Monday, June 25, 2012

My #1 Professional Goal This Year

So, normally I don't write about my professional life on my blog... I do, after all, have very strong feelings about keeping my personal and professional lives separate (blog stories about my work travel do NOT count!).

Today is going to simply have to be an exception to the rule.

Okay, so I received an email earlier today regarding putting together a plan outlining my goals for the upcoming year... you know, nothing out of the ordinary. Normally, I actually do like to give these some thought because... well, to be perfectly honest, because I really just like "checking things off" a list.

Seriously- do you guys keep To Do lists? Omg, they are seriously one of my favorite things EVER (yes, I'm a nerd). And not just any To Do lists... others are perfectly content just typing their lists out into Word, Notepad, iPhones, or whatever... but not me.

Nope- I definitely still "write out" my To Do lists... you know- like on paper and everything... you know- like, the old-fashioned way, if you will ;). But seriously, the self-satisfaction that can be derived from PHYSICALLY being able to strike through a handwritten To Do list... well, GOD. It has honestly GOT to be one of the best things ever (I already TOLD you- I'm a nerd, yes, I know.). In any event, physically crossing something off my To Do lists FAR supercedes the self-satisfaction derived from striking through items in a Word document or Notepad (or even deleting... I mean, what's the POINT of deleting?? What's the point of doing all your activities if you can't even SEE the physical progress you've made with your list? I mean, honestly, people- plain logic, here).

Anyway, believe it or not, this post wasn't actually intended to be about To Do lists... but I digressed (imagine that). So, as the thought of putting together my professional goals for the year sprinkled through my thoughts on my bus ride home this afternoon, my mind quickly wandered (doesn't take much, really) to creating a To Do list for my personal life as well. I'd been talking with a few of my friends about the thought of putting together a "bucket list" for this year just so I'll actually DO more stuff, but to be perfectly honest, I think I could die today and be perfectly happy. Okay, that came out a lot more morbid than it actually was meant to be- but... well, I just think life has been fairly good to me thus far. Nothing wrong with that, right? Right. God, if "life" could have a cheerleader... well- sign me UP! Hahah.

Lord, this post is all over the place. Okay, so I actually ended up creating a little list of personal things I want to accomplish in the next year but again, believe it or not, this post isn't about my personal To Do list for the year. Rather, this post is SUPPOSED to be about the ONE professional item that made it onto my personal To Do list for the year (see? Told you I'm fairly adamant about keeping my personal and professional lives separate).

The fact that this one professional item made it onto my personal To Do list clearly goes to show just how BADLY I want it. I mean, I can safely say I've never wanted something in my professional life as badly as I want this. Now, I'm sure the suspense is absolutely killing you so... without further ado... I present to you... my biggest professional goal yet...

Okay, so I work at a large company (like national/international reach), right? And periodically, they hold these firmwide video broadcasts where they provide updates on the company, upcoming events with the company, what the company's leaders have to say... sigh- I think I'm the only one who like avidly watches these things like it's a movie thriller or something. Seriously- next time one of these things is broadcast, I'm going to pop myself some popcorn (I guess it would help if I actually liked popcorn...), kick back and just relax with all the happy firm news being broadcast.

Anyway, so to be creative (I think), some of these firmwide broadcasts involve having junior staff interview various members of the company for a variety of reasons.

So that's it! That's my goal! I want to BE one of those INTERVIEWERS!!!

Hahaha... was that a total buzzkill for all of you? Oh well. But honestly, wouldn't that be the BEST role EVER?!?!?! I would take it more seriously than almost anything else I've ever taken in my professional life... after all, I see this as kind of a platform, if you will... I mean, if I'm going to be the next Oprah, I have to start SOMEwhere, right? Right. And what better platform than something that already has national REACH, RIGHT?!?!?!

You know what's funny? I feel like some of interviewers could be super nervous because, well, you're being broadcast across the country. But me? Well, I think my biggest concern would be to tame my smile a bit, so that I don't come across as... well, I don't know- too excitable/"happy-go-lucky"/"heads in the clouds"-ish. Because you KNOW I would be. ON. CLOUD. NINE. if ever I had this opportunitylasjfdlksjdf! And, I mean, even I know I'm fairly excitable on a regular basis. Can you imagine just how spirit-fingery frenzied I'd be if my #1 professional goal (EVER) actually came true?!?!?!

