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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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?



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!


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,