No idea is original

There are times when you see something and you know deep down inside that what that person did was your idea. You know it with every inch of your being and you immediately become upset. But how upset should you really be?

This was the scenario that I encountered earlier this week and yes, I was annoyed. But I wasn’t 100% sure if I really should have been because maybe I was wrong… maybe it wasn’t fully my idea. Or was it?

So, let’s go back a few weeks and I’ll fill you in on the story. I applied for a job as a community manager and I made it to the 2nd round where they asked all of the applicants to respond back by the end of the week to one of three homework assignments that they had sent along. So, I diligently went to work reviewing my options and deciding which one I was going to work on. I spent almost 2 hours coming up with multiple ideas for a blog series, I researched the niche that they were in, reviewed other blogs that were similar, and finally had everything written out and detailed. I felt like I had nailed it and hit the send button.

With fingers crossed and hopes high I waited to hear back. I finally did and learned that I wasn’t selected… no big deal. I’ll just keep trying.

Fast forward a week or so. I’m scrolling through Instagram¬†and was stunned when I saw a picture that was exactly one of my ideas. I was floored… my idea that I used for my interview was implemented. I didn’t know what to do. So, like any other good blogger I took it to my friends and posed the question to them, how annoyed should I be?

idea

We talked it through and finally I emailed the company. I was polite and very nice. I thanked them for considering me and I mentioned that I saw that they implemented one of my ideas and so on. The response that I received back said that they had over 100 applicants and said they’d keep my info for the future. Never once did they mention the use of my idea. Not at all.

I felt betrayed in a sense.

Did they actually hire someone? Or did they just use all of the applicants as a way to get free social media consultant work done? Do they now have a stock pile of incredible ideas to use?

My ideas weren’t perfect but they were pretty damn good.

Again, I went back to my friends and this time they agreed with me. They too felt that I had been wronged.

What I learned is that there are no original ideas…. maybe there is a twist to an old idea or something that we have already done. Maybe they had already planned and the timing of it’s implementation was coincidental.

As bloggers we have ideas all the time and we share them with one another from time to time. We run a blog series, a linky for a specific prompt, or something along those lines. We join in on the fun but we don’t steal the ideas from one another and run it as our own because we are a community…. a family if you will… we support one another as best we can. Also, we’re professionals and we want to be taken seriously and stealing ideas from one another won’t get us anywhere.

For many blogging is a business and we all know that it’s bad business to steal ideas. We know that it’s unprofessional and what happens in the end. Karma often has her way….

How can a blogger or a company be taken seriously by their followers, brands, PR reps, other bloggers, and community managers if they take ideas from others and implement them as their own? How can they build trust and a worthwhile brand on that? They can’t. And even if they try and it works for a while it’s just like a poorly constructed house and eventually it will come tumbling down around them.

The best lesson that I learned from all of it was this, use an NDA. When you share an idea send it in a dated, branded PDF document with the following NDA: “The information contained in this document is intended for internal use by {COMPANY/INDIVIDUAL} for decision making and is not intended to be shared, distributed or broadcast to any unintended or third-parties. Any strategic or creative property presented in this document may not be used without the express consent of {YOU OR YOUR COMPANY}.” Thank you Jessi. You’re awesome.

Cover your ass.

Monday Menu ~ My Favorites

I have a recipe for you and as a matter of fact it’s a really good one too, but because I didn’t make it this weekend to take pictures it’ll have to wait until next Monday. But, what I do have for you is a list of some of my favorite recipes that I’ve made lately.

Over the holidays I wanted to make a cheesecake to bring to our Christmas at my in-laws house. But it couldn’t be just any old cheesecake, it had to be thick, smooth, and very creamy. Also, I wanted a smooth top that wasn’t brown or cracked and I knew that I could do it.

Perfect Cheesecake

Perfect Cheesecake

It turned out perfect! And the recipe is really simple and versatile, by adding different flavorings or even an instant pudding packet you can make this your own special recipe.

