32B's Blog

…where I write my words

Outsourced

I am high on the list of people who hate to call customer service and get someone who speaks some derivative of the English language so I have a hard time understanding them as they have a hard time understanding me in my already, at times, broken English.  In class, a past executive from Motorola talked to us during one section of his speech about outsourcing.  He asked us, as future MBAs, how we would create jobs.  Then he waited for our responses.  There were a couple.  Most gave ideas within manufacturing or infrastructure but he tore those down quickly giving examples of why they were temporary fixes instead of on-going solutions to the unemployment crisis which should create and create and create more jobs like a virus.  I sat there thinking hard because my ideas were in that couple of ideas and I couldn’t figure out what long-term solution could possibly result if he wanted a company that was NOT service based.  That was the key.  Your idea must be totally unrelated to the service industry which the USA had become.  According to the speaker, the US was once the leader in creating, building, manufacturing in the world.  Now, we are only a leader when it comes to airplanes (thanks to Boeing) and another area either I cannot remember or he told us to research on our own.  He did that a lot….telling us to basically figure it out since we are future MBAs.  Way too much emphasis placed on this degree program.

Anywho, a student raised his hand and said the US would solve its unemployment crisis if it stopped sending jobs overseas.  Interesting point to make since this speaker had just talked about Motorola’s reach in every continent in the world.  We all sat silently waiting for the sparks to fly while I sat impressed with this student who continued to go for the kill.  The speaker told a Sharpie and began to write on an oversized piece of notebook paper hanging from the wall.  He wrote numbers in two columns one of which was a salary, number of employees, hours worked per week, and a quality percentage rating.  The first column was the US and the second column was India.  According to his experience with Motorola and the offices they have opened overseas, not a single Motorola employee in India had less than a Master’s degree, they worked 100 hours per week, consisted of a smaller staff, and produced a 95+ percentage rating when it came to quality.  For the USA, most employees had a Bachelor’s degree at most, worked 40 hours per week which is the standard for this country, consisted of a much larger staff, and produced a 75+ percentage rating when it came to quality.  The main differences were obvious but not until he disclosed the fact that Motorola pays those in India thousands less in salary than they do American employees.

Then the argument began on where the profits were spent.  The speaker said they were brought back and spent here.  The student argued that was as close to a lie as you could get.  I wondered which argument was true.  The topic was never where to spend profits.  The argument is why employ foreign workers when you can employee American workers but, based on the figures, who in their right mind as head of any company or corporation would dispute that?  Of course, there is the moral or ethical obligation to help, support, and lift up the citizens and economy (if profits are not spent here) of your country.  I am not even sure if Motorola is an American company but I guess I should research that on my own too.  But, the speaker did go on to say he liked the debate back and forth and the opinions of the students but the American government will never outlaw outsourcing of any job overseas because it is the bottom line of most politicians too who have money invested in these companies.  It’s all a matter of finance and accounting so there is no need to breakdown the obvious.  What left me speechless was that he still wanted an answer to his “how to create jobs” question from a purely non-service based arena.  What difference does it really make??  There is a country somewhere with workers willing to accept lower wages and work longer hours than the self-entitled arrogant and lazy Americans so there may very well be no answer at all unless we start importing those exact employees.

Advertisements

October 18, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

First Day of School

Yesterday was my first day of school.  It’s been 5 years since I have taken any college course and probably more than that since I have taken a classroom course (I finished my Bachelors degree online).  I have 2 classes this semester, an online refresher course and an Executive Leadership course in the classroom.  My sister picked the kids up rather early yesterday afternoon so I was able to get ready and out the door without too much fuss.  I looked at my online class briefly and familiarized myself with the breakdown.  There are 6 sections: Accounting, Business Math, Finance I, Finance II, Microecon, and Stat.  Each of these sections have a number of lessons.   Before you begin the lessons, there is a pre-test.  After you have completed the lessons, there is a post-test which must be at least 70%.  If it is not at least a 70% then you cannot move on to the next sections.  Once all 6 sections are complete with a score of 70% or higher on each post-test, there is a final exam which must be at least a 70% or you fail the class.  Now, the post-tests can be taken quite a few times but the final exam can only be taken once.  This is a Pass/Fail class only so no letter grade.  You either have the sufficient background to pursue this degree program or you do not.  It makes sense since most people come from non-business backgrounds to get MBAs but then it does not make sense because this would be eliminated if the GMAT was required which, from studying for the exam, guarantees you are definitely up to par on these skills.

