Category Archives: Work

In No Particular Order

Apparently I just have a lot of different little things that I feel like I need to share, so here they are.

  • We discovered that there was a bird nest in the insulation covering our exposed foundation.  When they went to start removing the insulation, we discovered there were baby birds in the nest!  So that project has been tabled until fall (I do not want any bad baby bird karma) and THANK GOD the mama bird did not abandon the nest.
  • I finally completed all of my recertification credits for my SPHR and submitted that application.  So, now I have to wait the four weeks while they review it (snooze) and then hopefully that should be all-wrapped up.  Spending free hours listening to webinars was not my favorite part of the whole summer, but the nice part is that the hours also counted for my SHRM-SCP recertification so it was sort of like a buy-one-get-one type deal.  Now, I just need to figure out how to translate some of my other recertification credits  from the SPHR to the SHRM-SCP.  Lean in!
  • The deck off our our master suite is finally completed and on the first night of its functionality, I was able to watch a squirrel build a leaf nest in the maple tree so already, it is a fascinating and worthwhile adult treehouse.
  • A former co-worker was seeking to unload a bunch of Iris bulbs so I requested some and now they are planted in the one bed of dirt we have outside of our entire house. Re-landscaping will be a whole different project for another year.  To summarize: our house is surrounded by rock that is somewhere between gravel and proper landscaping rock.  The sum total of plants is one day lily and one peony bush (win!).  There are some bushes around the house but every single one is a different kind.  At least now I can say I’ve tried to plant some flowers and Do Better.  Last weekend we also obtained a trowel, watering can, and pruning/clippers thing.
  • I have pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel.  I discovered this because my hands were falling asleep at night while I was sleeping (how uncool, right?) so the remedy is apparently to wear wrist braces while I sleep.  I just cannot even begin to discuss the level of indignity.  BUT. I slept so, so well last night and I know I was waking up every hour and a half or so before because my hands were falling asleep while I slept. So I will take it. 
  • Critter woke up on Sunday and decided to become a full-blown toddler so that has just been a really energizing time for all of us as we try to negotiate Not Touchdown Spiking All Of Our Toys In Inappropriate Places amongst probably any other toddler behavior you can think of.

So that’s how life is over here, lately.

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Working Mom

All mamas are working mamas. The ones who stay at home, the ones who work full-time, the ones who do a little bit of each!  Once you have a baby, your whole life is work. Except for when you are sleeping. Then you are Not Working. Instead, you’re Recovering.  Until you’re not because a Tiny Tot woke you up!  Heh.

I can truthfully say that when I went back to work, Critter’s current sleep shenanigans were 100% not compatible with working, and yet! I still did it!  And continue to do it!

I guess I don’t really know what I was expecting when the clock struck 12 weeks and my maternity leave ended.  But here is a selfie of me to commemorate the experience.

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This selfie, like all selfies that are halfway put-together, is meant to portray that I Totally Have It Together.

Truth be told, it took me more than a week to take a picture of myself with my hair down, make-up on and adult clothes on.

Apparently we call this…The 5th Trimester.  AKA The One Where You Have To Rejoin The Real World And Act Like Everything Is Normal Even Though You’re Still Really Just Trying To Survive.

That being said, my first month back was truly wonderful.  Three days after Critter was born, I thought Oh my God, I have to go back to work.  Only 11 more weeks of this.  And then I was completely horrified because I always thought I would be one of those moms who worked because they had to.  I was so so so wrong.  I need to work.

And it has been so nice that when Marcus gets home from work and he asks me how my day has been, I have stuff to say!  Not that I didn’t have anything to say when I was on maternity leave.  But I have my own stuff to say now.  Instead of briefing him on whether or not the Dancing Dolls finally brought down the Prancing Tigerettes. Which is nice.

To get out the door is sort of a production.  I must shepherd Critter, his diaper bag, his clean diapers, my purse, my lunch, and my pumping supplies (which occupy an entire rollerboard duffel bag…omg why) out the door.  I have put less effort into packing for some vacations.

I must wake up at 4:40 AM so that Marcus and I can both get through our entire morning routine before Critter rousts and joins the fray (and so that if he does roust early, we can both still make it to work on-time).

Just call it yet another dimension of the human experience that we get to explore.

On the days where I’m not at Work Proper?  More work!  Critter and I eat and change diapers and play and walk and sing songs and go to mom group and baby yoga and wash diapers. Sometimes he naps.  Sometimes I do housework (yi).  I work out.  Sometimes I nap too.

And on all of the days there is cooking and cleaning and at the end of all of it, sleep recovery. Sleep.

RTW

Three months ago, I was enjoying what I had aptly titled My Last Day Of Freedom Ever.

I worked out. I ran some errands. I did some final cleaning.  I went out to lunch with Mom at Bacio which is where early labor started.  I napped.  And that was it.

My labor was 36 hours from start to finish with 31 of those at the hospital.  I had an epidural that stopped working on half of my body after like…20 hours so that was pretty exciting.  I pushed for two hours and Critter was pretty hell-bent on never coming out, but then he did.  There you have it, birth story in a bottle.  Save the Kleenex for another time.

