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6/25/2009 a day permanently ingrained in my mind

June 25, 2010 4 comments

June 25, 2009 is a day the world will never forget. But for me, this day is a constant reminder to me that bad news comes in threes. Come with me as I take you back one year ago today in the life of Fatou. Don’t worry, there is a rainbow at the end of this story. No splitting of the wrists should happen after reading this.

Thursday, June 25th started out as a completely normal day for me. I came to work, ready to be a cold-calling machine and set up face to face meetings for my bosses. My CEO was having a board meeting with the board in the conference room. No biggies, so I thought. At around 10 AM, my boss pulls my team in the small conference room for a meeting about our progress and future plans. For some reason, in that meeting, where I was being praised for my aggressiveness in prospecting & booking quality face to face meetings, I got a strange feeling that it was the beginning of the end for me at that company. I asked my boss, “How much time do we have before we are done?” And in done, I meant, how much time before we are shown the door because, despite our efforts, sales just aren’t coming in at the numbers we need. My boss looked at me and actually chuckled, & said, “Why would you ask such a thing? We’re good, we’re doing well, & we’re getting in front of companies we’re never gotten in before, thanks to your efforts.” Normally, a comment like that would calm my nerves but for some reason, it didn’t.

Our meeting ends & we all go back to our regularly scheduled activities of cold calling & prospecting. I look up at the TV in my work area to see that Farrah Fawcett finally lost her battle of cancer. Given how sick she was, this wasn’t shocking news to me. Sad news, but not shocking. An angel was finally going to heaven to be at peace. I bowed my head in a moment of silence & went back to working. Then, chaos broke out. I always keep my eyes open to my surroundings, which is easy when you work in a cubical in a small office. I saw my boss storming into the CEO’s office. He came out about 30 minutes later looking extremely irate & shocked. I knew there was a board meeting earlier in the morning but something felt wrong to me. I saw him pull our intern into the small conference room, followed my another colleague of mine, who by the way, was his BFF & former colleague at their previous job. I knew bad news was on the way. My colleague comes back to our area & proceeds to storm out of the office. I continue to work on securing a second meeting for my boss & I at Avon Products, a company that we historically had a difficult time gaining traction with, until I dealt with them. My intern comes back, looking slightly somber, telling me that he was laid off. Business 101, when an intern is laid off, there’s something wrong. Interns don’t eat up much budget so when they are “laid off” & not fired, something in the milk ain’t clean. I got incredibly sad, as I formed a special bond with him. He was my right hand man & we bounced ideas off of each other. Since it was lunch time, I decided to go eat lunch with him. We commiserated about the amount of stress & pressure we endured at the company & I wished him nothing but luck. I wasn’t too worried about him because at the end of the day, he was an intern & he would be alright. He had a beautiful girlfriend & college to worry about. The joys of being a 21 year old kid.

I come back to the office, around 1:15 PM ish, back to my regularly scheduled cold-calling when my boss summons me into the big conference room. That’s when I KNEW. I knew it was coming for me. I walk in the conference room, and of course, HR is sitting there. That’s when I laugh & say, “this is the part when you lay me off, right?” I felt it. My boss spews off some bullshit that I’m certain he doesn’t believe & lays down the gauntlet, “Fatou, we have to lay you off.” I always thought I would go completely DC on them, cursing them out for all the stress & pressure they put me though. Blaming them for my hair loss, for my not being happy, for everything. But a strange sense of calm came over me because all of the stress & crazy amounts of insanity I dealt with at that company was finally OVER. Not by my choice of course, but over. And that was a great feeling. I didn’t have to deal with some of the assholes I worked with anymore. I didn’t have to bend over backwards to met unrealistic expectations. Of course that feeling lasted for 2.5 minutes before the tears shed. The tears shed as my boss & HR told me how proud of me they were, how they saw so much growth & confidence in my work, how they felt that the company was actually losing an asset in me. It was so hard to wrap my head around getting laid off despite doing GREAT work. What an oxymoron. But no screaming & cussing for me because I knew there was nothing I could do. The board chose to part with my sales team & it was nothing personal. You’ll never understand the “You’re laid off, but it’s nothing personal” until it’s you. My company laid off people left & right, up & down, & I always would comfort my colleagues, saying, it’s not personal, knowing I didn’t believe it. Now I get it.

