Out For Consumption

Every once in a while, generally when I feel as if I’m approaching a moment of writers block, I’ll reach out to my closest friends and put out a blanket request for material of any and all kinds. Being readers of this blog they tend to know exactly why I’m asking and reply back with either things they are interested in reading my viewpoint on or personal experiences they are facing that they think I can relate to. It tends to get the creative juices flowing again which then leads me to fulfilling their requests as well as mixing in a few topics of my own that pop into my head along the way. However, that’s not why I originally started this blog.

When I began this journey, back in January of 2011, it was purely for myself. Not for any readers who might stumble upon it or make it a weekly part of their morning ritual to read. I started this blog as a release for myself. It wasn’t more than a month prior to that very first post that I closed the final chapter on a very large book of my history. It was a time in my life when I learned who was really a true friend and who were those that stayed in my life only as a convenience. I was in a job that I loved, but was burnt out by the workload and emotional burden of those surrounding me in it. It was around the same time that I was learning just what I was facing with my health and was terrified that I might have to give up my biggest passion in life.

Unable to go to the one place I will always truly feel at home to dance my feelings, frustrations and confusion out I quickly realized I needed a new release. That moment of floundering and grasping for some form of therapy to calm me inside turned into me pouring my heart, thoughts, viewpoints and tips out for consumption by all those who decide to stop on by and make this blog a part of their day. Many of you have read through my ups and downs, been there through not one but two job changes and joined me along the journey as I took control of my health. It’s hard to believe that this all began about three and a half years ago. It’s even crazier to me to see how many people from across the globe stop and read a line or two.

I’ve definitely enjoyed each any every moment of ranting about topics such as management to fashion, divorce to marriage, dancing to running and everything in between. Now is the time I turn to you all. As I continue to push forward and into year number four of this blog I would love to know what you want to hear about. Are you facing a situation at work you’d like to hear an outsider’s outlook on? Is there a fashion trend you’re dying to hear me break down? What is it you want to see here for your reading pleasure? I’m always happy to take submissions and put my spin on them. Thanks for continually coming back, finding my own form of therapy amusing to you in some way and joining me on this adventure while I continue to make this a classy, but sassy guide to management and life!

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Nothing is better than the peace of Project 7 Yoga being a part of my day.

The Siblings I Never Had

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Everyone needs a helping hand some times.

There are certain people that you meet in life and know instantly that they will remain in your life for a very long time. You get each others references and laugh at each others jokes almost instantly upon meeting. It becomes hard to picture a moment going by without having them to share it all with. Then, when the biggest things in your life happen, you’ll quickly learn which of those people are true friends that will remain with you forever.

Marilyn Monroe was once quoted as saying,

“I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good thinks fall apart so better things can fall together.”

Those people who change for the better, are there when things go wrong, pick you up when the lies of others fall apart and are there to cheer you on when better things come together are the type of friends that become like family to you. You’ll fight like siblings, tease them about whomever they date whether you like them or not and give them a hard time when they invent words to describe situations. However, at the end of the day, those are true friends.

Looking back in life I realize I’ve had a long list of aquaintances or co-workers I was friendly with while we worked together, but a very short list of those that I can call true friends. The people that if I called in the middle of the night would drop everything to rush to my side if that’s what I needed are true friends. Likewise, they are the people that I would do the exact same for in a heartbeat.

I’ve known two of them for about a decade and met them in connection to someone else who ended up being the worse friend we could all share. The best thing we all ever gained from that guy was each other. He might have turned out to be the most shady person we know, but we’re all better for having each other in our lives. We met when we were all in college and whether we’ve lived in the same house, across town from each other or in different states we’ve remained friends through thick and thin.

I’ve always considered myself as an only child; that’s almost accurate. I have a step-brother, but he chose to be estranged from our lives so we never shared a house and have had very little interaction over the years. Therefore, my closest of friends are my extended family. The Maid of Honor for my wedding last year is better than any sister I could have hoped to have. I’m incredibly honored to be her Maid of Honor for her wedding next year. I can’t imagine not having her in my life and have missed her very much this year as her wedding planning has kept her busy within her own life.

