Category Archives: Fun

Sometimes Life Has Other Plans…

One of these days I am going to learn to not get too excited about things I think will be fun, and not get too down about things I think are going to royally suck.  I often end up wrong about both.

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Saturday I got my hair done, got a brow wax, got a manicure and a last minute bug up my butt to whiten my teeth, so I got some fancy 2-hour strips…all in preparation to take tons of pics with all my fave HR celebrities and network the hell out of people.  It was not an inexpensive day but frankly the hair and the brows needed to be done anyway and were unavoidable.  I was looking a little Dukakis there.

Saturday night was not what I had planned, but it was awesome.  The few minutes I spent with some HR celebs in the restaurant while shoving food in my face were really fun, and tasty.  Picking up the fellas at the airport was an adventure and they were fabulous.  If I could only spend a little quality time with a few people there, Mike Haberman, Doug Shaw and Bill Boorman were good choices.

amigos

Then came the cut.  What I thought was not that bad before I went to bed (at 5 am) was not that great in the morning (at 9 am).  It eventually required superglue and a couple stitches.  Nothing life-threatening but super inconvenient and painful.  The tetanus shot was not fun either and the pain meds made me super queasy.  Sunday through Tuesday was largely me sleeping like the dead, sitting around with my foot propped up, and occasionally experiencing some very unpleasant things…with the ball of my foot all taped up and me walking awkwardly on the outer side of my foot, as little as possible.  The cut is kind of in a crease, so it shouldn’t even scar (which is good for future blisters, I’m told) and could have been way worse.  I’ve had way worse happen to me (ACL injury, 2 ruptured cervical discs) and I can still see poor Kevin Ware’s injury in my head, so this was NOTHING, really, and I have no right to complain.

Still, less than ideal timing.  I had a chance to hang out with Laurie Ruettimann and totally missed my chance to fangirl on her like I planned, I missed Janine and Doug from my Zombie Apocalypse team, William Tincup (and I remember we talked about it in the car but I don’t remember what the answer was…was he BORN with that last name?) plus British people!  I’ve been watching Doctor Who and I was in love with all things British up until a certain character had to leave and now I’m just pissed.  But I didn’t know that till last night!  I would’ve been FINE over the weekend with the Brits!

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I got excellent coverage of SHRM from all the tweets and blogs coming from there.  I learned a lot and was entertained quite a bit, and wasn’t even there.  If you haven’t done so yet, take a look through all the #lashrm13 tweets and Google it to read some great blogs.

dentist

In celebration of me possibly finally learning this life lesson, rather than aim for any “fun” activities next week, I’m going to try and see the dentist, the gyno and start training for my first 5k as soon as these stitches come out.  If I get really crazy I might try and get a colonoscopy.   I’m anticipating mild to moderate fun.

Keep ya posted!

-HRGF

PS – I believe the foot is doing well.  Walking on it is less painful and it itches like a mofo.  That’s a good sign, yes?  Healing?  Let’s hope so.

A Skirmish at SHRM-ish. Evening One.

Ok, so I ran around doing a million things today.  Drove across the river to feed a friend’s cats cause she’s out of town.  Got my hair done.  Finished the greatest piece of art the world has ever seen, washed clothes, unpacked my trunk cause I realized the Brits would need room for their luggage, watched some Walking Dead cause I need to catch up to discuss with Janine Truett and other stuff I can’t even remember.  Today has been a blur.

I arrived at Lucy’s Retired Surfer’s Bar & Restaurant around 8:15 pm.  I was supposed to go pick up the Brits, Doug Shaw and Bill Boorman, at the airport at 8, but their flight was delayed.  I had someone order me food before I arrived, ran in, met Lizzie Maldonado, Teela Jackson, Dwane Lay, Matt Charney, Robin Schooling, Bryan Wempen, Cat Carlos, Courtney Young, Jen McClure and all kinds of people.  It was great.  I scarfed my food like my life depended on it, despite that being the best shrimp and grits I have ever had EVER, right Lizzie?!  Then I ran to pick up the Brits at the airport.

Oof.  Couch to 5K starts next weekend, for SURE.  In the meantime, it was a blast meeting all these people and reconnecting with the ones I already knew!  So much fun!

Oof. Couch to 5K starts next weekend, for SURE. In the meantime, it was a blast meeting all these people and reconnecting with the ones I already knew! So much fun!

When most of my friends fly into Louisiana, they go to New Orleans.  I am much more familiar with the New Orleans airport than the Baton Rouge one.  Also, it was nighttime and I don’t know where all the parking entrances and exits are, so I lapped the airport about 17 times.  I saw the terminal with people just parked there in front of the doors but there were no spaces and cops everywhere and I didn’t know if that was allowed or what, so I just kept driving and driving and went the wrong way up some ramps a few times and I don’t even know.  No, I have not had a single drop of alcohol tonight.  I just hate this airport.

I finally figured it out and parked a grillion miles away.  Walked into the airport carrying my amazing artwork, and trying to keep it from catching air.  Then I get there and there are ZERO flights from Houston on the board.  There are about 19 from Dallas but NONE from Houston.  Now, the Baton Rouge airport only has 4 gates and 1 escalator anyway, so I wasn’t super worried about missing them within the airport, but I was briefly worried their flight had been diverted to NOLA.  That has happened to me twice, for various reasons.

