Getting the Fuck Out

I had spent almost a week in Seattle as my escape from Thanksgiving. FYI, I hate the holidays. I needed an escape from Cali, work, life, etc. All I really wanted to do was to read my book, walk around the city, enjoy some good food, take some photos, and repeat. I arrived early Thanksgiving morning in Seattle and as I made my way to the light rail to go to my hotel, I already felt this huge relief. A lot of weight had shifted from my shoulders. The ride on the light rail to the hotel was relaxing to me. Walking to my hotel and taking in that crisp, morning air was just so refreshing. I really miss the cold weather. It’s a shame that Californians can’t appreciate the cold weather. Constant sunshine isn’t all that great. I was pretty exhausted and just wanted to quickly unpack and get settled in. I didn’t get much sleep the night before so I wanted to knock out as soon as possible. I ordered room service and indulged in a yummy burger which put my ass into food coma haha. I woke up to pretty much go across the street for dinner. After that dinner it was still pretty early and decided to go watch ‘Justice League’, which was good. I ended the night with going to the gym, sauna and hot tub at the hotel and went to bed early. That was my ideal ‘Thanksgiving’. It was just so peaceful.

I got to finish a design management book (Radical Candor by Kim Scott) that I was reading and got to start reading ‘After Dark’ by Haruki Murakami, which I ended up finishing in less than 3 days. I had so much time on my hands that it wasn’t hard to breeze through that book like nothing. I checked out different coffee shops in the area, explored a bunch of bookstores and of course continued stuffing my face during these moments of exploration. I found a used copy of ‘the Diary of Anaïs Nin: Vol. 2’ at one of the used bookstores that I checked out. I didn’t think I’d find anything that would remotely catch my attention but happy to find that for $3. Score! I plan on finding the other volumes and adding it to my library. I usually returned back to my hotel pretty early to relax since I don’t go out late like that at all. I made the conscious effort to work out while I’m traveling, which only encouraged me to go eat even more delicious food in Seattle haha.

My trip was fun yet relaxing. I truly felt happy and not one bit alone even though I had traveled alone. I didn’t feel scared walking around at night by myself. Everyone in Seattle was just so friendly and kind to me wherever I went. I clicked so well with the people and the city. However the moment I got back to Cali, my mood shifted instantly. I realized how shitty Californians are and how much I really hate this state. The people here are spoiled, rude, dumb, etc. The moment I landed back in Cali, I got into an argument with this dumb bitch at the airport. I don’t understand this bubble of sunshine that Californians live in and I don’t care to ever understand because they’re so out of touch with reality and it’s really sad and pathetic. I thought about my 5 year plan while I was on the light rail to the airport in Seattle and the goal is to be debt free, save up, get my health in a better place, become more well established in my career and move to Seattle hopefully. I’m pretty much only staying here for my career. As much as I hate the people and the state, there’s been great opportunities here. There is a strong design community out here, but I’ve come to terms that might not be enough for me to stay. I’ve never called this place my home because it’s not. It’s really just a long business trip to me. I didn’t leave Boston with the mentality that Cali will be my new home. I strictly came here for growth in my career and I continue to stick with that plan.

I made friends with the girl sitting next to me during my flight back to Cali. I gave her my business card to keep in touch since I had some questions for her about Seattle and vice versa. I will be going back to Seattle for Christmas and during that time I plan on getting quite serious in where abouts in Seattle that I want to live in. Seattle is truly my happy place. For now, time to hustle real hard and get the fuck out.

Advertisements

Muted

I haven’t had too much to say lately because quite frankly it’ll be mostly about my career. I continue rising up in my career while building strong relationships with the right people within this community, speaking beyond blunt to executives and thankfully not getting my ass fired for doing so, and influencing people that are aspiring to do what I do. I’m content and very focused. My mind is scattered because I’m constantly thinking about strategies, ideas and discussions that I’ve had with folks and I’m determined in what I’m trying to accomplish.

