Category Archives: Working life

The bittersweet reunion with my former colleagues

In the world of IT consulting, the group of people that you work with generally change every 6 to 12 months, as a project and/or your role on that project has a finite start and end date. Often when a person’s role on the project ends, there is a roll-off party held for her as she “rolls-off” the project. It’s one small way to recognize and thank that person for their contributions to the project. Several weeks ago, I was invited to a roll-off party for a friend who was also leaving the company. I was excited to see some of my friends and colleagues who, uncharacteristically for IT consulting, I had worked with through many years. It ended up being a somewhat bittersweet reunion with my former colleagues.

The Bitter

There was laughter at the table as they shared another story about another crisis that occurred and how they managed to right the ship. It was the same type of stories we’ve been swapping for years, populated with a cast of the same colleague and client personalities. The issues, while different, are bound in their similarity by occurring in the same or similar complex landscape. Multiple business units coexisting with different business rules. The many different client team members in different functions working in these business units, often with competing interests. Vast amounts of operational data required to enable their business to function. A complex spaghetti of back end technical infrastructure as a result of mergers, history, and business growth. And the multi-year IT program we were part of to implement and integrate their IT systems. It was not unlike being on a Tolkien quest to deliver “the one ring to bind them all”.

In short: it’s hard work. You are placed in teams for a relatively short amount of time, and disbanded after the project is done. Continue reading The bittersweet reunion with my former colleagues

My 3-month anniversary at my new job at GrantBook

Last week was my three-month anniversary with my new company, GrantBook. This is significant since 6 months ago I wasn’t even sure if I’d be returning to the workforce. I was in a limbo land, trying to decide between life as a stay-at-home mom (aka SAHM) and that as a working mom.

For a while in the fall of 2014 I entertained the plan of going into the field of mediation. An information session I attended quickly gave me a dose of reality that it would likely take me 5 years and more schooling for it to become a viable career. Without a background in law, counselling or social services, I would be facing a credibility gap once I finished the mandated mediation training and internship hours. Unless you are able to secure a position with a mediation firm, mediators are essentially self-employed entrepreneurs. I recognize that having a credibility gap would make it difficult to recruit business.

And so that plan faded away.

Continue reading My 3-month anniversary at my new job at GrantBook

Wise words from Amy Poehler? Yes Please!

Yes Please, by Amy Poehler

Lately I’ve been on a reading kick, and particularly autobiographical books from funny women. Amy Poehler’s contribution to the collection is one of the best. Part memoir (from her “middle-years”), part words-of-wisdom, part collection of funny stories, it was a real treat to read.

You can tell that this was a book written as snatches of stories in stolen snippets of time, but masterfully edited together. Seriously, kudos to her editors. The 3 sections/themes of the book likely weren’t planned on the outset, and yet it works.

Not only is she very funny, Poehler is thoroughly quotable with some very wise words regarding working and career that really resonated with me.  Continue reading Wise words from Amy Poehler? Yes Please!

Hiring a life coach was my best decision this spring

I admit when I first started, a part of me felt that getting a life coach might be hokey and questioned whether I’d be doing exercises like walking barefoot over hot coals and repeating positive mantras in the mirror. The larger part of me though was more pragmatic: having a coach should make this self-analysis more efficient, help direct me toward forward momentum and hopefully as an outsider see something that I’ve been blind to for ages. Without a coach, I feared I might end up naval-gazing to the extreme, potentially ending up wallowing in self-doubt, negativity, and guilt in wasting time ‘searching for myself’.  So I decided to take the plunge and invest in the time , money and energy with her.

Now as I wrap up my last session with my coach,  I have a bunch of various emotions: Continue reading Hiring a life coach was my best decision this spring

Leadership of Virtual teams: Strategies and Tactical tools

The reality is that the composition of my teams in the past 8 years of my work at Accenture has increasingly become more virtual. I know there have been times I’ve struggled to adapt to the differences in being a part of, and managing, these teams that are not all located together. Further challenging the situation is the frequency with which the teams change, and the typically aggressive schedule for completing the work. Unfortunately, the training and mentorship I’ve received from Accenture to date on managing virtual teams amounted to little more than cross-cultural awareness and how-tos for the collaboration tools available.

Yesterday I attended a great lunchtime learning webinar hosted by the Emerging Leaders Network (ELN) on “Real Leadership in Today’s Virtual World”.  Finally, some strategic and tactical tools to learn! Continue reading Leadership of Virtual teams: Strategies and Tactical tools