Thursday, October 28, 2010

Are you people idiots?

I've been complaining here about customer no-service for years. I'm quick to jump on companies that don't provide good customer service and I'm just as quick to praise those who do. For the most part, I haven't really had a problem with DIRECTV until recently, it took three emails to get them to fix my bill  (see post titled Consumers Deserve Better)  and just when I thought all was well, the little switch on the top of the remote, that moves from DTV to Audio1, Audio2 and TV stopped working.  Instead of clicking to the proper position, it just slides. The only thing I can control with that remote now is sound and powering the satellite on and off. Can't change channels or anything else.  I emailed DIRECTV immediately and told them what I stated above. This was their response:

Thanks for writing. You’ve been with us for years now and we recognize you as a valued and loyal customer. We want you to know we appreciate it. I am sorry to hear about the problems you have with your remote control.

If your remote control doesn’t work at all, performs some functions but not others or works only with devices other than your DIRECTV Receiver, it may be due to the following:

-Your remote has weak batteries.
-The batteries aren’t placed correctly.
-Something is blocking the sensor on the front of your devices.

For your convenience, I have listed the possible resolution for the problem with your remote control.

1. Make sure your TV is tuned to the proper channel, which is usually channel 3 or 4. Then press the button on the remote control marked DSS, SAT or DIRECTV and try the remote again. 

2. Make sure nothing is blocking the front of your DIRECTV® Receiver. 

3. Try operating your receiver by using the buttons on its front. If you can turn it on or off, change channels and bring up the menus, the problem is with your remote, not with the receiver. 

4. Put new batteries in your remote. You may need to reprogram your remote to operate other electronic devices. To avoid this, change the batteries one at a time.

If the problem persists, since you have the DIRECTV PROTECTION PLAN, the best way for you to get help as soon as possible is to call 1-888-667-7463 and choose the option to speak to a technical assistant. Our Technical Support agents are trained to walk you through a number of troubleshooting steps which are too difficult to try to talk through over email.

In addition, you may find some helpful information at the DIRECTV Technical Help forums. Just visit to find answers to your questions.

I hope you find this information helpful and thank you again for writing.

To which I replied:

Dear Jaemie L.

Did you not read my email? What is the point of the "Contact us" if you are not going to read it in the first place. I was very specific when I said "The button at the top of the remote which switches from DTV to AV1, AV2, and TV is not working properly. It just slides back and forth instead of clicking into the proper place. I would like a replacement ASAP."

Then I received another reply from Mary Z at DIRECTV which should have been the ORIGINAL reply:

Thanks for writing us back. I am sorry to hear if your remote control's mode switch is no longer working. I understand that you would like to get a replacement remote control. Since you have the DIRECTV PROTECTION PLAN, the best way for you to get help as soon as possible is to call 1-888-667-7463 and choose the option to speak to a technical assistant.

We appreciate your patience regarding this matter.

So...the question I have is WHY DIDN'T YOU JUST SAY THAT IN YOUR FIRST EMAIL? Was that so difficult? Why did they just waste my time and piss me off because they didn't read my email?  Now I have to call the pain in the asses.

Note to DIRECTV CEO Mike White, you might want to conduct some additional customer service training. Just sayin'...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Finding me...

Today I stayed home to wait for an electrician, nothing major, the task was completed in a short period of time and then I had the rest of the day to work on some things. Have a paper due on "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit" on 11/14 which should be a piece of cake. I enjoyed the book and had some great outside readings to add to the paper. Am also working to finish David Halberstam's "The Fifties". It's an 800 page book chronicling the people and events that made the 1950s. It's a fantastic book and I really appreciate that the chapters are short which keep my interest throughout. Great reading about Oppenheimer, McCarthy, MacArthur, Korea, television, discount department stores, Holiday Inn, Truman, Kefauver, and a whole host of important goings-on of the era. I need to read more, as I should have this book completed by end of next week and I'm only a third of the way through it. If I could get through just three chapters a day I can make it. And then...I've got to get through that damn book about the Hoover Damn and the Making of the American Century. Now THAT is a long book but the chapters are so long it just doesn't keep my attention. Note to self: when I write my book, be sure to keep the chapters short and entertaining to maintain the readers interest. 

