Showing posts with label Norms. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Norms. Show all posts

May 18, 2020

Keep The F*** Away From Me

Social distancing is the new norm.

Shaking hands is a no-no!

Even in the park yesterday, they had a sign prominently displayed that read:
Thank you for practicing social distancing. Please stay 6 FT apart.

We might as well all just wear t-shirts or little reminder signs on each of us with:
Keep the F*** away from me!

That about sums it up without putting up a specific distance range. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 25, 2017

Conflict - Resolution or Escalation

So I thought this was interesting on the cause of conflict. 

There are four main parts:

1) Deprivation - You believe that someone is depriving you of something you need or want. This could be something physical like money, or an object or it could be inanimate such as love or respect. The feeling of deprivation is anchored in a real or perceived feeling or being deprived of access to resources or the imbalance who has those resources. 

2) Name - You identify the person you feel is causing you this deprivation. 

3) Blame - You blame them for their role in causing you harm. 

4) Claim - You justify the accusation by anchoring it in a claim that the other person has violated some social norm such as taking something that doesn't belong to them or violating an agreement you have with them and so on. 

As the conflict comes to a head, it is clear that people are feeling hurt, that there is a desire to correct the situation, and that you are going to confront the (perceived) culprit and make your case on why what they are doing is wrong and how it should be resolved. 

If you have the wrong person in the cross-hairs, your justification is weak or you're not telling the whole story (i.e. maybe you played a part or harmed the other person too), or the person just won't give you a fair hearing and sincerely work with you to resolve it, then the conflict may escalate from here.  

Usually, it's best to listen, empathize, negotiate, compromise, try to be reasonable, and resolve the situation at the earliest point possible.

If there is a greater conflict or risk to either party involved, then heels may get dug in and all avenues to resolving it can be open including legal and even all out war. 

Conflict is no game, but in some cases it may be unavoidable--and then the ramifications can be earth shattering. 

What to do when you're in a conflict situation? Think before you act, and then think again. 

Ultimately, peace is one of the greatest of blessings. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 30, 2015

Can't Find My Dentures

This was a funny sign this morning in the elevator.

Someone found a set of dentures on the table in the lobby!

Uh, what was someone doing taking out their dentures and putting them on a public table in the lobby? 

I remember my beloved Opa (grandfather) who had quite a set of dentures (years ago they couldn't as readily save people's teeth as they can today). 

When my sister and I would go over to my Opa and Oma for Shabbat lunch after synagogue, and sometime right before Birchas Hamazon (grace after meals), my grandfather would invariably end up taking out his dentures and we would all laugh together at how silly those things looked. 

But thank G-d for those dentures, beause I don't know how people would eat solid food or smile a non-gummy smile without them. 

Of course, I hope whoever lost their dentures in the lobby isn't going crazy searching for them, sees the lost and found sign, and claims them soon. 

Anyway, can you imagine going down to the lobby and seeing someone's false teeth just laying there randomly on the table or when they go to the front desk to claim their lost dentures, and the person behind the desk says, "Well Sir (or Madam), can you put them in your mouth and prove that they are yours?" ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 18, 2014

Thirsty and Hungry

I took this photo today of this funny banner hanging out a thoroughfare window in Washington, D.C.

This big 6 feet banner says "Moms Drink For Free."

So not sure, is it a special running at the local bar for the holidays or a wish by a bunch of mom's looking to get toasted?

Now, look carefully to the right, and you can see in the next window the messaging continues and it says "+ Send 1 Pizza."

So these "moms" are not only thirty but apparently hungry too--they want pizza and brew!

Not sure to what happened to "moms" just being normal mothers and good role models, and not hanging their menu cravings out the window in downtown. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 27, 2014

Turkey Head

The new insane fashion statement on Thanksgiving...wearing a turkey on your freakin' head.

This guy is at the beach and stopped for the photo--towel in hand, turkey on head.

But lest you think this is just for the beach crowd...

A obviously wealthy older couple are having their breakfast at no less than the Ritz Carlton.

And yes, they are sitting sipping their lattes and eating their danish WITH turkeys straddling their heads--both of them, facing off at each other!

What won't people do for some attention--to simply get others to look at them.

Perhaps to feel alive, relevant, or important in some way. 

Sure, there is fun in it too, but also some very mashugana stuff going on out there. 

Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving from chilly, but sunny Fort Lauderdale. ;-)

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November 21, 2014

A Fat Pill

So true story...

This guy at work goes to me today, "Hey, did you get a fat pill?"

I am thinking to myself DID I put on a few pounds...but still how totally rude. 

My colleague must've seen me looking at him with some disbelief and irritation that he would say something like that to me. 

Then he gets this look on his face like, oh sh*t {oops that wasn't what I meant!}

Immediately, he reaches down to the counter in one of our common areas and picks up a Dunkin' Donut from the box that someone had brought in for Friday munchies. 

He's holding up the donut to his face mouthing, "A fat pill," as he takes a big bite engulfing half the donut (or more) in that one mouth shot. 

Well, I never heard of a Donkin' Donut called a fat pill before...

Probably lucky for someone that is what he was referring to (LOL). ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 31, 2014

Draining Our Life Force

Here's a photo I snapped of one of the Fantastic Four (superheroes).

He's telling the evil Galactus, who drains planets of their life's energy, to "Stop!"

He yells at Galactus, "You have facilitated the Corporate Fascist Agenda long enough."

I think we all know a Galactus (or two)!

In every company and agency...there are individuals that seem to literally suck the creativity, problem solving, and life force from the bowels of the organization. 

They complain incessantly, make excuses for their lack of support and contribution, erect obstacles to progress, and needlessly put down other people's ideas and contributions.

These Galactuses facilitate their own or a corporate agenda in order to raise their stature, power, and purse.

They can be--almost G-d like figures in the organization that are feared and cowed to--but in the long term it's counterproductive to enslave humanity to them.

You can be like the Fantastic Four, who recognizes problem people and calls them out for bad behavior--you can be part of changing the culture from a BIG VILIAN negative to a SUPERHERO positive.

It starts, like in the comic--by identifying their personal agendas and bad behaviors and telling them to stop as well as by working with or around them to facilitate progress.

Galactus, you are finished! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 28, 2014

Yes, Awkward

This is a funny (-sad) one for the day.

This book was a New York Times Bestseller!

There is a book, a Kindle edition, a board game, a calendar, and a website to upload your photos.

On Amazon, there are also versions with awkward family holiday and family with pet photos.

I can't believe this is for real either. 

Awkward, indeed. ;-)
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April 1, 2014

Why Do People Take The Cheese Off?

So my question of the day is why do people feel it's okay to take the cheese off the delicious macaronic AND cheese?

While I understand that it is the best part, isn't just a little bit of antisocial behavior that would drive people do something like this and leave everyone else with just the noodles underneath...


Anyway on the way back, one of my colleagues stopped me in the street to tell me some philosophy of life about how love makes the world go around, but revenge is the axis it turns on. Ouch@!


Perhaps this is April fools day making people a little snappy today. 


One last thought is from episode last week on The Vikings (great show on the History Channel)--excellent battle scene, but also memorable when the one of the characters says "Bad news travels a great deal slower than good news."


Maybe that's why no one told me before about the missing cheese on the macaroni today? ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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March 23, 2014

Six Internet Creepoids To Beware Of

There are a lot of basket cases out there--both in the physical world and in the virtual one.

The New York Times today has an article by Henry Alford about people who act or are mainly just perceived as creepy online. 

He gives examples of people who take out their smartphones (with cameras) in the locker room, who show their online photos and whoops there's an indecent doozie, who mistakenly send a critical email to the wrong person or distribution list, who say the wrong thing online because of autocorrect or autofill, and who act the detective looking up too much information about others. 

At the end, Alford calls for "more tolerance toward the gaffe-makers." 

And while we should be good people and forgive genuine mistakes, some things are not accidents and deserve the seal of "ick!"

Here's the list of 6 Internet Creepoids to seriously beware of:

1) Overly Cyber Friendly or Familiar:  People who chat, text, email, or comment in a way that portrays an inappropriate knowing or intimacy with others.

2) Cyber Stalkers: Those who unsolicitedly and unwanted or obsessively follow, friend, monitor, or harass others on the Internet.

3) Internet Trolls: Individuals who giddily sow discord with argumentative, inflammatory or extraneous messages online narcissistically or just to be jerks.

4) Cyber Exhibitionists or Voyeurs: People who inappropriately or compulsively expose themselves or watch others naked or engaged in sexual activity online. 

5) Cyber Impersonators or Identity Thieves:  Those who falsify their identities by exaggerating or masking their true selves, pretend to be someone else, or otherwise steal someone's online identity.

6) Cyber Freaks: Individuals who behave online in extreme unusual, unexpected, and frightening ways.

