Friday, May 18, 2012

Project Management – the second most thankless job on the planet

Mark took a Nike course on project management this week and he seemed to be pretty excited about it.  He felt like he learned a lot.  While I think that’s GREAT, I’m a bit curious what the content of the course was and if they undersold the commitment just a bit.

Having been a project manager I would imagine this particular class must have been a little like attending a “vacation ownership” seminar.  They get you all excited about it and you think “oh $75 a month to be able to go to Hawaii every year for a week seems like a screaming deal!” and before you have time to process all the HOA & cleaning fees, airfare and food costs you’ve signed on the dotted line and reality sets in.

After the course Mark seemed to think he might like project management.  WHAT?!  LIKE?!  That’s where I got a little suspicious.  I feel ultimately qualified to call it the second most thankless job next to parenting, having spent a couple of years at Coldwater Creek in a PM role in Marketing, and now currently as a parent.

If I were teaching the class, I’d have a few sections for my students to go through before turning them loose as project managers.  Here’s MY course offering on Project Management:

PM101 – Bringing a Flask To Work
How to deal with having all of the accountability and absolutely no authority to make decisions, but having to make them anyway.

PM102 – When You Need Xanax or the Emergency Room
How to tell the difference between a panic/anxiety attack and a heart attack and when to seek help.

PM201 – Don’t Shoot the Messenger
How to tell a DVP in another department that your boss wants them to do something right away that is extremely time consuming and difficult, even though they are out of town and you’re just the project manager.  Prerequisite Course: PM102 When You Need Xanax or the Emergency Room

PM202 – Shit or Get off the Pot
How to make decisions that could potentially get you fired because your boss is out of town and the creative is going to press within the hour.  Prerequisite Course: PM101 Bringing a Flask to Work

PM301 – Don’t Pull Your Hair Out
How to deal with twenty emails, phone calls and “stop-bys” relating to the five projects you’re managing, all wanting different things and expecting immediate results.  Recommended course: PM202 Shit or Get off the Pot

PM302 – Prioritizing Bullshit Meetings
How to deny meeting requests with style and panache from anyone who hasn’t bothered to check your company-wide, VERY full and totally visible outlook calendar.

PM401 – Finding the Light at the End of the Tunnel
How to look for, network and apply for other jobs using your office computer while juggling 5 projects and not having anyone find out about it. 

PM401B – Your Favorite Hiding Place
This is an add-on course that isn’t required but highly recommended.  You’ll learn how to find the one place on campus that no one can find you so you can have five minutes of peace in your day.  Likely this will be the bathroom (see PM402B) but could also be the leather recliner in the game room that is always dark because who the hell has time to play foosball anyway?  Well, other than the executives, but they are likely meeting to figure out who has the best golf handicap.

PM402 – Power Lunches
How to eat your lunch at your desk while on the phone with your boss who is out of town who wants you to email him the spreadsheet he has to have RIGHT NOW that he never gave you the updates for until THIS VERY MINUTE and not spilling anything or getting it lodged in your keyboard and having to call IT to bring you a new one because you accidentally poured your fourth triple latte of the day on it.

PM402B – ADVANCED COURSE – The Potty Break
How to schedule restroom breaks in your Outlook Calendar without others knowing it is a bathroom break AND be able to multi-task by returning emails using your blackberry while on the toilet very quietly so no one else in the stalls on either side of you have any idea.  Reminder, this is an advanced course and all other ealier coursework should be complete before enrolling.

PM501 –  GRADUATE LEVEL COURSE:  Being a “Team Player”
How to deal with doing all the behind the scenes work but watching your boss, who has been out of town for six weeks, get all the credit.  

If you can get through this program and STILL want the job,  I think you'll be well-prepared for project management which incidentally should automatically qualify you for a free prescription to anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds because you will never again have time to go to the gym or do anything else that would relieve your stress level.  Just being honest here.  

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Things I may never understand...

I'll never understand a manufacturers uncanny ability to print coupons exactly 7 days after I have JUST purchased something I needed.  WITHOUT a coupon.  How DO they do that?  This week it was mustard.  I know it's cheap anyway, but I'm cheap so almost free is way better.  WTH.

