Tuesday, February 17, 2015

No News is Good News

There isn’t much new in this neck of the woods, which leaves little to be excited for and little to complain about.
I’d say the biggest item looming right now is a trip to Italy I have planned for April. Why? My brother won a spot on Team USA for the World Championship 24 Hour Race! I’m not sure if anything surprises me with him anymore. I mean, from the moment he graduated high school and left the house, I don’t think he’s stopped moving since. Regardless, I am beyond excited to be heading to Italy. Bring on the cheese, pasta, fashion, art, cars, and don’t forget the jet lag!
In other news, my boyfriend and I celebrated dating for 2 years over Valentine’s Day this past Saturday. I don’t normally talk about my boyfriend on my blog, but I would say 2 years is blog worthy :-p. It has been a happy 2 years to say the least.

Thanks for reading everyone! God bless!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Jamaica Mon

My list of “countries visited” grows to 5 as of this past week. After a long-planned vacation to Jamaica, I am back to the cold frozen tundra. After I recap the trip, I’ll tell you some things I learned.

We were there for 7 days and 7 nights. (We being my boyfriend, his twin, his girlfriend, and another couple.) The first couple of days, the weather was slightly less than ideal, meaning it was overcast and lower 70’s, which was slightly too cold for me to lay out under the sun. (However, I would take that over snow and cold any day.) So, we went shopping at a local market/mall and ate a lot. We stayed at an all-inclusive resort, but left the resort multiple times for different “excursions”. My first excursion was a rafting trip. Our tour guide was really funny and the trip was fun, however it ended in a downpour of rain, which wasn’t horrible since we were already wet and it was still about 75 degrees out. The next adventure we did was a snorkeling trip where we were taken to a coral reef and got to swim around in the deep sea. It was REALLY cool just floating with the ocean, watching the fish, and fighting the current. I certainly got my work out that day. The snorkel trip ended with a visit to Margaritaville where they had a slide leading to huge inflatable trampolines and such in the ocean. Minutes after getting out of the water, we saw a sting ray glide through the water where we had just been. Finally, our last day there, we went deep sea charter fishing. After 5 hours and only 5 smaller fish, we docked and ate our catches at the local yacht club. I will mention here that we also saw dolphins swimming alongside of us.

Each night at the resort, there was a different type of entertainment. One night happened to be “Miss. Iberostar” (the name of the resort), in which I was unknowingly signed up for. After a brief warning and some preparation, I won all the events, however, I ended up getting 2nd place because the other girl was with an entire wedding party and the winner was chosen based on crowd applause. Quite the entertainment regardless. The other nights were spent at similar entertainment events and eating even more.

The rest of the time was filled with laying by the pool/beach and sleeping. It was great.

Now for the learning portion. Immediately after exiting the airport, when we arrived, I almost had a heart attack that we were going to get in a car accident because, as I learned, they drive on the left side in Jamaica. That took quite a while to get used to. The leading industry in Jamaica, I would say, is tourism. It was fascinating to hear that each position at the resort had a special title in which the individual had to take schooling/training for. I was even asked what an engineer is.

Jamaica is an odd mix of wealth. On the right could be a tin house and on the left could be a huge resort with marble pillars. I was surprised that for such a small island, there was a ton of open land. Goats roamed free, as well as feral cats and dogs. The rum was plentiful (one of their biggest exports) and I learned that although Jamaica is known for its marijuana, it is still illegal. I saw very few (less than 5) overweight men. American currency was more freely accepted and welcomed than Jamaican however, if you didn’t have exact change, they would round up. I also think that half of the population of Canada migrated to Jamaica for the winter. Burger King bought out all the McDonalds down there and Harley Davidson, for some reason, was quite popular, although I didn’t see any Harley bikes. Typically, the work week consists of 6, 7 hour days, followed by a 7th day off. I also learned from a bus driver that Jamaica gained their independence only about 50 years ago. Their native tongue is Patwa, but everyone I encountered spoke fluent English.


All in all, it was a good trip to the Caribbean. In my quest to visit more countries, I’m not sure I would go back soon, there is still so much of the world to see! 

