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Laura

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Saturday, April 19th, 2014 09:00 pm
  • Wash the dishes in your sink

  • Get your outfit for tomorrow together, including accessories

  • Set up coffee/tea/breakfast

  • Make your lunch

  • Put your keys somewhere obvious

  • Wash your face and brush your teeth

  • Charge your electronics

  • Pour a little cleaner in the toilet bowl (if you don’t have pets or children or sleepwalking adults)

  • Set your alarm

  • Go to bed at a reasonable hour

Saturday, April 19th, 2014 06:28 pm

asparkleinherlife:

So I’m on Easter break from college and it is going by way too fast. For some reason every single time I come home, no matter how long or short my time here is, I feel the need to completely reorganize and clean my room. It’s a problem, especially since I brought half of my dorm home on this trip because I won’t be back again before I move home for the summer. Regardless, I started pulling everything out last night and by the time I realized it was a stupid idea it was too late to turn back. So even though I have a week’s worth of homework to do today and had to tell my grandma that I couldn’t go to the movies with her, I’m finishing what I started.

This is my first documented ufyh, I discovered it back in the winter over my Christmas break and I actually like the idea of it. Here goes nothing, I give you the Before:

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Last night I pulled down all of the boxes in that giant pile and a stack of blankets so I could put those clothes on the top shelf of my closet, they’re a combination of out of season clothes and too-small clothes I’m hoping to get back soon (yes, I’m that girl). I also cleaned out a rolling storage box that is under my bed that had more clothes in it, those got hung up and put in my dresser because they’re in season again now that it’s warmer. My computer is usually stored in the bottom of my night stand but I throw it up on my dresser when I play music from it.

First 20/10: No pictures for this one because you can’t tell I did anything. I took down a load of laundry and brought one up that I had thrown in the machine last night. I folded and put away those clothes as well as some that never made it off my floor when I was unpacking yesterday. Then I started to tackle the pile in front of my closet but time ran out and I got distracted by my volleyball.

Second 20/10: Unpacked and put away 3 bags and a tub of random items like school books, magazines, art supplies. I threw out a giant tower o’ boxes that I’ve been holding onto forever, except for a few that I’m determined to keep for whatever reason. Also emptied out a box of extra towels and put those in the rolling box underneath my bed. Most importantly, I finished my coffee.

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Third 20/10: I ended this one with 5 minutes to go because I started to get bored. Got a bag full of fragile containers and coffee mugs because I’m addicted emptied out and hung up the scarves I had used as makeshift padding. I folded up and put away all of the plastic grocery bags floating around, I only keep them because I use them to line my little trash can. Then I just started stacking up all of the stuff I didn’t get around to so it’s not in the middle of the floor.

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So now all need to do before I go back to school is finish my laundry, do a couple of dishes, and find places for the stuff piled on my bed. Oh, and homework :/ It’s no where near perfect but it’s enough to tide me over until I do it all again when I move out of my dorm.

Saturday, April 19th, 2014 05:41 pm
This week's kitten pics in better quality than my crappy cameraphone include a video of Ginny and I playing "toss the kibble under the door" to distract her from the fact Gabe gets fed whenever he wants and Ginny does not need more than a little snack :P
Saturday, April 19th, 2014 01:25 pm
Sparrows on the windowsill.
Read more... )
Saturday, April 19th, 2014 02:04 pm
I over salted the ground turkey last night. Scott said it was fine, but I think he was just exhausted and didn't want to face having to go out again (he had to do a grocery run for lettuce while I cooked the turkey). I found it just barely edible. Cordelia didn't complain, but I don't know that she ate much of it.

This morning, Cordelia had a soccer game at ten fifteen. I was expecting it to be miserable because, as of eight o'clock, it wasn't quite thirty two degrees out. I wore my denim jumper, the one that goes down to my ankles, and my down coat that goes down to the middle of my calves. Fortunately, the sun was out, so it wasn't too bad.

There were ten girls from Cordelia's team present, and they played eight on a side, so all of the girls played most of the game. The other team had a deep bench, enough to rotate everybody off the field each time. I did notice that Cordelia's coach tended to pull the same girls off the field multiple times while some girls stayed in the whole game. I think the game ended in a tie, but I'm not certain. I could only see half of the field because there were a lot of people standing on the sidelines in between me and the field.

We stopped at Whole Foods on the way home and picked up lunch. Cordelia got pizza. Scott got a salad. I got chicken and vegetables (they had a great selection of veggies I like-- cabbage, sweet potatoes and zucchini and summer squash. Yum!).

After we ate, we went to get bagels only to discover that the bagel place has already sold out (and isn't open tomorrow at all). Scott will have to buy bagels at Kroger or Cordelia won't have breakfast this week. Then we went to the library. There was parking in front which pretty much never happens.

There was parking near Bubble Island, too. We had a lucky parking day. Scott and I both got pineapple green tea while Cordelia got mango calpico. They skimped on the bubbles because they were running out. I'm sad about that because I think the bubbles are the best part.

I'm seriously thinking of signing up for Not Primetime this year. I meant to focus on Rheotaxis and not sign up for exchanges, but I've been getting nowhere with Rheotaxis, and there are some fun fandoms for Not Primetime. I will probably write a dear author letter later today, just in case I decide to sign up.

Of course, I should perhaps put off signing up while I work on Remix. I've only got a couple of sentences so far. The dratted thing seems to want to be in present tense. I'm trying to decide if I should fight it or run with it. I also need to go over canon one more time when Cordelia's not around. She's prone to interrupt me right when I get to the key point. At least this a fandom Scott can beta read for me. I don't think any of my other usual betas know the fandom.
Saturday, April 19th, 2014 12:01 pm

You know it. You’re avoiding it. Whatever the pile of nonsense is that your brain manages not to register every time you see it, you’re going to spend 20 minutes dealing with it. Extra bonus points if you’ve been putting it off for months or years.

When you’re done, high five yourself on an extremely productive few hours, and then go do something fun.

Saturday, April 19th, 2014 11:30 am

For this 20/10, we’re venturing back into the bathroom. We’ve already given it a surface wipedown, but this time, we’re going deeper. Get the gloves on, get out the scrub brush, and pay some attention to the grime around the faucets, the mysterious film on the shower shelves, the medicine cabinet, and I bet your toilet needs a good scrubbing. If there’s time left, wipe down your walls. You’d be surprised and grossed out by what accumulates there.

