It’s Not Friday, Three horrible Facts, And a Silver Lining

Three Horrible Facts 1 Today Is Not Friday 2 Tomorrow Is ...

But, I’m retired so everyday is Saturday for me. I don’t have deadlines or conference calls or personnel issues today. Man I don’t miss work.

I don’t miss Facebook that went down yesterday. I didn’t even know it until I read about it. I’m glad to have that ball and chain out of my life also.

I have a brother-in-Law who is retired not by choice, but defined his life by his job. He doesn’t know what to do. I feel sorry for him. Life is much greater than your job.

For now, I’ll pet my dog and enjoy what comes next.

Regarding Monday Mornings

I swear I wrote this in my journal this morning. I was grateful that I got rid of that ball and chain a long time ago. I busted ass for a long time to be in this position and it is worth it, I Gar-un-tee it!

Sure I’m older now and don’t have as many years left, but Sunday night doesn’t suck as much knowing that if it’s a bad one, I don’t have to hate the next 24 hours.

When I watched the NFL before it went woke, I used to go to Monday Night Football and get home late and not sober. How I made it to work the next day and was able to get through it is beyond me now. I guess I was young and it didn’t affect me like it does now, even though I gave up all my bad habits.

Just not being able to sleep, which happens a lot now can ruin the next day.

I think I’m better off older.

On This Day, 10 Years Ago…..A Momentous Occurrence Happened To Me…..

I retired and enjoyed the heck out of it. If you want to know what I did, go to about and about me.

I started planning for it when I was in my 30’s and knew it would be a long game to have enough. I listened to Larry Burkett of Crown Financial Services, a biblical based ministry that taught me to save and to live debt free. I posted about it a while back on how an average Joe can become a millionaire.

Was it hard?

You bet it was. There were a lot of sacrifices and a lot of learning about investing, managing money and faith in God. It turns out that we were blessed with an abundance of riches, only a small amount of which are financial.

We were alone.

Fortunately, my wife was on the same page. Heck, my Mom even taught me how to save as she lived through the depression. She could make anything last longer than possible. That woman sacrificed for us and I noticed. My siblings however never learned. Mom told me she taught each of us the same lessons, but said no one else listened to her.

I caught a lot of crap from my friends.

Working in the airline industry is very common for my family and friends. We have many pilots and flight attendants in that group.

One of them, with whom I went to school with since 7th grade, gave me a ton of grief when I was in my late 20’s. He was serving cokes for a living (flight attendant) and wasted 15 years of his life doing it. He was broke when he quit.

I spoke to him one Saturday when I was at work. He told me that he only worked 2 weeks a month and was off to Hawaii, rubbing it in my face that I had to work. When I hung up, I knew right then that I was making a short term sacrifice for long term gain. I would be retiring early while being financially safe and knew I would have to work hard. I said to myself that I would make it my goal and I’d be playing golf while he was working. He still is working today, and when he got to the real world I’d had 15 years of experience. I had owned my own business shortly after that conversation. FWIW, I played golf this week.

Did I get even with him?

I chose not to rub it in because the facts show our different outcomes. I’m glad I have mine.

Being an introvert, I don’t want to get into it anyway and he doesn’t want to talk much anymore. I don’t care what happens to others as I can’t control anything other than my destiny. I’m sorry he didn’t listen to me. He told me he resented that job for 13 of the 15 years he did it and hates his current job.

A theme and a pattern.

It wasn’t only my siblings and friends. When I sold my business and went to work for IBM, they were the same. When it came time for me to say goodbye, my house was paid off and we had saved. Almost no one could believe that I was pulling the plug that early. They thought it was some scandal that I had to quit and were very disappointed that the reason I retired was because I could. Most of them were keeping up with the Jones and didn’t save. I looked some of them up and they are still stuck working at the same job when I left.

At the end, IBM was a terrible place to work (see managing executive ego’s, the good, the bad and the ugly). I actually pulled the trigger a year early to get out of that hell hole. To a person, everyone said they wished that they could do what I did, get out. They were too far in debt to do so.

I turned down moving to New York to “climb the ladder” because living there sucks and I didn’t want to raise a family there. People told me when they moved to New York, they got to pay 30% more for everything, for less than I made. Again, I knew that I was making the right decision for my family not to go there to “get ahead” (behind would have been the actual case if I’d gone there).

My Father.

Dad worked until he was 70. Work defined his life. He was lost when he retired.

Working was only a means to an end for me. To be fair, I was fortunate enough to be highly successful and God decided that I should be compensated for it. That helped make it happen, but if you go back to my siblings, they earned more than me at times. They still work though as most of it was wasted on useless stuff.

Dad couldn’t understand my goals, but I had so much going on that work was interfering with my life, so I stopped. I never regretted it.

A lot of the IBM’rs died shortly after retiring because they had to work a long time. I saw that and knew I wanted to enjoy my life. Now, every day is Saturday for me.

I have enjoyed each day these last 10 years. Heck, I’m the president of the how to enjoy your retirement club. Never once did I think about going back because I didn’t have to.

If there is any lesson, it is in the post of how to become a millionaire.

Short term sacrifice for long term paradise.

Another Introvert Post – What Happens When You Worry Too Much What Others Think

Be careful. This doesn’t mean completely blowing off others, just not running your life by what others think.

I look to times when I can go alone somewhere, especially when I worked and had to travel with others. I’d already spent the work day with them, please let me recover alone and not have to go out. We wouldn’t have at home so why now?

I saw others in that jail as early as middle school and I knew I didn’t want to be there. I only let things in that I need to hear.

I’m going out of my way to avoid gossip also. It’s as bad as Facebook and Twitter. My life is better without them also.

Rules For How To Be Successful At What You Do

  1. Pursue what you love. Passion is an incredible motivator. It fuels focus, resilience, and perseverance.
  2. Do the hardest work first. We all move instinctively toward pleasure and away from pain. Most great performers, Ericsson and others have found, delay gratification and take on the difficult work of practice in the mornings, before they do anything else. That’s when most of us have the most energy and the fewest distractions.
  3. Practice intensely, without interruption for short periods of no longer than 90 minutes and then take a break. Ninety minutes appears to be the maximum amount of time that we can bring the highest level of focus to any given activity. The evidence is equally strong that great performers practice no more than 4 ½ hours a day.
  4. Seek expert feedback, in intermittent doses. The simpler and more precise the feedback, the more equipped you are to make adjustments. Too much feedback, too continuously can create cognitive overload, increase anxiety, and interfere with learning.
  5. Take regular renewal breaks. Relaxing after intense effort not only provides an opportunity to rejuvenate, but also to metabolize and embed learning. It’s also during rest that the right hemisphere becomes more dominant, which can lead to creative breakthroughs.
  6. Ritualize practice. Will and discipline are wildly overrated. As the researcher Roy Baumeister has found, none of us have very much of it. The best way to insure you’ll take on difficult tasks is to build rituals — specific, inviolable times at which you do them, so that over time you do them without having to squander energy thinking about them.

Work Phrases Explained

Activate:
To make carbons and add more names to the email.

Advanced Design:
Beyond the comprehension of the ad agency’s copywriters.

All New:
Parts not interchangeable with existing models.

Approved:
Needs revising

Automatic:
That which you cannot repair yourself.

Channels:
The trails left by interoffice emails.

Clarify:
To fill in the background with so many details that the foreground goes underground.

Conference:
A place where conversation is substituted for the loneliness of thought and the dreariness of labor.

Consultant:
Someone who borrows your watch to tell you what time it is and then walks away with the watch.

Forwarded For Your Consideration:
You hold the bag for a while.

FYI:
Found yesterday, interested?

In Conference:
Nobody can find him/her.

Let’s Get Together On This:
I’m assuming you’re as confused as I.

Note & Initial:
I’m not taking the fall for this myself.

Policy:
We can hide behind this.

Please See Me:
Come down to my office. I’m lonely.

Top Priority:
It may be stupid but the boss wants it.

We Are Taking A Survey:
We need more time to think of an answer or we can’t find anyone willing to be responsible for this.

Will Advise In Due Course:
If we figure it out, we’ll let you know.

Leonardo di Vinci On Why Passion Is Important

“Study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in.”

Desire is a passion. I’ve noticed over time that to start and continue any task, vocation or avocation requires passion to do it. This is different from trying a fad.

Find someone who is competent and passionate about something and you’ll have loyalty and a better chance of success.

Monday Saying – The Secret Of Life

“The whole secret of life is to be interested in one thing profoundly and in a thousand things well.” – Horace Walpole

I just finished a conversation with a successfully retired executive. He told me the secret to retirement is to keep your life uncomplicated. These two are related.

If you do something really well are paid for it, you hit the lottery. If it is one of your 1000 things, you still are ok. If you are hating your job and don’t something you do well you might be a dumbass.

Life is too short to not enjoy what you are doing. Sure, we have to do things we don’t want to, but not all the time.

If you do this, your life will be a lot easier than swimming upstream doing something you don’t like and aren’t good at. There is nothing wrong with tenacity, as long as it is combined with intelligence.

The moral of the story is don’t be a dumbass.

Tuesday Saying – The Price You Pay For Your Profession

“The price one pays for pursuing any profession or calling is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side.” – James Baldwin

 

Someone said find your passion and you’ll never work a day in your life.  This is not true.  Sooner or later we become victims of routine or more likely other people will make your job a pain.

This is the ugly side.  At some point even Michael Jordan had to retire, but he still can’t go to a restaurant without people bothering him.

Enjoy what you have and be glad you get to do it.

No going back, how Covid has changed us

Covid has changed our lives for good, and possibly/probably not for the better. Let’s take it by activity.

Travel

Here is some history. Flying used to be fun, economical and had good service. We used to like going on an airplane until some jag-off decided to try and light his shoe bomb on a plane.  Then another tried to blow up his underwear. We now have to queue in a long line  and I’m not all that sure that it’s stopped anyone other than the average Joe traveler. It hasn’t stopped the TSA from copping a feel on strangers.  The food sucks now and isn’t free anymore. Flying is more like the line for enlistment (including your prostate exam by the TSA) than to get on a plane.

With Covid, we can now add a temperature check, face masks and the the fear of catching anything from being in a tube for hours with little to no service.  The airports are petri dishes for bacteria.

Given the losses on travel companies and equipment manufacturers, it doesn’t bode well for the travel industry or the travelers.

Going to the office to work.

The requirement to be in person at work not as necessary as thought.

Before remote working, we had to be in the office or no one could be fully sure that you were earning your pay. Travel and working remotely eased that but there still are some bosses who didn’t trust their employees.   I had one piss-ant manager named R. Gorman when I worked at Thinkpad who didn’t trust anyone. He  sent a memo called rules of the road where you had to be in the office. All that got him was no trust or loyalty from the team. We were technologically equipped to work from anywhere and always did on business travel, but there still was some requirement to be in the office otherwise.

Employees want to be empowered to succeed. When that happens, they find ways to be creative and accomplish their goals. Conversely, when you treat them like school children, many will act that way. Just like with Ray, our productivity went down and the Ray jokes went up.

Now, no one can go in to work while we are socially distancing, and most jobs (non-manufacturing) are still getting done. It’s easy to reach anyone at anytime (too easy and too intrusive) but the oversight of said taskmasters is not needed. In a way, the people are now empowered and they still get the work done.  This one could be a benefit of Covid.

The downside is that a lot of empty buildings will lose their real estate value as there is no need to be in the office with the exception of essential workers.

How it affects the home

For us introverts, I thought it would be a time that we could cancel and/or avoid engagements until Zoom invaded our lives. Now even virtual happy hours are like a meeting. I’ve noticed that it’s hard to get privacy when kids and dogs are in the room or yelling in the background. Spouses or parents have been caught parading nude in front of the camera by accident.

When you meet in person, it’s easier to read body language and have someones attention. I tend to drift during Zoom meetings and have multiple devices that I often look at. I’ve noticed that I’m not alone.

Trouble for Introverts

Normally, we would be in pig heaven not to have to go to the office. In addition to the invasiveness of Zoom/Skype, we are stuck in the house with extroverts who won’t leave us alone. It’s like being trapped in hell. You want the quiet and the peace you got when the extrovert was in the office, instead your personal space is invaded and you can’t escape.

Schools

The school model is now exposed, especially at college level. No more extortion for dorms when you can do 90% online. College professors are no longer as essential. Recorded classes, especially at the 100 and 200 level are adequate. Online testing and submitting required homework is routinely done online even well before this virus.

