wwcitizen: (Car in the Country)
This is now my fourth week starting off at the North America Corporate Headquarters for Jaguar Land Rover. It's interesting work being a Senior Project Manager and Business Analyst for them. There's lots of work to be done, that's for certain.
It's also interesting working for a company where most of its employees can't seem to afford one of their products. But, there are plenty of opportunities to drive the cars, whether as part of the corporate fleet for work-related travel or as a demo run for a new car that's coming out.

I just missed the opportunity to drive an F Series, which they allowed employees to test drive the week before I joined up. Here's a video of the car traveling around France. VERY HOT!!
wwcitizen: (Uuuuuuh)
Matthew and I were graciously invited by a friend of ours to speak at an LGBT rally against DOMA and Proposition 8 at Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ, a couple of weeks ago. The timing was perfect, since on the day we spoke (27-Mar-2013), the Supreme Court of the US (SCOTUS) was hearing arguments for an against DOMA that day and had heard arguments for and against California's Prop 8 the day before.

The speeches we wrote were not completely the speeches that came out, but the essences are here.  I spoke first and Matthew spoke second. What an exhilarating experience!  Three of our friends were there in real time and others have seen the initial video taken by one of those friends.  These videos below were done more professionally by a student at the university.  Enjoy, comment, and please forward these speeches to others who will benefit from them.  We are interested in becoming more and more active in these fights and would like many more opportunities to speak out against discrimination.

My original speech (behind the cut)... )

Zen Steve

Apr. 3rd, 2012 11:01 am
wwcitizen: (Smell The Flowers)
This last week, Matthew and I have rediscovered incense.  I kept seeing our little vase of incense and a wooden stand awaiting our enjoyment.  I also wanted to pick up some new scents for a pomander I bought at L'Occitane years ago. Needless to say, L'Occitane sold out of and discontinued its incense squares. Undaunted and not wanting to be thwarted by that revelation, we went to Whole Foods to try and devise a new means of using the pomander.  I found a new incense burner for little cones, which sits nicely in my bathroom. 

Burning incense is so calming and the energy in the house has changed slightly for the better. The low-level negative energy came from 1) losing my wallet recently, 2) dealing with law enforcement, and 3) calling the credit card companies. I've also started minor meditation again.

Today, I should be wearing my Zen Mickey Mouse t-shirt. I like the sentiment and it pretty much encapsulates my recent need to center myself again (btw, I do replace "The Mouse" with "self".). 

There's definitely a sense of renewal in my spirit that intensifies in the spring, of course. New life and freshness are evidenced everywhere, much like the blue bonnets in Texas posted by [livejournal.com profile] erstexman and [livejournal.com profile] texwriterbear or the myriad of blossoms at Kew Gardens posted by [livejournal.com profile] changeling72.  The flowers this year seem so much cleaner and crisper (might just be the quality of the cameras, but I like to think it's the flowers doing it all).

I'm loving it.

The primary difference this year from last year in the spring is that we're not hosting Easter dinner this year for Matt's family.  That made us both pretty sad when the rest of the family decided they wanted to go to a country club - again - for Easter lunch/dinner.  Matt and I did SUCH a good job last year with the planning, the food, the decorations, the hosting, the leftovers (yes - everyone got a to-go bag!), the Easter baskets for the kids, the traditions from Matt's mother - down to the bunny cake!  Everyone loved us hosting Easter and appreciated the effort we put into it. I know we're good hosts, dammit!!  Alas, Easter dinner will lack tradition, be plastic, and short-lived.

Having a Spring/Easter dinner party to plan and prepare really inspired us last year. This year, Matt and I are finding new ways to be inspired and discovering other things to do.  This Friday night, for instance, we're getting together with friends to dye eggs and tie-dye t-shirts!!  That'll be lots of fun.

