RESPECT

I was watching TV and a commercial came on from a local TV station. It showed two males discussing their new talk show that would air this fall. The two were dressed in casual jeans, a tee shirt, and a suit coat. Suddenly, their female co-host entered in a very casual short skirt and tight shirt. So why is she not dressed like her male counter parts? I am not a huge feminist, but at some point we all need to ask ourselves WHY? Is her position less than theirs and/or are they just using her to sell ratings. I have a hard time understanding why this female is asked to wear less than professional attire while the men are wearing suit coats. I hate thinking like this, but this isn’t the first commercial like this from this local TV station. As a professional working woman I want to be valued for my work and my dedication to my department. What would I do if my leadership team asked me to wear a tight skirt and shirt to work during high volume times while they wore suits- let’s just say that this conversation would not go as they would expect, but I don’t work for employers that would ever ask this.

I was sitting at home one night and a commercial came on; it was from a fast food company. The young lady was half naked sitting on top of a car eating a sandwich in a provocative manner. I was so frustrated that I called the company’s home office to complain. I quickly noticed I was not the only one that had the same frustration as the home office set up a line just for complaints about the commercial. In my complaint I said ” I will never eat at your establishment due to your lack of confidence you obviously have in your own product. If you know you have a great product you could stand behind it and would never need to use sex to sell it, it would sell itself”. Well, a few years later they have stopped using this style of commercial to sell their product. I would love to know if removing these adds helped or hurt their sales.

All of this should not just be offensive to the onlooker, it should be to the individual. We women want to complain about the differences in professional settings between men and women from pay, authority, acknowledgement, and respect. However unfortunate, the sad truth is that we are allowing this behavior. If women would take a stand against this type of objectivity it would eventually stop, but it takes us all doing our part. And this can not just be in the lives of everyday women, those in positions to be seen and heard should also should take a stand. This has to be a broad change. We are never going to be taken seriously unless those in respectable, and public settings set a precedence for what is acceptable. I wish those in the public eye would realize what they are communicating to us all about what is acceptable and respectable. We can’t fuss about inadequate pay or higher positions if we are not demanding basic respect. I would like to see how the three staff members from the local TV station are being paid, is it equal? From outside looking in it appears that they do not value the female as much as the men and do not take her as serious, just something cute to look at. I hate this and hope this is not true because this young lady has worked hard and should have the same respect from her employer as the other two. If she is being paid the same she still isn’t being given the same level of respect. Perhaps the commercial was meant to be funny and light hearted, but this is not the first thing that comes to my mind when watching it.

This should not only bother women, but males as well. I am trying to raise two young boys and teach them to respect women. How on earth can I do this effectively when everything coming at them says the exact opposite? The message of the TV station and the message from the young lady says this type of behavior is acceptable. I know this may upset some to read, and I hope it does, it should. We should be upset that women continue to let themselves be used to sell ratings and products and all of this is supposed to be professional….. WHAT? This has always been so frustrating to me. If you want to be respected you first have to respect yourself! Demand respect and carry yourself in a way that shows this.

I love reading books regarding coaching, staff development, professionalism, managing, and productivity. One of the books I am currently reading goes into depth about the do’s and don’ts of women in professional settings. It talks about not to be emotional, the difference in communication styles between women and men, and body language. All of this information is to help women navigate the male dominate work force. Now, this book was written a long time ago and I believe the work force has improved greatly, but it’s bad to think that women seeking professional, higher level jobs have to worry about all these things on top of making sure they are excelling at normal tasks. I wish there was more information/coaching for women in regards to respect for one’s self and how to demand it from others, especially in the professional setting.

Does this frustrate you too?

-J

Advertisements

Customer Service – not a job task, it’s a mindset!

I was running late trying to rush to the mall to purchase a couple of pairs of jeans for my boys. I hate going to the mall when I don’t have a lot of time to shop and look around. It’s also never a good idea when I have two very hungry and tired little boys with me. Needless to say I was already working at a disadvantage before I even walked in. Now, I don’t go to this store often (won’t say any names) because their product is amazing, wears well, or even because I feel valued as a customer. I only go to this store because I like the way this one style of jeans fits my boys. I have NEVER had a good experience in this store and the jeans do not hold up to the rough and tough tumbles little boys can put them through, so I only get them for church or casual events.

