Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ice Pick Headaches

They're worse than Migrane Headaches. (At least in my experience)

My ice pick headaches come from out of nowhere. All of a sudden, it feels like someone hit me in the left side of the face with a hammer. Most of the time, the pain subsides after about a minute. Sometimes it will be a throbbing ache for about an hour, other times it's a throbbing ache that comes and goes for an hour or so.

Today, however was the worst yet. I had a whopper of an attack at about 3:00 today, following a small cluster of weak attacks at lunch time. This one was so severe that I was reduced to a groan and tears. I was barely able to inter-office instant-message a co-worker that it was happening again. By the time he made the 10 feet to my desk, I was nauseous, with tears running down my cheeks, but almost able to speak. But, just as quickly as it came on, it was gone again. By the time other co-workers heard him ask me if I was okay, I really was. Nothing hurt, and I felt silly for the tears running down my cheeks.

Another co-worker is married to a doctor, so I wrote down what was going on immediately before, what happened during, and how I felt after the attack, and asked him to mention it to his wife. It scared me that much... I was afraid I'd had a stroke! I even, once I had regained my composure, asked co-workers if one side of my face was drooping!!!

Anyhow, there has been no indication that any damage was done, and I've felt fine since then. If it happens this severly again, I'll go to the doctor. But for now, I"m just glad it only lasted for a minute or two.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Beauty Meets Strength

No, I'm not being conceited, I saw the phrase on a commercial, and felt that it fit.

I've come to a conclusion, after some "soul-searching."

I've never really been one to let someone else fight my battles for me, so why start now? I chose this profession, knowing full well that I would likely be the only female in the group. It was 'painfully' aware to me the minute I started school for it.

But that only made me work harder. I HAD to be the best in the class. (And I was, except for Geometry...) Maybe it was so I had the (silent) bragging rights that "You got beat by a girl." But I put my mind to it in every class I took, and it worked.

So much is the same with work. I strive to be the best designer there is in the department. I've just uncovered some resources which I can study in order to make me more valuable to the company as a whole. There is rumor (OK, they nominated me because nobody else wanted to do it) that I will be the resident "3D CADD expert" for the department. NOOOO problem! I LOVE working in 3D. (I do the stuff for fun! Now if I could just find some drawings somewhere to turn into 3D models in my free time)

My objective is to attempt to "mold" someone to be able to do the simple construction package assembly work, so that I can do some REAL design work. Of course, that means convincing the manager to hire me a clone, but luckily I can put these packages together pretty quickly now, seeing as how it's mostly a 'copy job.'

All in all, the weekend was a good refresh and regroup session. A chat with a Project Manager from outside the department helped to put things in a better perspective. (That, and the inability to hold a grudge for very long)

Maybe someday I'll be rich, and then I can just write all day long... (but I need a laptop for that, and mine got stolen 2 years ago)

Friday, October 10, 2008

"This is a man's world..."

I don't know who sang the song, but it's true. This IS a man's world, and I'm trying to work in it.

This blog has, up to this point, been merely a place for me to express my (strange) thoughts and ideas on the events that unfold within my realm of knowledge.

I have recently become painfully aware that I am, at times, fighting an up-hill battle in my workplace. For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, read the next paragraph. (Those who know what I do may skip the next paragraph)

I am the ONLY female out of 30 or so employees in my department at work. I'm a designer at an Architecture & Engineering Firm in Toledo. There are approximately 5 women in the entire 'group' (SBU) who are engineers or designers. 5 out of 100-150.

Being a minority (YES, I am a minority being the only woman), I feel that I must constantly prove myself. I work longer hours, and accomplish more, than my male counterparts. I work harder, smarter, and faster than them. Oh yeah, and for less pay. But I have to.

Disclaimer (for the information below): I am known to give people a "hard time." I joke with people, but I am never dis-respectful.

I have a certain co-worker with whom I've worked closely for the past 2 years. He has, in the past, given me "a hard time" in return for my wisecracks. In the past year, he has done considerably less engineering work (he's the engineer to which I'm the designer), and has expected me to do all the engineering and design work.

In the last two months, his wisecracks have turned from the somewhat-complimentary (calling me "queenie" - my alternate email address is cad queen_) to quite dis-respectful ("we get our testosterone from her"). This behavior has escalated in the last week so much that a LIVE grasshopper was left on my desk. (I don't like to be startled, and a LIVE grasshopper will definitely startle a person when it jumps in their face when they don't even know it's there)

The story isn't over yet.

The department manager asked me into his office today. When I entered, the jokester was there, and they had obviously had a conversation. I was chided for "not doing work to meet deadlines." This was so far from the truth that when I asked the manager 20 minutes later, he could not give me a specific example.

But not being a spiteful person, I chose to leave it be for the weekend, in the hopes that the joker will realize he went to far (because he obviously didn't get it when I told him he was toeing the line today) So I'm here, venting to you, beloved reader. Hopefully, over the weekend, he will realize that he went too far. If not, I'm going to be forced to ge to the manager about it.

A lot of people don't realize how hard it is to be a woman fighting for a place in a man's world. It (for lack of a better word) sucks. This is the hardest thing I've ever had to do, and takes all my focus and energy.