Ravings of a Mad Printer…..Dealing with Illness in the Workplace
By: John Sarantakos, February 2017
This is an incredibly difficult topic to discuss and deal with inside your workplace. Let’s face it, people get sick and I’m not just talking about the flu. Real life, down and dirty, crappy kind of sick. Whether it is an employee, one of their family members or even yourself. It happens. The ripples created will affect everyone within your work group.
If you have been a manager for any length of time, you have probably had to deal with this exact situation. It is personal and upsetting. Yet we must actively make decisions and take actions that will lead the “business” forward, while not marginalizing or minimizing the personal aspect. Compassion has to be the center piece. But what happens when we must choose a direction that is contrary to a person that is suffering? A perfect example would be a staff member that has been on FLMA for the allotted 12 weeks. They perform a critical job and their absence has put a huge stress on the operation. Overtime and missed deadlines are just a few of the issues. So, do you exercise your rights as an employer and fill the position? Do you limp along and hope the person returns soon? What if that person is you?
I have been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Stage one, very treatable. Will it kill me? No, but only because I’m too damn mean. Can it be deadly? Sure it can. Does every man that has ever lived have or will have prostate cancer? Yes, it is just that most don’t know it and almost all die of something else before it ever shows up on a test. My doctor told me that if men lived to be 150, we would all eventually develop this type of cancer. This statement is not to minimize the disease because it can be deadly if left unchecked.
I am telling you this not because I want sympathy. Although I will readily accept any prayers directed my direction. I wanted to emphasis a point; anyone’s life can change in an instant. Even your own and how will you “manage” it?
There is no prescribed method or set of rules to follow. Each person must look deeply into themselves and choose a course of action that they can live with and still allow the work to continue. The reality is that sometime the two don’t mesh. Difficult decisions wouldn’t be called difficult if they were easy.
Whether your work group is five or fifty strong, long term illnesses have an impact. At some point the “whole” begins to suffer and while it sounds heartless, you have to do what is best for your company and your employees. Can one person becoming ill jeopardize your operation? Maybe and maybe not. Everyone has a different situation. The only truth is that you can’t plan for anything like this.
That, my friends, is called management.
Postscript: As of May 4th I have completed my treatment. After 44 sessions and 3000 driving miles, I can rest easy and not worry, at least about this type of cancer. I want to thank my wonderful staff for handling my absences flawlessly and the administration for their complete support. I want to especially thank my family and the special people at ProCure Oklahoma City for their caring and supportive treatment. I had the opportunity to meet many people from around the world and several young children that were facing much worse situations than myself. These kids are the real hero’s in my book. All the folks had a special story to tell. Knowing that you are not making a fresh path, but walking one that many others have taken is very comforting.
We all have limited budgets with which to manage our organization. If we’re smart, we do our due diligence in deciding how we spend our money. So how do we make sure IPMA membership is a good investment? It’s really the same as any other purchase. If you buy a piece of equipment, for instance, you consider its utilization. You wouldn’t buy a piece of expensive equipment if you weren’t planning to use it. Likewise, you shouldn’t just purchase a membership with IPMA and not be connected to the organization. Just like a great equipment purchase, the more you use your IPMA connection, the more valuable it becomes. There are many opportunities for you to get the most out of your IPMA investment. The IPMA Community is a resource that’s available to you at all times. You have the industry’s top experts ready to assist and advise you at any time. All you have to do is post your question. The IPMA Annual Conference is the top industry conference for in-plant professionals. It is first and foremost an educational conference. The agenda is packed with educational sessions by national speakers, vendors, and the top in-plant managers in the country. It’s also another great opportunity to build relationships with your peers as well as vendors. Roadshows are a great way to stay connected in between conferences. Roadshows are one or two day mini-conferences located around the country each year. This is an opportunity for you to get together with other in-plants in your region. It’s also a great way to get new in-plants involved with IPMA, since it is less expensive and less of a time commitment than the full conference. We recently hosted our first Roadshow at the State of Tennessee. Here are a couple of comments from participants: “My colleague and I attended our first IPMA event recently at the Roadshow in Nashville. It was a very positive experience! For a one day meeting, the agenda was stocked with a nice variety of discussions and we had multiple opportunities to network with others in a variety of settings. As we are currently in a stage of growth and exploring new territory, it was very helpful that everyone we met was eager to share experiences and information. We look forward to the next time we can attend an IPMA event!” Jill Fair and Fred Conley, East Tennessee State University, Biomedical Communications Department “The IPMA Showcase in Nashville was the first professional event I’ve attended. I’ve been employed at Skyhawk Printing and Mail Services for almost 3 years. The networking and brainstorming opportunity with In-Plant managers was invaluable to our facility, because I was able to learn how other In-Plants grow their business and solve problems that we are now facing since we’ve expanded our services. I believe that everyone should attend an IPMA event. I came back with 3 pages of notes and ideas to implement in our shop. Buy most importantly, I feel like I’ve become part of a talented group of colleagues and friends that can support each other as the printing industry changes with the evolution of technology and customers’ needs.” Elizabeth Lackey Graphic Designer Skyhawk Printing and Mail Services The University of Tennessee at Marti In some areas of the country, IPMA has Local Chapters....read more
