Tag Archive: blogs


Salary Packages

1232069670.typepadI need your urgent feedback on this issue. It surrounds the issue of salary packages on an interview. I was interviewed for a position in a firm today and overall it went well. The interviewer was pleasant throughout and I maintained that atmosphere. As per usual, salary expectations are discussed. This is so because the interviewer will get the chance to find out if the company can actually afford this individual among other reasons.

The interviewee is advised to avoid this question by throwing it back to the interviewer in the form of a question. The interviewee is advised to say “I will accept your best offer, seeing that it is an objective one. What will be your offer?”

I took that suggestion and gave the opportunity to the interviewer to make the first offer. This however, can backfire for the interviewee because the management personnel may say “You must provide an offer for this interview to continue!”

What do you do in that situation? Do you potentially hurt your employment opportunity by avoiding the question and still wait on the firm to make the offer? Do you give in and provide a figure?

The risks are great. You may provide a figure that will make you look desperate for a job and you may provide a figure that will make the employer overlook you. What is the best advice for young professionals entering the work force?

Now on Twitter.com

So after many months of trying to avoid Twitter I am officially tweeting. This will be incorporated in my blog here and updates will be provided.

My official twitter page is http://twitter.com/corvedacosta

I can’t wait to start tweeting and sharing with others in this amazing medium.

Customer Service at its Best!

customer_serviceBusinesses often say customers are the most important aspect of their work. If this is so why is it that some firms do not place much emphasis on Customer Service? Customer service is a key factor in any organization’s operations. The lack of it will make the company go under and if the company appreciates the value of customer service it clearly distinguishes that particular company from the others within the industry. I believe in a few years more companies will understand how critical this aspect of a company is. As customer service moves to the forefront of every organization, companies are going to employ stringent guidelines in hiring employees as the friendliest and most courteous workers will be hired. How are you able to communicate the company’s values to the customer with a smile in the fastest time?

Most fast food outlets attempt to operate efficiently. The operation is all about time. Preparing that meal to the customer at the fastest time; after all it’s fast food. I happen to have been at a particular outlet of KFC in Portland, Jamaica and was stunned and shocked at the level of customer service that this branch has. Most fast food outlets have average customer service but this outlet in particular was just outstanding. Lining the walls of the branch were the various awards and plaques the outlet has received over the period of its existence. I cannot believe the service I was receiving. In a country where most people accept mediocrity and any standard of service it is amazing that this company stands out among the others in setting the right standard of service quality for the others to see. At this particular branch the employees smiled with you each time they communicated, they had a fast serving time and the food was very good. This was genuine among the employees; nothing about the service was fake. I am very meticulous when I walk into any service organization. I observe the employees and just analyze how things are going. It’s just a habit. The employees were laughing and smiling with each other. This shows the kind of atmosphere and work environment that the management has cultivated which makes the service offering to the customer even more appealing.

You know, you might be thinking Oh they were nice to me because they were having a good day or the employee was trying to flirt, or because I was a good customer. I told someone else who would be going to that same branch about the quality of service and low and behold the service was the same. This simply means this is a norm for this branch of KFC and it is most heart warming to be served in such a great way. What is amazing about great customer service is that the customer’s perception of the product or service increases. So even the meal tasted better, and you would like to purchase a meal from this branch all the time simply because of the service they provided. In the end the customer is king and firms should act likewise.

I am sure you have encountered great customer service and some horrible ones. It is true we expect so little of service providers that when they give us mediocre service quality or poor product delivery we say nothing. I am amazed that when we receive great customer service we are so shocked like it was a gift. Companies should begin to understand that customer service alone can make their business succeed even or out of a recession. It should be the norm when companies offer great customer service. We shouldn’t be talking about it, it should come and go. But customer service is never like that; some leaves a bad taste in your mouth, allowing you to think how come people got employed in the first place. As the world opens up and the internet begins to be the place where employees vent, companies will understand how important it is to deliver on customer service to all customers. More websites are being launched where customers can comment on the service quality delivered and websites that will allow customers to rate the business. If companies think customers are entitled to shop or purchase their product or service think again! There are tens and hundreds of other firms just like yours who will offer the same product on a better customer service level. Companies are going to lose out if they continue to allow front line employees to offer insipid customer service. Service comes with a smile and a courteous attitude.

