Telling my side of the story

WARNING: I'm not that deep.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

How to ask to work from home

So, for the longest, I have been meaning to ask to work from home. Here's why. When I was interviewed for my position, I was told that six months into my job, I could work from home - full time. Trust me, I was excited beyond belief and gave my all to this job. I even told my husband to give me the room I needed to do 'extra' on the job because I wanted to prove that I was worth it. Anyway, being the efiko that I am, I didn't ask to work from home until a year into the job. Not only did I wait a whole year to ask, but I asked to work from home just one day a week. Don't ask me why. It must be a Naija thing - I didn't want to do aseju or appear overeager. I didn't want to jump at the earliest opportunity. Like mention it at my six-month review or something.

I waited a whole year to ask. You guessed it. I was refused. Soit disant that things had changed, the mood on our team was no longer the same because half of my group had been phased out. The work from home thing had been kinda sorta cancelled but I was told that if I had a business reason to work from home, I could. Now, what's a good business reason to work from home? Anyway, over time, this 'rule' has changed to "You can work from home whenever you feel like, just let me know". I take advantage of this from time to time. However, it's been a while since the other half of our team was phased out and I am thinking of asking to work from home again. This time though, I want what I was promised at my interview. I want to work from home full-time.

What are good reasons for asking for this besides the fact that I was promised this at the time of hire? I am going to speak to my boss tomorrow (for sure). I say this all the time but I mean it, I will definitely bring it up tomorrow. However, before our meeting, I want to be prepared. Anyone that can help, please do. My biggest reason for wanting to do this now is because I am preparing to have a baby and it breaks my heart to have to leave my child with people I do not know. That, and the fact that I haven't found a daycare - all the ones I called have a sixteen month waiting list. I don't think this would sit well with my boss but it's the truth. What's a girl to do? I am willing to look for another job if it doesn't go well. I just need to know now so that I can start looking. Again, it's quality of life over anything else.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

All I want for my birthday is...

To see the Color Purple. That's it. O pari. I am turning 30 and should be getting a 'big' gift right? I definitely think so. But I don't want anything 'big'. I just want to see the Color Purple on Broadway. That's it. No dinner (necessarily) and certainly no frills (anyone been to an evening Broadway show please tell me how to dress). This year, I was very specific about my gift. Might have something to do with what they say about turning 30 but I didn't hesitate to say what I'd like. No ifs ands or buts about it. I was very specific.

So, why do I still see DH on Audi's website looking for a car? It used to be the Beemer website. I had mentioned that I liked both cars. However, I no longer want a car for my birthday or anything. I am happy to keep my formerly bashed car for the next five years. Again, I don't want a car! I can be low maintenance like that and don't see any problems driving the same car for ten years. Seriously, after my last accident, I know for sure that I don't want a car! That's not important to me. Anyone who knows him should please reiterate this. All I want is to see the Color Purple on Broadway while Fantasia is still in it. Thank you very much. Merci beaucoup. Muchas gracias. Ose pupo. Nagode. How do you say thanks in Ibo?

The moral of this is that it is important to LISTEN. Communication is key, they say. You could save yourself many many dollars by just listening. The cheapest Color Purple ticket out there is $26 and the cheapest Audi out there is $$$$. See the difference? My point exactly. One mo' question: Why I can't have a man that is excited about going to musicals or the theatre?

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

A load off my shoulders

So this week has had its ups and downs and I'm glad it's over. A load has literally been lifted off my shoulders. Even though it's Thursday today, I almost feel like it's Friday. TGIT! Anyways, I had my review on Tuesday and with the way things have gone this year, I thought it would really be rough. I mean my biggest project flat out didn't take off when it should have - I take responsibility for 10% of it but as project manager, anyone looking in from the outside would blame me 100%. Anyway, some of the issues included - a lot of unexpected turnover (not my fault), lots of new people added to the mix in the middle of the project so there was that learning curve to deal with (not my fault), a totally incompetent consultant on the project that I should have gotten fired much sooner (there's my 10%).

Sometimes it seems that we are too compassionate for our own good. I'm talking about women now. We feel sorry for people and don't want anyone to lose their job even when they really should. I have really learnt from this experience and will take a much tougher stance in the future. When women are tough - as they should be in certain situations - the b word starts to pop up and in the organization, they are known as the tough b. I see now that I just need to forget about what people think and just get the job done. That being said, I still can't let go of that side of my brain that wants to pull others along. There'll have to be a balance because when it comes to review time, it's my head on the line.