A lovely gay couple became enraptured with my sign and they took my pic for me.  Then I went and sat near the escalator with my huge sign and just hoped that eventually I’d see someone.  Doug came down the escalator waving his arms gleefully like a child.  It was hilarious.  Immediate hugs and cheek kisses all around.  No, never met him, just know him from Twitter but it’s like we’re best buds already.  I love Twitter.  Then Bill came down waving also and we also hugged.  I handed out Mardi Gras beads instead of leis.  We walked to the front door and ran into Mike Haberman who had just landed and was attempting to get a ride to his hotel, so we scooped him up too.

The greatest piece of art the world has ever known.  Move aside, Guernica.

The greatest piece of art the world has ever known. Move aside, Guernica.

I left the fellas there with the sign and ran to get the car.  On the way to the car I realized that I had left my phone in my seat when I got up to hug Doug.  My superawesome iPhone with its superawesome iPhone case WAS NOW GONE.

I flipped out which did not help me find the exit from the parking lot any faster.  I actually attempted to drive out the entrance because it’s marked like 2 lanes go in and 2 go out, but no.  I’m sure I’m on security footage now with people either laughing at me or tagging my plates to put me on some kind of list.  Anyway.  I finally got out of the parking lot, headed up to the terminal, parked way at the end and did not give a damn that a cop was standing right there.  In fact, I asked him to guard my running car with my purse still in it by telling him I was picking people up but had left my phone.  Luckily he was very nice and agreed.

Greatest phone case in the world, ammirite?  You'd sprint into a state of asthma and angina for this too, don't lie.

Greatest phone case in the world, ammirite? You’d sprint into a state of asthma and angina for this too, don’t lie.

Sprinted inside, ran by the boys, told them to go find the car with the cop guarding it, and dashed for the escalator.  Phone was still there.  It was a SHRM miracle!  I caught my breath while we waited for Doug’s bag to get off the conveyor, dropped Haberman at his hotel, drove the Brits to their hotel (an adventure in itself because almost all of downtown is one way and I was using Google maps with audio.  That GPS bitch is an overachiever.  Hello, I’m at a red light!  You’re going 97 steps ahead of me and I can’t move!), they checked in, we took a pic with the sign (THAT WE ARE TOTALLY GOING TO REDO BECAUSE THAT VALET WAS AN IDIOT), walked to the bar I had recently left from and chilled with the gang some more.

All that ugly side of the hotel and you couldn't get the bottom of my awesome sign with the 2 guys it mentions?!  Come on!

All that ugly side of the hotel and you couldn’t get the bottom of my awesome sign with the 2 guys it mentions?! Come on!

They took off for another bar to hear some blues but I want to be semi-alert tomorrow, so I came on home.  I am exhausted now.  The conference doesn’t even officially start till tomorrow at 1.  My night was only from 8:15 – 11:15 and it was awesome, aggravating and terrifying when I thought I lost the phone.  I have no idea how I’d replace all that info.  I have to look into that.  Anyway.  I’m exhausted and I have to tweet golf in the morning.

You kids enjoy your breakfast tomorrow.  Look for #hrgolf tweets from the 1st 9 holes before I go to Jen McClure’s workshop!  Goodnight!

-HRGF

Update – And I just heard a ruckus outside like someone maybe breaking into cars, so I went to see…cause I’m a nosy dumbass like that, who enjoys her car.  Like what was I going to do?  Stop the criminals with my Buffy-esque fighting skills?  Why did I go out there?!  No, not breaking into cars…idiots littering beer bottles.  Part got between foot and flip flop and I stepped on it.  This better not be some kind of SHRM beginner’s curse.  The bleeding has stopped, but it’s painful and the peroxide was esp unpleasant.  Hope I don’t need a stitch.  Cross your fingers.

My First SHRM Conference – #lashrm13

Hey Gang!

The Louisiana Society for HR Management is having their conference in Baton Rouge this year and it goes from Sunday afternoon to Tuesday evening.  Some early birds are flying in on Saturday even, so there will be pre-conference fun as well.  I am attending the event as “press” because I will be live-tweeting most of my sessions and blogging to wrap up the day’s events.

Look for my Twitter to blow up with amazing info that I’m learning and some juicy behind the scenes scoop on some of my fave HR celebs too.

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I’ll be tweeting from my usual handle, @HRGalFriday.  My boss will be tweeting her sessions from the company account.  She’s attending some of the same things as me, so you’ll get to see two perspectives on the keynote speeches, for example, if you follow that Twitter also.  It is @RepCapital.

In addition to seeing some old HR buddies from around town that I don’t see very often like Robin Schooling and Christine Assaf, I am interested in meeting most of my Twitter buddies for the first time!  The list includes: Bill Boorman, Doug Shaw, Crystal Miller, Laurie Ruettimann, William Tincup, Bryan Wempen, Nisha Raghavan, Teela Jackson, Janine Truett, Lizzie Maldonado, Matt Charney, Dwane Lay, Jennifer McClure, Brad Galin, Broc Edwards, Mike Haberman, Sarah Williams, Michael VanDervort and probably tons more that I’m forgetting.  I am so excited.  If you aren’t following them all on Twitter by now, you should remedy that IMMEDIATELY.  They are all great and they’ll be tweeting about #lashrm13 too, I imagine.  (I am going to go so fangirl on Laurie Ruettimann, you don’t even know.  Check out her YouTube clips of her speeches. She is hilarious!)  And no, I did not link to all those Twitter accounts because I’m very lazy busy.  Just jot them down, the people are easy to find.

