Where Has The Etiquette Gone?

Maybe it is just me, but it seems like I see a lack of etiquette more and more on a daily basis. I don’t just mean from a business standpoint either…it seems like it happens in our personal lives. I thought it would be a good time to share some friendly reminders.

1. Interviews: Don’t schedule an appointment to go interview with a company and then not show up or call. Not only will I never give you another chance, unless you had an amazing reason for missing, but guess what, KC is a small (big) town and HR people talk.

2. Accepting the job: Do not, and I repeat DO NOT, accept a job with a company and then not show up for your first day. You took the time to apply. We took the time to meet you. We all loved each other and you got hired and then, BOOM, you are nowhere to be found. We will be thrilled for you if you find something that is better and amazing for you, but just take 5 minutes and let us know. If you are embarrassed, leave me a voice mail at 1am, but just communicate!!! As Emily Post would say “being a no-show is unacceptable.”

3. Parties / Events: I went through this recently. We had an event and sent out many invitations and had many amazing people show up. People sent an affirmative response and then didn’t show (barring sickness of course;) people didn’t respond at all and then showed or even worse, people did not respond at all. If a person cares enough to invite you to something, care enough to respond. Think about the times you invite people to do something. Usually you are planning, buying party supplies, food, etc…without an accurate count, you have no idea what to do. I see the same thing with our company events as well. We work hard to put these events together and have to plan ahead so everyone has what they need….make sure and RSVP and then stand by your RSVP, barring accident, illness or death!

These are just the tip of the iceberg, in my frontal lobe right now …. don’t even get me started on line-cutting, inconsiderate drivers, people not taking time to spell check emails / texts / RESUMES, or worse, those people who feel it is OK to rub a pregnant woman’s belly …. Hello?

I would love any thoughts / comments anyone else has on this topic.

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An Open Letter to My Son

Dear Alistair,

Next week mommy is having surgery. For some reason, I am feeling very nervous. There are some things I want to make sure you know.

1. Know that mommy loves you very much. My life is so much better because of you. You are my miracle from God.

2. Always put God first. Pray and be thankful every day. Follow the path He has for you. He put you here for something special.

3. Always be fearless. Never be afraid to try new things. Take chance in life and love hard.

4. Always make time for family and friends, no matter how busy life gets. Nobody ends life wishing they had worked more or had more material items.

5. Be kind. Treat others with love, respect and kindness, even if they are rude or give you no reason. They are the ones who need your love the most. You never know what cross they are bearing in life and your kindness could be just what they need.

6. So many people love you and will always be there for you. Have someone you and trust that you can always talk with. I know there will be things a boy can’t share with his family. Find that person you trust to help you.

7. Always respect yourself. Nobody is allowed to hurt you or treat you bad, mentally or physically. You are a special, amazing kid and you should always remember that.

8, Travel and see the world. There are so many amazing places in this world and so many people you can meet and learn from.

9. Be healthy. Not just physically, but mentally and spiritually. I know you are going to do great things. You are special, amazing and so blessed.

10. Know that even when we are no longer together, I am always going to be with you. We will see each other again someday.

Pray and thank God every day for your life.

Love you so much,

Mom Mom

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What a Difference a Year Makes

One year ago today I got some amazing news…..but let me start from the beginning.

At the end of April 2013, I was hospitalized and had an emergency surgery. My intestines had perforated and I was 2 hours from death, to use the doctors words. He had to put in a temporary colostomy. If you know me, you know I have incredibly sensitive skin. (Where the Indian, French and Mexican genes I am supposed to have are, I will never know.)

After 3 months of being miserable and in pain, trying over and over again to find good colostomy supplies, I was somewhat used to what was happening, but also had an end in sight. We picked July 24th as the day to reverse the colostomy and let me get back to a normal life. I was SO ready!! Fast forward to waking up from sedation and surgery and I feel the colostomy bag still attached. I wanted to cry. All I could think was something terrible happened and I would be stuck with it forever. (If you are, and have the skin I have, I really feel for you.)

