Tag Archives: business

be quiet.

30 Jan

One of the phrases that drives me bananas during the course of day-to-day conversationis…  Well, actually I have to set it up properly to have the full effect.  Here’s the setup:

Manager:  Sales are down – way down.  Skippy, we’ve got to come up with some exciting new marketing strategy.  How about hiring a homeless guy to hold a sign? It’ll be perfect!

You (Skippy): Great idea, Mr. Manager.  I’ll head down to the shelter.

Manager: Hazaa!  [HERE COMES THE PHRASE I HATE] So like I said, we’ll hire a homeless guy to hold the sign. It’ll be perfect!

You (Skippy): Right, that’s what we just… anyhow, great.

Here’s the issue gentlemen: you talk too much.  It’s clear when guys use phrases like, “So like I said…” to not only say something, but also introduce the fact that they’re going to say it again.  Unnecessary.  Any man worth his weight in bow-ties needs to have the confidence to know that when they speak, they’re heard.  And they need to have the courage to know that if they don’t have anything to say, the world won’t stop, and they’ll still be significant.  Speaking more doesn’t equate to being more – it equates to lack of temperance.

Be quiet. Here’s why:

1- It gives you time to listen.  The coolest men ever are the ones that lean back, make eye contact, and listen to what you’re saying.  They don’t do that thing where they kind of pre-breathe/start a word as a verbal cue, indicating that it’s time for them to talk.  They just listen, and they communicate your value to you by not stepping over what you’re saying.  Additionally, they are smarter because they up the ratio of importing information to exporting yada yada yada.

2- You’ll have a voice when you do speak. As a man, when you say something, you want to be heard.  It makes you feel valued, and that, in turn, helps out with ye olde pride.  When you talk all the time, people tend to average out the time they listen to you and catch every ninth monologue. You don’t want this.  You want it all to count.  Be disciplined.

3- It’s cool.  Don Draper, Clint Eastwood, 007.

So like I said, be quiet.  I promise you, it’ll work out in your favor.

You’re a Grown Man, be quiet.

mean what you say.

18 Oct

I’d like to introduce you to a friend of mine, his name is Tompkins (100% fake name use to protect the innocent and ensue hilarity).  Tompkins, like many of my friends mentioned in this blog (cool Randy!) has inspired this post by being a great man whom I respect a ton.  Let me tell you about Tompkins…

The great Publix Sub

With this I am well pleased.

He is a brilliant musician.  Man-oh-man, he can create music on an out-of-tune guitar whilst half-in-the-bag that, if I were given 10 years of formal training by Andrés Segovia and 6 months off to write, still puts my G-C-D progressions to shame.  In addition to being a musical phenom, he’s got a razor-sharp sense of humor, a gigantic knowledge of fishing, and the ability to make a sub that will – literally – make you cry the kind of tears usually reserved for new mothers or Butterfly Kisses.  In short, Tompkins is a great dude.

But you know what’s most impressive about Tompkins?  Well, probably the sub thing.  But you know what else is blog-inspiring about him?  The fact that he is well-known for meaning what he says.  For instance, if Tompkins says, “Yeah, I’ll be there” – he’s there.  If he knows he can’t fulfill your request, he says no.  In short, his yes is a yes and his no is a no.

A man’s ability to be able to say something and be fully trusted is paramount. And one of the ways we earn that trust is through the normal, day-to-day, interactions with people.  For instance, if a buddy calls and says, “Hey, wanna get the families together this weekend?” and you say, “Yeah, that might be nice” (knowing full well that Saturday is already booked and that you’re going to call him on Friday and give the brush off), what is that saying?  Well, it’s saying that a) you’re now, officially, an adult who does things like “get the families together” and b) your “yeah” can’t really be taken seriously.  What if, in that same situation, you replied, “You know, we’d like to (a little lie is okay), but we just can’t.”   While saying no may be initially disappointing to your house-arrested friend and unpleasant for you to express, in the long run, that no will speak louder than a retracted yes.

Grown Men, it’s not always easy to say what’s true.  In fact, it’s typically easier to give someone a soft answer or, if we’re being really honest with each other, flat-out lie when you have to say something that may be perceived by them as unpleasant.  All of us, to some degree, want to avoid conflict and maximize pleasure in our own lives and the lives of those we interact with.  In the Dr. Phil arena, it’s called being a “people pleaser”.  In reality though, a great lie we tell ourselves is that we please people more if we placate them in the short-run instead of being upfront and honest.  It’s just not true.

