The Haught guide to the word “strategic”

A strategic waterfall
A strategic waterfall

In this ultra-cynical age, the word ‘panacea’ has been splashed with negative connotations. The 21st century has no time for the idea of utopia, and there is, admittedly, something slightly utopian about a remedy for everything in the universe ever. For that reason ‘panacea’ is a word – not unlike ‘alchemy’ and ‘Vodafone’ – that today evokes reflexive scoffing.

But we are wrong to sneer, for a panacea is theoretically possible. Indeed, it already exists. The corporate sector has know about it for at least a decade, and it takes the form, believe it or not, of a humble adjective. (more…)

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Our shared fear of telephone calls

CandlestickTelephones_edited (just man)_editedI’m scared of making and answering phone calls.

Not that long ago I would never have told you this, but today I can put it in print without shame thanks to a Twitter conversation I was a part of.

It was a series of frank, often moving, admissions from people who had originally come together over a shared love of football.

The exchange spanned 80 tweets and about three hours and I wept throughout. It was draining and embarrassing (I was at work at the time). But it was also cathartic.  (more…)

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The Haught guide to grunting

"Maria Sharapova at 2009 Roland Garros, Paris, France" by Misty, Sydney, Australia - Maria Sharapova and her shadow edited from en:File:Sharapova Roland Garros 2009 3.jpg. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Maria_Sharapova_at_2009_Roland_Garros,_Paris,_France.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Maria_Sharapova_at_2009_Roland_Garros,_Paris,_France.jpg
Maria Sharapova at 2009 Roland Garros, Paris, France” by Misty, Sydney, Australia – Maria Sharapova and her shadow edited from en:File:Sharapova Roland Garros 2009 3.jpg. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The 2015 Australian Open begins this week and if the tennis season teaches us anything, it’s that making very loud noises while plying your trade is an excellent way of improving performance.

During one of the lead-up tournaments last year, a player was reportedly told by her coach that she hadn’t vocalised enough during a distinctly lacklustre victory.

Ridiculous advice? Not at all. Here’s why I’m a huge advocate of grunting, screaming, yipping, moaning and howling your way to supremacy in your professional sphere.
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Emoticons: an exchange

Sit down. I need to talk with you about something.

No, sit on the chair the right way round, please – you’re 45 now. And this is quite serious.

I… don’t know how to ask this, but… Are you… are you using.

You know what I’m talking about. Oh, for goodness sake – don’t make me say it. Are you using…

…emoticons. (more…)

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Vernon Quest, confidant extraordinaire

For the purposes of this article, I’ll call him Vernon Quest. Because that was his name. (Hello, Verne, if you’re reading this, unlikely as that is given that you’re dead.)

When I arrived at the company at which Vernon and I became colleagues his reputation as a workplace confidant preceded him. He had acquired the nickname The Oracle and never advised those he spoke with that they should stop using it. (more…)

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The Haught guide to new year cliches

Bitter workers with cpation

Is there anything worse than new year work cliches? Yes – many things – among them child labour, Kyle Sandilands and nearly every jellyfish species. But nothing makes you feel more like a minuscule, barely-required cog in the clockwork of capitalism than being congratulated for spending Christmas “recharging the batteries”.

Even worse is the language that comes straight out of cosmetics ads: people asking you whether you’ve returned to work feeling “refreshed and rejuvenated”. All that’s missing is “alive with clarity” or “pulsing with radiance”… and who’s to say these aren’t the new year work cliches of tomorrow?

“Reinvigorated”, “revitalised”, “replenished” – so many words beginning with re lead us to actions starting with the same two letters, namely regurgitating food and reconsidering our love of life.

So, what do we do about this, dear readers? Well, here’s a new year’s resolution for you: this year, don’t cop it. (more…)

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The Haught guide to new year resolutions

New Year fireworks, Melbourne 2014
Photo: Chris Phutully

 

New year resolutions have been considered naff and juvenile so widely and for such a long time that they’re now, inevitably, about to come back into fashion.

Written by one of the internet’s great trendsetters, this article will only turn that probability into a certainty.

This year, I resolve to create a sarcastic Haught spin-off blog about parenthood. That’s my resolution. What’s yours?

 

 

He-hello?

 

Well, I’ll take your (quite rude) silence to mean you don’t have one yet, so here are some ideas:

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I’ll ride with you

Capture

#illridewithyou

On the 86 tram. Or any tram. Or the bus. Or a taxi. Probably not on Uber – they sound a bit dodgy.

Or the train. The Metro train. Squished up against you. Not minding that sometimes, when the train lurches, you drag on the back of my shirt like a beaten defender conceding a professional free kick, while I push my palm flat against the roof, hoping my shoulder doesn’t subluxate. (more…)

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My email to Connex

Con

If you’re a relative newcomer to Haught, you might not know that before I was writing immaculately worded emails to big-name dickheads and corporate galoots like Microsoft, Alan Jones, Coles and Woolworths , I became a household name (and got people asking why there wasn’t a Nobel Prize for Blogging) writing to public transport companies.

Well, I’ve decided it’s time to return to my roots.

Now, if you’re familiar with what it’s like to be on a Melbourne train during peak hour, or slightly before or after peak hour, or in hot weather, or in mildly warm weather, or when it’s raining, or drizzling, you have my sympathies. You can also probably go straight to the email below.

If you’ve never had the displeasure of a Melbourne train experience, you might also want to get up to speed on just how badly our train system is operated before you read the email below. You can do that by reading my email to Metro trains from a couple of years ago, this recent Age article on continual overcrowding, or the most recent Canstar City Train Ratings.

 

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