Sunday, December 23, 2012

It's Better to Give Than Receive

            This past week I gave two people money so that they could have decent Christmases for their families.  Whenever I did open my wallet, I was thankful that God blessed me with the means to help them.
As I age, I take particular pride in being a giver instead a receiver.  It brings joy to my heart. Besides, I never want people to spend an astronomical amount of money on me. That’s quite embarrassing.  What I do love is mailing and receiving Christmas cards because I collect them.  Seeing the different kinds is awesome. Sometimes I write down the company because I might buying from it next year.  Of course, there are the cookies and candy; but, most importantly, family.  I will make it a priority to see mine in 2013 because snow or not family never gets old. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Never Ever Being Mediocre!

            Pastor Joel Osteen preaches about mediocrity running rampant. I’m not that all, I’m an overachiever. It has taken me until that sermon to understand that receiving promotion, testifying in two trials, traveling to four different states and enrolling in two statistics classes mean that I’m not going to take the PMP exam this year.  It’ll be on top of my list in 2013. USDA Graduate School has a $375 PMP preparation course.  In between now and January 23rd, I’ll complete statistics 2 and intro to statistical modeling classes, finish reading operations management and square away all of my work projects. By March 15th, I’ll reread the new PMBOK twice, taken 5 practice exams and registered for the exam. I’ll have my PMP before May 1st. After PMP is the statistical process control on March 18th and acceptance sampling on April 19th. With PMP, I’m focusing only on that. Next year I’m pacing myself. I’m only doing 2 things at a time. Spacing them out lets me devote time towards it. Come June I’ll pass the certified quality engineer test making me a sure shot for GS-15. There’s no way I’m not getting promoted with PMP and CQE. Personally, I’ll be happy to utter the words; engineer!  That’s pretty big coming from a woman who never thought about becoming one!
            The US Department of Education constantly stresses the importance of Americans studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degrees. I have an economics degree which is social science.  Though I study statistics and have taken several higher-level math courses, obtaining the certified quality engineer distinction puts me in the STEM category.  I’ve always been hypercompetitive Type A personality who never backs down from competition.  Becoming an engineer after arriving in 2006 as an economist, is a big achievement. I only had an algebra. It took me dropping out of American University to take precalculus at Northern Virginia Community College-Alexandria campus, calculus at USDA Graduate School and calculus II at the University of the District of Columbia.  I took calculus III at UDC to finish the sequence. While taking the class, the physics student was there.  I looked up the university’s physics major prerequisites.  You only needed calculus II.  No wonder it was hard.  I received a D, the first time and a C the second time. Finally, I took linear algebra and advanced statistics. Now I’m taking statistics 1 and 2. By the certified quality engineer (CQE) exam, I’ll complete three more advanced statistics classes (I might read Differential Equations for Dummies to learn more math [engineering probably requires this] and I’ll earn my fourth higher level math course qualifying me for the fed government mathematician classification).            Obtaining the CQE certification opens up doors for me. One I’ll qualify for GS-15 quality manager jobs. Also I’ll qualify for IEEE. Furthermore, since a native-born American armed with an engineering certification, I’ll demand top-dollar!  The one thing I won’t be is mediocre!  I don’t know how much time I have remaining on this earth but I refuse to waste is doing the minimum!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

LivingSocial Gingerbread House Making course

This past Tuesday I went to LivingSocial’s headquarters off of 918 F Street NW for my gingerbread house making course. I decided to purchase this deal because my job was stressing me out.  Initially, I thought that there would be an instructor…but, no, the lady told us to use the icing to create a base and start making our own gingerbread houses from the kit.  I didn’t know what she meant by creating a base so I assembled my house without putting icing at the bottom to hold it still.  Towards the end, one of the sides caved in but regardless I accomplished a craft project.  Here is my photo:

Being Open to Change

This month I will have been on my new job for 8 months; and, in 4 more months I will receive my next promotion.  This realization motivates me to purchase the Be Your Own Boss book because I need to manage my money and opportunity.  Last night I attended the DC Black MBA Christmas party.  I observed that most members were only 5-10 years older than I was but earning less than I did.  Right then I sat still analyzing peoples’ conversations.  Being still sharpened my intuition.  Mentally I saw myself 5-10 years older as a corporate executive armed with my MBA/PMP/CPA/CQE certifications not stuck in middle management.  Obtaining my CAPM certification resulted in my receiving this job.  It took me 3 years to land this job but I didn’t quit and didn’t resign myself to the fate that I’d always be stuck in the middle. Securing the PMP/CPA/CQE certifications guaranteed at least two more promotions. 
            Returning to purchasing the book, even though I am not starting a business yet, I equate my professional career as a business.  Since I know that I will receive another promotion in 4 more months, I must position myself to be successful.  I will earn $16,000 more money and might even exceed the payroll tax maximum.  Next year I will travel more.  I will attend the NBA All-Star weekend in Houston.  If I like Houston, I will return for the Black MBA annual conference next September. Personally, I want to read this book as mental preparation for the new year.  I am already using my own money to enroll in statistics classes and read quality engineering books for my job.  This change is heaped on me without notice.  Learning how to effectively manage unforeseen changes in a business context will help me personally and professionally in 2013.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Doing Work Even When I'm Off