In your life, you’re going to want people to trust you and, not for a second, hesitate when you give a response.  Because really, and here’s the secret, if you can be trusted with little things like “Yes, I’ll pick you up from the airport”, you’ll earn the respect, privilege, and honor of being believed when you say big things like “I’d like to work for you” and “I do.”

If you say yes to something — follow through.  Do what you said you’d do.  Be where you said you’d be.  And affirm that you are someone that can be counted on.  If you’ve got to say no, say it and don’t look back.  At the end of the day, a man of his word is valued more than a man of pleasantries.  No?  Yes.

Take it from the sub-machine, Tompkins…

You’re a Grown Man, mean what you say.

quit going to semi-strip clubs.

8 Oct

I’m disgusted that I have to write this article. For real, I can’t believe that seemingly regular guys who aren’t ridiculous enough to go to strip clubs (it’s never okay) have no problem frequenting semi-strip clubs.

Um, Grown Man, semi-strip clubs?  You made that up didn’t you?  I mean, c’mon.

Oh heck yeah I made it up, and you know why?  Because restaurants, bars, car washes, and anywhere else where employees are almost naked and survive on your tips for their perceived – again, perceived – flirting are employing the same business model as a strip club.  Let me say that again more simply: If a woman is almost naked in your vicinity, you’re no longer interested in chicken wings.

Grown Man, tell me you’re not talking about [no lawsuits for me] — I love that place!  Straight up, bro, for real, it’s just you and me now — I go for the food.

No, you don’t! And here’s how I know you don’t go for the food.  Men are visual creatures.  The entry point to our hearts, minds, sexuality, and yes, stomachs, is our eyes.  When we’re little guys, everyone thinks we have ADD (which in some cases may be true.)  But the reason all little fellas are ADD-ish is because they’ve yet to reign in their eyes. So everything they see, every new picture on a TV and every shiny object that flashes in the distance, is some new bit of stimulus for their brains to process.  When we’re big kids, we know how to control and maintain some level of attention, but we still see everything: every painted-on pair of orange shorts, every flirty look, and every giggle that is designed to raise the tip to 25%. By design, every second of your semi-strip club experience should engage your eyes, then your brain, and then your wallet.

If you think you go to these places for the food, you’re lying to yourself.  Because the truth is, if an almost naked woman served you a steaming plate of elephant crap, your eyes would change that plate into a Martha Stewart display of chocolate chip cookies made with Jesus magic and unicorn hair. Maybe the food is good – maybe it’s not. Either way, unless you’re a eunuch, you have no way of discerning that.

But we haven’t really hit the main point yet, have we?  Because up until this time, it’s all been about the establishment and how it’s designed to fool you, which I hope you believe.  But at the end of the day, part of the price we pay for living in a wonderfully free society is that even a sleazy business can exist if it’s able to.

The real issue here is that it’s denigrating. To women? Yes, but that’s common knowledge and über obvious. So who else might it belittle, disparage, and generally just cheapen? You, Grown Man, you.

Oh god, you’re about to go deep, aren’t you?  I’ve read enough of these to know that you like to round third with some Montel Williams action.

Gentlemen, you’ve been designed well.  Your propensity for seeing a woman and recognizing that she’s lovely is part of who you are and shouldn’t be viewed as a bad thing.  When you’re single, you should harness that part of you just enough to notice that there’s something worth summoning up the courage, putting on your big-boy pants, and asking her out on a date. When you’re in a relationship, use your eyes to grow closer, to be more committed, and to appreciate her, and only her.  You’re not ADD, you’re hard wired to be a visual animal.  Honestly, it’s a good thing.

What’s not a good thing is that your eyes (and all they lead to) are being fooled by semi-strip clubs.  Because you, me, all of us, are just dumb enough to think that maybe, just maybe, the giggle was real, the flirting was genuine, and that she’s super stoked about bringing you – wow, YOU – extra blue cheese.  Guess what, she’s not – no more than you care about the spreadsheet you created 2 days ago at work. She’s not remembering the dude who was super nice 2 hours ago. She’s working, and you’re doing a disservice to yourself by thinking otherwise.

