Sunday, December 30, 2007

Week 22 - Flyin by the seat of my pants

Hey there, hi there and hello there all you Iowans and Georgians. I know it's been a short week since the last post, so I'll make it brief. I hope everyone is recovering from the holiday celebrations and all of the food and especially getting ready to bring in the New Year!

It was a fairly slow week at work with only three days and pretty much only three people on the 10th floor. We've got some pretty cool cats up there though so I had to do at least one rolly desk chair race around the place to break up the monotony. I was able to continue work on the projects and prepare for the big collaboration presentation in a couple weeks. I only have another week working in Product Development. I really wish I could've contributed more there, but it was a short month and they have Focus coming up this week so it was just a lot of learning to be had!

I got a pretty sweet invite from the Columbus Chamber to join some of their board members and employees at the Georgia Annual Chamber Conference in Atlanta in the middle of January as a young professional representative. I think it'll be a great networking and leadership development event if my good friend Bob can clear it with HR...he's got connections so I think it'll work out. I also got an email from the Literacy Alliance Executive Director and she wants to take some financial literacy lessons that I talked with her about into more schools after discussions she had with the Muscogee Schools Superintendents...which would be pretty awesome! We could be getting some grants for some of the initiatives, so I'll keep you posted.

I kind of flew by the seat of my pants this weekend and booked a flight back to hang with this lady Jenny for a ski trip later in March. Don't know what it is about this cat, but she seems to be a bit captivating to me:)

Don't have much else going on in the ol' Columbus. Looking forward to the New Year and what good fortune it will bring. I hope everyone is able to stick with their resolutions and has a safe/good/hearty time partying like it's 2007!

Until next year, have a great week! Peace out.



Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Week 21 - An extended weekend of holiday wondermous

Hey there, hi there and hello there all! I hope the holiday season has been going just wondermously for everyone as it has for me. I know it's been a while since the last chat, so this should be a good one I hope.

I'll start with the past week at Aflac. It was a fun-filled shortened week at the duck. Business was pretty much as usual with all the projects going on. I had to facilitate a couple of meetings and get the ball rolling on the big projects I've been working on and now I have a big presentation for some execs in a few weeks so that should be fun. I took a class on how to use Access which seems like a pretty cool program for folks that like building databases...this guy would not be that guy. We did have a delicious 10th floor partay where I made the ol' famous dad's breakfast casserole and it was a hit!

Last Monday was my final Junior Achievement class at Dawson Elementary. I brought all of the kids ducks and we had a great time. It was amazing to see the growth in just five short weeks that some of the students had just standing up in front of class and talkin about their business they created. I was attacked with hugs at the end and Miss. Baulkmon told me I should come back before testing time to help get them motivated in April because they enjoyed it so much...that will be fun. Each one of the kids wrote me a thank you as well and they were amazingly uplifting!

Now comes that most memorable part of the week...the trip back to Shueyville! So after I realize the transportation I was going to use on Christmas coming back was not available I knew I was in for a treat. Our flight took off fine and as we approached Moline, I felt the plane bank as the captain got on the loudspeaker, (pretend you're hearing this in a captain's voice), "uhh, ladies and gentlemen...there seems to be a dense fog in Moline and the tower officials will be unavailable in the next ten minutes so we are rerouting to Chicago." Damn. So after 45 minutes on the runway, they inform us (again in a captain's voice) that we can either a. fly back to Atlanta or 2. take a charter bus to Moline. So after we got vouchers to eat at the fine hot dog establishment, we all took our full bellies onto a charter bus for a 3 hour tour (Gilligan theme song) to Moline in the fog and almost freezing rain. After arriving at about 4 in the morn, I hitched a ride with a guy I met named Vince (no last name) and he brought me back to Shueyville...looking back, I guess I can understand why they have outlawed hitch-hiking, but I sized him up and thought I could take him if it came down to it.
Christmas then started when I arrived at 6 am on Friday morning. I went in to the mount to visit with Dean Castle and Anne two school mentors...they're absolutely amazing! After that Steph played chauffeur and took me to lunch with my two best Ryan pals...Funkmaster and Gump. We had a delicious lunch at Victor's Place...I do indeed miss those two clowns...looking forward to seeing Gump, his Jenna and Horman in a couple months down here! Then I tagged along with mom to work on a United Way initiative...I can't get away from the volunteering! Took a wonderful trip with Dad Seda down to Coral Ridge...good bonding time had there.
Then when the pigs were flying in the sky, I went out and had a gathering with one cool cat Jenny...ya, you made the blog:) So I'm not skilled at the whole getting together with a gal and taking her out on the town, so we ended up at Panera which was probably the best. Some hot cocoa, pb&j and good conversation took us over to the CWC and then a movie. We gathered for a bit in Shueyville afterwards and it was fantacular...I'll give her the smiley face sticker for the evening...which is a good thing!
After a super de duper breakfast gathering with my good friend Amy Lynn, who is amazing, and the newlyweds Ryan and Kim, it was time to start the Xmas season. Christmas celebrations were plentiful starting in Clutier and the ride back in what mom coined, "the snow-globe from hell." Eight inches of snow later we ended up back home. Sunday brought a reunion with Z and Ms. Jencks at the mount and then it was off to pops' for our little gathering (pictured above). I did get to see both of my nieces, Lindsey for the first time, which was nice.
Sunday brought the most gatherings of the season starting in Greeley with grandma and the Raves. Of course it was delicious cheesy corn noodles and ham with the fam. Then off in the sleigh we rode back to Shueyvilletown for our family gathering. Wonderful food and family time is always had there! Christmas morning brought the dreaded farewell to Blaker, Dad and's always tough, but I'm always happy to see them.
Off to Manchester I ventured for the fifth and final Christmas with all of the aunts, uncles and cousins. Godfather Dave always provides so much that I am thankful for as well as all of the other great family I have up there. Grandpa seems to be doing well and yes I did get attacked by the youngins yet again. I pulled a fast one on Megan for the gift exchange which I laughed at later that night.
Took a long ride home and after a long goodbye to Barb and Steph, pops and I headed back to Moline. It was a great chat and the time always goes too fast, but it makes a memory every occasion. The flight back home is another story...for another time, but I finally made it back and didn't have to stay the night and catch the Greyhound in the morning.
I will always miss my family and close friends, but you can't beat being home for the holidays. I love you guys and thanks for always being there:) Until next time...don't forget to have your pets spade and neutered.
Alwayz, Nate

