Monday, January 31, 2011

Blizzard and other things

Hahaha, this amuses me. So apparently Chicago is supposed to get a foot to two feet of snow from Tuesday evening into Wednesday. I went to Trader Joes this morning, not because of the blizzard necessarily, but because I had no food in the house, and it was madness.

Anyways, we found out on Friday that our little practice leader is leaving to start up a practice at another firm. The three of us had no idea. The partner believes there is no future for management consulting at our current firm and he wants to do strategy elsewhere. We had a conference call Friday afternoon and were pretty much talking about our plans for our job searches. The other two are really motivated and are looking now, so as to not have a lapse in employment.

We were certain that this meant we'd get laid off on Friday or at least today, but no word yet. My coach thinks they can't because they've told Wall Street that they are going to focus on the area that my little practice is focusing on. So they have to have some people doing that. If I do go to another consulting firm, I would like for it not be a public firm. The second requirement will be that they do not do healthcare IT. Healthcare IT has a tendency to cannibalize everything else.

In terms of job searches, I have looked at the website of a firm or two, but that's about it. I just can't get myself to do it. Oh yeah, probably because I'm just not sure where I want to go next. My coach is looking solely at consulting firms and she said that if she had an opportunity to bring us with her, she will do so. Maybe that should be my job search strategy... have her do all the leg work and just follow her?

No but seriously, I need to do some research and talk to people. This whole not having to work at all but receiving a full salary but being home all day rocks, don't get me wrong. But it is also hard to get yourself motivated. Every day is kinda the same thing and its easy to fall into just doing nothing. I went out last Friday night with a friend to a show and dinner afterwards and it was especially noteworthy that I put on makeup and real pants with a waistband (haha).

So maybe I should motivate this week. But oh, we're getting a snowmageddon! How can I motivate during a blizzard? Seriously, right? Maybe I shall motivate to get motivated next week?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Still here... for now

A number of folks are now asking me daily if I'm still employed. It's kinda amusing. But yes, I am still employed, but I still don't have a good feeling about this. Even if it doesn't happen this week, my intuition tells me that either it could be coming in the next couple months or that I am not meant to stay here. Probably more of the latter.

This I guess just means I need to figure out where I want to go next while I still am employed. I don't know, but I am thinking more and more that I may not go back to the exact type of consulting I've been doing. We'll see.

Some cute and insightful reminders from a blog I love, Things We Forget. The author sticks these little yellow post-its in public places.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The unknown

This past Monday three other people in the healthcare group at my firm were laid off, one who I know very very well. The little practice that I am in hasn't been affected yet, but it is very possible that the only reason we weren't laid off this week because our leading partner is on vacation in SE Asia and is unreachable. So its very possible that we will get laid off next week. Even if we don't get laid off next week, I wouldn't be surprised if it happens by the end of March. My firm is moving towards strictly doing healthcare IT work, and that's just not the kind of work I do, or even want to do.

I've took some time yesterday to take stock of all my accounts to see how long I could get by without working. Theoretically I could probably get by for a year, though I probably wouldn't want to do that (it'd also give my mom a heart attack). My friend got 8 weeks severance, which would help as well. Unlike some others I work with, I don't have a spouse or kids depending on my income. I have the luxury of being a bit more risky since its just me. So there's a part of me that would love to just take off maybe six months... maybe do some international travel during that time?

So I do need to be really thinking about what I'm going to do next. Healthcare strategy and operations is what I've been doing. Is that what I continue to do? Hmmm. Just because that is what my past education and work experience most prepare me to do, is that what I really want to do? Maybe this is the opportunity to radically change my career. I don't know... I think the fact that the possibility of getting laid off doesn't really freak me out is sort of a sign. We'll see what happens.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Madison trip and pigging out

The weekend in Madison was really fun. It was interesting to be able to see the city with adult eyes. The elementary school looked smaller than I remembered. There is also this hill right next to the school where we used to go sledding. In my mind, this hill was huge. But when we saw it, we were like really? That's not that big!

Anyways, there are some really nice trendy areas in Madison, specifically around the downtown area as well as in the Williamson St area. My friend and I were like, we don't remember all these trendy restaurants and bars. Then we realized it's probably because we were 9 and 11 years old when we left Madison. We had lunch at this place called The Old Fashioned where we had their famous cheese curds. Yes chunks of fried cheese. Only in Wisconsin, only in Wisconsin.

The stuffing our face continued when we got back to Chicago since my friend was here for two more days. Its funny that I have a list of maybe 7-10 places that I always take people when they visit me. It's like my standard repertoire. A couple of the places I took my friend included Ann Sather's for their Swedish brunch with their crazy huge cinnamon rolls, Sunshine Cafe for homestyle Japanese food (not sushi), Lou Malnati's for what I think is the best deep dish pizza in Chicago, and Cafe Iberico for really amazing tapas.

After my friend's visit, I should really be spending this entire week in the gym...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Why do you have to be a bitch to get things done?

I have been dealing with a problem with some routine blood work I had done when I finally went to the doctor for the first time in a couple of years last November. I ended up getting a bill for it from the lab provider for $250 because Aetna did not cover it.

So starting in December I've been calling the physicians office as well as the lab provider. The lab provider has actually been responsive and helpful. The physicians office? Oh my freakin' gawd. Getting them to do anything and actually respond to you is impossible.

After 10 days of trying to get this resolved with the practice manager for this physicians office, I hit the roof today with her. Yes, I went very scary asian girl on her. She has had this issue on her desk for 6 weeks and doesn't do anything about it. On top of that, I've been calling every day since Monday and she does not pick up the phone, nor return my calls.

