Oct 17, 2016

Partying on Halloween? How To Pass the Red Face Test

Yes, here we are again.  It's such a great time of year.  Fall is in the air. Pumpkin and spice craft beer is on the shelf and tap.  And, whether venturing out to a pub, or dressing up to trick your neighbors, these simple tips will guarantee you pass the red face test on November 1.
  1. Be polite - If you plan to run from house to house or bar to bar, remember there are wide-eyed children hitting the streets at the same time. Yes, you may be in the group that enjoys this night only with a required i.d.; however, it's important to put things in perspective.  This night is for kids.  
  2. Hygiene-  Your costume may throw down some really awful odors.  Made with synthetic fibers and possibly worn by 25 before you, check yourself.  Go ahead and shower before going out. Splurge on clinical strength deodorant.
  3. Undies - No matter how tempting, don't go "commando". This is not a predictable evening.  Ripping an ill fitting costume will be more than a mishap.  
  4. Costumes and [specifically] Headpieces are to be worn by the sober.   For those consuming adult beverages, shifting masks and drinking are seriously unattractive.  The eye hole is for seeing, not drinking.  Target the mouth or select a different look
  5. No excuse for twerking. Repeat, no excuse for twerking - Skimpy or "sexy" costumes are likely to appear on Facebook.  Appropriate costumes insure no regrets. Girdle-like items should be avoided. Thick body makeup should not be required. Choose something age appropriate.  DON'T stuff a camisole with party favors or a drinking apparatus. Miley's popularity is passe' and your Grandchildren will not understand.
  6. Behavior - Always be polite to dinner patrons and bar staff.  While this can be "your" night, others are out to enjoy.  REMEMBER TO TIP FOR GOOD SERVICE.    
  7. Responsibility - Do stay close to your group and watch out for one another. Never leave adult drinks unattended.     
  8. More responsibility - If you have pets, do not let your animals eat ANY candy or treats! 
  9. Employment - Return home before sun-rise.  If a work day, a hot shower is a must.  Be liberal with mouth wash and deodorant.  Your route should not be traceable.
  10. DON'T: Drink and drive- There's really no excuse. Plan to have a designated driver in advance!
Overall, this day is wicked cool.  Celebrate and consider these tips for a wonderful and safe time.


Jul 13, 2015

The Aging Employee - Reflection, Humor, & Direction

It's Monday morning and I race for an 8:00 a.m. meeting.  The venue? Immersive video. No wrinkle is safe, no sunspot covered. Dress code for team meetings is business casual.   

As the remote locations appear on the screens, there she is bigger than life. She is tall, thin, and not "business casual". She has an MBA from NYU. She is a new member of our team.  I'll come back to Katarina in a bit. For now I have drifted off pondering change...

The definition of a great employee has changed over the last few decades.  Gone are the days when loyalty and tenure are recognized as valuable assets.  As a corporate sales and marketing veteran, companies are doing more with less. But are companies paying less for more? And if so, how?

As tenured [aging] employees receive higher salaries through normal progression, these same employees become a burden to the business.  Finance and Human Resources often tag these employees as “red-zoned” because they have reached the peak of a salary range for a specific job title or abstract.  As a result, the organization’s goal is to move them on or out and to replace with management development candidates with lower salaries.  There are fiscal effects of the population aging in the United States.  And, there are new policies that address old age.

My corporate career began in my twenties. The NFL cities were launching cellular networks and telecommunication companies were hungry for young talent. During this time I was leasing commercial office space for a highly regarded firm.  I resigned and began working for a wireless company at the encouragement of a friend. After all, I lived in one of the start-up markets and would be the first of few initial employees. With an aggressive commission schedule I hit the road.    

You might imagine my husband receiving the news.  He was less than enthusiastic.  Days of suits and conference rooms were replaced with chaos and highway mileage.  My client base changed which required demonstrating cellular technology to construction workers. 

Specifically, the days began early and sales leads took me to all areas of town. I arrived at job sites to schlep phones and demonstrate features such as horns blowing to alert drivers of an incoming call.  Or, should a missed call roll to voice mail, workers were notified by vibrating pagers strapped below their waist lines.  My days insured mud, men, money, and more of it tomorrow. I could hardly wait until tomorrow.  In fact, I was driven to excel, promoted, relocated, and divorced all within a year’s time. 

Oops, Wake Up! It's thirty years later and I have drifted off again while sitting in this meeting. There is no problem here. I am still working in technology and have a seat at the table.  

Once settled and past the pleasantries, our Manager recites today's agenda. Wait! Where is my time-slot? What do you mean the schedule has changed?  I worked until after midnight preparing 15 slides representing best practices of a recent sale.  Instead we were to be introduced to our newest team member. Yes, remember Katarina?

With her education in Finance and twelve month management development training, she would secure the banking and financial services' accounts. Unfortunately my peer, John, currently served these accounts. When our Manager made the announcement, John laughed loudly and torpedoed a large muffin to the floor. John has worked very hard developing relationships with his accounts and had five years invested.  He recently closed two large sales guaranteeing positive revenue streams and healthy commissions. He had worked these accounts knowing they would close any day.  They would close tomorrow!  His "tomorrow" cut short in a matter of minutes.  

As I began to squirm about, my shoe hit the side lever of the chair dispensing my body downward until my chin almost hit the top of the conference table. The writing was on the wall but I couldn't see it without my reading glasses. A flash of heat starts at my scalp and runs to my red ears. Another young inexperienced hire joins our team.  We are chronologically, mentally, and physically decades apart. I was once Katarina sans the dark hair, MBA from NYU, and height.  So what do we have in common?  The
 investments made today for promises of success tomorrow

Another meeting comes to conclusion. Reality raises its ugly head and I think, where will all of us [old people] go?  Oh dear God, I’m 54!!  I hope my peer will be o.k. and not reassigned the “Hunter Module”! He will be processing credit checks instead of orders and rethinking flight time instead of redeeming frequent flyer mileage for his vacation.

