challenges, working women

Digital Dooms Day

Today was the day. First day back at school, digitally. How did it go? It sucked! It sucked life out of me.

Did my kid get up and do what needed to be done? Yes. Did she have tools to be somewhat successful? Yes. Granted this rant is just my perspective and I know there are many others with a different view but for those who haven’t started back to school here’s a view from my lens.

1st period login was from the car. Yes I’m a bad mom but hey I leveraged technology using a hotspot so I could get my workout in and took my sidekick since I knew she would be strapped to the computer all day. All damn day! This was a requirement due to what was on the plate for the day and my mental health matters, too. First order of business: shirts are required on Zoom. Do not take your laptop to the bathroom. Nobody wants to see that! Wow, just wow. Those were the welcome words from the teacher. That surely took me for loop.

Period 2 was no biggie but I did get texts from others having login issues. First cluster of interruptions. Period three was Spanish so nothing like listening to teens learn a language over Zoom while you are concentrating on your paying job!

Next time frame had screenshot of strange faces on Zoom. Then somebody thought it was funny to post porn on Zoom. Yep just another day a school in 2020. What kind of schooling is this?

Email-text-call from county about trouble with sites. Maybe that’s because 90,000 people are online plus telecommuters. Shake my head in disgust. The school system created this mess.

Lunch. Thankful it’s lunch break but my kid gets 1 hr 20 minutes for lunch. No school lunches. Let me stop and make something. Oh now you want to talk at the counter about all the craziness. Did I mention I work? Did I mention I only have one kid to deal with? How about folks with 3? How about those who work in an office who are not as flexible as me?

How does any adult get anything done? Has any school board member thought about this? In come the work emails. Employees are stressed. Can’t focus with all the interruptions. More stress on the home / work front.

End of the day yet? Well it’s really just the beginning for me. You see I still need to do my work after playing teacher, tech person, email coordinator, etc. How is this good for anyone’s mental health?

Oh just when I thought the day was over in comes the email-text-phone call from the school. Clearly one method of contact isn’t enough. Spamming is required. This message says well, our system sucked today so we are asking you to login in earlier tomorrow. Okay my kid starts at 7am you want her learning at 5am? Sounds logical to me. It also sounds logical to keep kids glued to a computer for 8 hours a day…NOT!

How many parents need Valium after day one? Remember I had it easy in comparison to those who juggle work at a brick and mortar business, or the single mom, or the mom of 5 kids under age 12. And note I mention the word mom a lot. The main reason for that is I would guess 80% or more of those I know have the mom as the token teacher regardless of their full-time or part-time obligations. It’s an invisible expectation. Even those moms who are teachers are expected to take their kids to school while they teach. Hmmm it’s not safe to go to school but the teacher’s kids can go to school. Let the juggling act begin.

I let out a big sigh. It’s time to move on. A new day tomorrow. But I do ask myself: how long will this insanity go on? I have built up tolerance. I have exercised my patience muscles. I have been flexible. I have adjusted. But how long until the seams bust?

Valium anyone? Or maybe Xanax is more applicable. Hope you enjoyed the comedy rant. All you can do is laugh at what we call life today. And of course many make shift momma/teachers are working on fractions hourly to combat stresses. The pic below is a great visual.

working women

Wah

Work at home or wah has been something I have been accustomed to for over 20 years. I am not a newbie to juggling work and home life. Wah requires a certain kind of discipline.

School holidays, summer vacations and digital learning days have always added a layer of distractions over the years but they were managed with care. Even when the pandemic popped up tolerance was built up and grace was given across the board. A juggling act of sorts began. The tolerance was temporary.

Fast forward four months and patience weakens when the reality sets in that one’s wah environment changed permanently. The distractions become coworkers. A teenager, a spouse, a token visitor, and a dog are now fixed figures much like a coworker. Don’t be fooled. These coworkers are not on your team.

Their output doesn’t impact your quota or goals. In fact, their production counts against you in ways that are hard to articulate. Their mere presence over time can counteract your goals.

Each new coworker has needs. It could be bandwidth for zoom meetings. Background noise for calls. Your favorite snack in the pantry. The list could go on and on. Now let’s compare that commotion to the once quiet and peaceful singular employee wah environment one was used to. There is no comparison!

The world around us has changed as well. Neighbors are also working at home due to environmental conditions. They may now mow the lawn more mid-day. They may let their dog(s) out in the yard during the day more. There may be neighbors talking over the fence more. There may be kids playing in the pool next door. There may be more UPS deliveries next door more often. That means noises, distractions, and so much more.

A chain reaction can start quickly. One dog barks in the area then five dogs bark. One toilet flushes then another, then another. School starts at 6:20 am for one. Work starts at 8 am for another. Work starts at 10 am for another. End times, lunch breaks, naps, and meetings all fluctuate between the pop-up mini-team. The poor dog is like a ping pong ball. No more daytime naps for the dog. Too much stimulation.