My Executive Leadership class is a conversational, discussion-based, paper-writting class.  I read through the syllabus and realized that the final grade is based on 6 papers and class participation.  I really hate class participation grades – are you really forcing me to interactive and talk?  Other than that, the class seems pretty chill.  Instead of buying my book, I rented it from Chegg but found out I didn’t need it for the class (my professor said he is required by the university to say the textbook is required which I translated to mean it is up to my discretion) so that bad boy is going back asap!  There are about 30 people in the class.  Most going for MBAs except one lady who is going for a Masters in Accounting.  Most of them are 25+ and most seem nice and not as talkative as I feared.  You know the type who just loves to hear themselves talk?  Well, I do not see any of those in this class so that is awesome.  We will discuss leadership, what it means to be a leader, how it differs from being a manager, and hear from real leaders out in the workplace come in and talk about their experiences.  On another note, there was only 2 cute guys in my class.  One had a girlfriend he’d moved to Chicago to be with so that is a no-go.  The other was too pretty and dressed too GQ – I wanted to ask where he was going.  He sat right next to me and, when we went around the room introducing ourselves like pre-schoolers on the alphabet carpet, I heard extreme pride in his voice when he announced he was a Financial Analyst for Citibank.  Interesting.

Class let out 30 minutes early, I hopped on the train, and took the bus back home.  I was having a craving for a gyro – not really the gyro itself but that tasty white sauce that I can never remember the name of.  Mr. D brought me one at about 10pm last night.  He is such a good friend – I swear one of those come in handy esp when sex is not in the equation.  I am leaving work early today, my kids return this evening, and I have a busy weekend ahead of me along with classwork.  It feels good to be in school again esp not having to foot the entire bill and take out loans – no more student loans!!!  I was interested in registering for a Jackson Hewitt Tax course but it interferes with my current class schedule so I’m extremely pissed about that – maybe next September.  No intention to work for Jackson Hewitt – I just think learning some tax stuff would be helpful.  Don’t you think?  Or maybe it’s just me.  I am thinking about taking the next semester off to pursue something else but I’m still weighing that option – if I truly believe in myself, my abilities, and my aptitude for finance then I just might take the leap … we shall see.  It’s a new season and I am excited about it.  Happy Labor Day!!

September 3, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , , , | Leave a comment

MBA/MSA/MSF

The acquisition is complete and the new owners have us filling out new tax forms, 401k forms, medical forms, insurance, and payroll.  Many more benefits than I originally had but there are some negatives.  For example, going back to a business casual dress code.  No one, I repeat, no one comes into our office so I don’t understand the effort.  Look good for co-workers?  It is not that serious.  Company policy actually said a business casual dress code displays a good appearance for the community.  Again, a waste of time but what can I do but complain?  The other bad thing?  A possible move from a north suburb to a southwest suburb.  Whatever.  The good things are too many to name but one in particular is tuition reimbursement.  Yeah baby! 🙂 I was waiting for this to happen because paying for my entire degree out-of-pocket was not in my plans.  The company pays $4,000 max/calendar year for 2 business classes max/semester.  The amount of money sounds about right for two classes minus any additional fees universities like to add on to the final bill but not enough for 2 semesters in one calendar year.  Of course reimbursement depends on grades and there is no requirement to stay with the company following graduation which is totally awesome.

