Monday, June 15, 2009

Pachi's 4 Step Plan to Post Lay-Off Happiness

I'm happy to say I've landed a job! Two jobs, actually, but I'm completely excited for the one that I've accepted. I think it'll really grow my product management experience in consumer products and I can simultaneously learn how to use Ed's SLR camera, LOL.

I've been sharing my lay-off experience with a lot of people, and figured I should write them down in the case that it may be helpful for those who are currently going through the same thing.

Step 1: RELAX

There's the temptation of completely freaking out and spending your entire day job hunting. I did this for almost two months to no avail. I recommend doing the following before/during your job search:

Develop priorities in life, career
Take classes - helpful for next job or for personal enrichment
Spend time with POSITIVE friends
Learn to appreciate life

It's pretty easy to stress during the search, especially if you're the sole provider for the family, but if you have some savings and can still pay your mortgage and bills, you have a lot to be grateful for. I recommend eliminating the following:

-Random mass application to any and all jobs that you see on job boards, regardless of company
-Spending time with negative people, people that make you feel self conscious/bad about yourself
-Staying all day locked up in your home

I strongly urge everyone to go through Step 1 before jumping to Step 3, simply because you will feel more enriched and not regret this time in your life, but if you must, Step 3 is the point where you begin to plan for your transition.

a. Develop a list of your Strengths, support with examples of how've you demonstrated this in various job positions you've held
b. Develop a list of Job Functions you believe can capitalize on these strengths. Don't be afraid of listing something you've never done before. Call upon a mentor/career coach to ID these job functions if needed, based on your strengths.
c. Develop a list of Companies you'd like to work for.
d. Figure out Who You Know at these companies you'd like to work for. Or identify a friend of a friend, and see if your friend can set up an introduction (LinkedIn or other) so you can speak to them.
e. Find the positions that are open at the companies you want to work for, and ask friends/acquaintances at that company to pass your resume to the recruiter or hiring manager. Attach as super compelling cover letter describing how you will positively impact the company in that position.
f. Practice, practice, practice. Write down every possible interview question you think you will get, and practice!

You have to keep an open mind during this time. You may have strengths in areas you have never realized, so be open to new opportunities that are thrown your way. This is the time to take advantage of growing yourself in an unexpected direction.

I saw this quote in someone's posting on LinkedIn. And can't agree more!

"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a little better; whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is the meaning of success." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thank you for those who have been so supportive during my job transition, and I look forward to growing in this next stage of our lives!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Consumer Electronics and Adoption

Our roomate Mark just moved out and took our (his) 40" Sony HD LCD with him - which left us with no "ideal" tube (in my husband's view, anything less than 40" didn't cut it anymore).

So my hubby went on a quest for a new tube and settled (settled being a huge understatement) on the 46" new Samsung LED - which we observed in awe at Best Buy and somehow even managed to impressed me, the tv-is-the-last-resort-for-entertainment girl. By the way, if you know my husband, he's kinda cheap so we obviously purchased with a huge discount from list price.

This led to a story about how our dear friend Fan, whom I deem as a blend between an early adopter/early majority consumer, putting the LED salesperson through the Spanish Inquisition regarding the benefits of the technology over previous and next generations (ie: oLED).

This led me thinking...and reflecting back on what Geoffrey Moore talked about in his book.

Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority and Laggards - How are They Motivated?
1. Early Adopters: Moore talks about these people being tech enthusiasts and visionaries and just want the core product, not a system. They are looking for radical shifts. I interpret these people to be the ones building PCs at home and just need critical game-changing components to make things cooler (or geekier) - ie: the next cool graphics card, which they prefer to test and install themselves.
2. Early Majority: These people are more practical. They want the whole product and typically need it to solve some productivity problem or improve something.
3. Late Majority: I've forgotten Moore's definition but I think I'm usually here. Price conscious and usually requires several peers around them to adopt before trying.
4. Laggards: I'm guessing these people wouldn't otherwise purchase until it is almost free or they are forced to.

