Nonsense At Work

Posts in category Workers/Employees

#939: We hide behind assessments to stop our authentic selves surfacing at work

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assessmentHave you ever wondered why many of your employees behave like brats at work, but as functioning adults at other times? Blame it on personality assessments, those ridiculously simplistic questionnaires much loved by many teachers, consultants, coaches and lazy managers.

These assessments give theoretical explanations, and thus practical excuses, for weird behavior. In other words, assessments give us permission to hide our authentic adult selves.

Even worse, assessments trick you into believing that you now actually know and understand us. And then, when we make the very human mistake of not behaving according to the type you have been expecting, you get angry with us.

Job descriptions already confine employee contributions to particular boxes. Don’t compound the error by restricting individuality to the meanest label. Unless, of course, you do actually employ robots to produce what has no soul.


Every week, and often every day, the Chief Nonsense Officer expresses his opinion on a regional public radio (NPR) station somewhere. The above podcast is the radio version.
© 2016 James Henry McIntosh – nonsenseatwork.com

#938: Getting fired began with Adam and Eve, but still hurts

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FiredI have joined a select club. Those fired by email. Even though it was only from a local radio station who, after 10 years, no longer wanted my twice-weekly radio pieces, it hurt.

People have been let go ever since Adam and Eve were kicked out of that garden, so why the hurt? Because they said goodbye before I did. It’s like that girl who broke my heart because she broke up with me before I could break up with her. Goodbye only hurts when we are not ready to go.

Breaking up happens for three reasons. She no longer needed me, I upset her, or a better hunk rode into town.

Unlike that girl, managers won’t tell you that they have found someone better. It’s too uncomfortable. And why should they? Job restructuring and performance reviews get you gone with less embarrassment, and look better in an email.


Every week, and often every day, the Chief Nonsense Officer expresses his opinion on a regional public radio (NPR) station somewhere. The above podcast is the radio version.
© 2016 James Henry McIntosh – nonsenseatwork.com

#817: Guaranteed to overcome hiring fear

hiring-fearThe funny thing about the recent unemployment crisis was the number of vacant positions. The strange thing about this recovery is the number of vacant positions.

The popular reason given is that there is a skills shortage. I don’t believe this, not since I remembered what Dr Laurence Peter, of the Peter Principle fame, once explained: “For every job in the world there is someone, somewhere, who can’t do it. Given enough promotions, that someone will get the job.”

So that’s it. Vacant positions are not caused by a skills shortage, but by a shortage of courage. No hiring manager wants to be the one to land that one applicant who cannot do the job.

Retail success is built on the money-back guarantee, first offered by Joshua Wedgewood in the 18th century. To overcome hiring fear, I think job applicants should make a similar offer. Just don’t expect me to offer a guarantee.


 

© 2014 James Henry McIntosh – nonsenseatwork.com

#799: Love work health

divorce at workAnother day, another workplace killing. This seems to be the performance model in the USA. Other countries have different models. For example, while Americans tend to kill their bosses and co-workers, the French kill themselves.

The problem business leaders face is not why employees in one country turn on others while in other countries they turn on themselves. The problem is why they feel a need to turn at all.

Even a worm will turn; even the meek will retaliate if pushed too far. Often the reason is a lack of love. Wait, hear me out. Note where these incidents happen – in the workplace. Now consider how Sigmund Freud defined mental health: lieb und arbeit – love and work.

And there you have it. When people have no work, or no longer love the work they have, they run the risk of becoming mentally ill.

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You can listen here to the radio version of Love work health (10 most recent radio files)

© 2014 James Henry McIntosh – nonsenseatwork.com

#770: The message in boarding speed

driving-behind-school-busThe other morning I was stuck behind a big yellow bus. I had to stop three times before I got away. It seemed that life wanted me to slow down and smell the fumes.

Irritated, I watched the cars buzz by on the other side of the road. But then I noticed something else. No doubt, you’ve heard that irritating saying about get the right people on your buss and the wrong ones off.

Well, I watched those kids get on the bus – slowly, annoyingly slowly.

Then it hit me. Obviously, it’s not enough to find the right people for your bus. You must also pay attention to how they get on your bus. Are they willing and keen, or do they drag their feet?

You might have a bus. You might even have the right people for your bus. But maybe, just possibly, they don’t like where your bus is taking them.

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You can listen here to the radio version of The message in boarding speed (10 most recent radio files)

© 2014 James Henry McIntosh – nonsenseatwork.com

#731: Giving thanks stops heartburn

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heartburnThank goodness Thanksgiving is over. This year Thanksgiving gave me heartburn. No, not from all the rich food, but from the constant refrain of ‘pity the poor retail workers’.

