So it’s been awhile….

It seems like forever since I’ve written but looking at the time line, it hasn’t been that long.  Much has gone on in the last month though which makes it seem like a lot of time.  My department at the bank was disbanded and before my layoff was official, they took my job description and posted it as a SharePoint Architect.  I notified the SharePoint users group that such a position was available and received a round of laughter.

Needless to say I spent most of April talking to people, doing informational interviews, prepping my resume and updating my portfolio.  In addition, I had some family drama going on (when don’t I?) and I felt that I wasn’t putting in the proper time for my job search.

Since I learned last time around that the key to my successful job search is to get in front of as many people as possible, I decided to practice informational interviews.  (The best prep for informational interviews I’ve seen is at Careerealism.)  I wanted to do some practice interviews before I went after my favorite target companies and it was one of the practice ones that led to my job.  Basically the more I learned about the company, the more I wanted to work there and the more people I met, the more they wanted me too.

I’m really glad that they had me wait a week between signing the offer and starting work.  It gave me time to decompress and clean some stuff around the house.  Although there is still much cleaning to be done.

So here is where the part of my unnecessary guilt comes into play – I have a good friend, a co-worker and a neighbor who are all still looking for work.  Frankly, I feel in some ways they are are more trained and more qualified than I am in the IT field.  So why is it that I’ve found something and they’re still looking?

2nd Month of the WIPocalypse…

I have finishes, just not the one that I planned.  This month I had scheduled to work on FireDancer since it was a whopping huge 28 count fabric and I really didn’t think I could look at 40 count for another month.  This is where FireDancer was when I started this month..

And this is where I finished…But I actually did more this month, namely the Purple Jody ornament which I was going to work on starting 10/29/12 – 

Well I finished it.  Work enrolled me in a SharePoint class and the first day they had technical difficulties so we had down time where I got to listen to the instructor talk to the IT guy and since I’m not one to sit doing nothing and he would have heard if I played FaceBook games, I stitched on my ornament and lo and behold, it’s finished.  Well the stitching is finished it still needs to be blocked and then I need to find a finisher because I’m not giving anything to the finisher at my LNS until she finds the ornament she lost 3 years ago.

And that’s not all folks… Since I still had 4 days of class with downtime and I needed something brainless to work on which could be dropped at a moments notice, my alternate piece, Mr. Big Mouth, the final applique block for my monster quilt is finished.

Yes, you get him full size because he’s a big finish this month.  Now I need to find a new alternate piece and that slot the Jody ornament was in now has something else in it.  I didn’t add anything new to the rotation, just put Winter Carousel horse into an actual slot instead of saying I would work on it when I had time between finishes.

I did get some work in on a few other pieces too – My Purple/Teal stocking got the Purple Krenik finished on it since I needed it to come back to the Jody ornament and I did make more progress on Main Street, just not as much as I hoped…

  The next building arrived and I so wanted to be finished with this building before I got the pattern for the 2nd.  It didn’t happen but I did get a ton more stitching in than thought I would and I have 2 finishes this month.

Long live the WIPocalypse!

If you would like to learn more about the WIPocalypse, check out Measi’s blog.

Have I mentioned I love my job?

In June 2011, I got laid off from a job that paid well but didn’t offer any challenge.  It was with a software arm of an accounting firm, specializing in government fringe benefit accounting.  Ever felt really great after a supposed “bad” thing happens?  The day after my lay-off was one of the best days of my life.

I love the networking that comes with a job hunt and met some incredible people.  And I still have a few people who I need to have lunch with in the next few months.  Anyway, 6 informational interviews and 2 real interviews with my current employer got me a Business Analyst job with a company which owns multiple banks.

I love what I do!  I’m in charge of “marketing” the abilities of some ECM applications to our affiliates.  I love hearing how people are doing things, listening to how they want to improve and helping them find solutions to their pain points.  In addition, training is a huge thing where I work.  I’m getting a week of Microsoft BA training this month and I have a week long BA Bootcamp in May.  And this is on top of the leadership training I’ve already had since I started!  

There isn’t a point to this post other than to say – I love what I do and where I work.

A different Black Friday

For the past several years, Black Friday has signaled the end of my holiday shopping.  It’s something that I do with my daughter to wrap up the commercial side of things so we can enjoy the holiday season as a family without the frantic financial scrambling.

This year, my new job required that I work on Friday after Thanksgiving, so I wasn’t able to spend the time with my girl and I missed it, especially wrapping up the day with either a massage or a mani/pedi.   I did manage to wrap up the holiday shopping though thanks to the online deals.

I do have a few more things to get but I’m waiting for the school fund raiser on December 10, 2011 in order to do that.

My First Quilt Retreat…

I haven’t quilted in quite some time.  And Pamela of FrenchKnots posted about a retreat she was doing.  I had just been hired for my new job and it would be after a few paychecks so I felt I could afford the really reasonable rate.  Then I noticed it was Friday and Saturday.  Well, duh, new job!!  No way I could take off.  So I emailed Pam to see if I could get a reduced rate since I would be missing half of the retreat.  I ended up using the amount of the discount to sign up for the hand applique class. Let’s face it, a class always teaches something if you’re willing to learn.  So from there it was anticipation…

Have I mentioned how much I love my job?  This week I wrapped up a bunch of my projects early and during lunch, when asked about weekend plans I mentioned I was going to my first quilt retreat and was hoping to leave a little early so I could drive down to it.  My boss told me to cut out right after lunch.  I said I would after I wrapped up a few things.  So an hour later she pings me and asks why I’m still at my desk.  I said I was tracking down an answer for a question she had, she told me it would wait until Monday and leave.  I love my boss!!

