The Promotion

Something was brewing around the office over the past few weeks. There was clearly something going on that was supposed to be kept under wraps, but a few odd circumstances raised suspicions in our small work community.

I really shouldn’t have had any idea. I’ve been known to be a bit clueless when there have been big changes on our corporate horizon in the past. This time was no different initially. And had it not been for the whispers of a few more attentive associates, I’d probably have remained blissfully oblivious until the formal announcement.

It was the approval of a coworker’s PTO request that prompted suspicions. Our very small department has specific rules about how many employees may be out of the office at any given time. Two of my peers had long ago scheduled vacation time for the entire past week. According to our vacation policy, in order to ensure adequate staffing, no one else could be approved for more than a single day off during the same week.

TK had previously worked for one of our vendors and held a pretty respectable position there. When TK’s company had a major layoff, he was out of a job. And when our small department of three was looking to expand last October, TK joined our staff. We immediately liked him. He brought a fresh perspective and good work ethic along with him, along with a unique set of valuable skills. And I suspected almost immediately that this job was just a placeholder until bigger things came along. I had no hard feelings about my suspicions. TK is a young guy, divorced, with children and a fiance he’d like to marry soon. Obviously, he would like to improve his employment situation in order to support his life goals. And I knew that coming in brand new, it was likely he had come in near the lower end of the pay scale for his position.

I was TK’s mentor for his first few months on the job and as happens with many of my coworkers, we developed a comfortable bond. We work well together. We share the similar passions about our work and have the same need for our work to be fulfilling as opposed to just a way to pass the days and collect a paycheck. In the course of our days, we’ve come to know a bit about each others’ lives and families. TK has a wicked sense of humor and he’s always making someone laugh. And whenever one of us veterans enjoys vacation time, he’s been sure to playfully remind us not to give a thought to him, the newbie with an extremely limited PTO allowance, slaving away at work while we’re away.

Still, if someone hadn’t pointed out how strange it was that TK was suddenly approved for a stretch of four whole days off during the same week two others would be out all week, I might not have questioned it. Even though he’d probably recently reminded me how few vacation days remained in his account until the end of this year, and even though if I really thought about it, I knew he needed to keep a few days in the bank in case of illness or family emergency. I guess as long as it’s not causing me pain, I’m just not that concerned with whether anyone is abiding by these types of rules. It’s summer time. TK said he had a chance to spend a few days at his uncle’s cabin on a lake. Seemed pretty normal to me and I was just glad he had the opportunity.

What finally raised my suspicions was when someone pointed out the fact that TK was approved for four days off, not only when rules should prevent it, but during the same four days when most of our management would be attending meetings at the corporate office. Maybe TK wasn’t going to the lake, and maybe he was going to the big meeting. I wondered about it for days afterward. Why wouldn’t the rest of the team be informed if TK was going to the meeting and not on vacation? Why lie about it? If there was something the rest of us weren’t supposed to know, there were better lies that could have been told. TK runs a particular pilot project. If someone had told me he was attending the meeting to present an update on the project, it would have made way more sense than telling us he was approved for a spur-of-the-moment vacation request for a stretch of days I knew he couldn’t afford, and wasn’t really allowed to take at this time.

You’re probably thinking that my coworkers and I are much too concerned about why TK was stretching his PTO limits. I mean, if he wants to wipe out his vacation account, why should we care? Well, normally, I might not. But there were other things that raised the suspicion that this was about much more than one employee carelessly using his PTO benefits. You know there is always a pot-stirrer in the office. Our office is no different. The resident pot-stirrer from another department – in our parent company actually, would wander over to us, the affiliate company, and find a person he knew he could stir up. He would say things like, “How can I ask you this without actually asking you this? … Have you heard any, you know… news? Anything about … I don’t know … some new collaboration or something like that?”

I was annoyed by him. He had a good friend of mine worried, telling her that if we were to possibly merge with his department, how did she think we might contribute. There wasn’t enough work for everyone to do as it was, to hear him tell it. My friend then worried she might lose her job.

