Sunday, October 28, 2007

Happy 4th Birthday, Ladybug!

On this date, at 12:18 p.m., you proved to me that having a little girl wouldn't be as tortuous as I expected. And just like in this picture, you haven't been still or quiet for one moment, not even when you sleep. I love you, Angel Face. ::kiss::

Friday, October 26, 2007

Hire Powers

I had to do some interviewing this week. The one time I did it before, we had pretty much already decided we were going to hire her. It was really just a formality. Now, we are looking for an intern after the one who was hired quit after one day. (She got a full-time job. I did NOT run her off.) Back to the drawing board we went.

Our HR woman sent me all the resumes that had come in for the position and there I sat reading over the lives of these anonymous people, remembering to myself how it felt to be on the other end of the job search, looking for experience yet knowing that my lack of experience was a real hindrance. Or later in life, looking for a change and hoping someone had the ability to connect the dots and find I'd be a good fit after all. So in the end, what I was really looking for both times was a break and those can be hard to come by. You have to hope the person interviewing you can see past the nervousness and uncover the potential that maybe you yourself have yet to recognize.

It is difficult juggling these two perspectives - the one who remembers what it felt like to yearn for a chance and the one who has to look past all that to find the person most likely to succeed with us and stay a while. It doesn't feel fair to pass any sort of judgment on people I don't really know but how else can you choose? Big hint, youngest job seekers: First impressions really do count. Neatness really matters. Spelling and grammar mistakes make it easy to chuck a resume and narrow down the possibilities. A ton of experience in a completely different field gives a potential employer pause. It all seems so trivial and superficial but it's reality because when you have a lot of people with the same ability standing before you but only one job, how do you select? Nit-picking becomes the method of choice. As I stood with Co-workers 2 and 3 discussing it, we briefly considered a test for the real contenders. Maybe a writing test? Maybe a scavenger hunt? How about Intern Survivor!

I tell you it isn't easy doing this. It helps to be as prepared as possible with the questions you ask but also in figuring out exactly what you want a person to be able to do. After talking to one person and consulting with Co-worker 3 who would also talk to these people to get her own assessment, we realized that the perfect person would not only be a go-getter (not literally but you never know) but also have an aptitude for writing. They would be working in Editorial after all. Some creativity would also help since we are involved in a lot of visual projects. So I looked for signs of that in the people I spoke with. I admit I also looked a little for signs of myself and the others on my team. We're all very different but we have our strengths that make us cohesive and productive and you hope like will draw like. The disappointing thing was that our choices were few. I called a good number of people. The responses were less than stellar. But it only takes one right?

It's odd to find myself in a place where I can maybe help someone take their first or next step in the career of their dreams. I dread the thought of having to tell anyone, "Thanks but no thanks." I can only hope they don't take it personally because I remember being crushed by what felt like personal rejection. Of course I didn't know then that one door closing leaves room for something better to come along and came along it did. You have to learn to think that way in order to soothe your hurt feelings. I do hope that the ones who don't make it aren't fazed by it. I hope they truly have the tenacity they say they do and that they land on their feet. I hope the person who accepts the job stays more than one day.

I already know who I am going to pick - or should I say hire? After all, as I am told, it is up to me since I will be the one managing him or her the most. My boss and Co-worker 3 keep smiling and metaphorically throwing their hands up in the air, "Whoever you want" they say. Thanks, ladies!

Now I am just letting the decision gel until next week. It gives me time to at least do what many potential employers never did for me - acknowledge the receipt of the resume and give my thanks but no thanks. After all, if we never take the time to remember we were neophytes once too and make a difference for the people who come after us, then we are doomed to repeat the cycle of indifference and seeming disregard for people's feelings. It's about time more employers put a little heart in their hiring process. You may just get back the loyalty and commitment you seek.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hang up the iPhone, Please

My husband just bought the iPhone. My husband is sweet, funny, a hardworker though he also needs to learn how to be a little more expressive. My husband has an
excellent job but he is not the CEO of a national or worldwide conglomerate. He is not a small business owner. He is not in sales or marketing or a film producer or anything in the creative arts at all. He has two related jobs, two bouncy children, one gym membership, one wife, one home. He does not need this phone.

So, he has been setting it up for THREE DAYS and he is not done! Why so long? I don't know. I do know yesterday was all about hooking up email - MY email - to his phone. He doesn't have his own account so he uses one of mine. That was fine but now he wants to be able to see email on his phone when he happens to be hanging out in Timbuckto? (However the heck that's spelled.) Well, he was having problems - he and the iPhone guy he was talking to. He calls me at work.

