Tag: Work

Modern Friendshipping

So April has almost come and gone and it has been a jammed packed month. The Hallmarkies podcast has been doing great and we currently have a whole bunch of interviews and podcasts stored up ready to be played over the next month or so (or if one of us gets sick). Doing all this prep work, while still producing 2 shows a week (regular episode and tv recap) has been a bit overwhelming but very satisfying. I have also been keeping up my personal channel and had some great interviews/discussions and reviews on there.

As I was looking over the month it occurred to me amongst all the busyness very little of it was with in-person human contact. There are things I did alone like go see Hamilton so at least I was out of the house but with actual people it is pretty sparse:

I saw Ready Player One with Amber and then again with my book club friends (I missed book club this month because I didn’t have time to read it).

I saw Isle of Dogs with my friend Phaedra and that was a delight (both movie and time with friend).

I had Easter with my parents, grandma and brother.

I went to see Camelot with my parents and two of my friends were in it.

I attended study group for church (and church)

And that’s it! The rest including my job were all online. But oddly I do not feel malnourished or socially bereft. In fact, quite the reverse. In just the last week I will have done 5 podcasts including an interview with friends from Israel and Australia. I think it is pretty cool! I also posted to my movie blog and to rotoscopers.com and contributed to other social media posts.

I don’t know. What do you think? What is the right balance of in-person interactions with online? I know mine will never be close to equal but I at least try and make an effort to get outside and see friends in-person. It’s tough but I do the best I can.

Slow Down and Make Perfect

So I have been working in my new marketing career for a year but in some ways it feels like it has really only been since about February.  A lot of the first 8 months was spent doing research but not really marketing.  Then in the winter I started posting on social media for the brands and it has been an interesting, rewarding experience.  One of the things that I’ve had to learn is the difference between my hobby activities and professional.  As a hobbyist my inclination is to always produce more content even if it isn’t perfect but still make it solid, readable.  I’m very proud of my blog but if I waited till everything was perfectly edited then I would never post anything.  You can’t build a community like that.

As a hobbyist you also have limited windows to jump on opportunities and so you go for it.  Like if someone wants to do a collaboration with me they don’t have months of planning to get it out.  No most of the time it is a couple of weeks and we get the videos out.  If I waited to research and plan everything then it wouldn’t happen and they’d move on to someone else.  Right now on my facebook page I am posting a giveaway for a Target Beauty box and I have 319 entries which given my small fry status I think is pretty good.  (Still 3 more days to enter http://gvwy.io/kk65w9 and if you haven’t followed me on facebook please do).

In my career I initially took this same approach into marketing.  Diving into a giveaway without a ton of planning but figuring we ‘just needed to get things going’.  It did work pretty well and we got a fair amount of tweets and followers for the products, which I am proud of.  However, we also had all these contacts that we didn’t know what to do with.  As a hobbyist I would email them and send them to my blog but it isn’t that simple with a business.  All that kind of content has to be screened, approved, and made consistent with a thousand other factors.

It can be a little frustrating when I have an idea I know would work and want to pump it out but I have to keep pursuing it little bit by little bit.  My inclination is to just give it a shot like I would in my content but that would be a mess for a large company.  Still you see the tug of war I play?

So what I’ve had to do is continually remind myself to ‘slow down and make perfect’.  At first I thought if I put in 40 hours (maybe more) even though I’m being paid for 30 it would look great for me, but I actually found it didn’t.  On certain projects it does but I found it creates too much on my side and it is better if I take my time and make it the best.  More content is not the solution.  Even in project like gathering and researching Mommy bloggers, getting a list of a thousand content creators isn’t very helpful.  What they need is 20 or so carefully researched.  It’s just a slower pace than I would do on my own.

Not sure if that makes sense but the interesting thing as I have forced myself to slow down I have learned a lot. It reminds me of when I was a little girl my Mom making me slow down and measure a goose poster I had to draw.  I hated her for it at the time but it was a good drawing in the end and I learned way more than if I were to rush.  With the content being pretty strong it makes my coworkers happier because I am in a sense wading through the less good stuff first and only showing them the cream of the crop (not that it can’t always be better).

Anyway, it’s just a change in how things are done from a hobbyist to a professional.  One of many such changes I am sure I will be absorbing in the next few years of this new career.  The cool thing is I think it has made my content better right along with the work content and so in reality it is a win-win.

I think these videos turned out very nicely. (Although still far from perfect!).

Also check out the movie blog because I feel like several of my posts have been very strong especially a recent spoiler filled review I did of Inside Out.

https://54disneyreviews.wordpress.com/

Like the saying goes you live and learn.  In the meantime I am working to ‘slow down and make perfect’

Thank you for all your support all these years with my less than perfect content and helping me to grow and improve.  Thank you so much!!!

Accounting Goodbye

In the Apartment Jack Lemmon learns what he will sacrifice to not be one of the 'office masses'

Today marks the end of an era in my life.  It is my last official day working in accounting (at least for the foreseeable future).  It’s been 10 years since I got behind a desk taking a simple secretarial job never dreaming it would dictate the next decade of my life.  I still can’t believe it!

If you had asked me when I was growing up or even in college if I would work in accounting for 10 years I would have said you were nuts.  I’ve always been cluttered and bad at math.  Little did I know that accounting actually has very little to do with math.  It has everything to do with routines and organizing data.

