The Daily EO: February 16th, 2016

I just got restructured – and I don’t care what anyone tells you – business is personal.  People say otherwise, but they live in an incongruant world where they follow up “Don’t take it personally” with “Business is all about relationships”.   Business is personal, our lives are a big mixing pot.  And so being impacted in restructuring hurts you, it causes a stumble, a pause, where you wonder what’s wrong with you.

But just a pause for most, when you pick up the pieces and move forward to something better (while occasionally looking back and thinking “those bastards” and eating lots of grilled cheese sandwiches).

The worst thing about getting laid off is the telling other people.   You have to cause impact to ALL of your relationships.  Spouse, family, mentors, close friends, personal and professional suppliers, customers, colleagues, neighbours, acquaintances and strangers.  And that piece of information changes the dynamic of that relationship – you get all sorts of reactions (kind and otherwise – overt and below the surface), but always changing the other person’s perception of you and your relationship with them.

This played out yesterday when I was enjoying the new found freedom of being able to get my haircut during the day on a week day.  My stylist – who I struggle to chat with to begin with because I am intimidated by his hipness (let’s not delve into that issue within my psyche today) – asked me “So, not working today?  Day off?”.  This was his attempt to get conversation rolling – a safe bet normally.

I am sitting there getting my $80 haircut when he asked me that. Yes, I know, one does not *need* $80 haircuts, but if I have to have all of these conversations with everyone, I am going to at least look well groomed, attractive and in control.  It is bad enough I have to now forgo eyelash extensions, manicures, and facials, but I am not going to give up on my hair.  (as I write this, I am realizing the impact to the Vancouver economy my termination is causing and I apologize to my “team” for the impact to their business – Christmas is cancelled everyone.)

I hesitated when he asked, tried to get the right combination of strength/humour/wistfulness in my voice when I answered “Yes, in fact I have every day off now.  I was laid off a couple of weeks ago”.  He didn’t handle it well, he got paralyzed between showing appropriate sympathy, wondering if I am embarrassed/sad/angry and not knowing me well enough to ask further questions for details.  Further attempts at conversation for the rest of the haircut petered out pretty quickly.  Awkward silence was thankfully eventually interrupted by the blow dryer.

That went well.  Only 499 more conversations to go.

February 16, 2016 Extra-Ordinary:  I still tipped the same amount I always do – unemployed or not, I didn’t want anything to change.  Plus he does a great job – my hair is pretty dope  (do the kids still say that?)



The Daily EO: April 18th, 2013

There is a weird employment provision in all companies I have ever worked for – a probation period.   They usually last 3-6 months, and may be tied to the earning of conditions of employment like benefits or RRSP contribution matching etc.  The weird thing about it is that the Employment Standards Act does not recognize probation as a special term in employment.  Either you work there or you don’t – meaning that if you get terminated without cause you are still entitled to the severance etc that is outlined in the act.  Yeah, it is going to be tiny, but nonetheless, you can’t be hired then fired within 5 1/2 months with no repercussions to the company.

So, it is a weird provision and it also says “Hey, I haven’t quite decided about you.  You’re in, but not quite really.”  I don’t get to caught up in it really except when the starting of benefits is tied to it.  But, I understand – getting a new employee all signed up for everything and then to find they are not quite the right fit?  Costly, so probably not a terrible idea to say “We’ll see how it goes.”

My current position has a 6 month probation period – which is funny because I worked for my current boss for 3 or 4 years prior to this.  So she knows me and what I bring to the table.   And little was tied to coming off probation, so I didn’t concern myself too much with it at all.   It also helps that I knew my boss already and that I knew whatever came up would be dealt with fairly.

The nice thing about probation is it forces a conversation when you come off probation about how things are going, how you’re feeling, etc.   And after a while, you start thinking “Hello?  Do you like me or not?  Am I here or not?”   So it’s nice to get it sewn up.

April 18th, 2013 Extra-Ordinary:

photo 3

The Daily EO: February 20th, 2013

When we moved to Vancouver, my husband got an official job before I did, but it was a 7 month contract. That was 6 months ago. This week, they decided to extend his contract. Until September. Which means he now gets benefits for the duration. And they are talking about full time too.

February 20th, 2013 Extra-Ordinary: There was really little doubt – everyone likes Emile and he is great at what he does – but we’ve been here before. Nice to have it official.

The Daily EO: January 19th & 20th, 2013

Being unemployed, my weekends lost their value.  What difference did it make if I didn’t have to work? – I never had to work.   So being back to work is different – suddenly these two days take on new importance.   These are the days that everything else needs to get done – and the days that you get to relax.

