We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Thursday, December 22. 2016
The year is winding down and I'm still struggling with the same nonsense I've been dealing with in the office since last August. It is getting worse for a few reasons. But I'm not making a case for the year ending badly. Instead, I've got a different point of view because through these months I've kept a generally positive attitude. After all, there is plenty to be grateful for, and I am looking forward to 2017.
I'll start with politics. This isn't something I'm grateful for, but I'm grateful for learning new ways to deal with the nonsense it represents. In part, I mean the election, though that's minor. I was unmoved by the outcome, but this is NYC and many are still having fits. My new VP decided to start sending a daily email update in which she shares articles and commentary on industry events. Every day includes the latest anti-Trump article. I understand she supported Clinton (I didn't support either major candidate), but I don't care for her bias infecting the workspace. It's unhealthy. I know many people in the office who voted for Trump and don't share her point of view. Neither me or any of them are in a position to say something.
Then there is the expansion of office politics, in general. I realize all offices have politics. I'm not complaining about this. But politics are just a way of people getting what they desire by making other people do and say what they want. In business, where the goal should be positive value creation, politics just gets in the way. So why do people think politics are meaningful? Only because it's all they've ever known. The aggressive growth of politics in my office is, to me, a sign of a mature business shifting into decline. Which is sad to say, but that has usually been my experience.
Second, there is data. I've posted about this a few times. Then I read an article which added context to my views. In the last two years, we've created 90% of the data we currently store and use. There is no sign this is slowing down. Data, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. Putting too much trust in it to solve problems and expecting it to do things it can't do is a problem. The reliance on data is growing not only because we're learning how to use it better, but mostly because there is more and more of it. But what does that do? Open the doors to fraudulent activity. It's rather stunning how much money is lost, just in advertising alone, to fraud. Other businesses suffer as well. Not worried about it? It costs you money, because all that fraud adds costs to purchase prices. And most of the fraud is literally data. In other words, they are driven by bots and malware of various forms. Personally, that's a good thing. Makes a good portion of my job meaningful. Data may very much be a double-edged sword, but there are some huge upsides to its proper use as I'll get to shortly.
Finally, there is everyday wear and tear. I am not a holiday person. I don't tend to get excited and happy at Christmas. I don't know why, but this year I am. Partially, it's realizing this year has been a slog, and the wind down for the new cycle is actually exciting. In addition, I've been dealing with a large number of people who are struggling with the holidays for the first time. Normally they are the happy ones. It's a role reversal in which I find myself interacting with folks who are somber. I'm not happy because they are so down, I'm happy because I'm not down at all. In years past, being around happy people made the holidays worthwhile, so I hope I can improve their point of view.
As a gift for Christmas, I (shhh) purchased the family an Amazon Echo. We won't use it until it arrives in January (Amazon backlog). I'm intrigued to see what it capable of doing besides wake us up, play music or tell the weather. I plan to link my heating and cooling to it, and let machine learning do the rest. I'll see if I can hook my lights up to it, so I can turn off any room simply by asking. Where devices like this go from here, I don't know, but the prospects are exciting. Maybe next year I'll just order my groceries on the Echo and they will appear on my doorstep, or I'll request my dry cleaner pick up my clothes. A small sample what I believe will be many good things on the horizon.
So we take the good with the bad, we add perspective, context and make the best of our situations. None of us are perfect people living in a perfect world, but there's no reason to feel bad about imperfections for very long. No year is ever perfect, either. Some years are better than others. Which is why I look forward to 2017, because I think it will be a particularly good year. I hope it will be for all our readers, and the world in general.
Hope everyone here at Maggie's has a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.
Posted by Bulldog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 19:12 | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)
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Bulldog, Merry Christmas and may the new year be full of great things in your life.
I am however a very deep skeptic about the "internet of things" and connected everything. Lots of opportunities for hackers and others to mess with your business. And building ever more reliance on networked systems rather than individual autonomy seems a perilous option the way the world is going.
Consider that Echo to be your own personal STASI informer. It won't go all Gang of Z on you and tell you you're wrong/misinformed, but be careful.
" Every day includes the latest anti-Trump article. "
Save them. You might need them in the future.
I agree office politics are a sign of decline. they are a form of rent-seeking.
Merry Christmas and thank you for your insights. Your observation of office politics being (yet another) sign of decline, and AVI's addition about it being "rent seeking" resonated with me and helped me with perspective in my own situation. God Bless you and all the Maggies Farm Family.