Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Happy Hour - This Chapter Ends

And a new one begins. Tonight Sharkey and I went to a local microbrewery and met 10 of my coworkers. Some of them I've known for almost 10 years. It was a great time. We talked about when I was a wet behind the ears rookie, and then some others there know me as their mentor or their teacher. And those guys had their own stories of me as well.

So as I leave this job I've had for almost 10 years I look back and see how much I've changed and moved forward. How my journey has led me to this place. Along the way I met a lot of great people. Heck, I met my wife at work. That alone is the most important relationship of my professional career in my opinion. =) But it also makes me think how much I've changed to become the JP I am now. It was really a lot of fun laughing and talking about the "good old days" and the things I did myself and to hear how other people thought of me in the past.

And as fun as it was, I sit here and I have perspective. I am proud of the work I have done. I feel like I made a real difference for the company, for myself, and for the people I have met. And I can truthfully say with a clear conscience that I did the right thing with integrity and gave it everything I had every time. It was good work. As I move forward I'm excited and energized. I'm excited for a new opportunity, to learn a new business, and to continue to grow as an individual and make a difference again. 2 days to go....

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Road Rage

So tonight I was off running some errands. These errands require me to go to various shopping places. So I'm driving, relaxed, life is good, I have the tunes cranking, and the weather is beautiful. And at that point that's where it all went wrong. This jackhole kid in an SUV pulls out in front of me and I almost crash into him. I hit the brakes, the antilock kicks in, and I do a quick look to the side and avoid hitting him from the rear by doing a left swerve manuver. I nail the horn and stay on it for a really long time. Now mind you I was actually traveling the speed limit and when he pulled out and initiated a right turn, he was at a light with a NO TURN ON RED sign.

Oh wait it gets better. Sure we all have lapses in judgement. We pull out when we shouldn't and we all do stupid things on the road. Those are called accidents. I get that. I understand that. I live that. So you feel apologetic, or embarassed, and you just move on and give the "I'm sorry wave of the hand" and sulk away. So when the kid completely stopped Mommy and Daddy's SUV in the middle of a 35 MPH zone and stretched out the window and gave me the "What's your problem Dude? You almost hit my Mom and Dad's SUV" look, that's when I pretty much lost it. I gave him the "Are you F'ing kidding me!!!!" look, the "Screw you rich kid!!!" hand waves and the "If you even get out of your parents' car I'm going to put you down like a sack of flour" stare.

So he finally drives away and I get to my destination and calm down and then I think about how I would want my kid to react if he did the same stupid thing. Because the fact that I almost crashed into the kid and that he made a bad judgement in turning is not what set me off. It is the entitlement, smart ass, non-accountable reaction I received after the fact.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Home Stretch

I am 8 days from being unemployed and I'm LOVING IT!! Last week was pretty normal. Went to work, put up with the typical BS and did the day in and day out stuff. Squashed a few fires that came up, did the save the day Superman routine I'm accustomed to doing. This week however is totally different. I have entered the magical land of "INDIFFERENCE." It's amazing. Monday I go to work, I look up and totally developed "Short Timer's" syndrome in a matter of seconds of seeing the login screen. I've been disengaging from "work" conversations, I've hung up the Superman cape and have been responding to e-mail when I get around to it. See that behavior in and of itself tells you something, because you have to know when I'm working and an e-mail comes in I respond almost immediately.

I am a sounding board for a lot of people and they still call me to vent about what's happening here and there and what's wrong with this process, this person, etc. I'm sort of just listening, but I'm pretty relaxed. Again, indifferent. I still listen, but I just cannot get up any real energy into trying to make an effort to try to make a difference. I think I pretty much am in acceptance that "ATTENTION, ATTENTION,....JP HAS LEFT THE BUILDING!!!!" My stages of behavior sort of reminds me of the Robot Chicken Giraffe...

Next Wednesday is my big after work happy hour partaaaay... to hang out with my friends and coworkers, some of which I've known for almost 10 years. It'll be interesting to talk about "the good old days..."

HEROES Last Night....

Totally sad to see this was the last episode for the season. I really liked the ending although it was a bit predictable. Sylar got the crap kicked out of him by all the heroes. Sort of poetic justice since he killed so many of them and stole their powers. I'm on the fence if Nathan really bit it when he flew Peter up into the sky. I'm looking forward to the new season in the fall. And I saw that NBC is bringing back the Bionic Woman. No Way!!!! I'm waiting for Sanford and Son 2008 to make an appearance again. What's old is what's new again?

