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The Employee, The Past, and The Future

Do you dig your own grave when you die?….. No!…. Well, don’t do it before you die.

If you have a history with a company and that history just happened to be you as an employee; don’t let your past determine or be your future. Don’t let it affect how you do what you do now. Be the better person and prove those against you wrong.

I have a story to tell about someone I worked with for one month. This story isn’t a bash story or one to make someone feel bad. This story is an experience. I’ll start by giving a little background about myself because I was once in the same position.

I was never a people person, and I hated customer service. What I did understand was that I needed a job, because I would soon have bills of my own to pay. To make a long story short, I was young, I wasn’t the best at it, and I had an attitude out of this world. If the words didn’t come out of my mouth, it showed on my face. I got fired for biting back at rude and angry customers, and I regretted it for a long time. Today, I don’t regret losing any of my jobs because it was a lesson I had to learn the hard way. If I were still doing this today, that would be pitiful. That means I didn’t learn anything.

Okay enough about me.

I started a new job and found out that I would be having a teammate. I thought I recognized the name, and I did. It was someone I encountered some time before starting the job. I thought to myself, “Cool, someone I sort of know.” I didn’t know this person on a personal level, but this person had a positive attitude when we met before.

On our first day together, there were red flags, but I ignored them when I found out this person had a history with the client. I didn’t want that to interfere with how we worked together. I didn’t care about their past issues with the company. We are living in the now; years have passed, and we are more mature.

After the first day, the negativity and paranoia began. Every day there was something negative to say, something to complain about, and added hostility to the environment. I made sure we were able to work together, but it had gotten to a point where I couldn’t stand to be around the nonsense. No one in the department wanted to be within a 50-foot radius of my teammate. Now, I have a high tolerance, maybe a little too high tolerance, but I eventually reached my breaking point. On the day I reached that point, I was exhausted and needed all my energy to engage with customers. The following situation is what tipped the bucket. A customer walked up, asked us a question, and we answered it as we should. I recognized the customer and said, “Oh, that’s so and so.” My teammate’s response was unrepeatable. My eyes got wide, and I walked away. I called my boss and told him what was going on. This incident resulted in him handling the situation, and I felt things were looking up. Boy, I was wrong.

You know how you watch a movie, and there’s a bunch of bad things happening, it gets solved, and everyone is relieved for about 10 seconds? Then something more dramatic happens? Well, this was one of those moments. When I thought everything was going good, something else was brewing like a developing hurricane in the ocean. It caught me by surprise because I walked right into it.

To be continued…

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Forgive and forget or forgive, but don’t forget…..

This is inspired by an article I read earlier. It was about the art of paying attention. I decided to write about something that we use in our everyday lives. I thought about how we use it, why we use it, what does it mean when we use it, and how our tone shapes the way we use it.

In my opinion, a majority of us think about forgiving and forgetting in this way:

When you forgive, you free yourself…..

Some also believe that forgetting will free you too…..

……does it?

Forgive and forget has their fair share of meanings and they pretty much mean the same thing. Both words express “letting go”. If you look deep enough, you’ll find “forgive” in “forget” and vice versa.

When we say “forgive and forget” or “forgive, but don’t forget”, what are we telling one another? Let go and let go? Or are we saying to “stop the blame and don’t remember”? Is that the same thing or does one have a stronger meaning than the other. There are so many combinations that can run us in circles.

I always thought when you truly forgive someone, it frees you. It removes the animosity you have towards the individual that caused the negative impact. It prevents you from bringing that anger to your new relationships and situations.

I always took forgetting as leaving behind the past and never looking back.

Let’s talk about relationships…

If you walk into another relationship (personal or professional) and you are overcome by anger when approaching a situation similar to the one that ended negatively, you haven’t forgiven the other person/people and/or yourself. There is more to leaving a bad thing in the past than just walking away. You have to face it, not let it hold you back, or scare you.

There are a few things you should walk yourself through in order to let go: Get a better understanding of why it happened. Ask the right questions. Be ready take responsibility for your role in this situation. How did your involvement impact decisions made by others? Be sure you’re upset for the right reasons and with the right people. Listen to those involved and get their point of view. Put yourself in their shoes. Put it together and come to a conclusion. It was either something that could or could not be controlled. If it was preventable, take note of it and prepare for it in the future. If it couldn’t be controlled, chalk it up to, “the things that could happen,” and take note of it. Don’t let it discourage you. Forgive yourself first, forgive those involved, but never forget what happened.

…and of course, there’s this one…

“If anyone asks, we never had this conversation.” That means, “Remember this conversation when you need to, but forget it when you have to.” Apply that same concept. Don’t let it work against you, make it work for you. When you learn to forgive and not forget, you’ll be better prepared for the future.
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Learn the Game

Applying for a job online is like playing the computer in a fighting game for the first time.

You have to get beat down while gaining experience to make it to the next level.

…..and then there are those that cheat…..

Lies and deceit are like cheat codes.

They can only get you so far. When it’s time to face the real challenge, you can’t work the joystick because you have no knowledge of the moves.