So while some things are innocent or accidentally creepy from otherwise nice and decent people, other actions are genuinely such from the real online creepoids. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 26, 2013

I Like To Be Clean!

This was funny but in a gross type of way. 

Bathroom doorknobs are notorious for being germy. 

In this case, there was a little bit of tissue paper that someone left on the knob--I know ick!

Apparently someone got fed up with the grossness of this, so they put up a sign--it says:

"I have been here for two weeks. Can you clean me?  It like to be clean!"

But that's not all. 

A day later, the note was gone, but that little piece of grossness was still there. 

Howie Mandel, please help us! ;-)
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September 29, 2013

Smellicious

This past week in the office we had an etiquette offense. 

Someone had some lunch that was smell-eeeee!

The whole suite was reeking from it.

First one person runs up to me as I enter the suite and says, "Did you smell it?"

Just getting over a cold, I say innocently, "Smell what?"

Then as I head down the hall, even the sniffles doesn't protect me from whatever's been cooking in lunch-land.

Ick--it's like a combination of day old leftovers that have been warmed over with a foul fishy smell combusting the whole work area. 

Next, I see one guy running around the cubicles with a air freshener--spraying and spraying--everywhere. 

Followed by a lady, with a similar aerosol, sticking her head in the offices and giving a spritz or two or three. 

Colleagues were gathering to discuss the stink and venture guesses as to who the culprit was that would invoke such horror in the office. 

Jokes and mild-mannered innuendoes followed to sort of lighten the mood of the folks that had been working extra hard the last few months. 

The stick stunk for almost 24-hours, but despite the bad smell in the air, the gregarious mood made up for it--as it was just another event we could bond around--the smell, the sights of the people running around with air fresheners, and the good-natured ridicule on who would offend and break the professional code of conduct--and leave everyone gasping for breath. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 26, 2012

Autocomplete: Do Zombies (What)?

The autocomplete feature in search engines can tell us a lot about what people are thinking and asking about.

According to the New York Times (21 November 2012) "sites like Google and Bing are showing the precise questions that are most frequently asked."

Autocomplete suggests the rest of your search term based on the most popular things that others have asked for, so it speeds up your search selection by anticipating what you are looking for and by reducing spelling errors in your search terms.

Another advantage to seeing popular searches is to understand what the larger population is thinking about and looking for--this gives us insight into culture, norms, values, and issues of the time. 

I did a simple google search of "do zombies" and as you can see the most popular searches are about whether zombies: poop, exist, sleep, "really exist," and have brains. 

Even more disappointing than people asking whether zombies really exist is that the #1 search on zombies is about whether they poop--what does that say about our lagging educational system?

I would at least have imagined that the preppers--those infatuated with the end of the world and with preparation for survival--would at least be searching for terms like:

Do zombies...

pose a real threat to human survival?

have (certain) vulnerabilities?

ever die?

have feelings?

have children?

beat vampires (or vice versa)?

I suppose autocomplete is good at crowdsourcing search terms of what others are thinking about, but it is only as good as those doing the ultimate searching--our collection intelligence at work. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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October 18, 2012

Party Time, Excellent.


Queen
Passing outside, I encountered this interesting person, who reminded of when I used to visit  Greenwich Village in NY.
- Long blond wig
- Big bow on top
- Overflowing boots on their feet
- Bright blue stockings on the legs
- Underpants on the outside
- Jacket with big cuffs and strips
- And giving "the finger" to passerby's

Seemed like a real culture commentary.

It's important to value all sorts of different people--it's the fabric of our society and everyone adds to it.

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August 21, 2012

Howie Mandel Was Right All Along

This was a really funny picture I saw exhorting people to wash their hands. 

If you don't, this little green slime creature is going to come and get you.

It reminded me of the other day heading into the bathroom, and I see this guy coming the other way out of one of the Stalls. 

He actually does head to the sink to the wash his hands--he's in the minority in this country, I understand. 

Well the sink is one of the automatic ones and has no faucets.

The guy sticks his hands underneath....nothing. 

He starts waving his (dirty) hands...and still nothing.

After the third try...he throws his hands up, looks at me, and says, "Now that's awkward" and proceeds to walk out the bathroom holding his hands literally at full arms length. 

I hoped that he didn't run into anyone he knows on the way and reached out to shake their hands--because they would've gotten a nasty surprise, indeed. 

