Should I Plant More Carrots? A Consultants Dilemma…

firedOver the last 18 months I’ve faced the biggest problem that every consultant has to deal with – contract uncertainty and potential unemployment.

My major client has experienced a series of events that can only be summed up as the Perfect Storm. New management, financial scrutiny, confusion of direction, unrealistic business objectives, restless staff and major personality clashes; a real horror run.

This has left our well entrenched consultancy tainted somewhat by simple association. We’ve done nothing wrong and it seems unfair, however it is often the lot of incumbent consultants to demonstrate their value to new management and weather diplomatically the curse of indecision from clients.

To say this has been unsettling and frustrating at times is an understatement.

My personal position is unique, both Crazy Cat Boy’s and my income can be significantly influenced by my client as they are a major player in the industry we work in. On the home front obviously I can’t share as what is playing out is highly confidential. So what’s a Crazy Cat Lady with a massive mortgage to do?

PLAN is the answer! Ever since I made the decision to re-join this industry I’ve made a concerted effort to up our “Fuck You” money. My aim is to have at least one years living expenses readily available to us should one of our jobs vanish. It’s more likely to be my job; we are a small agency, just my boss and me, and I’m tipping that he’ll outlast me as his name is on the door! LOL.

I used to have a big problem dealing with uncertainty, but the closer I get to our planned retirement, the less insecure I feel. I think this is a combination of knowing that the worst rarely happens and that when I take a risk and back myself, it usually pays off. Most of all though is the resistance to letting anyone else have the power in my life. I used to let my employer call the shots out of fear, but the control freak in me has become stronger over the years and that is no longer the case.

Sure I still get nervous. What if it really happens? Have I stayed to long in this job, will a new employer see me as stale? God, the last time I actively job hunted I was in my mid 30s, what if the over 40 horror stories are true? I know that these thoughts are just insecurity and that I’ve got a lot to offer, but they still pop up from time to time (usually every time I see a grey hair!).

I’ll soldier on, but I’ve made my action plan, you know the one that says, get a haircut, make sure I’ve got at least one interview suit ready to roll, subtly active on LinkedIn, quick research of agencies that might be a good fit, but most of all, every time I feel a bit insecure I pop out to the back yard and plant another row of carrots!

So They Put Your Boob In a Vice….

surprised faceOk, so the technical term is “plates”, and I’m sure there is a fancy medical term that they use when we civilians aren’t around. Yep, that’s right I had a mammogram and I’ve lived to tell the tale!

I’m one of the many who have a higher chance of breast cancer, yay, lucky me. However, since I moved to wine country a few years ago and am over 40, I’m also one of the lucky few who qualify for free mammograms every couple of years. Yep, you heard it here first folks, every two years I get my breasts squished for free!

So every couple of years I trot off to the local breast screen clinic and make small talk with a medical professional who is usually a woman older than me while topless and trying not to move while less than sexy shots are taken of my boobs.   I don’t envy this poor woman’s job either, “Try and stay still and don’t breathe dear”, is usually what I hear while the technician tries valiantly to get enough of my less than generous assets into the machine so she can do the scan. Personally I think I’m probably having more armpit and side boob fat scanned than actual breast. LOL, what ya gunna do, you work with what you have!

For anyone who hasn’t had one and is wondering what to expect, don’t hold off, it’s surprisingly fast and easy. I didn’t feel any pain at all; very firm pressure, but no pain. Sure, the resulting photos aren’t the sexy glamour shots that you’d post to Instagram if you were Kim Kardashian, but for 15 minutes of your Saturday morning and some small talk, I’d recommend you take advantage of the amazing service we are lucky enough to have access to for free in Australia… it might just save your life.

PS: If you are 40 and over living in rural Australia you qualify for earlier screening. Ask your doctor.

Resiting The Urge To Crack

frustrated

Today I’m frustrated beyond belief. I know it will pass but the overwhelming feeling at the moment is to crack it. I’ve even gone as far as typing the email with a sting and a swing, professional right? Yeah, I know, I won’t hit send; I’ve applied the cup of tea theory* but still haven’t calmed down.

