Saturday 30 October 2004

Every Vote Counts and Matters

The World Expects...
Once again we come to the cross-roads of democracy where the government of the people, for some people by fewer rich people is decided by many people who should realise that it affects all people.
Once too often I have heard of a group of people called the American People a constituency that the Presidency represents by adopting a theocratic resolve on all social issues and blinding stubbornness oblivious of the realities of the Iraqi quagmire.
However, let us get to the issues starting with a simple analogy and its unfortunate lack of correlation.
This Security Issue
For instance, if I had a security firm that signed a long-term contract to offer services to protect life, property and security and then within the first year of the contract, we suffered loss of life, property and security, would I be renewing that contract or seeking better services?
Then after the catastrophic losses, the security firm resurfaces as a reborn firm with a new mission statement, new vision and probably a lot of restrictions to my freedom and access to my associates whilst chasing after the known people who make me suffer such loss, for a while I am content with all that activity.
Afterwards, the security firm decides to go after persons who had no relationship to the original perpetrators of the serious crime on the premise that a relationship might develop between these persons and the persons who caused us such great harm - I think I should be a bit suspect of this whole idea. What about the guys who did all the damage, who is going after them?
The retort comes back, that most of their employees are imprisoned on some secluded island out of reach of the law and reason. Really?
Fine, than news comes back from a number of auditors that the security firm was lax in many aspects that could have prevented the loss, that the decision to divert resources to un-associated issues was neither necessary nor useful in pursuing the aim of capturing the original perpetrators.
We are now left with a bigger contract bill and a greater loss of life, property and security and no particular idea of how to extricate ourselves from any of the issues in which we have embedded ourselves with such optimism but pessimistic realities.
The truth of the matter
  • When was American attacked?
  • Who was in charge when America was attacked?
  • Following the analogy, if this not a case of bolting the doors after the horses has bolted, what is?
  • The horses are lost but the stable is secure, fine, but what was the stable built for?
  • Was Iraq implicated in the September 11th attacks?
  • Should not the war on terror first have dealt with Al Qaeda before looking further afield to prosecute other ideological aims?
  • Is it really worth all that has now been lost?
Probable answers
America was attacked on September the 11th in the year 2001 during the term of President George W. Bush who happens to be the head of the security firm that was supposed to be protecting the full interests of the American people - life, property and security.
Surely, the presidency of George W. Bush was energised after the attack, but it is now on record that the guard was dozing off at the sentry leaving America vulnerable to the attack it suffered.
More so, his 8 months in office had produced landmark issues of isolation, tax cuts, pandering to special interests and so on - meaning he could have done something about security and putting Al Qaeda in the cross-hairs.
Any security guard would sound tougher and act tougher if caught to have failed on the job, unfortunately the horses that bolted are completely lost, to suggest you have not been attacked again does not preclude that fact that you are attacked on his watch.
A security guard should be up to the job from the first day and through out the term of the contract - this one failed.
The war on terror should first and always have been the war on that terrorist Osama bin Ladin and his Al Qaeda organisation. Iraq could have come a lot later with better reasons. But would a second term yield a war in Iran and North Korea which are fledging nuclear powers?
Oh yes! Go after the terrorists in their backyard and you can only sponsor that with a bigger deficit and definitely the return of the DRAFT. The draft Bush, Cheney and Clinton so successfully avoided, by playing the system. People who have not experience of the horror of war and prosecute wars are reckless as best and plain tyrannical at worst.
Just the numbers would do, over $120 billion, over 1,000 dead American sons and daughters, over 29,000 wounded soldiers, over 100,000 dead Iraqis, a 52 card deck of former Iraqi officials, one free Osama bin Laden, one free Mullah Omar of the Taliban regime, one terrorist den of Iraq, one greatest opium exporting country of Afghanistan, 2 emerging nuclear powers of North Korea and Iran and one weaponless Libya.
All for almost 4,000 dead Americans, the twin towers and 3 lost airplanes?
At one time someone should start counting the cost and that is NOW.
The World Really Expects...
Americans need to look beyond the local issues, "Act Local but Think Global", this election is a world election, we need someone the rest of the almost 6 billion people of the earth would feel comfortable with, who would promote both national and international peace without infuriating others who take an opposing view - a diplomat.
The world needs a strong American economy with sound principled economic policies grounded making for a surplus rather than an unprecedented budget deficit that leaves the unborn already saddled with debt.
That used to be the forte of third-world impoverished and indebted Bantustans - an economics.
The world needs a leader of the United States that sees the US as uniting the people and not in the context of "us and them", polarising every opinion that comes into the public debate - a leader of great persuasion.
Every American who can vote should and must vote for one of the persons vying for Presidency and every vote counts. Ralph Nader is not running for Presidency, he is not on enough state ballots to seize any electoral seats of any significance. That would be a wasted vote.
In fact, Ralph Nader and his supporters should vote for one of the proper Presidential candidates, either George W. Bush or John Kerry.
We cannot afford more of the same, nor can we afford a more aggressive more of the same for another four years, we probably need change and good change at that, regardless of the some inkling that the alternative is not as persuasive as he should be.
Get out and vote and do it right - the world expects and your conscience expects.

