Archives for the month of: April, 2018

Recently, there has been a lot of talk at my company about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that was passed in the EU and goes into effect on May 25th of this year. It affects any business that has customers in the EU and our company definitely qualifies. Basically, what this means for me is that I have to be a lot more thoughtful about the information that I send and receive every day, whether I keep it or not, and for how long. When I first heard about GDPR I freaked out a little bit because a company can be fined a lot of money if they are not in compliance, and there is even talk of “random auditing,” to be sure employees are in compliance. After reading into it, attending departmental meetings, and reevaluating my own business practices, I realized that it’s really not that big of a deal at all.

I deal with personal information every day because I’m an editor: I receive PDF proofs from authors and I have their contact information. No, this information doesn’t include their credit card or financial information, but I do have access to their names, email addresses, work institutions, etc. I’ve never really thought about all of that as “personal information” before because, technically, it’s publicly available once it’s published (or at least available to those who subscribe to this particular publication). I’ve started thinking in a new way about how I communicate and with whom, and how I organize and store the information I receive from authors.

On one hand, this has made me much more organized: I have set up “retention policies” in my Outlook that will hold on to certain emails for a specific length of time, then will automatically delete them. I’ve also adopted a policy similar to the one I use when I clean out my closet: “Have I looked at this in the past 6 months? A year?” If the answer is no–it’s out. On the other, it’s made me more aware of people’s information and how I use it on a day to day basis. Is the way I’m using it secure (ie, should I email this as an attachment or can I send it via a secure ftp or something like Hightail?) or am I compromising this data?

The specifics can be downright complicated, but I think the spirit of the law is a good one! Is anyone else dealing with something like this in their workplace?



Sometimes adversity can strike when you least expect. During those times your outlook can determine if the event is overwhelmingly negative, or just a temporary setback. Fortunately, my latest round of difficulties wasn’t anything I could consider major. About two weeks ago, my water heater broke. It started with a weird hissing sound and began to leak a few minutes later. I shut off the supply of water to the tank and called for help in draining all 30 gallons of water into buckets. We finally ended up connecting a hose to let everything drain into the bathtub. I knew the water heater was old and would eventually have to be replaced, but the fact that it suddenly decided to go without any warning signs was stressful. If the water had begun to leak an hour later, I would have been on my way to work and unable to stop the leak before it did major damage.

Needless to say, I was extremely thankful that the water heater decided to die when it did. I was also grateful that on the same day, I received my tax refund. I wanted to use the money to pay off business taxes to the City of Philadelphia, make some minor repairs to the car, buy myself a new digital camera to replace my 11-year-old one, and save the remainder of the refund. With the unexpected expense of replacing a major component of my home, my plans were somewhat derailed. However, I could have let the incident get me down and mope. Instead, I’m glad the incident wasn’t worse than it was and that I had the extra money for the said expense. Gratitude isn’t always easy, but it really can brighten your mood at times.


How do you view your setbacks? Is having gratitude always possible?

Gratitude Wall at TEDxBuffalo by Purdman1 of Flickr

Gratitude Wall at TEDxBuffalo by Purdman1 of Flickr





This week is starting off a bit rocky for me. I got very little sleep during the past two nights and it’s really taken a toll on me during the day. I tend to have a little more trouble than usual getting to sleep on Sunday nights (probably due to the stress of the weekend ending and the work week beginning), but this past Sunday was brutal. All told, I probably got four solid hours of sleep, but that wasn’t necessarily in a row–I kept waking up and it took me ages to actually fall asleep in the first place. Last night, I slept at my grandmom’s because I had to get up bright and early this morning to take her to the airport (I swear, that woman has a more active social life than I do :)). My sleep was uninterrupted for the most part, but I did not get nearly enough (I had to wake up at 4:30! I didn’t even know that ungodly hour existed!). The upside is that I get to leave work early this afternoon since I came in much earlier than usual.

Needless to say, I’m not exactly brimming with enthusiasm today. I have a to-do list that encompasses everything that I need to get done, from small to large tasks, tasks that must be done immediately, and larger, more time-consuming tasks that must be completed over time. I revise it every day throughout the day and edit it so I have a nice, clean to-do list to start the day with the next morning. Today, I was able to pare the list down a bit to the essentials so as not to overwhelm myself and, also, to minimize errors on my part. I know that if I rush or frantically try to get a big task done in my current exhausted state of mind, I’ll make mistakes that I’ll want to kick myself for later. It’s important to give yourself permission to be tired or overwhelmed while you’re at work, as long as you work out ways to overcome it or deal with it in a healthy way. For me, that’s doing what absolutely must get done and not overdoing it with any extraneous tasks that can wait until tomorrow when I’m (hopefully) much more alert! I’m finishing up my necessary tasks for the day and when I leave in a couple of hours, I’ll still have accomplished something at work.

I know it’s hard to go easy on yourself sometimes, especially when a lot of us are our own worst critics. It’s important, though, to give ourselves some slack every once in a while if we’ve had a bad day or week, are struggling with something personal or professional, or if we’re just unusually tired (or not feeling well). This contributes to a healthier overall state of mind that’s necessary to keep us going every day; this way, we can achieve our dreams and take measured steps toward success.

How about you, readers? Do you cut yourself some slack on days when you’re just not up to work?

20180410_131520My own personal work planner.

I have been at my job for about ten months now. When I first started there was much to learn and process. It seemed unthinkable to listen to music while working because of my need to concentrate. By fall, I understood the basics of how to do the job and some of the work became rote. Additionally, the days where several co-workers were absent made everything feel like a grind. That started my quest to listen to music that wasn’t too distracting, but could lift my mood.

Fortunately, I had a lot of music to choose from since my original job required a lot of repetitive labor and listening to something made the time pass quickly. Over the years I collected a variety of soundtracks from video games, movies, and animation. The collection consists of high and low beat per minute songs, and I felt the latter would be perfect. I created a playlist containing relaxing music and the effort was rewarding. Challenging days melted away with mellow tunes and I found it easier to stay focused on my tasks.

My music collection also needed new additions, so I began borrowing CDs from friends or purchasing songs. Unlike a lot of people my age (or younger), I never made the transition to streaming services like Spotify, or Pandora. I still go through the task of collecting CDs, ripping the music to my hard drive, doing a manual search for cover art, and then transferring my favorite songs to my phone. This means that I might not discover new music as one would on a streaming service. However, it also means I’m not dependent on a mobile internet connection or music that may disappear due to licensing rights. I don’t need music every day to get through my job, but it’s nice to have options because everything is a little nicer with music.


Do you listen to music at work, and if so, what are your listening choices?

CDs to rip 04052018

A stack of CDs on my desktop waiting to be ripped.

As a bonus, one my favorite relaxing tracks from Persona 5:

%d bloggers like this: