Tag Archives: work ethic

Work Ethic and Scammers

Bear with me tonight, I'm free writing this as I think it up. Lately, in the real world, I've been coming across a lot of people who don't want to work for their money. The idea is one of, “You make the money, and I'll share it with you.”

This has gone on forever, but it's really getting prevalent today. I see people forming bogus franchises to teach someone how to get rich quick. They sell the franchises to suckers who are looking for a work-free way to make a fortune. The buyer gets the right to use the name and company logo. Many times there is a multi-level marketing concept behind it where the franchise guy gets a cut of everything the buyer earns. It becomes a kind of pyramid scheme.

Most of these businesses involve using a computer to scour the Internet for addresses and such. Then they sell “referrals” to actual business folks who have to work whatever field is involved. This means the consumer is getting a professional who is earning less. Consumers are working an angle too. Do you really want a discount professional working on your project? Discount brain surgery anyone?

Someone striking it rich doesn't actually happen very often. Many of the most successful people have a string of failures behind them. I remember the stories of Col. Sanders failing at all kinds of things before he tried marketing chicken. There is a famous statement about how many ways Edison learned not to invent a lightbulb. Edison and Sanders put their time in.

In the real world people put in their ten-thousand hours. Writers put down the million words to gain expertise. Would you respond to an Internet sweeper who promised to find you a literary agent, only to wind up with an agent with limited (or zero) experience working at a discount?

I saw a report about some newish hotel scams recently. One involves a phone call in the middle of the night. The hotel suffered a major computer malfunction and they have to collect everyone's credit card again. Except the hotel didn't really have a computer meltdown, and the caller isn't with the hotel.

Another one involves a wifi spot inside the hotel. There will be a sign with name and password for guests, usually a paper sign on the bulletin board. Again, this one has nothing to do with the hotel, and someone is scouring the user's computers for personal info.

The last one involves something I would have fallen for myself. Someone slides pizza coupons under the hotel door. They have an actual franchise name and logo, including photographs of the franchise's product. Think Pizza Hut here. Glossy paper, same font, same photos — fake telephone number. Give them your credit card number, maybe the expiration date and code off the back. What's keeping that pizza??? There is no reason someone couldn't circulate these at your house either. Maybe they head out in the dark and shove them all in the Sunday paper.

Twitter is full of folks calling themselves SEO experts, marketing experts, and even lifestyle coaches. These might be services of value to some folks, but I can't believe these are all on the up-and-up. There are way too many of them.

The other thing that's bothering me lately is the bending of facts, or complete abcense of them, to make arguments. Now that I'm on Facebook, I see this every day. They are logical fallacies, but I don't know all the formal names of them.

It works something like this: Someone shoots up a public square; therefore, we should vote for X (or against X). They twist tragedy before we even have time to process it. This is cold blooded opportunism at its worst.

Another version involves someone posting a silly video or meme. One of the comments will certainly be, “Looks like a real X supporter.” Substitute the politician of your choice for X. I know these are supposed to be jokes, but there is a twist in them that renders the comment un-funny. There is a serious desire to engage in the character assassination of politician X.

From my point of view, support someone, don't support someone, but be honest about it. Stomping down politician X doesn't make politician Y look good by default. It's a logical fallacy, they might both be terrible. Maligning someone's supporters doesn't make the commenter look intelligent.

In a perfect world, I'd like to see a human experiment. I believe we can educate ourselves out of this situation and make a difference. I'd like to take one class of high school seniors per year, teach them a class about such things, and see how they fare vs. their classmates over time.

The class would include logic, rhetoric, facts, evidence, and responsibilities. I might add some budgeting and long term planning. I know it isn't common core stuff, but it might prove valuable to the students who took the class.

This was kind of a rant, and I apologize for that. Maybe someone will be saved from one of the hotel scams, and that makes it worthwhile. Maybe one person won't send their hard earned money to someone promising the moon without any qualifications.

Maybe an author will use one of these situations to ramp up the pressure in a story someday. That would be cool.

Enough ranting. I have a couple of emails I need to get to before bedtime. There are going to be some fun guests here the rest of this week, so stop back and tell them “hi.” Maybe check out their wares. It's easy to hit the tweet button and help them spread the word. Maybe one of them will do the same for you one day.

