Do I Really Want Those Customers?

I generally stay out of politics on my business blog and social media. First of all, my subject matter isn’t political. I’m sure someone could politicize it, but I don’t have the time or skill to do so, even if I wanted to.

And I’ve always kept quiet out of fear of offending someone on social media. I’ve seen social media used as a weapon against people. I had a principal who monitored social media and reprimanded staff for personal posts and opinions made on personal social media accounts. So I get it. Is it fair? No. But that is the world we live in. I live in a right-to-work state and know that I can be fired at any moment with no reason given. So I keep my mouth shut in public.

But I read something the other night that keeps spinning around my brain:

“If you are afraid of offending your customers with standing up for what you believe in, do you really want those people as customers to begin with?”

You could substitute friend or boss in for customer. I’d suggest also putting in coworker or relative, but we generally don’t have choice in those matters.

This can swing to the other side, though. What about all the people who refuse service in businesses because the customer is gay/Asian/Muslim/female/[insert your prejudice of choice here]. They claim they can refuse service to anyone.

It’s kind of like living in a right-to-work state. Keep your head down, hope no one notices you don’t quite fit in.

And so I am left wondering, what is this world coming to?


Get Out of the Sandbox

If you don’t like the rules, get out of the sandbox.

It really irritates me when someone shouts about how their right to free speech is being curtailed because someone refuses to publish it.

Just for the record, here is Amendment 1:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

I’ve highlighted the part that most people miss.

As a private person, telling someone they can’t be obnoxious/bigoted/rude/disrespectful in my home/website is NOT covered by the first amendment.

But here’s the thing, and as a long-time blogger, I’ve run across this on my own personal blogs. You have the right to say what you want. You do NOT have the right to publish it on my platform.

My sandbox, my rules.

And certain people really should understand that.


Stupid COVID Stuff

Photo by LauraLewis23

I just can’t resist. Here are some things I have seen/heard over the past few weeks.

The Vice President at Mayo Clinic

“And since I don’t have the coronavirus, I thought it’d be a good opportunity for me to be here, to be able to speak to these researchers, these incredible health care personnel, and look them in the eye and say ‘thank you.’ ”

He used the “I don’t have coronavirus” as the excuse for flouting the mask rule. So if he didn’t wear the mask, and wanted to look them in the eye…has anyone told our VP that masks don’t cover eyes?

Dr. Phil

“… 360,000 a year (die) from swimming pools, but we don’t shut the country down for that.”

True, but you can’t contract a swimming pool by being in the same space as a person who has a swimming pool.

WI Protester Woman

“I want a haircut.”

70,000 people have died, and you care about how you look? So is your haircut worth a life? Probably not.

“My body my choice”

So it’s OK to use this phrase when we’re talking about wearing masks, but not about birth control, abortion or other things? That makes me want to rip someone a new one.

But I will say that if you consistently make a poor choice and don’t follow best practices with regard to the safety of your fellow citizens, then we should have a choice not to pay for your medical care.

The Family At The Grocery Store

Mom and dad, masked. Three children under the age of 6, not masked. And putting fingers in mouths, etc, all the stuff kids do.

Overheard from that mom: “They’re OK. Kids don’t die of it.”

Sure, I get the struggle to put and keep a mask on a child. But why did the whole family have to the grocery store? Why not just one of the adults? It’s worth risking your kids and then transmission to others because you don’t think kids die of it? (Newsflash: they do.)

We have an obligation to do what is right for society as a whole. In this case, the needs of the many outweigh the protests of the few. And there is only hope that Darwin was right.

Photo by LauraLewis23

Introversion and COVID-19

Photo by jtaylor14368

I am not hating this sequestration over COVID-19. I’m enjoying being at home. I’m enjoying not having to be around groups of people and drag myself home at the end of the day, drained. I’m enjoying having time to be in my garden, because there are no other demands on my time. I’m enjoying having time to sit on my porch. I’m enjoying not being pinged all the time.

But I’m an introvert, so perhaps this isn’t so surprising.

The extroverts I know are going crazy. I know this because they’re texting and calling me.

I’ve had to get out of the house. But for the most part, a long walk at lunch with my daughter is enough. A trip to the grocery store, where they load groceries into the back of my car is good enough.

But I’m getting more done at work. I’m able to find time to think about the big projects at work. I’ve been able to get more focused work done on my own projects. And I’ve done something I used to rarely do: I spend time watching television with my daughter and knitting.

I’ve been thinking a bit about what the post-COVID life will look like. And I’m not sure I want it back the way it was.

Photo by jtaylor14368

Lessons In Zoom

It’s funny that a tool that hardly anyone used six weeks ago is now a staple of business life.

