Category Archives: Work

Baby’s First Business Trip

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012 was not only momentous because OBAMA WAS RE-ELECTED (!!!), but because it was the day that I left St. Louis for my very first business trip.  In my new role as Content Marketing Coordinator, I accompanied some coworkers to a conference in Chicago to do a series of video interviews with thought leaders in the field.

I was so excited.

I mean, free vacation, right?  Ok, free trip to the airport hotel that actually isn’t free since you have to work beyond normal hours.  But still!

"I Voted" StickerI began Tuesday morning bright and early to go cast my vote (…at a frat house, oddly enough) before heading to work with a backpack full of business clothes.  After a few hours of writing and organizing, it was time to go to the airport.  The flight was mostly uneventful, and only mildly delayed, which is really all that can be asked for.

After a half-hour wait in the chilly drizzle for the airport shuttle, the fun really began.  Checking into the hotel and going up to my room, the experience became surreal.  I had a suite.  My hotel room(s) were close to the size of my apartment.

No time to linger though, so I was quickly back down in the hotel lobby.  After sipping sangria water and watching the election results come in for a while, my co-workers, boss, and an important partner of ours walked across the street to the neighboring hotel restaurant.

Fruit water at the hotel.A three-course dinner ensued, during which (surprise surprise) I barely spoke at all.  Lacking both business acumen and children, I did not have much to contribute to the conversation,especially in an odd-numbered group.  Instead, I probably ate twice as much calamari and toasted ravioli as everyone else in an effort to look occupied.  There was also lots of nodding.  Overall, however, it was a very enjoyable experience, and not only since I had a rare chance to savor some Allagash White, which isn’t available anywhere else in the Midwest.

Coming back to the hotel after dinner in time to hear about Obama’s win in real time meant that I could happily snuggle into my obscenely large bed and sleep well before the big conference the next day.

The summit I was in Chicago at the Sheraton in Rosemont, Illinois to attend was one day, and a very full day it was.  In between presentations in the meeting room downstairs, I set up a studio on the 8th floor and facilitated and recorded eight video interviews.

At lunch, I sat in the corner and tried to look fascinated by the Facebook updates on my phone since everyone else was either networking or doing important business things on theirs.  Come to think of it, I should have tried for the networking option myself, but at the time it seemed entirely too intimidating.

After a long day of interviews, it was time for another round of dinner at the same restaurant across the way.  This time four of our partners joined my coworkers and I, so much more of the conversation revolved around business though.  I managed to participate in conversations for at least ¾ of the dinner, so I was happy about that.  I even managed to give away four of my brand-new business cards (and even got a few in return)!

Thursday was largely uneventful. I tagged along to a breakfast with another of our partners, and then didn’t do much other than take down the studio set-up before heading to the airport in the early afternoon.

Although I spent most of the trip feeling like a kid who had accidentally sat at the grown-ups’ table at Thanksgiving and didn’t realize until it was too late to move, I’m very glad that I was given a chance to go.  I certainly learned a lot, and came home with some new ideas to implement.

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Content to be in Marketing

I have a new job.

While I previously spent my days answering an endless stream of emails and phone calls as a web support specialist, I will now be spending my days writing and tweeting as a Content Marketing Coordinator (guess who now has not one, but two separate Twitter accounts!)

It’s an exciting move for me.  Four years ago, I never would have guessed that my highly academic path (trailing through postmodern literature, foreign languages, masculinities theory, aesthetic negativity, and museum studies and culminating in a degree in Comparative Literature with a side of German) would have led up to a marketing position at a software company.  However, while I still occasionally expose my embarrassing lack of business acumen by asking questions such as “What exactly is a lead?”, the opportunity to put my fingers back to the keyboard, be creative, and think will be a great to get back in touch with my liberal arts roots.

And who knows?  Maybe this will finally be the impetus I need to start watching Mad Men.

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I’m a bike commuter now!

Helmet? Check.  Flashing red light?  Check.  Highly visible gold backpack? Check.

Since the nearest Metro stop is a 15-minute walk from my apartment as opposed to two blocks over, I’ve taken to my bike to get to work, meaning that my workday begins and ends with 2.2 miles of rolling hills as I ride straight down Locust.