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Back on the Soapbox

My bachelor weekend is almost over. I went to the writing cabin early with a few goals in mind. I want to make some headway on the next Dresden Files novel, and to edit more of Arson.

My main character in Arson is a firefighter who loses everything. Others take control to help guide him. He’s at the point where he must stay the course to see some kind of Justice served, even if he doesn’t have all the skills he needs. It’s a point of no return. He’s my afternoon plan.

I settled into my office and Lisa* brought round some coffee and mini muffins. I dug into Harry Dresden with relish. There’s just something about winged monkeys throwing flaming poo, you know.

I found myself rereading sections. It isn’t Butcher’s fault, he a great writer. I was distracted. I had a conversation with my daughter yesterday that stuck in my gizzard.

“Lisa! Bring me the soapbox,” I yelled.

“Right away, boss. It’s in the basement,” she said.

Her rushed steps reverberated through the cabin as she left her upstairs room and rushed to the basement. She tromped in wearing heels, those tight knee length jeans, and a bathrobe.

“Don’t you put the shoes on last?” I asked.

“No. Nobody taught me any protocol on how to get dressed. You’ve never complained about my work attire.”

“Good point.”

She placed the soapbox in the middle of the office floor and went to finish dressing.

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Here I go again

My daughter is 20 years old. She hasn’t been in the workforce that long, but she still has the first job she ever had, and has worked as many as three places at once. She holds three jobs, she doesn’t work them at the same time. She’s the kid who comes to work; rain, snow, piss or blow. She pulls extra shifts and covers people who call in sick. These are mall jobs, and she’s set a few sales benchmarks at a couple stores. In other words, she’s a good employee.

She’s into clothes and cosmetics. She’s starting beauty school in a couple of weeks. When she found out that Lush cosmetics was opening a store here she was manic.

She called them and explained how she’d been ordering their products for years and loved them. She’s very familiar with their line and can talk knowledgeably about it. They made an appointment for an interview, and for a sales lead job too.

She got dressed and fixed herself up for the appointment. It turned out to be a group interview. She said that’s kind of common in retail, but was shocked to find twenty people there. She said there’s usually about five. Lush held three such sessions that day too.

They started off by asking if anyone knew anything about Lush cosmetics. She said it turned into some kind of Jerry Springer fiasco with everyone shouting over everyone else. She doesn’t play that game and sat patiently, and professionally.

They wanted them to split into groups. One group had to role play between customer and salesperson, while the rest of that group critiqued what they saw. She said the critiques were catty and insulting.

She wound up in the drawing group. They were told to draw a picture of how they were feeling today. The drawings were going to be presented and critiqued too. Then the groups were going to switch. She doodled on her page for a bit and walked out. They asked what she was doing and she told them, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

She explained it to me this way. There is no situation where any sales people are going to have to draw while on shift. She knows it’s an assessment tool, but it proves nothing. It doesn’t show salesmanship, knowledge, or work ethic. The role playing had a smack of reality TV, including being booted off the island. She felt like the human beings who showed up were being made to dance like puppets on a string.

I don’t know about you, but I’m open to new ways of doing things. I appreciate that getting through about 60 or so applicants might require some creativity. Isn’t that what resumes and applications are for? Interview the ten or so that look the best on paper.

Assess their skills using some role playing. The interviewer can play bad customer. I just don’t get it.

I’m sure Lush will open on time, and stock their shelves with products my daughter genuinely loves. They’ll have a full sales staff of extroverts who love attention, and possibly a lot of drama based upon what my daughter saw.

What they won’t have is one introvert who’s a lot like her old man. They won’t have the kid who loves the product and uses it herself. They won’t have the girl who set a few sales records. They won’t have the dedicated employee who goes to work despite the weather, bloating and cramps, and last minute invitations from friends.

I don’t get it at all. This reality competition interview process should have failed at the beta stage. I’m sure they’ll land a few decent employees, but I doubt they’ll get all that many. In around 13 years American Idol managed to find two legitimate stars. They only went through about a billion hopefuls to do it.

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I’m back to my scheduled plan.

* Lisa is the main character in Wild Concept. She’s a robot and works for me at the writing cabin these days.

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