Monday, May 26, 2008

Working Girl

Last week was my 26th birthday. For me, it wasn't anything special. Just another day. I wasn't into celebrating my birthday at all this year. Last year I had a group of friends over for a BBQ because all I wanted was to hang out with the coolest people I know. It was a fun night -- more about being with my friends than focusing on my actual birthday. I love hosting parties and showing my friends a good time, so seeing them have fun was a great birthday present.

But this year was different. For some reason, I would've rather been alone. I didn't want any attention or fuss over the fact that I was turning 26. Really? Who cares about 26? My husband and friends tried to get me excited about celebrating, but I wasn't going to have it. When I stop to think about why I was so anti-celebration, I keep coming back to my new job. I've been consumed with it -- worrying about my busy days, worrying that I won't succeed, dreaming about work issues, putting pressure on myself, and worrying some more. I'm driving myself crazy, but I don't know any other way to act. It seems like trying to relax and let go only makes things worse. And trying to celebrate while feeling so much pressure just really put me in a bad mood. I wanted to scream "CAN'T YOU SEE!? MY LIFE IS ALL ABOUT THIS NEW JOB NOW! I DON'T HAVE TIME TO FOCUS ON ANYTHING ELSE!!!" I've been trying to adjust to working 10 hours a day. My schedule used to be so strict: Work 8 hours, Gym class at 5 p.m., cook dinner at 7, bed at 10:00. As boring as it was, I LIKE THAT!!! I like routine, and I'm going to miss it. But it's so much more than that...

One of the reasons I'm really stressed about this new job is the fact that I am not allowed to leave at 5:00 to go to gym class. I know it sounds crazy, but I'm afraid that this new job is going to make me fat again. Everyone else at the company is ok with not going to the gym, but it's different for me. I worked really hard to lose 50 pounds. I need the class; I need the structured environment to succeed. Having the instructor is really what led to my success. Once my laptop and Blackjack arrive, I'm afriad I won't be able to tell the different between work and home. Structure will be gone. I used to be able to leave my work at the door, which allowed me to come home and focus on the house and my husband and myself. I spend a lot of time organizing our lives, but it's becoming more difficult for me to do since I'm so worried about work now.

This is the first time in a very long time that I've had to struggle to find balance in my life. If I wanted to, I could easily work 12 hour days because there's so much to do. I want to succeed. All I want is to do a good job, and I feel like the way to achieve this is to neglect my personal life and focus on work 100%. Isn't that how rich people do it? I feel that the leadership in my company really does want me to work 12 hour days. "Anything to get the job done!" they would say. "Sacrifice. We're your top priority." That is how I percieve the culture now. Before when I was a measly hourly employee, they didn't care about me. I'm thrilled to be moving up. I have it in me to be more and do more. But I was told twice (once in the interview and once during the face-to-face offer) "We own you now." It's one of those statements that echoes in your head for a long time..."We own you now." It's a simple comment, but it carries very powerful undertones. No one in 26 years has ever said that to me before. I don't know if I like it.

Do you have to be ok with someone owning you in order to succeed?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

social season

Every year as the seasons change and the flowers begin to bloom so does our social calendar. The days are longer, everyone comes out from hibernation and we decide it's time to see each other again. I love this time of year because I crave social activity. I especially craved it this year after being laid up in the bed for 2 weeks straight. Cinco de Mayo came just as I was feeling well enough to go out again, and what better place to celebrate than our favorite Mexican restaurant Nachos. Mmmmm MMmm! Sean and I met our friends Britt and Jill for a Mexican feast and margaritas. We devoured boat loads of salsa, cheese dip and some sort of chorizo au gratin that Beto concocted for us.

Our next date with Britt and Jill was a wine event at the Factory to raise money for the historic Franklin theatre. We dawned our coctail duds and sipped on many different red wines -- some good and some disgusting -- while mingling and trying to make our way into a VIP Magazine shot. Sadly, I don't have any pictures from the evening, but trust me - I'm pretty sure we were all looking fabulous that night. If we make it into the magazine, I'll be sure to scan in the picture for your viewing pleasure.

And finally, this past Friday we were out with Britt and Jill again; this time for the Franklin Rodeo. I had an absolute blast! I just wish it would've lasted longer. Maybe next year I'll try to go all three nights. Mutton Bustin', barrel racing and bull riding - what more could a girl ask for? I think I have a thing for the cowboys. Sean, dig out them boots from the back of your closet, baby!

A couple of weeks ago, I invited all of my work friends over for a family cookout. It was so nice to hang out with everyone in a non-work setting and spend time with their spouses and kids. Since Sean and I have nothing that even resembles a toy in our house, we decided to buy some bubbles and balls for the 3 kids that were coming over. It seemed to work just fine, and I think they actually enjoyed playing in the back yard. Sherri and Keith stayed behind after everyone left, and Sherri and I killed an entire pitcher of Miss Billie's Punch. Below is the evidence that we had ourself a good ole time! This is what I found in the fridge the next morning. Yes, folks, the pitcher is bone dry.

