Friday, October 14, 2011
When we were little, we imagined who we would be, and what we would be doing as adults. Maybe we imagined we'd be doctors, lawyers, or movie stars. Most of us end up growing into lives quite different.
I remember in the 80s/90s, the Tony Robbins style of "secret to success". You write down on a piece of paper what your life goals are, step by step. It's your roadmap to your future.
I've heard of some people for whom this works. Jim Carey apparently wrote a check for ten million dollars to himself when he was a struggling actor. He received a check for ten million dollars for his big movie break, "Dumb and Dumber".
For me, this style of planning does not work. My life is a rollercoaster with tracks that are built just before I get to them. I am no where near where I thought I would be at this point in my life. And that isn't necessarily a bad thing.
I haven't written much lately because I've had a lot of changes in my life. In a very bizarre twist in my path, I am losing one job, but I have the possibility at the job of my dreams.
The job I am losing is bittersweet. I'm not happy with the work. I never have been. I originally started working for a subsidiary on this project. I was very happy with my work, the company and what I was doing. Then the parent company decided they wanted me because I was getting spectacular reviews, and I fill a difficult role. So they took me from the subsidiary, where I had a lot of flexibility to do my work, into a very rigid environment. I did the best work that I was able to do, making lemonades out of lemons. When I said we were moving to Savannah, they gave me a laptop to work remote because they didn't want me to quit.
Since working with the parent company, I've had my hands tied in so many ways. The first being is my knowledge far surpasses my lead. I did all the work creating the system and how it would function. I constantly had to influence and prod him on how to do this work, "Have you spoken with xy manager? We need to tell them this-this-this." He took my documents I prepared, cut and pasted them into powerpoint slides, and presented them to management. So of course, he looks like the genius who came up with this. I was told that upper management described the work as 'groundbreaking'.
So yes, I propped him up. He gets more credit than he deserves for it. And I am the one that received notice that my contract is ending. They are outsourcing my work to an Indian offshore company.
And yet, I don't harbor any animosity towards my lead or the outsourced people who are taking my job. I'll explain in a minute.
First, I had a number of things against me. When I made the move to remote worker, I had the unfortunate luck that my senior manager was replaced with someone who didn't know me. I made the mistake that I didn't reach out to him and build a personal relationship with him, so he could see first hand the kind of work and value I brought to the company. Why they went to the efforts to allow me to work remote. I mistakenly assumed that my lead was communicating with him about the work and direction, since they had weekly meetings. I was wrong. Another area where if I had known, I would have prodded him.
The first wind I got there was a problem was when I explained that I had to change parts of the code because the application had changed. He got upset and said he was getting pressure from management about how long this was taking, and whether they were getting return on investment. I became alarmed. If management starts grumbling about this, you have to get in front of them and become a salesman, pitching how awesome everything is. You have to pitch the strengths, not the weaknesses. You have to set up demos and show them why our approach works. He said he would get on that.
But it was too late. He let it build up for too long. They had already started researching alternatives.
I heard from a friend that some people on another team would be meeting with representatives from an Indian company. Ut oh. Big freaking red flag. I contacted my lead, and again prodded him. He said he thought they were just rumors. ARG. He started making phone calls to upper management, who dodged him.
So we get notice that we're meeting with the senior management. Ut oh.
He drops the news that I'm being let go, and my lead would be helping this Indian company with the transition. I was as gracious and professional as I could be, in the suckiest of circumstances. I thanked him for the opportunity, and wished them the best. His tone at the start was very harsh, but it seemed to soften. Perhaps he wondered what he thought about me was a mistake? Maybe I wasn't just sucking up resources? I hope I planted the seed of doubt. At the end, he said, "I'm sorry, Cathy". I just replied, "I understand." There was nothing I could do to change it, and I wasn't going to try.
An hour later, I received notice that I would be meeting with a few people from this Indian team. I was livid. I contemplated just refusing to go. I made an angry outburst at my lead, who sounded a bit like a wounded puppy. After a night's rest and a cool down, I decided that I would do what is necessary.
So I met with the Indian team, and it was pretty much the most gut wretching experience ever. I let my lead do most of the talking. He showed them pretty much every part of my code, and they asked, why did you do this, why did you do that. When explained, they all agreed - yes, that is a good approach. Yes, of course it is.
