Tag Archives: Management Skills

My Mother; The Blogging “Expert”

Acquiring blog readers is hard.  Simple as that.  At times, the vast technological universe that many of us partake in can make it difficult to attract those that are the target audience you are searching for.  However, that involves you actively trying to attract an audience.  When I started this blog back in January of 2011 it was for me to share experiences that were taking place at work, at home and within my day-to-day structure.  I’ve blogged about my divorce, my job changes, working with other managers, fashion, sewing, dating, dancing, running and living with Fibromyalgia just to name a few of the most popular topics.

I started the blog as a way for me to get things off my chest that I wasn’t able to openly talk about until people started mentioning my blog.  Placing links to my blog on my personal Facebook was a way for me to share with my friends and family what I was going though.  During my marriage I lost touch with many people and have been trying to rebuild those relationships ever since.  I thought that maybe if people had an opportunity to see all the pandemonium that was going on in my brain they would understand what had been going on when we lost touch.

Outside of my circle of friends it never occurred to me that there might be others out there that are interested in hearing about my sewing projects or management techniques.  Who knew that my stories of being a 21st Century Gal would be that interesting to others?  Oh yes, that’s right…my mother!  Even at 29 it is still hard to admit that my mother is almost always right.  See what I did there with the “almost” part?  I’m sure there is something out there she might not be right about; such as biomechanical engineering or space travel.

It was my mother who started blogging before me and has shared her tips and tricks, so I guess I haven’t acquired these readers all on my own.  I might make management sound amusing, but you should see what my mom can do with the topic of cancer.  Never thought I could be laughing about cancer, but that’s how things work under her roof.  Anything and everything has the potential of being funny.  I’ll tell you what, it is rough knowing that as a teenager but quite amusing when you finally grow up and realize your parents aren’t as uncool as you once thought.

Thanks mom for sharing yet another life lesson with me.  Check out her blog, The World According to Alexandra, if you’re looking for a good laugh.  She even makes bodily functions funny instead of shamefully disgusting.  Thank you to my readers who stop back regularly.  For those of you who are just lurkers I invite you to subscribe to my blog and stick around for a bit.  There are some big changes on the horizon and I can be you won’t want to miss out on them.

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Filed under Blogging, Culture, Dance, Dating, Fashion, Female Management Skills, Friends, Parenting, Sewing, Taking Charge of One's Health

The Game Of Telephone Doesn’t Belong At Work

Within the last few years I noticed that the best managers I ever worked for were those that kept open lines of communication.  I had two managers that may have needed to actually have less of an open door policy as I have no clue how they ever got actual work accomplished.  However, you could always get the status of anything you needed at any given time.  Unfortunately there have been very few managers that I have worked for that made the environment as open as these two did.  It was a delight to work for them and when I moved on I actually felt bad knowing I was leaving them.

Therefore, today’s casual business lesson is going to be focused around open lines of communication.  Being a manager who has always practiced open lines of communication with my employees I know it can be difficult as it often takes time away from other work to keep everyone informed.  The flip side is that your employees will take more stock in their position with the company and feel more like a part of the team when you keep them in the loop.

Several places I’ve worked have given me managers that are poster children for broken lines of communication with staff.  In each location I’ve seen the same problems arise.  There is always confusion amongst the employees, eventually an uprising and that’s usually when people begin searching for other forms of employment due to the unhappiness with their current work situation.  These are all problems that can be avoided.

My last place of employment gave me an opportunity to get to know my employees very well as my office was in the corner of their break room.  It was an interesting office situation that could be trying at times to get my work done, but it did allow me the chance to continually keep my staff up to date on everything that I was able to share.  Obviously there are topics that you will not be able to openly communicate, but there are many that you will be able to and your employees will appreciate hearing them.

When I made the decision to leave my last job it was very difficult.  After three years I felt as if we were less of a workforce and more of a dynamic family situation.  I cared about each of the employees as I watched on as the attended college, graduated, got married and even moved on to professional careers of their own.  I was always sad to see them go, but so proud to see them achieving their goals and starting their own careers.  In my mind this was all due to our open lines of communication and the wonderful work environment we all maintained each and every day.

Take a moment out of your day and think if you have taken the time to chat with your staff.  Do you know anything about them outside of work?  Are they looking to move forward in their career?  Do they feel like they have a good grip on the company and what is going on around them?  Are you sharing information accurately and equally with all of your team?  If you are having trouble with some of these questions than it might just be time to re-evaluate the way you interact with your team and share information.

