business, perspective

The Driver’s Seat

What does the driver’s seat look like from the helm/cockpit of a vehicle? What does it look like from the passenger side, also known as the co-pilot seat? What about the view from the back seat or third-row seat?

Do those viewpoints change if you are driving in your best friend’s ride or your spouse’s car, riding with Grandma or maybe you are on a motorcycle? I suppose all passenger seats should look different than the driver’s seat! Maybe the music is different. Maybe the conversation is different. Maybe the aroma in the vehicle is different. Maybe the volume level is different. Maybe the stress level is different. The driver may alter their norm to adjust to the passengers and/or environment. Similarly the view from the passenger vantage point could vary based on occupants or length of time in said seat.

The driver is the captain. The boss. The big cheese. The controlling party. The leader. The responsibility starts and ends with that one person. Making sure one gets from point A to point B responsibly. The critical decisions, the pinpoint turns, the accurate lane changes, and the head-on-a-swivel-at-all-times mentality. I mean if you slack in any of those areas an accident could happen on the roadway. In the blink of an eye.

Could life mirror the driver’s seat if you are the CEO of a company, the branch manager of a bank, the operations manager of a warehouse, and so on? Why yes, it could. Sitting in the passenger side is fun. It comes with no pressure: no gas money needed, no insurance required, and no car payment.  

In business the boss is less likely to call out sick in comparison to a team member or passenger. Anyone can fill the passenger role but in most cases the business driver has a specific skill set. One which is harder to replace in an instant. For instance, the business owner has to make critical decisions that may impact others while a passenger can just provide commentary in most instances. The driver’s decisions must be strategic and sensible.

I know first hand many young adults don’t have their own car because they don’t want the responsibility of a car note, insurance or gas money. It’s far easier in this day and age to ride share with say Uber or bum a ride from a friend who has reliable transportation. Why lead and take responsibility when you can coast as a passenger in life?

In the business world life can be tough for a decision maker. A leader. A driver of any business. The one who has to set the tone. Find the path. Chart the course or route. Engage the resources/passengers. Make decisions on staying open or closed in tough times. This can be hard and a delicate balance at times. Those who never walk in these shoes would find it hard to understand the challenge but be quick to pass a judgement.

A passenger in business could be a wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing.  An unassuming threat. A slacker of sorts. A clock watcher for both the beginning and ending of their shift. Waiting to prey on the driver/leader etc. to solve their issues. I know other intertwined scenarios where a passenger could struggle with the driver or vice versa. Or maybe a driver is erroneously in a passenger seat; would they attempt to distract or sabotage the driver? Is that a possible outcome?

Is life about compromise? Do we really want natural leaders to compromise or do we want them to do what they do best, lead? Can a passenger grow to lead? Who do you want to be your driver in the car or in life? Are there risks and rewards to each scenario? So many questions.

Just another food for thought post.

business

Just 10 Bucks

The other day I read a rant on social media that annoyed me. It insulted many people, myself included, who purchase frou frou drinks at a premium price.

The funny part of the post was it was from a local small business owner who compared the frivolous spending to frequenting his/her upscale business, noting it was a poor choice. I had to giggle and say hmm.

For me, I frequent the poster’s” small business and I frequent the frou frou drink small business. To me it’s the same. Where I choose to spend my discretionary dollars. My dollars my choice.

I may choose to spend on frou frou drinks while other choose cigarettes. Is there a difference? Not in my eyes. Discretionary spends are at the sole discretion of the party with the money! It’s that simple. Clearly I’m not the only one who likes specialty drinks. The pic below is a throwback to a girls day out with a pit stop at the nutrition store. I’m sure there are worse things one could do, right? Needless to say the messages on the cup are inspiring, thought provoking and even applicable in this post.

Now the flip side on this is negative publicity. As a small business owner in today’s environment one would think to support another business vs throw another under the bus especially if it’s the type of business that relies on discretionary spends. It may seem obvious to me but it’s not obvious to everyone and why I chose to write about this.

We all have a chance to impact communities in one way or another. We can all donate to a local food bank to help those in need. We can all support a small business with a community store front. We can buy a fundraiser ticket from a local athlete. We can all choose not to litter when driving down the road. All of these simple gestures improve communities.

Why not be kind? Why not help others? If you are miserable don’t be a negative Nelly online. It doesn’t make you look good and could in fact hurt another local business or yours. It’s a no-win situation. Add in the fact that most community business owners live in their community and raise their family there. That means negative vibes reach them one way or another.

