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Goodbye Marty! The voice of The Big Red Machine 

My first love was baseball....more specifically, The Cincinnati Reds. After moving from my hometown of Cincinnati to Cumberland,Md in 1970 it was harder to follow the Red Machine.

We moved to the Huntington area in 1976 and immediately my radio became glued to WGNT AM. My new favorite voices were Marty Brennaman and the ol' lefthander Joe Nuxhall. I listened to those guys almost every Summer night for the rest of the 70s. Countless times I heard Marty exclaim "And this one belongs to the Reds."

Joe passed in 2007 but Marty soldiered on...until his last game...today. In the 80s, my loves became music and beer, but I'd still flip on the game on my way home from work. Football became my favorite sport in the 90s, but I'd put the radio on AM every now and then and check on the guys.

In 2003, I took a job on the road and travelled over 750,000 the next decade. I began listening to Marty again as I drove at nights. I admit I haven't listened to the Reds much the last few years...but I am nostalgic about Marty's last game. Younger residents are thinking 'this ain't about Huntington.' But if you were around in the 70s, you know Huntington was Reds country. I believe Marty lives in Ashland, Ky now...so maybe we will see him at The WalMart lol....but I hope he gets to say "And this one belongs to The Reds" on the air one more time today. Thanks for the memories Marty!

Marty calls Pete Rose's 4192 hit

 

Interview with Marty 2013

White Castle and Beer: The Perfect Collaboration? 

 Harold and Kumar would be happy!  Well...not totally...but a little happier.  White Castle is not ready to sell legal pot but are taking a first step with their own beer.  It is not a secret that the delicious little sliders are even tastier once our taste buds have been altered with alcohol. 

So it only makes since that White Castle would cut out the middle man. 

Weyerbacher Brewing Company is planning to work it's way out of bankruptcy with a collaboration with regional fast-food chain White Castle. 

"We’ve got a lot of good stuff on the horizon,” chief operating officer Josh Lampe told Brewbound. “We did a pilot brew for them, a kölsch that they loved, so that’s gonna be the first beer. It goes well with burgers.” 

From Brewbound, "According to Lampe, Weyerbacher has teamed up with White Castle on a beer for draft inside the chains nearly 400 restaurants across its 13 state footprint, as well as for package at grocery stores in which frozen White Castle products are sold. The still-unnamed beer is expected to be the first of several releases." 

So why not...once beer expand into White Castle weed?  It is a natural.  White Castle basically admitted that the sliders are a stoner's favorite when they let their brand be featured in the partying classic Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle.  So when Illinois goes legal recreational...why not White Castle Weed?  White Castle's one stop party emporium.  The one stop party palace...beer and sliders under one roof.....Hey, Kumar....fill it up.  Harold...get me a slider! 

The Dinosaurs are staggering: The newspapers we loved are in danger 

     I was seven years old sitting out on our porch on Beechwood Drive in Cumberland, Maryland waiting for the newspaper man to bring me the box scores of the previous evening's baseball game.  Baseball might have been my first love, but newspapers were a close second.  This is another trait I inherited from my father.  He read the newspaper every evening after work.  When the Huntington Advertiser disappeared in 1979, three years after we moved to Huntington, West Virginia; we began reading the morning paper Herald-Dispatch. After he retired his mornings started with a cup of coffee and a newspaper.

     Baseball may have first hooked me up with the daily newspaper, but other features soon followed.  Of course, as a kid I loved the comics.  Even as an adult I loved Doonesbury and my all-time favorite Calvin and Hobbes.  I got into current events while I was in school.  As a twenty-something I loved the Entertainment section so I could see what was going on around me and where I wanted to go out socially.  As I get older, Local News has become my focus as I am now much more interested in what is going on in my community.  The television page was one of my favorites growing up so I could see what my favorite shows were going to be about that week.  Of course, as I moved out on my own, the coupons and store adds became important.

     Every town, I travelled to for fun or business, I picked up a local paper and learned about their communities.  In the 80's and 90's I would venture to Nick's News in Huntington and buy out of town newspapers like The New York Times and Cincinnati Enquirer.  Newspapers were the main way we found jobs and apartments.  I bought out of town newspapers when I thought about moving away and finding a job.  The newspapers were our Indeed.com because there was not an internet then.  The loss of the classified revenue has hurt newspapers as well over the years.

