Consumerism: Serving Others even when the Job Gets Hard

Consumerism: The social and economic order and ideology that encourages the acquisition of goods and services in ever-increasing amounts.


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If you study or have studied Economics, you will know that consumerism refers to economic policies which emphasize consumption. Consumers have free choice to choose what they want, when they want it, and how they want their products.

I am a consumer. So are you. My great-great grandchildren will be consumers and none of this will ever change. So every job you see serves a purpose to sell or give to entice consumers to continue wanting or needing those services.

But sometimes it gets hard. Consumers can hurt companies, reviews, job growth and continue demanding more, more, more until the ones selling to consumers walk out, resign, retire, or find other jobs.

I am a consumer. So are you.

This past weekend my family and I went for a long walk on the beach and stopped in at a quaint beach side coffee shop afterwards. The coffee shop is expensive, the service perfect. We paid for our drinks and slice of cake and walked outside, sitting under a palm tree, enjoying the ocean breezes. The server brought us out the most beautiful cups of latte I have ever seen. It was meticulous and delicious. We made that coffee shop our go to place after long walks on the beach.


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Why? Because as a consumer, I expected to get what I paid for and we definitely got it. Good service. Top quality product, and beautiful atmosphere. It was enough to make us coming back for more.

As a consumer, I understand good things like that beautiful latte are worth paying for and waiting for. But looking back on my past jobs, I see a truth about humans too.

I was a cook at a nursing and rehabilitation facility for years. My job was hard. Most days we nibbled a bite here and there and did not sit down for even a break. The elderly needed us to provide services for them. The team I was privileged to work with in that kitchen often worked with me double shifts, and we worked all holidays, even Christmas Day.

That was hard. It was little money, barely over minimum wage, and some days I just wanted to walk out. But something happened. I started paying attention to everything going on around me and noticed the one thing the elderly appreciated was the kitchen. It was me making fresh coffee for them when they asked. It was the diabetic desserts I had to invent for them based on their doctors orders.


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They admired and taught me so much about the little things in life. They came there to die, but found joy in me offering them a service.

I saw that my service and hard work I was doing in that kitchen was bringing great joy and fulfillment to the elderly. And most often, when I got to know them is when they would pass away. It was the hardest job I have ever had, but yet the most fulfilling.

But I didn’t learn much about consumerism until I started working for a bank again, and saw that we are all consumers. We all have and leave an impact on businesses, the employees, and economy. We are all serving others within a capacity to either give good service and quality products, or leave a bad taste in the mouth.

No job is easy. We live in an economy bred for selling and making products for consumers. Sometimes those jobs are hard because the consumers make it hard. Sometimes the job is hard because the company doesn’t care about it’s employees, but rather cares more about its bottom line and shareholders.


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And sometimes, we can look at the bigger picture of what service we are truly giving the world, and find joy in small moments, even at times we want to quit. Just like I learned while working for a nursing home as a cook.




Are you Listening? The ONE truth about Working under a Bad Boss

A company is people. Employees want to know-am I being listened to or am I a cog in the wheel? People really need to feel wanted.” -Sir Richard Branson


Bad bosses are unapproachable. They don’t listen. Image courtesy of alexisdc at

Burnout: The exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration. (Mirriam-Webster Definition)

I never knew what burnout was. I had worked for years under various management, corporate ideologies and temperaments until I thought my knuckles would bleed from violently navigating various systems in desperate attempts to try to do a good job.

But it wasn’t me. I was burned out. Big time. I talked to my boss about it. I expressed my concerns. What happened? Nothing. Nothing happened. No one listened.

“If people like you, they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.”- Zig Ziglar

If you don’t listen to your employees they will think you don’t like them. You see when an employee gets tired it shows. They may feel undervalued, overworked and just plain frustrated with the in’s and out’s of their daily jobs, but one truth remains.

Burnout is just a fraction of the problem employees face.


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There is always a fuel to the fire of this cause for employee retention issues. And it always starts with management.

Now don’t get me wrong. Sometimes businesses take an unlucky guess hiring an employee who turns out to be a lazy slob in the job and unreliable. I’m not talking about those losers. I’m talking about the employee you have who is always on time, does their best and often wins awards and always dependable.

The employee you never listen to. “Before you act, listen…” -Ernest Hemingway

The ONE problem management has that tells a good employee they have a bad boss is: The manager doesn’t listen to them.

They just don’t listen.

