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Being Thankful Before Thanksgiving

As many of you know, Mary Kay and I are moving to Ann Arbor, Mich. this week. I’m still officially in Waco as the Glass Doctor president until the end of the year, but MK starts her new role as Molly Maid president immediately. My vice president, Brad Roberson, who has been in the glass business for over 20 years as a franchisee and now at corporate, will take over.

I flew into Ann Arbor Thursday night because we were closing on our new home Friday. MK has never driven in snow before and since it was snowing all day Thursday, we agreed I should take an Uber to the hotel.

Mohammed, a man in his mid-20’s picked me up. He moved to the U.S. six years ago from Lebanon. His English, he said, was terrible. His sister and her husband lived in the Detroit area and his entire family moved here.

I asked him why they moved. Mohammed doubted anyone would even ask this question. He beamed while saying it was for the opportunities here. When he came here he was 19 years old and had nothing. He mentioned trying to go to school was a chore because he just couldn’t understand his professors, especially those who spoke quickly.

Now he has a college degree, is building computer boards for the airline industry and recently got married, his wife is also from Lebanon. Traveling back and forth was very expensive while they were engaged. Mohammed told me how hard he had to work to be able to make the trips back home to see her before they were married.

She’s taking night classes to be an interior decorator and working full time during the day.  When she has class, he drives with Uber because he’s also helping his parents out. He explained the move has been difficult for his parents who are now in their early 60’s. They left everything, to come here. Their English is still poor and becomes a burden for them.

Mohammed said his friends in Lebanon can’t find work and that its unemployment is over 58 percent. But he still believes his parents will return to Lebanon as they move into their golden years. He however, hasn’t been back since his wedding and isn’t sure if he will return.

He beamed when talking about how much he has been able to achieve in six years.

America, the land of opportunity.

When I watch the news each night, I see the opposite. My flight was delayed because someone in Austin, where the flight originated, was shooting at airplanes taking off. Inspectors spent an hour at the DFW airport looking for possible damages.

Both parties are angry with the election results. There was a time when two people could talk civilly despite having differing political views, much of that has passed. It’s important to watch what isn’t happening in Congress and the Senate because our representatives simply won’t work with the other side of the aisle.

America, the land of opportunity.

Regardless of the challenges life delivers, I know how blessed MK and I are. This year she’ll even learn to drive in the snow.

Happy Thanksgiving.

The Importance of Elections

MK and I do a session about retaining employees each month for all of the new Neighborly franchisees on their first day of training. In that session we remind the group that employees don’t quit jobs, they quit bosses. We often go around the room asking for examples, it’s entertaining and proves our point.

One of the biggest forms of rejection is when an employee loves their job but hates their boss, and then ends up leaving because of their boss.

Last Tuesday we saw an even larger example of rejection. Dennis Hof ran for the Nevada 36th Assembly district against, Lesia Romanov. Hof owned a handful of brothels in Nevada where they are legal to operate, and on October 16th he died. What’s surprising, is on November 6th he received 68 percent of the vote as a dead man. There were signs posted at polling locations that read, “Notice of Death of Candidate”, but he still won.

I don’t know much about Ms. Romanov, but she has two master’s degrees in education and has been an educator in Clark County (Vegas area) for more than 19 years. She now has the distinction of losing an election to someone deceased.

About 40 years ago I ran for Alderman in Rockford, Ill., my hometown. It was a great lesson for me in many ways. I learned more about politics than I ever imagined and have an appreciation for what politicians go through. I learned about fund raising, the value of telling voters what number you were on the ballot, and telling them how to punch your number in. I also learned the importance of driving people to the polls on Election Day because many don’t have a ride. Most of all I learned to never run for office again. I can’t imagine with social media what it would be like, I know few people pristine enough to survive today’s social media threats.

Regardless of your party, Americans exercised their right to vote last Tuesday. Over 110 million voted, that’s more people than any other time in history and the highest percentage of voters for over 50 years. Too many people wrongly say their vote doesn’t matter.

Leadership includes voting and coming back to your office with your ‘I Voted’ sticker. Then when people ask you why you voted, you can say, as leaders it is our duty to exercise the freedom we have to vote, and point out that everyone should. Leaders do what others don’t. This includes voting in every election.