business, challenges

Good Help?

How hard is it to find good help these days? For me the answer is: it’s pretty hard. Nobody wants to really work hard to prove their worth. They just want to get a hand out or slide by or just mooch off others.

I’m fascinated by this subject. Recently I had a need for a laborer. The pay was good and there were not many expectations. Well the basics of work hard, neat appearance, adhere to safety rules and be okay with physical labor. Now mind you, I’m a woman and met the qualifications and was capable of doing the work yet I was looking to provide an opportunity to another.

No takers. Tired from a trip I heard from more than one prospect. No answer from a couple, as in no interest. Too long of a drive for another. Have to get off by x for another. So many reasons that were just excuses of sorts. I’d rather hear no thanks I’ll pass rather than the lame excuses folks make up.

I’ll also remember the opportunity offer for when one asks for support. I’ll share “I offered it but you had to work for it.” Funny the tune will be different then. I’d like to play the recording of their voices when they cry poor me later. I work hard for everything I have. I almost never pass up an opportunity unless it just doesn’t make sense. I see so many now hiring signs but how many actually want to work?

I hustle but stay humble. I was taught a great work ethic. I honestly feel today’s younger workers expect more to do less and if anything extra is ever asked the answer is a fast NO. Many seem to lack foresight or are incapable of the big picture thinking limiting their long-term potential or this is how I see things today.

I can’t recall a time where I ever felt this way pre-pandemic. There used to be kids hustling to mow lawns or do other odd jobs. Today I just don’t see it. Maybe it’s just my environment. Maybe not. Just a ponder post of sorts.

I’m choosing to end this post on a positive with a photo of a fresh spring bloom from the family farm. Enjoy.

challenges

The Off Season

I am a teacher. I work from 8:00 am (or earlier) until 4:00 pm 190 days a year. During those hours I am a role model for little kids, a good colleague to my co-workers, and so on. What happens when I head out to stores to do errands after school?

As an elementary school teacher, I honestly still watch myself a lot of the time. I know I could look up at a store or restaurant and see little eyes looking up at me with an incredulous squeal: Mom, it’s Dr. Friese!! This has happened many times. For that reason, I can’t be cursing or loading up on margaritas when I am out and about, especially within a certain radius of my school.

This self-censorship of sorts extends to social media. I rarely post anything except for very “innocent” family or fitness updates. I stay out of photos where drinking or other grown-up activities are involved. I don’t post political content as much as I can avoid it. I have just a handful of select parents who can see what I post. Otherwise, I just refuse most of those requests, but I am still aware than many people could be looking. I sit through legal presentations each year that share examples of teachers losing their jobs because they post themselves doing legal, adult things online that a parent used against them. Better safe than sued or jobless is my mindset, I guess.

Some comments lately had me wondering if this is fair…as a teacher, I feel expected to hold up some sort of rated-G moral standard no matter where I am. The other roughly 14 hours a day and 175 days a year I am not at school, I often mentally steer away from situations where I can be captured doing “inappropriate” things. But is it fair to expect that I’ll just be basically angelic most of the time? Is being a teacher what I do or who I am? Who gets to decide?

Others close to me have been in this situation lately as well. A friend who is a nurse had a family member go through a medical crisis. She wasn’t completely happy with the way all the care was going and let the staff know it. She wasn’t ugly or unreasonable as much as firm and inquisitive. She was told she wasn’t being professional. But her role in this situation was that of a family member advocating for her parents’ health. Does she have to be a professional even in her personal life?

What other jobs seem to carry the expectation of acting a certain way 24/7/365… am I always a mother? A father? How about the captain of an athletic team? Do I have to behave “as a captain” even in the off season? What does that mean? If I am a forklift operator or a chef, I don’t have the weight of those jobs following me around all the time. How about an athletic coach to young people? A politician? A priest? A police officer? Why do some jobs or roles become identities and others allow you to clock out and just be who you are?

I don’t have solutions for this. It just troubles me how some jobs or roles are seen as 24/7 while others can be left behind when work is over. It’s not even the highest paid people who can just shed their professions at will. Some onlookers use these roles as a weapon when they don’t like what you are doing. (Heaven forbid you’re a teacher and post something with spelling errors!)

In the end, we are all just human, with likes and dislikes, flaws and foibles and lives outside of our work. Just a few early morning thoughts.

adventure

Living the Chocolate Life

Only in the great state of Pennsylvania can you be on Chocolate Avenue, turning onto Cocoa Avenue leading to the Chocolate Museum. The sweetest place on earth, they claim. Yes, I am in chocolate heaven in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Home to Hershey chocolates and Hershey Park. A chocolate-themed amusement park.

While here I walk down memory lane from times when I was a child visiting Hershey Park and all its wooden roller coaster memories to times I took my kids when they were little. It’s amazing what scenery can do to trigger your memories. 

