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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Lessons in Motherhood

In the 16 years that I've been a mother, I've learned a few things.
  • You may not get publicly acknowledged for your excellent work at home, but once in a while you'll go to bed truly happy and satisfied for the loving service you gave your family.
  • You'll never know as much as your teenagers. Ever.
  • Your children are precious beyond any job you could ever hold.
 What motherhood lessons have you learned?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thanks to former Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson, Honesty Counts

A mere four months after Scott Thompson became the Yahoo CEO, he was given the boot. The reason? His resume states that he has a degree in marketing and computer science. The marketing part was right.  The computer science part was not.

Yahoo has been going through their fair share of company problems and their stock prices have been plummeting for four years. According to the Associated Press, the company botched an opportunity to sell to Microsoft at $33 per share in May of 2008 or $47.5 billion. Since September of 2008, the company's stock prices haven't gone above $20. Monday, Yahoo stock closed at $15.50 — which means that the company now has a market value of $19 billion.

Full disclosure: I borrowed this image from this blog about Stephen King's encouragement to be honest, in his book On Writing.
Whether you follow the stock market or not, you know that honesty is the best policy. If there's one person who isn't honest at the top of a company, the time of reckoning isn't a question of if, but when. Someone, somewhere with a bit of guts and a thirst for truth will pinpoint the unethical practices of a company's leader(s) — no matter how seemingly insignificant, and the results will be similar to what happened to Scott Thompson.

You could point to the wacky hedge fund manager who wanted to be on the board so badly that he exposed the inaccuracy on Scott Thompson's resume, the directionless board of trustees who OK any big changes in the company, or the seemingly unstoppable progress of Google's world domination for the decline in Yahoo's market share. But, the fact remains that the company has gone through four CEO's in five years. When a company doesn't have a strong leader and makes too many hasty decisions, they're bound to fail. Add to that the complication of dishonesty and the company becomes a ticking time bomb.

Honesty may not always be popular, but you'll sleep better and you'll likely not lose your job for it.

More reading on this story here and here.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Talking to Strangers

At the grocery store I smiled at the checkout lady and she asked how I was doing. We’ve seen each other hundreds of times. I don’t know her name and she doesn’t know mine. However, when I come to the grocery store with a tiny baby, she’ll probably write a story in her head about me, if she hasn’t already.

I’ve been writing stories in my head about the people I see all the time, but don’t know, since my college days.  I even give some of these familiar strangers nicknames to match the story I imagine their life to be. I work out at the same gym I’ve been working out at for the last ten years. The familiar people I’ve seen there all have personas in my mind, life stories that match how I see them. We’ve never spoken, but we smile at each other as if to say, “Hi. I’m busy working out, but I see you there.”

After meeting one of these familiar people at a really fancy dress gala — discovering that she wasn’t the corporate human resources worker I imagined (she’s a professor at a prestigious local college) — I decided to start talking to people. I got to know that the guy I called Washed-up Rock Star is actually named Jon and he was in a band, once upon a time. I found out the woman I called Over-achiever Mom, is an aerobics instructor and, yes, a mother of four young children.

The only drawback to getting to know these people I have shared only workouts and no conversation with for years? My workouts have become a bit less productive. I talk more and work out less…because now, I know everyone and they know me.

How many places do you go frequently enough to recognize the same people over and over…yet, you never talk? What would your life be like if you opened your mouth and talked to them?

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