Friday, November 20, 2009

Air Travel

I finished the 2nd of 3 programs this week and was scheduled to fly last night on Horizon Air from Spokane WA to Sacramento to deliver the last program today. I had a connection through Portland. And there was no weather in Spokane, Portland or Sacramento last night so I had no concerns. One hour before the Spokane departure, a delay was announced due to a mechanical problem. The length of the delay meant I was going to miss my connection in Portland and it was the last flight to Sacramento for the night (of course). I was forced to spend the night in Portland, and then I had to change my hotel reservation, change my car rental reservation, make sure my suitcase was routed to Portland instead of Sacramento (and the worst part) tell my client that instead of starting the workshop today at 8:30am as planned, I would not be able to get there until 11am. I know the airlines avoid delays whenever possible, but I really don't think they have any idea what it does to us, the paying passengers, when a disruption in their service occurs. It really is an utter disrespect for my time and they all continually send the message to customers that our time is of no value. It's unbelievable that any business can run like this.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I had three days of programs to do in 3 cities so I sent all of the materials in advance via UPS. I follow the same process for out-of-state programs and have been using the same Staples/UPS drop off location for the last dozen or so shipments without incident. On this particular day, I shipped 3 boxes at the same time. I arrived on Tuesday morning of this week to the first of the three program locations and no one could locate my box. So we did a search of the office and when it didn’t turn up, I went online to see who signed for it. Two of my three boxes showed a delivery confirmation and the one I needed showed that it was never even picked up from UPS, let alone in transit. I called Staples and they said that they didn’t have the box and would put a trace on it. So essentially I was left with a room full of 27 participants and no handouts or workbooks. Panic set in.

I called the local Staples and asked if I could email the documents to them for printing and they said they could have them ready in a few hours. I punted for the first couple hours of the session with just a flipchart pad and pens and ran at the lunch break to get the materials. I was so unnerved by the whole thing that I felt I was not able to recover and that the learning really suffered. I have been doing training for 20 years and have done this exact program for 13 years so of all classes, this one was the best for it to happen to because I knew the content cold. But it still was so stressful, I couldn’t believe how it threw me off my game and rocked my typical calm self. Of course, I was so mad at myself for not tracking the boxes sooner, so I would have had some recovery time. That is what I get for shooting from the hip so much. I still cannot figure out why that box didn’t arrive when the other 2, shipped at the same time did. I think it must be a reminder that I need a major vacation if I am making little mistakes like that with such serious consequences. I get it! I couldn’t have learned the lesson some other way???? Jeez.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Working Mom

So I am on a business trip and had a meeting today with the senior HR team of my super conservative, life insurance client. Always dressing the part when I am there I brought my pearl necklace and earrings to wear today, and pulled them out of my jewelry pouch on my way out the door this morning. I got to the client's office, gave my presentation and then stopped in the ladies room on my way out. I looked it the mirror and noticed that I was covered in sparkles all over my neck and face. My little girls often use my jewelry pouches for putting teeth in for the tooth fairy and apparently when I pulled out the pearls, a load of pixie dust came with it! I looked like a cross between a trannie and a girls night in Vegas. OMG what was going through their mind when they saw it?!?!?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

the juggle

Husband on 2nd day of business trip so I have been solo parent and I have to say I've been loving being able to give undivided attention to the kids. I volunteered at my daughter's middle school this morning, got 3 speaking proposals out, got some accounting done, did a conference call with a client, wrote a knowledge survey, scored & printed 10 EQi's, booked some airline tickets, and picked up the groceries. Good day. Keep spinning plates, keep spinning...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Travel Weary

Coming home today from 5th week in a row of travel. Close to 20,000 airmiles flown. My kids are wondering what their mom looks like, my desk is a disaster, my husband wants his time with me and my business administrative work and client follow up must be done. Never enough hours in a day. Never enough me to go around.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Shameless Self Promotion

If anyone has been following this and wondering where I have been, I have been Tweeting. You can follow me on Twitter, name Shirkani.

In the meantime, check out this article which is the summary of my presentation at SHRM this year in New Orleans:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Power Cords

Is it possible that our energy level is directly correlated with our constant need to recharge our technology?

I arrived at a client offsite retreat this morning to deliver a short program, toting my LCD projector and laptop. When I opened the LCD bag, I discovered it was missing all of it's cords: rendering it completely useless. I got back to my office this afternoon only to realize that I left my laptop power cord at the hotel. And I just landed in Washington DC to discover that I did not pack my cell phone charger. What is going on today????

Freud would say I am completely burned out and have no interest in getting recharged. I think I need a vacation with a beach and a drink with an umbrella in it; and the sun is the only power source I will need.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Getting Gauged at the Airport

Dannon Light & Fit yogurt at my grocery store - 50 cents
Dannon Light & Fit yogurt at O'Hare - $2.20
Are you kidding me??? That is obscene.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Whine Tasting

Napa Valley rocks! I highly recommend the Villagio Spa in Yountville and do not miss the fantastic Italian deli at V. Sattui (don’t waste your money on the wine tasting – gag). Domaine Chandon is a great bar atmosphere and the flight is a good value at $16, plus they let you keep the logo flute. We LOVED Paraduxx, a real tasting served on the patio paired with cheese and crackers. The ’05 Postmark Rector Creek was amazing. If you like red Zin you must go to Rombauer. Spend the extra money and do the Reserve Tasting at BV. They were pouring among others, a ‘95 Latour…hel-lo that is a fine wine. Thanks to some dear friends we got a private tasting at Terra Valentine on Spring Mountain Rd. - the drive up was amazing.

Do I have to go to work tomorrow? Is it bad to show up with really bloodshot eyes? Is that wrong?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Great Wolf

Just got back from a client event at the Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine TX. It is a cool place with a giant indoor water park. The rooms are big but very lodge-y (log style furniture) and there are lots of kids even during the week. One night we were in the lounge and a lady walked in to get a drink at the bar, wearing her pajamas pushing a baby in a stroller. Okay. Did I mention it was in Texas?

The conference center has one big ballroom that would be good for a large group event but they are very short on breakout rooms of any size. I would only recommend it to a group of no more than 60 with 3 breakouts of 20 each.

The entertainment was 4 day weekend from Ft. Worth TX. They killed it – I highly recommend them for any corporate event. (

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Year, New Start

New year, new start. I am anxious to get this year going and get to work. I have gotten so many mixed messages from clients about what say they plan to do and want a proposal for but then when it has come time to make a decision, it completely stalls out. Is that what this economic crisis has done to us? Left us completely paralyzed in fear to make even small decisions? That more than anything else is what will do us in: not moving forward and not moving backward. Just sitting in limbo waiting…