Then, of course, Matt and I are meeting - WOW - [livejournal.com profile] squirreltot, [livejournal.com profile] texwriterbear, and [livejournal.com profile] super_sean for the first time ever along with another Texan friend of theirs, and [livejournal.com profile] allsmilesbear (who - nudge nudge - hasn't posted in like forEVER - 3 years, actually), while they're in NYC on vacation. We're also meeting [info]jimwnyc and [info]tinman11201* for the first time in person, even though they're just down the road from us; our schedules and determination to meet up finally synchronized!  I think I've known some of these guys for 5-6 years at least online.

On Thursday night, whilst Matt is teaching, I meeting up with [livejournal.com profile] devil_cub52, [livejournal.com profile] durabear (wishing that [livejournal.com profile] malorso would make it up here sometime with him!!), [livejournal.com profile] gstorm17, [livejournal.com profile] mat_t, and [livejournal.com profile] perkbear for dinner.  This is going to be one LJ-filled week!! 

I'm very excited.
wwcitizen: (Cooking Lion)
Here's my recipe for Morning Stove-Roasted Eggs. Enjoy!

1) Get up after 5.5 hours of sleep to start your day.
2) Select your eggs to boil and place eggs in an empty pot.
3) Fill pot with water to about an inch or higher above the eggs.
4) Turn on burner to high and place pot with eggs on the heating burner.
5) DO NOT turn on a timer; leave the kitchen and go to your computer.
6) Google other hard-boiled egg recipes - just in case.
7) Find a couple of recipes and repeat, "Do not get distracted..." at least 5 times to yourself.
8) After 3 minutes, completely forget that the pot exists.
9) Respond to a couple of work emails.
10) Get startled when you hear a shrill sound from kitchen.
11) Remember - with a start - that OMG there are eggs boiling on the stove.
12) As you race to kitchen, consider when you turned on the stove; should be at least 45 mins.
13) Remove the completely bone dry, but hellishly hot pot from the stove.
14) TEAR open windows and turn on fans to blow out the rich smell of your stove-roasted eggs.
15) The shrill sound you heard should have been caused by steam screaming from the eggs, like a dozen little tea kettles.
16) Place the eggs on a paper plate and wait for them to cool.
17) Let the pot cool on its own without filling with water - yet.

PLEASE NOTE: If the bottom of the non-stick, $80 pot is peeling up from the steal base, make sure to throw it out once it has cooled down.

Optional: Check your US mailbox in the next couple of days for a Bed Bath and Beyond 20% off coupon!

Optional: If your (cooled) pot eventually reveals itself to be still intact and not destroyed, wash the little egg indentations off the bottom thoroughly and place back in cupboard before your partner gets out of bed.

BEST OPTION: Use the eggs to make a Stove-Roasted Egg Salad! And be sure to make like that was your initial intent all along.

WARNING: Eggs cannot be used for coloring.

wwcitizen: (Which Way To Go)
Don't these blurbs apply to any one or all individuals who would apply to a job? I wanted to keep this, so that one day when I'm a manager, I could include it in a job description. Then to be a full-blown dick, I'd ask candidates to respond to each one. Then I'd gauge my assessment on their reaction to the question as well as the description lines.

I picked these lines straight out of a job description at the bottom where the requirements are usually listed pertaining to the actual job. This whole section is FULL of corporate jargon and non-committal phrases.

Experience Required:
Ideal candidate is someone who is detail-oriented, can thrive in a deadline-driven environment, and has strong interpersonal skills. The person be comfortable coordinating efforts across multiple divisions.

Key Behavioral Requirements:

Respect in the Workplace
• Demonstrates integrity and authenticity
• Encourages and facilitates the exchange of ideas
• Fosters an inclusive work environment

Connection & Collaboration
• Communicates and relates effectively
• Promotes and encourages teamwork
• Manages relationships and expectations
• Thinks and solves problems creatively

Makes a Difference
• Takes personal accountability for actions and results
• Is action-oriented rather than reactive
• Takes initiative and goes beyond what is required

Example questions:
1) How do you encourage and facilitate the exchange of ideas?
2) Share 2-3 examples of when you have taken personal accountability for actions and results.
3) Describe 2 problems you had in the work place and the creativity you used to solve each problems.
4) Define your expectation of "going beyond what is required."

