Monday, November 28, 2016

Advice from a Mom to a Teen: Make YOU PROUD!

I'm pretty sure I just made a monumental statement. My 17-year old son made a mistake recently. It's the FIRST mistake he's made in 17 years that has resulted in grounding. I'm a very lucky Mom and I hope things stay on that course.

Part of me resorted to the fact that he's a teenager and to "expect" not so great things at times. A few days later I realized THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.

When I discovered his "mistake", a very unexpected one at that, I had a conversation with my son about the things that parents just expect of teens, even if they don't REALLY expect them. It was the proactive speech per se.

YES! I want to be proactive, but NO I don't expect those things of you. You're better than that. So, I said to my son "make me proud". Then, I changed my mind. I said "better yet, make YOU proud".

I really hope that resonates in his mind. I don't want be just another parent who allows the "he's a teenager" excuse.

He's better than that and he needs to know it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

America, I'm Disappointed In You

Today I woke to learn that Donald J. Trump will be the 45th President of the United States of America. Whether he was my choice yesterday or not, he's our next POTUS for four years whether "WE" like it or not.

I read it and I moved on my merry way to work. That's not to say I've removed myself from politics, but he's not even in office yet, so nothing has changed. Will things change? Yes. Change is inevitable.

The disappointment comes from watching what would ensue on social media after the fact, mainly Facebook. I'm just really disappointed in humans right now.

I saw posts from Hillary supporters bashing those who voted for Trump, as well as Trump himself (sometimes rightfully so - dude can't control his mouth). I saw posts from Trump supporters bashing those who voted for Hillary (or didn't vote for Trump).

I saw people threatening (and following through with) deleting their own family members (as well as friends) because they chose to exercise their right to the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, Freedom of Speech.

Since when is okay to disallow folks to have their own opinions on things that affect them, their families and their future? Scratch that. It's not that that folks are "disallowed" this right, it's that we suddenly feel like it's our duty to share our judgement of how other folks choose to live their lives.

Why is that? Quite frankly, I think it's because of social media. Flash back 50 years ago. The amount of information we shared about our "personal" lives was far less. Insert social media. Social media has caused the first amendment to backfire on us. We can share our opinions more freely than ever before, but now those who we choose to share it with (haphazardly at times) are free to share their opinions about ours.

I've personally never had an issue with talking about my political views with (most) friends and family. I believe that's because I don't assert my views on those that don't agree with me, but rather question things in an effort to gain a better understanding. This all occurs in "real-life" conversations (sometimes electronic "personal" conversations - It's 2016 for goodness sake), rather than "public" social media.

I never really understood the "don't talk politics" thing until now. It's unfortunate that our expression of what is best for each individual and/or their families is chastised. Then again, why do other people really need to know? Why are we sharing it in the first place?

Part of me believes we should revert to living more personal lives and STOP sharing so much. Then again, sharing can lead to learning if used correctly.

That didn't happen today, though. The news of the incumbent has led to embarrassing acts on behalf of humankind and I'm just truly disappointed.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Come on Fitbit Battery...Just Die Already!

The whole point of me getting a Fitbit was to encourage me to take more steps. For the most part it has worked. A week or two ago, I discovered challenges within the app. It motivated me even more.

After my first "Weekend Warrior" challenge, I set up another one in advance for this past weekend.

I had actually signed up for a walk, but I was so uncomfortable on Saturday morning, temperature-wise, that I ditched the event (FAIL). I can't say I would have come out on top if I had actually walked the walk, but I wouldn't be doing the walk of shame.

I barely got my daily goal worth of steps in two days. When my Fitbit told me the battery was low early Sunday, I thought for sure it would die giving me an excuse for being so lame. Nope.

What I've realized is, I might be codependent. It's funny because ten years ago I had no problem getting out "there" wherever there was, on my own. I would go to a movie by myself, go walking at a park by myself, go out to eat by myself, the mall, a bar, a community event....you name it.

I was Miss Independent. Now I'm the polar opposite. I literally get sad when my future hubby and teenage son aren't home on the weekend. I just want to curl up in bed and sleep and even more when the temps drop below 70.