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Week 20 - Livin' the Dream

Hey there, hi there and hello there. Just four more days until the trip back home...the countdown is on this holiday season!

It was another fantastic week at Aflac again of course. I'm learning quite a bit about some of our products that we market throughout the US and I've been doing quite a bit of analysis for future product unveilings...hopefully what I've been doing can help impact some future decisions, we'll see. I went to my second Cafe Conversation event last week, this time with Dan Amos our Chairman and CEO. He got up and answered questions in our lunchroom with about 75 other folks. It's pretty cool how the execs take the time out to connect with the employees on a regular basis. I also took another couple interesting employee learning classes on keeping meetings under control and then an all-day class discussing how to lead the team. I think the most beneficial part about the classes are meeting folks from throughout the company and hearing their stories. I went to my first Aflac Webcast this last week as well. Four of execs did a 45 minute skit for the field force where some people from HQ sat in the crown SNL style clapping and cheering as they unveiled power week results and handed out prizes, free food and was a fantastic time! I did get some debatable news though at the end of the week regarding the MBA reimbursement gig they have going and it appears that what I was told when recruited might not come true after all...we'll see how it goes, I may just end up footing the bill to go to Emory anyways...guess I'll take it where the wind blows it.

It was another fantastic volunteer week as well with not one, but two JA class events. I wrap up with the Dawson Elementary school kids tomorrow which should be fun. The really exciting event was last Friday when about 15-20 of the Lasseter Academy students came over to the Tower and we talked about Aflac and the job opportunities that were available. Some of the students got really engaged in the conversation and I ended up by handing out some ducks, so I think they had a good time. Finished up the weekend by getting all my shopping done and then helping the Habitat for Humanity for about four hours doing a little Christmas wrapping...I'm pretty sure I'm a certified gift wrapper after that event:)

Welp, I should probably go finish up the ol' MBA entrance essays and hit the hay. Can't wait to go home this Thursday, it's going to be a week full of fantasticness and I can't wait to see all my family, friends and snow back home (pictured above at my folks' house in Shueyville).

Hope everyone has a wondermous week before Christmas...try not to work to hard and enjoy the season!



Sunday, December 9, 2007

Week 19 - Lovin' the summer weather:)

Hey there, hi there and hello there all. I hope the holidays are shaping up well for everyone! It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...ok, maybe it is back home in the snow but down here it's about 77...I know, it's rough but someones got to do it:) I am looking forward to some sledding when I get back home though so Steph if you could have my sled ready that'd be great.

It was another wonderful week at Aflac. Yes, it is first project is on the floor, functional and signed off on so I did a little jig and hit the ol' easy button. The other projects are still rolling and always picking up speed. I'm learning quite a bit about the Product Development department I'm in within the first week. It's interesting to understand the different products we have, how we price them and also how we get them to the customer. The people in the department are fantacular and very nice to boot.

