Category Archives: Impressions

“Like me on Facebook”..

Join my network on Linkedin, follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat……

Social media has become the new personal ad agency for millions. They no longer use social media to stay in touch with distant or lost friends, but now it has become an exercise in absolute hype, with certain people adding everyone they meet, and everywhere they go, and everything they hear about to make themselves appear more ‘hip’ and popular.

We hear more and more about “ Click Agencies” where you pay a fee to have incremental ‘clicks’ or ‘likes’ in order to appear more popular or even more fabulous, and some are paying even more to be selected to go to the top of Google Searches through Google Analytics.

For some individuals, life has become nothing more than an endless stream of shallowness, photos taken trying on fabulous clothes, shoes or handbags in high end shops that are never purchased, which is grotesquely cruel to the shop clerk working on commission, and spending their time on someone who has neither the money nor intention to actually purchase the goods, but simply wasting their time trying to look fabulous for the 15 seconds required to take a selfie and post it on social media.

Photos of cocktails in posh clubs, dinner plates in fabulous restaurants, in doorways of private clubs…all to enhance one’s perceived fabulousness….all fake, all shallow, all over in 15 seconds, but with a photo which lives on forever….

So, are they really trying to impress us or themselves? Certainly, I have asked numerous people about some of their so-called ‘friends’, and have been repeatedly told that they have no idea who the individual is, however as they were asked to be ‘friends’ they added them to increase their public footprint and media presence…….seriously???!!??

I receive an endless stream of invitations to add people on Linkedin due to my International network, when I invariably email those I know personally to advise that I do not participate, it is fascinating to see how few actually reach out to say hello. Most never reply. So it is painfully obvious that they were fishing for my contacts and were caught……..one or two inadvertently admitted it………

There is a dark side to this behaviour, these people have shown their true colours, and I know truly they are, and they will be avoided.

The latest buzzwords are ‘Transparency” and “ Authenticity” ….but the reality is that the large majority of people blasting these concepts around are anything but.

Like most things in life, there has to be a balance, if one is a student of human behaviour, which clearly I am, I tend to monitor trends, behaviour, speech patterns, body language, and actions over words. Invariably people get found out. …

“Thou doest protest too much…..” if someone has to post endlessly about their “ Authenticity” , fabulousness, or brag about their sheer volume of followers, there is something fundamentally wrong…..

Life is to be lived, with real live humans, for more than 15 second installments, and ideally in private….

The Collapse of Newsprint

Over the last several months we have read repeatedly about the impending collapse of newsprint, however, other than blaming the explosion of digital media, no one has taken a step back to look at the bigger picture.

From my perspective, I see a much larger and more frightening issue, and that is the utter failure of our educators to instill the interest or ability to read.

Students arrive in classrooms with mobile phones, laptops, and iPads, and are constantly distracted by the never ending streams of nothingness on their phones. There appears to be no attempt to silence the noise, to insist that phones not only be turned off, but placed where they cannot be seen during class.

In the past, students were taught history, literature, English composition and current events. Reading newspapers was actually part of the curriculum, as well as the ability to communicate with others. Everyone of a certain age and education remembers the horrors of being obliged to stand in front of the class and make a presentation. From early days in school, no matter how shy or insecure the student, everyone was forced to stand in front of the class and speak.

If later on one read Law, then Moot Court ensured that everyone was able to defend themselves verbally, and the weakest did not survive.

Today one wonders if any social skills are taught either in homes or educational facilities, and more importantly, the ability to write or interest to read. If no one teaches current affaires as an adjunct to history, being that it is history in the making, how are the youth to be even remotely interested in reading a newspaper or magazine??

If life is lived in nanoseconds through Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook, surely there is more to life than seeing some pretend celebrity taking selfie’s in a posh Hotel lobby or trying on expensive shoes in a high end shop……life experienced in microseconds and then it is over……..
It is neither real nor news, nor even remotely important, yet the ability to quote the fabulously ‘famous’ seems to imply their own ‘fabulousness’.
Even more frightening, is the ability to purchase ‘followers’ to make oneself appear more important or popular, which sends a frightening example to an impressionable youth.

But to know what is actually happening in the real world is of little interest unless there are multiple deaths and breath taking explosions, at which point their so called ‘friends’ are reposting the images, in which case they instantly jump on the band wagon and post something, anything, to feel they are part of the crowd, and their word is heard. Image is everything, as well as being perceived as cool, hip and aware. Otherwise, real world news is of little interest or consequence in their sad little lives.

When life is lived through the eyes of others, and the perceived acceptance of others, whether or not they actually know who you are, it is a very sad existence.

Actually looking someone in the eyes and having a REAL conversation, where both parties are allowed the freedom to speak and express themselves is less frequent than walking around the streets watching a 3 inch screen.

So until people learn to read, write and actually communicate with others, and more importantly, actually LISTEN to what they say, the written word will quietly disappear, except for those few who actually choose to educate themselves both from an educational and personal improvement point of view.

Do You Know Who I AM ???

The World has changed.

I grew up in a world where the vocabulary was, ‘yes please’, ‘no thank you’, ‘how do you do’, ‘no thank you’, ‘pardon me’.

Today, on this continent, it appears that manners are a sign of weakness.

Since when does society reward the loud, vulgar and obnoxious at the expense of others? It appears that if they are loud and holler out, ‘do you know who I am’?!!!

