mercury retrograde

In the Merde

Mercury Retrograde ends on March 17, and it certainly is going out with a bang this week: 5 coworkers were laid off on Tuesday, one of them in spectacular fashion.  While I had worked with most of them for many years, I was particularly close to one of them.  We started at this organization one day apart, and we joked that he was like the 14-year-old brother I never had.  You might recall that my boss left unexpectedly 2 weeks ago. It really has been a shitty few weeks.

I know I talk a lot about Mercury Retrograde, but rest assured that I don’t really believe in it or astrology.  Not a lot anyway.  It’s simply nice to have something to blame or identify a cause or reason instead of the indifferent universe when something shitty happens.  I find it a bit ironic that I am currently reading Lean In when after the recent events, I want to lean back so far that I’m out of the picture.  But I have to keep it together for my team so that they won’t run screaming from the building.

Yesterday in Performance Leadership, we learned about different generations in the workplace.  I’m Gen X (bitter, jaded and cynical naturally), but I’m on the cusp of being Gen Y.  Gen Y wants to do meaningful work or find meaning in their work.  The Xer in me wants to roll my eyes and tell them to get over it because there’s a reason why it’s called “work” and not “fun.”  “Meaningful” for Gen Y is often interpreted derisively as a job that contributes to saving the planet or protesting for Tibetan freedom or something.  Meaningful work is relative to the worker, though.  For one employee, it might be work that compensates them fairly and allows them to live how they wish.  For another it might be an ethical workplace.

As a Gen X/Y cusper, I understand that quest to do work that is meaningful.  I am passionate and very proud of the work my organization does to help NC industry and how my efforts support that.  I’ve always been able to find meaning.  No matter how boring a class, I was always able to find something interesting or redeemable about it. Something that elevated it past mere drudgery. It’s a very useful mindset.  My team consists of two young Gen Yers, so I’m trying to focus on the importance of our work during this chaotic time.  It’s hard, though, because what do you do when your Gen X clashes with your Gen Y?  What happens when you are still able to find Gen Y meaning in what you do but that ol’ Gen X distrust rears its ugly head? When the bitterness outweighs the optimism?

GOMI

Last night on Twitter I had a nice conversation with Schmutzie and Bon about Get Off My Internets (GOMI).  I read GOMI.  I admit it.  If you want to stop following or shun me because of it, so be it.  I understand the criticism of GOMI, and I acknowledge that threads can deteriorate quickly into personal attacks instead of criticizing the behavior.  I also acknowledge that some of the members can be mean bitches with axes to grind.  I like the snark, but I’m really interested in the function GOMI serves as a counterweight to the blogosphere. I admit that it’s weird because bloggers are actual humans (most of them anyway), and it’s sort of weird to talk about them as if they are in the public domain like a celebrity.  But in a way they are.  And there’s some stupid shit that goes on in the blogosphere.  My bottom line is this:  if you delete comments that are mildly critical or questioning something you’ve posted about; if you allow only sycophantic fans to post glowing comments; if you do stupid shit; if you endanger your child; if you…ah screw it.  I guess it comes back to what I wrote in my post on criticism: you do not exist in a vacuum.  If you blog publicly, you put yourself out there and people will notice you.  Not everyone will like you.  People will judge your choices and opinions.  And that’s OK.  Because we’re human, and that’s what humans do. Surely there is room for a happy medium between “OMG U R the best” and “you’re a fat, jealous hater.”  Am I being ridiculous?  I’m comfortable among the gray instead of living in black or white.

Listen to Your Mother

Things are moving along quite nicely. Marty and I held auditions on three nights last week and heard 40 amazing readers.  Today we think we finalized our cast list.  We have also revealed our charity partner and have scored three sponsorships.  In short, there’s a lot going on, and I urge to subscribe to our LTYM site to stay in the loop!  May 8 doesn’t sound nearly as far away as it did only a few weeks ago!

