Category Archives: Communication

Employee wants = business gain

Employee wants = business gain

Mark sat slumped in the uncomfortable auditorium room chair trying to keep his eyes open while his manager, Ray, was intently taking notes. “Employee wants = business gain,” Ray whispered as he jotted it down.

“Anyone understand what this means?” the presenter asked. The audience stared back blankly. “Remember our list of employee wants? Who can give me a recap?” A young, balding college student raised his hand and spoke, “We’re supposed to document what our employees want,” the presenter nodded and continued, “this is where we use that information. As business do we really care what our employees want?” the presenter put his hand to his ear, “I can’t hear you,” he yelled after a soft “no” was heard in the audience. “Do we really care what employees want?” “No!” yelled the audience.

“Exactly! We don’t care! What we do care about is how we can use that information to increase productivity, profitability, and get ourselves that promotion. And how can we do that?” The balding college student stood up again, gleaming at the recognition, “by using it as leverage, to, to, to…” he shuddered, “get what the business needs.” “Yes!” Exclaimed the presenter.

“For example, Mary is a single mother, you know she’s stressed but she’s compliant. She has accumulated 1.5 weeks of vacation time and wants to take a long weekend to take her kids to see their grandparents. Do we let her go?” Silence from the audience, “No. No we don’t let her go, not without getting something in return to make you look like a gracious and productive manager, any ideas?”

The audience shouted ideas out:

“Ask for overtime?”

“Work through lunch”

“Take on extra projects”

“All good ideas, you just have to make sure you know the labour laws. You can’t specifically ask her to work through a legal break period, but you can force them into working through a break by giving them extra projects. Plus breaking a labour law gives the employee power, and we don’t want that. You see, employees are the female in the employment relationship. A good manager keeps them off balance and instils fear of being rejected. Giving them power is the opposite of productive and profitable.

“But isn’t it a good thing to empower employees and encourage them to make their own decisions?” a confused woman in the back row asked.

“Yes and no,” the presenter answered. “It is good when it makes you look good and increases profits, AKA your bonus.” He smiled. “Making the employee work extra hard for a vacation she’s already accrued is a double win for the company. Employees will become accustomed to working harder for their vacations. Can anyone think of a third level of productivity that can be achieved?”

A mix of blank faces and contemplative smiles emitted from the audience. “The third productivity gain from this psychological game is that once employees learn that they need to improve productivity to go on vacation, they’ll naturally work hard before requesting the time off. Once they request the time off (or whatever else it is they want) you can ask for even more productivity (or whatever it is that would benefit your numbers) before the delivery date of their request.”

Mark’s manager turned to him with a smile and whispered, “This is such a great idea, how much do you think we could improve our numbers with this strategy?”

Mark clicked his pen and wrote shortly on his steno pad, and crumpled the paper. After grabbing his brief case, he stood, turned around and said, “Catch,” and tossed the ball of paper onto his manager’s lap. Confused his manager un-crumpled the paper and read “I QUIT” written in the centre of the page. By the time he looked up, Mark was slowly walking out of the auditorium doors.

 

The bad friend

The bad friend

I am a bad friend.

All her friends have always said so.

When she was nine, her best friend told her she was a bad friend because she wore glasses.

When she was 12, a friend told her she was bad because her braces and mouth retainer made her breath smell.

When she was 15, she was a bad friend for standing up for her boyfriend.

When she was 18, she was a bad friend for not being friends with a girl she hadn’t spoken to in two years.

When she was 21, she was a bad friend for not saying hello to a friend of a friend who really needed people to be nice to her.

When she was 24, she was a bad friend for not keeping in contact for the few weeks she went home to help her dad recover from heart surgery.

When she was 27, she wasn’t a bad friend because she had given up on having friends.

When she was 30 she was a bad friend for always calling another friend in the evening after a few drinks.

At least she’s got a few years before someone blames her for trying to be friends with them.

People who don’t like being told what to do

People who don’t like being told what to do

I have a never ending fondness for learning new and better ways of doing things.  It makes life continually fascinating to look back at what once made sense and think, “what was I thinking?”  I find it hilarious and entertaining.  Generally I accept advice for my problems positively if the advice really does solve a problem better.  Not everyone does.

I remember old friends pointing out, in a moment of complete frustration, that I am always telling them what to do.  I think there was a disconnect.  Obviously I didn’t always tell them what to do, but if I did it is because I notice that they are struggling with the output of some sort of task and they were constantly complaining that something wasn’t working right.  As a friend, I thought it natural to share a method that worked for me.

These individuals don’t see it that way.  They don’t see advice or opinion as friendly unless they directly asked for it.  Some have inferiority complexes where in they interpret the words “I know a better way” as “you are always doing everything wrong”.  This causes them to get defensive towards the good intention tossed their way.

Some, not all, dislike being “told what to do” so much that they will purposely not follow advice to their own detriment.  They value the liberty in their decision making above seeking the best methods of taking care of oneself.  It is a social disorder in the sense that they will eat unhealthy food because of who told them to eat healthy food instead.  There is no recourse to why they should eat healthy food in their brains.  Until they personally decide to make an effort to keep themselves healthy, they will not take any advice on the subject.  But once the decision is made, suddenly my advice is soaked up like a sponge.

