Always Be Ready

It’s hurricane season and here especially in North Carolina, we have to be extra careful. I work for a company that is open 24/7 as we’re in the food/grocery business. People need to eat!

With that being said, Mother Nature can make it so that you cannot go about your normal routine. After the devastation from Hurricane Harvey in Texas, the southeast quadrant of the United States is now bracing for Hurricane Irma.

It’s an unsettling feeling knowing that you cannot escape something that is destined to happen. Think labor after nine months of pregnancy: whether you’ve gone through it or not you know there is pain to be expected. It’s also good that you can prepare for it as best as you possibly can. A pregnant mother can consult with a mid-wife or go to a hospital for care during this painful time in need.

We can think about this in the food industry regarding drivers, distribution centers, restaurants, operators of all of these locations. Although we know what is to be expected, we can better plan around the short falls of our geographic location.  In Eastern North Carolina, we’re preparing to work from home if Irma was to hit as this area is known for flooding with the close proximity of the Tar River.  I personally was displaced out of my home for about a week last year due to Hurricane Matthew.  I was not as prepared for that Category 1 storm as I thought.  Having a backup location to operate out of has help some of the suppliers at work during Hurricane Harvey.  From my Hurricane Matthew experience, I operated out of my in-laws as the roads were inaccessible.

Tempers will flare when it comes to food as it should as it is a sensitive subject where all are impacted.   That is why it is essential to remain calm and always be ready for the unexpectedly expected situations and be of aid to a co-worker.  At work we call each other teammates and once the coach (President) calls the play, we put all hands in to “break” the huddle and execute the plan.

Always be ready… to help someone in need.

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Climate control: Weathering tough times

Hurricane Harvey hit the city of Rockport, TX on Saturday, August 26, 2017.  The Category 4 storm has wrecked havoc on thousands of people in the Houston area. The storm is still affecting people three days later and devastation only getting worse.

With the unprecedented events from Hurricane Harvey, the National Weather Service is forecasting as much as 50 inches is to be expected in parts of Texas.  To aid the public in understanding the severity this storm may bring, and for future observation of higher levels of rain, the National Weather Service has updated their map to include two new colors.

Courtesy of the National Weather Service website
Courtesy of the National Weather Service website

Before the old map shows the greatest rain impact at “Greater than 15 inches”, with no clear end to what the greater means.  The map is now updated with the interval for dark purple to represent “15-20 inches” while the color plum now represents “20-25 inches” and light lavender represents “Greater than 30 inches”.

Through the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, the National Weather Service center’s update today reminds us all that even in the most unlikely event, it is still possible to have unhistorical events occur.  Although we’ve never seen 30+ inches of rain, that does not exclude that it is never possible to happen.

With more rain expected, many celebrities have participated in Kevin Hart‘s #hurricaneharveychallenge, donating $25,000 or more to the American Red Cross.  All citizens are encouraged to donate what they can to help.

Please keep everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey in your prayers.  DONATE if you can and remember the smaller towns near Houston that were affected are often overlooked when needing resources.

Blame it on the mi.. mi mi mi…millennials!

No matter what industry, it seems that the Millennials get a bad rap in the working economy: “They’re too lazy,” or “they’re non-grateful“. Growing up with technology has its pros and cons.

Photo credit of Jamie Foxx Vevo via Youtube

There is however a true difference between hard work and smart work. We hear Generation X and the Baby Boomers proclaim Millennials as not being hardworking because they don’t see the same efforts that they put into their work over 20 years ago. Well I for one am truly thankful for their efforts back then because it allows us to build on their foundation so that we can improve and streamline certain things. Faxing 20 people a press release when you can email the same release to the same 20 people in five minutes saves so much time.

Why does the gesture of saving people time not considered hard work? It is because of the hard work of the early adopters of technology such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs that has saved thousands of hours of time to focus on more efficient work in the last 20 years.

WE ALL have the option meditate due to an app, WE ALL have the ability to bank due to an app, WE ALL can date due to an app, order food, buy clothing and supplies through online shopping. It is the frequent daily personal use of technology that gives the false illusion that only Millennials turn to our phones for everything, but that’s not true. Our impact is deep. We impact restaurant sales and we start companies and become entrepreneurs more than any other generation to this date. Side note: why are Millennials the true test of casual dining sales?  It’s not, on average, that we make more money than any other generation at this time, I’m just saying…

Millennials are discovering that we can improve on ways to be better and/or to save time, if needed. We value our time and we want to know that we make an impact in the work we do in order to be efficient as much as possible. It’s because Millennials are so hell-bent on efficiency that we’re affecting industries services such as how the restaurants cater to us. More restaurants are joining or partnering with Grubhub, an online ordering/delivering service of nearby restaurants, or even having chains explore their own delivery systems. Offering free Wi-Fi often gets millennials into popular chains such as Starbucks or Panera Bread to study or work…maybe that should be something all restaurant categories should offer in order to get “the Millennial money”. We need places other than the office to work and brainstorm as well as bond with our teammates. I wonder what restaurant chain will catered lunch meetings AT the restaurant. Imagine how much more money will get spend at that restaurant?!

Now I know that fast-casual dining restaurants are not in the business of delivering however…they are also not in the business to losing customers. It’s because of Millennials that we’re challenging everyone outside of the millennial category to figure out how to improve on what they already provide. Don’t depend on the Millennials to figure out a solution only to tear it down based on how you’ve always done things. 20 years ago you needed to be in the office everyday while today…employees can fight for a different stance with the availability of Wi-Fi everywhere!

