Category Archive : career

Motivation Monday: A Tough Day

Today was my first day at my new job. It was a tough day.

I was excited to start a new journey and still am; however, first days are hard. Despite years of experience that has filled me with knowledge, you walk into a new company and are pretty clueless. You don’t know anyone. You don’t know where to find anything. You basically feel like a total idiot. Not to mention zero access to personal e-mail or social media (all uber blocked at my new company), I just felt cut off from the world I feel like I needed to be connected to. I’m not even remotely used to such a long commute. I took mass transit for the first time and I both loved it and hated it. Loved it because I had 30 minutes to just sit and relax. Hated it for the same reasons (ha!) and the fact I felt like I was at the mercy of the light rail train and its schedule.

To top it off, I didn’t make it home until aft 6 tonight (compared to the 4:30 that I am used to, it may as well have been 10p at night). Getting home that late meant missing seeing my boy. He had swimming at 6:15 so when he came home, it was already time for bed. I soaked up every last bit of hugs and cuddling I could out of him. I think part of my heartache with getting home late had to do with spending SO much time with him last week, just the two of us. With my husband out of town last week, my world revolved around Jack and our home. I loved it. Maybe a little too much.

I know over time that staying at home wouldn’t fulfill me the way I would want it to. I love being a professional and I love working in marketing. It is so important for me to remember that there will never have to be another first day at this particular job or this company again. The only way to go is up and that is exactly what I intend to do.

So I’m going to wipe away the tears and the sad, guilty feelings. I’m going to take a deep breath and hold my head high. I’ve got this.

Motivation Monday: The Finish Line

He’s my reason for everything. 

I know, I know… I have been absent lately. The last couple weeks have been very strange for me. Leaving a job that I have been at for 5 years was a huge thing. I think I held onto it for as long as I did because I didn’t think it was possible to “manage” my life starting over somewhere new. You know… full-time job, mom, family, self, etc. I had a good schedule down. I had things figured out. But, something was missing and I knew I was selling myself short professionally.

I have been able to take some time off between jobs. I am proud that I stood up for my need to have this week off, even though my new gig wanted me to start right away. My husband is away on a fishing trip with the “men” this week. While I’m sure I could have worked things out to manage a new job and my kid, I’m so glad I chose not to. As a matter of fact… I am loving my time at home. I feel relaxed and at peace. I don’t feel rushed. I am enjoying time with my boy, just the two of us. As I was getting dinner ready tonight, he ran up to me, threw his arms around my legs and said, “I forgot to give you a hug when you picked me up at school so I’ll give you one now.”

He’s my reason for everything. Especially my weight loss.

Yes, I have enjoyed the “benefits” of my weight loss. The size 8, the shopping for a new wardrobe, the two piece. I still kind of look at myself in the mirror, especially at group fitness classes and wonder if that could really be me. But it was about more than that for me. I wanted to lower my blood pressure (103/70 today… lowest in 4 years). My cholesterol was high. My BMI, a 32 when I started, was considered obese. I wanted to stop the spread of my endo. I wanted to do all these things for my health so I could be around for my little boy for a long, long time.

Today, I did it. I reached the finish line. Goal at Medifast is a little different. They take more into account than that elusive number on the scale. They look at your overall picture. At 151 lbs (just 1 pound from my original goal), they determined that I was ready to start my transition. With all the muscle weight I hav eput on, it wasn’t necessary to lose any more fat. It is possible I will continue to lose weight during transition; however, the goal is to get me back in the real world. This week, I get to add in an additional serving of veggies and I can choose from any of them (corn, potatoes and avocados for example are prohibited during the weight loss phase). Next week fruit. Then dairy. Then grains. Each week I will get to drop down the number of Medifast meals as they teach me how to eat going forward.

A pic of an outfit I tried on at Express.
I still can’t believe I fit in these clothes! 

While I reached the weight loss finish line, I know this isn’t the end of the journey for me. Maintenance will be a lifelong deal and I anticipate it being the hardest part. Let’s face it. I’ve got some food addictions. I’ve got some food issues. Maintaining this weight will not be easy for me.

For today, I am celebrating. I’ve lost 60 pounds over the last year and a half. I’ll be honest when I say that I never, EVER thought I would actually make goal. I struggled for so many years… I can’t even find the words to express what this means to me. I cannot thank Medifast enough for getting me to this milestone. I know there are many naysayers out there who are expecting me to gain all the weight back and all I have to say to them: thank you for the motivation to continue keeping it off. I will prove you wrong. 

My husband will be taking my official before & after photos which of course I will post for all of you to see. The question is… what to wear??? 

