Becoming braver

Sometimes I am faced with a challenge, and I’m afraid of guessing a solution and making the problems worse.

To be safe, I seek help of people I assume will know better.

Then I realize those people are as helpless as I am, and give me only what I have already seen or else something completely unrelated.

That’s when I become braver to trust my own knowledge/instincts.

And that’s how today I solved a problem that was going on since Thursday…

Yay to braver me!

 

Giving thanks

A few months ago, I posted about Motivation, which was about a recent change in roles and managers at work.

Well… in spite of our great work together, and the amazing results I was able to get in the past couple of months under his leadership, I unfortunately did not survive yet another reorg at the team.

We got a new leader (my manager’s skip level) in September, who came as a hurricane to revamp the team, the processes, the tools….

 

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Image from pixabay.com

 

For the past 2 weeks, we’re having people announcing they are leaving every other day. At least!

Tuesday was my turn and below is the email I sent (names removed for privacy).

Today is the first day of November, and being Thanksgiving month, I’d like to list here a few things I’m grateful for.

I’m grateful for the past 10 years, 8 months and 19 days I’ve been part of the <company> family.
I’m grateful for all the amazing friends I had here throughout those years.
I’m grateful for M. H., for being such an awesome person and inspiring manager and for guiding me on the transition from IPE to PM role.
I’m grateful for B. and N. for their guidance during my localizer/engineering career at <company>.
I’m grateful for miss V. and her ability to make so many lives better at <company>, and also for HR for allowing her to better those lives at the campus.
I’m (very!!!) grateful for the nice paychecks and great benefits <company> had provided me on all those years.

That said, I would also like to take this opportunity to announce that next week, on November 9th, a long and fun chapter in the book of my life will come to an end, with it being my last day at <company>.
The next chapter is still to be written and at this point I have no idea what stories it’s going to tell. I decided to take some time to be the nanny for my own kids, and I’m pretty sure that will account for amazingly good stories, just like the ones on the chapters past.
I leave the company with a light heart and a peace of mind, and also the certainty that I’m taking with me a lot of good experiences and lessons from the past years that will stay with me forever.

Thank you to you all from the bottom of my heart!

On the day I sent the email I received soooo many nice and heart melting responses that I stayed up until past midnight trying to answer them all and crying like a baby on some of them.

Now, I’m getting busy in documenting my projects, transferring the ones for which we have already decided on an owner and having lunches and happy hours with different groups.

Then next Wednesday that will be it, and my life will change radically as I become full-time mom, for at least a few months until I find myself another job out of the home.

(and good news is that I’ll have plenty of time to go back into blogging! yay!)

Motivation

Nope, this is not one of those self-help kinda posts.

It may also be too early to talk about it, but I just wanted to share that I am finally happy and excited to come to work, after 10 years at the company.

Well… the first year was good.

Then, the job changed a bit and I started to dread it. Almost quit a few times, but the good paycheck spoke louder.

Then, at the end of last year, the job and the manager changed again.

I was initially excited about the job change, and about taking different projects; but my manager, although good in creating processes and making a difference on how things were being done, was not much of a people’s manager. So I spend 6 months reporting to him and feeling completely lost on the new role, not knowing what to do and not getting any help from him on that aspect.

Then he left and we got a new manager.

Oh My Gosh!!! I like this new guy!

I had only 2 meetings with him. After our very first meeting, he right away helped me find work (I was bored to death with nothing to do, amidst people who were drowning on work). We also talked about mentoring briefly on that first meeting, and then yesterday, on our second meeting, I mentioned it again and he right away found myself a mentor on someone he has worked before and thinks would be a good match.

And that may sound weak and little, but it does make a huge difference in inspiring me and motivating me to come to work.

I don’t like coming to work to be bored; I’d rather be bored at home… I’m also not very proactive in knocking a people’s door and randomly asking if they need help. And because it’s a new job, with different tasks and responsibilities I was feeling lost and insecure and I really needed some guidance, which I’m finally getting now.

Hopefully I won’t need that level of guidance for long, but I do need it now and this new guy is giving me just the right amount of it (not too little that I still don’t feel empowered to do work, but also not too much that feels he is baby sitting me).

So I finally feel like a have a good inspiring manager.

And that’s an amazing feeling!

Let’s see how it goes….

coaching

Right now!

On a meeting. Not sure why I’m involved on this.

I don’t  like it.

I don’t want to be here.

Right now, I need to create a report for later.

Right now, I need to do homework due in tonight’s class.

Right now, I’m getting hungry and want to go for a walk before lunch, so the earlier, the better. It would really be the nicest thing to do right now.