Sharkey's Party

It was exhausting, put together rapidly, but it was FUN!!! A great time was had by all. Sharkey and I were sitting on the couch last night and I looked over at her and said, "Honey, we have a 3 day weekend and nothing planned to do!!! YAY!!!!!" It was also fun covertly feeding her best friends pictures which they made into a Powerpoint show for Sharkey.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Resigned This Week

So as you know I resigned from my job on Tuesday. You know you go over in your mind exactly how you are going to approach a situation and you prepare yourself for all of the typical fallout questions that follow. Why are you going? Where are you going? Can we do anything to keep you here? What exactly compelled you to go? All typical questions you get from a job resignation. Well as much as you can prepare, there are some things you just do not foresee. Like when you tell your manager she starts to cry. Now I'm a professional, but geeze I just cannot stand it when someone, especially a woman for some reason, cries in front of me or because of me. So I do what I do best. I just try to be positive and make a joke of the entire thing. So eventually the crying stops and there's sort of an uncomfortable silence, then I'm like, "So... anything else? Can I go now? Pleeeeeeaaaaasssseeee...."

So Tuesday was interesting, but not nearly as interesting as when my team found out about my leaving. This happened at our weekly team meeting we had. It went something like this:

JP: Well guys I just wanted you to know I gave my notice this week.

Everyone: !!!!! SILENCE !!!!!!! 2 MINUTES

Everyone: !!!!! SILENCE !!!!!!! 2 MINUTES

Coworker1: Tears up, leaves room... 1 MIN 45 SECONDS

Coworker2: Is this April 1st by any chance? Please tell me it is...

Coworker3: I hope this is one of those nightmares you wake up from and then are relieved it was only a dream.

JP: Um, er, um, I'm not quite sure what to say, only it's been an honor and you will all be fine. You're all strong individuals, great professionals, and I know the work we've done TOGETHER will go on without me.

Everyone: !!!!! SILENCE !!!!!! 2 MINUTES

I'm telling you that's how it went down. And again my manager seemed to have the deer in the headlights reaction to what was going on exactly the same as when I told her on Tuesday. I so totally wished the meeting would have been moderated better. But I suppose I found out that day like Sally Field at the Oscar's, "They like me, they really, really like me." So like I said, you picture how it goes in your head, but unfortunately you cannot foresee how things will really play out, because let's face it people are NUTS!!!

But I do know one thing for sure. When I resigned and gave notice it felt...GOOD!!! Onward people, ever onward and upward!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Peeing on Command

So my new employer requires, along with several other things, that I pass a drug test to work for them. So today I took some time to go to the medical lab to get that done. So I'm waiting in the lab, and man there were some interesting characters there. And the lab people seemed to be totally "enjoying" being there as well. Although I have to admit, I think if I were dealing with other people's bodily fluids day in and day out, I'd probably have that indifferent attitude as well.

So my name is called. I go up, and the tech tells me to pick up this kit, open it, take the contents out, sign here, initial there and then hands me this cup. Actually it wasn't a cup. It was the size of a small farm trough. And it had this little black sticker about 1/3 the way up on it. She told me I had to fill it above the black sticker. So off to the restroom I go. So I'm there in the bathroom trying to get things going and nothing. I'm like, "come on JP you have to have something." Nothing... OK the anxiety starts to go up. What if I cannot fill it to the black line? What will they think of me? Will my name be placed on the wall of shame with the rest of the individuals who couldn't get it to the black sticker? Will I have to do it all over again? Will my new employer find out I failed to get to the black line? How can we hire a guy who couldn't make it to the black sticker? How am I going to explain this to Sharkey? I just want to get to the black sticker is that soooo hard!!! Come on!! It's the dumbest thing!! Come on JP, come on you can do it!! Of course all of these crazy thoughts shot through my head in the course of about 3 seconds time. I blame my mother for passing her crazy ass anxiety genes to me. So I took a deep breath, then just relaxed, everything starting flowing. I got out of there, handed the cup to the tech while looking calmly around and said in my cool breeze voice, "Hey, no problem, thanks!!" WINK! WINK!

Monday, May 07, 2007

JP's New Career

Tomorrow will be interesting. See tomorrow will be a life changing type of day for me. Because when tomorrow comes I'll walk into a meeting with my manager and resign from my current job. This has been a long time coming. I've known for a while that I've reached the end of what I want to do for my company. And it seems the company has reached the end of what they want to do for me, so a few months back I started the official job search.

