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How to Stay Human While Working From Home

By | Be Clear, Create Value, Motivate Others, Take Risks

Not all employees work from an office. Apparently, starting this week’s BLOG intro with the obvious just feels right for some reason.

Telecommuting, working from home, remote employee, flexible working environment, or whatever you call it, there is a lot of it. Some deem it to be the perk of all perks. Others deem it to be a dreadful prison within your home of social isolation and a perpetuation of not showering.

You can find endless articles about the pros and cons. My personal opinion is that it can be a super good fit from some, and not so much for others. It is NOT for everyone. This week’s Telltale Ten post is from Jennifer Holland, a successful salesperson who works for SoapBoxSample’s parent company, Interviewing Service of America, ISA. She works remotely from her home in New York. She offers some great tips for those who work from home, or those who are considering it.

“You. Are. So. Lucky.”

I hear it at least once a week.  And yes, I am.  I’m one of the over 3 million Americans working from home.  While I must admit, it’s a good gig if you can get it, it does come with its own set of drawbacks.

When I started working remotely over ten years ago, I looked to my friends who’d been working from home for advice.  How did they manage their time, what did their typical day look like, how did they not go insane with all of the alone time?  The answers were varied but there was always a common thread in their responses.

Have an Office with a Door

Working from home can go one of two ways.  If you’re not disciplined, this situation isn’t for you.  People who are easily distracted, need someone checking over their shoulder and don’t like their job in general aren’t a great fit for remote employment.  The other side of that coin is you work All. Of. The. Time.  You’re working from your home, a place where you spend the bulk of your time.  So in essence, you’re always at the office.  I often find myself at my desk at 11 pm, checking email, working on bids, etc.  I start by walking through the house, picking up the backpacks, turning off the lights, checking the kids in their beds.  I end up walking into my office and working for two hours.

You need to work on maintaining an actual life outside of your home office.  I needed to make sure I had an office in my home with a door.  Somewhere I can walk into in the morning, and walk out of at night.  And close the door.  It’s not foolproof, and I’ve been known to bust out a proposal from my laptop in bed, but it helps to have an actual space in your home dedicated to your work.

Leave Your House

I have this trick that I do every morning.  I wake up, take a shower, get dressed and leave my house.  I know that sounds like I’m negating one of the main benefits of working from home.  You don’t HAVE to leave!  But I NEED to leave.  I get coffee, and come back to my office. It’s as if I’m arriving to work every day and not just Groundhog Day’ing my life away.  I also work from a coffee shop a few times a week, for a couple of hours a day.  A change of scenery is key for me.  It keeps me focused and sane.

One of the main struggles of working from a home office is the lack of social interaction.  I basically accost my FedEx guy with conversation when he shows up.  All he wants me to do is sign for a package.  All I want to do is talk to a human in person.  It’s become weird.  To ease the strain I’ve created in the relationships with my delivery people, I keep CNN on in the background all day.  I know he’s not really there, but in my mind Wolf Blitzer is in the office next door.  It’s nice.

Get Dressed

No.  I do not work in my pajamas.  I may work in leggings and a hoodie, but I do get dressed.  Every Day.  I throw my hair in a bun and rarely wear make up on work days (keeping it real here), but I wear actual clothes.  I think waking up and walking into a home office is a slippery slope.  One day you’re working from home, the next thing you know you’re that person on your street that no one has ever seen leave the house.  Clothes make you feel human.  Even if your kid tells you that you dress like a gym teacher.

I had a friend who worked from home and would put on a suit when she had an important conference call.  It made her feel more prepared and professional.  I do not do that.  All I can say is thank God most of my meetings are not video calls.

All in all, not too bad.  Right?  And trust me, I am NOT complaining.  I mean, my morning commute is about 10 seconds.  I only have to wear heels when I’m visiting a client or prospect out of the office (after 14 years of working in an actual office wearing very high heels, my feet are grateful for this benefit).  I’m not dealing with the office drama that exists in every office in every company.  My break room is my kitchen or Starbucks, so no drama there.

But I do have one complaint.  The ‘cookies in the break room’ email.  For some reason cookies don’t magically appear in my kitchen when there are cookies, cannolis, bagels, etc. in the break room.  I’m looking at you, Francine.

