The Road

supervisorTo be absolutely certain, the year 2016 presented quite the series of challenges that taxed me both mentally and emotionally. If a gentleman is so fortunate to live long enough, he will undoubtedly realize that life is lived through adversity and attrition. And so, I discovered myself during such a season, fighting against a torrent of unfortunate and distressing circumstances. Sure, I attained personal triumphs that varied in significance and impact, however, I registered a monumental disappointment that reduced me to tears of defeat as I sat on my couch – September 2, 2016. I remember that date very well because it was a day prior to my birthday. And it was also the day I received a rejection notice regarding a position I applied for at work.

Now, I am not a stranger to receiving bad news in my employment history. I have had certain benefits suspended. I have lived under the specter of unemployment and I have been terminated. I have received the unfortunate news that I was not selected for employment. Nevertheless, this moment of rejection resonated in a fashion that was tinged with hopelessness and defeat. The strain of fatherhood and being a husband was tremendous, and I was in the midst of collapsing under the weight. The position I sought was intended to help alleviate the burden and start correcting the course with a strong finish for the year.

Preparing for the position, I took all the necessary steps – or at least I thought – to be successful in my bid to secure the promotion. I identified the position a year before a vacancy would present itself. I periodically followed up with a team member to learn more about the position. I continued to work diligently in my role at the time; I even earned a promotion within my own department. So when an opening unexpectedly became available, I sought out to take advantage of the opportunity. I met with the director (the position was in another department), increased my research regarding the new role, and earnestly prepped myself for the impending interview for nearly a month. My performance during the interview was executed to perfection. Nonetheless, it was deemed that I was not the best candidate for the position. I was devastated.

As I opened my e-mail and read through the generic reasoning for not being selected, I sat in disbelief as if suspended in time. In my mind, this was my last gasp gambit at turning around a less than stellar year and beginning anew. I was lost. I was shrouded in uncertainty and I was terrified. And so, I sat in solemnity and solitude in tears. Later on that week, detailing my intense job preparation, my pastor told me the Lord was simply arranging something better for me and my family. Honestly, the conversation did not leave me hopeful; I was dealing with the immediate reality of confusion and doubt. Wallowing in misery is certainly not productive, so I was back on my work grind within the same week. Soon I was seeking other opportunities and networking throughout the organization. And then something amazing happened – a supervisor in my department surprisingly decided to leave the company.

And then something else amazing happened – my own supervisor encouraged me to apply for the position. Even though I have been referred to as a leader and many individuals have solicited my advice both on professional and personal levels; I never fancied myself a supervisor. When I hired into the company on an entry-level, I firmly dismissed the notion of pursuing upper management despite others urging me to do otherwise. Yet here was an opportunity that suddenly materialized in the wake of my previous disappointment. Fortuitously, I was already in grind mode from the previous job prep, so transitioning my mindset toward a new job goal was seamless. Subsequently, I earned a promotion to supervisor. I was being prepared for something greater after all. A gentleman’s failures are but a crucible, a laborious journey designed to forge character and strength. Because, even when times appear to be their most dire, failure can be success that has yet witnessed fruition.

A Change Gon’ Come

Miles Newborn ToesWell, if you are a follower of this blog, or perhaps you’ve landed here because of an Internet search, you will probably notice the dearth of posts. There is good reason. Aside from my preexisting fatherly duties, there have been two major changes in my life, and unsurprisingly my blogging pace has slowed tremendously. Now, allow me to address those changes. Working in the health care field since 2001; mostly recently I had transitioned to a corporate environment in supply chain management. I started as an entry-level procurement specialist, and after a few years, I secured a promotion as a senior procurement specialist. Shortly thereafter, the department experienced a lot of movement with colleagues gaining promotions or leaving for other opportunities.

Subsequently, there were several openings available as a team lead – a position in management. Before I proceed, allow me briefly explain the duties of my department. I work for a national, not-for-profit health care system. I work in the shared procurement service arm of our supply chain management. We are responsible for the procurement of goods and services for our system of hospitals. Our floor is divided into teams; each team is assigned multiple hospitals and health care facilities within specific regions. As team lead, one would be responsible for monitoring the day-to-day activities of the team, ensuring that issues regarding back-orders, discontinued items, overnight orders, complaints, etc. are addressed and resolved.

At the time, I was considered to be on the short list of candidates that would apply for one of the open positions. However, I did not feel I was ready. I decided to remain in my position and sharpen my skills. And I will readily admit, I did not fancy myself the management type. After that round of promotions, an additional team lead position became available some months later. So, I decided to venture out on faith, leave my comfort zone, and afford myself the opportunity to advance my professional career to another level. And after an intense two-week interviewing process, I was notified that the team lead position would be offered to me. Of course, I accepted without hesitation. The process was tough, but I’m glad I applied for the job.

