Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A Weird Thing About Human Resources

There's this weird thing about working in Human Resources. I mean, there are LOTS of weird things about it, because people are weird and the situations they get themselves into are weird and having to deal with people's weirdness is...weird.

But I'm repeatedly faced with something in my role that challenges me, because I'm a pretty up front and honest person. If you come to me with an issue and you're wrong, I'll tell you so. If you are making a bad decision, I'll call you on it. So what do I do when I'm privy to information that I can't share? What do I do when I can't tell you what's coming because it's confidential, so I have to look you in the face and lie to you? Or give you recommendations or suggestions that are way off, because I know something you don't know and I have to lead you a certain way because of that knowledge?

Most of the time, what this entails is knowing that someone is going to be let go. Now, if you are being straight up fired, I'm the one to do it and I have made it clear to you that that's where we are headed. I have no issue with that situation.

But what happens when it's a layoff, and you haven't necessarily done something wrong but it's just time for you to go? You have no idea it's coming. I'm making plans for your departure and yet I have to smile in your face and sit in meetings with you while you make plans for the next 6 months...when I know you won't even be here anymore.

It feels like dishonesty to me. It feels like I should be giving you a heads up. Like, "Hey man, you might not want to bring that extra plant into work for your're just going to have to bring it back home next week." Or, "Hey man, your three-year money-saving plan isn't going to be quite that long...why don't you consider a three-day plan instead?"

Of course, I can't do that. It's part of the job - confidentiality. I have to keep it to myself and make plans for when you won't be here anymore but act to your face as if you will. It's a really weird thing for a person who takes pride in her openness and honesty at work to handle. As I move up the ranks, it's something I have to contend with more and more because more information is entrusted to me. And while I love the increased pay that comes with moving up the ranks, having to lie to people's faces is something I could do without.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Random Stuff in My Head

I leave for London a week from today and I feel so unprepared. I mostly have to figure out dogsitting for my beloved elderly pitbull and pack my suitcase. Packing is always dreadful for me because I have a system and I follow it, and then I throw everything else I own in the suitcase just in case. I literally plan out each outfit I'm going to wear, for day and evening, with shoes and jewelry and whatever other crazy accessories I conjure up. I make a spreadsheet. I try all the outfits on with their corresponding accessories and shoes. I go through them multiple times, counting the days and the events I'll be attending (sightseeing at Tower of London? check! An evening at the theater? check!) and reviewing each outfit for comfort and packability and appropriateness. I get them all into my suitcase, with room to spare! And I feel great about it! But then, the panic enters. What if I spill something on a shirt? What if my pants rip? What if I am suddenly summoned to see the Queen? OH MY GOD PUT EVERYTHING IN THE SUITCASE AS A PRECAUTION! DEAR GOD, DO IT NOW! And that is how I pack.


A friend of mine is moving to Colorado in a few weeks. We became friends because our daughters were friends, but then our daughters started actively disliking each other. But we are still friends.

We could not be more opposite. We call that out in ourselves all the time. She is the yoga-loving hippie and I am the rocker girl. Because of our core differences, we have had issues with each other in the past. It's bound to happen. But nothing insurmountable, and I will miss them being around.

She and her husband (a cool guy who I consider a friend as well) had a party last weekend to see us all before they move. And they are just so zen about moving. So happy to be going to a place with a big sky and lots of open land. So at peace with leaving the hubbub of NJ/NY behind them. And it made me think about the prospect of moving. With TJK being the kind of kid she is (very traditional, very close with her friends, very close with my parents, in love with our house and neighborhood) I would never uproot her like that. I couldn't do it. But if I had my druthers, would I move?

I've always said no. I am a True Jersey Girl, after all. I couldn't live anywhere else. But lately as I have traveled, I've looked with new eyes. I've come to appreciate a slightly slower pace, as well as slightly more space. I love where I live because I'm 10 miles from NYC, an hour-ish from Philly, a half hour from the beach and a half hour from skiing. Everything you could want is less than a day trip away. Looking for high end stores? They are here. Target? Here. A gas station? Right on the corner around the block. Nothing is far. But maybe that's not such a good thing all the time. What would it be like to live with a little bit of peace? Some quiet, even?

I don't know if I will ever find out, but it has made me think and consider. I'll have to live through R&J in the meantime...but maybe someday, the world will have to get ready for True ??? Girl, on the hunt for a new stomping ground.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Tweenager Aboard

[I never use my daughter's real name online, and since the early days of my blog (when people read it and it wasn't just for me to vent), I called her Princess. But then when I switched over to twitter, I started calling her True Jersey Kid (TJK for short) so I guess I'll keep using TJK for her because it seems to suit her well.]

Eleven is a strange age. TJK is basically 2 completely different people at this stage of the game - a mature young woman who wants to spend all her time with her friends and focuses all of her energy on having fun and hanging out, and a little girl who still desperately needs her mommy and wants to be involved in everything I do. And these two people can switch out at any given moment with no notice at all.

Example: TJK and I have been watching Pretty Little Liars together. Binge-ing it, really. Her friend and her friend's mom watch it as well, and we are all trying to get to the same point so we can finish the catching up together and then hopefully catch some episodes as they air live. So when TJK is home in the evenings, we watch. However, I am now just as invested in this show as she is. And I want to see what happens next!

TJK, most days, goes to a friend's house after school. She does not think twice about me, does not think about Pretty Little Liars, does not even really care which friend's house she goes to - she just wants to go. And I am fine with it because she has a good group of friends, they do their homework before they play, and I know how important friendships are to her. Not to mention the fact that I get a little bit of downtime alone after work, which is a plus. But keep in mind, this is nearly every day, which then limits my PLL viewing to almost nil.

Last week, on Thursday (which made it her 4th night in a row away from home), I decided to settle in with an adult beverage and some PLL. When TJK came home and found out, she cried. Literal tears. She was so upset and felt that this was a personal attack on her. Why would I watch without her? How could I do this to her? This was OUR THING that we do TOGETHER and I had broken that sacred bond.

My response: Well, we need to get through this episodes if you want to watch with our friends, so we need to get on this. You have not spent any time at home in weeks, and I have been ok with it, but I want to watch this show. You can catch up when you are home or else I can just tell you what you missed. MORE TEARS. I did not understand. She curled up in my lap and cried on my shoulder while I held her tight and promised that no, I will not watch any more episodes without her.

One minute- out and about, doesn't want to come home, wants only to be with her friends. Next minute: curled in a call on my lap like a baby crying because she wanted to do this thing with me. It's hard to parent a child when you don't know which personality you have to deal with in that moment.

And I know it only gets worse from here. We are still in the tween years...which means that she loves me, thinks I'm really cool, likes spending time with me, doesn't mind when I sing and dance and act crazy in front of her friends...and we all know that goes away in a year or two. So even though I never know which kid I'm dealing with....I'm trying to enjoy every moment of it.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Fashion Forward, Part Deux

A couple of posts ago, I wrote about how I was sort of ahead of my time these days on the fashion tip. Friends would mock and judge my fashion decisions (which were really not all that daring...I think they were just used to me wearing jeans and black shirts all the time, the same as they did). I cared a little, but not enough to stop me from looking to the runway and making bold choices. We are going to Chili's for dinner? Ok, sounds like a reason to wear this faux-fur boa collar and over the knee oxblood boots!

Anyway, after I posted that, I had two new experiences that made me reflect on what I had written. One was with the colleague who was hating on my double-ball earrings. I wore them again (well, different pair, different metal, same style). She said, "Oh! You're wearing those again! I have to tell you, I had never seen them before and then you wore them and I didn't know what they were all about, and then I saw Madelyn (a co-worker) wearing the same style! You are both so fashionable, I guess I was out of the loop completely on the weird earring trend." Yes, honey, you are. She went on to say that she realized that when she hated on mine, it was only because it was new to her and now that she'd seen them a few times, they were growing on her. I had a few choice statements for her, which I kept in my head, and I just smiled and told her to just follow my lead if she wanted to keep up.
Riri wears the same earrings I wear. Or, I wear the same earrings she wears. Are they really that crazy?

