The Lolo Show

Living La Vida LoLo

Fake It ‘Til You Make It

Lois Burak - Wednesday, April 05, 2017


Fake It ‘Til You Make It

I do not subscribe nor endorse this belief in any capacity. Plainly said - this a recipe for disaster.
This is today's generation's version of  “Keeping Up With The Jones’ ” and reflecting on our past years we know where that got a lot of people. I have heard this phrase a great deal as of late and what’s worse is I have seen in unfold first hand.  I have seen life's fakery mentality destroy more than one person’s chance at a successful endeavor and crush their credibility making them a laughing stock among their peers. 

I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t buy a sleek new high end car if your profession is driven entirely by the lasting impression you need to make; but  you should be able to pay for the gas in the car and have the means to maintain it before you make that commitment.

Yesterday, I let my emotions get the best of me and became enraged when I discovered someone I know, standing before a group of impressionable, predominately low to middle socioeconomic standing high school kids and just as proud as a peacock told them that he was a successful entrepreneur and going on about his little need for a formal education . What does that even mean anyway, “Entrepreneur?! “I have become to loathe the sheer abuse of that word. It’s become a badge of success with no clear explanation. I have heard people throw that label around often during the last few years with no real direction or the success that the term implies . What bothers me the most when it comes to his claim is that while he may be an entrepreneur, he is by no means successful at least in the traditional sense (Not to mention putting down educated people in general!). I’m not here to devalue a man’s worth - but I do prefer to bring it in focus so that you may have a better understanding of my reason when it comes to my level of outrage. 

I have regretted two things in my life:
1. Quitting School and 
2. Not having a child (We'll approach this one at another time.).

It’s one thing to make countless YouTube videos sharing your wisdom... frankly  no one is viewing them. However, passing yourself off as a success business owner,  author and advisor to impressionable young people who only choose to hear what is glamorous is a crime -  especially when you completely disregard the one thing that they need most to survive in the world - an education.  

As I viewed a video of this young man misrepresenting himself in a speech named “My Success Strategy”  I blew my top.  His continual boasts about not finishing college while telling the class  “To be successful in business you need hands on training!” He then proceeded to talk about this "brilliant" strategy that can be found in his new book. I certainly hope he did not ask these kids to purchase his volume at the end of this misleading seminar of a pep talk. 

Whether or not you agree with this theory is not relevant for the purpose of guiding and mentoring young people. When you decide to take on the job of inspiring a teen, understand the power you have over them and the level of importance that comes with it.
He goes on to tell the kids of his many accomplishments, none have any clear agenda towards a goal. Topping off his sermon while raising his voice for emphasis with this pile of steaming garbage, ”YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GO TO COLLEGE TO BE SUCCESSFUL!” (insert vinyl record scratch… wait what?!?!?) He then follows up with “You are successful right now…because you got out of bed and got dressed... Success! It would take me far too long to break this down statement by statement of why if I were the parent of one of these kids I’d have a thing or two to say to this snake oil salesman and the clueless jerks in charge who allowed him to speak to the class in the first place.
“You came to school, you’re sitting here whether you’re paying attention or not, you’re asleep or want to be on Instagram … Success!"

I'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt and say that I understand what message he is attempting to convey; but just as he is not a successful entrepreneur he is not someone that should be speaking to young impressionable kids that may not have a lot of opportunity ahead of them. 
One of the best traits of a good leader is to KNOW what you don’t know and always ask questions. You cannot properly lead a crowd without knowing anything about them.
This is not a Tony Robbins seminar where people purchased tickets for a specific message they want to hear.


I will reiterate: impressionable children only hear what is glamorous. 
Ask…
  • How many plan to attend college?
  • Focus on those who do not have a college plan.
  • Ask, why? Perhaps they are disadvantaged financially or are intimidated by the college experience.
  • Perhaps they aren’t aware of other options available to them. 
  • Speak about tech school as an option
  • Inspire them with practical solid information. Not dreams of being young millionaire prodigies.
  • Give the children who have no plans to go to college a scenario. If you had a magic genie and could go to school, what is it they want to be? Some may not know yet. Which is more reason you do not glamorize the option to not pursue a furthered education.
  • Provide them with the tools they will need to further their education. 
He goes on to emphasize “This is the age you make your millions…” actually this is the age where you need an education or a hard life awaits. We live in a time where “Cash me Outside” girl is getting a reality show. Is that what we really want our young people to aspire to? You never know what life has in store. I made plans to have a secure financial future. I had specific goals and reached a decent level of success in most of my endeavors and still find myself having to take a job picking and packing inventory in a warehouse for $9.00 an hour in my early fifties. 
During my job search the mid entry level positions required some sort of a degree. 