Saturday, April 19th, 2014 11:00 am

This 20/10, it’s time to start in on your flat surfaces. Coffee table, end tables, dresser tops, counters, dining room table. Anything that’s horizontal and accumulating shit, attack it! Don’t forget to wipe down/dust once it’s clear.

Friday, April 18th, 2014 10:57 am
And before the cutoff, too! I admit, I was a little worried when I shared the bus with another person on the same errand, but we got there juuuuuuust in time.

One unfortunate woman didn't realize there was a sign-up sheet, so she ended up having to come back next week. At least she knows now! The sign-up is run semi-formally by whoever is there who knows to pass around a list. The website does mention this is how it should be done, but not in very large print.

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On the hunt for S.F. street stamp typos

http://bit.ly/1iqUDni

This Affordable Mass Transit Technology Is Now All But Illegal in Tennessee

Am I the only one, after all the various articles, who pictures the Koch brothers as an amalgamation between Stadler and Waldorf and the rich dudes from Trading Places?

http://bit.ly/1gOawnn

Report: Walmart Workers Cost Taxpayers $6.2 Billion In Public Assistance

http://onforb.es/1evSirJ

Plant Breeders Release First 'Open Source Seeds'

http://n.pr/RrmQ45

The world's dumbest idea: Taxing solar energy

http://yhoo.it/1hXLYdi

U.S. ground troops going to Poland, defense minister says

http://wapo.st/Pd6GsN

Earth-sized planet found orbiting in a habitable zone

Kepler-186f is a 'tip-of-the-iceberg discovery' that suggests there could be many other planets beyond our solar system potentially friendly to life, astronomers say.

http://lat.ms/RxVklq

Banking Industry Shamelessly Fleeces Even the Paltry Savings of Ex-Prisoners

http://bit.ly/1f81QnU

Oklahoma Prohibits Cities From Raising the Minimum Wage While Voting in Tax Credits for Investors

When the federal government wants to raise the minimum wage, it's no no no, communities know best, states rights guys! But when the local government wants to raise the minimum wage, that argument no longer applies? States trump all, I guess.

http://bit.ly/1i4BQcS

Childhood bullying 'can lead to depression and unemployment in adulthood'

http://ind.pn/1gUEbLC

Resegregation in the American South

The comments are faux concerned "oh, blacks can't do well unless they're surrounded by whites", but I think the article makes clear that de facto segregation manages to be in some ways even worse than the old kind, because at least back then you had a chance of getting a talented black teacher in your segregated school and going to a good all-black college, whereas now the system is rigged so the best teachers get a choice of where to teach, and of course they tend to pick the better schools (and given the gerrymandering described, I wouldn't be one bit surprised to find that the funding for some schools is heck of a lot better than for others, and no guesses as to which ones.)

http://bit.ly/1eVWiwK
Saturday, April 19th, 2014 10:30 am

This 20/10, get the vacuum out, and get to hoovering! Start with the area with the heaviest foot traffic, and cover as much ground as you can in 20 minutes. No carpets? Spend this 20/10 sweeping, Swiffering, or mopping. Show your floors some love!

Saturday, April 19th, 2014 10:00 am

This 20/10, it’s back to the kitchen to get a little more done. Continue with dishes, clearing off the counters, wiping down the appliances, cleaning out the microwave, and anything else that needs doing in the kitchen.

Saturday, April 19th, 2014 09:30 am

This 20/10, head into the kitchen and start with wherever the biggest mess is. If your dishes aren’t done (which they should be, ahem), start there. If they are done (yay!), weed out old or expired food in the fridge, give your stove top a thorough cleaning, or continue clearing the counters.

Saturday, April 19th, 2014 09:00 am

Next 20/10: spend 20 minutes picking up the assorted clothes, shoes, and crap on your bedroom floor. This includes stuff that’s languishing in baskets, too.

Saturday, April 19th, 2014 08:30 am

OK, break’s over! Next 20/10 time. Suggested challenge: bathroom wipedown. Put away all the crap on your countertops, then wipe down the counters, toilets, all handles and switches, spray some cleaner on the shower walls, and sweep, Swiffer, or vacuum the floor. Whatever you can do in 20 minutes.

Saturday, April 19th, 2014 08:01 am

Good morning, Team UfYH! Today we’re going to get shit done, one 20/10 at a time. I’ll be posting a LOT of challenges and suggested challenges. Obviously, only do the ones that apply to you, and work at a pace that’s comfortable for you. And, as always, excuses are boring!

So first 20/10: make your bed! If you have a washing machine, throw a load in. And clear off your nightstand, if you have one. Use the rest of your 20 minutes, if there is any, for general picking up.

Saturday, April 19th, 2014 08:33 am
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Common mergansers-- a bunch of males following one female.

Three more )
Saturday, April 19th, 2014 12:30 am
Yummy chocolate See's bunny found here. Wonder why the ears really do taste best?

So. Today is Saturday, just one day before Easter Sunday. Which means that Lent is, for all practical purposes, over. When I was a kid, it was the day that my siblings and I would pester my Mom to allow us to dive into the stash of candy that we had saved over the previous forty days since giving up candy was about as creative as a childhood me ever got regarding a Lenten practice.

Mom refused, every time. She insisted that, "If you kids could wait for all of Lent then you can wait until Easter morning. You can put your saved up candy into your Easter basket to add to whatever the Bunny brought you."

She didn't negotiate.

My self-imposed task for this Lent was to try to be a kinder individual, which is hardly a tangible thing. Kindness isn't something that one can collect in a plastic bag in one's bedroom closet for forty days and then dump into your Sunday morning Easter basket. It's hard to measure my success in being a more kind individual ever since Ash Wednesday.

But I have tried, really I have. I think that if someone were paying attention there would be very little observable changes in my behavior, still I have been trying. I think the proof of my limited successes is evident not in what I did or said; but rather what I didn't do. Or say.

(Oh, would you just quit laughing, Terese! I'm trying to be serious here.)

Yeah. I've tried hard to bite my tongue and censor my thoughts, which is a tall order for Ms. Blabbermouth me. And I can't say that I've been completely able to do that, but I made a serious effort. I tried really hard.

And that, I think, is what Lent is really all about.

