August 20, 2010

Work Harder, Not Smarter

Start with good people,
lay out the rules,
communicate with your employees, motivate them and reward them.
If you do all those things effectively,
you can't miss. 
— Lee Iacocca

Tweaked for clarity 3-26-2011.

Buona sera. I have an attitude with thunder and lightning heading your way.

You may have noticed that the title of this missive is the opposite of true intelligence. It constantly amazes me that so many companies seem to think that if their employees are not in a minor panic, sweating and frantic, that work is not getting done.

Brace yourselves, this is Bluntness Day: They are too cheap to supply their employees with the proper tools to get the job done. Remember my buddy Neil? He works for a cheapskate Fortune 100 company. They are certainly not in the "100 Best Places to Work" list, but they cannot determine the cause. Spurious surveys to make themselves feel good, with faked results and continually contemptuous workers are the result.

Neil still needs the job, so he won't let me name his workplace. If the details of their incompetence and cheapness got out, they would be bankrupt. Not that they don't deserve it, but there are good people in this huge company that have nowhere better that they can go.

"What's happening at El Cheapo Corp., Cowboy Bob?"

I'm glad you asked:
  • Instead of promoting people who know the job, they hire others. And then, the ones who wanted the promotion have to train their new supervisors.
  • Existing managers do not know the details of the jobs that they are managing. They make arbitrary demands ("More! More! More! Faster! Faster! Faster!") for quotas. Then, when the workload is exhausted with three hours left in the day, they look for volunteers to use vacation time to go home. Also, productivity reporting forms do not take into account things like software problems and system issues; since you didn't make your quota, so you suck.
  • Pretending to care about what the employees think, seeking their input, setting up a plan of operation — and then dropping it on the pavement like a wet turd.
  • Seeking credentialing with major agencies so they can say, "We're good. We're secure. Trust us with important information." Amazingly, they pass these audits. I suspect bribery. If the auditors knew what really went on, there would be disqualifications, fines and probably more multi-million-dollar lawsuits. That's OK, as long as they don't have to pay the workers that they rely on.
  • All kinds of talk and education about information security, and yet they still use Internet Explorer 6. Neil is embarrassed that some sites announce, "Your browser is too old and is unsupported. Please upgrade." Naturally, I'd like to see them use Firefox, but even IE8, the current model, is better than unsafe IE6. And yes, the Internet is very important to The Company.
  • Outdated, dinosaur patchwork software. Something I say say to my crew, give the employees the proper tools to do the job. And then I do it. These cafones do not properly equip their employees.
  • They do not know about people. Instead, people are a resource to be used up, or capital to be spent. Sure, there are rewards and benefits, but only to those who sell their souls to The Company. Personally, I work to live, I do not live to work. Neil's company demands the opposite.
  • After the Obama election, The Company promptly announced that there would be no raises due to "economic uncertainties". Then they rewarded a select few with raises anyway. Instead of token "cost of living" raises, they implemented "merit only" raises, and then would find every excuse in the book to avoid giving anything.
Listen up, people. I warned you back at the end of 2008 that companies have to be intelligent, and provide good customer service. Treat your employees well, and they'll give it back to you. Kick the ones in the keester that you depend on to make you get richer, and you'll be going down, capice?

August 17, 2010

Tragic Tales 4: No Tomorrow

Buona sera. I thought I was done with writing about "Monica", but there are a few more important points to add.

She was overly fond of money. In fact, lies were a means to acquiring more money and not parting with her own. One of her biggest secrets was that she had some money stashed away that only she knew about. Money changes people. They get greedy and want more. It's almost strange, you don't have to be rich to be greedy, and you don't have to be poor to avoid loving the stuff. What was she holding onto her money for, anyway? Tomorrow?

Monica did not have any more tomorrows. Ironically, her money went for her own burial expenses.

"...say you'll be all right come tomorrow, but tomorrow might not be here for you..."
— Lynyrd Skynyrd

Monica made her plans. We all have our plans, dreams, hopes, expectations, dreads, fears, whatever. But I have to be very direct with you: Today may be your last day on Earth. Like these people:
They expected to have their tomorrows.

Aside from murder, misadventure or freak accidents, we can die with friends and family in earthquakes, tornadoes, terrorist attacks —

"Cowboy Bob! You're bringing me down! Where is this going?"

OK, you got the point that we're all mortal? Good.

It's important to me to emphasize to you that we all need to be ready to take our final journeys. At some time or another, we're all going to meet God face to face and give an account of our lives.

"But Uncle Bob, I already have my religion. I'm very sincere in it."

Hooray for you. But guess what? I don't care about your religion, or anybody else's. Nobody is really concerned about religion, you see. God doesn't care about religion. It's all about a relationship. You can have a saving relationship with God, through Jesus.

"Aw, get over that, Cowboy Bob! I'm a good person. At least, as good as the next."

Let's look at that. God laid out his standard in the Ten Commandments. Have you ever told a lie, even a little one? Sure, we all have, even "little white lies". Have you ever stolen anything, even something small? Yes, that music download counts... Hey, how about taking God's name in vain? Funny, even people who do not believe in God will use his name as a profanity. Did you ever look at someone with lust? I know I have, but you're not getting names. Anyway, Jesus said that looking at someone with lust, you've already committed adultery in your heart (Matt. 5.28).

Shall I keep going? Nah, I think you get the idea, we've all broken a few of the commandments, if not all of them. Therefore, we're guilty of breaking God's law.

