Category Archives: Quality

Trust me – I’m Honest!!!

If you have to say it, then it is probably not true…
This BLOG is to describe the epitome of double standards…….and yes, I am saying all the things out loud that are usually whispered……..

Have you ever called a second hand book seller? First words out of their mouths, ‘bring the box to me and leave it, so we can look at it and make a decision’….seriously!?!??
Let me understand, you want me to drop off 100 undocumented books, not be given a receipt, and TRUST you to pay me???
Would you EVER allow me to leave your shop with one unpaid book?? I think not.

In the endless clean out of my offices and house, I have uncovered some of the most unpleasant, dishonest, and condescending shop keepers in the city.
Unfortunately, I know I am not the only one to have experienced this unpleasantness, but I am the one exposing the practice.

The used record & CD shops, book sellers, antique shops, high end Vintage Clothing shops, Vintage jewellery, ….where does it end??!

Local art gallery?? …… horrific.

In that particular case, I was trying to help promote an amazing young artist to exhibit his works. Thankfully the gallerist stood me up and never returned my calls.
THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU.

Same gallerist is being pursued by artists who she has not paid, and will neither return their calls nor their works. I am SO THANKFUL she stood me up, as I would feel dreadful having given her this gentleman’s works.

Is there no honour among thieves??!!

From high end Vintage Consignment shops who try to convince unsuspecting consignors to ‘’just drop off your bags of goods so we can inspect them’, then claiming they were never received, to saying that articles were sold for a fraction of their true sale price, to, my absolute favourite, claiming to have given my high end designer clothes to charity. In conversations with innumerable others who unfortunately had the same experience, it emerged that the clothes are labeled, stored in the shop’s basement, only to be put back out for sale months later as belonging to the shop owner. Cute trick.

Problem is, people talk, and we ALL know who you are.

Then, of course, are the high end antique shops. One smooth operator would take his unsuspecting female consignors out for a ‘nice lunch’ gossip endlessly over too numerous glasses of wine, and conveniently never give them a consignment sheet. No proof, no cash.
The number of fleeced consignors escalated to a point so extreme, the dealer in question moved shop a couple of times and subsequently left the city. I must know a dozen of the denizens he fleeced, all far too embarrassed and humiliated to come forward publicly.

One of the female consignors however, did have a receipt, and was not about to allow it, so she actually stalked him, waiting outside his hidden second floor gallery to see when he arrived, then calling to see if he would answer and acknowledge he was there. Each time she confronted him, each time she was not paid. He used soo many excuses it was extraordinary, “I have to pay tax, I have a meeting, someone is waiting for me in the car, I don’t feel well…..”
The last time she went, she was not alone, and told him they would detain him if he did not pay her, and they would call the police.
He finally wrote the check, grudgingly.

Another of the so-called most reputable high end antique dealers came to my house to look at certain articles I was seeking to sell. He offered me LESS than 10 cents on the dollar for period antiques and French Bronzeworks.
He had forgotten that I had been in his shop numerous times and taken photographs of items he had for sale, in many cases, not as good as my possessions. Once again, endless excuses for his transgressions……..”he has to earn a living, he has overhead costs, and on it went..”
I found it truly offensive, particularly after seeing his retail prices and his lack of willingness to negotiate prices. I told him so as I was escorting him to the door, and out he went, complaining vigorously, that he really wanted to purchase all my French Bronze curtain pieces…he truly could NOT comprehend why I unceremoniously threw him out.
I promised him that for every dollar he tried to steal from me, I would make him lose 10, and I assure you I have done precisely that. Anyone who asks me about his shop will be told about his intense greed and lack of ethics.
When one friend was contemplating making a purchase from him, I suggested offering 10 cents on the dollar, given that is what he pays!!! Apparently the negotiations did not go so well!!!

High end Vintage Jewellery??? Same problem.
Visit the shop and be told how exclusive, how valuable, how original, how fabulous the piece is.
Try to sell it?? All of a sudden it is only worth the value of scrap metal.

