Amber Little

Big Business Blog: a guide to work, life and happiness

Smart People, Dumb Decisions February 27, 2011

Filed under: Deep thoughts by Amber — Amber Little @ 4:17 pm

Have you looked around lately at the overwhelming amount of successful people that are acting like complete idiots?  Both in the business and entertainment world, these destructive tendencies are everywhere.  While it makes for an entertaining story, you have to ask yourself “REALLY?!?  What the hell are these idiots thinking?”  They are almost TRYING to throw away their lucrative careers, ones that they have worked their entire lives to attain.

Let’s take a look at the rock star of self destructive behavior, the one and only Charlie Sheen.  (If you live in a barn and haven’t heard, Charlie Sheen went on an amazing rant last Thursday against the executive producer of his cash cow tv show Two and a Half Men, which immediately resulted in the show’s cancellation).  The highlight of this rant was when he passionately stated “I’m sorry, man, but I’ve got magic. I’ve got poetry in my fingertips. Most of the time, and this includes naps, I’m an F-18, bro, and I will destroy you in the air. I will deploy my ordinance to the ground.”

The man DOES have poetry in his fingertips.  Love him or hate him, this is 1000% AWESOME, and if anyone tries to put a filter on that man I’ll be pissed….oh, I kid.  But not really.  You GO Charlie.

But in all honesty, this is a smart, accomplished and successful man…and there are plenty of people that have followed in his demising footsteps (not so stylishly of course) including famous athletes, actors, politicians, CEOs…I could name them all, but you know who they are.  This is an epidemic that dates back basically to the beginning of mankind; in fact in 1915 Sigmund Freud wrote a piece entitled “Those Wrecked by Success” where he explored this “surprising and bewildering epidemic” of people who go out of their way to be morons “precisely when a deeply rooted and long cherished wish has come to fulfillment”.  Since that time there has been an enormous amount of research dedicated to this topic.  It seems that often times once we achieve success we just can’t be happy…and we inadvertently begin to screw up in big ways, perhaps in part because we feel like we don’t deserve to be where we are today.  (Or we just like prostitutes and cocaine).  In any case, even if we work hard and reach our dreams, we still need to work on our self esteem.  In the end, people are people, and its human nature to screw up.

If you find yourself in a situation where you have publicly and personally screwed up in a HUGE way, you need to eventually forgive yourself.  Learn from these irrational and idiotic decisions you have made, as well as the AWESOME ones that Charlie sheen has made, and go on with your life.  Besides, everyone knows it’s the worse decisions that make the best stories.

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5 ways to damage your reputation at work: February 22, 2011

Filed under: Tips for a successful career — Amber Little @ 6:34 am

#1. Gossiping: Nobody likes a gossip hound.  If you spend your days gossiping, it can give the impression that you are a negative and mean spirited person who is not interested in your job but rather in seeing others struggle and fail.  Nobody wants to be around that ya big jerk.

#2. Empty Promises: Once you fail to meet deadlines or follow through on projects, you will create doubt in the eyes of coworkers and supervisors.  When the next project comes along…a project that would have been perfect for you…your boss will likely pass you over for someone who isn’t acting like a lazy little sloth.  So try and follow through, and if you are behind on a project, simply let people know.

#3. Mr. Know-it-all: It’s great to speak up at work and offer up good ideas.  However if you constantly domineer over all conversations, people will think that you just want to hear yourself yap.  When a project requires a good deal of group work and collaboration, 9 out of 10 people will cringe at the thought of having you on their team, so always remember to listen to others and accept new ideas…to do this you need to shut your yapper every now and then.

#4.  Dodging the bullet: When you constantly push the blame on other people, it looks unprofessional and weak.  So, if you completely screwed up you need to admit the problem and take the hit.  State what you’ve learned from your mistakes and how you will handle the situation differently in the future, and get on with it.  Your boss and peers will respect you more for it.

#5.  Cell phone addiction: I’m 100% guilty of this one.  I’m TRYING to work on it, and it certainly has helped that I have recently purchased the world’s most annoyingly slow and crappy phone, but I’m still struggling.  Constantly checking your phone shows that you are very distracted and goofing off.  Even though I may be simply disliking a Dave Matthews song on Pandora (for the millionth time…seriously, what the hell) it looks like I am distracted…and I am.  How can I not be? Pandora KNOWS I hate the Dave Matthews Band.  You really know how to get to the core of me, don’t you Pandora.