My boss & HR allowed me time to myself in the conference room, in which I called my parents, my friends, & some colleagues to break the news. I was surprisingly calm & collective, and not crying. I’m slightly crying as I type this but I really was alright with the decision. Not alright with knowing I was in for a summer of brokeness in NYC but alright in knowing I did my job to the best of my ability & it was time to move on to better opportunities. I knew sulking & hating people for letting me go wasn’t the way to go because it served no purpose.

As I packed my desk (something the job never allows you to do as they don’t want you scaring the office), I knew I was leaving behind immense amounts of stress & leaving a stronger person. No what if I did this, or what if I said that, I knew I left it all out on the table. Of course, I could choose the bitter route & say, I wish I had bosses who were more encouraging, bosses I wish that would fight for me, would defend me to upper management, let them REALLY TRULY know my worth, but it wasn’t worth it for me to flood my thoughts with that. Of course, as I prepare to give back my work BlackBerry, I get an email from Avon, asking for my availability to set up our second face to face meeting (BTW, that deal & every other deal I set up, including Campbell Soup & MasterCard completely fell through. I choose to think it’s because they no longer had the pleasure of dealing with me.). God has a funny way of cheering you up when you start to doubt your work ability. Instead, I had a birthday party on a boat to think about later that evening. My girl Anna Ann Su’s birthday. I knew I had fun to look forward to. Thank God for small miracles.

I finally get home, around 4:30-5 PM ish, and get a BBM from my boy Rafael. He was a former colleague of mine who came to become a dear friend of mine. He was comforting thru BBMs & he sends a BBM saying, MJ is dead. I only know one MJ so I’m like, stop trying to distract me. He’s like no, turn on your TV. Of course, my gossip loving self, my TV was already on E!, which was on special report mode. Michael Jackson, the GOAT, world greatest entertainer, has died. When it rains, it pours in my life. The day I get laid off, an Angel leaves us, I lose my job, & MJ DIES? What?!! And I have a birthday party to go to!! ON A BOAT!

Gotta say, the best distraction to have as you face the uncertainty of unemployment is the remembering of Michael Jackson. I don’t know about you but Michael Jackson was a vital part of my childhood. I’m an early 80s baby so my musical knowledge began with MJ. My childhood friend & I would stay watching her Moonwalker tape, a tape now in my possession. I remember watching his music video world premieres on FOX. I was so happy to have the distraction of MJ & his amazing career on my mind instead of the what ifs of my unemployment. The world stopped for him, which it should, & my mood turned into celebration. Celebration for the best entertainer on Earth, & celebration for my friend’s birthday.

The rainbow in this – my friends, family, & even former colleagues. I thought I would be so ashamed to tell them that I was let go but it was the opposite. The amount of love & support (& free lunches & dinners & drinks) I received was unreal. My support system has been & still is beyond amazing & I’ve discovered so much about myself thru unemployment. I discovered my resilience, my strength, & my creativity. I’ve met some amazing people & discovered amazing gym classes thru unemployment. I’ve discovered an amazing gym instructor, Nikki, who’s worked me out in ways I didn’t think possible. I’ve discovered NYC during the day because of unemployment. Mostly, I’ve enjoyed life, & realized that a job doesn’t define me. I DEFINE ME! I work on my craft (ME) everyday & I don’t sell myself short. A year later, I still don’t have a full-time job but I know my dream job is coming.

Thanks all for reading this incredibly long post but as I said, 6/25 is a day permanently ingrained in my mind. How many people can say they were laid off on the day Michael Jackson died?

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It took me 2 hrs to explain my blog title…

June 24, 2010 Leave a comment

…& 15 seconds to realize that I should change my blog title to something more creative. So as you see, my username is fatoub, Fatou being my first name, and B being my last initial. Very boring I thought. But my friend Amber (who is an awesome wedding photographer BTW, check her out in my Links section) asked me if my username was a play on YouTube, like Fa(toub), pronounced FaTube. I didn’t even consider that. I admit to being witty, but not that witty. I wish I could say I was that clever. Scratch that, I am that clever! I think I’m bout to change my blog name. Fa(toub) sounds so much better, and is great for me. As I’ve gotten older & met more people, I grew to love that my name was so different from everyone else. Memorable even. So while I did love “Deep Thoughts by Fatou,” Fa(toub) is so much more original, memorable, & ME! Thanks Amber!! For all you tweeters reading, follow my girl Amber at @msAKnowles, no relation to Beyonce, at least I don’t think so….

