Balance

My sister starting her own blog/diary reminded me that I’ve been doing terribly at updating this. I enjoy writing, and while I often think I don’t have much important to say, I have to remind myself that one doesn’t always need to say the important things. The little things matter as well.

It is all about balance. Weighing what is important in one’s life. My new job has been a challenge to balance over the past 3 months. It has been intense. Besides one coworker, every other coworker including the management staff of 3 have either moved, given notice, or been promoted. There’s been new hires, and a changing of the guard so to speak. I haven’t been 100% happy with everything, I’ve come to realize that the equilibrium is slightly off. With a slower season approaching, part of myself is hoping that it rights itself, but part of me isn’t sure this is going to end up being my career path. I will say I’ve never worked with so many amazing people. And I still support the company 110% – even to the point of probably saying I can’t imagine ever renting from a different company. They have shown me how important excellent customer service is to me, and vital ways to make sure that it stays in the forefront of everything they do.

My bf and I are also trying to find balance in other ways. In healthy living for example. We are slowly adjusting ourselves to going to bed earlier, waking up earlier. Eating healthier, not drinking as much. I’ve lost 10-15 lbs in the last few months, mostly because of this job and the fact that I’m on my feet, constantly running around. I’ve never worked harder or longer hours.

So it’s not all bad, but not all good either. Finding the balance has been tricky.  I’m not even convinced that finding the balance is not solely changing one’s actions, but it can also be changing one’s mindset. For example, I always thought I’d have a desk job for my career. But I’ve come to realize I enjoy movement in my work. It’s kept me active, helped me lose weight, and I feel so much better about myself. And when I do get a chance to sit down at a desk for computer work, I enjoy it that much more.

So here’s to balance, and trying to find out who I am and who I want to become!

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The dust is settling

IMG_1354Three (almost four) months since we made the epic adventurous move to beautiful Maui and the dust is finally settling and things are getting into place. We’re moved in to a beautiful condo, my man and I finally, for the first time since we started dating have the same days off together! I can’t even begin to describe how nice that is for us to have 2 whole days together. Half of our workdays, I can even come home to him having lunch made for me before I take him to work – so it’s like we get extra bonus time together. We’ve explored some of the island, but there is a ton more to see and take hundreds of pictures of (don’t worry mother dearest, there will always be plenty of pictures). I’ve done snorkeling, surfing, and hiking. I’ve been able to hang out with old friends who just happened to be visiting the island on holiday, as well as extended family who I haven’t seen since I was 8 years old. My work is chill and relaxed, and I didn’t have to take a pay-cut – which is great. My man is greatly enjoying his work, even with the bumps and dips that come with being a  manager. I’ve met a few friends – which is great. I thought people in Portland were friendly – well, Maui-ans put Portlanders to shame. “Talking story” is big here, and I’ll frequently have customers who will stand at my counter and chit-chat for 20 minutes or more, just because. I love that – it’s just so nice to be a part of a culture that values people and relationships and communication. Doesn’t have to be anything important, but those relationships are growing into how this island runs. More and more, I find out that it really is who you know and what you ask to figure things out. People are more accepting here – it’s such a small island that everyone knows everyone – or at least can figure out a relationship on how they know that person. A person at a bank is the sister-in-law of your next-door neighbor sort of thing. 5 months ago, I had no idea I’d be living in Maui within 2 months, but now that I am and things are calmer, I have no complaints, and am relishing every moment I have in paradise.

Life’s Twists

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Life has its bends and turns on its path. Last month, a life twist occurred and I left a company I had been with for almost 3.5 years. My department had gotten toxic (really had been the entire time I’d been there). After being pushed and pulled and put where I didn’t want to be, and performing job functions that were below my skill and experience level, its finally time for me to concentrate full-time on finding the right fit, the job, the career, and the employer. I put my heart and soul into my work. I am a career woman. I love working, I love waking up early 5 times a week to get dressed for work. I love talking with coworkers, beating deadlines, trying to make my workplace better and positively build my company’s reputation. My old job just wasn’t a good fit for what I was looking to do. Well now I’m focusing on getting the right job.

I’m getting countless requests for me to be a collector again, and while I loved collecting, I’ve decided I don’t want to only do collecting for 40 hours a week. I want to work on my office skills, I’d love to eventually be an office manager. I can’t wait to utilize the accounting classes I took in college in the real world, learning how to apply what I learned.

Time for new opportunities, new adventures, new coworkers. A new place that will recognize my experiences, reward my efforts, and provide insight into how I can be a better employee. For now, my current job is sending out resumes, tailoring each cover-letter, scheduling interviews, and networking. Trying to enjoy each of life’s twists.

Being an Introvert in the Workplace

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One of my absolute favorite websites is Ted.com. I highly recommend it – if you have 10 minutes and you want to be wowed, fascinated, or learn something new, or listen to something you know nothing about – this is the website for you. Every time I watch a video, I come away with a different perspective on that particular topic.

I watched this video solely because I saw it advertised at my library. The video shows Susan Cain presenting on a topic called: “The Power of Introverts”. I’m an introvert, and I’m trying to get into leadership within my company, and seem to take leadership roles elsewhere. As the oldest of seven, I was put in a leadership constantly growing up helping my mother keep the household running.

My boyfriend has been high-up leadership in restaurants for a long time, but he’s the extrovert. Don’t get me wrong, I can be out-going if I desire, but that’s not my tendency.

