The Haught guide to “too much information”

There’s an acronym doing the rounds on the interconnected network of digitised information at the moment. You might be familiar with it.

It’s TMI. It stands for “too much information”.

According to Urban Dictionary… actually, no I just checked and I can’t use any definitions from Urban Dictionary without risking losing the few remaining followers I have left.

TMI is generally used as a term of exasperation or disgust. It’s dispensed by a person burdened by the involuntarily role of listener. The recipient is a teller considered by the listener to have demonstrated the faultiness of an important biological filtration mechanism – the one that connects their brain to their mouth, thus:

“I just did a burp that tasted of a witch’s broth with a human foot in it. In a cauldron.”

“Oh. OK. Wow. TMI.”

The colleague who routinely discharges TMI is the most challenging of workplace obstacles.

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The Haught guide to people who love drama

Drama

A little while ago a friend thought one of my articles was a pointed reference to his own behaviour.

It wasn’t.

This was just his own giant ego and tendency towards solipsism playing tricks with his very small mind. What a neurotic clown he was for making such an assumption; I would never besmirch his already grease-spattered reputation in print.

It got me thinking about how easily a misunderstanding can lead to offence and how convenient that can be for some, especially in the workplace.

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My email to Arnott’s

by Haught 2 Comments
Image by: penguincakes, flickr

Image by: penguincakes, flickr

 

Last week, someone contacted me.

The end.

Not really. That was a little joke.

The person who contacted me was Haughtmaniac, Andrea Chick.

She wrote:

Are you familiar with Arnott’s BBQ Shapes? Of course you are! Who hasn’t copped a mouthful of red and green sprinkles as they dived in for the last remaining morsels in the bottom of the bag?

Have you had one lately?

They are NEW AND IMPROVED! Well, at least that is what they say on the pack. New, yes. Improved…um…well there appears to be revulsion and revolt afoot from the feedback I have read on the Arnott’s Shapes facebook page.

Please help Arnott’s. Please help us all.

I considered myself commissioned.

Unfortunately, I didn’t put the email together as quickly as I should have and in the intervening period, the Great Shapes War of 2016 had already been fought and won – or in Arnott’s case, lost.

I decided it was better to write late than never.

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“How’s working at McDonald’s going for you?”

Edgar McDonald's

[At a party.]

“So what do you do for a living, Johnson?”

“Uh… it’s Jonathan… I’m a… well, a writer.”

“A writer? You write books? Novels?”

“No, no, no. No. Definitely not.

“No.”

“But I do write a little thing… a little columny thing… in the paper.”

“The local paper? Well that’s nice.”

“No. The Age. And The Sydney Morning Herald. And some other ones online.”

“Oh. What do you write about?”

“Well… I dunno… stuff.”

“Stuff? As in auction prices?”

“Auction pri-? What? No. Stuff like work, life in the corporate world, management buzzwords.”

“Give me an example of one of these columns of yours.”

“Well… um… for instance… I might talk about how difficult this conversation can be.”

“Which conversation?”

“The one we’re having now. The one that starts with ‘So what do you do, Jonathan?’ ”

“Sounds fascinating. And what did you do at uni to qualify you to be a columnist?”

“Well, I’m not really… I did Arts. A Bachelor of Arts.”

“Oh. A Bachelor of Arts? Oh! Wow! How’s working at McDonald’s going for you?”

“No. Remember. Five seconds ago, I told you I don’t work at McDonald’s.”

“You did. You did. That’s right.…

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The Haught guide to “deep dives”

deep dive

I’m all for metaphors. If variety is the spice of life then metaphors are the smoked paprika of language. I just made a metaphor out of a metaphor; that’s how highly I regard them.

But my veneration for the figurative extends only so far.

Like so many things sucked into the corporate vortex, metaphors become significantly less delectable once appropriated by the Organisational and Regulatory Group for Aligned and Strategic Management (ORGASM), or whatever the central workplace buzzword creation committee is called in your region.

Here’s an example.

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The Haught guide to resigning

ABBA knowing me

We often look back on the decision to resign from a job as a happy career juncture, a fork in the career road with a perfectly-cooked career sausage on the end of it. But the moment itself, that ten or fifteen seconds in which we have to tell our manager that we’re pulling the work pin, is almost always filled with trembling anxiety.

So here, for your edification, are some conversation starters, written in natural, everyday language, that cover many of the most common situations surrounding a professional parting of ways.…

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My email to 7-Eleven

by Haught 0 Comments

The 7-eleven logo (the 7 stands for how many dollars workers brings home per month)

 

Last year, the ABC and Fairfax investigated 7-Eleven in Australia and found that they systematically underpaid workers.

Yesterday the law firm representing many of these employees revealed that one of those workers – Sohail – was paid $325 for about 685 hours of work at a store in Sydney.

That works out to a pay rate of 47 cents per hour.

In other words, when you went into the 7-Eleven in question and paid $8.50 for a raspberry Weis’ you were generously contributing to half of Sohail’s weekly salary. Or, if you bought “coffee”, for two hours of his labour.

(Unless 7-Eleven were underpaying and overworking their staff, which would seem to be highly unlikely and would throw my maths out.)

Anyway, I wrote an email to them.


Dear 7-Eleven Senior Executives,

I usually write very serious emails to companies and people, but this one is a little bit mischievous (as well as sincere and in parts). I hope you don’t mind and take it in the spirit it’s intended.

You see, a position has recently opened up at the company I founded nearly four years ago. You will have heard of it: Haught Enterprises. It’s now become so large and so successful that I’m looking for a Chief Executive Officer to do what CEOs do… deliver value and drive strategic synergies and warn people against socialism and shit.

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The Haught guide to bringing stuff to life

Image: Insomnia Cured Here, flickr

Image: Insomnia Cured Here, flickr

If you want career success in 2016, it’s not good enough to “implement”, “generate” or “create”; you need to “bring to life” whatever it is you work on daily.

You can bring to life a brave concept or ambitious plan. You can bring to life a detailed design or complex first draft. You can also bring to life an annual report or financial statement.

Bringing stuff to life is such a versatile and inclusive exercise.

While working at Smorgy’s Burwood (yes, the one with the volcano – thanks for asking) I had a manager who was years ahead of his time, so I’m well-versed in the discipline of life-bringing. Let me regale you.…

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