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Posts tagged ‘Business’

Get off that table…and SHAKE IT UP/OFF

As I attempted to gather and coordinate my limbs to extricate my jello-like body from the massage table, a phrase filled my head and would not release itself.  “Shake It Up” nestled in and coaxed me to invest time to wonder where that phrase had come from…and why it chose to settle in at that particular moment?  I was also curious what might have incited it to establish residence in my thoughts?  I wondered if it might be trying to pass something along – maybe some wisdom or knowledge that might enlighten me or others?

Perplexed by this quandary, a phase by Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) shared in David Brook’s new book “The Road to Character” slithered into my thoughts:

“It is always a writer’s duty to make the world better.”

and, as also shared in that same book…

“Johnson, then, conceives of writing as something very like a Christian sacrament, defined in the Anglican catechism as ‘an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace given to us.”  (from Literary Critic Paul Fussell – “Johnson and the Life of Writing” p. 185)

Wow…now I clearly feel obliged to sort this out – why has this phrase become a brain-filler for me?  In order to tackle these new-found obligatory feelings, I took time this past week to ruminate on the phrase “Shake It Up.” I continually replayed the phrase in my head as I journeyed through my day.  I encouraged and sensitized myself to focus – become aware of and listen to any messages that might reveal themselves and, therefore, be nudged to unfold.  I repeatedly asked why it might be surfacing NOW…and what it might be trying to tell me?  I wondered if these words or this phrase might have a purpose or if they were just part of a random thought (I rarely have those)?  If by chance it was a random thought, I wondered why those words might come through together – in that exact order or phrase?  My search to find meaning lead me down many random paths…

THE PAST
Could this phrase just be a reminder of those amazing times – a time when I styled my hair in cornrows and donned outfits – including those stylin’ lace-up boots – that announced the wild and crazy side of me?  Or maybe it was just one of my favorite songs re-surfacing to remind me of what a blessing massage was…as it allowed me to again “worked it on out” and rekindle those “Twist and Shout” movements I treasured?

Hmmmm…probably NOT!!

Undefeated, I continued to explore…trying to find meaning.  Over the past several weeks, I’d noticed that I’d become acutely aware of the many changes affecting almost every element and aspect of society – and life – which really seem to be “Shaking it Up.”  For example:

  • For the FIRST TIME EVER, a ticker tape parade (205 since 1886) was held in NYC to honor a women’s team – the USA Women’s Soccer Team. Tickets (2,000 seats) for a ceremony at NYC Hall were offered. Within just under two hours, 12,000 requests were received.
  • The Confederate flag, adopted during the 1860’s, has sat atop the SC State House since 1962. Despite its controversial history, one has to wonder why is it getting so much attention and why removal is being acted upon NOV – in July 2015 – after so many years of “same-old-same-old” have passed?
  • Is it the first time in history a Pope has ventured into Burger King? Could there be hidden superman-phone-booth1meaning in this visit (i.e. a promotional spin to promote Burger King….”If it’s good for the Pope, it must be good for you?”)…or is the Pope simply trying out for the long unfilled role of a true Superman??
  • It now appears that an age-old personal pleasure (and in some cases a necessity) has become a cost drain for certain businesses. With the new chewing gum ban on airplanes, one wonders whether additional screening will be conducted at security checks to ensure that contraband chewing gum does not make it on to the airplane.

NOW…I might be on to something!?@%^

Have all of these events….and so many more…become the new norm?  Does this new norm encourage us to challenge, question or undermine EVERYTHING – even institutions we’ve grown accustomed to or taken for granted?  Will we continue to see this type of onslaught of “firsts”?  Are all of these “first” a good thing…or might they result in some not-so-good outcomes?  As I ponder and reflect on these “firsts,” that star-studded Taylor Swift enters my horizon…and I begin to think she might be on to something…which might help me gain balance between my existing or old world (“Shake It Up”) and the new world view that appears to be encroaching in upon me…“Shake It Off” .  As one posting fan shares:

“Can Taylor be the first female artist to get 2 videos with 1 billion Views!! I think so let’s go Taylor!!”


Crafted, researched and written by: LIZ CARLOCK
The Write Resources, LLC™
© 2015 EM Carlock

Credits:  www.offthemark.com, blogofthecourtier.com, http://www.wanelo.com

WHO ARE YOU and how’d you get here, ANYWAY…???

