Tag Archives: Rant

Why I switched to T-Mobile

( @tmobile @googlenexus )

I had this conversation with so many people in the last year that I decided to capture it and publish it on my blog.

Around this time last year, my 2-year contract with Verizon was up and I was looking to renew and get new phones. Then I received a letter stating that they were switching us to a family-share plan once we selected new phones. We would be moving from unlimited data to a 4GB shared plan. Also, my plan was going to go up about $10 per month.

I was furious.

My wife and I didn’t come close to using 4GB (we usually averaged 400 MB), but I didn’t like that the unlimited data plan was going away and that I was being charged more for what I considered to be less (plus the smart phone I had at the time sucked and I assumed a new phone would eat more data). For the first time in 6 years I started shopping around.

Also around this time, Google announced they were selling a completely unlocked phone called the Nexus 4 for $300 (no contracts). An unlocked smart phone with a perfect android experience that gets updates immediately directly from Google? That sounded perfect. But the phone was not compatible with Verizon. Yet another reason to start looking around.

I started calling companies that the Nexus 4 would work with. AT&T ended up being just as much as Verizon. My wife suggest calling T-Mobile but I hesitated. Even though Verizon has the best coverage nationally, I did not have a great signal in my house. I assumed that if Verizon gave me problems, T-Mobile would have absolutely no signal in my area. I looked up their coverage map and my house was in a dark green area (excellent coverage). Then I checked work…dark green again. Then I started looking at places we go to frequently…all dark green.

Not to belabor the point, we decided to give T-Mobile a shot and cancel if we had a bad experience. I am going to be honest, we almost did. Getting the right sim cards (mini) and an issue with the first payment time almost derailed the whole thing. Several days/hours on the phone with their customer support was like shoving nails in my eyes, but I powered through it. In the end, we settled on an unlimited everything plan (data, voice, text) and I am saving $90 per month.

The coverage has exceeded my best expectations. I always have a great signal in the places I am the most. I have also been traveling quite a bit for work and haven’t had any issues (unless I am in a basement or heavy concrete building). Also, instead of having a phone where I am always saying “I wish my phone did that”, the Nexus 4 is constantly surprising me with some useful thing it does in the background (like Google Now’s ability to automatically check flight status, traffic, and even hotel reservations).

I rarely experience situations where making switches like this ends up being dramatically better (there is almost always a compromise). By switching to T-Mobile and buying a Nexus phone I saved money, actually got better mobile performance, and was able to shove it to a company that I didn’t feel was treating me well. I have been using the service for 10 months and had no issues. Last week T-Mobile announced it was ending roaming charges internationally. Another move that tells me this company wants to be competitive and understands what is driving customers away from other mobile providers. I thought it was a good time to share my experience and offer my suggestion.

So that is my (completely not paid for or sponsored by) opinion, I hope it helps.

Tagged , , ,

Telecommuting: After Yahoo’s decision is it on the decline?

( @yahoo #telecommuting )


Image Credit: MadPrime

A few years ago I wrote a post about the benefits of telecommuting for both employers and employees. Since that time, things have changed for me; I don’t work from home very much. My employer hasn’t changed anything, in fact, they are even more comfortable with it. I made some life changes that required me to be closer to my office. That being said, I really appreciate the flexibility of remote work and the culture it has created.

If I need to work different hours because of my kid, nobody is complaining if I sign on at home and knock some stuff out when the little guy is asleep. This flexibility allows me to crush deadlines (keeping the bosses happy) and take care of my family (keeping me happy). This is why I was initially shocked to hear that Yahoo and then Best Buy are ending their work from home programs. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has drawn the ire of many working mothers first by coming back to work soon after giving birth and now eliminating remote work.

People are worried that this will become a trend. It won’t. Both Yahoo and Best Buy are currently struggling. Something needs to change, and Mayer’s “all hands on deck” mentality may be the short term solution that the company needs to get better footing. Most companies are not as agile as Silicon Valley tech firms… telecommuting strategies take time and money. Every trend document I read points to companies investing heavily in remote tools and collaborative technologies in order to reduce real estate costs and pull from a greater talent pool.

