August 2007

I‘ve never been a social person - no one in my family is. We’re more the “family first” types, and so we don’t go out with friends very often. Because of that, friendships at work become even more important than they might otherwise. Work itself becomes more important - because I love my friends, I love my work, and I put more of myself into it.

After four years at my current job, I’m pretty invested. The people there who I call friends mean more to me than I can possibly put into words. I’ve learned so much from each of them, and I’ve received so much more than I ever expected I would. They have blessed my life in a thousand ways.

As I look back at my time at Dobson, it has been punctuated by so many memories…

My initial experiences on the phones with no training, except for a couple of days listening to and watching Micah, one of the most talented phone professionals I’ve ever known.

My time as a team lead when I took over 100 escalated calls a day, did a ton of my supervisor’s paperwork, took incoming calls and did all the cancellations for our region. If it hadn’t been for one sassy little girl named Andrion, I’d have never survived. As different as we are in age and culture and experience, I grew to love that smart, funny, talented young lady, and I couldn’t care for her more if she were my own daughter.

My time as a sales trainer when I was lucky enough to get to travel to so many small towns in Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas and Missouri and meet so many wonderful people. I will always think of Kristi, Danny, Stormy, Kelly, Steve, Keith and so many other wonderful sales gurus with great affection. With such difficult jobs to do, they are all great successes, and I know no one with bigger hearts.

My time as Project Manager of Internal Communications when I had the indescribable pleasure of working with the most talented people I know - Kathy, my friend and shoulder, who works harder than just about anyone I know; Kathleen, who has entertained me with her quick wit, buoyed me when I was down and wowed me with her amazing speaking skills; Ken, who has engaged me in some of the best conversations I’ve ever had; Jarred, who is mature beyond his years, funny and talented to no end and has a heart of gold; Shannon, who let me boss her around and saved me from myself a hundred times; Amanda, who’s tough as nails and an extremely talented communicator; Diane, who has taught me that even Yankees can be lovable; Michael, who shares my love of Jedi mind tricks; Joyce, who amazes me with her amazing wit, strength and courage; and Lori, who’s sharp as a tack and shares my love for the Beatles. Heather, Dan, Court, Heidi and the other wonderful trainers…awesome people who have done so much for me.

Getting to work with my wonderful son, Michael, who is talented beyond measurement and doesn’t even know it.

And there are so many other people there who have come to mean so much to me - the HR gang (such funny, sweet amazing women)…Cindy, Justin, Russell, Braxton, Bill, Thom, Terry, Miriam, Danny, Jason, Lori, Jackie, Rick, Andrea, Frank, April, Karla, Sara, Crystal, Nick and so many more of you. If I named you all, I’d never be able to get through this. You know who you are. :)

You have all made such an impression on me. You all mean SO much to me.

So, it should be no surprise that leaving you is so hard for me to do. I am filled with truly mixed emotions - excitement that I don’t have to search for months to find a decent job and sadness that I can’t be with you and just go on doing the great work we’ve been doing for all these years. I desperately want to take you all with me - to start something new and wonderful and show the world what we’re truly worth. We could so wow them!

But that is not possible, and so tomorrow I bid you all my fondest adieu. I know each of you will come out of this on top, carving out even better niches for yourself one by one. I just wish I could be there to see it.

I love you guys.

I miss you already. Thanks for being my friends.

This was my Sunday…

It actually all started on Saturday afternoon. Our normally hot August was unseasonably cool - it was 85 instead of 105 - and it was sprinkling. It sprinkled all day, as a matter of fact.

Sometime after midnight, a message buzzed across the Food Network screen: “There is an emergency in your area. Tune to channel 7 for life details.” I tuned to channel 7 and, surprise, the sprinkles had been coming from just the outer edge of a tightly revolving, very slow moving tropical storm. That’s right, weather buffs; it was the remnants of Erin. But, really, remnants isn’t a good word, because for the first time in my lifetime, a tropical storm made it all the way up to Oklahoma City.

I watched the weather for the next couple of hours. There was a tornado warning in Union City, where my step son lives. (It never touched the ground; thank God.) I finally drifted off to sleep. And, oh, what an awesome sleep it was - probably one of the best I’ve had in months. (At least there’s that.) When I woke up at 7:30, the eye was over us.

So, think about this. When I went to sleep around 2:30am, the storm was just hitting us. Five hours later, we were in the eye. That’s a slow moving storm.

We got almost six inches of rain during that five hours. I went back to sleep and didn’t get up until 11am. (It was an awesome sleep.)

