It has been a while since I have put my fingers to the keyboard in a way that was not a means to the end. There is not enough time in the day to allow my mind to slow down and ponder life, to let the mantra in my head release and allow the clickity clack of the keys bring forth the words in my mind to share with you. There have been many days when I have written a blog in my head and when the few free moments at the end of the day graced me, my eyes melded shut while the now comfortable whoosh whoosh sound of the pump surrounds me as I drain the last milk of the day out of my boobs. That or I am finishing the necessary work to prep for my next day, because when I get home at the end of the day I want to spend every moment with my growing little boy. Did I mention that I am back in the office?
I will tell you I have missed you. I have missed my daily rants and release of ideas that I come across in the day in hopes that it brings a smile to your face, pause to your day, or a WTF moment. Last week a colleague shared an article that just got my wheels turning and I had to share. This article is about the saltbox. A bit random I know but the author just hit at so many ideas that resonate with me. Her story of the Saltbox titled: “Lessons according to salt.”
“The saltbox itself as an object is unremarkable. Alone, it communicates nothing. Says nothing about its role. Its intention. Its history as a gift born out of a romance between my maternal grandparents. Says nothing of its possibilities.
But add people, and it becomes a central iterative device. The license to change, to iterate, to test, to add, to make, to make over, to create (clearly, with food). It gives license and latitude to stray from what has been written (recipes) for those too shy to do. Therefore, it gives strength. It gives iterative powers to those not comfortable with version control. With its subtlety comes comfort in change. One might say the saltbox, and access to it, is magic.”
Later the author says:
“What separates a leader from a manager is the quality of an editor. The role of a good editor is not to be seen, in fact, but to make an author’s words come forward. A good editor dissolves into the background. It’s not unlike typography. Focus too much on the type, and you’ve lost the story. Whether as editor, director, or head of department, my role is not to be seen, but to create a space to make the stories of those I work with come forward.”
I manage a team of ten amazing souls that make it worth coming to work each day. Is it always fun? No. Is it always easy? No. But damn we have fun trying. I hope that I keep focusing on the story and that I create a space to make the stories come forward.
Maybe it resonates with me because I write, or maybe it is because I am a new mom and I think that, much like leading a team, as a momma I really am here to love the crap out of this little bugger, but also to create the space for his stories to come to life. My role is to let him shine and be seen. Momma, manager, editor.
I encourage you to read Liz’s full article on the saltbox. Maybe it will inspire you too.
If you were an adult in my world when I was a kid, you probably would have thought that I would have gone into sales. Now the thought of it kind of grosses me out. Why sales? I was a Girl Scout which means I sold Girl Scout cookies. I think the only reason I even stayed in the troop for the many years that I did was because of the competition (with myself and others) of selling Girl Scout cookies. I am not going to go into details, as I have other blog posts about that.
My elementary school also raised money by selling nuts and candy every year. I cannot even remember the prize — maybe it was just knowing I sold near if not at the top of my class. At the same time I also had my own paper route. I delivered the “The Star Press” which meant it was the evening/afternoon newspaper. (Thank goodness, as I am so not a morning person). Every few months our manager would ask us to go “canvassing” where basically he would take us to strange and sketchy neighborhoods, often at night and ask us to go door-to-door to see if we could get folks to sign up for the newspaper. That was the least glamorous of all the gigs even with the random prizes and money he would throw in each night to see who would be encouraged to try harder and come out on top. Mind you — I was nine at the time.
And, yet, I am not in sales and I do not even dream of ever being in sales as a career. (My dad would have been so bummed). I often wonder what propelled me to want to excel and do so well selling things door-to-door. I was not a crazy outgoing kid, but somehow going door-to-door, selling on college campuses, and the competition of it all was an adrenaline rush for me.
Fast forward to 2015 and I come across “Tyler’s Lemonade Stand Fundraiser.” Tyler lives in Grafton, NY and decided to raise money for a police sergeant that was battling cancer and could not work. See this video of the long line of police cars that come to pay Tyler a visit and show their support. So far Tyler has raised $1500. Amazing. Now that is sales and talent put to good use. You rock, Tyler.
No, this isn’t about a wardrobe malfunction. For those of you that know me, I am a fiend about how I am treated as a customer. I care about principles.
So let me tell you what happened. I ordered a bra online from the online website: Bare Necessities. When I received the bra on Wednesday, they sent me a size larger. I emailed them because their website states that they are available 24/7/365 via phone, and yet all their communication tells you that they close at 6 pm EST. For me that is 3 pm, so my availability to discuss my order is limited. I asked them to resend the correct size, and once I received it I would send back the incorrect size with the return shipping paid by them. I received an email response Thursday morning.
“I am sorry to hear of the trouble with your order. We can reship the U.K xxx which is a U.S xxx-cup, please ensure this is the size you need as Fantasie is a U.K sized bra and may show the conversion size on the tag as well. Our reship process entails a new charge since we will be shipping product out, if this is okay I can have the package delivered tomorrow.”
Here is the thing. I ordered the correct size, they decided to send me a different size. I know my size. I wear this brand, and do not need them to try to translate and send me a different size. Frustrated, I called them Thursday morning at the beginning of my work day. The woman who answered the phone? The same woman who responded to my email. A coincidence or a VERY small company. You decide. Right away she was snippy with me, cut me off, and told me that Fantasie had changed their sizing and that they were doing the right thing. Um, no. See my dad taught me something early on. “The customer is always right.” In this situation, an apology would have gone a long way. She could have said we are sorry for the confusion and mix up, and we will send you the size you ordered. Instead she continued to aggressively fight me that they were right and I had the right bra. She continued to tell me that there was nothing she could do for me, that they could not send me new product without charging me again. Why should I have to be charged for another bra, mail it back and then wait forever for it to be refunded?
When I asked to speak to her supervisor, she said: “I am the manager.” When I said “oh, you own the company?” She said: “I can you put you into my manager’s voicemail.” My response: “Why, so I can have her leave me a message, and not be able to talk to her because you close at 3 pm my time?” No thank you. I promptly told her that I would be returning the bra, no longer making any purchases from them, and would tell everyone I know not to waste their time or money on their website.