One friend told me to treat jewellery like shoes. Wear it to death, and do not care if it carries any value.
Great advice!!
Wish I had been given it much earlier……..

Buying is easy, selling the goods that you have been oversold is not.

So, be smart, be wise. Make sure you know who you are dealing with. Do references, then do more.
Make your purchase understanding that you may never be able to resell it.
So Love it, Use it, and pass it on……..

“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???

IS THE GLASS HALF FULL??

We have our own histories, realities, perceptions, interpretations and opinions based upon our own life history, optics, and experiences.

Some people, like moi, tend to question, and are, by certain individuals, considered to be cynical, others simply accept whatever is thrown at them as the truth.

Society today, bombarded with the faces and manufactured stories of the rich and famous, clamour to be part of that experience. Life is lived instantaneously through images captured and posted online to make the perpetrator feel somehow more important, connected. Some people, like myself, were brought up NOT to brag, not to ever use the name of another to promote ourselves, are somehow lost in the wind…and forced, unwittingly to do some level of self promotion otherwise we are perceived as weak, or somehow, losers.

Remember when the elegant Society Queens said there were only 3 times in ones’ life that your name should appear in the newspaper?? Birth, Engagement and Death. Period.

Today if your name is not plastered everywhere in social media, you are somehow considered to be ‘out of it’ not ‘with it’ . Unimportant. Passe…..

Women in particular, were brought up to gush positivity, never say anything negative about anyone, and smile. Unfortunately, today, people lie incessantly, and promote themselves ruthlessly. From the Social Pages with the gushing social editor ranting endlessly about all these Fabulous people and their equally fabulous lives and careers, to those who have carefully crafted  public personae, to worse, those who pay a fortune to PR’s to spin their fabulousness, and ensure they are invited to the BEST parties, and photographed …..

One acquaintance brags incessantly about her fabulous life, her international business….to hear her speak one would believe she is earning millions. Reality is a far cry from the rhetoric. She is broke and seriously in debt.

Another scratching social climber  from a poor immigrant family, is nauseatingly sweet to those who she feels will promote her pretend fabulousness, while ruthlessly destroying the reputation of anyone in her path.  Over the last few years I have unfortunately found myself increasingly distancing myself from both the self-promoters and the believers. The believers feel that having the self-promotors in their lives somehow makes them more complete, part of the ‘in crowd’ whatever that is.

They describe these individuals as brilliant, kind, exceptional, whereas others of us can’t get far enough away from them. Watching from a safe distance, however, is an absolutely fascinating experience. From speech patterns, eye movements, body language, being an observer as opposed to a participant is amazing.

There is one particularly pushy individual putting on airs and speaking with a fake English accent, trying to convey his British Upper-Class status. Unfortunately, both his actual behaviour and speech patterns convey the exact opposite.

The vocabulary is wrong, and most importantly, anyone from an important British family would NEVER publicly humiliate someone else ……it is simply NOT done. This individual is famous for it. Cross him in any possible way and be screamed down, with absolutely no consideration as to who is watching…..

There are several older socialites who continue to scratch and claw their way up the social ladder, utterly ruthless as to destroying anyone who is not helping them reach whatever heights they are seeking. One publicly exclaimed that she no longer speaks to those not in her social class….Seriously?!??!  she comes from nothing, and by making this statement, it speaks volumes to the fact she has zero class.

Go to London, associate with the powerful and find a totally different reality. They are incredibly polite and speak  to everyone.

I am always fascinated by elderly women still wearing Princess garb to balls at 70 years old. The description of ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ comes immediately to mind, scratching to reach some mysterious place which continues to elude them.

But true civility and elegance are timeless, and anyone watching from afar simply sees them as sad.

Another of my favourites are those who speak with soft kittenish voices, trying to show their current prey how sweet, kind and considerate they are.

In truth, most are pure poison.

From trying to lure a potential  man to the shop-keeper trying to elicit the secrets of those around her, with this fake sweet, ‘do come sit with me and tell me all about it’

But do something to cross these women and experience the most vicious attack ever, and the sweet soft voice immediately becomes loud and vulgar and seriously cruel.

