Life Lesson

Cultural Fit

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In the past 6 months a few individuals within our circle of professional relationships have suddenly been let go from their jobs for this reason…”you are not a cultural fit.” At the time of hire the culture of the organization was not defined. Although the individuals excelled at their jobs and shared the same corporate vision and passion for the mission of the company, specific reasons for not “fitting in” to the company culture were not provided by the direct report or HR.

Concerned about what appears to be a new employment policy direction for corporate America, I recently skimmed the surface, doing some online research. Discovered this “practice” is far more prevalent than I had imagined, leaving me with the following unanswered questions.

  1. When did “cultural fit” first become a corporate hiring/firing practice and is this term being used today as it originally may have been intended?
  2. Could this “catchall” phrase be a mask to avoid compliance to the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Laws (EEO), which prohibits discriminating in hiring, firing or pay based on a person’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, including sexual harassment? (Resource HERE)
  3. Our country is experiencing a political polar divide between liberals and conservatives. Is it possible “cultural fit” includes filtering based on political allegiance?

It will take committed time to peel away the layers surrounding “cultural fit” in order to see the bigger picture and perhaps the vulnerability and risk to BOTH employees and corporations. For this reason, I’m taking time off from blogging to pursue this assignment and will return September 19, 2017.

I am grateful for the incredible response to my blog, Modify, since it began April 22, 2017. Thank you for your support, replying with comments and being an awesome audience to the articles shared. The blog WILL continue September 19, 2017. While I’m working on “Cultural Fit… In The Workplace”, I encourage you to share your feedback with me:

  • Have you (or someone you know) been fired or not hired because of cultural fit? Was cultural fit clearly defined through either the hiring or firing process? Can you share the experience with me?
  • Share your comments, if any, about how I might improve Modify and/or topics to consider for publication when I return mid-September, which fall within the Modify menu categories.

Thank you!! You can share your stories/feedback through email by clicking HERE.

Gratefully,

Debra

 

Bargain Boutique

Frugal Florals

 

About a year ago, a friend of mine was thinking about enclosing her patio and adding a room to her home. Fast forward and the room is now complete. Once a home area is made new, it is easy to notice other parts of the home that could use refreshing. This amazing addition led to other changes like updating granite, backsplash, and adding home accessories, which includes faux floral.

Last week we braved through afternoon thunderstorm predictions and dark clouds to shop popular Denver home stores known for quality faux floral.

The arrangements were STUNNING and we were STUNNED by the price tags!! A scary twigged wreath with grape garland was priced at $135. A small vase with a few florals was priced at $95. Often I have seen faux floral in vases that appear as if water is in the container. Click HERE for an image. This is known as simulated water. These new floral looks along with popular succulents in distressed wood containers (blog photo) can be priced in the hundreds of dollars!!

Top row pics above show DIY results after deciding to make rather than buy anything already created. The store did carry the vase without the faux arrangement for $12, which my friend gratefully was able to purchase. The total cost to purchase supplies for the wreath around the glass cake server and the small vase florals came to just under $50.00 (including the vase) vs $187.

Below are a few DIY tips.

  • Simulated water kits are about $14.00. Although there may be other ways to make simulated water including clear jello mixed at home, you want to be sure it doesn’t yellow.
  • Best to use floral that is not plastic for a realistic look. Silks can be pricey. Hobby Lobby and Michaels carry realistic looking florals at good prices.
  • Internet search floral styles you like and be inspired by flower arrangements you can duplicate with faux options. Save the pictures on your cell phone so when you are ready to shop you can come close to the inspired look based on what is available at the store.
  • Succulents that look real are pricey. Hobby Lobby carries the most authentic looking at the best prices. Michaels carries decent succulents as well. Take your time and every week use the Hobby Lobby or Michaels one-item regular priced coupon to build your ideal arrangement. The wood boxes can be purchased at craft stores unless you are able to make your own. Succulents also look great in ceramic vases and metal containers. Using copper containers could be amazing! Succulent arrangements are a popular design this year and, WOW, prices are quite high if you purchase already made. How To Make The Perfect DIY Artificial Succulent Arrangement is a great resource!
  • Fall and holiday floral are on sale now as a pre-season purchase. You might be able to save between 40-50%. Just saw the sale at Michaels this week.

Suggested items for a faux floral arrangement:

  • Wire Cutters (so you don’t damage your household scissors)
  • Floral Foam Bricks 
  • Glue Gun
  • Photos of inspired designs
  • Simulated water resin kit, if going in this direction
  • Moss or rocks
  • Vase/container (interesting vases available as shown lower left blog picture)
  • Large working space protected with a plastic tablecloth
  • Garbage container close by, as this can get messy

You, too, can create your own faux floral arrangements customized to your style, colors, and size for the perfect home fit. All it takes is some time to identify what you want to design, purchasing the needed items, having a well-lit and spacious working area and a little patience. You can’t beat the price of DIY! Your result…a STUNNING frugal floral!

Life Lesson

What Would You Do?

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This image cannot be reproduced or shared without written artist consent. Artwork by Jessica Kardish

It’s been a week since I had an uncomfortable experience at our local supermarket. It’s still bothering me.

Last week, picking up a few quick items at our local grocery store, I stepped into the shortest line. There was a young mom with her child, about 3 years old, checking out. Next in line was a mature woman, probably around late 70’s and I was in line behind her.

It didn’t take long to notice the mature woman rolling her eyes, taping her hands on the counter, deep breathing with long sighs. At this point my eyes went past her to the young mom and it was then I noticed she was using coupons for her grocery purchase. It was obvious this mom was aware of the elderly woman’s behavior and appeared uncomfortable.

One would think the elderly woman may have been late for an appointment or feeling rushed for someplace she wished to be? After the young mom left with the child, the woman took plenty of time to engage in conversation with the cashier, no longer in a hurry to get checked. She began questioning why a grocery store would carry clothing and if there were any significant sales of such. She laughed and continued to press the cashier, who simply said, “People do purchase clothes here.” He then ignored any further condescending questions.

This experience is still bothering me because I didn’t say ANYTHING! Should I have said something? People have the right to be who they are BUT when it affects others, which her attitude appeared to affect the young mom and her behavior affected me, then I believe silence only condones, representing approval.

I have allowed this experience to be a source of agitation. Using the Internet as a resource, searched what to do when people are rude? Came across this informative article titled, “5 Polite Ways to Disarm Rude People”, Psychology Today, which explains the difference between rudeness and bullying. Since I was a bystander to the incident and the young mom chose to ignore the woman, it was best not to say anything and let it go. And, the woman’s conversation with the cashier was with him and not with me. Therefore, it was best that I remain silent and follow the response of the cashier…ignore her. If the woman’s actions were towards me, directly, then I could choose how to respond. As indicated in the hyperlinked article, always consider the circumstance.

When is a response necessary? When the behavior becomes bullying, a response is appropriate. The image on this blog, shared with permission, is by an amazing 16-year- old artist, Jessica. The artist rendition powerfully illustrates the results of bullying through facial expression and words, which create the image itself. Depression, sorrow, pain, hurt, alone, hell, rejection, anxiety, broken, represent but a few from the image, the harsh reality of bullying when intervention is necessary. Although we often perceive bullying to only afflict school age children it also occurs among adults, in all age groups. I personally have observed such behavior by grown men and women, especially on sport fields as well as the workplace.

Whether witnessing rudeness and bullying in public, on any sports field, in the workplace, or wherever such behavior takes place, be prepared in how you might respond. This blog post as well as “5 Polite Ways to Disarm Rude People”, provides food for thought in order to make wise decisions; not respond, when to approach a person(s) directly and when to seek and speak to those in authority. So, what would you do?

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 The Bible, New Living Translation 

 

home spaces

MOVE It!!

Yep! Another design tip blogged because I LOVE sharing!

My neighbor and friend who invited me to the design class, gave permission to share the new look of her living room space. Her cat, Raphael (pictured), gave two paws up on the new look and blog sharing, as well! Thank you, Raphael!

