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.… Read the rest

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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.… Read the rest

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What made the 1980s great

Aerobics

The now-famous maxim “Dance like there’s nobody watching, love like you’ll never be hurt, sing like there’s nobody listening” is from a song called Come From the Heart written in 1987. It’s terrible; please watch it.

In that year the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ notorious Doomsday Clock was as close to midnight (representing global armageddon) as it had been in thirty years. The Cold War was still on in earnest (the USSR was still a couple of years away from collapse), the Chernobyl nuclear power station had exploded in 1986 and there was generally good reason to be worried about the future.

I think that’s what made the 1980s such a great decade. … Read the rest

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How to become a thought leader

Thought leaders always use megaphones

Thought leaders always use megaphones

My new year resolution was to become a thought leader.

I’ve already achieved it.

I got my accreditation from the Society for the Promotion of Integrated Thought Leadership in the mail yesterday. How? That’s a very good question and, as a thought leader, it is my solemn duty to answer as condescendingly as possible.

There are two questions you need to answer before you begin the rigorous process of becoming a Fully Accredited Thought Leader:

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What is content?

Content Officer business card

I was referred to an article the other day titled ‘31 awesome ways to improve your fitness’. Number one was “Make your workout as awesome as you can.”

There was no elaboration.

I didn’t get past number 4.

What’s that got to do with the price of milk?

Well, what I’m referring to above is a form of content. Exceptionally bad content. But that’s just one example. What is content in a more general sense? For the answer to that question, I went to one of the world’s foremost experts on the subject: me.… Read the rest

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The Haught guide to summer fashion

Work shorts

I don’t know much about fashion, but I know what I like. And I like what I saw in a 45 year old ad for King Gee Permanent Press Tropical Shorts (posted by the brilliant Facebook page, Lost Melbourne).

Of course, 1970 was a different time. I was minus 12 years old back then, so my memory of the era is a bit sketchy, but the ad tells us this was a time when 60 year-old men in exposed knee-high white socks consulted blueprints while standing. A time when the word “Bermuda” meant something so much more than “tax haven”. A time when some hastily scribbled red texta sufficed as the background for a print advertisement.

It was a time that we should look back on with nostalgic envy.… Read the rest

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The Murphy’s Law truth about your Year 12 results

Year 12 results

In 2015, VTAC took the romantic step of offering students their VCE scores via SMS, email, traditional mail and loom.

Murphy’s Law states that “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong” but there are hundreds of sub-laws and corollaries that sit underneath it. Murphy’s Constant, for example, says “Matter will be damaged in direct proportion to its value”.

Catherine Armitage wrote about Murphy’s law in the Sydney Morning Herald last year and mentioned two more: Muphry’s Law – “If you write anything criticising editing or proofreading, there will be a fault in what you have written.” (Ain’t that the truth.) And Etorre’s Observation – “If you change queues, the queue you just left will start moving faster”.

I have another one for you, a distant cousin to Etorre’s Observation. It concerns Year 12 results.… Read the rest

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The Haught guide to inadvertent plagiarism


Curly Wiseguy

I had one of those abject moments of deflation last year. You know the ones: they came just after you realise a piece of your work – or the concept behind it – which you’d considered original in the most pristine sense, has been done before?

OK, to be fair “in the most pristine sense” is a bit of an exaggeration. I knew that mocking and denouncing corporate malarkey was, by the rules of human nature, almost as old as corporate malarkey itself. But I thought everyone was off in their own corners ridiculing and railing against their own bug-bears: the ubiquity and omnipotence of “brand”, the impenetrability of “agile”, the absurdity of the tiny list of words that go into most corporate mission statements…

…I was wrong. 

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The Haught guide to “downsizing”

Downsizing virabbits
Euphemisms are like rabbits. Actually, they’re like viruses. Oh, let’s just say they’re like virus-rabbit hybrids. Virabbits.

They’re small and fluffy and sometimes even comforting to be around (don’t tell me you haven’t ever wished you could stroke a little grey euphemism’s ears). For this reason, people underestimate them and the next thing they know they’ve spread with astounding speed and they’re everywhere.

Euphemisms are also very good at mutating. Just when you think you’ve become immune to one, a new strain emerges.

Take the euphemism ‘downsizing’, for example. … Read the rest

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