Tag Archives: work

Where’ve you been?

17 Dec
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Things have been a bit crazy.

Wow. Four months?! That’s the longest I’ve stayed away from Ye Olde Blog. With this much time since my last post, I’m going to guess anyone who read pithypants with much regularity has wandered off for greener pastures. But on the off-chance that someone’s out there, stalking this site regularly in hopes of some new content – I’ll give it a go.

First, I have a back-log of posts I need to get to. Like when we went to Vancouver for vacation and – as a result of food poisoning – I learned that Pho tastes pretty much the same coming up as it does going down. (And that apparently six hours isn’t enough time for your stomach acid to break down rice noodles – and that you really SHOULD chew your food 64 times before swallowing it, unless you want to choke on a noodle when it reappears.)

Or the time I visited my friend in Atlanta and ended up in the awkward position of having to interrupt a group of women drinking wine poolside to let them know that one of their little angels (not referring to myself cryptically here, for the record) had not only clogged and overflowed the toilet, but had also somehow managed to actually shit down the outside of the aforementioned toilet.

Or the time I spilled $310 of quarters on the floor of Alan’s car. (Don’t ask.)

There’s more (there always is, isn’t there?) but I’ll spare you – for now.

I suppose I owe you an explanation. Why haven’t I been writing? Well, at some point this fall I started to listen to the little voice in my head. The voice that once told me to quit my job and move to France in 2003. The same one that encouraged me to apply to Georgetown to get a coaching certificate three years ago. This time, the voice said, “It’s time to do your own thing. Hang out a shingle. Work for yourself. What are you waiting for?”

Originally my response to the voice was, “Hush. I like my job. A lot.” But then I started to realize that whenever I thought of coaching full time, I’d get little butterflies in my stomach. Not the post-Pho, barfy kind – more like the excited, “I have a crush” kind. Things that might make other people think twice about starting a company (writing a business plan, defining service offerings, crafting a sales pitch) – would wake me in the middle of the night because I’d be too excited to sleep.

So while it might seem crazy for me to walk away from a job I enjoy, at some point, I decided to listen to the voice – because whenever I’ve heeded its calling in the past, it’s steered me right. It hasn’t always steered me toward riches – but it’s made my life richer by taking me off the predictable path. So here it is, the end of 2016, and – in a month – I plan to trade a great job I’ve enjoyed for nine years to take a chance on my own thing. Goodbye security. Hello, hustle.

When you ask why I haven’t written in months, it’s not because life hasn’t been pithy. (It has!) It’s just that life has also been BUSY. With a limited number of hours before and after work, I’ve channeled what HAD been my evening blogging time (and eating time, and working out time) into prepping a business launch.

So yeah, I haven’t been writing as much. I’ve been a bit busy. But man, you should see my hustle…

Random act of kindness: FAIL

7 Aug

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While I was in Chicago for work last week, I met up with a friend for breakfast one day before the office opened. We agreed to meet at Do-Rite Donuts because it was close to my hotel AND had gluten-free and vegan options. (I don’t even want to know what they use to make a donut that doesn’t contain flour or eggs – I assume tree bark.)

Because I’m mildly OCD (and – more realistically – because she had to take a combination of trains and busses, whereas I only had to walk around the corner), I arrived 10 minutes before she did. I decided to grab a donut and hold a table for us outside since the place seemed fairly busy.

The donut selection was overwhelming, and it became even harder to focus when a homeless man shuffled into the place, slowly panhandling his way along the line leading up to the small counter. Everyone looked uncomfortable, so when he got to me, I said, “I won’t give you money, but I’ll buy you a donut if you’d like one.”

The cashiers heard me and we exchanged a look while they patiently waited for him to point to a donut. (Of course he chose a premium gluten-free flavor.) Then he leaned across the counter and tried to get them to bring him a cup of milk (which they said they didn’t have) and started asking about what else they had back there that he could eat. I felt a bit callous, denying a homeless person food, but I also don’t like being taken advantage of, so I reset expectations with him quickly. “No – sorry. I’ll buy you a donut, but that’s all. Let’s go.”

