Posts Tagged ‘work’

First Look Photo: Rarely Seen Animal

November 22, 2017

In Maine, it is said that people can live here their entire lives and never see a rabbit.  The reason for this is simple. Eastern cottontail rabbits, like foxes, are primarily nocturnal. On occasion one might be seen during the day, but that is an extremely rare occurrence.  I found this rabbit on my way into work the other night.

Eastern cottontail

Photo Friday: A Worthy Organization

September 30, 2016

Out of all the organizations in this country, nothing teaches responsibility, and work ethics, to children better than the 4H club. (That’s my opinion anyways.)

This week was the Cumberland County Fair, with its rides, harness racing, and of course lots of farm animals.  Next to the judging tent we came across a group of 4H kids grooming their sheep for the judges, and I got today’s picture during this time.

The look on the girl’s face, while grooming the sheep, is what 4H is all about.  You could tell she loved what she was doing.

If you want to see more of what I took at the fair you can go to  https://www.facebook.com/allen.bradford.3

ccf-a-girl-and-her-sheep

Don’t give up on your talent.

May 24, 2010

Whether you acknowledge it, or deny it, we all have talents.  Do you remember the first time you realized your ability?  I certainly do.

I was in second grade, and we had to write a short story based on a picture.  The picture in this case was a man cleaning up his yard, palm fronds were everywhere.  He had a disappointed look on his face as he surveyed the damage.  Obviously it was the aftermath of a hurricane.  Most of the other kids wrote stories that read like news stories, in a very basic way, of course.  My story was more like the War of the Worlds.  My teacher, Ms. Fitz, pulled me aside after class, and told me I should consider pursuing a career in writing.

That was the first time I had some idea of my ability in writing, and creative arts.  This kind of story is not unique to me.  Everyday kids and adults are informed of their unique abilities.  The problem is that throughout the years pressure from family to follow a certain path, and peer pressure from friends, keep our true talent under the surface.

I’m not talking to those who have the advantage of following their dreams without so much as a negative comment; I’m talking to those who have been told their talent is stupid, or worthless.  I was always told that my talents in the creative arts will never be able to pay the bills, and that there are always better people than me at writing, and photography.  I don’t deny that I’m not the best, I accept that.  So what makes a talent?  There are two ingredients.

The first is ability.  Some people say that it means you don’t have to work as hard as others, but that isn’t true.  I went to school with a kid who had a wonderful sense of humor, but he had no natural artistic ability; his older brother had that.  Every day, he would draw, and with a tremendous amount of hard work, he eventually became extremely good at drawing, even surpassing his brother.  He put his own sense of humor into his drawings, and made some of the funniest comics I ever had the pleasure of reading.

Just because you aren’t good at it the first time doesn’t mean you can’t get the ability, just work hard, and don’t give up.

The second is drive.  This part is even more important than a natural ability.  Without it, you will never succeed.  Think back to a time to when you first learned to ride a bike, or learned to cook.  Did you get it right the first time?  Probably not; no one ever does.  More than likely, you fell of the bike several times before you could stay up; or you baked a cake with two cups of baking soda, and two tablespoons of flour. (or was that just me)  In the end you kept at it, and learned from your mistakes until you got it right.

It’s a proven fact that you will only learn what you are motivated to learn, and that motivation, becomes the drive.  If you have a drive to do something, don’t ever let anyone stop you.  If you feel something is important, then that is what you should pursue.  It may take some hard work, but if it’s important to you, then it will be worth the effort.

Enjoy,

Allen

Be patient

May 22, 2009

“Everything worth having is worth waiting for.”  Patience is a commodity that so many people seem to have lost.  Two of the rules I have are “I always get what I want,” and “I never quit till I get it.”  If you noticed, the word “now” is not part of that.

Working in retail, I’ve had my share of customers who throw temper tantrums if their work is not done at the exact moment they said they wanted it.  I had one woman screaming at me because the owner didn’t have her Christmas cards ready on November 21st at 2:00 in the afternoon.  According to her, we ruined her Christmas.  We had them done at three.  Of course, we still ruined her Christmas.

I believe we live in a spoiled society that prides itself on convenience.  Meals are done in a few minutes; information is available with the touch of a button.  We can go shopping for almost anything in one building.  With all this convenience, people have got into the mentality of “I want what I want, when I want it” They never stop to think there might be a cost for impatience.

