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Archive for June, 2013

THINGS WE NEVER THROW AWAY

Posted by Tim Bryce on June 28, 2013

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Not the important stuff, the inconsequential items.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

It’s interesting the types of objects we collect and never seem to throw away. I’m not talking about sentimental things like photographs, just the general brik a brak we are more inclined to keep instead of discarding. With me, its cigar boxes and coffee cans. I’ve used them to store everything from nails and other hardware, to tickets, baseball cards, and other trinkets. I think of them as handy storage units and, as such, hate to throw them away, even if I have an ample supply of them. Most of the time I’ll ask friends and colleagues if they want them, but most decline. Inevitably, it is with deep regret that I finally decide to throw them in the garbage. What a waste.

There are other miscellaneous items we do not like to dispose of:

Shipping boxes are typically collected with the thought they can be used to mail something to a family member or friend. They are particularly handy for birthdays and the Christmas holidays, but we tend to collect too many of them. I’ve also seen boxes that have been reused many times over the years. I think some were made back in the 60’s.

Towels and cloths have a long life expectancy. Even after we have stopped using them in the bathroom they end up in a rag bag for outdoor use, such as washing cars. Have you noticed the rag bag only gets bigger, never smaller?

Just about every household has some sort of container to collect spare change. We used an old wine jug for years to collect spare change. When we finally “cashed out,” I was amazed how much we had collected. It was easily over $100. I have seen several households though where they are never emptied and sent to the bank. I don’t think a lot of people want to waste their time with pennies, nickels, and dimes.

A lot of homes seem to collect an inordinate amount of refrigerator magnets, some with such an extensive array of pictures it is difficult to see the refrigerator behind them. Every now and then you should clean those out.

Records, CD’s, DVD’s, and VHS tapes abound in a lot of homes. I still have quite an impressive collection of 33 LP’s from my youth, as well as 45’s. Fortunately, I still have a decent turntable and will occasionally play an “oldie.” However, I know a lot of people who have maintained their record collections but have nothing to play them on. I also do not use CD’s much anymore. My kids collected a mountain of them which were quickly abandoned when the iPod was introduced. I am reluctant to dispose of them as I realize it was a substantial investment.

There are people who have collected magazines over the years, even though this is something that has essentially evaporated over time. I have some copies of “LIFE” from the 60’s featuring the space race and other newsworthy events from that decade. I also have some “TV Guides” from back then as well. People also like to keep their old “Playboys,” which I’m told are now worth a lot of money. The one magazine though that most people are hesitant to dispose of is “National Geographic.” I know of dozens of homes with extensive “NATGEO” collections, some weighing so much they bend the shelves they sit upon. My parents kept their copies for years until I finally helped clean them out. Your first inclination is to give them to the local library. If you want to see horror in the eyes of someone, bring your copies of “NATGEO” to your librarian. They will only throw them away.

People also like to keep the cheap plastic pots that plants come in. I’m not sure why. They are cleaned out, dutifully stacked, and tucked away in a garage or shed where they do nothing more than take up space and collect dust. I guess this is one of those “You never know…” type of items.

Parents like to keep old board games their offspring played with during their youth. I think it’s a law that every household must have a copy of “Monopoly” tucked away in a closet somewhere. My mom also has an old “Parcheesi” set, as well as checkers and chess which nobody has used in several decades, and an old Erector Set. By the way, does anybody remember Chinese Checkers?

There are lots of other items people collect, such as old cameras, spices in the kitchen, even paper sales receipts for insignificant items.

I’m sure there are many more items I’m overlooking but these are the things that come to mind. Some we collect due to sentimental value or we perceive them as investments, others we believe will have some practical use sometime in the future. The reality though is that most of it just belongs in the garbage.

With that said, does anyone need a coffee can or cigar box?

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THE MILLENNIALS – Can they really save America?

LAST TIME:  SNAPPED – That’s it; enough is enough; leave me alone!

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News with Dave and Lance” with hosts Lance Tormey & Mike Bastinelli (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Life | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

SNAPPED

Posted by Tim Bryce on June 26, 2013

BRYCE ON LIFE

– That’s it; enough is enough; leave me alone!

