Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Clean Desk vs. Messy Desk

So, it is the universal question—should you take time to clean your desk to be more efficient or is it more efficient to keep it all out on top of the desk?

I would like to say right up front that I am a messy desk person. No matter what I do to get organized, it all ends up on the top of the desk again. I make lots of excuses like, “I am working on multiple things at a time.” Everyone knows you can’t really do that. Or there is always the old standby, “I know exactly where everything is.” Sometimes I amaze myself by finding something in just a couple of seconds, but more often I am very frustrated looking for something I know is here. Then I will uncover it a month later in an unrelated stack. Here is my desk, and this is not staged. It is just a particularly bad week.

But some people have clean, nice desks. They seem like perfectly normal people, and they get their jobs done. How can this be? I am sure that I am intellectually superior or more able to multi-task or whatever thing makes me feel better about myself—I am definitely kidding about the intellectually superior. So, how do they do it? Or, more importantly, why do they do it? Here are some desks from our office that are unbelievably clean to me:

This is actually how a person works.

And here is a kindred spirit to me:

So, which is better? I think this will be debated until we stop printing things out —although even my Windows desktop is cluttered. I am hopeless.

So, just do what works for you. Or what your boss will let you get away with. At some point, a really disgusting desk attracts rodents.

Send us a picture of your desk—my preference would be the messy ones. I look forward to seeing how others manage with clutter. Please share with us your messy (or clean, if you just happen to be one of those people) desk stories on Facebook.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

We LOVE Our Pets!

The folks at Hamilton love their pets so much that the stories and pictures keep coming, so I thought I would share them all.

A story about Cathy’s Weimaraner:

We adore our 70-pound Weimaraner, Georgia. She's devoted to us, good with cats and children, protective of our home, yard and 11-year-old twins. However, she is what we euphemistically describe as "high-energy." An average family of four cannot possibly exercise this dog enough to calm her down. So, following the advice of the dog whisperer, the year before last we purchased a used (human) treadmill on Craig's List. We run the dog on it every morning at 4.5 MPH for half an hour. This is just enough to prevent her from tearing our house down or leaping through the front window to kill the mailman, but still leaves her alert enough to frighten strangers away and, sadly, devise new methods for getting into the garbage. If I could just train her to put ME on the treadmill daily at 4.5 MPH for half an hour, my life would be perfect!

Here's a story and picture from Debra about her dog, Taxie:

I have a mixed breed dog, half Golden Retriever, half Cocker Spaniel..I know, some mix. We adopted her when my son was only 6 years old, and I left it up to him to name her. Out of the blue, he said "her name is Taxie." Of course I said, “What a wonderful name,” but I was thinking—hmm, different. She used to escape from the backyard, at which time, my son and I would roam the neighborhood yelling "Taxi! Taxi!"

Cassie and Rhett’s cat:

Here comes Trouble!!! She is a feline with a cat-itude all her own. Laid back without a care in the world is how she rolls. She sports a black coat with the purr-fect touch of white accents. Piercing green eyes that draw you in—just the way she likes it—all eyes on her. This diva even has a beauty mark by her lip, just proof that she is all about glamour.

Mary Ann’s dog, Diesel:

Here are a few photos of my baby, Diesel. His name sounds like he's a large and mean dog. On the contrary, he's the sweetest pet ever. At least, ONLY TO ME! :) My family thinks he's the meanest one they've ever met, that's because he loves to protect Mama (that's me!)

He broke his leg last year and he was a 3-legged Beast (as my family would call him) for a month. But he still remained the feisty little dog I know. Always by my side to protect me whenever he feels I'm threatened. On one occasion, he bit my husband on his face and the only thing he did was try to give me a kiss on the cheek. Trust me, he never tried that move again, my husband I mean! Diesel is just so over protective that no one can get close to me when he's on my lap.

He's so spoiled! He eats and sleeps with me and if it was my choice, I would take him everywhere with me. My boys think I'm crazy because I treat him like he's human but what can I say...I love him! He doesn't disobey, he doesn't talk back, and when I need him to comfort me, he's always by my side.

Amanda’s story about Magnus:

As a newlywed, my first mission was to get a new puppy for our new family. We found the cutest little cotton ball dog that seemed to be the calmest in the store. That day, we started a whole new adventure with our little "tranquil" puppy. His name is Magnus, and he is a Samoyed who is now about a year and a half old, weighing in at 45 lbs. He is not as peaceful and quiet as he appeared in the store but still just as cute. His nickname when we bought him was "Sweet Boy," now he is the "Roaming Disposal." I have never seen a dog in my life that can eat and chew through as many things as he has and survived. He has eaten everything imaginable from cell phones, socks, carpet, chunks out of my wood dresser and, yes, even holes in our walls! He has torn through every "tough" toy we have brought home in record time and no plush animal is safe. He can power through chew bones in minutes so we have to buy specially hard ones that can slow him down and occupy him for a few days. He is a sweet dog, but turn your head for a moment or leave anything on the floor, and it's history. But, he is still our good boy, and we will always love him. Just look at his cute face and "innocent" eyes!

And here is the most talked about little girl in our office these days—Shannon’s new dog, Piper:

Well, those are the pet children of The Hamilton Collection. It took two posts to get them all in. I hope you enjoyed the pictures and stories. You can see these photos and even more on Facebook, where we've created a photo album of all of our favorite pet friends. Please send us your favorite pet pictures, too!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Pets Are Our Children

Wow, ask people around here about their pets, and the flood gates open! Pictures and comments are pouring in. There is just something about our pets--I guess because they love you unconditionally, and they don’t disagree with you. There’s no fighting or uncomfortable conversations with our pets. And ultimately they just accept you for who you are as long as the food, water and love keeps coming.

I am a cat person. I think you would have picked up on that by now if you read my blog. It’s not that I dislike dogs. I am afraid of them. I have no idea what a dog is going to do when it comes up to me. But a cat makes me smile every time. So, I’ll start by telling you about my own cat, Lefty. He went to Kitty Heaven in 2006. I miss him all the time, but I don’t really miss the litter box. He was a beautiful, loving, mischievous cat. And he was a helper! If I was working on anything—planting flowers, reading, typing, you name it—he wanted to help. Here’s a picture of my sweetie. Isn’t he pretty?

Now I’d like to introduce you to some of the pets of the folks at The Hamilton Collection. There have been a lot of new pets this year. I hope you enjoy the stories.

Kathy’s cat, Riley, was rescued after she was found covered in fleas. Her flea bites were so severe that she had to have a blood transfusion.

Laura’s dog, Buffy, was adopted from The Humane Society one year ago.

Ruby is an 11 year old DIVA Yorkie who was kicked out of her two previous homes. She doesn't mingle well with people or other critters. Her owner, "Yankee Girl," is pathetic in that she falls prey to Ruby's "Divaness" and has stuck by the pooch for 7+ years. Ruby has a number of sides to her personality—she's quite the little vixen and a sports fan, too (New York Yankees)—hence her wardrobe choices.

Amy has 2 dogs, Ozzie and Casey. Here are her comments and pictures.

We had Casey first, then got Ozzie 2 years later. At first Casey wasn't too fond of Ozzie...didn't want to have to share the attention with anyone, but now they are inseparable. Ozzie is VERY hyper and happy all the time. We call Casey our moody teenager—he's very loyal and loving one minute and the next he's grumpy or off pouting somewhere.

They act like two brothers and are always up to something. Casey is funny because he uses a bait and switch move to trick Ozzie into giving up his seat on the couch. He'll wave a toy in Ozzie's face and Ozzie gets all excited that Casey wants to play with him so he jumps off the couch to play. Casey half-heartedly plays for a second, then jumps up and steals Ozzie's seat. Poor Ozzie just stands there looking confused while Casey is all cozy and curled up on the couch. Poor Ozzie!

This is Ozzie...

...and Casey...

Lashunda has a new puppy. Here’s what she had to say about her new dog.

We have had Lucky (our Beagle) for a month now, and Lucky is quite the handful for a puppy. Lucky needs a lot of attention, and he loves people and other dogs. My husband named him Lucky because he said, Lucky was lucky he got bought. Lucky is spoiled rotten already and he knows it. He is very picky with toys and food. Now if we can get the potty training down pat that will be great. Every time we go to Petsmart we get so many compliments on how cute he is. Here is a picture, you judge for yourself.

Here is Michelle’s new puppy:

This is the newest addition to our family. Her name is Mia. She is just shy of 11 weeks old and is as spunky as they come. She has recently discovered herself in the mirror and spends time doing laps with her reflection. As you can see by the picture she is quite fond of her tail and is not at all modest. She keeps us on our toes and we look forward to the many adventures to come.

