Sunday, August 29, 2010

Emotional Intellectual by Day, Basket Weaver by Night

There will always be buzz words. Without them, how would anyone toss around the Toro poo poo, especially in the corporate world? Uh-oh, I think I just used another buzz word. We’ve all heard them… words like, Six-Sigma, Paradigm, Synergy, Thought Leadership, Best Practices and Revolutionary.

I don’t know what you’re talking about and I wish you would shut the hell up.” Then again, saying that wouldn’t be emotionally intelligent, would it? Do you hear a buzz buzz buzzing noise? Emotional Intelligence, the idea that one can measure emotions to determine if they are intelligent seems to be the new gauge for success. Think about it though. How many times have you wanted to say something rotten to someone, especially if you thought they deserved it, but nodded and smiled instead? If you didn’t say it, is that emotional intelligence or just being an old fashioned bootlicker? If you did say it, would that mean your emotional processing and problem solving ability was in good working order? I’m confused. I have taken IQ tests before and have a pretty good idea of where I stand on the intelligence totem pole but how can anyone test their emotions?

For instance, if you would look at pictures of my family as I was growing up, you would see smiling, happy, fun-loving people. Are you kidding? There is no earthly reason we should have been smiling. We were saying cheese or boobies or something else with an ease on the end of it. It was exhausting. If people can smile for an inanimate object that flashes and burns dark green spots on their retinas, then don’t you think they do it for other people?

Do we really fake emotions? You betcha’. Maybe a better buzz word would be emotion management. Some say the ability to explain your feelings is part of emotional intelligence. The inability to understand your feelings would prove that there is a lack of innate emotional intelligence. If you feel uncomfortable in someone’s presence and don’t know why, does it mean you are emotionally stupid, or just need to say, “you give me the friggin’ creeps!” Of course that wouldn’t be socially desirable, especially in the work place.

For the emotionally unintelligent, and you know who you are, I have invented a device that will harness emotions. It comes in black nylon, multi-colored knitted yarn or genuine leather. The collar and harness places the weight of the emotional load onto the shoulders, without any restriction on the intellect. Leather is recommended for heavy emotional hauling. The reins are used to guide the unexpressed feelings to a neutral area without impairing judgment. Once emotions have successfully been hauled to the safe zone, they are disposed of with the use of chemicals. Alcohol works best.

Harness emotions responsibly.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Art of Delegation

I’m so very excited. The company I work for has created some new opportunities for managers to design programs for unique ways to motivate employees to step up and take on more responsibility. I have to say, I believe I have found a fabulous trend-setting method and have no doubt they will earn me an award. I think other managers will begin to see the merit of my new procedures and follow suit. Of course, having an award-winning team will possibly cause team envy within the company.

I have wrestled with delegating duties for quite some time now. Often, the decision to delegate certain duties can have a company-wide impact on morale. To eliminate conflict, I thought I would get employees in sync with my ideas by starting each morning with a group chant, “Every day in every way, I think I’m such a prize. And that is why I’m here to work or at least to improvise.” I made that up myself and I have to say, it has done wonders for team spirit.

I needed to find someone within my department who is optimistic by nature, would anticipate when something unexpected could happen, and accept the fact that just because you are in charge doesn’t necessarily mean you are…in charge that is. Resilience is crucial and the best candidate must have a knack for setting realistic goals. In order to make the best selection, I had to create a robust testing procedure to choose the right person who would assume additional duties freeing me up to focus on the bigger picture.

I began with a simple ‘Facial Feedback’ study. I had my department line up, and one by one, I stood in front of each employee and smiled, then frowned, and finally produced the most hideous grimace I could. I have to say almost all employees mirrored the smiles and frowns. However, there were two that ran away screaming at the sight of the grimace. I shouted a threat that the boogeyman would be waiting for them by their car at the end of the day. Not only did they run faster but they were also eliminated from the pool of hopefuls.

The narrowing down process had begun. Next, during the work day, I snuck up behind each of the employees and surprised them by blowing an air horn behind their head. There were only three who did not jump high enough to have both feet off the ground at the same time. I decided I would be able to delegate duties to one of these three employees, two women and one man... my finalists.

The last thing I did with a magic marker is draw a six foot by six foot box on the floor of the lunch room and request that the three competitors stand in it. I asked them mathematical questions such as what is twelve, minus one? And what is eight divided by two? History questions included when was the war of 1812? And who was the Lincoln memorial named after? Clearly, they all were equally qualified. Their answers were correct, that is, until I asked them to step across the line. They gave me blank stares when I asked them to explain the corpuscular theory of light. They were stumped when I inquired about their knowledge of the origins of Greek mathematics. I felt frustration begin to set in. Clearly, none of them could think outside of the box.