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Own It, Master It

For years, rejection had been an issue for me when I applied for jobs.

I let it get me down to a point where I wanted to give up on myself.

Before reaching my breaking point, I did what people normally do to get a better job. I went to school, got good grades, graduated, and built a better ME…..

It didn’t work and I soon felt I was reaching that breaking point again.

I thought it was me and I thought I wasn’t good enough….but none of that was or is true.

I never saw myself as a threat and I never threatened anyone’s job. I saw this as me needing more experience to go along with my education….but what wasn’t clear to me then is clear to me now:

  • I am a threat.
  • I still never threatened anyone’s job.
  • I have plenty of experience.
  • I carried duties without the title or the pay.
  • I worked extra hard to get nowhere with the companies I worked for.

So I decided to do things I said I would never do and things that I always wanted to do:

  • I started networking.
  • I started a business.
  • I started a blog.
  • I still apply for jobs and get upset, but now I tell myself it’s not me, they’re just not ready for someone like me.
  • I make it my business to keep learning.
  • I say no.
  • I give everything at least one chance.
  • I give people second chances. Not third or fourth chances.
  • I never treat anyone the way I was treated.
  • I don’t let people use me.
  • I like making mistakes because I learn from them.
  • I stopped trying to control things I cannot control.
  • I stopped putting time into people that do not want to help themselves.
  • I bite my tongue……..when I am asleep.
  • I think deeply.
  • I dream with my eyes open.
  • I pay attention to everything.
  • I follow my first mind.
  • I take no for an answer.
  • I write things down.
  • I remember who I was, I know who I’ve become, I am proud of who I am, and I love myself.

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What’s Your Favorite Productivity Hack?

While applying for a virtual assistant job, I was asked many questions, but there was one question that stood out.

“What is your favorite productivity hack?”

Now, I am a very organized person and I never thought of anything that I did as being a “hack.” I just went about my day knowing that I found a way to make things run smoother. Honestly, I couldn’t put a specific name to what I did, so I had to Google “productivity hacks.” I was surprised when I found that the things I did daily were given names.

For this particular job I could only pick one, but here is a list of one’s that I love to use:

  • Turning off alerts: This was a real “DUH” moment for me. I am the queen of turning off every notification on every device (computer, tablet, and phone).
  • Ignore the news: I’m not a big fan of the news, but once I get into it, I’m in. I all together leave it alone while I’m working or brainstorming. If my fiance is in the living room, I make him turn it off.
  • Morning Workout: While attending school online, I used to wake up at the wee hours of the morning to work out, take a shower, and work on assignments. It made the rest of the day so much better….Especially while the kids we at school and I needed a break.
  • Drink water: I can take down more than a gallon of water per day. Think of it as a forced break and a detox combined.
  • Take a break: I never and when I say never…. I mean never took breaks. When there was a lot of work to do, I worked until the work was done and crashed afterward. I learned that taking breaks is not a distraction, but a recharge. It helps put a fresh set of eyes to the task at hand.
  • Get a pet: Not just a dog, any pet. If you don’t have a pet get one. When I work at my desk, my dog lays at my feet and it’s relaxing. It’s nice to have someone in the room that’s quiet. If you have a fish, talk to it.
  • Use your down time: When I drive, I find someone to talk to on the phone. Tell someone about your day. Listen to music that expresses how you feel at the moment or how you want to feel once you reach your destination. I’m not promoting talking on the phone while you drive, but we all do it. Make sure you have an auxiliary cord or your phone connects with Bluetooth.
  • To do lists: This is not for everyone. Sometimes it’s not for me. If I don’t have a day that can be put into a simple to do list, I create something more detailed. Most things we do have subtasks and missing one subtasks can ruin everything….well we tend to think I ruins everything.
  • Task batching: This goes along with making a to do list. If I had tasks that made the next task or tasks easier, I put them together to avoid doubling back. How does it go? “Measure twice, cut once.”
  • Create a timetable: This can be a pain, but if you get carried away working on one thing, take advantage of this. It’s best to do this when you have multiple projects that don’t have to be done in one day or even that week. Pace yourself.
  • Schedule your chores: At one point I did it, another time I over did it, and then I came to the conclusion that my “neat freakness” was making this hard. When scheduling chores, do one room plus a room that you must clean every day. For example, I feel it is a must that I clean my kitchen everyday since I work from there also. I add one room to that (Monday: kitchen + bathroom; Tuesday: kitchen + living room).
  • A clean work area: There is nothing more mind-numbing than walking into your office and looking at a desk full of clutter. Treat your desk like your kitchen.
  • Redecorate or rearrange your work area: I’ve always said, “Rearranging keeps the mind fresh!”
  • Apps: I research apps when I have free time to see what may work for me or a friend. Check your recommendations list and see what it brings you. There are many free and paid apps that work wonders.
  • Breakfast: It’s the most important meal of the day. Not only that, take a multivitamin.
  • Set realistic goals: Don’t set an impossible goal. I consider this a form of procrastination.
  • Stay positive: What more can I say about this one? Stay positive. Don’t beat yourself up.