When I’m not so heads down, I realize how alone I am. I’ve realized that I mask this loneliness with my dedication to my career, which can be good and bad. My friendships has changed significantly this year with friends being so heads down in their relationships. I can truly say that out of my few close friends, only one isn’t completely heads down in her relationship. I don’t feel forgotten at all by her and it’s nice to know. She’s my only friend that’s actually making the effort to visit me for my birthday in 2 months. I don’t need a big celebration. All I want is a piece of home here and to not be alone on my birthday. I’m happy for my friends and all, but it’s not the same anymore. Anything like traveling, dining out, and whatnot now will be with their significant others. Anything that I want to do is really all by myself. If I want to travel somewhere, I just go by myself. If I want to go to a concert, it’s by myself. Etc. I know it’s not their fault to be so engaged, but at the same time sometimes I need them just as much as they need their significant other. I’m a strong, independent woman but sometimes even the strong ones need to cry and to hold someone’s hand, too.

The other night while organizing some old birthday cards that I’ve saved over the years, I was quite entertained yet happy to have read them. At the same time, I realized how I’m getting “old” and this huge flash just hit me hard. I’m still alone. By no means do I want to come off as being desperate just to want to fill this void because I’m lonely. I realize how accomplished I am and I just want to share these moments with someone special. It does get lonely the higher in the success ladder that you climb. Most of my days is filled with peace and quiet, which once again can be good and bad. Everyone is attached to the hip of their significant other and I don’t want to bother anyone and just continue to deal with things on my own in that peace and quiet. The quietness in my daily life has so much volume as weird as that may sound, to the point where things are so muted.

Life isn’t terrible. It’s just gotten pretty lonely no matter how strong, successful, and independent you are.

Good Life

Yesterday was one of the best days that I’ve had in a very long time. It was really one of the most perfect days ever where I felt so happy to the point of crying tears of joy. I had gone to my doctor’s appointment for a follow up and to get my results from recent blood work that I had done. To sum it up, my results were great and my health is improving. I was so thrilled since I’ve been working really hard on my health, even though I had fallen off the path due to traveling. Prior to my doctor’s appointment I was terrified and stressed out for what the outcome of my results will be. I had gotten frustrated at one point because I had to go back twice to get blood work done. I get it that mistakes happen, but I was just so angry. I was just sick and tired of getting jabbed with a needle just to get my blood and it reminded me of when I was back in the hospital, being hooked up to an IV and getting woken up at 5AM just to get stabbed again for my blood while I’m hardly awake. It was just a painful time for me in the past and at times it still affects me. I’ve gone to temple to pray a lot just for my health as well as other things that I usually pray about to get better. Having to take this medicine before I turn 30 is overwhelming. Anyways, I’m happy with my recent results and hope to continue getting better and hopefully be medicine free.

Work has improved a lot. My new boss has continued to be nothing but so supportive of me. I’ve been missing that for awhile at this job and it’s just so uplifting and rewarding. A couple weeks ago he had sent me an email to reassure me that I am not forgotten since things had gotten a bit quiet once I returned from my work trip. Last week he called me up to vent about some of the stuff that’s on his plate and was asking for help. He didn’t want me to do the work if I didn’t feel like it, but I offered any support that I can in return to help him out. Pretty much I have to be a hard ass and get in front of certain folks to do their job. He had sent out an introduction email to the folks that I will have to connect with, a couple I’ve chatted with before but never met in person. The one guy that I’ve worked with before happened to be in town so we scheduled a whiteboarding session. It was nice to finally put a face to the name finally. After our quick session, he pulled me into this other meeting that he was in where they would need my input. I got thrown into a meeting full of execs and I thought “ugh, w-t-f…”. One of the execs knows me and he’s a nice guy so I sat next to him as I was trying to catch up on their discussion. I sat there observing and listening and didn’t chime in that much, but I guess my few words that I did say had made a large impact on some folks. I had to be pretty firm and tell one guy that I’m not doing any design work until he writes up this document for me and I went into a straight forward explanation that if he doesn’t do it, then he sets us all back from doing our jobs and whatnot. I had gone into further explanation with this project manager about the importance of this document while the others took a quick break. At the end we all shook hands and parted ways. I was so happy to get out of that room and so happy that I had plans to grab a beer with my coworker.

