Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Money Where Your Mouth Is

September 14 2011

 It’s been awhile since I’ve written this and quite frankly it’s been difficult to find the time. Things have changed a lot. I sit here writing from a very different perspective than I did when I first started this Ride. The major change is that I am finally doing something that is mine. Not half mine, not mine in name but not in money/risk, just mine.

 I came back from London to work in my family’s glass manufacturing business and not surprisingly it took less than a year for me to realize that that would never really work. Family businesses are tough anyway and working in such tight quarters with my entire immediate family spelled disaster. I recall sitting here at the beginning of the year seriously considering completely changing directions and going into the food industry (a passion of mine.) But I knew I couldn’t. I knew that there were bigger things on the line than my current dissatisfaction.

 Then a very fortuitous thing happened. We were approached by an employee at a major client of ours who was looking to move and wanted to help set up our Transparent Armor division (bullet resistant glass.). We interviewed him and hired him and rather than set up a new division of the company, I started my own. Now this went down like a sh*t sandwich with pretty much everyone but my Dad. The reasons for going out on my own were not just selfish. By setting up myself, I could run a small business, woman owned company and take advantage of the billions of dollars the government sets aside every year for those categories. There was only 1 other woman owned transparent armor company and it would give us a serious competitive advantage in the industry.

 But of course another major reason was to give myself that separation between church and state, or in this case between my family and me. Even though my Mom pretty much wouldn’t speak to me for a month after, I can safely say it was the right decision. Now I finally feel like a business owner. Before, there were times, when I felt like a fraud. I was a business owner but I had partners. I also never put any of my own money down until now. I’ve come to realize that like so many things in life… it all comes down to money. Money = risk and risk = the reality of owning a business. If you are not sharing any of the risk, then the title of Owner/President/MD etc is a name only.

 I am now realizing that investing in myself means that I have much more control over the outcome of that investment than say investing in a house. I am also realizing that there is never, ever a good time to take time off. A company that is yours never sleeps and the bigger and more successful you become, the more invested you become. There was time when I used to struggle to get out of bed and would occasionally think of excuses as to why I might be late, Wicklow my dog, being an often used one. Now I don’t even consider the snooze button and cannot fathom making up some stupid reason as to why I am going to sleep an extra 2 hours. Why? Because I don’t want to sleep an extra 2 hours. I want to be there, making things happen and getting a return for my investment!!

 That old saying, “if you find something you love to do then you’ll never work another day in your life” starts making some sense. While I wouldn’t quite classify me there yet… way too smug of a comment anyway for my liking, I can start to see the meaning. It is starting to feel like a game again and one that I know I have a good chance of winning. That’s what is getting me out of bed and excited again... knowing I am on a winning team.

Friday, March 25, 2011

I Am Woman

March 25, 2011
“I am Woman”

I am not what one would typically call a “feminist.” I don’t post pro-female mantras on my facebook page and I don’t go out of my way to promote woman’s rights or equality in the work place. In fact there are a lot of times where I think some women are not where they think they should be due to nothing less than the fact they there are unwilling to roll their sleeves up and get dirty with their male counterparts. In a society where many women still expect a man to open a door for them, they sometimes can’t understand when a man doesn’t open a boardroom door for them as well.

However, whatever I think about women in the modern workplace seems silly and frivolous when you read about what is happening to women the world over. Whether is the harrowing ‘fact’ that there are more women in Congo that have been raped than can read or women being stoned to death in front of a crowd in Iran or Egyptian protestors being beaten and then given virginity tests before being labeled a prostitute, it’s enough to turn one feminist.

Western women really don’t need anyone fighting in their corner. They escaped the kitchens long ago and are given more than enough opportunity to be as successful as they choose. But who is out there fighting for the others? The ones behind veils, the ones trapped in a mud hut, the ones trapped in a gilded palace paid for with oil money, the ones with no way out.

I don’t have that answer. I am sure there are woman’s groups doing what they can, but what I can’t fully grasp is why most of us don’t really seem to care. Without women there is no human race. Yes of course men are needed and believe me, I am not even close to a man hater. But with all the advancements in science and fertility, women can continue on populating the world without a man. Now they just need a talented doctor and a small donation from a man.

I am not writing this because I want the women who read this to get all up in arms and join some group to save women. I am writing it because I want people to realize how freakin’ lucky we are. We have access to everything, information, support, grants, education, etc. A woman in the Middle East would literally kill to have the freedoms we have and I just think sometimes we all need to look around and appreciate. That’s all. Just recognize that we have something very few people will ever have in their lifetime and hopefully we are using it to our advantage.