wacky reflections from a nutcracker wannabe

Category: new job

Why “Murphy”*?

“The chance of the bread falling with the buttered side down is directly proportional to the cost of the carpet.” – unknown


Funny things just happen to all of us. For me, it has become a normalcy. While the previous blog posts re. the cancer diagnosis are most certainly not “Murphy moments”, the “gooooiter” growth might well be.

And while it’s very hard to top being given honors from my friend, Mark, as a combo Jackie O and Dick Butkis, my ‘Melissa Murphy Moment’s’ are just part of what make me who I am. 🙂 Thus, this blog- “Murphy or Mel” – was born.

So, you ask, what is/has been a “Melissa Murphy Moment”……(and many of you will recall and giggle and/or want to share …it’s ok, my parent’s are fully aware of what they created.)

– Just out of grad school and teaching my first college class at 28, I wore a student provided adaptive hearing device into the ladies room accidentally still turned to “on”.

– Being new in my career and first real job (probably first or second year) and wearing red panties under white linen pants.

– Using the phrase “that’s a great money shot” when reviewing final production for our new television commercial with the (national food company) CEO sitting directly next to me (without knowing what the phrase meant until later AND being the only woman in the room). (btw- there really was a photo of a dollar bill in the actual TV spot.)

– Being awarded the very prestigious “40 under 40” award by the St. Louis Business Journal in 2010 after 400+ submissions, only to have a big apology and the award rescinded, because I turned 40 just three months prior. The graduate school Dean who submitted my entry entered my birthday incorrectly. (I keep it in my LinkedIn profile and resume because I earned that damn award.) My former CEO, Bill Shaner, called me to congratulate and shared great advice…”when did we go from being the rock star to the mentor?”. His wisdom and ability to laugh at the issue dulled the hurt. Until now.

– Trading in my dying but wonderfully fun Audi for a new Saab automatic, only to drive it thru the garage door in the first 24 hours. I wasn’t used to the difference after 20+ years with a manual transmission. Mol said “Mommy, why are we driving thru the garage door?” $1000 later, I owned a new garage door too. 🙂

– Having a great idea in the shower only to not have a notepad handy. So, I found a pantyliner, wrote my thought, carried to work and planted on my desk, got distracted by another project just as the (male) Division President came in and sat down to talk. Yes, panty liner in full view.

-Locking my keys in the car two times in the same day. Once at the gas tank. Once while the car was still running at 9:30 at night at the bank drop box.

– writing 100+ thank you notes before my daughter was born signed from “Melissa and Hannah” to instead name her “Mollyanna”

– crying when I got a tattoo the size of a quarter but being told to wake up when giving birth to my sweet girl. (ok, drugs and an episode of Oprah were involved there 🙂

– Scared of horses but dating a boy who I didn’t know was a national rodeo champion until three weeks later. He said Purina-Nestle.

– Asking to borrow the brand new shuttle bus for a two mile parade to have it not start in what would have been its first day in use- Just after the parade.

– Finishing a motorcycle riding class after dropping the bike, only to send and receive a letter from the IL Dept of Transportation thanking me for NOT getting my motorcycle license.

– Marrying a man with a Golden Retriever who has been beautifully house trained and won’t even get sick on the carpet. My yoga mat however? Not part of the training and more than once a select spot for Barkley’s sickness.

– Hiring a local lawn company to ‘pretty up’ my lawn to sell my house, only to have them do one spray and completely kill the yard in 24 hours, setting me back three months of sales opps and $$$ of watering…in the worst year ever to sell a house (2011).

– Asking for a fake name at the hospital for a recent procedure and getting a name with a misspelling and then best yet, a bill to her not me.

-And travel misadventure (a future blog for sure)…likely having an FBI record for an airport bomb threat scare (misunderstanding, really) in Cleveland; Watching news crews in Chicago surround our plane after some dude dropped a bag of large white powder as he entered first class (probably beignets mix- lol); Working a motorcycle rally in Laughlin, Nevada both before and after a gang motorcycle shooting hit national news; Being on a plane to Portland where the toilet blew up; Working truck stop focus groups in New Jersey with folks who lack teeth; accidentally carrying produce across the Chilean border; Booking a flight to Vancouver and realizing they meant WA not BC; Being stuck in countless airports all over the world- both with and without luggage; and one of my personal fav’s….being placed in an unmarked car in Buenos Aires and pretend texting (that wasn’t working) while hoping I was actually headed to a hotel in the right Argentine city and not being abducted.

We all have stuff, but how can you not giggle that things just happen? This is life.

No, this is my life. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything. 🙂


dating is a lot like picking a new company to call home.

Seriously, what happens with DNA? How is it I am the marketer/advertising geek, and both of my brothers are math/science wizz-like? Maybe I should take credit for leaving part of my own DNA so theirs could double. Wait, that wouldn’t double…see, exactly my point.

well, when one brother has recently finished his PhD in chemistry and asks his older but worldly sister for advice on how to pick the right company when multiple offers present themselves, how can I resist but compare my professional and personal dating drama…..

Imagine moving in with someone you JUST met after one or two dates, maybe a meal, no sleepover, and if lucky, more than a few hours spent together talking about real issues, not just surface stuff. A new company is not much different. It’s a second home.

Ask yourself what it will be like to get irritated and find resolution with new people you’ve not spent years together getting to know (and a quick Meyers Briggs doesn’t change us overnight)?

Will you have room to assert your opinion even BEFORE asked?

Meeting the kids and parents (meaning, those you manage or those who manage your own supervisor) – My experience is the more you meet the staff in advance, the smarter and stronger your second home will be. You are “on” with the big wigs, but you are in the trenches with peers and the on the ground supervisors. If you haven’t met them, ask. What does it say if the company doesn’t allow? The goal being to learn how open the company treats employees- do the colleagues really “get” the company vision, are they empowered to make change, do they know their own succession plan, are they threatened, etc? The best matches- at least for me- are open and ready to offer growth in the public eye.

Imagine brushing your teeth next to the folks you met (b/c traveling, late nights and long days means getting to know someone very very well).

Imagine a peer steals an idea and markets as their own. How will you address or will you chose long relationship over the short term moment? In essence, you are signing up for a second home, and without the dating or really getting to know culture. Consider which company you know you can call a peer out and still end as comfortable colleagues who work as a team.

Ask yourself what it felt like to walk in and out? Is the vibe a match for you? Not b/c you want the role and they want you- remember this is like a date, and you are both courting today. In a few short weeks, that part is gone, and you are part of a team. The vibe must be win-win.

What did they wear, how did they speak to you, was it conversational, all biz, comfortable and open, etc? And what works for you- 8+ hours a day?
This is your second home, and it won’t feel like a home for a while. You will feel displaced, so finding a confidante early and letting them do the talking (while you observe without offering big change immediately) is critical. Regardless of what you choose, don’t jump in and start making changes in the first 90 days. Observe, make note, think at 30k’. Time will allow for the opportunities you see for change in time.

Money is just money. Don’t make a call because of a higher salary. It will come if the fit is right. And if not, own your own path and move forward.

The fit MUST be right, and only you can trust your inner guide to make that decision for you. Just listen.

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