Category: Work + Design

The word I hate to hear the most

By , October 27, 2017 6:48 am

No, it’s not “moist.”

It’s “voluntold.”

As in, “Kim, you are being voluntold to do this work that you know nothing about for another team. Good luck!”

Ha. No one ever came out and said it quite like that. But I have been told that I’ve been voluntold for something. Grr.

I want to help out – where I can. I don’t want to be thrown in to something I’m not trained on/don’t know how to do (or want to learn how to do, ha) because another team is short staffed. Sorry.

This hasn’t happened in my detail position (the whole intent of a detail is to learn new things), but happened frequently in my old position. I was a designer, in a service role, but was assigned as project manager on a few projects.

I did the project management work to the best of my ability, but rarely enjoyed it. I was bitter I was told to do it with no training on procedures or systems (no previous training, that is – I had people to reach out to when I had questions). I was annoyed one project was unique and had SO many problems and lasted years – and is still ongoing. I hated that I always had to ask about how to do things then get back to the client. I pretended I knew what was up, but I didn’t. I hated that sinking feeling in my stomach of faking it all. the. time.

I don’t like being voluntold. I suppose I like it when it’s an option. Make me think I have a choice, at least? (Am I being a millennial?!?! Maybe!)

When I was in the design position, and we got a new boss in early 2015, I told her that I couldn’t handle the majority of my workload being things I didn’t know how to do (project management, and other new tasks my team was being assigned). I told her I needed at least a few things to work on that I knew how to do, to boost my confidence and help me get through the other things. She listened, and did what she could, but I still kept getting those “voluntold” things.


All of that ^ was just because I wanted to whine that when I started my detail the only two projects they made me keep were two project management ones. The ones I dislike the most. The ones I never wanted. The ones where I don’t really know what I’m doing.

Every time I have to work on them during my detail I feel so frustrated it’s taking time away from the detail – time from working on and learning about something I actually want to do/learn about.

But… ugh, that’s work. I just wanted to vent!

No related photo, but here’s the view from my desk this week:

Luckily, Mondays are quiet

By , October 18, 2017 7:05 am

I was in the office on the first day of my detail and wore a white blouse I had bought the previous weekend. Nothing like wearing something new on your first day with a new team, to give yourself a confidence boost, right?

Yeah, until halfway through the day, when you look in the mirror and realize the blouse is basically see-through in the back. And not that much better in the front.


Luckily, it was a Monday, and Mondays are quiet in my office – my branch and team weren’t even in that day. Phew. (But a few other people were!)

And I definitely remembered to wear something under the shirt today.

I’m also trying something new today – one of those bun maker do-dads for my hair. I always wear my hair back, usually in some messy bun/knot thing. At least this looks less crazy than usual!

I’m already in the fourth week of my detail! It’s flying by and the dread of going back to my old position* is creeping in just a little bit, but I’m trying to ignore it and enjoy what I’m doing now.

The work I did before was design and external client based, and the work I’m doing now is data and internal client based, which suits my interests** much better. I am also the team leader in this detail, overseeing four people.

I’d been feeling stagnant in my old position for years, and more recently, was really disliking some of the new work we did (which I was vocal about)***. A few times, I’d mentioned to my boss that I was itching to learn something new, and had planned to ask if I could go on a detail about a month after my teammate came back from maternity leave. But, my boss ended up offering me this detail (to the first team I would have asked about!) before I even asked! I immediately said yes, and was so excited about it (and busy with my old position and getting ready for the new one) that I didn’t even take the time to be nervous about the fact that I was going to be on a new team, and in my first time in a leadership position.

I felt happy at work, that day, for the first time in a looooooong time. And it felt so good.****

There’s been a learning curve (duh) on the new team, and there’s been stress, but overall, my mood is much better. And I feel like I’m fitting in with my new branch and team well, and connecting with people.

So I am going to enjoy it now for what it is! When I go back to my old position, I can be grateful I got to do something different for a while.

*I am on a four month loan to another team. When it’s over, I have to go back to my old team. For me to stay on the team I am detailing in, my detail has to be extended. And to be permanently placed on the new team, the job position has to become open, and I have to compete for it against other applicants.
**So what if I am good at what I was doing before if I didn’t enjoy it at all?!
***And there’s more to it that I’ll leave off here.
****Even though I was anxious that this detail wouldn’t happen – I had tried to do two before this one that were both canceled!!!

