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Unemployed and it feels so good

As of this afternoon I am officially unemployed. Wow, it feels odd just to think about it…

Honda has been an absolutely wonderful place to start my career. I was very lucky to fall into such a great position (definitely didn’t expect to be here) and now I’m off to new and scarier things! In honor of my first real-person job, here are a few random things I’ve learned over the past two years.

Benefits are gggggrrrrreeeeaaaatttt!  (Said like Tony the Tiger)
Honestly, I didn’t realize how important it is to have a good health and dental plan. Many of my friends have to pay the entire fee out of pocket, yet I was gifted with a minimal payment. I don’t go to the doctor too frequently, but I like that the option is available to me.

Sometimes people won’t respect you, get over it
This one I have struggled with quite a bit. Yes, my job involved telling others that their designs were not usable, but that doesn’t make me a bad person. Right? Over time it was apparent that I wasn’t going to make their friendship so I needed to stop being bothered by it. Gotta remember that you can’t please everyone all the time, just be civil and move on.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help
I’m a stubborn perfectionist, I want to do things properly the first time. Unfortunately this rarely happens and sometimes it may be necessary to look for guidance. Often times I didn’t seek out help from my mentor in a timely manner, instead I internalized the issues and became frustrated. I need to change my mindset, getting guidance from another is collaboration and not failure.

Men rarely don’t always know how to act around women
Since I’m a female engineer, this means my working life is surrounded by men. I get it. But sometimes I don’t want to be made fun of or treated like one of the guys. Women take things differently than men and my coworkers forgot this on a daily basis. I’ll be spending my life in this industry, so this is one issue I have to overcome and quick.

Not having to buy, launder, and wear business attire is a treat
At Honda we wear uniforms. Yes, that’s right, everyday I showed up to work in jeans and a t-shirt to put on my white slacks and top. This meant that I never had the need to purchase fancy clothing. So much money saved! Now that I’m becoming a graduate student this is all changing, I have no idea how to dress like a professional. Maybe I should apologize in advance for my clothing selection…

To be honest, even though I often complained about my job, I was very fortunate. I had a boss who adored me and a group that respected me. My boss reminded me a dozen times today how much they’ll miss me, threatening to send me to Japan if I would stay. Somewhat enticing, yet not nearly enough to keep me around. I’ll miss them all, but now I am ready to go back to school! Check out my sweet sendoff gift from my coworkers wife, so cute.

Chebu is trying to steal my cookies! Silly monkey-thing...

What did you learn from your first job? Any advice for someone making a major life change?

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The Importance of Sleep

You know, some days I forget how important sleep is. And then I have a dreadful night of sleep and remember quite a bit. Waking up in a ball of sweat this morning I realized it was going to be a long day…

See, yesterday I returned to my apartment after a week of vacation to find that my air conditioning was completely bonkers. My apartment was over 90° and wouldn’t cool. Fortunately I was able to escape to a friend’s (with functioning AC) for the evening, but I returned to get to bed. Boy was that a mistake.

My friend lent me a box fan, which I set up next to my side of the bed, and I opened my windows. Splayed on top of the covers, I found myself tossing and turning. About one in the morning I realized that just wasn’t going to work. I plopped onto the floor in front of the fan and tried again. I may have accumulated four hours of sleep all night.

On the plus side? I’m sure I sweat off a pound or two. (That is what I get for sleeping in a sauna.) I’m praying that maintenance will fix this little issue for me by the time I return home, if not, I’ll be setting up camp on a friend’s couch.

Overall this experience emphasized how necessary it is to get a good nights sleep every day. Not just sleeping in on the weekends, but actually making sure to get a solid amount each night. Typically I am lucky to get seven hours, although I feel I might need eight hours these next few weeks to make up for my sleep deficit.

How many hours a night do you sleep? How do you recover after a night of insomnia?

In other news, I just gave my two one-and-a-half weeks notice to work. As of July 20th I’ll be an unemployed bum. I. Cannot. Wait!

Leaving on a jet plane

Or attempting to. That is how I spent my Friday afternoon, six hours meandering around the airport hoping to return to Columbus. Unfortunately the weather gods had something else in store for me, my flight and a dozen others were cancelled and I was rebooked for two days later. I have miserable luck with flights, but for once I have managed to remain in good spirits. Fortunately, my father was able to quickly snatch me back up.  Try again tomorrow morning (wish me luck).

As for today, I had to scrap all of my Columbus plans. No bike riding or taco eating, no birthday celebration for a friend, and most certainly no one mile time trial. Oh well. Instead I get to spend time with my new little brother and sister. Today Layla, the rescue poodle, came to live with my parents. She has already managed to give us one little scare, but I’m hoping she can learn to live happily with Mardi (and the folks).