The next time you are offered great customer service spread the word and when you were not served with gratitude spread that bad news and allow the company to suffer. The more we support companies who show no respect and little and low customer service quality the more we are rewarding their bad business. Let us congratulate those who show great service quality and spread the word about companies who offer service beyond the call of duty. Companies like Ritz Carlton and the thousands of others that can be added to this list must be congratulated and rewarded with more business for showing the customer is still king!

Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt

The 12th staging of the IAAF World Championship is currently on the go in Berlin, Germany. Thousands of athletes have travelled to the city to prove they are still the best and the competition is on. Track and Field has been given a boost because of Jamaicans like Usain Bolt. He continues to break records and show us what humans can do over the 100m. Yesterday he clocked a new world record of 9.58secs over the 100m. The track and field world stood still (the entire Jamaica) and watched as their local and international hero smashed his world record once again.

Usain Bolt has done tremendous work for the area of track and field. Jamaica is known for their activities in many areas of sports like athletics, soccer, netball, etc. The amazing runs by Bolt and others on the Jamaican team have marketed the sport to the point where young kids are seeing sports as a viable field. Prior to Beijing’s Olympic success, track and field was dominated by Americans. Now, the sport is dominated 100% by Jamaicans who have now risen to the top of their games. Many are seeing this rise in athletics of the Jamaicans to the success of the drug testing in the sport. Jamaican athletes are blessed with an amazing talent and coaches who have honed their talent in grooming top athletes for the world stage.

Is the run by Bolt humane? He makes it look so easy and the exciting thing about it is that he is absolutely a clean athlete. As a Jamaican I am extremely proud of my country again because of the successes of Usain Bolt and other athletes on the world stage. They have done extremely well and their efforts must be rewarded. Many athletes around the world

The scintillating run by Usain Bolt to stop the clock at 9.58secs is simply mind boggling. How can he go so fast? How much faster can he go? We sit and wait for the next championship and see what Bolt has in store. The Bolts of Lightening will strike yet again.

Learning to Swim

I have always wanted to learn how to swim and if it’s something to be disappointed about in my life it’s that. I was always told by my father that he would teach me but it never materialised. I would go to the beach or the pool and just splash around or just watch other people swim around. I have been so busy that attending swimming lessons is so far fetched that taking the lessons was not apart of the plan. We all see those divers, swimmers and synchronised swimmers do what they do best and we watch in awe but we are most times concerned about competition than anything else. Swimming is beautiful to watch but it can be hard taking lessons so far in life. After a while you think how relevant learning how to swim will be. This was clearly one of my fears and now….

All that changed on my vacation to Portland. I was taught to swim by my best friend in the world who is a good swimmer. Although I had a few lessons I would admit I improved a lot on trying to swim. I didn’t know it was so hard though; although swimmers will tell you its so easy. I would recommend that persons learning to swim take away from their minds all the images they have seen because learning to swim entails more than what we see on television or have seen people do.

My first lesson was about getting used to the water. That entailed submerging and staying under the water for some time. It was shocking at first but I got used to it and was comfortable. I was excited to learn because swimming is a vital tool that you may never know when you will need it and it stays with you a lifetime. I’ve always wanted to learn because it’s so much fun and the many comments I have received on how I have the ideal swimmer’s body – tall, broad shoulders, slim. One thing though, never become fearful of the water, feel free and relax; think the water is your best friend.

In my time and before me unless you lived near a beach or river and went to the beach regularly then you would learn to swim. Now, schools are building their curriculums and activities including swimming. Children in schools today are so exposed to different activities like this that which will benefit them in their lifetime. My second class and some parts of the first lesson were dedicated on the movements of the feet.

One tip however that cannot be over emphasized is that you should clear your mind of what you have observed on swimming because it can hinder your growth and learning how to swim. I wanted to learn so fast that before I got the movements of the feet right I wanted to use my arms. In regards to swimming you can swim without using the hands.

You do not have to take my tips above because I can’t swim well myself. Well, now I have conquered one of my fears and I am on the journey to swim well IF I continue my lessons. Conquering your fears can be traumatic and can hinder personal growth at times. I was so afraid of swimming that it took a lot to get over the idea of learning to swim. The first time I walked in the pool was nerve-racking. The first time I submerged myself was horrible, the force of the water caused me to stand up right away. After the lessons I am even more comfortable to go under and go head down in the water.

