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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Myspace Migration: Camelot & Camelot Companies

Current mood:awake

This evening I was watching First Knight, as sleep once again has eluded me. I love that movie; if you haven't seen it, you really should. From a movie-watcher perspective, Julia Ormond (1), Richard Gere, and Sean Connery (2) gave top notch performances. From a story perspective, it's fabulous.

In the movie, the theme of Camelot is that they live and serve something greater than themselves in serving their country. They model the Judeo-Christian edict of giving of self for a good, for a cause, higher than their own wants and needs. It got me to thinking, in my life, I have felt that the companies I have worked for since I rejoined the public workforce in 2004 were very much like that as well. Camelots, in their own right. The company, not unlike the city, prospers in the fruits of a collective working to achieve a greatness beyond just their own job, or their own profits. They were, they are, bettering something - the people that worked there, the product they produced, and maybe even (and I know this is reaching a bit) the world... or our little piece of it, because they were/are in it. The ways they function were revolutionary in their fields, they were different. I feel very much, honored to have been and continue to associate with that type of company.

What makes a Camelot? One of the owners of the company I serve now, said early on to me something that was actually almost spot on said in the movie: "Either something is right, and true - or it isn't. You must always do first what is right, and you must believe in truth." In the movie, King Arthur said, "Either what we believe is right and just and true, and we must fight for what we believe in or we're just another Robert Tripe." (3)  That resonates with me - I think, if you guide your life and your business and therefore your business practices within each business unit and position, by that statement, you are on your way to building a Camelot. My former company built a 'Camelot environment' through the belief that by empowering the individual through the freedom of accountability, you allowed for them to achieve more than they ever would have by holding them to the tight confines of 100% delegation. To have true leadership that people want to follow, you have to allow degrees of leadership in each individual. They live by life laws that noone in the company is above - an equalizer that again, empowers. Their system works well as they continue to grow, prosper and hold tightly-knit close relationships with one another. (4)

In the movie, what threatened the peace of the realm was a 'Prince' who was hungry for power, aptly named Maligant, whose very name invoked the thought of malignant behavior... and whose Malignance was his own lust for power. Guinevere made a reference early on about how power on the 'good guy,' Arthur, was worn lightly - on Maligant, he wore it as heavy armour and a sword that he brandished.   In business, 'Maligant' comes in many forms. Sometimes, it's the rogue manager who thinks they are above everything and the rules do not apply to them - often, they end up being their own undoing, but seldom before they inflict harm on the 'realm' of the company. Sometimes, it's the business unit that overestimates it's importance and makes demands or commitments that do not align with the beliefs and purposes of the 'realm.' In the end, it usually ends up costing the company both money and often, leadership is lost through the ordeal. I think for most Camelot businesses at present, the Maligant is the current receding economy.

We are faced with a time whereby we will be told the rules must change to survive and get back to a thriving state. While clearly, nearly every company will have to work harder and smarter than before to achieve the results they easily come by in 'good times,' I truly believe Camelot companies will survive by holding to the principles that made them great. The beautiful thing about the statement the owner mentioned is that if it's right and true, it remains right and true even in harder times. Maybe even perhaps moreso. One of our Presidents said that the trick to leadership was getting people to want to follow you - to do what you want them to do, even though individually they may have never wanted to do it on their own. Another fabulous statement that fits in well with the Camelot business. How do you do it? In a word, caring.

It wasn't long ago that many businesses were Camelots and their employees were loyal for their entire working life. I think it was because they not only worked for something greater than themselves, they produced things that made the world a better place AND they cared for their employees that many businesses today do not. For at least the last 10 years, but really probably much longer (5), the leader-Kings of businesses no longer focused on building Companies with Camelot beliefs, but on Camelot-sized business. Ivory towers looking down on vast empires whereby people no longer mattered and a vast size producing an even vaster amount of profit was truly the only real end-game. Profit at all cost. With it came ritual annual layoffs to play with overhead reporting nd many other things that pushed principle and heart aside. Companies lost their Camelot standing because truthfully, they developed a malignance for power and profit that resulted in the loss of their soul. They had the size, but not the principles and truths that gave them a real Camelot.

