Tag Archives: character

Are you up for the test?

When I have meetings at the Kentucky Shakespeare office in downtown Louisville (Kentucky), I like to park in the open-air pay lot across the street. First of all, I don’t like parking garages and secondly, the man who runs it is friendly. It’s obvious he’s an ordinary guy, doing his best to make a living.

Recently, I pulled in and there was another gentleman in the booth. This time my meeting was the Fund for the Arts board meeting. After the meeting, I was pulling up to the booth to pay I pulled out my wallet to find that I had a large bill. Please note that I don’t make a habit of carrying large denominations. So I pulled forward and the gentleman checks my ticket and tells me it will be $4.50. And so begins my inquiry as to whether he could “break” a large bill.parking booth

He immediately said “no”. All I had on me in change was two dollars. So I implored him to let me just run to the bank and I would come back with money to pay him. He hesitated. I promised. I gave him the two dollars I had and emphatically promised to be back in 10 minutes. He relented. I went to the bank and was back in the time frame.

When I pulled in the same gentleman opened the metal booth door and smiled. “You are an honest person,” he said. I handed him a $10 dollar bill. “I didn’t believe you would come back.” With that he handed me change as if I’d given him $20. After quickly checking my bank envelope, I handed the money back explaining his error. He chuckled, “I was just testin’ ya.”

Enough tests for one day. I drove away thinking that in reality, he was probably a little challenged by the money math. I was also glad to be the honest example for the day.

Have you found yourself in situations like this? Has your character been tested?

All the best,
KK

Reading Your Way Across America

books across america

Since June I have been in a reading slump.  My favorite authors haven’t published anything recently and the books I’ve started I can’t seem to get into.  This feels something similar to worse case of writer’s block a person could have.  I tried reading through first novels but got hung up on a really bad first novel from a Kentucky author.  There is restlessness in my soul that is a longing to be taken away to another time and place by a novelist’s ability to make today disappear and paint pictures of places I’ve never been.   I want to become friends with the hero and get frustrated with the villain.  You know the feeling when you finish a good book and the next day you are wondering what the characters are up to only to realize they are gone.

I found this list that intrigued me.  This is a list of books that are set in each state.  Many of these books I have already read; others I think I may try just to scratch this itch.  It’s important for writers to read.  Really, it’s important for everyone to read.

Who is your favorite author?  Any suggestions?

Missing a good read,

 

KK

Let’s Talk Customer Service

mediocrity 2Over 85% of the jobs in the United States are service oriented.    These services may focus external of the business such as a customer service representative or any employee who interacts with customer making a purchase.  Other service position focus internally such as an administrative department or IT department of a company.

Let’s take a look at those roles in which the services provided directly impact the image of a company, the future of its employees and sales.   As consumers we carry an expectation when making a purchase.  Our expectation falls in line with the quality or expense of the item we are going to purchase.  Therefore, our expectations when at a fast food restaurant are different from that of a four-star restaurant.  Can we agree on this?

I have to give kudos to an employee at the MacDonald’s in Jeffersontown, Kentucky.  I went in to purchase a plain cheese burger for my mother-in-law.  The restaurant was fairly busy. After standing in line for a short time, I placed my order, paid, waited and when handed a bag, I walked out.  Before I stepped off the sidewalk, a female employee came after me and said, “Mam, I’m sorry, we gave you the wrong burger.  That isn’t a plain cheese burger.”  A little surprised with her effort in the midst of a lunch rush, I followed her in to trade what was in my bag, for the correct special order burger.   She handed me the new bag, smiled and apologized again.

I must admit, I walked out thinking two things:  “Way to go McDonald’s for hiring such a good employee and that girl will go places.”  She took her entry level, order-taking position at McDonald’s seriously.  With so many jobs available in service positions, to be successful for both the ework ethic 2mployer and the employee, it is the front line employees (representatives of the business) who make the difference.

On the contrary to my experience at the fast food giant McDonald’s, I was recently doing weekly shopping at the Stoneybrook Kroger.  I went in the morning in the middle of the week; not a really busy time for the grocery.  I went through the store with my list and coupons filling our family’s food needs.  With the list fulfilled I proceeded to the checkout.  After completely unloading the cart, I remembered an item I didn’t pick up.  So I asked the cashier where the humus could be found.  She looked at me blankly and said, “I have no idea.  I’m up here all day.  I don’t know where anything is in the store.” She went back to ringing up the groceries making no effort to ask someone else where the item could be found.

