Memorial Day 2011

I am so proud of our country and honor those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.  It peeves me to no end when some who have been our allies take shots at our country just because we are not like them.  We are not.  We are our own country, based on a Judeo Christian set of principles that have made the exeptionalism of our country great.  It peeves me worse when it is internal. America has been more benevolent, contributed more to the welfare of mankind in it’s short history than any other country in history.  The USA is the only country that built itself rather than conquer another.   We have made sacrifices for the freedom of others our mission.  We have joined with some countries and fought against the same either with bullets or words.

So on this Memorial Day, we remember those who fought the fight for freedom that others trample and don’t appreciate.  I for one, honor them and understand how tough it must have been to go where you didn’t want to go, fight with and on behalf of others who wanted to take freedom from the world.

America has been a uniquely productive nation: a font of invention, creativity and economic dynamism. In America, tens of millions of people have risen from poverty. The United States has been a singularly generous, if not always effective, provider of assistance to other countries including those where Americans are not popular.

My father saw Europe tear itself apart in the 40’s, a continent that has been at each others throats for hundreds of years.  My uncle saw the atrocities of the Pacific Theater as a B-29 bomber Captain.  We now face attack from radical terrorist Muslims from the outside and socialism attacking Capitalism or those who invent faux issues like Anthropogenic Global Warming from the inside.  Now, other religions are trying to take our holiday from us.

We must stand on the principles that made this country great, honor the memory of those who gave their lives to make us free and stand up to those who wish to defeat us now, or tear us down because we are not like them or are able, willing and ready to defend ourselves  and our freedoms This is unlike the pacifistic and appeasers and even some of our current deleterious leaders who didn’t understand what Patton, MacArthur, Nimitz, Bradley and others knew.  You fight to win, then you negotiate the terms of surrender and how business will be conducted.  Even on my blog, there are some that just have no clue as to what we are about as demonstrated in the absurd comments of this entry.

Others feel this way also like Ricky Gilleland, quoting from this article:

Quiet, soft-spoken 17- year-old Ricky Gilleland spends most weekends surrounded by tombstones, as he walks through Arlington National Cemetery just outside Washington, D.C. looking for the burial sites of those individuals who have died in the line of duty since September 11, 2001. Gilleland has taken on the job that the historic cemetery has not been able to do itself.

Through his website, preserveandhonor.com, Gilleland has cataloged the thousands who are laid to rest in Section 60 of Arlington Cemetery. With a camera in hand, Gilleland shoots a photo of both the front and back of the headstone, “to provide a virtual place for loved ones and friends to both locate the graves of the fallen and reflect on the memory of their sacrifice.”

Or these great American’s who realize why we have Memorial Day:
 GM’s Place The Last Battle
So I don’t wish a happy Memorial Day, although I hope you enjoy the hot dogs and family celebration.  Rather, remember those who fought so that you could live free

Dealing with Email

The 300 Baud Modem Days

I remember back in the 80’s when I had exclusive access to some very important reporters as only about 50 of us were on MCI Mail and it was sort of a club that we had.  We didn’t say it, but we didn’t share our secret as they got pounds of press releases by snail mail daily.  If they got an email over a 300 baud modem, they knew it meant something.  We only contacted each other when it was important, so no one abused it.

Remember, this was the days of the office memo that got typed on a typewriter and sent around. CC’s were made with carbon paper so it was to tough to abuse it due to the trouble

The Evolution, Email is the new Snail Mail, and Spam King


Later, Outlook, Lotus Notes, Pegasus and a ton of other email clients have come and gone.  Email could now even be regarded as the new snail mail, and certainly it’s the king of Spam.  Being CC’d or BCC’d on thousands of notes fills up inboxes globally.  Many have gone to multiple email addresses to divert off the spam for personal use, but if you work for a company, you’re stuck with that address that is all to easy to find.

So what are the up’s and down’s to email?  It can be the only way to reach someone (in a company, a text message or tweet DM is likely faster) if they are in a different timezone or are miles up the corporate ladder for you.  So that is good.

Slogging through endless emails that have little impact are a time suck now and you must fight the urge to respond, stopping the chain.  There are other downsides which I’ll discuss below.

Email Road Rage

Ranting behind the false curtain of email rather than face to face or calling the person directly.  I dubbed this tactic Email Road Rage.  All have been the recipient of it or have seen someone go off the deep end, many times later to regret it.  Bosses seem to think they have immunity on this, but it inhibits employee behavior and openness via email exchange.

The best executive I’ve worked directly for, Buell Duncan once told me to answer these kind of emails once, and then let it roll off your back like water off a duck. Don’t spend nights letting it keep you up.  Deal with it and be done.

While it may be tempting to get into the fray, especially when one is feisty is to defend your position, attack back or go behind the offender’s back describing in unflattering terms what kind of a person would send these emails, the best answer is…..

Don’t Respond Unless Required.

Most email stops when you stop the chain.  I get you have to answer the boss, but not joining the fray is the best medicine.  I have found this hard to do, but being a Ph.D. in the School of hard knocks, I’ve learned to not answer when at all possible.  Don’t explain or defend yourself, just use the del key, the appropriate response.  This is true for tweets.  I’ve gotten into endless tweetbacks that I wish had never happened.  Now I just ignore and I’ve forgotten the next day or someone else is naive enough to get caught into the trap.

Along with don’t answer is don’t send.  You can avoid a lot of useless email if you don’t feel the obligation to fire off emails at every whim.  I’m learning that lesson also.  My inbox thanks me.

The most important time to start going dark is….

Before Vacation

I purposely don’t start anything that could bite me while I’m trying to not work.  IBM is the poster child for people working on vacation, something I try hard not to do.  I got emails from bosses on anniversary vacations, which I’m sure made their spouses happy.  The way I see it, the doors to the company will stay open while I’m away.  Americans are notorious for not being good vacationers.  Not me.  I put on that I won’t be checking email until I return.

The key to this is to start slowing down a few days before you leave.  This slows the wheels of motion and gets the anonymity going.

Conclusion

While email can be helpful and it certainly is still our main method of communicating, it follows Sturgeon’s law.  Life has enough of that anyway, so why add to it?