Tag Archives: Work

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

The Game Of Telephone Doesn’t Belong At Work

Within the last few years I noticed that the best managers I ever worked for were those that kept open lines of communication.  I had two managers that may have needed to actually have less of an open door policy as I have no clue how they ever got actual work accomplished.  However, you could always get the status of anything you needed at any given time.  Unfortunately there have been very few managers that I have worked for that made the environment as open as these two did.  It was a delight to work for them and when I moved on I actually felt bad knowing I was leaving them.

Therefore, today’s casual business lesson is going to be focused around open lines of communication.  Being a manager who has always practiced open lines of communication with my employees I know it can be difficult as it often takes time away from other work to keep everyone informed.  The flip side is that your employees will take more stock in their position with the company and feel more like a part of the team when you keep them in the loop.

Several places I’ve worked have given me managers that are poster children for broken lines of communication with staff.  In each location I’ve seen the same problems arise.  There is always confusion amongst the employees, eventually an uprising and that’s usually when people begin searching for other forms of employment due to the unhappiness with their current work situation.  These are all problems that can be avoided.

My last place of employment gave me an opportunity to get to know my employees very well as my office was in the corner of their break room.  It was an interesting office situation that could be trying at times to get my work done, but it did allow me the chance to continually keep my staff up to date on everything that I was able to share.  Obviously there are topics that you will not be able to openly communicate, but there are many that you will be able to and your employees will appreciate hearing them.

When I made the decision to leave my last job it was very difficult.  After three years I felt as if we were less of a workforce and more of a dynamic family situation.  I cared about each of the employees as I watched on as the attended college, graduated, got married and even moved on to professional careers of their own.  I was always sad to see them go, but so proud to see them achieving their goals and starting their own careers.  In my mind this was all due to our open lines of communication and the wonderful work environment we all maintained each and every day.

Take a moment out of your day and think if you have taken the time to chat with your staff.  Do you know anything about them outside of work?  Are they looking to move forward in their career?  Do they feel like they have a good grip on the company and what is going on around them?  Are you sharing information accurately and equally with all of your team?  If you are having trouble with some of these questions than it might just be time to re-evaluate the way you interact with your team and share information.

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Filed under Female Management Skills

Welcome to the 21st Century Colleague

Happy Wednesday subscribers, new readers and loyal lurkers!  Managing to survive the week until Wednesday can sometimes feel like a big accomplishment when things are hectic and I’m here to say: “congratulations you made it!”  If you’re like me then you’re still a bit discombobulated after last week’s holiday being on Wednesday.  It’s a little strange having two Monday’s and two Friday’s in one work week when it’s been so long since I worked that kind of schedule.  Work resumes to normal this week and I’m sure we’re all back in the swing of things.

I hit the ground running Monday and within a few hours had an epiphany within the workplace.  Despite working at many places with many ages of people I didn’t realize until just two days ago how much age impacts the way one perceives their co-workers.  Although the way we were raised does play a huge part in how we interact with others, it dawned on me that the time period we’ve each grown up in plays a part in our interactions as well.  Think of your elders that might have grown up during the depression.  It’s not uncommon for people who grew up during the great depression to have trouble letting go of items even though they have no use for them now and don’t know if they ever will.  The era they were raised in has impacted their way of thinking.

Today’s example is based on an older colleague who works within the same property as me, but works for another area that I team together with frequently.  Although on the work ladder we would be considered laterally equal I try to be respectful to the fact that he is indeed older than me and therefore probably has more years of experience.  However, there seems to be a different level of respect returned to me.  I believe in his mind he actually believes that when we do team together I work FOR him and not WITH him.  I say this due to his constant requests for me to get things for him, find people for him, and do projects for him.

I could be crazy, but I think he doesn’t seem to be aware that I am not his administrative assistant when I work with him.  For most other people I would gladly run back to their office to retrieve the keys they left on their desk when they ask nicely, but when he tells me to go get his keys it tends to make my eye twitch just a bit.  Maybe it’s because I was raised to understand that we’re all equal…well, unless we’re not within the chain of employment ranks.  In this instance we are most definitely equal in employment level.  We are not equal in gender or age but truly that shouldn’t matter.  If he politely asked me to do all these things for him I know I would feel differently about it as I gladly help out others in this same way.

I thought it was just me until I realized that he treats his actual administrative assistant even worse.  She is incredibly smart, sharp as a tack and efficiently tackling each piece of her job with a smile on her face.  However, I feel like every demand he makes of her should end with him patting her on the head.  I know he grew up in a different time period where he was taught that there was a certain way to speak to different types of people, but I feel like it’s time that he get a crash course in the way things work here in 2012.  The work place is a very different place then it used to be and unfortunately he hasn’t progressed with time.

Think about the way you speak to your fellow co-workers.  Are you appropriate and respectable in your approach or do you need to update your ways to stay current?  Take a look at your colleagues and see if you can learn, either good tips or things to avoid, from the way they interact with others.

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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

Can Your Dress Stand Up By Itself?

It’s been a while since I tackled female clothing in the workplace, but it’s time for me to bring it up again. However, this time it’s not due to some crazy outfit someone tried to pass off as “professional.” I would like to pose a question to all the ladies out there who work in an office setting that requires suits or an equal female equivalent. How often do you dry clean your work clothes?

I know many of us can’t get home fast enough to get changed into something that is less restricting…or at least that’s me. After a whole day of fitted blazers and dresses I can’t wait to rush home and thrown on something to run in. I’ll also admit that I’m not one to toss a dress or jacket into the dry cleaning pile after only one usage. Dry cleaning isn’t cheap and it’s hard for me to justify that my dress is all that dirty after a whole day of work inside a hotel that has the air conditioning set in the low seventies. Most people around me never see me without a blanket while at my desk. My Fibromyalgia isn’t too keen on the temperature gauge in the office and tends to start a war in my joints if I don’t bundle up during the times I do get to sit at my desk, but that’s a whole other story.

My detail oriented ways can slide into my life in the weirdest ways sometimes and it has most definitely entered my clothing selection process. I’m surprised that people at work haven’t noticed yet after a year of working in the same place, but I do have a bit of a clothing rotation. I do this to ensure I get the best usage out of all of my dresses and that I don’t wear out a favorite faster than any of the others. It also aids in me knowing when things need to go to the dry cleaner without me having to do a sniff check like a teenage boy.

During lunch recently a coworker admitted that she had owned her current work outfit for more than eight months and yet had never taken any of it to a dry cleaner. I will give her the benefit of the doubt that all of her shirts can be washed at home, but how do you explain the dresses and jackets? At first I immediately thought I wasn’t so weird for having my clothing rotation and taking an item to the dry cleaner after only one use. However, then I started to wonder how long is too long before getting work clothes cleaned.

Therefore, ladies I’m turning to you. How often do you wear an item to work before it goes into your dry cleaning pile? Once? Three times? Eight months?

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Filed under Culture, Fashion, Female Management Skills