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Archive for August, 2007

Work should never feel like work.

To pay my way through college, I labored long summer hours for a moving company owned by my next door neighbor. It was the dirtiest, hottest, most physically challenging work I’ve ever done (far more difficult than completing a sprint triathlon). For $6.25 an hour I worked 70 hour weeks during my summer breaks hauling pianos and boxes filled with books and sofa sleepers and, my favorite, the family deep freezer up basement stairs and into a moving van. That, my friends, is labor. I would wake up hating my work. Understandably.

Flash forward 20 years and my life’s work is quite the opposite. After obtaining that degree in corporate communications from Buena Vista University located in toney Storm Lake, Iowa, I have been practicing my first choice in a career field, public relations, ever sense. I love my work. But more than practicing a craft that I was well-educated and trained to do, I’ve found the place to do it where I really make a difference. Don’t jump to conclusions, I’m not changing how PR is done, because like most career options, there are very few original PR strategies. But I’m practicing a craft that I love for a company that, at the end of the day, does amazing things. The work I do ultimately impacts the lives of millions of people and that makes work not seem like work at all.

It’s cause to whistle…not while I’m working, but out of amazement to my fortune.

One’s life work can be filled with despair or boredom or a lack of direction. For me, though, I found my strengths early, honed those skills carefully and the result is in working for a company where what I do matters.

I don’t work. I don’t toil. I don’t labor.

I just do…happily.

Have a great Labor Day everyone!

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Silversun Pickups

“Lazy Eye”

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Games We Played 

When I ran across this list of childhood games – adjusted for those of us now crossing over into adulthood – I couldn’t resist posting them here:

1. Sag, you’re It.
2. Hide and go pee.
3. Twenty questions shouted into your good ear.
4. Kick the bucket
5. Red Rover, Red Rover, the nurse says bend over.
6. Musical recliners.
7. Simon says something incoherent.
8. Pin the toupee on the bald guy

Growing up, we had a neighborhood filled with kids of all ages. At dusk throughout the summer, we met on the lawn at the house on the corner and played Kick the Bucket until parents whistled us home for bed.  I can’t imagine letting my kids play outside after dark today.  Just another proof point as to how times have changed.

I am laughing with the rest of the world at Senator Larry Craig’s predicament. The CraigIdaho legislator backed himself into a bathroom stall at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport and proceeded to get himself into a major pickle with local undercover law enforcement.

Seems there are laws against lewd behavior such as tapping your foot and waving your hand under the wall of the bathroom stall and into the stall next to the one you occupy – obvious signs that you want to engage in some sort of sexual behavior with the guy who’s urinating next to you.

Craig, of course, said he pleaded guilty because he wanted the whole mess to go away quickly and quietly (probably the only truth he’s uttered on the topic since it happened). Now, he’s claiming he’s not gay (not sure anyone jumped to that conclusion in the first place).  

We all know how stressful being a senator can be. But when will politicians realize you can’t have a private life and serve in a public fashion. If you need to relieve stress, go to a gym, watch an episode of Three and a Half Men, or learn to swing dance. Just don’t get busted flagging down a blow job in the men’s room at the airport.

After Lewinski-Gate, one would think politicians would stop letting it all hang out publicly period. Why is this such a difficult concept to understand? Luckily, for Americans, it makes for good stories on “The Daily Show.”

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New Ulm, Minnesota

Aug. 25, 2007

New Ulm Sunset

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I’m not ashamed to say that I work for a large corporation. The company makes about $12 billion a year and continues to grow. Its world headquarters sits right here in Minneapolis, about 13 miles from my home. The company employs 38,000 people around the world and its products enhance or save the life of someone every five seconds of every day throughout the year.

Working for a company that does so much good for others enables me to drive home at night and sleep well. Even in my own distant way, the contributions I make at work five days a week have a small impact on the lives of other people. The information shared through the corporate communications office that I’m a part of ultimately helps people (physicians and consumers) make good decisions about life-enhancing and even life-saving medical technologies.

PawlentyWith that little preamble, Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota’s Governor, stopped by my company this week to say farewell to our outgoing CEO and welcome the newly elected CEO to the company. As a Republican, Pawlenty has long been a friend of corporations of all sizes that call Minnesota home. It’s hard for him to ignore a milestone happening at one of the largest businesses and employers in the state.

So during an employee event mid-week, the Governor made his appearance, shook a few hands, said a few words of encouragement and congratulations, then continued on his important schedule.

My politics are middle-of-the-road. But I voted for Mr. Pawlenty and I can say that his “no new tax” policy was one big reason he got my vote. My decision is based on the enormous misappropriation of state funds that occurs in Minnesota. Until legislators and the administration can fix the problem of flushing money down black holes and instead putting it into the right places, I’ll continue to appreciate politicians who are adamant about NOT raising taxes.

This is the second Governor of Minnesota that I’ve stood within a few feet of. The first was Jesse Ventura, who in person was actually a kind guy and quite articulate…a freak of nature who had no business running state government, but pleasant nonetheless.

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Chris Matthews, host of CNBC’s “Hardball” program, may not be anyone’s favorite political pundit, but as a guest on “The Tonight Show,” Aug. 22, he explained in under five minutes his views on both Republican and Democrat options for president as well as what’s wrong with Bush and his love affair with the Iraq War.

C MatthewsMatthew’s picks for the Dem and Rep nominations for president are Hillary and Guiliani, respectively. He recommends people sit back, close their eyes and picture the first thing that comes to mind when you hear each candidate’s name. With Guiliani, he said people will see someone who takes charge (9/11/01 still carved into the minds’ eye).  With Clinton, he said the majority of women voters will see a female who can lead (I’m SO not convinced of this assessment of Clinton). But who votes in primaries and caucauses? Women!

As for the War in Iraq, Matthews says Bush and the current administration have “snookered” U.S. citizens from the onset. With the WMD search to today’s “surge” plans (which if it fails, Bush will only call for even more troops to be deployed to Iraq), this administration clearly has a penchant for engaging in fruitless matters.  Matthews said there’s no way to withdraw and no way to win in Iraq.

His appearance was enlightening and entertaining…as pundits go.

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There are three actresses who can’t be ignored on television. I admire them for their body of work (cough) and depth of their abilities.

First, Kyra Sedgwick. As star of “The Closer,” it’s great to watch a female detective solve crimes again. Not since Angie Dickinson has a female cop really captivated TV audiences. I also have a friend who looks like Kyra, so it makes it all the more interesting.

kyra.jpg

Second: Mary-Louise Parker. I loved her role on “West Wing” and hear that she’s even better in “Weeds.” This recent photo of Parker and a boa constrictor is too good to pass up.

mlp.jpg

Lastly, Holly Hunter. From silver screen to television, she’s got skillz. Her new role on the show “Saving Grace” is perfect for her.
holly-h.jpg

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