humor, I'm Going To Chop My Ear Off Any Day Now, Kvetching, Project Management, PSAs

The Career You Should Pursue if You Hate Being Happy

gojulesgo_the-career-you-should-pursue_title-graphic_30jan19

I love my coworkers and get to do a lot of cool things at my job. Last week, however, involved the kind of work you should only do if you hate joy.

Event management.

Now, I’ve done a lot of event planning in my day, and it can be hugely rewarding. But even in those cases, it’s filled with chaos and unpredictability. No matter how much you plan pray, anticipate, pray and prepare pray, nothing ever goes 100% smoothly. You just have to hope no one else notices.

Jules-losing-it-FB-post-inside-out-pants
Kind of like this.

When I got to the event location last week, my stomach dropped. Not enough chairs. I had requested more chairs the night before, but it still wasn’t enough; people were filtering in late and filling the aisles, disrupting the meeting. In four years, we’d never had such a turn-out. A great problem to have, but once again, experience and pre-planning did diddly-squat, resulting in me looking like an incompetent asshat.

I stood against the wall trying to tell myself it wasn’t a big deal, my stomach knotting as I begun to realize there was no way we were going to have enough time to transition from the current meeting set-up to the one beginning 15 minutes later.

And I was going to have 100+ people, including The Big Boss, there to witness me not making things happen.

I braced myself like Michael Richards circa 2006.

michael-richards-seinfeld
“Sooo, 13 years later and you still can’t go out in public? Impressive.” Photo credit

When the dreaded 15 minute transition period hit, the A/V crew ran around plugging and pulling things from the podium while I frantically tried to set up my laptop and connect to the new audio conference line.

go jules go event planning
Six minutes ’til showtime.

“Is the speaker here?” Big Boss asked.

I smiled serenely. “He is! [Coworker] just went to get him!”

I returned my gaze to the computer screen, checking to see if I had the updated presentation materials that had come in minutes before. Hurry, hurry, hurry, I thought, knowing pretty soon my screen would be projected in front of 100 people so I’d better get the hell out of my inbox.

Okay, download new slides to desktop, close Outlook, sound off, Instant messenger off, PowerPoint slides open for each of the speakers, oh crap you need the webcast link from the email, open Outlook, get link, dial in, is screen working yet, where is the new A/V team, why can’t I hear anything on the line, do we have enough lavalier mics, where is the handheld, holy crap it’s loud in here and I can’t hear the operator, this is never going to work, oh my god, why did we think this was going to work, is the speaker here, is he mic’d, oookay now everyone is seeing a picture of my dog (just kidding I totally wanted that to happen), does Big Boss have her intro notes

go jules go desktop uncle jesse
You’re welcome.

Okay. Okay. We have lift off! Holy sh*t what is that box on the screen and how do I get rid of it? Okay, okay, we can just slide it over here in the corner… okay, we’re fine, we’re fine…Oh my GOD that’s the wrong slide deck, say hi to Uncle Jesse again everyone…okay, we’re moving along now…oh for the LOVE OF ALL THAT’S HOLY his mic isn’t turned on…

Once the main speaker took the stage, the next 45 minutes went by in a blur, my only thought being, Please please please let that be the updated version of his slides WITHOUT ANY EMBEDDED VIDEOS DEAR GOD PLEASE and let everyone on the line actually be able to hear. The speaker was a pro and fielded questions from a lively, engaged audience, allowing me to convince myself that in the end, the entire thing was a smashing success.

As soon as it ended, I grabbed my lap top, made a beeline for the parking lot, and wept into my ice cold coffee.

Jules-pout
A *gulp* smashing *sob* success.

~*~*~*~*~

To event planners everywhere: I bow down to you (which you probably can’t see because you’re too busy wiping snot off your travel mug). …Can you please share your secrets?

~*~*~*~*~

humor, Lists, Project Management

Well THAT Didn’t Go According to Plan

I’ve been a project manager for over a decade. That suggests a few things.

  1. I’m organized.
  2. I make sh&t happen.
  3. I REALLY like lists.

Phrases like Type A, OCD, and Post-It Hoarder might even be crossing your mind.

