And it was devoured

I started a thing at work where if someone is having a really rough day I get them a cake pop to cheer them up. Then it became getting them a strawberry cake pop from Starbucks cause I liked the smiley face on them. That of course became “imagine it’s the face of your enemy and enjoy the destruction of their head while you eat it” because of course that’s where my mind goes. It has now caught on and other people are also cheering up coworkers by giving them faces to devour. I love my office sometimes 😈

Why I didn’t interview you

I have an opening on my team and so have been staring at resumes all week. Most of these resumes are not going to turn into interviews. Some may think that’s terrible as an interview surely must be a better way to know if someone is right for the role. I get that. As someone who has been refused interviews because I don’t yet have my degree despite the fact that I have 8 years more experience in the field than most with the degree I’m in school for, I get the frustration. But the job I’m hiring for doesn’t require a college degree, it requires strong written communication skills and attention to detail. I absolutely can judge those from a resume, or at least narrow the pool a bit. And while I would love to give people a shot at redemption, the fact is I don’t have time to do so.

Let’s look at this mathematically. My management position takes an average 50 hours a week for my standard responsibilities. Being a person short staffed adds an additional 10 hours a week to my work load, minimum. I then have to set aside an additional 4 hours a week to read through numerous resumes plus 2 hours for phone screens of the top candidates. I’m now working 66 hours a week and I haven’t even started interviewing. Now assume I have to set aside an hour per interview, am I really supposed to interview all 40 candidates I’ve got in my queue that week? No, it’s not possible. Also keep in mind I am at the lower end of management, there are going to be managers reading this going “WHAT? Only 66 hours of work before interviews? I WISH I could work that little!” Hopefully that gives a little more perspective on why your resume needs to stand out as one of the best.

So here are the top reasons that resumes got tossed out this week:

1. Misspellings

This may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised. I’ll let a misspelling go if the person looks great otherwise (only one y’all. You give me more than that and I can’t trust your attention to detail, sorry). Best way to eliminate misspellings is to read your resume backwards. Forwards you know what you said so your brain fills in corrections; backwards and you’re forced to consider individual words since the sentence doesn’t make sense. Give it a try, it’ll help.

2. Bad formatting

I had a resume where formatting would change mid-sentence. It’s hard to pay attention to a sentence that randomly changes formatting. Just saying. But beyond that, pay attention to the little things. Just because your sentence structure is good and your formatting consistent doesn’t mean it stands out as great. Make sure there is a flow, use bullet points systematically, emphasize your best qualities with strong placement.

3. Plagiarism and lies

I had someone who listed skills on his resume by listing something general like “computer skills” and then following it with what was obviously a description of a course he took in school. “Utilizing computers to learn more advanced tools within Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. Must complete CMP102 to take this course.” How this resume got past the recruiter I don’t know. But that was an immediate pass.

Even if not copy and pasted I may still catch you in a lie. I’m especially good at this in interviews, and yes I will have a copy of your resume with me when we meet. “It says here you consider yourself an expert in Microsoft excel. What are some things you’ve used it for?” “Primarily tables and spreadsheets for keeping track of things.” “Nice. Did you make any of these spreadsheets?” “No, they were pre-made, but I needed to understand them well enough to use them. I also trained others on using them.” “That’s great to hear. What are some formulas you’ve used?” “Uhhhhhh…”. FYI, that’s not expert level. Tell me you’re average but learning and I’m thrilled with these answers, tell me you’re an expert and I’m highly disappointed in these answers. An expert should be making spreadsheets, using formulas, and experimenting with macros.

4. Too long

Ideally a resume should fit on a single page. I don’t need your life story, I need to know what skills you have that best fit this position. I interview plenty of 2-page resumes, but when it starts hitting 3 I’m usually done. Wondering why? Look at the math above. The 4 hour estimate is based on no more than 40 resumes, individual resumes averaging a page and a half. Three page resumes doubles my time. Here’s a tip, make your resume a clean looking one and a half to two pages. Then when applying for the job go through and eliminate anything that doesn’t apply. I’m looking for key words, and those key words can be found in the job description. Make your resume match my description and you’re going to be among my first calls for an interview.