Monday 25 October 2004

Are you selling or shelved?

Recently, I was touted as someone who knows a bit about making CVs do what they are supposed to do. Create interest and get an interview.
So, in the end, I did receive a number of CVs and ended up writing this commentary which I believe would help towards ensuring that you are represented to the standard you do want to be recognised when your material lands on a recruiter’s desk.
Some of the commentary is directed and personalised, but no less relevant to any CV you read or write.
I read your CVs with interest and decided it might be better to share a few thoughts about what I believe makes CVs do the talking before they really, really want to meet the persona behind the data.
I have a number of analogies which I think would help reframe a lot of the detail of what in your CVs to bring out the qualities that really sell.
At first, I view a CV as marketing literature, it is your brochure that says, when I sent you my resume, I saw myself as the best person you could recruit for that role. How do you get your CV to do that.
First Analogy:
This is quite morbid but contains some interesting facts of life. When I visit a cemetery, I first look round the first few tombstones to give me an idea of the time frame in which people were buried in this cemetery after which I go looking for the mausoleums or grand edifices that tell you about the persons, persons and families buried therein.
Then I hear a famous person is also buried there and go looking for their headstone usually expecting to see something grand. If the stone is grand, fine, however, if it is ordinary, I am a bit underwhelmed.
What is the point here? Many CVs are tombstones, ordinary, plain and simple, nothing of note apart from gleaning an idea of what is about. The CVs that stand out have professional formatting, straight to the point and clearly engage the interest of the reader - these are the mausoleums.
Always give your CV a different look.
Second Analogy:
Culled, edited, personalised and updated from an article about the Perfect CV.
This chap comes round and says, "I've got a gun", in some cases he would instil fear, if well known, he is probably trying to show off and his friends say "so what?" Any one can get a gun.
That is the Feature - many CVs are full of features and lists. The reader has to figure out how each feature might apply to his recruitment situation or rather discard the CV and pick another up.
Maybe, the chap was caught mid-sentence and he says, "I've got a gun and I shot someone". That is an Achievement, of sorts, but it could also be murder and everyone is appalled and horrified, he is about to be shopped to the police.
And so, many CVs are full of achievements, but who are the achievements for and why?
Then he really gets to complete his sentence, "I've got a gun and I shot someone with it and because I did that, we won the war". Everyone exclaims, "You won the war?" He is feted, honoured, respected and the feature or achievement pale in significance because he used those two to gain a Benefit.
Anyone who reads that benefit through from the feature has his imagination excited about who this person is and that is what your CV should do.
Anything you have done that cannot be quantified as a benefit to the firm you work in is of no great significance.
There is not though that the order you bring into the chaos of change management saves money, time, resources and increases productivity and so on.
People who can clearly illustrate that they have brought benefits to any environment in which they have worked are seen as people who have something to bring to the party even if they are initially not considered qualified for the job.
Work to be done!
Your profiles should be a brief about you which should cover 3 essential things - who you are, what you bring and your pledge to fit in. Eliminate jargon and profession letters from that profile.
Each aspect of your work experience should concentrate on how your contribution helped and benefited, then you can list or analyse how you used the tools to get there.
Use statistical stuff like you halved waiting times, increased success results by a percentage, got people involved in some scheme.
One of my jobs was tough to explain and this is how I put it down "Three teams were combined into one; my role was to make them work as one." - Then I talked about how we got about it.
How do you get promoted at interview? Your CV raised expectations, your presence exceeded expectations.
Only put in the jargon where it helps shed more light on what you have done.
The area where you did temping jobs, you were useful to whoever employed you and achieved and benefited those organisations, spruce that up.
If you travelled, give a general idea of what you did - white-water rafting, crocodile baiting or lion-riding.
Recruiters like unusual, weird, crazy but collected people; they have a great outlook on life. - Statement from Tom Peters the uber-guru.
Close your CV with an idea of where you think you are going career wise and what general skills you have that do not fit in the body of the CV per se.
Do not waste space on old jobs except if they do contribute positively to the whole picture.
Have fun!

