Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Social Indigestion (or, No thank you - I'm full)

Rarely does a house just fall down – no matter how badly constructed it is. Generally, there are warning signs – cracks in the foundation, walls, and ceiling. All of them are visible – if you look for them.

The way I see it, this is happening to the US’s social conscience. There have been many signs that things are crumbling – the most recent being the whole OJ thing.

I didn’t want to waste even thirty seconds on that guy, but under the circumstances – I will. The man is completely narcissistic and doesn’t need anyone to talk about him – he does it for everyone, but for the grace of some unnamed god, this has been temporarily stopped.

I take it as an amazing sign that people are waking up and realizing that they do not have to put up with this crap. It would be simple to say – don’t buy his book, don’t watch his show, but it had to go further. He would benefit from “pretending” that he killed two people that, in all likelihood, he already has. Disgusting doesn’t even scratch the surface.

It would be equally amazing to think that News Corporation decided the same thing, but the truth is that they were bowing to public pressure and the almighty dollar.

So be it.

If holding out on them gets something worthwhile done – then let’s all feign headaches and say “Sorry Rupert, tonight you’re sleeping on the sofa…”

So, with recent changes in the government and the heaving of certain deadweights (Dummy..oh I mean Rummy) – it would appear that people are becoming aware of the fact that things have been going to hell, with their leaders driving and the media taking pretty postcard shots of it all.

I realize that there is so much more than needs to happen before a significant improvement will show up on the radar screen, but it has to start somewhere…

People have been spoon-fed information for years and it would appear that they may become frustrated with the either the pace of feeding or the food. You can always complain to the cook, but we all know what can happen to your food when it goes back to the kitchen.

Grabbing the spoon doesn’t imply that the food will be any better, but at least you can put it down and stop eating you feel sick to your stomach.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Monday thoughts

I’m a little disturbed by people that bare it all. I don’t mean nudity – although in most cases, it certainly would apply. I mean the soul-baring movement that’s going on.

This goes beyond reality TV shows. The people there aren’t looking for self-fulfillment and solutions for their problems, they are looking for the attention they desperately crave and validation that they are unique…. just like everyone else.

There is only so much Dr. Phil can do for you in a 60 minutes session (minus commercials) in front of a live studio audience. Please don’t act surprised when you feel like a fool.

And this also goes beyond the water cooler gossip. That stuff is kind of interesting, particularly for some of us who don’t spend the bulk of our day walking around and talking. It’s a quick way to get a hint of what’s going on in other departments and even the cubicle next door.

Of course, how true this information is questionable, but the entertainment value is pretty high.

No, I’m talking about people’s need to tell you EVERYTHING about what is happening in their lives. And I don’t mean general snippets, but all the gory details.

Why?

Does it make you feel better to purge – probably for a moment or two, but the truth is that you’ve only managed to spread the issue, not resolve it.

I should add a disclaimer – I truly believe that you should talk to people about your feelings and/or issues. Family members, close friends, and even a therapist, if need be. It is nice to have someone to bounce your thoughts off and sometimes have them say – "I know how you feel". It’s reassuring and a necessary sanity check. I am fortunate to have a small group of people that I feel I can turn to.

Unfortunately, some people (many, it would seem) feel that the general population is their support group and blab all to everyone. No distinction, no tact, no consideration.

This morning I heard a song that I don’t really like. It’s a bit annoying, but I do like an expression they use: "poisoned rationality". This, to me, describes what more and more people are like. They talk about anything as if it’s a cake recipe.

They list the skeletons in the closet as if they were reading off a grocery list. "Oh yeah, I was anorexic in high school too, and then I got past that, but had to deal with my addiction to crack. Fortunately I met a guy who helped me kick that, but then he kicked me too – I had to get a restraining order to prevent him from coming near me…since I was pregnant…."

Sure they are facts, but that doesn’t mean you have to share them.

With everyone.

At every possible moment.

Oh I know, I’m a "hold my cards close to me" kind of person, so perhaps I’m too much of an extremist to comment on the blabbermouths out there. Some might argue that it’s not up to me to decide who can say what and you’re right…and it’s also a damn good thing.

I’m all for freedom of speech, but I’m a bigger supporter of freedom to not have to listen to most of the speech out there.

If I don’t like a TV show – I switch the channel or turn it off. Don’t like the song – ditto.
Until there is a remote that allows me to switch people to mute – I either have to listen or walk away.

More and more, I’m walking away. Or at least not taking the conversational bait like, "boy did I have a crappy weekend…" or "…you wouldn’t believe what my brother who just came out of the closet is putting our family through…"

The powers that be are concerned that we are growing up de-sensitized to violence and sexual images because of how present they are in every aspect of the media and our lives. I would argue that the same could be said about the concept of privacy. The idea that someone should keep their personal and/or family issues within the family is an archaic idea – that’s so old school – talk about it – get it out in the open – go on TV and tell a quasi-sympathetic reporter all about.

And why should you share your story?

Because there are thousands out there who are experiencing the same thing and could learn from you?

No.

Because there are millions of people out there who have nothing better to do on Monday night and there isn’t much else on TV. The sitcom is apparently dead and there are too many Law & Order, hospital, and CSI shows to choose from.

And to bring is back down to the average person level. People would rather hear about so-and-so’s latest stress leave than to discuss ways to improve the wellness program.

Try talking about politics at the coffee machine and unless you make a Belinda Stronach/Leaf Blower joke…the conversation fizzles away.

Should the war on Iraq continue? Hey – they plan to hang Hussein.

Mine is not a new perspective on the state of things, but a rather tired one. However, I’m invoking my right to say what I want and if you don’t like it – may I suggest that you click that little x in the top right-hand corner.
(But, if you’ve read this far, then you probably won’t.)

So people, check out the latest list of fashion dos and don’ts: skin is no longer in.
Modesty and leaving something to the imagination is cool.
Showing your butt-crack is now considered tacky. So is talking about it.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I'm (dis)engaged!

I don’t really feel like I have anything worth writing about, which is why I haven’t entered anything for a few days.

However, I think it’s necessary to comment on my state of mind and how things are going with me. The answer to both of these is the same – “crazy”.

This place is driving me nuts. We are working on improving employee engagement and the company is using the oldest trick in the book: drive everyone’s morale into the ground and then work on improving the conditions. This way, the end result may be actually be lower than the initial mark, but we all feel a hell of a lot better.

We had a meeting to kick-off how we are going to tackle these issues. It’s important at this stage to have a little friendly competition, so informal teams of the old versus the young(er). This practically guarantees witty banter like – “do your job and suck it up” and “but I want more from job”.

So after the incredibly de-moralizing hour and half, we slumped out of the room and dejected headed back to our cubicles.

And now the fun begins. Now we start to slowly rebuild the department. It will start with the slow rumbling of people uniting a joint cause – one I like to call Project Mutiny.

Great ideas will get tossed around. Ideas that were suggested months ago, but that didn’t any second thought because they were not part of a forced agenda.

I’m hoping that my suggestion that we need to have training for management will be taken seriously – I believe that no matter how skilled you are with a keyboard, your people skills may be limited to pushing people’s buttons. Apparently CTL+ALT+Delete doesn’t work on re-booting people.

Watching a train wreck is something you uncontrollably drawn to do, despite how painful it may be. Being part of the train wreck is just as painful, unless of course you’re the person shoveling coal into the fire and singing:

"I was riding on a train that wasn't bound for glory
Riding on a train, the train was bound for hell
Riding on a train that wasn't bound for glory, that's for sure
Riding on a train that's bound for hell "

(Hell-Bound Train - Love and Rockets)

Then it’s interesting.