Kindness matters today. My post today is meant to enlighten anyone reading this who may not think about how their negative rants about a business in their community could have impacts. Far reaching impacts that could lead to devastating outcomes.

Support local. Buy local. If you are tight on budget dollars, like a social media post from your favorite restaurant. Write a testimonial on your local insurance agent. Share a post from your friend who is selling something online. It all helps. And I bet if you own a business you would hope your community would support you in the same way.

Today most adults are online. Maybe even 70% or more of their waking hours. There is a very high probability that they will receive an email, text, instant message, tweet, snapchat or other form of digital communication outing a negative Nelly. Don’t be the negative Nelly. People won’t want to be around you let alone support you down the road. If you didn’t know that, I just told you!

This story is titled just ten bucks. No business names are mentioned as I don’t want to throw shade in any direction. I just want to write about a topic that may strike a chord with somebody reading this blog. During this writing process I wanted to think about what I could get for ten bucks. Ten discretionary dollars. I made my list. I get to choose. My choice. My money. My waste. My reward. My happy.

When I went back and looked at all the things I could spend ten bucks on? My frou frou drinks all made the cut. So did a milkshake, a Starbucks drink and dessert, a single meal prep from a local vendor, an ice cream, and so on.

However, the one thing that didn’t make my list was the $15 overpriced discretionary spend from the person’s business who provided me inspiration for this post. So when I reflect and look for waste in my budget and pleasure received for my splurges, I’d have to say I would cut that service provider if the need arose. They priced themselves too high for today’s market and they bitched about it publicly. When push comes to shove I’d choose to shove them off my budget. Thankfully that is not the case today but one day I may need to make a choice.

Just ten bucks. It’s my threshold. I bet they didn’t even think of their price structure when they made a big long rant. But that rant made me review my spend at their location. Wow that is full circle negative karma if you ask me.

Just ten bucks. Make your list. It’s a challenge. What will you cut?

challenges

A Cautionary Tale

The countdown is on.

A few weeks until summer ends and school is back in session…or is it?

My district ended last year with over 40 unexpected days of digital learning due to COVID-19.

Now it is 6 weeks later.  Numbers of cases that seemed to be trending down in my area have sloped back northward.  School districts are starting to try to make decisions about how they will open schools. Cue the special meetings, surveys, and plans (subject to change, of course). Also cue the opinions, the feelings, the exceptions, the arguments, the fears.

Colleagues have asked me many times throughout my career if I would want to become a school administrator.  My answer is always a fervent and unequivocal NO.  Times like this only magnify those feelings.  I don’t envy the public scrutiny that leaders are under in this seemingly no-win time.

I understand…

A significant portion of the economy depends on schools being open.

Many kids have their best access to food, learning, and social / mental health resources when they are in school.

Being taught (in person) by credentialed professionals is what we believe works best for most students.

At the same time…

Many teachers and school workers are themselves vulnerable to serious COVID-19 cases, or live with and care for other people who have those underlying conditions.

This virus is still new and developing, so science is still catching up to understanding what it is, how it moves, and so on.

Our schools are mostly based on kids being close together and moving with organized freedom throughout buildings and surrounding areas.

All the money and power at stake make every decision a politically charged and controversial one.

Then there are the logistics questions that come along with schools opening…

How do kids ride a bus?  How do they have recess? Can they sing? Can they play sports? Will there be field trips or assemblies?  Anyone who has worked with elementary school kids knows that kids love hugs and playing together which often involves contact.  How do I police that? I can’t even start about the masks, or what happens when a suspected case pops up.

Will all the fun stuff just be stripped away? 

In the end, I know this:

No choice will make everyone happy.

No choice will keep everyone healthy.

No choice will meet everyone’s needs.

We will be doing the best we can given what we know, and know that what we know might change at any given time.  Not an easy position for any of us.

I went to a branch of our local public library recently.  They opened up the buildings a few weeks ago.  This gorgeous, light-flooded, award-winning building, created for people to congregate and spend time reading and learning, is full of caution tape to keep people out or at least moving.

IMG_2149 2

I’m not sure there is enough caution tape to insulate school kids and workers from what we are facing. Our best protections will be patience, good faith, positivity, resilience, flexibility and showing kids and colleagues that we care about them in every way we can imagine.

 

 

business, Uncategorized

Dining In Dining Out

I sat down to write this post and came into a few roadblocks. Nothing major just my perception or perspective. I decided this was important to write about.

