Friday, June 19, 2009
All the Little Details
i’ve been feeling the urge to track down my thoughts, simply because i can’t remember everything anymore. but i remember this. the summer after i finished my freshman year, i went off to take two summer courses at the university of toronto. i lived on the edge of downtown surrounded by frat houses. in fact, american pie 4 was shot just a block away from my house. dozens of shipping containers turned mobile offices lined the street, and i even watched a few shoots from the street. the director would call out, “silence on the set please!” and i’d feel the urge to cough really loud. i never did though.
some of my high school classmates lived a few blocks away, and i’d visit between classes and chat about “the good ol’ days.” but i never really called those memories the good ol’ days anyway—to this day i avoid living in the past because something exciting always seems to be around the corner. life just seems to be getting better and better, and i definitely take that for granted. as we sat around someone’s apartment munching on breadsticks, we’d talk about high school romances, who liked who, and what kind of drama was developing beneath the surface. to be honest, i didn’t bring much to the conversation because i was either asking questions like, “wait, what year was that again?” or “we really did that in grade 9? shoot, i can’t remember that at all!” and it’s true—i couldn’t remember much at all.
i’ve got bad memory any way you cut it—short term memory, long-term memory, and memorization just doesn’t happen easily. so i’ve learned to rely on technology. i’ve got a program called evernote on my iphone, which basically functions as an extension of my brain. if i’m reading my textbook and i suddenly remember that i’m running out of toothpaste, out comes my iphone and i quickly tap a reminder out. need to meet my friends for a board game on friday? out comes the iphone. usually i’m quick enough and i remember my thoughts long enough to enter them into my phone. usually.
as luck would have it, i’ve now taken a project management position with Steve Robbins Group. i had a hunch that project management involved juggling many small details, but i didn’t know that i’d need to juggle so many. project A needs help finding marketing copy, the team for project B appreciates deadlines, so i’ll need to determine a deadline without the deadline being possible, project C is waiting on some key design files from team F, and ruth, george, and sally are eagerly awaiting direction on some concepts. oftentimes when i leave work at four, my brain’s still buzzing and i’d look at my aftermath of papers to sort out what really happened that day. i can write faster than i can type into my iphone, so i’ll scribble notes to myself all day. that leaves me with a pile of papers to sort through and the task of plugging everything into my timesheet. thanks to paper and technology, i’m doing ok.
you know that feeling when you pick up a sport for the first time? or maybe it’s a new video game controller. either way, you’re determined to tackle the challenge and have fun like everyone else. but every time you swing, you don’t hear that “clink” sound, and when you look at the tee, the golf ball’s still there. or you just hit the start button and select “restart race” because Mario’s last again, and the group who joined you for MarioKart isn’t interested in watching you finish the course in eighth place. it’s that feeling where you know that you could be having a blast if only you were as experienced as everyone else. if only i had picked up a golf club at five years old. if only i had a Nintendo 64 and hours to kill. some people make project management look effortless, and i’m looking forward to that day. i just need to put the hours in.
Sunday, March 01, 2009
The Marvelous Feats of Ken Heffner
multi-GRAMMY winners blind boys of alabama
professional trend-setter, music maven, and overall nice guy brought another amazing performance to calvin college. ken heffner, calvin’s first and current student activities director brings top notch performers to our college every year. in fact, calvin’s got a rep for bringing in awesome acts. when i feel adventurous, i’ll leave my home and college and meet some students from nearby colleges downtown. inevitably, they’ll say, “oh yeah, i’ve been there a couple times before. so-and-so was performing at your school. you guys always have awesome concerts!”
since arriving at calvin, i’ve heard of star performers that did their due diligence at this college before they went national. the two that come to mind are the dave matthews band and jimmy eat world. if i could turn back time, i’d be at the front row of those concerts.
when i heard that the blind boys of alabama were coming, my mind instantly flashed back to a youtube video documenting their studio collaboration with ben harper. the performance was so moving, it gave me chills and brought tears to my eyes. that was the first time i had heard of the blind boys of alabama, and i couldn’t wait to see them live.
