4th Quarter Goals

We are currently halfway through the first month of the fourth quarter. Hopefully you have your goals for the last quarter of the ready and actively working on those goals so you can end your year with bang. Ending the year on a high note can have you starting 2023 off on the right foot. Have you started working on your goals? What are some of those goals you want to accomplish these last few months? Always remember it’s not too late to start new goals or finish old goals.

Here are some of my goals to wrap up the year so I can start the year fosuced and ready to go. Of course this is just a few of my goals. I have a list I keep on all my devices and some on the calander so I can get those reminders. I also have a great friend I can share those goals with to ensure I’m working on those goals.

  • Complete and schedule blogs for this year.
  • Write out a suggested list of blogs for next year.
  • Complete at minimum 3 more books in full.
  • Write at least 4 new pieces of poetry.
  • Complete my list of themes and flyers for my photography mini sessions.
  • Schedule jewelry 3 jewelry parties for the first quarter.
  • Complete October squat challenge.
  • Increase my Infinity hoop workout to 30 minutes.
  • Donate 2 boxes of books to the local library.

There you have it. I shared some business and personal goals I have. What are a few of yours?

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“La Parrilla” Business Review

La Parrilla Mexican Restaurant

Newman, GA

We recently visited this restaurant for dinner on a Saturday. It was very busy, and like most place nowadays, slightly short staffed. Even being short staffed we only had a 45 minute wait. It was 45 minutes almost to the minute too.

The staff was very friendly. There was one hiccup, but it was addressed and fixed right away without any issues. The food was magnificent. Everything looked and smelled delicious. The portions were pretty big as well. Normally I can finish off a taco salad or bowl. Not the case here. I only got about half done. Everyone had Togo boxes.

There’s not much space to wait inside for your table. So you’ll more and likely be waiting outside or in your car. You’ll receive a text when your table is ready.

The only other complaint I would have is the size of the table in the booth. With 5 people we barely had room for the food. If 2 of us wouldn’t have gotten bowls we probably wouldn’t have had space.

Official Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Weeks 7 & 8

Well here we are at the final two weeks of training. This includes taking some live calls as well. Just the thought of it made me nervous. I was so nervous it made my stomach hurt. I know it shouldn’t be like that, but it is. I’ve been like that with every new job and/or position I’ve had since I’ve started working. You maybe wondering why did I take a customer service job when I don’t like or feel comfortable talking to people. It’s simple, I want to step out of my comfort zone, no matter how hard or uncomfortable it may be at times.

Week 7 was interesting. It wasn’t bad or great. We took in A LOT of information. We had 1 hour of live calls. I had one call in that hour. It wasn’t as bad, but hey, it was just ONE call in the hour. I still feel like it’s a lot of information to sort through and way too many windows to open. Again, I hate having a lot of windows/tabs open. I like to have as few as possible, but, I’m trying to not let that OCD part of me take over. We ended the week even more confused because we practically went back to our week three stuff. No, not the exact same stuff but close. Now we have 1 more day before they throw more calls at us on Wednesday. Because of the holiday, we worked four 10 hour days.

Week 8 arrived with more nerves. This was our final week of training. It seemed like they kept adding more and more information. To say I had brain overload just isn’t suffice at this point. However, I did make it through. How much I retained begs to differ. We didn’t take calls until Friday towards the end of the day. Most of us didn’t get a call. It was still nerve wrecking.

Our original trainer did a little graduation thing for us. It was sweet. Now Monday, today starts the real test, 100% live calls on the production floor. Am I ready? Not at all. Will I try? Yes, for the moment.

This was my eight weeks of work from home training. As you see, there were some good, bad and ugly during this time. Do I prefer in person or work from home training? I’d have to go with work from home. The pros still rest in favor of that. Thank you for taking that journey with me.

Work From Home Training Week 3 & 4

These two weeks of training was off the charts! When I tell you the hilarious and questionable things that happened was a sight to see and hear. As per the course I will not use names. If any names are used, please beware, they are fake names.

