Monday, 9 November 2015

Kids Make Me Laugh and Smile - November 9, 2015

Kids are the best heart emoticon I saw a little girl waving from one of the buses going down main street; her and her mother (or caregiver) for fun were waving to no one in particular, just waving for the heck of it. As I was the only one who noticed I waved back. I haven't seen a kid look so excited like that in a long time. It made me laugh and smile for a good long time. I hope she felt the same after.

This morning on the bus I saw a father and his children (a small boy and a baby girl) on their way to one of the Dad and kid programs nearby.  The boy was sitting next to him, baby was in a wrap and tucked into his coat facing him.  While the boy and Dad were talking quite animatedly about everything from road construction, to buses to where they were going, the Dad would frequently look at his tiny baby girl and give her little kisses on her forehead.  He had a big fuzzy beard, and you could see her cute tiny baby expressions of love and joy when she stared up at her Dad followed by tiny frowns and surprises every time he laid tiny bristled kisses on her head. It was so sweet!


~Ange



Friday, 6 November 2015

Latest Reads & Music - November 6, 2015

Being the avid reader and music lover that I am (both beat out TV for me), I have some new things on the list I have been enjoying lately that I'd like to share. 

Books:

The Assault by Harry Mulisch

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling (I admit, I couldn't get into her other works but this series has won me over. I enjoy the Cormoran Strike series immensely).

Vampire Knight (manga) by Matsuri Hino

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Double Cross by Ben Macintyre

Music:

Rock or Bust by AC/DC

Under One Sky by The Tenors

4 Walls by f(x)

Big Shiny Tunes 2

Sarah McLachlan albums

Dragon Age Inquisition soundtrack by Trevor Morris.

Anyone else out there have some new music or books they are really into right now? 

~Ange


Wednesday, 4 November 2015

My Employer Experience, & What I See - November 4, 2015

In the technological oriented and fast-paced atmosphere we have going on in the work force, it is hard to keep track of everything the employers are attempting to do to try and stay ahead and keep things fresh.  Change is a good way to keep things interesting, even make things better; and it’s a great feeling when it works otu. However, there are costs that come with that if there is not enough planning and foresight to see if those changes will genuinely be an asset to the business.

I may never be an owner, manager, CEO, director etc but I know from being an employee for so long and be an over-reflective, observant, realistic human being I have been lucky enough to have a couple of really good employers who taught me so much and I am eternally grateful to them.  The rest… well… let’s say you learn the good where you can, and live with deciding how I didn’t want to be toward coworkers and the people I served; wherever I was working at.

I will sum up to you my employers and why when I go to interviews I am equally interviewing the next boss as much as they are me.

I had one employer that craved success but at the cost of stepping on other people in the community I once lived at. They took things so far that when that sort of behaviour caught up to them they had to move somewhere else and hope for the best.

Another was a thief. 

The next committed fraud and was arrested (it was sad for their children).

In another area there were two bosses who hated each other that their drama and tensions between them caused issues for the rest of us in their heated competition with one another. 

Then another (who taught me so much) started off with one employer that overtime became four.  In this place, it started off wondrous with a very high bar that slowly went downhill overtime along with the sudden urgency to keep things new and fresh but at a cost to the positive, very happy atmosphere. 

My two favourite bosses were no-nonsense ladies with high expectations and actually wrote down our feedback and implemented changes where there seemed to be more than one staff member or customer concerned/requested the changes. If it worked, HURRAY! If it didn’t go, try the other possible options.  If none worked, we went back to the old way.

Here is what I have learned from my work experiences, and I pray that if any employer and employees read this they take away some things that may help them (just maybe):

Don’t lie. Be honest, and be accountable. Know where to put the blame (especially if it is you who did something wrong, we’re all human).  And, lead by example in that everyone is human and falls short, and then show what you can learn from that experience and change for the better as a kind lesson for everyone.  As someone who has been in a handful of supervisory positions I have found being kind, honest, and reflecting back to staff on my own past mistakes helps; and, sharing with them what I learned and where changing things up worked for me and what options may work for them.

Don’t be a thief.  Don’t let someone else be the fall-guy and be burdened with your mistake.

