Friday, May 22, 2009

Honesty versus pride

As for the title, I am not referring to my own.* This is just an anonymous note to my employer.**

I would just like to say that I know that layoffs/RIFs can always be called performance-related. The reality is that when faced with having to cut costs, once the decision is made to cut staff, cuts will almost always be made based on performance. We all know that a company is not likely to cut its top people while keeping its bottom. So, yeah, it's usually going to be performance-related, even when it's a layoff. But most employers have the moral fortitude to be honest about it so that its employees aren't left feeling like crap and aren't in a tougher position when it comes to looking for work. Seriously? The economy sucks. Suck up your pride and admit that you have more people than you can keep busy and need to cut costs.

*It's not just the title that isn't about me. As of right now, I still seem to have a job. It'd be hard to claim that my performance in the review period wasn't up to par since I was on leave during the entire period. But it pisses me off for the dozens who were affected this week and will be next.

**To whom I am very thankful at the moment for my continued employment. I hope it continues for the indefinite future.

On an unrelated note, for anyone not reading on a reader, I just posted Harry's eight month post.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Brief Update

I can't believe I disappeared. First, I started Harry's eight-month post and never had time to upload the photos, and he didn't cooperate with the month-iversary ones (he thought eating the paper would be more fun, then he cried when I took it away), and I didn't want to post something else before I finished it. I still haven't. That makes me sad. But it gives me a project for the weekend.

Then I got super busy at work. So busy that I missed bedtime. And a lot of dinner-times. And it made me really sad. And meant I didn't have much time. And things have only just started slowing down again, and I'm not even sure how long that will last.

So I've been a bit freaked out because I have heard that there were, well, "letting-gos" (for lack of a better term) this week. Not layoffs. Not systematic. Just some people being told that it was time for them to move on. Meanwhile, my reviewer never contacted me to set up my review, and he did his others this week. And I can't seem to get the head of my department to return my emails or phone calls regarding some things I need to discuss with him. And it all left me feeling a bit panicky. I reached out to my reviewer this morning (I don't actually know this guy -- my old one left the firm around the time I came back from leave and this guy works in a different department, in a different city). He apologized and said that since I hadn't done any work this review period he had planned to have a phone call for us to introduce ourselves and for me to ask any questions I might have and that he just forgot to set it up. We'll do it next week. So I'm a little less paranoid now. A little.

That said, I'm finally getting to do some real lawyering. I went to court last week. I have written briefs that received very little partner review/editing before filing. I'm working on a fairly interesting business development project that I have been told will count as billable for hours purposes. I feel like my career has a trajectory again, for the first time since the miscarriage, when I feel like it started to derail and never quite got on track again. In addition, I met with our internal career counselor person last week. We talked a bit about what my exit strategy might be, among other things. And I'm feeling like maybe I have one. No time frame, really, but some kind of inkling of what I'd like to do and someone who will help me figure out how to get there. This is a good thing.

So it's been a mixed bag career-wise around these parts. Everything else? Well, that'll have to be another post.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Eight Months

Dear Harry,

As you can see, this month we learned that you are no longer interested in sitting patiently and smiling for the camera. If there is a piece of paper nearby, it will go straight in the mouth and become damp and crumpled and slowly disintegrate, leaving big wet pieces in your mouth that I have to scoop out with my fingers (or just let you swallow them). Not that this happens often or anything. This was also the month when I realized that I have no idea how or whether one is supposed to discipline a baby, or at least prevent a baby from doing things that are harmful to him, or to, say, those around him. I should probably figure this out soon, though, before you gauge my eyes out with your pointy little fingers with their always-sharp, always-ragged nails or pull out all my hair with your grabby hands or bite my nipples straight off. Again, not that these things happen often or anything.
I feel like I missed you a lot this month. Like last month, I missed you because I saw you less than I did before. I just hate that this month was even less than last. I worked late more than once and made it home just in time for bath, or just in time for bed. And that makes me sad. I also had a Vestry meeting, and a Finance Committee meeting, and a Vestry retreat. Church is important, as is taking a role in its governance, but I hate missing time with you all the same.

You went to the park for the first time (and second and third) this month. You loved the swings. Really, really loved them. You also checked out a couple of different slides and the see-saw and those things that are mounted on a giant spring. The swing was definitely the biggest hit.

This month was also your first trip to Fenway to see the Sox. You mainly seemed to enjoy the folks sitting behind us who kept smiling at you and trying to entertain you (at the expense of your nap). We didn't see as much of the game as your dad and I usually do, and it was a bit chilly, and our seats weren't great, but it was fun anyway. We have tickets to many more games this summer, so I hope you had a good time!

Given that baseball season is starting, it seems fitting that it is finally warming up outside. You haven't spent a ton of time outside in months (with us -- you go outside at daycare every day, so long as it's at least 35 degrees, which I really like about your daycare), and I'm pretty sure you had no memory of those early times in the sun. I think your favorite thing about being outside is getting to spend time with the dog while he plays. Your love for him grows each month, and it's wonderful to watch that relationship develop. You started saying a lot of consonants this month, but my favorite is "Wu," which you say when you see the dog. I'm pretty sure it's woof. So sweet.

You tried some new foods, like you do every month. This month was pumpkin, acorn squash, barley, and mango. You seemed to enjoy them all, but I feel like you spit up more when you had pumpkin after a run of very infrequent spitting-up, so maybe we'll hold off on that for now. I wish mangoes weren't such a pain in the rear to prepare for you, because you really seemed to like them. On that note, I'm cool with you liking acorn and butternut squash, as well as bananas, as they are all easy and cheap. You also started eating some finger foods, mainly banana chunks, puffs, and cheerios. You tend to pick up food with your fists more than your fingers and then jam your whole hand in your mouth. Most often, the food sticks to your hand and you get very angry when you discover you didn't manage to eat anything. I know you'll figure it out eventually, though.
Finally, this month we got to celebrate our first mother's day together. Like every other holiday, we spent a lot of it in the car, driving to see all the ladies who love you, starting with the grammies and GG, then heading to Grandma and Grandpa's house. You chewed on some tissue paper, hung out in a box, and sat in your very own rocking chair for the first time. You and Daddy got me a potted lily, which was beautiful and should last a long time, just like my love for you.

I love you with all my heart,


Friday, May 1, 2009

Walking for Hunger Again

This Sunday, P, Harry, and I will be participating in the 41st Annual Walk for Hunger here in Boston. We are sorta hoping that we'll be able to complete the full 20 miles again this year but I don't know if Harry will last that long going between the wrap and the stroller. And P is feeling confident but hasn't done the walk for years (and doesn't do much exercising). So we'll see. If you care to support my efforts (even a small amount can make a big difference), follow the link below (or here!). If you follow that link to my Walk for Hunger homepage, you'll see that the same answer to the question of Why I Walk as last year.

But the 2009 answer to Why I Walk is because more people, and more children, are going hungry today than at any point in recent history, and there are fewer resources -- fewer soup kitchens, fewer food pantries, less funding -- to help them than ever before. I walk to do my part to raise some money and some awareness to help those who don't have enough money to buy the basic necessities that so many of us take for granted. For people like my pro bono client who told me yesterday that by the end of the month she eats mayonnaise sandwiches and saves the real food for her kids. Or my other pro bono client who waits two hours in line at the food pantry each week in order to get an onion, a potato, and a jar of peanut butter, and wonders what she could make with that. Because, seriously? How is that acceptable?

I know money is tight for just about everyone these days. If you can spare a dollar or two or twenty, please do. To make a contribution, click here. [end shameless plug]