Going Up?

A change in perspective can occur with a simple thought or moment of appreciation.

June 10, 2013

I trudged onto the elevator at work this morning and sighed, picturing my to-do list here and at home.

I thought of my lunchtime errands and vaguely wondered, “What’s for dinner tonight, anyway?”

It was one of “those days.”

I pushed the button for the third floor and stared at the reassuring statement engraved on the elevator panel: “When light flashes, help is on the way.”

OK, light. Start flashing!

The elevator stopped at two and I nearly stepped off there in my dazed state. A smiling colleague from third floor hopped on and said, “Nope, Lora, not at three yet!”

“Oh, right,” I offered. “One more to go…”

“Yes,” she affirmed, as we stopped on three. “I do that sometimes too. You know, things look different on two,” she continued, in reference to recent remodeling. “I almost don’t recognize it. But, it’s nice to get a different view and new sense of things, even though we are at the same place.”

“You’re right,” I agreed. “It’s all about gaining and appreciating a new perspective, isn’t it?”

Bingo. My own “self-help” light flashed with the realization that a change of attitude and a new view of my day would change it entirely. No longer overwhelmed, I felt glad to be busy and involved. I was interacting with talented people on interesting projects.

What perspectives do you hold on various projects, situations, or issues that could take an entirely different spin when you consider alternative angles? Becoming properly informed and remaining open to other views will allow you to successfully re-evaluate and reposition yourself with positive thinking.

‘Perspective is the most important thing to have in life.’Lauren Graham
Not only do we need to be concerned about our own perspectives, we need to be sensitive to perspectives of consumers in an attempt to meet their needs.

Layoffs after 50 Cause Severe Losses,” reports Boston College. “For the average older worker who loses his job, his income a decade later is 15% lower than if he had escaped the layoff.”

Research findings in this post indicate the effects of the recession may last into old age for many baby boomers. One reason is because they have a more difficult time than younger workers in finding new jobs.

Still, “Older Drivers More Likely to Buy New Vehicles,” says the University of Michigan. “Findings suggest that marketing efforts focusing on drivers 55 to 64 years old should have the highest probability of success per driver… In 2011, the peak probability of buying a new vehicle per driver was among those between 55 and 64 years of age—a shift from four years earlier” when 35-to-44-year-olds held this distinction.

Will you market auto loans to older consumers with this new perspective?

Americans are “often expressing anguished regret that they did not know more about the risks involved at the time they made key financial decisions,” according to Financial Market News. “Americans now know more about often pathetic personal finances” a survey reveals.

Findings include:

  • 34% of Americans pay just the minimum amount on credit cards;
  • 26% have unpaid medical bills;
  • 55% do not have adequate funds to handle unanticipated expenditures;
  • Only 41% spend less than they earn.

Can you help change these consumer attitudes?

Don’t forget Rover. Fun facts on pet expenditures are revealed in a Bureau of Labor Statistics analysis, “Household Spending on Pets.”

Not including “several million pet fish,” approximately 218 million pets call the U.S. home, commanding $61.4 billion in expenditures in 2011. This is despite recessionary issues as families spent consistently on their pets from 2007-2011, with “share of household spending on pets (staying) relatively constant, within a narrow range of 0.9% to 1.1% of total spending.”

Consumer vices, too, have an economic impact as “That Employee Who Smokes Costs the Boss $5,800 a Year,” according to NPR.

Surprisingly, employers bear these costs not as a result of increased health care expenditures, but rather in lost work as employees light up during breaks. This results in expenses of “$3,077, based on an estimate of five smoke breaks during the work day.”

How can you encourage healthier attitudes for your credit union staffers resulting in positive benefits for all?

‘A good lesson in keeping your perspective is: take your job seriously but don’t take yourself seriously.’Thomas P. O’Neill
Ever wonder “What Will Your Workplace Look Like in 2023?” provides a glimpse at five defining characteristics:

  • Accessibility to people will be more important as physical presence enables creativity and innovation.
  • Businesses will more often act as start-ups with “unclear governance structures, short time frames, and high expectations.”
  • “The workplace of 2023 will be diverse and multicultural.” Leaders will need to be inclusive.
  • Technology will facilitate communications that will “take a message right to the recipient or broadcast it to everyone.” Hierarchies will not exist.
  • Social media will be a natural “component of our lives” and communications will evolve in this direction, but not easily. To get there, “organizations will need to learn how to set boundaries while opening up the pathways for social networking and new ways of collaborating.”

Finally, “How Did Work-Life Balance in the U.S. Get So Awful?” asks The Atlantic. The U.S. ranks 28th of advanced nations in the OECD Better Life Index in work-life balance. Why? Because Americans work longer hours and lack laws “like mandatory paternal leave, that alleviate the burden on working moms."

Single moms “feel a particular pinch in the U.S. for two reasons. First, the U.S. has the fourth-highest share of single mothers in the OED. Second, they work the longest hours and have more children.”

This interesting article may challenge your perspectives on contributing factors to work-life balance and allow you to appreciate the vantage point of those who struggle to make ends meet, and the personal sacrifices they make in the process.

Changing one’s perspective need not be a chore or daunting task. It can be done with a simple thought or moment of appreciation.

Maybe you can even create a visible opportunity to share your sassy, smiling style with others. Per Frank Sinatra, “Cock your hat—angles are attitudes.”






Lora Bray is a research librarian at CUNA.