Tag Archives: work

Toughest Decision I Have Ever Made

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I have been kicking around this earth for 42 1/2 years and during that time I have made my fair share of difficult decisions.  I am sure you have as well.  Facing difficult choices and having to choose one path or the other is a constant in life, especially once you leave adolescence and venture into full blow adulthood.

Typically the older you get, the tougher the decisions.  This is true for one simple truth: there is more to lose as you get older.  If you are married you have to consider your spouse.  If you have kids you have to consider them as well.  Even if you aren’t married and don’t have kids, decisions still get more difficult because the margin of error is reduced as we get older.  If you don’t believe me, tell me how you feel after a night of drinking in your 30’s compared to your 20’s (Just wait until you are in your 40’s!)

For those of you reading this who don’t know, I was laid off from my job in April 2016 and as of today I am still unemployed.  Well, I have a job but it is a contract job.  It has been a long and difficult journey with some ups but a much larger population of downs.  It has been trying on my wife and I and of course on our marriage (as most situations like this tend to be.)

A few weeks ago I was presented with this opportunity to accept a long term contract position with a company in Minnesota (we live in Tennessee.)  Being completely unable to find a job in Tennessee and with our money running out the job is a total blessing from God.  It will make it possible to make our mortgage payments every month and help out a bit with other bills.  We are grateful to God for the opportunity, even while we struggle to not understand why I can’t find something permanent to support my family.

My wife and I made the extremely difficult decision to take the job.  However, it means that I get to see my family two days every two weeks.  If the contract goes the full six or seven months without me finding a permanent gig, it is likely I will see my wife and daughter less than 20 days between now and the end of the year. TWENTY DAYS!

Tomorrow I am so excited to be going home so I can squeeze my little girl and kiss my wife.  Yet I know how quickly these two days will go by followed by another two weeks before I get to see them again.  It is rough.  I don’t like it and I really struggle with being away.  I need to be earning money for my family but at the same time I feel like I am completely abandoning them.  It is a strange dynamic in my my head.

Anyway, that is where we are at here in Tennessee.  Believing that God has our blessing around the next corner and that the corner is coming up quickly.  Stay tuned and if you are of the mind to send up a prayer for us we appreciate it.

See you on the flippity flop!

When Should You Say No To Your Boss (Courtesy of Travis Bradberry)

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Happy hump day people!  As the mornings continue to get cooler and cooler (even if the afternoons don’t) I am getting more and more excited for the fall season.  If you are a frequent reader of our blog than you know how important I believe work-life balance is not only to a healthy lifestyle but also to a successful marriage and family life. Thus, whether you are single or married balancing both is an important aspect that should be taken seriously.

I am a big fan of Travis Bradberry who has authored several books including Emotional Intelligence 2.0 This is a highly recommend read regardless of your career path, experience level or age. Whenever I see a new article he has written on LinkedIn I always make it a point to read it as soon as possible.  I have found his insights invaluable while I was debating my next career move.

Below is his most recent article on LinkedIn and since many of my readers have demanding jobs and in turn demanding bosses, I wanted to share this with you.  I have learned the hard way that balance is key and wished I had used some of this advice 12 months ago.  Enjoy!

The typical workday is long enough as it is, and technology is making it even longer. When you do finally get home from a full day at the office, your mobile phone rings off the hook, and emails drop into your inbox from people who expect immediate responses.

While most people claim to disconnect as soon as they get home, recent research says otherwise. A study conducted by the American Psychological Association found that more than 50% of us check work email before and after work hours, throughout the weekend, and even when we’re sick. Even worse, 44% of us check work email while on vacation.

A Northern Illinois University study that came out this summer shows just how bad this level of connection really is. The study found that the expectation that people need to respond to emails during off-work hours produces a prolonged stress response, which the researchers named telepressure. Telepressure ensures that you are never able to relax and truly disengage from work. This prolonged state of stress is terrible for your health. Besides increasing your risk of heart disease, depression, and obesity, stress decreases your cognitive performance.

