RIP Nick Burns

Many of us remember Jimmy Fallon’s SNL character, Nick Burns: Your Company’s Computer Guy.  For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, (I strongly encourage you to watch now…Seriously, I’ll wait) Nick Burns was the ultimate computer nerd with the cocky attitude to match.  He even sported the stereotypical geek uniform: greasy hair parted down the side and combed down, giant glasses that covered his entire face, khaki flood water pants that strategically showed off his white gym socks, a thin short sleeve button up shirt, and multiple cell phones attached to his belt.  Each Nick Burns episode took place in an office environment with everyday workers experiencing IT problems that were common of the late 1990’s.  Once Nick Burns made his appearance in the scene, any and every problem that was presented to him was so easy for him to solve that he felt it necessary to point out how stupid the person was who asked it with a condescending, “MOVE!”  Armed with IT lingo and keyboard shortcuts only the pros would know, he tortured his co-workers by bombarding them with insults that they didn’t even really understand.  At the end of every sketch he would leave the room and pop his head back in and say, “Oh, by the way, You’re Welcome!!”

While this is a comical, over the top representation of a situation anyone who has ever worked in an office can relate to, the message behind it is all too accurate.  How many times have you put off asking your IT guy a question because you didn’t want to sound dumb or you were afraid the answer to said question would only raise more questions?  For this reason, many Managed IT Providers, like STL, are making more of a conscious effort to hire a support staff with a personality.  Meaning, no longer will you have to deal with computer lingo, acronyms, or attitudes.  Providing approachable, easy to understand support has become priority number 1 for many of these companies, and that means a more friendly IT support staff, employees who aren’t afraid to ask questions, and, ultimately, a more efficient work environment.

While Nick Burns was a great, funny character who made us all laugh because of his over the top representation of a familiar situation, it is time to put him to rest.   It is time to introduce a new breed of nerd; a geek with people skills. Your IT guy/gal should not be a person you fear, they should be a person to whom you feel comfortable asking questions.  They should be a person who can explain complex issues in an easy to understand language.  If your current IT support does do either of these things, perhaps it’s time to drop your “Nick Burns” and trade them in for a more 21st century model.

 

Oh, by the way, You’re Welcome!!!

 


QR Codes: The Good the Bad And the What Were They Thinking?

QR Codes.  What are they?  What do they do? Why should we use them?  Simply put QR Codes are links.  And, as most of us know, links are those handy dandy little things that direct people to the information we want them to see with minimal effort on their part.  So, QR Codes, along with their fancy readers, that are free on any smart phone, are a way for people to access a link on the go! 

When QR Codes are great…

They are great on business cards, newsletter, hand outs, flyers anything you may present to a potential client while they are not in front of a computer.  If you are at a trade show and you give someone your business card that has your website on it, Great.  But they won’t be able to access that site until they are in front of a computer.  With a QR Codes, the recipient can scan the code, and immediately be taken to your mobile friendly website.  Boom! They are in front of the information you want them to be in front of, getting to know your company and understanding all the services you offer in more depth than you could give them in a 30 second conversation. 

If you are offing a giveaway, QR Codes are great for immediately directing a participant to a site in which they can sign up.  Since you can control where the link takes them, you can also control what information they need to give in order to sign up.  Information you can use to create new ways of reaching them on a more personal level.

When QR Codes don’t make sense…

DO NOT send a QR Code in an email.  PSST, they’re already on the computer.  Just send a hyperlink.  Keep in mind – if the recipient of your email is reading said email on their phone….where the code reader is….with the camera on the other side of the phone…. You see where I’m going with this?

DO NOT put a QR Code on your vehicle or billboard.  If people can’t text and drive, they really shouldn’t scan and drive. I can see it now, “but officer, I was just trying to figure out how I could enter to win a brand new tablet.”      

DO NOT put a QR Code on EVERYTHING.  Like most great things in life, QR Codes need to be used in moderation.  If every piece of your marketing contains QR Codes, all you’ve told your potential clients is that you really, really like QR Codes. While staying up to date on technology is always a good thing, getting too immersed in one technology will have the opposite effect.   

You cannot assume everyone has a QR Code reader.  For one, you run the risk of sounding condescending.  No one wants to feel like they are out of the loop.  Secondly, if the majority of your target audience doesn’t have a reader, all you’ve done is wasted perfectly good marketing space with a goofy looking square. 

