Thursday, May 27, 2010

Clearly Our Signals Are Crossed

I had my own "Aha Moment" as a result of a tweet.  Go figure. 

I was having a convo with one of my favorite Tweeps about another blog we were reading.  Nothing earth shattering -- just sharing our thoughts on a blog.  I was confused by the blogger's intent.  I wasn't sure if her goal was one outcome or another.  My Tweep proceeded to tweet (I hope she doesn't mind I RT'd without credit but it was a DM): 

"I don't think she's clear either. That's why the Universe is giving her mixed signals."

I've thought about those 15 words for the past two days.  Not the kind of "that was a good observation" thinking but the kind of thinking that causes you to go deep within.

It's no secret that I've experienced a lot of chaos and confusion in my life, especially with my work.  I've always wondered why I have such a hard time carving out my path or shoot even picking a path.  I hate to keep referring to my growing up in a home with an alcoholic parent but it's so important to how my thoughts and outlook on life have been formed that I can't help but think about it.  It applies here as well.

When your life is one chaotic moment after another (the definition of a child growing up with an alcoholic parent), you become especially skilled at being reactive and anticipating the next move based on past experience.  You become expert at crisis management.  When things are going to hell in a hand basket, you want me there.  On the outside, I'm cool, calm and collected.  I can assess the situation quickly, figure out what needs to be done and git her done.  I've been doing it since I was 10.  The problem is life is not usually crisis after crisis.  When the perceived emergency is over and you've given the internal signal to stand down, you don't know what to do next.   

That quality has made me an outstanding employee, always the team player willing to do just about anything to get the job done.  Need someone to help with a PowerPoint presentation, I'm there.  No one knows how to the use the new software, I'll figure it out.  We need someone to do X and you're good at it (or at least we know you will become expert at it).  Okay I'll take the job and get paid significantly less than someone who set out to do that particular job.  That's a passive and reactive approach that worked well in keeping me gainfully employed.  It also kept me from really having to think a lot about what I wanted to do. Until July 2007.  For the first time in my adult life, I really had to think about what I wanted to pursue (corporate downsizing messed up the good gig I had going). 

Those 15 words made me realize I haven't been clear with the Universe and have been sending a lot of mixed messages myself.  I'm a marketing analyst.  No, I'm a database administrator. Wait; I'd be a good Paralegal or Court Reporting would be fun.  Guaranteed a job if I go into the Health Care field in some capacity.  Don't forget, I really want that bookstore.  The Universe has been returning exactly what I put out there.  I've met Paralegals, Court Reporters, Systems Analyst, expanded my network of marketing professionals, and have  been given the name of a successful Independent Bookstore owner.  Even the job I have now is a result of the message I put out there:  I want a job making x dollars per year.  What do you know, a friend called and said ABC has an opening for an Associate Business Manager.  It's an area I never even remotely thought about applying for in the past but I knew I could get that dollar figure I thought was my primary goal. 

My goal this weekend is to sit down with my old journal (it's around here somewhere I'm sure).  I'm going to do some deep thinking about what it is I want.  It's a very unfamiliar place for me, but one I'm ready to explore fully.  I won't "ask" my friends what should I do or what they think.  I won't read the statistics on projected job growth or expected salary ranges. 

It's time for the Universe and I to uncross our signals -- time for me to be clear. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Stop The Pooh-Pooh

I've been working on a post the past couple of days about someone I met on Twitter, but something happened today that knocked me for a loop and that post might make more sense after this one.

I did something today that I rarely, ever do ... I shared something personal about myself and got pooh-poohed on big time.   That usually doesn't happen to me (I'll do my own negative self-talk, thank you).  As a child, I learned very early not to be too open about myself - having an alcoholic parent teaches you a lot very early on and not sharing is one of the biggest lessons you learn.  After all, you don't want your crazy, dysfunctional home to be the topic of school yard talk.  Of course, it probably was anyway, but by not making myself vulnerable, I didn't really care what others were saying.  But I digress. 