Why do people have to create drama like that?

The lid was completely blown off for me when an associate in another department unknowingly let the cat out of the bag. We were on a conference call that Friday, casually talking with each other while we waited for our client to dial in. She said to me, “Now remember, I’ll be at the meeting at corporate next week.”

“I know,” I said. “It’s going to be pretty quiet around here.” I wondered out loud whether a particular other person was going as well as those I knew of.

“No, he’s not, but…” she proceeded to list those who were attending. And she ended by naming TK as one of the attendees.

“Um. I don’t think I’m supposed to know he’s going,” I said.

“Why not?”

I explained that we were informed TK would be out on vacation. “Wow,” she said. “That’s really weird.” And then she was quiet for a moment before adding, “I’ll bet there’s some kind of announcement coming.”

And so was created the perfect recipe for office buzz. My friend continued to worry about her job security. She obsessed about perceived advancements for others that might leave her unfairly in the dust. We walk around the pond together at lunch time, and a frequent topic of conversation was what might be actually going on below the surface of TK’s vacation approval. I tried to alleviate her fears by reminding her of her unique contributions and value. Still, she continued to fret.

I have to say, I just wasnt’ that concerned. I’ve experienced a sort of transformation over the past year that has helped me learn to just accept that whatever will be, will be. If big changes were on the corporate horizon, it meant major decisions had already been made. Worrying about it now would do nothing but weigh on me. Sure, I gave it plenty of thought. It was hard not to, now that it was obvious we were all pretending not to know anything we weren’t supposed to know. Besides, I realized that I have confidence in my talents and capabilities. If some pending change was ahead, I was pretty certain it would bode well for me. And if it didn’t? I would just do the next thing. I’ve realized more often than not lately, that I live a pretty blessed life. I have a roof over my head and enough to eat. I’m in pretty decent health and am surrounded by family and good friends. We have everything we really need. And our income leaves enough left over to have a little fun now and then. If I was going to have to learn to do with less, I would. And if anything ahead meant that I was going to have to look for a new job, I knew that my years with this company had provided enough opportunities to learn and grow that I could confidently sell myself somewhere else. I could do something new and different if I had to.

I suspected TK was in line for some type of advancement. My boss is preparing for retirement, so I also thought some level of reorganization was coming that would ensure her position was filled. Unlike others, I wasn’t worried that the “new” guy might advance ahead of me. I’m pretty aware of where there is to go from where I’m at. My boss once told me that my next step is where she is. Management. The thought of supervising others is completely unappealing to me. And I’m really happy with where I’m at. In my job, I get to be creative. I get to write. I continuously learn more about technology, and still get to exercise my customer service skills. I’m just fulfilled in what I do most days. And when I arrived at work on Monday, I was ready to face a quiet, busy week while the big meeting went on at the corporate office. I was sure there would be an announcement when our company leaders returned on Friday.

I was surprised when I logged in to my computer Monday morning to see that TK was logged on. After all, he was supposed to be out “on vacation” through Thursday. I couldn’t help myself. I poked my head in his cubicle and asked, “Why are you here?”

“I don’t know,” he said. “I got a text from (the boss) over the weekend telling me I needed to be here today.”

“That’s strange,” I said, shrugging, before I went back to my own desk.

I had just decided that all this game playing was ridiculous, and I was going to go to TK and say, “I know you’re going to corporate this week. I don’t care why. Someone will tell me what I need to know when it’s time, so let’s stop all this stupid pretending.”

And that’s when my boss came by, which was also a surprise because she was supposed to be on her way to the corporate office.

“Hey,” she said. “Do you have a minute? Can you come to my office?”

“Sure,” I said, realizing as I followed her that the news was coming sooner rather than later.

We sat down in her office, her at her desk and me in a chair across from her. “Do you want me to shut the door?” I asked.

“No, that’s okay. Let’s just leave it open.”

In a matter of seconds, I pondered and dismissed the idea that I was getting laid off. I’d seen layoffs happen at my company in the past and they didn’t work this way. But I was still surprised when she said, “I’m leaving for corporate at eleven, but before I go, I need you to know that you’re being promoted.”

