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"Why Choose Between Fun and Content When You Can Have Both"

Motivated by Money, I Used To Shovel Snow For A Living

I used to shovel snow for a living.
Okay, it wasn’t a living, but when I was a kid, wanted a few extra bucks, and it snowed, I shoveled. I also learned about negotiation.

I used to sell Kool-Aid for a living
Okay, it wasn’t a living, but when I wanted a few extra cents, and it was summer; I stood on a corner prostituting myself for a nickel and learning the value of my time.

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Memoirs of a Geisha buy I used to rake leaves for a living.
Okay, it wasn’t a living, but when I was a kid, wanted a few extra bucks, and it was fall, I raked leaves into piles, jumped in the piles, and then put the leaves in bags. I learned work should be fun.

I used to haul trash for a living.
Okay, it wasn’t a living, but when I was a kid, wanted a few extra bucks, and it was summer at the cottages, I hauled people’s trash to the community dumpster and then ran home and took a bath.

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I used to teach adult ed for a living.
Okay, it wasn’t a living, but when I was an adult, wanted a few extra bucks, and it was spring, I taught. I learned that adults really do think they know everything.

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I used to do taxes for a living.
Okay, it wasn’t a living, but when I was an adult and wanted a few extra bucks and it was the first quarter of a new year, I did taxes. I hated taxes. I hated some of my clients. I decided you should not do work you hate or spend time with miserable people.

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Are these tough economic times? Yes they are.
Is there work out there? I believe so.
Is it at the level of experience or pay that you expect? Probably not.

Might you have to do things you don’t enjoy? Perhaps.

But I do believe that there are those people who always figure out a way to make it work and others who sit around waiting for things to happen. I hope you’re the former, no matter what your work or financial situation is right now.

Move To New England; There Is No Recession Here

Blood Trails full movie I’ve been doing market research lately to see how hard the Recession has hit the Northeast; specifically New England. I keep hearing about layoffs and high unemployment; yet the traffic I sat in yesterday morning didn’t seem to support the numbers? Corporate parks were full of cars. That evil donut place still had lines of cars blocking lanes of traffic as people waited to reach a drive-thru window (sometimes it really is faster if you get your lazy butt out of the car)

So here are my research findings:

Business is booming in Turners Falls, MA.

Business is booming in Northampton, MA
Business is booming in Bristol, Farmington and West Hartford, CT
Business is booming in Eastham, MA

Business is booming in Southington, CT; as well as Cheshire, Waterbury and Danbury, CT.
Business is booming in Manchester, NH
Business is booming in Portland, ME as well as Portland, CT

Joe Dirt full Yes, everyone I talk to in these New England towns tells me business is great. They have not seen any difference or slowdown.

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Are they telling me the truth?

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Are they in denial?
Is this Recession really not a Recession?

Or have the business owners in these areas figured out how to thrive in a Recession?

What’s your opinion? I’d like to know.

6 Ways To Be A Successful Team Member (#6)

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Last night I was at a Professional Development meeting. A small group of us were laughing, being a little raucous, and acting….well let’s just say, a bit childish – and this time I didn’t start the antics.

A woman walked over to us and said “I want to come join this group. You all seem to be having fun.” I took a moment to look around at all the uptightness (I know it may not be a word; so what) and pretentiousness; the ones who were there to impress. I chuckled inside.

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Which takes me to #6 on our 6 Ways To Be A Successful Team Member

6. Be Playful and Fun
Now let’s not confuse being a jerk and acting like an idiot with playful and fun. More often than not being playful and fun is about being who you are, and not putting this charade on in front of others. People want to see the real you; what makes you laugh; what gets you excited. A few ideas:

  1. Live in a moment
  2. Spend some time with kids; even if you don’t have any. Go rent some.
  3. Wear a fun tie, accessory or hat
  4. Take a Recess

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  5. Stop worrying about what others think
  6. Pay close attention to #5 (post from two days ago)
  7. Organize a short impromptu “field trip” for your colleagues – like a trip to the ice cream store. Buy everyone a cone – of your flavor choice of course!

