In pure and utter gratitude, I dedicate this blog to SwervePoint, my bosses, and the Programs team for all of the support, feedback, criticism, advice, assistance, praise, and general love that has fostered my happiness and growth as a young professional for an amazing, growing company.
I got promoted–officially! According to urbandictionary.com, promotions are defined as “an increase in pay, title, and responsibility for an employee within a company that should be based on his hard work – but occasionally is based on nepotism, office politics, or sycophantic behavior while on the job. Example: No one seemed surprised by Joey’s promotion at work, as he is the boss’ son.” So let’s see where my promotion came from? Am I just another Michael Scott? Well, I cannot be enjoying the spoils of office politics. My idea of office infantry tactics is generally retreat and build reinforcements. The fallout left by office drama never seems to have a victor anyway. And while sycophant does come from the Greek, συκοφάντης (sykophántēs), sycophantic personality traits have escaped my own personality and are not typically reflected in Greek culture (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sycophancy). Is it possible then that my mother had an illicit liaison with my much younger boss a couple of decades ago? I wish so I could bring some sensationalist scandal to my blog and instantly increase my subscribers!
I have worked long and hard for this promotion. But growing is not about working harder or longer. It is about working smarter. Sadly, I know far too many young professionals, including myself, treading for hours in torrential waters, becoming weary of responsibilities and believing that survival through the storm is enough, whether the storm is the economy or a new huge project. But growing, promotions, and careers–these things are brought to life by taking survival steps to the next level. Thunder through major responsibilities by working efficiently and creatively, rather than wasting energy. If you are wavering on this point, ask a much larger storm, ie. your boss, for constructive criticism on how to make waves instead of ripples.
Then embrace the opportunities you are given to let a little lightning illuminate how capable and accomplished you are lest someone’s cloud overshadow your surge. There is a fine line between shameless self-promotion and self-propelling behavior, but it must be floated upon. As Machiavelli said, “For, if everything be well considered, something will be found that will appear a virtue, but will lead to his ruin if adopted; and something else that will appear a vice, if adopted, will result in his security and well-being.” So balance self-promotion with the virtue of humility by being gracious. But be realistic–if your time and efforts deserve praise, if you are being a force of nature in the workplace, let others know the kind of impact you make. After all, physics says a force of a nature requires a reaction, and hopefully a promotion!
I’ll leave you with the lyrics from Child in the Night and a quote from William Jennings Bryan, “Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved.” Go forth and prosper!
Child in the Night, by none other than Ludacris
It’s gonna get in ya, child of the night
.. and the hood rolls on
How do I begin to, do this shit right
.. get my hustle on
Now I’m a man of many talents and a man of my word
But on my path to see the light sometimes my vision gets blurred
It’s all a part of growin up and seein life at it’s worst
Then tryin to iron out my wrinkles, puttin family first
It seems like the whole world is out for sinkin my boat
But with God as my navigator I’ll be stayin afloat
And I admit to bein caught by many foolish distractions
Then I’m forced to pay the price as the result of my actions
I’m battlin with MYSELF and every DAY it’s a war
Curiosity killed the cat, why am I Curious George?
Gotta keep my nose up outta thangs that ain’t none of my biz
And just cause somethin looks don’t really mean that it is
Get through the agony and anger, the pain and strife
And take the necessary steps to try to change my life
I got some questions for you Lord cause my mentality’s hood
So why is everything that’s bad for me feel so good?
Now I’m a only child, so excuse some of my selfish ways
I got spoiled when I was young, spoil myself today
Oh but I feed at least a thousand stomachs and how I’ve done it
is from the ground up a hundred miles and runnin
Dodgin and duckin everybody tryin to hammer me down
A self-made millionaire, baby look at me now
Can’t tell me nothin still hungry as the day I began
Cause all I ever really needed was a pen in my hand
And a, pad in my lap, didn’t matter in fact
Me and my momma lived in one room, and what’s badder than that
was a young man forced to grow up at the age of 12
Tryin to get in where I fit, streets givin me hell
But yet I give it right – back, so how you like – that
Continue doin wrong ’til I was on the right – track
Tell me ’bout heavy money I might give it a PUSH
But a, bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
No matter how much older we get man, we all still children at heart
We all make mistakes, it’s all good
Now I’ve tried plenty of times to get rid of my bad habits
Livin life on the cuttin edge, takin a stab at it
And learnin from my mistakes, try not to make ‘em twice
Just admittin when I’m wrong, tryin hard to make it right
And baby, nobody’s perfect in this world of ours
There’s plenty people gettin stitches in this world of scars
But over time, pray to God that he can heal your wounds
Try to love and love again until they seal your tomb
Cause life is short if you don’t know this it’ll pass you by
That’s why my head is in the clouds tryin to pass the sky
Never blinkin for a minute, keep my eyes on my foes
They wanna catch me in the open, bring my life to a close
Meanwhile that’s why I’m bringin so much life to my shows
I’ve seen smiles I’m makin changes turnin glitter to gold
Don’t let these devils play you down or belittle your soul
Just be happy with yo’self and it’s so simple to grow
Okay. So our punch line is weak, but the message was strong. Last week the BCOC hosted another invaluable educational seminar at the Cummings Center. The seminar was to introduce the new Data Security laws that require compliance by Jan. 1st, 2010. Don’t put off compliance though because when the New Year rolls around businesses can be subject to a fine up to $50,000 for every violation.
So you are sure the Attorney General will come down hard if you don’t comply, but what are these new Data Security laws in the first place? The laws were enacted to protect Massachusetts residents from the loss of their personal information.