Top Ten Most Ridiculous Respondent Email Addresses

By | Be Genuine, Have Fun, Invoke Passion, Take Risks

When I talk about what I do for a living I sometimes say that I am in the business of  buying and selling people. This statement sometimes causes shock and alarm. I then have to explain that I work in Market Research, and part of my job is to find people to help companies answer their business questions. Occasionally the people we find are a little…eccentric. How do I know this? Just take a look at some of their email addresses. Here is my Top Ten list of the most outlandish respondent email addresses.

10. MirandaBananaPanda@

I’m trying to imagine the thought process behind the creation of this email, my name is Miranda, and I love pandas and bananas?

9. CrazyDrunkMouse@

Is the mouse both crazy and drunk or is his drunkenness making him crazy?

8. UndeadClownJuggalo@

I have no idea what this might mean, and I’m too scared to google it.

7. GagaForGaga@

I’m just picturing a person dancing around in their bedroom in a full Lady Gaga costume. (Hopefully not the one made out of raw meat.)

6. LlamaFarts15@

Did the llama fart 15 times or is this the 15th llama farts email address?

5. Mr_Squishy@

Notice this one has an underscore, I’m guessing Mr.Squishy was already taken?

4. JohnsBeerMoney@

Hoping that this respondent isn’t drinking beer while he’s taking surveys, and that the beer is his reward for a job well done.

3. VegasAlien2001@

An alien who lives in Vegas who likes to fill out surveys in their free time? I guess that’s one way to learn about earth culture.

2. SexyBeard88@

Is the email address of a person who gets really excited by beards, or someone with a beard of their own that they enjoy? Maybe both.

1. SneezeTushy@

Try to avoid visualizing this one. It’s a head scratcher.

Give This, Not That

By | Have Fun, Inspire Ideas, Take Risks | No Comments

An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Experience Gift Giving

It’s the holiday season and America’s quest to buy more crap is at an all-time high. This is a breakdown of 2016 holiday spending so far (and it’s not even December yet!).

Black Friday — 70 billion
Small Business Saturday — 18.3 billion
Cyber Monday — 3.45 billion

All I can say is holy crap that is a lot of crap.

I don’t know about you, but my family and I have managed to accumulate so much stuff. Stuff, upon stuff upon stuff. We are a family of three who has filled 3,000 square feet of living space and can barely squeeze a single car into a three-car garage. We also have stuff stored at my Mom’s and park one of my husband’s work vehicles at his Mom’s. It is pure insanity. I am not even sure I can pinpoint when it got so out of control.

Most of the stuff is not even good stuff. Not expensive, just freakin’ stuff we have collected over the years. Truth is, I am at the jumping-off point. It is DRIVING me nuts. So as you can imagine, as the holidays are coming closer, the thought of buying MORE stuff seems literally insane. My 10-year-old has more “things” now than I had accumulated for the entire 18 years of my childhood (multiplied by 10). My husband grew up in a country that was at war, and did not even have electricity, never mind more than one pair of shoes.

How we got here is another BLOG all together and likely requires another couple years with my therapist. The good news is that the mindset shift has started. For the past 2 years (since our car accident) we realized the value of experiences over stuff. It’s not just for Christmas time either. For Ella’s birthday in September we took her and her friends horseback riding and it was so awesome.

Recently, I started to notice a cultural shift. More and more articles started popping up about experiential gift giving. I kept seeing people posting on social media saying, “my kids have everything, what should I get them?” Instead of trying to present them with back orders from Santa for the latest Hatchimal, try giving them an experience instead. There is no shortage of experiential gift-giving opportunities out there. Here is a list of ideas, broken down by the type of person (or group of people) you are buying for. Consider this an early holiday gift from me to you. You’re welcome.

