Friday, May 30, 2008

It’s Not “Lost” If You’re Weren’t Looking To Keep It

Over the last decade I have made several career changes – which resulted in major life changes. In 2004 I left a financing career in Toronto and moved my life back to Sudbury. Then in 2006 I left a shit hole job in Sudbury and moved my life to Capital City, Canada.

When I got to Capital City I took a job with a brand new small business – an aspiring Acupuncture clinic. I had always wanted to own my own business, and I thought that this would be a great opportunity to find out just how much work is really involved and learn first hand about the ups and downs of entrepreneurial endeavours.

At first, running a small business was fun and exciting. The business had just started, I was their first full-time employee and opportunity was rampant. Over the last 2 years I have seen this business go from an extremely profitable month, to a devastatingly bankrupt month.

I have seen what can happen to a perfectly good business when the owners let personal issues interfere with business needs. I have experienced what can happen when the business plan is fatally flawed. I have transitioned the company through an ownership change, and personally helped the company avoid bankruptcy. I have stuck it out in tough times for the good of the business. I have put my heart and soul into something that didn’t even belong to me. I now know what it will take to make my own business a success.

The last 8 months have been especially stressful. There were days of panic and hopelessness. There were days when I wanted to ram heads through walls. There were days when I wondered how I ended up becoming the pillar for a business that I didn’t even own. Every day I wanted out.

I felt that I couldn’t leave – that I was obligated to stay. The new owners had no idea what they were doing, and I am not the kind of person who leaves people hanging. I wasn’t prepared to deal with the bad karma aftermath of leaving two brand new business owners in the middle of a huge mess.

On Tuesday the business owners informed me that they would “have to let me go.” After thinking about it a bit, the only emotion that kept coming to mind was – RELIEF. A huge sigh would come out and I would think ... ah, it’s not my problem anymore. I would think about all of the mistakes that were made, and the lack owner leadership that the company has and I would think ... ah, it’s not my problem anymore! My mind would race around thinking about all the things that are missing, and that need to be done in order for this business to become profitable and I would rejoice... IT’S NOT MY PROBLEM ANYMORE!!!

I woke up Wednesday morning and I smiled. For the first time in nearly a year I didn’t wake up and immediately begin stressing about all of the things that were wrong with someone else’s business. I hadn’t had any nightmares about work. I hadn’t made any mental lists of things to do. My mind was clear and free and it felt amazing.

As I watched this business rise and fall over the last two years, I became more and more frustrated. If it had been my own business, I would not have run it this way. I would have done everything differently. The frustrating part was that the owners never took my advice. Things like having a business plan, sales projections and budgets are givens – but no one takes my word for it.

When I think about “losing my job” I feel more like I am finally being unburdened by something that has been dragging me down. The shackles have been cut. Someone else has finally taken on the responsibility of owning this business – the owner! Go figure!

While I enjoy my two weeks notice, only one question remains: should I take my red swingline stapler???????????????????

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Pricing the Purge Pile

NOTICE TO READER: i officially give up on blogger formatting. i also officially hate blogger.

My roommate A has been in awe of my purging abilities for a long time now. In the last 5 years I have purged my entire life twice - both times as a result of a move.

A is a self-confessed pack rat - a hoarder if you will. When she found out that she will be moving to California in the fall she decided that it was time to purge her life. Scorch the Earth and start over 3000 miles south-west.

I am a phenominal purger of random life-clutter. I inherited these gifts from my mother - Donna the "Yard Sale Queen". When A approached me for help in pricing some of her possessions on I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to find out if I really am my mother.

The Current Purge Pile

The following is A's current list of purgable items. As the move gets closer and closer more items will be added to the list. A isn't really the best at understanding the fine art of buying and selling used goods. She has a hard time determining what a fair price for a used item is - often overpricing things. To help her out (and to test my true Donna-ness) I am going to price the items for her. Donna will review my prices and let me know if I have a chance at being the heir to the Yard Sale Queen throne!

  • The Computer Chair
  • Purchased at IKEA in 2002 for $39.99
  • The chair is still in usable condition, however computer chairs come down significantly in price over the last few years.
  • Brianne's Price: $5.00 OBO

  • The Rubbermaid Cooler
  • This gem was purchased at Walmart in 2005 for approximately $40.00. Used twice.
  • Brianne's Price: $8.00

  • The Filing Cabinet

  • This item was passed down from a friend for free who probably got it for free herself.
  • Brianne's Price: Free to a good home/Donate to thift store

  • The Side Raper Table

    The "Lack" side table from IKEA was purchased for $19.99 in 2003. There is some damage to the top of it.