We need to establish boundaries between our personal and professional lives. When we don’t, our work, our health, and our personal lives suffer.

Responding to emails during off-work hours isn’t the only area in which you need to set boundaries. You need to make the critical distinction between what belongs to your employer and what belongs to you and you only. The items that follow are yours. If you don’t set boundaries around them and learn to say no to your boss, you’re giving away something with immeasurable value.

Your health. It’s difficult to know when to set boundaries around your health at work because the decline is so gradual. Allowing stress to build up, losing sleep, and sitting all day without exercising all add up. Before you know it, you’re rubbing your aching back with one hand and your zombie-like eyes with the other, and you’re looking down at your newly-acquired belly. The key here is to not let things sneak up on you, and the way you do that is by keeping a consistent routine. Think about what you need to do to keep yourself healthy (taking walks during lunch, not working weekends, taking your vacations as scheduled, etc.), make a plan, and stick to it no matter what. If you don’t, you’re allowing your work to overstep its bounds.

maxresdefaultYour family. It’s easy to let your family suffer for your work. Many of us do this because we see our jobs as a means of maintaining our families. We have thoughts such as “I need to make more money so that my kids can go to college debt-free.” Though these thoughts are well-intentioned, they can burden your family with the biggest debt of all—a lack of quality time with you. When you’re on your deathbed, you won’t remember how much money you made for your spouse and kids. You’ll remember the memories you created with them.

Your sanity. While weCTivGgYUsAAz9lF all have our own levels of this to begin with, you don’t owe a shred of it to your employer. A job that takes even a small portion of your sanity is taking more than it’s entitled to. Your sanity is something that’s difficult for your boss to keep track of. You have to monitor it on your own and set good limits to keep yourself healthy. Often, it’s your life outside of work that keeps you sane. When you’ve already put in a good day’s (or week’s) work and your boss wants more, the most productive thing you can do is say no, then go and enjoy your friends and hobbies. This way, you return to work refreshed and de-stressed. You certainly can work extra hours if you want to, but it’s important to be able to say no to your boss when you need time away from work.

Your identity. While your work is an important part of your identity, it’s dangerous to allow your work to become your whole identity. You know you’ve allowed this to go too far when you reflect on what’s important to you and work is all that (or most of what) comes to mind. Having an identity outside of work is about more than just having fun. It also helps you relieve stress, grow as a person, and avoid burnout.

Your contacts. While you do owe your employer your best effort, you certainly don’t owe him or her the contacts you’ve developed over the course of your career. Your contacts are a product of your hard work and effort, and while you might share them with your company, they belong to you.

Your integrity. Sacrificing your integrity causes you to experience massive amounts of stress. Once you realize that your actions and beliefs are no longer in alignment, it’s time to make it clear to your employer that you’re not willing to do things his or her way. If that’s a problem for your boss, it might be time to part ways.

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Bringing It All Together

Success and fulfillment often depend upon your ability to set good boundaries. Once you can do this, everything else just falls into place.

What do you do to set boundaries around your work? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

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Thinking Outside the Box – 7 Steps to Landing Your Dream Job

I have to be honest for all the books and articles I have read, all the networking I have done and education I have gained, I often feel like I have stumbled (almost blindly) into the career that I have.  Is it my dream job?  No, I simply don’t have the skill set to be a professional baseball player (plus I am too old now anyway.)  I still hold out hope I might be a general manager of a baseball team one day or at the very least might become an executive for a major sports franchise.   Which is why the article below that I found in Forbes was very interesting to me and I hope it will be for you as well.

Don’t get me wrong I enjoy what I do for work.  However, it certainly wouldn’t have been my first choice.  I still haven’t given up on my dream of being involved in sports with my career but I just know that right now is not that time.  Maybe one day soon.

For those of you who may be frustrated with your career or are looking to start your first career I hope what follows is helpful.  I don’t necessarily agree on all the points below but overall it is solid advice that many people don’t necessarily think of when trying to land that dream job.

