Having a Positive Attitude

No one likes a Debbie Downer, so don’t be one.  When it comes to working in any field of work, you will find it is best to try and keep a positive attitude regardless of the situation.  No matter how upset or frustrated you become with the situation it is best to keep your cool and try to find something to be positive about.

You will find that when working with a positive attitude you are able to complete more work or be more creative because you are not focusing on something that is bothering you or that may cause you to stress.   Keeping a positive attitude is not only beneficial to yourself but to those around you as well.  When others complain that the work load is too much, point out something positive in the situation like well at least we don’t have to worry about where our next paying job is coming from. (Actually that may be more of a smart ass comment then a positive attitude one)

Anyways I’m almost certain that if you chose not to have a positive attitude you will most likely have a hard time keeping a job for a long period of time and you’ll most likely die early from stress and anxiety.

Now please enjoy some positive attitude quotes I found.

  • A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.  ~Herm Albright, quoted in Reader’s Digest, June 1995
  • If you don’t get everything you want, think of the things you don’t get that you don’t want.  ~Oscar Wilde
  • Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.  ~Winston Churchill
  • If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.  ~Mary Engelbreit
  • I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow.  ~Abraham Lincoln
  • The world is full of cactus, but we don’t have to sit on it.  ~Will Foley

 

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myPHP Admin not cutting it… Sequel Pro may be for you!

While working through my Web Application Technologies course I found that the myPHP Admin page that came with my MAMP installation was just ok for dealing with MySQL Databases.  It is most certainly designed for a user who has next to no previous knowledge of SQL, and is extremely easy to use.  After using it on a couple PHP – MySQL projects I found that I didn’t really like it.  What I found as a replacement for this interface was a program called Sequel Pro.

It’s a MySQL Database Managment System for Mac OSX.  If anyone has ever used a more traditional DBMS for your SQL databases you will be much more comfortable with this application in comparison with myPHP Admin.

What is nice about this application is that it gives you the ability to connect to multiple servers that have MySQL installed on them.  So for instance I am able to access my local installation of MySQL as well as the MySQL database hosted on the schools server.  I also found Sequel Pro to be much quicker in testing my SQL statements for problems. Apart from this program being more asthetically pleasing, it also gives me one centralized location to handle all things SQL.

If your interested in something a bit more robust for handling your SQL databases check it out.

Communication!

You see the exclamation point at the end of the blog title…

That is supposed to indicate to you how important the subject at hand is.  Communication is a key object in any business environment.  Whether your working with other employees or a client, if you don’t have communication you have a problem.  Communication is the only way to make certain that a job or project is completed to the specifications which were most likely communicated at some point or another.

Now to explain what happens when there is a lack of communication I am going to tell you a short story that may or may not have actually happened.  This takes place in the printing industry not the web industry but you will still see what happens when there is a lack of communication.

A customers normal designer is gone on vacation and does not leave any notes for the fill in person (Communication Problem 1).  This customer shops around for the cheapest reseller to do there print piece which just so happens to be a reseller that has not done a direct mail piece before (Communication Problem 2). Said reseller who has never dealt with direct mail before chooses to use a cheaper mail house than the one suggested by the manufacturer of the piece, and the cheaper mail house ends up doing there part over 3 times and wasting a whole week on what should have taken a day (Communication Problem 3).

Now on to the problems at the manufacturer.  Due to bad communication between the customer, reseller and manufacturer the job has been priced incorrectly for the number of versions that are to be ran, 1 does not equal 75. (Communication Problem 4).  The pre-press department at the manufacturer says the job should be ran on the digital press and not the offset press, so the manufacturer schedules the job to run on the offset press anyways (Communication Problem 5).  After printing the job at the offset press and attempting to image the variable information on laser printers the manufacturer decides to finish the job up at the digital press after all (Communication Problem 6).

The result of  this bad communication is an under priced job, that went out late and made a repeat customer mad.

Now put this scenario into any business situation and you will see there are two sides to communication.  The first part is the talking, the other part is someone hearing what your saying and it not going out the other ear.  If you can get those two parts right everything will turn out right, otherwise be ready to clean up a mess.