If you have an addiction or substance problem get help for it, and if you are someone who notices someone who has this issue get help for them, because every human needs care, supports, and deserves to get it in order to live a long, healthy life.

If there is a problem, then make plans to change things and try them out, but if nothing is wrong don’t break what doesn’t need fixing because I have seen trying “something new” (for whatever reason) often doesn’t work when things were going great as they were, and, often everyone ends up going back to the old way anyway.

Listen. Really listen. Take notes from staff (even each other as coworkers) and the clients/customers and see where changes need to be made and make plans for that change.  Take time to dwell on how well it could be effective before implementing. And it doesn’t hurt to consider more than one option and compare. Even when the plan is implemented give it some time.  In this, everyone listen to one another for the feedback as where the changes/plans were effective and where it was not.

Adding to the last note: don’t expect immediate results.  Starting off well does not mean that’s a sign that you stop looking holes, holes as in where this could be a ‘not-so-good-idea,” in the end.  Give it time, sometimes the bad shows up and it turns out this was not a good change.  Make the timeframe reasonable as well, just as you would if you are training someone; everyone must be realistic and observe the results first.  I have seen lists, check lists, a plans of action, training packages to go through etc that were all implemented, but, there were issues in the end one being time – even lack of patience involved with that -the other was giving people who were not suited to the job being given too much of the benefit of the doubt.  I saw all these situations occur with the same employer when it came to training staff.  To me, it seemed they did this in one instance due to desperation to fill the void with any sort of staff they could get, and the other because a bit of favortism arose due to a certain aspect/character of a staff member that they were attracted to (this was often due to a feeling of them being similar on a personal level in some way)

Patience in changes and considering feedback should be seen through. When the plans or changes that were underway stayed as a permanent fixture suddenly, in my experiences, it was because a) it started off on a high note and therefore there was a total neglect in feedback and nor anymore waiting to see if it would work in the long haul b) it suited solely to the employers. Then it affected the rest of the work sphere in a negative light and hindered progress for others.

An additional note to feedback… Don’t ask for feedback of others when it’s not even going to be considered at all.  It’s better if it is not at all as it can hurt morale; I have seen this one happen a lot.  I know bosses have others who make them accountable and will come in and check their records, inspect and investigate things right down to the paperwork and digital records. One of the biggest things is looking for staff feedback or that it is even being taken into consideration.  It’s a good idea to have that communication amongst staff and between them and the boss.  Problem with that, in my experience… often employers can ask for feedback but does not mean yours or anyone else’s is necessarily considered, even if it got written down somewhere.  We know that they need to, but it is not great for staff morale when people catch on that they are asked for feedback, but know that none of it is even taken into consideration. Worse is when you realize it ends up the employer was looking for the answer they already had in mind themselves.  It’s the same as when they come to you with the question of what you think/give you more than one option on something… when you tell them the option you think is the better and why they suddenly argue with you on that option, even though they offered it.  There again, looking for you to answer with the one they really wanted you to say, but all for the sake of making it look like they really value what you think.  Adding onto that when you tell them why the option you thought of (or an option the boss had not thought up) would be better suited, they choose a different one, only to have an hour or two past and they went with your option anyway realizing the others were not going to work at all.

When using emails as an easier means to communicate EVERYTHING at work and save on meetings (thus time and money) keep it short and to the point and if anyone has issues allow them to have one-on-one time to work it out. And don’t send it out so many emails. And if emails don’t work, maybe scratch emails off the list of effective communication.  I had one employer who could send you what appeared to be 3-5 essay-like emails in a day (in one case almost every single day one week) on things they expected or issues that were arising…. I can tell you this, only myself and one other employee read all those, understood those, and applied those expectations.  Everyone else behind the scenes voiced they rarely read the emails, didn’t know why there was so many of them, and it was hard to read the emails because they were so long and staff wondered when were they going to have to time to go through it when there was so many other things required of staff in a day.  I suspect this often happens in many work places where these sorts of emails happen regularly: no one has time to read all of them, it feels overwhelming, it feels like someone is constantly badgering them, and that the employer is micromanaging, and - as a few fellow employees once said - possibly enjoying the sound of their own voice in print on a screen.  One coworker suggested that the employer start their own blog as that’s the feeling the emails gave off in the way they were written.  That suggestion makes me laugh as I write for my own blog.  I can see how it saves time, money, meetings and scheduling and planning everyone’s personal lives around those, I do.  But what if it’s not effective?... Does the emailing continue?...

