Saturday, November 24, 2007

For Little G3

Before I start this, I have to credit Goodnight, Mom, whose idea I am blatantly stealing this week. I found her on Lincee’s website and bumped to her blog, then became instantly enamored with something she did for her own daughter.

I have high hopes that someday this will be around for my kid to see. It’s hard to know in this digital age what will stand the test of time and what will be relegated to the dumping ground. I hope this lasts.

My precious baby girl turned four this week, and it seems like her little life is just flying by in front of my eyes. I met my brand new niece over Thanksgiving, and holding her and feeding her and loving her and drinking in the pure goodness that she is brought back such a rush of feelings for me. My daughter is the only one I’m ever going to have, and those precious sweet baby days feel like a lifetime ago.

I was struck by a sudden urge to somehow document every single miraculous, amazing, hysterical thing she does, because I fear tomorrow it will all be gone and replaced by some awkward teenage girl who hates me. In fact, I’m certain of that, which makes this all the more urgent.

So this is for you little G3, and everything you bring to the table.

  • “Tumember, Mom” instead of “remember, Mom”
  • I love you 60 pounds
  • I don’t love you people!
  • Diego? We date.
  • Slideout
  • Ok, Mom, here’s the deal.
  • Fine. Whatever.
  • Beltseat
  • I’m still married with Mr. Duck.
  • No, Uncle Jim, it’s Son Of A Bitch!
  • YOU have cute shoes
  • Cocktails and Starbucks – both are ok when you’re four.
  • Hot cogs and mac and cheese. The two major food groups.
  • Breakfast bars and juice boxes. The two minor food groups.
  • This is gonna take like 50 hours.
  • What time is it?
  • OH MY GOSH!! Eye roll…..
  • I can have a baby after college. What is college again?
  • Thank you sir.
  • Sleepy, whispery “yes ma’am”
  • Tanilla ice cream and milk shakers
  • Dora and Dragon Tales, Higglytown Heroes and Handy Manny
  • Toddler music
  • Daddy, the Aggies won the football game! The Aggies won the football game!
  • Do you still love me?
  • That’s what pull-ups are for!!!
  • Anything Barbie or Disney Princess
  • The Mommy and the Daddy and the Sweetie
  • Monsters are afraid of Dads and dogs
As I sit it at my desk and listen to her night-night music on the baby monitor, it’s all I can do to keep from running down the hall and picking her up and holding on for dear life.

So, goodnight my little lovebug. Sleep tight, and wake safe! I'll see you in the morning.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Finding your passion at work

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why my job makes me happy, and why it even matters that I’m happy at the office. I’ve decided that what you do in life is not nearly as important as how what you do makes you feel.

I sell exhibit trade show space. What does that mean exactly? When you go to a trade show, exhibit, or fair, there are people there in the booths. These people are probably going to try to sell you things. For example, when I was pregnant, I went to a Baby Fair. There were stroller guys there, and bottle guys, and pacifier guys, and diaper guys, and safety product guys. Some schmuck somewhere had to contact these exhibitors, sell them the space, process their payments, and help them with show logistics. I am that schmuck. It’s my job to sell the show experience to our exhibitors. But if you get right down to it, I basically sell 10x10 pieces of concrete for a living. And my customers don’t even buy the concrete, they just rent it for a few days.

There’s nothing glamorous about what I do. I sell them their space, maybe some advertising, and for the smart ones, some sponsorship opportunities. I don’t sell fancy jewelry, high end electronics, or fancy cars. Just 10x10 pieces of concrete. So, why exactly, does this job make me happy?

I really do love what I do. I love working an account for a year and FINALLY landing it. I love meeting someone in the industry and selling our show to them. I love taking existing business and growing it. I love creating the perfect sponsorship opportunity to help an exhibitor meet their goals at the show. I love the excitement of knowing our numbers and watching them grow and approach our goals. And as any sales person will tell you, making the goal, or exceeding it, is the greatest!

I love the excitement of the show itself…getting onsite and seeing the floor turn into actual booth spaces, then the booth spaces becoming displays, then having booth personnel on the floor, and I love seeing the floor filled with show attendees. I love the parties and the early mornings and the late nights and the networking. I love it when the show closes and everyone packs up, excited to be on their way home. I love the follow up calls after the show, and most of all, I love it that it starts right back over. Love it, love it, love it!

I’m pretty good at what I do. I was very lucky to work for some really smart people for more than 5 years on another show. I learned a lot from those guys. Now, I work for even smarter people, and I’m learning even now. I understand how trade shows work and why they are effective. I know the lingo. I understand how a computer can make my job easier, and I let it, every day. I work for a successful show, #4 in my company to be exact. Out of 18, that’s not bad odds. There are only two of us selling this show, and it’s growing, so obviously we have some talent.

