Category Archives: Work

The End…

After almost 9 yrs. working for the same company, I had to say goodbye last Friday.  So, I think I’ll take a moment to reflect.

I started working for a tiny little biotech company in June 2000, fresh out of college.  It had a funny name and no one understood what I did for a living when I tried to explain it.  I was hired as a Quality Control Technician.  It was my job to test the company’s DNA based HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) typing tests.  At the time, these tests were used solely for research purposes as doctors and researchers studied the link between HLA typing and the success/failure of organ and bone marrow transplantation.  After only a few months on the job I was promoted to Quality Control Technologist and was given a 15% raise.  Pretty much unheard-of, but my starting salary was pretty low, so even that 15% didn’t move me up much.  Still, I was happy with my job and was learning a lot, which meant more to me than a fat paycheck.  After one year on the job, I was sent on my first business trip to learn more about HLA.  I got to go to Philadelphia just a month before my wedding.  My coworkers threw a big shower upon my return.  I really loved working there.  The company gradually grew, becoming more successful in it’s little scientific niche, and eventually our products became approved for laboratory use.  Over time my job became more challenging, more interesting, and more structured.  As changes were made and new products were developed, I never got bored.

After a few years, our company had made a name for itself and larger biotech companies took notice.  We were bought out by a company of roughly 500 employees, based in Norway, with locations around the globe.  Things got even more complicated, and stayed interesting as well.  We were always busy, never bored, and I was involved in new product teams as a representative of my department.  I had new responsibilities and was told I’d be my department supervisor some day.  In 2003 I got to attend the big annual conference where my company always has a booth and presentations.  Another great learning opportunity.  Then, in 2004, I had my daughter Emily.  As much as I loved my job, I couldn’t bring myself to return to work full-time while she spent 10 hr. days in daycare.  So, I approached my boss and asked if I could return to work part-time.  I was blessed to be able to keep doing the job I loved 3 days/week (24hrs.) and have 4 days at home with my little girl.  I was able to keep doing most of the same work as before, but unfortunately lost my ability to be on new product teams.  It was hard to lose that, but I knew I had the “best of both worlds” and just kept doing the best work I could.

Our company was bought out again.  This time, by a 5000 employee company based in California, the hub of biotech.  Once again, good news and bad.  Not everyone takes change well.  There were a lot of projects and new things to worry about.  I took it all in stride.  I had another small promotion and my title changed to QC Analyst II to fit into the new framework of positions/levels.

Shortly after my supervisor nagged me to return to work full-time and I said no, I became pregnant with our second child.  Well, make that second and third children.  The news of twins, while exciting, did not go over well at the office.  It was obvious I wouldn’t be able to keep working.  My boss asked me to research the cost of child care to see if we could “work something out”.  When I told her I’d need a 40% pay increase just to break even, she was pretty bummed.  I continued to work until I reached 33 weeks and was put on bedrest.  My coworkers were very supportive.  A couple of them even stopped by with food and gifts and helped w/ a few things around the house.  I wished I could go back, but the cost was far too much.

One day I got a call from my manager.  She had gotten permission for me to work from home part-time, to help keep up with paperwork and any other tasks that could be done via the computer.  It seemed like a great idea.  Some of my coworkers were receptive and had great ideas for ways that I could help.  Others were not so happy with the arrangement and tried to make excuses for why I couldn’t help w/ things I was perfectly capable of doing from home.  It was a bumpy road, but I was able to squeeze in a few hours/week while the kids napped and after they went to bed at night.  Some weeks I didn’t have any work at all, but it balanced out okay.  I was salaried to work 10hrs./week, and got paid that amount whether I worked 2 hrs. or 16.  Couldn’t ask for a better deal.

After almost a year with this arrangement, the new parent company decided to get rid of all part-time positions in my department as well as several others.  Any part-time work needed was to be filled by contract employees.  So, 3 months after my position elimination, my manager was able to rehire me on a 1 yr. contract.  I was no longer salaried, I would only be paid for the hours I worked, and my title changed again to Associate Scientist II.  Some great projects came my way which netted up to 14 hrs./week.  Those weeks, my house definitely suffered, but I made up for it on the weeks that didn’t bring any work.  For a few months in the winter, I didn’t get anything.  But then just this month, a big project was dropped in my lap with another to follow.  My manager begged to extend my contract, but once again, the big-guys changed the rules.  Just recently the company merged with another large biotech firm and changed their name.  They also changed the rules for contract employees… no contracts over 10 months.  I’d already gone 2 months over that limit, so there was no stretching it further.  It felt good to know that my boss didn’t want to let me go and that she fought to keep me on.  There is still the possibility to be re-hired on shorter contracts for special projects, but only time will tell if that pans out.

I can honestly say I really enjoyed my job, even with all the ups and downs, office politics, and the occasional bizarre coworker.  In my time there I’ve had 4 different managers and 2 supervisors, and the company has been changed over 4 times.  I owe a great deal to my last manager.  She recognized me for my work and fought for me when I didn’t even know it.  I will truly miss her and a few others I’ve grown close to over the years.  I’m lucky to have left on a high-note with relationships in-tact.  No hard feelings, no reason to have let me go other than that my time was up.  Someday I’ll get back to that career, but for now, I get to spend some time focusing on my home and family, and I will enjoy it while it lasts.