By going off on her, and explaining for the millionth time that the blood work needs to be submitted with a routine screening code, not a medical diagnosis code, I seem to finally have gotten some traction. She actually freely called me back with some more updates about half an hour after I laid into her. I think I scared her.

Why the hell does it require being a scary bitch to get this stuff done? What saddens me is that at least I have enough healthcare and some billing and coding knowledge to be able to talk to my insurance company, the lab company, and the physicians office about this intelligently.

When the practice manager first told me that well uh, it was put towards your deductible, I whipped that back around with "No, it should not be put towards the deductible because that means I have to pay for that. It should be fully paid because the lab work was of a routine screening nature". What the hell do people who can't speak healthcare terms or don't speak English or are elderly do? That makes me sad.

What I wanted to say to this idiot of an incompetent woman is that what I do for a living is assess healthcare organizations and recommend where things can be improved or where things can be cut (aka her f'in job). I did keep this to myself though. But I thought it! Damn straight I thought it!

Health Care is a mess. Top down and bottom up. This should be good for my job security, but honestly the depth of the mess in this industry makes me just plain tired.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Back to Madison!

Its been a bit of a roller coaster with work this week. Its been pretty much like this:


I have a semi permanent indentation on my right index finger from the track point little red ball thingie of my work Thinkpad. I wonder if I could file for workers comp?

I am definitely looking forward to this work week being over. Also because a friend of mine is staying with me this weekend. She lives in Korea but is currently in the states interviewing for residency programs. I actually grew up with her in Madison and the last time I saw her was when I was in 5th grade.

I'm looking forward to showing her around Chicago, but I am really looking forward to the fact that we are going to drive up to Madison and spend a night there! It's going to be wild to see where we grew up, the graduate student/post doc (because of our fathers) apartments we grew up in, our elementary school, the UW campus. I'm curious to see what it all looks like with our adult eyes.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Resolutions and whatnot

I don't think that I've ever really said out loud that certain things were my New Years resolutions. I mean I might have thought about things that I want to do or accomplish, but they could happen at any time of the year. In actuality my New Year in terms of resolutions probably happened to me last October. So the coming around of 1/1/2011 is just sort of a continuation of that.

While I was home one of the things my mom said (and this was not the first time) was that someone who had been married before would be ok. That it may be hard for me at my age to find someone who had never been married before. The funny thing is that as horrible as it may sound in an American context, she hasn't been as naggy as she could be as a Korean mother.

I know from cousins and friends, that Korean mothers can be much much worse, given a single 34 year old Korean daughter. My aunt has actually told her that she is not nagging me enough about finding someone and getting married. The plus side to all of this is that they are going to be so glad when I do find someone that their standard for the guy is probably a lot less than when I was in my 20s. This sounds kind of bad yes, but its a positive for me! It means I don't have to bring home a super successful or educated guy... a guy that is just good on paper. I can bring someone home where the more important things matter.

The thing my mom doesn't realize is that I'm not really against someone who has been married before. I've already been with someone who was divorced. To me, it's not a deal breaker. It's more important to me to find someone I click with. I do recognize that my ex screwed me over in terms of the fact that we had this instant electric soulmate type connection, being together 24/7 pretty much after 5 days. I think I'm still trying to recognize that not all relationships start like that.

So there is my resolution of sorts for this year. Not so much to meet someone, but to just try. I think the last date I had was March or April of 2008. I was not interested in dating at all for a long time, with the last year or so consisting of just not wanting to make the effort.

Make an effort and not be too picky. Doesn't sound so hard...

Monday, January 3, 2011


Hmmmm so a two week break from blogging... which I'm sure I'm going to hear about from a certain someone in New Mexico. Anyways, hopefully I'm back to a more normal blogging schedule.

I'm still actually in Chapel Hill at my parents and am flying back to Chicago tomorrow. It's been a pretty lazy 10 days here. I've been helping my parents with moving things around, redecorating, and shopping for furniture for their remodeled house. But it's also been really nice not having to worry about cooking. Mmm mom's cooking!

I did get a bit of unexpected good news before Christmas. Back in 2004 while I was still in business school, I was involved in a business plan competition. Two classmates and I actually started the company with investors and I spent the summer of 2004 out in San Francisco starting the company. But I haven't had any involvement with the company since late 2004.

While the company is no longer really focusing on what we initially started the company for, they are planning to sell the company this year. And apparently the company had really good revenues last year and currently has 35 interested buyers. While I don't have a lot of shares since I was only involved with it for a short while, it does look like I'm going to come into some cash from this. The question is going to be how much... but hey, since I never expected anything from it, anything greater than $0 is a win for me.

In other pre Christmas news, I was approached by a hospital that I consulted for to see if I was interested in a full time in house performance improvement position. Hmmm. I have always thought that I would eventually leave consulting and go in house to a hospital one day. I'm just not sure yet if this is the time.

Consulting provides an incredible opportunity to see a wide variety of projects. Learning from the issues and concerns different hospitals have all over the country is why I am currently consulting. I've also gotten very used to the project based nature of the work. You don't like who you're working with? Well chances are, in consulting that project will be done in 12 weeks.

I also think that at my level right now, going to work for a hospital may be a slight pay cut, even though at the director and above levels, hospital salaries are in line with consulting salaries. Actually hospital VP salaries can even be higher than consulting salaries!

So I'm not sure yet if its the right time for me to leave consulting and go in house. But I guess I should explore this opportunity to see what it would entail and what kind of in house position and salary I could get right now!