Even when they are home, neither of them really push me to do anything. I need that push.

With a little PUSH, I could walk for HOURS...and I'm not talking about two or three. I love attending festivals or just walking around places with no direction.

What my Fitbit taught me this weekend is that it will not let me be lame. I need to step it up, per se. Hell, my friend who is pregnant out walked me by three times AND she's got a first grader.

Ideally, I'd like to hit 10,000 steps per day. I'm nowhere close. My baby steps goal is 5,000. That means in the 14-ish hours I'm tracking my steps, I need to take at least 357 to hit my goal. Why is that so hard for me?

It shouldn't be. I've got this.

On another note, if you're thinking about buying a more "affordable" tracker (even if it's only used for counting steps, think again. I bought a $20 Misfit and after about a month the battery died, or so I thought. I replaced the battery and NADA. It wasn't even worth contacting support.)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Other 2016 Presidential Candidate #IRL #IRLToday

I was 29 the first time I voted in a presidential election. I knew what I didn't want so I just voted the other way. Little did I realize there is so much more on the ballot.

This year, the main thing I want to focus on sharing is the other presidential candidate and political party. That candidate is Gary Johnson for President, along with the Vice Presidential Nominee William Weld, both of the Libertarian political party.

Getting to know a Presidential Nominee during their race to become a Presidential candidate requires a huge investment of time; time that many folks just don't have. Even if you make the time, how well do you really get to know that person?

With that, how many of you even knew there was another candidate? Johnson's name came up here and there, but he's not included in the Presidential debates. I didn't understand this myself, so I asked Google "why isn't Gary Johnson included in the debate?". I didn't even have to click a link to learn that one must "qualify".

Next I asked Google "how to qualify for presidential debate". Apparently there is a commission that oversees this decision. The Commission on Presidential Debates requires candidates seeking to participate meet the following criteria:

1) Meet the eligibility requirement for president
2) Have enough ballot access to win an Electoral College majority
3) Have at least 15% support of the national electorate in five predetermined marquee polls

Johnson, along with Jill Stein, both met criteria one and two, but not three. That makes sense to me, but I didn't understand what #3 actually meant. From what I'm reading, that criteria uses data from polls conducted by ABC-Washington Post, CBS-New York Times, CNN-ORC, Fox News and the NBC/Wall Street Journal. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that simply news media?

Either way, if you don't qualify for the first presidential debate, that doesn't mean you can't qualify for others. Unfortunately, neither Johnson or Stein made any of the three. I'm not sure what happened to Stein, but she's not on my Georgia sample ballot. Johnson will be the first third-party presidential candidate on the ballot in every state and Washington D.C. since 1996.

So, just what is this third party, you ask? After watching most of each of the three presidential debates filled with bickering and bantering like little children, my research about Gary Johnson and the Libertarian party continued.

I don't know how many people there are like me, but I've got life to live. While the future of our country is extremely important to me, no matter how much time I spend learning about the candidates it will never be enough.

To narrow my field of vision since the race begin, I took a quiz at ISideWith.com to see where my stances matched the candidates. If you spend the time to take the full quiz, which allows you to rank the importance of each issue (with explanations of each), it gives you a good start. Of course, as nominees drop out of the race, things will change. Your best option might be gone.

I'm there right now. I'm left with three, so now I have to really decide which issues are most important to me. You can retake the quiz as many times as you'd like. At this point, many folks only see Hillary and Trump as their only choices. Again, I'm not sure if Jill made it on other states ballots, but she's not on mine.

So, I present you with Gary Johnson and the Libertarian party. I'm not encouraging you to vote one way or another, but rather trying to enlighten folks who don't feel they have a choice but to vote for the lesser of two evils, which I hear a lot.

Here's some info for you to explore. Feel free to share your thoughts or ask questions, but keep it civil folks. I put this out here to educate you, not to sway your vote.


From here you should be able to do a bit of your own research. I wish you the best of luck in whatever you decide.

UPDATE 10/24/2016: My Dad says (and he's right) there is no way a 3rd party candidate will win this year. So, please vote for the lesser of the TWO evils.



Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Those Interview Questions You Hate

I met with a former boss of mine today. He managed to get out of an industry where it is believed once you get in it, you can't get out. He works for a major worldwide brand. In fact, if you didn't drink one of their products today, I bet you saw one.

He mentioned it was hard to get into the company. When he finally had the chance to interview, they used the "STAR" method. I had NO IDEA what he was talking about and it was evident. So, he explained it to me.

Aha. I've heard this before and I absolutely hate it. In fact, I'm ill-prepared when it comes to responding to the "STAR" method. After looking into the "STAR" method a bit more, I get it.

Both STAR and SOARA are behavioral interview methods that encourage a start-to-finish approach of a recent or notable challenge in the workplace, the goal, how you handled it, the results and the aftermath.

STAR = Situation, Task, Action, Result

SOARA = Situation, Objective, Action, Results, Aftermath

Looking back, my answers to these behavioral interview questions probably threw the interviewer(s) off. While I do learn from situations, I don't dwell on them. I don't think of them as situations. I think of them as a normal part of business, deal with them, ensuring I achieve the desired results without disrupting things and move on.

While I may learn things, I don't store "situations" in my memory bank, nor do I think of them as situations. The fact of the matter is that many companies expect for you to be able to replay at least SOMETHING.

So, where I thought the STAR and SOARA methods of behavioral interview questions were ridiculous, I guess they have some merit after all.

In fact, now that I think about it, one of the blogging agencies I'm a member of (that connects bloggers with brands) uses semi-similar techniques. I have to apply for the job, make a presentation for the job (resume/interview), present past experience (posts) and how it relates to the current post, which is like the STAR/SOARA methods.

In fact, you likely use the STAR/SOARA methods in everyday life - outside of work.

For example...

Situation - We can't seem to serve dinner early enough. The folks who get home earliest need constant reminders.

Task - Serve dinner earlier by finding a way to gently push everyone to contribute.

Action - Make a meal plan, shop for it, print it, schedule duties, have a family discussion

Result - Dinner can me made earlier if everyone does what they're supposed to. There may be some opposition, but with gentle reminders and encouragement over a period of several weeks everyone gets used to their role.

I'm literally just learning this as I type. Let's see what I can learn from it at work tomorrow and over the coming days.

What are your thoughts on STAR/SOARA interview questions? I'd love to hear your experiences.

What Are We Doing? And Is It Really Worth It?

As I typed out the title of this blog post, I briefly thought about whether I was capitalizing the right words. You see, in my quest to break free from working for the man, I attempted a lifestyle blog (or two or three). The result was a second job that made NO MONEY.

I didn't want a second job. I wanted to share things to help people "like me". Instead, I ended up wondering what people (in general) wanted to read, what topics would get the most traffic, comparing myself to other bloggers and even researching AP style writing, all in an unintentional effort to make money.

For those of you that don't know AP Style is Associated Press Style (aka the writing style you see in newspapers and for those of you that have never touched a newspaper, it's the same writing style you'll see on websites like CNN, Fox News, etc.). What is that really worth in today's fast-paced society? Does anyone even really read anything anymore (like this) or do they just skim? 

Staying true to myself meant only occasional money from sponsored posts and product reviews. What I'd rather have is some passive income from relevant ads on my site and a ton of visitors who just found my content valuable. Unfortunately, I found myself in an OCEAN of bloggers just like me, but many of them better (whether it was due to the amount of time they could dedicate or just their natural ability to speak to people in written word or maybe even their own self-confidence).

While all that was going down, I was straying further and further from "me" at my day job. Over a period of 8 years I tried to adapt to my work conditions. Every now and then, I wanted to escape, thinking this isn't me. At the same time, I realize I'm not a perfect person. Who is? All I can do is keeping trying to adapt. Something didn't feel right, though.

Over the years I rode a roller coaster of excitement (wanting to contribute more than just my "assigned duties" to make things better), feeling lost (secluding myself), being stressed out at change (because sometimes, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" really works), being carefree (using the old school chain of command which only resulted in my ideas being credited to someone else), then feeling like I wasn't being utilized for my full potential.

That's where I am now. In my quest to find a better spot at my day job, which I don't simply view as a job, I'm wavering between three four conclusions.