     All through my life, the newspaper has been there with me.  Paying the paper bill each month was as important as paying the water or electric bill.  The newspaper has now become like Puff The Magic Dragon or even better...a staggering dinosaur.  It's not that we do not love the newspaper anymore.  Like my other young love - baseball - we've changed.  While baseball just isn't fast enough for many of us anymore, the newspaper is not either.  Like baseball, the newspaper is not any slower - we have just become too fast and too demanding.  Just like many of us prefer the fast paced game of football to baseball, many of us want our news as it happens.  First our computers and now our cell phones alert us to breaking news.  If it happens at 3PM, we know about it now.  We do not have to wait until the paperboy delivers it to our porch the next day.

     In a sense, the news business has become like the music business.  People have become so used to getting the news online for free, they do not like to pay  for it.  I always prefer to have something tangible in my hands.  Just like I love the whole package of a CD and prefer it to downloads, I love to have the newspaper in my hands to savor the news.  

      It is getting harder and harder for newspapers to make money.  As newspapers attempt to go digital, they find that younger people are getting their news through social media where it is free.  Digital sales have not been as successful as print newspapers.  

According to an editorial in The Washington Post in late 2018, "In the U.S., weekday print circulation has shrunk from a high of nearly 60 million in 1994 to 35 million for combined print and digital circulation today — 24 years of decline. Advertising revenue has cratered, falling from $65 billion in 2000 to less than $19 billion in 2016. Newsroom employment fell nearly 40 percent between 1994 and 2014.'

    My local newspaper, The Herald-Dispatch has been hit hard.  A merger of the two leading hospitals, Cabell-Huntington Hospital and St. Mary's, led to an advertising revenue loss for the newspaper of about $500,000.  This led to the newspaper cutting The Entertainment Section out of the paper and laying off one of the area's favorite reporters, Dave Lavender.  Now, because of revenue loss, The Herald-Dispatch will no longer offer a print edition on Monday.  Of course, the paper is making proactive moves to keep from going out of business, but they are still staggering.  

     The staggering of local papers is very tragic.  Newspapers are not just the format, they are a style of reporting.  The reports offered by The Herald-Dispatch is much deeper than offered by the other methods of media reporting such as TV and radio.  If The Herald-Dispatch has to lay off more writers, the quality of the articles will suffer drastically. 

     The newspaper headline has always been an iconic part of our history.  We have learned many events through waking up and unfolding the morning paper.  It is hard to envision the newspaper not being around.  The newspaper has become a dinosaur in terms of distribution and getting the news to print, digital gets it there much faster.  The dinosaur may still be standing...but it is definitely staggering some.

From Sundaes to Sliders: The Evolution of The Food Truck 

     

     The food truck business is thriving in Huntington.  From the morning iced coffees of Grindstone Coffeeology to Truckin' Cheesy, Southside Sliders, and the newcomer Scootin' Noodles, hungry customers are lining up on the streets of Huntington.  Truckin' Cheesy and Southside Sliders have become staples of the late night scene on the weekends in Downtown Huntington.  After a few drinks at The Lantern, Hank's, or St. Mark's on Fourth Avenue, it is time to literally hit the streets for a Flamin' Philly, Hellbent Ham, Bangin' Burger, or one of the other delicious sandwiches at Truckin' Cheesy or a Godfather or Pony Express from Southside Sliders.  Abbey Shae Bakes even has put macaroons on wheels with flavors like Lucky Charms, Cotton Candy, Birthday Cake,Toasted Marshmallow, and many others.

     The food trucks not only appear on weekend nights but also pop up to serve a nice hot lunch for employees at hospitals, call centers, or other locations.  It is very convenient for an employee with just a half-hour or hour lunch to walk outside and step up to a truck and not have to worry about traffic, drive through windows, or travel time.  The food is also much better at an affordable price.  The trucks also pop up at local events around the city.

 

     The food trucks have evolved from the ice cream trucks of my day.  Unfortunately, there has not been a regular ice cream truck in our area for a while.  The ice cream man was once a familiar site through out our city and other cities and towns across the country.  The ding-ding of the ice cream truck brought kids and adults alike running for a cold treat on a hot day.

