Category - Man At Work

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How A Pro Works From The Road
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A List of Things Men Must Know
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Divorced Dads: It’s time to get your swagger back

How A Pro Works From The Road

Traveler

Remote office – out of a suitcase?

This may seem like a really odd question. To those of us who have careers that require travel weekly, it is a part of life. Many of us who fall into this category don’t just travel to one city in a week it may be multiple. In fact I am writing this while on a plane from Dallas to Omaha. Started this week in Omaha, was needed in Dallas, flew out on Tuesday. Now it’s Thursday I am flying back to Omaha to finish the work week, only to fly home to Minneapolis to enjoy my weekend and Easter with my Father and Daughter. Fact is, this is quite normal. So what have I learned from all of this travel?  Here are some pointers from a professional who works on the road.   I will help you survive having your suitcase double as your remote office.

First some basic travel tips.

Be loyal. What I mean is find one airline, one hotel chain, one rental car company.  The advantages of this are many. Status is one of the greatest things on the planet.  There is nothing better than free food and drinks in first class, chilling in the concierge lounge of a hotel, getting free car rentals, or better yet enjoying a comped vacation.  All because you were loyal to a chain. While status affords you all of the above, it is said getting your status is a painful journey.  When first traveling it may not make sense on why be loyal, as you have no status, no free days, no real benefits. Trust me, they all add up much faster than one would ever know, if you are loyal. Most business traveler friends I have take at least one free vacation a year.  2 out of 5 times I get a free room upgrade. My room in Omaha is the size of most apartments. When your home is your hotel, size does matter.

Next this I would highly recommend, get TSA pre-check approved.  If flying is part of your life, this will make you smile.  For $85 you go to your local airport, fill out some forms, have a background check performed, and voila… No more removing shoes when going through security. No more removing suit coat. No more removing laptop from bag.  You go through the short line set up for TSA pre-check folks.  Now add the fact that that will allow you to show up 1 hour prior to flight as you are running the fast track, versus 2 hours prior and being part of the mob.  I highly recommend you dropping the $85. Time and stress relief alone are worth it. This $85 buys you a year of fast track!

Now some packing basics.

I travel every week. I have my system down. It’s not the only system out there, it’s mine.  You need to create your own. Hopefully this helps.

Briefcase or backpack. Pick the one you like, like the one you pick – it’s going everywhere with you! I have a shoulder bag style briefcase. It’s large enough to hold iPad, laptop, charging devices, any work I bring with ( folders, papers, binders, etc). I also put my 1 quart bag of liquids and or gels in that bag. There are still airports and security Check points that don’t have TSA pre-check. For this reason I keep my laptop and quart bag in the same part of my briefcase. It saves me time. I only have to unzip 1 compartment. I also usually carry a Kind bar in my bag. You never know what delays may happen. Being stuck on a runway for 75 minutes can be frustrating at times. Weather delays can get to you. Kind Bars make me happy. What ever is your snack of choice I suggest to keep that in your briefcase or backpack. I store this under the seat ahead of me.  I want easy access as I will usually be trying to get some work done.  This has the added benefit of buying back free time in my home life. Either way it must get done, why not get it done on a plane.

Roller Bag. You need one.  One that fits in the overhead bin. It’s called a carry on. The nice thing is, most airlines allow 1 carry on and 1 personal item per passenger at no charge. Even if the carry on won’t fit because of a small regional plane, they will tag it for free.  You will tire of paying $25 and up and waiting by baggage claim for your personals.  Trust me on this.

What to pack. This is pretty basic, and will depend on your career.  That being said here is what I make sure to include: Dress pants 2 pair – Change them each day and no one knows better. Dress shirts – I bring enough for all days minus one. When I travel back home typically on a Friday I wear jeans and a button down shirt that may be a little less formal.  I prefer something that shows my personality. So clearly I pack jeans as well as a button down shirt of my choice. Also pack one suit coat. If the coat is a less expensive one and wrinkles easy, I would suggest wearing it both on the way out, as well as on the way back on the plane.  It saves on creases and wrinkles.  I also pack 1 tie, just in case.  Pack my undergarments, toiletries,etc…  Very important – if you work out remember those clothes and shoes. Also what ever you are most comfy in, your favorite outfit, I’d bring it. Sometimes that is the closest to home you get in 5 or more days. It’s good to have it with, good for your psyche.

Hopefully this helps. It’s sort of my basic guideline to successful stress free travels. If you have any things that work well for you that I have not included, I would love to hear about them.

Travel safe my friend.

Jason AbarahmAbout The Author:

Jason has been a great friend of mine for many years and has a keen focus when it comes to maximizing life.   His job has sent him bouncing around the country and he understands that work and pleasure often blend.  When he is not watching his kids play sports he is sending me tips on whiskey and tequila.  I promise there will be plenty of cool stuff from this ninja.

Thanks Jason – great post!

 

A List of Things Men Must Know

 Things Men Must Know

A List of Things Men Must Know

I generally dislike obligatory lists of lists – but there is a need here to have a core description of gentlemanly things all men must know.  This really isn’t a list, just thoughts disguised as a list.   Listen, you don’t have to believe me, go look at anybody that is successful or tall or who is able to communicate with women; they have a rudimentary grasp on these things.    No list is complete, this one is not either so please sit back,  gloss this over, and help me add to it.

Sartorial Splendor

Every man needs to know how to iron a shirt and tie a tie.  This is listed first because it is a mandatory item.  The dry cleaner is always anhow to tie a tie option when you need a pressed look.  It will cost a couple bucks and planning is required.  What if you end up in a hotel with a wrinkled shirt or at home preparing for a last minute meeting?  Get out the iron and fix that shirt.  The tie is just as important.  If you have a zipper tie or a clip on tie that is just fine, if you are ten.  It is not hard to learn and is a staple of your wardrobe (once I figure out how, I will add video evidence).  The other simple thing that is a must are well polished shoes.  Again I will beg off the details on how to polish them, but you can be sure I will cover that topic soon.

Epicurean Delight

Dude needs to cook.  This blog littered with recipes that are easy and can make you look suave.  Guys that cook are sexy, that martiniis the word on the street.  Breakfast should be more than eggs and bacon.  An omelet is so easy and it has great curb appeal.  Manage the grill, cook a steak, make any food that does not come in a can or a box.  The bottom line is a cooking class may be in your best interest.  I am a Midwest guy, raised on casserole (or as we simple folk call it, hot dish).  Hot Dish will do in a pinch, much like spaghetti or chili, any dolt can make it.  Get to a couple go-to meals and you will be ahead of the game.

This category includes some drinks.  We have already discussed the whiskey play.  You also need to know how to make a martini.  The “drink it” section will be your friend , I promise.  In the mean time a classic shaken martini with olives is the rule to live by.  Splurge on the vodka for this one (2 oz. Ketel One mixed with 1/2 oz. dry vermouth shaken over ice poured into chilled glass with two olives).  There is a direct correlation between the quality of the Vodka and the suffering of the people who make it.  Swarthy Polish people make Belvedere, they have suffered and the Vodka is righteous.  For the same reason I generally avoid Grey Goose, the French, come on.  You can use any crap in a Bloody Mary or a Screwdriver because the mix is so strong, but the Martini gives you no where to hide.  That reminds me, Bloody Mary recipes are coming!

Train The Brain

It may seem like a small thing but you need to get your mind around communication.  Every man needs to be able to have a conversation with a child.  It is a great exercise in joy and patience to talk to children on their level.  Nothing moves the fairer sex more than seeing a man and a young one in a deep conversation.  Don’t do it to just look good, do it because it is tonic for your soul.  On that same bent, have a book handy to read.  You can use the Kindle, an app on your phone, or even read an old-fashioned paper book.  This can help you build that organ you need to use more, the brain.  Not just the brain stem that demands food, sleep, sex and wants you to fight.  It builds the advanced frontal lobes.  It helps you communicate with that delicate child.

Get Past Your Past

If you ever want to be a whole person you will have to eventually realize that you can neither ignore your past nor can you change it.  It is stuff you did.  Sure you can spin it and justify your behavior but, eventually you have to face the fact, it is the path you took.  Every man needs to respect that past and grow from it.  Even if that past is littered with figurative, or literal, skeletons you must reflect and grow.  I realize this is along way from getting a good knot in a tie but, that tie looks better on a self-aware neck.  I have said it before and I will say it again – every man needs to talk to someone smarter than them about emotions.  Many of us did not even know we had emotions let alone recognize experiencing them as manly.

