An open letter to Floridian Jurors

Dear Floridian Jurors,

I won’t pretend to know what’s going on in your head, what evidence you were presented with, or how you came to your decision. But from an outsider’s perspective, you’re fucking nuts.

Just in case it isn’t presented to you at your murder trials (Zimmerman, Dunn): I’d like to take a moment to introduce you to the reasonable person test. Continue reading An open letter to Floridian Jurors

The best time to ask for help

… is right after you’ve made a substantial effort and hit a wall.

If you ask before you’ve made the effort, you risk wasting your help’s time on something truly menial.

If you ask before making a substantial effort, your help might think you’re incompetent, hopeless, or worse – lazy.

This holds true no matter what you’re doing – panhandling or production.

Bonus: rather than asking your help to solve the problem for you, what if you asked them to help you think of solutions you haven’t thought of yet?

Just Wait – Marissa Mayer Will Have Gen-Y Shouting Yahoo in 3 Years

Certainly there are plenty of Yahoo! employees (and freelancers) cursing Marissa Mayer’s name after her decision that no Yahoo! employee can work remotely.

At the risk of being ostracized by my fellow Gen-Y’ers, I’ll go on record as saying: it’s a smart move. It’s the exact thing Mayer needs to do right now to save that company.

What is one thing that new mothers are really good at that CEOs need in droves? Ruthless efficiency. That’s precisely the reason I like her decision.

Marissa Mayer may have just saved Yahoo and countless jobs for 3 more years and all it cost her was the temporary displeasure of all but one Gen-Y and, of course, every last one of Yahoo!’s remote workers.

Even so, my cheering of her decision probably comes as a surprise to those of you who’ve read Psychotic Resumes.

I’ve long been a proponent of working from home. From noisy chewers noshing at their desks (seriously – can you be productive next to a cow chewing in your ear?) to irritating managers who don’t give you any leeway to perform your work, I only found TWO office experiences I enjoyed. As a Gen-Y (Millennial), this is to be expected – a whopping 37% of us say we’d take a pay cut to get more flexibility at work.

It took me two short, awful years after graduation to amass 13 distinct jobs and an irrational loathing for working for anyone else. I can’t say I’d like to join Yahoo!’s ranks any time soon. I don’t even particularly like or use Yahoo’s services, besides Flickr.

But let me give you some food for thought: Yahoo!’s core market – they’re less than tech savvy, usually older, with established jobs . They’re not going to see this as a negative, in fact – it may instill loyalty in the brand for these old fogeys even more than it did before.

More than that, though – Yahoo! has been declining in relevancy with geeks (you know, the people blogging, tweeting, and writing for the media) for a long time. This is thanks in no small part to a huge, unfocused work force.

Remember Delicious? Gone. Flickr? Well – it’s precariously poised to take back some market share thanks to some mis-steps by Facebook and Instagram. Even so, without serious thought leadership and focus it’s unlikely that Flickr will survive as a household name to 2015. Yahoo.com email addresses are the bane of most web-savvy individuals everywhere as they ar the harbingers of spam as well as “you’ve got to be kidding me”-level tech help requests.

So why do I like the decision to kick the remote workers to the curb? Much like Nicholas Carlson points out – Marissa Mayer has found a work-around to announcing layoffs. There are plenty of remote-working lazy asses – folks who clock-in and turn off. While productivity for some folks does turn way up at home, it’s just not universally true.

Rather than a long, arduous process of figuring out who your best, most committed Yahoos are, Marissa made the choice crystal clear. If you’re committed to Yahoo, no matter what, you’ll stick around. Granted, she’s going to lose a LOT of really good (if not ‘in for life’) employees who work from home. Her memo was also pretty staunchly anti-family (“don’t wait around for the cable guy if you can help it”) – but it will balance out in the long run. To me, this sounds like a shot across the bow to the unproductive “sick-time abusing” employees of any kind.

Moreover, this is most likely a temporary inconvenience that most folks will forget about by next week. If Chick-Fil-A is still shilling chicken sandwiches while making $2m in donations to anti-gay groups after the whole controversy, I’d say this whole stunt with Yahoo! will blow over.

