Highs and Lows

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Ms Hulis Mavruk Black Artwork

I begrudgingly worked for a prominent insurance company for 2 years. It had highs and lows. I was taking a gap year from Stony Brook University.  However, in my twenties we didn’t call it a “gap year.”  There was no cute term for leaving school or taking a break from school.  I was tired of working 3 jobs and being a “broke college student” so I chased the money and I chose the industry that my mother worked in.   I liked the company when I first started but as time passed it became stale.  The main attraction to the position was the money I was making and the annual profit share.  On another note, I was in a relationship and admittedly I was more focused on that. Young and dumb, the man I was with at the time had a driving restriction.  Trying to literally be a “ryde or die,” I would pick him up in the mornings and bring him to work on my way to my job.  Some mornings it was pretty tight trying to get us both to corporate positions that both carried a dependability clause. That basically means…”If you can’t get your ass to work on time, you’re fired.”  I was on a written warning and on a rainy day/snooze my alarm 2-3 times day/traffic/ can’t find a parking space day, I arrived to work a critical 9 minutes late.  Well, it took a few weeks to notice but shortly after presenting me with an award for my call quality and after receiving a congratulatory email from my supervisor for being a “team player” I was called into the main conference  room. I remember feeling incredibly calm.  My supervisor and my manager told me they had no choice but to “part our professional ways.”  They asked if I had any questions and I told them I didn’t. I stood and shook their hands and wished them both an early Happy Mothers Day.

My mother isn’t big on “Hallmark holidays.”  Yet, being fired for the first time seemed more of a failure because it happened the Friday before Mother’s Day.  How in the hell was I going to tell her?  My parents got divorced my freshman year in college. When I left school, I moved back home with my mother and baby sister. We would lean on one another a lot. We sometimes would affectionately call our trio “The Three Musketeers.”  It had highs and lows. This was going to be a low.  My mom was reliable and responsible.  She was learning how to fit into a fairly new role.  I was supposed to be a help and not a hindrance. I felt guilty, careless, and ashamed. So I chose to omit my termination.

This is where there is some pixelation in my memory reel.  I don’t remember how my mother found out I was no longer working but she did. What I do remember is her acceptance.  I remember her reminder that this was a temporary setback and I would quickly find something else.  She didn’t remind me of all the sacrifices she made for my sister and I.  She didn’t shove private school bills in my face.  She definitely didn’t tell me I ruined her Mother’s Day.  She simply moved on.  Many of us can forgive but forgetting is the true challenge.  Many of us try to provide everything our children want and need but we have a cerebral calculation of every dime spent and every minute served. Parenting is about highs and lows. 

Thank you to a mother that came to every concert.  Thank you for buying patterns and sewing Halloween costumes and dance costumes.  Thank you for exposing me to Broadway plays.  Thank you for a standing hair appointment beginning at age 3.  Thank you for the lows too.  You taught me how to survive them.  How to be strong.  How to pray before I speak.  How to think with my heart and ignore the noise. How to ask for help.  How to try to come to terms with the things I cannot change and still don’t fully understand.  Thank you, Mom, every day.

 

By: Shaun Liriano

 

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Don’t Snooze The Alarm

Just smile.jpgIt happens every year.  New years resolutions, dream boards/vision lists, gratitude jars, and planners.  We are bombarded with ways to make the new year count.  “New year new me” is a popular headline.  Social media timelines are inundated with new looks and haircuts and matching pajama sets. We sync into the idea of needing a “fresh start.”

How necessary is this?

If you simply don’t snooze the alarm and you answer the alerts the Creator is giving you daily, can’t you make the most out of every day?  Can’t you make each day productive and prosperous and consequently become a new version of yourself?  My 5 year old has a habit of saying, “I trust my promise.”  We used to correct her. Now we’ve adapted to it. We all say it now.  It means, I’m giving you my word and I know you’re trusting in me to keep it.  We have to teach our children the importance of responsibility.  There are times when there is no one to blame and no one to point a finger at.  You are responsible for the way you respond to situations and you are responsible for doing what you say you will do.

Lets be really REAL for a moment.  You know there are about 5 things you could have responded to differently this week.  There are at least 5 times you could have ignored the trolls and the nuisances. There are at least 5 times you could have stayed focused on your goals. There are at least 5 customer acquisitions you could have made. There were 5 new followers you could have had in the grocery store or the nail salon this week. Each day could have been “new day, new you.”

You fail all the time but you aren’t a failure until you start blaming someone else.-Bum Phillips (football coach)

I posted on Instagram in December that I will be posting on ShaunLiriano.com once a week and/or releasing a new YouTube video once a week. Why?

Calling:  The intentional use of our specific gifts to influence God’s kingdom.-Mike Todd

What you do is bigger than you! Every person you come in contact with is an opportunity to make an impact.  Furthermore, I do not delete old posts.  Why?  Transparency is important! Yes, you used to curse like a sailor.  Yes, you used to drink like a fish Sis!  Bruh, you were “sexually free” allllllllll through college! Share your story and stop letting the devil delight in exposing the things you keep trying to hide so you can seem self righteous.

Finally, humble yourself. Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do. Realize that you are flawed.  If you didn’t get that raise, what could you have done better?  If your child isn’t flourishing academically, what can you implement at home to strengthen their scholastic confidence? This one is good -> -> -> -> If there are aspects of your life that you skimmed through and you half-assed, can you revisit them and do them right? Can you be more mature?  Can you submit in your marriage more?  Can you submit in your Faith more?  When’s the last time you read a book?

Discern the difference between daily goals and annual goals and Don’t Snooze the Alarm!

