Monday, October 28, 2013

back on the wagon?

I cannot begin to tell you how many posts I have in draft status. It has been over four months since my last post. I’ve barely been able to think, let alone write, since the summer. My brain and my body are completely fried. I’m burned out from work and parenting and life. I went straight from the corporate Hunger Games (yet another post in draft status) to selecting my team, to implementing new processes, to picking up the pieces from all of the change. I’ve worked an average of 80 hours per week since April and it is killing me. Sure there have been a couple of weeks where I only put in 60 hours and the week of my daughter’s birthday (July), I only worked 40. But still…this is too much and it’s not healthy. I feel like a blob. I have been eating too much sugar, haven’t been logging as many miles as I’d like and I even gave up on Pure Barre for a few months. I think I’ve put on four pounds, although – thankfully - my clothes fit well. It’s time to find some balance. Since work isn’t going to slow down, I am going to try to hold myself more accountable to me. Step one – meet my new friend, the FitBit. I bought this bad boy as my birthday present to myself and I’ve been wearing it religiously. Now it’s time to make sure I hit my 10k steps every day. I like seeing how the little changes I make impact my calorie burn, so it’s a motivator. Step two – return to Pure Barre. I’ve started going once per week and I’m signed up for at least one class a week through November. Step thee – return to Mamavation. Here I am, ladies! I’m hoping that you will help me stick to this!

Monday, June 10, 2013

it pays off

Last week, I posted this photo online. 

I was excited to show off my child in the pool and didn't think too much about it.  Almost instantly, an old friend commented, "smokin' hot bod!"  Seriously?  Who would think I was "smokin' hot?!?"  Then I looked a little closer at the pic.  I've come a long way from my post-pregnancy body.  The fact that I'm willing to wear a bikini at the local family hangout pool is a testament to the fact that I'm comfortable with myself.  Sometimes I struggle with eating too much junk food and sometimes I have to force myself to work out, but this picture made me realize that it pays off.

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Friend Makin' Monday

This is my first Friend Makin' Monday post and I'm a day late! If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please add your links there too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!
 Questions and Answers
  1. Do you use coupons?    I do! I also use Retail Me Not for online shopping.
  2. How often do you weigh yourself?    Pretty much every day, but I don't freak out about it.
  3. What was your favorite TV show as a kid?    The Cosby Show (ditto Regan)
  4. How often do you drink alcohol?    Once a month or so...usually wine.
  5. Have you ever met a celebrity or public figure that you really admire?  Nope
  6. If you had to choose between only your cell phone or only your laptop all week which would you choose?   Phone, no doubt!
  7. What is your favorite brand of detergent?    Ecos (buy it in bulk from Costco)
  8. If there was a movie about your life, who would play the role?  Selma Blair...we have similar coloring and she plays lots of quirky roles.
  9. What book are you currently reading?    I just started the Perks of Being a Wallflower
  10. If you could spend one day on vacation anywhere in the world, which place would you choose?    Someplace tropical...white sandy beach

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions.  Don’t forget to link up in the comments, and say hi to someone new!  Happy Monday!

Worse than a desk job

I have been sitting in interviews for over a week.  Seriously...40+ hours of interviewing candidates in the last week.  It has been intense.  On the bright side, I've found some really wonderful candidates for the manager roles on my team.  On the not so bright side, I feel like a complete slug thanks to all the sitting.

Seriously, sitting in a conference room doing all these interviews is far worse than sitting at a desk.  It's been like groundhog day!  I used four different versions of my interview guide, so I wasn't asking each candidate the same questions, but still...  It was really hard to keep organized and on track in the interviews.  Thank goodness that I practice what I preach to hiring managers about taking good interview notes!

So back to the sitting.  I was in the office, sitting in a conference room from 7a-5p each day last week.  Then I went to my office and worked for a few hours to get somewhat caught up on email.  Long story short, I didn't work out nearly as much as I wanted to.  By the time I got home from work, I was completely drained and just wanted to veg in front of the TV or go to bed.  I think I only got in one workout all week.

This week is off to a similar start.  We've had long talent calibration sessions and these conference room pow-wows are killing me!  I need to walk around.  I need to move!  I'm also suffering from some allergy issues and my throat is a mess.  I didn't work out last night as a result.  Tonight will be better though.  I'm planning on 3 miles and some strength training.  Tomorrow I'm scheduled for a Pure Barre class.  I'm not sure what is in store for the rest of the week, but I'm hoping for nice weather this weekend so we can go on a family hike.

Have an awesome week, sistas!

“ This post is sponsored by Noelle Katai and Mamavation – a community dedicated to obesity prevention & weight loss for women and I’m writing this to be entered into a giveaway ”

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Hunger Games

I'll start by saying that I've never read The Hunger Games or seen the movie (there IS a movie, right?).  I know very little about the book.  What I do understand is this: There are a bunch of kids who are put together and have to fight for survival.  The last person alive wins the hunger games.  Hopefully this is an accurate synopsis.

As I've mentioned a few times before, my company is going through a massive restructuring right now.  It's a six-month process that started in January.  Our entire business line is being centralized and consolidated.  As a result, we are all interviewing for jobs in the new structure.  In my case, I've been interviewing for my current role/title.  It has been a long process...11 interviews over a five-day timeframe.  Add into that the fact that I've worked for the company for six years and have been in my current role for the last four, which means a long window of successes and mistakes that are part of the equation as well.  It's a bit grueling to think about it all.

We recently had an all-employee meeting and at the end, I overheard a colleague comment that "this process is like The Hunger Games.  We're all fighting to the death."  How awful...but at the same time, I understand her take on the situation.  It's incredibly uncomfortable to "compete" with your peers and friends for a limited number of jobs.  That being said, this process has been a learning experience and I think you may find value from the knowledge I've gained.  So, here it goes.