As I was walking in the store I noticed a HUGH sign out side the store door that reads ” ALL BASIC DENIM JEANS $7.99.” I had gone online the night before and the discount there would have made them $6.99 each, but due to time constraints I needed to go into the store (lucky me!). I walk in, right to the wall shelf, and picked up only one of the pairs of jeans. I would have gotten more, but they only had one size I needed. I walked up to the counter and quickly noticed I am interrupting a very important conversation between the two employees about last nights drama. One of the employees greeted me, and please know I am the only customer in the store at this time, and said “Yeah?” I asked her if she had anymore size 7 jeans in this style in the back. She said “Ughhonknow”, please hear this as a one syllable word. Eventually she left after a very awkward staring contest and returned with a pair of size 7 jeans. It’s my lucky day again! She rang up my order and that is when I noticed that one pair of jeans were ringing up for $12.99. I stopped her and asked about the price and the very large sign where it clearly states that ALL BASIC DENIM was on sale for $7.99. She said not this pair, that’s for the other sizes. Really? I said will you honor your sign due to it not being a style issue, basic denim, just a size issue? She said no and I asked why and I was given the exact same one syllable word “Ughhonknow”, which still included the annoying head roll. I said “Is the Ughhnoknow” because you can’t honor the sign or that you don’t know if the store will allow you to honor the price?” She said it was due to not knowing if the store would allow her to honor the price. Well to stop the suspense – I didn’t get the jeans for the $7.99 as advertised, which is exactly what I expected due to past experience with customer service from this store.

I hate shopping in that store, and even more, spending my hard earned money there. If I didn’t feel like I needed the product that they produce I would definitely go somewhere else, and that is where they get me. I don’t really need this product, but I want it. In my professional career I manage an area that is built on quality customer service. As a manager, the expectation is that you will provide great customer service at all times. This is not a job task, but rather a mindset. Think like a customer, which is super easy to do as we are all customers and have many experiences to cultivate this mindset.

Customer service is vital to every organization even ones that don’t really categorize themselves as front-line customer service. The way you treat your customer communicates how you value them, their time , and their money. When teaching my staff about the importance of providing great customer service we also talk about the importance of being a great customer. I have my staff talk about positive and negative experiences they have had as a customer and employee. The first thing I realize is that the negative experiences are numerous and positive experiences are few. I’m not sure if that was due the lack of positive experiences, which I strongly hope not, or that negative experiences have more of a lasting impression. Customer service is not just providing a great product, it’s being knowledgeable, having good communication skills, being honest, and being present while at work.

I think one major question we need to ask ourselves is: Why wouldn’t we give great customer service? Is it too time consuming, too draining, are you tired of dealing with people, maybe you don’t know how, or is it that great customer service comes with unrealistic expectations from the customer? All of these are valid feelings, at times. However, if we go back to the fact that we are all customers and we know what our expectations are, then this should be what drives us when providing great customer service to others. It is a Mindset!

Love to hear about some of your customer service experiences!

-J

Focused Eyes

How do you have it all? This is not a “Have it all” in terms of money, advancement at work, recognition, well-kept house, perfect marriage, well behaved kids, or an unlimited bank account. It’s a good job that allows me to pay the bills, but yet one that I enjoy doing, a husband that stands with me as a loving partner, kids that are wild and woolly, and most importantly the feeling of being blessed by my Heavenly Father every day. I don’t have it all by others’ standards, but I am blessed beyond measure. I have to also add that this doesn’t mean that everything is going perfect or exactly the way I would like it. It means that at the end of the day I am thankful for all that I have and the experiences I have lived through and learned from. My life looks crazy, but it’s fun! My boys seem to find a way to keep me going even when I think I’m too tired to get up, the large bang and screams from the other room ALWAYS gets me moving! Guys I urge you to be careful watching everyone else’s lives via social media, or whatever, and wonder where did it go wrong, when did the express train run right through your house, or where is the train. There is not enough “green grass” on the other side that would EVER make me want to jump ship or wish that I were on another. This ship is mine and it’s a wild ride, but one that I love more than anything! There is one major thing you must keep in mind when thinking about “green grass”, it still has to be watered, mowed, and weeded. Every good thing takes work, it takes commitment, and focused eyes. If you are constantly looking around then you are not focused on what is in your life, or what you have so how can you be thankful …….you haven’t seen it yet!

Since my oldest son was three years old he would always end his nighttime prayers with “I’m thankful for boogers and jellybeans”. Please don’t ask cause I have no clue where this came from, and no I do not serve boogers and jellybeans for dinner. But I think this says it all and to be honest it’s something that we all need to be reminded of. When looking at my sliding glass doors at home and see the sunscreen forehead smears on it and get frustrated because I have to clean it again or picking up the millionth Lego piece off the floor, my husband reminds me “it’s gonna be gone one day and you will miss this”. It’s also those nights you get woken up with a sick kid and rocking them back to sleep, rubbing their back until they calm down due to a bad dream, or cleaning up the cup of spilled milk. These would seem like boogers in the moment, but I now see these as jellybeans. I know these are very small examples of things to be thankful for, but it starts there, being thankful for the little things and not letting those moments pass us by.

Focus for today:

Recognize the blessing you have and find joy in them

-J

No storm lasts forever.

