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This blog is about the intersection of wife, mother, and employee.

Set boundaries. Find balance. Experience joy. Explore new technology.

Write your own definition of success.

Saturday
Oct102009

Little Black Rain Clouds

We have plans and we have what happens.  The two rarely, if ever, line up.  Those who know me are all to aware that I have plans and contingency plans for almost everything.  Until last week, I would have told you I am happiest when a plan comes together.  The universe intended to teach me a lesson and it worked!  Life threw me a few small curve-balls - for example : no hot water on a Monday morning before work, small GAS leak in the basement, redo needed on paperwork for a financial transaction etc.  Then what every working mother dreads a problem with the child care provider!

Opening up my son's lunchbox to prepare it for the next day, my husband found a succinct note from our son's beloved pre-school teacher explaining that due to the economy the school's doors were closing for good.  We have a short window to find new care.  "FIND NEW CARE?"  My planning centric brain wanted to explode.  Don't these people know it is Q4, the craziest time of year for my job? Also, my husband's busiest travel season?  I was infuriated that it was late in evening and could not call any new centers or start "planning" my attack on this problem.  Then I realized that yes this is an inconvenience for me and my family.  It might even be complex for a bit until we find a new system, but what about THEM?  The people who put their heart and soul into the school?  The teachers who likely do not have another job waiting in the wings for them?

I was saddened and humbled.  My little black rain clouds were annoying, but they were not cancer, they were not grieving a loved one, nor was I in a position of looking for a new job in tough economy or grieving the loss of my business.  Think at the level of community and that is where we find peace.  I doubled my resolve to be a happy and active contributor to the world.  I hope you do too!
Friday
Jul102009

27 Shirts

Have you seen the movie 27 Dresses?  It was a pleasant surprise to me on a flight one day.  It was a cute movie about a bridesmaid never a bride...27 times.  Katherine Heigl's 'Jane' is vexed by the closet of 27 dresses she has worn in other people's weddings.   Official description of the movie from IMDB:  After serving as a bridesmaid 27 times, a young woman wrestles with the idea of standing by her sister's side as her sibling marries the man she's secretly in love with.

What does this movie have to do with a married working mother's blog (other than I liked the movie when I saw it last year)?  The number 27 and being vexed!  I counted my three year olds shirts.  He has 27.  In the past two weeks he has decided that he will wear *2* of them.   As a busy mother, washing these two shirts so that one of them is ready to wear every day is impossible, never mind what it would do to the environment to constantly be washing half loads.  It is quite the little drama that we act out on the mornings that do not include the treasured Tumble Bus or Little Einsteins branded apparel.  Oh, and did I mention both shirts are white t-shirts with logos on the front.  White is so easy to keep from getting stained when you have a toddler, so having these highly prized gems looking good is a snap.  (Insert snicker here).

I really had no problem with the 'terrible twos' and I am not ashamed to admit I am enjoying the so called 'trying threes'.  I love my son's exploration of the world and his testing of his boundaries.  I actually find his sudden interest in what he wears intriguing, although occasionally inconvenient.  I have a ring side seat as he decides what foods he likes, what friends he prefers, what books will become dog-eared and now what garments will be threadbare by the end of the summer.

I am constantly awed by the rare experience and downright privilege of raising a child.  Having 14 nieces and nephews before delivering a child of my own, I changed lots of diapers.   Auntie went to baseball games, took pictures of proms and drove two hours in order to create the perfect up-do before a recital.  Once I rescued one terrified soul from the perils of a daddy long legs when we camped, rooted for one of the best 'D' men in Pee Wee hockey, sat through middle school production of the nutcracker with a fever of 101 and more baptisms, confirmations, graduations than one wishes to recall.  Loving children was part of growing up, especially those I am related to!  Yet, seeing the process unfold before my very eyes continues to take my breath away.

Being a parent has lots of challenges. The least of which is making sure that the “right” shirt, shoes, blanket, etc. are clean. Whether or not you work outside the home. Parenting is the most rewarding job ever!  (Remind me I said this when he becomes a teenager, will you?)
Wednesday
Jun102009

I work at EMC because EMC works for me.

Why do I work at EMC?  It has been a funny few days watching the Data Domain offer ping pong like a fabulous house in a seller's market (remember those?).  I loved the idea of writing a post about why I work at EMC and the answers will not surprise anyone who is a regular reader of either of my blogs.  I have been talking about my choice to work at EMC for as long as I have had a blog.

I work at EMC because EMC works for me.

Sounds paradoxical, but it is true.

In 2001 I made a decision to sell my business because I wanted to spend more time in technology and solving customer problems than the administration of a small business.

I am an individual contributor at EMC.  Yet, when I approached an EVP about an idea to create a book (The Working Mother Experience) celebrating EMC working mothers that would connect our EMC women and show that EMC understands the important role of women, and specifically working mothers, in the workforce around the globe.  He responded that it was a wonderful opportunity to showcase the unique, daily challenges working mothers face and the ways in which they overcome obstacles so that they can thrive in our company.  He made a commitment on the spot to sponsor the project.   For those of you who are counting the ladder rungs this person is my boss's, boss's, boss's, boss!     Did I mention the book is FREE to ANYONE? A good idea is embraced as a good idea and it does not have to come from a peer to be considered a good idea.

This type of thing does not happen just anywhere.  Reason #1 why EMC is for me.

EMC does not govern by rules, but by guidelines.  Sounds cloudy and it is, but it allows EMC to be tens of thousands of people AND agile like a startup.  Most of what you learn in one job is transferable to different departments so you can change jobs without switching companies.  If you don't happen to click with one manager that is fine, pick one of the other 10,000, but you don't have to leave your friends behind.  Personally, I have never switched departments, but I have worked on no less than 7 major unrelated projects.  It is always something new.

