Category Archives: Work

When worlds collide: The boys visit the office

Tomorrow will be my last official day working at the Standing Partnership , and I have a lot of great memories. Though most of my memories involve learning opportunities and client work, I’ve also had a lot of fun. This includes

  • Countless “Fridays at 4” happy hours that went a bit too long (though I never got “grounded” by my wife, despite joking about it);
  • Riding our receptionist’s scooter around the hallways; 
  • A surprise baby shower in which my wife showed up at the end of a loooong retreat as “one more guest” (hopefully nobody saw me roll my eyes before I realized the guest was Sarah!);
  • An awesome visit to our former Portland office;
  • Getting an Alyssa Milano autograph despite not getting to meet her in person (12-year-old Justin would have DIED to know that I almost had this opportunity);
  • Touring an underground mine;
  • Talking hockey with the boss;
  • Seeing the other boss’s husband’s band rock some ’80s hair metal;
  • Tuning in a Cardinals’ playoff game on the television and my co-worker’s resulting excitement; and
  • all the fun I’ve had with the great group of people I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside.

During my nearly four years at this company, I also welcomed my two boys into the Lopinot clan. Last week, my worlds collided when Sarah brought Oliver and Owen to the office to eat lunch and mingle with my co-workers. Below are a few pictures. Enjoy.




The next chapter in my life: A new job

Transitions are exciting, and my life has been full of major events and changes over the past several years.  And now I’m proud to announce my next big move: I have taken a new job.

I’ve learned so much and made so many wonderful friends during my four years at the Standing Partnership, and now I’m embarking on a new life chapter. I’ll be working at Savvis Inc. , serving as public relations manager. Next Tuesday will be my last at Standing, and I start at Savvis on May 10. Wish me luck!

Feeling nostalgic: My presentation at Fontbonne University

Today, I had the honor of presenting to students at Fontbonne University during the “Student Alumni Association Brown Bag Lunch Series.” I delivered a brief presentation, using photos and work samples from freshman year to the present. The point was to give students an idea of how I’ve used my degree and built my career. I also spent quite a bit of time talking about my current employer, Standing Partnership, and our work in education.

I was feeling quite nostalgic, both over the weekend while going through and scanning old photos, and on campus, walking into the library where I had work-study so many years ago. I met some great people and students. And I almost talked my way into checking out the new office for The Fontbanner, the school paper for which I served as editor-in-chief for three semesters, but the current editor had a class after the presentation. Oh well.

Hopefully I will have additional excuses to get up to campus in the future, as I loved my time at Fontbonne. Many of the people who shaped the person I am today are still there, teaching classes, running dormitories and overseeing the university. I’d also like to meet new people there, including “talking shop” with the marketing/PR team at some point.

Below is a photo from my presentation. Enjoy!


Happy New Year! What will the next decade bring?

Well, the “Aughts” ended with a whimper last night, as we stayed in. But we had a lot of fun, playing games as a family and ringing in the New Year together.

I could go on and on about the past decade, as so much has changed. I’ve been working the entire time, going from editor to reporter to a media relations specialist to my current job at Standing Partnership. I’ve also earned a master’s degree, met and married my sweet Sarah, fathered a beautiful baby boy, started teaching classes at UMSL, bought my first house, got my byline into about a dozen publications, started blogging, lost some hair, started getting a few gray hairs, gained some weight, got a dog, made dozens of new friends, played lot of ice hockey, started playing Texas Hold ‘Em and so much more.

Soon, I’ll be the father to a second son. I’ll also turn 40 this decade (**gulp!**). What else could possibly be in my future? Whatever happens, the next 10 years are sure to be full of countless highs and lows.

Our stomach knots are untied … for now

Many of you know this already, and I hinted at it on Friday: Sarah’s employment situation has been a little, well, unsure lately. On Friday, as expected, we finally found out some answers regarding her status. Her company has been sold and most of the employees were let go on Friday. Sarah, however, was one of the lucky few who was named a “temporary” employee. So we have, thank goodness, at least another four months before our stomachs will turn to knots again. For the moment, we’re feeling a little better. Thanks to everybody who’s heard me out the past several months and who’s shown us so much concern.

What a day … “Dada,” work and a firetruck

Today was quite the day. Things started off well. Oliver said, “Da-da” (at least in reference to me) for the first time. It was pretty cool.
Work was fun, but it was a long day. I’ve been working on a big video project for a client.

So with the long-day theme going, at almost 6 p.m. I get a call from Sarah on my cell phone. “I just got home and all the fire alarms are going off. What should I do?,” she said in a panic.

I’ve heard of people going into burning buildings and dying, and I didn’t want to take any chances. “Go in the back door, grab the dog quickly and then go sit in the car. I’m calling the fire department,” I responded.

So that’s what I did. After making the call from my office, I sent the e-mail I had been working on and sprinted out to my car. Weaving in and out of traffic, I made it home in record time.

A firetruck was parked in front of our driveway, lights ablazing. It was a little surreal, but it wasn’t (thankfully) a fire. Everything is OK. Turns out that one of our fire alarms went bad and started firing off. That triggered all the other alarms to sound.

Who knows how long our poor dog had to listen to that noise (she said she could hear the alarms saying stuff like, “Fire. Fire. Please exit the home.”). Pretty scary, I’m sure.