Changes

So the last day of the vacation I decided to go swimming in the morning. With the aid of the inflatable raft I began to hold on, submerged my head and worked my feet. I was moving in no time. Shortly after I could swim without the raft and now I am using my hands. I am so happy I can help myself to swim in the water. This was clearly one of my fears and now…. I can swim!!!! Yeah, rock on dude!!!

Vacation in Jamaica

We will all agree that life’s stresses and issues will cause us to take a well deserved break. People take vacations and a break from their busy schedules to de-stress and recoup from their myriad of problems. Wherever our vacation location might be it is all in aid to help us relax and ease the burden of life a little. Millions of people come to Jamaica every year and enjoy our scenic attractions and resort areas visiting the wonderful locations that make this island unique and beautiful, even if you’re here for business. For the citizens that live here for the most part most have not visited all fourteen parishes to enjoy what many tourists come to get a taste of.

Long Bay Portland

Long Bay Portland

I have lived here for 22 years and now I can proudly say that I have been to all fourteen parishes. The parishes I had not visited were Portland, St. Mary and St. Thomas. To justify why I didn’t visit these areas of the island was that they were out of my reach and I had no real reason to visit or to be there. I took a well deserved trip to these parishes and I must say how beautiful they are. For the first time I was proud of my country. We all know where that statement came from. Many people know Jamaica for the wonderful locations, beaches and the hotels.

After seeing these parishes I have come to the conclusion that if most Jamaicans take the time to appreciate what we own (the entire island) we would feel happier about our country and about ourselves. We were named the third happiest country in the world. I can only think we could be number one if Jamaicans knew their island paradise. We have not seen our island, the culture in its entirety so we cannot appreciate it. We are only concerned about living our own lives. For most people living in Jamaica they have only seen the parish they currently live in and maybe the parishes surrounding it. This is not only unique to Jamaica. Many other places in the world like the USA, most people have not travelled to other states and have the opportunity to embrace what life is like for others.

Not all of us can afford to take a vacation though, and take time off from work to see areas they have not seen. It took me 22 years to experience that. If you are financially stable and can take that trip, I would advise persons to take a trip and get to know something different.

Most visitors to the island would have been to Montego Bay, Ocho Rios or Negril. If you visit Jamaica especially Portland and St. Thomas you would know that they are coastal parishes. The views were breathtaking. I was in awe for the entire time. I couldn’t believe I was in Jamaica because I have not seen these parts before. They were not the places you would typically see on television or even in the media about Jamaica. The rich blue sea, clear white sands, and beautiful shores were captivating.

A vacation is not only used to de-stress and enjoy the views but you are forced to think on life. This is an important aspect I think because we ought to analyze where we are in life and where we want to go. Taking moments to mediate and finding time for you is critical. You may be happy or sad about some aspects of your life; you must however, endeavour to be grateful for the gift of life amid all the happenings of life.

The Trident Castle Portland

The Trident Castle Portland

So as my vacation comes to an end I am indeed happy I took it. Life is not always on that perfect path but moments like these help you to see things in perspective and assist you in making the right directions. The views I had will always be etched in my mind and the future I have will always look bright. This vacation was well deserved. Yeah!

Growing up too slow or too fast!

My parents constantly reminds me of their childhood experiences reminiscing how wonderful, peaceful and meek it was. Many children played and some are still playing with dolls. There are many lessons however that can be learnt from playing with dolls. Technology has advanced tremendously. Dolls are not only soft baby-like toys they have taken on other roles. We have seen dolls talk, show emotions and respond to the children that use them. But are we ready for children to breastfeed these toys?

It is a sad day in our history when inventors can develop a doll that has the ability to respond to breastfeeding by small children. Nothing in the world can justify this kind of technology. The Spanish manufacturer Berjuan must pull this product from the market immediately and people especially parents must begin to stand up and make their voices heard. We cannot allow a profit making entity who does not care about the future of their own society misguide the rest of us. We must allow our children to enjoy their childhood. They are being robbed daily of their childhoods by what we allow them to watch on television, the music that is so widespread and degrading. We have robbed them of their innocence, abusing their bodies and now we want to teach them to act like adults. It is not right. I hope countries like globally will never accept this product in their markets. We blame so many other people and factors for how our children are behaving and when we see the real reason pointing back at us, we appear to be blind.

