525,600 Minutes: A Year of Training (By the Numbers)

By | Culture, Grow Your Career, Life at Daxko, Rewarding Careers, Talent | 4 Comments

If you read that title, you’re probably expecting me to burst into a musical number from Rent. While that isn’t unlikely, I’ll save that for later – this post is all about my last 365 days on Daxko’s training team.

I could spout off all the details of every place I’ve visited, from the beaches of Maine to the mountains of Flagstaff, but I decided to take a very logical, numbers driven approach. If you know me, and know how much I HATE math, you’re probably chuckling about the idea of me taking this approach.

So, what goes into 365 days of being a Software Trainer and spending 75% of my time on the road?

16 new states

3 states previously visited

84 boarding passes

2 flight cancellations

15 new refrigerator magnets

1 impromptu drive home after my flight from St. Louis to Birmingham was canceled

25 rental cars

54 books read on flights

14 plays of Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again”

 

We’ve got the numbers, but I can’t forget to give out some superlatives:

Most Visited State: Wisconsin (4 total trips)

Most Consecutive Days in a State: Arizona (two weeks straight)

Coldest State: Massachusetts (granted, I DID go in December)

Hottest State: ARIZONA

Favorite State: Virginia with Maine as a close second

Favorite City: Las Vegas with San Diego as a close second

First State Visited as a Trainer: South Dakota, if you can believe it

Most Recently Visited State: North Carolina

Weirdest Favorite Thing in a State: Mark Twain’s House in Hartford, CT

Traveling has been one of my most favorite things about my job. I started at Daxko on our Customer Success team, became a trainer in June of 2016, and quickly realized that my life was about to be almost exclusively on the road. The thought was scary, but also, exciting. Looking back over the last year, seeing all that I’ve seen, all that I’ve done, I can only feel incredibly blessed with the experiences that I have been granted.

I may be a wordsmith, but I can’t do this travel life justice without a few pictures from a year in the life of a traveling girl.


Deeanna S. is a Software Trainer, cat mom, and Tudor history buff who loves the outdoors.

Change Your Sound

By | Culture, Healthy Stuff, Professional Development, Rewarding Careers | One Comment

I recently went to Las Vegas with my fellow trainers, Kelly and Jill, for Professional Development. We attended the ATD training certificate program. There were several ATD sessions going on, so many of the rooms in Caesar’s Palace were full of people doing professional development. It was very cool to see so many people learning and furthering their careers.

For the training certificate program, we spent two days learning various training techniques from our instructor, Sardek (also known as Dr. Love, since that’s his last name). We spent a good part of the sessions doing group work, so I met lots of new people, including folks who work for Zappos and Hulu. On the third day, we actually had to give a presentation to our small group and they (as fellow trainers) gave us tips on our presentation techniques.

I learned many new ideas from the way Sardek facilitated our training and was able to think from different perspectives based on the feedback that my small group gave me. I was also able to build professional relationships and network with the new people I met, and we are all supposed to email one another at the end of March to talk about the ideas from the trainings that we’ve incorporated into our trainings.

The ATD conference taught me that pushing the envelope is important to making training unique to each attendee… which reminds me of something else – The Beatles (you know I have to put some pop culture knowledge into my blog posts!)

During our first night in Las Vegas, we went to see The Beatles: Love, a Cirque de Soleil show. If you’ve never seen it and you love The Beatles, please do yourself a favor and go see it. If you’re curious, here’s a snippet of some of the magic packed into an hour and a half of showtime.

I told Kelly and Jill that I would probably cry at some point during the show, because The Beatles are my favorite band and have been a longstanding love of mine. Abbey Road is my favorite album of all time and the first record I got on vinyl. Octopus’s Garden is my alarm song that wakes me up every morning. I’ve known the words to Hey Jude for as long as I can remember. Twist and Shout is in one of my favorite scenes of my favorite movie, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (see THAT blog post here).

As you’ve probably guessed by now, The Beatles are a huge part of my life. I know every song. When Paul McCartney (my personal favorite Beatle) sang Hey Jude at the London Olympics and the camera panned out to show the ENTIRE WORLD singing along with him…that’s all you need to know about the legacy that The Beatles left in their wake.

And that’s the word I’m hinging this post on – legacy. In your professional life, you have amazing opportunities to create a legacy for yourself. Legacy defines the mark that you make on your company, your team, even in just the work that you do.

When we think about The Beatles, we think about a band that changed musical history. These floppy haired boys from Liverpool sang songs about wanting to hold your hand, and everyone went wild for it. The Beatles were a phenomenon. They changed music. But, an important thing to remember – The Beatles changed THEIR music. I could find someone reading this post right now and ask them what Beatles album they prefer, and that will tell me everything I need to know. Some people want to hang on to the Twist and Shout era, some people flow along with The Beatles, no matter the sound. But what we can learn from The Beatles and their legacy (there’s that word again) is that they changed their sound. They weren’t afraid to take risks (and probably take a little more than risks, judging by the song I Am the Walrus).

The times changed. They 60s melted away from A-line dresses and perfectly coiffed hair into peace signs and bell bottoms. The Beatles changed.

We can’t be afraid to push the envelope and to change. Often times, I am guilty of wanting to stick with what is working, because I know that’s getting the job done… but what if I could get the job done better, by doing something a little differently? Circle back to what I mentioned above – I learned so many new training techniques at the conference I attended, and I know they are going to help me do my job better. Sometimes, that little difference is all it takes to both change your sound and cement your legacy.


Deeanna S. is a Software Trainer, cat mom, and Tudor history buff who loves the outdoors.

Stranger Things

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Warning: this culture blog post contains spoilers for Stranger Things. You’ve been warned – continue if you dare.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you’ve heard about or watched Stranger Things, the much buzzed about Netflix original series. My boyfriend pleaded with me to watch this with him, and I knew I had to oblige him, as he’s watched two seasons of Grace & Frankie with me without complaint. I hate all things scary, so I wasn’t really that excited to watch it, but I dove in anyway. I figured, with as much as I love Buffy and The X-Files, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.

Binge-watch, engage. I was hooked. Totally hooked. HOW can I wait another year for another season? If I have to wait, I’m going to incorporate as much Stranger Things into my life as possible – including adopting some of the characteristics of the show’s characters.

Here’s what I am working on so far:

#1: Be persistent like Joyce.
We saw Joyce be single minded, with total focus on one thing: to find her son. Joyce doesn’t give up. She refuses to succumb to doubt, even when the odds are against her. Joyce works for what she wants, even if It can be exhausting. Refusing to give up, even when the odds are stacked against you, is incredibly important.

#2: Care like Barb.
It’s important that we care about the people in our lives. From our friends to our co-workers to the people we work with every day, everyone needs to feel like they matter to someone. Incorporating a level of caring into your day to day is one of the best things you can do.

#3: Try like Mike.
We see Mike refuse to give up on Will throughout the entire season. Mike refuses to let negativity get the best of him, and is the glue that holds his group of friends together. Mike has his moments of impatience and frustration, but through each episode, we can see that he clearly makes an effort, and does so for the greater good.

#4: Joke like Dustin.
We can’t work hard without playing hard. For me, humor is a vital part of what I do every day, every week. I love to joke around with my coworkers, or the people that I am training. Humor is such a welcome relief from structure and I believe it’s absolutely necessary to a happy work environment.

#5: Face your fears like Eleven.
Eleven is timid, but she’s also strong. She fears many things, but knows she has to face that fear in order to help others and restore order. I have felt that way many times in my career…the fear almost overtakes me, but I have to face that fear head on to do the best possible job I can do.

Bonus: Always take an Eggo break.


Deeanna S. is a Software Trainer and Tudor history buff who loves the outdoors.

Want to work (and take Eggo breaks) with Deeanna? We’re looking for a Software Trainer to join our team! Read about this opportunity.

Training Tips

By | Culture, Free Career Advice, Grow Your Career, Life at Daxko, Talent | No Comments

Seemingly overnight, I went from five days a week in the office to five days a week on the road. It’s certainly been an adjustment, but, as most things with Daxko go, it has also been an adventure.

I would like to say that after a few months of training customers on the road, I am beginning to feel seasoned in my role as a road warrior. Because of that, here are ten things I’ve learned since I’ve started traveling:

#1: Bring your routine with you. Just because you’re in a hotel room every night doesn’t mean you should skimp on your necessities. I always bring along basically everything I use on a daily basis at home…including a bag full of vitamins.

#2: Don’t bore yourself. It’s so easy to want to go and collapse in your room after a long day of training, but I always try to find a place to go and visit. My favorite trip so far has been my trip to Altavista, VA, because I got to visit lots of historical places there! Pictured in this post are photos from Monticello and the Appomattox Court House.

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#3: Find good food. This one is probably most important to me! I scope out restaurants the minute I touch down in my location that week. I always try not to do fast food on the road because I could have that any time.

#4: Bring headphones. This one is non-negotiable. I’m not really a chatty person, so having headphones for airports and airplanes is a pretty good way around all the small talk. Plus, we’ve all heard crying babies in airports…

#5: Improvise. One of the quickest things you’ll learn on the road is that you have to improvise…a lot. You move classes around, you change flights, you update your hotel reservation…it’s all just part of the job. Learning to roll with the punches and redesign your plan will only help you in the long run.

#6: Learn what you like. Be it an airline, a rental car service, a hotel chain, or a restaurant, learn what you like and stick with it. Sometimes, you have to improvise (see #5) when things don’t go as planned, but once you get into a rhythm, you can help yourself guarantee a little on-the-road bliss.

#7: Hydration and cough drops are key. I carry my 40 oz water bottle around all day and fill it up whenever I get the chance. Staying hydrated is a no brainer anyway, but when you’re talking all day and walking around a classroom, you’ve got to keep your energy up and your voice fresh! Same goes for cough drops…for me, at least. I have tonsillitis at least twice a year, so when my voice starts to go (and it does, every week), I have a backup plan.

#8: Car sing alongs will save you. Sometimes, you fly into an airport that’s a good distance away from your training site. In times like this, open up your Spotify app, turn on some tunes, and sing along. Personal favorite for me? Hamilton soundtrack. Who would’ve guessed that after my last culture blog post? I sang this song more than once on my drive from Charlottesville to Altavista.

#9: Take time to recharge. Being a road warrior will really take it out of you. Take a day of PTO on an off week, pick an early flight so you can get home a bit earlier before the weekend, whatever works for you…do it. Don’t burn yourself out.

#10: If all else fails…ask your sister, the former trainer, every question you possibly could.

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Deeanna S. is a Software Trainer and Tudor history buff who loves the outdoors.

 

Do you love to travel and teach others? Work with Deeanna on the Daxko Training team!