Views on Aging

Life comes with an automatic death sentence. No matter how rich or famous, successful or not, death is an absolute. Life is to be lived and embraced. It is an opportunity to live, travel, taste, see, and experience all the amazing sights in this world, to meet extraordinary people in extraordinary places. I have been extremely fortunate in my life, and have met some unbelievably incredible people from every part of the globe. How you view life and appreciate the time you have goes very much along the lines of whether the glass is half full or half empty.

In both my Professional and Personal life, I meet an inordinate number of people from every corner of the globe, and love the fact that everyone has stories to share. It is an amazing way to learn. Similarly, I am absolutely mesmerized at meeting individuals in their 20’s who are obsessing about their retirement, and have not considered the option of living their lives on a daily basis, at the same time as meeting others who embrace life in the fullest, and will not stop moving forward. From the 80 year old who decided and succeeded in becoming an artist, and has had a couple of solo exhibits in art galleries, travels extensively, including a jaunt to Hong Kong to meet up with an old friend.
How do you have an intelligent conversation with a 20 something who refuses to learn another language, has been nowhere, done nothing with their life, has no hobbies to speak of, no accomplishments, no enthusiasm, no curiosity, and tells you that once they retire they might actually consider doing something?? With that TOTAL lack of drive, it is questionable whether they will actually survive long enough to retire, being old and boring at 20.

Some people are born whiners, others develop into whiners to elicit attention, every little incident intensified as though it was a major crisis of epic proportions, yet others experience horrific experiences in their lives and quietly, stoically, push on silently.

Since last fall, I have once again had to face my friends dying monthly, some months, more than one. Some young, some old. It is very difficult to say goodbye to so many people. But at the same time, I consider myself to be extremely fortunate to have known them and shared some small part of their lives. Some funerals, like people, are dismal and depressing, others joyful, a celebration of a life well lived. What is it that defines your view on living?? Are you joyous? Engaging? Entertaining? …or one of those people, who, as in some of the cartoon characters, are walking through life with a gray cloud over your head.
What is it about some people who are such whiners, negative, depressing, demanding, exhausting, who experience no joy, yet they have faced no hardships, when others who have lived through so much worse endure silently.

Facebook and social media present an incredible window on social behaviour. I am truly blown away by some of the things posted by certain individuals, and the depths to which they will sink to garner attention. There are so many toxic people bringing darkness instead of joy. I prefer to purge the darkness and embrace the light, if that means fewer friends, but joyful friends who bring laughter, then I am more than prepared to live with that. I would rather live with laughter and joy than darkness. It is sunny outside, I will go soak up the sunshine alone, breathe in its heat and joy, and banish those to darkness, and celebrate my extraordinary luck in having shared my life with extraordinary people, many gone too soon.

Digital Reality

I have previously posted a BLOG entitled – Social Media Rethink – April 2018 (http://www.roslynsrants.com/?p=398)

This takes the comments from that BLOG further, as, once again, during a face to face interview, I was, albeit, very politely asked why our company does not have a Digital Presence, the candidate and several of his friends had a conversation about the veracity of our existence, given our absence of any kind of Digital Presence.

It is fascinating that today with the explosion of online everything, that no can actually step back, THINK, and consider that, if KNOWING that over 50% of what we see online is FAKE, why we would question someone who does not wish to be present. From over 60% of Linkedin Resumes being fake, over 800 fake online University Degrees ( see CBC Marketplace Report) an extremely high percentage of Facebook postings being fake, FAKE NEWS, much from Russia, which severly influenced the 2016 US Presidential Election, Millenials posting selfies in the entryway to high end stores, posh restaurants, going into high end boutiques and posing with the merchandise just long enough to take a selfie….

We see companies with spectacular web sites, proclaiming their vast international experience, only to dig and find out it is one man in his basement who has been fired from absolutely every position he has ever held. His Social Presence however, is extraordinary. His web site was magic.

We see companies proclaiming their incredible technical experience, in one case, I actually printed the Linkedin resumes of the entire company (ten people)…..then laid them out on a table, side by side…there was something bothering me……they were ALL IDENTICAL…….including the President. Furthermore, no one was over 30 years old. But on the Corporate Web Site, they spoke of their huge list of clients, turns out it was the previous employers of the employees……NOTHING was real. One questions the fact that NO ONE else ever did even a minor amount of research on them, yet one of my previous clients actually hired them. No, they could not deliveer. But they did pay their invoices……Seriously??!!

