Big Rig’n

Big Rig'n

Today was a 15-hour long whirlwind that I’m still trying to get my head around. I was prepared for some parts of my day, but caught completely off-guard by others.

The day started out at our volunteer chapter for a lesson on how to operate our big new vehicle that we took out the other day. It’s called an ERV – Emergency Response Vehicle – and it’s way bigger than a Mini Cooper. We learned about the different controls in it and how to operate it, and then we test drove it around the neighborhood in small groups. The test drive portion ended with needing to back the vehicle into our parking lot, into a regular-sized parking spot. My plan for my turn was to drive it around the neighborhood and then ask someone else to back it in… but when the time came, I realized I couldn’t hold up traffic to switch seats, so I had to go for it. Scared. The. Crap. Out. Of. Me. I hate backing into things in a Mini, so you can imagine how awful it was to back up a vehicle that’s probably twice the size (or more). By some miracle, I got it back into the parking spot. I really don’t know how we’re all still alive. One person from our group bailed right before I started to drive, presumably because he feared for his life. I kind of sort of have a reputation.😉 Anyway, I got the job done and now I’m qualified to drive that sucker anywhere my little heart desires.

My plan for the rest of the day was to walk around the Strip District, find lunch somewhere, and then hang out at the office with a magazine before going to work. Reality was a little different. I was talking with one of our manager types about clarification on how to do something, when she asked, “Has anyone approached you about the open position?” At first, I wasn’t sure what to say – I just started working on a new position this past week, and I thought maybe she was talking about the volunteer engagement stuff we’d discussed previously. But if we’d already spoken about it, she wouldn’t have asked if anyone had approached me about it… and it wasn’t a new position anymore… so I said no.

I was way off target, because the position in question isn’t a volunteer position, but an employee one, and this person thinks I’d be perfect for it. Not only that, but it would be for a position that’s actually above this person (but at a nearby/different chapter), which completely threw me off. Honestly, my immediate thought was “this has to be some sort of prank to see how far I’d take this volunteer stuff.” But then we spent 3.5 hours talking about what the position would entail and who I’d report to, what the salary is, what the benefits are, etc., and I realized she was absolutely serious. I’m not quite sure what to make of it all, because this is the first time I’ve had more than 5 minutes to myself since the conversation… but she thinks I’d be great for it, and she made some really (REALLY) good points in favor of me at least applying for it. I’m not unhappy at my current job; I love the company I work for and I [usually] don’t mind the work, but this throws everything into question. The starting salary is more than $10,000 less than I currently make, and I’d have to drive to Greensburg every day (which really isn’t all that far from my place; the commute time would probably be shorter, actually). But, I already know I love the work (I currently do it for free), and it would give me some real purpose – my main purpose at work these days is to make sure big corporations save money on their procurement needs by using the system that I help to build… that’s hardly winning me any good karma. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to spend each day doing the work that I already know I love doing, and to get paid for it. But $10,000 is a substantial pay cut, and the benefits likely wouldn’t be as fantastic as the ones at my current job. But I keep coming back to the part where I love it and I want to do more and I could really make a difference every. single. day. of. my. life if I could work for them. I’m torn. Like, really, truly, have no idea how to proceed. I think my next step is going to be to update my resume and check out the posting, then see if I really think it’s something I should apply for. I don’t really want to rock the boat at all, but if I was approached about it, there’s at least one person who knows me and who knows that I’d do well at it. Sigh. So excited! So scared!

Since I stuck around talking for like 3.5 hours instead of walking around and finding food, I went to work with no lunch other than the string cheese and jerky I’d brought with me. Totally worth it, though. Turns out I have a LOT in common with the person I was speaking with, and our similarities go way beyond the work that we do. I told her something that only one other person on the team knows, and it’s something I’ve never gotten to talk about with another person who’s had the same struggle… I’ve gone 9 years without having anyone to talk to about this thing, and now I know we’ve both dealt with it and we were able to compare notes. It was nice. Really nice. I guess this is what support groups are like, only bigger?