Advances in technology touch almost every aspect of business.  QR Codes are no exception. They are easy, they are catchy and they serve a valuable purpose when used correctly.  QR Codes are a great marketing tool that can give you the exposure you need, when you need it.  They are also tools that, if used incorrectly, can make you look like you have no idea what you are doing.  So, just remember, when using QR Codes, know your audience, use your head, and don’t go overboard.  


What If It Happens to You?

I think it is safe to say that that was an awful winter, weather-wise that is.  I don’t know about you, but I am so thankful it is FINALLY springtime.  The temperatures are rising and the birds are chirping.  We will be grilling out before we know it.  With all of this anticipation it is easy to forget about the downside of spring…Storm Season.

 

We all know that storms, with their strong winds and heavy rains, can wreak havoc on your physical property, but what would happen if your most valuable property were damaged…Your Data!  Suffering the loss of your physical business can be devastating and cost you thousands.  However, losing your data could cost you everything. If your day to day operations were affected by the loss of data, for how long would your business survive?

 

If this question sparks interest or even fear in your mind, you’re not alone.  With the season upon us, many business owners are asking themselves, “Am I prepared?” At STL, we help people like you answer those questions! We are equipped to help you prevent the loss of your data and ensure that your business will be able to operate should the unthinkable happen to you……Now that’s cool.

 

Click here to hear the story of a business that was prepared for the worst when the worst happened.  http://www.poweredbystl.com/VideoPlayer.aspx?VID=41

 


Connecting a passion

There are things I’m a passionate believer in…. like making a difference and striving for continuous improvement especially where a customer experience is involved. For me these concepts are all related, and they tie back to a simple message from my grandparents… to leave this place better than we found it. Such a simple yet versatile message. I/we can use it as a guidepost in business, socially, and toward community affairs.

In business we often casually connect it to the notion of a Customer Service experience. Yet, customer service seems to be the most elusive of meaningful goals for so many businesses despite the wisdom of ages coaching us relentlessly along the path. We all know the Golden Rule. Do we get too busy to express care about each other… about our customers? I know we do care of course; it’s the “why” that compliments “what” we do. Maybe that’s message number two … “don’t take anything for granted”. All honorable values and pursuits and leadership opportunities.

So, I’m curious… we’ve all had those delightful experiences as customers. Some were spontaneous, and some seem to fit into a persistent design or formula. I’d like to hear from people who have been delighted, to hear the stories and to understand why they are special. We can help each other, and create a path to make a difference not just in business, but socially… and as a lifestyle. We can leave this place better than we found it, and I suspect that we can have a lot of fun doing it too.

Weigh in …. please!


LMGTFY – KeePass to the Rescue

Bill Cosby used to have a great bit about “Kids say the darndest things.”  It was fun.  Kids really do say some great stuff.

In the IT world, I think it would be easy to accomplish a similar show:  Users do the funniest things.  Over the past several years, I have worked with some very smart users and there are some awesome stories.

But for all their smarts, many people still do not so smart things with their passwords.  They put them in a spreadsheet on their computer’s desktop – usually called Passwords.xls  Or they put them in a sticky note on their desktop (Yes, an electronic sticky note).  They write them down on a piece of paper under their keyboard.

About 2 years ago a really talented network engineer suggested I try out Keepass.  I only kind of heard what he said and couldn’t find KeyPass anywhere, so I called back for clarification.  He laughed at me on speakphone and then sent me a “Let Me Google That For You” link to the tool.  It has changed my world.  I actually have good passwords now, instead of weak ones.  I can actually find them when I need them.  And I have a warm fuzzy about my person process (something another really smart person told me about).

I want you to get two things from this story (and maybe a third).

1.  Keepass is awesome for tracking passwords.  If you aren’t using it, look into it.

2.  You learn a great deal from being around smart people.  If you aren’t spending time with smart people, you might think about your “friending” policies.

3.  And for those truly listening, LMGTFY is very useful.


Marketing Pressure

Have you heard all this talk about BLE(Bluetooth Low Energy)?  Does it scare you? Or do you think it’s super cool?

