Things I Learned During My 2-Week Break


I just had two weeks off from work. Not like normal vacation where you have to keep an eye on work email (and in my case, keep an eye on social networks for clients). But a true vacation. No work email to check, no responsibilities. Yes, it was two weeks off, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t learning.

I learned that vacation rocks! It was wonderful not to have to be anywhere or do anything. I had a list of things I wanted to do or get done, but I could do them on my time. I could wake up at 8 a.m. (ha, no) or sleep until noon (more likely).

I re-learned that I do love being outside. I’ve gotten in the bad habit of staying inside the last few years…very hermit-esque With work during the day and feeling lazy on the weekends, I spent most of my time under unnatural light. But on my break, I spent a chunk of every day outside, and I hope to continue getting more outside time.

I learned that pedicures are just not worth it. They hurt (and tickle). Yes, my toesies look spectacular (exhibit a), but this one will probably be both the first and last one I ever get.

exhibit a

exhibit a

I learned that yoga pants rock. I used to be skeptical about the comfyness of yoga pants…I didn’t understand why other girls liked wearing them. I get it now. I really get it. I try not to wear them out of the house unless I actually am working out, and I will NEVER wear them with Uggs, but they really are fantastic.

I learned that swimming is really, really hard…and it’s great exercise. But, seriously, it’s hard. And exhausting. But I’ll probably keep doing it.

I learned that women at the Y are totally OK with their bodies. While I went in the changing rooms, others did not feel the need to.

I learned that I don’t have a 3 iron in my current set of golf clubs. And also that I can still golf even though it’s been 6 years since I’ve golfed consistently.

I learned that the par 3 course in town does not have a dress code. I know this because I wore my shorty shorts, and a gentleman played a round with no shirt.

I learned that I have shoes for every occasion, and that I wore pretty much all of them during these two weeks.

shoes

OMG shoes. A small selection of my vacation footwear.

I learned I can still rollerblade. But it’s reeeaaallly hard on the leg muscles.

I learned I eat a lot when I’m at home during the day. Like seriously, a lot.

During my time off, I took a break from social media, as in NO social media for the first week, limited social media for the second week. I learned that it’s harder to avoid posting on social media than it is to avoid looking at my newsfeed for what others are posting. That sounds super narcissistic, but I guess it’s now ingrained to want to share what you’re doing. If you have a chance to take a break from social media, I highly recommend it.

I did learn that the only reason I’ll break my social media hiatus is to respond to a message from my brother in Afghanistan. (Miss you, James.)

Now I’m headed into the next chapter of my career, of my life. And I couldn’t be more excited. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m excited to get back to work. My 2-week vacation was wonderful, yes, but I do much better when I’m busy. I’m ready to put my mind toward something, and to grow and learn every day.

Wish me luck!

Ch-ch-ch-changes


Friday was my last day at ME&V. Crazy. I was there for 4 years: 1 as a student, 1 as a part-timer and 2 full time. I learned so much there…started as a student, left as a professional. I’m sad to leave, but excited about my next steps.

I’m going to miss walking down the hall to talk to my sister.

I don't have any work-related pictures of Shannon and I, so here's us at New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, CO.

I don’t have any work-related pictures of Shannon and I, so here’s us at New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, CO.

I’m going to miss being able to turn around and communicate with Carrie, often without using words.

Cup String Phone

This one time (OK, Friday) Carrie and I set up a high-tech communication system between our offices. It was hilarious.

I’m going to miss Jessica and I dressing similarly without planning it…because the girls taught me how to dress.

My second-to-last day Jessica and I dressed like twinsies...we didn't even coordinate it!

My second-to-last day Jessica and I dressed like twinsies…we didn’t even coordinate it!

I’m going to miss all the great people I worked with.

My sister Shannon got everyone at the office to sign this for me :)

My sister Shannon got everyone at the office to sign this for me :)

I’m going to miss this view…watching puppies walk by all day and worrying about the ice fishermen in the winter.

office-view

While I will miss ME&V, on June 3 I will be starting at Far Reach as a marketing specialist. I’m remarkably excited about this opportunity and where it will take me professionally.

In the mean time, I have two weeks off! Two. Weeks. Off. My mom said I haven’t had two weeks off since I was in third grade. And it’s not like when you take two weeks off work and you still have to check email and worry about what’s happening while you’re not there. I have none of that. No work email to check, no Facebook pages to worry about, no nothing. I have two weeks of wide open freedom.

What am I going to do with my two weeks? Well, I’m taking a break from social media. For the first time in a long time, I don’t have to get on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks for work, so I can avoid them, and that’s what I’m going to do. No Facebook, no Twitter, no LinkedIn, no Pinterest, no Imgur. It’s going to be wonderful.

“But how are you posting this if you’re on a social media hiatus?” you may ask. Good question. This is pre-scheduled. I wrote it and scheduled it. At the time this publishes, I will have been free from social media for 4 whole days.