There! That’s my thoughts on the matter! Have a good day everyone!


Tuesday, 3 November 2015

The Comfort of Snow - November 3, 2015

When it snows I want to sing Christmas-snowy tunes.  Yes, I am aware that could cause me to be murdered if I am singing or voicing my affection for snow too loudly.  Alas, I still appreciate the winter season, I really do.  Its the best season for feeling warm, comforted; it's like the darkness and snow is wrapping me in relaxation, coziness, and a sense of rest for awhile -despite others I know totally disagree and have refuted any of its goodness through arguments of how the temperatures drop or that there is ice, snow, and storms that can cause amok. To each their own!

My favourite season is Fall.  I love it: the smell of the leaves falling and fresh cool air, the bright colours of reds, oranges, yellows, purples, even the browns, the crunchy leaves.  If you look at my albums by seasons on my computer, you will find there are hundreds more photos in the Fall albums versus all other seasons; it is ridiculous, I even have photos each year of the exact same scene as if it's totally different from the year before (it's not really but I love those areas for how they look during those Autumn months).

As I grew older I realized the necessity of each season (even Summer whom is my least favourite); all four make up the cycle of things, and how it helps things along. I have come to enjoy them each, even Winter.  Winter brings for me that sense of taking things a lot slower.  And for a lonewolf you can hide from the world a little easier because no one else wants to go anywhere as they are all hiding indoors for most of winter. 

Winter is the most complained about, even from my family and friends.  There are not many of us amongst my loved ones who get excited when the first snowfall comes.  Like today! First snowfall! It was pretty with large, fluffy, dancing snowflakes.  It was this beautiful, quiet, big white storm.  

I am an outdoor person, I have to get outside every day otherwise I get a little nuts from cabin fever which seeps into me so fast it is not funny actually, I can feel the walls of wherever I am at closing in on me quite quickly if I stay in inside too long.  Even if the temperatures are at a permafrost feeling and there is ice outside, I still layer myself up, put on the big old boots and go out for as long as possible.  I may not face this time consuming layering ritual (or the removal process) in the other seasons, nor have to worry about making sure my face is covered to prevent frozen lungs and frostbite, but there is something nice and relaxing about it in the winter time.  I take my time doing it even, including each piece of outdoor layer I need that day. 

The fresh cold air, the dance of snow, the sparkly white ground, and the greater effort it can take for me to get active in it (high levels of snow to trek through), it's all wonderful to me.  Because, afterward, when I go inside after my exercise (as well as long pauses of admiration for grand snowy scenes I come across in my adventures), I get to warm up.  I love that feeling of coming inside and warming up after a cold, refreshing and (to me) exhilarating time in the snow. 

I make a cup of tea, change into something less sweaty and wrap up in warm blankets.  If it's dark, I choose candles instead of turning on my lights.  When the tea is ready I cozy up on the couch.  Sometimes there can be a book involved, doodling or penning away about I have circulating in my head, while I sip my hot tea, letting the wonderful smell and warm feeling trickle through my senses, flowing through the rest of my body down to my toes.  Another way I enjoy that feeling is by having a crock pot full of soup or vegetable stew and eating that. Mmm!

It's the best season for me to focus on my hobbies.  In warmer temperatures I am more likely to get away with going out and adventuring further from home and see friends and family in a higher frequency - good times don't get me wrong - then my hobbies can end up taking a back seat.  But come Winter, they are usually first in line to get my love and attention.  It's a wonderful feeling to get lost in something I love to work on for hours and getting it the way I want it, or, even fail and try again until I do get it right. 

Winter is not too shabby...

Getting that extra alone time, relaxing and resting more, wrapping up in warm clothes and blankets in the shelter of Winters dark, white, blanketed effect in the months to come.  I take comfort in all that. It's nice!

~Ange

Copyright 2015 Lucky 33: Stories, Experiences, Perspectives, and Opinions of a Woman Who Made  To Her Thirties.