Tag Archives: Work

Catching up with Five Random Tidbits

11 Nov

­­I’ve been really, seriously, embarrassingly behind on my blog. I thought that I had good reasons for not being able to post over the last couple of weeks, but then they just turned into really bad excuses because I have come to the realization that may actually be due to laziness rather than being crazy busy and tired all the time because I feel like I’m crazy busy.

Actually, I’m not really that crazy busy. Just crazy lazy.

My brain’s just been slightly overworked with the processing of a big slew of new information, people and things to get to know. I’m like a sponge soaking everything up. So by the end of each day, I’m at my capacity. My brain is fried and I am exhausted.

I’ve had a hard time keeping up with my life outside of work. As I settle into this slightly modified existence, I’ve been forced to acknowledge a hard fact: I don’t adapt as well as I’d like to change. My routine has been shaken and as a result, I get all jarred and disoriented. Keeping up with simple things like keeping my sink clear of dishes every night or even making sure we have a proper dinner to eat have gone to the wayside. And this blog? Forget about it. So, to remind myself and you, if you still care, that I am still alive and kicking, here are five things that have been going on in my life outside of work.

one | I had a gloriously unproductive week off between jobs. During that time, I went on an overnight trip to Buffalo, NY with The BF and his mom to do some cross-border shopping for a slight update on my work wardrobe. I also got to hang out with Steph S-CO and Ai and their little baby girls that week, do some more shopping and search for a real bow-tie (not the kind that comes pre-tied – I had very specific instructions).

two | I finally did it. After long months of fantasizing about tweeting, snapping and uploading pictures and emailing on the fly (all functions that were very noticeably lacking in my iPod Touch), I got myself an iPhone 4. Sadly, I’m now addicted. Always on the lookout for cool new apps, that freaking Hipstamatic app was the first one I downloaded. Seriously. I can’t get enough.

three | Halloween was almost two weeks ago, yes, but I wanted to share a picture of our costumes this year. Can you guess who we are?


Though we always celebrate this in a huge way for his birthday, this year we went to a costume party held annually by one of his friends.

And look at how crazy crafty we were with the leftover stuff from our costumes. Using just a pair of scissors, a pen and some scotch tape, we put the CPKs in costumes too.


four | We leave in less than a month for our jaunt in India. Our itinerary is packed and set. After landing in Delhi, we’ll be spending a few days there to acclimatize and see some of the essential sights, including the Taj Mahal in Agra. From there, we’ll be off to Pune to visit some of his family, then we’ll be flying off to Goa for 4 days. I’m pretty sure that this is going to be one of the best highlights of the trip. Take a look at where we’ll be staying!

Photos from yabyumresorts.com

I wanted to stay in a hut, he was pushing for a resort. I wanted the genuine beach experience of Goa. He’s had that genuine beach experience there, having stayed in a beach hut six years back, and he kept insisting that I would probably not be able to stomach the less than ideal conditions. In other words: shared, filthy bathrooms, holes in the ground for toilets, creepy crawly bugs and insects, dirty bedding. We were about thisclose to booking a resort hotel, but as a result of my awesomely resourceful research skills, I found the Yab Yum resort on Ashvem Beach. We’ll be staying in one of their domes, which is kind of a hut-style accommodation, but with the security and amenities of a resort. It’s got the best of both worlds.

From our tiny beach vacation, we’ll be off to Mumbai, where this wedding is taking place. It’s a three-day event, including the Mehendi celebration (bridal henna ceremony), the wedding ceremony and the reception. We’ll be ending our time in India in Mumbai, touring some sights and sounds, and of course, spending Christmas here. Bollywood style, I hope?

five | I’m going to have to do without a Christmas tree this year, since we will be away over the holidays. As much as I try to find a work-around, I know that a tree just wouldn’t survive. I had to water mine once a day last year. I loved my tree last year. It was tall and full, and filled the corner of the room by the fireplace perfectly. I hope that our annual Holiday party can do without a Holiday tree too.

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Saying Good Bye

23 Oct

Image from weheartit.com

It was an incredibly full week with an emotional end. I was busy for the last five days wrapping up projects, handing active projects over and training my temporary replacement. Each of my lunch hours was happily booked with farewell and celebratory dates with coworkers.

You spend what feel like endless days at work going through the motions to meet deadlines and do a good job. Some days you feel as if you are going to crumble with the stress and worry of your job. Some days you feel as if nothing is going right and you’re the one who’s responsible. Recognition and appreciation is rarely expressed for a job well done. You question your value and worth, and in turn, your happiness in your work and even worse, in your career.

Yesterday was my last day at my company, and while I knew it was going to be tough to say good bye, I had no idea that it was going to be a big emotional cry-fest for me and the people that I work with. I don’t need to say it here, but the majority of your time is spent with your work family. You live and work together, and you learn to love and appreciate everyone very much. Not only do they contribute to the work you do, but in a big way, they contribute to your life overall. They become more than just the people that you work with.

