Kevin Hellriegel's Blog of Worthless Advice

The only blog that you really want to read…or ignore.

Category Archives: Business

Everyone needs a Hobby

This evening I’m watching the Thomas Crown Affair starting Pierce Bronson and Rene Russo.  It’s the new one…made in 1999.  One of the main character states “Everyone needs a hobby.”

James Bond had a hobby!  https://youtu.be/yw3X-lzwmOM

And yes, even I have a hobby: a worthless advice blog.

Sure, sometimes I forget about my hobby and my worthless advice blog gets neglected.  I don’t write and that is just plain silly of me because in the end, who suffers the most?  You do.  You do, my poor readers. I neglect you and that’s a terrible mistake.  Why should I deprive you of my advice?  Do my stories not enlighten you? Do they not impart you with my vast knowledge and wise experiences?

Every once in a while, Cyndi (my imaginary stalker) has to remind me that life isn’t all about rainbow and unicorns. Sometimes it is about doing something more important, sometimes it involves putting down Mr. Whiskers and writing for the readers of my blog.  For you my dear readers, I’ll put down Mr. Whiskers this evening and write a blog entry.  Because, hey, you deserve it.

What is your hobby?  A hobby should be something that engages your mind, it helps your soul, and it will lead to positive health benefits.  (Of course if making meth in your garage is your hobby, it probably won’t lead to positive health benefits but it will engage your mind….chemistry is hard stuff).

Hobbies are an escape from your everyday that allows you to decompress.  You are able to relax and think something other than the burdens of being an adult.

Hobbies are also something you don’t mind wasting time on. You can spend hours doing your hobby and it won’t matter because you enjoy it.  It brings you joy.

However, a hobby should be positive for you and for those around you. Smoking cigerettes around a daycare center isn’t a good hobby.  Watching an excessive amount of TV is a bad hobby also.  Instead you should be reading my blog.  Clearly, my blog is an excellent hobbit.

What is your favorite hobby (besides reading my blog)?

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Oh, it’s Yard Sale Season? The Best 7 Worthless Advice Tips to make it a HUGE success!

It’s summer here and that means there are a fair amount of yard sales in my local community.  It’s like a gold rush of junk and the everyone wants to sell their treasures!  I enjoy a good garage sale like the next guy (if that guy happens to be a hoarder).  You can find some good tools, cheap books, dangerous toys, out of style clothes, and dead Nana’s ashes.

Perhaps you want to sell your Treasures?   Follow my Tips for Huge Garage Sales!

  1. Get Rid of Your Spouse and Children – You don’t want your sentimental, sappy husband or your whining kids mucking up the sales process with their cries of “But that was my favorite bike” or “I still need that hammer to fix the gate” or “I need that heart medication to survive.”
  2. Sell High Quality Items –  Sure, that is pretty easy right?  You know what sells?  Your neighbor’s stuff.  Like their brand new lawn furniture or their ECHO weed wacker.  Or that bratty kid’s bike down the street.  Just slip them into our inventory, price them dirt cheap (like your wife’s perfume), and watch the money roll in.
  3. Advertise Your Yard Sale –  Make sure to make a big sign and hot glue it to the neighbor’s car down on the corner.  Hey, if he is stupid enough to park image2his car on the public street, then it can become a good spot for a nice sign to direct traffic to your awesome garage sale.
  4. Put on Some Music – Have your nephew and his gangsta rap music group have a concert outside.  Nothing like a bunch of swear words to get those Buyers itching to buy!
  5. Selling on a Hot Day?  Some would suggest selling lemonade…I would add Vodka and get the sales party started.  Everyone knows that liquor helps to loosen up those tight purse strings.  And what could go wrong with vodka infused lemonade at 9:32 am?
  6. Need something for the Husbands to do?  Husbands get bored at garage sales.  To combat this, start a craps game in the backyard.  Everyone loves craps!  Remember the longer they are playing, the longer their wives are at the garage sale buying your stuff!
  7. All Sales Final – Don’t forget to remind your customers that all sales are final.  They are stuck with your treasures now!

After those final customers sober up, you can get rid of the reminder items on Craig’s List for FREE!

Do you have some awesome tips or a story to share?  Leave them in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

“Let’s Go Make Some Bad Decisions!”

I have on my iPhone, in my notes app, a list of T-Shirt sayings ideas.  These are random sayings I think would make great T-shirts.  Some are sarcastic sayings, some are worthless advice sayings, and others make no sense at all but quite are catchy.

