Tag Archives: career

“my” night

Sunday night was always “my” night, the one night a week that I claimed for myself, the one night that, when married, I was not the one to tuck the children in to bed, the night I controlled the remote. A typical Sunday-evening routine might include a few self-pampering activities, such as a clay mask, foot soak and pedicure.

Some very cheesy, melodramatic television selections were often a part of the evening, too. Nearly always, some contrived, yet touching moment would bring me to tears. And that was the idea. I needed to cry. I had to dissipate the stress of Monday in advance of its arrival.

I find I no longer need this routine. I still prefer a quiet Sunday evening at home to the alternatives and, now that The Good Wife has moved to Sunday time slot, I still enjoy watching a little (good) television, as well. But I no longer need the tears, the release. Sure, Monday mornings can be stressful. When you’re a single parent, every morning can be stressful. Revise that, when you’re a parent — even if there are two of you and you’re loving and supportive of each other — mornings can be stressful.

So after I put away this laptop, I’ll get out my official work laptop, take a look at what’s coming at me tomorrow, and do my best to prepare…without the tears. I might even squeeze in a pedicure.


run screaming

It’s been awhile since I last posted and, for that, I apologize. For a while, I was in the midst of a crisis, which overlapped with a several-day internet outage that may have, in part, triggered said crisis.

When I say “crisis,” I mean I was completely stressed out, exhausted and wanted only to turn around and run screaming from each and every commitment in my life:  my job, my home, my boyfriend. Not my children, of course…well, maybe for a couple of weeks.

Suddenly, the pressure seemed overwhelming at just about the same time as my body began under-performing (which is to say that my elimination system can’t keep up with my hormones and I was terrifically exhausted) and I began panicking about whether I want to be in a relationship or am ready to be in a relationship or if I want to be in one with him, all of which was minor compared to my work-related pyscho-drama. Goodness! I’m finally earning pretty well, feeling as though I’m managing, and a few hours of work not achieved on my connected-less weekend threw me into a fit of panic.

What I witnessed in my own mind during those several hours was not pretty. It was if a box deeply hidden in my psyche had released all my secret irrational fears and out-moded mental scripts at once:

  • “You’re not worth it.”
  • “You’re a fraud.”
  • “You’re not doing this very well — everyone else is better.”
  • And more.

I recently read a quote by Demi Moore (or was it some other recently-single celebrity) and I will do my best to re-create it here (without actually trying to look it up):  She basically said that our (her?) greatest fear was to get to the end of her life (or the day?) and feel alone and unloved and unworthy and find out that she is fundamentally flawed. And it was nice to read that someone who’s made movies and lived glamorously and been married to Ashton Kutcher felt that way, because I sure have at times.

Through all of these recent extreme feelings, I knew that they weren’t the truth. I knew that I wasn’t the only one who felt those very same things. And I sensed somehow that, by facing this fog and moving through it, these old scripts, old beliefs and feelings of fear were being released on some deeper level and that, if I could just get past them, they would never again have such power as they did in those few intense hours. Or — it must be said — maybe I’m just getting my period.

At any rate, my eyes are no longer bugging out, I’m hanging in there just fine, thank you, and I haven’t run screaming from any of it. Perhaps I’ll get further if I slink quietly…


committed, again

I finally decided to become a career gal again, and I worked my way into a decent job (that’s proving a little stressful already). It’s kinda gratifying that it has a pretty decent title and a salary that’s higher than what I earned a year ago. Nice, right? (No one changes companies for less than a 20% increase anyway, right? It’s just too big a pain in the butt. If you think I sound spoiled, try that sort of language on a recruiter — they get it.)

It took me awhile to decide to commit. At one point, after I’d been offered my current role, I actually confessed to my boss that I wasn’t sure I was ready to make adult decisions. I wasn’t sure I was ready for that sort of commitment. And then they sweetened the pot, so to speak.

But another key factor was this:  While chatting with one of the executives with whom I interviewed, we discussed children. I let him know that, yes, I have two and am, in fact, a single mother. He said, “You can play the single mother card on me any time. I was raised by a single mother and I get it. There is nothing that I do that can’t wait one more day if you’re needed at home.”

I like the work. And I don’t have to travel. Not regularly, anyway. Which makes this a pretty sweet place to be right now.


my eyes are on the prize

The theme for the past week or so is keeping my eyes on the prize. It’s popped up in dialogue with friends, in horoscopes, on the radio…

So what is the prize?

Well…it’s not any of the men I’ve written about here, regardless of how much I’m intrigued by or adore them. It’s not my current day job.

The prize is enjoying life now.

The prize is spending quality time with my children.

The prize is good health.

The prize is a healthy, loving relationship.

The prize is fulfilling work that shares something positive with the world.