So, that brings me to the other bit of significant news: I’m a father again. Yes, my wife and I welcomed our second child into the world last week. The journey was difficult, but our son was born happy and healthy. Oh, yes, I now have a son. He’s only a week old and I’m already thinking about teaching him how to knot his first necktie. I know – I’m terrible. So there you have it. My life has fully transformed, but for the better. Hopefully, my work and personal life will be brought into balance. I have no doubt I’ll be checking back with you to document my second round as a father and first round as part of management. And of course style and grooming will definitely be in the mix as well. Talk to you all soon.

Happy New Year – Yes, I’m a Little Late

IMG_3144So, here we are 12 days deep into the new year of 2016, and I have been remiss in my duties of wishing the reading audience a happy new year. To that I offer a sincere apology – happy new year everyone. And although I can present a myriad of viable explanations regarding my absence, I am absent a credible excuse that hindered my capabilities of powering up my laptop and wishing my readers festive holiday cheer. Nevertheless, at the present moment, I would like to bring everyone up to speed with what is going on in my life. My little angel, Ava, is growing like a weed and has newly discovered the art of the temper tantrum. Sleep is still hit or miss, but not nearly as exhausting as the early months of her infancy. Naps in my car during lunchtime has slowed down a bit – thank goodness. Random: The picture above is a post-Santa moment I snapped of Ava; it makes the sleepless nights worth it.

Now, with regards to my employment situation; having settled into my promoted role at work, I have grown as a leader within my team, and I have granted serious contemplation regarding moving into a management role. Historically, I have never fancied myself as management, rather I am most comfortable in the trenches with my fellow colleagues on the floor. However, I feel I have outgrown my current role, and I am embracing the challenge of spurning my personal growth. Advancing my career to the next level will certainly be challenging and definitely a little frightful, but complacency and stagnation cannot be an option this new year. Stay tuned and hopefully I can share some exciting news in the weeks to come.

Lastly, I launched a community initiative during the month of December that I branded as Groomed for Greatness. The mission: to provide grooming & hygiene packages to the underserved and at-risk male population. Now, you may be asking: Why just the male population? Well, given that my expertise lies within the realm of male grooming & style, I have chosen to stay in my lane and help individuals in an area of my strengths. And so with the help of various vendors, friends, and work colleagues; I was able to procure an astounding amount of male toiletries for donation to the South Oakland Shelter near my home. I plan on expanding on this community initiative and providing assistance to other agencies in my area. More to come, so stay tuned. So, yes, I have been a little busy with family, work, my program, and maintaining a consistent schedule of writing enjoyable blog content. This year is going to be a busy one; I fully expect the gray in my beard to grow more and more plentiful. Nonetheless, it will be worth it.

William Malcolm Mornings – Radio Interview – Glen Palmer

As stated in a previous post, life has been unapologetically hectic. As such, I have been remiss in my duty of sharing an interview I participated in as a guest with the esteemed William Malcolm. Nervous initially, my comfort level increased as the conversation progressed. It’s really weird – well, at least to me – hearing one’s voice on the radio. And it’s even weirder when your own voice sounds exactly like your two younger brothers. Well anyway, hope you enjoy the listen, let me know what you think.

It’s Been A Long Time…

CloudsAugust 28th – that was the last time I posted fresh material here on The Gentlemen’s Standard. Well, despite a gentleman’s professional career or Internet blogging escapades, the inevitability of life can disrupt the routine trappings that a gentleman becomes accustomed to. The irony that typifies life is the certainty of uncertainty. And so, for the past two months approximately, my family and I have dealt with some serious life challenges – full of uncertainty, stress, and sadness. Therefore, I had to put my writing on temporary hiatus to deal with said challenges accordingly. However, as you can probably surmise from this current blog post, we have been blessed and weathered the chaos that had engulfed our lives. As a husband, father, and man; I was severely tested. Mental and physical exhaustion was the cost of becoming a stronger individual. So, I’m back to writing. Interestingly, my traffic didn’t plunge as I would have assumed. So, I want to thank new visitors and loyal readers for keeping this site on your radar. So, with my favorite season underway, I am ready to dive back into all things stylish and gentlemanly. Let’s get to it!

I Feel Blessed – The Tigers Cap

Tigers HatConditioned by the continuous, rudimentary trappings of everyday life, it is not uncommon for a gentleman to become oblivious to the life of privilege and comfort that he routinely enjoys. I am no different. Mundane pleasures such as clothing, sustenance, and shelter can largely exist as invisible, absent the proper appreciation and recognition that is deserved. Such imperceptible pleasures stand as much-required blessing to those individuals deprived and barren of such objects of contentment. Yet many of us partake in our blessings with eyes wide shut to the impoverished masses surrounding us. And as it came to pass one day, I was stirred from awakened slumber to the sight of an older gentleman, wheelchair bound, stationed at a street corner just outside of Costco. Missing both lower limbs, he was armed with the obligatory sign requesting assistance, and attended by a lone, aged radio with a modest array of food dispersed about, as I can assume some good Samaritans donated to him.

