Tuesday, December 18, 2012
And I just hit send on an email to one of my business partners calling out a mistake in my model, which was used to recommend our entire 2013 compensation plan. I had an internal struggle with 1) how to approach the subject and 2) is it better to call out mistakes and look incompetent or is it better to deal with the results on the back-end. Obviously I picked to face the challenge head on. It's not an easy call though. Given that I'm still very new in this job, I pushed to make a good impression. I brought Monte-Carlo analysis into modeling where previously the picture had been quite static. For a period, I looked like a rockstar. And right now, I feel like I'm the size of an ant.
I can't figure out if my expectations are too high or if someone else's are. My previous employer gave me all the tools and more to shine. So far, I feel like I've fumbled my way into learning how to do things here. There was no guidebook and rarely a true guide. I could always get an answer when asking a question, but again, often tripped to find the question. I don't doubt my skills and capabilities. I just need to find my rhythm again. Right now, I feel out of tune.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Most people immediately change their name on FB when they get married. I have definitely had a couple of double takes, thinking WHO IS ....? Oh yeah. That's their new name. Needless to say, I didn't. There was no real reason why I should or shouldn't and it just seemed like a lot of work after planning a wedding.
I received my new social security card recently and subsequently all the questions started flowing. What should the signature look like? Am I going to remember to respond when people call me using my new last name? Is work going to be able to do a clean sweep when they change over my name? (My current email and login are associated with my old last name!) I have had the same name for 30 years and now I have to remember a new name. That said, I never had a middle name and subsequently, I've just moved around some things so that now I have the longest name ever! While I do think there's something said for not going through the name change process. I also think there's an element of traditionalism that I like about the change. I know that addressing invites to people with different last names was an interesting.
I suppose I should get used to seeing the new name! DMV on Nov 1 to change my license. Then it's onto everything else.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
This post was written many months ago:
You are a second year and the harsh reality is that for one reason or another, you did not land your initial dream job during the general on-grounds recruiting process. The search is not over and while there are still jobs being posted internally, it does not feel the same as having companies interview in campus. All of a sudden your world shifts, so you are investigating companies you almost didn't know existed two months ago. Per the usual dog and pony, you reach out to alums, looking for vision, insight, and most importantly, an inside track.
As an alum, this is where I'm put into a predicament. My company recruited for most-MBA positions and has already completed offers. The harsh reality is that what's left are general company positions, looking for some sort of specific experience. If you have it, great. If you don't, I'm not sure what to tell you. Is it my place to tell you not to waste your time? Is this something that I would have wanted to hear as a candidate? Or do I offer to help the best that I can because I do believe in my alma mater and the alumni or future alumni? It's hard because you don't want to kill the dreams of those looking for a future. However, I know how much I desprise writing cover letters and I have to imagine others feel the same.
The fact that you didn't initially receive an offer does not concern me. I have plenty of talented classmates who for one reason or another were still loooking for positions after graduation. Some people don't interview well. Some are simply found on the short end of the stick. Whatever the reason, I just wonder what my place is.
Monday, September 24, 2012
Tomorrow is my one month anniversary of being married. My social security docs went into the mail today to change my name. On Thursday, my committee is putting on the first Training Event that I have been able to attend. It's the everyday life, day in and day out.
I turn my phone off on most mornings so that I'm not tempted to check it on a regular basis. At some point before lunch is normally when I give it life again. In a strange turn of events, life was the exact subject of a text I received.
Ronnie was my best friend my senior year in high school. We spent hours on the phone every night. He often told me that I wasn't good for his sleeping schedule, but we'd talk through the wee hours of the morning anyhow. He had a temper and would occasionally put large holes in his parents’ house. We made a pact that he would call me before making any new holes. If at the end of our conversation he felt the need to hit the wall, he could. Together, we saved a number of walls. There was no romantic spark from my end. I was graduating and moving to Colorado for school and wanted nothing to hold me back. I introduced him to my best female friend and encouraged the two of them to get to know each other. Six years later, they broke up. We drifted as he had a new center of attention. But at the same time, there are friends you see and never skip a beat. Our paths separated as I left the Bay Area and he chose a different life's path. Through social media, I’ve been able to keep up with him…
That text was to inform me that he died last night of a drug overdose. At first, all the what ifs flashed through my mind. Then there were the memories that stood out, as real as yesterday. Finally, I found myself with a sense of bewilderment. What do you say? He was 32 years old, not much older than me. I see a life ahead of me and he seemed to see nothing. How does that happen? Accidental? On purpose? You just wonder. He's joined those who died too young and yet maybe he's just in a better place.
