Why Is it Raining If It’s Sunny Outside!?

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The sight of a downpour or rain shower while the sun flaunts its golden rays would immediately raise the ire of a former associate of mine.raining and sunny

“Why is it raining if it’s sunny outside!” he would cry with a mixture of annoyance and befuddlement. “Pet peeve #1!”

Sunshine during precipitation was one of this man’s top pet peeves. He kept a list of pet peeves.  Anytime he brought up a pet peeve, he’d list its number with it.

The car in front of me turned right from the center lane. Pet Peeve #6

The waiter never refilled my water. Pet peeve #87

The skinny girl keeps complaining she’s fat. Pet peeve #142

The loud talker in the cubicle three rows away is on a rant again. Pet peeve #31

His annoyances were varied in topic and frequent in offerings. I don’t recall him repeating the same number and don’t know if he kept an actual list, but it sure was funny and entertaining for the rest of us when he let loose.

I don’t keep a list of pet peeves, but bad drivers, overbearing perfume or cologne, and rude customer service staff would top the list if I did.

Through the years I’ve been fortunate to work with some good people who had fun souls. Now, whenever I encounter a pet peeve, I think of my former associate and his complete and total aversion to sunshine during precipitation. I do hope there are days he waits out the rain to enjoy the rainbow.

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The Importance of Pushing in a Chair

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conference roomI never used to think it mattered if I pushed in my chair after leaving a conference room table. I’d go in, attend a meeting and then head out to the next appointment. Who cares if the chair is returned to the table?

Then, one day, I was told to do it.
That pushing in chairs, resetting the room and AV equipment, and ensuring all trash was in the garbage cans was non-negotiable. conference-roomIt was a mandatory practice throughout our company.

I (inwardly) balked at first. Would it really matter? Was it that important of a directive?  But I did it – I pushed in my chair, made sure the table was clean, and returned any items to their designated locations.

At first I did it only to follow the mandate of the executive, but as time went on I understood the importance of these simple actions. Leaving the room organized is not only for customers or when a tour is conducted, but it is also creates a positive work practice and environment. Positive in that is a great feeling to enter a meeting room – any size from the executive board room to a 4-seater side area on the manufacturing floor – and find a space that is clean, organized and ready for use.

Now, whenever I walk into a conference room that is left in disarray, I think it sets a tone for the company. Chaos. Clutter. Disorganization.  That meeting space might accurately reflect the organization’s environment and to a lesser (or bigger) extent, the culture. If the employees don’t have the care, concern or time to push in a chair or throw away empty water bottles, then perhaps they don’t care about the bigger picture either.

What is your practice when it comes to pushing in the chair? Do you think something considered to be minor can have a greater positive impact?

To Hug or Not to Hug

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Is hugging a normal part of your business day? It’s never been for me. Ever. I’m only a hugger with loved ones and close friends, and always keep it out of business. lol so trueYet recently I was in an office where associates of mine walked in and, as we greeted each other, I extended my hand for a handshake and they hugged me.

I was stupefied. The situation was particularly odd for a couple reasons:

  1. I’m new to the business and in the initial phase of establishing work relationships;
  2. I’ve been in meetings with these two associates before and we never hugged; and
  3. There was another associate in the room (male) and they did not hug him.

Now, these men (and their hugs) were not offensive or harassing. They really did just seem friendly and happy to see me. Their actions took me by surprise because it is out of the realm of their normal business acumen – as I said we’d never hugged before or established that type of protocol.

art1I did not but should have said something at the time that hugging makes me uncomfortable, however it was truly one of those moments where the element of surprise overrides the preferred reaction. I was caught completely off-guard.

Since that occurrence, I’ve been in meetings with these same associates and there’s not been another hug proffered. I really do not know what preempted the initial contact, but will be ready in case the scenario occurs again: I will take a step back, extend my hand and let them know I prefer shake hands to hugging.

I know there are people and businesses who encourage or participate in a “hugging friendly” environment, but I am not and this is not one of those.

When have you accounted a situation where associates took too much of a familial tone (without harassment) and how did you respond?

Another Year

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Unbelievable. We’re already one week into the new year. Another year. Another new semester. Another workweek.

Another Thursday.

Another blog post.

Another another.

Sheesh.

New+years+resolution+picI remember when the turning of the calendar was supposed to be a great motivator to get things moving. A 12-month possibility that’s led by the resolutions. Promises to do something. Promises to change something. Promises promises. Unfortunately, before we’re even able to articulate fully our goal, we’re bombarded by the statistics of how many of us are expected to break our resolutions before the end of the week. We don’t even get a month anymore! Seems harsh, doesn’t it, that people expect us to fail before we even begin?

In planning change, it’s about setting realistic expectations and acknowledging or celebrating achievements along the way. And by doing it your way.

A friend of mine began a new work out program this week. She admitted the push ups are the biggest challenge as she’s coming off a rotator cuff injury, and doesn’t think she can do them. At least not the 20 expected on the first day. We discussed her reality and agreed she should do one. One push up each day. She knows her shoulder can handle that. Then next week, as the muscles strengthen move up to two. And maybe three the week after that. There’s no reason she has to do 20 today, especially if her body can’t handle it. But one she can do. And next week maybe two. And when she does two, I’ll congratulate her.

another year endingSetting goals, sticking to them and staying motivated are no easy tasks. There’s always another obstacle to overcome, but I think it’s healthy to acknowledge the goals we do meet on our way to completing a challenge. I’m not saying everyone should get a trophy just for participating, but do be proud of putting yourself out there. Rather than focus on a failure, focus on the great feeling of actually doing something so you can move on to another success.

That’s right. Another success. That’s one another I don’t mind repeating.