The version of me in your head

By , October 10, 2017 6:24 am

When I switched from a private sector job to government job nine years ago, quite a few people were opinionated about whether or not I’d like it. I’d be getting “too far away from design work” (in my field of architecture) in the new position. I wouldn’t get to be creative anymore. And so on.

Funny – I’m not very creative and that isn’t the type of design work I enjoy, but did people care? No. They just cared about warning me.

Thankfully, only a couple people had similar reactions to the detail* I’m on at work now. But, I still got those comments (one in person and one behind my back).

At first I thought this kind of reaction was related to my degree in architecture – that people really couldn’t wrap their heads around someone with an architecture degree NOT getting licensed and NOT designing space. Even people with other design degrees sometimes didn’t get it.

But I finally realized –  major DUH moment – this is just a people thing. Sure, people have preconceived notions of what someone with an architecture degree does with their career, but people have preconceived notions about EVERYONE, no matter their career/whatever, based on the version of them they’ve built in their mind. Especially now, with social media.

It’s human nature – we take what we know about someone, from spending time with them in person (or worse, from their social media presence), then evaluate their decisions based on those “facts” and our morals/beliefs/ideals. We wonder why they’d do something we’d never choose to do. We create a version of them in our minds that’s partially them, but mostly us, and man, do we question that version.

It’s natural! The problem is when you’re a dick about this natural thing and bring it up in rude ways. Or often, bring it up at all. Or spend waaaaaay too much time pondering other people’s choices.

I don’t expect people to stop doing this! It would just be nice if they mostly kept their version of me to themselves. Or instead of saying “you’re really not going to like that,” asked “what do you think you’ll like about the new position?” Big wish, I know.

Like I said, very DUH. Not sure why it took me this long to make the connection. (Thank heavens I was up from 12:30 to 3:00 this morning and had this thought pop in my head, and wrote this. Gah, I am not going to be able to stay awake at Blade Runner 2049 tonight!).

*A detail is when you’re “on loan” to another team for a set amount of time. Four months, in my case.

Random Thoughts Thursday 149

By , September 28, 2017 12:32 pm
  • I forgot to mention in the post about my family visit that Snow was being a complete lovebug around my dad, which made me so happy! Data hates my parents, and Khali hides under the bed when they (everyone) visit(s), so it’s nice to have one cat be social and sweet.

  • Besides expecting to find the MBP bracelet when my mom visits, she always leaves little notes for us to find too. I love it!

  • Since we moved a year and a half ago, we only had two of our nice knives out of storage (and a block of steak/random knives). Last week we got the rest of our knives out and hung the magnetic rack up. I am thrilled to have those two knives off the counter (where they lived while they waited for the magnetic rack to arrive), and the rest of them out to use! Hurrah!

  • I started a new position at work this week and had to get a mega laptop to run all the programs I’m using. It’s so much bigger than my old one that I have to move my watch way down my arm so it stops hitting the keyboard. Ha ha! Data had to check it out right away (and wasn’t impressed):

  • As a result of starting a new position, I am completely brain-dead and exhausted from learning so much this week!

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 148

NeoCon 2017

By , June 19, 2017 11:22 am

A week ago today, my mom and I went to NeoCon at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago!

NeoCon stands for National Exposition of Contract Furnishings – it’s an annual three day trade show that’s free to attend if you register in advance. There’s the trade show, but also keynotes, classes, and LOTS of parties. And let’s copy straight from Wikipedia – “With over 1,000 exhibitors of contract and commercial furnishings, and 50,000 attendees, it is the largest trade show of its kind in North America.” Whoa. It’s overwhelming. A lot of these vendors have permanent showrooms (on many floors) in the Merchandise Mart, and they set up floors for outside vendors to come in, too.

As part of my job, I occasionally assist clients with furniture and finish selection, so I go to NeoCon to see the newest and greatest stuff! Which isn’t actually what my clients select, but, it’s educational for me.


