My email to Ticketek

by Haught 2 Comments

Dear Ticketek,

Last week the football club I support reached the AFL finals for the first time in what seemed like a geologic eon. You might not be familiar with the AFL or Australian rules football – it’s the top league of a sport played in… anyway, never mind. The salient point is that I really wanted those tickets.

Lots of people did. Good, upstanding Melbourne supporters. And bad, disreputable non-Melbourne supporters. But many of them people who have been turning up every week this season to watch their team play. And not just this year. And not just this decade. 

But your online ticketing system blasted dozens of litres of thick yellow diarrhoea into its own underpants and now many of them don’t have tickets. Probably, some of them don’t have jobs because instead of working today they had to sit on a computer piss-farting around while your website told them various unhelpful and contradictory things that weren’t the truth, i.e. “Oh, pwoah! The system has 48 cubic metres of shit in its boxers. Just like last year. This is going to take at least 45 minutes to clean up.” You might not be familiar with an online ticketing system – it’s a digital platform used for distributing… anyway, never mind.

Read the rest
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On Leonard Cohen

Poet, writer and musician Leonard Cohen died on this day a year ago.

He was not a man for varnish or facades. His metaphor for the world of everyday work was “Boogie Street”, a place of traffic jams and ugly commerce. 

On these pages over the past five years or so I’ve recommended that you follow the lead of The Bush Tucker Man, my infant daughter, the grossly incompetent manager I worked under at the Burwood Smorgy’s, the entire 1980s, the old Italian men who sold grapes from the vacant block next to my old home and me. But if I had to settle on a single, quite serious (for a change) role model it would be Leonard Cohen.… Read the rest

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Haught Take: Personal Branding

In 2017, personal branding has earned a special significance in the world. It’s at least as important to humans as a healthy endocrine system and will presumably one day replace our need for a beating heart. 

It’s also a complex subject, and I’ve taken that complexity into account when fashioning my rules for improving your personal brand. This is one you might want to set aside a good 45 minutes to read:

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How good words turn bad

buzzwords wasteland

The items that we now categorise as weasel words, wank language and corporate buzzwords weren’t always the indefensible, indecipherable brain-slop of desk-shackled keyboard tappers.

Almost every single one began as a word or term that didn’t make you want to chainsaw it alive and throw its corpse into an abandoned quarry.

Some were very good words: think of bespoke, curate and granular.

Some were not quite so pleasing to look at or say, but had delightful original meanings: think of journey, storytelling or kicking goals.

And some were fairly plain but serviceable: think of action (the noun), drive and disrupt

Each of them has succumbed. Action has become an entirely unnecessary verb. Journey, drive and disrupt have reached epidemic proportions and have lost almost all meaning to the point where “Let’s drive a disruption journey” would now be considered a perfectly legitimate (possibly an “innovative”) sentence in many offices. Storytelling is what a lot of people who can’t tell stories profess to do exceptionally well these days. Etc, etc. 

Yes, each of the has succumbed, but not in a single, fell swoop. Instead they have succumbed in a relatively lengthy process of bollocksification. It can take many forms, but it usually goes something like this:… Read the rest

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“Grandpa, what was Agile Methodology?”

Grandpa and grandson - wind

“Grandpa, what was Agile Methodology?”

“Ah, that’s a very good question, kiddo.”

“And…?”

“And what?”

“And what’s the answer?”

“The answer to what?”

“My question.”

“About what?”

“About Agile Methodology.”

“Oh. Oh… that. I thought you were talking about the other thing.”

“What thing?”

“The… thing… with… about… the… the… bi-… about… Biff… Pelican. Biff Pelican.”

What?! No!”

“Well it’s a funny story, actually. I used to have this weblog. And -“

“I was asking about Agile Methodology.”

“No. No. Of course you were.”… 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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Haught Take: inspirational quotes

Awesomness quote

Hello and welcome to the first ever Haught Take.

Hang on – what’s a Haught Take?

Do you want to know what annoys me about the ‘inspirational’ memes and quotes that do the rounds on Facebook and LinkedIn? Well, their preposterous oversimplification of the human condition, obviously. But also their ubiquity.

There are so many and they seem to be everywhere, turning social media feeds into ultra-efficient production lines of trite platitudes.… Read the rest

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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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The Haught guide to meetings

Larry's head

People often say to me ‘Jonathan, you’re the preeminent career agony aunt in the world today – when do I know that I’m going to too many meetings at work?’

I tell them a little story.

A few years ago I worked at a company whose senior management team decided it wasn’t ‘good at process’.

It was an abrupt, somewhat bewildering realisation, like a cat suddenly deciding it needs to be halfway up a tree. The staff all nodded and hmmed in the affirmative, but really they just wanted to placate those who had formed this opinion, horrified by their dilated pupils and shockingly enlarged tails.… Read the rest

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