This first one happened later in week 3, but had the highest shock value. Most jobs, especially offices frown on using profanity. However things happen. Mistakes are a part of life. The guy was making sure we were in some of our systems. Right in the middle of talking to us he screams “Shut the f@%#& up!” Honey, when I feel you, everyone was shocked. If y’all could have seen everyone’s face you world have been cracking up. Granted nobody said anything. The thing was he did reach out to our trainer after and apologized. Him and the trainer both said that if someone needed to speak to them one on one to let him know. I thought that was professional of him. Now, dude said he was yelling at his CAT!?!?!?! Yes, his cat. I don’t have a cat, but was your cat really making that much noise? We let it go for the most part except for the random joke here and there. If, someone was offended, they didn’t say anything. While I don’t do the whole cursing in the work place, but we all understand that we are imperfect and things happen.

That’s how week three ended. It wasn’t a bad week. A lot of things to go over and a lot of practice exercises. Here we experiences storms almost everyday. Lost my internet one day from like 6pm-230am. So, yea, I missed some work time, but not too bad. Seems to be a lot of tech issues that week for most of the class. That’s to be expected with the tech we use now days. It’s a lot of programs and stuff to use. I will say this though. I’m glad I have a tower and now an All In One. Those AIOs seem to stay having trouble and running out of RAM. I personally thing the company to do a better job in investing in those if that’s what they want to use. Cheaper isn’t always better.

Week 4 started with us having new assistants for the trainers. This is a prime example of a company that need to re evaluate their leadership. Not the only example, but defiantly one of the top. Now, we’ve had a number of REAL leadership visit the class over the three weeks. These two come trying to show they have power. Baby, Don’t test my gangsta. I had to let them both know, don’t try my. My supervisor skill and petty level is better than yours. I’ve been fairly peaceable so far. I’m pretty good at ignoring know it alls and the just don’t want to listen because I’m entitled. When you approach someone, it’s a way to do everything. I’m not your child, I’m here working just like you. I promise it won’t make me like or respect you even more when you start talking nonsense. It’s what Walmart calls “Respect For The Individual”. You’re little bit of power means NOTHING if you don’t know how to treat people.

I do know that everyone will not like everyone or get along with everyone. That is understandable because we are all built different. I will always stand up for myself and what’s right. So, if you want me to listen to you, come at me right. This goes for anyone you approach. You want to create the best work environment for your agents. This is even more critical when you work from home. You want not just an amazing team, but a happy one too. That in it self can take your team to knew heights. This is not saying that their won’t be bad days, but the atmosphere should help balance it out, not make it that much more worse.

Other than battling the want to be bosses, the week wasn’t a hard week. Almost everyday was spent with hours of practice exercises. This marks the half way point of our training. Week 5 will be 2 days of practicing and 3 days of live experiences. Am I ready? Nah, not really. I’ll never be truly ready. Just have to do it.

Work From Home Training Week 2

This week was not too crammed with information. Not a hard week at all. However, I did have to look down at my paper a little more often so everyone wouldn’t see me rolling my eyes. The petty in me pretty stayed at bay.

I find that by this week most people are getting more comfortable with those in class, some maybe too comfortable. You also realize the ones who didn’t really use video conference tools like zoom all that much during the pandemic. How do I know? The lack of video conference etiquette. While they don’t mind you snacking during class, but make sure you’re muted. If you have the sniffles, stay muted unless you need to speak.

While all that is just etiquette. I understand working from home offers some freedoms you wouldn’t get from in person training. Still you can’t take it for granted. This behavior typically makes it bad for everyone. You just start your shift or back from break and ALWAYS have to go to the restroom less than 10 minutes of getting back is just plain disrespectful. I know we all have bodily needs and sometimes came be helped, BUT every day?

Respect the instructor and your class. No one wants to be treated as a child, but you have to do your part in this too. I’ve been in classes where you had to ask permission before you could go to the restroom. That made everyone kind of testy and on edge. With six weeks left, anything could happen.

Week three supposed to be more information. So here we go!!!

Listening Is Fundamental

I know we’ve all been to school.  Some even been to college. Most adults have been through training,  orientation and things of that nature for work.  There are a few things that help you succeed in any of those environments.  Two of those would be listening and following directions.

I know sometimes various trainings can get boring,  tedious or even repetitive at times.  There’s this thing called determination that helps most focus,  especially when you are being given some directions.  I’m not trying to be mean. I understand some may truly be lost and may not understand.  It’s the ones that you know were not listening or trying to move ahead.

