THE BRYCE IS RIGHT!

Software for the finest computer – The Mind

  • Tim’s YouTube Channel

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 946 other followers

  • Categories

  • Fan Page

  • Since 1971:
    "Software for the finest computer - The Mind"

    Follow me on Twitter: @timbryce

  • Subscribe

Archive for the ‘Employment’ Category

WHY WE WORK

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 26, 2019

BRYCE ON LIFE

– For our mental well-being to begin with.

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

In this age of entitlement, some young people are wondering if they should be enjoying life as opposed to working as diligently as we do. This explains why Millennials do not seriously think about long-term employment. Studies indicate they would rather see the world now, not later, sample new delicacies, relax and play games as opposed to being attached to a career. From their perspective, they have two lives, personal and working, but they do not see them intertwined. This is the antithesis of preceding generations who worked hard, not just to survive, but to prosper.

As someone from the old school, I tend to believe we were put on this planet to work, e.g., to explore, to discover, to invent, to compose, to engineer, to basically leave the world better than how we found it. Of course, this represents evolution, to aspire for perfection, knowing we may never achieve it, but to improve it nonetheless.

Some do not see work in this light as their job may seem too mundane, such as pushing a broom or digging a ditch. However, I believe there is dignity in all forms of work and I, for one, certainly do not look down my nose at anyone regarding their form of employment, as long as they do it professionally. The work of common laborers may seem trivial, but as Michelangelo observed, “Trifles make perfection and perfection is no trifle.”

To illustrate, a janitor is typically responsible for cleaning, sweeping and tidying up. The cleanliness of the work place has a huge impact on the other workers as studies have shown people work more productively in a clean environment as opposed to a cluttered one. If the janitor doesn’t perform the job properly, it could very easily have an adverse effect on the output of the other employees.

I remember a time when I was working with a customer late at night in a large office. I happened to observe the janitor cleaning up as most of the staff had gone home. He noticed a framed picture was skewed ever so slightly. Where some people would skip over it, he stopped and straightened it. I asked him why, to which he replied, “It just wasn’t right.” In other words, he took his responsibilities seriously and developed a professional attitude which ultimately influenced the lives of others in the office.

To those who take on a professional attitude, there is no separation between personal and working lives, as they are merged into one. Our working life is an extension of our personal life. After all, there is only one you. Even when we are charged to perform a task at work we do not like, this is essentially no different than doing a difficult task in our personal life. The marriage of the two affects both sides; our skills and ethics on our personal side influences our decisions at work, and our working side teaches the personal side new lessons.

When a person decides to retire, it severs an important part of their life. Some people begin to deteriorate shortly thereafter as they have lost their sense of purpose and have difficulty finding a new endeavor to pursue. To illustrate, when American presidents leave office, it is not uncommon to see their health and mental acuity diminish. Lyndon Johnson is a good example. Here is a man who spent his life in government as a member of the House, the Senate, as Vice President, and finally as President. He was a man who stood at the helm during our Viet Nam War and oversaw the civil rights movement. Regardless of how you felt about LBJ, when his term of office was over, and he retired to his Texas ranch, his health declined rapidly and he died just five years later. This is why it is important to remain busy in some pursuit following retirement.

There are fundamentally three reasons why we work:

1. Survival – to put food on the table and secure the well-being of ourselves and loved ones.

2. Improve the human condition – to go above survival and endeavor to achieve greater things.

3. Spirituality – for our mental well-being and development as a person.

As to this last point, learning to work and mastering a craft gives the person a sense of purpose, structure, and sense of accomplishment (reward gratification). It also teaches us to learn the differences between right and wrong thereby affecting our sense of ethics. Bottom-line, work leads to the development of our character, our sense of worth and dignity.

This is why it is important to assume a professional attitude regardless of your job. If you are not happy with your current job or want to do something else, quit and move along, but while you are charged with a task, do it to the best of your ability if, for no other reason, your mental well-being.

Consider the adverse effects on a person who is unemployed. They become unstable and a burden on society. The old adage, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop,” comes to mind.

On the other hand, “if you find a job you love, you’ll never work again,” as you have found stimulation and fulfillment as a person.

While others want a free ride, there is something to be said about the satisfaction of earning something on your own, which can be very motivational to people and instills pride in our work. I am, therefore, a proponent of the benefits of gainful employment.

Finally, always try to remain positive and never embrace a defeatist attitude. As former President Theodore Roosevelt observed in a talk to schoolchildren in Oyster Bay, Christmas-time 1898:

“There are two things that I want you to make up your minds to: first, that you are going to have a good time as long as you live – I have no use for the sour-faced man – and next, that you are going to do something worthwhile, that you are going to work hard and do the things you set out to do.”

