Tag Archives: work

Class Warfare – Occupy Wall Street?

We are in a dangerous period in America.  The pitiful state of the economy has exposed a volatile split in the way people view the current state of our nation.

This split is now being exploited and inflamed by politicians who believe they can somehow benefit from the anger and protests.

I realize there is tremendous anger towards what is called Wall Street.  Some of it is justified, they took big risks, get crazy bonuses and some firms got bailed out by the taxpayers.

Although it sounds good to blame our current economic straits on Wall Street, they didn’t crater the economy alone, there are others who contributed significantly – the Government – who pushed bankis to lend to people who could not afford to own a home, thousands of government regulators who failed to do their job, borrowers who hoped to flip the properties they bought for a quick profit, and people who simply lived beyond their income levels, using the equity in their homes like a piggy bank and maxing out their credit cards.

Does it make sense to target what people call Wall Street?  I don’t think so, we need the banking system, it acts like a utility.  Without electric for example, we cannot do much and without a sound financial system we are dead in the water. Also let’s not forget that for every CEO or hot shot trader making ten million dollars a year, there are thousands of hardworking employees making normal salaries.

There is enough blame to go around but the question is where do we go from here?

We can never achieve anything if we are pitted against each other.  Targetting those who have acheived some measure of success is a zero sum game.  I find it interesting that the finger is pointed at Wall Street excesses, but no complains when dysfunctional Hollywood actors get thirty million dollars a picture.  Are we also going to attack athletes who make tens of millions? Or how about Google, Facebook, Apple etc whose founders make zillions.  Do they make too much?

Whether the compensation is fair or not is not the question, its the system we have.  I don’t agree with the crazy money some make, but why are we wasting time attacking them.  It is called capitalism and it is the best system by far.   Occupy Wall Street and its supporters don’t like the bailouts (and neither do I) but bailouts are a type of Socialism not capitalism! Government intervention in the private sector is definitely a part of the problem.

A point that the Occupy Wall Street crowd claims is that no one makes it alone, that America provides the infrastructure, system (capitalism by the way) and education.  True to a small degree, but lets not forget that these things were built and supported with your tax dollars.

Americans have always been able to come together against an external threat or problem that needs solving.  Yes, we do have a terrible habit of waiting till the water level reaches our noses before acting, but I fear we are losing our ability to pull together and get problems solved.  It appears we have turned into a nation of blame placers.

We can never be the great country we have been with only half the people in the game.  Protests are fine but should not inconvenience people, hurt local business, destroy property and obscure the real problems.

Instead of these silly protests, why don’t people present detailed written proposals with solutions and start doing the hard work to get America back to the top!

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Filed under Blog, Class Warfare, criticism, Occupy Wall Street, Wall Street

Slackers – How to Handle Them

We know them, they are in the office,  are in our department, they are everywhere.

They are the slackers. They do little, hide a lot and get by while aggravating the hell out of us.

Slackers take credit for work done by others, pretending to have contributed.

Slackers are experts at appearing to be busy and engaged.  We may all get equal credit or pay but the reality is that in a group of five, at least one will not make any meaningful contribution.

Take the Slack Out

The only way to deal with the slackers in our midst is by a combination of tight management and encouragement.

First, we must have an honest but polite discussion. Preferably one on one, but if you are on a team or group of some sorts, you can have a meeting and bring the topic up.   Keep it on business terms, don’t attack the person.

Try language like the following;

We need everyone to participate equally in this department or on this project.  It is not only fair but essential to have everyone share the work.  Otherwise, we will be unable to accomplish our goals and will make appropriate changes to address the failures of those responsible. Make it clear there will be harsh consequences for failing to contribute meaningfully.

With the warning in place, you need to designate, if in management or request such from a manager, a specific task and a corresponding time line for completion.  When you designate to a known slacker, you must be definitive in what and when it is expected.  If you leave anything unclear you can be sure they will exploit it.