In some ways it was a good career for me and maybe not a surprise I ended up there.  I am great with routines and am extremely fast at data entry.  I am also someone that can do the same thing over again and not grow tired of it.  I could eat the same thing, see the same movie and be fine.  That part of accounting never bothered me.

What was difficult was I seemed to be prone to errors especially at the beginning because it was all new.  It seemed at first I was inventing new ways all the time on how to mess up the check run (I can’t believe no check runs! Wow!).  These mistakes were always caught by one check and balance or another but it was still humiliating and it didn’t help that my manager at the time rubbed them in my face and made me feel ashamed of my work.

She was the wicked witch of my life.  Not only the worst boss I’ve ever had but one of the worst people.  She manipulated me (and everyone else) so that I found myself apologizing when I had actually done good work. Imagine what it was like when I made mistakes.  I put up with her for 3 years because I lacked the courage to quit my job but finally in December 2007 I had enough!  In one of my proudest moments I walked out and into nothing to begin the great economic year of 2008 (seriously who quits their job in 2008.  That’s how bad it was).  Kierkegaard talks about the great leap of faith and how it has to be perfect or it is illogical to believe.  That moment in my life was as close as I’ve ever gotten to the perfect leap. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind it was the right thing to do.

Everything good that has happened to me in my life has been a response to that leap including starting this blog! I was unemployed and decided in May 2008 to blog how I was feeling.  Honestly I felt like I needed healing after such an intense period (some of you may think I’m exaggerating but it was a time of deep depression and anxiety for me working in that job.  Only God knows how tough it really was).

At that time I graduated from my MBA and thought I would go work in marketing or maybe human resources but over 40 interviews and nothing.  My Dad asked me if I wanted to help manage his properties and I did that full time for about a year (thanks Dad!).  I learned that even if I was doing some accounting work I was happier working from home and being my own boss.  I felt free and it was exhilarating.  I also moved to Draper during this time.

Then I got the offer to work part time in marketing for Grabber, which I did giving at warmers at local events (remember my old Grabber van?).  But that was quickly dissolved and they needed help with accounting so back I went but this time I was working from home which was pretty good.

My next boss Kevin was a delight and I began working full time for Impact, Grabber and my brother’s new company Poler.  I would go up to Syracuse, Utah once a week and print checks and do other mind numbingly boring tasks that nobody in all 3 companies wanted to do.  That’s the history of my time in accounting.  Because I was so fast if there was someone who didn’t want to do something I would get the job which was generally okay with me.  One of the worst projects was entering 27,000 lines of inventory into quickbooks for Impact.  So boring!  (it was then that I got into podcast listening because it distracted me a little bit without being too much).

Then the company’s were sold and Kevin moved over to exclusively Impact while I stayed working for Grabber and Poler.  Each week I did more and more for Poler until I was working for Grabber only managing their sales tax.  I became the queen of sales tax.

Then they sold Poler and eventually Grabber was sold to Kobayashi.  In 2013 I went from working at Grabber to Poler full time and then to part time last summer.  My boss at Poler is a woman named Kelly and she is a total delight.  I will really miss working with her.  The part time work was a little bit of a safety net as I am working 30 hours in my marketing work for Kobayashi and it gave me a full 40 hours with Poler but it feels good to sever the ties and focus solely on my new  job.  (well except for my Dad’s rentals).

The problem with all of this work is it was never ending.  I was grateful for it but because I worked from home there was no separation between my life and work and if I didn’t do certain things they just didn’t get done.  In the case of accounts payable that is a major problem or payroll.  It has to get done! So there was many a time when I was sick as a dog and printing out checks or entering data into a computer in Hawaii or California.  It was also sometimes hard to go home because my father was my boss and it meant I couldn’t relax because I was always working or thinking about work.  No breaks.

But I got to work from home so it was worth it.  The very idea of going to back ‘cubicle Hell’ as I like to call it makes me nauseous.  It will be very tough for me after working from home for the last 7 years. I pray every day that nothing will change in that department.

Fortunately things are looking great in my new marketing job and I really feel like I have scored the job lottery.  I couldn’t be more happy.  Every day I am learning new things and honing my craft.  It is so satisfying!

I am nothing but grateful for those years in accounting.  It was a journey I needed to go on and it sustained me for 10 years.  It helped me buy my home and do so many amazing things.  I never felt completely whole doing accounting and had decided it was just a compromise I was going to have to make in life.  It was the card I had been dealt career-wise and at a certain point (8 years in!) you have to accept what God has given you and not be miserable all the time.

So I am grateful but getting this new job has taught me to always maintain a sliver of hope.  Good things do come to those who wait and work in the sphere God has set them in.  I wasn’t anticipating a career change.  It came out of nowhere but like I said it has been a dream come true.

And now one door is closed and another is 100% starting, no safety net.  I hope I can eventually be made full time with my new career but I will wait patiently and do my very best.  In some ways it is actually nice having 10 more hours a week to do personal projects like my youtube channel (but I want the 40 don’t get me wrong!).  There are times and seasons for everything and just like my accounting career morphed and changed I’m sure this new job will do the same.  I can’t wait to see where it takes me!

10 years of accounting is done!  Hurray!  (I don’t know if anyone but me will read this rambling post but it is my story which I needed to write out).  Sure love you guys and to 10 years of marketing!

1000th Post- First Post Revisited

1000-postsSo it’s here! 1000 posts! Can you believe it? I’ve thought of a lot of different things I could do to celebrate but after sharing my favorite post for 999 I thought I would take a look at my very first post on this blog.