…and what are you up to?

So if you’re sensing that I haven’t been as full-on committed to the quality of posts or storytelling in this blog recently, you’d be right. Thus, I’m going to give you a little glimpse into what I’ve been up to:

  • I wrote a children’s book (obviously much cleaner than what I write about here), I’m working with an illustrator and raising the funds to get it published on Kickstarter.com. I hope you’ll support the project!
  • I began a new gig that has me commuting across town, working all day and racing back after work to try and pick the children up before I have to pay a late penalty.
  • I signed up for an online course to brush up on some new media skills.
  • I wrote a down-and-dirty business plan for a statewide entrepreneurial competition. (I’ve been feeling overwhelmed enough so that, when I asked myself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” and arrived at being selected for the next round, because then I’d have to commit to further work on it…well, I figured I have nothing to lose.)
  • I’m exploring the possibility of buying a business that I’ve admired from afar for some time.

Additionally, I’ve been working on summer arrangements for my children, car shopping, getting a new roof, trying to keep up with the house and yard work, and failing miserably at maintaining my exercise and meditation routines. And, while I’ve taken a break from the online dating game, I’m actually checking in to other sites that might prove more fruitful, either because of sheer volume or who knows? There are some cool concepts out there that I want to try…which you may hear about if I find I’m inspired to write about them.

After a few-month period of shedding and releasing just about anything “extra,” it seems I’m now doing my damnedest to bite off way more than I can chew. You know me by now:  always trying to find my balance, I struggle with wondering whether I’m genuinely pursuing multiple passions or if I’m just throwing a bunch of shit at various walls to see what will stick. I am, in fact, a bit overwhelmed, and yet I’m managing my stress much better than when I was in the social pressure cooker of my old work life. I’m just plugging away, step by step, working toward my passions, knowing that the “right” things will fall in to line naturally.

And, with that, I’m gonna go and get my “om” on, and follow it with some zzzzz. Dream sweetly!


waking from a magnificent dream

This morning, on the verge of sleep and wakefulness, I dreamt / saw this vision:

I was at the edge of the arctic, standing on what I thought was solid ground. I placed a stake in the ground, and suddenly realized that the apparent earth I’d been standing on was a floating chunk of ice, drifting out to sea — like the hungry, solitary polar bear you’ve seen in a documentary.

There was a moment of panic as I realized I would be lost, cold and alone, adrift on the frigid sea. And then, a mere breath later, as I found my balance on this gently rocking ice raft, I looked around and realized the sea was full of people like me:  I was drifting into a community of free-floating individuals, none of whom looked cold, alone or afraid. In fact, they were smiling.

Another deep breath…and then I knew I didn’t need to be afraid, either. I felt welcome.


revealing my truth

As I take this pause in my life to reflect, reconsider, re-configure and re-focus, I’ve devoted a significant amount of time to thinking, creating, writing, meditating, yoga, healing, expanding — in a word, growth.

So, while I’ve had several coffees and networking meetings and informational or other interviews during which I’ve projected my energy outward and, all told, hours of meditation directing my energy inward, I’ve recently been given some feedback that’s helping me grow and change where the rubber hits the road:

  • First, a colleague pointed out that having an anonymous blog is really contrary to the whole online paradigm. The world is moving toward authenticity, transparency and accountability. I’ve discussed my reasons for anonymity, but there may come a time when I need to reconsider. Besides, it would sure make publicizing and marketing it easier!
  • Chi-guy pointed out that I lied to him when he asked me if I’d shown anyone his risqué photo(s). Um, yeah, I wasn’t really sure how he’d respond if I confessed that practically every woman in the city had seen the hammer (or at least every woman I know). This small untruth was meant to shield him from harm, yet I suspect I might have caused some — perhaps he thinks less of me for this, or has now used this information to confirm a belief that women are dishonest with him. Of course when I asked him about it, he said that’s why he didn’t include his face — he was expecting that I’d share (and probably proud of it)!
  • This insight reminded me of something I recalled my therapist saying a long time ago:  I need to stop trying to protect others from myself, from seeing the full, real me. I need to stop hanging up the phone and thinking, “OMG, did I really say that?!” and just allow that I am who I am. I mean, what I’m writing here is all authentic and full-on me, but this blog is anonymous…(except that many of the readers are friends of mine with whom I’ve shared the link).
  • Add a hard look in the mirror to these blind spots, and what I’ve begun to see is that I have a habit of telling myself little white lies. I tell myself that I’m not really sure what I want, that I’m not ready to commit to a specific choice when, in fact, I know damned well what I want. Sometimes the truth is simply obscured by the daily tasks and work and parenting and life…and that’s why taking this “career break” has been so incredibly empowering. I have the time and the space to really figure out what feels true to me and reveal it not only to myself, but to others.
  • I was chatting with a colleague about goal-setting a few days ago and about some (unattributable) statistic that illustrates how powerful it is to write your goals down. My colleague suggested that one should go a step further and tell as many people as humanly possible. I agree. You can’t do it all alone. And, until recently, I was hiding my truth, afraid of exposing my deepest desires in fear that others may ridicule them or I might fail. Maybe so, but it seems even less likely that I’ll manifest those same dreams while hiding in my proverbial closet!