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Filed under Female Management Skills

Welcome to the 21st Century Colleague

Happy Wednesday subscribers, new readers and loyal lurkers!  Managing to survive the week until Wednesday can sometimes feel like a big accomplishment when things are hectic and I’m here to say: “congratulations you made it!”  If you’re like me then you’re still a bit discombobulated after last week’s holiday being on Wednesday.  It’s a little strange having two Monday’s and two Friday’s in one work week when it’s been so long since I worked that kind of schedule.  Work resumes to normal this week and I’m sure we’re all back in the swing of things.

I hit the ground running Monday and within a few hours had an epiphany within the workplace.  Despite working at many places with many ages of people I didn’t realize until just two days ago how much age impacts the way one perceives their co-workers.  Although the way we were raised does play a huge part in how we interact with others, it dawned on me that the time period we’ve each grown up in plays a part in our interactions as well.  Think of your elders that might have grown up during the depression.  It’s not uncommon for people who grew up during the great depression to have trouble letting go of items even though they have no use for them now and don’t know if they ever will.  The era they were raised in has impacted their way of thinking.

Today’s example is based on an older colleague who works within the same property as me, but works for another area that I team together with frequently.  Although on the work ladder we would be considered laterally equal I try to be respectful to the fact that he is indeed older than me and therefore probably has more years of experience.  However, there seems to be a different level of respect returned to me.  I believe in his mind he actually believes that when we do team together I work FOR him and not WITH him.  I say this due to his constant requests for me to get things for him, find people for him, and do projects for him.

I could be crazy, but I think he doesn’t seem to be aware that I am not his administrative assistant when I work with him.  For most other people I would gladly run back to their office to retrieve the keys they left on their desk when they ask nicely, but when he tells me to go get his keys it tends to make my eye twitch just a bit.  Maybe it’s because I was raised to understand that we’re all equal…well, unless we’re not within the chain of employment ranks.  In this instance we are most definitely equal in employment level.  We are not equal in gender or age but truly that shouldn’t matter.  If he politely asked me to do all these things for him I know I would feel differently about it as I gladly help out others in this same way.

I thought it was just me until I realized that he treats his actual administrative assistant even worse.  She is incredibly smart, sharp as a tack and efficiently tackling each piece of her job with a smile on her face.  However, I feel like every demand he makes of her should end with him patting her on the head.  I know he grew up in a different time period where he was taught that there was a certain way to speak to different types of people, but I feel like it’s time that he get a crash course in the way things work here in 2012.  The work place is a very different place then it used to be and unfortunately he hasn’t progressed with time.

Think about the way you speak to your fellow co-workers.  Are you appropriate and respectable in your approach or do you need to update your ways to stay current?  Take a look at your colleagues and see if you can learn, either good tips or things to avoid, from the way they interact with others.

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What A Bright Idea!

SkillCloud?  No, I didn’t just slam my head on my keyboard and have auto-correct decide my opening line.  I meant to write exactly that.  I thought iCloud was awesome until I heard about SkillCloud.  For those of us who wish there was a platform for companies to appreciate us beyond our resumes, our ramblings have been heard by a team who competed in a two-day “hackathon.”  I didn’t even know there was such a thing, but thank goodness there is as it has produced this awesome creation.

SkillCloud is similar to a social network platform, but it’s reason for existence is so that employees can broadcast their talents to their employer.  I’ll use my last job in the theme park world as an example.  I was hired as a Stage Manager.  Three months after I began with the theme park a perfect storm occurred and we were without a performer for the show that I had been managing each day.  The problem in this situation was that the show could not be performed without someone in this role.  Immediately I stepped up and said I would do it as I could be replaced as the manager, but no one else who was available knew the role that was empty that day.  My suggestion was faced by three of my senior managers staring at me like I had three heads.

When I was hired my dance ability was never really discussed and my performance background wasn’t elaborated upon.  As someone who had been present at every rehearsal since the show was created and then watched it every day for a living, I knew the show like the back of my hand.  It was true I had never been on that stage and or even done the show, but I was confident that with a run through I could make it happen as that is what needed to happen so we didn’t have to cancel a whole day of shows.  Three minutes into the on-stage run through my management realized I had more than just a loose knowledge of dance.

It was only three months after this that my Supervisor realized that we were going to have to re-mount the first show I worked on for a temporary two-week run.  However, since the show was new we never had anyone else stage it except for the choreographer who created it.  As I sat in a meeting watching people scratch their heads about how to pull things together so quickly I stepped up and said I would do it.  You would have thought I grew those extra heads again as it hadn’t even been a consideration of the team that I would be able to do it.  My background in choreography and show staging didn’t exactly come up in my interview, so I’m not surprised they didn’t know about it.

