Monthly Archives: May 2016

How Technology Changed My Job


I remember being afraid of the first computer I used because I had to learn DOS with the little green cursor and the backslashes and forward slashes.  The system didn’t automatically save your document or prompt you to save it so I stuck a stickie note reminder to the side of the monitor.

Everything was printed on a flimsy dot-matrix printer and then mailed, couriered or faxed.  Faxes printed on slick paper that left black ink smudges on your clothes before curling up, turning yellow and becoming illegible.

I wasn’t sure I would like the new tech world, but soon the dreadful DOS was replaced with a desktop computer with Word Perfect.  I’ve always preferred Word Perfect over Microsoft Word because it was friendlier to writers.  Alas, Microsoft Word became ubiquitous and Word Perfect went the way of the dinosaurs.

Word Perfect was just an early example of all the changes technology has made to my job.  Many of the jobs I held early in my career, like hand delivering pleadings to the court clerk’s office for filing, have become irrelevant due to technology.  Most courts now require pleadings to be filed electronically.

But for every loss, technology had offered so much more. For example, email and text messaging eliminates the old phone tag game of trying to connect with colleagues or clients.  It also lowered the cost of starting a business.  Early in my career, a business owner needed to rent (or own) office space, furnish it, and hire staff.  The business owner also needed a telephone line obtained at great cost from the local baby Bell monopoly, a clunky desk top computer, a printer, a copier, and a fax machine.  A coffee maker was also a critical piece of office equipment.

Almost none of that is necessary today.  When I started my consulting business about five years ago, technology allowed me to work from a home office and use my cell phone as my business number.  My cell phone also allows me to text and email clients.  I get coffee at coffee shops when meeting prospects or clients.

I run my business with a laptop and a combined printer/copier/scanner.  My clients attach documents to email or we use cloud-based services like Google Docs or Dropbox to share documents on-line.  I save documents electronically and only occasionally print them.  A drawback to electronic databases is trying to remember my clever title for the file folder and document that I so diligently saved.

Of course, it’s not all a paradise.  Technology allows hackers and fraudsters to try to crack our on-line treasure troves of information, so any small business must invest in cyber security to protect its information and reputation.  Still, I wouldn’t want to go back to the days before all our modern technology.  Without all these modern conveniences, I would still find it necessary to be an employee in a big corporation because the investment costs of starting a business would simply be too high.

About Norma Shirk

Norma started her company, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor, to help employers create human resources policies for their employees and employee benefit programs that are appropriate to the employer’s size and budget. The goal is to have structure without bureaucracy. Visit Norma’s website:

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A Ring Blessing

Tiffany Band

For our 20th Wedding anniversary, my husband gave me a Tiffany, platinum diamond wedding band.  I remember how thrilled and thankful I was to receive such a nice gift.  For our 25th wedding anniversary, my husband gave me a 2nd Tiffany, platinum diamond wedding band, the same as the 1st.  I was again super thrilled to have all this sparkle on my finger.

Since the rings moved around on my finger, I decided to have them put together as one double diamond band.  Tiffany didn’t understand it at first, but accommodated my wishes.

I like to lotion my hands after I wash them.  I typically remove my rings to put the lotion on, so that they lotion won’t get on the diamonds.  Well, I learned a valuable lesson.  Sometimes, I forget to put them back on and I leave them on my nightstand table, on the bathroom sink, in the kitchen or in my lap if I’m driving in the car.

Yesterday, I was rushing and extremely tired from traveling three weekends in a row.  I was in my car, on my way to an evening meeting and I did what I always do… I removed my rings, laid them in my lap and put lotion on my hands.  I went to the meeting thinking I left my rings on the bathroom sink.  My hands felt naked during the entire meeting and I kept thinking, I’m going to get my rings as soon as I get home.

Upon arriving home, after my three hour-long meeting, my husband had prepared a wonderful dinner.  I was so excited that I immediately sat down to eat and forgot about putting my rings on.  I went to bed and woke up at 3am (you know – the over 50 bathroom rule during the middle of the night).  I looked on the sink and didn’t see my rings.  I was looking for two rings, my wedding band and my 10 year anniversary ring that I wear on my right hand.  I decided to go back to bed and look for them the next morning, thinking they were probably in my home office or on the kitchen counter.

I got back up at 5am and decided to look for my rings.  They were not in my home office, they were not on the kitchen counter and they were not in the bathroom. They were NO WHERE to be found! I started to panic.  As a matter of fact, I was hyperventilating because I couldn’t remember the last time I had them.  After searching for 20 minutes, I threw on my clothes, jumped in my car and drove to the site where I parked my car, at the meeting the night before.  My rationale: I left the meeting late, it’s early and if I laid the rings in my lap for my lotion routine, they could have possibly fallen on the ground and could still be there.

On my way to the meeting site, I said a prayer and promised God that I would be more responsible and appreciative of my rings, if I found them.  I drove to the site and the rings were laying in the spot where I got out of my car, just as if I had laid them there.