Just as I finished this draft, I checked out Rob Brezny’s Free Will Astrology horoscope for Libra for the week, an excerpt of which reads:

“…Inner truths that have been hidden from you are ready to be plucked by your penetrating probes…”

So here’s to revealing — and then sharing — my inner truths!


a brief update on my career

I find that I have accomplished generally less with my time off than I had anticipated. It’s been nearly three months since I suited up daily and went to my big corporate job, and I have not checked everything off the list yet. While I have enjoyed the diversions I’ve found online, yoga and near-daily meditation, I find it somewhat alarming that I haven’t moved a few of these projects further forward, especially in light of the fact that I must go back to work. Starting May 10.

Even with all the interviews and applications I had in process in March, I never heard back on some of those opportunities. As far as I know, no final decision have been made. Meanwhile, I got a random call from a recruiter who found my resume online and wanted to submit it for a contract role. I shrugged and agreed, thinking it was a long shot. But just two days later, I got a call asking me to interview. I went in, talked passionately about strategy, innovation and change, flailed my arms and gesticulated wildly. Three days after that, I was offered the job.

What I find exciting about this opportunity is that the hiring leader said, “I have people to do the work. I need someone to help me innovate and elevate the strategy.”

Nice. Right up my alley. I also like that I’ll make quite a bit more than in my old job, and that it’s initially a four-month stint (although it may be extended or turn in to a permanent position). That allows me to company-date, the same way I’m meeting and talking to new men. So I can keep looking for the perfect fit.

It’s also lit a little fire under my butt — I’ve got ten days to crank through a boatload of productivity and poise myself to move some new ideas and projects forward outside of the workday. No more procrastinating!

And, then, once I begin, I suspect there will be a bit of a work-life balance adjustment. The children will go back to an after school program, and I’ll have to be ready to leave each day by the time they get on their bus. I’m still targeting three to five entries per week here.


an update on my life as a cliche

I wrote earlier that I quit my job and that I was seeing some really positive results, and I’d like to elaborate on what’s been going on. Essentially, the issue was that I was at a very big company and, no matter how hard I worked or what fantastic programs I created or what results I achieved, my impact was never going to be visible. It was a really big ship, headed a certain direction, with a few people steering. I was merely one among of thousands of paddlers.

Each day since, I’ve tried to fit yoga or some form of exercise and meditation into my life. I truly want to stretch the boundaries of the abundance I’m willing to welcome into my life, so I am really working at creating and visualizing an amazing new opportunity. I’m having coffees and lunches regularly, re-activating my network and meeting entirely new people to talk about my strengths and passions, and what opportunities there may be in fields of interest.

I’ve applied for some jobs online, and here’s what’s strange about that:  I remember the chore of navigating the online applications (I hate you, Taleo!) only for those jobs I didn’t care about. I don’t even recall applying for the jobs I really wanted to learn more about. And, the beautiful news is that all the right companies have been calling me back. The companies and roles in which I’m truly interested, in which I can make an impact for the good of the world, and where I can be as much or more steersman than paddler are the ones for which I’m being interviewed. And it feels great to pace the kitchen in my pajamas, untethered by phone cord, business attire or office, and speak knowledgeably and candidly about why I left my last role and how I can contribute in a new one.

In no fewer than five phone or in-person conversations, I interviewed for two manager roles and one senior director role. I think because of my previous title and the way really big companies have to dumb them down to squeeze in all those layers, I didn’t really know where I might fit into smaller organizations, so I’ve been applying to a range of positions. Interestingly, the manager-level interviews were the greatest struggle. The positions are in small-enough organizations so that I would be the be-all, end-all servant of all things mar-comm. And I’m better at forward thinking, planning, challenging and innovating than I am at a heavy load of donkey work.

When I spoke with the executive recruiter for the senior director position, I was surprised at how confident and at home I felt in the level of discussion. The roles and responsibilities for the position matched my strengths and experience well. We were on the same wavelength. It felt great! In the midst of all this, I had some additional and very encouraging networking lunches and a new business meeting, too. Positive feedback was coming from every direction, and I was starting to feel like a power manifester!

