Thursday, May 29, 2008

Things that make me angry...

I just read a story about a five year old boy that was mauled by a Pit Bull yesterday. The boy was playing in his own fenced in yard. The dog dug under the fence and attacked the boy. His arm was mangled and the dog literally chewed his face off. The boy was flown by a Flight for Life helicopter to Denver, where he has had two surgeries, and has many, many surgeries in his future over a number of years. He has to have a new nose constructed via plastic surgery because his is completely gone. This dog had already killed three pets in the neighborhood, and was known to be aggressive, and was known to dig under his fence and get loose regularly. The owner didn't care, and Animal Control did not take any enforcement action against this owner and dog.

Ethan (our youngest son) was bitten by our neighbor's Pit Bull when he was three. The dog was in his own yard and Ethan had stuck his hand through a hole in the fence to pet the other dog (a nice dog). The single mom who lives there had her boyfriend move in and he brought his Pit Bull with him (it was the first day the dog was there). I can't even say how lucky we are that Ethan pulled his hand back before the dog was able to bite down on it. It ripped his hand open and he had to get stitches, but it could have been really bad. If the dog had clamped down and shaken, it would have broken Ethan's arm, which was wedged between two fence boards.
I called the ER before bringing Ethan in and they said to contact the owner and get the dog's city license number and the rabies tag number. I rang the door bell four or five times before anyone answered. Finally, a young boy answered the door. I asked to speak with his parents and he said they were sleeping because they had a hangover (4:00pm). I told him their dog bit my son and that we had to go to the hospital, and I need to speak with his parents. He went to wake them up, but came back and told me they don't want to talk to me. I told him to go get his parents or I was calling the police. The mom finally came to the door and said the dog belonged to her boyfriend who had just moved in the night before. Her other son (about 8 or 9 years old said "I hate that dog... it keeps biting me." She smacked him and told him to shut up. She went to get the boyfriend and he finally wandered out into the hallway, but would not come to the door. I told him I need the dog's information from the tags. He said the dog is not registered or licensed, and did not have any shots. I said it bit Ethan and he needs stitches. He said he didn't care and that he was going back to bed. Tracy took Ethan to the hospital and got him taken care of, and I had to meet with an Animal Control Officer. He took a report, and indicated that they would quarantine the dog for 30 days due to the lack of a rabies shot. He also issued a citation for the neighbors to fix their fence, which was in disrepair.
The neighbor's never did fix their fence, but I don't allow my kids to go near their fence anymore. Over the next couple of years, their fence continued to degrade and a fence post finally broke. This allowed the Pit Bull to stick his head between two fence panels that were falling down. I called Animal Control and they indicated that they had no record of the first citation. I gave them the exact date, the original Animal Control Officer's name, a report number, etc... They said they had recently been awarded the Animal Control contract by the city, and they had discarded all previous records when they took over. I told them I wanted to file a new report then. They asked me if the dog was in my yard. I said no, but that it could be in a matter of seconds if it wanted to. They refused to come and take a report, and said the neighbor's were not violating any laws if the dog was not in my yard. I told him that they had been given a citation to keep their fence in good repair and that they were in violation of that original citation. They said the original citation did not exist as far as they were concerned, and suggested that I pursue civil litigation if I was unhappy with my neighbor.
It got to the point that the Pit Bull would poke its head in the opening and bark and growl at us if we were in the backyard. I tried to speak with the neighbors, but they refused to come to the door and talk to me.
The Pit Bull eventually figured out that it could get out, and did. I got all of the kids in the house and called Animal Control. By the time they showed up, the dog was no longer loose. They took a report, but would not take any action because they did not observe the dog on the loose. I showed them the broken fence, and they said it is not against the law to have a broken fence. I reminded them of the original citation requiring them to keep the fence fixed, and they refused to discuss it. I told them it was their job to take care of a dangerous situation regarding this dog. I told them that if they did not do something about it, that I would be forced to do something about it. They asked what that meant, and I told them I would shoot the dog before I would allow it to attack my kids, or other kids/people in the neighborhood. They immediately informed me that I would go to jail if I were to do so, and said they were going to document my comments. I told them I would rather go to jail than to have my kids get mauled. The guy was a jerk and really only cared about the dog. He didn't care about me, or the dog's owner, really...
I decided to call Animal Control every time I saw their dog out, even if it was every few minutes! There were some nights when I called them five or six times in just an hour or two. After a week or so of that, the dogs disappeared. Apparently, the neighbors got tired of being hassled over the ordeal and got rid of both of their dogs (even the nice one).
The end result is that my kids are no longer threatened by a Pit Bull, but I can not believe how difficult it is to have any action taken. They finally voluntarily got rid of the dog, but not as a result of any direct actions by Animal Control.
I can't believe the Animal Control Officer was more upset with me for threatening the dog than they were with my irresponsible dog-owner neighbors!