If, in life, something appears too good to be true, then usually it is precisely that. From the investment yielding profit margins that exceed anything on the market, to Real Estate deals……. remember the old jokes about buying swamp land in Florida??

It is increasingly difficult today to know what is real.

From company web pages extolling their incredible success, and international reach, then find out the business is in someone’s basement and the so called successful President with the incredible resume has been fired from every job he has ever had. …but the web page is extraordinary, impressive. If you are a believer you will be taken in, and it will cost you dearly.

A certain politician has now been documented with 440 lies. …this is mind blowing. Many of those who voted for him, still believe in him, and will not be convinced that he lied.

They believe the rhetoric, drank the kool-aid, still do not doubt even though the truth is in front of their eyes.

True believers.

So, one could argue either way, cynic or realist?? Doubter or believer??

Many people do not wish to question, they are safe and content and unthreatened in their ignorance. It is easy. Safe.

How many times does someone need to say they are honest, kind, generous, popular, successful before others blindly embrace this false truth?? That you have been lied to, used, and nothing was real.

Is the glass half empty???

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??

the 2016 Presidential Election ……err… sort of…

This election has, on every front, been the most degrading, disgusting exhibit of lying and arrogance ever.

 

hillary-clinton-vs-donald-trump-cartoon-joe-heller-fb

The complete and utter disrespect shown between the candidates and their representatives on an international scale shows a contempt and disregard both to each other, and regrettably the American public, never before seen with such a worldwide audience.
Not only have their handlers NOT put a stop to this highly embarrassing and debasing behaviour, but they virtually compliment it. We have heard allegations of fraud, murder, tax evasion, sexual assault, sexual misconduct, chauvinism  daily, as well as a never ending barrage of inappropriate language. The only possible upside to this is that certain talk show hosts find their shows nearly written for them by the candidates and their representatives……..at least they add some levity to the situation.
But the extremely serious side of this discussion is that fundamental civility has gone out the window, what we see in its place is an outrageous display of:
  • Lying
  • Abuse of Power
  • Sense of Entitlement
  • No Dignity
  • No Ethics or Decency
  • No Civility
hillary-trump-debate-thumb-tpi-123
And above all, absolutely NO display of manners or class whatsoever.
Does this display, shown on an international scale, demonstrate what we can expect from the General Public, Business Executives and Senior Politicians??  That somehow it has become permissible to behave in this disgraceful and embarrassing fashion??   Has it become the norm to insult and berate others publicly with no fear of reprisal??
The basis of Civil Society is CIVILITY.  When this is lost, we can expect an exponential increase in Fraud, crime, and an increasing lack of physical security, due to the incredible sense of entitlement these individuals show.
Has becoming a public bully somehow become socially acceptable?
Manners and Class have always won out in the end, but they are taking a serious beating in this very public debacle.

On the Take!

Over the last few years we have increasingly heard of companies implementing more and more policies ostensibly around the issue of ethics. Many have web pages speaking loudly about their professionalism and business ethics, and like many things, this falls under ‘thou doth protest too much’, but the reality of these companies couldn’t be farther from the truth.

One large Consulting Firm offers ‘ethics’ lectures to their employees, and distribute booklets on their ‘code of conduct’ while simultaneously the Senior Executives exhibit mind numbingly dishonest behaviour, and will spare no effort or expense to sign a contract. We hear of trips to Florida with expensive escorts, casino nights in the high roller suites, where the huge losses of the poor losers are covered in exchange for the signature on a tasty contract. Other gifts which are widely spoken of in the industry include Mercedes, condos, rumour of one VP receiving a cheque for, yes, get ready for it, $1 million in exchange for a particularly large contract. Another executive is rumoured to have received a 150 foot boat. There is constant chatter in the market, however no one is prepared to go public with these allegations for fear of never being able to work again.