Anyway, the point is, I went to work hungry, and I arrived late, but I didn’t care. Work itself wasn’t all that fantastic, but I did end my shift on the receiving end of a bunch of [probably drunk] texts from other volunteers that were attending a party. Gotta love drunk texts. I was also invited to a small happy hour thing later this week, so at least I didn’t miss out on all the fun.🙂

Time to go make up for that meal I missed earlier today, and to get a hot bath. Maybe I’ll take that missing meal into the bathtub with me. Ahhhhh.🙂

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Five Things Friday: 12/02/16 Edition

Happy Friday!

The other day when I blogged about how I have so much more to learn about the volunteer stuff and how there is still so much access to obtain? No joke, the next morning, one of the first emails I saw was someone requesting administrator access to that site on my behalf. Surely that can’t be a coincidence. I’m just a liiiiiittle creeped out.

As for today, I’m on a quest to use up nearly 2 weeks of vacation days before the end of the year, so I have the entire day off… Except I put myself on the on-call schedule for the day (my first daylight shift during the week!), and I’ve spent the majority of the morning working on volunteer emails, trainings, and creating documentation to put on our portal.

So much for actually using the day off as a day OFF…

  1. Currently Reading: I read a few pages of Wheat Belly Total Health, but I’m a lost cause these days. So many things to do, so many new responsibilities, and no “free” time whatsoever. I renewed the book, though, so I still have it for a couple weeks. If I don’t finish it before it’s due again, I might give up.
  2. Currently Eating: I’ve always liked yogurt well enough, but I’ve never loved it the way some other people do. Maybe that’s because I’ve been eating the wrong kind. Move over, Greek yogurt, Icelandic Skyr is where it’s at. I bought my first Siggi’s yogurt a few days ago and ate it yesterday at work. I was floored. It’s so darn thick that I spent about 15 minutes playing with it (ugh, that’s what she said). I put it on a spoon and made a yogurt airplane, and I even tried shaking it on the spoon to get it to fall – nothing worked. It’s so thick that I had to either eat it or bang it on the side of the yogurt container for it to move. Impressive. Plus, a container has 8g of sugar – not ideal, but much less than many other brands. It’s my new favorite thing, and I actually went back to the store and got a few more. They’re not cheap, but the best things in life rarely are.
  3. Currently Craving: Meh, there are a few things, but none are food-related, and all are related to things I probably shouldn’t state publicly – especially since I clearly have no idea who’s reading this thing.

    One thing I’d really love is to have an entire day off from everything – no work, no part-time work, no volunteer stuff of any kind, no emails/texts/phone calls. Just one full day where no one needs me for anything. Based on recent events and transitions, I don’t foresee that ever happening. And let’s be honest here, if I went an entire day without any volunteer interaction, I’d probably be sad and initiate conversations on my own. Our volunteer team is my kryptonite.

  4. Currently Loving: A few things.

    A friend from high school posted something on her Facebook wall about those gift trees you usually see in stores and workplaces around this time of year – they usually contain paper ornaments with the age of a child and what they want for Christmas, and the idea is that you purchase the gift and return it unwrapped to the organization that’s set up the tree. She and her daughter recently saw one of those trees in our hometown mall food court, but there was a twist – the ornament tags weren’t for children, they were for senior citizens who don’t have family or anyone to visit them during the holidays. When I read her post last night, it absolutely gutted me. We (society) are so focused on giving to children in need during the holidays that senior citizens are often overlooked. I admit, I hadn’t even thought of it until I read what she wrote. But now it has me thinking, and it’s an idea I’d like to follow up on. The way things are going, should I make it to an advanced age, I will likely be alone and without any family to visit me (I have no brothers or sisters, and I’m not super-close to any of my family outside of my parents). I love the idea of donating to seniors, and I’m going to try to do something on my own even if I can’t find a similar tree in the Pittsburgh area.