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Recently I came upon the following headline, “Drinking Too Much Coffee Is Now A Mental Disorder” and I was taken aback by the column. I don’t know which was worse; the column itself or that a publication would give it Internet ink. After reading it, I just snapped. I’ve been drinking coffee since college and, like a lot of people, have made it a natural part of my morning ritual. I love a good cup of coffee and I don’t want to be accused of having a mental disorder. This type of warning is how political correctness starts and frankly I’m sick of it.

I’m going to continue to drink coffee, enjoy my Scotch, and smoke a good cigar. No, I do not need Viagra, Cialis, and my testosterone level is just fine thank you. No, I do not need all of the drugs they list incessantly on television, and I certainly do not want to bother my doctor to talk about it. Yet, I am remarkably free of social disorders and mood swings. I eat red meat, as well as white, fish, and just about everything else. No, I am not planning on dropping them anytime soon. I use salt, pepper, sugar and other condiments as I see fit, and I’ll bet my cholesterol is better than those of you who do not. I’ll drink a “Big Gulp” if I am so inclined, and maybe enjoy some chocolate now and then. I do not need to see the listing of calories on my menu; I already know what is good for me, and what is not.

No, I do not want to shave my chest or wear whisker stubble at work because it is supposed to be sexy; it’s stupid. I am not impressed with what Hollywood produces, nor do I care what the dim bulb entertainment crowd thinks. I also do not like computer generated graphics in the movies, preferring instead a good story line and script, but I guess that’s asking too much. I still do not wear a helmet when I ride a bicycle, which isn’t often, and I occasionally forget to put my seat belt on; I guess I like to live on the wild side.

I do not believe in “undocumented immigrants”, they are illegal and they are certainly not citizens, hence I’ll continue to use the expression “illegal aliens” regardless if it offends anyone. And, Yes, there is still a “War on Terror” and there are “Extremist Muslims” who are terrorists. No matter how you try to dress up a pig, it’s still a pig. I do not need any sugarcoating. Also, quit trying to give my money away to someone else. I’ll decide what charities I want to support. And leave my guns alone. The “violent” cartoons of the 1950’s didn’t cause me to kill anyone or mutilate myself.

I guess what I’m saying is quit trying to dig up crap that I couldn’t care less about. Do not try to be my conscience. Solve the big stuff stupid and let the little stuff take care of itself. Where I come from, you are responsible for your own actions. No, I do not want to live in a Nanny state where I’m “dumbed down” by the likes of Mayor Bloomberg who should just go away and mind his own business.

I may not be politically correct all the time but I certainly do not lose sleep over it. Why can’t these pseudo do-gooders just work and pay their bills like everyone else, and leave the rest of us alone? Thank you for your interpretation of what you believe is good or bad, but I’ll make my own decisions.

With that said, please forgive the nasty twitch, I think it was the caffeine talking.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THINGS WE NEVER THROW AWAY – Not the important stuff, the inconsequential items.

LAST TIME:  WEARING TIES – What does a tie represent in the workplace?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News with Dave and Lance” with hosts Lance Tormey & Mike Bastinelli (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Life | Tagged: , , , , | 8 Comments »

WEARING TIES

Posted by Tim Bryce on June 24, 2013

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– What does a tie represent in the workplace?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article on the decline of men wearing dress ties to work. They quoted a Gallup Poll that said the number of men who wear ties every day to work last year dropped to a record low of 6%. I’m not sure I agree with this number but there is no doubt ties have greatly diminished in the business world. I still put one on when I’m dealing with a customer and I do so as a sign of respect for the other party. Today it seems the only people who wear ties are politicians, newscasters, attorneys, doctors, and corporate executives, all of which do so as a sign of authority. And maybe they’re right.

Historically, learning to tie a tie marked a young man’s passage to manhood. But I don’t think there are a lot of men in the workforce who know how to tie a tie anymore, which I consider a little strange. Most newscasters know how to properly tie a tie, as do attorneys, but I’m starting to see politicians with sloppy looking ties. There are not too many things worse in a business setting than to be caught wearing a lousy clip-on.