So, by Friday, I was ready for a break. A girlfriend invited me to a spontaneous lunch, and I was delighted. I thought about canceling my early afternoon networking meeting in favor of doing some shopping. But I went anyway. Sure enough, while talking with my contact, he told me that all the director-level positions within the organization had been filled…and then he recommended that I apply for another opportunity that had just opened up, Vice President of Marketing. Woo-hoo! Once again, I am reminded that the universe has a delightful sense of humor.

So, to briefly recap the evolution of my search:

  • I had to leave the position I was in to spend the time and effort figuring out what my next step might be. I’m still not crystal clear and the opportunities for which I’ve interviewed have all been vastly different, but their commonalities are that I will feel I’m putting something more positive into the world, that I will be able to make a greater immediate contribution to the organization and have greater visibility.
  • Even though I am not safely, happily and comfortably within a new role, I feel great about where I’m at and that I’m being authentic to myself in the path I’m taking. Speaking my truth and having that met with positive cues or responses is contributing to my belief that I’m taking all the right steps.
  • I would not have had the confidence to apply for a vice president position while in my old role — and, in fact, the progression of interviewing for two manager positions and realizing the senior director role is a much better match is what’s given me the confidence to go for it!

So you see, I’ve made a certain amount of progress on my path. I’m going to keep working my plan, putting my authentic self out there, knowing that the right one of these wonderful opportunities will manifest at the right time. Meanwhile, I am genuinely grateful for the opportunity to go about this my way.

Up next:  an online dating update.


eight years ago I met a man…

Eight years ago this week…

… at a conference in Chicago, I was standing at a cocktail table chatting with some female colleagues when a man approached our table.

I noticed as he walked toward us. He was tall, urbane and curls spilled off the top of his head. Before he had even stopped or uttered a greeting, a voice in my head said, “So that’s the man I would have met if I’d moved to Chicago.”

Let’s stop for a moment to ponder this:  I knew nothing about this man. He wasn’t my usual type. I didn’t know whether he lived in Chicago (after all, it was an international conference). While I’d contemplated moving there a few times, there was nothing to suggest I’d have met him if I had. So it seemed a bit brazen of my brain to pop off with such a bold proclamation. And, of course, the rational voice in my head was appalled — it jumped in with a correction:  “That’s the kind of man I might have met if I’d moved to Chicago.” It’s strange to have an internal dialogue like this — unusual enough that I still remember it.

I generally give my subconscious mind quite a bit of credit. I think it cues me in to some synchronicities and connections that I might otherwise miss. So it seemed to me that the very act of noticing this man might suggest some energetic or karmic connection. Perhaps there was a lesson or exchange to come of our having met — or the potential for something more. I prefer not to jump to conclusions about what it might mean, but it happens rarely enough so that I’ve learned to pay attention.

Anyway…he was friendly and engaging, and he worked for the conference organizer. He wore a ring. After a spell, we all decided to move on to our various evening plans. As I stepped from behind the skirted high top, my six-month pregnant belly emerged into view. The man’s jaw dropped, although I couldn’t have known why it was such a shock to him that I was pregnant. But he had clearly noticed me, too.

At a later moment in the conference, we crossed paths again. I was being introduced to someone and he suddenly appeared, remarking, “…and isn’t she the cutest pregnant woman you’ve ever seen?!” A woman never forgets a compliment like that.

The conference ended and we each went back to our happy lives — me to my husband, daughter and soon-to-be-born son; him to his wife.

Chi-guy would call my office every so many months, looking for a quote for an article he was writing, sometimes for a topic so completely irrelevant to my industry that I knew it was merely an excuse. His voice was an effeminate tenor with a hint of resonance; pleasant, but not manly.

And then I did a big, groundbreaking deal, the sort that gets national attention. So I called him, sent him the media materials, asked him to write about it and landed an invitation to speak at the annual conference. It was now 2005, two years after we’d first met.

When I arrived at the conference, my tall, urbane, curly-haired friend was nowhere to be found. I kept anticipating that I’d see him — or that he might make a point of seeking me out. Finally, one of his colleagues told me that he’d been hoping to introduce me before I went on stage, but he had the flu, and I was unlikely to see him at all. So it was a surprise when Chi-guy arrived ten minutes before my presentation. And I secretly thought that he must have been awfully motivated to see me, to show up when not even his colleagues expected him. I was flattered.

The next day, he introduced me to his wife and confided that they were expecting.

Chi-guy and I stayed loosely in touch over the next few years, emailing once or twice a year, if that. Eventually, we found each other on Facebook, which made it easier to stay connected, and I would ask him for restaurant recommendations when I traveled to Chicago; we exchanged a few pleasantries about parenting or books, but never managed to connect in person.

And that was the extent of our very loose mutual admiration…until nine months ago