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Truth in Business

Posted On: 2005-12-28
Length: 28:00

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Rise and Shine 20-somethings. It's time for the 20-Something Marketing Forum with your host, Jared Degnan.

Greetings and salutations marketing fans. You are listening to the 20-Something Marketing Forum, an informative, engaging look at the marketing, and of course the lives of 20-something professionals, dealing with the realities, and of course the drama of the modern workplace. My name is Jared Degnan, welcome to the show. And, let me just start by saying thank you so much for listening.

Oh! I am going to be changing a little bit of the show. I kind of took a look at episode #18, and though I really did like the content, I feel as if I can be a lot more succinct, a lot more interesting, and so we're going to try a couple of new different things. And one of it's just becoming a little more conversational in tone, so you guys will have to tell me how you like the new show format. But, other than that, let's just kind of get on with it, shall we? And of course it is another beautiful, gorgeous day here in the District of Columbia where I am broadcasting from. And a lot of interesting things going on in my life. I'm actually sitting here with a cup of coffee and John Berendt's new novel, "The City of Fallen Angels." Or, I guess it's not really new, but I guess it's one of his newer novels. And it's really a fantastic book if you guys get a chance to read it. It's all about Venice and the burning of the Fenice, of course the classis opera house. Kind of mulling over what the hell I'm going to do today. I've got a ton of holiday parties going on, including one that I had last night which really wasn't a holiday party as much as it was kind of a celebration of my business fraternity.

Now for those of you out there in podcast land who are actually members of business fraternities, and if any of you are a member of Delta Sigma Phi, then congratulations. I'm actually, I actually helped found the chapter of Delta Sigma Phi at my university, GW, here in DC, and I went to their newest initiation ceremony last night, and of course went to the party. It was kind of scary for me, it was kind of scary and cool, because, number one, like, it's cool to look back on something you did like that. I mean we founded the chapter, what was it, six years ago, and it's kind of flourished since then, so it's kind of like you sit on the edge of the dance floor, you see the chapter that's now holding steady at a good 65 people, which means that they're not only bringing new people in, but like the new guys are stepping out and new people are stepping into their place, which is really kind of an exciting, exciting element when you kind of build an organization from scratch. But also just because some of the new folks that are in there are really, really young, and I was kind of like all decked out in my best. I went in my suit, cool like Sicily tie and everything. So, some of these girls are just really, really young, and they're all like freaking on me on the dance floor. I'm like, some of them I'm just like, you know sweetie, I'm gay. You're really cute and everything, but yeah, no chance in hell. And I don't know if any of them are actually listening, but yeah, it's always interesting when you're in those situations, you realize that, oh my god, I am so bloody old! Granted I'm only 25, but who knows?

Anyway, other cool things that are going on in my life. I actually got my first ad campaign out the door this week. Thank you very much! Oh! One of the fun things about doing ads is that you're constantly modifying the ad copy. You're never quite, like, ready to send it out into the world. It's only very, very small ad copy. Maybe it's only a sentence or two at very, very max. But you constantly want to edit it and like everyone has a say in it. So, oh getting that out the door was a very, very very good thing. And of course, like this in the mix of everything else that's going on for the holiday season. I'm also planning my office's holiday party which is just absolutely hilarious given the fact that like, my original line of work was marketing and hospitality management, so like I'm not just going to do one holiday party for my office, I'm going to do an entire week long celebration. So I've got movies lined up, I've got games lined up. My office is just going to go absolutely nuts, but like, that's another thing that's of course on my plate, that just, I really don't have time for. Oh! And speaking of actually time commitments, that's actually one of the things that's driving the show changes today. Not only because I want to be a little more conversational with you guys, but also like, I want to change up the features a little bit to make them a little bit more worthwhile. And also I wanted to give you guys a chance chime in, and you're going to find that a little bit later on in the show, so we'll see how that works out. But I definitely want you guys to take a look at this show today. See how much you like it. If there's features that you want to see, features that you don't want to see. Actually had a great email from a guy out in the UK who apparently works for Team Mobile and apparently the entire like, 20-person marketing team now listens to me, which is kind of scary, but I mean, you know what folks, if you want to hear more about the lives of 20-something professionals and the lives of office mates, I'm going to do that.

