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Last week I COMPLETELY bombed when called on to talk for 2 minutes about a random topic. Really, I totally froze up for several seconds. It's better to work this stuff out now in a friendly environment than doing it in front of clients.

This week I'm set to do my first prepared speech. It's supposed to last 5 minutes (FOREVER) and the topic is me. It's a get-to-know-you type of thing. At first it sounds easy, but then, being who I am, I start to over analyze. I finally got a speech written. It's not perfect, but if I don't stop and start practicing what I have now, I won't be ready for Thursday.

Working on Nerves

I went to my first Toasmasters meeting last week and I met some really nice people. I was a little to nervous to volunteer to get up and participate. I'm getting started on my 1st speech. It's supposed to be a get-to-know-me thing. It sounded easy when I read it, but now I know I'm totally over thinking it. Anyway, it has to be like 5 minutes. Here we go...

Taking Action

I finally got around to updating my resume. Even if I don't end up sending it out, it made me think a lot. I sent it to a wonderful friend who works in HR. She is going to give me some advice to make it better. I think the format is way out dated, and I'm pretty sure the wording could use some work.

Anyway, that was a big chore that I feel like I finally got kick started.

Job, Job, and more Job

It seems like that's all I think about lately. I think it's because I'm so ready for the next phase of my professional life.

Home is good, family is good, finances are stable. That's given me time this past year to think about what kinds of work I'd rather be doing, and how what I already know can get me there.

I let one of the heads of my company know the direction I want to take, and got an encouraging response. I like IT, but I am way more interested in the operations side of things. I hope things work out where I am. I really love the people I work with. They are truly fabulous. They are so smart, funny, and generous with helping each other. But I did make up my mind after talking to a couple of folks I trust to look elsewhere if it takes them too long to let me make the transition. I've defined what "too long" means to me, too. I just feel the time is right.

Meanwhile, I know there are things I need to work on to be ready if I get a shot at pre-sales. I tend to sell myself short, being too modest about how good I've gotten at what I do. I've been doing this for 11 years, and yeah, I know what I'm doing. I work in a male dominated industry, and the guys always point out their success stories. As much as chest pounding turns me off, I've noticed that they are the ones who get promoted. I also need to stop being the passive, sweet, cheerleader and start acting more confident. I need to let go of those old fashioned images of what makes me a lady:)

I also need to study up. Both on the new technology we use, on business, and presentation skills. The tech & business studying is easy enough: read books, do test cases in my home lab for the IT concepts. For the other stuff, I'm going to start going to Toast Masters at least once a month. I've got to get over my public speaking anxiety. I may try to write a white paper or do a presentation for one of the local software user groups, too. That last one may be a late this year, or next year goal.

I didn't really mean to make a bunch of New Years resolutions :) Do they still count as that if I started working toward this a few weeks ago?

Did I just do that!

At the holiday party this year, I realized how much I love the people I work with. I've known some of them for over 10 years. During the party I noticed that Lance was over goofing off with some of the guys and having a really good time, too. I thought to myself, "I want to keep working with this group of people!" They're nice, funny, and total bad asses at what they do. How often do you get that?

I know the owner may be selling, but I think the CEO is staying for at least 3 years. I think the CEO is a business genius. I also know that I'm getting tired of be on the delivery side of things. I don't see myself taking 3am emergency calls when I'm 50, and shit, I turn 40 next month.

I want to do more with people and less with a computer console. So, I decided to roll the dice and go directly to the CEO (he's over the business side of things). I've expressed interest to the HR lady more than twice. She's nice, but her mission is to staff IT projects. Here's what I sent (editing out specifics):

"When I joined the company back in 2007, I asked to be considered for opportunities on the business/operations side of the house as the company grew. I am still very interested in moving my career in this direction. Now that the company is growing so rapidly, I am hoping that you will keep me in mind for opportunities on your team as they come available. I know that would mean going in daily, and maybe even some travel.

I do understand that there is a need right now for my skills on the consulting side. However, there does seem to be excess bandwidth on my team. I would be happy to continue to work with the clients that require my skill set while transitioning to a position on your team."