  1. I can be like Abby in the movie Ira and Abby (42:54) and just have a job that I like and make enough money to live.
  2. I can wait until my employer is "ready" to utilize my skills.
  3. I can find a new job that uses my current skills, while investing time and a reasonable amount of money in certificate programs that support those skills.
  4. I can completely change direction by investing a ton of time and money in a "degree".
To help me figure out which option will be the best, I'm reaching out to former colleagues and industry associates. I'm not contacting them for jobs, but rather for advice, mentorship and simply to connect with like minds.

It's funny that you spend so much time with these folks (colleagues), but when you leave a job they're out of sight, out of mind. I had a great lunch meeting with a former colleague today. I now have more of a sense of direction. Granted it's only been 4-ish hours, I truly believe you can learn a lot about your future from reaching out to people from your past.

Folks that you can sit down with at Starbucks after YEARS and chat about each other's journeys candidly, in a casual setting and just be yourself without worrying about offending someone....those are the kind of people you want to reach out to. People you can be yourself around, people who appreciate and respect a difference of opinion and maybe like a little debate or welcome constructive criticism.

To be honest, I'm not really sure where I'm going with this post or how to end it. If you're like me and you're thinking about job satisfaction, maybe my thoughts will help you. 

Ah, I see. Why am I posting this? Is it really worth it?

Can anyone see this? Can you identify with me? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016 #IRLToday

Man that heating pad felt good on my back last night. It still not really cool enough, but with the ceiling fan on it works out.

On my quest for self-control, not only did I hear my alarm clock go off at 6:45 this morning, but I listened to it. I still kind failed because I purposely set my alarm for that time so I could snooze. The word on the street is that you actually get some really good sleep when you snooze. So, I snoozed, but not as long. I woke up earlier than usual.

My drive to work was as usual. The meat of my day was different, though. Yesterday, the day after I sought out on my quest, was much easier than today. Like day one of a diet, I was able to abstain from bad habits. By day two, I found myself falling into my old ways much more often.

As far as self-control was concerned, I found myself talking to myself out loud, interjecting my opinions in conversations I was not truly a part of, sharing details of a story that were not necessary to convey my message.

I did exercise control of my money, by not succumbing to the vending machine. It's an itty-bitty factor in the bigger picture, but I've been restraining (for the most part) for several months now. Things have definitely improved.

I tried to be human and engage in conversation (not-data related). That didn't work out for me so well. We were short-staffed at work and while I can hold my own and continue my work, others cannot.

On another note, how much should one really interact with their coworkers? If you want to be a leader, I hear you should keep your personal life out of it. Does that mean it's all business or can you have casual conversations? There has to a balance.

At the end of the day, today's post has no real point except to share the day in the life of a baffled person.

How was your day?

Monday, October 3, 2016

My Quest to Improve Self-Control, Personally and Professionally

Do you feel in control of your life? You might, if you don't consider your thoughts, your temper, your fears, your speech and your bad habits.

I'm a very emotional and passionate person.

The emotional side of me has it's undesirable affects, like reactions to high-stress situations, both personally and professionally. For example, how long will my significant other put up with my emotionally-charged reactions? On another note, do my emotionally-charged flare-ups resonate with my colleagues putting me in a position where I will be disrespected if I (somehow) advance to the next level in my career?

The passionate side of me turns everything into a soap-opera, despite the fact that I claim to be drama-free. This holds true in both my personal and professional life. It's only exacerbated by my
emotions.

I've got to learn how to improve my self-control. The first step I've taken is making a list of ways that I feel I exercise self-control daily and ways that I don't. The don't list quickly surpassed the number of the do list.

While I was making this list I watched (listened-to) a TEDx Talk about self-control featuring Dan Ariely. The talk offered a few ways to tackle self-control, such as reward-substitution, self-control contracts and more, for ways to accomplish behavior modification.

Do I think people can change? Yes, but only if they're willing to change. I thoroughly enjoyed Psychology courses, but I rarely use what I learned on myself, or at least not as much as I could.

