Saturday, July 24, 2010

Why do all the pretty girls flirt with me now that I’m married?

Jack, a thirty-something former co-worker, has been married for two years. He recently stated, “Now that I wear a wedding ring pretty girls flirt with me all the time whereas when I was single and ring less they wouldn’t give me the time of day.”

He has surmised women like a challenge and prefer stealing a married man to dating a single guy.

It is true women do like a challenge, but I know Jack and frankly when he was single he was obnoxious. He came on way too strong and scared many a girl off, forcing them to be rude when he wouldn’t take the hint. Now, that he is married and less desperate they are more comfortable being nice to him. Sometimes, I think guys misread girls who are just being nice for flirting.

In Penelope Trunk's blog workplace situations we don't talk about Penelope discusses, "Not knowing whether a meeting is a date." Personally, I have encountered this dilemma once when I was single and once after I was married. In both situations, I thought I was being nice and not flirting. In both situations, I think the guy thought otherwise.

David attempts to enlighten women with this comment he left on Penelope's post:

Dinner "date," or not??
I'm going to lose my "playa" card for telling you this, but most men like to keep their options open no matter what even when they're married. Ladies, your man will deny every word of this so don't ask… Anyway, men are hunters by nature. The smarter hunters, not only do we sharpen our weapons daily, we also love to fill the forest with traps just in case we have a bad hunting day/week/month/year.

Examples of traps would be one on one lunch/after-hours meetings. We set up small "meetings" to get a good lay of the land (no pun intended). The tendency is to set up small friendly meetings sometimes cloaked in business agendas, but placed in more intimate settings so that you let down your guard to coax you out of your business mind and reveal more of who you really are. If it leads to something, then great, but we usually don't expect anything to happen on the first run…some of us get off on the control and others use it to set up the chase. And for others it’s the control and the chase.

So my advice, just assume it's the set up every time, especially if they know you are single. There are random men who don't have this ulterior motive in mind, but that would be 1-2% of the time…they are the exception to the rule.

To those who disagree adamantly with me here…It may sound seedy, but once you accept that humans are sexual beings and realize that true unwavering fidelity is a figment of your imagination placed upon you by the lifelong marketing of marriage. Then you'll not be so devastatingly shocked when someone disappoints you in the future. Everyone cheats in their mind…it's the ones that act that give us entertainment for our reality TV show curiosity.
The bottom line is: Be careful what messages you are sending/receiving when you communicate with the opposite sex in the workplace. Conversation and behavior that crosses the professional line can only lead to problems.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Can passion exist without mastery?

On Ramit Sethi's blog post finding the right idea, I came across the following passage on passion:
But as Cal Newport puts it, passion happens when you master something:

“…passion is the feeling generated by mastery. It doesn’t exist outside of serious hard work. When Scott’s readers say “I have too many passions,” what they really mean is “I have lots of superficial interests.” When my readers complain that their major is not their passion, what they really mean to say is “I don’t have a level of mastery in this field that is earning me recognition.”

Passion for my chosen career is something I think about quite often. After years of accounting classes, studying for, taking and passing the CPA exam, and 11 years working as an Accounting Manager for a small local company, I no longer feel passionate about my work. When I think back on it, my pursuit of an accounting career was more about a path to earn a living wage and to prove I could do it, than it ever was about my passion for accounting.

If I had a more impressive accounting resume would I be more passionate?
In this economy, recruiters are the first to point out my deficiencies: I don’t have an accounting degree (I have a business degree), I don’t have public accounting experience preferably with the Big 4, and I’ve never worked for a large company. If I had all of these accomplishments would I be more passionate? Maybe, but then again maybe not.

I am on the board of a local professional organization. At our latest planning meeting, I found myself engaged as I listened to other member’s ideas as we planned our strategy for the upcoming year, but the minute we began discussing the budget I shut down no longer interested. It’s not that I don’t think the budget is important; I’m just not that interested in a 10 minute discussion about whether a $25 line item should be called miscellaneous expense.

