Friday, April 29, 2016

Things I would have done this week if I'd been laid off

We had layoffs and a reorg where I work on Tuesday.

We'd known this day was coming (and in fact the rumor mill had offered up several, earlier days this might happen) so it wasn't exactly a surprise. The scope across the company was a little shocking although not totally unexpected.

Earlier in the year, I'd rated my chance of being laid off at greater than 60%. As we moved into spring, I dropped that estimate to about 40%, then 30%. No one is truly untouchable when reorgs happen, so that chance will never drop to zero. In this case, I didn't lose my job. Within my organization (at the VP level), we lost three in total. Across the company, the press release says we eliminated 13%. And although layoffs aren't personal, they feel that way.

So all of this happened on Tuesday (that's the magic day at my company, the Tuesday before a  payday, which makes things easier from an accounting perspective). Monday night I told Kent that if I got let go the next day, I was going to start weeding the back yard, and I would be cutting out a dress I've wanted to make for months (and have had the fabric for it now for no joke a couple of years)--I had a long list.

But I didn't get let go. Once the layoffs were over, I talked with all my direct reports to reassure them, tell them that our team was intact and that the layoffs were over. Now we are all trying to move forward because there's still so much work to be done. I expect next week will be a little better for us all.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Vanity Fair—a third bag

I’ve made this bag three times now—the first time was for me and I’m not sure I ever posted about it. I made it out of a grey fabric that looks like (but isn’t) linen. I didn’t realize at the time, but I actually made it up wrong. You can see the way it’s supposed to look in terms of how it’s pieced together on the outside here, on the pattern envelop.

And here’s the one I made for myself. See the difference? The pattern has the pieces stitched directly under the handles while the one I made for myself has the pieces meeting in the center.

To be honest, I prefer it this way but when I cut out the one for my friend (posted about here), I followed the directions and pieced it together as intended. I was pretty confused as I was sewing it up because it was so different; I had to go get out my own bag to see what I’d done.

I’ve made a third version for another friend. She’s a creature of sunshine stuck in very overcast Ohio so I picked bright fabrics for her and used the same sunny yellow fabric for the lining as I did for the bag I made earlier this year.

I’m not sure if I’ll make this bag again. As with a lot of independent pattern makers, this one gives some pieces and then tells you to cut out a strip in given dimensions. That bugs me, and I think it’s an unfortunate short cut because honestly? I need a pattern piece. Yes, I can (and did) trace out my own but still for the price of the pattern ($10), I want all the pieces.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

What would you have done?

I’m attending a professional conference this week—SIOP, or Society of Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Attendees generally have master’s or PhDs in the field or are candidates for one of those degrees. There are a bazillion sessions offered during the conference: research on various topics or panel discussions and even debates.

This afternoon I was in a very full session on visualizing big data. The woman next to me was a PhD candidate in I/O and had very long hair (this detail matters to the story). Since the session was full and had been anticipated to be full, the chairs were very close together—when I say close, I mean they were touching. So there wasn’t much room. The woman next to me kept running her hand through her hair and sort of flipping it or rearranging it. All fine and good except that her hair kept getting way into my personal space (what little there was) and hit me a few times. Plus she fidgeted like crazy; she crossed her legs over and over again and then kept bouncing the top leg up and down. I was nervous her heel was going to smack my right knee, the one that was so bruised from my fall last week.

I considered saying something to her, something to indicate I knew it wasn’t on purpose behavior or malicious but that I found it pretty distracting. I also thought (and think) that she’s going to need to get a handle on those behaviors or else they’ll end up being real drawbacks as she looks to launch either an academic or corporate-based career. While it’s not fair that people get judged by things like nervous fidgets or the inability to recognize and respect personal space, it happens all the time.

I wondered too what, if any, responsibility I bore toward helping a young woman with some kind, specific feedback like that. I’m still not sure about that one, to be honest.

In the end, I said nothing. I’m not her adviser or her friend and even though I disliked her hair whipping me the way it did, the potential risk of offering feedback like that outweighed any social or professional obligation I might have. But I’m curious. What would you have done?

Monday, April 4, 2016

Oops, they noticed

As part of our “keep kitties well hydrated” process, we split a can of cat food three ways each night and add in about the same amount of canned pumpkin. That way, they all get more moisture and Eddie—our boy who’s had some issues with his behind—also gets fiber. The cats love the pumpkin and we’ve often joked that we could probably just give them pumpkin and they wouldn’t even notice the absence of their normal Gravy Lovers food.

We’d have been wrong.

Last night, Kent groped around in the box of canned food under the sink only to come up empty. He thought there was another, unopened box under the sink but nope—we were completely out. So we figured what the heck, now we’ll find out if they even miss the Gravy Lovers and gave them plain ol’ pumpkin.

They noticed. In fact, they all almost immediately switched bowls probably to see if someone else had the good stuff. And then they all huffed off and left their bowls looking like this:

Kent ran out and got some food. Eddie was very excited, Wally and Chloe couldn't be bothered and had to be carried out but once there, devoured their dinner.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

They all fall down

If you are friends with me on Facebook, then you already know I tripped yesterday on my run and took a face plant. I posted that this was why I would far rather run in the dark—which is what I normally do—because I pay better attention. Yesterday’s fall was completely due to me getting distracted by all sorts of things I don’t normally see. I caught a raised edge of the sidewalk with my toe, and down I went.

This fall was weird because I fell uphill. I landed hard enough that a bit of water from my left eye flew out and landed on the inside of my sunglasses and at first I thought I’d scraped the lens on the sidewalk.

It was cold yesterday morning, so I was wearing winter running gear, and that protected me a little bit—for example, my palms stung but weren’t scraped because the gloves protected me. Oddly, in addition to bruising the tops (not the fronts) of my kneecaps, I also have some friction burns on the fronts of my thighs. Oh and my face truly planted on the sidewalk, which is how I split my lip. I feared I might have cracked my tooth or chipped it but thankfully that wasn’t the case, it was just the lip and most of the damage is on the inside. That was good too, since I had sidewalk debris all around my mouth. Nothing like kissing a sidewalk!

This wasn’t the worst fall I’ve had. When I first moved my running to 5 AM, so was running in the dark, I lived in Lawrence (Ben was in his last year of high school). I was running near 9th and Lawrence Avenue, which has just terrible sidewalks. I hadn’t yet developed the habit of paying strict attention to surface I was running on, I caught a raised edge with my toe and went flying. That time I was wearing shorts, not running tights, and I tore up the front of my knee so bad that no band aids would work. As with yesterday, I picked myself up and headed home, only unlike yesterday, there was no way I could finish the run—I had blood running down my leg and in fact ended up pitching the socks because the stains never did come out.

I wore skirts or dresses for a couple of weeks after that fall, and covered the wound with big gauze pads and tape—mostly so people wouldn’t get grossed out at the sight of my hamburger knee. I’ll need to wear dresses or skirts at least this week too, not because my knees are so scabby (they aren’t really scabby) but because it hurts to have anything touching them.

But since that fall in Lawrence, the only times I’ve fallen or even come close to falling have been in the daylight. I’d prefer to sleep in a tiny bit on Saturdays so I guess I will need to quit rubbernecking during daylight runs.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

April's cat

Here's the cat for April--love how she's turning her head and how her fur looks against the steps.