So far I am set to see keynotes from Dwane, Jennifer and Bill, a session about PPACA, one about FLSA, one about best practices in hiring veterans, one about social HR leadership from Doug Shaw, one about retirement and something from Brad Galen entitled “Who do YOU want to Hire?  A Monkey, Ninja, or Pirate?”  I’m getting WAY in the front for that one so I can tweet some pics, for sure.

crawfish21

I know one or two other little details that no one else is privy to just yet because I’m awesome and special.  Look for some fun updates and photos on my Twitter and here too, time permitting.  Also, the blogging…some might be here, some might be at http://repcapitalmedia.com/blog/ also.  Be sure to check both accounts and both blogs for all the scoop.  It’s going to be BIG FUN!

This post originally left off what I’m almost looking forward to the most.  At the ass crack of dawn on Sunday morning, after having been drinking and partying Saturday night and arriving from their various countries/locales, a few of the guys have decided on a round of golf.  Robin Schooling’s husband Douglas will be taking Dwane and Matt to play 18 holes.  Christine, Doug Shaw and I plan to watch the inevitable tears and recriminations.  I’ll be live tweeting the first 9 holes on Sunday morning with the hashtag #hrgolf before heading back for the official workshop to kick off the conference.  I expect it will be entertaining.

- HRGF

Also, before I forget, I am currently working on a blog post about a very cool internship program I’ve discovered being held by MasterCard.  They are holding contests for these internships in 6 countries around the world and the US deadline is April 7.  My post won’t be finished by then but if you or someone you know is registered full time at an accredited university in the US and looking for a cool internship, check out the MasterCard site for more details.  The webisodes are really funny.  Or, you can check out the #internswanted hashtag on Twitter, or check out @MasterCardNews.

More Spring Cleaning – Skeletons in the Closet Edition

This is about to get real people.  Buckle up. skeletons I always tell my friends that one of these days I’m going to write a book called “Uninvited to Christmas: How Email Forwards are Killing Society’s Families” because 1) I have a LOT of experience in this arena and 2) so does everyone else.  Really.  Email forwards need to stop.

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My liberal friends and family forward me liberal jokes and articles that they know I’ll agree with, but chances are I’ve already seen it online myself.  My conservative friends and family forward me jokes and articles they know I will hate on the off chance that this one email forward will make me rethink my whole life philosophy and my positions on Obama, Jesus and Bill O’Reilly, in that order.  I really think the conservatives want me to hate Obama more than they want me to love Jesus.  It’s disturbing.

Obama-laughing_column~1384b6ce578835eb90091bbf6b8b2f3c jesus-christ-blue 1363665260_1282_Bill OReilly

Even the seemingly benign email forwards are stupid and pointless.  Bill Gates has never sent anyone money to track anything.  I have NEVER gotten flip-flops in the mail, which is the dumbest thing ever, and the recipe chain letter…well that started one of the biggest fights in Rodgers family history.

A friend sent me that recipe thing and I was the evil forwarder this time.  The year was 2005. I passed it along to my mom and grandma, both excellent cooks, and thought it would be something fun they could do on the interwebz as they were both still not wholly comfortable on there at the time.  My grandma Bonnie, the most awesome spit-fire-est redhead to ever live in the state of LA, promptly emailed me back and told me in no uncertain terms that I didn’t call her enough on the phone and talk to her enough to get any of her recipes and this was all a bunch of bullshit in which she would NOT participate.

Having been born a blonde but with a little bit of spit-fire myself, I replied.  That was my first mistake.  I should have just called her and had a fun conversation and realized that this was her butthole way of asking for attention, quite literally, because she needed it. Instead, I told her that listening to a list of all her ailments and how badly she wanted to “crawl in the grave” all the time was not fun and that’s why I didn’t call her very frequently.  I told her I thought it was especially inappropriate since she knew very well that in August of 2005, my grandfather on the other side of the family had died and I was still upset about that.  That was my second mistake.

Not my grandma, but not far off either. I’ve seen that eye roll many times.

This must have been post-Thanksgiving and before Xmas, because I’m pretty sure I’d have been uninvited to Thanksgiving also if that were near.  As it was, I was uninvited to Christmas.  We made up and everything was fine before Christmas actually rolled around, but for a couple weeks there, things were really tense…

WHICH BRINGS ME TO - 

I’m going through something like that now.  The reason my family did not visit last week was because my father and I got into an argument.  I had asked him for some financial advice (not money, advice on what to do with MY money) and I believe he was genuinely trying to help me, but he went way above and beyond what I asked and did it behind my back.  I felt left out of the process like a child.  Then he WAY overshared with the financial advisor who was supposed to come to lunch with us and accidentally forwarded it to me in an email. Email forwards are ALWAYS a bad idea.  Much like car alarms, the FWD option on email needs to die.  The advisor, looking to keep my dad happy and make a nice commission, ate it up.  ”Thank you for telling me all this.  I need to know this to make decisions when you’re gone.”

Greedy liar.

Ummm, no you don’t.  How exactly does the way in which my grandpa died affect your financial advice, jackass?  Do mutual funds only accept money from people whose grandpas died of cancer but not strokes?  No.  And now I don’t trust this man AT ALL because he helped hide these plans for my money with my parents and then flat out lied to them about needing all these horrible details of our lives that my dad laid out for him with such great clarity.  Bottom line: if someone will help YOU lie to someone else, they will also help someone lie to YOU.  They cannot be trusted.

