I've Moved!

Hey guys!

I've moved over to tHRyving where I'm concentrating on HR, Gen Y and other random life events ... stop by and see me there!


Goodbye Buffalo, Hello San Antonio!

There’s a reason I haven’t posted lately, I swear!

The dog ate it.

Kidding! Per my crazy life, there have been quite a few changes lately. The biggest, HUGEST of them is ...

I’m no longer a Buffalonian.

In a short time period, I’ve relocated to San Antonio, Texas. There are many new opportunities facing me both professionally and personally that I’m filled with excitement and gratitude from.

This is a shocker, I know. I’m an advocate of Buffalo. Our food, our people, our community. Buffalo is a hidden gem that I hope someday gets polished ‘til she shines. I will still be a Buffalonian at heart, just like I’m still a Chief from my crazy HS days at Iroquois Central. And you bet I’ll always be a Bills fan! A few things I’ll miss ...

  • Mighty Taco
  • Tim Horton’s
  • Jim’s Steakout
  • Bar Bill in East Aurora (You want the best wings? Go there)
  • Passionate Bills & Sabres fans
  • Family & Friends
  • 4 seasons
  • Pine trees
  • Being a half hour from the Canadian border and Niagara Falls
  • David Paterson (LIE. BS governor)
  • Sponge candy, chicken finger subs, sahlens hot dogs, weber’s mustard, beef of weck, chicken wings, loganberry, bison chip dip, chef’s pasta sauce ... (the list could go on and on)

Here’s what it comes down to ...

Life is about opportunity. It knocks everyday. It can sometimes be a gut instinct, sometimes impulsive. The difference between those who are “lucky” and those who aren’t, is that the “lucky” ones, give in to that instinct. They see it, they take it.

Scary? Sometimes. Risky? Of course. But I’ve taken my opportunity and embraced the crazy.

Have you?


Reach the Students

Last night, my alma mater SHRM chapter at University at Buffalo had their first executive board meeting. They are off to an exciting year. They began finalizing guest speakers, topics and events in August so they are well on their way to a successful semester.

I have a particular fondness for this club, as I acted as Chapter Liaison and President my junior and senior years, respectively.

We had challenges that first year. The last eboard left $0 in the treasury, no keys to the office, no way to access the UB domain club site and ... no members. We had to wing it. We had no local SHRM Chapter Advisor and a faculty advisor who openly took the "hands off" approach. We were 4 HR students, with relatively little HR experience, coursework or leadership guidance. It was hard.

This year, I have decided to dedicate myself to the club and students from a professional perspective. There are a few tricks I've learned over the years and I want to encourage their success.

I'm going to be conducting leadership training for their executive board this year. I have been debating between a Franklin Covey Focus type course or a team building day. They are putting in their hours for this club and I think they should get a few fun perks out of the deal as well.

The assigned UB domain site is not user friendly. They have to rely on connecting with an MIS student who will be available to continously update the site. It doesn't always work out well. Working with them, we will create a user friendly site outside the UB domain, perhaps on a blogging platform, that they can easily update and create an online club community on.

Along with that ... social media training! There are some valuable HR resources out there I wish I would have known about when I was graduating.

Do you want to get involved with local college SHRM chapters? They are all listed on the SHRM website, with their faculty advisor. Most local professional chapters have liaisons that deal with the college chapters, but my best advice would be to contact the faculty professor who is mentoring the group. It will get you quick easy access to them.

The hardest thing to see while at college was the lack of students willing to participate in something that might help shape their future. The lure of a night at the bar, a movie or naps were much too tempting. So what can we do to change this? Get involved. Help them. Provide value. The students are up and off to their first semester .... give them a call!


Past & Future

I recently stumbled upon a blog by my friend Andrea Michnik who, among many other things, blogs for Stratejoy. Stratejoy is a website dedicated to women going through a “Quarter Life Crisis”. It’s a great site and the women who blog are truly inspiring.

One of Andrea’s blogs was titled “30 Things to do Before I'm 30”. I really like the idea because I’m always adding things to my mental list. Without seeing them written and having an action plan, they probably won't happen.

However, It could be looked at 2 ways. What do I want to accomplish before I’m 30? But also, what cool things have I ALREADY accomplished? So I’ve started 2 lists. The first is Cool Things I’ve Already Done” because sometimes it’s easy to forget them! The second is the starting of my Things to do before I’m 30. Hopefully by the time I reach 30, they will have all been transferred to my “Cool things I’ve already done” list.

