Regrets? Surely you have a few

NO REGRETS

Some people ask me while I’m signing autographs or they’re basking in the fresh-baked-bread warmth of my celebrity, “Jonathan, have you ever written something you wish you could take back?”

I always tell them “yes”, even though it’s patently untrue and every one of my pieces of work to date has, on any objective scale, been between an 8.5 and a 13 out of 10.

Why? Because you should never trust a person who doesn’t have any regrets.

I’m all for a bit of haught. I named my blog after it. I start most of my articles and many of my emails with it. I think a sprinkle of superciliousness is good for the soul. (It’s like nutmeg in that way.) But the philosophy of regretlessness is arrogance taken to a preposterous level, a level that not even I, with my weather balloon head and galactic ego, can empathise with.

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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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“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.… Read the rest

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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.… 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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