Now bring on the chocolate bunnies!
Saturday, April 19th, 2014 12:59 am
I follow Everest climbing season on and off -- my ex's father and sister are mountain climbers, and that got me into following mountaineering, especially the 8000-meter big ones. Today, news broke of an ice fall in the Khumba Icefall, on the South Col route -- historically one of the most deadly spots. Initial reports are saying anywhere between 12 and 16 dead, all Sherpas, with over a hundred people stranded above the Icefall (where they were trekking gear to Camp 1 or Camp 2), and unconfirmed reports that the ladder in the Icefall has been damaged or destroyed.

If the ladder is gone and can't be repaired, that pretty much drops the bottom out of this year's window -- maybe 10% (or less) of people who are trying to summit Everest these days have the technical skill and high-altitude mountain climbing experience to handle that area of the climb without the help. It's going to be an ugly season.

I can hold forth for a while on the state of Everest these days. I have a lot of opinions for somebody who would never dream of getting anywhere near it myself. Long story short: Everest climbing has turned into a perfect storm of the Western world marketing "climbing Everest" as one of those 'hardcore life-altering experiences', a number of unqualified people setting themselves up as guides to cash in on that marketing, a 'free market' for guiding where there's no regulation or objective standard of quality guiding so clueless hardcore-sports-tourists have no means by which to evaluate the capabilities of the expedition leaders to handle shit if shit gets ugly, a tendency to try to compete on price because aforementioned clueless mountaineering-tourists balk at paying what the non-shady expedition leaders charge, and over it all, the driving motivations (and associated ethical complications) of the Nepalese government depending on that Western money for support, thus creating incentives for them to maximize the number of people who buy permits every year. There's a lot of additional factors, but all of those combine to create a perfect storm of completely unqualified climbers being led by completely inadequate expedition leaders who rely on the Sherpas and don't give them anywhere near enough credit -- or pay -- which leads to resentment that's been bubbling for a while, to the point where last year there was a confrontation that nearly turned deadly. Everest is full of people who are trying to commit suicide in the messiest way possible and take a lot of people with them, and the honest and capable expedition leaders not only have to clean up the mess on the mountain but also deal with the market forces and the fallout later.

The fact is, though, that nobody would climb Sagarmatha (which is what the Sherpas call the mountain, although that's a recent coinage; before they used the Tibetan name, Chomolungma) without Sherpa aid and Sherpa knowledge. The Sherpas set the ropes up the entire mountain ahead of any other climbers, carry supplies up the mountain from camp to camp before any climbers start behind them, serve as porters for climbers throughout the process of climbing, and pack out all the trash (and I do mean all the trash, including human waste) behind. They're the first ones in at the beginning of the season and the last ones out at the end. Every person who's summitted the mountain in modern times has done so relying on the work of a Sherpa, and -- although this is changing somewhat (but not fast enough for a lot of the Sherpas) -- often without giving any credit to the Sherpas that make it possible.

So I'm saddened to hear that a dozen (or more) Sherpas died yesterday on the mountain (because the moutain will kill you as easily as not; it will not notice, it will not care), but I'm even more sad that they were there on that mountain because of alpine adventure tourism and Western demand. I've been pleased to see several news articles about the icefall include and acknowledge some of the ethical quandaries and the stark realities of Everest tourism. I wish this could help make meaningful change in how the commodified "climb Mt Everest" industry runs these days, and helps to get some of those unqualified people being duped by unethical expedition leaders off the mountain until they're at least a little more qualified, but I doubt it will.
Saturday, April 19th, 2014 04:03 am

Posted by Ask a Manager

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. I’m interviewing for a job working with a company that fired me for complaining on Facebook five years ago — should I mention it?

Five years ago, I was fired from a very good job as a project manager for a major airline. I had been venting about the frustrations of my job on Facebook and a coworker printed the posts and handed them to our boss. I learned a huge lesson from that and don’t post anything work-related on Facebook anymore.

I have a new job opportunity with a different company in the aviation industry. This new position would be an on-site account executive with the same airline that fired me, which is a customer of the company I’m applying with. The hardest question to deal with in a job interview is why you left your last position. Now that it’s been five years since that incident, the question doesn’t come up. Should I volunteer this information since this position is on-site with this airline? I would hate for a previous coworker to see me out there and the information to leak out that way.

If it’s likely that you’ll be working in the same area as people will know you from before, or that you’ll cross paths with them, I’d seriously consider whether this is really the right job for you. If it turns out they don’t want you on the account (and I wouldn’t be thrilled about having an account rep who I’d fired for publicly badmouthing my company a few years ago), you could end up getting fired — which is far worse than just not getting the job to begin with. This position is working directly with a company you’re not really eligible to work with anymore, so it really might not be a role you should be going after. (That said, airlines are big and it’s possible this wouldn’t come up; you’d probably have a better sense of that than I do. But even then, I still think you’d need to disclose it and let the new company make that call.)

2. I work for my parents’ business and am frustrated by a coworker’s constant complaining

I recently started working for the company that my parents own. It’s a small business with about 25 employees. My office is right near the reception area, and I can hear everything that goes on in the common area. Last week, I overheard some issues being discussed during a meeting of about 15 people, including 2 brand new employees. While I was not involved in the meeting, I could hear everything being said. One employee was constantly complaining and making negative remarks about management during the meeting. While some (not all) of the issues he brought up were true, it was not relevant to what the meeting was about. Additionally, no one from the management team was at the meeting to correct him. I felt it was creating a very negative work environment, which is especially bad with the two new employees.

After I overheard this, I went to my parents to see how they wanted to handle it. The employee was talked to about his negative complaining in the meeting. He was not told who brought it to their attention.

The next day, I was working on a project with the same employee. He started complaining and making comments about something else having to do with management. He told me that I “better not repeat what I’d heard” from him because he had just gotten in trouble for this behavior. It made me uncomfortable, but I did let it go. Ever since, I can still hear him talking in the common area to other employees complaining and being negative. It really drives me nuts, and I feel it is really making our work environment negative. Any thoughts on how to handle it?

You could talk to him directly and tell him that his regular complaining is creating an unpleasant environment, and suggest that he talk about his concerns to someone in a position to do something about them. And/or you could talk to his manager (who may or may not be your parents) about your concerns; I’d sure want to know someone who worked for me was spewing that much negativity. You could also ask your parents how they want you to handle situations like this in general, without getting into the specifics about this guy. If they want to hear stuff like this from you, you’ll want to think through the ramifications of that for your role and your relationships with people — it will definitely change those dynamics, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you’d want to be realistic about those outcomes.