Sunday 24 October 2004

Wither America?

Wither America ...
Alastair Cooke
Watching a tribute to Alistair Cooke, an Englishman who for 50 years penned and broadcasted "The Letter from America" [1] for BBC Radio and died in March this year, for once one realised that we as the world had lost the objective assessment and analysis of news issues that pertain to America with the deluge of adversarial commentary on the 24-hour rolling news channels.
The title chosen reflects a very poignant saying in which he said he would not be found writing a book with the same name.
However, topic after topic that he touched on revealed an amazing understanding of events, their historical context and wealth of experience.
These being the war in Korea; the assassination of JFK; then of Robert Kennedy; the assassination of Martin Luther King; war crimes of Vietnam; Watergate, WhiteHouse and Whitewash; Reagan's Inauguration; the Columbine Massacre and the September the eleventh.
No right to bear arms
The Columbine Massacre in which two school boys gunned down 11 of their schoolmates and a teacher before committing suicide [2] highlighted a more sentimental issue in the American psyche - the right to bear arms. The film "Bowling for Columbine" (2002) [3] tried to explain these issues to the world at large.
Mr Alastair Cooke's research on this topic was most poignant in that the often quoted right to bear arms is not in and of itself a right without the situation in which it is based. The National Rifle Association [4] the behemoth lobby group that supports this misguided right quoted the truth out of context.
"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of the free state, then the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." [5][6]
This is the text of the 2nd Amendment of the Bill of Rights; any ordinary student of English would read this as the right to bear arms is necessary for the security of a free state in a well regulated militia.
As Alastair rightly observes, the regulated militia which was common place over a century ago is now replaced by the armed forces of the United States and the National Guard.
This amendment does not in any reading support the individual's right to bear arms except as part of a regulated militia - now if the reading is that each individual in America is a well regulated militia of one - this point is defensible.
However, amendments would not hold their mysticism if not shrouded in ambiguity that can be disputed and appropriated by those with the will to use or abuse it to their own ends.
Herein is the power of lobbyists, the ability to take part of a whole truth and convert it into a mantra that represents the whole truth. This is one of the failings of American democracy amongst other issues.
What is most interesting is that bearing arms in a responsible and regulated fashion in society does not need to be enshrined in the constitution in the 21st Century, just as the definition of marriage from a particular doctrinal stand-point does not have a place in the constitution.
To then slant this issue towards the idea of this right infringing on the freedom to hunt game is disingenuous in the least and dishonest at the most.
But who in America has really read the constitutional amendments without tinted glasses?
I do feel, before long the top ten titles on the New York Times bestsellers list night would include the book titled - Wither America? Only the American People can help us prevent a pending apocalypse.
[2] The Depressive and the Psychopath - At last we know why the Columbine killers did it. By Dave Cullen
[3] Bowling for Columbine (2002)
[5] BBC News ¦ Letter from America ¦ These are my times and I must know them
[6] Encyclopaedia: Second Amendment to the United States Constitution

Friday 8 October 2004

Which altar for the best sacrifice?