I have decided to abstain from delegating any of my duties for the time being. At least until I find a more suitable aspirant. Until then, we will continue our morning chant, “Every day in every way, I think I’m such a prize. And that is why I’m here to work or at least to improvise.”

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Happy Worthday

August 8, 2010

Last week was strange to say the very least, it was a week so bizarre that if it were measured on the Richter magnitude scale, it would be deemed a 7.3, with enough destructive force to cause serious damage over larger areas. The Joule equivalent, a formula based on Newton’s law to measure the amount of energy traveling one meter would assign it 11.3 but I won’t bore you with the mathematical equations or the details.

Today is my birthday, so I thought I would find my own unique way to celebrate. No party, no parade, no merrymaking but instead, a one-of-a-kind assessment. After much introspection, I have decided to sum myself up…literally. I’m not talking about financial net worth but my human worth. To calculate that, I will have to begin at the beginning and combine the Richter/Joule formulas to examine every nuance, every quirk and cranny to determine the effect my actions have had on me and on others. To reserve Internet terabytes, you will receive the condensed version. At the end of my calculations, I will have the mathematical number that will yield my true value.

I was born with a Calcium deficiency that I was told caused me to have mild to moderate seizures until I received a Calcium injection in the superficial temporal vein, located on the side of my head. This is proof enough to me that I just wasn’t right in the head, so I will have to receive a Richter of 6.7 and Joule of 708 for damage to myself and to my mother for making her worry.

When I was two, I wandered out of the house when I was supposed to be taking a nap and was somehow able to get into our car that was parked in the driveway. After releasing the parking brake and pulling the gear shift out of park, the car began rolling down the driveway. My mother happened to be washing dishes at the time and through the kitchen window, saw what was happening. She screamed and ran from the house but was unable to get to me as I was refusing to keep my arms and legs inside the vehicle until it reached a complete stop. As a result, my right leg was caught under the front left tire and if it weren’t for my then flexible bones and the miracle of missing my pelvic bone by centimeters, I escaped being physically disabled for the rest of my life. I give myself a Richter of 7.8 and Joule of 31.6 for being disobedient, causing damage to myself and giving my mother a halo of gray hair at her hairline… and of course for making her worry.

On a beautiful spring day, when I was five, I was standing at our front door screen gazing at the beauty of the giant Sycamore tree in our front yard. A large stray dog happened by on the sidewalk. He stopped abruptly and looked directly at me before bounding toward our door. I couldn’t have imagined what happened next. He slammed though the screen door, knocking the door off its hinges while running over me. It seems he spied our cat standing on the back of the couch behind me and acted on his basic instincts. It took both of my parents to evict the dog from the premises. I have to give myself a Richter measurement of 5.5 and a Joule of 2.0 for causing damage to the door, inconveniencing my father, having screen impressions on my face for three days and of course for worrying my mother.

When I was ten, I had my tonsils removed. The medical field considers this a minor procedure however not for me. I hemorrhaged. My throat had to be packed and as a result, my Uvula healed to the back of my throat directly over my nasal passages. My nose was useless, nothing more than a face ornament. I needed a second surgery to clear my nasal passages and bring the Uvula down to normal position. I believe my surgeon resigned from surgical procedures shortly after and became a dietician. I have to give myself a Richter of 8.0 and Joule of 63.1 for ruining someone’s career, running up a large medical expense and causing my mother to worry.
So far, in the early years of my life, I had accumulated a total of 28 on the Richter scale and a whopping Joule of 804.7, numbers never before recorded in history; a destructive force needing to be reckoned with.

My teen-age and adult years have been packed with continuing drama resulting in an even larger accumulation of shocking numbers due to personal problems, divorce, financial challenges, work related issues and loss of loved ones, all of which worried my mother.

My life has slowed to a comfortable pace now, which gives me time to ponder. I am more at peace. I think the reason for this might be my willingness to go back and find that drama has served a purpose in my life and in those I have come in contact with. It did you know, all of it, and since I am a writer, I can complete the stories and imagine outcomes that explain the reasons for the need to perform these dramatic acts in this mysterious stage play called life.

