Reaping What You Sow

I liked this saying from the Kibbutz:

If you don’t say good morning to the tree, it won’t say happy new year to you.


Wow, that is pretty wise.


The love and care you put into something every day is what eventually you will get out of it. 

According to you work is your reward.


Yes, (generally-speaking) you reap what you sow…that’s the fruit of your labor. 

Consequences are real and they can be painful if you don’t see the connection between your actions and the reactions. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

It Rises To The Top

So one of my friends who is dealing with some bad people in his work told me about his situation using a very interesting descriptive phrase:

“Cream may float to the top, but other things float too!”


Ah yes, in many cases the best (“the cream”) climbs/rises to the top of the corporate ladder and extraordinary people are recognized with positions of leadership and influence to progress things. 


But in other cases, some really bad people (i.e. the sh*t) floats to the top based on lies and baloney promises and payback, malevolent power grabs, undermining of the competition, nepotism, or plain old corruption in the leadership suite. 


Yes, both the cream and the crap float to the top.


It is important to recognize who is who, and what is what. 


Not everyone who occupies the corner office belongs there. 


In some cases, they should never even be allowed in the building. 

In the end, you gotta believe that the stars shine, and the sh*t stinks and that’s how you know who is at the top when. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Manage As A Mensch

Mensch.jpeg

So I was watching Shark Tank and they gave an update on how one of the products, “Mensch on a Bench,” is doing.


It’s selling in Bed, Bath, and Beyond and has exceeded 100,000 units already!


Aside from the doll and book, they are working on Mensch apps, activity kits, and candy bars. 


The founder said, “It is hilarious and heartwarming to see all the different ways that families can incorporate Mensches into their lives.”


This got me thinking about how being a mensch can also be incorporated into being a great manager!


– Treating people decently and fairly


– Empowering them to do their jobs well


– Empathizing with them as human beings


– Appreciating the power of diversity


– Respecting everyone and their points of view


– Recognizing and rewarding a job well done


Unfortunately, there are too many bad bosses out there that micromanage and abuse their people. 


They are arbitrary and dictatorial and never ask what anyone else thinks; they dump the work on their people, but don’t lend a hand; they steal their ideas and take credit for their work; on top of it, they might even then stab them in the back when they’re not looking; ah, forget about showing any sort of appreciation or kindness–it’s dog eat dog. 


Hence, being a mensch first is a management must!


Think about people, not as a means to an end, but as an end unto themselves–they are souls interacting with your soul. 


Kindness, compassion, empathy…but keep your eyes on the important work and mission you are doing.


Get it done together, as a team, collaboratively, and with everyone contributing towards the endgame. 


(Live and) manage as a mensch! 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Bed, Bath, and Beyond)

Who’s Da Boss

Boss

At work, we all report to somebody–no matter high up the chain you go. 


IMHO, I think it’s always important to remember though who the Big Boss is and He/She is the top of the food chain and is the one who really calls ALL the shots–and if you keep that in mind, you can show proper respect to your boss at work and follow their lead without falling on your sword in human antiauthoritarian revolt. 


Thus, in the earthly world, the boss in the corner office and on the high floor is the one who tells you what to do at work. 


Of course, the cardinal sin of management is be a micromanager–EVERYONE hates that and just wants to be told the goal but then let loose to get the job done–and not stood over and berated on how to do it and torn apart for everything they did [differently] “wrong” than perhaps their boss would’ve done it in their self-presumed all-knowing wisdom. 


Also, bosses who laud their boss status over their subordinates by telling and showing them how bossy boss with information and power, belittling them, they are–often these people are resented by the “plebeian workers” and as in the servitude of Egypt thousands of years ago, the Big Boss hears their prayers for justice and meets it out accordingly. 


The best bosses are human, humble, and admit mistakes, see people as children of G-d, have compassion, and treat their workers with due respect; genuinely listens to others, are inclusive, and values what each person brings to the table; says thank you and means it; looks for opportunities to recognize and reward people; and treat people as teammates and not indentured servants. 


Certainly, workers have a responsibility too–to give it their best and keep their commitments; to respect the “chain of command”; to tell it the way it is with some modicum of diplomacy and keep their bosses fully informed, to not demand the unreasonable or play games with the rules (that everyone at work lives under); and to generally be collegial and a team player 


One colleague on an interview told me that they were asked a really smart, tough question that put them on the spot, “Tell me about a time you had a disagreement with management?”


That could be a telling question or answer depending who’s been naughty and nice at the office. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

A Richy Rich Reward

Reward That's Rich
Check out this lost dog sign in Las Olas.



Do you notice anything unusual?



Look at the amount of the reward for finding this canine.



—Yes, $10,000!!!



A healthy Teacup Yorkie can run you as much as $2,000.



So this reward is 5x that and this kelev is on meds!



