Archive

Archive for the ‘Work’ Category

Fortunate

I graduated from law school in 2004. I had no interest in practicing law, so I moved to Japan and taught English there instead. Though I was supposedly the teacher, I learned a lot and had a blast.

I moved back to my hometown for family reasons and took a job temping in a small HR office. Job opportunities did not abound, so I was simply glad I could pay my bills. I felt the same when I took on a temporary administrative role at a larger company before long. I sucked at it, but did my best to find silver linings, of which there were many.

As my temporary admin gig neared its conclusion, a woman I’d met exactly once offered to take me onto her team as an admin. I sent her a copy of my resume; once she saw I’d gone to law school, she became determined to get me negotiating software contracts on her team. I rejected at first, saying I’d have taken the Bar if I wanted to do anything law-related.

She persisted, thank God. I soon began negotiating contracts, and felt (happily) challenged for the first time in years. I loved learning about hardware and software, which I had to do to be effective at negotiating. I enjoyed negotiating and was grateful to have an encouraging, supportive manager nudging me outside my comfort zone.

I worked on software contracts for a decade. Then, two years ago tomorrow, I began working as a software licensing contractor. My commute to a full-time job with great benefits was just too long. I accepted job uncertainty as a small cost compared to the benefit of not spending four hours in my car daily.

My first few months as a contractor were deeply uncomfortable. There was a lot of ambiguity, which frustrated me until I took it upon myself to lessen the ambiguity. If anyone didn’t like how I was doing that, I figured, they’d be sure to tell me. 

Taking risks, I found myself growing. I found joy in that growing, though I’d started out discombobulated.

As that contract wound down, an opening came up for a software asset management position. I seized the opportunity. Sure, I’d never done it before and didn’t know a thing about helping ensure neither too many nor too few licenses were procured, but I knew I’d grow. I knew that any frustration I felt at being a noob the first few months would be counterbalanced by the ultimate joy of learning.

I “knew,” but I didn’t really know. ‘Cause, see, I had no idea how much I’d learn, nor how much I’d be encouraged to learn. I couldn’t have fathomed how much support I’d have, nor how mistakes would be treated as just a part of the journey of learning. I had no idea what it’d be like to feel genuine psychological safety for the first time in my life, among a team that makes me laugh while pushing me to do better every day.

I took a risk two years ago tomorrow, and another one fifteen months ago. Because of those risks, my whole life feels so much richer than it did two years ago. For how rough my life began, it’s pretty rad now.

This is all a necessary background for another story to come. For now, though, I want to say that I am more fortunate than I sometimes remember.

I’m thankful to be challenged to remember this.

Already written

Yesterday, I told two coworkers how much I appreciate them and what they do.

“Write that down so you remember it when you’re asked about our performance later!” said one.

“Naw,” I replied. “I don’t need to write it down to remember it. It’s already written in my heart.”

Categories: Work Tags: , ,

safe

today
i was prompted
to provide written feedback
on a colleague

i, who
have so many words,
struggled to find
nearly the
right ones

i finally concluded
my submission
that i have
almost never
encountered
anyone so safe

safe:
not only
the absence of harm,
but the presence of
encouragement,
kindness,
hearing,
candor,
respect;
the presence
of care as
deserved
not by doing,
but by being

after submitting
my words,
i basked
in the goodness
of getting to
experience this
anywhere, ever

(with my childhood,
this was not
a given)

and then,
then i saw news
of another shooting,
and i thought

these frail human bodies
can never be safe.

thank god our hearts
can be sheltered
by the care of
those around us

our hearts
can be safe

i cherish those
who work to safekeep my heart,
and dream of a world
where all may
someday
know
such
safe

Weekend Coffee Share: Patchwork Umbrellas

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you how glad I am to be meeting in a coffee shop for the first time in months. It’s so good for me to spend time here, at a place that reminds me how it feels to be Deborah-as-Deborah, taking a break from being Deborah-as-mom, Deborah-as-wife, Deborah-as-worker, Deborah-as-commuter, or any of the other roles I play. Here at the coffee shop, I get to just be for a while. I like coffee, but this is way better than coffee.

That’s enough about me for now. What have you been up to? What’s been on your mind?

After listening and interjecting questions, I’d tell you that I thought I had nothing to say when I climbed into my car this morning. My week was fairly quiet. I’d tell you how I realized as I drove that plenty has transpired–much of it in my internal world–since we last met. Read more…

Weekend Coffee Share: Sayonara, San Antonio!

If we were having coffee, I’d pass on the coffee and have some minty tea instead.

I’d explain that I spent the last several days in San Antonio, Texas for work, and that I drank at least twice as much coffee as usual to rouse myself after awakening so early each morning. There’s still so much surplus caffeine coursing through my veins that I need to back away from it today for any chance of decent sleep tonight.

I had this funny idea as I departed for Texas that I’d have tons of quiet time to soak in the tidiness and space of my hotel room. I’d get the kind of I’m-an-introvert dream break that I’ve been craving since I learned firsthand–almost two years ago–that finding a little breathing room is about a million times harder with two young kids than one.

I’d shake my head with a rueful grin. I could not have been further off! For starters, being away from my kids was more physically and emotionally exhausting than I’d realized it would be. After the stress of flight, the working hours were longish and heavily interactive. Then, after each workday was over, more discussion ensued over long dinners. I experienced approximately none of the introvert wind-down I’d envisioned as I packed dreamily early in the week. Read more…

To benefit from my strengths

 

Today I got a job offer.

A job offer is good in most circumstances, but this job offer was great.

This was a job offer with a company I love
with a team I already know I love
for a position that enables me to
use my law degree peripherally,
instead of heavily.

After a decade negotiating software contracts, I’m excited thrilled to grow in new directions, and to do so in such excellent company! And yet, decades after moving out of my childhood home of heartbreak, I find I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Every good thing comes at a cost, doesn’t it? Doesn’t it?!

IT CAN’T BE THIS GOOD! IT CAN’T! THERE’S A CAVEAT SOMEWHERE! THE OTHER SHOE IS GOING TO DROP ANY SECOND!

I told a colleague-friend I felt this way. She smiled, shook her head, and said, “Ride the wave! There’s no other shoe coming. You’re coming into the good you deserve, that’s all. Just ride it! Be happy for it.”

So, this evening, I am going to try riding the wave. Accepting great. Believing in it. Believing I deserve it. Being thrilled for the opportunity to grow in a new direction with a team that sees both my strengths and weaknesses … and will happily help diminish my weaknesses, to benefit from my strengths.

Categories: Work Tags: , ,

I Didn’t Mean to Take Your Cup

This morning, my six-year-old shouted, “Mom, I missed the toilet!”

“What do you mean?” I asked from another room, a few feet away.

“Mom, Mom, Mom! J is trying to drink my pee! Eeeew!” he shouted in answer.

“Bet that’ll teach you to close the door,” my husband called from still another room.

I ran into the bathroom to find J–who’d been at my feet maybe twenty seconds earlier–on hands and knees, trying to lap up a puddle in front of the toilet. Read more…

Categories: Family, Parenting, Work Tags: , , ,
%d bloggers like this: