Wise Words from Ashton Kutcher

A friend recently tweeted out a video to Ashton Kutcher’s speech at the  Teen Choice Awards 2013. He was awarded the Ultimate Teen Choice Award and as part of his acceptance speech, he gave 3 life lessons to teens out there (yes, I watched the whole video because it was that good).

I was nodding my head in agreement when I heard his 3 life lessons. Here they are:

Opportunity is hard work.

“I never had a job in my life that I was better than. I was always just lucky to have a job.”

And he didn’t always have glamorous jobs. He started doing carpentry work with his dad at 13, then on to washing dishes at a restaurant and then on to sweeping floors at a factory, etc. His point is that the job was never bigger than him and he saw each job as an opportunity for the next one.

Sexy is being smart, generous and thoughtful.

“The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart and being thoughtful and being generous;  Everything else is crap, I promise you.”

Yes! This has always been a problem for young females. We are obsessed with who is on the cover of magazines and believe that to be wanted and loved, we have to look that way. If we want to continue to feel empty, then that is fine. But to feel wholesome and confident, we have to be smart, period.

Build a life, don’t live one.

“Everything around us that we call life was made by people that are no smarter than you are. You can build your own life that other people can live in.”

I think this lesson came from the inspiration of working on the new Steve Jobs movie that he will be starring in. Imagination is a wonderful gift that slowly gets smaller and smaller as we grow older because we try to conform to the world around us. I feel that it is my job as a parent to not let that happen to my kids.

Ashton is spot on. It’s easy for our youth to get obsessed with reality TV, leaving them to believe that we are entitled to glamorous lives without working hard.  That isn’t reality and someone with a high profile like Ashton needs to tell them so. Kids need to understand that they have to work to get what they want.

Thanks (Chris) Ashton Kutcher.

How My Husband Stuck with One Company for 10 Years

Couples celebrate first dates, years of marriage but today I’d like to celebrate my husband’s 10 year tenure at Rackspace. Of course, it’s special to me because we met 10 years ago while working at Rackspace and we will always joke about how we first met – can you say Linux nerds? I was the newly college grad entering the workforce who didn’t have a clue about computers and well, clearly he did.

10 years at one company is a huge accomplishment in today’s professional world, especially at the age of 31. For employees between 25-34 years, the average tenure for an employee is 3.2 years. And Jason is in the 3% of Rackers that have been at Rackspace 10 years or longer. Wow. There’s something to be said for crossing this milestone because it’s not an easy task. We live in an era of job hopping, especially in our industry, and sometimes it can be good for your resume. But to stick with one company and grow within that organization takes a lot of focus and dedication.  Fortunately, Rackspace has grown over the years, with 400 employees in 2003 to over 4000 employees today, offering a lot of opportunities if you seek it.

So how did Jason do it? I have learned so much from my husband and if I had to boil it down to one thing it would be to “Be Persistent.” Persistent by definition means “Continuing firmly or obstinately in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.” I also like this word because it’s a computer science term as well.

For someone that has been by his side throughout these 10 years (5 years of friendship + 5 years of marriage), I’ve seen his strong work ethic shine through again and again. Although he has taught me a lot over the course of 10 years, I think these 3 lessons stand out the most:

Sometimes you have to do things you don’t like to get to do the things you love.

Early on, Jason knew he wanted to work for a tech company like Rackspace. You might say that what he started doing and doing what he does today has always been his dream job. I think there is a misconception about “finding a job you love” because although you may love what you do, you might not like every aspect of it at certain times and you can’t let that ruin it for you. It’s like a marriage, you know you love the person but there will be times where you might not “like” the person because of some disagreements here and there. If you continue to overcome those small, annoying obstacles, you will find yourself having the opportunity to pave the path for others.

There will always be “that someone” you constantly disagree with but they are the ones you can learn the most from.

Let’s face it, there will be times that you may not agree with your boss or coworker and it can be frustrating – we’ve all been there. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons why people actually quit their jobs. Of course, over 10 years, Jason has been down that road more than once. Each time, however, he has always come out learning something about himself. Today he is more aware of the type of person he is in the business world because of all the people he has had to work with. Every interaction is an opportunity to learn and because Jason sees it this way, it makes it easier not to give up because of a simple disagreement. He does an amazing job of tailoring his responses to the variety of personalities he interacts with.

You are always replaceable regardless of title, tenure or who you know – so never take your eye off the ball.

This is what I love the most about my husband. He never thinks anything is owed to him because of his tenure. Everyday he works his tail off to get the job done and then some. Although he has complained about a lot of things at work, he has never once ever complained about how his job sucks. He loves his job and he never takes it for granted. He knows that he is replaceable and this is what keeps him moving forward – to continue to accomplish bigger and better things.

Thanks for all you do Jason, you are a true inspiration!

Thank You San Antonio Spurs

Our hearts are heavy for the San Antonio Spurs but man, are we proud.

The Spurs franchise is a good reflection of the San Antonio people – we keep it simple, we are humble and we are passionate. I am so proud that they are the team that represents San Antonio.

Coach Pop has built something great here and as long as him and Tim Duncan are here, I think we still have one more championship we can bring home. Pop is known for his cut and dry interviews but this last interview was solid. He quotes,

“Even in defeat, you have to enjoy your accomplishments,”

and when asked what he told his team after the game, he said,

“I just told them I love them.”

It’s a family. It’s basketball. It’s simple. Thanks Pop for another great year.

 

 

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Work-Life Balance According to Who?

It’s the eve before I return back to work from being on maternity leave for 10 weeks. I’m getting everything ready for the nanny the next day. Got both kids a set of clothes, potty seat for my 2 year old, burp cloths for the baby, diapers for both kids, extra towel and baby soap just in case there’s an accident, making sure there is food for breakfast and lunch. As I am doing this, I am thinking random thoughts like:

What am I going to wear? Oh I don’t fit into that quite yet.

Do I have time to do my hair? Maybe I should shower tonight instead of the morning. But I have to nurse the baby in the morning, will I have enough time?

Don’t forget your pump and the freezer pack. Oh that reminds me, I will have to put pumping on my calendar so I don’t get booked all day.

All these thoughts going through my head as my husband looks at me like I am a worried child preparing for my first day of school.

Of course this is the eve. Once morning comes, nothing goes as planned. I get back to the office and surprisingly jump back into things as if I had never left. Then half way through my afternoon, my nanny calls and says my 2 year old as a 103.6 fever. I had to cut my first day back short and take him to the doctor.

The life of a working mom. No sympathy please. It’s what I signed up for. I love it. But it is my life.

I don’t know if it’s me being a working mom but I am noticing a lot of buzz about the working mom in the news lately. (Kind of like when you want a specific car and all of sudden you see them all over the road).  From Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Succeed” to Gabby Reece’s,’”My Foot is Too Big for the Gass Slipper,” there is a lot of discussion on how women are making things happen.  Sheryl Sandberg quotes, “take a seat at the table,” advocating for women to be more bold in the business world and that in order to do it they need a life partner that can do 50% of the work at home and fully support their career. (here’s a good review). Then there is Reece who took 10 years off from her career to raise her children and she quotes, “to truly be feminine means being soft, receptive, and –- look out, here it comes –- submissive.”

Two entirely different perspectives. Which is one right?

And then of course, I love Gwen Stefani’s honest feedback on what it’s like being a working mom, where she quotes,

“I fail at something everyday,”

from the September 2012 Marie Claire issue.

These are all perspectives from very high profile individuals but at some level, the pain points are all very similar to any working mom- and there is so much debate on how to balance work and life.

I enjoy going to the office and working but I also enjoy coming home and cooking a meal for the family. I do the laundry too. And it’s ok. I am fortunate to have an incredibly supportive husband that helps at home. But what about the 10 million single working moms? Or what about the women that have a partner that does stay home. Or what about the women without children but are the caretaker for their parents? Let’s face it, women try to do it all, whether they have kids or not and we are all just trying to figure it out.

At the end of the day, we are women with similar goals and aspirations but each with a unique way of getting there. There is no right way to live your life, there is only one way for you.

Rather than being so judgmental, we should be supporting each others decisions. And we should be surrounding ourselves around those that respect our own decisions. Because if we do this, we have more time to collaborate and think about building a better future together.

I recently watched an NBC News special on the Stiletto Network by Pamela Ryckman where she highlights this new trend of female support groups forming and I thought, “yes!, that’s what we should be doing – supporting each other!”

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Let’s talk more about what we need, want and spur ideas together.

I love my career and I love being a mom. Aside from that, I am just a driven female in a challenging world and the last thing I need is someone to judge me or to suggest how I should balance my life. What I do want, however, is to hear from women that are doing great things in the world so I can continue to be inspired and motivated to keep moving forward. I also want to serve as a resource to those that could use my own advice.

So with that, I am fully committed to building a network of women professionals this year. Details to come in the next few months.

My Own Advice to Some of the Recent College Grads

English: A Wikipedia globe wearing a flat grad...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I have many cousins graduating from college this year and many that will be graduating in the coming years. As I put together their graduation gifts, I can’t help but think about the advice I want to give them. It has been 8 years since I walked that stage and my life has unfolded in a way that I didn’t plan but I wouldn’t have wanted it any different. If I were to give any advice to college grads, it would be these 3 things:

 

Your degree is not the one thing that will make you successful, you need experience.

 

You have your degree, now what? You have to go out and conquer the world, the world will not come looking for you. I see more and more students graduating with the mindset that they will land a job instantly – that their degree is the ticket to endless opportunities. Not exactly so. A degree can qualify you for a position but not guarantee you for a position. A degree also validates the fact that you have the discipline to start and finish something – that’s it. I am not underestimating the degree because it is a huge accomplishment! Trust me, I worked 40 hours and took 18 hours of college courses my last semester – I was determined!  It just doesn’t guarantee you success in the real world – you’ve got to go out and earn it.

 

Go out and do things with purpose, not because it is expected of you.

 

You have lived all your life up to this moment trying to please your teachers, your parents, your coaches, your mentors. I am not saying that you didn’t want to go to school but let’s face it, you want to make those that supported you through the years proud, right? You are accustomed to meeting everyone else’s expectations. Now, you can use what you’ve learned to do things that have personal meaning to you. Things that will change the world in a positive way – whatever that may be. Always ask yourself “why am I doing this?” before taking on a challenge. Yes, we all need to earn money to cover your basic necessities but make sure you find a way to love what you do and find a greater meaning to your job than just a pay check. This will bring you happiness and relieve unnecessary stress.

 

Save your money now, treat yourself later.

 

You finally land a job and start seeing that paycheck come in. What? You now can treat yourself to dinner and not eat ramen noodles in your dorm room? That’s right. I know it’s hard to look into the future but your future can mean bigger responsibilities like supporting a family. Right now you have no responsibilities so you can spend all that money on yourself for immediate pleasure. I would advise saving first and then spending what you have left over on things you want. This will make your life that much easier once you decide on moving on to bigger responsibilities. Although I started my 401K early and was able to purchase my first home when I was 25 before I was married, I still wish I would had saved more money than spending it on a bunch of silly things that now mean nothing to me. (For personal finance advice, I always recommend Suze Orman books)

 

Please note: This is advice based on my own experience. I am just a manager in the business world. My advice isn’t meant to be the best advice, it’s just based on what I have learned. If it can help you, great! If you are a college grad and have other advice, please leave it in the comments.

 

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