This sign tells it the way it is--sorry folks. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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July 22, 2012

Changing Organizational Fear To Firepower


Senator Chuck Grassley posted a video of the Acting Director of the ATF sternly warning employees that "if you don't find the appropriate way to raise your concerns to your leadership, there will be consequences."

But as Senator Grassley has pointed out in the video's description--"the essence of whistle-blowing is reporting problems outside of an employees chain of command." In other words, reporting problems to external oversight authorities like Congress is an important and protected action in exposing shortcomings and addressing potentially serious issues.


The Congressional Research Service provides an overview of The Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) of 1989--basically, as I understand it, WPA protects federal whistleblowers who report gross agency misconduct (e.g. mismanagement, waste, and abuse) and prohibits threatening or taking retaliatory personnel action.  Moreover, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) was introduced in 2009 to broaden the protections to, I believe, more violations except minor or inadvertent, but this has not yet been passed.  Further, the Office of Special Counsel investigates whistleblower complaints.


Unfortunately, as pointed out in The American Thinker, employees have taken the message as "a warning to keep their mouths shut," especially after agents exposed the Fast and Furious failed gun-running operation to Congress in 2011.


An agent quoted in The Washington Guardian states: "The message was unmistakable. Keep your head down and the only way you can report wrongdoing is by going to your chain of command. It was chilling, Orwellian and intimidating. What are you supposed to do if your chain of command is the one you think is involved in the wrongdoing? That was why OSC and IGs were created."


President Obama's Transition Website states more clearly how whistleblowers should be viewed and treated: “Often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government is an existing government employee committed to public integrity and willing to speak out. Such acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled. We need to empower federal employees as watchdogs of wrongdoing and partners in performance.”

Whether one works in the government or the private sector, actions that are taken as bullying is problematic, not only from the perspective of morale but also in terms of productivity,  as pointed out in an article in SelfGrowth called Leadership: Are You a Bully Leader?


"Bully leadership is sharp, authoritative, angry, and feels uncomfortable to those in contact with it...the bully leader bark out orders, threatens consequences and use strong, harsh statements..." as many have clearly come away from with this video.


In a dysfunctional organization where employees are bullied and threatened, the results are devastating to employees and to the vital mission they serve:


- Stifling productivity--employees do not give their all--they "do what needs to be done and that is all. They don't go above and beyond," so productivity declines precipitously.


- Stomping out ideas--since the bully leader "needs to be the one with the great ideas," employees don't share their input--they know to keep it to themselves.


- Squashing effectiveness--bully leaders want to control everything and "lack trust in other people," the result is a negative (and perhaps even a hostile) work environment where motivation, quality, and effectiveness are decimated.


It leads me to wonder, can those who lead by fear become more inspiring figures who empower employees and engender communication, trust, and fairness?


Obviously, changing a dysfunctional organizational culture is probably one of the hardest things to do, because the most fundamental everyday norms and “values” that the organization runs on must be overhauled.


However, it can be done, if top leadership on down is sincere and committed to change. The goals should include things like effective collaboration, delegation, empowerment, and recognition and reward.

Fear and intimidation have no place in the workplace, and all employees should be valued and respected, period.

We should encourage employees to speak out sincerely when there are issues that cannot be resolved through normal channels.

In the end, the most positive change will be when we strive to build a workplace where employees can focus on serving the mission rather than worrying about being afraid.

This post shouldn’t be seen as a referendum on any one organization, but rather a way forward for all organizations that seek to raise the bar on performance and morale.

I know that the people of ATF are highly principled and committed, because I worked there (in IT, of course) and am proud to recall their tremendous efforts.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 22, 2012

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

This is a photo I took at Harpers Ferry.

There was a train coming by pretty fast, and on the flatbeds were what seemed like a endless line of Tractors. 

-- Red, red, red, red, blue, and then red again. 

I hurried to get my iPhone out and capture this photo while the train was rushing by at full speed. 

I love this shot, because it teaches an important lesson about diversity

Firstly, it reminds me of the children's song, "One of these things is not like the other. One of these things just doesn't belong."

From early in life, we are taught to conform a certain way--based on norms, culture, values, policies, rules, regulations, laws, religion, and so on. 

There always seems to be a reason that we have to talk, dress, think, and conduct ourselves--properly, politically-correct, and just like everyone else. 

And we are warned that "the nail that sticks out, gets hammered down"--so don't do it--it's too risky--you'll be labeled bad or worse yet, crazy. 

So while creativity and innovation is valued if it can bring someone a nice profit, we are still cautioned not to go out too far on a limb or else you risk getting ridiculed and rejected--hey "you may never work again in this town."