I plan to go back to school so, as soon as I found out the details of this benefit, I started searching for a school locally.  I found one downtown Chicago which offers evening and/or Saturday classes depending on the degree program selected.  I can even start this Fall 2010 if I get my paperwork in this week or next.  The good thing?  I will not have to take the GMAT since the school only requires it for applicants with <3.0 GPA during undergrad.  The GMAT is an excellent exam though.  I just do not want to pay the price to take it.  Unless I absolutely have to.  Anywho, my decision still leaves me where I was months ago maybe even years ago.  MBA?  MSA?  Or MSF?  I have Googled these degrees and read through people’s analysis of the benefits and limitations of each depending on what the student wants to do career-wise and what they want to avoid at all cost.  So I guess I should answer the question: what do I aspire to do?  I want to do financial analysis, calculations, computing, analysis, but not so much graphing and reports.  I kinda hate those people who show up with cute pictures color coded for clarity with percentages but have no clue what the hell the underlying meaning is or what went into gathering that data.  All they did was request it.  I think that would be bigwigs in the corner office who probably worked their way up from the analysis positions so maybe I should shut up.

I do not like managing people because I am not a people person most of the time although my undergrad degree is in Management.  I work with customers now and I love it only because I play the role of expert who offers support, assistance, explanation, or breakdown of otherwise complex concepts.  Does that make sense?  I fail at public speaking.  I enjoy working behind the scenes.  I like math.  I like figuring stuff out.  I do not want to work strictly in Accounting because I hate Accounting although I have a deep respect for the knowledge Accounting offers which makes the field invaluable.  I like the idea of an MBA but, truth be told, most management courses are watered down.  It’s a lot of busy work & reading but no real effort is required to do well – at least not in my opinion.  And, everyone is an MBA now.  Everyone!  MSF sounds interesting but I wonder if it is as limiting as an MSA.  Of course both are specialized which helps only if you know with certainty which path you plan to take which may suck because, right now, any job or career will do if the need presents itself.  I can always go the MBA route and sit for the CPA (a really hard azz exam to pass) but I likely won’t have the accounting credits to qualify which kinda sucks.  Most Comptrollers have a CPA.  Most employers require a MBA and/or CPA for executive positions.  MSF seems to only apply to Investment Banking or Asset Mgmt fields – so I was told.  I haven’t researched MSF nearly enough as I have MBA or MSA because the school I was looking into does not offer a MSF degree.

So, the title of this post indicates my current position right now with an MBA being my 1st option no matter how mind-blowingly boring the curriculum may be.  Teach someone how to manage at an executive or corporate level.  Yeah, obviously this is highly effective with all the MBAs who royally screwed up things during this recession.  MSA is severely limiting and only worth it if I desire a CPA too which I am not sure about.  If so, I can always go into business myself using the CPA but I am not sure I have an entrepreneurial spirit.  I do like finance though.  I like anything that allows me to sit in the back, run numbers, figure some stuff out, and not have to talk to the public much.  I like being the brain.  The calculator.  The processor.  The nerd.  I guess.  Somehow, I am not painting a very attractive picture of myself right now.  Some folks are probably picturing a skinny chick with coke bottle glasses and bad acne.  Whatever.  I have a few more days to finalize my decision.  This will determine the path my career takes and I should think wisely esp since it is finally going to be paid for…..at least most of it.  I better get straight As if I go the MBA route or else I will look like a big fat idiot…..in coke bottle glasses with bad acne only during my period.  Hormonal fluctuations tend to do that ya know.