But right now, I’m stuck on this meeting, discussing vendor performance.

Not sure why I’m involved on this.

I don’t  like it.

I don’t want to be here.

Not ever. And especially not Right Now!

 

written in response to Daily Prompt: Write Here, Write Now

Sad day at work?

Today is sort of a sad day at work.

My good friend Michael is leaving the company and going to a competitor.

I do believe the change will be great for him, as his new job will be more in line with what he enjoys and his position will be a better one. Salary will also be higher and being on a smaller team will mean less politics to deal with.

But I still feel sad about not having him around starting tomorrow.

Since I started in the company he’s always been my reference for everything and anything. He’s kind, smart, sweet.

Here’s the email I sent yesterday in response to his announcement email (it was one of the many that his email generated in the team):

Disclaimer: there will be lots of references to processes and tools at work (but no leaks!), which you may not get fully, but that’s just the nature of a working email…

February 14th 2006 was my first day in the office at building 24 (I started on the 13th but that was NEO day).

That day I learned I was going to share my office with someone. And that someone was Michael.

I couldn’t have asked for a better person to share an office with.

So since the very beginning of my life at the company I’ve been a great fan of Michael.

For his personality, his intelligence, his scripting solutions (I used to use some of his quick solutions he created for French in the Brazilian files and they helped a lot).

Since then Michael became my to-go person for getting things done in a very smart way. I once ‘dumped’ a tool another LIP team kindly shared with us because the one Michael came up with was MUCH more efficient.

I’m an enthusiastic user and advertiser of ASSET for obvious reasons (the thing IS awesome!).

I have Michael as our family official Valentine singer, as he has sang to me and to my husband a few times in the past years.

We talk about everything a little bit and I really like it. I remember once he asked me how come the X in Portuguese sounded like ‘sh’. If it was influence from the Turkish. Heck, I had no idea, but just the fact that he would even think about such a question to ask made me admire him even more.

Then when I started working with LIPs I remember him trying to convince me that we had to have a LIP in Esperanto!

Because that’s Michael.

A guy who is always in a good mood, always willing to help and who can easily talk about whatever.

So anyways, I’m not great in writing emails like this, but I felt I couldn’t leave it without one.

The most important thing here is that I’ll (I’m sure we all will) miss him like crazy and, although I’m excited about this new opportunity for him, I feel really sad to see him go.

 

I’ll miss you Michael!!!!!

I was a great pleasure to have you around all those years!!!

Odd thoughts during a meeting

This morning I was participating on a meeting with 7 other people, to a total of 8 people in the room.
Subject wasn’t the most interesting of all, so at some point I found myself with some very odd and weird thoughts.

Going back in time for a few years just to add some background….

I like owls and I have a collection of owls in all shapes, sizes, colors, media…
Long time ago (about 15, maybe?) I was at a shopping mall in Rio de Janeiro and I stopped by a kiosk that used to sell esoteric stuff to buy an owl pendant that I though was cute.
Then the seller turns to me and asks if I like owls. I say ‘Yes, I do, I actually collect them’.
Then she asks to see my ears and declares I was a witch on a past life.
I ask her how come and she explains that the fact that I liked owls was one indicator, then when she saw that I had my earlobe glued to the base (as opposed to hanging) she was sure. According to her everyone that has a glued earlobe had been a witch (or wizard) on a past life.

Ears
I remember I asked her if that was a good or a bad thing and she answered that this depends on how I used my powers…

15 year later….

This morning I was participating on a meeting with 7 other people, to a total of 8 people in the room.
Subject wasn’t the most interesting of all, so at some point I found myself with some very odd and weird thoughts.
I happened to have noticed that all of the people who was sitting on my right had glued together earlobes, just like me, then I decided to check the others and, in the end, out of 8, we were 5 with glued lobes and 3 with hanging lobes.
So the memory of the seller came to my mind and I started to try to imagine what kind of wizard or witch each of the other 4 people had been.
One of the guys for some reason looked like Voldermort of Professor Snape kind. I have no clue why I thought that. The guys is nice, I have absolutely nothing against him at all, he’s very helpful and kind, but still he ‘looked’ like a bad wizard one.
Then I started to think Harry Potter definitions and concluded that maybe:

  • the ones with an attached lobe are the pure blood wizards
  • the ones with a free lobe are the muggles
  • the ones with something in between (after all there are several degrees of attachment and hanginess…) are the half-bloods

The funny thing is that if we look at the movie (maybe it’s the actor’s fault, not the wizard, but da heck, if we’re talking nonsense let make no sense at all!), Voldermort, who was a half-blood had a glued lobe:

voldermort

while Snape, who was also half-blood, had one that’s somewhere in between behind all that hair…

snape
Then, when I was trying to define the image of the second wizard on the meeting room, it was my turn to talk and I had to send those thoughts away and concentrate on the subject matter we were discussing.
But I still plan to give a bit more thought to it… hehehe

(and btw, I also realized that out of the 4 girls, only one had ear piercing, which was awesome because I always tend to think I’m one of the only ones that did not fall for the whole ear-piercing thingy… ;))

Now I bit of my own…

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* all the pictures used in this post are copyrighted by their owners.

