Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Moving on Up

The last few years have been interesting for a number of reasons. One thing that I have experienced has nothing to with Gender.

It has to do with relocation.

The reason why is I have moved twice in less then two years.

Sixteen months to be exact.

Prior to this I had moved twice in thirty-seven years.

I mean my parents moved into the house I grew up in three months before I was born. We moved out three months shy of my twentieth birthday.

Five years after that I moved out of that house and into where I would live for the next twelve years.

Thus moving was not a common occurrence in my life. Say as some Military brats or more nomadic people might have experienced.

I will say that it has allowed for some unique learning experiences in that time.

First living with my cousin {link?} who happily opened up her spare room to me last year. To the dynamic duo who are renting a part of their house to me here in Ann Arbor.

Bonnie and Clyde, as I will refer to them(Okay they are not THAT notorious but they are a ton of fun.), have been wonderful slum lords (total joke) and fantastic roommates. Often having a lot of fun with me since I am ten and eight years their senior.

Recently I mentioned I was going to be away one weekend since I had to travel to another part of the state for a family holiday gathering, then over to my parents to make cookies with my mom for the holidays.

immediately the comments came flying.

"What? You are going to be gone this weekend? Who gave you approval for this?"

"We need names and phone numbers of where you will be!"

"Have we met their parents?"

"We need to approve of everyone you will be hanging out with!"

"You are not going anywhere until you clean that room!"

All said with a glint in their eye. Which prompted a good laugh in the kitchen.

They have been wonderfully welcoming and extremely nice to me.

My favorite was what happened in early December.

I was sitting at the table in the dinning room writing out my Christmas Cards. When Bonnie walked into the room.

"Hey Kelli."


"I am having a few of my lady friends over this coming Saturday night. We will have snacks, xmas movies, mulled wine. Would you like to come? I would love to have you if you have no other plans."

My day that Saturday was insanely packed but I knew I ultimately was going to be home around 9pm.

"What time are you starting?"

"Oh we will start around eight but anytime after is fine."

I explained my day to her but told her I should be home by 9pm. As it seems these days everyone is booking things all on the same day.

"Great I will see you then."

So what happened?

Well. I got to meet an incredible group of women you hailed from all corners of the country who all happen to be living in Michigan at this time. We had a southern belle, Minnesotan, two from Maine, One from upstate NY, another from northern Michigan. I forget where everyone else was from.

I had a great time sharing stories and listening to all the interesting things said in the 'knitting' circle. In fact it is not often I laugh that hard with a group of people. They compare with the Cabin crowd in that regards.

The amazing part was telling my stories, sharing things I have done and laughing about the silly things men do. Seriously if you had watch my previous relationship it would make total sense in regards to roles. So flipping the gender at times is all I need to do.

It was an empowering and gratifying experience. I thanked Bonnie the next day when I saw her downstairs. As I had gone to bed the earliest, mostly because I had been on the run all day.

She in turned thanked me for coming. She mentioned that she and Clyde really have enjoyed having me in the house and she was glad I enjoyed myself as much as I did.

It was a different environment than my usual geekier friends. Who are totally un-ashamed to have fun even at their own expense. Not to mention have a deeper interest in some of the same things I do.

Still this was something I had been craving. Just a group of women letting their hair down and being themselves. It reminded me of when I kept trying to do this during my middle and high school years but always felt I was being left out or worse pushed out.

It was carthic, empowering and energizing.

I cannot wait to do it again!

I am so glad I met those two and took the risk to rent their upstairs from them. I am even happier that they were willing to let me do so. No I have not told them I am Trans the need to just has not come up. It is not like I purposely hid it. I just do not feel the need to announce it to EVERYONE!!

I have definitely enjoyed this move.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Working Stiff

As you all know I left my previous job.

This would be the one that I transitioned at.

Now there were growing pains, but for the most part the company and colleagues were great. I honestly could not have asked from much more from them.

Still nothing lasts forever.

The first year was good after transition.

Then somewhere earlier this year things shifted.

I am not sure why or how either. To this day I am a little baffled by it.

Yes, the tone of conversation in meetings and between the team changed a bit.

Hey, there was a girl in the room now and they were on much better behavior. Not that they were ever bad about it but we all know men will complain about their wives. Frankly having worked in a department of mostly women when younger the same can be said for women complaining about their husbands.