For the Family

  • Zoo memberships
  • Movie tickets
  • Sporting events (if you are on a budget, check out a local sports teams)
  • Theme park passes
  • Concert tickets

For the Adventurer

  • Membership to a rock climbing gym
  • Ski lift tickets
  • Hot air balloon ride
  • Skydiving lessons
  • Indoor skydiving
  • National park pass
  • Horseback riding session
  • Surfing lessons

For the Fitness Enthusiast

  • Entry fees for a race/obstacle course
  • Bootcamp passes
  • Personal training sessions
  • Spin gym passes

For the Spiritual Guru

  • Yoga classes
  • Meditation classes
  • Sensory deprivation flotation tank
  • Send one book about spirituality every month

For the Nostalgist

  • Day at the roller rink
  • Go-kart racing
  • Bowling tournament
  • Mini golf off
  • Mixed tape (ok, wanted to see if you were paying attention or not)

For the Foodie

  • Restaurant gift certificates (duh) – try places in another town. Even drive a few hours.
  • Cooking classes
  • Tickets to a food festival
  • Road trip to a food festival (day trip or overnight)

For the Artistic Type

  • Wine and painting class
  • Sewing/ crafting classes
  • Pottery classes
  • Museum membership
  • Gallery passes

For the Alcoholic

  • Brewery tour
  • Wine country tour
  • Bar treasure hunt (If you really want to get creative, make up a mystery bar tour in your own city – complete with Uber of course)
  • Wine of the month club

Instead of doing 12 minutes of gift-opening at 5 am on Christmas morning, consider giving 12 gifts (one for each month of the year) to be opened up once a month. And no one knows what it will be until they open it. Some examples include; movies tickets, bowling passes, family game night, a 2-hour drive to have lunch at a restaurant in another town, or an overnight stay in a local hotel with a pool, a hike, a nap …anything!

The act of opening a present can be an experience in and of itself. Here are some tips for creative holiday gift wrapping. I like to wrap my tickets, experiences, treasure maps etc. inside of random things. The more random and unrelated to the gift the better. I am not sure what better gift there possibly can be, than family laughter.

  • Cereal boxes – for some reason Lucky Charms box’s are funny
  • Diaper boxes (child or adult diapers) – wrap your ten-year-old son’s tickets to the latest Star Wars movie in a Diaper Box. He may not laugh, but everyone else will.
  • Tape gift cards to the bottom of cans of beans or a can of SPAM. SPAM makes everyone smile. Or a can of Fruit Cocktail. They are just funny.
  • Put concert tickets inside of toilet paper or paper towel rolls.
  • Tape gift certificates to the bottom of a plunger (can’t wait for this one this year).
  • Put something (tickets, certificates, gift cards or a small toy) inside a bag of rice so they have to dig through the bag to get it – obnoxious, messy and fun.
  • And my all-time favorite … Wrap your husband’s sporting event tickets in a tampon box and laugh hysterically when he opens it up in front of his family.

This year I recommend focusing on experiences rather than stuff, and connections instead of crap. Have some experience gift ideas I didn’t mention here? Tweet me, @jax_rosales

Indecision – The Evil Accomplice of Procrastination

By | Be Clear, Be Reasonable, Inspire Ideas, Take Risks | One Comment

in·de·ci·sion

ˌindəˈsiZH(ə)n/

noun

  1. the inability to make a decision quickly.

in·de·ci·sion

 

I am not a procrastinator by nature. I typically move fast and can’t stand to leave things undone. Some may even say I move maniacally through the day. But when I do procrastinate, it is typically linked to indecision.

When I just can’t figure out (aka decide) what to do, I usually end up in a tailspin pretty quickly. Doesn’t really matter if I am indecisive about something with big impact such as whether to hire or fire someone, or a small decision with little impact, such as what to eat for lunch. The end result is the same – procrastination. BTW, the small decisions are what get me.

When I am unable to make a decision, I’m in that grey area where nothing productive happens. I call it the hallway. Once I know what door I am going to go through, I can handle just about anything. But the time that I am standing in that hallway, trying to pick door number 1,2 or 3, is typically crazy-making for me. Indecision is the great time waster and there is nothing that drives me more crazy than wasting time – especially if you happen to be wasting MY time.

If you are having a hard time making a decision, chances are one of these are the culprit – or at the very least, a contributing culprit.

Second Guessing

While second guessing is second nature to some people, it can be crippling. Assuming you have done your diligence in making your initial decision, GO WITH IT. Move forward. Fear is often the driver behind second guessing. Don’t let the fear freeze you.