Marriage in relation to man
By happenstance a few years ago one was privy to correspondence between a very beneficent mentor and his nephew. The matter concerned the nephew’s attempts to resolve an abusive marital dispute which affected the nephew’s sibling.
Being in a patriarchal and African setting, the nephew was instructed, if not commanded to ensure that the younger sibling returned to her position of honour and submission to her spouse without adequate attention to the core issue of the abuse.
The nephew in response with all deference, given the opportunity of expression through writing rather than meeting addressed both the unpalatable and acceptable circumstance of an marital union and the need to address the issue that no society should continue to condone abusive relationship no matter what was at stake, this being security, family honour or any other form of adherence and creed that seems to garner more importance of the principals.
The view was that the duty of obeisance, submission and honouring one’s husband is really borne of the husband being selfless, respectful, understanding and even considerate to a fault to his spouse.
That attitude would always be reciprocated with the attention husbands crave for and at times demand.
The fact is, if the husband is not ready to risk all for his mate, is it unlikely that he would gain much in the total affection of his spouse.
The point is, to honour and obey as in the traditional sense is not about provision, but about selfless devotion first on the part of the man and then reciprocated by the woman.
In the end, the nephew concluded that marriage as an institution, creed or tradition was made for man and not man for marriage.
That it has happened through out the ages does not take from the fact man still predates the institution of marriage and hence when it comes to the crunch; marriage should and must always come second in pre-eminence to man.
Tradition in relation to man
Furthermore, a biblical encounter between Jesus and the teachers of the day, illustrated that fact further when they remonstrated about Jesus healing on a Sabbath which is a religious rest day.
Having first asked if it was good to do good on a Sabbath, he went on to say, the Sabbath was made for man and not man for Sabbath.
In Scripture, after God created the earth, He rested on the seventh day, however, that did not become a religious status till the giving of the 10 commandments well over a thousand years after the creation.
In effect, all institutions, traditions, creeds, belief systems and laws are made to serve men and to help man in service to his faith or society. They were patently not made as altars on which to sacrifice men.
The nephew’s final line was – you cannot sacrifice my sister on the altar and institution of marriage. No marriage should exact the cost of life in the pursuit of adherence to tradition.
Iraq in relation to now
So, it is with regret that I read that Ken Bigley, an unfortunate victim of the terror that has engulfed Iraq was murdered by his captors, which is bad enough, but that he was sacrificed on the altar and principle of not negotiating with terrorists is of greater revulsion and cant.
Let us step back a little; it can be argued that the world with Saddam Hussein in power is a safer place. I would not dispute that, but once Iraq was ridden of Saddam, it became the cauldron of the worst terrorist onslaughts by and type of insurgent in generations.
