Home > Blogging, Humor, LinkedIn, Los Angeles, Work > Perfect for each other

Perfect for each other

Today I published my blog link on my LinkedIn profile. I’ve withheld it there, fearing–under the guise of reasonable practicality–some potential manager or hiring manager might exclude me from consideration for The Perfect Job because of it.

Today I decided a job probably isn’t my perfect job if its people see this personal blog as a liability. Indeed, this blog is a testament to my ability to articulate myself clearly, to discuss sensitive topics with nuance, to make difficult choices and accept their consequences, to disagree respectfully and apologize when I fall short. The perfect-for-me job’s hiring manager would see this blog and cheer, “Yes! This is a lady after our hearts! WE MUST TALK TO HER!”

(My Perfect Job People will definitely use caps lock here. Possibly also emojis.)

I also decided to envision conversations with prospective employers.

I chuckled through my envisioning.

I’m on the right-for-me track.

Okay, Deborah. I’m a little concerned by this whole “blog” thing, frankly. 

Really? Why’s that?

Shouldn’t someone who works with contracts be, oh, I don’t know, discreet? It seems like you lean a little toward sharing every thought about everything, which is kinda the opposite of what I envision for this position.

Oh, you know, this is me just me one-upping my mom.

Say what?

I used to shake a fist at my mom for telling her life story to every stranger on the street, in the grocery store, at my schools, passing by our house, at garage sales, pretty much anywhere and everywhere she went where someone or something else was breathing. It was mortifying. I told her no one needed to know that much about her. And then, when I reached a certain age, I became her. (Inevitable, right?) But I became her even better, because I could reach people all over the world!

I’m not really feeling increased confidence here.

See, there’s one thing that’s a little different for me than it was for my mom. She talked about anything with anyone. Me? I’ll talk about just about anything under the sun here, except my work. That’s off limits. If I talk about work here, it’s in the most general terms possible, like how saying “no” is important. (Shocking, right? I KNOW. On a side note, if this statement does shock you, we should just go ahead and stop chatting here. I won’t take it personally.)

No, I’m following you so far. (See what I did with there?)

Yeah! I like how you sneaked in that “no.” I sense you’re still a little hesitant. What’s up?

Okay, so you don’t talk about your job here. But if you have this much to say all the time, I feel like you’ll be offering up opinions left and right at the office. On everything.

Nope!

Nope?

My blog is my blog. My work is my work. Once in a while I’ll mention that this blog exists, but I don’t like talking about not-work very much while at work. I’ve actually asked colleagues who found my blog to leave comments on the blog if they want to talk about things I’ve blogged here. Work is a place I get to go and challenge myself in ways that engage my brain in ways my blog doesn’t. But this blog? This is my community. This is where I remember who I am outside work, even if weeks–or months–pass without my seeing my in-person friends. That’s a hazard of living in Los Angeles, you know? Between the kids and work and driving and errands and occasionally sitting around in my PJs and just breathing, I don’t see my in-person friends as often as I like. Thanks to this blog, I get to remember all of who I am, even when my day-to-day life would only otherwise let me remember a fraction of that. It’s an amazing thing. It invigorates me, and that energy enables me to give more off and on the job. Also, I’ve been blogging for twenty years next month. It’s part of who I am now. (Did I mention I was at the forefront of blogging? I was blogging before most people realized there was an Internet!)

We don’t do hipsters here, Deb.

Sorry! I didn’t mean it that way. I just wanted you to know I’m an inadvertent visionary.

There’s probably a reason “inadvertent visionary” doesn’t show up on a lot of resumes. 

You mean you’re not persuaded I’m the perfect fit for your job?!

But I can make animated GIFs!

But I make animated GIFs!

No, ma’am. I have my hesitations.

I can appreciate that. But you know what?

What?

I’m not afraid. I’m not afraid of not getting this job. I’m not afraid of not getting the next one, or the one after that. ‘Cause, see, up until now, I’ve told myself I needed to work at all costs to make sure my family is taken care of, no matter how fulfilling–or not–any job was to me. My husband has been slowly making his way up the show biz food chain, so that’s not gonna pay the bills. Yet. Growing up poor, paying the bills sometimes feels like everything to me. But I need more than that from my employer now. I just didn’t see it until I started reading Liz Ryan’s posts. Reading her words, I’m not thinking of jobs the way I used to. Instead of worrying about how good an impression I might be making on you, I’m wondering, “Is this the right mutual fit?”

