About this Blog

The Curmudgeon's Office blog is a spin off from my personal blog, Too Young To Be A Curmudgeon, which is full of random rants and thoughts I have on a whole host of topics. In an effort to be more organized, and also to attract a specific niche of followers, I decided to start a separate blog for my professional postings. At this blog, I'll post my tips, rants, and random thoughts on a host of professional topics from setting up a home office & office gadgets to 5S practices & time management.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Things a Ineffective Leader Says

A department manager here is a nice guy, but he is in about two position levels above his skill level. He knows it too by the way he operates his department. Many side stepping responsibilities and delegating decision making to his team members or other department leaders.

In any meeting or event of a situation on the production floor that is out of the ordinary, he is bound to say "somebody needs to make a decision." Especially when it's an issue in the department he is responsible for. The closet he ever comes to making a decision is saying "I fine with whatever you guys think."

While a nice guy, this person should not be in a leadership role. Leaders make choices. Leaders find solutions. Leaders are not afraid to take on the responsibility for their choices. Leaders will take calculated risks.

When the person in charge of a department or company does not lead, but avoids risks and responsibilities that department or company at best does not function to it's full potential. At worst it fails completely.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

How To Hold Paperless Team Meetings or At Least a Productive One

The above link is to the latest blog post from Evernote on using it's products for a paperless meeting. They have some very good advise, even if you do not use their products. In fact, there are some good tip even if you don't want to have a paperless meeting.

One common problem I've seen with meetings is the lack of communication. Sad isn't? After all, that is the whole point of a meeting in the first place. Many of the meetings I attend are so unorganized, must co-workers leave them more in the dark about the subject of the meeting and before the meeting took place.

The big tip in the above link I would recommend is having a company standard template for meeting notes. I have an agenda that lists the key points of the meeting. Take notes of the discussion and assign tasks as required with due dates when ever possible. Most importantly, before you end your meeting, go over your meeting notes with focus on any assigned tasks with every one in the meeting.

Keeping the meeting short, clear and on track is the responsibly of the person who called the meeting. Having a standard template for a meeting can be a very useful tool for accomplishing that.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Want to quit your job? New app does it for you via text message

The above link is to an article on Reuters. When I saw this headline three thoughts popped into my mind.

  • Are we that dependent on others or technology now, that we can't even leave a job on our own? 
  • Are people really such chronic quitters that they could utilize an app to make the process more efficient for them? 
  • Wouldn't quitting via text be just about the most unprofessional way to leave a position?
But after reading the article, I think this app may be a useful tool for setting and refining your career goals.

Reviewing and refining your career goals is something I strongly feel professionals should do on a regular basis, even if they have no intention of leaving their current position or employer. One of the best ways to improve yourself, in any aspect of your life, is to have measurable goals that one needs to review and adjust often.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Value of NFL Players, CEOs and Fast Food Workers

I'm a huge fan of Dave Ramsey. Reading his books, listing to his podcast, and more importantly, following his advice has greatly improved my finical situation and has improved me professionally as well. In the above video shares my views on how people are paid far better than I can.

In this day of "everybody wins and gets a trophy" attitude, more people need to listen to this wisdom. Instead of demanding to get paid more, we need to find ways to bring more pay in. We should never settle for good enough, but always strive for better. The best way to do that is to focus on what you have control to improve. Yourself.

 Here are links to Amazon for two of Dave Ramsey's books that I have read and re-read many times. Both have helped me out immensely.

The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness is a must read for anyone who wants to get their finances under control. It is surprisingly easy to live debt free once you see how easy it is to live without the trappings we've accepted as normal.

EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches is a must read for any professional or entrepreneur. Whether you run your own business, want to start your own business or succeed farther in your profession.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Thursday, January 16, 2014

How To Eliminate Piles of Business Cards from Networking Events

The above link is to a recent article on the Evernote company blog. As I have mentioned many times here before and I will many times in the future. Evernote is one of the most useful and powerful apps out there. I have been using their free version daily on all my computers, tablet & smartphone for several years now and I wouldn't want to be without it.

With the constant improvements to their Evernote Business package, I feel I will be signing up for that shortly. This business card organizing feature may be worth the $10 per month fee alone.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Three Tips for Going Paperless at Work

Three Tips for Going Paperless at Work

The above is a link to a nice article on going paperless with Evernote. I use Evernote constantly and I would not want to live on this planet without it. It is one of the most useful free apps I have ever used and it's on my work & personal computers, along with my tablet and phone.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Don't Make Resolutions; Make Realistic, Measurable Goals.

