Thursday, May 26, 2011

Guess what? It's still work.

Last week, I was lucky enough to go to a Red Sox game with some colleagues and friends from the Rental Housing Association. They had a very nice reception for us, and then we all found our seats and watched the Sox play in a driving drizzle (we were fortunate to be seated in a covered area). As the game went on, a group of fans seated directly behind us got louder and louder. As time went on, they started swearing and sloshing their beer around. They kept getting more beer, and then unsurprisingly, they crossed the line into sheer sloppiness.

We decided to take a few photos of our little group, and one of these very sloppy girls decided to insert herself into our photo. She then slurringly introduced herself, and lo and behold, not only was she part of the RHA group, she was a former coworker (who I'd never actually met in person before). She proceeded to shriek my name at the top of her lungs, and then fell over and dumped her beer all over one of my coworkers. Needless to say, she didn't make a very good impression on any of us, and some of my colleagues were downright horrified.

To be clear: I am not a teetotaler. My coworkers and I all had a drink or two that evening. But even though we were having fun, we were all in control. Yes, it was after-hours, and we were at a ball game and wearing jeans, but guess what? We were attending said ball game with coworkers, vendors, and industry friends, which makes it a work-related event. And that, of course, means that we were all still in "work mode."

With conference season upon us, I cannot stress this enough: what you do and say at those games, cocktail parties, dinners and impromptu gatherings matters. And even if you think that no one notices/remembers the fact that you were incredibly sloppy, I promise you, they do and they will, long after the event itself is over. By all means, have fun, but for the sake of your professional reputation, remember where you are and who you're with. The event will be just as much fun (I'd even say MORE fun), and you'll be able to look back on it with pleasure, instead of embarrassment...or even worse, not remember it at all. Yes, sometimes, people mess up; we've all seen a coworker who had too much to drink at the office party. But don't let that person be you. Know your limits and feel confident that you weren't "that girl" (or guy).

Now get out there and have some fun. And oh - GO SOX! (Sorry, I just couldn't resist.)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Confessions of a lapsed athlete.

True confession: I am a jock. Or I was, anyway. I've played softball (I was terrible, for the record: it's next to impossible to see the ball when you're super-nearsighted, and not yet wearing contact lenses). In junior high, I cheered, then played field hockey in high school. (I had contacts by then, in case you're wondering.) In college, I really amped things up: I tried water polo, fell in love with rowing, and then played rugby during a semester abroad in Australia. When I moved to Boston after graduation, I ran along the Charles River every day, morning and night. (Yes, really. Twice a DAY. When I think of how luxuriously easy it was to make that time, I want to cry.) I took golf lessons. I trained for road races. I did hot power yoga, and then did Pilates. I started swimming, because my husband loved it. I worked with a personal trainer, just to shake things up.

And then...I became a mom, and suddenly lost all sense of time, and my former athletic self. Don't get me wrong, I make an effort to stay in shape, but when you have a toddler, and you work full-time, and your job requires that you travel, it suddenly becomes much, much harder to carve out time for yourself. My gym membership rarely gets used, and though I go to power yoga religiously once a week, and walk or run when I can, I've come to realize that this little mish-mash isn't quite enough to make me feel balanced or healthy on either a physical or mental level.

So, I'm making a promise to myself: I will create a new schedule. If I can't (or won't) go to the gym, then I'll find some other way to get moving, get inspired, and keep my sanity. I just saw an ad for a Boot Camp class, and am seriously thinking that might be the proverbial kick in the pants that I so desperately need. And though I may regret this decision, I'm making this promise publicly, so that I'm more likely to stick to it. I miss my old jock self, and want her to come back for good. I'm tired of making excuses.

How have you changed your fitness routine as you've gotten older? Friends with kids, how do you find the time? Any and all suggestions are welcome!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Too much of a good thing? Nah.

In our household of three, we have four computers, four iPods (of various ages and stages), an iPhone, a Droid, a Nook, and an old-school flip phone (which my husband refuses to get rid of). We Skype. We text. We email and Facebook and Tweet. My two year old daughter is a whiz with the iPod Touch. At any given moment, something is whirring, chirping, beeping, and/or ringing. I am a huge fan of technology. It allows us to work from pretty much anywhere at any hour of the day, and connects us to friends and family in far-flung corners of the world. Probably not surprisingly, I find it very hard to unplug; only rarely do I want to chuck all of our techie toys into the bin and run away into the hills, a la Maria von Trapp in the Sound of Music.

And yet, even with all of the technology we have at our fingertips, I honestly and truly lust after the iPad. I was reading a magazine last night, and lo and behold, there was an ad for the iPad 2 on the back cover. "Look," I urged my husband, who was reading a case study. "Look at this new iPad. It comes in all of these colors! Have you seen the commercials? I really, really want one." My husband yawned and said, "What on earth do you want one of those for?" When I said I wanted to use it for travel, so that I didn't have to lug my hefty laptop all over the place, he laughed. "Not company issue," he pointed out (oh-so-unhelpfully, yet as a point of fact, a truthful statement). Logging as many miles as I do on the road, I feel quite sure that I'd find plenty of use for an iPad. Everywhere I look, droves of business travelers are using iPads in airport lounges, and I would be willing to bet some good money that they aren't all just playing Angry Birds. I suppose I could just get a Netbook and be done with it, but the multitasking aspect of a tablet is immensely appealing. (Plus, I'm just kind of a techie dork that way.)

Still, I'm loathe to shell out upwards of $500 myself, and so I am wishing and hoping that I WIN an iPad. Yes, my friends, conference season is upon us, and not only does that mean that it's time to clear out the cobwebs and retrain our brains to think in new and different ways, but many, many brilliant vendors are using iPads as door prizes on the trade show floor. Just last week, I was at the AIM Conference in beautiful Huntington Beach, California, and multiple companies (including the conference organizers) were giving away iPads. Sadly, I went home empty-handed, but the NAA Education Conference is right around the corner. Hooray for more networking, learning, and the prospect of coming home with a fantastically useful new gadget!

If you happen to end up with an extra iPad on your hands during this busy conference season, I happen to know someone who would just love one. And for what it's worth, I have a sneaking suspicion that her husband would probably like it, too.