Monday, December 28, 2015

Realization and Decision

I have not been diligent in my posting. Things have been busy and complicated. The moment when reality strikes me in the face is when I realize I must write my emotions that are currently overflowing in the form of tears.

I have been working toward the same goal, going back to college. My VP finally gave me the go ahead about three weeks ago to further my education. Upon contacting the HR department, I discovered I needed to get into UAH in order for them to move head with the plan. I was under the impression the company needed to say yes before I started the process. With about a month to go, I frantically applied to the college and contacted my previous University for my transcript. With it being the holiday season, UAH closes for about a week. Down to the wire is definitely the perfect phrase for this situation. Classes begin on January 6th. UAH has not processed my college transcript I have gathered from a few phone calls, and they want a copy of my high school transcript which is going to be fun locating. At this point I need to hope things will be in order when they open back up on January 4th, but now I have an even bigger problem.


This question is the bane of my existence. I am the type of person who works hard even when around people who are slacking. I am the type of person who has trouble saying no and will go above and beyond for anyone. I work hard and I know my worth. Is this me being cocky? Maybe it is. Maybe I think too much of myself, but I can guarantee that my work shows how much of myself I put into it.

Since about September, my work life has been extremely busy. Recently, my company has been utilizing two of us in my department for extra tasks and basically Tier 1 level technical support. A new product was launching here and I was brought in to develop the processes for Tier 1 level technical support of the product. This new experience taught me so much in the business world. I received a lot of acknowledgement around the company for the work and it felt really good. With the loss of my coworker to the new job position in my last post, I was brought in to take her place in our emergency replacement program. This was a position I had been avoiding due to the amount of work involved, including on call work, but I knew this was the next step for me. While still working on the new product I began learning the process for the new tasks I was taking on. Overwhelmed is a good way to describe my state of mind at the time. My stress level was high and I was not handling it well. My fuse was short and when something went array my freak out level would sky rocket. These two new jobs were piled on top of all the other things I handle on a day to day basis and to top it off, my coworker and I received another new responsibility that changed everything. A product we have been supporting has reached the End of Life. The issue with this is, we still have a lot of people using them and we have a lot of service plans extending past the end of support date. Tier 1 support just turned into Tier 1 support for the first time. We knew this was the goal however we did not expect it to be so sudden and so challenging.Just when we think there cannot be something else they will want us to do, we get more to do.

Now I can explain the reason for my abundance of emotions. Today was the day of the yearly review and end of the year raises at work. I am a dreamer. I live in a fantasy world where I make expectations and have a positive attitude. I am beginning to think this is my downfall. Going into my supervisor's office, I knew there would not be much negative feedback. Things have been going really well. I make few mistakes and work hard. However, I feel overworked and underpaid. The environment I work in is changing and building however I feel like the work load and compensation do not change with it. I am also beginning a new level of support. My coworker and I have taken on many tasks and opened up the call center to be able to support things on a Tier 1 level that was not available before. In my head, I expected management to recognize this and compensate us on a level we deserved. I was wrong.

I should be happy. I have a job. I make enough to survive. I did receive a raise and I do appreciate it but I feel like for the work we are doing this was not correct. I received double last year than I did this year. I did not do nearly as much work last year as I did this year. How do I move forward working as hard as I have been working when I know my job will be even more challenging in the year to come and I will not be promoted to the level I should for what I do?

Decisions have to be made within the next week:
-Do I go back to school? I will have to stay with this company for 3 years at the least. I will have to accept the mounting work as it comes and deal with my emotional response to it. I will have to work 40 hours a week while taking classes, basically having me working from 8 AM to 7 PM through the week and on call every other week.
-Do I look for a new job? What would I do? I cannot get a job with the government because I am not applicable to their programs. I could get a teaching certificate. I could do event planning. I could do any number of things but what do I want to do? I would be giving up my security with this company. I would be changing my life entirely. I would be giving up the possibility of going back to school. How do I even do that?

I am so lost. I know I can do anything I set my mind to. I just cannot seem to set my mind to anything. I forget what I am capable of and just want to curl up under my bed covers and forget the world is spinning for a while. Making a decision that will effect the rest of your life is too big for me to wrap my head around. I keep thinking I'm going to make the wrong one and ruin everything. This next week will be filled with a lot of thinking and discovering who I am and what I am worth as an employee as well as myself.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Picking Yourself Up Again

I don't know about you all, but I am tired of picking myself back up after something negatively impacts my day to day functions. I am guilty of being too emotional. I am also guilty of caring too much, taking things too personal, worrying, and having too much hubris. Accepting my character flaws is the first step to change but I have to say, this road is bumpy. Today is an example of all these aspects colliding.

