Shoulda Woulda Coulda

2012 has been a lucky year for me. But this is not a post about 2012.

It is about how i shoulda woulda coulda.

I was supposed to pass this numerical assessment test today –  for a graduate program. So? what did i do ?

I wrote a message to myself yesterday, asking myself, if I REALLY WANTED IT, and as the answer was yes, i also wrote SO WORK FOR IT.

But did i really ?

I solved 1 practice test yesterday, and got a 25%. And even when i returned to the questions,with no time pressure, i still could not solve some of them correctly, with reasonable speed. Shame on me.

I spent the rest of the day working on the thesis, so ok, i have an excuse for yesterday.

But what about today ? What are today’s excuses?

I slept in –  till 10 –  ok, lets say i am tired from work bla bla bla. And then i just fussed around the room, this and that. And I did not start doing anything productive till 3.

Now that has no excuse.

I solved some other tests. I got a 33% on another test, a 44% on yet another. I would only manage to answer 85% of the test, and then i would just pick answers at random. It happened to get some right. Nevertheless, I started thinking that maybe the practice tests were more complicated than the ones that are really given. Or that there had to be ways to approximate the results.

The problem with these tests is that you have to be really quick about your calculations.  And they are not simple calculations.So you have to figure out the problem and then calculate large amounts of numbers –  all in more or less than 1,5 minutes –  it is hard, if not impossible.

Then i heard differently.

A friend said that after some 20+ tests one gets used to them and thus is faster. I did not have time to do the 20+ :   because i had wasted time all day today, you know.

So i did a couple.

OK, i did one.

The good thing is, some of the questions –  about 6 out of 18, were the same as in that practice test. It was lucky that i chose that particular one –  from the 9 files that i have.

The bad thing is … i did not write the results down. So all i had was the method of calculation, and no result. Still, it was better than nothing. I actually got confident. Until i checked the time.

Even with an advantage, i did not manage to do all the questions. When i only had 3 minutes left and 4 more questions, i just chose at random. The best guess i could make. Oh well.

Anyway ….  I really should have done more tests. And i should have written the results.

Shoulda Woulda Coulda.

Yet another day at work

I have a busy day and no time to go out. And i have already gone through my supplies –  i only have a boiled egg and oatmeal. That SHOULD be enough.


Hazards of working at home –  i burnt the oatmeal while in the middle of a call. I guess i shouldn’t have been making oatmeal at 11:30, but wait for my break.

No human contact – day 4

We really are the generation that has seen a tremendous technological progress. We are the ones that still remember what it was like when there were no cell phones –  the excuse ” i called, but i could not get a hold of you” was actually valid at the time. We are the ones who remember how people used to gather and talk, as it was the only way to find out what was going on in the world, in the community. We remember how people used to tell stories, sing and dance.

But now we have the Internet. And thus somehow, the fact that i have not seen a live soul for 4 days is ok.

Working from home has its advantages. Today was thus a normal day at “the office” –  my room-  sitting on the bed, in my uniform –  pajamas, slippers and pink bathrobe – with my own personal snacks ( not the free ones from XXX :) ) and my tea. I woke up at 9:03 this morning –  i snoozed the alarm far too many times, i think –  and at 9:05 i was already discussing today’s agenda with my supervisor, through the XXX company messenger.

So far so good.

I have plenty of food. I work from home. My friends and acquaintances are either not here in the city, or busy with their own stuff. My family is far. I have Internet. And it’s raining outside.

Thus there is no reason to get out of the house.

Or is there?

For a short glimpse of a second, i imagined a future where we all sit in our own chairs, in our own rooms –  or cages –  and not have any physical interaction at all. Because we do not need it. As i did not need it during these last 4 days.  We have Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube. And lots more. All the entertainment we need is just a click away. And one does not have to make any other effort to get it –  there is no need to deserve it. You just consume. As much as you want. When you want. What you want. How you want.

I imagined a future like the one described in Wall-e. Where we are all fat robots. Lonely fat robots.

I heard a theory saying that this technological progress is a way for nature to stop us from multiplying at such rates. Could be.

And, to conclude, a TED video. And a decision to go outside tomorrow.

Ben Saunders: Why bother leaving the house?

A positive password

It is true that once we start concentrating on the positive aspects of our lives, we experience an increase in overall satisfaction levels. And that got me thinking: given that passwords are a must and we use them quite often, does it help one’s happiness / confidence levels to have a positive password? And i do not mean numbers higher than 0 :)

Words such as “happy”, “great” and “love”  may not be strong passwords, but constantly writing these words and forcing yourself to memorize them may do more for you than a  numberlettercharactercombination  password.

Forrest Gump

“I don’t know if we each have a destiny, or if we’re all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze …  But i think it’s both. ”

There are some things we can influence –  we choose our carreer, we study, we get a job, we strive to be the best –  but there are also things that are out of our reach. As the saying goes “Give me the courage to change the things I can, strength to accept the things I can’t and the wisdom to know the difference

So when i wish someone health and happiness –  for Christmas and New Year’s Eve, for example –  i also wish them luck.

