Category Archives: Work Rants

Woe is work, woe is blogging, woe is me

Hey, thanks for stopping by! Doesn’t my post title sound so welcoming and happy? Makes you want to dig right in and read, huh?

Let’s take it from the top, shall we?

Work. Hey, I’m working, and that’s a good thing. I’ve been with my company for over 13 years and have done lots of different things. I enjoy a livable wage, excellent benefits and an extremely flexible (and mostly autonomous) working environment. Those things are precious to me! So why am I woeing about it? Well, I made the mistake of checking my work email on Saturday. My boss had sent out something to me and a few other people regarding a topic that he hadn’t had a chance to weigh in on the day before. In the email, I felt quite chastised, somewhat unfairly so. He also left a certain decision up to a coworker of mine, one who is nearly 20 years younger than me, and who I helped train when she was hired three years ago. I’m the oldest person on my team – a lot older than some and only a few years older than others, and mostly I’m OK with that. What I’m not OK with is being seen as the weakest member of the team, and that’s how I felt. I’m not ambitious at this point in my career – my out-of-work life takes a lot of my energy and time, and I’m happy to do my work for 40-45 hours a week, but that’s it. I need my non-work time for, non-work! But I feel odd about being surpassed. I like and respect this particular coworker a lot. She’s also young and single with plenty of time and energy to dive into work….sorta where I was at her age. If I still felt as valued as before I might not mind so much. But I don’t feel as valued and I do mind. And I don’t know what to do about it.

Blogging. I still read all your blogs (and more!), but I haven’t been blogging much myself. It’s not that I don’t have things going on that I could write about (whale watching! new dogs! new roof!) but I feel less…….inspired. Facebook has been meeting my need to chronicle and connect with much less actual effort on my part. Let’s be honest – the fun part of blogging is reading comments, and when people don’t comment it’s more like writing a private journal, which doesn’t really need to be done in public. So I’m not sure how much longer I’ll keep this. Or maybe I’ll start a new one. I don’t know yet. How have you all handled lulls in your blogging muscle?

Me. Well, believe it or not,, aside from what I said above, I don’t feel all that woeful! Life is pretty OK right now, and while I’m not happy that fall and winter are here/on their way, things are good. We have some exciting things to look forward to as a family in the next few weeks and months.

How are things with you?

Off the Hook!

The phone I use for work, an old Blackberry, died last weekend. I first noticed it wasn’t acting quite right when the emails stopped coming in. That’s happened from time to time in the 3+ years I’ve owned this phone, so I did what I always did, and popped the battery out and then back in to “reset” it, or whatever. No change. Also, the battery was draining in hours versus days. Oh, and the worst of all was that I was unable to make or receive calls on it. Pretty much renders any phone useless.

So Monday morning at work I ordered a new one – I had my choice of three models, and finally settled on the Blackberry World Edition (Red).


Pretty, no?

I worked all week without a cell phone, and I learned that even though I don’t use my phone all that  much, I missed it terribly. I have a daily 9 am meeting which I am sometimes still in the car for, so I was accustomed to calling in from the road when necessary. Au contraire this week! I also stopped wearing a watch years ago when I began carrying a pager, and then cell phone, and I missed not having the correct time on me. I was also used to looking at it after hours to deal with any critical emails (it’s hooked up to my work email) and my schedule to remind myself of upcoming meetings. Additionally I also felt a teensy bit panicked along the lines of “But what if something happens to me on the way to pick up the kids?” and having no way to get in touch with anyone (of course it’s not like we don’t live in a pretty populated area, and for sure someone would see me and call it in if anything were to happen).

So the new phone arrived yesterday and when I picked the girls up they were so very excited. Krystal insisted on showing the other kids at the after school program and declared it “Sick!” and “Off the hook!” (gee, I hope not!) (also, when did I get so old?)  And while it does look cool, my employer blocks most of the fun features, so it’s really pretty utilitarian in the end. Not that I am complaining, since I don’t pay for it and am allowed to use it for personal use.

Now to start incorporating these new hip phrases into conversation!


My company issued another round of layoffs yesterday. Bottom line is the title of my post, so I’m eliminating all suspense to actually get you to read this post – I am still employed.

But it was touch-and-go all morning.

My manager does not work at the same location I do. Our team is scattered all over the country, though a lot of us are in three locations in the northeast. When I walked into the office yesterday I got word that one of my co-workers (who works in a different location from me) had already been notified he was laid off, and soon after someone else told me that my manager was on his way to my location. I am not indulging in hyperbole when I say I started shaking and sweating.

I was standing up in my cube, talking to a co-worker in the next cube, when our manager walked towards us. We both knew he was there for one of us, maybe both. He stopped in her cube, and asked to speak with her. They walked away. We all knew why. I felt awful for her (as I did, and do, for everyone else who was affected, many of whom I consider friends). At that time I didn’t know if he would be coming for me when he finished with her. She was gone for a long time.

About 45 minutes later, my manager IM’d me to say he was available if I wanted to talk. That was my cue that it was over, and I was safe. That’s the word we use – “Are you safe?” was a question that was flying around over cube walls and IM all morning.

I’ve been with this company for 12 1/2 years. They have been exceptionally good to me, and I enjoy a level of autonomy and flexibility that I consider as valuable as my salary. Although I work 40-50 hours per week, they are not always contiguous hours, and they are not all in the office. If I had to actually be physically present in an office for 40+ hours per week, I would go insane. I would feel like I was in prison, and it would severely impact my personal life in terms of time with my children and drive my stress level off the charts. I am extremely fortunate to have this job. Truly.

And yet, I’m also stagnant. My work is not interesting, and I’m not learning anything new that improves my life in any way. It has decent pay, excellent benefits and an extremely flexible schedule that works for me as a single parent. I’m not knocking it. But if I didn’t have it anymore, I might be pushed into finding something that fulfills my soul, even if it doesn’t fill my bank account.

With the way things are going, I might get to find out in March, May or June, depending on the rumor that turns out to be true (too soon to tell).

Random Weekend Thoughts

I’m not feeling up to a coherent post, but have a bunch of thoughts running through my head:

  • We watched Akeelah and the Bee today – what a great movie! I clapped in glee several times, and was reduced to tears several more. I had to stop it a few times to explain some of the subtler points to Krystal, but we all enjoyed it very much. If you have not seen it yet I highly recommend it!
  • Krystal has been complaining vaguely of a sore throat for several weeks. Because she has not otherwise seemed ill, I’ve mostly brushed it off. On Thursday she complained more vociferously than usual about not feeling well (this is a frequent morning tactic, but she always forgets/feels better once she’s started to do something). I told her to go to school, but if she still felt bad she could go to the nurse who would call me. Well, about 11:00 the nurse called. She didn’t have a fever, but was not feeling well. I took her home, where she got a burst of energy, and even admitted she wished she were still at school. Until bedtime rolled around and she had a slight fever. And then the next morning when it was a high fever. Mama called the doctor and the doctor said (no, there was no jumping on beds) — her throat looked quite “injected” even though the rapid strep test came back negative. But based on the visual evidence and the weeks long complaint, Krystal is now on Amoxocillin twice a day for 10 days, which is a whole post in and of itself. Maybe tomorrow.
  • As I’ve mentioned before, I used to own a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (mutt) and have never gotten over my lust for another. After we got Tessie I applied to a Cavalier Rescue group, and I check their site frequently for dogs that we might want to adopt. Many of the dogs that appear on the site specifically say they should go to an adult only home, or one with kids over age 8 or 10, or 12. But on Thursday I spotted one with none of those specifications, who sounds delightful in nearly every way. I’m trying to decide whether to call and ask about him, or if I’m a glutton for punishment with adding a second dog to my already-out-of-control life.
  • I went out, without my kids, on Friday night! Wahoo! And left my child, who had been home sick that day, in the care of our teenage sitter. And Krystal called me from bed, unbeknown to the sitter, to ask me to come home. Major guilt.
  • It was -13 when I got up yesterday morning. Brrrr is hardly the word for it.
  • We are supposed to get 5-10 inches of new snow tomorrow. I am so depressed about that I can hardly stand it.
  • My girls’ birthday party is next Saturday. I have no idea how I’m going to get everything done I need to get done before then.
  • I’m starting to really worry, in ways I haven’t yet before, about the future of my job.

OK, that is all for now – off to enjoy a glass of wine and catch up on some TV.

I just realized the girls’ party isn’t for two weeks, so I both have longer to get everything done, and longer to worry about it. Hey, I’ll take it!

Good News, Bad News

Welcome to Wednesday. In an effort to lighten up what has been a very bad day for me, I’m taking a stab at a “Good News, Bad News” installment. Here goes.

Good News: I still have a job.

Bad News: Many, many people around me do not. Not only has it been an incredibly sad day as each new name surfaces, it has been stressful, wondering if my name is next. And of course the aftermath of picking up the workload these folks carried. And wondering when the next round will be, and who among us will still be here after that too. OK, that is SO not light.

