Saturday, November 8, 2014

Happy Birthday, Marie Curie - an inspiration to women physicists everywhere!

I realize that I am a day late with the wishes, but nonetheless, Marie Curie rocks.
She did what I could not.  She survived and thrived as a professional physicist.

Here's my story about that....

At age 21 and graduating from a local Jesuit University with a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Physics and a minor in Electronics, I began the search for an Engineering position that would make my Dad proud.

The first position I was offered and accepted taught me a few things.  

  • Never accept an offer unless you are sure it is a good offer for you. 
  • Of course, an acceptable  offer to you may not be acceptable to another.
  • Just because you studied your ass off for four years does not mean you will like the job that that four years will get you.
A few months into this first position, I stumbled upon the original job posting that listed the low end of the salary range well above the salary I was offered and accepted. I still feel that that offer was a good offer for me at the time, because I was just out of school, insecure, not so confident, and worried that NO offers would be presented.  

Physics is a man’s  kingdom, or so the men I worked with at this first position had me believing.  Luckily for them and me, I enjoyed the meager (to them) tasks they assigned to me.  I enjoyed talking with customers about product choices and options and order status rather than why the product they bought does not seem to work they way they think it should. As I was being mentored for these latter, loftier tasks,  I listened to coworkers explain to customers how inept they were for not realizing how our products should be used.  I quickly realized that this was not the job for me.

Fortunately, after a couple of years of suffering through that position,  an opportunity opened up in the marketing communications department.  My technical background combined with my love of writing  and interest in desktop publishing (which I had kept secret until this time) made me the perfect candidate.  I dove in and rearranged the company’s product catalogs and buyer selection guides, bringing them to new heights of user-friendliness.

Unfortunately, that was a one-time gig; once the new layout was in place, maintenance was not in the budget.  Or at least that was the excuse given for the reduction in work force that hit me upon my return from my first maternity leave. 

I was faced with a dilemma.  I had a degree I was not sure I want to use coupled with a need to find employment.  My husband and I had recently purchased a house counting on a double income. It was 1984.  Modern technology was limited.  Thankfully, my now ex-husband was/is a computer nerd/genius.  I taught myself word processing on an Apple IE.  I applied for technical writing positions over a three county area. When asked if  knew WordPerfect and WordStar, I nodded and batted eyelashes.  That was taken as a yes.  Thankfully they did not test.  I learned everything I needed to know within the first few weeks and confirmed to myself that I was computer literate. 

And the rest is history, sort of...

I no longer write for a living, but I used the skills I learned in that profession to move into localization coordination and then document control.  

I have come a long way, baby - and hoping to go further.

I intend to apply for a newly-created Change Coordinator  position in my current place of employment - if it ever gets approved and posted.

Wish me luck!

What is your career story?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Checking on my 2014 resolutions...

I tend to make resolutions each New Year that I do not intend to keep or follow up on.

This year I made a promise to myself that I would do better.

And quite honestly, I believe I have - at least for the most part.

On December 31st 2013, I posted these resolutions for 2014:

  1. Let go of faltering friendships. 
  2. Cherish my good friends.
  3. Attempt to stay socially active.
  4. Continue to make my apartment more homey.
  5. Walk in at least two organized 5K events this year. 
  6. Take a vacation to somewhere warm. 
It is now November 2014.  How am I doing?

  1. I have been better at letting go of faltering friendships, though at times I do feel a little guilty for not making the effort to get back in touch...
  2. Cherishing good friends is a two way street.  And I must say, the few good friends I resolved to cherish make that so easy.  We do keep in touch and check in with each other and make time to visit and share our life's ups and downs.  My best friend Sandy and I get together almost every month for dinner or gaming or just visiting.
  3. Attempting to stay socially active has been more of a struggle.  I stopped visiting the Rocksino unless it is a planned visit with a friend. The ROI is just not enough.  I did opt to join a gym and have been chatting with some of the regulars while there. The first two months I went almost every night.  I have slacked off a bit, but still making 2-3 visits a week.
  4. I have done quite a few things to my apartment.  The kitchen, dining room, guest bathroom, and living room all have new wall art.  I created a magnet canvas to cover my fuse box.  I do have a few more things in mind, including a wind chime, but I am just not as creative as I would like to think I am.  I did get lucky when my son decided to move to Belize.  I acquired two living room lamps, a bedroom set (which he thinks he is getting back on his return), some kitchen items, an exercise bike (which I gave to him last time I moved), some comforters, more wall art,etc...  So if all that counts, I have kept this resolution.
  5. I did walk in two organized 5K events this year, one on Mother's Day and one at the Natatorium in September.   And, since July 1st,  I have been setting and achieving monthly activity (step) goals.
  6. I did take a vacation to Myrtle Beach in September and I have booked a flight to Belize in December.  Check and double check!
Not bad, if I do say so myself.

And, I have actually added a resolution.  I am working to get my 5k walk time down.  On September 14, my official 5k time was clocked at 51:16.  My goal is to get that time (unofficially, 25 1/8 mile laps at the Nat) down to 45:00 by Christmas.  I hit 47:30 earlier  this week.  I am on my way.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Check out this adult content...

I sometimes like to visit my blog during my lunch hour at work.

Sometimes during that visit I write...

Sometimes I post...

Sometimes I visit the other blogs that I follow...

It is a nice break from work.

Or, more accurately, it WAS a nice break.

When I tried to visit my blog this week, I was warned that the site I was trying to visit was restricted because of its' adult content.

Ok, then.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A long productive weekend...

I took Friday off just because I have some vacation days to use or lose  before the end of the year.

I took advantage of the long weekend and got a few things accomplished...

  • I started by sleeping in Friday and then taking a couple of extra long walks to make sure I met my October goal  to average 12100 steps a day....nothing like procrastination.  But I did it. And I set a goal for November of 12150 step a day.  I do not want to push it too much and leave room for failure.  
  • I also made some (aromatherapy) bath salts.  I had been wanting to try my hand at this for awhile and it was actually pretty simple.  I made grapefruit and chamomile. 
  • I slept in again Saturday.
  • I made a  good size dent in reorganizing my bedroom and cleaning up the spare room. I had acquired some stuff from my son and am storing some other stuff for him.  I just kind of threw everything in the spare room and finally started going through it all this weekend.   
  • I slept an extra hour Sunday morning.  I still need to move the clocks back that do not move themselves.
  • I grocery shopped for the week.
  • I filled out and mailed my absentee ballot.
  • I visited my parents and watched the Browns beat the Buccaneers.
  • I visited the Natatorium and picked up the pace a little on my 25-lap (3.125 mile) time. My PR is now 46:23.
And that's all folks.  I am now relaxing at my computer.

I hope you had a productive weekend.