Our View From Here

Perspectives of Five Women

Thank you and Goodbye, 2011. Welcome, 2012!

Happy New Year!

Overall, 2011 was a pretty good year for me. My biggest accomplishment was getting a new job. I’ve been in my new position for just over three months and it’s been a huge learning process. I suppose that’s to be expected with any new job though. I don’t know yet that this work will be my life’s passion, but I’m pretty sure I’ll get a lot out of it, which suits me just fine right now.

In retrospect, 2011 was filled with a lot of fun events. It was a great year for diving. I improved significantly and am much more confident in my abilities now. I had a phenomenal trip to NC where I was able to explore WWII ship wrecks and swim with sharks. It was an amazing experience and I’m eagerly anticipating this year’s NC trip. A month later, I had a wonderfully relaxing vacation in SC with my husband, the first since our honeymoon in 2009. I also got to visit friends in Boston, Philly, DC and NH, had a camping trip with friends in June and attended a multi-location wedding celebration in NC and OH for a very good friend. It’s these experiences and the associated memories that come to mind when reflecting on 2011, not all the muck and difficulties that would come up and stress me out throughout the year. I’m pretty pleased with that realization.

I have big hopes for 2012. As per my usual practice, I’m not really focused on making resolutions. But I am trying to be aware of what I can change in my life to make it even better than last year.

I wish all of you a wonderful 2012. May it be filled with happiness, health, love and ice cream.

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Itchy feet

For my family, change was a way of life. I’m a Navy brat.  I was born in Alaska, and moved to Georgia before my second birthday.  I’d like to think that adjustment was difficult, but I don’t remember it, so it couldn’t have been too traumatic.  During Elementary School, it was hard always being the new kid.  Every time I had settled in and found a group of friends, we picked up and moved.  In the next ten years, we moved four more times, finally ending up in New Hampshire.   Then, we moved to four houses in the same town within four years.  Then, stayed in one place, in one house for fifteen years so far (my parents still live there).  Even though the moving was hard, the not moving proved to be an even bigger adjustment.

After college, I repeated the pattern: New Hampshire, Boston, New York, Boston….I haven’t stayed in one place too long.  When my feet start to itch, I pack up and move to a new city or a new apartment.

A new house only eases the urge to move slightly.  I’m not looking for a perfect place (though my most recent apartment gets the closest), I’m trying to assuage my boredom, my feeling that it’s just….time.

So I guess the adjustment for me isn’t to a new place, it’s to NOT being in a new place.  In a new place, I can explore; it feels like a great adventure.  In an old place, I feel like I’m missing out on someplace different.  Of course, as I’m beginning to discover, there are benefits to the familiar.

I’m just having a hard time adjusting to liking that, too.

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The (literal) view from here

New England has been put on notice for the last several days: 

A BIG ONE is coming!  Prepare yourselves!  Buy lots of bottled water and toilet paper!  You might not leave your house for days!

It’s the same every year. The first big Nor’easter of every season sends our meteorologists and the public into a tizzy.  “How will we make it through?” “What can we do?”  Well, pretty much the same things you did last year when this exact same thing happened.  You’ll hunker down, then you’ll get your shovel and dig yourself out. 

Today, I’ll be working from home.  Getting into work would probably take hours and we’re right in the middle of the heaviest bands of snow.  So, before I’m sick and tired of it (which will be approximately one snowstorm from now) I thought I’d post some pictures of the beautiful white landscape. 

From inside my window

Venturing outside

Roxy in the snow

Gratuitous puppy-in-the-snow photo

frosty face

 

I hope, where ever you are, you’re warm and cozy.  This is how I’ll be spending my day:

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Bluegrass and Bluebloods

Today, I’m not feeling particularly witty, or even very smart.  So, I apologize in advance if that’s why you’re reading.  I think it has something to do with the weather, which is drizzly and has been for the past two days, and something to do with getting over a cold, and something to do with the time of year, and something else to do with a general ennui. 

But I did go to an amazing concert last week.  The headliner was Mumford and Sons, an incredible band that I was introduced to when my sister and her roommate took me to their show in Boston in May.  That show was good, but not great.  I came away from it really liking Mumford, but disappointed by the rest of the experience.  The show was at the famous (for reasons unknown) Middle East club, and it started late, there were like two hours between the opening act and Mumford.  And the opening band was a huge disappointment.  Their lyrics were muffled because the lead singer was swallowing the microphone and the volume was turned up way too high. 