So far, so good.  The road isn’t too busy, the hills aren’t too steep, and the weather hasn’t been too bad (yet!).   I’ve also enjoyed having time in the morning (and the afternoon, for that matter) to clear my head and get some exercise.  It certainly makes me feel a little bit better about the inordinate amount of time I spend sitting in an office chair once I get to work!

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A Real Job

Mi manca Bologna.

The view from my window.

I appear to have somehow ended up with what is commonly referred to as a “real job.”  The kind that requires you to wake up at 6am and put on a pencil skirt.

In the past month, I have battled with my alarm clock repeatedly, stocked up on pencil skirts, and moved in to my little corner of the office (now complete with dinosaur).

Can you find the dino? He’s shy.

Here are a few things I have learned while being a so-called adult:

  1. Snacks are a newly hugely important part of my life.  They not only fill the hungry void in my stomach caused by my inability to eat a filling breakfast a) right after I wake up, especially if that’s at 6:30 in the morning, and b) quickly enough that I have time to both do the dishes and catch the Metro.
  2. It is very hard to find remotely healthy snacks that you can keep in a desk that won’t go bad.  Right now I’m operating primarily with dried apricots and wasabi peas.  Loooots of wasabi peas.
  3. School pictures are back!  I guess they’re not called school pictures anymore, but the concept is the same: take a few minutes out of your day to line up and smile before heading back to the daily routine.  I’m just waiting for the company yearbook.
  4. American ideas about air conditioning don’t make any sense.  For the past few weeks it has been pushing 100 degrees (sometimes from above) outside, but being inside for an extended period of time requires a sweater.  Or a parka.  At least a snuggie.
  5. Oh yeah, my work gave all the employees company logo-embroidered blue snuggies during the company-bonding week that happened right after I started.  The snuggies themselves are awesome, but the ability to wear a snuggie a) in public and b) in a business meeting in front of your boss’s boss is even more awesome.
  6. I have begun to say, “Have a Great Day!” compulsively, even when I’m not at work, which is a horribly insincere habit (once the line between polite and automatic has been crossed).

I have also learned what it means to do the same thing all day, every day (well, if we’re really being specific, for eight hours a day five days a week…but after a while it starts to feel like all day every day).  I am claiming no credit to an original discovery here, as I’m sure nearly every working adult has felt similarly.  It’s not called the daily grind for nothing!  But wearing it certainly is.  I miss the constant and varied stimulation inherent to college life, and, more broadly, I miss constantly using and stretching my brain.  Here, there is always a niggling fear that if I’m not careful, the creative and analytical capabilities of my brain will atrophy, even as my typing fingers and wrists gain new strength.  I am secretly a little bit afraid of becoming some sort of squishy automaton who forgets to take vacations if I stay at a desk job for an extended period of time.

I slightly more afraid of leaving the (only moderately!) reckless fun and late hours of my college years behind and becoming A Responsible Adult.

I find that I need to continually remind myself that while it may be more difficult for me to go out at night now, I have much more time to read books of my choosing and cook more elaborate meals (I’ve even seen a few movies!).  I’m trying to read books in Italian and German and bike as much as possible to keep my brain and my body in shape.  After all, it’s not so much that I have less time than I did in college (let’s be real—when I was in school I was always complaining about having too much to do) as it is that I am being slowly nudged towards patterning my life differently.  While I may not be able to go out all night anymore, I can now afford to go out for dinner more frequently.  So really, all that remains for me to do is take the time to find a sense of balance in my current routine, while still remembering not to settle in completely and forget about where I want to go next.

Have a Great Day!

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How to Place a Customer Service Call

  1. Begin by saying “yeessss” in a drawn-out and ominous way.
  2. Proceed to explain your problem as longwindedly as possible, preferably without pauses that would allow the customer service representative to begin helping you.
  3. Repeat.
  4. Refuse to provide any information that the representative asks for.  They may say that they want to help answer your question, but you know that they’re really out to steal your identity.
  5. Respond to continued requests with anger and/or confusion.
  6. Do not have paper, a pen, or anything like an order number.
  7. Pause for long periods of time and mumble to yourself as you continue to contemplate your problem, but by no means let the representative hang up.
  8. Remember, no problem is too small to make a big fuss about.
  9. Pause for a bit to chat about your grandchildren and/or take a call on another line.
  10. Resume fussing about your problem, and remember that there was actually something else you had been meaning to ask about too.
  11. Realize that there either was no problem or it was really all your fault to begin with, and hang up without saying goodbye.
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