office expressions.

musings from my experience at the home/office.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I was just telling some co-werkers about how Jake is almost finished with school and we're beginning to look into our future and wonder what life will be like this May. Jake will be graduating, we'll be adding a baby to our family, and we'll be on the job hunt for a nursing position for Jake during my maternity leave. It's hard to believe all of the stuff that will be happening at once some times, but so exciting!

My co-werker said it sounds like Jake and I have 'senioritis', a terms that describes the decreased motivation toward studies displayed by students who are nearing the end of their school careers. This is definitely starting to become more true in some ways for me at werk. I am at a point with a lot of my projects where I need to be mapping out a plan for February/March/April, so that I can feel as though I'm going on maternity leave without too much hanging in the balance.

Just when I feel the motivation decreasing is when I need to put a plan in place to get me through the next few months without losing focus. What's that cheesy quote? "...if you fail to plan, you plan to fail!"

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mad Men

I have always heard about the show 'Mad Men', but never watched it until this week. I got the first season on DVD as a Christmas gift, and was excited to see what all of the buzz was about. A show that has impacted fashion trends has got to be at least a little interesting, right? Plus, it's about the advertising industry in the 1950's, which is also intriguing.

My first reaction to watching a few episodes, if they are even remotely accurate depictions of the workforce back then, is this: thank you, to all of the women who have paved the way for me in the business world. I never have and hopefully never will walk into a first day of work and be told to show more leg for my boss, be sent to the gynecologist for a birth control prescription, or be told that if things work well for me I'll be out of a job and raising kids in a country home in no time.

Honestly, the sexism that is portrayed in this show has truly blown my mind so far. It's also interesting to realize that in the more conservative companies that I have worked, men are still the predominant face of leadership and power. Women have very little presence at the top.

The proverbial 'boys club' definitely still exists in more conservative werk environments, and has often left me asking myself, "Even if I do become a part of the boys club some day, is that really the picture of success and accomplishment that I am seeking for myself? Is that really the type of environment where I would thrive, regardless of my gender?".

So while the last 60+ years have blazed incredible trails for younger women like me in the business world, I sometimes think breaking down those remaining 'walls' are probably going to be the hardest, because they have stood the test of time. If we have a girl, I wonder what her career will be like 20+ years from now?

Monday, January 23, 2012


Well, my team is planning a 1 week trip together to focus on strategy planning and team building for 2012-2013. And it's going to be located in....Guatemala!

Guatemala holds a special place in my heart for many reasons, but first and foremost, because Jake and I met on a Spring Break work trip there during college in 2004. It's the place of many of our first conversations, the first place we served together, and had our hearts broken together.

The downside to this trip? The team will be going without me. Baby D will be almost here (or perhaps already here!), so no new Guatemala stamp on my passport for me. It's bittersweet, but honestly, next time I go there I want to be with Jake. I already hate traveling to cool places without him for werk, so this trip would be really hard for obvious reasons.

Bon voyage co-werkers, I'll be starting a new adventure at home that began in Guatemala 8 years ago!
Our team at the work site in Guatemala City in 2004.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I did it, I deleted the game 'free cell' from my phone. Free Cell had become quite the addicting habit for me to keep my hands and the part of me that likes to doodle while I listen...busy...especially while on conference calls or listening to webinars. I am not the best at multitasking when it comes to certain tasks, but when it comes to a purely auditory task, it often helps me to have something purely visual going on at my fingertips to actually hold my concentration on the auditory task. I am a very visual person, and auditory stuff always requires extra effort from me.

So, why delete something that was helping me hold my attention? It had also devolved into quite a distraction in and of itself. I found my fingertips idly wandering to my phone's screen to start up 'just one more game'. When you tell yourself 'just one more' of anything, that should be a red flag that it's time to stop. Cut yourself off. Be done.

I might have to embrace one of my former resolutions to draw more, and plop a big doodle pad on my desk, bringing me back to the good old days of sitting through class room lectures and drawing to my heart's content (and to the amusement of those sitting around me, I'm sure). Time for some  colored pencils and paper, to keep this right brain pumping along through the werk day...who knows, maybe I'll even post some of my scribbles on here!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, so I got to have a day off. I had a small discussion with Jake about how sometimes I feel guilty having this holiday off from werk because I never really do anything 'MLK related' on the day. I am thankful the legacy and change MLK created in the world and all of the progress that he made, but when it comes to holidays, this is one that kind of finds me at a loss for how to celebrate or observe.

Some of my friends posted inspiring quotes from him on their Facebook walls, and I'm sure other might have even participated in parades or memorial services. Back in grade school, we often did a unit in social studies about the importance of the MLK.

Yesterday, I fully enjoyed my time off by watching some cheesy morning talk shows, organizing an extra closet and making room for baby, running some errands, and just kind of taking it easy. I am also reading a book called "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks", about an African American woman in the 50's who unknowingly donated cancer cells on her death bed that would blaze cancer research trails and are still the basic 'cell' found in most research labs today. The book is fascinating, and does a great job portraying the struggle Henrietta's family had in understanding the impact of these cells, let alone fighting to keep access to their own health insurance.

So, while I didn't throw up any 'MLK Day' Decor or attend any memorials, on many levels I'm thankful for the impact MLK still has on the world today.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Does she know?

Hard at work!
So it's taken almost an entire year, but Lexi now is my office-mate. She has been getting less and less nervous about being in the office room (ever since the loud chair incident), and I think moving a little sleeping mat in here for her also helped give her a 'place' to be.