With the correct swagger and aggression, they are rewarded with the great table in a restaurant, a free cocktail, and lavished with attention from all the servers, while the quiet, polite, unassuming individual is given the dreadful table in Siberia, and is lucky to be served.

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, never ending selfies often with a ‘fish pout’, vulgar clothing, even more vulgar comportment, and a level of exposure that leaves little to the imagination, and is neither sexy nor elegant. The importance of having one’s face plastered all over the digital world has become de-riguer, and the more followers, or ‘friends’ the better. Now to make things even worse, we have people posting ‘live’ feeds of themselves doing everything from going to the hairdresser to humiliating themselves chasing someone they perceive as important to have themselves in a photo frame with them. SOO embarrassing…….

The Grand Prix was just held in Montreal, and some of the outfits at the events were extraordinary. Frankly, I do not know why some of the women even bothered putting clothes on, they left so little to the imagination……..

Today, behaving like a Lady or a Gentleman with manners can feel socially detrimental. Certain individuals, clearly dragged and not brought up, can actually be rude towards someone who is polite to them. Gone are the days when someone actually says ‘Thank You’ for holding a door.

How many cocktail parties have you gone to where you are speaking with someone and they are looking over your shoulder to see if someone more famous enters the room?

One dreadful woman who is 50, unmarried, with a blackmail child, and desperately seeking a RICH husband to pay her bills actually asks people, OUT LOUD, ‘Who are you?? Are you important?!!! “

Yes, you read it.

Yes, I wrote it.

Yes, she SAYS it.

Even worse, yes, she MEANS it.

In a local restaurant she frequents, she had ignored a friend of mine for years, whenever a friend of hers would speak with him, she would make it clear she did not find him important enough to even look at.

One day, she saw a massive ring on one hand, the piece is  a large vintage ring surrounded by many diamonds, and a spectacular bracelet on his wrist . Her head literally SNAPPED, and she turned around and  headed back to his table and actually, in a public restaurant, asked him out loud if he was rich!!!

Well, as his friend for over 25 years, I can attest to the fact that he is a multimillionaire, but he is also gay and in a long term relationship. He also has an absolutely wicked sense of humour.

He had heard rumours about her, but presumed that it was pure cattiness until he experienced it personally. He quietly told her that he was not rich enough to satisfy her needs, and off she went.

As you can imagine, when I visited him a week later, he was still reeling from the experience, and had me doubled over, laughing so hard I was practically in tears as he recounted the story with much drama inserted!!

Seriously, you can’t make this up!!  It is another case of life being more absurd than fiction!!

But, I digress.

The mere idea that someone could actually say out loud, ‘Do you know who I AM!??”

Or , ‘Are you rich??!!”,   “Are you important??!!” denotes such an extreme lack of class that it boggles the mind.

The real question is, who are they actually trying to convince???

More telephone madness…..

It never abates, just gets worse.  Clearly our company falls into this category, but it is intentional. After having a published phone number and address for ever, and having to tolerate incredibly rude people actually turning up at the door, and in some cases being threatening, others trying to sell a myriad of unwanted products, and far too many looking for jobs, and having been told by ‘Outplacement Firms’ that turning up at someone’s door unannounced is wise, it has been a choice, and in our case, as our Company has operated ‘Word of Mouth’ from the outset, yes, we are difficult to find.

I have been screamed at by SO many rude sales people calling and insisting on speaking with the President, and calling me every possible name imaginable, when I have politely inquired ,
‘how may I help you’ ??
What they ALL missed, was that they WERE speaking with the President, and were RUDE, RUDE, RUDE.
This is not the case of the corporations where I tried to reach people over the last few weeks. They were ALL FORTUNE 500 companies, listed on the stock exchange, and with thousands of employees.
The latest in the list of corporate insanity, is saving money by eliminating a central phone number and receptionist.
Google their head office phone number, and find a 1-800  customer service number, and a customer service email address, along with a diatribe about their ‘preference’ for email.
Are they for real?!!
When I advised a Vice President of one of these companies about it, he emailed me back and announced that he was also unable to find one and would look into it.
Several weeks later, still no published phone number, in 2 cities.
These companies are ostensibly running businesses for profit,
They have shareholders.
They have customers.
They have employees.
They require NEW customers.
Unless I am seriously missing something, if you can’t EVER reach a human being, why on earth would you ever want to do business with them?  And the bigger question , which is actually the point of this BLOG, is just exactly WHAT HAPPENS IN CASE OF EMERGENCY?
Are you supposed to email an anonymous address may only be read by or answered by someone thousands of miles away in an offshore call center??  It could take days or weeks before someone actually responds, and they are clearly not in any position to do anything.
SO, if someone is walking on the street and sees something happening, there is absolutely NO WAY to contact the company about it, other than to run into the lobby and grab a security guard who probably couldn’t care less.
If there is a crisis at someone’s home, and a neighbour tries to call someone at work to notify them, it is impossible.
Clearly in the rush to automate and save money, the concept that humans actually make up a company has been missed.
My favourites include companies with a central phone number with an automated voice telling you to leave your message in general delivery. Attempts to reach an operator result in the call being
terminated.
The other stroke of genius is when one calls a company only to be rudely interrogated by some snippy receptionist who insists on knowing the reason for your call, and why you do not have the person’s personal mobile number. If she is unsatisfied with your response, she will hang up on you.
I asked one incredibly rude woman if she was actually paid to insult people before hanging up on her. She was seriously incredulous she was so rude.
This is a common complaint from people I know in numerous industries.
Is anyone listening??
Does anyone care??