3. Pitching telecommuting after I move

I’m moving cross-country at the end of the year to be closer to friends and a larger LGBT community; I’m fairly isolated in my current city and it isn’t especially gay-friendly. I’ve started to look for a job in the city I’m moving to, but I’d like to keep my current job if I can. Everything about it is perfect–manager, work, company, benefits–the only problem is that I can’t take the city anymore. I’ve worked there for two years and have had excellent reviews.

Three of my coworkers in similar roles work remotely, but their reasons for moving from the city had to do with family or marriage. I feel as if my reasons won’t be seen as serious enough, especially since I’m young and single. I want to discuss this with my manager when I’m closer to the move date, but I don’t know how to pitch working remotely in a way that will be seen as a win/win. Can you help?

Well, if you’re planning to make the move regardless, you don’t really need to convince them that your reasons are “good enough.” Your pitch should be “I’ve decided to move to ___ in June, and I’d love to continue working for ___. Here’s my proposal for how to make that work.”

If asked about your reasons, you can certainly explain them, but this should be about the business case for keeping you on as a telecommuter, not what’s drawing you to the new city in the first place. Good luck!

4. Can your resume list new skills you’re in the process of learning?

My question involves taking time to learn new skills on your resume. I know trying to improve is always a good thing, but how would you go about showing that on the resume? For example, I’m learning Python (a programming language) on my own free time but hopefully should be more proficient soon. I know I’ve mentioned on cover letters how I’ve spent time trying to stay sharp while job hunting.

It’s fine to put something “learning Python” in your Skills section.

5. Is this too much information for a cover letter?

My husband and I are looking to relocate out of state this fall to be closer to family and friends. While I was keeping an eye on the local paper in the area we would like to move to, I came across an accounts manager position that I thought might work well for my husband (who has an economics degree), but upon inspection of the company, I discovered it to be an ingredients supplier for nutritional supplements, which is right up my alley because my professional and personal life has surrounded health and wellness in dietetics and physical fitness.

Anyway, I’m thinking of forming this into my opening for my cover letter. But is the idea that I had originally had interest in the position for my husband cross the line from conversational to over-share?

Yes. Not over-sharing in the TMI sense, but in the “just not really relevant” sense. You should absolutely talk about why the position appeals to you, both personally and professionally, but the fact that you originally started looking at it for your husband doesn’t add anything relevant or important to the point you’re making to the employer and so shouldn’t be included.

Friday, April 18th, 2014 09:00 pm
  • Wash the dishes in your sink

  • Get your outfit for tomorrow together, including accessories

  • Set up coffee/tea/breakfast

  • Make your lunch

  • Put your keys somewhere obvious

  • Wash your face and brush your teeth

  • Charge your electronics

  • Pour a little cleaner in the toilet bowl (if you don’t have pets or children or sleepwalking adults)

  • Set your alarm

  • Go to bed at a reasonable hour

Friday, April 18th, 2014 08:18 pm

littlechelita:

Finally, some before and afters. Most of the time, I take some befores but never afters because I’m not satisfied with what I’ve done. An endless cycle.

But here we are. I live in a small bedrooms-off-a-long-hallway style apartment with no living room. But we have a little nook just big enough to fit a two person table and maybe two people. It’s one of the biggest problem areas of the place, a catch all for shit that later needs to be sorted through. You know the drill.

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This is what I started out with. I also don’t have a closet in my room so that’s my closet. Clothes almost make it in there most of the time.

And twenty minutes got me this…

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Clothes put away! Floor vacuumed! Table (almost) all cleared! And a candle has been lit! I would normally do the vacuuming last, but I felt like I was picking up too much dust and shuffling it around so it felt necessary. Also, I like to watch The Simpsons while doing pretty much anything, which explains the sudden appearance of my computer.

And after the final 20 minutes, I got this!

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Hot damn does this feel good. I brought the table back down to it’s normal two person size and wiped it down. I also laid out the new rug I got today. I didn’t think it’d go there when I originally bought it, but I think I like the placement right now.

Not everything found a home just yet. Those two Trader Joe bags filled with clothes are now behind me in these pictures, out of view. They’re winter clothes that need to go to another place (they are not mine). They will soon be out of this apartment. I refuse to put them back where they were.

The place is also in a bit of transition period. Another person will most likely be joining us this summer (two to a room, no living room, yay), but then two people will be moving out, leaving just my significant other and I. It’s been  a while since it has been just the two of us. And we plan on turning this little nook into a reading nook. Already got my eyes all over this chair. Their bedroom will be turned into a living room.

And one last lil view of the area:

image(Hey there coolest record player ever, I’ll find a perfect place for you soon, I promise)

Next: Clean breakfast dishes and put away clothes that are all over my room.

Friday, April 18th, 2014 01:37 pm
So, I've mentioned a few times that Noah (cat #3) is sort of a complete failure as a cat. We're pretty sure he was abandoned by his mother early, or that she was killed before he was brought in to the shelter -- he lacks many of the basic cat instincts. (Like knowing how to drink out of a bowl of water: he dips his paws and licks them instead of lapping up the water.)

One of the things he's not very good at is litterbox management. )
Friday, April 18th, 2014 05:00 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

This was originally published on August 24, 2010.

A reader writes:

I’m shy. Sometimes people misinterpret this as aloofness or snobbery. Being outgoing and making friends with everyone I meet has never been a part of my personality. I just have a hard time making casual conversation (which is necessary for good relationships with coworkers), and I have a hard time in difficult/important professional conversations (which are necessary for good relationships with supervisors, AVPs, and troublesome clients). When it comes to work issues, I have plenty to talk about. When it comes to interacting with our clients it’s also not a big deal–it is strange, but it feels like when I’m at work I put on my work hat. With my “work hat” on, I don’t even stress about the interactions it just happens. But once I’m put into a more relaxed, social situation, I quickly run out of things to say….(at work anyways, with personal friends, this is not an issue).

At the same time, being shy has given me great strengths–I’m a fantastic listener, great attention to detail, I’m very focused, and great at observing other professional/political relationships and seeing where tensions and compromises exist.