The next morning while still in bed and still trying to open my eyes, I woke up to a message from my boss: “Don’t take this the wrong way but I LOVE your style you presented yesterday!!!!!! Giuliana told me how you performed. PERFECT!”. I had a huge smile on my face and just kept staring at that message before I replied. I really felt like I didn’t do much besides just being very blunt and listening. I simply told my boss that I was just doing my job and he thanked me again. It just made me feel more empowered at my job and in that moment where I said ‘no’ to that one exec that I’m not doing anything until he gives me what I want was pretty awesome. For a long time you always have to be practically the ‘yes man’ and it was refreshing to simply say ‘no’ for once. I also felt like another reason what he said about ‘my style’ is in regards to when he first met me during my visit, and we had a meeting with our team, I was REALLY blunt about everything haha. Probably too blunt but whatever. I basically said “the process needs to change and everyone wants change but no ones doing shit but continuing to build some embarrassing bullshit so stop acting like yall know what the fuck you’re talking about” lol. There was a lot more said, but yeah those words came out of my mouth and I have no shame to speak like that at work. I didn’t say anything wrong and I wanted to snap these fools out of this ugly mess.

With the good things happening at work and with my health all in that one day, I truly felt so much love and that I was surrounded by so much of it. It was so comforting and I was so happy. I haven’t felt such true bliss in a long time. The past 2 years has been so challenging for me and it was just so nice to have this one ultimately amazing day that I will never forget. I am forever grateful for my supportive parents and friends that has guided me along the way. Thinking about them, the obstacles that I’ve been challenged with and the progress that I’ve made me I feel so happy and loved to the point where I was overwhelmed and wanted to cry tears of joy. I feel good about life again and only for things to continue moving onward and upward.

Management Reassurance

I have to admit that I’ve been pretty worn out with work. With my recent travels to Colorado and coming back to attend networking events has been so draining on me. I guess I’m trying my hardest to keep this momentum going and to really make some kind of impactful change. While doing this it wears you down both mentally and physically. I’m constantly thinking and trying to figure out a strategy plan to help navigate both myself, my team and my new boss towards a path of success and for better collaboration.

Before my trip to Colorado, I was reading a lot of design leadership books. I wanted to figure out ways to help my team in any way that I can. I am not aspiring to be a design manager or anything in that sense. However I do aspire to be an influencer not only amongst my team, but within the design community as well. I literally read 3 design books in less than a month. I have a few more books to get through and they’ve been great reads. It’s made me feel more empowered and impactful than ever as corny as that may sound. I’m just trying to do the right thing not for myself but for others as well. It’s helped mold the way I’m seeing and thinking about things, which I am totally all for. While reading all of these books, I felt like these books understood the struggles that I was facing at my job, in my role and at the organization. I really felt alone on an island while my team and everyone else was on land elsewhere. It’s been a real struggle for me.

My trip to Colorado went well as it was my team’s first time meeting me in person and I had to opportunity to meet my new boss as there was a reorg announcement while I was in town. I was welcomed with open arms and I met with the right people that I needed to in order to help with my work. Besides attending lots of meetings and just meeting folks in general in that office, we had a great opportunity to go out to socialize after work. I got to chat with my new boss and let him know who I am as well as I where I stand in trying to help the team. He wanted to know me as a person but honestly, I’m really not that interesting haha. All I do is read a lot of books, go on photo adventures, impromptu solo travels, obsessed with RuPaul and RuPaul’s Drag Race, I’ll kick anyone’s ass in Street Fighter haha, etc. There really isn’t much to me but to some degree I hoped he had gotten a gist of who I am as a person. The same day that I was about to head to the airport to go back home, we had a final meeting with my new boss and team to discuss the recent changes. I let out a lot of my frustrations as to where my role currently is and how my previous boss had kinda left me with false promises. I literally was going to start crying because I was so angry but also speaking passionately lol. Anyways, I let them all know how I felt so unsupported for a long time and this trip had reassured me that I really do have people on my side. It was a great way to end my trip on that note.