The doctor comes in and I ask him what went wrong. Please keep in mind I am still incredibly groggy, was having oxygen and pain issues, etc so it all felt very dream like in the room. The doctor tells me he couldn’t do the surgery because I had an enlarged uterus. For those of you who don’t know, in Fall of 2012 we found some serious cells the dr called pre-cancer but close to turning and advised we do an ablation or a hysterectomy. I opted for the ablation as a more non-invasive choice knowing we could do a full surgery if needed. Needless to say, hearing my uterus was enlarged led me down the path of assuming it was a large tumor. I argued with the doctor for hours about what it was. Finally, they took me down for a scan. Little did I know/believe that what they were going to show me was a baby.

Next step, serious panic. I had never been blessed enough to carry a baby to term. I also had almost died in April and they were telling me I was already pregnant then, so the baby had been through two surgeries, poison in my system and lots, and I mean LOTS of pain meds and other drugs to save me. Between having had so many miscarriages and having been through all this, I knew there was no way this baby would survive, let alone be normal and healthy.

Then I make the call to his daddy. He lives out-of-town and if you think my shock was big, you should have heard his. You see, he had a vasectomy 9 years ago. How is this possible he wanted to know. (Clearly his doctor never told him they could reverse themselves)

Together we prepared for the worst. We scheduled genetic tests, scans to see the babies organs and body, etc. We did not share the news with anyone because we just knew this baby would not survive.

Fast forward to September. We finally have all the results back, all the scans have been done and we have amazing news…..the baby appears to be perfect. Being one not to question God, I just accepted it for what it was, but with the niggling in the back of my mind that January (the due date) was still very far away and anything could happen, as it always had in the past. We decided to go ahead and share the news with family and some friends. As we got further along we did decide to share the news publicly. Not that people couldn’t tell by taking one look at me. :-)

January arrives….the end of the pregnancy was incredibly easy, other than our little one trying to come early, and I was almost sad it was about over. January 5th around 2pm my water breaks. I call my mom who wants to rush right to the hospital, but I was in the middle of laundry. I mean who doesn’t finish their laundry before going to the hospital in labor?!? We got to the hospital around 4 and they started Pitocin because I was not thinning and dilating. As we went through the day, things were not changing so they did some other things to try to help. Pitocin contractions for hours on end are not fun, but at least it was tolerable. They kept offering an epidural, but I kept declining. Finally at 9pm the next night (yes, 29 hours in labor on Pitocin is LOADS of fun) we decided to do a C-section. They were worried about infection because my water had broken so many hours before. Because I still had the colostomy, we had tried to avoid surgery at all costs, but here it was…happening. They called in the Doctor who handles colorectal cases. He brought a friend. I guess a woman having a baby is rare when a colostomy is present. Nothing like being a show horse when you are already opening up everything for everyone, to give birth.

The C-section couldn’t have gone better. The OB had a few problems with the placenta and the baby aspirated some fluids coming out, but other than that, perfection. That moment of seeing your baby for the first time is amazing. To see that he seemed to be perfectly normal and healthy was just icing on the cake. There are no words to describe it…ever.

Two days before he was born, I lost an amazing friend who was like a brother to me. It was very unexpected and my heart was broken. It was such a bittersweet week, losing him but getting this miracle baby. We suddenly decided we needed to add another middle name to our son, to honor this lost friend.

I now have such an amazing little miracle boy. He is so handsome and smart and I just know God has some big plans for this little guy. How could He not given what happened to get him here?

In March I was lucky enough to finally have the surgery that removed the colostomy and thankfully that went incredibly well. What was not going well was that I was still having some issue with having had the baby. I went back to the dr and heard the news, “Jean, you have a large mass in your uterus.” I was shocked. This is what I expected to hear last July, not now. So here we are again, seeing doctors and having tests. The decision has been made and the surgery has been scheduled, I will be having a hysterectomy in a few weeks. I think a lot of women struggle with this and are devastated. Given my history and the last year and a half of my life, I could care less. Take it all….I already have the most amazing miracle gift ever!

My Gift from God

My Gift from God

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Yep, been off of here for a while now. For those of you asking where I have been, I fell quite ill and was in the hospital for a while. I have to go back in at the end of July, so unfortunately, I will be on hiatus again until probably September. Don’t give up on me though! 