Oh. Ok. So the topic for today is going to be, kind of changes, and not changes in the traditional sense, but what compels you change. And sometimes you really do have to in your life, in your situations, in my ad concepts, you have to do a gut check. You have to pull up and say, where do I need to make the tough decisions. So, like, it's like you can always be really, really comfortable in your situation. And we don't want to make certain decisions because it's going to upset that situation. So, we're going to kind of take a look at that in terms of the tough decisions that need to be made in everyday life. And with that, I would like to present the 20-Something Marketing Forum episode #19 for your approval, "The Secret of Reality-Part 2-Tough Decisions."

All right. So let's talk a little bit about the imperative for today's show. And this is kind of the way that I frame discussion so that we know we're going to do later on in the show. So, decisions that are tough are the ones that are made sometimes if you're too close to the situation to realize they need to be made. And we're not just talking about the small things that are difficult to decide. We're talking the things that you don't either know or want to ask the question about. So when I say tough decisions, I'm talking about, like, number one, decisions and choices that we don't know that we need to make, but we need to make them for our own good. And I'll frame this in the discussion of kind of, if you're in a job that you currently don't like, you're kind of just limping along, and you don't really realize that it's a bad situation and that it's damaging you both like professionally and emotionally and intellectually sometimes. That decision to leave the job needs to be made right then and there. Another example is tough decisions that we make because we don't, or tough decisions that we need to make because we don't want to know the outcome, because we're afraid it's going to disturb the status quo. And that's kind of almost like pointing something out if you're in a situation that you don't like in your job. For instance, you're on a project team and you've got someone who's kind of like limping along, and you realize they're detrimental to the team, but you're like, you don't want to raise your voice, you don't want to make that tough decision to like get them off the team. You don't want to know the outcome of it. And you believe it's going to disturb the status quo. And the third example is, kind of more interesting, a little more comical situation. It's decisions that we don't want to make because we already know the outcome. We don't want to ask the questions to it. And these are all three examples of ways in which we have to kind of ferret out the need to make that decision and the need to bring that tough decision up to the surface. So, I mean, framing out the discussion for today, let's talk about that in a professional setting.

When you make tough decisions, there are many different situations professionally when you have to do that, not only in personnel, like HR perspective, but also like in product management marketing. For instance, divesting a product. A couple months ago Apple debuted the brand new Nano, which I actually just got one, and it's pretty kind of cool, but whatever. The idea here is that Steve Jobs had to make a strategic decision based on that product. He took a look at the Mini, which at the time was its best selling product, and said, we are going to replace it with the Nano. Now, granted, the Mini was a cash cow for Apple. And they needed to make a decision, ok are we going to keep both the Mini and the Nano, or are we just going to replace the Nano altogether, and you know exactly what they did. They replaced the Nano into the slot where the Mini once was. Now, making critical strategic decisions like that is kind of like that old adage of a butterfly flapping its wings. When you make a decision, it's going to affect a whole bunch of other things. And the main difficulty in making decisions, at least in professional setting, is that you can't help but get personal in this day and age. The fact of the matter is, the closer you are to the situation, the more difficult it becomes to make the choices that are going to affect, not only your well being, but the people around you. And I guess that's kind of why the world invented consultants in this day and age. Because sometimes they're the ones to make the tough decisions. They're the ones to make the recommendations. I mean, we may, we joke around about kind of consultants, if you can't be part of the solution, there's good money to be made in prolonging the problem. The idea here is that we're, it's kind of in the box thinking. We are so myopic sometimes in our own situations that we don't know when we need to make those decision.