The whole company took me out for a nice lunch yesterday. There were bottles of wine and laughter shared over some really delicious food. My boss sat right across from me and toasted me, saying that in the more than 15 years that they’ve been in business, I was one of the best employees he’s ever had. This is when my crying started – how could it not, being paid one of the highest compliments I’d ever heard from him? We lingered for a long while over lunch and dessert, and I was just tickled that these people were there with me for my last lunch as a group with them.

At the end of the day I was called into the boardroom for one last meeting. The whole company was there and my boss asked that everyone around the room say something about me. Oi. Trying to hold my tears back would’ve caused me to combust, so I just let it all out – I was so deeply touched by everyone’s words because they all described how much of an impact I had on them in the few years that I was there. I had no idea. One young designer said that out of everyone, I was her favourite Project Manager and that she was really sad to see me go. And one of the Principals, who I have always known to be so controlled, composed and wisely thoughtful, actually cried as she said to me that she was so very proud of me as an employee and a person.

Most emotional meeting ever.

The best part of it all was the going-away “card” that they gave to me. Working with creatives, you can always expect something crafted just for you. It was a coil-bound Steph Brand Guideline book which is hilariously supposed to act as a standards guide for my new employer. It outlines such things as my colour palette (Primary, Secondary and Tertiary), typeface (Professional Steph vs. After 5 Steph), Dos & Don’ts (Do: Play old school music, give her wine; Don’t: Ask stupid questions, Piss her off after 5PM.), and the required “safety area” around Steph, which is the equivalent to two Stephs all around.

It was a wonderful end to my time there, to know without a doubt that I was valued and that my work was good there and most importantly, that the impression I had made was a deep one. I leave that job with some great friends, and with the confidence that I can rock my next job just as well.

Day Thirty | The End.

9 Oct

Today’s prompt for My 30 Days is :

a photograph of yourself today
+ three good things that have
happened
in the past 30 days

one | We booked our flight to India. We’re leaving in exactly 2 months from today. I just got my first set of shots yesterday at the travel clinic, which isn’t a very pleasant thing to do but still is entirely necessary.

two | I got a really terrific new job offer which I accepted. While I’m nervous about starting from scratch at a new company learning about their processes, getting to know brand new clients and making friends at work, I’m looking forward to facing fresh challenges.

three | I connected with new friends and got reacquainted with old friends because of My 30 Day Challenge, which I’m really happy about. I got to learn a bit about myself and more importantly, got to know more about all of you who are participating in this Challenge too.

I can’t believe that this is the end of the Challenge. It was seriously all kinds of fun. I’ll admit that I slipped a couple of times and sometimes didn’t post on consecutive days, but hey – I think I can say that my efforts weren’t too shabby at all.

Changes

6 Oct

Image from vi.sualize.us

I’ve been alluding to some changes in my life that I’ve been wanting to make in the last few months. One of the more major aspects of my life to which I’d been referring is work. While on the most part I’m happy with what I’m doing – like everyone else, there are good days and there are bad days – I’ve felt for a long time that I needed a change. For me, it’s an ongoing search for more balance between life and work. In the industry that I work, and the role that I fill, it’s nearly impossible for me to confine myself within that 9 to 5 window. I take work home with me, whether it’s physically or mentally – I am not able to just “switch off” when I leave my desk. My mind is constantly racing with all work-related problems to solve, and thinking of solutions to offer. I’m really good at what I do. I strive for excellence in my work, and I’m really hard on myself when I deliver something that I consider to be less than that.

In a more conventional setting, what I do would be split between two different people. There are two roles that occupy my single body at my work. And yes, while I am able to manage this and do my job(s) well, it is taxing as I’m required to switch gears so quickly many times in the course of a day. I find myself in a position where I am constantly reacting, when I would much rather be in a position where I could give more careful thought to what I am doing.

Not to say that this isn’t a privileged position, because it is – I’ve learned a great deal just by doing and being, and that’s taken me to a point in my career now where I can choose between two paths. I’m happy to say that I’ve made that choice, and my new journey down that more focused career path starts at the end of this month. It was a little heartbreaking to resign from my job – I actually cried while telling my boss about my decision this past Monday, that I’ve accepted an offer from another company for a truly terrific opportunity. I mean, who does that? Cries when handing over a resignation letter to her male boss? I’m such a weenie! So, it’s worth saying that my resignation doesn’t come from a place of complete unhappiness or dissatisfaction. I’ve been here for a few years, and have made some good friends out of colleagues and as much as I have become ingrained within the culture and community of my company, that culture and community is as equally a huge part of me too. Saying goodbye to all this will be a lot harder than I imagined.