the entire lower section of the fine arts center (FAC) was packed, and i saw more city residents than calvin students. usually, the best concerts bring in people from the city and neighboring areas, so i knew i was in for a great evening. i wasn’t disappointed. contrary to today’s top 40 sound, the blind boys of alabama brought me back to the roots of rock and roll: blues. the group consists of four men, and they brought some hired guns along, a guitarist, bassist, and keyboardist. three of the four blind boys solely sing, while one also drums. as their group name so clearly states, all are blind, even the drummer. a drummer myself, i didn’t know that one of the blind boys was a drummer until much later in the concert. naturally, i was watching the drummer for most of the concert, and i was surprised by the drummer’s posture. it didn’t look natural, and he’d hit the rim of the drum quite a few times. i have tremendous respect for singing drummers, just because of the difficulty of coordinating four limbs along with your breathing and singing, so i didn’t think much of it. but when i realized that the drummer was also blind, i was blown away. these men were so inspiring because they didn’t allow their impairments to stop them from making world-class music. i left the FAC incredibly satisfied with such an uplifting performance.
Saturday, January 03, 2009
A Calvin Tradition
a game of bold strategy and giant hands
during the past few days, i’ve been visiting the KE apartments to hang out and play settlers. one of my friends, eric, is a christmas RA there, which means he holds down the fort for the international students who are staying there over the break. calvin’s policy is that everyone must move out of the dorms over christmas break, so the international students living in the dorms head to the KE apartments if they aren’t flying home. when i lived in the dorms, i flew back to hong kong for my first christmas and headed to toronto for my second christmas, so i never did the KE apartment thing.
i know at least several people who would burst out in song for this board game. my freshman year, during one of those evenings when everyone was going stir-crazy, a few of my friends pulled me aside and introduced me to settlers. after i was given a five minute lecture on why i might purchase a development card, we dived right in, with me learning along the way. in the same way that learning to bike often involves scrapes and bruises, learning to play settlers was also a bit painful. but after i learned the ropes, i was having as much fun as mountain biking the rocky mountains in colorado. well, maybe not that much fun, but i’d rank settler’s “fun-ness” between apples to apples and boggle.
the board and the cards
i had never heard of the board game before, so i was surprised when almost everyone played it. growing up in canada and hong kong, monopoly was a big favorite, but at calvin, settlers blew the other board games out of the water. i think i’ve heard the argument that you’re not a true calvin student until you’ve played settlers.
the premise of the game is to be the first person to reach 10 points. points can be earned via three avenues, all of which involve resources. first, you can build settlements and cities, which are one and two points respectively. second, you can purchase development cards, which oftentimes results in a soldier card, although sometimes you’ll luck out and pick up a point. third, you can fulfill certain requirements to earn trophies, which are worth two points. as i said earlier, all three avenues require resources, and you gather resources whenever a dice roll coincides with the placement of your settlements and cities. you can also trade resources with other players, as kaitlyn is doing below:
she’s offering resources in return for something she wants
eric’s (left) contemplating kaitlyn’s trade offer
i feel like i should print out the above paragraph to hand out to new settlers players, because i always have the hardest time teaching the game in person.
settlers is a game of strategy, and for some reason, (almost) every time i play with eric, he wins. following with the norm, eric won the game in the photographs. i’m still plotting my revenge.
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Top 8 Moments of 2008
summertime homemade pizzafest
another year full of memories has gone by. i’ll probably be doing more reflecting after my new year’s eve festivities, but for now, here’s a list of 8 good times in 2008.
8. having dozens of friends show up at my 21st birthday, which was a laid-back concert held at four friends coffeehouse before they closed down.
7. selling my old powerbook G4 to a friend majoring in graphic design at GVSU and using the money to purchase a used macbook air that was listed on eBay for a steal of a price. i love my air, and because i use it everyday, it deserves a spot on this list.
6. completing a big website project near the beginning of the summer, which freed me up financially so that i could explore new opportunities all summer long.
5. exploring all summer long. i networked and job-hopped the local media and entertainment industries, going from event promoter to artist manager to DJ to sales representative and back again. i had such a blast, and met so many cool people. best of all, i got to know myself a bit better, so i have an idea of what i do and don’t want to get into after graduating.
4. buying some turntables a week before a gig, learning to DJ via YouTube tutorials from ellaskins, practicing 8 hours a day for 3 straight days, then throwing down and rocking out. it was a win-win situation. i picked up a new skill, my friend had a blast for his birthday party, and i made a good impression on the venue’s owner which has led to more opportunities.
3. getting $140 from someone i’d just met to start kalvin kulture. in 3 months, that $140 has turned into over $4000 worth of goods and services.