But in this picture, the tractors tell a different story--that it's okay to be a blue tractor in a long parade of red ones. 

No, the blue tractor wasn't a mistake, it isn't abnormal or alien or evil, it's just different and it's cool. 

The blue tractor stands out, but it isn't a bad thing to stand out--and the blue tractor won't get hammered down.

It's okay to be a blue tractor in a long procession of red tractors--and it's great to just be who you are--blue, red, yellow, green, or whatever. 

Conformity is not normalcy--it's just look-alike, copycat, and probably even boring. 

Being different can be novel, inventive, out-of-the-box and exciting--and more important it can usher in needed change.

I think we need more blue tractors in a red tractor world.

Will you take a chance and be a blue tractor too? 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


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March 26, 2012

Who Are The Kids And Who The Adults


This video is hilarious as the little girl acts out what we look and sound like at work. 

She is actually so good, I think she would qualify for many of the postings today at USAJOBS. :-)

Perhaps, we all need to be ourselves again at work, rather than cliche and acronym robots. 

Then we could actually get some real work done, at least when we aren't busy acting like children!

Enjoy and laugh a little.

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March 24, 2012

Where Is The Outrage?

This past week a self-professed Al Qaeda jihadist, trained in the militant camps of Pakistan and Afghanistan murdered in cold blood three Jewish children and a teacher (who happened to be the father of the two boys killed, ages 3 and 6).  

The 8-year old girl pictured above was the beautiful daughter of the school's headmaster and was yanked by hair while the killer reloaded his gun and then shot her in the head, point blank. 

A fifth victim, another student, a boy age 17 is critically wounded in the hospital.

The Killer, Mohamed Merah had just the prior week, in two attacks, murdered 3 black French solders as well. 

So why did he do it?  He tells us it was to avenge Palestinian children and for the French foreign interventions, as he said on the video "you kill my brothers, now I kill you."

So now this terrorist with an extensive rap sheet (as many as 18 prior acts of violence) is dead, and yet insanely, the terrorists consider him a martyr.

And while condolences are heard to all victims, is there sufficient outrage at the murder of innocent school children and terrorists' complete disregard for human life and societal norms? 

More than a decade after the tragedy of 9/11 with nearly 3,000 murdered, followed by almost 6,400 U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, we still cannot fully come to terms with the enemy we face and the threats they pose.   

The people killed in terrorist attacks around the world--whether in a school yard in Toulouse, a luxury hotel in Mumbai, train attacks in London and Madrid, a nightclub attack in the Philippines, a plane flight over Lockerbie Scotland, a truck bomb at the U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut, a homicide attack at a pizza parlor in Jerusalem, and countless others around the world have stained our consciences with the blood of innocents, so that the girl pictured, killed this week with a bullet to the brain is no longer special to anyone except her family, friends, and people who loved her. 

The blood of the victims of terrorism is not cheap and neither is that of Jewish children--it is high time for outrage at the enemy that takes human life so gleefully. 

(Source Photo: here)

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October 22, 2011

What's A Life Worth


This is a video of a 2-year old girl run over several times–first by a van and then by a truck–and left lying in the street for 7 minutes, as 18 people pass by without stopping or calling for help.
Are people too busy? Are they afraid to get involved? Are they somehow blinded to what is happening?
Watching the video again and again–the little girl seems to be treated as basically worthless, and it just doesn't seem to make any sense:
–Why didn't the van or truck stop when they saw the little girl?
–Why did they just drive off after hitting her?
–Why didn't anyone else try and stop them–verbally, physically?
–Why didn't anyone step in front of the child and try to stop traffic?
–Why didn't anyone seemingly call for help?
–Where were the toddler's parents or guardians?
I don't know and can't imagine the answer to any of these questions, but I do know that society must answer for this dead child, because this child could be anyone's child, and this unfortunate scene could happen anywhere in the world.
In stark contrast, this same week, Israeli soldier Sgt. Gilad Shalit held captive for 5 years and 4 months was released by Hamas in a prisoner swap by Israel of more than a 1000 for 1–bringing him home to a hero's welcome and cries of "Welcome home Gilad!"
While I am not judging the security calculus of releasing so many potential recidivist terrorists for Gilad, I do believe that no one's child can be left behind–whether for 7 minutes in an accident or 5 years in captivity–we all have a duty to help those in need.
Life is precious and how we treat it is a test of our spirit, mettle, and underlying social norms.

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