Amazing the meaning of money and dogs. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Eulogy For My Beloved Mother, Gerda Blumenthal

Eulogy For My Beloved Mother, Gerda Blumenthal

We are here today to remember and honor my mother, Gerda Blumenthal, who passed away on Monday.

My mother was my personal heroine, even as just two days earlier, a great hero of the Jewish people died as well–Ariel Sharon, a former Prime Minister of the State of Israel and a hero general who fought militarily to defend his people, but who also disengaged the State of Israel unilaterally from Gaza to make peace.

Sharon’s role in history to secure the Jewish people came on the heels of the Holocaust where 6 million Jews were murdered – one of every three in the entire world!

To my mother, the holocaust was one of the defining moments in her life. She was just 5 years old, when the murderous Nazi secret police, the Gestapo, came up behind my mother and her father on the street in Germany, grabbed him and dragged him off to the concentration camps. My mother, a child, was left alone crying on the streets, until some neighbors found her and brought her home to her mother. Miraculously, her father was one of the few to actually be let out a number of weeks later, as he had already received visas for the family to come to America. He had lost 20-30 pounds in just those few weeks of brutal slave labor and beatings, but he and the family were free to come to this country and start anew.

Like many of the immigrant families who were forced to flee persecution, my mother and her family arrived here penniless, and her father who didn’t even know the language, worked as a tailor to try and support the family. My mother had wanted to pursue her education—and to be a nurse—but when she graduated high school, she was asked to immediately go to work to help the family earn a living in those difficult days. She did this dutifully and worked—mostly doing secretarial work, which was popular in those days—while raising my sister and I and taking care of my dad. My mom would put me on the school bus, rush off to work, and be home in time to make dinner for all of us. Mom was unwavering in her commitment to taking care of us. Mom taught me what family was, what it was to put family first, and what it was to work hard, very hard, always being there to take care of us, even when at times, it seemed like too much for any human being.

My older sister and I are eight years apart. But there was another sibling, Susie, born between us. However, she died as a baby leaving my mother and father bereaved of their 2nd child still in the early years of their marriage. Despite this new challenge in their lives—and what seemed like another personal test—my mother carried on with my father to build the family, and I came along four years later. I have always tried to make my mother and father proud of me, especially in light of the loss of their other child.

My mother and father—were best friends, but like all loving couples, they also argued—but they always came back together again to make up and bond. And I learned well from them that in relationships, we can argue, but we can work things out—even though it’s not always easy to say I’m sorry or I was wrong, but we come back together because we are a family–we love each other and have that commitment. The loss of my mom is magnified, because of that deep love, but also because we are a small family that has always lived a hop, skip, and jump from each other—like one extended family.

My mother and father put my sister and I through private Jewish school, all the years, and then through college and graduate school—so that I was able to get my MBA and my sister her PhD. Even in later years, she helped babysit for my children and was like a second mother to them, so that my wife, Dossy could get her PhD as well. She loved my daughters—Minna and Rebecca, and my niece, Yaffa, so much. My mother and my father even moved here to Silver Spring in 2000—soon after we relocated here to work for the government—so they could be with us and the grandchildren—even though my mother really loved living in Riverdale, NY and the community and friends there, and would otherwise never have left there.

I will never forget the endless sacrifices made for us, which contrasts to many other families in modern times, when people seem more focused on career, their own interests and happiness, and mired in the world of the Internet and social media. But my mom taught me that while we may want a lot of different things, we need to put our priorities in order and focus on what is really important—family, friends, and faith.

Like Ariel Sharon who suffered a stroke eight years ago, my mother was diagnosed with the horrible disease of Parkinson’s—also eight years ago. My mother went from being the one who took care of everyone to where my father, in his own old age, and his own illness, had to take care of her. He did this with unbelievable courage and tirelessly, he did everything for her—everything! Even when we all thought she needed to go to the nursing home, he brought her home and cared for her himself for two years under extremely trying circumstances. Until this last April, when my mother was hospitalized again and was too ill to go home again. She went to the Hebrew Home In Rockville, and later because of her severe pain was put under hospice care. My mom unfortunately suffered horribly—more than we have ever seen anyone suffer. When she passed this week, I was horrified to lose my mother, as anyone would be, and at the same time, I was grateful to G-d that perhaps she now had some rest from the all the terrible illness and suffering and was finally at peace.

She died on Monday almost immediately after the Rabbi said the final prayers with her, and so I hope that the prayers and good wishes of the Rabbi and all of us—her family and friends—are heard in heaven and usher her in as a righteous soul, loving wife, mother, and grandmother—and grant her everlasting peace and reward from the Almighty.

Mom, we will always remember everything you have done for us. You taught us what a good traditional Jewish home and values are. Thank you for the love, care, and endless sacrifices. You will live on in the children and grandchildren and hopefully, our lives will be a merit for you. We love you always, and miss you. May G-d welcome you back, grant you peace, and bless you.