I remember taking a freezing walk with Critter around our neighborhood in early February and thinking to myself that when we finally had green grass and were starting to see leaves on the trees, we would have made it.  It is well and truly Spring now.

I have a baby who is happy as hell 90% of the time and Extremely Ticked for the other 10%.  His night sleep continues to improve but of course I don’t think we’ll know what it’s like to truly feel rested for another few months.  He is starting to recognize the three songs I have been singing to him each day for the last two months and is So Jazzed About Those.  He is The Happiest with Marcus and I, but still seems to feel that we respond too slowly for his liking at least 50% of the time.  In short, we have nothing figured out.  But I do have approximately 50 pictures on my iPhone of Critter napping on me.  So that’s something! 

For the last 12 weeks, with very very few exceptions, I have lived through Groundhog Day and have done The Exact Same Thing 24/7 without interruption.  It has absolutely been the most important, difficult work of my life.  It has also been the most bewilderingly monotonous work of my life.  Weeks have crept-flown by at an alarming rate and suddenly here we are.

Today, I am going back to work.  I never really understood what people meant when they said “I’m a better mother because I work.”  I think I get it now.  I need to wear adult clothes, and my hair down, and make-up, and talk to other people about Things That Have Nothing To Do With My Child.  I need to think critically.  About stuff.

It will be so strange to go back to a place where everything from my “old” life has stayed the same, while everything about my life today is different.  And yet this same-different will be good.  It is time. 

Week 39 Update

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Here I am, still pregnant, y’all.  Critter’s due date is this Friday and I am 75% OMG CHILD IT IS TIME TO ENTER THIS WORLD and 25% We Must Cherish All Of This Peace And Quiet Because It Is The Last Peace And Quiet We Will Ever Have!  It’s a weird feeling that I have been trying to deal with by engaging in recreational sleep as much as possible.

If you follow me on Twitter/Instagram then you already know of the epic feat that I completed last week.  If you don’t, now you will.

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As you can see, my toenails are red, and they are that way because I painted them myself.  Yes friends, at 38 weeks and 5 days, I made the impossible possible.  It was easily the biggest accomplishment of my week.  If you are thinking wow it is so great that Kat can still see her feet please know that I cannot.  I actually had to angle my iPhone over my stomach in order to even be able to catch a peek of the finished product.

I know we haven’t spent any time discussing maternity leave, my return to work, or childcare arrangements, so today is the lucky day for that.

  • Earlier in my pregnancy, Meredith sent me information about a website called Mindful Return. I believe it was founded by a former classmate of hers, and is built to assist women (and their employers) so that they can successfully prepare professionally for maternity leave and have a successful return to the workplace as well.  I did not end up participating in the courses offered, but found the information on the blog to be deadly useful.  I would tell anyone who is expecting (and is planning to continue working) to use this resource, and if it’s right for you, to take the eCourse as well!
  • Maternity leave!  Right now, my current plan is to continue to work up until Critter is born.  I have literally no idea as to what I would do if I was at home all day waiting for labor to maybe or maybe not begin.  Once my leave begins, I will take the full 12 weeks.
  • Returning to work!  When I return to work, I will be going back to work three days a week.  I am so jazzed.  I am so lucky that this is an opportunity that exists for me, that I can continue professionally at a company I enjoy working for, in a job I enjoy doing, with co-workers that I like.  I feel like over the past six years, I have worked very hard to achieve what I have and I am glad that I get to keep that, you know?  This also guarantees that three days per week, I will be talking with other adults about things that have nothing to do with children.
  • Staying at home!  On the other side of the coin, when my maternity leave is over, I will get to stay home with Critter two days per week.  This is such a blessing.  I have no illusions that this will be easier than going to work, but I have always felt very strongly about staying home with children.  I know that everyone chooses different things for different reasons, but I am glad that I will get to spend those days and hours with Critter.
  • Childcare! All of this is possible because of our childcare situation.  My mother will be watching Critter one day per week, my mother-in-law will be watching Critter one day per week, and Marcus (a working dad!) is going to be a stay-at-home-dad one day per week.  More blessing in our lives.  We are so so so fortunate that when I am at work, Critter will be spending time with some of the other people in its life who love it the most.

At this point, all that is left to do is for us to sit back and wait.  Will there be a Week 40 update?  Who can know.  For all that I had this feeling of foreboding about a month ago that Critter was just going to shoot out, now I am feeling oddly confident that Critter will be 100% late.  As always, stay tuned.

Free HRCI Recertification Credits

If you haven’t figured it out from the title of the post, it’s a really exciting week on The Blog, people.

I got an e-mail today from the HR Certification Institute.  Apparently they wrote an eBook that is available for free here.

Titled The Rise of HR, it’s composed of 73 essays by HR thought leaders.  Yes, seriously, I just invoked the phrase, “thought leaders.”  I’ve flipped through a few of the essays already and it seems to be fairly interesting.

The real kicker, besides the fact that you can read the book for free, is that if you read it, you can receive three business credits toward recertification of your HRCI designation.

