Monday, May 30, 2011

Titles Are Really Formalities Anyway...

I really just felt like writing because it has been a while since I had.  I really just wanted to write about the past month and a half or so of my life, but there really wasn't a suitable title for it.  I should probably start with the good and then move on to the bad and finish with the "paradigm shift" that is at the very least something that could define major aspects of my life (I'm kind of excited about it).

First, the good, I have recently been hired by The Home Depot as a cashier.  Thats obviously good because amongst other things my father has been urging me to get a job for around two years now.  I make enough money I can support my sophisticated lifestyle of video games, hanging out with friends, and watching television. I've been on the job for about two weeks now and all is well, everyone is nice and rather humorous.  I got my first paycheck yesterday so things are moving along quite nicely.  So there is the good, honestly I really enjoy my job, I don't things could be going much better in that regards.

Now the tough one, "The Bad".  In short "The Bad" is my grades.  I'm not one to sugar-coat it, try to ease you in to it, or even put it "lightly".  The fact of the matter is my grades were below "sub-par" (and mind you this isn't golf, sub-par is bad).  I don't think it is necessary for me to give much more detail.  I can tell you it is definitely my fault, I have no excuse or reasoning other than, "I dun f'd up", it happens, life happens.

And lastly, the much anticipated "paradigm shift".  Due to many personal realizations, some deliberation, and partly my academic performance I have made the decision that it will be best for me to return to Saint Louis and continue my education at Meramec Community College (of course for free using the A+ Program).  I feel that I must stress the fact that this was my decision and I was not forced to leave the University of Missouri.  I feel that I have more connections here in Saint Louis and when I'm here I feel that I have more of a drive to be successful and be responsible.  Mind you I am not "coming home" per-say, at the end of this summer I will be moving out of my parents house and in to a place of my own because I think it is important that I still live by myself.  As you can see this decision may be fairly controversial and will most likely raise many questions amongst family and friends, though I can personally say I am confident in my decision and thats all that really matters in this case.

So there you have it!  In summary; I got a cool job, I didn't put enough effort in to my academics, and I made a decision that I feel should help correct the fore mentioned academic performance and allow me to keep the cool job I was talking about.  For anyone that reads this, I welcome comments and any feedback (especially from family and friends).  Thanks for reading!

-Adam Dent

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Service Isn't Optional!

Something I've recently been noticing, for one reason or another, is quality service, or lack of it, whenever I am acting as the "customer"  in daily interactions.  I've noticed that what sticks with me after I leave a business, especially a restaurant, isn't the food or the stuff they had there, it's the service.

I really thought about this recently after some friends and I went out to eat at a local bar and grill called Shiloh's.  I noticed that I couldn't, and still can't, remember exactly what I had to eat, but what I do remember is that my iced tea was never empty and our waitress, though busy and not overly talkative, was pleasant and always kept our drinks filled.  Though I'm sure my food there was good, that's not what will bring me back there.  What will bring me back is knowing that as a customer they took care of my friend's and I, even though it was a busy Friday night in a college town.  I was sure to reward the waitress with a larger than 15% tip, because good service should never go unnoticed, especially on a busy Friday evening.

Especially in a college town, like Columbia, I've realized quality service at food places can be hard to come by, with the staff having to deal with rude college students so frequently.  Now mind you there aren't many places I've been to recently that have been particularly bad.  Though, I know that there are some places that customer service is far from a number one priority.  The easiest example is at the Campus Dining locations.  Now I don't want to "hate" on Mizzou's Campus Dining, because it's usually just fine, but I have had some experiences that were rather poorly handled and didn't keep customers first.  For example, some friends and I were at one dining locations for a late night snack, I had ordered two milkshakes (one for a friend) and some fries.  We sat there waiting for 45 minutes or so (which is on the long side for this place) when I finally decided to go see what the problem was.  Though the girl was polite and apologetic I was simply told they milkshake machine was broken and they were working on it.  About 30 minutes later I went back up and asked again.  The girl, still polite, gave me the same answer.  So I waited about 15 minutes more and asked a different person.  Who then proceeded to explain it was broken and wouldn't be fixed until tomorrow.  No one was rude to me, but I certainly felt as though I had not been given the service that should be given to patrons of any eatery.  When I asked for my "money" back (because we use dining points) I was told I would have to stop by the office at a later time.  I never did, because I didn't really need the points back, but it was nonetheless upsetting to hear.  Lack of communication between an establishment and the customer is the biggest disservice of all in my opinion.  Had I been informed that the machine was broken at the 45 minute mark I would have simply smiled and shrugged it off.  Obviously there are much worse things that could happen as far as lack of service goes, but this was just the most recent experience I could think of.