How would those questions go over with you in an interview?

I had some similar questions last week during a phone interview. While getting the questions, I realized where the questions originated: Their experience with other candidates and people on their projects. It's really necessary to think well and quickly on your feet. It's also important to dredge up instances from your past whilst reading through a job description that would address each point because you never know: These things might just come up during an interview - if you get the call for one.

I have to say, though, this particular job description really irritated me. There is no element of job function in this "Experience Required" section. I suppose when not much is required, you'll get candidates who've not given much anyway. They're most likely looking for people right out of college or high school.
wwcitizen: (Which Way To Go)
Yesterday, at long, long last, I had my first in-person interview for a real, full time job since March of 2009. Yes, folks, it's been 18 months since a company has brought me in for an interview. Mind you, I've gotten LOTS of email notifications about jobs out there, but none of them really fit.

This job fits about 1/5 of my experience. It's interesting and would provide good focus on one of my skill sets: Instructional Design. Focus might be good for me. Plus, given that with software I am used to running the gamut of Project Management, Validation, Vendor Management, Quality Assurance, Testing, User Acceptance Test coordination, Implementation, Training Development (classroom and online courses), Training Facilitation, Technical Support, Technical Documentation, and Change Control, focusing on Instructional Design might be a good way to ease me back into the full time workplace after 2+ years.

The company is located south of the Flatiron District and north of Union Square on 5th Ave. in NYC. It's not the most convenient spot in the city for public transport, but one of the big pluses is the dress code is casual. Granted, I wore a suit for my interview (and got the flop sweats from the 85 degree temps and the 95% humidity).

Not complaining, but it costs money to get into and out of the city for an interview, if you're not driving: In total, I spent about $30! If I had driven, it might have cost me the same because it's $8 to get into the city across the bridge, then about $20+ to park. It's all part of the excitement, though, to take public transport into the city, hop in a taxi on 7th Ave. and say, "5th & 19th, please!" Then at the end of the interview, pop into a coffee shop to call my recruiter and another cab for the ferry to NJ, where Matt picked me up.

Fun day out. Hopefully, something will come of this. There are other prospects in the till, still, so this isn't the only thing out there. Just seems like the most promising right now. Plus, as Matt pointed out, this could be the return of The Daily Commuter!

wwcitizen: (BIG SMILE)
Last weekend, the weekend before summer officially kicks off, Matt and I went into the city on Friday for a bead show. Yep, a "BEAD" show. What's a "BEAD" show, you ask? It's where vendors and jewelry design artists come together to show their wares, their talents, and their products. The last one I attended was outside of Philadelphia in 2002 or so. This one was in NYC.

We had a good time. Matt was VERY patient. He's not as into beads (at all) as I am. He doesn't understand how I am able to sit for hours, pouring over beads and supplies to come up with some beautiful things. Most of my stuff is semi-precious stone bead placement in linear fashion, but I'm starting to get really bored with that and want to branch out into other things. Hence, the bead show (BTW, I also make bracelets, anklets, and earrings on consignment and for general sale).

I'll be posting some of my stuff on eBay and will provide links and pictures when I do in the next week or so. I just want to make sure that I've gotten a good collection of things to post so that people can "shop" a little at my store.

One of the most interesting things about bead shows is that they typically draw out vendors who invest 1000s of dollars on HUGE lots of beads and materials - wholesale - in order to give us really good, still much less than retail prices on supplies.

Another type of vendor that shows up is kind of like me - investing in specialized and sometimes ancient beads. Venetian, African, Indian, Persian, and even Philistinian trade beads are some of the examples. I bought two sets of 300-yr-old African glass bottle beads as well as two sets of 2000-yr-old Roman glass beads. Yes, I said 2000 (two thousand) years old!! The Roman glass is on display at a NYC museum - I believe the MET - and the guy who excavates ancient Roman trash dumps sells lesser quality glass objects to this distributor that I met. I was VERY excited.