It’s amazing how moving furniture around, without having to add anything to the space, can impact look and feel! Pictured are before and after photos. The goal is to bring the room together for a cozy and conversation friendly space, working with beautiful outdoor natural landscape and light.

This past week we learned how important it is to identify the focal point in a room and then arrange large furniture accordingly. Sometimes the focal point can be dual vs a singular point. In this case, the fireplace is a focal point and yet, so is the beauty of the outdoors with all the windows surrounding the living room.

Moving the sofa away from the window opens the space so the eyes are drawn outside instead of the view stopping at the sofa. The new placement of the sofa creates a soft divider to the kitchen, distinguishing the living room from the kitchen. Bringing the end table between the two chairs creates a functional space that can now be used when hosting company. The space is conversation friendly as guests are able to face each other with an added benefit of the area being framed by the fireplace and outdoor landscape. The amazing greenery of the outdoors feels like it is part of the room! The large floor lamp is moved to the back of the room, with the black shade anchoring the space.

This was all planned first, on graph paper, with the wisdom and guidance of Pam Smith, Instructor. Visit Pam at Pam Smith Designs.

Pam has shared many tips and here is an awesome one, HGTV Home Design Studio Room Planner, through Basset Furniture website. This tool allows you to place furniture on a graph, planning and visualizing different options before you begin heavy lifting and moving. The instructions are simple and the results are effective!!

You, too, can refresh your home! If you are feeling a need for change, all you have to do is MOVE it!! As summer gets ready to usher in fall, pick a room in your home to highlight the natural beauty of the layout and bring in the outdoors. Go for a whole new look and feel that may not cost anything but a little time and some physical work. You can do it! MOVE it!!

home spaces

POP That Color!

Recently, a friend of mine asked if I would be interested to attend an interior design course to learn basic principles. Wanting to do this for many years, I quickly said YES!! Last week we attended our first class. And, this past weekend, I took out the material handouts for review. It didn’t take long to look at my home with a different “educated” perspective. This is when a little acquired knowledge can sometimes be dangerous!!

The class was on COLOR and after watching the suggested video, noticed some areas of my home that needed POP!! It’s ok to use different shades of the same color in a room. To create interest, however, include contrast, either much darker or lighter.  An example is shown in the blog photo of a guest bedroom in my home. All the colors are different shades but too much along the same tone. I happened to have a black and light cream check flannel fabric. Practicing the simple principle learned, decided to make 2 pillows in this fabric for the bed. Notice the difference? The room and bed now feel warm and welcoming, like a magnetic draw into the room.

If you have a room with similar color tones, add pillows or consider an accessory or throw blanket that is in a much darker or lighter shade. Perhaps choose items in a complimentary color on the color wheel chart. If you need to introduce texture, this too will incorporate interest adding contrast and value to your room. As shown in the before pics of my dining room, I needed to incorporate lighter colors to offset the dark room and dining room furniture. I purchased the perfect find, a light distressed wood cabinet at our local Castle Rock, amazing shop, The Barn! The color and texture are perfect for this room and functional, providing needed storage for some of my collectibles. See the difference? 

Decor pillows are a great way to introduce simple and low cost updates without breaking the bank. If you are not one who sews, Home Goods/TJ Max and Ross Stores almost always have a HUGE selection, organized by color. Other favorite stores for pillows and trending accessories are Pottery Barn and Pier 1 imports. If you live  near Castle Rock check out The Barn and The Emporium. Small changes can make for BIG results. POP that color!!

home spaces

Oil To Perfection!

A year ago, the credenza shown in the blog photo above looked tired with patches of scratches and a surface that was becoming dull and light in color. After trying a number of wood products, nothing appeared to work. At this point I decided to put a generous amount of olive oil on a clean cotton rag, and in a circular motion gently rubbed the oil over the top of the credenza. Like magic all the markings and dry patches disappeared and my credenza looked like new! Amazing, it has remained looking this way until I noticed a 2-inch scratch yesterday.