On Being Angry

Everyone is allowed a momentary fit of anger, in fact it is healthy, hopefully for a good reason, and over quickly, to be handled with a sense of humour, and the ability to make fun of oneself, as well as the ability to apologize to anyone in the cross hairs.

Unfortunately some people are perpetually angry, at themselves, at those around them, and at the world at large for some perceived injustice, however big or small. The anger can start small, over something inconsequential, but over time it has a quiet boil in the background until, for some magical reason the individual erupts, and watch out!!
We see it more and more today, life is hard, and it is a very aggressive world out there.
People pushing and shoving on sidewalks to occupy ‘their’ space, on buses, pushing and shoving their way down the aisle, with no consideration whatsoever to those in their way, people angry because they perceive someone didn’t look at them with respect, whatever that is supposed to be, people fighting over clothing or appliances at sales, or even worse, lipstick.
We see YOUTUBE videos of fights in shops escalating to violence over nothing but a glance, fights over merchandise, fights over parking spots.
Youths walking down a street randomly beating someone to death over an iPhone, or just because they decided they do not like the look of them.

Some blame it on the violence we see on TV, personally I do not see any co-relation whatsoever. As a Tomboy, my preferences have always been guns (toy), fast cars, fast airplanes, helicopters, martial arts and films with gratuitous violence and lots of spectacular explosions. My absolute favourites are usually some ex-military who are now CIA or MI5 with great plots. Does that mean I am violent?? Hardly. It is pure escapism, the adrenaline rush, the great plot to decipher, great action, great acting, and special effects.
Some of the people I have met who eschew violence and are holier than thou, are the most dishonest and unpleasant around.

For me, there is nothing like a fabulous explosion on TV which lifts me out of my seat!!

Anger shows its ugly face more and more, people use the excuse of religion, job stress, illness, financial difficulties, and have no problem sharing their anger.But why does it become the problem of those around you?? If you are having a bad day, why take it out on some unsuspecting stranger?? We all have our own problems, sometimes much more profound, but have been brought up to keep it to ourselves.

I am often horrified to hear of incidents in shops over sale merchandise. There is always another TV, another lipstick, another day. Why humiliate yourself over a thing??
Shopkeepers deal with excessive theft these days, incredibly rude condescending clients, but now they are dealing with anger, rearing its ugly face and turning into violence. Fist fights over a new lipstick colour?? Seriously?? And this from so called ‘Society Women”” how totally embarrassing.

A client I visited recently gave me a tour of their executive offices which are quite beautiful. He is in charge of all their on-line marketing, and his department is growing exponentially. He now has his own area with the newest technology, as well as his own photography studios. We had a lovely time, and he enjoyed my knowledge of the issues at hand.
At one point he mentioned they offer discounts of 50% to their employees, and offered me the opportunity to make a purchase, which I politely declined, he was surprised. I explained. He smiled, then giggled, and told me that once a year they have a VIP, by invitation only, sale day, where merchandise is offered at 75% off. I declined to be included in that as well, again with an explanation. He was surprisingly pleased with my refusal, so I inquired as to why. It appeared to be a strange response. His answer was that he respected the fact I wasn’t interested in doing business with him for discounts, and that unfortunately mob scenes and fights erupt regularly at these events, and my lack of interest said a lot about me. He respects me more.
We both had a good laugh, but wait……..how sick is that?? People are invited to a VIP, one day sale and behave like savages over discounted merchandise?!??

I mentioned that I prefer shopping early in the day when the shops are empty, and paying the price rather than reducing myself to some depraved lunatic who can only think of the ‘DEAL”.
No thanks. There is nothing I need that badly, and the day I do, is the day I cease shopping……

We shook hands, and he is referring me to another executive within the Company. I thanked him for a wonderful visit. He thanked me for being refreshing.

People need to consider others and not only themselves. The sale, the parking spot, the glance, the mis-placed anger and violence are disgraceful.
The consequences can be deadly.

Frightening.

Very Busy Important Man

Well, I am thrilled that I never promised no to write on this subject again, because the stories from friends, acquaintances and my own personal experiences make it difficult to hold my pen back, sometimes it simply can’t help itself, and here it is again, 1:30 in the morning on January 4, 2016, and my pen is racing across a sheet of paper with a mind of its own!!

In my business and personal life, I meet and have met an extraordinary cross section of people, judges, lawyers, doctors, people with titles, politicians, business executives, entrepreneurs, artists, and just about everything in between.
Most of the people I work with are highly educated, highly intelligent, and well travelled. Some have extraordinary life stories to share. So why is it, we all keep running into self important losers, or better, posers, who are loud, vulgar, self promoting and constantly reminding us that they are ‘very busy important people’ ???!!!

Last month someone finally called me back after my having left 3 messages over the course of the month. After 3 messages I usually deem the person rude and do not bother to call them again. He apologized, but then ruined the moment by telling me he is a ‘busy man’

STRIKE 1.

He then took the time to speak with me, and promised me a resume within a week. That was 2 weeks ago. Still haven’t heard a word from him.

STRIKE 2.

Once again, the salary he is currently earning is $80,000 below the position for which I am seeking someone. This is a role over $200,000, and highly visible. It is a life changer for the right person.
Guess what?? We are done. I am no longer interested in him. Clearly his career is not his primary concern, so he is no longer mine.