In any other circumstance I’d get rid of this service provider. They rarely deliver on time or to brief and to top it off when they don’t like what I’m asking them to do, they go over my head to my boss who promptly rolls over. The problem is they are part of the “family”, a sister company and what is worse, based in the same offices as the rest of the team – I’m not.

It doesn’t help that the MD of this company and I are both control freaks who don’t like being told what to do. I don’t think it’s chauvinism at work, I don’t get that vibe, more a not invented here syndrome.

My concern is also that at some point I know the companies will merge and I could be seen as this person’s employee.   My boss rolling over reinforces this guys impression that my direction can be over turned and that I’m not a valued member of the team. I think that frustrates me more than anything else.

Over the years I’ve faced up to a lot of difficulties that working remotely throws at you. Building relationships over email is difficult, missing out on the tiny details about projects that office chatter gives you, those little nuances that lubricate navigating the business. For the most part these have been overcome with time and patience, but this, I’ve applied every strategy I have in my toolbox and nothing works.

Sigh, it is what it is I guess, so I’ll just put my big girl pants on and deal with it.

Rant over

*Always have a cup of tea before replying. Or if you prefer, “Scritzy’s Coke Rule” works just as well.

If I’ve got mums face, who’s has she got?

lipsI’m not a makeup girl, never have been, but sometimes it’s called for. Sure, I slap on a bit of liner some subtle shadow and mascara before heading off to see clients, but foundation and lipstick are almost unheard of for me in a standard office visit. It’s cool, they know what I look like; so far no one has recoiled in horror when I check in at Reception, so I figure I’m ok to keep up this lax routine.

There was an important meeting last week, so I decided to step it up and “look the part” (We were up for some hardball negotiations: a girls got to feel confident and sometimes a killer pair of heels just isn’t enough **)

I realised something was wrong when the foundation brush seemed to stop half way down my face. That doesn’t look right, I know it’s been a while, but I’m sure that it shouldn’t look that dry and flaky. Perhaps the bottle has gone off. Ohhhh, that’s my face that’s dry and flaky, hmm. Extra moisturiser should do the trick. Damn, now it’s not thick enough to cover those weird brown and red spots that never used to be around the edges of my face. OMG, are they age spots and where did those blue veins that are normally hidden by my hair come from? Might be time to book in for a session of resurfacing with “Connie the Laser Lady”.

Right, that’s got the foundation sorted, I’m still not entirely happy; when I smile I have eye wrinkles. I thought makeup was supposed to hide that stuff?

Oh well, lips next.   Since when did the lip liner bounce along like that? Where did those craters come from around my lips? I don’t smoke, this can’t be right (Mental note: pay more attention to Connie when she talks about fillers next time)! Oh, well, lipstick will cover that wonky line. Lordy, that bright colour that I’ve worn for years makes my teeth look yellow! Think quick, tone it down with something duller. That’s better, crisis averted.

Then it hits me. My mind flies back to a 15 year old me taking control of my mum before a wedding and “doing” her makeup. I remember the way her eyelids moved with the brush when I put the shadow on and the how her lipstick bled up lines above the lip. OMG, somehow I’ve I got my mother’s face. How did that happen? I spend a small fortune on organic facial products, I wasn’t meant to get old makeup skin!

I look in the bathroom mirror and a painted person that I’m not sure is me looks back. I wonder who’s face mum is wearing if I’ve got hers these days? Oh hell, perhaps it grandmas! It seems that fresh horrors still await me!

PS: I checked my lipstick when I hit the office and sure enough, it was bleeding up lines that almost reached my nose, I’m doomed! 😉

** Yeah, yeah, I know, how about using your intellect and superior negotiation skills? Your appearance shouldn’t have a bearing on it. I know all that, trust me, I’ve got mad skills and I use ‘em, but still sometimes looking as fabulous as you are capable is a big confidence booster.