Monday, December 28, 2009

Climate Change: If We Can't Go To Hell, Let's Bring It Here

I wonder what percentage of us are merely espousing our beliefs on human-driven climate change, not science? My guess is that the majority of us have never done any serious research or comprehensive scientific reading.

And those of us who have done a lot of varied reading on the subject have probably gathered our information from sources that match our own present beliefs, dismissing opposing views.

Is anyone else out there scared of people who speak about topics from which they received their education solely from partial corporate-funded media, hand-me-down beliefs from relatives or the church, and adamant opines from the vocal?

Like so many significant topics, climate change is a 'change-by-pain' issue. When/if we start feeling enough collective pain in our health/bank account, then we will rally to make a behavioral change.

I know it is more comforting when I think of our planet as strong and mighty, isolated from any catastrophic harm. I know that I feel better when I think of myself as a good person who is nice to others; I would never be an accomplice to ecological murder. Look around me: I have a healthy family, I eat well, have a good education, good job... my life is good, so how could any of this looming disaster stuff be true?

"The earth is invincible to humans" is a long-held belief. But let's keep in mind that just a few hundred years ago some of us wanted to behead a man for his radical belief that the earth orbited around the sun. How dare he say that we were not at the center of the universe, in control of all of our surroundings?

And many of our ancestors would point and laugh at their neighbors who were in the "round world" bandwagon conspiracy. It's obvious that those nut jobs just wanted to cause civil unrest for personal financial gain.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It Isn't What It Isn't

Perhaps you have noticed the emergence/reemergence in recent years of the phrase "It is what it is." It could be regional to some degree, but I have also read the phrase in U.S. articles and blogs, so there is something catchy about it at a national level

People tend to say, "It is what it is" in conversation when they want to describe something as self-describable or straightforward.

To this point, as far as I know, I am the sole linguistic warrior engaged in battle against this phrase. I have chosen a bloody fight to the death, and as is typically the case with cultural catchphrases, I will meet great resistance. But similar to the joke phrase "...not!" my hope is that English speaking culture will realize what an ill catchphrase this is and drop it like that dried old turd you thought was a wood chip.

Let's get lexical.

  1. We have 40,000 English adjectives at our disposal. As simple and seductive as it may be to describe something as "what it is", there is a high percentage chance that at least one actual adjective will apply to it, even within our personally limited vocabularies.
  2. If I were to use this phrase in a debate where well-educated people were listening and critically thinking about what I was saying, I would lose major points. (Unless the audience was gaga for catch phrases and easily swayed by base rhetoric - then the choice of how I present my position becomes one of integrity.)
  3. It is a 'dumb down' phrase. Be it by lack of effort, lack of lexicon, or lack of creativity, when we use phrases like this we do interest a disservice.
Join me in my fight, won't you?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

An Executive's How-to Guide: Five Tips to Ride a Recession

Five Tips For Riding A Recession: An Executive's How-To Guide

1. Sell more at any cost to you. Take resources away from somewhere else in your business (ex. quality or design) and devote those resources to selling more of that lower quality product. Customers will appreciate that you are spending more time and money trying to get more time and money from them, and will forgive you for a slightly inferior product. Don't be surprised if one of your customers says, "I like you guys more than your competitor because you guys focus more on what is important to you than us. That is just smart business." Hot Tip! Revenue is more important than any other facet of your business, including profit.

2. Micromanage your employees. Tighten your grip on their daily activities by requesting frequent status reports and knowledge of everything they are doing. You will achieve greater respect and trust from them because they will think things like, "Hey, this supervisor really cares about every minute of my day," and, "I love planning to tell and telling someone about all the productivity I am planning to do as soon as this meeting/email/check-in is over."

3. Label your employees with easy sterotypes. Plan ahead for downsizing by classifying staff as either "revenue generating" or "non-revenue generating". This helps them see the black-and-white truth: that some of them are not really adding monetary value to the company; they are just there to make the company look like a company. When they understand this truth, all the non-revenue generating employees will gladly accept salary reductions or even proactively quit on their own. Hot tip! This means you don't have to do any unpleasant firing!

4. Know who butters your bread. Time Saver Alert! The degree to which you listen to people should be based on the power of their title. When an employee below you sends you an email with a suggestion to improve the business, ignore it. Or, if they manage to talk to you in person, nod your head slowly and say, "mmm" and "mmmhm" while you consider your leisure activities for the weekend). Disclaimer! If you think the employee's idea will please your boss, present it to him/her as an idea for the company that "our team" came up with - it sends a powerful message about the value of socialism in these financially troublesome times.

5. This tip is no longer working here.