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Office Politics and Life Inside of a Forgiveness Bouncy Castle

October 27, 2014

If it were socially acceptable for a 23 year old to bounce around in bouncy castles, I’d do it much more often. Who doesn’t love bouncy castles?

If you’re shaking your head no, then you need to quit lying to yourself.

For children, bouncy castles are literally one of the only places where you can completely go nuts without the fear of injury (that is, unless there are a bunch of other kids bouncing around in there too). This is exactly why kids love them so much. It’s a safe place to push the limits.

Throughout college and my short professional life, I feel like I’ve gained a grip on basic office politics. That being said, I could be completely off in a lot of ways, but I have observed some very interesting things in my time working on teams. My hope is that what I have observed may help you come to grips with some of the office related realities, or help you in a new work environment.

Communication

The first key to success is communication. Sounds cliché, but it’s true. When you get a task from your supervisor, keep them updated on your progress, not just when you complete the task, but as you go along. Your supervisor shouldn’t have to ask for a progress update from you, because they should know where you are at all the time. This may seem a little extreme, but from the supervisors that I have had and observed, they all appreciate it in their own way. Although this is my general rule, I have had supervisors ask me to tone down the communication, meaning, they just wish to receive less emails from me or visits by their office. This isn’t a problem at all, because after I’m asked I adjust my communication method with that specific person. Easy.

Throw Out the Titles

The second thought I would suggest is to throw out all titles in your mind and focus more on the individuals you work with. You shouldn’t really be concerned with who is above and who is below you. Yes, give respect where respect is due, but don’t demand respect because of a silly title. A quick note here: getting this step down requires a great deal of constant observation. Try your best to know the tendencies and habits of your coworkers and choose the proper responses to those habits. One of my bosses preferred to be text messaged over any other form of communication, even though my desk was near his. This gave him time to check all his messages at once without having to break his train of thought on what he was working on. I never interrupted him again, and in return got better responses to my requests. It’s a win-win.

Taking the time to communicate properly with people with bigger or smaller titles than you can help you tremendously. You never know when an intern is going to be able to save you in a time of need, just because they are a little more experienced in a certain area.

Keep Your Eye on the Prize

The next thing I would suggest is to realize the overall goal. I was once in a heated debate with a coworker on a decision that we had to make for our company. In the middle of the argument, I had to stop and think: this person wants what’s best for the company just like I want what’s best for the company. Without the company, neither of us would have jobs.That will help you really put it into perspective. Only then do you realize how heavily angry emotions can cloud good logical judgement.

Learn From Everybody

This is such an easy thing to do. The best way, is to walk up to a coworker, and say “Hey, what are you doing?” Now we are off to the races. That should be followed up with, “How is it that you do that?” You’ll find yourself gaining a plethora of knowledge on topics you’ve never touched with almost no effort. You also get the added bonus of showing your fellow coworkers that you actually care about their contributions to the company.

Be Genuine

Playing the game is all about one thing, and one thing only: be genuine. Don’t just be at work because you have to be there, be at work because you want to be. Be positive to everyone around you and you will get some of that back in return; be negative, and you will get it all back. Don’t be afraid to show your coworkers who you really are and be willing to laugh at yourself. You aren’t good at everything and you’re not as big of a deal as you think you are. Try your best to find reasons to love where you are at, even if you plan on leaving. It will make the rest of your time there better than it could have been.

Doing these things granted me one of the best benefits you can have in an office environment: forgiveness. Yes, that is correct, if you try to bring positivity to work, communicate well with your bosses and coworkers, and be genuine in everything you do there, people will forgive you more often for messing up; and you will mess up. It’s always good to have a safe place to bounce around in, because it lets you test the limits on what you can really bring to the table. If you live inside of a bouncy castle of forgiveness, you will be more willing to try things without the fear of failure because, you’re not going to get injured. See what I did there?

Having employees that try to make the company better everyday without the constant fear of failure is something that is sought after, but not necessarily vocalized in today’s world.

So get out there, be all you can be, and go nuts inside of your very own bouncy castle at work everyday.

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You’re Not as Big of a Deal as You Think You Are.

October 22, 2014

Congratulations. You were intrigued enough by the title that you decided to keep reading.