We were talking about dreams at lunch today.  Not the usual, if I could only hit the lottery for a piece of the big jackpot type of dream, but real dreams.  The stuff you dreamed of doing as a child.  The kind of dream that if you could just work up the nerve, get past your fear, you'd go all out trying to make happen.  I shared my dream of having my own bookstore.  The two ladies I was sharing with all but considered driving me to the nearest mental hospital for having such an impractical, non-money-making dream.  How in the world could you make any money doing that?  Books will be non-existent in a few years anyway.  Borders and Barnes & Nobles have that market locked up so no way you can be "successful at that".   You do know they have Kindles and iPads now don't you?  

They were making valid points, and all things I've considered and researched myself.  This was more of a case of how they proceeded to burst my bubble than what they said.   They had more "traditional" dreams.  Grad school for one (she's doing it now) and some high level position in Corporate America before running her own company.  A catering company for another.   Dreams no better than mine but who am I to judge?  My four year old granddaughter wants to be an ice skating ballerina and cheerleader soccer player on the side -- now that's a dream.  Grad school?  Seriously?  I've never been one to have comebacks on the fly so needless to say it was 4:00 before I wanted to say "well your chocolate cake is nothing to write home about" Ms. Wanna-Be-Caterer.  Besides, I didn't want to pooh-pooh their dreams and goals. 

The fact that they pooh-poohed my dream cut so deeply because I've never been encouraged to dream.  I can state honestly, and without bitterness (now), that every dream I had as a kid, teenager, young woman was shot down by those I loved the most - my family.  So I quit doing it.  My dreams were always naive in nature and never focused on money.  I love money as much as the next person, but I never thought of it until I bought this damn, house, got laid off from a relatively high-paying job, and ... wait I'm digressing again.  I just wanted to be happy and at peace, love going to work, and always have enough time to read all day if I wanted to.   I always said I would have made a hell of a hippie with love and peace for all and time clocks are banned forever.  That communal living thing still seems like a good idea to me.

The criticism hurt because the one time I venture out of my shell and begin to let others know "the real" me, it felt like I wasn't good enough -- again.  I didn't even know how to dream properly (that was my negative self-talk kicking in).   I started to go all in with the negative talk but I'm glad to say I got over it.  It took a few hours but I got over it.

I might not ever own a bookstore, but that doesn't mean I can't fulfill the bigger picture which is doing my thing on my terms.  I might need to refine "my thing" but I'm determined to discover it and escape the jail sentence I consider Corporate America to be. 

We all should be more mindful of how we respond to a person's dream.  Whether it's a 4-year old who wants to be an ice skating ballerina cheerleading soccer player, an 18-year old that wants to be work in the music industry, a 28-year old that wants to be married and start a family or a 48-year old who wants a bookstore don't pooh-pooh a person's dream.  You might pooh-pooh the next Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey or the owner of the best restaurant in your town (I love you Francesco's), the owner of your local dry cleaner, florist shop or fruit stand or your child's favorite teacher or your branch librarian.  The person you pooh-pooh may  even be yourself.

From this day forward stop the pooh-pooh.  You don't have to embrace their dream or even understand it but it not helpful to pooh-pooh.  Oh and Ms. Wanna-Be-Caterer ... cook on my sista -- just don't put that chocolate cake on your menu.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Lady with the Boxers

If you follow me on Twitter, you are well aware that I hate my current job but there is one bright spot that happens daily.  As crappy as the job is, I'm fortunate enough that my little cube faces a window.   I can always take a minute and enjoy the beautiful landscaping and try to figure out what the name of the tree is that's in the middle of the divider ... I'd like to plant one near my deck.   Even more enjoyable than watching the tree blossom is the lady with the two Boxers.

Like clockwork, there's a little blond lady that takes a walk between 10:00-11:00 a.m.  She's never missed a day since I've been working there.  She's a petite lady but I can't see her close enough to take a guess at her age.  She always has two of the prettiest Boxers I've ever seen walking with her.  They're well-trained dogs as she never has them on a leash.  Yet they stay out of the road and stay relatively close to her.  They'll run ahead of her as she maintains her pace but they're never more than 10-15 feet away.  They stay close together and there's a particular spot on my company's land that one likes to take care of business (if I ever get to walk during lunch I'll know which spot to avoid).    The other one must like a spot on the other side of the building as he/she never takes care of business in my view.

