The Lunch List Users

Today I went to the Subway shop to get lunch. I was pressed for time, and, admittedly, I thought about scooting in ahead of the woman that I saw coming into the shop. You see, I saw it. There, on top of the pile of money she was carrying; a list. Yes, written on a brightly colored sticky note, three or four different lines. Clearly, this woman was buying lunch for herself and others back at the office. I decided to do the right thing, and held the door open for her and let her go through. As I settle in behind her in line, I notice the woman ahead of her already being helped has two lists, one atop of each of the piles of cash that she is holding in each hand. I said to the woman in front of me, “well, at least you only have one list”. Unfortunately, she did not find this to be funny, and gave me a serious look, asking if I wanted to go ahead of her. I said no, that I was only joking, even though I wasn’t. Trying to do the right thing again. Next, a woman settles in behind me in line. Yes, she too has a list. I in fact am now sandwiched in between to list carriers. Oh, I’m sure their good deeds of getting the lunches for folks back at the office will be appreciated by their colleagues. But, for now, I wait, and wait, and wait. Without a list.

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Red Coffee Mug in the Mailroom

Red coffee mug in the mailroom

The e-mail alert just came through

Please come claim it at reception

Apparently it’s traveling like lost coffee mugs do.

I wonder if the red hue is bright or deep

And is the height of the mug tall enough for a long steep?

And hey, how do you know it’s for coffee, not tea?

Not every mug’s life-calling is coffee.

Maybe the residue ring on the bottom proclaims

It’s well known aroma, and not only it’s stains.

I have a naughty thought- I’ll go say it’s mine and take it home with me.

Wait, I cannot do that- that’s what leads to breakdowns in society.

Like taking the credit for my beautiful red crocheted poncho when asked by a stranger ,

Ignoring the next step – an inquiry of what stitches and size hook I used-the ultimate danger.

No, no, I will leave it be.

For its owner I am sure it hopes to see.

For now we will leave society in tact.

And follow the rules, for that I don’t lack.

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I caught my husband……

I caught my husband doing something today. Dusting. Now, don’t jump to conclusions. He was dusting my son’s baseball trophy. Sometimes I even catch my husband dusting the PS4. Hey, I’ll take it where I can get it. Love that guy. 🙂

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Interviewing and BFF

BFF- Its not what you think. We are talking interviewing!! And we are talking Best Foot Forward!!! Read on for Tips and Tricks for putting your Best Foot Forward during the interview process.

Great news! You’ve been called in for an interview. You are one step closer to getting the position. And more great news. There are tangible things you can do to increase your chances of being offered the position. Read on.

Interviewers often have a question that requires you to “sell yourself”. This is an opportunity to spotlight your skills, strengths, special qualifications; often things that may not be found on your application or resume. This is your chance to really spotlight why you are the best candidate. Avoid selling yourself and elevating yourself by putting others down. This leaves interviewers wondering if this is your Best Foot Forward as you introduce negativity. Interviewers don’t want to invite negativity into their organization.

For candidates already employed by the organization, this certainly can be awkward. There are pitfalls to avoid.
Never sell yourself as the best candidate based on how many years you have been at the organization. Although company loyalty is valuable, it is essential to identify the professional experience, skills, and strengths you have and the accomplishments you have achieved. “Putting time in” is not what potential employers are looking for.

Let’s talk acronyms. Do use acronyms that are commonplace in your field if that’s the field you’re interviewing for. If you do not know the full term that the acronym abbreviates, the interview is not the place to try to recall it. Interviewers take note when a candidate is stumbling to recall what the letters in the abbreviation stand for, especially when the candidate initiated their “self test” by playing recall during the interview.

Always always always ask questions when interviewers open it up for this. People who have no questions look as though they are not prepared, haven’t been paying attention, know everything, or just are not curious or interested. It only takes a few moments to google questions on the Internet. Also, usually something comes up during the interview that you’re wanting more clarification about. Be sure to bring a notepad to jot these down, as nervousness tends to strip your memory.

