Kelly In Catty

This blog is Kell's attempt to keep in touch with friends far away who complain that I don't e-mail nearly enough.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Oh No Not I - I Will Survive...

I guess I've never been much of a joiner. Nor am I one to travel in tribes. I never had a clique of friends in high school, and have frequently gone to the ladies' room alone... I have to say, however, that I felt pangs of longing as I read about the friendships in "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood..." Now, I have my friends, but the idea of having a little group of cose buddies - and keeping them throughout the span of a lifetime is amazing.

Perhaps that's why I agreed to a Girls' Night Out last evening.

My friend Lisa invited me and about 6 other women to an evening of fun and entertainment. We started at "Arts in the Park," where we listened to Latin music for all of 20 minutes. We then hiked 4 blocks to a restaurant, where we had a nice time getting to know each other. One woman talked about her move from New York City, where for the sake of her kids, couldn't continue living in the city where she lost her husband on 9/11. Another two have worked in the mayors' office through the last FOUR mayors. Another has a pile of kids. Another made it a policy not to drink alcohol because she needs to be at a lot of political events - and can't lose her sense of what she should and shouldn't say. It was a very nice group of women.

After dinner, we walked to a theater where we saw a play called "Girls Night..." Let me summarize.

The play begins with a woman dressed in white. She's a ghost - and died in the mid-80's as a teenager. Since death, she's been following her tribe of friends around. Even though they can't see her, they speak of her often. This particular evening, the ghost has followed them to a karaoke bar. During the course of the night, the ladies sing pop songs like "I Need A Hero," "Girls Just Wanna Have Fuh-un," "Man, I feel Like A Woman," "I Will Survive," and other songs designed to get the audience singing along. In between, the women share their tales of woe... And these women have dealt with it all:

- Being ugly in High School
- Having Daddy Issues (Daddy abandoned daughter)
- Having Commitment Issues (because of daddy issues)
- Unspoken Abortion in the past (never told her friends)
- Being afraid of Aging (Rich woman didn't want friend to call out her age)
- Revenge (Pain in the neck woman found out the ghost had slept with her thenboyfriend/nowhusband)
- Pregnancy (the pregnant woman wants to terminate, the lady who had the abortion is begging her not to - without telling her why she feels so strongly about it)

You get it. So the idea is that this play was supposed to give the audience - mostly women in their 40's and older - something to sing, shout about - and relate to... And it was doing everything it could to pull at emotional heart strings - to the point where it got a little preachy for me.

So in the end, when everyone's on their feet, singing with the ghost of the past and the hope of the future, belting out Shania Twain at the top of our voluptuous middle aged lungs, I was feeling a little depressed.

Is all I have to look forward to in my forties a big pile of 80's songs and dealing with my demons? Am I to dance about it? Do I really need a hero - and am I holding out for that hero till the end of the night?

sigh. - It's so depressing, but man, I feel like a woman!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The House Will Keep Us Together

Ok, I've been living in my new house for about six months now - give or take... and some interesting things have happened. No, the house isn't haunted that I know of... even though it's 150 years old - and very cool... Ok. I'll try to keep this short.

We bought the house from a couple named Michael and Jennifer. They were nice enough, although Michael freaked me out. I'd met him for the first time on our final walk-through. I was checking the basement out with Dave - and he followed us... "I want you to know you're getting a heluva house! I didn't want to move. My wife made me..." I just looked at Dave and smiled. Jennifer's reasons for moving were pretty solid... They'd just had their second child - and wanted a bigger yard for the kids.

So we bought the house, and started to settle in. A few weeks pass, and I go to dinner with some friends - to a restaurant I rarely ever go to - in a part of town I really don't frequent. As we were leaving, I go downstairs, walk across the bar, and who do I run into? Michael and Jennifer. They waxed poetic about the house - and asked what I liked best about it - and how everything was... As I left, I thought, "How weird to run into them!"

Several months pass. I'm sitting at a meeting with one of my clients. We're waiting for a consultant to show up. When she arrives, I introduce myself. "Kelly, you're name sounds so familiar. Have we met?" I assured her I couldn't place her, and started asking about things we might have in common. "Did you ever work here?" and so on... Finally, she asked where I live. I told her the town. "What? Where?" "Near the movie theater..."

She said, "I USED TO LIVE RIGHT NEAR THE MOVIE THEATER!!!!" She then stated the address...

It's my house. This woman whom I've never met sold my house to Michael and Jennifer - for the same reason - they had another kid and wanted more space...