I can imagine that the doctor who injected my infantile noggin went home and cried to his wife that he had to perform a ghastly procedure on a two week old infant. This display of emotion caused her to rethink her decision to divorce the man she thought was void of feelings. They went on to have three children of their own.

The neighbor that drove us to the hospital when my leg was run over, along with my mother, became more vigilant to secure the safety of her children. My Pediatrician gave me the nickname, ‘Lucky’ and had a positive tale of the miracle on Cohasset Street for the rest of his patients.

The dog that trampled me under the screen door was taken to a nearby animal shelter where he was adopted by a family with six children and no cats. His quick instincts made him a hero when he alerted the family of a fire in the laundry room during the night. He saved the entire family and caught the fire early enough to save the house.

The doctor who removed my tonsils, and as I said, went into the dietary field? Well, his wife made the worst brownies in the world. They were really bad…dry and chewy. He decided to market them as an appetite suppressant; they became so popular by his patients, and then the world, that he became a millionaire.

Someone said, marriage is grand, but divorce is fifty grand. Truer words were never spoken. My divorce and the financial difficulties resulting from it created a stronger me, and as sure as broken bones have more strength in their broken places once they are healed, my confidence has grown, my inner strength has emerged and I am blessed with the knowledge that I can rely on myself, I am resourceful, smarter and more creative than I ever imagined and from these experiences I have learned the lessons I have needed to learn. This is true.

Sad to say, my ex suffered multiple injuries in a car accident when his girlfriend at the time began swatting at a bee. She hit my ex in the face several times with a rolled up Cosmopolitan magazine before a gust of wind caught her skirt and wrapped it around the steering column, locking up the steering wheel. The red mustang convertible careened through several red lights before plowing into a gigantic pile of manure waiting to be picked up by a local landscaping company.

To end my fiscal year and sum up my accumulated Richter and Joule numbers would be impossible because, you see, there are so many lives we touch that we aren’t even aware of. The serendipity of life threads its way through our experiences, our lessons, and we all have a hand at creating the most breathtaking tapestry that remains hidden to us until we step over to the other side.

My mother passed away over twenty years ago but before she died, she had the most beautiful silver hair I have ever seen. When the sunlight danced on it, I swear it looked like she was wearing a halo. I’m glad I was able to help in creating it by making her worry so much.

And the other loved ones I’ve lost? Well, they weren’t lost at all; they were a gift to me and to the many other lives that they touched. I’m happy to have known them, to have loved them and to know they loved me. That is without measurement and is priceless.

Love the people you love. You never know the last time you will see them.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Nefarious Schmarious

I read an article from the Associated Press last week reporting that in Somerville, Mass, there is a growing popularity in competitive lockpicking. It seems this “Locksport” provides the intellectual thrill of analyzing locks and finding ways of opening them quickly without destroying them. Locksport fans compete to be the fastest lock picker and they have an even more challenging contest called, Locksport Wizard, involving a burlap sack, a set of identical locks, and a few odd tools provided to blindly pick them with. Lockpicking has become so popular that a US chapter of The Open Organization Of Lockpickers has been formed…otherwise known as TOOOL.

I have absolutely nothing against nerds. I am one. And I sometimes slip into the category of gullible, but I can’t believe that everyone who is participating in this sport is a mere puzzle solver. Is it possible that criminals are getting a free education in picking? In my day, and I never thought I would live long enough to use that phrase, if someone said their hobby was picking, I immediately assumed they played the guitar or banjo. Whatever happened to the masterly art of playing chess? Where have all the whittlers gone? Any bird watchers left? Embroidering? How about Origami or making model cars?

I say, if we are going to change up our interests in a pestilential way, let’s do it right! Why don’t we make this an Olympic sport? In fact, I think it would benefit the general population for our lawbreakers to hone their skills. I mean, how many times has an innocent bystander been injured or killed by a drive-by shooting? Bad shooting is to blame for these tragedies. Practice makes perfect. Maybe we should have an Olympic drive-by event that is judged by efficiency and accuracy. Or, how about relay purse-snatching? Weapon carving? We could develop team events like, prison break and looting. Top them all off with the, Tri-Athelimb Decapathon, involving bomb building, placement and detonation.

I admit my humor is dryer than a popcorn fart, and when I read things like this, my inner sarcasm breaks out and runs freely with the wind in its hair. That’s my hobby though, sarcasm. True, carping, salty, ornery, sardonic, smart-alecky, weisenheiming, sarcasm. Wish they would make that an Olympic event too.