It turns out that colleges are a Breathtakingly overpriced product.

https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2020/05/breathtakingly-overpriced-product-mike-rowe-says-covid-19-revealed-college-really/

According to Mike Rowe: “They’re gonna’ find big thinkers with easily accessible ideas who are exponentially more interesting than professors, and soon, I hope, our obscene love affair with credentialing is going to stop, and we’re going to pause in every imaginable way, and look at what is essential – not just in workers or in work, but in education, in food, in fun. Everything is going to be forced through a different filter,” he said.

Colleges will also be exposed on their sports programs. Sports are a bank fund that pays for a lot of other school expenses and is a recruiting tool for enrollment. The schools will now have to rely on actual academics as a draw for students instead of March Madness or Bowl season. Maybe the students will now get an education instead of an indoctrination to Marxism.

Conversely, this is a big positive as the cost of education has the opportunity to go down (but so far the colleges are still extorting the same ransom from parents). Room and board are a large part of the cost of an education. Combine that with the lack of a requirement for many classrooms and there is the road to cutting costs.

It is not in the best interest of the Major institutions to charge less, but the cat is out of the bag that you can get almost as much done online. I hope that the masses will overcome and help this opportunity for cost cutting.

For elementary, middle and high school, I think it will hurt our youth.  There is a need for hands on in basic learning and kids have the attention span of gnats.  Sometimes you need to snatch their asses back to attention when it’s learning time.

New paradigm for getting essential needs like groceries.

Essential services like cancer, emergency rooms are same, but will change. Non-essential Dr. visits are now handled over the phone or via video. Dr.’s can now dedicate more of their time to real emergencies or necessary in-person visits. A person using the Emergency Room for healthcare because they don’t have insurance is going to go way down.

There is no downtime for paperwork and other overhead that comes with any job, but that got handled off-line mostly anyway.

Rely on technology more, but the risk is that you can take down a society like the virus did. Beware of hackers though, where there is opportunity, there will be bad guys looking to make your day worse.

Shopping

Groceries have taken a turn for the better/worse/something different. Now that we went through the great toilet paper shortage and people have enough to wipe their asses for the next 5 years.   They can realize that a little planning can condense 5 shopping trips into one, or one delivery or pickup.

A lot converts have been made for grocery delivery. There are a few kinks that need to be worked out though. I’ve gotten stuff I didn’t order, but mostly I rarely get everything I wanted, even if I put in what the substitute would be product. There is no shopping for the store brand that is a whole lot cheaper.

We have gotten used to queuing a lot more now. It used to be the end of the world for some people who had to wait for more than one person to checkout. Now, we’re standing on X’s taped to the floor like kindergartners waiting to go potty.

As is the trend, online shopping has picked up and the downside is retail stores are less needed.  Again, this is a loss in real estate value and will leave a lot of square footage available.

So all in all, some of this is good, but a lot of it was unnecessary. If it wasn’t an election year or if there were different political leaders, a whole lot of people wouldn’t be losing there freaking minds over every little thing that they look for to be offended by.  HCQ would be over the counter like it is in a lot of countries and we wouldn’t be held hostage for masks as no one really seems to know whether it truly helps or hurts us yet.

I’ll remain optimistic that society will adapt.  I’m pessimistic that this is a political power opportunity to control the masses and we should beware.

Great Sayings – Why Meetings Suck

“Meetings are indispensable when you don’t want to do anything.”

– John Kenneth Galbraith

We’ve now found out during Covid that in person meetings are not necessary.  Actually, most of us knew that from sitting in them and wishing we were dead or anything to not be there.

I do know a few people that love meetings and live for them.  I think they don’t want to work, or it’s the place they think they can actually wield power.  I avoid those people so I don’t have to go to their meetings.

I’ve written before why Meetings are a waste of time, and how to avoid them.

As an introvert, I loathe meetings.  My rule was that if there were anymore than 5 people nothing was going to get done.

Avoid them at all cost.  They are a time suck and we’ve now proven that you can get work done without them

 

Great Sayings – How To Succeed and Not Just Sit On Your Ass

It’s not just knowledge, succeeding is knowledge put into action.

 

There are a lot of smart people.  There are a lot of successful people that have lower IQ’s, but are smarter in life.  The difference is what they do with what they know.

The difference is putting yourself into action.  It’s also known as common sense.

I’ve worked with a lot of people who bitched that they never get ahead or that they are better/smarter/have been there longer/deserved it more than the person that got the promotion or the new position.  Almost always the person that got the prize was the one who took the chance and did the work.

Don’t sit on your ass.  Get out there and do something, then do more.  Rinse and repeat then watch the results.

There is too much history behind this to show that it works.  You don’t win every time, but that is why they play the game.  This one is called life.

Great Sayings – Life is Tough Buttercup

When you do things because they are easy or the easy way, life will be hard in the future. When you do things that are hard, life will become easy.

I remember in my early working days when I was busting ass on a Saturday.  A friend of mine was giving me a hard time about working while he was on his way to Hawaii because he only worked 2 weeks a month (he was a stewardess – his words).  He was flying there for free because he worked for the airlines.

I knew that I was making a short term sacrifice for a long term gain.  I couldn’t afford the trip both in terms of money or time off.

A few years later, he decided not to serve cokes in the air for a living, but had wasted 15 years of working experience.  I had committed to getting ahead early in my career to enjoy my time later in life.  That required me to work hard when I was younger and sacrifice some things.

Now, I go where I want, when I want.  I’ve long since retired and my friend is still catching up and will be working for a long time.  I can afford a ticket to wherever, usually on frequent flyer points.  Life is a full circle.

I’m not a fortune teller, but life is short and there is a time for work and a time to reap the rewards of that work.  I knew that early and instead of living for the moment I had to work hard and sacrifice to enjoy the fruits of that labor.

We all learn lessons in life, but the are eerily similar.  Few are sports stars, win the lottery or inherit their wealth.  You need to work tenaciously, suffer from some hard knocks and learn from your experiences.  I knew way back then that goofing off early in life when you should be building the foundation for your life was the right decision.

I decided not to rub it in with my friend now that we are on the other side of the equation.  He is suffering enough and it’s just not worth it to me.  The results speak for themselves.

Success Sayings – On Work Relationships

Build relationships because people work with the people they know they can trust.

 

People generally want to do their best.  They want to succeed and will bring others along with them.

I have worked with people who trusted me and I know that even though I always gave it my all, I’d give more for those who I knew I could trust.  Conversely, while I didn’t work less for those I didn’t trust, I certainly didn’t prioritize them in my time or task management.

People who went out of their way to do me harm I stayed as far away from as I could unless it wasn’t possible.  Even then, I was wary of them to the point that I didn’t offer to help when I could at times because I was wary of retribution or motives.

I can’t be that different than anyone else.

Build trust and people will trust you back.  Be trustworthy and others will notice.

Covid-19 Benefits For Some of Us

No one would wish what happened to us with the China/Wuhan/Covid-19/Kung flu/Corona virus this year.  I wonder if there is any silver lining?

WE’VE LEARNED THAT YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE IN PERSON AT WORK

First, the essential workers should be commended.  Those putting their life at risk for the rest of us or to keep us able to stay away but help keep the economy going do need to be there.  They don’t get thanked enough and deserve more accolades than they are getting.  I can’t list them all, but you know who you are as do we, especially when we go out or are in need and you are there.

There are a group of desk jockeys that can work from anywhere, including home, the coffee shop or anywhere that has WIFI.  Many companies are still getting along just fine without everyone in their cubicles or open office space being babysat by next level of ladder climbers and wannabees.

Yes, some of them are goofing off, but they goof off at the office also.  They self-sort themselves out of their jobs after a while anyway.  The other workers know who is carrying their load and who is carrying a load of bullshit without them being there.

We have been forced into a higher level of trust to get the job done.  I’ve worked for some who didn’t trust their employees if they weren’t at their desk.  If you treat people like grownups they will be.  If you treat them poorly or like monkeys, like managers I’ve had they will eat bananas.

Now, those who want to work at home or remotely had the chance to prove that they could get the job done and don’t have to go into an office to do the same thing.

For introverts, this is a blessing.  They don’t have to be sentenced to the jail of in person meetings or having to have their day ruined by HR regimented nonsense that can be done in non-critical hours.

PRODUCTIVITY

This is a unique time to get more work done, or to refine our work habits.  See above about goofing off in the office and you have now eliminated water cooler BS sessions, meaningless meetings that can be done on email or chat and time to actually concentrate.

I know those in sales have to talk, but if they concentrate more on selling, they too will be more productive.  A lot of them are too chatty anyway.

The USA works more than other countries and it appears that we like to work.  You can tell by how much we’ve achieved, but also the lack of vacation we take vs. other countries.  Hey, but how many countries have landed a man on the moon?

We have the opportunity to open up (re-open up) and unleash the greatest economy and workforce that has ever existed.  There are people dying to get back to work that may be furloughed.  I only hope the politicians haven’t put onerous rules in place that hurts the economy and the ability for small businesses to thrive.

TRAVEL

You can now go anywhere you need to if you want.  I imagine that travel will be light at first, although some with pent up demand or anxiety will leave as soon as it is allowed.  The downside will be the TSA security check lines if we have to stay 6 feet apart.  The line will be out of the building and into long term parking.

I read that the bookings for Cruise ships are in high demand, something I just don’t understand.  Cruise ships are petri dishes for viruses and have been for a long time.  Why you would want to be in basically a jail cell that travels with limited escape time to buy a T-shirt doesn’t seem desirable, but I have friends who love it.  They mostly like to eat though and say it’s a cheap way to travel.  At least they won’t be on planes for those of us who want to get where we are going and then actually see the country/place we are visiting.

You won’t have to worry about getting stuck in the middle seat for a while on an airplane.  That is the designated social distancing seat, like it’s going to matter when you are in a tube for hours and well within the reach of a cough or a sneeze.  I love this one as the airlines have made travel less enjoyable year over year.  The armrest fight for position will be solved for now.

I imagine there will be a lot of deals at first.  Travel costs should be down as well as tourist traps will have good prices to make up for the time we’ve spent in our quarantine jail.  Get ’em while you can.  There will be less tourists everywhere you go and businesses dying to offer deals to make up for the faux shut down.

BE POSITIVE

One can look at the downside and think that the world is going to end and that we might die from Covid-19.  The statistics say that it is mostly in a few concentrated places (NE corridor and elderly care facilities) and affects those with a co-morbidity.  The odds are in our favor that we won’t get it or that it won’t be as bad as the media is trying to shove down our throats.

When this passes (hint: watch how soon it passes after the November election is over regardless of who wins) the opportunities to better your life and enjoy some things in the work/life balance that have been either ruined or complicated for us.

 

 

 

Things You May Not Know, Or Haven’t Considered Yet About Life (6 People Look Exactly Like You)

1. Your shoes are the first things people subconsciously notice about you. Wear nice shoes.
2. If you sit for more than 11 hours a day, there’s a 50% chance you’ll die within the next 3 years.
3. There are at least 6 people in the world who look exactly like you. There’s a 9% chance that you’ll meet one of them in your lifetime.
4. Sleeping without a pillow reduces back pain and keeps your spine stronger.
5. A person’s height is determined by their father, and their mother determines their weight.
6. If a part of your body “falls asleep”, you can almost always “wake it up” by shaking your head.
7. There are three things the human brain cannot resist noticing – food, attractive people and danger.
8. Right-handed people tend to chew food on their right side.
9. Putting dry tea bags in gym bags or smelly shoes will absorb the unpleasant odor.
10. According to Albert Einstein, if honeybees were to disappear from earth, humans would be dead within 4 years.
11. There are so many kinds of apples, that if you ate a new one every day, it would take over 20 years to try them all.
12. You can survive without eating for weeks, but you will only live 11 days without sleeping.
13. People who laugh a lot are healthier than those who don’t.
14. Laziness and inactivity kill just as many people as smoking.
15. A human brain has a capacity to store 5 times as much information as Wikipedia.
16. Our brain uses the same amount of power as a 10-watt light bulb!!
17. Our body gives enough heat in 30 minutes to boil 1.5 liters of water!!
18. The Ovum egg is the largest cell and the sperm is the smallest cell!!
19. Stomach acid (conc. HCl) is strong enough to dissolve razor blades!!
20. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day & while you walk, SMILE. It is the ultimate antidepressant.
21. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
22. When you wake up in the morning, pray to ask God’s guidance for your purpose, today.
23. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
24. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, broccoli, and almonds.
25. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
26. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts and things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
27. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.
28. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
29. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Forgive them for everything.
30. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
31. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
32. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.
33. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
34. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
35. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: ‘In five years, will this matter?’
36. Help the needy, be generous! Be a ‘Giver’ not a ‘Taker’
37. What other people think of you is none of your business.
38. Time heals everything.
39. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
40. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. Each night before you go to bed, pray to God and be thankful for what you accomplished, today. What if you woke up this morning and only had what you thanked God for yesterday? DON’T FORGET TO THANK GOD FOR EVERYTHING.
43. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.