Categories: Friends, Twitter

GO USA BID! Bring the World Cup to the US in 2018/2022

June 24, 2010 4 comments

I’ll admit, I’m not the most versed on soccer rules & I’m not an avid soccer watcher. I know, shame on me as a West African. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t enjoyed every minute of the World Cup. How impressive was Team USA yesterday? My hands still hurt from all that clapping I did when Landon Donovan scored that goal in the last minutes of the game. We were almost close to being eliminated & my heart was pounding! For the 2 people who missed it, here’s a clip:

How do you not get hyped for Team USA? Which brings me to my next question, why is soccer not big in the USA? It is the most popular sport worldwide, but not in the USA. Here’s my theory. It’s the refs. I know I hate when I watch football or basketball & I feel like bad refereeing had a hand in determining the outcome of the game. Soccer is the worst at this I hear. & from what I’ve seen in these World Cup games, esp in the USA games, I believe it. Nonetheless, the energy & the anxiety of watching a soccer game, especially when watching your team, is unlike no other. Plus, for those females who appreciate the anatomy of a good looking man, you better start watching soccer. I love sports & I love that I can actually speak sports but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a fine looking man playing a sport. Doesn’t make me a groupie, just makes me a woman who has a working set of eyes. So for the two people who missed Team USA beat Algeria (which BTW was ESPN’s highest-rated and most-watched soccer telecast), you have another chance to see them this Saturday at 2:30 PM ET against Ghana. For the ladies simply wanting to fulfill your eye candy quota, watch for my boy midfielder Benny Feilhaber. But back off ladies, he’s mine 🙂

Which brings me to my final point, the David Beckham experiment didn’t work with bringing more awareness to soccer to the USA (cause let’s face it, his bend it like Beckham days were well over when he came to LA), so what better way than to bring the FIFA World Cup 2018/2022 to the USA! It would boost USA tourism (ask South Africa) & what amazing energy it would bring here. The USA is a melting pot of cultures & what better way to celebrate it than to bring the world over here! I’ve already signed the petition, you should too. And while you’re at it, if you are a Tweeter, follow the USA Bid Committee at @gousabid. BTW, they are an amazing organization & I would know. I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with them about their goals. On that note, I’m off to the gym to get as lean & yummy as those soccer boys.

Categories: Celebrities, Soccer, Twitter, Yummy

Recognize where my blog title comes from?

June 24, 2010 1 comment

Anyone who watched SNL when it was called Saturday Night Live should recognize my blog title. As a young child in DC, I used to watch whatever my parents watch & Saturday night TV was a big thing for us. We started with Golden Girls, then Empty Nest, followed by Nurses, then Sisters (yes, I took it way back), then the local news with Jim Vance & Doreen Gentzler, then Saturday Night Live.

Saturday Night Live is such an iconic show & so many people have their memories of what made Saturday Night Live so funny to them, & my heydey of Saturday Night Live watching was when Dana Carvey, Mike Myers, Phil Hartman, Chris Farley, Adam Sandler, Julia Sweeney era. I would make myself stay awake so that I could watch the show in its entirety. One of my favorite skits was “Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey.” I searched high & low on the Internet for a skit so I can post here but I shockingly couldn’t find one. If one of you readers find one of those skits, please post in the comments. I would love it!!

So since I couldn’t find the Deep Thoughts skit, I’ve decided to look for other great skits on YouTube & Hulu. Two hours later, still cannot find any old clips. It’s too bad because I wanted to share the infamous Stuart Smalley/Michael Jordan Daily Affirmation skit. The closest oldie but goodie I could find was this Chris Farley/Patrick Swayze tribute. Unfortunately, it’s a doctored YouTube clip. Hey, I tried…

Hello world! I’m a blogger!

June 24, 2010 3 comments

My boy Mark has been hassling me since September 2009 to start blogging about my life as an avid, slightly hostile, but very knowledgeable female football fan. He said my witty Facebook & Twitter comments deserve a blog in itself. But my procrastination & fear kept me from starting this blog.  Every weekend, I told myself I’ll start my football blog, there’s so much football season left. Now it’s June 2010 & clearly the 2009-10 football season is over.  Of course, I used that as an excuse not to start my football blog.  But after much nudging from my peoples Mark & Shereen (who told me I’m the black Chelsea Lately), I’m here. & lucky for you guys, I’m gonna blog more than football. I’m here to discuss anything I feel like. Welcome to my mind. Be warned, I’m emotional, slightly crazy, but can be very funny.