Utter excitement isn’t enough to describe how happy I am to have my other friend finally back in the same state as me. He lived out a dream we both had by moving to a city we love and spending a good chunk of the years we’ve known each other there. I couldn’t be more proud of him for going out on a limb and making the dream come true, but I’m so very excited to know that he’s now only a very short car ride away so we can catch up over dinner in person instead of over Skype. Friends like these cannot be replaced and definitely leave a void in your life when they are missing from it. I’m looking forward and hoping that 2015 is the year that we all finally get to grow closer again as we continue to evolve through this crazy adventure called life.

Ready For Battle

When I was taught how to drive my step-dad made sure I knew how to be a defensive driver as much as a law abiding driver. He put me through the ringer during my driving lessons with him, but it made me stronger as well as proud of the extra gray hairs I caused him to grow in those days. I’ll never forget him teaching me to drive a stick shift when I barely had a grasp on driving an automatic. He threw me into the situation knowing full immersion early on would be the only way I would conquer it. He told my mother, “no daughter of mine will ever find herself stuck somewhere because some boy can’t drive her home and she doesn’t know how to drive his car.” It was one of many valuable lessons he taught me.

Today many of the gals, and even some of the guys, that surround me can’t drive a manual transmission vehicle. I on the other hand could do it backwards and blindfolded (one of which was definitely a part of my driver training boot camp he put me through, but I’ll let you decide which of the two it was) if I had to as I’ve been doing it since the age of fifteen. That knowledge has come in valuable more than a few times and he was right because I’ve never gotten stuck somewhere because I couldn’t drive another car if I needed to. The knowledge of how to be a responsible, defensive driver has come in handy as well.

Living in and commuting through a tourist destination almost every day has it’s own challenges. While living on the coast I had to watch out for retirees that couldn’t see over their steering wheel. Now I have to be aware of minivans full of distracting family members who are stealing the attention of the driver. On a daily basis you’ll see a packed car, minivan or SUV cut across four lanes of highway traffic to ensure they don’t miss their exit for a theme park. You’ll also find them slowing down to a crawl under each and every sign they see to make sure they know where they are going. I’d like to say it is better on the side roads, but it’s even worse with people jockeying around in traffic unsure of what lane they should be in.

Driving in Central Florida around the tourist destinations can be an all contact sport if you’re not prepared to drive defensively. For about a six month period of time my doctor had prescribed something he felt could reduce the pain caused by my Fibromyalgia. Decrease the pain it did, but it also increased my paranoia about others on the road. It got to the point that I couldn’t be a passenger in anyone else’s car. I had to be driving and in control of the situation at all times. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust my loved ones and their driving abilities, but more that I didn’t trust those around us.

Unfortunately, over the years I’ve been in multiple accidents where they passenger side was hit and I was the one sitting in that spot. It took me a while to get past the point of being a side seat driver after that, but the medication they gave me made me the worst passenger in the world. It didn’t take long, especially when combined with all the other mind altering side affects, for me to decide that I rather face the pain then feel like I was losing my mind. I can’t afford to be a paranoid passenger in a tourism destination where erratic driving is a part of every day commutes.

I don’t know if I’m ready to take on the cabs in New York City or a highway in Europe just yet, but I will say I appreciate everything my step-dad did to prepare me for being a defensive driver. His lessons are put to use each an every day as I make my way to or from work, as well as just around town running errands where Central Florida roads can look like something out of a game of Grand Theft Auto at times. Thank you for showing me that the most responsible driver is the one that is aware of not only herself, but everyone around her. It has kept me safe and sound for fifteen years and hopefully many more to come.

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If you look closely you’ll see his reflection in the glass as he took the photo after I got my license.

Shift In Thinking

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The mysteries of Human Resource offices every where never cease to amaze me. Armed with their resume scanning software, preliminary phone interviews and multiple rounds of in-person interviews they predict who the best applicant is for specific jobs. Often these are jobs they’ve never worked themselves, or in my opinion even fully understand when it comes to jobs in entertainment, but they have been given a list of desired skills needed to fulfill the position and that’s enough for them. Is it really enough?