"What's your user name and password?"

"I gave you that this morning."

"That's not it. Its not working."

"You mean because I suddenly lost my memory and don't know my own information? I think not. It's something YOU guys are doing. Go back and try it again."

He does. I come home and he tells me the inbox got set up but he can't send out yet. My sarcasm lashes out.

"When you set up email on your phone you get one and not the other? How do they not set up simultaneously? You don't need this phone, man!"

Well, I went to check my business email last night. First of all it asked me for my password which it has not done in ages since it was saved. "Ohhh, what did he do?" I mutter to myself. Multiple attempts using the only 2 possible passwords it could be. I slam my first on the desk. Darn iPhone! I loudly march upstairs and turn on the bedroom light accusingly.

"What did you DO? My business email password is not working."


"You changed the password somehow! What did you change it to?"

"I used what you gave me."

"I never GAVE you my business password. It's not the same as the regular email password, Mr. T." What the heck were you guys doing in there?"

I slam off the light and go back downstairs to see if I can do anything. I can't change it to a new password unless I know the old one. I slam my fist again. I hate it when people mess with my stuff. He could fiddle with the main email but why on earth were messing around with ALL the accounts I have? He walks into my office wearing his save-the-day expression which I know is a mask for his I-screwed-up-and-I'm-sorry expression. I know that's what he's doing but I can't help but turn the screw a little more.

"Came for moral support, did you?"

I am on the phone with 2 different people getting my password reset. As I am on hold waiting for the second one I just lean back and look at him through squinted eyes.

"You and that stupid phone, man. You don't NEED it, for goodness sake."

"Hey, gotta have it." (He's a gadget man. I know he means that.)


"It's got an iPod."

"You listen to CDs in your car. You don't exactly power walk. You don't use an iPod now! When on earth are you going to listen to the iPhone?!"

"You can go in there and google."

"You mean in case you suddenly have a need in the middle of traffic to find out the radius of the sun? When do you do that, Mr. T?!"

"You can look up addresses and get a map and boom. You're there!"

"You can do that at home and print it out too but every place we go, you tell me 'You could have gone this other way.' You're a human map all by yourself, Mr. T!"

"You never know! Don't you want to be able to check your email anywhere?"

"No! No, I do no not. And if email is suddenly so important to you, WHY DON'T YOU HAVE YOUR OWN ACCOUNT INSTEAD OF MESSING UP MINE?! This is the email address I share with businesses who want to send me a ton of junk when I just want that one thing. You really want all MY email blowing up YOUR phone?"

"I didn't know that. No. Then help me come up with a user name."

Ugh. Tech person 2 solves my problem and all is right with the world again. So I go play with his phone. "Since you're destroying my world, at least let me see the evil device that has possessed you."

It's a big toy alright. Lots of color. He's happy to show it off but all that finger tapping is just a bit much to me. He says I'd get used to it but it just seems so over-the-top to me, for a man with a life as uncomplicated as his is. Mine is way more involved and I don't even see a need to be that hooked up to the world wide web and other folk. He's a big kid at Christmas so I'll let him enjoy his toy. Maybe every now and again, I'll go look up the radius of the sun. You know, just to keep it busy.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Johnny Cash Would Be Proud

At last! The post I had to remove on Oct. 11 when this was originally supposed to run. Of course I have blogged since this went up then came down again so the whole "I've been busy" thing may not work so well now but I don't want to re-write this blasted thing! Pretend it's Oct. 11th.

I've been too busy living my life to blog about it. But that's no excuse, now is it? Bloggers have a responsibility to blog or else they not truly bloggers. I concur. Kerri is posting in a couple of different places now and I told her that my blog saw her OTHER blog, tugged my shirt and said, "Why does HER blog get a post and I don't?" So here I am saying, yes, I am alive but it's been nuts. I can prove it.

You know that Choice Hotel commercial that is using Johnny Cash's song? I've been doing everything, man!

I've been to cub scout meetings business meetings wrapping up a school fundraiser mother-in-law's church award thing selling popcorn at CVS business expo held in New York writing editing and shooting a script and in between dealing with sick girl and working long hours on my job projects - I've been everywhere man. I've been everywhere!

