“Hey! It’s good to see you.”

There are so many ways we greet each other when passing in the office hallway. A simple “hi” or maybe “how are you?” Or “Good morning” or “afternoon” if appropriate. But in the wake of a layoff (or “Reduction In Force” – RIF), “it’s good to see you” takes on a whole new meaning.

Wednesday afternoon all of the faces I saw looked tired, drained, shell-shocked. I said with sincerity, “it’s good to see you” to my weary colleagues. Some folks had the temerity to express  relief and surprise as survivors. Many expressed fear (it’s only a matter of time, right? Surely there will be another wave of “action” some day). Some expressed chagrin (there’s a certain relief after the ax falls and you’re free, with a healthy severance check in hand).

My team and I spent most of the day secure in our lab. The day we separated us from our former employer seems distant now. It’s been well over a year. We didn’t get a severance package but we remained employed. Some people pitied us but I think we’re blessed in many ways.

By Thursday almost everyone in the halls seemed to be past the worst of the shock. There’s been so many days like Wednesday I’ve lost count. Everyone is affected by the actions. Everyone will have to “work smarter” in order to pick up the pieces and keep things on track. The show must go on! The product delivery will not be impacted. We’ll meet the needs of the business.

Maybe it’s hard-hearted but it is business. I pray for all of us to trust in God and maintain our faith in His greater glory. That may not pay the bills but it will keep us all right-minded. Meanwhile Facebook status updates and supportive comments reflect the sentiments and compassion of all. And my inbox overflows with Linked-In and Plaxo networking requests. God bless us, everyone.

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What not to say in an interview

One of my top priorities in my new role is to hire an Office Manager/Administrator for the organization. My goal is to find someone who will partner with me in running the business. Primary duties require strong Communication and Organizational skills, Accounting skills, Project Management Skills, Administrative skills and prior experience with My Former Employer (“MFE”), our customer. I posted a blurb on Facebook, and I sent a list of job duties to my organization as well as to MFE Sr. VP’s Executive Admin for distribution. Recent and pending “Reduction In Force” actions at MFE have resulted in a talent-pool of available resources in Austin.

Out of the dozen or so resumes received, I brought in 7 candidates for interviews. One of those candidates left the wrong kind of impression. I share this to reinforce a message that many job seekers already know.

My team is located in a lab on the 4th floor of MFE’s building. When a candidate arrives in the lobby it’s convenient for me to be notified by either the candidate or the front desk security. Then I go meet the candidate and bring them to our lab.

As I approached the door to the Auscom lab, this particular candidate said “Oh! That’s how you spell it. I was spelling it ‘Oscom’. No wonder I couldn’t find anything on the Internet.” Later she shared her delight that I’d called her back after she didn’t respond to the voicemail I’d left last week. Apparently the message I left was garbled. When I called her again over the weekend and spoke to her directly I gave my name, the name of the company, the position and confirmed that she had my phone number.

As we chatted during the interview she mentioned that when she got to the lobby of my building she was glad she had my phone number from caller ID because she’d only been able to provide my first name to security at the front desk. She said she didn’t catch my last name when I called her.

Now I’m really curious, so I ask, “How did you hear about this position?”

“I responded to the posting on careerbuilders.com”

“But this position wasn’t posted on careerbuilders.com”

“Maybe it was one of the other sites. I’ve really sent my resume out to a lot of places.”

Out of curiosity, right in the middle of the interview, I said, “Let me just check my records here.”

All of the interviews were set up in response to e-mails I’d received. When I checked my archive I found the e-mail from the candidate. Someone had forwarded to her the job description that I’d sent out…which included my full name, the name of my company and my phone number. She’d sent the e-mail back to me, indicating interest and requesting an interview.

Next candidate, please!

In a sea of potential candidates, it is not good to stand out as the one who couldn’t connect that the “Fran” she was meeting with was the same “Fran” she’d contacted directly a few days earlier. She got flagged for “inattention to detail”.

Question: What other important “don’t do’s” have you run across in the pairing of jobs and candidates?

No time to get a blog-post in edgewise

Every blogger has an internal line drawn around the boundaries of what they will or will not share. When boundaries change, sometimes a new blog is required. A Mother’s Angst was initially intended to be a place where I poured my heart out, sharing tales of woe and lessons learned during the raising of my brood. Unlike most “Mommy Bloggers” my brood are mostly grown. My angst is all about the challenges of teen years and the mistakes of young adulthood. I’ve come to use that site as a forum for exploring my faith. I’ve learned a lot through parenting teenagers. An important lesson has been the need for faith – trusting God in all things, including the transition of these children from the “my care” to His. They’ve always been His, but I mistakenly believed that it was up to me to do this…alone. Now I know better. That site will live on. But this site? This site will be the place for me to explore the evolution of my career.