Another huge firm is rumoured to be paying for expensive golf club memberships, apparently the fees at one club in Toronto are in excess of $200,000 annually……private boat trips for executives and their families in exotic locations, some of the payoffs are insane, in some of the smaller firms, one particularly pushy individual (I am being polite) is known for purchasing everything from dishwashers to wall to wall carpet and snazzy cameras to ensure he has exclusivity.
One company we were working with changed their policies along the way, and decided that all their suppliers in IT had to sign a new contract in order to provide Consulting or Search services. We were rushed off our feet by a particularly unpleasant young woman in HR, and as it was the means to an end, we went along with this as several Directors and VP’s had indicated their desire to work with us. I found myself being rushed to sign and deliver the document. Well, when something smells fishy, there are probably rotten fish somewhere …….and there certainly were. The last trip to see her, was different. This time I was actually received in her office instead of a small conference room. When she left the room for a moment to confer with a co-worker, I was able to cast a peek around the room and on the surface of her desk. There were many signs that she favoured a competitor, cups with logos, a leather notebook cover embossed with their logo, snazzy desk accessories, but the real tell was the $2500 Louis Vuitton purse and the silk $500 Hermes scarf carefully draped on the back of her chair. When she re-entered the room, I carefully checked her shoes and clothes, and it was clear that they were not in the least expensive, in fact, quite the opposite.
If she had the means to purchase the purse and scarf, she certainly would have not been wearing $60 shoes and a polyester suit. So, clearly they were gifts which she cherished from our competitor, and the type of gifts that we will NEVER provide.

Several months went by, no contact, no mandates, utter silence. No way to reach her, emails not answered, phone calls not answered. One day I called her from the reception area of a client’s office as I was told I would be waiting a while for the client to get back as they were stuck in traffic. I had space and time on my hands, as well as unlimited use of the phone the receptionist kindly provided, so I decided to use my time well. I called our Princess and, lo and behold, she answered immediately with a perky voice!! I introduced myself and politely asked if she had been travelling as she was difficult to reach. Always a good approach. I also mentioned that we had received to mandates or follow up whatsoever to the signing of the contract, at which point she rudely told me that ‘just because you have a contract do NOT expect any business’ ….
So what was all this about?? Why run suppliers off their feet to sign a contract if you have no intention of giving them any business??

Turns out, I spoke to a couple of other individuals in other firms who had the same experience. One gentleman was so angry that he decided to do a LOT of digging…..and was told that purchasing had signed numerous vendors to protect themselves from any image of impropriety, but the reality was that they have 2 ‘Preferred Vendors” who wine and dine them at incredibly lavish restaurants, send them on exquisite trips and buy them fabulous gifts, so unless one is prepared to offer up even better gifties, there is absolutely NO chance of ever doing any business in that firm. ….. . . . And it just gets BETTER………just this week a close business friend was offered a contract in that firm through a personal friend. He went for an interview, and was then sent to meet the Vice President as part of the so called vetting process. On his way to leave, the VP told him that he expected $5.00 per hour in CASH for every hour he worked there. My friend was speechless. He shook the VP’s hand and left. Now he finds himself in the situation where he needs the revenue but has no intention of paying. He is terrified that the VP will find an excuse to terminate him if he doesn’t pay up. THIS IS INCREDULOUS.

For the record, this is a huge semi public corporation, vendors are screened within an inch of their lives, but NO ONE is watching the employees who are making these rules and enforcing them. Increasingly we hear of companies where everyone from the Secretary, Purchasing and Senior VP’s are receiving huge gifts from vendors. Apart from being beyond dishonest, the other serious problem is that this behaviour is stifling small industry.
If start-ups are the driving force for the success of a growing economy, they are systematically being choked out before they have a chance. Many companies are forcing their suppliers to produce their financial records, and allow them to audit their accounts at any time. This is arrogant to a fault.
If a small start-up has an incredible product but a minus cash flow, how are they ever to get their product to market? To say these practices are disgraceful is an understatement.
One last comment on these practices, is that it is also a dishonest power play enabling large corporations to effectively steal great ideas from these little firms as they do not have the financial means to protect themselves.

