Tag Archives: Hospitality

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

Those Were The Days

After a rather rough day at work recently I called my mom on the way home and as soon as she picked up the phone I blurted out something similar to the following:  “Remember when my most challenging decision of the day was whether to eat the cinnamon pop tart or the smores pop tart?  Ya, I miss those days?”  Mom just laughed and told me it would all be alright.

I do miss those days.  In retrospect I now realize how things were so simple.  Now I face decisions that are much more stressful and can throw my whole world for a loop.  In March we started looking at homes to purchase.  Oh, now that’s stressful!  I’ve never had problems saying yes to a rental, but a home for purchase is a whole different story.  Then there is the daily stress of work and the stress of trying to keep up with friends as our schedules all keep getting busier.

ImageRunning is nice and peaceful, but I’ll admit that even that causes some stress in my life.  When I think about how much time I’ll need to run a few days a week then I realize how that is time that I’m not spending cleaning the house, cooking dinner or making sure Coda is getting attention.  Things were easier when decisions revolved around overly sugared breakfast choices and I’m not ashamed to admit I wish that it could all be that easy again.

I’ve let myself keep getting sucked back into a stressful state and it’s time to do something about it.  I can’t do anything about how long the home buying process will take, so it’s time to stop worrying about it.  We’ll get the house if it is meant to be or we won’t and we’ll go back to looking.  I’m putting everything in the hands of fate.  I’ve always believed that everything happens for a reason, so now it is time to stop worrying about what happens before I lose my sanity.

Instead I’m going to take on some more peaceful DIY crafting projects to distract myself.  With the coupons I used on my last projects I paid only about a third of what I would have paid to buy the dresses.  That seems totally worth the time and effort to me.  Looks like it is time to search the pattern catalogs to see what will be my next targeted creation.  The infinity dress was so easy I feel like nothing can stop me now.  That was the perfect project to get me back into the swing of things.  I’ll post pictures soon of the second dress I wore just recently to a more formal function.

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Filed under Culture, Fashion, Sewing, Uncategorized

What A Bright Idea!

SkillCloud?  No, I didn’t just slam my head on my keyboard and have auto-correct decide my opening line.  I meant to write exactly that.  I thought iCloud was awesome until I heard about SkillCloud.  For those of us who wish there was a platform for companies to appreciate us beyond our resumes, our ramblings have been heard by a team who competed in a two-day “hackathon.”  I didn’t even know there was such a thing, but thank goodness there is as it has produced this awesome creation.

SkillCloud is similar to a social network platform, but it’s reason for existence is so that employees can broadcast their talents to their employer.  I’ll use my last job in the theme park world as an example.  I was hired as a Stage Manager.  Three months after I began with the theme park a perfect storm occurred and we were without a performer for the show that I had been managing each day.  The problem in this situation was that the show could not be performed without someone in this role.  Immediately I stepped up and said I would do it as I could be replaced as the manager, but no one else who was available knew the role that was empty that day.  My suggestion was faced by three of my senior managers staring at me like I had three heads.

When I was hired my dance ability was never really discussed and my performance background wasn’t elaborated upon.  As someone who had been present at every rehearsal since the show was created and then watched it every day for a living, I knew the show like the back of my hand.  It was true I had never been on that stage and or even done the show, but I was confident that with a run through I could make it happen as that is what needed to happen so we didn’t have to cancel a whole day of shows.  Three minutes into the on-stage run through my management realized I had more than just a loose knowledge of dance.

It was only three months after this that my Supervisor realized that we were going to have to re-mount the first show I worked on for a temporary two-week run.  However, since the show was new we never had anyone else stage it except for the choreographer who created it.  As I sat in a meeting watching people scratch their heads about how to pull things together so quickly I stepped up and said I would do it.  You would have thought I grew those extra heads again as it hadn’t even been a consideration of the team that I would be able to do it.  My background in choreography and show staging didn’t exactly come up in my interview, so I’m not surprised they didn’t know about it.

Once my secrets were out in the open my choreography and staging talents were put to use for our shows on a regular basis.  It was the best way to combine my management and performance experience into one fun-filled position that I so passionately enjoyed day in and day out.  However, my hidden talents were only put to use because I was bold enough to step forward and offer up my services.  I know I tend to be more daring to do things like this than most are and that is where SkillCloud comes in handy.  If your company utilized SkillCloud would you admit your hidden skills and talents?  There is always the chance that you’re opening a door which makes you more valuable to your company.

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Filed under Dance, Female Management Skills

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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Filed under Taking Charge of One's Health

These Candidates Are Fresh For The Picking

A good friend of mine was just let go from his job this week and he’s one of many people I know going through this.  The unfortunate part is that those who keep getting let go seem to be the best employees that any company would be happy to have on staff, so I’m going to take the time to focus on two of them in hopes that maybe someone will see that their past employer’s mistake can be their gain.

