Wednesday, April 23, 2008

WTF Mate?

So, this blog was just going to be about it snowing in Seattle in mid-April, but it has expanded since then, so here are my WTFs for the week:

1) Snow in Seattle - we are lucky if we get snow in January, but here's the view from my front door in Ballard on Friday, April 18. APRIL?? WTF?!?

2) Our *cough*venerable*cough* president has apparently made prime time his hangout of choice now. He has now made appearances on both Deal or No Deal and American Idol. You can see him here and here. WTF?
Of course, this is timed perfectly to coincide with the new movement to name a fitting memorial after our *cough*venerable*cough* president in San Francisco.

3) Um, hello world? Yeah, that would be a handbasket you're in. And, no, that's not global warming making it hotter...WTF mate (explicit language warning!)?

4) And, finally, CARLY!?! REALLY?!? WTF???!!!???

OH! Wait, THIS explains it!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey

Ok, well, maybe not as entertaining as Jack Handey, but you subtract out the bears-as-uncles and really, what do you have?

These are just my thoughts...So, though I recognize logically and reasonably that there is no one in the world that has the same thought process, ideas, and observations that I do (not to say that there aren't people similar to me, such as my boyfriend, my best friends, my mom, probably some people I've never met...) I am still continually surprised how DIS-similar from myself some people are.

I am shocked when I sit an audience of my fellow students and the host of the Dalai Lama event asks that everyone stays sitting until the academic processions finishes...and yet crowds of students continue streaming out of the doors.

I am shocked when I am at work and I hear someone yell and complain about how people in this company play the blame game...and then that person proceeds to blame something on someone else in the same breath.

I am shocked when people don't understand that when I cry it doesn't mean that I'm weak or that I'm sad, it's just an expression of my utter frustration and impotence at changing my surroundings.

I am shocked when people expect that my life is/should be devoted to my job...this does NOT mean that I don't have a work ethic, just that I think my life should be MORE than the 8-5, sitting in a cubicle, creating procedures and policies. This is also why I'm changing my profession. I want to CHANGE things. HELP the world somehow. Obviously, I am only one person, but I think I can contribute. That being said, I AM devoted to my job when I get something out of it...some positive feeling...something constructive.

I am shocked when people allow themselves to become so wrapped up in the negative that they forget to embrace the positive in their live. I mean, really, if we want to play that game, I can play it pretty well. But I don't. Instead, though I bitch about my job, when push comes to shove, I recognize that this company has given me many opportunities that I would not have otherwise had, and has richly rewarded me when I've done well. Not to mention that I have an extraordinarily (notice, Danielle, I didn't say "incredibly"!) supportive mother and grandfather, an amazing boyfriend, phenomenal friends, and so many opportunities in my life that I feel so very fortunate to have.

I am shocked when people make commitments and then don't follow through; no reasons or anything, just don't show up.

I am shocked when I meet people that don't like 80s music! Ok, not really, but I felt I needed to lighten the tone...

This list makes it seem like I'm going through life with my perpetually shock-widened eyes. While this is not quite true, I do feel like I learn something, and have to adapt to a new situation, daily. As I said, I realize logically that most people do not think like me, but emotionally I am continually surprised when they don't.

Of course, conversely, I am even more heartened when I see people let people in front of them in traffic, or when friends are overwhelmed with work and personal life but still take the time to send an email explaining why they haven't responded sooner, or when people are having a particularly rough point in their life but completely ignore the negative aspects and focus on the beauty that they find, or when people accept the blame for the mistakes they make. Not that I follow all of these precisely every time. I am no saint. Hence, the reason I am so gratified by these actions :)

Overall, I feel that I am blessed in my life, and I only wish that everyone felt like that. I have not had a textbook perfect life by any means. However, I feel that I have ended up ahead.

I could focus on the fact that I never had a father. Instead, instead I choose to focus on the fact that I had an unbelievably supportive mother and grandfather.

I could focus on the fact that other than some cousins, no one in my family has gone to college. Let alone had a job that was more than mid-level management. Instead, I went to college and I'm graduating with honors, and I reached mid-level management by my late twenties BEFORE I even got my degree.

I could focus on the fact that almost every man in my life has let me down. Instead, I focus on my grandfather who is more of a father figure to me than my father has or could ever be. I also focus on my boyfriend who treats me better than anyone else ever has, and puts up with more of my crap than I should ever ask him to.