Wish me luck!

Dream

I had a dream last night that I had left a stack of money out on the counter knowing someone was coming over. I was like, "Oh it'll be OK." I went off on my merry way leaving this person in the house. Not sure who this guy was but he wasn't a close friend. It was just someone who's face I'd seen before out a shows and parties.

So anyway, I come back home and the money's gone. The dude is like, "So, um, what?" Like I shouldn't have been surprised. I was thinking, "Dang, I really should have put those thousands of dollars away."

I start tiptoeing around the issue and in a week way asked if he'd be OK with paying me back incrementally, like setting up a payment plan. He was wishy washy but said OK.

And then I woke up.

My Brain!

Sometimes I feel like there is so much to know for my job and technology is changing so fast that my brain is going to explode.

So much studying to do to keep up lately!

Work and Stuff

I found out last week from an anonymous source that the owner of my company is looking to sell. I'm not supposed to know this, and I think only a few people in the office have any idea.

It's kinda nerve racking. I've worked off and on for 3 of his companies, about 10 years of my adult working life. I'm not surprised he wants to retire. I mean, I'd retire now if I could. I know it will probably mean some change though. Could be good, could be not good. Only time will tell.

The CEO, from what I heard, is staying on. I really like him. If he was leaving too, I'd start an aggressive job hunt now. For the time being, I've let a few friends know I'm curious about what opportunities may be out there, but I'm not in a rush.

I've worked mostly from home the last 4 years, and I'm getting tired of it. I love a lot of things about it, but there are downsides. The big ones for me are that I don't get to network with other folks very often, and I don't get to use new technology right away. So even though I hate driving, I've been feeling lonely during the day, bored, sorta stagnant. I've been feeling this way for over a year. I actually went to HR to see what else they could have me do 1.5 years ago.

I found out today that I may get to test the waters. A client needs someone on site for 1 month starting next month. So I'd see if I really want to be in the thick of things or if I really prefer my cocoon. We'll see :)

While I'm Pondering My Future

I decided I need to follow through on taking care of myself. I started Tai Chi classes. The 8 week series ends next week. I prepaid all the classes to make myself go. I had to miss once for work, but I think I would have missed more if it wasn't already paid for. I made a point of planning around it. I'm going to miss it during the two week break.

Today I added another regular destresser. A monthly massage. It's also prepaid, and it rolls forward if I don't get to go that month. I'm doing a 6 month trial to see if I really do it. I think I will. I always feel a lot better after a massage. Who doesn't?

I talked to one of the guys at work about other things I could do to have more nights and weekends free. He suggested learning to be a developer and offered to put me on his team in 6-8 months (once the two projects I've been assigned to end). It's tentative, but possible. I would lose the gravy train of working from home, but right now, I feel like it would be worth it.

What's Holding Me Back?

I like my job, but it's been driving me crazy. There's a lot of disorganization in the side of the business I'm on. I have 4 regular clients who keep me about as busy as I want to be. We have two visible projects that have started up, and it's starting to look like I'm also going to be expected to do a lot of nights and weekends until February to help out. I do get overtime, but personally, I like my free time.

I feel bad for even complaining. I mean, I have a job. A lot of people don't. But I don't want to work every weekend, and pull a bunch of all nighters. That really wears me out. I know I've been stressing on it, because I keep having these anxiety dreams where I wake up thinking that I heard my on call phone. It hadn't rung, and I'm not even on call until Tuesday. Ugh!


I keep racking my brains for how I can use my skills, tech or non-tech, to make similar money without having to work so many odd hours. I've thought about going independent, even starting my own business. I have good skills, and I like people. So I keep trying to figure out what's holding me back.

Some of it is not having any sales experience. If you go independent, you have to schmooze and sell yourself. I don't feel confident that I can do that. Then there's all the overhead of small business taxes, billing, getting clients to pay,... You know, the business part.

I've gotten a few solicitations from other companies recently. I'm thinking about seeing what they have to offer. I love working from home, but it would be nice to have a more normal schedule so I can hang with friends more too.

It can't hurt to look and ponder.