So much for my “hands on experience” over thirty years in a highly competitive service and retail industry - something I find invaluable. Ironically something he was given the opportunity of taking full advantage and chose not to. 
If you must fake It… please keep it on YouTube. Do not mislead the young. 
 




 
 
 

Head Fake

Lois Burak - Tuesday, April 04, 2017

I’d like to share an article I wrote for LinkedIn a few days ago about a social media movement going on in North Little Rock AK....

 

 It still amazes me that people of my generation, who are in business, do not understand the value digital/social media adds to their brand. Entrepreneurs of my generation ironically target the very people who use the platforms in general.

 

The headline below captures the attention of anyone trying to understand the social media phenomena and how not using social media adversely affects your bottom line.  I did not have the most pures intent and I hope you’ll read and share this article. 



What Can Mainstream Media, PR, Marketing and Ad Agencies Learn from a Top Cop in NLR, AR?

If you’re one of the unfortunate souls not familiar with Officer Tommy Norman let me change that right now. 

Officer Tommy Norman is a police officer in North Little Rock Arkansas. For the last seventeen years Officer Norman has been patrolling the streets of NLR, AR neighborhoods, gaining the trust, respect, and above all the admiration of the community. Using social media to impact the people he profiles as well as engaging his 1.1 million followers, Officer Norman received national attention when during a CNN interview, rappers Killer Mike & The Game credited Tommy for “doing something right”. 

Since learning about him (through social media) I never wake up without the @Tnorman23 Instagram account as an accompaniment to my morning coffee. One of his fans explained in a video post “My wife watches your Instagram like we watch tv”. I couldn’t agree more.

If I’m having a bad day I open Instagram on my phone and go directly to his profile where I can be guaranteed to crack a smile and sometimes shed a heartfelt tear. Like so many, I have become engaged in the wellbeing of his community and the people who reside within it.

I couldn’t tell you whether Officer Norman is aware of his level of media savvy, but I can tell you his appeal comes from a place that is genuine. Officer Norman has been 110% committed to #communitypolicing way before social media.  

To all my media & marketing peers reading this, I’m not going to write about what you can learn from his presence on social media - this should be obvious. 

Here’s my favorite part of this article. From Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture (Achieving Your Childhood Dreams) The Head Fake aka Indirect Learning.  

This article wasn’t really about Marketing, PR or effective use of social media.

This was for everyone. Jack and Jill Public. Anyone with a pulse. Anyone who can change a person’s life. Anyone who still lives in fear of a negative stereotypes. Anyone one who needs inspiration and permission to show a little love and kindness to the people in and around your community.   



Follow @Tnorman23 

Enabling Dreams Part 2

Lois Burak - Sunday, April 02, 2017



In Part One you were introduced to the proverbial elephant in the room - my story.

 Anyone who has made the choice to be a caretaker of a terminally ill relative can appreciate the challenges associated with re-entering the workforce. When my mother came to live with me after her cancer diagnosis over seven years ago we began to habitually  lean on each other.

My working history at the time was on and off. I was fortunate to have built solid relationships that enabled me to work freelance jobs in various capacities and the small amount my mother received from social security covered my household expenses. Shortly before she passed, I began to worry about securing solid employment. I did not suspect she would suddenly leave me; frankly, it came as a complete surprise. The financial strain was a bit overwhelming as a result of the difficulties with the investment properties I own and my inability to dedicate myself to full time employment.

I had just about become a hermit. Alienated and isolated from the outside world. So when the opportunity presented itself to bring back The LoLo Show I was thrilled. It would be my outlet and I would continue submitting air checks hoping there would be interest and the powers that be could see I was staying relevant within the industry.