The company I work for is currently in a state of restructuring. They have started reworking departments and creating new goals. Right before they started doing this a position opened up in Marketing that my Supervisor suggested I apply for. I had not had any particular interest in Marketing until this position fell into my lap. After reading the job description I realized this was the path I wanted to follow for my career. I quickly applied and sat impatient for about a week, hoping to hear something from the lead of the department. To my dismay, a freeze was put on hiring during the restructuring process and the position I was so eager for disappeared. That was the moment when I knew something needed to change in my career. With that opportunity disappearing right before my eyes it made me understand the importance of working hard and creating goals for myself. I was really disappointed but filled with motivation which has fueled me until this point.

My current work environment has been in flux for a little over three weeks. My Supervisor accepted a new position in a different department of the company. A Coworker was promoted to fill her position which has caused some shifts in coverage. In response to these changes, my daily workload has grown however, I often work on different projects for people on the side. Today, my new Supervisor asked me into her office. Someone put in their two weeks for a department that works close to ours and is looking for someone to either pick up the position or be a temporary fix until they can figure out what to do next. She wanted to recommend me to fill the position for a temporary fix while still covering my current specialized duties. I knew nothing about the position but said I was interested and would like to hear about it from the manager. Sometimes all we need is a new project to help with perspective, this could be great. I started getting excited about it. I was also really glad that my new supervisor recognized my worth and skill sets. The reassurance that I would not be starting from scratch trying to prove myself to someone new was relieving.

My entire world shattered about an hour later when I could hear the voices of the Project Manager, my Supervisor, and another Coworker discussing the opening position and how she would be interested in learning the job. My desk is right outside my Supervisor's office and the door was not closed. The Project Manager walked in on her and my coworker discussing other things when he started discussing the position and it seemed a more suitable fit for my Coworker. However, I did not know this was not planned. We also did not know it would be a better fit for her when it was offered to me. At the time, all I knew was I was offered another opportunity and yet again it was taken from me, this time within ear shot. All at once I was filled with confusion, anger, sadness, and disappointment. I was not attached to a job I knew nothing about, it was the "slap in the face" feeling of hearing it being given to someone else. Hearing the praise she was given by my Supervisor I thought I had earned by getting offered the opportunity. Automatically tears welled up in my eyes. I fell down into my own mind and could think of nothing but how I am not worthy, how I will not go anywhere, that nothing is ever going to work in my favor. All the negativity I have been trying to lock away swallowed my thoughts and poisoned my brain.

Like I said before, I have faults. I know this was not a shot at me but I still took it personal. I started crying and being down on myself when there was no reason to. The angry selfish part of me could only think I deserved this job more. Having my own little pity party was not acceptable. I went and told my supervisor I could hear their conversation, if anything to let her know to close the door. Also that it hurt me very badly to sit and hear what was happening with no control over anything. The fact that I went to talk to her at all, tears included, shows how much I have grown. The old me would never confront someone about my feelings. I would work through them, holding onto them inside until I fell apart later. This opportunity was not something on my radar, it was not something that greatly interested me. Not getting this does nothing but help my work load, since this would have been more than we anticipated. I know I have worth, that I work hard, that when the time is right everything will fall into place. I still want to try to go back to school and I still want to be able to assist in projects with the Marketing department. Those may not have been possible had I taken this new job. In the face of absolute disappointment we have to remember who we are, what goals we have, and what we are looking toward. 

Thursday, July 30, 2015


As I have gotten older, realization hit that I need to alter my adolescent shyness in the face of meeting strangers. For as long as I can remember I have been standoffish when having to interact with people I didn't know. Even speaking to people over the phone was something I would shy away from. In college, I did not go out of my way to make friends in my classes, which sometimes hindered me if I needed notes. At parties where I do not know anyone it is nerve wracking to look around wishing I could just open my mouth and make conversation. Something in my head holds me back. Could be worry I wouldn't be liked. Could be worry that I will have to come up with something to say yet nothing will come. The intimidation factor is strong and for some reason I have been struggling to overcome. As an introvert, I am independent, prefer to work alone, and often times get irritated with other people's opinions. Avoiding them seems the best option.