Really both sides do it, even if they will not admit to it to the other side.

(I do wonder if the same happens with gay or lesbian couples. I have to imagine it does but I have not worked with many to know if they do it in the work place. Something to ponder.)

Still they did clean up their act with no prompting from me.

I even had my old manager apologize to the group once that if I was not in the room he would have had something to say about the woman we just talked too on a conference call.

I laughed and told him not to worry. She was being a bitch and I would not be offended at all. Seriously she was EXTREMELY difficult to talk to and reason with. Men do it and I call them assholes or jerks. Point is the label fit. Even if it some thing it is unpleasant.

Some people are just unpleasant period.

Now I know through all this perceptions changed regarding me. I also had to learn how I now fit into the dynamic of the team.

Which I thought I had done for the first year, but we had a number of engineers leave and get replaced. I feel that fact had something to do with it.

Some of the newer people seemed to have an issue with a woman being as smart or smarter than them.

This caused a few conflicts though minor.

I have never been a confrontational person. Ever. It is just not my nature. I have, however, learned to stand my ground in the face of much stronger personalities than mine. I have worked with a lot of arrogant or outspoken men over the years who cannot possibly be wrong. I have had them shout in my face or throw me under the bus. I simply learned to let my work speak for myself.

I am also not afraid to ask a person how they intend to make something happen. I hear it all the time with people wanting to install or implement some fantastic solution. At my old place of employment I would say "that is a great idea, but with no budget how to you plan to facilitate that implementation?" or "I would like to see that too, but there is no X resource available for that" or "Based on our current configuration that is not possible."

Or my absolute favorite:

"If we do that we will effect twenty-five hundred people."

Which usually gets management to raise their eyebrows.

I got the feeling that these other engineers did not like hearing the possibility of it happening might be no.

I understood this since I often come up with ideas and get told no. Usually because of budget sometimes because of the configuration of the environment. The difference with me is I would start smaller and keep moving little parts into place to eventually get it there.

I like new and shiny technology as much as the next person. I have just learned through management that sometimes I have to be practical and patient.

Still I think a woman NOT backing down from her position frustrated them. I also noticed it was the younger generation which I feel was more along the lines of they did not like ANYONE telling them no.

Whatever the cause was, it made my life difficult and I needed a change. I just felt it was time. This prompted me to put my resume up and see that I could find.

I generated a lot of interest early. Spoke to a number of companies and waited for the right thing to come along.

Even turning down two positions because I did not like to people interviewing me. Seriously is surprises me that people do not realize I am doing that. I have no issue asking questions in return and seeing the response I get.

I have worked for a number of managers either directly or as a consultant. I have learned that if you do not have a grasp of your environment and seem wishy-washy I am either not going to want to work for you OR I am not going to like working for you while I am there for whatever project I am there for.

I guess it comes from doing or seeing so many different companies and how they are run while I worked in the field as a consultant. When I started entertaining the idea of working for one company I want to get a feeling management knows what is going on. What they want and how to get it.

It makes my life more enjoyable.

Trust me I felt bad I was passing up these opportunities but I really wanted to find something I felt I would be happy with.

I was also looking rather hard at moving out of state basically I was not concerned with where anymore.

Eventually I got a call from a recruiter who mentioned a position in my home state that was in an area I always wanted to move too. It was one area that would make me consider staying in my home state.

At first I was skeptical when I was told who the company was. Though when I heard about the environment and how aggressive they were with technology I was very interested.

After three lengthy phone interviews I was given an in person interview.

Having gotten early interviews out of the way {link} I felt really good going into this one.

Coming out of it I felt even better. Although I was in there for a grand total of two and a half hours...


...it was one of the best interviews I have ever had. The management team that interviewed me were simply amazing and it was very obvious that they had a an amazingly solid grasp of their environment. They also knew the shortcomings and were working on plans to resolve those. They just needed talent to do it.

I walked out of there wanting the job badly. I wanted to work for these people. I wanted to live in the area that this company was located in.

And I did not have to wait long. I was in for my interview on Monday, I got a call Thursday night that the offer was forthcoming. That I needed to have a drug screen(which I am fine with), to allow it to happen.