Overweighing a decision

There is only so much time you can spend looking at things. Make a list of pros and cons, do your research, talk with a trusted partner. After that, you are pretty much going in circles. A wise woman once told me the most dangerous neighborhood I can hang out in is the one inside my head. There may be no truer true than that. I can talk myself in and out of ANYTHING and drive myself insane.

Asking Other’s Opinions

This could help you assuming the person, you ask is 1) actually helpful, knowledgeable and trustworthy and 2) you actually listen to them and take their advice rather than just ignoring them. There may have been a time or two where I asked my husband, “this one or this one” only for him to pick one and then me to continue to hem and haw for hours longer. Or pick the opposite – don’t do that. That means you are being a pain in the ass.

Putting it off

Procrastinating about making your decision leads to procrastination. See what is happening here? You’re just going around and around in circles.  Staying up all night thinking about things doesn’t help either. That only makes you tired.

The Decision is Not Yours to Make

Sometimes the decision is just simply not yours to make. Maybe it is none of your business, or maybe it is simply not in your hands. In that case, you just have to wait and see what happens. Tip: Don’t try to figure out all the possible outcomes. If you don’t have input and you are not in control, you will waste a lot of time doing that. Whatever is going to happen will happen anyway no matter how many hours you spend trying to predict it. Unless you are a fortune teller. Then you should predict it since that is your job.

There are lots of articles on how to face indecision. We’ve included some of our favorites below. Just make sure you are reading them with the intent of improving the skill of decision making and not just putting a decision off.

 

10 Proven Ways to Overcome Indecision — Inc.

5 Steps to Overcome Indecision — Simple Life Strategies

How to Deal with Indecision — Pick the Brain

4 Tips for Dealing with an Indecisive Boss — The Muse

7 Ways to Conquer Indecision — Forbes

 

Bottom line. In order to get shit done, you have to make a decision.

Trade Show Tricks … And Treats!

By | Be Genuine, Have Fun, Motivate Others, Take Risks | No Comments

You’ve heard of “Take-Your-Kid-to-Work Day,” but what about “Take-Your-Marketing-Director-to-a-Trade-Show Day?” Although I’ve been involved in planning SoapBoxSample’s trade show presence for the past several years, it wasn’t until last month that I actually got to be there for an exhibition. Attending the MRA Corporate Researchers Conference in person let me see trade shows through a new lens. I learned a few simple (and free!) tricks that can help any company bring in a big fish.

Focus on what really counts. It’s not just the flashy booth graphics (although they help), the perfectly-worded handout (probably doesn’t help at all) or the even the free giveaways (although I am a sucker for a good stress ball). What stood out the most for me was the people. Here’s what I picked up.

  1. Being Bored Is Boring

You know how you start to yawn when someone around you is yawning? Yeah, it’s not a good look. So cut it out. Keep your energy up. Tell a joke. Do a few jumping jacks. Be silly. It’s better than putting people to sleep.

  1. Avoid Predatory Practices

Have you ever walked through the mall and gotten the sensation that you were being stalked? It’s probably the overzealous perfume counter girl looking for her next victim to spray. Don’t be like this girl. You can feel her stare from a mile away and it immediately makes you want to duck and run. An overly intense salesperson can cause the same effect. If you notice people quickening their pace and suddenly burying their faces in their phones as they go past your booth, someone may be putting off a desperate vibe.

  1. Seven Deadly Body Language Sins

60% to 90% of communication is nonverbal. Closed-off body language sends a clear signal to potential clients — Don’t stop, keep walking. Here are some examples of behavior that can drive people away from your space. If you see anyone on your staff doing any of these things, throw a stress ball at their heads.

  • Constantly checking their phone (or watch)
  • Scratching, picking, poking, or doing anything to their bodies that should be done in private (It’s just gross!)
  • Staring at the ground
  • Standing too close to people
  • Tapping fingers, feet, or worst of all, clicking a pen
  • Fake, frozen smile
  • Over-blinking (or staring without blinking) (Super creepy! Don’t be known as the company of serial killers.)
  1. Don’t Be a Broken Record!

Have you ever gotten a robo-call? If you’re lucky enough to have avoided them, they are pre-recorded telephone calls, usually from a telemarketing company or a political party. And they are THE. WORST. EVER. Don’t let your staff pitch like robots. Robots memorize a script and recite it on repeat. Encourage your team to LISTEN, and ASK QUESTIONS. People want to feel heard. They want their uniqueness to be acknowledged. Show your value by showing off your human side. In other words, be real.