Cool Things I’ve Already Done:

Tandem Skydiving
Climbed a mountain (Ok, a lot of mountains)
Graduated college
Danced for 17 years
Got a “grown up” job
Gone on a road trip
Became best friends with my Mom
Got a tattoo
Financially independent
Disney world!
Seen Niagara Falls
Learned how to Horseback ride
Loved and lost
Inspired someone
Traveled the continental United States

Things to do before I’m 30:

Travel the world
Learn a second language
Get my skydiving license
Buy a new car
Teach a Human Resource college course
Pass my Professional Human Resources exam
Move to another city
Learn to surf
Get published
Sing karaoke
Go to the Super Bowl
Get my Master’s degree
Date out of the box
Learn to cook
See all 8 wonders of the world
Write a memoir
Run a marathon

Do you have any? Share them with me!


Skydiving in Buffalo

13,000 feet in the air, my leg dangling out the door, it hit me that I was about to fling myself out of a plane. Before my mind had time to process any fear, my instructor had pushed us out of the opening.

Let me backtrack.

As a gift a few months back, my Dad gave me a GPS. I am not one for directions and GPS’s annoy me, especially that voice saying “turn left now” 5 times in a row. I asked him to return it and decided we would go on an adventure. First, we played with the idea of a Nascar Driving Experience. Unfortunately, there isn’t one located in Buffalo. Finally, we settled on Skydiving.

We found a great local place in Newfane, Frontier Skydivers. The atmosphere and people were … well, fantastic. What a life they lead! Many of them have rearranged their lives to revolve around the next jump. Work during the day, jump in the afternoon, relax with beer and friends at night. Relaxed and completely centered around catching that next adrenaline rush.

Suited up in my pink parachute outfit, I was ready to go. My instructor, Larry, was exactly what I needed. He explained the important stuff and didn’t get caught up in the detail. More of a “go with the flow” kinda guy, much like me. I didn’t want to ask questions or get bombarded with detail … I wanted to jump!

One at a time, the single jumpers fell out of the plane until finally, Larry & I were left. Left leg first, right leg underneath and suddenly I was sitting out the door of a plane. What a rush!

We did a few flips in the air then evened out … free falling at 120 mph for 60 seconds. It felt like we were floating. He gave me the signal to pull the ripcord and we were suddenly flung back into the air as the parachute opened.

The cool part was that there are handles attached to the parachute which enables you to direct where you go. Pull down on one side for a few seconds and you start spinning in circles.

It was an experience like no other. I will be chasing that high always!

I can’t wait to go back and am determined to take training classes to receive my license to jump solo. Even if you’re not the adventurous type … live outside the box! Do something a little different – and this is DEFINITELY something everyone should do.


The Fight Against Cancer

I don’t believe in regret. Despite all of the silly, stupid, senseless things I may have done (and will probably do) in my life, I refuse to let regret rule my emotions. However, there is one thing I do regret … and it haunts me everyday.

The summer before my junior year of High School, my Mother was diagnosed with Colon Cancer. This also happened to be the same summer my teenage rebellious streak hit full force. I spent the summer and much of the school year sneaking out of the house, stealing the family van and in detention … or suspension. I cut class, lied, fought with my family and talked back to everyone and anyone.

I took advantage of the state my Mother was in. Even as I write this now, I am fighting back tears because it’s the one thing I hate about myself. I snuck out when she was too weak to come after me because of chemotherapy. When she tried to discipline me, I told her I hated her. She had CANCER.

I can’t believe I am admitting this to the world.

Years later, my Mother is my best friend. Despite how I acted, she fought to bring me back to the person she knew I was and could be. She beat her cancer and she helped me fight inner demons at the same time. She is the strongest, most inspirational person that I know. No matter what life throws at her, she bounces back with a smile and spring in her step. I look to her for advice on almost everything, even though I don’t always want to listen. I couldn’t imagine living life without her by my side and on my team.

Mom, I love you. I’m so sorry. Thank you for being my real life superhero.

Cancer is something that we are all affected by in one way or another. I full heartedly support any fundraisers that come my way surrounding this subject. Roswell Park Cancer Institute is doing wonderful things here in Buffalo, NY and they could not continue without the support of our community.

Jessica Manocchio, a PR professional who works in my office, is participating in Team Cure Challenge. This is a fundraising effort nationwide to help raise money for Cancer Institutes. After being personally affected, she has dedicated many hours into raising money and will be running in the Team Cure Challenge in Tahoe. They will represent Buffalo as “The Running Buffaloes.”

Currently, they are halfway to their goal of $8,000. Please read her story here and consider donating to this wonderful cause. Her team is also raffling off Buffalo Bills tickets to raise money! Click here for more information and the chance to win! Even if you don’t win the tickets, you are helping win the fight against cancer.

One of out three American’s will be diagnosed with cancer sometime in their life. Let’s work together and fight for a cure!


