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Are you a Winner or a Loser?

April 11, 2011

Denis Waitley said “Losers make promises they often break. Winners make commitments they always keep” I am a big believer in setting expectations and thus in making commitments. I love being in sales because the expectations are usually pretty clearly defined ahead of time. There is no guesswork involved–hit your number and you get the reward (bonus, accolades, promotion, etc). Don’t hit your number and you are subject to some type of negative consequence. While not always easy, it is most certainly a simple concept.

I set expectations and commitments with my children too. Expectations for grades, chores, behavior, daily agenda, the list goes on and on. The commitment for good grades is that they get $1 for each “B” and $2 for each “A” on their report cards. This makes the daily act of homework a much less stressful both for themselves and for me. Chores in our household, are designed more as a lesson in life than a means to get “real work” accomplished–cause lets face it–doing yourself it most often the easier route. We have a master list of common chores and a commission value for each. When I ask the kids to do a chore, they get one chance to earn the commission. If I ask them again, they still get to do the chore but without pay.

Another lesson, I learned very early on in motherhood (if you’re a parent, you know too) is to never, ever tell a kid your going to do something, go somewhere if you are not 100% confident that it is going to happen. My husband and I often will not tell the kids we are going somewhere until we are already in route. My promises are gold–if I say we are going to do something fun, we will do it; if I say you will be punished for a bad behavior, they same rule applies.

As you might have guessed by now, commitments and promises are pretty important to me. So why is it that other people don’t have the same understanding of commitment? Recently, I have been disenchanted by others’ lack of commitment. People who I have considered to be very close friends completely falling short on their promises. Please, don’t tell me you will do something if you aren’t going to! Now, I’m am not perfect – by any stretch of the imagination. But if I tell you I will do something, there’s a 98% chance it will happen, and most likely prior to the time frame I promised. Norman Vincent Peale once said that “Promises are like crying babies in a theater, they should be carried out at once” Now, go do what you said you were going to do!

My December Challenge: 150 Things to be Grateful For

December 1, 2010

As a daily reminder of the true meaning of Christmas and the blessings that God has given to me, I will be posting (via FB/twitter/blog) at least 5 things that I am thankful for every day of December. So as I sit here waiting for my kids at choir practice, I decided to start with whatever comes to mind at this very moment (in no particular order):

  • Sirius Radio Classic Christmas channel and Pandora radio
  • All 3 of my kids are relatively healthy
  • My husband is still crazy about me even after 12 years of marriage
  • Both my husband & I have jobs that we love going to every day
  • Being debt free (except the mortgage)
  • Online shopping for Christmas presents
  • Being able to send my kids to a Blue Ribbon Catholic school
  • Snow on the first day of December
  • 45 minutes every Wednesday to be “alone”
  • Date Nights
  • Monthly Girls Night Outs
  • Netflix and DVR’s
  • Sweaters, boots, hot cocoa and a fire in the fireplace
  • That my baby boy at 3yo still requests me to cradle him and sing “Rock a bye baby”

There are so many more things that God has blessed me with that I cannot possibly list them all. I hope that you and your family have as many blessings too—especially during Christmas.

Fall Reorganization: The never ending projects

October 13, 2010

If you ask my neighbor–she would tell you that we are constantly undergoing a house related project at least every other weekend.  Our latest kick has been trying to bring some order to our crazy house.  I think I have tried just about everything wthen it comes to keeping a tidy, organized house.  The fact is with 3 kids all under the age of 7 it’s tough.  My husband and I have been on a recent organizational frenzy starting back at the end of August.

First we made multiple trips to IKEA in Cincinatti.  The first trip was to get some unit to organize the kids art stuff.  I want the kids to have easy access to their crayons, markers, playdoh, etc. but it just gets out of control so quickly.  I’ve had shelves with baskets for a while but even those got to be chaotic within a week or so.  So we picked up these two units about 6 feet tall with slide out plastic buckets in a variety of colors and I printed out descriptions for each bucket and taped them on with clear packing tape.  Well it’s been about 6 weeks now and I have to say that it seems to be doing the trick.

Our second (and ultimately 3rd) trips to IKEA were to organize our kitchen area.  Because of our growing food needs our kitchen cabinets were overloaded and the countertops were unaccessable.  New canisters and a brand new freestanding pantry turned our clutter into a beautifully organized and functional kitchen.  No more stacks of Propel cartons and juice boxes on the floor.  Everything has a place and it has made preparing dinner an enjoyable experience again (okay almost enjoyable).

Then, in September we decided to tackle the kids bathroom upstairs.  Well, this project was less about organizing and more about changing the scenery.  In one evening we repainted the entire bathroom and took it from a disgusting dirty white to a very nice medium green to match our shower curtain.  It is amazing what a little paint can do.

