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backpack, briefcase, business, business attire, business dress, casual Friday, commuters, computer bag, du jour, fad, men's health, men's style, messenger bag, monocle, musings, professional, protractors, textbooks, three-piece suit, trend, urban, work
While sitting in a line of congested traffic on the way into the office one morning, I observe the foot commuters in Uptown making their way from parking lots and bus stops to high rises and office buildings. This area is one of the nation’s largest urban regions, with more than six million people living within a 100-mile radius, so there’s ample people watching available while traffic inches forward.
One common denominator becomes obvious: a significant number of men use backpacks, while only a handful sport messenger or computer bags, and nearly no one carries a briefcase. For a week after, I keep a vigilant eye open during the morning and evening commutes, and what I see is that backpacks are not just a fad but a trend swing.
Briefcases are for self-important lawyers, not practical accountants. – Reddit user
When I started working in a variety of office environments about 25 years ago, backpacks were rarely or if ever used by anyone; briefcases or portfolio bags were all you saw. However, I did begin to notice a shift about 15 years ago when backpacks started popping up around the office (some the rollable kind with the retractable handle). Businesses embroidered them and companies gave them out to employees.
Sure, backpacks free up your hands, especially while travelling, but I’m still not convinced of their place in business. While I appreciate the comfort level and familiarity of it, the backpack conjures up a time long past: 18 years of schooling (along with the higher education years) stuffed full of wrinkled papers, dog-eared textbooks, broken pencils, unused protractors and smooshed brown bag lunches.
No one cares whether backpack vs briefcase until you make manager. Then other managers may make fun of you for wearing a backpack. That’s about it. But basically no one cares.
While more commuters in urban areas take mass transit, the backpack is seen as convenient, especially if the commute involves walking. It’s also a part of a business culture that is relaxing. No longer is formal business attire the dress-code standard and, in many places, casual Fridays have been extended throughout the entire workweek.
As our culture relaxes, the briefcase will always project a professional image but is no longer the bag du jour; it’s going the way of the three-piece suit and the monocle. Using a backpack seems to be the established trend, although it doesn’t mean you should look unprofessional or a snotty-nosed 12-year-old. Men’s Health offers style tips on which backpacks project professionalism: http://www.menshealth.com/style/backpack-at-the-office.
So which do you prefer – the briefcase or the backpack?
Badgers, Bowl Games, Bucky, Campbell's, College Football, Cotton Bowl, Dole, Football, Goodyear, Kellogg's, Kibbles n Bits, Kitchenaid, Liquid Plumber, marketing, musings, names, Orange Bowl, sponsorships, Willy Wonka, wisconsin
While watching my beloved Wisconsin Badgers win the Cotton Bowl on Monday – Go Bucky! – I remembered when bowl game names actually made sense in the connection of companies and locations that sponsored them. The Cotton Bowl name still fits the location since Texas is/was the largest producer of Cotton but it’s sponsored by Goodyear. I don’t think of anything soft and fluffy – not even the blimp – when I think of Goodyear.
College football is undoubtedly big business and corporate sponsorship and the names of bowl games change year to year. Didn’t Sunkist sponsor the Orange Bowl at one time? Then FedEx? Then Discover? Well, Sunkist was perfect match with King Orange, but now it’s the Capitol One Orange Bowl. Maybe Capital One should sponsor the Spare Change Bowl and leave the fruit sponsorship to the citrus farmers.
So on that note, here is a list of bowl game names I’d like to see that make sense in terms of product + bowls:
Campbell’s Soup Bowl
Dole’s Fruit Bowl
Blue Bunny’s Ice Cream Bowl
Kellogg’s Cereal Bowl
Liquid Plumber Toilet Bowl
Kitchenaid Mixing Bowl
Willy Wonka Candy Bowl
Kibbles N Bits Dog Bowl
Any bowl names you can add? Please put them in the comments.
The world is a meme-filled place.
Years ago when working on speeches or articles, I would reference the site www.quoteland.com for inspiration . Now, all I have to do is open my social media accounts. There I find endless posts on being better, getting better, ignoring the haters, spreading the love, learning I have no limits, focusing on myself, focusing on others, and on and on.
Memes have become the bumper stickers of the 2010s.
Daily quotes, inspiration, one-liners and 140-characters all direct me to change my state of mind, my habits, my global footprint, my interactions with other, my way of living, my everything. Some days it’s too much and my cup runneth over.
What’s Your Inspiration? Sometimes you just have to stop listening to others and just do for yourself. This is my favorite:
I’ve been thinking a lot about a person I met last week and hoping that wherever she is, she is doing well.
I was in aisle five at the grocery store, scanning a shelf of canned fruit when a petite blonde, wearing light blue sweat pants and a grey t-shirt, scooted past me with her cart basket filled with only a few items. Ten feet past me, the woman stopped short and then backtracked. As I set a can of pineapple in my cart, I warily watched the woman take a breath and approach me.
“Excuse me,” she said, smiling uncertainly. “I can’t believe I’m doing this. I’ve never done anything like this before.” She stopped as if to catch her breath.
I kept a smile but immediately prepared myself for some sort of sales pitch.
“Recently I was in a bad relationship. Domestic abuse,” she said in hurried tone. “But a local church helped me and it really changed my life.”
Clasping my hands in front of me, I was ready to respond that I already had a place of worship, but she seemed like she had a lot more to say so I let her continue.
She went on to tell me that the church had given her hope and help, and one of those ways was by buying her food. She had gone to another store and purchased groceries and meat. “I can’t believe I’m asking this, but would you be able to help me at all?”
This woman appeared to be my age, but that might have been our only similarity. I thought how different our lives must for her to ask for help in the middle of a grocery store. “Of course I can help,” I told her. “I’d be happy to buy anything here that you like.”
She looked down at the floor for a moment and then up again. “Would you mind giving me money? I only ask because the church gave me a gift card that I used at Aldi’s where they have real good prices on meat and I could buy so much more there.”
I kept a smile on my face even as my heart sunk. Here we were, standing in the middle of a grocery store and I offered to buy this woman whatever she needed. And she said no.
She rushed on to explain, “You see, I can buy a lot more at the other store. I had the gift certificate but it ran out.” And then she went on a little more, her story becoming bigger and less focused on food and more on needing money.
I continued to smile but shook my head. “I’m sorry, I can’t give you money, but I would gladly buy you anything you want. I can meet you at the front registers.”
Her smile faltered only slightly. “Okay. That would be good. I’ll see you at the registers.” Then she turned and, retrieving her cart, rushed away.
As I made my way through the store, winding my way up and down aisles, past fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy, I kept an eye out for her. At the front register, the cashier scanned an extra package of chicken for me and then we packed it in with the rest of my groceries. I made sure to look for her, but the woman who was pandering to purchase groceries did not wait to accept the free food.
I have a friend who is one of the kindest and hardest working-at-being-selfless-people I know. She will tell you she is flawed, but for those who know her, she is someone who gives so much to others with a calm, peaceful and hopeful demeanor. I thought of her that day, trying to channel what she might do if the woman had approached her. While I knew the woman in the store needed help, my instinct told me if she truly needed food, she would have accepted it, but if I gave her money, it may only increase her trouble. My friend and I have had discussions about how sometimes doing the right thing can be difficult, especially when you see someone is in pain or a challenging situation.
I can’t imagine what sort of challenges the woman in the store went through to arrive at that situation. I wish I could have helped her in some way, and I pray that she finds a path less challenging.