Monday, February 18, 2008

Valentine's Day Party

As a single girl, I've spent many Valentine's Day's as an adult alone. This year, I decided to change that and host a Valentine's Day dinner party for my fellow single-and-awesome female friends. I just inherited good china, crystal, and flatware from my grandmother, so it was a "fancy" party. I wanted each of my friends to feel special. The evening was a success: good food, a beautiful table, and lots of fun!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Patting Myself on the Back

When I bought my "new-to-me" car over 2 years ago and talked to the insurance agent about removing my old car and adding my new car to my auto insurance policy, he mentioned that my plan structure was really old and I might be able to get better rates under their new plan structure. But after he ran my license number and saw the string of tickets and one accident I had on my record (I had a bad run there for a couple years...4 tickets...I drive slower now), it turned out the "old" plan that I was grandfathered into was less expensive. But he said, "Your last ticket will roll off your record in January of 2008, so call back then and you can probably get lower rates".

So, being the organized person I am...this is why I'm totally patting myself on the back today...I wrote a reminder on my planner for February 2008 to call about new insurance rates. I've even had to move that reminder to each of my new yearly calendar pages twice since then!

I called this week and am switching to the new plan, with the same deductible and coverage I currently have, and will pay $27 less per month!!! And, every year I don't have an accident, my deductible (currently $500) will go down $100. I specifically asked if it was allowed to get to $0, and he said yes!

This is one of those little things that totally makes me smile.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A First I'd Rather Not Have Had

Not only was today Fat Tuesday, and Super Tuesday, it was Layoff Tuesday at my job. I'll start my story by saying I still have a job. But watching people I work with and care about get laid off really sucks.

The company had announced about a six weeks ago that they would be cutting costs, and that some of that would be through staff reductions. The rumor mill told us today would be the day the ax fell. So, I went to work yesterday, thinking I had one more day before going through the pain of layoffs. Wrong!! Managers got cut yesterday and around 9:30, my manager was walking out the door. I didn't see eye-to-eye with my manager on everything but for the most part, he was great to work for. He really cared about his staff and did his best to be an advocate and champion for them. He moved our team forward, made us more efficient, and got results. He tackled problems head-on,. He was flexible and easy going. I'll really miss him.

After he left, what I'd been trying to keep distance from, and had been telling myself wouldn't affect my team, suddenly became very real. The speculation yesterday among my teammates (me included) was out of control. Why was our manager's position "eliminated"? Does that mean our whole team is on the chopping block? What criteria are they using to lay people off? The people that make the most? That would get less than a year of severance? That got sub-par performance reviews? That our department director doesn't like?

I hadn't been worried about myself before yesterday but last night I was pretty anxious. I just wanted today to be over. The layoffs of people on my floor started around 9:00 this morning. After two painful hours of watching other teams lose people, the ax started to fall on my team around 11:30. The director of my department came to the cube of the person to be laid off, escorted them (with all of us watching) to a private conference room, gave them a packet of info about their severance, escorted them back to their desk to pack up, and then escorted them to the elevator. Oh my gosh!! The whole time the director was giving the bad news to one person, the rest of us stood around, cried, looked solemnly at each other, asked why that person was chosen, and wondered who would be next. In total, my immediate team lost our manager and two others. And I just don't understand why some of these people were chosen.

The layoffs were just as harsh on other teams. Today was one of the hardest days I've ever had at work. Watching people lose their jobs is gut wrenching. Lots of tension. And tears. And questions. And relief that it wasn't me. And guilt that I'm relieved that others lost their jobs instead of me. And prayers that they will find another job before their severance runs out. And worries about how my team is going to continue on with a 25% reduction in employees.

Sorry this post isn't exactly positive. It's just what's going on in my life this week. Thanks for reading.