These transmitters can be placed anywhere and they connect to and track folks who are using Bluetooth technology.  Using micro geo-targeting is the new way for companies to push you over the edge and make you give in to buying that extra box of cereal you didn’t need.  BLE pushes an ad to your phone that offers you a deal on the very items you happen to be standing right next to. If you are walking down the cereal aisle in Meijer, it would pull up your purchasing history, see that you bought the package of cheerios, and immediately recommend that you buy the multi-grain cheerios along with a 2 for 1 coupon.  This marketing technique is mind blowing!  Ingenious! Totally Awesome!

The whole micro-location trend is going to be HUGE for businesses who can strategize ways to leverage this technology and use it to their benefit. With that said, companies also need to tread carefully to make sure they do not overwhelm consumers and get too “minority report-ish”.  Consumers often times get freaked out about this kind of targeting, and are extra cautious about falling into these marketing schemes….often times it can be related back to giving in to peer pressure.  Why not buy that extra box of Cheerios? Everybody else is doing it!

These new marketing techniques blow my mind.  But with that being said, how long will it be until consumers build a resistance to “marketing pressure?”  We were taught growing up to be extra cautious of peer pressure…..I think now it’s extra important to be just as cautious of “marketing pressure.”


Spread the Love

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!  And in the spirit of this holiday – I’d like to remind everyone to spread the love!

In relation to your job search, spreading the love is as simple as a “Thank you!”  If you really want to impress a recruiter, HR Director, hiring manager, or potential future co-worker, take the time to send a “Thank you” note after your interview.  This can be as formal as a hand-written note sent through snail mail, or as simple as a well phrased, succinct “Thank you” note sent via email.  It will only take a few minutes of your time, but will leave a lasting impression on a prospective employer.

On a grander scale – today is a great day to spread the love to those around you.  Whether or not you may have a significant other, there are easy ways to celebrate this holiday that doesn’t include chocolates and flowers.  Spread the love by sharing a smile or opening the door for someone.  Spreading the love doesn’t have to involve romantic overtures – just a spread a little kindness to those around you.

Happy Valentine’s Day!  And happy job hunting!


How smart are you with your smartphone?

In an age where we are plugged in at an ever increasing rate, we use our phones and other mobile devices to do almost everything – from buying a cup of coffee to balancing your budget.  We use these devices to stay connected in every way possible – social networking, email, texting, and even a phone call or two.

With the introduction of smartphones into the world of job hunting, you can now search for new positions from just about anywhere.  You no longer have to sit by the phone at home waiting for the hiring manager to return your call. You now can respond to email inquiries and even complete job applications right from your phone.

However, with this great convenience, comes the necessity to remember that ALL of your correspondence with a potential employer is important.  Just because you are replying from your phone does not mean it should be any less formal or professional than responding from your desktop.  Remember, a prospective employer is not your brother or best friend, so don’t text them as if they were.

Your emails, texts, or other electronic correspondence should be courteous, succinct, and of a formal nature.  One word responses, emoticons, improper grammar and incorrect spelling are all inappropriate when communicating with someone that could be your future boss.

You want to put your best foot forward, so be smart about what you are sending from that smartphone.


Generations

Gen X.  Gen Y.  Millennials.

Did you grow up playing an Atari 2600 or was it more of a DS for you?  Skinny ties, or wide ties?  Do you know who Alex P Keaton is?  Do you understand things like HIMYM or YOLO or FOMO? These are all markers of which generation you are from.  [Here is a great video on people figuring these things out - adult language warning]

These groups have very different perspectives on the world.  They came of age with different expectations on them.  And they have developed different expectations from organizations they join.

This is a great article on the topic…..  It is a gross generalization, and yet it resonates with some.  I won’t repeat it here, but the stuff below assumes you’ve read it.

For me, a big difference is the sprint vs marathon mentality.  The event horizon and the level of effort within a period is distinct.  There is one mentality that says “I can knock this out of the park in the next week with amazing effort and passion” and another that says “we have to go slow and make sure we plan for the 5 or 10 year long term impacts of this effort.”  Both provide value, in different ways.  The sprinter is amazing with how much they can accomplish in a short period of team, easily surpassing and humiliating the marathoner.  You can hear it now – “I’ve been running for 20 years and this little so and so just crushed me in the 100 yard dash.  What gives?”

And it has management implications too – if you misalign your criteria for runners with the actual goals of the organization you end up with amazing flashes of brilliance, or so many long term plans nothing gets accomplished.  Neither is a good scenario.  If you only use the 100 yard dash results as your measuring stick, your track team won’t win many meets.  If you only use 13.1 as your guiding principle of excellence, you are likely to see very few medals in the 200 yard dash.

