Archive for ‘Welcome’

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 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 14, 2010

Cat Boarding in Dallas: Yea, or No Way?

by Samantha Shaddock

The spousal unit and I recently faced a tough decision: whether to board the feline member of our family or ask my parents to commit to a week’s worth of pilling, feeding and coddling.

Up to one day before we were to drop Simon off at the animal hospital (owing to a chronic medical condition, his doctor recommended he stay separate from the general pet population), we were comfortable leaving him in the hands of vets and technicians. However, upon taking a tour of the facility, our confidence in this plan evaporated.

Cats, dogs, and a rooster sat in small cages stacked on top of one another, and we feared that our beloved fellow would be not only stressed out by this proximity to species other than his own, but also exposed to pathogens from the adjoining hospital. In fairness, this particular facility adheres to the pet-boarding guidelines laid out by the American Animal Hospital Association. However, given that Simon takes prednisone daily for his immune mediated hemolytic anemia, we worried he’d be susceptible to whatever diseases his neighbors might have had. Plus, we feared he’d be depressed staying for a week in such a small box.

We begged my parents to look after him instead, and they graciously agreed to do so. They fulfilled this responsibility admirably, and we returned to Dallas to find him healthy and seemingly happy. I will forever be in their debt for keeping him.

So I ask you: Have you ever boarded a cat in Dallas, and if so, how would you rate that experience?

November 25, 2010

Living Lightly in Dallas

by Samantha Shaddock

Peak Oil Hausfrau has published this list of ways to live lightly (i.e. reduce your household’s carbon emissions). As a renter, some of these ideas aren’t feasible for me — I’d love to have my way with the insulation in this house, xeriscape the lawn (particularly given Texas’ climate), plant more trees, etc., but that’s up to my landlord. However, plenty of these tips are applicable for everyone. My favorites:

  • Saving the “warm-up” water from your shower for watering plants
  • Buying in bulk to reduce packaging waste
  • Donating useful goods to charities rather than tossing them in the trash
  • Using shampoo, conditioner and makeup more sparingly
  • Wearing layers and using blankets and lowering the thermostat in the winter

While saving the planet is a worthy goal, it’s also important to note, as Patton does, that many of these changes also save money.

<RANT>Frankly, that’s the message I think environmental activists in Texas need to focus on. The average person here may very well resent consultants from Seattle or Portland waltzing into Dallas under the assumption that those cities are better than Dallas by virtue of being “green” — and that everyone here shares that assumption. Groups that support adding bike lanes and expanding the DART system would be better served by promoting the life- and money-saving benefits of alternative transportation. Commuting by train lessens wear and tear (and costly repairs) on your car, and it reduces your risk of being mowed down by a meth-crazed truck driver on LBJ. Riding your bike or walking to the grocery store lowers your monthly gasoline bill — and builds exercise into your day (read: you can cancel your expensive gym membership, and you could save on health expenses, too). Call me crazy, but I think Dallas residents are more apt to listen when money is at stake.  </RANT>

Anyway, I’d love to hear what steps you and your families are taking to live lightly in Dallas.