I paid and left, heading outside to claim a table. He, however, remained inside, presumably asking someone else for something. He must not have been successful, because he emerged a few minutes later, holding the donut I’d bought him. Looking at him, I allowed myself the small feel-good moment that comes with performing a random act of kindness, thinking that maybe we could fix all the world’s problems if we each just help each other out a bit more.

And then I watched as he walked to the curb and threw the donut on the ground. He stumbled around it for a bit, and I couldn’t tell if he was trying to pick it up or what, but he resolved my curiosity by drawing back his foot and kicking it, sending it sailing out into the rush hour traffic. Without a backwards glance, he shuffled down the block.

I guess he decided gluten-free was some bullshit.

One point for socialized healthcare!

14 Apr

We arrived in London at 7am Saturday, running on fumes from the two hours of sleep we garnered during the red-eye over. We made ourselves push through the day, taking in sites and hopping on a walking tour, so that we could adjust to the new time zone. We covered 20 miles on foot over the weekend and felt properly acclimated by the time we ventured to our office Monday morning.

Unfortunately, I also had the start of a sore throat. A sore throat that got increasingly worse as the day went on. I led my training sessions in the morning, doing a baton hand-off to my colleague after lunch. I sat in her session with an eye toward helping out, but I found I was struggling to swallow, let alone talk. Finally, at 3pm, I decided it would be stupid to continue pushing through while I was obviously getting sick, so I cut my losses and headed to the National Health System’s walk-in clinic.

As a side note, I found the signage around the clinic a bit odd. British people don’t seem very violent to me, but apparently there must be a fair amount of medical rage:

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After arriving, I was told there was a £75 charge for foreigners to see a doctor. The woman telling me seemed apologetic and assured me I would only have to pay if the person running triage couldn’t resolve me. I didn’t bother telling her that it would cost me $200 – even with insurance – to walk into an ER in the States.

After waiting only 10 minutes, I saw the triage specialist. She took my symptoms, checked my throat, ears and sinuses and said, “Unfortunately, it seems it is viral at this point. I don’t think you need to spend the money on a doctor, but DO get yourself some over the counter meds to manage your symptoms. And if you develop white spots on your throat or your symptoms get worse, come back.”

Part of me was relieved with this advice since I go to great lengths to avoid antibiotics, but part of me wanted some course of medication that might make me feel better since I had nine days of training sixty people ahead of me. I returned to my room, took a bath and crawled in bed.

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 7.41.38 AMOver night, my throat became much worse. I couldn’t swallow without crying. It was so painful I couldn’t sleep. I was back at the NHS walk-in clinic as soon as it opened in the morning. This time, I was admitted to chat with a doctor, who took one look at my throat and pronounced it strep. (White spots had appeared over night.) She gave me a prescription for penicillin, which I filled before returning to my hotel room.

As a side note: you know how expensive it is to fill a prescription in the US? With insurance, there is generally a $10 or $20 co-pay. Sometimes, if you go for a name brand drug you pay beyond that. And if you don’t have insurance? You’re totally screwed.

Imagine my delight at the pharmacy when I was given four boxes of pills for less than £20. Not too shabby for someone who is uninsured.

Even better – within 12 hours of starting the antibiotics, I was able to swallow again. By the time I woke up on Wednesday, I was feeling almost normal and completely able to resume the training sessions we had designed.

If we had another day in London, I would’ve made a trek to the Fleming Museum so I could see the lab where Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin and give thanks for his brilliance. Without that intervention, this trip would’ve been a bust.

Now I just have to hope I don’t pick up something viral on the flight home!

You’re getting very, very sleepy. (Or not.)

3 Apr
Not me.

Not me.

I’m in London for work this week. I flew out of DC Friday night after work and arrived Saturday at the crack of dawn.