On Friday night, I purchased yet again another piece of IKEA furniture – a bookcase.  This allowed me to be able to place all the books in boxes and a number of pictures and other items in “something”.  Before Emile even got out of bed on Saturday morning, it was all completed and looking great.  Most of the boxes are unpacked and we have storage for everything now.  Pictures are on the walls and it feels more and more like home.

I made soup from some wilty broccoli and some wrinkly orange and red peppers. romaine lettuce hearts (why not?) and the non-moldy onions. (not that I was saving the moldy onions for anything)   It tastes pretty good, but is a weird bright orangey green.  I guess that is what happens with soup – you get what you get.    With that I was able to clean out the fridge to make room for better and fresher produce in the drawer.

I went grocery shopping to the biggest and busiest grocery store I have ever entered on Grandview Highway.  It had ever piece of produce I could imagine – and some things I couldn’t.  Since when do carts cost $1?  I know I get it back, but it irritates me – is the quarter so low in value now that people won’t return the carts?

For the first time since November – and even longer since outside – I ran.  I ran through Chinatown, up Main Street, along the sea wall underneath the conference centre and back again.  I managed 5.26 km and felt so accomplished, strong and better than I have in a while.   I use “run” loosely because honestly, there was some walking involved, but that is okay – I am back out there.   I ran by where my car was broken in to – said “ha ha!  I am not scared of you neighbourhood!”

I finally figured out how to make folders on the iPhone, and spent several happy minutes organizing my ap’s.  And downloading some new fitness things for the hell of it.  Did you know you can use “Squat Pro” ap which counts your squats while you hold it out in front of you?  Do I need such a counter?  Is it difficult to count to 10 or 15?   But cool, I guess and I’ve done 40 more squats this weekend than any other weekend.  (that also means that I cannot walk or sit down on the toilet well).

Laundry was completed – though after my run which means I have to do another load.   Afterall, it was cold out there and I am still getting over a cold – so yes, my sleeves are a little dirty.  Yeah, eeew.

January 19 & 20 Extra-Ordinary:  A productive weekend makes it easier to face the week ahead.

The Daily EO: November 3rd, 2012

Punch List Updates

A new Kate Spade wallet: Can’t find one I like and that I am willing to pay the asking price for

Meet with a dietician/nutritionist:  Actually did that when I was unemployed because I found one that was free.  Um, it was okay, but didn’t live out to expectations.

Finally finding a financial adviser (who does not work on commission):  I still haven’t done this yet.  Anyone got a good name for me?

Hire a personal shopper:  Selected, we are going to be meeting in the Spring when I stop storing my underwear in a box on the window sill and buy a dresser. (I can’t let her see me like this)

Regularly threaded eyebrows at Gee Beauty:  Well, Donna Lucia at 1/3 of the price is working very nicely for me.   Gee is a bit far now.

A new can opener:  After 4 weeks of using my “3 chicks and a Cat” swiss army knife to open cans, I bought a new gliding can opener at London Drugs.

November 3rd, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  Crossing out items on my punch list and beyond (because a facial wasn’t listed on there).

The Daily EO: October 29th, 2012

I talk about weird things these days.  I talk about label claims, chilsonators, mouth feel, and my favorite: Pea Protein.  I didn’t know peas had protein.

I know I am 38 now and should be over it after a month, but I giggle a little when someone says, “Hey, come to so-and-so’s office, we’re going to talk about pea”  Or “We need to review the pea plan”,  or “Let’s look at pea in the boardroom.”

October 29th, 2012 Extra-ordinary:  Pea.  Hee Hee.  Pea.  Pea.


The Daily EO: October 22nd, 2012

7:00 am:  Five pounds lighter than previous from eating fewer Jelly Bellys and using my building’s gym.  Weight loss hindered thanks to the close-by New Town Bakery and those damn Steam Buns.

7:45 am:  I didn’t see a pedestrian and I started to go – if he hadn’t jumped out of the way and slapped my hood, I would have hit him.  Don’t wear grey and jump out from behind flowerpot pedestrian – you may have the right of way, but I don’t want my life so negatively impacted that I need therapy for years after killing you.  Seriously, guy, if you are reading this – I am still so so sorry.

8:30 am:  Standing in front of a production board on the floor wearing a hairnet, bags over my shoes and a lab coat.  Thinking that surely I couldn’t have finished my entire tea already and I wonder if anyone will notice my pretty shiny nails.