Mom unexpectedly passed in November. Still grieving, carrying the weight of many I am finding it difficult to find steady work. I’m networking, publishing LinkedIn articles and on job boards daily as well as creating accounts with companies so I can take their stupid assessment tests. Formalities that ask things like "How would you handle a disgruntled customer?"  Meanwhile more than half of the stores I’ve shopped, I cannot help but wonder if their associates failed their version of this formality. 

FINALLY I get a call from Natalie at Manpower. She tells me that they have an opening at local warehouse for shift work.  The entire process is a little degrading. The Manpower associates are matter of fact. You’re treated like you’re a piece of merchandise that gets boxed and passed around in the warehouse for which they are hiring  -which is ironic because there are signs on the walls that advertise and intimate how much Manpower respects their workforce.

I realize that time is running out when it comes to my bank account and I have to bite the bullet when it comes to working at anything to raise up the funds within. I’ll bring my resume and who knows, maybe they’ll have something else available, concentrating on all of the positives that I'm hoping for.

I decided to dress down, in past I was passed over low paying jobs because HR believed I would not stay. So I decide I should look the part...  I’m told by Natalie I have to show up at the warehouse the next day preferably wearing steel toe boots for orientation, after that I’m to report to LabCorp for a Drug test. That was fast, I guess I dressed the part.

 

While I’m there, a middle age man comes in and checks in to see if they have any open positons. She tells him there is nothing available at the moment. Apparently he’s been laid off from the same place for which I’m interviewing. Well, it wasn’t exactly an interview. I sat at a small desk across from Natalie and there were three other people on laptops within an arm’s reach. She looked at her computer more than she looked at me. 

Here was the extent of Natalie’s questioning:

 1. Have you filled out a profile with Manpower?

2. Do you want to be paid with a Manpower Card or direct deposit?  

3. Which shift would you be interested in working?

I had the choice between the first and s the second shift. I chose the second because it brought the pay rate to the grand amount of $9.00 per hour.

As I left I still had hope that another, more fitting opportunity would come through within the next twenty four hours. My immediate focus was to make ends meet by being able to pay my bills - not save for a luxury vacation. Growing up poor as a kid, I had to learn what items at the grocery store were “taxable” we weren’t able to buy a lot of those items because it wasn’t covered on welfare. Cutting back - making sacrifices is second nature to me.

The next morning I said my prayers and went on my way to the warehouse orientation. I arrived early and sat in my car. I’ll be honest it was hard to hold back the tears. I even gave myself a pep-talk and was committed to every reason that this was going to work.

A positive spin - it was VERY close to home and I didn’t mind a job that I would be out from behind a desk. I had worked out how my senior dogs would be cared for while I was away from home and I would choose the job of “picker” where I could be in my own little space…able to think while I did my work. I didn’t even mind second shift. 

A lot of my reservation came from the fear of something new and different. I knew each step in the process would eliminate that fear and I’d be fine. 

After security checked me in I waited with the others in the lunchroom. I took the time to wander and scope out vending machine choices and acquainted myself with the surroundings. As I sat I thought about many things from the past - my ex of ten years who had a warehouse job when we met. How much he hated it and how I encouraged him to go to school and learn a trade.  As I looked around at the depressed demeanor and facial expressions of some of the employees sitting down for lunch I couldn’t help but focus on one particular memory of him - the first day at his job as a tradesman with a good company.  I will never ever forget how proud he was to go from warehouse worker to professional tradesmen. Just the mere change of uniform had him standing taller than I had ever seen.

That is when I had to fight back tears. Finally Mr. Orientation shows up, asks everyone to gather around him and if we are wearing steel toe boots. There are 5 of us, I being the only woman. No one has steel toe boots so Mr. O (I’ll call him) leaves for twenty minutes to get steel toe slip on galoshes and safety vests. I almost left, but at that point I talked myself into staying convincing myself I was a spy. 

I don’t know, maybe I expect way too much from people. 

 

There’s an obvious disconnect between Mr. O and Natalie. He makes a derogatory comment regarding the lack of information she has given us. It’s hard to hear him above the loud noise of the warehouse, but he is really selling the company. I hear how clean the warehouse is and the emphasis on safety. 

