Saturday, February 26, 2011
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Generally, I feel like I'm doing pretty well, but I also feel like I'm dropping the ball on a few items. I guess that's a typical feeling when starting a new gig. While I'm used to having a ton to do, I'm not used to having to implement my new organization system (which isn't quite where it needs to be), and learning the new customs and expectations of a different company. For example, writing a press release is taking me about twice as long as it should because I'm not entirely sure what and how much information needs to be included. And then I go off in search of the information and some that I need isn't available for public consumption. So then I have to track it down internally which takes even longer.
Basically it boils down to unfamiliarity. Until I get a little more time here under my belt, my normal productivity is going to be lower. Which will frustrate me.
But I know I'll be back to normal soon enough.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
- I want to be married but don't really want the hassle of planning a wedding (or reception). When all is said and I done, Chef and I will be getting married here pretty quickly but won't be having a wedding reception to publicly celebrate until about our first anniversary.
- There are few embarrassing things or situations that you can't laugh your way out of. I should know. I was in one this week that is not for public consumption, but Chef got a chuckle out of it, anyhow.
- My weight loss is paying off (again). I got my license and the bloated face on it is larger than the face that stares back at me today. I guess 14 pounds will do that to a person.
- Being from a smaller state doesn't necessarily mean things are run backwards. Both Tennessee and Indiana had WAY better DMV procedures than California. It's fairly sad when Chef and I went to the DMV on the same day and he got his license 5 weeks later and I got my license 5 weeks after him.
- My office is really sad. I need to bring that box of packed items from my old office so I at least have a bobblehead and a certain onion cooker to brighten my work area.
- More choices doesn't necessarily mean BETTER choices. Case in point: our continuing restaurant saga. We've tried a pretty good gamut of area restaurants and still cannot be completely satisfied. All are really well reviewed, but don't really deliver consistent and delicious results. Chef says part of that is that we're discerning customers.
- There are some weird movies out there. Chef and I watched "Little Boy Blue" last night and were intrigued. This one's got perceived incest, maniacal military impostors and lots of Ryan Phillipe's bare ass. A weird combo and not necessarily a winning combo, but I didn't feel cheated out of valuable time in my life.
So that's what I've learned up until Wednesday. Word.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Friday, February 18, 2011
- Traffic is SIGNIFICANTLY worse going home on Fridays than any other day. And by "significantly," I mean that the drive that normally takes about an hour and fifteen minutes going home Monday-Thursday took me two hours and twenty minutes last Friday.
- I need to get my rest and tidy up the place because I'm having my first visitors this weekend: MY DAD AND STEPMOM!!!!
I knew they'd be the first out here and am so excited to show them around our little neck of the woods. Dad also requested a trip to Santa Monica, which is very do-able, although might be a little chilly as it's only going to be about 60 this weekend. Dad and Robin are in town for a conference and Chef and I are so happy to have them come. I look forward to it tremendously and know that we're gonna have a great time.
In the mean time, I need to finish out my day and mentally prepare myself for the long ride home. I think I'm literally going to dig in and take the scenic route this time. A drive along the Pacific Coast Highway with the ocean to my right. Traffic isn't so bad to be stuck in with a view of something other than someone's bumper. Wish me luck!
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
1) I just started last Monday and didn't have any real details, and
2) My boss mentioned in my interview that he had read my blog (it's on my resume), and I found out that other members of the PR team had read it as well.
So in an effort to make sure I actually knew what I was talking about before posting (which is a change of pace for me), I decided to hold off until I had an idea of what my job was before telling a little more about it.
Here's what I know right now: I do PR. I'm the US PR Manager for SAGE Publications. The US is needed because the company I now work for is a global entity and has offices in the UK, Singapore, India and Washington DC. In fact, my boss and the majority of the PR team are located in the UK. I've spent the last week trying to be able to do the time zone math in my head (it's an 8 hour difference).
Lucky for me, last week was an unintentional boot camp of the company. There were LOADS of people over from the UK (including my boss and my UK counterpart), and the freelancer that has been doing parts of the job for the last 10 years was also flown in to help give me some context and information about what I'll be doing. But the first week was intense. I literally met about 50 people, learned about a new industry, learned about 5 new products, and had cocktail or dinner engagements on 3 of the 5 nights. It was a great learning curve, which I feel like I got through pretty quickly.
Clearly, I'm still learning. I can tell you about the upcoming branding audit results and present to fellow staff, but I can't print out a report and staple it--because I don't have a stapler. Or a highlighter. Or just about anything. The office I'm in (and I'm thankful that I have an office and not a cubicle--not sure how I got that lucky, but I'll take it) right now has got a desk with drawers that currently hold a box of tampons (I brought those in), a computer, a week's worth of my notes strewn about the desk (I'm notorious for being messy on the desk, but clean on my hard drive), roses from Chef for Valentine's Day, and a refrigerator.
Why a fridge? Because I'm a lazy caffeine addict. This place has about 300 employees or so on-site and the breakroom is downstairs. There's a vending machine and three fridges for storing frozen meals (but only up to two per person for space sake) and four microwaves. But those things require me to: 1) have cash or change--which I never do, or 2)not be in meetings where I have the 7 minutes roundtrip to get a beverage and get back upstairs. (Yes I timed it). So I'm lazy and put the fridge in my office so I only have a 4 second trip to get a diet Coke. Really it's for the company's sanity as well as my own.
