Tuesday, November 20, 2007

thanksgiving crossword

On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, I'm not really sure who will be reading this. On the one hand, those working with retail campaigns are too busy gearing up for the year's finale. Those in that camp are lucky if they get a turkey sandwich in front of their computer. On the other hand, those representing branders are probably leaving for vacation early as their campaigns are capped or perhaps even going completely dark until the holiday frenzy is over.

Like branders, teachers need to get creative if they want a good ROI this time of year. A quick tour of Google Trends "Hot Trends" list on Monday morning includes searches for "Thanksgiving worksheets," "Thanksgiving word search," Thanksgiving printables," "Thanksgiving reading comprehension" and "Thanksgiving math." My guess is that by midweek, these frazzled teachers will be searching for a very different set of terms, like "headache." (Just in case you are interested, Google Trends suggests that the all-time peak for "headache" in the United States occurred this fall.) Later this week, searches for "turkey," including all the derivatives for roasting, ruining, burning, saving and so on, will most likely peak. (If you ever want to prove to someone that search is seasonal, just print the results for "turkey" on Google Trends for the past four years.)

And while all of this consumer research is fun, let's Help wanted: Our 2007 Brighter Christmas Fund drive starts today. I'm thankful that I live in such a generous community. Our goal last year was $90,000. Our community donated $103,000. This year, we boldly are setting the goal at $100,000. Our board met Tuesday, and we sense that more people are in need this year. To help, please see our story on Page 1A.

*Giving back: Speaking of charity, our newsroom and online staffs collectively won an award last week for our gofridayfootball.com initiative. The prize is $1,000. Most members of these staffs have elected to donate their shares to two charities, including the BCF. I'm thankful for these caring co-workers.

* What's news? I heard from a few readers last week about our streamlined Monday edition. Some complained that there wasn't enough news. Actually, I was thankful for this feedback. So often all I hear is, "The crossword puzzle is the only reason I take the paper." Or, "Obituaries are the only thing I read." Or, "TV listings are the only …" Well, you get the idea. Thanks, but I think I know better.

*Cheap shot: One wise guy asked if we're going to drop the cost of the Monday paper. No, thanks, but we're not raising the cost on days when the paper is thick.

*Liar: Actually, we are raising the cost of one edition. On Thursday, the newsstand price of our Thanksgiving Day edition will be $1.50 (the price of a Sunday paper). Subscribers will not be charged extra for the largest newspaper in our history. It will include more than 40 "inserts" ― some quite thick ― that will help you prepare for Black Friday shopping. Thank you, advertisers.

* Be thankful: Our first "Best of Be" initiative was a big success. We asked readers to vote on the places, things, etc., that they like best in and around Anderson. We are thankful for a good response, and the establishments who received the most votes must be thankful, too. We revealed the winners Tuesday at a party at the Arts Center Warehouse and published the results in Thursday's edition of Be. Congratulations to the winners. I want to thank reporter Jake Grove for all of his hard work on this special project.

* Pointing the Way: Thank you to all readers who have sent in nominations so far for our Pointing the Way Leadership Awards. We're pleased to hear that you're pleased to be included in this process, but we're also a little puzzled, because we've had a trickle, not a flood, of nominations to date. Of course, the deadline isn't until Dec. 7.

* This just in: Are you the type who likes to be the first to know when a big story breaks? Then thank us and sign up for breaking news alerts now on IndependentMail.com. You can get them via e-mail and/or cell phone. We promise we won't send an alert unless it's big news.

* Finally: Have a safe and happy holiday, and thank you for being a loyal reader.

you read many job-advice columns, you know that the current theme for workplace-advice-giving is "how to deal with," where the space after "with" is always filled with "a crazy boss," "your horrible co-workers" or simply "the job from hell."

There is an evil fun in focusing on the negative at work, and plenty of job-advice-column readers need those tips, as crazy bosses, horrible co-workers and jobs from hell are not in short supply.

But there is another side to the equation: There are people who love their jobs, companies that support their employees and managers who make it fun for their teams to come to work every day.

Perhaps at this time of year it's appropriate to reflect on what makes a job worth having ― and spend a moment being thankful for the elements of our work that reward us, more than just financially.

The chance to do important work that makes a difference for people gives purpose to our working time. If you're the lucky person whose work is his or her passion, give thanks for that.

Intellectual stimulation on the job lets us use our brains and life experience solving tricky problems ― more fun than the Sunday New York Times crossword.

Working with smart and fun people is a gift to be appreciated ― especially if you've ever worked with, er, the less-fun sort.

A great boss who inspires team members is one to give thanks for (and to emulate when it's your turn to manage people).

Great clients with big ideas are a service provider's dream. Don't forget to let them know what they mean to you.

Ethical, plainspoken leadership can't be taken for granted at work. If you've got leaders who stick to the high ethical ground, be glad.

The freedom to be yourself at work ― to say what you believe and not to quake in fear while doing it ― is cause for thanksgiving, at any time of year.

Maybe no job is perfect. Some bosses are turkeys, some are stuffed shirts and some are as noncommittal and mealy-mouthed as yesterday's mashed potatoes.

But somebody ― maybe lots of somebodies ― would be thrilled to have the job you've got, lumps and all. If you're inclined to stop this week and be grateful for good things in your life, don't forget the co-workers who have your back and listen to your stories; the clients who forgive you when a project is late; your ex-next-door-neighbor who made the introduction that got you the job; and the boss who took a chance on you.

Let's give thanks also to the older and wiser people who gave us career advice when we were too young to heed it.

Let's not forget the people who've supported us, from our parents and teachers to the folks in the book club or poker gang who counseled and tolerated us through each successive job change.

And above all, whether your current job is pumpkin pie a la mode or the world's biggest turkey, let's be thankful to our families and friends for supporting us as we move toward the jobs we were meant to do ― always with gratitude for where we are today.

Liz Ryan is the CEO of Ask Liz Ryan, a Boulder human-resources and organizational strategy consulting firm. She can be reached at
return to the poor souls munching on their holiday sandwich at their desk this weekend. According to Bill Tancer of Hitwise, searches for "Black Friday," the biggest shopping day of the year were on the rise as early as July of this year. For the online set, "Cyber Monday," the first working day after Thanksgiving, is the day to shop. And according to a survey conducted by BIGresearch for shop.org, 54.5 percent of people with Internet access at work will shop for the holidays at work, as compared to just 44.7 percent in 2005.

And it looks like CMOs are finally taking notice, allocating dollars where consumers are actually spending most of their time researching products (that would be, ahem, online). In a separate shop.org study, dubbed the eHoliday survey, 72.2 percent of online retailers will offer a special promotion to incite shoppers this year, including e-mail campaigns, specific deals, one-day sales and perhaps even free shipping. Just two years ago only 42.7 did.

Like all such news, this is bittersweet. While advertisers are finally responding to the consumer pull, this shift in spending will mean an increasing number of turkey sandwiches at the desk.


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