So based on that, just knowing that personal connections are going to screw things up in a lot of different respects. Not only professionally, but personally. And what a better example of that than in relationships. I mean we talked a lot about that last week in the dating connection. But let's just take an example of a relationship for instance. I mean, I was in oh, I don't think it was a relationship, it was kind of like one of those casual things, where the guy and I were just kind of going out and we were having a good time, we were playing around, and I kind of knew in the back of my mind that it wasn't a good situation for me, at least. I was kind of, you know what, I can do the physical part of it, but they guy just didn't want to do the emotional part of it, and that should have been kind of a big red flag to me, but when it comes to personal connections, we want to maintain the status quo if it does suit us. So I didn't want to say, well ok, I'm just going to leave this guy in the roadside because I wanted to stay in that relationship, frankly. I mean I liked it. And knowing that I'd be happier on the other side, I didn't want to incur that short term pain for the long term gain. And my god I'm starting to sound like Tony Robbins right now, which is really starting to scare me. But the idea here is that sometimes we just don't want to see what happens because it might damage the status quo and sever that connection personally. And I mean, look at the bad choices that we make in relationships. We stay in relationships. We settle for less than what we want, less than what we deserve, and I mean, there are legions of guys that any of us, or legions of girls, relationships that we've got involved with in one point of time or another, where we've had to face the tough decision. The idea where, you know what, you have to decide either you're going to be selfish and make the decision that benefits you, or you're going to kind of more care for the connection itself, and just kind of only limp along. And it's one of those things where it's almost like having a pair of pants that's not quite hemmed right. We know that we could take the time to go to the tailor to get it cleaned, and to get it straightened out to get it tailored correctly, but that's just going to take time and effort, and sometimes we don't know how to make them, we don't want to make the tough decision.

And at first it seems that making that decision or staying in the situation might seem selfish, but the question is, what's going to be more selfish, the fact that we don't want to face the music, or the fact that we want to preserve the status quo? I don't know. It's something to think about in that day and age. So here's the imperative for today. As we become more personally connected in our professional lives, we have to learn to make those tough decisions. I mean in creative aspect, I mentioned to you the ad campaign earlier in the show. At some point in time I just had to say, you know what, let it go. It's as good as it's going to be. I can't mull it over any more. Career-wise, if you're in a bad situation, if you need to make the jump to a new job, you have to make that tough decision. And also like small things. Small things that like, little intermediate things, the direction of a project, for gosh sakes. These are the things that need to be decided upon now so you can just continue to go forward in what's best for us. So the rest of the show I want to talk about when we need to make these types of decisions, and how best to make them.

You're listening to the 20-Something Marketing Forum.

So, it's kind of ironic that we're talking about tough decisions today, given the fact that my office, and many others like it around the country are on a slow coast to Christmas this year. And I don't know about you guys, but this year is actually a lot different than last year just because last year I was in a very sales-oriented culture, and this year I'm basically in a marketing-oriented culture. So essentially everything's already completed by now. Whereas back in sales we had shit loads and shit loads and shit loads to sell, which was not really fun, because then we inundated ourselves with lots of alcohol and then woke up the next morning and made sales calls. Anyway, but it, the reason why I mention this is because it's not all bad. I'm actually coordinating the holiday festivities for my office place today, and that's actually very ironic because I am the token Jew. And the only thing that I can possibly say about being a token Jew is that I have to have my good friend, one of my very best friends from Atlanta on, Kara, who's going to help discuss with me why the fuck Jews hate Christmas. Welcome Kara.

Thanks, Jared for inviting me on the show. And yes, I too is a token Jew.

Yeah. Actually it's hilarious really because, if you start looking at some of the things that are going around on DC, even the Washington scandals are Christmassy now. In fact the Christmas card scandal now, with the White House. Apparently the Bush administration only put happy holidays on their cards, so the right wing is now complaining that it's too secular. Which is kind of a pain in the ass. And also they have the very Beasley Christmas, which is the you know, Barney, the little terrier.

Oh yes, I thought you were talking about the purple dinosaur there for a minute.

You think about it. Actually you know Barney has his own website now. Barney.gov. This is what our government is doing, Kara. It's the new

It's very strange. Are we sure this isn't the April Fool's show?

No, not really. Actually, it'd be funny because I have a really great joke about the department of the Out Terrier.

Moving on!

Anyway, so, it's always fun to be the lone Jew on Christmas, and Kara can certainly attest to that. Oh god. Kara, what do you usually do during Christmas, I know you hang out with your family a lot.

Typically I either hang out with family or friends, and pretty much the day consists of going to any of the places that are open on December 25.

Which are not that many.

No. So typically when I normally in Atlanta, that would be breakfast at Waffle House, a day at the movie theatre, followed by Chinese food. So, you're pretty well surrounded by your friends and your fellow Jews on that particular day. So, it's not actually so bad.