People are attracted to playful and fun people. They not only reduce the stress

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and chaos in our lives; they usually make even the most tedious team objectives a bit more bearable. Try it. Mimic someone. Get a mentor.

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Well. that’s the 6. Pretty simple, right? Now here is the task…………….

Take the 6 Ways To Be A Successful Team Member and have a fun candid discussion with your team members about which ones have been violated. Do it playfully of course.

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But I’m An Accountant Who Talks To Fat Ladies!

This is the article referred to in my newsletter of January 20, 2009. Yes, I know it is a bit of a long post. It’ll keep you from surfing for porn.

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But I’m An Accountant Who Talks To Fat Ladies!
It was October 1984 and I was selecting classes for my final college semester. Constitutional Law and Civil Liberties. Looks interesting; fits into my schedule; I can blow out of campus by noon (my criteria for class selection). How difficult can that class be? After all I’m an accounting major.

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! Seems that Constitutional Law and Civil Liberties is the last class taken by Government Majors to earn their degree. As a quick aside, let’s just say this was not an easy semester and the hardest I ever worked for an “A” grade.

Midway through the semester, spring 1985, we were given an assignment. Students were paired up to deliver a five minute presentation of a case previously decided by the Supreme Court of the United States. One student was given the majority opinion; the other the dissenting opinion. Now to be honest I do not remember the case I was assigned, the partner I was assigned, or which side of the decision I needed to defend. That information is irrelevant and probably forever blocked from my mind for a reason.

I read the case. I wrote up my presentation. I practiced it in front of the mirror. I practiced it in front of my family. I stood in the cafeteria in front of my business major friends and practiced. I was psyched. I was prepared. I was motivated. I was ready. This was going to be fun. This accounting major was about to declare a victory.

8:00 AM that day. Sitting in my seat the stomach is turning at warp speed. I’m nauseous. I am hoping Professor Grant – I remember her name! – was abducted or hit by a bus on the way to class. Nope, the smiling, perky, prematurely gray professor walked into the room. #%*$

Just pick me and get this over with I thought. Nope. She chose another pair to be first. Is this what death row feels like?

Finally after what seemed longer than waiting for Santa to arrive on Christmas Eve, it was my turn. I step to the front of the room. I look out at what seemed like 23,000 pairs of eyes staring at me. I open my mouth. Words start coming out. The looks of horror, shock, and hysterics on the faces of my professor and my classmates were something I can still vividly see.

Now if you’re old enough you may remember a commercial for FEDEX with the world’s fasting talking man. If you’re not old enough, I hate you. Just kidding – but go to YouTube or Google and use search terms FEDEX, fast talking man and watch the video. But I digress.

Yes, a five minute presentation, perfectly crafted and timed, was just delivered in about forty seconds. I vowed never to speak in public again.

Spring 1988, yes just three years later, I was sent to Winnipeg Canada to teach financial statements and budgeting to Seed People. Seed People? I called them Seed People. I was working for a large Agri-company at the time. I had P&L responsibility (that’s profit and loss for the non-business reader) for North American operations. I was sent on a mission to teach seed salesman (corn, sunflower, etc), researchers, executives and office staff how to read, understand and prepare annual budgets, forecasts and financial statements. This will be a breeze; after all I’m talking my language. Debits. Credits. Profit. Loss. Income. Expense. Bottom Line. No need to even prep!

The presentation started off without a hitch. Things were going smoothly – except for the water stains in my armpit. It was apparent they had neither a clue nor interest in what I was talking about. The water had made its way down into my tight fitting suit pants. Then out of nowhere came their words. Hybrid. Biotech. Harvest. Grain Elevator. And could I explain how to account for these things. Ugh!

Now I will take some of the responsibility here; but I was young and green. Do you think my boss could have prepared me just a bit better for this one? I once again vowed never to speak in front of an audience.

Both of these tragedies taught me two things:

  1. When you know more than your audience you are considered an expert and people look to you for answers, guidance, ideas and motivation.
  2. When you know less than your audience you are not comfortable with the material you are presenting and your audience will question your right to be at the front of that room – and they will show no mercy or tolerance.