Where are the ethics in this??

At some point these practices will be exposed and it will be a frightening sight to see the public reaction to this.

Hiring in the New World!

Due to the nature of our business, everyday someone calls me and complains about the lack of courtesy shown by large corporations towards potential employees.
People send resumes through job sites and never ever hear anything from the company again.

The problem with this, is that often these are the same companies selling to the very people they are ignoring. Whether a financial institution, clothing retailer or grocery chain, the lack of response can often result in the individual taking their business elsewhere, and telling their friends, which results in hundreds of thousands of dollars of lost revenue, simply because no one considered following up with a response.

The rhetoric that there are too many candidates and not enough time is not valid. A simple, polite form letter is at least a beginning.

Some large corporations have such outrageous hiring practices that they have rendered themselves impenetrable, the employees hiding behind their ludicrous policies in some cases are arrogant beyond belief, on one hand publicly decrying the difficulty in recruiting new talent while all the while putting up huge barriers. Massive arrogant, unimaginative HR departments who hide behind policies and voicemail. The instigators hiding behind meetings, outrageous rules, systematically blocking out new ideas and small creative companies who could bring them the imagination required to help compete in a fast paced global economy.

Having only ‘preferred vendors’ who meet ridiculous criteria, often set out by the vendors themselves to limit the entry of new players onto the field. Smaller players who are creative and have a different approach are not even reviewed, which is outrageous. Many use software packages to receive and filter resumes based on ‘key words’, but that eliminates all those who did not know what the critical ‘key word’ was. Someone may have extraordinary experience and imagination, but as they are missing 2-3 keywords on a resume, they are overlooked.
This is people being evaluated, not widgets. Understandably, if it is a technical widget which must be exact to the millimeter, that is one thing, but humans with varied knowledge, educations, experience and life history cannot be evaluated this way. Using software to go through resumes is insanity. Part-time employment, awards, international travel or experience, a variety of spoken languages, hobbies are not evaluated. The ability to learn is not. Like many things, if you have experience in a variety of industries, learning a new one is not a big stretch. Someone who has worked in complicated manufacturing can easily understand banking or retail, it is simply a matter of learning a new vocabulary and applying the ability to learn.

The other problem with these huge HR departments is that recruiters are trying to work cross industry. A 24 year old clerk with no business industry experience is simply not qualified to interview engineers, accountants, lawyers and IT professionals. Each of these specialties seek different skill sets, and only someone from the industry can understand the differences.
The example I have been using of late is the new replacement of the Champlain Bridge. There will be a requirement for a multitude of engineers, Structural Engineers, Seismic Engineers, Oceanic Engineers, Engineers specialized in Cement, Steel, Load Bearing and Balancing, and more. These people MUST be interviewed by their peers, not a 24 year old with no experience in the industry.

We need to put the hiring back in the hands of the Managers, so potential candidates can be evaluated and hired by their peers. Likewise doing references, as HR or a background checking company will NEVER get the type of references someone will acquire by going through the back door. The best references are NOT official. They are off the record.

Creative, competent, motivated people are the key to a successful company.

Proper hiring can be time consuming, expensive, but can make or break a company’s success. The knowledge base of every company walks out the door at night, and hopefully returns the next day. Without the people, there is no company. People need to be hired and managed with respect and decency, not treated with contempt.

Preferred vendors, price wars on recruiters and consulting firms, job boards, on-line job boards are not the best way to seek out the brightest and the best, they are the way to seek the mediocre, and the job hoppers. The best people are usually not seeking employment and need to be sought out and wooed. They must NOT be treated like a commodity.

Then comes the rhetoric on salary scales. Once again the so called research by HR and specialized firms does not take into account all the possibilities for compensation, as well as the fact that not everyone is motivated by same thing. The one of a kind skill must be compensated as such, and not put into the category of people with ‘x’ years of experience and a specific education.