How do you Pay It Forward?

One of my favorite movies of all time is Pay It Forward. Besides starring little cutie Haley Joel Osment, the concept it surrounds is fantastic. His character is working hard to make the world a better place. The idea? What would happen if 3 people were given a favor and, instead of paying it back, they paid it forward? Throughout the movie, he engages in 3 random acts of kindness and asks that in return, they do the same to others.

A moving idea. Ever since seeing this movie, I try to actively pay it forward. It might happen only once a month, or as often as 3 times a week. It can be as simple as sending someone a message that you're thinking of them.

Yesterday, I had my first encounter with the ice cream truck. Growing up in the country, I never had such a wonderful thing before! I heard it coming and got so excited I ran out to the street in barefeet. There was a little girl who was trying to buy a bubblegum popsicle. It was $1.50 but she only had .75 cents. I bought it for her and told her to put her .75 cents in a piggy bank. The smile on her face was worth much more than the $1.50 I spent.

It's great to receive something unexpected. It lifts spirits and renews hope. Well, these things don't just happen! I am challenging all of you to begin actively engaging in the concept of paying it forward.

Live Gracefully.
Dream Focused.
Inspire Change.

How will you pay it forward? Let me know!


Love Me Some T.O's

Tops Markets officially announced yesterday that they will be exclusively distributing a cereal for Terrell Owens, called T.O.'s. The press conference was held at a store in Perinton and although it was a press only event, over 300 people crowded the store for a chance to see (and possibly meet?) TO.

I decided to tag along and join in on the fun. The store was decorated down to football balloons, TO cookie cake (my favorite!) and Bills gear. It started at 1.00pm but some families had been waiting since 8:30 in the morning to make sure they had a spot up close!
He's smooth, that TO. He knew how to play the crowd and the media. He all but promised a win against New England (dare I hope!?) and answered questions at the end ... he was even proposed to! When he walked out onto the stage the crowd started chanting "TO, TO, TO!". I'm not one to engage in all the hoopla, but even I got caught up in the contagious excitement the crowd and TO brought with them.

The cereal is good. Tastes like honey nut cheerios. It's 2 for 5 right now, so I picked up a few boxes. According to reports, Tops has already sold 12,000 boxes and its only been out for a week and a half. Wait until his first touchdown ...

After the event, I went over to Saint John Fisher college and the Bills training camp to catch some of their night practice. They were only doing drills, but the stands were packed. I ended up spending $200 on Bills gear ... caught up in Bills enthusiasm! When TO walked onto the field the crowd again began chanting. There was even a special TO "Tweeters" section. (For those of you that don't know, Owens is a big fan of Twitter. You can follow him & interact with him here.)

My opinion? He's a fun guy, although I'm not sure about the show so far. What I do think, is that the Buffalo Bills need a hero. TO wants to be a hero .. so let's all cross our fingers and hope that THIS YEAR WILL BE THE YEAR WE GO ALL THE WAY!


Reading is one of my favorite hobbies. I began reading chapter books in first grade and soon earned the token bookworm nickname. (I really thought it was cool though, that I could read that well ... especially since it was "suggested" I attend pre-k). In 4th grade, our teacher gave us an in class reading assignment and I finished so quickly, she didn't believe I actually read it. She gave me a pop quiz and I aced it. In your face Ms. Dawson!

I read all different genres; fiction and non-fiction, action and adventure, girly feel good, memoirs ... you name it. Of late, I have been reading a lot of memoirs dealing with substance abuse. Families with members going through it, personal experiences, rehabs ... everything.

I find it odd that I am attracted to this subject. It's not something I or anyone in my family has ever suffered through. Some of these books are physically and emotionally painful to read. 75% of the time I am crying while reading them. If you have ever even thumbed through the book "A Million Little Pieces" you know what I mean.

So why the attraction?

There is something very raw and real about this subject matter. It cuts through the BS of life and takes you to the hardships, emotions and situations everyone encounters. It connects me with feelings I never knew I had.

Incidentally, I am also reading a book called "Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs" right now. This book discusses how America has become so obsessed with pop culture that people have begun identifying themselves and their personalities with those they see emulated in the media. My first eye opening experience to this was when I realized that relationships aren't supposed to be like the ones you see on sitcoms. Watching Everybody Loves Raymond, I thought it was natural for couples to be constantly fighting and bickering ... how would I have known anything different? That is the type of relationship TV is constantly portraying.

So maybe this is the attraction I have to this odd genre of non-fiction. It's not because I am sickly sadistic and enjoy reading about other people's pain. Maybe it's because we are so surrounded with molded personalities and feelings that it forces me to wash them away and reconnect to real life.