Our situation had a good ending, but there is a five year old boy in the hospital in Denver who is disfigured for life, and is actually very lucky to be alive. This dog had three documented attacks in its history (on other animals, not people) and nothing was ever done. I am so angry right now that this boy's life is changed forever, for no good reason.

I was intimidated by Animal Control regarding my plan to kill the neighbor's dog before it had a chance to get loose and maul someone in my neighborhood. Not anymore, though. If we wind up with another dangerous animal/irresponsible owner in our neighborhood, I will be adamant that something be done. I will go to the City Council, the Mayor, the DA, the Attorney General, the local news channels, the newspaper, etc. If the officials responsible for these types of things do not take action, I will see to it that the animal 'goes away' in one way or another. I'd rather get arrested for keeping my neighborhood safe than to see one of my kids going to the Denver Children's Hospital in a helicopter...

I was going to talk about other things that make me angry, but I'm out of time. Please keep this five year old boy in your prayers (I don't know his name). He needs your prayers, whether you feel like praying or not.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Military Photos Tonight

Before we get to the photos, just a quick note about Nemo's (since this is a coffee shop blog, not a military promotional blog... well, maybe it is both).

1. Tracy hired a new girl today. I haven't met her yet, but I'm sure she is great!
2. Sales were $3 over our daily break even point. I know, I know, we shouldn't spend it all in one place...
3. The contractors spent ALL DAY running a jack hammer just outside of our shop. They are working on the area where our new outside cafe/patio area will be. It was noisy inside, but well worth it for a future patio.
4. I ordered three Cambros today (2 1/2 gallon insulated coffee servers. We have customers wanting to purchase bulk coffee for events and seminars. These are far better than the disposable "Joe to Go" containers we have been using.
5. I bought a book/kit about teaching your children about finances and money. Now that I am learning a thing or two about business and investing, I recognize how different our lives would be if I had known these things when I was young. Having the knowledge does not mean I would have used it, but I am hoping my kids will. If I teach them now, they will have a much better chance of being successful as adults.
6. Congrats to David Cook!

It is interesting to check out these military photos every few days. The point is to think of and honor our troops, not just say "Wow, that's a cool helicopter". Please take time to pray for our troops, and give your thanks that they are willing to do these things to support our freedom!

Click on the image(s) to see larger versions.

NEW YORK CITY (May 21, 2008) The amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) steams up the Hudson River during the parade of ships for the 21st Fleet Week New York 2008. More than 4,000 Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen will participate in various community relation projects and have the opportunity to visit popular attractions in New York City. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class David Danals

NEW YORK CITY (May 21, 2008) The guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) steams up the Hudson River during the parade of ships for the 21st Fleet Week New York 2008. More than 4,000 Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen will participate in various community relation projects and have the opportunity to visit popular attractions in New York City. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class David Danals

NEW YORK CITY (May 21, 2008) The amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) steams up the Hudson River during the parade of ships for the 21st Fleet Week New York 2008. More than 4,000 Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen will participate in various community relation projects and have the opportunity to visit popular attractions in New York City. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW) David Danals

NEW YORK CITY (May 21, 2008) The amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) steams up the Hudson River during the parade of ships for the 21st Fleet Week New York 2008. More than 4,000 Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen will participate in various community relation projects and have the opportunity to visit popular attractions in New York City. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class David Danals

1st. Logan Dick, Denver, Colo., briefs his platoon prior to moving out into Shulla to set up concertina wire to help halt enemy movement May 17. Dick serves with 1st Platoon, Troop B, 1st Squadron, 75th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Multi-National Division - Baghdad.
(Photographer: Sgt. James Hunter : 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division

MEDITERRANEAN SEA (May 21, 2008) A French Navy Rafale jet approaches the flight deck as it prepares to execute a touch and go on the flight deck of USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ricardo J. Reyes

A U.S. Apache helicopter fires rockets during a joint military exercise between South Korea and United States at a U.S. firing Rodriguez Range in Pocheon, south of the demilitarized zone that divides the two Koreas, Thursday, May 22, 2008