No, I don't know about you, but I get really bitchy about the holiday season. In fact I usually take a big blue stocking and stuff it full of IRS forms and hang it outside my cube during the Christmas season just because it's like, you know what, Hanukkah really isn't that big of a deal. It's just there.

Hanukkah's not our big holiday.

It isn't.

It's not a big holiday, but because of commercialism we've had to adapt. Just to make sure that our voice is still heard during the holiday season, or at least that's my take on it.

Mmmm. Oh god. But I mean, it's, it's just funny for me. Cause I mean I can get really, really bitchy about the holiday season, especially when it comes down to like talking about commercialism, and I mean, you're, then again, you and I are both really complacent when it comes down to Christmas, though. Because we both shop ourselves to death and at least my parents used to have a Christmas tree in the house.

Oh no. My mother would definitely be Hanukkah threw up all over the place. And they stayed up probably as long as the Christmas trees of my neighbors.

Oh god. Your mom went with all the little plush hanging things.

It was cute, it was her holiday, it's the only time of the year that she can cook and will eat it, so it worked. She'll probably murder me for saying that.

Yeah, that's why she listens to the podcast. Anyway, the only reason why I mention a Christmas tree is because I was actually working in my office today and I was going by the front desk, and found out that they were putting up the Christmas tree, and I walked in there and I'm like, ok, well you know what, now that I'm the token Jew, I want a menorah in here that is at least as big, if not bigger, and then of course our uber like PC bank card president comes in, and she's like, ok, let's get a Hanukkah thing, oh and while you're at it, go out and get something for Kwanza too. Oh, now we've got to get something for Muslims, I'm like, how many Muslim bankers do we have? She's like, good point.

Sounds good.

I know. I know. I'm really not that, I'm really not that anti, like situation, I'm just you know anti-happy people. Just for those of you who don't already know, Kara is my VP of morale for the 20-Something Marketing Forum. She's the one that basically keeps things going by making me not want to kill myself when my ratings go down.



Put the coffee down. Oh, did I tell you about this? I so like I do the whole pod thing, like I'm not just the podcast, but apparently my life is like now sold my soul to the devil pod? And what I do is I have my little coffee maker thing, my Senseo, and I have my coffee pots, and right before Halloween, I had almost placed an order for pumpkin spice coffee.


I know. Seriously. And then I decided against it. And so I went and I reordered my coffee, and I got two basic boxes of like regular coffee, and then I got, you know what, I'm going to go a little bit insane here, so I got the gingerbread coffee, which is actually not that bad. But here's the kicker. Apparently they still kept the order for the pumpkin spice, so they're like, ok so you paid for pumpkin spice, so I guess we'll just have to switch you out to eggnog.

Ok. They did send eggnog and gingerbread to the person who doesn't like the holidays?

I'm telling you. It's so psychotic. I never said that I didn't like the food. I will eat all the gooey food that I want to during the holiday season. In fact I've got a massive thing of peppermint sticks right next to my computer that I chew on all day long, which is like absolutely driving me insane.

Ok. I'm a sucker for the mint M&Ms.

Those are kick ass, aren't they?

Jared, you're totally, out there.

So, just to talk a little bit about tough decisions, and we can go into that. What would you rather have? Christmas or Hanukkah?

Hanukkah. Eight days.

Eight days. Yeah, but you know what, we get crappy stuff for Hanukkah.

You may get crappy stuff for Hanukkah. I can't complain this year.


Aren't you glad I'm on the podcast?

Ok. So, but here's another one. My chocolate cake versus my cappuccino tart. Tort.

Chocolate cake.

Chocolate cake. Of course chocolate cake.

Jared's real neat, he gives me chocolate cake.

Oh god. Job that pays a lot versus a job that you're happy in.

Job that I'm happy in. That's the reason why I'm a graduate student.

Oh gosh. Ok. And relationship that you're physically happy in, or relationship that you're emotionally happy in?

Ooh. Relationship I'm emotionally happy in.

Ok. All right. Well, Kara, I definitely appreciate you saving my ass once again. Because,

I'm sorry that I wasn't more amusing.

No, you're always amusing Kara. I'll just like put this, I'll put your answers in different order so it will make it sound really, really funny.

I don't know how I feel about that.

But anyway, we all love our Kara, the VP of morale here. You can hear Kara more often here on the 20-Something Marketing Forum if you like her. Email me and I'll make sure to con her into doing more episodes. But until then, do you want to say anything to our wonderful, wonderful listeners, Kara?

Enjoy the holiday season. Avoid the people like Jared who are bitter about it. It's not all bad, but please be aware that there's always a marketer out there to get you to buy something.

The following is graphical clinical material. News and comments proving once and for all that reality does indeed bite.

All rightie, all rightie, all rightie. I'm going to try to wrap this thing up pretty quickly today. So, as most of our regular listeners know, we close the show with what I like to call the game plan. The game plan is a short synopsis, the moral of the story, if you will, focused on actionable tactics that you can take away regarding today's topic subject. And of course today's topic was of course, tough decisions. Now everyone makes decisions differently. We evaluate it via different criteria because different things are differently important to us. For instance, with Kara, Kara said she would make the decision to take a job that she enjoyed more than a job that she would necessarily pay. Now that doesn't reflect necessarily the decision that she is making, it just means that she's honestly valuing one thing more over another. And I think that's really very important, in terms of evaluating the tough decisions that you do. The only thing that I can possibly tell you guys in terms of actionable tactics is objective research. Why? Because it is like I said, objective. It's a way to affirm your choices rather than, for instance, letting it dictate your strategy. The idea is to find sources of information, sources of research, whether it's a tough decision in a business setting, or a tough decision in a personal setting, that allows you to affirm the direction in which you go. Now I do put the caveat in here that you should never, ever, ever look to research, look to anyone but yourself to make the decision for you. Because only you are going to be able to know what's going to be best. However, you can rely on things like focus groups, team swat analysis, and research surveys to kind of determine whether or not you're going in the right direction. Now, in that line, and in the whole idea of kind of changing up the show a little bit, I want to give you a chance to give some feedback today. So if you have a chance, I want you to go to the website at 20somethingmarketing.com. That's two zero something marketing dot com. Right at the top of the page you'll see a chance to take a Zoomerang survey. It only takes about two to three minutes, and you can win a 20-something Marketing mug, and your feedback's really essential to me. Not because I'm making really tough decision, because as you've already seen, I've made the tough decisions regarding the structure of the podcast. But I want to make sure that you guys affirm my decision. Now granted it's one of these situations where which comes first, the cart of the horse, but I really do appreciate your feedback. It gives me a great idea of where I'm going, and also it's one of those things where it demonstrates that you can indeed get objective research to help your decision making. Now granted we're going to go a lot farther into this in later episodes, and I know this is pretty, really paying lip service to the kind of decisions that 20-somethings face every day. But the last thing that I really have to say is that, if you have to decide on something, don't be afraid to make the tough decisions in life. Don't be afraid to make the decisions that are really going to affect your well being. Because, it's really not important, the decisions you make, and before you think that I'm an absolutely insane on this, take a look at it this way. The decision to change jobs, the decision to go one way or another on a project, is really not the tough decision there. The tough decision is really in your mind to make the decision and then figure out a way to succeed at it. I mention that a year ago I was in a very, very different place. And I was at a jumping off point. I had run out of opportunities at my current position, and so I decided to leave the job to go pursue something that I actually enjoyed. It was terrifying. It was a tough decision. But the fact of the matter is that I focused on making whatever I did work for me, rather than being subject to my own situation.

So with that folks, I think this is going to end it for the 20-Something Marketing Forum. Thank you again so much for listening. Again, I encourage you to go to 20somethingmarketing.com to take our survey, it would really be appreciate to me, and you also get a chance to win the 20-Something marketing mug that of course has a 20-something marketing mug on it. I know, we're really creative here folks. But as always, I appreciate your comments, questions, or suggestions being emailed to Jared@20somethingmarketing.com That's Jared at two zero something marketing dot com, as well as visiting our website and leaving comments and discussing things on the boards, I know all of you like that. Cause gosh so many of you do, but anyway, that's one of the decisions I have to make, whether or not to kind of focus in on the blog or focus in on the podcast a little bit more. But I definitely appreciate all of you guys listening, and always, everyone have a very safe and happy holiday. I'll probably do one last show of the year next week, and I, as always will catch you on the flip side.

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