Y’all know that I am always working to find free ways to get recertification credits, so that’s a pretty great deal in my opinion.

Happy reading!

More credentials and some continuing education.

Like I said in my February Goals, I have been working to get my professional development ducks in a row.  I want to be clear: you were fairly warned before that this may be one of the most boring posts in the history of the blog.  BUT, if you are an HR professional with designations, you probably actually will appreciate this post.

Last year, as I was getting ready to take my SPHR exam (which is one of the HR professional designations offered through the HR Certification Institute (HRCI)), the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) announced that they were creating their own set of HR designations to be launched at the beginning of 2015.  I didn’t really concern myself with any of it at the time because mostly I was really just concentrating on taking and passing my SPHR exam.

The way that all of this shook out is that HR professionals with existing and active designations as of December 31, 2014 were able to directly bridge those to obtain the new SHRM designations.  HR professionals with PHR, SPHR, etc. designations will be able to do this through the SHRM website through the entirety of 2015.

So on January 5, I logged onto the SHRM website, did the SHRM-SCP “pathway” through their e-Learning curriculum and obtained my SHRM-SCP designation.  Which means that now I am an SPHR and a SHRM-SCP.  All in the course of one year!  Watch me Lean In and Thrive!

From a cost/time perspective I am extremely thankful for this because being able to bridge this designation saved me approximately $450 in exam fees and another $870 (yes, seriously) to purchase the SHRM learning system for their new credential.  Related/unrelated: I do not need to spend another 100 or so hours of my life studying for the next big test.  Phew.

As with all professional designations, there are continuing education requirements.  And as we all know, to obtain continuing education credits, you can either pay for them or you can track down free offerings.  My big February project is to get everything in order so that I can complete all of the re-certification credits/Professional Development Credits (PDCs) I need for both credentials for free over the next three years.  When I told Marcus about this, he was a little bit surprised that I was working on this so soon.  Sure, it’s a little bit early, but we all know I’m an early bird.

If you’re in the same boat that I am, some of the resources I’ve found so far for free HRCI-approved credit hours are:

  • BizLibrary – These are held live on a weekly basis at 1:00 PM CST.
  • ApplicantPro
  • Ascentis – These are held live and then stored as On Demand sessions.
  • Drive Thru HR – These 30 minute, On Demand webinar sessions can be mixed and matched to create full credit hours worth of instruction.  What’s even better about this, is the fact that you can listen to them one at a time and build your hours from there.

SHRM is currently The Resource for free PDCs.

  • Upcoming webcasts are here.
  • Archived webcasts are here.

I’m sure that there are more resources out there that I have yet to discover, but this seems to be more than enough information to keep me busy for the time being.

On the odd chance that any of you are also HR professionals working through any number of continuing education credits, please share your favorite resources in the comments!

Weekend projects.

I just feel like writing tonight.  That is all.

This weekend, we went to a surprise birthday party for a sorority sister.  We attended a wedding for another sorority sister – I think it was  our 10th this year.  Some of my favorite friends on earth were home and we got to spend time together and that was heart filling.  Marcus’ family does an annual fish fry, so of course we went to that dinner as well.

I didn’t end up actioning any plans for Sunday during the day, and I am so glad that I made that choice because it was just the loveliest day.  The weather was gorgeous and it gave me some time to open the windows and Take Care Of Things like batch cooking and whatnot.  Considering that we didn’t eat a proper meal together at home this weekend, I spent a remarkable amount of time in the kitchen.

At work, we take turns bringing birthday treats for one another.  The person I am bringing treats for likes chocolate covered pretzels so I tried my hand at making them and fancy-ing them up a bit.

Pretzels

There were basic chocolate-covered pretzels (everyone loves a classic) and then I also rolled them in sprinkles, M&Ms and Oreos.  In case you’re wondering what the rest of the recipe is, I used two bags of semi-sweet chocolate chips, a bulk container of pretzel rods and the toppings.  Once I had dipped and rolled the pretzels, I placed them on tin foil-lined cookie sheets and stuck them in the freezer to set.  Voila.

I also did some low-grade declutter.  I always have a “giveaway bag” in my closet but this weekend it was time to escalate the situation.

Declutter

Amongst the unnecessary things I discovered, a suit two sizes too big that I bought probably five years ago when I was just starting my post-college job search.  It was brown.  I know, I don’t know what I was thinking either.  Yes, I am concerned that I had absolutely no clue I owned this ensemble.  I also said sayonara to the eight polo shirts I bought in college.  Does anyone else remember wearing them two at a time and how uncomfortable it was to try and stuff yourself into two fitted polo shirts at once?  Because I do.  I was very proud of my collection, but again, they haven’t been worn in at least five years.

Mostly, I just find myself wondering how I managed to overlook all of these things for so long.  I’m sure that my next round of decluttering will bring similar surprises.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Did I mention that my closet really feels like it can “breathe” now?  Because there’s also that little side benefit.  I relocated what feels like a closet worth of hangers to the laundry room and suddenly, it’s like I have an entirely new space.