Tuesday, May 31, 2011

More flying and traveling info

Given that I fly so much right now, a couple of tips food wise to share.

First, water. My gosh, a bottle of water is so expensive at most airports. But you know what I do? I buy it at McDonald's. Not only is the bottle of Dasani water about $1.50 (I believe), but it's also a regular sized bottle, not the huge ass bottle that you don't need that is sold everywhere else. Thus I often will go to McDonald's just to get a reasonable sized bottle of water for a reasonable price.

Next, let's stay with McDonald's for a bit. My favorite healthy breakfast at the airport? The oatmeal at McDonald's. Starbucks also has a good oatmeal option, but its at least $2 more expensive. The McDonald's is really pretty good, healthy, and filling.

It amuses me that I am still so cheap when I travel on business, but given that I am on per diems right now, the less I spend on food, the more money I keep in my pocket. I am given $48/day for food right now. It's nice because I never spend that much and just get to keep the extra money.

I am getting so so so sick of eating on the road though. I cringe at the end of the day when I know I have to think about what I'm going to get. Sigh. At least I can break it up with mom's cooking as I am going to Chapel Hill this weekend. I'll be meeting with a certain old roomie in Chapel Hill on Sunday which will be fun!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I flew into Winston Salem on Sunday night. And at O'hare now, its pretty much a given that you will have to go through the X-Ray scanner thing. And you know what? I refused.

It's always a funny thing when you go against the norm. The other passengers look at you in half surprise and half awe. The TSA folks get quite unhappy and give you nasty looks for causing them more work. But unless I am running late, I am going to request a pat down and refuse to go through the scanner.

I'm less concerned about the invasion of privacy issues, but really more concerned from a health standpoint. I do not need to be exposed to whole body radiation twice a week. I just don't.

I think I read an article where radiologists were saying that they refuse the scanner when they fly. And if MDs are refusing, who am I to argue? If I were to fly once in a while, sure I wouldn't refuse. But twice a week? Hell no.

Anyways when I refused on Sunday, the TSA guy made me wait unnecessarily before calling out for a female patdown. I think he wanted to delay me so that perhaps I wouldn't refuse in the future. He also gave me exasperated looks. Unfortunately this guy didn't know that you can't beat me in an angry staring contest.

I will stare you down, buddy! They don't call me angry asian girl for nothing!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bit of craziness

This is my second week on site here in Winston Salem. There are a lot of things on this project that would ordinarily drive me crazy. And if I knew that I was really going to be here for the life of the project (which would be until August 2013), I would probably be a bit unhappy right now. Or a lot unhappy.

But knowing that I hope to be at another firm by August of this year, well you can take anything if you see the light at the end of the tunnel. So I will do what I need to do each week, earn my airline miles and hotel points, and keep my mouth shut.

On the job front I was contacted by a recruiter at another consulting firm, that one I've mentioned that has two past colleagues. My past colleague who I spoke with about two weeks ago gave me the impression that they were not really ready to bring anyone on board just yet. So when this recruiter called me, I figured he was calling just to introduce himself and to give me the same kind of information.

Instead he was asking me questions like how comfortable I would feel about giving 2 weeks notice to my current firm. Questions like the status of my non compete with my current firm. It was just strange because it seemed like I was going to bypass the typical interview process given that this Managing Director and Principal already know me.

But that call kind of freaked me out because I want to make an informed decision, not feel pressured to take this offer (which would honestly be the easy route). So after I got off the phone with the recruiter, I called my past colleague at this other firm based in Seattle. I told her that I was going to submit my resume and start the process with this firm.

I submitted that stuff this morning and said that I would be open to moving to Seattle or DC. I've toyed with this thought for a while now, but now that I've said it on paper to this firm, its real! Yikes. Moving would suck yes, but I really need to look at the best possible job opportunity for me. Though yes, there is the other side of trying to think of moving to a new city as something new and exciting.

Perhaps I can even stagger things so that I could take a month off between jobs? :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Off to Winston!

I got a call out of the blue yesterday morning saying that I was going to be put on a project at Wake Forest in Winston Salem, NC. It was quite unexpected as I thought I would be starting another project. This is the first time in almost 4 years of consulting that I have gotten a project in NC.

It's going to be fun because one of my closest friends from high school lives in Winston Salem. We chatted on the phone last night and will try to meet up for dinner at least once a week. Winston Salem is also only about an hour drive from Chapel Hill. So I have actually arranged to fly from Chicago into Raleigh Durham this Sunday, spend Sunday night, Mother's Day, at my parent's house and drive into Winston on Monday morning.

I will then be driving back to Chapel Hill on Thursday evening to spend the weekend until I drive back to Winston on the following Monday. It worked out nicely because my sister is also home next weekend for a friend's wedding. And I won't fly back to Chicago until May 19.

This is going to be an interesting project because I do not have the technical expertise that the other team members do. My role is really to manage this project as a project manager, and help them make sure that everything is on task. But as it is with any other project, there will be quite a bit of orientation in the beginning.

Orientation not only to the project, but to your coworkers and the client, along with all the little things like how to get around.... where the good restaurants are by your project or hotel... where to find good coffee. All the things you have to learn and get acclimated to when you start a new job, we have to do it for every new engagement.

It's interesting because I've really learned to be comfortable with change and uncertainty and not knowing anything. I've learned to relish the steep learning curve of a new project and client even when that comes with some stress. It's why I continue to be a consultant I guess.

Am I still looking for another job though? Yes. My coach is leaving for a firm that I am really really interested in. But the job would require relocation to Seattle. The prospect is exciting yet scary at the same time. So I think I might give her a couple weeks to learn the ropes at this new firm, and let me know how she likes it. Then perhaps I will apply.

But I also got a call mid week this week from some past colleagues who are at another consulting firm. They talked about how they really wanted to bring me on board, yet they can't do it just yet. They have to sell a couple more projects before they can justify bringing me on board. But the call was to tell me that they were interested and that I should not accept any other offers without talking to them first.

I then still have two other past colleagues at two other firms who also have my resumes and are working on things for me on the inside. So that's 4 past colleagues at 4 separate firms. When I started as a healthcare consultant, I often heard that the world of healthcare consulting is quite small. I don't think I quite realized how small until now.

I'm really curious how things are going to end up...

Monday, May 2, 2011

Week off

I took a week off from blog writing and reading, though it seems longer than that. Things with work are the same, meaning I am still looking at other firms via past coworkers who are working there. The process is just much slower than I would like, which is frustrating. I am trying to say one of my favorite and grounding phrases to myself, "that everything is as it should be". Whatever happens, wherever I go, it will all work out.

I did find out on Thursday that I am being put on another project. The data request was submitted to the organization late last week, so I don't expect that to come back until later this week. I don't know yet whether I have to travel or not. If I do, I think it'll be back to Kansas City, Missouri, where I went once or twice back last fall.

This project will be a bit different from the last several projects that I've had in that it is going to be very data intensive. We're talking 10,000 line Excel files again, and creating financial models. Geez, I hope I remember how to do this. It's been a very very long time since I've done a pure analytical type project.

So it looks like this will be my last week of pure yoga pants vacation while still getting paid type living. Sigh. But I do think it'll be good to get back to working again!