1. Apply for jobs that are never listed…by connecting with extraordinary people from all walks of life.

It’s unlikely your dream job will include Eva Mendes as your personal secretary but I won’t judge you for dreaming. Go ahead, be free brother!

Most of the really great jobs are filled before companies even think to post them on Craigslist or other job sites. Overall, the interviewing process is tedious and if 50 people interview, 49 are going to be deflated and only one elated. How many times have we interviewed for a job we knew was not right for us and yet we were still devastated when we weren’t called back for the next round? It’s like a beauty pageant gone terribly wrong.

Become friends with people who work in companies you’re interested in. Enjoy learning about them and supporting them. Don’t be surprised when they call you up and ask you to join them when a new position opens up or refer you to an open position at another great company. Networking opens new doors all the time.

2. Skills always win…yes, even over likability, charisma, and charm.

Develop mastery in your chosen profession so you will continue to create job opportunities throughout your entire life. Companies will always need people who can deliver strong results. Great companies hire good people who are willing to learn and who are not afraid to educate themselves. There is a wealth of learning available to you – on and off the Internet.

3. Don’t rely on your résumé…too much.

resume-relevancyA résumé is a good first step to get your foot in the door and describe what you’ve accomplished in your career. But showing is better than telling. Create a portfolio that represents who you are and what you stand for, which you can add to LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Those are the places where hiring professionals will go to check you out, anyway.

4. Don’t focus primarily on money…if you’re really good, it will find you.

Discover the work that calls out to you and start doing it. If you’re just in “the game of work” for the money, title, and illusion of power, you’ll never feel completely satisfied or fulfilled.

insatiably-greedy-jewryHere’s a great example of someone who keeps money in a healthy perspective: We know a young man who loved building websites. He loved it so much he quit school and built them from dawn until late in the evening just about every day. Each project led to another. He had so much work that he started hiring “helpers.” Today, he operates a successful Web development firm and he still builds websites. He hired “a suit,” as he calls her, to take care of the “biz” so he can continue to do what he was born to do.

5. Don’t quit your day job…while you are working on discovering what you want to do.

Your time before and after you go to work belongs to you.  A company does not own you; just the time you put into it. Having more than one job for short periods of time, contrary to popular belief, won’t burn you out. Worry, stress, and lethargy take a bigger toll in the long run.

1078872_44288931Also, if you have a day job you don’t have to worry about failing or going hungry since you have a steady stream of money coming in. Eventually, you may need to take the next step and leave your old job behind in favor of your new one. But until then it’s nice to have a safety net. Be grateful for that net and don’t shortchange it.

6. Demonstrate genuine gratitude in your current position…no matter where you are working.

Gratitude is an excellent trait to master. Most people enjoy working with grateful, humble, genuine people who give their all. Do the absolute best you can and if you’ve been slacking a bit, go the extra mile to build better habits before seeking that dream job.

Keep in mind that happiness generally has little to do with a job. Happiness is a choice. Neither your boss nor your company can make you happy. One of the happiest people I know works at a grocery store. She brings joy with her to the job. She always has something kind to say to everyone waiting in line to check out.

7. Get off social media and back in the game of work…because social media is a tool, not a job.

“You will never do anything in this world without COURAGE. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.” ~ Aristotle.

Once you upload your credentials, get back out into the real world. Limit your time on social media to a few minutes a day at specified times, such as before going to work, during your lunch break, or at home in the evening. Social media isn’t a job, it’s a tool. A contractor doesn’t live for his hammer. He or she puts it to work building things.

We can use technology to remotely learn about companies and jobs. Our question…could we be doing more? Is it time to create a new way to find the right job and build a meaningful career? “Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations,” said Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African American female astronaut.

If you love writing – write.

If you love designing beautiful spaces – design away.

If you want to build a software app – go ahead!