Before I start I will say that I in no means make light of those who are without work and facing the extreme trial of unemployment.  My experience was unique and from the perspective of a young 28 year old girl who finally found a happy spot in her life.

May 12, 2008 I wrote The Freedom of Joblessness.At the time I had been unemployed for 5 months and because I had been so unhappy in my previous job it was not as difficult a time as you might expect.

It was exciting and it felt like I had a renewed lease on life.  I had also just graduated with my MBA in April.  At the time it seemed like I had been set free from a corporate penitentiary and I wanted to blog about it!

“So, this is my first foray into the world of blogging… It is hard to describe my last 6 months but let me just say that I am in the job hunt and I couldn’t be happier. I honestly think I will be a bit sad when I have to go back into the work force”

At my previous job a manager made my life miserable and being free from her influence did so much good for my self confidence and over all happiness.  I think that was a large amount of the freedom I felt.  I said “after a bit of a breakdown last year I needed a change more than anything”…

I then share a quote “I would rather be doing nothing than doing something I hate”

But that sounds so lazy I hear you say. I elaborate

“The thing…is that I haven’t been doing nothing.  When did we get it in our head that the only viable thing for a person to do is work? I have actually been very busy.  In fact, I have been doing things that I actually love that I don’t have time for when I am working including doing some writing, making a cookbook for my mom, and exercising on a regular basis”

I think there is something to that.  Why do we have this assumption that if a person isn’t participating in paid labor they are doing nothing? If I won the lottery and could make it I would quit my job in a heartbeat even though I love my job now.

The amazing thing is about 10 days after this post my Dad asked me to start working managing his rentals.  I did that for about a year working from home.  Before I knew it I was working for Grabber part time.  Then full time and then over to Poler, Now Kobayashi  All working from home!

When I look at everything good in my life including this blog it all started with the tough decision to quit my job.  To place my happiness above all the other factors and go for it. That joy felt freeing and peaceful and it still does and perhaps that’s why I keep blogging.  It was liberating then and it is liberating now!

To 1000 more posts!

500 Channel Subscribers and Next Week

500subs2

Very excited to tell you that I have 500 subscribers to my channel.  Thank you to any of you that have subscribed.  I really appreciate all the support I have gotten from this blog in so many ways. You have no idea what it has and will continue to mean to me.

Just wanted to let you guys know that I am going to be going on a business trip tomorrow. It’s the first time I will be meeting my boss and coworkers in person and I am really excited (and a little nervous if I’m honest!).  I got new suitcoats so hopefully I will fit right in.

business suitsAnyway, I am not sure how much I will be able to post but I will do my best.  If I go a week to 10 days sorry!  Love you guys and wish me luck.  I am so grateful for this blog that really gave me this job.  It got the ball rolling and has helped me reach my dreams so thank you to all of you!

We will talk next week!!

What Collar Am I? Survivor 30

Survivor-Season-30-logo-500x310So you guys know I am a big Survivor nut.  It’s such an entertaining show and a fascinating look at human nature and the way we interact with one another.  What alienates people from one another, gives power, forms bonds, and why they make certain choices never gets old and they are now on season 30!  I have seen most of the early seasons and later seasons and playing catch up on the middle (still got Fiji, Palau, Guatemala, Cook Islands and Pearl Islands and a few others to watch).

What’s amazing is given the similar rules of the game each winner has been different and used a different strategy. It makes it a fascinating show to watch. You just don’t know who is going to win.

My favorite season recently was season 28 Survivor Cagayan because of the fantastic casting and one of the most engaging winners the show has ever had- Tony Vlachos.  He was building spy shacks, voting off his friends, running around the island and all the while remaining incredibly likable.  It was so great to watch.

Season 30 is coming up and this time they are dividing the contestants into 3 tribes of 6 just like in Cagayan (I believe this is the 4th 3 tribe seasons).  Cagayan was also a 3 tribes and it was separated into Beauty, Braun and Brains, which at first I had an issue with because I felt they were objectifying everyone, putting a label on.  However, it ended up being kind of a wash because there were people on all the tribes who fit all the descriptions so it didn’t end up meaning much.

What’s got me thinking is season 30 has taken a similar approach of labeling the 3 tribes but instead of appearance they are going with careers- white collar, blue collar, and no collar.

Kind of an interesting concept for the show don’t you think?  What tribe would you be put on?  Their definition of collars according to Jeff Probst is a little wonky with white collar “making the rules”, blue collar “following the rules”, and no collar “breaking the rules”.  I don’t know anyone else who would describe it that way but it’s Jeff Probst and he can do whatever he wants when it comes to Survivor (especially after season 29 which was a royal snoozefest…).

So given that further definition what tribe would you be on?  I would definitely be on white collar because I have a computer job and I am part of a religion with a lot of rules (although I don’t really make them?).  That said, I also have little pieces of no collar in me.  I work from home, don’t have a boss and the idea of working in a cubicle ever again makes me want to jump off a cliff.

all collars
Survivor 30 cast

I feel like most people these days are a mixture of all the collars.  What do you think?  Now with computers, social media and the internet doesn’t everyone have to be pretty savvy?  The days of a large blue collar class of unskilled factory workers and farmers just doesn’t exist much anymore.  Even if you are in the service sectors like working as a hairdresser you need a website and facebook page to promote your business or you will get slaughtered.  Farmers have to be able to use complicated machinery, same with what factory workers are left in America.  It is by no means simple, mindless work of yesteryear.

