Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dumbed Down World of Clichés and Pop-Psychology


Feedback is good as long as it’s constructive…

Really? So if I tell you that you are ugly but the good news is I have a great plastic surgeon I can recommend, that’s good, right? Just because you use the word constructive doesn’t make it so. Don’t hide your political posturing and sarcasm in “constructive” feedback. If you give it truly think about how you are affecting the person receiving it.

You can be anything you want when you grow up…

Really? So your kid wants to be an astronaut yet they suck at math but can draw a perfect flower. What the heck—encourage them to be an astronaut—I’m sure they’ll be great at it. Instead you may want to consider actually encouraging your kids to do what they are naturally very good at. And hey, who knows, maybe they will actually be able to get a job when they graduate because they are good at what they do.

You have all the time in the world to figure out what you wan to be when you grow up…

Really? Let your spouse pay the bills why you figure it out. Oh, and the kid in India that figured it out fifteen years before you did, guess what, they got the job. You don’t have all the time in the world! You don’t even live that long!

There are no bad questions…

Really? Have you ever sat in a meeting where someone asks the same question that the person right before them did because they were playing on their blackberry? But hey—still a great question right? Why not start a meeting and say please be thoughtful of your questions? Or please ask questions that will advance the discussion forward. We aren’t in kindergarten. We are paid money to think—not ask stupid questions.

It’s all about communication…

Really? So if someone sells you a crappy car but over communicates why it’s so great then the problem is solved, right? Communication doesn’t solve everything. Sometimes you have to actually do work to solve it. If you are being strategic you will ask yourself if it a communication problem or a true business problem. Don’t always assume communication is the answer to everything.

Work-Life Balance…

Really? I didn’t know we died when we got to work and came back to life afterwards. I must have missed the transition when this oxymoron was first coined…”from here on out work is no longer part of your life.” That really must suck for a farmer—they must never be alive. Stop thinking life and work are separate…got news for you-life is work and work is life and if you don’t like your job don’t try to solve it by spending the least amount of time there.

If you are communicating with a leader it needs to be high level…

Really? Because no problem (like the collapse of our economy) requires more of an in depth look at an issue. “Our analysis on risky lending practices indicates these three bullet points… Executive writes back from their blackberry, “Thanks for info” message sent via blackberry. We need to get real and stop thinking our executives can’t handle information. If we have a complex and important problem to solve give them the facts so they can make a solid decision.

Work Hard Play Hard…

Really? Because you work hard you have a free pass to do beer bongs on the table? Just because you work hard doesn’t make you exempt from looking like a complete idiot. How about work hard and be yourself. Not work hard and act like you are at a college frat party.

We are the largest…

Really? Who gives a rats ass how large your company is. Every time I go to a conference I hear speakers say “we are the largest heating company in New England”, “we are the largest beer distributor in Florida”, “we are the largest this, we are the largest that”. Who cares! What is with the largeness syndrome? Do you think someone hears that and is like, “wow, your company is large”? No—it’s totally forgettable. How about come out and say we are the SMALLEST company in the world at annoying the hell out of people by saying we are the largest. Now that is cool!

Gen Y/Millennial’s feel they are entitled…

Really? I see this written about every day from someone in the industry. Of course—it’s not written by the Millennial’s because like the WWII generation, Baby Boomers and X’ers—when their parents said the same things about them they viewed it as OLD and ARROGANT. Just like all of the other generations there are lazy, entitled people and hard workers. Please stop clumping them together in one category—it’s just truly an inaccurate way to view the world. The same inaccuracy that the WWII generation had of their kids listening to Elvis and the Beatles!!

When you hear one of these statements don't just take it as some form of wisdom someone is giving you. Think!

5 comments:

Lance said...

Really, the part about stupid questions really resonates with me. Pay attention! Ask questions that inspire action or thought.

I love it. Rage on Fogarty!

Todd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Todd said...

Great post. Todd Raphael

thejobawfultruth said...

Loved this article. So many things you say are true. Work Hard, Play Hard has always been a pet peeve of mine. In addition, I think of "work/life balance" as more "work/life harmony". Sometimes work is going to demand more time and attention and other times family concerns are. The trick is to keep it in harmony with each other. Working hard and putting in the hours to do a fantastic job is part of that.

salesroles said...

oh these cliches are so real...why do they try to re-hash old sayings into blue-sky thinking,oh the irony!

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