So, if you, Good Person, stand before God on your Judgment and try to get into Heaven, you're in for an unpleasant surprise, because you've broken his commandments. And by then it'll be too late. Heaven or Hell? Seems obvious to me that God, who is holy and righteous, cannot allow us into Heaven. But he made a way for us, even though he didn't have to.

Don't run off, it's not too late. While there's life, there's hope.

Let me lay it on the line. We're all sinners (Romans 3.23), and we deserve the penalty (Romans 6.23). Guess what? God sent his only son (John 3.16) to die for us. If we admit we're sinners, repent (Bible talk that means to give up or to turn from) our sins, accept Jesus as the lord of our lives, we have Heaven in our future. And he is with us in our lives on Earth.

I won't kid you, that's not my job. It's not easy to follow Jesus and be his disciple. But it's most definitely worth it.
What's stopping you, really? Pride? Sorry, Buttercup, you can't make it into Heaven on your own "goodness", or merits, or religion, or anything else. Just faith in Jesus. Or are you afraid of what your friends might say? Ha, some friends they are. Family? They'll have to adjust, won't they? Your own ego, that you "don't believe in God"? Spare me. Evidence for God exists all around, but are you willing to believe? Or maybe you have a "pet sin", some activity that you won't give up that's keeping you from God. Big mistake. It's really not worth it.

Are your waiting for tomorrow? Tomorrow may not happen, and your fate will be sealed.

Let me add this, that I've taunted people (impolite, I know) that I am looking forward to meeting my mother (who died of a malignant glioma), father (who had Dementia and did not even know who he was), brother (who had Down Syndrome) in Heaven, and all will be perfect, free of pain and in our right minds. (Monica's family are expecting to meet her again in Heaven, despite her flaws and mistakes, because I'm told that she accepted Christ at an early age.) People who deny that God exists have nothing to offer. I've studied, and believe that the Bible is true. That's a far cry from lame arguments of, "No, it's not!" Those people sound so childish, as well as ignorant of history, archaeology, etc. I'll take the Bible over pitiful excuses for disbelief any day. But I digress.

"Now is the day of salvation" (2 Cor. 6.2).

If you want to know more about getting right with God, click here. I really hope and pray that you do it. And do it soon, because tomorrow might not be here for you. He's ready to talk to you.

August 16, 2010

Tragic Tales 3: Secrets

In a way, these three articles are different aspects of the same thing: Selfishness. I told you how "Monica" had died, and what is inside of people comes out, whether greed or kindness. Relatives act like vultures, wanting "stuff". For cherished memories? I doubt it. After all, a used microwave or television set is not really a "keepsake". And an abundance of items turns into clutter that eventually has to be discarded in one way or another. (Hint: If something breaks, runs down or simply has to be removed, you are not losing the memory of the person as if their spirit was attached to the object(s)).

Also, I told you that people alienated from one another because of lies she had told to and about them were learning some truths and clearing the air. Reconciliations, and in some cases, new friendships, have begun to form. That's the bright side. But discovering the lies that were told has been a torment to friends and family.

Now for this third part, about secrets. Secrets and lies go so well together, yes? Lies are used to cover up secrets. And we have some big ones!

Monica's computer was opened, as were her e-mail accounts. (If she had used even half of what I know about computer sneakiness, these secrets would probably be undiscovered forever. One simple thing is, if you have a good password, you don't blab it!) Her personal address book was on the computer, giving confirmation that there were no distant relatives in Puerto Rico. Files that were supposed to be hidden are now known to Larry, but he made some of them "go away" to spare the family further pain. (Besides, there were not all that many, and they did not provide further enlightenment.) E-mail accounts revealed some other contacts and activities that were also supposed to be kept secret forever.

This reminds me of something I recently learned about, where people get a "porn buddy". If you have a treasure of nastiness and something happens to you, your buddy knows how to get that erased from your computer so your relatives don't find out. I guess that's thoughtful. Monica had so many secrets, she should have set up something to have the entire hard drives of several computers erased.

But I think such a plan has quite a few flaws and offers a false sense of security.

For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.
— Ecclesiastes 12.14

One thing that Monica will probably keep secret (in this life, anyway) are her last text messages. She had a Blackberry phone and a Sprint account. After repeated tries to guess this password, there was a warning message: Essentially, the phone would self-destruct, erasing all information. Even though the police said it can be opened, the merchants say that this is the one phone that they cannot open. Good news if you want to take your secrets to the grave, bad news for family members.

Monica had lied to and fooled her Granny. And Granny idolized Monica, even when she caught her in lies. Further, she never let Monica "grow up", and Monica milked that baby girl status. So, when certain financial arrangements were needed, Granny signed and co-signed papers. It won't be long that Gramps is going to find out that Granny has been keeping secrets from him and lying to him. More pain caused by being an enabler to Monica.

Look, everyone has secrets. Some are things in our past of which we are ashamed, some are things we are currently doing (or even sins that enslave us). And I think that some things are better left alone. We're human, it happens. When secrets become a lifestyle, and then lies are added to protect shameful secrets, we begin a downward spiral. That "tangled web" thing, but also our spirit is more willing to embrace our actions. Our consciences give up and no longer bother us (Romans 1.28).

I sincerely hope that these articles will prove to be a wake-up call, that someone will learn from the things discussed and turn from their ways. If you care about anyone else, take a look at what your secrets and lies are doing to your friends (by the way, do you notice that you have fewer true friends?) and your family. Do you care how much pain will be caused when your secrets come to light?

Part 4 of this series is here.

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