Tuesday, April 15, 2014

10 Things you pay

Hi, I'm back.  I'd have been here sooner, but you know, taxes.  Rather than rant about taxes and how I should probably be grateful to be paying them or some such nonsense, I'll expand this blog to everything about payment.  Buckle up, this is going to be a slow ride.

10 - The devil  - Pay the devil his due!  Often means to give credit begrudgingly to an adversary. That phrase isn't used much anymore.  It doesn't mean you can't pay the devil, assuming you can find him.  I'm pretty sure he takes most major credit cards.  Except Diners club.  I don't think he takes that.

9 - Sweat - Sweat equity.  The term would indicate you have already paid it, but you probably haven't.  If you are buying a house, you can sometimes discount the price with sweat equity, meaning you will agree to put in the lawn or some of the improvements on behalf of your contractors.  You'll probably do a better job, but you won't get a discount...or is that a credit?  I'm not sure, but you'll pay in sweat.

8 - Hell - Heaven never asks for a payment so to speak, but there is ALWAYS Hell to pay.  It's a bunch of trouble usually termed as a consequence of failed action.  If we don't get these files to Johnoson in Accounting, there will be HELL to pay!  This isn't particularly flattering of Johnson in Accounting because I believe once you've had hell to pay, you'd best give the Devil his due as well and Johnson's not THAT bad a guy.

7 - Your dues - Membership fees due at regular intervals.  But these are different dues.  These dues make no sense.  You've had to have been at a job long enough before you are considered for advancement.  This is called paying your dues.  In fact, any pre-requisite requirement for something, ESPECIALLY if it seems onerous and troublesome can be shortened to paying your dues.  Often the claim of someone that was passed over for advancement.  Hey!!! I've paid my dues!!!

6 - Blood and Tears - Sometimes coupled with Sweat (but not the equity sort) Blood and tears indicates a task so difficult, and requiring such sacrifice, that it would make you cry and sweat blood.  The term is a Biblical reference if you care to look it up.  I personally don't believe that anyone's difficult task is as hard as bearing the sins of the entire world.  It doesn't stop us using the phrase.  If you do use it, you are in grave danger of overstating the importance of whatever task you are describing.

5 - Ceasar - Yet another Biblical reference,  Render (pay) unto Ceasar that which is Ceasars is the first part of the phrase.  It means, you have to pay the things that require payment.  Funny that the Government assumes that they are one such institution that requires payment above all else.  I can actually think of no institution that is more wasteful and foolish with your money than Government.  No wonder they need it so much.

4 - That - You'll pay for that.  I've heard this one hundreds of times in the movies, but rarely in life.   When someone is warning you about foolish actions, they will often tell you that you will pay for those actions later.  It's only true part of the time, sometimes, especially in contests of skill,  you get off without paying a consequence at all

3 - Respect(s) - I'm not sure why you pay respect.  Which is different again than paying your respects.  One is giving someone the recognition they deserve.  I don't think this was a less rude version of paying the devils due.  Respects on the other hand is what you pay exclusively with someones passing.  You pay your respects to the family of the dead person and hope the deceased doesn't have to pay the Devil his due.  Why are they so close?  I don't know at all.  Bottom line, when you pay respect, it's to the living, when you pay more than 1 respect, it's to the dead.  I think it's so we can confuse visitors.

2 - The piper - You've got to pay the piper if you want to dance.  The funny thing here is, this means the same thing as having hell to pay EXCEPT you made a conscious choice that would lead to consequences that you will now have to pay for.  You may not have been fully aware of the consequences, but you knew they probably wouldn't be good.  There are other meanings, though.  He who pays the piper calls the tune.  Which is pretty self explanatory and yet teenagers often have a hard time grasping the concept.

1 - Attention - you pay attention.  When you have a deficit in attention, it's the same as when there is a deficit in the budget.  You owe more than you can pay.  Another strange thing to pay.  If you don't pay attention, there will be Hell to pay.  Does hell take attention as currency?  I don't know.  The other payment like attention is mind.  If you aren't paying any mind, you are being advised NOT to pay attention even though you already have.  I know, it's confusing.

Bonus - A dime - It's not included in the list because when the phrase is used, it is ALWAYS used in context of NOT paying.  It's usually a dime, you aren't paying but sometimes it's a red cent.  Also a scintilla which is even smaller than a red cent.  What ever it is, you ain't payin.

Well, you've been made to pay long enough.  Go on, get out of here.  You've got better things to do.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

10 Business phrases and their translations.

Happy April 2nd everyone.  Yes, I know, I have broken my self imposed timing.  But I didn't want anyone thinking that this was just some kind of joke.

Everyone says kids have their own language.  It's true.  Kids language is based on the most hip most popular shortcuts in language that you can muster.  If you aren't understood by your parents, so much the better.  The same holds true for business.  When you walk in the circles of business, you find yourself pummeled with a dizzying array of words and phrases that really don't mean what they seem to mean at first.  For example...

