office expressions.

musings from my experience at the home/office.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

SOLD!

Yep, that's Mom and Dad's house in Blaine, MN...and it was sold yesterday!!
I have mixed feelings about this for a few reasons. 
#1: It's the nicest house my parents have ever lived in, and the fact that they built it means it was pretty much their dream house. Especially that open living area with the gorgeous view from the screened in porch. I hope the next owners enjoy that as much as we did!
#2. While I never lived here, it's the first house that helped me understand the meaning of 'home'. "Home is where your mom is" has become fairly true over the last three years. It was so wonderful to have my parents included in the reasons to travel to and from MN more often than we should. I will miss having them there when I visit!
#3. I'm happy that this house sold, so that my parents don't need to live apart for much longer. They can move on and start putting down deep roots in their life and ministry in New Jersey, and I know they are very thankful to begin looking beyond this period of transition. 
#4. As someone raised in Bucks County, PA, I'm not sure I will ever call New Jersey 'home', just because my mom is there...but I will try! Besides, visiting parents who live close to the beach can't be all bad, right?! (hurricane Irene, I am not talking about YOU). 
#5. As the.home.werker, I'm pretty confident I will be able to werk from New Jersey as easily as I could from Minnesota...so that helps a bit, too!


Friday, August 26, 2011

Fall Fashion

I hate to admit, but it's the end of August and autumn is nearly upon us. It doesn't make me cringe quite as much, now that I live in Colorado and the winters are not nine long months of below freezing temps, frozen parking lots, and arm workouts involving an ice scraper and my windshield.

Another sign that the seasons are changing is what's happening in the overly eager world of retail. I have been seeing sneaky signs of halloween decor and back to school sales since late July...but the store that stopped me in my tracks was Hobby Lobby, and it's 5 complete rows of Christmas decor in mid-August. Really?! Shopping for the people on your list is one thing, but shopping for items to decorate your house...come on now.

I am also coming to the realization that the werk clothes hanging in my closet are collecting dust, and the thick colored tights and fun tall boots that help me welcome the change of seasons each year...well, they might not see the light of day this year. At least not M-F during the hours of 9-5. Maybe on the weekends, but in a slightly less professional ensemble that is more suited to happy hour than a 9am status meeting in a conference room.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Face to Face

I just got an email that could switch things up for me a bit. Like, I might have to change out of my pj's and brush on some makeup about once a week. My supervisor has requested that we start skyping for our 1-1's when possible.

This will be interesting! I am definitely looking forward to more 'face time' with my boss, but will have to plan a little more for those skype calls. Not everyone needs to know what I look like without a spec of makeup on. Especially not werk people.

As a very visual learner, this will help me hold my attention and be more present in our conversations. I'm adapting to the 'audio' lifestyle of conference calls, but a little video conference couldn't hurt every once in a while.

I wonder what etiquette I'll have to brush up on now...most of my skyping to date has been with my 3 year old nephew, and we pretty much make silly faces and noises at each other the whole time. Or my sister and I will eat lunch together while skyping and catching up. I'm guessing funny noises and talking while chewing don't make the skype video call list for werk meetings...



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Etiquette on the line

As the.home.werker, I sit on many conference calls in a single day.

Here are some things I have learned:
1. The 'hold' music for conference lines is atrocious. If you are hosting a conference call, please try to beat your Guests to the line and spare them some misery.
2. Introductions are helpful. I can't see who is in the room, so please start the meeting or call by letting everyone introduce themselves and their roles. It helps to know a person's voice in the beginning of the call, so you don't need ask who was speaking in the middle of the call. Or better yet, as you speak up, say "This is the.home.werker, and I think.....".
3. Speak up. If you are in a conference room with 5 other people, and I am on a speakerphone...please don't rustle your papers, set your keyboard next to the phone, have your cell phone near the landline, and for pete's sake...no mumbling.
4. Giggling is optional, and rarely communicates professionalism. If you aren't speaking, please don't nervously giggle through an entire meeting. It makes me nervous for you, since I have no idea what you are laughing at and that's all I can hear.
5.  Use the mute button whenever possible, but don't do anything during a call that shouldn't be overheard...should you forget to use the mute button or should it be broken. We don't need to accidentally hear you using the bathroom or chewing your food.

The end.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Anxiety

Part of the vice of werking from home is that those little brain breaks I would normally get at the.land.of.cubicles by chatting with co.werkers, walking to and from the bathroom, or just getting my car to go out for lunch...those little breaks are absent from my life.

This morning, I woke at 7am, started working at 7:30, and didn't move for four hours straight. Come on you office people, when was the last time you did that? It's true that werking from home makes one more productive and focussed, but I fear that at the same time, it might be causing me more anxiety!

This fear was confirmed when Jake stopped by my desk to suggest it might be good for me to get out a little more during my werk day. To plan actual times where I remove myself from the house/laptop/iphone combo, and just go for a walk. Or drive. Or anything.

He's right, and I know it. Now I just have to actually do something about it!

Big Fat Cupcake

Yesterday was a good friend's birthday, so Jake and I took her out for some gourmet cupcakes.

One of the joys of being the.homewerker, having a husband who is a full time student (currently on a break from class), and a friend who is waiting to start a new job...is that we can all get together at 2:30pm on a Monday afternoon and indulge in some Big Fat Cupcakes...of the salty caramel, nutty nanna, and red velvet assortment.

With my werk day clear of meetings and mostly under control until I could get back to my desk, we were on a birthday celebration adventure of the sweet tooth kind. Believe it or not, even though we split the cupcakes among us, I couldn't even finish the third slice of cupcake because of overwhelming sweetness of the previous two. Pigs might have flown at that moment.



