Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Week 7: Midpoint

from Zazzle.com
This  has been a week of regrouping.  Work has been so busy this week that I found it very hard to find enough time to keep up with reading and project research.  Unfortunately, that reading and research doesn't go away and I will have to double up next week.  This is the busiest time of year in our business as we prepare, edit, and publish the Dallas and the Austin Seniors' Guides.  So, this week, day and night was spent working on the Dallas Seniors' Guide which I sent to the printer on Saturday morning.  That left Saturday afternoon and Sunday to catch up as much as possible.
The marketing assignment this week was to find an ad that represented "poor ethics" and report on it.  That was difficult to find, but finally found one on a particular franchise that promoted a "$1.5M opportunity", but the fine print at the bottom clarified that $1.5M is not income, but gross revenue.  

Reflections and Expectations:
I've found that during this time of year when you combine our busy season of publishing with the work required for grad school, the main word that comes to mind is margin.  Typically, February and March are months that I've always just written off as all work and no play.  Play time or at least much more free time would come in April. 
According to Webster's Dictionary, margin is "a spare amount or measure or degree allowed or given for contingencies or special situations."  This week contained no margin and a special situation did arise.
Shortly after my father passed away in December, 2009, my mother was diagnosed with vascular dementia.  This has the same characteristics as Alzheimer's disease except that it's progression is more of a step function whereas Alzheimer's disease progresses gradually.   My mother lives 600 miles away and my brother and his wife live with her.  I am my mother's guardian and manage her care from here.  That is usually not a problem as I visit her about every 6-7 weeks, but am behind on visits due to school.  I believe she has experienced one of those declining steps this week and she experienced a major meltdown for a couple of days requiring lots of phone time with her and with my brother along with a slight change in her meds.  When it comes to my family, if there's no margin left, then something else will have to give, because family is my priority (and responsibility).  Hence, I've moved some reading and research to Tuesday.
I'm curious to find out about the Economics test, but have a good attitude since it's done and we can't go back.

Class Time:
In marketing, we were given the opportunity to present our ads to the class.  Many people's ads revolved around clothes (or lack of clothing) and the audience that these ads were reaching.  I realized when looking at some of the ads how desensitized I've become to how suggestive these ads really are.  I'm not sure if I would have even given them a second thought had I seen them in a magazine and that's not good.  The rest of class time was spent discussing the 4 chapters we read in the extra book on social networking and public relations.  Good discussion and a wide variety of views, especially on Facebook.
In Economics, class time was spent discussing briefly our last exam and then we got bogged down on the schedule of our SWOT papers/presentations and our next test.  Once we got that settled, Dr Estrada spent time letting us know the expectations of our SWOT analysis and how we are to critique one of the other learning team's SWOT.  This will be a great exercise, but it should be interesting how the critique portion is carried out.

Personal Thoughts:
With each class's test behind me and doing better on both than I had expected, I've really got to get focused on my personal project for marketing and finish my portion of the group project.  Although there were no exams this week, I felt like the week itself was one big life test.  As the week progressed, I became grumpy and tired.  Then, Thursday's "mother meltdown" threw a curveball in the mix.  About halfway through Thursday, I had to go back to the hurricane analogy and just step into the eye of the storm - back into the calm, peace.....for me, that's where I find solace with my Lord.  The storm still raged, but I was better prepared to step back in and ride out this storm.  Thankfully, things did calm down by Friday afternoon.  Lesson learned for me this week:  margin is really important.  Even when there seems to be no margin, sometimes you have to create margin by reprioritizing and allow God to "direct your path".
A final note, I am really proud of and thankful for my learning team, "Paradigm Shift".   The next three weeks are going to really test our ability to work as a team (as it will with the other teams, too).  But, I'm much more confident heading into these next three weeks with them.


  1. John, sorry to hear about your mother's condition and tight time schedule this week. I hope that this week gets better for you and your family. I too, felt quite a pick up in our business, but not as hectic as yours. Hang in there my friend!

  2. Thanks Christine! I appreciate that!