What I’m wondering is, do you think that “shy” managers can succeed? To succeed do they need to totally overcome their shyness? Or do you think there is a way that I can work on the weaknesses pointed out above, and emphasize the strengths shyness has given me? I was asked ‘where I want to go within the organization’ after just 6 months of constant praise, and zipping through training that was supposed to take a whole year. I’ve already come a long way here, in my first professional job out of college–although I should add that I’m a late-twenties grad and I had 3 years of part-time experience as a student worker. My supervisor told me that she and her bosses recognize my potential and success, and they want to start molding and mentoring me for either mangement, or a higher technical/professional position, depending on my interests. I’m excited, surprised, and scared!! I’d love to try for management, I’d love to take on the challenege, but I’m concerned that my shyness would interfere with my ability to be successful.

This is a great question.

I don’t think that shyness and being a good manager are mutually exclusive, as long as the shyness isn’t cripplingly strong.

You say that you’re generally comfortable with interaction as long as it’s “work,” but once it’s a social situation, you get more shy. I think that’s workable — although you should be very sensitive to the fact that your employees might interpret your shyness in social situation as aloofness, and you should think about whether you can say/do things to counteract it. But in general, I think most employees care a lot more about whether their manager is fair, effective, and transparent than whether she comes to happy hour.

That’s not to say that forming personal bonds doesn’t help. But I think you’ll find you form personal bonds through the act of working closely with people regardless, even if you never talk about life outside work. And frankly, most people respect their boss more when she keeps a clear boundary up between work and non-work anyway.

The one thing you wrote that potentially worries me is that you have trouble in difficult or important professional conversations. There are a ton of these sorts of conversations as a manager — talking to someone about performance concerns, firing someone, responding to someone’s request for a raise, giving feedback in general, delivering the news that a project hasn’t been approved, and just generally being assertive about various needs. It’s crucial to be able to do these conversations well, and they’re ones that you don’t want to hide behind email for.

However, everyone feels weird when they’re first on the manager side of these conversations. Almost no one feels comfortable with them right off the bat; I think it takes most new managers close to a year to stop feeling weird about them, so you shouldn’t assume that your discomfort at this prospect signals that you’d never be good at it.

But you do want to think really realistically about whether this is something you can see yourself getting comfortable with over time. You might surprise yourself that you’re able to handle these just fine when your “work hat” is on. (Also, it’s worth noting that these types of conversations are all about being effective and getting results, which I suspect is a motivator for you — so maybe seeing them through that lens would help.) However, if you would dread these conversations, put them off, and suck at them when you finally had them — even after practice — management might not be the right direction. Because you do need to have those conversations, and if you put them off, you’ll do your staff a disservice.

I don’t know how successfully you can predict how you’d handle these sorts of conversations until you’re actually in the role, so one possibility would be to ease yourself in slowly, by starting out managing an intern or leading a team on a project, and see how that goes.

It would also be ideal if you were able to find a mentor to talk over these sorts of conversations with — how do you do them, what do they sound like — and even practice them out loud with. And since your managers sound so supportive, it might be worth talking over these issues with them too.

By the way, the strengths you described are very important ones — being perceptive about other people is a huge advantage as a manager. And so is self-awareness, which you clearly have.

P.S. I’m not shy, but I’m definitely introverted and I’ve found that managing has made me more comfortable talking to strangers and dealing with unfamiliar social situations. Being forced to interview countless strangers and have countless awkward managerial conversations has left me feeling comfortable talking to pretty much anyone about anything at this point, which was not the case a decade ago. So there’s something to be said for just jumping in and forcing yourself to swim, if you don’t think doing so will cause you or your future managees significant pain.

Friday, April 18th, 2014 12:27 pm
We had pizza for dinner last night. I was too worn out after boiling three dozen eggs to cook, and Scott was dead on his feet after working thirteen hours (there's a mandatory after work meeting on Thursdays).

We ended up staying up later than usual last night. We realized that we missed an episode of Warehouse 13 on Monday and went looking for it on demand. It was there, but the listing said it would expire at the end of the day yesterday, so we had to watch it then or wait and hope it would air again. We had a little more wiggle room than usual because there's no school today and because Cordelia's friends weren't coming until after a dental appointment. I expected to be able to sleep in.

Scott was exhausted because he'd been up since 2:00 a.m., but he lasted through the episode. He got ready for bed during the commercials. I made his lunch for him.

The episode itself was more straightforward than I expected. I kind of thought the plot would drag on for more than a single episode, but the main plot resolved. We've set the DVR to record the future episodes. (We had it programmed to record all new Warehouse 13 episodes before, but that programming got lost when we started having trouble with the DVR.)

This morning, I set my cell phone alarm for 8:45. I expected that to give me more than enough time to shower (and I was right). Sadly, Cordelia woke me up early to ask if she could scramble herself an egg for breakfast. I told her she could and then fretted about whether or not she could actually handle it. She'd done it, with supervision, before, so I thought she could, but it was hard to relax. As it turned out, she did fine, even putting the pan in the sink.

I got the dyes ready about fifteen minutes before we expected the other kids to arrive. Cordelia helped. She was really annoyed that I started without her. As it happened, the other kids arrived about twenty minutes after when we expected them.

I put them straight to dying eggs. A dozen eggs each may have been too many. I think they all got dyed (except for two that got eaten undyed), but both Cordelia and her friend's brother ran out of steam before they finished their dozen.

I made mac 'n' cheese while the kids dyed eggs. After they were done with the eggs, Cordelia's friend cut up a mango that she'd brought with her (They gave us several mangos as a thank you present for having them over so much).
Tags:
Friday, April 18th, 2014 03:00 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

olive smallIt’s the Friday open thread!

The comment section on this post is open for discussion with other readers on anything you want to talk about. If you want an answer from me, emailing me is still your best bet, but this is a chance to talk to other readers.

Friday, April 18th, 2014 02:00 pm

Posted by Christina

The same week I got my Femme Fatale order was the week I also received my second Darling Girl Cosmetics order. It featured a host of new shades, as well as re-orders of shades that have become staples in my collection.

I purchased a bunch of minis, as well as a blogger pack of shades. In addition, they tossed in two generous freebies.

