Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It Ain't My Fault

I spent this past weekend in New York City. Although my all consuming need to live in NYC has subsided in recent years, it's still my happy place. A certain calm envelops me as soon as the crackles of static give way to the clear sound of Hot 97 DJ Funkmaster Flex's voice over my car radio speakers. Even without concrete plans for a Friday night the promise of possibilities always hovers in the air. I get excited knowing not that something exciting will happen but that at any moment it could. Mostly, I just like being in the same place where most of the characters from the collegiate chapter of my life reside.

I ran into one of those characters at brunch last Sunday. She was a class behind me at college and I really didn't know her well while I was in school. Actually, I don't remember even crossing her path once during my four year tenure, which says a lot since all of the black students at school could fit in three long tables at the dining hall. While we didn't socialize in the same circle (within an already tiny bubble), we both had the good sense to pledge the greater than great, grander than grand, best of the best sorority in the land. I did it in Spring 2001 so thus I had the pleasure of getting to know her when she followed in Spring 2003.

Friday, July 22, 2011

What do you Recommend?

It's hot. The Weather Channel says that it's 97 degrees right now and that temperatures will reach 102 by the afternoon. People are being warned to avoid outdoor activities between the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., lest they want to die. Still, I'm sitting in my air conditioned office thinking to myself that I'd rather go for a 10 mile run at noon than confront what faces me next week.

July is coming to an end and August is drawing near. August brings the release of the LIVE APPLICATION. Although essay questions are released between May and July, business schools don't open the floodgates for thousands of applications to pour through until early August. Round 1 applications won't be due until October, but now is the time to start assembling the pieces. While it's up to each individual applicant to get the the online app filled in, the essays written, the GMAT taken, and the transcripts uploaded there is one critical component that is out of our hands. The recommendations, the part of the application where one to three people corroborate that you are in fact the innovative, collaborative, genius business leader of the future that you've said you are. Recommendations, the one section of the application where someone else can sink your battleship (and sink it hard). Recommendations, the reason for fifty-leven rounds of the always fun "Did you submit it yet?" game. Next week I ask my current manager to be one of my business school recommenders.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

There's No Place Like Home

I hate mornings. Let me clarify. I hate weekday mornings. Mornings suck from Monday through Friday. Why? Because weekday mornings mean going to work. Going to work requires taking a shower, wearing pants (or an appropriate length skirt or dress), and making my hair presentable. Going to work requires enduring 40-60 minutes of traffic just to be there. Being there requires staying awake for at least 8 hours, reflexively looking over my shoulder to see if a senior manager is about to catch me on facebook or GMAT Club, and refraining from inappropriate scratching. I have absolutely no desire to be at work.
I have a pretty cool job. I represent great brands, work with (mostly) cool people, and manage to get a free lunch a couple of times a week. The job isn't the problem; going to work is. For five years I had a job that rarely required me to go to work. Nearly everyday I rolled out of bed between 8:30 and 9 a.m., bypassed the shower, staggered downstairs, plopped myself in front of the TV with my laptop perched on my knees, and got to working. I would go for a mid-morning run, take an afternoon nap, and polish off my project list in enough time to take a shower and head to the gym or tae kwon do class. It's been two years since I left that position and I have yet to acclimate.
When animals are left in the wild too long it is impossible to domesticate them. I think the same principle applies to people who have worked from home for longer than three years. At three years people reach a point of no return. Just like that wild animal can't be domesticated, the home based employee can't be office broken. We've been free to roam for too long to be caged by the rules of office etiquette. Why is it necessary to wear shoes? Do my feet really need to stay under my desk? What's wrong with putting my head down for an hour long nap? Why can't I release into the atmosphere the gas that bubbles in my stomach? Is it really a big deal to eat the food in the refrigerator that doesn't have my name on it? For some reason that I can't quite grasp all of the behaviors that were perfectly acceptable at my house are not only frowned upon, but prohibited in the office.
What puts the cherry on top of this shit drenched sundae is having to willingly take myself to this place each morning. Regardless of whether or not I have meetings to attend or assignments to complete I have to be here every MORNING. For some reason it's necessary for me to be in the office by 8:30 a.m. No one talks to me. Hardly anyone calls. Still, it's imperative for me to be sitting here. I force myself to wake up by 7 a.m. (even in the dead of winter when mother nature hasn't bothered to awaken the sun), rack my brain to remember if I've worn that particular sweater vest in the last 7 days, refrain from throwing objects at the car in front of me that insists on going 20 in a 45 along a ten mile single lane road, and spend a small fortune on Wawa coffee just to sit here. Ironically, sitting here is NOT necessary for me to do my job. Because of the wunderkinds in the IT department I could stay in bed and still do my job. What's the sense of having remote capabilities if they're not going to let me work remotely?
Like I said, I have no problem actually doing my job. I just don't want to do it in an office. I can do this job just as well in a t-shirt and underoos from the comfort of my queen size bed while watching One Life to Live. Somebody, anybody please...JUST GIVE ME FREE!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Above Average

Last Thursday I received my 9th annual, "Congratulations on getting through another year without getting fired!" e-mail from the company HR bot. This Thursday I turn 31. The average full-time MBA student at top-tier US business schools is between 26-28 and has five years of work experience at matriculation. Am I too late to the party?

While there are many people my age who choose to pursue an MBA a higher majority go the part-time, executive, or 1 year European MBA route. When I mention that I want to get an MBA many people's initial assumption is that I will pick from one of those options. They scratch their heads when I say I'm aiming for the FT programs. Yes, I'm older. However, that doesn't preclude a FT MBA from being a good fit with my goals.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Ready, Set, GO!

Round 1 has officially started for me. Kellogg School of Management released their application essays last week, three required 600 word essays and one 400 word essay on one of four topics. That gives me 2200 words to show an admissions committee that I belong in Kellogg's class of 2014. No, that I more than belong...that they need me and my 9 years of sales management experience, colorful writing skills, and lofty ideas about building communities through public-private partnerships. I have 2200 words to tell them where I've been, where I am, where I want to go and most importantly why. I have to tell them my story. 2200 words isn't nearly enough to capture 30 years.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Psyche Out

I wasn't getting it. I'd gone through the entire quantitative section of the Kaplan 2011 GMAT Premier study guide. I'd read through every review topic from fractions to geometry to rate/distance/work. The concepts were pretty familiar. I was getting it. "When two or more people/objects are working together add their rates together to determine how long it takes to finish one job." Simple enough, I got it. Bring on the problem sets. "In the economy mode, a printer prints twice as fast as in the optimal quality mode. If after working for 20 minutes in the optimal quality mode and 40 minutes in the economy mode the printer printed 120 pages, how long would it take the printer to print 120 pages in the optimal quality mode?" (C) 2008 GMAT Club. On second thought, maybe I don't get it.