More people have lost their lives in Iraq than the sum of all terrorist attacks that have been inflicted on this world since September the eleventh 1991.
There is no rosy situation in Iraq, strive as they may to hold elections in January, the impunity with which the so-called American precision bombing seeks out children, marriage ceremonies and civilians beggars belief; it is too incredible to express in words.
The terrorist in relation to why
Let it be heard with no dissimulation, nobody, I mean nobody becomes a terrorist as a career move. There is a grievance, a wrong, a hurt, a cause, an injustice, a loss, a disappointment, desperation, oppression; really a situation or circumstance that creates the urge to wreak terror.
A terrorist that does not have the weaponry, manpower and expertise that could be brought to bear by a superpower would find other ingenious means to inflict damage on their oppressors and their collaborators and friends.
I do not support an concept of terrorism, but the causes run deeper than the perpetrators that front those causes and until the root of the cause of terror is dealt with, terrorists would abound.
The main sources of terror can be broadly outlaid in the following areas
  • The continued deprivation of Palestinians in favour of the Israelis, until the Palestinians have a home, there would be no peace in the Middle East.
  • The continued lack of determination for the peoples of Chechnya, as long as Russia continues to put stooges in Grozny rather than let the people choose their leaders, the horrors of Beslan would be the first of many to colour the 21st century.
  • Saudi Arabia has both the problem of a ruling family that is seem to be unresponsive to the yearnings of their people and whilst the atmosphere of the country adopts the stricter Wahhabist Islamic creed, the rulers are considered less devout and unrepresentative of that creed.
  • This is why Americans, regarded as infidels by the devout were allowed to set up bases, soon to be completed decommissioned in Saudi Arabia which is the holy Islamic land. This situation gave birth to Al Qaeda. The goal of Al Qaeda is to continue to terrorise till Saudi Arabia is rid of every single infidel.
  • Pockets of terror created by people seeking revenge for losing mentors, loved ones, leaders and communities.
It is not without cause that many of the wars the Israelites found in the Scriptures had the express command to annihilate every living thing, because a remnant would adopt an only purpose of seeking revenge at any cost – terrorism is the goal of getting back and getting even at any cost.
War in relation to cowardly escapists
Finally, this whole issue of war-mongering bothers me much, it appears a leader does not consider their tenure distinguished till having exercised the opportunity of sending their younger generation to their deaths in a cause that could probably have been negotiated but aborted.
I feel, nobody should call others to arms till they themselves have borne arms and faced the wrath of enemy combat. The convenience of arms-length command allows irresponsible leaders to take flagrant risks at war with the consequences put completely out of sight.
George W. Bush has not once attended a funeral of any one of the many that have died in combat in Iraq.
Civilisation in relation to process
If civilisation masquerading as democracy and free trade can only be promoted through the use of force and arms, we are the poorer for it in this age and no better than the Vandals and Barbarians we at times hold in derision.

