Thursday, April 27, 2006

19 Ounce Pint

On a personal note - yesterday pretty much sucked. I am starting to have some conflicts between work and home, which resulted last night around 6:30 with me needing to be in 2 places at one time. Unfortunately, at the time that I am writing this, I am unable to do that thing that Hermione does in Harry Potter.

Whenever I get frustrated like this, there is a story I like to remember. Once upon a time, I worked for a chain of drinking establishments (which shall remain nameless). The company's Chief Operating Officer (COO) wanted to add some corporate level staff, but the CEO told him he could only add staff if he cut his beverage costs by 5%. In regards to suppliers and pricing, things were pretty much at a standstill, so it appeared there was not much to be done. Over the next few months, we noticed a trend which culminated in beverage costs reducing approximately 5% from where they started. At this time, the COO asked for his additional staff requests to be approved.

The COO finally explained how he lowered beverage costs 5%. He found a glass which held 19 ounces, but looked identical to a traditional 20 ounce imperial U.K. pint glass. Gradually over the course of these few months, he phased in these new glasses to all of our locations.

I will leave it to you to discuss the ethics of how this was handled, but the story always reminds me that for every problem, somewhere out there is an answer.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Refresher Strategy

As I have mentioned before, I usually attend a Refresher once per year - usually at the same time of year. This year, I will be attending at the end of June - roughly 2 months away.

I usually come back from a Refresher extremely fluent, as a result of monitoring and executing targets very well. As the year goes on, my fluency tends to decline a bit, as I do not execute my targets as well, nor do I monitor them as often as I should. However, I feel that at the end of every 1 year cycle, my overall fluency is much improved over the year before.

I am fortunate to not only be able to afford the costs of attending the Refresher every year, but to also have a very supportive spouse (Novelchick), who encourages me to do so. My plan has been to keep attending Refreshers every year until A) I am completely fluent through flawless execution and perfect monitoring of targets or B) Ross Barrett retires. I don't know which one will come first.

With that being said, I am trying to close out my "fluency year" on a strong note as I come down this last 2 month stretch. I am in the middle of a very busy time of year at work, so I get the opportunity to transfer with many different people on a daily basis. However, I need to do better job in incorporating some formal practice into my daily routine. That is my objective for the next 2 months.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

3 Gifts

Like most people, I get caught up in the rush of day-to-day life, and forget how wonderful my life is and how incredibly fortunate I am. However, last Friday, I was quickly jolted back into reality.

That morning, I got a call from my "work wife" (who I worked with at a previous job). If you don't know what a work wife is, it is the phrase for that opposite sex co-worker you become good friends with. If you are really smart and wise (like me!), you allow your work wife to become friends with your real wife. For various reasons, I had lost touch with my work wife over the last few months, so I was a little surprised to hear from her. Though more surprised when she told me why she called.

She told me the week before, her husband had a massive heart attack at work and passed away that same afternoon. He was a fairly young man (mid 50's) and not in bad health.

Aside from the obvious feelings of sympathy for my friend and her loss, I was also shaken by another thought. My friend and her husband were married around the same time Novelchick and I were 6 years ago. I wonder if we knew beforehand, exactly how much time we have and when we would die, if we would live our life any differently. I know that if I had of known before our wedding that I would only have 6 years with Novelchick, I think I would have been a lot less inclined to engage in some of the truly stupid fights we have had over the years.

That being said, below is a list of the 3 gifts I thank God for every day of my life:

* Novelchick
* My 2-year old daughter
* My PFSP speech therapy

Friday, April 07, 2006

Quarterly Forecast time

I have not had a chance to post the past few days, in part because I have been tied up with a project at work. The project involved changing how my company performs it budgeting and forecasting process. Later this afternoon, I will be sending my newly-designed Excel budgeting template to our user group for them to complete.

Approximately 15 seconds after I hit the send button, I expect my phone to start ringing off of the hook. It will probably keep ringing until the deadline for the users to return the templates, at which time, it will be my turn to start calling people and inquire as to why they have not returned their submission. Thanks to our caller ID, I will mainly be leaving voicemail messages.

This is always a really good transfer opportunity for me. In addition, I really enjoy the truly idiotic questions I get from people. Last year, this guy (and not some newbie staff level person, but a VP-level employee) kept calling me and telling me he needed to see the "right numbers." My explanation to him that these were the same numbers we had filed with the SEC and had been audited by a Big 3 accounting firm, was not sufficient as he eventually went to the CFO demanding to be given the "right numbers" on which to base his budget. The CFO eventually told him to quit being a dumbass and give me a budget.