I do not have a problem with our children playing with dolls, I endorse it. I believe there are so many lessons that our young ones can learn by embracing a doll. They learn that they are not alone in this world and people need love and affection and they learn how to communicate; some even love teaching from playing with dolls. I do not believe young kids think of having sex when they play with dolls. They don’t. They think of being kind to others and ensuring the dolls are safe by protecting it.

What lessons do we really want our children to get? Do we want them to grow up fast and add to the myriad of problems the adults have caused? Can you imagine a young child breastfeeding a doll? That child’s psychology immediately changes and they begin to think and feel like they are adults. I do believe that these are some of the things we have forced on our kids and have caused us not able to really control them. I have worked with children on projects before and some feel they can speak and behave anyway in public disrespecting leaders and undermining those in charge. These kids who will play with ‘Bebe Gloton’ or ‘greedy baby’ will be affected in some way negatively. We have sexualised this world so much that young kids today are engaging more in sexual activities and we are divided on how to solve these problems which we created. We have forced them to act like adults in a child’s body and it confuses them so much.

There should be a ban on this product now. When will this cycle end? I can’t wait till a business develops a doll that will have sexual intercourse with the female doll. Would our eyes be opened then? Oh I hear the defence already….They need to know!

Have you ever been in an enclosed area and smell the fumes from someone smoking? Doesn’t it annoy you? It must be weird being annoyed by a smell. I am upset, agitated, and infuriated when I smell a smoker and the smoke from their activities. I cannot fathom why someone would smoke their way to their death beds. We have heard of the many side-effects and ramifications for smoking cigarettes. For crying out loud go far far away and kill yourself with the fumes. Why make the rest of the world suffer in your unhealthy agony? I cannot imagine what goes on in the lungs and inside the body as they inject those crazy chemicals in.

Obama the Savior

Obama the Savior

My heart goes out though to all of the many addicts to smoking. I really blame them for their conditions and addiction to cigarettes and wish that they would change their lifestyle to a healthier one. Many families are being separated by those family members who smoke for a lifetime and end up dying from complications. There are however, solutions and many alternatives smokers can make to live their lives better.

In America alone 46 million people light a cigar. We have heard many times of the disadvantages for smoking but the information does not move smokers to stop killing themselves silently. They are addicted and so drawn and warped into smoking that they cannot and sometimes find it hard to end a life addicted to its contents. One would think businesses would stop making cigarettes so harmful to the body. No. They are manufactured and marketed to entice the innocent. Many young people are becoming addicted to smoking and the trend must be stopped. How many young people should die because of this addictive substance? Worldwide between 80,000 and 100,000 kids will start smoking everyday. No public service announcement can save those kids. Parents should become involved in parenting once again and ensure that their young children are not being killed early.

I have not felt the urge to smoke, never. I wonder what would prompt someone to light a cigar then. Of course, we can blame society, the culture and all the other factors that motivate our actions. I think our culture has a lot to do with this nasty trend. In Jamaica and many other parts of the world it is acceptable if a teen smokes in public. He/She is seen as unique, special, cool, fun, exciting the list goes on. What if we had generated a culture where we speak out against killing our hearts and our bodies? The price we pay to provide health care to these lunatics who are walking dead bodies waiting to happen must end now.

Side Effects of Smoking Cigarettes

  • Tobacco contributes to many cancers.
  • Smoking causes heart disease.
  • Smoking causes fat deposits to narrow and block blood vessels which lead to heart attack.
  • Smoking is a slow way to die.
  • Smoking causes heart attacks and strokes.
  • Carbon monoxide robs your muscles, brain and body tissue of oxygen, making your whole body and especially your heart work harder. Over time, your airways swell up and let less air into your lungs.
  • Causes impotence in men.

The list goes on but I decided just to highlight those.

