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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What I Already Know

I've been thinking again. That in itself can be dangerous.

What I've been thinking about (again) is going back to school to get an MBA.

As strange as it may seem, I want to find out what I already know. I graduated with a Bachelor of the Arts degree from BYU in 1994 (Communications major and Business minor). I'm not sure what I really learned with that degree other than how to write papers and how to work in groups with people I don't particularly like.

Actually...both skills have proven to be very valuable during my career.

Much more enlightening than my college education is the subsequent 16 years of professional experience in the Marketing/Advertising/PR/Communications world. In particular, I've spent the last 11 years in financial services marketing...five years on the bank side and six years on the credit union side.

(And yes, believe me, they are two very different sides.)

So I want to find out what my Bachelor's Degree and 16 years of professional experience has not taught me.

Would I go to school and be completely lost because it's been so long since I've been in the classroom?

Or, would I kick-butt and get a 4.0 without any problem? (After all, there was no Internet when I went to college the first time. How hard could it be now?)

I guess there's only one way to find out.

I hate excuses, but there are some very good reasons that I'm not applying for MBA school at the moment.

The first two reasons have names: 1) Lauren; and, 2) Jenna. These two adorable girls call me "mom" and I cherish our time together. I already work full-time outside of the home, so taking another 10 hours in class plus study time just doesn't seem fair to my little chicas.

The third and fourth reasons: 3) Time; and, 4) Money. As previously mentioned, I already work a 40-hour week. And money...tuition costs are sky-high. I'd have to raid our girls' college funds to simply pay for the first semester.

The fifth and six reasons: 5) Writing more papers; and, 6) Working in groups with more people I don't particularly like. As much fun as that was the first time around, I actually get paid to do those things now. (Not that I don't just L-O-V-E all of my co-workers. They are great people! Hi guys!)

Looks like I'll be waiting a bit longer to find out what I already know.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Not A Natural Blonde

I made my regular trip to the hair therapist yesterday...that would be Katie at the salon. My hair has issues that can only be resolved by sitting in a swivel chair for a couple of hours every six weeks.

For those of you who have only seen my photo, or who have known me for less than 15 years (such as my husband), you may not realize that I'm not a natural blonde.

Shocking..I know.

It's pure vanity on my part. Nothing is quite like the feeling of getting tin foil and chemicals layered throughout my hair.

Not that I don't love brunettes...or redheads...it's just that I've been blonde for so long now that I wouldn't recognize myself any other way.


In addition to not being a natural blonde, I'm not a Cosmopolitan reader. When I was sitting under the dryer last evening with my feet propped up just loving life, I picked up a copy of Cosmo in the magazine rack next to me. My first reaction was holy guacamole (or something similar).

Sure, I see the sexy photos and headlines in the checkout line at the store...but it's been 20+ years since I actually thumbed through an issue. The ads, the articles...everything...Yikes! I'm sure that I turned pink then red then purple...and that wasn't from the heat of the dryer!!!

From now on I'll stick to my usual family friendly or working professional media choices when I'm at the salon...or anyplace else as far as that goes.

Does anyone have a copy of Home and Garden or ForbesWoman I can borrow?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Too Many Dogs on the Leash

Have you ever seen a photo of a professional dog walker? You know…those people who get paid to walk other people’s dogs around for exercise. The person walking the dogs is just trying to keep up without falling flat on their face.

I’m that proverbially dog walker. I have too many dogs on the leash. Any moment now I'm going to fall face-first into a pile of doggy-doo. And I don’t even own a dog!

Seriously…if I have to put one more “dog” on the leash I think it just may be the end. The end of what, I don’t know. My sanity? I think that already went bye-bye.

When the going gets tough, the tough goes for the jetted tub. On go the scented candles and the spa music. More stress = more candles. Some nights it looks like a bonfire.


Filling the jetted tub is "code" to my family, “Stay away…or I just may blow a major fuse.”

A few months ago I was filling the tub for a third time in a week. My eight year-old asked me, “Did you have another hard day at work mom?”

So I tell her, “Just like school, some days are better than others.”

It really is as simple as that…at home and at the office. We take the good with the bad, the excitement with the mundane, and the joy with the pain.

And if you’re like me…you take a couple of Advil with a Diet Coke.

Self-declared time-outs are a good thing for moms. Maybe it's not the jetted tub...perhaps it's the treadmill...or yoga...or chocolate...or lots more chocolate. Maybe it's watching Oprah...while eating chocolate.

Shoe shopping seems to be another good time-out for me.

Actually...if I could try on new shoes while soaking in the jetted tub surrounded by scented candles, I believe I could solve all of my problems. Probably solve all of the worlds problems while I'm at it.

***Sigh***

I think I'll go start the tub...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I'm A Vuvuzela

I’ll admit it…I don’t watch much soccer.