We had another great SIFErs in Action meeting this week. We've volunteered over 100 hours together, started some great initiatives and now we have 7 people joining me for the Hurricane Relief trip...I'm really excited about how everyone is coming together for that, it will be unforgettable! I was part of a focus group for the Columbus Chamber of Commerce in their attempt to get a Young Professional Network up and going. I think it has some great potential and I'm hoping to contribute a great deal, I just know we need to get a going on it and not keep sitting around on ideas. It will be a great thing for the community and it will hopefully change the landscape a bit...look out, here comes Columbus Rising (sorry, that's just a name I came up with:)

I've realized that our basketball team is missing a certain...I don't know what, but at least I'm still having fun! I was able to get back into the bowling circuit this week with the team (pictured above). Blake and I are in a bowling tourney this week which should be pretty exciting! I had another great volunteer experience with the Christmas is for Kids event that Aflac sponsors. I got to put on my flashing Santa hat and help to hand out toys to hundreds of underprivileged was amazing to see the joy on their face when they took their picture with Santa and got their presents...always very fulfilling.

We had our Dirty Elephant gift exchange (a classy mix between Dirty Santa and White Elephant since we couldn't decide on a name) on Friday at our apartment complex. Everyone brought a dish, I brought some scrumtrulescent Hanky Panks, and we had a ball opening up, trading and stealing some pretty cool gifts. All the SIFErs hung out again on Saturday when we all went to Tuna Christmas; a hilarious 2 man play at the Springer Opera tummy hurt from laughing so hard. Then our whole group went out to Houlihan's for desserts, appetizers and of course some Splemonade. It was pretty cool when a couple of the execs joined us for a night of fun, that really said something about the culture at Aflac that I appreciated.

Lastly...the weather, what can I say? It was about 75-80 degrees this weekend so I had to get out and about. Went biking for about an hour and a half and put some serious miles on the old Rollerblades in the last couple of days. I am looking forward to a white Christmas, but I think I can make due with this weather for a while!
Looking forward to coming home in the next couple of weeks to see ol' friends and the family. Until then, peace out.



Sunday, December 2, 2007

Week 18 - Party time

Hey there, hi there and hello there all. Hope everyone is having a wonderful week and that November was a great time for you. Wish everyone luck back home in Iowa with all the sleet, ice and snow...I'll try to send up some of the 70ish weather to you to melt it down. If you could save some for sledding when I get back that'd be great:)

My last week in Policy Services was long awaited. I met some great people there, just wish I could have gotten in on some more projects. We did finally get in the capital project I've been working on forever and will hopefully get signed off on by the end of the week...then the celebrating can begin:) I start in the Marketing dept. tomorrow with Product Development which should be pretty exciting. I met some of the folks I'll be working with; they seem pretty cool and they've already got some projects for me so it will be wondermous! We had a big shake up at work and now a bunch of 2nd VPs all moved around, so it should be interesting times at the ol' duck over the next few months but exciting nonetheless. I had a couple pretty good leadership training classes this week and also had a great lesson in meeting preparedness...I'm learning quickly to have all the answers on hand:)
We had our first basketball victory this week. I haven't gotten to my true form foul outs;) We've got a couple pretty cool guys on the team, should be an interesting season. Victorious Secret had our last soccer game on Friday...we went out with a bang, but lost in the semis. There were a lot of pretty cool guys on that team...nothing like the Cool Hawks...but I'm looking forward to playing with them next season!
Had another fantacular week outside of work too. Did a lot of volunteer action throughout the week starting with week 2 of JA at Dawson Elementary. Those students are pretty cool but then it was off to the Lasseter Academy for the beginning of our investment game. I think there's a lot of potential there, I hope I can get through to more of them in the weeks to come. Saturday I went back to Easter Seals at 5:30 am (wow that was early) to do some pancake breakfast action; I think I probably flipped about 1,000 pancakes but it was fun and I met some pretty nice folks.
I went up to Emory University this week too for kicks. Met with a current student to get a feel for what the class load would be like. The campus was immaculate, the teacher seemed interesting and I guess you can't beat the #2 Evening MBA program in the nation. It's nice not having homework and finals now, but I think another challenge next fall will be good for me so hopefully it all works out and I can get accepted...o, and then I need to work on that whole Aflac kick-back which should be fun:)
Of course I had to end the weekend with the Aflac Christmas party. Corporate signed on the Ojays, had some delicious pasta/shrimp action and of course a big dance floor. Went with a big ol' group and saw lots of people I knew, there had to be thousands of people at the Civic Center. First moves out on the dance floor I bumped into a guy and I turn to see that it wasn't just any guy, it was Dan the Man Amos...Chairman/CEO of Aflac shakin' his groove thing on the dance floor. Of course we had to dance with him and get a picture, amazingness! It was a great time dancing and hanging out with friends and new acquaintances...a great end to the week.
I hope everyone has a great start to the holiday season...can't wait to see everyone back home in a few weeks! Until then, keep livin' the dream. Alwayz....Nate