Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Reflecting on the path I've taken

Usually I write about fashion or diabetes. Once in a awhile I throw a curve ball at you wonderful readers, which is what I'm going to do today. I've been on quite the job hunt searching for my great opportunity. Completing online application forms over and over will make you reflect on where your career has been...and where you want it to head. 

This morning as I prepared to spend the day being productive away from home at my favorite cafe, I began to reflect on the path my career has taken. My career started off great by conquering graduate school and earning my masters degree. Following graduation, I became involved with a man and thought I was in love and focused my job search on only the city where he was. Dude, don't give me the side eye. I was a young girl. I honestly did not know better. I didn't want to settle for just any job. I was adamant on securing a job in public relations but the pressure and disappointment from family and the boyfriend resulted in me taking a job that turned out to be great experience but was very poorly paid. I'm not sure I was making minimum wage if you divided my salary by the hours I was working. With that said, I did great things and learned lots. The boyfriend moved away, I didn't follow and we broke up. 

Soon, I found myself being recruited to an agency in Chicago. See kids, dreams do come true! I was moving to Chicago (okay, okay, the suburbs but still...) and I was joining a marketing communications agency. Loved my client, my coworkers and just truly everything. It was hard work and I loved that. Everyone was driven, ambitious and focused. I was among my people. And then the recession hit. I was one of about 30 people laid off. Prior to layoffs, there were about 100 people working there. Yep, that stunk and yet I still adore the agency and the people affiliated with it. I was driven to find a new job in the Chicago metro. I was hustling -- applying for anything and everything as well as networking. Nothing. Confidence was sinking faster than the titanic. During this time, I spoke with several recruiters and HR professionals. Turns out I was competing with SAE and AS people for AC and AAE positions. My superiors were willing to take pay cuts to stay employed and keep their benefits. I can't blame them. The recession hit the industry hard. 

I was able to secure some freelance gigs but nothing permanent until later when I joined another agency in a neighboring state. I think this is when my career took a wrong turn. I accepted the job without negotiating for better pay. I should have been aware it was maybe not the best fit as their job posting was for a different metro in the state, I didn't interview with anyone who would be on my team (awkward!) and after starting 90 percent of what I heard throughout the day was about the person I had replaced. Again...awkward. I question some of the way the agency ran itself however I'm grateful for the experience. Why? Because I made the most amazing friends while living in that city even though I was only there for exactly 365 days. 

When I left that job, I started just throwing my resume into the wind to see where it would stick. I felt broken. Confidence gone. Wasn't sure anyone would want me. Felt really great about taking my most recent job. I knew I'd rock it. Was not so sure about the metro it was located in but, hey, I'm not a newbie when it comes to moving. So, I packed up and hauled myself to a new metro and new state. The job was good but I quickly outgrew it, was never challenged and became quite frustrated -- especially when presenting ideas of things we could do and being told no because it would be too much work. It also became clear after three years with no raise, no performance review or promotion there would never be any growth with this position. Eventually, we decided to amicably part ways (Oh, you didn't know that? Ooops). I was able to achieve some great things while in the position, things I'm quite proud of and met some wonderful people. But now I am back to job hunting. 

And each time I complete an online form, my confidence quickly deflates like a balloon. I wonder if I'm carrying around bad job karma. The most recent job was a job again I had settled for. I didn't think long term with it. Before parting ways, I wish I had secured a new job but alas where is the fun in that? 

As I reflect on where my career currently is, I see where it has taken wrong turns and where I've tried to get it back to the path I want it to be on. Although I was not prepared to be without a job, I really wonder if God had his hand in this as a way to help me get everything back on track. To live in a city (there are two cities that have my heart) where I can see myself settling down in and growing old; to find the right career path...get back into the agency world; to chase after my dreams -- to not settle because of a guy or because of the pressure from friends, family or even myself. 

Maybe it is all an act of God. Or maybe I'm just trying to make myself feel a little bit better about how life is. Either way, I know everything will turn out good if for no other reason than because I've learned from where I've been on this path. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Confession time

I had been toying with the idea of writing this blog post for awhile now and after several recent Twitter conversations, it seems now is the perfect time to write it. 

Hi. My name is Kristin and I'm a picky eater. Or maybe more a naive eater. Or perhaps a combination of both. 

My friend recently posted on social media a foodie quiz. One of those to see how many out of the foods listed you've tried. I'm proud to say I reached double digits...barely. I had 12 of 100. The majority of the 12 is in great thanks to my days waiting tables as a Cajun restaurant during college. My friend had 42. 

During one of the weekly #dsma chats, a question was asked what we ask for help from others with regarding diabetes. My response was I tend to just ask for help in the sense of just needing ears to vent, rant, whine, cry, complain, etc. to. I then added a second response. I tend to ask for help regarding nutrition. Not in the traditional sense. I'm a pretty healthy eater however my diet is pretty limited and I need help in trying new foods. Confession time, I only recently tried red peppers and who would have thought, I liked them and have made it a point to eat them since. 