In addition to how a tie is tied, I learned a long time ago the length of the tie and its relation to the belt buckle is important. In theory, long ties represent excessive behavior, and short ties infer personal inadequacies. Every once in awhile you see a bow tie or a western string tie, but I think they are worn more for a giggle than anything serious. The tie used to be the perfect present for holidays such as Father’s Day or Christmas, but most of the time we got a tie we wouldn’t be caught dead in. This resulted in closets full of ties we never threw away in fear we might offend someone. For example, I probably have a couple dozen ties in my closet, but I only have three that I regularly wear. I also have ties for special occasions, such as the Christmas holidays. I also have one representing my family’s Scottish Clan, but my favorite is one my father gave me years ago; It shows a series of small jackass’ sitting down with the following small letters underneath each one, “Y.C.D.B.S.O.Y.A.” Translation: “You Can’t Do Business Sitting On Your Ass.” It makes a great conversation piece.

As I said, I don’t know if I agree with the Gallup Poll’s 6% figure as I am starting to see people starting to wear ties again, particularly salesmen who use them to spruce up their image in front of customers. Frankly, they look much more professional than the typical corporate Polo shirt.

Now I know a lot of young men will read this and still be adamantly opposed to wearing ties but as I said earlier, it is a sign of respect. If this is of no interest to you, I’m sure you’ll continue to wear whatever you want, but for those of you who are interested in making a positive and professional impression, perhaps its time to go into the closet and pull out a couple of ties.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  SNAPPED – That’s it; enough is enough; leave me alone!

LAST TIME:  REPAIRING BARBECUE GRILLS – Regardless of what you spend, barbecue grills last no longer than three years, tops.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News with Dave and Lance” with hosts Lance Tormey & Mike Bastinelli (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Business, Life, Management | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

REPAIRING BARBECUE GRILLS

Posted by Tim Bryce on June 21, 2013

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Regardless of what you spend, barbecue grills last no longer than three years, tops.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I think it was President Eisenhower who popularized the idea of cooking on charcoal grills. Since then, grilling has gone from an art to a science. In the early days you had a simple Weber grill, a bag of charcoal, some lighter fluid, a match, and “voilà” you’ve got a burned piece of meat on your plate. The grills of today though have come a long way since then and are rather sophisticated (and expensive).

There’s nothing wrong with the basic charcoal grill (in fact, purists prefer the charcoal taste), but the lion’s share of grills today are propane driven simply due to the convenience. I believe a good basic propane grill goes for a little over $100, but they have models that are priced easily into the thousands of dollars. Some are behemoth cooking machines that can do just about anything, but it kind of makes me wonder if the owners are missing the point of outdoor cooking. Basically, all they have done is brought their kitchen outside with them.

Regardless of how much you’ve paid for a grill, they all will eventually breakdown over time and fixing them can try anyone’s patience. In its simplest form the propane grill has the burner, the grill, and the lava rocks. Sounds pretty easy so far; that is until you decide to clean out the grill and replace a broken part.

The first thing that strikes you as you take your grill apart is the food gunk left over from the last couple of years cooking. I call it the “Cockroach Riviera” as God only knows what critters have crawled into the bowels of your grill after you have shut it off. The lava rocks look more like chunks of Alpo by this time rather than something from a volcano.

The two items though that usually need repair are the burner or the grill, both of which, conceptually, should be easy to replace, but not so fast. Unless you have the precise specifications of the grill or burner, you will undoubtedly buy the wrong replacement part, thereby causing you to return it to where you bought it which is probably Home Depot or Lowes (which usually has ample parking, and attentive sales people to answer your questions…..right?).

Assuming you have the right replacement parts, installing them is a relatively simple task. The real headache though is to clean the grill and find the right parts. In other words, a simple five minute job has again been turned into a laborious and ugly task.

Inevitably the time comes when you simply want to get rid of your propane grill and purchase a new one. This is no easy task. First, nobody wants to put a disgustingly foul grill in their car. Then comes the problem of finding a place to dump it as you will inevitably need a permit from the EPA to dispose of it. Instead, I’ve seen people in my neck of the woods deposit old grills on the bottom of the ocean as part of the artificial reef program (but God only knows what is growing down there now, probably “Grillzilla”).

