what will your legacy be?

There are somedays when I blog about something new I have learned about CSS, PHP, MySQL, Apache, etc. There are also somedays I come home, unwind, and realize I have much bigger life lessons to share. Although life is not all fun and games I always try learn something from each experience. This is what I learned/realized today:

It is human nature to be liked and loved by all yet there are sometimes when you are faced with a choice. You can either take the path of least resistance and go along with the majority all the while knowing what you are doing is not right, or you can take a stand and try and do something different. As a history major in college I often studied and read about such “difficult” people: the Pilgrims, Mahatma Gandhi, MLK Jr, Rosa Parks, etc and had great respect for them. Why? Because they decided not to go with the rest of the pack…they wanted change and they would not accept the status quo. They exposed themselves in order to try and make change happened even if it pissed people off and left them open for criticism. Apple had a brilliant marketing campaign titled “Think Different” in the late 1990s which summed it up perfect:

Here’s to the crazy ones.
The misfits.
The rebels.
The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can praise them, quote them, disagree with them
disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing that you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They invent. They imagine. They heal.
They explore. They create. They inspire.
They push the human race forward.
Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art?
Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written?
Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
We make tools for these kinds of people.
While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think that they can
change the world, are the ones who do.

Where am I going with this? Change is made by trying something different – not doing the same over and over. If you are unhappy with something in your life, take a chance…break out of the mold. It is ok to be unpopular. In fact, I would much rather be unpopular and strive for change, than to sit quietly while life passes me by. We all have choices, so what will your legacy be?

Doing What's Right

I would like to think we all have standards of some sort. I expect people to treat me with respect as I will treat them with respect. Other people demand to be catered to at all costs – all the time. This morning at the train station the police were out and about issuing tickets for all people who crossed the tracks (there are 3 sets – closest: from Chicago, middle: express trains to and from Chicago depending on the time, far set: local to Chicago). Anyone who has ridden the Metra for a few days/weeks/years has crossed the tracks (after looking both ways of course) to catch their train (and we have also seen people get killed doing the same thing too). It is not always smart, but when you know the schedule, you also know what other – if any – other trains are coming and going. This morning, I was trying to catch an express train. Unfortunately, the train showed up early, and after seeing the police there, I was not going to cross and get slapped with a $250.00 fine. Don’t worry, some idiot did…and got fined. What I loved best about this situation came after the guy got issued the ticket. The people who could not cross the trains (where I was standing) starting yelling and swearing at the police officers for “not letting them cross”. Not only did the people yell at the police as the train sat at the station making up for it’s early arrival, when it passed, a mob of people went over and got in the police officers’ faces and began complaining. As frustrating as it was to miss my train, at least I could see the point of the exercise. The police were trying to help prevent careless crossers from being killed.

I felt pretty good about myself not getting all flustered and patiently waited for the next train…until an express train was on it’s way through and someone started crossing the tracks just as the bells started to go off. The crowd of people started talking and yelling at the police to ticket him. No ticket. The crowd then started talking about ok – it was like a yellow light. Then…after the express train made it past our stop – bells still going off and lights still flashing, the “yellow light guy” crossed the other set of tracks and the police did not blink. You can imagine the crowd…yelling at the police to give him a ticket , etc and I have to say at that point I also joined in. Did the police officers even attempt to ticket him? No. Double standards? Yes. I have always said this…I can understand and appreciate standards…but double standards drive me crazy! Fun times. Happy Birthday A!

Trader Joes' Guarantee

Today I went into a Trader Joe’s to pick up some beer and the the guy at the checkout reminded me that if I did not like the beer I was welcome to bring it back for a full refund. I told him I was very impressed with their customer service and he told me it was to promote customers being more adventurous. I have been a Trader Joe’s for a few years now and even more so after tonight. I love that they want their customers to be more adventurous with their choices. Cheers to Trader Joe’s for making me think about trying new things!

