Archive for the 'work' Category

Daily Gratitude: Telecommuting

Today I’m working at home, curled up in my big burgundy recliner with my dog on my feet and a cat draped across the back. I can take the dog for a walk on my lunch hour, or take a lunchtime nap if I choose.

I have *non-Christmas* music playing on my iPod in the background, all my favorite coffee/tea items readily available, and a really awesome view. I like this work environment; I get more done and it makes me happy. My commute is only 30 seconds – just walk downstairs – and I don’t have to deal with pouring rain and late buses. In fact, I have no bus, coffee or lunch costs. (Admittedly, I wouldn’t have lunch costs if I were organized enough to pack my lunch when I go into the office.)

Certainly, there’s value in going to the office and working face-to-face with people. It’s good for the frame of mind to be around others. Collaboration via whiteboard, group work sessions and brainstorming is more effective in person. I learn a lot about the business and the various initiatives we’re working on through informal coffee cup conversations. And I *like* my colleagues, they’re good to hang out with!

Still, I’m very grateful for the flexibility to work from home when I choose, when I don’t have scheduled face-to-face meetings. It was a necessary perk when I lived in Poulsbo, and it’s still very welcome now.

Posted on Thursday, December 16th, 2010 by Jeri
Under: gratitude, work | 1 Comment »

Daily Gratitude: the Day Job

Today, appropriately for a Monday, I’m grateful for my job, my employer and my colleagues.

In this recession economy, of course, I’m very thankful to have a job at all. Many of my industry peers and members of my social circle lost their jobs two years ago, and spent months and even years finding something new. I am grateful for the financial and emotional security of a longtime job with a stable employer, and for work that’s challenging and interesting every single day.

I’ve been with GCI* for nearly 14 years, in four different departments and positions. When I moved south from Anchorage to Seattle, I had the privilege of being able to keep my job and continue working for them out of the Seattle office. The company pays fairly, has excellent benefits, and is a leader in flexible schedules, telecommuting, and virtual employees/projects. Most importantly, though, I work with an immensely talented, productive and congenial group of people that I’m proud to call friends as well as colleagues.

And my job? Currently I’m working as a business analyst – the person who turns business requirements into technical specifications, and then tests the solution to ensure it works as designed and required. I like that, with project work, every project is a new adventure, a new opportunity to learn and a new team. I like that I get to learn and stretch daily, be creative and analytical, and see tangible results with my customers at the end of the day. And, I like working in technology, in IT – I actually enjoy big, difficult, highly technical enterprise wide projects that take months and years, projects that would have been the stuff of science fiction decades ago.

Yes, admittedly, there is a downside. The hours and travel are insane and the deadline stress is sometimes intense. Still, it’s the cost of working in the IT business at my level and the advantages far outweigh the challenges.

To whoever/whatever universe or deity arranges such things – thank you.


*I very rarely mention my employer’s name in print on the web, but in this case, giving thanks, I think it’s appropriate and acceptable.

Posted on Monday, December 13th, 2010 by Jeri
Under: gratitude, work | 1 Comment »

Brilliance & Devotion

Yesterday I had a thought-provoking conversation with a friend, who will remain anonymous, about the concept of “brilliance”. I very much respect this person’s intellectual capabilities and achievements, although he/she is rather self-deprecating and feels that true brilliance is in another league entirely.

What is brilliance, truly? How do we measure and define it? It has often been identified by achievement in science, math, medicine, academia, literature.

Intelligence alone is an insufficient criteria. Brilliance is not a function of high test scores, talent or capability alone. Brilliance requires application. It requires hard work, perseverance, sweat equity, passionate devotion to a purpose.

On the subject of intelligence, however, the IQ metric has often been criticized as a culturally biased, one-dimensional measure of intellectual capacity. Harvard developmental psychology professor Dr. Howard Gardner argues that intelligence does not sufficiently encompass the wide variety of abilities humans display, and proposes an alternate theory of multiple intelligences.

The eight, multiple areas of intelligence Gardner suggests include:

People with high verbal-linguistic intelligence are gifted with words and languages. They are typically good at reading, writing, telling stories and memorizing words and definitions.

This area has to do with logic, abstractions, reasoning, and numbers. People with this talent demonstrate reasoning capabilities, abstract patterns of recognition, scientific thinking and investigation, and the ability to perform complex calculations. This area correlates strongly with traditional concepts of “intelligence” or IQ.

Those gifted with visual-spatial intelligence have a strong ability to visualize, conceptualize and translate ideas into design. This type of intelligence tends to lend itself to art, design and architecture.