Not only will it blow over, but Mayer will be poised to make a miraculous change of heart once the dead weight has been shed from Yahoo’s ranks. She’ll be in the position to offer her best and brightest employees some additional benefits.

All the dedicated Yahoos have to do is wait for the pendulum to come back around to “OK, if you’re really good, you can work from home” and stick out their obnoxious cud-chewing cubicle neighbors in the meantime. Be strong. Noise canceling headphones help!

Mayer has made an unpopular decision, for sure – one that will cost her some Gen-Y loyalty in the short run. In the long run? She’ll still be at the helm because Yahoo will still be in business rather than broke.

(Header Photo: Nom Nom Nom)

Let’s Get Real: This Economy Requires New Rules – Part One

In Fort Collins, we get a lot of trains these days.

They’re the kind of trains that take 10-15 minutes to move past – and we don’t have any tunnels or bridges or ways to get around them, really.

So, today – I’m heading down the main thoroughfare and traffic stops. Not for 10 or 15 minutes.

It stops for 45 minutes.

was on-time for a 9 AM meeting, when suddenly I wasn’t. Now, don’t worry about me – I had plenty of fun practicing for my big moment on Season 8 of Glee.

In case you’re wondering: I’ll be playing a run-away Priest, singing the only song left in the universe that they won’t have sung yet: Jewel’s Who Will Save Your Soul – belting it out while holding up a boombox outside of Quinn Fabray’s window.

Where was I? Oh yeah: the train. held hostage. an. entire. city. 

The only problem: there wasn’t a train. The crossing guard had malfunctioned. And for 45 minutes, we sat and waited for the train.

And the only thing folks could do was sit there and wait. And fume. And check their watches. And practice their Glee auditions to the dismay and delight of their neighbors.

That was, until one enterprising individual decided to break what I’m sure is a whole slew of city, state, and federal laws, and lift the arms of the cross guard so cars could pass.

An entire city brought to its knees by one malfunctioning safety measure. An entire city rescued by someone willing to break the rules. He’s fucking Batman, got it?

The economy is a lot like what happened this morning with the train. It’s like a lot of us are just sitting around waiting for the train to come. So here’s the deal: we need to break a few rules. The old rules no longer apply, because they regulated a system that no longer exists.

Now before you get all sweaty, I am not encouraging you to riot, loot, plunder, or rob banks. None of that. Here is what I want you to do: I want you to stop thinking about all the shit you can’t do – all the things you know you can’t do. That job you can’t get. That promotion you can’t have. That project you just can’t finish. I want you to change all those can’ts to will.

Day after day – we can’t do the things we need to do, and it just keeps getting worse. Nothing changes until we convince ourselves that it’s possible (or, better yet – that we don’t know it’s not possible). It starts with you. Bruce Wayne had to make the choice to put on that mask and break the rules.

Blogs, Twitter, and Facebook give you a platform for mass publication. It’s easier than ever to create something meaningful – and only you can make the choice to use the tools you’ve been given.

What are you waiting for? The Bat Signal’s lit.

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Personal Branding makes you a Liar – The Tiger Woods Story

Please attempt to only be 30% of who you really are” is the lesson of Social Media Mullet, today’s article from Jessica Miller-Merrell on Brand-Yourself.com. “Business in the front and party in the back” is the basic premise, that your social media profiles should consist of 70% business interaction and 30% personal. She cites Tiger Woods as an example.

Let me ask you a question. Does the fact that Tiger was aiming for holes that weren’t on the course make him a less-proficient golfer? If I’m hiring him to speak on marriage, maybe I pause. If I’m hiring him to play golf (what he does), then that’s not a problem.

In today’s workplace, would you rather be an interchangeable cog, whose only real differentiation from someone else is how much you charge per year? Or would you rather be the piece so unique and intricate that your misshapen ass barely fits into the machine?

Jessica will be the first to point out that you can be passionate and professional and unique while using social media. Common sense dictates that unless you’re applying for a job as a dancer, stripper, or porn star, you don’t publish naked pictures online… and let’s assume for the most part that aside from the occasional stupid mistake, most people are “within reason”.

If you’re muting your personality to the point where 70% of your interactions are “strictly business related”, you’re not being the real you, now are you?