I challenge all seasoned working class people….be more innovative with the ever-changing times and stop relying that you can coast on the way you’ve always done things.  You might can float for a while with current methods and processes but eventually your competition will figure out your model and modify it to be better so here is what you do:

Don’t get comfortable.

If I Gotta buy a Toyota Camry, Ima do it Cost-Effectively!

First of all, congratulations are in order to rapper Kendrick Lamar’s sister for graduating school. To accomplish such an achievement deserves to be acknowledged first and foremost. Second, the Compton rapper celebrated his sister’s graduation by buying her a brand new Toyota sedan as a celebratory gift. The rapper caught heat from many social media users, stating the rapper could have given his sister a much “nicer” car.

Many people worry about why others spend money the way they spend it. We associate top dollar spenders with high earnings and expect the rich and famous to automatically purchase expensive houses and cars but that’s not always the case.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Warren Buffet does not stay in a mansion but in his modest Omaha, NE home he bought in 1958 for $31,500. Yes that’s right the multi-billionaire lives as humbly as he did decades ago. So why bother Kendrick? This is the same rapper that bought his own home in Eastvale, just outside of Los Angeles, for $500,000…HIS own home. Why would someone spend more money on other people than themselves, with no return on investment? More importantly, why are we judging someone who is being fiscally responsible so that his children’s children can benefit and further their financial education?

What can we learn from both Warren and Kendrick? Never spend more than you make and can continuously upkeep. Taxes associate with this gift is part of the upkeep. Gifts in excess of $14,000 for the tax year of 2016 come with taxes that you have to report at the end of the year. We will never know if Kendrick’s sister will pay the taxes next year for this “gift” and guess what, it’s not our business. Kendrick’s sister may not be in a position at this time to keep up with the maintenance of a $100,000 car. Furthermore, I’m sure Kendrick’s sister loves the gesture, no matter the type of car. Also it’s time to worry about our own spending than to judge how “nice” other people’s gifts that are given.

Opportunities

Have you ever had an opportunity come to you that it was so scary it could work that you decided not to act?  Unfortunately I’ve done that several times in my life.  NEVER AGAIN.

After my recently missed opportunity, I decided to search for quotes that will set me straight for future references.  Would like to share these with you so that you will understand that although scary, sometimes you have to take the risk as it will give you big reward.

I hope these inspire you to continue to pursue your goals personally and professionally:

“Failure is only the opportunity more intelligently to begin again.”
―― Henry Ford

“We often miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work”
―― Thomas A. Edison

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
―― Winston S. Churchill

“I believe that every single event in life happens in an opportunity to choose love over fear.”
―― Oprah Winfrey

“Teachers Open The Doors, But You Must Enter By Yourself.” –- Chinese Proverb

“I Feel That Luck Is Preparation Meeting Opportunity.” -– Oprah Winfrey

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” –Albert Einstein

“Opportunities always look bigger going than coming.” –Anonymous

“Every moment wasted looking back, keeps us from moving forward.” –Hillary Clinton

“To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.” –Bruce Lee

This quote by Warren Buffet really hit home for me because although I retreat more on my pessimistic side, I know it’s the opportunistic side that will set the tone for how I want my daughter to chase her dreams.

For my Courtney:

“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” –Warren Buffett

PRessed and stressed? Release, Cease and Desist

Being frustrated is a part of life.  It’s never good to hold on and internalize anger.

Have a best friend or friends you can vent to regarding any recurring frustrations.  Lately, I rely on my husband, my mother and my cousin for my venting and vulnerable purposes.  They understand what I go through and I return the favor to them when it’s their time to release their frustrations.

Here are some healthy ways to release that anger:

  • Type what you WISH you could say in an email but do not put the email address in the destination box
  • Draft a text to someone who constantly annoys you but don’t send it
  • Vent to someone to understand if you’re being reasonable.  Sometimes I bypass the perspective approach and go right to the other person being wrong when in fact it was my fault
  • Take a break from everyone, go walk around the office and ponder how you can approach the situation once the heat had died down

Just remember: release the anger, stop the brief vent and move on to other pressing matters.

Don’t curve your curve balls, embrace them!

When it comes to an event, planning is crucial. No matter how much planning you do, especially in advance, you can bet something will always go wrong. It’s always good to have a backup plan however some issues are totally unexpected. Thinking on your feet is a major key! Mastering the art of problem-solving is critical when you’re experiencing a huge blunder.

Frustrated

Instead of complaining, be quick to find a solution.

  • The caterer cancelled at the last-minute? Have options that won’t need a long lead time to accommodate large groups such as Subway.
  • Your florist promised seasoned flowers that turned out to be in late bloom and can’t deliver as promised? Get alternative flowers or get fake flowers from Hobby Lobby or Michael’s….get real flowers from Walmart if you have no choice but make sure the florist gives you a hefty discount for your next event.
  • The venue double-booked but you already printed invites? Make sure you notify everyone on the invite list and that have RSVP’ed to understand any changes in venue or schedule.  Call them, email them, text them…make sure you communicate any and all changes to your guests!

Figure out how to solve the problem now and then find the best solution for the variable that caused the issue. Make sure you are made “whole” if someone unexpectedly changes or adjusts what was discussed and contracted out for the event.  Sometimes your solutions will not be glamorous but it will help you plan and prepare for future hiccups and continue on with your event.

Have your contracts ready!