fair to jmiddlin

August 14, 2013

Blackout 2003

Filed under: Uncategorized — jmiddlin @ 9:28 pm

The internet says that 10 years ago today was the black-out. The power outage that started with some stupid rodent chewing on a cable that took almost all of Michigan, the Mid-West, and East coast offline for days… Or something like that.

Sometimes my memory is very foggy, but I do remember the blackout well…

I was at work. At TSC. We had recently moved into our “new-to-us” building and I remember thinking it was just a new building glitch that bumped us off the grid again. When you work for a tech company, 100% of your job is on a computer. After a few minutes of chatting with our wing, we started to wander to the development end of the building. I went to Paul right away.

We had been dating and were in the processing of moving the rest of his stuff into my house. Only a few weeks prior I was at Gnomedex and he “surprised me” by moving in without me knowing. WIthout asking. (It meant he brought his bed, his cats, and his TV). I knew I had a surprise coming when I got home, I thought maybe he painted something.  It had only been 2 months.

So that day, we all ended up leaving work and going to the only place that had electricity nearby, the bar. Legitimately. Then, we took advantage of the daylight and headed to Paul’s townhouse to pack up a few things. I remember it so clearly because it was the day he was telling his mother that he was moving in with me. A conversation I didn’t want to listen to. I was afraid of what her response might be. I always tried to be respectful of her beliefs, even if I didn’t share them. This was sure to be a surprise.

So 10 years later, I’m driving the three children we would eventually have together to their school, worried I’m going to have to answer the question: “Where’s Daddy? Why isn’t he here?” It was the ice cream social night. An event we had always attended. Not this time.

I knew why he wouldn’t be there. I asked earlier in the day and knew the curt “No.” response I got meant one thing. This time, one week into the school year he was choosing his girlfriend over a school event for his kids. Granted, it wasn’t like he skipped conferences, but it was always something we did together.

I couldn’t have imagined this is where I’d be today. But I am so much happier. I love my kids. I’m doing well as a single Mom. I see hope in a future with a partner that understands me and respects me. I love myself enough to know that even though today I had that uncomfortable butterfly in my stomach again, I don’t need to feel ashamed for what I’m doing.  And what a difference!


August 11, 2013

The state of things

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — jmiddlin @ 9:00 pm

Too long for a status update on Facebook… I wanted to vague book about all the details, but it felt wrong. So the thing is, I get a lot of puppy dog eyes asking me “How I’m doing?” And the truth is, honestly, I am good!

I thought I was going through the most amicable, peaceful, agreeable divorce in history. I was naive. More so that I thought I was capable of. I don’t think an amicable divorce exists.

I am not sad that my marriage is over; I am sad that I feel deceived. I MAD as hell that although we both said we wouldn’t do it, Paul jumped right into a relationship with a co-worker the moment I moved out. Possibly before. Someone I’ve been suspicious of for a long time. They didn’t even wait for the divorce to be final. It was a slap in the face to me as a wife, and more importantly as a woman. Rebound relationships seldom work and since he seems to takes no responsibility for what went wrong in the marriage and jumped into something else, I suspect this won’t either. Maybe she’s perfect, maybe he’s perfect, but nothing is perfect.

The pain I feel is overwhelming at times. We both made mistakes in our relationship. We both knew it was over. But I can’t help but feel that the terms we agreed in our divorce mediation was based on false circumstances at the very least.

In the end, I am fine. I will find a healthy, loving, respectful relationship when I’m ready for it. In the meantime, I’m learning about who I am and trying to keep it all in perspective. I have developed truly valuable friendships with people (men and women). I am taking care of me. I have had to let go of friendships. It is incredibly hard to do, but I can’t be friends with people who know the circumstances of our situation and choose to turn a blind eye to the hurt he has caused me.

If you see me, now that I am happier now that I have been in the past ten years. I don’t have to hide from who I truly am and what I feel.

December 13, 2012

Intent vs. Impact: Gender Diversity Edition

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — jmiddlin @ 11:15 am

Intent vs. Impact: Gender Diversity Edition

Written by a woman about workplace gender issues. Very well done and a meaningful follow up to my last post about sexism.

December 4, 2012

“Womanly” Advice

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — jmiddlin @ 12:32 pm

This started as simply a vaguebook post and got so long I had to stop myself.


My closest friends and family know about a difficult situation I’ve recently experienced. My “WhoaMan?!?!?” issue. (As in, seriously, it’s 2012, you can’t seriously be calling me “Missy,” can you?)

When these issues reared their ugly head another woman gave me some “woman to woman” advice: “Just try not to think about it or worry too much. Just do your thing and go home.”

It was one of those rare moments where my filter worked and I just smiled and nodded.

Long gone are the days of playing the mousey, meek, whatever you say “sir” ways of the working mom. Where am I, Mad Men? Am I supposed to wear a low cut blouse and pale pink lipstick at all times? Make sure I always pick up a fresh bottle of whiskey and have it prepared for my husband when he gets home from work? Flash every man a honest, welcoming smile when he enters the room?

