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Thursday, August 11th, 2005
8:36 pm - Rant Update
I posted yesterday about a very unpleasant experience with UoP's Accounts Receivable department. While the return call I got today wasn't to the A/R Manager I had left a message with, but her representative instead, I was very pleased to learn from her that Jay Peterson is no longer with University of Phoenix, presumably terminated, at least in part, due to the incident yesterday. I had not expected UoP to act so swiftly and decisively, but after having spoken to several people on staff there, including here on LJ, it is clear that this is not the culture that UoP would like to represent to the world, including students like myself.

Much appreciated, UoP. We can be friends again.

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Friday, August 5th, 2005
9:01 am - Podcasts: BizSlap
As I came in to work this morning, I discovered that I can listen to the CDs I burned this morning in my parents' car. Too bad I only have the car til the end of the day. But it made the commute really nice, listening to recent BizSlap podcasts. Each 5 or 7 minute podcast is done by a business/life coach and focuses on just one topic. I listened to one about "thin slicing" as means of making intuitive decisions about data and how that relates to the value of impressions and the power of being nice, one about brand image, one about networking and social capital and one about managing stress. Each one started off with me wondering, "Do I really need to listen to this? Don't I know this already?" But when I gave it a shot, I learned something. More importantly, I started out fretting about my day but arrived at work empowered and calm. I feel like it's going to be a great day. Still more podcasts to listen to while I work, and tons more on the computer at home, ready to download. Note to self: Get some CD-RWs or this is going to get expensive.

Bizslap is going to stay on my subscription list.

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Monday, August 1st, 2005
9:18 am - Cubicle Revitalization Project
This morning when I walked in to work, I decided something had to be done about my cubicle. It was a disaster. I don't have time to sort through every little thing and get it all completely organized, but it needed a good shakeup. I rearranged the pictures on my cubicle walls (I have framed postcards from art shows and museums and retail promotions. I purged some things that were just cluttering the space, consigned my little company tchotchkes. The only cutsie things I left out are my singing enron hamster and my ceramic pig that travels internationally with me and holds my paperclips domestically. Then some straightening of papers, eviction of dust bunnies, restringing of a few cords and dumping of my crappy, clunky adding machine.

Feels like a home office almost...

And I'm thinking about bringing the plants back in...I miss my little office garden. Several years ago I had one going really strong with about 8 plants, but then the poinsettias were brought in for the holidays, along with some flies, and the flies took up residence in all of the plants in the office. My boss finally told everyone to take their plants home. I don't think I want quite so many this time, maybe just two or three just for the feng shui.

Yep, my cubicle has been and needs to be again set up on feng shui principles.

Now, to planning my day and week.

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Sunday, July 31st, 2005
9:38 am - Mission: Brand "Me" Development
I met atticuswest last night at Willow House and had one of the most productive coffee house visits EVER! We are both interested in developing our careers, and even more holistically our life plans, with brand image in mind. We set about the task of creating mission statements, something I think absolutely everyone should take the time to do. It's amazing how much having a mission statement can help you to focus.

Mission statements took surprisingly little time. However, that was after we spent our first hour pouring over reading material we'd brought to share, reading articles about personal brand development and branding companies re-inventing themselves. My mission statement needs a little more polish before I post it, but that should be later today. I actually concluded that my old one still applies very well and just needed some refining.

We talked about website development, the images that visually communicate our personal messages etc. These we will go into more depth about in a few weeks when we meet again to work on our life plan. atticuswest mentioned a really interesting approach he'd heard about: start planning your life from your death. If you know me, you know I already plan to live to be 100 as anything less is simply not enough time, in my book, and even then, who's to say that 100 years is long enough. For me it's merely the minimum. So planning back from 100, what do I want my life to be like? This approach also gives me time to plan projects I've already had in mind in a reasonable context. They don't all need to get done next year, but there is a natural progression to goals. If I want to travel around the world when I am 50, I will need to start planning and saving prior to that, which will affect what my priorities are in the years that precede that. If I want to still be living independantly when I'm 80, there's a whole lifelong pattern of health and well-being I need to set into place. And if I want to be with family at 100, instead of a home, I need to cultivate relationships in such a way that this will be a happy experience for everyone. See how it's not just about achieving goals but about setting a tone for your life so that you're steering the ship? It blows my mind.