10. Leverage -  This means work, but when a manager says it, it sounds like he is doing the work by thinking hard.  A long time ago, they used to have a stupid phrase that was similar to this:  "Work smarter not harder".  That has given way to leverage.  Used in a business setting.  "We are really going to leverage Joe's talents on this next project"  Translation:  We are going to work Joe like a rented mule.  The manager that uses this phrase thinks of himself as the force and you as the stick.

9.  Reach out - This means to talk to someone, usually in another department of your company.  For some reason, communicate is so 80's.  Any more, you reach out to people in order to get specifications from them for a project, or possibly to leverage their resources.  Example "I'm going to reach out to Accounting and see if we can't get more clear on their requirements".

8.  Push back - Displace responsibility.  Sometimes when someone reaches out to you, you have to push back. If someone in the company is requiring a task be completed by you, but they haven't given you all of the specifications, you have to push back in order for them to know that the responsibility of impending failure is partially or fully theirs.  This can of course be remedied by leveraging their talents to assist you in clarifying your specifications.

7.  Scrum - A short stand up meeting and a name for Agile project management.  Scrummage is a rugby term used for the initial play to determine who ultimately gains possession of the ball.   Now it's being co-opted by business to mean a short meeting normally used in conjunction with Agile planning/programming methodology.  Many will use the term Scrum interchangeably to mean Agile.  Scrum is slowly giving way to stand up as the term for the meeting.  Many people that are using Scrum will have a near religious fervor about them.  They will want to follow the methodology in a dogmatic fashion.  That kind of excitement excites managers.

6.  Work From Home - This is a term that means different things in different companies.  In some companies, it means tacit overtime.  Still in other companies it means that they do more work than is readily obvious from their habits at the office.  Other companies use the term to mean you have a doctors appointment, but you don't want to take a sick day.  Some rare companies will take it to mean that you do your actual job, but without a remote office.  In this case you are often paid less for the convenience even though you are actually costing the company less to employ you.

5.  Bonus - Extra money earned for extraordinary work.  The shiny keys of business.  The term Bonus means that you will be paid a variable unspecified amount at the discretion of the company in return for uncounted overtime worked on behalf of the company.  What I would suggest is that you track carefully your worked hours and what you work in overtime.  Reduce your salary, wage to hourly and then give yourself time and a half for your overtime work.  Now evaluate that against your Bonus.  You'll see quickly that excessive overtime has little or no monetary value in a company.  There are of course exceptions to this rule, and where there are, they should be valued.

4.  Self Starter - A new hire that is able to learn what their job is to be quickly without being told what to do.  This is the business equivalent of a unicorn.  Because most managers don't really want self starters, they want mind readers.  If you self start in a direction that your manager didn't envision, you are not a self starter, you are a loose cannon.

3.  Crunch Time - Over time.  As a rank and file employee, your job is to work on assigned tasks on a day to day basis.  As a manager, your job is to manage the resources at your disposal in order to finish a given project within a particular timeline.  The termination of this timeline should result in the projects approved completion.  When your manager can see that he or she has not estimated the time correctly and the end of the project is looming, they will use the term crunch time to indicate that you are expected to work extra time in order to complete the project.  Good managers never have crunch time.  They push back on people requesting things in order to make realistic expectations.   Bad managers use it often because they believe they are leveraging resources at full capacity.

2.  Deadline - The required completion time of a task, project, or submission. The deadline has been in use since business has been in use.  Deadlines come in many flavors.  External deadlines are the dates that are required by external sources that you have no control over.  The reason you have a deadline, is to avoid some extra trouble of fees as a result of not completing your task on time.  Usually Government reporting falls under this category.  Artificial deadlines, on the other hand, are times that are dreamt up based on the theory 'If you don't have a deadline, it will never get done'  As if the deadline meant it was done.  HA!  A few interesting deadline facts:  1. Nobody dies from not accomplishing a deadline.  2. No fewer than 13 movies between the 1940's and today have 'deadline' as their title.

1.  Proactive - A spurious word that means self starter.  Proactive was never a word until business coined it.  Though it is going out of vogue now, you still hear it from time to time.  It means someone that would tend to act (in a way pleasing to management) rather than sit still on any given project.  Where the self starter is proactive about getting to know their job, someone that is proactive is always searching for ways to do more around the company to get job done on a more permanent basis.  The problem with the proactive people is they are usually much more active about jobs that they aren't asked to do.  Many times, the proactive sort will notice when you come and go and what you are about when you are doing your job.  Makes you wonder what exactly they are being proactive about.

I hope this little guide was helpful.  See you in several days!  And to you, my few subscribers.  Just remember I think you are really the smartest and best looking people I know.