NEW

I have been the NEW person enough times in my young life to lose track. I moved a lot as a child that I semi knew what to expect being the new kid at school. In hindsight, moving was always bittersweet. 
The good: leaving behind unpleasant people, exposure to change, new opportunities, expanding knowledge base, getting to meet new/awesome people, access to previously unavailable resources, starting fresh (learning from mistakes you once made), etc.
The bad: leaving behind awesome people, having to re-establish relationships, starting fresh (first impressions), learning unfamiliar things, having to change, making new mistakes, being the “low man on the totem pole”, etc.

Being the new kid at school is very similar to starting a new job. I have only been working (paying taxes) for the past 8 years, which is less than some of you have been at your current job, but I’ve held my fair number of positions throughout high school and college.

Being new will never get old.

It hasn’t yet.

Being new is really the concept of adjusting to change and since this world has a bazillion variables that could change, it is hard to adjust, and that is just human nature. It is also human nature that things that are hard are often not pleasurable and avoided, meaning that people usually avoid change, if possible.

The point to this story is that I started a new job at the beginning of the year and as with any new job, it has its pluses and minuses. Thankfully, it seems like most/all of the minuses are short-term. (To that, I ask myself; “how long is short-term?”)

It has been hard re-establishing myself. Although I only moved maybe 30 feet and I’m still with the same company (different division), there are a lot of differences! A whole new team and structure, different processes and procedures, new responsibilities, and the list goes on. It’s amazing I’ve worked in the same building with some of these people for 4 years and have never met or worked with them. I had someone say something to the effect of “since you’re new to the company, you wouldn’t understand”. It’s hard starting as the new person and lowest on the totem pole in my immediate group.


Again this time, I am learning many things I will change next time and many ways I won’t treat future new people. Stay tuned. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

High Risk, High Reward

My brothers recent blog post inspired me to write a "counter-post" from my view.

If you don't want to read the whole article, he basically highlighted his findings and tribulations for starting a new company, which he attempted in 2008. Although I have virtually NO entrepreneurial experience, I have some educational knowledge and a whole lot of exposure via my entrepreneur boyfriend to the world of owning a company. I'd like to share my thoughts.

First of all, there are many different categories of businesses, so comparing John Deere to Apple to Nana's Corner Store is as far apart as comparing can come apart from general business principles. However, in Economics, we are all familiar with the phrase "goods and services", so I like to begin there with a dividing point for businesses; 1- businesses that provide a tangible object and 2- businesses that provide an intangible object, per say.

I'm not here to teach economics, but I do want to list some things I've learned about entrepreneurship.

1- To run a company, you must be invested. Don't run a company on a "good idea", run a company on something you are willing to miss Christmas to see succeed.
2- Have confidence your product/service is THE BEST there is. Actually, don't have confidence, you need to actually believe yours is. If you think someone else has a better product, you [probably] won't succeed.
3- Starting is the hardest part. You need time and money. By time, I mean a minimum 40 hrs/week and by money I mean initially a disposable  $10,000 (roughly).
4- You won't have time for hobbies, entertainment, or vacations, but you'll need them. No more painting, working out, snow boarding, hunting, fishing.......you shouldn't have time for these if you are truly invested in your company, however to keep sane, you should find time.
5- You will have to know all facets of owning a company. If you have a bachelors degree in rocket science, congratulations, that didn't prepare you to understand payroll, business taxes, operations management, patents, etc. Oh, and sooner or later, you'll need a lawyer ($$).
6- Network. You absolutely need every resource in the book. Whether it is someone who has been through what you are going through or a perspective client or a potential business partner, just network. "It's all about WHO you know." TRUTH.
7- Foreign labor is cheap. Foreign transportation is not. Decide how you want to run your company.
8- Be able to make decisions. Decisions under pressure, long-term decisions, hard decisions, you'll face them all.
9- Set Goals. Weekly, monthly, long-term, short-term, etc. Set high goals and obtainable goals, optimistic and realistic. The most successful people set goals, I can't remember the statistic off the top of my head.
10- Read. Read NPR, Forbes, any business journal or entrepreneur book.

I'm not saying these are going to make your company succeed or that these are the only factors, but they are certainly elements to consider.

On that note, in the near future, I don't plan to start a company because I don't have what it takes.