Wednesday, October 3, 2012


So...time to get accountable for myself. I've not been the type of blogger who posts regularly about every mundane detail of my life.  I'm not condemning that style of blogging.  In fact I quite enjoy the day-in-the-life style of writing that gives me a glimpse into their every day life. The funniest thing is it invariably doesn't make me go, "Look how different their life is from mine." I actually am much more likely to think, "Wow, I'm a lot more like them than I would have imagined."

So I'm about to bang out details more personal than usual on this little laptop keyboard. I've worked for a Fortune 500 financial services company for more than 20 years now.  I started out as a peon that did data entry work. Even though I felt completely overwhelmed for about the first six months that I worked there I soon discovered I had a knack for the intricacies of qualified pension plans and their myriad compliance rules. I also was personable, outgoing, and had an ease with verbal and written communication so they promoted me into a position as a contract administrator where I was the single point of contact for about 30 of our pension customers.

After a couple of years in that position I moved into the training and education department just as they began a year long project to document a new system that was going to revolutionize the way we processed the requests of our clients. It would allow us to process most requests the same day they were received and produce payments for them in just a day or two.

When that system rolled out into production the department that took phone calls from customers with computer issues was ill-prepared. They couldn't differentiate between the callers that had a real problem and the ones who just plain didn't have a clue what they were doing.  That was where I came in.  My work in the training department gave me the knowledge to at the very least determine the difference between system issues and training issues. Even though I knew little to nothing about computers and computer programs I was now a computer technician.

I held that job for 15 years and got really, really good at it.  I can say without hesitation or undue pride that I was one of the best computer technicians in the Pension department. My customer surveys were  universally positive. My customers often told me, "Oh I'm so glad it was you that answered," when they called our support line.  I was comfortable and content except for one thing. The job didn't really have any upward career path. If I stayed in that position I could be good at what I did...maybe the best at it...but I'd never progress any further. I'd never make any more money and worst of all I'd just stagnate. I didn't know how unfulfilled I really was until my boss approached me out of the blue one day.

He was the supervisor of two very similar teams. One was the team I was currently on. The other was another call center that took phone calls on problems related to our in-house proprietary mainframe computer systems.  They dealt with the complex issues that come up when things get entered incorrectly by a peon or a programmer misses the colon that should have been a semi-colon.  He wanted me to consider moving onto the other team. They had an opening and he thought I would be a good fit.  Moving would open up a career path into the systems programming and project area where he ultimately thought I could be very successful.  He told me to give it a fair shot of like 6-12 months and if I hated it I could move back to my old team.  So where was the risk?  The risk I was most afraid of was what if I loved it?  What if I became really successful?  What if I realized I had wasted like 10+ years in the wrong job?  Worst of all what if I had to attend a bunch of meetings?  (I loathe meetings.)

I took the job and started about two weeks ago.  I haven't felt this uncomfortable or anxious over work in years.  So now to the real point of this post. In my new job I have to dress up a lot more than before.  In the old job I crawled under desks and lugged computer equipment hither and yon.  I got sweaty.  They let us wear jeans to work every day even though nearly everyone else in our buttoned down world were only allowed to wear them as a reward once in a great while.  I haven't dressed up for work in years. 

And now to the real point of this post.  About two years ago I quit smoking and gained a bunch of weight.  That was long after I stopped dressing up for work.  I don't fit into any of my dress work clothes any more.  My wife went out and bought me a few pairs of slacks and a few new shirts and I'm all set for now, but I don't like the way they fit or the way I look in them. So I'm doing something about it.  It's only been a few days, but I've started changing my diet.  I'm sitting here snacking on grapes instead of chips or cookies.

I'm making plans to begin an exercise regimen. I'm the type that once I put my mind to doing this I will succeed at it.  The success might not be permanent long term.  I've done it in the past.  About 10 years ago I did the same thing and lost down to about 195 pounds.  At the beginning of this week I was 278 pounds.  Before I quit smoking I was around 235 and never wavered far from it no matter what I ate or how little I exercised.  Two hundred and seventy-eight pounds!!!  That's so close to 300...  I'm disgusted with myself.

I know I won't regularly update anybody on my progress through this blog, but now I've put it out there.  I have to do it.  I have a strong sense of accountability, so it's happening. I'm stubborn if nothing else.  My very aggressive stretch goal is 50 pounds by January.  That's about 4 pounds a week.

Here goes nothing....or hopefully a lot less of something. (Me I'm talking about less of me.)