  1. Steer Clear of Smack-Talkers

Market Research is a small, tight-knit industry. People know each other. If I started talking smack about my competition, it would get around. Fast. Even if you work for a huge industry, it’s not a good idea to trash talk your competition. This is especially true at a trade show, where competing companies are sharing the same space and the same food supply. There are ways to show off your capabilities without putting others down. It makes you look desperate, and unprofessional. And it might make people wonder if you’re equally uninhibited about discussing clients and their confidential information.

  1. When the Show’s Over, You’re Still on Display

Before attending this conference, I thought that Market Researchers were a meek and mild bunch (like accountants or insurance adjusters.) Wrong. Market researchers like to drink and party. A lot. And when they start drinking, they start coming out of their shells. (Some of them should have stayed in their shells.) Speaking of staying in, it’s a good idea to look out for … (how can I put this delicately?) overexposure. After the cocktail reception mingling, potential clients should come away with more knowledge of your products and services, not more knowledge of your salesperson’s soft tissues.

And yes, I actually witnessed all of these things first hand. Some even more than once. I was there for 2.5 days.

I have always known, that having a decent trade show presence can be expensive and time-consuming. But if it’s done well it can have a great ROI. In other words, you can be the best Marketer in the world, but work with your leadership team to make sure your hard work isn’t ruined by a salesperson with a creepy stare who picks his nose in your booth.

Sane September Week 2 – Encourage Random Acts of Weirdness [AKA Fun]

By | Be Honest, Have Fun, Take Risks | No Comments

As we head into that last month before the craziness of fourth quarter, we thought it would be fun to share some tips to Stay Sane in September. Last week we talked about beating office fatigue and taking breaks. This week we are focused on lightening up and living a little. You know, having fun? That think some people only do when they are not at work?

Multiple Choice Quiz

Which of the following is an activity I have NOT done with my staff?

  1. Raced through a mud-filled obstacle course, requiring rope climbing and crawling under wires
  2. Played a live escape game, where each team searched for clues to unlock the doors from an insane asylum/military bunker
  3. Held a competition where each team had to construct a robot using only items from the dollar store
  4. Forced my staff to perform a choreographed cheer about SoapBox and perform it in front of a crowd outside the gates of Universal Studios

Answer: C, Well not yet anyway. The robot-building contest goes down next month.

Which of the following items would someone NOT find in the SoapBox office?

  1. A statue of a rooster playing the trumpet the purchased off the streets of New Orleans and shipped in a box the size of a washing machine back to the office
  2. A larger-than-life-sized cardboard cutout of David Hasselhoff sitting on a throne left over from a themed party at my house
  3. A miniature replica of a Truffula tree (y’know the one, from Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax)
  4. A basket full of SoapBox-branded bubble-blowing bottles. (Try saying that five times fast.)

Answer: This was a trick question; you can find all of this stuff in our office. Ha!

So why do we do these seemingly-un-work-related things? And why is our office filled with weird stuff that has nothing to do with Market Research? Well, 1.) because I am a little nuts and 2.) because it makes us feel good. It’s fun. We want to be different. Being different doesn’t just boost creativity and help us see things in new ways, but from an outside viewpoint, it also allows our culture and brand personality to differentiate ourselves from our competition.

Market Research can be a little stiff and traditional. Dare I say it is not the most exciting industry on the planet (shocking, I know). The SoapBox company culture is built on the premise of shaking things up, and offering something genuine and fresh; hence our tagline, Wanna Get Fresh?.

The most exciting thing to me about being startup leader, is molding and shaping a company culture, and creating the type of company I’ve always wanted to work for. Who wouldn’t want to work for a mud running, Hoff loving, 5’3” maniac?

Let It Go – Helpful Advice, Not Just an Annoying Song

By | Be Reasonable, Take Risks | No Comments

My daughter, Antonella, is going to start 5th grade tomorrow. Every year for the first day of school we take a picture. We stand in front of the same tree, holding the same sign. Well, obviously the grade on the sign changes; but other than that, we stick to the system.