 

     In Huntington, Big Worm and King Cool kept us cool on a hot day for years but Big Worm's owner Michael Johnson passed away in February of 2017 and King Cool's Daniel Burbutis passed in April of 2019 leaving Huntington without the familiar sound of music from an ice cream truck.

     My love affair with the ice cream truck began in the late sixties on Cleander Drive in Cincinnati, Ohio.  I have great memories of being in my yard playing when I would hear Mister Softee and lose it.  Of course, I loved the creamy milk shakes but I loved the goofy coneheaded Mister Softee.  The ding of the ice cream truck was simple but must have been rooted in kids' nervous systems because I would hear it and lose all control.  A lot of my great memories of Mister Softee was because I was young.  when I was purchasing a Mister Softee sundae my mother, father, or brothers were always with me.  I have great memories of being in the yard playing with my family and stopping in mid-step at he sound of the ding.  Surrounded by people I love, I cooled down with Mister Softee.

      In 1976, we moved to Cumberland, Md.  The kids in our White Oaks neighborhood were very active. We would spend hours playing baseball, basketball, army, tag, hide and seek and any other active game we could come up with or invent. So it was only fitting that in the evening, we were treated to some sort of refreshment. ‘The Sno Cone Truck’ pervaded that cold, liquid refreshment. Frankly, I have never had a sno cone that tasted as good. Probably, because this was the sno cone of my youth and it is intertwined with memories. 

     The old white truck would come around every summer evening enticing kids with it’s bell or music. We would line up and try new flavors. Licorice was a favorite of mine. It was a daily ritual. We would be playing a game and then run to the truck. 

     When the energy crisis of ’74 hit, the sno cone man was forced to up his price from 15 cents to 25 cents. We thought that was steep and not worth the price. So we did what any other group of American children did, we boycotted the sno cone truck. Ahhhh, capitalism at work. We stood out and yelled boycott as the truck went by. Then quite thirsty, went back to our games. I remembered one of our friends, Shawn was very distraught and even ran home crying. The thought of never again getting the tasteful cold treat was just too much for him to bear. But the summer got hotter and we got awful thirsty and soon we were standing in line at the front of the sno cone truck. 

     One night after I had lived there a couple of years, I was playing in the yard at night with my dog Lucky. I heard a familiar ding from a few streets over.  It was kind of late as it was dark.  I walked and saw a truck a few streets over.  It was Mister Softee!  He never came to our street but when I could I would run over and enjoy what seems like magical ice cream. I only saw him a few times.  I never found out why he never came to our street. Ahhhh, the ice cream of our youth – how good does it taste in our minds.

     

    Mister Softee has over 625 trucks and over 350 franchise dealers operating in 18 states.  The cool conehead still rules the streets of Cincinnati.  His logo has not changed much over the years.  I haven't personally seen a Mister Softee truck in a very, very long time probably since my last trip to New York City but if I do...I'll be the crazy guy making a U turn in the middle of a crowded city streets...not just for the creamy taste...but for the memories that will come rushing back.  For now, if you see Truckin' Cheesy, Southside Sliders on a Saturday night in Downtown Huntington...look closely at the line...you may just see AJ Dawg and I. 

 

 

 

Mass shootings are spurred by mental illness 

     As the shock fades from the screaming headlines ....Wal-Mart Massacre (20 Dead) and 9 Dead in Ohio (Dayton), there will be more screaming of a different kind.  It is called the blame game and network news channels will become a game show network as the blame game is played over and over.  The usual topics will spring up.  Alex, I will take Terrorism for $200.  Racism for $1000 or $Gun Control for $2000.

     And of course, we can not forget the conspiracy theorists who will say neither shooting ever happened.  Trump.  We certainly cannot forget Trump.  There will be many who will say that the Texas shooting is on Trump.  Why?  Simply because it was by the Mexican border.  Of course, Trump and his wall is spurring hate and enticing people to kill Mexicans....right?  No...of course not. 