9:44 am:  Inside voice: What are these people all talking about?

10:22 am:  Text to my husband “How are you bearing up?” (he’s recovering from the flu)

11:00 am:  Quality/Production meeting where fiery Russian Quality Manager tells me how It Will Be.  By the end, we agreed to have vodka shots together soon to celebrate our new bond.

12:15 pm:  Received text response from my brother: “Bearing up Under What?”  (phew, that could have been much worse)

12:25 pm:  Eating my delightfully delicious lunch – that I had the forethought to make the night before – at my desk and trying to catch up on e-mails.   Notice that I have 43 emails on the same topic – boxes.  Surely something else happened today.

1:16 pm: Work cell phone rings for the first time and it turns out to be an automated message – complete with strange cadence – to remind me of an appointment.

2:15 pm:  Consider reasons why I only seem to sweat from one armpit.

2:43 pm:  Participate in bizarre conversation from a parallel universe:

Person Who will Remain Unnamed:  “I need a favour.   I am moving and I need to get new furniture but my place won’t be ready until November and the store is going out of business.  Do you think I could store perhaps a couch, table or chairs or something I buy from the store in the warehouse?”

Me: (gaping):  “Um.. .  in our company warehouse?  You want to store your personal furniture?   Here?”

3:37 pm:  Finally finish reading all box emails (which by now have increased in number), wondering how I am to get anything done if a box issue takes this level of communication to resolve.

4:45 pm:  Dash through the spitting rain to my car to return home.  Ponder the thought of how I never remember a jacket now that I live in a highrise.  What is weather when you live inside?

5:15 pm:  Receive email from Fiery Russian Quality Manager.  Appears the bond we have is broken and Vodka shots are not in my future.

5:17 pm:  Husband makes mistake of coming home and receives suitable verbal punishment.

5:50 pm:  Where I belong, a life of leisure, sitting in the stylist’s chair at the Aveda Institute in Gastown.

7:15 pm:  After head and neck massage, people touching my hair for an hour, I believe I may be able to do this again tomorrow.

7:50 pm:  Exchange emails with Production Manager to confirm that my worries that I have lost my mind are unjustified.

October 22nd, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  Visit to Bizarro land.

The Daily EO: October 17th, 2012

It doesn’t matter what you make or where you do it, the principles of manufacturing are the same.  And, no matter what, you’re going to meet all kinds.

So, if I have made electronics, sinks, auto parts and ice cream treats, surely I can make Natural Health Products.  And it seems that I am right – I can.   Well, in moments of confidence anyways.

But it’s those conversations that you realize that despite it taking place in English, you really have no idea of what anyone is talking about.   And wonder if  you ever will.   I tend to spend about 50% of my time not knowing what question to ask first and the other half of the time trying to figure out who I should be asking those questions to.  What am I doing?  What are you saying?  What?

Skills that have served me well so far:

  1. Ability to repeat word for word what someone has told me – even if it is just sounds to me.   “It is my understanding that the didicator is disrupting the lubrication flow into the main chamber.  It is causing insufficient cooling and creating warp within the finished goods.  We need tear down and insert a refabricated piece to protect the integrity of the machine.  All in all, I think it will take about 4-6 hours.”  Just what did I say?  I don’t know, but boy did that sound like I was up on what was going on.
  2. Looking interested and engaged on the outside despite roiling turmoil on the inside.  “That was great coverage of the issues at hand.”
  3. Appearing to be soliciting the team’s opinion when you’re just really hoping someone can tell you what to do.   ” Hmm, that is a complex problem.  I know how I’ve handled similar in the past.  But do yo you have any recommendations on how we should proceed?”
  4. Sincerely apologizing for your ignorance when all of the above fails.

October 17th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  Maybe I can do this?  I am not sure, but I am either going to do it, or build more strategies to fake it.

The Daily EO: October 10th, 2012

There are pivotal moments in life – and we all know to grab our camera to record it.  One such moment happened this past weekend.  Our friends’ son got his “big boy bed” and moved from his crib for good.  The sheets were Lightening McQueen and Mator and Carson was so proud, so happy.

Big Boy Bed

There were no cameras when I left for work this morning.  I sat in the kitchen at 7:20 am awaiting the clock to turn over to 7:40 so I could leave.  I slipped into the traffic and drove out to Coquitlam only to find that I arrived early.  I checked mail.  I listened to music.   Then it time.  I got out of the car.  I pulled open the door to begin my future.

October 10th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  I was locked out.