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Tuesdays are tough

Survived another busy Tuesday.  Taking the kids and myself to the Y twice in one day, along with fitting in the chores and my work from home job in between is exhausting.  Spent most of my dance class this morning taking 5 little girls to the bathroom in two separate trips.  Football went smoothly and quickly though.  Then tonight, Basketball was exhausting as usual (the boys in that class are a handful!), but KinderGym was fun and more laid back with just three little ones in that class.  I really enjoy my job and the kids are fun, but going twice in one day takes a lot out of me.  I think it’s the dragging my own kids along that makes it hard.  It would be much easier if I only had to worry about getting myself ready to go.  I look forward to the day when I can just tell all the kids to get in the car and they can climb in their own seats and buckle their own belts!  Can’t complain too loudly though.  How many places can you go to work where you get free child care?  Not many!  So, I’ll suck it up and keep dragging us all over there, because; a) it gets us out of the house, b) it gives me a break from the kids, c) it gives the kids a chance to play with others and get used to being with other caregivers, and d) the Y really is a great place for me and my family.

We’ve been getting take-out every Tuesday when I get off work to save me from having to cook after such a long day, but we still don’t get to eat dinner until about 8:00.  Then the kids still need baths before bed, so they’re up a bit later than they should be.  Emily didn’t make it to her shower tonight.  She passed out on the couch while Brian and I were getting the boys ready for bed.  Just like her father, there’s no waking her once she’s out.  I can wake her just enough to get her to use the bathroom before I put her in bed and that’s it.  She’s getting pretty difficult to carry.  She’s so tall for her age and getting pretty heavy for me to lift.  It won’t be long before I can’t pick her up any more!  Now that all the kids are asleep, Brian is passed out on the couch, still suffering from jet-lag.  He keeps waking up really early in the morning, so he’s been exhausted at night.  At least tonight he was able to stay awake long enough to help get the kids to bed, so there’s a little progress.  I’m pretty exhausted myself, so I better get some sleep.  Got a little girl to wake early tomorrow morning so she can shower before school!

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Filed under Emmy, Life, NaBloPoMo, Work

Insanely busy

My life has been chaotic lately.  I just got hired at the YMCA, which is great.  My other part-time job has been sending me lots of work to do from home, which is also great.  I did my first craft show on Sunday.  And the social calendar hasn’t been slow either.  All of these things are wonderful, but when it happens all in one week, it’s a mite stressful.  Prior to all this, things were pretty laid back.  I had a good 3.5 weeks go by where I didn’t get any work from my at-home job, so I was able to take the kids outside to play, do the housework at a relaxed pace, and even do some fun projects for Emily’s upcoming birthday party.  I did spend some of this time preparing for my craft show as well, but I guess I should have spent a bit more of that time on it.  The week I got hired at the Y, my other job decided they had lot of things I could help out with.  First it was just one project.  Then they threw in some things that needed to be done right away, so first project got postponed.  Then another project, postponing the first yet again.  Then a deadline from first project, then another new one.  It got overwhelming fast.  I usually only fit 2-3 hours of work into my day, while the boys are napping, so there’s only so much I can get done in that time.  Thankfully one of the projects got passed on to someone else, lightening both the load and the confusion in my priorities.  On top of that, I had two meetings and a training session at the Y, which added up to another 5 hours of work.  So, I fell behind on all the housework, and I had a craft show coming up which I wasn’t ready for.  Friday I had a friend over for a few hours, which was a welcome break.  But after she left, I had several emails from work asking if I could get something done for Monday.  After an exhausting week, I not only still had to get ready for the craft show, I also had to find time to work.  AND, Friday was my daughter’s birthday so we took her out to dinner and Build-a-Bear workshop (where she made a T-Rex, dressed in a shiny gold top and embroidered jeans!).  I spent my entire day Saturday both catching up on housework and working on my craft show display and sale items.  Got about 5 hrs. of sleep Saturday night and then worked at the craft show from 9am to 6:30pm (including set-up and take-down).  Turns out I didn’t need to spend so much time making greeting cards as I didn’t sell a single one.  Oh well, I guess now I have a stash for when I need to send a card.  I did think ahead and bring my work with me, so when it was slow I got some of my work done and then only had about another hour’s worth to finish after I got home and got the kids to bed.  Today, I was so zonked, I overslept.  Of course the kids decided to sleep in today.  Normally they wake up around 7:30-8:00.  Today, I woke up before them at 8:50 and needed to be at Emily’s dr. appointment at 10:00.  I had less than an hour to get myself and three kids out the door.  I went into crazy mode and managed to get us out the door at 9:55, making us only 7 minutes late for our appointment, after some rather speedy driving.  After the dr. appointment, post office, Walgreens, and the bank, I had work waiting for me for this afternoon and multiple emails from the Y.  I worked about 2.5 hrs today, which was more than enough for me.  The emails from the Y added to next week’s insanity.  Thursday Sept. 4th has become a popular day.  I have my regularly scheduled GBAMOM meeting, which I will have to miss and I’m so sad because it’s the open house.  We have a parents’ meeting for Emily’s preschool.  I have a staff meeting at the Y, which I will have to miss because that is also new swim instructor training night from 6-10pm!  Soooo, Brian will have to go to the parents’ meeting, I have to go to swim training and we need a sitter for the kids on a week night at the beginning of the school year.  Yeah.  Like that’s gonna work.  So, I pretty much spent the afternoon stressing out about that.  I am very much looking forward to tomorrow.  Tomorrow I don’t have to go anywhere.  Well, except maybe to make my CVS run after the kids go to bed (wanted to do that tonight, but other things got in the way!).  It never ends!  I’m really starting to wonder how I’m going to survive our new schedule coming in a couple weeks, when I have to take Emily to preschool 3x/week and swim lessons 1x, work at the Y 2x/week, and still find time to work from home and keep up with the house.  It’s going to be a challenge.  I just hope I’m up to it!!

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Filed under Life, Work