     Sure.  It may be a hate crime.  What is the real root of racism?  Alex, that would be mental illness.  We can say there are too many guns...BUT...if it was not for guns, then the problem would have been worse.  The Dayton shooter gunned down nine outside the bar...he headed inside to kill dozens more.  A cop prevented it.  A gun prevented more killings.  If a gun would have been inside of El Paso, twenty would not have died...but, we will here over and over and over....guns, guns, guns.

     Gun control will be the answer?  But, the obvious response to gun control is....making drugs illegal has done so well for stopping heroin and meth.  I mean, should we not have the drug epidemic because drugs are illegal?  The problem with mass killings and drug addiction...actually...all traces back to mental illness.  Addiction is often dual diagnosis.  Many times people are unknowingly self-medicating to solve mental problems.  Many times people are depressed or manic or have other conditions.  They know they are sick but they do not understand why or that it is treatable...so illegal drugs become their way out.

 

     In this hectic world we live in, mental illness runs rampant.  We need to start paying more attention to mental illness in schools.  And I am not simply saying psych drugs...because they can be part of the problem.  We just need to pay more attention to the prevention, the diagnosis, and treatment of mental illness.  Police need educated on how to identify and deal with.  Everyone in general needs to know how to deescalate someone who is showing signs of mental illness. Employers need to teach their employees skills in deescalating problems.  Most of the mass killings are work-related.  Mental illness is everywhere.  It can be treated.  It is when it is not treated that it spills over and becomes pure rage.  I work in the mental health industry at a mental health hospital.  I have seen miracles in a short-time.  It is when mental illness is untreated or someone gets off of their meds that it gets very dangerous.  One of the skills taught in the mental health field is how to cope with rage.

 

     So, in the midst of screams of hatred, gun control, racism...and everything else that is evil in this world...give mental illness a thought.  Think about how strengthing mental health and preventing mental breakdowns are the only true ways to prevent these type of tragedies.  There will always be that one gun even if you theoretically eliminate mental breakdowns.There are many ways to kill people and groups of people...limiting the methods to do that is not the way to solve the problem...the answer lies in understanding why people do it and to cure or control the mental illness that causes it.

 

A 'Cool' Summer: Bigfoot, UFO's, Sharks, and Baseball Fights 

     The weather has been hot but this has been the 'coolest' summer, I have seen since I was a kid growing up.  I remember the early 70's a going to my grandparents every July.  Flipping through the St. Louis paper I would see stories of Bigfoot and UFO's and then talk baseball with the biggest Cardinal fan of them all...my Grandpa Williams.  This was the era that The Big Red Machine was rolling and I was a boy born in Cincinnati in the year  Pete Rose was Rookie of The Year...so it should be no doubt what color of hat I was wearing.  Then, in the mid 70's "Jaws" took a chunk out of the Summer box office and sharks have owned the Summer ever since.

     Well, here we are smack dab in the middle of 2019 and our old buddy Bigfoot has raised his furry head again...this time in Mammoth Cave.  This time he drew gunfire.  A camper decided to go Bigfoot hunting and fired into the darkness.  Just like the Summer monster sightings decades ago, Bigfoot slipped away into the night.

     Even though the picture above was taken a few years ago, it has gone viral again as conspiracists are claiming evidence is being moved out of Area 51, Neveda ahead of the Storm Area 51 circus.  Yep, when millions of UFO fans go bursting into Area 51, they will find the flying saucers and little green men have been moved.  At any rate, UFO's and space men are back in the news...or is that fake news.  It's not the same as all of the anal probes by aliens in the 70's...it's funny now that we have phones with cameras we never have many close encounters...I guess the little boogers just don't want their pictures snapped.

 

Baseball was my first love...but like me the sport has become old and boring...but minutes after being traded now Indians slugger Yasiel Puig decided to make baseball fun again as he got in an oldtime style basebrawl.

     The sharks never really go away but they are making news without chomping on swimmers.  What would the Summer be without sharks? 

     Sharks have been sited off beaches at Wellfleet, Mass.

 

     Earlier this Summer, a tourist standing on a balcony caught this shark lurking next to swimmers at Myrtle Beach.

 

 

     Ahhhh...so there you have it: Bigfoot, UFO's, sharks, and brawls are making Summer 'cool' again.  Just when you thought the news was boring, the usual suspects from my youth are stirring things back up.