Now at this point, you need a hook to stay, so here it is: You, yes you, are not as big of a deal as you think you are. Well, tell me, did it work twice? If it did, stick around and hear me out. I’ll be honest with you, I’m not going to give the title some kind of double meaning, or bring a different message. You really are not as big of a deal as you think you are.

 

Third time’s the charm.

 

I have been out of college for only a year and a half, and I have learned this lesson the hard way. Why you ask? because I’m a Millennial, and I have been brainwashed into thinking I can do anything I want. When I was in 3rd grade, I once told a group of 5th grade giants that I could beat them in basketball, because the week before I went to a camp that was coached by an ex-professional basketball player (which was true. Not the bit about being able to beat the 5th grade giants, but the bit about me going to a basketball camp that was run by an ex-professional basketball player). The giants did what giants always do: win at stupid sports games.

Why does it matter? It matters because this entitlement is something no gender, race, religion, or (here it comes) age wants to claim, yet it’s something that I believe we all have to some extent. The young people think the old people are too jaded. The old think the young are too entitled, and around and around we go. Who is right? Nobody will ever know.

Once I entered college, I started to realize that the people I surrounded myself with are extremely talented at whatever it is that they do. Most of my friends are truly living their dreams. They are doing incredible things: mastering their craft in graduate school; fulfilling their lifelong-dream of living in London; working for the world’s largest PR firm; studying law; working for companies that I want to work for; traveling the world; learning to heal the sick and the broken; teaching precious little children—The greatest achievement I’ve had as of late is marrying one of these people—that counts for something right?

Nothing is more sobering than filling out dozens of job applications to get hardly any response. Another thing that sucks is getting a new job, trying to adjust to the new job and feeling like everyone has to hold your hand so that you can get your work done. Either I have fallen under extremely exceptional circumstances, or I am just plain not as good as I thought I was.

In spite of what your grandmother has told you your whole life, you might not be as great at what you do as you think, and that is just going to have to be ok for now. I said you aren’t as good as you think you are, but I never told you to give up did I? I think being realistic with your true ability is a good thing. Know who you are. Know what you’re really good at. Get better at what you’re not.

Luckily, my story’s not over. I’ve still got time to be the best whatever it is I decide to do forever  person I can be. And guess what, you have time too. We always have time to get better, and we have no room to tell anyone else they’re entitled, jaded or otherwise. Worry about yourself. And while you’re doing that, don’t worry at all. If I know you well enough, you’re a human that has the ability to get better at something, so do it. Don’t feel like you’re the only one that sucks at stuff, because you’re not. Everyone sucks at something, and everyone is also better at something than you are: learn from them. Learn all you can from people you love and people you hate because each and every one of them can teach you something. And no matter what always look to the stars and the universe around you and remember one thing:

You aren’t as big of a deal as you think you are.

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A Thousand Words

October 15, 2014

Tonight, I took a moment to glance over all the pictures on my phone. It’s crazy to me how many moments are documented. A lot of people these days are saying “Put down your phones and live the life that’s in front of you.” I can rationalize this concept when I see two people out to dinner glued to their phones with no interaction. That doesn’t seem healthy to me, but what do I know? One thing that can’t be denied is the ability to capture incredible moments that we were not able to capture before. The world is being challenged because now everything is on the record. I think it keeps everyone honest. Pictures and videos don’t lie. What do you think? Do you think the world should go back to the way it was? Or do you believe you are under the constant scrutiny of a lens. My thought on whether to live in the moment or capture it is, “Why not both?”

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Back on the Grind

September 26, 2014

Until two weeks ago I was unemployed for two and a half months.

 

You might have seen my ugly mug on the cover of the business section of the Oklahoman recently. Yes, that was me. The paper needed someone to interview that was either underemployed or in-between work. My friend Nathan Poppe submitted my name with my permission and I did the interview. I was pretty indifferent about the final article. It seemed like my story was just used to push some kind of political agenda.

I made the big mistake of reading different comments about the article on Facebook and News Ok. There were a lot of people who I’d never met saying that I had “no salesable (not a word) skills” and my college degree was a “waste of time.” There were others that had little sympathy for me in regards to not being able to find work. “Why don’t you just flip burgers until you find a better job?”

 

I’ll tell you why.

 

Working a job, just for the sake of working a job means that you can’t get any better at your craft. If you can’t get better at your craft, you are never going to get a “real job.” It has nothing to do with work ethic, or thinking that I’m above manual labor, or anything of that nature. It’s more about the simple fact that I have spent the majority of my life learning to make it in the creative field, and that’s what I’m going to do for the rest of my life. It was hilarious to see people blame politicians and government for not being able to get a job. That’s got to be the laziest thing I have ever heard.