July 27, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , , | Leave a comment

Forgo the Crowd

Unintended_Commentary_by_mtsofanThere are a few things I need to write about but the most concerning right now is my future.  I have decided to forgo my Masters degree ambitions at least until I have a good reason to pursue them.  Talking to my uncle a few weeks ago, he explained how he was going back to school to pursue his  MBA/MIS degree in hopes of a better paying position and to safeguard his self from the recession.  He called it investing in yourself.  I listened as he explained the rat race of working in IT which consisted of getting certified in all these different softwares, programs, or platforms etc (not sure what all those really mean) and having to deal with companies like Microsoft who change the requirements or certification specifications to assist the schools so that you are required to sit and get re-certified all over again after a couple of years and they intentionally change the dynamics of newer versions of programs so that it gives valid reasons for it.  Basically, all the upkeep to remain “certified” and compete with the college kids fresh outta school was becoming too much esp when his yrs upon yrs of experience was becoming obsolete to some new certification that was out. Now, he is investing in his self and that is what I question. 

I don’t get computers and, as he was talking to me, my eyes began to gloss over and he started laughing.  He said the look on my face reminded him of his wife’s face when he gets carried away talking about IT stuff when all she wants to do is send an email.  I never questioned anything he said.  I simply stood there and listened absorbing it all to take back with me and apply to what makes sense to me and what has worked or will work in reality.  Investing in myself.  Is that really getting an advanced degree?  I am constantly reminded of friends and friends of friends and family members of friends who bought into that lie and are now in debt pleading for a salary that will justify this advanced degree.  If I go back to school for my MBA and I finish school to land the same job or a job with a slight pay difference then what??  I’d find myself justifying my yrs of schooling along with the loans I took out as a reason for “investing in myself” when I am now in more debt than I started and making only a small percentage more than I was before just to pay for my pretty little piece of paper on my wall.  I’d show it to my kids all the while hating it because it was not really an investment at all but a liability.  Not an asset but an expense that has yet, if ever, to reap any benefits to me in my lifetime and since it’s attached to my name and is not transferable so it will likely not ever be worth the money I paid for it.  But, I bought 2 GMAT books (which I will likely sell and get some money back) and spent a good portion of 2009 studying for a test to get into a school for a degree I only want because everyone else is getting advanced degrees or once you reach a certain age that is just the thing to do so you will remain “competitive” and “marketable”.  Realizing I was following the crowd took a lot of strength on my part because I knew I was following the crowd a long time ago which is why I have been dragging my feet on studying.  I could have taken this test months ago but I didn’t because I wasn’t sure about it and uncertainty is something I always have to pause and question.

I’m too embarrassed to say how much I owe in student loans but, knowing I went to school in Indiana as an Illinois resident you can best believe it’s a hell of a lot of money!  Maybe one day I’ll reveal that amount.  One day.  I have a medical bill for $1,300 for my recent trip to the ER due to chest pains and heart irregularities.  I never go to the doctor unless it’s for my annual exam or other womanly issues.  Other than that, I’m healthy as someone my age should be so I don’t have many outstanding medical bills.  I have set up a payment plan to pay off my $1,300 medical bill which will likely come from the remaining balance of my medical flex account funded from my paycheck.  I have a $700 balance on that so that will leave me with about $600 to pay.  I’m only paying this medical bill to keep it off my credit report because I was once interested in buying a house and I know how important credit scores are.  But are they?  Sure they are but should they be that freakin important?  I’m beginning to re-think what I’ve been taught over the yrs and working on sifting through the bull’ish and unlearning a lot of things.  I even requested all 3 copies of my credit reports with the goal of paying things off and leaving only student loan debt (which is waaaay too much to think about right now) and medical bills I may have.  Credit cards and misc bills I neglected from yrs ago are what I need to work on.  Or should I?  How important is my credit score when I can just walk in and buy something outright?  They teach you that establishing credit shows you are financially responsible but does it really?  I know if I have a credit card I’d likely keep it for emergencies but what dictates an emergency?  For that reason, I don’t need one because I don’t trust myself and I’d likely cut it up but leave the account open without a card in hand tied to it.  I know me and that’s the best knowledge you can ever have.  I am my own weakness sometimes and I need to control me before I can control anything else.

