World of Avallone - Men's Fashion & Lifestyle
10 Ways to Succeed in Any Job February 04 2016
We often switch between leader and follower many times in a single day, and success in any job depends just as much on being a great follower as it does on being a great leader. Here are 10 ways to do just that:
- Seize the Initiative: Today's leader desperately needs followers that bring fresh ideas not passive worker bees waiting to be told what to do.
- Create their Own Job: When in a new job, identify quickly a quantifiable goal that you can achieve in a reasonably short amount of time. Then write up a plan for achieving that goal along with a weekly reporting process. Most importantly, present your plan before your boss asks for it. In this way, you will demonstrate that you can lead yourself.
- Be Coachable: Always be ready to learn and grow from the leaders around you. It is important to demonstrate that you are coachable and are paying attention.
- Anticipate Needs: One of the most humorous bits from the TV series M*A*S*H is Cpl. "Radar" O'Reilly consistently anticipating Col. Blake and later Col. Potter. They can barely open their mouths before Radar finishes their sentence by assuring them that whatever they are looking for is already done. Like Radar, great followers stay a step ahead of their boss by proactively asking: "If I were my boss what would I want next?"
- Learn to be a Great Communicator: If your boss ever has to ask for a status report, you are failing as a follower. Great leaders are great worriers. Great followers preempt worry by proactively communicating in writing.
- Be Goal Driven: Your boss is not paying you to "stay busy" or even to "work hard." He is paying you to strategically deliver on clearly defined goals that materially impact the mission. This is true no matter where you are on the corporate ladder.
- Show Don't Tell: Human beings are wired to value action and discount verbiage, use this trait to your advantage.
- Earn Trust: My number one goal upon taking a new job was getting my boss to relax. The sooner I earned his trust, the quicker he would spend his most valuable asset, time, worrying about something other than me. People who keep promises can be trusted. Those who don't cannot. Great followers keep promises. It is critical, especially early in your relationship with your boss, that you deliver on every commitment no matter how trivial.
- Offer Solutions: Any damn fool can turn his problems into problems for his boss. Great followers solve problems. If they cannot they always offer their boss solutions along with the problem.
- Be Compassionate: Often referred to as "managing your boss," great followers are sympathetic to the enormous pressure that leaders must endure. Great followers not only empathize but look for ways to reassure their boss that at least one person understands his pain and can be counted on to alleviate it.
As I hope you've noticed, many of the same traits I describe to great followers apply to great leaders. Great leaders not only acquire these traits as followers, but model them for their own subordinates. But most importantly their interchangeable nature makes my point: Just as the distinction between noble and serf is a thing of the past so are the distinctions between leaders and followers.
1 Easy Way to Improve Your Professional Image October 23 2015
Oscar Wilde once said; “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.”
Then again, Oscar Wilde never worked in modern day corporate America, where many offices have a casual policy and some people get ostracized for wearing a tie, when no one else is. You might ask yourself, how is it possible to enhance my professional image without being politically incorrect in the office.
Since today’s professional culture is dominated by casual dress codes where many people no longer need to wear a suit or tie, many people carry unprofessional bags. In some cases, where employees are required to wear a suit or tie, you will still find many people carrying non-professional bags. Some of these bags can include college backpacks, bags made from synthetic materials like polyurethane, and even plastic bags from the local grocery store. However one easy way to maintain or enhance your professional image without the drama of wearing a tie in a “tie-less” work place, or simply improve the look of your suit in a business formal environment, is to carry a professional, high quality leather bag, to and from work, every day.
The effect of a quality, genuine leather bag on your professional image is priceless. It can be the difference between being the next one in line for a promotion or not. Taking the time to pick out a quality, handmade leather bag for work communicates to your coworkers and superiors that you are organized, mature, stylish, and professional, all quality characteristics of any business person. Just think, have you ever seen a Hollywood movie featuring an important business person carrying a plastic grocery bag to work every day?