The chasm is between #1 and #2. What do we need to do to sell to the Mainstream Market? All of Moore's advice has somehow not been imprinted in my mind but I started thinking about what Fan, Ed and I actually had in common (ha!):

a. The usage model: the device enhances something we love. For TV's: Fan and Ed - watching sports in HD. For MP3 players: Me - something compact that stores my music while I run with cool fitness tracking functions (Nike+).

b. Connectors and Mavens use it (*from Malcolm Gladwell): I'm a Fitness Maven. If I find something cool like yoga, or a device that counts your steps (Sony Ericsson's Fitness feature on my W580 phone!) I will talk your ear off about it and try to convince you to try it. Jocelyn and Peter are iPhone app Mavens. I have yet to splurge on an iPhone, but this is mainly due to...

c. Price Points are Fair: I hate buying things full price. And with how quickly technology changes, there's always the fear that the prices will plummet 50% within 6 mo and you regretting your purchase (which is what I feared with our new TV). What's fair is subject to considerable discussion but depends on competition and perceived value. Note the word PERCEIVED. Marketing people are suppose to be the genius behind creating value, but what exactly is it made of? Aside from features - i would say, brand equity, long-term sustenance, how it makes life easier, faster, happier, more efficient.
d. Social Responsibility: I'm not sure which one of our technology loving friends actually feels a true sense of responsibility here, but at all former employees of Intel we've been taught that low power and compact form factors are the way of the future. Except that compact doesn't apply when you are talking about bigger and bigger TV's, but I deviate from the matter at hand...going back to responsibility, conservation of energy should be important to all of us.

Early Majority, Late Majority and Laggards - How do you address introduction of new Disruptive Technology with these Consumers Post Purchase?
I asked Fan, the early adopter of the Sony HD LCD, how he felt about his purchase from 3 yrs back at the high price tag given today's new technologies. Apparently Sony has something in the pipeline with the oLED technology. Which tells me, that as a CE company, you better have some darn good reasons prepared on why your "antiquated" product is still superior (esp when you're talking within a year's window), you introduce some price segmentation, you introduce some trade-in programs (good luck getting these, consumers), you have something much cooler in the pipeline, or you are APPLE. [sigh] I wish I could get intot the head which is the marketing genius of Steve Jobs!

That's all for today, folks. Hubby is calling me to the tube.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Reflections on Job Transition

I've always thought that hard work, contribution, visibility and respect would earn you protection. Protection from what, you say? Job security. Wow, was I wrong.

I didn't survive my company's last round of layoffs. It came as a total surprise (in fact, I seriously felt blindsighted), but I really wasn't prepared for what came next.

Post Lay-Off Depression
From hurt to bitterness to resolve to despondency to stress to ego-reduction to acceptance. This gamut of emotions that I had not experience in the decade of my entire career I felt within the first month after the lay-off.

The economy wasn't good. And the worst wasn't over. A new friend was hit each week. It was difficult to find strength during this time, to be a good friend, especially when I was trying to find the strength to rebuild my own confidence and life plan.

A Little Help from your Friends
I read somewhere that the worst thing you can do during a lay-off is not to notify your friends or family. I could not agree more. Feelings of embarrassment should not override the benefit of solace you seek from those you trust most - you need all the emotional support you can get.

Observations During the Emotional Rollercoaster
1. True friends pick up the phone, send an email, or take me out. I'm spoiled by all this royal treatment. :)
2. It's now completely clear who my mediocre friends are, my good friends are, and who my great friends are
3. It is possible to waste an entire day doing nothing!
4. Nothing is a relative term - what you may think is nothing may actually be character building. :)
5. I listen better and have more patience and am overall a nicer person
6. You can save upwards of $20 a week on groceries if you just peek at the Tuesday store ads and be picky about where you go buy the food you want
7. There are A LOT of work at home moms
8. There are a lot of cross ethnicity teenage relationships in our neighborhood
9. Retail is hurting, but not at the bargain stores I love (Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Nordie Rack)
10. Free Wi-Fi at all Peet's coffees
11. Free food wherever you look
12. Philly is freezing in the winter
13. There are a lot of volunteer opportunities to suit your interests
14. Enjoy life now
15. Time with friends and family is the essence of life
16. I have the best husband in the whole wide world

The French have some things figured out
I felt guilty about taking a huge vacation when everyday was a vacation for me at this point. But I figured that if we didn't do it now the opportunity would pass us by. Our destinations: Paris, Madrid and Florence.

