Category Archives: musings

My new adventure

Six months ago I embarked on a new adventure: I started a new marketing job with an engineering firm.

This company appealed to me from the beginning. Its website was creative and, as much as I hate to say this, “hip” for the industry. And, the company boasted a reputation of valuing people, employees and clients alike.

The interview process also intrigued me. After submitting my application, I was asked for a coffee meeting with the man who would soon become my supervisor. During the coffee meeting,  I learned more about the position and the company, and my soon-to-be supervisor learned more about me. At the end of the meeting, I’m pretty sure both of us knew that this job would soon be mine.

A couple weeks later, I was formally interviewed. For three hours. By seven people, including the firm’s CEO. I was also given a “homework” writing assignment.

Despite not knowing how to prepare for a three-hour interview, I wasn’t nervous. I was curious to see if the people interviewing me would live up to the good things my soon-to-be supervisor said about them during our coffee. And they did.

I was smiling when I drove home from my interview — I never would have imagined an interview would be that enjoyable. Everything about this company was unique and genuine. As I reflected on my interview, I was certain this company was too good to be true; but if it was true, I definitely wanted to be part of it.

The next day, just a few short hours after submitting my writing assignment, I received a job offer — an offer I was anxious to accept.

I am not entirely certain I even knew about this firm before seeing the job listing, but as soon as I started sharing my new-job news, people came out of the woodwork. It seemed everyone had a connection to the firm, and still, people only had positive words to say about the firm and it people.

welcome packageOn my first day, I received a welcome package. The package included some goodies for me, like Dr. Pepper and gummy worms; but more importantly, the package included some goodies for Miss Mocha Jo. This small gesture further solidified my decision to work for this company.

Six months into my job, I’m comfortably settled in, but I am still in awe. I still feel like the company is too good to be true; it is as if I have yet to discover the closet full of dirty laundry. While I have found a few dirty socks along the way, I am starting to accept that this closet doesn’t exist.

Above all, the people at this company are fantastic. I’ve always been lucky enough to have great coworkers, but since that first coffee meeting through my six-month anniversary with the firm, I’m confident I found “my people.”

Six months ago was my first day at this company, and there’s no doubt in my mind that this is where I am supposed to be.

Furever Family Day

Today is an extra special day for The Boy and I: it’s Mocha Jo’s Furever Family Day.

One year ago, we adopted our little Mocha Jo, and all three of our lives were forever changed. To celebrate, we had a party, complete with a made-for-dogs peanut butter cake.

cake

We also had party hats, which Mocha Jo wasn’t exactly a fan of.

party girl

At least not until her dad showed her that cool kids wear party hats.

mocha and her dad

But more importantly, there was cake and ice cream, which Mocha Jo was a fan of.

cake and ice cream

Mocha eating

It’s hard to believe it has been a whole year since we brought her home, but it’s been a great year. The Boy and I really couldn’t have adopted a better dog. She is the sweetest and most humble dog you’ll ever meet.

It makes my heart happy that The Boy and I could give this once stray dog a better life. Between her parents (who are clearly wrapped around her paw) and her ever-doting aunts and uncles, two sets of grandparents , and all her friends (seriously, she has more of a social calendar than I do…), Mocha Jo’s life is now full of love.

She’s certainly gotten the happily ever after she deserves.

happy

The end of a season

For the past two weeks, I have been jazzed to give my 14-year-old volleyball girls their end-of-the-season gift. It is common for me to be excited about unveiling my end-of-the-season gift, simply because I give my team pretty unique gifts, but this year I was more excited than usual.

Last year, I was pretty ding-dang-dong impressed with my gift from last year (which I just now realized I never blogged about…), but this year, I outdid myself.

This year, I used my graphic design skills to create a 12×36” team poster for my team.

illusion

And I tell you what, the looks on the girls’ and their parents’ faces were priceless. Their reactions made the time and effort I put into this project totally worth it.

Because of how awesome my gift was, I went to my volleyball club’s award night this past weekend convinced I would win the “best coaches gift” award (a completely non-existent award I was going to award to myself after I confirmed I did in fact have the best team gift). While I am still certain I would have won this award, should it actually exist, my club awarded me something better: coach of the year.

While I am excited and honored to be named coach of the year by my club, the award took me by complete surprise. Since I was so wrapped up in a make-believe award that I was going to award myself later, I completely forgot my club even named a coach of the year. So, as the director was leading into the award, I started trying to guess who of the coaches I know would win it.

Then the club director said “Andrea” –  to which my mind immediately jumped to the other Andrea who coaches for our club.