While we undoubtably will face losses and potential hardships as a collective through the coming months, I have faith the Camelots I have served, and continue to, will come out whole. But there will be just as many companies that will have believed themselves to be a Camelot Company that will show that they were nothing more than glitter and flash. They will abandon what they consider to have been their principle(s) in fear, in their quest for survival. I don't know what else to say at the moment except it will be an interesting road ahead, folks.

(1)  who, along with Aubrey Hepburn, Queen Elizabeth I and Grace Kelly, was who I wanted to be like when I grew up - just as a surgeon
(2) whom I have had a crush on since I was like - 6-
(3) Not really sure what he meant by the last part, but he said it with great conviction
(4) Of course, in the movie, Camelot lived on, though it's leader died.
(5) that's only as long as I've been following business

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Myspace Migration: Let's Talk About Text, Sex, & Whatever Else Strikes My Fancy

Let's talk about 'text' for now, specifically text messaging. Personally, I find text messaging sort of a mixed blessing. I mean, it's great when you want to shoot over a quick bit of info, such as:

"Hey man, your two o'clock is up front - either answer the phone or get up there." or "Do you want me to bring home some take-out for dinner?" or "Holy hail, Batman! You need to put your car in the garage!!!!"

It can be fun for flirting or friendly banter purposes. Sending a quick message like:

"Seriously, I'm pretty sure it was illegal to smell that good"
Or the good old standby line in the crowded club of "I'm not sleeping with you until the fourth drink"
(OK, clearly I suck at thinking of flirty lines and I while I would never, ever, ever send the latter message I will pick that thought up again later and run with it)

The first text message was sent in December of 1992, in the UK. Now, you can get practically anything via text - Daily Devotionals, Show Information from the History Channel, Vote in a new American Idol, get the latest Weather Alerts, find your true love via horoscope, and it seems lately like people use text messaging as a way to replace personal interation. People have entire conversations via test message; the serious kind! Relationships have blossomed and ended via text. People fight via text (which is still just flat out bat-crazy to me, or at the very least passive-agressive). What is this about? What ever happened to picking up the phone and having a conversation; which, by the way, was deemed as 'impersonal' not too very long ago. I'd be interested to know what others think of the "text message as a legitimate means of having a serious conversation."

Personally, I'm opposed. There's too much wiggle room in the written word when it comes to emotions, and too many possible meanings for phrases. The tonal quality of the voice is lost and that's seriously important when it comes to having discussions of significance. One of my very good friends, whom I practically consider to be family, does this a lot. Bugs the living daylights out of me - but, she loves to pick arguments via text. Not my bag, again, I'd rather talk it out. One of my guy friends just talked to his girl about moving in with him - via text. Really? To me, that deserves a conversation over dinner or while snuggling on the couch in your socks. :) Nothing says romantic like a text message while someone's working that says, "Babe, we should cut our expenses and move in together." Lucky gal. (Jay, love you bud, but really!)

Moving on, Sex. The flirtatious handshake of 2008. It seems with each passing year sex becomes less and less of a 'special' thing and more and more of a feel good fancy, without any real significance or need for consideration. Call me old-fashioned, and I concede I really am, but I'm not really thrilled with this movement towards the insignifcant. I liked that sex that was something that held meaning; it wasn't something cavalierly done with anyone with whom you had shared a fourth drink and found fun and flirty. It just seems right that it should be part of a larger expression of a relationship - with someone you care about, with whom you share significant life experiences and feelings that you don't have for anyone else. I was getting my second pedicure of the week (yes rediculous, but it was a stress reliver, so shush!); there was this girl gushing on the phone about the guy she had hooked up with the night before. There's just something utterly distasteful about the phrase 'hooked up.' Appropriate, but distasteful. She was talking about how when she left his house, she didn't even know his number. Soooo, she had sex with a guy that she didn't even know how to contact again unless she chose to stalk him and go back to the house she probably went to while slightly inebriated. How is that romantic or even fufilling? And what does that do to her inner self-esteem?

It is safe to say that I am not only old-fashioned, but disturbed.

It's also still raining outside; I'm incredibly stir-crazy. So much so that I can't even really focus on properly finishing this post and as such, will come back and modify it later. In the interim, please feel free to add/send me your thoughts.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Myspace Migration: Customer Service Does Not Read: Hang Up When You're WRONG!

