Nonsense At Work

#114: December 2016 MindShift

Nonsense just is,
but sense must be uncovered, grasped and held tight.The NonsenseAtWork Monthly MindShift

December 2016

Final Issue

Welcome to the final Nonsense At Work Monthly MindShift. (Maybe not. Maybe another one will appear sometime after or before December 2021. After all, time makes nonsense of us all.)

I have a new slightly-higher stretch goal (see explanation below), namely 5-days-a-week full-time employment. The last time I tried this way of working ended in 1990. Admittedly, there was a spell during the 1990s of 4-days-a-week. So this is truly a stretch goal for me.

And with this slightly-higher stretch goal comes the understanding that sometimes Reality, as She is perceived, must override nonsense, as I would have it be.

Hence Nonsense At Work has become Nonsense On Hold. For the time being.

(What remains to be done is to turn more than 10 years of Nonsense At Work into a book-thingy. How could this matter to you? See information at the end of this newsletter.)

Here follows the final edition:

Goals Hurt Authentic Helpless Love

It is safer to stretch slightly higher at goals further out

accuracyMy son made me watch Viking movies. The gory fight scenes reminded me of something that I learned as a kid, but have failed to act on as an adult.

No, not the fighting, but the aiming higher.

Vikings liked close-up ax combat, but Anglo-Saxons preferred to shoot arrows from a safe distance. Here’s the bit that I forgot, even though kiddie-me played with a bow and arrows. Archers don’t aim at the target. They aim above it. The further away, the higher they aim; the further away, the more they stretch the bow.

Silly me. I have been aiming too low to hit my far-out goals. And when frustrated, I have chosen targets too close to make an impact.

From now on, I think I’ll play it safe. I’ll aim slightly higher at goals further out, even if it means a bit more stretching. Else my up-close goals will be axed again.

Getting fired began with Adam and Eve, but still hurts

FiredTalking about axed, did you know that I have joined a select club? The club of those fired by email. Even though it was only from a regional radio station, it hurt. (After 10 years, they no longer wanted my twice-weekly radio pieces.)

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.

We hide behind assessments to stop authentic selves surfacing at work

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.

Helpless employees come from parents who equate loving with doing

Helpless-employeeSo, where do your ‘helpless’ employees come from? You know the ones — those who always wait for instructions, who never show initiative, who never volunteer, who never offer ideas, who never take responsibility.

Blame their parents. Specifically, blame their mother.

If you think I have a problem with mothers, then be disabused of that thought. I have loved more than one mother. I don’t even have a problem with mothers who love too much. But I do have an issue with mothers who equate loving with doing.

Take my wife. My wife does not know how to drive a vacuum cleaner because her mother regularly vacuum her apartment. You call that love? I don’t.

So, if you are over-helping with homework, picking up toys and clothes, doing things that Little Offspring should be doing, then know you are creating the next helpless employee. We in management thank you very much.

You don’t have to like it to love it

meeting1Who is the teacher – the parent or the child? The answer is obvious, until you become a parent. Then you enter the gray zone, and not only from a lack of sleep.

Can you love someone without liking them? The answer is also obvious, until your children turn into teenagers. Love, yes, but like? Sometimes that’s asking too much.

That is when you finally understand why religions and philosophies urge you to love your neighbor instead of merely asking you to like your neighbor.

At places I have worked, I had not always liked every colleague, but I often loved what we were as a team.

Today I find myself not really liking some of my fellow citizens, based on their politics. But I am now wise enough to know that liking matters little as long as I can still love who we are collectively. And what we teach and learn together.

It remains for me to admit that I learned about nonsense at work from people like you. Thank you very much.

And now, Dear Reader, you’re fired!

Will you miss me?

Book information:
As a subscriber to this newsletter, you may have a pre-release copy. If you want it. And if you tell me to put your name on the list. So please let me know because your name on this subscriber list will be removed. To protect your privacy, of course (as if that is at all possible today).

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