Life Lessons learned from Pete Rose 

 

 

   I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1963.  It was the same year Pete Rose was a rookie second baseman for the Cincinnati Reds.  Even though I moved twice in the seventies, I remained a Pete Rose and Reds fan. We give thieves, drug addicts, and other sinners second chances, so I steadfastly believe that my hero belongs in The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.  There are lessons that I have learned from Pete Rose's approach to playing baseball that followed me my whole life and I have applied them to work and other aspects of my life.

 

                                                                                       TEAMWORK

     Pete Rose was the ultimate teammate.  His unselfish style has made him a winner.  In his career, he won 1972 times.  That is way more wins than anyone in any sports.  Pete is the only player in Major League Baseball history to play more than 500 games at five different positions.  He played 939 games at first base, 628 games at second base, 634 games at third base, 671 games in left field, and 595 games in right field.

     Whatever role his team asked him to transfer to, Pete accepted with willingness and determination.  He learned his new position and worked hard until he was one of the best at that position.  In 1975, he made the tough transition from left field to third base so that George Foster could play everyday in left field.  Foster became a force in the Reds lineup.  With him playing regularly the Reds won World Championships in 1975 and 1976.  Foster hit 52 home runs in 1977.  This was made possible by Rose unselfishly moving into the infield.

 

 

                                                                                           POSITIVE OUTLOOK

     Pete Rose always saw things with a positive outlook.  Being positive all the time is one of the hardest things for me to do.  I catch myself being negative a lot and have to force myself to follow Pete's example.  He always saw things like everything was going to fall in line and he was going to win.  In fact, he hates the way negativity has taken over the game and our lives.  Pete said, "A player can hit two home runs and a double in a game and get a ticket for running a red light on the way home.  The paper headlines the next day will read, "Player runs red light."  Things are just negative today."

     Former Red Dave Collins said this about Rose, "After waiting three months, I remembered starting that first game as a Red. During batting practice I was in Rose's group. "He said, 'Oh, you’re playing tonight.' I said, 'Yeah, I’m going to get four hits tonight.' He said, 'What if you get up five times?' 'Hmm, that (answer) didn’t work,'" Collins thought. "The point he made to me was a tremendous point … Don’t settle for a good night when maybe you could have a great night or a perfect night. Here’s a guy who didn’t run well, didn’t throw well, didn’t have a good swing," but Rose had intangibles like a great attitude. 

Known as Charlie Hustle, "everything he did was full speed. How can you be around a guy every single night and he never says a negative thing about himself or anybody else? …. I tried to apply it to my own life. Here’s a guy who did something most people said he would never do … make it to the Major Leagues." The all-time MLB leader in hits "did it with his intangibles. That was the biggest hurdle – I had to believe in myself."

 

                                                                                                 DRIVE

 

     Pete Rose has a level of intensity that made him the best.  It is a drive that helps inspire my work ethic.  In 1985, the LA Times said this about Pete Rose  in the article "Pete Rose, Just Average in Natural Ability, Makes It on Drive, Hard Work and Hustle".  

"A scrappy little ballplayer named Pete Rose was nothing special in high school. 

"Pete was still pretty small, a 5-foot 8-inch, 150-pound football player. That's why not too many baseball scouts were interested in him," says Eddie Brinkman, one of Rose's childhood chums from the Cincinnati public school system. 

"But Pete just decided he was going to make himself into a great player and did." 

His dad, Harry, had a lot to do with it, too, teaching the youngster the meaning of the word drive. 

Today, Rose's love for baseball has kept him sliding head first through 23 major league seasons, including nearly 2,000 winning games, more than any other major leaguer in history. 

And his intensity as a hitter has kept him churning toward Ty Cobb's magical all-time hit mark of 4,191. 

"Pete is a self-made person," said Paul Nohr, his high school baseball coach. "What he's done has been through hard work, hard practice and hustle. 

"Pete will tell you this: he was an average ballplayer," said Nohr, who coached 11 eventual major leaguers, including Rose, at Western Hills High School. "He was not exceptional. 

"I don't think there's any question that his desire is what put him ahead. And one of the big influences on Pete was his dad." 

"Charlie Hustle" calls his father, who died of a heart attack in 1970, the "King of Hustle." A banker, Harry Rose played semipro football in Cincinnati during his '40s with the same determination and zest that burn in his son today. 