Lastly, I got some great feedback last night about perceptions of me. atticuswest told me that when he was trying to explain to some friends what he was going to be doing last night and who I was, the first thing he thought about was creativity and the next was organization. Now I don't think of myself as organized, but this isn't the first time I've heard that that's how I'm perceived. I don't think it matters if it is true right now. What matters is that if I want it to be true and to be a part of my image over the longterm (and I do!) I need to make it true and I need to continue doing what I'm doing that conveys that idea.

When I got home, I checked email, and he'd sent me a testimonial I could use on my website eventually. I am honored and flattered by it. And empowered to live up to his words.

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Friday, July 29th, 2005
9:19 pm - Networking
I'm trying to be better about networking, in light of the personal brand development discussions I've been having lately. I have been meaning to follow my last UoP instructor's advice and make sure I network with everyone that I teamed with while I was there. I finally located most of their email addresses and sent out a thank you to all of them, inviting them to keep in touch and even add me to any of their networking sites like LinkedIn, Friendster, Myspace and Classmates.com. I also sent of two to former coworkers that included the articles from Fast Company that I've been sharing with everyone. I have one more networking email to a coworker to go and then I think I'm done for now.

I'm also working on setting up a personal website. That's going to take a little time. I used to have one for my spiritual pursuits, and I really liked it, but I think I could benefit from having one that is more secular. Will take some time to strike the right balance between personal and professional interests and accomplishments.

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Thursday, July 28th, 2005
9:29 pm - Brand THIS
Okay - it merits telling, belive me, so bear with me. The sordid details of putting the presentations together and all that followed.

It took me all day yesterday, after postponing my PMP to today and ensuring I didn't have a testing update meeting, to print and assemble all of the various documents that went into the presentations. I asked Ben for a resource to help me and I got a very competent temp who did the hole punching and some final copying, then helped me with filling the notebooks. We ran late though, and there were 30 notebooks, so I pulled in a coworker. Then three more. And then my boss came in to help. So with seven of us, we were done in just a few minutes and had the boxes packed and ready to go, but missed the DHL guy by just a few minutes. Ben took the boxes down to my car so I could take them to the DHL terminal. I got there about 5:30, shipped them off. Felt good.

Last night, as I mentioned in a couple of entries, I was super tired. That three hours of sleep finally caught up with me. That very productive hour between 4:30 and 5:30 this morning netted the foundation of the presentation that would become the dashboard for the CD and then I had most of the CD label designed.

Today at work, got in at 8:15ish, wasted a good 30 minutes, then printed and made 25 copies each of two great articles (1) (2) from Fast Company. Went to the PWN event which was okay - I learned a couple of things (but the articles were better, overall). I did end up having a nice-albeit brief-discussion with my co-chair about the possibility of starting up a group mentoring program like the one at Dial Corp. I think it would be great to do in conjunction with the membership drive in September.

But I digress. Back at my desk and back on task, I worked on finishing up the powerpoint that would be the basis of the CD. Got the last few docs scanned in, all of my hyperlinks checked and graphics tastefully added...done. Started burning CDs around 12:30 and finished somewhere around 3, after a serious crisis and then my update meeting, for which I had no new tests to report because I've just been too busy.