The shoot is something my co-workers and I created for our Boss' Day, which is next week but we're doing it tomorrow because one co-worker will be out of town next week and we're all chomping at the bit anyway. (OK. Clearly that didn't happen. Thus the late posting.) Lady Boss is fantastic and deserves this. We all agree. Three of us are writers so we wrote it. One of us is a video goddess so she and her fiance shot it and edited it and we know it will be hilarious. Stress relief for Lady Boss and us too, we expect. We used sock puppets, people. Yes. I stayed up late one night NOT blogging because I was IMing with my co-workers as we worked on the script and made our puppets. We also created T-shirts to go along with the day. Yes, I am 36, not 6 and no, I am not currently pledging a college sorority. Honest. But it was fun. I haven't laughed that hard in a while. This is me (being animated by Co-worker):

And this is me in the drawer with all of us:

We did this AFTER WORK so no finger wagging in my direction! Nyeh!

Now, in addition I have also helped 2 of said co-workers to create a visual representation of the Battle of the Brides. They are getting married next year - no silly, not to each other! - and they are doing it a week apart at that. One co-worker who knows I hate wedding talk (I didn't do a lot of it for myself either) says, "Oh, can't you play with us for just a LITTLE while?!" You asked for it, missy. So I took her idea for the timeline they wanted to create and said, "Squash that. This is what you do..." And this is what they did:

Can you see them? They are building wedding cakes tier by tier. Each cake represents what they have accomplished on their way to their respective wedding alters. Grimace and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle are racing to the top to ring the wedding bells in victory. Yes, this was my idea folks. I was determined to see it through. Good job, ladies!

Now, the rest is A LOT of cub scout stuff (Son sold lots of popcorn at CVS and his being cute helped a lot. Good for him! [I will not pimp my son. I will not pimp my son!]) and lots of library visits as I try to keep my kids in new books weekly (and me monthly) and me realizing that my business needs me to really put the pedal to the medal because these kids are just expensive! I've said it before and I say it again - kids (not babies, believe it or not) cost mega moolah. I wish I had time for a part-time job.

Oh, and in addition to what I've written here, I've been writing with my crit group twice a week and working on my novel outline for NaNoWriMo. What is it, Theresa asked. Why this, of course! See my little award over there in my sidebar? It's getting married next month. Mark my words - literally. I need 50,000 of them to win.

And then there is Village Works for which I have been working on an email campaign that went out this week. I've been through about 1,000 emails that I had to get added to our mailing list program so that took a few days, plus creating the email itself. You see, the fundraiser was a huge disappointment in that it never got kicked off properly and the kids just didn't do the job. Yeah, we got some orders. Yeah, we're talking high school seniors, which may be more than half of the problem here, but that just gave us a huge task for the next couple of weeks to get those orders bumped up to PROFIT level. We've got a one-week special going on and we'll see what comes of it. For certain all this business stuff going on (we met with an accountant in all this busy time too) and all the kid/family stuff that is breaking the bank is making me think it's time to get on the Ladies Who Launch bandwagon and see if we can make a profitable difference in 2008. It's too soon to give up. We KNOW we have something here. It's just a matter of making it work. Maybe I'll watch a little more Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane so I can get inspired. That woman is truly a dynamo and fun to watch. I don't want her life, just her money!

Oh and just so you know, I am also busy reading at night when I should be watching TV - or sleeping, as another co-worker would say. What am I reading? Two books I dug up from the library.

I got this one at the beginning of September and it's actually not bad but it didn't grab me as hard as I would like. Still it's a little bit of a tease so I hold on. The author is Daniel Wallace. He wrote Big Fish which became a movie. You've got a circus and a black magician who is really white. My favorite line so far from Henry the magician to a racist heckler in the audience as he tried to guess the card the heckler is hiding from him:

Henry closed his eyes and took a deep preparatory breath. A quizzical look appeared on his face. "I'm...I'm having trouble locating it. Your brain, I mean. Where do you keep it? Oh there it is. It was so small that for a moment I couldn't see it!
That had me rolling for 2 days. This is why I hang on.

And there there is his one by British author Sophie Kinsella. It caught my attention pretty quickly, something that is not easily done. But the British text can be a little distracting at times. She has this awful habit of having her somewhat gawky, a little inept character say "Er" and "Erm" a lot and that Erm thing is bugging the heck out of me. What is that, anyway? "Er" I can stand but even that is getting run over repeatedly and stabbed with a big stick in this book. Still, she makes me want to know what the heck is going to happen to this girl. She reminds me a bit of Bridget Jones and... darn it! There is someone else too but I can't grasp her book title. It was about a working mother and the juggling she had to do. Anyone recall it?

I think I am sufficiently caught up until the next time I get behind. See you soon!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

How to Win Employees and Influence People

It's been interesting at work lately. Running my own business, I enjoy the random times when someone does or says something at work that I can implement in my own side hustle. Someone was telling me about the incredible feats that have been performed to pull off a fund-raising program and little did he know he was confirming all my partner and I have done to get our own show on the road.

