Tuesday, March 13, 2007


First, I just have to say I'm lucky I made it home alive today. I drove through the most awful rain/thunder storm on my way home from work. It was terrible. On George Bush, all I could see were the blurry taillights in front of me....no lane dividers, etc. It was pouring, and there were wrecks all over LBJ and 75. I didn't even know it was going to rain today.

Anyway, it's been a long time since I've added anything new here. I'm still adjusting to not having any free time really. I mean, I'm in the car for about 2.5 hours a day, not getting home until about 7 pm, and in those evening hours I have to eat, shower, respond to emails, plan for tomorrow, etc. Plus, I've got some books I'm trying to read, and I'm just about to start studying to try to be ready to take the GMAT and maybe the LSAT as soon as possible in case I decide to go to law school. So, anyway, there's just not a lot of time, or I just haven't learned how to efficiently use the little time there is yet.

I can't really think of what's happened between the last time I wrote something and now. We had national training last week. It was here in Dallas. In fact, it as literally at the DFW airport - in Terminal C...the Hyatt Regency. Interesting. I stayed at the hotel because that's a LONG commute for me and I didn't want to make it to/from each day. A couple of my friends from New Hire Training in NYC wanted to see Dallas, so I drove them downtown on Wednesday afternoon, but that was the only time we saw sunlight that entire week. It was quite an adjustment for the eyes. I could go into more detail about the training, but, well, it was just training. Nothing exciting. Bad food. Hotel renovations = lots of noise. Some bad instructors. Etc. But it was good to see a lot of the NYC guys and girls again and to talk about our first two months on the job. And we did have a couple of worthwhile courses such as Action Writing and Presentation Skills. I'd have never thought I would enjoy Presentation Skills, but I did learn some tricks. And Action Writing, well, it was pretty much stuff I already know because I like grammar, style, etc. (although, please don't judge this entry to closely - I'm very tired, and I don't feel like proof-reading), but it was still a good class. And Tom Cruise's cousin was one of the instructors. I wonder if she's a Scientologist.

I'm also suffering because I know that my mom, my aunt, and several of my friends are in Europe on Spring Break right now, and it's the first time since 8th grade that I haven't gotten to go on this trip. I'm very depressed because Paris >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Dallas and sightseeing/history >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> work. I can say that here (I think) because who wouldn't rather be in some cool city on Spring Break than stuck in their everyday office working? That person would be crazy.

It's okay, though, because I've got a couple of trips to Lubbock planned in the next few weeks, plus I think I'm about to get a free trip on SW airlines! I'm thinking Hawaii sounds nice.

That's all, I think. I can't believe tomorrow's only Wednesday! It's rainy and overcast and we're all adjusting to the time change, so the week is passing so slowly.

You know, I think I have this idea that every entry has to be as long as Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, but maybe I'll try just making a few shorter entries throughout the week and see if it's easier to keep that up.

Friday, February 02, 2007

New York, New York

Sunday, 1/21/07

Well, I’m back in New York. I love this city! I mean, it’s New York—arguably the center of the world. Sure, it’s kind of dirty…and it’s loud…and it’s crazy and seems to revolve around nightlife…and none of those is anything I’m crazy about, but it’s still New York, and it's got everything you want in a city. And it’s got celebrities. And I’m always on the lookout for celebrities. I haven’t been that successful, but maybe we’ll get lucky this week. (We didn’t get lucky, by the way.)

I left this morning on the 10:20 flight out of DFW. We got all the way from Kyle’s house to the airport in about 30 minutes. I wish the traffic were like that every morning. It takes me 45 minutes to drive to Atmos, which is where I’ll be for the next few months. That’s less time than it takes me to get to the KPMG building downtown, but I have to drive the whole way. I do have an idea of how I can make the most of that hour and a half each day, though, so it should be bearable. Anyway, my flight left on time and actually arrived at La Guardia an hour early. We had to wait on the runway for 40 minutes, though, because there wasn’t a gate ready for us. I got my bags and got to the hotel at 3:30 EST. We’re staying that the Inter-Continental The Barclay on E. 48th Street in Midtown. It’s very nice. My roommate isn’t here yet, and I don’t know her, but I hope she’s nice. I’m not as familiar with this area of Manhattan. Most of my time here two summers ago was spent in Uptown or Downtown or western or more central Midtown. However, it’s just one block over to 5th Avenue and a short walk to Times Square and Central Park, so that’s cool. The Waldorf Astoria is right across the street.