I went into my review fully prepared to take responsibility for what happened. I did that right off the bat and it was smooth sailing from then on. Not only did I take responsibility for my mistakes or shortcomings, I had a plan mapped out for the future. I had stayed up until 2:30 in the morning working on my project plan and totally changed the way it has been handled in the past. This project is going to be ongoing and a huge part of my job so I'm taking charge of it now and taking no prisoners along the way.

That being said, I didn't make the demands (for lack of a better word) that had been on my mind because I was so engrossed in coming out of that review unscathed. Now that it's gone well and my boss is happy with the way I handled things, and my plans for the future, I'm going to have to ask for a separate meeting to figure out where we go from here. In short, what's in it for me? What we looking at? Where the dollars at? I'm not as interested in the last one as the fact that I need a lot more flexibility. Seriously. I'll take flexibility over money these days. Funny how life has changed such that I'm not as concerned about how much I make as I am about my quality of life. Maybe it's the fact that I have never thought that an employer would make me rich - that's a subject for another day. Right now, I'm just happy the review's over and a load's been lifted off my shoulders.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Lights, Camera, Action

In a few minutes, I will be recording a videotaped session that will be viewed by our customers across the country and maybe even worldwide. Like people who know me often tell me, I am worried about the wrong things. I am worried about how I will come out sounding. I am one of those people that makes fun of Naijas that I see on the news. Gosh, see how they are speaking. They are so razz, etc. Now, I might be the one judged by another Naija person. I don't like to fake the funk but in this case, I will be speaking properr (a la Tyler Perry). I'm sure people that know me will be like hmm, how far? Whatever. Like I said, I am worried about the wrong things. Should I pronounce my name the easy way - as in the same way as my voicemail at work? Or should I pronounce it like the way my Aunty calls me? Hmm. Tough one. Oh well. It'll be alright. It's not going to be more than five minutes long. I think.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

One, two, buckle my shoe

I can't. I can't even touch my toes. It literally hurts. I realized that I am indeed pregnant and can't deny it when I couldn't buckle my own shoes this past weekend. I guess what I have to do now is buy some new ones without straps. Another excuse to go shopping. Seriously though, it's been a good ride. I went to the doctors the other day and they say my baby's growing bigger than they would have thought. Not surprising considering my 40-inch waistline. Cool, I think?


Monday, May 14, 2007

Graduation Day

Graduation Day has come and gone. It was very different from my undergrad experience. Instead of actually participating, hi-fiving and just being part of the fun, I was more or less a spectator at my own graduation. I looked with interest at the bachelor’s degree candidates, they seemed full of excitement, hope, and whatchumacallit? more hope. Goodluck to them.

It’s funny, when you now look back, those undergrad days were the bomb. My classes were usually around 10 am or later, and some of my classes met just once a week. That was the easy life. It didn’t seem that way at the time but it sure does now. I think the Masters degree candidates on the other side of the hall, like me, were very jaded. Someone said, “I guess it hasn’t hit them that they are actually going to have to ‘work’ from now on.” We’ve all been part of the active workforce for a while and have become rather cynical about what your degree really accomplishes.

All the same, I was happy to be walking (graduating), even though I’d started out feeling sad that my sisters weren’t able to be there and my friends (also jaded) didn’t see any point in coming to see me walk. It really was a good day. My number one supporter was in the stands with his giant camera around his neck. It made me feel a little sad for him that he was up there alone and not with a group like other families cheering on their loved ones. In the end, I was happy to finally get a hold of my fake certificate and shake the school president’s hand. Yup, that cylindrical thing they give you is indeed fake, the ‘real’ one arrives in about four weeks. Still, it feels good to have this part of my life over. I am not sure what to do next though. It’s not For one very brief moment, I thought it might be nice to go back and get a Ph.D, thus fulfilling a brief fantasy of contributing one day to Nigeria’s young minds as a university professor (I call it my third and final career). Nah, that probably ain’t ever happening. I did think about it though.

Anyways, to celebrate, we went to Nan – the stuck up Thai restaurant in midtown. We were too early and so we decided to go to Dolce – Ashton Kutcher’s new spot. It was still too early for that so we eventually went to Grape to get appetizers before heading back to Nan. They did not disappoint – the hostess wasn’t warm – she gave us an hour to eat and get out – and the Red Snapper was excellent as usual. We ended up going to our favorite dessert joint and by the time we got home at seven or so, I was beat. I napped for a couple of hours and then headed out for drinks with friends until two in the morning. Not so bad day, n’est-ce pas?

Friday, May 11, 2007

Locked Myself Out Again!