Get off Twitter ... and connect!

I wrote this after participating in the second HR Happy Hour hosted by Steve Boese and Shauna Moerke. Literally. I handwrote it at 2am after waking up with the idea and not wanting to let it go. In the morning, I knew I had written something, but absolutely no recollection of what it was. That's why I always keep a pen and notepad near ... if I don't pin it down it I might never get it back!

Throughout the hour, every topic seemed to somehow tie back to Twitter or the conversation find its way back. The statement was made that despite how easy it is to be caught up in the Twitterverse ... it doesn't all come back to Twitter all the time. How much of a good thing is bad? Here's what I've learned ...

Lisa Rosendahl thought in 140 characters when she started tweeting. I organize notes and folders by hashtags. Punk Rock HR has an awesome organge kitty, Mr. Scrubby. Some think not of peoples real names, but of their Twitter names. The HR Maven is a fantastic photographer. The list could go on and on ... but the point is that this is a community and friendships just like ones in the city we live. They are just formed on technological playing field.

It comes down to personal choices. We can tweet a lot, we can tweet a little. We CAN let it consume our thoughts. But if that happens, don't forget about fresh air, conversations that don't start with an @ symbol and to live life. Maybe invite a Twitter friend or two to a phone conversation or if you are in the same city, for coffee.

FYI if you're ever in Buffalo, I would much rather prefer a margarita. ;-)


New & Improved

An FYI for anyone who missed out on some Twitter impulsiveness early this afternoon.

I began Twitter in December of 2008 after seeing how Andrea Michnik, a very smart DC gal I went to High School with, was using it. Not fully understanding the professional potential that came with it, I decided on the longtime nickname "Mittons" as my user name. It was a nickname I always loved and think of fondly. Unfortunately, people started to think my last name was Mittons which it is not.

So ... today I changed my name to Kelly_Mitton. You can now find me here. :) I also changed the name of my blog-instead of "student mitton" I'm now "Kelly Mitton".

The gears in my brain started turning after Stephanie Lloyd, former Twitter ATLrecruiter, changed her name. KellyMitton wasn't available so I kind of just gave up on it. Then today, employerbrander, now known as ChareeKlimek changed hers. In a rush of impulsiveness 10 minutes later I had not only a new name, but a new picture as well. Followed by us was sbjet who you will now find tweeting under SteveBoese.

I'm happy to have made the change and am glad to see others are also. Our tweets represent our personalities, thoughts, interests ... similarities and differences. Why shouldn't our user names represent us as well?

Betcha people remember my last name now. ;-)


After I posted this I learned of 2 additional converts. The first is allenEwilson, formerly known as hrdrummer. The second is more of a congratulations. Laurie Ruettiman has finally succeeded in taking over punkrockhr!!


Growing Pains

It's been awhile since I've really written on this blog. Project Cubicle was a fun post that came easily to me after working with Ben to create our "commandments." However, a comment that was left in the post before that, "Appreciating My Insides" has been eating away at me ever since I saw it. Mark Stelzner left the comment and it read:

"Terrific post Kelly and I'm really glad to see you writing as I think you have some powerful things to say. You've tapped into an interesting topic and I think (unfortunately) that most don't take the time to get past the external to even consider the internal. Thank for reminding us all!"

This comment brought 2 different emotions to me the first time I read it. 1)- It made me happy 2)- It terrified me. Let me explain.

The blogs I love to read are all written by people who DO have something powerful to say. They have experiences, opinions and beliefs. I'm still working on that. Sometimes, I feel like Ariel when her voice is locked up in the seashell hanging around Ursula's neck. I'm relatively new to the HR world having just graduated in December and it's early for me to have opinions on certain things. I have thoughts, of course. But some topics and debates I'm still feeling out for myself. That's why I love the Social Media world .. it has opened my eyes to so much more than a textbook could. I'm a sponge, constantly trying to absorb the conversations going on around me and learn from them.

So what powerful things do I have to say? Well to be completely honest, I'm not sure yet. So from now on every week I will write about my days at work, testing out the HR world. What I've learned, what I like, what I don't like. Contribute to my learning if you can ... maybe I'll end up teaching you a thing or two as well. ;-)


Project Cubicle

Cubicle etiquette. Some things may seem common sense, but I think many can testify that some people just don't get it. Eavesdropping on phone calls, ditching shoes at the desk, wearing way too much perfume ... how should an employee handle that? Besides employees, how should managers and HR handle these issues? Flip flops aren't appropriate business attire, but what are employees supposed to think if their supervisor is the one wearing them?