Spitting is Prohibited But Making Crazy Signs is Ok

I love interesting and crazy signs (Ex: garage sale) and after looking through some pictures with a friend who recently returned from New Zealand, I thought I would share yet another great sign that someone decided to make and post. Even better…there is a law against spitting and a fine attached!

Customer Service

I have always found myself sticking with companys that offered really great customer service. Personally, I would prefer to pay more to get good customer service than to pay less and get frustrated every time something goes wrong. On that note, I love Land Rover. Not only does the company make amazing cars, they treat their customers like rock stars. Evan, Amy, and I made a trip to the Land Rover dealer on Saturday to enjoy a complimentary inspection. Not only did they have complimentary inspections, they catered in lunch, had free massages, and had off-road demonstrations. Evan brought his own lunch, but he did enjoy touching the Range Rovers (of course I made sure his hands were clean). Land Rover goes above and beyond to make their customers feel like they can count on a first class treatment and I appreciate that. Thank you Land Rover!

Help is Not Always at the Help Desk

Wow. I recently received an email concerning an account creation for a particular company I have never had to call. In the email, the technician gave me a temporary account, email address, but no password, but gave me a number to call to have a helpdesk technician “reset” my password so I could use it for the first time. I called the number, gave the person my ticket number and the craziness began. First, my ticket was closed. This was the first and only time I ever called about it. Second, they kept talking about ID and account names that I had no familiarity with…”well, do you need this?”. I told them I just needed an user name/password for their account. I was clear to tell them what it was for, and that I would then also need instructions on how to access what I needed. I gave my email address to the technician and he told me he would send me instructions.

I was told that password resets were handled by another department, so I called the other department. The other department, when I explained my issue, was not surprised that the previous department forwarded them to me – apparently it was wrong and it happened quite a bit. I then called the original helpdesk again hoping to get my account in order. I started off my explaining what happened before – and just my luck – I was talking to the same person. He asked me if I had received the email he sent and I told him no. I spelled my last name for the 5th time and he soon realized he did not have the correct spelling. I told him I would forward him the original email with the account information so he would have it as proof I was who I said I was.

I asked him for my email address. Let me re-phrase that. I asked a HELPDESK technician for his email address. “Hmm, can you open Outlook and find me?” I said no, I am not using Outlook – nor do I have your address book. “Hmm…I do not know my email address, I have never used it outside of our network”. At this point I literally asked him to look to his right and ask the person next to him what his email address was. At this point he also got my email and so I asked him if he could just email me with the account information I needed instead of listen to his breathing on the other end. He said “well, you did not get my first email”. I said “You got the email from me, right?. “Yes” he said. I waited for the obvious, but when it did not come, I said – “well, reply to it”.

Wow. Time for a real Coca-Cola.

What is in My Pocket?

I have always wanted kids, but I never wanted to be the mom that was completely obsessed with her kids that nothing else mattered. The mini van. The crowded living room full of toys. The late appearances because “we could not get the kids ready”. Yikes. Of course Evan is very important to me, but he will not cause me to completely shut down to the outside world. With all of this in mind, I had a bizarre moment yesterday as I was getting ready to go out to lunch. I went to reach in my jacket pocket to see how much cash I had and whoa…I pulled out a burp cloth. Apparently regardless of how hard you try to keep work/home, family/professional separate it sometimes just leaks in. I got a good laugh out of it and I am now, to one of my younger/single friends officially “the mom” and now slightly not as cool as I once was. Fun times.

The Great Entertaining South

No garage sales?

I get such a kick out of the south…and this sign is a perfect example. There was such a huge problem with garage sales apparently taking over the bank parking lot that they decided to spend the money to design and produce a sign letting people know that garage sales are not allowed. Wow. Thanks for the laugh…and thanks to my southern friends for capturing this great picture on their trip home over the holidays.

getting close to the big day.

Every day Amy and I get another day closer to meeting our son Evan. We are both so excited about this we can barely stand it. Every day I get a phone call from Amy, I think “this is it!”…but nothing yet. I might not blog for a few days in the next few weeks, so if I go “silent”, time to move on over to Evan’s blog which I will keep up to date for sure.