I believe in what I do. I can look myself in the mirror every morning because I’m selling a product I believe in. Our shows are the best – we have the smartest people in the industry working here, and it shows in everything we do. Our trade shows are second to none in professionalism and smarts. It makes me proud to sell a product others view as the best in the industry.

I like the people I work with. I am surrounded by a very smart group of people who are good at their jobs and like what they do. I have friends to go to lunch with, chat with over coffee, and lament with when I need to. People here celebrate our successes and encourage us when things look bleak. We work for a terrific company, and many of us appreciate the opportunities we have here that just aren’t floating around out there for other people. Am I best friends with everyone? Nope, in fact there are a few people here I don’t care for. But in the real world, do you think you can just waltz in someplace and love everyone? No, and I’m ok with that.

Are any of these reasons on their own earth shattering or life changing? No, but the combination of them is so powerful and encompassing, because they define for me why this works for me. As far as I’m concerned, I have the greatest job in the world. I like what I do, I make good money doing it, I like the people I do it with – the trifecta!

My Uncle Jim would dispute that, because he thinks he has the greatest job in the world. He makes things for a living – cabinets and furniture and such. He builds beautifully and with love and respect for his product and his customers. My sister is a CPA – the worse kind of bean counter – and she will tell you she has the greatest job in the world. I have a friend who travels with alumni year round, and she will tell you she has the greatest job in the world.

The simple fact of the matter is that there is no one cookie cutter perfect job, one everyone in the universe should reach for. But I do believe to the core of my being that there is one perfect job for each one of us, and it’s our challenge and duty to find it and go after it.

I love my job for all the reasons I just mentioned. Uncle Jim loves his job because he can take a piece of wood and turn it into something to be treasured for a lifetime. My sister loves her job because somehow all those columns all offset each other and really do mean something. My friend loves her job because she travels the world making new friends and living life large. The common thread for all of us is that we work consciously, seeing the work for what it is, and appreciating it anyway.

I look back at where I was a decade ago, just kind of clicking along in a job with a steady paycheck. It was ok, but nothing compares with having a job I look forward to doing every day. What will today bring? A new sale? A challenge? A roadblock? I never really know, but I’m always excited to find out.

If your job isn’t doing it for you right now, I urge you to find out why and do whatever it takes to make a change. You’re giving 40+ hours a week to your job, and it ought to be a source of pride and enjoyment for you. Whether it’s concrete or cabinets or columns, find out what lights your fire, then fan the embers every day. You owe it to yourself and your sanity to find your passion at work and then hold on to it.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

25 things I’m thankful for right now

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I thought it might be worthwhile to come up with a list of things I'm thankful for....

1. 4 years with our beautiful daughter and 14 years with her funny, smart, compassionate daddy
2. That my mom beat cancer this summer
3. A job I like, that I’m pretty good at, that pays me a nice living
4. Everything my mom taught me, from do it right the first time, to how and why to write a thank you note
5. My dear friend JW who has been there for me, no matter what

6. The unconditional love of our varmints Trinity and Lilly
7. Daycare staff who loves my child and keeps her safe so I can work and keep my sanity
8. Eddie Hoch and the time and money he has spend funding a scholarship in my dad’s memory
9. Good healthcare for me and those I love
10. Having family that I like enough to be friends with
11. My precious nieces and nephew
12. Soda Club USA – the best club soda in the world, right in my own kitchen!
13. The financial wherewithal to do what we want when we want
14. Working for the best company in Texas – maybe even in the whole USA
15. Being smart enough to use a computer to make my life easier and a whole lot more fun
16. Lasik
17. TiVo and the DVR Revolution
18. iTunes and Audible
19. Buttercream icing
20. Friends at work who keep me grounded and make lunchtime fun
21. AB is having a girl (finally!)and LA is having a boy

22. My friend JR finished the New York Marathon two weeks ago
23. A&B babies are healthy and thriving and that their dad's head hasn't blown up
24. My terrific inlaws
25. Friday is almost here!!

Friday, November 09, 2007

The problem with "no problem"

By a show of hands, folks, let's see how many of you are offended by this....

You go out somewhere, anywhere really, and someone helps you. A waiter, bank teller, the lady at the drycleaner's, your friendly neighborhood grocery store. You, being the polite person that you are, give your helper a hearty "thank you." And what do you get in return? "No problem!"

Why in the world do people say that? It drives me nuts. By reassuring me that what I've asked for is not a problem, you're really telling me that it actually it is a problem, but you don't want me to think that it is, so you tell me it's not. Makes me crazy.

Why not just say "you're welcome" or "my pleasure" or "any time?" This holds true whether you've helped a customer, a co-worker at the office, or a total stranger. Don't diminish your act of helpfulness by declaring it's no problem. Just say "you're welcome," and maybe flash a smile.

You'll feel better, and your "thanker" will feel better, and the world will be a little bit better because of it.