"One day my father broke his hip on a kickoff and then tried to crawl down the field and make a tackle," Rose wrote in his book on hitting. "That's dedication. Another night I saw him coming off a field with a knot in his arm as big as a softball. He took a handkerchief, put three pieces of ice in it, tied it to his arm, went back in and made an interception on the next play. 

"Dedication was not something I read about. I lived with it."

 

I work seventy  and eighty hours a week.  Whatever I have to do, I do.  I believe I have the work ethic I learned from following Pete Rose to thank for this.

                                                                                                   ATTITUDE

 

     Pete Rose was unstoppable because he had the attitude that he was unstoppable.  He was never the fastest, strongest, or smartest... but he believed he was.  In my best moments in sports, I was able to tap into this attitude.  I had the only two hits for my team in a game in Little League by just willing myself too.  I climbed into the batter box in my best imitation Pete Rose stance and kept telling myself over and over, "It can be done and I'm going to do it."  I have done the things I am most proudest of in my life by just telling myself that I was going to do it.

     In the 2016 Cincinnati Enquirer article "Glory Days: Pete Rose's competitive drive was always there", Mark Schmetzer wrote, "““The coaches on both sides were excellent coaches,” said Tom Weber, who played for Elder and on the powerhouse Bentley Post American Legion baseball teams. “What I recall the most was Western Hills was a good team, but not a great team. We beat them every year, and the guy we concentrated on more – the guy we felt like we had to keep off the bases – was Eddie Brinkman. Pete was always hustling, always running, but he wasn’t a standout by any means.  I do remember him as having the reputation – at least to us guys at Elder – as being a better football player. That was his sport. He would run through a wall. That was his overall attitude.”

     Pete's teammate on The Big Red Machine, Joe Morgan, once said this about him, ""Pete's what every player ought to be.  In Pete's mind, every game is a World Series game. I wish everyone had Pete's attitude toward the game. And it's a thrill just to be on the same field with him."

     There are times at work when I think I just want to go home.  Then, I think of what I learned from Pete Rose.  His attitude inspired me.  He would run out ground balls and walks.  Every at bat was important in Pete's mind.  His attitude was his hustle.  He hustled in everything he did because that was the attitude he faced life with.  

     Even in games that did not count, like The 1970 All-Star game...Pete never gave up.  He slammed his buddy Ray Fosse, who he just had dinner with the night before, in a fiery collision at home plate.  Pete played to win...no matter how big or small the game was.

 

                                                                           CONCLUSION

 

     Pete Rose taught me to believe in my self, to never give up, and to believe in teamwork.  He was baseball's all-time hit leader with 4,256.  More than that, he taught a whole generation of kids to love the game of baseball and that you did not have to be the most talenterd to win.  Pete Rose was not born great...he made himself great through hard work and sheer attitude.  I have learned valuable life lessons from following his career.  I hope Pete Rose gets in the Hall of Fame in his lifetime...and also in mine.  The little skinny kid in me that did not believe in himself wants to see Pete Rose inducted in The Hall of Fame.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                         

 

Company morale can boost or hinder productivity 

     Excessive employee absences and a high employee turnover rate are symptoms of a low company morale.  When morale is high, co-workers work together and the customer service provided by the team spurs company productivity and ultimately, company profits.  When morale bottoms out, the misery spills over and negatively affects the goods and services provided by the company.

     Wages and salary are not always the biggest factor in determining if workers are satisfied.  If an employee is being paid below the standard wage for his performance, then he or she may eventually leave for more money.  But higher wages will not always guarantee that workers will stay.

     Often, a company pays competitive wages or higher salaries and assumes that employees will stay at their job.  The company is then shocked when talent drifts away.  Valuable talent can be retained if businesses will monitor and attempt to boost company morale.

 

                                                                          THE POWER OF TEAMWORK

     Teamwork can obviously make a team more successful or a lack of teamwork can sink any team.  Morale strengthens teamwork and drives each member to increase their efforts.  A low morale leads to poor contributions from team members who will likely use their energy by gossipping, backstabbing, and other negative forces that negatively impact teamwork and productivity.

