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Wednesday, 08 August 2012 17:11

You're NOT on Facebook!?

Written by Deb Neuman

The looks from my friends sitting around the table were of shock, wonder and a little jealousy as my 40-something friend (we'll call him Jim) confessed to a group of my friends that he is not on Facebook. 'What?' 'You're not in Facebook?' 'Are you serious?' 'Are you OK?' 'How do you do it?' 'How are we supposed to stalk you?' 'How can we tag you in this pic we just took of you?' 'I often wish I wasn't either!' These were just some of the reactions he received when he admitted this in public. The funny thing is that my friend seems to be pretty well adjusted, social, busy, successful and active in spite of the fact that he doesn't spend time on Facebook. Or perhaps he's that way precisely because he doesn't spend time on Facebook. I'll let you ponder that.

Jim, myself and the rest of the group at the table are all busy professionals, business owners, parents, wives, husbands, active in our communities - and we're (mostly) all on Facebook. I like being there. I've found it to be a very useful and fun tool to stay in touch with my friends and family both near and far, and it's a useful tool to promote a business. But there are times when I long for the days before social media - the days when we only knew what was going in the lives of others by actually seeing them, calling them or writing to them.

Wednesday, 01 August 2012 16:11

Olympic dreams

Written by Deb Neuman

I was watching the Olympics swimming heats with my nephew, when at one point he turned to his mother and said, 'I'll never make it to the Olympics.' His Mom (aka my sister) replied, 'If you think about the Olympics, that's too big just think about your next meet and then the next and do the best you can.' I pointed out that the Olympic athletes likely started swimming in their neighborhood pools and swim clubs, and they just kept on swimming!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012 15:11

For Sammy

Written by Deb Neuman

This column is dedicated to Sammy. I met her during a weekend visit to Squirrel Island off the coast of Maine. The island is a summer cottage colony where folks from Maine, around the country and the world come to spend weeks in beautiful cottages while swimming, sailing, playing tennis, lounging on rocking chairs overlooking the ocean and enjoying the best of summer in Maine. Many of the families have summered here for generations. There is a church, library, ice cream stand and post office on the island. There are no cars, restaurants, shops or stores.

I was walking to the beach one afternoon when I saw a little girl sitting behind a card table in front of the post office. She had stacks of duct tape in bright colors and she was very busy crafting bracelets, wallets and gift tags from the tape. We struck up a conversation. I learned that she was selling her wares. She showed me her price list - $1.50 for a braided duct tape bracelet. I immediately placed an order. She asked me to choose my colors. I went with purple, green and yellow. She said she would have my order ready in 10 15 minutes.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012 15:34

Weed out the bad

Written by Deb Neuman

I got a little carried away planting my garden this summer. I have flowers in beds, hanging baskets and clay pots. Lots of flowers. Now that the heat of the summer is upon us, some of them are not doing well and need to be pulled out. It kills me to pull out a plant and toss it away, especially after all that time I spent planning where to plant it, watering, fertilizing and nurturing it. Still, after all that TLC some plants are dead or dying. This leaves me with the choice to pull out the dying plants and let them go or try to bring them back to life. This is not unlike many of the tough the decisions we have to make in our lives and our businesses.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012 12:32

Don't let your degree hold you back

Written by Deb Neuman

Within the last few weeks I've witnessed two young women trying to land a job. One has been successful; the other is still looking. These women don't know each other and they live in different towns. But they share many of the same traits. Both were raised in Maine, left and have now returned. Both are in their 20s, well educated and bright. I'm thrilled for this state that they're both back to stay!

What's been interesting is how each has approached her job search. Both are hoping to work in their chosen field. Both have been networking and talking with people in their industry a great strategy. But their expectations differ greatly. One has been unwilling to accept anything that she thinks is beneath her. She has passed on opportunities in her industry because they are parttime, not in her preferred community, don't pay well enough or are too entry level. She is still looking. The other young woman interviewed for a number of positions and was even willing to accept an internship (not a job) with a company because she wanted to get her foot in the door. By the end of her first day as an intern, she was offered a permanent job!

Tuesday, 03 July 2012 16:03

Bidding the boss farewell

Written by Deb Neuman

I recently interviewed two women who made the decision to leave their day jobs to go into business for themselves. One is launching her wedding and family photography business full time and the other is a veterinarian who is launching a house call vet service. Although their business differ greatly, their path to getting to the point of submitting their resignation letters have many similarities.

Before you decide to do the same, there are a few lessons they shared with me that might be helpful to you.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012 16:04

Tie it down!

Written by Deb Neuman

It was a nice-looking wicker chair brand new and in good condition - and it was free. But I chose not to pick it up. It was lying in the middle of I-95! Seems it had flown off the back of a trailer hauling furniture (probably to someone's summer camp) and landed smack dab into traffic. I managed to swerve around it, but it took me moments to realize 'that was a wicker chair in the middle of the interstate!' I'm hopeful everyone else managed to avoid a collision with the wicker.

I've spent a lot of time travelling on the roads lately, and I've seen way too much stuff flying off of vehicles. The most common items I see coming off of vehicles travelling at rates of speed greater than 70 mph are plastic bags, cardboard boxes and plastic coffee cups. These typically are flying out of the backs of pick-up trucks. The more unusual items (in addition to the wicker chair) have included a plastic cover off a cooler from an ATV being towed behind a truck and a hammer off the roof of a commercial vehicle! The hammer incident scared the heck out of me. Fortunately I was at a safe distance behind this vehicle when I noticed an object fly off the roof of the vehicle in front of me. I hit the brakes and moved to another lane to avoid the object. When I realized it was a hammer I uttered some choice words out loud that I won't repeat here and thought how bad it would have been if that had been thrown into my car or worse yet through my windshield! Getting 'hammered' on the interstate is not the way I want to go!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012 16:43

I'm sort of annoying

Written by Deb Neuman

I hope I don't annoy my co-workers. I try not to, but the fact that I often talk to myself out loud might annoy some. If you work in an office with others, chances are you may annoy or be annoyed by - someone there. Career experts advise that you should confront an annoying co-worker and address the issue. But sometimes that just exacerbates the problem, leading to tension and more annoying behavior. Sometimes it's just better to accept your co-workers as they are focus on the positive!

According to an article in 'The Grindstone,' here are eight annoying habits of our co-workers that are best to just live with.

Thursday, 14 June 2012 08:36

Stop planning!

Written by Deb Neuman

I caught a snippet of a graduation speech that Jane Lynch (of GLEE fame) gave at a recent commencement. She told the recent college graduates to 'Stop planning!' noting that she would not be where she is today had she followed her plan.

Hear, hear, Jane!

Think about the plans you had for yourself on your graduation day. How's that working out for ya? Chances are you can look back over the years since graduation and note that most of what has happened to you was not part of your plan.

Wednesday, 06 June 2012 16:06

When working for someone else doesn't work

Written by Deb Neuman

A friend of mine has a dilemma. She has a job with great pay and awesome co-workers, and she enjoys her work. Yet she's miserable. I know her well enough to diagnose the problem. She's an entrepreneur. As much as she likes her job, living by someone else's rules and schedule is making her nuts. Not to mention working to advance someone else's business rather than her own. I suggested to her that coming to terms with her entrepreneurial nature is the first step to finding the right career path.

It is possible for those of us with these traits to work for other people providing the environment and culture allows our inner-entrepreneur room to breathe. But being in the wrong work environment can cause the entrepreneur to feel caged in. Of course, one option for my friend is to start her own business, and that is likely the direction she will take.

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