The crisis? Oh, did I fail to mention that I got a call from the woman I sent to presentations to telling me that she hadn't received the boxes? Yeah, that little detail. I checked tracking online but it was clearly messed up. One package had last been tracked at 2:45 am the night before and one at 6:09 am. There was no notation as to where they were located, unlike trusty UPS. I called and was told that DHL had messed up and that the packages would be delivered on Friday at 10:30. After the presentation was due to be finished. Did I mention that ALL of the presentation materials were in those boxes, including the copy that the presenters were to use? OI!! A wonderful lady on the other end of the line wouldn't make any promises but said she would make some calls and follow up with me as to whether the driver could make an early morning delivery or not. I was about to cry; this was on my shoulders for not having it out a day or two earlier, or even completed at the end of last week before anyone left town. But that lasted all of about 10 seconds before I realized that if anyone else could solve the problem, so could I. I just had to uncover the solution, find what could be changed. That turned out to be the presentation schedule. I asked someone if they could look into the possibility of switching sequence with another presenter to buy us the time for the materials to be delivered. Plan B was going to be someone from the hotel looking at the possibility of tracking the packages and picking them up at the airport, and Plan C was loathesome: email all of the documents and have the presenters recreate the presentation materials on the road, at great cost in terms of times and expense. *shivers*

The lady from DHL called to say that the order had been put in for the 8:30 delivery, though I still wasn't sure if that was a sure thing or a more hopeful wish. Ann emailed to say that she was looking into switching times with someone which would mean that our segment wouldn't be until 10:30 or 10:45. Whew! Crisis averted, I hoped.

Chandra road tested my CD, found a few bugs, but nothing that would stop me from actually releasing it. I'll make improvements next round.
Showed it to Ben and he thought it was pretty neat, but emailed me some software (again to be used for next time) which will make the dashboard an executable file upon opening the CD. That'll be slick! Chandra wanted to help out so she worked with me on the test prints on the CD labels and then we tag teamed on printing them up, me at the computer sending print jobs, her at the printer manually feeding in the label sheets so they didn't get mixed up with other people's print jobs. She sat with me to get them all stuck on the CDs, packaged in individual envelopes, then grouped into mailers.

Think I'm done? Nope. Wait for it...trust me. It's just a lull in my tale. Here comes the payoff.

Just before we were actually ready to stick on the labels, Hubby called to say that he was on his way with the baby. YIKES! I had 15 minutes. 20 tops. I wasn't going to be ready. Solution: get critical steps done now, go pick up the baby, bring her back in with, and then wrap up quickly. By that point it was already just before 4pm so I knew I'd miss the DHL guy again. I just planned to go to the terminal again. Lightning wouldn't strike twice, would it? So stickers on, I'm out the door, pick up the baby, bring her back in, decked out like a broncos fan in boys orange tshirt and blue shorts with orange stripe - and hair looking like a shaggy boy. Dashed to my cube for a rubberband to girly her up before parading her shamelessly through the offices as I ran my last few errands for shipping etc. Finally back at my cube, trying to keep her entertained, John came by, and as everyone else had, cooed over the baby, how big she was getting, how cute she was, yada yada yada. Then...the VP compliments.

"So I understand there were some challenges with the presentations."

"Yes, but we've got some solutions. DHL will get them in early, hopefully, and Ann is looking at rescheduling our portion until later."

"Good. I've heard you've been working until the wee hours on this. That says a lot. That's really telling. I just want you to know it's very appreciated."

random trying to accept the compliment,

"Is that more of the presentation material there," he asked, pointing to my DHL package.

"No, this is just the CDs. I'm sending them out tonight"

Then some random talk about a presentation he did today, apparently using a different presentation that we had abandoned at the beginning of our work on this project. Ah well - I guess he made it work. However, it provided a great opportunity for me to offer a copy of the CD, which I think will bode well. Too bad he won't be in the office until Monday as I'd love to have him comment further before I go in for my review tomorrow (although, it had to have been Ben who told him how hard I'd been working anyway), and yet, that gives me time to put together a more polished presentation package for him to reference - the way it should be, you know, with a title page and table of contents, corrected docs on the CD and the autoexecute.

