A New Day Has Dawned

19 October 2015
11:23 EDT (-04:00 GMT)

It's been 12 years since I started working in America’s greatest space agency. I never thought it would be that long. I thought I’d be there a few months at most: not 12 years. Throughout those years, I often thought I would end up being a lifer: someone who spent an entire career in one organization, never experiencing the joys and thrills of working somewhere else. I was convinced I would say good night to my coworkers one Friday afternoon as they shuffled out and headed home for the weekend, and at some point before I, too, took off, fate would hit me, and I would be found Monday morning, a bloated, cold carcass still sitting in front of my computer and staring at the screen of my computer thanks to the creepy effects of rigor mortis.

This past Friday, I walked out of NASA Headquarters for the last time as a NASA employee. As of this morning, I am officially a civilian employee of the United States Coast Guard. It’s very exciting and scary. I can’t believe that I am starting a new job with a completely different organization. What if I'm really not as good as I think and they decide that they made a mistake hiring me (technically, I’m on a probationary period because I'm now a supervisor…but I think it’s formality since I'm already vested in the government). I’m sure I’ll be fine, but just thinking about all the new faces, names, titles, topics, acronyms…it’s all so overwhelming. But then I stop and think; how bad can it really be? I mean it’s not like I’m going back to my old job today, right? Change is always good. It may not be the right change, and it may be something that I’ll regret, but at least I'm trying something new; I’ll never know if I'm good at it or if this is a great job if I don’t try. And so, with that in mind, I’m super excited to be heading into my new office with new people, new gossip, new drama, new adventures, new everything!

To be honest, I had no idea I was actually going to get the job. My first interview was back at the end of May when I was in Hawaii. It was a horrible interview. I was holed up inside a tiny car sweating (I had closed the windows to deaden the noise of traffic all around me). I was in excruciating pain from my tumble into the Waimea River…but that’s a completely different story. I felt that I wasn’t prepared for the interview. Then, a few weeks later, I got a call asking if I was still interested in the position and if I’d like to call in for a phone interview. This was kind of odd, but I said sure. I got an email a few hours later saying they had made a mistake (I figured…they accidentally put a check by my name instead of an X). Would I like to come in for a face-to-face interview? Seriously? Yes, of course (but I was convinced they were just trying to save face at this point since they accidentally called me). Again, I was as prepared as I could be, but I felt I was a bit too flippant with some answers and too aggressive with others. That was it; I thanked them and walked out the door, destined to remain at NASA forever.

A few weeks later, I got an email offering me the position. What?? But, yea, here I am in my brand spanking new office with my brand spanking new job. I’ve already made a friend or two, found my new stapler, arranged my thumbtacks and generally inhaled and enjoyed that new cubical smell…oh, not such a good smell actually…but it’s my new cubical at my new job!

New Job

19 April 2010
15:35 EDT (-04:00 GMT)

After being in my now old position for a whopping 4½ months, the big boss called me into his office and offered me a job on the other side of the office. Now, I was very excited to get my now old position; however, I feel very strongly that when the big boss offers you an opportunity, it's bad form to turn it down.

So, as of today, I am now a public affairs officer. That's pretty darn cool, but I'm pretty scared that I have them all fooled and they're going to realize that I don't know jack about what I'm doing. Oh, well. At least it will be an adventure.

9:21 EDT (-04:00 GMT)

Today is my last day in this office. After 5 long, grueling years, I am moving on. I planned to come in late, leave early, and wear jeans today.

Unfortunately, my current boss had other plans. On Tuesday, he told us that we all needed to support the LCROSS event at the Newseum this morning. This morning. At 6:30 this morning.

I am not much of a fan of The Office, but I did want to see Jim and Pam's wedding. Oh, well. It was lights out at 9:30 (I did see Jim slip during his toast). Of course with the snorer in the apartment below us, I was up about 3 am and didn't really fall back to sleep. So, I was in the shower by 4:30 this morning.

I left the house about 10 after 5 to head out to the Metro. It was absolutely beautiful. It was crisp, yet pleasant (I didn't wear a jacket). It was so still and peaceful. The only sound was a bus that passed me as I stood motionless just outside my apartment and soaked in the beauty of the predawn.

As I looked up, I saw a perfect 1/2 moon as the clouds parted, and all I could think was, "Boy, you have no idea what you're in for later this morning, do you?"


17 September 2009
16:24 EDT (-04:00 GMT)

So, after 5 grueling years in my current office at America's finest space agency, I can now officially say that I am moving on!

Last week, HR called me and offered me a position I had applied for and interviewed for in Public Affairs. True, I am only moving down 4 floors from where I am now, but I feel that I will be moving a world away from where I am now!

I recognize that there will be drama and all kinds of BS in the new office, but it will all be new drama and BS for me to learn, and that will be fun (until it's not anymore). I have been trying to get into this office in Public Affairs pretty much the entire 5 years that I have been in my current office. Sadly, it took a very lovely woman's death to open a slot for me, so that's sort of bittersweet. I'm not typically into the whole "better place" thing, but this woman was in a lot of pain, and she truly is in a better place now.