The sophistication of the propane grills may be appealing, but I now understand why the people at Weber keep banging out their charcoal grills year after year. Not only does the food taste better, but cleanup is a lot simpler (not to mention disposal of the unit when you are done with it).

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  WEARING TIES – What does a tie represent in the workplace?

LAST TIME:  HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION – WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE – Time for some soul searching.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News with Dave and Lance” with hosts Lance Tormey & Mike Bastinelli (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Life | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION – WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE?

Posted by Tim Bryce on June 17, 2013

BRYCE ON EDUCATION

– Time to do some soul searching.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Before graduating from high school you will hopefully have a game plan as to how you are going to lead your life. Maybe you sought advice from your parents, a trusted guidance counselor, a teacher or a close friend. Perhaps you also attended a college recruiting session, visited a campus, a trade school, or a military advisor. And hopefully you started investigating these options in your junior year or earlier. Unfortunately, some people do not. Their path is perhaps dictated by their parents, or you have no lans at all and will likely drift aimlessly away.

A lot of this depends on your maturity and an understanding of who you are and where you want to go. Because parents typically guide us in our journey, there are many who just go on autopilot and do not really think about their future. Back in the days of the draft, you either knew where you were going with your life after high school or the military would make the decision for you. Going in the military is not a bad option as many young people have no sense of direction following graduation. The service can give them a sense of purpose, structure and organization. For example, I had friends return from Viet Nam who finally knew who they were and what they wanted to do, and pursued their dreams with passion.

We also must be cognizant of the fact our career paths may very well twist and turn over time. Regardless of what we initially set our sights on, conditions may change and we may find ourselves following a completely different track. Some of the best systems analysts I’ve met over the years did not graduate with a degree in computing or I.T. Instead, they had backgrounds in Library Science or music.

It is usually during the senior year when our elders admonish us to “shoot for the stars”; translation: push yourself, which I agree with. However, our dreams must be tempered by reality. For example, I know a young man who wanted to pursue a music career. It was his dream to play in a symphony and, in the end, he was perfectly capable of doing so. However, it didn’t exactly work out that way for him. He received a Bachelor’s degree in music before going on to graduate school where he earned a Masters degree. Today he works at a Men’s Wearhouse and is saddled with a substantial college debt. He hasn’t given up on his dream yet, but the reality of a limited market and the economics of a college loan altered his plans.

When making your plans, consider both the costs involved and the benefits derived from these different career paths:

DROP-OUT
No costs, other that you will likely become a ward of the state or a drain on your family. It’s also hard to find a job that pay’s well without a High School or GED diploma.

HIGH SCHOOL/GED
Again, no costs involved, but your career path is limited to modest jobs unless you happen to start a business of your own.

TRADE SCHOOLS
Trade schools are a viable alternative for a lot of people who do not have the economic resources for college but know precisely the type of job they want, such as: technician, machine tools, automotive service, plumbing, computers, heating and air conditioning, golf, hotel management, etc. There are actually a lot of certification programs to choose from, and most pay well. Costs vary based on the program and location, but figure approximately $10K for a two year program.
See: http://tradeschools.weebly.com/

MILITARY
There are no costs involved here other than your time. You won’t become a millionaire, but you can earn a decent wage. According to militarypaychart.us, the average serviceman is paid $18K-$25K depending on rank. Of course, this will go up if you make a career out of the military. Officers make much more, which is a good reason to attend Officer Candidate School or a military academy (ROTC in college isn’t bad either). The Post 9-11 GI-Bill also provides the means to pay for your college tuition if you are so inclined. A 36 month hitch in the service will pay 100%. In the meantime, you will learn new skills, discipline, organization, and gain a sense of purpose.

COLLEGE: COMMUNITY/ASSOCIATE’S DEGREE
Community Colleges offer the ability to obtain an Associate’s degree, which carries less weight than a Bachelor’s degree, but isn’t bad either. It’s also a good way to determine if you are college material, and relatively inexpensive to boot. According to the The College Board, in-state students currently pay $3,131 a year on the average ($6,262 total). The professors and instructors are certainly qualified to teach but are likely not of the caliber of a full four year institution. Fortunately, your credits earned here can be transferred to a four year college if you are so inclined, but check with the institution for details.