Some positive news today in regards to my thesis research. I wrote to a half dozen faculty in the History department last night informing them of my interest in writing the honors thesis and I gave them my topic. A few wrote back they were far too busy with doctoral candidates, another was just plain overloaded, but I received an email from the former chair of the department, who is on sabbatical after five grueling years as chair. He said he'd be willing to take me on in fall next year. Well I'm in no hurry, er...I am but I can't finish before December 2012 unless I come into an extraordinary amount of money which allowed me to leave my position. I am excited because he is very well respected and revered in the department and he wants to work with me. He told me he can see how serious and passionate I am about my topic. I think it will be a great match. He and I have communicated via email before, so he knows of me. He understands too that a 41 year old woman is serious about her education. He won't have to chase after me to make sure I'm on track. This is where age, maturity, experience work for me, my professors always take the time to get to know me (as I do them) because they know that this degree is serious business to me.  Why is the thesis important? Because it's going to be one of the most in-depth pieces of research I'll do during my career, I want it to count. And I want it to be the lead-in to my book.

As it stands this semester I'm registered for nine hours but only actively working on two of the three classes. The US History 1939-1960 is really a fantastic course and I'm learning a lot. It helps that I already know quite a bit about this time period thanks to my parents, grandparents, old time radio and films and books I've read. That combined with what I've learned through my genealogy research has really helped give me a good background on the culture of the time. I'll earn an "A" in that class for sure. I do the readings, score great on quizzes and the papers I nail every time. The History of Journalism Senior course is also very fascinating, in fact parts of it overlap with the other course, not intended of course. My professor is outstanding, she's funny, witty, and intelligent and I love her lectures, never boring. She really likes her students and you can tell. She's always willing to help. Our class is in a wing adjoining my building so on occasion we'll walk back from class together. We love to talk about old films, she loves John Wayne. We enjoy the same movies too. She is really a great person and we have promised that after class is through we'll remain in touch. I do hope so, she is a fascinating person!

I've got to get some sleep. I spent way too much time today thinking. Thinking about school and work and everything in between. I was a little depressed today but don't know why. I hate being up then down, hot then cold, but that's the way it is when we get older. With me it's constant. And I don't think there's anything I can do about it. I also thought a lot about my future today and how I longed to be free. Free of what I'm not sure. It's not anyone's fault but mine. Sometimes I wish I could leave and not come back. It has nothing to do with DH or mom or work or anything or anybody. Just a feeling I have. But being the responsible one, I know that I can't just walk away from everything. I wish I could sometimes but I can't. I know the grass is always greener but your problems follow you wherever you go. And it's worse if you are the problem. In this case, "I" am the problem.

I told a good friend the other day when he told me I should take a vacation, that if I left I might not come back. He said he was sure I would, but I don't know that I would want to. Even though my family and friends, my work and my education are here, something is missing. I cannot tell you what it is. I cannot describe it, it's more like something I feel.  I just keep telling myself that I am on the path to finding it. Just take one day at a time to get there. It's a funny thing--I used to laugh when a person would say "I have to find myself" (I'd say "you're right here silly!") but now I know what they meant. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Consumers deserve better...

There was a time when companies delivered on their promises of good products and good customer service. A customer did not have to contact the President or CEO of the company in order to get satisfaction or resolution to a problem. One simply contacted the sales or service representative and they helped solve the problem right on the first try. That was then. This is now.

When I email a customer service representative of a company I do business with, I expect to be able to resolve the problem at that time, unless it requires deeper investigation, which after a reasonable amount of time, I expect a response. This rarely happens and when it does, it is the "I'm sorry there's nothing we can do" that is the final answer. That is not good enough for me. But alas, generally I am left with one choice and that is contacting the head of the company for a resolution, which for me, has been successful 100% of the time.But I shouldn't have even had to go that high in the first place. If I have to go all the way to the top for a simple solution to a problem, the company is in big trouble.

Why do companies operate like this?

A few possible reasons:

1) The company has an early cancellation policy with an exorbitant penalty to cover their "loss" should a customer be so disgusted with the service they decide to cancel. A great number of customers likely stick with the service to avoid the huge penalties. But if they do cancel and pay the penalty the company makes out pretty good. 