Preparation is key. 
I spent countless hours updating my resume, reviewing the backgrounds of my interviewers, studying up on key metrics, planning for and documenting my first 6 months in the "new" role, and practicing responses to potential interview questions. 
    • I actually locked myself in a conference room on Easter Sunday and spent 6 hours putting together a PowerPoint deck that laid out my plan for the "new" role.  I didn't need the deck for each interviewer, but it came in handy for a few of the discussions.  The deck was clearly a differentiator for me and I'm happy that I invested the time into it.
    • I pulled together pages and pages of potential interview questions.  I thought through responses for behavioral, situational and traditional questions.  I practiced a few with my husband to make sure that my wording seemed positive and upbeat, even when talking about my weaknesses and failures. 
    • I'm fortunate to be a data-driven individual, so I pulled every core metric for each interviewer that I met with and created a grid "cheat sheet" that I could study prior to each interaction.  I also included key information about the interviewer's background that I wanted to remember as well as points that I thought would be relevant to the individual discussion.  For example, the president of one of our facilities went to college where I grew up.  I noted this and was able to tie it to our conversation.  I also included interesting projects that his team recently rolled out.  Finally, I included HR KPIs like turnover rates and was able to tie their rates to project success during the discussion.  It was amazing...I was able to hit on each of these items during the discussion.  We developed a strong rapport and he was impressed that I had taken the time to get to know his business. 
Confidence goes a long way.
There's a fine line between confidence and cockiness and you have to tread lightly here.  I feel like this is a difficult task for me.  I'm fairly young and I've always been an overachiever.  I work hard to make sure that people don't think of me as someone who's too focused on future career growth because the truth is, I'm not.  I'm very happy where I am.  I'm a mom and I have balance in my life.  If I continue to grow quickly in my career, I will lose that balance.  I focused all of my interview responses on the fact that I can do the job.  I talked about my successes and learning from my failures.  I was open and honest, and I think this helped bolster my confidence.  Finally, I looked at the strengths and weaknesses outlined in my last performance review and really played up the strengths.  It's empowering to see good stuff about yourself in writing.  I kept that in mind.

Dress the part.
Wear a suit, people!!  Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.  Don't look sloppy.  Iron your shirt.  Shine your shoes.  Fix your hair.  Don't wear colors that are too bright or clothes that are too trendy.  Be tasteful.  Here are a few of my outfits from the week.  I decided to mix in some trendy colors, but kept the overall look conservative.

Say "thank you."
Each evening, after normal work hours, I wrote a thank you note or email to each interviewer.  I emailed the executives and sent handwritten notes to the HR teams.  Each thank you note was personalized based on the discussion I had with the interviewer.  For example, one president shared that she felt a lot of similarities between my responses and her experience, particularly as they related to work/life balance.  When I sent my follow up email, I thanked her for sharing that connection and told her how much that meant to me.

Be nice.
For all the fear and uncertainty that you're feeling right now, there are others who are feeling it too.  Whether you're interviewing due to a re-org or just trying to find a new job, remember that everyone has been in your shoes at some point.  Be nice.  If you know your competition, don't bash them.  Understand and empathize with those around you.  Interviewing is nerve-wracking!  Treat everyone the way that you would want to be treated and you'll be fine.

If you've found yourself in a similar situation, best wishes for great interviews!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sorry,'s been a while

I owe you an apology.  I haven't written or commented on your posts in a few weeks and I feel like a slacker because of it.  Things have been hectic in my life and I'm just starting to get caught up.  I traveled for work two weeks in a row, which is always tough on me.  It's hard for me to be away from N for a couple of days at a time, let alone two back-to-back trips.  I ended up behind at work as a result of being out of the office and am still in email jail.  Oh,'s going to be fine.

To update you on my work saga, I GOT THE JOB!  I found out two weeks ago that my interviewing went well and I landed the job I wanted.  It's even a promotion, so D took me out on Friday night to celebrate.  It feels good to have that stress behind me.  Now I'm even busier at work while we move through the rest of the re-org.  I've been putting in long hours and have been working from home late into the evenings. 

As for my health, things are going well.  I've spent a fair amount of time working out to ease my stress.  I got a little behind during my traveling and think I put on a pound or two thanks to all the required four-course meals.  I'm not worried about it though.  I'm cutting my calories just a bit this week to even out and have been working out really hard.  It's nice to not be a complete slave to the scale!

Now that the weather is nice, I'm getting outside for more walks as well.  N has been a bit feisty this weekend, so we spent a fair amount of time walking outside.  I think it's time for me to invest in a Fuelband...I'd like the motivation of a daily step goal...

That's all for me.  I hope you all have a super week!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sugar addition...Easter was tough

I've been very quiet recently and I'm sorry for that.  I feel bad about not commenting on your posts or sharing much here.  I've been going through a lot and haven't had the time or energy to spend online.

The last couple of weeks have been a roller coaster of sugar, family visits, travel, work stress, and hormones.  The Easter Bunny brought me a bunch of Reester bunnies which I have no ability to resist.  I've had a few of them and they just seem to feed my ridiculous sugar addiction.  I'll be happy when I get rid of them all! 

I completed 11 interviews for my job last week and should find out the outcome in another week or so.  At this point, the waiting is really the hardest part (thanks, Tom Petty).  Until I know the outcome, I'm sitting quietly and trying not to stress too much.

I'm working out plenty, thank goodness.  It's what is keeping me sane.  This week will be tough though because I'm a single parent for a few days and then as soon as my husband gets home, I'm heading to Texas for a few days. 

I hope you're all doing well!