Many companies have 3-5 year plans to roll out both technology and HR policies at the same time they reduce their physical footprints to maximize cost savings. Yahoo and Best Buy’s policy change will probably do little to impact these long-term decisions. I would also like to point out that considering both companies market positions, signaling the end of a telecommuting program could now be viewed as a sign of desperation and weakness on the street.

Sometimes a company needs to make a major cultural change, which should start with staff. Think about where Mayer comes from. Google is constantly viewed as a great place to work: they give you free food, their campus is awesome, they do your laundry, they have pods where you can take a nap…

Google does all of this awesome stuff because they don’t want you to leave the building. They take care of all of the stuff you worry about that distracts you from your job so you keep doing more work for them. It is a brilliant strategy when you employ programmers and other workers who do better in teams and clusters. Will it work for every business model? Probably not.

Working from home isn’t going to go anywhere, but Yahoo may go away if Marrisa Mayer can’t turn the ship around. Give her some time to see if the changes she is making will work or fail. Most companies don’t have the ability to offer the perks both Google and Yahoo (Mayer has been making many Google-like changes on Yahoo’s main campus) and they also don’t have the unique real estate overhead, so I don’t think the benefit of telecommuting is going to disappear for normal healthy organizations any times soon.

Tagged , ,

The thing about free speech…

The first amendment provides all Americans with the right to free speech. Bravo America! You know what, I am not going to belabor this intro: just because you have the right to free speech does not mean a person should use it whenever-the-heck they want.

Allow me to start with a personal example. I am involved with my community on a variety of levels, but one of the things I am most proud of is setting up a private social network for residents of my neighborhood. Shortly after its inception, a resident started (passive-aggressively) blasting the appearance of people’s homes. Since I was the moderator, I muted the post and sent the person a note on how they could make their points more constructively.

The person went completely nuts on me and then quit the site.

Problem solved! Not so much. The resident later appeared on the community facebook site and started to troll a post about a completely different subject. I tried to remain calm and fair until insane insults started to be hurled my way and the resident thumping their chest about free speech… on a private social network with clearly defined rules of usage.

This got me thinking about the right to free speech:
1. We tend to think we have free speech in every possible situation (including international travel).
2. In domestic situations – and I want to make this point extremely clear – EVEN IF YOU HAVE RIGHTS TO FREE SPEECH DOES NOT MEAN A PERSON SHOULD ALWAYS LEVERAGE THAT RIGHT.

On point number one, just think about any “American travels to foreign country and gets in trouble” story – or you can just watch “The Beach”. When you are a guest, be it in a foreign country, a private electronic forum, or on someone’s property – you can be asked to leave, and if you don’t, your rights start to become less “firm”.

Regarding point number two, just because you can say or do something, doesn’t mean you should, case in point:

Chic-Fil-A.

If you haven’t seen the news in the last 2 months, the owner is anti-gay rights. After the first tide of backlash, support came from conservative politicians like Mike Huckabee; basically saying (Chic-fila owner) Dan Cathy has the right to his opinions. And Mike Huckabee is right, but taking politics and religious feelings aside, it is just bad business.

Why does Dan Cathy have to let his personal feelings about any subject be publically known? It doesn’t help his business. Prior to this situation, the company had a good reputation for service and making food that people liked. Why ruin a good thing by running your mouth about something that does not concern your business? If Dan Cathy had donated money to anti-vegetarian, anti-vegan, or anti-beef groups, I would totally understand that (not saying I would agree with it, but I get it). To donate $2 million of money earned from a business that most likely caters and employes homosexuals is insane. Why alienate a customer base? Why go after people who are not hurting you or your business?

So the press caught wind, lots of people got upset and now there is a backlash against the company… free speech goes both ways.

Over the last few days another interesting situation is emerging with U.S. Representative for Missouri’s 2nd congressional district, Todd Akin. The growing trend of politicians saying really uncomfortable/crazy things and not be called out on it has befuddled me. Then comes Mr. Akin’s declaration that women’s bodies “just take care of unwanted rape babies” so there is no need for legalized abortions.

