spectating participant

September 25, 2006

less time at home

Filed under: family, life — suzanne henderson @ 3:06 pm

So, I’ve entered the workforce again - yay! I’ve also added a commute to my day - yay! Therefore, I’m home much less than I have been - yay! — Oh wait, the commute and being away from home is not the highlight of my day. However, I am actually quite comfortable with the commute for now. Yes, it is a bit long but at least I don’t have to drive. In fact, I’m going to sell my car too.

It is just taking some adjustment to getting up on time every day and out the door by 6:30am. Wow– out the door by 6:30am in hopes of being home by 5:30pm — long day. But, I guess I’ve watched others have much longer days. The commute is 1.5 hours a day, as much as I like to pretend it is only 1. This week will be a trail of getting home and still managing to get dinner cooked. Last week I was hope too late most days. I’ve adjusted my schedule to get home a little earlier so I can feel like I have some of the day for myself.

So, I doubt the updates will come in that often. I’m still on my personal finance kick and working to keep up with that stuff and not so much into posting here. I’ve had some time to catch on a lot of loose ends today, but I doubt that will be the case for the rest of the week.

September 19, 2006

sync palm with outlook and palm desktop

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 5:03 pm

I’ve read a few things where I can sync my palm with outlook OR palm desktop, but what about both? I’m kinda pressed for time and limited on interenet reosuces to look up more information, thought I’d check here for a quick answer first. Anyone know if I can sync on both, outlook at work and palm desktop at home? The new job requires keeping track of a lot of dates, looks like I’ll need to be able to sync them up but I don’t want to lose access at home.

Maybe drop palm desktop and go for something else on the laptop? Options and options — but I’d really rather just keep what I know. If needed, I’ll prolly just install palm desktop at work and just go from there. Will need to import contacts though, not like I’ve ever found PD contacts/addressbook to be all that useful though….

sorry for the rambling, been a long first day and I think my brain is a bit overloaded. Time to catch a train and eventually get home.

September 18, 2006

job search ends (short)

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 11:40 am

I got a job. It is a very good thing.

September 9, 2006

job search continues (long)

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 5:02 pm

Another job on the horizon. Earlier last month, I applied for a position at a large national non-profit organization and didn’t hear anything. I figured that it was just another silent brush off, something I’ve been getting less and less tolerant of as more and more resumes head out the door. Then, first thing week, I got a call and they were indeed interested in seeing me and we set up a time for Friday. I didn’t get excited because much of my job excitement resrvers are currently depleted but also because it was almost two weeks away.

In the mean time, I applied for several more jobs, each one father and farther from my career goals. One of these positions called and wanted to set up an interview for Thursday. Again, there was no excitement but this time it was tampered by the fact that this was a company that I truly felt no excitement for – a for-profit, blue-collar company. But, they had the added bonus of actually being in my desired salary range and that, plus the very short commute and the lack of any other job offers on the horizon, just might make it a worthwhile position.

No, this Friday interview was quickly approaching and I started doing the typical pre-interview research into the positon and… wow! These people have put a lot of information on their website and are involve in some very neat stuff in education. Excitement started to build. As I filled my free time studying the organization for Friday, the excitement built more and more and I actually started wanting the job.

Thursday, I went to the for-profit interview confident that I could do the job but also silently hoping that they would not be the only option I have to consider next week. The interview went great and it really got me in the interviewing frame of mind, perfect practice and setup for Friday’s interview. I got home, wrote the customary thank you letter full of statements of ability and qualifications and desire to be consider for the position. And then, I decided that I was going to get Friday’s job.

Motivation can be a beautiful thing. Thursday afternoon I set about preparing all of the items and information I would need for Friday. I hung out my suit, unused for the morning’s interview because I figured I’d be over dressed if I had worn it and I wanted to be sure it’d still be clean for Friday, socks, underwear, and shoes. I visited the metro website to verify bus and train schedules for getting to DC at least 30 minutes early. I compiled a folder of fresh copies of my resume, transportation itinerary, and organizational literature to read over on the bus and train. I made sure that my purse was properly packed (important thing to remember since I normally don’t carry one) and that I had my metro card and spare cash for an emergency.

Throughout the evening I silently stated “I will get this job” to myself time and again. It was one of my last thoughts before I fell asleep and it appeared in dreams. I dreamed of being interview, sitting confident in a room with several other individuals, and giving expert answers to all of the questions asked.

I work up with the alarm and eagerly started my day. I ended up leaving the house a little early since my preparations on Thursday made the morning tasks super simple. Turns out that the express bus that is scheduled to take 44 minutes to get to the metro stations takes closer to an hour during heavy rush hour traffic. The train takes the standard 22 minutes regardless of traffic and it was at the station when I arrived.

I stepped out of the metro station nearest the office more than 30 minutes early. I was excited and calm and still reminding myself that I was going to get the job. I stopped in a small coffee shop, nibbled on a delicious cinnamon-apple-pecan scone and had a rather boring cup of chai. The gentleman at the window eventually started a delightful conversation that helped pass the time. He also wished me good luck as I headed out the door to make an on-time entrance at the office.