Unicorn, Bubbles, Koi, Nerpette

Unicorn, Bubbles, Koi, Nerpette

Freebies: Chickster, Wicked

Freebies: Chickster, Wicked

Frankenstein, Bronze Dawn, Lovelorn, Miranda Stardust

Frankenstein, Bronze Dawn, Lovelorn, Miranda Stardust

Repurchases: Obviously a Wig, Hope Diamond Dust, Prometheus Stardust

Repurchases: Obviously a Wig, Hope Diamond Dust, Prometheus Stardust

Mary Jane's Spectral Shift

Mary Jane’s Spectral Shift

Hey Mickey, Living Dead Gurl Blush

Hey Mickey, Living Dead Gurl Blush

Ladyhawke, Nightwatch

Ladyhawke, Nightwatch

Time for some swatches! As usual with duochromes, I swatched them dry and over Pixie Epoxy.

Ladyhawke, Wicked

Ladyhawke, Wicked

Wicked

Wicked

Ladyhawke

Ladyhawke

Ladyhawke is similar to one of my Femme Fatale faves, Alpine Skies. It’s a taupey base with very strong teal blue shimmer. Super pretty.

Wicked was one of my freebies. The website says “lime green” but this definitely wasn’t limey, nor does it look anything like the site swatch. It was more of a seafoam green. So, it might be an oops, which is why it was a freebie!

Bubbles, Unicorn

Bubbles, Unicorn

Unicorn

Unicorn

Bubbles

Bubbles

Apologies in advance: my camera was having a really rough time taking pictures of highlight shades. So you’ll have to take my word on the color descriptions, since they look identical. I promise that in real life, however, they don’t.

Bubbles is a frosty off-white with mostly blue duochrome shimmer. There’s a little pink in there, but mostly, it’s an aqua-ish color.

Unicorn is a highlight shade that looks like palest green in the jar, but when applied, the shimmer is very pinky-violet. It is very lovely, and if I use it in some looks, hopefully that will show up better. Maybe I just need to swatch these two over black.

Chickster, Mary Jane's Spectral Shift

Chickster, Mary Jane’s Spectral Shift

Chickster (bottom), Mary Jane's Spectral Shift (top)

Chickster (bottom), Mary Jane’s Spectral Shift (top)

Mary Jane's Spectral Shift

Mary Jane’s Spectral Shift

Chickster

Chickster

Chickster & Mary Jane’s Spectral Shift were two similar shades.

Chickster was a freebie, and a newer shade, I believe. It’s got a pretty caramel-taupe base with green and lavender shimmers. If you’re a neutral eye person, you should try this out, because it’s totally not boring.

Mary Jane’s Spectral Shift is a slightly mauvier version of the same. Only, as I understand, the Spectral Shift line can be used multipurpose, not just as eyeshadow. I think it would make a marvelous highlighter on cool-toned ladies. It also looks awesome foiled.

Lovelorn, Bronze Dawn

Lovelorn, Bronze Dawn

Bronze Dawn

Bronze Dawn

Lovelorn

Lovelorn

Lovelorn was one of my favorites. It’s that beautiful, wistful Victorian rose shade, chockablock full of golden shimmer. Now, I think, in general, you’ll want to pat this on, as the website suggests, rather than brushing it, because those colors separate during blending. Foiled, it’s a bronzey gold.

Bronze Dawn is a deep reddish mauve with heaps of bronzey-copper sparkle. Foiled, it’s bronze, entirely.

Hey Mickey, Obviously A Wig, Nerpette

Hey Mickey, Obviously A Wig, Nerpette

Nerpette

Nerpette

Obviously a Wig

Obviously a Wig

Hey Mickey

Hey Mickey

I have a love affair with fuchsia and magenta shades, and Obviously A Wig is already one of my all time favorite eyeshadows, which I have reviewed previously. I picked up a few of these similar shades for comparison.

Hey Mickey is warmer than OAW, a pinky-fuchsia with pretty blue iridescence. Very pretty and perfect for Autumn, I think. Be forewarned, however: this one stains like a mofo.

Nerpette was sort of a disappointment, imo. It was chalkier than all the other shades, and didn’t want to blend. The color payoff isn’t as good as I’m used to with Darling Girl. For a pretty standard shade (cool deep purple, blue shimer), this one is a pass.

Koi Diamond Dust, Nightwatch

Koi Diamond Dust, Nightwatch

Nightwatch

Nightwatch

Koi Diamond Dust

Koi Diamond Dust

 Koi is one of Darling Girl’s fantabulous Diamond Dust shades. It’s an orange-coral with very visible blue sparkle. So much fun!

Nightwatch is a warmer mid-to-deep purple with pretty aqua and green shimmer. This is another one that is better patted than swiped, I think. As you can see, when foiled, the shimmer seems to all stick together (the website’s swatch also looks a bit stripey).

Frankenstein, Hope

Frankenstein, Hope

Frankenstein

Frankenstein

Frankenstein is a really cool, unique shade. It starts off a taupey-grey with pretty pinky-copper shimmer. Foiled, though, it’s the color of aged bronze. This is a shade that tends not to go very well with my coloring, but I really like it nonetheless!

Hope should not be judged on this swatch. I did get a better swatch of it when I pressed it.

Miranda

Miranda

Miranda, Prometheus

Miranda, Prometheus

A thing to note about the Stardust shades: they are not powder. They comprised of fine flakes, not loose shadow. Which is part of the reason why they are SO reflective. The other thing is that my brush was still slightly damp by the time I got to these (I clean my brushes between swatches), which is why they look a bit gloopy.

Prometheus is a re-order for me (it’s easier and faster to apply than traditional glitter for stage, but has nearly the same effect), and there are swatches of it here, because I pressed it. I plan to do the same for Miranda. This is mostly just to show you how the two shades differ in color.

While Prometheus has a white base with pink/purple/blue shimmer, Miranda starts off with a pinker base, which shifts mauve and copper. The highlights are still blue, aqua, and purple. It is SO FREAKIN’ SHINY.

Living Dead Gurl Blush

Living Dead Gurl Blush

I got the Living Dead Gurl blush as a sample baggie in my blogger pack because I was really intrigued, but knew this would probably not play nice with my warm complexion. I haven’t worn it on my face yet– I’ll let you know how that turns out. It’s a pretty lavender purple with lovely green shimmer. I just love how unusual it is!

So there are the swatches! Darling Girl makes some truly lovely shades, and if you love duochromes and shimmers, then they’re an absolute must to check out. Hopefully, I’ll have the chance to do some looks with these over the next week so you can see them in action!