So I got to the hotel at 3:30. The next person to get here from Dallas didn’t get here until about 7:00, so I walked around Rockefeller Plaza and Times Square then went up to Columbia and took some pictures. I met up with Gregg later and we went and got some dinner then walked around Times Square some more. My roommate got to the hotel at about 11:30. She’s from the L.A. office. She and her friend from L.A. hadn’t had dinner, so we showed them the way to Times Square so they could get something to eat. I’m a little tired of Times Square now!

Monday, 1/22/07

By the time we got back to the hotel last night, unpacked, and showered, it was pretty late. We didn’t get to sleep until about 2 am. Then, we got up and went back out at 7 am to take advantage of our morning. KPMG stuff didn’t start until 1:30, but we had to be back by 12 to register. We started the day by riding the subway down to South Ferry to take some pictures of the Statue of Liberty then walked through the Financial District and up Wall Street. We went to see how things are progressing at Ground Zero. It has to feel really special for those people who are involved in the construction of the new WTC and memorial. We walked up through Greenwich Village and to City Hall and the court house. I felt like Casey Novak walking down the L&O court house steps. Then, we took the subway to Union Square and ate lunch at the Chat ‘n’ Chew, which is the popular southern cooking restaurant that I enjoyed when I was here in 2004. They have the best macaroni and cheese I’ve ever tasted, as well as some excellent sweet potato fries.

Monday - Friday

KPMG stuff started at 1:30 with a general session on Monday. There are a lot of really nice new hires here, so it’s been fun to get to know them. We’re in class pretty much all day – from 8:30 to 5:30 – then we have evening events that last until about 9 or 10. We went out Monday and Tuesday night. Monday night, KPMG took us out to eat at a trendy bistro called Rue 57 (on 57th street, of course), and Tuesday night, several of us went to Serendipity 3 and had frozen hot chocolate. It was cold, but it was delicious! Wednesday, they made us do this team-building exercise which I really didn’t care for. This company came in from Chicago and divided us into groups and had us make 60 second digital films about KPMG. My group did not work well together, and the emphasis of team-building got lost almost immediately. There was a lot of arguing, and in the end, we ended up with a film that’s funniest moment came when a hotel maid unknowingly (or knowingly and nonchalantly) wandered through the end of one of our shots. The other groups actually came up with some very clever, funny films. My group spent too much time fighting that we never really came up with a concept and ended up just filming a pointless sixty seconds. I have to say I was very annoyed. First of all, you all know how introverted I am, and after two full days of being around sixty new college graduates, the last people I wanted to be around were college graduates. I was exhausted and easily agitated, and I clearly didn’t have the same sense of humor as most of the people in my group, so I ended up just giving in and watching it all go on. I will say that I got to know most of the people in my group better before the end of the week, and they are all very likeable. I even shared a cab back to the airport with my co-director (we didn’t see eye-to-anything during the shoot), and we got along very well. I think we were just all a little tired of each other and the hotel, and we had some very opinionated people in our group. I don’t think it was the best exercise for team-building, though…team-breaking maybe. We built better relationships when we were just sitting in the lobby talking or splitting up in groups to explore the city.

Thursday was the only night we had free to do whatever we wanted, so I started out with a group of 16 people planning on going ice-skating in Central Park. This was the ONE thing I wanted to do while I was in NY because I love ice-skating and it’s THE thing you do in NY in the winter. Unfortunately, I seem to have strained my knee or something, and the walking and the cold weather really agitated it. By Thursday, it was pretty painful and unstable, so I had to skip out on the ice-skating. Our group broke up, and I led those that didn’t want to skate to Little Italy to eat Italian food at a tiny little Italian restaurant called Sal’s. It was very good, and it was very welcome after four days of a total of three meal combinations served across eight meals, and two of the meals included fish, which I do NOT like. I’ve never been more thankful for pasta!

Friday came and we wrapped up our courses and said goodbye. I made some really good friends throughout the week, and I hope I get the chance to work with some of them on an engagement, or at least to see them again at some point. Many of them are coming to the March session of Advisory University which happens to be in Dallas, so we can have a reunion and talk about our first two months of work.

It was a good week in NYC, but I was certainly glad to get home. Friday was the coldest day in NY in two years, so Dallas was sounding good, although Dallas is unusually cold now, too, and my thought is that if you have to be cold, you might as well be cold somewhere other than Dallas where the cold weather creates an enchanting atmosphere. Also, I was quite ready to be done with spending every hour of the day with a group of sixty people. No offense intended to the other new hires, but I can only handle that for so long before I just want to be entirely alone. It’s just the way I am.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

NYC pictures, pt. 2

Columbia University

Columbia University

Times Square

Hsin-mei (Dallas IARCS with me), Diana (L.A. office, roommate), and Whitney on subway

NYC pictures

Frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity. Sooo good. I shared it, though, and we still didn't finish it!