Thursday 7 October 2004

Poster dogs Potter

Pass this Dutchie
Living in the Netherlands brings its interesting moments and it is with interest that I review the events that I have raised in earlier blogs that do not seem to go away for all sorts of reasons.
To help in catching the perspective of these issues, first of all the Netherlands is the official name of the country we regularly refer to as Holland. Holland however only comprises 2 of the 12 provinces of the Netherlands.
Holland is made prominent from the fact that the major ports of the Netherlands were in Amsterdam which is in North Holland and Rotterdam which is in South Holland. The area of Holland is hardly one eighth of the total area of the Netherlands.
Furthermore, whilst many might know we have a monarch, Queen Beatrix, our Prime Minister or Minister-President in Dutch Parlance is Jan Peter Balkenende - who? The leader who shares a likeness with Harry Potter - now you know.
More foot for mouth
Well for the past month he has been laid low with a persistent and unremitting foot infection, I alluded to that in my Foot in mouth disease blog for which a number of skin grafts has been made to deal with the this infection. Whilst some might wonder if the problem is a gangrene, I would not even dare to speculate.
News comes to me that Harry Potter has just won a legal action from his sick-foot bed against a publication that shows him on a raunchy poster as an Ex-porn star.
As usual you never hear of these unseemly issues until someone makes such a fuss of it that what was mundane and unnoticed suddenly gains such popularity and publicity, none of which can be bought or planned for.
Remember the furore this summer about the distribution of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 911, when Disney stopped Miramax a subsidiary from releasing the film, by the time we knew what was going on, a row had broken out about the film, it won the Palme D'or at the Cannes Film Festival and it grossed over $100 million in the box office. Everyone wanted to see it even those who normally would have had no interest.
Why? Because curiosity creates the feeling that makes people ask "What is the fuss all about, let us find out what is going on?"
Likewise, having not seen the poster for an event that was going to happen down the road from my residence in two weekends, I have trawled the net looking for this so-called offensive poster which could have just past off without notice to see what the fuss is all about.
PM wins legal action against raunchy poster {From the news site}. The rather "offensive" poster which to my mind is of no particular damaging import apart from poking simple fun at a public figure would exact punitive sanctions on the publisher if they are not removed from publication.
Methinks, this would create souvenir hunters who would go round and remove these posters for keeps and private publication. I have attached a link to that poster for your perusal; it might not be safe to view this in an office environment - The ex Porn Star
Just let it be
What is my point in this matter?
The feeble sensibilities of public figures who adopt a "holier than thou" persona of pious mien, thinking they are more men than their public and expect to be treated with more deference than is necessary apart from acknowledging that as our government they are in fact servants of the public and should execute their office of service with humility, honesty and integrity. Another of my earlier blogs addressed this - Cellophane skinned lion hearts
Everyone knows that the PM is not a porn star and no one would believe that he in fact is engaged in that silly pose. However, if he does make an issue of it, it leaves him humourless and prone to having delusions of grandeur. Greater men have been maligned much beyond this act of common child's play and it has all gone without a whisper or whimper.
Poster dogs Potter
In 2 weeks all these posters that would have just given us a momentary snigger would have been taken down or covered with other posters. But having kicked the sleeping dog, the bark and ensuing bite would definite leave us with more memories of how funny the poster was and how unfunny the subject became.
Living up to the continued passion of putting foot in mouth with aplomb; nonetheless the skin-grafts from his thigh has reduced his thick skin in more areas than are obvious.
The image that needs burnishing from the cohorts that constitute the government of the Netherlands is good innovative and constructive ideas of governance, of economic stimulation and of radical restructuring, not the squeezing of the middle classes and the penny-pinching that has characterised stopping paltry benefits and the hard-nosed stubbornness of adherence to indefensible issues like the being part of the coalition in Iraq.
All this personal makeover stuff does not cut the muster; the polls now indicate that the governing coalition would go into opposition when we next have the opportunity to turf them out - to which many would say - pretty good riddance.