February 19, 2018 KEARNEY, MO—The In-Plant Printing and Mailing Association (IPMA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Mrs. Barbara Jan Portwood (Jan), of Lititz, PA, as its new Marketing and Social Media Manager, effective today. Jan is a seasoned professional with technology, marketing, customer service and sales expertise. She is well versed in technology, social media marketing, marketing and relationship building, among many of her talents. She is a professional, award-winning photographer who has had her work featured in exhibitions across the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, including New York City. Jan is very familiar with the in-plant printing and mailing industries having worked for 10 years at Louisiana State University (LSU) Graphic Services and Veterinary School as an Information Technology Professional. She was instrumental in modernizing the technology—both hardware and software at LSU Graphic Services. Jan has a BS in Clothing and Textile Communications, along with a BS in Computer Science–both degrees from LSU. She also earned her MS in Applied Cognition and Neuroscience from the University of Texas at Dallas (TX). She is married to Michael Portwood, and they have one son. “We are so excited to have someone of Jan’s ability and knowledge to help IPMA move forward in addressing the needs of our members,” said Mike Loyd, Executive Director of IPMA. “Having worked with Jan during my time at LSU, I am fully aware of her capabilities. Jan is extremely talented in project management, and proficient in software and hardware, and will lead our marketing efforts to new horizons,” Loyd said. In addition to developing IPMA’s marketing plan, Jan will be responsible for implementing the plan via all the outlets available to IPMA. She will handle IPMA’s social media needs, as well. Jan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Marketing and Social Media Manager is a new position created to address the communication needs of IPMA, and its ever-growing membership. It is important that IPMA prepares for the future with a solid, comprehensive plan of action to keep its membership informed through all channels. Founded in 1964, the In-Plant Printing and Mailing Association is the only professional association dedicated exclusively to meet the needs of all segments’ in-house printers and mailers. The nearly-700 members of IPMA are managers and directors from in-plant printing and mailing facilities throughout the United States. IPMA is headquartered in Kearney, MO....read more
Pay Attention: 5 Ways to Focus in Everyday Life Timetables, schedules, and plans are drawn every day, every week, every month, and at times yearly. They are drawn with the promise that when followed this time, better results would follow. However, after a very diligent first week, a slightly slacked second week and a lazy third week, you come to the realization that you have lost focus. In life, your focus is lost in different ways, in relationships, careers, and at times with family. The one question everyone asks is how to stay focused on life and love, and the list below is a few of the methods that you can use: 1. Make a New Routine Every Time You Feel Lost I am sure you have experienced the adrenaline feeling that is accompanied by the making of a new routine. The promise that the next day, you will wake up earlier, be more specific with what you want to do and sleep late to ensure that the day is most productive. Try and capitalize on that adrenaline and you do this by changing your routine when it feels like it is getting old. Every time you get too comfortable with your routine, to the extent that you start not following it, spice it up a bit to reawaken the adrenaline and get focused once again. 2. Clear the Distractions Focus is at times lost when distractions supersede the task at hand. You might decide to binge-watch Netflix when you should be working out to burn the carbs you feel are in excess. Other times, you might get more concerned about the drama happening in your best friend’s life and forget that you need to read that book. These distractions may take up just an hour of your day, but they really affect your goals in the long run. Clear these distractions from your life today to ensure that they play no role in distracting you from your life goals. 3. Take Control of Your Own Life In the morning, you wake up to a call by your bestie, asking you if you could be so kind as to do this and that for her. At the office, your boss keeps sending you on these unorthodox appointments since he might not make it. In the evening, it is probably a spouse asking for a favor or two. By the end of the day, you realize that you have not achieved anything that you set out to do. What you need to do is take control of your own life, and unless you are done doing what you had planned, don’t let other people’s favors and requests harbor you. 4. Be Intentional with Your Relationships The thing with goals and staying in focus is that every distraction has to be gotten rid of. Sometimes, random relationships that really don’t add value to your life and goals are the distractions, and they, therefore, need to be gotten rid of. Moreover, ensure that the people you associate with have the same goals as you do. When you have the same goals with your friends, you can keep each other in check, and encourage one another when you are both feeling slack. 5. Take a Break Sometimes, you need to take a break from everything...read more