Once my secrets were out in the open my choreography and staging talents were put to use for our shows on a regular basis.  It was the best way to combine my management and performance experience into one fun-filled position that I so passionately enjoyed day in and day out.  However, my hidden talents were only put to use because I was bold enough to step forward and offer up my services.  I know I tend to be more daring to do things like this than most are and that is where SkillCloud comes in handy.  If your company utilized SkillCloud would you admit your hidden skills and talents?  There is always the chance that you’re opening a door which makes you more valuable to your company.

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Filed under Dance, Female Management Skills

These Candidates Are Fresh For The Picking

A good friend of mine was just let go from his job this week and he’s one of many people I know going through this.  The unfortunate part is that those who keep getting let go seem to be the best employees that any company would be happy to have on staff, so I’m going to take the time to focus on two of them in hopes that maybe someone will see that their past employer’s mistake can be their gain.

 
Alexandra is an amazingly articulate writer who can tackle even the most serious of subjects and somehow make you laugh so hard you’ll have tears streaming down your face.  She frequently tackles the subject of cancer on her blog and I don’t know too many people who can get me laughing about something like that but her.  She’s one of the most well-rounded workers an employer could ever hope for.  He background runs the gamut from theatrical scenic work and professional stand-up comedian to detail oriented office manager and design consultant.  To be honest, I’m convinced that she can do anything that comes her way.  Alexandra’s amazing ability to adapt to change in an organization is only outdone by her stellar ability to turn customer service into an art form.  If you need someone to re-write all your training material into an SOP booklet people will be fighting each other to get their hands on then she’s your gal.  This wordsmith can make even the driest of materials insightful and humorous.  Check out her blog, her LinkedIn, and scoop her up before someone else does.

 
Ken is the go-to guy you want on your team if you have a live event to coordinate or manage.  His guest service skills were perfected over his many years of experience with Disney and have left him with the ability to make fast-paced decisions to keep your event running successfully.  He has theme park and hotel experience that keeps him well rooted in the hospitality industry and will ensure he can work in any type of office atmosphere he would be needed in.  Most recently he was responsible for the implementing the logistics for special events, coordinating donor relations activities, and evaluating budgets with a fine tooth comb.  Ken is one of the most determined and passionate employees any company could hope for.  Once on your staff his goal is to always look out for the best of the organization in all ways possible.  Check out his LinkedIn profile and let him lead your next live event project towards the applause of your CEO or President.

 
Being let go from a job is hard enough, but in today’s economy it is definitely more difficult to turn around and find a new job when your experiences are so broad.  Over the years I always thought it was good to stay well-rounded, until my resume became so versatile that no one could figure out exactly how I would best fit into their company.  Now I understand that there is a very fine line between being well-rounded and an enigma that employers are confused by.  I like to relate it to my performance days.  Sometimes casting directors can’t see that the best performer to cast is the one right in front of them unless they are handed an opportunity to see them already fulfilling the role they are auditioning for.  Obviously in performing arts, and even in the traditional job world, most people don’t get a chance to actual fill the role they are auditioning or applying for before being hired.  Therefore, we’ve all got to get a bit creative to make sure the casting director or HR representative can see what is right in front of them.

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Filed under Female Management Skills

A 21st Century Approach to Human Resources

I am thankful that I have a job.  Really I am.  I am watching people I love trying to find a job and seeing the struggle of participating in the process without having current employment.  However, I still find myself frustrated with the fact that my one year anniversary with my current company is 2 days away and that will also mark my ten month anniversary of looking for a job that gets me back to where my passion remains.  After about two months in my current position I realized that the gripes of the last employee here were less based on his bitterness for being fired, but more accurately based upon the lacking structure coming from our superior.  If only I realized that before I accepted the job.  C’est la vie.  I can’t turn back the clock so I’ve been trying to keep looking towards the future.

After ten months of in-depth searching, I’m starting to realize that it’s less of whether I am actually equipped to do the jobs that I’m applying for and more about beating the computer that scans my resume before it makes it to an actual human.  If you background is in something clear-cut such as accounting then I would think it would be easier to guess the key words you need within your resume to get past the scan.  However, if your pursuing  job in entertainment with a vast and varied background then guessing which are the most important key words is like flipping through the dictionary and randomly stopping on any given word.