Tuesday 5 October 2004

Half of a quarter full of an eighth empty

The psychology of charlatans
The false psychology that informs interviewers in interviews has unfortunately misrepresented interviewees, if not done them an unfair disservice bearing on the result of probably not getting recruited.
Two such questions in interviews belie that fact that the intention never really gets the intended answer or the interviewee gets wrong-footed on a subjective assessment that has no objective bearing on suitability for the job.
a) What do you see yourself doing in five years time?
b) Is the glass half-full or half empty
Five Years Time
In answering one has been a victim of the crass unprofessionalism and subjectivity that accompanies giving the right answer to this question.
One would suppose this question seeks to appreciate career goals within the company with adequate training, promotion, prospects and advancements. Probably in five years time you would have attained the post of your interviewer and your interviewer should have moved higher in the organisation.
Unfortunately, the person who asks the question does not at first consider the relative basis of having advanced five years within the company before considering the new recruitment, so laying out a plan could in effect create the impression that the interviewee is out to unseat the interviewer.
It could also flag the fact that the company has bad career development policies and the mentoring factors in the company are very poor.
At which point the interviewee could already be judged as ambitious, over-rated and unsuitable for the team, no fault of the interviewee, rather a sitting failure of Human Resource processes within the company.
Having put this question to my colleagues, one suggestion was to reply by asking if there was the scope for the advancement that would allow you to have career prospects, developments and promotions and how this was managed in the company.
On ascertaining if the company does have its employee’s interests and developments at heart, you can then frame your answer within that context. You have in effect debunked the psychology and infused a sense of objectivity into a rather unpalatable situation.
It however, does not take away from the fact that the question is unnecessary and it does turn the focus on what the company is prepared to do for career progression and how it can accommodate the well-intentioned aspirations of the new entrant.
A glass of half truths
What is really missing from this question is the context. Why at any time would a glass be half-full or half-empty? One would paint a number of scenarios to debunk the false psychology of optimism and pessimism that this question is purported to reveal in an individual.
Any glass on a table
If you approached a table which had a glass of some liquid content in it observable before you touch the glass but without you knowing who put it there.
If you were a cleaner you would probably take the glass away and pour the contents down the drain, if you were anyone else, it would not matter what was in it, curiosity however, might make you take a whiff to find out if it is alcoholic or some other concoction.
That the glass if half-full or half-empty would be of no significance.
If you knew who placed the glass on the table and you were at a party, you would probably pick up the drink and take it to the owner of drink, who would have the view of emptying the glass rather than filling it.
So the optimistic import of this would be that to enjoy a drink you have to empty the glass and then fill it again to empty the contents by drinking and ingestion.
A glass of wine or some alcoholic beverage
In the setting of a bar, you will be served with a filled glass of beer or lager which you would systematically empty by drinking in a social setting.
Once you have drunk a bit, the glass of half-full, I am not aware of people filling their glasses whilst it still contains beer except in a case where the beer is being served from a bottle. The intent would be to empty the glass and obtain a new glass of beer at the bar.
In the case of wine, the glass is full for white wine and champagne and half filled for red wine, during the course of drinking the glasses can be refilled to their appropriate levels.
For a glass to be refilled the observer who would be one of the party or a sommelier would notice that the glass is half-empty as the impetus to refill, because if the glass is half-full, there would be no case for refilling.
Context of glass and contents
It appears that this issue is taken completely out of context if not represented in the continuum of why a glass is full and why a glass is empty.
The reason for filling a glass is to empty it by drinking and as you empty the glass it gets half-empty as would be the case of the person drinking and the glass becomes half-full when it is being filled either as a service or by the drinker or observer.
To capture a moment in time and without the characteristics and events surrounding the moment delivers a wrong interpretation of the event.
It goes without saying that a glass becomes half-empty from the pleasure of drinking and it becomes half-full in order to experience or continue the experience of the pleasure of drinking.
Whilst we would all want our glasses full before we start drinking, the reasons a glass would be left half-full or half-empty would revolve around the person having had enough to drink, the person not enjoying the drink or some other circumstance that has allowed the person to abandon the drink.
A glass half-full or half-empty without a person to manage its contents is useless.
Hence, there is no psychological value in asking a person to answer this question and no psychologist worth his salt would use this question as a basis for judging character.
In fact, the simple think is we should stop pretending to be good judges of people's character at an interview with such silly questions.
The real purpose of the interview is to ascertain qualification, suitability, flexibility and ability to contribute to the team in which they would be working; we should stick to those things and avoid veering off to areas where we are no experts or proficient enough to assess character with trick questions.