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1989, I lose a whole bunch of weight at Weight Watchers. In 1993, after having my weight off for four years I join their team as a part-time meeting room Leader. Sharing my success and ideas was easy. Facilitating a group learning experience was a breeze. Why? Look above, I just told you why.

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But there was another reason this worked for me. I broke the Weight Watchers script. I did it my way; not their way. You see, their way broke my #1 rule above. I had to be me and share my experiences, ideas and thoughts in a manner that made sense to me, not by delivering some silly theatrics that their training department thought was cookie cutter for everyone. And while at times I left management’s stomachs churning from my antics, they loved the loyal following I had. The company loved how I rang up their cash register. They gave me awards for highest attendance and best member weight loss results for years – awards that meant nothing to me. Nothing. My awards and rewards were when people came up to me and thanked me for helping them figure out their weight issues and stay motivated.

But then something strange started to happen. In addition to their thanks these people were also giving me nudges. These people saw a gift in me to motivate and inspire people to change. They saw a gift in me to take traditional routes to dieting and better health and come up with innovative, fun and creative ways to be successful and experience long-term results. These people started telling me I needed to get out of accounting and go become a motivational speaker. One woman came up to me and told me about an organization called the National Speakers Association (NSA). I chuckled and said thanks. I went home and looked up NSA online; could not figure what they were really all about and closed out the browser page.

1993, I get a call from a colleague. Would I like to teach a CPA review course with him? Teaching the whole class was just too much for him. I was a full-time recruiter at the time – placing accounting professionals in new positions. I also had the Weight Watchers gig going on. I had “tons” of time on my hands. But it sounded like fun.

Ray and I met. I looked over the materials and learned what was expected of me. I’ve

been down the path of this exam. I know the material. What I need to refresh myself on is given to me by the organization. I decided to do it.

I made the class fun. Again, I didn’t exactly follow the rules that were given to me; nor will I write here what my success was; I only share that with my speaking audiences. (Never put certain things in writing) The students started telling me I should go become a Motivational Speaker. Now I’ve got two groups of people telling me the same thing.

I taught this class for several years. I had command of the room. I had command of the material. Students were learning, laughing and passing the exam. I continued to hear them tell me I should go become a motivational speaker. I continued to chuckle.

Winter 1999, I had started an online r
etail business several years earlier which was providing me no satisfaction and was doing the Weight Watchers thing. The review course had been swallowed up by another review course. I was not on the same page with how the new organization ran their classes so I had decided to jump ship. At the same time I jumped the review course ship I was asked to speak on a cruise ship by someone I met online through a Weight Watchers staff networking group. On that cruise I met two other speakers who were part of that NSA thing. I did my speech – which went okay, just okay – and went home. I wasn’t really sure what the next stop-along-the-way-in-my-life was going to look like.

Then one day while sitting in my cold mud-room-converted-to-an-office, my phone rings.

On the other end of the line was someone from the State of CT telling me how she got my name from someone and heard that I could “light a fire under the asses of a stereotypical group of state workers.” Those were her words, not mine. I held the phone in disbelief. Why is this person calling me…………….I’m an accountant who talks to fat ladies?

But I kept hearing those voices inside telling me to go be a Motivational Speaker.

Voices: “You should be a motivational speaker!”
Me: “I’m an accountant who talks to fat ladies?”

Voices: “You should be a motivational speaker!”
Me: “I’m an accountant who talks to fat ladies?”

Voices: “You should be a motivational speaker!”
Me: “I’m an accountant who talks to fat ladies?”

I paused and then some words just came out of my mouth……………………

“Let me come down, meet with you and see what you have in mind.”

And those words were clear, commanding, confident, and not above the speed limit.

I did that speech. I joined that NSA thing. A new career began.

Today you can find me at But more importantly, thanks to Professor Grant, the Class of 1985 Government Majors at Manhattan College, my friends at Continental Grain Company, Mikki Williams, Scott “Q” Marcus, Christie Ward, NSA and all the “Skinnies Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence hd ” at Weight Watchers; you helped lead me to a path and into a career that has me jumping up out of bed in the morning!

And if you want to get more comfortable speaking in public visit my friend Jacki Rose.