2. being notified one morning that an article was featuring my company on the front page of calvin college’s website. ever since i came to calvin, i thought that’d be kind of cool, and i never expected it to happen.
1. talking about life and future at various times with my various housemates. we’ll soon be separating to experience another stage of life, life after college. i’ve got one semester left with them, and i hope to make the best of it.
here’s to a great 2009!!
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Learning How to Learn II
judging from my experience in calvin’s religion department, any departments that require argumentative papers develop potential salespeople. i’m sure calvin’s philosophy department would be great recruiting grounds for southwestern. over the years, calvin has developed a respected philosophy program, and i was fortunate to take an honors philosophy class for core. philosophy majors can write like no other. after four years of experience arguing about metaphysics, i’m sure philosophers can easily argue why southwestern’s educational products are much better than their competitors’. also, lawyers are accustomed to arguing points, and their negotiation skills would come in handy when drafting a contract. although calvin doesn’t have a law department, they have a pre-law program that prepares students for law schools. i haven’t met a lot of pre-law students, but i’m sure i’ll recognize them. they’ll be the ones that somehow persuade me to go on a 10k run after i’ve gorged myself on chinese buffet.
so far i’ve been focusing on how various fields relate to business. that’s probably because i’ve had to explain to countless people why i’m a religion and communications double major that owns a startup business. by now, i can connect religion and communications with business in my sleep—i’ve already explained it so many times. but i have a hunch that if religion, philosophy, and law equips students for business, maybe engineering, nursing, and psychology can equip students for a field such as public relations. there must be plenty of cross-over between different fields. let me think out loud for a couple paragraphs.
according to my housemate, an electrical engineer, engineers are problem solvers, and darn good ones. from what i know about my nursing-major-friends, they learn to connect with people on a face-to-face level. more than a few of my friends have interned at pine rest, a local mental health facilities, and they’ve cared for everyone from the mentally-challenged to bed-ridden grandparents. i can imagine that facing these people everyday can be quite depressing, but i’ve been surprised by how nursing majors can cope with their surroundings. some of the people they care for are going to die in the near future, yet my friends smile and shake off the hopelessness. another one of my housemates is a psychology major, and he’s a great listener. i took my intro to psych courses at the university of toronto one summer, and i became a better listener simply by learning about human behavior. i can imagine how four years of psychology courses can teach someone to be an incredible listener. moreover, good listeners tend to have good discernment. my housemate’s certainly a great discerner.
how would that all relate to public relations? from my limited knowledge of the field (i’ve only taken one class, and i don’t know many PR people), i understand that PR is responsible for being the face of the company/organization they represent. sometimes they need to handle PR nightmares, and i’m sure mccain’s PR staff had a field day dealing with his “bomb bomb iraq” song. safe to say, there would be some problem-solving involved in any PR nightmare, so anyone with an engineering background would be cut out for those situations. also, as the face of the company, PR reps would often be at publicity events mingling with press and other attendees. most nursing students that have interned at pine rest or other mental health facilities would be able to connect with people and make a good impression under high pressure situations. and as with any people-related job, the ability to listen is crucial. how would mccain’s PR team handle “bomb bomb iraq” if they couldn’t discern the gravity of the situation? i’m sure mccain’s team was listening closely to mainstream media, trying to predict how the american public would react to the video clip. also, how could PR reps make a good impression at a publicity event if they spent all their time talking people’s ears off? i’m sure they’d use their listening skills to encourage two-way conversations.
since there’s so much cross-over between various fields, does it matter what field i choose? maybe the best PR reps don’t graduate with a public relations degree, but rather an engineering/nursing/psychology interdisciplinary degree. to be honest, i don’t know. but here’s what i do know: if i can convince the employer that i’m the best fit for the position, i’ll get it.