Teamwork

Teamwork is a vital part of being able to do your job unless you are one of the lucky few who works for yourself the majority of the time.  Teamwork can be especially important in the fields of Web Design and Development.  Just imagine the workload you would have if you had to handle all the different parts of putting a website together for a larger client.

Just the tasks of learning all the things needed to complete such a task has been daunting for me thus far.  Splitting up a large job between multiple persons is the only way to accomplish certain jobs within a given time frame, and sometimes you don’t have all of the knowledge necessary to complete a job.  Depending on others can be  a bit scary at times but once you learn to depend on the other people you work with your life can be a bit easier.  Working with others as a team is also a good way to expand your skill set and come up with better ideas than you would have had by yourself.

When given the opportunity to work with others on a project jump in feet first and give it your all.  Assuming you were paired with like minded people you won’t be disappointed with the results and you might even be surprised by the end.

Is a CMS appropriate for you?

This is a question that I asked myself during my recent tutorials on Drupal.
Why would I want to use a CMS with all of this other knowledge in my head wanting to jump out into my coding?

First off, a CMS is there for the end user.  Your client or end user may be a completely controlling person who wants to change things on their website all the time and a CMS gives them that option.  Or perhaps you prefer dealing with the same client over and over knowing that they will never be happy because they always want changes.  That makes for bad business and having gone with a CMS in the first place could have prevented those things from happening.

The next thing that came to me when considering why a CMS is useful is how much of the upfront work is already done for you.  All you need to do is consider what the client wants and the majority of the time there are already themes and modules out their that can be tweaked and customized to the customers liking.

Lastly, a CMS is generally well tested.  For instance there is a whole community dedicated to developing Drupal and testing each others code.  This ultimately means less testing for you.  I didn’t say no testing I just said less testing!

If you think a CMS is something that might interest your client don’t shy away from it research the options and inform yourself and your client so that the best possible decision can be made.

Trustworthiness aka Trust

Trustworthiness is a long word so I am just going to use the word trust in place of it during this post.  Trust is a funny thing when it comes to the business environment.  As far as I’m concerned if I can’t trust you then I don’t want to work with you as a coworker an employee or a customer.

Web development and design is a field in which trusting others is a must.  For most customers, trusting the designer or developer is something that they have to do.  Not because they want to but because they have to.  Most of these customers have no idea about the technicalities or pitfalls of building websites and applications.  They expect you to guide them along when making decisions and to do your best in pointing them in the right direction.  If you can do this for a customer then you will likely see them again, and possible have a new person referring others to you.  Without that trust…

When it comes to working with others on projects trust is probably the most important thing.  If you can’t trust someone to get their part of a project completed what will you do.  Finish it all yourself?  That might have worked in school, but in the real world and at a place of employment that does not fly.  If you find yourself in a situation where a coworker is not handling their end of the bargain then bring it to your bosses attention, or if you are the boss set down with said person or start looking for someone that can do it.  The last thing you want is a deadline to come up and things not be finished.

The points I have made here are pretty blunt and to the point.  I could think of many more things were trust is needed and I’m sure you can too.

Choices…

Choices, I think we are all familiar with that term as it applies to every aspect of our daily lives.

I’m not here to talk about choices in general, I’m here to talk about choices as they relate to the Web Design and Development fields.  As a web designer or developer you have many choices that you will have to make and I believe that making the correct choices is what will set you apart from the other people in your field of work.

I believe that one of the most important choices you will make when working with clients is time spent on a project.  How much effort should you put forth into giving a client exactly what they want?  Perhaps the client is being difficult or making tons of revisions to the project that you’re working on.  At what point do you have to stop and say, what can I do to keep this project from going over budget or being delivered late?

From the get go you need to be upfront with your clients and give them a basic time table and procedure list so they know what to expect and also to let them know what they will and will not be charged for should they chose to make your life difficult and take up more of your time.   As long as you lay everything out there for the client to see you will both know what to expect from one another, and should problems arise you can go back to the time table and procedure list you provided.

Taking these general steps can be invaluable when deciding how much time and effort to put forth on any project your working on.