Thursday, February 4, 2021

When I grow up I want to be....

 September 25, 2021

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a journalist
Specifically, a broadcast journalist

In 6th grade, I made a poster for Career Day
It was a drawing of me behind a desk looking into a camera reading the news
That poster won me a visit to the Maine State House
I met the Governor (Joe Brennan) and was even allowed to sit at his desk

When it was time for me to go off to college, I based my school choice solely on the basketball teams
Lucky for me, Syracuse University also happened to have a good communications school
Not so lucky for me, in the early 90's, I was too chubby and not quite pretty enough to be on TV

So I studied Public Policy
Thought I'd go to DC and be a lobbyist

Instead, I ended up graduating with honors but with zero direction in regards to what I wanted to be when I grew up

I landed in Chicago, IL
Still no idea of what to do, but in need of a job
So I applied for a job in the collections department at a phone company
I got the job and enjoyed six years at my first real grown up job
I learned lots, moved through a couple different departments, made life long friends and in general, had an absolute blast

I made the move back to the east coast in my late 20s
I still had no idea of what to do with my life

I had a brief stint at Gillette as a contract employee before making my way to my next job

I stayed at that job for the next 15 years

It was a good job with a solid company
Initially, they just need an office manager
Someone to order supplies, file, enter some receivables and payables into the systems

But the job got bigger
And I was processing payroll, handling employee benefits, commercial lines of insurance and preparing financial statements
I learned more business stuff at that small, privately owned regional company than I probably could have at business school

I worked for two men who were ambitious, motivated and astute in their business dealings
I made connections with people in finance and insurance and learned even more from them
It was a true on the job learning experience and one I will always be grateful for

Five years ago, after some internal changes at the organization, it became clear to me I had to make a bigger change for me and my family
I made the decision to leave the company

So 5 years ago, I went on my first job interview since 2000
It was scary and nerve racking and overwhelming

It was a process which I felt incredibly ill equipped for

But somehow, I found it in me to get out of my comfort zone, challenge myself and make a change that would lead me to where I am today

I went to work in the ever evolving and fast growing additive manufacturing industry
A far cry from the construction/service industry I had been in for 15 years

I took a pay cut, had a two mile commute and learned about 3D printing with electro beam melting and titanium powder

It was awesome

I was one of the original Team members in a newly opened US Office
The parent company was in Sweden
All I knew about Sweden was Ikea and Pippi Longstocking
Then I traveled there and met some of my new favorite people in the whole world

I helped build up an inventory, cultivated relationships with customers and when it was realized I could handle more business tasks, took on more responsibilities and challenges with each passing month

In no time, I was again using skills I had learned at my first job while adding more to my portfolio

I was having a blast

Sure, there were days I was annoyed and frustrated and wondered why I had made the change

But overall, it was quickly becoming my new favorite job
Then we were bought out and placed into the aviation division
of a large company that had a presence much greater than ours

At first, it was business as usual
We continued to operate as we had been while starting to make connections within our parent company
Sometimes, it was frustrating and ambiguous
Mostly, it was fun

Then it was time to be fully absorbed into our new parent company
I closed the office, dissolved our legal entity and for a few short days, was not 100% sure I still had a role in the company

And then I landed in my current role
At first, I had no idea what I was doing

I mean there were days I sat in front of my computer and wondered just what the hell I was supposed to be doing

I'd flip through screen after screen trying to make sense of what I was looking at

I'd sit on calls and try to absorb everything that was being said while muddling through how the needs of two modalities and 4 very different global regional requirements could be balanced

I was tossed into an abyss of a new platform being rolled out on a global scale
The direction was not quite clear but the outline was kick ass
And the Team I was working with was even better

Slowly but surely, I started to figure it out
There were times I had to ask the same question four times before I understood the answer
And yes, there were a couple times I hit a button I should not have ....
but I was getting it

I could see the process optimization happening before my very eyes
And the next thing I know, I am in love with my "new" job

I mean like legit could not wait to sit down at my desk and start working each day

I was using muscles in my brain that had not been poked or prodded for years
And there they were coming alive again

I was testing modules in the system, writing training materials, facilitating training sessions and revamping process maps to my heart's content

I had a new found passion for what I was doing

And I loved it

Every minute of it

Even on a bad day, I love my job

By April, COVID had a firm hold on the globe and the aviation
industry took a hit so hard it will probably be reeling for years to come

There was a round of layoffs
It was devastating

But I survived as did the Team I was working with
And we continued on
And I kept loving my job

A second round of layoffs was announced
This one would be bigger
And it would take some time for the details to emerge

The details finally emerged
This past Tuesday
And this time, it was more devastating
The cuts were bigger this time around - bigger by quite a bit

Our Team did not survive in its entirety
And I am gutted and sad because on Tuesday, I lost my job

I am not angry nor bitter - not at all

I am plain old sad
Sad because I truly love my job and the people I work with

I had the best job ever with one helluva company
And I am so sad to be leaving

My ego is a bit bruised
My confidence is shot
And I am scared to death to be looking for a job in the current climate

I am also, oddly enough, embarrassed by the fact I lost my job

I shared this with a confidant who was kind enough to say to me she would never venture to tell me how to feel but, she wanted me to reconsider that emotion because she knows me well enough to realize that emotion will cripple me and keep me from asking for help

She's right

She reminded me I was laid off as a direct result of a reduction in force, not a reflection of my job performance
She's right again

So here it is, me asking for help:

I lost my job this past Tuesday
I was given 30 days notice and come October 23, will be unemployed

So if you know someone who knows someone who is looking for an Operations/Program/Product Manager, can you connect us?

If you know of a company looking for talent to help them streamlines procedures, drive constant process improvement and optimization, can you give them my name?

If you know anyone who is looking for someone to help them implement change or formulate strategic operational procedures for their service team/end users of their preferred platform, can you tell them I know how do to that?

And once I do that, tell them I can also design and write the training program and deliver it to the end users

I can identify stakeholders then facilitate collaboration between them to share and adopt best practices

I can help align modules/data/KPIS to illustrate and recover missed or lost revenue opportunities

I can show them how to implement audit practices to ensure the integrity of the data being analyzed is compliant in measuring KPIs

If you know a company searching high and low for someone who knows install base management, warranty, preventative maintenance contracts and entitlements, work order management, dispatching and inventory management, tell them I'm the droid they are looking for

And even if you don't know anyone looking for someone like me, think of all your connections within all your networks
See if you can connect anyone with someone - you never know the difference it could make

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