5. Listing too much work history

Similar to it being too long, I don’t want to read through all of that. But more importantly, it shows a lack of tenure. I reviewed a resume this morning that was 2 full pages of jobs listed. That’s a lot of jobs. So I started analyzing the dates and the person never stayed with one company longer than a year. I need someone that can be dedicated and last for a while. Now obviously you can’t go back in time and change your work history, so use my lack of time to your advantage. Specify the last 3 jobs only, and format them in such a way that my eyes are drawn from job title to skills and unknowingly bypass the dates. If I don’t have a list of 10 jobs making me nervous about commitment, then I probably am not going to analyze the dates because that takes additional time. Want to emphasize skills that were used in job number 5 and 6? Simply create a “skills” section of the resume with quick bullet points. I don’t care where the skill came from, only that it exists.

Hopefully this sheds a little light on the importance of your resume and how to format it to work for the hiring manager. Always remember that your resume is your first introduction, so make it a good one.

Potentially Unpopular Opinion

I’m seeing the Sarah Sanders kicked out of restaurant story all over. Before making a decision on it I tried to get the facts.

  1. The Sanders party was polite before and after being asked to leave.
  2. The owner was polite and private when doing the asking.
  3. The owner was attempting to protect employees whom she understood may feel discriminated against.
  4. The Sanders party is in league with someone who would actively discriminate against said employees.
  5. The Sanders party did not pose discriminatory actions while at the restaurant.
  6. Had a single employee not made the stupid move to post this on Facebook then both sides may have left it at that instead of the social media shit storm that followed.

I understand the thought process on the side of the restaurant. It is hard to provide service when you feel attacked. But the attack was not happening at that time. There are so many instances of people being kicked out of a restaurant because they are different. The difference does not make a person dangerous. These are not the same situation, but they are similar. Which makes this a tough call. I do not agree with someone being refused service because of their political affiliation any more than because of the color of their skin or the gender they love. However, I do not approve of someone being forced to serve a person who has outwardly defended a person that is attacking their rights. Again, a tough call.

In the restaurant owners shoes I think I would have gone a third route. Serve the party myself. When there is a difficult customer, or a customer that makes an employee feel uncomfortable I take over so my employee can remove themselves from the situation. I have done it many times. A customer can make an employee feel uncomfortable even when they are not actively doing something wrong at that time. I do not make my employees suffer that situation if I can step in and help. But I also don’t kick the customer out.

As a manager I feel the great responsibility of protecting my company, my customer, and my team. And sometimes that means making tough calls. There are times that I put my team first, but I do so in a way that makes it invisible to the customer as much as possible. And ideally without one of my employees posting my decisions to Social Media for all the world to see and judge.

Let’s cut off half that compliment, thanks

“You’re doing so well considering all you’re going through!” I’m hearing that non-stop at my new office. I’m trying to take the compliment but it’s frustrating. Am I really doing well? Or am I doing only ok but getting more credit since I’ve got life junk going on?

Part of my problem is that I entered this job with imposter syndrome in full force. I kept hearing “I’m so glad you’re here!” And “you’re exactly what we need!” And “we’ve been counting down the days until you could start!” all through my first couple of days. That’s a pretty high expectation to walk into. So my brain kept wondering how long before they realize I’m a fake, that I’m not good enough, that they made a huge mistake on me.

As the compliments grow, so do my doubts. Which means they try to praise me for doing great things in spite of the insanity of my life I hear only that they’re making excuses for me not doing all that great. The nasty voice in my head should leave me alone. And I hope eventually people will cut off the “considering” part of their compliments.

You’re asking me?

I rarely feel like I’ve got my shit together. Most of the time I see the shit and no togetherness whatsoever. Yet at work I’m fairly good at faking it, you have to be as a manager. So this morning one of our newer employees began asking me at what point does a job become a career. Wow, now that is a tough question to be greeted with before the second cup of coffee!

We chatted for a bit and it turns out he is at a point in his school that he has to choose a major and he’s second (and third, and fourth) guessing himself. I explained that that is entirely understandable. I changed majors 3 times before finally completing school (less than a year ago, and more than a decade older than he is). I explained that to me a career is about having growth opportunity. It’s about knowing that there is a path and you’re not stuck. That maybe job vs career means something different to others, but that’s what I needed for me.

It was not what he was expecting to hear and seemed to really make him think. I asked what he did and didn’t like about his work. What he did and didn’t like about his current classes. And then gave him a few things to consider where studying through that path left options open as he fine tuned his skills and desires. But I think what he needs to know more than anything, and what I failed to properly explain today, is that no matter what he’s very likely to succeed. I’ve seen how fast he learns at the office, how calm he is regardless of situation, and how he actively works with his team. As long as he keeps this dedication and work ethic nothing will hold him down.

So to everyone wondering the same thing please remember that your wonderings prove desire and dedication. Your thoughtfulness on these questions shows determination and intelligence. And that is what will bring you far in your career, more so than anything else.

Oh, and one more thing to remember. That manager in the office who you think has her shit together so can answer these questions and help guide you, yeah she’s lost too. You’re not alone in your fear and confusion. But I guess that means I’m not alone either.

Conversations with Customers

My week as described by conversations I had with customers.


Monday… Customer 1: “I’m no longer the contact for this account. Please reach out to my coworker moving forward”

Me: “Ok, I have updated our list. Thank you!”

Customer 1: “DO NOT call me. I don’t have time to deal with your questions. So make sure your team knows to not reach out to me moving forward.”

Me: “Of course. I will make sure they know.”

Wednesday… employee reaches out to new contact. No response.

Thursday… employee reaches out to new contact. No response. Reaches out to backup contact who recommends another person. Reaches out to that person who says “yeah I’ll take care of it.” Person, unbeknownst to us, goes to customer 1 to ask for help.

Friday… Customer 1: “Why did your employee reach out to him?! He is NOT the right contact! I told you who to contact!”

Me: “I apologize. We had tried unsuccessfully to get a hold of the contact and were recommended that person. We will remove that additional person as a backup contact.”

Customer 1 “SHE IS HERE! She would have answered, clearly you didn’t try! Why would it take you 3 days to try?! And if you can’t get a hold of her then why didn’t you call me?!”

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Tuesday… documents given to me to process. Need to be completed by end of day Thursday.

Wednesday afternoon… haven’t had time to handle documents. Stay 2 hours late at the office to do them so they are not last minute.

Thursday morning… Customer 2: “Why am I just getting these now?! I should have had these on Monday!!!”

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Customer 3: “why did you mail this to me? It goes to one of my employees, not me. Why does it have my name on it? Now I have to walk over and put it on my employee’s desk!”

Me: “I apologize. I will work with our team to ensure your letters have the correct name moving forward.”

Customer 3: “Well how are you going to address this? This has never happened before, so clearly someone is not doing their job.”

Me: “I will speak with the whole team to ensure we are verifying the correct attention to. Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention.”

Customer 3: “This seems like a basic task, honestly. I don’t know why you wouldn’t be able to just put the right name on it. It’s the same address, same suite number. Just change the name. How hard is that?!”

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Stop yelling teamwork at me!

There’s a thing in my office where if you email a thank you to a manager they respond with “Teamwork”. Because apparently that is the same as you’re welcome. I guess. 🤷‍♀️

I understand that it’s meant to be read like “hey, we’re in this together. We’re a team. I’m happy to help.” But the whole trend started from a micro-managing self-absorbed bitch. She’s not being a part of the team, she’s patting herself on the back. And it caught on. And I want to email back a punch in the face to everyone who does it. Thank god we can’t email punches in the face, I’d have been fired ages ago.

Personally I’m a “my pleasure” fan. Saying “you’re welcome” often seems fake since we all know that’s our mother whispering in our brain how to be polite. I used to always go the “no problem” route, but then I had to sit in a training about positivity in the work place and it was pointed out that it’s a double negative, so not an appropriate response. I still use it, just not at work now lol. So I go with “my pleasure”. And honestly, it usually is.

I actually like to be helpful, though still in a self centered way. My disorder often tells me I’m useless, worthless, or detrimental. I often believe people are better without me. I take genuine pleasure from helping others because it proves my mentally ill mind is lying to me. I don’t mind being selfish sometimes, but I don’t need to outwardly congratulate myself on being helpful.

So no, I will not follow the trend of “teamwork”-ing to thank you emails. And I will also not learn to punch people through email, cause that is a dangerous power to have.

Am I really though?

Something’s been bothering me for quite a while, and I can’t answer it for me. Maybe you can, and feel free to be honest. I’m on good terms with my meds at the moment so I can take it.

I shared my Misconceptions about BPD post with my therapist a while back and as we discussed she called me a mental health advocate, or something to that effect. But I’m not certain that is accurate.