The Recession and Entertainment
one statistic particularly stuck out when i took my world cinema class two semesters ago. the textbook said that during france’s economic depression decades ago, box office sales soared. apparently, because inflation made material goods too expensive, people didn’t have much left to spend their money on, so they bought movie tickets. for the french, movies became a place of escape from the harsh realities surrounding them.
i was talking with my dad when i worked in the local music industry over the summer, and he was concerned about how the economy would affect the entertainment industry. i didn’t have concrete evidence, but i had a hunch from my world cinema textbook that the entertainment industry wouldn’t be adversely affected by a recession. although a few lines in a textbook isn’t nearly enough information to draw conclusions from, a recent headline caught my eye:
although the article states that grosses are down 0.9% from last year, the Christmas weekend pulled in some really good ticket sales. i’ll be keeping my eye on this.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Learning How to Learn
i realized something over the past few months. after years of responding to the questions, “what’s your major?” followed by “why a religion and communications double major?”, i’ve realized that knowledge in any field applies directly to any other field. for instance, my religion major has happened to equip me very well for certain aspects of business, particularly sales. so how does karl bart’s theology correlate with sales pitches?
here at calvin, the religion department routinely hands out the lowest GPAs. i think that’s because all students are required to take a 100-level and a 200-level religion course as part of their core requirement. and contrary to other core courses, religion faculty don’t lower their expectations just because most of their students aren’t religion majors. the courses are tough: students are expected to read some really dense articles, regurgitate the information in thorough tests, and churn out several research papers within a semester. if i find these courses difficult as a religion major, i can’t imagine how non-religion majors are faring. i’ve heard plenty of complaints, and i know my GPA would be a lot better if i didn’t take religion classes.
but calvin’s religion department is incredible, and i wouldn’t be studying here if i wasn’t majoring in religion. the department equips people for sales pitches in two ways. first, religion rewards diligence, and second, religion improves writing skills. i have some friends who participated in southwestern company’s internship program. for an entire summer, they worked 70-80 hours over a six-day week doing door-to-door sales. before they hit the streets, they go through the company’s orientation program. if i recall correctly, one of the rules-of-thumbs that the company teaches them is that ~15% of the people they approach simply will not buy the product. meanwhile, ~15% of those they approach will buy the product, just because they show up. your sales pitch determines what happens with the remaining 70%. the top interns earn $40,000+ in one summer because they’ve developed excellent pitches.
i have a lot of respect for southwestern interns, and they’ve taught me a lot about sales. the main lesson is that hard work pays off. even the worst southwestern intern can make a few thousand dollars in a summer if they spend 80 hours a week knocking on doors. it’s a bit of a shotgun approach—by virtue of statistics, ~15% of the doors they knock on will result in a successful sale. so they knock on a lot of doors. just like in calvin’s religion classes, diligence pays off. if students follow their professor’s advice and start their research papers two weeks before the deadline, they’ll earn a good grade.
of course, you’ll still need to be a decent writer, and that’s what high school and calvin’s english 101 course is for. like i said before, religion classes hone your writing skills. religion professors expect polished and well-researched papers, and they’ll dock big points if any student falls short of their standards. every point needs to be backed up, and all points must contribute to a logical conclusion. if the professor isn’t convinced by the student’s arguments, the student will receive a low grade. no if, ands, or buts—enough religion professors have already been placed on probation by calvin’s administration for flunking large numbers of students. just like how religion professors won’t accept a poorly-argued paper, potential customers will reject poorly-argued sales pitches. southwestern interns give their pitches in person, not on paper. i’m hoping to reach that level one day, because i think giving pitches in person is much harder than pitching by e-mail. at least with an e-mail pitch, i can leverage my religion-influenced writing skills.
i never expected any of this when i signed up for religion. but by sticking with a good program, i realized that the skills i’m developing can equip me for opportunities in many different fields. after all, i can’t go wrong with learning how to sell—within the next few years, i’ll be selling myself to various employers and/or grad schools.
Obamas To-Do List?
i wouldn’t mind if it relieves his stress and helps him focus
According to headlines from the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal, maybe this stuff is on our President-elect’s to-do list:
- Distance himself from controversy from his home state’s governer, Blagojevich
- Alleviate an economic recession that reshaped Wall Street and crippled American automakers
- Face the military tension between American ally, Israel, and the Hamas in the Gaza Strip
- Face the military tension between India and Pakistan
- Shift America away from reliance on fossil fuels
- Maintain Army operations with a 30,000 soldier deficit
- Withdraw from Iraq
And they say it won’t be easy. Is it just me, or does Obama’s inauguration make other Presidents’ inaugurations look like a cakewalk?