You start to see divides form. One group, blatantly disregards dress codes, common courtesy and common sense. The other group, knows the right thing to do and usually DOES the right thing ... but after seeing Jane Smith wear flip flops for a week with no repercussions might think "Well, if Jane can do it ... ". Then there is the third group. These are the ones that always do the right thing and are baffled, offended and outraged when someone else doesn't. This is who you will most likely hear the complaining from.

So what to do?

With enormous help from Ben Eubanks over at UpstartHR, Project Cubicle began to develop, a list of 10 office commandments, to broach these issues in a funny manner. So here they are:

Phones: In space, no one can hear you scream. In the office, everyone can. Use the phones wisely.
Speakerphones: The speakerphones are broken. Don't try to use them. Ever. Please.
Kitchen: We all eat from the kitchen, please keep it clean. The janitor is scary in person.
Refrigerator: Everyone loves pulling fungus out of the fridge. Wait, they don't. Toss it.
Cell phones: Keep cell use minimal (and silent). There's a problem if the beeps from your cube sound like an Atari convention.
Aroma: Cologne is a nich touch, but if the scent carries to the next floor of the building, please tone it down a notch.
Privacy: "Shh! I'm listening to Bob's conversation in the next cube. I'll get back to you later." If this is happening, it shouldn't be.
Smoking: Smoking is your thing, that's cool. Keep the breaks short and the butts in the trash. Or else.
Clothing: Welcome to the OFFICE. Not the beach. Not a party. Not high school. Dress appropriately.
Internet: Surfing. It's an awesome outside sport, but doesn't work well inside. At work. At your desk. Capiche?

So there you have it, Project Cubicle or the 10 Commandments of Office Etiquette. Print them out if you like, post them. Maybe you won't get drastic changes, but at least a few chuckles.

Have any you'd like to add?


Appreciating My Insides

Everyone is different. No one is the same. These have been grilled into my head since I was little. I still remember being in church at age 5 and singing "Red, yellow black or white, all are precious in His sight."

But those are external. Have you ever really thought about the internal differences that make us so diverse?

I am a naturally talkative person. I am comfortable in social situations, can chat it up with complete strangers and am confident in myself. Being a waitress for 3 years fed this personality trait and helped me fine tune it. It is easy for me to sympathize, empathize and spew out a bunch of professional sounding lines in seconds. It's natural, it's genuine and it is part of me and my personality.

I've never really stopped to think how it would be if it were the other way around. What if I felt shy in social situations and uncomfortable talking to strangers? What if nerves constantly surrounded my every move in life? I wonder if I would be successful, I would almost certainly be in a different career field. I take my outgoing personality for granted and I shouldn't.

External differences between 2 people are obvious. They are there staring you in the face. The next time you are speaking with someone and start to feel impatient or taken aback by their attitude put yourself in their shoes. What seems logical in demeanor and attitude to you, may be coming from someone complete different internally.

Appreciate who you are, inside and out. And don't forget to appreciate and understand who others may be as well.


What happens when The Big Bang Theory & Commencement speeches collide:

Larry died.

Larry dies at least once a month, but this time, I know he's not coming back ... my roommate tossed him in the garbage while I was away. She left his pot on the counter. Larry was my plant. The only living thing I have ever been entrusted with. And he ended up in the trash. Awesome. It was a *great* return from a truly *great* weekend.

Ever have one of those trips where everything that could go wrong, does? This weekend, my Mother & I took the 5 hour trip to Potsdam, NY to watch my little sister graduate from SUNY Potsdam.

It's appropriate that as I'm writing this I'm watching "Two and a Half Men" ... because besides seeing Sister graduate, Chuck Lorre was her commencement speaker.

Chuck Lorre is a producer & writer, currently known for The Big Band Theory, previously, Charles in Charge, Roxanne, Two and a Half Men and many others.

I didn't pay too much attention while the President was introducing him, I was busy trying to put feeling back into my toes.

He caught my attention though. His first words were "Is anyone Twittering, Blogging or Texting this speech?" and the theme was "personal reinvention, or how I stumbled ass backwards into a job where grammar was ignored and neurosis, fear, desperation, childhood wounds and mediocrity was richly rewarded"

Throughout the course of his speech I heard the words condom, sex, pissed, pubic hair, sex, wasted, drunk, asshole, dickhead and oh so many more. The ASL interpretor was doing a lot of finger spelling ... most of his language didn't translate any other way. He commented "Notre Dame had the President of the United States at their commencement. You have me ... that just goes to show, you get what you're willing to pay for."

A SUNY Potsdam student for 2 years before dropping out, he made sure to mention that he learned nothing and in retrospect was the biggest waste of time he'd ever spent. "This is sort of like revisiting the scene of a crime, the crime being that I learned nothing here. For me, Potsdam was two years wasted — with the emphasis on wasted."

