Category Archives: Work

changes

So I feel a change is a coming. Or maybe that’s just gas from the new “health” conscious diet that I’ve started, doctor’s orders. Well, not so much diet as “health” conscious eating choices? That’s consideration for another day.

Either way, there’s a shift happening and I’m not quite sure if I’m comfortable with the new direction.

Actually, if I’m brutally honest with myself, I’ve become too complacent with my life, as funny as that sounds. But I need a challenge. I’m becoming quite bored with the new static and I need to become uncomfortable again.

Maybe not uncomfortable, but I guess I should start applying myself to life. For so long, being in ‘The Pit’ warped my sense of time and urgency. Work was always the focus, making the rest of it all a bit fuzzy and numb. Now that work has taken more of a passenger role in my life, having my own time and my own life leaves me feeling fuzzy.

It makes me sad to say that my life feels fuzzy. Especially knowing that my friends who are at ‘The Pit’ still live in this condition. But maybe not. I’m an admitted workaholic. So I worked and worked and then worked some more. Maybe because I couldn’t focus and see the forest beyond the trees anymore, I focused blindly on work. Working that much at ‘The Pit’ gave me the singular focus of working and justified all my laziness.

Whatever works.

Pop psychology at it’s best here.

But I’m more than ready to move on.

the next chapter

So life after Damnation feels okay. It’s been about 2 months now and I’m slowly emerging from ‘The Pit,’ brushing away the cobwebs that settled over the rest of my life.

I won’t say that I’m glad to be gone because that is not the entire truth. I still think of my past co-workers often and miss the office of ‘The Pit’ much more than I thought I would. I want to know how everyone is getting along and wish only the best for those I’ve left behind. Because that behind is going to be a mess in a couple of months. A colossal train-wreck just waiting for an oil tanker to ram right through and ignite a fireball of insanity.

You may think I exaggerate, but I kid you not.

In any case, moving on. The 3+ years I spent there will be referred to as Damnation and the physical location as ‘The Pit.’ I think these are fitting references for that work environment. Which doesn’t say much since these monikers feel mild and I still loved my time there. It was just the insanity, drama and games that forced me to leave.

The new yonder will hopefully bring a return to work/life balance. Obviously, I’m a workaholic so I will always push. But maybe the man will push back and let me breathe a bit more here. Which gives me more time for you dear readers who I’ve ignored for so long. Which is probably all of one of you, my dear husband.

Off we go into the sunset.

what am I doing…

When it rains, it pours my friends. When two world collide, they will spectacularly implode and will somehow resemble my September. Downtime? Me-time? Pshaw. Sleep? Only for the weak. Who needs sanity?

Cherry Springs. Barcelona. Oh wait, let’s close on a house. My house. Then fly to San Francisco the very same night.

Seriously?

I must be clinical. Insane. Who let me out to play?

faith, restored (aka my trip to Beijing)

After traveling to Mumbai, I began to question my quest for travel. I admit it, I began to doubt myself. Doubt my own ability to travel. Compartmentalize my life for a few days to view the horizon beyond my life. Paradoxical in it’s very nature, so it was just up my ally. But what if the view didn’t broaden, but instead darken?

This, in a nutshell (and by the way, a nutshell I’ve been trying to summarize for three months but just found the words) was the question my Mumbai trip left me with in the end. The trip to Mumbai was difficult for a number of reasons. The post about the trip is still half written on my desktop, going nowhere fast. Eventually, some words will finally spew forth for some one’s reading torture pleasure at some point.

But I digress.

So after India, I found myself in a dark place. And not the angst ridden place of teenage years past where it would fuel a frenzy of creativity. A driving force, pushing me to produce something. No, instead, I get good sweet ‘ole Blocky.  It just mutes me. Crickets I tell you. And then my computer dies. And then my work erupts into a chaotic supernova. Which is then capped off by the volcanic ash of Iceland.

Awesome plumes of ash cascading over the skies, halting everything in its way. Now that I stop to think about it, what a perfect metaphor to my life at that exact moment. I’ll have to remember to keep that one. That’s right, I’m earth friendly here. I recycle. I’m green. Ah-hem.