You’ve heard it. What a shame it is that they have to work on the one family day of the year merely to serve insatiable shoppers.

Indeed, what a shame. What a shame that airline staff had to fly, that safety personnel had to protect, that nurses had to nurse, that cops had to patrol. The list is long of workers whose families daily take second place to the demands of the job.

So why, please tell, single out retail workers? Come on, America. Admit it. Because only retail workers remind us how shallow we shoppers can really be.

And while we’re about it, admit that Thanksgiving is just a day. Every day should be a family friendly day. That’s how we stop hearts burning.


Every week, and often every day, the Chief Nonsense Officer expresses his opinion on a regional public radio (NPR) station somewhere. The above podcast is the radio version.
© 2016 James Henry McIntosh – nonsenseatwork.com

#608: When stupid and lazy go to work

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sabotWhat happens when stupid goes to work? Nonsense happens.

What happens when stupid and lazy pitch up together? About $400 million in damage, according to navy investigators. In May 2012 a nuclear submarine caught fire in a dry dock in Maine. Actually, the sub did not catch fire. The fire was set by a civilian laborer because he wanted to go home early.

Now that’s rather selfish. I much prefer the team spirit of a South African woman. Following the anthrax scares after 9 11, she staged a hoax anthrax threat to shut down a large company for a day. She wanted to give her friends, who worked there, the day off.

Intentional nonsense is called sabotage. Years ago French weavers threw their sabots or wooden clogs into the looms to clog up the works. From shoes to hoax anthrax to nuclear fires, now that’s worker progress.

Methinks robots in the workplace have a lot of catching up to do.


Every week, and often every day, the Chief Nonsense Officer expresses his opinion on a regional public radio (NPR) station somewhere. The above podcast is the radio version.

© 2016 James Henry McIntosh – nonsenseatwork.com

#563: Fired for producing little bright sparks

I love being a man in America. It’s pretty cool being a person in America, but it is so much better being a man.

Consider this modern-day example. If you are a woman and pregnant, you may not be discriminated against, but you may get fired. Hey, it’s perfectly legal. You see, pregnancy is not a disability! You may not be fired for having a disability, but you may be fired for having a baby.

Here’s the amusing bit. The same bright sparks who make this law legal are the same bright sparks who tell us that this country’s future depends on women producing little bright sparks.

There is something really funny in penalizing someone for producing what so obviously is the future of this country. Funny peculiar, not funny ha-ha. Very peculiar how these men stay in power now that women have the vote.

Here’s hoping that your boss knows the law is an ass.

You can also listen here to the radio version of Fired for producing little bright sparks (10 most recent radio files)

© 2011 James Henry McIntosh – nonsenseatwork.com

#536: Being normal in an abnormal economy

Psychologist Nick Heather once asked that we imagine two guards working at a Nazi concentration camp. One guard is happy at his job; gets on well with his colleagues; shows few cares or worries. The other guard displays signs of extreme emotional disturbance. He does not get on with his colleagues; he behaves oddly; he does not fit in.

Now for Nick Heather’s trick questions. Which of these two guards is normal and which one abnormal? Which one is healthy and which one sick?

This got me thinking about the warped sense of ‘do unto others’ that this economic growth and decline has triggered. Should I be happy that I have work; that I have relatively few worries; that I get on well with others? Or should I feel uncomfortable, even guilty, that others, once like me, are suddenly in despair, through no fault of their own?

Above all I wonder, am I normal? Am I sick?

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Listen to the radio version of Being normal in an abnormal economy (10 most recent radio files)

© 2011 James Henry McIntosh – nonsenseatwork.com

#535: Let the (employee) games begin

Did you hear the one about the 81 year old CEO who got $100m to retire? (It’s true! Ask his public company, Nabors Industries.)

If this blatant exploitation continues to be tolerated by crony board members and passive shareholders, then expect employees to retaliate with their own form of exploitation.

I’m not talking about faking sick-leave, taking office supplies or wasting time on internet surfing. I’m talking about something worse, namely employees sticking to the letter, not the spirit, of their contract with management.

Strictly speaking, there is nothing wrong with doing exactly what the boss demands – a practice known as malicious compliance. Nor is there anything wrong with not reporting something important; nor with knowingly allowing something to go wrong; nor with swamping a boss, who wants to know everything, with details, documents and reports.

Obviously, there is nothing right about it, either. It’s merely mutual exploitation at work.

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Listen to the radio version of Let the games begin (10 most recent radio files)

© 2011 James Henry McIntosh – nonsenseatwork.com

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