I envy that lady.  Not because she has two of the prettiest dogs I've ever seen (I love 'em all) but because she doesn't have to be in an office every day at a job she despises to earn enough money to pay the bills -- barely.  I've made up a whole fantasy life around her and her dogs.  She's obviously well-off enough that she doesn't work during the morning or she has a second shift job and is walking the dogs in the morning because she won't be at home during the evening.  Because my company is located in a pretty swanky part of town, I choose to believe the former. 

I think she's carefree enough to spend her days exactly as she likes or she's got a sick partner or child at home and takes a few minutes to herself every day to keep her sanity.  Or her husband is a successful ____ (insert ideal occupation here) and all she has to do is supervise the hired help.  Or her husband has passed on and left her with enough insurance money to live in that neighborhood or she lives with her parents and uses that time with her dogs to try to figure out her next move.  

I wonder if she's planning her dinner menu as she's walking.  Because she doesn't have to work, she can plan and execute healthy meals for her family everyday as opposed to hoping to get home in time to throw some chicken breasts in the pan and boil some pasta or pick up a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket and some frozen broccoli or defrost some hamburger and make Manwiches and frozen tater tots.   

After she finishes her walk, I'm sure she takes the dogs home, gives them a treat, and takes a shower.  She probably reads a little while or she maybe a TV junkie and watches The View, live.  The dogs are probably resting as they've romped and played over and hour during their walk.  They've sniffed every bush and run ahead enough to enjoy themselves but they always wait for her to catch up.  She doesn't go home and spend the day worrying about the visit to the Vet that her dogs are sorely in need of for annual vaccinations.  She's not trying to determine if she should spend the extra $20 to get the dogs some healthy, natural, dog food or give them the preservatives-laden mass market brand.  She loves her dogs as evidenced by their happy demeanor and playful spirit.  She wants to provide the best life possible for them.  Those dogs are cared for better than people in some areas.  

After The View (or reading) she works in her garden and makes sure the flowers are pruned and watered.  She might do some shopping as the dogs nap.  She's not stressed though ... she's just enjoying her day.   The house is spotless (the cleaning lady was there while she walked the dogs).  The lawn is mowed (the lawn guy comes once a week -- twice during the rainy season).   If anything is broken in the beautiful house, she'll  put up with the aggravation of waiting for someone to come to fix it.  She doesn't care how much it costs.  Life is pretty good. 

She's in my line of sight for five minutes top but the life I imagine her leading carries me through the rest of my day in Hell.  She can be out with her dogs as I sit in an office and wonder how she's spending her day.
 I don't know the lady with the Boxers but I envy her. 

Monday, May 10, 2010

Hey Barbara - Use the Pillow!

So I just finished watching The View and found out that Barbara Walters is having heart surgery in a few weeks days to replace a heart valve.  Having been through this surgery 12 years ago, I'd like to offer her a few tips and a heads up on a couple of things.

