Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Pick me, pick me!...oh!...oh!...pick me!

Grade six was one of the best school years I had. I don’t know exactly why, but everything just seemed to flow right and I had fun.

One of the highlights from that year was being “allowed” to play baseball with the boys because a) I could throw, b) I could catch, and c) I did not screech every time the ball came near me. So lunch hour would find the group of us running to the ball diamond to stake claim and set-up a game.

When it came to picking the teams – we did it the good old fashion way of having two captains pick teams from the rest of us hopefuls standing there. The captains were generally the boys that were the best ball players and the most respected in the class.

As the only girl representing, I would understand if you thought that I was one of the last, if not the last, picked for the team, but I wasn’t. I was a decent player, but not the best by any stretch. And yet I was consistently in the first half of the picks. I was a good team player, I didn’t suck out when I got called out, and (I suspect) I was the only one wearing a training bra.

This was a big deal for me and was what I would consider to be the most little-known and incredibly motivating moment in my life.

Until yesterday.

I have recommended and referred to My Hell is Other People in various blog posts because I think that it’s a great blog. It’s intelligent, it’s funny, and it challenges me to think. And rumour has it the blogger behind the blog is a tall British guy…which just makes everything that much better.

So when I read through his annual My Hell is Other People awards that he had listed I was absolutely thrilled to see my blog listed. Honestly. I’m good at being bossy, correcting people’s spelling, and witty retorts, but not so much when it comes to promoting my work. To have him do this for me…wow.

So getting picked first for the grade six lunch time baseball team?! Pfff…whatever. TheHRD picked me...I now have a brand new little-known and incredibly motivating moment in my life.

(Incidentally, as a result of these awards I have now added a number of new blogs to my list of those that I will follow…great work!)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A tale of two parties

This past weekend was my company's Christmas party. It was my first one with them, so I was both interested and tentative to see how things would be.

It was held at a beautiful venue - very classy, with good food, and very generous amounts of free alcohol, which would have been great if I could actually have had some. Being new, being in HR, and being told by my director - the three reasons why I ended up being the DD last night. As far as parties go, it was okay - there was nothing bad per se, but it wasn't very inspiring either.

Now at this same venue were a number of other company parties - one of which we happen to know someone attending, so we snuck out of mine and snuck into theirs to say hello.

And it was hello - Hello real party!

The difference, not only in decor (video screens, glow bracelets, and a photo booth), but the atmosphere and "vibe" was incredible. We ended up finishing our evening there.

As in many cases, an outsider opinion is often more perceptive and valuable.

And in this case, the outsider was my husband. He has attended many a Christmas party at the various companies I have worked with and he said that at each, even knowing all the bullshit and politics going on behind the scene, he has bought into what they are selling. This goes beyond how much money was spent or how hip the event was. Generally at some point the GM, VP, or CEO has stood up and talked about the year that has gone by and the one to come and was able to draw in someone who doesn't even work there.

His comment on this year's company function - nothing. It was cold and emotionally detached. There was nothing specific that was wrong, but you just didn't get the feeling that everyone was on board or enjoying themselves. There was a great divide between the demographics, with little to bridge the two. When the meal was over, there was a significant drop in attendance.

Interestingly enough, this is exactly how I have been feeling about the company within the workplace. Apparently its an under current that flows through all events.

At the other party, it was jumping - it seemed like everyone was upbeat - whether they were mingling, dancing, or sitting at a table chatting. You just got the sense that people wanted to be there. I can only surmise that this is how they feel about their workplace.

This has made me think that perhaps before joining a new organization, I need to find out what their Christmas party is like.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Going out on a limb

Remember when you were a kid and you did things with very little thought about consequences beyond, “will I get in trouble”.

I enjoyed climbing trees – those with a ton of branches that allowed you to scale up to a considerable height. I didn’t think much about the “danger” of it until it came time to come down, and even then it was it was only a momentary pause.

So I find myself at the bottom of a tree looking up at the branches and wondering just how high I want to climb and how thin a branch do I want to rest on. Because as any good tree-climber will tell you, there are good sturdy supportive branches, and then there are questionable twigs.

I’ve recently interviewed for a position that would allow me to reclaim some much needed personal time, but perhaps at the cost of putting me right out of my comfort zone.

To make things more interesting, my husband is considering making a similar move.

Neither of our decisions would be ridiculously drastic, but we wouldn’t be perched on the sturdy branch either. No doubt there would be some swaying in the wind and holding on tightly, but I’m imaging the view.

On those occasions when I made the wrong branch choice and it either broke under my weight or I slide off, I typically slide down a bit and then regained my footing. Sure my knees, arms, and clothing got scrapped and cut. But overall it was so worth it.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

It's not easy being green

Interesting fact:

Frogs that live in colder climates hibernate. Some dig holes or find cracks in logs or rock areas. Their heart beats and breathing slow down and their body temperature reaches close to the outside temperature.

Apparently I have more in common with frogs than I realized.

Yes. I am still here.

I have recently re-emerged from the rock that I had crawled under. A tad dramatic? Perhaps, but it really does feel that way.

Of late, I have done a very good job of adapting to my work surroundings. So good that I have slipped into the manic mode during the day and then compensated by crashing every evening to conserve my energy for the next day. I have passed on reading books, blogging, communicating with people that do not either a) work with me or b) live with me. In short, I've gone into a form of hibernation.

I realize that for various reasons this is not healthy, but truthfully it's so damn easy to do. Sadly, not everyone feels that this is a bad thing. I have tried on a few occasions to talk to my boss about this and the response has been "...I've been doing it for 3 years; you get use to it."

Interestingly I tend to do the opposite of what I should in these situations. When I'm tired, I drink coffee and not water, when I'm lacking energy I sit on my arse rather than exercise, and when I should talk to people I shut down.

I understand it's up to no one but me to take responsibility for anything that I'm lacking in my life. And sure, I could compensate by donning my Wonder Woman outfit, filling every waking hour with "life balancing" activities, but quite frankly red knee-high boots are just not my style.

Maybe I'll just start by this post and gradually move myself back up the evolutionary chain.