Virtually EVERY individual who has questioned our lack of Digital Presence has been an employee within a large corporation, and non have ever owned a company, or considered why one would not wish to be all over the web.

As a long time female business owner, let me describe the horrors of a DIGITAL Presence.

We work in a very defined, very technical segment of the industry. We do HIGH end Information Technology Consulting and Search, and only work with individuals with experience, a high level of education, and in many cases, Security Clearance. Our business was built on WORD of MOUTH. Why could we possibly be interested in receiving over 100 resumes from some low level computer institute pushing out low level computer repair men?? We are NOT.
But we used to receive them en masse, and had to respond, politely.
We are not interested in Plumbers, Cegep Graduates with no experience, people who have held 10 jobs in 3 years……..computer technicians, repair men……..
And then there are the people who would arrive at the door, pound and kick at the door of our offices, and absolutely terrify our Secretary.
Shall I continue??

People who call on the telephone, are aggressive, rude, insulting, and insist that the female on the other end of the phone line, give them what they are requesting, whether it is an interview, the name and direct phone number of the executives…it is endless……

But when someone is desperate for a job, all sense of decency and courtesy seems to fly out the door…….

Endless solicitations by email, mail, and telephone by aggressive, often condescending sales people, most of whom do not have the good manners to even inquire whether it is a good time before pushing themselves and whatever product they have decided we require. They overtalk and are extremely beligerent to the female on the other end of the line, never for a moment presuming that the woman they are being rude to is actually the President and decision maker.

I can continue endlessly, as our experiences have been far from pleasant.

One mind numbingly rude salesman called 10 times, insisting on being given the name and mobile number of the President. I politely inquired as to how I could help him. He screamed insults at me and hung up repeatedly, only to call back and once again hear my voice on the end of the line. He rudely told me I should provide the information and not question him. I repeatedly asked politely as to how I could help him. He repeatedly insulted me and hung up.
Finally, I asked a male associate to watch for the number on call display, and to answer his next call. I requested that he demand the caller’s name, company, and phone number. He Did. Then he passed the caller to me. I recorded the call. When he was speaking to the male, he was polite, calm and provided his information with no objections. He was then put on hold and referred to me. Yup, President and Founder of Copeland, St James…..No sooner than I said hello and he started insulting me once again. At this point, I used his name, and advised him that he was insulting the President, NOT the Receptionist. I advised him that my next call would be to his employer at which time I would play the recording of this beligerent person and tell them, that under no conditions whatsoever, were they to ever call our company again. Yes, I did exactly that. No, he never called again.
The problem with this, is that he disrupted our business day, he disrupted several people, and this time was NOT spent on running our business.

Our Company was bombarded by phone, email, mail, and people coming to the door. NON of them ever took the time to consider who they were soliciting and whether or not we could possibly be interested in their services or products.
We were solicited by low level personnel agencies, companies selling paper products, life insurance, financial planning, light bulbs, travel services, accounting services, payroll services, web development companies, hardware repair men, the list was endless. ALL of which took away our time from actually providing services to OUR clients.

Time is MONEY.
Being polite to rude people takes time and money.
Being polite and responding to 500 people who have sent unsolicited resumes takes time and money.
Answering the door and trying to explain to the hardware repair man, the plumber , the accounting clerk, that we are not interested in their services takes time and money.
Having to call the Doorman to come and physically remove the rude person kicking and pounding on our front door not only creates extreme anxiety, but also costs time and money , not to mention endless tips to the poor Doorman who were, at times, threatened by these unwanted visitors.

For all these reasons, and many more, we DO NOT have a Digital Presence.

FUNERAL CHASERS

This is one of those ‘glass half full, glass half empty” discussions.

Over the last year, at least one friend of mine has died every month, some months there were 3. We can embark on a discussion of incredible loss, at the same time as celebrating extraordinary friendships from across the globe.

Obviously attending all the funerals was impossible, both from a time and expense point of view, not to mention, the unfortunate host of the event will never actually know that you were in attendance.

Celebrations of life being for the living who remain, not the deceased.
Which brings me to the point of this BLOG.

As a student of human behaviour, in all it’s bizarre incarnations, one which disturbs me the most is people who go to funerals for all the wrong reasons, often claiming a level of friendship with the deceased which lives only in their imaginations, as in some cases, they were absolutely despised by the deceased, or virtually unknown.