So moving right along to June, I find myself dreading my next business trip. Turmoil in Asia doesn’t help much either. But what’s life without a little adventure? So off I go. First pick-me-up? Flying Continental Business with Flat Bed seats. Oh so delicious, making my 13+ hour flight just that much nicer. Second perk, staying at the Ritz Carlton Beijing. Point 1 to business travel, well on its way to spoiling me rotten for life.

But in all honesty, just crossing paths with this guy made the whole trip worthwhile:

Grumpy Old Man

This was the guardian of the ancients, as I so aptly dubbed him in my head. He set his post at the entrance to the Great Wall to keep a careful eye on all who dared to cross. He guided the lost and imparted great words of unintelligible wisdom to all. While smoking a ridiculous amount of hash in that over zealous pipe of his. This man, with his gap-toothed smile and extremely bright hue of orange, made me realize the oh so wondrous opportunities of travel.

Well, that and the toboggan ride down after we finished the wall just rocked:

Nothing beats a toboggan

I would fly back right now just for one more ride!

thirty

Turning 30. That’s the final threshold into adulthood. Yes, there’s 22, then 25. And then 26, 27, 28 and 29.

But thirty? The big 3-0? There’s no turning back now.

I wonder why thirty is on the mind. It’s not so much thirty, but this new level of responsibility. The hubby and I have been going back and forth about so many things for the past 2 weeks, I guess I have nothing else to talk about. It’s the only thing I could write about when I returned from my forced hiatus.

Maybe the combination of making several big-girl decisions has finally brought the reality home. I’m at a crossroads, in both my professional and personal life, and I just don’t know what to do. I’ve always had some vague notion or direction to help guide my actions up until now. But at this very moment, I’m lost.

Thank god I’m traveling to China on Monday. It will give me some space and time to think. Maybe. It being my first trip to China, I don’t think I’ll be sleeping much in my mad dash attempt at cramming ‘China’ into 24 or so hours.

Always fun.

Now if only I could just win a million bucks in the lottery, we’d be set.

what to pack?

I find myself frantically trying to find and fit everything I need for a week of business travel in a carry-on and my backpack. Can we do it? Let’s make the list and see what comes and what goes:

My1 Quart Liquid Bag: (it’s amazing how much crap fits in a Ziploc bag)

  • travel sized toothpaste
  • face wash
  • lotion
  • travel freebie perfume
  • travel sized antiperspirant
  • chap stick
  • contact solution
  • new pair of contacts

Backpack:

  • Laptop
  • Sony Cybershot
  • Business paperwork
  • 1 paperback book
  • Moleskine pocket notebook
  • Adapter
  • Passport
  • Phone
  • Chargers
  • Granola bars
  • Gum
  • iPod
  • Medication
  • Glasses/contacts

Carry-on Suitcase:

  • 2 skirts
  • 1 pair of knit slacks
  • 5 blouses
  • 3 t-shirts
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 1 pair of black pumps
  • 1 pair of sneakers
  • undergarments (underwear, bras, stockings, etc)
  • 1 sun dress
  • hat
  • toothbrush
  • hairbrush
  • hair ties
  • headband

We’ll see how this works itself out tomorrow when I actually sit down to pack. It’s so hard to pack for business.  I find that business travel almost always requires me to check luggage when I wouldn’t otherwise. Business clothes (i.e. suits) take up so much unnecessary space and require so many things (like extra shoes) that it makes me throw my hands in the air and give up.

But I’m determined to make this trip a carry-on only. And going to India helps because I’m packing summer clothes instead of bulky winter clothes.  I’ll update the post with my success or failure. Flying business means I get free checked bags, but I just hate retrieving the damn things from that carousel.  Call me lazy, but I’d much rather just cruise through arrivals at my destination than move from line to line to line.

China, here we come…

Although the dates have not been finalized, it looks like I’ll be traveling to China in a couple of months. Exciting? Yes. Calming? Absolutely not. As soon China was finalized with work, we starting discussing if he should tag along.