Because of this strange internal switch, I find these people very difficult to be friends with, therefore I avoid them like the plague. This saves me the lecture because when I hear the words: “stop telling me what to do”, I really hear, “you’re a horrible friend.”

On status anxiety

On status anxiety

The world is apparently flattening yet all over I still sense a need in people to cling to old forms of social class structures.  Top schools, top jobs, top companies, top designers, top top top top top.  Are we working for money or recognition?  If someone pays you a salary, you are working class.  If you live paycheck to pay check, regardless of income amount, you are broke.  If your net worth is negative, you are broke.

The standard of living gives people a false sense of social standing.  The ability to talk and act “up” also give a false sense of where they stand.  People aren’t competing against each other, people are competing against what others claim to have or be doing.  There is a big difference, especially if you encounter a habitual exaggerator who defines themselves by their dreams not by their actual accomplishments.  But anyway, why the need to compete after the contest is over?  After the good school, good work experience, good standard of living, etc.  At what point does the competitive drive just allow everyone to kick back and simply enjoy the fruits?

i guess I just want the competitive people to shut up.  It is the noise coming out of their mouth, infecting my ears that irritates me.  For some reason my brain finds meaning in it, fearful meaning.  Perhaps my sensitivity to words is just flaring up again.  The words hit at my insecurity about no being smart enough or good enough.  So whenever I hear the competitive chatter, it gets to me.  I don’t like being taunted, teased, or put down.  Words have meaning and I respect them.  Therefore I don’t use them aggressively unless I mean to, but that doesn’t mean I should expect everyone else to follow my same doctrine.

Harnessing my own insecurity would help.  If I accepted that I am perfectly fine and capable, then I could move on.  I could fill in the empty space were my old insecurity sat with something better that doesn’t listen for fearful confirmation.  I could replace it with confidence and the ability to not need to second guess myself.

The Frequency of Conversation

The Frequency of Conversation

Conversations either flow or they don’t.  I find it strange when my in vain efforts to initiate conversations leads my counter party and myself to have a conversation over how my behavior has been interpreted as strange to them.

There is just no simpler way of saying it:

“I just wanted to talk to you, so I called, and when you didn’t answer, I left you a message.  When you didn’t return my call for a few days I assumed you didn’t want to talk to me….then when you finally did talk to me, I had already gotten over wanting to talk to you, but I was suddenly stuck in conversation with you and had to processes the two conflicting ideas that 1) I thought you didn’t want to talk to me and now 2) you are talking to me.”

So you can understand my confusion and hesitance because now that I am finally having the conversation that I was hoping to have 5 days ago, I can’t enjoy it because I have a feeling that I’m going have something I want to tell you about tomorrow and I’ll have to wait another 5 days until you are in the mood to talk with me.  At that time I will have probably forgotten what it was I wanted to tell you, so I won’t have anything to say, so I’ll just act nervous because all this stuff is going through my mind because someone in particular doesn’t like having conversations as often as I do.

On Being Blunt

On Being Blunt

In answer to the question, “would you say being blunt is a bad thing?” I found the following amusing answers in a random internet forum:

1) “I can admire putting aside pretension and telling it like it is. However, I have to draw the line at people who do not give a shit about what they say. Especially when it comes at the cost of another person’s dignity.  If more people were telling me, “You’re a dick,” than, “I appreciate your honesty,” — and if it was bothering me — maybe I’d wanna re-evaluate the way I choose my words. Not necessarily because my lexicon is somehow wrong, but maybe because I’m tired of being called a dick.”

2) “Well it depends now, son. If a girl comes out wearing a new dress and asks you how it looks, and you say, “you look as grotesque as always. putting on a new dress isn’t going to change that fact.” That could be honest or mean, maybe both. So you can be overly blunt and in effect, rude.”

Fuel for Dream Worlds

Fuel for Dream Worlds

New people can always wait, or so, I have recently found, is the best policy.  I didn’t always have that policy though, and I should have, especially with a few key individuals.  Funny how being open doesn’t have the same connotation as it once did.  I used to be so closed off, then all of a sudden I was way open and met some really cool people, through whom I have gradually realized I should be a bit more closed off.  Is it me or is it them?  The difficulty is that, in the beginning, people are always excited about new people with whom they share some sort of connection (or even a “spark” if they’re lucky) with.

That spark helps, it does… but it doesn’t mean that person is not going to treat you in a manner you deem as disrespectful.  It just means that you’re going to get a bit too close to someone too fast before you can gauge any real connectivity between the two of you.  Unless, of course, you can develop the ability to hold back a bit.  Yes, the Sparkers are on your radar more so than any others. Yes, you want to spend more time with them and get more information about them to fill your dream world with wonderful day dreams where this new person is the star player.  But no, you shouldn’t do that.  I was once told that it is not healthy to meditate/think in-depth about an actual person, now I understand why.

You can tell when another person has done this (used your essence for dream world fuel) about you, because at some point in time they will tell you all about how disappointed they are in you.  They will claim that the type of person they perceived you to be in the beginning is actually much different from the person they are speaking to only a few weeks later and they are no longer interested in you because of it.

