Flashback circa 2006 – Florida

It isn’t so much that I was a literary genius back when I was rambling on-live without focus,  before I knew it was called blogging.  But like any form of journal writing it is nice to see where you were, what ya thought and how those things looked back then.

This was one of the 4 week trips I took to Florida for work.  I usually am part of a team that will travel for 4-6 weeks to train a company we have purchased on the new software system and procedures for our company.  We spend 2 weeks training them one on one with the new software and then FLIP DA SWITCH “Go-Live” and support them for 2 weeks walking them through the actual application of all that training.  I remember this branch in Rockledge, Florida having a very positive attitude with a small crew of 5-6 to train.  One of  my New Hire training stories I use to this day, I experienced at this branch post Go-Live.

The Florida adventure:

It has been quite the LONG adventure to Florida for the last 7 weeks for work.  But the final outcome was more than I could have hoped for.  The branch I was working with had a fantastic Go-Live day and there was so many things that made that possible.  The great co-trainer I had, Katrina; the open to the important suggestions Branch Manager, Chris; and finally myself keeping enough checklists that I remembered to cover and recover almost EVERYTHING.  It was a great experience and I am truly blessed because the Branch Manager actually called my boss and asked me to stay an extra two weeks.  I didn’t end up staying, but I would have because this crew was such a good one to work with.

It was a long time away from my friends and psuedo family, but when I came home it was just as sweet.  The only down side was realizing I had left my own space in total chaos, so there is a lot of organizing and sorting to do.  Goodness I hope I get out from under all this mess soon.

So how am I doing… I think things are good.  I have at least four major work projects coming up and I am hoping and praying I don’t screw them up.  I am getting really good with my lists and lists.  I am trying to cut back on the caffeine, at least the mochas and the Dew.  Since my stay in Florida I am now drinking more water daily than I have most of my life.  I am gonna try to keep up the habit.  And I have pledged to be more thrifty in the next few months in an attempt to get a better handle on my finances.  I know its possible… just need to focus my attention.

Today’s Reflection: 

I have since sworn off Mochas in my daily life, am practicing a sugar-free life in my drinks (no more Mt. Dew), but I am back to struggling with the water.  For some reason I just can’t seem to get that part of my lifestyle into place.  I have DEFINITELY made progress on the financial front.  Come December of this year 2013, I will be FREE of my stupid Debt and only have my Student Loan (although HUGE) left to pay off.

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Jr High Revisted… I Dare You!

I don’t know when it started… BUT SOMEWHERE in my life experiences; it became VERY VERY important to me to never let a challenge pass me by. To never back down when presented with an ultimatum, real or imagined. If my mind sensed the slightest inclination of the speaker to say something that I COULD NOT DO (either because I was too young, too old, too weak, too short, a woman, not experienced, etc), it was just as potent as those DOUBLE DOG DARE YOU threats you see in The Christmas Story. Mind you, no one actually said to me in just that way, or probably even meant it, but it is what my inner being HEARD. And when THAT happens, it is like a switch flips in me that begins the adrenaline pumping, vein pounding, attitude shifting determination that throws all other thoughts into minor insignificance.

There were moments while teaching Jr. High, when my resolve was so strong internally when it came to discipline and consequences with my students I felt like an impenetrable fortress. I had my days of caving in like any GOOD teacher would, but I also remember those days of standing with my arms mentally crossed displaying out-and-out defiance refusing to budge from the prescribed consequence for the next rule breaker.

I had such a moment at work the other day that reminded me of my teaching days. A co-worker was attempting to distract me because we did not agree on how I was working on a project. But they made the fatal mistake of saying they could “out annoy” me. It was in that moment I thought of one of my favorite interview answers (usually asked in reference to ability to handle difficult learners or my patience level): “I taught Jr. High, there isn’t much I can’t work through.” And there it was, the attitude of defiance. The dare beneath the surface… So I embraced it as such and tested myself. Could I genuinely out last this person, could I persevere through this juvenile taunting and annoying? And what do you know 2.5hrs later I DID!!! Now don’t get me wrong, this silly two-hour game tested my skills (and my patience) at getting work done despite being distracted, hurt, annoyed, frustrated, bewildered, bothered, etc, etc. But I was determined to not give in, I was determined to not let it stop me from what I was doing.

And just like that, I found something I thought I had lost. I rediscovered a part of me that I have been desperately missing. Although for miraculous reasons, did not realize was gone.  It is a part of me that has always been there, but for some life rationalizing reason, I locked it away hidden. But here it was, like brand new piece of jewelry I forgot I had.  And now that I have found it, it is not leaving my neck for any reason what so ever.  It’s mine and its shiny and I am going to keep it!!!

Just a Woman with a Shovel

I was working on a service project yesterday with the singles group I have recently adopted as my new social circle (to which I am ecstatically happy about).  We were doing landscape work (you know laymen’s pulling weeds, trimming bushes, and digging out unwanted plants).  Yes I am sore and yes it was great refreshing work on an occasionally misting BRIGHT Overcast Oregon Day.  I even shed a couple of layers as the day progressed and I do not have a sniffle from working in the rain, so the weather must have been alright. 

My Tool of Choice on Saturday

As I was digging out the root systems of a plant that I know not the name of, I stumbled across an interestingly little attitude.  I am surrounded by men and women, single and married, young and old.  I am realizing the shovel I am using is not going to get all of the root system out and if I put too much strain on it the shovel might break.  Since it isn’t my shovel I thought I should be more careful OR I’m gonna end up buying someone a shovel. 🙂  So I start to think about how can I get this particular bush dug out since the tool I have isn’t going to cut it. 