Maybe the “good” employee has been trying to get your attention. Maybe that employee has been trying really hard to make positive changes in the corporation but keeps falling on deaf ears. Maybe that employee has been trying to talk to you, but you interrupt and intersect your own feelings and ideas based on your role in management.

The problem with bad bosses is they just don’t listen. 


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They don’t care about the employee’s needs. They don’t want to listen to petty issues about problems and road blocks making the employee’s job harder. They don’t listen when the employee expresses concern about the scheduling, or other things that come up due to life.

Bad bosses don’t listen.

So then because the good employee has a bad boss who doesn’t listen, that employee puts the wall up. They become disengaged. They hold it all in. They take notes. They become complacent. They often start looking elsewhere for employment or do what they can to make lateral moves or get promoted to get out of there. They start working just to have a day off. Which is another problem: “If you live for the weekends and vacations, your shit is broken.” -Gary Vaynerchuck

That employee starts exhibiting signs of burnout. Their work performance may start to have negative impacts on the team. They are just there to punch a time clock then have a day off. Employee burnout starts somewhere. Pretty soon the whole team suffers.


“If you live for the weekends and vacations, your shit is broken.” -Gary Vaynerchuck. Image courtesy of Chaiwat at

When no one listens, businesses lose revenue. Employees leave bad managers. Bad managers who refuse to change and wise up will keep driving good employees away and the job will start catapulting people through revolving doors. The turnover rate will be high. The online reviews will show burned out former employees leaving their negative remarks for the world to see.

But did anyone listen to them? Did anyone listen when a boss expected unethical behavior or else threaten their employment if they didn’t do something? Did HR listen to the employees filing complaints or concerns, hoping someone somewhere up top would do something about this bad manager?

Bad bosses don’t listen. And bad bosses start at the top and trickle down, sadly. “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” -Stephen Covey 

So good employees leave bad bosses and companies, and nothing is done for retention because no one listened. The ONE truth about working under a bad boss is, you know you have a bad manager when they do not listen.

And until top level management or Corporate owner’s actually invest in hiring the right bosses who exhibit empathetic listening skills and accountability, nothing will change.

“Leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say.”-Bill Carney


If you can’t listen to your employees, then how can you help them? Image courtesy of iosphere at





It’s Okay to take A Moment

I’m always reminded this time of year of how priceless moments are. The stillness and beauty of snow, watching the steam rise from a freshly poured cup of coffee, or just a moment of silence.

That type of silence you have after a long day at work where you pull your legs under your butt, throw a fluffy blanket over your lap and sit there and stare.


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This time of year especially, I plug those Christmas tree lights in and plaster myself on the sofa with a cup of coffee in my hand and sit there…and just stare at the lights.

It’s a moment.

A peaceful silence.

Like when the first snow falls. You can smell it in the air, the brisk sharpness of Winter’s frigid embrace. The whiteness paints the landscapes with a serene purity.

Like the beach after a storm. The salt sprays your face with hope, the waves batter the sand and retreat as if some mystical force has conquered the shorelines.


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And here it is again Christmas time and the internet blows up with articles and facts about burnout and stress and financial obligations. I sit on my sofa with my coffee, take a deep breath and just thankful my family can breathe for the moment.

In this chaotic mess of life we live in, it is too easy to be repulsed, offended and pulled in too many directions that benefit NOTHING. If we let everything we see on the news or read online get to us we would all die of heart attacks. But we would have died yesterday because of impatience.

It’s okay to take a moment. That’s what we remember. The moments.

There will always be the news. Another internet article. Another problem or situation at work that haunts you. Some things will never change, and we can’t force them too if we petitioned it, complained to HR or lobbied legislatures.

But there is only one moment in this second and the next second comes way too fast. Every moment is different from the other and always will be.


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Christmas is here soon. Thanksgiving flew by. And then after the Holidays, we start all over again with a new goal, job or hope for the future. It’s okay to take a moment and watch that first snowfall. Or curl up on the sofa under a fluffy blanket with a drink in your hand and just stare at the Christmas lights.

We remember the moments, the silence, the peace. So enjoy the moment, even if it means taking a breath and being thankful for little things, even when the Christmas season may seem overwhelming.








The Art of Mastering Dreams through Disappointments

“Be yourself. No one can ever tell you you’re doing it wrong.”-James Leo Herlihy

I’m pretty sure when books were invented, that the world may have stopped spinning. My whole childhood revolved around being an antisocial, deliberately planting myself in my room making up crazy stories on college ruled paper with a number two pencil.