When I see that it shows a few qualities about yourself.  One of the biggest is your selfishness and how you expect everyone to cater to you at the expense of everyone else.  Simply put,  that’s just rude.  The other one you hear or see me say all the time. It shows a lack of respect for the individual.  When you don’t respect your team,  you think it’s okay and it’s not okay.  You shouldn’t be okay with holding everyone up just you can’t pay attention and keep up.

Working from already brings it’s own set of distractions to the table. We all have to do our part to minimize the distractions, especially those that we are capable of. When it comes to your success and that of the team, do what you have to do. You were given the same instructions as everyone. What would you be doing if you sent into the office? There’s no TV watching, doing kids hair, answering the door and ask that stuff that’s distracting you now. If you can’t focus and listen, then maybe this isn’t the right job for you.

Again listening is crucial already, but even more so when working from home.

Week 1 Work From Home Training

Monday started my official week one training.  It’s about what I expected. Getting everyone connected,  getting our 50 million logins, website links and what not. 

What I think is missing is the meet and greet.  I find that to be very important no matter the size of class.  This one is a fairly small class. I think an hour would have worked.  My other Lines of Business (LOB) had more people,  but made it work.  Why do I see this as important? Get to know the ones you’re leading and allows the class to get to know each other. I’m not saying he doesn’t care because he does ask the random questions. I get that a lot of us may not be on the same teams after this eight week training.  However, eight weeks is a long time. 

This week our trainer was sick, but I give him a lot of credit for pushing through and keeping the energy level in the class up.  kudos to him.  He is also great about keeping the class moving in the right direction and at a good pace.  There’s not too much extra.  He answers questions and listening listens so far. Downside, he’s a little forgetful and don’t check his messages as much.  For the most part I can deal with that. I understand is a lot going on. 

In one week I’ve identified the want to be trainers or the know of alls, the technology challenged and the one that can’t keep up.  It can be annoying if you allow it to. Me,  I find it hilarious. 

So all in all, a fairly uneventful first week. Lots of practice,  lots of notes, a few quizzes and a certification.  Yes, we are on camera these eight weeks of training. No big deal.  It also means no electronics unless it’s an emergency, need it to log into a system or have to call help desk. Again, no problem,  I keep pen and paper and physical books.

What keeps me focused? Taking notes and doodling. Yes, I doodle or write out notes for my next project when I’m waiting.  Also gum, hard candy and snacks. I’m trying to change to more protein  type of snacks.  So that’s my week one for this specific line of business.

Leadership 2

In part one of my leadership blog I discussed some great and amazing leaders I’ve worked with and for. This one will be a bit different.  I will be discussing  poor leadership actions and some basic results of the actions.  I will not name names, nor specific locations, Just the company.

We all know and have worked with poor leadership.  I hope you are not a poor leader yourself.  Then again, sometimes we may have qualities that we don’t realize we have that causes us to be poor leaders. There is hope though.  When we as individuals recognize these qualities and/or actions then we should do better and work on fixing those flaws in order to be better at what we do.  Notice I didn’t say perfect, but better. I have faith in each and everyone of you that you can improve and become a better leader.  Now on to the experiences.

While Wal-Mart gave me some great experiences, Wal-Mart also gave me a few of the worst mangers and leaders as well. Too be perfectly honest, they are equally poor examples of leadership.  No, are not from the same store.  However they had the same poor qualities.  Do I dislike them as a person, no, not really, but we wouldn’t really be friends either outside of work. 

One experience was just awful, and both of them (locations) had the same poor quality of starting drama.  How can you be a successful leader and thrive on having drama in you building.  This just boggles my mind til this day.  You can get so much more accomplished when your team gets along.  Plus, who really wants the added stress of diffusing an argument and other drama?  The aim should have been to have your team, your building get along.  Afterall, one of the ‘core values’ of Wal-Mart is “Respect for the Indvidual.”  That was not seen at all.

Another thing that I have seen a lot also falls into the “Respect for the Individual”. Yelling…Yep, I said it.  Yelling.  I mean yelling like you’re about to spank your child or something.  I get it.  We all get upset and we all get frustrated.  Truth be told, some of the people you work with or work under you can act like a child.  They just don’t listen sometimes.  I totally get it.  However, there is a way to handle things and a way not to handle it.  You give a direction, you ensure they know how to do it. It’s not complete or right, find out why and then take the necessary steps. It maybe reeducation, another solution, or even maybe a write up. BUT, there should never be yelling no matter how angry you are. There are no excuses.

