Category Archives: Other Stuff

Pattern #augustbreak2014

Doug's Beach, WA

Doug’s Beach, WA


This month, I’m sharing a photo each day as part of The August Break, 2014.





My introvert batteries are drained.

recharging my batteries

Summer is a busy time around here.  We have houseguests or travel scheduled nearly every weekend.  Several of the houses on our block are vacation homes, so we also have more neighbors than usual from June to September – which means more spontaneous play dates in the street and more backyard hangouts.

I love the influx of friends and family and am so happy that my son will have these crazy, chaotic summer memories.  But… boy, does it take it out of me!  After 4 busy days over this holiday weekend, I am spent…mentally and physically.

So today the husband and the kid are meeting friends at the river and I am enjoying a quiet house all to myself.  Maybe I’ll read.  Maybe I’ll write.  Maybe I’ll just sit on the deck and stare out at the water.  Either way, a little downtime and I’ll be recharged and ready for the next round.


Some good stuff on introversion:

5 reasons it’s helpful to know your personality type.
Why introverts make great leaders.
Office design for introverts, by an introvert.


What I’m reading:


“A brilliantly imagined, irresistible below-stairs answer to Pride and Prejudicean illuminating glimpse of working-class lives in Regency England.”





(This post contains affiliate links to Powell’s Books.)


Giving yourself options…and a few other things I’m into right now.

tree stump on cliffThis is the view from my office window.  I keep thinking there’s some inspirational metaphor to be had… something about hanging on in the face of adversity?  I don’t know.  But it’s an interesting backdrop.

I love the idea of “engineering” the life you want and financial planner/money coach Leah Manderson hits the nail on the head with How I’m Planning to Be a Work At Home Mom Someday.

“With the work world becoming more flexible, I believe that it’s possible to have a fulfilling career that supports, rather than detracts, from motherhood. And I’m crazy enough to think I can engineer that life for myself… if I start working on it now.”

Amen, sister!  I’ve written here before that building a savings account is key to taking control of your career.  Both my husband and I have been able to leave unsatisfying jobs and/or change industries because we haven’t been saddled with consumer debt.  Does sticking to a budget suck sometimes?  Yep.  But having options is worth it.

Menlo Innovations CEO Richard Sheridan shares his company’s unique approach to workplace culture in Joy, Inc.  While there is much to think about in this book – hiring for cultural fit, creating changeable space, face-to-face communications – one bit I keep coming back to is this thought on extreme reactions to change:

“…in the face of a significant change initiative, emotional reactions fitting a standard bell curve will likely never create lasting change. You need the energy from the edges, not the middle.”

While I fear my days of being able to rock citron track pants at the office are well behind me, I admire Mary Orton’s sense of style and love browsing The Classy Cubicle.

I recently stumbled upon Grant McCracken’s take on contemporary culture via these two posts on Orphan Black.  So two recommendations here, really.  1- check out McCracken’s blog and 2 – watch this sci-fi conspiracy thriller from BBC America.  Tatiana Maslany, who plays all of the 5+ main characters, is crazy good.

P.S.  Are we Twitter friends yet?  Find me @TheMgmtMaven.


(This post contains affiliate links to Powell’s Books.)


Finding balance.

Finding balance

This weekend, my son got his first bike.

It’s the kind without pedals, meant to teach him balance.  Riding it is all he wants to do.  All the time.  And when I look at his little face, so totally focused on his task, I can see myself.

My energies tend toward extremes.  If I do something, I want to do it 100%.  Otherwise, I feel that I lack commitment.  That I’m somehow an imposter.

Whatever I’m tackling, it can’t be anything unless it is everything.

So being a stay-at-home mom was a struggle for me.  Although I love being with my son, much of the Mommy lifestyle is outside my comfort zone.  I find all the activities, classes, and play dates physically and mentally draining.  And for awhile, I beat myself up for that.  I felt that if I wasn’t giving it everything, I wasn’t doing it right.  Or worse, that I didn’t deserve this awesome opportunity I had been given.

But we can’t shame ourselves into being something we’re not.

At some point, we have to accept that we are who we are and move forward.  My kid will be just fine, even if I’m not the most outgoing Mom on the playground.  And my career will be fine, too, even if for now, I can only squeeze in a few hours after bedtime.

Like the bike with no pedals, it feels awkward and scary.  But eventually we find our balance.


Sick Day Web Wanderings

peony detail

Don’t you just want to crawl inside this flower and live in those colors?? 

Okay, maybe that’s just the cold medicine talking.  While I hang out here and continue my recovery, why don’t you wander over and check out these interesting folks:

Productivity Counselor, Corporate Disorganizer, Urban Shepherd…sparks & honey‘s 20 Jobs of the Future will give you a lot to think about.  Check out their blog for a bit of eye candy as well.

Alexandra Franzen is always inspirational and this recent post on reframing how we think about our audience, whether it’s one reader or 2,000, hit home for me.

I strongly recommend signing up for Satya Inayat Khans email list.  She sends beautifully written, one-minute snippets of her life.  Trust me, it’s a good addition to your inbox.

If you’re starting to feel the itch of spring fever, you’ll enjoy how Christopher Demers captures the brief moments of transition beautifully in The Witching Hour.


(The photo above is a peony from my garden, several summers ago.)


My favorite management movies for a chilly holiday.

film reel snow

Are you looking for some smart entertainment over the holidays?  Something to make you laugh while still honing your management chops?  Well, you’ve come to the right place.  Here are a few of my favorite, light-hearted business movies.

9 to 5 (1980) is a total classic, obviously, with a great cast and a great soundtrack.  From a management perspective, it’s a window into the typing pool era, with its rampant sexism and low glass ceiling.  When Judy, Violet and Doralee are forced to take action against their sleazy boss, they take the opportunity enact some much needed change in the office.  Their use of colorful workspaces, flex hours, job sharing and on-site daycare prove these ladies were way ahead of their time.

When a Japanese company takes over an American auto plant in Gung Ho (1986) both cultures have to learn to adapt.  This is an 80’s comedy, folks, so the cultural differences are played a bit over-the-top, but the film addresses the reality of Japan’s influence on the domestic automobile industry at the time.

A more recent cult classic, Office Space (1999) explores the depths to which a bad boss, clueless consultants and a temperamental fax machine can drag us.  “The thing is, Bob, it’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care.”  There is a management dissertation in that sentence alone.

If you’re looking for a series-binge, as I often am, Masterpiece Classic’s Mr. Selfridge (2013) is a good choice.  I love my Edwardians, so I was into this one immediately.  The series follows the adventures of American retail tycoon Harry Gordon Selfridge (played by Jeremy Piven) as he opens a one-of-a-kind department store in London in 1909.  This period piece has the expected romantic dalliances and family melodrama but also offers an interesting look inside the beginnings of the modern department store.  Selfridge’s marketing ideas and charismatic leadership are worth noting, as well as the burgeoning role of women in the workforce.


How about you?  What’s your favorite management movie?  I’d love to add it to my must-watch list.