Bodily-kinesthetic talents include control of bodily movement, capacity to handle objects skillfully, timing and the ability to train responses so they become like reflexes. Those talented in this area tend to perform well in acting/performing, building, athletics, dance, law enforcement, the military, even surgery.

Musical ability includes high sensitivity to sounds, rhythms, tones, music and may even include perfect pitch. The musically gifted are able to sing, play musical instruments, and compose music.

People who have a high interpersonal intelligence tend to be gregarious extroverts, sensitive to others’ moods, feelings, temperaments and motivations, and work well in a group setting.

People with intrapersonal intelligence tend to be introverts and are skillful at deciphering their own feelings and motivations, strengths/ weaknesses, reactions/ emotions.

Those with this skill are gifted with nature, nurturing and relating information to one’s natural surroundings.

I’d have to agree with this multidimensional picture of human capability. It shows respect for humans as many-faceted beings, with the ability to be brilliant, to be geniuses, in many different areas. The visionary artist, the star athlete, the consummate salesperson and the legendary philosopher are all brilliant in their own area.

Still, I submit that brilliance requires a combination of giftedness and devotion. The superstars in each area, the Nobel prize winners, Olympic athletes, National Museum artists, all wholeheartedly spend a lifetime pursuing their chosen profession.

I can say, without arrogance, that I have been blessed in the genetic lottery to be above average in a couple of the above areas. (linguistic and visual/spatial) Except where my profession is concerned, I am by nature a dilettante, so I have never devoted the time or energy to see what I am capable of.

Maybe I need to change that. Thanks, friend.

Posted on Tuesday, July 27th, 2010 by Jeri
Under: inspiration, work | 3 Comments »

Geek Women & Image

Always interesting blog The Hathor Legacy (about female characters in fiction and media) sent me on an interesting surfing journey today via their “Links of Great Interest.” I ended up at the fabulous new (to me) Geek Feminism Blog, reading a series of posts on Clothes and Geek Feminism.

The question is, professionally and personally, how do we as geeky women have to dress to fit in? And, as a follow-on, do we have to follow some unwritten dress code? The string of articles I’m referencing suggest that women might need to dress in a deliberately unfeminine and minimally businesslike manner to gain acceptance as a geek in the workplace.

I self-identify as a woman and a geek, and as so many other things as well. I’m creative, a bit of a nonconformist, a SF/fantasy fan, a traveler and an active person. My IT workplace has no dress code, other than business casual – very casual – and we spiff it up when we’re facing customers.

I have never found that I have to dress down, dress androgynously, for acceptance. I do think that an extreme pre-occupation with shoes, clothes and makeup would be counterproductive. Some worry about dressing like a manager vs. dressing like a hands on technical or knowledge worker – I’m not certain whether that can be a good thing or a bad thing. Still, I can wear feminine styles, colors, prints, skirts and heels as long as I’m able to do my job effectively.

Jeri SkirtDressing in flattering clothing is especially important to me because I’m a larger woman. I’m, err, Amazonian. Statuesque. I’ll never be small, although I can and do strive for healthy and fit. Presenting myself to the world with good grooming and in carefully chosen, attractive, appropriate attire is part of maintaining my self-esteem, of accepting myself and caring for myself on a daily basis.

I did make a conscious decision many years ago to dress in a more feminine style in the workplace. It’s who I am. While I enjoy the camaraderie of my male professional friends very much, I do not want to dress like nor be one of the guys. There’s a difference and it’s a very entertaining part of life.

This is not to be confused with excessively provocative or sexual attire in the workplace. One of my friends mentioned this a couple of months ago in a comment thread, and honestly, it had never occurred to me. I dress for my own pleasure and comfort, not to attract or repel others’ attention. Still, very low-cut, tight or sheer clothing is out of line and tremendously distracting in any professional setting, geeky or not. It’s quite possible to dress like a woman without dressing like a whore.

What about you – do you dress down to be accepted as a geek? Do you feel that there is a dress code for management “suits” and another for geeks? Or do you do your own thing, comfortable in your presentation, and the heck with what anyone thinks?

And men, weigh in here too. Do you notice what women wear as it pertains to professional credibility? Would you listen to a woman in a pink fuzzy sweater as readily as one wearing a black shirt with a flash drive on a lanyard?

Posted on Sunday, July 25th, 2010 by Jeri
Under: fashion, work | 8 Comments »

I’ve Resigned

No, not from my job! I’m still happily employed as one of many Alices in IT-wonderland. But this is tacked above my desk phone in the Seattle office.


Posted on Monday, January 4th, 2010 by Jeri
Under: work | 2 Comments »