As I pondered and began to write the content for this particular blog, something seemed out-of-whack – maybe even a bit backwards.  Feeling a somewhat disoriented, I asked myself “Shouldn’t I have posed these questions first before pondering and processing the questions that lead to my last blog – “FITTING IN…”?  Hmmm…?!@^

Well, as my mysterious (read:  twisted) fortune would have it, a relevant article that ignited my juices happened to appear after I wrote that earlier blog (isn’t that always the way it happens – what you really need to help you create or make decisions comes after it’s needed).  So, if it’s okay with you, I’ll just shift gears – from forward into reverse – for a while and attempt to continue down this exploratory path.  Hope that works for you – is not too confusing – and that you chose to continue to tag along?!

yep…me at 7 years old

Over the years, I’ve never stopped long enough to ponder or consider whether I would classify myself as a “geek” or not…however, after reading “The Rise of the New Groupthink and the Power of Working Alone,”I was nudged to suggest to myself to re-position my viewpoint and impose upon it a bit more reflection and thought.  I’ve shared my thought process below…as it might offer or shed some helpful insights…in case you’re in a similar state of mind.

WAS MY CHILDHOOD UNUSUAL…and/or DID IT OFFER ME UNCLEAR MESSAGES…?
Growing up in a large, extended family (Mom and Dad’s combined sibling count was 22 which, of course, was compounded  by at least 2-5 more each to account for mates and kids), we were continually surrounded by people and events (drop-ins “on-the-way-to” somewhere, picnics, volleyball tournies, weddings, funerals, etc.).

me-160001

yikes…me at 16 years old

Hedged into this type of “community,” therefore, created a natural feeling (or was it “assumed” to be natural?) about being pigeonholed into an extrovert classification  – you know someone with a gregarious, outgoing personality  – a marketing/sales-ish type who thrives on being surrounded and energized by people.

Given those non-grounded, unstable “assumptive” feelings and thoughts about myself and my interactions (hmmm, right…remember those slogans encouraging us to be wary of “assumptions”), the gravitational pull, force or natural inkling dragged me towards and propelled me into a career in Marketing and Sales.

WHERE MIGHT I HAVE FOCUSED (or what thoughts might have better served me and my needs)?
Within Susan Cain’s article, her book, and her repeated references to Stephen Wozniak memoir – iWoz, I found myself settling in and aligning with certain words, phrases and descriptions.  A few of those included:

  • Appeared “serious and bespectacled”
  • Possessed “an endearing mixture of stiffness and good cheer”
  • “Listens quietly”
  • Lived in one’s head “like artists”
  • Viewed solitude as “an important key to creativity”
  • Preferred to “work independently”
  • “Obsessed with reading, writing, researching, and sewing (you can fill in the blank) since the age of three”
  • Preferred control over “design without a lot of other people designing it for marketing or some other committee.”
  • Constantly attempting to “create privacy and autonomy”
  • In work settings “always by himself” – Considered “quiet midnights and solitary sunrises = ‘the biggest high ever’”
  • If with others, preferred to be “surrounded by kindred spirits or like-minded souls”

Now, after many twists and turns, I realize…had I paid a bit more attention to certain attributes or aspects of ME and my personality – and stuck with or accepted (maybe even emphasized) my “geekiness,” I might have been able to journey along a different life’s path – one that might have been a bit smoother…with a few less bumps…and enriched by a my unique “realness”).  As I position Ms. Cain’s words, phrases, and descriptions shared above alongside my photos (and recall memories from those times), I definitely see (and recall) a bit of “geekiness” in me.  In many early career work settings, I felt “stifled”, suppressed, and often deprived of my natural ability to truly exercise and deploy my skills.  Just as with all things in nature, balance offers the key…especially when it comes to being social and allocating solitude.  Balance provides the remedy or elixir to ensure the whole, functional individual surfaces – rather than being encouraged to relegate oneself to a “geek” or “non-geek” designation.

As I now pause to reflect on my current work, setting, and lifestyle, I innately know what “natural” feels like.