In a recent post Chick 2 referenced her vantage point in the restaurant industry as a family-owned business. My post today will be as a patron.

I dined out a few times at local establishments during the pandemic shutdown. My hopes were to make an impact and to break up the mundane on the home front. It worked for the most part.

I bought pastries from a local bakery. I bought curbside pickup at a chain and tipped big. I took to go orders at the small mom-and-pops. I even hit a franchise or two.

Now that things are starting to open up I decided to dine out. Well my first choice was closed. A bigger chain but one of my favs. I looked for another local fav spot that a friend managed and that too was closed for dine in. Then I thought well I’ll just grab something elsewhere with disappointment.

When all was crumbling around me with lack of options I saw a Mexican place open that I had never been to. I decided to give it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised.

As I entered the facility I saw floor markings noting 6 feet apart. I saw a plastic protector by the hostess stand. I saw a make shift to-go pickup area with tables in use that were normally for dining. It seemed odd.

I took my seat. I observed. Every other booth was taped off for my protection. Tables were spread apart in the floor area. The servers were masked like healthcare workers. Does that kill your vibe to eat food? I was just rolling with the experience.

I couldn’t stop watching the to-go area. It had a table lined with to-go margaritas. Filled in 1/2 gallon milk jug type containers. They were labeled and sealed but never would I have seen this pre-corona. They sold like hot cakes with the to-go order. Interesting concept to generate revenue and make do with the new normal.

It was hard to understand the waiter. Was he annoyed or smiling? So many thoughts crossed my mind. The food arrived. It was delicious. My worries went away with the comfort and presentation of the meal.

Fresh cut slivers of avocado were the highlight of my meal. Fresh chips and salsa. The sounds of conversations and other humans around me. It was a new normal and a bit weird but it was a good first step. These are the vibes you can’t replace at home. And no clean up!

Mother’s Day came and went. A holiday normally spent at a restaurant but not this year. Nobody in my family wanted to dine out. A barbecue at home it was for this family. A picnic for another group I knew. A day on the lake for others. A work day for others whose family runs a restaurant.

I wondered about the financial effects of not only corona but on the restaurant industry itself on such a day like Mother’s Day. Some of these establishments need those holiday highs to maintain the lulls of other parts of the year.

I will continue to eat out when I can. If my budget allows. If my community stays open. If opportunity presents itself. So many ifs in the world today.

Are you dining in or out today?

perspective

Diamond or Volcano?

I don’t know anyone who has escaped the pressures of the pandemic. Frontline workers putting their lives on the line every day.  Parents who are trying to work from home while managing kids, maybe even multiple kids, who themselves are trying to manage learning from home.  Those same kids who have to try to learn while so many of the best parts of school (friends, fun events, recess) are taken away for now. Adults who can’t work, who have lost jobs, who are facing bills with less or no income. People being abused who are now quarantined with their abusers. People who are anxious, fearful, in despair.

After weeks of staying mostly at home, seeing mostly my family and a familiar four walls, I am restless, tired, often irritable.  I am worn out on eating well some days.  I have less motivation to exercise.  I am quite aware that my problems are much smaller and more manageable than most.

I said in one of my early pandemic posts that this crisis will bring out the best in some people and the worst in others.  A friend recently shared a smart post that said that in this time, jerks are becoming bigger jerks.  Compassionate people are becoming more compassionate. Our essences are expressing themselves.  Which are you?

We all have our ups and downs.  Good days and bad. Some of us have bigger problems looming than others. I get that.

Still, there really isn’t an excuse to be unkind.

I thought to myself, we are all under pressure.

Some of the most beautiful and most deadly things in the world are both born of great pressure.  Diamonds developed when pressure gets extremely intense.  Diamonds, something many consider extremely precious.  Something that sparkles.  Something we cherish. Have you seen diamonds coming out these days?  Kindness?  Generosity? Understanding? Even curiosity?  A willingness to listen?  Changing of minds?

At the same time, pressure between tectonic plates can collide and erupt into a volcano, spewing lava and destruction for miles and miles.  Something we run from, something many of us might fear.  Have you seen any examples of volcanoes around, spewing negativity and lack of understanding?  We’ve all seen them.  Angry protesters screaming at medical workers, police.  Nasty commenters belittling people instead of listening to their sincere concerns.

The 2 chicks have embraced “choose daily” from nearly the start of this blog.  I don’t know if anyone will get through this pandemic without cracks.  But instead of a crack that leads to hurting and destroying everything and everyone around, can you choose a crack that makes you more beautiful?