It is now 7:47 PM, 12 hours before the 5th grade commences, and more importantly our masterpiece  photo is taken. And, BOOM, she comes in and drops the bombshell of all bombshells. My beautiful Antonella has decided she wants to make her own sign. Yes, her OWN sign. Oh, and in case you haven’t figured out what this means, allow me to bring it home for you. It means the 5th grade sign will not match all the other signs!

What. The. Hell? The continuity of lovely matching signage for every first day of school, is now ruined forever. When I add the picture to my Facebook collage  EVERYONE is going to see it doesn’t match. Doesn’t she know this is crazy? If I post on Instagram, at least people can’t zoom in. Maybe they won’t notice. But what if they snapshot and then zoom in? This can’t really be happening.

Thankfully, I have learned to pause when agitated (I don’t always do that, but here’s a testament to my growth). Instead of insanely yelling how crazy this idea is, and that there is no possible way we can have a 5th grade sign that doesn’t match, I instead took a deep breath, paused, and asked how I could help. Turns out, I can’t help either. No matching sign and I am not allowed to help. This is madness.

As a boss, I am continually working on letting go. I am a work in progress when it comes to accepting that other people may have a different way of accomplishing the same goal. Their style, language and approach may be different.  I am consistently resisting the impulse to tweak or change EVERY SINGLE THING someone does. Believe it or not, I make a conscious decision each day to do this –  my main goal is growth, if I close the door to new ideas and opinions, the employee will never grow and nether will I.

Don’t get me wrong, I still jump in a lot. There are certain things I will always be maniacal about. I am doing everyone a favor by making sure they have funny stuff to talk about at my funeral someday. I do feel this has also been my biggest area of improvement over the last few years. The people who have worked with me long enough can attest, that I have grown immensely from where I started. Now, before I jump,  I implement the following list in my head (and being me, it comes into use over a dozen times per day.)

  • Is the task and/or objective ultimately being achieved?
  • Is the employee (or friend, daughter, husband etc.) getting it done in the appropriate time frame?
  • Can others that need to, understand the process and the result?
  • Are we meeting the budgets?
  • What ways can I coach and help support the individual as opposed to just dictate?
  • How do I give feedback when the first pass isn’t so great and not just take the task back?
  • Could their way be better? Can I learn something new?
  • Is there an opportunity for me to enhance or collaborate?
  • Am I going to die of embarrassment? – Ok, this one is more about the sign, but it does apply to marketing stuff too.

As a leader it is essential for me to understand where my areas of improvement are. I make an effort to surround myself with the people, in and out of the office, that will (respectfully) tell me where I can be a better me. I am a student first; I never want to stop learning. Growth is one of the most exciting aspects of my journey. I never want plateau or prevent a chance to be a better me for myself, my family or my business. If I get to that point, I need to find a better challenge. Or just have someone kick me in the ass.

Holy Bombshell. During the course of writing this BLOG it has also come to my attention that Antonella will not be wearing the black skirt. She will be wearing the blue one – AND WITH SNEAKERS. Not the new ones, the old ones. I may actually die.

The Real Real of an Entrepreneur

By | Be Genuine, Be Honest, Create Value, Take Risks | No Comments

14 Floundering Founder Moments

 