            Today I pledge not to do any work. I’ve outlined 8 pages of quality engineering statistics for one week and enrolled in statistics 2 for another 4 weeks.  Nothing will interrupt my day; and, I’ve succeeded until tonight when I join a Google Hangout.  Kristi of Women CEO is brilliant bringing out ideas that help me become a better professional such as creating a brag sheet and finding workers on  This year, I’ve received a promotion and attended three White House Tweetup sessions.  These are brag-worthy. Furthermore, she tells the group that we should have our goals done for 2014 and not just 2013. I don’t think that far.  Then it hits me that my agency wants me to stay on for 2 years after completing the leadership development program. Well, that’s 2014.  I might as well have a plan to accomplish some important milestones. Even though I don’t aspire to do any work today, I’m glad to hang out with Kristi because she’s gotten me ready for not just 2013 but also 2014.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Proud of My Brownies!

            The Cleveland Browns soundly defeat the Kansas City Chiefs 30-7! They are on a 3-game winning streak.  It’s the first time since 2007 that this has happened.  As a proud Clevelander, I am happy that our wins have come from beating our archenemies, the Steelers, the Raiders and now the Chiefs.  We’re hitting our stride at the right time because next week Cleveland is playing Washington DC.  Though the starting quarterback, Robert Griffin III, is having his knee examined, I still want my Brownies to play him. Make no mistake, I love Kirk Cousins because I am from Big Ten country and he’s a former Michigan State Spartan QB. What’s the point saying that we’ve won when we haven’t faced the real starter?  Regardless, I am a Brownie for life!

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Four Seasons Turnaround

            My morning started out raggedy!  I awoke, showered and left my warm bed all before 8am to see my beautician but he stood me up ‘because he left something on the stove at hom.  Hey, this was my off day plus it was damp from early morning rain.  I made my way to my office to pay my bills, enroll in the new statistics class and outline ½ of quality engineering statistics chapter 7. While there I made a Four Seasons lunch reservation.  Arriving early I never say so many police in my life at the hotel.  I sat in the lobby observing all of the coppers.  When 11:45 am rolled around, I walked downstairs to Seasons restaurant. The maĆ®tre d escorted me to my seat.  The manager told me about the new Kobe pastrami Reuben sandwich that the restaurant added last week.  Originally, I was dead set on ordering the Angus burger but what the heck I tried the Kobe sandwich.  I was glad I did because it was filling.  Its portion size looked like the Four Seasons got my lunch from a corner deli.  I could only eat ½ asking that the rest be boxed for later.  This lunch date right set my day allowing me to return to normalcy carrying out the rest of today’s tasks which were watching college basketball and outlining my book.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Buckeyes Rule Even without Beilema at Wisconsin

I learned that Wisconsin Badgers football coach Brent Beilema was going to the Arkansas Razorbacks and received my Nike Ohio State University Buckeyes undefeated t-shirt today.  His departure truly didn't matter because we beat Wisconsin plus Urban Meyer will get the Buckeyes back to 12-0 and a BCS Bowl next year.  We own the Big Ten conference.  Buckeyes until I die!

Grace Part II

I am grateful that I am farther along today than I was 7 months or even 1 year ago.  I have received a promotion, not scrapping for money, have enough savings and am enjoying myself a whole lot more!  Even with this curveball thrown at me, I will overcome it and 1 year from now I will be better off.  I can sense it!

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Completing Statistics 1

            I have submitted my final assignment for my online statistics 1 class this evening.  It is a big step in the right direction.  Having been on the job for 7+ months, I’ve been spinning my reels trying to discover what my job duties were.  Once they were finalized, I saved my money enrolling in this class. The new fiscal year dried up education funds but I had enough money from my new promotion to pay for it.  Taking this statistics course was the best decision I made that November because then I got hit with a whammy: they wanted me to perform quality engineer duties!  Hello!  My job title was statistician not quality engineer; however, reading the American Society for Quality and the quality engineer description aligned with what they wanted. 
I thanked God that I had the math and one operations management class that I took at Cleveland State to give me a background about this newfound territory else I’d be lost and gave up.  I learned about acceptance sampling and creating sample plans.  I downloaded some sample chapters and discovered that the online statistics school offered an acceptable sampling course next spring.  I wasn’t waiting for April when my boss wanted it now!  Therefore, I purchased the quality engineering statistics book and saved my money for statistics 2.  The school had a three-course beginning statistics schedule.  By the time I finish, it’ll be February allowing me to enroll in statistical process control.   When I finish SPC, I’ll take acceptance sampling.  I possess great timing because come New Year’s Day, I’ll be done with statistics 1 and 2.  I’m halfway done by the time the ball drops welcoming in 2013.  I will look back at all of this thinking what a journey.  I’ve started from 0 to this and still managed to be standing.