Monday 4 October 2004

The first law of holes

A memoir in the making
This would be a gloat if it were not so serious as to warrant a scrutiny, yea a commentary in fact.
The proximity of experience coupled with a memory of recent events allows for one to state contemporary issues as facts without need for serious analysis or revision. Documenting these facts makes for history, that it is so recent is a memoir in the making.
Having left my old company, I have acquired another completed chapter which consists of a successful job, a rotten ex-boss and various opportunities for perspective management.
Were it not for this age of civility, my parting with my ex-boss would have been completed at high noon after 10 paces. There is no doubt that my slug would have hit the target even if I was limp-wristed, like Big Ben the master of the tower that now bears the name, he is as tall as he is round.
News reaches one that the incompetence and mismanagement that followed the handling of my departure has not abated, rather complications have mounted to the point of farce, one is wont to feel sympathy, but one is better occupied in other events.
Fortunately, once again, he has fudged, budged, nudged and dodged his way out of the developing crisis, you have to give it to him. But then, even Teflon eventually gives.
My role at the time I left was in charge of making software available to users in a managed, recorded, assured and reliable fashion.
At my leaving there was no one to handle those tasks with any appreciable level of competence, time and again, one was commended for the successes of our deployments of critical business applications, basically, the system worked and was working on the day I left.
The people who were asked to step into my shoes were typical of being asked to go mountaineering in flip-flops – go figure.
It transpires that so recently, there was a major upgrade to their business process software and no one could use that infrastructure to manage deployment, so they resorted to techniques that were obviated probably 5 years ago.
What is missing from such a method is assured and managed deployments, statistical proof of success and managed use of the network. A case of substituting a kayak for a flight in a trans-Atlantic journey – it is crass and beggars belief.
It goes without saying that one offered to return to help out at no cost, but the offer of deftly refused.
Back to the law of holes, the ex-boss has an incredible schizophrenic persona of being best employee to his bosses and worst boss to his employees, he is successfully working through becoming ex-boss to many of his able and competent staff, one presumes 6 since August.
Those would summit the Everest need to climb to down to tell the tale, this man, I fear would summit but wherefore the tales?
Having dissembled and plied many issues with falsehoods, revisions and at times blatant lies without impunity, this is the man, the man without integrity, whose word is nothing, it would be no wonder if all these precipitates of inexactitudes begin to unravel as a Tom Clancy plot.
The law of holes
The first law of holes is to stop digging, stop the rut, stop the abuse, stop the wrongs, and stop the lies.
The second law of holes is cover up, fill it in, and keep it from becoming a hazard.
The third law of holes is scrub it; I’ll explain, any holes dug up cannot be properly concealed, and where they have been concealed, the detectives would first go digging there and not fresh ground.
Just imagine what gets dug up. You have to eliminate detections because you don’t go digging holes if you have nothing to keep from view.
My ex-boss has mastered the second law of holes without any recognition of the first, since he is digging faster than he can fill it all in, he cannot use the third law of holes.
Where the 3 laws are out of sync you end up with the paradox of holes, fossils, bones and bodies, it would be forensics long before the dinosaur chasers have a field day.
Meanwhile, news does have a way of getting here all the time. Keep you posted.

Sunday 3 October 2004

The dead are dumb when money talks

Letting the dead bury the dead
Once, a person looking for a purpose in life was offered a career opportunity with prospects that make heroes of the subjects of the Bible, but he felt that he could only take up that prospect after he had buried his father.
The response of the employer was, "Let the dead bury the dead". There is a possibility that this meant the literal but I'll err on the side of the figurative.
The inference being let those who have not prospects continue in their purposeless lives and those who do get on with doing something meaningful.
Blunt as that may seem, the proponent was never known for mincing his words and these ones in particular.
This saying however carries more poignancy when viewed in terms of some recent events that have caught my attention. The last weekend witnessed the occurrence of two major but man-made tragedies.
First the 3 suicide bombings in Bali, Indonesia [1] and then the day after a tourist boat capsized on Lake George in New York State. [2]
Both events bought untold grief to the victims, survivors, relations and citizenry in general; as an act of terrorism in Bali [3] and some freak accident on Lake George.
What however bothered me more was the way the news was delivered without a pause to allow the disaster to sink in before agonising about the loss of tourist revenue and business.
Now, there is no doubt that those locations do really depend to a great extent on people visiting as tourists, keeping those economies and livelihoods going, but there is no use being an anxious tourist.
For those who are not anxious, it is not time for the bravado for business as usual in the midst of the recovering from the event.
It is saddening that subtle aspects of humanity and conditioned response to tragedy are being lost to the quest from the tourist dollar above all else.
Indeed these places do need tourism as I do say again at the risk of inadvertent tautology, but at least, let the wounded be succoured and let the dead be buried before we return to counting the pennies which either fall from heaven or come from afar.