Do you think this has any effect on our culture as a whole the fact we are collarless?  I could see some ways it is a good thing and other ways it might force people into a type of work that is outside their nature.  In previous societies there may have been more choices for such people?   Does that lead to a whole bunch of depressed blue collar and no collar types who are wedged into white collar?  I know the worst time of my life was when I was stuck in cubicle hell every day, never seeing the outside, entering data all day- and I was probably considered one of the lucky one’s with a decent job.

On the other hand perhaps with careers becoming similar there is less class division amongst the 99%.  After all, is it really a big deal these days to marry someone who has a different career path than you like it might have been the past? (At this point anyone would be glad for me to just get married!)..   I don’t think so as long as you can support a family and have similar values.  Perhaps we are becoming a little less judgmental based on jobs because they aren’t that different (or at least have more in common than they used too?).

I don’t know.  I certainly don’t feel any smarter or better than those with technical skills because I have an MBA.  It’s just a different set of skills but still using a lot of the same stuff I use everyday. In fact, they are probably better than me at more things than I am better than them (if that makes sense…).

Or perhaps the whole idea of self-identifying with your career isn’t as important as it used to be?  Maybe our jobs are more of a fluid thing and we will all have periods wearing many collars?  I have been hard core white collar in several jobs including as a missionary.  Now I’m white with a little dusting of no collar.  If I get married and stay home with my kids I guess that is blue collar?  I don’t know what collar are stay at home Moms? I’ve worked in food service so that was my blue collar and I was a teaching assistant in college and I’m not sure what collar teachers are?

Now that I have a job I love I do self-identify with it more than my old job but for about a decade people would ask me to introduce myself and my career was one of the last things I would mention.  Honestly I think I would say survivor fan before accounting clerk.  It just wasn’t how I saw myself.  I might have mentioned work from home.  I still would be inclined to say ‘I’m collar I would rather be swimming”

Are you that way?  Is your job a means to an end or something that is a big part of who you are?  Would you see yourself as part of a larger working group, wearing a collar if you will?

Anyway, what do you think?  Do you ever watch Survivor and do you think this sounds like a good twist?  Would love to hear your thoughts.

As the new season is starting check out Rob Has a Podcast for great post show debate and commentary by former Survivor Rob Cesternino.  I love it!

RIP Tom from Car Talk

car-talk-banner

I don’t normally get overly emotional when a famous person or celebrity dies but every once in a while someone who has touched my life, celebrity or not, will pass away and it makes me feel sad.  Today my Saturday morning friend over on NPR, Tom Magliozzi, passed away from alzheimers and it made me feel very sad.

He and his brother Ray were the hosts of NPR’s Car Talk and were better known as Click and Clack the Tappett Brothers.

Here is a tribute done on NPR today.

The thing is anyone who knows me knows I hate cars.  I hate driving.  If I could live in Manhattan and never own a car I would be a happy lady.  They are a necessary evil in my life and a royal pain in the neck.  As my Dad knows I even hate cleaning cars.  I just don’t care about cars.

And yet I liked Car Talk.  I first discovered them around 2006.  At the time I was very unhappy working as a receptionist where I would do long stretches of data entry, sometimes days of data entry.  One regular project I had was 35 pages of data for the monthly car account.

That was just one of the mindnumbingly boring chores I did for that job.  When there wasn’t a call I could put an ear bud in one ear and play some music or a podcast, so I downloaded just about everyone I could put my hands on. That is also when I started my audible account so I’ve had that for 8 years!

In fact, I preferred podcasts to music because it was less distracting and made me feel like I was having some human contact in my cubicle cell.  I could be doing the most boring task imaginable and listening to a podcast on books or science and feel like my brain was getting some aerobics in the day.

In all those podcasts I discovered Car Talk and the first episode that really made me laugh was when Tom told the story of Tanya the Trainer.  I posted this on my blog years ago and it still makes me laugh every time I read it.

I was hooked.  Tom and Ray were the embodiment of cheerfulness and joy.  Every Saturday I would turn in and laugh and smile and then I would listen to the podcast again a couple of times throughout the week.  Just a few months ago I tweeted during stopped traffic ‘thank you for Car Talk. It makes traffic liveable”.  Joyfulness and a love of life will have that effect no matter what they are talking about.

Another funny bit that was a favorite of mine is the operation vowel drop.  I’ve listened to this about a hundred times and it still cracks me up.

A recurring bit on the show was that Tom could never remember the puzzler from the previous week.  Little did we know for at least some of the years he literally could not remember.

Here was a bit where the two laughing at dementia and foreign accent syndrome.  Even though I didn’t know him his laughter was infectious and I’m sure he would want to be remembered for it.

It’s interesting that I would find Car Talk when I was so unhappy at work and listening to all those podcasts while grinding through all that data entry because Tom was somewhat of a crusader of anti-work.  He said he had an epiphany one day after commuting 45 minutes to work and almost being in a dangerous accident:

“He had a revelation that he was wasting his life. Upon arriving at work, he walked into his boss’ office and quit on the spot. He hated putting on a suit and working in the 9-to-5 world.

“He actually hated working in any world,” says his brother Ray. “Later on, when we were doing Car Talk, he would come in late and leave early. We used to warn him that if he left work any earlier, he’d pass himself coming in.”

