Soundtrack to My Daxko Travel Life

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As a software trainer for Daxko, I travel a lot…and I mean a LOT. Before I started in this role, I’d been to eight states, and I’ve now been to 30. With a lot of travel comes the need for entertainment…how else can you face a long flight or drive from the airport?

Ever since I was young, my main source of entertainment has been music. I’m not easily pigeonholed into liking a certain genre – anyone who knows me can speak to the fact that I listen to almost everything. I’d like to share ten “must listens” that I always have on my travel playlists. These songs are some of my favorite in the world, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Artist: Josh Ritter

Song: Cumberland

Favorite Lyrics:

“So before you start talkin’ ’bout the wonders of the world again

The Taj Mahal, the Great Wall, the places that I never been

Take a little drive, take a little trip to Heaven and

Wonder for a while if it’s Paradise or Cumberland”

Josh Ritter is one of my all-time favorite artists, especially when it comes to live performances. He’s a total ball of joy when he’s on stage. This song reminds me of a Graceland era Paul Simon, and always makes me sing along.

 

Artist: Billy Joel

Song: We Didn’t Start the Fire

Favorite Lyrics:

“Hemingway, Eichmann, Stranger in a Strange Land

Dylan, Berlin, Bay of Pigs invasion”

This song is a total classic, and always reminds me of the “Ryan started the fire” episode of The Office. I learned all the lyrics to this song a few years ago, and can’t help myself from singing when it comes on. I chose my favorite lyrics because of the way Joel makes “dylANberLINbayofpigsinvasION” one big word. I sing it the exact way he does, and it makes me laugh every time.

 

Artist: The Beatles

Song: I Want to Hold Your Hand

Favorite Lyrics:

“Yeah, you got that somethin’

I think you’ll understand

When I say that somethin’

I want to hold your hand”

Come to our office and stop by my desk, or the favorites wall, and it will be pretty evident that The Beatles are my favorite band of all time (and you can reference this culture blog post for proof). This is one of those essential Beatles songs that I can’t help but love.

 

Artist: The Avett Brothers

Song: Ain’t No Man

Favorite Lyrics:

“There ain’t nobody here

Who can cause me pain or raise my fear ’cause I got only love to share

If you’re looking for truth I’m proof you’ll find it there”

The Avett Brothers are a long -time favorite band that I’ve seen perform more than once. The music video to this song is set in an airport/plane, which is pretty representative of my professional life, so you’ll often catch me listening to this as I’m speedily walking towards my gate.

 

Artist: Tears For Fears

Song: Everybody Wants To Rule The World

Favorite Lyrics:

“I can’t stand this indecision

Married with a lack of vision

Everybody wants to rule the world”

I’m the daughter of a woman who grew up in the 80s and loves all 80s music, so I grew up knowing this song. It always reminds me of summertime and the bouncy beat puts me in a good mood, no matter what.

 

Artist: Joshua Radin

Song: Underwater

Favorite Lyrics:

“Everybody’s too loud, I can’t listen to myself.

I need somewhere I can go.

Underwater is where I’ll go.”

Joshua Radin is the first artist I remember really latching onto in my teens. I’ve seen him perform FIVE times, and I love him more each time. When the album this song is on came out, he explained to the crowd during his performance that when he was a kid, he had ear trouble that prevented him from going underwater. When he was an adult, he was finally able to do so, and wrote this song. This song reminds me of one of my favorite launches in Arizona. I took lots of videos and put them together, with this song playing over them. It still makes me a little teary!

 

Artist: My Morning Jacket

Song: Golden

Favorite Lyrics:

“And you always told me.

No matter how long it holds me

If it falls apart

Or makes us millionaires”

Maybe it’s the backing percussion that sounds like a train that makes this song such a “road trip” song for me, but you’ll find me listening to it no matter where I’ve traveled. I actually remember listening to this when I was at the Grand Canyon, so you can say it’s followed me everywhere.

 

Artist: Justin Townes Earle

Song: Wanderin’

Favorite Lyrics:

“Yes, oh lord, I’ve seen your oceans, I’ve seen your mountains high.

I’ve been lost inside your cities, I’ve seen the underside.

Yeah, I know the troubles that plague a troubled mind,

But they can’t catch me I’m a wanderin'”

I probably don’t have to explain this one, but man, I love Justin Townes Earle’s folksy sound. This song is more frequently played when I’m traveling somewhere down south, but it rings true wherever I am.

 

Artist: St. Paul & The Broken Bones

Song: All I Ever Wonder

Favorite Lyrics:

“I can’t tell what side I’m on

I can’t tell what’s right or wrong

We ain’t ever gonna sing one song”

You know I couldn’t leave out a hometown band. Enough said.