I hear that there is a lot of opportunity including being a lead and other higher paying positions, telling us the key is "showing up". I am the only one of us that has never worked in a warehouse. Mr. O has us follow him through each section and also tells us they are in need of second shift. I think to myself "Awesome!" He emphasizes the need for us to get our drug test done, and the entire time never makes direct eye contact with me.

I leave disappointed. Orientation did not include training but understanding only that we still have to pass our drug test.  Still praying that something more suitable will come through, I think about bailing on the drug test. Not that I think I’m better than any of the people work there even though you’re made to feel that way by the people who hire them. Truthfully, I miss being the person who enables the dreams of others, getting people out of situations like I now find myself now. The pay isn’t enough to get me out my current situation but it will keep me from getting deeper into my financial hole. Despite all the conflicting feelings I move forward and knock out the drug test later that day.

Friday morning Natalie from Manpower phones to congratulate me on passing my urine and background check.  She then tells me the bad news, second shift is no longer available at that location and I can be put on a waiting list. I challenge this information telling her Mr. O told us that second shift was needed. She tells me she’s aware of who walked us through but gives me two names and that she is in contact with them every day and this is what they told her. They were cutting back at that location but if I wanted the second shift I could work at their other location. Where is that? I ask. Natalie tells me it’s on the same lot but the second shift work at that Warehouse is under $9.00 per hour. I’m thinking, what kinda bait and switch bullshit is this?!

I tell her that is not cool and she answer’s me with “Have you ever worked in a warehouse before?” I couldn’t control myself…I told Natalie,  "Manpower needs to be more respectful of the candidates and it doesn’t matter whether you’re a warehouse worker or an executive -  you should be treated with respect and not jerked around. I am in a tight spot and I am a hard worker, someone reliable who the company would be lucky to have. Put me on your waiting list for the $9.00."

 

Why did I want to open up and tell the world about this horrible but humbling experience? There are people out there that aren’t effected by financial hardship that have no clue what it’s like out there. They have no clue how their treatment of someone leaves a long lasting impression and can adversely affect a person.

I pray that I am in a position soon where I can once again enable the dreams of others…either or I will make eye contact with people, listen to them and offer a warm demeanor. Something this experience was lacking. 

Enabling The Dreams Of Others Part One

Lois Burak - Saturday, April 01, 2017




Readers, 


Frankly I'm struggling with whether to share my most recent experiences with you. 

The fear that sharing those events could damage my chances of obtaining my goals in my search for employment and the gnawing fear that is due to the one thing that people love more than a comeback story - to revel in someone’s defeat. In general, I’ve made a great effort to stay clear of those that enjoy the spectacle of witnessing the trials and shortcomings of others. 

I have found great comfort within when writing about my life's journey. It’s therapeutic (for me) to share my triumph as well as my setbacks in hoping  that someone can relate, learn and perhaps avoid heartache through my stories.

It’s my MO to add a bit of humor to my story so that the reader sees the author as someone they know as well as a sense of understanding combined with an awareness...  without judging harshly.

I take full responsibility for the decisions I've made that put me in this place. Things that did not involve any illegal activity - just some naiveté on my part. My friends remind me that I tend see the good in people and expect everyone to think as well as behave like me. I can tell you,  if I was my own  best friend the advice that I would give myself would have been no different than what some of you might think to yourself after digesting what you've read here. One mistake I won’t make again is dwelling on the past. I’d rather only revisit the past to form a strategy regarding my next move so that the next piece that I post will be the comeback story that I wish to relate to you all.  

Most who've read this know my back story and if you aren't aware of where I've been,  just Google my name and you’ll quickly find most of what you'll need to know to get up to speed. 

Here’s a quick recap:

1. I grew up poor in tumultuous surroundings

2. My father, Marvin Burak, was an edgy and controversial political radio personality 

3. My mother was a burlesque dancer

4. My brother is gay and struggling in life

5. My mother shot my father in self defense, killing him and I was struck with one of the stray bullets from that event at the  age of sixteen.

6. I started my own business at twenty two years of age and through sacrifice and hard work purchased investment property and closed my business after 25 years to pursue my dream career.

7. I accomplished a 360 degree turn around to brand myself, (NOT my business) as the new female voice in radio.

8. After a 10 year relationship with a younger man abruptly ended I made some relatively bad decisions that left me in a financially vulnerable position.  I’ll leave out the details for my memoir.