Here's a link to the show pictures - we only took a few. These are on Flickr (hate Flickr...).
wwcitizen: (How About This?)
What American accent do you have?
Created by Xavier on Memegen.net

Neutral. Not Northern, Southern, or Western, just American. Your national American identity is more important to you than your local identity, because you don't really have a local identity to begin with.

Take this quiz now - it's easy!
We're going to start with "cot" and "caught." When you say those words do they sound the same or different?

BUT, I noticed yesterday in my voice post that I said something that sounded DISTINCTLY Philadelphia! When I said, "post", it was a long "o", which is very South Jersey or Philadelphia. Thought I was done with that accent. Meh.
wwcitizen: (AngryFace-LobsterAttack)
For some reason, I felt the need to post this today. Nothing in particular sparked this list and they might not have anything to do with each other (especially the last bit), but these ideas were simply on my mind.

1) I cannot stand it that people are now stuck in the Facebook world instead of reading a book, listening to music, doing crafts, or being creative in whatever capacity (outside of work). I'm just as guilty as the next guy or girl. I've been trying to stay away from FB more and more. Sadly, I'm still working a farm and an island, but I choose things that will keep me away for at least 3-4 days, so that I can do other things without feeling driven to get on FB. My ploy to myself is that eventually, I'll not plant anything more and just not return to the farm or the island. I even went to the point of "rescuing my two dogs from the pound". I, then, promptly deleted the dogs, so that I wouldn't get email notifications warning that I had to rescue them from the pound. Idiotic game.

2) I never want to be a person who is content or stagnantly complacent in his current status that I'll never change or grow.

3) I hope I never balk at others who find happiness and excitement in change, very diverse jobs, or a lack of desire to be part of the norm.

4) Right now, I'm delving into so many different ventures and adventures thinking, "Is this going to make any impact or put me where I want to be in 5-10 years?" I'm really channeling my father when posing that question to myself, which is unfair to me because that's not my desire for myself; it's someone else's. I want to jettison that attitude and make sure that I'm doing what I want to do. I really do not think that I'll be one of those people who looks forward to proper retirement.

5) I never want to be a person who doesn't listen. I hope my loved ones (friends and family) call me out when I'm not listening and that I'll react appropriately to listen - not necessarily agree, but listen.

6) I love lounge and world trance music. When I hear it, I picture myself with friends in a 50s-style room with a disco ball overhead. I'm sipping a martini and chatting with friends.
wwcitizen: (Photo Avatar)
About four weeks ago - still March - a friend contacted me about being the photographer for a party he was hosting in Atlantic City. He thought that since I wasn't working, I'd be able to help him out. I thought this would be an excellent opportunity for me to wheel out all my photography equipment and start using it in a professional setting. Up till that point, I was using it all to photograph merchandise we sell on eBay. I even made business cards to hand out during the party.

I moved forward with the gig and was excited about getting a paid photography gig!! The wine party took place in the Foundation Room of the House of Blues in the Showboat Casino & Hotel. If you've never been to a House of Blues, you've missed out. Every HoB I've been to - in Chicago, New Orleans, and now AC, has a similar feel. There are lots of dark colorful fabrics, interesting statues and furniture, and great viewpoints all over the place.

Part of the deal was a room at The Borgata Hotel & Casino. We asked for a room on the 37th floor, which overlooked a couple of other hotels. The Borgata itself looks like a gold-plated external computer hard drive. Oh, and we didn't gamble, except for $10 that Matt threw in last minute before we left on Friday morning. It was a total throw-away into a slot machine for about 15 minutes, but he had fun. I'm not much - if at all - of a gambler. I don't see the point; guess I wouldn't have been a good Wall Street character, either, eh?

When Matt and I arrived to set things up in the Foundation Room, another photo shoot by Inked Magazine was wrapping up. The guy model was kinda muscley hot and was covered with tats, of course. Didn't know who the models were or the photographer, but it was interesting watching the photographer directing the shoot.

Throughout the afternoon during the setup, after the models for the party showed up, and for the duration of the party, I was taking pictures with both my Nikon D40 (portraits with floodlights) and my Canon S90 (for candid party shots). I took about 300+ pictures in total in about 2 hours and sent them to my friend after tagging each of them with my contact information and copyright stuff.