Sunday, December 28, 2008
on september 11th, 2001, planes crashed into the world trade center and pentagon, killing almost 3,000 innocent civilians. america responded shortly afterwards, announcing a war on terror that brought troops to countries in the middle east. other NATO nations also denounced the attacks, and joined america’s anti-terrorism efforts to varying degrees.
on november 26th, 2008, a group of gunmen landed on india’s coastline and began a shooting spree, killing at least 173 people. after 3 days of combat in india’s financial capital, all but one gunman was killed. the surviving gunman claimed to be connected to pakistan, a country that has a rough history with india. india responded shortly afterwards, condemning the attacks and pointing fingers at pakistan for failing to halt such activities. other nations also denounced the attacks, particularly those that had citizens killed visiting mumbai.
recent headlines in the washington post:
- Pakistan seeks to reduce tensions after troop move
- Pakistan Moves Troops From Tribal Areas to Border With India
compare 9/11 to the mumbai attacks, and look at how the respective countries handled/are handling the situation. i think pakistan has every reason to fear an Indian invasion.
and america’s hands might be tied. we can’t stop india from invading pakistan. look at how we responded to 9/11.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
News Headlines Get Personal III
my retired neighbors drive their RV down to florida every winter. besides enjoying the sunshine, they spend time with other retired friends that live in retirement communities there year-round. when i was spending christmas eve with them, my neighbors told me that entire communities in florida were hit by the madoff scandal. after some thinking, it all made sense. a fellow international student told me that his family back in jamaica used to invest their money with a foreign exchange trader who would earn them a 10% return every month. he quickly became the top trader at his bank, and soon afterwards, jamaica’s cream of the crop heard about his reputation and snapped him up. now the trader spends his time making the country’s richest even richer. madoff was a similar character. he had an incredible track record, and a great reputation. as a result, word spread, and madoff won over the firms that handled retirement portfolios. when madoff collapsed, entire retirement communities did too. after all, if a certain firm is earning an incredible return on a couple’s retirement portfolio, their friends want in.
Friday, December 26, 2008
News Headlines Get Personal II
i know my neighbor to the left is feeling a bit of relief. a father of two, he works at a car dealership nearby. judging from the cars he drives, his dealership sells American cars, which means it’s either directly or indirectly connected to GMAC. after all, GMAC funds most of the automaker’s dealers, and even if GMAC doesn’t directly fund his dealership, it’ll fund his neighbors. if GMAC goes down and pulls down a bunch of dealerships with it, firms that fund those newly-failed dealerships have a good chance of failing too. and those firms might fund my neighbor’s car dealership.
the retired couple living across the street have a son-in-law that develops products for car interiors. as a tier-2 supplier to GM, Ford, Chrysler and other automakers, most of their business depends on how well American cars are selling. i highly doubt their company’s very diversified, because he was talking about how grateful he was for GMAC’s switch. he wouldn’t be so concerned if his company was also developing products for the tech and textile industries. he’s a father of two lovely kids that i just met.
one of my friend’s uncles is the president of an engineering firm that provides products to the automakers. their company’s more diversified, having expanded into the medical industry a few years ago, but any collapse in the auto industry could significantly reduce their profits. they’d need to cut costs, which can mean layoffs. and my friend’s uncle would probably be the one telling his employees the bad news. and the thing about layoffs is that it doesn’t just affect one person. some employees support their wife/husband and kis, so laying off those employees is like laying off an entire family.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
News Headlines Get Personal
Fed grants GMAC ability to seek bailout funds
Fed Cuts Key Rate to Record Low
Auto Bailout Talks Collapse as Senate Deadlocks Over Wages
White House, Democrats Near Short-Term Deal For Automakers
U.S. Throws Lifeline to Detroit
some recent headlines. the list goes on…
I started getting into current affairs during early October (i think), when the credit crunch kicked off in the financial industry. since then, i’d wake up to washington post and wall street journal headlines, which i’d read while brushing my teeth. in the back of my mind, i knew that this stuff was important (even though i didn’t completely understand why), and i’d discuss current affairs with some other friends who’d keep up with the news. i figured if my parents read chinese newspapers religiously, and if my advisor reads the wall street journal between academic advising appointments, i better start too.
back when i was a freshman, i was completely in the calvin bubble. i didn’t even know hurricane katrina hit until days afterwards. i learned about it from a call to prayer at some campus worship service. now i know why i should be reading about AIG, bernie madoff, oil prices, GM/Chrysler/Ford, and most recently, GMAC.
all of the headlines above have a direct effect on me, a college student.
if all goes as planned (and it rarely does), i’ll graduate in may 2010. during recessions, people like going back to school since there aren’t any jobs available. got laid off? get into grad school, take out some loans, and increase your chances of getting a better job when the recession ends. history tells us that’s true in america.