It wasn’t until I woke up this second time that I realized that my house was probably flooded. The storm was still overhead, though luckily it was doing what it should have done before it got here - it was losing intensity and becoming disorganized.

The garage had about 5 inches of standing water in it, the front yard was a lake and my laundry room was soaked - all the clothes in the hamper, waiting to be washed were soaked, the carpet and padding were soaked. So, I had to do twice as much laundry as I’d intended. Plus a load of towels. This was not fun for three reasons.

1. The carpet was squishy wet, and I was barefooted. It was cold and gross.

2. The carpet was squishy wet, and I was barefooted. With the electrical appliances (washer/dryer) running, I was afraid I’d be electrocuted.

3. The carpet was squishy wet, and the dryer made the room hot. The humidity the wet carpet created made the room unbearable to be in.

(See what I mean? Not fun.)

After all that work was done, I sat down to prepare dinner. We were having shish kabob and home fries. Delish! I started the potatoes and onions and was in the livingroom cutting up the steak and onions when I heard a huge crash in the kitchen, followed by the breaking of glass.

As I ran into the kitchen, I heard a number of things being knocked over inside my cabinet, and as I rounded the corner, I saw one of the cats jump out of the cabinet where the olive oil had been stored.

The olive oil was all over the floor. A new bottle. Lots of shards of glass. Oil EVERYWHERE. And I’ve got potatoes and onions frying on the stove.

So I have to stop what I’m doing and go mop up the kitchen floor, (Holy cow.) pick up the glass, turn the potatoes, don’t get killed falling on the oil and the glass, mop some more, pick up more glass, mop some more and some more and some more. Then I put the shish kabob on. We ate the potatoes long before it was done.

The whole day sucked.

First tropical storm Erin. Then, hurricane Pelix.

We all like to feel good; don’t we? Which would you prefer; a day where you feel like crap and look worse, or a day where you’re content and have a glow about you? Come on; tell the truth. This one is a no brainer.

When you boil life down to its lowest common denominator for any living thing on Earth, the bottom line is happiness. We all do what we can to get it. Some people take relaxing vacations. Some people drink, smoke or do drugs. Others eat. People find their happiness in a thousand different ways.

Me? I smile.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking - Poliana is at it again. But it’s true.

I wasn’t always a smiler. As a matter of fact, as a teenager, I was the queen of wearing my heart on my sleeve. Back then, if I was having a bad day, you’d know it just by looking at me. I could be very sullen - what a joy I must have been to be around.

It was because of my sullenness that I learned the power of wielding a smile. It happened on a warm afternoon when I was about 16. I was working at the counter at McDonald’s, and I didn’t want to be there. My head ached, I was cramping and my mood was just horrible. Being the responsible kid that I was, though, I went to work anyway and then let everyone around me pay for it.

After about an hour of this, my manager came up behind me and told me that if I didn’t get a smile on my face that I could go home for good. So, I swallowed my anger and pain and smiled. Every customer who came in over the next hour saw that smile. As time passed, more and more people came in until it was one of the most hectic days we’d had in a long time. Still, I smiled, and sometimes laughed. My customers smiled and laughed, too. Even the people who came back to complain smiled.

People were being nice to me! I remember trying to figure out why people were being so pleasant, and then it hit me, it was the smile! I figured out then and there that if I’d smile, even when I didn’t want to, people around me couldn’t help but smile back.
So, I started smiling all the time. Not only did it make me feel happier, but it caused the world around me to feel happier, too. And that made my life so much easier! No more did I get a frequent stream of angry customers, no longer did I face a sea of sullen faces.

And it’s been that way my entire life since then. My smile has opened doors for me. It’s kept me out of harm’s way. It’s just made life easier. Try it for yourself! The toothier the better! :D

Change is never easy for some people. It causes anxiety and angst, fear and frustration, but the hardest part of facing change is the disequilibrium you feel when faced with it.

Disequilibrium is, quite literally, a feeling of unbalance, of not having both feet on the ground. I get that feeling every time I have to face a major change in my life, and until I feel like I have both feet on the ground, I’m just not comfortable.

One of the worst situations for me, personally, arises when I have to change jobs. It doesn’t matter if the new job makes tons more money than the old one. It doesn’t matter if the benefits are better or my office is bigger. What matters is that I’m out of my element. I don’t know any of the people. My environment is different, and I don’t know the rules. Put those things together, and you have major disequilibrium and an unhappy person, at least for a while.