Currently there is a huge demand for people with ANALYTICS experience, and we actually have interviewed many people with those skills. Someone with NO university education and 20 years of IT experience in 3 companies is NOT the same as someone with a PhD in Physics and Mathematics with 10 years of experience working with advanced technology and having been educated in 3 countries at the best universities in the world, speaking 3 languages and extensive experience developing algorithms to solve a variety of problems.

Trying to suggest that the PhD only has a few years of experience and planning to compensate him based upon years of experience is ludicrous and frankly insulting. The company with the imagination to pay him the REAL market value for his skills will hire a genius, and there are companies out there who will do just that. New York and California corporations are hiring these individuals for $500,000 plus incentives. Offering them $90,000 is simply insulting and ignorant, and will ensure that they will stay for a short while and then be gone, the knowledge along with them.
Our Company is a small independent Consultancy working with Fortune 100 and 1000 clients internationally, as well as funky start-ups. Salary scales range from $100 – 500,000. We meet people from all over the world with extraordinary backgrounds and life experiences, which give them a view on the world and best practices from afar.
For example, we are currently working with one individual with extensive experience in Banking and Mobile applications to seek a position within a Financial Institution in Hong Kong. He is not Asian.

Often we find ourselves seeking individuals with ‘tough skills’. These are people who are highly valued and can bring enormous success to the right company. Why would we want to put them in a corporation obsessed with salary scales based on ridiculous criteria like age and number of years of experience?? A company which does not value imagination or a cross section of types of experience will only seek to pigeonhole people and the bright ones will not thrive, they will leave.

Companies need to recognize that 10 people with 5 years of experience and a Bachelor’s degree are not great criteria for establishing worth.
Have they travelled? Worked abroad? Speak other languages? Held part-time employment? Have super hobbies?
Someone who has worked in a small start-up where people worked on average 50-60 hours a week and had to get involved in just about everything imaginable in order for the company to survive, is not the same as someone who worked 35 hours a week in a huge corporation on one system. So how can a large company even begin to suggest that they should be paid the same?

Whether seeking individuals for permanent or Consulting mandates, all the above criteria MUST be evaluated.

Huge multi-national Consultancies are putting very junior associates on assignments for exorbitant hourly rates into companies to give advice which is frightening. Knowing how to ask questions and write a massive report but having absolutely NO industry experience is not a guarantee for success.

A much smaller more nimble firm will have the freedom to seek out the expert with industry experience who may not be the best at writing comprehensive pretty reports, but will certainly understand the issues and can formulate ideas which make sense in the global marketplace of today, and for a fraction of the cost.

How do you want to write your legacy?? Genius like Steve Jobs who totally thought outside the box and hired some of the brightest people imaginable with totally different skill sets, and paid them a fortune, or someone who hid in their office and followed the rules??

Up to you.

Bullies, again!!

Over the last few weeks, once again, there have been numerous articles posted on Facebook, in the press and the news about children and young adults taking their lives over bullying.

We have been in a World Recession since 2007,  although the economists refuse to publicly acknowledge it. Coupled with that, the Global economy has changed the way business is conducted. Companies are outsourcing low level jobs to third world countries, leaving many uneducated individuals and the youth unable to find either entry level or part-time employment. Granted, many of them arrive for an interview with such arrogance that no one wants to hire them. Furthermore, if they are hired, they are unwilling to work, and are constantly complaining about hours, and inconvenience.

Bullying starts in school, and becomes absolutely hideous by high school for those unable to cope with the constant unpleasantness. Most often it is triggered by the bully not being given something they wanted, and that anger is then transformed into rage, and taken out on some poor unsuspecting individual who has the misfortune to cross their path.

So, the shy child, unable to verbally defend themselves to the barrage of insults and teasing, simply withdraws further and further into themselves. The nerdy child, more interested in math or science is teased mercilessly as they don’t conform to the perceived mode of behaviour, but nonetheless gets straight A’s with little effort. The irony being that this same child may have an IQ at Genius level, and will become a world class researcher or inventor.