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 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Advertisements

Posted in Employment, Life, Management | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

THE DANGERS OF MAKING A REFERRAL

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 21, 2015

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– Be careful what you say.

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

Years ago it was commonplace to give job referrals for employees or professional acquaintances. For example, 30 years ago when we moved from Cincinnati to Tampa, for those employees who elected to stay behind and not make the move, we openly helped them locate new jobs. We had several contacts in the systems industry and were able to help our people find work. This was not unusual at the time, but I’m afraid you do not see such practices anymore, nor do I recommend giving such referrals anymore as this has become a potentially litigious problem. For example, if you give a positive endorsement, and the worker doesn’t perform to the satisfaction of the new employer, the company may elect to sue you for misrepresenting the worker. On the other hand, if you give a negative endorsement, the individual in question may sue you over defamation of character. In other words, it’s a “lose-lose” proposition no matter what you do.

The best thing is to say as little as possible. In fact, Human Resource departments generally frown on any form of endorsement and most companies today have written policies prohibiting employees from giving referrals. However, if by chance you are put in a position to talk about someone, particularly a former employee, there are three things you are allowed to discuss as a general rule:

1. Employment verification – the specific job held by the person and the dates of their employment.

2. Verifying the person’s title or position.

3. Is the person eligible to be rehired? (Yes/No).

Do not elaborate beyond this. Do not articulate any opinion. Just stick to the facts. If pressed for additional detail, say, “I’m sorry but it is not our company’s policy to divulge any other background information on employees.” Nor should you provide anything in writing. Believe me, the person making the request, usually someone from Human Resources, will know the drill and will be surprised if you deviate from the script. The only exception might be if the company signs a waiver to hold you harmless from any comments you make. Even then I would think twice about volunteering anything.

Regrettably, such a position on referrals makes it difficult for an employer to know what they are getting in terms of a worker’s true skills and character. This forces the employer to depend upon the candidate’s resume and interview, with no way of substantiating the candidate’s claims.

Then there is the matter of making referrals on the Internet, which is popular among employment services and social networking services such as LinkedIn. These facilities provide the means to make recommendations, but again, you should exercise caution for the same reasons mentioned above. Just because it is on the Internet doesn’t mean you are somehow protected from litigation. Again, companies have formal policies for making referrals.

The biggest difference in this regard between now and thirty years ago is that although you may be better protected from law suits, companies are more inclined to buy a “pig in a polk,” thereby complicating the process of finding the right person for the right job.

Originally published: August 18, 2010

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 © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THE SECRET OF HAPPINESS (a short story) – Can it be expressed as a calculation?

LAST TIME:  WHY OLDSTERS ARE MEAN  – And, No, we’re not like this all the time.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Employment, Management | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

HOLDING A JOB HOSTAGE

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 16, 2015

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– How programmers do it, but why does management accept it?

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

For as long as I can remember, people in the Information Technology business have enjoyed relative immunity from being fired from their job. This is primarily because when they write source code (text which is compiled into electronic format) it is difficult to read and understand the logic behind it. In most cases, if a programmer has written a program featuring a special calculation or feature, employers are afraid to release the person as they fear the logic will walk out the door with the person, making maintenance or modification of the source code almost impossible. This can be easily overcome by developing documentation, both within the program using comments, and externally where the purpose, description, and logic of the program is explained, as well as its interfaces to other programs and file structures. Unfortunately this rarely occurs as programmers stubbornly resist writing documentation in fear someone might read it and criticize their work. By doing so, they have safeguarded their job and now hold it hostage.

Think of it this way, it is like an architect being the only person who knows how a building is designed. Who would fire him? After all, there are no blueprints and the design is filed away in the person’s head.

Frankly, I do not understand why managers accept this behavior, but they do. Consequently, it becomes difficult to reprimand an employee. Further, it becomes rather expensive to dissect a program and modify it without disrupting the interfaces to everything else linked to it.

Another problem is when programmers leave a company they often take code not belonging to them. Regardless if it was written by the programmer or another, most programmers feel entitled to the code so they may use it with their next employer. This is incredibly illegal and could do serious harm to the company, as it is their intellectual property, but it is a common occurrence in business today.

What I have described herein is common knowledge inside the Information Technology field. The outside world is generally unaware of this problem. There are other technical positions doing this as well, but it is in programming where it becomes a flagrant problem. Outside consultants also like to play this game and deliver software, but no documentation, thereby creating a dependency on their services. Again, the best way to overcome this problem is to insist on verifiable documentation, but managers either do not understand the problem or naively believe programming is an art form which can only be performed by people who cannot be inhibited by structure or discipline. This is just plain nuts. Under this scenario, the real culprit is the manager for allowing this to happen, not the programmer.

I have always believed the best way to make yourself indispensable to a company is by demonstrating a positive attitude and a professional work ethic (e.g., craftsmanship), not to mention delivering on time and within budget. Alas, this appears to be an attitude from a bygone era.

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 © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  WHY OLDSTERS ARE MEAN – And, No, we’re not like this all the time.

LAST TIME:  THE THREE TENETS OF MANAGEMENT  – Is there any real management going on anymore?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Employment, Management, Software | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

BEWARE OF A PERIOD AND TWO SPACES

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 10, 2014

BRYCE ON RESUMES

– How HR Departments are scanning your resumes for punctuation.

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

File this under, “More changes due to technology.” A friend recently e-mailed me an article on how resumes should be updated to give the impression the person is up-to-date with today’s technology. It contended HR Departments (Human Resources) look at resumes for certain punctuation rules to consider if the candidate is current. The article offered a handful of suggestions which I found rather amusing.

First, it contended you should not waste time showing your home address on the resume. If the company wants to contact you, they will do so either by e-mail or telephone. This caused me to wonder how the HR Department will know if the person lives locally or far away, thereby incurring relocation expenses? Wouldn’t it be simpler to be made aware of this up-front as opposed to discovering later on? Then again, maybe I’m showing my age here. I hope they do not try to deduce it by telephone area code as this is an unreliable way of determining location. To illustrate, if I buy my phone in Miami and activate it there, I will get a Miami area code. Even though I live in the Tampa Bay area, the area code will reflect Miami.

Next, the article said there was no need for including a home telephone number in the resume. Since everyone has a mobile phone, that should suffice shouldn’t it? The assumption here is that everyone has a smart phone turned on 24/7, and, as such land lines are considered passé. The last time I checked though, I can still contact just about anyone on the planet with my land-line. Oh yea, it also has voice mail to record messages. (Please note, I was going to say “cell phone” instead of “mobile” but this is also considered old-school by today’s standards.)

The article also recommended expressing telephone numbers with just periods, not hyphens or parentheses. For example:

Wrong Way
727-786-4567
(727)-786-4567
727/786-4567

Right Way
727.786.4567

The expression of telephone numbers with periods was influenced by Internet addresses (URL). Interestingly, the telephone books still make use of hyphens and not periods. I wonder if they are aware how out-of-date they are?

My favorite change though regards punctuation. They claimed at the end of a sentence, you should display a period, followed by a single space, before beginning the next sentence. The article contended a period and two spaces is old school and caused by typing classes of yesteryear, and, as such, is obsolete.

Let me see if I can clear this up. First a period, and two spaces is certainly not obsolete. In the world of publishing, of which I am intimate, it is a necessity. The reason the single space phenomenon came about is primarily due to web pages which is primarily based on HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language). The programmers who developed the language, and other web tools, established a default of a period and single space between sentences. Evidently, it was too difficult for them to figure out a way to insert two spaces after a period; either that or someone failed an English course along the way (I suspect the latter). So, because a programmer couldn’t devise a way to enter two spaces after a period, the world is expected to change how they construct sentences. Technology strikes again.

As an aside, this essay was written with a period and two spaces between sentences, yet you’ll notice the web page shows a period and one space. This is done to prevent me from promoting my heretic beliefs.

I wish Human Resource Departments would pay more attention to the credentials expressed within a resume, as opposed to grammar. It is unfathomable to me, a person would not be considered for a job simply because the wrong characters were used or there was one too many spaces. Unbelievable.

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 © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THE NEED FOR EMPATHY – Does the excessive use of technology affect our compassion for others?

LAST TIME:  HOW ARE YOU (REALLY)?  – Are we telling the truth or is it all facade?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; The Glenn Pav Show on WTAN-AM (1340) in Clearwater, FL, Mon-Fri (9-10am); and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific).  Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Business, Employment | Tagged: , , , , | 9 Comments »

HOW COMPANY PARTIES WORK

Posted by Tim Bryce on December 14, 2010

The following is an excerpt from my book, “MORPHING INTO THE REAL WORLD – A Handbook for Entering the Work Force” which is a survival guide for young people as they transition into adult life. The book offers advice regarding how to manage our personal and professional lives. As a part of this, I found it necessary to discuss how to behave at company parties.

