Falling into my Lap.
I did it again. I picked up a dude at a bar. It happened just the other night, and it was completely unexpected, but most welcome. I relay this experience so that you too may learn from my endeavors to be a better human being. Yes, picking up dudes in bars makes you a better human. Everybody knows that.
It was a typical Thursday night. I went to my favorite watering hole in town to grab a beer in order to unwind from a very long and emotional day on the job. There was only one seat at the very end of the bar, so I sat in it. As I sat down, I asked the jolly looking gentleman sitting in the next seat if it was available. Obviously, he responded in the affirmative.
He was there with his friend, who I will refer to as Father Patrick, (FP) but please be aware that this individual was in no way a man of the cloth. For the sake of this story, I will refer to the jolly gentleman as Tad, though this was not his real name. It is my attempt to protect the somewhat innocent. Of course, how protected can he be, as his picture is part of this post? Ah well, you do what you can.
Anyway, as soon as I sat down they started talking to me, which was most welcome. I sized up the situation. They were incredibly animated, intelligent men who had been friends since boyhood. They told me that they get together at least once a year to enjoy crazy shenanigans. These were definitely safe guys. This particular evening's shenanigans consisted of a pub crawl through Bellingham. Unfortunately, they had visited the most lame and far away places to drink beer/cocktails in town. The next place they were hitting? Bob's Burgers. Ugh. I took it upon myself to stage a one-woman intervention.
I told them about a magical place called Elizabeth Station, where the beer is plentiful and the workers are knowledgeable. A place where you can strike up a conversation with almost anyone. A place for community to taste the finest beers from around the world. A place where anything can happen.
They were so impressed by my enthusiasm and insight that they invited me to tag along with them and be their guide, on them. This was when I first had an inkling that I just might get lucky. They were hoping to employ the ages old "get the woman drunk" strategy in order to lubricate me into bed with them later that night. "Well played," I thought to myself after I accepted their offer. I wasn't convinced I would end up knocking boots with either one of them, but I appreciated this antiquated "tip of the hat" to my womanhood they had so astutely laid at my doorstep.
As I travel by bike, I told them I would meet them there. I knew this night was just about to become EPIC, so on my way to E Station, I tried to calm myself with breathing exercises I learned from a visiting monk back in Portland. By the time I reached my destination, I was as cool as a cucumber, which is how I prefer to be when I pick up dudes in bars.
I walk in, and there they are, standing at a community table waiting for me to pick out some sour beers for them. I looked at the menu board and found nothing suitable, so I went to the coolers. Over the next few hours, I selected an assortment of sour beers that I knew to be exceptional. FP said he liked them. Tad seemed not to, but kept drinking anyway. A group of kids from the local University joined us and Tad and FP began buying beers for them as well. It was exactly what I was hoping would happen; a community erupted around the rich dudes buying beer. Eventually, the topic of sex came up, and they inquired as to whether I would be game with either of them. I replied quite emphatically, absolutely not.
The reason I called FP by that name is because he had a priest's ring on his finger. I told him that I couldn't see myself getting jiggy with a man who is....well...religious in that way. And Tad was just a little too nice, if you know what I mean. That is when FP told me that he had recently dressed up as a priest for a gag and his ring was part of the costume. He showed me pictures. It was a riot. He even went through airport security dressed that way. Unfortunately for him, they found a flask in his hollowed-out bible and took it from him.
I don't know about you, but this is the type of thing that gets me GOING. A guy who will go through the trouble of dressing up as a priest for a laugh? Just to see how people will react? Yeah. Sign me up for that. That is what I call HOT. Most likely it is because I do the same types of things for the same reasons. So, from that point in the evening, it was pretty much on. We exchanged numbers, began sending each other dirty texts, and I promised to meet him at my house later that night.
You might be wondering how any of this makes me a better person, or how it could possibly make you a better person.
As always, it comes down to simple math: Meeting strangers and discovering the world through their eyes simultaneously expands and shrinks the world. You are able to discover and appreciate things that you didn't even know existed. You are able to consider view points you might never have. You are able to view people you might have seen as very different from you, as quite similar.
What's more, you come to know yourself better, you might even come to realize that you were wrong about a certain "type" of person. It reminds you that your fears of others are based on virtually nothing. It is good to remember that from time to time.
Lastly, doing this kind of thing reminds you that anything is possible. I would never have guessed at the beginning of the night that the evening would go the way it did, and what an astounding surprise it was! The world can surprise you in very wonderful ways if you give it the opportunity. All you have to do is give it that. You will be amazed at what falls into your lap.
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The Most Common Mistake
I am sure that I have written about this before, but certain recent incidents have inspired me to write again about a very common occurrence that happens in the work place.
This is when low performing employees are rewarded at the expense of high performing workers. I have seen it a million times in a million different iterations, so I will write again of the pitfalls of letting high performers take on the lion's share of the workload.
When you have a team of employees, you inevitably manage a situation where certain people are much more productive than others. For whatever reason, you have your stars and you have your bench warmers. This is just the way of it.
Without thinking about it, managers tend to put more work on the high producers while taking work away from those who can't seem to handle it. In essence, the workers that show the most initiative get punished with an increased workload while the low producing employees work under lowered expectations and ultimately have more free time and less stress.
It is understandable. Managers are very often doing some form of extreme multi-tasking with at least twenty projects and tasks every day, and dealing with personnel issues is not exactly a tantalizing concept. It is easier to give more work to your employees you can depend on than to work with the weaker employees with whatever problems they are struggling with. It is simple math, but it is bad math, and here is why: When you do this, you are keeping your weak employees weak and you are crushing the souls of your high performers.
Ultimately, by not working to improve the skills of your low performers you are creating an environment of resentment, and in the end you lose your high performers to other companies while your low performing employees hang on for decades. In the long term, this practice costs you more time and money (in turn over and loss of productivity) than the time and money you might have spent working with your weaker employees.
What you are communicating (yes, it always comes back to communication) is that you are willing to sacrifice the well being of your high performers so that your weaker employees can maintain the status quo, and while you might not mean to be communicating that, while you might not have a clue that this is the message that you are sending, it is the message that is being received, and it can destroy your team and your productivity.
Managers must be accountable to their employees, and this is an important but often overlooked method of exemplifying accountability. By showing awareness and equitably distributing the workload, all boats rise together, weaker employees gain new skills, and your high producers don't get burnt out because they are laboring under the workload of three people. Your employees will trust you to do what is right for the team and the company, not what is easiest for you, and will in the end work harder for you.
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So you are a manager and you need help? Hit me up! I work with individuals and companies of all sizes by helping them clarify their communication strategy and putting processes and protocols in place so that expectations and standards are clear.
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