I understand the philosophy of picking your battles and attracting more bees with honey than vinegar, believe me, I do.  But when I see someone, who I think, is singled out based on their sex, be damn sure I will not sit idly by.

I am 32 years old. In my professional life I’ve experienced sexism on various levels: 

  • Said to me by a man in his 70’s at my college job: “On your knees, now that’s where I like to see you.” (I was kneeling on the ground, in my ‘professional attire required’ skirt – filing papers.)
  • I’ve had men ask me to speak to “my boss” when I didn’t give them the answer they wanted.
  • I’ve been told that “my decision will spell the demise of the company” I was working for because I didn’t understand what the sales rep was selling. (How’s that working out, TechSmith? Did I ruin you?)
  • “Well, the problem is that you don’t smile enough. I’m sorry, but you just won’t make it far here.” (Thanks, Target. I spoke to *your* manager about my smile and he not only disagreed, but promoted me within weeks. And then I quit.)

I will not ever. EVER. Let someone say something out of line to a colleague. Intern, vendor or otherwise. I’ve stomached enough of that on my own and whenever I am in the position to right a situation, I will. I was able to put up with snide sexist remarks long enough. (That waitress really shouldn’t wear that shirt. Someday I’ll teach my wife to write the grocery list in proper order. It’s nice to see you with a manicure, so many professional women let themselves get so haggard. I know you thought you held your own, but you just didn’t.)
If I’m going to bother working (unlike “normal moms” according to Norah) I’m going to care. I will say what needs saying. The idea of being meek and not standing up for what’s right isn’t in my DNA. Never will be. I will always use my brain and stop fueling the stereotypical “working mom” role. I love my children dearly, always will, but I will not save all of my cares and concerns for life at home. It just perpetuates the issue with my own children to know that daddy’s job is important and challenging, but not mom’s.

Women will continually be pushed over by other women and men who “care more” about work than them. Men wouldn’t speak to other men this way. They don’t. They can say what needs saying without retaliation or hostility. They aren’t labeled a bitch or ‘crazy woman’ for speaking their mind.

I know it happens to others and I’m certain it happens to men at work too. Please share your sexist stories with me. Until then, that vague-rant felt very, very good.

November 3, 2012

Fresh Baked Ideas

Filed under: Uncategorized — jmiddlin @ 1:31 am

It’s been a rough few months dealing with uncertain circumstances and unhappy environments. I’m thinking about doing something new and different. Changing the course. Conspiring with some smart folks and I want to see it happen. Building on the amazing ties I’ve made and going forth with a new venture.

I’m being vague, but, how often do you have an idea for something new that you just put off. This one wakes me up at 1 a.m. and I just have to write it down.

Inspiration is easy for me. Execution (aka funding) is tricky. 

Just need to connect connect connect and make it so.

October 28, 2012

Might be time to start again

Filed under: Uncategorized — jmiddlin @ 9:37 pm

Why not blog again. I have some things to say…

March 8, 2010

A reply to John Schneider

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — jmiddlin @ 6:22 pm

Dear John,

I read your blog post, and I have more than a few things to say about your review of Ignite Lansing.

I am one of the core volunteers for this Ignite and the two prior events.  I am wide open to feedback, and would welcome it in a constructive manner.  But you are doing a disservice to your employer, our community and to the individuals that are trying to keep Lansing competitive on a global scale.  Someone in your position, supposedly posting a review has a professional duty to do their due diligence.  I guess I just don’t understand why you used your position of influence to post this.  Please explain.

As a PR professional, I would have enjoyed the opportunity to work with you on your review of Ignite.  I personally gave Lansing City Pulse writer, Gretchen Cochran a site preview Thursday afternoon and granted early entry to Life in Lansing reporters Anne and Mark.  I have given countless interviews to others that were interested in hearing from us.  I have worked with journalists for many years at both the local level and at some of the most prestigious nationwide publications around the world.  What I know how to do, is tell you the what and why of an event.  Especially one like Ignite Lansing.

Ignite Lansing is not just an event that Lansing wants (proof: we’ve more than doubled our attendance in less than a year); but an event the world is supporting.  Ignite was started by O’Rielly Media, a global publisher and event producer.  Ignite Lansing was just one of more than 65 Ignites happening all over the globe last week.   An event that cost nearly $20,000 to produce solely through the support of local businesses and organizations who see the value.  One sponsor, Capital Macintosh told me he’d support Ignite every time, in a conversation where I was soliciting feedback from him.

Am I personally, offended?  Absolutely.  I have dedicated much of my personal time to trying to improve the Lansing State Journal.  I have had several meetings and conversations with former LSJ reporter Robyn Miner-Schwartz, Elaine Kulhanek and was invited to speak to your editorial board about this “hip-looking young folks holding bottles of beer” in December.   A meeting that I was not only happy to do, but one that I did not blog about publicly.