Jules-organized-fridge
Huh. I don’t see it.

Well. Okay. Fine. I like when things go according to plan. At the very least, I like HAVING a plan. Some sort of scaffolding upon which to begin arranging my masterpieces.

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Do you think this just happens?

I also really, really hate messing up or not meeting my goals.

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I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT.

I’m learning to take a step back, harness my Zen, be the river flowing around the rocks, yadda yadda…

Jules-meditating-Zac-Efron-spirit-guide
Picturing Zac Efron shirtless helps.

…And if any detours from my plans are funny, I’ve gotten REALLY good at embracing them.

Jules-losing-it-FB-post-inside-out-pants
Thanks, blogging.

Here are a few recent favorite fails “detours.”

Well that didn't go according to plan

The Mannequin Did It! (1 of 3)

On Monday, my manager, Karla, and I enjoyed lunch during one of our biweekly check-ins. After covering business, we dug into fun stories from our personal lives. We laughed, I finished my tray of warm, delicious bhindi masala, and left her office with, as usual, a skip in my step. Life is grand!

When I returned to her office later that afternoon, I noticed something strange on her desk.

“Did I do that?” I asked, horrified, picturing my steaming, fragrant lunch resting on the gleaming, elegant wood in that exact same spot just hours earlier.

Jules-ruins-desk

Karla burst out laughing. “I wasn’t going to say anything…”

I immediately started Googling replacement desks.

desk-saran-wrap
That should do it.

Now That’s What I Call Commitment (2 of 3)

health-in-motion-scary-sign

Okay. I can’t take credit for this, but I just love it.

This is a sign around the corner from my house. You know when it looked fantastic? Halloween.

Do you know when I took this picture? Yesterday.

tide-stick
Maybe this will help?

At least they’re ready for 2019. This project manager approves.

I Just Wanted an Excuse to Post this Picture (3 of 3)

Did you know I went to Dubai in 2016? …That’s okay. Most people missed it. Even people in Dubai. A fairly last-minute meeting brought my boss and I there for a whirlwind 36-hour trip.

Jules-Dubai-burj khalifa_Oct2016

A fellow project manager was our tour guide and he crammed in lots of exciting stops for us. My boss was especially tickled when he took us to a restaurant called The Meat House.

Jules-pout

At one point, he brought us to The Dubai Mall and led us towards a little kiosk. Before we knew what was happening, people were handing us shiny things, saying, “Put this on. Now hold this.”

My boss and I glanced at each other warily, but it was too late. There was no getting out of this.

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You haven’t lived until you unexpectedly play dress-up with your boss.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Anything you’re apologizing to your coworkers for?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

Kvetching, Project Management

I’m Engaged!

To: Worldwide Staff

Date: Thursday, October 6, 2016

Subject: “EET” This: The Latest Lip Service from Your Employee Engagement Team!

Dear Colleagues,

Do you like to think outside the box? Hate reinventing the wheel, but love moving the needle? Together, let’s unpack some of the issues that keep us from leaning into our BEST SELVES.

Today, we’re hitting the ground running with a new web platform where you can network, collaborate, innovate, ENGAGE, catalyze, inspire, and LIVE OUR SHARED MISSION.

Now is the time to remember that there’s no “i” in “team”…but there is one in “iPad” – and you could win one just by SOCIALIZING your IDEAS into ACTION!

Sound like a plan?

Come take the 30,000-foot view while simultaneously digging a little deeper into what makes our company so great – YOU.

LINK TO OUR VALUABLE NEW WEB PLATFORM

With High Regard for Your Uniqueness,

Employee Engagement Team

P.S. – Getting too many emails? Hit “reply all” and let us know!

teamworkdemotivator
Photo credit

~*~*~*~*~

humor, Project Management

Lemme Guess. My Future’s In That Folder.

Last Thursday, I wrote a post on the fly while waiting to find out if I still had a [project management] job. Literally.

After three and a half hours of focused work and productivity, I finally got the alert that someone in senior management was ready for me. I steeled myself and entered her office.