When I think about customer service in my life there is one person that always comes to mind, my Grandaddy (Grandfather for you non-Southerners).  Of the many things my Grandaddy has taught me the importance of good service might be the most valuable.  I say this because lack of service is really just a lack of respect and respect is key in everything.  To give you some background, I can recall from a very young age my Grandaddy saying the dreaded words, "Can I speak to your manager?", while we were eat out.  He very rarely gets truly angry, as matter of fact I'm not sure I've ever seen him really "angry".  Usually, Grandaddy is just extremely direct about what he wants done about the situation and always clearly and calmly explains why he is upset.  Really what my Grandaddy taught me was service isn't optional.  When I think about that and then the lack of high-end service I realize that what I really want to do with my life is bring customer service to the limelight, where it belongs.  If my Grandaddy hadn't always demanded the absolute best service for himself and his family I would have never learned that important lesson, and probably wouldn't know what I wanted to do with my life.

The moral of the story is, as an institution and/or customer service based employee, remember that service isn't optional.  Great service will always bring people back to your business and can often make you more money.  For customers, remember that if you don't ask for, scratch that, demand the best service possible then you're preforming a huge disservice for everyone else that walks in there, not to mention the business itself.  Finally, for my Grandaddy, thanks for teaching to appreciate good service, it's really helped shape who I've become!

-Adam Dent

Saturday, February 26, 2011

What says the most about a man?

I say that what says the most of a man is the woman he has at his side.  I don't mean that men without a good woman are nothing, though I'm sure some people would say thats the case.  The truth is though, it isn't just the woman he has at his side, it's the people he surrounds himself with in general (I do think the woman at his side is easily the most accurate indicator).  Mind you, this idea isn't gender specific, the people that a woman surrounds herself with tells you just as much about her character and personality.

I was thinking about how this works in day to day life and I realized, I know some fantastic people that have surrounded themselves with people that don't really share the same values or similar character traits as themselves.  The problem is they are then subjected to these assumptions that are typically wrong and at the very least off-base.  In an ideal world no one would make assumptions about anyone, but lets face it, we're far from an ideal world.  On the other hand, I think a lot of people subconsciously understand this idea and do surround themselves with people who accurately portray themselves to other.  So I think you can find out a lot about a person's character and personality if you look at the types of people they are surrounded by, even if they aren't always the "right" type of people.  That's not in place of actually getting to know someone of course, but it can give you good insight in to who they really are.

Through out high school I hung out a lot with people that would typically be considered kind of "nerdy".  I was undoubtedly lumped in that group.  I didn't mind, I enjoyed having people assuming that because I was friends with them I must be extremely smart (I'm not saying I'm stupid, just not as smart as most of my friends).  The opposite side of that is there is an assumption that when you're "that smart" you must also be socially awkward.  Even though I have always been able to befriend and fit in with any person or group of people I met, that label had a way of keeping me from being invited to things.  I can't say that I cared all that much, I enjoyed hanging out with my "nerdy" friends.  I think it was probably for the best because it kept me from going to places where I might have drank or done something else irresponsible.  Don't get me wrong I love my friends and I wouldn't have traded them to be invited to some party, but thats just an example of how the people you surround yourself with influence how you interact with other people.

I guess the point is, remember that people are always making assumptions about you based on who you surround yourself with.  I'm not suggesting you avoid people who are different from yourself,  because diversity can say more than similarity.  Just keep in mind when you let someone in to your life, that they say something about who you are to other people.  The other half of that is, you can learn a lot from what kinds of people a person keeps around.  Final word, choose your friends wisely, they always say something about who you are, even when they don't talk about you.

-Adam Dent

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Introducing the Elephant

Whether you noticed or not, the address for this page is introducingtheelephant.blogspot.com.  Now that I've brought that to your attention I'll tell you where I got it.

Last night, I was using stumbleupon.com and "stumbling" around on the internet.  I came across a list from Psychology Today entitled "10 Life-Enhancing Things You Can Do in Ten Minutes or Less".  The first thing on the list is "Watch 'The Last Lecture' by Randy Pausch".  I was bored and it was late so I watched it (you should too).  The whole point is Randy Pausch was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University and he found out he had 3-6 months of good health left so he wrote and gave his "Last Lecture".  Right off the bat he jumps in saying, "So, you know, in case there is anyone who wandered in and doesn't know the back story, my dad always taught me that when there's an elephant in the room, introduce them.", Prof. Pausch is referring to the fact that he has been diagnosed with liver cancer and has been given 3-6 months of good health left.  That line, along with many other from the lecture, really stuck with me.  I think thats a profound way to look at awkward situations.  If there is something floating in the air, clear it.  This idea really resonates with me, because I've come to realize that  its better to deal with problems, and those "elephants", head on.

I would highly recommend that you watch "The Last Lecture", if you don't it's your loss.  This first post was really just to kind of introduce my blog and just a tiny part of what makes me, me.  So you can expect that I'll always be pretty upfront about what I'm getting at in my posts.  I'll really try to avoid beating around the bush too much.

-Adam Dent