COLLEGE: STATE/BACHELOR’S DEGREE
Again, according to The College Board, the cost for a four year college education for in-state students is $8,655 annually. Basically, you are looking at a $35K investment. Out-of-state students will pay more, $21,706 annually (approximately $87K). The next question is, how will this be paid? By your parents or are you going to need a college loan? In other words, this is becoming an expensive proposition. Can you honestly justify why you want to go to this school? If you are going to pay a lot for your education, do not go into it half-hearted.

Four year colleges offer good instruction and allows the student to focus on their studies without having to move from one campus to another.

COLLEGE: PRIVATE/BACHELOR’S DEGREE
Again, according to The College Board, the average cost for a four year degree in a private college is $29,056 annually (that’s right, in excess of $116K). In addition to a good education, attendance at private schools look better on a resume and can help you network with the right people. Again, big bucks are involved here. Who is going to pay, and are you really up to the task?

COLLEGE: GRADUATE SCHOOL
Should you wish to pursue a Master’s Degree, P.A., or a Ph.D, be prepared for substantial costs. Most Master’s and P.A. degrees costs approximately $50K. Medical physician degrees can cost upwards to $100K-$200K, if not more depending on the specialty. You better be confident of what you are doing if you are pursuing such a career path. In addition to paying such exorbitant fees, many big businesses offer assistance as they want to help their employees grow and develop into better workers. Such programs are definitely worth checking out.

Your continuing education is not an inexpensive proposition. Many young people do not understand the economic implications and find themselves shackled in debt for years. So much so, college debt recently exceeded credit card debt in this country, which is mind-boggling. In other words, as a graduating high school senior, it is time to do some serious soul searching: Do you really know where you want to go? Something you should be cognizant of at all times, it is YOUR life, not your parents or anyone else. If your family can help you, great. If they cannot, where do you want to go and how do you plan to get there? Ideally, everyone must lead a worthy and meaningful life. It is also more important to find a career as opposed to a job, but necessity may dictate you do otherwise, which is why people find themselves moving in another direction as opposed to their original goal.

One last note, there is nothing requiring you to pursue higher education. Attending school in your youth may have been mandated by the state, but now you are grown and legally on your own. Whereas the taxpayer had been footing the bills for your education, it is now up to you. This means attending college or a trade school is not a right, but a privilege. Don’t blow it.

As an aside, be sure to check out my book, “Morphing into the Real World” – the Handbook for entering the Work Force; a Comprehensive Survival Guide for Adulthood.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  REPAIRING BARBECUE GRILLS – Regardless of what you spend, barbecue grills last no longer than three years, tops.

LAST TIME:  A DAY AT THE BEACH – You go for relaxation, but are taken aback by what you see.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News with Dave and Lance” with hosts Lance Tormey & Mike Bastinelli (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Education, Life | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

A DAY AT THE BEACH

Posted by Tim Bryce on June 17, 2013

BRYCE ON LIFE

– You go for relaxation, but are taken aback by what you see.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I took some time off during the Memorial Day weekend and escaped to the beach. I guess I’m like just about anyone in that I rarely take advantage of the scenery in your own backyard. It’s been a while since I’ve been to the beach and I found the rhythm of the waves in the morning tranquil and somewhat therapeutic. However, I had forgotten about all of the pollution on the beach, eye pollution that is. I was amazed how many women of all sizes and shapes wore a bikini and probably 99% of those I saw shouldn’t. Please don’t get me wrong, there is certainly nothing wrong with an attractive woman wearing a bikini, but most of what I saw defied belief. Sure, if you’ve got it flaunt it, but if you haven’t got it, forget it. The ship has sailed and it’s time to put on a little more canvas in the rigging.

I find women over 40 wearing bikinis to be interesting, particularly those in their 50’s and 60’s. I don’t know what they’re advertising but I suspect they’re not getting many buyers.

I don’t mean to appear to pick on the ladies exclusively as there are of course men out there who wear some pretty avant-garde bathing suits as well, but the volume of bikinis I saw on this trip seemed to be overwhelming. I guess I should be grateful that we’re past the thong fad as you don’t see too many of them anymore on the beach. I’ve seen my share of thongs over the years and it can be pretty scary to see some women wearing them, as well as men. As my son would say, “That’s just not right.”