5 Lies That Prevent Lasting Motivation Everybody knows how important motivation is for success. It feeds your energy, enabling you to take on the toughest of challenges in your journey. However, motivation may be represented in the wrong light. Ever felt that rush of energy when you exit a motivational workshop, only to find yourself deflating after a while? You realize that the motivation you experienced was more hype, less encouragement. There are facts that lead to sustainable motivation, and then there are the lies. It’s time you stopped believing in these: “All you need is motivation!” Motivation has no substance. It is your fuel, and you need action to utilize that fuel. If a person says they feel motivated to get a certain promotion, but in fact does nothing to achieve it, then they cannot actually reach their destination despite all the motivation they have. “Motivate people by telling them what to do.” Telling people what to do has the opposite of the intended effect. People left and right tell us what to do. If that is all it took to motivate people, there would be no one left uninspired. Actions speak louder than words. Lead by example; if you truly want to motivate people, show them what you did. “Setting goals does not motivate people.” Goals remind us that we have a direction. While not all goals are great goals, they let us know which way to go. Setting goals is like setting up signs on your road to success. “Setbacks lead to demotivation.” Setbacks are frustrating. They disappoint us and can temporarily pause our pursuit of success. However, setbacks are also inevitable, and are in fact the setup to a comeback. If setbacks were truly de-motivating, then Hollywood producers would never use them as the reasons for your favorite characters to gain determination and achieve their happy endings. “There is no such thing as lasting motivation.” Yes, we know the title promises lasting motivation. In truth, motivation is always eventually countered by an opposing force, and you need to revisit your sources of motivation. While you can use the same tools or techniques to get motivated again, never indulge the idea that ”once was enough.” People need motivation to re-energize. Scott Burrows delivers his keynotes on change management, overcoming adversity, goal setting and other subjects of professional encouragement in a realistic and empathetic manner to motivate professionals across different organizations. Call Scott at 855.841.9225 to hire him as a speaker at your next corporate event to motivate your employees. You can also check out some of his videos here. Posted in Mindset by Searchberg on November 9, 2017. Share this: 2Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)2 Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) 1Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)1 Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window) Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new...read more
Relax and Go with the Flow! Sometimes, in our quest to get ahead in life, we forget to actually live it. From deadlines to meet to presentations to prepare for, life is quite busy. However, you need to let go of things and relax. In your fast-paced world, you have got to learn to go with the flow. Here are some ways you can actually do that: Breathe When things seem to get out of control, it is a good idea to sit down, relax and take some deep breaths. It allows you to calm down and regroup your thought processes. Learning breathing exercises will mean that you do not need to go somewhere or need someone to calm you down. It gives you a sense of control. Understand That You Can’t Control Everything Talking about control, remember that you cannot control your universe. From getting fired from a job to accidents, mishaps occur. Your goal is to learn to accept this fact. Being frustrated will not take you anywhere. Make sure you get perspective and learn to move on with a more focused self. Laugh In the midst of our busy lives, we forget to have fun. Spend some time with your friends. Watch a funny movie. Laughing will give you a sense of detachment from life’s absurdities. It will help you see the funny side of things, and that’s quite productive for you. Become Good at Determining the Urgency Level Learn to figure out the urgency of a situation. Is the task too important to leave for tomorrow? Can it have negative consequences if delayed? Determining the urgency levels will help you prioritize and manage life more effectively. Keep a Journal Having a journal allows you to write about life as you observe it. This can help great deal in giving you perspective. Whether you have been upset about something or are facing a big problem, getting it out on paper really helps. It can be a great way to blow off some steam – a cathartic effect. Embrace Imperfections As we go through life, we realize that neither we nor anybody around us is perfect. The key is in embracing these imperfections and continuing to enjoy life. The world will keep changing whether you like it or not. Let go of that perfectionist attitude and keep learning from new experiences. With a deeply inspiring story, Scotts Burrows has a message that really resonates. As one of the most engaging and impactful business keynote speakers, he helps people learn to live better. This corporate speaker delivers many entertaining and uplifting speeches on overcoming adversity. Have a look at some of them. Posted in Mindset by Searchberg on May 17,...read more
What is everyone planning(for In-Plant Awareness Month)? We were a little early this year. We had planned to do an open house but our students came to us and asked that instead, we support something new they were trying this year. They called it an “office involvement fair.” The purpose of the event was for our Messiah College Community to gather together in one location so that individuals could better understand what resources, offices, and services exist on campus in support of students and all Messiah business. By visiting the Fair and getting to know and learn face-to-face from the offices or groups, attendees would be better equipped for a successful semester. So we supported every office that participated by helping them with their displays and communication materials. AND of course – we had our own booth as well. Dwayne Magee Director College Press and Postal Services Messiah College...read more