As Ms. Cain so aptly articulates…an ideal setting would be one in which “people are free to circulate in a shifting kaleidoscope of interactions…” one where flexibility exists to disappear into “private workspaces when they want to focus or simply be alone.”

So, I ask you…do you know who you are – deep down – or are you being prodded to “fit in”?  Do you know how you “do your best work”?  Are you willing and able to express who you are and what works best for you…in work…and in all other aspects of life?

Crafted, researched and written by: LIZ CARLOCK
The Write Resources, LLC™
© 2015 EM Carlock

Graphic credits:   Yep, that’s me at 7 YO and, me again at 16 YO

FITTING IN…

real jobDo you ever sit in your office, cubicle or fishbowl space…and wonder “what the heck am I doing here – in this space, surrounded by these people, emblazoned with this title, performing these functions?  Is what I’m doing meaningful and is the setting (or culture) right for ME?”

Over the years, as I traversed the work world, I’ve often asked myself these questions – actually so many times that the number of pauses/blips might be embarrassing to reveal.  Often, I’d sit in quiet solitude and reflect on these questions – trying to constructively answermission-statement-cartoon or at least sort out where and why I’d landed where I had.  I’d spend this time alone to consider and ponder – people, events, happenings – and to unfold what might have caused these questions to flare up or resurface.  Answers rarely materialized.  In most cases, I believe – deep down – I knew I didn’t “fit in.”  But, settling in and occupying space in various places or situations just seemed to be “the right thing to do” (plus, doing so ensured the bills would be paid).   So, extinguishing these questions or other conflicting thoughts assisted me in aligning with “the right thing to do.”  Strolling down the “chosen” career path – one that appeared to allow entry into what appeared to be a new and different “adventure” every four years – seemed to make the most sense.

Working for someone else has consistently baffled me – creating confusion and challenges.  Taking up residence in those traditional-type settings – job descriptions, hierarchies, restrictions on vacation and sick time – did not allow my free-spirit – filled with unique or unusual ideas – to meander in the way it was designed.  Initially, selecting and remaining in a field of study (Marketing) that was highly intriguing and offered many opportunities to gather, grasp, and interpret the human thought process was extremely rewarding and insightful.  However, embedded in these cultures – even within smaller organizations – were way too many rules, regulations, titles, hierarchies and reporting structures which dampened and hampered any real creativity and squelched any momentum toward execution of those ideas.

Being raised in an extremely traditional family/lifestyle, my desire to “break away” – maybe even rebel130520.womma_ – began to surface shortly after my father’s passing when I was 16 years of age.  During that period of time, nothing made sense – so, trying anything (even failing at) offered an option or alternative.  Actually, truth be told, my inner spirit craved to be set free of the structured, unexplained and angst-ridden life I was subsisting within at that time.  The series of twists and turns this event evoked would propel me into a continual, never-ending life of questioning – a constant search for meaning.

Little did I realize at the time, that although I had been deposited into a structured, guided life, the fragileness of human existence (and my father’s passing) offered me the possibility of wiggling out and trying on new and different aspects of life which might not have been encased in my on-going existence.

Throughout my career, it seemed natural for me (despite the reluctancy and hesitation of others) to:

  • Apply for (and be invited to interview for – even land) jobs I was barely 40% qualified for;
  • Create numerous positions (3) for myself within a tight/traditional organizational structure;
  • Negotiate self-driven/directed work hours;
  • Elect to commute between two work locations in two states (every two weeks) just so I could work with a specific boss/manager/team;
  • Find unique methods for coaching, guiding and managing my manager; and
  • Select (or even create) specific projects I specifically desired to work on.

Despite all of my efforts at this “work style creativity,” I remained perplexed – by the environment, the spirit/nature/ attitude of others, and much more while working within these highly formalized and structured traditional (Industrial Age hang-over) settings.

Now, years later and with a much healthier outlook and focus – feeling like I “fit in” – I’ve found my way to a fascinating book that not only situates my questioning in a new and different light…but, puts rational, productive teeth into answers that offer concepts, terms, attitudes, and approaches to re-stitch my understanding.  While reading this book, I was thrilled (and even felt vindicated) to learn the sources of my feelings of alienation – in those Industrial Age settings.