I Googled “define advocate” and the definition that came up was “a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy.” My blog is public, but I am not. And that bothers me. I stay fairly anonymous, I can’t imagine what my office would think of me if they found this blog and knew it was me. But doesn’t that get in the way of my message? I speak to the stigma of mental illness in the office yet don’t speak to my office about my mental illness.

I often feel that I am part of the problem. I fall into the trap of keep it quiet so I’m not judged. I fear the repercussions of going public. I’m not ready to go public, but I hope some day I am. I want to think I’m a mental health advocate but I don’t know that I can at this time.

The big wigs are coming! The big wigs are coming!

So I step into the office Friday and a coworker at a nearby desk had just finished cleaning his whole cubicle. He mentioned that he heard “some big wigs” were coming into the office, so he made sure all was clean. Monday I saw facilities going above and beyond (and they do a great job daily, so this was like holy crap status), and the other people around me were all cleaning their desks too. Ya know, for the executives that would be briefly walking by, exhausted from a plane flight, concentrating on the upcoming conference, multitasking their work remotely. Because those executives are going to stare at your desk and critique it I guess?

The way I look at it, you don’t get to that level of management by spending more time putting away paperwork than doing paperwork. An office desk might look good, but how often does the executive work at that desk? Probably not often, which is probably why it’s clean. Everything is scattered in their home office where they’re hectically getting shit done 24/7. So yesterday, sure enough, big wigs were in the office for some conference. Ya know what? They didn’t stare at people’s desks, they didn’t judge, they didn’t really do much in the office at all. It was politely chat with people between meetings, that’s it.

Did I clean my desk? Yes. It was near spotless. But I didn’t do it for some random executive who probably has far more on his desk since he also has far more to manage. No, I did it for the piece of mind of those sitting near me. They were nervous, so I did what I could to ease that. And if that means Lysol wipes and a drawer full of my loose rubber bands and paperclips thrown in? So be it.

On the plus side? My iPad (which I’m typing this on) keeps recommending the word “coffee” when I start to type “office”. It knows me so well 😜

Diagnosed Workaholic

My first session with my current therapist was just over two years ago and after explaining how I had been “coping” for years and what was happening leading up to my pending breakdown she looked at me and paused, and then she simply said “you realize you’ve been self medicating with work for the past nine years, right?” Yes. Yes I did. The fact is I didn’t know how to cope so I worked too much in order to distract myself from myself. When I was forced to slow down, I couldn’t handle it. I was a workaholic. I’m not saying that to downplay actual addictions, but addiction runs in my family so I have always been excessively carefully with the actually addictive things, so I ended up turning to work instead.

The last couple of months at work have been nuts. I’m working crazy overtime and barely keeping shit together for my department. I had to cancel my last therapy appointment cause I can’t take time off work, and I still haven’t been able to schedule a new one. I’m too exhausted for crafts or games or anything that I used to do after work. I’m barely blogging, sleeping is hard, it took me a week to finally sew buttons onto my sons sock for sock puppet eyes. I wake up already exhausted, run on coffee and soda energy all day, and lie down with an exhausted body and overactive mind as soon as I get home.

But I realized today that in the last two weeks I’ve had almost no panic attacks. I have not had the constant urge to self harm. I have not cried myself to sleep or stared at nothing in the overwhelming emptiness of my lack of self. I have not begun screaming at someone out of uncontrollable anger held too long. My emotional extremes aren’t there. Today it occurred to me that I am doing almost no self care at all, so why am I suddenly stable? My meds didn’t change, so it can’t be that. Then my therapists words echoed in my head. “Self medicating with work.” Am I doing it again? Am I so overworked that my disorders have taken a backseat? I don’t know. But two years of practicing self care has at least taught me a couple things.

First, work does not define me. I have to keep reminding myself of that, and I do. No matter how much of my day is stuck on work right now, it does not define me. Second, it is important to not judge. I don’t need to judge my overworking nature at the moment, I simply need to be aware that it is there and that it will not last forever. That I need to keep working to build in more self care while I can. Third, I can’t make this permanent. I need to allow myself to slow back down as work slows back down. I can’t allow myself to get so used to this that I don’t stop.

I choose to be aware of my situation and my past so I can move past this. I choose to be healthy, even if it means that feeling good might not be from feeling good or from healthy practices.