I'll never understand my children's vast knowledge of Beyblades, the characters, their little "gangs" that they fight in and at the same time their total and complete inability to remember to do the simplest thing we've asked them to do within 30 seconds of the asking.  "Wash your hands for dinner" comes to mind, and they come downstairs with the greasiest most disgusting dirt caked mittens and look at me like I have two heads when I say "what were you DOING instead of washing your hands?"  Probably watching Beyblades, that's my guess.

I'll never understand why I can't get the attention of my children when they are in the bonus room to have a snack, but they hear the faint "click click click" of the computer keyboard and they suddenly materialize like they're on Star Trek and beg to use the computer.

I'll never understand why people advertising their business on THEIR CAR still drive like assholes.  No more needs to be said here.

I'll never understand how I uncannily choose the line at the grocery store that looks like it's the shortesrt and still end up being there longer than everyone else.  I'm gravitationally pulled to checkers-in-training I guess.  The force is strong with this one.

I'll never understand how I'm able to organize the kids' rooms in less than 3 hours, and it takes them 6 just to put their clean laundry away.

I'll never understand all the peace-be-with-you people at church who are the first to cut you off in traffic when we're all 10 minutes late to church.

And I'll never understand why my kids look soooooo darned adorable while they are sleeping, even after they fight like hell to go to sleep.

Friday, May 11, 2012

What I want for Mother's Day - a reasonable list

I've thought a lot about what I want for Mother's Day this year.  A LOT.  I really have some very basic requests, nothing too out of the box I don't think.  I know that my husband reads this blog too.  I think he checks to make sure I don't say anything nasty about him.  I never would, on the blog anyway.  Nah, I save that up for when I'm with my girlfriends and have too much red wine.  I say things like "can you believe how supportive Mark is?"  "Why does he put up with me anyway?"  "Mark is such a rock star!"  Honestly.  I do.  Ask my friends.  I dare you.

But back to the list.  I mean business this year.  No more of this breakfast in bed stuff, no way.  I want THINGS.  Big.  Important.  Super-meaningful things.  See below:

1.  I want for my house to magically clean and organize itself.
2.  I want for my newly clean and organized house to stay that way.  For longer than the normal 10 minutes.  Maybe 24 hours?  I dont' want to push it, though.
3.  I want my boobs to go back to my pre-weight loss size.
4.  I want for my body to stay post-weight loss size while my boobs go back to normal.  That would be totally hot.
5.  I want my closet to magically transform itself and become filled with classically tailored styles for all seasons, categorized by color with matching shoes and accessories, all perfectly sized.  I know, this one seems a little over the top, but a girl can dream, can't she?
6.  I want the Nike fuel band that Mark won in a raffle to become mine.  AND for it to suddenly contain a heart rate monitor, mp3 player with speakers pre-loaded with all my favorite dirty club music for running, and a GPS thingy.  (Nike, are you listening?  BIG seller right there....just sayin')
7.  I want the arthritic big toe on my left foot to stop freaking hurting every time the weather thinks about changing.
8.  I want a pair of orthotics that don't make that terrifying spine tingling squeak squeak that reminds me of that devil woman of a fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Bloom, whose shoes made the same sound and also used Noxema skin cream for hand lotion.  Honestly, who does that?  Oh and she wore these stupid blue ked shoes with elastic denim pants and an untucked chambray shirt and to this day the thought of rhinestone horn-rimmed glasses makes me throw up a little in fear.  So, yeah, anyone know a good therapist?  Holy hell I've got some issues to work through!
9.  I want my memory of  Mrs. Bloom to disappear.  And a good therapist.
10.  I want my 2009 Kia Optima to be transformed overnight into a brand new metallic blue big ass gas guzzling you'll-never-find-a-parking-spot-in-Portland Ford Expedition.  With leather.  And a sunroof.  And heated seats.  You know, generally speaking.

But truly, if there's one thing I want more than anything else in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD, it would be that my Dad could come over, give me one of his famous big bear hugs and say "Happy Mother's Day, honey."  But I'll settle for some sweet memories of him, and lots of lovin' from my kids and hubs.  And the Expedition.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Things people at my gym might want to tell me....