Some are there because they genuinely cared about the host, others, morbid curiosity, some because frankly they have little else to do, others to be seen and heard, and let everyone know they are there, some to network, some to seek a new husband, others to consume vast quantities of free food and drink, and surreptitiously, they think, take more home for later. Some by necessity, for societal or family reasons. Then, we reach the most sad reason of all, which is those seeking human companionship, as they have successfully alienated everyone who ever befriended them. At the funeral of one prominent businessman and inveterate host, several attendees who are no longer invited anywhere due to their profound unpleasantness were there, proclaiming their closeness to the deceased. Obviously he was in no position to proclaim the exact opposite.

Then there are the serious social climbers, strutting around introducing themselves to those they deem to be important, posing for photographs to let the world know of their perceived importance. One ruthless social climber appeared wearing a large hat, strutting around waving in order to be seen. So inappropriate, so incredibly vulgar. At the same funeral, one equally grotesquely inappropriate man sat in the front row, preening, speaking loudly, turning around and waving at people in attendance to let the world see his popularity. Once the service was over, he rushed to introduce himself to the attending celebrities, speaking loudly to ensure those present witnessed his conversation. It was frankly embarrassing.

There was a clique of old, badly dressed women in attendance, sitting on the sidelines, commenting non stop throughout the service on the various guests in attendance, then afterwards, devouring the drink and food as if they had not eaten in months. Gate crashers???

To say some of the behaviour I have seen is disgraceful, is an understatement. It is a sign of complete and utter disrespect to those grieving.

Seeking a husband or to improve one’s social standing at a funeral is despicable.

Some celebrations of a life well lived are truly that, a party, a celebration, others are morbid and depressing.

These days more and more people plan their own funerals and receptions to hopefully eliminate these shameless actions, but unfortunately there are no guarantees to ensure respectful behaviour. Do we have to consider putting gate-keepers at funeral receptions to ensure that only the invited guests are in attendance??

This has been a year of incredible loss, but at the same time one of celebration.
I have been amazingly fortunate to be friends with some extraordinary people who are, unfortunately, no longer with us.

Thank you all for being my friend, and a huge part of my life. You will be severely missed.

A Crisis of Early Retirements Unfolding…..

Over the last 5 years there has been a silent crisis emerging which is going to seriously effect the future of the High-End IT Community.

Companies are increasingly driven by quarter end results, and many senior executives rarely stay in their seats long enough to consider 2 year plans, much less 5 year plans, so if they have no plans for the future of the companies they are managing, how can their employees possibly envision a future within these same corporations?

Add fuel to this fire with a tendency to do layoffs after 2 bad quarters, and a frightening trend emerges. Furthermore, companies have given an insane amount of power to Human Resources over the last few years, and are allowing twenty-somethings the authority to decide with whom the company does business and who they hire through selective choices. Several Senior Sales Executives have not only resigned, but totally left the industry after being told by some 24 year old with absolutely NO knowledge of the industry and its vagaries, that they are not authorized to use 3rd parties for hiring.

One of my favourite clients comes to mind. A $50 million sales quota, and the inability to source suitable sales resources to fill the numerous positions in Sales and Systems Engineering. An inordinate amount of time spent interviewing totally incompetent candidates sourced by HR in the US, met with numerous requests to use local Search Firms being denied. Montreal is a unique market with 2 languages and 2 cultures. It is impossible for someone in the US to possibly understand this issue. The end result?? One of the most professional, successful Sales Executives I have ever met, took early retirement. He QUIT. PERIOD.

He no longer works. PERIOD.

He felt the stress was overwhelming based upon the demands of the job and his utter lack of support within the Corporation. We are talking about a huge, multi-billion dollar corporation which could seriously afford to use outside assistance, but he was NOT ALLOWED.

Today, he skiis, rides his bike, tends his garden. He sold everything in the city and left.
He retired over 10 years earlier than planned.
This man is seriously connected internationally, the Presidents of many Fortune 100 companies would gladly take his call. He is a joy. He is one of the most motivating executives I have met and worked with. Humble, an extraordinary energy coupled with a sense of humour, and the willingness to take a chance on imagination and drive. He has made the careers of dozens of individuals.
We have LOST him. He is no longer working within our industry.

He alone creates an enormous vacuum in our community, and unfortunately is but one of the dozens of these highly creative, highly connected individuals who have taken their contacts and their imaginations and walked away from an industry which is increasingly having problems sourcing these types of individuals.

It has become a thankless, ruthless industry, dominated by arrogant, incompetent, dishonest people who only seek to line their own pockets with a total regard for the companies which employ them, as well as their employees.