There were a few nuggets of, inspiration, in his speech. Or as much as we were going to get. He encouraged students to look beyond the classroom, get out into the world and LEARN. "Smart by itself doesn't get the job done, but experience can kick Smart's butt so go out and start gaining it."

Chuck also said that the one thing he has learned is that in order to get anything in life, you first must be willing to give something.

How true.

Life ... relationships ... it's all a two way street. Be willing to open yourself to others. Share resources and knowledge. Introduce friends, fight for what you know is right. Educate, inform, LEARN! That is a key to success. (Ok, that is my own interpretation and most definitely not his, I think he might be angry to think someone could have taken something positive from that speech.)

So congratulations to my beautiful sister who is sure to go far in life.

And RIP Larry.

EDIT! You can now watch the full speech on YouTube here. Make sure to watch all 3 parts!


How do you Focus?

Last Tuesday I was invited by our Training & Development Specialist to attend her training course, Franklin Covey Focus. The name Franklin Covey comes from a combination of Stephen Covey, the creator, and Benjamin Franklin.

She said I didn't need it, I just needed to become familiar with our courses ... Hmm

I was excited to go because it is a part of my department and being new to the company I want to become involved, know what's going on and find my niche within the organization.

I also REALLY wanted that nice leather Franklin Covey planner.

The class began by discussing the "Time runaround dilemma". Put simply our time dilemma stems from:

Because we don't know what is really important, everything seems important.
Because everything seems important, we try to do everything.
Others see us doing everything, so they expect us to do everything.
Doing everything keeps us busy, so we don't have time to think about what really is important.

Sound familiar to anyone?

The first step is to understand the difference between "Important" and "Urgent". At first thought, these words might seem the same. But they are in fact, very different. Defined, important means "of much or great significance or consequence". Urgent meaning "requiring immediate action or attention; pressing". To understand these differences, our tasks are split into 4 quadrents of the Time Matrix.

Q1: Necessity. Items in this quadrant are crises, pressing and deadline driven. They are important AND urgent.

Q2: Productivity and Balance: These items include preparation, planning, prevention and relationship building. They are important but NOT urgent. Many of these actions may prevent an item from reaching Q1 status.

Q3: Deception. Needless interruptions, unnecessary reports, unimportant email, meeting phone calls. These are urgent but NOT important.

Q4: Waste and Excess. Busywork, time wasters, TV, internet ... the list could go on and on. Not only are these items not urgent they are also not important.

Think about the feelings you have when you are experiencing each quadrant. The only quadrant associated with positive feelings is Q3. While it is impossible to eliminate items from other quadrants, spending time in Q3 will alievate stress from other quadrants while creating contentness and feelings of accomplishment. Spending time in Q3 also makes us more capable to say NO to Q3 and Q4 activites.

One should strive to Manage Q1, Focus on Q2, Minimize Q3 and Avoid Q4.

We were then asked to set a defining set of values for ourselves and following up with a clarifying statement. These are things you value personally and/or professionally. A few examples include: Teamwork, Faith, Integrity, Humor, Family. The clarifying statement is there to elaborate what that value means to you.

These values are what you feel you should live by. These are pulled into your Q2 items. But are you fulfilling them?

After defining our values, we were asked to set achievable goals and create timelines and action plans for our goals.

One important thing they touched on was "Sharpening the Saw". This is your YOU time. Schedule it out, plan for it. If you let your Q1, Q3 and Q4 items take from "Sharpening the Saw" you will spend less time in Q2 which is where you want to be.

There were numerous other activites throughout the course that explanined focus and time management and how to better organize ourselves. It was extremely helpful and I am proud to be apart of an organization that invests in developing these skills in associates. This is a course I would recommend others to participate in or offer to others.

Its been a week and I have been diligently using my planner and accomplishing my action items. I am setting weekly and daily goals and it is a good feeling to be accomplishing the things I am setting out to do.

This is one life lesson I'm happy to have learned.


The Game of Life

This might be long & personal. I need to write. I won't hold it against you if you don't read it.

I think life is playing with me.

Right now life is going good, too good. I haven't been making any bad decisions, hurting any people or wandering around like a little lost disaster. Unless you count Christmas when I made my sister cry. That's another story, but really I was just trying to help her. My Uncle also recently passed, and while it is sad, I know it is for the better. He was struggling for almost 10 years with cancer, in great pain and I know he is in a better place, looking out for us. My Dad always said he was his "Protecter". RIP Uncle Mike (and Happy Birthday today)

Life is good. My job is wonderful, the people I work with are great and there is a lot of opportunity for me to explore myself and my strengths with the company. I am closer than ever with my Family, even my Dad who I have been slowly trying to forgive and rebuild a relationship with. My friends are also good, although I don't see them as often as I should ... having trouble with this work/life balance thing. I am finally over the X, ready to move on with my life and I think I might have even made a new friend out of it. Well not really a "new" friend. We got along fine before, but then I made one of my mistakes and yada yada. Think Seinfeld ... the yada yada always has a story. But I think we are OK now.

