Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fear vs. Love

Today I interviewed a potential intern. As we already know from my previous rants relating stories of the lack of common sense my interns possess, he will most likely end up being primarily worthless. At this point please do not concern yourself with the perplexing nagging question of why I hire them in the first place, this is just one of those cases where I am doing the best I can with what I have to work with. All that said.... this interview brought up an intriguing thought.

During the interview I always ask, " What was the last book you read?" I ask this because it gives me a sense of personality, which is important in our small team-oriented office, and it helps weed out the kiss-ass over-studying ridiculous-ness that is the modern college undergrad. Word of advice: if you answer with some obscure business related, or econ related or modeling related textbook or study, I will be disappointed, and I don't hire those who disappoint me in the interview.

Side Note: I also will NOT HIRE you if :
1. You show up to my company for an interview, insisting that you have scheduled said interview with Constance, or Emily or Brittney in HR. I am the only person in HR here. If you didn't speak with me, you are in the wrong place.

2. You show up for the interview wearing a "long" sweater and leggings. If I can see your pink underwear through your black tights, this is not appropriate work attire, let alone interview worthy wear. I don't care if it's trendy, it's tacky. 

3. You cannot speak English. I speak English, my colleagues  speak English, my boss and the owner of the company speaks English, our clients, while located in various countries do business with us in English.  If you speak another language, more power to you, but I need to be able to communicate with you on a daily basis.

4. You give me attitude. While it is true that I perform Assistant duties for Tom, I am not ONLY an assistant. I am interviewing you, I will hire you, I will be your supervisor (among the many other things I do on a daily basis) DO NOT come into an interview with me and ask to speak with "someone who does the hiring". I will likely ask you to leave. 

5. You answer or text on your cell phone during the interview. Really? Come on. 
Now, back to the point I was failing to make. Today's intern applicant answered my book question not only positively, but it made me think. His answer was " The Prince" by Machiavelli. A classic I have read several times and own. The interviewee expressed the following about this reading material:

(Paraphrased) "It was short and I chose it because it was during a flight, so I thought I could finish it and its a classic. But also, it was really thought provoking.  In the book Machiavelli basically states that in the role of a leader it is better to be feared than loved. People listen to you more and are more willing to do things for a leader they fear, rather than one they love. I could relate this to my experiences and think this is something I should consider as I want to start my own business someday. Machiavelli makes a really good point about what it takes to be a leader."
Thus we are brought to the title of this post, Fear vs. Love. The thing I have noticed is, he is not alone in believing this. Several business professionals have adopted this principle.  While they may be good people, on an individual level, they instill a deep rooted fear in their employees and clients. And, it works. Or does it?

Personally, I lean more towards being loved. I have managed people of varying degrees of education, social status in large or small groups. And, I have done everything in my power to remain friendly and approachable throughout my leadership role. To my knowledge, I have never been feared. Of course its possible I have not been loved either, but for the sake of argument. The thing is, I have stayed in touch with a majority of the people I have managed. And, better yet, they are reaching out to me. If I were feared, I doubt that would be the case... in fact I am fairly certain that I would do everything in my power to not have contact with a leader I "feared" after I left my position... and I would definitely leave my position after a while... you can only work so long under a reign of fear.  My position: it is better to be loved than feared.

With any luck, my *new* intern will learn this valuable lesson.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pumpkins & Passports


Here we are quickly approaching Halloween, and we have yet to purchase any pumpkins. We've discussed carving ideas, and the fact that we ABSOLUTELY need actual carving tools, as evidenced by last years debacle during which my Hello Kitty turned out more like a faceless blob, Oogy Boogy was held together with toothpicks and of course Dave's Jack (like the one above... not an actual picture of his, but who can tell?) was perfect. This year we are thinking one large pumpkin for both of us. After all, let's be honest, it's just going to shrivel up and sit on our porch for weeks rotting until it snows and freezes and we forget about it until the Spring when we have to dispose of have rotten/frozen jack-o-lantern carcasses.  (again, as last year). My assumption is that we will get this pumpkin, and tools this week, so that we can carve this weekend, just in time for the holiday.

It is time for a passport renewal. It has been a while since I have traveled outside of the US, and my passport is a little out of date. I am notorious for bad pictures, to the point where professional photographers have commented that it's difficult to get a good shot, candid group shots from Christmas end up with me appearing slightly mentally handicapped, and ID pictures -- bad for everyone-- horrific for me.  Cases in point:
1. ID: bright red face, with scarf (it was winter) wrapped tightly around my (non-existent) neck.
2. Work ID: sunglasses on top of head, double chin action causing me to get stopped by security on a somewhat regular basis
3. Old Passport: apparently I was once a 12 year old computer game playing nerdy boy with a mullet. Awesome.

Hopefully the new picture is better. Though, I'm not getting my hopes up.

Friday, October 15, 2010

New Blog: Andrea's Photos

So, I decided to create a new photo blog, to store all our collections of photos. Enjoy: Fauxtography

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Winter Vacation

We are planning a Winter Vacation for mid -December. Where should we go?  

We are thinking someplace warm/beachy. Tell us what you think! Answer the poll to the right, or just comment with your best suggestions.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Tis the Season

The temperature has dipped slightly, the leaves have begun changing, Halloween costumes grace all the stores.  You know what this means....

Hockey Season has started.

Before you judge, we fully admit that we are bandwagon Blackhawks fans. But, the timing just worked out so well. Considering the fact that while Columbus does indeed have a hockey team (Bluejackets.. we will beat you on Friday!) they were only introduced as an expansion team in 2000. Before that, hockey and Ohio... not so much.  So, we had ignored hockey through our early years and early adulthood, with only occasional observations of the sport. Then we moved to Chicago.

We arrived in our new home and decided we needed to get to know the area, the teams and the variety of sports. We tried liking the Cubs. eh. We tried the Sox. better, but eh. We don't care for basketball much, and we haven't made it to a Bears game yet. But, last year, we were given free tickets to the first Blackhawks playoff game. 2 things happened.

1. Dave and I loved it, instantly, entirely and equally
2. Andrea fell in love with Patrick Sharp

Since, we have witnessed our new found love win The Stanley Cup. It was so exciting, we still get chills thinking about it. Andrea stood in horribly muggy hot weather last summer with millions of people to watch the parade and see the cup (and Sharpie, of course).

And now, the season has begun again. 82 games this season, and we intend on following every one. Hopefully, to another positive result. Though, we realize it is unlikely we will win the Cup again this year... but there's no reason not to cheer and hope!

But we have a few concerns.

We lost some of our Stanley Cup winning team due to the salary cap. The hardest for us is Antti Niemi. Our fantastic goalie, now a San Jose Shark. We have Marty Turco as a replacement, but so far, 2 games into the season we aren't all that impressed. Perhaps we are being a little hard on him, still mourning the loss of Niemi, and hopefully he proves us wrong. So far, we've lost our first two, but with 80 still to go, we aren't worried (yet). Hopefully we beat Buffalo tonight.

Let's Go Hawks!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point, Blink and Outliers has been on my mind a lot lately, as I have found his books to be very interesting and they have been coming up a lot in conversation at work. I highly recommend each of the three, and have yet to read the latest, but will let you know the verdict soon.

Gladwell also writes for The New Yorker. His latest has caused a lot of stir. See for yourself, but personally, I think he makes some fair points.

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