Tag Archives: thoughts

Reality? Are you serious?

Having recently experienced, as a relatively inoffensive sort of cove,  being blocked on social media by a couple of determinedly and avowedly  right wing chums I have reflected on how we choose our interactions, especially in our modern media-managed culture. I am very carefully neither right wing nor left wing – I think that party politics is part of the problem, not part of the solution. That leaves me free to admire or dislike policies from wherever I like without concern for dogma or loyalty, which is probably a good thing but some seem to find it a challenging concept.

Here’s the thing: thinking that the way wealth is currently distributed is inappropriate and damaging does not make me a communist any more than thinking a hand up not a hand out is the best approach makes me a Tory. And they are not mutually exclusive. My circle of chums is exceptionally diverse and through having conversations with all of them I have been able to – and continue to – challenge myself and my circle and think things through. My thoughts have changed considerably over time largely because I have had the brilliant opportunity to talk to so many, so many different, people with such a wide scope of views. It is quite possible to find Marine Le Pen charming and bright and bang on with some things, ditto Tony Benn when he was still here, and not have to clap on a pair of  left or right wings as a result. Really.  I have a lovely chum who is so right wing he falls off the edge and he is charming, bright, funny and has made me think, and has caused me to change my mind about more than a few things in the past few years. Yes, Barry, I am looking at you. And another achingly hip and alternative left winger who frustrates me to bits but who has also made me think and develop my ideas.

I have blocked a few people in my time, but always and only for abusive behaviour. It would have been a terrible loss to me not to have the chance to discuss things with people with fresh or complex ideas. The ones I have blocked have taken their interesting or complex ideas and made them into belligerent tools with which to hurt other people. Dogma and extremism are the enemies of humanity and taken to their conclusion have supported the development of tyranny and terrorism across the world. Wow. Blocking people certainly escalated quickly….

I suppose it is that microcosm of social media expanded to a global level that fascinates. Social media has so many advantages – the chance to meet people we might otherwise not meet, to share and engage, to see more of the worlds stage and understand it, to learn, to reach out. It also has its dark side – the trolling, the abuse and death threats, the groups that seek each other out in order to perpetuate and stoke their hatred, who urge violence and disorder. Nothing is off limits now. We see events happening in real time but through the lens of the people bringing them to us, not in reality. The BBC News teams, reduced in recent times to simple readers of entertainment rather than the joyously independent and courageous journalists of old, choose to show us their own version of events usually accompanied by sad or emotive music, while dragging the emotions out of victims of crime asking ever more intrusive questions and encouraging people to “tell us how you feel, you must feel awful/angry/gutted/whatever” for our enjoyment and gratification, not happy until a tear has been shed on air. The use of words and pictures in newscasting has become propaganda rather than literate – saying terrorists are “inspired by” with positive connotations rather than indoctrinated as they are, or  the use of the same tired old pictures of zimmer frames in items about older people, fat bottoms in jeans walking away from us in items about obesity, blurred faces dragging on cigarettes or hands holding cigarettes in items about smoking or poverty or addiction or anything else that might be a bit working class. News? Not really. And that gives people with something to hide an opportunity to hide behind the “fake news” barrier and cherry pick their own versions of events and present them as reality. Reality…..as in Big Brother? Or The Only Way is Essex? Or The Apprentice….? Or what is happening outside your own front door every day…….

So, this doggedly non partisan contributor urges caution. Listen, reflect, embrace. Question, even if it means you are rejected.  There is a bit of fabulous in everyone. Maybe I should mourn the loss of the people who blocked me…or perhaps I should not have blocked the abusive ones but should have tried to engage with them. But perhaps after all life is too short. Social media offers an opportunity not just to discuss and gossip but to make a difference, to join with others to change lives and reach out. Losing a few “chums” in order to do that is probably a sacrifice worth making.