2) The company is part of a monopoly and the customers are stuck with few choices in service. If you want a particular service you have a choice of maybe one or two companies to deal with. If you really need or want the service, both companies have issues, it then becomes a decision of the "lesser of two evils."  

3) The company leadership is so completely disconnected from its customers it has no idea what is going on though I find this hard to believe (but it is possible) given all of the internet discussion forums where angry and dissatisfied customers can post their complaints for others to view. Perhaps the corporate headquarters is in the United States, but the customer service is overseas in Pakistan, India or some other country. Perhaps the customer service is in the United States but the workers are paid crap so they don't care. But in both cases, where's the oversight? Somebody is in charge of the quality of service, no?

In the end, is it possible that a company is so successful profitwise that they can absorb the losses incurred from bad customer service?  Is it possible that those in charge do not ever hear about the internet complaint forums that list hundreds of complaints about their company? What company would not want to know what people think? What company would not care?

Who can truly survive doing business like that? I suppose monopolies help it along. If the choices for services are severely limited, customers have the choice of no service or crappy service. A lot of people think something, though flawed, is better than nothing. That bites. The reality is that perhaps we as consumers are partly responsible for this. When we accept less than the quality we're paying for, the quality we deserve, then we perpetrate this and allow it to thrive.Interesting thought isn't it?

In the meantime, this post does not come out of nowhere, it comes about because I've written yet another CEO today, this time Mike White of DIRECTV. This one is over a $10 disconnect fee. I am being charged because one hour after ordering a Comcast channel (to watch the Redkins games), I found I could not view it and immediately called DIRECTV. They informed me it is always blacked out in my area and they cancelled the order and waived the disconnect fee. My recent statement shows the $10 disconnect fee and now DIRECTV customer service told me there's nothing they can do, that policy dictates if one cancels the channel before thirty days, one has to pay the fee. Like so many "zero tolerance" type policies, this one allows no room for common sense in problem-solving. This time, as usual, instead of arguing with customer service, I went directly to the CEO with my case. I'm sure there's something he can do. Or so we'll see.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ever dream you can't find your car?

I do-all the time!

I'm known for my strange dreams. Sometimes I go for weeks having dreams about the same thing. Last night's dream had me at work and when I left I could not find my car. It was close to 3:30 and I had to pick DH up from work and I was desperate to find the car but I couldn't locate it anywhere. I was looking for my 1991 Maroon Grand Am which I owned years ago. I walked the perimeter of campus which seemed to take forever. In the dream the parking areas looked like not only the ones that are at the University but also at the high school I attended so long ago. I have a lot of dreams I can't find my car at the high school and at work. It was a hot day when I was walking to find it. I was carrying lots of stuff too, it was very uncomfortable. It got to be later--3:45, 4:00 and still I hadn't found it. I would have called him to let him know but he didn't have a phone on him.

While I was walking around desperately trying to find my car, I was playing a fiddle, but I wasn't using a bow, I was using my fingers, almost like a banjo. It sounded pretty good too. I walked through a store apparently as I was trying to find my car. When I was outside again, walking, I passed Gavin Macleod in his "Captain Steubing" uniform (you Love Boat fans know who I mean here). Someone said to him "Hello Captain Steubing" and he nodded his head. He looked young like he did back then and he was talking to another "Captain".

Also as I was walking, I realized my skirt was up slightly in the back, not showing anything but I had to pull it down. All that walking and shifting all the stuff I was carrying must have done it. I can't remember what else happened but I woke up when the alarm went off.

So the big things here:  the fiddle which I played really well (this was the first dream about a fiddle), being late to pick DH up from work (a recurring theme) and I couldn't find my car (another recurring theme). Why do I keep having dreams about the car? I will let you know what happens because I have this cool ability to pick up a dream where I left off the night before :D

Saturday, October 16, 2010

It is better to be kind than to be right...