    On a less virtuous note, I’m loving the fact that I might be getting a new computer for work. Surface Pros are the absolute worst computers in the history of technology, and when I took my computer to IT yesterday for the millionth time, they told me they’re actively engaged in selling the Surface Pros back to our retailer since they suck so much. I got the go-ahead to purchase a new computer, so now I’m in the research phase. The last thing I want is to get a new computer and have it suck as much as this one does.

    Another great thing is happening as the result of an annoying thing – I’m getting a new phone! And work is paying for it! My poor little iPhone 5S has been randomly deciding to stop ringing and vibrating without warning. For someone who’s on-call a good portion of her life, this turns me into a hot mess – I’m constantly checking my phone these days to make sure I haven’t missed a call. It’s not exactly a fun situation, and I’ve been dreading getting a new phone because a) they’re enormous these days and b) they’re insanely expensive. But there’s good news, because if the price of a new phone is billed monthly and rolled up into my existing cell phone bill (it will be), work will pay for my phone. So huzzah! My brand new iPhone 7 Plus with plenty of storage space will be shipped sometime over the next couple days. I. Can’t. Wait.

  5. Currently Anticipating: The arrival of my new phone so I don’t have to constantly check mine as though I’m more important than I really am.

    I’m not so much anticipating this, but I have 2 dentist appointments next week. My tooth has felt fine, but it’s probably going to be judgment day for it. I’m just anxious to be done with it all.

    I apparently worked my last Friday of 2016 back in mid-November… thanks to needing to use up vacation days, I’m off every Friday for the rest of the year, plus almost all Mondays (except 12/5), and I have a bunch of half-days that I’m taking as well. December might turn out to be a good month after all.


Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Big Data

Big Data

I had a pretty whirlwind day, but I managed to get a lot accomplished.

I had a volleyball game scheduled for 7:45, but I had my clothes ready to go in my car and I had no reason to stop home… so I decided to cross visiting the Wood Street Galleries off of my 16 in ’16 list tonight.

I should preface this by saying I know absolutely nothing about art. Less than nothing, actually. So take this all at face value.

The current exhibition is called data.matrix, and it was created by Ryoji Ikeda. The exhibit consisted of a row of projections against a wall in a dark room – I think there were 8-10 projections being shown at the same time. The projections appeared to show data in different forms – numbers, codes, data points, etc. The entire length of the synced video(s) lasted around 10 minutes, so I was able to watch it a couple times.

There was a strobe light warning outside the galleries, and within the elevator, but i wasn’t quite prepared for just how intense the exhibit would be. There was some noise accompanying the images, and at times it made my teeth hurt. There was one section where it felt like I was undergoing electroshock therapy, so that was interesting. The main thing I got out of the show was just how beautiful data can be, oddly enough. I’ve worked with data for the past 10+ years – as a database builder, a data analyst, and now in building systems that analyze spend data. Never in those 10 years have I thought of data as “beautiful,” or anything other than utilitarian. But after viewing this exhibit, I have an appreciation for a new way data can be used – as art.

I’m glad I took the time to visit Wood Street Galleries this evening, even if I’m a little disappointed that it took me so long. For something that took less than a half hour to visit, and that is literally steps away from my office (right across the street), it’s absurd that I’ve never visited before. But now I know – Wood Street Galleries is a nice place to take a little break from work!🙂

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Remotely Working

Remotely Working

I hijacked a volunteer office huddle room this afternoon and worked remotely for part of the day. Or rather, I should say I remotely worked for those hours, meaning I did more socializing and volunteer work than actual paid work. I was mostly done with work by the time I left home anyway, so really I probably worked above and beyond a normal workday… just with some multitasking thrown in.

While I was there, I went through a little “grounding” exercise. Every now and then, I start to get the teensiest bit overwhelmed and I get the impression that I have too much access, or that I’m the main point of contact for too many people, or that newer volunteers are only learning from me and not others since I seem to always be on-call. When I start feeling like that, I pull back just a little. And (so far) every time I pull back, someone pulls me back in and I get to experience their side of things… and since the people pulling me back in have been around longer, I always get to peek at the access and responsibilities that they have and then I realize something very important that I seem to forget way too quickly: I’m not nearly as important as my brain sometimes tells me I am.

