Landing in Chicago at 7:00 Monday morning on the red-eye from Las Vegas sounded like the worst idea in the world. Tack on a 90-minute rush hour taxi communte from O’Hare to the Hard Rock Hotel in downtown Chicago and one may think I was intentionally torturing myself. Fast forward to Monday afternoon and my travel nightmare seemed like a distant memory thanks to the buzz surrounding the Original Gourmet booth at McCormick Place for the NCA Sweets and Snacks Expo.
Guests posed for pictures with the Lollipop Queen. The OGFC team redefined perceptions of the lollipop category for thousands of visitors that stopped by booth #571. Guests left with an understanding why Original Gourmet Lollipops truly are the “World’s Best Lollipops”!
Original Gourmet Food Co. booth at NCA Sweets and Snacks Expo
Stop creating elaborate explanations stuffed with an exorbitant amount of industry jargon in a pathetic attempt to make your position and responsibilities appear on par with that of a Fortune 500 CEO. Get over yourself. Nobody is buying your line of B.S. for the same reason resumes and references are becoming a thing of the past — talk is cheap and people want to see action.
I recently presented at “Career Day” for a 1st grade class. After 10 years working in sales and marketing, it was a relief to speak with an authentic, captive audience. First grade students do not sugar-coat their responses, which makes for an interesting Q&A. The candid feedback I received from the class was a refreshing reminder to focus on the basics and K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple, Stupid. The students didn’t care about fancy job titles or industry vocabulary. What do you do? Do you like your job? Do you get along with the people you work with?
Stop creating false impressions with everyone you meet. Go back to the basics. Ask yourself: would my explanation make sense to a first grade student? If not, simplify even more. You’ll have an opportunity to impress after you win them over with your humble personality and no-nonsense approach.
A First Grade Student’s Response To:
“What Do You Do For Work?”
You can blame the schools. Plenty of people blame social inequalities. When in doubt, blame Congress and the President! Each day it is impossible to avoid countless interactions ranging from “it’s not fair”, to “that’s not right”, and “we need to talk to someone about this!”
NEWSFLASH: IT WILL NEVER BE FAIR!
A 2012 article published by the Huffington Post went viral after it begged the question “Are We Raising a Generation of Helpless Kids?” The buzz that followed was only because the author, Mickey Goodman, told the truth! People hate hearing the truth and it’s never comfortable being on the receiving end of a harsh reality check.
This could not be more evident in tweets and posts by Notre Dame fans following their demoralizing defeat in the NCAA BCS championship game last night. Over the holidays a family-friend told me that he only wants Notre Dame to lose so it will diminish some egos — particularly the heir of superiority and elitist mentality he sensed while in the company of Notre Dame alumni and loyal fans. Nonetheless, even after Alabama crushed Notre Dame in every facet of the game, those egos are more present than ever as loyal Fighting Irish blame referees, time between games, and even the University of Alabama being a public institution as a competitive advantage. A complete ass-whooping cannot subdue the monsters our society created.
However, the shortcomings and character flaws that symbolize a generation make it incredibly easy for you to gain recognition. Highlight your character and brand identity by acknowledging your weaknesses. Exposing some vulnerabilities demonstrates an authenticity that is rarely seen in today’s society and creates a captive audience you can easily win-over when the time comes to demonstrate your expertise or make a point.
Opportunities are everywhere. Ambition is maintained by focusing goals that represent personal accomplishments, not a standard set by society. Remember, the bar is set low — i.e. “everyone gets a trophy”. Is that your standard? Or, will you hold yourself to a higher standard? Separating yourself from the “Entitled Generation” requires understanding the pitfalls, developing a keen sense of reality, and a willingness to live by a different standard.
If you need a reality check, watch David McCullough’s commencement address to the graduating seniors of Wellesley High School. Wellesley is one of the wealthiest towns in Massachusetts and ranks among the top school districts in both the state and the country. In case my message wasn’t clear: “You’re are not special.” But, you are unique. You just need to show people and create that captive audience!