Friday, April 18th, 2014 10:00 am

Posted by PJ Jonas

Tuesday morning, Colter milked Ivy, and everything was fine.  When he milked her in the evening, things were clearly not fine.  Ivy did not want to get on the milk stand (the goats always do).  She would not eat (the goats always eat). And she only gave 2 pounds of milk instead of her usual 6-7 pounds. 

ivy mad at jim_blog_2

When Colter got her down from the milk stand, Ivy was shaky and having trouble standing.  She settled herself in the stall and was clearly in pain.  We took her temperature and it was normal.

We immediately called the vet.  Fortunately, he was able to arrive within an hour.  Milk fever was the suspected cause.  We’ve never had a case of milk fever, but it can happen after the goats freshen and is caused by insufficient calcium. (We feed alfalfa pellets free choice to the goats to meet their calcium needs, but apparently a deficiency can still occur in heavy milkers).

The vet gave Ivy 50 cc of calcium intravenously. She barely moved while he did it.  He said that if it was milk fever, she should respond before he left.

Her turnaround was even better than the vet expected.

ivy mad at jim_blog

Within 15-20 minutes Ivy was standing up and eating.  She was no longer shaky and looked like she was feeling much better.

The vet decided to give her another 50 cc of calcium subq (under the skin).  He gave half of it on the first side.  Colter had to hold her because she was feeling stronger and fighting it a little bit.  When the vet tried to inject the other side, Ivy let out a loud goat bellow and put all her strength into getting away. The vet got most of the calcium injected before releasing her.

Bellowing the whole time, Ivy immediately tried to get out of the pen. Greyden was standing at the open gate.  He had to put all his weight and strength into trying to keep her from escaping (Ivy is a big, strong, determined goat).

Colter was standing in the stall, just watching Greyden, until he couldn’t take it anymore and announced, “Just close the gate, stupid.” (ok, calling his brother stupid wasn’t the nicest thing, but he kinda had a point.)

ivy mad at jim_blog_1

Greyden got all red in the face, laughed, and closed the gate.

To get the full effect, you have to realize that Ivy was bellowing this whole time.  In the midst of it, I exclaimed, “Ivy is back!”

The vet looked at me and said, “So… this is normal?”

We all just laughed and told some of our favorite Ivy stories.  Ivy is actually one of Colter’s favorite goats, but she can be ornery at times and definitely knows what she wants.

This was the vet that had to put Red Bird down, so we were all really pleased that this vet call had such a positive outcome.

Ivy is currently acting normal and feeling good.  Colter is only milking her halfway out each time on the milkstand for a little bit so that she can replenish her calcium reserves.  Ivy is not happy with Colter that he isn’t milking her all the way, but he keeps telling her it’s for her own good. (I don’t think she believes him).

It’s always an adventure with goats!

PJ

 

 

Friday, April 18th, 2014 04:03 am

Posted by Ask a Manager

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. My employees say another employee slacks off when I’m not around

I supervise three people (all at least 20+ years older then me; I received this promotion due to very odd circumstances). All of them are great, and wonderful workers. However, I am starting to hear more and more gossip. The two women who work the front are telling me that whenever I am out, either on vacation or working in another department, the woman who works in the back doesn’t do anything. They say that she works on her side business, makes personal calls, and goes off to run errands on the clock. However, I have no other way to vouch for this other then the word of the two women at the front, who do not like her.

I’m having a hard time trying to figure out if they are telling me the truth or if they’re trying to get this woman in trouble because they don’t like her.

Find ways to observe it for yourself. Since the allegation is that she’s doing this when she you’re not around, make a point of coming in in when you’re supposed to be somewhere else. There’s no reason you can’t say you’ll be out of the office for the afternoon or working in a different department and then pop in unexpectedly. Do it a few times, and you’ll probably get a better sense of whether there’s anything to this. And if you have any peers who are in a position to see this if it’s happening when you’re not around, discreetly talk to them too. You might even be able to enlist them in these spot checks when you’re not around. (Make sure that these are other managers who will handle this discreetly themselves.)

And if it turns out that you have staff members are who lying to you to get someone else in trouble, you have a big problem to deal with.

2. Can I mention an impressive job I was recruited for but didn’t get?

I have a terminal graduate degree, stumbled into teaching high school kind of by accident, and found I absolutely love working with teenagers (I know, I was surprised too). Fast forward a few years, and I’m leaving public secondary education because the system has just gotten too awful– insane workload, no resources or materials, salary cuts, no salary compensation for advance degree, no legal protection or job stability, etc.

I would like to move on to a more administrative/organizational position within something education-related (although not in the public school system) and am actively applying for jobs that loosely fall under the “community organizer” category.

I was recently approached by a departmental dean of a well-respected university to see if I would be interested in being director of one of their summer programs. I was recommended by the outgoing director, who is someone I’ve worked with for years in multiple different capacities (and I’ve taught at the summer program in question as well). I ended up losing out on the position to an internal candidate, but was really honored that they even asked me, considering I’m young (in my 20s), very barely qualified, and currently don’t have any official organizer experience– it shows a lot of faith in my abilities from the outgoing director.

When I (hopefully) get interviews for community organizer-ish jobs that require skill sets directly related to those of the summer program directorship, should I mention that I was approached for this job, even though I didn’t get it? On one hand, I think that saying “Hey, University X thinks I’m awesome enough to run this program, even though I’m only [20something]” could reflect well on me, but on the other, it seems iffy to bring up any failures in a job interview.

It’s possible that you could drop it into the conversation in an interview if you could find a way to do it naturally, but it would have to be done exactly right. You don’t want to sound like you think it’s more impressive than it is — because ultimately, they didn’t select you do it, and as far as your interview will know, it’s possible that the reason they didn’t hire you because they realized upon closer examination that they’d been wrong to encourage you to apply. So if you mention it, it has to be a true aside; it can’t sound like something you’re putting a lot of weight on. And once we’re at that point with it, it’s almost not worth mentioning at all. (Plus, I’m not convinced it would be a huge help anyway. Presumably once they’re interviewing you, they have much stronger reasons to be interested in you.)