     When working toward my Master's Degree in Training and Development at Marshall University, I learned to use systems management to analyze the chain of productivity and to troubleshoot where productivity may be breaking down.  As I have also seen in my over twenty years of management experience, when departments do not work together....low morale is usually the culprit.

 

     Morale is the grease that lubricates the engine of productivity.  It allows productivity to flow from department to department and ensures the engine is running well.  When the productivity is not flowing well, it can often be traced back to negative attitudes that affect morale.  

 

     Poor morale causes employees to just focus on their own responsibilities.  Their tunnel vision causes them to not focus on overall company goals and focus solely on their owned defined responsibilities or quite simply...'what they have to do to get by.'  When company services call for different parts of the company engine to work together, the oil (morale) can hinder the flow of company productivity and cause the engine to sputter.

                                                          EXCESSIVE ABSENCES AND HIGH TURNOVER

 

     Repetitive absences and employees leaving the company cause a workforce to be understaffed.  This creates a vicious circle....poor morale leads to call-ins and to people quitting their jobs which again leads to lower company morale.  The chain never stops, it keeps re-enforcing negative attitudes.

 

     Training dollars add up fast when high turnover produces the necessity of constant hiring.  A good, experienced employee not only knows how to perform the required job duties but also has often built a relationship with his company's regular customers.  It would make sense that a company would invest to keep its' experienced employees.

 

     Often, the investment does not require money.  A good leader invests time and empathy.  He lets his followers know they are valued and cared about.  A company that is always working shorthanded can be helped by good leadership.  If a good leader such as a CEO or upper administrative member would don the company uniform and go in on a Sunday afternoon or another shift where there are excessive call-offs and help out the short crew, the results could be astounding.  The leader would become a legend.  First, they would be showing empathy and regard for employee safety, not to let them work shorthanded.  It would also show workers how much their absences effect things.  The employee may think, "Wow!  I didn't work and it hurt my company so bad my CEO had to work and I know he has much more important things to do than do my job."

 

     A supervisor once went into his business to see how things  were going.  When he was told the business were understaffed and the staff were not getting breaks, the salaried supervisor neglected to help.  If the supervisor had relieved just one employee, the company grapevine would have been ripe with buzz of how he cared and looked out for his employee.  Instead, the incident became negative fodder saying that he did not care.  So, what could have been an opportunity to increase morale, likely became an event that lowered it.

 

         "WORKERS LEAVE MANAGERS, NOT COMPANIES"

 

when morale gets low enough, people may leave on their own.  Most workers quit bosses, not jobs.  Many workers may get frustrated and blame the boss.  It may be because they feel the boss picks on them or it may be that there just is not any leadership skills in the boss. While it is always great for morale to promote from within, the managers need to make sure the new manager is a good fit for company morale.  Sometimes, a person 'who does not play well with other children' is promoted.  While this person may have been good in another position, they may not have the skills for a position with a different skill set.

     Dr. Lawrence Peter came up with a management philosophy in the 1970's called The Peter Principle.  The Peter Principle  "is an observation that the tendency in most organizational hierarchies, such as that of a corporation, is for every employee to rise in the hierarchy through promotion until they reach a level of respective incompetence."  What the theory stated was that the skills that made Joe a good car washer were different than those required to make Joe a good car washer manager.  In order to be a good manager, Joe has to be able to communicate well.  Joe would have to be able to prioritize well.  Joe would need to be a team player who works well with others.  If Joe is seen as a "rat" or a person who tries to get others in trouble but is promoted because he makes the cars shine...well....in the long run, it is likely Joe will bring down company morale and cause people to leave.  If the atmosphere has always been one that the managers worked well as team players and Joe comes in and tries to micromanage, the chances are morale will be effected and so will productivity.

     My father, Melvin Williams, was a General Plant Manager for CSX in Huntington and managed a shop with over 600 employees.  Dad always referred to the products being managed as widgets.  It does not matter if it is apples or services such as dog sitting.  What matters is how you manage people.  He said 'if you can not manage and get along with people, then it does not matter how much you know about your product, making your product, or providing that service, you are going to fail."