ATLANTIC OCEAN (May 19, 2008) Two CH-46 SeaKnights prepare to disembark Marines assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit off the multi-purpose amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7). Iwo Jima is participating in the Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group integration training. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Katrina Parker

AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq (May 7, 2008) The reflection of a M2-50 Cal. machine gun barrel can be seen in the visor of a CH-53E Super Stallion gunner. U.S. Naval photo by Mass Communication Specialist Kenneth W. Robinson

PACIFIC OCEAN (May 14, 2008) Hospital Corpsman Apprentice Stephanie Gomez and Hospital Corpsman Amanda Vasquez, working as flight deck handlers aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), run clear after removing the chains from an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter. Mercy is deployed supporting Pacific Partnership 2008, a humanitarian and civil assistance mission building on friendship between partner nations and strengthening relationships of the past. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Joshua Valcarcel

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Eric Marshall and U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Troy King talk prior to briefing Afghan National Air Corps airmen on how to fire a PKM general purpose machine gun from an Mi-17 Hip helicopter at the Kabul Military Training Center in Kabul, Afghanistan, May 12, 2008. Marshall is deployed from the 18th Air Maintenance Squadron, Kadena Air Force Base, Japan, and King is deployed from Naval Air Systems Command. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway)

PERSIAN GULF (May 18, 2008) Chief Aviation Machinist's Mate Crystal Crawford, assigned to the "Blue Blasters" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 34 waits near an F/A-18C Hornet on the flight deck of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) as the strike fighter is prepared for a mission. Lincoln is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility supporting maritime security operations. U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James R. Evans

A US Cobra helicopter fires during the Cobra Gold joint military exercise at a military base in Lopburi province, 150 km north of Bangkok, Thailand, 21 May 2008. The Cobra Gold 2008 multi- national joint military exercise was held in coordination between the USA, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and Japan with 14,373 participants being involved to promote regional peace and security

BALAD, IRAQ (May 10, 2008) Iraqi Special Operations Forces (ISOF) prepare for a mission near Amarah to disrupt weapons smuggling and trafficking from Iran and help to set the condition for broader stability in the region. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel R. Mennuto

Our friends Down Under...
Notice the kangaroo emblem above the word ARMY

Keine Art des Eindringens ist unmöglich.

I believe these are troops in Uganda, marching in a parade. I'm pretty sure they are about to do the "Electric Slide"!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Quick Update

For the last week and a half, sales have been a little off. I believe it is mostly due to the construction, and may be due to the weather getting hot. Summer has arrived... Today, though, sales bounced back from the mid-500 range up to almost $700 for the day. I'm all for $700 and up, forever and always...

Construction seems to be going painfully slow. They originally told me the new facade construction, less stucco application, would be complete by May 23. There is no chance of that. They are making progress, but it is at a snail's pace...

I try not to comment on politics here too much, but I just can't help myself today. I feel pretty strongly about the media reaction to Ted Kennedy's startling news that he has inoperable, malignant brain cancer. First of all, the Kennedy's have had way more trauma in their family over the last four or five decades than ANYONE I can think of. They have had traumatic death after death after death, including assasinations, skiing accidents, plane crashes, etc. As a human being, my heart and my prayers go out to Ted Kennedy, and his family. I hope he responds well to treatment and that he is able to beat this disease.

Now, on to the part that I don't like. The media is treating him like he is already a martyr, a new national hero. I have seen/heard one sappy soundbite after another, coming from both conservative and liberal sides. Everyone is acting like Ted Kennedy is one of the greatest Americans to ever live. I don't mean to be harsh, but I think he has done a horrible dis-service to America. Here are some items from his voting record:

Voted NO on recommending constitutional ban on flag desecration. (Jun 2006)

Voted NO on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage. (Jun 2006)

Voted YES on adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes. (Jun 2002)

Voted YES on loosening restrictions on cell phone wiretapping. (Oct 2001)

Voted YES on expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation. (Jun 2000)

Voted YES on setting aside 10% of highway funds for minorities & women. (Mar 1998)

Voted YES on prohibiting job discrimination by sexual orientation. (Sep 1996)

Voted NO on Amendment to prohibit flag burning. (Dec 1995)

Voted NO on banning affirmative action hiring with federal funds. (Jul 1995)

Voted NO on declaring English the official language of the US government. (Jun 2007)

Voted YES on allowing illegals to participate in Social Security.(May 2006)

Ted Kennedy was a strong supporter of the 1965 Hart-Celler Act — signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson — which dramatically changed US immigration policy. This legislation replaced the Immigration Act of 1924, which favored immigrants from northern and western Europe. Proponents of the 1965 bill argued that immigration laws and quotas were discriminatory, and that American immigration policy should accept people not on the basis of their nationality.

