Posts Tagged ‘work’

January Favorites 2014

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

collage of january 2014 favorites including groupons, snow days, yuzen, snuggling, home hopping, moving offices, gloves, origins free facial, and carrabbas first tastesLet’s take a look back on how the year got started!

1. Groupons – Panda really got into getting Groupon deals for our meals and now we often try new places based on what deals he’s been finding. This was one of the places we went for lunch/brunch one time.

2. snow days – Before storm after storm attacked our region, I was still enjoying the snowfall and this one in particular was exciting. Panda and I got a chance to enjoy it together and I had my first work from home day.

3. Yuzen – Jen was kind enough to send me the men’s Yuzen box as a gift for Panda! I love how everything about it really caters to guys more, including the actual look of the box. If you want to know what came in it, watch out for the review.

4. snuggling – I was sick much of the month, so I spent a lot of time resting in bed, getting cozy with the blankets. I love feeling all toasty and swathed in softness. It’s so very comfortable.

5. home hopping – This entire month we had access to both the apartment and condo, so we’d spend time hopping between them. We started moving boxes over to the new place little by little and I spent some time enjoying the space. All was lovely but then I saw the morning traffic and knew I’d be in for quite a change in my morning commute with the move.

6. moving offices – It was really exciting to finally be moving to the new office that I’d been hearing about since I started. Taking some time in the afternoon to go help out and build furniture was a nice break for me from the stress of work. I very proudly helped build something like 8 motorized desks!

7. gloves – Mornings were so cold I had to wear gloves while driving, until my heated steering wheel kicked in. Even then, if I didn’t wear gloves the tops of my hands would be cold. A few times my hair even froze on my way from the apartment to the car.

8. Origins free facial – I’ve been getting the Origins free facial offer for years, but never took advantage of it. This time I decided to give it a try and it was much more thorough that I anticipated. It lasted a good 20 minutes and the lady used seven products on me.

9. Carrabbas First Tastes – Panda and I got to attend our second First Tastes event at Carrabbas and we had a lovely time with the mother daughter pair who sat across from us. This is always a wonderful event to attend and I hope they keep hosting them!

January was all about getting back into the groove out east. We’re truly settling in and everything is feeling like home more and more. What were your favorites in January?

Better work at work

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , ,

It was back to work today after working from home Thursday and Friday due to the snow. While Panda happily snoozed away, I got up and went in for a normal day’s work. I felt much less stressed working in the office than I do when I’m home. The home environment makes me worry that I’m not working hard enough and it leaves me out of touch with what’s going on. I’d actually rather just work at the office, much as working from home sounds like a cool concept. Funny, since I never thought that’d be the case. I guess I just like home to be where I can relax and not think about work. Shouldn’t your home be your sanctuary?

Plus, today was fun because I took a Starbucks break with coworkers, made friends with a new guy in our company’s co-working space, got a cool delivery, found out I get to travel for work next month, and helped out on a couple of initiatives. An eventful day that sort of flew by and was pretty productive! Not much more I could ask for. I went home feeling good and looking forward to more days like this. I love being engaged and excited about what I’m working on. And with the recent shift in my responsibilities, I’m getting more and more of that, which is just awesome.

Do you prefer to work from home or at the office?

And the package I received, which was pretty thrilling:

girl holding thumbs up standing next to canvas vertical banner with "does paperwork have you tied up in knots? canvas has a cure!" messaging

It came out beautifully!

plastic x shape banner stand

What a cool design. Simple, lightweight, and effective.

365great Day 319: good timing

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , ,

365great day 319: good timingWhen the pieces of a puzzle fit together well, it’s a beautiful thing. Likewise, when timing works out for whatever stage of life you’re in and whatever you want to do, it’s pretty amazing. It happened to me again today and I am so grateful. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been struggling to feel like I’m good at what I do at work. I was trying to work on improving my cold calling skills, but it was draining my energy and leaving me feeling unsure of myself. My manager and the CEO noticed I was struggling and knew I needed to experience some “wins” so they sat down with me and coached me. I felt much more confident, but was still doing something that I’m not strong in and wasn’t planning on doing long-term. For the time being, I wanted to put forth effort to learn and improve and try to be good at it, but I knew that a year from now I probably wouldn’t want to still be going at it. I felt like I was at the right company, but perhaps the wrong position. For the sake of learning and growth, I felt it was best to push through this tough period and see where it led me.