  1. The day you fire the person you thought would save the day. You know the one you paid double the budget for because you were so sure?
  1. That moment you finally have 4 people in the office who know what’s going on! Unfortunately, you gave them all vacation at the same time. Perfect.
  1. The day one of your staff says something like “Oh, my Mom does that.” Your mom must be a really hot, young, and successful lady then. *insert hair flip here*
  1. When you completely blow your monthly goal out of the water and you hear; “Can’t wait for you do it again next month.” Umm, 2 months in a row? Let’s all take a moment to appreciate this month. mKay?
  1. When you forget your lunch at home. I like to eat. Scratch that. LOVE TO EAT. And I’m extremely particular about what I eat. So this is a day ruined for me.
  1. The day you are super pumped for CrossFit after work. But instead of going you somehow end up in bed after the true exhaustion of reading 1/10th your unread emails.
  1. The unforgettable moment when you can’t unsee something you saw on some dumbass’ Social Media page. And now its saved in your camera-roll and no matter how hard you try, you cannot stop looking at it.
  1. The moment when you’re searching for a way to make your staff understand how serious you really are. But you realize, flipping a table will get you sued (and what’s the point if there are no cameras around) and dropping 12 F-Bombs may just hurt the nice girl’s feelings.
  1. The morning you are so proud you have all your sh*t together and you’re finally prepared for the day. Only to have left your laptop and gym socks at home. So now you have to give yourself the “I Love Myself Just the Way I Am” speech and work as a “Guest User” all day. Also, gym shoes without socks is just gross.
  1. When the BCC bites you in the ass. For the third time.  And refuses to take you out to dinner first. How rude.
  1. When you lock your car keys in the office and your office keys in your car.  True story. And let’s not talk about how the spare keys are conveniently in your “other purse”.
  1. That moment when people are purposely ignoring your emails and you have to decide between snapping your laptop in half or driving to their house and forcing them to respond in person. Only to realize you actually never sent anything and each email is still minimized at the bottom of your screen; ironically only waiting for YOUR approval.
  1. When your late-night scroll through social media reveals how your “sick” employee nurses themselves back to perfect health by getting dressed up and going out to what seems to be a club or an extravagant bar of some sort.  Just so we’re all on the same page. The fake call-in didn’t bother me. The stupidity of posting it on social media was the punch in the gut. I expect my team to be smarter than that. Wait a day and post it tomorrow — for HR purposes.
  1. Umm, auto fill is the most ingenious invention of all time. Oops, wrong client. Oops, wrong employee.  Oh well, I guess the President of our company always wanted to know my “honest” opinion about his “art pieces.” I’ll just start writing my apology letter now.
SoapBoxSample Dammittelltaleten

So You Want to Be the Boss?

By | Be Honest, Be Reasonable, Take Risks | No Comments

Here is an in-the-moment, truthful look at what being the Boss means on an average Tuesday night in July.

It is 10:09 PM and I have 2742 unread emails.

I have 52,755 total emails in my inbox. When my computer stops working any day now, IT will blame it on my email box size. It may, or may not, be the real reason.

I have 21 voicemails on my cell phone I have not listened to.

At least 5 people are really mad at me.

I have barked orders, been barked at, attempted to meditate and cried – all in the last 60 minutes. My daughter insisted I stop what I am doing so I can do a double French braid in her hair. I had no idea I could actually do that. But I did. That was cool. It does not matter who is, and who is not, doing their job. Ultimately it is my responsibility. My daughter has to be ready and out the door by 8 AM to get to an audition 70 miles away and then to Make-a-Movie camp. Oh and she needs a white tee-shirt by 8 AM – no problem. The dogs are outside and still need to be fed. My cat may need to be fed too. I am not sure, as the cat may actually be lost.

People honestly think I ignore their emails. Nope, I just don’t get to them all.

I should probably go outside and check my mail (my physical mail — you know, snail mail) as once it gets full enough, the mail person takes it all back and I have to fetch it from the “main” post office. Yes, this has happened more than once.

I finally hit the wall and needed to feed myself. I ate a chicken lollipop – what’s that you ask? I just stuck a fork in a piece of chicken and nibbled it down. My 9-year-old prepared her own dinner. Pasta. She made way too much. I had a small panic attack when I saw the kitchen. We all pitched in to clean it up. My husband looks super tired. I am not sure where he even worked today or what his day was like. I really want to know but the truth is, we will likely not get to chat or spend more than 2 minutes together.

I have at least a dozen email replies minimized at the bottom of my screen.

I asked my daughter to pack her own lunch. She shoved ham in a round 2 inch Tupperware container that you might use for ranch dip or something. Seems ok to me.

I really, really have to pee.

It’s the Nordstrom Anniversary Early Access sale and I need to spend some quality time online shopping before the deals are open to the public. I have some actual “real” problems too. But I have no mental energy to put towards them. I am training for a 100-mile bike race. And I have not done any training today.

I finally decided to pee and there was no toilet paper.

The AC is malfunctioning. It is like 50 degrees in some rooms and 90 in others. I am just putting clothes on and taking clothes off as I move around the house – maybe that can count as part of my bike training somehow.