Ted Kennedy has been a staunch supporter of gun control initiatives. In 2006 he was one of the 16 senators who voted against the Vitter Amendment, which prohibited the confiscation of legally-possessed firearms during a disaster.

Kennedy is one of only five senators who have publicly announced support for same-sex marriage.

He voted against the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.

Senator Kennedy introduced legislation to prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Across the board, I believe that Senator Kennedy's stance on most major issues has caused harm to our country. To honor him as a life long member of the Senate, sure. To honor him in a difficult time, when he and his family have endured too many hard situations over the years, sure. To wish him well in his battle against cancer, absolutely.

To honor him as a great American...
I just can't stomach that. Sorry if you are offended, but these issues are destroying America from within, and he supports all of them. I can't honor that.

Gotta get to work.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Construction proceeds, and sales slow down...

We just barely broke $3000 in total sales last week, which is a drop from the two previous weeks of about (off the top of my head) $3700 and $4200. I hate to see sales drop back below the break even point, but it is for a good reason. The contractors are making progress with the building facade remodel. Right now, they have torn down the existing facade and have replaced it with temporary OSB to weather proof the building. It looks horrible, we have had dumpsters in front of our shop, and all of our signage is down. The impact to sales will be worth it, though, once the construction is complete. We just have to hang in there...

We have had numerous requests to put additional soft seating in the shop. I refuse to put upholstered furniture in there, as it would be a nightmare to keep clean. The only thing I'm willing to use is leather... Tracy and I went out Friday night looking for a deal. We found a beautiful leather loveseat that was on sale. The store had sold the associated leather couch, and the loveseat was a left over with no matching furniture. We got it for 45% off normal asking price (we paid $450 for it). I'll take a photo and post it soon...

So, what do you do when your 10 year old boy asks if he can go to his friends air soft gun party on the last day of school? The parent in you says "Are you crazy? You'll shoot your eye out." The boy deep within my soul (well, ok, not so deep, really) says "Cool, I'm going to get me an airsoft gun too!" When I was not much older, my friends and I had bb gun fights (yes, with real metal bb's, not soft plastic airsoft guns). We had a blast until the kid up the street lost his front teeth to a well placed shot (not by me, thankfully). Boys have to be boys, or they wind up growing into teenage pansies... So, I stopped by Walmart on my way home today to get Josh some airsoft ammo for his gun, and I bought him a paintball mask/helmet. It has form fitting goggles, so his eyes are completely protected, and it also has full head and face protection. I don't care if he has welts all over his body, arms and legs, as long as his head is safe.

We mostly hire young kids to work at Nemo's. We do quite a few interviews and I am very dismayed to see how many young men are not really men at all. There are far too many single moms raising boys with no significant influence from their dads (or couples who just don't let their boys be boys). I don't recall having so many prima donna, wanna-be-girl young men in the world. Maybe I am way off base here, but I don't think so. Boys need to be allowed to get dirty, to bust their knuckles, smash their fingers, skin their knees, and get splinters doing all kinds of boy-things that aren't quite safe. They need to sword fight, smash ants, throw rocks, crash their bikes, build a fort, smack their elbows, push each other down, argue a little, fall off the porch, go down the slide on their stomachs, get the wind knocked out of them, get hit in the face with a basketball, and maybe, just maybe, have Twinkies for breakfast once in a great while (as long as Mom doesn't know). Life can't be all about not getting your clothes dirty, going to Chuckee Cheese, and having a muffin and hot chocolate at Starbucks for breakfast.

The first tooth Josh lost was because Jonah kicked him in the mouth doing tykwondo. It wasn't even loose yet! He was probably still a year away from getting loose teeth. I have rough-housed, wrestled, and traded punches with all three of the boys since they were barely able to walk. I don't let them throw wild, weak, easy to block punches, either. I taught them how to step into it, to come straight from the shoulder with lots of speed and 'snap', and to aim for an imaginary target two or three inches behind the real target. For every boy, there is always a day when they have their first fight. There is always a kid at school or in the neighborhood who picks on them, or on their little brother. When that day comes for my kids, they are going to be ready. I talk to them about it, and I have prepared them for it. They all know that I expect them to look out for each other, to watch each others' backs. Nobody taught me to fight and as a result, I was more or less terrified whenever someone acted aggressive towards me. I eventually figured it out, but I went through a lot of years being tormented first. My kids all know how to throw a punch, and more importantly, they know how to take a punch. They hit each other in the face hard enough to make most kids cry, and they just giggle at each other. Maybe that is just a natural thing for three brothers, but regardless of the reasons for it, they are tough. I think it is a dis-service to let boys grow up without doing all of these dirty, rough, gross, just-on-the-edge-of-safe kinds of things. And, yes, we go through a lot of band-aids.