How Meetings Are a Waste Of Time and How To Avoid or Get Out of Them

facepalm  I read a WSJ article on ineffective meetings.  It is about the manifesto to end boring meetings.

This brought back thousands of hours of meetings I wished I could have back or would certainly decline to attend had I realized what I know now.  Most of this post is tongue in cheek unlike the WSJ, but I’ll bet everyone wishes they weren’t in so many meetings.

First, let me start out with some quotes I found from The Quote Garden, starting with the one that reminded me most of the meetings I’ve attended:

A committee is a cul-de-sac down which ideas are lured and then quietly strangled.  ~Barnett Cocks, attributed

worfgif

A committee is a group that keeps minutes and loses hours.  ~Milton Berle

To kill time, a committee meeting is the perfect weapon.  ~Author Unknown

If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be “meetings.”  ~Dave Barry, “Things That It Took Me 50 Years to Learn”

Our age will be known as the age of committees.  ~Ernest Benn

If Columbus had an advisory committee he would probably still be at the dock.  ~Arthur Goldberg

A committee is an animal with four back legs.  ~John le Carré, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

It is impossible to imagine the universe run by a wise, just and omnipotent God, but it is quite easy to imagine it run by a board of gods.  ~H.L. Mencken

A “Normal” person is the sort of person that might be designed by a committee.  You know, “Each person puts in a pretty color and it comes out gray.”  ~Alan Sherman

A committee is a thing which takes a week to do what one good man can do in an hour.  ~Elbert Hubbard

A camel looks like a horse that was planned by a committee.  ~Author Unknown

A committee is a group of the unwilling chosen form the unfit, to do the unnecessary.  ~Author Unknown

If you live in a country run by committee, be on the committee.  ~Author Unknown

Could Hamlet have been written by a committee, or the Mona Lisa painted by a club?… Creative ideas do not spring from groups.  They spring from individuals.  The divine spark leaps from the finger of God to the finger of Adam.  ~Alfred Whitney Griswold

We always carry out by committee anything in which any one of us alone would be too reasonable to persist.  ~Frank Moore Colby

I don’t believe a committee can write a book.  It can, oh, govern a country, perhaps, but I don’t believe it can write a book.  ~Arnold Toynbee

There is no monument dedicated to the memory of a committee.  ~Lester J. Pourciau

Any committee that is the slightest use is composed of people who are too busy to want to sit on it for a second longer than they have to.  ~Katharine Whitehorn

Meetings are indispensable when you don’t want to do anything.  ~John Kenneth Galbraith

People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything.  ~Thomas Sowell

AND OF COURSE, THERE IS BRADLEY’S BROMIDE: “If computers get too powerful, we can organize them into a committee — that will do them in.”

I WORKED FOR “THE” MEETING COMPANY
I worked a large part of my career either for or with IBM, which many have joked that it stands for I’ve Been in a Meeting. I could have been years more productive and retired earlier if it hadn’t been for all of the meetings I’ve spent time in.  Projects would have been completed weeks in advance were it not for meetings.

Usually, the meetings were a way to get other people to do your work for you, or to assign work to others they wouldn’t do or volunteer for were it not for the fact that they were at a meeting.  The only time this didn’t work was when I actually needed to get a speaker for a press briefing for an interview with Time Magazine when print media was important.  His manager, John Callies then VP of Netfinity or X series at IBM(x86 servers), wouldn’t let the speaker leave the staff meeting stating, “it’s only your job” as the reason.  See how manage executive ego’s for more on this. I’d have never imagined having to cancel an interview with what was then an important publication due to an executives’ ego. I’ve seen bad manager moves in my time, but this was top 10 worst of the worst for me.  He still ranks as the number one suit I’ve ever worked with.  The below meme was how it felt to be in a meeting with him.

Execs have also had meetings in places that they wanted to visit (click on the link to see who it is), and most people knew that.  That was a waste of travel time and money for a wasted meeting. There were other reasons they had meetings, but read the quotes at the beginning to find out why said were held.

Avoid training meetings, unless it was a way to be busy during a meeting you want to avoid.  This is especially true of diversity training.  It is a waste of time (same exact meeting every time every year for the required legal reason) but is more important than almost any other meeting, so it serves 2 purposes.  No one will go against diversity training for fear of being politically or legally incorrect.  It does allow you to miss another meeting and no one pays attention anyway.  It’s an opportunity to get work done while the training is going on in the background.  Your attendance is recorded so you are twice as effective as you complete your work, earn your mark for training and ignore the same speech you went through last year all at the same time.

MEETING RULES TO SURVIVE

The best way to deal with a meeting is to avoid it.  If you can already have a meeting at a time that the scheduler proposes it or be busy and/or somehow away or out of the office.  Teleconferencing kills that strategery  unless you can be found traveling, but sometimes it’s unavoidable (see how to get out of a meeting below if you have to go).  The people calling the meeting are really only people who want the meeting anyway.

For things to do to avoid meetings or how to goof around during a meeting, go to the link How to goof around at work.

HERE IS MY RULE WHEN TO DECIDE TO ATTEND IF I HAD A CHOICE: if there were more than 4 people, don’t go.  Nothing will get done other than resulting in another meeting to have to attend.  This is especially true if there are more than 1 executives, as each brings a team of competing players who guarantee the death of productivity.

The WSJ agrees with me, but goes on to say that if it has 17 people, there is no chance anything will get accomplished.
Don’t speak at a meeting if possible. It usually wastes time and extends the meeting length.  There are only a couple of people who really have something to contribute, the rest want to hear themselves talk, show off their PowerPoint skills to bore you, or think they are more important if they speak.  These show offs can be  insufferable, but they offer time to check your email at best while pretending to listen.

This is in the department of redundancy department, but it is so important to note is to be careful when attending because the meeting leader’s purpose is to assign their work to others or get people to do work they wouldn’t do because they can’t decline in public (this is a corporate tradition).  This further kills your ability to be productive at your real job.  There are some who want to look important by accepting work magnanimously to show off, thinking they were climbing the ladder.  Gladly accept their offer as most people have 10 hours of work for an 8 hour day anyway. Only accept it if it produces revenue or if you are the only one qualified to do it, but generally don’t, especially if you perceive it as a make work project.

Especially avoid planning meetings.  A meeting to plan another meeting is one to be skipped unless you are the project manager and called the meeting, then you have to do it.  Avoid these at all costs.  Once nobody shows up, the meeting gets cancelled for email updates, which is a far better use of your time.  As my grandfather said, they are as common as pig tracks and as useless as teats on a boar hog.

Avoid staff meetings.  These are like planning meetings, but they occur regularly and when you miss one, nobody really cares (especially if there are more than 4 people). Only attend them occasionally as you work with these people everyday anyway, it’s not like you don’t know what is going on.  Email your boss on a regular basis with your activity and you can plan something more productive during that time.

HOW TO GET OUT OF A MEETING

The tongue in cheek part really goes here.  I’ll bet there are folks out there far more creative about this than me.

My favorite methods are to have a customer who needs you.  They are your business and that overrides almost everything.  Even your boss can’t deny this.

Pre-plan an emergency.  I occasionally had another employee phone or knock on the door to call me out (email or text isn’t as good as that is not public enough) to get you out of a meeting.  The trick is to never return. You’ll get the notes anyway, I promise. Since I worked with the press and analysts, I sometimes had a co-worker say that a reporter needed me right now.  They were my customer and no one could say no.  Many times there was no real emergency even if the press did call, it was the best and most efficient use of my time to leave the meeting so as to be actually working instead of being at a meeting.  I usually dealt with the press immediately unless I had to do some digging to get back to them.

Attend meetings by phone if possible.  You can always put the phone on mute and get your real work done, or surf the web or watch TV, which is usually just as productive.  It’s easier to go to the bathroom, which brings me to…

Go to the bathroom.  Offer to get a water to others when you go, then take as much time reading the sports page in the stall as you can.  You are just as productive as listening to someone prattle on about their project.

Send your meeting information in by proxy.  See above where someone is willing to talk.  Give them your results or input so you don’t have to be there.

 THE KIND OF MEETING TO HAVE

I realize that some meetings are necessary, so I understand that it’s the only way to get some things done.  For the other majority of the time, see above.

The best meeting is a hall meeting.  You run into the person you need help from and in 5 minutes, you’ve explained your need, what they can do and your time frame for doing it.  Problem solved.

I also recommend having meetings with introverts and/or men.  They don’t like to talk much (most of them) and want to get it over as quickly as you do.  Attire requirements are less of a priority as is small talk.

Here is the net net, don’t go to a meeting if you don’t have to, get out early if at all possible and above all, don’t speak unless you have no option.  Consider it a victory if you don’t attend, or a minor victory if you have to attend but don’t come out with anyone else’s work. You are a complete failure if you open your mouth and double your workload on something that is not tangential to your job or career.  Enjoy your job more by having the time to actually be productive.

Can Men and Women Work Together, Happily Without Sexual Tension?

In a WSJ  article today entitled, “Men and Women at Work: Unhappy, But Productive“, I couldn’t help but recall some observations I’ve made over the years at multiple companies in many situations.  If you are the PC police, save your hostilities as most of this is common sense.

The article states this:

When women and men work together on teams, the results are good for business—but they don’t enjoy it much.

That, at least, is the experience of employees in one company, a large US professional services firm studied by economists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and George Washington University.

Researchers looked at eight years of the firm’s revenue data and employee surveys, measuring satisfaction, cooperation, morale and attitudes toward diversity.  That included data from offices or teams that were entirely male or entirely female, along with data from teams that were more evenly mixed.

On surveys, individual employees reported higher levels of job satisfaction when they were on teams that were mainly staffed with people of their own gender. Those on more diverse teams reported lower levels of happiness, trust and cooperation–consider this Journal essay on what men don’t know about women at work  – although revenue figures showed they were more productive and better performing—by a lot.

“People are more comfortable around people who are like them,” says study co-author Sara Fisher Ellison, of MIT.

It may be that members of homogenous groups “socialize more and work less,” Ellison notes. Mixed groups may lack social capital, but varied perspectives and skills may help a unit perform better. The researchers posit that shifting an all-female or all-male team to a coed one would increase revenues by 41%.

Also, researchers found that workers seemed to appreciate the idea of a diverse workplace more than they liked diversity in practice. According to employee surveys, workers gave gender and racial diversity high marks for boosting morale, trust and employee satisfaction, but those who actually worked on diverse teams tended to report lower levels of those traits.

My take so far…..

This prompted some thoughts that many have made  about the differences between men and women.  It’s likely that women have kept men from wiping each other off the planet in the adult version of kill the man with the ball, or who wants to be king.  Conversely, men have killed each other over a woman (OK, women have killed over men also to a lesser degree) but that isn’t the same as competition in the workplace.

The sexes still are created differently.  Little boys can make a gun out of sticks and play war.  A majority of younger girls have a greater preference to play with dolls.  Not long after, more boys begin in sports, even if on the street level.  This activity encourages them to play your position as a team to win the game.  While an increasing number of girls are playing sports, those that do appear to decline in numbers when social engagements take priority.  It’s been observed that women enjoy shopping far more than men, but there is no winning the game in dolls or shopping.  There certainly are a great number of outstanding female athletes, but the trends and volume of numbers still appear to favor men.  Men on the other hand generally fail at these more social activities which women exceed at.  It manifests itself in social behavior later in life where women can tend to be far more social than men.

This has to do with corporate behavior.  Men get a rush out of hitting the walk off home run, catching or throwing the winning touchdown, scoring the winning goal or getting the biggest hit in the game.  Delivering the crushing hit isn’t as big of a priority to most women.  The workplace is a place of competition, even in a teamwork situation.  You work together to kill the competition for market share.  There traditionally has been a disproportionate number of women in the marketing and communications disciplines which by nature are more social.  While there is an increasing number of female executives, one still notices that the skill of hitting the walk off is a learned practice, not ingrained and salivated for by testosterone driven executives.

Having observed these early differences, the article goes on to state the following:

There is a “mismatch between the kind of workplace people think they would like and the actual workplace that makes them happier,” says Ellison, and that may suggest employers could do more to help workers embrace differing backgrounds and viewpoints.

The researchers only studied one firm, Ellison cautions, so the results don’t necessarily translate to other companies. Other studies have found similar results — a positive relationship between gender diversity and firm performance, and higher satisfaction and trust among groups composed of similar people. What’s unusual about this study is that the researchers found both effects in the same firm.

The paper, Diversity, Social Goods Provision, and Performance in the Firm, recently published in the Journal of Economics and Management Strategy,  is by Ellison and Wallace P. Mullin, an economist at George Washington University.

THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN AROUND EACH OTHER

Men act differently with each other when women aren’t around as I’ve been assured that women also do.  We punch (physically or verbally), snap each other with towels and so forth.  Women tend to act more grown up around each other, except that they can be harder on each other, especially behind other women’s backs.  Men will hand your a$$ to you right to your face.

SEXUAL TENSION

There is another issue I’ve observed, sexual tension.  Both sexes are genetically encoded to reproduce.  This behavior requires some level of courtship ranging from drunken hookups to abstinence until marriage, but it exists.  When you put men and women together, generally something is going to go on.  I have yet to see an office where it hasn’t happened.  When you stick opposite sexes together, or worse on extended business trips, guess what goes down?  This almost always gets in the way in the form of nepotism while it’s going on, to retribution afterwords.  The army saying is don’t s–t in your own foxhole.

PUSHING IT TOO FAR

Why the PC police are forcing the military to make the sexes cooperate in tight spaces like a submarine where you are guaranteed deserted island behavior is beyond me.  The recent incident where men have filmed women in the shower on a sub is no surprise.  That is asking for something to happen.  You can only push the bubble so far before it breaks.  This is quarters that are just too close.  Someone is going to hop into the sack.

I also get diversity and have been through hours of training.  It’s the same boring training year after year on what you can and can’t do and how to act so that the company doesn’t get sued or blame you for the easy way out.  I’m for hiring the most talented and best candidate for a position rather than a quota based system.  It can result in distorted statistics that the racial and feminist overlords use against companies, but the idea is to create the optimal team be the most competitive and win.  Sometimes that creates teams of men and women, sometimes it’s dominated by more of one sex than the other.  When it’s time for battle though, you put your best team on the field, and that is determined by meritocracy.

So do men and women like working together?  For the most part to a person will say they do.  Behind the others backs or in the back of their mind, the differences are there and likely go unspoken or not thought of until the instinct to crush the opponent is instinctual or learned.  You can point the gun, but can you pull the trigger.

CRYING

I saw an article on LinkedIn about women crying more than men.  You can read the article here and draw your own conclusion, but it appears that there are clear differences between the two sexes emotionally.

And…..women tell me the difference between women and men is women have 2000 web pages open at once and work them all.  Men have one page open, but know every inch of it.

So in conclusion, no.

What is The Best Advice A Dad Ever Gave You, An Internet Compilation

My Dad and me have had tons of conversations growing up and even now  when I go home, It is usually Friday evenings that we spend from late  afternoons till late nights just talking about everything that comes to  our mind. 🙂 It always brings us closer.

After my first break up, It was one of the best piece of advice he gave me. He said

“Never  be naive enough to think love happens only once in your life. It will  happen again, I cant say when, but it will. She was your first love and  you wont have your first love with anyone again. but love, It will  happen. You will find someone who is strong enough to stand up for you  and along with you and not leave you in the first sign of hardship. It  is her you should not miss in life”

There are a few other gems as well.

  • Marks will only get you so much. make sure you learn what is being taught and you can use it when you need to.
  • Never let someone treat you badly. They are doing it because you let them.
  • Drink because you enjoy it and not to get drunk. Don’t smoke.

I just wish I can be as much a father to my son as my Dad was to me!

My dad had always been a big inspiration to me. I realized that after he passed away in an accident.
When he was in front of me, I never took him seriously, just like any other teenager. But I have always been thanking him for all the words of wisdom.
There is one story he always told me about his friend who cleared an IAS – Indian Administrative Services exam.
He used to write his dreams and stick in on the walls of his room his study table and even his wall ceiling above. Wherever he looked up in despair, he saw his DREAMS, which he always strived for till the end.

“Never ever keep your eye away from your goals. If you always keep getting distracted, imagine yourself winning the accolade which provided you the motivation to fight in the first place. Cover your surroundings with people who always bring you closer to your goals.”

“Always try to be the best of the lot. Even if you fail, you will always be motivated to do better the next time.”

“No matter what you do in life, always keep your character clean. People actually remember the good ones.”

“Never betray anyone in your life. You wont be able to live with the guilt inside.”

For the first 25 years of your life, you decide your habits. For the rest of your life, your habits decide you. Don’t ever give in to peer pressure.

My father is a recluse. Even though I lived at home after college, he and I rarely exchanged more than a few sentences. Last fall, I snagged my first full-time corporate job, earning nearly thrice as much as when I taught kids at a nonprofit. Life was beginning to stabilize, and I was happy to assist my parents, but I felt a deep sadness.

One night, my dad was asking me about work as usual. I gave him the customary, trite responses. Instead of walking off to his bedroom, he stood there, looking pensive, and broke the silence:

“Please, please, don’t chase after money. Don’t worry about supporting me and your mother. You come from a family that strives for higher ideals. I know you love painting, writing, music. You love learning. Pursue your passion – money is secondary. Your happiness is more important to me.”

If Wealth is lost nothing is lost, if health is lost something is lost and if character is lost everything is lost….

When I saw a man drawing a beautiful picture I said
– “I’d love to draw like that!”
– “Then what are you doing to accomplish that?” – my father replied

Every person you meet in life, even the last wretch on the street can teach you something.

Since then I don’t judge people but try to learn from them / their state.

My father was a Vietnam vet and a lifelong hunter. He was quiet and didn’t show much affection but he loved me and my siblings fully, in his own way. The advice he gave me that stuck with me the most was the following:

“Never bring a weapon to a fight that you aren’t prepared to use. It will be taken and used against you.”

I’m a nonviolent person but I see wisdom deep in that advice, even now as an adult. I interpret it as always be prepared to keep your word. If I threaten to turn the car around and you keep yelling, I will turn the car around.

“Trees with the deepest roots are those which have bore through the worst of storms.”

Sitting down in the soothing sun, one winter afternoon my dad explained to me the importance of going through hardships in life.

He showed to me that, the trees having the deepest of roots are the ones which have gone through the worst of storms, but those are the ones which persisted, survived and set in deeper.

The same is with us, hardships never hurt us they only make us stronger. And sometimes the best comes out of us when we are facing the worst situations.

A tender sapling pampered in an over protective environment would not last long even in a mild storm, but a young tree nurturing it self in the wild would grow stronger in those storms.

I am blessed to have a dad who knew when to let us fight our own battles, when to leave us to tough times and when to come to our aid.

My father was too busy as a New York area psychiatrist to ever do anything like come to a soccer game or track meet. So I didn’t expect to see him at all when I was at a major east coast track championship about to anchor the final 440 yards for a mile relay team. In fact, spectators were not allowed in at that meet held in the Armory (in upper Manhattan or the Bronx, I forget). I’d been doing high school sports for several years and it had never crossed his mind to watch me. And we lived out in the suburbs. This championship was held in the city.

But, as I was warming up for the race, he walked right up to me, having driven up from a meeting in midtown.

I was dumbfounded. I asked “How the heck were you even allowed in”?

He answered “Always act as if you own the place.” and then added “Now let’s see you own the track”.

I won that race for the team with something like a 58.5 second run (which could win back then). Then I remember throwing up in a bucket he found for me in anticipation of what I’d be like when I finished.

But it wasn’t my “motivated run” that I remember so much, nor the sentimental aspect of a dad remembering a track meet. That’s B movie material. That’s just a checkmark on the box that says “my dad did that too”.

It was the way he walked right in there and onto the track like he was Donald Trump…and then delivered that powerful advice.

“Charge what you’re worth.” This advice from my dad, who has been successfully self-employed my whole life, was hugely helpful when I struck out on my own as a freelancer.

“Sleep on it. You shouldn’t make life changing decisions when you are angry.”

I did. And I changed my mind.

Hire people who are smarter than you.

67

 

Always remember the kid you were. You´re that child, she´s still on you. Remember how she is, the things she likes, the way she sees the world and how she enjoys life. Now, you go and take care of that girl and don´t you ever forget to make her happy.
41

 

Andy Tider, Founder – Munchly

My dad is a character and an inspiration. He’s given me some gems over the years that I’ve applied in a simple and streadfast way to become the person I am.”You can do anything you want. You just have to want it badly enough.”

My dad was a special ed teacher for 30 years. He wanted his kids to have lots of wonderful experiences, but these things cost money and teachers don’t make a ton. He wanted to have a safe, reliable car to drive us places – so he became a real estate agent on the side so that he could write the car off as a business expense. Still not satisfied with the life he could provide for his family as a teacher/real estate agent, he once attended a seminar given by a lawyer about real estate law. As he sat in the class, he thought, “This is bulls**t. I can do this.” So he went to law school. At night. While teaching, and doing real estate and having three kids under 5 years old. He sometimes recounts this time in his life as “the best time ever” because he would come home and all three of us would want to crawl into his lap and have him read to us. He had real estate to sell and law to study, but he sat with us and read until we all fell asleep in his arms. Then he did his work. In the months leading up to the bar exam, his father got sick. He came to live with us and my parents tried their best to make him comfortable as he slowly faded away. The day before the bar exam, his father passed away.

Then he went in and took the exam he had been staying up nights studying for for months. And he failed. By one point.

He retook the test and passed. He got a job as a lawyer at a firm. But they expected him to bill 80 hour weeks (while still doing his teaching job) and he wasn’t getting to spend time with his family. So he quit the firm.

He started his own practice. Out of our house so he could be around. The practice did well and he continues it to this day. He loves to fight for the little guy. One of his proudest achievements is that because of what he did, we were all able to start our adult lives without any student debt.

Another important one was, “This too, shall pass.”

Sometimes, when life is particularly dark, a simple message can be the candle light that gets us through the storm. This one is worth holding on to.

Don’t wait for something to happen. Or suddenly you’re 40 and nothing has happened.
My dad taught me a lot.Here are some of the more priceless gems:

  • Math is patterns.  Look for the patterns.
  • The lottery is a tax on people who don’t know math.
  • No matter what you do… don’t be an idiot.
  • Marry someone you’re friends with.  Love is great, but you need friendship to make it work.
  • Sometimes the rest of the world will be wrong, and you will be right.  But if they’re that dumb… can you really expect to change their minds?
  • Don’t cut your thumb off.  It hurts.

I’m Just Not In That Big of a Hurry

7 cardinal rules lifeI’ve decided to that hurrying through life just doesn’t have the payback it seems.  The hustle and bustle of busy work, conference calls, email and social media keep some in a coffee enhanced mode glued to their screen and missing out on life just isn’t worth it.  I got to thinking about this and decided to take some stress off of things and so whenever possible, I now work on my schedule.  I’ll get around to what is needed to do, but I’m not going to let it keep me up at night.  I’m not as worried that my comments on social media or political diatribes that upset me really don’t matter all that much.  Once you get used to this, those pesky deadlines that are mostly self inflicted become less important.  After all, most of the above described issues are nuisances at best.

WHERE DO WE GET THIS CULTURE?

For many, they just can’t wait to grow up fast (not me).  Then can’t wait to get promoted (partly me),  can’t wait for kids to grow (not me) and finally can’t wait to retire (me even thought I’m working again, but for myself).  Work seems to exacerbate it the most with demands endless meetings (Meeting = a cul-de-sac where ideas get strangled and go to die), phone calls, emails, instant messages, texts and incessant demands from bosses (the less competent usually are the worst like 3 of my last 4 before I retired, on my terms).

head_up_assMy last couple of Boss’s in this picture

It turns out that this extra stress can lead to brain damage.

On the social side, I have a relative with MOP (miss out phobia) who is afraid something is going to happen without her.  Her sibling just doesn’t give a rats rump what others think and has far less pressure socially, but missed out on some things in life.  Striking a balance is good.

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article on when not to accept a promotion.  There is a myriad of reasons given including family life, unrewarded extra burdens for the less than promised  climb up the ladder.  I personally turned down 2 promotions as they wanted me to move to New York where I would get a 30% higher cost of living, three times the responsibility that I wouldn’t be compensated for and a back stabbing culture of ladder climbers.  My real reason for not doing it is that I didn’t want to raise a family there and wanted to bring them up in a better part of the country.  After that, I was happy not to be there stressing out more.  Since I’d already been on every rung of the ladder, the need to be at the top was less than taking care of my kids.  I still managed to beat the system to be rewarded better than the curve and on my terms.

All of this adds up to the rat race.  I’m not sure why I didn’t think about it before, but it’s a terrible way to go through life.  Now that I think about it, I just knew that taking it easy and beating the system was the way to get ahead the right way, and not sell your soul in the process

MOUNTAIN TIME AND ISLAND TIME

Having spent time in both places, I noticed that the folks there just don’t seem to be in a rush.  It truly is a New Yorker’s nightmare not to have someone jump when they say how high or to have to be busy in crisis mode over everything.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m for punctuality, but these two groups set a different deadline (sometimes internally) and usually meet it.  They don’t die early from stress usually.