A Whole Different Person

I have made some major decisions in my life over the last week. Of course the main one being the start of a new job. For maybe the first time ever, and possibly the only time (and I hope he enjoyed it), I asked my husband to play devil’s advocate when it came to accepting, countering or declining a job offer. For the first time ever, my changing jobs impacts more than just me. It impacts this whole little family we have created. He asked some typical questions such as how much is the offer for, what future opportunities exist, will I have flexible hours, can I start at the beginning of July and will I still be able to take our Disney vacation in August. All questions that were answered at some point during the interview process. It came down to the commute. Savage to Minneapolis is no easy task (for those out of state or country just plug Savage, MN into Google Maps and get directions to Downtown Minneapolis). If that was THE only thing that was holding you back, would you let it? My answer to that was a resounding NO. It is a great opportunity with a great company and I am BOUNCING off the walls with excitement.

Announcing my departure at my current company is what really calmed my nerves over my decision. I think anyone who has spent 5 solid, loyal years with a company would wonder if they are making the right choice in walking away, but it wasn’t a big deal around here and frankly it seems as though everyone was expecting it. As with any job, there were things that I couldn’t stand (drama, no flexibility) but there were also things I loved (location, the people). The one thing they couldn’t offer is career advancement and for me, that is a deal breaker. Of course it would have been easy to keep the same job and do the same thing year after year, but that just isn’t in me. I am driven and need to have change in my environment to keep my mind and my skills fresh. I was ready for a change. I’m proud of the work I have done and the relationships I have cultivated. I am happy to say I can walk away with my head held high.

It’s weird cleaning out 5 years of work. Old memos and projects that you wonder how they ever got signed off on because they look so terrible. Old e-mails with friends. Ultrasound pictures. Jack’s birth announcement. The last 5 years have been a massive life change for me. This job has seen me through infertility, building and moving to a new home, the miracle of my child, the miracle of my dear friend’s child and two of my bestest friends getting married. That girl who started here 5 years ago? I don’t even recognize her. After my resignation was announced today, a colleague came in to give me a hug and said, “Wow. You are really like a whole different person.” I even look entirely different than I did when I started here.

May 2008 (I was 4.5 months preggo here…)
Me in the cream sweater- November 2007. Eating. Shocking.
That is me on the lower left. November 2008- 2 months postpartum.

Is change kind of scary? It sure is. I know I’m not going to like being the new kid on the block all over again. It has been 5 years since I’ve worked in large, matrix environment and I’m nervous I won’t remember how to maneuver. I’m scared of mass transit (almost as much as I’m afraid of Wal Mart).

But you know what? I am definitely more excited than I am scared. I’m excited to work in the big city. I’m excited to go to the Farmer’s Market on Nicollet Mall. I’m excited to take on a new challenge and knock it out of the park. I’m excited to start new relationships. I’m excited to have a clean slate. I’m excited to work for an employer that isn’t requiring me to “punch a time clock” but simply expect me to do my job. I am… EXCITED.

I am also happy that I am taking some time out for me. I will have a glorious week and a half off between jobs and am looking forward to having some true ME time. Pretty sure I earned it!

Motivation Monday: Introducing, Me

Riding the Dino Train

My weekend was insane. Between getting up way too early on a Saturday to see some dinosaurs (which Jack LOVED by the way) and going to a little league game that same afternoon followed by a Sunday of sprinklers and swimming, I need a weekend from my weekend! If you are in Minnesota you MUST check out the dinosaur exhibit at the MN Zoo. It is absolutely awesome. We signed up for their Dinos & Donuts preview (paid to go to the exhibit before the Zoo opened to the public). It was so worth it- the line was insane when we left around 10am. Jack got a dinosaur claw necklace and a wristband which he thought were both super cool. We also got free snacks and drinks in the dino village. It was pretty fun and worth the money to see it without the crowds.

I am also beyond stressed out. Awhile ago, I had talked about making the decision to find a new job or become a SAHM. Since finding out that I would be unable to have more kids, I decided that I would continue to pursue my marketing career. While I have seriously enjoyed my current position for the last 5 years, it was time for me to move on. Working for a small company has its advantages, but career advancement is not typically one of them. I have verbally accepted a new job offer and what stresses me out is the limbo- the time between getting the offer, putting in your notice and getting the super official OK from the new company. I’m having those moments of “What if the offer falls through” moments and just trying to take a lot of deep breaths. Changing jobs is both exciting and scary. All you can do is trust your instincts and have faith that everything will work out for the best. More to come as I wait for the A-OK from my new company. Meanwhile, as I clean out my files, I have discovered I am closet hoarder. Why did I keep all this stuff??