Wollman Rink in Central Park (Trump owns it)

Chrysler Building right down street (Lexington Ave.) from hotel

Kim (San Fran office), Olga (Orlando office), Whitney, and Marina (Silicon Valley office) on subway after dinner in Little Italy

NY update coming soon; Manic Monday

I know some of you are expecting updates about New York and my first real days of work. I promise that they're coming. In fact, the NY entry is ready, but it's on my work computer because that's what I had with me in New York, and my work computer takes forever to boot up. I don't really want to mess with that right now, especially since L&O: SVU is about to start. I'll get it off of that computer tomorrow at work and post it in the evening.

I guess I can start with an update on yesterday and today - my first real days on the job.

I start out on my first actual client engagement at the end of February, so for the next three weeks, they've staffed me with four different teams to start learning about internal audit. Yesterday (Monday), I was supposed to be at my first assignment at 8:30 am. It was down southwest of downtown, and you know how far northeast I live, so I left at 7:00 thinking I would be safe and allow myself enough time to get there. I mean, also, it was my first time really navigating that part of Dallas by car, and it was smack dab in the middle of rush hour. Anyway, I got there at 7:45, but that's allowing for about 10 minutes that I was lost. Mapquest gave me some unclear directions. So I get there, and when I get up to our floor, no one is there.

I pull out my phone to call my transitional coach, who got me staffed here, and realize I've got a voicemail. First, I never would have answered my phone while I was driving in that mess. Second, my phone is screwed up and sometimes calls go straight to voicemail, which is what happened here. So the voicemail says that everyone ended up having meetings that morning and I should go to the KPMG office until I hear from her again at noon with my afternoon assignment.

So I pull out my map and figure out how to get to the KPMG office. Pretty simple, actually. Then, I get there and have to figure out where I'm going to park. I'm only going to be there for about three hours, so I want to just park at a metered spot right across the street from the office, but I didn't have any change. There was a deli close by so I stopped in and got a few quarters to last me. I ended up just working on more of my training stuff at KPMG while waiting for information on the rest of my day.

My TC called me at noon and told me I would be out at a client in Las Colinas, so I Mapquest that. This time, Mapquest was pretty close, and I got there in 20 minutes. I was there all afternoon and left at about 6:20 (wow!). It took me an hour to get home!

--------- Aw, L&O's a rerun and I've seen it. :( ---------

Anyway, I'm hoping that's my only day like that because, I mean, waking up at 6, leaving at 7, and getting home after 7? Factor in the 8 hours of sleep that I would like (I'm learning to handle 7), and that leaves about 3 hours to eat, shower, and get ready for the next day! So different from college! Then, I could wake up at 7:30, throw on some clothes, go to class, come home, eat lunch, take a nap, go back to class, come home, and have about six hours before I had to go to sleep!

It's okay, though. I know that each client is going to differ in what they need, and I'll just have to learn to adjust to those needs. After all, flexibility is good, and I'm never going to be a "college" student in that same sense again, so I'd better get used to this.

Today was less hectic. I only had to go to my Las Colinas engagement, and I stayed pretty busy. Tomorrow, I think I'm actually going to start with some real work for the engagement, so I'm looking forward to that.

And the best part is that there is a Rosa's in Hurst about 20 minutes away, so I'm planning to take a trip over there on a lunch break this week or next!

So, that's what's been happening. It's crazy, but I think that's just because it's so different from what I'm used to. As I become more familiar with the driving situation over here and learn to prioritize and maximize my time in a work setting, I think things will settle down. My living arrangement is really nice. Even though it's a long drive, I've got family to come home to which clearly separates work from home and relaxes me. I know I'll have to move out eventually, but hopefully by then I'll have adjusted to it all a little more.

Oh, the good part about my commute (yes, there is one good thing) is that I get to listen to Kidd Kraddick for a whole hour! That commute is hard because I'm used to driving in Lubbock. I would complain about my 15 minute commute to work, which was far in Lubbock. That's nothing compared to this, but in Lubbock, I was always a little disappointed when I had to turn off the radio in the middle of a good segment. Now, I get plenty of listening time. I'm planning on getting one of those language learning courses, like Pimsleur, for Spanish or Italian, and using my afternoon commute to learn a new language. It'd be a shame to just let that hour go to waste without doing anything productive.

I think that's pretty much all I can think of to share right now. I'll try to get NY details up tomorrow, but I'll go ahead and post some NY pictures tonight.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Crazy week!