I noticed it in the Caribbean islands first.  They are not in a hurry for anything.

I then noticed it in the mountains that they get around to things..eventually.  It was enough of a coincidence that I quickly connected the dots between the two.

I’M GETTING THINGS ACCOMPLISHED

To be fair, I’m busy and am accomplishing more under my own direction than when under the gun of a manager overlooking by shoulder.  I’m the manager now.  It’s just that I’m making the deadlines and am meeting all of them.

So I’m happier in life and wish that for others and hope that this 24/7/365 mentality doesn’t overtake your priorities.  It’s corny, but true in this video below:

Don’t Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will, When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill, When the funds are low and the debts are high, And you want to smile, but you have to sigh, When care is pressing you down a bit, Rest, if you must—but don’t you quit. Life is queer with […]

What Does the Internet Say Are Great Pieces of Advice for Life?

Not all of these are my idea, rather they were gathered from a collection of many, many others as I’ve run across them.  Nevertheless, they are interesting to ponder.  I’m sure there a thousands more, but they are here for you to share:

Don’t stop learning: If you start coasting through life, you’re gonna lose. Always stretch your intellect.
Don’t always try to be original: Just tell the story or paint the canvas or whatever.
Focusing on “fairness” will lead to stagnation.
If you’re not failing, you’re doing it wrong. (It’s OK to make mistakes.)
Don’t try to reason with mindless, irrational people.
Don’t stress yourself out with news and “staying informed” too much.
Do something that’s not for money.
The key to happiness is BUILDING stuff, not GETTING stuff.
Time passes by a lot faster than you’d think. This effect accelerates with age.
Wealth is relatively unimportant.
Some things can’t be learned; they can only be experienced.
Figure out who you are, then ACCEPT that person, and then BE that person.
Don’t wait for permission. Give yourself the okay.
Don’t lie to yourself.
Forgive as much as possible. Grudges achieve little.
Be humble (especially to the “little” people).
You and you alone control how happy you allow yourself to be.
Find a mentor and BE a mentor.
Find what you like and let it kill you.
You don’t have to eat everything that’s on your plate.
You don’t have to pick up a phone that’s ringing.
Always take action on things. People regret inaction more than action.
The past is something you learn from.  It is not something you live in.
Wealth is measured by your happiness and not by your financial statement.
Your mind decides what is hopeless.  Your circumstances do not.
More things will happen to you that you have absolutely no control over than things you do have control over. You ALWAYS Have the power to choose how you will react.
Remember that their is a God and don’t stop seeking him.
Do one thing at a time. All that huzzah about multi-tasking? BS
Don’t compare yourself with others. It’s an inaccurate measuring stick. It is more accurate to compare from within. Compare yourself with yourself. How much progress have you made? How have you changed? What negative behavior have you stopped engaging in? That’s what matters.

Don’t believe what you think. Never make up stories in your head about what other people are thinking or why they do certain things. Your made-up stories are making you miserable. You’re often wrong about other people are thinking anyway (I cannot count the number of times I’ve overhead “I think x hates me.”) Quit it. Remember, people are by nature benevolent). The criticism you hear about you is only ever one person’s opinion about you. If it becomes a pattern, then you can re-evaluate course and improve. More power to you.

Learn to handle criticism. Don’t take it personally. Criticism of an idea or project is not criticism of the creator as a person. Everything can always be improved; criticism is the vehicle to allow you to improve. Only apply remedial measures if the criticism has value. ”Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” – Aristotle

Quit idealizing authority. Don’t try to impress people. If you feel a need to you’re implicitly de-valuing yourself and asserting “I don’t think you’ll like me for who I am, so I will try to “impress” you instead.” You’re not allowing yourself to fully connect with someone when you put them on a pedestal.
Don’t take anything personally. It’s easy to get offended and internalize what others say. Recognize that when you ask someone for advice, responses can be all over the place. Understand that others opinions’ are a reflection of their own world and a product of their own reality. It has nothing to do with you.
Never get into a victim mentality. If you focus on what’s right and wrong, you’ll stagnate. Instead, accept things the way they are. Once you do this you can to start to change things and have the power to redirect the future the way you want to.
Value the people in your life. Everyone wants to feel like they’re important. Look at everyone as if they had a star on their forehead that said, “make me feel special.” People hunger for sympathy. Give it to them, and they will love you. Stop wasting time and energy thinking about how people should be different.
Be happy for other people who are happy. Train your mind to be sincerely happy for happiness and catch your resentments and jealousies before they run off too far. It’s easy to resent people for being happy.
Embrace vulnerability. Embrace discomfort. Doing this will increase your luck surface. Allow yourself to be hurt. When you trust yourself, you’ll be confident enough that you will rise up again when you fall.
Just because you don’t feel like doing something doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do it.
You never have anything to lose. You could lose all your money, and become homeless for a while, but you can’t lose who you are, your essence. Be okay with getting your hands dirty and screwing things up – in believing that you have nothing to lose, you will have the power to move through your own life and create change.

How To Look Busy At Work – Office Humor

Disclaimer: I think you should work hard and earn what you are paid.  Nevertheless, I like to see the levity in things.  I collected the lot of this on the internet.

George Costanza’s 10 Commandments For ‘Working Hard’

1 – Never walk without a document in your hands.
People with documents in their hands look like hardworking employees heading for important meetings. People with nothing in their hands look like they’re heading for the cafeteria. People with a newspaper in their hand look like they’re heading for the toilet. Above all, make sure you carry loads of stuff home with you at night, thus generating the false impression that you work longer hours than you do.

2 – Use computers to look busy.
Any time you use a computer, it looks like “work” to the casual observer. You can send and receive personal e-mail, chat, and generally have a blast without doing anything remotely related to work. These aren’t exactly the societal benefits that the proponents of the computer revolution would like to talk about but they’re not bad either. When you get caught by your boss — and you will get caught — your best defense is to claim you’re teaching yourself to use new software, thus saving valuable training dollars.

3 – Keep a messy desk.
Top management can get away with a clean desk. For the rest of us, it looks like we’re not working hard enough. Build huge piles of documents around your workspace. To the observer, last year’s work looks the same as today’s work; it’s volume that counts. Pile them high and wide. If you know somebody is coming to your cubicle, bury the document you’ll need halfway down in an existing stack and rummage for it when he/she arrives.

4 – Use voice mail.
Never answer your phone if you have voice mail. People don’t call you just because they want to give you something for nothing — they call because they want you to do work for them. That’s no way to live. Screen all your calls through voice mail. If somebody leaves a voice-mail message for you and it sounds like impending work, respond during lunch hour when you know they’re not there — it looks like you’re hardworking and conscientious even though you’re being a devious weasel.

5 – Look impatient & annoyed.
One should also always try to look impatient and annoyed to give your bosses the impression that you are always busy.

6 – Leave the office late.
Always leave the office late, especially when the boss is still around. You could read magazines and story books that you always wanted to read but have no time until late before leaving. Make sure you walk past the boss’ room on your way out. Send important e-mail at unearthly hours (e.g. 9:35 p.m., 7:05 a.m., etc.) and during public holidays.

7 – Use sighing for effect.
Sigh loudly when there are many people around, giving the impression that you are under extreme pressure.

8 – Opt for the stacking strategy.
It is not enough to pile lots of documents on the table. Put lots of books on the floor etc. (thick computer manuals are the best).

9 – Build your vocabulary.
Read up on some computer magazines and pick out all the jargon and new products. Use the phrases freely when in conversation with bosses. Remember; they don’t have to understand what you say, but you sure sound impressive.

10 – Don’t get caught.
MOST IMPORTANT: Don’t forward this page’s URL to your boss by mistake!

OTHER HELPFUL HINTS:

Never smile when I’m on phone talking with someone at work and it isn’t about business. If you smile, then people won’t think that it is work-related.

Hold a pen in your hand at all times in between keyboarding tasks… keep it in your hand even while on the phone… have your writing pad there as well and occasionally jot something down… you’ll look as if at all times contemplating something really intelligent and ready to write it down.

Keep a really complex spreadsheet or lengthy document file (or both) open on your desktop.

Use an extended monitor with your laptop.Run a regression suite or that long  build on your monitor and continue to do whatever you are doing on your laptop.

Keep your office communicator/jabber connected even when you are home.Gives a notion to your colleagues that you are really working Do it even the weekends.

Send one email a day to the team.if you don’t have anything just make up.

File bugs in your own name and keep solving them.

Go into a technical discussion and just listen even if you are not  remotely interested in it.

Keep your white board messed up. Change the text everyday.

Add your manager on Facebook and show no activity when you are working.
Updating any open ticket that is being monitored by a manager on an irregular but time bound basis. Ie they love updates so give them updates. The more the better.

Narrate facts at meetings that the manager can use with his own manager. Depending on the stupidity of your manager, you’ll have to coat these nuggets with  verbal accordance – ie., you’ll have to spell out exactly what you mean and then obtusely mention that your manager’s manager might find that interesting.

Sick days – well everyone knows that.

Really understanding how your boss thinks.
If you can really figure out how your boss thinks, you can focus on those activities except at deadline time. Even if you don’t hit the deadline your boss is usually confused enough between what he sees and your results to give you 1 more chance till the next review. so this method gives you 2 review cycles worth of time to phone it in.

Use the Outlook email scheduler to send out emails at 4 am. Note: for important emails only, don’t send out “FYI”-type emails about interesting work articles you’ve come across, no one believes you’re browsing Bloomberg for work at 4 am.

And the most popular time strangler, go to a meeting.  It’s a place where idea’s get stranded in a cul-de-sac.

UPDATE: Now there is an app for your computer from Corporate Avoidance to look busy!

I’ve just come upon some great sites that give unbelievable advice on how to maximize your appearance while minimizing your work.  The first is Mastering the art of looking busy;

Looking busy has a bad rap. Sometimes you have to look busy so you can actually work on the things that matter. Here’s how to trick others into believing you’ve got a full plate so you’ll get the breathing room to actually get things done.

The point of looking busy is to remind your boss and your coworker that your time is valuable, that there are only so many things you can work on at once, and to give you some breathing room so you can actually think. In short, looking busy reminds everyone that you are busy, and gives you some freedom at the same time. Whether you use that freedom for valuable brainstorming or wasting time on your favorite tech blog is a choice we leave to you.

In this post, we’ll walk through some way to make sure everyone you talk to—whether it’s your boss or a distracting coworker—knows that you’re busy without you beating them over the head with the fact. Some of this is just good sense when it comes to productivity, but a few of these tips may seem counterproductive, but stick with us, we’ll explain why it all works. Let’s get started….

And this gem: How to do as little work as possible without getting fired;

Look Busy Without Really Trying

Shaving five minutes from the start and end of your day can only do so much. If you really want to slack like a pro, you’re going to need to figure out how to appear occupied even if you’re not. First off, read this most illustrious guide from Lifehacker on how to look busy. It’s packed with helpful hints and tips on how to keep your boss satisfied with your workflow even when it’s more of a “work trickle”. That’s not to say you should be doing zero work—unless your endgame is unemployment—but this guide explains how to keep your boss from piling a bunch of busy work on your desk.

Once you’ve memorized the Lifehacker guide, you’re ready to take your slacking game to the next level. We’re not talking about standing around with a clipboard or staring intently at your computer screen whilst wearing headphones; those techniques are as played out as licking your palms to fake clammy hands and get out of school. No, what you need are a legion of unknowing allies, namely, your co-workers.

In short, be a Chatty Cathy. Roam the halls of your office building, stopping by any open door, break room, or cubicle stall to “synergize” and “collaborate” with any co-worker that is even halfway willing to listen. Be sure to ask about their kids, people love talking about their kids and will do so at length—allowing you to not only “build rapport” with your co-worker but also shave valuable hunks of time off your work day. Just keep them talking.

You can try a similar technique with your supervisor. At my old office, we’d routinely receive memos from management so laden with industry buzzwords and random acronyms that could only be deciphered with a Cracker Jack decoder ring. While some see this as just one more office-place hassle, you can easily spin it to your advantage. Take the memo to your supervisor and ask for a detailed explanation of what on earth it’s talking about. You’ll be shocked how often Hey, I don’t really understand how we’re supposed to collate the GRE reports with the ACTA file turns into a 30 minute discussion of proper sorting and stapling methodology.

The best part of this technique is that it doesn’t even need to be done face-to-face. With a little practice, you can turn any email chain into an eye-glazing morass of replies, corrections, and clarifications. Just be sure not to overdo it; you want to be just persistent enough to keep stringing people along, not so obtuse that they get fed up with your endless line of questioning.