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Smell the coffee, make a difference

If you click the picture a charming video plays. Please take a couple of minutes to watch. I think this makes an effective point, and one with which I agree. These days I make sure to spend time smelling the coffee, so to speak. For years I rushed, head down, trying to do good stuff. When my parents died I realised how much I had missed and how much I had made other people miss in my hurry to be good. In my hurry to be good I had been, perhaps, less effective. Now I take time to sit on my front steps and watch the birds in the sky and listen to their songs; I watch people as they hurry by, perhaps missing things too; I watch the clouds and wonder how to paint them properly and then go and try; I smell the earth. I still make a difference sometimes, and still try to be good: I work doing things I believe in with people I admire and respect, but I don’t do it exclusively any more. I also choose words for stories, colours for paintings, actually hear the music I am playing. My life is the better for it and I think I make a better difference now. Working smarter not harder is a cliche, but it is a cliche because it makes sense. I just wanted to share the point…If you have some interesting work, let me know. I am your woman.

 

Your boss, the Idea Stealer.

Your boss, the Idea Stealer, who takes your ideas, passes them off as hers, covers her tracks, leaves no traces of pilfering or a break-in, and does it all without witnesses seeing it happening. With thanks to  Linnda Durre, Ph.D. for the concept. 

SITUATION: Your boss is basically a thief – she steals your ideas and passes them off as her own. You’ll be sitting at a meeting, read it in the monthly report, or you’ll hear something like “XXX had a great idea of combining two departments into one and she told us today in the weekly meeting….” You realize it was your idea that you shared with your boss last week.  Sometimes you and your boss worked on it together, but mostly it’s your idea. She’s clever enough to take your ideas when there are no witnesses who could vouch for you.

You feel betrayed and rightly so. You may be passed over for recognition, promotions, raises, and acknowledgement because your boss passes off your ideas as hers. She’s so clever that she convinces herself that it’s her idea, and tries to convince you of the same. Don’t let her convince you to capitulate, giving her credit, rights, or royalties from your work.  Like a leech she drains others’ brilliant concepts and innovations and sucks the oxygen right out of the room

Since she’s your boss, it’s difficult to confront her. You want her to like you and like your work, and you’d also like to climb the ladder yourself.   However, she will keep you working under her because she needs you and your ideas –you make her look like a genius, so most likely, she will not promote you,  and she will guard you like Ft. Knox because you’re worth a gold mine to her. She feels you’re her possession. She may discourage other bosses from pirating you away by telling them you’re really not that good. She’ll demean you to others to hoard you for her own.

If you demand it, she may give you a salary uplift to keep you happy and to secure your place in her department.  When she gets a promotion, she may take you with her, to keep up the flow of ideas that she can use as her own.  She may ask your opinion and you may inadvertently give her gold nuggets of ideas that she passes off as her own.

If you want to claim credit for your own ideas, you have to send your ideas to HER boss as quickly as you get them in your head so you can protect your innovative solutions as your own without him stealing them. You may want to send yourself the ideas as a certified return receipt requested letter, so you have a date when you created your ideas. If you have more lucrative ideas that need intellectual property protection, then find a lawyer and register them as copyrights, patents, and trademarks.

There are solutions to this, and  Linnda Durre, Ph.D., Author of Surviving the Toxic Workplace – Protect Yourself Against Co-workers Bosses and Work Environments That Poison Your Day published by McGraw Hill, February 19, 2010, on whom this blog post was based, has plenty of good ones to offer. My solution, though, is simple. Leave. Go now, leave by the first door you see, pack your stuff, sign the resignation  letter, wave goodbye, and LEAVE!

Life is too short to put up with a boss you do not trust, whose practice you do not respect, with whom a real working relationship is almost impossible because of the lack of trust and respect. You are worth more than that. Perhaps a short period of trial, waiting to see if things improve, might be useful – but my experience is that once an idea-thief, always an idea-thief. So, for goodness sake, leave!

This post is dedicated to a friend of mine, an ex-colleague.

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