 
Alexandra is an amazingly articulate writer who can tackle even the most serious of subjects and somehow make you laugh so hard you’ll have tears streaming down your face.  She frequently tackles the subject of cancer on her blog and I don’t know too many people who can get me laughing about something like that but her.  She’s one of the most well-rounded workers an employer could ever hope for.  He background runs the gamut from theatrical scenic work and professional stand-up comedian to detail oriented office manager and design consultant.  To be honest, I’m convinced that she can do anything that comes her way.  Alexandra’s amazing ability to adapt to change in an organization is only outdone by her stellar ability to turn customer service into an art form.  If you need someone to re-write all your training material into an SOP booklet people will be fighting each other to get their hands on then she’s your gal.  This wordsmith can make even the driest of materials insightful and humorous.  Check out her blog, her LinkedIn, and scoop her up before someone else does.

 
Ken is the go-to guy you want on your team if you have a live event to coordinate or manage.  His guest service skills were perfected over his many years of experience with Disney and have left him with the ability to make fast-paced decisions to keep your event running successfully.  He has theme park and hotel experience that keeps him well rooted in the hospitality industry and will ensure he can work in any type of office atmosphere he would be needed in.  Most recently he was responsible for the implementing the logistics for special events, coordinating donor relations activities, and evaluating budgets with a fine tooth comb.  Ken is one of the most determined and passionate employees any company could hope for.  Once on your staff his goal is to always look out for the best of the organization in all ways possible.  Check out his LinkedIn profile and let him lead your next live event project towards the applause of your CEO or President.

 
Being let go from a job is hard enough, but in today’s economy it is definitely more difficult to turn around and find a new job when your experiences are so broad.  Over the years I always thought it was good to stay well-rounded, until my resume became so versatile that no one could figure out exactly how I would best fit into their company.  Now I understand that there is a very fine line between being well-rounded and an enigma that employers are confused by.  I like to relate it to my performance days.  Sometimes casting directors can’t see that the best performer to cast is the one right in front of them unless they are handed an opportunity to see them already fulfilling the role they are auditioning for.  Obviously in performing arts, and even in the traditional job world, most people don’t get a chance to actual fill the role they are auditioning or applying for before being hired.  Therefore, we’ve all got to get a bit creative to make sure the casting director or HR representative can see what is right in front of them.

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Filed under Female Management Skills

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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Filed under Female Management Skills

It’s BOOTSY!

With the colder season upon us it’s time, even here in central Florida, to break out the heavier jackets and long-sleeved shirts.  This is my first year of working in an indoor office though so it has raised a few questions.  I know that might sound weird, but my last job was a bit out of the norm and therefore I wouldn’t include that on my list of “indoor offices.”  My theory is if almost half of your work day is spent outside,  your “office” is really a desk in the corner of a 60 degree break room, and you can hear dogs barking and a pig squealing all day then your job is usually not considered a normal one.

With the start of my new job in June it was obvious that a new wardrobe was going to have to accompany it.  My mom and I had a blast shopping for my new work outfit.  It might be the only time in my life that I’ve allowed myself to buy such wonderful designer names and have tailored suits and dresses.  It was an amazing experience and I’m excited that not using most of my vacation days at my last job allowed me to make it possible.

While we were shopping this summer we tried hard to pick pieces that were classic and versatile, so I have had no problem finding a wear to wear most of them even now that it is cold.  A thicker jacket and a pair of black tights go a long way in stretching most of my summer wardrobe into choices that I can wear in the winter.  The only new additions since then have been 1 winter coat, courtesy of my amazing boyfriend who has picked up my deal grabbing shopping trait, and a few pairs of new shoes.

I grabbed these awesome ankle boots from DSW.com on Cyber Monday and after using my membership number for free shipping, taking advantage of the fact that they were already marked down and using several coupon codes the website practically paid me to buy them.  With them I ordered my first two pairs of over the knee boots that were also priced to make me jump for joy.  It’s not even a question that the ankle boots, that I ended up getting in black as my signature color was sold out in my size, go with just about any dress that I wear dark tights with.  However, do over the knee boots have a space in the workplace?

Both pairs that I bought were flat so that I could get optimal use out of them with all the walking I planned for them, but I keep questioning if they are appropriate to wear to work.  I tested out the water by first wearing my stiletto boots, which just barely come to the knee, with a pair of black leggings under a Calvin Klein dress on one of the few days that it dropped below 60 degrees.  Many of the other women at work commented on how amazing the boots were and then just days later I noticed several other women in my work area breaking out their high-heeled boots.

Just last week another cold snap prompted me to try testing the water with both pairs of over the knee boots.  I received a ton of compliments, but I’m still left questioning if they are really appropriate in a business casual office situation.  They are the “in” shoe of the moment and you see ads all over the place with women pairing them with stylish outfits meant for the office, but does that really mean that it is now acceptable?  I’m putting this out there to my fellow trend setters because we all know that I don’t want to look like Ke$ha is my fahion icon!  Do you think over the knee boots can be paired with a tailored designer dress and jacket to wear to work in the winter so you can get the most out of your year round dresses?

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Filed under Culture, Fashion, Female Management Skills