Company Parties

During your employment, you will undoubtedly have to attend some company sponsored parties, be it a year-end party or simply going out for a drink with the boss. Your attendance is important as the company is trying to relieve some stress and promote camaraderie among the workers. If you are married, bring your spouse (if they are invited) as companies tend to like to create a family-like environment. If the spouse refuses to attend, it will send a negative message. But assuming they are going to attend, be sure to brief your spouse prior to the function on any pertinent politics so he/she will not accidentally say something inappropriate thus causing an embarrassing situation to make you look bad.

Yes, it is time to relax and unwind, but it is also time to be on your toes. Alcohol tends to loosen the tongue so do not imbibe to the point of drunkenness. Now is not the time to tell off your boss or coworker. Do not say something you will live to regret, such as revealing a dark chapter of your past or how you screwed something up at work, which is how rumors are started. Keep cool and collected. If you are leery of alcohol, order something that looks like a regular drink, such as club soda and lime (which could pass as a gin or vodka tonic) or apple juice (which easily passes for whiskey). This leads people to believe you are a social drinker, yet allows you to maintain control over your faculties.

Aside from this, company parties tend to loosen up inhibitions and allows you to get to know your fellow workers and boss on a more personal level. Also observe protocol in regards to smoking. Some people enjoy a good smoke, others vehemently dislike it. Do what is suitable for the occasion.

If you are ever put in charge of coordinating a company party, make sure it is a success and accommodates everyone, especially if it is the year-end holiday party. Companies take such parties seriously and you are often measured by how successful the party is executed. For example, I have a friend who served at IBM in New York years ago, and was saddled with the company holiday party where families were invited to attend. He quickly found this to be a big responsibility. Nonetheless, he put on a great party where everyone enjoyed themselves. He even had a Santa Claus there to deliver a present for every child in attendance. And best of all, he delivered the party under budgeted costs. In fact, the party went off so well, that his career at IBM took off immediately thereafter.

“Do not underestimate the power of the company party.”
– Bryce’s Law

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. Bryce & Associates (MBA) 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:
http://www.phmainstreet.com/timbryce.htm

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Tune into Tim’s THE BRYCE IS RIGHT! podcast Mondays-Fridays, 11:30am (Eastern).

Copyright © 2010 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Posted in Business, Employment, Management | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

THE DANGERS OF MAKING A REFERRAL

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 18, 2010

Years ago it was commonplace to give job referrals for employees or professional acquaintances. For example, 25 years ago when we moved from Cincinnati to Tampa, for those employees who elected to stay behind and not make the move, we openly helped them locate new jobs. We had several contacts in the systems industry and were able to help our people find work. This was not unusual at the time, but I’m afraid you do not see such practices anymore, nor do I recommend giving such referrals as this has become a potentially litigious problem. For example, if you give a positive endorsement, and the worker doesn’t perform to the satisfaction of the new employer, the company may elect to sue you for misrepresenting the worker. On the other hand, if you give a negative endorsement, the individual in question may sue you over defamation of character. In other words, it’s a “lose-lose” proposition no matter what you do.

The best thing is to say as little as possible. In fact, Human Resource departments generally frown on any form of endorsement and most companies today have written policies prohibiting employees from giving referrals. However, if by chance you are put in a position to talk about someone, particularly a former employee, there are two things you are allowed to discuss as a general rule:

1. Employment verification – the specific job held by the person and the dates of their employment.

2. Is the person eligible to be rehired? (Yes/No).

Do not elaborate beyond this. Do not articulate any opinion. Just stick to the facts. If pressed for additional detail, say, “I’m sorry but it is not our company’s policy to divulge any other background information on employees.” Nor should you provide anything in writing. Believe me, the person making the request, usually someone from Human Resources, will know the drill and will be surprised if you deviate from the script. The only exception might be if the company signs a waiver to hold you harmless from any comments you make. Even then I would think twice about volunteering anything.

Regrettably, such a position on referrals makes it difficult for an employer to know what they are getting in terms of a worker’s true skills and character. This forces the employer to depend upon the candidate’s resume and interview, with no way of substantiating the candidate’s claims.

Then there is the matter of making referrals on the Internet, which is popular among employment services and social networking services such as LinkedIn. These facilities provide the means to make recommendations, but again, you should exercise caution for the same reasons mentioned above. Just because it is on the Internet doesn’t mean you are somehow protected from litigation. Again, companies have formal policies for making referrals.

The biggest difference in this regard between now and thirty years ago is that although you may be better protected from law suits, companies are more inclined to buy a “pig in a polk,” thereby complicating the process of finding the right person for the right job.

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. Bryce & Associates (MBA) 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:
http://www.phmainstreet.com/timbryce.htm

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2010 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Posted in Business, Employment, Management | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
%d bloggers like this: