Don’t Make It A Habit

Had another great life lesson smack me in the face (the best kind) just this week. I need to beware (and be aware) of my habits.

Allow me to illustrate – I don’t travel an inordinate amount for business,  maybe 25% of the time. It’s not cumbersome, and it’s usually planned in advance. Not only that, but the destination is almost always the same – San Francisco.

So I can plan that trip in my sleep…and that’s the problem.

bad habits...get it?
bad habits…get it?

In ONE trip, I actually did the following:

    1. Drove to DFW International and actually went into Terminal B looking for my flight. Never took note that this time I was flying out of Dallas Love Field. No worries, I’m generally pretty good about getting to the airport with time to spare, so after a brief cursing of myself I hot-footed it to downtown Dallas. Made the flight, had a funny story for the wife.
    2. Upon reaching SFO and proceeding to the Alamo Rental Car counter (yes, “Alamo,” I’m a Texan, it’s intentional) I was informed that I had booked the car for two days later in the week. How I did that I have no idea, but the end result was being relegated to what appeared to be an M&M with wheels. Frustrating, but just added to the now funnier story for the wife.
    3. My flight had actually been delayed on the tarmac in Dallas for almost 2 hours, so as I’m heading to the Marriott it seemed good idea to call and alert them to my late arrival. Time to start being smart again. I had my Marriott Rewards number and even had my confirmation number written down – that’s how I roll. Except I was rolling to the wrong hotel. After about 10 minutes of waiting while a Marriott agent look in futility for my reservation, I was exasperated and getting a little chippy with the agent. She must have figured out the problem, however, when she realized that the code I gave her included one too many digits; “are you sure that’s a Marriott code, sir?”

“Am I sure? Of course I’m s…….gotta go.”

I was booked at the Westin.

That’s a trifecta. Wrong airport, wrong car, wrong hotel…winner, winner, chicken dinner.

Rainman could have traveled more efficiently.

My lesson, besides the obvious realization that I’m not smart, was that I had too much confidence in my habits. Never thought to double-check this trip in case things were different (in this case the hotel changed because of over-booking, but that’s the only remote excuse I can come up with) than they “always” were.

Because of that, I wasn’t on top of my game, I wasn’t sharp, and I certainly wasn’t productive. Keep that in mind if you’re on auto-pilot on any of your daily/weekly/monthly duties ~ habits can be a detriment to your overall success.

Just ask the guy driving the Skittle down 101 South.

Cupid is Stupid

“Love is painful, see?”

It’s the 4th Annual reposting of what was an instant classic. Four years ago my first born (now 13) blessed us with a poem that I vowed to re-visit on an annual basis.

Compliments of Jack, my little boy genius & obvious Casanova-in-training:

“I love you, I love you, I love you so much, if I were a dart frog, I’d give you a touch.
If I were a boxer, I’d give you a punch. If you were a sandwich, I’d eat you for lunch.
If you were a paper I’d tear you apart. If you were a toy I’d sell you at Wal-Mart.
I love you the way a dog loves a cat, I love you the way a ball loves a bat.
If love was money, you’d be a nickel. If love was vegetables you’d be a pickle.
If you were a sink, I’d give you a clog. If you were a chew toy I’d give you to my dog.
I love you, I love you, I love you so much, but if we go together we’ll have to go Dutch.
I thought that some day we’d be under the steeple, but for now we should see other people.”


(For all you Hallmark representatives out there, I’m claiming copyright privileges – don’t make me come after you.)

The point of the post today? Don’t be fooled by the words, there’s a lot of love under there somewhere.

Happy Valentine’s Day ~


Status Check

***Another guest post from Meghann Bedell, our Gen Y Compensation Geek***

Did you think that you finally made it when you got your first salaried position?

That’s how I felt too before I became “exempt,” too. I quickly realized that the change was minimal.

For those of you who don’t know, exempt and non-exempt are how the department of labor classifies jobs.  Basically, some jobs are determined to be exempt from overtime, hence the “exempt” status.

Companies determine which jobs are exempt and which jobs are non-exempt by using an exemption “test.”

I’m not sure when it happened, but somewhere along the line there became a stigma regarding being exempt.  Some false belief that being exempt means that the position is more valuable to the organization than a non-exempt position.

It seems that everyone wants to be exempt because they think that something magical happens when they become exempt.  I’m not sure what, but I’ve racked my brain and this is what I could come up with:

⁃    More Money:  This has to be it!  Everyone wants more money, right?  Well that’s not always the case.  See once you are exempt, you will not be paid overtime.  Remember when you would work extra hours and see that awesome bump in pay? I’m sorry, but when you are classified as exempt you are responsible for working the extra hours and you will be paid for the first forty hours you worked……and that’s about it.

⁃    Hours Worked:  Maybe people think that when you’re exempt you are only responsible for working 40 hours.  This is not true either.  Actually, you will be responsible for getting the job done, no matter how many hours it may take.

⁃    Recognition: Oh I know, that exempt position will provide them with the recognition that they deserve.  I hope that happens, but in the majority of cases, being exempt just gets you more work.  This extra work does not exactly equal more recognition.

Honestly, though, I think that this viewpoint goes way back to the days of the “blue collar” and “white collar” jobs.

At one point these classifications of blue vs white collar positions were accurate; the “blue” collar was the laborer, the “white” collar was management.  But as we have progressed as a workforce and as jobs have evolved, these classifications have become less relevant.  Now, when we determine whether a job is exempt or non-exempt, we are not determining the worth of the position to the organization, but rather the best way to compensate for specific job functions. I find it ironic that consultants are paid an hourly wage, but they are hardly viewed as “blue” collar or non-exempt. It’s all in the perception.

So the next time you think that it’s “about time” that your employer recognized your excellence and allowed you to enter the wonderful world of exemption – just please take a moment to review all of the current perks that come with your current position.

And be careful what you wish for.