The title of this blog is one of those sayings. Of course, I didn’t make that one up. It appears inLet-s-go-make-bad-decisions-Women-s-T-Shirts a few movies, on memes, and in song lyrics. However, it inspires me to think of weird sayings I could add into my own personal list of clever and witty sayings. Sayings that make no sense, yet if you put them out in the world, someone would adopt it, and make it their own motto, and it would become a part of popular culture.

The hard part is trying to keep what you hear in popular culture out of your own creative thought process. If I Googled half the sayings in my little note app, I’m sure you could find them in a movie I watched, a novel I read, or a song I heard. You could copy a cleverly written prose as your personal mantra, however, give credit where credit is due.

Now, to help you in your quest to be unique as possible, here is a saying you can throw into a conversation sometime. It makes no sense, yet if the listener thinks a bit about it, it might make sense.

Today’s saying: “Just hanging out with dogs and monkeys.”

Let’s throw this into a conversation with your friend. Your friend asks you “What are you up to this weekend?” Your new answer: “Just hanging with dogs and monkeys.” Which they might think is your family…other friends…your adult soccer club. It makes them think they know what you are talking about, but they don’t. (In Australia, you might have to modify it to “dogs and kangaroos”.)

Now try it with a co-worker. They ask “How was that meeting with the marketing team?” You talk about how productive it was but then throw in “You know, after it was all said and done, it was just hanging out with dogs and monkeys.” They will either nod their head in agreement (because they think they know what you are talking about). Or they will ask you what you mean. If they ask, you can say “Certainly, you have been in the same situation.” Again, you aren’t offering a definition or an answer but does it really matter? You’ve answered them but didn’t answer them.

If you work in a school, this saying could fit into everyday school life and no one would bat their eyes. Everyone knows kids are dogs and monkeys.

Enjoy another worthless advice nugget from Kevin to get you through the day! And remember that you are just hanging out with the dogs and monkeys today.

Why I hate my customers…

I don’t always hate my customers but sometimes they just make it so easy and I just can’t help myself.  It seems that people just try to be stupid.  They want me to be upset with them.  Most people who contact me, do need help and the problem is easy to solve. I do school photography; I don’t sell rocket boosters for NASA.  It’s pretty easy.

However, the other day, someone emailed me about my school retake policy. They asked “Do I have to pay for retakes?”
Gee, maybe if you actually read the Retake Policy (that is right in front of you, you know, the one you are holding in your hand), then you would know the answer.  It is right there, in black and white, clearly printed in easy to read text that says “Retake Policy”. What does it say? It says all retakes are NO CHARGE. It goes on to further explain that for whatever reason, no matter what, we will do a retake at NO CHARGE.  We won’t charge you at all!  If you had bothered to actually read the policy, then you would be wasting my time with your stupid question. It’s not that hard, you had to read the back of the photo envelope to find my email address and there is a bold headline that says “Retake Policy”. It’s really easy to see.  If you had given a shit then you would know that.

The other customer I hate is the one that sends me an email but doesn’t bother to give me any information about the situation or leave a contact phone number or email address. Just yesterday, someone used Square to send me a message. She got the wrong photo packet, and asked could I send the correct one to the school? She left her name on the Square message but she doesn’t accept a reply message on Square. (I guess that is an option on Square).

So all I have is her name.  I don’t have her phone number, I don’t have her email address, and I have no way to get a hold of her because she chose the Square message option where she won’t accept reply messages.  I can’t reply back to her.

Sure, I’d love to help you get the right photo packet, but could you make it a little harder?  Can you make my job a little more difficult?

I have no clue on what school her kids attend.  It could be anyone of my 30 different accounts.  Which kid needs the correct photo packet?  

The third customer I talked to said both her kids got the wrong packet. She said she ordered 1-8×10 for each kid. You know what? She didn’t. I looked up her original form and she filled out both of them incorrectly.  Not once but twice.

It’s crap like this that makes me hate my customers.  I’m pretty sure they do it on purpose.

  

Could you be better?

I’m pretty good at my job. Sure, I know I have room to improve, make myself and my company better, make more money, etc.  And if I worked for someone (other than myself),  I’d say I’m a solid B+/A- worker. I get the job done and I do a great job at it.

But that made me wonder: What if I was better at another job (or career) and I just don’t know it?  Hell, I know I could be a great ticket taker at the movie theater. I wouldn’t be pulling down an awesome salary but I would be awesome at it.

So with an easy job; yeah, I would be awesome. But what if there is a job out there that I would be even better at…there was “more” for me to excel at at? I would reach a higher level of success at that job instead of my current job?  How do I figure out what that is?