Of course, you have to be patient with yourself.  Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the same applies to anything you do.  In all the time I’ve been writing, I am just now getting to the point that I can start selling my work.  If I had started too soon, I wouldn’t have known enough to write with any quality whatsoever.

I’m not perfect yet, and I probably never will be, but I have learned enough to move forward to my career in writing.  Everything we do takes time to learn. Training and experience are two steps that can’t be skipped.  Sure, maybe you might know someone who can move you through the system faster, and get you to the top. Unless you know what you’re doing, you will do a substandard job that can get you fired. Even worse, the company can lose customers, and close its doors, all because you wanted to be airlifted to the top of the ladder.

Don’t rush your work.  Take the time it needs to get it done right.  If you are impatient to get the job done, so that you can leave early, or move on to the next job, you will make mistakes, and have to do the work over.  If you have to do it over, you will spend more time correcting your mistakes than you would have taken to do it right the first time.

I’m not saying you should waste your time either.  Don’t take so much time that the job never gets done.  Try to get it done in the right amount of time.  Another way to put it is be patient, but not lazy.  When you work, work hard, learn how to do your job well, and be creative in making it more efficient.  It will come to you.

You have to be patient with yourself first, then you need to be patient with others.  When you are patient with others, you will get better service and quality out of that person.  By showing patience, and respect to others, you will get it back from them.

One last word on this, patience brings success, and impatience brings failure.  A tree grows and bears fruit in its own time, and we should let our projects grow in their own time, and see the fruit it bears.

Challenge:  Don’t push something to happen faster than it should, and you will have the best results.

Enjoy,
Allen

Don’t get the ax

April 13, 2009

Congratulations on passing the interview process.  You now have a job, and the real work is about to begin.  The hardest part of this process, once you have found a job, is keeping it.

I worked for a company in Denver that printed material, pulled orders and shipped them.  When I started with them, there were six of us pulling material off warehouse shelves, packaging them up, and shipping them all over the world.  There were days when we would ship over 300 orders.  I was there about two weeks when the first round of layoffs happened.  I half expected to be looking for work quickly, but miraculously I still worked there. The layoffs took three people from our department, so we were left with three.  Two weeks later, there was another round of layoffs.  Once again, I was spared the ax; however, the supervisor, and the other employee, were gone.  This left me running a department by myself.  Somehow, I still managed to get orders pulled and shipped on time.  If I had to have help, I called the management, trained each person on a specific task, and still got the orders out on time.  The point of that anecdote is that by following certain principles, I was able to keep my job even though I was only there a short time.

Make quality your number one priority.  Some companies talk about requiring that you work at a particular speed, but if it compromises quality, the company will lose customers, and you will lose a job.

Anticipate the needs of the customers, as well as the company.  The best way to do this is to place yourself in their place.  What would you expect from the company if you were the customer, or from an employee if you were the owner of a company?

Don’t try to compare yourself to other employees, or worry about what they are doing.  The only person you have to compete with is yourself.  Learn from what other employees are doing right, and ignore what they are doing wrong.  As far as what people are doing wrong, that is management’s worry.

The worst phrase uttered in any company is, “That’s not my job.”  Not only is it shortsighted, but when it comes to layoffs or firings, those who say things like that will be the first to go.  If you are willing to cross train, you will be a more valuable asset to the company, and they won’t be so eager to let you go.

Many people think about teamwork as transferring the responsibility of their work to the supervisors, and not themselves.  If you want a job to last, learn to take responsibility for your own work.  A supervisor’s job is to organize the team so that the work is done in a timely manner, but only you can make your work something special.  Remember, what you get out of your job depends solely on what you put into it.

Be creative with your work, and take initiative.  If you feel that people would benefit from a better method of doing a certain task, come up with a better way and suggest it.  If the managers will not listen, or come up with “We have been doing it the same way, and don’t want to change It.”, then do it yourself.  Don’t be a brown nose and continue doing your job inefficiently.  If you change it and it works, they will see your point, if it doesn’t, then you will know and you can change it.

If someone needs help, whether it’s a customer or another employee, don’t walk away.  If you can’t help because of a task, your supervisor told you to do, make sure to let the supervisor know that someone else needs help.  You never know when you might need help, and it makes you look better in the end.

Work within the company policies.  Many companies make their policies to protect your safety within their walls, and to protect the rights of everyone else.  If you disagree with a policy, tell them, but be ready to explain your idea of a solution.

By law, companies have to give you breaks, but while you are on the clock keep working.  For one thing, your work will be done faster, and the other thing, your company will have no reason to complain.

This last point isn’t about keeping the current job, but it’s important in future jobs.  When it’s time to leave the company you’re working for, be considerate and give the company two weeks notice.  Not only that, but make sure you work hard and with quality for the full two weeks.  This will make you look good to future employers and they will be that much more willing to hire you.

Challenge: When you work, be safe, be productive, and be respectful, and you will always have work.

Enjoy,
Allen

The map to the road less traveled

April 6, 2009

When I was 12, my best friend and I went to a small seafood restaurant, close to the school.  We would get drinks and talk for a while.  Over time, we became friends with the owner, and he decided that he needed someone to clean the parking lot.  Because of child labor laws, he could not hire us full time, but he made us an offer of free drinks, and food if we came by after school for one hour, and cleaned the lot and pulled weeds in the shrubbery.  We accepted and ever since then I have not been without work for more than a couple of weeks.

Thirty years later, I have had a number of jobs, I’ve only been fired twice, and not one of the jobs I’ve had came from a newspaper, or internet jobsite.  In every city, there are thousands of jobs waiting for someone to fill them, but since they never advertise in the paper, many people never see them.  If you have been out of work for a few months, you’ve exhausted the want ads and internet with no result, and you’re at the end of your rope, there is still hope, but it will take a little work.

For the next few blogs I will go over some of the steps that I use in a job search that hasn’t failed me yet.  I hope that you will have the same results.

The first of these steps happens before you even walk out the door.  Every journey to success begins with the first steps, skip these and you will live life in circles, getting nowhere.  Before you go out on the road, you will need a map or plan for your job search.

Here are a few things you will need for your plan.

You will first need to know your skills.  You need to know this for two reasons.  One, so that you will have a good idea where to focus your search.  Two, you will have something to offer possible employers.  Skills can include, creativity, detail oriented, anything that might help you accomplish the job you are applying for.  You might also be able to draw from skills learned in past jobs.

You will need to determine how far you are willing to commute.  This is especially important if you don’t have a car.  If you know how far you are willing to go, you can concentrate your efforts to this area.

Determine your financial needs.  If you have a mortgage and three kids, Burger Buddy might not be a good choice.

I set an application limit for each day.  Looking for a job can be stressful.  You have to have a rest, or a break, somewhere in your day.  You can take one whenever you want, as long as you meet your application limit.  I used to fill out five applications a day and all of them before noon.  Then I could enjoy the rest of the day, and wait for phone calls.

Make sure your resume is up to date.  Even if the companies you apply to don’t take them, it helps you to fill out an application much faster.

Don’t limit yourself to just one type of job on your search.  The specific job you want may not be available at the time.  The goal is to keep you from becoming homeless, or going on welfare when you can make working.  Besides, once you have money coming in, you can still keep looking for that perfect job, and think of all the new skills your getting.

Challenge: Open a job file on your computer with your updated resume for quick reference.

Happy job hunting.  Next blog will deal with the actual search.

Enjoy,
Allen

How much is too much

December 3, 2008

Have you ever had someone tell you that you work too much?  Well I have, all the time.  I have two jobs, one full time and one part time.  I have a wife to take care of after her mini-stroke, and I’m trying to start making money from writing and photography.
The question I had to ask myself, and I’m certain some of you are asking the same thing, is, “how much is too much work?”  In my opinion, if what I’m doing helps me to reach my objectives, then it’s worth the effort.
In my case, the full time job at a grocery store pays my bills and gives me great health benefits, my part time job at a photo store pays minimum wage and has no health care but it has supplied me with the camera equipment for my career through an employee account.  These two jobs are helping to set me up for my future career as a writer, and the photography will compliment my writing.  Obviously, the two jobs are a necessary part in my plan, and now that I have the photography equipment and equipment for writing, the next step will be to make 100 dollars a week with writing so that I can leave the job at the photography store.
With all that I have to do, it can get a little overwhelming, but is it too much?  With what I wish to accomplish, I would say no.  In his book “7 habits for highly effective people” Stephen Covey wrote, “You have to begin with the end in mind”.  Are you doing too much?  Ask yourself what you want to accomplish, and if what you are doing now keeps you from reaching your goals then the answer is probably yes.
If it helps, write out a plan that starts where you wish to end up, and work your way backward.  This will act as a map to show you how to get where you are going and where you should be right now.  After you have this plan, you can start putting it into effect, and in the end reach your goals.  Only then can you say it was worth the effort and it won’t seem like too much.

Enjoy,
Allen