About the presentations.  I find it highly offensive that you call a presenter who is clearly not a native speaker unintelligible.  I realize the stereotypical mid-westerner doesn’t typically hear from folks from different parts of the world, but that is bigotry.   There will be some presentations that were better than others, which is why we enable the public to pick the presentations they will hear, but also to vote for a winner.

Not only have you inspired nearly 600 proud Lansing advocates against you, I imagine you will be hearing from the Kiwanis club as well.   I saw several Rotary Club members, and leaders at the event who not only enjoyed themselves, but had the decency to stay awhile.

If you would like to meet or talk publicly about your misunderstanding about the changes happening in this community, I’d be happy to. There is a new direction, a new focus and if you’re not on board, get out of the way so we can get something done.   I have seen many of your colleagues, competitors and co-workers present at these events.  But never you.  So, I guess I’m not surprised that you don’t get it.

Kind regards,

Jennifer Middlin


February 27, 2010


Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — jmiddlin @ 12:19 pm

I attended the PRSSA’s event on Thursday and jotted down a few guidelines for Social Media from Scott.

1. Listen.
2. Listen some more.
3. Reply in context.
4. Be respectful.
5. Have resources at the ready.
6. You’re always on the record.
7. Be human.
8. Have a sense of humor.
9. Don’t take it personally.

90% of Social Media is just showing up. Its the other half that’s hard.

You can’t outsource a conversation.

A nice chat!

February 24, 2010

Networking Fail

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — jmiddlin @ 11:43 pm

I went to a Grand River Connection networking event this week at Troppo.  I met up with several friends, but was amazed at the crowd that they pulled in.  It has been awhile since I attended one of their events and was really impressed.  I’m really happy for their success.  The Mid-Michigan Tweet Up pulls in a decent crowd and is serving our market.  I’m glad to see that both GRC and MMTU are doing well!

However… One of the reasons I have avoided some of the classic chamber-y networking mixers is because of the trolls.  The men.  Yes, THOSE men.  They show up to professional mixers with the sole purpose of trying to pick up women.

During a conversation with my good friend Bugsy and one of the waitresses/interns for M3.  These men (trolls) interrupted our conversation so one of them could get her phone number.  The pick up line went something like “oh, you’re a copy editor.  I don’t really know what that is?”

I pulled out the nastiest, angriest Middlin I could find and replied with:

“Oh, she could help edit the a**hole out of your Facebook profile.” 

Not my best moment, but it demonstrated everything I HATE about the classic “mixer” mentality.

I gave the group half a chance to redeem themselves and they failed.  Miserably.  Instead of owning up to either a) being unemployed or b) owning up to who they actually worked for; when I asked what they did for a living (after all, we are at a professional networking event) they said, and I quote:

“I do, um, stuff.”

Trolls.  To follow up my incredibly poor attitude, I verbally dismissed them all.

I do not attend these events to watch poor women harassed by drunk men.  I have had my fair share of completely inappropriate trolls.  It is despicable.

Find a way to have a meaningful conversation or relationship with other attendees.  Facebook, Twitter and other social media make it possible. 

A call to action to Lansing.  Let’s evolve trolls.  Networking 2.0, anyone?

I don’t apologize for my behavior.  Trolls deserve to be humiliated for terrible judgment.  I hope the next GRC event I attend is better.  It was great to bump into new friends, and old.

February 23, 2010

Busy Week of “Not Working”

Filed under: Uncategorized — jmiddlin @ 12:06 am

I just realized what a busy week I had coming and needed to jot it down. Also, wanted to share some stuff with my hubby who wonders what I’m up to 🙂

Tuesday: Potential client meeting with an incredible company about community engagement and a first phone interview for a full-time job that I’d kill to have.  Also, an IT Council marketing meeting.  We had really good feedback about the Entrepreneur Panel presentation last week that I put together.  More cool concepts to come!  I’m excited to finally fulfill some of my marketing chair duties and bring more cool IT topics to the community.

Wednesday: A very cool non-profit I’ve been working really hard on is announcing their existence.  I’m on the board and have helped quite a bit – but it is not my project.  I’m really excited about it.  It is one of those projects that could transform our region.  I’ll blog about that later.

I’m meeting with the Chautauqua group from MSU’s RCAH to talk about Ignite Lansing and TEDxLansing.  I’ve volunteered for all three Ignite’s and am leading the charge on TEDxLansing with some of the coolest people in town. 

Thursday: Meeting with the Greater Lansing Business Monthly and some others to discuss student entrepreneurs and mentorship programs.  Should be a productive brainstorming session.  Then, the best part of my day – Lunch with Jo!

Saturday: I’m going to a PRSSA event at MSU to hear Scott Monty speak and sticking around to help judge a project the students are working on.

Today’s lesson: Working for free is fun and extremely rewarding.

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