5 Ways to Master Your Fears In as much as it is part of what makes us human, fear is one of the greatest challenges and obstacles people face in life. Though helpful and important in some life situations, fear can hinder us from exploring and experiencing life from a whole new perspective. Mastering your fears can open your years to a whole new perspective of life. It allows you to experience happiness fully live a more lively and fulfilled life. Here are five simple ways you can face your fears and conquer them and their negative effects to your life. Identify, embrace and get comfortable with your fear You can identify your fears by determining what you cannot do, why you cannot do it, and what you are afraid of when you do what you are scared of doing. After identifying it, embrace it. Get comfortable with it by engaging in things that give you a fright more often. As you do this, your confidence builds and your being grows stronger. Learn that fear is a state of mind Fear comes in when we condition our mind against engaging in some things with the thought of protecting ourselves. The good thing is that we are in control of our fears; not the other way round. When you feel it creeping inside you, acknowledge it, but do not let it take over your mind. Instead, you can use it to your advantage. Sometimes fear helps to bring out the best in us. A simple way to keep your fear in control is taking slow deep breaths to keep calm. Focus on the positive aspects of your life Get to document the positive things that happen to you every day, the things you are grateful for and the good things you do to others. This continuous act helps your notice some positive things you may not have noticed if you gave room for fear. Things like compassion, fun, style, and humor. You will feel more positive and less fearful. Identify the worst-case scenario and get ready for failure Worst-case scenarios, in as much as they do not look good most times, they actually are not as bad as you imagine. It is important to know that you will always be held back and hindered from achieving success in your life if you do not come to terms with the worst case scenario. A good example is the extreme athletes like downhill skiers and skydivers. Their worst case scenario is death. Somehow they come to terms with it, and that is why they are able to do what they do and achieve success in their paths. Coming to peace with your worst-case scenario helps you focus on the present rather than building up on what you fear, which in turn influences your thoughts and actions negatively. So come to terms with your worst-case scenario and embrace the facts. Take a new and creative action Constant actions ensure that you do not succumb to your fears by focusing on it. There is more to it than just acting. You have to be accountable and honest with yourself. Do not come up with excuses and reasons why you have to avoid facing your fears. Be true to your course if at all success...read more
Posted in Mindset on January 1,...read more
Ravings of a Mad Printer……………. Looking ahead while things in the mirror are closer than they appear. By John Sarantakos One of my favorite cartoons growing up was “A Far Side” by Gary Larson. Incredibly hilarious stuff because it always made you go “hummmm”. I’ll beg forgiveness for using this image, but it was always one of my favorites. So how many of you worry about what is coming up on you or breathing down your neck? I’ll guess it is probably all of us (including me). The problem arises if we focus too much on what’s behind and don’t bother to look where we are going. Honestly, there are a lot of things chasing us. Budgets, FM’s, staffing issues, costs, rework, schedules, our bosses, and probably the real world. I can see where folks could lose their way or easily miss a turn. Nobody can ignore the rearview mirror and only look forward. But you must find the best balance so that nothing sneaks up and you keep the operation heading in the right direction. We can control the things chasing us thru better planning and communications. Plans are good although they can be time consuming to develop. Communication is always good especially when it includes the higher ups. IPMA’s recent study “The Future of the In-Plant”, revels that planning is the single biggest contributor to success and growth. Failure to plan does not necessarily mean failure, but not knowing where you are going may make you look behind more than you should. Communication with bosses, customers and staff are key to smoother operations. When everybody is on the same page it simply helps reduce questions, conflict, costs and more importantly customer complaints. I know there is no great hidden revelation exposed here. My goal was to remind each and every manager to do the things necessary to minimize those things in the mirror and plan ahead for those things coming down the pipe. Failure to do these fundamental management practices may result in being caught from behind or running off the road. Drive defensively while staying on the offense! Past President John Sarantakos, Director of Printing, Mailing and Document Services University of Oklahoma 2101 W. Tecumseh Rd. Suite A Norman OK 73069 Contact John Phone: (405) 325-4176 Email: email@example.com...read more
Kindness is often never celebrated. It is so important in everyday life, yet incredibly vague; most people want to be kind, yet don’t know where to start! I challenge all of us to step outside our comfort zones and do things we wouldn’t normally do. We don’t need to do grand gestures to be kind today. People simply appreciate the little things you can do for them. Kindness often starts in small acts, but it grows exponentially, changing our behaviors, and pushing us to find ways in which we can always be helping others. Try these 10 easy ways of being kind today! Kindness often starts in small acts, but it grows exponentially, changing our behaviors, and pushing us to find ways in which we can always be helping others. Make kindness not just a resolution, but part of your everyday life. To learn more about how to gain more perspective in kindness and generosity, consider reading Live, Love, Explore: Discover the Way of the Traveler a Roadmap to the Life You Were Meant to Live. Available Now Part travel memoir, part self-help book, Live, Love, Explore is a guide to finding meaning and adventure in your everyday life and discovering the road you were always meant to walk. Learn More February 2017...read more