As Tom once described his own attitude to his listeners, “Don’t be afraid of work.  Make work afraid of you. I did such a fabulous job of making work afraid of me that it has avoided me my whole life so far.”

I love that. Just when I was so miserable in my work I found a joyful spirit in someone who had found freedom from it.  Do what you have to do and do it with joy and ‘work’ in it’s 4 letter sense will leave you be.

This is another caller I love who they talked off the edge from destroying her car.  They just made you happy when you listened to them.

A friend of mine told me she didn’t like their show and I found it astounding because they are so cheerful and happy.  It’s like not liking a babies grin or dimples on a little girl.  They are so joyful.

Anyway, I just wanted to put my thoughts out there and say thanks to Tom and Ray for cheering me up all these years.  RIP Tom and my comforts to Ray and the entire Magliozzi clan.

It just shows what good a human being can do when he or she finds their calling.

They were immortalized by the Pixar folks with Ray a Volkswagen van and Tom his fabled Dodge Dart.

 

A Working from Home Legacy

Feel like you are at war in the office? I have!  Be like me and work from home.

Just a joke below…

dilbert work from home 1 dilbert work from home 2 dilbert work from home 3 dilbert work from homeGrowing up I basically had 2 stay at home parents.  My Mother was and is a homemaker (my family is 35, 33, 30, 23, 17, 14 so my Mom has always been an active mother of a variety of ages).  She is also someone who made running her home a career.  Her hobbies usually involved bettering family or home in some way.  Countless dresses she sewed for us until her tailoring skills were good enough to make costume after costume for my sisters plays.  She did a Midsummer’s Nights Dream set in the 20s I believe and the gowns and suits were stunning.

So my Mom has always worked from home.  If there was  part of home life she wanted to master it.  Her gardens are always the best in the neighborhood, especially in our home in Utah there were flowers that wondered all around the front and back yard with a large patch of lily of the valley that I will never forget.

I could go on and on about my Mom but suffice it to say where some women see housekeeping as a necessary evil, my Mom see’s it as her calling and what she wasn’t good at, she became good at.

Then there is my Dad.  My Dad has been an entrepreneur for his career. He is perhaps the only person on the planet that could go to law school, not finish 2 papers, and then 25 years later find out he had actually graduated.  That’s just the kind of person he is.  He pursues something 100%, gleans all the good he can out of it and then moves on to the next idea or spot he is needed with no regrets.

In my life he has been in paid employment as a photographer, framing store owner, computer program designer/manager, ESL computer lab installer, board member, various roles at JWA, Grabber, Impact, Grabber Construction, Kobayashi and Poler to name a few.

Probably the most influential time of my life was when he founded a company called Linguatronics.  He had spent the years in the late 80s, early 90s working on a program to help Japanese people learn English.  That’s what brought our family from Utah to Maryland.  Being in the DC area meant we were close to so many other metropolitan cities and he could promote his new product, as well as other products.

Eventually this morphed into installing computer labs in colleges to help with ESL and other language courses (Linguatronics).  There was a software that helped teachers to communicate with students while learning.  They could take over the students screen, talk to them and help them in other ways.  I’m not sure how many labs were installed but by the time we moved to California in 1998 (7 years) he had exhausted his leads and was needed to help with the family businesses.  Things transitioned and changed once again.

But I was basically grown up by then so my greatest memories are the Linguatronics era.  My Dad had co-opted the dining room into his office.  This meant the french doors of the dining room had glass and we could see in and watch him work.  I remember him being constantly frustrated when we would take his office supplies- particularly his scissors.

‘Where did you girls put my scissors?” he would ask in exasperation.  We had no idea.

When we moved to Maryland I started middle school and my sister Anna was a year old, so we had 1, 9,11 and 13 year old.  My Dad has always had different sleep needs than most people so we didn’t see him a lot when it was late and we were home from activities or in the morning (now he is a great early riser but not back then).  I think back to looking through the glass and always being able to see my Dad.  What a blessing that was.  He was working 70+ hours a week to make that business work and they had a small toddler to deal with (although Anna was the dream sleeper.  She will moan and groan about sleeping in the laundry room but I think that noise made her sleep like a rock to this day!).

When my Mother got pregnant she had to go on full bedrest meaning my father would become Mom and Dad for the entire pregnancy.  My roommate just asked me if my Mom got up for church or other small things and the answer is no.  I remember one time when my brothers mice turned out to be pregnant and he woke everyone up in the middle of the night that she got up.  She was up for my sister Megan’s baptism and to go to the doctor but I don’t recall any other times.

When I was 15 my mother got pregnant again and so my freshman year was spent, family-wise, on survival mode.  I was probably not as helpful as I should have been because I found the whole situation to be incredibly stressful and worrying.

If I felt that way imagine how my Dad must have felt.  Here he has 4 children including a 5 year old in kindergarten, 3 teenagers at different spiritual and emotional levels and working 70+ hours as a self-employed businessman.  The amount of pressure must have been enormous.  (And he was young men’s president during this whole time!)

