Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The power of peer coaching

Well, today was Day 3 of the training class. I am now starting to notice that some of my Qwest skills/habits are trickling over into this job.

I am picking up the material pretty fast and have been able to get a grip on the computer system. As a long time United passenger and flyergeek, it's going to take time for me to learn the US Airways booking code pecking order because there's some significant differences.

Anyway, I have found myself involved in peer-coaching. This means where I have been able to build the trust of other people in the same class who have received the same amount of training and I have been able to help them in areas of the training where they need help or are not understanding.

I believe that a training class is a team. There is no competition here. The objective is that the trainee is able to understand the material and pass all mandatory tests. If there's anything I can do to encourage peer coaching or "study buddies", then I will. The training team is supportive of this.

Hmmm.. maybe all of those years of office visits and deskside coaching is going to help here. Cross your fingers!

Monday, October 30, 2006

I found diversity in the workplace in Phoenix!

After 20 very interesting years in the telecommunications industry, I had finally parted ways with my previous emloyer, Qwest Communications. I had kept my eye on my other love, the airline industry. Today, I started my entry into this industry. I have started at US Airways as a Reservations Agent.

This is not my ultimate dream job, but it is my foot in the door. It is also food on the table and benefits. Those who pass the course have some of the most extensive training within the company. After 90 days, employees may transfer to most other positions, which I plan to do. Now I admit, my last job assignment at Qwest before my departure did make me homesick to be in the centers (I did spend 12+ years on the phones already).

I chose US Airways for several reasons. The most important reason was their Corporate Equality Index rating of 100. The CEI is produced each year by the Human Rights Campaign. A GLBT watchdog group. This 100 rating means that they protect gender identity in their non-discrimination policy.

I found myself welcome during the interview and hiring process and so far in the initial training. I am happy to see other transgender employees in positions other than the front lines. This sends the right message to me.

I was impressed as I was walking into the door. Because walking in with me was a girl with her white cane and a man with his service dog. And I thought, WOW! A company that is actually adpoting adaptive technology! This never happened at Qwest!

I did speak with the site director. Apparently, they can make reasonable accommodations for totals (screen readers.. I don't know what software) and partials (extra large screens and supersive fonts). Also, the main computer system that the reservatons agents use does not require the mouse to function. They train all keyboard. This will be helpful for blind and visually impaired employees.

I was also very impressed with the diverse makeup in my class. Now, in all fairness, Qwest had diversity. But I think that US Airways has it better. If you would like to work in one of Phoenix's most diverse work environments, go check out US Airways!!!!!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

North Tempe's picnic in the park

On Saturday, Kristi, Shawn, Bear and myself went to the annual picnic in the park that is held by GAIN (Getting Arizona Involved in Neighborhoods) and the North Tempe Neighborhood Association (NTNA).

Our car broke down along the way, we had to tow it home, which is a story in itself.

There were a lot of fun things to do including activities for the kids, wildlife demonstrations, fire/police equipment displays, hot dogs, pie eating contest and a free raffle. We won a beach chair and a Starbucks gift bag. (I guess a modern day Ladmo Bag?)

There was a really impressive turn-out this year and if I am still in North Tempe next year around this time, I look forward to the next one.

I have made a small photo journal of the activites at this link.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Who said there's no such thing as a free ride?

This week, I attended a community workshop on the proposed new routes for Tempe's Neighborhood FLASH system. The first neighborhood FLASH route was established as a result of the 1996 sales tax vote. Back then, I was very involved with the city, especially in the North Tempe area where I live, to get transit service improved here.

I am very happy to see the new circulator that will be running in the Summer of 2007, which will give our area a good (and free) connection to the Downtown Tempe area. I have filed comments supporting the concept and making some minor route change suggestions.

Also for those of you in Tempe, the annual GAIN "picnics in the parks" is this Saturday afternoon. Come out to your local park and support your neighborhood association.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The kids love Persephone!

Since I left Qwest, I have been unemployed for the past month and have been pretty much self employed during that time working on a major contract.

Anyway, during this time, I got to go with Kristi and Bear to "Kids Club". This is a periodic free show that is put on at the various Westcor shopping malls here in the Phoenix area.

In addition to the dressed character "Webster the Warthog", the show stars a local artist named Persephone. Now those who know me know that I am not musically minded where I can create music. I can't even sing on key. Anyway, I have caught a couple of Persephone's shows at the Fiesta Mall in Mesa over the month of October.

What I like about her is that she is a master at that keyboard and she can come up with very spontaneous musical bits based on what is going on and who is sitting in the audience. What really impressed me was last Monday's show where the children were dressed in Halloween costumes. While the children were "marching" around the area, she noticed a little boy in a Batman costume. The next thing you know, she stops what she is playing and breaks out into the 1960's theme from the TV series "Batman"! I am sorry, but that IS creativity!

Persephone and I have that thing in common where as we see something, we can immediately drop everything and respond to it creatively. For Persephone, it's done with her keyboard and singing where for me it's done with Photoshop or Cool Edit Pro.

So after I got back home, I decided to Google her and came across her official website where I noticed that she does more than just the kid's shows at the shopping malls. She also has a beautiful cockatoo which she uses at certain types of shows.

If you are in Arizona and you have kids, I strongly suggest that you come see Persephone at one of the Westcor malls. I guarantee you that your kids and even yourself will be entertained.

I am about to start a regular job again where my schedule will conflict with Kids Club so I just want to say for the short time I have had an opportunity to see her live, Thank You Persephone for being a part of my life for a short period of time. If there's ever a break in the action, I will come see you again! For now, Kristi and little Bear are still going to see you and Webster!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

North Tempe Multigenerational Center

I live in a special area of Tempe called North Tempe. The reason we are different is that we are physically separated from the rest of Tempe by the Salt River now known as Tempe Town Lake.

This weekend, our mayor Hugh Hallman dedicated the new North Tempe Multigenerational Center. I had the privilege of attending this event.

In the past, I have referred to North Tempe as "the forgotten zone" because of the physical separation, we have always been on the short end when it came to community improvements. Many people mistake us for living in Scottsdale.

10 years ago, I complained about not enough transit up in this area and working with my friends Carlos De Leon (who is now the Director of Public Works in Tempe) and Mary O'Connor (who is now the Transportation Manager for the City of Scottsdale), we were able to get Line 76 extended into Tempe as well as getting Line 66 brought over the hill and terminated at the former Los Arcos Mall.

This new community center is larger than life and sometimes makes you wonder why North Tempe received such a beautiful facility. A big amount of the credit should go to the North Tempe Neighborhood Association (we apologize that the website appears to be outdated), who worked hand in hand with the City and the School District to get this facility built.

Some of the features of this facility include things for the kids including a Headstart preschool that our little Bear loved seeing (actually, when it was time to go, he broke out of my hand and made a beeline back for the classroom). Well he's got another 2 years or so before he is ready for it. There is an extension of the library with computers and a printer that is much cheaper than going to Kinkos. There are many community rooms, ASU health clinic, and offices for groups such as the local Boys and Girls Clubs, Chicanos Por La Causa, Tempe Family YMCA and the NTNA. There is also full Senior Center with a really nice HD TV, computers and bingo.

I want to personally thank the City of Tempe for not forgetting us on the north-bank of their beloved Town Lake. Now if they can just get the water levels down on the other side of the rubber dams.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Why am I still awake?

It's after midnight. I am working on Hardcore 1 right now. Something big may be coming to it real soon. Stay tuned.