I also plan to spend lots of time outside, including at the Cedar Bend Humane Society walking dogs. I have to watch Arrested Development in preparation for the new season, and then watch the new season since it comes out May 26. I will celebrate my birthday. I might go some places (if you have recommendations of fun day-trips, leave them in the comments). I have a lot I want to do, but no schedule to keep. Which is perfect.

Come June 3, I’ll jump back into it and start a new chapter in my life. I look forward to it. But for now, I have 2 weeks of vacation to enjoy.

inbox zero

This was my inbox when I left on my last day. Beautiful. #inboxzero

Pauly and Me


Paul Bunyan Akeley Minnesota

The Pauly I’m referring to is Mr. Paul Bunyan. I call him that because we’re tight. We’re close. We’re besties. I used to stop by to see him once per year back in my younger days. I had to apologize today, as I hadn’t visited for a while.

Pretty much every year my family and I go on vacation to a resort near Park Rapids, MN. When I was younger, we’d do all sorts of activities—one of the most memorable being taking a visit to Paul Bunyan.

The statue in Akeley, MN—which I’m going to pretend is life-size—was a staple of each journey north. It faded as a tradition, but as we happened to drive by on this trip, I got overly excited. So my patient father pulled over and let me get my picture with Pauly.

As you can see, he’s pretty big. He’s also so content, even though he’s been kneeling there for lord knows how long. I’m not sure when or if Babe the Blue Ox ever visits Paul, but I’ve never seen him there.

Vacations in Park Rapids always bring me back to my childhood and often reveal the giddy childish excitement that still evidently remains.

The Obligatory “How Are You?”


I work in an office. And I love it. I get to sit at a desk all day, but I also get to walk back and forth around the office. I’ve learned a lot in my almost year of full-time work. But my favorite life lesson by far is the culture of the obligatory office greeting.

Each morning, you get to walk into the office. And the first time you see each person, you have the following conversation:

Person 1: “Hi, how are you?”

Person 2: “Good. How are you?”

Person 1: “Good.”

Person 2: “That’s good.”*
*This last comment is optional. I approximate that it occurs in 30% of obligatory office greetings.

I have this conversation with 15-20 people per day…it feels like…it’s probably more like 5 people. And I don’t mind it—because it’s habit at this point. It’s just an observation.

I’ve always wanted to set aside one day to actually answer the “How are you?” question truthfully. It would surprise people if I came back with, “Kind of bloated, thanks.” Or, “I developed this weird rash.”

Although I’ve always want to do it, I never will. I will continue to respond with the required, “Good. How are you.” And I’ll enjoy it.

Social Media Customer Service—An Anti-Example


I try to use this blog for funny things. Well, today I’m using it to rant…about something I find funny. Some of you won’t understand what any of this means (Mom, Grandma and Grandpa: I won’t be offended if you stop reading here), but people in marketing and advertising will.

Note: I used the Twitter “Embed Tweet” feature, so it duplicated tweets if they were responses. Ignore that. I prefer embedding rather than using screenshots.

Here it goes.

One of my Twitter acquaintances (don’t know her IRL) tweeted this:

Here’s how the company responded:

That made me go, “Say WHAAAAT!?” So I asked @Nichole_Kelly if that was real. I got this response from the company:

I don’t know what that means. And then @Nichole_Kelly Tweeted this:

Sir Mike at Solve360 then responded:

What? I seriously don’t know what that means. I think Mike is picking random mumbo jumbo and posting it. I guess that’s a social media strategy.

So I asked @Nichole_Kelly if she used @Solve360, and she said:

In other words, if @Solve360 would have handled the customer service situation differently, they could have had another customer. Instead, they lost her as a potential customer, and I’ll for sure never use them.

Mike of course responded with an incoherent babble…one that includes “lol”:

This is one of far too many examples of social media harming an organization because they use it wrong. Like I said, situations like this make me sad, but also make me realize how there will always be a need for my expertise as a social media strategist.

And if Solve360 and Norada are actually good at social media, they’ll find this post…and rectify it. Or maybe I’ll get a nonsense response from Mike. Who knows. But what I do know is that I don’t trust this FAQ on their website:

Solve360 Fail

P.S. I took screenshots of @Solve360’s tweets incase they remove them later. What happens on the Internet can never be erased.

UPDATED

A new response!

I’ll continue to keep you posted as he keeps digging a deeper hole.

UPDATED X2

After the long conversation on Facebook (read it here), I started to wonder if other people at the company knew what this guy was posting on Twitter. So I emailed the company. They email back…in support of the Twitter comments! Here are some excerpts from the response, as well as my commentary.

He said the conversation,was about self proclaimed social media expert(s) grandstanding.” I’ve never once claimed to be a social media expert. I’m a social media strategist. I don’t claim expertise. I admittedly learn every single day—usually from other people.