Our most recent project was the laundry room.  We do a really good job of keeping up with washing and drying clothes (usually 1-2 loads per day) but the challenge is in folding, hanging and putting away the clean laundry.  I hate to admit, but I am the queen of having several baskets full of clean, wrinkled clothes that I can fluff and grab what I need for that day.  When I do manage to get things folded they often sit in baskets for a week or more until we get sick of looking at it and spend an entire Saturday morning getting caught up again.  So, my idea was to have a place to hang and fold right there in the laundry room so at least the clothes will come out of the baskets and I don’t end up fluffing the same load of clean clothes 4 times before it’s put away.  So off to Lowe’s I went to buy a Rubbermaid “Home Enhanced” adjustable closet system.  I gotta tell you, it doesn’t make hanging and folding any more appealing but at least the process seems to be a bit simpler.  Oh, and we painted the room and beautiful grey color before we put up the system.

I wish I had taken some before and after pictures of all of our projects because I really feel like it has made a big difference in my overall level of peace.  And that is always good for a working mom of 3.  Who knows what the next project will be–there are enough to keep us busy for the next few years I’m sure but I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

Searching for your New Job

October 5, 2010

I know there are a lot of moms out there that are looking for work—either because you are just entering the job market, you have lost your job for one reason or another or like myself because you want to find a more suitable career.  In my recent job search I learned some things and wanted to pass along my findings to any of you out there who are also searching.

The first step in your job search is to identify what type of job you want.  For me this was the biggest challenge.  I knew what I was good at—but what would I enjoy?  I was currently in print & online advertising sales for Yellowbook for the past 5 years, I had been in sales management at Enterprise for about 5 years prior to that and taught high school science for 3 years after graduating.  I loved being in sales because I like having the ability to control my paycheck through my performance but I also enjoyed teaching.  I have a passion for helping people and my selling style is very much that of a consultative approach.  I am also a bit of a tech geek and I love the digital world.  After reading 48 Days to the Work you Love and a lot of prayer and reflection, I realized that selling digital marketing was probably the best fit for me.

Once you figure out what you want to do, the next step is to create your resume based on your ideal job. Now creating a resume can be fairly daunting especially considering that it is the first impression that potential employers will have of you.  If haven’t been keeping an updated resume—which by the way you should definitely do, then pulling together all of your information will take some time.  Fortunately there are a lot of resources out there to help you create the perfect resume for your situation—whether that requires an industry specific resume, a resume designed for changing careers, a re-entering the workplace resume or really whatever you need.  My resume needed to be rewritten to focus more heavily on my skills and interests rather than my experience since I was looking to get into an industry that was different than my past positions.

Once you have your resume created then you need to begin sending it out.  No longer are the days of finding a job in the newspaper—there are so many places where jobs are being posted online and it’s tough to weed through the good opportunities from the bad.  Rather than relying on sites like Monster.com or CareerBuilder.com, my approach was to seek out companies that were involved in digital/social marketing in the Indy area and to submit my resume regardless of whether they had job postings listed.  Luckily, one of the best digital marketing companies—ExactTarget is headquartered right here in Indianapolis.  I even knew a few folks that were employed there, so I submitted my resume through their website and followed up the next day with one of my contacts there to provide some additional influence.

Hopefully after submitting your resume you will begin the interview process.  Every company is different but it’s pretty standard to have multiple interviews.  My first interview was by phone with someone in human resources.  One luxury that I had was that I was still employed and therefore I could really do some research to determine if the company was as good a fit for me as I was for them.  This was really important to me because for quite a while I had felt that I just wasn’t doing what God had planned for me.  Researching the companies you are interviewing with shows potential employers that you are truly interested in their business and not just looking for any job that comes along.

As any salesperson knows, asking for the “sale” (aka the job, the next interview) is critical.  Too many times I hear of interviewees that don’t want to bother the company by being too pushy.  The fact is that most employers want someone who can close the deal.  Even if you are not in a sales position, every role within a company has an element of selling—whether you are client facing or not.

For me, the next step in the interview process was an in-person interview with the 3 sales directors.  By this time I had done some pretty extensive research on the company using resources like LinkedIn, searching Google for competitors and how ExactTarget compared as well as looking at comments on sites like Glassdoor.com that allows current and past employees to post about their experiences/salary etc.  It’s important to remember common courtesies like sending a thank you note after an interview.  These days it is perfectly acceptable to send a thank you through email but many candidates will still send a personal note.  Since I was interviewing for an email marketing company—I chose to use email.

