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After six months of working from home, today was my first day at our new office. I woke up at a new time (urgh), listened to my favorite morning radio show on my new commute, and walked around the neighborhood at lunch to discover new restaurants and coffee shops.
I’ve joked that it feels like my first day at a new job.
I’m feeling good, these days. Despite my usual anxiety about – oh, everything – I know I’m in a good place. It feels good to be in the midst of forming a career path for myself.
Plus, the past few days have brought unbelievable weather and I got my first real sunburn of the season this weekend. Something about feeling the sun on my skin instantly lessens the blow of the day-to-day grind.
For the past few months, I’ve been working full-time from home. At first, this was hugely exciting because, for example: a) no commute, b) I can sleep later, c) I don’t have to don a cardigan and Banana Republic pants and put make-up on, d) I’m at home.
However, it does take some getting used to. It can seem isolating at times. For those of you who are new here, I’m renting a room, which makes separating my work life from my personal life difficult because I’m always here.
Here are a few of the lessons I’ve learned that have worked for me. I’m still trying to make many of them regular habits, but hey, I’m learning!
- Get dressed every morning. Even though I don’t have to face an office of people, throwing on some jeans and a shirt and at least readjusting my overnight ponytail does wonders for making me feel more human.
- Get out of the house during the work day. Run errands, take a walk, grab a Subway sandwich. Some fresh air also helps me feel less claustrophobic.
- Make your social calendar a priority. Coordinate happy hours, dinners, and hang outs with friends throughout the week. Put on some cute shoes and go!
- Silence your cell phone. Resist the urge to make or take phone calls because you think no one’s watching. A quick call can turn into a half hour conversation and kill your productivity.
- Focus on the positives. Remember, you’re saving time and money! You don’t have to suffer a long commute with the skyrocketing gas prices, you don’t have to pack a lunch the night before, and you don’t have to increase your business casual wardrobe. Hoorah! Treat yourself to an extra episode of Oprah for all the time you’re saving.
- Don’t check your email after work hours. To help with the work/personal life balance, set boundaries that you will not quickly peak at your work email or open up business documents after 6pm (for me).
Anyone else have any tips for working from home? Do you envy those who are able to do so, or do you prefer trekking to an office everyday? I’m curious to hear your thoughts!
[photo credit: Genista]
I talked with several reporters in New Orleans today for work, and suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, homesickness struck. In the midst of writing notes and updating spreadsheets, I wondered, why now? How random. Sure, I’ve been missing my dog a lot, but I wasn’t sure what brought this on.
Then I realized why. I had been speaking to so many pleasant people. People who said, “Hi, Amanda! How are you?” even though they had never spoken to me before. People who treated me with politeness even though I was afraid I was bothering them.
Oh my goodness, I miss the genuine, nice people of the South. And that’s not to say that Southern Californians are rude – I’ve spent time in the Northeast as well and experienced the same longing. I’m reminded of how simple and wonderful it is to say hello to everyone you pass, to wave a thank you to someone who lets you over in traffic (because most people let you over), and to just be polite and friendly.
So often we are caught off-guard by people who say nasty things. What a great pleasure to be caught off-guard by kindness.
One good part of my job is that I share an office with someone who shares my love for the Queen of Talk. Several months ago she mentioned she was excited to see the day’s episode, and I started rambling on about how I tape the show every day and am soaking up every glorious moment until the show ends next year. Now she tapes every episode, too. Wait, who tapes anymore? It feels weird to use “DVR” as a verb, like I’m trying to be all hip and down with the 411, but you know what I mean.
I was thinking that I was going to blog about my love for Oprah earlier, and the thought of Nancy Kerrigan-ing Gayle King (Oprah’s best friend, for you non-believers) crossed my mind. That may or may not be taking it too far.
Here, this is cool:
A week late, but highly noteworthy: my first successful April Fools Day prank.
Tension is a bit high at work lately, so leave it to me to insert some goofy humor.
The morning of April 1st, I arrived to the office early and put post-it notes on two of my co-workers’ desks.
On one note, I wrote: “Mr. Behr called and asked for you, please call him back <phone number>.”
On the other: “Mr. Lyon called and asked for you, please call him back <phone number>. “
The number I left for both of them was the main line of the San Diego Zoo. Get it? They both called and expected to speak with Mr. Behr or Mr. Lyon!
That is hilarious, I don’t care what anyone says. Mr. Bear!
Something very odd happened yesterday.
At work, I handle several requests for marketing materials and information every day. Usually this is done via email, but occasionally I send things in the mail when they’re requested.
Last week, I sent a customer a package of information. A day later she called and said she hadn’t received it; I casually told her to wait until the end of the day in case it came in that day’s mail. No big deal. However, she mentioned that she had received some Indiana Jones Lego toys. I thought that was strange, but not wanting to question why she felt the need to tell me about the contents of her mailbox, I politely said, “Oh, okay. Well, please let me know if you haven’t received my package by the end of the day.” And that was that. I didn’t hear back from her, so I didn’t give it another thought.