So what's wrong? The fact that nothing is going wrong has been eating away at me. I keep having this reoccuring, terrifying dream that all my teeth are falling out. I am stressed because I'm not stressed. How is that normal?? I must be broken.

In the back of my mind I'm waiting for the house of cards to come falling in around me. I'm walking on egg shells waiting for it to happen. Happen already!! Get it over with and let me start picking up the pieces. That is what I spent the first 23 years of my life doing, picking up pieces. It's what I'm comfortable with.

So ... I decided to get away to Florida for a few days.

I got lost in the BWI airport on the way down, no one told me I had an extra layover so I was looking for a flight that didn't exist. I managed not to sunburn, but used 70SPF the entire time. Well, my elbow and hand are suburned so I look a little strange. Also, I am horrible at packing and realized too late I didn't bring anything that actually matched. The flight home, the woman next to me sat half in my seat and slept the whole time. She didn't snore though (good thing right!?) she snorted. Best 3 hours of my life.
I also got a tattoo.

Impulsively, the friend I went down to visit called me and said "Let's get tattoo's, start thinking!" So I did ... the answer came easy. FAITH

People who know my whole life story, and all of the silly, young and stupid things I did, always expect me to have regret. At 23 I have lived through much more then anyone would imagine (even if you know me, you don't know it all trust me) Maybe I should. Maybe it makes me a bad person, but I don't. I wouldn't be me without all of it. I would much rather have FAITH in myself, my life, who I am and the decisions I make, then have regret. You wouldn't want to live with regret tattooed on you would you!? It would look ridiculous.

So now, I have FAITH on my side, literally. <insert groan here>

I guess to overcome my anxiety about not having crisis in my life, I'll have to have faith that it will all work all like it's supposed to.

PS I really stink at Blog titles. Sorry.


Where's Your Big Picture?

So, it's been awhile. Life has been busy and crazy ... I'm loving it. I've decided to sit for my PHR in December and begin a Dual Master's degree program in January; MBA & Communications. Everything is great going ... except for one thing.

I have been having some sleep issues. Maybe non-sleep issues is a better word; I don't sleep.

This started when I moved into my first apartment. Imagine how excited I was-buying my own groceries, doing my own laundry ... I even got to wash my own dishes! Life was good. Little did I know, that I had also inherited some noisy nocturnal neighbors. They broke windows, kicked holes in the walls and pounded around until 6:00am most nights.

My Doctor put me on sleeping medication to help me survive the noise. It helped, but I still didn't sleep through the night. By the time my lease was up, my body had become so dependent on medicine that it forgot how to fall asleep on its own.

So I sought the help of a Hypnotist, Clay. Better yet, my Mom did. She was convinced that this would solve my insomnia. Last week I finished my sessions and am happy to say I have been sleeping sound for 2 weeks now.

Besides sleeping, Clay taught me an important lesson: Look for the Big Picture. When you hold a picture up to your eyes, you can only see a section at a time, blurry and unclear what it really is. The further your move it away, the clearer it becomes. You see the idea, the thought, the moment. You aren't surrounded by seemingly unconnected detail.

Sometimes life can be overwhelming. To-do lists grow, responsibilities increase and pressure mounds. Take a moment to step back and look at the big picture. Don't become so concentrated on one thing, you forget it, forget LIFE. Don't let the details hold you back. Keep moving, one step at a time, one to-do check at a time and the pieces will fall into place.


What's a Birthday anyway?

So ... tomorrow is my Birthday. I will be a whooping 23 years of age.

I'm still excited about Birthdays. My Mom almost couldn't have dinner with me, and I was crushed. I am looking forward to brownies and blowing out candles with my wonderful family around me ... of course in 23 year old fashion going out on the town with girlfriends!

I guess I'm not a grown up yet. Grown ups always complain about Birthdays. "Don't wish me Happy Birthday" "One more year of getting older" "I don't want to think about it ... " WHY!?

My Birthday is MY DAY to celebrate how far I have come in the past year. My efforts, my failures, my accomplishments. I am much further today, than I was last year, turning 22. I worked at 2 new internships, was the President of UB SHRM, graduated, got a job and an apartment. My Birthday is always my year in reflection. Next year, turning 24 I know I will be much further than I will be tomorrow, at 23. And that is how I know I will always have GOOD birthdays, to look forward to. I'm young, but I strive to make each year, each day just a little better then the last.