And while we’re on the subject of emails, you should strive to craft the perfect email. Every. Single. Time. Don’t say in five words what can be said in five paragraphs. Don’t assume that your reader has a single clue about the topic at hand (even if they’re the ones that started the thread); explain every single detail in as much detail as possible. If it takes less than 45 minutes to craft a response to “where are you going for lunch today?” then you’re doing it wrong.

But sitting at your desk, staring at an email client can get lonely, so be sure to break up the monotony by taking as many meetings as possible. Even if you aren’t directly involved in the project, sit in on the meeting. Slink in just right and nobody will notice you’re there until the house lights come up. Just remember to have a feasible excuse for sitting in ready before-hand in case someone calls you on it.

It can be hard work not doing any, but with a little practice, you can get away with just about anything—or doing just about nothing—on any given weekday.

Disclaimer: I would like to say that I worked my hardest when left alone and be managed like an adult.  My last good boss, Mike Bizovi did just that, and our team responded by delivering staggering results and awards.  We were self motivated to work hard and the though of goofing off never entered my mind. The next boss was Amy Loomis, who quickly ruined both the morale of our team and lowered our results by meddling in our work by micro-managing the minutia to the point that we couldn’t be productive anymore.   Even LinkedIn talks about how this can demoralize you and your productivity.. All of us were more professional than she was, and we responded to being treated like children rather than adults as you would expect.  This post is a result of my thoughts about the dichotomy of the 2 managers and how the team reacted to their management styles.  We never thought about this while working for Mike.  You there have the example of a leader and a failure.

9 Things Successful People Do Differently

Some people are better than others for certain reasons.   Some are more political, better trained, work harder and so forth.  I read this and it is a good summary of how to be more successful.

Via the Havard Business Review:

1. Get specific. When you set yourself a goal, try to be as specific as possible. “Lose 5 pounds” is a better goal than “lose some weight,” because it gives you a clear idea of what success looks like. Knowing exactly what you want to achieve keeps you motivated until you get there. Also, think about the specific actions that need to be taken to reach your goal. Just promising you’ll “eat less” or “sleep more” is too vague — be clear and precise. “I’ll be in bed by 10pm on weeknights” leaves no room for doubt about what you need to do, and whether or not you’ve actually done it.

2. Seize the moment to act on your goals.
Given how busy most of us are, and how many goals we are juggling at once, it’s not surprising that we routinely miss opportunities to act on a goal because we simply fail to notice them. Did you really have no time to work out today? No chance at any point to return that phone call? Achieving your goal means grabbing hold of these opportunities before they slip through your fingers.

To seize the moment, decide when and where you will take each action you want to take, in advance. Again, be as specific as possible (e.g., “If it’s Monday, Wednesday, or Friday, I’ll work out for 30 minutes before work.”) Studies show that this kind of planning will help your brain to detect and seize the opportunity when it arises, increasing your chances of success by roughly 300%.

3. Know exactly how far you have left to go. Achieving any goal also requires honest and regular monitoring of your progress — if not by others, then by you yourself. If you don’t know how well you are doing, you can’t adjust your behavior or your strategies accordingly. Check your progress frequently — weekly, or even daily, depending on the goal.

4. Be a realistic optimist.
When you are setting a goal, by all means engage in lots of positive thinking about how likely you are to achieve it. Believing in your ability to succeed is enormously helpful for creating and sustaining your motivation. But whatever you do, don’t underestimate how difficult it will be to reach your goal. Most goals worth achieving require time, planning, effort, and persistence. Studies show that thinking things will come to you easily and effortlessly leaves you ill-prepared for the journey ahead, and significantly increases the odds of failure.

5. Focus on getting better, rather than being good.
Believing you have the ability to reach your goals is important, but so is believing you can get the ability. Many of us believe that our intelligence, our personality, and our physical aptitudes are fixed — that no matter what we do, we won’t improve. As a result, we focus on goals that are all about proving ourselves, rather than developing and acquiring new skills.

Fortunately, decades of research suggest that the belief in fixed ability is completely wrong — abilities of all kinds are profoundly malleable. Embracing the fact that you can change will allow you to make better choices, and reach your fullest potential. People whose goals are about getting better, rather than being good, take difficulty in stride, and appreciate the journey as much as the destination.

6. Have grit.
Grit is a willingness to commit to long-term goals, and to persist in the face of difficulty. Studies show that gritty people obtain more education in their lifetime, and earn higher college GPAs. Grit predicts which cadets will stick out their first grueling year at West Point. In fact, grit even predicts which round contestants will make it to at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

The good news is, if you aren’t particularly gritty now, there is something you can do about it. People who lack grit more often than not believe that they just don’t have the innate abilities successful people have. If that describes your own thinking …. well, there’s no way to put this nicely: you are wrong. As I mentioned earlier, effort, planning, persistence, and good strategies are what it really takes to succeed. Embracing this knowledge will not only help you see yourself and your goals more accurately, but also do wonders for your grit.

7. Build your willpower muscle. Your self-control “muscle” is just like the other muscles in your body — when it doesn’t get much exercise, it becomes weaker over time. But when you give it regular workouts by putting it to good use, it will grow stronger and stronger, and better able to help you successfully reach your goals.

To build willpower, take on a challenge that requires you to do something you’d honestly rather not do. Give up high-fat snacks, do 100 sit-ups a day, stand up straight when you catch yourself slouching, try to learn a new skill. When you find yourself wanting to give in, give up, or just not bother — don’t. Start with just one activity, and make a plan for how you will deal with troubles when they occur (“If I have a craving for a snack, I will eat one piece of fresh or three pieces of dried fruit.”) It will be hard in the beginning, but it will get easier, and that’s the whole point. As your strength grows, you can take on more challenges and step-up your self-control workout.

8. Don’t tempt fate. No matter how strong your willpower muscle becomes, it’s important to always respect the fact that it is limited, and if you overtax it you will temporarily run out of steam. Don’t try to take on two challenging tasks at once, if you can help it (like quitting smoking and dieting at the same time). And don’t put yourself in harm’s way — many people are overly confident in their ability to resist temptation, and as a result they put themselves in situations where temptations abound. Successful people know not to make reaching a goal harder than it already is.

9. Focus on what you will do, not what you won’t do. Do you want to successfully lose weight, quit smoking, or put a lid on your bad temper? Then plan how you will replace bad habits with good ones, rather than focusing only on the bad habits themselves. Research on thought suppression (e.g., “Don’t think about white bears!”) has shown that trying to avoid a thought makes it even more active in your mind. The same holds true when it comes to behavior — by trying not to engage in a bad habit, our habits get strengthened rather than broken.

If you want to change your ways, ask yourself, What will I do instead? For example, if you are trying to gain control of your temper and stop flying off the handle, you might make a plan like “If I am starting to feel angry, then I will take three deep breaths to calm down.” By using deep breathing as a replacement for giving in to your anger, your bad habit will get worn away over time until it disappears completely.

It is my hope that, after reading about the nine things successful people do differently, you have gained some insight into all the things you have been doing right all along. Even more important, I hope are able to identify the mistakes that have derailed you, and use that knowledge to your advantage from now on. Remember, you don’t need to become a different person to become a more successful one. It’s never what you are, but what you do.

Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D. is a motivational psychologist, and author of the new book Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals (Hudson Street Press, 2011). She is also an expert blogger on motivation and leadership for Fast Company and Psychology Today. Her personal blog, The Science of Success, can be found at www.heidigranthalvorson.com. Follow her on Twitter @hghalvorson

Heidi Grant Halvorson

Heidi Grant Halvorson

Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D. is a motivational psychologist and author of the HBR Single Nine Things Successful People Do Differently and the book Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals (Hudson Street Press, 2011). Her personal blog, The Science of Success, can be found at www.heidigranthalvorson.com. Dr. Halvorson is available for speaking and training. Follow her on Twitter @hghalvorson.

Life Isn’t Fair, So What is New? Why Are We Trying To Kill The American Dream?

After reading an article by one of the top economists we should listen to, it occurred to me that life isn’t fair, but that alone is fair.

An excerpt from the article starts us off:

Some years ago, for example, there was a big outcry that various mental tests used for college admissions or for employment were biased and “unfair” to many individuals or groups. Fortunately there was one voice of sanity– David Riesman, I believe– who said: “The tests are not unfair. LIFE is unfair and the tests measure the results.”

If by “fair” you mean everyone having the same odds for achieving success, then life has never been anywhere close to being fair, anywhere or at any time. If you stop and think about it (however old-fashioned that may seem), it is hard even to conceive of how life could possibly be fair in that sense.

Even within the same family, among children born to the same parents and raised under the same roof, the first-borns on average have higher IQs than their brothers and sisters, and usually achieve more in life.

Unfairness is often blamed on somebody, even if only on “society.” But whose fault is it if you were not the first born? Since some groups have more children than others, a higher percentage of the next generation will be first-borns in groups that have smaller families, so such groups have an advantage over other groups.

TRYING TO EQUALIZE THE RESULTS HAS LESS CHANCE OF SUCCESS THAN CREATING AN ENVIRONMENT TO SUCCEED

I propose that Life isn’t fair, now get over it and try harder.   The American dream is to work hard, be successful and get ahead.  We shouldn’t kill that dream which is what is being proposed for those making over $250,000.  Further, it was said that “cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.  it will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.  By the swat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

Some are richer, some are born into more prosperity than others, some are smarter, some have more ambition….the list goes on forever.

Here are two good examples of those that exemplify that some have it easier than others, just for being born into the right family.

To try and make it otherwise is usually a result of envy or jealousy of others success.  There is no way to legislate tenacity to succeed, one’s ability vs. others, familial or environmental factors and many other causes.  Some have more and do better than others, GET OVER IT.

We live in a country where people have come to because of the American Dream defined as:

The American Dream is a national ethos of the United States in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, an upward social mobility achieved through hard work. In the definition of the American Dream by James Truslow Adams in 1931, “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement” regardless of social class or circumstances of birth.[1] The idea of the American Dream is rooted in the United States Declaration of Independence which proclaims that “all men are created equal” and that they are “endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights” including “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”[2]

Any effort to equalize things by wealth redistribution is socialistic and doomed to failure.  I beg for someone to show me an example of where communism or socialism has succeeded.  Ask Greece, the USSR, most European countries….

Why?

Margaret Thatcher once said that ‘The trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money’?
Frank Zappa said “Communism doesn’t work because people like to own stuff.”

TO TRY AND MAKE IT EQUAL ALWAYS FAILS

There has been some talk during regarding those who make over a certain amount should give more, also called redistribution.  This is directly from the mouth of a famous person in history:

From each according to his ability, to each according to his need (or needs) is a slogan popularized by Karl Marx in his 1875 Critique of the Gotha Program.

Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.
Thomas Sowell

Politicians love to say things like, “We’re just asking everyone to pay their fair share.” But government is not about asking. It is about telling. The difference is fundamental. It is the difference between making love and being raped, between working for a living and being a slave. The Internal Revenue service is not asking anybody to do anything. It confiscates your assets and puts you behind bars if you don’t pay.
Instituting wealth re-distribution, taxing folks who make over $250,000 and then waxing poetically that it is “fair” is no more than an attempt to kill the American Dream.  I have a belief however that folks will find a way around it, the disadvantaged will still want to come here for success and
Governments aren’t invested with moral qualities; only people are. This basic understanding of the world is one of the distinctions between the progressives/socialists and conservatives.

A free market will create big differences in wealth. That wealth disparity is simply a byproduct of freedom — vastly diverse individuals competing to serve consumers will arrive at vastly diverse outcomes.

That disparity is not unfair — if it results from free exchange.

The free market (which, sadly, America doesn’t have) is fair. It also produces better outcomes. Even “losers” do pretty well.

A more astute observer than Moore might show how unfair government intervention is. Licenses, taxes, regulations and corporate subsidies make it harder for the average worker to start his own business, to go from being a “little guy” to being an independent owner of means of production. Most new businesses fail, but running your own business is the best route to prosperity and — surveys suggest — happiness, too.

So the conclusion is that Life isn’t fair and there will be some Warren Buffetts, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerbergs that get richer and they should.   If the Government would stay out of the free market, more would prosper.  A rising tide floats all boats
Nikki Newman and Mark Ehrnstein have plenty in common. They both work at Whole Foods’ headquarters, and they share a passion for the Earth-friendly, healthy and egalitarian values the company espouses.Ask them why they work at Whole Foods, and you get a lot of the same answers.Ask them about their paychecks, though, and you get two different stories.

Newman, the receptionist at the company’s corporate offices, has worked for Whole Foods for six years and now makes about $17 an hour. She lives comfortably in a rented duplex, but she admitted money can get tight on occasion – like the time her dog needed a surprise $750 worth of dental care.