Gotta run...
Take care,

You didn't really think you would get out of here without a few photos to encourage and praise our troops, did you? Here are some recent photos to inspire you to go hug a soldier! Click on any image to see a larger version:

A US Marine from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit dodges bullets after Taliban fighters opened fire near Garmser in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, on May 18, 2008. The Marine was not injured.

U.S. Marines with 2nd Light Armored Reconnaisance Battalion (2d LAR) post security for over positions at the Task Force Mech assembly area on May 1, 2008. Task Force Mech, Ground Combat Element, Multi National Force - West is conducting operations along the northern boundary of Al Anbar province in support of Operation Defeat Al Qaeda in the North.
(U.S. Marine Corps photo/Photographer: Sgt. Jason W. Fudge)

U.S. Marine Sgt. Michael J. Beaver, Task Force Mech Operations Chief with Alpha Company, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion (2d LAR), provides over watch security in Salah Ad Din, Iraq on May 1. Task Force Mech, Ground Combat Element, Multi National Force - West is conducting operations along the northern boundary of Al Anbar Providence in support of Operation Defeat Al Qaida in the North.
(U.S. Marine Corps photo/Photographer: Sgt. Jason W. Fudge)

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, Deputy Director of the foreign affairs office of China's National Defense Ministry Guan Youfei, right, expresses gratitude for the U.S. emergent humanitarian aid to an unidentified officer from the U.S. Air Force 204th Airlift Squadron at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport, southwest China's Sichuan Province, on Sunday, May 18, 2008. Disaster-relief supplies worth of US$700,000 from the United States Army, the first of its kind from a foreign military, arrived here Sunday.

Specialist Chris Nelson from 101st Airborne Division, 506th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion,4th Platoon fires his weapon on enemy forces May 18, 2008 after U.S. troops and Afghan National Police were fired upon in Khost province, Afghanistan. Enemy forces opened fire on U.S. troops and Afghan National Police during a patrol when they had to return fire said Lieutenant Gabriel Stultz.

U.S. Air National Guard Maj. Troy Cullen and Maj. Anthony Davis prepare to land a C-17 Globemaster III at Chengdu Shuangliu International airport in China, May 18, 2008. The United States Pacific Command support of earthquake relief efforts was authorized by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in support of the U.S. State Department. The C-17 pilots are assigned to the Hawaii Air National Guard's 204th Airlift Squadron, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii.
U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Chris Vadnais

Former U.S. Army Special Forces member Paul McGowan drops into the opening ceremonies at the Joint Service Open House at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., May 17, 2008. The three-day event coincides with the 60th Anniversary of the Berlin Airlift. Defense Dept. photo by Fred W. Baker III

A CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter assigned to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 165 lands on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu. Peleliu is conducting operations in the Pacific Ocean on a scheduled deployment, May 15, 2008. U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Sarah E. Bitter

Friday, May 16, 2008

Termination Information

Protect your business...

“The 3 Critical Factors You Must Consider Before Firing Any Employee”

Let me tell you about laying off and firing.

I've managed employees for most of my 26-year professional career. During this time I've had good employees. But, unfortunately, I've also had employees that just couldn't be rehabilitated no matter how hard I tried. Also, I've had to lay off employees because of slow economic conditions. Because of my unique career as a "turnaround" professional, I've been involved in over 1100 terminations.

To make termination easier on you and the employee, I've created a step-by-step system for firing and laying off employees. I would like to share this proven and unique system with you.

With this system, you'll have all of the procedures and options you need to make a termination go smoothly. You'll have confidence and peace of mind that you're doing the right thing.

Please take 5 minutes (or more if you want) and read this web site. I'll tell you more about how to properly terminate an employee.

By Kevin Muir, Author of the Employee Termination Guidebook

May 16, 2008

What is your position? (Check all that apply)

Business Owner
Manager or Supervisor
HR or Personnel Professional

If you marked at least one of these … then this article is for you when you need to know how to terminate properly.