One of the youngins (say 12 – 15 I THINK) had this pick axe type thingy so when I realized that my shovel wasn’t going to cut it, I called him over and asked for his assistance.  I didn’t know his name and I wasn’t even sure if he was ALL that thrilled about being here to help.  You know that typical teenage facial expression they have, when they just seem irritated at everything and everyone-kind of face?  Well I pretend I don’t see it and ask for help.  He graciously does what I ask and we were able to tackle 3 bushes that way.  I dig, he breaks the deep thick roots.  It was working amazingly effortlessly. 

Not to mention that I felt completely comfortable telling him where the root was that needed hacking.  He saw a few himself and I just dug around it, it seemed like quite the partnership.  I wasn’t insecure or worried or concerned about the words I was saying or HOW I was saying them.  It just worked and we got things done. 

Then there was this question… Why do I feel more comfortable asking a youth person for help with something than I do asking a man for help?  Now this wasn’t just some random fleeting thought that was making an appearance with no foundation in reality.  This received a definite head nod from the judges.  IT WAS TRUE!!! Even on that very day when I was working on this project if I would run into a snag or situation where I would need help, my mind would INSTANTLY reject the idea of asking another guy, man, dude in the group for help. 

So why is that?  Where does that come from?  Am I that much of a feminist that asking for a man’s help would result in betraying all womankind’s achievements in independence?  Or is it meerly that I refuse to swallow my pride and ask a man for help? 

When I spent the next dozen hours or so analyzing this newly realized attitude of mine, I came up with a few things I THINK might possibly be the reason:  1) I want to do things a certain way.  Yes there are times I am a control freak, but other times I think that if I ask for help I won’t get to continue along the method and process I am following.  2) I won’t get credit for the work I DID DO.  Not that there is this GIANT score card out there keeping track of what I have accomplished, but there are times where I want to prove my usefulness.  I want to do my part, make a contribution, and having been a valuable ADDITION to the current group of people.  And if a man does it for me than why am I there? 

FINALLY, and this one I think is the one that rings most true.  I DON’T want them to take it over.  I guess in my previous experience a lot of the men in my life have not been good at JUST HELPING.  So when asked for assistance on one particular portion or area, it is interpreted as DO THIS FOR ME instead.  As a result, I lose my ideas, feel ignored, think I am not needed, and can not say with pride and confidence LOOK AT WHAT I DID. 

And yes for this woman I NEED to be listened to, have my ideas validated, feel NEEDED, have pride and CONFIDENCE that I DID SOMETHING-no  matter how small.

Curious side note:  Less than 1 hour later, I was working on another project with a guy and I asked him to cut the area I was working in (since he had the saw) and over the course of 5 minutes proceeded to ignore every suggestion I made.  Not only cut in a completely different area, but didn’t cut the branches that allowed me to pull them out of his way so he could continue cutting.  At one point I do believe I made a mental *throws hands in the air in disgust* and mumbled, “… or not.”  At which point someone asked for his help on some other project.  Ahhh interpersonal relationships, gotta love em.

The Amazing Christina – LA Edition

A group of circumstances completely fell into place last December that produced the need for me to go to Long Beach, California for some necessary on site training, which never happens.  The Regional Trainer for the LA area was out-of-town on a much-needed vacation and the Regional Sales Manager was having a meeting and practically demanding the presence of a trainer at this meeting.  As usual, I was all about the pick me Pick Me, PICK ME!!!

So with an amazing string of luck or blessing I was chosen. I do believe it had more to do with the price of my plane ticket instead of my stellar training skills.  It was a short trip pretty much 24 hr turn around.  The expected training time somewhere between 1-3 hours.  The Manager had provided a set of subjects that he wanted covered, but since most of these items had been trained already, I had to assume they didn’t want a formal training session of the basics.  The subjects I know very well and can even anticipate some of the questions and challenges they may have. 

What I didn’t anticipate was how much I would absolutely LOVE the experience.  It was a nervous wreck at first because I didn’t have a formal Powerpoint presentation and I didn’t know any of the people I was coming to train.  It was typical travel: arrive in the morning, rental car, and I arrive in the conference room and just sit and wait.  Enough time to sit and wait and let my nerves get to me. 

Once I got started with the basics, it lasted about 15 minutes.  The plan, the training, the intended topics, yes at 15 minutes into the presentation, I was smack dab into the middle of crossfire style questions on EVERYTHING.  From processes, to programs, to procedures, and internal branch communications.  It was an amazing rush and of all the questions that were tossed at me or near me for the next 3 hours, I only had 4 take away questions (things I couldn’t answer).  Mostly because I needed to do some testing and followup. 

In a room full of 15 men all master outside sales people with more focus on sales than on training, but there were questions and scenarios flying all afternoon.  I was the center of the room and the center of information all at the same time.  I felt like saying, Queen of the LAB in classic Bones style.  The manager thanked me and we discussed other options for training and situations.  The pricing team thanked me and I was able to connect with a group of people throughout the former corporate office of this acquired company. 

I was AWESOME and valuable and useful and the perfect trainer.  And I love the feeling of a new place, new car, new hotel, and new people.  Some how I had forgotten what it was like to travel and love what I do, even when there is a portion of not knowing EXACTLY what I will be doing.