Monday, March 23, 2015

Ten Lessons From 10 Years on the Job

It's hard to believe I'm more than 10 years into my public relations career. Every passing year brings new challenges and opportunities, and although I still have many things to accomplish (and even more years before retirement), I've learned a few things along the way. I hope these lessons will help you on your journey.

1. Be a sponge.
Ask questions. Learn everything you can about where you work, whom you work for and with. Even if you’re not planning to stay long, this experience will be with you forever.

2. Don’t be judgmental.
When you’re first starting out, it’s easy to look around and think, “Gee, these people need to get it together.” You may be correct, but you may also be a know-it-all who doesn’t know a thing about work-life balance... or having a family depend on you for bread, water and a ride to basketball practice.

3. Don't sweat the small stuff.
Get a thick skin and wear it every day. Be flexible and open-minded.

4.  Keep track of your accomplishments.
Earned media placements, money negotiated on advertising, awards and honors... log everything that demonstrates your value, especially if it can be quantified. Which brings me to my next point, 

5. Ask for what you want.
This is especially true if you work in a competitive workplace. Be aware of growth opportunities and let it be known if you are interested. Ask what it will take to earn a promotion.

6. Find things that make you happy outside of work.
Enjoy your time off. Volunteer, travel, raise chickens... just don't put all your happiness eggs in one basket.

7. Don't wait for an evaluation to ask how you're doing.
It's a good idea--and I think it demonstrates initiative--to ask about your performance outside of the annual evaluation. Don't wait until then to find out about the little things you could have improved.

8. Work quietly, and let success be your noise.
Focus on your goals. Make it your ambition to live peacefully by minding your own business.

9. Have an attitude of gratitude.
Everyone likes to hear "thank you." Acknowledge colleagues when they contribute to your work. Even when the grass looks greener elsewhere, remember the opportunity you've been given and make the most of it. Mind your manners, in the office, on the phone and online. It's a small world. 

10. Keep learning.
Seek constructive criticism and use mistakes as a catalyst to do better. Find opportunities to expand your knowledge and be a lifelong learner.

What's your best life or career advice?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Keep your eye on the ball

After the weekend baseball game, we were winding down and joking around about things. Every now and then I would weave in a serious question. This is the only way I know how to have meaningful conversation with a seven-year-old boy. You have talk about farts and video games, sometimes. At the right time, I said I noticed he was having trouble hitting the coach's pitches, and asked what he thought we should do to get better. I was not expecting his response. 

"Mom, I see that ball coming and I just close my eyes..."

After a good laugh, I reiterated the same cliché I've heard a million times. 

"You have to keep your eyes open! Keep your eyes on the ball."

 I threw a couple fake punches over his left shoulder and he practiced not flinching. It's going to take a lot more practice and whiffle balls to get this done. 

After correcting or advising my son, it always exposes my own shortcomings.
Stop worrying.
Try harder.
Don't say bad words. 
Keep your eye on the ball. 

Keep your eye on the ball. The pile of things I want to accomplish seems to keep growing meanwhile I'm busy just trying to keep up with my job, some dishes and laundry. It gets more and more difficult to focus on what's important. 

I think I just need to open my eyes.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Bachelor Extreme Real World Makeover Edition

had a lot of housework to catch up on over the past weekend and I found myself pondering over some of life’s mysteries while washing five sink-loads of dishes. Inevitably my mind wandered to the impending finale of yet another Bachelor season on ABC.

I don't know why I spend any amount of time watching or wondering about this show, but it is a little escape from my very real life, including all those dishes. I watch The Bachelor and I'm woman enough to admit it.

So I was in the kitchen, in my pajamas and up to my elbows in dishwater. I started thinking to myself, it must be easy to fall in love when you're on an all-expenses paid tropical vacation for two months. The show has been on many seasons and I think it's high time the producers shake things up a bit.

I propose a revised bachelor with the following "real world" scenarios:

1.        Bachelor asks the girls out in person. No more cheesy notes delivered via courier. Picture this: Bachelor walks into a room and says “You, you, and you—not you—you, would you like to come on a group date with four other women?”

2.        Everyone keeps their mobile. Who is the bachelor texting at dinner?

3.        The second date is dinner at Chili’s, not a private picnic overlooking secluded snow-capped bluffs and a rambling river. I love Chili's, but who's paying? While we’re at it, let’s get rid of the chauffeurs. Better take it easy on the cocktails.

4.        Bachelor gets tickets to the Super Bowl, and can choose one of the ladies or his best friend. 

5. (This one from my friend Mrs. Smith) they should suffer through a good bout of flu together. 