"I cried when I left there, Kelly. I love that house - you HAVE to let me come over." I assured her she could come over and see what we've done. She then asked, in th middle of the meeting - what colors the rooms were ("Is the bedroom still green? I chose that color!") ("Yes, we love the green!") She promised to let us know about the secrets of the house... and noted that she kept a framed photo of our entry way on the wall of her current home...

It's funny - it seems the house likes to keep it's owners in touch, doesn't it? Maybe it IS haunted.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Catchin' Up

I've been so bad at blogging lately - so I thought I'd give you an update on my activities of late. As you know, I'm a new step-parent. Paula's 17 - and I think I'm getting the hang of 17 year olds... Ok, I'm not - but sometimes I just pretend and it makes me feel better. The other weekend, we painted her bedroom - it was a luscious lunar blue - and is now a warmly welcoming orange and purple:

Ok - so the other day, as you may have seen from the previous post - the credit union three doors down from my office got robbed. The police think five perpetrators went into the bank at 8:21 am - stole a little over 67K in cash (do the math - and you'll understand why I already think these robbers are dumb... They're risking their lives for a little over 14K each? Personally, I'd never do it for under a million... each.) So they escape in a getaway car - all but one... One steals a tellers' car and leaves... The others get about 400 yards in their getaway car before they crash it. By this time, the cops were all over the place... So as the robbers are trying to get out of the upturned car, the police catch three. One escapes on foot. For the rest of the day, traffic was not allowed into the area. If we left, we couldn't get back in... Cars were searched, the area was searched by dogs and choppers - and this man wasn't found. Ok so he's gone - but I have to tell you the second silly thing about these robbers... The police went to search their apartments. Among other things, they found pot and boxes of cell phones... If I were a serious criminal - I'd keep my contraband somewhere else - but that's just me.

Ok - Third strange thing that's happened to me lately. I was invited to attend my step-daughter's "Meet the Teacher" night... So Dave and I go to her school and go through her class periods. We meet the teachers - several of them younger than I am (where most of the other parents were about a decade my senior...) It was weird. Everyone filed into the room - and just like the first day of junior high school, no one talked to each other... Even when I did talk to other parents, they looked at me like I was an alien...

The fun part was talking to the students in the cafeteria. For some reason, they were sitting there - at booths - touting their particular club or activity... The French club handed out brochures and claimed that "You don't even have to speak French to join!" (Ay Caramaba! I could join!) The international club made yummy Iranian cheese and spinach puffy snacks (Dave had three), the chorus kids dressed in tuxes and gowns... The drama team was very dramatic - and eager to tell me who they thought might be cast in this year's production of "Anne Frank." The Library club told me they got together to read books. Everyone handed me brochures... Where I didn't, I told my step-daughter that I signed her up for EVERY CLUB. She thanked me heartily.

What was even more strange about high school was the kinds of classes offered - classes that I never had a shot at taking till college - Paula (my step-daughter has a name!) is taking Psychology, Zoology, Early Child Development, Economics, Brit Lit, Algebra (taught by an ex-engineer...), and something else... Can't remember. All the teachers said she's doing well. Even the Algebra Teacher, who said his tenth period class was hard to reach (go fig), said she was doing well. Good for her, I say. I hated math - and still kind of wonder how I ever got through it.

Well, that's news, weather and sports! Now you're caught up. I have a whirlwind 2-wedding weekend coming up... I hate it when I do that. That's why I bought a Palm Pilot - and I'm programming it to beep "IDIOTIDIOTIDIOT!" whenever I do something stupid like that again!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Lock Down

I'm trapped at work because of this. Sheesh. Bank Robbing seems like such a hopeless pursuit... It's much easier to be an insider trader. There have to be better ways of making money. Anyway, I work in this industrial park, and there are cops everywhere... So back to work - because you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave...

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Hidden Visitor

I found my nephew hiding in here the other day... He had fun making Dave and his brother, Ian look for him!

Here are a few sunflowers I grew from the seeds my friends in Kansas sent me home with last year - Nice, eh?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Get a Job!

Years ago, I ran into one of my college professors, who asked me, “If you were to come to my class and speak, what would you tell my students?”

I answered, “I would tell them what they need to know!” At the time, I was frustrated with the quality of interns, inquiry calls, resumes, and expectations of that year’s incoming crop of new workers… Come to think of it – I still am.

Don’t get me wrong. I think colleges do a perfectly acceptable job of training the youth of our nation to a point where they can enter the workforce. Being in a technology-driven field, it’s a given that a lot of further training will happen on the job – but that’s the natural order, isn’t it? It’s why Rory Gillmore couldn’t get a reporting job at the NY Times right off the Bachelor Degree Boat… It’s why I began my career at a paltry sub-20K salary in 1994… It’s just how it is.