The map on the iPhone got me straight to the retreat and there were treats left over from lunch.  I really  tried to be good and heaped my plate with bell pepper, celery and a flavorful mild salsa. Then I took one of the smallest treats with chocolate on them and my diet went out the window for the weekend.

I had several items I brought to work on but what jumped out of the bag first was my Christmas quilt from way back when.  It took me a little while to figure out where I was on it and to realize that I only had the black bobbin in my machine and hadn’t brought any spares.  That’s when I met Emily of Crazy Old Ladies Quilts who offered me one of hers.

I got myself sorted out and then we made a run for Just Sew in Alpine.  I picked up some nice Christmas prints since I think I’m missing parts of at least one block for my Christmas quilt.  We got back just in time for dinner and the Applique Class…

The main thing I learned in class is that I’ve forgotten a lot and I love white charcoal pencils now.  The teacher also gave me instructions on how to make a sandpaper board which looks easy enough and I have all the supplies in the garage (yes, I have masonite in my garage on a regular basis).

I’ll finish up the rest of the retreat and post pictures later…Now, back to work on my ponies.

>Bliss at work is like the Cake


When I first started looking for a different career path, I kept running into the phrase, find your bliss and turn it into a job. I’ve watched people try to turn a hobby they love into a cash cow and burn out. I’ve also seen people go broke trying to make money on a product they love and no one else does. But back to me…

I read many books on finding your bliss and marketing it – Four hour work week, 48 days to the job you love, What color is your parachute?, Strengths finder 2.0, You, Inc. They all had wonderful points and I learned a lot both about business and myself but still never had anything pop out and say – Bingo! People will pay you to do this thing that you love!

It may be that part of the problem is my AD..”Oh look at that thing over there!” or as one of the guys in my MBA program described me “she’s passionate about everything.” I’ll admit I reached the point where I was beating myself up and thinking I was in denial or having issues with the fear of success or failure. I was looking for that perfect job, when I got laid off from the job I hated in the fall of 2009. I was lucky in that I found a replacement temporary position quickly enough that I didn’t have to worry about losing the house and actually started saving a little. But a part of me knew it was temporary and I enjoyed it mainly because I knew it wouldn’t last.

Then I got another job and thought it would provide a career path. It took me a few months to realize there was no designated place to go from here and I saw people punished for wanting to do more than what they were hired to do. So I go to work and do what I do and come home and use the leftover energy to work on my hobbies or take care of my family. I do feel bored although there are many places where I could reach and do more, but what would be the point?

So with that background, I’m still out networking and connecting and learning what people do and why they enjoy it. Recently, I had a networking lunch with someone who intrigued me and whom I admire. During our conversation, work satisfaction came up along with the bliss topic. I’m still processing what she told me which is why this blog is still disjointed, but the basic gist was bliss at work is a lie. Sometimes people will find it and if I look at those who absolutely love their jobs all the time, they’re more likely to be men than women. I can only think of one or two women I know who love their jobs (excluding stay at home moms).

As I’ve processed this, I realized there is some truth to what she says. Bliss at work, like The Cake promised throughout Portal, is a lie. As my acquaintance put it, “Any job that you don’t go home at the end of the day wanting to slit your wrists is a good job. If you have moments of great joy in your week, then it’s a great job.” I realize too that women’s bliss tends to be things people will not value with cash. Most women find their bliss in things such as home, family, hobbies and charitable work. I’ve enjoyed stitching for cash in the past but it’s not as fun as stitching for my own enjoyment or for friends. How about cashing in on your family? Even typing that just sounds wrong and when it happens we talk about Munchausen’s syndrome or defrauding communities.

Now there have been some people that have turned things they did for their families into cash – Think “Signing Time” and “Baby Einstein” videos or hobby improvements like the Grace Quilting Frame and the Cricut. As one of my friends said, “I work because my family likes to eat and sleep indoors not because I want to save the world or create world peace.” The people I know who do work with their bliss do not like leaving work. As one businessman put it in his training video, “If it doesn’t make me money, I’m not doing it.” He then gave a story of paying a daughter’s boyfriend to build the costume case his daughter wanted. I couldn’t help thinking of a different businessman’s training program where he turned down a meeting with a prospective client’s board of directors in order to keep a promised day out with his daughter. I realize that there are intrinsic payments that cannot be measured in cash which have to be considered in the long run.

So in this age of high unemployment and instant layoffs, it doesn’t really matter that I’m bored at work yet busy with brain-dead tasks that someone has to do. They’re willing to pay me a higher wage than my last job did even if the work is more clerical. Just typing that gave me an epiphany. For many years, I was told that I was being overpaid for what I did. Now I’m being paid a greater wage and doing less thinking – maybe I should be grateful instead of wanting cake.

Been trying to avoid talking about work ….

When I started working, I worked for an incredible woman who taught me that the client mattered more than anything at the office because the client ultimately paid our paychecks. Over the years, the company has moved away from that philosophy and I missed it. I’m now in training with a new employer and I’m loving how the emphasis is on doing the right thing for the customer whether or not it means we’ll get a sale. What’s best for the client is the best thing for the company.

I’m sorry in a way that this is just a temporary job – I wish more company’s thought this way.