I spoke with another Senior Sales Executive who retired 2 months ago, his comment was that he was downsizing his home and his life to accommodate a very early, unplanned retirement, around 10 years earlier than planned. Why, I asked??

His answer, the level of fraud in the industry has become so commonplace that middle managers are asking out loud what you will give them in exchange for their business.. It is ‘In your face” , blatant fraud. It is not hidden, not discreet, it is simply out there for the world to see.

We hear of individuals in purchasing departments in the IT industry choosing ‘preferred vendors’ based upon what they will receive as compensation. No compensation, no business.

A lovely gentleman I interviewed a couple of years ago, was a Senior VP in a large Consulting Firm, earning a very substantial income. I inquired as to why he was so actively seeking employment, he was certainly employed. He advised me that he was resigning the day he received his commission cheque for the contract he was currently negotiating on behalf of his employer. His comments to me?? I will NOT go to jail for this company.

That was certainly an eye opener.

He was absolutely horrified at the arrangements being negotiated with individuals in the purchasing department of a publicly traded company. We are talking millions of dollars, many, many millions of dollars.
This contract was being drawn up with 2 large companies to provide all resources for a period of 5 years exclusively. PERIOD. No possibility of any other firms selling services unless they passed through one of the 2 ‘preferred vendors’, ostensibly to cut down on the huge number of suppliers and invoices.

Sounds good??!! I find it extraordinary that no one questioned this .

What is being taken out of this equation, is that ALL THE FIRMS being excluded, are potential CUSTOMERS of this firm. An interesting perspective. No one is looking.

Yes, a huge, public company with shareholders, you could be one of them.
Yes, they have a legal responsibility to shareholders.
BUT, and here it is, NO ONE is watching.

The Senior Executives in this corporation are oblivious as to what is going on inside the companies they are supposed to be managing. They are scrambling to meet their quarterly reports, and focused on their end of year bonus’.
The lunatics are truly running the asylum.

From Senior Vice Presidents in Banks to Sales Organizations, to Service Providers, we are losing some of the brightest and the best, and all of them leaving within 5-10 years earlier than planned. This is happening everywhere, I am speaking with executives across North America, and am hearing the same words, almost verbatim.

We are losing knowledge. We are losing energy. We are losing drive, contacts, history. we are losing it all.

Multiply this behaviour and see an absolutely terrifying trend emerging.

What will we have left??!

A Reality Check

Poor fragile snowflakes endlessly complaining that they are being harshly targeted and derided, their fragile egos suffering, unfortunately much of the criticism is absolutely real.

We recently contracted the services of a company, and were told, in no uncertain terms, that we not only had to leave a substantial deposit but that we had to pay IN FULL at least one week prior to someone coming to do the work. WHAT??!!??

After demanding a proper explanation, as we had never experienced this before, the Manager was brought into the office to explain the reasoning behind this. We have both owned homes for a very long time, in my case, I totally restored, not renovated, every inch of a 100 year old house in Westmount. Never, had I been told to pay first.

The Manager was extremely polite and explained the progression of their business practices, and how the business world has changed, just within his short career, and he is, admittedly, a millennial himself.

No longer the ability to do business with a handshake,
No longer having clients respect the contracts they sign.

It is every man for himself.

He explained that most of his friends live lives that grotesquely exceed their incomes. Big fancy homes, pools, fancy cars, posh vacations, ALL on credit. Many have 5-6 credit cards, ALL maxed out, yet they continue to live well above their means, and zero cash in their pockets, no consideration whatsoever what will happen if their lose their jobs, or how they will ever repay their escalating debts. As many have not lived through a recession, they live like it can’t ever happen to them.

When he first started working in this company, he found himself doing phone collections as he is even tempered, and bilingual. He was utterly shocked at the names and addresses of those he had to chase. Over the next couple of years, the volume multiplied exponentially, prompting him to seriously review his own behaviour towards credit, as well as participating in creating new policies and procedures for his employer. He discovered that their cost of collections was rapidly exceeding the profit margins on some of their contracts. Obviously, like everything else, there are some millennials who are hardworking and fiscally responsible, and I certainly know many of them. They are living well within their means, not eating in posh restaurants, wearing flashy designer clothes, instead they are concentrating on their careers and their futures over the immediate 10 second gratification of a selfie!! Their view is long term, with certain goals to be met along the way.