And Of Course

•travel   •get a firm handshake   •listen to classical music (not The Rolling Stones – Mozart)   •Have ten different music mixes on your Spotify   •volunteer for something   •go to the gym (you will thank me)   •look people in the eye   •be a gentleman (especially with women)   •put your phone away when you are engaged with someone   •build a fire  •do something outdoors  •laugh   •learn to tell a joke   •no really laugh (don’t take yourself so seriously)  •and find a passion  (scratch and claw and dig to find something that moves you) Perhaps the list should just be that last bullet point.  Everything else will become a detail if you find your passion. That is all for now Let’s Go!

Divorced Dads: It’s time to get your swagger back

Get your swagger back after divorce
Source: Tapiture

Many of you are just like me. You used to be somebody.  You were a kick-ass dude with his life tightly pulled together.  Of course,  we all know you are still freakin’ awesome. But now, it’s more like the watered-down divorced kind of awesome.  The after divorce kind of awesome.  And that doesn’t feel the same at all.  You work hard, fall behind, miss out on great events, and you doubt yourself.  Divorce is a crazy thing for everyone. Everyone. I know because I have firsthand knowledge.  It’s my story too.

There is an endless stream of shows, articles, books, and resources to help newly-divorced women learn to cope without a man (as if they need the help).  I’m sure you’ve also heard people yammer on about the virtues of putting the kids first.  BTW… if I had a dollar for every clichéd “I am doing it for my kids” line of BS I would be a sitting on a giant pile of cash instead of this office chair.  But there is deafening silence when you bring up a discussion about how Dad should deal with the mess that’s left behind after divorce.  It doesn’t have to be that way.

It’s time to recognize that it is not a sign of weakness to want to be a man.  I am not talking about chopping-wood-in-your-flannel-shirt-while-drinking-whiskey man.  I am talking about a man who is part of the experience.  A man who has a heart and a soul, a man who doesn’t have to measure his worth in machismo.  Don’t misunderstand, it is bad ass to chop wood while drinking whiskey– but it’s so much more than that.  You are not a criminal if you fight to be a great dad.   You are not the bad guy if you fight for more time with your children.  You simply need to GET YOUR SWAGGER BACK.

Here is a cursory list of things you can do to get your emotional swagger back. 

Go to a counselor

This step was critical for me.  I waited until I was in a really bad place before I went to a professional.  Do not delay this step!  Most psychologists are wicked smart about what you are going through.  You would not sit at home and stew about your car not running, you would go to a mechanic.  Dr. Perrin was my mechanic.  I don’t think there was any magic, he just showed me a path.  Maybe he just listened with no pre-conceived notions about me.  Maybe he was a safe place for me to be honest.  Whatever it was I cannot stress this enough.

Show your kids the real you

You can shed a tear at your kids first dance because that is major life event.  Your kids need to know you are fully engaged on many levels.  It is very hard to understand what is going on in their minds.  They are generally younger than you (right) and don’t have much life experience with emotions.  Hell, as grown men we have not generally been given permission to even have emotions let alone understand them.  It is critical that they hear from you about life.  Not to preach or even teach but to remind them, even subconsciously, that you care and are interested.  There could be terribly inaccurate information pouring into their brains daily from well intended people about your relationship with them.  They are smart, they know what you say and what you DO.

Don’t forget all this stuff!

Or course you can hit the gym and regain your body which helps your confidence and all that goes with that.  You can be super effective at work and solidify one part of your life.  You can get a grip on your budget (or at least try).  Don’t forget to read a book, a non-fiction book.  Build some great play-lists on Spotify and shut off the TV.  And… you can share a beer with your inner most doubts, in your garage, and explain why you can’t hang out anymore. Send that stupid inner voice packing and be awesome again.  

This is the first of many posts that point toward potential fixes.  Life goes on after divorce.  It can be better than ever, but it does take time and effort.  I am not a PhD in “manology” nor do I have a team of psychologists backing my research.  My degree in divorce is from the school of hard knocks.  I am a divorced dad who struggled mightily with my place in the world and still do.  I am a regular working guy trying to make ends meet and reset myself.  Most importantly I am currently busting my ass to get to a great place.

There will be no vitriol and hate, no low-hanging fruit pointed at former spouses or blaming the system.  This is a place to grow, think, love, and come up with some cool shit.  Stay tuned for a long-running dialog on being somewhere between functional and a rock star after divorce.   Jump on and come along for the ride.

Let’s Go!

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