By: Shaun Liriano

IG: @ShaunLProductions

Check out my newest You Tube video:

 

(Breathe)

It happens in every film.  It happens in every piece of literature.  It’s that moment when your back is against the wall.  You don’t know what else to do. You’re frozen and you can’t even breathe. 
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You’re exhausted. There is barren land where hope used to grow.  Home is a faraway place that only exists in your memory. Maybe money is keeping you captive (or lack thereof.) Maybe someone is chasing you.
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You had a plan. You executed it to the best of your ability. There was cause and effect. Desire fuels you. You stand there at the end of the line. You fought, you ran, but you have been cornered. There is nothing left to do.

No proverbial bullets left in the chamber…

You take a deep breath…

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…and you say, “Here goes nothing!”

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You take a chance at landing on your feet.  You take a “leap of faith” and all the while you are still holding your breath.  You have no idea what the outcome will be but you know what proceeded this trial.  You know you can fail.  You know this can be fatal.  What choice did you have? Fight or flight right? Some don’t understand your decision. Some don’t understand your loyalty. Some don’t understand your commitment or lack thereof. 

What happens if you stand and fight? What happens if you win? What happens if you claim your prize now? Do you deserve it? Did you earn it? Did you really do your best? Did you sacrifice? If it doesn’t “make you stronger” and it kills you, what will your legacy be? Do the people you love feel loved?

Are your feet bleeding from running, jumping, hiding? Are your legs sore? What if you stood in a fighting stance, left lead, fast jab and pursued your predators diligently?

Do you know?

Why don’t you find out?

(Breathe)

Ready? Set. Stand. Fight.

-SMN

“Is There Anything Else I Can Do To Assist You?” (Shout Out to Customer Service Professionals)

Dedicated to my grandmother and my uncle who both retired from the phone company

Every writer has one article,post,paper, entry, song, etcetera that could end their relationship, terminate a friendship or land them on the unemployment line. This is that post! Oh well… *#yolo!

I am writing this as a tribute to my ex co-workers, current co-workers, and telephonic customer service representatives everywhere! Clock out personal. Take your headsets off, put the coffee/ red bull/ 5 hour energy down and read this for 3-4 minutes. Consider it your meditation for the day!

This post is a tribute to customer service representatives who work in call center environments. It is time that we shed some light on a typical workday:

Get up, bathe, throw clean clothes on (no need to dress too extravagant because our clients never see us), put your hair into a headset friendly style (my Afro doesn’t do too well in this category) , commute, grab something portable for breakfast (usually this is caffeine of some sort and a carbohydrate like a bagel and cream cheese) then clock in right on time for your shift. Usually I’m exhausted before my day even begins! I wake up tired. I dream fatigue! However, here’s the thing: When you call in to your phone company because you were charged for 12 extra minutes on your cellular bill and you’re irate and you “want to speak to a manager” or you call your cable company because it’s a hail storm outside and you can’t watch Love and Hip Hop and you’re irate and you “want to speak to manager ” or you call your auto insurance company because you had a DWI and your rate went up and you’re irate and you “want to speak to a manager” …It is my job to sound like Minnie Mouse on the phone and tell you how I live to satisfy your needs because I “appreciate your business.”

The problem with that is the fact that I am indeed…contrary to the customers and employers belief …I am a human being. That means that I more than likely have a family, some responsibilities, a partner, dreams, and a healthy dose of dysfunction. I am not allowed to deal with those basic volatile needs because my job is to cater to the customer. However, this post is an appeal to a customers better nature. When you call in to a 1800 number and you request a rep, keep a few things in mind:

1. That rep speaks to 50-80 of you a day

2. If your request is ridiculous (and I bet you 1 hours pay that it is) , that rep is going to mute the phone and talk about you to a co-worker.

3.That rep has probably been holding their urine for an hour while they wait for their scheduled 15 minute break.

4. The customer IS NOT always right. That horrible phrase should be buried right next to the tooth fairy!

5.  There are index cards that are bigger than his/her cubicle.

No child ever grows up saying ,” I want to work in customer service.” It’s not exactly a dream job. More than likely, it’s a post college graduation, post retirement, or post rehab type of job (just kidding but not really) . Don’t get me wrong, some people make careers out of it and prove to be happy and successful.  However, for many of us, it is simply a “stepping stone” to a more applicable professional lane.  The simplicity of the job should not nullify the psychological discipline it takes to complete each phone call efficiently. Whether you chose the career or the career chose you. We don’t get much respect. People assume you can’t do anything else. We’re pretty much treated like the waitress who is a struggling musician.

Long story short…We have feelings too. Feelings, dreams, ambitions, and ability.  We are treated like telephonic automatons but we are expected to have empathy and excitement over the phone lines.  We are the motivational speaker’s number one consumer, we survive with quotes of the day and cute forwarded text messages, we live for birthdays because it gives us a few minutes off of the phone to eat a slice of cake.  In order to survive a work day we have to abide by undeviating principles specific to our individual goals or we will logout of our phone, take our plant off the desk, get in the car, and blast Gospel music all the way home.  Or we would call that free hotline/Employee assistance program implemented to keep us from “going postal.”  If it wasn’t for us and our strength and those who depend on our paychecks, you would here the following phrase a lot more often:

“We do appreciate your business. Thank you for holding.  A representative will be here to assist you shortly.”

Our “offices” look like rat mazes and our bosses actually ARE…(wait! let me shut my mouth on that one)

So as a final plea…please be a little more sensible and reasonable and patient when you call us-Or you can ShutYaMouthAndCallMeUgly 🙂

[Feel free to vent about your job in the comments section.  Follow us on twitter @ShutYaMouthNow]

*Yolo=You Only Live Once