Archive for August, 2012

August 12, 2012

#45) Learning from an idiot who just might be a genius

If you are reading this and know who Taylor Grey Meyer is, then by definition, she would have to be considered a genius, because just over a week ago, no one had any idea who she was.  If you haven’t heard of Taylor Grey Meyer, read further and decide for yourself.

Sometimes the line between idiocy and genius can be a blurry one, and the story of Taylor Meyer is an example.  After moving to San Diego with hopes of landing a job for the Padres baseball team, she met with one rejection after another.  Even her application for a minimum wage job selling tickets was dismissed with a form letter.

Then, she was presented with an “opportunity”, which basically entailed her spending $495 to go to a job fair at Petco Park.  Taylor Meyer declined, putting forth a different proposition:

“In the spirit of reciprocity, I would like to extend you a counter-offer to suck my dick.  Clearly I don’t have one of these, so my offer makes about as much sense as yours.”

In a week, the email has taken on a life of its own, circulating through offices across America.  I learned about it from an article by blogger Chris Brogan in which he asks, “Would you hire this person?”  Reaction to the email has ranged from the traditional “She’s burned her bridges” school of thought to many comments praising her willingness to shake things up and tell it like it is.

Perhaps Taylor Meyer speaks for many people who are either unemployed, under-employed or miserably employed.  Perhaps in Meyer, those higher up on the corporate ladder see someone who’s not afraid to take chances, who won’t overthink decisions and will lead companies in a bold new direction.  Just as Peter Gibbons, the character from the film “Office Space”, got a promotion by  bucking corporate convention, Taylor Meyer might find herself receiving opportunities that might not have come her way had she played it cool and kept her mouth shut.  The fact is, for better or worse, many more people know who Taylor Meyer is than a week ago.  Having been unemployed for close to a year, and having had to drop out of law school, Meyer undoubtedly felt that she had nothing to lose.

Of course, only time will tell if Meyer’s letter was a good move.  But if only one person answers “yes” to the rhetorical question Chris Brogan posed in his blog, then the letter will have done its job.  And even if no one hires her, that letter still just might be the work of a genius.


August 9, 2012

#44) TV Review: “Shipping Wars”

Can a show that has the word “wars” in its title actually bring something new to the table?  Believe it or not, A&E’s new reality show “Shipping Wars” actually does.

The easiest way to describe the show would be as a mix of “American Pickers” and “Storage Wars.”  It follows independent truckers who ship cargo that is considered too high-risk for larger shipping companies.   Items featured on the show include the last car that Elvis ever owned, a statue of Willie Mays making “The Catch” in the 1954 World Series, a food truck, two live rodeo bulls, and more.  At the beginning of each episode, the truckers bid on jobs, and the show follows them on their journeys from pickup to delivery.

There are several interesting elements to the show that keep it entertaining.  The truckers, of course, must “guesstimate” their expenses and consider the risks involved with each item when placing their bids.  Unexpected obstacles invariably come up, and they often have to improvise and incur additional expenses.  In some cases, they can offset their out-of-pocket costs by picking up extra cargo.

The show also keeps things interesting by following the truckers across the country, on hauls of all distances.  It takes on an “American Pickers” flavor as it travels America’s back roads, meeting all kinds of people and coming across all kinds of items.

If there’s any weak spot in the show, it’s the characters.  Many of their onscreen personas have obvious “Storage Wars” counterparts, and while it’s interesting to see how they solve the problems presented by the unpredictable nature of their job, the show would benefit from less trash-talking and more actual stories (only two jobs are followed in each episode).  Nonetheless, you find yourself rooting for them to drop off their cargo on time and in good condition.  You wince when they get pulled over or have a flat tire; you breathe a sigh of relief when a customer gives them good feedback and they turn a profit.

Will “Shipping Wars” last?  Will it stand out from all of its competitors?  Like the truckers it follows, it might not be perfect, but it gets the job done more often than not, and will likely have a good run for itself in a saturated market.

August 9, 2012

#43) Don’t remember, don’t forget

There’s a difference between remembering and not forgetting.

It occurred to me when I was listening to a sports talk show on the morning of the day back in June when the L.A. Kings won the Stanley Cup.  (Yeah, I know: way to keep current, D-Lock.  But hey, as we know from #36, procrastination is actually a form of productivity).  Quick background: After winning three consecutive playoff series as underdogs, the Kings won the first three games of the finals against the favored New Jersey Devils, putting them within one victory of an unlikely Stanley Cup championship.  But after losing games four and five, panic started to set in among L.A. sports fans.  The host urged Kings: “Don’t forget your Inner 8.”  Eight refers to the fact that the Kings were the eighth (and lowest) seeded team in their conference; they were the underdogs with nothing to lose.   Whether the Kings connected with their “inner 8” is anyone’s guess, but they won Game 6 and the Stanley Cup, so they must have done something right.

“Don’t forget what got you here.”  It’s advice that’s often given to athletes, movie stars, college graduates and many others.  How often do people forget their humble beginnings and let success go to their head, or simply take the good things in their life for granted?  While “remembering” can often involve reliving unpleasant episodes of the past, dwelling on negativity or perhaps pining for a time in one’s life that seemed better, “not forgetting” is a way of keeping oneself grounded, using the past solely as a tool for providing perspective on the present.

Four months into my marriage, I’ve done some remembering and I’ve done some not forgetting.  Yes, I’ve wrangled with the Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (I even followed one of them on Twitter for a while–don’t tell M.), and even the Ghost of Wife Past, but I’m only human.  It will happen from time to time.  But when it does, I turn the switch from Remembering to Not Forgetting.  My Inner 8 may have been a complete failure with women, but ultimately he became a success with the one who mattered.