Once returning back to Cali, I’ve been attending a few design events. They’re great networking opportunities and a great way to stay connected in the design community. I’ve connected with some cool people and hope to continue to keep the conversation going. Going to these events are reminders for me that I am not the only one facing the problems that I have, but how it’s also this ongoing battle. The stories and chatter shared by the panelists at these events has been so good. They’ve even provided more books recommendations which I’m thrilled to check out. I got to briefly chat with one of the speakers yesterday before heading home. She was the only female panelists and I thanked her for sharing her thoughts and how amazing she really is. I’m hoping to see her again soon at another event that her team will be hosting, so I definitely can’t wait.

Back to my boss and work…I do my usual routine of making breakfast and then sit down in front of my computer to go through emails. Most of them I delete but they’re just beyond pointless. However one email in particular stood out and it wasn’t because it was from my new boss. He wrote me a very reassuring email which said “Be patient and enjoy this slow time because things will start to come together quickly. You are not forgotten.”. The dust still needs to settle with all the recent organizational changes, but during this process it was just nice to hear from my own boss that I am not forgotten. I got so choked up and started crying. I’ve been on this solo charter for a long time and to have people on my side especially my boss feels good again, which what caused me to cry haha. I feel better to continue sticking around for what this ride has to offer.

Routine Reassurance

For the past few months, I’ve been on a pretty good workout routine and I was eating pretty healthy. Of course not all routines are meant to last unless you’re crazily disciplined but then again you wouldn’t really be human. Since going back to Boston in September for 2 weeks and with traveling to Colorado last week, my routine is messed up. When I had traveled to both Boston and Colorado, I brought workout clothes with me and tried to stick with getting a workout in or at least even a walk. Besides failing with working out, I’ve been eating like shit. Not entirely shitty but definitely not the best. Alcohol has creeped its way back into my life and that’s no bueno.

I’ve gained 5lbs in the past 2 months which isn’t a huge deal for a lot of people but I was suppose to lose another 10-15lbs around this point. I know, I know…the faster you drop the weight, the quicker you can easily gain it back. I was really dedicated to getting my health back in check and now I’m really freaking the fuck out. I know I shouldn’t get too caught up with the numbers but I am. I have an upcoming follow up appointment with my doctor to see my progress and I’m scared what she’ll say to me. This Friday I have to get blood work done and I’m terrified to not only get stabbed again for my blood, but I’m terrified for what my results will be. I’ve noticed my left leg has been a bit weak and I’m scared shitless if my lack of nutrition and exercise has brought this symptom on or if it could be leading to something more serious. I have a number of thoughts running through my mind.

I was freaking out a lot today since I know both appointments are quickly approaching. I have been trying to gradually get back into my routine again but it’s tough. I’m angry with myself for fucking it up and I’m just being hard on myself. That’s just how I am. I went to temple today to pray for my health to get better so I can do more in this life. I have quite a few setbacks right now because of my health and it sucks. I cried while praying because I want to feel better again. Tonight my friend D shared this fitness reading with me and this one line in the book really triggered me. “The quicker you get back on track the less damage you’ve done.” Such simple words but it really means a lot to me. Tomorrow is a better day and I need to not freak out and to continue trying again.

Shield

I’ve been pretty heads down with work lately. I’m focused on building a strategy of success for my team and how I can help in any way that I can to make things better. I’ve had the chance to meet my design idols, who’s book I was currently reading, and I’ve had great discussions with them as well. They helped me see things in a different perspective and it’s changed me in some ways in how I operate. It’s helped pave this leadership path that I am on. They were just super inspiring people that I’ve met and it has made a pretty large impact on my career. By no means am I trying to become a manager or a director. However I do see myself as an influencer…if that’s the right term to use. I’ve immersed myself in design books where it speaks a lot about leadership and whatnot, and I’m loving it. I spend 2 hours towards the end of my work day to read as much as I can. There’s just so much information that I’m trying to absorb and to take into action.