So there it is, a glowing compliment from the VP as I continued to work, even with my daughter in the office, after sacrificing sleep.

See, I can say all this here because it's my journal. Otherwise it would just be bragging. And it was, afterall a team effort. It wasn't all me.
It's still bragging. Even here.
Deal with it.
I'm all that.

(cross posted to corporategirl)

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Tuesday, July 20th, 2004
9:59 am - Journal Update: Transitioning to New Journal Site
(cross-posted to my regular journal>

Since my corporategirl journal is so small, it was easy to transfer over in just about 20 minutes or so. The new location is at GreatestJournal.com but can be read on lj at whatevahcorp via rss feed. Probably the only thing anyone will notice with that is a lack of user pic and presence of the url address of the entry in the post itself.

At any rate, I may maintain corporategirl as a backup site "in my spare time", as I'm not sure exactly how reliable GreatestJournal is. I haven't gotten a sense for them yet, but it appears that they have been around for a while. If it looks like they will have a longterm presence, I will likely abandon that particular lj.

I guess I should also mention that the filtered updates that I've had on my main journal (for those of you who read that one) for this topic will be discontinued. Feel free to add whatevahcorp to your friends list if it is a subject matter that interests you!

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Monday, September 22nd, 2003
10:01 am - System Testing
I busted my ass this weekend to make sure that system testing was complete by today. I had two other people who were also testing 3 tests apiece (I had 7). After 5 tests and 5 hours, I found the tests were becoming redundant and were relatively pointless, so I stopped. Neither of the other two completed any of their tests. One of those two was my boss, who was pushing me to have all system tests completed before today. Thanks a big fuckin' heap.

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Tuesday, July 15th, 2003
10:24 am - Poorly Managed Change
One of the things I just learned about in class is about managing change with employees. This morning I come in to work to find a textbook example of what not to do and find myself one of the overstressed employees, uncertain of what the change means.

We all know that I have dreaded the whole timesheet issue for a long, long time. One of my goals this year was to take ownership of the timesheet situation and get it under control. So I have goals to develop a database, develop policies etc. I found out this morning that Marcus is going to be doing the database and Ben's wife will be doing the entry. I thought I'd about cry to have the rug pulled out from under me like that with no explanation. Ben is out of town until the middle of next week, but I've asked him to get some clarification on my role in the whole timesheet process for next month. We may need to revamp my goals.

Despite my wanting to keep a positive attitude, I couldn't help but feeling like crying when I got back to my desk. All of those issues that I was going to resolve were going to show my ability to take responsibility, show my improved skills and help me get my promotion. I'm sure that there are still other ways to do that, but ...well, I guess I'm feeling rather invested in the process after all this time and that my efforts are going unrecognized.

Here's the email I sent to Ben:

Hi Ben,

When you get back, would you clarify with Nancy what my role is with the timesheet process? It appears that the goals and tasks that I have developed related to timesheets have been reassigned to different people, so I'm not exactly clear what I am responsible for. For this month, I'm going to deliver signed or printed timesheets to Nancy for her review. Let's discuss when you get back.

This comes on the heals of Ann telling correcting me yesterday for having directed an Assistant Controller at one of our properties to contact specific people to resolve the issues she was having with some items still on her balance sheet. Per Ann, our policy is to direct such requests to the Renovations controller since they maintain the relationship with the property. what? Since when is this policy. I've never heard such a thing before. It took me 10 minutes to clarify exactly what the policy was and who these things should be directed to.

Don't get me wrong. Ann is far better about communicating than she used to be, possibly because Connie told her point blank one day that the reason she never got any feedback in meetings was because no one understands what she is talking about. She's been much more willing to clarify and simplify what she is saying, but really most of the time she is talking from a fram of reference that is still two or three frames away from anyone else's. It takes some time to get her to start discussing things in a common framework.

So I'm just frustrated. I feel like I'm out of the loop and not able to plan and react effectively because of it.