I want people to realize the dangers of smoking and their lives. We are having a heated discussion on health care reform in the US. The fact is people must take personal responsibility for their lives and take steps to live a healthy lifestyle. In 1998 alone, USA spent $72.7 billion on people with health care problems associated with smoking. We are in 2009 that cost would never be decreased but increased. We are setting up ourselves for a huge problem with heart issues and strokes hitting younger people if we create a culture where smoking is accepted. I agree when any government that comes down hard on smokers. They must be taxed to the point where they cannot afford the product. Then we will see this horrendous habit by millions changed.

Can someone tell Obama to make this a teachable moment? He is for crying out loud, spewing fumes into the White house on a regular basis. He must be confronted and a team used to stop his addiction to smoking. If he doesn’t……..Oh my God!

Marketing for any business operating in today’s harsh business world isn’t easy. Getting the right campaign to the target market is a huge task. Hitting the nail on the head can be a massive gamble. Companies who use the services of marketing/advertising agencies most times are not in control of what the agencies produce. Somehow, companies even accept anything that the agency produces without contesting or even make suggestions to improve on the advertisement. It is sad when companies have to withdraw ads that offend a segment of the target market even sometimes offending the society. Advertisements are not only produced for the intended market. Because they are viewed in the mass media, extending the reach of the ad, the advert may be offensive. Companies however have a huge role in ensuring that the ads that the company has on television, radio, print etc are comfortable and not offensive.

Recently, KGB a company that answers questions that they receive by text messaging released an ad that some people find offensive. Some even want the ad to be pulled. The ad portrays black females in a salon getting their hair done. A female talent in the ad asked the other ‘What kind of hair is this?’ The response of the hairstylists says natural. The discussion there continues with the quest to find out what natural hair means by sending a text message to KBG for the answer.

From the advertising agency and company’s point of view they have achieved their objectives. They produced an ad reflecting the company’s proposition (product), and they used talents which reflected in some way their intended target audience. Success huh?

But the issue is bigger than that. The issue is the portrayal of black people. Culturally, the black race is known for their sense of humour, survival, hardworking attitude, breaking the law etc. Generally in advertisements the black talent would always deliver that punch line of a joke, or be seen eating unhealthy foods like chicken (not that chicken is bad). There are both positive and negative images that are embedded in ads today. These images can be offending; some can be flattering while others can be motivating.

There is certainly nothing wrong with the advertisement of this company. People will find issue with the ad that most of the actors were black. Normally, companies with a huge target market would show diversity in the ad to show that all races accept their product. This advertisement borderlines offensive because it appears to be saying that only black people wear weaves and emphasizes the fact that they cannot explain where it comes from. The believe that black people wear the most weaves may be a lie, but this ad does not make it appealing.

But how did we get here? There are issues within the black community and it is sad that this company is highlighting that flaw to sell their brand. Majority of people believe that black people use weave as a way to change who they really are. They use all the hair products and chemicals to look like someone else. Weaves do compliment and enhance a woman’s features. There is nothing wrong with wearing a weave. There might be a problem when weave identifies your race.

Beer Summit 2009

The President made some less than flattering comments on the Gates/Crowley controversy. Today, or a mere minutes ago the Beer Summit – Let’s talk moment ended. Obama wanted this matter to become a teachable moment. Did this summit achieve that? I am not positive the president achieved this but he achieved lots of bad PR and will not have ended how stupid this whole drama is.

Beer Summit Photo

Beer Summit Photo

I personally do not think that the president of the free world should have used a beer summit to solve this issue. If he had wanted this to become a teachable moment, does he really think sitting and drinking beers would achieve this? This man is so obsessed with being cool that he has taken it to the level where he looks rather un-cool.

The president should have invited these men to a discussion on race relations. That’s what he wanted. This action by the president would prompt millions of Americans to have a serious sit-down talk on this issue. Instead we are forced to see the leader of the free world get down drinking beers making him look immature. Sgt Crowley commented that the discussions were about the future. I am sorry sitting around beers on the brink of getting drunk is not having that teachable moment.

So the lesson from this is, when you have disagreements with people on this topic, could drinking beers the solution. I am no thrilled about how the president acted but this was not a happy moment. The Obama we know from the campaign who articulated a new message on race, I want that Obama back. I want to see Obama articulate and lead on this issue of race relations. Obama got one thing correct; his team changed it from a childish picnic table to a white table top surrounded with chair for four.