I was momentarily speechless. During all of the days of whispering and wondering, this was not something that had occurred to me. My boss touted my abilities and explained how capable I was. I sat with a dazed smile on my face while she explained that we were reorganizing. We as the affiliate company were being slightly integrated into our parent company. She gave me many details but it all spelled good news both for me and for the company as a whole. This meant more job security and a whole new set of opportunities for all of us!

I guess the big secret was all because TK had to be informed of his promotion ahead of the corporate meeting. It required him to meet with some of his new associates at that meeting. But the reorganization wasn’t final and ready to be announced company-wide prior to the day the corporate meeting was to begin.

In my last performance review, I had possibly shot myself in the foot by telling my boss I had no desire to manage other people. In such a small company, I knew by saying as much, I had openly limited my ability to move any higher up the ladder. But there I sat in front of my boss on Monday, realizing she had found a way to advance me while still honoring my wishes. What more could I possibly ask?

I’ll technically have a new boss in the parent company. I’ve worked with him and come to know him in my time since our companies joined forces. I like him and am excited to build this new relationship. I love my “old” boss and my new boss will report to her until she retires sometime in the next year. So I’ll be able to maintain the connection with a person who’s played a big part in my growth and achievement over the past ten years.

The most exciting thing for me is that I’ve been promoted to the lead position in my department under the new boss. TK is advancing to a role that will still ensure we can work together regularly. I’m so happy and proud for him. My worried friend has retained her position and I’ll still get to work side-by-side with her.

There’s a support person we hired nearly a year ago, who has proven she wasn’t cut out for the job. She’s done little to contribute, but we all felt bad at the prospect of her losing her job. She was offered a position in another department that seems more suited to her abilities. It’s a slight demotion, but at least she’s not completely out of a job.

And finally, the person who has created the most stress in my work life for the past three years? Has made a lateral move to a different department. I’ve been learning to accept her ways and cope with her idiosyncrasies. I’ve long since realized that much of the problem stemmed from a sense of competition that’s unhealthy on her part. And she would never admit it, but she clearly has some underlying insecurities. I know I created much of my own stress by allowing her to impact me negatively and absorb my focus too much of that time. I’ve learned to rise above it, but I’m not unhappy that she’s making this move. I honestly think she’ll be thrilled with this change. We’ll still work closely, but her move should provide just enough breathing room from each other that we might just make something really good and productive of our working relationship after all.

I am so grateful and excited to see what these new opportunities bring!

Never a Dull Moment

As crazy weeks go, this one ranks right up there. Going into the work week, I knew most of my department would be either out on PTO or leaving late Monday morning for business travel.

That basically left two of us to hold down the fort. I knew that could present some challenges but we were actually excited to rise to the challenge.

What I wasn’t counting on was my boss calling me into her office first thing Monday morning before she left for the week – and offering me a promotion I had no idea was coming!

More on this soon! :-)

Parking Lot Rescue

If he hadn’t been with someone else, I totally would have taken him home.

Today was one of those spring days on the verge of summer. I’d squeezed in a quick walk around the pond at lunch time, but wanted to soak up a few more of the sun’s rays before getting inside my car and making the drive home. So when my work day was finished, I packed up my stuff and left through back entrance. I walked the long way around the building to the far side of the lot where I always park. It was five o’clock and a typically busy time in the company parking lot. A steady stream of employees cruised by me in their cars as I walked.

I was coming up on the far corner of the building when I saw a black tow truck blocking one of the two areas that lead to the east exit from the company lot. The truck’s engine was idling. The cab was empty and the driver’s side door hung wide open. Behind the tow truck was an Isuzu Trooper I’d noticed in the lot over the past few days.

That’s when I saw him. He was sitting on a curb behind a parked white car. He seemed so out-of-place there and I wondered if he was okay. I slowed my pace and hesitantly moved toward him. His face was really handsome and I felt an urge to run my fingers through the tousle of black on top of his head.