Anyway, office aside, I do a lot of the things I did at the AHA. I push out journal articles from among the 630+ journals we publish. I announce the acquisition of new journals. I announce when books are published. I work on social media. I contribute to a corporate blog. I prep our executives for speaking engagements. I continue to be the branding police. I manage a staff that plans events--except instead of cocktail parties and Galas, it's conventions and trade shows.
That's basically the gist of what I do. And it's for a very legit, very legal and not at all X-rated independent company. On another day, in another post, I'll start comparing for-profit with non-profit. It's been a re-entry experience into the for-profit world. And not a bad one.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Friday, February 11, 2011
It wasn't just the mission or the job that I knew I'd miss, but the 100 percent the people. My co-workers were smart, dedicated and hardworking people. Some of them were even sarcastic, slang-talking weirdos like me. And then of course, there were the people who weren't paid to work for the American Heart Association, but did it anyway. Those lovely volunteers who had great intentions and tons of spirit who loved to help just because. No other reason (usually).
And so with that, I will sit here and blog for my heart. Lots of people know of the American Heart Association, but few know the true intricacies of the organization (unless they work for it). So, with that I'll say one of the most public and well-received efforts the organization ever launched was the Go Red For Women movement. It is vital because while more than half of all women can NOW name heart disease as the No. 1 killer of women, less than 25 percent actually think it is something that will affect THEM.
And unfortunately, that is not the case. Heart disease claims the life of one in three women.
Think of all the women in your life: your mom, sister, grandma, aunt, daughter, friends. That's a lot of women. One in THREE will die. That's not good odds. (Other odds that aren't good- getting away with murder-- 2 to 1 odds on that!).
In that spirit, today I'm blogging my heart out to support Go Red For Women. Spreading the message and asking you to tell 5 people the same thing. It's easy. Click here, join the FREE movement and tell 5 other people. It's easy and it takes less time than it took you to read this blog post. So, you might as well do it!
To all my heart friends, I miss you very dearly and have thought of you (or will think of you) during this hectic month of Go Red events, Heart Galas and Balls, and all the things that make you tired.
Wednesday, February 09, 2011
Tuesday, February 08, 2011
Unbeknowst to me, my counterpart from the UK flew in to help acclimate me this week. That's because my boss, who is also based in the UK, flew in for a conference and wasn't going to be able to spend a ton of one on one time. Apparently, his next trip to the US after this week is in April. So, this is going to be a sink or swim test. And I'm fairly certain I can swim just fine. I might just need some water wings for the first week or so.
So, because of this flurry of foreign activity, I've been booked solid for the first week. Happy Hour cocktails for two nights and a dinner on a third. It's probably a good thing because the extra time gets me out of traffic. The only downside is that I'm learning names from people I'll probably not meet or see again for months and am probably going to forget them. Then I'll have to act like I remembered them from my first day when in all likelihood, I won't.
The only other thing that I noticed is the accents. I'm good throughout the day, but around 5:30 and with a brain full of mush, I was having to concentrate. The same thing happened in Murfreesboro, though.
So I sit here and begin and realize that there aren't a lot of people who are outside the education arena that work here. Most have backgrounds in colleges, teaching or sales connected to colleges and teaching. It'll be interesting to see how quick I'm able to catch on...
Sunday, February 06, 2011
- Will I get there in time?
- Will I be overdressed in a suit?
- Should I pack a lunch? If I pack a lunch, how long does it take for a frozen meal to thaw? Do they have a fridge for me to store it? Would it look bad to have my name already written on it?
- Is it presumptuous to bring some of my office decor on the first day? How early is too early to designate and stock a snack drawer?
- Will I have a cubicle or an office?
- How much paperwork will I have to fill out for HR? What's the over/under on pages? (I'm thinking 10 pages)
- How much help will I need to figure out the new to me office equipment works?
- What's gonna surprise me most?
Friday, February 04, 2011
- Listen to Mike & Mike and sports talk radio. Mike & Mike ends at 7 a.m. here, and in time, I'll be able to keep 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. hours at the new job. So that means, extra sports chatter. And until then, I'll listen to regular sports talk to get my sports jones in without sacrificing any Chef time, as he's not a fan.
- Flush out my arguments. For a debate? Against Chef? What kind of arguments? All valid questions. The answer lies in Chuck Klosterman. Thank you, Greg, for introducing me to him and his wonderfully sarcastic essays. They've already got me thinking and that thinking takes time--so I'll use the commute to flush out some weird arguments to write. And be prepared for this blog to shift it's tone a little. I feel like I may have pulled some punches lately to buffer things from any potential employers or to keep from offending. But I've decided its time to be a little offensive.
- Books on tape. Anyone got any good suggestions? I've never been a big audio book fans because I like to visualize my literature and its harder for me to visualize words that I'm listening to rather than words that I'm reading. Is anyone else like that? Does this mean that I'm a visual learner? I guess it does. I usually take notes as people are talking to me so that I can see the important words they're saying. It helps me remember better. I may never look at the notes again, but just writing them and seeing them help me.
- And last, but not least, I need to use the time to be inside my head for a little while. I need to let my mind wander and go places that it shouldn't. I need to be my characters for a while and use the time to write. I might even get a voice recorder to see if I can transcribe anything later that could be useful.