Now that you see how important an investment in a handmade luxury leather bag is for work, you must make sure to find a high quality item with fine leather. If you do not, you will risk looking cheap, and may even detract from the overall look of your outfit. For more details on finding a good handmade leather bag, see our blog post on “How to Spot Fake Leather When Shopping”. The best thing about buying a quality handmade leather bag, is that you can get away with any style leather bag, and still look professional. As long as the bag is genuine, high quality leather, any duffle bag, briefcase, tote bag, or even backpack will work.
Click here to check out some of Avallone’s handmade leather bags for men! We have a selection of handmade leather briefcases, laptop carriers, backpacks, weekender bags, and duffle’s, all included with a lifetime warranty.
Jason Statham, for Your Amusement June 05 2015
From hustling knockoffs on the streets of London to becoming Hollywood's preeminent action hero, the man has always known how to sell what he wants the world to buy.
Jason Statham, the last action star, is telling a story about his first career. Once, he was a driver. "There was a guy years ago who used to come down to Crystal Palace, where I used to train. His name was Mad Harry, and he couldn't fucking dive to save his life. Every day at the same time, just before they'd close the pool to the public so we could train, Mad Harry would climb up to the top of the board, thirty-three feet, ten meters high, and he would do this almighty belly flop. Every day. Boom! We would look at each other and go, 'Fucking someone should teach that man how to dive.' "
"I feel like I've had four careers. A career of a fucking street trader, the career of a sportsman, and now I've got a career of something different. Three, actually. I've had three careers."
The terrazzo on which Statham sits is a garden of high-end rattan furnishings. His house spreads the broad way along a downward pitch in the Hollywood Hills. It's wider rather than deeper, so that every room feels long from left to right and shallow from front to back. He is folded into a chair, shrinking downward, feet bare. He is not a big man—he is fit, light on those bare feet, and younger looking than his forty-seven years—and he doesn't stop talking. Not ever. Not really. Not once. He swears the way you wish everybody could, the way some people hope to use exclamation points, as an imprint of enthusiasm. And when Statham looks at an audience of one, really looks at you, it feels like you may be in a little trouble. Somehow he always looks pissed off, wrung out, put upon. World-weary. Black, black eyes. Sharp brow. Twitch of exasperation. He regards things sideways, incredulous at the very prospect of them, constantly asking: Who's this, then? Eyes screw in tighter, brows rise more with each sentence. A squint. It seems to amuse him that he intimidates. He doesn't scowl or use a tagline or fall into an eyebrow routine. He is himself. Tough guy. Drives hard. Even when talking about Mad Harry, the fuckup diver.
"I just don't think he knew what he was doing. Obviously. You have to take the right trajectory. You have to gauge the rotation. It's a lot of physics to put into play. You find a way that you're not gonna go over and do yourself a disservice. You figure it out a little bit. Because if you're landing on your nuts, as a bloke, believe me, it's no fun."
Statham talks like a man who knows things, who understands the physics at play. Drawn from instincts developed as a high-level athlete (twelve years spent on the British national diving team), lessons learned working the stony streets of London, axioms earned while living on thick and rubber-banded cold rolls of cash, everything Statham says stinks of truth. Not the truth. Not core truths, necessarily. A truth. Shit his father taught him. The college of You Gotta Get By. Inarguable, really. Everything declares: He wasn't made in the Hollywood Hills. He came from elsewhere, and it doesn't bother him all that much to remind people of that. It's a real past.
All this makes it easy to become a kind of hostage to his storytelling, like someone stuffed in the trunk while he drives, like some mook in a Jason Statham movie. As such, it would feature only a single word as its title: Snatch, Crank, Collateral, London, War, Redemption. Two words max. The Transporter. Action movies, car movies, chase movies, capers. Though just now the movie that's opening is Spy, Paul Feig's new comedy with Melissa McCarthy and Jude Law, in which Statham plays an absurdly funny comic construct of his own character type.
"Jason makes every movie better," Feig says of his decision to cast the Transporter in a Melissa McCarthy vehicle. "I hate comedy that's trying to be funny. Jason doesn't have to try. He gets it. In every movie, people pick up on his good-natured ways. And I've known that he was funny ever since that first Crank movie. Crank is ridiculous. He's so good in it."