23705_XXX_v1-w2000The choice is ultimately yours. Don’t waste your time, regardless of where you are working. Focus it and manage it wisely because it’s more important than money. It’s one thing you can never get back, replace, or buy more of.

Pause for a moment and take a long look at your hands. What is the work they are meant to do? Part of the joy of living is finding that out. Enjoy the journey and keep us posted.

Do you have other thoughts in landing that dream job?  Go ahead and share then in the comments or tweet at us @BetterMenNow

Until tomorrow, make it a better day!

Andrew

Having a Good Long Game – How to Make Difficult Choices

Over the last four or five months my wife and I had been faced with a very difficult decision.  Back in April, someone at my firm reached out to me and asked if I would be willing to transfer to our St. Louis, Missouri office to head up our Credits and Incentives practice.  While it was (or is) a great professional opportunity I can’t claim it was my life long dream to live in Missouri.

My wife and I had discussed possibly moving out of New York City in 4 -5 years but suddenly we had this really great opportunity presented to us out of the blue.  However, it would mean moving away  from New York City, the city I love and am passionate about.  It would mean my wife moving a LONG way from her family (who of course blame me for the move, despite my wife being more excited about it than me.  No racist undertones there.) We would be moving to a state where we knew virtually no one and where neither of us had family or connections.  It would mean having to find a new church home, making a whole new group of friends (which if you have tried this after college is a lot harder than it should be) and it would also mean having to own a car and drive everywhere.  Truth be told the move would mean a lot of things would be very different for us. Some of those would be very positive and others not as much.

I don’t want to bore you with all the details.  I will just say that I really struggled with the decision.  Spent a lot of time talking to people at work, friends, family and other assorted people whose opinions I respect.  I prayed about, thought about it and dreamed about it even.  Some days I was convinced we weren’t going to go.  Other times I was convinced we were.  There were even some days when I went back and fourth all day long about what we would or wouldn’t be doing.

Ultimately, we decided to accept the job offer and have started to plan our move to St. Louis in November (to any of my friends who just found out from reading this blog please accept my apologies.)  I learned a few things when it comes to making a decision like this and I thought I would share in hopes it might help you in the future.

Please understand that I don’t take what follows lightly.  Making the decision to move to St. Louis was one of the most difficult choices I have ever had to make.  There is so much more at stake when you are married and expecting a child.  At times I felt that our whole family was on the line based on my decision.  This wasn’t true of course but it sure felt that way at times.  Thankfully my wife fully supported which ever decision I (or we) made; yet sometimes I wished she wasn’t so supportive so I could blame her for my decision one way or the other.  In my mind it would go something like this “Hi boss, yes I was really excited about the business opportunity but in the end my wife hated St. Louis…doesn’t want to leave her family…can’t imagine not having a Zara, BCBG or other high end fashion store close by, so I am going to have to pass and stay in New York.”  Take all the onus off me and place it on the shoulders of my poor wife (yea not a good idea.)

Here are three of the most important things I learned in the process.

1. The Importance of A Long Game

Yes you are correct. She isn’t wearing proper golf shoes.

I am an only child.  As such, you can say that growing up I was a bit spoiled when it came to certain things.  My parents didn’t have a lot of money but always tried to give me whatever I wanted.  Sometimes I was more successful than others (still waiting for that awesome electronic race track I asked for 8 years in a row.)  Despite my father’s best attempts I always struggled with choosing long term benefit over short term gain.  This is one of the reasons it has taken me a long time to learn to be disciplined with my money and something I continue to struggle with from time to time.  I was just one of many who learned the hard way in college about credit cards etc.

I share that because sometimes I can be very short sighted when it comes to decision making.  If there isn’t a huge benefit now I don’t want to take the opportunity regardless of the long term benefits.  This is especially true if in the short term it might require extra discipline or pain to get to the long term benefits.

I share this because I wasn’t terribly impressed with the salary offer.  While many of you would probably not understand that if I went into specifics you just need to trust me.  True we would be going from a high cost of living state to a low cost of living state, but I would also be losing my wife’s salary in the process and she makes pretty good money here in NYC.  There were additional costs associated with St. Louis that we don’t have in New York so the gap was shrinking quickly when it came to “all this money” we would supposedly have in St. Louis.