If you don’t already know this, my “bread and butter” are funded by my career in product development. Like any proud Mama…I have pictures. Here are my last two deliveries (Latitude E4200 & XPS M1730):

For the last year I’ve been operating in a new role in a small company that bridges two large companies  (one is headquartered in Taiwan). I love delivering product. I love pulling together all of the engineering effort and coordinating with Marketing and the Factory, etc. But I haven’t loved some of the other challenges. In fact, certain elements of my work environment have motivated me to write, dream of writing and write some more. By the end of 2009, I was ready to walk away from developing computers and focus completely on developing plot and characters. I couldn’t see continuing in the meat-grinder, reporting to an ineffective manager who exhibited little interest in our operation.

Then, finally, blessed relief. Although I’d prepared myself to walk away from my career, instead much-needed organization changes (including the elimination of my manager and his assistant) are allowing me to grow in my career. I thought I was ready to change from engineering to writing but it seems that’s not the case. I’m now the head of my small company and I am energized by the opportunity. I’m actually in charge of the US operation!

Priority 1 is finding an Office Manager/Administrative Assistant who can help carry the load. Right now I’m busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest. Friday I interviewed 5 candidates. Monday I’ll interview 2 more. I’m asking the Taiwan Executive Administrator (my boss’s assistant) to follow-up with phone calls to the top 3 candidates. I’m also praying for God’s wisdom and guidance.

And so begins a new journey.

2010: It’s gonna be a good year.

Last year I began an exercise regimen that successfully stopped the horrific weight gain (20 pounds!) that plagued me during 2008. Although I was able to stop the trend, I’m still sporting the extra pounds. Other accomplishments of note include surviving the 1st year of employment in a start-up working for my old employer and, even better, writing a novel. I also read the Bible in its entirety.

I only have a couple of resolutions for this year: Exercise more, eat less, read more, write more. And by that, I intend to do a bit of each of those 4 activities every day.

On the exercise front: we’ve acquired the Wii Fit Plus and we’re 4 days in. My DH and I have completed 30 minutes per day and we plan to continue the trend. I also have an exercise ball and a heart rate monitor. I’m all in. 30 minutes a day, minimum. Walking, Wii-ing or a tryst with Richard Simmons – it doesn’t matter which. My goal is to “Work it, baby!”

On the eating less front… well, yeah, I’ve got room for improvement there. I’ve never been good at counting calories. The best I can hope for is some amount of self control. Eating smaller portions, taking smaller bites, eating more slowly. I’m imagining things that are yet to be achieved. But I’ve got time to work on it. I’d like for dinner to start taking 20 minutes to eat instead of 2 minutes.

On reading and writing, here are the stack of books I currently have queued up, ready to read:

  • Under the Dome, by Stephen King
  • The Principle of the Path, by Andy Stanley
  • Same Kind of Different as Me, by Ron Hall and Denver Moore
  • When Bad Things Happen to Good People, by Harold S. Kushner
  • The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho
  • A Man For All Seasons, by Robert Bolt
  • Obstacles Welcome, by Ralph de la Vega
  • Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, by John Berendt
  • How Not to Write a Novel, by Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman
  • The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White
  • On Writing Well, by William Zinsser
  • A Twist at the End, by Steven Saylor
  • Reading Like a Writer, by Francine Prose
  • The Good, The Bad and the Lovely, by Fran Hart
  • Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, by Renni Browne & Dave King
  • The Chronological Study Bible (NKJV)
  • The Complete C.S.Lewis (Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, The Abolition of Man, The Great Divorce, The Problem of Pain, Miracles, A Grief Observed), by C.S.Lewis
  • Adventuring Through the Bible, by Ray Stedman
  • The Marketing of Evil, by David Kupelian
  • Ten Things I Wish Jesus Never Said, by Victor Kuligin
  • The Eduction of Little Tree, by Forrest Carter
  • The Gospel According to Judas, by Benjamin Iscariot
  • Reading Judas, by Elain Pagels & Karen L. King
  • See Jane Lead, by Lois P. Frankel, PhD
  • The Christian Moral Life, by Timothy F. Sedgwick
  • Cure for the Common Life, by Max Lucado
  • If You Want to Walk on Water You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat, by John Ortberg
  • The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror (short stories)
  • bird by bird, by Anne Lamott
  • Writing Mysteries, a handbook by the Mystery Writers of America

And the books I won at the Women of Faith conference:

So, I’m wondering….if it’s in my stack am I obliged to read it? I think not. My goal is to hone my writing skills. To read like a writer. To write like a reader. To do both like a critic. I plan to write reviews as often as possible (or reasonable).