I had a side conversation about my statement with one of my closer friends from DSMA. She was shocked that there were so many foods I hadn't tried. I explained to her how I'm hesitant to try new foods because I don't want to shell out quite a bit of money to try something that I might not like. She suggested I go out to eat and order new foods. Sounds great in theory but again it comes down to spending money as well as I rarely go out to eat (I prefer to make things myself so I know what I'm consuming and it is almost always healthier) so when I do go out to eat I want to get one of the items I really enjoy. She also suggested perhaps just ordering an appetizer as it is less expensive and not quite as big. Valid suggestion. 

One thing I've done to help me try new foods while also learning new techniques (because we all know I love baking and cooking) is attending the free technique classes at Williams-Sonoma. (Bonus! You also get 10 percent off any purchase you make the day of the class in the store!) Not only to the show how to use items in the kitchen and prepare provided recipes but you get to sample the featured recipes they make during the hour long class. Some of the items I've been able to try through these classes include the previously mentioned red peppers as well as meatloaf, hummus (LOVE), seven layer salad and more. 

Playing on Pinterest, I'll find recipes featuring items I can't recall ever eating but have had no appeal to me and at least pinned the recipe. But alas, pretty much never make the recipe.

Around the start of the year, I decided I wanted to try cauliflower. I found a recipe on the American Diabetes Association's website for a recipe that sounds appealing -- Savory Cauliflower and Cheese Cakes. How can you go wrong with cheese? Also, the recipe included nutrition information and was low carb. I made them for dinner and was excited to try them. Took one bite. Couldn't finish the bite. They were beyond disgusting. Someone told me on Twitter after the fact they had tried the recipe also recently and had a similar opinion to mind. 

An example of how I'm such a picky eater would be my unwillingness to eat leftovers. As a child, we often ate Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Don't be judgmental, you know you ate it as a kid too. As a child I found leftover mac and cheese disgusting. I'm sure I would as an adult too but I personally find this product far from delicious as an adult. We had one specific pot we always made mac and cheese in. In an effort to get me to eat the leftover mac and cheese, mom would place the pot on the stove with a spoon in it to give the impression it was freshly made. Never worked. Partly because there wasn't a box laying around and also because with one bite I knew it was a leftover., Wouldn't eat it. Sorry Mom. 

Basically, I'm a picky eater but probably more so due to the fact there are quite a bit of foods I've just never tried and now are hesitant to try. My hesitation isn't due to not wanting to try new foods (I actually do want to try new foods) but rather I don't want to spend significant amounts of money and/or I'm not sure how best to prepare the foods to give it the best chance of me liking the food. 

Do you have recipe suggestions that you swear by that might help me try new foods? Are you a picky eater also? What food have you never tried but know deep down you should try it? 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

25 years and counting

Wow! Time flies! Sunday, March 29 marked 25 years since I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I still remember most of the day (but not all of it). It is hard to believe it has already been 25 years. When I was diagnosed I remember the expectant life of someone with diabetes wash incredibly short. And here I am 25 years later thriving. Who would have thought. 

So how did I celebrate? 

I celebrated a little bit early by taking a trip to Phoenix, which was incredible. I'll blog later this week about the trip. I had hoped to go skydiving but unfortunately the times available didn't work with my schedule. Maybe for diaversary number 30. I returned from Phoenix on Saturday. 

The actual day of my 25th diaversary was spent fulfilling my duties as an adviser for my sorority. As always, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with those ladies. When I returned to the city, I picked Rocky up at Camp Bow Wow and dropped him off at home so I could run out and grab dinner. I celebrated with Chinese food. I rarely eat Chinese food. It has probably been nearly a year since I previously ate it. It was delicious! 

The festivities continued as I took part in the weekly #dsma chat on Twittter and received very kind messages from my diabetic peers. My celebrated ended on Thursday and ended with a bang. 

On Thursday, UPS delivered a package to my door. As they were handing it to me, Rocky snuck out the front door and ran wild. It took us several minutes to round him up and get him back into the house. What a little stinker. Rocky and I opened the package and inside was this beautiful item: 

Eli Lilly sent me Diabetes Journey Award 25-year Medal. It is just a small little token but who am I to say no to a some bling? Eli Lilly certainly doesn't have to send these medals but considering how much of their medicine I've used in my efforts to stay alive, the medal is appreciated. The medal, to me, implies they get it. They understand how difficult this disease can be. 

So, that is how I celebrated my diaversary. Not too shabby. As I said in regards to receiving my medal...I'm hopeful there is a cure before I qualify for the 50-year medal.