Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Back From Seminar...And I Never Want to Drive Anywhere Again

After two long car trips this past month (and a few days), I am totally sick of driving. I just got back from Dallas for Seminar, which is a 17 hour drive provided you don't stop. Granted, this time I didn't have to do it myself--we took two cars and split up the passengers so people were driving in shifts, but it's hard to sleep in a car and so you never really felt rested by the time it was your shift again. We left on Monday and drove through the night.....then came home Saturday but stopped at a hotel Saturday night to finish up the rest of the trip on Sunday. And by the way, Arkansas's state bird is the mosquito. This we were informed of by the hotel clerk, who advised us to run, not walk, to the hotel room and then, once everyone was ready, fling open the door, run inside, and slam it shut again to avoid getting mosquitoes in the room. It didn't work. We were slapping and clapping all night and still managed to get bitten up pretty well. The weird thing is that I didn't notice mine until I got home. Late blooming bites, apparently.

My computer's acting up and internet's not working so great, so bear with me if I have to turn this into several posts interspursed throughout the week.

First of all, I'd never been to Seminar. Last year I joined too soon to really entertain the thought of paying for it--no time to save. Honestly I also considered it slightly hokey. But this year I have been proven wrong. It was too dang cool. For once women are all wearing the same thing and no one cares! LOL I have to say that my favorite aspect of the trip was the tour we took of the manufacturing plant....believe it or not. First of all the place is so clean you could eat off the floor. Seriously, cleaner than my house. Secondly, everyone there was happy. And not in the way that "oh they told me to smile at the tourists, so I'm smiling..." No, it was real. We passed a vat of something we couldn't identify, so we called up to the guy on the catwalk and asked him what it was.....so he came down, took time out of his work day, to explain what he was making and how it was being done. There were plaques all over the walls honoring people who had worked there 10, 15, even 25 years or more.....who are even still working there. That just blows me away. It became apparent to me that they structure the runnings of the factory the same way they do the sales force and the corporate offices.....it's all about praising the people you employ, encouraging them to do their best, and understanding that they're people. In a way I think it's MORE important to treat your factory workers that way than your sales force....they're the ones who are cooped up in a factory all day doing something not particularly interesting or mentally stimulating, like putting the caps on lipstick. Tens of thousands of tubes of lipstick a day. There were awards EVERYWHERE for every kind of department in the place....packaging, shipping, etc. I imagine they get cool bonuses and stuff for that. In addition, and I understand that this is a yearly thing, every department is asked to make a display of some kind representing both their department and the theme of that year's seminar, and at the end we're supposed to vote on who's got the best. You'd think this was cheesy, and I suppose to an extent it was, but they were REALLY into it. There was one really elaborate Star Wars-themed one that was a crackup....they'd even gotten blacklights and poster cutouts of the Star Wars characters, and some were dressed up that way....created a pink "space cadillac" out of the different packaging parts....it was nuts!

Seeing that made me even more proud that this is my job....that I work "for" that company (technically I don't, but you know what I mean). That nobody is left out of what this company's supposed to stand for, and this was proof to me that it's not just some hypocritical statement whereby certain people benefit but others don't. That's important to me, more than anything else.

I also came home with the confidence that I could do this.....I was feeling pretty shabby about my job this month and last, because I've been gone so much and things just haven't been clicking like I thought they would or should.....this is my second month that I've submitted for DIQ and I thought I was going to fall out again. But things have turned in my favor and now I think perhaps I may be able to pull this off, with shining colors, no less.

And of course I didn't neglect my writing while I was gone....too bad I can't write in the car without getting carsick....but I did write a poem while we were there for Jenni Shafer, who is one of the consultants in Karla's unit and a really cool gal I roomed with. Her brother died earlier this year in a very tragic car accident and I was moved by her story. We all knew he'd died, but of course the details weren't something that they shared with us at meeting, because it was so personal. But she told us while we were there what happened, and I was so moved by their journey of grief and faith, I couldn't help myself.

And now I have to figure out what to do with my day until later tonight, when I have two facials to do. Rah!