Monthly Archives: March 2009

If I Was Running A Company…Teaching

The economy is down and unemployment numbers are up. I know people are sick of hearing it, but it’s the truth.  Although I live in the DC area and fortunate the numbers are not as high as other areas, unemployment went up from the previous year and there is no idea where it is heading. Then, I found one market that really needs people badly: Schools.

This is from an NPR story I heard about Michelle Rhee’s first year as D.C. School Chancellor and the result has been stunning.  This leads me that if you can’t find a job in an office, why not a classroom?  Teaching is not that far off from going to the workforce: stress, annoying people, planning, things you don’t want to do, etc.  However, it could lead to success down the line.

My favorite story is about Joseph Molloy, who was a teacher in Tampa in the 80s and met the love of his life, Jessica.  The both got married the following year after they met.  What’s important was not the marriage, but who Joe married to…he married George Steinbrenner’s daughter.  After getting married, Joe moved to New York to join the Yankees and be part of the front office.  In 1990, Fay Vincent, commissioner of MLB at the time, banned George for paying people to get dirt on Dave Winfield.  This means the Yankees had to find a new general managing partner.  The Yankees asked George’s sons to take over, but they we’re not ready. They had a theatre owner take charge for 16 months, but the person resigned.  Finally, in 1992, the Yankees decide that Joe Molloy would be the new general managing partner of the Yankees and it made a definite impact.

The old Yankee way at the time was get the best players available.  When Molloy stepped in, the atmosphere change from spenders to long-term development.  Molloy’s key move was keeping the No. 6 pick in the 1992 Amateur Draft to select a high school kid named Derek Jeter.  George came back to the Yankees in 1994 and saw Molloy’s footprints in the team.  During Molloy’s 6-year tenure with the Yankees, the team went to the playoffs in Molloy’s last 3 seasons with the team and won a World Series in 1996. In 1997, Joe and Jessica separated and divorced, which led to his resignation in early 1998.

Currently, Joe Molloy is a school principal in the Tampa area, has four kids, and is paying bills like the rest of us.  From the ending, it would seem it took a turn for the worse.  From the ESPN story, he wishes he had a wife and not dating anyone and that’s a sign of misery.  Instead, he loves to be the normal guy and he loves to teach and be around with kids.  What Molloy experience in the 1990s was a dream (or a nightmare if you want to count the divorce) most want to be part of and enjoy it, but even loves what he is doing now.

There are two points I want to make from the Molloy story: one, teaching can develop your leadership and decision skills and understanding your strengths and weaknesses.  The other is you have to take a step back to take two steps forward.  There is a lot of competition for office jobs, so why not develop your skills and transfer it to a different generation who are going to be leaders in 20 years.  To me, a legacy is much greater than any accomplishment you’re going to have.  Molloy has a World Series ring to prove his accomplishment, but his leagacy with the Yankees (and the kids) still remains.

Side note: I use to hate the Yankees with distaste because they win so many times and had an unlimited budget.  Reading the Molloy story, it changes my view of how I view the Yankees dynasty… for the better.

The Earth Hour Experience

Yesterday, I participated in the one hour Earth Hour turn off.  For the record, I didn’t like the timing of this because of the NCAA Tournament. I wish it was on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday (if you’re wondering, I don’t care about Idol, you can see terrible singing and talent on YouTube).  I took the challenge because I was at confession earlier in the day and take my self-punishment for the heck of it.  Also, I really like this cause and one hour won’t hurt.  I did realize I was going to miss the Pittsburgh-Villanova match and the Kids Choice Awards for pop culture fodder.  So everything was off, except zee Blackberry.

Full Disclosure: My house was not completely lights out since my parents were watching TV and don’t want to disrupt them since my mother would be incest if she missed any minute from the Saigon Broadcasting Network (I’m serious). So think of my room (and bathroom next to it) as my rent of the house.