When I first saw the text, I didn’t believe it. I immediately went to Facebook – strange how the world has changed. And I find it even odder how the social world lives even when you’re not breathing. Condolences, photos, thoughts of hope, sympathy… it was a little too much for me to bare at the moment. I shut it down. Asked my friend if she wanted support and left it at that. I feel weird, but I can’t seem to find the emotions or explanation.
As the years pass, the tables turn. My grandmother at 85 is doing fairly well. More of her friends have passed than are living. While living a long life to see your descendants grow is something for which I hope. I always wonder if there's an interesting dichotomy there with watching all your friends pass. It always seems so sad when someone passes old and yet much sadder when someone is young.
Rest in Peace, Ronnie.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
At times I wonder what I'm going to do with all the free time that is no longer devoted to wedding planning. I've already decided that Junior League will get a portion of my free time as it's received nothing since I left Chicago. In addition, I decided to put in another transfer from JLSF to JL-PA-MP (Palo Alto-Mid Peninsula) due to the location of my new job. Going up the street sounded much better than attempting to make meetings that are generally an hour away without traffic and start at 6p.
The new job has some similarities to the old job, I think. For now, it's been one access nightmare after another, which doesn't differ at all from my previous company. I've moved up the Fortune 500 ladder to sub-50 from sub-100. All that means is both companies are equally sized behemoths with bureaucracy and hoops cemented in the organizations' bones. That said, I was previously at a sales office, where I now work at a subsidiary of corporate. I haven't figured out if there is much difference yet, but will report back soon. In either case, I'm still in a finance support role where my main customer is sales. I'm looking forward to learning new systems, terminology and products. While I'm still in healthcare, this is definitely an extent towards helping the patient. Maybe I won't get that funny look when I tell people what I do. It's the look when someone says they work in health insurance and you can't figure out if you should yell at them because of something your insurance company did/did not do or if you should politely leave the conversation because now your opinion of them has changed.
And perhaps I'll blog more, though no promises.
Sunday, August 26, 2012
Monday, August 13, 2012
I started writing something to the bridesmaids about their gifts. It made me think for a second. August 25th, the first and last day of a chapter. Future decisions will now affect two instead of one. I won't have a spot to go that is just mine. It is all ours. And somehow, I'm not scared. I hope I can be everything that he needs and thinks that I am. I ponder what words to write in my vows. I've started multiple times and always end up thinking about how lucky I am and all that he does for me. I know I reciprocate. Though I'm often in awe as to how everything came to be. Perhaps that's the best part.
I had a plan 4 years ago when I decided to to move across the country to attend Darden. I can't say nothing worked out as planned, though not much did for sure. I'm not an investment banker giving my life to Wall Street. I don't bring in the same income as them either. However, I do have my work-life balance, even if life is currently consumed by wedding planning. I had plans to date no one. Suppose that lasted about a month. And in the end, I met my match. He balances me. He challenges me. He makes my heart swoon and my knees buckle. He is my other half.
Wedding countdown in full swing...
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
The wedding planning is moving. We're only a couple weeks out and everyday seems to be a new task. In addition, I feel like whenever something is "complete", I receive a note saying a new decision needs to be made. I'm about to shutdown on the decision front. Here's hoping that the next couple weeks fly!!
As one of my bridesmaids told me, things will go wrong. It's not if, but when. Remember at the end of the day, you're marrying your best friend and that's what matters. Back to planning...
Thursday, July 05, 2012
Monday, June 11, 2012
The wedding is just over ten weeks away and I'm now in retirement from soccer until post honeymoon. Soccer - my first love and a sport that has given me incredible hardship. And subsequently, a lot of lessons over the years. A miss by a defender ended in a sprained ankle yesterday. I know it wasn't on purpose. Yet it's still frustrating. Luckily, I work from home. However those twenty three stairs between the office and kitchen are brutal.
I'm in relatively good spirits. I've done this enough to know exactly how the steps go. Rest, ice, compression and elevation. I contemplate a visit to the doctor, knowing it's practically a waste of money. I always thought you needed a prescription for physical therapy. Perhaps that is simply to run it through insurance. I should check my policy document (yep, nerd).
My brother is to be wed this weekend. I sincerely hope that I can make it down the aisle and back without crutches. Seriously crappy timing. I'm not sure he or his wife to be have quite figured out the implications of the injury.