We use Zoom for work, and I’m seeing clubs and churches and more use it as a vital way to connect. But Zoom is after all, just a tool, and people forget that it sees and hears all when your camera and mike are on.

The first days I was working from home, I attended our morning meeting in my pajamas (camera off). And then I decided that I wasn’t going to work, even if it was from home without real clothes on. And makeup. And jewelry.

I still remember one of my first experiences with Zoom. Two of my coworkers and I went into a conference room and logged into a Zoom call on a technical subject. Most of us had our cameras off and mikes muted. But one gentleman didn’t. And he also wasn’t dressed. At least from the waist up, as we could see. Thankfully he never stood up. It was not pleasant.

My husband was in the office with me as I was in my meeting. He opened up our church website, which began to automatically play an audio clip. As I explained to my astonished co-workers, one of them quipped, “1994 called and they want their website back.” Ugh.

And how many stories have we heard about people forgetting about the camera and mike?

Google it. It’s good for a laugh.

Programming is Creative

Photo by BigOakFlickr

I work in Information Technology. One of the things that I am told over and over is that my profession is not a “creative” profession.

Horse hockey.

I spend my days, every day, translating English into another language. Once the requirements are in the other language, I take my building blocks and assemble them in a way to meet those requirements – a way that has never been done before.

If that’s not creative, I don’t know what is.

I think that people just assume because the creation is something that can’t be seen or touched that it’s not “real”.

All I know is that I spend every day creating, out of my brain, using building blocks of theory and a foreign language. To me, that meets the definition of creative.

Photo by BigOakFlickr

Frustrated by Email

Photo by Jonathon Narvey

This is going to be a bit of a rant.

I don’t want to make it seem like I am coming down on elderly people for not understanding how email works, because there are plenty of people younger than me that don’t understand it either.

But recently I have been inundated by email from people who don’t understand email and how it works, and when it is the best form of communication.

  1. The elderly arborist who sent the email, “I need to talk to you about [area of the church grounds]. I’m at the church most afternoons.”
  2. The elderly activist who sent the email, “We nominated [person I know] for an award from [a local activist magazine]. She won. The awards ceremony is in March and we hope you can attend.”
  3. The elderly botanist who emailed me asking to address a group I run at the church “about the trees.”
  4. The college student who sent an email to over 100 people about an organization we all belong to…and left all the addresses visible.
  5. And the person my age who did the inevitable reply to all to the 100 people.
  6. And the person my age who did another inevitable reply all to tell people not to do reply all.


My responses:

  1. “I work full time. Please explain what you need from me and why I need to go to the church for this.”
  2. “What is this award for?”
  3. “Our group does not have a format that would allow for a lecture. Please indicate what you wish to speak about and for how long, and I will see if I can work it into one of our other activities.”
  4. “Please don’t expose email addresses in the To. Put your own email address in the To and the others in BCC. Inevitably, someone will reply all, and it will set off an email explosion.
  5. Delete.
  6. Mute the email conversation.

Responses from the sender:

  1. “[other person] needs to know where you will be moving [item]. She wants to go to the congregation to get approval to build a cremation resting place in the spring.” (So why do you need the information now? What does it matter? The two areas will not overlap, and it’s premature to talk about it!)
  2. “Oh, I meant to send that.” (And you still didn’t, even after I asked. DELETE!)
  3. “I want to talk to them about doing some plantings and cleanup of the grounds.” (What? How is this a talk about trees?)
  4. “Sorry, I don’t understand email etiquette.” (No kidding. I hope he learned his lesson, because as I peeked and the chain a week after muting it, it had, in fact, exploded and there were dozens of emails saying “take me off this” and “don’t email me again”, all of which were reply to all.)

It’s enough to make me pull my hair out.

Most things are better done with a phone call. Yes, email is more accessible because you can send an email when you are thinking about it, rather than figure out when the best time to call and then doing it.

We fool ourselves into thinking it is the best form of communication because the recipient can deal with it on their own schedule.

But honestly, if email is going to be used, be complete. Brevity is only your friend in email if you include all the details. Email is not a conversation. If it has to go back and forth, it should have been a phone call.

But I fear I am fighting a losing battle. Bad habits abound with any technology. And people will do whatever the flick they want.

Photo by Jonathon Narvey

The Cat Toy Box

Photo by Nesster

My cat has a toy box. It serves the purpose of keeping things corralled, away from the dog, and out from under my feet. It’s just a simple wooden box and sits on the bottom shelf of a bookshelf in my writing studio.

The older cat ignores the box. But my cat will go in and dig around from time to time.

Lately, he’s been going behind the box and shoving it over, spilling all the toys onto the floor. And under my feet. He does this so he can dig through and pick out a toy to play with – which he does.

The only problem is that he doesn’t put things back when he’s done.

Photo by Nesster