Seeing the gentleman, I was deeply moved. So I parked and made my way over to him for some conversation. I asked if he needed anything because I was headed into Costco. Pausing briefly, and referring to me as “brother”, he stated he could not think of anything. I asked if he was sure, and on a second contemplation, he requested a Detroit Tigers baseball cap if I could find him one. He didn’t try to game me, swindle me, or scam me. With the Tigers’ pre-game transmitting from his radio, he only wanted a ball cap. Scanning the area, I saw a few stores that held promise, and I finally settled on a Dunham’s Sports to procure the requested item. Disappearing for about 30 minutes (I had to walk some blocks), the war veteran (assumed by his gear and sign) showed a genuine expression of gratitude and thankfulness. One would not think that a simple Tigers cap would elicit such happiness. But that is what occurs when one takes for granted what another individual may not possess, as I have stood guilty of on many occasion. My word to you: Be thankful of your blessings, and when presented with the opportunity, be a blessing to someone in need.

The Gift of Grooming – Late Hour Gift Ideas for Dad

Father's DayOkay, we’re not here to levy judgement, however, you have procrastinated and procrastinated, now the day has finally arrived – Father’s Day. Life’s chores have successfully thwarted any and all shopping plans, and now you’re down to Father’s Day Eve attempting to conjure up an appropriate gift. You are not alone. Trust, that parking lot is going to be filled to capacity today. However, don’t beat yourself up over the matter, surely there will be individuals shopping for a gift on Father’s Day itself. Nevertheless, you don’t want to be that person. But I digress, it is last-minute, and you don’t want to purchase a gift that screams last-minute. Well, where do you begin? In my humble opinion, one can never go wrong with a good grooming gift. It is something he will use and it is something that he will appreciate. Check out these gift ideas from reputable brands that I have enjoyed success with in the past. And even if these specific gifts are not what you are looking for, each respective site will surely have other gift ideas to consider. Happy shopping. Continue reading

Dress Code – Florsheim – Suede Grey Wingtips

Grey Suede FlorsheimIt has become painfully apparent that the winter season is delicately moving in closer and closer as the weeks drift lazily away. Bright and sunny Michigan mornings have gradually regressed to cold and dreary. Blackened skies, usually associated with late evenings, are arriving a smidgen earlier in the afternoon. The road ahead is clear. Soon it will be the season of heavy overcoats and snow plows. So, with a complete understanding of the reality ahead, I finally decided to liberate a suede pair of Florsheim wingtips from its box underneath my bed. Yes, before the sidewalks become inundated with snow, slush, salt, and whatever wintry debris is present, I broke out the suede while the streets are still clear of cold mush. 

Now, out of the box, the wingtips arrived with a standard set of unspectacular grey shoe laces. However, I wanted to jazz up the presentation a little, so I eagerly retrieved a pair of bright yellow, polka dot Happy Socks and yellow 1901 shoe laces that I also had tucked away from a summer purchase. Sidenote: If you don’t have a pair of colorful socks or shoe laces in your life, I highly recommend procuring a few pairs. It’s an adventurous venture from the norm, but it’s a venture worth taking. Here, I selected a more aggressive polka dot to pair up with my wingtips. It’s not often that I get too wild with color and pattern, but I thought pairing some loud socks with an understated wingtip would be nice. However, some may argue that a grey suede wingtip is pretty rakish as well. Perfect for a casual office settings, I received plenty of compliments over the course of the day. Unfortunately, I may have to return these suede beauties back to their box – at least until spring arrives. That is months away, so I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I have to deal with this winter first – oh joy. Stay stylish gentlemen.

Nordstrom – Anniversary Sale – Now Until August 4th

Burberry Gray & Blue Necktie

Burberry

And so, the plethora of sales continues. Now until August 4th, a gentleman can take full advantage of fabulous reductions either online or at his nearest Nordstrom department store. The selection of well-respected brands is varied and plentiful. Upgrade your shoe rotation with a dignified pair of burnished cap-toe oxfords courtesy from Allen Edmonds or expand your necktie game with a choice from Ted Baker. Certainly, there is a bargain waiting to be discovered. Happy shopping gentlemen!

For more information on the Nordstrom Anniversary sale, please visit their site HERE for details.

Paul Stuart – Spring Sale 2014

Paul Stuart SaleIf you are gentleman that actively participates in the procurement of stylish clothing, but budgetary limitations place hard restrictions on your shopping excursions, constructing a dapper wardrobe in the off-season is a necessity. Off-season meaning one season is fading into the record books, and companies have commenced with discounting old merchandise to accommodate incoming seasonal attire and accessories. Currently in the midst of their annual spring season purge, Paul Stuart has discounted select merchandise both in-store and online. Understandably, even at reduced prices, products offered at Paul Stuart may still provide monetary complication. Nevertheless, if you are a gentleman fortuitously positioned with his funds, Paul Stuart may be worth a perusal.

Check Paul Stuart out online HERE, or stop by if you are in either Chicago or New York.

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