3. My performance review keeps getting delayed

I am a young professional, and I started my first full-time permanent position last July, in a small consulting office. My initial 1-month review went well, and the principals of the firm indicated that they would most likely roll my 6-month review into the year-end performance reviews that normally occur in January. They mentioned mid-February that they would schedule them by the end of that month, and it’s now April and reviews have still not been scheduled. I understand that schedules get busy, especially as we had a conference to prepare for in January, and our busy season starts in April, but I am looking for a way to tactfully raise the issue, as I would like to get feedback and discuss becoming licensed in my field, as I have already started the process with their knowledge/approval. I don’t want come off as pushy, but how do it bring this up?

It’s not pushy to ask about this; it’s just appropriately assertive. Say something like, “We’d talked about rolling my 6-month review into the January reviews but we didn’t end up doing it. I’d really like the chance to step back and reflect with you on how things are going. Could we plan to do it sometime soon?” (Also, keep in mind that what you really want here is feedback; it’s not essential that it be in the form of a formal evaluation, so if it looks like there will be further delay, just sit down with your manager for a less formal discussion of how things are going.

4. Helping a manager with hair loss from cancer

My manager (a senior exec) is battling cancer, and she is losing her hair. She’s normally very tough and resilient, but I can tell that losing her hair is really bothering her and making her self conscious. Since her hair has started falling out, she styles it differently to cover the bald spots. When she talks to people, she frequently pats her head and smoothes her hair as if to make sure everything is still in place. She normally does not fidget with her appearance. I have noticed some people have stopped making eye contact once she starts fiddling with her hair. A couple of people have commented to me that they have a hard time seeing her and conducting business as usual while she appears to be suffering (with the chemo pack on, losing hair, thin frame with very loose clothing). Is there anything I can do or say to help?

Well, you can point out to your coworkers who find it hard to see the outwards signs of cancer treatment that it’s significantly harder for your manager to, um, be the one with cancer, and that the best thing all of you can do for her right not is to get awkward or weird around her or treat her like The Cancer Patient.

5. How can I explain an 18-month internship?

Like many recent graduates, I got stuck in the internship grind – I was at my last internship for 18 months. When I started in my senior year of college, I was told that the company liked to hire interns and I had many coworkers who had been hired from internships. After graduation, my supervisors reassured me that I was doing great work (I was there full time doing the same work as regular employees) and they hoped a position would open up for me soon. Fast forward 7 months, and I had been passed over for 2 positions in my department for external candidates. I know that an internship is no obligation of employment, but after all the encouragement I had received, I was feeling pretty humiliated and embarrassed and could no longer pay my bills on an intern’s paycheck. I was reassured by my supervisors (who weren’t doing the hiring), and even by those who were doing the hiring, that it was nothing wrong with my performance or attitude that had caused this.

How do I explain this to potential employers without coming off like a naive millenial? My experience at this company is getting me interviews, but I suspect that length of time I spent there without being hired is coming up a red flag.

I actually wouldn’t assume it’s a red flag at all. It’s not particularly shocking to spend 18 months in an internship; in fact, the fact that it wasn’t a shorter time can help you; you’ll look like you got deeper experience than if you were in and out in, say, five months. Keep in mind that to hiring managers, 18 months isn’t a long time at all; in fact for a non-internship job, that would be a fairly short stay. (Plus, they’re not going to know the details of whether this was paid, unpaid, terribly paid, or what.) So I wouldn’t worry about this at all.

Thursday, April 17th, 2014 09:07 pm

So... today I'm thankful for...

  • Music and musicians.
  • A room big enough for house concerts!
  • Kids and cats.
  • Gin.
  • The ability to hold things more or less together in public.

I'd add "getting the taxes done" except that I didn't. Bit of a short list today. Sorry about that.

Tags:
Thursday, April 17th, 2014 10:09 pm












tbelle:

Some serious unfucking was done this day.

Not having lots of beers while cleaning helped. As did starting thinking I was doing 45/15s but actually did 20/10s. Eventually I got in the groove and just ignored the breaks until it was done to my satisfaction and then stopped.

Now how long will it last? The bathroom is next. Le sigh.

Thursday, April 17th, 2014 09:00 pm
  • Wash the dishes in your sink

  • Get your outfit for tomorrow together, including accessories

  • Set up coffee/tea/breakfast

  • Make your lunch

  • Put your keys somewhere obvious

  • Wash your face and brush your teeth

  • Charge your electronics

  • Pour a little cleaner in the toilet bowl (if you don’t have pets or children or sleepwalking adults)

  • Set your alarm

  • Go to bed at a reasonable hour

Thursday, April 17th, 2014 04:37 pm

Before - Desk


After - Desk


Before - Floor and desk


After - Floor and desk


Before - Gremlin hole under desk


After - Not-so-gremlin hole under desk


Before - Floor and drawers


After - Floor and drawers


Before - Bed and floor


After - Bed and floor

the-aquatic-moon:

Just over an hour of work. 

Not perfect, but a damn sight better. 

Thank you for the inspiration UFYH!

Thursday, April 17th, 2014 03:35 pm


A sketch of Pura for Endy to apologize for taking so long with her ink illo. ; w;

I’d like to apologize to all my giveaway winners in how slow I’ve been getting out the art part of the prizes! My radio silence has been largely due to being busy working on colourations for an upcoming site, Clanheart. Expect me to get those pieces finished and posted soon! c:

Thursday, April 17th, 2014 01:15 pm
As you may have already seen via Tony's blog, we (the full Vixy & Tony band) will be at Norwescon this weekend! 

Our concert will be Friday (tomorrow ACK) at 8:30pm, followed by a short break, followed by the concert of the fabulous Seanan McGuire!

I'm debuting a brand new song! It's about geek pride and inclusivity and aaaaa it's my new baby and I am nervous. :) I'll post the lyrics here sometime after the concert, but I think it'll be best heard sung, so I hope you can be there.

On Saturday at 10pm, we'll be playing backup band for Molly Lewis. She's got some new stuff too, and it's super fun!

I'm also excited because I get to drum my little fingers off for both Seanan & Molly this year (and maybe a little for myself too) and I've been having a BLAST doing it!

Back to work now for a few more hours, then off home to pack. Hope to see you there!

o/~ IIIII don't wanna work... o/~
Thursday, April 17th, 2014 07:00 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

You sit down with your manager to discuss your work performance – and end up fundamentally disagreeing with her feedback to you. How can you respond and state your case without seeming argumentative or even insubordinate?

At Intuit QuickBase’s Fast Track blog, I talk about four key steps to responding to feedback that you disagree with. You can read it here.