Friday, January 23, 2009

Give A Little Bit of Your Love To Me

When I hear that song in my head, "Give A Little Bit of Your Love To Me", I hear Supertramp singing away . . . but that's really not what this story is about - or is it? In our declining economy most things that we've taken for granted are being rewritten into something much different than we're used to. This occurrence manifested itself when the Annual Meeting or perhaps I should say, lack thereof; became a problem this week.

Knowing that a sales reps' job on a good day can be fulfilling is one thing, but the other side of that coin is that when it's bad, it can really stink - big time, to do that job. The sales team is awarded monthly and quarterly awards (plaques) and at some encouragement even a Sales Person of The Year Award was developed this year. However; with no Annual Meeting, how do such awards get distributed? How do we recognize the very people that whom without, our entire organization would cease to exist immediately?

After a brief conversation with our Sales Manager, Steve; he and I agreed that w
e could do a "stand alone" Annual Meeting for just the sales and marketing departments, at which time the much needed recognition would be the centerpiece. We even agreed that we could have lunch - but here's where it gets interesting.

When we discussed the menu, the disparity between my opinion of what would be acceptable fare and that of the his, was vast to say the least. After thinking about it all night long, knowing that the very next day was when we were going to hold this "celebration", I had to move swiftly and convincingly. After deliberating for several hours that morning and revving up my courage by speaking to several people to get their positive feedback to the idea, I approached the Steve with my idea.

I told him I felt it sent the wrong message to tell the sales reps they are doing a great job and encourage them to keep up the pace with something resembling cardboard in the shape of pizza. He quickly agreed but felt we had little or no budget to do anything grandiose nor the time to pull it off. That's when I put on my "Superwoman" cape and said I was confident that I could find a place in the budget to afford the food and that I was volunteering to cook and serve the entire group, some 22+ people. With that, this wonderful man said, "
MJ, you humble me." Not wanting to get all choked up like I usually do with such praise, I quickly retreated saying I have to leave early to get shopping and then cooking.

Fast forward 24 hours, the food is all cooked, brought into the
conference room and presented in a fashion fit for a king. One by one, they all came in for lunch and enjoy the fruits of my labor. I made a point of raising a toast to the Sales Reps, because (as I've already mentioned) without them there would be no company for which to work.

After lunch was the Award Presentation portion of the gathering and the much deserved accolades to the
appropriate folks. Once again, our Sales Manager nearly brought me to tears, by publicly telling the story of my insistence to give them a good meal to go with the Annual Sales Meeting ; which was met with a round of applause in appreciation for my efforts. I don't do that part very well!

When it was all done everyone went back to work, but I left things out for them to pick at
it throughout the afternoon. Finally around 3:00, I went in and started to clean up and Denise; one of the sales reps that I've had the distinct pleasure to work with on a couple of community event committees, came in and helped me put everything away, clean up, wash dishes and generally put things back in order.

While we were in the kitchen cleaning up, Denise told me how much she liked the Broccoli Slaw I had made, and in fact had shared the recipe with her mother from the last time we had a potluck as I had brought the same salad. She then said that she is always telling her mother about me as I inspire her. Being quite taken back by that, I asked how so? She told me that it was obvious that I follow my passions and live life to the fullest. She said most people are kind of lazy, but it was obvious that I never let a minute go to waste based on the number of things I'm always doing. For the second time that day, I became reclempt and tried very hard to accept the compliment without showing what an emotional person I am (doubt I fooled her though).

Driving home; one very tired girl, partly because I had cooked for 9 hours after shopping for this impromptu feast and partly because it had been a long day at work on top of the luncheon; I felt that it's people like Steve the Sales Manager and Denise the Sales Rep, why I do what I do. To share my appreciation and joy of life through a little effort like cooking is really what the human experience is all about, and I started humming "Give A Little Bit of Your Love To Me". To you I say, pass it on, Give A Little Bit of Your Love . . .

Monday, January 19, 2009

Weather IS The Topic

When you live in the North, it seems as though weather is a topic that everyone puts into their communications. If it's an email, you'll get a snippet talking about what the latest weather has been or is about to be. If it's a phone call, surely upwards of three to four minutes will be devoted to talking about the weather. And of course, should you run into someone at the store; you had better loosen your scarf, and be ready to talk about the perils of our most recent bout of "weather", whatever it was. It could be an ice storm, it could be a cold snap or as it was for the last 24 hours, a big ol' snow storm.

For whatever reason, I was not aware of this impending storm other than we would probably get something that was "shovel-able" as the forecasters said, on Sunday evening. Imagine my surprise to wake up Sunday morning to three or more inches of snow already, and boy did it snow and snow. All day, big fluffy flakes that just kept coming. We wound up with somewhere in the vicinity of 14" - 16" of the powdery stuff.

Three passes on the sidewalks still left more to shovel this morning. We've yet to go out and dig out the vehicles. Pre-planning is criticle, so we park across the street before a big storm which gives our "plow-guy" full access to our long narrow driveway. These tricks are learned the hard way. After a big snowfall total (+100") year last year, we could barely park in the driveway or open up the car doors. Perhaps we're a little extra cautious this year, but so far it's working. Check back in March and see if I still have the same attitude.

Goin' out to shovel (again)