However, walk down any main street, look into fancy restaurants, high end designer shops, art galleries, and see people more focused on the phones in their hands than their surroundings. Image, for them, is everything, and it is managed practically down to the nanosecond. As discussed in previous blogs, one has to wonder as to how long term friendships can possibly be made, as everything is superficial and only about the instant image. How many ‘friendships’ will endure the endless hardships and mishaps that come with life?? From job loss, health issues, family problems…….financial problems…….who will remain??

What started as a polite explanation of their business practices evolved into a 40 minute discussion of millennials and their extraordinary sense of entitlement. Feeling that it is acceptable not paying others for their time and services, at the same time as over valuing their own contributions.

In our business, we unfortunately encounter this arrogance on a daily basis, the extraordinary lack of courtesy and respect. Like every industry, there are individuals and companies who have made it difficult through their bad behaviour, however, new trends like ghosting employers, brings bad behaviour to a new level, never before seen. Not responding to phone calls or emails, they have not yet learned that people running business actually do speak to one another, and names of offenders are shared, sometimes even between competitors.

Call someone with over 20 years of experience, you usually get a call back within a short period of time, if some time elapses, one usually receives an apology for the delay. Call the President of a Fortune 500 company, they usually call back within an hour. Call someone with under 10 years of experience, expect utter silence, or total condescension and incredible arrogance… I frankly have a hard time with some of the things I have heard over the phone…….from strangers, who have no clue who they are speaking to, but feel that they are superior,and untouchable. My contact lists are exploding with notes against people’s names describing their rudeness, and whatever the industry, the behaviour is a constant. Having friends and acquaintances in every possible industry imaginable, it is a common theme.

SO, return calls, return emails, be gracious, you never know who is watching, or more importantly, what you could be missing. Some of the people I have called have missed out on opportunities where they could DOUBLE their salaries and work for extraordinary companies. They will never know. I will NEVER contact them again, EVER. From shops to galleries, restaurants, their names are increasingly on lists, and increasingly, they are being shared. There is never an excuse for seriously bad behaviour.

Whatever Happened to Discretion??

There was a time when people of a certain class were proud to keep their private lives out of the public eye. Your name was in the newspaper at birth, marriage and at death, and every effort was made to keep it out for the balance of their lives.

Today, with Social Media, you are considered a loser if you don’t have thousands or even millions of followers on Facebook , Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin filled with endless selfies, delivered almost every millisecond to ensure maximum exposure.

Bragging has become the lexicon for success and visibility. Life is measured and appraised by following the so-called ‘influencers’ on Instagram, snapping images of every facet of their lives, ostensibly to deliver instantaneous views, the rhetoric defining their lives, questionable, as to whether all this actually delivers quantifiable results beyond ego enhancement.

It is a pernicious, dangerous path, for when life and one’s popularity are measured in micro-moments, how can you develop real, honest, and not simply imagined friends??

Is it a real life or a fictitious, staged existence for a fickle, imagined audience, living vicariously through the imagined lives of the various individuals they follow?? Poses in luxurious surroundings, shows of extravagance, beautiful possessions, often staged in shops or in borrowed clothes and homes of friends or acquaintances for long enough to take a selfie.
These same people, dropped equally fast when someone new and more fabulous emerges into view.

Whatever happened to NOT bragging about one’s wealth, popularity or success?? About being gracious, discreet, elegant, kind??

Some people have hundreds of birthday greetings with gushing adoration from their followers, yet spend the actual day totally alone.

Certain individuals have their PR Maven’s on speed-dial racing to ring up newspapers or posting endlessly on Social Media the staged fabulousness of their clients, be it their so-called social lives or business successes.
Appearances at cocktails, balls, gallery openings, conferences, meticulously posted with the requisite photograph to promote their fabulousness. But what do they truly have to offer beyond their staged, fake lives?? Are they educated?? Travelled?? Sophisticated?? Elegant?? Interesting?? Well Spoken?? Have they actually done ANYTHING beyond actually showing up?? Can one actually have an interesting conversation about something other than themselves??

It is extremely unfortunate that in today’s world, being on Social Media is no longer a choice but a necessity, driven by the impression that with no media presence either you or your company do not exist. That most of the most extraordinary websites are for companies that barely exist, and many of the truly successful ones, barely have a social presence. They actually provide a product or service which is in demand within their industry, and do not wish to be inundated with spam.

People do business with people. People make friends with people. People DO NOT do business with Social Media. Some people actually value discretion.

It’s in the CLOUD!!!