Ehrnstein, on the other hand, is Whole Foods’ global vice president for team member services, a position that pays him a six-figure annual salary. He and his wife, Renee, have worked more than 30 years combined at Whole Foods. They own a 3,151-square-foot home, according to Travis County Central Appraisal District records.

“I feel very grateful to be in the role I’m in, but most of all I feel grateful to work for a company that aligns with my values,” Ehrnstein said. “I feel connections with our team members in that sense. But certainly, the compensation affords different opportunities.”

This is not the stereotypical story of the gap between rich and poor. Few would criticize the wage disparity between Newman and Ehrnstein given their tenures and responsibilities at the company. Plus, the gap from top to bottom is much narrower at Whole Foods than other large grocers because it pays higher entry-level wages and caps executive pay at 19 times the salary of its lowest-paid employee.

To which I say so what.  The higher up in the company they are or the more responsibility one has, the more they should earn.  Their actions will bear the legal responsibility and shape the course and success of the company. 

I don’t give a rats rump that someone has the chance to make more than me.  We should have the opportunity to make the most money we can possibly make without the government restricting that chance.  That is why we compete, innovate, work and strive for success.  I say screw the idea of socialism because that is what makes America great.  We compete to be the best and try to out do the other guy.  It’s how we (the US) beat the Soviet’s to the Moon, *(humans) invented cars, trains, planes, computers, telephones, cellphones and is also the reason there is Apple, Facebook, Ford, steel, iPads and every other success that has been invented.  We have the cure for polio, vaccines and advancements in medicine that socialized societies would never have had the incentive to create.

The planet Neptune has never been seen by anyone looking at the night sky through just their own eyes. So distant is it from the sun that the light it reflects toward the Earth is so faint that the planet is effectively invisible in the darkness of night. And yet, the outermost large planet of our solar system was discovered by astronomers who knew exactly where to look….

Following William Herschel‘s discovery of Uranus in 1781, the world’s astronomers went to work to observe and describe the seventh planet of the solar system, taking detailed measurements of its trajectory in space.Illustration of the Pull of a More Distant Planet Forty years later, French astronomer Alexis Bouvard published detailed tables describing Uranus’ orbit about the sun. More than that however, his tables incorporated the lessons learned about planetary orbits from Johannes Kepler and Sir Isaac Newton to chart the path Uranus would follow into the future.

But then, something strange happened. Significant discrepancies between Bouvard’s projected path for Uranus and its actual orbit began to be observed – irregularities that were not observed in the tables he had created to describe the orbital paths of the planets Jupiter and Saturn using the same methods. Soon, observations and detailed measurements confirmed that Uranus was moving along a path that was not described by Bouvard’s careful calculations.

These irregularities led Bouvard to hypothesize that an as yet unseen eighth planet in the solar system might be responsible for what he and other astronomers were observing.

Voyager 2 Image of Neptune, emphasizing the 'Great Dark Spot' Over twenty years later, astronomer Urbain Le Verrier was working on the problem, taking a unique approach to resolving it.

What made Le Verrier’s work unique is that he applied the math developed by Sir Isaac Newton to describe the gravitational attraction between two bodies to solve the problem. Here, he used Newton’s theory to anticipate where an as yet unknown, but more distant planet also orbiting the sun would have to be to create the effects observed upon the position of the planet Uranus in its orbit.

Le Verrier completed his calculations regarding the position of the hypothetical eighth planet on 1 June 1846. A little over three months later, on 23 September 1846, the planet Neptune was observed for the first time at almost exactly the position in space where Le Verrier predicted it would be, confirming Newton’s gravitational theory in the process.

We’re going to do something similar today to explain why household income inequality in the United States has increased over time, even though there has been no change in individual income inequality.

From Darkness to Discovery

Our first chart below is based on data taken from the U.S. Census’ data [Excel spreadsheet] on the inflation-adjusted median and mean income for all Americans from 1947 through 2010, which we’ve presented in terms of constant 2010 U.S. dollars. For reference, we’ve also indicated the NBER’s official periods of recession in the U.S. during this period with the shaded red vertical bands on the chart:

U.S. Individuals Real Median Income with Recessions from 1947 through 2010

Next, we took the U.S. Census’ breakdown of inflation-adjusted median income for both men and women for each of these years [Excel spreadsheet] and used the math that applies to log-normal distributions to construct the combined median income that applies to individuals. Our results are shown in the chart below, along with the actual median incomes reported by the U.S. Census so we can compare our calculated results with them:

U.S. Individuals Real Median Income by Sex with Recessions from 1947 through 2010

As you can see, our calculated results in creating a weighted median from the subsets of median income data for men and women are very close to the actual real median income numbers for all individuals. Here, because per capita income has been demonstrated to follow a log-normal distribution, we are able to use this math to either combine or extract subsets of data that have never been officially presented.

As an aside, we achieved the results above by treating the reported median income data the way we might calculate a weighted average. The beauty of the log-normal distribution math is that we can do this with medians, which we ordinarily could not do otherwise.

In the chart above, you can see the effect of the changing composition of the U.S. workforce, as the relative share of women earning incomes in the United States has increased since 1947. In 1947, the median income for individuals is much closer to the median income for men than it is for women. By 2010 however, we see that the median income for individuals is about halfway in between the median incomes for men and for women, reflecting that nearly equal share that both sexes now have among all individual income earners in the U.S.

Extracting The Unseen

The U.S. Census Bureau provides the median income data for individuals (or persons), men and women. It also reports median income data for both male and female wage or salary earners [Excel spreadsheet], whom we’ll simply describe as Working Men and Working Women.

Using the math we demonstrated above with this data, we can extract the median incomes for two categories of people for whom the U.S. Census has never reported median incomes: men and women with incomes who do not earn wages or salaries, or as we’ll describe them from now on, Non-Working Men and Non-Working Women! Today, we’re putting what we found for all U.S. individual income earners together for the first time:

U.S. Individuals Real Median Income by Sex and Working Status with Recessions from 1947 through 2010

Constructing Households

Now, let’s combine our median income earners into two-person households, pairing working men and women, working men and non-working women, non-working men and working women and finally non-working men and non-working women. We’ve shown our results below, along with the U.S. Census’ official median income for U.S. households:

U.S. Couples Median Real Income with Recessions, 1947-2010

Well, look at that! The households formed by our single-wage and salary income earning couples from 1947 through 2010 closely parallels the actual real median income for U.S. households with a working man and non-working woman over that time (except for the years 1974 through 1977, where there seems to be an anomaly in the Census’ data for working men – and here, the actual median splits the difference!) Also keeping in mind that the actual median household income might include the income contributions of additional people (say individuals between the ages of 16 and 24 who might be working part time at minimum wage jobs while also attending school and living at home with their parents), which likely accounts for the difference between the two, we’ve pretty much just demonstrated that we can successfully model basic U.S. households using just the data that applies for U.S. individuals.

But wait! What about single person households? Our next chart throws them into the mix as well!

U.S. Households Median Real Income with Recessions, 1947-2010

Using the figures for 2010, we approximated the income percentiles for each of our single and two-person median income earning households. The table below reveals our results (our model should put each approximated percentile within 0.2 of the actual percentile!):

Household Type 2010 Median Income Approximate Income Percentile
Working Men and Working Women $64,075 61.4
Working Men and Non-Working Women $50,026 50.7
Working Women and Non-Working Men $49,344 50.1
Non-Working Men and Women $35,295 36.7
Working Men Only $37,102 38.6
Working Women Only $26,973 27.7
Non-Working Men Only $22,371 22.4
Non-Working Women Only $12,924 11.5

It occurs to us that all we would need to increase the income inequality among households in the United States is to increase the nation’s percentage of single person households among all households. That would work by increasing the number of households at the lower end of the income spectrum, even though it would have absolutely no effect upon the measured income inequality for individuals. The U.S. Census Bureau shows the change in the number of single person households since 1960:

U.S. Census Bureau: Percent of Single Person Households, 1960-2011

Here’s the U.S. Census Bureau’s Gini index measure of the amount of income equality among U.S. households for the years from 1947 through 2010:

Phil Wendt's Studio: Figure 1. Gini Index of Income Dispersion, 1947-2010

And here is the Gini index measure of the amount of income equality among U.S. individuals for the years from 1947 through 2005 (the data since 2005 is presented here – it’s similar to all that recorded since 1960 in the chart below):

The relevant data in the chart above is the Gini measure indicated with the hollow circles, which is based on the “fine”, or more detailed, income bins reported by the U.S. Census in its annual Current Population Survey. The other data in the chart, indicated by solid diamonds, represents income distribution data reported by the U.S. Census in larger, or more “coarse” income bins, which are less detailed and are therefore a much less accurate measure of the nation’s level of income inequality in any given year.

Intersections and Connections

Looking at where all the data in these three charts intersect and overlap, What we find is that since 1960, the level of income inequality for U.S. individuals as measured by the “fine” Gini index is nearly constant, but has increased significantly for U.S. households. What has changed over that time is the composition of U.S. households, with a steady increase in the percentage of single person households.

Without a corresponding increase in the measured income inequality for U.S. individuals, the increase in the measured income inequality for U.S. households has been almost entirely driven by the increase in the number of single person households over time.

So income inequality among U.S. households isn’t increasing because the rich are getting richer. That means that policies intended to right this situation by going after the rich in the name of “fairness” are guaranteed to fail, because the real cause of the increase in income inequality among U.S. households over time is something that cannot be fixed by such actions.

If only the people pushing such policies could see that….

Interviewing, What Not to Say

As I face the end of this phase of my corporate career, I recall back on the many interviews I’ve had.  Some went well as I’ve had jobs, and certainly many did not as I didn’t get others.

The strangest question I was ever asked was if you could choose whether to be on a planet where you worked all the time or one that you could rest and play all the time, which would you choose?  Fortunately, I answered I’d go to the planet to work all the time so that I could get to the other one to enjoy the fruits of my labor.  Somehow that worked and I got the job.

After I wrote this, one of my friends from work sent me this worthy entry.  Thanks Arline.

  After spending 30 minutes interviewing a young man for a position  
        he asked if I would elaborate a little more on my own position, I
        kindly agreed, He then said he had decided he wanted my Job and
        not the on he was interviewing for.

After hearing the mention of what people say, I decided to include these answers from Rachel Farrell, Careerbuilder.com, to whom I give full credit.

You can always depend on young children to tell you exactly what they think, or precisely how they feel on any given topic. Want to know if your breath smells bad, if you should wear a different tie or if you really look fat in that outfit? Find a 5-year-old. He will give you an uncensored, honest answer.

Needless to say, we expect more from adults. Especially adults who are interviewing for a job.

For the second year in a row, we asked hiring managers everywhere to tell us the craziest thing they’ve ever heard in an interview. Keep reading for 37 hilarious (and true) statements from the job candidates:

1. “I interviewed a gentleman who looked great on paper but said two things during the interview that made me think, ‘Really?’ When starting the interview, I asked him what his hobbies were, to lighten the mood. He replied, ‘I sometimes walk up to perfect strangers just to say hello. I also like to pick up trash if I see some when I’m walking around.’ After I asked him how the position would contribute to his professional goals and future plans, he replied, ‘My main goal is to be a rock star; this is more of a backup plan.'” — Jessica Harrington, marketing associate, Eastern Michigan University

2. “I remember interviewing a secretary some years ago and asking her, ‘What is important to you in a job?’ Her answer was: ‘I want to work close to Bloomingdales.'” — Bettina Seidman, career management coach, Seidbet Associates

3. “‘When your workload is heavy and you are overwhelmed, how do you handle the stress?’ ‘I run in the bathroom and cry.’” — Jessica Simko, Career Branding Guide

4. “We performed mock interviews where our clients were put in an interview session using their real backgrounds, interests, etc. When asked why the client left her last job, which was in a family buffet-style restaurant, her response was, ‘I was hungry and didn’t know it would be a problem so I had pizza delivered to the restaurant while was on the clock.'” — Jacqueline Lisenby, chief visionary officer and president, StatusJ Entertainment Group

5. “I interviewed a senior engineer for one of our open positions. He demanded coffee and proceeded to spill coffee in his lap. Then he pointed to his groin area, laughed and said, ‘It looks like I wet myself!’ Needless to say, he didn’t get the job.” — Lisa Hall, human resources trainer and author of “Taking Charge of Your Own Health”

6. “I recently had the craziest interviewee ever come into our offices for a copywriter position. I wanted enthusiastic, but this guy was so over the top, I almost laughed in the middle of the interview. He high-fived someone on my team after hearing that my team member just got engaged. He talked about how terrible his boss was for a good 20 minutes. He said he felt like he was already working with us. And then he left something behind so that he could come back and get it. He called wondering when he could come back, and we [saw] him prepping in the parking lot.” — Amanda Halm, senior copywriter, editor, Bridezilla.com