I’m part of a development of leaders program at my work, and through the course, classes, and the final project which we are right now working through, analyzing myself, thoughts, and actions, I’ve figured out that I don’t “have” to lead, but I end up leading if I don’t see the project moving forward. So I’ll delve in and do what needs to be done, delegate when necessary, etc. But as soon as that momentum is caught up by the rest of the group, I step back, and see where they take it.

That’s what happened with our final project. We are tasked with organizing and running a fundraising project with only 3 hours of meeting time (8-person group). It’s not as easy as you’d think, especially when approvals and proposals have to go up at least 3 levels of management. The first two weeks, albeit our management was gone on vacation, but it seemed we didn’t get anything accomplished. All our brainstorming was going around in circles. Finally we sat down to a meeting and I had a list of what I saw us doing, and told them up front that this is what I saw us doing, proposed splitting us into groups with a leader, and they were responsible for finding out the information we needed and getting back to me. Voila – that worked. We got our proposal pretty much completed, and then I went on a vacation for a week. By the time I got back, not a ton extra had been completed, but the proposal was presented within a couple days and we got a resounding approval from our management. Now I’ve stepped back a bit, but I’m still vocal via emails and such, but now that our team has the event underway, I’ve realized I’m still the informal leader. I still get asked for my opinion or for status updates. I’m really okay with that. I’m glad the rest of them are stretching their wings and owning their own parts of the project. I was telling my very extroverted been-a-leader-for-longer-than-he-can-remember boyfriend that being an introverted leader is probably more of a challenge. It takes guts to not micro-manage and let your team try to take on the individual tasks, while trying to keep everything on track and calm down the type-A personality because certain parts aren’t done according to when they wanted it to get done. I’m okay with helping out and not being in the spotlight. It’s really okay to not be extroverted, and just because you’re not, doesn’t mean you won’t do well in leadership. It’s just a different style.

This week….

This was/is kinda a crazy week. Last weekend I wasn’t feeling the greatest physically or emotionally, work seemed drag. I’m part of a group at work that is going through a year-long leadership training class. It’s extremely hard to get into, but I finally racked up enough kudo points with the bosses to be accepted. There were days that being a part of that group is the only reason I showed up at work. Close to the ending of the program, the group gets to try to orchestrate a fundraiser. Let me tell you – trying to figure out a fundraiser, get it through the myriad of approvals for the twenty things you thought wouldn’t need to be thought of twice, much less a written proposal that has to be approved by someone 4 ranks up, is not an easy task. Add in then around the 7-8 other people that you have to get agree on the ideas and how to get it going… well, let’s just say that I adopted the position of event coordinator. I have enjoyed it, but it hasn’t been easy. The reason? An 8-day vacation I’ll be taking in Hawaii next week. 🙂 The anticipation has been building for the last 3 months – and for the last half the work day, I wasn’t as nearly productive as I normally was. But at least I feel really good about where I left my team with me being gone all next week. Then my mom decided to spring an impromptu trip into my town to do some shopping – and decided to bring 3 of my brothers. The two nights before we leave for Hawaii I’ll have company… Cluttered house and all, with no food because I haven’t bought any because it will spoil by the time we get back. So of course I told her it was fine for her and everyone else to stay with me. I’m going to be going to get my hair colored tomorrow (have to look good when I meet my boyfriend’s mom for the first time) and the little errands that seem to creep up right before a big trip… and I have my family in town, and my house is barely presentable, but you know what? Who cares! My brothers won’t notice the mess – they are too busy taunting my boyfriend as they race him playing a racing game at their first attempt on an XBox 360. My mom is appreciative because she won’t be paying mega-money booking a hotel, I get family time with my siblings that I see far too infrequently. Plus, since they are in, they attract the attention of my beloved grandparents who also want to see family, so I get to see even more precious family! So they will have to lock up my house when they leave because I’ll be halfway to Hawaii by the time they get up, these memories are priceless. The more I “grow up” the more I realize family is priceless, my work will “work” itself out. Life is meant to be lived, one day at a time, looking ahead, and trying to move ahead, while treasuring your family.

Passionate work

I’ve felt that I’ve been at a crossroads with regards to my employment for at least the last two years. Now I’m a millennialist, I have my bachelor’s degree, and I’ve had a full-time job for 5+ years, at my current job for over 3. But I haven’t gotten anywhere, despite all my efforts. There’s been little “awards” and “achievements” along the way, just enough so I have kept on slogging it out, day in and day out, in the hopes that “one day” I will be seen good enough to be promoted.

However, I’m not happy with that, I’m not a person that likes mediocrity and complacency, and to just “put up” with what I have to do to get through another day, another week, another year at a job that is supposed to be allowing me to challenge me, fulfill me, and require all my passionate energies. I have no idea what I want to be doing, well, I have hunches. I’m a talented, well-liked, intelligent individual with a passion to always be learning and a desire to help people. But what do I want to learn? How do I want to help people? That I don’t know. I’ve been watching quite a few Ted.com videos… they challenge me, inspire me. I am going to make a change. Don’t know what, where, or how. But I want to do it.

From different sources, I keep hearing the same mantra: Find passionate people, learn and ask questions, and find out what makes you “buzzed”. Part of this blog is that I hope it helps me discover who I am, what I can do, and where my passions are. I haven’t really explored that, and I am excited to get started. So – my very few readers that I have, follow along, help me, critique me – but I don’t want to settle for mediocrity. I want to find a job I can feel passionate about. A place where I am excited to go to work every day, my coworkers are excited about their work and the opportunities it provides, and that supports me living the life I want to experience outside of the workplace.