I have to ask myself, does she know I'm pregnant? Lately, she's been literally sleeping on my feet most of the day, and is no more than two feet from wherever I happen to land. I love my little golden shadow, but this is clingy behavior, even for her. I have read some blogs about dogs 'knowing' that their owners were pregnant, noticing the different movements or growing belly, and some dogs even become aggressively over protective of their pregnant owners. Lexi doesn't know the meaning of the word 'aggressive', unless it's in relation to her snuggling skills.

The other night, as I was wondering about her newly clingy behavior, she came and sat in between my legs while I was seated on the couch, turned around and sniffed then carefully gave my belly a few sweet kisses. Seriously?! I'm pretty sure she knows (aside from the fact that I often tell her what a great big sister she's going to be!), and I even got a little picture of it to prove that it happened...

Saying 'hi' to Baby D.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


A recurring theme on this blog: the concept of a mute button, and how and when to use it properly.
I am currently listening to a very large meeting, with lots of people calling in, presented by our Sr. VP. And so far, 19 minutes into the meeting, he has had to stop the meeting at least 3 times to request folks on the phone to use their mute button. Seriously, folks, when in doubt, MUTE!

In other events, yesterday I was on a call and one of my co.werker's dogs was chewing loudly on a squeaky toy in the background. She could not stop laughing at her dog or making excuses for her dog preventing her from hearing the conversation on the call. To quote one my favorite SNL skits...Really?

Friday, January 6, 2012

12 hour shifts

The reality of a nursing career with 12 hour shifts is starting to hit us hard this week. Not to mention Jake is also recovering from the same cold I have, so my sympathy for him is strong as he rounds out three days in a row of 12 hour shifts at the hospital. Talk about exhausting!

He met a nurse yesterday who was 18 weeks pregnant, and I often remind myself that I could be in a situation like hers, werking on my feet for 12 hours a day...while pregnant! I am completely and totally spoiled, knowing that I have to intentionally get myself out of the house and get moving a few times a week just to get some walking in. It's hard to imagine what it would be like werking outside the home as you grow bigger and bigger each day, but I know our bodies are amazing and they adapt to lots of incredible things. I think I could do it, but my heart goes out to those moms-to-be who are not able to werk from home. Heck, I couldn't even handle 2 hours following my mother-in-law around at Kohl's over the holidays, I had to take a break and sit on the bench outside the store!

Twelve hours is a long time to be alone, (and an even longer time to be at the hospital!), so this week has kind of dragged on for us as we had quickly gotten used to be around each other 24/7 over Christmas break. I've got some meetings this afternoon and final prep to do for meetings on Monday, then it's time to plan a yummy dinner and relaxing evening with my favorite almost-nurse.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Baked Oatmeal

This is what happens when you are pregnant, werk from home, and decide to make yourself a late lunch:

It's delicious, I omitted chocolate and used craisins in place of strawberries, and almonds in place of walnuts, and cinnamon in place of chinese five spice. :

Head Cold

Well, the 2012 Werk Year has begun, and I'm doing my best to hold on for dear life. Being 5 and 1/2 months pregnant with a nasty head cold isn't exactly the most energizing way to leap into a new year, but I'm fighting the good fight! And with the help of OJ, vitamins, and gallons of water, I think I've got the edge on this thing.

Nevermind my deep scratchy voice on conference calls, or my incessent need to blow my nose. One of my pet peeves when I werked in was hearing other people blow their noses at their desk.
#1. Because I think the sound of a nose being blown sounds like a squirt from a can of almost empty whipped cream. Gross.
#2. I could imagine the cartoonized version of their germs jumping of the walls of their cubicle and into mine, scurrying towards me with reckless abandon.
#3. I said a silent prayer that they were responsibly wiping down their hands and desk with sanitizer after each blow. is unfortunately a giant petri dish during the respiratory season.

At least now I can drink gallons of water (and make countless trips to the bathroom), blow my nose, and sneak in a nap after my lunch of noodle soup (I hate the chicken that comes in canned chicken noodle soup...bleh). I've got a strategy for this cold nailed onto my werk projects for 2012. There's this thing called 'maternity leave' that keeps popping up whenever I think I'm making progress, but that's a good problem to have! :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Looking Back

As 2011 closed out a few days ago, there were many memories and changes to reflect upon. A large one being the start of my job as the.home.werker last January. It's hard to believe it's been almost a year since I've been at this!

I've got my office set-up complete, the dog is used to having me around all day (she's currently laying on my feet under the desk...small victory!), my co-werkers all pretty much know where to find me now, and I've mastered the art of travelling and werking remotely at the same time.

The flexibility that is present in my werk arrangements never ceases to amaze me, and I do everything I can not to take it for granted. I have no idea if/when I'll ever have another office-based job, but I have to admit, I have started to get rid of some of my business professional wardrobe. (Being pregnant makes it really easy to part with clothes that never quite fit right!)

2011 was a year of stretchy pants and slippers, mid-day walks with the dog, conference calls, more conference calls, and learning the importance of mileage reimbursement for trips to the land.of.cubicles. It was the year I learned that answering email after hours or on the weekends won't kill me, especially if it helps me sleep better or relax more when I am with friends and family. It was a year of the least amount of sick days ever taken by me, I actually accrued the maximum amount of paid sick leave for the first time in my professional life. Who needs a mental health day when you get to enjoy the balance of werking from home? Who needs to worry about giving your cold to your co-werkers when it's just you and the dog all day long?

It was a great year, and I have a hunch that 'the.home.werker' is up for lots of new adventures in 2012!