What are the mad skillz YOU want/need?
What are the mad skillz YOU want/need?
Met this very cool 11-1/2-year-old girl today whose family (she’s an only kiddo, like my own) moved next door—a few months ago— to my folks’ house (where there’s a pool and where I lived since I was 7) house in Denver.
Apparently this lovely, friendly, (&, just my take on it) aware young lady “auditioned” and got into the esteemed <City Name> School of the Arts (middle and high school) here in our Fair City in the Creative Writing program (NOT an easy feat, from what I hear).
.I spoke to both her parents about writing for a living, and after 14+ years at MSFT, I hope I didn’t scare them. (Frankly, I scared myself, considering the waste of time, energy, and skill I’ve had to SUCK UP to the past 18 months). This lovely child’s dream is to write fantasy novels and do travel writing (yeah—what writer”s dream isn’t?) and when I told her what I have been doing these many years, her slightly and beautifully slanted chocolate brown eyes (she’s half Micronesian) eyes glazed over and I could see she thought I wasn’t a *real* writer.
It gave me pause.
But I wanted to tell her (& did tell her archeologist parents) that if you can WRITE, you can get any job—even if it’s temporary. But 11-year-olds cannot see further than 3 or so months into the future.
Bian and G got along like peas and carrots. Maybe it was the intellectual connection. Maybe they both love playing in water? Maybe it’s the writing thing (B wants to be a food critic) . Maybe it’s an Asian thing (doubt it). I was simply casually there —@ a poolside table struggling through the Sunday NY Times puzzle with them—and none of that came up. It was just friend-to-friend connection.
Love that simplicity of connection. Miss it. Miss being able to just trust it.
I love to see that because you know what? That “let’s-just-see-if-we-can-play-together is such risk that kids take naturally; they instinctively know that to make friends, they have to simply put themselves out there —even if just for a limited amount of,time and even in a controlled environment–and…just go for it
That’s my goal for,the week: just go for it. (Gee, what a great slogan for sports equipments, eh? Only 25 years behind the times….)
P.S. Rob A. + Becca R.: Who doesn’t know (Double that: Who isn’t completely grossed out?) Hey MRS. Robinson: Remember the sweet present I sent your second child? Apparently not. God, I love that Karma charge card: Play now…pay later.
P.P.S. JeRe and Bon Vivant (see previous post): Again: Did you think we didn’t all know? Really? Las Vegas etc.? I was 1400 miles away and even I knew.
Ew. I mean. Ew.
(And J.R.: All that makeup and work done to your face? Like we wouldn’t notice?? Your smile is still tight and mean-spirited. Nothing can smooth that away. What happened to you? You used to be so…nice (well…sorta). And at the MVP Summit 2010? You couldn’t even DEIGN to talk to me because what, you were “getting into character” to talk to….Mister Excel?
If you want to be actors, J.R, D.T., L.B…..GO BE ACTORS. No one wants to see videos of geeks talking about their geekdom. EW. AGAIN.
It’s my third day of freedom from the shackles that were (& I suppose still are) the Microsoft Office Team (specifically my immediate team, the “WHOMP,” team, a moniker given to us my our illustrious TOOL of a manager—who describes himself as a “Bon Vivant” on LinkedIn—and one I never bothered to find out what it meant.).
I cannot express the feeling of relief in my chest. The loosening of the gray phlegmatic 1s and 0s that comprise all computer work. Although I had a good, solid 10+ years at Microsoft (a company name I believe I dared not mention—until now) on this blog, this diary of sorts, this way of making myself believe I can still write full sentences that do not include the terms “click” or “menu” or “properties”.
I should have left April 19th, 2011, when a marketing wonk (whom I’d never met) named Craig Kerwien snidely informed me—while wearing his $200+ Microsoft Marketing Puffy Jacket (that group’s Christmas presents the previous year; our team group got….oh right: nothing) pilgrim-toed shoes, and thinning gelled hair—in a meeting that my job for the past 9.5 years, the Microsoft Crabby Office Lady, a force unto herself with more than 1 million followers, was being killed off because 1) Absolutely no one (well, on the marketing team, he said, which of course is all that counts) uses the word “crabby” anymore; 2) The Crabby Office Lady did NOT make the company any money (“good will does not translate into dollars” he smirked); and 3) ….I don’t think there was a third reason. By then I was thinking that it was my birthday and had just received a not-so-good phone call from. Y gynecologist regarding a biopsy.
Yeah, it was a great day.
My manager didn’t warn me about this impending cut (he wasn’t even on the Microsoft grounds that day—I’ve never even met the tool). His fathead (& I do mean that literally and if you know who he is you’ll know it’s true) didn’t warn me; and the two managers above him, the people who sanctioned Crabby in 2002 didn’t warn me.
But I did get this: An editor on our team was in the meeting and she took me to her office, closed the door, lowered her voice, and veritably cupped her hands around her mouth as she whispered to me that she hadn’t personally heard anything of my impending firing but that she knew Amazon was hiring. Classy, girl named after a spiky, thorny holiday plant that never flowers; classy. Hope it made you feel strong at a time when you probably knew that your time as head blog honcho was about to be pulled out from under you. I’d hoped for more from you. But hey, click File > Info > Embed in Memory.
I had a few weeks to wrap up Crabby’s story and pack her off (which I did…to her own desert island where she enjoyed being the Cougar she always was inside). And then I was assigned to writing Outlook help topics for the next version of Office coming out (oops…can’t tell ya when that is though I know you’re dying to upgrade from what…2003?), with a guy who’d been writing Outlook Help topics since 2003. Can you imagine? He was one really crabby guy and left to work at—oh yeah! AMAZON!—a couple weeks before my departure. Then I wrote Word topics until just last week.
Without giving too much away, I went from writing what I and millions other computer users considered useful, fun, humorous, and thoughtful content to writing things like…
…wait for it…
“Print multiple copies of a document.”
Yep, when you have to look that up in Help when you upgrade to the next version of Word about 7 years from now, you’ll see my fingerprints all over that sucker. It took weeks, I tell you, WEEKS of research to get that one down. And the art! My god! The training I had to endure! The feeling of inadequacy!
Truth be told, my fourth grader was sitting next to me as I was looking over the final version of it to make sure it was technically and grammatically correct…not to mention in the right tone and employing just the right amount of empathy toward a frustrated user who had to look up this complicated topic… (And for those of you in the know, I will not use the “v” word since Microsoft has no doubt copyrighted it and I’d probably be in some sort of legal trouble for using it even though we ALL KNOW I started that revolution in February 2002.)
Anyway, my 9-year-old said to me, “Is that a joke? Is that your job now? To write down things that we learned in first grade?”
I felt so proud.
(Yes, Bian, there is a Bill Gates, and he’d be mortified to know that the company he started was paying me a six figure salary to do the job anyone with a sixth grade —of perhaps first grade—education could do while skipping rope.)
But then again, I never did get a puffy jacket so I guess it all balanced out.
Goodbye Crabby—you’ll always be a part of me.
And that is the end of THAT era. Onto better, more useful things that make me embarrassed in front of my daughter!!!