Statham shrugs this off. "I've always been apprehensive about trying to do a fucking comedy, because they're either brilliant or they're fucking terrible. At least in making an action film, there's always going to be someone who wants to see a car chase. Even if a lot of the people don't like it, there will be a lot of people that do. But bad comedy is just garbage. But this works, and I give a lot of the credit—or all of the fucking credit—to Paul and the writing."
Be clear: Statham wasn't looking for a break from his action-movie set. He'd just finished Furious 7 (opened in April, huge hit) and the chance to do Spy came his way. He took it, happily, because the guy needs to work. He makes movies one after another. He has his credos. "It's that peasant mentality," he explains. "Make hay while the sun shines. When you're kicking around and you ain't got no money, that don't feel too good. So when there's finally money coming in, it's hard to say, 'I'm too good for that.' It's finding a balance, really, and it's a difficult thing to manage." Then he answers a question he wasn't asked. "But have I taken on too many jobs? Probably. Look, you never intend for anything to go badly. There's so many fucking moving parts." Movies are like race cars, he says. A lot of different components. "You've got the chassis—that might be the director. The director of photography, he would be the wheels. From movie to movie, the components move around. The combinations change. Sometimes you've got a Ferrari and all the components are top-of-the-range. Sometimes you've got a fucking Fiat Panda that doesn't have, you know, certain elements."
It's a cloudy analogy. He drinks some water, sets his chin.
"When it comes to movies, I'm always trying to find the Ferrari," he says. "When you go to work with Scorsese or Chris Nolan or someone of that caliber, then I don't think you have to worry about what car you're gonna be racing in. You're in the race rather than fucking turning up on a donkey."
This time he is asked: Have you ever sat there at a premiere, watching the finished product, and said, "Oh, no . . ."?
Statham goes a little wide-eyed. "Yeah, I think I've said that more often than not. Yeah." He laughs like a hound.
"I really enjoyed working with Guy Ritchie. One, it gave me a career, and two, they're probably a couple of the best films I've ever done. I thought The Bank Job was a really quality movie. Even working with Luc Besson and doing The Transporter, one and two—pretty good. The Crank movie—I thought that was decent." Here he takes a little breath, then lets himself off the hook. "And the rest is shite."
A big laugh follows before he retreats. "No, no: I take that back. I mean, you do a lot of films. You're always aiming for something and trying to push yourself to do something good. A movie, it's like a very complicated timepiece. There's a lot of wheels in a watch. And some of those wheels, if they don't turn right, then, you know, the watch ain't gonna tell the time."
So now a movie is a wristwatch rather than a car. A watch that sometimes doesn't work. This brings us to his second career.
Once, Jason Statham sold cheap watches. Among other pieces of crap. "I was a 'fly pitcher' is what they call it," he says. He used the streets of London to make a living, starting when he was around fourteen, after his father, whom everyone called Nogger, gave him entry into the hustle. "As a boy, I was 'Nogger's Son.' So I could sit and watch them, masters at work, and everyone had good funny names: Peckhead Pete, Mickey Drippin, Colin the Dog. I'd sit down outside of Harrods and I'd pitch the jewelry. I'd do five chains, I'd do twenty-four-inch rope, the matching eighteen, a bracelet, a figaro chain, a matching bracelet, and either a pendant or a choice of a gent's or a lady's ring. And that would be the whole set. We'd display it in boxes and we'd wrap it up in tissue paper. We'd place it in their palms: 'Here you are, madam!' " He used the proceeds to fund his diving career, including an appearance at the 1990 Commonwealth Games in New Zealand. (He placed tenth out of eleven competitors in the high dive. His back three-and-a-half somersault with tuck, among other tricks is on YouTube.) "All the other divers were broke. I was the only one who had money. Plenty of money, loads of dough. Two, three grand in a weekend. Me and my mate Fish Fibbens, when we had enough money, we'd buy cars and we'd race the fuck out of each other, all through London. It was really dangerous; we're lucky we didn't get fucking killed or kill somebody." Surely this must have been a kind of training, some small hint of what was to come in The Transporter or a Fast & Furious movie. "I can't really say that that helps you for driving in film, but you know we had that reckless attitude. We had a bit of a You don't care, you're just having a bit of fun. You're just getting behind the wheel and you're game for it. Cars I've always loved. I fucking love cars."