Tonight, for example, I met with someone who’s been working with the organization for almost 7 years and she prepared me for a new role I’m taking on as of December. Over the course of a few hours, we talked about a lot of things and she showed me what I’ll be working with. Since I was on-call, I had a couple different tabs open on my browser in the event there was a call, and it turns out this person didn’t know how to use some of the sites that she has access to, so I ended up teaching her as much as she taught me. While we were talking about random things, she referred back to some of the emails she had open, and it was then that I realized just how much goes on behind the scenes that I don’t know about. Like, there’s a team within our group that I’ve never heard of, and a very select number of people are in it. This person is, and she referred to a meeting with the group as though I was part of it, and then realized I wasn’t. (#awkward) Then later, she pulled up a site that we both have access to, and I learned that she has Admin access and I don’t. There’s really no better way to push me harder than to dangle another team and administrator access in front of me.

So much for pulling back a little and letting others take the reins. Clearly, I still have a lot of work to do.😉

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Clowns On Parade

Clowns On Parade

I worked so hard and multi-tasked so well today that I decided to leave work about a half hour early so I could be sure to make it home before my on-call shift was scheduled to start. I’d walked out of the building and was heading in the direction of the bus when I realized the street was completely empty and there were police everywhere blocking off the intersections leading into Sixth St. It was really really eerie – Sixth St at any hour usually has people everywhere, but between 4-6, it’s insane at times. To see it completely blocked off, for as far as I could see, was ridiculous. And really, I panicked a little – was there some sort of bomb threat or other situation somewhere and that’s why it was blocked off?

Silly me, I should have looked on Facebook or Twitter before I left work; I could have saved myself some worry. The streets (Sixth and Grant, from what I saw) were blocked off for a McDonald’s union protest. Literally, I turned the corner from Sixth onto Grant and I was met with a gigantic wall of people holding picket signs. Along with an enormous Ronald McDonald effigy, I saw signs for raising the minimum wage to $15, signs protesting Trump, and signs proclaiming Black Lives Matter. I guess if you know there’s a protest going on, that’s your invitation to pick up a sign and root for your cause? I’m not saying there’s a right or a wrong way to protest; I know nothing about it, but as a passerby, I was a little confused about what the official message of the protest was. Judging by the creepy large clown effigy, I’m assuming it was for McDonald’s and raising the workers’ wages to $15/hr, but I’m honestly not sure.

What I do know is that I learned my lesson about leaving early, even if it was for a good reason – the protest added an extra 45 minutes to my commute home since it completely snarled rush hour traffic Downtown. The lesson isn’t that I won’t leave early from now on; it’s that I’ve learned to check social media before leaving the office.😉

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We’ve Got Tonight

We've Got Tonight

Around 5 this evening, I had a sudden revelation – I wasn’t on-call, I was done with work, and there was no reason for anyone to email, call, or text me. That wasn’t even the case when I went out of town this weekend, so it was really a momentous occasion… for about a half hour. No sooner did I have that thought than I received an email from one of my favorite people asking for my help proofing a training session/recording. Had anyone else sent that request tonight, I would have put it off… but I couldn’t leave my favorite dude hanging.

Nevermind the fact that my outbox shows I was sending emails at 1:45, 2:50, 3:40, 5:10, and 5:55 this morning – meaning, I clearly didn’t sleep in the slightest last night and could have used a little rest…

So my evening of free time was nice while it lasted.

Still, I managed to get to the gym and did some grocery shopping on the way home. Then, while I was working on reviewing the training, I put a breakfast casserole in the oven. Even on nights “off,” I’m still multi-tasking.🙂

I have no idea how the breakfast casserole will taste, but at least it browned up nicely in the oven. I’m just relieved I was able to stay in one place instead of being forced to leave the house for a call. It wasn’t a perfect night off, but I’ll take it.🙂

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