Stereotypes of Parisians that were shared and assumed before our trip include: arrogant, smelly, smoke-a-holics, thin, trendy, refined, romantic. The first two aren't true. The remaining 5 are. It's amazing how a city can have such a sense of uniformity in character. Of course you must show them respect to receive respect. You can't expect everyone in every city that you visit to speak English. In addition to re-affirming some stereotypes, I noticed these few things:

1. The French are polite. As long as you say Bonjour or Bonsoir Madame, Monsieur you will be their guest. We could learn a thing or two from them about being gracious.
2. Nothing compares to French wine. Enough said.
3. Paris is the cleanest metropolis I've ever been to. I'm not sure how they regulate the streets, but I don't remember seeing one bit of grafitti or trash anywhere.
4. The French value, above all else, time and relationships with those they love and respect. Witness 2 hour lunches and 4 hour dinners. Enlightening conversation or sitting in front of the tube all night, which one builds character?
I've always been a control freak, in all aspects of my life - from relationships to my career. For the most part it is to my demise. I believe everything happens for a reason and that this transition period is supposed to teach me something. Force me to re-evaluate priorities, my relationships, and myself. It's not all about me. Slow down and remember what we live each day for. Experiences, sharing experiences, growing, loving, BREATHING.

And so it goes. I'm now learning to breathe.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Year, New Resolutions

I can't believe I haven't contributed to this for over 6 months. It's been a crazy 2nd half of '08 - with the U.S. economy officially in a recession, several close friends laid off and my company doing 15% layoffs. It was a great year, and I'm grateful to still have a job - even if it's not doing what I love most. It's a new year, and I'm resolved to stay positive and keep the faith on good things to come.

I went back to my 2008 Resolutions and have listed them here, along with how I've fared:

1. Lose 10 pounds and keep it off. 5 preferably by March (more is better) - [No go. I was at 8 until post holiday!]
2. Spend more time with Ed [Yes!]
3. Work more effectively so I can spend more time with Ed [Yes!]
4. Try new recipes. At least one every 2 weeks [Yes! (at least it average out so)]
5. Drink less coffee. Go from 2x/wk slowly to 1x/wk. [Yes!]
6. Call parents and sister at least 1x/wk [Boo.]
7. Read! [Boo. Us Weekly doesn't count. Still only successful in reading roughly a book a quarter or so]
8. Start a club based on common interests with friends and be consistent in meeting [Yes! Iron Chef SJ and Ladies Who Brunch (even if we haven't met for LWB since July)]
9. Do not spend more that $200 per season on clothing/shoes [Umm, boo]
10. Subscribe to better magazines [Yes, if Shape counts!]
11. Start a blog [You're looking at it]
12. Develop a website (TBD on content) [Still no go]
13. Post pictures on Picasa [Yes!]

And now for my 2009 Resolutions:

Pachi’s 2009 Resolutions
1. Lose 10 lbs and don’t regain it during the holidays
2. Do yoga once a week
3. Find meaning in my work, but don’t sacrifice family for it
4. Work on average 8 hours a day
5. Date night with Ed at least once a week. With no distractions.
6. Call parents and sister at least 1x/wk
7. Read more – one book a month at the minimum
8. Develop my travel website
9. Re-initiate Ladies Who Brunch
10. Open my network – introduce myself to 1 new person per week
11. Buy less from the store, more from the Farmer’s market (fresh comes at a cost)
12. Try new recipes – with healthy variations
13. Drink water over coffee
14. Shop less, give more
15. Donate clothing I have not worn for over 2 years
16. Read the news (but know to filter)

Here's to 2009!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Camping at Clear Lake

Howard's annual camping trip (and the last we'll have with him) for the year.