You mean you … want more than a paycheck?

Yes. I want to be challenged. I want to be supported. I want to be invigorated. I want to know that my mistakes will be treated as learning opportunities, not world-ending events. I want my boss to know that I am juggling 800 balls at all times, and for her to see that not as a liability but as an asset. Like, “Holy cow, she’s juggling that many balls and only dropped two the last month? This woman is incredible!” I want her to know that motherhood has improved my ability to prioritize, and to cut through BS. I have so much less time to waste now that I have two kids, and so much drive to use that little time well. I want my boss to know that if she respects me while recognizing my human flaws, appreciating how well I perform despite them and how quickly I seize learning opportunities, she will have 9,435,690% of my loyalty. I will move mountains for her. And if I don’t know how to move mountains just yet? I’ll figure it out, because I want to stick it out with her.

Huh.

I’m doing it again, aren’t all? All the words in response to one little question.

Yes. Give me a second. I’m considering everything.

Would you like to touch bases later, after you’ve had a chance to consider it?

That would be good.

Okay. You know where to reach me. And, you know, I’m wishing you the best. I don’t know if I’m the best fit for your position, but, you know what?

What?

I know you’ll find it. I know I’ll find my “it,” too. Good luck finding yours!

And you yours.

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  1. Sreejit Poole
    May 28, 2015 at 10:46 pm

    Twenty years of blogging. Amazing, and congratulations. I thought I said all I had to say after one year but I’m still chugging along and have almost completed three… Maybe I’m not saying anything new, but friends have told me that I’m nicer to people now that I have a place to let it all out, so I guess I’ll keep it up.

    • May 30, 2015 at 10:04 am

      Your comment made me laugh. I think I’m nicer for having this outlet, too, although not necessarily while writing! “Can I please get five minutes of quiet to wrap this up?!”

  2. Paul
    May 28, 2015 at 11:07 pm

    Ha! Well written Deborah. I got curious and checked out “Elizabeth Wakefield” on Linkedin and could not find any entries under legal services. You may be working for a non-legal firm though. I see professor Deb flash by on your GIF – did you teach too? I didn’t see it in your bio (except for ESL) – very thoughtful GIF, by the way.

    It is true that after a while, cultural fit is important. To be honest anyplace I hired or managed, I tried to develop a learning and sharing culture. Sounds wimpy but you would be amazed at what it produces. I increased the productivity of a shipping dept by 250% (freight loaded per hour per employee). I simultaneously reduced absenteeism and injury to almost 0. And retention became 100%. And all that by respecting and trusting while communicating and sharing. The big problem there was the other mangers all were questioning my judgement – they couldn’t trust. I spent more time defending my department than I did working – also I got bored and moved up. ha! Some really strange stuff would happen – like I had one shipper who could organize his day’s work in his head. They were given a fair bit of leeway so there were many decisions to make. He would go out onto the dock, survey his day’s work, count it all , and then come back to his office and sit with his feet on the desk with his eyes closed and think. In the beginning I used to check his work closely to make sure he was maximizing trailer space, minimizing transport miles, maximizing dock efficiency, communicating and liaising with other depts (products came to the dock from 6 different depts) etc. I never saw him make an error or create an inefficiency, or lower productivity – in fact every day he found more ways too do more faster (and I stressed safety and they worked safe or i wrote them up). Anyway, one day the warehouse manager – my boss’s boss – walked by and saw Jeff sitting there, apparently asleep.I got called into the office (Mike was the top guy) and Mike gave me hell for Jeff wasting time. I explained that he was thinking and that he thought the whole day through, made a plan and then did it perfect the first time. i kept stats partly for this reason and partly to measure improvements, so I showed the pallet count loaded by Jeff daily and weekly – the improvements year over year and the fact that he tied for first place with another shipper. i showed Mike Jeff’s perfect attendance, lack of disciplinary action, extended forklift life, etc. This, of course, took time and when i was done Mike just sat there looking befuddled and all he could say was “Can’t he think without his feet on the desk?” You see, even though it maximized efficiency, it was not permitted because Jeff was hourly paid and mgmt wanted to see people busy, not efficient. i told Mike “No” and left. That took 4 hours of my time and it happened in different ways daily. We had a set break time and lunch time. My guys took their breaks and lunch (with my permission) at logical breaks in their loading schedule. So, they had departure times for each trailer they loaded and if the volume was heaver, they took their breaks and lunch later.And vice versa. Well, the other managers complained to Mike that I was not controlling my guys – that lost me another half a day. Again appearance trumped efficiency. My boss (Al) wanted to do my yearly assessment (that set year end bonus) and my boss was an Air Force brat: if you didn’t look busy you were a slacker. Hmph! I came in on a day off so that I could have his boss sit in. So my boss started and he ran down my efficiency and the fact that I talked more than I sat at my desk, that he couldn’t find me when he wanted me, etc. I countered with increased productivity, decreased accidents and absenteeism, and so on. I had numbers and charts and excel spread sheets showing improvements month over month and year over year, and so on. (Actually, the owner of the company -a 1.5 billion dollar enterprise – saw my stats once and asked to have a copy sent to him weekly so they could ship seasonal merch when there was space and save money.) My boss got so upset that I had an answer for every accusation, that he literally burst into tears and left the room. His boss (Mike) and I sat there for 10 minutes and waited but he didn’t return. Mike took the evaluation form and file and marked it full bonus, got me to sign it and left.

