Tag Archives: tips

We may have bonded for the wrong reasons.

8 Jul

A few weeks ago the crew from my office went to my colleague’s home to celebrate the graduation of her daughter. It was sweet of her to invite us, and it was nice to get a glimpse of her life outside of work. It didn’t hurt that she has a friendly family and a beautiful home.

It did, however, remind me, of another time, years ago, when someone dared to blur the line between work and home, with significantly less impressive results.

For almost a decade, I’ve managed people in markets other than where I sit, which means I often fly in for a 3-4 day junket and try to do as much as possible while I’m visiting. Client visits? Shadow interviews? Performance reviews?  Team building? Bring it!

In this case, I was visiting a market with a relatively new team who was struggling to bond. There was a certain amount of back-stabbing drama, and I was hoping to put an end to it while in town. I offered to take everyone out to  dinner, but one of the women countered my proposal, inviting us all to her house instead. Very nice.

While that seems like a good idea on the surface, I probably should have stuck with Plan A since I’d never seen her home. But I didn’t. Noted.

So cut to 6pm, when we walk through her front door. And are immediately greeted by a rotweiler and a black lab. And when I say greeted, I mean: after jumping on us, unable to contain its excitement, the lab lifts his leg and pees on my boots.

Could've been worse! (Image Source: HaHaStop)

Fortunately, they are knee-high boots, so they sort of function like fishing waders and keep my legs dry. But still, I’m standing there in the kitchen, in a puddle of urine with wet boots. That definitely isn’t how I would choose to say, “Welcome to my home!” to a co-worker.

Luckily, I have a change of clothes with me, so I excuse myself to the bathroom to freshen up. (I’ve also been sitting in traffic for upwards of an hour and gulping water on the way to her home, so my run to the bathroom is multi-functional.)

In the bathroom, I close the door, set about washing off my boots, then turn to use the toilet. And am greeted by an open bowl, already hosting a turd the side the size of 50 Cent’s forearm. Just… wow.

My incredulity quickly turns to panic, however, because I realize I’ve been in the bathroom long enough that if I go back out and announce that the toilet is clogged, they are going to think I’m the reason. So suddenly, her turd (or, more likely, her husband/child’s turd) becomes my problem.

I flush and feel a wave of relief when I see it disappear without a struggle. Of course, that then begs the question: what was it doing there in the first place? No matter. I’m just glad to have it gone so I can pee and get out of there.

When I walk back to the kitchen, I’m pretty sure I look shell-shocked, because when one of the women says, “All cleaned up?” it takes me a minute to realize she’s talking about my boots. I nod, thinking, “If only you knew.”

And maybe it’s because I’ve encountered two different forms of excrement within ten minutes of entering the home, but I’m starting to feel a bit queasy about eating dinner there. It doesn’t help that our host’s eight year old daughter is leaning over the salad bowl to toss it, the ends of her hair touching the lettuce.

Remember the scene in National Lampoon’s Vacation, where Chevy Chase’s cousin’s daughter is stirring the KoolAid pitcher with her arm instead of a spoon? Yeah, it’s like that.

To keep from rambling, I’ll ask you to use your imagination to figure out how dirty underwear, wigs and piranhas presented themselves as the evening went on. But let me assure you: they all made an appearance.

The morale of the story? I think McDonald’s said it best when they launched the McDLT: Keep your hot side hot, and your cool side cool. Sometimes things just aren’t meant to mix.

I like to think my (gene) pool has a fairly significant deep-end.

27 Jun

Wonder why I’ve been quiet for a few days? Well, I’ve been off doing something people might call “jet-setting” — if those same people would be willing to accept “boarding a plane” as a loose definition of the term.

That’s right. Try not to get envious, but I set out after work on Thursday for a quick jaunt to Michigan, where I was greeted like a rock-star by legions of adoring mosquitos. (It might be over-stating it to say they rolled out the red carpet for me, but there was carpet, and by the time I finished rolling myself all over it to scratch the bites on my back, it was — in places — somewhat red.)

But no, it wasn’t the mosquitos that drew me to my birthplace. It was our Family Reunion! That’s right. We have an annual reunion, organized and championed by my father. Since it fell so close to Father’s Day this year, I thought I’d use the old “my presence is your present” adage and go for the first time in ten years.