I had big dreams for myself.

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I set unrealistic goals.

I disappointed myself a lot.

But I never stopped writing. I never stopped dreaming. Sometimes life got in the way of me writing. Most times it was my choices that stalled that dream.

But I kept writing, nonetheless. I set more unrealistic goals. I gave myself more dreams, I wrote everything down on paper.

My disappointments got fewer and far between.

I think as my life went on, I grasped this infinite knowledge known as: “experience” and I throttled those through my soul until my heart split into shards of merciless wounds.

But most people would call it: “hardships”



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Because life is hard. But I never stopped writing. I kept setting goals. And I think maybe as time went on, with my experience (hardships) I saw that setting goals is good, but I was able to be more realistic within my limits of what I had to work with.

Artists know that a number two pencil can create great things, but paint fills it in better. Paint gives reality to depth. Paint gives a visual when people cannot see past the black and white.

So I started with a number two pencil on lined paper. I had to learn somewhere. I kept writing. I kept setting goals. I still have disappointments, but I don’t give up.

I will probably keep setting unrealistic expectations for myself the rest of my life. But that won’t stop me from writing. Disappointments teach people that even those can be mastered into a work of art. It just takes perseverance and time.







This is Why Your Business Sucks

Now that I have your attention, we can get down to business.

Your business sucks. It sucks rotten eggs.



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Because of the (bad) assistance and advice provided by a company to those people who buy or use its products or services. In other words: Customer Service.  This definition was gladly provided by Merriam-Webster, in case you were wondering.

This past weekend my family and I drove a twelve hour round trip to Atlanta, then back to Florida.

On the way there, and on the way back we encountered the worst type of Customer Service. It was so bad I had to write about it.

Now let me make myself clear, I work in Customer Service. Day in, day out, Helping my Clients is my number one priority. If I don’t do my job, then I don’t have a job. End of story.

But some companies don’t care about customer service, and continue to hire rotten egg people who don’t give a hoot about giving you customer service either. I could name a few (a cable company here in Florida we use as our internet provider, what a joke!)


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But, I want to discuss the vital necessity of good Customer Service. Because your business is either hinged on good service, or eventually you will lose business. If you lose business, then you go out of business eventually. If you go out of business, it’s not like us Consumers will be missing your sucky service. After all, there are other companies out there swooning the customers and good at it.

Just a side note: the only way companies stay in business even with bad Customer Service, is because they have a monopoly on the market and no new competition. Like our sucky internet provider.

You get the picture.

So my husband and I stopped at a restaurant in a small town outside of Atlanta, Georgia. Not just any restaurant. A main, down home, country cooking one that is nation-wide. I prefer IHOP, but this was the only one we could find.


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We were seated pretty fast, but the waitress took forever it seemed to come to our table. We just wanted coffee, and our four year old just needed something cold to drink to pacify him until the food came. (The food was another horror story, but not worth mentioning in this blog)

During the hour we were there: we waited eons to get our food. When she delivered the food, she didn’t bring silverware. My husband had to go find her to get silverware. When he saw her grab the silverware, then she walked away to another table and started talking to them instead of bringing us utensils.

In our eyes, it looked as if she had the gift of gab more than she did doing her job. To make matters worse, she walked away with our silverware and disappeared.

My husband walked across the restaurant to find her again, asking her to give us our silverware. Then after that, she disappeared. No coffee refills. No drink refills. Nothing.

The food sucked. The service sucked. She sucked. As customers, and consumers, because of the bad service: in our mind, that restaurant sucked.


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We left before we finished our food, which was cold by the time we found her to get silverware. We did not give her a tip, and complained to the cashier. The cashier wanted us to wait to talk to a manager, but we were so exhausted with a fussy toddler we refused.

We left unhappy customers. We spent money at that establishment, and to the very least that restaurant should have had the decency to make sure they hired competent help. I also felt bad for other customers traveling through that could only find that restaurant on the way south.

Again, if you are a business with bad customer service….

This is a prime example of having a monopoly on the market, giving bad service, yet still making money because there are no other options to the consumers.

Another thing that makes or breaks a business: First Impressions. The definition of First Impressions is as follows:


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In psychology, a first impression is the event when one person first encounters another person and forms a mental image of that person. Impression accuracy varies depending on the observer and the target (person, object, scene, etc.) being observed. 

