Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thanks for checking out the second issue of The Pelican Report. This week we’ve got another line up of interesting articles you might be able to learn something from, but what do we know? To become more enjoyable for our readers we have rearranged our format; investing will now be the last section of the report but definitely check it out! LDK (featured in last week’s report) is up 30% already, man are we lucky or what. We would like to again emphasize that if there is something you want to know about or something you’d like to comment on feel free to post it either here or on our Facebook page. I promise we take criticism well. You can also follow our publisher on Twitter (DVDAVITIAN) but he isn’t that interesting. So sit back, relax and enjoy issue #2.

Sincerely,
Drew V. Davitian
Publisher


The Pelican Report
Issue 2, November 19th, 2009


Employment

How To Deal With a Dysfunctional Work Environment

We’ve all been in this painful situation: Everyone in the office is readying for combat. Cubicles are surrounded by sandbags. The battlefront has been drawn next to the water cooler and spies and double agents scour no man’s land for snippets of information to be used in the next battle. Office politics in a dysfunctional workplace can seem just as emotionally volatile as a warzone and these situations have dire consequences. There is a reason “going postal” is mentioned in management and human resource classes today. Here are five tips to help you navigate the chicanery whether you are a natural born leader or a hostage.

1) Build Personal Integrity

It is difficult to stay above the petty office disputes and back stabbing if you can’t internalize that you are better than it, and that is an inside job. Take pride in delivering what you say you’ll deliver on, don’t engage in maladapted office politics and you won’t have to worry about what she said about you to the boss’s secretary, you just won’t care. The boss will notice too.

2) Set Boundaries

When I was in elementary school I used to get picked on and never retaliated. One day I lost it and hit a kid back, knocking him unconscious. For the next two and a half years no one bothered me. It was not the right thing to do, but I essentially set a boundary. Predators at work look for people incapable of defending themselves and then they swoop in for the attack over and over. If you’re the kind of person who has trouble standing your ground remember it usually just takes once and you’ll never have to deal with them again. Choose a strong yet professional tone that carries with it an air of disciplinary parenting and finish your statement with “do you understand” like your pandering to a child and you shouldn’t have a problem with that co-worker anymore.

3) Become the Office Patriarch/Matriarch

The office patriarch/matriarch is the one pulling the strings. They are often the consigliore to the boss and while they may not make ultimate decisions they usually have the power to quash a project, hiring or firing that they do not agree with. This position in the office carries with it immense influence as this person is often the go between for management and staff moving back and forth with impunity.
This is a skill play, meaning you must be able to influence others and garner respect as a leader even if it is not you official role in the office. To fulfill this objective you must be likable, have a broad range of knowledge on various subjects and carry favor with the boss and his boss. If you can achieve this unofficial title in the office political arena you will be rewarded with immunity to any office dysfunction. People will be on their best behavior as to not alienate you and your leadership will set the tone for office decorum.

4) Volunteer to Help Update the Employee Manual

You would be surprised how outdated policies and procedures usually are for small and mid-sized companies. These books need to be updated annually and you can accomplish several things at once by requesting to take on this project. First, you express to your superiors that you are a proactive troubleshooter and that you can identify future issues and try to mitigate their occurrences. Second, you undertake a project with a specific, tangible, value adding product, and one that should go in your portfolio for your next performance appraisal (tangible products are always more powerful in a review than intangible efforts). Finally, you position yourself as the person who creates the details of what constitutes harassment and lackadaisical work effort, specifically the punishments for each. This last benefit can be what legally requires your un-concerned boss to have to make an effort to re-gain control of the office, thus restoring sanity.

5) Quit

Remember the previous ideas (and many others like them) are just suggestions that, in the right situation, can help improve the efficiency, effectiveness and quality of the work environment. They are not guaranteed fixes. Sometimes, if an office culture is too far gone, or spiraling out of control, the only sane option is to quit, with or without going Dolly Parton on the boss’s ass. Just try and make sure you have something else lined up first, because unemployment is not going to cut it.