Trust me- this is a HIGHLY valid concern. I mean, I'm not going to lie... there are points where I'm sitting in meetings with certain coworkers that I just want to sit back, rest my chin in my palms and well, just BEAM because they make me SO HAPPY!!LKJlfkajslfdjsl! Hahahaha. I can't even imagine how that would play out if I ended up living out my dream role...

(NOW do you see why I have to be extra-conscious about maintaining a professional persona in the workplace? Like, can YOU imagine if you looked over one day and one of your coworkers was just sitting there BEAMING at you? Thank you very much.)

Anyway, you know me and that whole shamelessness thing. If I want something badly enough, shame has no bounds in my mind... as such, if you or anyone you know (coworkers or noncoworkers alike!) know of ANY avenue to become one of these interviewers... please do let me know and help make my #1 professional goal for the upcoming year come true.

In return... well, I will be eternally grateful (I may have a bad memory, but I NEVER forget about people who help me out) and bake you treats.  That should totally suffice, right?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

BEST. WORK TRAVEL. WEEK. EVER. (Okay, Second Best. But a CLOSE Second.)

So when I realized what my travel schedule for work was looking like this week, I can safely say that "headache" was not too far from the top of my mind. Unlike some other people in consulting, I definitely am not one to thrive off of travel- I mean, don't get me wrong, I'll obviously do it, but all this talk about points and status and privileged access to things (i.e. airport lounge)... well, let's be honest, I could really care less about. (Well, that's not a COMPLETELY fair statement... I have to say- my travel life has certainly gotten easier with the whole Silver status thing on United... a big accomplishment for me!)

Anyway, so when I learned that I would be flying out to Cleveland Sunday night, flying back to Chicago Monday night, and then flying BACK to Cleveland Wednesday night... well, like I said before- headache wasn't too far from my mind (and yes, I know- I'm a wimp because, yes, I know, people do this kind of ping pong'ing ALL the time).

All I have to say is, after this week... I LOVE PING PONG'ING!!! Omg guys, this week has seriously turned into the second best* work travel experience EVER for me!!!!

Okay, so the week started off standard enough- I just traipsed out to O'Hare and took my flight as scheduled Sunday night. Monday, however, I was scheduled for an 8:51 PM United flight back to Chicago. Although my client site was only a half hour from the airport, I left the client site around 5:25 PM, to allow enough time for traffic and all that. Well... I quickly learned that the big, bad cities of Streetsboro and Twinsburg, OH (GOD, I love small town northern Ohio! Hahaha) basically have no traffic. So I arrived with PLENTY of time to spare for my flight. So much time, in fact, that I decided to lollygag a bit in the airport, strolling through the terminal, stopping in the restroom to change into my cozy sweats, etc.

It was only at about 7:05 that I checked my departure gate info and realized that there were TWO flights heading to Chicago ahead of mine... one at 7:15 PM and one at 7:55 PM. I figured it was too late to even TRY to get on the 7:15 PM flight, but since I had to pass that gate to head to the next scheduled departure gate, I threw caution to the wind (okay, so I'm a little overdramatic) and just stopped by the 7:15 PM gate for a friendly inquiry. It didn't seem too promising... the gate was legit devoid of people (everyone had already boarded, obviously) and there was just one little old lady working the desk.

Well, miracle of miracles... it's amazing what a little friendly inquiring can do! She TOTES was able to shovel me on that 7:15 PM flight!!!! Seriously, ten minutes before it's about to fly OUT! Crazy, right?!?!?! As if THAT weren't enough... so I get on the plane and am a little confused because I see that my assigned seat was already occupied. Initially, I got a little nervous, thinking my luck was so short-lived. Well, the flight attendant I stopped to ask about this little mix-up just looked a little frazzled and was like "Well, just take that seat... it's open." So, I look to where she is gesturing... and it's an Exit row seat (extra leg space?!?!?! Yes, PLEASE!). Not only is it an Exit row seat... it's a WINDOW Exit row seat!!!!! WHAT ARE THE CHANCES?!?!?!?!?

