First Line Manager – Know Thyself

In the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi are the words, “Know Thyself.” This is an admonition to people to remember they are not God; and, to enter the Temple with humility. Ben Franklin said, “There are three things extremely hard; steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.” Most first line managers struggle to define themselves.”Knowing myself,” as a manager is a challenge for me. This challenge started when I was twenty-four, and is still a challenge for me today. I have made progress. I know first line managers are all different; we come to the job with different expectations and experiences. I bet most of us know we have to define ourselves to the people we manage. To do this, we must first know ourselves. I am a first line manager and have been since 1971, except for two years. I can give you my perspective on some of my learning moments. I hope you can gain some insight in my progression to “knowing myself.”Being a General Manager of three motels taught me; the more managers you have between you and employees, the further you are away from the actions of the employees in the departments. I know I must transfer my energy through managers to have an impact on their department employee actions. This is hard to do. My expectations are high. I hired a college fraternity buddy of mine to manage the restaurant in my first motel. He was not effective. We discussed his lack of performance in my office. He started to cry. I learned I did not want to manage my friends. Also, I learned, I did not like being removed from the employees on the front line. This is my first realization; I missed being a front line manager. I was the restaurant manager and the General Manager of the last motel I managed. This is the best of worlds, a general manager and a first line manager.From 1976 to 1978, I work as a Territory Sales Manager for a chemical company. I am just responsible for my actions. There are no employee problems. The only employee I must motivate is me. This is easy. Each morning I get in the seat of the car at seven o’clock. I work my daily sales plan. The first year I have a forty percent sales increase in my territory. This is a lonesome job. I am alone each day; just me, a sales bag, and a car. My second realization, I miss the manager’s role; that is, working with employees to accomplish company goals. Even thought I am successful selling, I prefer managing people.Years later, the Vice President of my division said we need to get you to the corporate headquarters for more experience, my prompt answer, “I do not want to go.” I know I will not survive at the corporate headquarters, might as well admit it. I am sure this ended my journey up the corporate ladder. I am where I want to be; a first line manager, close to employees and customers.Thus, I know, I want to manage employees that are close to the customer. Even with all the issues involved with the job. Some first line managers do not come to this point and dislike handling all the issues with being a manager. Maybe they are in the wrong job.This is the point. Being true to myself makes me happy and passionate about my job.”Know Thyself.” then, “To thyself be true.”

Online Shopping Through Comparison Shopping Search Engines

Shopping can be a fun activity for some, but for others it is irritating. For those who find it irritating, online shopping is the best option available. Online shopping can be fun, economical, time-saving and simple. Also, since it provides a controlled environment, the chances of splurging are lower. However, there are certain drawbacks, too, like insecure online payments, late delivery, loss of your shipment, shipping the wrong products and so on.

These days, merchants and online shoppers are presented with an array of options when it comes to online shopping. Most of the companies and stores have their own website through which shoppers can buy things online. Also, there are shopping blogs and comparison shopping search engines through which one can shop. Comparison shopping search engines are more popular, as they provide shoppers with the option of searching and comparing the prices of specific products in the same category. This invariably would present to the customers the best deals of the day. It also helps shoppers to shop on the basis of price, the online merchant’s reputation, product information and consumer buying reviews.

Comparison shopping search engines are broadly classified as shopping search engines, with a large number of product categories and shopping search engines focused on specific product categories. Some of the most popular comparison shopping search engines are:

1. Yahoo Shopping, Google’s Froogle, MSN Shopping, CNet Shopper
2. E. W. Scripp’s BizRate and Shopzilla
3. eBay’s shopping.com
4. NexTag
5. PriceGrabber
6. PriceRunner
7. MySimon

Some of the specialized shopping search engines are:

1. PriceWatch, which lets the shopper know and compare prices of computers, computer parts and other electronic items.
2. HealthPricer and pharmacychecker.com, which compare the prices of drugs, medicines, health supplements and so on.
3. AddAll, which compares the prices of books, magazines, CDs, DVDs and so on.
4. PriceScan, which shops for books, sporting goods, electronics and the like.
5. 800wine.com and allwinebaskets.com, for buying wines or wine gift baskets.
6. specialoffers.com, which searches for online special offers, freebies, coupons and so on.

The benefits of comparison shopping search engines are manifold. They are:

1. It offers more convenience to online shoppers.
2. It allows shoppers to browse through different retailers, products and categories and compare the prices with each other.
3. They are available all throughout the year and offer their services around the clock, allowing shoppers to shop at their own convenience.
4. They help reduce the overhead costs, thereby reducing the prices.
5. The bargains from online retailers are numerous as a part of their promotions, so shoppers can buy the products at a cheaper rate.
6. When sending gifts to loved ones in another country, these search engines help to compare the prices of various products before deciding on one.

Each shopper can make his or her online shopping safe and cost-effective by following certain rules. They are:

1. It is advisable to all shoppers to know about the products they are planning to buy and to check the prices of the products using various comparison shopping search engines.
2. It is recommended to check out the seller’s refund policies and the privacy policy.
3. Always shop with retailers whose website begins with “https:” as they are secured sites and shoppers needn’t worry about any frauds regarding their login information.
4. After purchasing a product, it is better to leave a testimonial regarding the retailer, website and the product as it would be useful for other customers too.

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