My Twitter account ***exploded*** on Saturday when the U.S.A. scored a goal in the World Cup. So I turned on the game to support the red, white and blue. Then I thought I heard this swarm of angry hornets going through the house. Or could it be locusts? Do we even have locusts in Northern Utah?

Go to commercial. Buzzing gone. The annoying sound was coming from the TV.

Found out later it’s the Vuvuzelas at the World Cup. For the soccer illiterate such as myself, a “Vuvuzela” is the long, horn-like instrument that the fans blow at the games. When there are thousands of Vuvuzelas blowing at once, they make an irritating buzzing noise…like you are about to be attacked masses of mosquitoes.


So I guess it’s kind of ironic that I was annoyed by the “buzz”. Because honestly, that’s my career in a single-syllable word:

BUZZ!

I’m all about marketing/advertising/public relations/communications for my employer. It’s what I studied in college and it’s been my career for 16+ years. I create BUZZ. Lots of it.

I could actually be defined as a Vuvuzela.


So the question remains…am I creating a good buzz or annoying buzz?

(And no, I don’t drink, smoke or do drugs so I’m not just “getting buzzed”.)

I love this quote by Marie O’Connor:

“It is not how busy you are, but why you are busy. The bee is praised; the mosquito is swatted.”

Am I the mosquito or the bee?

Am I praiseworthy? Or, am I at risk of getting swatted?

I’m probably a hybrid of the two. A sort of beesquito, if you will.

Perhaps I should update my profile on LinkedIn:

“I am a professional Vuvuzela in the industry, creating a beesquito buzz for the organizations, products and services I represent.”


Dare me?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Guest Blogger at The Mama Bee

Hello everyone!

I'm so excited! I was invited to be a guest blogger for the first time. Check out what I have to say over at http://themamabee.com/.

The Mama Bee is a great blog for working moms! I'm so honored to be a small part of it now.

Thanks!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bottom of the Food Chain

In the middle of reading Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham last night, my four year-old stops me for this very important conversation:

Jenna: Mom...guess what?

Me: What?

Jenna: Birds eat worms.

Me: Really? Birds eat worms?

Jenna: Yep...that's sad.

Me: Is it sad for the bird or the worm?

Jenna: The worm.

Me: Why is it sad for the worm?

Jenna: 'Cause worms are cute.

And there you have it...the not so pretty truth about being at the bottom of the food chain. Even if you're cute, you can be eaten alive.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Good Samaritan Had A Few Bucks

“No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions – he had money too.” ~ Margaret Thatcher


I was raised to believe that repaying financial obligations is a moral and ethical issue.

I guess that’s why I’ve been so shocked when people don’t feel it’s unethical to walk away from making payments on houses, cars, credit cards, and on, and on. Even when facing foreclosure or bankruptcy, there are folks who refuse to get a second job or go from a single-income household to a two-income household to pay the bills.

What are we teaching our children when we aren’t doing everything possible to fulfill our financial obligations?

I won’t lie…it isn’t easy dropping off the kids at daycare. Even now, after eight years, I drive away with a lump in my throat.

Even though I miss my daughters during the day, I hope my work ethic is teaching them invaluable life lessons about integrity and self-sufficiency.

If you’re faced with taking on a new job to help with household finances, try having this conversation with your children:

“When our family made the decision to buy this house (car, vacation, etc) we promised the bank/credit union that we would pay them back if they gave us a loan. We need to keep that promise because it’s the right thing to do. In order to keep that promise, mom (dad) needs to get another job to earn more money to pay the loan. Just because I’m not at home with you all day doesn’t mean that you aren’t my top priority. It might be tough at times, but we’ll all be okay.”

We must teach our children that choices have consequences.

If bringing another paycheck into the household isn’t an option, then we should consider other means to re-pay our debts. This may include selling the home or car or “toy”. It may mean moving to another city or state with higher-paying jobs. It may mean giving up family vacations and other “extras”.


On the other hand, what are we teaching our children when we tell them to not pick up the phone when a Collector calls about our mortgage, auto loan, or credit card bills? Or, we lie and tell the Collector that the check is in the mail?

Are we teaching our children that it’s okay to not pay someone money we owe them?

What are we teaching our children about responsibility and accountability?

Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Jobs are lost, businesses fail, severe illnesses attack. Do tough times release us from our financial obligations?

Are we justified in skipping out on a loan because someone “moved my cheese?”

Is walking away from a house or a car or a credit card bill unethical?

Are we givers or takers?

This is one of the best teaching moments we can give our children: When we see someone lying on the proverbial side of the road, and we are in a financial position to be the Good Samaritan and meet their needs.

This is why we should manage our finances wisely…so we can serve our families, neighbors, communities and even strangers with integrity.