Good News: Tessie is doing awesome at the house training thing. She consistently rings the bells at the door when she needs to go out (amaze your friends and neighbors!).

Bad News: Every time she enters Krystal and Belles room she pees. She actually seems to head for their room to pee. At first I thought it was the fuzzy white throw rug she was attracted to, so I took that out. But she still does it. And yes, I clean and spray the neutralizer stuff after. Any thoughts?

Good News: Tessie is doing awesome at the house training thing. (yeah, I know I already said that, but some things are really good)

Bad News: Tessie needs to get up in the middle of the night to do her thing, and way too early in the morning too. She is four months old. How long till I can expect her to go a full night (8-9 hours)?

Good News: I’m looking forward to my second date (a friend has dresses she is going to let me borrow – yay friends!).

Bad News: I still don’t have a babysitter. Gary and I joked that we would just leave them in the car. It was a joke! And I said I’d just put them to bed early that night and they’d never know I was gone. Again, a joke, people!

Good News: I still have a job. And I’m healthy. And my kids are healthy. And we have friends and family who love us and would help us if the first sentence were no longer true and we needed it.

Bad News: I got nothing. Sometimes you just have to hold on to the good news.

Being a Grown-up — Yawn!

Happy Day after St. Patrick’s Day!

Yesterday both my girls went off to school wearing green shirts in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. As for me, apparently green is not really my color as the closest thing I had in my closet was a shirt I can best describe as teal, which K declared was really more “blue” than “green”, and she was right. Hey, you do what you can do, right?
At work, I’d say a good 80% of the people were wearing some shade of green.

When I picked the girls up they both were full of stories — B’s class held a Rainbow Parade around the school, while K’s class talked about shamrocks and what constitutes “luck”. K wanted to know how I spent my day – what parties did I attend, what St. Patty’s day games did I play, what special food did I eat.

Let’s see: I worked on the computer. I attended (too many) meetings. I called people. People called me. I worked on the computer.


I can remember watching my mom go off to work each day when I was a little older than K is now – maybe I was 8 or 10. And thinking how mind-numbingly boring her life must be. Get up, go to work, come home, make dinner, go to bed, get up and do it all again. Hey, wait a minute, that IS my life!

I did try to explain to my kids how the definition of “fun” can change as you grow older. But I’m sure they didn’t get it. That’s OK. There definitely ARE parts of my life that are boring, especially when written like I just did! But I don’t “feel” bored. Most of the time. With that said, I really do need to find a way to get more daily fun into my life. I don’t want my kids to look at my life the way I looked at my mother’s. I want to be someone they want to be.

Blackberry Crackberry

I am a Blackberry owner.

I own it because my job requires it. Require being a very loose term here, but since they bought it for me and pay the monthly bills, who am I to argue? I actually held off on getting one for as long as I could because I was afraid of the “short leash” syndrome, but I have actually only received work calls outside of normal business hours two or three times in the three years I’ve had it. I have no problem with that level of frequency. Also, I’m allowed to use it for occasional personal use so I don’t have to actually pay for a personal cell phone. Bonus!

When the iPhone was released last June, my company sent out a mass e-mail reminding us all that the iPhone was not an approved company device. Bummer. Because I seriously covet one. But I’m not about to fork over that kind of money, and frankly, I’m not wild about the service provider you are roped into using.

Then today, I saw this article, and I’m hoping, hoping, hoping. I would love to see it certified and approved for use at my company. It would take awhile, but one can dream.

The VDay Reds and Blues

It’s the obligatory “HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY” post.

There you go – glad that’s out of the way.

Actually, my very favorite Valentine’s Day was my junior year of college. I had a very close circle of friends, and without planning it, we all just did really fabulous things for each other that year. Making cards and poems, cookies, leaving a surprise note. I really felt loved and special all day long. I’m smiling just thinking of that day, and those people. Sadly, I’ve lost touch with them. Hmmm, not the feeling I was going for. Anyway!

This year I actually considered sending myself flowers at work. I’ve been sent flowers at work before, and let me tell you, it’s up there on the special scale. It’s a way for all your co-workers to see that someone loves you enough to send flowers. Of course, I’m not sure this has as much impact on Valentine’s Day, since there was literally a bevy of flower delivery trucks lined up at the entrance to my building this morning. It’s too easy to get lost in the crowd on a day like this. A birthday, anniversary or other special event can pack a lot more punch. So for all you male readers out there, make a note. In the end, of course, I decided that I wasn’t willing to pay inflated VDay prices for flowers, and truth be told, I’m not much of a flower person anyway (psssst! chocolate). I just wanted to feel special. And then I think, why am I buying into the need to feel more special today than any other day? So, in the end, it was really just a regular day for me. Although I did wear a red sweater, and both my girls got a small box of chocolate and a bag of Valentine M&M’s.