Part of using psychology on yourself is having people (friends, family, colleagues and bosses) who will provide you with truly constructive-criticism. Acceptance of constructive criticism is one area where you can exercise self-control. I'm actually very accepting to the point where I want people to tell me so I can improve. I've always felt an outsider's perspective is necessary for growth.

I'm no expert on self-control after watching one TEDx Talk, but I've got a few resources to point me in the right direction. Most of all, I know that I lack self-control in certain situations. I know what those situations are. Delving into it, will help me modify my behaviors one little bit at a time.

This will not be an overnight process. I recognize that; and if self-control is something you're looking to improve, you should, too.

The start of this self-improvement process will begin with keeping a journal of my successes and failures of how I exercise self-control each day and where I need improvement.

I've also gathered a small list of reading from the web. I hope this will help you!

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Casual Friday, Comprehension, Polynomials, Common Core #IRLToday

As a adult employee for a corporation, I was "required" to wear company attire on casual Friday. On the contrary, I was recently told that my business writing style was too formal and lacked brevity. Contradictory, eh?

If I were to rewrite that paragraph in the language today's "adults" comprehend it would look something like this...

We had to wear company polo shirts on casual Friday. Why so formal? You just told me my writing was too formal and too long for business emails.

Yes, it's unfortunate that most "adults" these days can barely comprehend writing beyond the 8th grade level and from what I understand, most prefer to read at a 5th grade level. Some call it common English. I call it a downgrade in our expectations of society.

Of course, I have to play the devil's advocate here. I get the efforts of our educators to try and thwart this, but I think the verbiage in textbooks is a bit more wordy that it needs to be.

I'm looking in my 17-year old son's Algebra II e-book, so I can refresh my knowledge of polynomials. In other words, what the hell is a polynomial? It's been over 20 years since I've been in high school. I see the eight "goals" of the unit as described by The Common Core Georgia Performance Standards for Mathematical Practice and it's definitely not written in common English.

The language might make more sense to me if I was still in high school and only had a few month gap between Algebra I and Algebra II, but 20 years....C'MON. Some kids are better at math. For Algebra, many kids need help that they can't get in class. Teachers have to cater to tons of different learning styles, whereas the parent, who should know their child, does not (unless we're talking about Kate and her family 8 or that family of 19-ish).

So, here's my beef. If parental involvement and support is needed to cultivate our children's knowledge of topics like Polynomials (and Advanced Algebra on a broader scale), tell me the goals in common English and use real life examples in the textbook.

Instead of "Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them", you could say "Work through several steps to make sense of and solve problems". Maybe? I don't know. I have no idea what I'm reading.

The second goal is to "reason abstractly and quantitatively." What does this mean? I'm an intelligent person and there's a good chance I do this every day. I'm pretty sure that's not what I call it these days. (I'll delve into what abstract and quantitative reasoning is later, as soon as I figure it out, though I'm pretty sure quantitative has to do with numbers).

Just like learning phonics, after a while you just know how to do things. Assisting in teaching my child to understand phonics was one of the hardest tasks I was faced with. I can't tell you why certain letter combos make certain sounds. I just know that they do and I sure don't refer to it as phonics.

Another example is goal #5, which is to "Use appropriate tools strategically". This is starting to sound like a resume for a job-hopper seeking a position in a field they don't qualify. What are the tools? What is the appropriate use of these tools?

Can you please explain this so I move on from the table of contents for Unit 2 Module 3 of the Holt McDougal Advanced Algebra, Georgia Edition?

Why is there is a Georgia edition? Is Advanced Algebra different in other states? Even (way) before the introduction of "Common Core" I personally experienced differences in education when crossing state lines.

When I was eight years old, we moved from Michigan to Georgia. In Georgia, they were already teaching cursive in 3rd grade. That ought to tell you my age. Fortunately, I'm a quick learner.

Our future generations have the attention span of a squirrel thanks to technology. Quite frankly, technology also affects our current generations. I applaud the efforts of the primary and secondary education institutions, but what they have to understand is that, especially in the public school system, the parents may not be in a position where subjects like Physics and Algebra II are required in their day-to-day existence.