Before firing or laying off an employee, there are 3 critical termination factors you must consider. In this article, we will cover these in detail:

Factor #1: Fight Or Flight… How The Problem Employee Will Take Advantage Of You
Factor #2: Your Problem Employee Will Destroy Your Morale and Results… If You Don’t Do Something About It Today
Factor #3: The Longer You Wait… The Harder It Is To Terminate The Problem Employee
Knowing these 3 factors will help you decide when it's time to fire the problem employee.

Once you decide to terminate, you must know how. You'll discover that terminating is much easier and less risky than you thought. This will be the subject of the last part of this article.

Let’s get started with the 3 factors…

(Author’s note: As you read this article, you’ll notice I use "he" to describe the problem employee. Please be aware I’m referring to a problem employee of either gender.)

Factor #1: Fight Or Flight… How The Problem Employee Will Take Advantage Of You

Even when you don’t tell him directly, the problem employee always knows he’s “on the bubble” and may be fired soon. It’s almost as if he can read your mind.

This wouldn’t be a problem if the employee would take the hint and improve his performance and behavior. But, this seldom happens because a bad apple remains a bad apple. Instead, you’ll notice that his behavior will get worse. He’ll either:

Begin an intimidation campaign against you to save his job, or,
Become a zombie doing little work.
You’ll notice these behaviors match the “fight or flight” response you learned in school. If you recall, when an animal gets into trouble, there are just two reactions, fight or flight. As we’ve seen, your employee will react the same way when his job is threatened.

In either case, he's taking advantage of you and your company by taking a paycheck and not doing his job… and this will only continue if you don’t do something right away. Your only recourse is to get rid of the employee as quickly as possible especially if your business is facing hardship from the recent economic troubles..

Let me cover each of these reactions.

In my experience, most employees will decide to “fight” and carry out an intimidation campaign. Sometimes these campaigns are subtle, but often they’re very public. Here’s what happens.

He starts politicking including telling lies about you, turning others against you and destroying your reputation. He wants you to suffer as much as possible. His goal is to build up his political base and force you to back off.

In this case, you only have one choice. You must show him (and others) you’re the boss and fire him right away. You can’t have an employee undermining your authority. His malicious behavior justifies his termination.

Now let’s discuss the opposite reaction, “flight.” In this scenario, the problem employee shuts down and stops working. He’s always late to work and misses more goals and deadlines. And, he spends much of his time on the phone, in e-mail and instant messaging his friends.

At this point, the employee has accepted that you’ll eventually fire him. So, his strategy is to drain as much money as possible out of the company while doing the least amount for it. In effect, he’s daring you to fire him.

What do you do? You can try to rehabilitate him, but the employee is now too far gone. Your best choice is to terminate now ... but you need to do it right.

(By the way, this is also the best thing for the employee as well. It's clear that he's not happy and productive. It's better to give him the push to get another job that is better suited for him. There's nothing worse in life than going into a job you hate and that makes you miserable. You are actually doing the problem employee a favor when you terminate.)

In the next section, we will talk about the consequences of keeping a problem employee longer than you should.

Factor #2: The Problem Employee Will Destroy Your Morale and Results… If You Don’t Do Something About It Today

Suppose you decide to give the problem employee an extra chance and let him stay with the company. What happens to you and your good workers?

Let me give it to you straight. The employee will poison your relationships with everyone he interacts with including customers, suppliers and co-workers. This is a natural outcome to being “on-the-bubble” and having a bad attitude.

Your results will suffer because you’ll be losing customers and suppliers… and because you now have to spend so much time managing just this one employee. Unfortunately, it may take you years to patch-up these relationships.

Besides this, the employee may poison your relationship with your other employees. Your “good” employees will see it’s all right to act badly and not do their jobs. Your morale will drop, and this will further erode results.

Here’s the worst part. You’ll lose your best performing employees. They don’t want to work for a business with poor morale and terrible results. They would rather work with other winners in a positive and productive environment.

The problem employee is a cancer in your business. This cancer spreads by turning good employees into bad ones and by forcing your best employees to leave. In either case, you must cut out the cancer at its source before it spreads further.

In the next section, you’ll learn why cutting out the cancerous problem employee becomes much harder with every extra day you wait to terminate.

Factor #3: The Longer You Wait… The Harder It Is To Terminate The Employee

If you wait to fire the employee, there is a good chance you’ll never be rid of him.

Let me give you two common reasons this happens.

First, if you decide to rehabilitate the problem employee, he’ll drain all the energy from you. You’ll find yourself spending all your time managing this one employee and firefighting any damage he’s causing with customers, suppliers and co-workers. Eventually, he wears you down, but you still can’t fire him.