And there is another thing that this movie teaches us –  Forrest Gump was a good honest person, all he did was follow instructions, orders, he kept his promises and was true to his friends and family. He was correct and he worked hard.

Isn’t that the perfect recipe for success ?

The day after the end of the world

You know what, I think I am already warming up to this new work laptop –  it is small, true, but it is light and has a long battery life. And a smooth keyboard, and Windows 8 :D

It has been almost a week since I moved here, and today I have seen the room in daylight for the first time. Also, today i have looked out the window for the first time. Leaving the house at about 7:45 each morning, when it is still dark, and coming home at around 8 pm, when it is already dark-  there is not much time for anything. Not even for Christmas shopping.

I feel it as the radio keeps playing Christmas songs and thus I get Jingle Bells stuck in my mind for hours before I switch to Last Christmas, I gave you my heart … So yes, today I did my Christmas shopping and sent the gifts through the miracle that we call Gobba.

All in all, it was a pleasant process – I went to Duomo, looked at all the holiday sales, checked the producer tents… I also spent more than half of my budget for the rest of the month. But I don’t really need to buy food, right? I heard humans can survive on water alone for 7 days in a row. Yahoo! answers says that it is a lot more –  up to 8 weeks. I intended to eat on day 7, close to New Year’s Eve, but I guess I will be able to wait for my first paycheck !

All the gifts that I sent were  a surprise. And I was wondering, do I tell the people that they are gonna get something in the “mail”, or do I wait ?  My mom told me that it is better to let people know, as this way they can enjoy the wait, and then have the surprise anyway, as they do not know what exactly they are getting. So I went with that approach and told them. Especially as I wanted to make sure they didn’t make other plans for the afternoon when the “mail” gets there.

And no, the world did not end. Yes, we are still here.

Today, in 397 words

Today was the first day when I was supposed to work from home. I got my remote access, I got my tasks in order –  so I was good to go. Until I snoozed the alarm. Twice.

In my defense, the alarm had initially been set at 6:30. And who gets up at that hour to write the thesis ? Not me, that’s for sure. Even if I had gone to bed early –  in order to make getting up at 6:30 justifiable – I did not really get a good rest, as the neighbors wanted to vacuum the whole house, and then dry their hair before the end of the world. Oh, and then they had visitors. Italian visitors. Loud visitors. Ciaooooo, come staaaaaaaaaai, buona nooooooooteeeeeeeeee etceteraaaaaaaaa. And even now, at 22:55 pm, they are vacuuming. I wonder whether they are trying to pay me back for the day before yesterday, when I had a lot of work to do and did not manage to wash my hair until midnight, and I was thus drying it at that late hour….. If yes, then I admire their dedication :)

So I got up at 7:10, and decided to go out. Even if it was dark. Even if it was -4 degrees. Even if I have nothing warm enough to wear.

My office today was in 3 different places –  1st, my former dorm, with a construction site next door; 2nd, at my colleague’s house, where i worked with their cat purring in my lap; and 3rd, at the university library, at the new-renovated-with-desks-that have-plugs-library. And while I was at that –  working for the company whose products I use a lot, but now I kinda HAVE to use –  I got an e-mail from the company I really wanted to work for and whose product I have recently labeled as my most valued possession, who asked me to phone interview with them. So after receiving numerous e-mails from them saying that they “will not consider my candidature for the selection process” and wishing me luck in my future endeavors, now I am the one saying ” thank you, but I am already taken by a company who is cool enough, but not as cool as you“… Oh well, that’s that.

I wonder if the company whose name has entered the dictionary will contact me. Before the end of the world, of course. I guess I do not have that much time.

How i was once again reminded that life is short

During the 1st week of work, everything is usually both confusing and exciting at the same time. I, for example, have lots of energy and enthusiasm, although i know that what awaits me is not pretty at all.

The first week is when you get all the bureaucratic stuff in order. It’s when you get your gadgets ( your HP EliteBook, your branded mouse and headphones), your passwords and your access approvals. It is the week when you spend a lot of time with the IT guys, and they give you candy. Also, it is the perfect week to have a first encounter with an outsourced Call Center. In my case –  the XXX Global Help Desk.

It was funny how the guy on the phone kept asking me questions, in a very polite and structured manner, but when he asked the reason for calling, and i told him the whole story, he let me understand that just the first sentence would have been enough :)

That guy – he was probably Chinese, judging from the accent – answers calls all day every day. And i knew that, so i told him he had been very nice and wished him a nice day. Because Life is too short to remove USB safely (copyright from the IT guy’s desk).  And i do not envy him for the work that he does –  although he is probably well remunerated, when compared to his country’s average salary.

We spend most of our lives working. That is why it is very important to like what you do. Or to know that you make a difference. Or to have free snacks and coffee at the office.