In other friend news, my best friend Jolene is moving off to California this week. We've known each other for close to 20 years now. Sean and I popped into a going away party for her to say good bye and wish her well. She'll be living in the OC at her grandma's place and finishing up school. Hopefully I can save up some money for a ticket out to the West coast. I haven't spent much time in California. To be honest, it intimidates me. I mean, have you watched The Hills? Yea, I need to lose about 30 more pounds and have a breast augmentation before I go out there. So, good luck Jolene!!!!! We love you!

This morning we had brunch with our pals Luca and Adrienne. It was a quick visit because they were just in town overnight for a wedding. Sean and I decided that we need to get back to Atlanta soon because we really love haning out with them. And guys, I promise this time we won't make you spend 3 hours in Ikea!

As I get ready for my 2nd full week at the new job, I find myself a little nervous. Last week was such a whirlwind. I just hope I can find some focus or some rhythm or something that at least resembles organization! It will also be the first time I attempt going back to the gym. I'm looking forward to doing that more than anything. Before I sign off, I wanted to share a picture of my beautiful orchid. Since I don't have pets or kids, this is really the only thing I can brag about. I killed my last orchid so I'm hoping to be a better caretaker this time around. So far I have 2 new blooms! (they grew from the pods you see in the picture below). This plant was a gift from Tom and Ann after my surgery. Isn't it beautiful!? Dear Orchid, Please stay alive forever!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

New Job

I’m proud to say that as of Monday I officially carry the title as Business Care Manager for my company. My first day on the job was unlike any other simply because it was the first day the position ever existed. Yes, my new role is not only new for my but it's also new for the entire company. Thankfully, I have an experienced team member and wonderful director to help guide me through the transition. Still, it’s pretty crazy to literally have to start from scratch with a new position.

BCM Agenda for May 12: Find out what exactly it is that I’m supposed to do…

Needless to say, my head is spinning in a million directions as I try to make some sense out of all this. It will require a lot of information gathering and organization. I’m really just diving in head first and crossing my fingers that I do a good job. Everyone has been really supportive and encouraging so far, so I’m thankful for that. The only unsettling comment was from my VP of Sales who referred to my role as “the single throat to choke.” It just doesn’t have a very nice ring to it….and he said it repeatedly. It reminds me of spousal abuse, which doesn’t offer a very pleasant visual image. I’m actively working to come up with a better analogy. Any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated.

Monday night I left work with a stress headache. My brain was packed with too much information about my new position. I headed off for my weekly trip the grocery store, and by the time I finished shopping I was exhausted! Sean helped me unload the groceries and then he stepped out on the deck to take a work call. I started pulling out the ingredients for our meal and prepping my workspace. As I started chopping and seasoning, I could hear music coming from the CD player the living room and it made me feel like I had my very own cooking show. The sounds, smells and textures of preparing the meal were very therapeutic for me, and by the time my pork chops were finished cooking I was feeling much better.

Tuesday – another stress headache. Thankfully, I had plans to meet up with my very oldest friend in the world Jolene. We grabbed dinner and drinks at my favorite after-work watering hole Bonefish, and then we came back to the house to write a song. Of course, with all the catching up we had to do, we never really got around to writing anything. (Does one line count?) She jammed and we sang a little big, but mostly we just talked which was nice. She’s moving to California next week so it was good to spend some time with her before she becomes an Anti-Southerner.

Wednesday – stress headache. What else? Only this time it turned into a full-blown migraine or sinus headache or something that hurt very badly. I took medicine and fell asleep before 9:00, but the evil thing was still around when I woke up this morning. So I’m 3 for 3 with nightly headaches. Hopefully tonight will break the chain! I’m really doing this to myself, getting all panicked and thinking I have to know it all within the first week. I need to relax. Any tips? Any tips that don't involve drinking?

If I had a therapist, I imagine that he or she would identify me as a person with control issues. I don’t like being out of control of a situation. It’s terrifying to me to not know what's going on and to not be able to manipulate it…especially now that I’m in a position where I have no idea what to do. I have a vague idea, but it’s not enough for me. My entire day is filled with thoughts of failure. In fact, I just reminded myself of the dream I had last night. Without sharing all the crazy details, I’ll just say it had to do with me riding as a passenger in a runaway car and not being able to steer. That’s exactly what I feel like right now, and I don’t enjoy it one bit! I don't always need to be IN control (although it's helpful at times). I just like to be able to have some control in the event that something is going that I can make it right. I'm not the kind of person that likes to take a back seat. I'm not afraid to step up to the plate, so it's difficult for me when I find myself not knowing how to play the game.

In other news, my recovery is coming along nicely. Each day I find myself feeling stronger and more “normal.” Sunday I did 4 loads of laundry, changed the sheets and cleaned the kitchen!!! I didn’t feel very well afterwards, but the nauseous feeling finally passed and I survived. I only have minor pain every now and again as the muscle and incision try to heal. Sean is definitely excited to have his wife back and pitching in around the house again. I’m going to wait until next Monday before I go back to the gym, and even then it will be baby steps. I know I need to start off slowly until I figure out what I’m capable of doing.