The whole process unfolded rather quickly. I got a tiny nudge from a friend with whom I used to work to start thinking about my career and how it was affecting my lifestyle. A couple of days later, I sent my résumé out to two postings that I came across, interviewed at both companies, and received an offer of employment from one. This was all in the span of two weeks. I’d been contemplating an active search for a new job for a while, but was holding myself back because of timing – there’s that big overseas trip that I’m taking at the end of the year and I worried that any potential employer would see that as irresponsible and maybe question my commitment to them. I was also worried that the job search process was going to be a long and drawn out one, and that there were only a limited amount of lies I could create to explain why I had to be away from work for interviews. Plus, I had just gained another week’s vacation at my company, which I was completely psyched about, and will not even have had an opportunity to take advantage of because my tenure there ends in just two and a half weeks.

Though now I realize that the timing is actually quite perfect for this transition. I’d applied for this job on a bit of a whim, and that whim became a major decision I had to make that would impact my life in a really positive way.

Just Another Manic Work Week

21 Apr
Image from: weheartit.com

It’s been one of those crazy weeks. A hair-pulling, teeth-gnashing on the verge of screaming fits of tears week. Work has turned me into that frantic girl that I hate being. It’s been busy at work – really busy and stressful, and I really hate using that word “stress.” But everything seems to be spiraling because I can’t seem to catch up due to all the new demands that have been continuously developing and clustering, waiting for my attention. And yesterday, I couldn’t seem to quell my anxiety any bit and stop my hands from shaking. Every morning this week, I’ve woken up hoping that it will be the day that things ease up even a little bit so that I can at least feel like I’m competent at my job and get something done. Today, I was actually told by one of my colleagues that I need to stop apologizing to everyone. To not feel like I’m imposing on the team by managing my projects and communicating the demands of the clients to them and making them crank out the work. She reminded me that we’re all just doing our jobs, and that I don’t need to ever be sorry for doing mine. That made me feel a little bit better, knowing that not everyone at work hated me for being so unreasonable, demanding and bossy, because you know what? It’s not actually me who is being unreasonable, demanding and bossy. I’m just the messenger.

This too shall pass.

Every project comes with its own set of challenges and fires will inevitably break out that need to be doused. In a few months when we see the products of our work, we’ll forget about the moments, days and weeks we felt we would never see a good resolution or a proper end to things. These hair-pulling, teeth-gnashing on the verge of screaming fit moments will never be the most vivid memories of these weeks. We’ll come out of it not remembering things as bad as they actually were. And after a while, it actually becomes laughable, all the madness and chaos we endure.

That Time with the Accidental Chickpeas

2 Mar

It was a quiet weekend and I got the majority of it to myself. The BF was busy all weekend doing fun guy stuff like throwing a stag for his buddy and learning how to boardercross, and I had no plans and it was amazingly nice to just be by myself. So while I did my normal weekend routine stuff like the grocery shopping, cooking our food for some of our week’s meals, laundry, and cleaning, I also watched a good number of movies, um, online. While I was doing the stuff around the house, my laptop was on and playing When in Rome, Valentine’s Day, The Lovely Bones, Precious and The Blind Side. Does it go without saying that I also spent a good part of my weekend crying because of these movies? This is a pretty boring and pointless post, but I’ve got nothing else to say, because my week had fueled a temporary loathing towards people in general and also intensified my need to drink. I was not anybody’s friend and now I’m a little numbed by it. I suppose I can leave you with this. I consider myself a solutions-person. I’m not sure if it’s a product of the kind of work I do and that it has groomed me into some kind of a quick-thinking, fire-dousing, creative problem solving individual to make sure our jobs are done well and on time and that everyone is happy in the end, or if it’s something I had before and that’s what makes me good at my job. I just know that if someone tells me something can’t be done, or if it’s going to take too much time, or if there was a mistake made, I’m pretty good at quickly figuring something out that will get us to the end point without losing any time, or even making up some time without cheating and having to cut corners.

It’s time that I get to my point. I was making a batch of white chili this weekend, and accidentally opened a can of chickpeas instead of white kidney beans. I really hate wasting stuff, and though it was just a can of chickpeas, it was still a can of chickpeas that I had bought and I couldn’t throw it out. I kicked myself maybe twice, before I thought to just figure out a way to roast them and put them to good use. I would’ve made hummus, but I hadn’t bought enough veggies to dip in it. This is how I ended up doing it.

Rinsed and drained chickpeas.

Tossed chickpeas with some cayenne pepper, a splash of olive oil and a
little pinch of Herbamare (aromatic sea salt).

Spread on a baking sheet and baked in a preheated 450° oven for
about a half hour.