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Thursday, July 10th, 2003
12:39 pm - Work Lull
I've been less enthusiastic about work this week. Really it's a bit more like unfocused. And there's a reason. I'm preoccupied because I found out on Monday that I'm pregnant. It's something that Hubby and I are very excited about, but being a whole new life change thing, it's taking up most of my thoughts - thus work is suffering.

I've decided not to share the info with my coworkers until at least later on this month. Since Ben is going to be out of the office for the better part of the next two weeks, that gives me some breathing room. I think I should tell him first, rather than him learning about it through the rampant gossip grapevine. So I'm holding off until after my mid-year review. If it wasn't for the fact that his wife works in the office too, I probably wouldn't tell my other coworkers until much later, but I doubt it will remain a secret for long if she finds out about it, so I'm going to let the cat out of the bag the following business day at our regular morning meeting (which often ends up being very social).

That gives me two weeks to develop a strategy for how to miss work for at least 6 weeks next spring without some things really suffering. I suspect that many of my regular reports simply will not get done. I may be able to arrange to work from home a few hours a week to take care of some of the basic tasks. I doubt they'd bring in a temp to do the job, so it will likely fall on Ben to do the work, or someone else in my department that I could crosstrain to do the tasks...there's a thought...

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Wednesday, July 2nd, 2003
11:48 am - Envy Me!
How cool is my job? We're going to an "offsite meeting" to discuss each of our goals and what the line of vision is to the company vision statement. Said offsite meeting will be at a Mexican restaurant during Happy Hour.

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Thursday, June 26th, 2003
11:25 am - Cryin' in My Cubicle
I'm butt-hurt. Chandra and I were the only ones not invited to Mary's party on Saturday. About 10 other people were invited (the rest of the department), but she and I weren't. She's a part of the Clique now, and is not nearly so nice as she used to be. Normally, I let these things just roll off - no big deal. But this one really hurts my feelings. Maybe because it is the first one of hers that I'd have been able to attend.

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Monday, June 23rd, 2003
2:27 pm - It's That Time of the Month
Timesheet consolidation time. Only this month, it really counts. I have to have everything consolidated by probably 1pm tomorrow afternoon so that it can be reviewed and sent up to A/R in time for processing on the 25th.

Have I mentioned how much I absolutely hate this task? I do. Right now, I'm trying to get myself psyched up to do it. I'm about 3 hours behind schedule and looking for any excuse to drag it out further.

Luckily, I'm caught up on my schoolwork, so if worst comes to worst, I can work at home tonight. HA! Like that'll happen...a free night at home? I doubt I'd spend it working...but then again, it could help me rack up the hours so I can leave for summer hours on Friday, or better yet, overtime!

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Thursday, June 19th, 2003
12:57 pm
Personal issues are really distracting me today. I need to get focused. It's the dreaded time of the month - time sheet consolidations.

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Tuesday, June 17th, 2003
10:01 pm - 1 class down - how many left?
Okay, GEN 300 is a thing of the past now for me. I think I got a little too longwinded and boring when I was talking about Conflict Resolution in the team presentation - but it was a fairly dry topic.

All of our team grades so far have been A's. My personal work too. So I'm expecting good things.

Peter didn't show up for class, call or anything. I'm pissed off at him.

I've got the feelers out for another team for MGT 330. I don't want to have to bear the burden of helping Olivia limp through that class. She's the nicest lady, really, but she gets confused about EVERYTHING (tonight in class - whether she needed to turn in her own team log, whether she needed to turn in her own copy of the team paper, and filling out the Team Evaluation really through her for a huge loop - she had no idea what to do.) I'd love to tutor her and help her succeed, but I don't have the kind of time it would take, and frankly, neither does she. I hope they aren't hurt that I'm going to try to switch. I've been dropping hints that there are serious time issues where my Hubby is concerned (all true). Cutting out the 2 hours of commuting each week for study groups would be a bonus right there.

