December 27, 2012

How One Dallas Woman Came To Love Gen Y

by Samantha Shaddock

Via American Shad.

HipsterOne recent August, I accepted a job as the homepage editor for a large business-news website. The pay was only OK, but I jumped at the chance to write headlines and help direct the coverage for such a well-known publication. This company was clearly investing in its online operation and was forward-thinking in terms of social media and business models. It made all sorts of sense to sign on.

About two months later, a rival publication offered me a job for $10,000 more a year. I turned it down. Why? Because of the young people with whom I worked.

It really only took about a week on the job before I was smitten with my crew. The junior reporters and Web production team members, all of them 30 or younger, were good-natured, hard-working and full of fresh ideas. They weren’t jaded yet, and I loved them for that. The outfit that offered me this other job and higher salary was even better-known, but it was tired, older in all respects. I wasn’t the production crew’s boss yet at that point, but I knew that I wanted to — needed to, maybe — work with them. Turning down that other job offer wasn’t hard at all.

I’m so glad I stayed. This was about the same time as Occupy Wall Street became a thing, and boy, did that movement sour me on what I’d heard were “millennial” gripes: too-high student loans, not enough jobs that match their majors, an unfulfilled promise of employment after graduation. I openly scoffed at their complaints. I worked throughout college and didn’t get my official diploma until a few months after graduation — until I could pay off my debt. I wasn’t “guaranteed” a job after I’d gotten that degree. I lucked into a cheap-as-dirt, short-lived internship. After that I worked two part-time jobs — one as a low-level copy editor at the paper and another as a research assistant at a hospital. “Guaranteed” employment? Please. I counted my blessings every night that I was able to cobble together enough money for rent.

I had this idea — which I now firmly believe is false — that the young folks of the #OWS movement were entitled brats. However, my crew in New York were not that. They started working at the crack of dawn; they answered emails at all hours of the day and night; they took on new tasks outside of what they were hired to do, and did so with a smile. And, they had fresh, innovative ideas that made our newsroom better.

Eventually I became the manager of these bright young people, but even before that they taught me so much: how to use social media without seeming too much like an old fart; how their generation communicated in the workplace (gifs, in case you were wondering); what they wanted as employees (feedback and a voice of their own); that humor almost always makes things better.

When I left for Texas, I promised my young charges, tearfully, that I’d signed on with them for life — that I’d be there for them as a mentor, confidant and friend for as long as I live. I take that responsibility seriously, and I’ll tell you: If I ever were in the position to hire a dream team, they’d be on it. I miss them every single day, and I swear I never want to work where young voices aren’t respected and valued.

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December 18, 2010

Last-Minute Gift Idea for Lake Lovers

by Samantha Shaddock

Yesterday I received an email from the folks at White Rock Paddle Co., a relatively new outfit that rents kayaks on White Rock Lake. It seems they now sell gift certificates in a range of prices.

My husband and I discovered White Rock Paddle Co. this summer whilst riding our bikes. Having only kayaked once together in the Hudson Valley, we were eager to sign up. Our first trip out, we rented sit-on-top kayaks, which we were told are more stable than sit-in models and therefore best for novices. Though the boats were a tad hard to maneuver, we had a blast, and the next weekend we came back for more.

Two sessions was all it took for us to become hooked, and we soon determined that we not only wanted our own kayaks, we had to have them. Right then. After a somewhat perilous hour spent lashing the suckers down to my Jeep (since replaced with a lower-profile compact SUV), our boats journeyed from Dick’s Sporting Goods to their new home in Lakewood, where they have given us much joy — and exercise.

At any rate, if you’re struggling to find a Christmas present for someone you love, or even just like, consider buying one of these packages, and make sure to get one for yourself.

December 17, 2010

POLL: How Many Bottles Are on Your Shower Ledge?

by Samantha Shaddock

Owing to a growing preoccupation with the concept of living lightly in Dallas, I’ve recently become more aware of the number of plastic bottles and tubes that have accumulated in my home. Today, I counted no fewer than eight bottles of shampoo, conditioner and soap on my shower ledge. This seems excessive to me, but I wonder if it’s not out of the ordinary. Ergo, I’m asking you to conduct a similar audit of your bathroom.

December 16, 2010

Top Dallas Wine Bars: 3 Lakewood Winners

by Samantha Shaddock

In a rather shocking turn of events, I have transitioned from being a beer person to being a wine person. I’m not sure how this happened, but I suspect it has something to do with moving to New York and meeting my husband. Yes, let’s blame him.

Anyway, I recently had the great pleasure of visiting three wine bars in Lakewood — not in the same evening, I assure you. Here’s my take.

Do you have a favorite wine bar? Let’s hear about it.