STRIKE 3.
There is an ART Gallery owner I have known for years who appears to think she has reached the pinnacle, and no longer has to return phone calls.
After leaving 5 messages on her mobile phone, 3 emails, and a visit to the Gallery for a vernissage, at which she was to have attended, and did not, yup, her OWN gallery, she never showed up for an opening……..full of guests and the artist……..yikes!!

I am still waiting for her to return my call, well, not really. The irony, is that I was bringing her a new fabulous artist to review for her gallery. He is well known, and has sold to a great many prominent Quebecers, and would be a major catch for her gallery. He is also super connected.
But she is TOO BUSY. Too important.
She never even looked at the portfolio.

Incroyable!!!

Over the holidays this same person posted on FACEBOOK that she had been really busy and that people should not expect her to return their calls, yet she posted endless photos of herself out partying.
Really?!!

How can anyone run a successful business and PUBLICLY announce that they are too busy to return anyone’s phone calls??!!
If there was a serious illness in the family it would be understandable, and an apology with an explanation would have been the correct thing to do, but there was no illness, just an arrogant woman out partying, and posting pictures of herself doing so.

So, if someone was ringing up to make a huge purchase?? Too bad, so sad. She was too busy to call them back??

Utter insanity.

You simply can’t make this up. It is the absolute height of bad manners.
How is it the busiest, most successful people answer their OWN phones, get things done, and the low level totally insignificant ones need this rhetoric??

This morning, January 4, 2016, I received an email from a CIO referring me to someone in his firm, a call from a friend who is a Judge wanting to wish me a Happy New Year in person, and a Senior Sales Executive, all 15 minutes apart.
They are all seriously busy. All of them took the time.

All of them really are ‘busy important people’ but with manners. What an old fashioned and oft forgotten concept, but certainly appreciated.

I shared the anecdote about the Gallery owner with the Senior Sales Executive, we have known each other for an incredibly long time, I thought he was going to cry he was laughing so hard in utter disbelief. He thanked me for the laugh, and said he hadn’t heard something so incredibly ludicrous for a while. Nothing like good old fashioned laughter to start the day!!!

So, a big THANK YOU to all of those who provide me with the inspiration for these BLOGS. You are obviously too arrogant to be aware, but you certainly keep us all entertained.

And to the rest of the readers out there, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

The True Cost of Social Climbing in Montreal

As someone who has travelled the world and has friends from every possible walk of life, I am absolutely fascinated by some of the questions people ask of me.