This promises to be a big week for me. I have to submit my letter of resignation on Monday, finish selling my furniture, and plan for my karaoke send off. I’m nervous about this next chapter of my life and I’m trying to keep in mind that I have to take it one day at a time. I must start looking forward to the here and now, stop fixating on the future. (Anyone know I can do that? I’m at a loss…)

What songs would you sing at karaoke? Anyone have a template for my letter of resignation? A friend suggested I go with, “Yo homes, smell ya later!” but I’m not sure if that is appropriate.  :c)

Mood Modification Necessary

Today started off with a bang, but not necessarily a positive one. As overjoyed as I was to return to Ohio from a wonderful, whirlwind weekend away, I was not ecstatic about the prospect of moderating ten usability tests. My coworker was kind enough to throw me under the bus last week, informing me (in front of a large group) that I would be completing all of the tests myself. Needless to say, I went into work with a negative outlook and a grimace on my face.

I’ve been trying to be more positive about my current situation, understanding that I need to be a model employee before I leave (in 55 days), but some days I just can’t plaster a smile onto this silly mug o’ mine. After eight hours of constant user testing, I was absolutely beat. I came home exhausted and forced myself to complete a P90X workout, I swear it is an instant mood maker. As the sweat fell of my face (and onto my carpet…) I saw my mood lifting into something more positive. Thank goodness.

I attended a lovely, healthy dinner at a friend’s and purchased some gorgeous new earrings (for less than $10, win!). I’m groggy, with a dreadful headache and a few too many bug bites, but I think I’ve come to some realizations. I need to enter each day with a more positive disposition. No, I don’t have to fake it, but I need to stop dreading the simple things and start considering how fantastic it will feel to conquer my fears. Was I so upset that my coworker was forcing me to complete ten tests or was I afraid of how foolish I’d look in front of my observers? Can I really let something as silly as work defeat me when I know that I’ll be moving onto bigger and better things in a few months?

Give me: Your positive self feedback. What you tell yourself when you need a mood makeover. How will you make tomorrow a more glorious day for you, me, and everyone you encounter?

Cat’s out of the bag

I can’t begin to explain how good it feels to have finally informed my boss that I will be leaving this summer.  I had been putting it off for a few weeks, hoping I could hold out until June when we have the big, daunting discussion of where my future lies with the company .  But no, he had to schedule my yearly review for this week; more than ten weeks from my departure date!

My father, illegitimate mother, girl friends, and coworker have been counseling me; trying to prepare me for the “big day”.  My father’s advice, “If he doesn’t ask you about your future, don’t tell him!  Just try not to lie…”  Of course my coworker saw it differently and reminded me of all the work that would be piled on if I didn’t give my boss a proper warning.  Sigh, what was a girl to do?

Sitting in the review my boss went over the different aspects of my job and how I performed in the past year.  Everything was positive, as would be expected since I’m awesome my boss adores me.  He mentioned my strengths and where I could improve, then told me his “succession” plan for me.  And then there was the moment where he turned to me, looked me in the eye, asked for my input and how I’d like to advance…  Like a deer in headlights, I stared blankly at him. Clasped my hands.  Took a deep breath.  In one quick statement it was out in the open, “I’m going to be continuing my education in the fall.”  Silence.  I didn’t know what to add and he didn’t know how to respond.  Eventually he began asking the typical questions, “Was it something I said?” and “Is there anything I can do to get you to stay? Please don’t leave me!”  (Okay, he didn’t say that last bit, but he did ask if he could convince me to stay)  And before I knew it, my review was over and everything was hunky dory.

Did I cry?  Nope!  (Win)  Did he get defensive or angry?  Thank goodness no.  He even offered to give me a recommendation if I would ever need it.  I knew there was a reason I got along with this guy (not just because he is a New Yorker and a Jew).

On another note, after hearing my running buddy Mandy constantly talk about the amazing results she is getting from P90X, I decided to jump on the bandwagon.  Yesterday was my first day of the Lean program, and let me tell you, it was a great workout.  Then I managed to roll out of bed this morning to perform the second workout at 5am (exhaustion will set in any minute now).  It was much easier since it was just cardio, but I know it will only get harder from here.  I did take “before” photos, but I won’t be posting those until there is tangible evidence that the plan worked.

So, do tell: What have you gotten of your chest lately?  How did you feel before, during, and after?
And if anyone has ever attempted P90X, is there a way to successfully incorporate running with the program?