I also get to eat as much Birthday cake as I want.

The strategies may change, the goals may change. But March 11th will always be my day of celebration. It's what keeps me moving forward. Why would I want to set myself up for a bad birthday? I work for it everyday of the year. Maybe as I get older, that will change. A Birthday will become ... just a birthday. A year will go by so quickly, I won't even see it. But I hope not!

So, when do YOU celebrate yourself?


Is it Luck?

I have never been a lucky person. Scratch off's are wasted on me, my silent auction ticket number always goes uncalled and I have been hit 4 times by other cars while driving. BUT, my road to HR was ... lucky.

When I started college, I was going to be a Pharmacist. I failed Biology my first semester. Scratched that off the list.

I moved on to Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Social Sciences. I'm pretty sure that they made that up. Before I had a chance to even figure out what it meant ... I switched to English. Writing was always something I enjoyed and I had a way with words. I won my little brother 3 scholarships writing his college essays/applications for him. (In retrospect, I should have demanded some loyalties for that) Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do with an English degree and I wasn't looking to be a Lawyer or a Teacher. So what was I going to do?

On a whim, I spoke to the Mom of one of my sister's friends. She worked in Human Resources, traveled the world and truly enjoyed what she did. After talking to Barb, I was hooked. HR was the way to go. I enrolled in the School of Management at UB and was ready to go.

The next Spring, I emailed her asking if there were any internship opportunities available at her office. Without hesitation, or looking at my resume (which was non-existant at the time) she offered me a paid internship. Barb didn't want me to mess around with paper pushing either. Her attitude was that I needed to learn something of value. Before I knew it I was creating Merit Increase spreadsheets, learning paygrades; min/target/max, helping implement a new HRIS system and facilitating open enrollment. (A month earlier to that, I told a Professor I didn't think I would need Excel skills ... silly me.)

I worked 3 jobs that summer. Interning 30 hours a week, Day Camp for 2 days, waitressing 5 nights and going to summer class twice a week. I was exhausted and terrified. Was real life going to be this hard?

The true experiences and value I took from that internship led me to get involved with the college chapter of SHRM. I was the Chapter Liaison in 2007-2008 school year and President until this past December when I graduated. This opened up many doors to me. I developed a Mentorship Program for our members and local HR Professionals and became involved in BNHRA, the Buffalo chapter of SHRM.

I was lucky enough to be hired full time after graduating into one of the the companies I interned with. It is a wonderful company, looking to strengthen and develop me. I couldn't have asked for anything better.

If there is one thing I wish college students understood, it is that while college is fun, it is also the time to set up your future. Don't wait until after graduating to think "Hmm maybe I should do something now". Be proactive about your future! People want to help, want to share and watch you grow.

Maybe luck has a little to do with it, but so does hard work and taking a chance. Reach out to professionals in your field ... someone will grab hold.


Why Waitresses (and Waiters!) Can Make a Good Hire

If you've ever seen the movie Waiting, you may be skeptical of what a waitress or waiter can bring to the table. Having spent 3 grueling years serving, there are a few key attributes I know they might have.

Customer Service. Quick on their feet, comfortable with all types of personalities (oh, they have seen EVERYTHING), ability to communicate effectively. The soft skills on a resume easily translate from restaurant experience.

Multi-Tasking. This is a big one. Try taking care of 6 tables: 1 in need of drinks, the other needs to order and one is upset that their steak was undercooked. All the while, the ice bin in the back needs to be filled, table 64's food is up and the pop (yes POP) machine ran out of coke. Their minds are working constantly and furiously for hours at a time. Make one mistake and it could end up costing them a tip. You betcha that they know how to prioritize and deliver.

Patience. Sometimes it takes Grandma a little longer to decide what she'd like to eat. Sometimes there are 5 little kids screaming at them. They wait, they smile, they serve. Period.

They can SELL! Ever order the dinner special or the "Gingerbread Holiday Martini" ? They get rewarded for that. Often times, schedules are dictated by a server's PPA-Per Person Average. If you do not have a high PPA you won't be scheduled the "money making shifts" because after all, it's really about the restaurant profit.

Grunt Work: It's called "side-work" and it STINKS. But it's part of the job. They accept it, get it done and understand that there is no way around it.

This of course, is your ideal server with experience in a high volume restaurant. When recruiting for entry level positions, they might be 1 in 10, 1 in 100 or 1 in 1000. But definitely worth a second glance.

*PS: A life lesson for everyone-always be nice to your server. Trust me on this.