Living in a World of Make Believe

“if he said it, then it must be true….”

“if it is on-line, it must be true….”

”if it is on a resume, it must be true….”

“ if it is printed, it must be true….”

But it is NOT.

It is ALL make believe.

Facebook recently deleted over 1.3 MILLION fake accounts, and they admitted publicly that they have just scratched the surface.

The Leader of the free world has been fact checked, and is currently at approximately 7000 documented lies. Yes, 7000. Documented. Filmed.
He has a seriously loose relationship with the truth.

There are endless fake handbags wandering around on the arms of pretentious women. Go shopping, see them flashing their handbags, carrying them in a showy pretentious fashion so the world can see them, but they are obviously FAKE. A serious copyright infringement. But why would you want to flaunt something so clearly fake??

Endless photographs of make believe fabulous lives which are constructed and curated for maximum impact. If it is photographed, it must be true…….NOT.

Huge advertisements of outstanding achievements in magazines and newspapers, carefully placed and paid for by the actual individual promoting themselves, from real estate agents to start up companies to socialites, …advertising WORKS……. People naively believe the printed word.

Business executives, socialites, corporations pay millions to PR firms to promote them and their services and expound on their fabulousness and awesome success…..the best defense is a good offence…….

Resumes of individuals proclaiming their extraordinary careers and titles. How does someone graduate and become the Director of a company with NO previous work experience?? Or go from junior programmer to Vice President within a couple of years?? One financial institution actually gives programmers the title of Vice President once they have a couple of years of experience. Flattery works, much easier than a pay raise. Many in the industry laugh at them strutting around handing out their business cards, and refer to them as “ Vice Programmer….” Of course, their salaries are the obvious tell tale….$70,000 annually does not a Vice President make in the Financial industry……
Unfortunately, this practice takes away from the credibility of others who have MBA’s and over 25 years of actual work experience who have sacrificed their time and lives to reach that pinnacle of their careers…..

There are people who are fired repeatedly for fraud, drunkenness, laziness, or their total inability to work with others, and cover it up by proclaiming they are the President of a Consulting Company and these short stops were only short term mandates.
Several individuals lost their positions after being caught in a serious fraud within a bank. See the resumes on Linkedin of these individuals who could not find work for months, and see a fascinating picture emerge. One changed their name, a couple of others re-invented themselves as “Consultants” to cover the huge amount of time missing on their resumes. The problem with this, is that they are ALL currently employed within other financial institutions, as NO ONE DID PROPER REFERENCES on them.

Some other terrifying examples of this include a well known hacker who is known to brag repeatedly about all the confidential information he has amassed on his previous employers, from social insurance numbers, medicare numbers, addresses, birth dates, direct deposit information and more. In their rush to join the ranks of large consulting firms offering cybersecurity services, he was hired as Partner. He consults to big banks and is charged out at astronomical hourly rates as an expert. Did anyone actually speak to ANY of his former co-workers?? I certainly did. Several of them in fact. This man is absolutely terrifying.
He is currently at a high point in his career, what happens to all the information he has amassed when he crashes??

Then there are the Senior Executives of large publicly traded corporations who are always present on the Social and Business scene, giving huge donations in order to promote their image and that of their firms. If someone gives to charity, they must be a good person……..NOT necessarily, they are building a PUBLIC image, and IT IS NOT THEIR MONEY.

I have spoken of this before, but it is appropriate to include in this BLOG.
A couple of years ago, a client rang me up to inquire about a Senior Consultant currently on assignment in his company. He had SERIOUS doubts about the competence of this person, and wondered if I knew of him. I had NEVER heard of this individual, which was surprising, as we have done a lot of work in that particular sector of the IT industry. As the client is someone I like and respect, I got to work investigating this person. The more I dug, the less I knew. One thing which was clear, he had one of the most brilliant, most elegantly constructed web sites I have ever seen. Upon further investigation, using Google maps, I ascertained that this huge enterprise he was managing had only one employee, that being him, and the address was his basement.
Several calls to those in the know, NO ONE, let me repeat, NO ONE had ever heard of him, and his certification claims were utterly bogus.
Back to the Linkedin resume and more surfing.
His University degrees also turned out to be fake.

SO, he was billing at $180 per hour. He was a liar, incompetent, a total fraud. That is not a huge amount of money in the scheme of a corporate IT budget, but what if there are 10 of them in the department??
He was terminated. His linkedin resume and his beautiful website disappeared. He has probably changed the letters in his name slightly in order to move on to another unsuspecting victim.

