Category Archives: employment

New beginnings…

I know, I have been out of the loop for a bit, determining my next steps while getting back to work, recovering, moving, and getting back to society’s definition of normal. Normal, yeah we can go with that for now. But for me, normal has a new definition and it is not dictated by anyone but me.

That may sound selfish, and on occasion, I can deal with that definition but before judging, let me explain. I spent my life always doing the right thing, being the right person, burying my needs and desires and dreams to accommodate many around me. My reward was breast cancer…hey thanks! Ironically, it was the best thing that has happened in recent history, truly a blessing in disguise. I was forced to take inventory of my little world, eliminate the clutter, and with my heart on my sleeve fight for my own survival, literally and metaphorically speaking.

What I discovered is that I am much stronger than I give myself credit for, that my world is full of love and kindness and encouragement, that my dreams and passion have as prominent a place as my family. I’ve learned I can have what I want, a balance, and that my life is full of new beginnings.

A year ago I was recovering from a bilateral mastectomy, awaiting chemotherapy and radiation. I was weak on all levels and tired of fighting the day to day battles. I felt discouraged and frustrated with my life…as though my momentum had come to a screeching halt and Stuck was my new address. This year I am cancer free with it all behind me. On Monday Nov. 30th I begin a new career as a college admissions counselor while pursuing my business degree with a focus on small business management. In 90 days my classes will be free as will degrees for my sons and husband should they choose to utilize my benefits. I have connected with women business owners who are also breast cancer survivors. I have spoken at breast cancer fundraisers. My ultimate goal is to utilize my business degree to assist women in starting their own businesses, especially other survivors. How amazing is it that becoming sick would be the most healing experience of my life!!!

Everyone reaches a point where dreams and goals and passion take hold to morph into new beginnings. I admire those who find and capture it early on. I respect those who take a circuitous route. I admire those who are baptized by fire and illness and find it, embrace it, and follow it through illness and survival. When it is finally discovered, regardless of the path, I admire the pilgrim and the journey. For me, I have seen my path off in the distance for years, always feeling it to be just out of reach, making excuses and putting others needs and wants and desires and demands ahead of my own. Those paths have all converged…my new motto is get onboard or get out of my way. Again, as someone who for years always made way, it feels selfish but wonderful and liberating. We can all walk our paths together but separately…

So there it is, my new beginning shining before me…new career, new schooling, new opportunities, continued connection with the pink cancer web and my sister survivors and fighters. My future is so bright,  so beautiful. I am moved by the experiences that brought me here, by the love and support and encouragement, by the family and friends that stand resolutely in my corner, by the pink web that embraces and inspires me. My new beginnings bring me such joy, such sunshine, such hope.

What I have learned…

In the throes of unclouding and uncluttering my brain, I ended up figuring out something. As much as I want to overlook and give little value to my cancering process, it sits before me like an elephant in the room. It has slowed my life down to a fairly uncomfortable pace which is difficult for me to process…the slowing down has made me think a bit less of myself as I am currently not working…and in an effort to keep my spirits vibrant and fresh and strong, I began to examine where I am at.

As my story mentioned, my perspective has become very clear. I know that I am not satisfied with my current position or status in life. For a long time I have settled, played the game and done the right thing. I’ve been a good girl, a good do-bee, a good worker. However, at this point in my life there has to be something more, something bigger … bigger than just getting along, bigger than overcoming the cancer, bigger than my self worth being determined by a ticking clock (I mean working 8 hours a day, not a life clock.)

I return repeatedly to the life coach field, how that might look for me, what steps I can take now while I’m burning time at home. It means reconnecting with society, overcoming my own insecurities to get out and talk with people, finding the right certification programs to validate my services and direction, and being able to effectively navigate questions that I will be asked or situations that could use my skills, background, knowledge, etc.

To me, this is a valid and much needed field. It can provide guidance and direction, set goals and see incremental steps become success, and provide an outside voice/perspective to get someone through.

There has to be more … whether it is working with cancer patients, coaching new patients, providing information, serving as a life coach or a cancering coach, writing about all this or just creating newsletters for local events and charities and facilities, volunteering as a writer and photographer, or my dream job of opening a bookstore there has to be more. I know…perspective and focus are strong but details still need to be ironed out.

The Habit of Writing…

Getting back into the habit of writing is by far my biggest challenge, and I repeat that to myself in blog drafts from a while ago. My goal is to find my voice, get comfortable with it, and by God, do something with it besides sit at my desk. There has to be something more…(I think there’s a song in that somewhere)

While time management is a huge part of my day to day, getting home to clean the house, cook a meal, do those dishes, be a mom, drive my son to work, etc takes a toll on my available time. My mind spins constantly with thoughts and ideas, and I find that not getting them down in writing means I lose them, or the thought becomes less focused and directed as it appeared when it was originally running wild and free through my mind. Finding time for me and for writing is by far the toughest assignment I face every day! I know that about myself and am working on it, so please bear with me!

That being said, my real focus these days is the transition my entire family is going through. I’m the one person that works and provides full time support to my house. My husband works part time…”and that’s all I have to say about that!” My oldest son is working on getting his truck fixed, just began a new full time position as a laborer/apprentice in a machine shop, and my youngest son goes to school full time and works almost full time. My boys are on the brink of creating that next chapter, taking that next step, and that is where my heart and mind run full bore wide open all the time. Getting them to that next place/step is forefront at all times…doing whatever it takes to make their transition into life one level smoother. I want them to move forward with money in their pockets, self earned money but money just the same…my parents were unable to pave the way for me, and I am in the same boat with my own kids. I see that as having failed them though I was able to provide the rest of the skills to make them successful “contributing members of society.” I don’t know…my thought train just jumped off the tracks…15 minutes is up thank goodness!