Watched the chickpeas for the last few minutes to make sure they
browned and didn’t burn. (I’d lost natural light by the time the
chickpeas were done and this picture taken).

They turned out to be pretty tasty, and a healthier snack for us to munch on during the Gold medal hockey match, just not as fun as chips. Maybe I am a bit too proud about what I did with a frickin’ can of chickpeas, but it was still a good, small victory to me.

I Always Knew I’d Grow Up to be a Fire Fighter

24 Feb

It’s been a pretty overwhelming week at work, and we’re only on Wednesday. After weeks of “light” occupation, it seems that everything is funneling and ending up on my plate all at once. Not that I am complaining, or anything, because I like being busy and feeling useful here at work. However, I hate being so busy that all I seem to be doing is spinning my wheels. Today was one of those days, when at noon I had realized that half the week was over and I had barely accomplished anything. Just a lot of back and forth on this semi-big website development project I am managing, and still no real tangible progress achieved. We are supposed to go live on Monday. Granted, we had been given all of 3.5 weeks from concept to deployment, so relatively speaking, we are in pretty decent shape. There are a million moving parts, and a big team to manage, not to mention having to manage the client and their expectations.

So while this whole project is needing my attention and pulling me in different directions between the developer, my designers and the clients, I’ve got other shit that needs to be done. I’ve got 6 other projects for which I need to prepare estimates and plan time lines, kind of all required at once for some reason. One of these clients is a pretty huge one, that I’ve got to keep happy, and requires a high level of maintenance. I mean, if she gives me three big estimates to draft on Friday at 4.30, which she did, she expects it all to be pulled together in a day or two. If I had little else to do, totally achievable. However, I’ve got other clients and projects that I am working on at the same time. This is the source of much of my anxiety, the need to keep her happy and satisfied knowing that I am working to keep her happy and satisfied. If I don’t meet these expectations or have the gall to push back on her at all, she calls my boss to tattle on me! And then I’ve got him and her both looking at me like I am inadequate.

I am sorry, but I am only one person and can only do so much at one time.

I like to make lists of things I need to do, and beside each item in those lists, I draw a little box in which I put a check mark once that task is finished. When that list is created on Monday morning, and if by Wednesday afternoon I see no check marks because I’ve been in a state of high alert all week just reacting and responding, my level of anxiety is sky-high and I can’t help but feeling like I am a bit of a failure. My job is characterised by series of milestones, and my feeling of accomplishment is tied to reaching these milestones. This week, I have not gotten any closer to these milestones. The minute I try to focus on getting something done, it seems that I am interrupted by someone looking to me for some sort of solution. OK fine, that’s is a huge part of my job and that’s what I’m supposed to do. I get it. But it’s for that reason that I say at times that my title should be changed to “Fire Fighter,” because I spent the majority of my day putting fires out. I do wish I handled stressful days like this a little better and didn’t become so frenzied and agitated as I had, because days like this happen pretty often for me. It’s pretty much part of my job description.

I became a bit of a monster today, keeping my head low and trying to minimize unnecessary contact with anyone I worked with. Anytime anyone would come to my desk or call me to ask me a question, I would demand that they get to their point or question quickly. If I needed something from someone, I would be equally as short. The different personalities in my company grated on my nerves. And the constant (some pointless) interruptions were aggravating beyond belief.

  • If you’re going to call me from your desk to ask me something, please don’t draw out your “Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii,” and spend the next 10 seconds um-ing and ah-ing and whatchamacallit-ing and clearing your throat. You’d better be ready to speak and tell me what you need from me when I pick up the phone.
  • If you come into my office and you see me frantically typing out an email, I would think that you would get that I am trying to get some form of important communication out. Why do you need to interrupt my process to show me something that you found in a book?
  • Do not look to me for an answer to an easy question that you can easily answer for yourself. It’s just downright lazy when you aren’t willing to find the answer for yourself.
  • It’s also downright lazy of you to not retain something that you’ve been shown how to do countless times. Don’t come to me again to ask how to do something that I showed you how to do yesterday, and the day before that.
  • If I am in a meeting, even if it seems informal at someone’s desk, don’t bust into the middle of the conversation to talk to me about something irrelevant to what I am dealing with. It can wait a few minutes.
  • If I am across the room from you, do not yell across to talk to me or get my attention. It is rude to do so, and we are in a professional environment. Get off your ass. and walk over if you need to address me.

Needless to say, I’m glad the day is over. At the end of it all, I did manage to prepare 2 estimates before wrapping for the day. I have 2 check marks on that list now and really hope to add more to that tomorrow. I remind myself again that I am only one person, and can only do so much. Above that, I also need to remind myself that I really am not more important than anyone else, and that we all are just trying to get our jobs done there. Though, please just stay out of my way when I’m trying to get something done and then we can talk. Maybe.

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