How many of us are really good at our jobs but in another career field, we would be awesome?

Clearly, I’m awesome at a lot of things. And I’m modest too. I just don’t know what I would be better at. What talents and knowledge haven’t I tapped into?

What makes you great? Do you know?

  

How to Handle Stress like the Whiner You Are!

Let’s visit our good friend: Stress.  As an expert of worthless advice, I can say: We all have it. Some of us handle it better than others. Some of us have an undue amount of it. Little things might stress you out while those same little things are not stressful at all for someone else.  How do we deal with stress?

We whine about it. We complain and whine about how much stress we have. But you know what? That’s OK…we should vent and complain. That helps to release the stress. Keeping all that stressed bottle up inside isn’t good. Let it out. Complain. I give you permission to whine, vent, and release your stress.

The key to dealing with stress is to compartmentize it. Just focus on the task at hand and not worry about the stress. Overcome your stress by putting it on the back burner while you do your job. You are volunteering at an animal shelter? Focus on the animals and put that stress in a different part of your mind, enjoy the moment of helping others.

The stress of your job getting to you? Take a walk and don’t think about it. You need to have “me” time to defeat stress AND recharge.  No one says you need to think about your job and stress out about it 24 hours a day.

Best of luck to you in your fight against stress!

Why I hate Driving on the Freeway….

Today, I actually had to work at my studio in Burien and had to drive today. Usually, this time of year I work mostly out of my home office. So on my way back from Burien in the middle of the day, one should expect the freeway traffic to flow easily. In the Seattle area, that is never the case. I made it past the madhouse near the Sea-Tac International Airport. Once on I-405, I get stuck behind a guy in a gold minivan doing 46 mph on the freeway that is clearly marked 60 mph. This is way I hate driving. We have some idiot on the freeway that thinks he is on a nice country drive. It isn’t a nice country drive; it’s January and it is a cool 40 degrees out. I’d like to get on my merry little way home. I don’t need you endangering my life with your slow driving.
Sure, I could whip around this guy in his golden minivan; however, I have to take the next off ramp to get onto the other freeway. It makes no sense to barrel around this guy. Of course, he takes the same exit. I wasn’t in a hurry but I was annoyed. I’m not a freeway Nazi; I just ask that you drive the speed limit. Go at least 5 mph over or at least the speed limit. Is that too much to ask? I’m not asking you to drive at an unsafe speed. The pavement is dry, the sky is a mix of sunshine and clouds, driving conditions are pretty darn good out there…just do the speed limit so the guy behind me isn’t tailgating me.
Thanks for allowing me to offer my own personal piece of Worthless Advice on how to drive on the Freeway!

Everyone loves to drive on the freeway, right?

Everyone loves to drive on the freeway, right?

Curriculum Night: How my Child will learn to Become a Mid-Level Management Suck Up

This evening I went to my daughter‘s “curriculum” night at her school. This just happens to be my last one for elementary school. Have you forgotten about curriculum night? Or maybe you are a bad parent and have never attended one before? Basically, the teacher tells you what your child will be learning over the course of the year. In the great State of Washington, goals have changed and the names of the goals have changed. We’ve had WASL goals, we’ve had Iowa tests, we’ve had critical thinking goals, MAPSAT, BS Goals, etc. The acronyms keep rolling out and the goals keep changing but it all comes down to this: we want our kids grow up with a decent brain inside their heads.

I’m all for progress and helping my child become a world thinker who is compassionate and uses critical thinking in their ever changing world of shifting paradigms while at the same time becoming a global citizen that needs to manage her own future. How about that? Is that a “mission statement” or what?

One of the new math concepts is for our students to work on the computer solving problems. Really? The teacher had a sample problem involving pizza and two kids. One kid was named Lucas. All I was thinking while she was showing us the math word problem was that Lucas was a fat pig who shouldn’t be eating 3/8 of the cheese pizza, 4/8 of the pepperoni, and ¼ of another one. That Lucas kid is going to be one fat ass kid with weight and self-esteem issues if he keeps pigging out. Poor Lucas.  Did Lucas think he found the best Seattle pizza?

Welcome back to School!

Welcome back to School!

My other concern was that it was fairly stupid to being solving this math problem on a computer. A good old pencil and paper would be a lot quicker and easier to use. How are they going to do the math on the fly if the computer isn’t there? Hmm? Are the children of today (and tomorrow) going to be able to do math without the use of a pull down menu? Could they mix art and math together and sketch out the problem on paper with a pencil and still figure it out?