 I have to be fair.......
1.  From the guy at the front desk:  It's 5:30am lady, if you want eye contact and a smile, go to freaking Starbucks.  Otherwise, get your ass in there and get your sweat on, this ain't a spa.

2.  From the really really really skinny personal trainer whose make up looks like she's been up since 4am getting ready:  I'm not trying to make you look bad, it's easy to do.  Try a little lip gloss to match your rose-y sweaty little out of shape cheeks honey.

3.  From the guy who comes in about halfway through my workout and does his arm exercises five feet from me:  You're welcome.  And, uh......uncomfortable silence.....yeah, have a nice day?  or something.

4.  From the dude who smells like a barn every day:  You're one to talk lady, I know all about your treadmill crop dusting shenanigans.  Those who live in glass houses....or whatever.

5.  From the really intense weight lifter people, I think they're husband and wife:  your Katy Perry music is too loud and we hate it.  Your headphones are for you to listen to, so turn it down and don't make the rest of the gym suffer listening to your peppy annoying music.

6.  From the two ladies who faithfully ride the recumbant bikes:  We're not really sure you're complimenting us, but thanks if you are.  If not, you know where you can go.  BOOT CAMP.

7.  From the folks in the boot camp class:   If you'd ever use more than 7.5 lbs for a workout you might be able to curl more than a soup can, noodle arms.  Give it a shot.

8.  From the girl who runs the treadmill and covers up the data screen with a magazine she doesn't even read: Relax you psycho OCD crazy woman.  Shouldn't you be running for the pure joy of it?  Quit worrying about every little step, you might hurt yourself!  Oh and I DO read it, like 20 times!

9.  From the lecherous old guy in the corner who curls a few weights but checks out every female within his line of sight: I'm not looking at you stick-woman.  Maybe if you had some boobs.  Get over yourself.

10.  From the men who stop and stare at the TV at regular intervals: It is in our genetics to watch TV when there's a hot chick or sports on.  Just like it's in yours to make fun of us for it.  So we're good.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Things I'd like to tell certain people at my gym....

1.  To the guy at the front desk:  Under normal circumstances I'd find your lack of enthusiasm, or general acknowledgement of my existence, appalling.  Since it's 5:30am and it appears that neither one of us is capable of much more than an unintelligble grunt, I appreciate you.

2.  To the really really really skinny personal trainer whose make up looks like she's been up since 4am getting ready:  You suck.  I can barely remember to brush my teeth, let alone shower and paint my face at 5am.  You make the rest of us look bad.  And I don't like you.

3.  To the guy who comes in about halfway through my workout and does his arm exercises five feet from me:  Thank you.  And: how you doin'?

4.  To the dude who smells like a barn every day:  personal hygeine is often thrown out the window before working out but for those of us that have to smell you, please just slap on some deodorant.  We sure would appreciate it.  I can almost see a green cloud following you around.  Seriously.

5.  To the really intense weight lifter people, I think they're husband and wife, grunting doesn't help a whole lot and you're interrupting my Katy Perry tunes.  Stop it.

6.  To the two ladies who faithfully ride the recumbant bikes:  git-er-dun.  You're an inspiration.  And I totally love the fact that you both have the same level of caring for personal appearance that I do.  You don't make me look bad and I love you for that.

7.  To the folks in the boot camp class: stop stealing the freaking free weights you assholes.  That's why you're in boot camp and I'm not.  Leave a girl something to work with, would you?  SHEESH.  I cannot curl 120lbs, have you seen my noodle arms? 

8.  To the girl who runs the treadmill and covers up the data screen with a magazine she doesn't even read: how do you do it?  I have to know every step, every calorie, every second and every lap throughout the entire workout.  I salute you.  You are my hero.

9.  To the lecherous old guy in the corner who curls a few weights but checks out every female within his line of sight: hope you enjoy the view.  That's all you're gonna get.

10.  To the men who stop and stare at the TV at regular intervals: I totally know when either sports or a Carl's Junior commercial comes on because you all freeze in place, mouths wide open, a little drool coming out of your mouth.  I can hear the collective mental "Ooooohhhhh pretty lady" in your thoughts.   But keep doing it, you entertain me.