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There’s no crying in baseball!!! (i mean business) February 20, 2011

Filed under: Tips for a successful career — Amber Little @ 2:20 pm
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Most of us have been there (unfortunately).  We are at work and things are going horribly wrong.  Not only are we being under extreme pressure from the job, but we are also feeling the added pressure of not having support from our direct supervisors and bosses.  In fact, the ones that we rely on the most to be our support system can be, in a very real way, responsible for making matters worse.

A person can only handle this pressure for so long until we can’t emotionally take it anymore…especially us ladies.  Now, does crying in the workplace give the impression that we are both unprofessional and incapable of handling our jobs?  Unfortunately, that is the exact image we are giving off…and it’s BS.  We CAN handle our jobs.  So what do we do?

Well…it’s never professional to cry in the workplace, so if you just can’t hold it in, it’s better to take a break and step away from the stressful situation.  This may include taking a walk to gather your thoughts, walking (preferably not running like a madman) to the bathroom to have that cry by yourself (just be careful not to emerge from the bathroom looking like Alice Cooper, let me tell you), or confiding in another coworker to get things off your chest and possibly get some advice.  The important thing is to not be too hard on yourself, there’s no shame in being human…we aren’t frickin robots.

The bigger question I have to ask is, is this job right for you?  Do you have the support system that you need at work?    All too many times we get stuck in a situation where these stressful situations begin to seem normal to us.  That’s right, we think it’s normal that we start to get anxiety in the workplace; we think it’s just another day when all we can think about is LEAVING.  Well, maybe it’s time for you to realize that you owe it to yourself to find something better.

Take a moment and figure out what you are good at and enjoy doing,  and follow NIKE’s advice and JUST DO IT.  It’s never too late to change unless you convince yourself that it is.

After all, nobody wants to look like Alice Cooper all day, it’s depressing.

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Filed under: Tips for a successful career — Amber Little @ 10:42 pm

Alright people.  I know.  You think sitting in an office for a living is total easy street.  And…yeeeeaaah, it mostly is.  HOWEVER…sometimes it can be just plain treacherous sitting on those office keisters all day.  Lucky for you, I’ve compiled a list of the top five most dangerous threats that could be lurking around your cubicle corner at any given moment:

Threat #1: The Chair Scooter

You know who you are.  You are the lazy little worker bee who refuses to get off your hams and walk the 15 or so feet to the printer.  Not only does that little backwards mini shuffle scoot thing look ridiculous, it also poses a great threat to your fellow office mates.  Much like the VERY REAL threat of strollers at the mall in Salt Lake City, you are quite likely to run one of us down and cause serious shin or toe damage.  I, for one, tend to not do the chair scoot due to the very real language barrier that exists between my dog and I…do you know how hard it is to explain to him “no Max, I can’t walk any further…do you not understand that I work in an office!?!”  So get up and walk…your dog will thank you, and the seams of your pants will too.

Threat #2:  Eye Strain

Hopefully, if this threat applies to you, this would occur when you are diligently going over and over those numbers you just put together for that big meeting, and NOT when you are contemplating your next plan of attack on Farmville or Mafia Wars.  But let’s be real, either scenario is quite likely and both may lead to eye trouble.  Staring at a monitor for hours on end is just not good for your peepers.  Signs of strained eyes include blurry vision (unless you forgot to put in your contacts that day, which in my case is a quite common occurrence) watery or dry eyes, a sore neck or a headache.  So next time you are quadruple checking that spreadsheet or planting those strawberry crops, do yourself a favor and either change the font to “granny font size 18”, reach for those eye drops, or simply take a break and focus on objects at different distances…like that fellow coworker getting run down by the chair scooter.  You know it and I know it, it’s funny if it isn’t you that’s getting bulldozed.  But I digress…your eyes are important, especially if you dabble in professional bocce ball or street hockey.