When I was in Kansas City in January, I asked my snister if she’d be going to NeoCon this year. She’s an interior designer and has gone to NeoCon the past few years – but the days we go typically don’t align (or she goes early, for vendor stuff). She didn’t know at that point, but my mom was there, and asked what NeoCon is, then expressed interest in going! My mom studied interior design for a bit in college, so she has an interest for it, but I think we also may have sold her when we mentioned all the free food and handouts. Ha!

Seriously, you don’t really need to bring food or plan to buy lunch or dinner if you hit up the right show rooms or after parties. (Note – we had to head back around 4:00 so I could teach my evening strength class. Next year, we are definitely doing to some parties.)

So. Much. Free. Food.

And so many handouts. My snister asked me to pick up stuff for her since she was going early this year (before the show opened). Here’s her haul:

I did keep three bags for myself, and that funny orange chair to put my phone in. Ha.

Mom and I visited three floors in the Merchandise Mart (out of eight or ten vendor show floors), and visited several showrooms in the building across the street. My snister designs a specific product at her job, and they have a showroom across from the Mart, and she asked me to make sure to take Mom there. Funny enough, the guy assigned to give us a tour (out of 50 or more people) works with my snis!

So, normally, NeoCon is completely overwhelming, exhausting, and not that fun. I was dreading it this year, like I always do. But I ended up having so much fun with my mom, probably because she was so excited about it, that it made me a little sad we were only doing one day of it!

I was still exhausted though. At the end of the day, we were so slap-happy and out of it on the train ride home that we laughed so hard we cried (about kale…). Then I took this photo to send my snist and this guy was totally creepin’ in on me. Ha!

I bet Mom will be back for NeoCon next year!

Random Thoughts Thursday 137

By , June 15, 2017 6:22 am
  • I made it to a 1,000 day streak in DuoLingo (in Spanish)! And… that means nothing other than that. I finished the app so long ago that I’ve just been repeating the lessons over and over. If I really want to improve, I should practice speaking with someone in Spanish!

  • I forgot to mention in my training recap that a few students said really nice things about me to my mom when she was at Fitness Boxing. That made me feel good!
  • We had a great time with my parents! They arrived on Friday (my mom’s birthday!) and stayed until Tuesday am. We ate (cooked and went out), played games, did projects, worked out, went to the beach, went to NeoCon, and hung out. It was a fun visit and a treat to have them visit for so long!

“Usie” in front of someone else’s car

  • I am so tired after their visit, though! I woke up early (to workout) and stayed up late (to have fun!) every day they were here. And I wasn’t sleeping well because Khali played most of the night after hiding all day long (that has nothing to do with my parents – Khali still has her stray cat instincts to hide from people she doesn’t know!). I finally got (more than!) eight hours of sleep last night!

Just chillin’ with my slippers

  • The whole purpose of my parent’s visit was that my mom wanted to go to NeoCon (National Exposition of Contract Furnishings) – a huge design trade show at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. I go for work each year, and generally don’t enjoy it (crowded, sales-y, overwhelming, etc.). It was completely different with my mom. I loved experiencing it through her excited, fresh eyes! And she LOVED it and is already talking about coming back for it next year! I’ll write a separate post about our NeoCon day!

Us and the Merchandise Mart

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 136

Random Thoughts Thursday 136

By , June 1, 2017 6:22 am
  • I’m having a hard time getting in to the Starbucks book after reading the Rockefeller one. The Rockefeller book required so much concentration. The Starbucks one does not and I find my mind wandering more!
  • I hate the phrasing “we apologize for any inconvenience.” Just say “we apologize for the inconvenience,” because if you are saying the first phrase, there probably was one.
  • I love getting my teeth cleaned. I love the process and the way they feel after! I had a cleaning on Tuesday and elected to get the fluoride treatment… which completely ruins that fresh, clean teeth feeling, by making your teeth all tacky. Wah.
  • My mom and Steven and I had a fun discussion about our interpretation of yesterday’s quote. What do you think it means?

  • I’ve been busting my butt at work with special requests, and the recipients aren’t acknowledging them. It makes me feel extremely frustrated. I’d LOVE a thank you, but ANY response would be great. I suppose I will receive one in a few weeks when they finally look at my work and decide they want something else done.