My wife and I went to the beach with another couple. We arrived early to get a good spot where we could setup our chairs and relax. As this was Memorial Day, the beach naturally started to fill up and become somewhat crowded. I find it interesting how some people have no problem invading your space by plopping down right next to you while there is still ample space elsewhere. It’s as if you were invisible. To combat this problem, my friend and I have learned a long time ago to smoke some particularly nasty smelling cigars which acts like a repellent for crowd control. This results in a comfort zone around us but inevitably as soon as the cigars go out, the intruders move back in which, of course, is our queue to leave the beach until the next major holiday.

One last note, Sports Illustrated shoots its Swimsuit Edition at remote locations around the world. Do not expect this to be anywhere near the beach you are going to.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION – WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE? – Time to do some soul searching.

LAST TIME:  AMERICAN VACATIONS – Do we ever truly escape our work environment?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News with Dave and Lance” with hosts Lance Tormey & Mike Bastinelli (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Life | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

AMERICAN VACATIONS

Posted by Tim Bryce on June 14, 2013

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Do we ever truly escape our work environment?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I think Americans have a problem taking vacations. Although most of us feel lucky to take a week off or a few days here and there, it’s rare for Americans to take vacations like our European or Australian counterparts who may take as much as a month off at a time. Sure, we enjoy some time off to recoup from work, but I think the problem here is that Americans don’t know how to relax. Whereas others take the time to study the culture of a different locale, Americans rush from one spot to another snapping photos along the way. If you’ve ever seen the movie, “If it’s Tuesday, this must be Belgium,” you know what I mean. Our frenetic pace is puzzling to outsiders who do not understand why we don’t take the time to truly enjoy the local scenery.

Part of our problem is our multicultural society which has made us a bit more competitive than most. We are always trying to stay one step ahead of our competition, our coworkers, and our neighbors. When we take time off, we’re never too far from a telephone and the Internet. I’m just as guilty as anyone in this regards; I don’t think I’ve been unplugged from e-mail since the 1980’s. Being in Florida, I always chuckle when I see someone on the beach working diligently on their laptop. I’m sure they are not appreciating the scenery and for all intents and purposes they might as well be back in the office. I think the reason why we’re like this is we’re afraid that something might go wrong if we cannot be contacted to answer questions or solve a problem.

Americans rarely take a two week vacation. The last one I took was years ago with my wife. The first week was fine, but by the second week I was becoming itchy to get back to work. We even start to feel guilty for taking so much time off. Small wonder that Americans are past masters of the long weekend as opposed to taking true vacations.

When we do decide to take a vacation we either want to see something new or something familiar which we rarely get a chance to appreciate. As for me, it’s fly fishing in Montana. Regardless of where we really want to go, we inevitably have to deal with family commitments. For those of you who have moved far from home, you know exactly what I mean. You are expected to return with the kids year after year thereby eating up your precious vacation days. Instead of visiting Vegas or the Caribbean, you find yourself in Chillicothe, Ohio. Such is the price for moving out of town.

The concept of the vacation is to relax, broaden our horizons, and refocus, thereby making us better workers. However, because of our obsession with staying connected to work and our competitiveness, I don’t believe we know how to relax and often consider vacations a waste of time. As an aside, have you ever met someone who proudly proclaims he hasn’t taken a vacation in a number of years? Somehow I am reminded of the proverb, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

Instead of taking a real vacation, I know a lot of people who would rather not waste their time and use a virtual reality simulator like the one used in the Schwarzenegger Movie, “Total Recall.” This might be nice, but then again I don’t think anything can truly simulate catching a cutthroat trout in the chilly waters of the Flathead River in Montana.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  A DAY AT THE BEACH – You go for relaxation, but are taken aback by what you see.

LAST TIME:  OFFICE GOSSIP – Does your business promote or squelch idle gossip?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News with Dave and Lance” with hosts Lance Tormey & Mike Bastinelli (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

OFFICE GOSSIP

Posted by Tim Bryce on June 12, 2013

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– Does your business promote or squelch idle gossip?

