You’ve Been Granted Three Corporate Wishes…

Imagine one day, while scrounging around that creepy storage room at the office, you dust off an old bottle of toner ink.   Suddenly, a swirling cloud of cyan-colored smoke appears, and the Corporate Genie materializes to grant you three new corporate policies – anything you wish!

Which changes would you enact?  Mine are below (with no insinuations about my current or previous employers).

1) Any changes to the travel expense policy that shift financial or administrative burden to the traveling employee must be written while seated in a middle seat, in coach, on the second leg of an itinerary.

2) Corporate IT must develop an e-mail filter to block as SPAM, anyone who hits “reply all” to a large group e-mail, only to write, “Thanks!” to the original sender.  The offending party shall automatically be sent an e-mail containing the dictionary definition of the word, “all.”

3) Forms will not be rejected and sent back to the submitting employee with explicit instructions on how to change one piece of information and re-submit the form.  Instead, the reviewing employee will just make the damn change and be done with it.

Can you limit your own list to just three?  I’d love to read your alternatives!

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Hey, just to let you know, we’re still not helping you.

My first two posts to this blog concerned unwanted and/or useless information pushed to me.

Keeping with this theme, I now turn my attention to another nefarious information push, one that I’m sure we’ve all experienced.

I’m on hold. Music is playing – categorized somewhere in the range of “this music is nothing I would ever buy” to “if there were no long-term consequences, I would rip my own ears off right now.”  Time to multi-task!  I put my phone on speaker, set it down, and start about my next e-mail, or making my lunch, or finding that one youtube video with the cat who does Sudoku. Oh, hey, the music stopped already, great! I’ll just…

“We’re sorry, but all of our operators are STILL helping other customers. Please stay on the line.”

And back to the music. Oh, false alarm I guess. Back to the multi-tasking – wait, already?

“We’re sorry, but all of our operators are STILL helping other customers. Please stay on the line.”

Why do they keep disrupting my multi-tasking to tell me that nothing has changed???  Operators are STILL busy. I already knew that, based on the way they weren’t helping me yet.  It’s disruptive – you can’t help but listen when the music stops, and useless – I have no action to take, no change to note, nothing.  And in the worst cases, I’m reminded thus every 10 seconds or so.

Just one more battle-front in the war on useless alerts. I’ll think of some more as soon as I get off hold.

Worst. Alert. Ever.

LinkedIn is making me want to be a bad friend.

As a guy just starting a new job of my own (after a mere 23-year run at my original employer), I was very moved by the many notes of congratulations and “likes” my update garnered on LinkedIn, aka Facebook for Grownups. Similarly, I have a new-found joy in seeing my other friends and former colleagues announce new opportunities they have found. How exciting to be starting something new, and to share the news with your professional and personal networks! What a nice feeling when those close to you care enough to write even a one-word note of congratulations, or just give you the old thumbs up!

But now I want to stop doing that – I want to stop congratulating my friends on their updates. The reason? My daily linkedIn alerts are quickly getting cluttered up with what I can only consider to be the Worst. Update. Ever.

“2 people also congratulated Hyram Quickly on the new job.”

Really? You sent me an e-mail and flagged an alert on my home page to tell me THAT? With all the really important things going on in the world, this is “alert-worthy” in your view? What the heck do I care who else congratulated my friend?

I never opted in for this type of alert. (Actually, who would?) In my view of software development, there’s a word for “Alerts” that are neither actionable nor informative: bugs. LinkedIn, please clean it up.

You’re making me want to be a bad friend and appear to ignore my friends’ good news. Or even worse, you’re exposing me as an actual bad friend who sees good news but won’t take the time to communicate my congratulations in a more personal way. In either way, LinkedIn, I don’t need YOUR help in being a bad friend!

You know what would be a really good alert? If someone announced a new job, and NO ONE has congratulated them yet! “Luke Atme has a new job and no one has congratulated him — get on it!” Informative AND actionable, that’s worth an alert.

Spam is dumb

Someone please explain this to me.  I get spam e-mails, as I’m sure we all do.  I have spam blockers, I add every sender to my blocked senders list, and yet still about a dozen per day sneak through.

The majority of them?  Offers to sell me contact lists.  C-levels, executives, BUYERS BUYERS BUYERS!  You name the application, the industry, the technology, the shoe-size, WE HAVE LISTS OF BUYERS!

The only problem is, I’m not in sales.  I never have been.  No title on my resume, my linkedin profile (the only social media I heavily use), or anything I’ve ever claimed about my career puts me in a role where I would want to buy sales leads.

“No big deal,” you say.  “That’s the nature of spam – they send it to a million people hoping to get any takers.”  But that’s the dumb part.  Don’t you lose all credibility peddling a “list of interested people,” when you yourself can’t create a “list of interested people” to target?  How am I to believe any of these people on your list  are any more interested in my message than I am in yours?

“Chill,” you say.  “It’s just spam.  That’s why we have filters.”  Fair enough, and you are a very good imaginary conversationalist for pointing that out.  However, the thought strikes me that someone is buying these lists, or they would not be arriving by the dozens every day.  Someone is keeping these purveyors of people’s particulars in business.

So I’d like to know – is it you?  Who is buying these lists?  Who is putting any faith in them?  If you are buying them, are they effective for you?  Does it makes sense to have what appears to be an entire industry peddling these lists mercilessly?

Alternatively, if you know the secret buzzwords to insert in an online profile to get rid of these or any other types of spam, feel free to share those as well!