“I don’t envy your job today!” I said as brightly as I could. I was relieved no one from Human Resources was present; it was just the two of us. Apparently, they trusted us not to staple anyone’s face or set ergonomically correct chairs on fire.

She gave a kind hello, but didn’t beat around the bush.

Laidoff-1 Laidoff-2 Laidoff-3

Even though, yes, this was the career equivalent of, “I love you, but I’m not in love with you” or “It’s not you, it’s me,” I’d have time to blog, to bake, to blog about baking…

Laidoff-4
Don’t worry. I’ll explain everything.

…to stop and smell the roses, to follow signs from the heavens…

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Laidoff-7

And I knew someone who’d be particularly happy to have me home every day.

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Another silver lining to all of this? The outpouring of support and encouragement from colleagues, friends, family and you. Some of you have even contacted me offline about job opportunities, and the ridiculously thoughtful Misty of Misty’s Laws just sent this care package:

Laidoff-8
Misty warned me not to try to spend the gold coins.

My last day is the 18th, and after that? Well, if you thought my blog contests were epic before, hoo boy.

Laidoff-9 Laidoff-10

Have you ever made or considered a major career change?

~*~*~*~*~*~

Kvetching, Project Management, PSAs

My Life is Hanging in the Balance!

Hiya, Chipmunks.

I know it’s been a little over a week since I’ve regaled you with talking animals and my ceaseless wit, so I thought I’d pop in just to let you know my life is in utter turmoil.

I kid, I kid.

Although.

Right now I’m sitting in a spare office waiting to see if I still have a job [in project management]. They’re laying off 20% of my division’s workforce this month, and today everyone in my department is getting called down to the principal’s office to find out their Fate.

You might think this is an odd time to blog. Especially since I might have a lot of time to blog in the very near future (ba-da-BUM!), but what else am I gonna do? Work?

Nah. I’d rather reminisce about last weekend in Hershey, Pennsylvania, where I did a little of this…

Jules-Hersheys-Kiss-Hat-28Sep13

…and a little of that…

Jules-Peppermeister-Hershey-custom-bars_28Sep13

…and a whole lotta this:

Troegenator might -seriously- be the best beer I've ever had.
Troegenator might -seriously- be the best beer I’ve ever had.

You know, with some time off, I could do a lot of traveling. And video blogging. And pumpkin carving.

Especially once we sell the house.

Oh hang on. I think my phone is ringing.

Have you ever gone through company lay-offs? How did they/you handle it?

~*~*~*~*~*~

Blogging, Project Management

I Would Do Anything For Blog Love (But I Won’t Do That)

Yesterday, Chipmunks, I could have struck bloggy gold.

My department held another all-day staff meeting. This meant not one, not two, but three “ice-breakers.”

The “Minute to Win It” team-building exercise back in May was such a smash hit, they put a Part 2 on the books.

For those of you not still losing sleep over the story, let me refresh your memory:

COME ON, JULES. Get the penne on the spaghetti or WE ALL LOSE.
COME ON, JULES. Get the penne on the spaghetti or WE ALL LOSE.

So, you see, I had to ask myself a very important question: Would attending the meeting be worth the follow-up post potential?

It didn’t take long to answer that question.

I Would Do Anything For BLog Love (But I Won’t Do That)

  1. Engage in any sort of therapy-inducing torture, including, but not limited to: team-building exercises, Bikram a.k.a. hot yoga (sorry, JM), Magic Mike Citizen Kane viewings, and sober anything.
  2. Accept guest posts from advertisers. I will, however, continue to hope that the makers of Pipe Palz, glass smoking pipes with mustaches, follow through on their offer.
  3. Review reading glasses for a free sample. (Contact me again in another two years when my eyesight is completely shot from checking my blog Stats page every seven seconds.)
  4. Remember to pass along the blogging awards that readers so kindly bestow upon me. I am genuinely thankful. Will you please accept my apology and this picture of Uncle Jesse as a token of my affection?Uncle-Jesse-pillowcases
  5. Plug the living shiz out of my own contest. Just kidding. I will totally do that. COME ON, GUYS! It’s the best thing I’VE EVER DONE. And it’s for a good cause you might get to make-out with The Byronic Man.