This is but a snippet of dad’s email that I’m sure he meant to delete before I saw it: Dominique is my oldest daughter and she is the one in Baton Rouge. She spent her junior and senior years of high school at Natchitoches in the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts. She got a $20,000 scholarship to LSU in 1997. She still hasn’t gotten a degree. She changed majors several times and then went to work and took classes part time. She is back in school and says she will finally get a degree.

There was a LOT more to it that led to the argument, but I was also very angry at the tone of this passage.  And then I thought…why?  It’s true.  I don’t think it was this financial advisor’s business but nothing he said in there is a lie.  Some of it is out of context, perhaps, but it’s all true.  Maybe I’m mad at him because I’m really just ashamed of myself.  I’m certainly not bragging to anyone that I wasted a 20k scholarship and racked up 244 hours of college credit without a degree.  I’m not happy that I suffered severe depression in college for many years without telling anyone or getting treatment.  I wish that mental illness hadn’t stolen about 5 of the most important years of my life, but it did and there’s nothing I can do about it now except try and do the best I can in this moment, right now.  That’s all any of us can do.  Call me crazy, call me a late-bloomer or immature.  That’s fine.  I’ve been (rightly) called much worse at times.  I’m almost 34 years old, single, childless, and still ask my dad for financial advice and run to him first any time something is wrong with my car.  I’ve made many terrible HUGE mistakes in my life, and I don’t think those mistakes are anyone else’s to share.  Basically, I’m mad at dad for bringing out my skeletons before I had the balls to do it myself.  So, I’ve decided to take a page from his book and get it all out there so no one can surprise me by revealing my secrets ever again.  So here goes – my skeletons. gloria I did fine for about the first 2 years of college and then something changed.  It was gradual, but something definitely changed.  I went out less, saw my friends less, and cared less about school and work.  I know now that I was in the first stages of my major depression and at an age at which it typically strikes.  I put on a show for everyone and never let anyone know how exhausted I was all the time or how much effort it took to give a shit about even the littlest things.  I went to the Health Center once at LSU and they assigned a student to talk to me.  She was blonde, thin, gorgeous, a sorority girl, and wore a huge diamond on her finger because she had just gotten engaged.  She was 2 years older than me.  She didn’t help me and instead I ended up really annoyed with her and wanted to kick her in the taco, to steal a phrase from a dear friend.

I kept up the mask for a few more years, running out of scholarship money.  Then for a few semesters I’d put tuition on a credit card, go to school for a few weeks, get overwhelmed, and withdraw.  Sometimes officially and sometimes not, so I have a few F’s on my transcripts. This lowered my GPA and raised my debt quite a bit, but I was working and was able to keep up with that, so it was manageable.  Then I was laid off, or more accurately, streamlined myself out of a job.  Then all the bills went on the credit card, including medications for the depression I was now being treated for.  They were not cheap, esp now that I was without health insurance.

The meds worked though, enough to make me think with every new semester that I could do well this time and the cycle repeated itself.  (This is part of how it takes a LONG time to get over depression when you wait so long to get treatment.)  I got another job, kept up with the payments and with school, made some progress, then I’d get exhausted/overwhelmed and drop out again.  I did this a few times without telling anyone.  I never wanted to hurt myself. I knew I deserved better.  I knew a girl who went to a boarding school for gifted students ought to be doing way better in life than all this bullshit, I just couldn’t seem to come out of this fog and make it happen.

Fogwilllift

It will, if you get help.

Eventually, through another job change or two, I had to declare bankruptcy.  All this was going on from about 99-05, and then I just quit school altogether, worked, tread water and tried to stay afloat till everything collapsed in 2008.  Thinking back on it, I should have reached out for mental and financial help MUCH SOONER, but I was ashamed.  I was still operating under the illusion that mental illness was a character flaw and not a disease, that I was just lazy.  Later, it would become very clear to me that wasn’t the case and that my family had a history of depression that I didn’t know about.

Anyway, I declared Ch. 13 bankruptcy in January of 2009.  I’m not proud of it, but it happened.  I wanted to pay something rather than pay nothing.  I felt horribly guilty and that was the least I could do, and a Ch. 13 worked out better for me than a Ch. 7.  It wasn’t fun.  They make you stand up in court and announce, basically, that you are worthless…and that’s how they treat you.  It’s a very humbling and shitty experience. bankrupt But…that will be all paid off and over in about a year. I am actually doing okay in school now.  The progress is slow but steady.  I have a lot of hours in several degree programs, so I wasn’t too far off from a general studies degree.  I only have about 4 more classes left, I think.  Maybe 5.  I’m not sure.  But things are looking up.  2013 is already off to the best start that I can remember in a very long time.

My argument with dad won’t last too much longer.  My hurt will dissipate and eventually he’ll apologize and explain why he felt the need to keep me in the dark about all this.  We still love each other, I know that.  And maybe it’s a good thing.  Maybe it’s forcing me to admit to myself all that is and WAS, wrong in my life.  Nobody’s perfect.  You can’t take a look at someone’s social media and infer anything about their life.  Most of the time people only put their absolute best moments up there.  For every cute “selfie” photo your friends have posted, there are a dozen they threw out because of a zit or a double chin.  Well I’m out here, world.  Here are my zits and double chins.  Some of them, anyway.  Now no one will ever be able to use them against me again.

A lot of my friends and family will be shocked to read this because I hid it all really well.  I got very good at essentially lying to myself and others about how I was doing, so I wouldn’t worry anyone or have to face myself just how bad it was.  Others will be shocked because they already knew and knew the incredible shame I’ve felt about this up to and including last weekend when this argument with dad started.  I can’t explain it.  I didn’t plan to write about this when I woke up this morning.  But the argument with dad, then this article: mrkt.ms/ZsLtZN , and it being Good Friday just got me thinking.