Why? Because firing him is admitting that your rehabilitation effort failed. (By the way, if this describes your situation, I want you to know you’ve not failed. Most problem employees can’t be saved regardless of what you do. Remember… a bad apple remains a bad apple.)

Second, by waiting to fire, you’re giving the problem employee time to build a legal case against you. His strategy is to unmask your weaknesses as a manager and document any mistakes you’ve made. You can tell when this is happening when you see him taking notes of your meetings and discover him copying important files to take home.

Soon, he’ll go to a lawyer who will tell him how to make your life miserable.. Then, you can’t fire him because you're now risking a wrongful termination suit.

So why do bosses wait to fire a problem employee… when it’s obvious you should terminate right away?

The primary reason is most bosses have never been trained in proper termination procedures… and they're afraid of legal mistakes. But don’t let this hold you back. In the next section, you’ll discover an easy and low risk way to terminate even in the most difficult employees.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Starbucks goes Nakie...

If you read my blog, you know that I have indicated that Howard Schultz will make a difference at Starbucks again. I don't believe he can get the product quality back to what it was 10, 15, 20 years ago. But, I think he will be effective in making the Starbucks experience better than what it has been. His biggest strategy so far is to try to revert to policies that were in place before they began their "McDonald's of Coffee" degradation in quality and customer service. Today it was announced that Starbucks is reverting back to a similar version of the original logo. This is the first change he has made that has shocked me. Here are the original logo, the familiar green and white logo from the last 10-12 years, and the newest logo that is now their standard:

The latest version is not quite as bare-breasted as the original, but it is out of bounds in today's corporate culture view. It is a logo you might expect from a small, indie start-up, like Starbucks was in Seattle 30 years ago. It is absolutely not the logo you would want to walk into a corporate conference room with. We go to a church with a fellowship of thousands. Our pastor is a huge Starbucks fan. Did I say huge? I actually meant HUGE! I really can't imagine Eric walking into church with a coffee cup with a jazzed up mermaid (and not referring to caffeine).
Having worked as a project manager in corporate America for the last 10-15 years, this logo will go over like a brick in today's corporate anti-sexual-harassment culture. There are going to be a bunch of college kids and fringe cultural sects that will think it is the coolest thing ever. But, I would expect to see a huge backlash in coming days or weeks over this. What soccer mom wants to look at naked women on their coffee?

So, my question... Is this a legitimate logo change, an attempt to get back to original company roots? Or, is it a flamboyant and temporary change to get mountains of free press? Everyone who buys coffee on a regular basis is going to take note of this and will be discussing it.

Either way, I don't think this is going to last. If it is an engineered strategy to get everyone to talk about Starbucks, it will be over in a month or so. If it is a sincere change, I believe the resulting cultural clash will result in Starbucks ditching it. Either way, it will end in the same manner, and anyone with a pulse will know about it...

If you don't like illustrated boosoms with your coffee, then come by Nemo's and we'll hook you up with a really cool turtle!

The Ides of May

The Ides of May doesn’t really get much press… The Ides of March is really where it’s at… Oh well… It’s a Shakespeare thing.

The contractors doing the facade remodel started slowly, but have really ramped it up over the last several days. They pulled down all of the lighted signs, completed more facade demo, and completely tore down the Intellitec space. The first 100 linear feet of the building is a pile of rubble.
There are a couple of small issues as a result of the construction, as expected.
The most important is that sales are down a little. After two weeks above the break even point, it is disappointing to experience slower sales. So far, it looks like this week is going to fall about $400-500 below the break even point. Painful in the short term, but will help us greatly in the long run… We just have to be patient and not get too concerned about sales during the construction period. I may approach the Property Manager and negotiate a reduced rent during the construction period…
Our dumpster service was unable to access the back of the building and could not empty the dumpster this week. We also had some rainwater leak into our storefront as a result of the construction work. A couple of ceiling tile grids are stained, and we have some water/dirt stains running down our wall behind the merchandise cooler. The GC said he will correct everything in the end…

Dave Ramsey just mentioned all of the complaints he gets about credit card policies, fees, outrageous interest rates, unfair practices, etc. Many people want Congress to get involved and fix the credit card industry via regulation. Dave’s response was that if you are waiting for the Government to fix anything in your life, you had better not hold your breath. His advice is that if you don’t like paying ridiculous amounts of interest and high and unrealistic fees, that maybe you should choose to not use credit cards. It is not a problem the Government needs to get in the middle of. Basically, if you don’t like credit cards, then don’t use them. Sounds like common sense to me…

Gotta run,

Monday, May 12, 2008

Very short update

The building facade work seems to be going quite slowly... Construction never meets schedule, but the demo work is typically the fastest portion. You can tear things down much faster than putting them up...