No longer do scratches and tired looking wood surfaces bother me. Why? Because, the olive oil trick works better than any solution I previously tried and so far, the solution has been permanent!

OLIVE OIL!! Pure OLIVE OIL! Wish I took a BEFORE photo of the scratch, but I didn’t. After applying olive oil, the above photo shows where the scratch simply disappeared.

Checking other areas of the credenza, noticed a few nicks. Applied the olive oil and the nicks DISAPPEARED as shown above, BEFORE and AFTER.

Love when simple home remedies work! If you have scratches on your wood furniture, try applying olive oil on a cotton rag, and gently apply in a circular motion. Once the scuffs and scratches disappear, run the oiled rag across the top of your wood surface. You will be amazed…oil to perfection!!

Food & Drink

Biscotti For All Seasons!

This week we received sad news. Steve, who inspired me to go into the biscotti business back in 2002 and partnered in the launch, passed away. At that time the business was poised to do well, however, getting the required venture capital funding did not happen and after one year the business came to a close. We had one impressive account, some fun times and a wild ride on the learning curve of being an entrepreneur, for sure!

As a tribute to Steve and in memory of those days, I’m sharing 4 biscotti recipes, the most popular from each seasonal group we sold at that time through Dean and DeLuca, an upscale grocery store in St. Helena, CA. The concept is American style biscotti, and therefore the cookies reflect the American palate of flavors.

For ALL – Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Fall – Gingerbread

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • ¼ stick of salted butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1-tablespoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon cloves
  • 1-teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1-teaspoon lemon flavoring
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups of All Purpose Flour plus a cup on the side
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder

Winter – Peppermint Chocolate Chip

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ stick of salted butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons of pure peppermint flavoring
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla flavoring
  • 1-cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups of All Purpose Flour plus a cup on the side
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda

Spring – Cherry Blossom

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ stick of salted butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoon pure vanilla flavoring
  • 1 ½ teaspoon orange Flavoring
  • ½ cup dried chopped Bing cherries
  • ½ cup whole almonds chopped
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups of All Purpose Flour plus a cup on the side
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder

Summer – Lemon Poppy Seed

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ stick of salted butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon flavoring
  • 2 teaspoons of poppy seed
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups of All Purpose Flour plus a cup on the side
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder

Apply to all the recipes

  • In a mixer, whisk sugar and butter.
  • Then add eggs one at a time, until each one is incorporated.
  • Add remaining ingredients.
  • The dough should be stiff but workable. Add more flour if needed.
  • Dust a board or counter surface with flour. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts.
  • Roll each one into a long log to fit your cookie sheet.
  • Spray the cookie sheet with Pam.
  • Place each log on the cookie sheet. 
  • Slightly press each log down the center so each log is about 2″ wide. 
  • Place in pre-heated oven. Cook for 20 minutes. Remove from oven.
  • Depending on your oven and where you live you might have to cook it less or more.
  • Reduce heat to 325 degrees.
  • Let cookies rest for 5 minutes.
  • Using a serrated knife, either cut straight, one inch wide, for bite size biscotti OR cut diagonally for a larger cookie.
  • Separate so there is breathing space between cookies. (I don’t lay the biscotti on their sides.)
  • Place back in the oven for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes
  • OPTION: Before the 2nd bake, you can brush lightly with milk and sprinkle granulated sugar. OR after the second bake, when the biscotti cools, drizzle with white or dark chocolate.

The biscotti are great to store in the freezer. They also make great gifts. Mygirlfriendshouse.com has the best cellophane self-sealing printed bags for all seasons that I use (flat, self-sealing, 6.25 x 12) and the bags are awesome for keeping the biscotti fresh and crisp!

Gluten-Free option – you can substitute APF with Pamela’s All Purpose Gluten-Free or Cup-4-Cup. I do find the consistency is not as good as the regular APF and haven’t yet found a solution.

Salute to you, Steve! Remembering your enthusiasm, laughter, and the quick OMG whisper when a famous person would come into the store!

Buon Appetito!!