 

Since then I have found a great job at Boiling Point Media, and I love it. The guys I work with are all awesome, and they put up with me doing two dumb things a day until they yell at me. I think I’ll be here a long time. *

 

Here’s some advice for all you job seekers and job passer-outers:

Millennials, it’s awesome to have your head stuck in the clouds. That’s where the best ideas and the best people live. The only thing that you always to forget is to visit Earth every once in a while. You see, you can make all of your professional dreams come true, but that’s not going to come without a lot of failure. You need to know that and believe it so that it doesn’t catch you off guard. If you get out of school and everything is going your way, be nervous. Because failure is lurking. The more you understand that, the better and faster you will overcome it.

 

Older people, TRUST US. That’s all we want. We may be green, but we do care about seeing the companies we work for do better. I’ve been reprimanded by bosses in my short professional life, just for the sake of being reprimanded. I just want to say to them, do you think that I want our company to fail? Do you think I’m making mistakes on purpose so that we don’t do well? Seriously, let’s think about this for a minute. I want what my employers want: to succeed. So why would you get on to me for suggesting new ideas, trying things a new way, or challenging old authority? The explanation “Because that’s the way we’ve always done it” is a foreshadowing of failure for any company big or small.

 

Find a reason to get motivated and like your job, and if you can’t, quit and do something else. You only get one shot at this life, don’t waste it! You’d be surprised at how many people do.

 

 

*UPDATE: February 4th, 2015

 

It turns out I didn’t end up staying for a long time. They let me go after 4 months, only 3 days after Christmas. For one reason or another I wasn’t the right fit for them, and I’ll never actually know the detailed reasons. All I have left to do now is to turn this into a positive situation and move forward. Many have told me that sometimes, getting let go can turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to them.

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Meet the New Social Media App: Spotagory

April 10, 2014

So a friend of mine from college (Zach Gross) just hit me up a few weeks ago to tell me about a new social media app that has been developed. The name of the app is called Spotagory. I decided to check it out. When I first opened the app, I noticed vast similarities to Instagram. The basis for this app is an image feed so I was like “literally what the heck.” Then I dove deeper. Quickly, I learned that my feed was filled with photos, not from my friends, but from people who had taken pictures near my current location. My feed was kind of boring at work here in Edmond, OK so I decided to snap some work pics. Later on, I went downtown to Yucatan Taco Stand with a buddy. While there, I checked my feed again. Boom. Here were all the interesting photos I was looking for: tons of great shots from downtown hangouts, Thunder games and more.

I had figured it out! Spotagory connects you with those that are around you. Now this is cool. So the next time I go to a concert or a game, I can see the entire arena from different perspectives. And that’s what’s different about this app and this platform. You get to see what is going on around you. Another cool thing: the app was based by guys in Dallas; not Los Angeles, not San Fran. Dallas-Freaking-Texas. I live in Oklahoma, so I know the value of the up-and-coming midwest, but it’s things like this that put us even more on a global stage.

Anyway, I am really enjoying the app, and I look forward to attending the launch party tomorrow in Dallas. More updates are coming! Do yourself a favor and give the app a try. Post any questions or comments here! Thanks guys!

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My Photog

April 9, 2014

So, I my new site would not be nearly as cool if it weren’t for my awesome picture at the bottom of the home page. Makenzi Hargrove is responsible for making me look better than I ever could myself. She take incredible pictures and is based right here in Edmond. The thing I appreciate most about Makenzi’s work is the way she uses light. It’s very apparent that she lets the light shape her shots. Makenzi and I have been great friends for a long time, and it’s been really cool to watch her grow as a photographer. Please, do yourself a favor and go check out her site. You won’t be disappointed!

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Meet the Man Behind My New Site

I’m really excited about my new site, and I owe all the thanks to Brad Ulrich. He is the mastermind behind my new logo and my new site. Working with him was extremely easy and a lot of fun. Brad lives and works here in Edmond, and works as a Creative Director at iThemes: a local company that develops themes and plugins for WordPress sites. Brad also helped me give my logo a fresh new look. Have fun checking out my new site, and make sure and check out Brad’s stuff as well!

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