This week, it was an entirely different experience.  The headliners were amazing, as expected, but what I hadn’t expected was that the two opening acts, King Charles and Cadillac Sky, would be equally good.  All in all it was three and half hours of great music, played by bands who obviously enjoyed playing together, and with the other bands on the tour. 

For the encore, all three came out and played together.  Here’s a video of the show they all did in Atlanta a few weeks ago.  This is the song they played as an encore in Boston as well.  Enjoy!

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When does your job become your CAREER?

My Dad: “Aren’t you glad I got you that job?”

Me: “No, dad.  I’m happy you got me the interview. I got myself the job.”

The search for a job is never easy. At least not for me.  I have a friend into whose lap jobs just seem to fall like so many acorns from oak trees.  But, she also has a vast network of friends and professional acquaintances who know and like her and make connections with and for her.  She’s great at networking, without even trying.  That, I think is the secret to her success.  She networks because she loves knowing and meeting people, not because she’s trying to get something out of it, so it works.  I’ve always been a bit more retiring, less extroverted and less adept at following up with professional connections.  So, for me, it’s a slog.  Always.

Until three years ago, I was working at a foundation in New York.  It was a job that lacked challenge.  I learned all there was to know about my job and my organization within 6 months of starting, then kept at it for another two and a half years after it became obvious that there were no more challenges coming and that there was no opportunity for growth.  I went through waves of job searches, but it was exhausting and after months of applying, I’d take some time off and resign myself to my job for however long it was going to take.

Then, my father called and said that an organization in his building was hiring, was doing international something and wanted my resume.  I sent it to him, and three days later, I got a call from their CFO.  We talked for about two hours before I was invited to come to Boston for an interview.  This was a Friday afternoon.  Monday morning, I had my interview, and Tuesday I had a job offer.  Three weeks later, my life moved 250 miles north, and I started work.

When I was hired they said that they wanted a two-year committment, that it could be a springboard into some other work in the field.  After a year and half here, I was promoted, and sent to work interviewing people and running meetings in foreign countries.

Now, like everyone else, my organization is feeling the crunch of the economy.  We just moved into a smaller office this week, we’ve been asked to take temporary pay cuts and now, even though I really don’t want to, I’m thinking again about updating my resume and looking for something else.   I’m going to wait until I absolutely have to start looking though.  I love my job, I like my co-workers and I feel, for the first time in my professional career, like I’m doing something important.  I’m helping contribute to the body of knowledge that will change how people do their work, make them want to do better, to be better, to think more and work harder.  I’ve already felt a personal transformation from my work here.  It’s starting to feel like I’ve found what I want to be doing with my life.

I’ve stopped having a job.  Now I have a career.

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Nicki’s life….or at least part of it.

So….intro.  Ok.

My name is Nicki and right now I live in Boston.  History tells me this is a temporary situation, as I never end up living in one place for too long, but my current career circumstances seem fairly stable (ish….) so, it seems that Boston is home for the foreseeable future, at least.  Which is fine.  I like it here.  It’s close to where I grew up (sorta) and where my family still lives in New Hampshire, it’s close to where I used to live, in New York.

I’ve spent my life being fairly nomadic. My dad was in the Navy, so we never really settled anywhere until I was in my teens.  Since then, I seem to get itchy feet every few years, and so I move.  Sometimes I move across town, sometimes I move across the country.  Last August I moved about three miles from my old apartment.  Small moves are enough to satisfy my urge to flee, so I’ll stay where I am for now.  This all goes a long way to me saying that my current job is PERFECT for me.

I work at a non-profit organization, like others in this blogging sorority.  My organization does research on the impacts of other NGOs (non-governmental organizations) working in the humanitarian, development and peacebuilding fields.  My job is basically to go around the world and talk to people about what they do, and how they do it.  I get to meet the best people in the world, every place I go.  I’ve been doing this job for just over a year, and I’ve been to Kenya (twice), Norway, Colombia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India, Philippines, Cambodia and Thailand.  Not to brag (well, ok. yes, to brag), I have the best job.

Me, in Kenya, petting a Cheetah. Who gets to do that?

So, in a nutshell:  I’m a nomadic, dog-owning, cheetah-petting, NGO worker who lives in Boston.  There is, of course, more to me than that, but this seems like enough for now.

Cheers!

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