I like to debate and discuss and exchange different points of view. I have always been the kind of person who is interested in understanding all sides of an issue--and I've always felt it was my responsibility to help others do that too. That's a Libra--always the placater, always trying to balance the scales.  Seriously, it's true. It's no wonder that throughout my life my friends have come from all different walks of life--rich, poor, black, white, foreign, celebrities, non-celebrities, educated, uneducated, loners, party animals, the list goes on and on.  Maybe it's why I get along with so many different types of people from so many diverse groups and have never ever been a part of any one "clique" because I just don't fit in with one type--just as I don't buy there is always just one side of any issue.

I found though that in my quest for balance, sometimes I went a bit overboard, so hell bent on helping others see different points of view that I was actually trying to force it on them. I did not do it because I thought my view was the only one that mattered, rather I was did it because it bothered me that others thought their view was the only one that mattered. When I meet people who are staunchly for or against something, who refuse to take into consideration any alternative ideas, it bothers me. I don't know why. I suppose I believe we need to at least consider different points of view in order to have an informed opinion. And I believe informed opinions help us be more responsible people. But I also believe that it's not worth losing relationships with people I care about.

I pride myself in being the kind of person who treats others with kindness and respect and the lesson I have learned over the years is that it is better to be kind than to be right. It took me a long time to come to that conclusion. There are times we have to ask ourselves what is more important to us--the person or the issue. If in that situation, one chooses the issue over the person, then perhaps it wasn't a real meaningful relationship to begin with. As for me, I'm sticking with people because when times get tough and the world seems cold and lonely, it's people, not issues who get me through it.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Letters from a WWII soldier...

If you have a chance, please take some time to read the war letters written by my grandfather's twin brother. Every soldier has a story. You can find them transcribed at

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Life is short. Do what matters.

Life is short. We get one good run at it and then we're done. It would be ideal if we could spend every day of our lives doing something meaningful. Unfortunately that isn't the case. Blessed are those who are able to find their calling and spend a few good years doing something so totally meaningful they feel completely at peace.

I believe there is a sense of inner peace and fulfillment that comes from making a difference in the lives of others. Why is that? Why is it that as a means of achieving happiness for ourselves, we crave the need to do something good for others? Why can't we feel fulfilled by doing only for ourselves? Interesting, isn't it?  A great job, a big house, lots of money, great's all wonderful isn't it, but it just feels a little empty without that one little thing. 

What is that one thing? Well I can't tell you because I'm still searching myself. I believe everyone has a gift, some special thing that if they indulged in it, would bring their lives meaning and fulfillment and benefit others greatly.  The problem is that not everyone recognizes their gift. How on earth do you find it? I can't answer that. But I think everyone should at least try. I am convinced everyone has something great to offer, it just takes some work to find it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Too much news...

I'll be frank. I can't tell you the last time I watched the news, I mean really watched the news. Oh I watched snippets of the rescue of the Chilean miners on CNN's website but other than that I haven't a clue as to what's going on in the world right now, which would explain why I had no idea those brave miners were stuck underground for 69 days. I really had no idea. My lack of being "in the know" at this moment in time may surprise those who know me because I am generally very well-informed (and very opinionated about things) but I just needed a break. I tend to soak in a lot of information in a short period of time and I found myself simply overwhelmed with television news and talk radio not to mention the nauseating political ads in-between. I still read the Sunday paper but generally it's more for the obituaries. I find that every day my name is not listed in them is a pretty good day.

This morning though I said to myself "Self--why don't you go online and see what's happening in the world?" and I opened up a news site and clicked on the first link and what do you know? It was a story about a guy who sold a plant at a yard sale which unbeknownst to him contained the ashes of his wife's deceased grandmother. Of course the wife was able to track down the buyer and get the plant back but still, I don't make this stuff up. I thought it was hilarious. But then again who wouldn't so long as long as it wasn't our grandmother right?

The biggest reason for not tuning in to the news right now is the overwhelming abundance of negative political ads. Oh my God if I have to hear another negative ad I'm going to hurl myself out the nearest window!  Thank goodness the elections are in a couple of weeks. Right now the most heated races in Florida are the U.S. Senate and Governor's races. The Senate race is between Crist, Meek and Rubio and they are hammering each other in ads.  Crist of course is the Republican sore loser who actually switched parties to Independent just to split the vote. I mean he's running as an Independent but his platform is Republican. Yeah ok that's something new and fresh now isn't it?   Then there's the Governor's race with the corrupt Republican Rick Scott and the equally incompetent Democrat Alex Sink. IMO the best thing Alex Sink has going for her is running mate Rod Smith, a man who is a decent, honest, respectable guy. But I can't vote for her because of him. I mean I could hope she runs into some sort of scandal and has to resign, then Smith would be Governor and that would be ok with me, but with my luck we'd be stuck with her.

