Tag Archives: career

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


advice from friends

Most of us could be a better friend to ourselves. By that I mean we allow our internal dialogue to run on, focused on our failures, our shortcomings, our fears and our doubts. If we actually confessed these same thoughts to a friend, he or she would say…well, probably something like the below:

From Max:

“Stop thinking about your marriage or life in terms of the failure. Instead, look at all that you’ve accomplished and gained in the past decade — you have a home and two beautiful children and more career and life experience. That’s a lot to be proud of.” He was right. Looking at my life in this way took some of the pressure off — it’s not as though I’m starting my life over from scratch, renting an apartment, my biological clock ticking as I desperately search for a mate.

Girlfriend Candy gave me this nugget:

“You are making all your dreams come true. You’re more than a writer; you’re a published author. Look at your blog and how it’s touched your readers — and you’ve made enough posts with enough content to fill a book!” That’s great perspective, too. Embarking on this blog has been cathartic emotionally, a great way to connect with some new people, and a way to discipline myself to regularly publish (which is difficult for my abstract-thinking, perfectionist side).

I am blessed to have surrounded myself with love as I go through so many challenges and changes! And, with all this support, I am learning to become a better friend to myself.


positive progress

It’s been almost a week since I “left the building.” Having found my former work environment somewhat stressful, I’ve noticed and actually started writing down some of the changes.

Since I quit my job, I’ve begun:

  • sleeping through the night (without waking at 4am with racing thoughts)
  • having more frequent bowel movements
  • desiring healthier foods (and not craving unhealthy foods)
  • drinking green tea (rather than lattes)
  • feeling more energetic

People around me have been asking if I’ve lost weight (does 3 lbs. count?), or done something different with my hair or fallen in love — apparently the twinkle is back in my eyes. And my chiropractor found me much easier to adjust than previously.

So even though I know it was crazy, and there’s still a part of me that feels tremendous fear about not knowing what’s next, I feel confident that I made the right choice for me!


I’ve become a cliche

I haven’t posted for a few days, partly because I’ve been making some major transitions (in real time), which I’ve alluded to in recent posts. So here it is:  I left my job. Wednesday was my last day. And I haven’t written since earlier in the week because I’ve struggled with what to say about that.

To briefly recap the past year of my life:  I got divorced, turned forty and quit my job. On the surface, this may appear to be a mid-life crisis. I am officially a cliche. Ewwww!

And another funny thing about this is that I’ve been jumping back in forth in time and, in telling the story of my failed marriage, I haven’t even gotten to the part about my fortieth birthday. Man, good luck following all this!

I’ve seen so many people do this:  they get divorced, and then they realize that everything else in their life rubs them wrong, as well. It’s like they need to shed their skin or other things in life become like a proverbial rash. They redecorate, job hop, screw around or whatever seemingly immature or crazy things they need to do to lash out.

And now I’m realizing that maybe, just maybe, all those fools I’ve seen behave in this cliched way simply decided that life is too short to be unhappy. Yes, this is also a cliche. I seem to be full of them today. So once they’ve made the step of deciding they don’t need to be unhappy in their primary relationship, they begin to look at the other aspects of their life that are causing them grief and make changes in those areas, too.

For me, my ex finally got a job. It’s a small step and a small job. But I’m hoping it leads to him regaining his confidence and becoming the force of talent, skill and creativity he once was. This man has a lot of gifts — unfortunately, he undercuts himself all the time. But the point is, he got a job and can, ostensibly, provide a small amount of child support to me and cover the children’s health insurance and that lifted just enough weight from my shoulders so that I no longer felt confined.

I’ve actually been working, on the creative level, at finding a new job for several weeks. I was noticing how many people seem to have more balance and more income, and I’ve decided that I can be one of those people. They are not inherently smarter or more educated than I am — it’s simply a matter of re-packaging my transferrable skills. And I wanted to give myself the time to really focus hard on the type of opportunity I’m seeking, rather than rashly jump into something thinking of it as a foot in the door.

So I jumped ship. I am blessed to be able to manage for a couple of months before I need to do something desperate. And I’m likely to be more open and available to spot broader opportunities by giving myself this space.

Send positive vibes! And send contacts if you know of mentors I should talk to or connections I should make. I’m both terrified and thrilled for this next chapter in my life.


the 20-year reunion

About 17 months ago…

During the time that my textual flirtation with Max was going strong, I attended my 20th class reunion. By this time, I was open with others that my marriage was in trouble.

Some context:  I had grown up in a classroom full of rowdies in a small town. In the class ahead of mine, it was very cool to be athletic and intelligent. In my class, it was cool to be an underachiever, rebel or class clown. Indeed, many of the guys in my class had become blue-collar workers, some with two-year or vocational degrees, and most had stayed close to home . . . and what a delight they all were! These trouble-makers had become kind, friendly, engaging, successful and responsible men. Most were married with children, committed husbands and fathers. They were generous both with drinks and laughter. It was an unexpected pleasure to see them all again, particularly in this light.

Many of the women from my class seemed content, too. Most had achieved a higher level of education than the guys. Most were happily married with children. And none of them seemed as stressed out as I was, in their personal lives nor in their professions.

Observing this made me wonder about the life I’d chosen — ambition, a private, liberal arts college, international travel, art museums and theatres, my urban lifestyle . . . I wouldn’t have been happy staying in my hometown, yet most of my classmates seemed to find more fulfillment in their more modest life choices than I was experiencing in mine.

In the midst of our mirthful reminiscing, my best friend from high school and I were sitting at the bar. I was filling her in on the events of my life, telling her about Max, the one thing besides my children that seemed to put a smile on my face. Another classmate had joined the conversation. After quietly listening for awhile, he said, “‘Work crush,’ is that what you call it these days? It used to be known as adultery!”

Wow. That seemed a bit harsh. It hit me like a slap in the face. And it gave me something more to think about:  Was my emotional attachment to Max — or our attachment to each other — crossing an inappropriate boundary? It tried to be very cognizant of his marriage, but on some level, I maintained fantasies of our being together. Was the mere act of continuing correspondence with him morally reprehensible? Did trying to be a decent human mean I had to sever ties with Max completely, and now? And what if this doomed flirtation was the only thing I had going for me at the moment? Did it matter if this was my lifeline?