I realize these imperfections and shortcomings in my life, and yet, I recognize the fact that my successes and benefits more than make up for, if not exceed, them. I also recognize the fact that these experiences have broadened, deepened, and expanded my life and my beliefs, and without them, I would not be the person that I am today, even with all MY imperfections and shortcomings.

Sorry, I know this is a bit of a rant and verbal diarrhea, but that's what my friends are for, listening to my rants, my complaints, my successes, and my dreams. I also believe that I fulfill this role for my friends. If I have not, then please let me know, because it is definitely something that I strive for!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Forget the sound of one hand clapping...

What is the sound that a girl makes when she can't find her friggin' Dalai Lama ticket??

I'll give you a hint: it's somewhere been a sob and the sound that a cat makes when he is in heat. It ain't pretty.

So, after digging through the trash, loudly bewailing my loss and my neighbors throwing a shoe at me to shut me up, I eventually found it at 2pm!

Of course, this left me exactly 45 mins. to drive to the U-District (15 mins.), park my car (5 mins.), and walk to Hec Ed Pavilion (usually between 30 & 35 mins. from 52nd and Brooklyn). Yes, that adds up to more than 45 mins. However, after sweating through my wool coat in 50 degree weather, I finally made it EXACTLY at 2:45. And I was just in time to watch the pro-China demonstration. Good times. As someone commented, it sounded like they were yelling very angry communist chants...who knows...

I entered the building and made my way with the masses of other students to our seats. What followed was two hours of insightful observations made by a man who has been the spiritual leader of his people for 58 years.

His discussion on compassion, how we practice it, and how we inspire it in others was beautiful. He is a very simple speaker and gets directly to the point. He also related several personal stories to emphasize his points. My favorite was one he told of a boy in Ireland.

Several years ago, he made a trip to Northern Ireland to meet with some of the victims of the violence there. He said that when he walked in the room there were almost no smiles and extreme tension prevailed. However, he noticed this one boy who did actually smile. The boy had been hit on the forehead, right between his eyes, with a rubber bullet during the fighting when he was thirteen and was blinded instantly. However, the now grown man told him, when he woke up in the hospital after the incident, he didn't feel anger or hatred at those who had harmed him, instead, his first thought was sadness that he would never again see his mother's face. So, unlike his fellow victims who clung to the pain and the anger, he released it, and was grateful, instead, for being alive. When the Dalai Lama returned to the same place two years later, he saw more smiles, and he saw that young man again, this time with a beautiful wife, and two beautiful children.

I thought this story was a lovely example of the beauty that can be in our life when we release, or at least subdue, the anger, hurt, frustration, and self-pity that can sometimes result from being beat down in our lives by those around us. When we accept it and move on, everything that we wanted can still be ours, we just have to recognize that it may come in a different form than we thought.

So, some words on compassion to contemplate. As was said during the reading of his honorary degree citation (he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Human Letters at UW), the Dalai Lama has taught us that humanity is one. Suffering is our common lot. Happiness is our common goal. Love is our most fundamental need. Compassion, therefore, and most importantly, is our universal duty. Compassion is not just recognizing the feelings of your fellow man, but is instead a rational and logical conclusion of what pain is in the world and making a concerted effort to better it.

On a lighter note, when asked by one of the students how he thought we should encourage other nations to become more involved on the war on AIDS, he responded "I believe that is a sexually transmitted disease, yes?" After receiving affirmation, he simply responded, "well, we just get them all to wear rubbers!"

I almost died laughing!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I love the internets...

Specifically, I love! Even though I don't know anyone who knows someone that works at the Gates Foundation, linkedin let me know that I know someone, who knows someone, who knows someone that works there! It just lets me expand my network by one more person! Woohoo!

That is all.

Thanks for listening!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Update on the job search...

So, yeah, TOTALLY found my ideal job...anyone know anyone that works at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation? :) I don't necessarily have the experience, but, hey, it's all about who you know, not what you know, right? And I'm a fast learner! ;)

Position TitleSpecial Assistant to the President - Travel
DivisionGlobal Health Program


The Special Assistant to the President, Global Health Program staffs the President’s international and domestic trips and events with other global health leaders. This position is responsible for planning, trip logistics, and follow-up for external meetings, speeches and public events.