See, I talk about politics and I get all off track and I start to get pissed off. Where was I?  Oh yes, the news...

It's too negative, too biased and there's just too damn much of it.

The End!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

The right thing...

The older I get the more I spend time thinking about "doing the right thing." For me it isn't just a phrase or a phase, it's something I really want to be a part of my everyday life. I feel that it's an important part of who we are. I believe the challenges and experiences involved in such decisions can change us and make us better people.  So isn't it interesting that both a television program and a magazine article about this very thing would present themselves at just this moment?

I was watching an episode of Law & Order today, an episode where a young man was a witness in a murder trial. The witness wanted to help but in doing so, he would incriminate himself of bookmaking charges in the Bronx, which was the job he was headed home from when he witnessed the defendant in the area of the murder. The feds wanted the witness in a trial against the bookie he worked for but wouldn't give him immunity so he could be a witness in the murder case. The witness's lawyer recommended he invoke the 5th when the defendant's attorney, in an effort to establish lack of credibility, questioned the witness about his involvement in bookmaking. Just before the case was about to be lost, the ADA convinced the witness to testify and not invoke the 5th for if he did, there was a very good possibility the defendant would walk. The witness was disturbed that all of the fear he had endured and all the testimony he had given would be for nothing because invoking his 5th would result in his identification of the defendant to be thrown out and a murderer allowed to go free.

Eventually the witness disregarded his attorney and chose to testify in full and tell the court about his work for the bookie, thus establishing he was truthful and credible.  Subsequently the defendant was convicted for murder. On a sidenote, the Bronx DA dropped the charges against the witness. This witness, a newlywed with his whole life ahead of him, disregarded his own well-being put his own freedom in jeopardy by doing the right thing--taking a murderer off the street. Though this was just a television show, we know this does happen.

This morning I was reading an article in Reader's Digest in which doctors who had made mistakes in the past which cost or nearly cost lives, came forward to talk about the need for changes in the profession to keep the mistakes from happening at such an alarming rate. One of the stories was by a nurse who many years ago, witnessed a patient die in the ER under terrible circumstances. The patient had a possible bowel obstruction and the nurse called the surgeon at home that Sunday afternoon several times and he refused to come in, stating surgery could wait till morning. All the nurse could do was try and calm the patient. Hours later the patient was dead. The nurse stated in her story that nobody ever knew what killed the woman because no autopsy was ordered. The nurse wanted to file a report with her nurse supervisor but she was afraid of the repercussions. She said nurses couldn't be fired but their lives could be made a living hell at the hospital, being treated badly and even getting the hated graveyard shift.

The nurse's story got me to thinking. Did she do the right thing? In my eyes, no. But when you're trying to protect your job, your livelihood and possibly your family's financial well-being, you do what you have to do right? But does that take precedence over reporting an incident that may have caused someone's death, especially knowing that the doctor may probably not face any sanctions for it? I am not questioning the nurse's integrity because I am not in her shoes. Sometimes a person has to choose what's best for them first.  But at what cost?  And who is to say that taking care of one's own self and one's family first isn't the tougher choice? The right choice? Maybe the right choice is in the eye of the beholder?

We have all faced having to make tough choices, in fact we likely face them nearly every day. I know I have struggled with it many times in my life. We want to do the right thing but sometimes we're afraid to because of what it might do to us. It doesn't make us bad people, it just makes us human. And ultimately, many times the right choice is the toughest choice of all.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Hey, I was picked on too...

The latest stories about kids being bullied and harassed has me thinking about my own past. I endured my share of harassment when I was a teenager. Growing up in Miami, I never had a problem with any of my fellow classmates until 6th grade.