A week or so ago, I was chatting with someone who owns a very high end fashion shop, his merchandise starts at around $1000 per item, and goes to well in excess of $100,000. We have known each other for over 20 years (yes, we met when we were VERY young!!) and have shared some terribly entertaining conversations over the years. His clientele are primarily aspiring socialites who want to be seen in the ‘right’ clothes, and yes, I am trying hard to be politically correct, but at times it is extremely difficult. Although he is wealthy, he is looked down upon as a shopkeeper, hence the conversation and the segue, from social climbing, real estate and eventually death, not much was missed.
Interestingly I had a similar conversation with a lovely Barrister in London a few months earlier, who is currently residing in London England and was having a difficult time meeting people. I gave her some tips as she requested, she had  been astonished by the breadth of my contacts and Social Life in London over the years, considering I live in Montreal!!   When we last conversed, she had been following my advice and was beginning to enjoy a social  life in London.
For the last few years I have been admittedly absent from the social scene, and enjoying being relatively invisible, which has definite advantages. The never ending solicitations to purchase tickets to someone’s pet charity of the week have subsided, the requests for fundraising, and the never ending calls just simply asking for money or time have all but evaporated, and the calm is wonderful.
The last event I worked on was hugely successful, however an incredible amount of time and money was poured into its success. It was done willingly, there was no coercion, but being thanked properly would have been a nice touch, and it never came., It was the proverbial straw that broke this camel’s back.
So you must be wondering where this is leading…
My wealthy shopkeeper friend asked me what steps he must take to become ‘socially connected’ and as we are good friends, he asked me what the associated costs could be. He was genuine in this, although he knows all the ‘right people’ due to his line of business, he actually does not get to socialize with them, and was curious as to what one actually does to be seriously ‘out there’.
I described an extremely aggressively social climbing businesswoman I know who has been fired in each job she has ever held, yet goes from strength to strength. Yes, you have read about her before, and the answer is that she uses the same ‘head hunter’ who is pleased to reap a huge fee every 1 1/2 to 2 years moving her from client to client. Ethical?? Not for a second, but with fees of well over $50,000 each time, this firm’s so called ‘ethics’ can be bought, and you now know the price!!!
She has a PR firm on retainer and every employer gets to pay the bills for the PR firm and for her very public social life. For every party she attends, her name and face hit the newspapers so the public are wowed by her apparent success and image. She is but one following this practice, there are many. It is not uncommon at all.
PR firms develop an image and promote the public face of many executives and politicians.
SO, to answer your question, the ‘right’ house downtown or in Westmount, absolutely lowest possible entry price is $1.5 million, for the condo or home, but $5 million is seriously more acceptable. The ‘right’ car, a large Range Rover, BMW or Mercedes SUV in the driveway, spending over a certain amount every year at 3-4 high end stores in the city so that invitations to private events are forthcoming, and the requisite mention in the social pages.
The ‘right’ clothes at the ‘right’ balls, tickets starting at $1000 per person and rising exponentially from there. Ideally a great table starts at $25,000 so that one is close to the ‘head table’ again, depending on the event, that number can easily rise to $100,000. Yup. You did read that number correctly.
Then there are the clothes for the event, figure minimum $5000 for a gown, but $10,000 for a more important designer, something from a house in Paris will start at $50,000. Hair, makeup, nails, shoes, jewellery, purse, wrap, and of course, his tuxedo, nothing under $2500 will do. Estimate, over $10,000 for each event, and,, Heaven forbid!! One couldn’t possibly be seen in the same gown at two consecutive events!!
As with everything there are pathetic cheats, and inevitably society learns about them and whispers nasty words behind their skinny backs. One ever aspiring socialite has a reputation for purchasing gowns for $10,000, bringing them to her dressmaker to copy, stealing a label and leaving the price tag firmly attached, then returning them within 48 hours. She has been rumoured to take gowns from consignment stores home to ‘show her husband’, then wearing them to an event and bringing them back the next day.  Her arrogance however had her caught, as she was photographed on a couple of occasions in these gowns, and now the shop owners will not allow her to remove anything from the stores unless it is paid in full and not returnable.
This woman is now in her 60’s and has been scratching and clawing her way up the social ladder for years. She is still in the same place as ever, with the same handful of friends, it has been a costly exercise to stay in the same place because she is not a nice person. Her husband, who is equally unpleasant just pays the price to keep her quiet. He is always striving to sell SOMETHING to someone at these events, so over the years everyone who is anyone absolutely runs from them.
The ‘Season’ generally commences mid September and goes to the end of December, then restarts in March through to June. During this time it is expected that one is seen at a minimum   of 5 important events per month, and during the ‘down time’ one is to be seen vacationing in a hot climate, and skiing in Europe. It is socially acceptable to fly economy, but one MUST either stay with friends or in a posh, known hotel, and to be seen out at fine restaurants with glamorous friends which can easily cost upwards of $1000 per evening, as one must order a decent bottle of wine or two.
When summer finally arrives, one’s Country home is opened for never ending ‘casual entertaining’ and enough bedrooms and bathrooms to accommodate the never ending stream of guests, many of which will be required to stay overnight due to their level of inebriation, (which is a fabulous excuse for a night out and no costs involved ) and unfortunately there are far too many of those  famed for this  behaviour.
So you ask, what is the cost of all this? It can run easily into $100,000 per year and climb exponentially. If one participates in the  annual Grand Prix madness, a weekend can easily run to over $50,000 to acquire the best tickets and invitation to the many events with the drivers and their entourages. Hopefully one owns a company with deep pockets which can pick up these insane costs, otherwise you had better be earning serious money, but with all this, regardless of attending the ‘right’ Museum ball, supporting the ‘right’ charities, wearing the ‘right clothes’, if certain socialites do not like you, GOOD LUCK, as their social cattiness will destroy any whiff of success……..
Many of these social denizens actually come from actually nothing, but they have clawed and scratched their way up the social ladder, re-inventing themselves with every new and improved marriage to the next more successful and wealthy  husband. Stealing someone’s husband is unfortunate but often necessary. They are ever so quick to deny their backgrounds, as their surgically enhanced noses tilt higher and higher towards the sky.
Is this only Montreal? Absolutely NOT. It is the same in every international city worldwide, the only difference being a different set of rules and costs. Some of the house costs can be mind numbing, the event costs even more so, and depending on your manners and behaviour, acceptance becomes more and more difficult.
With homes in Holland Park, London now reaching the $100 Million range, yes, indeed, one must be a Billionaire today to get in to that particular social stratosphere. The ‘Right’ Country Seat, minimum 20 rooms if it is the ‘Right’ address, but at least 50 is de rigeur, with lots of surrounding park land for privacy, and another residence somewhere warm, with a Private Jet and Helicopter to get you to your destination at a moment’s notice.
Can one have an exciting social life in London without that level of wealth?? Absolutely, but one had better speak a minimum of 2 languages, 4 is more acceptable, have travelled extensively, know about art, economics, and have an absolutely wonderful sense of humour, so that your personality is your introduction instead of your wallet.
Ten years ago, at a very exclusive Gallery Opening, I was introduced to a Gentleman who looked like he had just escaped from an 18th Century Painting. He wore a white frilly shirt, a black leather Frock Coat, Breeches, and fabulous over the knee boots, long blond curly hair and bottle green eyes completed the package, with the most absolutely stained hands I have ever seen. An oxymoron……..but a twinkle in his eye and a huge smile on his face. He was surrounded!! He was funny!! His position in life?? He owned a leather company, but nothing you would expect. He made all his own clothing which was spectacular, but he was actually under non-disclosure as he was working for a Saudi Prince, and was doing leather work on his private boat, and we are speaking of something in excess of 300 feet of private boat. Furniture, walls, floors, you name it.  A massive contract in the millions of pounds, and here he was, the life of the party. He looked like a pirate, but was anything but. He was to do the Private Plane of the Prince once the boat was completed.
So, he was meeting some of the wealthiest people in the world and travelling to exotic locales with his team, so they could complete their work. Should the Prince decide they were off to a new port, he and his staff were abord to continue the work, so provisions were constantly being loaded to ensure they had what they needed.
So why Death?? …..Seems like a strange inclusion in a BLOG about Social Climbing. The conclusion is simple, no matter who you know, how rich you are, how popular  you are, what parties you attended, it all boils down to a very humbling ending. You will be all alone in that wood box for eternity. I have been to a frightening number of funerals, and seen behaviour which is horrifying.
At the end of the day the only things that really matter were the acts of kindness people remember, generosity to those who have a better life due to your kindness, and it need not be monetary, those whose life you may have changed by your assistance or the time you spent with them.
Non of the rest really matters, it is superficial, it is fake.
Please leave your affairs in order so that we do not hear about the absolutely disgustingly greedy behaviour of your heirs at your funeral. It will be the only thing anyone will remember.