Threat #3: Back pain

Let’s face it, most of us have the posture of Larry King.  This, of course, is not ideal…unless the look is necessary to pull off those stylish suspenders you’ve been sporting.  However, good posture or not, sitting at a desk all day can cause some serious aches and pains.  My suggestions?  Get up and randomly start doing lunges and stretches.  Maybe throw in some jumping jacks, or do the downward dog pose.  Or, instead of doing the chair scoot to the printer, consider a nice backwards lunge walk.  Not only does this crazy behavior encourage others to look up from their computers, which in turn combats the eye strain problem that is so prevalent in the office, it will also make your back feel much better.

Threat #4:  Snacking

Grazing like a cute little cow at your desk can have serious consequences.  Depending on how speedy your metabolism is, mindless snacking can add up to an extra 1,000 calories a day…roughly 1.5 pounds a week!  This scenario is primarily bad due to the difficult conversation you are going to have to have with your dog next time you can’t hoof it that extra mile.  I strongly recommend bringing a water bottle to work.  Surprisingly, the majority of the population is extremely dehydrated.  Often times your body is simply trying to tell you that you are thirsty, but you may misinterpret that signal and think you are doing yourself a favor by rolling your chair over to the big plate of Valentine’s Day cupcakes that some jerk graciously decided to tempt you with.  Instead, either WALK over to those Valentine’s Day cupcakes (because sometimes you just deserve to treat yourself) or pack yourself some veggies before you head off to work.  Take THAT stupid and delicious cupcakes.

Threat #5:  LOUD NOISES!

If you work in a loud environment, chances are you are going to be subjected to more to stress than if you worked in a delightful spa.  These loud noises may include your friendly office neighbor loudly chatting on the phone with her sister (FOR HALF AN HOUR) about how she’s still battling that bad bout of food poisoning from “both ends”.  Or, perhaps you just work in a generally loud environment, and are fortunate enough not to have to hear any lovely specifics.  Anywho, good solutions are noise canceling earphones, ear plugs…or perhaps just telling that charming coworker to shut it…somewhat nicely.

So there you have it.  Working in an office CAN be dangerous.  However with these tricks of the trade, you will be much more likely to escape your 9-5 shift completely unharmed.  Just be on the lookout.

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Everyone LOVES a good statistical analysis…don’t they?!? February 11, 2011

Filed under: Deep thoughts by Amber — Amber Little @ 10:10 am

I know what you are thinking:  BOOOORING.

  • Spreadsheets: check.
  • Pocket protectors: check.
  • Coke bottle glasses: check.
  • Maybe some tape to hold those stylish black rimmed glasses together: CHECK AND CHECK.

Ah, the world of statistical analysis.  Although it may sound quite glamorous from that check list I just provided…well, it IS.  Don’t you remember what your math teacher always told you in high school?  “Knowledge is Power.”  Well, maybe that was just MY math teacher.  Geez, all that rambling ON and ON about numbers really got my goat.  That guy didn’t know when to call it quits.  All I was really interested in at the time was breaking away from the nerd herd and hightailing it to my art class…quadratic equations were fool’s game.  However, now that I’ve had some time to think it over, maybe he was onto something.

Statistical analysis plays a huge role in successful businesses, both big and small.  Think about it: investors need to monitor the health of a business they have put money into.  Businesses use this same data to determine if the business is healthy, and if not, make decisions to get that company back on track.  This information also provides a means for a company to measure trends and growth rates in different markets.  Companies can essentially see where their strengths and weaknesses are, and make the proper adjustments.  Sounds easy enough, right?  Wrong.  Often times that balance sheet and profit and loss statement isn’t enough to give you a great understanding of all of the factors that influence those numbers.  What’s more, once you have the detailed information behind those reports, it can often times be pretty frustrating to try and make sense of all that information.  That’s where statistical analysis comes in.  Once you are able to truly understand all of the information by way of a good and clear analysis, it’s amazing how many things you have overlooked and how much room you have to improve!

I know, I know…now you can’t wait to get your very own statistical analysis of your company, so exciting!!!  Okay, calm down…time to take that chill pill.  But in all honestly, a good overall analysis can turn your company around.   However if anyone asks (and by anyone, I mean my math teacher) you didn’t hear this from me.  I don’t want to hear another “I told you so” next time I run into him again in the bread aisle. If he asks, tell him I’m still busy with my finger paintings.


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