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Showing posts with the label work

A Serious Lack of Excellence

Too many people are just clocking in.

That includes leaders and managers, and both the secular and the sacred work realm.

I always want to work in a place of excellence, where the team is excited, the leader motivates and works harder than the team, and there is a general sense of all aboard and going somewhere together.

That’s not what I’ve seen over the years, in some of the places I work or in the lives of friends who share frustrations with what happens where they work.

Instead, I see people fixating on if they did their share, met the minimum required hours, or showed up just enough to get their full pay. The job is about the pay, not the joy or value of work. The job is an inconvenient necessity for them to get money so they can use that money to live their preferred life. The job, in and of itself, is not a calling or anything beyond a paycheck. The job is an annoyance because it gets in the way of what they really want to do in life.

I get that. I had dreams. I had things I wa…

Obedience to God vs. my motivation.

My mom, sisters, and I have a tendency to try to make and sell things. None of us have gotten rich, but we've sure made lots of stuff.

I'm pretty sure, after working three or so years in online marketing, that the world has some tips for us. Market more, market better, gather data, hone in on your audience, tighten up your branding, stay on message, etc. etc. etc. I have a friend who owns a business who loathes the game privately--the fakey upbeat and motivational Instagram stuff, the requirement to play nice in the local startup/young business scene and spout the same platitudes (bootstrapping! intentional! dogfooding! long-tail! venture capital! growth! community! puke!), the local speaker circuit and participation at highly branded events--but play the game the business owner does, because that's how you sell, how you succeed, how you get mentioned in magazines, how you get more business, and how you succeed some more.

It's the oldest occupation, for the digital mar…

Pop: the gift that keeps on giving.

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When the HR guy tells you you're confusing.

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“I don’t know how else to tell you this,” he says to me, “but I find you confusing.”

I look at my resume and cover letter — the required documents — in his hand and I realize attempt #14 did not land a job for me and think I am not a human resource.

I leave the HR office wondering how I had become a list of what I was not, wondering when Photoshop had become a skill, wondering why being a teacher, a designer, an artist, an entrepreneur, a pastry chef, a get-off-my-ass-work-hard self-starter — how a jack-of-all trades was really a hack-of-all trades.

I realize there was one common denominator in my job-hunting failures: I was applying for jobs where they were looking for people to apply.

People don’t know what they want, I decide. Not really.

Someone left, or there is more work to do, and they create a list of what they think will take care of it. They think they want a Photoshop expert instead of someone who can work with a lousy computer and clunky software and still pull off a grea…

The problem with online reviews, and a guide to not being a jerk customer.

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"...most people tend to only use review systems to hurt businesses rather than help them. In other words, you might get a few 5-stars, but people are most passionate about what they do with a one-star." --  Me, to my sister, in an email.

Humans are vindictive and emotional, caring less about other people in favor of ourselves or circling the wagons around our own; the internet enables this quality, especially in reviews.

On Google, I am a "Local Guide." You get to that illustrious level of meaningless achievement based on how you participate with Google Maps in helping them build their product. I upload a lot of photos of places I visit, and I've left about 100 reviews for businesses all over the country and in other countries. I have a particular approach in how I leave reviews, which is based upon what I've learned about how people use reviews.

Understanding What Reviews Should Be, And End Up Being
Reviews are meant to help other customers make decisions …

The wolves are breeding the sheep.

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Be sure you're answering the same question.

Several years ago, I read a short newspaper article that depicted the struggle western ranchers (particularly those with sheep) were having with the reintroduction of wolves.

At a townhall-type meeting, several government wildlife officials were presenting their plan to solve the problem of wolf attacks on livestock to a packed house of ranchers. They outlined how they were tagging wolves, and then selectively sterilizing them to reduce the population.

At the end of the presentation, the officials opened the floor to questions, and an elderly rancher stood up in the back. The wildlife official at the podium motioned for him to speak.

The rancher paused for a moment in the silent room, and then said, with a hint of confusion in his voice, “Son, you don’t understand. The wolves ain’t breedin’ the sheep. They’re eating ‘em.”

I was reminded of this during a recent heated discussion at work regarding a particular feature of a new app we are …

Why it's good for you to clean toilets.

Kill your pride as soon as you can.

Don’t ever be too good for any job.
An acquaintance of mine left a job over the feeling that she wasn’t given the proper respect that her education deserved. She would tell me that she was certain the management was jealous and felt threatened, and so she left on very bad terms only to discover she couldn’t find another job.
The idea that she was above certain kinds of jobs made it difficult to find employment. She continues to take college classes and spends money after money on more education, believing that she will, at some point, be guaranteed a high-wage job because more education is the ticket to wealth and what she is worth.
I want to tell her the truth.
She needs to get a job cleaning toilets, ASAP.
She needs to stop racking up student loan debt.
She needs to learn to live on less, in her finances and her pride, and in her opinion of herself.
I can’t say I loved most of my jobs. Nigh shifts at the post office loading dock, working in a kitc…

Lives of quiet desperation during tax season.

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"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation...But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things."-- Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience and Other Essays
Quiet desperation rears its ugly head most often during income tax season.

For example, today as I sat down across from the accountant to hand over a few sheets of paper that symbolized a year's worth of work, knowing I'd be paying many hundreds of dollars to her for the privilege of having a percentage of that money given to the government, I felt a quiet desperation.

Should I be embarrassed at how low my income is?

Should I worry what the accountant is thinking about my work as a freelancer and making a judgment on me based on what ended up being a slow year?

Should I be concerned at the shift in clients from one year to the next and the fog of future war?

"What's your best guess for next year's income?" she asked.

That's a fantastic question that desperate freelancers …