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I have a problem with gossip in the office but I think we are all guilty of some infraction of it at some time or another. Petty gossip is one thing, viscous slander is something else altogether. Not surprising, there is a lot of misinformation floating around in an office regarding people and corporate direction. We often hear of rumors of people bucking for a certain job, looking to leave and join a competitor or customer, to sabotage a key project, or that the company is going to down size or outsource the operations to Timbuktu. Naturally, such rumors can put a damper on employee morale, making it harder to concentrate and see assignments through to completion. Managers should be sensitive to rumors and squelch them as soon as possible. If not, productivity will suffer. To do so, the manager should always keep in ear open as to what is being said around the water cooler or lunch table. Meeting with key members of the staff periodically for a drink after hours can also be useful for detecting what is being said as well as to build camaraderie and trust with the staff.

Perhaps the best way to overcome gossip in the office is for the manager to keep an open line of communications with his workers. This means the manager must be viewed as approachable and trustworthy by the staff. In addition to an open door policy, managers should hold routine meetings and issue memos on what is going on. This can be done through such things as bulletins, e-mail or a private departmental discussion group. But if the manager maintains a closed-door policy, rumors will inevitably circulate.

If rumor control is left unchecked, it can turn particularly nasty. No doubt we have all met people who are past masters at spreading rumors for political maneuvering. Some people thrive on political back stabbing which, unfortunately, I believe is a part of the fabric of our society. If it were not so, we wouldn’t have the tabloid media which thrives on drama, intrigue, and innuendo.

Like it or not, office rumors affect the corporate culture. We can either have peace and tranquility through open communications, or a lot of backbiting and finger-pointing. Interestingly, I have met managers who prefer the latter and use it as a means to set one employee against another in order to determine who is the stronger of the two. Kind of sounds like a new version of “American Gladiator” to me, and something I do not believe any of us signed up for when we were hired. As far as I’m concerned, there is no room in the office for malicious smear campaigns or character assassinations. Any manager promoting such an environment is simply an idiot and should be removed from power. But I have to be careful, it kind of sounds like I’m starting a rumor of my own doesn’t it?

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  AMERICAN VACATIONS – Do we ever truly escape our work environment?

LAST TIME:  BEWARE OF OFFICE POLITICS – There is no avoiding it.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News with Dave and Lance” with hosts Lance Tormey & Mike Bastinelli (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Business, Management, Social Issues | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

BEWARE OF OFFICE POLITICS

Posted by Tim Bryce on June 10, 2013

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– There’s no avoiding it, regardless of the type or size of company.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

When we join a new company, we’re all hoping for a fresh start and clean slate. The last thing we want is to get embroiled in political intrigue, regardless of how petty it might seem. Most of us just want to do our work and move along with our lives. Even if this were so, which is rarely the case, we must still deal with “political correctness” as defined by society; we have to recognize certain protocols in our mannerisms, language, and conduct. So, even before we get started in a new job, we have to recognize there is going to be some form of politics, like it or not. I remember visiting a manufacturing company in the Midwest where a Vice President proudly said to me, “You’ll like this place Tim, there’s no politics here whatsoever.” And I think he firmly believed it too. In reality, they had more cutthroat politics than I had ever seen before.

Whether you are a new employee or a visiting consultant, one of the first things you have to determine about a company is its pecking order. An organization chart makes a convenient road map in this regards, but it doesn’t truly define the power structure in a company. For example, a weak manager may actually draw his strength from a powerful assistant. Nonetheless, it is important to identify the fiefdoms of the company, who the key players are, and who the allies and adversaries are. Without such knowledge, you will inevitably trip into some political dispute or become an unwitting pawn in a power play. The best advice in the early going is to simply keep your eyes and ears open, and your mouth shut.

Aside from the power players in an organization, the three most common types of political animals you will encounter are the Suckup, the Radical, and the Saboteur. The Suckup (aka “Brown Noser”) essentially has no spine and is the perennial “Yes Man” to the boss. The boss says “Jump” and the Suckup says, “How High?” But the Suckup has a political agenda of his own which typically is an advancement through the assistance of the boss. He therefore bends over backwards to please the boss at the expense of losing the respect of his coworkers.