He's sanguine about the vaguely criminal edge of this second career, running the gamut between caveat emptor and the lesser of two evils like any good con man. With a little urging, he'll describe the various pitches and players as a kind of interrelated performance art. Mock Auctions. Five-Pound Nailers. The Ram Shops. Money on Top. Pitch Pulling. Top Man. The Run Out. Punters. Statham learned them all and ran the cons for years. "How do you make money?" he replies to another question that wasn't asked. " 'Cause people are fucking greedy. Human nature says that you want a bargain, whether you want the goods or not. You think that something is a steal, you'll buy it. Ten pounds is not a fortune. And what I'm selling is costume jewelry, basically, that you can buy in Barneys or any of these other fucking trumped-up shops that have rates that are like extortionist. They've got to turn the lights on, they've got carpets and chandeliers. They've got all that to pay for, so they can't sell that chain for what I can sell it for. I'm getting it from the same fucking sources, but I'm selling it with a bit of street theater and having a bit of fun with it, making a living. People ain't getting ripped up. No one's saying it's gold."
This last point is important to Statham, and there's another credo of his, applicable to the selling of potentially shoddy goods as well as the making of potentially schlocky B-movies: "We never used to say it was gold. We never used to say it was gold-plated. We never used to say what it was. They're going, 'Is it stolen? Is it gold?' And to this we used to say things like 'You've heard of Cartier, madam?' And everyone has to answer 'Yes,' because who hasn't heard of Cartier? We got them going by making them say: Yes. Yes. Yes. Now, if you're an idiot and you think it's gold, that's your problem, not mine."
After missing his third Olympic team in 1992, with his third consecutive third-place finish at the Olympic trials (the team took only two divers per event), Statham gave up diving just as the street trade began winding down. "It all just faded away," he says. "There was no more money." He had a vague idea of becoming a stuntman. He started a kind of piecemeal training—a little judo, some boxing, jujitsu. "I didn't have a clue. I wasn't training for nothing particular," he says. "I wanted to break into the stunt business since I wasn't afraid of much. And I knew some people."
One of them was an aspiring director named Guy Ritchie, whom he'd met through a modeling gig and who was casting his first feature, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, about a pack of lowlifes and criminals. "Guy came at me 'cause he was interested in what I used to do on the fucking street. He'd written a character that was the same as me. And he said, 'I love it. Give me some of the patter.' At the time, I had loads of it. Loads of it. And he was fascinated with that, and he just wanted someone who was authentic. He said, 'I'm gonna get someone from fucking drama school to do this? How can they learn what you've learned?' It's such an esoteric fucking subject, no one knows about it unless you're in it. You can't read it in textbooks." Ritchie cast Statham, then in his early thirties, in one of the lead roles, despite his not having a stitch of acting experience.
"I got £5,000 for doing Lock, Stock. And then, for Guy's next movie, Snatch, I got like 15,000," he said. "I would have done them for free just for the opportunity to do something different. I feel like I've had four careers. A career of a fucking street trader, the career of a sportsman, and now I've got a career of something different. Three, actually. I've had three careers."
Today, seventeen years since his movie debut, Jason Statham is an actor. More specifically, he is an action hero, the most singular of his generation, who relied on careers number one and two to ease the transition into career number three. "One of the great things about diving was that we would just do whatever we wanted to do. We used to go down to the gymnastic center and we'd do tumbling into a pit. We'd get a trampoline out and fuck about on that. I learned all these aerial skills that served me great and brought me all kinds of comfort in doing action films. While all these other actors are in drama school learning how to cry, I'm learning how to do aerial acrobatics." As for what Statham called the "street theater" of career number two, well—pitching was performance.