Having my own business at such a young age, the one pleasure I did receive was providing opportunity for others to fulfill a dream or goal - whatever that might be. Working towards a successful career, buying a car, house and even in one case - a boob job.  Each landmark that I could share a part in when it came to a person’s life experience was always worth it to me. 

 

I got my high off of being in a position that enabled others to soar. The problem that I learned too late in life - Altruism is best served when you have money. Having altruistic values when you don’t have a solid financial foundation only sets a person up for anyone looking to take advantage of them. I was recently blessed to sit with one of my favorite elementary school teachers. I told her about a franchise idea I have that would benefit businesses in neighborhoods like the one where my business was located. I have not forgotten her advice, “Being altruistic is a wonderful trait Lois, but first go where there is money.” 

That being said, I’ll briefly explain what led to posting here.

Remember the investment property I mentioned? Well, nearly two years ago three men approached me about leasing it and purchasing the remaining salon supplies and equipment. 

I'd recently met with a high end commercial broker about listing the property and in addition had another party interested in purchasing it. My heart was not ready to let go completely so I decided to give these three men a chance. They didn’t have a positive credit score but I saw promise and I liked the idea of a salon and spa reopening in the neighborhood as I also still had an attachment to the legacy of the space. 

Readers, I can hear your groans already - believe me!

I had the appropriate contracts drawn up by a business attorney who was recommended to me by a trusted associate and I did allow the new tenants far more slack than I should have as well as offered advice from my many years in the highly competitive beauty industry and neighborhood. None of which they took advantage. It seems they were of the belief that black people conduct themselves differently than white people. While some of you may agree with this, I can assure you the only color that is relevant to business is green - the color of money. It is your character not your color that determines a class of people.

Needless to say, shortly after their business started they were in the hole. Please stop yourself if you plan to write what "I coulda shoulda" done in the comments section. Trust me I took every step to protect myself other than refuse to make the deal to begin with. 

What happened is an unfortunate, one in a million circumstance - I exercised my legal rights per my agreement. The police stepped in and threatened to arrest me citing a code that did not apply to commercial property. They forced me to hand over my key. If there was one thing I learned as my father’s daughter it is DO NOT test the police.

My attorney instructed me to change the locks a second time which only resulted in the police ordering the tenant to break into the property - before you argue illegal lockout, there is NO CODE in Philadelphia preventing a lock out of a commercial property. This was confirmed by a Philadelphia tenant landlord court judge and an IAD investigator. A commercial property contract is a voluntary arrangement between two or more parties that is enforceable by law as a binding legal agreement.

I’ll save the details for my upcoming book entitled “You’re Fucked” (I’m kidding, I’m not writing such a book but welcome any journalist’s inquires).

We continue Readers - I was forced me to spend additional monies to start the eviction process through the court. I won possession hands down. (Again sparing the details-for now). Shortly after the sheriff posted a writ of possession on the door, one of the men asked to meet with me. 

We sat together with his father. An elderly black gentlemen clad in a two piece suit shrunken shoulders looking tired but I surmise was there for the love of his son. The tenant explained he had his father’s support who had strong belief in his dream (Something that really tugged at my heart.) and was loaning him the funds needed to pay me back what was in arears as well as monies their negligence had cost me. Having moved forward with one of my dreams (The LoLo Show relaunch and studio rebuild) I could relate.

He gave me a check that covered my legal fees which I desperately needed being that his nonpayment of rent and for the equipment had caused me financial hardship and I agreed to let him stay. I know - You’re probably screaming at your phone reading this. You could probably guess what is coming. Sparing all the details, he has not kept to his end of the agreement. 

The newest cause of heart break regarding this situation is the turn towards racial divide - Not from me, rather people who know of my situation and have brought it down to a black & white issue. 

AM I surprised? NO. As I stated earlier one part of my character is wishing people thought as I do. 

Okay, finally the reason for this post. I suppose there is that part of me so much like my father that I want to share about my recent experience job hunting despite everything else that I have going on at the moment. 

Not being a political person I will not suggest who’s at fault. I feel the need to report on this because I believe there are people reading this that are completely unaware of reality. One of those people was my late mother.