The Special Assistant acts as liaison between the office of the President and the program areas in Global Health, working closely with directors and program officers to ensure appropriate, consistent follow-through after external meetings and events.

Reports to: Senior Project Officer to the President, Global Health

• Travel with the President of Global Health, attending meetings, speeches, and other events, tracking commitments made and opportunities for follow-up. Debrief with the President and other foundation staff in attendance as appropriate.
• Prepare and issue trip reports that succinctly capture salient elements from discussions and clearly identify follow-up actions. Disseminate within global health and maintain a trip report archive.
• Manage follow up activities that result from external meetings. Assign to foundation staff as appropriate, assemble ad hoc teams when necessary; ensure that each activity is completed in a reasonable manner and timeframe after the completion of the trip. Provide regular progress updates to the Senior Project Officer to the President.
• Contribute to the development of an annual travel strategy for the President that maximizes the achievement of foundation objectives and manages grantee relationships.
• Manage all travel logistics during travel with the President, trouble-shooting and resolving conflicts as they arise, interacting with logistics and security personnel and other members of the delegation traveling with the President.
• Monitor key relationships between President of GH with government, the philanthropic sector, and other key foundation partners and allies and leverage trips/events to schedule meetings and conversations to further develop these relations.
• Maintain positive, productive working relationships with staff in the office of the President, Global Health Policy & Advocacy staff, other Global Health Program staff, security and logistics personnel, and external contacts.
• Negotiate consultant contracts and coordinate work as it relates to trip planning and execution from time to time.
• Travel up to 50% both domestically and internationally, including travel to the developing world.

New Blog and New Professional Direction


I post blogs on myspace that are usually just funny little videos or observations.

I posted a few entries on another blogspot blog while traveling in Europe (that fell apart quickly...amazingly enough, I was far too busy actually DOING stuff to write a blog).

Now, I thought this may be an interesting way to just talk about things going on in my life. This is mostly designed for my friends, but I don't have any issues with other people reading it.

I will attempt to keep this current, but as most people who know me realize, my schedule is a smidge insane.

So, now that I've put all that out there, let's chat...

I'm beginning to realize that I've been a bit of a hypocrite recently. I've adopted this snobby superiority to my fellow students when it comes to graduation. When they start obsessing about what they are going to do after graduation, I throw my nose up in the air and in a very adult-like voice acknowledge their fear and then condescendingly tell them that I don't have to worry about that fear since I've already been in the work-world for the past 8 or so years. I have NO fears about finding a job after graduation because I already have one! HA!

Karma is a bitch...

As many of you know, I haven't been exactly fulfilled in my current job. Writing procedures and auditing isn't exactly enthralling work for me. In addition, there have been several coworkers that I have not completely enjoyed working with. Moreover, my college major and future professional plans are completely unrelated to my current job. So, I always knew that I would be leaving, the question was only when. I had been taking my time figuring out the answer to that question. My boss had given me a deadline of the end of April to tell him what I wanted to do. Unfortunately, that deadline became immeasurably shorter last week.

On Tuesday, my boss called me into his office. He told me that the customers were expressing some concerns over the fact that my company only had a part time quality manager and wanted to know when/if I was going to be full time. "So," he said, "I need to have your answer by tomorrow."


Ho-lee crap...

Suddenly, that turmoil faced by my fellow students was smack-dab in my face.

I frantically called my mom after I left the office begging for answers. I spoke to my boyfriend, asking him for advice. I called a friend of mine whose opinion I trust explicitly in job-related matters.

Finally, I made my decision.

I walked into my boss's office the next day and asked him if we could speak. After receiving his assent, I calmly sat down and told him that I agreed with our customers, we did need a full time quality manager. Since I was only there part time, I missed a lot. However, as he was already aware, I need to focus on getting a job in my chosen area, in this case international relations, and working full time for him would preclude that. Since I did not want to leave him in a bind, though, I would begin working full time after graduation, but I would need to leave by mid-August to search for work elsewhere.

He looked at me, nodded, and said "OK, we'll start the search immediately."

So, this is where you find me now: faced with employment uncertainty in an increasingly unstable economy. Terrifying, and yet liberating at the same time. I know that this decision was for the best, but I'll be darned if I can remember that when I look at my credit card statement!