"I've always fucking loved movies," Statham says, and to understand Statham for what he is, a pure action hero, look at the universe of films he describes as his roots and at the men he selects as his icons. "My mom and dad used to show me films—Cool Hand Luke, The Great Escape, all the Burt Lancaster movies. Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson. Even musicals. My mom made sure I saw plenty of Gene Kelly." His strength from the start: physically adept men. Men under siege. Jumping motorcycles, side kicking, leaping, dancing, running, counterpunching, all of these men capable of imprinting on the audience with a single look. A look of fearful wonder in Snatch. A look of businesslike outrage in The Transporter. A look of wild panic in Crank. A look of sour consternation in the latest Fast & Furious.
Statham's notable role in Spy aside, he has no aspirations outside the action genre. "I've never had a fucking acting lesson; no one's telling me how to act," he says. "Would it be better for Daniel Day-Lewis to play Lincoln than me?" He laughs at the prospect. "I think so." And as he drifts off that next laugh, he adds: "But no one's asked me to play Lincoln, and I'm not too worried about not getting the offer."
Not that he minds trained actors. Not really. "It doesn't annoy me, but it can be a little pretentious. So people warming up their vocal chords before a take, going 'Meh, meh, meh'?" He tilts his nogger, raises an eyebrow, gives his patented leer, the one that tells a roomful of matineegoers that he knows what's what, you know what's what, and he's in it with you. An action hero. "Sometimes I want to remind them, at the end of the day, they're just pretending to be somebody else. I'm used to selling fucking jewelry on the street. There's no pretense there."
There is a kind of freedom in working the peasant way, the Statham way. His father, with five careers and counting (house painter, coal miner, fly pitcher, wholesaler, and now a song-and-dance man in the Canary Islands), is still a source of pride for Statham. "He's been good at everything he ever did," he says. "And when he wasn't, he fucking moved on." For Statham, there is no fourth career. No sense that he should be doing anything but this. No next act. If Spy is a surprise to some—a pivot or a repositioning of his brand—it's only because some people are tempted to regard him only as a guy who likes to look good driving fast cars, a vain and humorless lot if there ever was one.
Statham knows his history and is comfortable with the life it has provided. There's home in the Hollywood Hills. There's life with his girlfriend, model and actress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. There's fun, which Statham describes in the most British way possible: "We get drunk and float around the swimming pool." But mostly there's work, and for the last action hero, there is only the work of an action hero. He never stops selling, no matter what the product turns out to be. Sometimes, maybe most times, it's a Panda. Every now and then, a Ferrari. All the same to him. All the better for fans, who trust him to never ham-hand the responsibility of the action star. It's a firm compact, and it is one he never saw coming.
The Statham Type: A Select Filmography
LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS (1998): BACON, hustler / SNATCH (2000): TURKISH, fight promoter, hustler / TURN IT UP (2000): MR. B, drug dealer / THE TRANSPORTER (2002): FRANK, driver / THE ITALIAN JOB (2003): HANDSOME ROB, thief / CELLULAR (2004): ETHAN, kidnapper / TRANSPORTER 2 (2005): See The Transporter / CRANK (2006): CHEV, hitman / DEATH RACE (2008): JENSEN, race-car driver, reluctant killer / TRANSPORTER 3 (2008): See The Transporter / CRANK: HIGH VOLTAGE (2009): See Crank / THE EXPENDABLES (2010): LEE, mercenary / THE MECHANIC (2011): ARTHUR, hitman / GNOMEO & JULIET (2011): TYBALT, a lawn gnome who cheats to win a lawnmower race. Animated. / KILLER ELITE (2011): DANNY, mercenary / THE EXPENDABLES 2 (2012): See The Expendables / PARKER (2013): PARKER, thief / THE EXPENDABLES 3 (2014): See The Expendables / FURIOUS 7 (2015): DECKARD, assassin. / SPY (2015): RICK, bad spy
-From Esquire June/July 2015
There is a chicken in my shower. It's 8:30 a.m., I've just sat down on the toilet to pee. I casually glance around and there it is, drinking some of the residual water puddled on my shower floor. This is not the first creature to make an appearance in my bathroom. Since I moved to the Caribbean, I've had spirited encounters with tarantulas, scorpions, and untold lizards. But the chicken got me thinking.