Maybe the word ‘fraud’ was a bit harsh, but with 140 characters you need to be quick to the point and you mentioned you were missing it.” In other words, they’re not sorry, and also don’t know how to craft concise tweet that gets their point across.

Your actions are not without consequence.” What?

I’d suggest that you stepped into the conversation in a big way.” I never actually addressed the company. I retweeted Nichole’s greasy wheel tweet that happened to mention the company. I didn’t insult them. I simply said, “Is this real?”

That behind us, we’d much rather be helping than ‘looking at our shoes’. First of all, punctuation goes inside the quotation marks. Secondly, again, what!? Looking at their shoes? Is that where the insults were coming from? Their shoes?

We’re willing to write this off a learning experience for both of us, offer an apology, return to our regular program of being nice, sticking our neck out, and trying to help people who touch us move mountains.  Touché? So generous of them to “write it off as a learning experience.” I know I learned what bad social media customer service looks like. It appears the company learned…umm…nothing. A few questions popped into my mind after this comment: 1) Who’s touching them? That’s creepy. B) I thought they were a CRM…what’s that have to do with mountains?

I want to respond to the email with all my heart. But I won’t, because I seriously don’t want to deal with them anymore. This was an interesting experience and I actually did learn a lot, but it needs to stop.

Next week, Nichole Kelly will be posting a blog post on a very popular blog. It’ll have more background and more of her experience (rather than that of a bystander). I’ll post a link to it in yet another update.

UPDATED X3

Jason Falls wrote about the debacle on Social Media Explorer, “Customer Service Isn’t An Act. It’s a Trait.

UPDATED X4

It appears @Solve360 is abandoning Twitter. Their new bio is, “Twitter’s ‘cool kids’ and spammers ruined a good thing. Catch us on LinkedIn where the grown-ups get work done.”

Not sure if I fall under the “Cool Kids” or “Spammers” category. I’m pretending the cool kids one unless I hear otherwise.

I Visited the ’80s


I only witnessed 6 months of the ’80s (sorry to make you feed old), so I don’t really know what they were like. But I got the closest I’m ever going to come at the 2012 AAF-Cedar Valley ADDY awards.

The ADDYs are a local, then district, then national competition for advertising creative. I was on the committee for it, so I was involved in judging, coordinating and planning the event. It was a lot of work, but it ended up super rad.

The theme for the awards ceremony was ’80s. Who doesn’t love an ’80s party, right?

I wasn’t going to dress up, but then I thought, ah hell, why not. So I did. I had to buy a cheap top and some leggings (nope, I didn’t own leggings before this), but the rest of my outfit was my own.

What was my outfit, you ask? Only this:

Megan's Meanderings '80s

Pretty bitchin’ right? I know. I don’t even know what the ’80s were, but I think I pulled them off pretty well.

I don’t think I’ll be traveling back in time any time soon, but it was fun for one night.

I Want to Go to There: A Self-Reflective Review of Tina Fey’s Bossypants


Megan Horn BossypantsThis weekend, I took the time to read a book I’ve been dying to read—Bossypants
by Tina Fey.

Tina Fey is on my “People I Want to Meet (Alive)” list. I haven’t officially written that list down, but when (if) I do, she’ll be on it. I wish I could have seen her Second City work, I love everything she did on SNL and I thoroughly enjoy the quirkiness of 30 Rock.

Enough of me ranting and raving about Tina Fey, and onto me ranting and raving about her book.

Before reading it I’d heard mixed review. “It’s not as funny as I expected,” and, “It’s amazing; in my head, I read it in her voice.” But Iwent in with an unbiased mind.

I tried to read the book slowly to catch all her subtle jokes, but honestly, I was so enthralled in the book that I flew through it. I’d like to think I caught most of the jokes, but there were probably some so subtle that they flew right over my head with lightning speed.

Throughout the book, Fey tells stories of her awkward childhood, her days in Second City and, of course, her life at NBC. It gave me a whole new insight into this person I’d been watching on TV for half of my life.

Bossypants gives you a picture of off-the-screen Fey. It portrays a hard-working, humble writer just trying to make people laugh. Reading this book gave me a new appreciation for Fey and her writing. I always knew she was a helluva comedy writer, but throughout the book I caught myself thinking, “Damn, I wish I could write like this.”

If you’ve seen much of Fey’s work, the book reveals the personal influences behind it. Liz’s “foot thing” on 30 Rock, the entire Mean Girls script, the Weekend Update jokes and her hesitancy to play Sarah Palin despite the resemblance.

One reason I think I’m so enthralled with this woman is that I see a little resemblance to myself…or at least I’d like to think so. I’m a writer, I love making people laugh, and sometimes when I put on my reading glasses, maybe I even look like her a little bit. When I was younger, I wanted to be on SNL. I wanted to make people laugh for a living. I took a slightly different route, but my love for making people laugh remains.

It probably goes without saying at this point that I truly enjoyed the book. I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a quick, laugh-out-loud read.

And Tina, if you’re reading this, it’s all true. Call me.