Being a USER

Friendship and all relationships are about balance, there are periods in time when the pendulum swings towards one or the other, as life plays nasty games on us all, we go through periods when life is wonderful, and others when life is truly awful, and how we deal with the bad times is what defines us.

Some people are incredible at making others feel like they are owed everything, others of us quietly slink into a quiet corner to lick our wounds and reappear when life improves. We take care of ourselves, and do not make our particular problems those of everyone around us.

We have all met them, they are charming, they make you feel like part of an exclusive group, welcome. It starts with a small favour, and over time the request for favours escalates until the relationship is totally one sided. If you don’t deliver on the latest request, they throw a temper tantrum which is embarrassing and extremely public, and if the request is not granted after an explanation is requested, you are eliminated from their fabulous lives. Fabulous through your generosity!!

The world has become a cruel place. With social media we are bombarded with pictures of the ‘in crowd’ and their fabulously lavish lifestyles. We see endless pictures of their homes, vacation homes, vacations, cars, jewellery, clothes, and private planes, the ridiculous numbers of Facebook ‘friends’ , Twitter followers, Instagram and whatever else is the social media of the moment. I know several individuals who have thousands of Facebook ‘friends’ but they do not even know 10 % of the people. They portray this incredibly cool image of success and more importantly fun and popularity, so others flock to be in their presence, and there it all begins, little favours asked with a sweet sideways glance and a slight touch, which subsequently escalates to utter insanity. At what point does one become tired of the endless requests for SOMETHING, and there is ALWAYS a request for something. Be it names and contact information for an event, the person who is pleading for this information now has YOUR contact list, and over time the provider of this information becomes irrelevant, as the ‘user’ moves on to fresh prey with a new address book.
I know of several people who have been absolutely drained of their contact lists and subsequently dumped when there is nothing left to gain.
From Political fundraisers, Charity fundraisers, artists hosting events, someone is always demanding more. Nothing is ever enough, ever.

Friendship has to be balanced, as do all relationships. There HAS to be something to be gained for all parties. One person can not always be making requests and expect them to be granted. Some of these USERS are extraordinarily adept at networking and portraying a public face of kindness and generosity, which the givers never quite seem to receive as the USER works their way through the never ending source of the generosity and kindness of others. But wait!! Over time they become less relevant and less in demand. There is always someone new and more exciting standing in the shadows waiting to appear on the horizon, and slowly the USER is left behind. The unfortunate giver is relinquished and left in the shadows……….