I’ve been tagged in multiple Facebook challenges. Probably everyone is mad at me for any one of the following; not posting pics that make me feel like a great Mom, or pics of my spouse and then tagging 300 other people, copying and pasting the status to show I really read their wall, doing 22 pushups in honor of something or posting a makeup-free selfie.

So you want to be the boss? It’s not always as glamorous as people think.

Phone Licking — Weird or Innovative?

By | Be Honest, Inspire Ideas, Take Risks | No Comments

Introduction

For the last three weeks, we’ve been posting blogs about Millennials, Gen X, Gen Y, and Gen Z. What makes each generation unique and how can we understand them better? Well the first hurdle, is knowing what the heck a Gen Y’er is. And that’s a more complicated question than you might imagine.

Google searches are great if you’re researching a topic that the Internet generally agrees on. Defining generations is not one of those topics. Newsweek, Time magazine and The New York Times all have different ideas of what a Millennial is.

Here’s a quote from Wikipedia:

Demographers and researchers typically use the early 1980s as starting birth years and use the mid-1990s to the early 2000s as final birth years for the Millennial Generation.

Not exactly definitive.

At a certain point consistency trumps accuracy. So I’m just going to call it. Here is a list of generational definitions. If you think this isn’t right, feel free to judge, or even send documentation to the contrary. It will be a superfluous effort as I’m not changing it after this. It is carved in stone as the non- Gen X,Y, and Z generation would say.

Gen X: Those born between 1965 and 1979
Gen Y: Those born between 1980 and 1995 (Also known as Millennials!)
Gen Z: Those born in 1996 or later

Now that we’ve got that cleared up, let’s hear from our resident Millennial Sullivan Sednek-Simes. (He was born in 1993. Solidly Millennial territory.)

Phone Licking — Weird or Innovative?

By Sullivan Sednek-Simes

As a social media junkie (at least I can admit it) I’m constantly inundated with people’s ideas on basically three things – social issues, food, and popular culture. With Generation Z’ers basically replacing their binkies with iPhones, I’m interested to see how coming generations process and react to hot button issues.

Social media provides a SoapBox (shameless plug, that’s the name of the company I work for) for people to state their ideas and opinions with a real-time feed of reactions to those ideas. I think about the future a lot. Most of the time, I keep those less tangible thoughts to myself. The opportunity to guest blog seemed like a better platform to do some of this thinking out loud –less risky than my Twitter feed. So here go some of my predictions about the future based on pure conjecture. My own person time capsule (and way less messy than digging a hole in the ground and burying some tube).

Will Social Issues Continue to be Influenced by Social Media?
With this presidential election being as wild as it’s been, with new and not so new voters viewing and interacting in real-time (tweet) with candidates, we have seen a tremendous change in society’s view of a potential president or societal issue. I find myself wondering, will Google start imbedding brain trackers to test people’s opinions on a political candidate? Will gun stores be able to differentiate a customers purchasing intent through the use of technology? Or am I just getting too far ahead of myself like how people predicted the future was going to be in the 50s?

Is Food Sharing, Food Caring?
I’m looking forward to the day where we can virtually taste the food pictures that people post. How amazing would that be? Then someone else can start the “virtual” diet business. What if restaurants could potentially incentivize users to post their favorite dishes in order to give taste tests to a larger audience. You know the girl who posts pictures of every meal? Probably your friend’s girlfriend, that you follow just to be nice? Imagine being able to taste her shrimp scampi. With virtual tasting there would finally be a value in posting pictures of food. Until that day I’m stuck doing this.

Celebrities In Our Homes?
Holograms. Everywhere. I envision a future where holographic robots of our favorite celebrities can be programmed to help us with daily tasks. I can’t wait for a Kanye West hologram to help me pick out my outfit or to have Leonardo DiCaprio advise me on what movie to watch. Celebrities could then tap into the location of their hologram streams and target certain performances to certain fan bases. In less than 10 years we have transitioned from being able to see 2Pac live in concert, to a 2Pac hologram live at Coachella. All Eyez on you Generation Z.

We as millennials will have the chance to fuel the acceptance of technology by becoming early adopters of autonomous cars, and virtual reality. Generation Z will barely remember a world without these things. They will be the ones to change our world in ways that seem impossible now.