Welcome to my jaded world of work, office and the corporate world. Having spent the past 16 years working in manufacturing for a large company, I worked my way up through the ranks to the "semi-executive" plateau where the grass is not really greener (okay, the money is), but just has a whole bunch of weird shades. Everyone talks differently and eventually you get sucked into the world of Corporate-speak and think. Well, "Work Redefined" is my outlet.I find myself sitting on conference calls or in meetings and can't help but turn terms and phrases into something much more entertaining; entertaining for myself and hopefully for others who have the same reservations and/or disgust for what they hear on a daily basis. It kind of resembles thoughts from Dilbert and The Office, but my own personal twist.Yes, I'm part of the evil, but I keep pushing against it in an effort to not become fully absorbed in it all. I've put some of my thoughts on shirts, hats and things that you can see on Cafe Press under Work Redefined. I'll post some of the tantalizing tidbits on my blog for your pleasure, pain or entertainment.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Portfolio Adjustment

Do you remember those wonderful days when companies would "close" part of their business or "fire" people they didn't want working for them? I've heard this term more than once now and I just couldn't believe my ears. By the way, the first time I heard it, it came out of the lips of a human resources person. Oh, my gawd! It was something along the lines of: "We are moving forward with a Portfolio Adjustment in the south." What this really meant was that they were permanently closing a manufacturing facility that would put nearly 300 people out of work.

It sure seems to me that the corporate world has gone to great lengths to dehumanize. We used to terminate, lay off or fire and now we're more likely to "reduced our productivity climate." This is much easier to live with. You'd hate to have people pulling down millions a year losing sleep over such trivial things as feeding one's family. Hey, if you don't say it, you don't feel it.

So, now defined for pleasuring your senses: Portfolio Adjustment: Reduction of a company’s greatest and “most valued” resource (people); a change which equally destroys everyone in the name of stockholder profits - stated in terms that create a blissful state of emotional detachment. Just warms that cackles of your heart, doesn't it? What a wonderful gift for the most recently displaced.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Statistics are our Friends

How are decisions made in a business? That certainly is determined by a number of things; size of the business being one - who does it answer to? A driving decision maker can be statistics and how they are compiled. This leads me blissfully into my next subject matter in redefining work. That would be statistical analysis. Now wait a minute, don't change the channel yet. I'm sure its much more fun than you think - okay, probably not. It can be a leading factor that paves the way for seagull management - so let's just make fun of it then.

With the right set of skills, we can take a set of statistics and make whatever point we want. Is it any surprise then that upper management is sometimes shocked when finding out what is really happening behind the scenes? No way, Jose. But, to believe the load of crap set before them, the leadership group must have spent most of their time multitasking or rearranging their offices with fine products from Work Redefined, because they certainly weren't paying close attention to the real world.

I've heard that one too many brainstorming sessions can take a permanent toll by extracting that one tiny portion of the human brain that is actually used for logical humanity.

To be totally fair (yeah, right), it is pretty difficult to put statistics into a form that can be understood without tainting them in any manner. Therefore I have decided that this is a real good rule of thumb. As it says on the shirt, "90% of analysis of statistics shows that 65% of all results are within a 75% range of accuracy at least 80% of the time." Now, if that doesn't clear it up, I just don't know what can. Buy me now on Cafe Press and save me from the corporate world.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Office Decor - Odds and Ends

Since I know that everyone on the planet really wants some of the Work Redefined products, I needed to get some lower priced items. These are basically items to hang or use in the office. Posters to tape to the wall, framed posters and tiles, clocks, coasters, mugs - stuff like that. I've tried to hit most of the basic food groups created so far on the site.

If you like to put some small posters on the wall, maybe these from multitasking or corporate crossword, but there are others to choose from. Or if you'd rather put a clock on the wall - how about the beloved seagull management clock. Oh, your corporate bosses will love what you really think of them. You can say that you really do always have time for them.

Now let's really get fancy with a framed print of the business pastime blamestorming. This will really set the stage and let everyone know what to expect from the next project. They'll be volunteering in droves.

A lot of people think you should be able to drink while you're at work (I think the US may be the only country that doesn't do that much any more). Well, fill your mug with whatever you can get away with and drink in Work Redefined style (a contradiction, I know) with one of these beauties while trying to figure out how to make a pivot table - which will take you hours and hours until you get it down, so that your boss can take 33 seconds to look at it, fly over and pull the seagull management attack on you. Oh, think deep before you decide what to fill your cup with. Note from the editor: By the way, don't worry about whether the cup is half empty or half full, just be happy if you can afford to put anything worth drinking into it.

One final attack on your seasoned senses - play some Buzzword Bingo while you mouse away the hours with this how-did-I-ever-live-without-it mouse pad.