Lying in the Electronic Age

Lies, Lies, Lies
There have always been a variety of types of lies, some cone from a kind and gentle  place, others are motivated by deception, greed, or from psychopaths who simply can’t tell the difference! No morality whatsoever from the liar makes it difficult for the rest of us to differentiate.
Some lies can be for self-aggrandisement, and we all know these people. Bragging endlessly about their fabulous lives and name dropping to enhance their image or perceived self importance.
The down side is that there is no consideration of the potential consequences.
The motivation can be simple or extraordinarily convoluted.
There are kind ‘white lies’ which are meant to spare the feelings of the recipient. If someone asks how something looks, telling them they look cheap, hideous, or fat will not do much to enhance the relationship. Likewise the age old ‘do I look fat in this” well, you just KNOW that you don’t want to tell the truth. It would be unkind and could result in disaster unless the person asking is secure and mature enough to handle the answer. Usually not.
There are lies of omission, to cover up incompetence, lies of one’s whereabouts, lies about one’s wealth, or lack thereof, lies regarding friends, trips, jobs, hobbies, finances, some are insignificant, and  sometimes the response can also be justified if the person asking the questions is inappropriate and rude.
In the electronic age it is even easier than ever to lie, as usually there are no witnesses to see the red flushed face, the downwards glance, the averted eyes, the twitch, the head touch, or whatever the tell. An inanimate screen can’t tell the truth from the lies.
Resumes are enhanced well beyond reality, education, titles and experience manufactured which bear no similarity to reality.
Some lies are exceptionally cruel, spreading false rumours can ruin reputations and careers, often out of sheer jealousy.
Then there is deception or misrepresentation which causes people to believe something which is not true.
Betrayal is another vicious lie. Throwing someone ‘under the bus’ to protect oneself is disgusting, and frightfully dishonest.
Plagiarism or copying someone’s works, be it music, literature, term papers, inventions and calling it one’s own.
Compulsive liars can emerge from a variety of sources. Some have extremely low self esteem and are seeking attention, others have been lying so long they no longer can tell the difference.
There are broken promises, which are a failure to honour a promise or commitment, where there was never any intention to do so. The most common of those being someone saying ‘lets get together for lunch’, or ‘I’ll call you next week’, or,  “ I”m on the phone, I’ll call you right back”, ‘please lend me the money, I will return it tomorrow’…….why say it if you have no intention of delivering?? These are hurtful lies, which other than making the person saying them feel better about themselves, actually hurt the recipient as they create a false expectation.
Fabrication is the lie of claiming a knowledge about something of which you know absolutely nothing.
Bold-faced lies are evil, everyone knows they are absolute lies and they insult the intelligence of the recipient.
There is an old expression, ‘on the internet no one knows you are a dog pretending to be a dog’ , and unfortunately on the internet, it is truer than ever, and really not as funny as it was.
Some businesses have extraordinary web presences, splashy web-sites proclaiming fabulous offices and business competencies. One individual starts a new company every January which he bankrupts every December. This has been going on for 30 years. He re-opens with a slightly different name, with virtually the same logo, but the differences are indiscernible unless you are seriously paying attention. Being an information junkie, we have his ads going back over 30 years, printed, so that it is possible to put them side by side and see the subtle changes.
He proclaims international experience, lavish offices and a vast partnership of senior executives. The truth is, he is living with his mother in law just over the border of Ontario with NO office, having escaped Quebec due to the vast number of bailiffs chasing after him.
His web site is gorgeous, it is meticulously detailed outlining his huge business acumen, however, the truth is far from what the web site portrays.
Just because a company has a fabulous web presence, does not ensure that there is anything behind it. We see many companies with extravagant web sites making claims of successes, but in fact they have $50 per month identity plans in shared offices. The addresses may be impressive, but the reality is not.
Unfortunately, like many things, it is ‘buyer beware’. Just reading the label is not enough.
Then, of course, is my favourite,  LINKEDIN. To say that people lie on that site is the understatement of the year.
We found one small local company where 6 of the 10 employees have the IDENTICAL resume, the most shocking fact is that the President also shares the same one!!! The other employees comprise a secretary, bookkeeper and sales staff.     So, if the President is complicit in this fraudulent practice, how on earth can you trust anything that anyone in this company does or says??
They claim to be Microsoft, Citrix experts……..but I would be terrified of using them.
Another small R & D company with 14 employees shows 10 with identical resumes, all claiming to be SCRUM MASTERS. Again, 10 with the IDENTICAL resume.How is that possible??
We see fabricated education, titles which were never held, jobs where the candidate was fired disappearing completely from resumes, one fellow went so far as to speak of his incredible successes in a job he had held for a mere 3 days!!  He single handedly put together a team of Enterprise Architects and delivered sensational results………..in 3 days??
There seems to be an expectation that these ‘enhancements’ be tolerated, however when someone looks you in the eye and insists that the details are true, without flinching, it is absolutely terrifying to think what else they could lie about. Lying  for some has become an art form.
A couple of years ago I re-interviewed a gentleman who I had previously interviewed on 2 separate occasions. He miraculously had a shiny new MBA on his resume, and the dates and titles did not line up. Titles and dates had morphed, likewise successes.  He lied to my face repeatedly, and was confronted repeatedly. He insisted. I persisted. Finally I took out the 2 previous resumes and showed them to him. The interview ended abruptly.
Personally, having to keep track of lies is way too much work!! I am much too lazy for that!!
We estimate that 60%, yes, indeed, 60% of the resumes posted on LINKEDIN are fraudulent. Unfortunately most of the people doing the first interview do not have the experience or maturity to catch these lies.
As we only work through word of mouth, we have references on the individuals we meet before we meet them, and we do additional personal references afterwards, sometimes as many as 5 if there is any doubt at all.
Dating sites, well I have heard so many horror stories and misrepresentations about these sites it is incredible. One woman actually posted someone else’s photograph. Two men who both know each other were at a party and people were talking about their dating stories. They both met the same woman at different times, only to discover the tall slim blonde was a shorter brunette. She claimed to be a University Professor, and her excuse was that she didn’t want her students to see her photo on the site. This is complete and utter fraud.
So, each of these men took time to go downtown to meet her, paid for gas, parking, cocktails, lost the time,  to meet someone who was not even remotely what they expected.
Co-incidenttally, both men were at the same dinner party discussing their dating disasters, and her name and profile came up. So, everyone at the party heard about this woman’s lies, and learnt her name. Incredibly embarrassing, but very entertaining for the rest of us.
We hear of men posting photographs of themselves from 20 years earlier, women claiming to own huge successful businesses who are seeking a man to pay their rent, it is endless.
The other big lie is Real Estate agents. There are some who spend tens of thousands of dollars advertising themselves in every print form imaginable. Every newspaper, web site, magazine shows their mugs smiling their fake smiles, proclaiming their successes. The give-away is that they hop from agency to agency as they do not actually sell anything, and end up scrapping with the other agents.
One local woman is so unpleasant no will buy from her, but she has become a listing agent due to her endless advertising. She snaps up listings from unsuspecting people who see her face everywhere thinking that she must be incredible. She is. Rude, vulgar and dishonest.
Unfortunately there are many of them out there, it is absolutely mandatory to do research BEFORE signing the listing agreement, otherwise you might find yourself with a house on the market for over a year with no visits whatsoever. The longer it is on the market, the more questionable it is to potential buyers. The market jargon is that the house listing is ‘burned’.
The online presence of many of these agents suggests something far different than the truth. Once again, you can’t believe everything you read.
It is not hard to find a PR company who will enhance your web presence and your web appeal.
Increasingly, many executives, musicians, movie people and others pay a fortune to have an exquisite web presence. For someone in the industry, we know that they embed keywords so that the names of these individuals always turn up in searches.
Their smiling faces and supposed successes are repeated over and over, the poor unsuspecting reader thinking that because it is on line it must be the truth. Unfortunately  it usually is not.
The sad irony is that many highly successful companies and individuals who are highly discreet are overlooked as they refuse to participate in the hype.
Lastly, FACEBOOK. How many people do we all know who have hundreds of FACEBOOK friends but no real friends?? Once again, they have manufactured an image of themselves which is fictitious  but extraordinarily appealing.
One local woman has literally hundreds of friends on Facebook. I actually confronted her one day about it, and inquired where she had met a couple of people she claims are her friends. It did not make any sense to me that they knew one another.   They DON”T.     Whenever she hears a name of someone she thinks is socially important, she immediately sends them a request to be friends, and many people simply accept.  They have never met, probably never will, and would walk by each other on the street.
Apparently this is commonplace, however I find it extremely sad.
Just think how pathetic this appears to the people who are really friends with these individuals, when they inquire where they met so and so, and are told that they don’t know each other. Oops.!!!
So, be careful out there. You could be talking to a dog pretending to be a dog, or worst, you could hire one!!!