He looked cautiously at me as I took another step toward him and softly said, “Hey.”

I was a bit startled when he leapt to his feet and lunged toward me.

“YIP YIP!” Four furry little legs followed behind his cute, fuzzy face.

“Snoopy!” A burly, buzzed-haired tow truck driver yelled as he turned in my direction, rising from his crouched position next to the front tire of the Isuzu. “Get back in the truck!”

Not the real Snoopy

Not the real Snoopy

Snoopy made no move to obey his owner and looked curiously back at me. He was an adorable, little black fur-ball of a dog and I was worried he’d run into the open area of the parking lot, or worse, into the busy street. I certainly didn’t want him getting hit by a car, so I reached my hand down so he could sniff me. I moved slowly toward the tow truck, all the while holding my hand out to Snoopy, hoping he’d follow me back toward the truck. He wasn’t all that interested.

“He’s friendly,” offered the tow truck guy. “He just warns me when someone comes up behind me while I’m doing a repo.” I suppressed a giggle at the fact that this beefy guy’s guard dog was an ankle biter.

I looked down at Snoopy and decided I was tired of hoping he’d cooperate with me in ensuring his safety. I dropped my work bag and purse on the ground and scooped him up with one hand. He nestled right into me and I scratched him under his chin as I walked him back to his owner. Tow Truck Guy gratefully took Snoopy from me and said thanks.

“No problem,” I smiled. “It’s busy around here. Don’t want him getting run over!”

I headed back toward my car and as I unlocked it and slid into the driver’s seat, I turned to see Tow Truck Guy gently closing the truck door behind Snoopy. Snoopy quickly jumped up, resting his front paws on the window ledge where he watched his owner finish his job from the safety of the cab. My heart melted and I was happy Snoopy was safe.

Reasons to Smile

I stumbled across a bargain last Sunday while out shopping – a winter jacket, marked half off the original price, and another fifty dollars off if I text-messaged the word coats to a designated number. I’ve been keeping my eye open for a new jacket since last year and couldn’t pass this up. It was a really warm one, and simple in style and color. Perfect for me. When I brought it to the register along with a couple of other items, the cashier who rung up my purchases offered some of the worst customer service I’ve ever received. She didn’t greet me or respond when I attempted to be friendly. She scowled as she worked, and when finished, silently handed over my receipt without even looking at me. Clearly, this was a woman unhappy in her work. If I hadn’t been so eager to purchase my things at such bargain prices, I might have just walked out without buying any of it.

On Tuesday, I stopped by my parents’ place to drop off a meal to put in their fridge for another day, and to get a shopping list from my mom so I could pick up a few of their necessities. Mom complimented my new jacket and mentioned she really could use a new one. I told her what a bargain it had been and offered to take her to the store where I’d bought it so she could pick out one for herself. She said she really wasn’t feeling up to leaving the house, much less walking around a department store, but asked if I would just go pick one out for her.

Knowing that winter clothing starts disappearing quickly from the store racks this time of year, I decided to go straight there in the hopes of still finding something for Mom. I was lucky to find one jacket still available in her size, but I didn’t see the sign that was there on Sunday for the text-message discount. When I went to pay, I thought I’d just ask if the offer was still available. The cashier very kindly apologized and said it was not, but let me see what other offers might be available.

I was pleasantly surprised at her attempt to go the extra mile, especially after my experience on Sunday. This very friendly woman asked if I wanted to open up a store credit card that would earn me something like forty-five percent off my purchase. I politely declined, not wanting to take a hit on my credit score for a one-time discount.  That’s okay, I said. I’m still going to buy this. The price was still a good deal and within the amount Mom was willing to spend.

Well, let me just check something else, the cashier offered. Here, she exclaimed, pulling a clipped coupon from her register. Here’s a coupon for twenty-five percent off. She was holding it up to show me. Do you want to use this? We both knew darn well that hadn’t come in with that coupon, but she was offering it to me, simply because I had asked about another discount.