6 Ways To Be a Successful Team Member (#5)

5. Avoid The Negative Ones

You know who they are; they have infiltrated every organization. They are the reasons I write my bi-weekly newsletter. They are THE NEGATIVE ONES

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They are the doom and gloomers

. They talk negatively of every decision. They talk negatively of others. They are unhappy, miserable and feel entitled. And the kicker………………..

Did you ever notice they seem to find each other? !?!?!?!?! It’s like they have Naysaydar, kinda like Gaydar, but for negative people, the ability to seek out, find and feed off of all the other negative naysayers.

And while you may be laughing and think this is funny, as a speaker I can usually spot them in the crowd. They are the ones sitting there thinking they can learn nothing; they know it all. They are the ones in the cafeteria and other common areas just sucking the life out of everyone they come into contact with. They ought to be canned! They bring down employee morale. They are disengaged. They crush productivity.

Stay far away.
Run. Run……As Fast As You Can.

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They can ruin your career.

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They can get you branded or labeled as one of them
– squashing all aspirations of advancement.

Years ago I held a sales position; a new sales person had just joined the company. She was bright, smart, funny, sarcastic (in a good way) and a go-getter. She had promise. I was excited about the skills she was going to bring to the rest of us. She then met two of the “miserable ones” Mission to Mars buy

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and began getting sucked in to the garbage. I contacted our territory manager and suggested she step in and save what I saw as a Rising Star. The manager did nothing. Eventually the Rising Star became one of the most avoided. Too bad – for everyone; especially the customer.

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Surprised? Shocked? Don’t be; this is happening right now. Heck for all I know there may be people avoiding you. Yikes!

Look around your organization. Who are the ones you need to be avoiding? You have my Permission. More importantly; you’ll be happier.

Or take it one step further. Take a look at your life. Who is just sucking the energy out of you? Who is just “too much work?” Is it time to sever the relationship. Don’t be afraid; there are happy, helpful, fun, motivational people waiting to enter your life. You’ll be glad you released the negative energy.

6 Ways To Be a Successful Team Member (#4)

4. Share New Ideas

50 First Dates dvdrip There seems to be a hesitancy when it comes to sharing new ideas. The two most common reasons I have found are:

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  1. Fear that someone will steal or take credit for your idea
  2. None of your other ideas have been accepted

Let’s look at #2 first. And for that I can only offer these words and phrases:

  • Not now
  • Not yet
  • Wasn’t the right time
  • Convince me

On the flip side, at least people know you’re always dreaming and thinking about possibilities. Most likely you’re ahead of your time. Here’s a great example……

Anyone old enough to remember Karen Carpenter? Killer drummer and vocalist. She died in the early 1980’s – eating disorder.

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Karen was half of the famous group, The Carpenters. Her voice was absolutely amazing and people often wonder how legendary she would have been. In the late 1970’s she did a solo album; completely out of the music style that most were accustomed to hearing come out of her mouth. The album was not released. Some said the world was not ready for it.

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In 1996; thirteen years after her death that album was released and did okay. Some of the talk at the time of release was that it was too far ahead of it’s time for 1980; but now it was right. Others say had they convinced the music industry that 1980 was the right time who knows what influence it would have had on the music industry? I say too bad; maybe a better job of convincing needed to have been done.

Now as for #1; No one will steal your idea. Go back and read that again.

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If you’ve really thought it through only you have the desire, plans, vision and dare I use that word that makes me want to puke – passion – to see that idea through to completion. Only you have what it takes to not only convince others why it is needed but what it will take to see it through. If you don’t already know, I am the founder of Recess At Work Day; a free health and wellness idea that I created so that employers can improve morale, engagement, productivity and overall health within the organization. Most people hear Recess and immediately think fun and games – and who has time for that when we need to work on being greedy and bankrupting our country.

{Pause while I come down from the soapbox}

Recently a good friend of mine introduced me to a Corporate Health and Wellness Manager who mentioned to him that she wanted to bring a Recess to her organization! A Recess? Ding, Ding, Ding!! He told her about me and put us in touch.

Could he have done it? Maybe. But he knows who the guy is that thinks organizations need to take a Recess from the way they currently are doing business – for lots of reasons.He knows why organizations like the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society have hired me be they keynote speaker and deliver a breakout on this very topic. He knows the guy is who has built a part of his business around looking at Recess in a new light. He knows who is studying the need for this. And he is comfortable enough that I will deliver. Some fun things are going to happen in 2009 with a large multi-national and several recreation organizations; and I’ll be a part of them.

I know you’ve got ideas. Keep offering them. Keep talking about them; and keep coming up with new ones. Think them through logically and clearly. Keep you motivation and enthusiasm high by asking for advice, partnering and support. Not only does it show your true team spirit; but it keeps you relevant and on the radar with your organization – which is what you are hoping for, right?

Just make them good ideas.

The Client ipod Riding in Cars with Boys movie download This is an example of not a very good idea. I saw this in “The Pit” at the furniture store. I am assuming the next stop is “The Fire Pit.”

On Monday we’ll do #5. Have fun this weekend. I’ll be doing my best to keep warm.

6 Ways To Be a Successful Team Member (#3)

3. Take On A New Project With Enthusiasm

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master dvdrip The other day I was offered a project that “had my name all over it” (so the person who offered me the project said).

Under normal circumstances it would have had my name all over it; but this was a volunteer job and thus far my experience with this organization is that while they tell you to be creative and have fun; in the end all of your creativity gets squashed and your energies get zapped. This time I declined.

I know, you’re reading this looking at the title of the post wondering why you should take on a project with enthusiasm when I’m starting off with a bad example.

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Because not everything works out the way we like.

When you take on a project you should ask yourself what can I do to make this project memorable to those who have asked me to take on the task; I ask myself what can I personally learn by taking on this project and finally I ask myself what talent or skill can I offer to make the outcome of this project even better than anyone had expected. Those three points are a great source of motivation and most of the time, they are the outcomes. Some of the time, as how I started this post, it doesn’t work that way. My history with the “has my name all over it” organization is while they talk about new ideas, they can’t get out of their old way of thinking. If it had been the first request I would have said yes.

In How To Be a Good Employee, a program I offer to college seniors and new hire orientations, I share the story of a woman whose employer sent her to search for a lost document believed to be in a row of file cabinets the size of a double-wide trailer. Talk about the needle in the haystack thing. Now how many people do you think signed up for that task? She wasn’t looking at the floor or in the other direction and she won the prize!

In the end she told me she had a choice – be miserable or get herself excited about it. She chose to get excited. She is motivated to learn. One of the things she did was realize that a lot of company history was in those files and there was a lot to be learned about the organization. She was right. Down the road, when decisions and policies were made, she had a better understanding as to why.
She also decided to have some fun during her search. Wanna know what she did?

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Get your organization to hire Rich and you’ll learn.

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There are so many opportunities that come along with a new project. Be enthusiastic and the outcome will be a much better experience – for everyone.

Tomorrow we’ll do #4.

I changed my mind – Let's go back to Blogger

Okay after spending way too much time trying to do what I say are simple things…………


Let’s go back to the old blog at

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Don’t forget to bookmark/favorite it.

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6 Ways To Be A Successful Team Member (#2)

2. Pick Up A Loose End for Someone Else

It’s happened; it’s the end of the day and everyone is walking out the door. Off to see their spouse, partner, significant other. Off to see their kids participate in some sport. Off to their aerobics class. Or off to the bar for a well needed drink (possibly because of you). Everyone is walking out the door. Everyone but you. You’ve got a few more things to do.

You offer polite smiles and pleasant “have a nice evenings.” Under your breath you’re muttering words I cannot write here but this should sum it up: *&$#*&$#!*&$#!

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If only someone had offered to stick around and help you finish your work. You’d be out of there in a few minutes.

Well let me ask you this………….When was the last time you offered to help someone out?

Seems so much of what goes in on the workplace comes down to “it’s not my job.” And if it’s not your job, why bother; right? Well maybe you’ll earn some respect? Maybe you’ll learn a bit more about the company products or services? Maybe you know something that can make that person’s job a bit easier? Maybe that person has something to give you? Maybe you will actually look like the team player you say you are? Maybe some new revenue or cost savings idea might come out of it? Maybe………………………….Oh go figure the rest out yourself.