One of my classmates Stephen pushed me down after school and my papers and books went everywhere. I remember a teacher seeing this and coming out to help me. That same year, I was beat up by a boy in my class named Ricky who claimed I cheated on a spelling test. Of course what he didn't realize was that I was just a damn good speller. It was after that my parents decided to move us out of Miami. The neighborhood was heading in a direction they did not like. They thought that raising us in the country would be ideal and so they moved us to rural North Central Florida where I entered 7th grade at a very small K-12 school where everyone was related to everyone else and everyone knew everyone else's business. 

The new school I attended was a good school with good teachers but it was difficult being accepted by my peers.  I just wanted to be like the others and have what they had and I wanted to be popular. I wanted to wear cool clothes, makeup, and be involved in lots of cool school activities like the "in" crowd. My mother on the other hand, knew better and believed I should be me and refused to give in to my need to be like everyone else. The more I pushed to be like everyone else, the more she pushed back and refused. Little did I realize back then that she was right. Mom saw no need for her kids to impress everyone else, she knew it was just a phase.  And she was right.

I do not believe mom and dad ever knew I was picked on in school. I did a pretty good job of hiding it. Had they known, they would have immediately contacted the principal and the parents of the kids involved. Thing is, kids don't tell their parents when they're picked on because they are afraid their parents will say something about it and the other kids will find out, thus making things worse. That's why I never told my parents.

Being picked on was a very painful experience. I don't remember if I cried, though I probably went into the girls bathroom a few times and did. I know I was angry. I often gave it back to the people who gave it to me. I tried to come up with something witty, sometimes I'd just laugh at myself with them. Mostly I would turn red and get embarassed at being singled out and picked on. Ultimately, from a kid's point of view there's not much to do but sit there and take it.

So here I am and it's been more than 20 years later and I still remember it as it if were yesterday. Why is that? I'm doing great, why should I even think about it? Thing is we don't ever really forget but we do get past it and we learn from it. I know that all of the experiences of my life have made me who I am today. I am fairly comfortable with who I am though I find myself every now and then indulging in some self-analysis and blaming my shortcomings on events of the past. It's true that being picked on and bullied as a kid can have a lasting effect but only if we let it. We can place it where it belongs in our past and move on.  The responsibility for our lives remains with us now, not with our past. That's the great thing about the past, it's done, it's gone and because it's gone it gives us a chance to move on which is what I did and hope to continue doing even though sometimes when I'm down and depressed, it manages to ease its way back into my life and set up housekeeping.

But hey, that's just life and I'm ok with that.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Pondering free speech...

The Westboro Baptist Church may have the right to say whatever they want but do they have the right to say it wherever they want?  Was the First Amendment intended to cover speech outside that which is against the government or those in a capacity as elected officials? 

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

When the Founders were writing the Constitution, they understood that one of the most important things tasks to tend to first was making sure Americans had the right to express dissent, no matter how unpopular the dissent, and particularly in regards to government, since after all it was government they were concerned would try and put and end to that dissent. And of course it was first because without free speech the rest of the Constitution really wouldn't matter much now would it? Besides, the foundation of a free society lies in the ability of the people to speak out against their government. The government. Don't view the creation of the First Amendment from a 2010 perspective, view it from a 1791perspective. That said, the First Amendment was created in a time when the government attempted to limit the free speech and expression of the people and of course the press. 

Now fast forward to 2010 and the Westboro Baptist Church. First, should the Westboro Baptist Church protests at funerals be protected by the First Amendment?  Second, should local and state governments have the right to enact laws which prevent disruptive speech from taking place at or within a certain distance from specific venues?  Bear in mind the second question doesn't ask if they can silence speech,  but rather disruptive speech only at certain locations.

Think back to the events taking place in America when the Constitution was drafted and the reasons the Founding Fathers had to even include a Bill of Rights in the first place. Compare the differences between the need to protect speech in 1791 and in 2010. Free speech then meant the ability of people to criticize the government, which was directly threatened. Free speech now extends to areas none of us ever though would be considered speech and by that I include speech other than that which is direct at government officials.

Given the fact America has evolved and changed so dramatically since the time of the Founding Fathers, can we even take into consideration their intentions when attempting to interpret the law now?

It just makes you wonder, that's all.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Hooray for CEOs!