However, in one of the rare moments of my lifetime I realized the long term benefits beat out the short term obstacles or level of discomfort we might have the first few years.  If I do well in my new role (which I believe I will) I have confidence that over the long term I will be rewarded financially and otherwise.  I likely can make more now in the Midwest than I would in the NE over the long haul.  In addition, a chance like this might not be around in 4 -5 years.  When you ask to be transferred you lose all negotiating leverage.  We also will be able to afford a real grown up home much sooner in St. Louis than we ever could have in New York City.

So to belabor the point a little more, I learned that for the sake of my family long term growth was always more favorable to short term growth or accomplishments.  Sometimes answering the knock on the door isn’t as attractive as you want it to be so you have to see the potential in the opportunity rather than what it looks like today.

2. Take Yourself Out of the Equation

At some point I quit talking to my friends about the opportunity and tried to see it from an outside perspective.  If one of my friends told me they had this opportunity what would I tell them? One of the first things I thought was I would tell them not to make the decision based on selfish motivations.  Once you are married and especially with a child on the way you can no longer afford to be selfish; especially when it comes to such a significant opportunity.

I had plenty of reasons to be selfish about my decision to stay in New York City.  Unlike many people I didn’t move here to “make it”, to star in a movie or Broadway show nor did I relocate here to make an obscene amount of money.  My sole motivation was because I loved it here and wanted to live here.  Even before I moved here I realized it probably wouldn’t be forever but I wanted to make it last as long as I could.  Thus, the idea of moving to St. Louis for work related reasons was not all that thrilling for me.  I won’t go into all the reasons why I love New York but it has and will continue to be hard to let it go.  People keep saying “you can always come back and visit.”  I don’t want to.  The joy of living here is living here, not visiting.  I don’t want to have to turn in my NY card.  Coming back here as a tourist disgusts me.

There were also some professionally selfish reasons for staying.  I have a great team here and have been very successful in my practice.  The people who work for me are responsive, highly competent individuals who work hard and bust their asses to make sure things get done the right way.  I work for an amazing boss who despite my stubbornness, has managed to get the most out of my talent and gifts.  I am not entirely confident that will continue in St. Louis.  Besides, I am very comfortable here with my team and will miss working with most of them (the one douche-bag Cardinal fan to be excluded of course.)

However, when I stepped into another pair of shoes I quickly realized that most, if not all, of those reasons were all about me and not about the betterment of my family.  Looking at it objectively there were so many better reasons to make the move and most of them had nothing to do with me.  It can be difficult to remove yourself and your own motivations from a decision like this.  However, when it comes to a major decision, observing the situation objectively, is key to getting the full picture.

3. Sometimes Risk Taking is Required

One of the most common themes throughout the whole process was that moving to St. Louis involved a certain amount of risk on both our parts.  For the most part I have already laid out what those risks are.

As a single man I was always more than willing to take a risk and see what would happen.  Yet when you get married there is almost a natural transformation that takes place and you start to become more risk-adverse.  It is rather strange.

What I came to realize is that we, as a family, were uniquely positioned to be able to absorb this risk rather easily.  Because we do not have any connections or family in St. Louis, if things don’t work out, we won’t feel any family pressure to stay in St. Louis.  Or child likely will still be too young to have formed serious attachments to whatever friends she has there.  We also wouldn’t need to pull her out of school since that is still more than 5 years away.  With all my experience in New York I already know if I needed to find a job I could probably get one quickly somewhere in the Northeast if we needed to move back.  In addition, we are a medium length drive to my parents in Minnesota so we could always head up there if things got dicey for us.

Sometimes you just have to take a risk.  This is especially true when there is so much upside to the opportunity.  If you are married you shouldn’t take that risk without discussing it with your significant other of course.  Go for it!  Chase after your dream.  Step out of the boat.  Jump off the cliff.

