Episode 51: Making the Mediocre Bucks

“You look really nice,” Conder told me.

It was a genuine compliment because for the first time in months I wasn’t wearing jeans to work. I was wearing heels. I was wearing my nice pants that I HAD TO IRON FIRST. I didn’t feel like ironing a shirt, too, so I grabbed a nice, knit, short-sleeve polo and pulled it on. To top off the outfit, I put on my most expensive pair of earrings that sported semi-precious stones, gold and silver. Clearly, my outfit was TOO MUCH for the IT world, but I went to work anyway and Conder therefore complimented me.

I spent much of the regular work day hiding in my cube so that too many people wouldn’t compliment me. Oh wait. No. The real reasons were so that my boss wouldn’t get suspicious that I had a “dentist appointment” and so that people wouldn’t start expecting me to dress nicely for work EVERY DAY.

There’s a reason I work in IT. Casual dress.

I left the office around 5:30 pm and drove downtown for the party. This, my internet friends, was the real reason for my fancy attire.

There is a company in Salt Lake that REALLY knows how to party. I went to the grand opening of O. C. Tanner’s new jewelry store in the renovated Beaux Arts building.

I was my Mom’s date as my Dad was out of town on business and it turns out, I was SO underdressed. My jewelry didn’t cost TENS OF THOUSANDS of dollars, my dress wasn’t purchased just for the event, I wasn’t wearing enough makeup and I had to do my own hair that day. The people around me didn’t drive a Toyota RAV4 like me. I watched the valets jump in the driver seat of a Bentley and an Audi R5 so I chose to park my car on the street a couple of blocks up and walk. It was a nice walk.

Back at the party: hors d’oeuvres were plentiful, the three levels of jewelry were stunning and surprisingly I knew people. Okay, well of course I would know some of them: Marilyn Neilson (look her up as Marilyn Hanold, but be prepared for her pic from Playboy), Jerry Sloan and DeeDee Corradini were B-List celebrities. Turns out, even B-List celebrities wear really expensive jewelry.

I knew, personally, some of the others there whose names you might not be able to find on Wikipedia, but they (or their wives) also wore expensive jewelry. However, they came up and genuinely said hello, how are you? I’m doing great. Thank you for asking. It’s not often that you meet important people who know how to make you, the girl in a white polo shirt, feel important.

After a few hors d’oeuvres and trying on some of the David Yurman jewelry, Mom had to leave, but I hadn’t had a chance to make it out back to the dinner yet so I told her thank you and see you later.

I went and got in line for the salad, cheese and crackers and salmon all by myself.

I’m such a big girl.

But I didn’t want to sit by myself.

So I didn’t.

I went and sat at the table with some of my Dad’s old colleagues. One of them wore a lot of orange: an orange bracelet, an orange tie, orange glasses. It didn’t take me long to realize it was the author of The Carrot Principle, Chester Elton. He dominated the conversation.

But Tim, who I sat next to, despite being an Executive Vice President, asked me a few personal questions and only one answer surprised his wife: how did an English major turn into a software tester?

It’s a secret.

Eventually, I excused myself from the party and walked back up to my car. I like my car, even if it’s not a Bentley. I jumped in and with the sun setting behind me, started the drive home. It was when I looked in the rear view mirror that perspective finally hit me.

I had just been in a party where the least expensive jewelry was still over a thousand dollars, where the people there ate all the chocolate dipped strawberries they desired, and where the women looked chilly in their tiny black dresses. I felt out of place, a little dull.

But there in my rear view mirror was a sight more beautiful than the diamonds I’d just seen. The sun was setting behind one of my favorite buildings in Salt Lake, one that represents our Pioneer heritage and the 40-years of hard work of men and women who would never own tuxedos or little black dresses. It was seeing the Salt Lake Temple disappear behind me as I drove up the hill that reminded me of the abundance in my own life.

The next day, I went to work in jeans.