I don't know the reason why Barbara is having the surgery but I had mine as a result of a wicked case of Rheumatic Fever as a child that left my mitral valve damaged.  Now the doctors will give you all the info you need to make intelligent medical decisions but, let's face it, doctors can't tell you what it's really like.  So from one heart patient to another here's a couple of little things Barbara needs to know.
  1. Artificial or "Pig"?  WTH?  You read it right -- artificial or "pig" valve.  I'm sure Barbara has already decided if she has the choice, medically.  One big advantage of a pig valve is that it's more like your own valve and you won't have to take blood thinners to prevent clotting which is very dangerous with an artificial valve.  A major disadvantage of the pig valve is that you're more likely to need it replaced again in some years because they will wear out.  That's what it was like 12 years ago ... they might have some super-pig valve now that eliminates that disadvantage.  I chose the artificial.  Barbara, if you choose the artificial, you need to know that sucker sounds like a big old Timex -- the old fashioned ones -- in certain positions.  It took me a while after surgery to find the right position to minimize the ticking.   I never will forget being in a meeting after I returned to work and our Director asked who had the loud watch.  She was totally red in the face when I told her it was me.  I told her it was no problem and that if she was ever sitting next to me and did NOT hear the ticking to call 911 with the quickness.   You'll get used to the ticking but you really need to know you'll sound like a Timex commercial in a quiet room until you find the positions that minimize the sound.  If you choose artificial, don't lean into the mic.  Just sayin. 
  2. The nurses are going to make you get up the next day.  You've just had your chest cracked open and you think you're going to rest a little while to recoup.  NOT.  As soon as you get back to your regular room, and quit throwing up, they're going to make you sit up in a chair and begin your coughing exercises.  It hurts.  But it's also necessary.  You've got to keep fluid from settling in your lungs and one of the ways to accomplish that is to cough.  They're going to give you a cute little heart-shaped pillow for you to hold to your chest as you cough.  Of course, yours will be silk and stuffed with something fancy.  Regardless, USE IT!  Don't try to be a bad ass and think you can do this by yourself.  That little pillow will become your best friend for a few weeks and you will threaten death to anyone who moves it and you have to search for it.  Of course, you won't have a little girl at home who will want to play with it so you should be good.
  3. After you start coughing you'll have to start walking.  You'll think why in the hell are they making me walk around the floor?  You'll be tempted to scream, I JUST HAD HEART SURGERY -- do you people not realize this?  Doesn't matter -- you've got to walk.  You will most likely be scared to move more than 10 steps outside of your room, but that's okay.  You'll hold onto to that IV pole like it's George Clooney, and walk like a little toddler just doing it for the first time.  The nurses will make you track your progress by making a little check mark per lap on the white board outside of their station.  Believe me, in a couple of days you'll be wanting to beat the show-off down the hall who has got 15 checks to your 2 and you'll be race walking around that floor like a champ.  Besides, they won't let you go home until you've got a certain number of laps next to your name.  No matter how cute your male nurse is (yeah I remember you) you'll be wanting to go home as soon as possible.
  4.  The food sucks.  Just because you're on the cardiac ward they'll treat you like they took your taste buds away.  Sorry, no tips for that.  You might have a friend who will sneak you up a little salt packet from McDonalds but other than that I've got nothing.
  5. Once you've walked enough and your cardiologist has determined you can go home, you'll want to stay.  I was in the hospital for five days.  Did you hear me FIVE DAYS! Again, you'll say, I just had heart surgery why are you sending me home? But as long as you're doing okay there's no reason for you to be there.  It's scary and you'll wonder what ifs all day long on the day of your discharge but you'll be fine.  Of course, you can't wear a seat belt and you'll be scared to death of a car crash before you get home and the air bag deploying but I sat in the back seat as a precaution.  Odds are it won't happen to you but doesn't stop you from wondering.  
  6. When you get home, you'll have a strict walking schedule.  Don't think you've beat it because you've walked enough to get out of the hospital.  You'll most likely have someone there with you to help you out at home.  In my case it was my mom.  I thought my male nurse was tough.  Nope.  Momma had him beat.  I got tired of walking.  Four or five times a day she would say it's time and she'd push me out the door and lock it so I couldn't get back in and watch All My Children or Judge Judy.  That first walk will scare the pee out of you but after a few times you'll just accept it and look forward to your walks.  You're a health conscious individual anyway and I imagine you exercise quite a bit so this will probably be easier for you. 
  7. Your scar will depress you.  It's not pretty.  The doctor made mine as low as possible so I could still show my sexy cleavage but your first instinct will be to buy all the turtle necks you can find.  You'll get over it and you will accept your scar as the battle scar that it is and wear it proudly.  Believe it or not, I forget about and I'm genuinely surprised when a fellow cardiac patient asks me "when did you have your surgery?".
  8. You can still have sex.  Yes it will be scary and you'll be afraid it'll kill you but it's really okay.  The key is to have a partner that understands what you've been through and take it slow and find a position that's comfortable for you.  That's only in the beginning.  Once you've healed completely you'll feel so damn good that your partner will think you're 20 again. 
  9. Oh that feeling good thing.  You will fluctuate.  Your emotions are going to be all over the place.  Menopause has got nothing on the emotional roller coaster you'll go riding on.  I broke down in Walmart after being home a couple of days.  I got tired and had to get that little electric chair to finish shopping.  I never thought of it until now but that might play a big part of why I despise Walmart to this day.  You will most likely have those up and down feelings for a while but they will pass. 
  10. Let your friends and family help you.  No matter how good you think you feel, you did just come though a major surgery.  Let your friends and family help you around the house and with meals.  Of course, you're Barbara Walters and have probably had help around the house for years but for us "regular people" accepting help can be a little hard to deal with.  It's okay if you don't feel like entertaining or washing the dishes before you go to bed. 
  11. Appreciate the little things.  Notice how pretty the blue sky is.  Notice how cute the squirrels are.  Plant flowers and really enjoy them -- just because they're so beautiful.   Smile at little children who are discovering the world around them.  Enjoy your dog.  Let her sit in your lap and just be.  Recognize that there is something bigger than you in this world.  Of course, you're Barbara Walters and with your great accomplishments you might find this hard to believe.   Trust me. 
    Barbara, these are just a few of the little things the doctor can't prepare you for.  While they may seem minor and trite, they do play a big part in your recovery.  You're Barbara Walters and I know you're going to come through this like the champ you are.  If I did it I know you can.  If you ever want to talk, tweet me and I'll call you.  Much success to you!  Oh yeah -- USE THE PILLOW.