Tuesday, May 08, 2012
I feel the pitter patter of my heart. I reminds myself to smile and breathe. You chose to be here and nowhere else. The scenery is warm. Colored though not overwhelming. There's very little curiosity as to why I'm here. Perhaps it's that obvious. In comparison, I look overdressed.
I stare at the poster on the wall. The words could have been my beliefs, written by me. I guess I would have figured that out earlier if I had paid more attention. I suppose that makes this more exciting and scary at the same time.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
We've settled in to our temporary home on the peninsula. It's weird to be home, under the roof I remember most through my childhood. Mom setup a makeshift desk for me in the office. It works for what I need. The working at home experience has been interesting. At work, I'd wander from my desk to do something and would end up conversing with someone for often many minutes. At home, I'm constantly worried about being away for my desk for more than 5 minutes, at which point my IM indicator changes from green (available) to yellow (inactive). I've put some unnecessary pressure on myself to make sure that I demonstrat the amount of work that I accomplish. Fact is, my boss did put his neck out to allow me to continue to work for him.
I like the the flexibility to occasionally work from home, but the 24/7 experience leaves something to be desired. My coworkers are four legged friends who like to bark at everything that passes the house. They're not exactly conference call friendly. All that said, I thank my leader for this opportunity. Having a job during my move is 10 times better than not having one.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
While on our road trip across the country, we celebrated my fiance's 30th birthday in Vegas - upgraded to an absolutely insane penthouse suite. Not shabby. I managed to surprise him by having 5 family members show up in Vegas, all of whom were given a weeks notice. I was quite proud of myself and even more excited that our families have the flexibility to make that work.
Now, we're back in CA! It's a bit surreal. So far it feels like an extended stay. I'm working from home and haven't quite gotten into the routine yet. Last night, I had an 8:15p soccer game. It felt so good to be on the pitch. However, I hurt so much today! This means that more gym time is needed ASAP.
On a temporary basis, we're staying at my mom's house and it's quite full. There are 5 of us here right now, plus the friends and family that come for a night or two. It makes dinner fun at least. That said, we're also getting use to a very different buying pattern and meal pattern. I'll admit, my fiance and I are very regimented in a lot that we do. While it may sound boring, it allows me to skip a couple gym days and not feel entirely lazy. I avoid certain foods by simply not purchasing them. It's not that I don't have a sweet tooth (because I definitely do!), I just try to control my intake of goodies. I'm not running 3-10 miles daily like I did growing up (yeah, cross country). This house on the other hand, has always been known for the junk food. It amazes me that nothing has changed.
Working from home seemingly gives me more time and yet, I feel like I accomplish less. Perhaps it's because when I log off, it's easy to get sucked into putting things away or wandering around the house. Or maybe it's because mundane work has me lethargic when I sign off. I'm sure it'll get better.
On that note, I'm going to find my iPod, my heart rate monitor and try a new gym.
Friday, March 09, 2012
I'm tired, somehow functioning and slightly agitated. Thank goodness it's Friday! It seems that Google finally made a Blogger app. It always amazed me that it didn't happen sooner. Maybe I'll write more. By no means is it a lack of ideas, thoughts or experiences. It's simply that lately, I feel a love hate relationship with my phone. I've had to rely on my phone more and more recently to accomplish tasks. While the screen is big by phone standards, it's tiny compared to my 24 inch monitor at work. Plus, even with Swype, typing on my phone gets the best of me.
So why so much time and energy? It's primarily because communication doesn't stop when I go to work, but my computer access to email does.
I suppose I should take a few steps back. Last July, I was asked to be the Mrs of the love of my life. Since we met, we have generally been on the same page. One of those important items is where we want to settle down. I left the Bay Area in 2008, having one concrete thought, I'd be back. I never knew when or what stops I'd take between 2008 and my return, but I always knew, the Bay Area is home. Not only is my family nearby, but also a good portion of my sizable network is still local.
Fast forward to December 2011. My fiance and I return to California, Northern and Southern, for the holidays. Next thing I know, we are discussing making a move west. It felt very fictional at first, but as time went on, it became more real. First I was telling my boss that I was moving to California, though wasn't sure when. Within months, I informed him that I'd be moving at the end of March. And now, we're about a week from that date and all the pisces are falling into place. More to come...Written Friday, March 9th
Wednesday, February 01, 2012
In the spirit of big birthdays, a friend's friend decided to compile 30 wishes from 30 friends. I think it's a touching and brilliant idea. However, what do you say at 30? My trusty friend Google gave me a couple quick ideas. I specifically liked this quote by Bob Dylan, "may you stay forever young." Slightly corny and maybe even a bit cliche, though it embeds everything I hope to accomplish as the years progress. "Adult" life can jade us. We forget that you work for more than the paycheck. Sometimes we have bad weeks, bad months, even horrible years, but with everything there's a reason (philosophical, I know). I hope to remember to have fun. While I may never have another time in my life where I don't have a care in the world. I hope to remember that age is just a number and youth is a feeling.