Then today I was pulled aside to meet with the CEO, my manager, and the marketing manager. As it turns out, they’ve been discussing my skills and positioning within the company and decided to do exactly what I was trying to figure out how to do: pivot. They see I like to write and strategize and socialize and tap into creativity to solve challenges, so they’re going to put that to work as I do more marketing and account management in a tweaked role. I was shocked (in a good way) by this sudden change, but I couldn’t have hoped for a better situation. I mean, I was preparing to read up on other roles I might want to do so I could approach the CEO and my manager with not just the problem (I don’t think my strengths are being utilized), but a proposed solution (areas in the company I think I could contribute more in). Instead, they kind of did that for me! It just so happened that a growing need in marketing was just the sort of thing that I could succeed in. I really love my company for how they noticed these things, thought about what can change, and acted before I got too worn out. I knew there were better ways I could contribute to our goals and now I’m repositioned to do what I’m good at and enjoy more! This also coincides with the start of a new year, a move to the new office (one of the cool rooms pictured), and my pending move to the new condo. So many new beginnings! It’s great timing indeed.

Why I no longer want to be an entrepreneur

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , ,

Every now and then, it seems like the world is beating me up. These are the best times for growth, but boy are they challenging. I’d been feeling rather downtrodden for the past week or two – a combination of illness and challenges with work were making me feel less than adequate. I was weak, always exhausted, and not nearly as productive as I wanted to be (and thought I could be). A looming sense of failure followed me around and made me question myself. It reminded me a lot of why I decided that being an entrepreneur might not be for me after all.

Back in early 2012, I had reached a point professionally and personally that gave me the courage to quit my job and start my own ventures. A year later, I had learned a lot and decided that the lifestyle wasn’t what I was looking for. I found that I couldn’t shut off from work and the stress of it followed me at all times of the day. I like more balance in my life, but it was hard to justify not taking care of work whenever it came up. I’d feel guilty if I didn’t handle things right away. It began to take over my life, even as I was seeking more control over it.

Today I came across an article on that rang so true to me. It’s about the psychological price of entrepreneurship and talks about how taxing it is to manage your own business. When you pour your heart and soul into working on something, it can really drain you. If it doesn’t work out the way you had hoped, it’s easy to take that as a personal failure. That certainly does a number on your confidence. When you decide to pursue entrepreneurship, you better be ready for a crazy rollercoaster. And for me, it’s just not worth the stress. I don’t crave the recognition or attention at that scale, nor do I want to pursue that sort of money. So why would I put my health, my relationships, and my mental state at jeopardy to chase after that dream?

two kittens cuddling and sleeping together

If I could, I’d play with cats all day. So cute!!

And going back to my recent low, the article explained that some people experience strong emotions on both ends of the spectrum. You get really excited about things, but you also get really depressed about others. I may not be as bad as some people who are extreme to the point of manic, but I do think I feel emotions more strongly than many. It’s a double-edged sword, where I find myself easily joyful, but at the same time I can fall to deep sadness quickly. It may prevent me from taking greater risks for immense rewards, but those “rewards” are something I didn’t want anyway. Instead of money or power, I want to enjoy my life with Panda. I want time to hang out with him, to go to yoga classes, to have peaceful moments with my cats, to cook together, to enjoy trips… so really something more stable is suitable for my goals.

Once I’m done with my 365great series, I’ll start up a weekly series related to that, sharing ideas and tips for how to enjoy life more and stress less. Our culture is so caught up in accomplishments that we often forget the value of the richer experiences in life that may not produce an award or a higher paycheck or other recognition.

Furniture building

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses,Tags: , , , ,

Today started off well, with little traffic on the roads! Since DC has so many workers who observe federal holidays, most people were off to MLK Day. When I got to work, it was a more troublesome story, with spotty internet and phone for the first hour. By the time I finally got service back, I began to discover that any phone calls made would be in vain since everyone I was trying to contact takes federal holidays. Sooo I got to work on our new Salesforce migration, making sure any data that didn’t make it over was in the system.

