Thursday, December 27, 2007

Table for One

Sweden was the first trip that I have taken where I was entirely alone for a big portion of the week. People asked me when I got back what I thought about traveling alone. I said that I absolutely loved it - you could go anywhere you wanted, if you walked into a museum and thought it was stupid you could walk right back out without wasting time wondering if other people liked it, there was no debate over what to do each day. I absolutely loved it....until dinner time. When you're traveling alone, you have to eat alone in restaurants. People can't ever hide their surprise when you say "Table for one," but you're in a different country so you suck it up and deal with it instead of eating at McDonalds all week.

I have always felt really awkward eating alone. I remember having an hour lunch break over tax-free weekend when I worked at Limited Too in High School and I wore my name tag to Subway because I didn't want people to think that I was just eating at Subway alone because I was a loser. Most of the time if I'm going to eat alone, I grab something and bring it I can be a loser in private I guess. One time I went to Breadwinners in Dallas alone thinking it was a takeout place and when I realized it was a sit-down place I was too embarrassed to leave, so I sat alone feeling like all eyes were on me.

Today, I found the one place that I felt completely comfortable eating alone: Luby's! I went down to Hulen area around lunchtime to buy tickets for a sneak preview of 27 Dresses for several people and decided I wanted Luby's for lunch. So I just went inside, got my food, and sat by myself. I did not feel self-conscious at all! Maybe it helped that everyone else in there was either over 70 years old or by themselves too, but for the first time, I felt completely comfortable eating in a sit-down restaurant by myself. I think I need to go there a few more times before my next solo trip to train myself on eating alone. :)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Why would you do that, MTV? Why?

I feel like I'm Cindy Lou Who walking in on the Grinch stealing her Christmas tree. I was flipping through channels to day and MTV was showing "So You Think You Can Dance." I turned to it and it was the Vegas Week episode from my favorite season....the Year of Allison!!

I got really excited and was ready to set my Tivo to record all of them so I could see my favorite dances again. I went hour by hour looking at the next two weeks, and this is the ONLY episode they're showing of it! They're not showing the rest of the season! The mean MTV Grinch gave me a little taste of a fantastic Christmas cookie and then he snatched it way. Why would you tease me like that, MTV?

Instead I'll just have to reflect on my great time at the SYTYCD tour in November. Lindsey and I surprised our friends by renting a mini-van and decorating it for the tour. We are such dorks, but I'm okay with that. :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

For Everyone Who Works in Corporate America...

Anyone else find this oddly accurate? :)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Mac vs. PC

Mac: Hi I'm a Mac
PC: And I'm a PC
Mac: Emily has been thinking about me a lot lately. Her laptop is approaching 3 years old and is starting to have a couple of issues
PC: I've been a great friend though!
Mac: So now she's been thinking about maybe going with me, a Mac, for her next laptop
PC: I keep telling her she's crazy. Think about all the things she'd have to to work with documents, a whole new interface....its just totally not worth the hassle
Mac: But I keep reminding her that she has never met anyone that is a huge PC advocate
PC: Lots of people are perfectly content with me
Mac: Well, my users are typically fanatics about me, going on and on about how great I am. And I've got lots of cool applications for the stuff that she uses her home computer for editing, web publishing, music writing...
PC: But the relearning! You can't teach an old dog new tricks, can you?
Mac: So why don't all you readers out there give your opinion? Maybe its worth relearning a few tricks for something that she'll be a fanatic for eventually...
PC: Or maybe she should stick to what she knows and is perfectly fine with. Anyone have a word of advice?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Sick! :(

Well, I've gotten sick for the first time this winter and I always forget how much I hate it. I don't have anything too serious, but I've got a really bad cold, my tonsils are swollen and hurting, and my asthma is acting up a little bit....hopefully it won't turn into pneumonia again!!

As bad as I feel, the worst part is that tonight was our Singles Christmas Party and I was really excited about it! It was an "after-five" attire party and we all know I love getting all dressed up. Instead, I'm sitting on my couch in sweatpants and a t-shirt with no makeup on. Sad.

So to make myself feel better, I am making tonight Emily's Cartoon Christmas night. Every year since I was little, I would have one day where I watched How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman back to back. It started because my dad had a tape that he had recorded all three on and I would always watch it and then in college, my roommate bought me all three on DVD. I love classic christmas cartoons!!! They make me feel a little bit better tonight. :)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Office

Every Thursday night before the strike, I would get together with a group of friends to watch The Office. We would watch and laugh hysterically at the crazy things that Michael would do....his wacky meetings, fun runs, random parties, etc. Every now and then, people who don't work in Corporate America ask me if The Office is real. Most of the time I say no...until yesterday.