In closing, let me say this: good chicken wings are a staple of any man’s diet.  If you’re mourning the loss of your favorite place because I’ve guilted you into submission, here’s what you need to do: find a local, Italian owned, pizza place that sells wings.  I can assure you, wings from a Mario Brother will put Hoo[no lawsuit]rs to shame.

You’re a Grown Man, quit going to semi-strip clubs.

get out of debt (part 2).

23 Sep

In case you didn’t read You’re a Grown Man, get out of debt (part 1). Here’s a quick recap — 1960’s Batman TV Show style:

Last time, on Grown Man

We learned that Grandpas are awesome (WOW!!!)

We found out that evil Dr. Debt is probably in YOUR HOME (ZOK!!!)

But just in the nick of time, Grown Man swooped in (WHAMM!!!) to save the day and let you know that your life is worth more than just money and possessions! (OOOOF!!!)

Then, just as you were about to stop reading, Robin came to the rescue and yelled, “What are you worth, and how can you find contentment in that?  It’s a hard question but one that’s really at the heart of our crazy spending!” (OPRAH-ED!!!)

Robin always was kind of a buzz kill.  Anyhow, let’s continue on with the reasons why you should get out of debt (KAPOW!!!) Okay, I promise I’m done with those now.  Here we go…

2- Debt destroys relationships. Even great relationships have an impossibly hard time navigating the waters of financial stress.  Research — real research, not like some junky middle school science fair project — has shown that couples are more likely to survive gigantic problems with children, in-laws, or sex than they are with financial issues. Yes, it’s that big of a deal and it a-bombs good couples every day.  If you love that girl, balance the budget.

Me an Ole' Betsy?

3- Men need to dream. They need to be able to entertain thoughts like, “Maybe I’d like to move out west when I retire and open a dairy farm” (and yes, this is a real one I had last week.)  Why do I want to be a dairy farmer when I’m lactose intolerant?  Hell of a question. In any event, being debt free gives us the freedom to entertain crazy thoughts like that or less bovine dreams like, “Maybe I’ll buy my friend dinner tonight” or “What if I gave away some money to good causes?”  We need freedom, it’s in our DNA.  And being shackled by debt locks us into a life that’s void of new horizons.

4- Trust is earned. My grandfather (a.k.a. The Great One) trusted the mailman. Because every time the mailman took five minutes out of his Friday to pay the tab, he was clearing his debt, clearing his name, and looking The Great One in the eye and saying (without saying anything), “What you give to me, I will take care of — even if it’s just a sandwich and nickel Coke.”

And that, Grown Men, is why people trust you.  Because you own what’s yours and take care of what’s others.  If you are in debt, you’ve let the world (and more importantly, yourself) know that you’ll take others’ money and not give it back.  Yes, I know you’re usually borrowing from “the man” who “has plenty of money, so why do I have to pay them back!?”  Because you said you would, and at the end of the day, your word is the only true currency you’ve got.

But Grown Man, I’m in debt for school!  Are you saying that’s wrong? Also, why didn’t you tell me that a degree in LaserDisc Repair wasn’t a good idea?

Let’s talk briefly about the terms “good” and “bad” debt.  Good debt typically refers to a house or an education where there’s a possible, if not likely, positive return on investment.  Conversely, bad debt covers everything else that rarely returns equal or positive numbers.  These bad debts are things like cars, credit cards, and that $200 eBay vintage Glowworm.  None of these things, except maybe the Glowworm, will end up yielding you a profit and are widely understood to be dumb ideas.  However, I want to flip-it-and-reverse it on you…

There is no such thing as good debt.

Oh my, how shocking!  Yes, I’m telling you that you should try desperately to pay off your house as soon as possible and not have school loans.  Yes, I’m saying what you think I’m saying — no debt means no debt. Zero.

Now listen, I’m a reasonable man. I know people can’t usually plop down multiple thousands of dollars for these things. But, I am saying that you should do everything in your power to turn your 30-year mortgage into a 15-year one.  And, if that’s not possible, consider if you’ve got the buying power to be in your home in the first place.  If not, turn your dreams of living some other person’s life into realities of living the life you have. Get a house you can pay for – quickly – and stop leaning on the bank to prop you up for 30 years.