Always something new.  Reason #2 why EMC is for me.

When I interviewed at EMC I feared storage would be boring, now I can't imagine what I was thinking.  The terrible truth about me is that I bore easily and live to be needed and inspired.   Statistically speaking, there are an abnormal number of inspiring people at EMC.  I have the honor of working in the flagship product line Symmetrix.  My great joy is that I work with the most inspiring, infuriating,  flexible,  stubborn, opinionated, clever, disciplined, compassionate, people in the world.

I have personal heroes at EMC, people who challenge me that I want to emulate in one way or another.  EVP of the TCE and Storage Division, Chief Strategy Officer, Chief Sustainability Officer, VP in CS, a handful of brilliant engineers, two HR people, a few bloggers, and Tom the Security guard who EVERY DAY smiles at me, calls me by name and wishes me well - just to name just a few.

Heroes and satisfying work. Reasons #3 why EMC is for me.

I don't think the high tech life is for everyone.  Someone asked me once WHY EMC? (honestly because they were trying to get me to come work for them) and I said because everywhere else is just jumping rope and EMC is Double Dutch.  Being really smart and creative is what you need to get into the game.  If you want to distinguish yourself you have to go beyond that.  You have to be focused on quality, customers, your community and be interested in being part of something bigger than yourself to make it work here.  That is our culture and I am proud of it.

Are there things that I don't like about EMC.  Absolutely.  There are also things about my husband that drive me crazy, but I still love him and would make no other choice.

I could go on with more reasons about why I have stayed at EMC, but I think the important stuff has been said.  I work at EMC because EMC (culture) works for me.

***Edited to add two YouTube Videos that were taken months ago.  They ended up being posted today and I think they are relevant to this note.  Enjoy!

YouTube Natalie1




YouTube Natalie2
Tuesday
May192009

EMC World 2009-Perspective

As a Product Manager talking to customers accounts for a lot of the time I invest in my job.  Thankfully,  it is also one of my favorite parts of my job.  In fact, it is second only to mentally sparring with the incredibly smart people I get the honor to call colleagues.  However, it is the customers who renew my energy around my work.  They bring their work struggles to the table and we try to find solutions.  I confess that I love to help people.  When someone tells me I have made their day or that I have made their lives easier it puts an extra spring in my step.  If I was not so squeamish, I think I would have loved to  do something in a medical profession.  In reality, I still close my eyes when I get a flu shot so I do not have to look at the needle.  It is a good thing I found a different vocation. Wouldn't you agree?

A few days ago, in our corporate headquarters, an executive that I greatly admire said "business is people, people is business, you can't separate the two".  It was a jump start to my batteries.  When I was a freshman in college, one of my business professors said a similar thing.  It made me think "I made the right choice in major" then and still is true today.

So if you like people, business, problems to solve, and smart colleagues then where on Earth would you rather be than at your company's annual technical conference?  Double Word Score for being able to be deemed smart enough to be a featured speaker in two sessions.  Yes, being at EMC World with 7000 customers, partners, and colleagues is exactly where I want to be.  It is what I have worked toward in my quest to be a Consulting Product Manager.  I present, meet with customers in sessions, take questions on the trade show floor and get to listen to some really smart people give key note addresses.  There is even a blogger lounge to satisfy all my social media habits.  What is not to love?

As much as this is the epicenter of what I love to do and where I want to be, it is still bittersweet.  This blog is about the intersection of career, wife and mother.   I miss my family when I travel.  Did I mention that EMC World is in Orlando, FL?  Long, long way from home.  All of those cool customer meetings and sessions are happening at the few moments in the day that I could "talk" with my son.  Since I arrived on Sunday I have probably only heard his voice on the phone for a total of 3 minutes.  That is a lot less time than I am used to!  Many of my blog posts here and on www.WorkingMotherExperience.com talk about how much I love being a mom.  In fact, I was telling someone at the conference just yesterday how much my son makes me feel like a superhero.  Remember above how I said how much I love to help people?  Kissing a bruised knee or cuddling a startled toddler after a popped balloon is the ultimate in feeling useful.  His birthday is this week and I am in Florida.  He is young enough not to know or care.  His party will be postponed until after I return, but *I* know it is his birthday and it is hard.

In conclusion, I guess the point of this blog is that even when we have it all, we can't have it all at the same moment.  I have had and will continue to have a phenomenal time here at EMC World.  Especially on Wednesday AM where we are having a breakfast panel session with customers and partners on the Working Mother Experience book.  Yet, I will also have pangs of momentary sadness where I will think of my son and very much look forward to a BIG hug when I get home.
Sunday
May172009

EMC World 2009

Back at my hotel after the first day of events at EMC World 2009. Lots of energy and excitement.

The day started off well.  My husband and son were ready for me to go.  The shuttle arrived on-time.  I was at the airport early, had lunch and there were no security lines to speak of.   Unfortunately, the day veered a little off track from there.  The plane arrived late at the gate.  We arrived late in Orlando and then the transportation out of the airport was a two hour disaster.   However, always being one to make lemonade in these situations I met a few new customers of EMC and enjoyed chatting with them.    After I brought a few of them through registration I turned around to see this poster:

[caption id="attachment_147" align="alignright" width="300" caption="WLF Event Poster at EMC World 2009"]
WLF Event Poster at EMC World 2009[/caption]


(Sorry for the photo quality), but this put a little spring in my step. It reminded me that we were going to have a session at EMC World focused on the book. I am so excited for this session and can not wait to hear what customers and partners have to say about their experiences and what, if anything, this book has meant to them. The session is Wednesday 7:30-9:00am. I will write more from EMC World and will post thoughts from the session as soon as my schedule allows.