I also didn’t write this for sympathy so please don’t feel a need to reach out and tell me how awesome I am despite all this.  I know that.  Not being snide, I just really do know that.  My mental health is doing better now and I know that these prior events and setbacks do not define me.  I just felt like taking it back from others and sharing it myself, on my own terms. This is where I’m living now and it feels pretty good: know more Instead of reaching out to me, reach out to someone around you.  Statistically 1 out of 4 people is suffering from some type of mental illness, the effects of which can reach WAY beyond their brain, as you can see.  If you suspect it’s you, then it’s you.  Get help.  The longer you wait, the harder it is to treat.  If you suspect it’s someone else, talk to them.  Do not go behind their back and not involve them in their own treatment.  Do not let them feel tricked in any way, just reach out to them and offer your love and support.  Encourage them to get help on their terms and check in with them.  That really can make all the difference.

Everyone enjoy a great Easter weekend!  Even us non-religious folk can celebrate.  It’s all about fresh starts…and chocolate! – HRGF

Spring Cleaning Edition – “No Fun” Friday

It’s time for spring cleaning, ladies and gents.  My crap is out of hand.

Since I got my fantastic new job, I think I’ve been juggling work and school pretty well.  Some great opportunities have opened up at the office.  I’ve met all my official coworkers (all 3 of them) and they are awesome ladies.  Very smart and talented.  I’m doing very well in my Pharmacology class.  History, well…yea, new job and Pharmacology!

I’ve been balancing all this pretty well, but some other stuff has fallen through the cracks. I’ve never been the best housekeeper to begin with, and a yearly spring cleaning is always something I want to do but never actually do.  I’m okay when I live with others, but when I live alone and no one else has to see my filth, it gets ugly sometimes.

Burn it down, yes?  Is that the right answer?

Burn it down, yes? Is that the right answer? Just me then? Ok.

My family was supposed to come visit this weekend.  For reasons that aren’t important, that got cancelled at the last minute and left me pretty aggravated.  Their visit had me consuming caffeine and scrubbing like a mad woman and now the aggravation is continuing it.  I do my best cleaning when I’m nervous or pissed.  A yearly blast o’ spring cleaning ensures the health department doesn’t have to come visit me and that when I am eventually committed to the nut hatch, it will be for serious reasons, not my Everest size mountain of laundry.  The aggravation will be gone by the time I’m done cleaning AND I’ll have sparkly like-new bathroom fixtures.  Yea for everyone.

laundry

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next weekend, I plan to do some spring cleaning for my social media.  I have emailed myself several articles I haven’t  had a chance to read yet.  I need to polish up the blog a bit.  My computer needs a tuneup, etc.  I need to find a new RSS reader now that Google is ending theirs.  But this weekend…oof.  Lots of cleaning to do.

I feel like there’s this perfect version of Dominique out there somewhere.  She’s a morning person.  She gets up early and does her Couch to 5k training when it’s still cool outside.  She comes home and does her writing, studies, keeps the house clean, runs errands, eats lots of veggies, saves up her money, hangs out with friends, attends the theateh — you have to say it really douchey like that…theateh — and is generally awesome.  She might even have a dog someday now that she’s home enough to take him for walks.  A rescued Boston named Edgar, maybe.

WomanRunnerCloseup portrait of a happy young woman using laptop

 

Colorful vegetables and fruitsboston

This Dominique will not be achieved with the Fuji size mountain of dishes.  My physical clutter is creating mental clutter.  So, this  ↓↓↓ will be me today!  If you see me on FB or Twitter, make me stop and go resume the Spring Cleaning Frenzy!

woman_spring_cleaning1

In the spirit of that, here are some articles that have been helping me get motivated for my Spring Cleaning Sprint.  Enjoy!

What You Should Take Off Your Desk Right Now by @EntMagazine ”Replace the objects you remove with what is the opposite. Instead of things that make you feel heavy, guilty or overwhelmed, bring in things that uplift, nourish and encourage you. For example, replace that pencil cup with a vase of flowers or a budding branch. Your desk should bear reflection on the best things in your life.” — This isn’t so much about spring cleaning as inspiration to finally set up my office once the spring cleaning is over!

9 Steps To Organize Your Social Media For Success by @heidicohen  “Establish a social media calendar for engagement and content sharing. If you’ve already got one, ensure that it’s aligned with your current social media objectives.”

How To Transform Your Spring Cleaning Into A Paycheck by @BrokeGirlsGuide ”[W]hile we’re more than happy to help out…the world, and contribute to…humanity, we’d be lying if we said it wouldn’t bum us out to see all those hard-earned dollars end up at Goodwill. But if we don’t start cleaning up our act soon, we’re pretty sure that recruiters from the show Hoarders will be hounding us any day now.”

Skinny Up Your Kitchen by @goodhealth  “With a quick cabinet [reorganization], simple food swaps, and even a workout move to do during boiling-water downtime, you can transform a fat-belly kitchen into a flat-belly one.” — I need spring cleaning for my diet also.  For sure!

Ampersands and a Sheepskin Chair: The Mid-Century Modern Workspace by @lifehacker  “With accents like an authentic mid-century modern Danish desk, Herman Miller Eames chair, and sheepskin chair cover, this workspace definitely earns that title. It’s a refined office that showcases Cristina’s sharp eye and love of design.”  For the record, I hate that sheepskin chair cover, but I would cut out one of my kidneys myself for that desk!!!