I knew that prior to an offer that they would require a 3rd and final interview.  I was pretty anxious about this next step because by this time I was pretty confident that ExactTarget was a great fit for me and they were starting the next training class in just a few weeks.  The problem was that I had already planned to go out of town on vacation just a few days later, so I informed the hiring managers that I would only be able to come in for a final interview when I returned.  Well, I did not hear anything the entire time I was out of town and I was almost sure that they had chosen another candidate.  When I got back into town I emailed all the individuals that I had interviewed with to follow up.  I was informed that before the next step that I would need to take an online assessment.

I absolutely despise online personality assessments.  As I mentioned before, my sales approach is more consultative and I do not fall into a typical sales personality.  I completed the assessment and although I second-guessed every answer I gave.  I submitted the assessment and then I waited.  I thought for sure that this was the end of the road for me but I followed up a few days later and as you may have figured out—I was called in for that final interview.  One of the first questions of course was about the personality assessment—I remember thinking at that time of my dear friend Tina.  When I started at Yellowbook (before we became BFF’s), Tina predicted based on her initial view of my personality that I wouldn’t make it even one month.  Well, I did and in fact I was a top performer for most of my 5 years there.

The good news is that I did in fact get the job offer that day and resigned my position at Yellowbook to accept this position the very next day.  While I felt compelled to give Yellowbook a two week notice, I quickly discovered that giving notice is really no longer necessary or even expected.  The day I gave notice was my last day of employment and the last day I received benefits and pay.  Now it certainly wasn’t what I was expecting to have 2 weeks off, but it did allow me to spend some quality time with my kids before I started my new job and the kids went back to school.

Now I know that my experience is probably not typical.  I only interviewed with the one company I was most interested in so I am very fortunate.  If you are beginning your search or have been searching for a while I wish you the best.  I know that the process can be overwhelming and can put a strain on your emotional well being if it drags on.  Just trust that you will find the right job—even if you don’t know what that job is yet.

I’m back…And here’s where I’ve been

October 5, 2010

So I’ve got about an hour and a half of time in my house alone.  I have laundry, housekeeping and who knows what else to accomplish today but I am dedicated to achieving my goal of writing 2 blog posts per week during the last quarter of this year.  I have done a terrible job in Q3 and I apologize to any of my followers who have missed me–sorry MOM.  I do have to warn you this post is really going to be a recap of the last 3 months.  My next post will be something of value to all the working moms who follow me–I PROMISE!

So, a lot has happened over the last few months that I have been MIA on WorkingMomsNetwork.  As you may know from my previous post I quit my job of 5 years as a sales consultant for Yellowbook in July to start a new position at ExactTarget on the corporate sales team.  This was a huge step for me because I have to tell you that I was pretty comfortable at Yellowbook.  I knew the business, I knew my customers and I was good at it.  But I wasn’t happy–and that weighed very heavily on my soul.  I have been at ExactTarget now for EXACTLY 2 months today and I am so thrilled to be part of this company – it is hard to describe.  The culture and the people are amazing and everyday make me more confident that I have made the right decision.  This is a perfect fit for me and it feels really good!  I honestly feel that by listening to my heart that I’m following God’s will and that give me great comfort.

The twins have started 1st grade.  It’s really hard for me to believe that that they are growing so fast (in fact I started to type kindergarten and had to stop myself).  They are both doing really well and I am so proud of them both.  They both are so busy with activities it’s crazy.  On Tuesdays I meet Andrew at gymnastics and I stay with Brianna and Noah while Andrew goes to Tiger cubs with Dominic until 8:00.  By the way if you want to buy some Boyscout popcorn let me know–LOL!  On Wednesdays, I have to leave work by 4:30 to go pick the twins up at school to take them to Indianapolis Children’s Choir practice at Butler University and we don’t get home until around 7:30.  Both nights present challenges in terms of feeding everyone dinner and getting homework completed–especially since bedtime is supposed to be 8pm but we are figuring it out.  And next week starts Math Pentathalon but thankfully that happens right after school and doesn’t require us to take them somewhere–so we’re good there.

Noah turned three in September and he is a little talking machine now.  You would never have known that he was in speech therapy for over a year.  He really is coming into his own and he is so darn cute I can hardly keep myself from just wrapping him up in my arms and kissing him every time I am with him.  If only I could get him to use the potty now!  He definitely does things his way–he’s like his mom for sure.  He knows what he wants and using the potty is NOT one of them.  I just hope that by the time he goes off to college that he’s decided diapers aren’t going to cut it.

Life is good right now and I am truly happy and blessed.  Thanks for reading and tune in for more.  And since I now work for industry leader in digital marketing—I’ll be sure to get a newsletter out soon.

Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life

July 19, 2010

So I have really been neglecting the blog the last couple of months and I have really missed it. It is truly therapeutic to write about life as a working mom. It’s just difficult to find time for everything especially when so much has changed in my life recently.  I have started doing P90X every night after the kids go to bed, I have started digital scrapbooking as a hobby and after 5 years with Yellowbook I resigned from my position as a media consultant.

Although I will never regret my decision to join Yellowbook it was definitely time for me to move on.  For many months I have had this nagging feeling that I was not fulfilling my purpose in life.  Many of you know that I am a follower of the Dave Ramseyphilosophies and regularly listen to his radio show. One of his regular book recommendations is 48 Days to the Work you Love by Dan Miller.  So I decided to download the book and begin to discover what I want to be when I grow up.  I began reading at various times when I had short breaks–at the doctors office, while waiting for my hair color to set and at gymnastics class as I am now. The more I read the stronger I felt that God was calling me to do something different. Now I would say that figuring out my passion took more than 48 days but ultimately, that is how this blog began and how I found my new career.

I have always been kind of a technology geek.  Building a website/blog from scratch and building the following through digital marketing was fun for me. I started attending online webinars about social marketing and email marketing. I was researching tons about how to build online growth through web 2.0. I started participating in online discussion groups and downloading every free ebook I could find on building a web following.  Through this process I found out a few things. First of all, there are very few people who can make money blogging. Does it happen–yes but it requires extreme dedication and time (and lots of it). What I also realized is that although I enjoy blogging, it is only a hobby.  I need something that produces a reliable income for my family and so I started researching local companies that are involved in digital marketing and social media.

I revised my resume and submitted it to a few select companies one of which was ExactTargetExactTarget provides email marketing software solutions with applications for CRM, social and analytics.  I was familiar with the company because I knew a couple of former colleagues that worked there and had a couple of friends who had applied there. They have been recognized as being one of the best Indiana companies to work for 4 years in a row and this year they are #3 among many other awards.  Well, I am extremely excited to say that starting in August, I will be a Corporate Sales Consultant at ExactTarget in downtown Indy.  I will be responsible for generating new business through prospecting and online presentations.  I really think this is a perfect match for both my interests and talents and I am looking forward to this opportunity to showcase my abilities.

The next couple of weeks I will be spending some quality time with my kids, catching up on some digital scrapbooking and getting ready for my new position at ExactTarget.  Having said that, I am making a commitment to keeping up with the blog too.  I already know of a couple of posts that I am going to do based on the whole job search process and some things that I learned.  I hope that you will keep checking back as I promise to do a better job of sharing my experiences.

Summer, Summer, Summertime!!

June 3, 2010

So it’s June already!!  The kids have been out of school for one week now and they are having a blast!!  The twins are staying home with their aunt who is staying with us this summer while she’s on a break from college.  Now as you might have guessed from my previous post on Limiting Screen Time I absolutely refuse to let them sit around and watch TV or play video games all summer.  So I went toTarget and picked up the essential summer play items – blow up pool, Slip N Slide and a wiggly sprinkler thing so they can play outside to their hearts content.  The kids still have the opportunity to use their coupons for screen time but they have to earn it through their responsibility chart.

Now, being a former teacher I want to make sure they get some “classsroom” time this summer as well.  That is why last week I made a trip to United Art and Education to stock up on some great educational stuff.  I got a “Summer Express” workbook for each of them which is specifically designed for the transition from kindergarten to first grade.  They are supposed to do 2 pages each day for 10 weeks and they are pretty quick activities so they won’t feel like they are still in school.  They even provide a sticker chart to complete each week which is pretty fun for the kids.  In addition to that I picked up a couple of journals for the kids to write in each day with some journal prompts that are designed to be silly and fun called “Write Abouts”.  The first week I have asked them to write just one sentence in their journal and will gradually build up the number of sentences each week.  Lastly, I had them each set a daily independant reading goal (I made them do a minimum of 10 minutes).  I picked up some books at the Half Price Book Store and they have a great program for kids–if they read for 15 minutes for 5 days during the week they can get a $3 card to buy a book.

Now, all of these things take less than 30 minutes per day and the rest can be spent playing outside, in their playroom or even using their media coupons to watch TV or play video games.  We are literally 4 days into this program and already I am getting negative feedback from the kids.  Really, 30 minutes–is that too much to ask?  I don’t think so, am I right?  I’m not sure how their kindergarten teachers managed to keep them engaged for 7 hours during the day because I’m getting grief over 30 minutes.  Anyway, we will keep plugging away and I’ll let you know if things get any better.