Dear waitress and restaurant: Your first impression sucked. Your food sucked. The service was atrocious.

Consumers are tired of bad customer service. We pay for a service, and expect to get that service. It’s not just this experience we had this past weekend, it is everywhere. First impressions make the difference between a waitress getting a tip, or that restaurant getting a repeat customer.

Same goes for a bank. A car dealership. A grocery store. The list goes on and on.

Businesses succeed on service. Perhaps the product is good enough a business doesn’t need service. But in this day and age where people work hard for their money, and expect to get a refill on coffee during a twelve hour round trip….

Service is everything.





Hurricane Nonsense & Missing Donuts

With all this Hurricane Irma Nonsense, I just don’t get why Publix had to sell out of donuts.

Of all the ridiculous things we go through in life, but donuts?

I mean, after going without electricity, sweating to death in a sauna of a house, taking cold showers and still going to work, no television or wifi…

But donuts?


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There is just no excuse for that. Us Floridians need those Publix donuts like we do a brisk dip in the ocean. After the Hurricane, I drove to the grocery store, because like all good Floridians, we know the best food to buy when the electricity is out is donuts.

They were sold out. It was horrific.

I almost cried.

No donuts in the deli. No donuts up the isles. Not even any donut holes. I swear even the buy one get one free Entenmenns, (Is that the proper spelling? See, I’m so distraught about this I don’t think I spelled it right), donuts were gone.

I left so disappointed.  Irene already screwed everyone over as is, but missing donuts?

We have got to do better next time Publix. Because us Floridians need serious donut therapy after these ridiculous hurricanes.


Stop Cynicism at the Doorway by Taking Care of Yourself First

A change is in the air. Autumn is coming. You go into the stores and see Fall and Halloween decor already gracing the cluttered shelves, and people starting to huddle around those isles.


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Businesses are engulfed in the third quarter, stores are hiring temporary workers to fill in the soon to be Holiday bustles, and I am sitting here contemplating the rest of the year.

I bought a day planner, and believe it or not, have days and months til the end of the year filled with appointments, seminars, blogging schedules, writing novel schedules, publication dates, family time, events….wait..

STOP. It hit me today. Here we go again, the Holidays approaching and this is all madness. Already?!

My children just finished Summer vacation and starting school this week, and yet already our culture is advertising things to buy for this Fall. And we all know Christmas will be tossed in the mix soon after. A feeling of dread hit me.


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When I scrolled to the month of October, I realized I had already filled in a wish list for Christmas gifts. Here we go again, I thought to myself. And then I stopped.

I realized as I was scrolling through this day planner so many things were planned, I failed to plan anything for myself to detox from work. I realized many nights I come home mentally exhausted to the point of going cross-eyed, and then I jump right in to help my husband with the kids, dinner and household chores.

I failed at taking time for me. I was putting everything else first besides what mattered most. My husband was doing it too, after all he is an Entrepreneur himself.

I read an article from an Entrepreneur last week, he said he is taking a month sabbatical, some time off to unwind and clear his head. I thought, wow what a great idea. Realistically and financially, most people cannot do that, but we can stop what we are doing and take a break to clear our heads.

So I did just that.


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I stopped what I was doing. I left a cup of coffee on the table alongside my daily planner and I drove to the beach. I took a long walk, breathing, meandering through the water as they touched the shoreline. Just being me. I cleared my head.



When I left the beach I felt more energized and ready to tackle my day, than I had working all week at work with no breaks and customers constantly in my face.

As working professionals, especially Entrepreneurs, it is vital to our survival we stop what we are doing at times and breathe. We get so caught up in the schedule, killing ourselves with the tip of our pens at every single thing we jot down on a calendar.

Our jobs are important. The customers are important. However, constant in-your-face humans can breed cynicism and create a bad perception for any company if the employee isn’t getting a moment to breathe! I realized I was at my breaking point.


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Our health is more important. Our emotional stability is vital to our making it or breaking it in this career centered world. Let’s face it, if you don’t take time for yourself then what are you living for? Every person needs a moment of silence or a break from time to time.


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Before the Holiday hectics hit, make sure you are jotting down moments of time in that day planner for you. After all, Rome didn’t get built in one day. Wall Street isn’t going anywhere any time soon. You add more value to your team by having rested, coming to work refreshed.

Most importantly, you add value to yourself and your family. If you aren’t any good to you, how can you be worth anything to your job or anything else in life? Take care of yourself first.