Job search prep – personal

It is no secret that I am soon out of work and truly cannot afford to be, so I have been traipsing across all of the information in front of me, while trying to maintain a level of professionalism in the job I am exiting. I believe in doing my best until the end, no matter how tempting it would be to drop to petty whining and sabotaging. Not this gal! But that is another post, for another day after the immediate challenges are abated.

While reviewing my work history for files and documents that are my own and can become some of my broader portfolio, I started looking at some of the quotes I have collected while evaluating my current situation. It is interesting to see what I have been thinking over all of these years. Below is a quote from an article I saved when I realized this job that is ending was headed this direction.

The trick to advancing your career and getting paid more is to add value by making certain your contributions are worth more than you’re paid.

Two years ago was a very emotional time for me, professionally. The manager I had been working with since I walked in the front door was being promoted. A well-deserved promotion and essentially one of my personal goals for measuring my success in this role. I was thrilled.

I wasn’t as thrilled when the next shoe dropped and I found out he was moving on and I was being left behind with a new manager. A green wannabe manager. Tough role to fill. Things haven’t been great, either way.

The toughest part for me was changing my style. We never really found a good cadence of mutual respect and appreciation. We would go months without having a conversation. Never a good sign.

Resume research – Avaya

I am hitting it out of the ballpark with my selection of companies. Avaya filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this year. Oh goody!

All of this is a little heart-breaking, but it tells my story.

At the turn of the century, I was plodding along, designing and developing the foundational core that would become the backbone of telecommunications capabilities. We were designing how all of these disparate things would communicate so we could get to the next ‘hop’ essentially.

I was the geek who could put all of the pieces together. Better yet, I was the geek with an MBA who could do math. I was in hog heaven when Lucent Corporation came knocking on my door. In my last century business model, I had it made. I had achieved a job at one of the most trusted names in telecommunications, to-date.

I remember starting this century thrilled to be alive. I was on my way. I had found long term stability. Fast forward six months. We were just moving into our first house. BAM! mandatory video-conference. In those days to have a video conference required a special room, special equipment, special infrastructure, so there was no ‘taking it from home’ option. Lucent announces they are spinning off the network engineering group into its own company – Avaya. Yop, we were on the roller coaster for a jolly good ride.

My peace was shattered. Within months, all of that joy I had to be doing the kind of work I liked to do, in a place where I felt appreciated evaporated.

So I guess that kind of gives my resume a theme – bookends!

Even tougher day

This is getting serious. I really need to focus on my needs, for a change.

This whole ‘explain who you have been’ in a soundclip size is ridiculous!

It is hard to concisely describe what you have done for your entire life, in such a way that you are positive yet realistic. It’s hard! Add insult to injury, although my experience has been consistent, I have jumped up and down the stack so many times, it confuses anyone who has only been in technology since the advent of Windows 95! or the internet.

Tough day

Worst part about having to do an update to the resume and job search? Reviewing everything you have done over the last period of time since the last update.

Started researching opportunities nearer to me than I have been looking. It is no secret I want to relocate away from here, but my dream landing spot is very specific. Kind of minimizes the possibilities. Given the recent turn of events, I am spreading a broader net.

Driving around today, I saw a cool building so I took note of the name on the place. Tonight they showed up in one of my job opening alerts. I think they are a new type of contracting agency.

No planning for you…

Good news is, I need not worry about the challenges around planning as I was informed yesterday that my last day will be next Friday.

Bad news is, now I MUST find a new job and quickly, if at all possible. My husband has a job, but he doesn’t get paid very well. I have stuck around, longer than I should have because the pay was fair. I am not over-paid by any means, but the commute wasn’t awful and I really did care for the team I had been instrumental in building over the last 6 years. We were finally doing things and I was enjoying my role, for the most part again, but all good things must come to an end.

Callout to anyone who might know of any positions for a Scrum Master in the greater Seattle area – preferably on the east side.

Here we go – planning week again

Two week iterations are perfect, as long as the team is mature.

