Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Still here

Nope, I didn’t drop off the face of the earth. Just busy and still trying to get in the groove of a new routine. Creature of habit, you know? I used to have a little bit of time to post in the morning, and some quiet alone time at night, those were my usual blog times. Still trying to figure out where it fits in best now.

Not much new to report on the MBA front. Received my financial aid packet last week. I meant to fill it out this weekend, but that task fell through the cracks. The magnitude of the debt I’m about to incur is really starting to hit home, but I still feel confident that this is a worthwhile investment I’m making in myself.

The weather has been awesome here. Mother Nature is doing her best to avoid giving me reasons to miss San Diego. It’s been sunshine and near 70 degrees for the past week. Spent most of the past weekend outdoors. The Tulip Festival has been going on all month so there has been a lot to do around town. Saturday, I hit the Fly In at the regional airport with some friends, saw some really cool airplanes & acrobatics. Sunday, my friend and I took her baby out for a nice 2.5 mile walk at Washington Park in Anacortes. It was a perfect spring day and the Puget Sound views were awesome.

It’s still weird to be home. I come from a small town and I was one of the handful of people who left to go to college and didn’t immediately come back after graduation. Many people just stick around here, get married, and start pumping out the kids. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just soooo not me. The weekend before last, my friend and I went to the street fair and ran into a classmate of ours and her 7 year old daughter. I looked at my friend and said “We’re not old enough to have kids that age, are we?” Yeah, actually, we are. Egad. It’s funny though, I kinda want to see some old faces, but at the same time I don’t. While I don’t totally care what they think, I still sorta do, and I care about what gets passed on down the grapevine. Running into somebody and giving them the 30 second spiel of why I’m home and what I’m planning to do, when most people here don’t know what an MBA is let alone what I’m going to do with it, lord knows what stories will be produced. I’m living at home (having moved back from San Diego), working for mom & dad, unmarried & no kids…I’m sure the grapevine will have me knocked up, strung out, and broke. And maybe a lesbian for icing on the cake!

My new gig working for the folks is going well. Hit the ground running, and although it’s not particularly challenging work and I spend a good portion of my day putting out various fires, I have started some interesting projects. Debt collection is anything but glamorous, but there are some interesting aspects to the business. I’ve been working on updating the website and creating a better keyword list for search engine optimization. I also did some client analysis that I was pretty proud of and my dad was really happy with it, so we’re putting our heads together to figure out how to incorporate it into our marketing efforts. And we’ve got another piece of analysis in the hopper since the first piece of analysis got us thinking about modifying our commission structure.

Handling client services is also flexing a professional muscle I haven’t used in a long time…sales. Sure, you learn and use some negotiation /influence type skills in the corporate world, but that’s completely different than working the phones or pounding the pavement, teaching people about your product/service and helping them see how it fills their needs. So far I’ve mainly been working with b2b warm leads, but I’ll be ready to start drumming up fresh leads once I’ve got some process improvements implemented and freed up some time.

I have renewed respect for my parents, and anybody else who runs a small business, particularly after working for a large corporation. There’s no HR department or IT department; my dad handles all of that. There’s no Accounting department or Legal department, with CPAs and attorneys on staff; my mom handles the majority of that in house and has professionals on retainer sign off on the end product. It’s pretty amazing what they do…and neither of them graduated from college.

My dad and I had a bizaro/Twilight Zone moment today. He called the company's collection software provider for a question and got misdirected to a guy he hasn't talked to in a long time. They start chatting and the guy mentions that his son is moving to Chicago in the fall. My dad gets curious and asks why. Turns out his son is also headed to the GSB this fall. What are the odds? How random is that?

It's a small, small world.

Sunday, April 10, 2005


It's good, but weird, to be home. I'm sure this is a topic that will be explored in great detail over the next few months. For now, I'll leave it at that.

Day 2 of my journey home (aka Friday) will forever be remembered as Wakechick's Adventures in Installing Tire Chains. I wanted to hit the road by 6 am in order to time my drive so that I'd dodge rush hour traffic in Portland, Tacoma, and Seattle. Unfortunately, Mother Nature didn't cooperate and the weather forecasters completely blew it. I walked out of my hotel to find it pouring rain. This was in Redding, which meant I had two mountain passes to get over in the first couple hundred miles, and of course rain in Redding meant snow in the mountains. Sure enough, 20 minutes into my drive, rain turned to snow, and 20 minutes after that it started sticking to the road. It was a white-knuckle first hour of driving since the snow plows/sanders hadn't been out yet. Made it safely over the first pass, but learned they had closed all of I-5 earlier in the morning at the next pass and had just opened it back up with the requirement of chains. UGGGGHHHHH. In all the drives I made over the Cascades to get back and forth between home and WSU, I always had a 4WD vehicle equipped with studded tires and never needed chains. Here I was in a 2WD vehicle, by myself, with no experience installing chains. I figured it was better to be safe than sorry, and ponied up the $90 for chains. It was snowing pretty hard and I didn't want to get stuck in Yreka, and nobody seemed to know what was going to happen weather wise. So I set about installing the chains outside the store in case I had problems. {profanity warning} I have never been so frustrated, and cold, and dirty, and naturally by the time I got those fuckers on I had to take them off because the snow had let up and the DOT had cleared the road. I would have been better off sitting down at Denny's for some coffee and pancakes, I would have saved $85 and my sanity. Oh well, so it goes. Now I have chains and know how to install them. That may come in handy in Chicago. I got back on the road, turned on some very angry hard rock music and worked out my frustration, and continued on home. Ended up rolling into the old driveway around 8 pm, though not before stopping at the store for some cold beer.