To go or not to go? The traveler’s eternal question that really only has one answer: Yes.

Of course, the answer is not always the problem. It’s the how?

Over the past few weeks, we (meaning I) have been frantically trying to price out the cost of taking another impromptu trip, rationalizing spending that much money, again, and then trying to piece together everything we want to see against the meager budget we have to work with on such short notice.  And with such a short turnaround time to work with, it’s making me nervous. Although I have a date range of when I should expect to go, I don’t receive confirmation of my dates or flight until approximately six weeks prior to the trip.

Six weeks? The thought of buying The Hubby’s plane tickets any later than now is making me queasy. Or maybe I’m just blowing the price all out of proportion in my head, but either way it’s just not pretty. I’ve tried to monitor the prices over the course of the last 3 weeks and prices have already gone up about $200. Just thinking about waiting another month at least is making my blood pressure spike.

*sigh*

But the The Hubby wants to go and when else will we get the opportunity to travel with essentially a $1500 discount with my airfare being covered (and in actuality it would be probably double that since the company will fly me Business, but who’s counting)? We may have to defer to a travel agent to make our arrangements again. We used Liberty Travel to help us with our last minute plans to Amsterdam and our agent was able to undercut the estimate I gave her from all the deals found on the web. Cha-ching! It gave us about $250 extra to spend while in Amsterdam.

Maybe she’ll be able to work her magic again for us.

all by myself?

Traveling is fun. But traveling with at least one partner in crime is much more fun. Although I would never miss an opportunity to travel because I don’t have an accomplice (and plus work couldn’t care less if I had company), I’ve found that exploring is much more fun when you share it with someone else. In looking back and comparing my trips to Ireland and Amsterdam, I can say that I had a good time in the Emerald Isle, but had a blast in the land of the Dutch. The main reason? Because I was able to share my experience and explore with another person.

When I traveled to Dublin by myself in September, the first thing I realized was that I wanted to share my excitement with someone. To be more precise, I wanted to share it with my Hubby. Ooo and ahhh together, hunt for trinkets and treasures, and make little side comments about everything we see (because, if you know me, you know there’s always a comment to be made). The shared experience is so much richer than the one taken alone.

So with that being said, I will be going off to India alone. Not because I want to but because my middle name is not money bags. We didn’t have enough time to plan or even begin to scrounge up enough money to have The Hubby tag along. But with two more trips coming up after India, we’re frantically trying to make a dollar out of fifteen cents. We’ve discussed and decided two things: 1) this is a once in a lifetime opportunity; and 2) we’ll eat SPAM and rice for the next three months so he can travel with me on at least one of the remaining two trips.

weary bones

My eyes say it all. If you’d take a good look at me today, weary and tired eyes would blankly blink back at you. Sagging bags, lines of red around the iris, puffy lids with lines of worry. Yes that’s my face, a picture of perfect health, if ones health was measured by stress, merrily skipping through the fiery rings of hell. An all expense paid trip courtesy of the job.

I’ve really come to dislike work. And this is more than your usual run of the mill, I-hate-work, talk. I’m close to using that hate word and that’s a very bad place to be. The only shinning light at this point is the opportunity to travel. But I’m hoping that light at the end of the tunnel is not a train. Which, with the current state of affairs, would not surprise me at all.

But away with all this depressive talk. Let’s focus instead on my next trip. I-N-D-I-A, here I come! At least, if your Consulate is kind enough to grace me with a visa. And on the topic of visas, who knew business visas to any country could be so expensive? Travel for business is a lucrative industry, especially if you’re on the receiving end of one these high traffic hubs.

Although there will be loads of work on this trip, I’m hoping that I’ll have time to make it out to at least some of the bazaars that the city is famous for and Elephanta Island. But venturing out into the city may be just a tiny bit problematic, what with the stay put edict The Hubby gave me a couple weeks ago. But hopefully I’ll be able to rope some fellow vendors out with me and see some of the town.

Keep your fingers crossed because if I have to stay in the hotel during my entire week stay in India, I will not come back a happy camper.