Occasionally, when I learn something, I think, "I wish I had known that years ago." Maybe it would have saved me pain and trouble, or helped me find more joy and happiness, or maybe it just appeals to me. Whenever this happens, I write it down, or at least I mean to write it down. Many of them do get away. Here's the second installment of some that didn't get away.
- It's way better to cancel a meeting that shouldn't happen than to hold a meeting that shouldn't have happened.
- If you phone someone only when something is wrong, they'll eventually learn about Caller ID.
- Ask questions only if you think the answers (or non-answers) will help.
- Turning the other cheek is a good way to get slapped again. And maybe that's a good thing.
- When people interrupt each other, rudeness isn't always the only reason. Some interruptions are strategic.
- When somebody consistently does something wrong, your understanding of what they're trying to accomplish might be incorrect.
- When an expert tells you it's impossible, take heed. Experts who exaggerate aren't experts for long.
- Humor is everywhere. Even in things you're embarrassed you laughed at.
- Humor helps some people get over the rough spots. Others find it most unhelpful. How wondrously different we all are.
- People who take credit for the work of others soon run out of others.
- The young have a huge advantage over their elders. They haven't yet learned that there isn't time enough to learn all of what they haven't yet learned.
- Three kinds of people who don't learn: the unwilling, the unable, and the soon-to-be-unemployed.
- Dogs understand us. It's what they do for a living.
- Get a scanner. Electronic hoarding Dogs understand us.
It's what they do
for a living.is better for the environment than hardcopy hoarding.
- Many of my mistakes eventually proved right. And many things I thought were right eventually proved to be mistakes. So, being sure I'm right can be a mistake. I think.
- Some people contribute much more than they get credit for; some contribute much less. The trick is figuring out which is which.
- Some people contribute much less than they think they do. Way less.
- Being loyal to an organization that's incapable of being loyal to you is just dumb. Same for people.
- You get good only at what you practice at, but practicing at something is no guarantee you'll get good at it.
- Don't practice at anything you don't want to get good at.
- Getting angry at inanimate objects hardly ever motivates them to do better.
- Taking time out to think usually saves time in the end.
- On days when nothing is going right, I remind myself that most things actually are going right. I'm just too messed up to notice them.
- Trees know how to make do with whatever comes their way. They have to.
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More articles on Ethics at Work:
- Workplace Politics vs. Integrity
- A reader wrote recently of wanting to learn "to effectively participate in office politics without
compromising my integrity." It sometimes seems that those who succeed in workplace politics must
know how to descend to the blackest depths, and still sleep at night. Must we abandon our integrity
to participate in workplace politics?
- Looking the Other Way
- Sometimes when we notice wrongdoing, and we aren't directly involved, we don't report it, and we don't
intervene. We look the other way. Typically, we do this to avoid the risks of making a report. But looking
the other way is also risky. What are the risks of looking the other way?
- The Attributes of Political Opportunity: The Basics
- Opportunities come along even in tough times. But in tough times, it's especially important to distinguish
between true opportunities and high-risk adventures. Here are some of the attributes of desirable political
- Telephonic Deceptions: I
- People have been deceiving each other at work since the invention of work. Nowadays, with telephones
ever-present, telephonic deceptions are becoming more creative. Here's Part I of a handy guide for telephonic
- Counterproductive Knowledge Workplace Behavior: II
- In knowledge-oriented workplaces, counterproductive work behavior takes on forms that can be rare or
unseen in other workplaces. Here's Part II of a growing catalog.
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming October 17: Overt Belligerence in Meetings
- Some meetings lose their way in vain attempts to mollify a belligerent participant who simply will not be mollified. Here's one scenario that fits this pattern. Available here and by RSS on October 17.
- And on October 24: Conversation Irritants: I
- Conversations at work can be frustrating even when everyone tries to be polite, clear, and unambiguous. But some people actually try to be nasty, unclear, and ambiguous. Here's Part I of a small collection of their techniques. Available here and by RSS on October 24.
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- The Power Affect: How We Express Our Personal Power
- Many people who possess real organizational power have a characteristic demeanor. It's the way they project their presence. I call this the power affect. Some people — call them power pretenders — adopt the power affect well before they attain significant organizational power. Unfortunately for their colleagues, and for their organizations, power pretenders can attain organizational power out of proportion to their merit or abilities. Understanding the power affect is therefore important for anyone who aims to attain power, or anyone who works with power pretenders. Read more about this program.