"How did you get here?" I ask the bird. It blinks unhelpfully back at me.Perhaps a better question is, how did I get here? How did I come to live on a tiny, rustic island of 4,100 people sharing a bathroom with poultry?
It all began four years ago. Back then I was living in Manhattan, a 31-year-old journalist making $95,000 a year. I lived in a lovely(wildlife-free) apartment in the East Village, a bustling neighborhood with every imaginable convenience and so much to entertain. But New York is a competitive city; you have to spend most of your time working to afford to live there. And a downside of living among so many ambitious people is they're often overscheduled. Sometimes I didn't see my closest friends for months at a time. Trying to negotiate a time to meet a friend for drinks was harder than getting into college (and the cocktails about as expensive).
It's ironic to feel lonely on an island of 4 million people, but it seemed I spent my life staring at screens: laptop, cell phone, iPad — hell, even the taxis and elevators had televisions in them. I felt stressed, uninspired, and disconnected.
IF YOU'RE CONSTANTLY THINKING YOU NEED A VACATION, MAYBE WHAT YOU REALLY NEED IS A NEW LIFE.
"I need a vacation." This was a constant refrain in my head. I wasn't living in the moment; I was living for some indeterminate moment in the future when I'd saved enough money and vacation days to take a trip somewhere. If you're constantly thinking you need a vacation, maybe what you really need is a new life.But I was complacent. My life wasn't satisfying, but it was comfortable.
One day I was working on my laptop, finishing some edits on a book I'd just written. I was distracted, wondering what I would do now that the manuscript was finished. While I had several job offers, none of them excited me. I let my hands idle too long and the screensaver, a stock photo of a tropical scene, popped up. Here was something to get excited about. What I wanted — something I'd fantasized about for years, in fact — was to stop living in front of a screen and live in that screen, in the photo on my computer. And why couldn't I? With no professional obligations or boyfriend, I was completely untethered for the first time in my life.
Feeling slightly ridiculous, I posted a message on Facebook saying that I wanted to move to the Caribbean, and asking for suggestions as to where I should go. A friend's sister recommended St. John, the smallest of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Nicknamed "Love City" for its famously friendly locals, it was home to some of the most stunning beaches in the world. I glanced out my window where punishing, chest-high snow drifts were forming on the ground at an alarming rate. On the sidewalks impatient and preoccupied New Yorkers bumped into each other without apology. I immediately began expediting my passport.
It was startlingly simple to dismantle the life I'd spent a decade building: I broke the lease on my apartment, sold my belongings, and bought a one-way plane ticket. The hardest part was convincing myself it was OK to do something for no other reason than to change the narrative of my life.
"You can't just move to a place you've never even visited!" my mom protested.
"Sometimes you just have to leap and the net will appear," I said with more confidence than I felt.
Six weeks later, I stepped off the ferry in St. John. I had no plan, no friends, and no clue how ridiculous I looked, festively ensembled in boat shoes and a dress celebrating the palm tree. Yet I had a strange feeling that everything would unfold as it was supposed to.
My parents did not share this viewpoint. I come from a conservative Southern family with a healthy respect for the American Dream: You worked hard in school, chose an upper-middle-class job with a 401(k) and a good matching plan. So they were pretty taken aback when, upon arriving in St. John, I took a job at the local ice cream parlor.
"But, but ... you went to Yale," they sputtered. "And you're 31 years old!"
Perhaps there was something indulgent and Peter Pan-ish about this new lifestyle. But the truth is, I was happier scooping mint chocolate chip for $10 an hour than I was making almost six figures at my previous corporate job. It was calming to work with my hands. I met new people constantly, talking face-to-face instead of communicating via email and instant messaging. When I closed the shop at the end of the shift, my work was done and my time my own. Besides, I found that not everyone shared my parents' concern. "When I moved here 25 years ago, my dad insisted I was ruining my life," said one of my regular customers when we got to chatting about our lives one day. "Recently he visited and told me, 'You had it right all along. I'm toward the end of my life and looking to retire to someplace like this, and now I'm too old to enjoy it.'"