After we got in the house, we had a few good laughs at all the items we had laying around. The three firefighters were in our house for about 30 minutes. They had to chuckle at the giant (I’m talking 2 pounds!) back of generic “Koo-Kies!” cereal (it’s like Cookie Crisp, and yes I enjoy me some Cookie Crisp). I’m sure the dirty underwear on the floor, “Anna Green Gables” box set and many other items in our messy house also provided some good laughs. Not really how we thought the evening would go.

In talking to one of the fine gentlemen from our local fire department, I was told that fire alarms sometimes go bad after about 10 years. Since our house is now going on 11 years, I think it’s time to swap out all the alarms in the house. Sounds like a weekend project …

Party like it’s 1999 (OK, early 2007, but who’s really counting?)

Last night, we partied like it was early 2007. Yes, we had our first Oliver-free night. I obtained a pair of tickets to the Arch Rivalry game (Mizzou vs. Illinois) at the Dome, so we asked Sarah’s parents to watch the boy overnight. To my surprise, they took us up on the offer with no hesitation.

After our near-tearful departure from our child, we headed downtown. It took a while to find the right spot, but we tailgated with a work group before the game. That was fun, but the game was, well, “funner.”

The crowd was extremely loud. My head ached as I fought off claustrophobia and we crammed into the building. Here’s a picture of people awaiting the turnstiles:


That’s a pretty good visual, but to get a sense of the loudness, check out this short video:


So here’s a question for you … Who has the toughest job when his team scores 52 points? Well, it’s the Mizzou mascot of course. That’s because he does one push-up for every point on the scoreboard when the team scores. Here he’s on about No. 45:


And finally, here’s a picture of happy Mommy and Daddy at the game (the night went well, in case you were wondering, and Oliver’s now back with us all safe and sound and snug into this own bed for the night):


Super Tuesday for Sarah

Today was an election day in the St. Louis area. It also was a “Super Tuesday” of sorts for Sarah. Well, maybe not so super, actually. Today was Sarah’s first Tuesday at work since February. That’s because she took maternity leave for three months and then was working Monday, Wednesday and Friday on a temporary basis until this week.

Sarah was kicking butt in her part-time role (actually breaking a record for work accomplished in July), but they wanted more out of her. Can’t blame them. I’d like to have her around more, too. As would Oliver, and it makes Sarah sad that she’s only going to see our son for an hour in the morning and two in the evening (he goes to bed around 7:30 p.m.).

Things that make Sarah upset make me upset, but what can we do? We are grateful to her employer for giving her the time to spend with Oliver during his first (nearly) five months. They have been very generous to us and now we start this new chapter together. Probably would be easier to deal with if the boy slept through the night, but I’m tired (a word with a double meaning, hey, what do you know?) of talking about Oliver waking up at least twice EVERY SINGLE NIGHT.

Any advice from new moms who work full time for Sarah as she deals with work-life balance issues? How has working affecting you?

Aging + Inactivity = Out-of-Shape Justin

This long, tiring weekend has let me to finally realize and admit that I am out of shape. Chalk it up to aging and inactivity, only one of which I can fault myself for.

Friday night, I grilled outside, then had dinner and a few beers. Around 3 a.m., I woke up to a massive Charley Horse in my left leg. Man, did it hurt. Should have been drinking more fluids, I guess.

Well, that was extra bad news, since I had a work-related kickball tournament on Saturday. Yes, a kickball tournament. You can read about it by clicking here. It was a blast, and I think I did fairly well. But during one of the games, I experienced an extremely painful Charley Horse in my right leg. So both legs were dinged in a matter of hours. That, coupled with the heat and running and I was gassed. I could have played ice hockey that evening, but skipped it to rest up for Sunday …

So this morning, we got up early and headed out to Sarah’s brother’s old house. I say old house, because he was moving into a new house with his girlfriend (an awesome house, by the way). So we spent most of the day helping with the move. Being slightly larger than the males in the Callies clan (and with no doctor-certified hernia or back issues), I was asked to do much of the heavy lifting. Thankfully, there were a couple other “big” guys there to help out, but it was an exhausting affair. It was also a sweaty mess. It was like a wet T-shirt contest, only nobody wanted to see the contestants.

Thankfully, I’m home now, Oliver is in bed and we’re resting on the couch for the evening. I think I need to start incorporating some exercise into my life. This weekend was tough, but it shouldn’t have been THIS TOUGH!

Emotional Intelligence Test concludes that I may have a chance …

There’s been a lot of talk about emotional intelligence at my office of late, and for good reason. There are studies out there that show employees who score highest on EQ (the abbreviation – don’t know where the “Q” comes from) measures rise to the top of organizations. EQ is one’s understanding of emotions, in oneself and others, in a way that allows you to deal effectively with people and problems in ways that reduce anger and hostility and increase collaboration, life-balance and creativity.

Always a person who thinks I’m smarter and more stable than 99 percent of the people I encounter, it’s hard to back it up. Though it’s not a thorough examination, I recently took this “scientifically validated,” 106-question EQ test:

According to the results, I am able to overcome difficulties in my life and control my mood in all but the most trying of times. I’m easily motivated to overcome obstacles and achieve results. I also find social interactions easy and fulfilling. Oh yeah, and I have an empathetic nature and a clear mind when it comes to helping others and offering good advice.

If you have 15 minutes to spare, try the test and let me know what your results say about you. Are you ready to rise to the top of your organization (as I apparently am)? Or do you think it’s a bunch of new age B.S.?