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PS – On a personal note, some thanks for support, assistance and serendipitous introductions this week:  @RyanEstis, @MESlayter, @RepCapital, @MasterCardNews & especially @HR_Nasty.  Thank you!!

Pope Francis I and Learning to be a Remote Worker

The smoke was white this afternoon (evening in Rome) and Twitter was all aflutter with the news.  I scrambled to find the TV remote in the nightstand cause I was sitting on the bed at the time, reading articles online or writing or something.  I have no idea.  I couldn’t find the remote for a long time and was worried I’d miss the big reveal.  I forgot how long these things take, so I really had no reason to worry.  When I found the remote, it wouldn’t work.  Dead batteries.  I switched them out and then I watched a new Pontiff emerge on the balcony.  History was made.

pope-new-jorge-mario-bergoglio-argentina-conclave-chosen-cardinal__oPt

This whole scenario made me realize exactly how long it’s been since I turned on the TV in my bedroom.  When I tell people that I don’t watch TV, I mean that I don’t watch it ON the TV.  I am pretty much all about Netflix streaming these days, but occasionally some Hulu or iTunes.  I still haven’t seen the last 5 episodes of “30 Rock” and I am way behind on my absolute FAVE current TV show, “Community”.

I say all of this because I have officially been a remote worker for about 2 weeks, but unofficially for a bit longer.  I always thought remote workers, or more accurately, people who work from home (not Starbucks or a restaurant), would be able to multi-task and do their laundry and clean and watch TV and have it so easy compared to the office workers.  There are elements that are awesome, definitely, but all this multitasking hasn’t been one of them as yet.  I have to focus on my work.  I haven’t done any more laundry since I became a remote worker.  I haven’t watched TV during “working hours”, I haven’t been cleaning my house even during NON-working hours, and I have yet to get a single mani/pedi on company time.  I also haven’t put on pants today at all, which has been lovely, I won’t lie.

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I think this will feel more like a job-job when I get my office set up but that’s still a couple months away.  In the meantime, it feels like a lot of “playing” on the internet.  In my head I know that all the Twitter stuff is reading and compiling professional articles and it’s FOR work, but it doesn’t feel like WORK.  I think that’s the sign of a good fit at my job, ladies and gents.  The new has not worn off.

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That being said, I’m very aware of the fact that this remoteness could be TOO perfect for me.  Especially during times when I’m not in school, I could easily not interact much with the world.  I am not trying to have this blog turn into Diary of a Shut-in.  As someone diagnosed with anxiety and major depressive disorder, I have to work harder than others to be social.  Not to have fun; I always have fun once I get there.  The work is in leaving the house in the first place.  That’s only during episodes, which are few and far between, thankfully.  The latest one (which was more severe and longer-lasting than ever before) is winding down big time now that my job stress (and then joblessness stress) is gone.  Life is getting really good again.  I’ve been out with friends lately, old and new.  I’m very much looking forward to the upcoming SHRM Conference here in Baton Rouge, and I bought a Groupon for some Zumba classes!  I will NOT become a cave dweller 24/7.

In my family, we talk on the phone and email to stay close.  We have visits and reunions and the occasional road trip.  We go out to eat.  We do not do this.

In my family, we talk on the phone and email to stay close. We have visits and reunions and the occasional road trip. We go out to eat. We do not do this.

I know that with some people, the challenge to working remotely is in being productive and not screwing around.  For me the challenge will be not letting this take over my life and mental health.  So far it’s going really well, but if this starts to read like Diary of a Shut-in, someone holler at me!

Why I am 99% Against the Death Penalty

Because I wanted to kill a man.  I was pushed to that level and now I understand murder just a teeny bit more than I did before…and maybe some of those people on Death Row were pushed too.

behind-bars-death-row1

It all started a couple weeks ago with that (#*!&#)$_*( scanner!  Gah!  First I thought I had it plugged in wrong, then it froze a couple times, then I got everything working right…except the duplex scanning.  It would scan the front side, flip, scan half the backside, then turn into some cheap Salvador Dali impersonation and the paper, if it came out at all, was askew.  Most of the time it got stuck and I had to pull gently, but hard, in a wiggle back and forth motion to get the paper out.  And I did this about 11 times.  I fantasized about picking up this incredibly expensive piece of machinery and dropping it off the roof of the Ed Sullivan theater like Letterman used to do with stuff.  Instead, I called Hewlett-Packard.  The scanner, at this point, was 9 days old.  Mind you, I don’t feel like this was an issue with the scanner, per se.  I feel like something got bent in shipping and I just want it fixed.  Or replaced.  It’s not hard.

Like a million bouncy balls, I wanted to set the scanner free.

Like a million bouncy balls, I wanted to set the scanner free.

The first person I spoke to was Ambitesh, and he changed everything I thought I knew about myself.

My friends often say that everyone should be forced to be a waiter or waitress for a little while in their career to understand what it’s like to serve people.  I was a restaurant hostess, so I did my time there.  I’ve been told to fuck myself by a man wearing a Santa suit who arrived with his church group, party of 20, five minutes after calling to make their “reservation” and angry we couldn’t immediately seat them.  I’m good on taking crap from the restaurant industry.

