Curious about my useless addiction and whether most articles were in fact useless I started skimming them one day to see which ones really made my inner voice call bullshit. Here are some of the articles in no particular order.
Take a walk
"A successful business is marked with one [characteristic] – happy employees. So all you need to do to have a successful business, is to keep your employees happy."
I couldn’t even make it past the opening lines. Forget the spelling error in the first sentence (hence my use of brackets and spelling it correctly, you’re welcome), or the useless comma in the second sentence, this opening make me want shake the writer. A successful business is one that makes money. A good business is one that does this and keeps employees happy. A great business does that and helps the world as well. While employee happiness is noble and I think business leaders have a moral obligation to create said happiness it is not the main metric for a successful business.
Smarter Than the Boss?
"The demonstration of superior intellect, skill, (and I would include beauty) is, as a rule, a very rash thing to do in most company environments. We can say that mediocrity is always safe ground. Nothing in this world excites envy such as discernment, intellect and real talent."
Again this is bullshit. What gets you in trouble is embarrassing people, making more work for others, disagreeing, and other maladies. A manager might want to keep you down if you are star but just doing enough is stupid. It makes you miserable. You become toxic. Toxic people fuck up the environment and culture. If you aren't performing (mediocre, right?) and not enough people like you, you are gone. And who says being smart means you are better suited for the bosses position. The oversimplification here is staggering and annoying. Also its predicated on a boss sabotaging a smart employee. Plenty of bosses love smart employees because they make you look good. Maybe the boss is sabotaging you because you are annoying and you act like you are better than you are. A dash of humility isn’t a bad thing.
If I Were 22: Advice From a 25 Year Old, Relationships Matter
I'm not even pulling any quotes. Even the author calls out the bullshit. You can't give advice if you have no experience. The article is mostly a poorly veiled this is about me not about the subject train wreck. This is an abuse of the forum simply to get a name out there, to have published. Also if anyone is really foolish enough to take advice from a twenty five year old on a business network might want to think twice about their judgment.
Potential - Why It's Over-Hyped
This article talks about studies without even providing a link. It’s a Fox News mentality of suggesting something enough times by the end you might think it’s true without actually providing things like evidence. It says nothing and it rests entirely on opinion while being veiled as factual. It talks about promoting based on potential not on results. It ignores things like what potential means, if the employee would be great but hasn't proven himself then let them and you'll have those results, dumbass. They get an attempt without having the promotion secured and if they are successful they earn their promotion. If not then they’ll have learned a valuable lesson and hopefully it was handled with tact so they can comfortably stay at the company and maybe later they will be ready for that promotion.
The Dreaded Performance Appraisal
"I’ve never held a management position, but a topic of interest to me is the employee appraisal system"
I've never written for LinkedIn before but a topic of interest is idiots who do. You have no authority to speak on this. Everything after that opening sentence is colored by this admission. If I speak on great management techniques I can't start by saying I'm not a manager but I've been managed. It is staggering stupid.
But let’s move away from making fun of people who post things on the internet for a moment (though that is one of the primary functions of the internet now). I actually not long agao found an article that I appreciated greatly. It was about the method in which you might fire someone. I’ve been on both sides of this having fired someone and having been fired. It is ugly exchange on either side and I think the article gave a great glimpse on the experience. It should never be easy to fire someone. There is some failure on the company, and the manager, for this to happen. The company hired this person over others. The manager has a responsibility to this person to train and better them. When the time comes for someone to be fired it should be handled with decorum. Often the person is no longer happy at the role and this firing can be like a weight lifted of their shoulders but still this person now no longer has gainful employment, no more money coming in. Maybe it was their fault entirely and you tried desperately to put them on track. But as human beings we owe another person some empathy. When I had to fire someone I was sick the whole week. I was ill leading up to it and sick the day after. I made sure to do so in a manner where they didn’t feel like they were a failure. I wanted them to be optimistic. It’s a scary world when you suddenly find yourself without a job.