Here’s hoping you feel loved and special today and everyday.

Five – Two – Now?

I hate winter.

I hate the cold. I hate the snow. I hate the gray of the sky and the landscape. I hate shoveling snow. I hate driving in snow. I hate that it sometimes results in no school days. I hate the boots and mittens and hats and snow pants that must be purchased, stored and transported.

I hate winter.

Oh, and I live in New England, where we have all this and more every year from November/December through March or even April. Right now it is very much winter where I am. I actually can’t remember having this much snow continuously on the ground in many years.
Honestly, there is not one thing I like about winter. Well, OK, the first snow of a season is a little cool, but after that, I’m ready for spring. And it’s not something I “need”.

About a year ago I was offered the opportunity for a relocation to the Raleigh, NC through work. I thought long and hard about it, I really did. And in the end, for many reasons which I won’t detail here (at least not now), I decided to stay put. This winter, I have been rethinking that.

However, layoffs were announced at work on the first of the month. While I am still employed, for now, I have to consider the possibility I may be affected in the future. Rumor has it there may be another wave of layoffs in April.

I realize I am extremely fortunate. I have, on paper, a decent paying job. I have savings to get us through a period of unemployment. However, the best thing about my job is the flexibility it affords me. As a single parent, I feel this is worth as much as the salary I earn. I can work from home if a child is sick (or a snow day), or even if I just need a day to catch up on laundry or do other chores that are difficult to accomplish when the kids are underfoot. I don’t punch a clock, and as long as I get my work done, no one really cares what time I get to work or what time I leave. This is a function of my position, but also in the sweat equity I’ve earned through performance and relationships in the years I’ve been there. I recognize this type of flexibility takes time to earn, and a new employer would probably not be as amenable to the autonomy I’ve grown accustomed to.

I’ve typed a lot of words and I still haven’t said what I intended to when I set out to write this!

When I got divorced I moved away from where I had moved with my ex back “home” here to New England. This resulted in also moving away from a friend who has become like a sister to me. We talk on the phone nearly everyday and our families vacation together. With the recent death of her mother, she has begun rethinking where she lives (while not officially New England, it’s still the northeast, and still very winter). And to make a long story sort, we’re cooking up what we’re calling our Five Year Plan. Except I’m hoping it’s more like a Two Year Plan. We want to move to Florida.

I am really excited about this. We have each fallen in love with a few houses online. Having no winter is a huge selling point for us.

However, I need a job. If I get laid off, that may be my impetus to turn it into a Right Now Plan. But either way, it will likely mean leaving my current employer for something else. I’d love for that something else to be something for me. In two years, when B is in school full-time, my astronomical child care costs will be dramatically reduced, so my income needs will be less. I’m a hard worker, but not very entrepreneurial. Someone else will start a business doing X, and I’ll smack my forehead “Why didn’t I think of that?” So my quest right now is to a) find a job in Florida in my current industry (ho hum), or b) figure something out I can do on my own to make a living (with all my free time).  Wish it were as easy as that!

I Think I am the Grinch

Today I was breezing through the kitchen at work, intent on refilling my water and on my way back to my desk to bury myself in more work. In the kitchen heating up her lunch was a co-worker who I used to work with closely, but hadn’t seen in awhile, and she wanted to make small talk. She asked me if I was looking forward to the holidays. Rather than giving the expected answer (which I wish I would have done, although then I wouldn’t have anything to blog about!), I said, “NO! It’s such a stressful time!”

Her response to me made me feel more guilty. She said, “Oh, but I’m looking forward to spending time with my family!”  I thought perhaps she meant family members from out of town that she may not see often, but she said, no, with her husband and children, not having to go anywhere, to just sit around and be together.

And I truly felt scrooge-ish with my attitude. It’s not that I don’t love my children, or want to spend time with them. But seriously, spending lots of unstructured time with them is long and boring, for all of us. And add a holiday like Christmas with all the EXPECTATIONS, and it’s enough to make me want to move to Australia. And I haven’t even gotten into the baggage that will come along with my mother’s visit.

I’ve had lots of other blog topics rattling in my head the last few days, but suddenly my mind is blank.