On the blackout, I was refreshing scores and reading Twitter updates on my Blackberry. I have to say, my room was very dark and could see why people would want their lights on.  It was a surreal experience but I’m glad I did it…until I read the Twitter updates.

The last 10 minutes of the turn off campaign really killed me and based on the updates, I was missing an instant classic. At the 9:20 PM mark (yes, I was watching for the time) here was the conversation:    

  • Me: Its karma: I’m doing good for the environment, but the Pitt/Villa commentary is killing me and close to forcing me to turn on #earthhour
  • Me: I hope to see Pitt/Villa go to OT. I got 10 minutes left #earthhour #ncaa
  • A lot of stop and go action for several minutes.
  • toddkmiec: @tracytranincredible you may get ot. Nova made a stupid play trying to go full court pass. almost out of bounds Pitt took it down #ncaa
  • Me: @toddkmiec There is a God!
  • Everyone simultaneously tweeted that Nova scored on the buzzer beater.
  • Me: DANG!!! Now I have to check the highlights
I finally turn everything on at 9:30 and caught the desperation shot from Pittsburgh.  Here’s the Pitt/Villanova full-game highlight, if you’re interested  That was very brutal for me, but thank goodness for technology to carry me through the night (March Madness on Demand I’m speaking of).
Let me thank the people who entertain me throughout the one hour on Twitter:

For pre-game coverage:

Finally, a couple of requests for Earth Hour:

  1. As I mention before, have it on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday.
  2. If you read this blog, I’m requesting…er…demanding a crank TV/Radio for next year so when someone asked how I get defined biceps and triceps, my answer will be, “Cranking the TV each arm for 30 minutes…and Twittering on the other hand for Earth Hour”  Please email me if you can deliver the goods (yes, it’s a bribe).
  3. More people to be involved for this great cause.

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If I Was Running A Company…Creativity

I love personality in my workplace.  It brings many different variables into the workplace, either good or bad, but it makes work very exciting.  At the workplace, most companies do allow you to dress up your cubicle to make it your second home and hoping the working experience is good (it won’t work if you boss is terrible, you hate your co-workers or your job stinks). 

Now, if you’re a job seeker, how can you show your creativity while job hunting?

If you’re lucky that the company has an informal workplace, you can show off a witty t-shirt (Bonus points for me if you show off a Duckworth Lewis T-Shirt).  However, almost all companies would want to be impress for the first time, so play it safe and get a formal business attire.  So how to show your creativity in an interview?

One way is your business card.  Bring three things to an interview: a writing utensil, paper (or some electronic device if you like saving paper), and a business card (resume is optional depending on the hiring manager).  In this case, do not bring any business card, bring a card that relates to both the hiring manager and you.  Do your research on the hiring manager and find a match and turn that into a business card.  You can put a picture of a school mascot if you share the same alma mater, favorite sports team, or a favorite food on the card.  For other creative ways you can relate with the hiring manager, look at these business cards.

If a business card is too time consuming and costly, how about your business attire?  There’s no wiggle room with your attire since the job interview is serious. Well, how about expanding your business attire? What I mean is you can enhance your business attire to other objects from your pen to your folder.  The perfect example is Digger Phelps and his now famous tie-lighter:

I am very observant and when I see that, you are comig prepared.  So, if you have an interview setup, try a little color coordination with your attire and an object like a pen, highlighter, or folder and hope the hiring manager and/or recruiter can catch it.  You can be Digger as well, but whatever you do, don’t do what Digger is also known for:

Tracy’s Random Thoughts, March 2009 Edition

You’re glad that my picture is blacked out, don’t you?  Anyway, on we go:

1. The Economy

It seems the Dow Jones (or for the real hard finance heads, the S&P 500) has rallied the past 4 days after possible doom if it would go to the lowest levels since the Great Depression.  To me, this seems short-lived since confidence n the markets can be shaken easily if there are any bad news.  Now, Obama’s finance team is on the move with interviews and pressers, which is good, but can it sustain?  I do hear most “experts” say the recession will end in the 3rd quarter.  It could be heading that way.  Now, this leads me to this:

2. Stewart vs. Cramer

I finally saw the interview between Jon Stewart and Jim Cramer and I have to say that was cringeworthy.  Let me say that this was Jon Stewart’s best interview ever and since he’s getting near 50, he has change from jokes about the news to become the heir apparent to David Letterman.

