Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thank you for my Weaknesses and my 100th blog post.

We spend great amounts of times being thankful for our strengths and how they take us here and there. In a world of strength finders and positive feedback, our weaknesses are glossed over and avoided like a missing finger.  Yet we spend no time being thankful for our weaknesses.  As Gary Vaynerchuk, the audacious entrepreneur, has asked people to do this thanksgiving, I am going to enumerate my weaknesses and why I am thankful for them.  They are in no particular order or ranking.

I am not a shark.  This is a weakness in business and in my social interactions.  When I was in sales I would sell the products people needed not what made me money.  When I was in business management positions I would go for a great deal but always try to come to a win win solution with suppliers wanting everyone to win not just myself.  When I invite kids over for a sleepover I invite them all and sacrifice my sleep. This may keep me limited in my ambitions, however it keeps me humane and fair.  I can sleep at night, am proud of who I am and am willing to leave some on the table in the hope for fairness and karma.  Oh, and I love the pack of kids having a blast, eating my food, and tearing up my world... most of the time.  

I have a sarcastic and often ironic sense of humor that gets me in trouble.  While this is a weakness living in the Midwest, I think I just might lose my mind without the funny silent chatter that goes on in my cynical witty mind. If I did not see the humor in life's little falls and spills, I might take myself and everything else too seriously.  

Example... game of Cards Against Humanity. Question: Blank is the logical gateway to Blank.  I put a subscription to a men's fitness magazine is a logical gateway to an M16 assault riffle.  Well of course this had me in stitches but everyone else looked at me like I was touched.  Then another one came up said Question: Blank is the worst way to die.  I put abject stupidity is the worst way to die.   So my sense of humor is a little off for my current latitude and longitude.  A weakness in social situations but Oh well.  - said dripping with sarcasm.  

My brain works so fast I often have something figured out way before the conversation has gone there.  The stream of information and processing that happens in my head is a great thing for problem solving but a weakness in communication.  I have to work to maintain patience when people are explaining things that I already figured out before they even opened their mouths.   OK, sometimes I am just dead off, however often enough I get it right.  I am thankful for my speed and efficiency, and will just have to work harder to allow others their due attention. 

This speed is a weakness in my written communication.  You see, I have a few contributing factors here. Add in in a terrible lack of spelling skills and a typing speed way over 100 words a minute that is erroneous as hell.  Then add in a family background of languages like Yiddish and Hebrew, with their backward syntax, and you get a product that needs much review.  I type how I speak. You should never know, how backwards I write some times. lol.  I am thankful for this because I enjoy my thought patterns.  I do need to, either spend a lot of time reviewing or accept a less than perfect product.  This slowing down is good for me.  It forces me to occasionally breathe.    Yet, if you have read many of my blogs, you have found that I often go for the 'its good enough' attitude.  My blog is my stream of consciousness and allowed to be more natural in syntax, at least that is my story and I am sticking to it.  

I have a little bit of a wild side.  OK, a good amount.  I sometimes term it suppressed boogie or evil inclination or just my me'ness.  I really am good most of the time, but some times I just need to be a little bad.  Not robbing a store and Thelma and Louis bad, more of a selfish buy myself a pair of shoes or go to a music festival and dance around a field for five days,  or backpack around Europe for a year or two bad.  This is a weakness when it comes to stability and practicality.  Yet, to be honest, I love this about myself.  It is what I pull on when the going gets tough and I have to lean in and taken on challenge. As a mother and adult I can only take small escapes and I use them well.   

The last weakness I am going to be thankful for is something that I have always thought of as my Gemini behavior.  Every few years I change.  I change up what I am into and what may give me fire. This does not mean I don't have some enduring loves, like gardening and nature. There is just this big part of me that just sort of shifts to new interests.  Part of this is because I get board.  I don't like doing the same thing over and over again.  After a certainly point, I am good to go, and need a new playground to play on for a while.  I love to learn about many things but don't need to be an expert at them all.  I would rather take on a totally new subject then dig so deep I hit lava.  I am thankful for this because it has resulted in a hugely well rounded set of skills, knowledge and interests to pull when I need to.  

This process has been a lot of fun. Weaknesses sometimes become strengths and for me are many of the things about me that I love best.  Thanks Mr. V for the homework.  

Now I would just like to be thankful for all the time, effort and mental focus you have put forth to read my blog.  This is my 100th blog post.  When I started this blog I thought it would be a fun way to ramble on about stuff and at least my mother would read it.   I had no idea that I would be sitting here typing up my 100th blog post on disgruntled feminist.

I have to say that, it tickles me pink, that my posts get a certain amount of organic traffic.  It is not some wild vial explosions. It is some daily traffic from those that regularly check. It is also shares, that are most powerful, and get my content read and reread and slowly shared again. So if I give you a quality post with a rant, a moral and maybe some laughs, share it out there for me.  

Hats off to you Gov'ner.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Who moved my Cheese

If you have not watched the video or read the book, "Who Moved my Cheese", you probably should do so.  It is based on the analogy of these characters stuck in a maze with the cheese, at Cheese Station C, starting to dwindle and eventually disappear. The four types of characters all react differently to this change.  Some run off immediately in the search for new cheese, while others are determined to stick it out till the cheese comes back in its regular abundance.