I remember as soon as we found out my Mom was expecting we would transition to paper plates and all of the kids would be assigned days to cook and chores.  My Dad at one point had a complicated chart he called ‘The New Order’ which was just overcomplicated and a little crazy to actually work for a while.  Then he tried a ‘New Order 2’ which was less effective… 😉

My Dad also was determined to not let the massive garden my parents had worked on go to pot with my Mother on bedrest.  One day he saw a farm stand and was convinced it would be a great idea for his kids to sell tomatoes on the side of the road.  Remind you- I was 15 and somewhat surly.  There was no way I was going to be selling tomatoes to all my friends unless we were starving.

My father was undeterred and proceeded to plant 36 tomato plants. From what I read 1 tomato plant can produce as many as 25 tomatoes so we had nearly 1000 tomatoes at the end of the summer! And of course, we never did the tomato stand, but we did learn how to can tomatoes from Sister Saunders at the ward, and my sister Megan sat Anna in the red wagon loaded with tomatoes and went door-to-door giving them to our neighbors.

I wasn’t going to share that story but I think it displays well how intimately my father has always been involved in our family.  This is not the aloof businessman that some of my friends had.  I can’t think of a single time in my life when my mother said ‘wait till your father comes home’ because he already was home.  And despite being insanely busy we never felt like my father was busy.  In fact, if you had asked us at the time we would have said he did very little (shows how much kids know!)

He has always had the ability to merge life and work and friends and anything else in his life pretty seamlessly.  Just today he was writing an email, helping someone at the house and hear about my upcoming date on the phone.

That has been a great example to me as I have chosen to work from home for my career.  I guess that was very natural given the example of my Dad.  I would never have thought it but 3 years in corporate America was enough to convince me the dreams of my youth were really nightmares.  I think of working in a cubicle and having some horrible boss and I feel ill. I wonder if my Dad felt that way too?

He has an office now but it is very close to my folks home and it is next door to the kids school (now they are all in high school or beyond).

My Dad used to take us on business trips (Boston, New York, even Europe) and we had great experiences on a small budget.  I went to see The King and I with my Dad and went to the Statue of Liberty and Plymouth Rock.  I also took my first and only trip to Germany, Czech Republic and a little bit of France when I was 14.

But the work trip I remember most was in Maryland.  I had helped him at a school in Montgomery County (next county over) and he asked me if I wanted to drive home.  Being a kid with unmatched confidence I said sure.  I am not a great driver even now and then-yikes! The belt loop is a massive freeway in DC with about 6 lanes (I’m guessing!).  I was terrified and I remember weaving in and out of traffic and at one point my Dad said ‘keep your hands on the wheel…’.  It was pretty funny.

Another story I wasn’t planning on telling.  Basically my Dad has a way of working without making his children feel like he is burdened or worried.  I have worked with him since 2005 on an almost daily basis and have rarely seen him come unglued or ‘stress out’.  I’ve done plenty of it but he is just a strong guy and a true multi-tasker.

I guess I’ve been thinking about my Dad these last few weeks as I’ve had a career change.  I remember all the one’s he had and looking through that glass door his eyes focused on the computer, and nearly always on a phone call with someone who inevitably became a friend, and we would see at dinner eventually.

My Dad is the type of person who went to Czech Republic and invited a total stranger to come live with us, and when that didn’t pan out said his cousin could come.  He’s just a great guy that believes in people and I think that makes him a great man of business even if every enterprise has not been ‘successful’ it was to him.

People ask me how I can work from home.  Don’t I get distracted?  Well, sometimes I can but I saw my Dad do it every day of my life and he had much more to distract him, but the distraction was and is his happiness. That’s his light and the work is just trappings for helping people.  So, yes I get distracted on occasion, but I know how to use that energy to get my work done and be my best self.

They say that those who telecommute actually get more work  done than their corporate counterparts and that is probably because we are always working.  You can be called or emailed at anytime, which can be a drag but again I have the example of my Dad to help me come close to balancing it all out.

I wasn’t even planning on talking about my Dad that much in this post but he is such a great example to me on how to work, and how to work from home.  He is an example to anyone on how to keep a balanced life.  He’s certainly had his tough periods but in general he is a happy, hopeful person.  When I get in my funks it is almost always because I become obsessed with one part of my life over another.

Luckily I have my Dad to tap me on the shoulder and help me figure it all out.  I really do love him and my Mom.

What lessons about work have you learned from your parents or mentors?  How has that helped you in your career?  Or perhaps you learned what not to do?

mom and dad

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Getting the Job

I’ve sat down to write this blog several times but each time abandoned the attempt because the words I created felt unsatisfactory.

As you all know 3 weeks ago I started my dream job.  After nearly 10 years of accounting I am now in marketing, which may seem like a nominal change but to me it is huge.  It’s creative, interactive and something I am actually pretty confident in (I was competent in accounting but was always a little out of my league).

A few weeks ago I asked my facebook group (which if you aren’t a member of please like my page.  It would really help me out https://www.facebook.com/smilingldsgirlreviews) what they would like me to blog about.  One of my favorite followers asked me if I had any advice on how she could get her dream job and what I did in my interview/resume process that helped.

This seems like it should be a pretty easy question to answer.  After all, it just happened so why not just say what happened.  Here’s the rub about that, was it just luck and timing and if so how can I give advice on that?

Well, here’s my attempt at requested advice:

1. Timing and Paying Dues-

dues

Perhaps this is a cop out to have as advice but in setting any worthy goal we must also be aware of God’s timing.  Think about relationships.  I can do everything right to meet someone and if it is not God’s time for me to have that experience it won’t happen.

