Email Insight

Tags

I discovered today that if you send an email promising an attachment, but you forget to attach it, you’re far more likely to have a real interaction with the recipient. Today, I was using a mail merge in Word to send out a friendly reminder to about 85 people at work that I didn’t know. I asked them to do a simple task, and to follow the attached instructions, which they had received a couple of times already but chose to ignore,

Of the 85 people I contacted, I got 30 emails saying “Hey, where’s my attachment?” I learned that 10 people had left the company unexpectedly. Another 15 found their old instructions and signed up without bothering to engage me.

Now this was the third time they were asked to do this, so it was surprising to me that 55 out of 85 recipients were checked off my list, leaving a short list of people who would do well to take my time management class.

I really connected with the 30 folks who wrote back. It was a chance to wish the sick people a get well soon, and to say goodbye to a few people who were on their way out.

It was unexpectedly productive to withhold the needed information on the third go round. Food for thought.

Powered by Faith…Running on Fumes

Tags

, , ,

Faith has powerful connotations in the vocabularies of each person. It is a strongly religious word, and yet atheists and agnostics can have faith in their own beliefs or lack thereof. Faith, to me, is a combination of trust in a higher power and a trust in the natural cycles of birth, growth, decline, death, and decay. It is faith that allows me to endure long, crippling bouts of depression, knowing that it is no more than a warped perception of my present circumstances. Faith allows me to continue to do my very best work and accept less than stellar recognition or reward for my efforts. It is an enduring belief in a greater good, as real as gravity or magnetism, but just as invisible.

My faith has been tested a lot in recent months. A series of unfortunate events have collided in the month of June and continued into July. My beloved dog nearly died, but was saved with some very expensive medicine. My husband’s truck conked out and needed a big repair. My back gave out and requires expensive treatment. No bonuses are given out at work, and raises are a specter in the far off future. Marrying my husband caused our tax return to go way down, and my student loan payments to go way up. These are “tests of faith.”

The thing is, to take the test, you need a sharpened #2 pencil. My pencil feels like a stub, sharpened with a buck knife, and the lead is about to fall out. I wrote some great songs, and wrote a couple of books, made a few great films…but saw very little monetary gain for all my efforts. I have spearheaded projects at work that saved the company millions of dollars, but I am still at a low salary relative to my abilities. Faith moves mountains. Faith is a renewable resource. When my pencil finally breaks, the proctor will give me a new one. I hope.

Next entry will be about “Grace.”

Microsoft Cutting 14% of Its Workforce, Stock up 2%

Tags

, , , ,

I went to Business School, so I know the deal…fewer employees create higher profits and larger dividends to shareholders. But I still carry deep-seated humanist tendencies, instilled by my working class family, that cause me to experience grief upon hearing this news.

18,000 people are losing their jobs. 18,000 people are looking at their last paycheck and feeling real fear, dread, depression, anger, helplessness. 18,000 people have to deliver bad news to the people they love.

The coverage on the financial news channel contrasted sharply with my emotional reaction. The anchors had big smiles, focusing on the good news for Microsoft shareholders. They interviewed an analyst who actually stated that he was overjoyed with this move by Microsoft. He felt that the Nokia acquisition was a bad move, and this was a good exit strategy. A huge portion of the people being let go are former Nokia employees.

My inner worker is shocked by the soulless-ness of the situation. Big corporation Microsoft turns its greedy eyes towards a shiny manufacturer of outdated products and screams, “Mummy, I want that!” Mama Board of Directors says, “Okay, but don’t break it.”

Greedy corporation swallows the shiny jewel and it comes out the other end as a stinky turd.

I guess B-school didn’t manage to brainwash me enough, which is why I am facing huge loan repayments with no change in my station in life. If I could just convert my depression into sociopathy, I could afford those crippling payments.

The Hand You are Dealt

dunkablog:

This is perfect illustration of the playing card communication channel that is opened up for me…

Originally posted on SUCCESSTROGEN:

On a fashion website, “Jacks and Jokers”, the creators celebrate an American icon, the deck of cards.   Playing cards have been in America over 100 years and provided us with much entertainment.  Most of us  would have to admit that we played  countless games of War and  Gold Fish as children, solitaire as teens, hearts as college students, and perhaps Bridge or Gin Rummy in our adult life, all with a deck of cards.   Teachers use them as a  sorting activity for pre-schoolers,  casino dealers use them to entice us to put our money on the table, and magicians use them to wow us with their ability to guess the card we thinking of.

Beyond their entertainment factor, the deck of cards has also played an important role in our history.  During World War II, a U.S. playing card company  secretly worked with the U. S. government ro make special decks to send as gifts to American prisoners of war. When these…

View original 443 more words

Do Business and Hyper-intuition Mix?

Tags

, , ,

There are a lot of positive words to express the abilities of intuitives. Sometimes we are called “prescient.” Others call us “creative.” I think we may even be called “visionary.”

Here is what I hear more often: crazy, unfounded, scatterbrained, lack of discipline, chaotic…I didn’t have to struggle to come up with those negative words. In my graduate program, we learned the value of “playing to your strengths.” It is a waste of time to put your strongest ability on the back burner in order to cultivate skills that you don’t possess naturally. I could argue that getting an MBA was an enormous exercise in playing to my weaknesses. But let me offer up a positive spin on this paradox.

I am lucky enough to have a boss who recognizes my abilities and gives me opportunities to use them. Intuitive accounting, for instance, allows me to look at a stack of numbers and immediately recognize an error. A few years ago, all of the accountants were scratching their heads trying to figure out why a business unit was off by a huge sum. I took one look at the workbook and told them that they were showing a different number for the forecast than what was given. I emailed the forecast to the head accountant so she could correct her mistake. Flustered, they begrudgingly thanked me and muttered things like “lucky guess.” It wasn’t a lucky guess. I just happen to know how to do math in my head and have an almost absurd recall for numbers. I had seen the forecast before month end close, and it was much larger. I didn’t know the exact number, but I knew the number they used was the wrong one.

The sad thing is that my ability drives logical sensing people to the edge of sanity. My boss knows how to keep his distance from me, as he is an extreme sensing person. He doesn’t know how I know what I know, but he does listen. I warned him of several efforts to undermine his plans based on a few snippets of conversation I had overheard. All of them were real, but he didn’t want to take action until the actual coup d’état was right before him. I have stopped offering up my psychic knowledge to him to preserve his sanity. He cannot understand how I know things in advance. I can read people’s subtle energy and he can’t.

I untangle a lot of financial knots. I love doing reconciliations. They are like an Amish puzzle for me. I love getting things started, but prefer to hand them off once there is momentum. When I hear the words “attention to detail,” I sigh, because I can only pay attention to important details…and what I deem important is rarely, if ever, what sensible business people consider important. If I have to pay attention to unimportant details, I will fall asleep at my desk.

I guess I would ask, gentle readers, that you weigh in on whether hyper-intuitive, psychic people belong in the world of business, and if not, where do we belong?

20140522-083501-30901033.jpg

Lunch with Ladies Who Lunch

Tags

, , , , ,

This weekend I was fortunate enough to get a glimpse into the gardens of The 1% at the 26th Annual Beverly Hills Garden Tour. The tour is a fundraiser for the Virginia Robinson Gardens, which is one of the world’s more spectacular estates. Since the United States doesn’t have a Queen to preserve our historic residences, we rely instead on non profit organizations to keep the great estates from crumbling to dust. Luckily, there are enough exhibitionist billionaires to satisfy voyeuristic millionaires, which is the premise upon which the garden tour is based.

The gardens are beautiful. This year, the trend in gardening was to set aside a patch for growing herbs and vegetables. Even billionaires need fresh zucchini.

The gardens surround the estates, and there were a lot of picture windows. Maids stock up on Windex to prepare for the tour, because millionaires have an insatiable need to peer into the houses of billionaires, which leaves a lot of handprints and breath stains on the glass. Some of the tourists carried iPhones and tried to take forbidden snapshots of the privileged life. The docents would chase them down and chastise them. It was one clever lady on my tour who got the vote for smartest use of an iPhone. She had a shopping list app, and was adding plants, furniture, and accessories to her shopping list. No one tried to stop her.

The tour ends at the Virginia Robinson Gardens, with an all you can eat buffet of chicken skewers, shrimp salad, quinoa and raw kale bedecked with heirloom cherry tomatoes. The plates and silverware are made of guilt free bamboo.

The peace and tranquility of the gardens was interrupted on the tour bus when a fight broke out between a British limousine liberal and a Texas oil baroness. It started out innocently enough. The Baroness complained about the hot weather. “Shoo wee it’s hot as blazes today.”

The Limousine Liberal replied, “It’s good evidence for global warming.”

The Oil lady huffed a bit and said, “I don’t really believe in all that hogwash.”

The British woman mused, “I’d imagine you must have heat stroke to say something so ridiculous.”

Oil Money replied, “You must be British, I can tell by your teeth.”

British liberal snapped back, “I’m Scottish, actually. My mother always told me how to spot an American. You can hand them a plate of dog shit, and so long as it’s covered in ketchup, they’ll eat it.”

Oil baron said, “Do you really want to go there? Haggis, tatties and neeps?”

The docent chose that tense moment to get on the microphone and begin her history of Beverly Hills, which, it turns out, was a bean field until 100 years ago.

Later I saw them sitting together at the same table, sipping champagne and eating kale. God Bless Beverly Hills.

20140519-195549.jpg

Talking to Angels

Image

Some or all of you will think I am a kook when you read this.  My suggestion is that the moment you think this seems too weird, just move along.  It is National Mental Health Awareness Month, so it is important to note that not only am I a kook, but I embrace all things kooky and strange.  Or, as the Twelve by Twelve (AA) says, “One day I awoke to find myself surrounded by kooks, crackpots, queers and fallen women.”  I have embraced them like I would my own children.  They are what makes humanity so different from machines and animals.

Anyway, one kook in particular I have spoken to lately is a fabulous lady who does long distance Reiki over the phone.  She informed me that I have two guardian angels watching over me, and that they communicate with me regularly.  I wasn’t quite sure what she meant, but then I remembered this really, really weird phenomenon that keeps happening to me.

