Tuesday, September 27, 2016

My twenty year work anniversary

Twenty years....

Launch day of the Sprint network
It is hard to wrap my head around that number thinking how long I have been with my employer as of today. I joined just five years of working after graduating college to be part of something that at that time was totally new.

Prior to 1996 by law there were only two wireless carriers in each town. That helped things remain stable as this newfangled technology was growing and at the same time limited competition. The government decided more players in the marketplace would reduce prices and increase innovation. Of course the billions of dollars that were to be made in the spectrum auctions were not a bad thing either for Uncle Sam.

I was working for one of the two at the time and thought it would be exciting to be part of a ground up new start opportunity.  

During these last many years I have been part of a lot of changes. I stepped into this company as a newlywed and soon had a house, a son and a growing set of responsibilities and challenges that come with maturing.  

In my work life, I saw a growth of technology and an evolution of my skills thanks to being part of a dynamic industry. I encountered opportunities to explore my abilities and found a path that led me in career areas I would not have imagined early on.

I also experienced the full corporate lifecycle with explosive growth, maturity, decline and now (hopefully) growth again. My job titles and roles have changed many times as the organization changed. Co-workers have come and gone. CEOs have come and gone. In the last fifteen years there has been turmoil and changes with layoffs occurring on average once a year or more.

As a manager I have hired people, fired people, laid people off, celebrated promotions, celebrated life events and consoled life tragedies of peers, managers and subordinates.
In a work world where now the average worker changes employers every 4.6 years according to the U.S. Department of Labor I am an anomaly as are the many others I know that are long time employees here. 

Through it all I have remained singular in my corporate life for reasons I am not sure I even understand.

So how does one stay at one employer for so long, through so much change and still stay engaged, challenged and growing?

Know your purpose
My purpose, mission statement or whatever you may want to call it has evolved over the years as my interests and roles have changed. What has remained the same however is that I have consistently taken time to define why I work and then have used my why as a magnet to pull me forward in my actions and in my growth.

The tumultuous life that is the ever changing world of the wireless industry has resulted over time in a need to constantly adjust my brand as organization shifts. Having a true north by knowing my why has provided focus even when all else around me is seemly in chaos.

Grow your skills through opportunity
My undergraduate degree is in Government from a small regional state college. Not exactly the credentials that will land you that high level corporate position right out of the gate. Fortunately work has provided many growth opportunities through in the trenches experience and formal learning programs. Even better, once I locked into my career path I was able to take advantage of the tuition reimbursement program to go on to a master’s degree in my field of work and later a senior level certification. All debt free and reimbursed by my employer.

Forget luck
“I don’t believe in luck, I believe in preparation” –Bobby Knight
Having faced many staff reductions over the years I would like to say that each time I was chosen to continue it was due to my skills and my performance outcomes. While I have confidence in those I have at the same time stayed prepared by ensuring I am always striving forward, learning and keeping an eye on the external market for new ideas as well as the skills that others see as valuable.

Just as importantly, I have worked to stay forward thinking and positive through good relationships with those in the organization that are influencers and performers. I believe you learn best from those that are excelling in what they do.

Most importantly I have continued to believe in the future. I have steadfastly held that no matter what change may come my way I will be able to handle it and the outcome will result ultimately in a positive impact.

We get back from the world and our careers what we put into it.

No longer after twenty years is there a reward of gold watches, celebrations, pension and retirement. Instead the work continues so therefore I will quietly go about my day and press on while giving my best to the future that has yet to be revealed.   


Really, I would have it no other way. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Happy 21 years to us



This week is our 21st wedding anniversary.

I can clearly remember the days as a teen and later as a young adult longing to have love in my life. I was never much of a ladies guy and there were times when I was sure I would never find the right person. It turns out I did not need to find anyone as thanks to a mutual friend we found each other through a blind date.

Imagine that! A simple lunch set up turning into a lifetime of togetherness. We are proof that it can happen.

Someone this week through e-mail made a comment about our length of marriage success and kiddingly said he should get advice from me. Me being me I could not help but respond with some top of mind thoughts. Here they are
  • Marry the right person to start (people are not fixer uppers)
  • Be partners (no separate accounts; no secrets)
  • Have common interests (hobbies that you do together)
  • Have uncommon interests (Hobbies that make you/her happy and provide “me” time)
  • Honor with actions (Always strive to think positively and speak positively about spouse)
  • Never stop perusing (dates, adventures together, random acts of kindness)
  • Never stop moving forward (plans for the future—dreams)
  • Surround yourself with successful marriages(If we are the average of those around us be around couples that will lift you up)
  • Make sure you are yoked (philosophy on God, money, health, children etc)
  • Marry your spouse and not your career. (Jobs come and go but family should be forever)
  • Communicate
  • Communicate
  • Communicate
Like any couple we have faced many challenges over the years but along the way there has never been any question that no matter what we are in this together and forever. Neither of us would have it any other way.


Happy 21 to us. There is no doubt in my heart that the best is indeed yet to come.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Having an attitude of gratitude


"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

Life is a series of up and downs and if you are not currently fighting a storm I can assure you that one is on the way. It is easy while in the midst of a difficult time to forget all that we have in life to be thankful.

That is one reason that for many years now I have begun most days with a mindset of gratitude. Most mornings and especially on Mondays I make an effort to reflect on the many things I have to be thankful about in my life. How can I have a bad week when there is so much good around me?

I affirm daily the good in my life and begin my day with thanks for what I have now and the opportunity to have even more in the future. I do this with a prayer thanking God for the present blessings in my life and for the opportunity a new day represents. Doing so only takes a few minutes of quite reflection.

Example: 

“Thank you Lord for this new day and the new chance to be my best. I thank you today for____________. I will honor this blessing today through my actions, my attitude and my results”

Do I have bad days and times when I am grumpy? Absolutely! These are the days when taking a moment for reflection and appreciation mean the most. The belief in a day of success preset with a reflective moment on something positive begin momentum the right direction. It is on the days when I do not do this that I tend to falter.

A prayer works for me and may work for you as well. At the very least as you begin your day start it by affirming something positive and next state your absolute belief success will follow as you go through your day.


My challenge to you is the try this for a month and see what happens. When negativity creeps into your mind as your day progresses repeat your prayer from the morning and commit to reset your attitude. I know that no matter what storm you are in now or what storm is coming there are things in your life that you have at this moment that you can take 2 - 5 minutes each day to give thanks. Just the fact that you woke up to face another day is blessing as opposed to the alternative. 

Try giving thanks each morning for the next 30 days. You will be amazed at the difference it will make.