random thoughts

There Will Be Balance

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It seems that I’m using this blog as only a place to bitch about things… but I promise, there will be a happy balance.

Yesterday afternoon I was lucky enough to meet two girlfriends for appetizers and a couple of drinks just after 4pm. We met at the most expensive “chain” restaurant in the area, The Keg. (It’s not as high end as a Morton’s or Ruth’s Chris, but it’s pretty darned good and aside from the steakhouse at the Casino, it’s just one of the few places in our city like it.)

Between my these two friends, they have 5 kids, and getting out for a couple of hours is a nice little luxury for us all. When we arrived, the place was empty. The one girl was a little late, blaming her ass-hole kids, her rant was pretty funny.

So we’re not completely white trash, but in conversation, there might be some colourful words here and there. I think that’s pretty normal for women in general, and my friends for certain.

We sat on the bar side, which might encompass about 1/4 of the entire restaurant and is completely separate from the dining area… and who at 4:30 walks in and sits at the table directly beside us? A family. A family with a newborn, a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old.

Great. Now we not only have to hear intermittent crying, but we also have to watch our language… you know, because we at least try to be respectful.

Do families have the right to have a nice dinner and drinks? Absolutely! But they chose to sit on the BAR SIDE. It’s a bar. It’s not the Legion, there will be bad language and perhaps a little too much imbibing (albeit not as likely at 4:30 in the afternoon). They could have had their pick of any table in the dining room, it wasn’t like the bar was their only option. So this was annoying. (Not to mention that the tiny 5 year old was standing and pacing, rocking the newborn who she could barely manage to hold. She had to keep hiking the baby up… it was stressful to watch and just annoying in general.

Fast forward to leaving, I texted my husband to see if he picked up the dog and he invited me to him and some of his co-workers at another restaurant chain nearby, so I thought I would pop in there for a couple of drinks before heading home to get Mr. Shank.

The guys were seated in the bar at high, narrow and long tables, and the place was packed. There were a few families on the “bar side”, which I understand, as sometimes it’s easier to snag a table there rather than wait for a table in the dining room. After a few minutes of me being there (the guys had been there for a few hours, including a late lunch and apps…) the manager came over and informed us that the table behind us was complaining about the bad language, actually “offended”, and could we please be more mindful of ourselves as they had kids (probably about 7, 9 and 14 years old).

Well, I was offended by the father. When I sat down I had a clear view of 5 inches of his ass crack and sloppy and exposed fat spilling out of his jeans. It was beyond gross… could I complain about that? Would the manager have approached the father and asked him to pull up his pants as other patrons were “offended”? Could you imagine?  

And here’s the thing… they chose to sit there. They chose to sit on the BAR side. They chose to sit their family next to a group of men, IN A BAR, who clearly just finished work and were having a few drinks after work.

I asked the manager, “Then why are they sitting ON THE BAR SIDE?

I really don’t care if you’re in a dive, a chain or in a family-style restaurant, bars and bad language go together like bars and booze. It’s gonna happen. If you have the option, then choose the area of the restaurant best suited for your family, rather than attempt to shame a group of guys for being guys in a place where it’s acceptable to BE a guy… in a BAR.

In the end, we toned down our language and were happy that this group left not long after.

On the happy side (I promised balance and there will be balance damnit!), it was great seeing these ladies for a little while. They are both smart and funny and I’m again reminded that I’m very lucky to have so many awesome friends in my life. I hope to meet with them and other “elevator” wives soon.

Life is good.

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Why I Hate Facebook for Business

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Just a little work-related rant that I have to get off my chest.

I manage several Facebook Business Pages (one of them is in Facebook Business Manager, which I don’t recommend using – while it has gotten better over the last year, it’s still not as easy to use as the older version).

Here’s the thing… for whatever reason, Facebook users “choose” to follow a Business Page. Perhaps they work there, know the owners, are customers or (and most importantly) want to stay updated on what’s happening there, sales, specials, updates, etc…

These users can also choose not to receive updates, unfollow the page and even see “fewer posts like this”.

