last company cut their 8 hour orientation down to 4 in hopes of saving costs.  In my past I worked for a company whose 8 hour orientation was the downsized version of something that used to last almost a week.

Although there is a list of standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for my specific role, they are generally not upheld by my direct superior who tend to make rules up as situations arise and believes that is how this industry is intended to operate.  Maybe I think differently because I came from a different subset of hospitality prior to this or maybe it’s because I have two business degrees and think that there is a good reason that SOPs exist.  Either could be a likely reason that I’m having trouble understanding by boss’s way of doing things.  It doesn’t really matter what the root of the cause is.  The challenge is figuring out how to handle this difference each and every work day.

Thus far my solution has been to run every large decision by my supervisor to see what he would prefer I do.  I have found this to be very effective in ensuring that I do what he would want, but it also has made me feel as if I am not empowered to make decisions on my own.  The times that I’ve made a decision and moved forward without any assistance have usually resulted in backtracked changes made by my boss in the end.  I thought taking past situations into account would lead me in the right direction, but in this instance I have learned that precedence don’t exist.  It looks like I’ll have to find another plan to decode my boss’s cryptic decisions so that I can truly master this position.

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Has Anyone Seen My Timeline?

It’s no secret that going through a divorce screws up any preplanned timeline you may have had for yourself.  If you are a list person, much like I am, then you know what I’m talking about.  My list might be digital now but it’s still a list nonetheless.  It’s got the usual yearly goals one might hope to attain: get a raise, go on a vacation, save “X” amount of money for savings, etc.

Now most of those things are still doable even despite a divorce.  Well, except for maybe the one about saving spare cash if you are the one paying for the divorce as there might not be anything to spare until everything is said and done.  If you’re a gal there is a good chance that you have a dream age you hope to get married by, buy your first home by, and possibly even have children by.  I was never the type who dreamt about her wedding from a young age and knew exactly what she wanted, but with my last birthday of my 20s quickly approaching (as my lovely boyfriend pointed out over the weekend) I’ve become a little nuts about my timeline being a hot mess.

By no means do I want to rush into anything just for the sake of staying on some silly timeline I made for myself.  I am at least rational enough to know that isn’t the way to go about things.  However, I am still a gal and we all know that moments of weakness do on occasion compel us to be slightly irrational.  Last week I threatened to cancel my social networking account after yet another friend from high school announced her upcoming bundle of joy.  I am very happy for her and her husband…really!  I think they both will be fabulous parents and that is going to be one lucky baby.

Then this week yet another friend announced his proposal to his longtime girlfriend.  Another friend to be happy for…of course!  Under the post about his engagement was page after page of status updates from my younger friends about their upcoming wedding or something adorable their little angel just did.  Although the sane side of me is very happy that all of my friends seem to be in such a wonderful place in their lives, the less rational side of me slightly feels like I failed myself by not making the right decision the first time around.

Had I listened to my mother (I know she is saying “I told you so” while reading this), had I even listened to my current boyfriend as he told me he knew I was making the wrong choice, or had I let myself acknowledge any of the 5 million other red flags then maybe I wouldn’t have failed my own mental timeline.  I know to some of you out there this seems nuts, but there are others out there who know just what I am talking about.  I am lucky to be in a much better place now, with a man who I love and who treats me like gold.  I have my friends back, the support to pursue my dreams and it seems like most things are just falling into place.  Maybe it’s time to find out how to switch off that judgmental voice in my head so I can just enjoy where I am now.

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Part 2

My last bout of Mono was just a few years ago, but after both occasions I never really got back up to what I consider to be full speed for me.  My immediate family and close friends have heard me repeatedly express how I just knew something was not right with me.  This brought on several years of unsuccessful testing and possible diagnosis that later turned out to be wrong.  These test are what actually discovered my second experience of Mono and that I have Pernicious Anemia.  Sounds scary and serious but I found out it just meant I have a severe B12 deficiency and don’t have the ability to obtain it through food or vitamins so I get injections of the thick red goo instead.  A little hard to stomach if you are afraid of needles like I am, but I’m learning to adjust.

After several years of receiving injections that helped some of my problems I realized that I was still battling others and at times they were getting worse than before.  I am the type of person who will push for answers for just about anything and yet I realized I was just sitting by the wayside waiting for my doctor to call me one day with some kind of an answer to solve my problems.  Well that day never came, so I took matters into my own hands and realized I needed to push harder.  I picked up the phone, called my doctor’s office and said “I want to be referred to whatever specialist is willing to find out what the heck is wrong with me so I can get back to living my life.”  Oddly enough, with the doctor’s office that always schedules my appointments weeks down the road, I was suddenly able to get an appointment an hour and a half from the point I muttered those words.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love my current doctor.  He’s done a lot more than others to test and re-test until he could get some answers, but I was just looking for him to do more this time.  I needed an answer and I needed it NOW.  My symptoms were getting worse, I was barely able to get out of bed and I finally had done the ultimate sin in my world and called into work for my shift.  I reluctantly accepted to take the same-day appointment and started the trek over to the coast to visit his office.

I waited almost an hour to actually see my doctor, which is fairly standard in his office, but I was glad that I did.  As usual, he gave me his full attention from the moment he walked in the door.  He was actively asking me questions, studying my past test results and poking at me but at least I felt as if I was being heard about my concerns.  We discussed past problems and past failed diagnosis so as not to repeat trying treatment for any of those again.  Over an hour later we had a possible answer.

To be continued…

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