Archive for June, 2009

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hugs.

June 11, 2009

I’m by no means a touchy-feely person. This is probably because I’ve always been around non-touchy-feely people. Or maybe that’s because I’ve always somewhat avoided anyone who seems like they would be. Either way, I am, for some reason, very cautious of any touchy-feeliness. First, because I apparently give off the wrong signal a lot, I don’t want to add anything that could potentially and easily be interpreted the wrong way. Second, I’m just not that kind of person and everyone I know would think it was super weird.

This character trait has gradually become obvious to me, culminating in a slightly surprising experience. Someone was about to give me a hug, and I must have stepped back or looked super uncomfortable because he then decided to ask if it was ok to give me a hug. And this was a completely appropriate hugging moment. Expected hugs should never be awkward like that. With hugs, like kisses, there should never be asking.

So I’ve been thinking this is something I need to work on. A mid-year resolution of a sort. I don’t know why, but hugging seems to be more appropriate in so many more situations (wow, kinda like texting). And, I’m a bit tired of awkward hugs.

*everyone also probably knows this resolution is never going to go through. fact of life.

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kool-aid.

June 9, 2009

I had to go to a company culture seminar the other day. After two years of doing the Resident Adviser thing at college, I feel like I’ve had a significant amount of forced culture education. It seems to me, the more it’s exalted, pushed, and enforced, the more fake, propagated, and cheap it seems. Culture is like a viral video. If you try really hard to make it, chances are you won’t.

Anyways, this class was really interesting in terms of learning about the values my company is founded on and the direction that the founder would like to go. I think it’s a great idea for people in a company to have a good idea of its future path and its roots. Not so much to instill the same morals in every single employee, but just give them more background, context, and explanation of how the company functions. Hopefully, if you message and conviction is great enough, people’s opinions will align with yours. Magic! Your culture is preserved.

What I dislike is feeling like I’m being trained to act or think a certain way. Or that the organization is trying to push their marketing on an already “converted” group. Or to feel like if I don’t fully agree with the culture, it somehow makes me inferior and unaccepted. This last point stings because any culture I’ve had training on is always about how accepting and diverse it is, so making people feel unaccepted seem counter-productive and hypocritical. If it seems fake, or if it seems like marketing in any way (even if it isn’t), you’re going to lose some authenticity from your audience. They might play along, but in the end, theses people will never be your die-hard fans. They won’t actively and subconsciously spread the word about your company.

It’s a very fine line to walk. Company culture is important, fragile, and changing (whether you want it to or not).

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identity.

June 8, 2009

Despite my fear of seeming like a crazy stalker, I’ll admit to doing a good amount of Internet research on people I meet. Being the Internet junkie that I am, I’ll do a quick search on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Then I’ll try regular Google search, if I haven’t come across enough information to give me a strong first impression. I don’t feel too bad about my information seeking habits because it’s unbelievably easy to find similar information about me. If you know my name, one quick Google search will get you everything you need to know.

Think of all the things you want to know, but wouldn’t really want to ask. How old are you? Are you single? Married? Are you religious? How religious? Learning this kind of thing requires investing a significant amount of face time and what do I do if I don’t have that option? Sure, an online profile usually wouldn’t answer those questions anyway, but any information is better than none. I guess growing up as part of the Facebook generation, it seems more abnormal to not have an online identity than it does to have your whole life on the Internet.

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texting.

June 5, 2009

I’ve been extremely behind in the texting phenomenon. Up until a few months ago, I just didn’t do it. Never felt the need; thought it was difficult; cost me a lot of money. And now that I’ve added it to my plan, it’s still difficult, but I’m starting to find the use more and more. It must be like Tivo – you don’t realize how great it is until you have it.

But one of the greatest things about texting is how informal it is compared to other forms of communication. Somehow, I can text with a random stranger I’ve only met for 2 hours total, and it’s perfectly ok. But if he were to call me, it’d be super awkward and uncomfortable and a bit creepy.  How does that work? Especially since he has to have my phone number in order to text anyway. In fact, I’d even be more likely to give my number to someone I just met they say they’ll text me rather than call me.  This would be a terribly mean joke if they then called me.

I guess it’s tough to be formal when you’ve got limited character space and having correct punctuation/capitalization is almost impossible. So texts are either super functional (“I’ll pick you up in ten”) or super not (<insert inside joke>). There’s less grey area. Skip the greeting and the small talk. You don’t even expect a response all the time. But my new problem is that texting has now been around long enough that there are definitely social conventions, and I need to figure them out quick before I make a terrible faux pas.

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bwi.

June 3, 2009

I spent the last four days in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area, partly for work, partly for pleasure. It was beautiful weather – low 80’s and sunny – and overall a very relaxing trip. Of course, the learning never ends with business trips. Here’s what I found out this weekend.

  1. Sushi should be raw not fried, and sushi restaurants should feel like a trendy bar. But if the food is good, I won’t complain. And Baltimore has undoubtedly better seafood than Wisconsin.
  2. Georgetown is beyond preppy – which says a lot given that I’ve grown up around the upper middle class. It makes me feel like a true Midwesterner when I realize I could never completely fit in on either coast.
  3. People still pop their collars – and they still shouldn’t.
  4. Free museums are incredible. Unfortunately, I only had time to go to one. Also, the Washington Monument is hands-down more impressive than everything else around it.
  5. TBI stands for Traumatic Brain Injury, not Total Brain Injury.
  6. Pajamas are completely optional. This might be odd, but after having maybe a 10% success rate at remembering pajamas, I’ve gotten used to not having them. Toothbrush and contact lens cases are a different story.
  7. Dyed hair ruins hotel towels. Sorry Marriott! I’d prefer if my hair didn’t turn everything bright pink too.
  8. Gummy bears and hot fudge do not mix as well as you would expect. However, I do love those dirt cups everyone remembers from childhood. Somehow gummy worms in chocolate cookie crumbs is awesome.
  9. I have no concept of ages between mine and my parents. You are either my age or my parents’ age. This is probably fantastic for everyone except me.
  10. Being unbelievably tired, having terrible hat hair, and looking like I got ready in an airport bathroom (because I did) does not scare people away from me. Even though I’m not a very chatty person on planes, this was too much of a surprise for me to do anything other than be nice.