Monthly Archives: September 2013

oh journal, sorry I’ve been away so long

Well, I’ve been slowly moving toward updating my resume. Gah. It’s so taxing – really, it is. I don’t know why I neglected to take the advice I read about a year ago: update your resume while you are still employed after you complete an important task or impressive goal.

Okay, self. Moving forward, you know what to do.

A friend of mine told me that I have an interesting life. I think I’m starting to believe her. There was so much on my mind to write and now that I’ve committed to typing it’s like I have nothing to say.

I think I’m stressed, mostly about work. Also about my interpersonal life. The situation with “the boy” is no longer. I’m not sure why I keep fighting to try to make him a part of my life when consistently he doesn’t do anything to deserve that. I think I just want things to go back to how they were in the beginning. Perhaps before I knew him better and how he was. I hoped for speeding past the “honeymoon phase” – which we did. Crash and burn.

I have a date on Thursday. I’m excited about it. He is a police officer – a career switcher. At one point, he was in the classroom like me ūüôā

I had an interesting conversation with my roommate tonight about education and schools. She was feeling disillusioned. It was not fun to see her so down – she’s always said she loved teaching but has had some challenges with students this year that make it hard to enjoy. In talking with her, I realized how much I want to become involved with parents and community. I have HOPE!

I googled “parent ombudsman” and found myself on thenotebook.org. And then I started reading this .¬†

It’s really quite amazing when you see how it plays out. But not amazing in a good way.

Tomorrow is an early day – I need to be at a job site at 7:30am. Ick!

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The Seven Stories

1. The time when I drafted the social media plan

As part of my role in my company, I manage our social media platforms. After a year of kind of getting my feet wet and testing things out, I  wanted to be more strategic about the approach that I took. I wondered if what I was doing had made a difference with regard to our social media presence and what general best practices were. My goal was to prepare a strategic plan for moving forward. I spent time assessing our current strategies and metrics for engagement. I defined goals for each platform that were aligned to our greater organizational goals. I outlined the ins and outs of managing the social media Рi.e. how many times to update each platform, the purpose of using each platform, a measure of success. I conducted extensive research in the areas of social media, consulting at least 50 articles spanning 6 months of learning. I prepared the document and presented the findings at our Spring company retreat.

2. The time when I reviewed our company’s data systems

Perhaps something that I am most proud of is the thorough report that I produced regarding our data systems. I took lead on our quality assurance data, i.e. surveying customers 3x per year, and dramatically improved the return rate on the surveys. I also reformatted the questions to improve validity. I created a system for documenting following up with customers who submitted the survey as well as a way to track whether or not they responded to the follow up. I conducted extensive research on surveying customers and applied these best practices to our survey. I reflected after each survey to determine what went well and what could be tested to improve our results. At the close of the first year, I took a 40,000 foot view of not only our survey data but all the ways in which we collect data. I crafted reasons why we collect data as well as what greater organizational goal it may satisfy. I outlined the benefits and problems of our current system and then made general recommendations to improve on next year. I presented the report during our Summer company retreat.

3. The time I climbed a mountain

One of my most favorite memories is when my sister and I climbed a mountain. We didn’t exactly¬† know what we were getting ourselves into, but I was tired of looking at pictures and thinking “thats so pretty.” One day, I just had to see it with my own eyes. I spent the summer walking every day after work, trying to jog a little bit. I told myself that I was training for the hike because many people said it was an easy one. Boy were they wrong. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done physically – I wanted to stop multiple times. Along the way, though, fellow travelers kept encouraging us saying “you’re almost there.” We weren’t, but that’s not good etiquette. The top of the mountain was so beautiful; it was worth all of the stress. Amazingly I forgot our sandwiches in the car and my sister didn’t begrudge me. We enjoyed the view, took lots of pics. It is one of our favorite memories to this day.

4. The time I painted a picture

After I left the classroom, I found myself with more time on my hands. I was curious about painting and developed an interest in it. I went to the store, got some paper and paints and figured “why not?” I have been long in love with the moon. I felt drawn to create a painting that showed a moon at midnight being reflected in water. I worked on the painting over the course of about a week and finished it on my 27th birthday. I was very pleased with it and came to an interesting conclusion “art takes time. move slow.” I realized that in art class I always rushed. I didn’t seem to understand nor do I think I was adequately taught that you can spend 100 hours on 1 drawing. That’s how you get good.

5. The time I paid off my credit card debt

I literally recalled this moment and thought “ooooo yeah,” that was amazing. I had racked up about 6,000 worth of debt on my credit card balling out of control during college and otherwise. When I was accepted into Teach for America, I realized that I’d be back in school and back in ‘deferment’ on my loans. I understood I had the opportunity to focus on paying down my debt by spending whatever money I’d apply to student loans on my CC debt. My goal was to have it paid off by the time I completed TFA and was thus out of deferment. It was an amazing day – I think it happened in February, 3 months ahead of schedule – I officially paid it off! That is still one of the best feelings ever.