But then, the director said “Gebhart” – to which my immediate response was “oh?!” (Seriously, you can even ask the girls that were sitting next to me.)

As 400-some people started clapping for me and looking in my general direction, it dawned on me that I won an award, an award that was not a figment of my own imaginative yet somewhat narcissistic imagination. I made my way up to the front and as the director said some nice things about me, I stood there, looked at all the familiar faces in the crowd, and thought how lucky I am to be part of such a great club.

I have coached for Nebraska ONE for five seasons (I think?!?), and I cannot even begin to imagine coaching elsewhere. The players are fantastic, the players’ families are amazing, the other coaches are incredible, and the directors are supportive. This club is also a continual reminder of the reason I love volleyball: the family that comes with it. Nebraska ONE truly has become part of my Nebraska family.

So, while I went to our awards night ready to give myself my own make-believe award, I left humbled and grateful.

After having a successful season, designing an epic team gift, and being named coach of the year, I’d have to say it was a dang good season!

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Back in action!

After a few months of inactivity on my blog, I am happy to announce that I am back in action! As my final semester of school (ever!) wraps up, I have started to run, scooter, craft, read, and enjoy my free time again.

While I’ve kept myself busy with many things these past few months, the biggest time suck my  largest accomplishment was the completion of my professional project for my master’s degree. Unlike most of my academic peers, who work on their projects over the course of a year, I did mine in a matter of three months (while still working, coaching lots of volleyball, and maintaining some degree of a social life).

Due to my non-traditional and very compact project timeline, my project committee initially expressed serious concern that I would not be able to finish a full-fledged, degree-cumulative professional project in one semester, which would thereby prolong my graduation. However, my committee obviously does not know how I operate, because if someone doubts me, I am more determined to prove that person wrong than to accomplish the actual task at hand. Plus under no circumstances was I willing to delay my graduation. So, with significant support from my friends, family and co-workers (a special shout out to two co-workers who edited the 100+ page document for me), I cranked it out. And, I must said, it is a masterpiece. Seriously, my project committee thoroughly complimented my final project—and in my head, I thought to myself, “And you doubted me. Ha. Chumps.” (I hope they aren’t reading this!)

Anyway, it turned out to be a really interesting project. For those of you that are curious about the topic, here’s my abstract:

Connecting Young Nebraskans (CYN) is a statewide network designed to connect, empower and retain young Nebraskans. Due to the geographic spread of its members, the CYN network functions as a virtual community—a group of people who primarily interact through electronic means. With CYN approaching a period of organizational transition, this project is a social and community plan for CYN. The project describes the network, summarizes the key issues facing the network, and recommends strategies to minimize issues and strengthen the network. More specifically, the plan addresses how CYN can evolve so as to ensure the sustainability and continued success of the network. As the basis for developing alternatives and a recommendation for CYN to move forward, this project synthesizes the findings of three independent but related endeavors. First, this project summarizes and discusses the implications of current research relevant to virtual communities, with an emphasis on the attributes and sustainability factors of virtual communities. Second, this project summarizes and discusses the implications of a recent social network analysis performed on the CYN network by an outside firm. Third, this project summarizes and discusses the implications of a two-part, virtual facilitated model building exercise that was conducted with the network’s steering committee. After completion of the three project endeavors, there was thoughtful synthesis and reflection regarding the project, complete with recommendations for the CYN network. This final document was prepared with the intent to help the current CYN network leadership explore the best alternatives and options for CYN as it moves forward, as well as to identify how the network can remain relevant and beneficial to its members.

And for the few that are interested in reading it, or perhaps just perusing it because of its length, you are welcome to read the full document.

While the experience of completing a professional project was good for me, I am glad it is behind me. In fact, as of Friday I’ve been officially done with school, or at least the work part of it. The only thing I have left is picking up my diploma.

After enjoying my first homework-free weekend, I really cannot put in words how great it feels to be done with schoolwork. Not only do I not have to devote chunks of my limited free time to completing silly assignments, I am also free of the guilt that comes along with choosing a social or personal activity over homework. Also (and true to my Gebhart name) I get to read for fun. In fact, that’s how I spent my free time this past weekend. And, it was amazing, especially since the weather was nice and I got to read outside on Saturday (not Sunday though, because Saturday resulted in a small sunburn, whoops..).