Um, sure! I said. I was a bit astounded at how hard she was working for me, especially knowing I was willing to pay the higher price. I thanked her, explaining that I was purchasing the jacket as a favor to my mom and that Mom would be thrilled and grateful for the lower price.

She smiled and proceeded to ring up the jacket. Thank you so much for doing this! I said to her.

You’re so very welcome, she offered back with a huge smile. Have a good night!

I like that store, and my experience with the crabby cashier on Sunday wasn’t typical, nor likely to keep me from shopping there again. But my experience with the much friendlier employee that Tuesday evening sure made me feel great, and I found myself letting go of any frustration I still felt when I thought back to my prior visit. I regretted not taking note of her name so I could let the company know how well she represented them.

I left with a big smile on my face and then headed off to go buy the things on my parents’ necessities list. As I wandered through another store’s aisles, finding each item, I looked down at the cart I was pushing and had to roll my eyes slightly at the things my seventy-four year-old parents consider necessities.

Candy

Between what shopping my parents manage on their own, and the errands my sister and I do for them, I know they don’t stand a chance of the candy dish running dry before one of us ends up at the store again. They absolutely didn’t need this much at one time. But they love to keep a variety of treats on hand so that every one of their kids and grandkids can find something they enjoy when visiting. Besides, I know they buy the kind in the yellow bag especially because it’s my favorite.

The rest of the week had its ups and downs. I had both work-related challenges and successes. While immersed in a project one early afternoon, I heard my phone vibrate with a new text message. I picked it up to take a look and following is what ensued.

Mark Text

I was totally surprised and wondering what he really wanted, but it seems he just wanted to connect with me. That is absolutely not typical of Mark and me. I know he loves me. He knows I love him. But we never just randomly stop to send messages like this one. This past week, he had been working second shift, so he was sleeping when I’d leave for work in the mornings and gone when I’d come home. By the time he’d get back home, I’d be sleeping. Guess he just decided to let me know he missed spending time together.

The weather early this week was warm, but gloomy. We had fog one day and gray skies several days in a row. Late in the week, the temperatures dropped and I was able to put my new jacket to good use. The cold weather brought a slight break in the clouds, just enough to  provide some relief from that dreary feeling. It’s funny how different the same sky can look depending on where you see it. Here was the view just a few blocks from home while I waited at a red light.

Sunlight

And only a half hour later, as seen from the office parking lot.

Sunlight2

Underglow

As easy as it is to be connected with so many people these days, through text messaging and social media, I’m hyper-aware that many others are struggling daily with real difficulties in their lives. Some just seem to face one tragedy after the next. By the day, I see messages asking us to pray for successful job interviews, for healing of physical ailments, or to keep loved ones from the grip of death. We may sometimes be guilty of being too connected, but this same connectedness often gives me the opportunity to be grateful for all that I have and each new day I’m graced with. It reminds me to smile whenever the chance comes along, no matter how brilliant or trivial the opportunity seems.

Gratefulness

This week…

An actual phone call from Brad. Hi Mama. Just calling to talk. Mom is for getting my attention. Mama is his term of endearment and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. He renewed his lease on the apartment in Fargo for another year. Maybe this time next year he’ll look at moving closer to home again, he says. As much as I want him closer to home now, he wants to give his job at least another year and establish a good work history before moving on. Smart boy! He’ll be home for Thanksgiving. The old Brad is resurfacing after the heartache of the past months. I’m happy. And relieved.

2014-10-17Another phone call from a kid, this one from Kacey. She was pretty sick last week, with a fever, chills, spots in her throat and a rash on her body. And as someone who has rarely ever been seriously ill, she had to make her first all-by-herself decision to see a doctor. Her symptoms mirrored those of strep throat. It wasn’t strep throat. She was tested for mono and it wasn’t that either, thankfully. But she was treated with antibiotics and feels much better now. It was good to hear the energy back in her voice and know that she was able to get back to her old self, focus on studying again, and have a little fun with friends again.