    Anyway, you are right on Deb – culture is the treasure at the end of the rainbow – therein lies efficiency, profitability, communication, caring, dependability, dedication,and on and on. The problem is that few see or understand this. It is hard to achieve in an environment that doesn’t support it and requires a lot of defense. (You know I had 80 direct reports in that job and everyday someone would find a better way to do something – it was surreal. There are a couple of pallet systems that warehouses use and we were a “collector” for CHEPS – because we were an end user and the pallets came back to us empty. One day one of the shippers came to me and asked me to come look at some thing. He took me out to where the empty pallets were stored and showed me that CHEP had changed their design which allowed the hand jacks the drivers used to unload, to enter all four sides , rather than the two sides for most pallets. This in turn meant that pallets could be loaded sideways and unloaded. this increased the capacity of our trailers from 28 pallets to 30 pallets -or about a 7% increase in load. Amazing – same trailers, same equipment – now holding 7% more)

    As you can see, I too love words. My employees got used to this and would tell me if they wanted the 5 cent answer or the 5 dollar answer. Ha!

    Great post Deb – thank you.

    • May 29, 2015 at 12:08 pm

      A longer comment is forthcoming later, but I wanted to say now that you should search for Robinson (Elizabeth, naturally)!

  3. Deb
    May 29, 2015 at 5:40 am

    I think I was about 45 when I realized, and was able to vocalize just where ‘work’ falls into my life and that it is a mutual endeavor. Some positions fit and others don’t, and you can be confident knowing and saying no thank you if you or they don’t fit. I think that’s called being authentic 😉

    • May 30, 2015 at 10:39 am

      You know, for everything I’ve read about being “authentic,” your take on it is the first one that really made sense to me. I’ve always wondered, “How could I be anyone else?!” Reading your comment, I feel like the answer is, “In all the moments where you want to do one thing but do another because you feel like that’s more appropriate right now.” The greater (or more recurring) the divide between the “what-feels-right” and ‘what-should-be-done-here,” then, the further from authenticity … and the greater the discomfort.

      It seems so strange to me to be at such a great place, with great people, and to be so profoundly glad it’s a contract gig. I think it’s everything the me of five years ago would have wanted. For the me of now, though, who’s coming to appreciate that it’s really uncomfortable and useless spending a lot of time and energy trying to shove myself into a mold instead of find a right fit, it’s not. And that’s okay. I will give it what I’ve got and search for something where I get to solve lots of unique and varying puzzles (preferably with lots of words!) at a fairly rapid pace.

      What a fantastic set of reflections for a Saturday morning! Thank you.

