bluntlysaid


The choices they make

I learned something important last month: Corporate America has a long, long way to go before it can ever claim that it treats women fairly.

I work for a firm that is consistently ranked amongst the best firms to work at for women and minorities. What a crock of shit.

Taco Land:

I work for Company X’s internal consulting group. We get to work on some pretty cool assignments for the CEO and is army of SVPs. I get paid well, my hours aren’t awful, and I rarely feel like I have a gun to my head—–it’s a very different feeling when compared to my time at Bulge Bracket Bank.

Now, everyone knows that I’m trying to get into the multicultural strategy/marketing space. I think that working in Latin America for a little bit can build my credibility in the US Hispanic space, so that’s why everyone thought I’d be a perfect fit for the upcoming assignment in Taco Land (a Latam country, but since I can’t give any details I’ll just call it Taco Land).

The Taco Land project sounds phenomenal: Design the country strategy for every product and division for the next three years. Unbelievable experience.

What I have to offer: Cultural relevancy given that I grew up in a Central American family. Spanish fluency. Sick family and professional connections in Taco Land. An eye for new trends in Latam (proven in past work). Etc. Etc. Etc. Perfect for the job.

Unfortunately, they structured the travel schedule as follows: 2 weeks in Taco Land, 4 days back, repeat for 4 months. In other words, I’d be in NYC for 8/36 days. That’s bullshit. I very politely told them that “this is an amazing opportunity that I would love to contribute to, if they are more flexible on the travel demands.” They said no, so I declined the project and am getting the stink eye at work.

My group emphasizes work life balance when recruiting for new talent. The group is literally 75% female. Every single person in this group cold have but work first and taken a job with McKinsey or Bain or BCG, but chose instead to work at a place that supposedly respected their work life balance. Yet, not one woman over the age of 24 volunteered for this position and very few men of any age volunteered either.

They made a decision to stack someone other than the best player for the job when they structured the project this way. They made a decision that prevented other members of the team from volunteering for this project.

Yet I’m viewed as the bad one who left the team high and dry…that’s not fair. They made a decision too….

Salsa:

I have another great story but this post is getting long…I’ll save it for another day.




Fish Bowl Theory
January 22, 2011, 11:25
Filed under: Gender Fights, MBA

Imagine a fish bowl filled with water. Water rushes from one side to another depending on how you tilt the bowl. You can tilt whichever way you want, but the volume of water always remains the same.  My life is like this fish bowl with a constant ratio of good and bad….at least most of the time.

Five: There are five main forces in your life and their status determines your level of happiness

Health

Love

Family

Friends

Work

Three:  You can count on this little rule of thumb—on average, 3/5 of your sources of happiness will be in good shape while 2/5 will need improvement.  Bad years happen when the ratio flips and most of your sources are messed up and driving you mad.

Now:

  • Love: For the first time in my life, I can say that there is potential for real love. I am dating someone who is such a good fit for me that I wonder if maybe there is such a thing as “meant to be” or “soul mates” or whatever other little girl idea I threw out years ago. I literally could not be happier or more confident in my choice to be with him.
  • Family: Knock on wood, but everyone in my family is healthy right now. Happy right now. I don’t want to jinx it so I’ll stop typing.
  • Friends: Someone asked me who my best friend was and I had a hard time answering the question because I honestly feel like I have 15 best friends.  I’ve been collecting them since I was 15.  I have my bff’s from high-school, college, and now business school.  We keep in touch. We support each other. We love each other. I am blessed.
  • Work: Not so good.  Things boiled over in my new job and I got really negative feedback.  It seems like the manner by which I deliver my thoughts conveys the opposite of my otherwise good intentions. I am apparently viewed as scary and disruptive at work.  This sucks because I literally could not have more opposite intentions. This sucks because I have been working my ass off and producing high-caliber output.
  • Health: I’m healthy in the grander scheme of things, thank God. However, work sucks right now and I have no time to work out. This is a problem. I’m approaching 30 and want to be careful about setting a healthy, thin baseline for my body when I cross over into the big 3-0. I can’t do that if I work long hours, eat like shit, and work out only on occasions.

The good news is that I can take steps to modify my behavior at work and reverse any mis-perceptions people have of me.

This was a random update post. I apologize.  More to come later.



Unstuck

I broke up with GI Joe and I feel fine.  Instead of the usual round of long-winded ex-bashing sessions with my friends and occasional moments of self-pity when I’m alone, I feel unstuck and cautiously optimistic of what’s ahead.

Note I: I was never in love with GI Joe.  We got along great, had fun together during our MBA, and had pretty fantastic chemistry.  BUT, I never felt strongly enough to say anything beyond “I like you.”  That’s fine. Not every relationship is going to be epic, but it will be worthwhile so long as you know how to classify whatever it is that’s going on, learn and enjoy what you can, then peace out when being with that person is no longer worth your time.

Note II:  I had the whole summer to come to terms with The End.  I knew back in May that things weren’t great, I wasn’t getting what I needed, and that I should move on. However, I didn’t want to rock the boat with just a few weeks left in school. There was also that fraction of a percent of doubt that my “down feelings” with him were actually rooted in the general shit-show that is saying goodbye to b-school.  Four months and a long trip to SE Asia later, I knew that I definitely wanted out and simply waited for the right time to bring it up (ahem, at a bar, after a few drinks…tee hee).

Now I’m in NYC, in my late 20s, single, happy with my job, armed with an MBA and a group of kick-ass friends.  We’ll see what trouble I get into.



Big Shop vs Small Shop

Imagine you just graduated from a competitive MBA program. Against all odds, you’ve snagged two banking (trader) offers despite the skepticism of every single career counselor at your school.  Which of these two options has more upside?