Friday, August 19, 2011

Day on the Green

When I first started werking for my organization three years ago, it was clear to me that this employer and corporate culture was going to be extremely different from my time at the newspaper.

Day 1&2: In August of 2008 were spent at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit.
Day 3&4:HR orientation. (At the newspaper, it was, here's your desk and your computer, hope you like it here).
Day 5: Decorating the.land.of.cubicles with Christmas decor and fake snow, and rehearsing a group recitation of 'the Grinch' with my new co.werkers who were as excited about it as elementary school kids are about Halloween. This was a pleasant surprise and also kind of freaked me out.
Day 6: Day on the Green. A day that is dedicated to organization wide competitions: which department has the best theme/decorations/costumes?, which department will dominate in the afternoon volleyball tournament?, which department will raise the most money for our chosen local charity of the year?

Day on the Green is a fundraiser for a local Colorado Springs charity, and all of my co.werkers spend an entire year raising money for them. Day on the Green has traditionally been a day long fundraiser hosted by the IT department, and since 2008, it has been significantly down graded. For example, instead of choosing a theme to execute for an entire day (including costumes and being 'in character' for an entire day)...last year the decor was limited to a pre-assigned conference room with scheduled performance times for judging.

This year, the decor is limited to the baton being used in relay races.

I cringe at most versions of 'forced family fun', especially in the werk.place. I will always remember that I first met my co.werker Goeff as 'Fox in Sox', and that the VP of Finance was dressed like a very convincing pirate when I first saw him.

I'm not quite sure what my problem is with Day on the Green, it is a fun day to play a little and get to know co.werkers in a completely different light. Maybe that's it, maybe it's just a little too much exposure for me of my co.werker's inner-thespians, the extreme delight they take in playing 4 hours of volleyball dressed like a cartoon character, or the awkward forced conversations when we are 'on the clock' but not actually werking.

Call me a party pooper, but I'd much rather be given an entire werk day to just volunteer in my community once a year, instead of paying to get an old western picture taken with my co.werkers, toting a shotgun and wearing western dress up clothes.

On this Day on the Green, I am a very happy home.werker. I am very enthusiastic about still being in my pj's at 11:30 and the only 'Green' I'll be seeing this day is my backyard.




Thursday, August 18, 2011

On the Road Again

I have ten minutes before I hit the road for an impromptu meeting at the Land.of.Cubicles. It's a four hour meeting to discuss our organization's Youth and College Strategy. Too bad I can't show up dressed like a 'youth/college' student, wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and flip-flops...heels and conservative-professional clothing it is!

Having been on the road a lot lately, I'm not especially excited about the drive ahead of me. 100+ miles round trip while hopping on conference calls through the drive time...don't worry, Mom, I've got a hands free headset for my phone.

One thing waiting for me at the end of the commute to the Land.of.Cubicles today is a free lunch in the new cafe...the new vendor there makes it nearly impossible to have an unhealthy lunch...so that's good I guess. Not that the 100 mile round trip is something I would do just for the health food options in the cafe...here.I.go!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What just happened?

My apologies for the long blogging hiatus. It was completely unintentional, but a symptom of what happens when the.home.werker. is not, in fact, werking from home. The past month has flown by as I made too many trips to the land.of.cubicles to count, and journeyed to Minnesota to werk at a conference while sneaking in some quality time with family and friends. All in all, I think Lexi is glad to be back in her normal routine of laying around the house while I hop on conference calls, manage emails, and put in the 'thought hours' needed to keep my werk moving along. And in a way, I am too:).

However, sometimes time flies by so fast I find myself thinking,"What just happened?". How did I go an entire month with the same thing on my to-do list, or forget to send 5 wedding gifts and 2 baby gifts?

A little advice for you, send the gifts as you send your regrets that you cannot attend the wedding/baby shower...it will make your trips to Target to buy gift cards much less painful. The cashier I bought 7 giftcards from the other day looked at me with some judgey-you're-a-bad-friend-eyes as I sheepishly confessed to her I really needed to stop procrastinating! (Shoot, I just remembered I've still got my mom's birthday card waiting to be sent...and two more anniversary cards to get in the mail! Add it to the to-do's I guess!)

So, time rolls on, and my to-do list continues to evolve and refuse to get shorter no matter how much I check off. It's kind of like an experience I had while living in Italy one summer. I was eating dinner in a family's home and was served a huge bowl of spaghetti. And no matter how much spaghetti I managed to eat (I think I consumed at least a pound and a half of pasta), the amount of delicious homemade Italian pasta in my bowl seemed to stay the same. The food was delicious, a meal I will never forget...but I will also never forget the guilt I felt at not being able to make a dent in the incredible task before me no matter how hard I tried.

This never ending bowl of spaghetti served by my gracious hosts perhaps is a truthful metaphor for life sometimes. What a gift we have to werk, to relate to others, and share in the blessings laid before us. Perhaps instead of trying to eagerly consume the blessing before us and make it disappear, we ought to look up from our plate, and enjoy each bite a little more. Savor the company and the atmosphere around us. There is so much more to life and werk than accomplishment and being a member of the 'clean plate club'.

What about those of us, like my husband, who linger over their food for such an amount of time that the meal and conversation lasts for hours, and perhaps even the taste of the food is enriched by the company we share?

With that said:
Buon appetito (have a good meal): (boo-on app-├Ęt-it-oh) before a dinner with friends say this to the whole company and expect the same answer in return. it is a blessing for the meal to come.