Lifestyle

The Best Online Resources for Budding Chefs

http://www.epicurious.com/

This site is just Awesome! I’ve been using epicurious.com for cooking inspiration since I was 16 and I’ve never been disappointed. While many of the recipes are quite sophisticated, the selection of how to videos and library of decade’s worth of culinary information are unparalleled on the web. Check out the classic French bubble top brioche recipe for some unfathomable deliciousness.

http://www.deandeluca.com/

For those of us who have exceptionally refined pallets there is Dean & Deluca’s online portal, deandeluca.com. This website has an incredible selection of gourmet meats, cheeses, seafood, hours d’oeuvres and baked goods. Though if you are on a budget, choose carefully. Check out the selection of cured meats they are literally “to die for”.

http://www.cajungrocer.com/

As the crowned king of Cajun, Emeril Lagasee, would say, “oh yeah, baby!” The Cajun grocer is the go to source for everything New Orleans. If crawfish is your fancy they can overnight ship you the creepy crawlers. If Alligator suits you, they’ve got it twelve different ways. For those of us who aren’t as adventurous, check out the Mello Joy Coffee and Andouille sausage, I’ve never had anything more satisfying.

Fashion

Masters of the Universe: The White Cuff & Collar Dress Shirt

I don’t care what anybody says Gordon Gecko dresses like a bad ass. The 80’s stigma of “greed is good” may have no place on Wall Street anymore and “TARP wives” may be carrying their newly purchased scarves out of Hermes in brown paper bags to avoid the media blitzkrieg, but that’s no reason to throw out the fashion with the bath water. For those of us who aren’t at the helm of failing banks the white collar and cuff are signals of classic, capitalistic ambition; you know the kind this country was built on. For this very reason designers have been releasing updated styles of this 80’s throwback for a few years now and we’ve scoured the web for some of the best.

Thomas Pink Pale Solid Blue, Slim Fit, Men’s Dress Shirt
£85
Available at Thomaspink.com --
http://www.thomaspink.com/fcp/product/-/Shirts/Pale-Solid-Blue-Slim-Fit-Men's-Shirt---Double-Cuff/99911045

Ermenegildo Zegna Pink Striped Dress Shirt
310
Available at Neimanmarcus.com --
http://www.neimanmarcus.com/store/catalog/prod.jhtml?itemId=prod82070016&parentId=cat14850750&masterId=cat21130735&index=19&cmCat=cat000000cat000470cat14120827cat21130735cat14850750

Golden Fleece Framed Stripe Luxury French-Cuff Dress Shirt
195
Available at Brooksbrothers.com --
http://www.brooksbrothers.com/IWCatProductPage.process?Merchant_Id=1&Section_Id=404&Product_Id=1316163&Parent_Id=1054&default_color=WHITE&sort_by=&sectioncolor=&sectionsize

Canali Men's Cotton Pinstripe Dress Shirt with Barrel Cuffs
204
Available at Bloomindales.com --
http://www1.bloomingdales.com/catalog/product/index.ognc?ID=149783&CategoryID=17652&PageID=17647*6*24*-1*-1*10

Investing

Media General: Don’t Call It a Comeback

Media General (NYSE: MEG) is a company that operates newspaper publishing houses and cable affiliates in the South East. The company makes most of its income from advertising revenue, specifically from automobile companies and regional auto dealerships. Like many other corporations, Media General got the wind knocked out of it between October 2008 and March 2009. Ad revenue tanked leaving the company in a fearful cash flow position and the stock traded as low as $1.25 as a result. In July 2009 the company made some difficult strategic decisions reducing workforce, fixed costs and selling off business units. These moves gave the company enough cash flow to stay solvent through the re-organization of the GM and Chrysler and now those companies and Ford are returning to their advertising partners like MEG. The stock had a nice run up in the last few months and is currently trading in a channel between $8.00 and $11.00. MEG is another underrated stock, though due to its exceptionally high beta (2.9) it can be a volatile play. Look at channeling this stock until the end of the year paying careful attention to the revenue growth of the big three auto manufactures as our statistical analysis shows significant correlation. If top line growth in auto revenues persists, look for a break out in MEG stock price to as high as 14.00 and beyond in the new year, but be sure to follow your order with a trailing stop of 10 or so percent to protect against downside risk.

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