What happens if you only present 30% of yourself when you’re 100% douchebag? (bad for the company) Or 100% pure awesome? (bad for your job search)

Either way you are a liar, you’re ruining the economy and you’re an idiot. And you’re going to keep being a liar until you’re 100% you – the only you there is.

Tiger is a good example of personal branding gone wrong. He does what he loves, no qualms about it. Occasionally, he f*cks up. Personal Branding made it worse – he couldn’t be professional “Tiger” and honest, truthful “Tiger” at the same time. He’s still Gandhi on the golf course. Some day, he’ll remember who he is and that you can’t be sane and two people at once.

Your professional self is your personal self, one in the same, one person, growing over time.

What kind of company would want to hire someone they knew only 30% about? What kind of company would penalize you for having a complete, unabashed social media presence if you were a wizard at your profession? Why do we reward people who want to work for a company that only wants 30% of us?

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Many Hiring Managers are Shallow, Daft Pricks

Many hiring managers are shallow, daft pricks. If you don’t believe me, then believe Ladders – who surveyed 500 UK senior-level executives. I sometimes come across figures so startling that they raise my blood pressure to unsafe levels, and the UK-based Sirona Says blog run by @AndyHeadworth had something pretty damn startling. According to the 500 surveyed UK executives, how an applicant dresses for the interview is more important than how the actual interview goes.

For Men, the fashion-based interview killers are:

  1. No tie (52% say fire)
  2. No jacket (50% say fire)
  3. Chinos (50% say fire)
  4. Polo shirts (66% say fire)
  5. Jeans (82% say fire)
  6. T shirts (88% say fire)
  7. Leather jackets (70% say fire)

Leather Jackets and T-shirts are reasonable – no one should be so casual unless it’s requested. But no tie? No jacket? Polo shirts? Please. The expectations on women are even worse – check out those high %’s!

  1. Short skirt (60% say fire)
  2. Low necklines (95% say fire)
  3. Sports shoes (91% say fire)
  4. Dangling jewelery (99% say fire)
  5. Bare legs (94% say fire)
  6. Big shoulder pads – ala 80′s style – (97% of bosses say big shoulder pads are wrong for interview)

Okay, so Andy had one more figure from the survey which confirms my “daft prick” theory. “95% of interviewers said orange was an inappropriate colour to wear to an interview, with red (84%) and pink (83%) coming in closely behind orange.”

Pink is many women’s favorite color and, to my knowledge, has never been considered “not businesslike”. If it’s good enough for the First Lady, it’s good enough for a freakin’ job interview. Not to mention pink is increasingly promoted as an alternate to white in Men’s fashion.  Red has always been a color associated with confidence, something which is important to demonstrate on an interview. You’re telling me that 83-84% of you morons would think less of a brilliant prospective employee for wearing pink or red? Moreover, if a woman shows bare leg, as opposed to wearing tights, 94% of you would turn her away?

Time the hell out, you spoiled, soft-brained, suspender-wearing morons.

Are you really so shallow that the best loser wearing the “perfect suit and tie” will get a job over a more qualified, better suited, better matched, but less fashionable prospective? This is why our economy SUCKS. This is why only 20% of 2009′s graduating class got jobs after applying. This is why 71% of those under 30 want to flee their current jobs when the economy recovers. When the “Best dressed moron” gets a job over someone who is better suited to the job, your company loses and good people get disheartened and go jobless. Your company languishes, destitute while the more qualified, yet un-hired prospect wastes more productive time appealing to the “better natures” of other daft pricks.

Screw you, corporate world.

You want the economy to recover? Let’s start simple. Stop looking down on people for what they wear – I’d take a talented hobo dressed in soiled clothing ANY DAY over a well-dressed, but arrogant know-nothing Harvard business grad. I’d take an artsy, hippie-styled graphic artist in thrift-store clothing who would fit the position better over a suit-and-tie designer with 20 years experience and an excellent resume. Dress codes encourage conformity – conformity discourages creativity – no creativity = no innovation, growth, or profitable future.

Every business must catch up and realize that shallow, vapid lusting over well-dressed candidates at the expense of better-suited but less fashionable candidates has facilitated our current economic problems.  Until then, we’ll keep on putting our talents to use at more enlightened companies where the hiring managers aren’t shallow, daft pricks.

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