7. “Without a doubt, the craziest thing I ever heard came from a candidate for an entry-level management position. He looked perfect on paper, so we scheduled a phone interview for 3 p.m. He answered the phone and when I introduced myself he said, ‘Hold on, I’m at a bar. Let me finish this shot and go outside.’ Amidst the noise of an active game of pool and a rowdy bar crowd, he slipped outside and told me, ‘You know what? I’m a little drunker than I thought. Can we reschedule?’ Needless to say, we did not.” — Heather Lytle, senior partner, H&L Media Partners

8. “While I am not the interviewer for a corporation, having been in many interviews for opportunities, I have actually heard a number of interesting, crazy, less-tactful things said from the interviewer side. The worst was, I drove two hours to do an in-person, one-hour interview and the interviewer was 30-40 minutes late to the interview, even though she walked by me in the lobby six or seven times with a bag of chips talking about her personal life to the receptionist. When she finally came out to get me, she didn’t even act shocked or sorry for the delay, and just said, ‘I was munching on a bag of chips and time flies when you’re eating chips.’ Let’s just say I knew then it wouldn’t be a good fit.” — Chris Perry, founder of Career Rocketeer

9. “We recently asked a job candidate, ‘What do you know about us?’ He leaned back in his chair and replied, ‘Not much. Why don’t you fill me in?’ He wasn’t hired.” — John Kramb, Adams County Winery

10. “We always include a casual lunch or dinner portion during an interview to continue our discussions in a more informal manner. This candidate let their guard down, falling out of their ‘interview mode,’ during the friendly and casual meal-time discussions. They went so far as to share that they installed an illegal second network in their office with co-workers and would spend their afternoons gaming on the clock. They then went on to further share how regularly in the mornings and afternoons they would sleep at their desk during working hours. Bragging that they had never once been caught in either of these acts. Needless to say, this candidate was not hired. Prior to this meal-time, more casual discussion, they were likely to be made an offer. The lesson learned and to be shared is that you are on the interview from before you arrive at a location until you have returned home. I was truly surprised that such a smart individual would make such a stupid mistake by sharing such obviously unacceptable work practices with a potential new employer.” — Zachary Z. Zguris, chief technology officer, Lime Design Inc.

11. “The interview was for a highly visible administrative assistant position. Clearly, I was looking for someone who would exercise tact with top-caliber people who would come into our office. I opened the interview with a fairly standard question:

‘What is it that attracts you to this job the most?’ Without hesitation, she replied, ‘My mother thinks this will be the right job for me.'” — Bill Lampton, president, Championship Communication

12. “We have the standard lists of questions you’d expect to hear, but at any given moment, I’ll interject with, ‘If you were an animal, what animal would you be and why?’ The most shocking response was, ‘I’d be a cat so I can lay around all day and not have to do anything.'” — Efrain Ayala, account executive, Walt Denny Inc., The Home Products Agency

13. “The man’s phone kept ringing. Finally, he answered it and he said, ‘Hello. No. I’m fine. OK.’ Of course, it was rude and uncalled for in my opinion, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt and asked if everything was OK. He basically said nothing was wrong but that his wife was checking in. He had not flown in for the interview. He was local.” — T. Murray, author of “Stuck on Stupid: A Guide for Today’s Professional Stuck in a Rut”

14. “The most bizarre experience I ever had was regarding a candidate who was offered a position with my client. Because she had disclosed that she had a college degree, she was required to produce proof in the form of transcripts, diploma, etc. She told us that she was unable to produce the required documentation because her identity had been changed and that the information the firm was seeking was in her previous name. Due to safety reasons, she was unable to produce proof (in any name she had or was using).” — Cathleen Faerber, managing director, The Wellesley Group Inc.

15. “I was interviewing an older woman for a position in my company. I thought she had a great personality and was considering hiring her. Then at the end of the interview she asked if I would be able to give her a ride to work and then back home again everyday! Umm, no.” — Janice Celeste, president and CEO, Celeste Studios Film & Video

16. “I had a woman come in and tell me that she ran a business around the corner and that she would be working this job, as well as managing her business during business hours. I wanted to be sure that I understood her correctly — that she would be taking time away from the position with me to ‘check in’ on her store periodically. But when I asked her a few questions to clarify, she became upset with me and ended up storming out of my office.” — Shay Olivarria, speaker and author of “Bigger Than Your Block”

17. “One job candidate arrived late for the interview, in a not-so-gracious mood. ‘The commute is terrible,’ she said. ‘I’m so glad I don’t have to do this every day.'” — Sammie Samuella Becker, CEO, TigressPR

18. “I had a candidate in the final interview stages. He pretty much had the job. He was invited to interview with a couple of people who would become peers as last step in the process. One would-be peer asked my candidate to demonstrate to them his work ethic and drive, to which he replied, ‘You can just strap a saddle on my a** and ride me!’ Apparently, he was hoping to show what a workhorse he is. As you might imagine, he did not get the job.” — Jenny Foss, recruiting agency owner, recruiter and job search consultant

19. “I interviewed a candidate over the phone for a sales position. Less than five minutes into the call, I began to hear water swishing and realized that the candidate was taking a bath during the phone interview.” — Jessica Miller-Merrell, owner, Xceptional HR

20. “I had a candidate come into my office with her child and proceed to breastfeed her baby boy during the interview. There was no acknowledgment or mention from the woman I was interviewing about the baby or him eating.” — Miller-Merrell

21. “While interviewing a young lady who was wearing a revealing top, at the end of the interview, she leaned forward and said in a sultry voice, ‘I’ll do anything to get this job.’ She got people’s attention, but eliminated herself from getting hired.” — Ronald Kaufman consultant and author of “Anatomy of Success”

22. “One [candidate] came in dressed very professionally and really looked like she had made an effort to look the part. Some people assume because we are laid back and bring our pets to work, that we are extremely casual and will show up for an interview dressed in jeans, so this was a nice change. Toward the end of the interview, I complimented her on how professional she looked. She got this huge smile and looked down at her clothes and said, ‘I know. I think I look like Mary Tyler Moore; that’s why I wore this!’ We ended up hiring her and she was such a quirky, fun, enthusiastic employee with a style all her own.” — Cindy Lukacevic, owner/vice president of marketing, Dinovite Inc.

23. “While wrapping up a seemingly decent interview with a young lady for an administrative assistant position, I asked her if she had any questions. She asked one or two default questions about the company then — drum roll — she says, ‘I used my last bit of change to put gas in my car to make it here. Is there any way that you could help me out?’ Needless to say, I was floored and the candidate did not get the job.” — Clorissa Wright, senior publicist, WrightWay Marketing and Consulting

24. “‘I like to date the young ones, is that bad?’ and ‘I love older women, do you really only have women working in your organization?’ Those are the two I will never forget.” — Greg Palomino, CRE8AD8

25. “I was working for a private investigator and interviewing applicants for a decoy position, in which they could possibly be confronted with various situations while investigating everyone from potentially cheating wives to drug dealers. I asked a guy in his early 20s, ‘What would you do if you were working undercover and someone you were investigating starting using drugs?’ He laughed, ‘Oh, it wouldn’t bother me. I mean, I have a medical marijuana card and all. You know, anxiety and stuff.’ ‘Oh, really?’ I noticed his eyes were slightly glassy. ‘Yep.’ He grinned. ‘So, are you high now?’ I asked. A chuckle. ‘Just a little!’ ‘Oh, just a little?’ I replied. ‘When did you last smoke?’ ‘Oh, before I left my place to come here.’ He didn’t get the job.” –Lauren Gard, Infinite Public Relations

26. “Over a nice dinner, the president of a company conducted a final interview with a vice president of sales candidate. At the end of the interview, the job was going to be offered to the candidate. The waiter brought the bill and the candidate, who was employed at the time, took it, pulled out his company credit card and said, ‘Don’t worry about this, I’ll put it on my company’s expense account.’ The president later said he didn’t know which shocked him more, the lack of ethics or the candidate’s stupidity. Obviously the job offer was never extended.” — Brian Marchant-Calsyn, Health Career Agents

27. “An executive search recruiter was explaining the qualities needed for the job: multitasking, hard-working, time management skills, attention to detail, etc. The candidate responded with, ‘I can’t do that. I’m not a robot.'” –Andrea Friedman, public relations coordinator, The LaSalle Network, a Chicago professional staffing and recruiting company

28. “A recruiter was in the midst of an interview, when the candidate asked, ‘Do you mind if I use your kitchen to eat my turkey sandwich?'” — Friedman

29. “An executive search recruiter asked the candidate, who was previously an accounting manager, what their ideal job would be. The candidate responded with, ‘A Playboy photographer.'” — Friedman

30. “I had to interview for a position that required organization, time management and attention to detail. My candidate was young, in his early 20s, and wore all black to the interview. We were a very casual office, so I thought nothing of it. But when I asked him to describe for me an instance when he had managed his time effectively, he cited managing his time in dungeon raids in the online game ‘World of Warcraft.’ When I said I knew the game and had even played it a bit, he took that as his cue to answer all my questions with ‘World of Warcraft’ examples. The word ‘necromancer’ came up far too many times. Needless to say, I was looking for real-world examples and he didn’t get the position.” — Jennifer Escalona

31. “One of the funniest things an applicant said to me was in response to my question, ‘What do you like in an office environment?’ The applicant said, ‘I like 42nd and Broadway.’ Needless to say, that wasn’t what I was asking, and that wasn’t anywhere near our office location.” — Sharon Armstrong, author of “The Essential Performance Review Handbook”

32. “‘I have a hunch that someone in your office is dating an ex-boyfriend/acquaintance of mine and I feel that’s too awkward of a conflict of interest. I will not accept any job based on this kind of pork-chop recommendation.’ Especially amusing because no one in our office at the time was dating any men. We still have no idea where the candidate came up with this theory, or what exactly she means by ‘pork-chop recommendation,’ for that matter.” — Anne Howard, Lynn Hazan & Associates

33. “In an interview, the oddest thing has to be a candidate asking if we had any
food that she could have.” — Howard

34. “When I interview candidates, I always ask the following questions in this order: What are you most proud of? What do you enjoy doing? Why did you leave your previous jobs? Here are the answers I received from one candidate: ‘I am most proud of my wife and children.’ ‘The thing I enjoy most is spending time with my family.’ ‘I decided to quit. I had an affair with a co-worker and when we broke up there was too much tension in the office.’ And he said it without batting an eye.” — Bruce, executive recruiter and career counselor, Hurwitz Strategic Staffing Ltd.

35. “One time during an interview, a candidate removed his flip-flops and literally stuck his foot in my face. Another time, I was interviewing a candidate who asked me out on a date three times in five minutes. I had to remind him that he was on an interview — not speed dating.” — Heather Araneo, branch manager, Snelling Staffing – The Wyckoff Group

36. “Interviewer (president of a mid-sized company): Do you plan on having children?
Answer (me/candidate): Yes, at some point.
Interviewer: Do you intend to continue working then?
A: Yes.
Interviewer: What are you going to do, be like a cow and drop it in the middle of a field?” — Janice Warren, director, OneReport, SRI World Group

37. “One day, I met with a candidate who, on his résumé, had good experience and education. I was going through the normal interview questions with him when I asked him which accounting system he had implemented. His response was immediate: ‘PEACHTREE!’ But then he started shaking his head and saying, “No, no, no’ and then he slapped himself across the face and said ‘NO! QUICKBOOKS!'” — Meghan Norman, corporate recruiter

Green Jobs – Teaching my Offspring about Capitalism

Times are tough for teenagers to get a job.  I’ve heard that unemployment is more that 20 +% for teenagers.  My son has struck out getting a job, although he has put more effort into video games than looking for a job, so we started an eBay business.

It’s name is NeonDeal, Click on the name and see what he is selling, vintage fishing lures.   The one in the picture is worth a few hundred dollars.  Of course, I know something about it, but he built the blog and the Twitter account which you should follow and see what he is selling. He sold and shipped his first lures last week and made more money in one night than he would in a month at McDonald’s.  He’s learned a valuable lesson, work for yourself and it’s good to be the boss.  Michael Dell started a company called PC’s Limited out of his dorm room….It’s now call Dell Computers.  Hope my son gets that kind of  taste for the real green.  So he’s self employed for the summer and is understanding inventory, shipping, logistics, marketing, sales, blogging and if you don’t work…you don’t get paid.

Now, when I said green jobs in the title, I mean in terms of Money. If you thought I meant Green jobs in terms of saving the planet, they are tough to come by in real life.   One thing I learned is that if they really were a better solution, they would have succeeded on their own already.  That is the way business works.

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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?