 

Artist: Cat Stevens

Song: Peace Train

Favorite Lyrics:

“Get your bags together,

Go bring your good friends, too

‘Cause it’s getting nearer,

It soon will be with you”

The first time I ever remember hearing this song was while watching Remember the Titans when I was a kid. My fiancé lived in Auburn, Alabama (about two hours from Birmingham) when we first started dating, and this song somehow ended up on the playlist I listened to when driving to visit him. Since then, it’s kind of been an “us” song, so it always reminds me of him when I’m traveling.

I hope you’ve enjoyed a little glimpse into music that I love. What are your favorite songs to listen to while traveling?


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

Career Advice from a Longtime Daxko Pro

By | Culture, Free Career Advice, Grow Your Career, Life at Daxko, Rewarding Careers, Talent, Team Member Spotlight | One Comment

When I joined Daxko in 2009, it was my first “real job” out of college. Being a clueless-yet-confident twenty-something, I was terrified that at any moment, someone might discover I didn’t have it all figured out. Lucky for me, Daxko turned out to be fertile ground to grow my career and blossom. The fast-paced environment was just what I needed to expand my skillset, super-charge my confidence, and find the courage to be my (weird) self.

My first Daxko “wall” photo taken in 2009. Can you smell my eagerness?

As I prepare for my next adventure after nearly a decade-long career at Daxko, I can’t help but reflect on the relationships I’ve built and lessons I’ve learned along the way. So, here’s a bit of career advice from me to you. Whether you’re the new kid on the block, rocking your second decade with a company, or somewhere in between, I hope you’ll find advice here to move onward and upward in your career.

Enthusiasm is Everything
Life is short and tomorrow is not promised, which is why I aim to enjoy every moment, including my time at the office. This is why I’ve always fit into the company culture at Daxko. The entire company is teeming with fun folks who bring a high level of enthusiasm to their work. Enthusiasm is contagious, and people willingly follow passionate leaders. Think about it. Is there anything more inspiring than working alongside someone who’s fired up? It’s like Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”

Running amok with teammates at our Kickoff 2012 event

Stretch, Reinvent, Repeat
Through my years at Daxko, I’ve held a few different positions. Each time, the change was scary, but I was always better for it in the end. Beginning your career in one role or department doesn’t mean you’re locked in for life. When it’s time for a little reinvention, channel your inner Bowie and figure out how specific skills you possess can translate into that next new job. If you’re qualified for 60% of the job, go for it and stretch, baby, stretch!

My final reinvention at Daxko was on the Marketing Team. We were…really into exploring our strengths.

Find Your Equilibrium
If you’re not intentional about setting boundaries and scheduling down time, work stress can suck the lifeblood out of you. Case in point? A good portion of my Daxko years were spent managing events, which is statistically one of the most stressful jobs, along with firefighters and airline pilots, so I’ve navigated my fair share of hair-on-fire work stress. Of course, every job has its stressors, and there will always be projects that call for longer hours and a little more hustle. The trick is to avoid burnout by finding your equilibrium – a pace you can sustain for the long haul.

Stress? What stress? We’re cool as cucumbers, baby!

Change is Inevitable. Adapt!
During my time at Daxko, I’ve seen so much change: new faces, new products, new leadership, new workspaces, new goals, new norms…the list goes on. It’s true what they say – nothing ever stays the same. That’s why it’s important to become adaptable. I find this is best accomplished with a good sense of humor and eyes wide open for new opportunities. The butterflies in your stomach are natural. Push through and embrace the change!

No desk? No problem! Adapt, plug in, and make some magic happen.

Jumping into Daxko

By | Culture, Grow Your Career, Interviewing, Job Hunt, Life at Daxko, Team Member Spotlight | No Comments

Jumping into Daxko is not unlike leaping into a rushing river, and I mean that in the best way possible. It doesn’t take much effort to be swept away by the culture and attitudes of the people around you. The community is so vibrant and outgoing; everyone permeates enthusiasm. After a few days people caught on that the bearded guy wasn’t just a visitor, and started introducing themselves to me and made sure to tell me that if I had any questions I could “come directly to them”.

The onboarding process has been thorough (looking at you, PCI Compliance) and sometimes puts you on the spot (I had to give a fun fact about myself at a recent company-wide meeting), but it feels more like a rite of passage to be worthy of joining an amazing group of people.

I applied at Daxko because I was looking for an environment of like-minded people who cared about what they did, how they did it, and perhaps most importantly, the people they do it with. I may be on chapter one of my Daxko journey, but if the rest of the book is anything like the beginning, I can’t wait to read more!


Zac R. is a Project Manager who loves naps, karaoke, and self-deprecating humor.

If I Were a Butterfly

By | Culture, Healthy Stuff, Team Member Spotlight | One Comment

Editor’s Note: This post is less about Daxko and more about a team member and something they do that they hold near and dear to their heart. It’s important to see our team members outside of work and learn about their passions, motivations, and how they give back. So… read on!

When I’m not busy being a Project Manager at Daxko, I find myself drawn to a lot of different things, many of which can be attributed to my parents. I’ve been playing video games since I was a kid, when my parents purchased the original Nintendo Entertainment System. They bought it for themselves, but I quickly latched on and before long, I was stomping on goombas and destroying the robot masters with the best of them. They thought (perhaps hoped) I’d grow out of that…but they were very wrong. On a daily basis, I’ll find myself digging too deep into a dark cavern or attempting to talk myself out of a zombie apocalypse. Somehow, I always manage to come out unscathed.

What I am most thankful my parents passed along to me (even more than Zelda) is something called Special Session. This week of summer camp takes place at wonderful, wonderful Camp McDowell (located near Nauvoo, AL, which is somehow smaller than it sounds). This year was Special Session’s 20th year, and I am very proud to say I’ve been involved from the very beginning: I started as a staff brat, being my parents’ tagalong before graduating to driving golf carts, then to being a counselor, and finally joining the ranks of adult staff. We had two separate weeks of camp this year, our first-ever time splitting it, and by all accounts it was an incredible success.

Special Session is an intentionally regular week of summer camp, complete with pool time, arts and crafts and pie-in-the-face bingo, with one small exception: the campers are mentally and physically handicapped. I choose the word small here with purpose: everyone has disabilities, and while some people’s disabilities and special needs are more obvious than others, this does not stop us from having a good time. We celebrate our differences and are thankful that we are exactly who we are, how we are.

There is a theme that we roughly adhere to (this year being Willy Wonka and his World of Pure Imagination), but usually we offer the same activities every year. Above, you can see my friend Shea riding on a horse and absolutely loving it. He rides on a horse every year and beams with that happiness every time. Below, Dennis has his whistle ready to go in case someone needs saving at the pool (while the real lifeguard sits to the right).

Both Shea and Dennis have been coming for years and are some of my oldest friends. They’ve seen me grow up and have helped form the person I am today. They’re old pros at Special Session, so when we have a counselor (who are normally in the mid-teens to early twenties) who might be nervous about how the week will go, we let Shea or Dennis, among others, hang out with them for the week. The campers don’t need any help, but the counselor might: we know these two will take good care of them.

Another highlight of the week is the Talent Show. What happens on that Special Session stage is magical and is tough to explain in words. We have all kinds of talent showcased, from singing and dancing to extreme smiling and coat hanger twirling. Dennis will often grace us with his harmonica playing, and we get to see Michael Jackson’s songs come to life. We’ve had Pokémon battles, we’ve had arm wrestling competitions, we’ve had a guy tell us all about his cats at length: we’ve had everything.

And the crowd goes wild for it. On Talent Show night, every single person is a star on that stage. You can feel the energy as Geoff walks on stage to tell us on exactly what day of the week any random person was born, or the rapt attention as Jurdy reads us a poem she wrote. Breath is held as we wait to see which of the four contestants will be this year’s most extreme sitter or if Jeremy is going to be able to make his bed in that perfect way that he does. If there was more excitement in the room, the air would crackle with electricity.

The other heavy hitter of the week is the dance, which is the final night. This year, as our normal musical talent was unfortunately ill, I was volunteered as someone who might be able to DJ. What if I mess it up? What happens if I play the wrong song or someone doesn’t like my tunes?  I’d never done this before and was nervous: I’ve come to Special Session for twenty years and the dance is the single most impactful moment of the whole thing.

The first image in this post is of that night, right as a conga line is breaking out as I play one of the Soul Train themes; you can see me to the right finding the next song. My fear evaporated as Dennis, Shea, Moose, Philip and this large cast of characters I’ve come to know danced and cheered with each new song; as I should have expected, they took good care of me. It is at the dance where the underlying message of the week is most apparent: it is more trouble than it is worth to discern who is a camper and who is a counselor. We are all loved, we are all special and we are all incredible.

It’s hard to stop talking about Special Session. It’s a bittersweet feeling knowing that I’ll see all these people again in a year, knowing that I must wait a year. Life returns to normal and the most we can do is hope we hold on to the special parts of the week. You would think I would have a lot of practice but it is still sad to see my favorite week of the year, every year, pass by once again.

There’s always next year though!

A very special thank you to the incredibly talented Allison Kendrick, who took the photos. Check out her other work on her website: http://www.allisonkendrick.com/.


McKee S. is a Project Manager who loves playing video games and kickin’ around a hacky sack.