Until yesterday. I heard someone come in the office and ask for me by name. We normally don’t get visitors (especially unannounced), so I was confused. I went out and greeted her, and upon first glance, she held up a well-used ziplock baggie full of Legos. Okay.
She displayed the baggie for me as if she was presenting for show-and-tell. In my head, I thought, shucks, those aren’t cool Legos at all, they look like they’ve been mangled by a dog. Then I snapped back to reality and realized I was at work, in a professional environment, being confronted by a grown women with a bag of dirty Legos.
She presented me with the manila envelope that did indeed have my writing on it as well as my company’s return address label. She said, “This is what came in the mail,” briefly paused, and – wait for it – then asked, “Is this what I was supposed to receive?”
Let me tell you something. I have this weird habit of believing whatever people tell me, and I’m not just saying that. My friend was once making fun of me for being gullible and joked that a “second Mars” had just been discovered, hadn’t I seen the front page of the newspaper? I said, “No, wow!” and quickly began shuffling through the papers on the coffee table. I realize this story might be something I should keep to myself, but it gives you a better picture of the way my mind works. So naturally, when this lady told me I sent her Indiana Jones Legos, I thought back on my actions and wondered why I had done that, how crazy of me! Me and my Legos, woops!
You’ll be happy to know that I did not fess up to sending her the Legos because, well, I DIDN’T SEND THEM TO HER! I told her, “We don’t sell that product here.” As if some other company turns a profit on selling used, bacteria-laden Legos in a plastic baggie. I told her that yes, it was my writing on the envelope but that I personally stuffed the package myself and put it out for the mail carrier. There’s pretty much no way that there was a “mix up” unless there are small gnomes running around the office replacing business packages with plastic children’s toys.
In the end, I was able to give her copies of what she had initially requested – and what I had sent to her, no doubt. I’m pretty sure what happened was that her husband or children received my package, took out the material, and used the envelope to store their filthy Legos. And when she arrived home, she saw the package with the Legos and jumped to the conclusion that that’s what I had sent her. I’m not sure why I’m trying to analyze this.
Nevertheless, everyone in my office had a good laugh the rest of the day. I’ve already added a bullet point on my resume for “Responding to all requests for information by sending Legos.” And when I got to work this morning, this little treat was taped to the underside of my phone:
Because she was at least nice enough to let us keep them.
I spent 18 years of my life in school.When I was in seventh grade, I told my sister, who was about to graduate, that I “had senioritis.” I couldn’t wait to be done with homework, tests, and the constant papers. I couldn’t imagine what life would be like without the routine of going to school each day.
And now I want to go back.
Perhaps this is fueled by my recent struggles with my job, but jumping Jehosophat! It’s been more than nine months since I graduated, and for the life of me, I don’t know how to fill my days. I don’t feel like I have enough time for a social life since I work until it’s dark outside. I get home, I eat dinner, I sit down for a few minutes, and it feels like it’s time to go to bed. In college, I had a job on campus where I interacted with lots of my peers everyday. Now, I typically eat lunch at my desk and occasionally browse Facebook to see how my friends are doing.
I’ve taken up a few hobbies to occupy my new-found time, but something still feels missing. It’s probably my robotic, anxious mind feeling withdrawal from thoughts of: BEEP I must write paper BEEP right away BEEP and study for test now! I suppose 18 years of constantly preparing for the next assignment can do that to a person.
But gee, it’s just weird.
I AM TOTALLY LOOPY! I AM GOING OUT OF MY MIND! The world does not seem real at this point!
I got a text message on Sunday night: “Office is flooded, wear comfortable clothes,” it said. Huh, I thought, sure. I had heard that it had – gasp – rained on Saturday, so I chalked it up to something small. And she was out of town until Tuesday, so I didn’t want to send her a long, inquiring text back asking for all the details. I’m still relatively new and trying to convince these people I’m normal.
But holy moley, fast forward to three days later and that whole “normal” idea is a joke. It’s amazing how quickly you reveal your true colors when stuck in a room with two other people for eight hours a day.
Long story short – our office is a disaster zone. We share a wall with the company next door, and their hot water heater burst or flooded or did whatever water heaters aren’t supposed to do. And it was so bad that it completely soaked all of the offices (including mine!) on that side of our building.
The other side of our office is much better off, so I’ve had to temporarily relocate my computer and phone to the conference room. Which I’m now sharing with two other people.
There have been air blowers on constantly, making it sound like I’ve been in an airplane hangar for the past three days. There have also been numerous workers drilling various holes, removing dry wall, and other strange shit I don’t understand. Imagine trying to talk to customers on the phone and thinking up a tactful way to say, “Sir, kindly ignore that intense jack hammer sound in the background.”