Time after time I have been turned away, watched friends and family turned away for jobs we might be over qualified for but desperately needed when facing unemployment or dissattifaction in the job we held at the time. Despite being perfectly qualified we were each sent packing due to an HR representative believing that our over qualification should be a reason to rule us out. Asking those in HR why this is a common practice frequently earns us the same answer.

It’s thought that those who are over qualified for a job won’t be happy once they actually receive it and therefore in the end they will leave after very little time of service to the company forcing the hiring process to begin all over again. Being someone who cut her pay by two thirds and took a title demotion to take her current job, I say this isn’t always the case. I have now worked longer in my current role, despite a significantly smaller paycheck and title change, then I did in my last one that provided me with a hearty paycheck and a glorified title because I love what I’m doing more now than I did previously. I felt like I sold my soul for a paycheck in my last job and now I go to work each day loving what I do.

I know several others out there going through very similar experiences, so that raises an interesting question. When economic times changed, why didn’t hiring practices change as well? With so many talented people in the work force being laid off in the last five or so years as companies are forced to downsize, why do they they have to lie and remove things from their resume to be considered for new jobs they would normally be seen as over qualified for?

The last time I had a conversation with someone about altering resumes, a very astute gentleman pointed out to me that in the world of academia the more qualifications listed on your resume the more prestigious you are. It’s funny how academia celebrates your accomplishments and the workforce can see them as a hazard to hiring you. Seems that it’s time the workforce considers making a shift in thinking to match the ever changing economic times or continue losing applicants that are truly an asset to any company.

What We Need To Be

In 2009, after one short year of marriage to the person I always believed to be my best friend, I learned a very important lesson and one that is best summarized by Max DePree:

“In the end, it is important to remember that we cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.”

The day that I opened my eyes I realized it was time to become what I needed to be.  I needed to grow a back bone, a voice and the ability to make choices based on what was best for me.  You would think that as someone who enjoys taking charge of situations at work that this would all come easily to me.  It most definitely didn’t at first but, once I set my mind to it, I quickly became the gal that I needed to be.

I’m convinced that each of us makes this shift several times in our lives as we navigate our path through life.  We don’t necessarily always realize that is what is happening, but nonetheless it happens and we move forward.  Have you ever stopped to ponder if you are what, or who, you need to be?  If you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself down a rabbit hole quickly with a hurricane of thoughts swirling around your brain.  If you want to kick it up to a full scale typhoon then start questioning if you’re where you need to be.  You might want to call and warn the national weather service first though because you’ll be in for quite a doozy.

Trying to guess if you’ve made all the right decisions in life and lead yourself down the right paths to get to where you are is enough to make you second guess everything that surrounds you and drive you insane simultaneously.  With an onslaught of issues surrounding those I love, I’ve found myself doing way more thinking than is safe.  The upside is that I can easily tell all of those closest to me that they’ve been in my thoughts recently.  The downside is that I’m not any closer to anything I’ve asked myself than I was when I started.

It’s times like these that have me wishing I had a “real” full time job and not a temporary one so that I could once again invest my need to mull over details into obtaining a second graduate degree.  I’ve really been wishing I could go back to school for a doctoral degree in the last several years, but I only managed to get through my first graduate degree through tuition reimbursement programs.  Up until this point I’ve refused to take out a student loan and the unstable nature of my current job makes the think that I shouldn’t budge on that thought.  In the meanwhile, I’ll continue searching for just the right program for me so that once I know where the money is coming from there won’t be any hesitation as to what I’m going to tackle.

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I digress, so let’s circle back to my original point before I end up ranting about my cydistic need to continually keep educating myself.  How do you ever figure out what you need to be?  Do you subscribe to the theory that our fate is predetermined for us or that we write our own story as we go?  Either way, one thing is for sure, most decisions we make in life would be so much easier if we knew what our end result was meant to be.  However, since we don’t there is only one thing we can do.  Use your best judgement to make decisions, stick to your guns and never forget that in order to make those around you happy it means you need to ensure that you’re happy first.