Google

So long, Google Reader.  I shouldn’t be surprised that Google has made another decision that is so astonishingly bad it defies belief.  Do they understand who their users are? Do they understand that not only do people still blog but also still read blogs? Fine, Google.  Continue to put all of your resources and spend your social capital on Google Plus, something no one uses, instead of promoting and supporting the services a lot of people use.  We’ll see how that plays out in a few years.  I’ve updated my rant about Google from last Fall to include an update on the demise of Reader.

***

So that’s my week.  I’m bummed and numb and down.  I haven’t been sleeping well thanks to the time change, and I cried three times yesterday.  I’m reading and following along but seldom able to comment.

I hope you’ve had a better week.

Mercury Retrograde Part 2

I think this picture says it all:

It's a great Saturday that involves your car and a tow truck

It’s a great Saturday that involves your car and a tow truck

After running a few errands with Daniel, I attempted to start my car and nada. Tried it again.  Nothing but a clicky sound.  I called Jimmy, and he met us with his jumper kit.  We tried to jump my car three times, and it didn’t work, so we assumed it must be the starter or alternator or a fuse or something like that (I’m not good with car stuff).

Jimmy called a tow truck, and the truck towed my car to the Honda dealership.  I was mentally rearranging my week since my car being in the shop meant we would have to carpool; we’re not good carpoolers.  The tow truck driver said that he thought it really was the battery, so he tried to jump it.

Voila! Apparently his cables are better than ours because it worked! Jimmy, the tow truck driver and I drove to Advance Auto Parts so we could buy a new battery.   I parked in a weird spot and forgot that I shouldn’t cut off the car, killing the charge.  I felt like such a stupid girl in front of Jimmy and the tow truck driver: “Tee hee! Oops! I forgot to keep the car running.” Gah!

We finally had the new battery installed and it worked.  Daniel and I drove home while Jimmy got takeout since our Saturday was pretty much shot at that point.

Daniel was a prince, especially since our adventure took place during the time we attempt nap/quiet time, and we certainly hadn’t prepared to be out of the house for almost 6 hours.  The day was great fun for him.  He got 3 chocolate chip cookies out of it, but what he liked most of all was seeing the tow truck.  It looked almost exactly like his Bruder tow truck, and he was enthralled as he watched it tow my car.  The second time he saw it, he jumped up and down, shouting, “TOW TRUCK!”

Tow truck!

Tow truck!

Daniel told me that he wanted a life-size tow truck.  I asked him where it would live.  He replied, “the road!” I think he wants to be a tow truck driver when he grows up 🙂

Tow truck! Tow truck!

Tow truck! tow truck!

Transportation problems: check! Well played, Mercury Retrograde.  Well played.

Blathering: Mercury Retrograde

Last week I was joking with some folks on Twitter that some of the craziness we have seen must be due to Mercury Retrograde.  And it turns out I was correct. In case you aren’t familiar with Mercury Retrograde or aren’t as nutty as I am, things go a bit crazy when Mercury retrogrades.  Nothing goes smoothly, especially in transportation and communication. Technically, I’m supposed to be horrifically impacted by Mercury Retrograde because my sun sign is Virgo (ruled by Mercury), my rising sign is Gemini (ruled by Mercury) and Mercury resides in Virgo in my chart.  In short, it’s a lot of damn Mercury, and I’m screwed.

This week was bizarre, y’all.  Major llama, llama office drama: my boss resigned unexpectedly.  I hosted a team member’s retirement party on Tuesday and was still getting my shit together for it literally minutes before it started. On Wednesday, class let out unexpectedly early, and I was summoned to the office for an emergency meeting for my entire group with our executive director. On Thursday I ran from meeting to meeting to meeting.  After work, traffic was backed up on the route I take to pick up Daniel thanks to a wreck, and when I got to day care, I discovered it was on lock-down because a man had robbed the bank up the street.  Thankfully they let us quickly get our children and leave.

I haven’t been sleeping well either, waking up at 3:30 every day as you probably deduced if you follow me on Twitter.  Actually, no one in the house has been sleeping well.  Daniel has woken up super early almost every day.  The cats can sense when my eyes open, and our geriatric cat Bit starts yowling loudly at our door because she knows we’ll let her in instead of risking her waking up Daniel.  Then she yowls to be put on the bed and she yowls until I rub her.  She falls asleep cuddling my leg (which is kind of nice) but leaving me locked on my side of the bed.