Yesterday we had our Quarterly DFW Employee Meeting. As I looked around at what was going on, I realized that very little of The Office is an exaggeration. The meeting was in a ballroom at the Solana Marriott. It started out with a rock band made of Sabre employees playing a few songs. They are called "The Gross Margins" and even have a logo that is the strings/frets of a guitar acting as a graph like a stock graph. Then they started playing a video of a lit fireplace (for ambiance, ya know!) and a guy in a smoking jacket a la Hugh Hefner was sitting in a chair acting as the MC in the style of Masterpiece Theater. There proceeded to be skits to give us important lessons about our company and strategy....a VP acted as Scrooge falling asleep and "dreaming" via video of the Ghost of Sabre Past, the Ghost of Sabre Present, and the Ghost of Sabre Future. Another VP and a sales guy were the Spartan Cheerleaders cheering on the SVP as he talked about our 2008 strategy (complete with "The Perfect Cheer.") The Gross Margins entertained a little more playing songs like I'm Gonna Be (I Would Walk 500 miles) and Come Together (Beatles). Then we had a dinner and an open bar. And as I was watching these skits, I could TOTALLY see Michael Scott in every one!

But yesterday's meeting (and every quarterly meeting for that matter) isn't the only thing that reminds me of The Office. Remember the "Fun Run" episode? Well we had a "Give Together" month where all of the employees donated time to service projects and money to charities. There were a bunch of events during the week to raise money. One day we had a "County Fair" with wacky relay races, a 1 Mile Fun Run, a Chili/Curry Cookoff, and pig races. Not kidding...pig races. Oh yeah, they also had a mechanical bull that all of the VPs and SVPs rode. At the end of the week there was a company talent show complete with prizes for the top 3 acts. (Yes I was in the talent I didn't win. But people still tell me I should have which makes me feel good. :) )

It just really hit me yesterday how funny this all was because it never seemed that crazy to me but yet we think that The Office is so far out there! Really the only difference between my company and the things that happen at Dunder Mifflin is that our leadership is all VERY competent and not complete idiots like Michael Scott....but other than that, its all pretty much dead on. I dont' have any pictures of The Gross Margins or this week's skits, but here are a couple of pictures from a quarterly meeting last year...this one was themed The Incredibles and all of the skits were about "The Incredibles" (Relia Girl, Value Boy, Collabor Mom, Mr. S.T. (Straight talk....kept saying "I Pity The Fool"), and Captain Undisputed defeating the Dot Commissar's evil plots to take down Sabre Airline Solutions. And remember...these aren't interns being hazed and forced to do these skits. These are the President of Airline Solutions, a VP, a couple of product's really amusing. As silly as it may seem though, I think I get more out of these meetings than I do from all of the other traditional PowerPoint presentations that I sit through and/or give each week. :)

Saturday, December 08, 2007

When I Grow Up....

This Thursday, I had a half-day meeting with my new team at work. We talked about plans for 2008 and at the end started talking about our personal goals and what to think about before we have meetings with our managers in a couple weeks. My new boss started talking about personal development and growth and said something to the effect of "We definitely want to help you get to your goals and where you want to be in your career...just let us know where you want to be."

This has been one of my biggest insecurities since I started grad school....where do I want to be? I got so tired of trying to figure it out at that point that I just picked something different than most people and said "I want to be in strategy." I had no idea what that looked like, but it seemed to please most employers and got me quite a few job offers. Well now I'm a product manager - half strategy, half marketing - and I love my job. But I also know that I don't want to be doing this exact same thing 10 years from now. Pretty much nobody in the business world wants to stay where they are. But I don't have a clear direction of where I want to go either. Every year on our performance review, there is a section talking about short and long term goals and I never know what to put besides "I want to have a team of my own to manage."

My question is, who DOES know exactly what they want to do? I know that I like my job functions and that business was the way to go for me, but I can't say that in 10 years I want to be a product manager or that in 10 years I want to be working in Corporate Strategy or anything else. I don't even know exactly where I want to be in 2-3 years! But the more that I think about this, the more I I going to be left behind or kept down in my career because I don't have a completely clear picture of the path I want to take? Are there people out there who really have their career path fully planned out and actually follow that plan?