The hottest guy of the day and the one we wanted to pet for a little while was Macie, which (btw) he pronounced as "May-thee" with a soft "th" and then spelled it for us. Would love to find out what his "safe word" is.

All in all we had a great time, I learned a lot, and Matt & I worked phenomenally well together. Granted, if photography gigs were to become common, there's no guarantee that Matt would accompany me to all of them, but it was certainly fun and extremely helpful to have him there.
wwcitizen: (Photo Avatar)
Camera - check. Tripod - check. Flood lamps - check. Packed bags - check. New business cards - check!

We're heading to Atlantic City today to perform my first-ever paid freelance photography gig! It's so cool and I can't wait to get in there. It'll be a small party venue for portrait shooting for a friend.

A friend of mine was coordinating a party at a casino for his company and he thought of me, knowing that I was unemployed. I felt so honored that he'd think of me! He asked if I could "take some shots" of the party he and his company is hosting tomorrow, Mar. 25, at a casino. What's interesting is that this was serendipity-do! This friend of mine didn't really know that I was setting up to do professional portraits for friends, family, and possibly full-on clients.

I said, "YES!" immediately before I checked what I was doing that day. I had nothing else planned other than doing my taxes (ugh!) and Gayme Night with the boys over here, but we have worked around Gayme Night - taxes will have to wait.

Wouldn't this be fun if it turned into something long-term and profitable? I have created a business card that we'll put on the table where we log the folks with their photos. Check it out - my own Photoshop creation!

I don't think I'll be posting any pictures of the actual gig online, but I will of Matt and me and my friend who's coordinating the party, as well as some pictures of AC while we're there - supposed to be beautiful days! This should be fun, eye-opening, and hopefully something for the future! Wish me luck!
wwcitizen: (Dont Know)
Matt and I went on a trip with his family to Disney. We had a great time, except for the cold, the rain, the coughing kids, and ALL THE RUDE CROWDS (it was winter break for most of America and they all came to Disney). These crowds were the rudest we've ever encountered at a theme park (and I've been to quite a few).

That week at the happiest place on Earth was in early February. This is now the second week in March. I haven't really posted anything here for the past month because I was sick, as I mentioned somewhere during the process of the whole thing. I must say, even though I know I've mentioned it, this was the worst bout of a cold that I've ever had. The actual cold lasted easily 10 days followed by a 10-day sinus infection.

1) It wasn't pretty; on my own, I went through 3 boxes of Kleenexes (the big Costco boxes!).
2) I didn't feel like doing shit (I sat here playing FarmVille & Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook).
3) We didn't go anywhere until 3 weeks in; our first outing was to an extra depressing wake!
4) We had to order take-out since, being sick, we didn't get out to the grocery stores from having been out of town before we got sick.

All in all, I feel REALLY disconnected, lost, and displaced right now. I'm reading through posts on LJ and others' posts on FB without much connection, which is strange. Maybe this is an extreme case of cabin fever. It didn't help that we were confronted with two major snow storms while we were sick, either. Glad to be physically healthy again. Now, I need to "get back in the game" and start doing stuff. I need to "BE HERE".

Do you ever feel that way?
wwcitizen: (Face-Serious)
A friend of mine, who knows me pretty well, just gave me a good bitch slap - that I well deserved. My post yesterday, "Betty Called Me Out," at first was meant to be a jovial post about how young I feel in light of our cleaning lady mentioning that she was our age - and seems much older.

But, of course, I didn't give birth to two kids that I'm helping put through college. I don't work - right now. Or even when I do have a job, because I have "white collar" positions, I don't work nearly as hard as she does physically. She's also got health problems and "is" older than we are, even though we're all the same chronological age.

There are plenty of other friends of mine who are her age and have three kids and are mentally "younger" than her. They, too, have the privilege of being stay-at-home parents and doing things on the side. They're also not yet at the point of putting kids through college, which is a huge financial burden that carries a lot of stress.