    Sunday, May 9, 2010

    It's Complicated

    I dread Mother's Day.  There I said it and I'm pretty sure I just secured a spot in hell with that statement.   If there was a box for relationship status with your mother, I'd have to check "it's complicated".

    She was a great mom to us five kids as we were growing up.  We never missed a meal (always home cooked mind you); our home stayed spotless ALL OF THE TIME which to this day I'll never understand how she accomplished with five kids; and, even though we lived in "da hood" we had to act like we had some sense which meant no hanging out on the corner, do good in school, go to church, and above all  respect momma. 

    Our relationship got to complicated status was when I was a teenager and coming into my own womanhood.  There were some things my mom tolerated that were in direct conflict with the messages I was receiving "from the outside".  My mom was an abused woman.  My dad was a violent alcoholic.  We kids dreaded Friday nights as we knew 9 times out of 10 he was going to come home drunk which meant a night of fighting and a middle of the night escape plan for momma so he wouldn't kill her.  Back then domestic abuse was treated as a "family issue" and the cops rarely got involved to the extent they do now.  As the oldest child, I have always been the one that took on more responsibility than any child should have to bear but I did it.  First priority was always make sure mom got someplace safe (usually a friend of the family came through) and then make sure my brothers were taken care of until it was safe for her to return.  I always wondered why my mom tolerated it.  If there were ever any kids wishing their parents would divorce it was us.  Yet she stayed. 

    As a young Black woman coming of age in the late 70's, it was all about being your own woman, doing your thang.  The Civil Rights movement had opened up so many doors as had the Women's Movement.  Our society was changing rapidly and the cultural norms my mom was raised with were being shattered left and right.  Problem was my mom was too busy raising us and trying to stay out of of the line of fire to be too concerned with all that.  She wasn't able to help me grow into the new society as she didn't do a good job of transitioning herself. 

    I was feisty and unafraid during those times.  I remember calling my dad out on his drinking and abuse and getting in his face about it.  Unheard of for a girl-child to be in her daddy's face about anything but I wasn't afraid dammit.  He was going to know I was on to him and that "we" weren't going to take it anymore.  Only I didn't know I was in the fight by myself.  My mom wasn't having it.  She didn't back me up.  She stayed.  I said to hell with it.  The day I turned 18, I moved out of the house. 