Millennials and The Job Market

We hear endlessly how the baby boomers are holding on to their jobs longer and longer and depriving the Millennials from employment opportunities.
This, of course, is utter nonsense. The baby boomers have a business knowledge which no 30 old can even comprehend.

You only have to go to any mall and see the infinite number of ‘help wanted’ signs in their windows, as well as the complaints from small business owners that no one wants to start at the bottom anymore.

Ask most baby boomers how they got their start and you will hear about people holding down 2 – 3 crappy jobs while going to University at night to get a degree. I am one of those.
Did most of us have a career plan ? For the most part, we didn’t even know what that was. Did we have a plan? Some people had a ‘life’ plan, but beyond that, most people had absolutely no idea what they wanted to do in life. However, by working in numerous industries, at one point something jumps out. Many of us continue to work nights and weekends to service clients. The business world does not shut down after 5 pm.

Some of the complaints we hear are due to sheer laziness, others do have merit.
Companies no longer hire dozens of students straight out of University and train them like they did in the past.It is costly, time consuming, and today’s youth do not exhibit the loyalty traits of the past.

But, how is it that the children of first generation immigrants find jobs, buy homes and drive nice cars?? Simple. Because they will do ANYTHING to earn money. No job is too menial, they will hold down 2-3 awful jobs to finance their education and they save, save, save. They don’t expect to wear designer clothes and drink expensive coffees. They often wear hand-me-downs and bring food from home. Some of the stories I have heard over the years about what people went through to come to Canada are extraordinary. From prison camps to just about everything in between. I know many Vietnamese boat people.
These people work hard and NEVER complain. Being in Canada is everything to them.

So, some words of advice in your job hunt:

If you score a job interview,

don’t expect instant gratification. You cannot expect to graduate with no work experience and earn $60,000 or more, furthermore, you are not the only applicant.
* Nothing is worse than interviewing someone who thinks they are too good for the job. You have to START somewhere.

* Your Mother may think you are beautiful, brilliant and special, the rest of us think you are arrogant, self centered and lazy.

* Up-talking and interrupting the interviewer is a guaranteed way to ensure you are NOT hired.

* You have no business experience, yet you sit in the interview voicing opinions on how YOU think the Company could be run better. Really???!!

* If you are even remotely serious about your career, DO NOT tell me about your children or plans to have 5 of them.

* I do NOT care if you think you are green. You are not.

* Having absolutely NO experience of any kind on your resume whether volunteering, or anything else, tells us are extremely lazy and not even remotely ambitious.

* If you turn up for a meeting and are not well dressed, your hair is uncombed or greasy, your hands and nails are dirty, your shoes are unpolished, clothes are not washed or ironed, you do
Not shake hands, do not wait for permission to sit down, do not establish eye contact with the interviewer, and speak to them as if they are stupid, it is over before it has started.

* do NOT tell us how your last boss was stupid. Maybe he was by hiring you.

* If there are no super jobs where you live, don’t complain, MOVE, many of us did.

* Don’t sit in my office and tell me how jealous you are that I get to work in splendid surroundings. I worked 70-90 hour weeks for many years, and continue to do so.

* Just because you actually turned up for the interview does not ensure you will get the job.

* no one cares how busy you are, be on time, or just slightly early. That does NOT mean one hour early. That is rude.

* Playing with your mobile phone, or answering calls during the interview, as if your phone is more important, tells the rest of us you are not even remotely interested, or remotely polite.

* The inability to ask questions regarding either the job, the company or the interviewer does not inspire confidence.

* Telling the interviewer about your vacation plans will ensure that you will be permanently on vacation.

* Do not post a fake resume or fake University degree. Most of us can see past it, and do not want to employ frauds.

* Many companies want to ‘try and buy’ be open to trying a new approach.

* Unless you have a PhD in Astrophysics and speak 5 languages, be realistic about your employment options and salary requirements.

* Don’t tell me you are in a hurry, you are important or you are busy. I will gladly hurry you OUT.

* Do NOT name drop. EVER. I don’t care how important you think you are or who you may have seen from a distance. Unless you are interviewing for a Senior Marketing Role or that of a
Government Lobbyist, it is of no interest whatsoever.
A Variety of part-time jobs, spoken languages, travel, University Degrees, and even a PhD are wonderful. Add to that a willingness to travel and learn, and take whatever is thrown at you, will
Guarantee success. Also, remember it is a big world out there with a lot of competition. The world does not stop doing business after 5 pm. Nor does your work day.

If you don’t want Companies to take advantage of you, don’t try and take advantage of them. Salaries, benefits and perks must be earned.
There are endless opportunities out there, it is a big world. Open your eyes, consider the options, EVERYWHERE, and go for it.
You might be surprised.