Okay. So that was experience #1 of this week of utopian work travel experiences. Not only did I make it home an hour and a half earlier than expected (it was still light out when we landed and everything!), but I did it with extra leg space and a beautiful little window view. SIGH. Happiness.

Okay, onto experience #2. So, I had to fly back to Cleveland tonight (Wednesday night), but this time on Southwest (since I had a travel credit I had to use up). Based on the ridiculous half hour wait for a cab from my Chicago client site yesterday around rush hour, I decided to head to the airport mid-afternoon (immediately after my client work was done), JUST so I would be ensured a fairly easy cab hailing, non-rush hour experience. Okay, so a cab literally materializes out of thin air as soon as I walk to the cab stand. Happiness point #1. THEN, we got stuck in some traffic and, upon getting to the airport, I got stuck in this ridiculously long security line... ugh, talk about luck running out. Anyway, finally I make it through security and check the departures screen. Okay, so it was 5:25 by the time I finally made it through security and was checking the departures screen. My flight was only scheduled for 8:55 but, would you look at that? There was a 5:55 PM Southwest flight. I knew that flight was sold out though (because that's the one I'd originally tried to book), so I knew it was going to be a long shot trying to get on it... but I guess it never hurts to try, right? Right.

So I mosey on over to the departure gate and ask the flight attendant guy about my chances of getting on standby. I am the 8th person on the standby list. For a sold out flight, the prospect of getting on this THREE-HOUR EARLIER flight was highly unlikely. After waiting for just about 10 minutes, they started calling people off the standby list and... oh my heavens, before I knew it, I was hearing the standard "Christie Mali... Mali-yackel?" (You know, because who REALLY knows how to pronounce my last name, let's be honest here.)

I HAD SO GOTTEN ON THE FLIGHT STANDBY!!!!!! I was in legit shock. As if THAT weren't enough, as I was waiting for them to print out my standby ticket (sigh, I want to frame it, really), there was one lady who had just arrived behind me and she was asking about getting on standby for the same flight... and, no joke, the flight attendant was like "I'm sorry, ma'am, but this girl over here got the very last seat."

Now... normally, I'm not one to like rejoice because others can't get on earlier flights but... for some reason, I just felt oddly PROUD of this accomplishment (and I had NOTHING to do with it! Just... fate, if you will.)

SIGH. Okay, so THEN! The flight was just fine and dandy, I land three hours earlier than expected (it was daylight AGAIN when I landed!), and head to pick up my rental car. Once I'm on the highway... I'm not kidding, the cars that were in front of me throughout my 45-minute drive to my hotel were literally just moving out of my way... as if the highway were alllll mine. (Okay, so maybe that had more to do with the fact that I was careening down the highway at 90 mph for the majority of the drive but... well, what? Ohio's so FLAT... and there's just so much SPACE... and, well, we've already established that there's very little traffic in good ol' northern Ohio... what's a girl to do otherwise? I know, right? Speed. Thank you.)

Okay, get this. So as I was driving along my merry way, I started thinking about what I wanted for dinner. Normally, I really don't enjoy eating out while I'm travelling for work- it's just NOT healthy no matter how healthy you try to be and, quite frankly, I'd prefer eating out to be a "special treat" rather than a normal occurrence. But whatever. Anyway, so as I was driving along, I was thinking about how the only option I could really go for was Chipotle (I mean, let's face it, I was heading to Streetsboro, Ohio. I figured my selection of restaurants was going to be quite limited to begin with.). And I never really crave/eat Chipotle.

Okay, SO, you are NOT going to believe this. I drive up to the intersection where I have to turn right to head to my hotel... and, no joke, there is legit a Chipotle RIGHT across the STREET!!!!

Anyway, as if THAT weren't enough... after a quick pit stop at Chipotle, I make my way to my hotel. And sure, it's nothing super special (just the TownePlace Suites), but I was lucky enough to have gotten a room for tonight (since I'd had to change my travel plans slightly last minute and had just called this morning to see about room availability for tonight). Okay, so not only were they able to get me in (despite them having been sold out per my initial phone call) BUT they were able to get me in... da da daaaa! A TWO BEDROOM SUITE!!! All for just $10 more than what I was originally paying for my standard room!!! And let me tell you... when I walked into this thing, I was like "Wow, I think I could really just MOVE to Streetsboro, Ohio!"... this place is bigger than my apartment... AND it has THREE LARGE TVS?!?!?!? WTF!!! I just want to turn them all on just... well, because I can!!!!