Not only did the Democrats (obviously) condemn his statements, the Republicans are abandoning this guy in every possible way: taking away funding for ads and publicly disagreeing with his statements. They can’t tell him to step down from the upcoming Missouri re-election, but they are basically telling him he should. Why? Because he made himself look like a super-moron. FYI – this is a man who is on the “house committee on science”.

I can make an argument that 65-year-old men shouldn’t tell women what to do with their bodies, but a more agreeable point is “when quoting fairly easy to check information, you better be 100% right when you are on national television.”

Wrapping this up, I have discussed the topic of opinionated sandwich shops before and the message remains: just make the damn sandwich and be thankful for the business (and yes that is a metaphor). Looking at my headline picture, it makes me sad that the rights people fought hard for (and died for) have been co-opted by the small-minded to advance an agenda of ignorance. I hope we are moving back to a culture where there are consequences for promoting false information and bad ideas.

Tagged

Philadelphia Magazine Does It Again…

( @Phillymag, #BruceSpringsteen )

Not three days after I posted this response to the most recent Philadelphia Magazine cover story, they flood my news feeds with this post about Bruce Springsteen.

What is the point? The writer hates Bruce Springsteen. That’s it. I could point out that his reasons are obviously forced and carefully constructed to be just the right amount of snarky (to win over the hipster crowd), but why bother (okay I just did)? This is just another short-sited opinion piece that will do nothing to grow the magazine’s readership or ads. I subscribed to the magazine a few years ago because I wanted to read about things to do in the city and people making a difference, I don’t want to read about why a bitter writer hates Bruce Springsteen – and the dude doesn’t even have good reasons!

Philebrity also takes the magazine to task, so you should probably go there next to read the comments because I am sure they will be extraordinary. I get it, this is the city that boos Santa Claus, so even “Philly friendly” artists like the Boss have to take their beatings. I expect this kind of shit from bloggers, but not a respectable city publication… grow up!

Update:
I shared my thoughts with the writer and we had this exchange on facebook…

Tagged

Response: Why Guys Won’t Grow Up

( @phillymag, #guys )

The cover story of the March issue of Philadelphia magazine “researches the problem” of Why Guys Won’t Grow Up. This post is my response to the article. If you haven’t read it, please click on the link and then come back here.

Did you read it?

Ok fine, I will give you a short summary. Author Sandy Hingston lays out the lives of local young men who want sex with no relationships, plays video games all day, and of course have no jobs (or no careers). So what is my take on the article? Sandy Hingston is an alarmist trying to sell magazines.

This is the second time I have found issue with one of her articles (and it wasn’t like I opened the magazine seeking her out; I read the article, found it to be distasteful and then checked the last time I wrote a response to a Philly magazine article and behold… it is the same author!). It is just shitty journalism. She has an angle (guys are immature) and finds lame examples that support her claims. Allow me break down her examples:

1. 24-year-old Conner works part time as a blogger and lives with mom and dad. He doesn’t want to give up on his dream to be a journalist (and he is portrayed as arrogant because of this).

Conner is $100,000 in debt for his degree. His profession of choice is dying. Yet he manages to find a job working in this field 30 hours a week. I don’t think this is a shining example of failure or lack of motivation. Could he work another part time job to supplement his income? Yes. But if he went out and got an apartment that difference would be a wash.

So is Conner a loser for living with his parents at 24? Interesting question. I lived with my parents when I was 24. I worked 80-120 hours a week and opened a side business. I basically slept there and it was a place for my stuff until things calmed down. I also felt that renting was wasting money and the housing market was on a high that would crash (I was right about that, so I didn’t strap myself into a house that I overpaid for). I was able to save up enough money for a down payment and buy a car outright.

So is it wrong for a kid to come home from college after they incurred a massive amount of tuition debt and have slim employment options? I don’t think so. Going home for a few years to save some money is smart, and I know plenty of girls who are in exactly the same situation. I think making kids feel like failures for going home is setting them up for years of financial frustration. And if someone pulls the “in my day, once you left the house, you don’t come back” line – I would like to point out that the cost of college has proportionally increased 375% since 1980.