That said, I am abandoning a lot of things I thought I needed to do in life and looking at other non-traditional avenues.  Spending thousands of dollars just to fight for a job with a decent salary to pay back that and other debt is ridiculous to me.  I don’t like to work.  I don’t like to work any harder than I have to.  I am the laziest person I know but I’d get up and run 10 miles and enjoy it because it benefits me to run 10 miles on many levels but what does slaving at a job benefit me?  I get a check.  I can pay my bills.  I like my job and my co-workers and what I do but it’s still only “like”.  I’d love all of those if I didn’t have to depend on that check as much as I do now.  There is a lot I don’t know and there is a lot I want to know so I have asked some of my friends and people who I barely know to let me in on what works for them.  They are all doing what I desire to do but I need more education on it.  The good thing is that I am an extremely disciplined person.  I thrived in online classes and simply hate classrooms because I find it a waste of time to go to a building to sit down and listen to some overly educated person lecture me on something I could have stayed home and read on my own.  I found out that I learn best when I am in control of things.  Most of my friends fail online classes but I pass them with ease.  It’s not that they are unmotivated.  They just sometimes need someone to stay on them.  I have realized that all I need to know I can learn for free or at a fraction of the cost of an MBA.  I sit during my free time reading tutorials, reading books, reading articles, applying what I learned in simulated environments to gauge what I have learned and what I am still lacking.  Right now, my greatest investment is my cynical nature and strong dislike to follow the crowd when I notice they aren’t any better off than I am along with my natural ability to question tradition when it reaps no noticable benefits.  Along with that, is my laptop & internet which allows me to study from home during my downtimes.  I am in school but I didn’t have to pay any tuition thus far and you will be amazed what people will teach you if you’d only open your mouth and ask.  Rat race.  It’s for some but it’s not for me…..anymore.  I’m redefining “investing in myself”.

October 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Back to School

42-21222017A few weeks ago I registered for the CTP (Treasury) exam really excited to be doing something because, right now, I am bored.  I have been with my company for almost two years and have gotten accustomed to the work load and even the added responsibility by way of projects.  Now, since I have given myself time to adjust and not overwhelm myself AND since I work from home twice a week allowing me additional time to do work throughout the day instead of squeezing it into a sometimes 8 hour day…I have gotten bored.  I have extra time on my hands and nothing to really do but relax at home and chill.  Nothing wrong with that but, my mind is screaming for some stimulation which is why I registered for the CTP exam.  Well, during a phone call with the Treasurer for the Washington D.C. area, I asked her how she went about getting to where she is in her career as well as her opinion on the CTP exam.  Although she said the CTP certification is excellent to have, since it applies only to the field of Treasury, it greatly limits myself to just that field.  So, that being said, she agreed that I should pursue my MBA instead so that is what I have set out to do.

I have purchased the 2009 GMAT study book with CD-ROM and started my admissions application to the University of Chicago (UIC).  Not sure what other schools I am interested in but I choose that one because most people my age who are career-driven and successful went there at one point in time and it has a good reputation as well.  I highly prefer online schools because, me being me, I am disciplined enough to handle online studies and I prefer to do things on my own terms.  Tell me the due date and I’m cool.  That is how I finished my undergrad degree….online and I loved it!  A lot of people scared me when I first took my online classes because they had completely failed, forgot about due dates, and forgot they were even registered in a class at all.  I guess the classroom and attendance keeps people focused.  The problem here is that most employers/companies do not respect online MBA degrees unless they are from a usually brick and mortar institution such as Indiana University, Penn State, Purdue University, or some other school that has established it’s reputation already.  The first two schools I plan to apply to since they have completely online MBA programs.  The latter one, as well as UIC, offers some core classes online so I may be forced to deal with what I can get.  And, I will apply to some safety net schools too…don’t wanna set my standards too high and get my poor feelings hurt!