Every time I travel internationally, I am reminded of how bad I am at sleeping on planes. Who ARE those people who are so knocked out they’re snoring? Aside from the times I’ve traveled in First Class in a seat that reclines to a create a fully flat bed, or the time I took a Xanax on my way to Australia, I’ve only gotten – at most – 30 minutes of uninterrupted sleep on a plane.

This trip was no exception, despite my luck in seating. I was lucky because a) I had checked in online early enough to secure myself a window seat with only one companion (as opposed to being in the center row, which sticks five people together), and b) I was in one of only a few rows where my seatmate never arrived. Theoretically, with two seats to myself, I should’ve been able to sleep. But try as I might – and I DID try, using every inch of those two seats to full advantage – I was never able to make it work.

I passed two hours watching the movie, “Sisters,” starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. It’s definitely on the low-end of the intellectual spectrum, but I found myself laughing out loud at lines from time to time. (“You’re so full of shit, I’m going to buy you pull-ups.”) It was a perfect distraction as our plane bounced around for what amounted to 90 minutes of on-again/off-again turbulence while we left the DC area.

When the movie ended, I found that the cabin was dark and around me – with few exceptions – people were sleeping. Glad I didn’t have a slumbering seatmate to awkwardly crawl over, I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth.

Other than knowing my row was empty, I hadn’t really paid attention to WHICH row it was. I thought the emptiness would make it easy to spot, so when I returned to the bathroom, I found an empty row and set about tidying up the loose blankets strewn across the seats. Except I learned that it wasn’t ACTUALLY my row when my hands connected with a BODY under the blankets. Um, oops?

The person I’d groped was either a sleeping zombie or paralyzed by fear of imminent sexual assault, because he/she didn’t move or say anything after I patted him/her in various places. Mortified, I continued on my way without an apology for fear of waking him/her. I walked down the entire aisle to rule out other “false positives” before confirming my row was really mine.

The rest of my evening unfolded without any drama (or further trauma), aside from the lights cutting back on with a harsh brightness, JUST after I’d finally zonked out for about 20 minutes. One fruit cup and a cup of tea later, I saw the city of London out my window, it’s landmarks obvious even from the distance. The Tower Bridge, the London Eye, Big Ben: I was immediately oriented and – despite my nighttime challenges – wide awake.

Here’s hoping I manage to sneak in some rest before I show up in the office. It’s one thing to have accidentally pat-down a stranger on a plane; it’s another thing entirely if it happens in an office. While Europeans DO tend to think Americans are overly-friendly, I think our HR team might have a problem with it.

Strike a pose!

30 Mar

Image Source: http://professorqb.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/ProfessorQB-Headshot-with-highlights1.jpg

I received an email from my company’s marketing team, telling me I needed to provide a headshot for the website. Some people might enjoy the thrill of a photo shoot, but I don’t.

Among other things, I’m never sure where to put my hands. Part of me wants to constantly give two cheesy thumbs-up to the photographer, just so they have something to do. Or make jazz hands.

Anyway, I submitted myself to the horror of headshots this week, and I shared the proofs with Alan after, hoping he would help me make a selection. Here’s how our conversation went…

Me: Will you let me know which of these is your favorite?

Alan: Whichever one you choose, you should use it for your LinkedIn photo.

Me: Why? Do you not like my current photo?

Alan: It could just stand to be updated.

Me: That was diplomatic. What don’t you like about it?

Alan: Well, it looks a bit clown-y.

Me (once I finished laughing): Could you be more specific?

Alan: The filter on it makes your lips look really bright and your eyes look crazy.

Me: Oh. Yeah, well, the plan is to use this for LinkedIn, too.

Alan: Good.

Me: So which one do you like?

Alan: Not the one in the jacket.

Me: Why not?

Alan: The jacket doesn’t fit you.

Me: Yes it does.

Alan: Well, I can’t really see where the jacket ends.

Me: So what?

Alan: So I can’t really see where YOU end. For all I know, that could be a velvet mumu.

Me: So it makes me look fat?

Alan (warming to the idea): I’m just saying, it could be a velvet sack.

Me: Thanks for your help.

Sigh.