Big:  The Big Bank is a bulge bracket. It’s done fairly well despite the recession.  The position is not exactly an associate position, but it’s close enough—same pay, same benefits, different title. The trading position doesn’t cover the hottest product.  The bank’s pitch to you is “why wouldn’t you come here?”   Your future colleagues seem sharp and they have decent academic pedigree.  You would be one out of thousands upon thousands of employees. However, the firm’s revenues exceed the GDP of several countries combined.

Small: Think small, like 200 employees instead of 20,000 employees. While the firm’s traders and salespeople may seem sharp, you get the sense they would be eaten alive at a bulge bracket.  The firm does a few hundred million in revenue a year, profit margins aren’t all that. It pays well, since you eat what you kill and there aren’t that many hunters around.  You are unsure if your function in this shop is as interesting as the function at the bulge bracket, though it seems broader and perhaps offers greater options down the road (i.e. You wouldn’t get pigeonholed). The rising star of the small shop thinks the world of you and has earmarked you for a major management position down the road.  There is no brand name, but limitless opportunities as the big fish in a small pond.

Question: If you were seriously in this position, which of the two firms would you go with?

Why I care: A good friend was in this position, waffled back and forth until he finally decided to go with the small shop. He hasn’t been there long, but he’s seen enough to feel as though he’s made the biggest mistake of his life.  I think it’s too soon to tell, but would love to know what other people think.



BP
May 21, 2010, 11:25
Filed under: Market Trends, Politics, Social Trends

I’m angry at BP. Very angry.



“Finders Keeper” Kindergarden rule costs Apple billions; Steve Job cries in the corner.

Steve Jobs needs to get a grip of himself.   According to this article, Jobs pressured and then gave Gizmoto the cold shoulder after they posted pictures of the new iPhone.  Hasn’t Jobs ever heard of the age-old playground rule:  “finders keepers, losers weepers?”

It turns out some sore losers in California lobbied for a law that requires the finders of lost goods valued over $100 to turn the items over to the police.  The man who found the iPhone at the bar didn’t exactly do this, and now he’s in trouble. Okay, I get it, he broke a law that no one has ever heard of…but,What’s the big fuss about?

Apple says this snafu has cost it millions of dollars since consumers won’t buy the old iPhone now that they know a new one is coming.  WHO didn’t know that a new iPhone was coming out in June?  I went to an AT&T store before the scandal because I needed to replace my phone. When I asked the store manager point blank “are you guys getting a new iPhone,” he answered “we know we have to reserve tons of shelf space for a new unnamed product…the last 4 times that’s happened, it’s for a new iPhone.”  I am no sleuth, so I’m sure others figured out Apple planned on launching a new iPhone this summer too.

Moreover, the news may have delayed some people from making an iPhone purchase. Sure. But what does it matter if the sales figures will contribute to the same fiscal year? Won’t the delayed purchases just push up the sales of the new iPhone?

Apple also claims that the press-leak may give its competitors an upper hand. Really?  Competitors can reverse engineer the current iPhones out in the market, yet they haven’t really created a compelling substitution option. Why would that change all of a sudden?

Fourth: come on. This is fantastic press. Stop complaining.



The Ping Pong Theory

Have I ever told you about The Ping Pong Theory?  Yes, I have, but no one reads my blog religiously so I’m sure it’s okay if I re-hash my theory in more detail.  It’s a brilliant theory by the way. You’ll enjoy.

Personal explanation: I’m 15 years old and I had a new boyfriend.   Tall, dark, handsome and pretty damn awkward for a 16 year old. He had a pretty sweet car and was okay with wearing matching outfits.  He dumped me after he went to Spain for the summer when he realized he needed to date a girl that puts out.  Uh uh.  I collapsed on the floor of my bedroom wailing nonsenese “I’ll never find anyone that loves me again.”  My poor dad witnessed this but didn’t know what to say to me, other than calling me ridiculous.

SO what did I do to move on? PING PONG.  I started looking for traits in guys that were almost the exact opposites of my first boyfriend.  I’m about six relationships in now and the distance between the paddles has shortened significantly.

Scientific explanation: If you reflect on your relationships, what works and what doesn’t, then I guarantee that you’ve applied the ping pong theory to your life.  Rational people can recognize (most) of the traits in another person that make them happy/unhappy.

It’s natural to feel repelled from the qualities that lead to the break up (i.e. Bad temper, selfishness, lacks motivation, treats you badly, doesn’t know how to communicate, etc).  As a result, you tend to hone in on new targets that exemplify the opposite negative traits while maintaining the positive traits your ex managed to show.  Little by little, you start refining what you’re looking for until there’s very little wiggle room between ping and pong.

Not all people abide by the ping pong theory. I have one friend who never deviates from “her type” despite numerous failures and more recent lack of options (she’s picky). But, if you track the ups/downs of your relationships and approach breakups as an opportunity for self-improvement then you will use your past  experiences to inform your future decisions.

What’s next for me? I’m pretty sure I’m heading towards another break up. I’d give it a 10% chance of survival.  He’s a good guy, the relationship has been good, but it feel like its winding down.  I’ve noticed that being with him generates more upsets than happiness (lately). Although I hate endings, my intuition has a good sense of where I should ping pong to next:

  • Love the confidence, intelligence,  strong communication skills and chemistry
  • Love his sense of honor, loyalty.
  • Love his support of me.
  • Dislike his autonomous take on relationships because I’m looking for more of a partnership
  • Uncomfortable with his excessiveness. He’s either really hot towards me or frightening cold. He’s either obsessed with working out or potato couch.  He is either stone sober/anti-social or the most wasted person at a party.
  • Incompatible with his timing—I don’t see him settling down for another 4-6 years

I’m trying to grapple with things now, live the moment, etc.  This is hard to do once you know things are fizzling down.  We’ll see what happens next.




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.