Then, I was out with the boyfriend of the friend who mocked my capes and statement jewelry a few years back. We were hanging out inside at a brewery and all was well. Then we went to sit outside for a bit and I put on my new favorite sunglasses. He starts laughing and says, "Oh TJG, what are those glasses about? You are so strange!" Mind you, these glasses are nothing crazy. I have way crazier glasses than these! And that made me think for a minute. Anything outside the norm - outside of the black, jeans, simplicity, plainness that people were used to seeing me in for so many years - and I was going to be judged.
Really? These sunnies are that crazy? I think not, and I love them.

But who was judging me, exactly? Were these people whose fashion sense I admired? Were these people who took risks and kept on top of trends and created their own versions of them? Were these people who could stand anything outside of the complete and utter norm? No, no, and no. So why would I even care? And I realized that I didn't...and that in fact. I kind of liked it that these people looked at me funny. Because really, they are stuck where they are, wearing the same tired things they have worn for the 15 years I have known them.

Today: wearing a floor length pleated skirt (TOTALLY outside my comfort zone) that swirls around me when I walk. I love it. And I have gotten so many compliments from everyone I have seen. My goals for getting dressed in the morning are:

  1. Feel confident in what I have chosen. This means no tugging, pulling, hiking up, etc.
  2. Feel good about myself when I look in the mirror before I walk out the door.
  3. Feel like what I am wearing is a representation of me and my personality.
Today I hit all three of those marks. I don't always. But today, I feel confident, I feel good about myself, and I feel like me. So any of you haters out there: Come at me, bro.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Recording History

So the truth is that I live a really great life. I have a job that I don't hate (most days), a brilliant and smart and gorgeous daughter, a husband who is so wonderful that all my girlfriends want to find a man like him, a beautiful house that's fully paid off, a convertible BMW, and all the purses and shoes a label whore could possibly want. And on top of that, I have so much fun. We just do fun things together and make every bit of life an adventure on our own terms. So what that means is that no, we are not jumping out of planes. But we are hopping in the car on a moment's notice to go to the racetrack and then to wander the boardwalk and then find some new place to eat. Or that we are hearing about that new brewery and popping in on day one to celebrate with the owners and letting them know that we will be back often. Or going to see an old punk band at a theater an hour away and seeking out a new joint in that neighborhood for dinner and cocktails. So it's not that we are adventurous, per se. It's more that we just decide to do stuff and then we do it.

Most people I know have calmed down a lot. They have kids, some of them. And they just don't want to be tired all the time. And I get that, because I am fucking tired all.the.time. But my motto since high school has been "I'll sleep when I'm dead" and I still adhere to that. We generally do something at least one weeknight per week, and then Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday. We just like to go. We like to explore. We like to be together as a family, bonding over visiting our favorite places again and again or finding a brand new favorite.

I decided that I wanted to document our summer in some way, and a scrapbook seemed to be my best bet. I'm forever picking up postcards or business cards and taking pictures of every little thing...why not put all that to use? But yo, I'm not that kind of girl. I am not the picture of a scrapbooker. So I'm going to make my own way of it - modern scrapbooking? cool scrapbooking? urban scrapbooking? punkbooking? I have no bloody idea. But I want to be able to have a way to show my daughter, when she gets older, here is what we did when you were 11, before you were a teenager and potentially shunned us from your life. Here's all the fun we had. Here are all the cool places we went and all the awesome things we did. Here's you, here's me, here's Daddy, here are Grammy and Pop, here are your friends...and here's how we all spent our summer.

So off I go...starting my documentation of the Summer of 2015, which starts with Memorial Day weekend. So far, we have 2 breweries, mini golf, a diner visit, a trip to Asbury Park to the boardwalk and Johnny Mac's and dinner, a visit to the racetrack for food truck day, dinners out, a concert by TJK herself where she dressed as Dolley Madison...and that is just the past 4 days.

This is going to be one full scrapbook.