      Some people have a natural aversion to change.  As we all know, change is often necessary.  Sometimes, when a new manager is brought in from outside of the organization, they will change things because they have had success in the past and they naturally want to use what worked for them in the past.  That is great and is why the person was brought in to start with but the person has to make sure that the change is not personal.  They first need to come in and accept their employees as people.  The employees have often been there a while and have done things a certain way, so it is human nature for these employees to be scared.  They may think they are going to be replaced.  I have seen managers not personally introduce themselves to their workers.  This often makes the worker think the manager does not care for them as people.  Incoming managers need to validate their new employees.  They need to let them know that the manager does care about them and is excited to work with them and is open to their input.

 

     Probably the biggest reason why morale sinks and employees quit is that there is not any growth or they do not feel any creative value.  Employees that are allowed some input or where there ideas are appreciated will be happier and will stay.  This is particularly true during a managerial change but is also true in any circumstances.  Employees do not always leave because of more money, they often leave because there is not any personal growth or they feel like there skills are not valued.

I know of a manager who came into a situation and even micromanaged when breaks were taken.  This was not done out of necessity but just a whim of the manager.  The employees did not like this because this was a person they had worked with and they thought the manager was trying to control them.  They had break times that they had taken for years and they thought this manager was "trying to show who is boss."  This may have not exactly been the case.  The manager felt like people in different departments were taking breaks at same time.  But the new manager lacked the communication and people skills to 'sell' this idea to the employees.  It effected the morale, that effected productivity, that effected the profits....that "lived in the house that Jack built" (an analogy).

It is good for meetings to discuss and implement new policies and areas that need improvement.  New managers and managers, in general, need to watch sending out too many negative group emails.  These group emails may contain important messages but the manager needs to realize that too many of these cast the manager in a negative light which leads to people quitting perceived bad bosses which usually starts with detrimental call-ins, low morale, which leads to lower productivity, which leads to lower profits,....that lived in the house that Jack built.  Now, these issues may need to be addressed but the manager may be better off addressing these issues individually with the people that are causing the issues.  A manager has to realize that if a person does not know them well and they are constantly sending them negative messages about things that they do not even do, then the manager is going to be as the one having a negative attitude and that will lower morale.

 

                                                                                             ANSWERS?

 

     In order to keep morale up, is necessary for there to be communication between administration and employees.  The employees need to realize and feel that their contributions are valued and the administration not only knows who they are  but cares about who they are.  Employees will stay longer idf they feel like their ideas and creative abilities are appreciated.  Positive emails should replace frequent negative emails.  When managers and administration visit the workplace, they should recognize the positive as well as the negative.  The old adage "catch someone doing something right' becomes valuable.  If a company does have a system where good effort is recognized by email or cards, they should make sure that it is fair.  They should make sure it is used and used properly.  If one group is constantly recognized but another department is never mentioned, then this system designed to have a positive effect on morale, may have the opposite intended negative effect.

 

                                                                                             CONCLUSION

 

     Constant costly call-ins and high turnover that cause staffing to be understaffed and possibly even unsafe can possibly be avoided if a company is aware of and effectively monitors company morale.  Often, it does not take a big event to positively or negatively impact morale, often the factors that impact morale are small things like the way employees are talked to or if they are even talked to at all.  Sometimes, if administration treats employees the way employees are expected to treat the customers they serve, the attitude will roll downhill.  A company needs to monitor group communication and try as much as possible to restrict negative or threatening messages to those who the message directly pertains to.  A company that pays attention to morale will see happier employees which lead to better attitudes which lead to better morale which leads to higher productivity which leads to higher profits...all in the house that Jack built.

 

  

Fear of ATMs 

I had never heard of going to the ATM machine and it taking the money out of the account but the person does not get the money. It has happened twice to me in the last month as Desco on 6th Avenue and it has also jappened to a co-worker of mine in the last month.

Eventually, the person gets the money back but it can be very inconvenient. For me, it happened on a weekend this last time which made it worse because the process does not start until it is posted on Tuesday. I filed a grievence. It will be resolved in 1 to 10 business days. My bank grants a temporary credit but my friend's bank didn't. And if you get the maxium amount out, then it freezes the account for the day.

I work long hours so I use the ATM regularly. I used it all of the time for years when I was on the road. Now, I am afraid about using the ATM tomorrow morning. What is the phobia for fear of ATMs?