March 23, 2006
I cooked my first home-cooked meal in my house today. It was just sloppy joes and steamed carrots (the sloppy joes were made with Boca ground "beef", which doesn't taste any different than ground beef when you slather it with Manwich sauce.
The pans Mom gave me as a housewarming gift are really great. They're stainless steel, because I don't care for non-stick pans all that much. As Alton Brown says, you can't make a good pan sauce with a non-stick pan. Then again, you can't make a good pan sauce using Boca, either, but I'll make myself a steak sometime soon. It just wasn't a steak kind of night.
I considered being proper and eating my meal at the dining room table, but I opted for dinner in front of the TV instead. It's my house, I can do what I want!
I had to attend a meeting between my boss and one of the power players at our company today, ostensibly to take notes. As I typed away, I realized that what they were discussing was something I could participate in, if I wasn't employed in an administrative capacity. I'm not ashamed of my position, and I don't think that I'd be ignored, but I'm just not in the position to bring things to the table that I could if I were...I hate to say it...a consultant.
It's been at the back of my mind for the whole day, ever since that meeting. Over the past 6+ years, I've complained about the consultants; about their lack of planning, their way of dealing with administrators, the ideas they present in their client work, but I've never thought to myself, "I should go into that field and try to do better."
Today, I'm thinking differently.
I've been working for this company for over six years, in the two departments that allow me to access every piece of material created. I know all our applications inside and out, just from working with documents associated with them. I know Consultant Company culture, I know our philosophies, and most importantly, I know just about every person who works for us; if not by sight, then by name and what they've worked on.
As of April 11th, I'll have been with my current department for a year. I can definitely see myself staying with the department and trying to create a new set of responsibilities for myself, especially in the areas of creating programs for use by the company at large. I like creating tutorials, and I like bringing new technology to our somewhat-dated database areas.
However, I've been on the fringe of this company, working in an administrative capacity in one department or another for the whole time I've been here. I started out as a temp, and never really thought of a "career" there until this past year. Now that I'm considering it as a long-term plan (as if 6 years isn't long-term enough), I want to push myself, and the best way to do that is to do what the company does to make money, which is consulting.
I have a contact at the company who I know through the gay outreach committee. He's been with the company for 17 years or so, and is on a level where he doesn't need to report directly to my boss for anything. I sent him an e-mail tonight to see if we could get together for an "off-line" conversation about the Consulting Company and my future place in it. I don't expect anything to happen right away, but it'll be good to hear what he has to say about it.
If nothing else, it's a good way to network.
I'm also moving forward with the PowerPoint training. I've started a new set of training documents, based on a completely different set of criteria than the criteria I used for the training documents for work. I'm approaching it in stages that make sense for the occasional user of PowerPoint, such as administrative assistants, and working into an intermediate course for people who need to use it more regularly but don't necessarily need to build anything too spectacular. The final course is for people who want to give really effective presentations and create "leave-behinds" for their audiences, using PowerPoint as an ad-hoc publishing tool as well as a presentation tool.
I think it's a good approach. I'm exploring advertising opportunities, starting with the easy areas like craigslist and working my way into a more direct-marketing approach. Ideally, I'd like to hold classroom-setting courses, where I'd train a small group (6-8) rather than one-on-one, but I'd have to find a facility that has computers available, as well as the software I'd need. I could require laptops, which would mean I'd just have to provide a projector (or rent one from the place where I held the seminar).
Does anyone who reads this use PowerPoint at work? Do you need training? If so, let me know how training would benefit you the most. What areas you'd want to learn about.
It's another step forward. I hope I can make it work. Well, I know I can make it work, I just have to make sure I find an audience for what I'm teaching.
If it works out the way I want it to, I hope to put the course materials into a published form in one way or another. It's a long-term plan.
I have some changes to send to the cast of the staged reading; nothing too big, but important to make sure it goes smoothly.
My producer and I had a conversation today about what happens after the reading. It's exciting stuff, and has spurred me on to work on more writing. I haven't really completed anything major for quite some time, and it's time to get back into the swing of it.
Rewriting the smaller bits of the current play really is helpful to getting me into the mindset of writing something new. I have something full-length that is outlined pretty much done, and I have snippets of dialogue running through my head which need to be written down soon.
Something about today made me think, "I can." I can make a move in my company, if I want to. I can create a new side business for myself. I can make this house into a home. I can write another play that will be well-received and ready for production. A lot of people (including myself) have spent some time telling me that I can't do things, even if they say it in the most loving way possible, and I just have to convince myself that all those messages are wrong.
I can do it. I can.
One note before I go to bed: Congratulations to my nieces and nephew on their great report cards! I'm very proud of you, even though I've always known you're really smart.
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