And then there was some talk about my boss. Good talk. Loyal talk. Praising talk. Life's been a challenge for her lately and we all know it. Those of us in her boat, or one of her boats, understand it. We, her editorial team, applaud her ability to do all she does with grace and style. So the gentleman with whom I was talking said, "She's really good. She's got the lowest turnover in the company."

"She's got NO turnover. Trust me, we've all worked other jobs and we know what it could be like. Half of us are mothers and I think her being in the same place as life as we are makes a difference."

We agreed that money is important but it isn't everything and that is probably what motivates most, if not all, of us - we all have our agendas and family is a big one, including for Boss Lady.

"The fact is," I told him, "she isn't watching every little thing we do commenting on the time we show up. She respects us for our abilities and in turn we do everything we can because we love what we do AND because she deserves it. Trust me, if I were at my old job, telling them that I have to get my son on the school bus first at 8:22 THEN drop off my daughter, I doubt I'd still be there."

She understands that our lives are not linear, simple organisms, nor do we want them to be. Things change DAILY. Things come up. As long as the job gets done, why must employers hound folk to stick to some stupid clock? Yes, I know some jobs require it. My last job was forever talking about the California clients and the need to be available to them, but I suppose that's at the expense of a person's other priorities in life, eh?

"A good leader has the ability to empower people. If you're a good leader, people don't even know they are being led!" It's funny. I would expect to really be keeping an eye on the higher ups of my company to see what kinds of things I need to incorporate into my own business. But in actuality, it is my own somewhat demur (I don't think she'd buy this 100%), witty, and humble boss who is the example that is worth following. She's got us all pow-wowing trying to figure out what to do for her simply because we like her and want to put a smile on her face, given the way life is treating her right now. She absolutely makes us all feel like we are the most capable people in the world and she appreciates how we all bring ourselves into this place and it works for her. It works for us too.

My business partner and I have no intentions of having employees. Only contractors, but it's all the same. We too believe in treating people like we want to be treated. Empowering people, especially once they've proven they can do the job to the satisfaction of all involved. The gentleman at work was explaining about the potential success of his fund-raiser all because he showed heart and enabled other people to show it too. That is how you win employees and influence people. Making friends, not always showing dominance. Hands off. Show appreciation. Keep your priorities straight.

I wonder what things would be like if every company found a way to show their employees that they too believe that family/life/God is most important and everything else - EVERYTHING else - is really just a form of supporting and uplifting those so let's act like it, shall we?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

October Babies

I am sitting here right now fuming. I have errands to run and bills to pay because - surprise! - my job paid us today instead of waiting until Monday. Thank you! So I was able to do some things now that I thought I'd have to wait until Monday to do. Son will be surprised when he finds out I got him a Club Penguine membership. I wonder how long it will take for him to figure it out on his own? Daughter's birthday present was blissfully about $10 cheaper when last I saw it and since it's going directly to the store, I save on shipping too. A Dora Kitchen. She's been bugging us for one for a solid year or more. She turns 4 on the 28th and we finally have our own space so why not?

So I "do my math" as I call it, figure out the bills and try to hurry up because Son has a birthday party to go to later today and I have 2 bathrooms I want to clean but I've got to go get some gloves and a few other things. Cleaning behind males can be gross, you know.

Almost done and what does Son come to tell me?

"Daughter closed your door and now we cna't open it."

"I'm sorry?"

"We tried to open it but it won't open."

All the bedroom doors have locks on them. The woman before us only had 1 kid and I think he was a teen so this was probably never a concern for her. But I have 2 chimpmunks, one in particular who INSISTS on running around slamming doors when they play. This time somehow she locked MINE and I AM RIGHT NOW LOCKED OUT OF MY BEDROOM not yet showered or dressed with bills to pay and errands to run before this party and I am ready to strangle her.

One of my co-workers just had a baby. He wasn't there at the time we were talking about his daughter's impending arrival but I was talking with a few other people, another of whom is also expecting a child this month, and I told them, "Watch out for those October babies. I think it may be more the girls than the boys but they are a challenge."

One of my immediate co-workers (she's a friend now, really but I don't want you to get confused) asked me if she was really a challenge.

"They are a challenge. MINE is a challenge."

I have a friend whose daughter was born in October 3 1/2 years before mine and when I started telling her stuff Daughter did she laughed and said, "October babies." She could predict what I was going to say! Another friend of ours has a daughter who was born in October and she is older than both our girls. When my friend started saying things about her Daughter to this mutual friend he laughed and said, "October babies."