I'm not 100% sure what I will be doing in this position, but I know that I will be working with guest operations, exhibits, events, and astronauts (pretty much a lot of what I'm doing now, but in a different office, and in Public Affairs).

I officially begin on October 11.

I'm so excited!

11:34 EDT (-04:00 GMT)

This is a bit of a catch-up post…

The Sabra is back, living in the same state, and indeed, the same house as yours truly. She received official word that she was laid off a few weeks ago, and after an unfortunate series of events, she finally accepted the severance package her office offered: 2 more paychecks, relocation money, and 10 days’ worth of COBRA while we waited for my insurance to pick her up. I flew up on July 2, and we drove back on the fifth, car loaded with all her worldly possessions.

Now that she is unemployed and almost without a status, we have submitted the paperwork for her Green Card…and what an experience that has been. It was actually easier than we thought to get all the papers together, and I got my bonus at work at just the right time—for it ain’t cheap to get permanent residence status. She also had to get a physical from a US Citizenship and Immigration Services recognized doctor. This physical included a TB test, which, due to her being immunized as a child, she promptly failed. So, she had to go to another place to get a chest x-ray to verify that she is TB free. But, since we live in the District, we had to take an extra step.

I took yesterday off thinking that I would get some well-deserved rest and get some things done around the apartment. Instead, I spent the better part of the morning at DC General Hospital at the TB clinic where the Sabra had to get clearance from the DC Department of Health. It was a bit creepy hanging out with so many consumptives in one room. I will definitely need to get a TB test at my next physical!

With clearance in hand, we returned to the CIS approved clinic and had all the paperwork finalized. We put the papers, applications, and checks (yes, there were 3 of them) in the mail this morning.

Now we wait for the next step in the process, which I believe is the interview…stay tuned!

15:41 EDT (-04:00 GMT)

Yea, so, it's been yonks since I've written anything, so I decided to start writing and see where it takes me. I'm not really sure what I'm planning to write in this post, but we'll see what comes out.

I've been worrying lately that I've completely lost what little shred of talent I have for writing and being creative. I've been saying it for years now that NASA has been making me dumber, and now I'm completely convinced. I've not written anything since last year, and I've had nothing to write about. I've tried; oh, believe me, I've tried. I sit on the Metro and look at the goings-on around me and think, "What is going on here that I can write about?" I thought about blogging about the wedding and preparation and all that, but nothing (not to mention that the Sabra didn't want me to write anything personal on the blog). I just didn't have the ambition.

Now that we're separated, you'd think I've got loads of time to write...but again, what do I write about? I could blog about me trying to find a job in Beantown, but who wants to read that crap?

I finally got around to buying Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, so I decided to start back at the beginning and read straight through. I thought that that would be cool to write feelings after reading each of the books--not my opinions of what's going on or anything like that, but the beauty of reading entertaining books, of the feelings, emotions, and memories that J.K. Rowling is able to evoke from me. But, nope, nada, nothing doing. Oh, that's not to say that I'm not experiencing emotions and feelings and memories from reading the books again, but I'm not writing about them...can't be bothered.

I'm going out tonight...maybe something exciting will occur to me to write about them.

Well, wish me luck!

Before 2009

25 December 2008
9:11 EST (-05:00 GMT)

I know that I haven't posted anything in forever, so I thought that I should at least get 1 post in before 2009.

What have I been doing instead of blogging? Well, I'm actively looking for a new job, so if you know of any in Boston, please let me know.

I've been working on some other websites that I have.

I've been planning the wedding...just a little over a month now!

And I've been doing some extra work in the evenings (and at work, but don't tell anyone that I've been double-dipping).

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannuka, Peaceful Kwanzaa, and here's wishing you my annual blessing....that 2009 will be better, brighter, and funner than 2008!


When will this be me?

25 November 2007
20:03 EST (-05:00 GMT)

I recently joined Facebook, and I am going through trying to find old friends. Well, I found one from a long time ago who I'm glad I found. He was a great kid, and I'm really glad to hear that he's doing well.

We've been emailing, catching up, and here's something that he wrote me. I am very happy for him, but it makes me kind of sad to think that it's not me writing the same to someone else:

the truth is that i'm very honored to have this job. I travel all over europe all the time, and i get to have the satisfaction of educating young [people]... i love it! :-)

16:05 EDT (-04:00 GMT)

Yea, so I applied for a job last month with the Federal Transit Administration, which is an agency within the Department of Transportation, as an Events Coordinator. It seems to be basically the job I have now with the responsibilities being flipped so that 60% is events and 40% is crap.