Recently, I had a huge eye opening experience. Have you ever been overwhelmed with this calming feeling that, no matter how stressed you may be for whatever reason, everything was going to be okay?

I was driving to my hometown to visit my parents for the weekend. I was worrying about everything I had to get done, the stress of the week, the future, among other things when I started to notice the road was becoming wet the farther east I went. Then before I knew it, there was a huge arching rainbow in front of me. I had never seen a rainbow as vibrant and defined as this one. It was like I could see every color involved and then some.

As the Eastern Kentucky roads twisted and turned, no matter from what perspective, this rainbow seemed to haunt me. I saw it from every angle. I saw it in my rearview and side mirrors. I saw it in the reflection of the rain water on the road. I saw it in the mist being thrown back up by the vehicle in front of me.

Then when I thought it couldn’t get much better than this, a second arch appeared over the first. & if I didn’t know any better, I would say I could almost see a third. It was the craziest thing I had seen in a very long time.

While I was driving, chasing rainbows, I was given this calming sense of relief and reassurance that everything swirling around in my head was going to work out and it was going to be alright. & just like that, all my worries melted away.

Have you ever been so consumed with anxiety, fear or worry that it seemed like no matter what you told yourself, it would not leave or had the feeling that no matter what we do, nothing ever works out the way it’s supposed to? Our brains literally run off the energy we allow it to use. If we sit and dwell on our worries, our brains will start to spiral downwards until finally we are left so in over our heads with negativity, it takes a miracle to escape from it. This day was like this for me. But thanks to that little miracle, it was like the world & every monkey I was fighting was instantly pulled off my back.

It was decided for me to let it go & just like that, I did. And you know what? Everything I had on my mind that day, all those world ending thoughts, worked themselves out. Just like they always do. I challenge you to see beyond those momentary doubts. Find yourself your own version of a double-arched rainbow and look forward to the resolution rather than allowing the problem to drown you. Before you know it you’ll be laughing at all the same reasons that you thought could make you cry. This too shall pass.

& remember:

No storm can last forever. It will never rain 365 days consecutively. Keep in mind that trouble comes to pass, not to stay. Don’t worry! No storm, not even the one in your life, can last forever.     Iyanla Vanzant

-K

First Impressions

First impressions are crucial – whether we like it or not our first impression can be a make-it or break-it.  From your business to personal life, you get one shot at this and you should always bring your best.  I was recently at my son’s open house at his middle school (he is going into the 6th grade this year).  I left so frustrated and less confident than I have ever been regarding the ability of a school to care for my child due to, or lack of, the first impression. Every question, with exception of one, was answered with “I don’t know” by many of the staff.  My questions ranged from “where will his locker be?” to “how do we sign him up for the bus?”  Not only did we get an “I don’t know” but each also came with the usual shoulder shrug and unenthusiastic look.  When asking where his home room class would be we were given three different locations which all were incorrect.  We did finally get the correct location of his home room, but his teacher was not there to meet the parents on the Open House night.  My husband and I have never had this kind of experience at an Open House, the purpose of these things is to communicate and inform parents, we ended up leaving confused and frustrated.

You know, they had one shot to show that they cared or even tried to be prepared for this parent’s night, however, all they wanted to talk about was their reputation and the dress code policy. Both of these are important, but this was also their chance to explain their expectations of their incoming students, and what the incoming students could expect as well.  I heard many times that night that middle school is harder on the parents than the kids.  Ok, so you are aware, you could have done some of the simplest things to help.  It would have been great to have been told what a day in the life of our children would look like, how they will transition from their classes, how they are to prepare their binders with school supplies, or go over their expectations of homework.

It’s kinda like when you are car shopping or buying a house.  If the prior owner hasn’t taken care of the “smalls” then I immediately become worried because most likely they haven’t taken care of the “bigs”.  The “smalls” are when you see broken blinds.  I then think if they haven’t fixed that knowing they are trying to sell their home then most likely they have not maintained the “bigs” like the heating and cooling system.  If they haven’t cleaned the trash out of the car, “smalls”, (and yes, this actually happened to me and my husband when test driving cars from a dealership – let’s just say we left) then did they bother to do major maintenance or regular oil changes “bigs”? 

Or like my husband.  He was a police officer for almost ten years.  He used to always say that the way he presented himself spoke a lot to the people he interacted with, Officer Presence.  His presence was not only the uniform itself, it was how he carried himself, his confidence.  He always made sure his uniform was tailored, cleaned, pressed, shoes shined, and car washed.  He respected his role and the community he served and you could tell this not only by his words and actions but in his level of attention to his physical appearance as well.  In his role, all of this was crucial to his safety and effectively doing his job.