The premise of this book is that people get comfortable and like their routine.  They get used to having what they need provided with this routine.  Then, as things start to get less ideal, for various reasons, people by nature are not inclined to move on and find a new world.  People need to be sufficiently uncomfortable in their existing situation, what ever it be, to spur action.   This goes along with basic Needs Theory.  Until a person feels enough pressure created by a need or want they will not go out and seek.

So how does one know when their cheese, so to speak, is starting to change.  Maybe it is getting kind of stinky or a little ripe.  Maybe it is starting to dwindle.  One usually tries to deny the changes.

In my past I have not been the first off the block when things started to get off.  I generally stuck things out thinking justice, karma and hard work would make it all OK.   Yet it seldom was OK, it often did not get better, and usually signaled the need for eventual change.   What would have happened if I jumped off at that time when I just started to feel the change in the air, instead of waiting for, "every little thing is going to be all right"?

People change jobs more often than in the past.  In the Traditionalist and Baby Boomer Generations a person may have had a small handful of employers in their day.  As we move up the generations the average number of jobs has increased and increased.   At this point, not including part-jobs through college I have had eight major professional jobs.  This number is not uncommon, and I still realistically have 20 more years to work.  The chances that my current employer will be my last,  is pretty much zero.

I saw this quote the other day and it really hit home "Karma comes to those that roll with it." Would my career path have changed if I rolled with Karma.   I believe in Karma, and have felt it's force in my life.   I often have likened it to that feeling when you are floating down a river in a canoe and you see the V the river is making.  You have to steer into the V.  Be the V, if you will.  Then your canoe will go with the river, and baring any downed trees, this is usually the safest path.  

So why wait.  Why the anxiety of change and feeling of sadness.  Why not put on those running shoes and dive into the change, looking for the next clear path, the next V that will take us on our career journey.   Is it fear of the unknown, questions of self worth or fear of rejection that keeps us from looking for new cheese.

This time I plan to have my eyes open and take a run around the maze, every now and again, even if my cheese still seems fine.  It might look just fine, however that does not mean it is the right cheese for me.  Hell, I am allergic to milk for the love of god.   I am tying those shoe laces tight and will be looking for the next V.  See you there.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Grocery Shrink Ray

I am a Professor of Marketing and Strategic Communication, yet I don't often agree with the ethics of the industry.  I feel that in teaching Marketing, I may be helping prepare the professionals of tomorrow with an eye for justice and humanity.  I am also helping to equip tomorrows consumers with more awareness of the crafty world around them.

Over the last several years I have noticed that our grocery bills keep going up and our food seems to be used up faster.  Some of this can be attributed to my two growing boys at home.  However, a good portion of this is in the hands of the manufacturers.   

A few years back when gas prices hit $4 a gallon, we saw price increases across the board.  We understood that the transportation costs were going up and needed to be passed on to the consumer.  Yet, the price of gas has gone up and down, and now sits lower than it has been in years. Where is our drop in price to be passed on to the consumer?  The prices of goods continue to increase even as the Feds say the inflation rate does not show this growth.  

Now, the part that gets my goat, is that if you look at your favorite products, from laundry detergent to toilet paper, you will see that the quantities in the containers are going down.  So a bag of chips is now 9 or 10 oz instead of 12 to 14.  A can of soup is now 10 3/4 oz instead of 12 or 14.  Everything seems to be shrinking.  A bag of Oreos has shrunk, spinning off a new size called "Family Size" that audaciously looks like our old packages. The new smaller packages are the same prices as the old bigger packages and the new family packages are selling at a premium.  I even noticed Guinness draft beers are now 11/ 1/2 oz instead of 12 oz.  If domestic beer did this we might actually have a revolution on our hands.   

If this was happening on the up and up that would be one thing. To keep us consumers happily going about our day, the crafty world of package design has attempted to keep us in the dark by altering the packaging contours.  If you lift up your jars of peanut butter or mayo you will notice a concave base that is deeper and deeper with each purchase.  This package alteration takes a few grams of substance out of every jar.   This small savings leaves less food in my kitchen.  

As consumers we must take a stand.  Next time you see a product and lift it up and notice, 'ooooh that is a little lighter than last time', look at how many grams or oz or product you are really getting.  Post it on your social media.  Let others know.  What we are experiencing is called the Grocery Shrink Ray.  There are websites out there such as that have several good articles about this situation.   Share this info with your friends.  The only way to stop the Grocery Shrink Ray is to make sure the consumer knows what is happening.

Check out an old recipe book and it will say to add a can of this or a bag of that.  Look at the quantity they expected to be in a container.  Make sure you are making your family recipes correctly and look at the oz or grams needed.  

Another thing to look out for, is situations such as Walmart. Manufactures make specific products exclusively for distribution to Walmart stores.  These products can be altered in size and quality and sold under the same labels.  Look at the quantity before you decided if the price is right in Wally World. The Walmart owners have not become four of the 10 riches people in our country by giving their maximum value to the consumer. 

So the next time you feel like your buying power is shrinking, it probably is.  #groceryshrinkray