      • Deb
        May 30, 2015 at 12:50 pm

        Well, that was nice to read, and so heartwarming to know that some little thing I may have said struck a note with you. Thank YOU 🙂

  4. May 29, 2015 at 5:44 am

    I’m very fortunate to be working for a boss that puts family first, no questions asked. There is a lot of frustration and I often get asked why I put up with what I do… and the answer is that it’s worth the trade-offs! I think I’ve found a good mutual fit, and that is an amazing thing. Happy Friday!

    • May 30, 2015 at 10:40 am

      The family bit is super important for me, but I’m discovering there are certain kinds of challenges I need while on the job. I like a rapid pace, a lot of autonomy in how to solve problems (balanced with a good team to collaborate and share insights when my own insights don’t lead to answers), and a pretty dynamic environment. If I can find that environment coupled with a managerial appreciation for how much more effectively people work when they know their families are safe and sound, I will be in workplace heaven! It’s awesome that you’ve found a good mutual fit! 😀

      (My last position was a near perfect fit, but oh! I could not spend that extra 30 minutes in the car daily after the school change happened! Still, I am so grateful for what I took away from that … so much more knowledge, wisdom and a couple of friends!)

  5. May 29, 2015 at 7:43 am

    Haha, your way of one-upping your mom – that’s hilarious!

    • May 30, 2015 at 10:40 am

      There are some ways I’ll hopefully never be like my mom, but there are many ways I am and would be happy to be … and this is one of the latter. It was impossible to feel unloved in her presence, no matter who you were or weird you might have felt otherwise.

  6. May 29, 2015 at 7:46 am

    “We don’t do hipsters here, Deb.” 😊

    I think you’ll find your perfect fit … or perhaps more correctly, your perfect fit will find you. I also think there will be a few more starts and stops along the way; sometimes tinkering with and tweaking things eases the way they fit together. Tiring, surely, but satisfying once accomplished.

    • May 30, 2015 at 10:46 am

      You are so spot on! I think about when I had that startling revelation some months back: “I want something more.” I didn’t know exactly what that “more” was, but I knew I had to start searching for it. My last position, though brief-lived because of the commute change, helped point me further the right direction. My manager saw how quickly I learned, adapted and troubleshot, and looked for ways to engage and fulfill that. It was fantastic, and I miss it … while being glad to have had it at all, because it pointed me toward even better understanding! Now I figure there’s a lot to be learned from each stop, and i mean to make the most of it! 😀

  7. May 29, 2015 at 10:01 am

    “My Perfect Job People will definitely use caps lock here. Possibly also emojis.” Ok, I am just a FAN 🙂 of yours and can’t help that your writing just makes me laugh out loud in the coffee house in which I’m sitting! I know that the word is overused, but you are truly authentic. Reading your writing is like feeling the ocean breeze in my hair window when I sit at the beach watching the waves. Clean, fresh, renewing and spirited!

  8. May 29, 2015 at 10:07 am

    Reblogged this on blogwrld2.

  9. May 29, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    I’m fairly conservative when it comes to social media, (only social media, though!). I have so much out on my blog that I want people I don’t know to know, but not those I do know. At least not in a professional sense. That may be because I joke constantly in the ‘sphere about being a fake medical expert, while in real life, I want them to accept my advice and, ahem, expertise!

    We all need to just do what works for us in our own individual lives. If this works for you, go for it!

  10. May 30, 2015 at 11:52 pm

    20 years is an accomplishment! But even better, being willing to be you without worrying about how that would affect your job prospects. I have always thought that employers make a mistake taking into account social media when evaluating employees. Keep it up!

  11. June 4, 2015 at 10:27 am

    I have been considering listing mine on Linked In and your post just sorta gave me permission. And I love you for it! As I tell my husband when he tries to fire me everyday, “I have a giant garden, chickens and a supply of wine. I won’t starve.”

    You are the very bestest best ❤

  12. June 11, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    Congratulations! I am looking forward to a day when I can link up my “Alice Isak” world with my IRL name and identity. I don’t know when that will be feasible — but I suspect it will feel good for me, too. 🙂

  1. December 17, 2015 at 5:41 am

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