I was so thankful that I found my rings and I will be more responsible.  I call this my “ring blessing.”  God always has a way of letting me know that he’s looking out for me, even when I’m careless.  My advice to everyone – if you remove your rings to lotion your hands – DON’T.  You can always clean the lotion off your rings and get the shine back.

About Pat Brewer Hairston

Pat is a Global Supply Chain Executive and currently President of Global Supply Chain Solutions, LLC (GSCS) based in Nashville, Tennessee. GSCS provides Global Supply Chain consulting services to clients across all industries. They help companies identify problem areas and improve the end-to-end efficiency in an organization’s supply chain. GSCS also provides Negotiation and Supplier Diversity Training.

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The Other Side of the Couch –Alone?

AloneSo many people are afraid of being alone.  Over and over I hear in my office from clients – I can’t  leave; I would be alone,  or I can’t leave him or her, they would be alone – as though being alone is the worst thing that could ever happen to a human being, as though being alone is a penance, a punishment, a horror.

I know that aloneness is used as punishment.  Maximum security, solitary for years on end, drives humans crazy, literally.  Some cultures use shunning to punish, and people actually die from it.  And yet I have always wondered about that experience – a belief leading to that ending.

Being alone is one of the joys of my life.  Perhaps because I choose it, decide it when I want to do so – perhaps because I spend the majority of my days in deep places with others.  Being alone with no other human energy pulling on me is like a drink of clear, pure water, a resting place, a respite.  I return to relationship refreshed.

And yet, when I am alone, am I alone?  I am with me, and I am in relationship with all that is, and in those moments of “alone” I am yet more aware and connected to all – to the singing teakettle, the doors that call and close, the aliveness of memory, the presence of loved ones called to mind and into communion.

Perhaps “alone” is nothing more than a belief.  I am alone means I am here, in this amazing and infinite world of all possibilities.  I am always home.

What is your experience of being alone?  Do you dread it, seek it out, run from it?  How is alone different from lonely?  I invite you to spend a little time with experiencing your own relationship to the idea of being alone – you might find there is more to it than you have given yourself time to know.

About Susan Hammonds-White, EdD, LPC/MHSP:

Susan is a communications and relationship specialist, counselor, Imago Relationship Therapist, businesswoman, mother, and proud native Nashvillian. She has been in private practice for over 30 years. As she says, “I have the privilege of helping to mend broken hearts.”  Contact Susan at

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Women and the White House

White House


The current election cycle is a reminder of how far our country still has to go in its treatment of women. We’ve never had a woman president. To understand why, take a look at the history of women presidential candidates.

The first woman to run for president was Victoria Woodhull. She had to form her own party because the established political parties refused to acknowledge her candidacy.  After all, women couldn’t even vote back in 1872. Woodhull ran on a platform of “free love,” meaning legal protection for abused women and no-fault divorces.  Preachers denounced her as an offense to God and the natural order of things.

A century later in 1972, Shirley Chisholm ran for president as a Democratic Party candidate.  Every time her name was mentioned, people laughed. No one believed a black woman should be, or could be, president. Her presidential run is a footnote because 1972 was the year of Nixon’s reelection and the beginning of the Watergate scandal.

In 1984, no woman ran for president, but Democrat Walter Mondale selected Geraldine Ferraro as his vice presidential candidate. They lost by a landslide to incumbent Ronald Reagan, but their campaign wasn’t helped by the attacks against Ferraro and her husband. Her husband was Italian-American and he owned a construction company in New York City.  Voters were warned that a vote for Geraldine was a vote for the Mob.

This time around, Carly Fiorina and Hillary Clinton announced White House runs.  Ms. Fiorina dropped out early. Her critics warned that she would be a lousy president because she was a difficult boss and showed poor business judgment while she was CEO of Hewlett Packard.  Hillary Clinton stands accused of dishonesty, poor leadership and owing her political life to Wall Street bankers.

Historically, male candidates have also been accused of poor business judgment, poor leadership, not playing well with others and being in hock to special interests. But these “character” flaws are rarely considered a serious handicap for male candidates.

What does this tell us about our country?

  1. Women are deemed un-presidential for exhibiting the same qualities that apparently make men presidential material.
  2. Women only appear on a major party’s ticket when that party is expected to lose the general election.

Would a woman make a good president? I don’t know. I do know that some incredibly useless, incompetent and politically tin-eared men have occupied that esteemed office.  A woman president could hardly do worse damage than the male duds.

I’d like to see women of all political persuasions work together to fight the social stereotypes that automatically discount women as presidential material.  Years ago, a cigarette brand marketed to women used the tagline “We’ve come a long way, baby!”

I think we’ve still got a long way to go.

About Norma Shirk

Norma started her company, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor, to help employers create human resources policies for their employees and employee benefit programs that are appropriate to the employer’s size and budget. The goal is to have structure without bureaucracy. Visit Norma’s website:

Like what you’ve read? Feel free to share, but please… Give HerSavvy credit. Thanks!

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