On writing, I intend to finish “God the Father: What I’ve Learned about Parenting from God and about God from Parenting” and I plan to complete 4 more drafts of my first novel (and then find a publisher). And I will write my 2nd novel. And, God willing, I’ll write a book about my travels to Asia.

Yes, 2010. I’m glad to meet you. It’s going to be a good year.

Welcome 2010, it’s going to be a good year.

Last year I began an exercise regimen that successfully stopped the horrific weight gain (20 pounds!) that plagued me during 2008. Although I was able to stop the trend, I’m still sporting the extra pounds. Other accomplishments of note include surviving the 1st year of employment in a start-up working for my old employer and, even better, writing a novel. I also read the Bible in its entirety.

I only have a couple of resolutions for this year: Exercise more, eat less, read more, write more. And by that, I intend to do a bit of each of those 4 activities every day.

On the exercise front: we’ve acquired the Wii Fit Plus and we’re 4 days in. My DH and I have completed 30 minutes per day and we plan to continue the trend. I also have an exercise ball and a heart rate monitor. I’m all in. 30 minutes a day, minimum. Walking, Wii-ing or a tryst with Richard Simmons – it doesn’t matter which. My goal is to “Work it, baby!”

On the eating less front… well, yeah, I’ve got room for improvement there. I’ve never been good at counting calories. The best I can hope for is some amount of self control. Eating smaller portions, taking smaller bites, eating more slowly. I’m imagining things that are yet to be achieved. But I’ve got time to work on it. I’d like for dinner to start taking 20 minutes to eat instead of 2 minutes.
On reading and writing, here are the stack of books I currently have queued up, ready to read:
Under the Dome, by Stephen King
The Principle of the Path, by Andy Stanley
Same Kind of Different as Me, by Ron Hall and Denver Moore
When Bad Things Happen to Good People, by Harold S. Kushner
The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho
A Man For All Seasons, by Robert Bolt
Obstacles Welcome, by Ralph de la Vega
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, by John Berendt
How Not to Write a Novel, by Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman
The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White
On Writing Well, by William Zinsser
A Twist at the End, by Steven Saylor
Reading Like a Writer, by Francine Prose
The Good, The Bad and the Lovely, by Fran Hart
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, by Renni Browne & Dave King
The Chronological Study Bible (NKJV)
The Complete C.S.Lewis (Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, The Abolition of Man, The Great Divorce, The Problem of Pain, Miracles, A Grief Observed), by C.S.Lewis
Adventuring Through the Bible, by Ray Stedman
The Marketing of Evil, by David Kupelian
Ten Things I Wish Jesus Never Said, by Victor Kuligin
The Eduction of Little Tree, by Forrest Carter
The Gospel According to Judas, by Benjamin Iscariot
Reading Judas, by Elain Pagels & Karen L. King
See Jane Lead, by Lois P. Frankel, PhD
The Christian Moral Life, by Timothy F. Sedgwick
Cure for the Common Life, by Max Lucado
If You Want to Walk on Water You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat, by John Ortberg
The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror (short stories)
bird by bird, by Anne Lamott
Writing Mysteries, a handbook by the Mystery Writers of America
And the books I won at the Women of Faith conference:
Guys Are Waffles, Girls Are Spaghetti by Chad Eastham
Redefining Beautiful by Jenna Lucado
Take Your Best Shot by AustinGutwein
Knockout Entrepreneur by George Foreman
Beautiful Mess The Story of Diamond Rio

So, I’m wondering….if it’s in my stack am I obliged to read it? I think not. My goal is to hone my writing skills. To read like a writer. To write like a reader. To do both like a critic. I plan to write reviews as often as possible (or reasonable).
On writing, I intend to finish “God the Father: What I’ve Learned about Parenting from God and about God from Parenting” and I plan to complete 4 more drafts of my first novel (and then find a publisher). And I will write my 2nd novel. And, God willing, I’ll write a book about my travels to Asia.
Yes, 2010. I’m glad to meet you. It’s going to be a good year.