Only thing I have to do this month and next is study for the GMAT.  I took a mini-practice exam online and I swear my brain started to hurt.  It reminded me of the test I had to take to get my current job (yes, there was an intelligence test) which I didn’t expect when I arrived so I began very poorly but, after calming myself down and thinking, I got all but 3 questions right out of 55!  The mini-practice exam was a repeat of that with almost the exact type of questions….since it was so short I bombed it and, when I went back over my answers, I realized I hadn’t even read some of the questions all the way through!  I was so focused on getting through and it was mostly math, math, and more math which isn’t a problem but I know I need to woo sau and relax, relate, and release before the big dance.  The application deadline for most school’s Fall 2009 admissions is May 15th.  I may make that date….chances are I won’t though since I don’t wanna rush through the exam just to say I completed it.  So, I got my eyes set on January 2010 at an online school where I can work full-time and got to school full-time.  Might have to have the kids at the sitter some weekends while mommy studies but I gotta do what I gotta do.

Oh, personal statement….I need one of those, too.  And, recommendations too….this is some crap!  What does that have to do with anything?!  And I forgot that online schools tend to cost more….like, a lot more!  I did my FAFSA….found out I have a default student loan with Purdue Univ for $14 so my Pell Grant request was denied until I can show a paid-in-full letter.  $14….yep, not a typo….$14!  Thank God it was only that much.  Ok, that is it….I’m excited!  I will have something to do AND I signed my 3 yr old you for Tiny Tots Tumbling during the afternoon of my work-from-home days so mommy can go running for about an hr.  Running….such a release!

March 21, 2009 Posted by | Me | , , , , | Leave a comment

Higher Learning

mba_lettersFully aware of the economy and the need to remain competitive as more and more people are seeking employment, I am constantly reminded of the need to get my MBA.  The only thing holding me back is the hesitation to add more student loan debt onto my already hefty pile and that’s only from undergrad.  Yes, I probably should have went to an in-state school but what can I do about that now?  Nothing.  I know my goals for my career, my job right now is secure for another year at least, my field of Treasury has exposed me to different skills and people that I am only now understanding the importance of networking.  Working for a small company of about 30 employees with not a single person, except the CEO maybe, holding a Masters degree, I feel no pressure to go back to school because no one else is.  My supervisor has mentioned possibly sitting for the Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) exam but I have yet to allow myself time to study for it.  I have been with the company for nearly two years….I have been given more responsibility as of this year….I consult banks and Treasury Analysts on many issues….I am learning system and database skills simply by accident…I think I am good where I am right now. 

Yes, the CTP exam will be a great addition to my resume along with having Government Security Clearance but, as a single full-time mom, carving a good six months of study time for this exam has been difficult to say the least.  I start to study and then my workload increases.  I start to study again and then something outside work requires my time.  I pick up my study materials yet again and I am excited to just have some free time that I throw that study material back down.  My supervisor and my manager have their CTP certification…I know they, and others in my field, weigh that more heavily right now than someone with just a Bachelors degree.  My goal is this: learn as much as I can at my current job, get my hands in as much as possible to gain experience and show competence and fill my resume, and establish & sustain a professional relationship with my clients that I may use later in my career.  One client actually requested me to help her if she has any questions about our software which I thought was a compliment because we first met during one of my training sessions in which I was training her while standing there nervous and about to pass out!  She is the Treasury for Washington, D.C. and such a nice lady that she reminds me of one of the older women at church.

See….I am working well on my experience and networking because it does matter who you know!  If I helped you with your account analysis then how more qualified must I prove myself if a position opens up at your company?  Eventually, I will go back to school.  I seriously have two years to make something happen.  Either complete my CTP exam, go back for my MBA, or both.  MBA with a concentration in Finance…I know where I want to go and how much it will cost….I just have to buckle down and do it.  Two  years from now will make four years with my company (God willing) with a great opportunity to work for the government in some finance/treasury area, go on to work with a bank (I don’t know about that), or work for a major corporation….single mom or not, I gotta git ‘r done!

February 25, 2009 Posted by | Career | , , , | Leave a comment