The interview started perfectly and continued the trend throughout the morning. I was prepared for all of the questions asked and ready to fire questions back. My research did me well as I was able to ask very specific questions that showed that I knew about many of the new projects the office had undertaken. The first part of the interview was with the HR staff person and focused mostly on what she kept calling routine HR questions. We got along very well and that helped the questions flow smoothly. Second, I interviewed with an assistant in the office of the opening. She gave me extensive information about this new position and also the long list of tasks that would be associated with it. It took some extra verbal maneuvering to be sure and highlight my skills for this portion of the interview because there was so much information for her to cover.

The interview concluded with a brief test of composing a form letter and setting up a spreadsheet. This was the only part of the interview that gave me a little bit of stress. The desk I was given to use had very poor ligting and it made it hard to read from the small print I was using for the spreadsheet data. Plus, many of the entries were names of various spellings and I know that I frequently mistype entries. It was a timed test, so I took on the spreadsheet first knowing that the names would give me the most trouble. The letter came together well enough but I did not get a chance to edit it for content or grammar errors before I ran out of time. It was very difficult to walk away from a document without taking the time to edit it, but I was still confident that I had done a good job.

I was told that there would be another round of interviews next week and they would let me know if I was selected. With my upcoming trip to Oklahoma, I clarified the timefram of that decision and found out that they would be making a decision that Friday. I let them know that I could come in on Monday, even with the short notice, to do a second interview. I left feeling like I was on top of the world and super excited.

I called up Chris, told him how much I liked the place, what they do, they people, and everything. And, of course, being in DC on a beautiful Friday morning certainly added to the overall pleasure of everything. I hung out around Dupont Circle for a while before heading home. And, a few blocks before the bus dropped me off, I receive voice mail that they would like me come in again on Monday.

With all of my excitement I have failed to mention my concerns. This position is not necessarily a step up from my previous work. There are elements of additional responsibility compared to previous positions I’ve held but the title is still the same – a title I really wanted to do away with. The salary is a few thousand less than what I wanted to make as a minimum and several thousand less than what I could get in the for-profit world. The benefits, however, I excellent and time off is always a major perk in my book with PDF and Burning Man and all.

However, the biggest perk is that it is in my exact field of interest and there is plenty of room for advancement. This clearly means a lot to me and also would be a wonderful name to place on my resume if I decide to move further outside of the organization. There was an acceptance of the fact that I am looking to develop skills in this industry in order to take on more responsibility for projects, this was not frowned upon as it was done in another interview I’d recently had, and I was told that there is plenty of movement possible within the organization.

So, I am certainly counting chickens before they’ve hatched, but it is all a part of the “I will get this job” approach that I have taken. There will the drawbacks of getting there and I will be commuting at least 2 hours a day. However, as long as I use public transit, those are two hours a day that belong to me and not to my break pedal. I will happily take advantage of being able to read and catch up on projects instead of riding bumper to bumper all the way to work.

well.. did anyone actually read all of that? just imagine, I’ve written another long post focusing on the financial aspects of the Thursday and Friday interviews. Just be glad I didn’t tack in on here and that I have another avenue to post personal finance information.

September 5, 2006

running home to mamma

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 2:30 pm

I’ve been working hard to finding additional income generating opportunities to help supplement the salary I am not yet making. One idea that flew through my mind is doing some work for my mom. She has been having trouble keeping part-time staff and is so overloaded with orders that she can’t maintain retail stock for her store while filling custom orders. She has stopped doing clothing alterations in order to simply focus on the custom orders that pay more per hour and are more fun to do. Despite all the things she has done, she still can’t keep up with demand.

We’ve talked several times about me making some items for her store but it normally comes down to a lack of time and, more accurately, lack of training and information on what exactly I should be making. Since her customers are specific group, the style is very important and finding online examples hasn’t been easy. So, I thought of another idea — why don’t I just fly out there and learn what I need to know first hand.

Well, my mother loves this idea. She see a light at the end of the tunnel for her shop if I can get to work making things to stock the shelves and she sees some relief from juggling everything she wants to do. In fact, she thinks this is such a great idea, she is going to buy my plane ticket and purchase all the supplies I need to get started. Once I get to making thing, she’ll get the supplies cost out of my first few sales and then she’ll be sending me payment either when things sale or we’ll work it out to where she’ll buy stuff from me upfront and sale in her store later.

Talk to Chris about the idea is a bittersweet idea. Chris likes to tear all ideas apart before deciding if they are good or not. And one of the first attacks on this idea was that it sounded like an excuse for me to “run home to mamma” and I was just going to run away to Oklahoma. Now, for those who know me well, there is a problem with that analysis. When I called and told my mom about his comments, we both laughed for several minutes — she and I both know that I DON’T want to go to oklahoma, that I HATE being in oklahoma, and that is the farthest thing from the truth that there is.

But, after more talk, we did tear the idea apart, look at it from all different angles, and decide that it is indeed an excellent opportunity. In fact, I thought it was a great opportunity before my mom through in the fact that she was going to front all material costs and my plane ticket — well, what’’s not to love about that idea. However, my mom had to accept the idea that Alex would not be coming with me on this trip — that took some convincing, but finally she agreed. Alex can’t go because to really learn this stuff, I need to spend about a week learning it and there isn’t a week long break coming up until December. No reason to wait that long when I could get started on projects now.

So, I’ll be heading off to Oklahoma next week, running home to mamma as Chris likes to joke now, and learning some traditional Native American crafts. Hopefully, I’ll be coming home to a new job opportunity, but with the way things are going, I need to be pursuing all the income generating ideas I can come up with., and enough skills to jump right in making stuff and money.