    Brianne's Price: $5.00 OBO (or gifted to Brianne)

  • Tap shoes

  • Angelo Luzio tap shoes - apparently barely used and no stink. Paid $100.00 in late 1997-1998.

    Brianne's Price: $50.00-60.00

  • Wine Rack

  • Another IKEA purchase 16.99 in 2003. Good condition.

    Brianne's Price: $5.00 OBO

Monday, May 12, 2008

It's Just Who I Am

ABOVE: Minchie Junior & Jupiter Junior

There are several stray cats in the neighborhood of my boyfriend's apartment building. We would see them periodically through the winter and early spring months. My heart would ache, knowing that they were wild, but also knowing that no one was feeding or loving them.

I had an inkling that one of them was either pregnant, or had recently given birth. And on Friday that suspicion was indeed confirmed. I received a 6:30am phone call from Evan saying that he had seen the mommy with her kittens playing in the yard accross the street.

I am very aware of my nuturing side. My parents used to find me as a kid on the couch after school watching the SPCA and Humane Society infomercials and sobbing. Thankfully, I have learned how to change the channel.
However, when it comes to actually being face to face with a situation where I can provide care and assistance, there is no option for me to change the channel. I am just not programmed to walk away.
Apathy: not an emotion that I am familiar with.

Needless to say, I spent my entire weekend feeding and trying to gain the trust of the feral kittens and their mother. During my investigation I have also located the father and one other feral cat (unsure of the sex).

I set up a cat carrier (courtesy of roomie A) with some wet food inside and began feeding the cats through this source. After consulting with the Cat Rescue Network and some online feral cat programs, I decided it was time to do my part.

I set up my kitten condo using a medium size dog cage (courtesy of PetSmart and their unlimited return policy). I used the "divider" to create a second level with a blanket and a cat bed. You will notice that kitten #1 (calico) and kitten #2 (black) were more interested in sitting in the litterbox.

This morning I managed to trap 2 of the 4 kittens. I used a string laced through the back of the carrier to pull the door shut after the kittens had gone inside to feed. Unfortunately it is hard to get 4 kittens to go in the same place at the same time.

When I went back downstairs to retreive the other 2 kittens, there was a construction crew in the yard making all sorts of noise and they had scared the rest of the family back under the deck. Obviously I was going to have to come back later.

After trapping all 4 kittens I plan on taming them (courtesy of Evan, who has graciously put up with my non-stop kitten talk and offered me his apartment for all things kitten) and finding them amazing homes, and perhaps keeping one or two to add to my own family :D

I also plan on trapping the mother, and using the Humane Society's feral cat program to Spay and Vaccinate her (cost $75.00) and then return her to the yard where she has been living for over a year. The Cat Rescue Network has also given me instructions on how to create a warm home for the feral cats in the winter using a styrofoam box and some straw or hay. I have also agreed to continue to feed the feral cats on an ongoing basis.

When the house owners and neighbors saw what I was doing in their yard they said "Wow that is really nice of you". It made me wonder: how long had these people been ignoring these small furry babies that lived under their back deck? Did they walk by every day, not even thinking to feed them or try to find a program that would help them? After finding out that there was a furry family in need it took me less than 5 minutes to decide what I was going to do.

Am I just a crazy cat lady? Everyone seems really surprised when I tell them about what I am doing. Like I am nuts for spending money on this project or something.

I've toyed with the idea of providing animal care as an occupation in the past. There was a time that I was considering veterinary school. Perhaps this is part of my calling.

P.S. Donna has confirmed that this is exactly what she would do.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Ode to my Cleanse

Dear Herbal D-Tox (a.k.a. Detox-In-A-Box),

When we first met I was excited. Possibility was in the air. New beginnings - the world was our oyster.

At first I was dismayed by your foul stench, and rank aftertaste. However, these are qualities that I have grown to enjoy. I will not judge you for your composition - it's not your fault.

My bathroom symphony is quickly becoming a masterpiece. Soon I will be among the ranks of Mozart and Beethoven. My toilet paper consumption has increased by 500%.

Your "recommended food guide" has left me unfulfilled and often starving. There is only so much plain brown rice that one woman can forcibly eat. With or without Bragg's cleanse-friendly soy sauce.

However, my waistline thanks you, and my pants fit better. I no longer want to cry when I see my boyfriend scarf down pizza and muffins.

However, I still dream about large double doubles and birthday cake.

After 9 days with you, I no longer fear the BE (bathroom emergency) and the words "hunger pang" are now replaced by "weight loss".

Sadly, I will part ways with you soon. But I will think of you often, mostly while in the washroom.