My real strength lies in learning; all of the appropriate accounting experience is not going to make me more passionate if I’m no longer learning. I can be analytical and have attention to detail, but I have to work at it. I think:

“True passion exists when you are utilizing your strengths.”
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Can passion exist without mastery? Are you passionate about your chosen field? If not, is there anything you do to try to inspire more passion?

Monday, July 05, 2010

Jacquelyn Mitchard, a smart accomplished author, loses everything to Ponzi scheme. How can this happen?

Jacquelyn Mitchard, the Wisconsin author best known for her novel The Deep End of the Ocean (Oprah's first book club pick), is the victim of a Ponzi scheme.

In Parade Mitchard writes:
Four years earlier, we’d invested with two Minneapolis 'investment specialists' who did currency arbitrage and other, less risky investments. (My husband) had discovered them on a local radio show. I had my doubts—one of them wore a toupee you could see from Saturn. But I couldn't argue with what their portfolio seemed to say. Now, suddenly, our money had vanished.
The question everyone is asking is, “How can this happen? Jacquelyn Mitchard is a smart accomplished author. How could she be duped into losing everything?

Mitchard was not alone:
The international Ponzi scheme masterminded by Trevor Cook, a Minneapolis trader bilked over 1,000 investors out of millions of dollars. His business partner Pat Kiley was a nationally syndicated radio host, whose show was carried on more than 200 radio stations nationwide, including the Worldwide Christian Radio network. He told his listeners he was a Christian. The pair duped victims into making allegedly safe, high-yield foreign currency investments that turned out to be neither. Instead the money was used instead to pay off gambling debts, underwrite a lavish lifestyle, and purchase a mansion.

Why would so many people turn over their life savings to these scam artists? What can investors do to protect themselves from these schemes?”

Kiley’s radio show and claim of being a Christian gave investors a feeling of confidence and legitimacy. I chose my own financial planner from a radio program that airs here in Milwaukee.

We must perform our due diligence. Steer clear of tips from your neighbor, going in with someone you know and guaranteed rates of return.

Clark Howard, whose show I listen to regularly, recommends hiring a fee only financial planner:
In general, people don’t know what to buy and how to invest. They end up hiring commissioned salespeople, who sometimes don’t do what’s best for you. Some stockbrokers are not ‘fiduciaries,” which means they must do what’s right for you financially. So, they can recommend stocks just because it will make them money. There are also very honest, above board brokers who will do the best they can for you. It’s just hard to tell. Clark recommends that you pay for advice if you’re having questions. You don’t have to hire the person to actually invest for you. But just giving advice can help you make your own decisions. Clark likes people to interview 5 people about investments. Ask them how long they’ve been in the business. Check out financial planners at You will find fee-only financial planners there.
Contact the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) hotline at (800) 289-9999 for more information about firms and their registered representatives

If your brokerage firm is legitimate your money will be held by an outside holding company, not with your brokerage firm. These outside firms audit your brokerage firm and provide your account statements. The victims of the Cook/Kiley Ponzi scheme received their monthly statements directly from the firm. Each month these statements showed a modest gain; all of them were fraudulent. (My brokerage firm uses Pershing.)

Invest in what you know, diversify and get a second opinion:
What is a foreign currency exchange? I googled “Vantage Foreign Currency Exchange” (supposedly this is the investment the victims were sold) nothing came up. Don’t put your entire life savings in an investment you can’t find on Google. If you are skeptical of an investment get a second opinion.
The less you know about investing the more you need to diversify.
Warren Buffett
For another take on this topic read Grace's Financial Failure can happen to Anyone.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

A Tasty Summer Drink

My sister-in-law likes a good cosmo drink, so I decided to serve them at our summer party. I was contemplating whether to purchase a pre-mixed ready to drink cocktail when a fellow shopper startled me by saying, “Don’t buy that. It’s disgusting.” He then shared his favorite cosmo recipe:

1 ounce triple sec
1 ounce orange vodka
1 ounce vodka
A splash Rosie’s lime juice
Cranberry juice to your liking.

Shake with ice, chill then pour into a Martini glass.

I sampled one last night and I must admit it was very tasty.