We live in a time where it has become quite common to hear our elected officials spout that CEO's are the biggest evil in America (or words to that effect). Unfortunately a lot of people tend to believe all of what they hear using little or no common sense which leaves us with millions in America actually believing the hype--that big corporations are bad.  Let's face it! Just as in any segment of the population, there are good CEO's and there are bad CEO's. But it's wrong to make general assumptions because of their wealth and title.It's not only wrong, it's ignorant.

I am prompted to write this because I watched a few episodes of Undercover Boss online recently and it made me sit back and take notice that there are CEO's who really care about what's going on in their company. It's nearly impossible for one person to oversee every specific operation of the company down to the most minute detail, that's why CEO's hire managers to do that for them. But CEO's are the first to be blamed for failure as they are first to be applauded for success. For their failure they are ridiculed and scolded and for their success they are ridiculed and scolded. I for one refuse to believe that the CEO of every single American company is a Bernie Madoff, Ken Lay, John Rigas, Joe Nacchio, Sam Waksal, Jeffrey Skilling, Bernie Ebbers or Dennis Kozlowski.

Wealthy people, including CEO's have their own set of problems. Having wealth does not make one's life free of stress and worry. Granted, money may take away some stresses, but it also adds others. And money, no matter how much, can't remove the pain of some things in life like battling depression, coping with a physical disability, trying to keep one's children safe in a dangerous society, losing a spouse, caring for an aging parent, a child away at college for the first time, a loved one stationed in Afghanistan, a bad economy, and in general just worrying about the state of the nation and the world (the latter being something we all do on a daily basis I'm sure). There are all kinds of problems wealthy people face and CEO's have an extra added burden--managing all of the people under them, not to mention dealing with the stockholders and government bureaucracy. Granted it's a choice just like most of us are in jobs we have by choice. But still, it comes with its own set of stresses and worries.

CEO is a job title, it doesn't define an individual, at least it shouldn't. Honesty, integrity, kindness, compassion, generosity---all those things help define a person's character. And I for one am very happy to be reminded every so often (even if it is via a reality show) that you can't always believe everything you hear and things are not always as they seem.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Happy 41st Birthday to me!

Wow, is it October 3rd already?

For years I feared entering my 40's because it's a crucial turning point in one's life. It's nearing middle age and frankly I wasn't sure what to expect. When I look in the mirror I see that I need to lose a few pounds and I see a tiny strand or two of colorless strands among my still pretty fabulous naturally curly no-color-added reddish/brown tresses.   I still have a fabulous sense of humor and other than a few aches and pains (that would disappear if I exercised more!)  I just don't think I look or act like I thought a person nearing middle age was supposed to look and act like.  Actually none of my old high school classmates look that way either. To me, we all look young, oh not as young as we used to be, but younger than we thought our parents were when they were this age. When we were 16 we thought of 41 as old, now we're there and it really doesn't feel old. In fact, while I still do not have children and will probably not have any, many of my high school classmates are grandparents already and to me, they just don't look old enough to be grandparents. But then neither did my parents when they became grandparents at my age.

We can't stop the aging process. I'm not afraid of getting old, I just want to feel good getting there. I fear the complications that come with aging because before we age we get a pretty good tutorial watching our parents and grandparents. We sure as hell don't want them to age but they do. And we will too. We say to ourselves we don't want to make the mistakes they did and we want to do things differently but in the end, it's in the genes. No matter how much we want to do things differently, it's hard to change. But we can keep trying can't we?

All in all, in the past 40 years I think I've had a pretty good life. Despite the mistakes and the regrets, I made it through ok. The older I get the wiser I get, that's the way it is. It should be that way. If it wasn't, I'd be seriously worried. These days I tend to weigh my decisions on right vs. wrong. I try to do the right thing. I try to be kind, caring and courteous to others. I just hope that in some way I've been a good influence to others. I used to kick myself for all the crap I've done in my life but then finally I realized that every single thing I have ever said and done has made me who I am today. And for the moment, I'm ok with that.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Two people living in the same house. The wife is watching television in the living room, the husband is in the office working on his computer. The wife needs to tell her husband something and in order to get his attention she has to write "Take your headphones off! I have to tell you something!" on his facebook for him to respond!!! 

What did we do BEFORE the internet? LOL