But on your way out of the office today tell someone you’ve got fifteen minutes to help them with something. And if you think that fifteen minutes can be better used on your own work………why were you leaving so early?

Tomorrow we’ll do #3. Click here to learn more about Rich’s programs on team building, communications, and other employee issues.

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In the meantime here’s a little fun item for you that was sent to me yesterday….

HIGH SCHOOL — 1958 vs. 2008

Scenario 1:
Jack goes quail hunting before school and then pulls into the school parking lot with his shotgun in his truck’s gun rack.

1958 – Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack’s shotgun, goes to his car and gets his shotgun to show Jack.

2008 – School goes into lock down, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.

Scenario 2:
Johnny and Mark get into a fist fight after school.

1958 – Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies.

2008 – Police called and SWAT team arrives — they arrest both Johnny and Mark. They are both charged them with assault and both expelled even though Johnny started it.

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Jeffrey will not be still in class, he disrupts other students.

1958 – Jeffrey sent to the Principal’s office and given a good paddling by the Principal. He then returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.

2008 – Jeffrey is given huge doses of Ritalin. He becomes a zombie. He is then tested for ADD. The school gets extra money from the state because Jeffrey has a disability.

Scenario 4:
Billy breaks a window in his neighbor’s car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt.

1958 – Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college and becomes a successful businessman.

2008 – Billy’s dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy is removed to foster care and joins a gang. The state psychologist is told by Billy’s sister that she remembers being abused herself; and their dad goes to prison. Billy’s mom has an affair with the psychologist.

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Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school.

1958 – Mark shares his aspirin with the Principal out on the smoking dock.

2008 – The police are called and Mark is expelled from school for drug violations. His car is then searched for drugs and weapons.

Scenario 6:
Pedro fails high school English.

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1958 – Pedro goes to summer school, passes English and goes to college.

2008 – Pedro’s cause is taken up by state. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU files class action lawsuit against the state school system and Pedro’s English teacher. English is then banned from core curriculum. Pedro is given his diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.

Scenario 7:
Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from the Fourth of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle and blows up a red ant bed.

2008 – ATF, Homeland Security and the FBI are all called. Johnny is charged with domestic terrorism. The FBI investigates his parents — and all siblings are removed from their home and all computers are confiscated. Johnny’s dad is placed on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.
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Scenario 8:
Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary hugs him to comfort him.

1958 – In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing.

2008 – Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces 3 years in State Prison. Johnny undergoes 5 years of therapy.

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This should hit every email inbox to show how stupid we have become!!

6 Ways To Be A Successful Team Member

The Fall dvdrip 1. Show Up On Time.

The Moving Finger release Don’t laugh; you’d be surprised how many people think less of you because you are chronically late. You would be surprised how many people have been left on the brink of failure because you failed to show up on time. But guess what…..that is not my issue here.

My issue is that lateness is about respect; or lack of it I should say. When you make me wait you are telling me that I don’t matter; I am not important and my time is not as valuable as yours. Screw that!

Years ago I was a member of a Toastmasters group

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; we met at 8:00 in the morning every other Friday. One member always walked in about twenty minutes late; even on the days she was supposed to facilitate the meeting. Yes, you read that right – twenty minutes. Everyone thought the right thing to do was to wait for Diane – everyone but Rich. Well one day I stood up and said “No, we are not waiting for Diane any longer or ever again. You are not respecting me or anyone else in this room who shows up on time. This is not an isolated incident. We are starting and I am going to fill her role unless someone else wishes to do it.”

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Silence. Eerie Silence. As if the Queen had just been dethroned.

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We started. She walked in and slipped into a chair with a very obvious uneasy feeling. I ignored her. Her apologies for being late would mean nothing at that point. Come to think of it, not much of what she said had any meaning at that point. Yes, forever branded as being late and unreliable. Not someone I would want on my team. Do you agree?

Tomorrow we’ll do number 2.

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