How Lucky Are You?

Written By: Kim - Oct• 18•12

I don’t make it a secret that I like my job and where I work. Although the commute is harsh, I work for an association who has an extremely generous benefits package and perks. I telecommute two days a week and am always grateful for this benefit. This month, all full-time employees each recently received an iPad3. Yes, this is a wonderful, exciting perk. This is not the first time my employer has generously provided funding for its employees to purchase technology. Selfishly, we hope it won’t be the last either.

Is it lucky that I work there? Some would say yes. I challenge that. Luck is what you make of it. For my children and their friends, I want you to understand how luck really impacts you. As you grow up and deal with life, you need to understand when good judgement matters and how you make your own luck.

Six years ago, my job search was strategic followed up with a little patience. I wanted to get back in to association publishing. I knew that most of the associations I would work for would not be located where I lived. Since moving my family closer to Washington, DC, was not realistic, my choice was to commute by car or by commuter train. Given my lead foot and impatience, commuting by train was the best option. So, I only sent resumes to associations located within reach of the commuter train and Metro system. And I waited for someone to call. Was I lucky that I had a job while looking for a new one? No. I was strategic. Don’t quit your job expecting to find a new one. Find the new one first, then quit. And provide plenty of notice, as a courtesy, to your employer. Yes, even when it’s a low level job when you are in high school, college or new in your career. Never, ever burn your bridges. It’s not worth it.

The fact that I telecommute doesn’t happen simply because I show up for work. First, I work for an association that offers this benefit. You can pick up on this in job search descriptions and interviews if the employer mentions it. Second, when I first started, as I do today, I show that I do my work, on time, within budget and without major error. I am strategic about our publishing efforts. I develop my staff so that they have the skill set they need to one day take my place. Does that make me nervous? No. It makes me secure. If my employees can’t do my job one day, then I have failed as a manager. Is this luck? No, it’s skill and emotional intelligence.

My boss knew my work ethic was above reproach, so when I proposed a telecommute day, she agreed. When I asked, 18 months later, for a second telecommute day, she agreed again. I have had two bosses since, both of whom have upheld this benefit for me. Am I lucky to work for people who believe telecommuting? Absolutely. Have I continually delivered what has been asked and more since I was hired? Yes. So, it becomes easier for management to say yes to certain requests. Again, luck only has a small impact on my telecommute situation.

Also, the path to my career no would not have been possible if I did not have a college and post-graduate degree. Am I lucky to have parents, and later a husband, who believed in me and sent me to college and graduate school? Absolutely. While I could not pick my parents, I most certainly picked a good man. You always have a choice in who surrounds you.

I had to earn both degrees. I had to work during college and post-graduate studies. I had to practice and improve my craft. I had to earn the trust of my employers, my employees, co-workers and magazine readers. I had to find the right place for me to work that allowed me to balance my professional needs with my personal life.

I had to make my own luck – just a little.

So, luck only has a small something to do with your life. The rest is up to you.

Is This All There Is?

Written By: Kim - Oct• 18•11

Three days a week, I take the commuter train of the living dead. Let’s just say we are pulling away from home before 6 am. And, yes, there is one more train before ours that leaves my hometown a little after 5 am, but I rarely make that train. The last stop puts us at Washington, DC’s Union Station at 6:57 am. Most of us spend the last few minutes pulling in to the station gearing up for our day ahead. Or at least hoping the caffeine will kick in soon.

Today, one of my train buddies, who has a great personality and sense of humor was shaking his head and yawning. I asked him what was up. He pondered: “Some days, I wonder. Is this all there is?” I chuckled and told him that he was having a mini mid-life crisis. And, that most of us do not work because we want to, we work because we have to in order to enjoy things such as a home, vacations, college tuition, etc. As we went our separate ways, I thought about what he said.

Praiano, Almalfi Coast, Italy rainbow ©God. Photo ©Mike Howard.

We toil. We live. We survive. We love. We work. We learn. So what? Why are we doing this again? What drives us to enjoy life? I am not talking about simply going through the motions, but really living. Enjoying our family and friends; liking our career choices; finding our talent and passion outside of work. Making a difference somewhere to someone.

I don’t have the answer. I can just tell you to do something that makes you happy. If you hate your job and can’t leave, find an interest outside work. Discover one of your 10 talents. I have it on good authority from my Mom, who knew everything, that God gives us all 10 talents. It’s up to us to find them all. Volunteer — an organization somewhere needs someone just like you. Try a hobby. Hit the gym. Spend time with your friends. Start a book club, a poker night, bunco group or knitting club.

Do something to make yourself happy and discover there is more to life than we realize. Seize your day.