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More Tips: How to NOT Get Kicked to the Curb Before You Even Interview

7 Jun

Shockingly (to those of you who ONLY know me through this  blog), I have directly hired (and, sadly, fired) a not insignificant number of people in my day. (By which I mean more than 50, and fewer than 100. Probably. But I’m too lazy to do the math.)

If you are currently looking for a new job, this is your lucky day. Because you’re about to receive valid advice from a REAL PERSON (one who swears, eats at food trucks and mocks people for farting in yoga), as opposed to some SHRM-bot that only gives vanilla tips for getting hired.

For background: I’m currently looking for a salesperson with almost ten years’ strategic sales experience and a strong book of contacts in a specific industry. And yet…

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TOP TEN: Interviewing Tips for Idiots

9 Mar

I hire people. Frequently. So I’ve endured a lot of interviews in my day. I’m gearing up for another round of candidates as I type, so I’m sharing this for selfish – not altruistic – reasons. Please forward to any of your friends applying to jobs.

I offer up these tips as a direct result of sitting through the interview in which it happened. All stem from (very sadly) true incidents:

  1. If you have a child, please don’t bring it to the interview with you. Splurge for a sitter.
  2. If you ignore Rule #1 and bring your child to the interview, please do not whip your breast out and feed it while we are talking. (I’m hungry too, but you don’t see me fishing JellyBellies out of my filing cabinet. LIMITS, people.)
  3. Turn your cell phone off. If you forget and it rings, apologize and silence it. DO NOT take the call – unless you are a surgeon or expecting a baby.
  4. If you DO take the call, when the caller asks what you’re doing, don’t say, “Nothin’,” like you’re just sitting on your couch stoned eating Cheetoh’s and watching MTV. You are in an interview and I can hear you.
  5. When asked what your sales strategy is, do not reference the phone book and your feet. Cold calling and door knocking is something that happend in the late 1990s. And even then, it wasn’t considered strategic.
  6. When asked why our company is a good match for you, please do not say, “Because the office has a weight-loss challenge and I’ve recently lost 10 kilos myself, so I think I’d fit right in.”
    • The only response I can think of to that is: Sure! Because our strategic plan for profitability is to be SLIM. Or wait – since we don’t make money by being skinny, perhaps you’d like to interview with Richard Simmons or America’s Top Model? Or, conversely, tell me more about how your weight-loss will translate into revenue for us?
  7. Do not volunteer that you are married, have children, have a mortgage, have a burial expense – or any other obligation that makes your employment financially necessary. We all need to work; don’t burden me with your reason. You made your decisions, I didn’t. Unless it helps me understand your value to my organization, I don’t really need to know.
    • A corollary of #7 is “Because I need to make enough money to clear my alimony and child support obligations,” and my response  to that is, Awesome. Now that I know what’s important to you, let’s talk about your ability to see a project through to the end. It sounds like you might have some issues there. “
  8. Do NOT pull out a magazine and show me topless women sprawled out on the hoods of cars, even if you DID sell the ad space in that magazine. I think I’d rather see the person in Tip #2 breast feed.
  9. When asked why you left a job, I don’t need to know – in graphic detail – how your boss came onto you at the men’s urinal. I think you can come up with a vague blanket statement (like poor leadership) that covers that base without scarring my brain.
  10. If you are drunk, stay home and sleep it off. We’ll let you reschedule. Attempting to interview – only to A) Miss the chair and sit on the floor, or B) Call us from a jail cell where you’ve been charged with a DUI – is not going to increase your likelihood of getting the job.

And finally, as an added bonus – when asked what questions you have about the position, the Top Five Questions out of your mouth should not be:

  1. How much sick time do I get?
  2. How much vacation time do I get?
  3. Can I work from home or bring my child to work?
  4. When can I take my first vacation?
  5. Are you actually going to call my references?

I work for a very progressive company that actually has great answer to all those questions. But the point is, you probably shouldn’t be focused on how little you actually have to work. You should concentrate on what value you bring to my organization.

Call me old fashioned, but if I wanted to hear about your vacations, I’d hire someone better than you so I could take them myself.