Jake and his new girlfriend, Alysha. Introvert and private person that he is, it took him awhile to bring her around and make introductions. She’s sweet and he’s clearly enamored with her. She’s bringing out good things in him and I love the results of the ego boost he’s feeling. He hangs out at home a little more often, and talks to me more, giving a long-missing bit of insight into his world.  He’s maturing, realizing how good it feels to think of someone besides himself for a change. And he’s visibly happy. I love it!

Fall. The color of the sky. The smell of dried leaves. The red, orange and gold hues in the tree-tops. Geese in a V-formation flying over the house, honking, making Lucy stop sniffing one of the many invisible-to-me trails in the backyard to gaze up in curiosity. Temperatures just cool enough that Lucy is willing to snuggle again. Doggie snuggles are the best!

New guy at work – blowing me away with his skills and adaptability. New girl at work – provides frequent opportunities to remember my patience and shows me where my training skills need more work. And gratefulness that all three of our new teammates are so personable and willing to learn.

The weekend. So glad it’s here. While Mark is off on a hunting jaunt, I’m going with my sister to do some hunting of my own – for bargains at the new outlet mall.

Hope your weekend is happy!

Crazy Days and Lipiness

I’m particularly happy to see the weekend! Crazy week, it was!

Most of the craziness was work-related. Over the past year, our small department of three employees has become increasingly busy, sometimes to the point of  being overwhelmed. We were thrilled when it was announced a couple of months ago that we were finally given the budget to hire additional staff – two new Account Analysts, like us, and an Support Specialist. We were getting help!

The newbies started on Monday and there was a plan for getting them acclimated, which was swept aside when one of our automated processes decided to act up at the same time. We didn’t realize it at first. I was looking for reports that should have generated for some of my clients but they were nowhere to be found. This odd little quirk soon revealed that something bigger was amiss. We spent all of Monday researching what had gone wrong and how to fix it. Thankfully, the newbies could keep pretty busy completing their Human Resources requirements.

By Tuesday, we had a better idea of how to get our process back under control and the newbies could start getting their feet wet. As might be expected, with the doubling of our department staff, we had to change a few things. The seating arrangement was one of those things. We three seasoned veterans used to sit in close proximity to one another. It was an easy way to maintain communication and teamwork, but it also occasionally contributed to a lot of unnecessary conversation. I’m all for friendly chatter, but with as big as my to-do list often was, this became a dilemma for me. I mean, there’s really no nice way to say, “Please go away. I don’t have time to hear about your son’s new tattoo right now.” I developed many coping mechanisms to discourage casual visits to my desk when I really couldn’t afford the time for them. But there are some who just can’t seem to take a hint.

Before the new staff joined us, we were informed that there would be some rearranging of our cubicle assignments. There was some dismay about this, because two of us would have to relocate to an aisle that’s somewhat of a main thoroughfare. I wasn’t concerned. I can tune out general noise. It’s those direct interruptions I have trouble combatting. I was happy to move, or stay put. I was only hoping that the changes would give me a small bit of distance from a frequent distraction. I sent an email to my boss saying that if it made the decision easier, I would happily relocate to one of the new locations if it allowed one of my less willing associates to stay put. In the end, I was the only one to remain in my existing “home” while the others were moved over to the busier aisle. All of the new people would be located in my aisle. I’m not sure if any of the assignments was intentional or entirely random, and not everyone was happy about it. But I got my wish, so all was good with me.

Of course, new staff means lots of questions. And since I’m the closest of the three “experts,” many of those questions were addressed to me. It was a challenge to maintain focus on my projects while trying to accommodate the new staff’s needs, for all of us. But it was a good problem to have. The new people are already proving to us that we made the right choice in hiring them. The week was intense, but I’m sure next week will settle down some, and soon we’ll all be in a new groove.

