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Live a life of gratitude

First of all, Happy New Year to everyone! I am a Christian. Not a right winged, over the edge, will-never-win-anyone-to-Jesus-because-I’m-in-your-face kind of Christian, but simply a serious follower of Jesus. In my opinion, regardless of one’s religious beliefs, it’s imperative to live a life of gratitude, because without gratitude there’s all too much in the world to be crabby about, and I choose not to go through life being crabby. Life’s too short for that.

I have been writing in a personal/private blog for about 5 years and have published nearly 1800 posts, and I started this volunteering and employment blog about half a year ago as well. I love having the archives of my thoughts because I can go back and reflect on my life as it was back then. It is one of the great benefits of blogging (much like journaling, which I did (paper and pen!) for many, many years).

Sometimes, it’s funny, sometimes it’s uncanny, and other times, It might be a little out of the ordinary. While I was reading through some of the older posts from a few years back before we had our second child (who happens to be a girl), I ran across a post entitled What Would Make Life Closer to Perfect. It was so interesting to read that 3 years later.

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It’s all there on bulletin boards

From the mundane to the mind-bending, it’s all there on bulletin boards.

Somewhere amid the chaos, perhaps, there is clarity. The answer to your problems. The deal of deals. A clue to what you need to know to be happier, smarter. Or, a plea for help. A call to action. An invitation. There are services rendered, services sought.

The bulletin board — the old-fashioned, off-line kind — plays social jazz, riffing on the erratic rhythm of our lives. Fliers offering pet-walking overlap notices selling self-improvement, which partly obscure the trash haulers, who distract from someone’s last-ditch effort to find her favorite sweater.

It doesn’t take anything more than a stapler to get a voice. You just need the right passerby to wade through the noisy collage and find you.

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How To Increase Your Confidence

You are the only person on Earth that can use your ability – Zig Ziglar

New managers go through it. Old managers go through it, but probably won’t admit it. It may not happen often, but it does happen.
What am I referring to? Your confidence as a professional.

Starting out, most would-be professional have that passion and drive to write an expert blog post every day.  Then it goes to every other day.  Then, a couple times a week.  Now, you’re looking at the site once a month.  Next thing you know, you forget about the expertise blog altogether.

This happened all because you lost your confidence in your own expertise. I noticed that being part of the GED class helped me to get back on track. Even though I joined online classes, the boost that I get is great.

You will start to think that “Yeah.  I can do this.”  If nothing else, seeing your blog with a reader with other blogs is an ego boost.  And who the hell doesn’t need an ego boost?  Hell, we’re writers.  Some of us are geeky, tech writers.  We were the ones in school who didn’t fit in with the rest of the cool kids, but we studied hard.

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First goal of every company should be organized abandonment

Similarly, in the business world, there’s nothing that so focuses a manager’s mind as knowing that a product or service they’ve spent ages building and fine-tuning will be abandoned in a year or six months. Otherwise, he won’t innovate. He’ll delay. Wait and see. Because abandonment is not what we’re trained to do in the office.

We’re a nation of problem-solvers, fixing what doesn’t work instead of building something new. The reason is simple: Innovation is very hard work. You put in years before you see any quantifiable result. Meanwhile, you’re being compensated for this quarter’s performance. So you put more money and more effort into squeaking a little more juice out of the old product.

Peter Drucker, the management sage observed that the first goal of every company should be “organized abandonment.” Simply put, every two or three years, each company needs to look at every product, service, and policy and see if it still makes sense. Ask yourself: “If we didn’t do this already, would we launch this again? Would we go into it?” If the answer is no, it’s time to start cutting.

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I decided to volunteer helping people get their GED

I used to be the typical quitter. I left my high school when I was 17. I earned my GED, so all career choices were obviously open to me, but I decided to volunteer and help others. It came to me after being isolated in a dreary job search, trying to figure out what is next in my life.

A year ago, I sat in Starbucks cafes, in my apartment, in other friends apartments searching for the next great career move. What I ended up finding was just another job that will look good on my lackadaisical resume.

What I ended up finding was just another job that will look good on my lackadaisical resume.

Here I am again, after moving across the country, on the search for a high paying, paper pushing profession. Except for this time with a completely new insight. Why do I have to constantly make decisions that look good on paper, or looks respectable in the eyes of my peers and community?

Why am I so insistent in satisfying the standard quo, and making sure everyone’s opinion of me is affirmative. I have strived to do the “right thing” most of my life just to get everyone off my back.

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What I’m Thankful For

Ever since 9-11, every Thanksgiving seems to be more significant than many ones past. Before the Twin Towers attacks, many of us sat at our bountiful feasts and gave heartfelt though half-thought out thankfulness of what we had. No real deep thought into what or why we felt that we were thankful for something. Always our loved ones, but mostly because we love them. But no, so many years later, it still is different. Still, take a look at this nice video of the 2016 Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit:

After the 9-11 attacks, much of that changed, though sometimes it feels like each year has probably had a lesser degree of thoughtfulness, meaning…back to the hum-drum of what we’re actually thankful for. Unless we had family members fighting in the war, sick in a hospital, fighting a terminal disease, or some other recent significant event, we seemed to give it less and less thought.

But is that so? Here we are again. We just recovered from a fierce depression, the worst actually to hit the country since The Great Depression. So, do these events change what we’re truly are thankful for in our lives?

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Product Designers Of The Future

Three designers who are breaking away from the “normal” approach to design are Tom Gyr, Lil Yates, and Philip John Luscombe. Not content with following the crowd and just creating nice pieces, these three are proving that you can be crazier than Beyonce and Britney Spears with hair clippers and still create beautiful and intriguing products with a story behind them.

Product Designer Lil Yates looked towards OCD suffers when designing her latest collection made up of Checking Dice, Checking Stamp, and Symmetry Card. I’m not entirely sure her Checking Dice, designed to aid and reduce any stress suffered by OCD patients, met the needs of her brief.

Inspired by the cult-book The Dice Man, Lil’s dice have been created to show tasks the OCD sufferer must perform, such as check the oven, while the second and third dice determine how many times the task must be completed. Does this help or hinder an OCD sufferer though? Does it add yet more things to be performed every day or control what has to be done?

If the dice do fail the brief and in fact don’t help reduce stress, then they are, in effect, about as useful as an inflatable dartboard. I actually love these products as nice things, however, and believe that they show Lil has earned her.

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What Type of Legacy are you Leaving

My uncle passed away last week.  I attended his funeral and had the privilege of listening to the eulogy delivered by his son-in-law.  It got me thinking….what kind of legacy will I leave behind?

One of the catalysts for me starting volunteer work was this simple reason – leaving a legacy for my children. There’s an older, but still, a fantastic movie called My Life, where Michael Keaton plays a guy who has terminal cancer (1993).

His wife’s pregnant and he decides to videotape himself (make a documentary) so his unborn child can know his father.  It’s really an amazing movie.  It puts life into perspective and I highly suggest watching it.

At the very least it reminds us that life is short and we all have it pretty good, as long as we’re breathing.  I plan on writing a lot about this topic and this is the first installment.Continue reading

Friday Five: How much do your dreams cost?

In lieu of a post about Citizens Giving something possibly less interesting. Here is part of an interview with Kelly C, a Flint-based volunteer with Citizens Giving. So here’s the Friday Five meme, instead!

1. What would you do right now, if money were not an issue?
I would go on an overseas trip until July, which is when university will start, for me.

2. What would you do for the next three years, if money were not an issue?
Go on overseas trips whenever I could, buy/rent a very nice apartment in the city, employ a personal chef, volunteer the time I would spend working to good causes.

3. What is bringing you the most joy right now that requires little or no money?
Reading and helping other people succeed.

4. What types of things do you find enjoyable that require no money?
Aside from the aforementioned reading and volunteering, I love to play and laugh with my nieces and nephews, daydream, play with my cats, swim at the beach, create new things out of old things, to name but a few.

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Community Volunteering

Community Volunteering is a great way for laid-off managers to support the residents and organizations within their communities. This service is frequently deemed necessary to support senior staff to improve the lives of less privileged individuals in their neighborhoods. In this sort of situations, this more extensive but still cost-effective version of “Outplacement Service” is highly recommended and appreciated.

In Michigan, there are several workshops available (usually covering just a few consecutive days) that provide more in-depth training and coaching for volunteers, such as hands-on support for residents on main fields such as how to prepare a good CV,  the application process, networking, pathways onto the employment market, and how to write a good letter. Of course would a copy of ‘Your Career Control System’ need to be included in the package.

These Managerial Outplacement Workshops require a great level of attention, so the groups are generally limited to up to 8 participants and are offered at no cost to former managers and executives who want to dedicate their time to the well-being of their communities.

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