Over the years, Facebook has nearly eliminated the organic reach of Business Page posts – so essentially the users who follow the page rarely see posts in their timelines. Why did Facebook do this? To make more money.

To “reach” users, posts need to be “boosted”, and of course you have to meet Facebook’s guidelines for doing so, but lately, even boosted posts are reaching fewer people.

So, a few years ago, a post “boosted” targeting “people who like your page and their friends” (and a best practice is within a specific geographical area if the business is local in nature) would reach, say 2,000 people for $5. Now, these boosted posts are reaching only a couple hundred Facebook users.

Not fair!

How is this right? These users chose to follow these businesses!

It’s almost like the Business Pages exist (and yes, there are things that have to be done correctly) to be found in only Facebook searches – so now Facebook has essentially become a search engine for businesses, rather than a platform to socially share what’s happening in a business.

Further to this… people who run home-based businesses (such as Avon, Scentsy, Monat, etc.) post on their personal pages, promoting their products… and these businesses encourage this personal posting along with the following:

  • Become friends with every single person you’ve ever met
  • Post several times a day to stay engaged with your Facebook friends, so when they see you talking about the product, they won’t feel that you’re on Facebook just to hock your wares
  • “Like” or comment on absolutely everything – let your friends know that you LOVE them, and hopefully they’ll buy whatever you’re selling
  • Create online and non-existent “Events” for selling your stuff
  • Offer free samples ad nauseam
  • Try to get more people to work under you, selling your stuff
  • Repost and share posts from the people that work under you (gotta show your support and promote them!)

Seriously… the posts by the people who sell for companies via their personal Facebook accounts is enough to drive people off Facebook. Crap such as “What’s your favourite season?” “What childhood tradition do you miss the most?” Crap, crap, crap.

Now, with that said, I understand that they are just trying to make a living, maybe even they have their own Business Page – but the parent companies recommend to post on their personal Facebook account to overcome the lack of organic reach on the Business Pages.

What affect is this having for the average Facebook user? 

They are not seeing posts from businesses which they have “chosen” to follow

Their timelines are blown up with crap content from “friends” who are constantly posting crap and promoting their products constantly.

Solution? 

There is nothing that can overcome the lack of organic reach on Facebook Business pages as far as I can tell (with the exception of encouraging employees, friends, etc. to “share” the post if/when they see it – or creating a Facebook group to alert these people of a new post, encouraging them to “share it”).

For the people who “over-post”, “over-share”, “crap post”, “over-comment-and-like-everything” – unfollow them.

That’s it for now. Thanks for listening.

Just Annoyed

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Not sure what it is about today, but I’m just annoyed… at everything.

My day has been filled with jaw clenching, growling and groaning. For no particular reason.

I don’t really like this about myself. I’m sure I’m not fun to be around (it’s just me and the Shank luckily, he has been sleeping through most of my bad mood).

I think I feel this way when I think a) there’s something else I should be doing, b) I don’t want to be doing this or c) I want to be doing something else.

I’d say a combination of the 3 is happening today. However, I’m done work now, am going indoor golfing in a couple of hours, so it’s time to get out of this funk, and hope it doesn’t return tomorrow!

Green Light

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It’s been about 3 months since I began to take action on changing my business, but yesterday was a big leap forward, as I received, at last, the final and most important “green light” to move forward.

Yay.

So now I’m scared. It’s hard to put yourself out there! Especially since I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing for the same clients for so long – there is a significant level of comfort there!

I’m trying to approach this in the most efficient method, and if all goes well, my goal is to send out my resume before Super Bowl weekend.

Fingers crossed!

About Being Sick

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Yesterday I was out of the house for a few “old man cans” and was chatting with a guy at the bar, about the weather – a conversation requisite for all Canadians. He also mentioned that he is just getting over a bad cold and that in fact, he missed an entire week of work.

I’m certainly not doubting that he was sick, but a whole week? For a cold? 

It got me thinking (as I sometimes do…), that being sick is a lot like travelling on a plane.

Just about everyone accepts snacks and soft drinks when they’re free, but when they come at an extra cost, almost no one buys them.