I was battling a mix of rage and sorrow. However, that changed in the most bizarre way. The senior manager of the Indian team asked, "So what are you two working on next?"
It was a moment I'll never forget. This team that I was so angry that would be taking my work weren't told that they were replacing me. In that instance, I realized these were people, just like me, who were being played by managers who look at people as an end to profits and bonuses. Is it any wonder that so many people are angry with American businesses?
I harbor no animosity to my lead or to this team. My lead has been able to ride this far because he was riding on my work, and my gentle pushes on what he needs to be doing. Now I am being removed from the equation. He has to stand on his own. This Indian outsource group just sees this as potentially the most exciting opportunity of their lives.
While this is the sucky part, there is a potential big plot twist. You see, before I received notification that I was being let go, I was already interviewing with another company for what could be the job of my dreams. And they contacted me. They found me and my professional resume, and thought I would be a perfect fit. Really? Me? At first, it seemed like something too good to be true. But take opportunity when it comes. I took the leap. I took the chance.
So on the day where I got my gut kicked transferring my work to another group, I received notification that I would be flying out for an in person interview at this other company.
I do not harbor animosity. I know I got the raw end of the deal on so many things. At the end of the day, I sleep with a clear conscience knowing I have done everything to the best of my ability.
Whatever wrong has been done to me speaks on their actions, not mine.
I have no idea where life will take me, but like a surfer, I'm just riding the waves and wipe outs as they come.
Monday, October 10, 2011
A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog about my dad's new diet. He's fed up with the drugs he's taking for his diabetes, and decided to see a dietician. The dietician put him on a carb controlled diet. Not really a low carb diet, but carb controlled. He has a carb 'bank'. He has a budget of how many carbs he can eat per meal.
Today I got news from him. He's been using MyFitnessPal.com to track his meals and carbs. My recommendation. It is easy for him to use, and all he needs is the tool.
And the verdict is...
The carb controlled diet is working! He has lost 6 pounds in 2 weeks! Pretty good for a guy in his 70s with minimal exercise! No news yet about how it is affecting blood sugar and high blood pressure, but I am sure that will come in time. I'm expecting his numbers will look great when he sees his doc next.
His dietician says he can eat what he wants for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and not worry about it.
As for me, my diet is working, too. I now have size 4 hips and size 2 waist. I could stand to do more exercise to tone up, but I am feeling great. My fiance told me the other morning that I'm looking pretty hot these days. ;) No idea what my weight is. I haven't weighed myself in months. If I'm looking pretty 'hot', who cares what the scale has to say!
Saturday, October 01, 2011
I read something recently that stuck with me. It was about how portions we eat today are greater than in the 70s, when America was slimmer. Not just that, but how much more sugar we consume. It's not just the high fructose corn syrup, which is in everything. Soda is the most obvious. But it is also found in snack crackers and commercial bread. However, even healthy food like fruit has been bred to be sweeter. The article mentioned apples are larger and sweeter than apples from the 70s.
Apples? I thought an apple a day is supposed to keep the doctor away?
Well, apparently, today's apples are the equivalent of eating 2 or 3 apples of four decades ago.
I decided to view this phenomena for myself. I bought a regular, conventionally grown pink lady apple, and an organic gala apple. Organic apples should be closer to the 'natural' size, since there are no mega fertilizers to make them grown to monstrous proportions. I'm using my fist for scale comparison. The conventionally grown apple is about the same size as my fist, maybe slightly larger. The organic gala apple is half sized or slightly smaller.
The small gala apple is the correct portion size for a single serving of apple. Eating a full sized conventional apple should be considered 2-3 servings.
Apples are not the worst thing you can eat too much of, but I think it is important to know how much you're really eating.
I actually prefer the smaller apple for snacking, myself. Eating half an apple is awkward, because it starts browning almost right away. The larger apples are easier for baking, since it's easier to peel and chop.
Friday, September 30, 2011
This past week something weird happened. I put on a pair of size 6 pants, and they were too loose! I have no idea when or where this happened. It may sound strange that this just 'snuck up' on me, but I work from home. No, I'm not the stereotypical dotcommer that works in their PJs. However, I wear just a comfortable pair of shorts and tshirt, so I don't wear clothes I might normally for a regular 9-5 office job.
