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Fazor
2010-Jan-28, 08:54 PM
It seems slow 'round here this afternoon, so I thought it might be good for another of my rants. For those who don't already know, I sell insurance. I suppose I'm free to rant about my company, as I'm really an employee of an agent for said company.

I won't specify which insurance company I work for, but it's a large one. For the purposes of this rant, you could substitute the word "insurance" for just about any other kind of large, office-oriented company. Probably most non-office oriented companies too.

It's the same stuff that shows like "The Office" get a lot of their material from. Corporate ... lets call it "creativity" ... when pushing their newest and bestest marketing and sales strategies. Most of these strategies apparently hinge on both us (the employees) and the customers being complete idiots. Phrasings like "We use credit, but we don't charge you if you have bad credit. . . . you just get a discount if you have good credit!" Fine and good, so long as you're too dumb to figure out that not-charging one group is the same as charging another.

Anyway, the focus of this particular rant isn't those "creative" management types and their "magic" phraseology.

Recently, the company has decided to make a push to bring us into the wonderful age of internet technology! Oooo! Shiney! We've basically been told that starting a MySpace and Facebook page are a great way to earn sales! (I'll agree they're a tool, but they're not a huge source of sales. People simply don't get on social networking sites to shop for insurance.)

They other thing they were excited about is our new company Yammer account! For those unfamiliar, it's basically Twitter, though you sign up as a company employee and only you and other company employees can see / post to the account. It's like a company's private twitter page, basically.

That's what spawned this rant. I've joined, though I'm certainly a "lurker". Never posted, never will. And today, I'm really questioning the intelligence of setting up such a network. I mean, I can envision the "benefits" of such a system. I'm sure words were thrown around like "information sharing" and "accessability" and "bonding". But people are idiots, whether they're members of the general public or fellow employees. Do we really need yet another vehicle to allow our idiots (myself included, if I'd post to it) to be seen and heard from?

And the worst part is, most of it is nothing more than a brown-nosing "creatively worded-pa-looza" of those meaningless, hollow buzzwords. Now there's some good advice on there, if you can wade through the hundreds of posts about "leaving work 2 pick up son for bball game. Go wolves!" and "There's no 'I' in 'team', but there's a 'we' in 'We ROCK!!!' [Our company] RULES!"

. . . and then I can't help but think about the "Marketing team" that got paid for, probably a year and a half, to write memos about how great a company-exclusive social network would be, and how Yammer will change the face of our company. And they all make more than me. Argh.

Larry Jacks
2010-Jan-28, 09:20 PM
And the worst part is, most of it is nothing more than a brown-nosing "creatively worded-pa-looza" of those meaningless, hollow buzzwords.

Have you ever played buzzword bingo (http://lurkertech.com/buzzword-bingo/)? It makes listening to a presentation a little more interesting. We actually did that at a company offsite a couple years ago, only we substituted another "B" word for "Bingo."

Fazor
2010-Jan-28, 09:31 PM
And the worst part is, most of it is nothing more than a brown-nosing "creatively worded-pa-looza" of those meaningless, hollow buzzwords.

Have you ever played buzzword bingo (http://lurkertech.com/buzzword-bingo/)? It makes listening to a presentation a little more interesting. We actually did that at a company offsite a couple years ago, only we substituted another "B" word for "Bingo."

Heh. All I can say is that I'm glad I'm not technically an employee of the company. I'm an employee of the Agent who is in contract with the company.

That means he's the one that gets to listen to most of this "bingo", not me. As easy-going as I normally (but decreasingly?) am, I'm not sure I'd make it through one of their meetings without calling them on it in a . . . less than professional manner.

But I guess one shouldn't bite the hand that feeds. . .

jokergirl
2010-Jan-29, 08:49 AM
I don't really see the point of Twitter to begin with.

But I can see how a privately-hosted IM service (think MSN Messenger, which offers that service on MS servers) or an intranet Wiki would be useful to productivity.

IMs are really practical - you don't have to answer them directly but it's quicker than walking over or writing an e-mail.
And a Wiki is actually a much better way of organizing information than a network drive. Just sayin'. :)

;)

Tog
2010-Jan-29, 09:03 AM
At the hotel, we keep a log book of important stuff that needs to be passed on. It's a Word document so that we did have post-it notes lining the desk. that is currently running about 800 pages. The problem with editing it is that you have to go back and read every entry to see if it still matters.

I suggested getting a free forum software so that we could organize this information, make stickies, send PM's and the rest. I set up groups so that if we needed to alert housekeeping about something, it would go out to all members of the housekeeping group, and so on. It worked really well, and no one used it at all. No one remembered to check it. No one remembered their log in stuff after the first week, so I canceled the whole thing. The best part is, they also stopped using the Word doc, so now we have a ring of post-its around the desk.

Yay! Progress.

jokergirl
2010-Jan-29, 09:35 AM
The good thing with Wiki is that you can subscribe to notifications if one of your pages is updated, though.

;)

mahesh
2010-Jan-29, 11:06 AM
...Progress.
This is the second time, I've bumped into this word here, in the space of half an hour. I say 'Mayflower!', again.

[my rant]
Fazor, you mention shows like 'The Office'...I've never seen any of it yet. And don't plan to either.
Dumbing-down-dumbed-down-BBC has a lot to answer for...the only time I've seen whatshisname Gervais...he was at a charity thingie a couple of years ago...doing some stuff, where the second generation of local princes and their girlfriends et al., were hanging around the terraces with the riff-raff....he, the Gervais guy was being, absolutely stunningly stupid. The whole affair was unbelievable. Bad. Bad. Bad. He was filling in time, for another moron, who was late, appearing....Oh....

So, it seems like everything is going around in circles...just like your earlier question about book publishers/authors...

The egg or the chicken.

If shows like 'The Office' make material from real life events...one feeding off the other...Yikes...we all need help, pronto! [/rant over]

Personally, I've never appreciated the need for e-mails amongst colleagues, who are working within sight / spitting distance of oneself/each other...but people do. All such activity generates need for SO much paper. Poor trees. I understand the need for recording important stuff...but it becomes ridiculous, after a while.

Everyone becomes so busy, trying to communicate with each other that real work still doesn't get done properly blah blah blah...Technology. Progress.

HenrikOlsen
2010-Jan-30, 01:30 AM
Personally, I've never appreciated the need for e-mails amongst colleagues, who are working within sight / spitting distance of oneself/each other...but people do. All such activity generates need for SO much paper. Poor trees. I understand the need for recording important stuff...but it becomes ridiculous, after a while.

Everyone becomes so busy, trying to communicate with each other that real work still doesn't get done properly blah blah blah...Technology. Progress.
Email or a forum or a wiki keeps a record of what people agree on doing, and makes it easy to go back and check if you misremembered.

I do some volunteer work in an international organization where the former boss was a micro manager with bad memory who liked to do everything over the phone.
This caused no end of bad feelings when everyone was told different and conflicting things all the time.
In the end, the subgroup I worked with made it a formal requirement that any work we were to do was to be defined by email or meeting minutes before any work got done.
We got more done after that requirement was in because we didn't have to program to a moving target.

HenrikOlsen
2010-Jan-30, 01:31 AM
"There's no 'I' in 'team', ...
Remember always, there is a 'me' in 'team'.