So.....work. Well, let's see. There were about 12 new hires in my training group, and there are three of us in IARCS, which is Internal Audit, Regulatory and Compliance Services. If you have no idea what that is, well, neither do I. I mean, I have a general description. Internal audit is like external audit except we audit internal controls, processes, technology, policies, and financial statements. The Regulatory and Compliance Services part means we consult on Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance for the companies. I'll have a better idea of what it is we do exactly in a couple of months, and I'll update as I learn more. But the thing is, these things aren't really covered in accounting classes. I'm the only accounting major in my group, so I'm probably a little more familiar with some of the concepts and frameworks we use, but we're all pretty much internal audit idiots right now. It should be interesting. I'm not worried or discouraged, though, because there are a lot of people in internal audit, and I'm sure they all entered without any idea what they'd be doing, too, and now they all seem to be just fine!

I know the weather's bad in Lubbock. We've had some weather here, too. So Monday was my first day, and the roads were REALLY icy. KPMG delayed opening until 10:00, but all of the new hires had no way of knowing that, so we showed up on time and ended up waiting for our stuff to start late. We met our transitional coaches and performance managers. Mine are both very nice...Richa and Jamele.

Tuesday, we went in and had our HR orientation. It was...not exciting. Then, we spent the rest of the day working on our online training. There are a ton of short "courses" we have to complete. They're long and boring, and they're all on the computer. After three straight days of doing that, my eyes are killing me.

Wednesday, the weather was bad again. Of course, most of the new hires still didn't have voicemail set up so we showed up at 8:00 only to learn that the office was delayed until 10:00. We got to work on our online training because we were all alone and had nothing else to do. Then, at 9:00 (after we'd all set up our voicemail), we got the message that the office was delayed until 12:00! So we used about an hour of our downtime to explore the area. We found the skywalks and tunnels that led to the food courts around the area. It's a pretty neat system!

Today, Hsin-mei (one of the other IARCS new hires) and I went out to Atmos Energy here in Dallas. That's were we are assigned for March through May. We met the team, had lunch, and continued working on our online training. We're out there again tomorrow, then we have the rest of January and February without anything scheduled, so we'll see where we end up for those weeks. Our performance managers are looking for somewhere to send us.

Sunday, we're all off to NYC for a week of advisory training with all of the US advisory new hires. I'm looking forward to that because I've never been to NYC in the winter! It's going to be so cold, but it will be partly sunny all week, so it should be nice. I LOVE New York!

Um, other details...I'm living way out in Sachse with my cousins. It's a long commute, but it's not too bad, and it's a good living arrangement. I drive about 20 minutes to the DART line then ride in for about 30 minutes. I get off about two minutes from the KPMG building. Of course, we're not in the building that often since we're always out at clients, so my commute will change a lot.

I think that's about all for this week. The weather's going to get bad again this weekend, but I'm pretty jealous that Lubbock's going to get a record snowfall. THAT'S where I want to be! That is, until Sunday when I'm off to NY!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Working Girl, Pt. I

Well, as of Monday I'm officially a working girl. I'm going to make this entry pretty short because I have to wake up REALLY early in the morning. I have to leave about 1h20 before I'm supposed to be at work. Back home, I could leave 10 minutes before I had to be at work! This will certainly take some getting used to, but I'm loving my living arrangement, so it's all worth it. Just in case anyone didn't know, I'm living with my cousin, his wife, and their 18-month-old little boy, Noah. He's quite the fun kid to be around. He does this thing where he leans forward on the couch and then slams his back into the back cushions. Last night, he decided to do it as I was leaning behind him to look at something Ryan was showing us, and the back of his head slammed into my nose. LOUD noise and quite painful at first, but it didn't hurt long and luckily it's not swollen or bruised enough to be noticeable.

Anyway, back to work. I drive about 20 minutes to the DART station in Garland, and then I ride the train (it's a 27 minute ride) and get off about two minutes from my office. The routine itself shouldn't be bad normally. It was yesterday and today because of this bizarre ice storm that hit. It was freezing! Anyway, the routine should be fine...it's just having to leave so early that is hard to handle!

Okay, I have to go to bed now so I can wake up on time in the morning. I actually overslept this morning. I did well yesterday, but I'm not sure what happened today. I may have mis-set my alarm or hit the "off" button instead of the "snooze" button, which I do often. Kyle (my cousin) is going to make sure I'm up tomorrow. It's a good thing I'm living with Kyle and Ryan (my surrogate father and mother)until I get used to this!

I'll post tomorrow night about my experiences so far at KPMG.