Through the last few years I have become much more confident when in a working environment. I answer a phone for a living now so that doesn't bother me. However, when trying to interact with people I still get shy, warm, shaky, and second guess my every word. I have known this needed to change for a while. Besides the fact that I want to make friends, I want to be more personable. How will I be able to make it in a professional position if I get anxious when working with people? In an attempt to change my current state I have been trying to be more outgoing. Instead of standing at the side of the room finding all different ways to blend into the wall, I have been attempting to strike up conversation. 

With my aspirations gaining momentum for my career, I have been putting myself out there more often at work. I went to my VP of my division to discuss my college degree options. I was still over heating and nervous but I did it. After speaking with him, he suggested I contact another gentleman in the field I am considering working toward. I spoke with him over the phone which was easier on the nerves. He suggested I attend a class my company offers. I attended it last week. In a room full of people I didn't know, I sat in the front by myself taking notes and worrying the entire time how to handle the situation. I couldn't leave without saying something to the team in charge since they worked for the man who told me to attend. The last 5 minutes of the class I sat there mentally preparing myself. Figuring out what I should say, if I should say anything, if I should introduce myself, worrying if they will care, worrying if I will look silly. Against my own mental block I strode over to the two in charge and introduced myself. We talked for a few minutes about the material, my position, my goals, and I was invited to come talk any time. I left there with a giant smile on my face, a spring in my step, and a feeling of pure pride in what I accomplished. 

Today, two weeks after speaking with the creative design team lead, and a week after taking the class he suggested, I was told by a coworker that she was asked about me by the design team lead in a professional capacity. Job performance and things of that nature. She was wonderful and told me she had nothing but good things to say. After speaking with her I couldn't stop grinning. Working up the courage to talk to my VP, the design team lead, and then his team felt like a mountain I had to climb. In the end, knowing that I made an impression and could potentially have a contact in the department I see myself striving toward feels so amazing. I have it in me to be great. I have it in me to take hold of my career, meet people, and accomplish the goals I set. I have to have the confidence to do these things. Today has shown me I am on the right track.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


"I just knew my life could be more than I was allowing it to be. I knew I was supposed to be happy and that it was possible. I just couldn't sit there any longer once I realized."

I was talking with one of my best friends today and I wrote the above statement. She is going through a hard time and we started reflecting on the past. She pointed this specific quote out saying "this could be the beginning of a book." Everything leaving my fingertips into the phone was my automatic response to the conversation but this statement really does define my outlook on life right now.

In the face of every worry, every setback, every disappointment, I have been forcing myself to think positively. Recently I have discovered I am predisposed to certain emotional responses and thought processes. I see myself reflected in my family members. The tendencies I have are enhanced to the point where I realize I cannot let myself go down the same road. If ever I feel anxious I take a deep breath and remind myself of all the reasons why I do not need to be anxious. Instead of being the type of person who holds their feelings in I have been talking about them more frequently. I've been letting my insecurities out so they can be understood and broken down. Holding in all my feelings was allowing myself to bury what I didn't want to acknowledge. I ask myself, "Would I look the other way if someone else was living like this?" The response is no. I would not let them hide themselves away in order to accept the easy way, deny reality, or pretend it would pass. If I would not let someone else live this way then why should I? The only person you have to fight is yourself. Standing up for yourself is an admirable quality even though sometimes others look down on the outcome. Naturally, I am scared of the opinions of other people. However, if someone cares about you then it shouldn't matter. If someone doesn't care about you, then they don't matter. There is nothing truer than being yourself in the face of adversity and holding onto yourself when challenged.

Happiness is not automatic. Life takes work. If everything was easy then we would have nothing in our lives to push ourselves to be better. Just like how I know I can do more on a personal level, I know I can do more on a professional level. If I am capable of changing my predisposed emotional nuances then I am capable of learning and achieving any goal I set for myself on an intellectual level. Tomorrow I am setting up a time with an adviser for the Arts, Humanities, and Sciences department at the University of Alabama Huntsville. I need to figure out the path I can take in order to develop these ideas into a reality. To go along with the Graphic Design goals I have purchased some materials for learning Typography. I have studied some tutorials to understand the basics and now I am going to attempt to teach myself. No better way to accomplish something than putting it right in front of you.