A few weeks ago my friend had this girl’s night dinner and it was fun. My design idol showed up too which left me foaming at the mouth lol. I wanted to get to know her more since she really is such an amazing person both in the design community and outside of that. Our discussions varied on so many things and oddly we can all relate to whatever was being discussed. Anyways, at the end of the night I realized how diverse this group of women are yet we were all on the same page. There were major age gaps between us, different occupations, mothers, wives, singletons, etc. It was just such a strong group of women to be around especially during that time where I felt so down about the guy, I really needed this.

I’ve thought a lot about where I’m standing now and where I was just a month ago. To some degree that cut is still open a bit and I’m still hurt. I am much better today in a sense where I’ve been able to lead and pretty much kick ass where I need to. I am proud of my efforts and my dedication in what I need to get done especially for my career and my team. I know this might happen again since I still have doubts, but I don’t ever want to be in that position again where a guy has made me feel like that. It was a lot on me and it was so draining. It has been quite some time where I had gotten that vulnerable for someone and it was just too painful for me. To even say out loud to him and even my close friends, “I like you” was a huge deal for me. It takes a lot for me to even  say that since I’m quite selective in who I even crack the door open for. He made me feel so terrible as if he slammed that door so damn hard in my face. It was too much for me. I’ve built my walls back up to shield myself because I can’t allow this to happen again. At least not right now. I am so focused and I can’t be distracted. I need time to trust again and I need to protect myself.

Taking the Lead

I’ve been at my current job for over a year and right now I’m facing a lot of challenges ever since my boss’ departure. One of the biggest things that’s bothered me the most is not meeting my team, who are all based in Colorado. It’s a bit pathetic that I have to beg and nagging is not my style. I had reached out to my current ‘boss’, who is my previous boss’ boss. I had sent him an email with a pretty reasonable request. Basically asked homeboy if I could visit my team for better collaboration since we get along so well in our chat channel and to lead by pushing the user experience even further in the next upcoming product release. It’s been almost a month since I’ve written that email and homeboy has not answered me. Once again this is not an outreach program. I’ve been beyond frustrated and it sucks, which has also led me to applying to jobs elsewhere. I don’t see the harm in applying while I’m still employed. However, I had a call with this start up and they seem VERY interested in me. Having a meeting with one of the execs via Google Hangout so that’ll be interesting.

Although I am at the door and with it cracked ever so slightly, I’m not afraid to leave if I have to. But I love my team and I’m embracing my current challenges in a positive way as much as possible. So in light of that, I booked my flight and hotel today to go to Colorado in the next upcoming weeks. I’ve had discussions with several folks on my team to hear their thoughts about me coming to visit and of course they want me to come, but I want to make this as productive as possible. I don’t even know if I’ll be able to get this expensed since I’ve personally funded this travel myself. Regardless, I’m making a huge investment not only for my team and my job, but for myself. I asked one of my colleagues what they think our current boss will think of me just booking my travel and showing up to the Colorado office. He told me he thinks he’ll be impressed with my determination. That made me feel good about my decision and pulling that trigger.

This evening I wrote a message to this woman that I had met at a design event. She’s incredibly smart and just all round awesome. I was very impressed with how she took the initiative and went to another country (with her own money) to get her user research work done. She returned with great results which saved the company lots of money and in return she was able to get this trip expensed. There’s somewhere in the story where she racked up a $20K bill, and the company paid for that. Lucky girl!! Anyways, I sent her a message telling her how inspiring she is with sharing that story with me along with providing helpful tips in how to tackle on this one project that I was doing. I thanked her for giving me that kick in the ass for me to do the same as her, except I don’t think I’ll go over $20K in expenses haha. I thanked her for being such an inspiring contributor in the design community. I never write shit like this to anyone, but I’m sure anyone would appreciate a nice message like that.

I’m currently in the works of writing an email to inform my boss of my decision. I can’t get in trouble for trying to do my job, so whatever. Plus I’ve never been to Colorado so it’ll be nice to visit even though I’m keeping it primarily business focused. I thought about extending my stay into the weekend, but that’ll be for another time. This trip will determine if I want to stay any longer at this company so we shall see. I’m really doing my best to take the lead as much as possible and I hope my work and efforts will make some kind of impact or get any kind of recognition. Shit, I better…