Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Power of the Pause

I was just reading an article in O Magazine entitled "The O Power List" and I read something that I thought was excellent. In this article, 20 women from many different disciplines are recognized for their contributions in everything from business to the arts. One of these women is 73 year old Pema Chödrön, a former elementary school teacher who was the first American woman to be ordained in the Tibetan tradition. The portion of the article about her is entitled "The Power of the Pause".

You can read the full text if you follow the link to the article, but this portion really touched something in me:
"In the next moment, in the next hour, we could choose to stop, to slow down, to be still for a few seconds. We could experiment with interrupting the usual chain reaction, and not spin off in the usual way. We don't need to blame someone else, and we don't need to blame ourselves.

Pausing is very helpful in this process. It creates a momentary contrast between being completely self-absorbed and being awake and present. You just stop for a few seconds, breathe deeply, and move on."

That truly is a powerful touchstone for me. It's so easy to react and lash out in the old, usual ways when I feel wronged or misunderstood or under-appreciated or whatever. I think it's true that it's easy to seek to place blame somewhere, whether it's on another individual or on myself.

But, what would happen if we all just paused? What if we did short circuit our ingrained behavior to react? I think to do so would mean a truly powerful transformation would occur in the relationships we have (both personally and professionally).

I will strive to integrate the power of the pause in my daily life. A few deep breaths each day are bound to be good for me (and for those around me too)!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A long road to hoe...

That's what it's been...a long road. While mid-April isn't really that far in the past as far as calendar time, it seems like an eternity. I've once again been remiss in my blogging...oh well. Perhaps if I give you the "short version" of my long road, you'll forgive me for my neglect.

April 22 - I was officially laid off from my position at Method R. It sucked, but it was a necessity for the company. I get it, but it sucked.

Panic stricken and thinking I would soon be bankrupt and on the streets, I began to look for new work. The good folks at my old employer, Hotsos, were able to provide me with 5 weeks of sub-contract work that got me through till almost the end of June. Whew!

I applied for a gazillion jobs between April and July but only one opportunity really looked promising. Around the first of July, I got a formal offer from Agilex Technologies based in Chantilly, Virginia. I accepted. But, the offer was contingent on me passing a government security clearance and also on the client I would be working for approving the funding. So, I had to decide if I should take the risk that everything would work out and go ahead and move (all the way from Oregon to Virginia) in anticipation of everything falling into place, or if I should just stay put and wait and see.

Well, I'm not very good at wait and see. And, since I don't have a checkered past (polka-dot maybe, but not checkered) and figured I'd pass the clearance, I decided to assume the risk and move. Now moving 3000 miles across country is not fun. The last week of July, everything got packed up and big burly boys were hired to load our U-Haul. My brother flew out from TN and he and I drove across country (in under 5 days!) with a 27 foot truck and my family mini-van. At the end of that road were more burly boys waiting to unload the U-Haul. It was a whirlwind and quite tiring, but it's over and Virginia is now home sweet home.

One of the 2 best pieces of news I needed to have came while I was somewhere in Nebraska. My job offer was finalized (as funding and limited security clearance was approved) and a start date of August 24 was set. The other piece of good news happened 4 days after arriving in Virginia. That news was that my house in Oregon had sold!


So, here I am just a few short weeks later and I've been on the job at Agilex for 3 whole days. So far I'm just getting my feet wet and doing a lot of reading about the project I'll be working on. This new job means that my travel days are over. I will get to do what I love (Oracle performance optimization, particularly on the application side) and pile on a broader range of other stuff as well. But, I will be home every night and will get up every morning and go to work at the same place. After all these years of being on the road, that sounds pretty darn great to me! My 2-year old daughter confirmed that the job decision was the right thing when I walked in the door after my first day. She said "You came back Momma! You came back! I love you Momma!" and "Did you have a good day at your new office?" 'Nuff said!

I'm looking forward to new challenges and a new day-to-day routine. I'm also looking forward to having many new adventures to blog about. As soon as I catch my breath and settle in, I'll be back in the saddle. Until then, thanks for hanging with me and wish me luck!

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Iggy Fernandez, editor of the NoCOUG Journal, blogs at and has republished an interview with me from several months ago that was originally published in the Journal. If you're interested, you can read the full interview or a small excerpt of the interview with a question on out-sourcing.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

See you at Oracle OpenWorld

I'm looking forward to attending Oracle OpenWorld in October. Here's my session info:

ID#: S307360
Title: Managing Statistics for Optimal Query Performance
Track: Database
Date: 13-OCT-09
Time: 13:00 - 14:00
Venue: Moscone South
Room: Room 236

I hope to see you there!