What Motivates Me

We all need money to make a living.  I have bills to pay and I am blessed that I have never had to default on my bills (despite difficult times).  I have my personal preferences for brands - I do not buy a lot but I like to buy nice things: brand name sunglasses and perfume.  I even have a side hustle (more on that later!) where I have a lot of fun making a little extra money.

But money is not what motivates me.  In most instances, for me money is the necessity to make a living.  I am economical, easy to please and good at managing my resources.  My entire living room is furnished with hand me down furniture that I mixed and matched to make a comfy home.  I buy my jeans and dresses on eBay.  I cook at home.  I live simply and therefore do not require a ton of money to make a happy life.

In the workplace, leaders are always trying to find ways to motivate their employees and for many people tangible incentives and money are the primary motivators.  When budgets are tight, that is diffi…

A Letter to Sixteen Year Old Me

Dear Sixteen Year Old Me,

I know life is awful.  You are unpopular and often ridiculed.  People say things like "high school is the best time of your life" and you worry that if this is the best then what hell is going to happen next.  You are berated and picked on for your looks, your interests, even your work ethic.  The boys you like never like you back.  You work long hours after work, which almost saves you from having to explain having no social life.  Sometimes even against your nature, you cry before school because it's such a misery to you.

You won't believe it, but in the years to come, this will be a small blip in your rear view mirror.  You will grow and thrive in adult situations, having been prepared for this throughout your childhood.  You will leave high school a capable person, academically accomplished but also with a practical knowledge about the world that will give you peace of mind.

You are counting the days until school is over, but your educat…

Signs of Cultural Decline in the Workplace

It is surprising to me that sometimes organizational leaders are unaware that they are tolerating (or have created) a toxic culture.  I recognize that senior leaders are not mired in the weeds on a day to day basis and they perhaps don't get enough face time with people to see the early decline in morale, but the signs of a bad culture can sometimes be spotted by just looking around.

I've had discussions about this with leaders within my organization as well as outside of it.  Someone once made a comment about the state of the bathrooms and my first reaction was, "people who are proud of where they work don't do that."

I made the comment off the cuff and sort of flippantly but the more I think about it the more I realize that it is true.  There are a lot of things people do in their behaviors or the way they present themselves and their work spaces that indicate they do not have any pride in their job.

Disgruntled employees can be occasional.  Every workplace has…

An Immigration Story

Seventeen years ago today, I moved to the United States; an immigrant filled with hope and uncertainty!

I feel grateful that in these times of political turmoil over immigration that I am a libertarian and uncommitted to the staunch political ideals of Democrats and Republicans on the immigration issue.

We discuss immigration often in terms of statues, laws, permits and authorizations and we forget the humanity that lives behind those documents, sometimes in fear.  I may not necessarily look the part of a struggling immigrant, but I too have felt that fear.

From a theoretical perspective, I believe in an ordered method for documenting who is in the country.  We should know who is here.  I also believe many of the laws we have in place, even those in place to show compassion to those who came here as children, fail to provide a final solution to the immigration problem.  This leaves many people feeling like they have no other home, and yet no path to citizenship in this country where t…

My Father's Father - The Influence of Other Generations

I was born in the early 1980s, making me an early millennial (or perhaps a Xennial if you subscribe to this theory of a subjoining micro generation between generation X and the millennials).  I don't demonstrate many of the characteristics associated with millenials, and sometimes I wonder how I came by some of the positions that I currently hold - a modern woman in a modern world, but with some very traditional ideas.  Many millennials were born to generation Xers, but my parents are both baby boomers.

My father was born immediately after WWII.  His dad was a laborer throughout the war, possibly as a civilian in the armed forces.  As soon as the chaos of the war period died down, in the enthusiasm of peacetime, he celebrated with his wife and she conceived, probably rather unexpectedly, as she was 41 years old when my dad was born.

My dad's father and mother were born in 1904 and 1905, respectively.  They were married in 1930 and had a few children through the the thirties, t…

Spotlighting the Strong Women in My Life - Part Four

Any acknowledgement of the strong women in my life would be incomplete without mentioning the strongest influence I have had in this: my mom.

Growing up, I think I felt like everyone had a life and parents like mine.  We didn't have a lot of money, I figured no one did.  My parents were fairly strict but also easy going, I thought everyone's were.  My family faced a lot of hardships with my dad's health, but my mom always remained so calm that I thought this was just normal.  It wasn't until I was in my pre-teens I think that I started realizing that my family was odd!

My mom had a difficult upbringing, to understate it.  She did not grow up the way I did, in a secure and loving home, having some degree of certainty.  As a little girl when my mom would challenge me to try things I remember thinking to myself, "my mom would never let anything bad happen to me."  I don't believe my mom grew up with this same confidence.

Of course, the woman I know as my mom…

Spotlighting the Strong Women in My Life - Part Three

Continuing in my series about strong women, I am focusing on a woman today that I have only recently been blessed to know.  I actually hired this woman six months ago, and I sometimes wonder if in my long working life to come if I will always look back on hiring her as one of my wisest choices.

She is a young woman, newly married, an expectant mother.  Like me, she is also an immigrant to this country.  Like me, she was raised to be a contributor.  Not even yet six months with the company, she has long been independent and rising to the expectations.  She takes on new tasks and challenges, she figures out who she needs to talk to, she communicates effectively, closes the loop.  She makes my life easier when I don't have to worry about things being handled correctly.

I think of many women I have known that are my age and younger, many of whom have a certain millennial sense of entitlement.  I have seen many women in this age group whine (literally) that they are "too young&quo…