Work, volunteer, family… I don’t have the time!

By | Culture, Free Career Advice, Healthy Stuff | No Comments

They teach you to have extracurricular activities in high school.  It’s supposed to look good on college applications.  Then, they tell you to be involved in college.  I have seen resumes that state “maintained full-time job while attending school”. Again, this is supposed to help you get a job because you are well-rounded.  But no one ever held a class on what to do when you have a job, plus volunteer work, plus a family, not to mention church, hobbies, and other activities.

So what now? Explain to your boss how important these other activities are to you, and hope that he allows you to take an hour or two here and there to attend to other matters? Sacrifice time with family in order to get the job done? Or only focus on work and family? Or just family? Or just work? This can be a very confusing debate for a Nu Professional.

In the HR arena, “work-life balance” is definitely a buzz word.  At the 2009 SHRM National Conference, Jack Welch stated that work-life balance is a personal choice.  There seem to be multiple articles coming out every month with new studies on how employers should provide this balance in order to keep their employees happy.

I think that it boils down to what you, the Nu Professional, wants. Here are some suggested steps for balancing your life.

  1. Set Goals – I am a big – no HUGE – proponent for writing down short-term and long-term goals. Determine what you want to accomplish, then go to step two.
  2. Get a Map – Decide how you want to accomplish your goals.  One of the better ways is to find a mentor that is already there and follow the trail they have already blazed.  You may choose different landmarks to visit and places to see, but something they did obviously worked.  They’re already there.
  3. Recruit a Cheerleader – Be it your mentor, parents, friend, spouse, or children.  Whoever is in your life has to understand what you are trying to do and be on the same team as you.  (Note: You’ll avoid many “discussions” with your significant other if you’re on the same page from the start.)
  4. Take a hint from Nike and “Just Do It” – It’s up to you and only you to make it happen.  It will not be easy. You will make mistakes. And you will make enemies. But it’s not about them – it’s about YOU.

I am in the process of reading 10-10-10 by Suzy Welch.  It is supposed to be a great book on how to successfully manage your life.  I will let you know how it turns out.  In the meantime, if you’ve read it or have suggestions for us Nu Professionals, hit me with a comment.

Newbie Spotlight: Meet Barb…

By | Culture, Interviewing | No Comments

One of the great things about being new to the DAXKO team is that you usually don’t have to wear the ‘new guy’ hat for long.  We’re always adding A-players to the roster and growing our team.  The ‘Newbie Spotlight’ series is intended to introduce you to these folks and provide a glimpse into what life’s like as a candidate and new team member at DAXKO. (Disclaimer: These are the unedited experiences of our team members.  Don’t be scared by what you read.)

Newbie: Barb, Executive Assistant Extraordinaire

Q: What was your first encounter with DAXKO like?

A: During the interview process, I would sit on a bench in the foyer and wait for my appointment. Not one DAXKO Team Member who walked by ignored me. They were all friendly, saying “Good Morning!” and offering me anything to drink – “Coffee? Soda? Are you SURE I can’t get you something?” Everyone I met was a pleasure.  And on my first work day at DAXKO, they had a welcome card and DAXKO t-shirt waiting for me at my desk. I immediately felt like one of the team.

Q: Did you deliver a presentation during the interview process?  If so, tell us about that experience?

A: I sure did! I was sent home with a Mac book and two different assignments. At first I was a bit nervous – I’d never received a homework assignment from a potential new employer – who does that?  But then I got entirely too excited and carried away. I knew I wanted the job so I was determined to make my presentation the best! I had to learn Keynote and Pages on the fly, and I even managed to throw in a cheesy Uranus joke. I figured they’d either love it or hate it. Lucky for me, DAXKO is the kind of place that seems to embrace quirkiness.

Q: Do you think DAXKO’s interview process is intense?  Why or why not?

A: Intense? No. Thorough? Absolutely. I could tell DAXKO wanted to make certain that I was a good fit for the job and for the culture. It was unlike any interview process I’d ever experienced.

Q: Why do you like the work you’re doing?

A: Working for a busy CEO who has his hands in several different projects keeps things busy and exciting for me. Not only that, but everyone I work with is super cool and friendly – it’s the best work environment I could have ever hoped for.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about working at DAXKO?

A: Besides the endless free coffee? Knowing that I’m part of a growing team full of some of the brightest, friendliest, most creative, unique and hard-working people.

Q: What do you think the profile of the ideal DAXKO team member is?

A: The ideal DAXKO team member is intelligent, energetic, unique, passionate about what they do, eager to learn and grow and, of course, they have to be able to laugh and have fun! They often think outside the box and aren’t afraid to embrace a challenge.

My Name is Matt, and I’m a Y-Guy

By | Community, Culture, YMCA | No Comments

Until recently, I wouldn’t call myself much of a “Y-guy”.  I’m from a small town in Illinois and really never had the opportunity to experience the YMCA growing up.  Having been at DAXKO for two years now, you’d think I would have more experience with the organization that comprises a large chunk of our customer community.  But, as an Engineering guy, I don’t spend that much time in front of customers.  So, I don’t have much more Y experience now than when I first started at DAXKO.

That all changed last week…

Our Leadership Team went on several Voice of the Customer (VOC) trips, visiting different groups of customers to ensure we continue to be a very customer-centric company.  Dave G. and I visited customers in Virginia – namely Richmond, Peninsula, and Emporia-Greensville (also snuck in a quick visit with South Hampton Roads).  I really enjoyed visiting with all four customers.  However, as a small town guy, I especially enjoyed the visit to Emporia-Greensville.

Emporia-Greensville is a community of approximately 17,000 people just over an hour south of Richmond.  Like my hometown, they are a prison town.  The current YMCA facility is a store-front Y in a strip mall.  It’s not the nicest facility in the world, but I was surprised nonetheless to see that kind of facility in a town that size.  Even more suprising was that, within a month, they’ll be opening a brand new YMCA facility with a wellness center, gym, climbing wall, child care facilities, outdoor playground, and future space available for a pool.

Dave G. and I toured the facility and it literally blew my mind.  I found myself getting very nostalgic thinking about just what it must mean to this community to have a Y facility like that opening up.  Simply touring the facility and listening to what the YMCA leadership (Kristin and Shelia) had to say really gave me a better sense of what the Y is all about.

Coupling that with what I heard about the tremendous outreach and mission work that the larger Ys in the state do on a regular basis, my perspective related to our market and customers was completely changed.  Quite honestly, I was flat out inspired.

So, meet the new me… a “Y-guy”.  Good luck, Emporia-Greensville, with your new facility opening up in November.  Wish I could be there to play some hoops on that sweet new court.

Life on the Road…

By | Culture, Life at Daxko | One Comment

As a DAXKO Trainer, I spend a lot of time traveling.  You want to know what the road is like?  Here’s a story to give you an idea…

As I drove up to the historic Renaissance hotel in downtown Providence, RI, I noticed a line of perfectly dressed valet men waiting to open my door.  Having help with four weeks-worth of luggage was a true luxury, even if I was accustomed to lugging 30 plus pound bags across America every month.

Valet tip?  Man, I didn’t think about that.  I am a credit card kinda gal and often forget to carry $1 bills for “courtesy” expenses.   Now that I think about it, how am I going to tip the valet team twice a day for 26 consecutive days?  Now that I REALLY think about it, how much will it cost just for the base valet parking in downtown New England?

$30 per day.  For parking.  That comes to $780 for our customer.  Justice had to be served, so I made my way to the manager and asked for a break.  He was willing to work with me, giving me a flat rate of $360 plus a case of beer.  Sold!

My next compromise was with a husky bellhop, who retrieved 18 extra hangers for my closet.  It took me 30 minutes to unpack a month’s worth of business suits, training outfits, and oversized coats to combat the 10 degree snowy weather.  Hmmm, should I have packed three sets of gloves?

The view outside my hotel window was breath taking: each morning I drank one mug of room-brewed coffee and watched the snowfall – a real phenomenon to anyone born and raised in the deep South.  I talked to Mark each morning to retrieve my frozen Kia rental car and prayed he remembered to turn on the heat.

After 26 days, I said my good-byes to the familiar staff.  I gave three pleasure books I completed to the concierge (over 1300 pages of bought-at-the-airport literature) and even offered up a full bag of leftover candy.  I had gained 10,000 hotel points, $10,000 in onsite expenses, and 3 ½ pounds from New England clam chowder.  I also still had an additional $10 in my pocket, because I forgot to get the valet manager his beer….

Life on the road… always interesting.