Toys in the office. They're a must unless you've got prescriptions that can keep you afloat or adrift, whichever makes the most sense.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Seagull Management

This phrase certainly isn't mine, but a collection of corporate or business world phrases and terms isn't complete without a birds-eye view of seagull management. If you've heard this one, then it really isn't anything new, but the definition has my own twist to it.
If its not true, it sure feels that way. Someone takes one look at your office or operations from a mile away and they have it all figured out. Policies drop from the sky like rain, or more accurately, bird poop. Then away they fly and leave you to your mops and disinfectant to clean it all up. And, by the way, once its all better, it must have been their involvement that made it all good.
Don't worry, it will all be better tomorrow, unless you have the top down on the car. Oh, keep your mouth closed, for a variety of reasons. Cafe Press has items to wear and stick on people and things, all ready for your enjoyment.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Buzzword Bingo

Need something to do while the meeting's going on? What about when a call is going on and you have it on mute? You do have it on mute, right? Okay, even if you don't have it on mute you can play. You can play while sitting in a presentation, just make sure not to stand up and yell "bingo" or you'll give it all way.
So, here are some of the terms I used, I'm sure they're some of your favorites. "Downsize" is always a party favorite. Ooooo, how about "Open Door Policy?" Another party picker-upper.
If the game doesn't work for you, try saying a sentence with as many of the terms as you can. Well folks, first we're going to audit your realignment with the current stakeholders to see if we can establish synergy in a cohesive, team building, innovative business plan while streamlining and sharing best practices into our global portfolio. Do I know what that means? I'm really thinking that is the point. Dang, I really sounded like I knew what I was talking about. Buzzword Bingo is a great place to kick off the fun wile away the hours instead of doing something that really needs to be getting done.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


I think this one is sweet and oh, so true. How often have you heard the term "brainstorm" and had it simply suck the life right out of you. First of all, brainstorming is really a process and rarely is it followed. It is supposed to be a free-flow of ideas, but usually ends up just being a trickle. Can't anyone trust each other? Can't we just say what comes to our minds? WAKE UP! This is the real world and in the real world, we wait until its all over and put into place, the all powerful, specially organized and no-win blamestorm.

When the storm hits, it usually has little to due with the brain and more to do with a survival mechanism that apparently runs much deeper (or lower) than the brain; a couple feet lower as a matter of fact. Closer to the posterior, rump, oh hell, the ass. Yep, as in saving one's own . . .

Never done this? Oh, I see. Too noble eh? Well, I wish I could say the same and sleep at night. The blame-game is the 3rd oldest profession in the world. This is a semi-family blog, so I won't mention the first two. Find this one on stuff you'd love to wear in my store in Cafe Press under Blamestorm. I was wearing this one on a corporate trip to Georgia and got stopped more than once by laughs and comments. Pretty cool.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Corporate Crossword

Well here's another game to play while your attempting to do anything but pay attention to that vital conference call. Corporate Crossword will, I'm sure, give you seconds of exciting entertainment. Now, on the crossword puzzle, toward the bottom is the statement "see tomorrow's shirt for the answers" but, sorry to say, I have made no tomorrow's shirt which (plug, plug) is found on Cafe Press.. So, for the first time ever seen on the web, I will give some answers. Nail biting, isn't it?

Okay, let's work one here. The clue for 1 across is: "What you're told you have when your leader wants something from you OR what you don't have at raise time." Think it through now. It's five letters - first hint. Starts with a "V" and has some vowels in it (the vowel thing was for any executives reading this). Tic-tic-tic - yes you, sitting at the keyboard . . . Did you say value? That's it!

Well this leads to the next obvious one which is 1 down. Since you already have a "V" to start the work (heck, how many words can start with a "V", like six?), this one should be easy. "What you're told your leader has OR what you're expected to have a lack of when viewing your leader." You can see right through him or her, can't you? Okay, start the clock - starts with a "V" (tic -tic). Put on your rose-colored glasses - you got it . . . vision.
Well this is just too easy, but that's the idea. So easy, an executive could do it. So, get a shirt, join in the excitement and show your executive potential.
You will, of course, have to buy a few of them because once you written in the answers, you'll want a fresh one to keep other people on the call engaged.
Need more of the answers? So many blogs and such little time. Sorry, that's all I can reveal at this time. You'll have to tune back in sometime soon and see if I've given more tidbits away.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Corporate Help

My thoughts around corporate phrases and how this relates and doesn't relate to the real world is really driven by those little things you hear when meeting with a group "of your own kind." When the managers or executives gather, you understand that most of them really are aware of how they come off around people that report to them - yes, those little people. But in the same breath, they just can't stop. I would never tire of hearing people say how they were just here to help. But it was like, help in one hand and an extremely large hammer in the other. It sure always felt like help or die to me. So the phrase was born, "I'm from Corporate and I'm here to help."