The goal of a solid manager is to assemble a diverse team filling multiple needs and complementing the needs of the organization.  It isn’t about one or the other.  It is about the value both bring to the table.  There are two key mistakes a manager can make:

  • Over praising the millennials (devaluing the previous generation) and eating away the morale of the previous generation.
  • Under valuing the millennials alternative approach to addressing tasks.  Just because something has been done a particular way for years does not mean there is no room for improvement.  Harnessing the passion and energy of the young go getters is essential to success.  And so is stability and predictability.

Generational diversity is an asset, not a liability.


Eco-friendly Data Centers ARE possible.

Did you know we love Planet Earth just as much as you?

We strive to make the world a better place, and take drastic measures to lower our Carbon footprint.  Having an eco-friendly data center IS possible….keep reading to figure out how!

At C9D, our approach is double sided: we are working to make our existing products and processes more   efficient for both the environment and for business, while also developing   new innovations that can help drive operational improvements and lessen environmental impact.

Our newly constructed datacenter has been built to Tier-3 standards to help reduce it’s ecological footprint.   This state of the art facility is a below-grade hardened bunker designed to   offer maximum security and system availability. We offer solutions to fit a   wide variety of tailored mission profiles while staying ecologically   friendly. We use hot aisle containment which reduces cooling expenses while   maximizing our airflow dynamics. It allows utilization of in-row cooling   technology, which provides greater cost and energy savings compared to   traditional forced air. This system is predesigned by data center   professionals to provide a safe, predictable environment. Our data center is built into a below grade bunker and uses ultra high density which allows for   electricity efficiency. Using an automatic lighting system, our building   practices power savings by ensuring lights shut on and off as someone leaves and enters the building. This data center design offers maximum protection   while protecting the Earth’s environment.

Eco-friendly

 

 


Using your iPhone as a business tool.

Why do you like/dislike your Smart Phone for business?

For me, this question has many answers to it.  There are so many Pros, yet so many Cons to having everything we need right in front of us. While I’ll make it clear that focusing solely on your phone is a recipe for disaster, a business plan that lacks appreciation for smart phones is also likely to be doomed.

 

At this point in history, technology and business go hand in hand together, and those not trained to evaluate and make decisions in this ever-shifting space risk irrelevance, marginalization, and failure.

 

We’re living in a generation of “information overload.”  Anything we want to know is at the tip of our fingertips on our smart phones…all we have to do is look up a question on our favorite search engine, or just ask “Siri” to do it for us and BOOM-we have the answer!  Whether it’s an answer from a credible source or not, that’s an entirely different topic saved for another day.

 

In the sense of having a smart phone for business, having everything you need in the palm of your hands is one of the perks.  E-mail is accessible, Telephone and Facetime calls can be made, your Calendar is adjustable, and even some aspects of your banking can be done via your iPhone thanks to apps.  Having one device control a large amount of your activities can be great….especially a device that is small, lightweight, and transportable.  It’s very handy, and that what it was designed for.

 

Having this device with all of your information can also overwhelm you at the same time.  Being informed with more information than you were asking for can wear you out.  Constantly being spammed with e-mails, looking at your calendar and realizing you have too many meetings to attend, and having your phone ring off the hook makes it very hard to get actual work done. There’s not enough time in the day to stay on top of every little thing your smart phone alerts you of.

 

But, hear me out when I say this–It’s OK to put your phone down for a while, breathe in, breathe out, and get some work done.  Life is too short to let technology steal our time.  Technology was never intended to be the bad guy.  Balance your time, and use technology as an organization tool.  If you use it the right way, there is no reason to be overwhelmed.

 

Like we expressed earlier, smart phones are a great tool to compliment your business plan;  They can help us out in so many ways.  But, if we focus solely on our phones, we aren’t likely to get much work done.

Take advantage of the “Do Not Disturb” button, and just remember…there is not enough hours in a day, and not enough days in our life to waste away our time on smart phones.  Time is of the essence, so put all aside remember work comes before play.