I shouldn't have written that post or in the least, I should have expressed the gratitude that I feel daily that I'm able to do the things I want to do within reason. I considered removing the post altogether because the words don't reflect the real me or who I am at my deepest level. But I'm keeping it to remind me that - for this moment in time - I have it easier than a lot of people and shouldn't take it for granted. I really appreciate the reality check and being called out by a friend.
wwcitizen: (Bavarian Bear)
We set up our listings on eBay as a store. We're called "The Marble Cave", which is an anagram of Matthew's and my last names (Lambeth-Vecera). Ain't that cool?

I'm in the process of updating our Store Categories so that our items are more easily found and purchased. Most of our items are Buy It Now and will stay online as Good 'Til Canceled. There are very few items that will be auctions.

Check out our store! Who knows? Something might suit your fancy!
wwcitizen: (AngryFace-LobsterAttack)
The other day, I mentioned that [livejournal.com profile] erstexman was my "Doppelgänger".
My usage of that term was more in line with the actual German direct meaning of the word, which is a double walker - a person who does what you do somewhere else in the world doing what exactly what you're doing in the opposite direction, so that you two never actually meet. HOWEVER, in looking up the word in English, there's a sinister or negative connotation stemming from movies or 18th century stories where the Doppelgänger was a foreboding figure, which wasn't my intention. Upon further investigation, I think I prefer the term "body double". Interestingly, the term is most commonly used in the context of head-to-toe (or nearly) shots involving nudity. Whereas that may have been the case in a few instances, in reality, I'm only meaning to imply that we (as he's also noted) have experienced very similar things throughout our lives.

In his most recent post, [livejournal.com profile] erstexman mentioned being a camera whore. That's me through and through. Whenever there's an opportunity for me to appear on TV, in the newspaper, or on the radio, I'm there.

In college, I was on the news a few times when reporters were on campus. After my first study abroad summer, the local newspaper called me for an interview and my face was on the front page of the "Lifestyles" section. Recently, my father and I were both interviewed for the same newspaper talking about the trip we took to Russia.

When I moved to Princeton, NJ, I was on the radio one morning during a morning show on PST. At around the same time, I met Connie Chung (yes - the Connie Chung!!!) and sang The Star-Spangled Banner for her on Madison Avenue because John Bon Jovi had canceled his singing the song at the opening of a Mets or Yankees game and the local news was "taking auditions" on Madison Avenue. I happened to be there and sang the song. I didn't get the recording, but apparently it was not only really good (from the mouth of Connie Chung), but good enough to make it on the nightly news, which I missed. Friends of mine in the area called me that night screaming into the phone that they'd seen it, which was exciting, but, again, I missed it, and no one recorded it because they didn't know I was going to be on!

On our way out of town in San Francisco, Matt and I were interviewed (because I approached the reporter excitedly) about smoking cigarettes. We kept checking back on the website to see whether we made it on, but, alas, the interview never made it on the newscast at all as far as we know! Ho hum.

Most recently, I was on a TV show on FLN called Bartender Wars commenting on a drink. I had about a 10-second spot where I say, "The shot tastes like lipstick! I'm a guy; I don't wanna taste lipstick!"

And my eyes are still always peeled for my next spot on TV or newspaper interview. Who knows? One day, I might have my own TV show or my own newspaper column!
wwcitizen: (New Year Ball)
Matthew found these list of things for consideration on reviewing 2009 and looking toward 2010. I liked the lists and thought others might benefit from them.
For those of you who want ... form and structure, here are some questions that can guide you in your 2009 review and 2010 goal setting. When I go through these kinds of questions I like to consider my answers in several areas:

Community Service
Fun / creativity / recreation

Completing and remembering 2009
Review the list of all completed projects
What was your biggest triumph in 2009?
What was the smartest decision you made in 2009?
What one word best sums up and describes your 2009 experience?
What was the greatest lesson you learned in 2009?
What was the most loving service you performed in 2009?
What is your biggest piece of unfinished business in 2009?
What are you most happy about completing in 2009?
Who were the three people that had the greatest impact on your life in 2009?
What was the biggest risk you took in 2009?
What was the biggest surprise in 2009?
What important relationship improved the most in 2009?
What compliment would you liked to have received in 2009?
What compliment would you liked to have given in 2009?
What else do you need to do or say to be complete with 2009?