 As for Jim Cramer, I think he knew that Jon was right about everything he said and was caught in the middle.  He can make all the apologies he wants, but it did give CNBC and other business networks the shaft. 

I would say though that CNBC did have reports about the markets failing (please Google Peter Schiff), but the big personalities overshadowed the people who should be trusted.  I did think Stewart was off that CNBC was the face of the financial crisis (you know who that would be), but I do think the other business networks need to step up and focus.

There would have been one solution to solve this: MORE BETHANY MCLEAN COVERAGE!!!

3.  How to improve the economy

Last week, Delaware introduce a bill that legalizes professional sports betting in the state.  By all accounts, Delaware can do this because they have no professional sports teams in that state.  The other states that have legalized betting are Montana and Nevada.  Then, New Jersey State Senator, Raymond Lesiak, is suing the federal government to overturn sports betting and make legalize nationwide.  In this case, he would lose because there are teams involved in the United States and that would cause huge chaos in the sporting scene.  

However, his thought process has brought me something that maybe states need to think about to improve the economy.  I remember people were laughing at the suggestion that Jesse Ventura  would legalize prostitution.  In a sense, that would of been risque, but with the economy in a downturn, why not.  

Hey, how about marijuana?  Apparently from a Phish concert, the police seized more than $1.2 million in value of drugs.  If pharmaceuticals were to hand out marijuana, would the economy get a boost?

Oh don’t forget Prop 8 and how it can open doors:

I’m not an advocate of any of the positions, but if the economy is troubling for your state, why not go after each person’s desires and hopes to help the state out?  Go after the perverts, the gays, the hippies, the degenerates, anyone can be fair game.  Also, if the religious right is very upset about this, they can move to Utah or Southern Virginia.  Hey, another money making opportunity for the state.  Time to open up, people.

4. The EFCA

Usually, I would do advice and case studies on my weekly HR segment, If I Was Running A Company.  I have discussed about the EFCA, but here’s my opinion of it by asking this…can we get along?

There are apparently two sides to this.  If you’re a Republican, you’re pro-business, hence the numerous pro-employer bills from 1995 to the last administration.  If you’re a Liberal Democrat, you’re more in favor of unions, hence the EFCA introduce in Congress last week.  Apparently there is no middle ground if you’re pro-business or pro-union, you dealing with a nasty rivalry that there is no end to it.  

My opinion of this is the bill is more what Donald Fehr would want…big favor to the unions, where they can step in to countercontrol the employers.   In that case, peer pressure might set in and productivity and culture changes for the worse.  However at this time, business does not have the leverage it use to because look at the news of what’s going on…corruption, incompetence, and undeserved bonuses.  Also, the Democrats have control of both the executive and legislative branches, so businesses lost that power.  

I’m also not kind of unions as well because there are instances the union leaders have more interest of themselves than the union.  The MLBPA was a great example of corrupting the system, as well as the Screen Actors’ Guild (SAG) where Alan Rosenberg is asking a lot of money for studios to pony up during these times, which is not a good sign.  

The problem is apparently, there’s supposed to be a winner and a loser.  Should that be only for games or all of life?  Right now, people are losing jobs because of the mistakes by both sides.  It’s time Congress, employers, and unions to collaborate on a deal that would be efficient for the workforce in the next generation, instead of bickering.  Sadly, I don’t see it coming and they’ll “compromise”.  