I called a few weeks ago to check the status of my application, and I was told that I had made the cert (governmenteeze for the short list). So, I called today to check to see if anything had progressed. Amazingly, I got a friendly and helpful person in DoT’s HR department. She told me again that I had made the list (which I already knew), but she said that I had scored 90 out of 100, so that was exciting. She also told me that the Selecting Official has until July 10 to conduct interviews and offer a job. I didn’t ask what happens on July 11, but I assume that this specific announcement goes away, and if that office wants to hire again, they’d need to start from the beginning.

So, while my dream job is not working for the FTA, I’m still pretty jazzed that I know that I scored that high! I’m just excited to know that I actually qualify for jobs that aren’t NASA related!

The one down side is that the government has weird rules when it comes to hiring. Even though I made the list, if they don’t interview anyone, they can select whoever they wish off the list. So, even though I got that 90 out of 100, if the person they really want for the job even made the cut by 1 point, they can select him or her and I’d be screwed—and we all know that that is the story of my life.

writing sample

23 January 2007
11:27 EST (-05:00 GMT)

As most of you know, I have an interview tomorrow with a company that I think it would be pretty cool to work for. It’s been a very long process, and I honestly don’t know how it’s going to turn out. Some of the process has been fun, others haven’t been so much.

Last night, I had 1 hour to complete a writing evaluation. I am actually pretty happy with it, so I thought I’d post it for the world to read. What follows is the scenario I chose to write respond to:

Your client is the public affairs office for a government agency that oversees compliance with the nation’s environmental laws and regulations. As part of their regular duties, this office produces an internal employee newsletter, “The Monitor” that is published monthly and is distributed to approximately 10,000 employees at both headquarters level and in the field across all 50 states. The challenge facing public affairs is that the workforce is giving the newsletter the cold shoulder – placing the publication in the shredder more often than actually reading it.

Your client has charged you with heading a team to revamp the newsletter in order to increase readership. Using the facts below, draft a newsletter article explaining the new format and the types of features readers can look forward to as part of the overhaul.


  • As head of the newsletter team, you have access to graphic designers, writers, and members of the Web design group.
  • The newsletter is produced in hard copy and is also posted to the agency’s Intranet site.
  • You have learned through the “grapevine” that the newsletter was viewed as a propaganda tool for management, and didn’t contain any real news that the employees cared about.
  • Your client, the director of public affairs is looking for a fresh innovative approach to attract readers—and is also interested in learning why the previous newsletter initiative wasn’t well received by employees.
  • You may acknowledge that the old newsletter wasn’t meeting the employee’s needs and are encouraged to explain what measures you took to learn what features in the previous newsletter did and didn’t work.

I decided to approach it like the column most magazines have, where the editor introduces that issue to the reader and explains what the reader will find in that particular issue. Here’s my response:

New Years always bring change and a chance to start fresh. Like many of you, The Monitor has made some New Year’s resolutions. As you will recall, over the months of October and November, we sent to every employee a questionnaire that asked what you would like to see in the new The Monitor, what you felt was and wasn’t working. This newsletter is by and for the employees of our Agency, and we have tried our hardest to update The Monitor and make it relevant to today’s workforce. You spoke to us, and we listened. With this issue, the first of the New Year, you will see some exciting changes based on your recommendations. Please allow us a moment to tell you about some of these new features.

Many of you felt that the newsletter was too difficult to read in the format that we have traditionally used. As you can see, we have taken advantage of our experienced and talented graphics team, and reformatted The Monitor into a real newsletter. It is no longer merely a photocopied multi-page document; rather, it is now a newsletter worthy of the name. Instead of receiving hard copies in your mailboxes, you will begin to receive The Monitor electronically. For ease of use, each email we send you will contain a version of The Monitor that you are used to (a text-only version in the body of the email), an attachment of a PDFed version of the newsletter for printing, and a link to our new, updated website: Please go to the site to see many new features.

Another new feature in The Monitor is the column, “Clean Dirt.” This column is designed to be a place where you can get your questions answered. Did you hear something at the water cooler? Did you read something in an email? Do you want the facts? Email your question to, and we will find the answer. We will only publish your name if you say it is OK to do so. Speaking of new columns, beginning with this issue, we have created “Plowing the Surface,” where we will randomly select an employee and present an exposé on him or her (see page 13 to learn all about Suzanne Wagner, who works in Soil Conservation at Headquarters). And, because you asked for it, we have created “Air it Out,” where anyone can submit an article on things they feel are relevant to employees of this great Agency.

Finally, we have created some fun ways for you to get involved. There will be monthly contests sponsored by the Exchange Council, who have agreed to supply some fantastic prizes. Check out the website for details on this month’s contest: we are looking for the best photograph that demonstrates your office’s team spirit. We encourage everyone to get involved.

Again, we would like to welcome you to the new The Monitor—your The Monitor. We encourage you to come have a look, and if you don’t see something, we want to hear from you. This newsletter is for you, and only you can help us make the best employee newsletter in the Government.

Happy New Year to all.