My First Dragon*Con Parade

Being Busy vs. Working Toward a Goal

Oh hey. I still exist. Grad school has begun, and I’m in a new-new job (long story, message me if you’d like details), and my life is in a constant state of “There’s still more to do!/How am I behind already?”

I’m currently taking basic (for people who can understand numbers) finance and a management/operations type course. Basic finance is a piece of cake for all the accountants and financial analysts in my class, but I can already tell that I’m clinging to threads when it comes to understanding what’s even happening. During this week’s class our professor split us in groups and gave us the income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements for the past 3 years from competing food companies. She asked us to use all 3 to analyze what was going on with that company’s financials for 2011, 2012, and 2013, and hypothesize some explanations.

I just kind of sat there waiting for someone in my group to make an observation. We were analyzing Yum! Brands, which owns Taco Bell, and I kept relating every observation back to their roll-out of the Taco Bell breakfast menu. Large outflow of cash? That was an investment in waffle taco materials. Advertising for the breakfast burritos. Etc. My team was not amused with my comedic relief. However, the presenter of my group DID mention my breakfast menu idea as a reason for changes in finances for the company.

Side note: I still haven’t tried a waffle taco, and I’m slightly ashamed to admit that I want to.

My management class is actually pretty interesting, though–probably because it’s more about people than numbers. My prof is hilarious. He’s from India, and loves to say, “Dude!” He also loves to talk about himself and how awesome he is, bu his stories are actually on point.

This week, he talked about how he’s done operations and processes consulting for big companies like Coca Cola and Delta, and the US government (Dept of Defense!) etc. And he talked about how everyone is so obsessed with people being busy all the time. The whole 8-hour work day, people should just be slammed, right? Stuff, stuff, stuff! Doing all the things.

In one of his stories, a VP of Operations walked around the *important business* facility with him, and pointed out people outside taking smoking breaks or playing on their phones. “Look at those people wasting time! We should take away smoking breaks. Then they’d focus more on work.” And apparently, my professor turned to the VP and said, “You just wasted 4 hours in pointless meetings. You need to get busy and focus more on work!”

HA! It’s so true. No one works the whole 8 hours a day, and that doesn’t mean things aren’t getting done.

Busy does not equal productive. Busy does not mean you’re moving toward a goal. Busy does not even mean you know what you’re doing. Busy is just something we do to fill the space and time.

In another scenario he talked about how one company was somehow getting behind on billing for MILLION dollar contracts. If someone owes you millions of dollars, you’d think you would bill them on time. Invoice them as soon as it’s appropriate. Maybe create the bill before and give it to them AS SOON AS the service is rendered. (Maybe that’s not how it’s done, you guys. I DO blow at finance so far…).

But the reason was that the billing department was 2 people! TWO PEOPLE handling all the billing for a major company, and they didn’t even get their own printer to… print (million dollar) invoices. My professor had them hire 3 more people, give them the latest technology (including printers), and had them drive up and HAND-DELIVER their invoices worth millions of dollars to their customers.

Then operations said, “Look at all these 5 people! They have nothing to do when we don’t have any contracts to bill. They sit around chatting!” And the prof said, “This department is like a pit crew. When the car comes around the track, they get their jobs done quickly and effectively so the race car (palindrome) can win the race (aka get millions of dollars that the customers owe them).”

We don’t always have to be busy all the time to accomplish what we need or want to accomplish. We just have to plan it out, set goals, and be smart about how we achieve those goals.

The Fish Distribution Theory…

Hey guys. Just checking in. It’s been over a month since I’ve written here. I still exist, I promise. I’ve been swamped, what with the new job, traveling for training, taking MBA prerequisites, and marathon training. When I’m not doing one of those things, I’m probably asleep or eating.

Only if rave = math

So let me summarize my life recently.

I started my new job toward the end of June, and it’s been a whirlwind of learning and training. Last week, I traveled to Canada for the latter days. I went to the company’s corporate office and learned all the procedures, programs, and all that jazz. I also got a chance to check out Toronto a little bit during the evenings. Have you guys had poutine? It’s French fries with cheese curds and gravy. How are Canadians not all mega fat?


I’ve also been taking MBA prereqs EVERY day of my life. I get home from work, and take some lessons. I wake up on weekends and finish as many as I can. I’ve managed to pass finance and accounting (who knows how), and I’m currently mucking my way through statistics. These types of classes might be easy, but I’m taking the equivalent of about 3 class sessions per night every night with quizzes, tests, and assignments. I’m completely lost and have no idea what I’m doing.

I cannot wait until I have actual class where there are teachers teaching me things instead of lame slide shows with voice overs. The worst part is that the voice over for statistics has a HORRIBLE case of dry mouth for every single video. That poor woman. But seriously, listening to her mouth sounds is so distracting when I’m trying to learn about the Poisson Distribution (guys, that’s Fish Distribution, let’s not act like it’s not).

In the time I’m carving out and calling “free time,” I’m either sleeping, eating, playing soccer, running, or going to the gym. Now, please don’t be confused and think that I do all these things in one day. I don’t (except sleep and eat, I do that every night and day). On weekdays I go to the gym every morning (hellooooo, 4:30am!). Saturdays I play 1 game of soccer, and Sundays I do marathon training long-runs. Poor Sean has to put up with me being a completely useless human being in our household. He is the best human who ever existed, and I know you’re all jealous haters that someone who doesn’t even drink coffee made me the best cup I’ve had this morning.

Ok, just kidding about the jealous hater part. :) Who am I? Nicki Minaj?

So, this is why I haven’t existed on my blog recently. And, honestly, it’s killing meeeeeee. I miss writing non-work, non-math stuff so much. I could have written so much about the World Cup. Or my cats. Or other things…. Maybe? See? I have so much to talk about…

Anyway, that’s the State of the Carolyn.

Looks like Boehner’s my only real hater…