Day of Caring

I work on a big corporation, which is associated with United Way.
That means that every year, at the end of September the company, together with many other companies in the area, donates its employee’s time to do volunteer work. And this day we call Day of Caring.

I’ve been participating on the Day of Caring for the past three years.

In 2010, we went to a local park and the job was to remove the invasive plants that take over the ground not allowing the native plants to grow and develop. We were searching for 4 bad guys, but found only 3 actually: ivy, stinky bob and Himalayan blackberries.

In 2011 we helped the Center for Human Services, in Shoreline, which is an organization that provides services such as Family Counseling, Family Support Center and Substance Abuse Treatment and Prevention. On that year, they had acquired a new location, so our job was to move some furniture/papers between the 2 locations, rearrange furniture, paint office, assemble new furniture, unassemble old broken furniture and put it in the trash, organize some inventories, change light bulbs, and other little jobs like that. It was very labor intensive and varied.

Then, this year, we went over to Hospitality House, in Burien. The organization is a 9 bed shelter for homeless women and they needed some help with kitchen renovation and bathroom painting. I ended up taking the bathroom painting task. Not really too extremely fun to be inside with paint fumes all day, but it was nice to be there with friends helping someone who needed our hand. And the bathroom was looking muuuuuch better after we left. It went from a very ugly and dirty blue, to a nice and clean white. How long it will stay clean I don’t know, but it certainly looks much nicer now.

I was hard but very rewarding work (and of course a good excuse to change a bit what we do everyday, don’t even bother to check or reply to work emails, and see everyone being ok with that)

Looking forward for the next year’s event.

A sick child, a speeding ticket, some nasty emails at work and an injury

The title above can summarize my day so far, and it’s only 2:00 PM.

My 2 daughters have a cough that’s been going on for a couple weeks now. So earlier this week we called the doctor and scheduled a visit for both of them to happen today afternoon. But last night the little one started feeling too much of it. She coughed so much that ended up throwing up. And had a bit of fever. That equals to neither her, myself or my husband having had a good night of sleep.

Then in the morning, hubby volunteers to stay home with them and I leave home feeling a bit of a nice sense of freedom for not having to drop them off in school, so I put some nice music, louder than I would if I had them with me, and start going downhill… But the thing is that sense of freedom, loud music and driving downhill are not really compatible, and the combination of them made me distracted enough not to notice my own speed. And right today, just because there is a law called Murphy’s, there was a policeman controlling the speed people were going down the hill… 😦

Then at work, some emails are sent around that I see as nasty and that sort of put me on the spot a little bit. I didn’t really do anything wrong, and it was clarified in the end, but I still didn’t feel happy about the ‘somewhat accusatory’ emails.

Then, to forget it all and get some endorphin into my system I decide to go for a longer and brisker walk. Note that today is also a warmer day. It worked to made me relax, but I felt really dehydrated and now my poor plantar-fasciitis-suffering-feet hurts like crazy.

Oh boy… one of those days…

Just hope the afternoon and evening will be better and my feet will stop hurting! ;o)

Ok to feel good about something bad?

Ok. today I feel a bit weird.

I work with someone who is the opposite of me. She’s nice and she’s very efficient and gets lots of work done, but she’s also very stressed out, she freaks out for anything, she’s not too flexible and can be a bit bossy. I, in the other hand, am very relaxed, I don’t freak out at all, trusting that everything will be good at the end, I’m extremelly flexible (sometimes too much even) and I lack leadership skills, which means not a tinny little bit bossy, not even when I should be.

So we sort of complement each other and work well together. She keep things going, I keep things from falling apart. She’s the engine, I’m the cooling agent. ;o)

Somethimes I must confess it’s a bit irritating to be around her when she’s acting unflexibly, bossy or freackedy, but oh well… tha heck. That’s life. Sometimes we need to deal with people like that. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…

In our company we have a big and heavy performance review process. And the whole process is obviously very competitive, considering that you’re compared with your peers to decide who gets what. I have been performing average at the best lately, and I always thought she’d get better reviews than me, just because she seems much more productive than me.