In his new book,“Why Employees Are Always a Bad Idea”, Chuck Blakeman offers terms, phrases, and concepts that explained the reason for my feelings of not “fitting in” – I am more of a creative Capitalist who managed to wind up in workplace structures driven by Industrial Age mores.  On his web site, Blakeman offers the type of environment I’ve been seeking much of my work life…a place that offered support (and a culture) to allow ME to be ME…a place where I could find meaning for myself and contribute to a world within which I co-exist.  Blackman encourages us to…

IMAGINE A COMPANY OF ANY SIZE:

  • With no titles, no departments, no corporate ladder, no office hours, unlimited vacation time, and profit sharing for everyone.
  • That invites the whole person to work, not just the part tied to the machine.
  • Where leaders hire people they will never have to manage. In fact, where there are no employees or managers at all, just Stake Holders.
  • With no written policies or HR department, because rules destroy creativity.
  • Where the driving force is Making Meaning, not just money, and as a result, everyone makes a lot more of both.

It goes without saying…we now live in a very different world.  That being said, regardless of our generation, age or stature in life, we each need to continually remember (and embrace the fact) that we own the ability to “grant ourselves permission” to identify and be who we are – even at work.d-man-who-you-illustration-person-holding-question-mark-standing-phrase-rendering-human-people-character-44176547

Crafted, researched and written by: LIZ CARLOCK
The Write Resources, LLC™
© 2015 EM Carlock

Graphic credits:  http://www.gocomics.com/theargylesweater/2015/05/30, www.internationalmuseum.com, www.tomfishburne.comwww.dreamstime.com

DECEPTION…a way of life…??

As I sat in those expansive auditoriums soaking up details about brain processes – particularly learning and memory – along with social implication of our actions, I became mesmerized by certain key words and concepts.  In light of recent events (Robert McDonald, Brian Williams, Lance Armstrong, Bernie Madoff, and so many others), these processes put a strong-hold on me and held my attention and curiosity.  In simplistic form…these processes include:

 Attention->encoding->retention/storage->retrieval/reproduction->motivation…

As I stared at these basics and even dug deeper into the process details, I could not help but wonder how – given the true biological way in which our brains operate – is it possible for an individual to encounter, experience, and recall, replay, or retell events in a much different way from how that specific event actually occurred.

MY BOSS TOLD MELittle white lies aside, I paused to ponder if there had ever been a time in my life when the relaying of a personal experience or observation had not been fact-based – not told exactly as it had occurred (and was verifiable by others).  Had I ever been “motivated” to distort or fabricate facts (or the truth) of an event or situation?  If so, what might have inspired me to do so – an ideal job, fame, friends, cash?  Was that inspirational element worth the compromise of my principles, integrity or sense of self?  Despite my desire to understand through personal experience, I was unable to uproot any examples.

Although distortions, miscommunications, misrepresentations, dishonesty – call it what you may – lurk and lie in wait…attempting to influence and impact many aspects of our lives – from sports to investing to journalism and even to government – much weighs heavily on how we present and represent ourselves – especially in the details we each choose to include on items such as our resume or CV (curriculum vitae).

As someone who has assisted others in job search preparation including market strategizing, search techniques, and particularly the gathering, compiling and presenting of work experience and details, I’ve never encounter distortions, fabrication or even deception (verifiable through job specific contact checks) on the part of those I’ve chosen as clients.  Actually, my encounters have been just the opposite – my clients have consistently been reluctant or hesitant to even “boast” about or elaborate on their experiences and credentials.  Oftentimes, when I’ve proposed a change in verbiage or a sentence realignment in order to convey a more engaging, powerful execution statement of their acquired or innate skill…they tended to cringe or express hesitancy in making and embracing the suggested change.  When I’ve probed why, they’ve shared that it’s due to their commitment to be true to themselves and their understanding/perception of the positions they held rather than out of a fear of “being caught.”

Apparently, this type of response or behavior is not the “norm.”  In a piece published on LinkedIn by Rob Wyse, he states that ”…lying on resumes is common.”  In a study (2002) of 7,000 executive resumes conducted by a recruiter he worked with, “23% of executives misrepresented accomplishments” and “Of those that misrepresent them, 64% exaggerated accomplishments.”