There are ethernet wires and surge protectors everywhere, on top of all of the blowers and occasional sawing which I’m pretty sure has given me a permanent tick. Cheers!
What up, bliggity blog! I’m in a terrific mood! And I don’t like using exclamation points that much, but today they are warranted! Also I just realized that I’ve been saying “what up” as my salutation a lot lately, and I want you to go ahead and read that sentence again and maybe then you might get an idea of exactly how white I am.
So the big news: I have a job! I’m doing temp work for a publishing company, hooty hoo! Today was my first day and while it’s tedious, it’s definitely a step in the right direction for my (knock on wood) future career. The gods must have been on my side today because besides the job stuff, I also got a free burrito from Baja Fresh and then the lady at the grocery store charged me the regular, cheap price for my big bag of organic grapes. I didn’t realize this until I was on my way home, but in case you’re wondering – no, even if I had realized it at the time, I would not have told her. See what all those years of private school did to me?
And to end the day, I returned home to find these messages from my sister on Facebook chat. Holy moley, I miss her.
Laura 6:52pm: Silver flat or wedge?
Laura 7:32pm: Isn’t this awesome? From my restaurant friend: I need to talk to you about something very serious: Packs of stray lobsters have invaded our kitchen and are trying to take it over. We have managed to keep them at bay and temporarily contain them. Help us by adopting a FREE lobster for dinner Thursday, July 30th, and we will show our appeciation by preparing them with lots of melted butter, lemon & love.
I’m just going to talk to you like you’re here…
Laura 7:34pm: Top Chef Masters makes me hungry
Laura 7:37pm: Nordstrom’s is having a big pre-season sale. I saw this coat in the window that I thought was awesome. Plus, it was only $99. Downside=Jessica Simpson brand
Laura 7:41pm: When your job is done, I think you should come visit
Laura 7:48pm: Would you ever buy something called “Not your Daughter’s jeans”?
Laura 7:53pm: I would like to cook with black truffles, but they are too damned expensive
Laura 7:57pm: I thought about buying you a cookbook in France b/c I thought you’d enjoy cooking and translating it, but then I figured there was no way all the grams and mL would ever make sense
Laura 8:08pm: Spanx apparently has a product call “thigh’m a believer”
Laura 8:13pm: The winner of Top Chef Masters is crying
Amanda 8:42pm: everything you said had to do with food, buying something, or buying food
Sending you a big whatup from the other side of graduation. I’m here to bring you the riveting news that nothing seems too different now that I’m no longer in college! I’ve been working 10 hour days, and let me tell you, this whole “job” thing is really impeding on my blogging time. I come home and all I really want to do is put my sweatpants on and cuddle with my oversized stuffed penguin.
Oh yeah, graduation? Welcome to Awkward Town! My boyfriend finally met my parents, and, uh, let’s just thank Johosephat that’s over with. Also, I’m fairly sure that when my name was called to walk across the stage, I publicly Raised The Roof. Because that’s just my style.
I also moved out of the apartment I’d lived in for the past two school years, but that was pretty anti-climatic. I’m now living with a very tolerant couple who graciously took me in so I wouldn’t have to sleep in my car. So far we have explored urbandictionary.com together, watched an episode of Golden Girls, and consumed many snack-size packets of Nerds. Also, I made one of my signature “HERE’S AMANDA” moves by dropping one of my earrings down the sink this evening, and because I am a bit braindead, I had to ask for help to retrieve it. Awesome! So far so good!
Oh! I almost forgot to tell you. While my family was in town, we went to the San Diego Zoo and there were an abundance of mind-boggling experiences. First off, right when we entered the Zoo, my brother-in-law spotted Billy Mays, the Oxiclean guy. Talk about star struck! Actually, I’m lying, I had no idea who he was until I heard “Oxiclean guy,” but apparently he’s kind of a big deal and has a new reality tv show on. The next exciting event came when we went by the gorilla exhibit. As my mom exclaims, she “loves primates!!” so we ended up watching their monkey business (groan) for a good 15 minutes or so. Suddenly, a collective gasp came from all the spectators, and as I quickly found out, the head gorilla was up to no good. He was starting to make trouble in the neighborhood. You see, he was defecating. And after he had completed doing it, he decided it looked mighty tasty. So naturally, he ate it. Yep. Wait, why am I trying to act all casual about this? HE WAS EATING HIS SHIT! And I couldn’t stop watching! It was at this point that I decided that I might not ever be able to eat food again. Oh, I hope you aren’t eating breakfast when you read this, woops.
And look at that, I just dedicated more space to telling you about a shit-eating ape than about my college graduation. That seems about right. I’m hoping things at work will quiet down in the coming weeks and I can get back to blogging regularly. Because let’s face it, this here blog is a hot commodity.