But here is what I would write if I were to post to LinkedIn. I would talk about failure. Everyone seems content to talk about success. But it’s hard to copy success, it has to be, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many smart hard working people out there struggling to get by. Failure, once known, is a lot easier to avoid. Telling people about mistake they might not foresee is extremely helpful. Much more helpful than articles guessing about what the next disruption model might be, or what some random VC thinks. I’d talk about the bullshit I saw and endured but shouldn’t have. I’d talk about those moments I can see with the extreme clarity of hindsight than set certain events in motion. I’d talk about my experiences and I wouldn’t say write about ten ways to deal with a bad boss. Those articles assume too much to be useful. People’s work experience is too disparate. I can’t think of any advice that could really apply to every work experience I’ve had. This is another reason why I can’t stand people applying rigid structures to a company’s strategy. While I am in agreement than a company or corporation shouldn’t be treated like an individual when it comes to law it is very much a living breathing thing.
If I did write articles in the manner of other writers here is what I would title them:
- How to deal with nepotism
- How to avoid killing your coworker
- The art of transferring
- How to deal with sabotage
- How to seek a new job quietly
- I may be saying this but what I really mean is this, and fuck you
Let me dole out some real advice like I promised at the beginning of the post. Lots of people talk about your posture at the desk, and that’s great advice, but not too many people talk about talking you shoes off. Yes, this might seem ewwy but trust me slipping off your shoes for a little bit in the cube can help your feet.
When you walk and don't look up you look vulnerable and weak - sadly office life can be like the jungle and some asshole with a douche complex will start picking on you. Yes, the office is an extension of high school and yes walking in a certain way will cue up the bullies.
Front load your work. I cannot overstate how helpful this is. It has helped me avoid fire drills for years. My busslhit detector goes crazy on Friday when some asshole casually wanders over to my desk at a few minutes before close to lay down a request. Document your work and do it early. You cannot stop others people being stupid but you can mitigate the effects of their stupidity. Fire drills are caused by laziness, idiocy and bad process - two of these are preventable. If you pursue work quickly and diligently so you have time when the inevitable compounding of stupidity happens you'll be happier. Yes I will “happily” pull the information again in a totally unrelated time period to satisfy your mood swing.
Some situations are lose/lose. There are bosses you can't please. There are situations that are just unfair and you can't fix. There are times when you are blamed for things you can't control. This is bullshit but as a normal person who isn't the executive or the man/woman you are not even close to immune to bad or unfair situations.
Don't obsess over the unfair situations, or anything else for that matter. Fix what you can and try to have a pleasant work life split. This is easier said than done but at least try to actively pursue the goal. It can be really easy to lose sight of this.
If you are leadership remember the business will be there tomorrow, even if you leave stupid people in charge they likely won't blow stuff up. If you aren't leadership the numbers your crunching seem important but they probably aren't. Fire drills seem really important in the moment but much less so a month later
And now, most importantly here is my list of office sins:
- Don't cook fish or stinky food in the kitchen
- Clean the fridge you jerk
- Respect the personal bubble. Seriously you are so close you are almost kissing me
- Never send emails or follow up fifteen minutes before work close or later
- Understand when to reply all, and not abusing the email CC
- You work in a professional environment, certain shit doesn't fly. Don't swear. Don't make questionable jokes.
- Don't dress like a hobo
- Don't look at questionable content (and yes, I have direct second hand knowledge of this)
- Don't bring politics into the work place
- Block your damn social media profile. People will Facebook stalk you, Facebook is built for stalking which is kind of creepy in it of itself.
- Be good to your colleagues. Don't bad mouth them, maybe they are going through some nonsense, maybe they have roadblocks you don't
- Smile every once and a while, especially if you have resting bitch face.
- Don't exclude people.
- Check in on the new guy, we all know onboarding sucks.
- Don't be negative/toxic/complain too much. And don't join in on it otherwise you'll be associated.
I think that’s most of it. If you have any other office sins or actual useful advice that LinkedIn doesn’t I’d love to hear some.