I don't have much Nemo's related news, except that we were over the break even point two weeks in a row. I hope to see that become two months in a row, then two years in a row...

I'll end this very short post with a few photos of our men and women serving our nation. That means they are serving YOU and ME. Give them your support and your prayers...

Click on the images to see larger versions.

SOUDA BAY, Crete, Greece (May 10, 2008) The Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Albany (SSN 753), arrives for a routine port visit. Albany is on a scheduled six-month deployment as part of the NASSAU Expeditionary Strike Group conducting maritime security operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility. U.S. Navy photo by Paul Farley

The Combat Tactical Vehicle Technology Demonstrator (CTV-TD) undergoes tests at the Sand Mountain Recreation Center located outside Fallon, Nev. Built under contract for the Office of Naval Research (ONR) at the Nevada Automotive test Center (NATC), the CTV-TD is a testbed for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) family of vehicles. The CTV-TD offers several advantages and new technologies, including adjustable ride height, central tire inflation system, an integral rollover protection system (ROPS) and improved survivability over the current High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV). (U.S. Navy photograph by John F. Williams - 4/17/2008)

Two F-22 Raptors from the 3rd Wing at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, fly beside a KC-135 Stratotanker May 8 prior to refueling. The aircraft are part of the more than 120 participating in Northern Edge 2008, the largest military training exercise in Alaska. Aircrews train in counter-air, close-air-support and air-interdiction missions. An Alaska Air National Guard KC-135 from Eielson Air Force Base's 168th Air Refueling Wing, delivered the fuel during the mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mikal Canfield)

U.S. Navy seamen remove restraining chains, May 10, 2008, from a Sea Knight helicopter on the amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry, which is part of the USS Essex Expeditionary Strike Group positioned to support Burmese victims of Cyclone Nargis and a tidal wave. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Michael D. Kennedy

PACIFIC OCEAN (May 7, 2008) An F/A-18C Hornet from the "Death Rattlers" of Marine Strike Fighter Squadron (VMFA) 323 prepares to launch from the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) during flight operations. Stennis and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 are under way off the coast of Southern California conducting flight deck certification. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathen Davis (Released)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

...and a few military photos

Click on the images to see larger versions.

GULF OF THAILAND (May 8, 2008) A Marine MH-53 helicopter, assigned to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 265 (HMM-265), takes off May 8, 2008 from the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2). U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class David Didier

SATTAHIP, Thailand (May 8, 2008) U. S. Marines assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and Sailors assigned to Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 1 and Beachmaster Unit (BMU 1) prepare to unload Landing Craft Utility (LCU) 1631 after transporting vehicles and equipment from the amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2). Essex is participating in Cobra Gold 2008, a joint military exercise sponsored by the United States and Thailand designed to enhance interoperability between joint U.S. forces and the combined forces of the Thai, Singaporean, Japanese and Indonesian militaries. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Gabriel S. Weber

... This ship has yet to be built... WASHINGTON (May 7, 2008) A photo illustrations of the guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) & USN Lt Murphy Medal of Honor citation.. The ship will be named after Lt. Michael P. Murphy (Sea, Air, Land) who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during combat in Afghanistan on 27 and 28 June 2005. U.S. Navy Photo Illustration by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jay Chu (Released)

Michael Murphy was one of the SEAL's killed in action in Afghanistan. I mentioned the book Lone Survivor in previous posts. I recommend EVERYONE read this book. The story is about a SEAL team that gets ambushed and only one of the four survive the ordeal. RIP Michael Murphy...

Chinooks fly over London

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish boy tries out an Israli army M-16 rifle as he visits a military display in the southern town of Sderot, nearby the Gaza Strip, as part of Israel's celebration for their 60th anniversary of statehood on 08 May 2008

An Australian Army sniper displays his weapon during a training exercise at the Puckapunyal Army Area, some 125 kilometres north of Melbourne on May 8, 2008. The live fire excercise included tanks, armoured vehicles, artillery, missiles and small arms and showcased the lastest weapons to senior Army officers.

A fully armed MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle taxis down the runway at an air base in Afghanistan on its way to a wartime mission, May 4, 2008. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson