Tuesday, June 23, 2009

One-Year Anniversary

On this day a year ago I started my first, real-life, grown-up, out of college, full-time job. I can't believe it's actually been a year; it feels like it's been shorter and longer at the same time. It's weird and is a really odd feeling. And while I don't like cliches, I'm going to use one anyway:

When I started, I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (sorry I had to), excited to start my first real job. I felt that I had to prove myself; I was competent despite my lack of real-world, corporate experience. I was ready to make friends with my co-workers, thinking it would be less like "The Office" and more like "Chuck" (with the lovable guys at the Buy More). I was a little overwhelmed with training and learning all about my new job, benefits, retirement, etc. but still hopeful for the future when I had mastered it all.

Boy, how stupid and naive I truly was... if only I could go back to that innocence now though.

Many things have changed within this year, including myself. While I hate to say it, my work is much more like "The Office" than I'd like (which has made me have an even greater appreciation for the show). I've come to learn that people aren't always how you think they are at first for good and for bad. There were people that I thought we would become friends that ended up not being, people who I thought I wouldn't get along with but instead have become my friends, and still others even now I can't tell.

I realized that sometimes beneath the nice pleasantries and civil chit chats (like my alliteration?) is turmoil, dislike, disdain, and/or indifference, although sometimes it's not. It's only after some time that you find out who you can vent to and who you can't and who is really nice through and through and who isn't.

I discovered that while having doors on your cubicles seems like a great thing in the beginning, you find out quickly it is not (either for yourself or others), which is why the head of our department is now banning the closing of doors unless absolutely necessary. (Don't worry nothing terrible, but people feel less welcome and approachable, and who knows what those people are doing behind that door [ummm not work].)

I learned that there are certain things that really bother me that I never would have thought would have had it not been for my co-workers doing them all the time getting on my nerves (like talking loudly in their cube on personal calls, banging loudly on the computer, and rubbing their hands together). (Side note: the rubbing the hands thing is like nails on a chalkboard almost for me, weird, huh?)

I noticed that bosses are interesting creatures each with their own set of managerial styles (or lack there of) and how they act in the hallways (not in meetings) truly effects the mood of their employees and the office in general. One or two managers always say hi and talk with people, therefore buoying up their employees and making everyone else feel welcome and appreciated. One avoids eye contact and communication in passing, focusing on that one thing she needs or one place to get to, which in turn closes off her employees and results in a lack of communication. One boss seems friendly and welcoming, but when push comes to shove and he has to answer a question about something, he refers to the higher up and/or puts it back on the employee, thereby making the employee feel he can't come to him since he is not knowledgeable about the job.

I have come to learn that the average American business employee loves their coffee and their alcohol (two things of which I hate, which also "alienates" me even more from the office crowd). The coffee pot (which is a high point of conflict, apparently; there's signs every where around it regarding the use and clean up of said coffee machine; really the whole break room area--sink, fridge, water cooler, microwave, toaster oven--is a point of conflict) is constantly running all day. Every company party/event always has alcohol of some kind, which is sometimes funny, sometimes not. A few others love their cigarettes and the "breaks" that come with them too, but not the whole office, thank goodness.

The business world is more of a survival of the fittest type, dog eat dog world (more cliches, I know) than I'd like. While my company is nothing to the extreme (I mean we're a non-profit after all), I am just noticing things about people used to this sort of thing that makes me wonder if I'm even cut out for it all. The thing is, yes, I want to prove myself and get that promotion or raise or what have you, and I want to make sure that my work is noticed and appreciated. However, I don't want to have to go about getting there by being rude and mean and nasty and cutthroat because that is not how I roll. But, does that mean because I'm that way, I'll never get ahead?

I don't think so. As I started working more and more, I noticed that I was changing and I was being meaner (not necessarily to people, but it was the things I thought in my head), and I didn't like that change in myself. I'm trying to be better and retain my sweet, partially innocent self I had and to not let the competitiveness of it all swallow me whole. I think I can still get ahead in life being the same way I am; it might take me longer, but I'll get there, and I'll get there the right, honest way. And in the end, not only will I feel better about myself because of it, I'll be blessed more too.

While I could complain (and have) about my job, co-workers, boss, etc., I have learned a lot and am still learning, which I love. And really, I'm just thankful I have such a great job at all in this crappy economy. Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Engaged People

Being a single girl in her early to mid 20s, I've known several engaged people. After experiencing a range of differing engagements and the stories (and then weddings) that go with these engagements, I've come to find that there are three types of engaged girls. Yes, there are exceptions (as there are to any theory), but in my opinion, the majority of engaged couples fall into one of these three categories.

The first of these is the disappearing couple. Everything is all fine and dandy while they are dating, and they come to activities together and join in the fun. But, as soon as they get engaged, they fall from off the face of the earth, remaining illusive except for the occasional facebook posting of engagement photos, countdown, or request for addresses for the wedding announcements/invitations. Suddenly, they never return phone calls, don't show up to activities or church, and shirk their responsibilities except for those of planning the wedding. Y'all know someone that fits this description. Once that ring is on their finger, you can just plan on never seeing them again until the wedding (if you're invited), and then after that, don't count on it.

Which then brings me to the opposite engaged person, the one who has to constantly remind you that, yes in fact she is engaged and, in case you didn't know, soon to be married. They flash their ring around or are constantly holding it up to look at it, only to make sure you are looking at it too. They have to keep announcing how hard and time-consuming it is to plan a wedding and that you couldn't possibly know how happy they are because you are a poor single person with no one to love, but they recommend getting engaged and married to everyone (like we are in a store debating on if it really is worth spending the money on it only to have it dry out our skin or not be as high quality as we were expecting).

In every conversation they have to squeeze in how they won't have to go to the single's ward anymore soon and that it'll be hard to adjust to the family ward because they've been away from it for X amount of years, but it will be absolutely wonderful. This type of engaged person always has to keep you updated on the progress of the wedding plans and their future life together: where they'll be living, what kind of bedroom furniture they are looking at, wedding colors, honeymoon, and really anything you could care less about (or don't want to know). After awhile, those in this category get freakin' annoying, and you almost wish they would be like the ones in the first category cause then you wouldn't have to hear them. If you know/knew someone of this type, you too were counting down the days till the wedding: Only X more days left of "Oh, sorry I can't, I'm engaged" (like it's a deadly disease that keeps you from doing anything fun with non-engaged people).

Then, there's my favorite type of engaged persons. They are the kind that quietly announce their engagement (or perhaps not quietly, depending) once and then go about their daily lives perfectly normal. They don't disappear; they continue to attend church and fulfill their calling and responsibilities. They even keep attending the single's activities and have fun with their friends even if those friends are non-engaged people. They do not have to constantly advertise the fact that they are getting married or are engaged. Those of this category may not even come off as clearly "engaged." Although after some time, you can figure it out by the ring or the fact they are always together or holding hands. They aren't overtly engaged, I guess you could say. These are my favorite kind of engaged people (cause they are easier to get along with/stand/be friends with still), and most engaged people tend to fit in this category. These people are still cool to hang around and who, for the most part, you will probably still see around or hear from even after they're married.

Funny thing is all three types of engaged people are in my current single's ward... oh the joys of being single are endless.

Monday, June 08, 2009

My Recent Epiphany--Part 2

Again, I apologize for my delay in blog posts. This last week was my brother's graduation and my other brother's Eagle scout court of honor. Many of my extended family were in town, and I'm sure you can imagine the drama and stress in my household before and during their stay. But, now that the family events are over and done with, it's time to get down to business.

I had a previous post about a recent realization that I had. I had just had a horrible experience at the doctor's office, and it started getting me thinking. This next part was the second "event" that led to my epiphany:

I've never really be a huge fan of "reality" TV shows. I think I watched a few episodes of the first few seasons of Survivor, Big Brother, Amazing Race, American Idol, and the Bachelor (and perhaps a few others I can't remember now). These types of shows did't really grab my attention like it has for others. However, this past season of The Biggest Loser (Season 7) had obtained my faithful viewership every Tuesday. I had heard of the show before, but I'd never actually watched an episode. For some reason, I had been hooked, along with my family, and we watched every episode (occasionally on Hulu a week later if we missed it).

While, like any other reality TV show, the Biggest Loser has it's fair share of drama and build up of suspense between commercial breaks, it also has the feeling of inspiration and hope that some reality television shows lack. Sometimes it was a bit much, and boy did NBC lay it on thick with a few episodes (especially towards the end of the season), but it still got to me. I watched this show week after week thinking that while I wasn't secluded on a ranch with exercise equipment and my own personal trainer, I could still be doing something. Of course, I thought this as I was sitting on the couch watching the show eating dinner or ice cream/cake.

Every episode ended with a call to action for home viewers to loose weight at home and report their weight loss online. For every pound the American public lost (and reported) they would donate one pound of groceries to Feeding America (the Pound for Pound challenge). Not only would you be doing a good thing for yourself (losing weight), you would also be helping your fellow man. I mean, who really needs that double cheeseburger: your obese self, or the starving single mother with three kids? Yeah... really gets you thinking.

So after episode after episode, the cheesy inspirational music and admonitions from newly ejected contestants that "if they could do it, so could you," I decided I really could do it. It wasn't quite enough just yet (no this was not the epiphany), but it was the slope that helped the ball continue rolling.

Stay tuned, the final "Aha" moment is coming...