2. Hingston then mentions how it is a bad thing that men are getting married later and having milestones later in life.

First I would like to point out that men have to get married to another person, if men are getting married later, it is reasonable to assume that women are also doing so? Why is there an assumption that men are at fault? Factor in that the divorce rate is at 40.7% and the trends are only expected to increase, wouldn’t that give anyone a moment to really think about getting married?

This generation is the generation raised on divorce. Perhaps young adults just don’t want to make the same mistakes their parents did. Walking into a marriage with $150,000 in combined college debt is not a great way to start a life together. This is the accepted reality: you go to school, get in debt, get married (borrowing money for a nice wedding), and then strap yourself down to even more debt with a house and big fat mortgage.

PS: Considering that women also spend all this money on school, I can’t imagine the first thing they want to do once they graduate is get married and start having babies.

3. Women are surpassing men in many success indicators

The statistics have to show this, there is nowhere to go but up. In the 1950’s, women made up about 16% of the workforce. Women currently make up 47.6%. So yeah – women are making a push to get what they deserve, and statistically that has to come at the expense at the other side of the pie chart…. which is men.

4. The example of James, 31, unemployed and living with his parents.

James is a self-centered ass (which I am sure Sandy encouraged to get gems like “I guess I am a catch”). Congratulations, you found someone to prove your point. I know three 30-year-old+ women who are currently unemployed and living with their parents.

5. This whole end section where it seems that decent men are so rare they should be studied (the typo is from the website and I am keeping it in):

Shaun Harper’s had a smart idea. There are young men out there, he says, who manage somehow to navigate the harrowing voyage through American culture and come out as “good guys”—men who drink responsibly, respect women, and behave in anti-sexist, anti-racist and anti-homophobic ways. So he’s studying them: “We have a national study of mostly white, heterosexual men at large, mostly white universities with large fraternity systems”—schools like Penn State. He’s looking at how these “good men” develop and perform their masculinities in a culture where bad behavior is rewarded and admired. If he can identify what they share, he says, we can work to replicate it.

Really? Out of the hundreds of people that I know, I can count the degenerates with one hand. Once again Hingston twists quotes and “facts” to make it seem that there is some epidemic and actual “intellectuals” are looking into the “problem”.

The bottom line is that the unspoken social pact in America has been broken. The dream of going to college for four years, getting a decent job with benefits and a pension, and moving up the ranks to that corner office is dead and gone… boy or girl, it doesn’t matter. Our reality is that jobs are disappearing and will continue to do so, not just because of a bad economy but also due to innovation and automation.

The women that Hingson interviewed in this article talk about men being “immature” and “not wanting relationships” but the truth is that these kids can’t afford to be in relationships (hence free internet porn). I guess saying you spent the weekend watching every episode of “Lost” on Netflix eating a giant bag of generic brand popcorn because you can afford your cell bill isn’t very attractive, but that is reality.

Sandy gets into this sour section towards the end of the article about the “downfall of men” – to quote Fight Club: “We are a generation of men raised by women.” I have written about this in the past, but once again I read about how women are lamenting the passing of a “real man” yet the iconic brute is held up as an example of what not to do. Schools are developing all kinds of policies to prevent “boys from being boys” (or actually exhibiting any kind of emotion). Sandy my dear – if you don’t like the way boys are acting, perhaps you should turn your critical lense on your own gender and document what exactly is an ideal sustainable lifestyle today.

NOTE: I am fully aware that by bringing attention to this article, I am giving Hingston and the magazine exactly what they want. However, I think that Philadelphia Magazine is losing the long term game because I am not sure who the hell they are writing this magazine for. I don’t think it is people my age…

One would assume it is for young-ish people who have disposable income that will read the mag’s articles about local attractions and make the ad space worth something. Instead they ignore those readers and court older people who go to Park on Sundays for brunch hoping to see former Mayor Rendell stare at some nouveau-riche divorcee’s breasts and read articles about leaving the city to spend money somewhere else (pgs 76-81).

One more thing: If you agree with my response, do me a favor and retweet this article and please include @phillymag, I would love to see if I can get a response.

Tagged

Rant: Apple Products

( #iPod, #Apple)


Note: I really hate this commercial. Bring back Feist 🙂

I have had this conversation so much over the last few weeks that I decided to document it, so I can just point to this post instead of actually having to say it again. Sorry in advance to the Apple fan boys.