Live should be an adventure and I think too often as adults we purposely make our lives less interesting than we would like.

What things would you consider if you had a similar opportunity to move?  What would hold you back?  What would propel you forward?  Think about these things now and it will better prepare to you recognize and seize opportunities when they come your way.

 

 

5 Tips for Surviving the Holidays – Ron Burgundy Style

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Hello Everyone!

In honor of the new Ron Burgundy movie coming out this week (don’t worry I haven’t seen it so there are no spoilers here) I thought I would use images and humor from the original movie to discuss surviving your Christmas/New Years/Holiday weeks!  Even Brick knows you can’t go into the holidays without a solid plan for making it out alive.  If you have to kill someone with a trident or set a man on fire to survive, it is all fair game during the holiday season.

Stay with me and I will help guide you to safety my friends and hopefully offer a little humor along the way!

1. Don’t Eat an Entire Wheel of Cheese

Okay so I am going to be a major buzz kill right off the bat.  The temptation around Christmas is to just stuff our pie holes until we 091307_anchormancan’t move, always with the promise of a new year and a “new you” starting in January.  I get it.  It is very tempting to do so.  However, many of us who engage in such a strategy will find ourselves feeling lazy, lethargic, possibly ill and of course always on the edge between a sugar rush and the inevitable crash that follows.

I know suggesting you eat healthy over the holidays is likely going to cost me in the popularity column but I can tell you from experience, when I have made an effort to eat better over Christmas (and other holidays like Thanksgiving) it has made it easier to deal with my family. (Note: I didn’t say easy, I said easier.)  Perhaps you are one of those rare people who can eat like it is the end of days and not feel bad afterwards.  Congratulations, we all hate you.  However, if you are like most men, you eat a ton of food and then all you can accomplish is taking a nap and spending copious amounts of time on the porcelain throne.  While the latter is a good excuse to get away from people for a solitary 15 to 30 minute stretch you aren’t going to earn any brownie points (no pun intended) and your family isn’t going to appreciate the aftermath should someone need the bathroom within an hour of your departure.

If you eat better you won’t feel as bad and that will make the rest of the holiday stress easier to fight through.

2. I’m Kind of a Big Deal

funny-ron-burgundy-quotesThis is one of the best times of the year to spend a little time volunteering.  There is no shortage of the different organizations that are looking for a set of extra hands to help them.  I could spend a lot of time listing all the places you can volunteer but it all varies depending on where you live.  However, places like food shelves, soup kitchens, nursing homes, animal rescue shelters, homeless shelters, Salvation Army or Big Brothers/Big Sisters, would be a good starting place.

So why would you spend your holidays volunteering?  First, you will feel good about yourself.  It is impossible to be selfish when you volunteer to help other people.  It is the nature of volunteering.  Unless you are the worst douche bag to walk the Lpplanet you can’t help but feel good when you volunteer.  You will have accomplished something good for society and it will help your ego to not be focused on yourself for a few hours over the holiday.  Second, it is a good excuse to get out of family obligations (if you are into that sort of thing.)  How can someone get mad that you are leaving early to help out at a soup kitchen?  They can’t!  You just have to hope the family doesn’t want to go with you.  Third, and perhaps most importantly, hot women everywhere love a man who volunteers.  Heck you might even get lucky and find some smoking hot mama is also spending her holiday volunteering!  Better yet you have that experience of volunteering at the dog rescue shelter to use anytime you are out with your wingmen trying to score that pretty brunette at the end of the bar (rather than lying about your volunteering.)

3. Take the Opportunity to Cash In

If you work a job that pays you a salary, chances are you don’t have any opportunities to work overtime to earn extra cash.  If that is you than please disregard my suggestion to work more over the holidays.  If you read my blog you know I am not a supporter of working excessive hours and even more so during the holidays when there is no added benefit for your, your family or your wallet.