In moments…

It’s in moments of what feels like quiet desperation that my heart and spirit perk up and yell…WRITE! TAKE PICTURES! GET OUT AND MINGLE! Stop doing a job and follow where you truly want to be. I’m happy to report that I have done just that. This week I have applied for three writing positions…none of which I have heard back on but all of which took every ounce of courage to apply for. If I do this, I have to do it all the way…no ifs ands or buts. No half ass attempt or wishy washy stuff. Straight writing, good pics, all heart and effort focused in the direction I want, and often need, to go.

I’ve learned about Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Instagram. I’m learning step by step about linking them together with the use of Widgets (thank you WordPress) and how to integrate elements of all this into my Google+ account as well. While it’s all still in the works, I must admit it has been a crash course in the presentation and practice of various social media aspects. I’m about ready to recruit my niece for this project as she is a genius with all these tools…making me look like a complete amateur. I’m not a pro but I am a week wiser in social media and connecting my various mediums. So many options for sharing my information, not enough hours in the day!

And in moments like this, I know that soon I will no longer be planted behind a desk but rather touring around to various locations, speaking with people, taking pictures, telling stories, and on occasion, possibly finding myself in print somewhere other than my own dreamy little blog. I’m reaching out, taking chances, calling out to old friends who have some excellent networks, hoping that they can assist me in completing the tasks to make this dream reality. I can do this…I can!

 

Time Management…AKA The Kittery Inquisition

Time management…managing time, priorities, work. In my office and with our daily list of items to be completed, processed, followed up on, and projects it is a crucial element of being and feeling successful. Each of the four women, myself included, has a specific group of tasks that must be completed to serve our small office…and minus a day of silliness here and there, those tasks are completed consistently making us effective and efficient managers of our time, tasks, responsibilities, etc. We do our work with little to no supervision…it’s why we were hired…our manager is here a few days a week at best because we are low maintenance and steady producers. We don’t need a bird on our shoulders to effectively and efficiently produce quality work during our managed time. (Bear with me, the sarcasm is dripping heavily here to avoid going on a total rant!)

HOWEVER… (insert dramatic da-da-daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa music)…despite our effectively managed time and constant work production, there is another member in our office. She is high maintenance, constantly needs details and clarification and asks questions about why we do what we do, how we do what we do, what protocols are in place for what we are doing, and how can she utilize our in-place protocols to clarify detailed processes to her own team, and of course, how she might strengthen and better define said protocols.  Tick – tick – tick…”time’s a wastin” (June Carter sings in my head). As she stands in my doorway, I’m being questioned…I sit at my desk, searching through my volumes of “completed task emails” to find the one item she is looking for. I cannot find it…and thus, the email from the Inquisitor (with my supervisor’s name copied in the CC line) arrives in my Inbox. It is from the Inquisitor…asking for clarification on our protocol for this process.

I reach out to another manager, one of the women who trained me, searching for the lost document detailing my Protocol for said process. She laughs on the phone and sends it to me right away…she’s so good, thank goodness she has a copy of the document. I thank her profusely as this simple act with stave off the Inquisitor who will print the document, take copious notes, ask her questions in the margins, and come at me this afternoon for clarification on said Protocol.

Mind you, said Protocol has NOTHING to do with the Inquisitor’s position or her process. While she is connected somewhat to my position, it is a far stretch to imagine she needs to know the exact process. It is simply that when she wanted something specific, I was unable to produce or locate the item and thus, the Inquisition began. Tick Tick Tick…”time’s a wastin” (Love ya June) It’s not my job to manage her priorities; we have a department head for that purpose. The Inquisitor thinks the department head is the coolest thing since sliced bread…why not go to him? I follow a process for this one task…complete with Inbox folders, photocopies, etc. I’ve got it all in order, rarely if ever miss a step…tick tick tick…worrying is not on my to do list for today, not managed into my time. Not worrying potentially puts my own supervisor in jeopardy…my steps are like a choreographed routine; my supervisor’s dance would be more freestyle on this process.

Being a good, effective and efficient do-bee…I send a detailed email with said protocol attached to the Inquisitor. Immediate response “Excellent. This will be VERY helpful.” ummm, yeah…cuz you needed it, cuz it’s so urgent. Really?

Tick Tick Tick….Tick Tick Tick…rather than going off on a tangent or rant, I jump online and blast away on this blog. Therapy, embracing the lack of time management this mini-crisis has caused. Why do people do this? What is the point? Why does the Inquisitor need the detailed movements and elements of my position? (Would it be rude of me to ask for her protocols?) What does it solve other than me having to take time out to do HER chore of locating the protocol. It makes me crazy and worse, wastes my time…though I did get to come rant on my blog and already feel better. Irritated but better…let’s start again………………………………………………………..

Time management…managing time, priorities, work. In my office and with our daily list of items to be completed, processed, followed up on, and projects it is a crucial element of being and feeling successful. Each of the four women, myself included, has a specific group of tasks that must be completed to serve our small office…and minus a day of silliness here and there, those tasks are completed consistently making us effective and efficient managers of our time, tasks, responsibilities, etc. We do our work with little to no supervision…it’s why we were hired…our manager is here a few days a week at best because we are low maintenance and steady producers. We don’t need a bird on our shoulders to effectively and efficiently produce quality work during our managed time.