So to get right to the point, why don’t I buy Apple products? I won’t buy the laptops because they are underpowered and very expensive. The end. That being said, their native video editing software is MUCH better than anything that comes for free on Windows (or Linux). So I can completely understand someone in the video field having a Mac.

What about iPods/iPads? Lets start with the device itself. I had one about 5 years ago. The damn thing NEVER synced right. NEVER! So I bought a $15 dollar Sansa on Woot, and it is still alive, has great battery life, and works exactly like I want it to. To further my point, even though I was off the iPod bandwagon, I got one for my wife 2 years ago and she had the same damn problems. I hate the iTunes desktop program with a passion. I hate that Genius sidebar. And I don’t think it is a very intuitive piece of software when it comes to managing your music collection. Windows Media Player actually does a better job. Seriously. How is that even possible?

Now lets talk about the iPod eco-system. The iTunes store and their DRM-loaded, m4a file formats is an absolute abomination. I have a Xbox360, a Logitech Revue, PS3, 2 Android Phones (including my wife), a tablet, and a TV that streams DLNA. Out of all of those devices, the only thing that plays music from iTunes is the PS3. If I had a music collection that was all iTunes, I would have to buy an Apple TV (which is only 720P) or a few devices that support the format.

So up until 2010, the music file quality (bitrate) for iTunes was 128 kb/s, I read that they actually removed DRM and upped the quality to 256 kb/s which is a good move, but why not just sell in MP3 format so you can access your music on your other devices (you PAID for it!). Here is the bottom line on the quality issue: you are paying more money to buy an album on iTunes than a CD now costs, but if you rip the CD on your computer you get better quality (320 kb/s) and you can play the file on anything you want. I should also note that Amazon sells music in DRM-free, MP3 files at 256 kb/s and all of your purchases are backed up on their cloud.

I just recently converted a friend to a digital set up but it was pretty difficult since he purchased music via iTunes. I found a device made by Western Digital that does streaming and connects to home networks for music files (that transmits in 1080p). So for those who have not made several equipment purchases and are stuck with iTunes, this is a solid compromise. That being said, I have a friend who is just getting into digital music (most of his collection is still on CD) and he wanted to use iTunes, which I steered him away from. Here is a part of our most recent exchange that was kicked off after I sent him this article:

Friend: But what about scenarios like what Apple is imposing…low bitrate, but high quality. What becomes the test there? Or are you saying to avoid that type of situation entirely and never try to save space (which I think is silly anyway this day and age).

Me: Space is cheap, for music go for the higher encryption rates. Avoid their nonsense all-together. It will only work on their products anyway which doesn’t help if you are listening through a good sound system. They are designing for the headphone/Apple TV crowd.

Friend: I agree 100% on all this. Apple makes nice-looking devices, but ultimately if you’re into getting quality media from them, you’re out of luck.

Me: Also if you are a 19 year old hipster living in NYC and listening to your iPod with the buds all day hopping trains and ignoring bums, it may work, but I listen to my music through my sound system… unencumbered.

Friend: BWAHAHAHA!

So that is basically why I avoid iTunes music and in general, Apple products. I am sure there are plenty of counter-arguments to be made, but I built an eco-system in my house that works and welcomes all sorts of equipment and I don’t want to change that.

Here is a question to my readers – will Apple let you re-download your previously purchased music files now DRM free and at the better bit rate?

PS: One more thing that drives me nuts is the media’s illusion that everybody uses a Mac. If you are looking between Mac vs. PC users, Windows has 89.2% of the market.

Tagged ,

Putting the X back into Xmas

( #Cybermonday, #Xmas)

Black Friday is over. The masses turned out in record numbers to snag cheap, off-brand televisions, video games, and whatever the new Tickle Me Elmo is for this year. People crammed into stores on Thursday night and of course, there were incidents. It is easy to jump all over a few people acting like animals, because even though we all want deals, we don’t want to be this:

These events eventually lead to the discussion of how bad consumerism is and how the CHRIST should be put back into CHRISTmas (I cannot count how many times I have seen this on facebook in the last three days). The history lesson that I am about to break out (again) is not going for a whole “anti-Christianity” soap box moment, I am just trying to make you feel better about buying that flat panel. If there was a Jesus, most scholars (even Christian ones) do not think he was born in December. So if Jesus’ birthday is not on December 25th, then what are we celebrating?