What I really want to do is send out a bunch of reminders with links to training materials, so everyone is on the same page, but I would be reprimanded for being to forceful. The question is, how are we ever going to get better if we don’t address the maturity level issue. How is the team ever going to move ahead, if everyone doesn’t play fairly? Is it too much to expect that a team member who has committed to the team do everything in their power to be just as prepared as all of the rest of the team members?


This week has been one for the books. I am totally overwhelmed, mentally, emotionally, physically. Hard to admit how much all of this has taken out of me.

If I didn’t already need to find a new job, events this week have assured me it is time to do something. First thing I read on Monday morning was a note from my company’s CEO that the company I work for was filing for bankruptcy. Really doesn’t do a lot to motivate someone to keep on keeping on when you know that the company you have worked for for so long has mis-managed themselves into bankruptcy! Kind of set the mood for the week.

The company has done their best to assure us that we will get paid, but it still is unsettling and very uncomfortable. In addition to my tasks for the client, I had to find time to meet with my account manager, who has been in that role for less than two months, poor guy.

That would be enough to put a damper on the week, but at least I do still have a job that I will get paid for for the immediate future, but the job isn’t that great anyway. To be honest, I have stuck it out because it does pay decently and ever since my husband was RIF’d a couple of years ago from his career-length job – over 17 years with the same company – I have been the bread winner for our family.

I am finally doing what I was originally hired to do low those many years ago, but it isn’t that easy to get people to change the ways they do things after they have been doing them the other way for so long. I got yelled at this week by one of the team members. The word I would really like to use is screamed. I get that she is frustrated with everything going on around her, but I am not your punching bag.

She and I have history. First, when she joined the team, she was in the building, hadn’t even completed her onboarding, before she was asking for a change of roles. I don’t get that behavior. You were hired to do ‘x’. You haven’t even mastered ‘x’; you haven’t mastered logging in, yet you want to start doing ‘y’? That behavior is a screaming red flag to me. She has no intentions of being a team player. She is merely here to siphon off knowledge and she is out the door.

That was her first week. Left a bad taste in my mouth. Fast forward a few months. We needed her to do the job – either one or a combination of both would be fine – but do something valuable for the team. A swing and a miss. Not only was she not delivering on the tasks for role ‘y’ that she begged to do, she quit doing the tasks for role ‘x’ that she was originally hired to perform, and she is still having difficulties with the basic tools to master logging in. Red flag number two.

Fast forward to now. She is overwhelmed with the work she is assigned to deliver! Don’t blame her, it isn’t fair! She is not prepared. It happens. Take it out on me? Unacceptable. Third red flag. I am done.

Guess what? We are all overwhelmed. We all have pressure to deliver. I am the one who has been encouraging you to get your voice, but that stops here!


I failed!

Agile checklist item number one – I failed. Not for lack of trying.

The way I read Agile – it is bottom up assistance.  ‘Hey Scrum master I need ‘blah’.’ The servant-leader scrum master takes care of it.

Here’s where I failed. I didn’t have support from up the foodchain. Kind of sad really that I can’t have the same space, every week, every day, so we can build predictability into our processes.

Quite frankly, without that next level of support, I am doomed to fail!  <sigh>

This is what I want to do

  • Build a cohesive cross-functional Agile team and establish a working agreement that the team is passionate about. You know what it means to win as a team or lose as a team.
  • Lead all aspects of our Scrum Ceremonies including sizing, stand ups, grooming, retrospectives, demos and other Scrum-related meeting.
  • Partner with Product and Program Managers to prioritize roadmap features in our product backlog.
  • Drive transparency in to the Scrum team’s capabilities through burn down charts and velocity.
  • Identify impediments and blockers and actively work to help the team remove them.
  • Use retrospectives to continually iterate and improve team velocity.
  • Create clarity where ambiguity exists and help make the team successful by creating well groomed stories.
  • Provide an open style of communication to foster the flow of ideas and build alignment with the team and other teams.
  • Develop strong relationships with cross-functional members of different MHE departments by collaborating to find creative solutions to technology, product, and organizational challenges
  • Champion Agile methodologies throughout the development process.


There are things that have to be in place in order to successfully perform those tasks.  You need management participation and buy-in.

Actually, I am rather proud of how far we have come in such a short time. Now if only I could educate.