Bring at least 3 copies of your resume, even if you have sent it in with your application. If you’ve been called in for an interview, rely on your preparation to ensure interviewers have all the information you want them to have. Also, if you are bringing a resume, be sure that it is a finished copy- i.e., has your current position on it, is stapled together, and is in neat condition. It is counterproductive to present a resume that you have to explain to the interviewers that doesn’t have your current position, is wrinkled because it was at the bottom of your bag, and comes across the table in two or three stages with the various pages not put together.

Always bring a note pad and pen or pencil. Going to an interview empty-handed, or worse, with only your fresh tall iced coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts, can be perceived as casual and under-prepared. Grab the note pad and skip the drink, or at least consider a bottled water off to the side.

Stay focused with your answers. Rambling unfocused answers that may or may not hit on what was asked leave the interviewer wondering about your focus, attention, organization- all qualities employers are looking for in an employee. All parts of the answer should relate back to the question in a fairly clear way and should provide an answer to the question.

Use “I” statements while answering questions posed to you. This demonstrates examples of your view, your work, about you. “People should ” talk does not clarify that this is your practice and view of the work. Own it with “I”.

Certainly have your thoughts and opinions, owned with “I” statements. Never argue or debate with an interviewer. Remember, Best Foot Forward. Demonstrating you are an argumentative employee will send potential employers running the other way, no matter how much experience and/or education you have.

When asked the reason for leaving on an application, be honest and be tactful. Writing reasons such as “Non-supportive management” or “lack of leadership” ends up reflecting on you. “Looking for a change, new challenge” likely is also an accurate way to reflect your reason for leaving. Never ever memorialize in writing something less than flattering about a former employer, former supervisor, or former colleague. This holds true for within the interview. A 10 minute presentation on the pitfalls of your previous employer’s policies, colleagues, managers, supervisors, and the like is a ship-sinker. We all have war stories. It’s just that the interview is not the place to tell them. Focus on what you bring to the table, your ideas, your perspective, your view of the work.

An interview is an amazing opportunity to sell yourself. If you are sitting across the table from the potential employer, you have already been selected as an individual they can envision in the position. Make the absolute best of this opportunity. And, always put your Best Foot Forward. They are expecting that.

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Encouraging Each Other

Today I saw a most wonderful sight. At my oldest son’s cross country meet, there was a runner working really hard to finish up. Well, runners from his team and other teams who had finished the race themselves joined this boy to run the rest of the way with him, providing encouragement and support each step of the way. This filled my heart with joy. That, to me, is what life is all about, that right there. Community, collaboration, support, encouragement. We are all in this together.

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Thinking of Karen Evertson

Today, as I unpacked my husband’s lunch box as part of my morning routine, I came upon a neatly folded up piece of tinfoil. I smiled, and thought of Karen Evertson. Karen was a colleague of mine some years ago. In fact, she was the CEO of Capital Region Mental Health Center. One day as I joined her in her office for a meeting, I spotted her finishing up her lunch at her desk. She was folding up a piece of tinfoil and neatly tucking it into her lunch bag. I was curious about two things, both her reuse perspective and her presumably limited or no use of condiments. I commented on both. She shared her doctor had recommend she avoid high fat high salt condiments, so she did. I certainly appreciated her use and reuse philosophy with the tinfoil.

Karen Evertson passed away in March of 2017 after a battle with breast cancer. I learned from Karen, both professionally and personally. I think of the committees we were on together, the presentation on a mentoring program we rehearsed for together as a group. I always knew how Karen was feeling. She was very open. When I decided to request a mentor for myself within the mentoring program at Capital Region, I secretly wished to be matched with Karen. My wish did not come true. But, I didn’t stop learning from her.

Karen wrote her own obituary. In it, she says “If you think of me and would like to do something to honor my memory, here are some suggestions…” and goes on to talk about many different ways to help others, to give back to others. Karen, today as I make someone smile, I will think of you.

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Fishnet Stocking

The chain-link fence casts a shadow on the girl’s legs, almost looking like she is wearing fishnet stockings. There are many mirages I have stumbled upon in my life; perfection, some friendships, the meaning of happiness, what is important in life. Some mirages are shattered, other’s are more dismantled over time as I accumulate different experiences. I imagine some mirages have yet to be shattered or dismantled. They just remain in place, shimmering as though they were reality.