The easy answer is: whatever the hell you want.

Many cultures throughout history had year-end festivals. Most were focused on the winter solstice and the fact that the days would be longer and brighter again. In fact, most historians believe that the Romans, while accepting Christianity, grafted their pagan celebrations and stories into Christian constructs to help ease the assimilation.

Looking at modern times and with our current shitty economy in mind, the whole “black friday” craze is a corrective market action to ensure (mostly retail) stores and business would become profitable for the year. I came across an article a few weeks ago (that I cannot find) that reported most retailers would not like to go to such extreme measures at year end to bring in customers, but consumers are conditioned to shop at the last minute. This is a “chicken and the egg” conversation, but the bottom line is that people are conditioned to shop during Black Friday and the last few weeks of the year; as a result, the stores save some of their best deals until that time.

I am by no means advocating overly-materialistic lifestyle, but I can say with no doubt that people like to get together at the end of the year and give each other gifts and have nice meals. If you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa… it does not matter. All of these “holidays” were pumped up and over promoted for the last 100 years because retailers want you in the stores buying stuff. Knowing all this, I say don’t fight it.

Leverage the sales, the marketing, the time off from work to spend time with the people you love. If the economy has you in a pinch, don’t stress out about it, talk it out and find a better way to spend the pennies you have doing something memorable (it still puts money into the economy and your credit won’t be going nuclear). I like calling the holiday season Xmas because “X” in math is a variable that stands for anything you need it to. For me X = an excuse to have friends and family over for dinner, exchange small gifts, and a nice way to spend a few days off from work.

Tagged ,

Occupy A Proper Plan

( #Occupy, #SuperCommittee)

For the last month or so I have been watching the Occupy movement in major cities waiting for it to turn bad. At first, I thought it would last a few days and was hesitantly supportive. It is about time Americans got angry at the state of this country (30 years too late if you ask me). The days turned into weeks and the movement was turning into a late night punch-line. A few weeks ago my wife asked me what I thought about the whole situation and I said “it is going to turn ugly.” She gave me and odd look and asked why…

Why? Because the people in the streets do not have a plan of action. They don’t even have the same goal. Going in front of businesses and protesting is not going to accomplish anything. Congratulations! You scared a few stock brokers and they had their sushi delivered…now what? Across the country people are protesting at the doors of corporations. These are the same people who are complaining about not having jobs… that does not make any sense. As the lack of focus and clarity expands, people are getting frustrated and making trouble.

Not big trouble. Little things like throwing feces and being generally disgruntled, but that was enough. The police have been waiting for an opening because they are getting tired of baby-sitting. The city governments also want these people gone ASAP because they are driving up costs. So where did it all go wrong?

The Occupy movement should not have started in New York, it should have started and ended in Washington. People are angry? Stake out congress. Yesterday’s “super-committee” failure should have been the final nail in the coffin. This goes far beyond Democrat vs. Republican, this is about a group of over-privileged, under-educated morons that have bankrupt this country. We let the devils in during Nixon’s reign and never got them out.

Screaming about the lack of jobs? Why aren’t we adjusting our trade regulations to make more domestic products? There should be a 5 year scale back strategy to make more products in America (that would cover the training needed to get plant workers properly educated). Congress will not support trade regulations because our Chinese overlords would be quite pissed.

What about a congressional study about the jobs we are outsourcing overseas? The claim is that we don’t have the right people domestically to do the jobs… for the moment let us assume that is true. The action item should then be to figure out where we are weak and develop high school level courses to train our kids how to do those jobs. Offer tax breaks to companies willing to open domestically and hire these kids (I don’t think you need a college education to work in a call center).