I swear I am not high on anything but I keep locking myself out of the house! This morning, I picked up the wrong set of keys thinking they were my regular set and then jam-locked the door. When I got outside, I realized I was holding the wrong car keys. Man! Dang! Again? I went to look for my friend, Baba Porter to let me into my house but he was nowhere to be found. Not surprising, he begins work at 9:00am but doesn't show up until way after. Bummer. I had errands to run before going to work and this wasn’t exactly in my plans for the day. On a whim, I called up DH to see if he knew of a way for me to pick our lock. Sho’ nuff, he did. He walked me through how to do it. Please note that this is not a lesson on how to pick locks so I won’t go into details here. Besides, I don’t want any oles (thieves) showing up at my door. Anyway, after a few tries, I was in the house. I picked up my correct set of keys and headed out. What is up with me these days? I can’t seem to keep it together. All is well though.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Can I get some sushi?

The answer is probably no but I'm planning to go to Fune tomorrow night anyways. It's this new sushi spot in Atlanta with a Sex and the City-like atmosphere that my friend raved about. They have a live DJ and the interiors look very cool. I heard their scorpion (not really scorpion, made with shrimp and shaped like a scorpion) is off the chain! I am really looking forward to it. Haven't been anywhere spectacular lately and I'm hoping this place is as cool as it sounds. I already know that I'm getting the seaweed salad and some kind of yakitori for sure.

It's really not about me though. I am taking DH there to celebrate my graduation. Might sound weird that I'm taking him out but it's really to show my appreciation of him being such a good sport during the tough times I had with school. Might also sound corny that I signed him up for a celebration of 'supporters' at school. It is a mini 'graduation' ceremony for spouses, parents, etc that provided encouragement and support for graduates while they were in school. They get a 'diploma' at the end of the ceremony. Again, it seems a little corny and contrived and it's really not his style or my style but I like the idea behind it. Besides, it's only 45 minutes long so we can collect he certificate and then head out to do something we both like - sushi.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

When A Man Says I'll Take Care Of It...

Saturday afternoon after a very light 'lunch' with our friends who were in town for the weekend, I got up immediately to do my auto-pilot clear up thing. I did the dishes and then got out the broom, dustpan, brush, and mop out of the broom closet to wax my magic on the kitchen floor. DH saw this and said "Go ahead and relax honey, I'll take care of this." Something in me wanted to say no because the floors were bothering me and I wanted to just get to them really quickly. But something even bigger in me did want to relax so I just said "Okay" and left my supplies leaning against the wall for him to do his thing.

The broom, dustpan, etc were leaning against the wall where I left them the rest of the day on Saturday. They were also there on Sunday and on Monday they were still where I left them. Finally on Tuesday evening, I just went ahead and did my quick sweep and mop action. I know he meant it when he said he'd help. I just couldn't wait any more. So when a man says he'll take care of it, either wait on him to do it in his own time or DIY (do it yourself).

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

I so miss my baby daddy

So, I’ve only been gone since Wednesday and for good reason too, but I’ve recently come to the conclusion that there won’t be many more trips for me without my baby. I so miss him. Too much sef. So what if I haven’t told him how much but it almost hurts physically this thing that I’m feeling. Something always happens to me whenever I go out of town without him. At first, it’s this sense of relief, I can finally eat breakfast in bed and watch chick flicks all day long if I want to. Next comes this feeling that some part of me is missing and it's hard to focus. I'm at the airport waiting to catch my flight back home. There won’t be any more trips without him for some time to come if I can help it.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

My last class ever!

Yesterday, I had my last class EVER. As in lai lai and ti ti lai lai. Forever and ever. It wasn't bittersweet. It was sweet. I even dressed up for the occasion. I usually go home between work and school to just chill, watch tv or take a nap. Yesterday, I stayed at work late and went straight from work. I wanted to get it over and done with.

It was the last class ever for many MBAs in my class and you should have seen people jubilating (isn't that such a Naija word - jubilate). Anyway, we had our final presentations and people were so relieved that it was their last in-class presentation ever. I did mine without even looking at my slides - I was like whatever, nobody's listening anyway. Before I started, I asked the class if it was okay to give them the short version and everyone was like, yeah, sure! I think my team did okay. We were at an A going into that presentation, I hope we maintained it. I still have one final exam I have to take from home and submit by next Monday. It's a case on HP. I think I'll work on it and get it to him by Friday. I've moved on already.

Anyways, come and join me sing alleluyah! I am done. Finished. I called my girlfriend for a quick chat as I was driving to class and she asked how many classes I had left. I was like "that's it - I'm done, it's my last class ever." She said "forever?" I said "yes, forever." DH once mentioned me doing a PhD. He thinks I could handle it. PhD? Lai lai. Never. I am seriously done.

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