'Where Did We Park?'

Don’t overlook those mundane yet important details when launching into a new venture.

July 22, 2013

Lisa and I thoroughly enjoyed our recent visit to Summerfest in Milwaukee. We arrived early, parked hurriedly, and raced happily to the nearest of a gazillion gates to the expansive grounds.

The weather was gorgeous! Somebody kindly just gave us their tickets outside the entrance! The live music was fabulous! The vast array of fried foods was devoid of nutritional value! Fellow revelers were friendly! Fun was abundant!

All too soon, darkness fell. It was time to go.  We danced our way to and exited what we believed was the gate we entered. We took a “short cut” to the car.

Oddly, it was not there.

We tried other gates, other parking lots, and attempted to recall the cross street. We had parked next to a vacant lot. We could not find a vacant lot. We surmised this was perhaps because it had been filled with other cars.

We asked a very nice lady where we had parked, and she had no idea. We asked another very nice lady wearing a uniform where we parked. She had a vague idea and sent us in the opposite direction.

Lisa’s feet hurt. My head hurt.

Unbridled enthusiasm for impending projects or events can preempt us from laying a firm foundation for successful project implementation and completion. Without thorough understanding and appreciation of all requirements for achievement, we may find ourselves in dire need of direction, floundering about essential—perhaps basic—components and tenets.

As you think about implementing this week’s research findings in new projects, realize the importance of accounting for the mundane aspects of a job before you confidently leap.

‘On life’s vast ocean diversely we sail. Reason the card, but passion the gale.’—Alexander Pope, English poet.

Reasonable use of plastic cards is a thought-provoking consideration at the forefront of research findings this week.

An interesting collection of “Credit Card Statistics, Industry Facts, Debt Statistics” will apprise you of current card industry trends. A few items of note:

Other available information includes data on customer satisfaction, business card use, bankruptcy and delinquency statistics, fees, and rewards.

Meanwhile, “More Young People Ditching Credit Cards,” according to The New York Times. “In 2012, 16% of those aged 18 to 29 had no credit cards at all. That’s up from 9% in 2005.”

Further, “the younger age group has reduced its average outstanding credit card debt to $2,087 as of October 2012, down from $3,073 five years ago.”

One reason for this trend is the implementation of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009, which makes it more difficult for younger borrowers to obtain credit cards.

But the younger generation has also been influenced by the recession. It has affected this group’s willingness to acquire debt.

Did you know “Prepaid Debit Card Users Appreciate the Control and Convenience Offered” by such cards? Among the compelling Harris Interactive survey findings:

Overall, “People are Managing Cards Better, Survey Finds.”  This report reveals that “34% of credit card users sometimes made only the minimum payment in 2012, down from 40% in 2009” and “The fraction of people who were always able to pay off their full balance rose, from 41% to 49% in 2012.”

Again, the CARD Act is credited in part for the turnaround, although a spokesperson from the Center for Responsible Lending states, “there is some anecdotal evidence people are trying to manage their debt better.”

One last card-related tidbit: “Despite occasional fluctuations over the past six months, average APRs on new credit card offers have remained exceedingly stable,” according to  “The higher rates have made it significantly more expensive for new cardholders to carry a balance than in previous years… However, a record number of cardholders are still managing to pay their credit card bills on time.”

You will find other card-related trends discussed in this interesting article.

‘When you’re a dancer, you start with the basics. You don’t all of a sudden do a pirouette. You start with first position, second, third.’—Rita Rudner, comedienne, writer, actress.

On the job, attention to detail and preparedness will keep you on your path to success.

Do You Know What Signals You’re Sending at Work?” asks U.S. News & World Report. “When it comes to how you’re judged at work, you might think that the quality of your work is all that matters. But human perceptions are a lot more complicated…and you might send signals that you don’t realize.”

Some of the basic things that matter: be aware of the company you keep, note your departure and arrival times, avoid a cluttered or barren office space, dress for success, and contribute in meetings.

“An alarming 70% of American employees aren’t working to their full potential,” says Gallup.  Recent survey results reveal “only 30% of American workers were engaged, or involved in, enthusiastic about, and committed to their workplace.”

The article presents reasons for and suggestions to alleviate the problem of a stagnating workforce. Some of them include finding ways to connect with employees and coaching managers to assist. In addition, senior staffers need to set good examples for work ethic and good conduct.

The Essential Hallmarks of a Good Leader” as noted in a recent LinkedIn article, are important basics for companies who seek success.

“Good people want to work for good leaders,” notes the post. Important attributes and skills for effective leaders include discipline, fortitude, high standards, openness, morale building, loyalty, fairness, and humility.

With a little persistence, Lisa and I eventually found the car. Despite our trials and tribulations, we enjoyed our Summerfest outing.

But next time we will be better prepared. With a bit more attentiveness, we might have been spared sore feet and a headache.

We might have arrived home earlier instead of much, much later than expected. In our enthusiasm, we forgot the importance of small, “boring” details—and that was unfortunate.

Do you remember where you parked?






Lora Bray is a research librarian at CUNA.