And here is a great cat story from Adrienne:

Chopin was a 17-lb. apple head Siamese. He was, by far, the biggest kitten in his litter. Soon after his arrival, he established himself as the head of the household. He was extremely vocal, as all Siamese are, and always in our business, but when company came to the house, he would disappear, leading many to question out claim that we even had a cat. There are many stories about my cat, but here is one that stands out most in my mind...

One night, Chopin decided he would have some fun in our kitchen. He opened all the cabinets and got into the kitchen trash, which he dumped and scattered all over the kitchen floor. Then he got into my mom's baking stuff. In a low cabinet, she kept huge 5-gallon containers of flour, sugar, etc. He got into the flour--tore the lid off the container with his teeth (and these were not easy lids to pry off). I only wish I could have seen him in action--all we saw the next morning was the result of what he had done. There was flour EVERYWHERE in little paw prints. The floor, kitchen counters, stove top, kitchen table and even parts of the dining room were covered with little white paw prints. And on the floor, those paw prints seemed to move perfectly around all the trash mess. When my mom came down in the morning and turned on the kitchen light, there was Chopin sitting right in the kitchen sink, one of his favorite places to hang out (he was not allowed to be there but that is where we always found him). My mom grabbed a broom and chased that cat all over the house. She cornered him in a closet, where they proceeded to have a hissing match. Well, then she kinda got freaked out, so she shut him in there to let him "cool off" for about an hour. When she opened that door, he was just like a little kitten all over again, and he never did anything like that again.

See, cats are so much fun!! Anyway, those are some of the pets of our office. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. Please post your pictures or stories. We’d love to hear them!

I have lots more pet pictures and stories to share--stay tuned!

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Winding Road of our Careers…

When I think back to my first job, it seems hard to imagine how I got to where I am. At 15 years old, did you ever imagine your life would turn out the way it has? I can’t imagine anyone would say yes. It is a twisting path of people you meet and decisions you make without really thinking about the ultimate consequence. This is sounding really heavy, and it’s not meant to be. I always thought I would be an accountant (which is what my degree is in), and I thought I would be a partner in one of the big accounting firms. This was back when those firms had reputations above reproach— “the most trusted profession in America.” Or so the experts said.

My first job was pretty normal for that path—bookkeeping for a local business. Then when I finished college, I worked for an accounting firm and got my CPA. All the logical steps, right? And now I am in direct marketing selling these beautiful figurines and beloved collectibles. I love what I do, but it’s a path that I didn’t expect. I became more of a general business person instead of an accountant. Well, it got me thinking…what are other people’s stories? You work with people every day, but you don’t really know what led them to their current place; probably the same twists and turns that you had.

So I asked people here at Hamilton about their first jobs, and I’ve received a lot of responses. I have laughed and teared-up reading some of their stories. What I found out for sure is that these folks around me have a strong work ethic. They started working young and not at terribly glamorous jobs—everything including fast food order taker (with polyester uniform), trolley driver, soldier, dental assistant, photographer, lifeguard, trashcan guy, shoe sewer (?), you name it. How did we all get here?

The best story was about one of our co-workers who worked at a veterinarian’s office. I am going to put her story here just as she sent it to me because it is so touching:

“I worked in the back room and boarding area as head dog washer, cage cleaner and pooper scooper! The veterinarian was an eye specialist, so many of the cats and dogs were unable to see for the few days after surgery, and I worried about them being scared.... so I sang. Badly I'm sure, but the animals were peaceful and quiet while I was there singing. Except for one beautiful, blonde, fluffy, show quality Cocker Spaniel, who had been abandoned with us because she had developed early cataracts, and was of no further use to the owner for breeding purposes. The owner brought her in to be put to sleep. The doctor wouldn't do that, so he fixed her eyes instead and she stayed in the back room kennel with me during her recovery. When I sang one certain song, “Layla,” by Eric Clapton, she would howl like a basset hound and start every other dog howling and barking. I learned not to sing Layla...lol. When she was fully recovered, I adopted her and named her Layla.”

What a great story! After a story like that, you wonder how this person became a graphic designer. But we’re glad she did.

If you have a great first job story or if you wonder how you got where you are in your career, share it with me here or on our Facebook page. We’d love to hear from you. Talk to you again soon.