That would create a situation were young Americans can make a modest living without going to college. This opens the colleges back up to the people who should be there and stops it from being a 4 year, $100,000 baby sitting service. In case you are missing the point of this paragraph: NOT EVERYONE SHOULD GO TO COLLEGE (the system is broken, you are being robbed). Employers need to stop looking down at trade schools and start supporting and investing in them.

The protesters need to focus on the people who are the most venerable to this form of feedback… the politicians. Washington should be the target, the hotels that the congressmen sleep at during the week should be the targets. Let the swine known that Americans are on to them and it is going to stop. They need to know that their bullshit super-committees, weak spending cuts, and complete inability to develop a strategy is going to cost them their golden tickets and parachutes.

Go home protesters, get your shit together, regroup, and buy bus tickets to Washington.

Tagged

Rant: Drinking with Co-workers

( #co-workers, #drinking )


Credit: Dos Equis

The Most Interesting Man In The World Says: “I don’t always drink with co-workers, but when I do, I wish I didn’t.”

I learned several lessons as a young adult about socializing with co-workers. Recent experiences while drinking with professionals (no just co-workers) have led me to create this rules of engagement document:

1. Unless expressly stated by both parties, a co-worker is not a friend. Do not treat them like one while socializing after hours. A co-worker can become a friend, but I suspect those chances are diminished greatly if people are losing control after a few drinks.

2. Don’t talk about work. You probably just left the office and that project is falling behind, but use the time together to get to know someone as a human being, not complain—we all have problems.

3. Don’t talk about work. Seriously, I know it is weird to try to start a conversation about something other than work stuff, but try, it pays off.

4. Be aware of other people around you: See how I said not to talk about work? I was in a bar a while back and people were complaining about work…LOUDLY. There was a girl who was obviously put off by the conversation and she had her head buried in her phone. I really thought she was tweeting the conversation. I checked when I got home but didn’t find anything—that could have been a horrible situation.

5. Try to keep some of your more personal beliefs to yourself for a while: Topics regarding religion and politics should be avoided. I know this is funny coming from someone who has a blog that talks about this stuff, but the point is, I don’t rub it in people’s faces. After a few social events, if you feel like you know the person well enough to test the waters, go for it, but be prepared to back off if you have different views because you have to work with this person.

6. Having marital problems? I don’t care. Open marriage? I don’t want to know. Please don’t ask the bartender for their number when I am in your company—that actually goes for any social situation and the rule applies to the wait staff as well.
Additional Advice: If you have a bar you really like or are a regular at, don’t bring co-workers there until you know they are okay. If things get weird you might get banned from your favorite watering hole.

7. If you happen to be invited to someone’s home, don’t go through their house (this happened to a co-worker several years ago). If you see a guitar or other musical instrument, don’t pick it up and start playing unless you are asked. You will look like a douchebag (well honestly, if you are rummaging around in somebody’s house, you probably are a douchebag).

8. Don’t start a fight at a bar when you are with co-workers. Sounds like common sense right? This includes saying anything that warrants you being punched in the face. Personally, I will not help you and will be hoping you lose a tooth.

9. Assuming we are working under the conditions I have outlined above—no shots.

Thanks for reading. It is my intent to help the workers of the world avoid making complete fools out of themselves and to (selfishly) avoid having to be in your company if you act like this. If you work with me, these are my ground rules for socializing. This article is a work in progress and will probably be updated several times.

Tagged ,

Rant: Joey vs. Perfume

( #perfume, #terrible)

This is going to be short and simple readers, because there is not much to say…I hate perfume.

Hate it.

It is horrible going into the office and being trapped in an elevator with some man or woman doused in sweet, flowery, headache-inducing evil. I would rather someone rip a raunchy garbage-in-hot-weather fart and be stuck smelling it for 10 floors than even catch a whiff of perfume. I don’t understand why more people don’t talk about this problem. Getting crop-dusted by an over-quaffed perfumed dandy can ruin my day or at least a few hours of it.

Don’t people realize that these scents can adversely impact their co-workers? Let’s brainstorm readers: what can we do to protect our noses from these daily chemical attacks? Share your ideas on the feedback form, and I will update this article.

For the perfumers out there, next time you go out and buy some starlet’s fragrance, remember that other people have to smell that stuff and it will probably make them want to vomit.

Tagged