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Penguin Ponderings - The Personal Blog of John T. Jones

This blog contains my musings, reflections, and professional and academic papers and articles I have written over the years. They range significantly in length and topic and appear in their original form to represent my current evolution in both thinking and skill of writing.

Why the bow tie?

Posted by John T. Jones on Jan 9, 2024 5:37:00 PM

After starting college in 2009 during the recession, I needed a way to stand out from the crowd of job seekers upon graduation. As I learned about branding in my Marketing 101 class, I realized that a person could benefit from a brand just as much as a company. The marketing guy in a bow tie was born.

To further differentiate myself, I worked hard to get an internship during the summer between my first and second years of college. In August 2010, I built on what I learned in the internship and started a freelance business, Penguin Creative Services.

The freelance marketing experience got me in the door of Amway North America in January 2012, and everything else has built on from there.

Tags: Reflection, Career

Why business and marketing?

Posted by John T. Jones on Sep 12, 2023 2:27:00 PM

Business and marketing are like a good mystery plot – my favorite genre. They are all built on a solid framework of principles but require creative approaches that change with the times and environment to attract and retain an audience.

I have always been a process-driven, curious problem solver adept at finding solutions to the seemingly impossible, including the broken VCR that worked when I put it back together at age eight. It’s just the way my brain works.

I love solving business and marketing problems by developing and innovating strategies supported by tactics and technology solutions that achieve goals.

As a leader, I pride myself in working alongside empowered, high-performing teams that deliver results. I am passionate about identifying and channeling talent and fostering professional development opportunities.

Tags: Reflection, Career

Walls That Whisper

Posted by John T. Jones on Jul 27, 2010 10:30:00 AM

I woke to the last chimes of eight and the quiet ticking of the clock on the dresser. Putting on a robe so as not to frighten those below, I descended the stairs to the kitchen. The brew pot cold and the drapes still drawn, something is out of rhythm-the master of the house is gone. As the drapes are opened and light pours in, the water comes to a boil. Sitting at the kitchen table, the only sounds come from the walls. They speak of a time gone by, good and bad, happy and sad, the parties occurred, and the deaths announced. Family and friends found, and others lost. All that has happened under this roof is found in the walls.

The clocks chime the bottom of the hour. How does one live in a house, alone, without walls that whisper of time gone by? For it is the joyous whispers that carry one from this time of silence to the next great gathering.

Loneliness awaits those with walls that do not whisper, but for now, tea is ready.    

Tags: Reflection

'Tis a Gift to be Simple, It's the Thought that Counts

Posted by John T. Jones on Nov 30, 2009 1:30:00 PM

Ever since the dawn of homo sapiens, we have been giving gifts. It may be the leg of some recently hunted animal in the days of the cavemen or the same itchy mauve sweater with blue designs that your Aunt Miriam gives you every year of today. The question is, why do we give gifts? Is it for the intended reciprocated gift? Is it out of the kindness of our hearts? Or is it the combination of both?

In his book The Gift, Marcel Mauss says, "Gifts in theory are voluntary; you care about the person, so you give them gifts.” I would say that this is the status quo of gift-giving in American society, putting aside our consumerist tendencies. We all have people we care about in many different capacities, so we give them a gift to represent that caring and appreciation. But are gifts voluntary, or are they an obligation that we must fulfill to be a good friend, sibling, or spouse?

Mauss goes as far as to say, "We must give because we create a relationship with the person to whom we are giving.” The definition of a gift plays an important role in determining our obligation. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines a gift as:

Something voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation or The act right or power of giving.

By these parameters, almost everything we do and give in our relationships is a gift in some capacity. We give physical, tangible things like tea, cigars, and jewelry, and we give of ourselves by listening, talking, and spending time with whom we have relations. Peyton Conway March says this; “There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life – happiness, freedom, and peace of mind -- are always attained by giving them to someone else.” how true it is. When we give things and ourselves to others, we give happiness. When we vanquish our pride and ego, we give freedom. When we listen with an open ear, we give peace of mind. All of these are priceless gifts that take the giving of ourselves to better a relationship. So, with this in mind, gift-giving is an obligation without which we would not have relationships.

We give gifts to people from the bottom of our hearts, but deep inside, we expect something in return. Gift-giving in a relationship is a prime example of balanced reciprocity. As we give, we expect to receive, sometimes at different times, but in the end, you have equally received what you have given to others. The gifts may not be equal in price or tangibility but may have deep, heartfelt meaning that far surpasses what any dollar amount may bring.

So, do gifts come from kindness, expectation, or both? It depends on the emphasis on kindness or the expectation, but not all gifts come with strings attached. Not all come from kindness. For your Aunt Mariam, even though she may expect something in return, she also gives you the gift because she cares about you. The emphasis is on caring. If you did not give her a gift, she would not, in most cases, ostracize you because your presence is enough of a gift. So, in the end, each situation has its answer. It becomes a question of whether you are looking to better a relationship with a person or better the gift that you may be getting from them.

Tags: Reflection, College Paper

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