Everywhere I go, I find playing cards.  Not a whole deck, or a group of six or seven, but one playing card at a time.  A few months ago, I found the Jack of Diamonds over in Highland Park.  Right before I met the Reiki practitioner I stumbled across the Queen of Spades at the Orange Line Metro station by my house.  Yesterday, I found the two of Diamonds laying face down in my neighbors yard.  I asked other people if this happens to them, and NO ONE has this happen to them.  Just me.  And, because I studied the Tarot since I was eight or nine years old, I know what the playing cards mean.

The Jack of Diamonds came to me a couple of days before I called my Executive Coach for the first time. Part of me was scared to work with her.  But the Jack of Diamonds reassured me that she was working for my betterment, despite what some of my inner voices were saying.  It reassured me and told me to relax and just go with the flow.  We ended up writing a book together over the past few months and I am excited to see it get published.

The Queen of Spades is a wise older lady, who is often depicted as a solitary crone in the forest.  We should always heed her advice, because she knows what she is doing.  That was the Reiki lady, who told me about my two guardian angels.

I’ve been a bit down in the dumps the past few weeks, because I am working harder than ever, but finding myself not having enough money to spend on improving my house.  I am due for a raise at work, but nothing has come through.  The two of diamonds face down was one of the angels letting me know that things are going to be like this for a while, unless I decide to make a big change.  Right now, I am struggling with work/life balance, and when the 2 of diamonds is “reversed” it confirms that things are not in balance.  That’s why I am risking my job and writing this extremely nutty blog from my office right now.  It is after 6pm, and I am done for the day, so hopefully it won’t be considered an unforgivable breach of conduct.

I will talk some more about this sort of freaky new age stuff in future blogs.  It is a deeply rooted part of my being.  I was raised in a “psychic” family, so I sort of take this stuff to be natural and normal.  It is not “witchcraft” or some sort of devilish trick.  It is simply the angels in my life speaking to me in words I can understand.

Image

Political Freedom

I watched a documentary the other night. The protagonist declared San Francisco the most liberated city on Earth.

I left San Francisco, my home town, to seek my fortune in Hollywood. When I got to Los Angeles, I was given a taste of true freedom. I am liberal, but I have some unusual ideas in the realm of Economics.

For instance, inSan Francisco, I would be stoned to death for declaring public housing projects a failed experiment in social engineering. In San Francisco, we have to bow to the almighty Welfare and declare its sainthood. We are not permitted to question it or ponder new ways of addressing poverty that prevent a vicious circle from forming. This is called “liberal” but it actually stifles new thought.

Sexually, San Francisco has a reputation as the ne plus ultra of liberated sexuality. Then why are there bath houses in LA but not in San Francisco?

I don’t intend for this to be a Frisco-bashing rant. But you’re not supposed to call it Frisco! Here in Smell-Ay, we can call it Lotus Land or pronounce it Loss Angle Iss or admit that there are giant urban meadows of hideous strip malls blighting the landscape, and no one jumps down your throat.

These are just some musings on the real nature of freedom, and how it doesn’t always look like you would expect.

Magnetic Missed Marketing Opportunities

Tags

, , , , , , ,

For the first time in my life, I am a homeowner, and have been for over a year now.  My house needs things.  The back pool area needs to be re-graded to keep water from forming puddles and running into the garage and foundation of the house.  We need some landscaping improvements.  The driveway is asphalt, and it’s very old and ugly.  We need help getting our lawn back from the dead.

Yes, there is Angie’s List or even Yelp.  The reviews are usually extremely helpful, and the folks I called in the past were pretty spot on.  Two of my neighbors had their driveways re-done this year.  And both times, the people doing it drove anonymous trucks with no signage.  I smiled at the workmen and wanted to approach them and ask them for a business card, but they usually scowled and turned away, too busy with the job to speak to a neighbor, who they probably thought was just there to complain about the noise or something.  So I still don’t have anyone lined up to do our driveway now or in the future.

The missed opportunity is so obvious.  What better advertisement can their be than the fact that one of the neighbors decided you were good enough to pay to do the work?  Vistaprint will create a magnetic car sign for some unbelievably low sum.  You don’t even have to keep it on your car, just put it on when you are going to the worksite.

I am a bookkeeper on the side, and there is simply no way I can impress neighbors, because the work I do is invisible to them, and also a little bit private.  So my type of work is not really cut out for the magnetic sign.  But contractors, landscapers, repairmen – if you don’t have an ad on your truck, you are shooting yourself in the foot marketing-wise.

I have seen trucks with signs driving around, but I don’t know if they’re any good.  After all, they’re out driving instead of doing a job on my block, so how can I be sure they’re any good?

Yes, online reviews are probably the single most powerful determinant of your future success.  If you get a bunch of one star reviews, it’s time to go into a different line of work.  But if you get four stars out of five, and you did a nice job on my neighbor’s driveway, I want to call you!  How can I, if I don’t know who you are?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 103 other followers