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 135

Random Thoughts Thursday 134

By , May 18, 2017 6:23 am
  • It would be inappropriate (and boring) to talk about the stuff at work that makes me nuts, but a lot of times, I make a list of it and imagine posting about it here. Ha. Doing that, along with venting with coworkers, helps!

Awesome picture, right?!

  • More vagueposting – it feels ironic, that as someone who shares personal information on the internet, there are people out there I don’t want knowing mundane information about my life. It’s not because of knowledge reasons, but what they do with the information – hold it against me, overreact, or gossip about it. It’s hard for me to NOT share things, but I know it’s better off in the long run, with certain people. Ugh. (Most of it’s harmless, just annoying. Example – somehow other people have information I only told YOU, that I would have liked to share with them myself.)
  • On to the mundane! Steven and I are always looking for a show to watch during our lunch breaks. We watched Parks and Recreation, then tried to watch Extant, then watched Big Little Lies. Now we’ve decided to rewatch Game of Thrones. We’re catching a lot more watching it the second time, which is fun! Sometimes Khaleesi watches the TV when her namesake is on, which always makes me laugh. I haven’t grabbed a photo of that, but here she is watching The Secret Life of Pets:

  • My parents are visiting in June and this will be their FIRST trip to our “new” home without an entire weekend of labor involved (they’ve been here twice but once was for the move and the other time was to help with the second floor attic work). I am looking forward to them being here with the house put together and having more “free” time… along with a few projects, of course. Ha ha.

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 133

Random Thoughts Thursday 128

By , February 16, 2017 6:23 am
  • Khali is recovering well! But she is anxious to go back outside. We figured we should at least wait until she is off her medication (last pill is tomorrow) to let her out. A lot of people ask me how Data reacts to her – he’s fine! He lets her approach, then usually walks away. I did see him hiding behind boxes and swatting at her when she walked by yesterday, but I think he was being playful (???).

  • What boxes was Data hiding behind? Oh, this load of stuff (sentimental stuff, a few games, kitchen boxes, etc.) we’ve had stored at the warehouse (for about one and a half years) since we started clearing out our townhome to sell it, and just brought home! We still have garage stuff and most of our books at the warehouse. Slowly but surely, we’ll get it here! (It’s obviously not a rush, since we’ve been without these items for one and a half years! Although, I do miss a few books, and Steven definitely misses his garage stuff!)

  • Another, “yeah, figures” article – “Scientific Proof That No One Wants to Hear Your Vacation Stories” (pdf here), but actually, not for the reason I thought. The article says people would rather hear stories they can relate to, rather than stories about experiences they’ve never had. Makes sense – wouldn’t it be more enjoyable to relate and connect with someone? But the reason we prefer relatable stories (according to this article, anyway) is because most people are crappy storytellers. “Human speech is riddled with informational gaps, and familiar stories allow listeners to use their own knowledge to fill in those gaps.” Hmm!
  • I know I’m a horrible storyteller. So let me try to tell you a story about a recent Target trip, ha. A lady and I were both trying to jockey our carts around the same section of the chocolate aisle. So I said to her “Looks like we both need our chocolate!” as I picked up the peanut butter cups I was there for. She starts asking me about the peanut butter cups and I tell her what I like about them. She picks up a bag to look at, and I finish my reasons of why I am buying them with “and they’re vegan!” and… she puts them back immediately. Ha, maybe I should have left the vegan part off?

  • I’ve been actually paying attention to the extra stuff my Garmin tracks, like sleep (to try to figure out how to sleep better) and steps. Last year I whined about how our work was going to have a steps competition but only walking steps counted, not running. At the time I thought it was major BS, but now that I actually pay attention to my steps, and realize I would rarely break 3,000 without running, I kind of see their point.
  • Work pet peeve – people who sent you pdf files but don’t look to see if they are properly oriented! I review a lot of drawings, and people send me the pdf rotated ninety degrees in the wrong direction, constantly. What does that tell me? You didn’t open the pdf after you made it to make sure it was correct. Sigh.

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 127

Playing architect

By , January 10, 2017 6:34 am

Hey! I get to play architect today (and use my degree)!

And it comes complete with dirty fingers from drawing with pencil.


And stress.

And ridiculous deadlines.


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