Clear Lake is not as "clear" as it looks from the road, as we discovered. Algae-ridden and muddy.

But that didn't ruin a great weekend. My sister, Patty, came with us and after attending Christina's funeral, I was more than happy to spend it with some of my closest friends and family. Probably one of the most relaxing camping trips I've been on, where everyone is comfortable with everyone else and just kicking back and having a great time.

I can not ask for a better group of people to have shared the weekend with. With each day I am grateful for what I have!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Developing Standards

I think it's so ironic that we spend most of our childhood trying to make new friends and feel "accepted" to only grow up being picky about whom we choose to spend time with.

Honestly, I don't think I ever had a lot of friends when I was younger. I had a select group of people I hung out with grade school, middle school and then high school. Granted, the quality of the friends changed over time, but I was never the popular kid or the girl who always had people around her. One thing is for sure though - I never went to the "wrong" crowds and when my friends started going in that direction, I like to think I was good at course correcting.

As I grow older that has changed. There are so many people around that we now have the luxury to actually choose whom we befriend. Ok, so they have to like me, too, I get it. But I realized now that just because someone likes me or wants to be my friend, doesn't necessarily mean I have to like them back. Sounds simple right?

The problem with a lot of people that may have potentially had similar childhood experiences as me (ie: small, caucasian centric town, living as a minority, trying to fit in) is that they grow up looking for friends and then when they have the luxury of selecting, they don't filter. Which brings me to my topic of standards.

At some point in your life, you just have to develop standards in terms of what you appreciate, what you don't appreciate, how you want to live your life and who you choose to be in your company because their characters coincide with your set of standards. And course correction is likely guaranteed. As you grow into certain sets of standards, you will likely grow out of certain friendships.

I like to think I've done this all my life. Even when I was in high school - I started to observe that my parents had certain friends that I didn't really approve of. Funny that a high school kid could say that about her parent's friends right? I just thought they were not of the exact character I respected and if it weren't for the fact that there was only 5 chinese families to befriend in my hometown, they wouldn't have to be friends with them. I don't remember what they had to say to that. Probably that they had good traits, too. My opinion was - not enough of them. So it's easy to make judgments when you dont' have to deal with those people. Or you just self-select yourself out of a certain crowd. But it's hard when social circles entertwine and you just don't prefer certain people and are sometimes forced to be around them even if you disapprove.

These thoughts also come at the same time I realize that life is short (with the passing of my good friend Christina). We should be picky about who we choose to be in our company, because life is about growing to be the best person you can be and making sure you surround yourself with the best people that will enable you to become that. Spend more time with those you love. And be selective about those you don't love yet.

Selection criteria you ask? Ask yourself what your standards are. For me: I want good role models at my maturity level or higher. Always strive to be greater!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Remembering Christina Yu

One of my close friends from Folsom, Christina Yu, passed away last Friday with a very rare type of cancer.

Tracy and I had meant to visit her on our way back from Tahoe - but instead were hit by this devastating news when I called Chris on Sunday morning. I didn't know what to say or do. My head was spinning, like everything in the room was surreal. I kept thinking, we were one week too late. And that I should've went earlier. I should've listened to Sharon when she advised me of her timeline. All these things I should've done...

And then regret turned into some sort of anger. She didn't deserve to die so young. She was perfect in every sense. The most endearing type of person you could meet. Beauty and brains and no attitude even though she was perfect.

I'm still hearing her voice in my head of all the limited conversations we've had since she got sick. She was so happy and positive. Always looking at the bright side of everything. Always feeling obligated to please others - from her work to her friends to her music. Chris was one lucky guy.

I miss her. I know she is up there smiling down, though. May you rest in peace, dear friend.