5. Facebook —> Twitter

It looks more and more that Facebook is not only trying to be Twitter, but are becoming like MySpace.  How that happened?  It’s called catching up.  Facebook use to be the cool kids on the block with their simple design and their independence.  However, the rise of Twitter and Facebook’s trouble outreach to the public, have them scrambling to update themselves.  By first look, I really like that they didn’t replace my statuses, but they took away the live feed and what friends have joined Facebook.  Facebook is still a good destination for friends, fan clubs, events, photos, and storage, but Facebook just became a tad late that people want to engage in conversations and like to jump in the conversation. For that, Twitter became the hot product now and Facebook is in a mid-life crisis.  Now the interesting part is how Facebook will react to the ever-quickly changing environment.  Seems Zuckerberg’s Billion Dollar status might be shot.

6. The 2009 NCAA Tournament

This is the most exciting time of the year and everyone is filling multiple brackets for their multiple pools (guilty).  Four matchups to look for:

  • Villanova vs. American- In Philly, or as I like to call it, the David Aldridge Classic.
  • California vs. Maryland – Maryland returns to the tourney and could be the only D.C. team advance to the 2nd round.  However, Cal can shoot the lights out from 3.
  • Arizona State vs. Temple – The best individual matchup between ASU’s James Harden and Temple’s Dionte Christmas.
  • Binghamton vs. Duke – The matchup I’ve been waiting for 25 years:  Tony Kornheiser vs. John “Junior” Feinstein.

That is all for this month.  I’m taking it slow on the blog because I’m trying to get new business (and Twitter), but next month, I got something in store for you.  Take care.

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If I Was Running A Company…The Decision

I hate doing this post because it involves The Bachelor.  There are two reasons The Bachelor interest me last week: 1) It snowed in D.C., so I was stuck in the house, and 2) the Twitter server went down a few times because of 24 and Bachelor talk (thanks ladies and a couple of guys).

If you all saw it, you know what happen and I don’t want to repeat myself.  Here’s a summary if your interested.  So, what does last part of this season’s Bachelor have to do with this post?  Well, there will be a moment that you have to make a decision of getting a new job or stay with the company, or two similar jobs with two different companies.

To eliminate some or most of the trouble, you can do tons of research on the person you’re going to work for, the actual work you might do, money and benefits, the past company history, statistics, the company mood, the people, location and my personal favorite… other.  If you still can’t make a decision, well tough luck, you have to make one. 

You’re going to break someone’s heart by making this decision and that’s true in business and personal life.  You have to make the right decision for yourself that you would be comfortable with, or if you’re very slick…be a polygamist (consultant).

If I Was Running A Company…Sensitivity

It would easy to tell you to keep your eyes open and do not try to offend anyone by race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc.  I could give you many examples of not to offend (i.e. Miley Cyrus).  However, these next several weeks, companies really need to have their eyes, ears, blinkers and blind spots wide open.

This is the start of a series of religious events.  Yes, religion should be not part of work, but you can’t take the religion (or spirit) out of the employee.  If you notice an employee is standoff-ish or not doing their normal routine, do take note.  However, understand the background of the person, if you have or have not met the person.  Look at any accessories and clothing of the person, talk to your employee, and/or do a profile search on the Internet of their background.  I would also encourage HR to look at the various religions to understand most of these backgrounds. 

There will be moments that religion and policies may intersect.  I recommend to HR to be open-minded during these several weeks, because don’t let your company be liable for discrimination, even for the smallest of acts.  Be transparent and talk to your employees about why they are doing this and do not assume anything.  You get an understanding where they are coming from and HR will layoff  the accelerator a bit, depending on their reason.  Now, if they are continuing to do what they do after the season is up, then investigate the matter and make a final decision on what to do with the employee.

So for these several weeks, pay attention to the company’s policies and procedures, but also pay attention to your employee.  Do not penalize your employees, talk and collaborate with them.  It is the only way to get a definitive answer.