that means if i want to go to grad school, i’m gonna be competing with a lot of people, some of which have already proven themselves in the workforce. i won’t just be competing with the class of 2010. i’ll be competing with the freshly unemployed manager that now wants an MBA so he’ll do a better job next time. i’ll be competing with newly unemployed salespeople that were smart, but were just assigned to hard-hit regions like detroit, where residents are barely making enough to survive, let alone buy luxury products. i’ve heard enough admissions officers repeat the mantra, “we don’t just look at your GPA.” well, if they look at things like work experience, community service, or awards, most undergrads will lose out. and i’m pretty darn sure admissions officers look for those things.
i don’t want anyone spending $100,000 on a bachelor’s degree to end up at a restaurant serving tables. nor do i want them ending up at a retail outlet like banana republic, gap, or american eagle. but i look at my friends who just graduated in may 2008, and i see reality. they’re shooting off resumes for months, but they’re generating little interest. in the meantime, it’s back to working the third shift at starbucks.
A Merry White Christmas
a couple hours worth of shoveling
from “5 feet of snow in 5 weeks” to “50 inches in the last month,” weathermen/women have been documenting the aftermath of 3 snow storms. and for once, they’re right. my arms and back tell me so after i shoveled out my driveway. but the exercise is good for me and keeps me warm, and the weather isn’t too cold. really, it’s just the wind that gets me, especially when it’s blowing right at your face when you’re walking to school. the wind’s much more effective than caffeine, and it wakes you up for free. no need for starbucks gift cards, beaner’s coupons, or even calvin’s own coffeeshop, the fishhouse, which serves fair trade coffee. during the semester, i’ll walk through my neighborhood to get to school, and there’s always this one street which is incredibly windy. i feel like a car in a wind tunnel, like this one:
there’s one difference though—wind glides by this car, but it doesn’t glide by me. i eat it. i really can’t complain though… i signed up for this when i decided to attend calvin!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
inspiration comes in the strangest of places, even here
for my company, kalvin kulture, i’ve developed an infrastructure for selling products on facebook. at least 60% of my target demographic has a facebook account, and nationwide statistics show that the student demographic spends 1-2 hours on facebook per day. my strategy was to meet our target market where they’re at instead of funneling them to a new website. sure, we sacrifice some branding points, but our brand isn’t too established yet. we can always relaunch with a new brand and direct traffic to a new site if we wanted to. so far the strategy is paying off, as we’ve processed hundreds of dollars worth of goods on facebook, and have only spent $15-20.
i was surfing around facebook the other day looking at how other companies leverage facebook, and i bumped into one of the strongest brands in retail clothing, victoria’s secret’s PINK label. that label targets high school and college students, which is exactly the same demographic we’re targeting. after checking out their facebook page, i was inspired to modify our own company’s facebook pages. PINK does a really good job leveraging the facebook platform for marketing exposure, and i’m sure they spent thousands of dollars in consulting fees to create their strategy. why not copy them and save thousands of dollars on consulting fees?
so the picture above is a wireframe of our new facebook pages. i’ll be developing them sometime over the break while working on kalvin kulture’s new branding. our existing brand was thrown together in hours just so we could launch our company and get our feet wet. now that we’re more established, it’s time to kick off the second semester hard. it’s gonna be fun!
a few days ago i had conquered my inbox
i’m staring at 35 new emails in my inbox. somehow, they crept up on me over the last two days. despite my diligence in fighting back, trying to respond on the go with my phone and shooting back replies during meals, they still keep coming back. that red badge with the bold white font that says 35 screams out, “i’m waiting!! cmon cmon, you’ve got stuff to do.” i’ve been fortunate to rub shoulders with some managers and executives at friend’s events, and i’ll often hear the same complaint. sometimes i’ll meet them at thanksgiving dinner when a friend invites me over to hang out with his/her extended family. other times i’ll just walk into their offices and ask for a tour. i think the worst situation i ever saw was a roomful of law firm partners and recruiters glued to their blackberrys during a presentation, more-or-less oblivious to the consultant their company had paid thousands of dollars to. one of my friends tells me that her dad, a company president, doesn’t like to carry his iphone with him because he can see his emails. i’m sure his secretary/assistant has a blast trying to get in touch with him. sure sounds glamorous… just like how the Office portrays corporate life. not.