When this happens, you must question your role in the equation, because in no way has your true character EVER been given a chance.  People (myself included) use the real world as fuel for their own internal dreamworld and it is best to identify this trait in individuals before you start making clouded judgments about them.

If anyone ever claims that you possess any personality traits which are completely opposite of who you know yourself to be, then, I am sorry to tell you, but you have fallen victim to a delusional mind.  There are no words that can convince the person of the type of person you actually are, because they already made up their mind as to who you are to them.  And who you are to a person is all they will LET you be to them.

The words are only a way to pass time while they come to terms with the fact that you aren’t who they want/need you to be, therefore the words mean nothing, so don’t get stuck on them.  Actions and body language are all that matter.

On Talking

On Talking

There is something great about new people who enjoy conversing.  By conversing I mean, deep conversing about anything and everything regardless of any emotional or faux pas connotation surrounding the topic (now that I think of it, there are a few exceptions but it really just depends on what direction the conversation is going).  The best is when the dialogue between us flows smoothly and neither one of us is inhibited from fully speaking what is on our minds because we both can roll with the breaks, pauses, and indications without distress or boredom.

I think what I enjoy most are tangents to the point of talking about something completely different from the root topic, then somehow going back to the starting topic as a signal that the conversation is either over, or it is time to move on to a new topic seed.

Talking is a very important connector for me because of the almost endless realm of information discovery potential.  A lack of this connector between myself and someone in my world causes conflict because I don’t always know what to do with people when they aren’t so keen on chatting.  Kind of dangerous because I will just fill in the gaps about them that I wish I could find out from the source.  That fact that I become aware of how distorted my perception is of a specific person acts as a starting point for freeing up energy, so that I can now apply it to someone who enjoys talking as a means of getting to know me.

Retracing Back to the Starting Point

Retracing Back to the Starting Point

The difficulty in assessing the correct answer to the question: “What the Hell Happened?” is that most of the time I am still inside the situation when I start asking that question.

It isn’t until the situation dies down, to a practically non-existant level, that I can look back and see the starting line more clearly, then I realize where it all went awkward.  In hindsight, my first clue to most ackward interactions with people was in fact the first real interaction of the era.  Relationships (of any kind or magnitude) have eras, each of which have distinct characteristcs and levels of involvement which can and often do fluctuate.

So the awkwardness usually starts at the beginning of pivotal points, either when first realizing that the human body presenting itself to me actually is more than a typical drone/robot, when starting to hang out with someone again after a long period of not hanging out with that person, or when moving from acquaintance to friend.  Anyways, in two cases, I have to admit, I honestly loved the awkwardness of it.  I think it is fun and flirty.  The real spark of this writing situation, however, just plain sucked because it was set up vaguely from the start and remained that way the entire time.  I was confused.  In wondering why everything was so vague, I realized that it was me in the first place who kept playing along despite the fact that I can’t handle vagueness with people. My brain fills in the gaps with a bunch of paranoid crap that makes me delete phone numbers because I have no way of ever knowing if I will ever actually get to know certain people who keep appearing in my life.  Perhaps a post on “timing” or “people who don’t talk but still want to communicate” would be more appropriate.

Oh well, the sun is already coming up in another world, I’m sure it won’t take long to find out what is weird about this one.  There is always something weird, one must just be patient and wait for it to manifest and then choose whether or not the person is worth the weirdness and if I am capable of living with their issues.

Difficulty in Answering Questions About the Future

Difficulty in Answering Questions About the Future

I get nervous when people start heavily interrogating me about my point of view or what I want in life. Sure in an interview these are questions I can answer fairly solidly (or at least I think so because I’ve been hired), but just in everyday life from friends or coworkers I get really paranoid.

I begin to wonder “Why are they asking me this?” or “What difference does it make?” My difficulty with such questions is that people tend to use my answers to forecast some future event and they forget that life doesn’t pass exactly as planned and that perhaps events in the future may inhibit something I have planned from happening.

I think people get fixated on needing to know about the part of their future that revolves around me because of some difficulty in coping with how uncertain life can be.  Anyway I am hesitant to even answer some questions. Especially questions about what I want in the future. How can you receive answers to that type of question seriously? Sure I may want “A” at the moment, but that is because I have no idea that “B” will happen and make me want “C” more than “A.”

Do you see that there is no good answer to questions about the future? Life works like this: You have elements in life such as skills, knowledge, connections, past times, assets, etc. At any given point in time you have a finite amount of life elements at your disposal, therefore you will make decisions based on the present elements as a way of heading toward desired elements. But those desired elements, which you hope to have in your future, do not exist in your life now, and may never exist exactly as you postulate because you are only creating an idea about future life-elements based on the present elements you have in life.

You don’t know what else you are going to encounter that may make you change your plans and neither do your friends. So in trying to answering people’s questions about the future, you leave out the unknown, because that is what people want to hear. “Based on what I know now….I will probably do…blah blah blah.” Nod and smile and change the subject….

Then as time passes, you just go with the flow and perfect the art of collecting elements that complement who you want to be.