Saturday I had to clean out my old room. I had some old clothes and random stuff to be saved, given away, or thrown away. I realized that I went to high school during a very unfortunate time, fashion-wise. Especially during the PNW grunge thing. Just say no to baggy, shapeless flannel. My purge inspired my mom to do the same with her closet (just say no to suit jackets with matching shorts in her case). We were loading up the car to go to Goodwill and my dad got inspired to clean out the garage. This was a miracle of epic proportions. My folks have a two car garage that only has one car parked in it at any time, the rest filled with junk. The garage gets my dad's attention once in a blue moon. My mom and I treated my dad like he was a pitcher in the midst of a no-hitter...any wrong movement or word might distract him from his current mission, so we just let him do his thing and tried to stay out of the way. We ended up taking two loads to the dump and one big load to Goodwill.

Today was pretty lazy, watched the Masters. What a finish. My mom and I were rooting for DiMarco to pull it off, and he did make quite a turnaround, from posting a 41 on the last 9 holes of his 3rd round this morning to taking Tiger to a playoff hole. Pretty amazing to mentally put that first ugly nine behind you, and play the next 18 so well. Tiger's birdie on 16 was the shot of the tournament.

Back to work tomorrow, should be interesting....

Friday, April 08, 2005

On the road

Well, technically I'm in a hotel room, but I'm halfway home after spending 10 hours on the road. Damn, California is a long state! So far so good though. The movers rocked yesterday. The driver for my shipment is a guy named Elvis who lives in classic is that? Unfortunately, he didn't look the part (that would have been just too good), but every time I went outside to check on progress or offer them water he would say "uh oh, here comes Trouble." I guess my reputation preceeded me! Anyway, they showed up at 7:15 am and my apartment was empty by noon. Considering I hadn't packed a thing (other than the suitcases coming with me), that's pretty fantastic. Love love LOVE the full service move! Hate hate HATE cleaning :( By 5:30 my apartment was clean, but I was a sweaty, filthy mess in need of a shower and a cold beer. Hit Old Town one last time with my friends for some beers, margaritas, and tacos, then crashed at their place. Didn't say "goodbye" to San Diego...said "see you soon" (likely 4th of July and again in October for a friend's wedding) and hit the road just before 10 am. Hit the LA County line an hour later, and naturally, I encountered my first bit of traffic. It cleared up after a while and a half hour later I hit the LA City line...and again, I was met with stop and go traffic. Not really a surprise since that's where the junction of the 5, the 10, and the 101 is. What's a drive through LA without traffic? (Answer: Nonexistent). Smooth sailing after that. I had my sunflower seeds, a cooler with cold sodas, XM radio, a few audiobooks on contraband CDs (burned from library copies, per Zachary Emig's suggestion) and mostly sunshine the whole way. I arrived in the Shasta area as the sun was setting...the Siskiyous at dusk were very pretty. The tall, rugged snow covered mountains make me feel closer to home already.

Another 10 hours tomorrow....

(PS--I wanted to post maps of this little journey, but BloggerBot/Picassa is MIA. No dice. But it's a real simple trip. Get on I-5 in San Diego. Drive 1322 miles. Get off I-5. No sightseeing and/or coastal driving this trip, I'm all about speed. I'm by myself, and having grown up on the west coast in a family that likes to take RV trips, I've seen most of the coast a few times over.)

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


Today is my last day working for “the man”, and April 11th I start working for “my old man”. Feels weird, hasn’t really hit me yet. I’ve never quit a job before. That’s not to say I’ve been fired or laid off from previous jobs; I’ve never had that happen either. Every job I’ve had before was a summer gig/internship that had a predetermined start & end date based on my school schedule. I’ve worked for the same company (Capital One) since I graduated from WSU. It was my first real-grown-up-I’m-an-adult-now job. I have very mixed emotions about my last day. There are times when I have loved working for CapOne, and there have been mornings when I have stayed in bed longer than I should, wishing I worked somewhere (anywhere) else (or that I was independently wealthy and on my way to St Tropez). I think everyone goes through that with a job. It’s called “work” for a reason, and they pay you for a reason. Very few people are fortunate enough to have true passion for their jobs. The rest of us just have to try our best to find something we like enough (and that pays enough) to spend the majority of our time doing, and when our energy and drive for it starts to falter, we seek change. That’s why I took a transfer from Virginia to San Diego, and that’s why I’m going to business school this fall.

However, major life changes in general are bittersweet. Whether it’s moving, starting a new job, going back to school, getting married, having a baby…there’s excitement about the new adventure, the next chapter, but there’s also a sense of loss for the lifestyle, people, or place you are leaving behind. I’m excited to have the chance to spend some time at home and help my folks out, but I’m sad to leave San Diego and say goodbye to some great friends.

What I’ll miss about San Diego

The movers come tomorrow to pack up my stuff and send it on to Chicago. Thursday morning I start my 1300 mile journey home. I will probably post one more time before I leave, then I’ll be MIA for a few days until I get home and get settled in. I’m definitely going to keep blogging during summer and throughout my 2 year adventure at Chicago GSB. Stay tuned, y’all.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Another good one

From ChiBus, GSB to relocate to South Beach (via Linda at Accepted)

Wish it were true! (eh, not really, I like Chicago, but I still have aprehensions about winter)


I was planning to come up with some clever trickster post this morning in honor of April Fools Day, but I don't think I can top the guys at Clear Admit. Nice work, Graham & Eliot!