 

 

Check out our blog from a few years back…..same thoughts expressed in different words!

http://blog.poweredbystl.com/reserve-disconnected-time-a-life-hack/


Illinois vs Wisconsin–The Difference Between Two Neighboring States

Did you know there are more STL locations than just their corporate office in Bloomington, IL? After a recent business trip up to our offices in Appleton and Green Bay, WI it occurred to me how so very different the two states of Wisconsin and Illinois are.  

 

The first two differences are obvious: the colder weather in Wisconsin, and their northern accents.  We all know that the weather of Wisconsin is a tad more extensive…..when it’s not spring, it’s winter. And when it’s winter, it’s not just cold….it’s freezing. Leaving a heated location seems crazy during the months of October-April.  The next obvious difference is the steep northern accent they speak with. Up Nort’ dem bubblers are popular…..ya know?  But we can get over that part.

 

As I was flying north for the visit to the offices, the main difference I noticed was the contour of the land and the density of its population.    The hills of Wisconsin make the flat land of Illinois look extremely boring.  You look down at the land of Wisconsin and see a variation of sights, but when looking down at Illinois you see the same square plots of farmland.

 

After looking at the farmland, you realize that all of the populated areas in Illinois are very spread out.  Every 50-100 miles you will see small towns populating a small area which leaves room for a whole lot of open fields in between each town.  When flying over Wisconsin, that is not the case.  Wisconsin is populated in small towns all throughout the state.  All of these towns are closely connected throughout the state and you don’t often fly over “wide-open spaces.”  If it is an open space in Wisconsin, it is usually populated with trees; not fields of farmland. 

 

After observing the land, I decided to research the population and see if my conclusion was correct.  Is the state of Wisconsin more populated throughout the state in comparison to Illinois?  My conclusion on Wisconsin being a more dense state was partially correct.  Illinois and Wisconsin are roughly the same size. Illinois with 56, 343 square miles and Wisconsin with 56,145 square miles.  (http://www.theus50.com/area.php)   But, their populations were very shocking.  Illinois has a much larger population because of Chicago.  Cook County as a whole has 5.21 million people while Wisconsin as a state has 5.76 million people. 

 

Chicago and it’s surrounding areas (alone) have roughly the same population as the state of Wisconsin.  Because of Chicago’s high concentration of people in one area, it leaves the rest of Illinois sparsely populated.  

 

I learned a lot more than “business” on the recent trip I took up to our Wisconsin offices.  It’s crazy how there can be such a difference between two neighboring states. Between the contours of the land, the accent of the people, or the general weather: you are bound to see differences.    Come visit us up North and see for yourself!

 

Illinois vs wisconsin


Just get to the point…

Did you know 89 million people in the United States are going to watch 1.2 billion online videos today? (ComScore)  Not this month, or this week.  Today.  How we watch videos today is very different than how we watched videos years or even months ago.  The length and use of video is rapidly changing, and capturing the attention span of users is now harder than ever before.

 

Eight years ago YouTube uploaded its first video.  This 19 second video spiked a revolution, and by July of 2006 more than 65,000 videos were uploaded to the site every day.  YouTube became the hot spot for media-seekers where you could find videos anywhere from a few seconds long to a few hours long.  These long videos took hours to soak in, and you could waste 60 minutes of your time trying to find the information you came for.  Users got tired of wasting their time, and attention span started to shrink.

 

Now, the end-user realizes how valuable their sweet time is.  Did you know, with today’s environment of online video, you only have 20 seconds to capture your viewer?  It’s crazy talk to think that Vine, Twitter’s 6-second video sharing app only opened its doors in January of 2013.  This app has already exploded to tens of millions of users.  People like the idea of short, to-the-point videos where they can get a wide ranging set of information in a short amount of time. More information; less time?  It’s too good to be true, it sounds like those insane infomercial knives that cut through cans.   So, does that make Vine’s six-second videos the perfect balance between Instagram’s single images and YouTube’s long videos? Only time can tell.

 

It is said that over two thirds of the world’s data will be in video by 2017.  The success of these sites all depend on the length of the video, and the ability to keep the attention span of the user.  What we are finding in recent research is the shorter the video, the better!   Only the best sites will capture our attention and connect us with the content we need.  In 12 months, there will most likely be yet another platform with yet another paradigm – keep up or miss out on the next viral snapshot of life.