I’ll take it a step further.  I think everyone should have to work in a call center.  I spent 6 weeks pretending to be “Jenny” and asking people if they might like to refinance their mortgage before the situation felt iffy and I quit.  I came home every night crying because the people were so rude, or they were desperate and really wanted my help but they lived in a trailer or an apartment and I couldn’t help them, or my boiler room boss didn’t think I’d gotten enough leads.  It is a truly horrible job and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.  Now imagine you’re in a foreign country (or Omaha, or L.A…I really don’t know where Ambitesh was) and you speak with a very thick Indian accent.  It must be so crappy to be on the phone with idiots like me all day who make dumb mistakes with their computers and have to ask you to repeat things you’re saying all the time because they don’t understand either computers or your accent.  I feel for Ambitesh, I really do.

Telemarketing and tech support is hard, you guys.

Telemarketing and tech support is hard, you guys.

That being said, he’s an a$$hole and I wanted to kill him.  The first thing he did was sigh a whole bunch in that “I can’t believe I have to talk to this idiot” tone that set me off immediately.  Then he told me that the printer was top of the line and therefore it was impossible that it was broken.  Then, “This printer doesn’t even HAVE a duplex scanning function, Ma’am.”  Silence.  He goes to speak with manager.  “Like I said, you cannot duplex copy from this machine.”  I wasn’t trying to duplex copy, I was scanning.  “This machine doesn’t do that.”  Silence.  ”Manager” again.  “Oh yes it does.  Let me take over your desktop now to check some things.”  He did.  He checked nothing.  Then he got angry at me and told me to QUIT PRANK CALLING THEM AND WASTING THEIR TIME.  When I asked to speak with his manager, he pretended to go get someone who sounded exactly like him (faker!) and connected me to the “complaint department” which I’m pretty sure was just the phone off the hook in his cubicle while he went to lunch.

Something inside me changed that day.  In my mind’s eye, I saw myself taking his stupid Britney Spears headset, wrapping the cord around his throat and jamming the ear and mouth thingies into his eyeballs so I could wiggle them around inside his skull.  I was so pissed, and nearly ruining my boss’s 2008 tax documents in this debacle was not helping.  I called another number at Hewlett-Packard and I got Charles.  Speaking with Charles was when I realized how vile I had become.

My ideal murder weapon of choice.

My ideal murder weapon.

Charles said they could send another document feeder but first I’d have to go through 17 steps with him and prove it wasn’t software-related.  When I refused this on the basis that him altering 1′s and 0′s and electrons in my laptop wasn’t going to fix the bent piece in the document feeder, he got upset.  (To be fair, I was already upset so he was just catching up.)

At this point, I became the a$$hole.  I became Ambitesh.  I told him that I was very active on Facebook, had my own blog, and that I was a Twitter celebrity.  I said I would bash HP from then until doomsday if I didn’t get another effin’ document feeder ASAP.  In truth, I hate FB, I love my blog but it’s new and we’re still building a platform of readers, and I’m nowhere near a Twitter celebrity.  I have no idea why I said it.  I was just so angry that lies and spittle were ushered forth from the darkest depths of my soul.  Charles, if you’re reading this, I’m very sorry that I lied to you.  You were a prick and your solutions made no sense whatsoever.  I didn’t appreciate the runaround, but that was no excuse for me to impersonate Ashton Kutcher or Laurie Ruettimann or genuine Twitter celebs of any variety.  My bad.  Also, when I told you I had just gotten off the phone with an a$$hole in India (most likely), that was Ambitesh, and if this makes it into his performance review, I won’t cry.  That part was accurate.

I feel even worse about my deceit, naturally, now that I realize I have upset the tiny version of Harry Potter.

I feel even worse about my deceit, naturally, now that I realize I have upset the tiny version of Harry Potter. Maybe I could convince him Ambitesh killed his parents.

I had to go have a drink cool off a while after this – remove myself from the situation.  I decided that if Hewlett-Packard wouldn’t help me, I’d go to the source and call Amazon.  Amazon doesn’t have a phone number that I could find specifically related to returns, so I called some other department and got Victoria.  Oh Victoria.  She was sent to me by Jesus or Buddha or my shrink or something.  I was on a metaphorical ledge at that point and she talked me back down.  First off, she located the order even though it was my boss’s account and I had none of the required info.  We pieced it together.  She worked some magic and sent an email on our behalf to the 3rd party seller who should be getting back to us any day now.  Actually they’re a little late, but I’m not worried because Amazon is everything that HP is not.  They are willing to listen.  They are willing to help.  They don’t accuse you of prank calling and wasting their time when your $700 brand new piece of equipment that your boss purchased on your recommendation instead of buying herself an iPad turns out to be broken!

keep-calm-and-love-victoria-40amazon-logo-10

I’ve calmed down now.  I no longer want to murder Ambitesh and I’m sorry that I had those thoughts, however fleeting, and possibly not serious.  But I do wonder just what lengths I could be pushed to under the right circumstances.  I don’t believe in the death penalty in most cases.  I think it’s swift justice for torturous crimes and it’s too good for people, mostly.  But also now because I wonder…were they on the phone with bad customer service when provoked beyond all limits of the human psyche?  Did they not have a Victoria to talk them down?  Hear me now world, if I’m on a jury, I will never convict anyone given those circumstances.

Though I will not kill him, if I do ever meet Ambitesh anywhere in this life, I will trip him.  In front of his kids.  And I will laugh and laugh.

Oh yes, that little bastard will be shamed in front of his spawn!

Oh yes, that little bastard will be shamed in front of his spawn!