2014-10-09In non-work news, I had a spot on my lip taken care of on Tuesday this week. I noticed the spot about a year or so ago and first thought it was a blood blister or something. When it didn’t go away, I ignored it. Because that’s a good plan of action with weird facial stuff, right? Few others could see it, but a couple of times recently, someone noticed and asked about it. Suddenly, it seemed bigger, darker, and I was now certain it was a cancerous mole in my lip. I couldn’t stop looking at it and worrying. Finally, I had my doctor check it out and I was relieved when he assured me that it basically was a sort of blood blister. He said I probably bit my lip somewhere along the way. I’ll bet my hyper dog was responsible, considering the number of times she’s chucked me under the chin in her excitement to welcome me home after work. He told me I could have it lasered off by a dermatologist. And since I have some old HSA money in a use it or lose it account, I decided to do it.

At the dermatology clinic, I was treated by the youngest looking doctor I’ve ever met. Couldn’t help thinking, “Doogie Howser.” Though he was definitely more of an adult than Doogie was. And if he’s not already married, I’m sure he experiences no shortage of attention from the opposite sex, if you know what I’m saying. After he presented all of my options, we agreed to the laser treatment and I got three relatively painless zaps to the lip. Dr. Doogie told me to expect a bit of bruising and slight swelling, but that the spot would likely fade within a week to ten days. And if not, I could come back for more zapping.

For the first few days, I felt like I had an elephant sitting on my lip, which is funny, because I took this that selfie at the height of the elephantness, and clearly, I might have been overreacting just slightly. And I’m happy to say that the spot is definitely fading. But if it doesn’t completely disappear, I’ll be happy to go pay Doctor Hottie Doogie another visit.

 

Day-tuh!

I had one of these days at work today… the kind of day when… well…

A big part of my job involves working with data, the details of which would be monotonous and boring to most. If you’d tried to sell me on it a few years ago, my response would have been along the lines of “What? NO!” But I enjoy it. I really do.

My company uses data for different purposes, depending on what our clients need. And we’re still sort of new to it all. Sort of. Big picture-wise. But we’re improving and growing every day.

Several weeks ago, one of my clients contacted me and asked if I could prove some specific results of the services we provide. We have all kinds of reports, but this particular result? Well, there’s not an automated way to produce it. But I had a strong feeling that if I could produce it, I could prove something valuable. If I could prove it, this client would be steering several other potential clients in our direction.

I set out to do some research. For the past few weeks, I’ve been filtering data extracts and comparing extracts from one date to the next. I’ve been trying to document the data changes in such a way to show a specific result, in an easy-to-understand manner.

Our staff is stretched a little thin and there are a lot of irons in the fire. My boss mentioned that while my goal was admirable, she didn’t think it was my job to prove what I was trying to prove. She felt bad that there wasn’t a report I could just call up to provide my client, and said she didn’t feel I should have to spend my time trying to find the proof I needed. She insinuated that if I was going to continue working on this, it should be filler work.

data-analysisThis project has been filling every spare moment I’ve had for weeks. And I have put so much effort into things that turned out to be dead-ends. Two days ago, I thought I’d finally hit my mark, only to find another inconsistency that shed doubt on my results. I was ready to throw it all in the trash and pull my hair out.

Thankfully, I have a coworker who is a big picture person. While I know what I can and cannot do with the data, and at times was ready to throw in the towel, she’s an idea person who keeps asking questions until she gets where she wants to be. She kept asking me questions. Some wrong questions. Some right. “Can you do this? Can you do that? If you could find X… would it prove Y?”

All of that trial and error, all of those questions… Today it finally added up to the answer I was looking for! I know… I know there is a way to automate a process to achieve that kind of result, but as of now, it doesn’t exist. And as of today, I found it anyway! I was hoping and praying that this result was the one that I needed and it was.

I feel like I’ve been fighting these past few weeks and I was really beginning to feel like it was all for nothing. And just when I was ready to walk away from the whole thing, I got excited about the project all over again and found exactly what I’ve been looking for. This is exactly the kind of thing that reminds me what it is I love so much about what I do. Kind of geeky, I know. Never would have guessed I had it in me. Feels GREAT!

I still have to polish things up a bit before I send anything to my client. But now I feel confident in the information I’ll be providing and I know my client will be more than pleased to see these results.

So yep! It was that kind of day; the kind that makes me excited to go back to work tomorrow. I am so grateful that I get to do what I do.