However, if you are in the group that gets paid hourly or receives a salary but can still earn additional overtime, now might be the best time to consider picking up some extra hours or shifts.  I think family should always be a priority and don’t recommend you pick up hours on days you should be with family.  However, the holidays normally provide an opportunity to fill in for other co-workers who are out-of-town visiting family etc.  Sometimes you can earn up to triple time when working around the year-end holidays.  It is a great way to help pay off those Christmas gifts or to stash away extra money to take a swanky vacation or impress your lady friends with a night out.

This may not be the most festive decision you could make, but down the road, in a month or two when you’ve got extra cash to burn, it might look like a really good use of your time.

4. I believe It’s Called “Yogging”

Can you say TV marathon?  Just one of the many reasons this is such a great time of year!anchorman-the-legend-of-ron-burgundy-the-rich-mahogany-edition-20100827043040331

I have a confession: I have never, ever seen “Miracle on 34th Street.” I also do not plan on ever seeing that movie.  The few times I have tried to watch it I get bored quickly.  I have given up on every understanding the romance behind that movie.

Christmas time is now filled with stations lining up the entire Die Hard franchise for an all-day, all-you-can-view Bruce Willis fest.  Or investing an entire day watching the Godfather trilogy.

My family loved watching “The Christmas Story” when it was released in 1983 and ever since TNT and TBS now run the “24-Hour Christmas Story Marathon” it has become a family tradition every year.  I tune in at least once to watch the whole thing start to finish but then often flip back to it during the rest of the holiday to see Scott Farkus or Ralphie in his pink bunny outfit and especially the “Fa-ra-ra-ra-ra” piece at the end.  It just makes me happy.

Then you add watching “Christmas Vacation” and some college football games and I am telling you there is virtually no reason to even have to talk to your screwy uncle Frank!  Why would you create small talk with your crazy cousin Cathy when Scarface is on television?  Turn on the TV and veg out man, it is your right as an American!  If you don’t like any of those movies I know that Office Space is showing and The Walking Dead is doing at least a partial marathon.  If AMC is doing any kind of Breaking Bad marathon I might not even eat while I am home in Minnesota!  It is just a beautiful thing. 

So when things get to be overwhelming for you, just reach for the remote and pretend you are listening to everything people are saying.  Take a cue from Phil Robertson and say “Yea I remember that” even if you aren’t listening.  It will fit into 80% of the conversations.

5. 60% of the Time it Works Every Time

I understand we all have different family dynamics, duties and responsibilities.  However, I really believe that people shouldn’t make it a point to run around to 3 – 4 (or more!) family events especially over the Christmas holiday.  I cannot even begin to imagine how difficult this is if you have a child, let alone two or more.  I understand that families can put a lot of pressure on people to show up at least for a brief appearance but at some point you have to balance your own sanity against their demands.

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If you are married, you and your wife should agree that for Christmas you won’t have to attend more than two events during the three or four-day stretch around Christmas.  One of the things you are supposed to be doing during the holidays is relaxing.  No one is relaxed driving around in traffic trying to make it to 6 different parties in three days.  Will people be disappointed?  Yes, but such is life.  The earliest lesson in life is learning to deal with disappointment.  They are family and they will forgive you.

If people don’t understand your need to relax during the holidays, it doesn’t mean you have to compromise your own standards or holiday traditions.  They are probably just jealous they aren’t relaxing and will only feel better by sharing their own misery.  You work too damn hard not to get some time to yourself.  Time with family is great and you should enjoy it but not at the cost of your mental wellbeing.

Quick note: over the next week I am not sure how much I will be posting to the blog as I am trying to follow some of my own advice listed above.  This weekend I am hoping to write a view small pieces that I can post during Christmas week.  If not I will be back in full force during the week of December 30th.  In the meantime I wish you all peace, joy and love this holiday season and hope you have an insanely hot woman to keep you company this Christmas!  If not, be sure to add tell Santa!

Until then make it a better day!

Andrew

@ACSloss

@BetterMenNow