Then, of course, there is the one who dresses and acts differently, refusing to conform to the in-crowd’s way of dressing. In high school my best friend who was also British and I had incredibly long hair all the way down our backs, and dyed black, we wore black eyeliner, off white lipstick, black lace up Granny Boots, black turtle-necks, black jeans, black leather jackets….and yes, we were both artists. Both of us drew and we also wrote. By the age of 13 I was published, by 15 I had poetry published in Japan, then articles, and then, I met a 12 string guitar…and started composing music, never having had one guitar lesson in my life. Not long after, I found myself on a stage performing in front of hundreds of people.

My way of dealing with the constant unpleasantness of a few certain individuals in my school who considered themselves the most important people on the campus was simply to make an entire new circle of friends who were part of the French ‘IN” crowd, and wow!!  What a ride!!  I never looked back!! The added bonus was that I learned to speak French!!! I met a  young fellow  who was a musician with an incredible voice, and ended up singing with him!!

Around the same time I met a Chinese girl who also felt like an outsider, and we became friends. So I made a group of friends within the Asian community and my eyes were opened once again, new language, new customs, new food, and the refreshing part, was the community welcomed me with open arms.

Unfortunately, not everyone had the strength of character or imagination I did. One girl, adopted by a very wealthy family was both not attractive and different. We were too young then to understand she was a lesbian, we had no idea in those days of what that even was.

She was teased incessantly, in the most cruel ways possible, being told she was unwanted by her parents because she was ugly. Her solution was to start pulling out her eyelashes and her hair, and by age 15 she really had serious emotional problems. Unfortunately the more she pulled, the more cruel the perpetrators.

Then, of course, there is the child who comes to school dirty and in rags, and suffers no end at the hands of these arrogant self serving Princesses. Never a thought that perhaps this poor unfortunate child might also be coming to school starving.

Children and teens unfortunately, are not taught to stand back and consider what has triggered this cruel behaviour and how to protect themselves from it. It would never enter most parent’s minds that their child is either the bully or the subject of bullying.

The bullies, will never allow anyone but themselves to be center stage, the most popular, best dressed, with a constant entourage. Should someone turn up to threaten them, they will instantly concoct some lie to destroy the other individual.

We hear of young girls being teased incessantly, called whores and sluts, and often they are virgins. Ironically the ones doing the teasing are usually the promiscuous ones. Their guilt and unwillingness to acknowledge it, has them project on some poor unsuspecting individual….it is always easier to call someone names than acknowledge that you are not nice.

One incredibly cruel woman I know, now on her 5th husband, had an incredibly bad reputation in University for her promiscuity. Give her a few drinks and she would have sex with anyone. This same person, now in her 60’s refuses to acknowledge that she ever did anything wrong. It is always the fault of someone else. Whatever problems she has in life, someone else is at fault. And she will proclaim loudly to anyone listening what a victim she is.  She claims to have become an alcoholic in her 40’s due to problems with one of her husbands and a child. But anyone who knew her earlier knew she had a drinking problem 20 years earlier.

Whatever perceived slight is always blown out of proportion, no one, and I do mean NO ONE is allowed to call the bully out as they simply will not acknowledge they have a problem. Most are arrogant, cruel, selfish individuals. They will just add more insults and vicious gossip behind the back of whoever actually stands up to them.

What is the solution?? First, school and high school are not forever, and if you don’t like them, there is absolutely no reason to stay in contact with them later on in life.

Teach your children, your friends, acquaintances, that bullying is not acceptable behaviour call them out as bullies, tell teachers, co-workers, who-ever necessary. If you have to, go to the Police. To turn a blind eye is to be complicit. You become part of the problem, not the solution.

Teach children to stand up for themselves. The most unfortunate thing is that if no one ever calls them out, these bullies continue throughout their lives and the pattern is not broken.

Become friends with other people. They are actually out there. Get happy. Be with people who appreciate you. Feel good about your differences and your skills. Live a fascinating full life. It is truly the best revenge.