Oh.My. Now, I know I've had previous blogs about the distressing state of customer service these days. But this just BEGGED to be mentioned. Ok, so I'm supposed to get vending machines in the office. No big deal, right? We called this company, DFW Vending Solutions. The guy was super nice, everything seemed fabulous. I was excited.

He was supposed to deliver on Friday. He didn't show up. Ok, stuff happens. He said he'd deliver Monday. Saturday, he left a voicemail at the office he won't be coming Monday. We called and he said, "We'll come Tuesday morning." We reminded him he had to be there before 8am. Ok. We're good to go - excitement back on.

Fast forward to this morning. I get a call, "The delivery people aren't coming." UM... why? Because they can't get here by 8am. I ask, "So are they coming tomorrow?" Um, no. He didn't think it was worth their time to unload the truck at their warehouse and come back again... even though it's his fault that he wasn't here on time and stood us up twice before. I VERY nicely said, "Work through this with me. You scheduled delivery on Friday and didn't show. You scheduled delivery for Monday and then cancelled. We told you building requirements were before 8 and rather than just saying, 'hey traffic stinks and we're not going to make it let's reschedule you say forget it?' I thought people were supposed to try to rectify their mistakes, not walk away from them? We want to work with you - let's just reschedule for after 5, since the morning poses problems for your schedule."

His response? "I see what you're saying. Thank you." Click.

Really? When did Customer Service read: when I feel like helping you IF it helps me? And that seems rather short-sighted as we surely would have made up more than what that guy would have paid. And the way it was left certainly isn't going to gain him recommendations, which seems like that costs business? Ok, more on this later; I have to go to a meeting.

I called Dallas Star Vending. Explained my situation and the guy was out The.Same.Day to survey our site. Sent me an email this morning saying he could provide us with all the drinks we requested, provided me a confirmation time and date for delivery, said our drinks would be stocked when they put the machines in (which the other company had said they weren't sure they could do), AND sent a refund form for our employees when they lost their money (which the other company didn't address at all, so I'm not sure whether they did or not). Needless to say, I'm feeling pretty comfortable right now about having drinks in for our employees next week!!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Myspace Migration: Total Random Blog

Current mood:bored
So, a few things that mean nothing to anyone, nor really make any sense; I just felt like sharing :

Tom Brady is very cute, but now that I know that he left his model girlfriend when she got pregnant for some other model girlfriend, he's a little less so. I agree with Bev, it'd be kind of cool to have a Manning win the Superbowl two years running - even if it were different Mannings, it's still keeping it in the family. I'm not overly impressed with neither the halftime show, nor the commercials. The Disney one I'm watching at the moment isn't half bad, but I don't have a lot of hope for the movie - seems like an animated repeat of that Steve Guttenberg movie. Ok, that's really all I have to say about the Superbowl show.

I like the way my laptop sounds as I'm typing as I type rather fast and the clicky sound is amusing to me. No, I am not drunk. But, I definitely get bonus points for amusing myself. :)

My job is very demanding. I love it, but seriously, I spend my weekends recovering from my work week. I.am.not.complaining - but, seriously, I'm taking some time off at some point this month. One day to clean and one day to hang out and maybe a third day to go on a mini-break - I think I'm in need of it. The question is, since I am a self-admitted workaholic, can I tear myself away from work 3 days in one month? I have found that Friday afternoons and Mondays are the best times to not be at the office. Maybe I'll take a Monday off and go to S.F. for a weekend. Or Houston - there's a stalker I wouldn't mind seeing again with Bev, whose birthday IS just around the corner.

The girls and I had fun with culinary art this weekend at the athletic club. It was really quite cute - we frosted cupcakes and cookies and they created heart-shaped sandwiches. Then we came home and partied like Rockstars with Guitar Hero. They're SOOOOO cute with that!