It may be easier, though tedious, to break down the task into tiny components with corresponding timelines, or to hand feed each piece.  That leaves the slacker with very little wiggle room.  You should engage the slacker, being sure they acknowledge they have what they need to do the task at hand.  Then you need to monitor the progress according to the time line set.

Document any failures, you will need them.

If you are not in a management position then you must get the evidence and be tactful.   Ask for a review or meeting and during that time of feedback you can say you are being held back by someone who is not carrying their weight.  This is a time to identify the person and specify the failures.    General, wishy-washy complaints will not work.  If you want management to take action give them hard evidence!

The Effort is Worth It

We must acknowledge that in any setting there will be one or two who step up and do the lions share.  That is a fact of life.  However that being said, we should not allow ourselves to be taken advantage.

The main thrust is to grow and improve our situations, failure to address slackers is unacceptable.

If you can either expose a slacker and they contribute or are tossed out, you will reap benefits in productivity, not to mention the stress reduction!

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Filed under Blog, improvement, integrity, pride, productivity, success

Balancing Act?

A bit more on the importance of maintaining a certain balance in life.

First off, while its not the same for everyone, its vital to submerse yourself in different activities/pursuits in order to lead a happy, healthy productive life.

Lets put together a possible list of six ‘buckets’ to draw on that can enhance your life:

Family/Friends, Faith/God, Work/Profession,

Art/Music, Hobbies/Pursuits, Exercise/Sport.

This seems so elementary, and it is but we all somehow struggle to strike a balance that handles our responsibilities and allows for our growth, relief and pleasure.  There have been tons of studies that confirm the basics; happy, well grounded people have a circle of trusted family and friends, a belief in God, hobbies that keep them interested and growing and engage in some physical activity that not only keeps them in good health but blows off some of the stress they experience.

Seems like a lot of things to ‘cram’ into a day already filled with a job and commute!  We’re all pressed for time and thus must ‘force‘ ourselves and schedules to accommodate much needed relief from a life consumed with work.

You’ve got to draft a plan and implement it!

GET SELFISH!

Set aside time for your hobby and stick to it, get God back in your life, get outside and exercise! Start by doing something you enjoy and make it a habit no matter what is happening.

Its not being selfish (with reason) to engage in an activity that gives you joy or health (physical or spiritual), as it makes you better suited to handle your responsibilities.

A quick word on those who think their job is their hobby or outlet, 99 percent of the time its just an excuse! (unless you are an artist and even those talented folks need an outlet)  Getting balanced or centered as the new age folk call it, demands you do something different!  START NOW, its easier than you believe!

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How much is enough???

A great question!  How much time and effort should we devote to the pursuit of material success?  As we move up the economic ladder the pull to continue to the next level is difficult to ignore.  We have been ‘trained’ by a culture of consumption to stay on the ‘treadmill’ and move on up!   I’m not speaking about the people who work long hours, some of them two jobs, to support their families but to those who seem to pursue materialism and ignore the ‘costs’  A good example would be a mother who decides to go to work to get the BMW,  leaving her kids without proper supervision.  Is that really worth it?

Life is short and unpredictable and often we find ourselves saying ‘when Ihave more money I will do this or that, or when I have the luxury of taking time I will do this.  Let’s face it, unless you are wildly successful, you rarely will feel you have enough.  Therefore you must look deep, being true to yourself, to make decisions that the culture generally frown upon.  Haven’t we all ‘criticized’ what seem like crazy decision by some?  “Did you hear about Joe?, He left that job at IBM to move to Texas and open a bakery?  What is he nutz?  His wife must be pissed!”

If you want to do something, don’t wait till its too late.  Its a cliche I realize but so true. We must find the proper balance between a comfortable life and one that is made uncomfortable and unsatisfying by its single minded pursuit of materialism.  I am no socialist and am not suggesting there is anything wrong with  material success in fact i applaud it, but we must strike a balance to be happy.

Balance, balance, balance!

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