A Bird in One Hand……

A Bird in One Hand……

DSCF6116 (2).JPGMost people have heard the saying, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”  We roll our eyes when we hear one, but clichés serve a purpose. They are the way elders to offer sage advice to younger people in the hope they will be spared pain and sorrow for certain mistakes.

I have found in most cases; however, the best teacher is experience herself.

Satisfaction does not come easy for me. I am a perfectionist by nature and tend to want immediate results. Fortunately, I am also a bit risk-adverse, which keeps me from throwing caution to the wind in search of gold at the end of the rainbow. This is particularly true when it comes to my job. I work in Information Technology and my daily challenge of “too much to do and no time to do it” weighs me down. When it gets to be too much, I daydream about a better job. Granted, there is nothing wrong with wanting a change, but I have been here before.  I learned the hard way that not appreciating what you have can cause a person to stop thinking rationally and to make bad choices.

When I was much younger and just starting my career, there was a time when I felt I was not being treated fairly by my employer. I accepted a job with a company that had a bad reputation. My friends warned me, even my manager warned me, but I wouldn’t listen. I told them the company had changed, that they really did care about their employees, and that all those old rumors were no longer valid. Blah-dee-blah-dee-blah. In retrospect, I was rationalizing why giving up a perfectly good job (and it was) to work for a questionable employer was somehow the right thing to do.

I should have realized my mistake on my first day. It was after 5:00 p.m. and the employee I was working with not slowing down. My daughter’s daycare closed at six and I said I had to leave. The woman I was working with looked at me dead serious and said I might need to find other arrangements. Limited overtime was one of the conditions discussed during my interview, and this deal was broken the first day.

I started work in February, and for first few months, things seemed fine. I liked the people I worked with, I was treated well by management, and atmosphere was great. Around May, however, the job started taking over my life.  As a computer programmer, I was no stranger to being called in the middle of the night to fix a coding problem. At my old job, this was a shared responsibility that prevented burn-out. At my new job, I was part of a two-person team: my supervisor and myself. Guess who got most of the calls. On an almost a nightly basis, I would receive a phone call, drive to the office, fix a problem, drive home, get a little sleep, then back to work. Some nights I would barely make it through the door when my husband would tell me that the computer operator had just called again. The lack of sleep and having to care for a two-year old daughter was starting to wear me down.

I remember the night I finally reached my breaking point. I got a call telling me to come in and fix a problem. It was a Friday night and my husband was out with friends, and I had no one to take care of our daughter. I packed up my sleepy little girl and drove to the office. It was after midnight before my husband came to pick her up. When he got there, I was sitting on the curb in front of the building, hysterically crying. I was so exhausted and overcome by stress that no bird would have been better than the one bird I had. The next day, I managed to pick myself up and go on. In the end, however, I finally gave up and called my ex-boss and asked for a job. My lesson had lasted than a year.

Whenever I get too disgruntled with my current job, I remember this story. For some, it may sound like failure, but for me, it is a check-point. I may not stay in my current job forever, but I will never leave a for emotional reasons. I learned the hard way about clichés . Before I give up this bird, I will make sure the others birds are worth pursuing.  


Connected 24 x 7 (Photography 101/Day 6)

Connected 24 x 7 (Photography 101/Day 6)


imageBeing connected has its ups and downs. As a mom, I feel comforted knowing I can reach my children when they are away from home. As a wife, knowing that I can call my husband and remind him that we need milk while he is at the grocery store makes my life much easier. But as an employee, being connected comes with baggage.

Like many professionals, I feel an unspoken expectation that I need to be reachable, even on my days off. This not only includes phone calls, but e-mails and instant messaging. It seems there is no escape from the possibility that at any given moment, I am expected to be back “on the job”,  a feeling that negates some of the benefits of being away in the first place.

Even if your employer is not that demanding (and mine really isn’t), as employees there is an addiction to being connected 24 x 7.  It’s part ego and part insecurity. We never want to find out that our employer, boss, or team can actually get along without us.

The umbilical cord that connects us with our employer also connects us to our co-workers through social media. We are Facebook Friends, LinkedIn, and Twitter mates. Personally, I think it is unhealthy to be that connected with the people I work with, especially my manager. While most interactions are harmless, we all know people whose opinions are so ‘out there’ that it affects how we feel about them as a co-worker. And heaven forbid we get too carried away with our own posts our of fear of what our office mate might think.

Connections are like bridges, joining us together, and that is not a bad thing. But even  bridges have limits: times when they may be crossed, limits to what is brought from one side to the next. Our personal connections need some limits tooDSCF8429





Monday Morning Blues

Monday Morning Blues

Monday’s may not be anyone’s favorite day of the week, but I absolutely hate them. Monday should be a day I  gently slide back into the routine of real life, which for me is my job. I am the lead  business analyst of a large project with many problems. Our delivery date will not be met, yet no one will admit it. My team is inexperienced and needs lots of guidance. My boss  lives in some sort of fantasy world where I am Superwoman and I will save the day (so that mere mortals like herself can sleep well at night), so telling her things are bad doesn’t do much good. And countless project managers who cannot see past the end of their MS Project Plan. Instead of a gentle breeze, Monday blows in like a May tornado, hitting quick and hard, leaving  a trail of debris that needs to be cleaned up.   Between 7:00 am and 9:00 am, I will  have at least two meetings. My e-mail inbox  will include new items to be concerned about, take care of, or do myself. My task list grows longer each day and my inability to complete anything holds up other people from completing their tasks.  I am literally the clog at the bottom of the funnel.  And as I look ahead to the rest of the week, I see no hope of things improving. Monday has barely begun and I am defeated.

For anyone reading this, I’m sorry this is nothing more than a rant and a woe-is-me pity-party. It’s been a week since I last blogged (due to work travel) and I felt I needed to post something. This was all I could muster.  Feel free to add your own “I hate Monday” post. Misery loves company!

Off to my first meeting!