To the educators, the educational publishers and the legislators....if you want me to be involved, help me understand because this is all Greek to me. I use information I learned in primary and secondary education all the time, but not Polynomials. I'm not even sure what career paths use Polynomials. On the other hand, I know Physics in happening all around us, but when I drive a car, I'm just driving a car. I'm not analyzing the Physics all around me.

If you want our future generations to grasp this information, make it relevant. Tell them WHY and do it in a language they can understand (excluding Language Arts which is not meant to be altered despite the fact that we've already butchered it by altering comma rules and adding "words" like LOL and OMG to the Oxford-English dictionary).

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

When Why Is Not a Question of Dissent

WHY Ask WHY?
Forget the who, what, when, where and how. The only question that needs to be asked is why. If you're not asking it, you're doing something wrong. Before I share my the Miller-WHY Theory© (self-dubbed), let me give you some background.

The Background Story and MY Thoughts on WHY
I bet a lot of folks were taught that why is a question of dissent. It may go back as far as "Why do I have to eat this?", "Why do I have to clean my room?", or "Why do I have to do my homework?".

Don't even try to pull the "Why do I have to work?" question on me. We all know why we have to work. It's simple: food, shelter, clothing.

On the way home from work today, I took the great big list of my teenage son's "whys" and related it to the "why do I have to work hard?" question that I'm seeing is an issue with working adults in various industries and capacities.

My version of "WHY" is totally different, though I'm sure it was simply a question of dissent in my younger days.

Parents and WHY?
When I asked "Why do I have to eat this?", my parents would tell me about all the impoverished and underprivileged children in the world. I don't know if that really did the trick, though I'd like to think it had some effect on me. I cry during television commercials for goodness sake. I've always been a caring person, but I just might have been too young to understand the full scope of things.

That's when parents get crafty. When you're young, it's easy for parents to make a game out of things. We had the "Clean the Plate Club", but there was no way that was working for calf liver, so they told me it was something else.

My parent's response to "WHY" as it relates to cleaning was limited to "because I said so" or holding the loss of some privilege over my head. That works for children. An in-depth response is not necessary. Parents have the power then, for the most part.

As far as homework went, there was no question in my mind. I was always raised to do homework right when I got home from school. I wouldn't dare turn on the TV for fear it would explode or send some secret signal to my parents. A "C" grade was unacceptable.

When WHY Meant More
WHY really started clicking when I became a parent myself. I was 19 when I gave birth to my son and anytime he asked me why, I tried to give him a literal, relative response.

Somewhere between late elementary school and middle school things got hard for my now 17-year old, but only on occasion. I worked closely with him on schoolwork when he had trouble, but it was frustrating beyond belief. Things are being taught differently than they were when I was that age.

After a while, things calmed down a bit and my son no longer "needed" my assistance. His grades were just okay. Now that he's in 11th grade, the topics are becoming more difficult. He's challenged by Algebra II and Physics Honors.

His excuses to me were "everyone is failing Algebra II" and "WHY do I need to know this" (for both Algebra II and physics). He couldn't understand how he could possibly need either in real life. At first thought, I couldn't understand WHY myself.

As a budding young adult, my son deserves to know WHY, so I sought out reasons. Now, you may ask, WHY I think he deserves to know WHY?

The Miller-WHY Theory
This is where my Miller-WHY Theory comes in. When (most of us) become adults, why is no longer a question of dissent, but rather a question in an effort to gain a better understanding. Even before adulthood, you can see this in our toddlers and young children, when WHY is more of a "how stuff works" question.

We may not be able to answer "WHY" the grass is green or "where do birds go when it rains" off the top of our heads, but we've got this wonderful-ish thing called Google. For a while, I was anti-Google, but they're bringing so much innovation to the World, I had to latch on.

As adults, just because we understand the "how stuff works" thing, doesn't mean every working adult does. Most are just looking to put food on the table and cover basic needs. That doesn't mean they don't aspire for more.

For adult "WHY" questions, including teenagers and young adults, the key to motivation is answering the question for them in a way that relates to the individual.

WHY and Education
When it comes to educating my young adult, it is my responsibility, as a parent, to answer my son's WHY questions. His teachers have to cater to so many different personalities and learning styles. It is NOT solely their responsibility. Since I know my son best, I know what motivates him and I can find a way to relate things like Physics to him.