Frankenstein, Flexibility and My New Job

I’ve been having good luck with the monster theme, so we’re going to continue with that.

No, I don’t know why HR makes me think of scary hellbeasts like vampires or zombies, but clearly it does.  And my new job is a little reminiscent of Frankenstein.

frank

I’ve recently become part of the fast-growing field of content marketing, if only tangentially.  I’m not a marketing person.  I’ve never studied marketing, I’m not a salesman (unless I’m selling someone on giving me something that I want), and had no idea what I was getting myself into.  I’ve since learned that content marketing isn’t about “sales” per se.  We turn you into an expert with blogs, white papers, websites, webinars, etc. so that people search you out.  You don’t blast in their face “Hey, we have a product!  Come buy it!  Apply directly to the forehead.  Apply directly to the forehead.” etc.  Instead, you have such amazing content on your website related to your field that people will seek you out as an expert and you can turn that lead into sales.  Pretty genius.

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Since I’m not a marketing person, I’m the Office Manager.  My boss, and owner of this small but quickly-growing startup, jokes that she hired me to boss her around, and she’s kind of right.  She has a million things in her head at any one time, so she needs to be diverted back to a certain path occasionally.  Plus I’m just really good at being bossy.

In the very short time that has elapsed since I took this job, I have engaged in some writing, accounting, construction, HR, copy-editing, research and major shopping.  This job is a lot like Frankenstein in that way: a little of this, a little of that, all stitched together to make something great. ( Yes, I know Frankenstein was the doctor.  I’m minoring in English and gothic lit in particular is my favorite.  I’ve written many a paper on Frankenstein as a feminist treatise, but let’s just go with popular convention this once, ok?  I can’t just call him “The Monster” cause that would sound stupid.)

Obligatory Buffy reference.

Obligatory Buffy reference.

We all know I hate routine, so this works out great for me.  Plus, we don’t have an office!  I get to work from home, from coffee shops, from seafood restaurants and everything is done in “The Cloud.”  The boss is here in Baton Rouge with me but the rest of my coworkers, some official and some not, are in DC, Little Rock, Tucson, and all over.  I can still fit in school which has been a huge benefit.  I’m learning a TON.  Best of all, if I don’t develop carpal tunnel from this blog, school and this job, I expect my writing to improve a great deal.  Don’t worry.  I’ll stay snarky.  Look for a post later this weekend about customer service to prove that point.

This is how much we love "The Cloud."

This is how much we love “The Cloud.”

So far this experience has been amazing and I expect it to continue.  I’m really excited about this new chapter in my life.  Also, I’m rearranging my apartment.  Moving bed into tiny bedroom with nothing but a nightstand and a few bookshelves to create a relaxing, sleep-only space.  My current bedroom will be set up with work and fitness equipment.  I’m hoping to get a treadmill desk from my dad.  He has an old treadmill he doesn’t use and likes to build things so I put him on that project.  The Wii will be set up here, along with a little armchair and ottoman so I can sit and work when I want to instead of walking.  But I feel like this will get me fitter, healthier and much more productive.  Look out world!  (Or…THIS will happen.)  Either way, good times.

Girl_owned_treadmill

Fun Friday – I have a new job! – Rocky Horror Edition

This job announcement is going to be like “Rocky Horror” in that it’s a bit interactive and will require some audience participation in order for you to fully appreciate the awesomeness of it.  So, here are your instructions, if you’ll indulge me please:

rhps-lips

1.  Please view on a computer, not a mobile device.  Most of my posts are fine for mobile, but this one is special.

2.  Check your speakers for appropriate volume for your locale…library, office, Starbucks, etc.  Pick a setting that will not overwhelm but will play gently in the background.  In another window, please open this link, then come back here for Step 3 while the music plays.  It’s not long, there are no dirty words and there is no video to watch.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLE_emfAd74

3.  Open another window and read this job announcement:

http://repcapitalmedia.com/introducing-reputation-capitals-dominique-rodgers/

and/or this additional bio: http://repcapitalmedia.com/about/

4.  Send me your praise, adoration, good wishes, job advice, RTs or jewelry if you’re so inclined.  I like pearls.  Just saying.  You do whatever feels right though.

EARR-earrings-black-and-white-pearl-fv

More soon about how this job is PERFECT for me!  Here’s a hint: Marissa Mayer would NOT ALLOW it!  Also, personality is encouraged.  What other job would encourage my personal blog so much or put on their website that I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer?!  You guys know I have personality to spare, so I need a job that is tolerant of that.  :)

This is going to be a HUGE shift for me in terms of flexibility, deadlines, no longer suffering from #HRelbow.  I am sure there will be a learning curve but for now, this is how I feel:

dance_animated

BONUS Fun Friday – Fighting with the Scanner

As I cursed a brand new printer/scanner/copier this afternoon, along with all aspects of God and man…I was reminded of these.  When I later discovered that I had the scanner plugged in incorrectly, I knew I had to share my hubris and shame with all of you.

If I live a million years, these will never stop being funny and they will never stop being true.

Jimmy Fallon as Nick Burns: Your Company’s Computer Guy

nick-burns-computer-guy

http://vimeo.com/24762526 (guest Jennifer Aniston)

http://www.hulu.com/#!watch/276508 (guest Billy Bob Thornton)

http://vimeo.com/24762642 (guest Jackie Chan)

http://www.wannafork.com/humor_video_play.php?ID=312 (guest Jamie Foxx)

Enjoy!

-HRGF