My father always said the best time to look for a job is when you have a job. So I looked around where Sharkey and I live and searched for a good company where I could learn something new and have some great opportunity to be challenged and energized. There are great benefits in looking for a job when you have one. You can be picky in what you choose and when you interview there's really no pressure. You have nothing to lose and the world to gain. And going into the interviews I had ( and there were several trust me) my attitude was to be myself, to not oversell myself, and to give it all I had. I felt that if the company really didn't like me for me, then they weren't worth working for in the first place.

So today I accepted an offer from a new company. I'll work the rest of the month then I'll take a couple of weeks off to reflect and decompress, then I'll start the new job. Sharkey is very excited and happy about the entire thing. Almost as much as I am in fact. I'm looking forward to it. I'm REALLY excited to pursue this opportunity and I'm pumped for the new challenge. I think the adrenaline and the perpetual smile on my face for most of today tells the entire story. I think the feeling I have is equivalent to hitting a home run, getting a hole in one, or making that game winning touchdown with 10 seconds on the clock.

So with all great victories in life, what are you going to do now JP?

Well, it's simple, Sharkey and I are going to Disneyworld!!!!!

Cinderella Castle

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Marriage Tip #2: Some Questions Do Not Require Answers

Once you are married things change. Let's face it. You are no longer free to do a lot of the things you used to do when you were single. There are also things that you may have worn before that you cannot wear when you get hitched. Case in point, there are some things I put on to go "out" in where I think I'm styling and looking sharp and then I'll come down from the 2nd floor and Sharkey will look at me and say, "You are not going to wear that are you?" At this point, you pretty much have that deer in the headlights look, blink 2x with a blank expression on your face, then think to yourself, "Hey look there goes my self image out the window. Oh no I think it was just run over by that 18 wheeler truck and look now the street sweeper just sucked it up to go get recycled!!"

Now for all you guys out there who have been married 7+ years like me, we all realized after the 4-5th time our wives asked us this question to not answer her and to go back up and change. But for those of you who are new to this thing we call "love" remember, when the wife says this to you she is not trying to elicit any response from you other than the one which has you going back up the stairs to take off the outfit which she deems hideous (which probably honestly is) and scares her eyes to something that meets spousal approval. So here in lies another tip for you. The wife doesn't want to talk about the outfit, and you don't want to spend the time talking about why the colors and cut don't go together, just get your ass up and change your clothes.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

My Talent

So we all have special talents right? I finally figured out what mine is today. Now a real talent would be to have a photographic memory or be able to do advanced math calculations in your head or have lightning fast reflexes. Mine is much more obscure. See no matter what market, discount center, home center, or outlet I go to I ALWAYS pick the most messed up, loudest shopping cart. I kid you not. When you hear a squeaking, wheels rolling on their sides, piece of crap cart coming towards you, that's the one I always pick. I've tried to be picky with the selection upon entering the establishment, but it never fails. Like 9 out of 10 times I always will pick the worst cart the joint has to offer... It's a gift I tells ya a gift!


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Kandy Kakes

I loves me some Tastykake!!! Never heard of them? The are an original Philly creation. You all know the Hostess Twinkie no doubt or the Little Debbie Chocolate Roll thingy. But let me tell you, "nobody makes a cake as tasty as a Tastykake!" My favorite is probably the Kandy Kake. The Kandy Kake is a small circular yellow cake with peanut butter on top and the entire thing is enclosed in chocolate. Girl Scouts sell sort of a similar cookie type of thing, but the Tastykake is sooo much better!! Recently Sharkey even became a believer! I've caught her sneaking a Kandy Kake here and there!

I grew up on these things. My Mom & Dad would get them for us every once in a while. We'd go take in a Phillies game and we'd get some Tastykake for the ball park. Or we'd go down to the NJ shore and grab some snacks before we headed out to throw in the cooler and we'd always throw a few Tastykakes in. My family had the standard fare we'd always cycle through: Taskykake pies, butterscotch krimpets, jelly krimpets, and kandy kakes. All are totally worth trying at least 1x trust me.

It's funny, my oldest brother moved to North Carolina and you cannot get Tastykakes there. I don't think they have them in Minnesota either. So for Christmas either my Mom or his father in law sends them a Tastykake assortment. No you may ask, are they really that good. YES. THEY ARE REALLY THAT GOOD!!!