Really, all I saw was that our schools were teaching our kids to rely on a computer to create a whole bunch of extra work to solve a simple math word problem. They can make pie graphs, charts, etc. That’s great but it is a simple problem. They don’t need to make a ten page report on it that is a waste of everyone’s time. Are we creating a society of mid-level managers that make reports for the heck of it and to justify their jobs?

“I have that twenty page report on why we shouldn’t eating Twinkles!” Conclusion: Uh, because they are bad for us? Or maybe we should eat them because it helps the fitness industry keep fitness instructors employed?

Over the years, I’ve learned that you need to watch less TV, get off the worthless texting and Instagram, Facebook, social media sites, and read more nonfiction (that was a big one tonight) and classic novels. I would also add you need to get out and experience life. Take the kids to museums, road trips, ferry boat rides, hikes, walks, boat rides, and feel the wind in your face.

Don’t get me wrong; I love the internet as much as you do. All the information at your fingertips, merely a click away…it’s wonderful.

Yet, I’m just as guilty as other parents and their children in letting social media run our lives. I have a hard time disconnecting from my iPhone. I have slowed down my use of social media. I have tried to make a deliberate effort not to check my phone when I’m doing activities with the family. I try to ignore that email buzz on my phone. It is hard. Sometimes I’m good and other times I’m not.

What are your thoughts about using only computers for school work these days? Will it work?

 

Things to Demotivate You….

Sigh. It is hard to keep motivated when you have a blog about worthless advice. I find myself distracted by all the happiness and goodness of the world. Once in a while, there is some stupid financial advice you can cling to to Demotivate you. My favorite: Make more money and spend less. Whoa. Heart stopping advice.

Facebook doesn’t help either. People are always updating their Facebook status with “I’m having a great time with my family on our trip to Maui”. Or “I just won $300 at the casino and I’m currently up $600”. No one admits they have just lost their kid’s college fund (if they even bother to start one). No one says they hate their overbearing uncle during the family reunion on Kauai. I thought you were suppose to over share on Facebook? Isn’t that what your Facebook friends want?

You don’t want to be happy all the time. You want to get upset and be angry. Oh, does that offend you when I say something like that? Should I be happy all the time and have positive thoughts all the time? Should I shrug my shoulders up and say “Oh Well” when there is a school yard shooting? Should I not be angry when there is injustice in the world?

You can’t be positive all the time. There are times when you won’t be happy. I know I won’t be a billionaire in my chosen career path. The numbers just don’t support it. I can make a very comfortable living but I won’t be flying on a private jet from photo session to photo session. That doesn’t upset me. I’m ok with that.

I do wish I was a better blogger and a better writer. I wish I could have the dedication to sit down between my other projects and write a bestselling novel. However, I accept the fact I’m lazy and making excuses for not doing the things I should be doing or the things I want to do. I own my failures and understand that in their own twisted way they help to motivate me.

I’m sorry, I’m suppose to be talking about demotivating you, not helping you! Silly me, trying to better the world through my logical thought process. If something is really important to you, then you should do them. Unless it is a meth habit, you shouldn’t do it. Highly addictive and it will cause you to make bad choices. Most of the time, you hurt your family and friends. Hmm, maybe you shouldn’t do what you want, right?

I want to run my car into the stupid driver in front of me but I don’t. I want to sleep in but I get my butt up and work. I’ll work late to catch up when I fall behind. I don’t get to do whatever I want because I’m a responsible adult with grown up bills to pay. Sigh. Now, I’m feeling more demotivated. I’m glad I was about to work though this “up and happy” moment.

Back to life and reality!! To the freeways!

How Not To Be That Idiot Driver

I’m not much of a commuter so when I do have to drive somewhere, I pride myself on not being an idiot. I know where I am going and what freeways and exits I need to take. I know where the problems will be and when I should merge or exit.

Today, some idiot decided she needed to merge in front of me without bothering to look. She must have known she had three choices: speed up on the on ramp and cut me off, crash into me, or stay at her present speed and gently merge in behind me. As we know from my present tone that she cut me off.

Now, I didn’t blare my horn, tailgate her, or even get that upset. I just shook my head in amazement. Seriously, it was that important to get ahead of me in your Blue Tahoe? Like it made the traffic go that much faster? And don’t bother to look at me as you merge, the rest of us will gladly watch out for your vehicle this morning.

I did catch up to her as I neared my final destination and she was texting on her phone. I honestly could have cut back in front of her, slammed on my brakes, caused an accident, and gotten a new work truck out of it.

But I didn’t.

And I live to write another day without back pain!

Thanks for allowing me to vent and release.

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