For physics, I found ways to answer his question of WHY. I hit the nail on the head by starting with the car that he was just licensed to drive. After I studied a bit more and went throughout the course of my days following, I realized Physics is all around us from running water from a faucet to doing laundry, leaves falling from trees, snacks and gravity, surface tension in cereal and more. Now, if I can just focus on cars/driving, computers/gaming and video game design (his career aspiration), I'll be set. I've got some research to do, but I'll get there and I'll be sure to share it with you along the way.

WHY and Adults in the Workplace
How does this relate to adults in the workplace? I've heard lack of motivation due to pay hundreds of times, but I strongly believe that can be overcome. The role of a supervisor/manager involves both "parental" (aka guidance) and "teacher" (aka education) aspects.

You could sum both up with the word leadership. Get to know your employees, maintaining professionalism, of course. Once you find out your employee's interests and motivation, outside of monetary compensation, you'll then gain an understanding of how to lead (guide and motivate) them.

Tell Them WHY Before They Ask
Going back to the "Why do I have to work?" question, the next questions are "Why do I have to work harder?", "Why do I have to work harder than him/her? We are paid the same.", and so on. To answer these questions, even when they're not explicitly asked, you should focus on the end result.

A great response to these questions is "what do you want out of life?". Of course, that's just my opinion and bold at that. If you only want to provide food, shelter and clothing than being "average" will generally get you where you need to be, but where do you want to be?

WHY vs. WHY
Let's say you're an independent contractor. You accept a job, you complete it and then you're paid. As an employee of a company, there's usually a delay in pay of about 1-2 weeks. Same thing. You do the work first, then you're paid.

As an independent contractor, if you do a good job, you get more work. If you do a great job, you get more referrals/recognition. More referrals/recognition means you may have the opportunity to increase your rates.

As an employee, you can do a good job and work overtime to get more pay. If you do a GREAT JOB, you get recognition (assuming their is a witness). That recognition may not always be in monetary compensation, but by doing a great job, you have a much better chance, even if someone tells you it's IMPOSSIBLE.

Can I Get A Witness?
A common rebuttal is that you're doing a great job, but there's no one around to see it. Are you really doing a "great" job? DEFINE a "great job". To me, a great job is understanding the company ideals, philosophies and goals and exceeding them by making a difference. If you're not doing something differently because you don't feel it will be allowed, you're afraid or you have questions, step it up and ask the questions.

Think outside of your "role", "department", "branch". There is so much more connectivity than the average worker who is just trying to put food on the table may realize. As Newton says "for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction". This doesn't ONLY apply to Physics. It applies to LIFE.

The Art of Why
The thing about asking why, is that you can't always just ask why. You have to phrase the question in a way that tells the listener that you really want to understand more about the subject.

Phrases like "what is the reasoning behind that?", "what is the desired end result?", "can you tell me more about the process?", "how does this affect X", etc. At the end of the day, the Miller-WHY Theory© is simply the art of understanding in an effort to keep moving forward in life.

The Miller-WHY Theory©
The Miller-WHY Theory© is not limited to school or work. It's a theory that is all-encompassing with a focus on personal, educational and professional growth. It's about wanting more. By more, I don't mean wanting more "things", but by wanting more out of life, you can get more "things" if that is what you desire.

At the end of the day, it all boils down to this....

The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary. - Vince Lombardi

Monday, September 19, 2016

Physics in Real Life #IRL

Yesterday was a challenging day. Raised voices, teenage tears, parental frustration.

We accomplished a bit after the voice of reason, my future hubby, stepped in. He shed light on both of our points of view and how to meet in the middle, even though I still think I'm right.

I already went to high school. Alright, alright...things have changed. I should know that from the way my son calculated simple math yesterday.

I often look back to my primary and secondary education (aka elementary, middle and high school) and wonder what the purpose was. Why did I spend 13 years learning all that "stuff"? When do I even use it?

That was my 17-year old's challenge yesterday. He could NOT fathom how he could possibly need physics. To the best of my knowledge, I didn't take a physics course in high school, and I didn't attend college. (It's sad that I don't even remember).