Cruz Bay, the island's main town, consists of a few winding roads and a handful of open-air bars and restaurants. There are no stoplights on St. John (though we frequently have to stop for the wild donkeys and iguanas and chickens that roam the streets). No chain stores. Limited WiFi. Shoes optional. We drive beat-up Jeeps because no one cares what kind of car you drive. For those without cars, hitchhiking is common; after all, we know almost everyone who lives here. We shower in filtered rainwater collected in cisterns attached to the house. There are no addresses. (Typical directions to someone's house are along the lines of, "If you take a left at the dumpster, I live in the white house at the end of the road with a broken-down dinghy in the yard.") People gather on the beaches at dusk to watch the sunsets together. I see my friends every day. On our days off, we hike the local ruins, dive, or go boating to the nearby British Virgin Islands.
These days, I work as a bartender, a job I pursued simply because it's something I always wanted to try. Sometimes I think back to the question I used to be asked in job interviews: "Where do you see yourself in five years?" That always seemed a depressing notion, to already know what you'd be doing five years in the future. Here it's not unusual for someone to work as a cook on St. John, then move to Thailand for six months to work as a dive instructor, then they will head off to Alaska and work on a fishing boat. Living abroad has exposed me to a different approach to life, one in which you're not expected to settle in one place and do one kind of job. Perhaps some of us are meant to move around every few years, change jobs and live many different micro lives.
That's not to say doubts don't creep in on occasion. Seeing old colleagues and acquaintances building successful careers can make me second-guess my choices. One of my friends from college started a little website called Pinterest. Another just won an Emmy for a hit television show she created.
But I have an island. I live in a charmingly ramshackle one-bedroom apartment on a hillside overlooking the sea.
Which brings us back to the chicken in my shower watching me pee. How did it get there? My best guess: It was tottering around the woods outside, accidentally flew onto my second-story balcony, and wandered into my apartment through the sliding-glass door, which I usually leave open to enjoy the breeze.
Smiling, I shoo out the wayward bird. Then I pause for a moment, transfixed by the view framed by my open sliding glass door. Sunlight sparkles on the water. Sailboats bob companionably in the distance. The scene is remarkably similar to the stock photo that was my screensaver four years ago. How different my life was then.
There's a quote by author J.R.R. Tolkien that pops up a lot on T-shirts and bumper stickers sold around town: "Not all those who wander are lost."
Lately I've been mulling moving somewhere entirely opposite of here. Europe, perhaps? There are so many places to go! It fills me with a sort of wild happiness. Who knows where I'll end up? And what a marvelous thing that is — not knowing.
When Warren Buffett considers hiring an executive for his company Berkshire Hathaway, he assesses their intelligence and drive.
But more importantly, he said at a talk at the Ivey Business School in late February, he judges that person's character.
"I know an individual who is definitely going to outperform the S&P, but he's the last guy on earth I'd want my daughter to marry," he joked, saying that while that man may be a "winner" by all accounts, he isn't the right fit for Berkshire.
When hiring, it's best to prioritize whether you like someone above all else, Buffett said.
"So first and foremost, you have to feel good around them, you must enjoy their company, like a friend or a family member," he said. "If you feel good around them, it means they have characteristics you admire and are moving in the direction you want to associate with. These people represent who you'd like to be, and you may perceive them even as better than yourself."
He's used the same philosophy for the CEOs of companies he's acquired. Every leader he considers incorporating into his business must meet his standards of intellect, energy, and integrity.
"You can admire their behaviour or intellect, but always judge them as a human being," Buffett said at Ivey.
When employees' values are aligned with those of their company, they will achieve their full potential.
"These people do 10 things for every one thing you ask for," Buffett said. "They go above and beyond what you expect of them."