What experiences would you like to see?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Pinteresting Projects: February

If I didn’t spend so much time on Pinterest, I’d probably have more time to do the stuff I am pinning about. Every now and then, I come across a project that doesn’t take away too much time my beloved boards, usually repurposing things I already have around the house. Here’s two recent examples.

Lego Storage

About halfway through a bulk, economy size can of Folger’s, I started questioning why I purchased such an enormous amount of coffee (that was six months ago). I am the only coffee-drinker in my house. Anyhow, I polished it off and here is the reward: a Lego storage bin for the kiddos.
The original pin for this fantastic idea is here. To complete the project, I only purchased a small can of yellow spray paint. Of course, my version doesn’t look as nice because I cut a few corners. Instead of using vinyl cutouts for the face, I drew it with a black Sharpie.

Collage Bookmark

This was supposed to a Valentine’s project for the kids but they were not interested. That didn’t deter me. I collected a cereal box, yarn and old magazines and started cutting to my heart’s content, slapping the scraps together with Mod Podge. This pin was my inspiration, but I created more of a “play on words” using a quote about reading in a ransom note style.  

Check out my other repurposing projects:

Sunday, February 9, 2014

It's OK to Flash (Your Headlights)

I don't get away with much. I couldn't lie to save my life and I have very little personal time in which to carry out mischievous plots (I am writing this surrounded by dirty breakfast plates and in the next room, two naughty boys are jumping on the couch). Every once in a while, though, I get a rare opportunity to slide past the radar, literally.

Stock Photo: Front Of Car Picture. Image: 92200
© Photographer Melissa King | Agency:
While lying can make me physically ill, I get a strange sense of satisfaction when I successfully drive past a police officer running a speed radar. The feeling intensifies when I get to warn oncoming traffic by flashing my headlights.

Ha! You're not going to get us!

Granted, I'm obviously abiding the speed limit, I can't help but feel like I'm getting away with something.

I wondered if this was breaking the rules, and depending where you're driving, it might be. However, this week a U.S. District Judge in St. Louis ruled one city must stop citing drivers who flash their headlights. The ruling resulted from a suit filed by one driver who faced a $1,000 fine for the common practice.

Consider this: What is the intent of a "speed trap?" I think the police will say it's a matter of public safety. If you warn other drivers to slow down (through the action of flashing your lights), aren't you contributing to public safety? I have flashed my lights to warn drivers of other safety concerns, including deer and runners on the road. In Ohio and several other states, flashing your headlights is protected under the First Amendment.

No disrespect to the boys in blue, but why would police officers or city officials want to punish this practice? Could it be you are impeding a revenue source? Maybe that's why it feels so good.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Cincy Chili Challenge: Camp Washington Chili

When you grow up around Cincinnati, chili is part of your Diät. Chili is to Cincinnati as cheesesteak is to Philadelphia, and deep-dish pizza is to Chicago.
"Cincinnatians consume more than two million pounds of chili each year, topped by 850,000 pounds of shredded cheddar cheese." (Greater Cincinnati Convention and Visitor's Bureau) 

I've eaten my share, but always at the large chain brands of chili (Skyline or Gold Star Chili). This year, inspired in part by the more ambitious adventure 52 Breakfasts, I'm going to broaden my horizons and try some other local chili parlors.

Over the weekend my fiance indulged my curious spirit at Camp Washington Chili. The 70-year old restaurant has been featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and Man v. Food, but the walls of the 50s-style joint are literally covered in magazine covers and newspaper clippings collected throughout the decades. It's hard not to feel like you are trying something special!

I ordered my usual three-way (spaghetti topped with chili and cheese) but if I'm in the neighborhood again I'd like to try some of the tasty-looking sandwiches on their menu.

I have a short list of other chili joints to visit but please let me know if you have recommendations!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Resolution Strategy

Did you know 90 percent of all New Year’s resolutions are doomed to fail by the end of January? Do you feel a little better about giving up on your goals already?    I usually refrain from getting on that bandwagon called resolutions because I know it's going to wreck. This year, however, there are so many things I need to improve that I’m having trouble focusing on just one. Here's the strategy: set at least 10 different resolutions, and at least one of them is bound to stick. Right?  
OK, maybe not. This article provides some realistic advice for setting and accomplishing your resolutions:

Some of the things on my list are more important than others, but these don't even touch on the growing list of Things I Will Accomplish or Places I Will Go in 2014. Here's to a great year!