As far as school loans go, do everything in your ability to pay your way through school.  Even if you have to wait a year, live like a pauper, and save a ton for tuition — do it.  It’s only in recent history that school loans became the norm.  It was never common for most people, including the generation before us, to take out money for education. And, because they didn’t, they weren’t handcuffed to interest rates and creditors during the second chorus of Pomp and Circumstance.  You, however, will be.  And trust me on this one, you don’t want that pressure right out of school.

Having said all of this, please know that you can still be a Grown Man and have debt.  In full disclosure, I have a mortgage.  However, you can’t be resigned to it being okay, as you were never designed to live a life playing servant to the lender.  You were meant to do great things, to use your mind, to keep your word, and to own your own life.

Here are a few ways you can start reclaiming your world and get out of debt (none of these suggestions are affiliated with Grown Man or have any clue I exist):

1- Listen, read, ingest, and do everything Dave Ramsey says.  He’s intense and brilliant with money management.  You need him.

2- Start using Mint.com.  It won’t make you not crazy with money, but it’ll show you how crazy you are.

3- Find your friend who is out of debt and trade his/her advice for beer (that you buy with cash!)

4- Talk to The Great One, he’ll straighten you out — and give you a Werther’s Original.

You’re a Grown Man, get out of debt.

get out of debt. (part 1)

21 Sep

Not my mom, but you get the point

In the 60’s, my grandfather (and Grown Man Grand Poobah) owned a drug store.  It was a perfect slice of Americana and exactly what you’re picturing in your mind.  Just look around — there’s my mom, then a quiet teenager, working the soda fountain and daydreaming about The Monkees. Standing behind a raised counter with a warm smile, perfect tie, and white coat is my grandfather.  He knows the name, story, and prescription of every patron that’s walked through his door.  He is proud to own a business where relationships are valued and quality is a given.

Every time I see The Great One (my grandpa’s actual nickname), we chat about how it used to be.  And, inevitably, he tells me the story of the mailman.  The mailman (who actually had a name that I don’t remember because I’m not as awesome as The Great One) came into the store everyday for lunch. Of course, The Great One still remembers his order.  Anyhow, the mailman would give my mom the mail, grab a seat at the counter, chit chat with the patrons, enjoy his sandwich and nickel Coke, and leave.  No money changed hands, nothing was said about payment, he just came and went about his day delivering the mail on time.  However, this wasn’t odd. This was something that used to happen all the time back in the day — my grandfather put him on a tab.  Except, and here’s the big except, there wasn’t actually a tab.  The Great One just knew and trusted that every Friday, the mailman would take an extra moment and settle up for the week. Why?  Because “…the mailman was a good man, he always paid his debts.  Every Friday, right on time – just like the US Mail.” (Grown Men use the postal service).

Here’s the truth bomb: If you walked into my grandfather’s store and enjoyed your sandwich and nickel Coke on good faith, you’d probably owe The Great One thousands of dollars and have to get yourself corrected – greatest generation style.  Why?  Because if you’re like most of the country, you spend without thinking, rack up credit, seek fulfillment in having more, and end up being a slave to the lender.  You, my Grown Man, are probably in debt and – what’s worse – you likely don’t care.

Here’s why you need to care:

1- You are worth something. And that something is made up of your character, your beliefs, how you invest in the world around you, the work that you do, and your resources.  All of those factors, taken as a whole, equal you – a Grown Man.

So what does it say for us if we’re given an amount for our wages, but we try to live the life of a person that makes many times that amount?  It means that somewhere, the things we value – really value – are off.  It means that we think that having the life of those people is better then the crappy old lot of our measly existence.  This is a lie that we tell ourselves because we assume that our worth as men has something to do with money.  The truth is, money is just a measurement of the perceived value of your work.  The real value of a man is the fruit of his labor.  His labor as a friend, a spouse, an employee, and a person.

OKAY, DAD!  Geez, I’m important and special. Great. But still, I want a freaking jet ski!


This could be you

I know you do, buddy, I know you do. Jet skis really are the best.  The key is, what’s the jet ski really about? And do you make jet ski money?  If it’s about just having fun and straddling a rocket as it rips through the lakes and rivers of your state, then you’ve got the right (but dangerous) mindset.  If it’s about making you feel better about your perceived position in life by showing the coworkers your new Water Rocket 9000 pictures — you don’t want a jet ski, you want happiness and acceptance.  And that, my friend, can’t be purchased.