If you are employed and have paid sick days, why not take advantage of them? You’d be silly not to. Even if a sick day is not paid, if you’re truly sick and can stay home, then it’s at least an option.

When you’re self-employed or have no one to do your job for you, then you really have no choice but to push through, or at least re-arrange your schedule around being sick.

Okay, probably not the most accurate or brilliant analogy… just a random thought.

Things on Thursday

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Things that annoy me (including yesterday):

  • Holes in my socks. So annoying.
  • Shank has a cut on his paw from last Sunday’s walk. He licks it… to the point where it seems to be his duty and obligation to constantly lick, like the fate of the world depends on it. There are wet spots everywhere in the house where he’s enjoyed a licking bender. I’ve bandaged it up ad nauseam. I make him stay next to me in the office so I can watch him. It’s wearing on me.
  • So many things about Facebook. It’s so annoying that Facebook for Business now messages me via messenger everytime anything happens on a boosted post or ad. I don’t have the notifications on (my phone would literally blow up), and finally yesterday I had time to delve into the settings to turn set the annoyance to a minimum (once a week as opposed to about 40 times a day). Also annoying is that businesses can lose their good message response rating by not replying after a conversation. So literally if after a conversation with a customer, and I reply, “thank you”, and they say “you’re welcome”… end of the conversation, right? But because I don’t reply after that, the rating drops. So stupid and annoying!
  • While we enjoy “the fastest Internet in Canada”, yesterday I had many connection issues in the afternoon. William has been complaining about the connection in the evenings, but I don’t notice, as I try not to be online, but yesterday it REALLY affected my productivity and anger level.
  • Being sick on Monday and doing very little has really screwed me up for the week. I have more work to do today than I normally do. Annoying.
  • I’ve been wanting to meet or speak with a client of mine for nearly two months… STILL waiting for their response or phone call. This is kind of a big thing for me! Arg.

Things I’m grateful for (including yesterday):

  • I’m grateful to have socks, but it seems that all my favourites are either without a partner or have a hole in the toe.
  • William and Shank slept on the couch last night so I could sleep without hearing and feeling Shank lick himself. William also did a bang-up job wrapping his foot.
  • I still have a bad cough, but I’m feeling less foggy and much better.
  • Discussed the Super Bowl party plans with William, it should be a good time – and the last party of the party season (which generally runs from American Thanksgiving until Super Bowl).
  • I’m grateful for the clients who either pay me early or pay me on time. Thanks.

That’s it for now, life is good.

Running Out

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I’m feeling much better today than yesterday… but still far from 100%. I actually did sit down yesterday afternoon to do some work to ease my mental stress, but the power was flicking (thereby losing the Internet connection) and then it went out for nearly an hour… so I called it quits for the day.

So, as I sit here this morning, I am again suffering from an ongoing frustration that plagues me each and every working day of late: I’m running out of things to say.

Yep, social media is repetitive (“Tell ’em once, tell ’em twice and tell ’em a third time just in case). I’ve been doing the same thing for the same clients (except for one I acquired last February) for 4, 5, 6, 7 years now. For my one client, I’ve literally “run out” of articles to write about. I’ve completely exhausted the topic. I now pretty much re-write old content and post as new. I literally don’t have a choice. After 5 years, there is nothing left to say.

It’s super frustrating to have this creative and metal block. I feel like I’m not serving my clients as they deserve because I’m either burnt out or a part of me knows that the client “really doesn’t care”. They just want it taken care of with it not affecting their time. (Don’t get me wrong, I do receive the occasional compliments, but for a few of my clients, they are just fine with my job just being “done”, so it’s not something they have to deal with.)

I think all my clients would benefit from a “fresh perspective”. Someone who could discover new things to say online. I wish I could become refreshed and re-invigorated. I wish there was a shot, a pill or something I could take to boost my creative spirit. No, vacations don’t help. There’s so much that needs to be done in advance, I often just end up working while away because it’s easier.

This is not a new feeling or frustration for me – in some sense, I’ve felt it for years now. I’ve taken steps change how I work, and I should know more about that in the next week.

Life, however, is still good.