The truly crazy part is that Friday I was off to Paris, France with the boyfriend and which left me scrambling a little.

It made the trip even better and I was able to come back to work post vacation and turn in my two week notice.

That is the second time I have done that.

Seriously I do not plan it that way.

How is it so far?

Well in just a couple of weeks I can tell you that I love the place. I am enjoying what I am working on. The people are great and I am excited to go to work in the morning again.

There have been some interesting observations recently, but those are for another post.

It might never know exactly why things fell apart at my old job. It could have been my being trans, the history, the new blood's lack of respect for women, or something I am not even thinking of.

I do not know but it is not the first time I left a job because the climate changed so much. In years past it was not me either it was new managers who completely changed the culture.

We shall see what happens here with this one, but I am far more relaxed and comfortable here.

So far...so good.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Closer to Fine

I am still coming off a cold so I have been a little slow on things.

For example I missed posting something about the fact that I am now two years full time. Holy Father Time where did the last year go?

Crazy, busy, confusing, challenging and exciting. My life has simply exploded in front of me. I had no idea that life could be his enjoyable or fun. That it was possible for me to experience it as I have. Unfiltered with raw exuberance.

There is so much to tell but I will leave it for posts you are about to read. I had started and completed most of these right before the holidays. However my return from Florida after Thanksgiving was overloaded with holiday things to get done that I was never able to proof them and get them ready for prime time.

As I mentioned my recent cold bought finally gave me some down time to get caught up. Which means most of those posts are now scheduled to go over the next couple of weeks.

That should get you significantly caught up on things.

In the mean time I had a chance to think about the last year while talking to a close friend about transition.

As much as there is a relief from going full time. There is still a lot of immediate fallout, headaches, story retelling, out of the loop people who you were unable to get to, and a period of adjustment. You cannot speed it up you just have to let it runs it's course. Over time a lot of these things fade away.

Well if you have been doing your homework and making an effort to build a good life it should hopefully work out that way. It has for me.

While there had been some residual drama, hey I am Trans it is going to happen for a while, it has largely been reduced. My dad for example has finally opened up and started talking to me again. It probably did not hurt that many of my relatives who had met me told him to get over himself. Plus they invite me all the time to things now so it is not like he can avoid me.

My mother has also told me about a number of people who have not yet had the opportunity to meet but want to. I know there is curiosity factor in there but I think some of these people also knew I struggled at times when I was younger. It probably does not hurt that they have been hearing good things from both my mom and others.

My brother is a different matter but as I really do not talk to him anymore it has not been an issue.

Regardless getting the chance to spend a year just being, doing, and enjoying as been profound. The difference between year one and year two has been immense. With all that residual post transition drama to a dull roar I was allowed to just focus on life. Not forcing anything but letting it come to me.

Enough were I forget that I am Trans for the most part. This was made very clear the other night. I was at the pharmacy picking up a new prescription. One of my meds needed to be switched out. Now it is an anti-androgen. Women would not be taking this. However I knew why I was so it did not phase me one bit.

Yet while standing there the pharmacist looks at me. Looks at the script and asks "Is this what you are looking for?

Glancing at the label, "Yes"

"Are you sure?"

"Oh yes."

"Can I ask why you are taking it?

Blink, blink. It occurs to me in that moment that why I would be taking this might not seem like a good idea to him. I was not understanding his hesitation to it. Duh.

"Oh, I am Transgender. I am using it as a Testosterone blocker."

"What? Really? Okay..." His eyes had popped out of his head.

That is right once again I totally shocked someone that I was, in fact, Trans.

You would think that this never gets old.

You would be wrong.

It does actually get old. While I am not afraid or ashamed of stating it, I just feel at times it is not a big deal. It also can get tedious because once I do have to out myself I often have to answer a bunch of follow up questions. Part of me feels I have moved past this, but I understand it still had to be dealt with at times.

I guess for me I just do not feel it is that big a deal anymore. So I get a little annoyed when someone else feels the need to get overly excited or act like it is some kind of earth shattering event.

It is not, I am simply another human being. Yes I took a different path to become who I am today but I am just a person none the less.

Everything is just normal. As you will see in coming posts about the new job and living arrangements among others.

Life not only is good, but has gotten better.