6.  The time I Taught Composition at the charter school

One of my favorite memories from teaching¬† was my time with the 7th graders at the charter school. I loved the classroom jobs I created. I took it to a huge level. I loved creating the jobs, thinking of titles for them, designing the poster, selecting people for the jobs. I took them very seriously and so did the students. In general I loved all of the planning of systems and procedures. I liked thinking out exactly what I wanted things to look and sound like. I enjoyed planning vocabulary lessons and locating pictures that would help the students learn words. I enjoyed decorating my classroom, trying to come up with interesting themes that were age appropriate. I creating unique lingo¬† to teach them certain skills or to celebrate them. I liked creating the students’ awards.

7. The time I installed moveable-type on my website

Back in high school, I developed a website. I had many dot coms, so I can’t recall which one I enjoyed the most. I do remember being overjoyed when I installed moveable type (MT). MT was what all the cool kids were using, it was super customizable and allowed you to retain all of the control of your blog. I struggled so much with uploading that onto my site. It was incredible – I was overjoyed when it finally happened. I spent hours troubleshooting lines of code, reading help guides, etc. That’s how I created my website. I wasn’t a pretty coder, I just did what had to be done and when it looked right the feeling was unforgettable.

 

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I got hit by a car on my bike

And I’m still processing it. It was definitely scary, but I walked away unscathed. Remarkably, I didn’t fall off the bike and my bike is fine. But, I’m spooked enough to spend more time on the sidewalk, especially during high traffic hours like 8-10am; 3-7pm. I don’t care if I’m “not supposed” to ride my bike on the sidewalk.

So, I’ve not been doing what I need to do yet in terms of the job search. I guess it took me a week to fully accept the fact that I need to begin looking –for real. I busted out my “What Color is Your Parachute” book once again. I feel compelled to start with the “figure out what you want in life” chapters. The first of such activities to figure this out is something called “7 stories,” wherein you write about 7 times that you enjoyed yourself and accomplished something. Then you look for trends. Somehow I feel like my kids and think “this is a lot of work.” When, yes, it is a lot of work – but it is work that needs to be done.

I’m off to do that for about an hour before my conference call. And then I’m headed to a school for some on-site support for teachers.

 

 

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just a date

So, I was leafing through my phone and came across an old number. It was from a guy that I met a while ago on OkC. However, I was going through some things at the time and never made a point to meet him. I was curious to see how things might be different, so I texted him. To my surprise, he responded back. We had a nice phone conversation and we agreed to meet. I sent him a list of things that I don’t do on dates. Ahaha, yes that is me. Making things challenging, of course.

He passed the first test with flying colors. He planned a first date in the park where we could play frisbee or wiffle ball. It was fun.

I’m tired now. More soon.

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changes

They are coming. And they are coming quickly. I am staying calm and collected. I took a moment to freak out when my boss officially told me that my tenure at the company may be coming to an end. Pending how our sales efforts go the next couple of months, I might be moving on. Let’s just say I am not ready. I wasn’t ready for this change.¬† Not now anyways.

It’s excited – or – it should be exciting. Looking for a new job, thinking about my strengths. But instead it’s scary.

I’ve been quite emotional about this.¬† The day that I found out I had a complete and utter meltdown. I sort of knew it was coming, but I think I was able to live in lala land until it was concrete in front of me. We sat outside of the coffee shop and my boss explained the state of the company. I tried not to cry but it was impossible. She held my hand and comforted me as best as she could, reminding me that no matter what happens we would still talk and be able to be friends. That was very important to me.

After leaving our meeting, I had to head to the doctor for a follow up. I had an abnormal test result that he said could have been more serious and required further testing. Needless to say I was so worked up about the two of those issues that my blood pressure was high (134/90).¬† Thankfully the second test yielded “no results,” so I just have to wait 6 months for follow up.

A lot of things are piling down now. I got the bill for that ER visit. I owe like 1,600. That’s not a fun way to spend that money. I can’t say that I regret going….it’s just I regret…no I resent living in a place without free medical care.

I suppose that’s one of the benefits to this new job search – thinking about companies that offer medical benefits. Ah blah blah. That isn’t exciting. I shouldn’t pick a job based upon its benefits. I should pick a job because I’ll enjoy doing the work. As my friend Shelly says “40 hours per week is a lot of time.”

I am curious about StrengthsFinder. I wonder if how I am is different than how I was. But I also might be too cheap to invest the $20 in the test. I spend some time googling cracks and hacks for it but came up with nothing. If time is money, I already spent $20!

Today’s a day that feels like Friday. It’s not. I think my head needs time to breathe and my body needs my new bed….soon.

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things not to do when buying a mattress

To prepare for my mattress purchase, I’ve done a lot of research lately scouring yelp, ripoffreport, pissedcustomer, and any other customer feedback site you could imagine. I’m in the process of writing a how to get a good deal on a mattress post to share with all my friends, but in the mean time, I wanted to document a very important takeaway:

In other posts that I read, they recommended asking for sheets, pillows, etc. as a bargaining tool. I am so happy that the salesperson declined my request – the thought of paying $150 for sheets that were “free” is obnoxious!

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