The first law requires MA business owners to notify the AG, the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, and the resident(s) affected of any unauthorized acquisition or use of an MA resident’s personal information. That’s right. It’s not longer an internal affair. Don’t worry about letting the media know, they’ll be ready todispense bad PR at a moment’s notice.
The second law requires that businesses develop, implement, maintain, and monitor a comprehensive, written information security program (WISP).
According to our HR expert, you should get started now by developing your business’ Data Security Policy and setting aside time to begin informing and training employees and managers on the laws. Everyone will need to be informed to implement compliance effectively. God forbid there is a breach, make sure you have an Incident Response Team ready for reaction.
The real meat of the matter will be your hardware and software. Don’t forget your shredder might not be compliant and you’ll need up-to-date firewall protection, operating system patches, and system security software like McAfee.
According to Consumer Affairs, TJX is paying $9.75 million as a result of their security breach. So if you need more information to get started, the BCOC will be happy to point you in the right direction so we can help you prevent a crisis.
The OCABR has complied a checklist to assist you. Check it out:
If you are familiar with SwervePoint, you know the company culture is only second to how much people matter. Take a look at SwervePoint.com and you’ll see clues to support that fact everywhere from their focus on customer service to their awareness that customers are the most important stakeholders in their business. With their passion for people eclipsing an intense passion for products, it’s no surprise SwervePoint takes so much pride and joy in donating fresh SwervePoint stuff to the local community. In addition to RealworldElizabeth Lyons Elementary School and Glad Rags for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (MSPCC), SwervePoint initiated a charitable relationship last year with 826 Boston and North Shore Community Action Programs (NSCAP).
826 Boston is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students with their creativity. Their services are structured around the understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success. SwervePoint sent a large shipment of journals and pens to 826 Boston to help facilitate students’ creativity. The company finds joy in investing in these young imaginations because they have been blessed with success as a fruit of their own creativity. Check out 826Boston this month for the fundraising moustache-a-thon. Sponsor my friend, Nick Seagers, for 1 week or 6 weeks, and feel fun about giving! Here’s the link for more information: http://826bostonmoustache.wordpress.com/.
NSCAP is an anti-poverty agency serving about 30 cities on the North Shore. NSCAP’s mission is to help low-income people empower themselves as they move towards self-sufficiency and to motivate the larger community to be more responsive to the needs of low-income people. SwervePoint donated a truck load of items ranging from educational supplies to apparel and bags. The items will be utilized by the Transition to Work and Adult Basic Education programs. “The items donated will greatly assist in education and training and ultimately employment of our clients,” according to Deborah Grace of NSCAP. I’m personally excited to be spending time with a shadow visitor from the Transition to Work program who will be taking a couple of hours to learn about customer service from SwervePoint and yours truly!
SwervePoint takes joy in donating to the local community because it is just one more way to help people accomplish their goals. SwervePoint is excited about their connections with 826 Boston and NSCAP because they appreciate supporting creativity and overcoming challenges as much as these organizations do. I hope they benefit from SwervePoint just as our local community benefits from them.
Independence Day 2009, SwervePoint launched yet another firecracker. The team was sent down to the Ocean Spray headquarters to parade the new Ocean Spray Company Store. We’d overcome a bombardment of technological challenges and merchandised by the dawn’s early light. SwervePoint couldn’t be more proud to be presenting this brave new store.
The team marched straight down to the opening mobile boutique. We heard tales of awe over the new store’s Made In The USA T-shirts. So SwervePoint immediately stockpiled up and the T-shirts, featuring a stars and stripes Ocean Spray logo, flew off the shelves like fireworks. Customers were surprised and delighted just in time for the 4th of July.
SwervePoint’s allegiance to deliver merchandise spangled with logos at the time of our clients’ needs is what keeps customers celebrating. I forever pledge to serve the customer base with speed and style so their events and their brand are remembered.
Father’s Day Buzz at SwervePoint last year wasn’t the sound of a hand held drill or any other gadget fathers love to get spoiled with every year. Father’s Day Buzz at SwervePoint was the humming of customer feedback and purchasing. With an ear to the hive, SwervePoint heard customer needs in real-time–of course the LiveChat SwervePoint offers helped!
Did you know a honey bee visits hundreds and thousands of flowers to create 1 lb of honey? I enjoy squeezing out all that search and seizure. When I heard a user say, “I’m now all set for Father’s Day – shopping made easy!”, I listened up. Indeed, Father’s Day buzzing was filling the communication combs. Within hours, I had a Father’s Day email produced and sent to thousands of customers. The orders started flowing quickly as last minute shoppers purchased company merchandise for proud fathers.
The sweetest part for the customers was that UPS Ground, in most cases, delivered directly to dads in only one day! The sweetest part for SwervePoint was providing the pollen exactly when the bees need it so we could strike our own honey. Bzzz! Bzzz!
At SwervePoint, I love giving customers sweet surprises for bringing their bread and butter to us time and time again. It’s one of those delicious joys that keeps me happy through the feast and famine of customer service. Recently, a customer wanted to return a product sold over 2 years ago. Our return policy explicitly states returns are only valid within 30 days of receipt. The customer was disappointed to find out the damaged item could not be returned, but stayed loyal to SwervePoint. Several weeks later the customer placed an order with SwervePoint and I did everything I could to cook up a sweet surprise for him. I sought a 15% discount on his new order! Needless to say the customer appreciated the gesture and was delighted to know SwervePoint cares about how his steak and potatoes. The sugar on top is how happy I was to present this surprise dessert to our loyal customer. I hope he’s hungry!