Don't make resolutions; make realistic, measurable goals. I can't stress that enough. Resolutions are just dreams or wishes. Realistic, measurable goals are an actual plan with trackable milestones. Don't just figure out what you want from 2014, figure out and stick to a real plan to make it happen.

Both in your personal life and professional, merely setting goals alone won't get you anywhere. They need to be realistic. They need to be measurable. And most importantly, you need to keep vigilant with it and see it through.

Write your goals down and keep them posted where you will always see them. Set deadlines and milestones to keep and track. Stay focus on the end result. Keep things realistic and achievable.

One book I can not recommend enough is EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the TrenchesThis book is a must read for anyone in business from an Entry Level Cubical Jockey to Senior Management. I almost wore out a highlighter on my copy of this book.

Happy New Years, everyone! I wish you all a safe, healthy, and productive 2014. Good Luck with your realistic, measurable goals!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

“Super” Sam. Our Company’s “When I was” Specialist.

My day job is with a small company that has two other sister companies. We now share a new corporate level salesman. I think his title is Vice President of Business Development. I stress I think. The reason why I’m not 100% sure is that, in the conversations I’ve had with him, I’ve lost track of his accomplishments. Hence the nickname we’ve given him Super Sam.

Sam is not his real first name. I changed it to protect his identity. But nonetheless we coined him “Super”. He is super because with every conversion you have with him, you’d think you were interviewing him for a job. He is almost a talking resume.

“When I was Sales Director at... When I was working at… When I ran this…. When I owned my company I…” are constantly being said by him. This constant boasting of himself I feel is doing the opposite of his intention. Instead of driving home he has a lot of experience, he has given the impression to us co-workers that 1) he really likes to brag himself up and 2) either he doesn’t last too long as a place or he’s 150 years old.

There is no denying the fact that one has to “sell themselves” in today’s business world. But I strongly feel its best be done in a more subtle manner. There has to be a balance between letting people know you’re experienced and qualified, and being a 24/7 infomercial about yourself.

Super Sam recently showed up at a project kick off meeting with the Design Engineering Team. During is constant talking over the Team Leader who called the meeting with his “When I was” statements; he kept bringing up the time he owned a company. “When I owned my company, I always made sure the Engineers….” He mentioned the fact that he owned a company at least five times during the meeting and it had a noticeable effect on the Design Engineering Team.

When Super Sam left the conference room one Design Engineer turned to the rest of us in the meeting and said something pretty profound. He said “why should we listen to him when he says ‘this is how I did things when I ran my company? If he was successful at it, why is he now working for us, and not still running his own company?”

Sunday, December 22, 2013

I Only Have Two and a Half Hours

"2-1/2 hours, I only have 2-1/2 hours" is what I just told myself as I looked at my "to do" list and my clock. I have a ton of stuff to get done and in 2-1/2 hours, I have my next family Christmas gathering to attend.

I looked at my list and started crossing off things that need to be done without doing them, as I added the time it will take me to get dressed up, things put away, drive time, and any other excuse I could find to not be productive in the time between now and  my next appointment. I do this a lot.

We all do this. Around the house, around the office. "Well the department status meeting is in 20 minutes, no point in starting my next task." Sound familiar?

Next time you find yourself doing that, which if you're like me it will be very soon; try something different. Instead of looking over your task list looking for items to put off doing, look for small items that you can do to get them out of the way of the larger ones.

You may find that besides being over booked for time, you are looking for excuses not to do what needs to be done. You might even be putting up your own roadblocks in a subconscious effort to avoid items you fear you will fail at. Yes. I said that.

Look at this example. I could have spent the last fifteen minutes going over my list and adding items like driving to town to reduce the amount of time I have until I decided to just set on the couch and Facebook or watch YouTube videos until I had to go. Instead, I wrote this post that I will be able to post on at least two blogs. I was productive. I added content to my blogs, allowing you to be able to read this.

Granted it wasn't a life changing event for either of us. I had some fun writing and hopefully you were entertained or maybe inspired to quit stalling on one of your projects. I didn't move mountains, but it was better than "liking" status updates and watching videos of funny pets.

Now I have about two hours. I just might have enough time to take care of a load of laundry and mop the kitchen floor. Look out world: I'm not stopping myself with excuses today!