The Radical represents “the bull in the China shop” or “loose cannon” and is best known for revolting against the status quo, not quietly but loudly, and is not afraid of stepping on a few toes along the way. In many ways he is like Sherman’s march to the sea. Perhaps his mission is correct, and perhaps it isn’t. Regardless, this type of person has a slim chance of succeeding as his detractors will work overtime to undermine him. When dealing with such a person you basically have two choices: either join him and hope for the best, or get the heck out of his way so that you are not run over.

The Saboteur is perhaps the most viscous of the three and can probably best be characterized as the “conniving weasel” or “backstabber” who schemes to make the lives of others miserable. He is driven by petty jealousy and wants desperately to be seen as a power broker in his institution. Since he has no real life of his own, the Saboteur gets his jollies by undermining anybody that garners more attention than he does. Whereas the Suckup and the Radical can be dealt with politically, the Saboteur is a pest that must be exterminated.

Office politics is about loyalty and trust. At some point, you will be asked to choose sides and this to me is what makes office politics ugly. I might understand this in government politics, but not in a company where we are all suppose to be on the same team. Politics is an inherent part of the corporate culture; some companies deplore it, others thrive on it. I guess it’s a matter of whether a company values the concept of teamwork or rugged individualism. I have found there is much less politics in companies promoting the former versus the latter. Either way, my advice to anyone joining a new company, be it a corporation or nonprofit organization, is actually quite simple: “En Garde!”

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  OFFICE GOSSIP – Does your business promote or squelch idle gossip?

LAST TIME:  RESISTING CHANGE – Who is defending the status quo in your business? Are they right?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News with Dave and Lance” with hosts Lance Tormey & Mike Bastinelli (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Business, Management | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

RESISTING CHANGE

Posted by Tim Bryce on June 7, 2013

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– Who is defending the status quo in your business? Are they right?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I have been fortunate to have visited a lot of companies in my lifetime as a consultant. I have also participated in several nonprofit groups, many of which are well established and steep in customs and tradition. Interestingly, a lot of these organizations operate on autopilot when it comes to executing procedures. So much so that whenever someone suggests something new as a means of expediting a process it is often greeted as if it were heresy. After all, “That is the way it has always been done.” I’m sure we have all heard this on more than one occasion and is the earmark of a bureaucracy.

What I find interesting is when you run into a situation where people have been doing things wrong for so long, they think it is right. Actually, such situations evolve slowly over time as people are replaced by new workers who are not properly trained or are less skilled than their predecessors. Consequently, small changes creep into the process which corrupts it. Nonetheless, over time it becomes a natural part of the process and is deemed as proper. If left unchallenged, these processing anomalies become a part of the standard operating procedure, which even though they are being performed erroneously, people tend to steadfastly defend.

Challenging the status quo is a daunting task. As Voltaire astutely observed, “It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.” Even if you have identified a problem with an existing process or can recommend an improved way for performing it, you will inevitably have to contend with the wrath of the defenders of the status quo who will resist any change whatsoever. As creatures of habit, there are a lot of people who do not embrace change easily and treat it suspiciously. Some will even go so far as to politically sabotage any hint of change.

As we all know, change simply for the sake of change is madness, but we certainly would not make any progress if we didn’t periodically challenge the status quo. Change is a natural part of life which I believe many resist unnaturally. Using the standard cop-out, “That is the way it has always been done,” is simply a lame excuse to preserve the current system. It should therefore come as no surprise to see a lot of organizations suffering from dry rot in their operations, thereby affecting their ability to compete or serve their customers adequately. Even though people tend to be inflexible in terms of addressing change, we must all face the reality that if there is anything constant in life, it is change.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  BEWARE OF OFFICE POLITICS – There’s no avoiding it, regardless of the type or size of company.

LAST TIME:  HOW DID OUR MORAL VALUES CHANGE? – Was there an epoch event that caused us to change? Actually, Yes, I believe so.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News with Dave and Lance” with hosts Lance Tormey & Mike Bastinelli (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Business, Management, Social Issues | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

 
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