Another individual was fired and imprisoned for dealing hard drugs. His on line resume does not show ANY blanks in time. According to his resume, he was always employed. How could a large corporation have possibly back ground checked him in order employ this individual in Security and Infrastructure ?? Clearly they did not.
Unfortunately, a number of large corporations outsource the resume checking service to third parties, who do minor checking for large fees…….the best references are NOT the ones the individual had provided, usually people who were co-workers and have nothing to gain or lose……

Remember Bernie Madoff???? Uber connected socially, well respected, gave to charity… NOTHING was real. I know several individuals in Palm Beach who unfortunately invested with him and LOST it ALL. …..NO ONE could believe he was such a fraud, he was so charming……

Companies regularly sell services to unsuspecting clients because they WANT to believe the charming salesman. He is charming, entertains them with endless anecdotes, serves them fine wines and brings them to locales they could only dream about….flattered and told how important they are, they readily sign on the dotted line for services which bear no resemblance to their actual needs. Time elapses, deadlines are not met, costs escalate, the product does not meet their demands, and once again, they are taken to yet another even more fabulous event to help them forget the millions they have spent on nothing.

It is human nature to want to be liked, flattered, entertained, to be part of the ‘in crowd”, to want to be associated with those in power, those they consider the “ BEST in BREED”…
Until they are NOT.

Have you done YOUR homework???

On Being selfish

We have all met them, it could be a friend, family member, work associate, but it is ALWAYS about them. Their image, their birthday, their finances, their needs. But what happened to the rest of us??

Manners are considered to be the social grease. Perhaps not the most elegant choice of words, however, having good manners at the very base, is having consideration for others. 

Not doing to others what one does not wish to have done to oneself.

Selfishness rears its ugly head in a myriad of ways, it can be cloaked in jealousy, arrogance, or just the total lack of empathy or consideration of others.

From those who post endlessly on Facebook, and want us to ‘like’ and ‘share’ their beliefs, events, and successes, but would never consider doing the same for others.

Those who only promote or help those who they think can advance their own cause. 

Those who argue their beliefs but are utterly unwilling to allow that others may have a totally different opinion. Our life experiences are all different,  the best part about meeting and conversing with people is that one can actually learn, and sometimes from the most unlikely people. 

Not responding to an RSVP in a timely and considerate way, waiting until the last  possible moment in case something better turns up, but ignoring the fact that the person extending the invitation has to plan and purchase food and drink accordingly, as well as planning for the number of wait staff if it is a large event.

Turning up at an event with an unexpected guest or guests, and not warning the host prior to your arrival, forcing them to scramble trying to set extra places at the table, and figure out just HOW to extend the allocated food to feed the extra mouths, given the meal was planned for a lesser number of guests.

Not sharing information in a business setting in order to appear more important than they are. This works for a while, but inevitably backfires, as once people catch on, they will actually cease inviting the hoarder to meetings. 

Not considering that other people actually have feelings, and your words are harsh and hurtful.

Always turining up at a Dinner Table or Cocktail party empty handed, regardless the event. Have you ever considered just how much work it is to entertain, and just how much it costs??

Expecting fabulous gifts for your birthday, wedding, Christmas……and receiving amazing thoughtful gifts, but never reciprocating?? Regardless of whether it is your family or best friend, it is simply arrogant and rude.  Just like you love the excitement of unwrapping an amazing gift or gifts, so do they.

Please do not insult our intelligence by stating that you did not have time or that money is tight, but then sit and talk about all the posh restaurants and bars you have visited, the new shoes and purse, trip, car… you just purchased, the fun events you have been to, as you chow down on our food and drink. You knew about the event well in advance and had ample time to arrange something. If you are really that clueless about what to purchase for someone, PICK UP THE PHONE and ask someone.

I had one friend who actually was generous, however her constant borrowing of money and complaining about being broke at the same time as showing off another $4000 handbag or another trip to Europe simply became too much. Just making a feeble attempt to pay back SOMETHING would have been an amazing gesture, but it never came. 

People wanting your professional advice in business, yet always telling you that they can’t provide any assistance for whatever reason  when you need something in return…..hellooo??

People in Vintage and Antique stores selling you something and exclaiming how fabulous it is until you have paid for it, but if, heaven forbid, you wish to sell it at a later date telling you that it is worthless after they have insulted it for 5 minutes….

Can you really hear yourself??  And WHY on earth would I EVER buy from you again??   

We live in interesting times. 

A little consideration and generosity goes a long way.

We DO remember.

Whatever happened to?

Whatever happened to……

… thanking your friends for being there for you

… being discreet about your bedroom proclivities

… not belching, farting, sneezing, coughing loudly in front of others

… saying please and thank you

… managing by walking around

… doing proper, detailed references when hiring

… paying your suppliers

… paying back the endless loans you took from friends

… teaching and speaking the truth

… honesty

… not having your hand out at others you believe more successful than yourself

… keeping your word

… being considerate of others

… not cyberbullying strangers you disagree with

… not expecting others to pay for your latest feel good vanity charity

… not driving on black ice like a maniac and risking the lives of everyone around you

… not pontificating on how you wish to be perceived as elegant then stiffing all your friends on restaurant and taxi charges

… not spreading cruel rumours about those of whom you are actually seriously jealous

… behaving like you are an expert about everything, you are NOT

… not bragging endlessly about your latest trip

… not showing everyone endless photographs of your children or grandchildren

… not screaming down others when they try to speak

… not taking the credit for the work done by others

… acknowledging the kindness of others

… stepping in to stop bullying

… actually holding the door open for the person behind you

… saying THANK YOU to the person who held the door open for you

… saying thank you to your clients

… not cutting or cleaning your nails in public

… not picking your teeth at the table

… not shoving your latest dietary obsession down everyone’s throats

… not insisting you know best about which car one requires

… not answering emails

… not answering telephone calls

SAYING PLEASE and THANK YOU

More Telephone Insanity……

While Senior Executives go to meet with one another at exquisite restaurants for lunch, or on the golf course, no one is apparently left behind to manage the zoo.