Success takes time.

This is exactly why, I believe, that colleges should take some time – and teach their students a few other things… things they need to know to GET the job. What I’m about to say is not based on anything other than the lack of job-getting skills I’ve endured while answering phone inquiries, reading resumes, and living with interns.

So for those of you who are interested in succeeding at launching your careers, pay attention…

1) Phone Skills. Get them. Learn them. Understand them. When calling a company to inquire about job possibilities, be polite. Be humble. Don’t be stupid. Learn how to ask for exactly the job you want. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked a potential candidate, “Ok, what is it exactly that you want to do?” – only to hear “I want to do whatever you want to teach me…” Get it through your head – I’m a busy girl, doing a busy job. I don’t WANT to teach you anything. I want to hire a worker who will assist me in meeting my company’s goals… I want to hear things like, “My real interest is (x), and to make that happen, I’m willing to work in whatever capacity is necessary to help your company succeed." The trick is - you have to mean it... but please. Jobs are good learing opportunities, but they aren't college... so don't mistake the job market as another for-credit class. For goodness sake, make the right impression on the phone! Be specific - and make me understand that you're available to enhance my company.

2) I heard something funny on NPR the other day. It was a story about how the new crop of employees need a lot of “attaboys,” kudos, and appreciation. It’s part of this generation becoming accustomed to every single player in the soccer league getting trophies (I only want one if I win, personally. It's part of what kids learn when their parents argue with the teacher who gave a child a merit-based "C" instead of a pedigreed "A." You get the idea. Somehow, our culture has changed from a society-centered universe to a self-centered universe, and it's non-productive.

I too, am a girl who needs some positive reinforcement, yet have come to understand that my position at my company is not about me, my ego, or my personal needs. My position is one that fulfills my company’s goals – financial, creative, and productive. Where the accolades are great, they don’t happen every day.

My advice? Realize we should work to live, not live to work. In other words, my life (relationships, activities, etc…) starts off the clock. I get my personal fill-up there - not at my desk. I'm not saying my work isn't fulfilling, but I am saying I won't let it define me.

3) Hygiene. I can’t believe I’m actually writing this – because this is an issue that for most of us, works itself out in junior high school... I’ve had more than one intern in the past two years with a body odor problem. It’s very simple. If you stink, you will miss opportunities. I’ve actually had clients say, “Don’t bring (so and so) around – we don’t want him here… Again, a professional goal is to make your company look good. So if you’re dressing badly and smelling worse, you’re part of the problem.

My thought is that if you haven’t properly bathed within 8-12 hours of your shift (including deodorant and clean clothes), body odor will take over. It seems like such a simple thing to fix.

If you smell, I can only tell you that from MY side of the green cloud, it’s so uncomfortable to be faced with communicating to an intern that he/she smells. Don’t put me in that position! Just take a shower - with soap.

4) And speaking of Wardrobe: As far as attire, err on the side of business over casual. Of course this is job-specific – but if you have doubts about the appropriateness of a short skirt, low cut blouse, pair of shorts, graphic/logo t-shirt, or flip flops, don’t wear them.

5) Resumes. I have to say, where I’m glad you were the University Mascot, unless you’re applying for a job where you need to don a costume, I don’t necessarily need to see "University Mascot" on your resume. In fact, there's a lot of information I've seen on resumes that I don't care about.

If you’re just out of college, you get one side of one 8.5” x 11” piece of paper that explains to me your work history – and how your presence at a company impacted that company’s goals. If you want to impress with your resume, think of it as an introduction that has to have enough zing for the reader to offer you an interview. Your charm, good looks, and experience/zest for life will have to take over from there. You don’t need to write me a tome – I’m not going to read it – so just get to the good stuff – the stuff that again, will help me understand that your presence at my company will help meet corporate goals. There are tons of free resources both in college job centers and on the internet, but my best advice is to humble thyself! Find someone you know- friend of the family – or whomever – who does hiring at their job. Show them your resume, and listen to what they tell you.

Understand this: Spell check is not a good substitute for through editing. Spelling mistakes are not an option. (If you'll note, spell check will not alert me that I've typed "through" instead of "thorough," which is what I intended to write.)

Oh! I almost forgot to tell you - Don't lie on your resume. I've known qualified people who "embellished" their way into top positions - only to be fired when the company did random fact checks. It's just not worth it to write something you can't back up. Don't make the same mistake!!!

Good luck, kids – now go change the world – and make your company proud!