When I finally got my son to LISTEN and take a look at the resource I found on school's website, we learned about 2D Motion, which is also called projectile motion and is classified under Kinetics, neither of which he knew. Paying attention in class much, eh?

Referring to the e-version of the textbook, it didn't make enough sense to me as to how 2D motion relates to real life, but after playing around with some of the resources provided and searching the web I get it.

What I don't get is how a teenager with a smartphone cannot find a way to connect the dots. Hello, YouTube!! If the teacher doesn't correlate physics (or whatever the topic may be) to real life, then the student has no desire to search for more info.

As a parent, I have to do this. I hit the nail on the head when I brought up how physics directly relates to driving a car (a privilege my son just earned).

If your teenager doesn't understand Physics (or if you just want to learn about Physics), here are a few resources I've found to help.

I'll be adding to this page as my junior year high school student progresses through Physics Honors. I've asked him to hang in there before he calls it quits and requests College Prep Physics. There's a reason you're in Honors classes, my dear.

  1. sparknotes
  2. Khan Academy
  3. the Physics Classroom
  4. PhET Interactive Simulations for Physics
So, how exactly does physics relate to real life? This link really helped me. I had no idea.


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Parenting a High-School Student #IRL

As of today, I'm 37 with a 17-year old son. Over the years, I've been challenged by elementary, middle school, and high school education of a NOW teenager.

I never would have thought it would be so hard. From remembering why words sound a certain way (phonics) in the early years to "new math", and explaining how things like physics relate to "real life" as an adult, I have never felt so challenged.

I graduated high school at 17, just months before my 18th birthday. My grades were "okay". They weren't scholarship quality, but my parents approved. Boy were my parents rigorous.

I was literally afraid to come home and do anything but homework. I thought if I turned on the TV, my parents would somehow get a signal and I would be in deep doo-doo.

In the 80's and 90's, the possibility of this actually happening was slim, unless your parents were loaded. Technology advancements make it more possible for the middle-class family to monitor their teen's every waking moment.

On Friday I received an email from my son's language arts teacher. Apparently, he hadn't turned in a critical assignment. This one assignment brought his "A" grade down to "F". My son was at his FIRST high school football game: homecoming, at that.

What to do? I forwarded him the email, not thinking he would see it so soon. As connected as I am, I should have known better. I gave him too much time to think as I logged on to the parent portal and reviewed his other grades.

In short, what I saw was majorly disappointing. My son is smarter than this. We had brief discussions on the phone Friday with what I felt were excuses. On Saturday morning I walked to defeat ALS, while he slept in and then went to work from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Basically, I didn't feel like there was a need to discipline yet.

When Sunday rolled around, my son told me that he was going out to eat with his friends. Nope!

Then the arguments began. There should have been no arguments, but my son insisted that he was trying as hard as he could. He acted like I was attacking him. I guess that's to be expected as the parent of a 17-year old.

I stood my ground. Eventually, I was able to coerce my son to use the resources that are available, kinda. The kid is smart. He knows that people have different learning styles. He knows that he has a more visual learning style. With all the tech today, what teenager doesn't have a visual learning style?

Alright, I'm sure some teenagers still read paper books with words, some like hands-on experiments, etc. What we have before us is the way his teachers teach for a group of public school children. As a parent, I have to learn how to take that information and turn it in to something my son understands.

Today I'm faced with the challenges of Algebra II and Honors Physics. We did a bit of physics work together today. Algebra II is another story, especially after hearing my son's method of calculating cook time for dinner tonight.

We made chicken wings and fries for dinner. The wings took 35 minutes. The fries took 18 minutes. Since I knew that 18 x 2 = 36, I just subtracted 1 to find out when we needed to put the fries in.  He used "new math". In other words, his steps to calculate the time was several more steps. For the first time in years, I understood the steps, but it just didn't make sense. Why do that when you can use "simple math"....the math I learned.

At the end of the day, things have changed. I have to adapt so I can learn how to teach my son the relevance of everything he's learning in school. We'll be focusing on physics in real life and algebra in real life.

How do you use physics in real life?