Debt is stealing from yourself.  Stealing from a life that you’re not living and banking on the fact that your current desires will be fulfilled by your future earnings.  You’re willing to say, “Hey, I think I should be having this life, so I’m going to sign a crappy loan or register for another credit card to get it.”  What’s happening though, is that you’re not content with what you’re worth now, today, at this moment in time – so you steal from your future.

The question is this: What are you worth, and how can you find contentment in that?  It’s a hard question but one that’s really at the heart of our crazy spending.

Dear lord…for real, I hate your Oprah posts.

I know you do.  But guess what, this is only the half of it.  Tomorrow, we’ll look at reasons 2-4 as well as some practical ways to climb out of debt.  Here’s a hint: stop spending money you don’t have.

You’re a Grown Man, get out of debt.

the size of your truck doesn’t matter.

18 Aug

So I was on a couple date the other night when the other fella at the table (we’ll call him Manute) declared, “Well, I’ve got some ideas for the Grown Man.”  The table snickered and then was exceedingly impressed when he produced a 3×5 card with neatly written, bullet pointed, ideas.  Clearly, this man meant business.

RIP ManuteOne of his ideas was something like, “Grown Men must have trucks. I love my truck, and when I see a guy in a little Honda, I laugh.”  At this point in the conversation, I slipped away into my own thoughts and began writing this post.  Because trucks, and cars in general, are something that men go ape-crap about.  Really, I don’t need to elaborate on this point, do I?  Guys love automobiles, it’s as American as TMZ and Double Downs.  But why? Why the obsession?

Manute had a solid point.  Trucks are awesome.  I’ve had a truck, someday I’d like another one.  There’s something about knowing that you can do basically anything in a good truck that makes them so appealing.  While most men drive the same six mile stretch everyday with their suitcase in the passenger seat and absolutely no adventure worthy of such a grand vehicle, just knowing that, if the need arose, you could haul two palates of sod or could quickly enlist a stranger to drive while you stand in the bed of the truck and shot at bad guys! Trucks rule.

But Gentlemen, we’ve turned the love of our vehicles up to 11 and need to dial it down a notch.  Being cool in a truck isn’t about having the truck, it’s about confidence.  My friend Manute doesn’t really laugh at poor Honda Civic drivers when he sees them – he’s too good of a man.  And, in fairness to him, he was sitting next to his girlfriend of 10 months and across the table from the two of us who basically knew him through the girlfriend.  The freaking guy had a lot of charming to do.

However, plenty of guys do see their vehicle as some badge of superiority in the caste system of masculinity. These are the same guys that put stickers on the back that read “It’s a Jeep thing, you wouldn’t understand” or display a picture of Calvin pissing on [insert rival truck company’s logo].  These guys are, wait for it…wait for it….NOW!  Compensating. They’re saying, “Don’t see me, see the truck.”  To these men I say, nothing on this planet will make you look cooler and stand out above the other men like a solid sense of self and a truck load of humility.  What’s important is that you like the truck.  It’s not about being held in higher regard than others, it’s about being your own Grown Man.  Confidence, confidence, confidence – it’s really the game changer.

Allow me to end with a story:  When I was 15, my grandfather gave me his car as he was upgrading to a standard issue, old dude Saturn.  For six months before I got my license, I went outside every day and cleaned the car, put a new and ridiculously loud stereo in the car, and generally just played with my new toy.  I loved that car and felt like the coolest guy that ever lived.  On the day that I turned 16 and finally got to drive it, I went everywhere!  My mom would mention two rooms away that we were running low on eggs… “No problem mom, I’ll be right back!” My brother would need to go to t-ball practice… “Oh geez mom and dad, you’ve had a hard day, let me take him!”  For real, I was the MAN in that car.

That car was* a 1.0 L, 3 cylinder, Geo Metro.  Not familiar with the Metro?  It’s a lawnmower with four doors that I literally had to fall into because I’m so tall.  And, even though that was one of the smallest, crappiest cars ever made, it was absolutely the coolest vehicle I’ll ever own – even when I finally get the 1957 Chevrolet 5100 (or one of the thousand other amazing trucks I drool over).  The man makes the Geo, not the other way around.

You’re a Grown Man, the size of your truck doesn’t matter.


*I totaled that car 13 days after I got my license.  16-year-olds shouldn’t be allowed to drive.

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