The same holds true for your dream job.  You can have the perfect interview and resume and if it is not the right timing it won’t work out.  I know because I tried to get into marketing in 2008 and got nowhere.  I ended up back in accounting until the time was right.

I also believe that in life rarely is anything handed to you on a silver platter.  When we want something good typically God requires something of us in return.  I call that paying dues.

For example, on my mission I went through a period of about 3 months that were hell.  A companion who hated me and made my life miserable, new area, no contacts, extreme loneliness.  It was intensely awful.  One of the hardest experiences of my life.

However, I pushed through and after that time period I had the best companionships of my mission and helped 7 amazing people get baptized.  I don’t think God would have blessed me with those experiences if I had not paid the dues in the tough months.

It’s the same in the work world or in our families.  Some blessings come with a cost we must pay, with dues that must be met.  So, if things don’t go your way put your head down and keep trying and working as hard as you can where you are and when it’s right it will happen. Took me nearly 10 years!

2. Take Risks-

strip.print

I am not a high risk person.  Just ask my investment broker, I get very nervous with the unknown (hence my anxiety issues…) and want to keep my money as safe as possible.

That said- any good thing in life will require some risk.  If you decide to have kids, risk.  If you decide to buy a home, risk.  If you decide to change your job, risk.  There was and is a lot of risk with this new job for me.  There was risk in spending money on boxes and my channel.  There was risk in devoting time and effort into making them as good as they could be. There was risk in putting myself out there for the world to see, being vulnerable and authentic.

Here’s the key to taking those risks- they were all risks I could stomach even if I hadn’t gotten the job.  The fact I did makes the pay day extra sweet but any risk I’ve taken has been a great blessing in my life.  I’ve been so grateful for this blog for 6 years , long before I thought it might lead to a new career.  So, take risks, manageable risks, but take them!

It was also a risk to take the job.  I was making a little more in my old job and it meant juggling 2 jobs instead of 1 and giving up my health insurance.  It has all worked out but it was a risk- one I was glad to take. They could have told me it was an unpaid internship for the first 6 months and I would have taken it.  I was looking for that door in and I took it!

Some people might have found it difficult going from a job where I was pretty important to a part time, contractor position, starting from scratch in new company.  In truth, it can be kind of overwhelming but also exciting.  I feel young with a new enthusiasm I haven’t felt for years. I am happy to be at the bottom clawing my way up but for some that would be risky prospect.

3. Resumes and Content Creation

index

Even for someone as open as myself, the self-promotion aspect of a job interview can be daunting.  How do you make yourself unique and different but not too unique and different that it is off-putting.

I find if I can change it from self-promotion to simply ‘talking about my life’ it feels more natural and easy going.  Even though I stayed in accounting for nearly 10 years I worked for different companies during that time (6 if you include my Dad’s rentals). So, I found myself looking at my resume every 6 months or so, sometimes more.  Keeping it up to date and had correct reference phone numbers and that the information was still relevant.

I also started an online resume at http://about.me/smilingldsgirl which is free and looks very snazzy.  Make sure on your resume you have listed your skills for the job you currently have and the job you want to have.  And if you need those skills get them.  Take courses, learn on your own time and then add that knowledge to your resume.

This job opportunity came out of nowhere so it was very helpful I had my resume ready to go.  I had also given some thought into what content I was the most proud of.  Even with open book living I have never produced content I was ashamed of.  Every last post I stand behind and that includes twitter and youtube and everything else.

When given the chance I knew what posts were my best and emailed them to my future boss.  I had one post I loved for it’s writing, another for the comments and discussion it encouraged, another for the hard worker it described.  Have such content ready to go.  Create a spreadsheet where you keep track of such things because after nearly 900 blog posts the good one’s can be tough to remember.

It is so easy nowdays to do so much on your own and I’d say why not?  If you always wanted to get into movies than start a movie blog.  It doesn’t have to be intense just every week or so write a post about movies you like.  Keep it fun and control the tone of your comments section and content and do not do it to make money.  Do it to become the person you want to be and the world may or may not pay you for that conversion but does that really matter? If you are who you want to be and having fun that is reward enough.

President Uchtdorf, an apostle for my church, gave a fabulous talk about the miracle of creation and how when we create things it is good for the soul.  I believe that.  I have felt that with every post I have done, even the silly one’s.  I have created something out of nothing and that is empowering. So create!

4. Network

7.-Networking

There may have been an era where people opened the classifieds and contacted companies now hiring and got a job but that is few and far between.  Even with the advent of internet job search engines like Monster, very few people get jobs based on ‘published ads’.

I found this NPR piece on networking to be helpful http://www.npr.org/2011/02/08/133474431/a-successful-job-search-its-all-about-networking

“At least 70 percent, if not 80 percent, of jobs are not published,” he says. “And yet most people — they are spending 70 or 80 percent of their time surfing the net versus getting out there, talking to employers, taking some chances [and] realizing that the vast majority of hiring is friends and acquaintances hiring other trusted friends and acquaintances.”

I think that is really true.  Almost everyone I know has their job through networking not web searches or now hiring signs.  And most of the people I know who get published jobs are not in the greatest jobs.  It is perhaps easier to get a job at McDonalds without networking than say Goldman Sachs.

So how do you network?  After all , you don’t want your friends to feel like you are using them for their connections.  It needn’t be so obvious.  Just talk with people about what you would like to do.  My Dad was well aware of both my skills and work desires and a lot of people were because I talked about it on my blog, social media and in everyday conversation.