At noon, we met for a company all-hands so the CEO could tell us about our move to the new office space! I’d been hearing about it ever since I started and finally it’s almost here. In fact, one week from today we officially start on that side. How exciting! At 4, a bunch of us volunteered to go over to the new space to build furniture. Between desks, chairs, side tables, and stools, we had our hands full for the next 7 hours. I just finished up at 11 and I’m feeling good about helping out with our new furniture. I was too busy building for many pictures, but here’s what I got:

large room with tons of white desks

The new place is sooo much bigger! We won’t even take up a quarter of it.

view of reston town center ice rink and sunset in distance from nearby building

Spectacular views are to be found on all sides, like this one of the ice rink.

two mesh ikea lawn style chairs freshly built with cardboard boxes in background

The very first chairs I worked on happened to be quite challenging.

three motorized desks newly built with adjustable heights

After building four types of chairs, I spent the rest of the evening making these handy motorized desks. I think I need one for my home!!

A week of yo-yoing

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , ,

I’ve been ill for a week, but not entirely. I’ve had so many ups and downs that I can’t figure out what’s for real anymore and when I might get better. Take today, for example. I started off the day strong, almost feeling better. The morning was filled with meetings out in DC and when I got back to the office, I was doing ok. But then in the afternoon I started to crash, hard. I couldn’t think straight. I could hardly keep track of what I was doing. I had very little energy for anything requiring effort. By 5 I had just about given up on getting anything else done.

This week has felt like a month and it’s been rather stressful. My mind is so foggy I don’t trust myself to make sense. Sometimes my eyes hurt so bad I can’t see properly (especially alarming when I’m driving home). Sometimes my head hurts enough to halt all thoughts (or at least jumble them up). I can’t even focus enough to write a blog post the way I want. In fact, I’m pretty useless in anything but consuming content. I’ll stop producing awful content now and try to regain my sanity.


laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , ,

sleeping on side with face half covered by blanket

Being ill makes me want to hide in the covers.

I woke up sick today. Got to work just fine, but then was absolutely knackered. My throat is super dry. I have to clear it a lot. Breathing is slightly painful at times (better if I breathe a certain way through my nose, but it’s tiring). This might be TMI, but I was dry heaving a lot (don’t worry, my gag reflex system works such that I never throw up – only once in my adult life due to food poisoning). I drank lots of tea and mixed in some honey. I think it helped. I also had an Advil, which eased things in the afternoon. Wasn’t focusing well, and felt awful about it. The minutes dragged by like hours. What do you mean it’s only been 10 minutes? I feel like that was an hour ago. I rescheduled a meeting with the CEO to make some calls together. Was he disappointed? I couldn’t tell, but I was at myself for him. Alas, between being sapped of energy and dealing with physical pains of a sore throat and headache… I wasn’t up for the task. I feel guilty, but it is a fleeting thought. There are other pains to try to ignore now. I did manage to make it out to lunch with my work bestie. Thankfully, she drove. The restaurant was very toasty inside – perfect. I got a spicy sub sandwich (maybe not the best idea for my throat?). I made a pathetic attempt at work for the rest of the afternoon. I’m sad at how ineffective I think I was, but I did manage to get a few projects underway.

I had to leave earlier than usual (at 5ish) for my yoga class. By then I was feeling not too bad. The slight fever had subsided. I fell asleep during meditation as usual, then went through the yoga class not pushing too hard but taking challenging poses as I could. Somehow I was sore, which might have been yoga yesterday… I didn’t realize how not moving for three weeks had made my muscles weak. During class I felt ok, but now I’m not doing as well. Perhaps the Advil wore off? Perhaps I should keep active? I’ve been keeping warm in bed, which feels great so long as I don’t move. When I get out, my aching back protests. I feel feverish. I even managed to pull a muscle in my foot. Once again, might be TMI, but I am still dry heaving. It’s an awful feeling. It’s worse when I’m hungry but I don’t want to eat much. Loss of appetite and all. Everything throbs, everything aches. My nostrils are getting irritated with breathing too. Meanwhile Panda’s been sick for a few days and he’s been sleeping already. He probably gave this to me when he helped cook this week.

Am I making sense? I’m too tired to reread. I guess I should sleep but somehow checking something becomes browsing something becomes reading articles upon articles. It’s like the Wikipedia rabbit hole I often fall into. Lost, again. How many things have I read now? Yet the ache of my eyes (if they ache at all, I can’t tell) is drowned out by the dull pain throughout my body. Should I take a bath? But I might not ever get up. It is so much effort. Maybe tomorrow, then. Here’s to hoping for a good night’s rest. I should really try that oregano oil from my Homegrown box. Tomorrow.

Oh, and I guess I should take some pills.