Not too long ago, my fiance and I painted pottery at a local studio. I made a "Cheerios" bowl - bright yellow with a red heart and "o's" inside. The outside read, Cheerios. But of course, the kid in me couldn't let the fact that I wanted paw prints and the color purple on my bowl, so I painted the bottom purple (can only be seen if you flip it over) and put paw prints on either side of my "Cheerios" signage. Perfect. As I washed it this evening, all I could think is that I'm just a big kid. It's moments like this where I feel youth.
So to my friend:
May you stay forever young. - Bob Dylan
30 is by no means the end of journey, so may this year be just one in a long string of fantastic years. Happy Birthday Miss 30! Rock it. Big hugs, Paige
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Wedding planning – a never ending job. There's always something else on the list!
Every trip to San Francisco since September (there's been five!), has had back to back meetings and events. I'm excited to announced that many of the the wedding big-ticket items are done.
Venue – check.
Photographer – check.
Florist – check.
THE DRESS – check.
Bridesmaid dresses – check.
Engagement photos – selected, but need to be ordered.
Catering - check.
Invite list including addresses - check!
Ceremony musician - check.
Save the dates - in transit to Chicago...
Wedding website - almost done.
Wedding hotel blocks - booked.
On one hand, I review the list and feel accomplished. There's 7 months left before the big day. However, there are a number of other items I want to get done and I know those 7 months are going to fly. With 7 weddings to attend, next year already has a number of busy weekends. Plus, I'm in 4 of the weddings (including my own), which means, bachelorette parties (wee!!) and bridal showers (yay). It's going to be an expensive year.
My other fear is that now I need to get into the details. With spreadsheets, I'm incredibly detail oriented, but centerpieces are a completely different ballgame. Is it important to me to have one silverware design over another? I have no idea. Plus, now I need to think about the little things that just make the event pop...hmm.
Still on the big list:
Alcohol - started discussions with the venue.
Limo – haven't even started looking.
DJ – waiting for a response.
Photobooth – investigation needed.
Bachelorette party list – in process.
Linens and table settings - meeting scheduled.
I know I'm missing something(s), just not sure what they are right now.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
During the holidays I was asked what I wanted for Christmas. Let's be honest, I would not consider myself needy by any means. I am quite fortunate to be able to buy what I need or what I want with a little financial planning. So given the blank check of a request for a Christmas wish list, I was stumped as to what should be included on it. After careful thought, I decided that the Polar heart rate monitor that I have been contemplating for months could be the perfect holiday gift. It fits that you stuff yourself during the holidays with great food and then need to reverse those actions by optimizing your workout. ;)
I was given the heart rate monitor and ever since I set it up, I've been completely entertained. There are some activities that while I feel extremely tired, are anaerobic in nature and thus, my heart rate never goes much above 85 bpm. In addition, I've noticed that when I'm on the treadmill, my heart rate shows on the side without having to hold the handle bars. It's all because of my fancy heart rate monitor.
In the end, there are reasons for everything and I'll be honest, my reason for selecting a heart rate monitor is because my health insurance company incents me to submit verified workouts to earn points, which can then be used on goodies. If I'm going to workout, I figured I might as well get credit given that my gym is not "in network." The benefit of the flowlink is that I can now upload the data from my monitor to the internet, leading me to earn my points.
Sometimes it's the little things in life. Off to Vegas this weekend... :)
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
My dad, who has recently moved to Colorado and can't seem to pick up the phone to say 'hi'
(that's a different post), sent me a text today about the fact that he dislikes that my company is now requiring him to be on the generic drug for Lipitor as opposed to the brand drug. Furthermore, he felt the need to follow up my return text with an email stating that his insurance company should not be the one making his healthcare decisions.
I get it. Healthcare is an emotional and personal part of life. It is very hard to separate that feeling from any decision that is made, especially one that was seemingly made without you. In addition, many people outside the healthcare insurance industry simply think decisions are financially driven (which dad did point out). While I'm not going to tell you that decisions are not made with some financial incentive, I do want to point out some facts.