Episode 44: 20 Ways to Boost your Energy at Work

I came across a list of ways to boost your energy at work on the blog, ZenHabits. As I read through it, I thought, yeah, some of those sound like good ideas. On the other hand, some could be very dangerous. Can you realize how potent the air in IT would become if ALL OF THE PROGRAMMERS CHANGED THEIR SOCKS AFTER LUNCH? It would be worse than the when employees got sick because somebody cleaned out a fridge full of rotten food.

Feel free to follow the link above to their website and peruse their list of ways to get more energy. Or, have a look-see at MY list of ways around HERE that we try to stay alert:

  1. Attend an on-site gym class – this only works for those IT employees who don’t sweat profusely, otherwise, they might as well just change their socks.
  2. Clear your throat – only do this one if you don’t clear your throat ALL THE TIME, EVERY DAY and drive your coworkers on the other side of your foamy cubicle walls NUTS.
  3. Make snow angels against the wall – seriously, try it, with your knees bent enough so that your lower back is against the wall, keep your shoulders against the wall, keep your elbows and wrists against the wall. I can’t, FOR THE LIFE OF ME, touch my hands above my head and still have them against the wall, but I found that most (normal) people CAN.
  4. Drink water – I USED to drink Diet Coke, when I USED to take Diet Coke breaks with Janet when she USED to work here; now, I drink lots of water because it’s FREE and I have to pay a mortgage so those Diet Cokes are totally OUT of the budget.
  5. Eat chocolate that you’re hiding in the back of a locked filing cabinet – enough said.
  6. Check the little basket on the outside of the developer’s cubicle wall – if it’s empty, check it again in a few minutes and then complain about there not being any treats inside.
  7. Watch the quarterly mandatory training events taking place at work – this may include fires intentionally started in the parking lot so that office workers can use fire extinguishers, watching a medical helicopter land, or watching a presentation by the police department on what their dogs can do to your arm if you smell like a criminal.
  8. Search through pictures of coworkers looking for the cute guy from the 2nd floor whose name you don’t know… yet.
  9. Go to bed at a decent hour – try this and let me know how it goes… I almost NEVER do it.
  10. Try some Provigil – I’m all out of mine so I can’t share, but that stuff will keep you awake.
  11. Take a trip to the middle stall – a bathroom break ALWAYS makes me feel better; especially when I am BM-ing like a rockstar!
  12. Don’t smoke – but feel free to watch coworkers from the window who are smoking while Conder times the length of their breaks.
  13. Play a game embedded in Excel – because work blocks games online like this paper plane flying one, but we’ve got our own version in an Excel file (meaning, not blocked); mind you, it can be addicting so only start playing about 10 minutes before it’s time to go.
  14. Run through the sprinklers – now that we’re all worried about being “green” I have no idea how you’ll find sprinklers in the middle of the day, but if you do, BY ALL MEANS, run through them.
  15. Lie on a roller and have your friend push on your shoulders – this almost always cracks my back and makes me feel mightily better. Mightily.
  16. Clean off your phone with an alcohol prep – I do this almost once a week even though I hardly get phone calls, but still, the alcohol wafting around your cube will wake you up and you’ll feel good knowing that you’ve got a sterile ear piece for when that phone does ring.
  17. Yoga – I hate when people schedule meetings during the yoga classes they offer at work because then I can’t go so instead, I go sleep in those meetings. Ah, revenge.
  18. Visit Bret and his massage chair – I just have to ignore that the onsite massages are offered by an older guy with a ‘stache and a mullet; he gives great massages regardless and they’re pretty affordable, too.
  19. Play some Frisbee – I only accomplished this ONE TIME at work and a coworker sprained her ankle when she nearly ran into a fire hydrant, but I’m still trying to find somebody who will take a short Frisbee break with me.
  20. I also have a kite in my trunk.

No Foot Modeling in My Future

“Yeah, Lauren… we’re just going to have to keep you in socks.” ~Conder

Apparently, my feet aren’t particularly attractive. Stay tuned for a post-surgery foot pic tomorrow. It’s HOT!

Political Link of the Day: “Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald goes after his second Illinois governor

Man, I’m glad I don’t live in Illinois:

He’s already successfully prosecuted another Illinois governor, George H. Ryan