    I lost a lot of respect for my mother as a woman during those turbulent times.  That created internal conflicts in me you wouldn't believe.  I didn't trust any man or any person for that matter and always went at this world with a "I'm in this by myself" attitude which was not conducive to healthy relationships for me (a divorce and 3 failed "serious" relationships to prove it).  I have a lot of baggage and slowly but surely I'm learning to let it go.  I've done a lot of reading about Adult Children of Alcoholics and the traits we take on as children to cope.  Believe it or not some of my best traits have come from what I learned growing up in that environment (hey another blog topic).  I've even been in therapy (a sin in the Black community apparently) and have learned to let go of a lot of the hatred I felt towards my dad.  My big hurdle now is coming to that same understanding and peace with my mother.  I never developed the hatred for my mom that I held towards my dad but the respect I lost for her as a woman (not my mom) is what I'm working on.  I'm not there yet.  On Mother's Day it's hard for me to buy those overly sentimental cards.   I usually end up getting one because it makes her so happy but I feel like a fraud.  I give her some money or whatever gift she wants and I've done my daughterly duty. 

    Before you think I'm a cruel and selfish bitch who doesn't understand what my mom was going through, you need to know I love my mom and dad (now deceased).  As a grown woman, I'm fully aware that she didn't have the family support to encourage her to get out of her situation.  Her parents died when I was a little girl and she had already lost one sister to alcoholism.  Her other sister, the one I wanted to be like, had escaped by going to college on a music scholarship and left the dysfunction behind and never looked back.  The assistance available from the community was virtually nonexistent.  Even the church didn't want to get too involved in "personal problems".  I recognize now that my mom was tired by the time my dad died.  She didn't have any marketable skills and the computer revolution had to pass her by once we learned the colors and images triggered a seizure disorder we didn't know she had.  The adult woman in me knows about the struggles she had and I admire like crazy the strength she found to finish raising my brothers to be the responsible and caring men they are today. 

    The young teen in me is still fighting to be heard though and I know I have to resolve that conflict.  The resolution could be as simple as me accepting that it was what it was and to not saddle my mother with seeking answers to what had to be a painful time for her.  I was able to do that with my dad as the peace I hungered for with him didn't come until four years after his sudden and unexpected death.  I no longer blame either of my parents for the screw ups I've made and the bad choices I've made in my own life.  It does help to understand how my viewpoint was developed to better understand what I need to be aware of when making decisions but I don't blame them -- that's a big accomplishment.   

    So on this Mother's Day I'm going to take my mom her card and flowers, out to eat and whatever else she wants to do today.  Then I'm going to come home and enjoy my own daughter and granddaughter and try to continue to make sense out of my world.

    It's complicated but becoming less so every day. 

    Tuesday, May 4, 2010


    This week (keep in mind it's only Tuesday) has been okay at work. I got over my breakdown and I'm just doing the best I can while I plan my escape. But Gamma's a little disappointed today and it has nothing to do with work -- for once.

    I work in Greensboro and live in Winston-Salem. It takes me a good 50 minutes to an hour to get home if traffic is moving well. I left work at 5:30, hit the highway, got off the highway because I forgot to get gas at lunch, and made it home by 6:35. I let the doggie princess out, loaded her in the car and off we were to vote before the polls closed at 7:00.

    My voting precinct is a middle-school. The parking lot was PACKED and I was quite surprised that I had to circle the lot twice before I found a spot to squeeze into. I was glad to see so many of my neighbors turn out for a primary election. That excitement was short-lived, however, as I entered the gym and only once person was in there voting. The school was having some kind of event hence the overcrowded parking lot.

    I signed in and got my ballot (holding the doggie princess) and voted. Took all of five minutes. I slipped my ballot in the box and I was number 286. Only 286 people had taken the time to vote today (I don't have early voting statistics but I hope they were significantly larger than 286).

    I know primaries are boring - hell - the entire election scene is boring. But we've got to do better. As a Black woman, I know too many of my people fought for the right so I could vote. I don't want their efforts to be in vain. As boring as it is and as much as I despise campaign season with the quarter-truth ads, name calling, and general all-around nastiness, I try to always exercise my right to vote. I even do my due diligence and do as much research as possible on the candidates. Everyone turns out for the Presidential elections and that makes me happy. Truth of the matter is the Presidential election doesn't have as much impact on our day-to-day lives as our local representatives. We need to be turning out in record numbers for our School Board Members, our Sheriffs, our Congressional representatives and of course our Senators.