Creating the new year
What would you like to be your biggest triumph in 2010?
What advice would you like to give yourself in 2010?
What is the major effort you are planning to improve your financial results in 2010?
What would you be most happy about completing in 2010?
What major indulgence are you willing to experience in 2010?
What would you most like to change about yourself in 2010?
What are you looking forward to learning in 2010?
What do you think your biggest risk will be in 2010?
What about your work, are you most committed to changing and improving in 2010?
What is one as yet undeveloped talent you are willing to explore in 2010?
What brings you the most joy and how are you going to do or have more of that in 2010?
Who or what, other than yourself, are you most committed to loving and serving in 2010?
What one word would you like to have as your theme in 2010?
wwcitizen: (BIG SMILE)


If anyone is interested in Department 56 (it's a set of REALLY cute porcelain villages for different seasons), we are selling a TON of things. I'm continuously posting items for sale on eBay.

Check out our items and bookmark our link (or send this along to anyone you might know who collects Department 56).


Our stuff is at seriously DEEP DISCOUNTS!!

We roundly apologize to interested parties outside the US; shipping might well be very cost prohibitive for these items.
wwcitizen: (Which Way To Go)
This is the beginning of a work-related set of posts I plan to do. The purpose of these posts will be to explore what elements of my past careers I've really enjoyed, why I enjoyed them, and what aspects will be useful or marketable to new employers or useful in going into business for myself. These work-related posts might end up being four posts. I'm not sure, but this will be fun and useful for me, I think.

Up to about 6 years ago, I was living a happy professional life in Trenton, NJ, and working in Princeton at a software company. It was wonderfully fun to work there. Just about everyone I worked directly with was in their 30s or 40s; our founder at the time was in his early 50s. I worked at the company twice over 6 years and loved it. The company's founder hired me back within my Client Services department in late 2000 as manager of the department.

Even with all the organizational and company culture changes over the years, the account management position was for certain one of my most favorite jobs. I dealt with software, the internet, and all production groups within the company to make sure that the clients were getting what they paid for. As an Account Manager, my main focus was clients in regards to training, implementation, up-sell, technical support, innovation, documentation, and software QA & testing. Marketing and I worked together closely on Requests for Proposal (RFPs) - responses to prospective clients.

I also worked closely with sales in many capacities from pre & post-sales calls, product training for the sales staff, and client transition from sales and contracting to account management. In fact, I came up with the idea and implemented it initially for a Sales Support Group to begin. Once I worked out the processes of elements of Sales Support, my involvement within that capacity was given to someone else who took the position. I then returned fully to Client Services. While I worked with the sales staff as Sales Support, I traveled extensively (which I loved!) and helped reduce the typical 9-18 month sales cycle down to 6-9 months!

My Sales Support concept was for the Sales Support person to be the more technical and customer-focused voice championing the clients' needs within our company together with sales negotiating and writing up the contracts. The sales staff used their company contacts to get in the door of prospective clients. Once we were in and sales was ready for demonstrations and consultative services, Sales Support would work beside sales and help guide the prospective client into a contract. Of course, with the technical and client-focused background of Sales Support people, they were also be heavily involved with Marketing in the RFP process. After I went back to Client Services, the Sales Support became more of an administrative function rather than the active, consultative role I had initially envision and implemented.

Even though my primary focus at the company was account management, I used my education background in web-based instructional design, training design & development, training coordination & facilitation & results assessment. I always used elements of project management in Client Services. In the PM capacity, I was charged with creating the implementation process, which included transitioning clients from sales and contract signing into account management. I helped clients develop methods of marketing the new software in their organizations. I worked closely with my clients to make sure that their implementation went smoothly and people began using our system.