Overall, it was a wonderful weekend and I actually feel rested and ready for the week. I think I can get used to these relaxing weekends. 🙂

As a side note, and a teaser for future blog posts, during the flurry of my project, my employer gave me my own office at work, which I, of course, felt obligated to decorate creatively. Dakota Lizzie already revealed it, but I’ll actually blog about it soon. And, as my project came to an end, I completed two craft projects that I am super proud of: the first was a t-shirt quilt for a friend and the second was a end-of-the-year volleyball gift for my 13-year-old team. So, keep an eye out for blog updates on those!

Day 29: Take a walk

Miles: 5
Miles to date: 74.85

After an 8-mile day yesterday, I decided to be nice to my body and take a walk. Mostly for the sake of time, but also to work out any built up lactic acid, I ran about 2 of the 5 miles.

Interestingly enough, I also came across a sight I’d never seen before: a visually-impaired man, equipped with a white walking stick, was out running. This was particularly inspiring to me for two reasons. First, I was running near an elementary school that, just recently, dedicated a walking/running track to a little guy named Thatcher. Second, here was a man who can barely see, still pursuing ordinary things that many of us take for granted. More often than not, I gripe and moan about having to run and exercise, but I often forget, at least I can. Just yesterday I mentioned that the fog was nice because I couldn’t see how far I needed to go/how slow I was running — and here is this guy, who probably runs in some sort of fog everyday. I bet he would love to be able to see where he is running, even if just for one day. This man, whoever he is, slapped me across the face, metaphorically, that is. He reminded me that I need to appreciate what I, too often, take for granted.

With a new-found appreciation for running, I was enjoying my walk/run. However, this was not the case for Pandora, which was having a rough morning finding the “right” songs for the station I was listening to. Like the other day, I was listening to a station seeded with “Work Out” by J Cole and “Criminal” by Britney Spears. (Please, don’t judge my taste in music on this station. I created this station to embrace genres different than the ones I tend to gravitate toward.) Despite these seeds and my liking of tracks by Fabulous, Baby Bash, Wiz Khalifa and Gym Class Heroes — all of which are more rappy and slow jammy — Pandora kept trying to play Adele. I love Adele, but after listening to “Cookie Jar” by Gym Class Heroes or “Black and Yellow” by Wiz Khalifa, an Adele song is like Switchfoot doing the encore at an Eminem concert. It just doesn’t fit. And, looking back at my “thumbed down” tracks on this station, I gave Adele a thumbs down, three times this morning. Why oh why did Pandora think Adele fit in this genre? I’m not sure, but I think I’m going to have to edit this station and better “seed it,” if you will.

Passion Pit – Take A Walk

Day 21: People are strange

Miles: 2.5
Miles to date: 48.75

With my phone telling me it was only 12 degrees Fahrenheit out (feeling like -2 degrees) and snowing, I was expecting a cold, miserable run. However, that wasn’t the case. Instead, I found my run to be tolerably cold and, surprisingly, peaceful. The light snowfall helped set the peaceful tone, but the fact that I didn’t cross paths with anyone (which is somewhat out of the ordinary), created a sense of reflective solitude.

Among many other things, I found myself thinking about people. In addition to my own relationships, two things  prompted me to think about people and how people change.

First, and oddly enough, a Liberty Mutual Insurance commercial that I saw this weekend came to mind.

The line that really stuck out to me was “Even when we cross our t’s and dot our i’s, we still run into other problems, namely, humans.” While I presume the line was intended for humor, my recent state of mind latched onto it, archiving it for later use.

Watching the movie on Saturday night, the second thing that prompted my thoughts about people was a particular scene in Bridesmaids (sorry for the poor-quality clip, that was all I could find on YouTube).

Also presumably intended for humor, the clip got me thinking about how people change — and how that affects relationships, platonic or romantic.

College and grad school are a time of immense change, and time where a lot of people come in and out of your life. In my sixth and final year of higher education, it’s almost overwhelming to think of all the people that have found their way into my life, however, I’m more interested in how these people have influenced me, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

How people change and personal growth is a fascinating concept to me. Personally, I am on an eternal quest of self-growth. I consciously reflect on how events, people and time change me. I also think about who I want to become as a person, as well as what it will take for me to get there.

I sometimes wonder, however, how other people perceive personal growth, if they even acknowledge it at all. Having talked to some of my family and close friends about this, I know other people actively pursue self-growth, like me, but I also know that others don’t really think about it — which makes me curious about what makes one embrace or ignore the concept of personal growth.

While I would love to know how others perceive  the answer to this, I don’t think I ever will because of the complexity of humans and ours brains. I guess I’ll just have to continue along my own journey of self-growth and accept that people are strange.

The Doors – People Are Strange