Once you are actively searching for a job just ask friends to keep their ears open for opportunities  that might be a good fit.  My Dad wasn’t planning on finding me an interview but was speaking with the head of the marketing department about needs and mentioned I could meet those needs.  That’s the kind of networking that can even create a job out of a need, a job that may not even exist but you could fulfill.

It doesn’t even have to be a good friend.  Let people at your church, civic group, book club, or kids playgroup know.  They may know people, who know people, who need you.

5. The Interviewjobinterview

Let me start out this section by being very clear- I am not great at job interviews.  My strabismus in my eyes can be a big part of the problem.  If you have trouble with eye contact like I do that can make job interviews tough.  I have also found some occasions where I felt my weight was a factor in not getting a job.  They would never say it was but you can just tell when someone is judging you for appearance not abilities.  This sucks but it is a reality.

I suppose if there is a way to improve that appearance than why not? You are presenting yourself in comparison to other people who probably have the same skill level as you do so an employer may be reduced to superficial gut feelings that may boil down to appearance.  So, I’d say cover your tattoos, wear a nice suit, smile, treat the interview like a real person and talk as naturally as your nerves will allow.

In the case of this job I had a phone interview which was a great blessing as it took the personal elements out of the picture.  I had sent him my resume and content links and he had spent considerable time reviewing them before the interview.  I was ready to answer any questions he might have about what I had sent him.

I had also taken the job description and looked up any jargon words unique to the new job.  I then prepared a ‘cheat sheet’ with those definitions and made sure I had something to say about said topics when asked.  This proved to be the key reason I got the job.  I had good concrete suggestions for our amazon and walmart listings- suggestions that I believe surprised the interviewer.  You could also include on your cheat sheet information about the company, it’s history, leadership etc.

I also made it clear what the upsides were to picking me.  That I work hard 24/7, have minimal obligations to distract me, could take little pay, didn’t need insurance, my working relationship with my Dad,  and I’m a quick study when it comes to computer programs etc.

You may also have a chance to minimize the risks of selecting you.  I told him my telecommuting would be an advantage not a downside because I was used to working all the time and creating content from home.  I also made it clear I had much to learn but was confident I could do it.

Mostly I would say try to be a natural but professional version of yourself, and if it’s the right timing it will work out.

6. Be Patient

patience

This is totally pot calling kettle black because I am completely impatient.  I hate waiting but in this case I had to be patient.  When my Dad initially told me about the position he said to wait for the job description before sending my resume (incidentally gave me some time to make it great).

I waited and waited for weeks and then the job description got posted.  I was nervous because in some ways I was a great, perfect fit, and in others I was not.  Again, I was prepared to overcome these issues and promote the benefits of me but I had to wait.  Then finally I heard we were going to do the interview but it was delayed and delayed again.  This whole time I couldn’t really talk about it with my online community because it was a digital media job so I wanted to lay low plus I didn’t want to ostracize myself from my job at Poler.

The interview came.  I was prepared, notes in hand, we spoke for 1.5 hours and I thought things had gone well but you never know who else is interviewing.  Than he asked me to do some ‘homework’ and I was patient and took the time I needed to make it good work.  I felt particularly strong about my input concerning youtube…

But I didn’t hear anything and week 1 passed, than week 2 I was busy with my writing conference.  No news was making me crazy and I couldn’t really talk about it much and there was nothing I could do but wait.  I assumed at that point I didn’t get the job but I figured he would tell me if that was the case.  So I waited and finally at the end of week 4 I got the job.  He asked me if I needed to wait the weekend and think it through.  “Nope” I said “I’m in!”  I had already done all the thinking I needed! 🙂

And I wasn’t shy about expressing my eagerness and excitement.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with such enthusiasm.  If I was doing the hiring I’d want someone that was passionate about working for me.

7. You are More than Your Job

balanced life

My last piece of advice is the greatest thing I learned from nearly 10 years of contently working in accounting.  I felt like a sell-out.  I felt like I had compromised my dreams to the cruel reality of what people would pay for me to do….

But that was a good thing in a way.  It taught me that I am not my job.  As a single woman I have always felt my career mattered more than my married counterparts (men and women).  Aside from hobbies it seems the main contribution of a single American is their work.  In fact, I was envious of my teacher and nurse friends because their contributions seemed more valuable than my career of spreadsheets and data entry and perhaps they are.

However, even  my teacher friends would not want to be solely defined by their job. Our work is our work but it is not who we are.  All of us have relationships, friendships, hobbies, family, church, clubs etc that define us just as much if not more so than our jobs.

My job in accounting may not have been my dream job but I was always grateful for it.  I learned so much from doing something a little outside my comfort zone.  It forced me to master skills I would never have learned otherwise.  It gave me great relationships and life altering moments that I will never forget.  So, if all you can get is a job at McDonalds then learn all you can from that job.  And always have an attitude of ‘why does God need me here now?’

Be as interesting and dynamic a person as you can be.  Try new things, have fun and maybe an opportunity will come out of the blue like it did for me.  If it does I hope my little post will be of some help to you.  My blogging may be small potatoes in the blog world but it is my greatest job and it has meant so much to me.  I am a better person because of all of you and the words we’ve shared.

Good luck! And if you would like further advice comment below or email me at smilingldsgirl@yahoo.com.

One last little joke
One last little joke. It’s all about the balance in life.