As if THAT weren't enough... GUESS what these people have in their lobby?!?!?! That's right... FREE (SOFT) COOKIESlkjlkfsajdlflaksjdflaksjdflkjL!JLK!J!lkjlkjfds!!!!

I KNOW, RIGHT?!?!?! This night really just can't get any better. But in all seriousness... well, screw seriousness!!! ISN'T THIS THE BEST WORK TRAVEL EXPERIENCE EVER?!?!?!? Okay, still second-best (as I referred to before), but STILLlkfjlskjflkjdsl!!!!

Sigh. HAPPINESS. That is ALL I can say at this point.

*My best work travel experience ever still has to be my very first first-class experience.

Monday, June 4, 2012

"You Don't Understand... I Love You" (aka: The Will Smith Story)

When one of my coworkers/friends recently Facebook friended me, her first comment was "I didn't know you'd met Will Smith!" to which I replied with "Umm... how did you find that out?"

Now, I don't really know why I questioned how she figured it out (as if I were trying to keep it some kind of secret... HA). I mean, come on. I can still recant that story (every. intricate. detail) of meeting Will on the set of Hitch (remember? When he flashes back to his college days when he was super awkward with girls... HA- as if THAT could ever be the case.) as if it happened yesterday. Rather than going into the (kind of long) story about how I met Will Smith, I simply just forwarded along the email that I'd sent to a small group of my friends about ten minutes after that moment in the sun occurred. I mean... if that email doesn't speak for itself, I just don't know what does.

After forwarding along the email, I actually took a few moments to reread it myself... relive the moment if you will. And... not gonna lie- my heart still picked up the pace (and/or my knee started jiggling... and/or I started experiencing slight shortness of breath... well, you get the idea) as I was rereading it.

This is all very pathetic, yes, I know. But whatever.

Needless to say, I can safely say that July 2, 2004 was the happiest day of my life to-date.

As such, I figured... what better way to spread the excitement than by... simply copy/pasting the email (complete with all the typos, since I clearly couldn't type straight, given how flustered I still was) for all the world to read (okay, one little part was cut out since it's not exactly the most appropriate for broader audiences, but that's it!).

All I have to say is... enjoy.

And GOD, if Will Smith is out there reading this... dare. I. dream.

The Email... from July 2, 2004

happy summer everyone!!

i was just writing this email because i definitely have some necessary emotion to be released at this point in time and i dont have many daytime minutes so the one time i actually WNAT to be on the phone, i cant.  however, i just need to share:

first off, i love columbia and ny. because of this program and the wonderful people i have met? eh not so much although its an alright program but ive mostly just been antisocial and scurrying across town to meet up with the osu contingent of nyu. however, this week has been amazing. why? Last tuesday or monday or so, who was sitting outside of one of our buildings reading a book but RIDER STRONG! high five. i love him. and for you true disney channel fans and simply pouty guy lips heartthrobs out there, its shawn from boy meets world, one of the best shows ever. two of my friends and i went up to him and i (just like a typical fan) asked him to take a picture. he was so nice about it. i like him a whole lot more now :) but I would just like to share that the picture is wonderful: he has his arm around me and my other friend but his head is totally tilted in my direction. i LOVE it. lol