I digress. Let’s talk healthiness journey.

Over the weekend, there was no way I was going to be outside in the summer heat without a swimsuit on. I had bought a bikini a couple weeks ago on clearance (thinking if I absolutely hated it, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I never wore it). I put it on to go to the backyard and play in the kiddie pool with my kiddo, yet I covered up with shorts and a tank. I pulled off my tank and asked my husband, “Are all the neighbors going to think I’m icky wearing this bikini top?” He looked at me as if I were nuts and said, “You’re kidding right? You look fantastic.” So, I did my best to “own” my bikini. I kept my shorts on most of the time but I couldn’t get it out of my head how self-conscious I still am. Regardless of how much weight I have lost or what size I am now wearing, that fat girl on the inside just will not leave me alone. I’m not sure if she ever will. Maybe, that is exactly what I need to keep the weight off for good this time.

This was a big week gang. After last week’s epic 3.5 pound gain, I worked my BUTT off (literally). I lost FIVE POUNDS this week! I am at 152.5 with just 2.5 pounds to my goal of 150!!! I am of course beyond elated and proves that when you work the program, it’ll work for you.

My goals this week:
– Daily workouts with 15 minutes of cardio per day and strength workouts 3x this week (Mon/Wed/Fri).
– STICK TO THE PROGRAM. 2.5 pounds left to lose? I got this.

I’m so excited for all of the exciting new things coming up in my life from my new career opportunity to my crazy skinny new body. So, hello, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Joanne and this is the new me.

What are you doing to stay motivated this week? 

P.S. This is the OLD me from Dec 2011. Found this picture cleaning out my electronic files. Yikes.

I’m in the white shirt on the bottom left.
Thought I should put up a current pic of me.

Poised For Leadership

It is no secret that I have had my future on my mind. I’m not going to talk about weight loss or how to be a perfect parent. Let’s have a little career talk today.

I have been a little hesitant with this blog post. I don’t often talk about my career and feel like I may just taboo myself by putting it out there. However, being the honest Mixed Bag that my blog is, I think it is a topic worth writing about and one that will help me put some clarity to a very tough decision.

I attended a seminar a couple weekends ago at my good old college, Concordia University, called “Poised For Leadership. Ignite Your Career.” It was a women’s leadership coaching seminar and I was BLOWN AWAY. Have you ever felt like someone was reading your very thoughts? That’s how I felt at this seminar. They touched on all the pieces in my career that have been nagging at me; most importantly, the question: How do I get the leadership experience without the job and how do I get the job without leadership experience? Our coach, Jo Miller, also brought to light the fact that I am the one allowing the stagnancy in my career to happen- it is nobody’s fault but my own.

This seminar truly ignited me. I have put a lot of thought into who I want to be and what I see myself doing. I know for sure that it is time to move forward in my career. It would be super easy to just keep the status quo and keep doing what I’m doing. I’m good at it; however, it is so second nature that I no longer feel like I am growing. Working for an extremely small company (43 employees), the promotional opportunities aren’t exactly available either. However, despite the lack of career opportunity within my current company, at least in the form of job title, that doesn’t mean I can’t step up and do great things. I can still be a thought leader without having the title.

Yes, I intend to start the search for a new opportunity. One thing I am learning this time around in my search, is how to recognize when a company or position isn’t a good fit. I am very fervent in my commitment to find something that really is perfect for me and I am not just going to settle for the first thing that lands in my lap (which is what I did 5 years ago). Importantly for me, there MUST be a work/life balance. My career path is important to me, but frankly, being a good parent must be a top priority. No, I do not expect to come and go as I please, but being able to work remotely at 10:00 at night after being with a sick kid all day would be a plus. Of course, being a working mother and all its intricacies is a post for another day. 

The Poised For Leadership seminar left me with some great takeaways:

  1. Dress for success: dress for the job you want. I have been dressing up quite a bit lately and it has given me a feeling of power and importance. You know what? I look pretty too. It’s fun to look pretty. It’s also fun to buy size 8 suits. 
  2. Network, Network, Network! Don’t fear reaching out to the people you know to ask for an opportunity no matter how awkward it feels.
  3. Just because you don’t have the title doesn’t mean you can’t do great things. 

I know the burning question is still out there: Do I still think about being a SAHM? Sure, I do. What mom doesn’t? I do feel that keeping my career allows me to continue to keep a huge part of who I am as a person. I want to be the best person I can be for my son.

And for those inquiring minds… I am looking for an opportunity in Marketing Communications Management. And yes, I am very good at what I do!