This is just two of the examples that I have to share. Trust me, there are more, just from those two locations. However, this isn’t a post to complain about people and their lack of leadership skills. I wanted to take a moment to show how poor leadership exist and is in many places. It is possible to change your leadership skills for the better, especially if you want to grow in the company you’re in or even in another company. It’s all about understanding who are and you leading qualities. You must take an honest and true reflection of yourself. Then find someone you trust to hold you accountable. Each location I worked at I always had a team member where we discussed our goals and hold each other accountable for our progress. If you don’t see where you are making progress and the results are the same from your team, try having an open and honest dialogue with your team. Really listen and don’t be quick to take offense when they are giving feedback. Most importantly, DO NOT hold it against them or they won’t open up to you anymore. The second most important thing, or equally important, DO NOT betray their confidence. If they tell you something in confidence, don’t share it with EVERY ONE. That is also poor leadership. My favorite motto is treat them how you want them to treat you. It’s that simple. With practice and determination you can be an awesome leader.

Leadership Part 1

There are so many forms and levels of leadership, but they are not equal in quality. Many are in leadership roles to be true leaders, others more so for the power, title and money. Being a true leader involves more than just telling people what to do and writing them up. Before I go any further into this, please note the experiences I’ll share with you are from the companies I have personally worked for. Any other company will be nothing but hearsay. I am also not saying I was the perfect leader, like everyone, I have my faults and things to work on.

This part will be mainly geared towards examples of great leadership. Part 2 will focus on examples of poor leadership and how it could have been handled.

In all of my years of working I must say I have moved into a leadership role at some point. The company I’m currently with, Everise, I haven’t applied for too many leadership roles yet. It’s only been a year, so it’s still early. The major companies I’ve worked for are Wal-Mart, Burlington, McDonald’s and Verizon. When it comes to leadership, I do believe Verizon call center had the best leadership out of all of them. The reason I’m not there isn’t because of leadership.

The actual definition of leadership is “the action of leading a group of people or organization.” As stated before, there are many types of leaderships and many ways to lead. Leading is very different than bossing. When leading, you are helping strengthen and grow the ones you are leading to help reach a common goal. Bossing, you’re just telling them to do what needs to be done. This does not mean leaders are doing the work for them. It means they are doing more than telling. They are training, encouraging, guiding, offering constructive criticism, and helping find a workable solution. If necessary and when needed they offer a helping hand. This typically help boost moral and confidence among those you are leading. How do I know this? Experience.

I worked at a Wal-Mart store where the store manager and co-manager (titles they had at the time) actually led the store in that manner. It was great for so many reasons. I was just coming out of assistant manager training and it was just what I needed. Being in class is a lot different than being on the floor. I believe that helped shaped me into the manager I wanted to be. Was there some rocky patches? Sure. Did we always see eye to eye? No. Until this day, those were some of the best managers and leaders I’ve ever worked for, especially in retail.

Working at Verizon was a completely different. It was my first true call center experience. The job itself wasn’t my favorite. However, the management was was simply awesome. They cared about their staff and wanted to keep morale high. They did activities and had fun with their teams. The company was always giving out free useful promo items. They feed us too. Not just fast food and stuff, but also healthy food and snacks. The call center customers, lets say were just as bad as some of the retail customers I experienced at Wal-Mart. However the atmosphere the management provided made it a bit more manageable. For the most part anyway.

What I truly liked about these two different types of leaders I had was the fact that if there was a question, they answered it. If they didn’t know the answer, they helped you find the answer. If an answer was still unavailable, they helped find a solution to the problem. There were not many problems or situations that were left up in the air. If something was wrong, they spoke to you like an adult, in a civilized manner. It didn’t matter if it was on the floor or in the office, they were ALWAYS professional. These managers respected your time away from work so you always had a nice work/life balance, which made it not so bad when you went to work. Another thing that I always admired were the fact that they took not just you work experience into consideration, but also your hobbies.

I couldn’t always see it at the time, but when I look back now, I see how much of a difference it made. The morale was higher than other places and it also reminded me to take a personal interest in the ones that were under me as well as my team. Yes, everyone is expected to do a job they are getting paid for. However, there is nothing better than your team going above and beyond because they understand that your success is their success. Leading by example and with respect is what makes any business and/or team successful. This was a key factor I’ve learned from each of my work experiences.

Have you had a great leader recently? What made them great?