The most exciting aspects of this job were 1) the diverse requirements of the job, 2) the many hats I was able to wear, 3) the clients I had (mostly all Fortune 500 and 1000 companies), and 4) my colleagues. I imagine it'll be hard to find a new job that will help me remain a jack-of-all-trades within their organization. Maybe that will come with time once I'm there, if I get a new job. That "IF" remains out there because Matt and I have been talking about working together and we have begun working together on some projects.
wwcitizen: (BALLOONING)
Check balloon ride off my list of things I wanted to do!! All my life I've watched balloons go up, gone to balloon festivals and yearned to be a part of them, and romanticized what a balloon ride would be like. Today, I took a balloon ride! And, I'd do it again, but somewhere else, given the chance.

Last year, my family graciously gave me a coupon for a balloon ride (or glider or skydiving) good for a year and three months. Since my coupon was about to expire this November, I had to use it.

I chose to use Blue Sky Balloons, which was an excellent choice. The balloon let off from a farm in Poughkeepsie, NY, just off the Taconic State Parkway. The colors were good on the trees (next week would probably have been better) and there were three other passengers other than the pilot.

We got to the farm about 30 minutes early and walked around the place. We found out that the "Sprout Creek Farm" is run by nuns and a 23-yr-old cheese maker. The cheese was REALLY good (and we picked up a card for mail ordering some later)!

The photo album shows and explains everything better, but there are other stories to tell, too! I'll post more when we return from DC on Monday! Have a great weekend everyone!
wwcitizen: (At Puter)
I don't watch 60 Minutes any longer, but this is a pretty neat collection of things to consider with telemarketers and junk mail. I like his ideas!!

Three Little Words That Work!!

(1)The three little words are: 'HOLD ON PLEASE...' (and walk away from the phone)
Saying this, while putting down your phone and walking off (instead of hanging-up immediately) would make each telemarketing call so much more time-consuming that boiler room sales would grind to a halt.

Then when you eventually hear the phone company's 'beep-beep-beep' tone, you know it's time to go back and hang up your handset, which has efficiently completed its task. These three little words will help eliminate telephone soliciting.

(2) Do you ever get those annoying phone calls with no one on the other end?
This is a telemarketing technique where a machine makes phone calls and records the time of day when a person answers the phone.

This technique is used to determine the best time of day for a 'real' sales person to call back and get someone at home.

What you can do after answering: If you notice there is no one there, immediately start hitting your # button on the phone 6-7 times as quickly as possible. This confuses the machine that dialed the call, and it kicks your number out of their system.. Gosh, what a shame not to have your name in their system any longer!!

(3) Junk Mail help:
When you get 'ads' enclosed with your phone or utility bill, return these 'ads' with your payment. Let the sending companies throw their own junk mail away.

When you get those 'pre-approved' letters in the mail for everything from credit cards to 2nd mortgages and similar type junk, do not throw away the return envelope.

Most of these come with postage-paid return envelopes, right? It costs them more than the regular 41 cents postage, 'IF' and when they receive them back.

It costs them nothing if you throw them away! The postage was around 50 cents before the last increase and it is according to the weight. In that case, why not get rid of some of your other junk mail and put it in these cool little, postage-paid return envelopes.

One of Andy Rooney 's (60 minutes) ideas:

Send an ad for your local chimney cleaner to American Express. Send a pizza coupon to Citibank. If you didn't get anything else that day, then just send them their blank application back! If you want to remain anonymous, just make sure your name isn't on anything you send them.

You can even send the envelope back empty if you want to just to keep them guessing! It still costs them 41 cents.

The banks and credit card companies are currently getting a lot of their own junk back in the mail, but folks, we need to OVERWHELM them. Let's let them know what it's like to get lots of junk mail, and best of all they're paying for it...Twice!

Let's help keep our postal service busy since they are saying that e-mail is cutting into their business profits, and that's why they need to increase postage costs again. You get the idea! If enough people follow these tips, it will work - I (Andy Rooney) have been doing this for years and get very little junk mail anymore.


wwcitizen: (Default)
Stephen Lambeth

May 2017

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