A Lifetime Working with Idiots & How to Survive – Chap. 6

One of my favorite quotes pertaining to perception is: “In the Kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is King”. How you perceive the world and others, and how the world and others perceive you, are entirely different; of this I’m certain. Very few people are completely honest with themselves. Many become their perceived selves and live their lives as such. Introspection is a difficult task. After all, it’s not easy for many people to admit to themselves their faults; that they might be lazy, a liar, dishonest, etc.

At the same time, more and more people are posting their antics on Facebook, Twitter, youtube, and the like, affording others an opportunity to form their perceptions based on these snippets of bad behavior. In the words of Aldous Huxley, “There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception”. Continued in book…

A Lifetime Working with Idiots & How to Survive – Chap. 7

Today, political correctness has gone amuck in every aspect of our lives. A day doesn’t go by that there isn’t at least one story on the evening news that doesn’t reveal just how far gone our society is. One day, the news reported on a five year old boy who was expelled from kindergarten for kissing a five year old girl on the cheek. Under that criteria, I would have been expelled weekly. Another day, there was a story about a twelfth-grader whose teacher told her to take off her tee-shirt because it had a picture of a political candidate the teacher was opposed to; and when the girl refused, she was escorted from the building.

Then, there are those organizations that want to stop the Nativity from being displayed at Christmas and people from saying Merry Christmas; school boards stopping Halloween parties and costumes from being worn to school because some kids may not have the money to buy a costume. Are you kidding me? These idiots came to the conclusion that such children are deprived. So, in their infinite wisdom, they deprive them even further. Brilliant! And, I don’t want to hear about all that psychological crap they always use to base their decisions on. That’s pure bullsh#t. Kids are resilient. Did the school board really think that these same children wouldn’t be resourceful enough to improvise some sort of costume and go trick or treating later that night? Continued in book…

A Lifetime Working with Idiots & How to Survive – Chap. 8

In the next few chapters, we’re going to cover some day-to-day business etiquette specific to dress code, meetings, emails, hallway conversations, the Christmas party, maintaining one’s office space, and the like. If you didn’t know these activities had certain “protocols”, you do now. Let’s start with a high-level, common sense review of meetings. I’m sure somewhere in America there is a college that offers a degree in Corporate Meeting Protocol, a certified CMP program, as well as dozens of additional “no-hope-of-ever-getting-a-job” majors.

Let’s cut to the chase: your participation in a meeting will, more than likely, be one of three roles: the chairperson / facilitator, a presenter, or an attendee. If you are the chairperson/facilitator (in most organizations, both roles are combined into one), your responsibility includes arriving early and having everything prepared in advance: conference line established, the projector or video conference capability functioning, presentation materials organized on your laptop to be displayed, etc. Continued in book…

A Lifetime Working with Idiots & How to Survive – Chap. 9

Email protocol is critical to one’s success in the workplace. Unfortunately, email has just about completely replaced the personal visit and phone conversation as the preferred method to communicate. IM (instant messaging) is yet another unfortunate means of communication in common use. The reasons I state that these means of communication are unfortunate is that these alternatives have replaced in-person interaction; and the myriad of benefits which could otherwise be derived: eye-to-eye contact, voice inflection, body language, facial expressions, etc. For those very reasons, still to this day, I get up and go to see people first, if not feasible, call, and as a last resort, send an email.

Emails proliferate like rabbits. We’ve all seen it countless times; leave two emails in your inbox, go to a meeting and come back to hundreds all jumping up-and-down, screaming for attention. A properly constructed Subject Line will definitely help to ensure that your email grabs your intended reader’s attention and helps to elicit a timely response. Below is how I’ve structured my subject lines which have produced excellent results over the years. Continued in book…

A Lifetime Working with Idiots & How to Survive – Chap. 10

The hallway conversation is another means to achieve success. If you’re like me, you need to get answers, you need to get status, and you need to get results. Since most of us are in too many meetings already, interaction in the hallways, while not ideal, is better than scheduling another meeting. So, how do you handle a one or two minute hallway conversation to get the most out of it? One, you never challenge someone for not getting back to you on a request. Instead, ask if there is anything you can do to help them to help you. Two, be respectful of your surroundings. It’s a hallway. People may be in cubes, offices, and conference rooms in your immediate vicinity; being loud is disruptive and impolite. Three, never interrupt if the person you’d like to speak to is already engaged in another hallway conversation.

If my schedule allows, I leave for meetings 10 minutes early so that I can pass the cubes and offices of people I need to get status or a deliverable from. This still constitutes a hallway conversation since I only poke my head in (keeping my feet firmly planted in the hallway). Again, never interrupt if they have someone in their cube or office, or if they are on the phone. And, don’t stalk, hanging around waiting for someone to finish up. It makes people uncomfortable and looks like an act of desperation. Continued in book…