'Push'n 50, but ya still got it!!'Given this – along with the many recent (and ongoing) missteps by influential individuals that continue to permeate our culture – I wonder if deception has become a way of life…the “new norm”?  If so, are we – as a society – willing to accept that type of behavior?  How would we feel if a heart surgeon lied about his credentials; or a pilot (see Catch Me If You Can) about his flight skills and cockpit hours?    Is that what we as a society are desirous of supporting, encouraging, and continuing?  If not, how do each of us find our way to not only sharing our viewpoint but inspiring others to articulate fact-based narratives of the lives we experience and witness?

Maybe, as shared by Dr. Deborah Khoshaba in her article “Self-Deception:  A Defense Against Vulnerability”…it’s okay for each of us to “relax”…and

“Enjoy being an everyday person.  “…give yourself permission to be normal.”

Crafted, researched and written by: LIZ CARLOCK
The Write Resources, LLC™
© 2015 EM Carlock

WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO READ…?

Yikes…it’s been over a month since I last wrote.  It often amazes me how easy it is for the most important aspects of life – such as writing – to become part of the backdrop (even disappear) when the speed and intensity of life shifts.  Hmmm…have I brought this on myself?  Do I have anyone to blame but ME!?

For me, the Spring 2015 semester has begun.  I’ve enrolled in two classes – Psychology and Sociology.  Besides the walk to the bus and the ride to campus, I spend close to three hours two times a week nestled inside a windowless classroom.  As anyone who has enrolled in university classes knows…chores do not end there.  Reading, homework, and projects take over – even encroach on – one’s life.

Although I love the energy of being on campus and around energized thinkers, these classes don’t always fulfill my curious nature. I have so many interests and am continually seeking inspiration and ways to remain “connected” as I work out of my home office.  One great “resource” that has helped tremendously with these needs is joining several – actually many – LinkedIn Groups.

Up until early January 2015, I was a “member” of about 30-35 groups.  These groups range in disciplines from Writing to Sociology to Anthropology to Alumni and local network news.  No matter how I adjust my settings or allocate my time, I never seem to be able to keep up.  Now with all the added work placed on me with my new classes, it’s an even great struggle to prioritize and stay afloat.  I have been inundated with comments, articles, and other sundry posted items within those groups.  Receiving all of this information, however, does not appear to be the specific problem.  The issue has been the length of the titles people are creating (see examples below).

This, of course, caused me to wonder…Do these writers truly have an interest in participating in a “group” setting?  Do they really want people like me (maybe even you) to read and contribute on what they’ve written?  Do they experience and/or understand the tight, precious amount of time people actually have to indulge in reading what they’ve written/shared?  Or are these writers simply interested in rambling – using an array of words – so they can be picked up by search engines?

For those of us trained in the art and science of Marketing, the subject line or title has always been a primary focal point.  We were taught that the purpose of a title and/or subject line was to succinctly capture the nature of your piece in under 15 word.  Your goal was to GRAB and CAPTURE a reader’s attention – to encourage, inspire, seduce that reader – to delve deeper – to READ and to ACT!

Here’s a title that captured my attention.  The subject matter – likability and hiring – are both of interest to me.  The writer states her subject right up front.  By posing her thoughts in the form of a question, she is also extending an invite to engage in the conversation.  When I clicked on and read the piece, I discovered the content included the exact same subject matter Ms. Smith had stated.

“Do you find that likability is a top criteria when hiring? Why”? by Beth Smith

So what inspires you to read?  What do you allocated time to read and indulge in?  And, why?

Crafted, researched and written by: LIZ CARLOCK
The Write Resources, LLC™
© 2015 EM Carlock

EXAMPLES – Lengthy Titles/Subject lines – and suggested changes

  • POSTING TITLE = 35 words:
    In the world of works, we all move from one job to the next for many reasons. Excluding the cash benefit factor of a new position, how does a new position benefit you and why”?

    • Suggested REWRITE = 7 words: “How a new position will benefit you”
    • Suggested REWRITE = 9 words: “X# of ways a new position will benefit you.”
  •  POSTING TITLE = 18 words plus link:
    |BOOKS| https://lnkd.in/bg5g_j9 Literature for older children is a neglected zone in China. Any suggestions about what teenagers should read”?