Nicole lectured me hard-core about my lack of dating and lack of balance in my life. I told her I didn't have time to date and she said that was total B.S. Truthfully, it's probably a little bit of both - I really AM exhausted on weekends and I do not feel great about being gone on weeknights, but I'm probably not really all that interested in it, either. I guess, my fundamental issue with dating is that I want to date one of my friends. Not like -a specific- friend, just that I want to be friends with a guy before I date him. There's a comfort factor there and also, I just really think the best foundation for a relationship is to be friends. I'm sure it could work where you date first and then become friends later, it just seems slightly awkward. And, truthfully, I've been really kind of focusing on me and MY life lately; it's just felt too complicated to get entangled into an 'our' situation. But, I sat down this weekend and thought about what I wanted SHOULD I acquise to the whole idea of dating again:

1) I really want a guy who loves the Lord. I don't care what religion they are (for the most part - I have fundamental issues with Scientology, Catholocism, and Mormanism - not that they're 'wrong,' persay, they're just not right FOR ME and as they're not exactly inclusive religions [most religions are actually exclusive by design, so it's not a suprise or anything], I think they'd pose a problem in a relationship). Anyway, it's the faith that I care about.

2) I want quirky, a little goofy, and imperfect. I'm not a perfect girl, I'm clumsy, my hair is never quite right, and I goof up constantly (How's that for an ad? ha!). I've dated a LOT of guys who were just too darn put together. Clothes were always perfect, hair was perfect, mannerisms? Impeccable. Cultured, some uber-intelligent, with a kick-butt job and you just didn't see a surface flaw. Ok, even if you found out there wasn't some sort of icky secret underneath, that's just intimidating. I think it's kind of cute when guys say something totally dorky or stammer a bit before they answer. Anyway, maybe that doesn't make sense to anyone but me, but that's what I want.

3)I've dated the guy that needed a counselor, the guy who needed money, the guy who needed validation, the guy who couldn't be alone - someone who has their 'stuff' together would be great! Again, not looking for perfect, just someone who doesn't need me to play 'mommy' or 'personal assistant.' And finding someone who likes my soul would be pretty cool, too - but, who doesn't want that? I mean, I've been with the guy who was with me because I was 'hot,' and the guy who was with me because I am successful, and the guy who was with me for my ambition, and anyway, someone who likes me for all of me, rather than just one aspect would be pretty cool.
4)Adventurous, slightly spontaneous, and fun! There's something to be said for the guy who's cool with going out and smoking hooka one weekend and spending a night at the DMA the next and then wandering around Turner Falls because you can and the weather looked nice that day. I like to bowl (even though I'm quite often horrid at it - shoot, need to turn in that tournament information) and people watch. I even enjoy falling on my big ol' behind ice skating and it'd be fun to find someone to do all that with and then have me do their stuff with them!
Yeah, I think that's it. Think it's too much to ask? Now where you'd meet that guy, I have NO idea....

In other news, I've done my taxes. My loathing for the tax system is renewed.
By the by, please friends, do not ask me to eat out for the next six month. My answer will most likely be 'No.' It's terribly unhealthy and I've decided I'm now officially on a health kick and will be focusing hard core on being the healthiest Crystal I can be (as of like 5 minutes ago, so not one word Bev about the soft drink I just consumed). To further that point, I will be working out three days a week at 5am. I've kinda slacked on that. And the uber-stuffed exec chair that Jackie talked me into is being kicked out of my office and only brought back in when I have interviews. I'm going to be working F/T on my exercise ball. Or, I'm just going to abstain from using my office unless I have an interview/meeting and working out of my department's workroom.

I've decided my house needs brick on the inside. I want to brick up my backsplash in the kitchen and create some faux 'exposed brick' patches on various spots in the wall. This house is a booger to paint, but, I think that'd be kind of fun. Of course, I actually need time for that, but...
I'm SOOOO ready for the writers' strike to be over. And I cannot believe how much I do not care about the Superbowl this year.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Myspace Migration: Bahahahaha! My Life Makes Me Giggle...

Ok, so, right after I say I want to go on vacation and I think I might be ok with the whole dating thing and I want to take some time off work....

My kid gets sick. I have to take time off work, but not to relax... to watch sick kid and kind of half-work from home (I CAN work from home like nobody's business, but I'm not going to pretend I've been particularly productive today - mostly, I responded to emails and took a few phone calls). So, now I will definitely not be taking off two days for no good reason.
Kid being sick has put me behind work again, so I will be working most of the weekend to catch up. This reminds me of the time I don't have to date.
Vacation? The weekend I wanted to go out of town and the only weekend I could due to weekend schedule with the kiddos, I will be going to a work function. It'll be fun and I'm not complaining - but I will definitely NOT be going out of town that weekend.
On an up note? I organized my fridge today. It's very pretty.