Somebody turns on the laundry mid-day. Somebody has a visitor pop over. Somebody burns something in the kitchen. Somebody takes a TV break and turns the sound up too loud. How does anyone get anything accomplished?

Work conference calls. School zoom classes. Chaos on the home front. Home and work is now mixed without barriers. Temporary is now more permanent.

I almost forgot the annoying coworker. The one who reads an article and wants to discuss it with you. The one who can’t focus on their own work so they ask you irrelevant questions. A coworker who looks to you for motivation or that mental push. Remember your coworker isn’t on your team but they need you to solve their perceived problem. Today it could be motivation. Tomorrow it could be world news they want to have a chat about. The complexities of wah with coworkers that have independent goals and objectives are many especially if they are related to you.

Was your home office really designed for one or four? Do you have additional responsibilities during the pandemic to keep your job? How is your performance holding up? How is your mental toughness?

How will businesses survive when employee productivity declines even further because their impatience and stress at home become too much? How will kids develop when we take away their social environment and replace it with forced digital environments that  are unhealthy in the best of situations?

So much chaos today. I didn’t even have to mention the fact that no masks are required at home. But is home really home when you make it a workplace, a school, a gym and force so much change on everyone within the home walls that the seams are ready to bust?

Wah no longer means work at home to me. It now translates to what a haze. A haze not traditionally discussed. One that will cause some to revert to drugs, alcohol or other self- medicating or self-harm measures to cope.

Each of the above coping mechanisms present another layer of negativity in the home which is now the school which is now the conference room and maybe even the church and so on.

I can’t wait to see the statistical reports in about 3-5 years. The data that will show all that was lost and learned in 2020 during the pandemic. Statistical data is going to pack a punch down the road. Many are in the moment not thinking about long term consequences.

There will also be stats on kids’ vision and how it was impacted. All the screen time between video games, social media and now online schooling. I know in our wah environment we have made adjustments from varied background screen colors to glasses to keep up with changes in digital hours.

2020 is definitely a year for the record books. Wild, crazy, unpredictable. I think I’m going to work at the office. I have that choice, many don’t. It will most likely be less chaotic.

adventure, working women

Look Pretty, Play Dirty

Can you look pretty and play dirty? Yes, you can. As an adult you can dress up and go to the office and turn around and play in the mud when you get home. As a teen you can go to the ball field by day and put on a prom dress by night. You can be up to your elbows in soil or manure then rinse off, quick change, lip gloss and off to a date. Lab coats and litmus strips by day can become Lush and Louboutins by night without much effort. Like “I Dream of Jeannie” in TV history, we wiggle our noses, blink, and change happens almost before your eyes. It seems pretty easy.

I have a Jeep. It has big tires and it’s meant to get dirty. It’s a recreational vehicle. Great to take to the beach and get sandy or mountains to get muddy. Perfect to take me up snowy roads and hold all my equipment too. Then of course it can also make the commute to the office or a business meeting. It can clean up nice with a good washing thus be able to look pretty after playing dirty.

My Jeep is still a dynamic piece of machinery. Built with strength in mind. Robust. Rugged. Eye catching. People can reflect the same.

I think about this vehicle and its contrast to people. Does your vehicle say something about you, your spirit, your identity? Maybe in some ways it mirrors or accents you. I like the rugged, beefy look. Others may choose something sleeker.

Even if you choose a car for efficiency, you can add some spice to make it reflect your spirit. Stickers, license plates, ornaments for the rear view mirror and more. Bike racks, kayak rigs, and all those accessories show that you’re ready for outdoor adventure. It is all in the details. Why be generic? Many of us spend a lot of our waking lives driving around. Shouldn’t it make you smile? Be an extension of who you are? Not just functional, but fun and even flashy, too.

Can a female athlete be competitive on the field, but turn around and be a beauty queen? Of course. One may have thick thighs, robust shoulders, and undeniable strength as an athlete but turn around and clean up ever so nice after a tough day on the field or In the gym. Much like my Jeep. Pretty doesn’t have to be dainty and reserved. Something nice to look at without much substance. As much as others may try to pigeonhole us to be just one way, we can resist and embrace all of who we are.

People are versatile just like my Jeep. Big tires, thick thighs they are both purposeful in their own way. In honor of my look pretty play dirty mantra, check out the new decal riding around on my Jeep these days. There may or may not be another underlying message in the decal.

Despite the rollout of the new Bronco by Ford, I am still a Jeep girl. Still waiting for the Blazer to roll out but Jeep girl it is for now. Who knows what my next evolution will be?

From off road to off work to off the field I am always embracing the look pretty play dirty mantra. What’s your mantra?

working women

Patience

Can one master patience?

Generally speaking I am an immediate gratification girl but I am always working to master my patience skills.

This requires conditioning the patience muscles. Right now I’m in a conditioning phase. Many loose pieces in multiple big projects means I have to wait patiently for some to collaborate or make decisions.

This patience phase can be a grueling process for me as I like the finish line in projects. I like cross over the line and say I did it. Boom! Sometimes however it’s not about the finish line rather it’s about the process.

The cultivation. The experience. The relationships. The people. The success. The failure. The memories. The time. The overall patience built into the crossing of the finish line. Watching the vision turn into reality.

Let’s talk about writing a book. Our 1095 Days project. It’s in the works. Well into the planning and execution phase but no finish line. The process has been nothing less than amazing. Much of our concept couldn’t be imagined on the onset to the naked eye. Only the eye that was interested in investing in the farming time. The planting of the seeds. The patience required while you wait for the seed to blossom. The time. That’s the beauty of the process.

In my yard during corona I planted some trees. Now months later those trees are starting to flower. Such a beautiful sight. One blossom born out of such a devastating time. New growth is around in the land but also in people. If we all Look deep into our souls we all learned something during corona. We grew.

In business there is always what’s next. The next sales month. The next big deal. The next job experience. This means if you think there is a finish line then you halted your growth. You have to look beyond the finish line to see what’s next. Or for some like me it’s what is here in the now. I see the finish line but I’m working on what’s in the middle. Because I’m working on what’s in the middle my finish line may be extended. Maybe a longer project yielding more value or maybe even a deeper relationship with a client because of the time spent in the middle.

My patience growth is in the middle. Where is your growth? As I grow I mentor others. This blog is just a glimpse of what I do for many although each experience is different which enables me to compound my growth through experiences.

I encourage each of you reading this to challenge yourself in some aspect of life. Maybe it’s getting organized financially. Maybe it’s taking a risk on a dream. Maybe it’s even swimming across a stretch of water because you fear you can’t.

Take the next move before it’s too late. You can exercise your patience muscles after you take the first step!

Vulnerability, courage and patience all tie together in my mind for many reasons. In order to grow exponentially you usually need to be aware of these three words. More to come on that is a future post.

working women

Business Isn’t for the Faint of Heart

Holy smokes are you buckled in for the ride of your life? That’s pretty much what every business owner is doing each day they wake up in the insane life we live today. They buckle up for the crazy ride just like a healthcare worker. Ready to face the unknown. Ready to deal with defeat.

Don’t get me wrong business isn’t easy on normal days but these uncharted waters are not for the weak, inexperienced or underfunded CEO’s. A business owner during this tough economic climate has got to lead with confidence, control and commitment.

They must make sound decisions, fast. They have to think about their passion, their purpose, their drive, their team, their community and they have to take action in what seems like an instant. Profit is out the door for the most part.

Lives are on the line no matter what business you are in. There is something essential in everything we do, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Life may get paused but it can’t halt forever. Leaders need to face fears. Leaders need to help people around them. Leaders must rally the troops. Selfless acts in uncertain times show character in CEOs who step up when it counts. Troubled times will also highlight those CEOs who hide or make selfish decisions when the road gets bumpy.

Many good leaders will fail during this challenging time. And if they do fail, it’s temporary. A good leader will find their way to higher ground. It may take time, but one will build resilience and emerge stronger.

To all my fellow business partners, leaders, and colleagues, I applaud you. Those tough decisions had impacts, we know that. I also know you made the decisions that caused the least impact possible to your surroundings. If failure is lurking, embrace it. Failure is just an opportunity to rebuild, rebrand, rejuvenate your passion. Your power. Your footprint.

Business owners don’t get unemployment but they help file for their employees in this challenging time. Businesses may have shut down but still paid employees for as long as they could. Restaurants stayed open to feed people when they may have lost 90% of their revenue and not know how they will make their rent next month. Landlords offered shelter to those who didn’t have funds to pay when rent was due. So many selfless acts go on each day. Many nobody will ever see.

True leaders do without glory. They do what needs to be done and worry about what ifs later. That’s what they do even if it may just be the crumbling of their lifelong work.

I also caution you to be aware of those making decisions to financially benefit themselves at another’s expense during this pandemic. In troubled times this happens when a CEO may not see the big picture. Their short term decision may have long term consequences. Price gouging and hoarding may be two prime examples that come to mind.

Many may never see the crazy shit from the CEOs eyes. I write this note for those to catch a glimpse of the insanity. The burden placed on entrepreneurs who have heavy stakes in the business game. Many think entrepreneurs have it all. In reality they risk it all including the shirt on their back. Personal savings, home equity used as personal guarantees, and so on.

It’s a tough world for everyone right now. Be a nice human. Support your communities where you can. We will all survive this mess. Some of us may have battle scars while others may have bad hair. Either way the vast majority will survive. That is enough to be thankful for.

Enjoy the shit show of today.