May 3, 2010

Man Up and Make a Plan

I know I've been a bit spotty lately on blogging but there are reasons. The main reason is that I just started a new job and at the same time I've been taking two classes: one in business German, which is fortunately over, and a certificate program in Talent Management at Cornell university.

Cool, huh? Soon I will have a piece of paper that says Cornell on it.

The German class was pretty easy, since my German is mind-blowingly good (just kidding- it's decent) but the whole thing with commute took about 8 hours a week. The Cornell program takes about 4 hours a week. And then, of course, I have a new job. And kids. And a house. And a cat. And three hermit crabs.

And of course I have to make all these new avatars of myself. So, I've been kind of busy.

Last year wasn't much fun, what with late night calls and a rough situation at work. I was feeling almost sorry for myself until Ralf told me to man up and make a plan.

Man up this, I said:

Ralf was intrigued by this response but didn't quite see the relevance.

So I made a fine plan to get a Ph.D. in organizational behavior or cognitive science while perfecting my roundhouse kick.

Ralf suggested I try to come up with a more practical and lucrative plan.

Feeling slightly aggrieved that he didn't want to move the entire family to the East Coast and pay for me to explore my inner Dr. Laura, I updated my resume and applied for various paid jobs.

I usually apply for one job at a time because I usually get the job and I hate saying no. This isn't quite as cocky as it sounds because I research and apply for jobs I have an excellent chance of getting.

That makes it sound easy but it's not. In fact, I'm glossing over months of hard work and a helping hand from some good friends.

And it's not like finding a job is a ticket to happiness. I've had tough work experiences: I've been fired and re-organized and offered jobs that disappeared after I accepted. I've worked very long hours for very little money. I've had bosses that didn't take me seriously or whose sole purpose in life was to grind me into dust. Etc., etc., etc.

(I've had good jobs, too.)

Plus, as a mom of two small kids living in Munich and working for Californian companies I'm. . . well, I tell people I'm the modern worker.

Anyway, over the last 6 months I applied for about ten jobs, just to see what fetched up.

In the end I had to choose between several offers, which meant figuring out trade offs, such as, Can I work from home? Do I have to wear a suit? Will I have to travel? Will I be on the phone every night? Is this a completely new role for me that will require 80 hour weeks for the first 6 months? Am I willilng to relocate? Is this a lateral move or a career step? Can I learn anything from my boss? Where do I want to be in 5 years?

Of course, for my ideal job, I'd relocate, wear a suit, commute, travel or eat mushy bananas but none of them was quite ideal.

One of the options we considered involved moving back to the US, which was tempting. Munich's a nice city but it isn't home. The biggest problem is language, and I'm not just talking about embarassing mistakes like that time I said 'I will throw up on you soon,' instead of, 'Let's discuss this later.' It's a LOT of work to function as an adult in a second language.

But... it wasn't the right time.

So anyway, after all that marvelous self contemplation and a chance to do something completely different I opted for a similar type of job at the same company.

Also, I now devote 10 minutes a day to manning up.


  1. Wow... you've had a lot of ups and downs. So glad to hear it all worked out well in the long run.

  2. Congrats! It sounds like you did some soul-searching and it really paid off...

  3. Everything always works out for the best in the long run.

  4. Well, Congrats HPH! I hope you can shape this job into something that keeps you stimulated and also has room for your priorities. Sounds like you did all the ground work. Kudos!!

  5. Isn't amazing how those little people in our lives become the basis for every decsion we make! Sound slike yu made a great one. Oh and I love your new avatars!

  6. I had no idea all this was going on! It sounds like things have worked out for the best.

  7. Congratulations! I can relate to many of these things. It is awesome that you found a new opportunity that fits right.

  8. Wow! I'm dizzy and tired after reading all that! Congrats on picking the job that not only works for you, but allows your daughter the opportunity to hang out with her friend like an old married couple. ;) I know what you mean, though - I'm hoping we'll be able to move from PA whilst Princess Nagger is still young enough to become fast friends with someone somewhere else - because when we move, that'll be the final one. Well, until the final-final one. If you know what I mean. ;)

  9. And from the Peanut Gallery: Paul Anka stole "My Way" from you. Then, HE passed it along to Sinatra.

  10. Congrats on the new job!

    Man-up the Girls. I love it.

  11. Nifty avatar.

    Nifty red dress.

    And an even niftier job! Congrats.

    But be careful over there! I hear the Germans are rioting against the Greece bailout.

  12. Whoot! Long road to this, huh!? Crazy, but I am glad it worked out for you!

  13. Congratulation to getting a new job. I went through the complete post, it's quite interesting.
    But it is quite difficult to think that you spent 60 euro for gym membership. Any way, thanks and happy weekend.

  14. Congratulation for getting a new job.I went through the complete post, it's quite interesting too. But it is difficult to me to imagine that you spend 60 euro gor your gym membership.
    Anyway thanks & have a wonderful weekend.

  15. Thanks everyone. And you're right Alex - it's an outrageous sum to pay for fitness. I suppose that's why it played such a starring role in my decision making process.

  16. Congrats!
    No wonder you need an au-pair! Good luck with everthing. And I'm sure your German is very good.
    I sure can relate to that little sentence: "It's a LOT of work to function as an adult in a second language." But look at it this way: it might keep us from getting Alzheimers (having to use our brains more)...

  17. Thanks for getting a new job. After a long period
    I'm following your blog. Good Luck.


  18. Congratulations and best luck with your new job. I will follow your new endeavor.

  19. It's a lot of work for me to function in one language...



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