I discovered another mirage as I was leaving a parking garage in the city. On my way out, as I waited in line to pay, an interesting sign caught my attention. It looks like a dated public service announcement with it’s black-and-white presentation. It has a drying of a seatbelt buckled, a rather simple representation. It reminds us “Fasten your seatbelt, someone loves you.” I immediately thought “that is quite an assumption.” Albeit true for most people, unfortunately there are some people that this is just not as true for. Another mirage. So many mirages, some revealed, some yet to be revealed.

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My Fortune

I received the following fortune in my cookie after one Chinese meal. “It’s one of those low-key days that you’d rather spend just chilling.” Is this what Fortune cookies have become? An observation? What has become of the profound phrases and quotations from ancient Chinese culture and tradition? The very ones that guided tradition and civilization for thousands of years? This fortune is a good guess, seeing as how I am purchasing Chinese food, so I am not cooking at home, and no cooking is always the beginning of a relaxing day.

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vàjé du

At work I have a sturdy plastic bright pink folder that is growing by the day. It is my “Work in Progress” folder. It is relegated to various things in varying stages of readiness or completion. Well, I am by no means getting any closer to getting caught up on this folder. In fact, it continues to grow in girth. It’s BMI is most definitely out of the healthy range. So, I find myself doing what I tend to do when I begin to embark on the overwhelmed phase; I look for other work to do. I spend time dusting my office area. Then, I search the second floor for a broom to sweep my office floor. Next, I empty out the three hole punch. Now, back to find the broom (should have emptied the three hole punch before sweeping the floor). Next, I tested a few pens in the coffee mug they make their home in. The attractive and substantial looking and feeling pens are all dead. I know this to be true already, as I often search through three or four of these useless pens before I find a viable one. Today I take the plunge, and purge the dead pens – right into the garbage they go! Now, I peak into a few desk drawers, looking for yet another diversion. And, what, there, do I see? Could it be? Another “Work in Progress” folder. This one, thankfully, has a minimal BMI. This one was abandoned a while ago, like a sinking ship. I have the sinking feeling, too, of vájé dō; that none of this has happened before. Where has this folder come from?

I don’t even open it, not today. I am looking for a diversion, not actual work. I have plenty of that. I am haunted, though, by this. I now remember this first “Work in Progress” folder. But, what was happening when I abandon the first folder, just put it away and didn’t look back? I guess I started a whole new folder. Interesting. This cleaning my office diversion has taken a turn for the worst. For me, diversions and high stress go hand in hand.

I recall a time of insurmountable stress in my life. It was my last graduate course, and I was charged with my final writing assignment, if you could call it that. More like an unpublished book. Well, this overwhelmed state of mind completely took me over , and I began looking for diversions. I cleaned my apartment from top to bottom. Then, it came to me – I just had to make homemade pierogies, completely from scratch. What better way to honor my Polish heritage? So, this being before the Internet and Google, I did what any young person might do, I called my Dad on the phone – yes the phone plugged into the wall. He was curious about my sudden desire to try this out. But, he cooperated in my diversion, thankfully. Two hours later, with flour on my clothes and homemade pierogies in tow, I brought samples to my sister, my dad and step-mom. My fiancé watched in confusion and horror, as he contemplated all the hard work I had done up to that point in my graduate program going down the drain.

As always, the diversion gave me enough of a break to get back on track with what I really needed to do. So, I dove back into my final paper with a renewed energy and vigor. And, today, here in my office, I slowly peel back the cover of the abandoned folder. Then, I will chip away at the plumper current folder, until my next self-imposed diversion. This feeling of vàjé dō stays with me, that none of this has ever happened before , until, of course, I find evidence to the contrary.

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Root Canal

Sound bites of Barry Manalow and Kenny Rogers escape between the drilling. Haven’t heard that one in a while. I travel back in time to the 80’s when my mother obsessively played her Kenny Rogers records again and again and again. Ruby, I say, get the hell out of there!!

I am dragged back to reality by the saliva removal equipment getting stuck to the side of my mouth. I can surely expect a large canker sore there by week’s end. What a lovely door prize, a memoire.

In the end I needed to return a few more times to keep digging the roots out. Apparently many of the routes to the roots had calcified. For some of the root channels he was only able to clear 30%. Perhaps I should only be charged 30%.

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