    So promise me young people, especially young Black people that you will get involved in the political process -- nationally and locally. Whether you're Democrat, Republican, Independent, or even Tea Party (okay that last one hurt), you must get involved and exercise your right to contribute to the process. For my part of town, that ballot box should have said 2,286 at least.

    Sunday, May 2, 2010

    I Was This Close

    So my Twitter followers witnessed a Gamma-Style breakdown Friday. I was this close (snapping fingers) to walking out and dealing with the fallout later. If you've been following me on Twitter then it's no secret that I absolutely hate the job I accepted about six months ago. It's an okay company even if they are technologically still in 2000. They pay me well and it's in an industry that I worked in for 17 years until my previous big employer saw fit to save some money by eliminating about 400 of us in 2007 but that's another story. I recognized the bad match the first month when I realized they wanted one person to drive themselves crazy doing a two-person job but I thought I was being paranoid. Now I realize not only am I not paranoid (about the job anyway) but I also admit it's just not a good match.

    I'm a marketing research database analyst. Nothing glamorous and in the corporate world usually a low to mid-level job. I'm okay with that never been one to want the bull-shiggity that goes with "moving up the corporate ladder". It's a job that fits my natural curiosity and fascination with all things technical. It fits my work style perfectly as it allows me enough team interaction to understand the problem and to go off in my geekdom and find the answer. And no one can take a bunch of numbers and tell you a story out of it better than I can. I'm a good analyst and I've managed databases that are worth millions of dollars in the corporate world. I take ownership of my data and I'm on point with making sure my stuff is accurate. I thought new gig would give me an opportunity to apply my skills as an Associate Business Manager for a national Sales Director who was responsible for mega-millions of sales per year. I felt if she needed someone to really analyze her business and provide relevant reports on trends and opportunities I was the person.

    I was totally off-base with this one. Turns out the job is more customer service with me making sure orders are written correctly from the Buyers, passed on to order entry to be processed, working with DC's to make sure everything is on schedule to ship and that the plant has an accurate forecast to produce product. Oh yeah, in my spare time I'm supposed to be analyzing -- basically it's a glorified customer service rep. There are Excel workbooks (designed by someone who doesn't understand data relationships AT ALL) that are supposed to run the business. The problem is the workbooks offend me as a data geek. When it's easier to print out 50 pages and do your calculations manually and then enter into spreadsheets your stuff is set up wrong -- PERIOD.

    I despise it. The thought of going to work physically makes me sick. I even went to my cardiologist at one point because I was afraid the artificial heart valve I received 12 years ago was conking out. I was experiencing heart palpitations like I've never felt before. Good news is nothing was wrong with heart valve -- "just" anxiety and stress.
    When you have to take a xanax with your morning coffee it's time to go. I've been looking and networking like crazy trying to escape but we all know the job market is pretty tough right now.

    This past Friday was my breaking point. I was this close to typing out my resignation letter and giving them a two-week notice. No, I don't have another gig lined up and yes my savings have been depleted plus we all know that if you voluntarily quit a job you usually don't qualify for unemployment benefits. It would have been one of the craziest moves I ever consciously made and I was totally okay with it. I felt free, at peace, and I had faith that everything would be okay. In fact, I felt so good about the notice, that I put some files in order, took my one personal belonging and put it in my tote bag in case they didn't want me to work the notice out. I was ret to go!

    For the first time in my life, I was prepared to do something totally against my nature. I was always "the good girl" and good girls just don't leave good paying jobs when they've got bills to pay, especially in a depressed economy. Good girls don't act on instinct too much as we tend to think about the affects of our behavior on everyone around us. I was ready to throw caution to the wind and for once go with the flow. I felt good. I was relaxed and ready to go spend some time with my granddaughter and my doggie - both who have been sorely neglected the past few months.

    The more I thought about it the happier I was. Until I got home and got a mailbox full of bills that have to be paid. So instead of writing out the notice I was so ready to write, I spent the weekend working on those damn spreadsheets from hell. I'm still searching for my next gig like crazy. In fact, I have a second interview Thursday for a marketing database analyst position (keeping fingers crossed). I so wish I was one of those women that could just say to hell with it and walk out. I was this close to becoming her Friday.