He warned her. She warned me. Now I warn others because these girls have been alike - stubborn, obstinant, always wanting something that costs a lot of money. The immediate co-worker, when I told her Daughter was a challenge says, "Really? A challenge? My son is a challenge." She tells us of tantrums and things he has destroyed and I agree, Daughter is not like that. But what co-worker sees as cute - she's met Daughter - I assure her is not always easy to live with. Right now her age saves her and yes, she is darn cute. I always want to kiss her.

But not right now. Dear co-worker friend, YOU are probably off having fun right now. I am sitting here blogging instead of running errands HOPING Mr. T knows how to jimmy this lock so we don't have to break down a perfectly good door in a perfectly new house because Daughter can't stop closing doors. I TOLD you she is a challenge.

October babies. They are never a bore but if you're having one, baby beware!

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Sweet Smell of Adolescence

Nope. Not ready to put that post up yet. Or the one that came after it. I know. I know. Hurry up, already. Well, the person we are surprising has yet to get her surprise so I STILL can't post. Now, because Co-worker 1 is going to be away for a week, we have to wait until SHE gets back. Everything is postponed until the 22nd. You can hang on, can't you?

Here's a little something else in the meanwhile.

At what age does a kid become, um, an olfactory challenge? For Son it is 7 years, 7 months. Mark the day, my boy. October 11, 2007 was the first time ever I told you. "Pew! You stink!" And you didn't even have gym at school that day!

"Mr. T! You let Son put on pajamas?!"


"You didn't smell him a mile away? Son, go over there and stand next to your daddy."

Mr. T. passes out.

"Son, PLEASE go take a bath!"

Time for deodorant, dear boy. And at 7 years, 7 months, - seven being the number of completion - it's very fitting. Another rite of passage completed. Oh, and he also has some little penguin girl declaring her love for him online - some girl from school, he says - and he's given her a heart but I told him, "No way! Take it back! You are too young to giving away your heart." One rite of passage at a time, thank you very much.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Join The Club?

So, my other post has to wait to go up. In the meanwhile, let me tell you Son's latest thing. Son - the bane of my bank account. The new Cub Scout who loves Transformers and Pokemon and is as silly as they come. Son. What's Son's newest thing? Club Penguin. Been here? Heard of it? I hadn't either until last night.

Son went to his friend's house after school yesterday for a play date. Aside: Such a silly term but time's have changed. You've got to make appointments to see your friends now. I guess there is no more knocking on the door. "Can Billy come out and play?" But in this case, Son and Son's Friend Z don't live within walking distance - at least not for them just yet. Too young.

So at Z's house, Son discovers Club Penguin and has not been able to stop talking since. "It's like the real world only it's not!"

When I came home last night...

"Mommy! Come here! I need you to name my penguin."


"My penguin. Z and I were playing online and we went to Club Penguin. So now I need a name but every time we pick a name, it's not available."

Husband: "I keep trying and nothing is available."

Of course I still don't know what they are talking about but I am more patient than normal because I know Son is also waiting on me to make 3D glasses with him online for some reason I have yet to find out, but he has not bugged me in 2 days.

So this club is for penguins and they have their own world and Son needs to name his so he can get in there and see his friends but every name is taken.

"Oh. Well that happens all the time with things like these. You're probably going to have to add a number."

"Oh please! I need a name for my black penguin. And you're so good at these things. You thought of the pop up book. I never would have thought of that. You have good ideas."


"How about ------?"

We try it. A no go. We try his first choice again and other options, all to no avail.

"How about ------?" he says.

It's available. ------ it is.

Now, I would tell you the names but I have to be a little cautious here, don't you think? I already told you the club. I can't put a name to my little penguin, even if it is a fake name. But he loves it and now I find out that there is a membership. Oooooffff course there is! Son asks me about it this morning but I'm thinking he's already a member. I asked a co-worker who also has a 7 y.o. son if she knows about this. Of course she does. So there's a lot you can't do if you aren't a member but I'm not up for more money going out right now - birthday parties, school trips, cub scout fundraiser, school fundraisers, book orders, unexpected doctor visits, Daughter's birthday to come - I'm being nickle and dimed as it is! Not one more thing, please!

Sigh. Next paycheck coming up soon. One more monthly bill. Oh well. See you at the Club!

Temporary Filler

OK. I had another post up this morning but had to take it down quick quick quick because I don't want it to be seen too soon by a possible reader I might have but I'm not sure I have so I have to be safe. Get it? No? Well, you will. Maybe tomorrow. When she is in my sight and I can be sure she didn't see this too early.

Oh, Monica, you're so cryptic. Yep. That's me.