Corporate Sales roles demand a tremendous amount of flexibility. We are praised for the relentless pursuit of a win and encouraged to deliver larger results year over year.  So we run, we sell, we are reassigned, and reassigned again. And then some of us notice a slight yet uncomfortable change.  

It's subtle at first.  Announcements within organizations may reach us through less than normal channels. Products and sales incentives are discovered only after hearing of accolades extended to others. Responsibilities change. Is this my transformation?  Transformation turns to fear.  Fear is confirmed by avoidance and irrelevance.

Unfortunately, Aging Employeesare moved to unbearable assignments requiring rudimentary skills, relocation, or worse. Employees with thirty years' tenure are victims of early retirement tactics, issued formal performance improvement plans, and finally terminated.  The promises of tomorrow do not paint a pretty picture. And for many aging employees this is becoming far too common.

As I begin my commute home this evening, I remove my flats and bra while driving with a snicker. I am comforted by the thought of wine, pajamas, and three dogs waiting to greet my tired body.   I pull into my dark garage and turn off the engine. I sit for a moment and ponder my current state. How did I get here? I live among many town-homes in suburbia. It's become difficult to find time to visit family and ride my horses. I am divorced and without children. Shouldn't the years of tenure with one corporation yield comfort and satisfaction? Or did I trade these things for the promises of tomorrow?  This is my wake up call. This is my ah-ha moment.  My tomorrow arrived today. 

There will always be Katrina and twenty-somethings entering the business.  There are more corporations forcing red-zoned, tenured, and loyal, workers out. These companies work around age discrimination laws by placing unrealistic ultimatums on employee working conditions.  

There are no guarantees in life or in a career...certainly none in sales. But is there a lesson to be learned here?  For me it is this: 

·         Before making significant investments today for promises of success tomorrow, capitalize on strength, skills, and your relationships today.  I would never suggest risk avoidance; However, I do encourage looking within and identifying sources for motivation. 
  • Take ownership of your own success and understand the priorities of large corporations are to its shareholders and rarely its employees.
  • Measure your success personally and individually.
  • When describing someone [or yourself] as successful, remember this;  there are varying forms of success.  It may be personal and it may be financial.
  • There are many loop holes within the EEOC laws. If faced with ultimatums like the above scenarios, adjust to change or move on.
  • No matter what decisions you've made, this is the past.  Have no regrets.
  • Balance work, family, friends, and time off. Trust me on this one!
  • Always go with your gut. Always.   
My dogs are excited to see me.  They are barking, wagging their tails, and demanding my attention.  I promise myself that I will not think about tomorrow and enjoy my success today.  


Feb 16, 2015

It's Time To Find A New Job When...

It’s time to find a new job when..............

  • The term “under the bus” comes up frequently in conversation and has nothing to do with transportation 
  • Your co-workers continue to introduce themselves and ask what it is you do..AGAIN.
  • You arrive at work and can’t remember which way to go after getting off of the elevator
  • You can’t remember the name of the CEO but remember he lives in a cattle state
  • You ask where the new employee’s cubical is only to find they left the company three months ago
  • There are directional signs in the hallways pointing to Human Resources
  • The lobby now has two way mirrors
  • Your expense report is rejected for mileage reimbursement with the explanation to use your new company car.                                                                                   
  • Your desk supplies include an eraser, adding machine paper, and sticky solution to thumb through paper
  • You arrive at work and the first remark you receive is, “Nice outfit!  I wish I could take the day off”
  • Your team’s itinerary is being discussed and you have to ask where everyone is going
  • Once your badge is swiped the door opens with you unconsciously humming Axel Rose’s Welcome To The Jungle

  • You stop by your Manager’s office to find a sign on the desk.  “We’ve moved”.
  • You can’t figure out how to make an outside call from your desk. There’s no dial tone   

Apr 19, 2014

How Is Your Day Going So Far?

My Father recently brought something to my attention and asked that I think about it.   He asked me to consider a common question he is asked throughout the day.   
Here’s the question. “How is your day going so far”?  Yes, that’s it. My first reaction is probably the same as yours.  It’s simply an opener, a greeting, or a start to a conversation.  Or is it?
The rate at which we measure well-being has shifted from days, weeks, months, and calendar years to minute by minute awareness and assessment. OK, so the question may be rhetorical but it does speak volumes compared to introductions just some 20 years ago.  
My Dad grew up in a small north Florida town with a POTS line (plain old telephone service). Other than this method to “catch up” and report the family's well-being, there was the U.S. mail.  I suppose his bicycle provided an avenue to reach his friends and share stories; however, no one asked “How is your day going so far”.  Instead the boys wanted to know who had returned from the war over the last year and what new company may be coming to town with jobs.  
Why do we measure hours or even minutes when we have a lifetime to reflect?

Dec 6, 2013

Idle Time and Dust Bunnies

I am currently in the throes of a job reassignment.  The employment that provides income.   My organization collapsed and hundreds are being "mainstreamed into the field".  With this comes the lame duck self-absorbed paranoia only to be outdone by the impending holidays that yield slower than usual activity.

Pondering how best to fill my time, I decide it's a great day to clean my home.  If five friends were asked to describe me, "domestic" would probably not make the list. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy cooking and creating fantastic nesting areas throughout my home; but, somewhere between the Pledge and the lemony fresh scent of Windex, I just glaze over.

Until recently, I employed a cleaning service.  For months, I tolerated their late arrivals, no shows, and the