The Process Death Spiral

If you have spent any time working for a medium to large organization, you know what I’m talking about, just by the title of this entry.  The process that makes no sense.  It must have made sense at one time.  No one said “Let’s make a crazy, circular set of forms no sane person can figure out in under 30 minutes.”  You just want a new stapler (Office Space reference), and yet you have to go through how many hoops to get it approved by how many people?

So, how does this happen?  How do sane people get caught in the Process Death Spiral?  I think the following 6 minutes of audio can give us some meaningful insight into how a process grows from a simple, straight forward thing into something out of control….

How Processes Bloom


‘Tis the Season

The holiday season is upon us again.  We have been immersed in the hustle and bustle of holiday parties, gift giving, and decking the halls for several weeks now.  However, amongst all this holiday chaos, it is a good time to slow down and remember what this time of year is truly about. 

No matter the holiday you and your loved ones celebrate – or if you choose not to celebrate – this time of year is not just about the parties and presents.  Instead, take this time to think about those around you – your family, your friends, your neighbors, and even the strangers you encounter.  Rather than getting caught up in the stress and commotion, take a moment to celebrate the holidays with a generous act, or even just a kind word.  The smallest deed can make a big impact and may even spread!

Taking a short reprieve from the hustle and bustle around you in order to stand in awe of the wonder of this earth that we share and the humanity inhabiting it is a humbling feat.  Remember to share not only food and gifts, share kindness and thoughtfulness. 

Wishing Happy Holidays and Season’s Greetings to you and your loved ones from the STL Family!  Let’s carry that good will into the New Year!


What’s your Objective?

Many of us were taught to begin our resume with an objective, stating our intentions and goals for our resume submission.  Essentially, starting out the resume with a synopsis of what might be found in the cover letter.  While this is not necessarily a bad idea, it can work against you if not used correctly.

Most job seekers spend time putting together a comprehensive resume, which they intend to use for all of the positions they are applying for – maybe even posting it on a job board or two (or three!).  However, this approach can be counterproductive.  Resumes are not always “one size fits all.”

Each position has its own unique blend of responsibilities and qualifications.  If your stated objective on your resume is limited to only one narrow position description, you may be disqualifying yourself from other opportunities in which you are qualified.

For instance, if your objective reads “Seeking a Systems Administration position in which I can provide a benefit to the organization and its internal systems,” you are limiting the potential employers and positions that you may have been considered for.  Limiting your stated goal to only organization seeking internal Administrators, eliminates you from consideration of a number of other roles, such as Field Engineer, IT Consultant, or Sales Engineer.  There are many types of positions out there – don’t limit yourself simply because you hadn’t realized they were there!

Fortunately, there are a couple of ways to avoid limiting yourself like this.  One is to simply eliminate the objective section from your resume.  Oftentimes, a summary of what you have done and what you are capable of is a better representation of you and what a potential employer might be able to expect from you.  Or if you prefer to maintain and objective section, you can tackle it in two ways.  First would be to tailor the objective to the specific role for which you are applying.  The second would be to change the objective into a more inclusive statement, therefore not eliminating yourself from consideration of roles you may not have originally considered.

No matter how you approach it, just be sure that your objective isn’t working against your ultimate objective of landing that next great role!


Ted Talk

    TED needs your help

Early in the day following the devastating tornado in Washington IL, a small team left STL armed with tools, tarps, water, a power generator and good intentions to join the relief effort. We coordinated with the Red Cross and began our journey. It was a profoundly emotional experience that changed us all.

TedTed1

That day, we met Ted…he was still clinging to a downed tree. Wet, muddy, unhappy and separated from his family but our attention was somehow drawn to him. The storm had knocked the stuffing out of him but he is a survivor.

Ted2Ted3

 

After a few days at the STL “spa,” Ted became clean, happy and anxious to reunite with his family. This is where we need your help. Please join the team and help Ted reunite with his family. Considering the events, the only clue we have is where he was found – near Tractor Supply in Washington, IL.

Ted4Ted5

The STL family continues to offer support to our neighbors, the families and friends of those affected by this terrible storm. As it’s story continues to unfold, it is clearly becoming one of hope and caring, of community and character.

 

If you have any leads on the whereabouts of Ted’s family, please contact us STL at 309-661-5776 … and “share” this post on Facebook.