Do you really know where your data is??

Open a magazine, TV, You Tube Hosted news, and see endless advertisements from large companies professing their professionalism and boasting about their ability to host and manage your data in the cloud.

Very few people actually even know what that means. Speak to most people particularly those who are not from the technology sector, and they will actually point to the sky and show you a fluffy cloud, amusing, yes, but frightfully inaccurate. Many Senior Executives in huge corporations are equally naïve, even though slick salesmen are offering them spectacular deals if they put their systems on their particular ‘cloud’.

But WHAT IS the cloud??

Remember outsourcing?? Service bureau’s?? Cloud is the latest, greatest new buzzword to describe putting your business’s critical information on SOMEONE ELSE’s COMPUTERS!!

NOW are you paying attention??

The financial wizards in large corporations, always quick to embrace a new scheme to reduce costs are jumping on the bandwagon as the cost of hosting your own data and managing your OWN off site back up facility have escalated due to the increased costs of real estate and highly technically competent individuals to run it. But at what long term cost??

Being a skeptic at the best of times, I have serious issues with the fact that an unknown third party is hosting all my financial or personal data without either my approval or knowledge, not to mention the fact that it may be hosted in another country with lax privacy controls or legislation. Most companies brag endlessly about their enhanced IT Security, but the truth is, if you speak to the truly Senior Security Specialists in the industry, most will laugh at the pathetic controls of most Fortune 500 corporations.

We have been working in the Security and Privacy field for more years than I will attest to, and have interviewed and worked with endless individuals who are ethical hackers, individuals with high level Security Clearance working in the Government or large corporations, and very few believe that most companies have a fraction of the controls which are necessary. Security may be tight going through the front door, but who is watching the back door?? Yes, it is expensive, but so is being hacked, and losing control of EVERYTHING.

SO, Financial Companies, Healthcare, Legal, Insurance, Government, Transportation, all state unequivocally that your personal information is secure with them, only to turn around and host everything on a third party computer, over the internet, often in a foreign country.

So, what is cloud computing??

It is the practice of using a network of remote servers over the internet to store, manage and process data.

Please pay particular attention to the above. Read it twice, thrice, and PAY ATTENTION.

You DO NOT KNOW where your data resides, or who truly has access. All the promises of security are of absolutely NO VALUE if a junior network technician in the hosting facility clones your data.

Furthermore, to be very clear, Canada, the USA, and other countries have very different levels of legislation to manage the privacy of data.

The next issue, which no one ever wants to address or acknowledge, if what exactly happens if the systems go down, you have absolutely no way of resolving the problem, and lastly, my absolute favourite, is what exactly happens if your provider goes bankrupt or is sold?? Non of which are within your purvue.

SO, to summarize, your business processses are at risk, your confidential data is at risk your technical publications are at risk, your R & D is at risk, your client’s confidential information is at risk, your financial information is at risk………

Are we paying attention yet???

Perceptions…

Why is it that some people are attracted to someone and will sing their praises regardless of being shown something totally contrary to their beliefs, and someone else will absolutely despise the object of their praises??

There are a variety of reasons which can contribute to this, including, but not limited to the following:

SITUATIONAL

Someone you know and respect introduces you to someone and exclaims how fabulous, kind, generous, considerate and otherwise wonderful they are, and how you would be well suited to befriend them.

RELIGIOUS

Many people join religious groups, willingly, or unwillingly, due to societal or parental pressure, and make the incumbent feel non-worthy if they are not part of the group, or even totally shunned by their community.

POLITICAL

See religious

HAVING A BAD DAY

If you are feeling sad or unwell, being told how you MUST like someone may actually anger you and change your feelings towards the innocent person, as you would rather be elsewhere, and not forced into a fake smile and an unwanted conversation. The unfortunate object of your feelings being totally innocent.

REFERRED BY SOMEONE YOU RESPECT

With flowery but not so subtle pressure to adhere to the group. Ergo, we all think this person is, fill in the blanks, wonderful, special, generous, one of us…..or in the case of a business referral, it could be their friend, boss, mentor, foe, or simply an honest referral out of generosity.

PRAISED BY SOMEONE YOU DESPISE

How many times have you been in a business or social situation where someone is presented to the group as a ‘person of value’ by someone you do not respect?? Society dictates that you smile graciously and extend your hand in friendship and acceptance, and try to put your personal feelings behind you. Unfortunately many people believe that their ‘first impressions’ are accurate, and they are NOT. Just because you do not like the person making the introduction does not mean the object of their introduction bears any resemblance to them and is not actually wonderful.