I was speaking from my soul when I said "I couldn't sit there any longer once I realized." I have discovered my potential. It is time to funnel it into something and if at first I don't succeed, I will adjust, and try again.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

What am I doing?

The thought has crossed my mind on multiple occasions that I cannot be the only person in the world that is completely clueless. I mean, seriously, I cannot be sitting here in this big world and be the only person looking around thinking, "What am I doing?" Some background on this subject would enlighten you I am sure.

Hi. I am Kristin. I am a 26 year old going on 27 (yikes) who just so happens to be clueless. The path I followed into adulthood had me graduating High School with an acceptable GPA and a lot of shiny JROTC trophies. College was the next step in this process where I picked up a Bachelor of Arts in History with a concentration in Humanities as well as a new skill, colorguard, in the university marching band. Post grad was a gleeful time of no more school, part time jobs, job hunting, and realizing I was no longer a student. A typical step in my growing up was meeting and marrying my college boyfriend. At the ripe age of 22 I said "I do" to my electrical engineer. I was working at the local Starbucks, making as much of a living as I could, while he was getting a Masters Degree and a high paying job which happened to be two states away. Upon his employment the "logical" decision was "let's buy a house, get married, and move to Alabama." 2.5 months later I was in a big white dress, our lives were packed away, and we headed to our new lives. Unfortunately, a little over 3.5 years later after a lot of soul searching, life obstacles, and realization my husband and I have separated and have gotten divorced. I get to add myself to another statistic. Graduate college with no job in sight, check. Married and divorced before the age of 30, check. However, that is a whole other story and we have some more information to fill in.

In the new land of "Alabama" I was just as successful with the job hunt. Over qualified to be a receptionist, under qualified for basically everything else outside of Starbucks. Specializing in European history in the US South does not hold high hopes for jobs in my major. Teaching was an option with not a lot of personal interest since either going back to get a teaching degree or getting a teacher's certificate were both challenging prospects. After many job applications, only two interviews, and lots of emotional breakdowns, I was able to get a job at the company my husband worked for. Starting off as a temp then eventually getting hired full time, I am a Technical Service Representative which is just a fancy title for a call center worker. Yes, I have a cubicle. No, it is not a cubicle farm. No, this is not in my degree of study. Yes, I make enough money and have enough interest to be happy doing it. I am the type of person that can learn to do anything and usually does it well. That is not me being conceded, I promise. Telecommunications was not a path I ever thought to follow. Through the evolution of my job I have developed skill sets I didn't know I had and understand a lot more of the jargon than I ever believed I was capable of. All this being said, "what am I doing?"

Here we are, 5 years after graduating college, not working in my field of study, not married anymore, not able to clearly define the path of my future. This is when the ceiling started getting lower and the walls started closing in. I am in a box of my own making. Lazy after college I did not push myself to figure out a life plan. The fact that I married someone with a well paying stable job made me complacent. Near the end of my marriage I hit a downward spiral of not knowing who I was, how I got there, what I was doing, and where I was going. Now 7 months later I am renewed with purpose. Taking back myself one new idea at a time. Finally realizing that things are hard and you have to put forth the effort in order to really accomplish anything. The last part of the puzzle though is that tricky part, "what am I going to do?"

The company I work for offers tuition reimbursement for certain degrees. I am starting there. Going back to college seems daunting but doable. History is a love of mine I will never lose but it will not create a career for me. If I could drop everything and move to Italy to study to my hearts content, I would be a happy camper, but that is not in the cards. In the recent future my eyes have been opened to the idea of working in marketing or advertising. I concluded that with enough effort I could get a Marketing degree, even if that is something I am not 100% interested in. The other side of this coin has me extremely interested in the prospect of getting a Graphic Design degree. Being an artist on the side I feel like this could be my calling. If I could go back and kick myself for not thinking of this sooner I would. I am not sure what my company is going to let me do, what they will agree to, or if it will be an option, but I have to start somewhere.

Making decisions is a hard part of life but following through with them is even harder. In the face of the decisions I have made I am still second guessing myself every chance I get and wondering if I am doing everything wrong. This blog is going to be the story of those mistakes or accomplishments. In this field of study, in this economy, in this country, in this world, I know there is another person sitting there looking around and thinking, "What am I doing?" I want to be there for you. I want to share my story with you. I want to help motivate you if I can. I want you to see that you are not alone, that I am just as clueless as you and just as worried but motivated.