 


Stand and Deliver

I’ve been working from a distance for almost 12 years now.  I am over 350 miles from the STL Corporate Headquarters.  Telecommuting comes with many pros and cons.  One of them is that I am at my desk most of the day and don’t leave too often for meetings in conference rooms.  That is 8, or 9, or 10 hours a day at the desk.  I was burning through home office chairs at a rate of about 1 every 2.5-3 years.  I started looking for alternatives about 18 months ago.

And I heard about these “standing desks” some people were using.  I’m a woodworker, so I set about building one.  I made it out of maple, and put in some purpleheart accents.  It was awesome and didn’t take me long to get used to it.  The first couple days were interesting, as I found myself much more tired in the evening.  I really wanted to sit down at the end of the day.

Some important notes:  have something under the desk to put a foot on.  A milk crate, or a small stool, or something.  You are going to want to put one of your feet up while you send.  Have a chair handy – you might want to sit for calls or listening sessions initially.

With a recent kitchen remodel came the opportunity to revisit the standing desk arrangement.  The maple desk didn’t fit the bill anymore, I had made it too big.  So, I built the new one into what was previously a closet space.

Here is the current arrangement I have.

StandSee the stool to the left, at the counter?  I grab that when I need to sit for some reason, like a long video call.  The other cool thing we did was put the desk surface on runners so I could bring it away from the closet area out into the room and stand next to the window…..

Stand2

 

 

 

 

This also lets me share the screen with people sitting at the bar.  Because we all need a bar in the office, right?

I can not imagine going back to sitting all day long.  I am more energized and engaged at work standing at the desk instead of sitting.  I tend to focus more on work and have fewer distractions.  There is something about standing that makes it much harder to watch cat videos.

I have not taken the plunge yet, but I am now far more curious about walking desks, with a very slow treadmill you walk on while working.  Color me interested!


Ground Zero in Washington, IL-An eye opening experience

Tornado Destruction.

After visiting ground zero with the STL Team in Washington, IL on Monday……here are some thoughts from the desk of George Moore on the tragic tornado and it’s aftermath.

 

“The cliché thing to say after seeing the destruction in Washington, IL first hand is to say that it was a surreal experience.  What we saw was quite the opposite…..it was the definition of real. Houses completely destroyed and thrown about as if they were made of straw. The smell of gas. The running water still pouring out of pipes where houses and businesses no longer exist. Trees stripped of every branch, even uprooted entirely. The numerous helicopters above filming the destruction and working with ground search teams. The media from all around the country jammed into one single parking lot trying to tell the story of the Washington Tornado Disaster.

All five senses were on overload trying to take in the scene, but the most real thing that stood out to me is overwhelming local and national response from people who just want to help.  Volunteers were told that they would not be allowed in the destruction zone until it was deemed safe, so they walked to fields around Washington and started gathering up debris that had littered the fields and neighboring properties.  Car after car delivering donated goods to the American Red Cross who had set up shop at one of the local churches.  The immediate response from friends, neighbors, and strangers to those affected were one in the same.  Everyone was there to do one thing–help in any way they could.

 

Although I know we all wish we could do more, know that there is always help out there-and humanity is very real and extremely evident.  I encourage any able and willing person to help in any way they can.”

 

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all affected by the recent tornado that ripped through the town.  At STL, we will be doing all that is possible in hopes of a speedy recovery to our neighboring community.  #WashingtonStrong


Giving Thanks

It’s that time of year again, kicking off the holiday season with Thanksgiving – the day we are encouraged to think about what we are blessed with and thankful for.  It’s a wonderful time of year, but perhaps these activities shouldn’t be limited to one season.  We can begin to spread out the gratitude to other times and other occasions.

We often don’t think about being thankful during the job hunting process.  It is a time that can be filled with a rollercoaster of emotion – excitement, disappointment, anxiety, and nerves.  However, if we take the time to be grateful to those taking the time to consider our application, we may just leave a positive lasting impression.  And that impression may lead to the long awaited offer.

Taking a little extra time to send a quick note of thanks to the hiring manager and any others you had a chance to speak with during the process leaves an upbeat image.  This simple gesture used to be common practice, but with the fast-pace of online applications and video interviews, it is often forgotten.  A quick email, or even a hand-written note, thanking the interviewers for their time and consideration might just set you apart from the pack.

Make this holiday season the start to a new opportunity.  Take the time to give “thanks,” you never know when it might make the difference!

THANK YOU for taking the time to read this post!  Happy Holidays!