Bloggers: Where do you draw the line? Blog Readers / All: What really turns you off about a blog?

Project Management, Wipe the Drool

So I Work at a Strip Club Now

Yesterday was an interesting day at work.

Let’s just say my job makes me die a little inside.

Which is not something I usually get to say. Trust me. I work as a project manager for a pharmaceutical company.

Still dying over here.

Monday traffic and meeting madness aside, things were looking pretty perky by 9am. Because by 9am, I was staring at someone’s boobs.

Let me back that thing up.

I was meeting a brand spanking (ahem) new colleague to explain how great the department was, what kinds of things she could work on, and the dress code what to expect in the coming months.

The woman was in her 30s, attractive and friendly. The conversation started in the usual way: “How long were you without power [because of Hurricane Sandy]?”

Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I saw something unusual. Something not quite right. No, no, it can’t be, I thought to myself. I let my eyes dart down.

Yup. Yup. Oh my god. Black. Lace. Push-up bra. Cleavage many would pay to see. I felt my ears turn as crimson as her blouse. Of all the buttons to pop when she sat down…

I’m sorry. This is the best I could do. This is a family blog.

I had known this woman for five minutes. How could I tell her we’d already taken things to the next level? But could I make it through the rest of the meeting without saying something, and then hope she’d use the restroom? No, that was just cruel.

“I’m sorry I’d want someone to say something if it was me,” I blurted in one breath, “I think one of your buttons came undone.”

“Oh no, it’s just this shirt,” she said, swinging the droopy silk collar that dangled over her va-va-voom.

I said nothing and waited for her to look down.

“Oh jeez,” she cringed once she realized what I talking about, and quickly fastened the rogue button. She thanked me for telling her and carried on with her earlier point.

Just like that. I had to give her credit. A little while later, she bid goodbye,

“I’m off to meet with [Mr. Big Boss] now.”

“Great – it was wonderful meeting you!” I replied smoothly, wondering how disappointed the Big Boss would have been if he’d known what he missed out on.

Later that morning, I had time to giggle reflect. I gasped, remembering: This wasn’t the first time I’d seen someone’s bra at work!

My very first year on the job, a middle-aged woman I’d only just met grabbed me and pulled me into the ladies room.

“I need help! My bra!” she whispered, eyes wild.

I watched, stunned, as she freed one arm from her forest green turtleneck. I tried to figure out what was going on. Everything seemed normal. Except for all the parts that were totally fudged up.

I soon realized what she needed me to do. I reached down her shirt, grazing her moist, freckled back, fished out the dangling shoulder strap and re-hooked it to the front of her bra.

I left the bathroom in a daze. Twitter didn’t exist yet, so I saved the story for my sister-in-law-slash-coworker, who still fondly recalls Bra Lady.

You probably think this is the end of it. Oh-ho no. Peppermeister (Husband #1) read this draft post and reminded me of the crème de la crème.

A couple years ago, a coworker in her mid-30s returned from vacation in the Bahamas, eager to show me pictures from her trip. Call me crazy, but I’ve always been fond of vacation photos. Anything to escape the drab, gray cubicle walls.

I walked over to her desk and she pulled out a manila envelope.

“I hired someone to take these pictures while we were there,” she said, shy yet excited. “He said I could be a model.”

Each 8 x 10 photo featured her bikini-clad bod on the beach.

“You look amazing!” I gushed, admiring her toned figure.

She looked up and down the hall and then whispered, “I have to be careful about some of these.”

She flipped to the next few photographs.

And there she was.

Topless.

It’s been two years, and I still don’t have the words.

Anyway. Today I’m bringing a wallet full of singles to work. Just in case.

Crap. Now I’ve gotta stop at the bank. This is New Jersey. I can’t even get gas.

Have you ever felt like a boob at work? Any good wardrobe malfunction stories?

***Hurricane Sandy Update: We finally got power back on Sunday night! My mood’s as boosted my coworkers’ chests! Thank you again for all of your well wishes! …Annnnd just kidding. Power went out again at 5am today (Tuesday).***