1. Healthcare costs in the United States have been rising and rising and rising
2. Generic drugs, while not identical, are bioequivalent to the brand
3. Many people have taken generic drugs with no complications
4. A generic drug is typically a fraction of the cost of a brand drug to both the individual and the insurance company
5. The decisions, while made in light of financial incentives, are not always for pure profit
So why does this matter? Lipitor, arguably one of the best blockbuster drugs of the 20th century, went generic in Nov 2011. My company made a decision, which I can say included medical expertise, to require members of fully insured plans to take the generic instead of the brand as of Jan 1, 2012. The decision, while saving money, is a way to push the common person to use generic drugs. Most generic drugs affect people the same way the brand does. And should a person find that they respond differently or adversely to a generic, healthcare companies are apt to make exceptions for people to use brands or another alternative. This is often known as step-therapy. They try to find the cheapest alternative that will get the job done. I recognize that that might not sit well with a consumer, but here's another side.
First a little insurance 101. Health insurance is supposed to be a means of spreading the risk of a catastrophic case over a number of people instead of having to bear the risk solely, much like car insurance. However, in contrast to car insurance, Health insurance has become a full maintenance plan where the average American believes a company should cover everything. The problem is, someone has to pay for the services. Generally, everyone pays a premium (often covered in part by an employer). As healthcare costs rise, the premium rises. The premium is set mostly to pay medical/ pharmacy costs. It is possible that if you are a healthy individual, you do not use your "fair share" of the medical costs. Contrarily, someone who has a heart ache or surgical complications may rack up hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in medical bills. With the appropriate insurance, the bulk of those costs are covered and subsequently, an individual has a slightly more affordable bill (I do recognize there are varied circumstances and I am generalizing a lot.)
Back to Lipitor. Lipitor is a top 10 drug, which means, if you were to look at spend for the top 10 drugs per year, Lipitor would sit in that category, comfortably. Lipitor's sales were roughly $7.8 billion last year in the US (http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2011/12/08/how-much-money-will-generic-lipitor-save/). Now that Lipitor is generic, as much as $4.5 billion annually can be saved by 2014. This savings is transitioned into premium pricing for health plans around the country. Should people not actually switch to the generic, the assumed savings basically becomes an underpricing of a health plan. Consequently, in the subsequent year, this premium discount may be repriced to better reflect the actions of the population. Much like any business, an insurance company wants to make money. Though the profit margin baked into group premiums is not nearly as much as people think. After broker commissions, sales commissions, administrative costs, and medical costs, the profit is typically 2%. That money is often reinvested into the business to make IT improvements and acquisitions among other things. Fact is, there are many moving pieces and while some hit home harder than others, we're all trying to balance cost and reward. Healthcare is personal and don't think that we or anyone else making decisions doesn't realize that.
Monday, January 09, 2012
While it's cliche, the end of the year is always a great time to reflect. It helps put the next year or the one after into perspective. The couple of years, I've completed a year in review. It's fun to remember all the great experiences I have had and know that even better ones are on the horizon. Here are the Great Things About 2011:
1. July 16 - Darden friends in town, engaged to my best friend and a fabulous engagement/birthday celebration to cap off the night
2. Derby 2011 (where my brother was engaged after the 6th race)
3. Great American Beer Festival (Why did I wait so long to go?)
4. Wedding dress shopping (Definitely found "the one")
5. Moving to Chicago
6. Charlottesville reunion weekend
7. April '11 - Cubs game followed by Uberstein and Art of Pizza
8. Monday nights at Tokyo sushi (I miss those!)
9. Vegas soccer tournament (still one of my favorite weekends every year)
10. Cooking Fools pasta making class
11. Q101 Jamboree Concert
12. Getting our Pottery Barn couch
13. Discovering Pilates
14. Humana Race to Taste (with an awesome race time!)
15. Brazil (Belo Horizonte, Iguassu Falls and Rio)
16. Sergio and Maria’s wedding in Brazil (absolutely amazing!!)
17. Volunteering for Boo-Palooza Wicker Park (little kids + Halloween costumes = adorable!!)
18. Brook’s 60th Birthday Bash in the Bahamas
19. Picking a caterer for our wedding (it’s going to be YUMMY!)
20. NYE 2012 @ Ana Mandara
21. Wedding Weekends: Christine and Scott, Sarah and Brian, Melisa and Chris, Madeha and Moshan, Angela and Nick
22. Brett goes skydiving!
23. Greenbrier (and shooting clays)
24. Mom’s successful Masquerade Ball in SF
25. Attending a show at Second City
27. IMAX: Transformers 3, followed by an amazing dinner at Japonais (all with great company)
28. Joe’s Seafood Engagement Celebration
29. Our engagement party