We are so ready for this week to be over.  I was ready for it to be over on Wednesday.  And today begins a new month.  That’s nice because February was weird.  At the beginning of the month, I looked out my dining room window to discover crime scene tape and police cars at my neighbor’s house across the street.  When I couldn’t detect any sense of urgency from the officers, I began to fear the worst and another neighbor confirmed it: my neighbor had committed suicide.  His wife had left him, taking their daughter.  We had noticed moving vans there the weekend before.

For weeks his truck sat in the driveway until I noticed a few days ago that it was gone.  So was the wreath on the front door.  I can’t imagine how sad the wife and child must be feeling and how horrible it must have been to return to that house and finish cleaning it out.  It seems silly, but when I drive by the house, it has an air of sadness and loneliness.  What happens to houses after something like that?  Will anyone live in it again?  What kind of psychic energy has been left behind?

I don’t want to end the post on a down note, so here are a few lighter notes:

Daniel

A few days ago, we were going over his behavior chart for the day before bed, and Bit (the aforementioned “yowler”) meowed loudly because SHE wanted to be fed.  Daniel leaned over to her, held out his hand in classic “talk to the hand” pose and said, “Hold on, Bitty-Boo.”  We rolled.  I almost cried I was laughing so hard.

Listen to Your Mother

I am humbled and awed and amazed to report that we received 41 submissions.  41!  I would have been thrilled with 20!  Marty and I had to add an extra day for auditions next week.  And the submissions….oh, it’s going to be difficult to narrow down to around 13-14.  We have amazing writers in this area. The Raleigh-Durham show is going to be awesome!

Socks

I wore my Lady Gaga socks to work today.  It felt good to wear a new pair of fun socks 🙂 Granted, I wore them with jeans, so it was appropriate.  Next time, I’m wearing them with black pants!

Lady Gaga Socks

She was born this way apparently

Marissa Mayer

In case you missed it, Yahoo’s CEO caused a storm of controversy by mandating that every employee needed to be in the office and rescinding working from home privileges.  My first reaction was, “Thanks for the vote of confidence and support from one working mom to another,” but given the challenges she faces, I think she did the right thing.  It takes commitment to rebuild a culture, and it will be difficult to achieve that if the workforce is dispersed.  Unsurprisingly, her decision has been a hot topic in the blogosphere.  Here are a few of my favorite posts on the issue:

And then there’s this article: “The Quest to Find Realistic Role Models for Working Mothers.” Yes, yes, yes!!!  This article hits on my uneasiness with Anne-Marie Slaughter, Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer. I volunteered to read Sandberg’s book Lean In and write a review of it for Liberating Working Moms because I’m genuinely curious what she has to say.  I also empathize with Mayer’s position as a powerful CEO of childbearing age who carries the weight of a generation and gender on her shoulders and finds her every action scrutinized from a variety of perspectives (but who also has a nursery attached to her office).  I respect Slaughter’s opinion, yet I wonder if her generation and my generation experience the workforce differently.  And this quote from the above article articulated everything I had been feeling:

When working mother success is defined by the achievements, struggles, and angst of an elite group of women, it overlooks what Judith Warner articulated in Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety as the ability to “accommodate the more average kind of ambition with motherhood. The kind of ambition that most women and men have: to work a sufficient number of hours, at work they find interesting, meaningful, or enjoyable to earn enough money to buy their families a sufficiently good standard of living.”

Exactly.  I have ambition.  I want to do a good job and advance.  I like working, but I don’t want to be CEO of any corporation.  My ambitions and goals as a working mother are very different from Sandberg’s, Mayer’s and Slaughter’s.  We need more “normal” working mothers speaking and writing and advising (that’s critical) about what it’s really like to be an average working mother and what we really need.

How was your week?  Is Mercury Retrograde screwing you over too?