PHYSICAL

Illogical physical revulsion to someone for no apparent reason.

SOCIETAL

Some individuals adhere to strict societal rules and norms and are afraid to venture outside the limits of who and what they are told to approve. This is extremely unfortunate, as they miss out on the immense joy of meeting people from all walks of life and extraordinary experiences.

PHYSICAL APPEARANCE

Like it or not, our makeup drives a physical revulsion or in the case of extreme good looks, acceptance. But just because someone is either very pleasant or unpleasant on the eyes does not make them less of a person. Are you able to step back and look into the soul of someone and establish who they really are simply based upon appearance?? Usually the unattractive one is the most interesting, as they have had to work harder at being accepted.

LIFE EXPERIENCES

We all have totally different life experiences which guide us in many of the choices we make, willingly or unwillingly. If you come from a fairly socially isolated community, your views on other races or nationalities, as well as socio-economic vagaries , will be inaccurate based upon sheer ignorance. Someone who has travelled extensively will be much more open minded and accepting of others than someone who has neither travelled nor integrated within other communities.

SOCIO-ECONOMIC

Some people do not venture outside of whatever they perceive to be their socio-economic group, as they consider people who are poorer to be somehow inferior. How many interviews have you heard of arrogant music or movie stars speaking about how they can only socialize with their peers as ‘no one understands them’. They have forgotten where they come from, usually poor. The extremely wealthy often only socialize with other very wealthy people, as they are afraid that everyone else is out to profit from them, the joke is, we regularly hear of poseurs giving themselves titles and English accents and being invited as ‘entertaining guests’, one was recently exposed on television……and yes, it was hysterical.
But there are also social climbers who are so intent on climbing that invisible ladder that they will insult and snub anyone they do not deem important enough, and this is VERY dangerous. Often the most wealthy people are the least obvious, and believe me, they are paying attention, and they DO NOT CARE. They know who they are.

But life plays funny tricks and judgement is often totally flawed. How many times have I heard some social climber discuss how they need to associate with ‘people like us’, yet the reality is that they are pretentious frauds, their actual childhoods totally contrary to the glorious image they are trying to convey.
How many people have built huge empires only to lose them, and turn around and build something more successful than ever before?? So, if you meet them on the way down, are they losers, or is it simply bad timing?? And who is really the loser?? The poseur or the person who fell on hard times??

Due to the nature of our business as well as intensive travel, I have learned over the years NOT to judge anything on first impressions, as they are wildly inaccurate. The well dressed, well coiffed individual with the ‘right’ car, ‘right address’, may be hugely in debt, but the person in the older clothes, driving a 10 year old car, living in a smaller house in a modest neighbourhood may be incredibly wealthy. Think Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway. Billionaire. Old car, bad clothes, small, modest house.

For years we have been told endlessly that ‘clothes make the man/woman” but too flashy often denotes insecurity and poverty. If you are truly successful, you do not require your clothes to make a statement for you.

MORAL JUDGEMENT

People are often judged by their jobs, like it or not. Taxi driver, janitor, …. How many lawyers have put themselves through law school working as strippers or waitresses?? At the time, they are judged by those who ‘hold their noses in moral judgement’ and are treated as prostitutes, whether or not they are actually performing the service. But, who is more honest?? The woman who only sleeps with fabulously wealthy men in order to secure her financial future or the stripper?? ( if you think you may be reading between the lines, think of a highly publicized US stripper…..just saying!!!)) sorry, I actually vote for the stripper.

UNPLEASANT COUNTENANCE

Someone is introduced to you with a snarl on their face. Are they actually unpleasant or just being forced into an unwanted situation??

BIG COSMOPOLITAN CITIES

Yes, I actually have to include this. People who travel extensively and live in large cosmopolitan cities tend to be more open minded and inclusive than those from small isolated towns where everyone is the same and have known each other since they were born….

SOMETHING TO GAIN

Unfortunately, some individuals show many different faces, and this issue is huge. The premise being their innate kindness and generosity which is given only to those they consider to be of ‘value’, anyone they judge to be socially inferior or competition to whatever their cause, are dispensed with in an utterly ruthless fashion. Do NOT attempt to explain this phenomenon to the recipient of their largess, as not only will it fall on very deaf ears, but you will come off as the ‘bad guy. How could this marvelous person ever do something nasty?? They are so…..add adjective….. but to others, they are NOT.