Journey of happiness

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , ,

Would you rather be accomplished or happy?

I’m not saying these are mutually exclusive, but if you had to choose, which one is more important to you? I’ve found that in the quest for happiness, people often get caught up in accomplishments that don’t make them happy. Again and again you hear to do what you love – the success will follow. Yet, time after time, you see people putting job titles and salaries ahead of their personal fulfillment. Rather than choosing the roles that would bring them the most satisfaction, they choose the ones with higher prestige, larger paychecks. It’s quite the phenomenon.

girl at outdoor piano smiling with gleeful expression of joy

Some things bring me pure joy.

I’ve got to say, I don’t quite subscribe to this “follow your dreams” advice. I mean, the general concept makes sense, but when it comes to the nuances of real life, it’s a lot more complicated. It’s easy for people to take this idea and go wild, thinking that whatever they do they must love all of it. It’s too easy to say, “Oh I enjoy this but not that so maybe it’s not the right thing for me.” To me, it’s important to enjoy what you do more often than not, but you’ll never find a career that you love every aspect of. Maybe you’re loquacious and you get to talk a lot, but also need to handle paperwork to get deals closed. Maybe you’re extremely introverted and love doing research, but need to then present your findings at meetings. Doing only what you love can be a bit of a cop-out… it can encourage you to throw in the towel too soon, giving up on something because certain elements are challenging.

It’s something I struggle with all the time – how much do I enjoy my career path, my role? When I get to do what I’m best at and like doing, I’m in the zone. It feels fantastic and rewarding. When I have to do what I’m not strong in and struggle with, I’m at a loss. I try and I try but boy is it hard! My only solace is that when it’s finally over, that rush of relief can wash over me and provide some comfort. On my journey of happiness, I am constantly learning, growing, and evolving. Similarly, I’ve found that in my personal life I travel a parallel path. I’ve learned that finding happiness is not about getting to a destination – after all, what makes us happy is changing too. Rather, it’s about adapting along the way and enjoying the experiences. I’m trying to make the most of each experience and find something to smile about.

It’s funny how all this time I’ve been trying to “find myself” there’s been no “self” to find, really. I am who I am; I am how I am. As I tried to figure out what would make me happy I failed to realize that I was thinking too much about a future self that doesn’t exist yet (and may never exist, depending on what choices I make now). Am I brave enough to let go of all that worry and just live in the present? I crave a certain amount of stability and I feel like I have more control over the future if I make decisions based on how I think it will go. But really, you never know. So maybe I can explore this stage of my journey of happiness a bit more thoroughly while I’m here. I’m just afraid that acting without regard to that fuzzy future will make it become something far worse than I’d want.

Happiness now doesn’t guarantee happiness in the future. Oh, dilemmas… I still can’t quite let go of wanting to feel accomplished AND happy. I’ll try to tip the scales a bit more towards happy though. We’ll see how it goes. 🙂

365great Day 283: Whole Foods

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , ,

365great challenge day 283: whole foodsI love the smell of Whole Foods. It’s comforting to me, that mix of herbs and fresh food mingling. Their use of warmer colors in their stores is also a welcoming sight – none of that harsh whiteness of other stores. For a grocery story, I want a more homey feel and the combination of how their stores look and smell totally give me that impression. I’ve spent my fair share of time there, demoing a variety of products back when I was a product demonstrator. I’ve been to almost every single Whole Foods in the Greater Los Angeles region. There’s always so much to discover and I could spend ages in there finding new products to try. I also find grocery shopping can be such a cute thing, romantic even (yeah, I’m weird), so I love watching people shop. I also have great memories of delicious lunches at the El Segundo location. I miss that.

365great Day 281: gifts

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , ,

365great challenge day 281: giftsWhile I’m generally not into gifts and presents, they’re still fun to get sometimes. The surprise element of getting something combined with the mystery of what it is can be a fun and exciting experience. I enjoyed the white elephant exchange at work today and it reminded me of some of the joy that comes along with gifting. I was careful with what I chose and I’m sure it will be appreciated by the recipient. Some people went with silly gifts for a laugh, others went with totally random stuff and it was interesting seeing what it all was. You can find some funky items out there! It’s also really nice to get gifts for those who usually do without, which is why Panda and I will be donating a toy to kids each year. Ultimately it comes down to the experience of sharing time or care (for me at least), and that’s why gift-giving can be so great.

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