Feeling self assured is my goal, and I suppose, to some extent, it’s everybody’s goal. (Can you imagine a world where everyone didn’t care about that? I’m not sure that’s a place I’d like to live!) Changing jobs means major insecurity; so how do we reconcile that insecurity for our need to be self assured?

The only way I know is to handle it one of two ways. One, you never change jobs. This method is all well and good if you’re a turnip (which I’m not), but for the more ambitious of us, that alone would make us nuts. The other way is to just grin and bear it. Do whatever you can to learn the environment around you, and soon you won’t have to worry about being different. You’ll be one of the gang, your projects will be easy, and you’ll be a star.

Driving used to be fun. When I was a teenager, and life bore down on me for one reason or another, I would climb into my Dad’s car and drive to Texas and back. Those were the days - the highway stretched straight ahead the whole way, and there was never a trooper on the road, so if you felt the need for speed, you could fulfill it. Texas was about 90 miles away from our home in Lawton, Oklahoma, but that 90 miles spelled freedom. Freedom from cares, freedom from responsibilities, freedom to let the wind blow through my hair. All that freedom for just 60 cents a gallon.

Today, driving is another experience altogether. Any driving experience these days can be defined by one or more of these things: congested traffic, road construction, ludicrously high gas prices, angry drivers, idiot drivers and/or bad drivers.

Angry drivers I can live with. You can usually tell who they are; angry drivers are the guys bobbing and weaving through traffic, going unusually fast for no good reason. They’re the guys or gals who ride your ass when you drive, shooting you the bird with a sneer as you nervously watch them in your rear view mirror. I deal with these guys by annoying them. By driving really slowly and riding my brakes, I can usually get these guys to pass me and endanger someone else’s life. Every now and then, one of them will retaliate by driving slowly in front of me, but if that happens, I just let them until their need for speed drives them to take off, rubber screeching and tail weaving.

Bad drivers are a little more difficult to deal with. These are the completely unpredictable drivers. Their speeds can vary from 40 to 80 on the highway, and it seems most of them don’t know the meaning of the white line the marks the border of each lane. I deal with these people by giving them the widest berth possible. It may mean going really fast or really slow, but the name of the game here is getting the heck away from these guys.

The hardest of all are the idiot drivers. These are the clueless morons texting while driving, or the people who come to a complete stop to turn off a highway, or those who stop while merging onto a highway. These are the folks who tell their insurance claims adjuster that they don’t think they had an accident when, in reality, they’d scraped the entire length of a Hummer. (”I thought I had just run over the curb. Oh, my!”) These are the folks who are completely unaware of their surroundings, holding everyone on the highway hostage as they take up the only available lane going 48 in a 65mph zone. These are the people I’d like to line up against the wall while I run down the line slapping each one hard as I passed.

With the road ragers, the idiots and the just-plain-bad drivers everywhere, it’s just no fun to blow off steam by taking a road trip anymore. It’s dangerous, it’s frustrating and, if you stop to think that you’re now paying about $1.50 for every mile you drive, it’s really not worth it.

I think it’s sad, though. Driving used to mean something. When we were kids, we traveled the famous Route 66 before it was famous. Cars were behemoths with so much heavy gauge steel that you didn’t have to worry too much about being in a wreck. Now, you’re lucky if your car can’t be dented with a little force behind your thumb.

Someday, I hope the road can become my friend again. I miss those drives down a quiet highway.

Call me a complete geek, but I love gaming. It challenges the mind while allowing the freedom of knowing that what accomplishments or failings I may have in the game make no difference to me in real life.One of the best things about it is that it transforms me. In real life, I’m a writer and editor, loved by those who understand I’m only working to make them look smarter and hated by those who are offended that I’ve changed what they’ve written. I’m considered by many to be a studious person, full of fun but also very serious (and more than a little anal retentive) about my work and work ethic.

In Netherstorm or Terroker Forrest, though, I’m a bad-ass. I can destroy monsters who are working equally hard to destroy me while I heal myself to full health. I can leap from tall cliffs as a cat, run fast and hard as a cheetah, fight with the strength of a bear and when I know I can’t win, I can fly like the wind. In my virtual world, I can be attacked by an opposing faction and come out the victor. And when I’ve won, I can climb upon my epic mount and cross the world faster than almost everyone in the game.

In real life, the only time the bad-ass in me comes out is when I work and when I feel the need to protect my son. Other than that, I’m pretty mild mannered. So I don’t mind telling you - I like being able to be a tough gal in the virtual world.

Being a bad-ass can be fun, but even in the virtual world, bad-asses can be girls with a sweet side. ;>

« Previous PageNext Page »