SO, what is the point of all this??

Depending on our life experiences, narrow or open mindedness, our perceptions can be skewered.
Are you having a bad day?? Good day?
Feeling unwell?
Happy?
Sad?
Take a step backwards in your head, appraise the situation , your feelings, logical or not, and evaluate.

If I perceive that any of the above are a likelihood, I actually do something unique. I REFERENCE my subject, and as women are extremely harsh on one another, I try to do a cross section, men and women, and people who have no reason but to give their honest opinion.
The responses have been unexpected and extraordinary. Some wildly entertaining, some horrifying.

Remember, FIRST IMPRESSIONS are wrong…….

WHO are you??

Perception is everything, or is it??
Do you really know who someone truly is??

Some people are awesome at self-promotion, to the extent that they will engage the services of a PR to develop their ‘brand’ or public personae, and it is amazing just who pays for it. There are innumerable socialites and business people who pay for the proper introductions, and invitations to sparkly events so they can meet the ‘right’ people.

Different people may perceive the same person in totally different ways, one may be excited to be their ‘friend’ , in newspeak, ‘honoured’ to be their acquaintance, when another may see them as a total fraud. Who is right??
Obviously, there is context, as well as personal experience and judgement.
Add to that, the fact that some view the world through pink lenses, and always believe what they are told. So, if they were introduced to someone and told the individual is super successful, the new associate will obviously identify with them in a positive manner.
Issues include context, social, business, timing, physical chemistry, jealousy, as well as something as simple as having a good or bad day. Some people are gullible, and are totally swayed by those who are able self promoters, they truly WANT to believe. The art of self-aggrandizement, particularly today with the volume and nature of social media, as well as many people feeling socially inferior, are apt to grasp on to the person who appears to have a large, fabulous life, as they hope that, by extension, they will be a part of it.
The question which must be asked is, how much is real?? Are you a follower, a believer or a doubter??
Admittedly, I am a doubter, If something or someone appears too good to be true, and I have never either heard of them, or been under a totally different perception, I tend to investigate to establish whether my perceptions and at times physical reaction to someone is accurate.
I know for a fact that I am the epitome of the wrong first impression, most women who judge me and know nothing about me are virtually ALWAYS wrong, and I mean TOTALLY wrong, not just a little, and this is the basis point for this discussion.

The younger generation are obsessed with following movie stars and bloggers and their perceived ‘fabulous lives’, but how much is true?? We know that you can actually BUY friends and ‘clicks’ today, so, do they really have 1 million followers, or is it really 50,000 and a lot of buying power??
If you are trying to associate with someone simply because you believe them to be successful, shouldn’t you ask the question as to why they would actually want to associate with YOU??? What is it they are seeking? Friends?? Sycophants?? Or is it more of the façade……? Do they feel so insecure that they need to have someone with them at all times??

Actions speak louder than words, so follow the actions and not the rhetoric. The reality may be far from what you perceive……….

Happiness

Does it exist anymore??
Do people still understand joy?
Uncontrollable laughter?
Doing things which are kind, positive, generous, with no expectations?
Being nonsensical?

Today’s political correctness enables a terrible fear to express joy and imagination.

In England, being ‘eccentric’ is virtually a badge of honour, it defines an individual free of social binds, and a willingness to follow one’s own path.
Walk on any major street in London, or go to the street markets, and see the most incredible outfits, exhibited with utter freedom.
Go to the Royal Enclosure at Ascot on Ladies’ Day, and witness the most extraordinary hats and a spectacular fashion parade. Photographers from all over the world congregate to photograph the spectacle, and the fun people are having.
Total freedom from criticism and judgement. Freedom to be creative and happy and act it out.

When did you last experience true bliss??

Go to a trendy restaurant, a social event, look around and see how many people are actually having fun, laughing, being free. Having actual conversations, looking at one another, giggling , but not at the expense of others.

Everyone takes life so seriously, they forgotten the concept of happiness, laughter, joy. Everything is all about image, prestige, power, or the perception of same, instead of actually going to an event to enjoy the experience and the company of those around them, actually enjoying the moment.

When is the last time you did something to give joy to another person?
To make them laugh?
Feel important?
Smiled at a stranger?
Did something kind for a stranger and not expecting anything in return, or expecting bragging rights?
Had a conversation with someone and made THEM feel important?
Not being cruel, selfish.

Try and make someone happy today. It is extremely contagious.

Trying to get perspective