My youngest is in tow this trip. She doesn’t remember her last trip here but she likes the country flair of the corn stalks on the roadside for what seems like miles. However, just around the corner there is the vision of old and new coasters. Hearing her dialogue on the old wooden coasters is mesmerizing.

Hop into town and you see light posts designed as chocolate kisses adding to the ambiance. Oh how I love flair and this town has it. From small town ice cream shops to local vendors on the the town square.

My hotel is next to a car museum housing many interesting items. An old-time bus is out front peaking interest from the roadside. A little further up the path is the Hershey Kisses mobile. Three wrapped kisses forming a vehicle. I never saw this until today. Made me think of the Oscar Meyer Weiner mobile that I have posed with dozens of times. So much fun to adventure to new places and see what is beyond your normal. It’s also cool to visit a place at different age points. I’m sure my visit here was more candy focused when I was a kid to ride focused when I took my kids to now me taking it all in as a mature adult.

My lens may be the same but my visions are different. Just like the light post above. Each view or angle of the post offers a different perspective.  As I travel I look for unique photo opportunities and try to use my imagination to create lasting memories. The sign below captured my thoughts along the way to Hershey, PA.

O

Off I go to explore in chocolate town. As I explore I know I’m using my imagination to fill in the blanks for my next adventure. Sending you virtual kisses from Hershey, PA.

healthy hacks

Healthy Hack: Travel Edition

The 2 Chicks have been on the road a lot this summer. So much joy, so much adventure, the occasional stress.

I’ve shared my favorite tips for experiencing local flavors and activities. Here’s another quick tip for life on the go that has saved me stress this summer.

And so, without further ado, here’s my fab tip:

Have a separate set of toiletries. And not just travel sizes.

Extra skin care, hair stuff, deodorant, makeup, brush, toothbrush, sunscreen…All. Of. It.

I actually discovered this hack during last school year. With all the stress and shuffling of schedules, I often went straight from the gym to work. My gym bag grew from just having a very basic set of skin care to the full assembly over time. All summer long, I’ve either taken my gym bag (with toiletries and my gym clothes / shoes packed), or grabbed the toiletries to put in a larger packed bag.

There’s nothing really magical about it, I guess. Still, it has saved me so much time in remembering all the odds and ends I need on every excursion and adventure this summer. If you don’t have any spares to start with, be on the lookout for coupons and deals. (Some might happen shortly when college students head back to school.) I also stockpile stuff from Clinique free gift offers.

Once you’ve got your set, you’re good to go!

Hope this helps at least some of you with that inevitable travel stress (or the pain of forgetting your toothbrush!)

dare to be different, fitness and nutrition

Sense of Direction

It’s true, I’m getting older.

As I age, I notice that certain things are starting to deteriorate. Today’s example: my sense of direction.

When I was young, I would read Atlanta’s Creative Loafing newspaper every Thursday or Friday. I’d check out the list of festivals, events, art openings, even new music releases, and make my weekend plans. I’d pull out my mom’s Atlanta road atlas and set on my coordinate spree to map my weekend adventures. From these jaunts week after week, year after year, I got to know my way around Atlanta inside and out.

These days, I can hardly find my way around my little suburb without waze or google maps. If I’m somewhere without service, I get nervous and often guess the wrong direction. Such a change. It may not just be due to aging. Maybe more a combination of getting older and over reliance on technology. Still not a change I like, no matter the cause.

I spent the past week in a confusing condo building. Actually there were two buildings connected by bridges and corridors. There was also a parking garage. None of the connecting floors had the same number. Walk through a hallway from one building’s first floor and suddenly, without stairs or elevators, you’re on another building’s third. The garage was a totally different mess. I felt lost and disoriented much of the week.

After a couple of morning condo workouts, I went to the gym one evening to make sure I could find it from our room. The next morning I spent a half hour with dumbbells in the gym. After I was done, I decided to test myself and make my way back to the condo from the gym using stairs instead of the path I already knew.

I walked into the stairwell. When I opened the door, I was surprised to find an old man, slightly hunched over, standing at the bottom of the stairs. He was short with groomed gray hair. He wore a cotton t-shirt, athletic pants and tennis shoes. He was there to exercise. He smiled at me.

Good morning, I said.

Are you still moving every day? he said,

Yes sir, I replied. I want to be sure I can move for as long as I can, so I try to do it first thing every day.

Good for you, he replied. I do the exact same thing. Keep it up. It’s so important.

And with that, one floor up, I walked out of the stairwell. He kept walking up the stairs. Up. Up. Up. Moving. Ascending.

It was like the (living) ghost of Christmas Future. Letting me know that taking time to move, for me, is what will keep me moving long term. I can feel confident when I get up and make my physical and mental health a priority each day. What others think of it is none of my business. My approval is what is required.

Did I find my way back to the condo? Happily, yes. And taking that different path gave me unexpected landmarks and signs. I’m heading in the right direction. It was a roadmap to the future I am heading toward, nimble and purposeful.