    • Suggested REWRITE = 9 words: “Need your thoughts…what should teenagers read in China”?
  • POSTING TITLE = 25 words plus links and contractions
    “It’s coming! #NationalAnthropologyDay will be on February 19th. How will you celebrate? Check out our webpage for ideas and send us your own – we’ll share them! http://bit.ly/NationalAnthropologyDay

    • Suggested REWRITE = 6 words plus link: National Anthropology Day – February 19th details at http:big.ly/NationalAnthropologyDay
  • POSTING TITLE: = 34 words
    “Hey folks! I’m going to be teaching an anthro 101 class this term and am toying with the idea of having students keep a reflective journal. Has anyone experimented with this in their class? Thanks”!

    • Suggested REWRITE = 8 words: Seeking thoughts on reflective journal for Anthro 101 class.
  • POSTING TITLE: =  33 words
    How are you dealing with the challenges and opportunities of disruption? Please do read and share my recent BLOG and join us at Creative Innovation 2015 to learn about disruption and the future.”

    • Suggested REWRITE = 12 words plus links: DEALING WITH DISRUPTION – read, contribute, and join us…BLOG (link); Creative Innovation 2015 (link)

 

“OUR FOOD”…a matter of ethics AND a matter of choice

Now that Christmas is behind us (hmmm…Christmas past)…many of us have begun to focus on – maybe even commit to – projects we’ll devote our attention to in the New Year – 2015.

For me, lifestyle issues and concerns – health, diet, exercise – consistently surface to the top of my New Year “resolutions” list.  In 2014, I began to embark on a more careful evaluation of items I eat and take into my body.  During 2015, that vigilance will continue… only at a much deeper level – more label reading and ingredient understanding – research, education, etc.

As I sit here sipping my basic tea, I reflect on the contents of that tea as well as the words and thoughts shared in past blogs.  Embarking on my goal of delving deeper into reading and understanding food product contents and the nature and constituency of specific items within those products will not be an easy task.  For me, eating consciously (to achieve maximum health) has always been a challenge…and has never been as simple as “eating low on the food chain.”  Plus, as so eloquently shared by Jon Stewart (February 20, 2014 The Daily Show)…selecting old-time favorite brands may not lead us down a positive path…

September 17, 2014 – Bloomberg
The Food Babe – Vani Hari

As more details become available about the food and food “products” we each consume, three words – that contain very critical concepts – occupy my mind – TRUST, INTEGRITY and VALUES.

For example, when we travel by airplane…we simply purchase our ticket, enter the plane, stash our carry-ons and settle into our seats.  Most of us pay more attention to our seat location than we do to becoming acquainted with the pilot and/or co-pilot.  Do you even know who’s sitting up there in the cockpit?  Do you know what their education or credentials are?  Have you ever asked to see their resume?  Not likely!  That might be because we innately TRUST in the airline company we’ve chosen.  We TRUST they have INTEGRITY and VALUES that align with our own.

We tend to take that same posture or attitude of TRUST with many other aspects of our lives – including what we consume.

Perplexed by these issues surrounding TRUST and INTEGRITY – especially as they pertain to food and food products – I embarked on (more…)

EATING…a learned art form

As a student of life (and seasoned marketing professional), I’m continually on the lookout (and constantly intrigued by) demonstrations of human beings in the act of living.  A favorite arena for human behavioral encounters is my weekly grocery shopping expedition.  I’m especially captivated by the latest “natural” or “organic” indoctrination.  Many stores – particularly major chains – in the hopes of not being “left behind” have now moved, expanded, and identified their “organic” produce so it prominently besieges (or encircles) you as you cross into the store’s oasis.  Oftentimes, the “organic-ness” of it all scares me a bit.  I wonder what might happen if the item’s “organic” nature (especially potatoes with their tentacles) becomes anatomically inclined and reaches out to grab or hug me as I attempt to enter and wander past…

I observe many folks in the throes of this “organic” movement, “blindly” grabbing items off shelves and placing them in their carts – no squeezing, no smelling, no label-reading, no identifying country of origin – nothing that would suggest they’ve imbibed in the aroma of fresh “organically-cured” (that’s still manure, right?) “straight from the farm” wafting through their air passages.

Mind you, I’m not anti-organic…but, (more…)