I’m exhausted from trying to play the word game and beat the scanning systems.  What happened to the days when you could talk to actual people and put your resume in their hand?  I’m applying for jobs in the arts and entertainment which most will agree is an outgoing industry based upon talent and creativity.  With that being said, it just boggles my mind how in such a creative industry I’m given one opportunity to submit a very structured and rigid resume of my background and ruled out based upon that before I’m given the chance to demonstrate my actual talents.  Just for fun I decided to submit a resume that was more creative than my normal one and yet included all the same information.  I formatted it slightly different, changed the font and reorganized the order of items listed.  By no shock of my own it was returned to me with a denial email faster than my traditional resume.

Here I sit, frustrated and creatively stifled awaiting a company to take a chance on me so that I can once again surpass their expectations.  Since most places won’t let you even drop things off in person any more I’ve given up on the idea of sneaking into a decision maker’s office and performing a grand performance of my qualifications.  Therefore, I’m going to attempt what my loved one did on her blog since it caused a small stir within her job search…

Good afternoon internet visitors!  I’m well educated in two very different, and yet very similar, industries in a standard higher educated sense as well as with many years of hands on experience.  The flexibility and adaptability skills I possess are only surpassed by my dedication to creatively inspire others to action to get to common goals with a little style along the way.  Give me the chance to bring my talents to your company and I promise to exceed any projections you set for me while keeping a smile on my face all the while.  My creativity is screaming to be let loose from its current cubicle and I would like to put it to work for you instead of the HR computer scanner that won’t let me get through to you.  Therefore, for your viewing pleasure and random perusal you’ll find my complete resume below.

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Filed under Female Management Skills, Uncategorized

It’s BOOTSY!

With the colder season upon us it’s time, even here in central Florida, to break out the heavier jackets and long-sleeved shirts.  This is my first year of working in an indoor office though so it has raised a few questions.  I know that might sound weird, but my last job was a bit out of the norm and therefore I wouldn’t include that on my list of “indoor offices.”  My theory is if almost half of your work day is spent outside,  your “office” is really a desk in the corner of a 60 degree break room, and you can hear dogs barking and a pig squealing all day then your job is usually not considered a normal one.

With the start of my new job in June it was obvious that a new wardrobe was going to have to accompany it.  My mom and I had a blast shopping for my new work outfit.  It might be the only time in my life that I’ve allowed myself to buy such wonderful designer names and have tailored suits and dresses.  It was an amazing experience and I’m excited that not using most of my vacation days at my last job allowed me to make it possible.

While we were shopping this summer we tried hard to pick pieces that were classic and versatile, so I have had no problem finding a wear to wear most of them even now that it is cold.  A thicker jacket and a pair of black tights go a long way in stretching most of my summer wardrobe into choices that I can wear in the winter.  The only new additions since then have been 1 winter coat, courtesy of my amazing boyfriend who has picked up my deal grabbing shopping trait, and a few pairs of new shoes.

I grabbed these awesome ankle boots from DSW.com on Cyber Monday and after using my membership number for free shipping, taking advantage of the fact that they were already marked down and using several coupon codes the website practically paid me to buy them.  With them I ordered my first two pairs of over the knee boots that were also priced to make me jump for joy.  It’s not even a question that the ankle boots, that I ended up getting in black as my signature color was sold out in my size, go with just about any dress that I wear dark tights with.  However, do over the knee boots have a space in the workplace?

Both pairs that I bought were flat so that I could get optimal use out of them with all the walking I planned for them, but I keep questioning if they are appropriate to wear to work.  I tested out the water by first wearing my stiletto boots, which just barely come to the knee, with a pair of black leggings under a Calvin Klein dress on one of the few days that it dropped below 60 degrees.  Many of the other women at work commented on how amazing the boots were and then just days later I noticed several other women in my work area breaking out their high-heeled boots.

Just last week another cold snap prompted me to try testing the water with both pairs of over the knee boots.  I received a ton of compliments, but I’m still left questioning if they are really appropriate in a business casual office situation.  They are the “in” shoe of the moment and you see ads all over the place with women pairing them with stylish outfits meant for the office, but does that really mean that it is now acceptable?  I’m putting this out there to my fellow trend setters because we all know that I don’t want to look like Ke$ha is my fahion icon!  Do you think over the knee boots can be paired with a tailored designer dress and jacket to wear to work in the winter so you can get the most out of your year round dresses?

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Filed under Culture, Fashion, Female Management Skills