Archive | March, 2012

What Makes Life Worth Living?

29 Mar

I get a lot of junk mail. Days like yesterday remind me how I wish I hadn’t subscribed to Groupon. I mean, yes, they’ve got some pretty cool stuff but it takes me soooo long to clean out my inbox. So that’s what I was doing last night when I read this e-mail from Devon Sampson, one of my readers:

Dear Ms. Kayla Cruz,

I’ve been enjoying your blog, you tell it like it is without sounding bitchy at all 😉 But more importantly, you really seem like an active participant in your own life and I definitely dig that. Here’s my one beef with you though: you’ve been very vocal AGAINST certain things, but not as clear about what you’re actually FOR. So I’m curious, what is the one thing that really makes life worth living for you? –Devon

First of all, Devon, you’re awesome for asking this because you forced me to stop for a second, take the 5234698731 thoughts that are running through my brain, and put this into words. Thank you.

The answer is simple…HUGH JACKMAN.

Just kidding. But he IS delicious.

Honestly, I’ve recently discovered that THIS, this writing, is what makes my life worth living. I’ve been writing for three months and it has completely changed my life.

When I was little, I wanted to be a rock star…

 

Then I grew up and did normal people stuff. I went to college, got drunk occasionally, dated terrible guys, and eventually I found a job in the corporate world where I found soooo much wrong with the system. 

Dude, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that some things are just NOT OK.

You see, I think that life is pretty amazing and I thank God everyday for everything I’ve been blessed with. I live a very fortunate life.

It seems that when we’re young, we’re happy, we’re naïve, we think that everything is awesome.

Look…I was always a happy kid.

But then we get older and we get caught up with (pardon my French) SHIT THAT DOESN’T MATTER.

Then what happens? We become bitter a-holes. Then what happens? We pass on the bitterness and the disappointment to the next generation. And so on and so on and so on.

There is SO much to do in this world. SO many people to help. SO many things to fix. But we can’t do that with shitty management. We can’t do that with shitty leadership. So we need to help leaders become better examples for today’s youth. For Gen Y. For whatever you want to call them.

We need to help young people navigate through this transition between youth and adulthood so that when they get there, they’re not total idiots. Oh, and we need to stop telling them to shut up. Instead, we need to encourage them to use their talents, to speak up, and to make a difference.

In the few years that I’ve been working, I’ve seen some really bad things. Let me repeat: some REALLY REALLY bad things. I honestly don’t know how I’m not on meds. I do have a therapist though and she’s pretty cool. So I can either just complain to myself about how f*%$ed up the world is or I can use my experiences to help other people get through some pretty tough times. I choose the latter.

So Devon, these are some of the things that make my life worth living:

  • Sharing my experiences
  • Teaching and encouraging others
  • Challenging whack, outdated ideas
  • Contributing to something much larger than myself

Every single time that someone reads what I have to say, it makes my day. Every time someone comments and tells me I make sense, it makes my day. Even when they tell me that they think I’m an idiot, it makes my day. Because it’s not about me. It’s about creating dialogue. It’s about learning. It’s about getting people to see things a different way.

Maybe that makes me crazy, but I’m okay with that. And I’m sure my therapist loves it too. It keeps her in business.

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Enjoy Life a Bit, Don’t Die at Work

27 Mar

My mom was actually funny yesterday. Usually, she’s not. She sent me this…

Okay so yes, this is awful, but it does make a good point.

Look, I don’t know everything, but I DO know that I DON’T WANT TO DIE AT WORK!

I am all for having a career and being successful and making a difference. But at the same time, work should never be your entire life. And so that’s why I get upset when people can’t understand why Generation Y wants flexible work schedules. Um, yea…of course we do. Because there’s so much out there! There are so many things that we want to see, that we want to experience. Yes, there IS life beyond those three walls of your cubicle. Go read a book. Go take a vacation. Go spend time with family and friends. That’s what life’s about.

I hear crap like this all the time: “That’s life…Work is work…You’re not supposed to like it… Suck it up….You guys complain too much…That’s the stuff we’ve always had to deal with…We’ve always worked 9-5…You’re fighting a losing battle…etc. etc. etc.

But here’s my question: WHY?????????????????

Why do people give up so easily? Why have we just accepted that it’s okay for work to suck our souls and leave us too tired to enjoy the things that actually matter?

We’re not fighting a losing battle. We’re going to change things. You’ll see.

Because there is absolutely NO WAY that I’m going to die at my desk filing papers. That’s way too lame.

5 Best Investments You Can Make in College

27 Mar

Okay so here’s the deal. Most of us are broke in college. Hence why we try to get jobs. Check out my latest post on University Ave, a blog that provides some pretty awesome info that COLLEGE STUDENTS NEED TO KNOW!

5 Best Investments You Can Make In College

Gen Y is Hungry, Please Feed Them

26 Mar

I used to steal from my job.

Here’s the evidence…

You see, my boss used to get all kinds of journals and magazines and I’d be told to throw it away. Apparently, my boss didn’t have the time or the interest to read them. BUT I DID! So I would flip through those magazines and rip out all the articles I found interesting.

I loved this so much! It came to the point where I would almost fight to go get the mail. “No, don’t worry, I’ll go get it”. Everyone thought I was so sweet. I wasn’t. I just wanted to get my hands on those articles.

Now this is the problem that I have with some employers. They have all kinds of training seminars and leadership development classes and so on, FOR CURRENT LEADERS. Um, okay, but how about those of us that aspire to get there? Tell me, why is it that only current leadership that gets to have this knowledge. I mean, I promise you that at least 55% of the “leaders” at these classes would rather be anywhere but there. So why not give that opportunity to someone who gives a sh*$?

Generation Y is coming into the workforce and they’re hungry. They spend four years plus in college, finally find jobs, and are eager to put their degrees to use. They want to be challenged, they want meaningful work, they want to make a difference, and yes, some of them want to learn as much as they can. So how is it a bad thing to teach them? Why would it be a bad idea to embrace this hunger for knowledge? After all, wouldn’t it just mean better talent on your team?

But some employers fail to see this. They hoard knowledge among upper management and it’s really NOT COOL.

Here’s a quote I came across by Bryony Cole  that expresses exactly how I feel about this.

“If you really want to survive today’s increasingly complex workforce, it means looking beyond generational borders in your organisation and picking out those with a passion, curiousity and thirst to get things done. For me, these are the future movers of work and the people that are going to be most important to learn from, no matter their generation.”

Because some people are hungry; others are not. And I for one feel like I haven’t eaten in days.

It’s Called Innovation, Not Rebellion. Get it Right.

22 Mar

I’ve never thought of myself as a creative person. I don’t have any super-cool special talent. I can’t sing (unless I want to kill people)…I can’t play an instrument (unless the recorder in elementary school counts) and well, THIS is an example of my best artwork…

I know, please save your applause until the end!

But lately I’ve realized that I most certainly AM creative! Score! I have about 7.45 million thoughts and ideas throughout my day and so I write them down. My purse is full of post its…

In terms of the workforce, some people have the ability to look at things around them and figure out ways to make them better. They look at processes that are set in place and question them when things don’t make sense. Many Gen Y workers have this ability. We can figure out ways to speed up almost anything. Why? Well some people seem to think it’s because we’re lazy. I prefer to think it’s because we’re awesome.

So what’s the problem? The problem is that some people in management don’t like this. God FORBID we suggest a better way of doing something! How dare we try to veer away from rules and procedures that have worked “just fine” for years!— “Just fine” isn’t awesome, just saying.

And so we’ve been labeled the “workplace rebels”. However, I’m pretty sure that whoever coined that phrase was a bit inebriated when they did so. I believe the word they were looking for was innovative.

Here…I’ve saved you 2.3 seconds and Googled the definition for you:

innovative [in-uh-vey-tiv]. adj. – The only kind of employees that will allow your organization to get to the next level. The kind of employees that should be listened to and encouraged (regardless of their age). synonyms: super awesome people; the kind of people we should all try to be; Steve Jobs

Because if we’re not being innovative and trying to make things better and we adhere to ALL the rules, how lame is that?

How does an organization grow? How does it stay up to date with the latest trends?

Let me just throw a question out there. Don’t most companies have  a Performance Improvement department? And their job is what, exactly? Oh yea…to improve performance!

So if the Performance Improvement department was to find a new way of doing something that saves the organization time, therefore saving it money, I’m pretty sure this would happen…

Well that’s a little strange to me. No one sees THEM as rebels. No one tries to stifle THEIR creativity. So why do that to Gen Y? Why not take a little time to listen to them? 5 minutes is really all it takes…then you can go play golf.

Take advantage of your innovators. They’re not trying to screw stuff up. They’re trying to make things better for everyone.

Social Media is Taking Over…Don’t Believe Me? Watch This Video.

20 Mar

Just watch this. It’s the best video I’ve seen to date regarding social media. If after watching this you still don’t understand the significance of social media and the need to embrace technology, you’re just dumb.  Ok, thanks 😀

Leaders Are Risk Takers, End of Story

16 Mar

It’s going to be hard to keep writing and not get fired from my job.

You see, something pretty cool happened at work this week. I was walking down the hall minding my own business and one of the managers stopped me. I just figured he’d be his usual friendly self and ask about my weekend. Negative. Instead, I got a… “Hey, so I hear you’re tired of Corporate BS”.

Ohh, crap.

As he went on to tell me how he’d found my blog online, I couldn’t really hear anything he was telling me. I was embarrassed? Nervous? I don’t really know what I was feeling but it was the first time that someone from work had brought this up and I was freaking out.   

After I finally calmed down, I realized that he was telling me he liked it! He explained to me that he manages young workers and that yes, there’s a need to understand the way they think, the way they work, their expectations, etc. He told me he found my writing insightful, and I was beyond thrilled to hear that.

That’s it! That’s why I write! If one manager was able to read my posts and see that there’s SOME value to the things that I have to say, I’ve done my job. Mission accomplished. I’m elated that he found my blog interesting and I hope that many more people in leadership positions will continue to take the time to listen to Gen Y.

So that definitely made my week.

But then I suddenly had a thought. This was my thought….

Oh, shit. I’m going to get fired.

Because if this manager found my blog and took the time to read my stuff, how much longer before my boss reads it? How much longer before my co-workers read it? What about HR? Am I going to get fired for having an opinion? Ughhh.

People who read this can respond in one of three ways:

  1. Think I’m kind of cool for being able to say what I have to say (please pick this one)
  2. Think I’m crazy or smoking some really good stuff (which I’m not for the record) or
  3. Think that I shouldn’t be writing about stuff like this/feel insulted (these people take things too seriously and have no sense of humor)

So here’s my disclaimer before I get fired. The purpose of my blog isn’t to insult anyone. It’s not to piss people off. I’m not trying to call people out because I’m bored and have nothing to do. I’m not a bitch. I’m actually a really nice person.

But I’m tired of people looking at people my age and thinking that we’re not capable of much. I’m tired of them thinking we’re lazy. I’m tired of managers that are rigid in their ways. I’m tired of people who don’t embrace change. And yes, I’m tired of Corporate BS.

My goal is simply to present ideas and thoughts that cause people to think. To present a different point of view. Because I do believe that change is necessary. And I can’t keep my mouth shut about it.

And I know that some people won’t always like everything that I have to say. It’s impossible for everyone to agree with EVERYTHING I write about. And guess what?

I’m okay with that.

I remember when I was in 4th grade and the new girl in our class started singing  during Phys Ed. First of all…she kind of looked like this…

Needless to say, she wasn’t the most popular kid because those brutal 9 year olds can be a holes. Like honestly, if you ever think back to elementary school, you realize, wow, little kids were freaking mean.

So anyway, she started singing and my ears almost started bleeding. Good Lord this girl was terrible (not that I’m any better… I’m just courteous and don’t sing in public to spare everyone their lives). To make matters worse, she thought she was AMAZING! So of course, EVERYONE in the class started bursting out in tears laughing at her.

Once she noticed that these people were NOT fans of hers, she started crying. And dude, it would have been so easy to just walk away and join my friends but I didn’t. Instead, I went to go talk to her. And I told her not to cry (because I get so uncomfortable when I watch people cry). And yes, I’m terrible…I lied to her. I told her she was a great singer.

But point is… I knew that in going to talk to her, and befriending her, I was making a choice. I knew my friends wouldn’t be caught dead hanging out with her. I lost all my friends that day. But it’s okay, because they were a holes. I knew my decision was unpopular but I also knew it’s what I had to do. And that’s how I feel about writing. I know that I need to write.

So sometimes in life you just have to say…

Gen Y is coming into the workforce with BIG ideas. And sadly, many leaders are shutting them down. They’re accusing millennial workers of being brash and not thinking about consequences, but people…c’mon…at least they’re doing SOMETHING. They’re creating dialogue…They’re challenging old practices…some that should be left as they are and others that may need to be revisited. There IS value in this.

At the end of the day, true leaders are ones that take risks. And that has NOTHING to do with age.

So if you like my writing, wonderful.  And if you don’t, I’m sorry…that I’m not sorry.

No Excuse For Being Stupid: Learning via Internet & Social Media

14 Mar

Let me tell you something… While working at my job, I’ve learned a lot of things. But perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned so far is this:

Grown ass people are a bunch of freaking whiners.

Some people can honestly find something to complain about at all times. Even at 5pm….on a Friday.

I found this shirt and wanted to buy it for my office.

 

But  that would imply that only ONE person in my office would get it each month and well, that wouldn’t be fair.

So we have an employee satisfaction survey every year and as you can imagine, our scores are not so wonderful.

What was one of our department’s top complaints?

Not enough learning opportunities.

People complained that there isn’t enough money in the budget to attend meetings and conferences so they feel that they don’t have opportunities to learn and grow.  

Now I’ve always been good at math… Here, I’ll show you…

15 Annoying, Bitchy Employees – Common Sense = Me wanting to punch someone in the face

Dudeeee. Do you have any idea how much money it is to send someone to a meeting? To a conference? It’s freaking expensive.  

You see this….

 

For those of you who don’t know what it is, it’s a freaking computer. It contains this wonderful thing that most of us couldn’t live without called Google.

In today’s world, how on earth could you look someone in the face and say that there aren’t enough learning opportunities? I mean honestly, ANYTHING you could ever want to learn, you can learn from the Internet. Here you can learn about fishing. Here you can learn how to be an expert farmer. Here you can learn how to become a zookeeper.

The information is out there and successful people are the ones that’ll take advantage of this easy access to knowledge. Gen Y gets this. They understand the value that social media provides to them in terms of learning. You want to become an expert in your field? Read about it. Write about it. Tweet about it.

Finding learning and development opportunities shouldn’t necessarily be the sole responsibility of your manager. If you want to learn a skill, go learn about it. Who’s stopping you? You have any idea how many YouTube videos you can find? You have any idea how many blogs exist? And the best part is—so much of it is FREE!

So please, quit complaining that there aren’t enough opportunities to learn and grow… That’s just ridiculous.

Get Bad Employees Off the Freaking Bus: Making Room For Gen Y

12 Mar

It’s so hard for young people to find work these days. This really upsets me. There are so many Gen-Yers that are looking to enter the workforce with an intense hunger to make something of themselves…to make a difference, and instead, they’re working at BK. Un-freaking believable. And then I go to work and I see the following:

  • Pissed off employees
  • Ungrateful employees
  • Lazy asses who come to work and just sit around
  • People that do average work

These are the people that have jobs. I just don’t understand this.

So why do these people still have jobs?

Because management doesn’t understand the importance of throwing people off the freaking bus.

Yes, I’m referring to Jim Collins and his idea of the bus with super awesome people in it. I completely agree that we need to get the right people in the right seats. However, some people just shouldn’t be on the bus.

If I had a bus, these would be the requirements to sit in it, very simple.

  1. Be an optimistic person
  2. Produce better than average work
  3. Have social skills aka don’t be an a hole

I understand that there will always be negative miserable people everywhere. People that come to work bitching about anything and everything you can possibly think of… People that hate their jobs and do nothing to make it better…People that then, because they’re so miserable, try to make other people miserable… People that come to work and produce mediocre work because quite frankly, they don’t give a fuck. I get this.

But with these people, you do one of two things:

  1. Pay no attention to them
  2. Fire their asses

Because if all you do is spend your time bitching about them, you’re preventing yourself from devoting time to what’s working, to the people that make your organization better. Rather than having countless meetings with your poor employees, spend time meeting with your stars. Cultivate their awesomeness.

We spend so much time talking about getting employees on the bus….on the right seats of the bus. But hello?!? If your employees don’t want to take the bus, why force them to? There are so many Gen-Yers that would kill to be on the f*ing bus. So if your poor employees would prefer to ride bike or rollerskate, please, don’t force them onto the bus.

Because if they aren’t happy in any of the seats, you need to stop the bus, and kick them out.

Here’s a question…If there was a person on the bus with a bomb attached to their chest, would you try to find them a different seat? No, you would sniper rifle their ass because they’re putting the bus and everyone else in it in danger. And that’s how it is at work when you have a bad employee. Sometimes, the only solution is to ask them to leave. Think big picture. Think about the overall good of your organization.Get rid of your poor employees and make room for people that want to add value, that want to be there.

Please Stop Undervaluing Your Assistants

9 Mar

One of my closest friends is an alcoholic. Okay, not yet, but almost.

She’s an assistant and her boss is quite frankly, an idiot. So she rants to me about all the BS she has to deal with I calm her down so she doesn’t jump out a window. All I can say is that she’s got a hell of a lot of patience. I would have jumped already.  

It seems to me that when Gen-Yers come into the workforce and land a job as an assistant, they fail to completely review their job descriptions. They fail to read the fine print. So I asked my friend for her job description and what I found was remarkable. There it was…

Job Function: Administrative Assistant* 

So here’s what that * led to…

*Congratulations on your new job as my assistant!  Please review the following information as these are the things you’ll need to know in order to be successful while serving me. This is what I expect from you along with the other 5,693 tasks described in this document.

  1. You don’t get paid to have fun. Accept this.
  2. Yes, I take 2 hour lunches. No, you don’t get to join.
  3. Even if you find the cure for cancer, I won’t remember anything awesome you do. But I WILL remember every single freaking thing you’ve done wrong.
  4. Learn how to use the copier.
  5. Perfect the art of making copies.
  6. Repeat #4-5.
  7. You will not offer new suggestions…you don’t get paid to do that.
  8. You’ll do more work in one day than I do in three weeks and yes, I’ll get paid 5 times more than you.
  9. You’ll create all my presentations for me and I’ll claim them as my own. Thanks in advance.
  10. Understand that I like my thoughts inside the box. They feel safer there.
  11. Whenever you have something incredibly important to talk to me about, I’ll be unavailable. I’ll be at a meeting aka…getting my hair and nails done.
  12. You’ll schedule the meetings, order catering for the meetings, make sure there’s media assistance for the meetings, prepare the presentations for the meetings, send out the invitations for the meetings, but you won’t BE at the meetings.
  13. Psychologists can easily make $60k+. Relationship coaches make $30k. For me, you’ll be both of these but still get paid pennies.

Regards,

Your Boss

Some managers today have clearly developed a business relationship with the alcohol industry and are driving their assistants to drink.

But please, stop undervaluing your assistants. They do a lot. Give them the credit and respect that they deserve.

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