secondly, and for the REAL reason for this email. rider strong high five right/ that made the highlight of my week earlier. but then today, Friday july 2nd, we noticed all these random cameras and whatnot and we were walking to this office that we had to do some work in. we didnt really  think twice right? then we're working for like an hour or so and this girl from our program rushes in and shes like (shes so cute shes from spain) "you know uh will? smith? you like him?" and of course literally no joke my mouth drops open and i start having a bit of trouble breathing. nothing serious but it was funny cause i had heard that he was going ot be on trl today and i was so wanting to go to the mtv studio but i couldnt cause of my office work. however then she shares this and i was freaking out like oh my goodness hes just visiting for an hour and im stuck here??? she was like "hes right outside!!! here you want to see pictures? i even took a little video" so there i am (along with a few others who are much calmer just to paint a mental picture) watching her little video clip but not really  paying attentino because im trying to figure out how to get out of office work but theyre pretty strict about actually, oh i dont know, STAYING on the job? So literally for like 45 mins i was just standing there because i got done with my stuff (cause lets face it, when i heard will smith, i was frantically sorting through my files and shoving them into place... this one girl i was working with was just looking at me in amazement and cracking up) but i was so scared i would miss him! so then they wouldnt even let us leave the office cause we were waiting for everyone to get done. i was getting VERY annoyed... will was so close yet so far. so anyway, then it got really chaotic and whatnot so i just left. i wa slike screw this i am not missing will for this unorganization. (my logic i know :)) however, they had just finished doing a scene so will was on a little break and he was talking to a bunch of people so i scurried on down the columbia steps and was literally five feet away from him. (it turns out i wouldnt have missed him anyways cause he would be there for an hour or two more) i was snapping my camera away in simple awe. he was talking to a theater group from phillyl so we werent allowed to get any closer. still it was good enough right? then the directing people kept on yelling at people to clear out cause they were going to start another scene for his new movie (first and last kiss or somethign) it takes place in the 80s. me being the clueless one that i am start chatting with this really cute asian lady that was sitting in the grass just watching everything happen. then the directing lady starts cuing everyone off to the sides whos not in the movie and figuring the little asian lady is off set i settled down next to her. then the directing lady starts going across the walk and is like "youre in this scene youre in this scene etc" because there were so many extras... then she comes to me and I really had no clue that i could have been in the scene until she stopped  and was like "youre not in this scene" and i just was like "what? oh this is for the movie? im so sorry!" and she was really nice and was like "oh its not a problem you could be in it but its set in the 80s and your clothes dont  look 80s enoguh" really nice about it seriously! but what the heck?? i was  almost an extra in will smiths movie! so you think thats all, right? oh no no no... because i definitely wait aroudn and watch the scene being shot. it was pretty cool... then everyone (all the fans and whatnot) started leaving casue they got bored but not me the faithful will supporter that i am. i was just watching and watching and then it started to rain a little bit... just sprinkling. so of course they called the scene off and i was at such a far distance but i could see will just talking to people and then i saw pepoepl scurrying towards him to get a picture/autograph so i start walking towards him. but there are a few people and a couple of girsl wanted their picture with him so i was like "i can take it for you if you would like" and of coruse they let me so i took it. and then i wanted to get in a picture but I wasnt with anyone so who would take it? so of coruse i was just less than a foot away from will and he is adorable. and then all these other girsl start swarming in to take a picture so i was kind of like hwat the heck? all this for nothing? 

so then the directing lady starts shooing us off and was like "sorry we have to keep the crowd moving" and my face literally dropped and since i was in the front he saw that and he knew who i was since i had offered to take the other girls' pictures. so he knew i was a relatively nice person i guess? lol i liek to think taht at least. but listen to this: so he sees my face drop and all these other people had started backing away per the director's orders but i was just stockstill for a second and he just looked at me and i was seriously nearly in tears, my voice was shaking and I just said "you dont understand... i love you" lol lol lol.

seriously TOTAL teenybopper. but whatever. and he was like "aw thanks" (with his beautiful eyes and smile that has his eyes crinkle and his lips droop down....  aughhH!:) ) and he came up to me and was like (to me) "just one more, baby, just one more" with his typical fresh prince charm. i love him. love him. so what did he do? not a normal pose and have someone else take it cause there was no one else to take it. he definitely took my camera, put his arm aroudn me and held the camera out and took the picture.

I was in literal heaven.

seriously. hands were shaking voice shaking everything. not only did i see will smith... not only did i take pictures of him. but our FACES WERE TOUCHING. he had his ARM around me! who does that happen to?? the girl with the computer wallpaper collage of will smith, [CONTENT REMOVED], the girl whos watched every fresh prince multiple times. I fucking LOVE him. the nicest guy ever.

LOVE. oh im swooning im swooning. LOVE.

and that my friends, are the adventures of the celebs thus far. i could die (lol in harlem perchance) and i would be perfectly happy. i LOVE will. and I love you guys. thanks for listening to this tale.

christie :)

Please note: Cheeks. Are. Touching.

That is all.