Another favorite of mine was dinner last week, breaded pork cutlet with cheesy hash brown casserole, and green beans cooked with bacon and onions. I posted this on Instagram and was asked by Christina from A Closet Writer asked me for the recipe and here it is.

Delicious Dinner

Pork Cutlets – I bought cubed pork chops that were already breaded with some sort of plain bread crumbs. I seasoned them with garlic, salt, and pepper before cooking them with some vegetable oil and bacon grease.

Potatoes – I opened a box of Idahoan potatoes, added cheese, and followed the instructions.

Beans – 10oz or so bag of frozen green beans steamed in the microwave until almost done. While those steam saute a sliced onion in a bit of the bacon grease, throw in the bacon, and green beans and cook until the beans are hot. Season with fresh ground pepper and salt if needed.

This last recipe I take no credit for at all because I happened to find it while wasting great amounts of time on Pinterest. This recipe is so easy! You can whip it up on a busy evening or make a large amount of it and keep it in a crock pot when you have a crowd over. Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes are a new twist on the classic sloppy joe that is so tasty that I can’t imagine anyone not like them! Try them tonight for dinner!

What are some of your new recipe favorites?

How to unplug from social media…. or why I didn’t post Monday.

Every so often it’s nice to unplug from social media, blogging, and the internet in general. Then there are the times that we are forced to disconnect whether we want to or not and this is exactly what happened to me this past weekend.

Every so often throughout the summer we head up to the thumb region of Michigan where my parents spend their summer and we camp for the weekend with them. I love spending time up there with them relaxing and watching them interact with my kids (it’s amazing what they let them get away with). It really is a relaxing place to go since there isn’t a lot to do there and the closest city is about 45 minutes away.

I bet you’re wondering what this has to do with unplugging from social media and the internet. Well, this area of Michigan does not have 3G service and the service that I do get on my iPhone is so bad that I can barely use Tweetdeck, email, Instagram, or anything that requires data connection. Let me put it this way…. I posted 2 pictures on Instagram this weekend and one of them took me 2 days to successfully post! 2 days people! Checking my email was a challenge and half the time it wouldn’t pull in the new messages.

So because of the horrible service up there I didn’t post on Monday. I actually pondered it and was thinking that I could do it through my phone. But then as the weekend progressed and I fought to post a picture on Instagram I quickly lost faith that I’d be able to write a post with pictures and have it actually work for me.

What I did instead was use my phone as a camera for the rest of the weekend and was able to capture a few moments that are those that fond memories are made of.

Storm coming in off of Saginaw Bay

There was a storm coming in off of Saginaw Bay & Lake Huron that you could hear for at least an hour before the rain actually reached us. As a matter of fact Andrew and I were heading down to the channel to check it out and my step mom told me to not get caught by the rain and to hurry. So as you can guess we got caught in the rain the moment we got down there.

Playing with grandma

In between down pours Andrew and grandma played in the puddles.

Making cookies with grandma

And when the rain got really bad we went inside and the kids made chocolate chip cookies with grandma. This was the first time that Andrew got to help bake and he loved rolling the cookies into the ball shape with help from his sister.

riding his broom

Andrew has this new fascination with brooms and loves to play with them. So he quickly set aside his toys and grabbed the broom that my parents keep outside to sweep off the deck with and claimed it for his own. It became his new ride around the campground after he swept the road.

Meeting Ronald McDonald

Then we met a new friend, Ronald McDonald, and an old dear one, free wifi. I don’t know who enjoyed breakfast more… Andrew or I! I was over the top with joy with the fact that I could quickly check Instagram (I think I have a slight addiction)!

So if you’re in need of unplugging and really getting away for a while then find a place where there is crappy cell phone signal and no internet access. It’ll be hard that first day or so as you beg your phone to just let you upload one picture or send one tweet but eventually you’ll come to terms with it and sit back and enjoy the simple things.

How do you unplug? Do you ever do it?

I’m also linking up with Taming Insanity for iPhone Photo Phun since I took all these pics with my awesome iPhone!

Taming Insanity