This afternoon, we went shopping at Costco, and they had some slacks for $20. If you remember, a couple months back I posted photos of my old work slacks that don't fit me anymore. I do occasionally have to go out to a work facility that is business casual dress, so I thought it would be a good time to pick up some slacks that fit. I picked up a size 6 again, just to be sure my other pair wasn't a fluke. I tried them on, and again, too loose! So I guess I am officially a size 4!
Is it strange that I actually feel slightly guilty? I feel I have barely worked for it. I remember not so long ago I used to work out 5-12 hours per week, peddling away furious to 'work off calories'. I painstakingly counted everything I ate. I lost 10 pounds in 10 years doing this. Now suddenly, I went from a size 8 to a size 4 in 4 months with about 2-4 hours per week of exercise - total. I haven't counted a single calorie in over 4 months. My birthday blog shows me indulging in martinis and cake. No, I don't do this every day. But mysteriously, I have transformed into one of those people who can magically eat 'anything', doesn't have a second address at the local gym, and still loses weight. It sounds like a freaking scam infomercial - "Eat what you want and lose weight!"
I'm not going to rehash the reasons why - if you've been reading regularly, you know the "secret". After a 'lost decade', I finally found the right foods to fix my metabolism. I'm burning more fat than I store.
When I look in the mirror, I think to myself, "Where did the weight go?" I still look the same, to me. My weight actually hasn't changed all that much, but my size sure did shrink. If it wasn't for the size 6 pants not fitting, I wouldn't believe that I have lost anything. When I look in the mirror, I don't see the missing inches. I guess I still see all my flaws. I hardly have a washboard stomach. I would have to put in more exercise/strength training effort than I am doing for that. But my size IS changing.
What occurred to me is I am now a US size "4". Women's clothing sizes are so strange. What does size 4 really mean? Buying pants for men is easy - just need to know waist size and length. But size "4" or "6" or "12" is rather arbitrary. It's harder to mass produce clothes for women. Some women have narrow waist and large hips (like I do); some have narrow waist and small hips. Some women like myself have thick thighs, no matter how "skinny" they are. Skinny jeans? Not in my lifetime.
Yet I fit perfectly into a pair of size "7" jeans I wore when I was 22-25. I find that very interesting. Today's size "4" is a 6 or 7 from 10+ years ago. I have heard that clothing manufacturers changed the size scale over the years. Now I have proof. It is also interesting that my old jeans are a size "7". I haven't seen an odd numbered pant size in a very long time.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
This past weekend, we went to Charleston, SC to celebrate my birthday. My birthday isn't actually until Tuesday, but I wanted to go to a particular restaurant in Charleston. So we decided to have a night in Charleston. We found a bargain on Priceline, and packed our overnight bags.
We started off by taking a walk on the waterfront, where we spotted wild dolphins chasing fish. Unfortunately, we have bad luck with the camera, and weren't able to capture any on camera.
We mostly wandered around town, window shopping. The only things I bought were spices from a spice shop - cajun blackening seasoning (I love these on baked chicken wings) and a Moroccan blend.
We got checked into our hotel and got ready for dinner. The humidity was so high, I didn't bother to straighten my hair, and just left it curly.
We went to one of our favorite restaurants for cocktails, but don't eat there too often. We had our usual martinis to start.
We splurged and ordered a 4 course meal ala carte. We had crab cocktail, caesar salad, a NY strip with a port wine reduction sauce, and brussel sprouts and roasted cheese tomatoes for sides. For my birthday dessert, we shared a chocolate molten lava cake.
This all ended up being way too much food. We packaged up half our steaks and most of our sides to stash in the mini fridge. We did, however, finish the cake! It's 50% fewer calories when you share!
We were planning on taking an evening walk after dinner, but were too full. We just decided to go back to the hotel and pass out in a food coma.
Today we mostly spent with more window shopping and picking up weekly groceries. We don't have a Costco in our area, so we stock up on goodies whenever we are in Charleston. I picked up a tenderloin roast and flank steaks for dinner in the week, along with brie, cheddar, and artisan lettuce. I haven't been cooking much lately, but with cooler weather setting in, I'm in the mood for roasts.
It was a nice, low key birthday, and I'm set up relaxed for the upcoming week!
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