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Wednesday, June 11th, 2003
3:18 pm - More Praises For Ben
I had to thank Ben this morning. He is ever my rock in the business world. He let me clock out early yesterday and just sit at my desk and work on school stuff for 2 hours and pester him periodically for tips on what I was working on. He's always ready with good advice and a pep talk if I need one.

I'm a lucky girl.

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Tuesday, June 10th, 2003
9:57 am - Hectic Day
Why did I schedule training for a) the beginning of the cashflow period when all of the data needs to be keyed and tied expeditiously and b) on a day when I have school and could really use the most flexibility in my schedule. Note to self - no more Tuesday trainings, particularly mid-month for the rest of the summer.

Considering all that I have going on today, I feel fairly organized. I know I won't get everything done that I want to, but I am going to tackle the priorities efficiently! Woohoo!

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Monday, June 9th, 2003
2:05 pm - *self realization giggle*
When did work become my downtime from school?

I'm friggin' motivated these days! I still do my share of internet stuff, but not as much as before and still pretty much the same three sites (news, mail, livejournal).

I've set a goal, ladies and gentlemen...I will be a Capital Finance Analyst in less than 9 months and have a pay increase to match. Mark me. I will have this by my next performance evaluation (in Jan or Feb). Damn it! I deserve it.

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Friday, June 6th, 2003
4:22 pm - Never Let 'Em See You Sweat
I have been talking to Karen lately about office politics. We've decided that we can confide in one another about issues that we might not trust others with. She's been really worried that someone might find out that she doesn't have a degree. Today at lunch when Caren's boss found out that I was going back to school, seemed to have a moment of ... was it panic? Clearly she's starting to feel a bit overwhelmed by other people getting degrees. I think the whole thing may be snowballing. Soon, our whole department could be going back to school.

And none to soon. Talking to Chandra today, it sounds like our department's lax approach to professionalism has become a joke around the entire office, about how social the department is and how we sometimes watch movies on Fridays - that we are unprofessional enough to have to be bribed to meet goals. On that note, I opted out of all but the last half hour of the movie today - Antwone Fisher.

So, Caren, not to fret. Be aware of what is going on around you and where you fall in amongst the crowd. You're not behind the eight ball. You're right in line. Do you want to step to the front?

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Thursday, June 5th, 2003
11:35 am - CFO's Are Like Celebrities
My VP came to me yesterday and asked me to run a document upstairs to our CFO for signature. The document was a project request that I had asked the CFO for status on a week or so before and gotten the pithy response, "I've signed it twice but I can sign it again." I wasn't looking forward to taking this upstairs and facing the littany of questions about why he had to sign it a third time, and I grilled my VP to make sure that the CFO was clear that this was coming up right now.

I got up there and saw that he was talking to someone in his office and turned to his assistant to find out if he could sign. A minute or two later I was waved into his office, not to be grilled about the signature issue, but to find out what I knew about teak furniture (the project was for the purchase of a large quantity of teak furniture). It seemed to be a relaxed atmosphere so I casually described it as a tropical hardwood, very durable and attractive. The CFO asked about the color and I described it as not unlike the color of his desk. He wasn't asking me because HE didn't know but because he was making a point that everyone seemed obsessed with teak furniture in our company, making light of the fact that he had been overruled when he'd suggested that the purchase was not a wise business decision at this time.

For the first time, I was joking around with the CFO instead of getting grilled and badgered. He started to come around to the approval issue, wondering why he had to sign, when all the other execs could email their approvals. I didn't address it directly but joked that if he signed, I promised he'd never have to see it again.

I left feeling like I'd gotten the inside scoop! I later talked to my VP about the CFO's opinion: "Does he not really approve of the project?" John replied that the CFO is often the lone voice of reason. He keeps fighting for what he believes is right, even though he is often overruled.

I have a new respect for our CFO

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