Speaking of bad first impressions, just the other day my husband and I were working out in the garage, and the door was up. This is not something I enjoy, but that’s for another story. While we were working out, a man in a truck pulled up close to our mail box and appeared to be going through some trash. He gathered, what I thought was trash and threw it out his window next to our mail box. In an instant I screamed at him and said “NO NO – DON’T YOU DO THAT!” He immediately looked at me and my husband jumped up, not knowing what was going on. The man was still looking at me and slowly moved on to my neighbors house. My husband looked at me and I was like “I can’t believe he just dropped his trash in our yard”. My husband said “he is delivering phone books”. I was instantly embarrassed and desperately wanted to run after his car to catch up with him to apologize, at which my husband said running after him was probably not the best idea after screaming at him. My husband laughed and said I wanted to look at him and whisper “just drive away” – I told him that’s not funny! I can only imagine what he thinks of the people that live in That House.

 So in this situation with the school, if they aren’t willing or see the importance of communicating the “smalls” then how will they be throughout the year with the “bigs”.   This school may be great. However, the first impression did not leave me with confidence in their willingness to communicate throughout the year . 

Focus for today:

You have one, ONE shot at a first impression – understand just how invaluable this truly is!

-J

Wild & Crazy – But lots of FUN!

The other day I was on the phone with my sister and I could hear her house or lack of hearing anything from her house other than her classical music playing in the background while she reads and drinks a glass of wine.  Now here is what she hears from my house – running, screaming, and banging due to the large nerf war that I was caught in the middle of and soon became a causality of our own WWIII.  Our homes are so different from style to volume level.  We have always thought it was due to her having a daughter and a son where I have two boys, I’ve always said having two or more boys is like raising a pack of dogs due to them feeding off of each other’s energy.  Her kids are very quiet and don’t really require a lot of interaction, unlike mine.  The last time she watched my boys she was exhausted and needed that glass of wine from before.  My boys are energetic, talkative, demand interaction, and have healthy appetites.  They want to talk to you, tell you every show they have ever watched, want to see what you have for snacks (mostly the youngest one), and want to play with their cousins.  My boys are well-behaved, sweet, and tender hearted, but when you look up the true definition of Boy – I do believe their pictures are there.  They love to run, get dirty, spit, burp, and of course farting is hysterical.  I will NEVER understand that – ever!  They also are very affectionate, and love to give hugs.    My sister loves “her” quiet time and, well, I used to too, but I think that ran away the day I brought my first little man home and it has never been seen again.  

 Here is one of the many conversations I thought I would never have and the joys of raising boys.  I was saying prayers with my youngest and half way through I noticed he had something in his mouth.  I said spit out the finger nail (yes he bites his finger nails then mauls on them for a while – I know gross) he said it’s not my finger nail as he was pulling it out of his mouth, please note the little head jerk and attitude when he said this – I just looked at him.  He said it’s my toe nail and then showed it to me.  Just when my gag reflex went into full gear and I struggled to fight back throwing up I told him never to do that and just how gross it was.  He said well Daddy does it – I said NO he does not! He said well he bites his finer nails….the joy of boys!

Love the mom life!

Focus for today:

Love where you are at, the stage and all that comes with it – it will be gone in an instant!

Would love to hear about some of those conversations you’d thought you would never have to have…

-J

To Do List

What’s on today’s agenda, “TO DO LIST”?  This running through my head while washing out the slime in my 7 year olds hair at 6:30 in the morning.  In asking him “How did this happen” I kept having the same thought of these kids do not understand all that I have to do to get ready for work, get to work on time, and feel prepared to be at work and accomplish “my” TO DO LIST.  I was right they don’t understand, but he does now know that when you create a huge bubble with slime over your head that it sticks to your hair like gum.  Not a good idea like he originally thought and one he is quite regretting at the moment (please be aware that this moment is extremely short as tomorrow, heck later today he may have the same desire to see just how big he can make the bubble of slime over his head again) .

 Man how your TO DO LIST can change in a moment’s notice, even before you completely put on your makeup. My TO DO LIST started one way and now at the top is get this slime out of his hair as quickly as possible without cutting his hair, first day of school is next Wednesday and this isn’t an option.  Not only did the TO DO LIST change in an instant, but my level of skills did too.  I now know how to effectively remove slime without crying (me not him).  I wonder if there will ever be a resume that I can include the following skills: effectively removing slime, dodging nerf bullets while cleaning, jump over remote control cars racing in the kitchen while cooking, and somehow give emotional heart-to- heart talks while driving.  The professional world I’m in will never see the other, much more important, skills I have gained in my life as a mother.

The moments that cultivated and grew these skills are ones that will be over in an instant and ones that I will look back on with a huge smile and wonder how I ever made it, heck how did they make it. 

Focus for today:

Seriously do not take moments for granted no matter how crazy, frustrating they are in the moment.

Never let the stress/frustrations of work interfere with my home (being a mom)

Learn to laugh through the crazy!

Have a great and exciting day – would love to hear what caused your TO DO LIST to change today!

-J