But today, I hear that there is a generic concern around some of our peers, some of the leaders and even our skip level, about her unflexible, bossy and irritating behaviour.

One side of me feels bad for her, because I do like her. She is a nice person. She really is. Just a bit too worrying.

But the other side one me feels great, because in regards to behaviour and relationships, all I hear people talking about me is good. And I believe people do like me because I am very flexible, I’m always smiling (truly, not faking), I’m fair, I get along with everyone. So I guess I’m seen as a light nice sweet presence. Even if sometimes I slack a bit at work, if I take too long to respond, if I lack leadership skills… And that puts me on a better position than her in that regards. So if people are to compare us, she may win on productivity, but I win on being a better fit for the team and on personal relationships, which is also valued in the company.

I’m not saying that my job is safe because of that. I still need to improve my performance (and I guess I will, now that I’m out of depression). But I just feel that, after all, I was not in such a bad position as I thought I was. Just hope not to be disapointed after performace discussion, which should happen soon…

Anyway, this conflicting feelings make me feel a bit weird.

But I guess I’ll pick the feeling good about being the nice cop and let her deal with the feedback she’ll get…

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(all the images copyrights are property of their owners)

How Korean music saved my job

April 18th, day we would be receiving files from vendors at work, I spend the day taking it easy, just helping the contractors for my project with the receiving of the files they were processing for me, while also working on some other small tasks here and there.

Apparently easy day.

But the entire day I had that weird feeling that I should probably be doing something else. There was a day coming then WE would be sending files to new vendors, and I was supposed to get them ready for it. But I wasn’t sure if that was a task for that day or the next, and my easiness (laziness, maybe) made me not bother to even ask my manager.

Ideally, I would leave the office between 4:30 and 5:00 so I had time to go to work out class at 5:30 or, worst case scenario, stay a bit later and take the 6:15 class.

On that same day of April 18, as I arrived in the office in the morning, I found a huge pile of Korean music CDs.
I wanted to make sure I would try a bit of all and that was what caused me to still be at my desk after 6:00 (meaning skipping workout completely).
And that’s that saved me as, at around that time, when I was about to close for the day, an email pops up with the question:

Are you done with file preparation tasks? Are we aready to start packaging them around 10am tomorrow?

Thanks

<manager>

Ooopsi! The answer was no.
To be honestly, I haven’t even started yet!
Luckily I was still in the office to be able to do the job.
Called home to let hubby know I’d be late and started to work.
In the end all was finished on time and nothing got delayed (except by my leaving time).

And that’s why I say that April 18th was the day Korean music saved my job…

Thanks to my Korean friend for the CDs!

;o)

Always nice to hear nice things about ourselves

Today the day started sort of stressfull.

  • Hubby a bit grumpy for a little silly fight last night (and so was I);
  • kids not really willing to leave home for school…

you know… typical crazy morning of those days that start off bad.

Then, I left home, drop off the kids in school, went for my Chiropractor adjustment (loooove it!), then to the office.

I have 2 temporary contractors in my team helping me with the project. Next Friday will be the last day for one of them. But before she leaves, she wants to make sure she registers how much she appreciates the team. So she writes that very nice email about me, saying more wonderfull things than I would myself think of (although I don’t really deny them ;o) and shows to me, saying she’s about to share with with our manger and manager’s manager (our skip level).

This is sooo awsome!!!
Made me feel so much better.

Lova ya, dear friend! And will miss ya like hell after you’re gone!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

Now, here is the contents with the Email, with names deleted for privacy:

Hi <manager>,

During my short contract period, I worked closely with several great IPEs on this team. But “<myself>“ really stands out as the best team player and the most positive, and flexible

Her technical and problem solving skills are really great. I experienced that she never fails to find answers to problems that are put on her plate. When there are obstacles, she usually researches hard to find the right information to solve the problem.

<myself> is a real Collaborator and team player! She always finds the time to support other people on the team by offering positive feedback, or providing knowledgeable, candid help when needed. By doing that she is usually able to take advantage of the group’s collective energy and help the team accomplish much more in less time. She always strives to bring out the best in people around her in a non-self-promoting manner. During the period I spend in the team I saw her always offering unconditioned help to <contractor-1-who-was-the-first-to-leave>, <contractor-2-who-will-stay-a-couple-more-months> and my(her)self. This in turn, helped us ramp up much faster, and be more efficient.

Finally, she is very reliable in meeting deadlines. Nevertheless, she never panics. She is always calm, collected, flexible and positive. This in turn helps others around her stay focused and be more productive.

It was great working on this team and it was great having such skillful support from <myself>!

Thank you,