If anyone is interested in guest blogging, please let me know!

Be well!

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Interviewing and Transferable Skills

I’m back! Ok, cheesy intro, but if you know me you know I have had an odd start to 2013. It is time to get back to the old me and how better to do that then a post on interviewing. I know, I know….again you ask, but there is never enough space to cover all the important things about a job interview.

Last night I was watching a TV show called The Middle. The mom had just finished trade school and was out interviewing for jobs. She comes home very frustrated because she said everyone wanted to know “who she was.” She had no idea who she was. She was a mom. She was a wife. What she didn’t realize until the end was that she had a lot of transferable skills to offer.

Unfortunately, recruiters do not always pick up on these things or think about how one skill can translate into another. That means it is your job to sell yourself and sell those skills.

Organization is the perfect example. I asked a candidate once about organizational skills. She said she was a stay at home mom and didn’t really have any. The more we talked, the more she realized that her phone and calendar were absolutely organization devices and not only that, she was keeping a family of 6 organized.

What skills can you think of that are transferable? Before you go out on your next interview, talk over the required skills for the job with someone. Maybe they will help you see that you have more to offer then you even realize!

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Since I have been skipping out on this blogging thing, I figure I should at least do a quick, “catch up” post.

2012 was VERY interesting in my world personally and professionally. On a personal note I went through some “cancer” stuff yet again. Luckily all turned out well and after a small procedure my world is right again. I have another follow up in 2 months, but expect that to turn out perfectly.

On a professional front things have been interesting for sure. As a lot of you who know me already know, we sold our company. Being the HR person who was in the know for several months, it was tough working on all of it while keeping things from employees. Even though I was, and still am, very excited about the sale, it was a challenge having so many closed door meetings when I am always out and open with our employees. It is exciting now that it is all official and I am super excited about our new company.

I think that 2013 is going to be an interesting year for me, on both fronts. Personally I am gonna kick butt on all this health stuff. I am excited to get back to the 2009 – 2010 Jean.

Professionally I am super excited to see what changes happen with our new company. I am looking forward to exploring new policies, processes and procedures and even learning how we can help them be a better company.

What are you looking forward to in 2013?


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Are You Asking the Correct Questions During an Interview?

You landed the interview! Great job! Now, how can you be successful in the interview and ask the right questions?

People ask me all the time about ways to nail a job interview. It seems that “questions,” whether from the candidate or company, are always a sticking point. There are any number of sources out there to give you “good” interview questions. These tips are just my $.02 worth!

First of all, and most importantly, make sure you have questions prepared ahead of time. How you ask? Always do your homework. Check out the company’s website and learn about them. Stalk them on LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. Get a good feel for what they do and what the job is and ask questions that will help you figure out if the company, and their culture, is the right fit for you.

On to the important part…what are these question that will help you figure this all out you ask? Well, here are my top interview questions.

1. Ask for details on job responsibilities. You won’t know if this is the job, or company, for you without knowing if the job duties fit your skills.

2. Is there potential for growth in the position? This may only apply if that is the type of role you are looking for.

3. What are the challenges to the job? This is a great way to figure out if it is something you can handle.

4. What makes a person successful here? You can succeed if you don’t know what the expectations are.

5. What are the next steps? Will they get back to you? Do you need to follow-up with them?  (Always send a thank you note!)

6. Why is the job open? You want to make sure it is a position that does not have a lot of turnover.

7. Is there travel involved in the position? This may or may not be relevant depending on how you feel about travel.

8. What are the company culture values and/or work environment? Is this the kind of place you can thrive or will it stifle you and hold you back? Does everyone, from the top down, have integrity?

9. Is the company growing? For some companies, status quo is fine, but if you want to grow, than typically you want a company that is also growing.

10. How long have you been here? I love when people ask me this question. I am always happy to be open and honest about my time here.

11. What do you like/dislike about it? Again, I love my company and I think that shows through during interviews. I am happy to discuss the things that are pros and cons for me.

13. Is relocation provided? Again, this question is not relevant in all scenarios.

I hope some of these questions help you. I would love feedback from HR people about what  questions they like to be asked during interviews.

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