Holding back my laugh and lecture of this twenty-something, I shook my head, and finished my transaction.  Looking at her badge, I was hoping to find a trainee sticker or some reason she wouldn’t have a clue where to find items in the store.  There was no indication of being a recent addition to the Kroger team.  I will find humus elsewhere, but the sad thing is that the cashier will go nowhere.  She is a “front line” representative of the Kroger Company and has no idea where to find things in the store.

I will gladly extend grace to customer a representative who are obviously having a bad day but still shows up and tries.  And to those in entry-level positions who take the opportunity seriously as a proving ground for their future, “good for you”!

To those who are in a position of hiring or of mentoring the new employees or young adults in a business, PLEASE, help these young people learn early in their careers, how doing even the most entry-level position with care and excellence will make all the difference in where they find themselves down the road.

All the best,

KK

Tis the Season

For the last eight years February was the beginning, March was the get ready and April was GO! The ritual hasn’t changed come rain, sleet, snow and sunshine, THIS is the start of the big season. Over the years the prep time has grown to the point of not really feeling like the season ever ends. Are we finishing that one or getting ready for this one? And over the years, while still full of hustle and bustle, the season has become more enjoyable; so much so that even I am looking forward to getting things going.

We’ve made our annual pilgrimage that feels (and costs) a lot like buying school supplies, to the sporting goods store. We’ve checked the list and made sure the supplies are ready…

Pants, check. Socks and belt, check. Cup, check. Water bottle, check. Stadium seats, check. Sunflower seeds, check. Camera, check. Clothing for any and all kinds of weather, check. Hand warmers, check.

The season of which I’m referring and currently planning for is none other than youth baseball season! You were thinking that, right?

This will be the first year for metal cleats. That’s my boy behind the plate, don’t you slide into home and into his pretty face with those spikes! Thinking it, not saying it…I learned several years ago the best position for me to play during the game; number one fan! I’m at just about every game in the stands and cheering our team on. Win or lose, good game or bad, I’m proud of my player and his team for preparing and showing up to play their best on the field.

Little league and now collegiate baseball is amazing. We watch our kids grow from picking flowers in the outfield when they are five years old to being young men who play their position with skill and precision. They stand tall and are proud of the team they represent. Win or lose they show the character of the men they are becoming when they encourage the opposing team.

The coaches, us parents don’t always understand their game strategy, but we trust them with our boys not only because of baseball 1their knowledge of the game, but because they will help us show our sons what it is to be a man with values and integrity. Our boys need good coaches and we have been so blessed to have many. Some of the parents get a little weird and a little over the top when the umpire is having a bad day. But within minutes after the final run is scored, it’s the boys who are bugging around talking highlights, tossing a ball around having already forgotten the bad calls.

I do love all the things that make youth baseball great: the game strategies, being outside on a sunny day watching our boys play with absolutely nothing electronic but the scoreboard, the crack of the bat or the whap when the ball hits the catcher’s mitt and the excitement when the perfect play is made.

With the final flakes of snow melting away, our team will take the field this weekend having shaken the dust off their bats, grown in maturity, taller in stature, and better in skill. I can’t wait to see what happens! Win or lose, it will be a good season.

All the best,
KK

Motivated by Fear

Fear gets a bad rap. Fear shouldn’t be a primary emotion or state of being; but it does have value. There is respectable fear of those in authority; or the awareness that comes from the fear of walking down a dark street at night. What about the fear that motivates?

In 2010 when I was unemployed, the fear of letting a depressinfearlessg situation overtake me got me out of bed every morning and kept me from going back to bed when I was home alone. When my jeans get a little tight, the fear of “out-growing” them motivates me to eat a little healthier so as to not gain unwanted weight.

The Bible says that the “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Godly wisdom birthed from fear leads to knowledge and life according to several passages. Something so unwanted as the emotion of fear can lead to a greater understanding of ourselves and our great and powerful God.

Fear has a dark side. Fear can be paralyzing. In those frozen moments it takes character, fortitude and faith to look beyond the fear to what happens when it is overcome.

Think about it.

All the best,
KK