So, say it with subtlety or scream it from the mountain tops. Make an event out of it. I've got the "Corporate Help - Event Staff" shirts, hats and buttons or the "I'm from Corporate and I'm here to help - Event Staff", a lot of variations on the theme. Personally, I kind of like it understated. Some people get it and others don't see it at all. It's fun to watch the reactions. As always, find these and other options here - http://www.cafepress.com/workredefined.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Automatic, magical - its AUTOMAGICAL

Ever work in a computer program and wonder "how the heck did that work?" Let's get right down to the hard, cold, undeniable truth; you'll never get it, even if it were explained to you in small words. Does that mean you're dumb? Of course not. Now, I'm not saying you're not dumb, I'd leave that to Dr. Phil or someone else on TV that has been anointed as an expert. Anyway, whatever the label, let's get by that one and back to the programming stuff.

I think it would be easier to simply go with - it happens - and if you're not geek enough to want to spend the rest of your natural life trying to figure it out, just let it be. This lead us to the new term that I heard on a recent corporate IT project (by the way, if you read my acronym blog, you'll see that I simply don't have the time to write out Information Technology). That new term is Automagical.

I love it. It all happens automagically in the background, so take a few deep breaths. Its okay to not get it. If it works, don't try to beat it into submission, just be glad the damn thing works and move on to more important stuff, like multitasking; using your blackberry to text someone while you're both driving on company business to a celebration of your most impressive safety record.


I read somewhere that humans were wired to do only one thing at a time with any great degree of precision. So, if you want to do something well, don't try doing multiple things at one time. It is defeating. You know, I really love this one. I can't imagine getting my work done if I took my own advice here, but it really makes sense. Its not very often that I feel I've really done an excellent job on my tasks if I take them on more than one at a time. Anyone want to comment on that one for me? Maybe I'm just a dunce (be nice to me), but I think that multitasking is way, way overrated.

So here's my take on tasking in the plural, double-dipping so to speak. What a wonderful way to attempt to turn one person into five or six. Why would we ever feel overworked, underpaid and at the end of rope? Hey, if we multitask, do we get additional ropes? We can only hope.

Get some of these on items at Multitask. I'm working 24/7 just for you.


Now here's an interesting subject, especially if your extemely busy, like everyone else in the world and just don't have time to say a full sentence. COME ON! Make the time to say the whole thing in words that real people understand. Now, don't fight me on this and don't call me a dumb MF. By the way, MF is not an acronym, so let's take a second here to define. An acronym is, oh, how should I say it; A WORD. No, not just whatever letters you lovingly want to write down. That is an abreviation.

Okay, back to original subject matter, not having the time. Well, we (as a society) have time to watch a 30 minute game show that turns a well intentioned human into a bowl of jello from fear and humiliation, but we apparently don't have time to say "National Aeronautics and Space Administration." Wasn't a good choice you say? To hard to say or too much time? Guess what? NASA stands for 32 other organizations also. So, if you tell a Native American that you are joining NASA he or she might wonder why you think you can be part of the Native American Student Association. Herein lies a part of the problem. We likely spend 20 times longer than we save by trying to communicate correctly, be understood and educate. Okay, maybe NASA wasn't the best choice here, because we all know what it stands for - at least the first one.

In the corporate world of projects, it is just awful. First, every abbreviation is called an acronym, I think mainly because there isn't even enough creative juice (or again, time) to come up with something that you can pronounce - I'd like to buy a vowel please. Second, usually on a project there is an entire document created with the sole purpose of defining "acronyms." The list is often very long. "Why is this?" you may ask. Well you may not, but I do. Its because we're lazy, don't think we have any time (see my blog section on multitasking) and simply want to make sure that anyone following behind us has to suffer the "Slings and Arrows of Outrageous Fortune" (SAOF - you figure out how to say it). Leading to the last paragraph . . .

Did Shakespeare use acronyms? I think not. An abbreviation, yes I know, not an acronym, but my hip-hop version: 2BRN2B, that is the question - oh looks and sounds great doesn't it. Shakespeare must have had more time than we do now. Obviously, I'm no Shakespeare. Therefore, I give you my latest tainted thoughts on cloth, pin and other product - "ACE - Acronymically Challenged Employee" and yes, it is an acronym and no, I just don't have time to say the phrase. So be an ACE along with me. Give Gary words! ACE

Just wanted to add that I was in a training meeting a few days ago on a rather large project for my company. The person giving the training used a sentence with 6 acronyms (mostly abbreviations really). I didn't even think that was possible. Well, in defiance to what I've stated earlier, it was a long meeting so good use of abbreviated English-and I'll bet that sentence alone saved us 6 seconds.