There are endless books written on Management Style, and one wonders if any of the current batch of Senior Executives has actually read any of them. MBA schools are pumping out graduates who can read a Financial Statement and strategize on business approaches, many analyzing the past failures of companies which have met their demise, but the most important facet of good management is good people skills, and what used to be known as “ Managing by Walking Around” , or, “Leading by Example”.
Do any Senior Executives actually know who is working for them any more other than a handful of their closest minions??

Speak with Senior Individuals in many Fortune 500 Corporations, and learn that there is little if any interaction between the Senior Executives and lower level employees. This is utter insanity as they are actually the ones who truly know what is happening in the trenches, and are best positioned to make recommendations to improve problems.

How many Senior Executives have taken the time to call their OWN Company’s switchboard from an outside, anonymous phone, and try to navigate it without identifying themselves?? If they actually tried, they would be horrified at the way their staff speak to potential or existing clients. Increasingly, companies are dispensing totally with receptionists and decided that they no longer require humans to answer the phone, that voice response systems are the answer to everything.
Then, just to really prove the point, have their WIFE call from an outside, anonymous phone, NOT identify herself, and see if she can navigate the system, and just how rudely she is treated. NO, if there are actually are human receptionists, they DO NOT treat women as politely as men. We have tried the exercise repeatedly, a man is flirted with and usually passed through, a woman is rudely interrogated.

So, what happens if an outsider tries to call one of these companies about an emergency situation and does not know anyone in the company or have a direct phone number for someone?? They will be bounced around a voice response system, and ultimately the system will hang up on them as it is incapable of making a decision.

We recently called numerous pool companies, as our swimming pool is in need of maintenance. Sound easy?? Apparently not.
Several companies had employees answer the phone, only to bounce the call from one to the other, with NO ONE willing to actually take any responsibility to take down the information and provide a quotation.
Several hours later, only ONE company politely responded and provided a quote. NO ONE, let me reiterate, NO ONE at the other companies even knows that a potential client called. The staff were totally belligerent and utterly disinterested.

From leaving messages on voice mail systems which are never returned, to receptionists who interrogate callers as to the reason for their call, to administrative assistants who behave like jealous wives, it is absolutely extraordinary that some of these corporations actually stay in business.

Some so called ‘Service’ companies no longer list their switchboard number for fear of people calling their Senior Executives to lodge complaints. If there are SO MANY complaints, perhaps some thought might be directed at actually FIXING THE PROBLEM…..and not hiding behind closed doors and anonymous phone numbers.

I speak with people constantly who have the same complaints. In many cases, they simply bring their business elsewhere. From changing banks to airlines to technology providers, if you can’t reach a polite individual who is actually willing to take the time to have a conversation, why would you continue to pay them money??

We have reached a level or telephone rudeness and insanity which boggles the mind.

What to do when the head hunter calls….

We have been in a market expansion for a number of years, and millennial’s have been extraordinarily fortunate to have never lived through a major market meltdown, never lived through high double digit interest rates or massive layoffs.

This has brought a level of arrogance which most employers find extraordinary. Candidates are approached for positions and their responses are often arrogant beyond belief, Granted, many are being approached by a panoply of individuals, however, being rude or simply not returning phone calls is NOT the answer. We are ALL being approached, regardless of our level or title, often by rude, low level clerks in agencies who have absolutely no clue about our industry. Yes, being called by an idiotic 19 year old with 3 weeks of work experience is not ideal by any stretch of the imagination, but we are not all created equally. Some of us actually have more industry experience than you have, so being flippant, condescending and downright rude, is not appreciated.

When the market ultimately crashes and thousands lose their cushy jobs with free food and sleep rooms, we will remember those who were mind numbingly rude. Yes, we actually do keep notes, and we actually are known to share.

If you are asked to something by a Senior Head Hunter, from changes on your resume to providing documents, do it immediately. If you are asked a second or third time, you are simply proving that your career advancement is not that important to you. If you say you will call on a particular day, do it, or follow up with a note or call to apologize, and schedule your next call. Life throws us all situations where we are not able to deliver on a promise, but calling to apologize immediately is the best response.

Do NOT tell the Head Hunter you are too busy or worse, too important. They may have the opportunity of a life time, and you just convinced them that you are not the ideal candidate.
The last individual who told me that missed out on an amazing opportunity. The candidate who took the position was promoted after several months and is earning over twice the salary, not to mention extraordinary benefits, than one of the individuals who told me he was a ‘very busy, important man”…..yup, he is still at his old employer earning a fraction of the lucky candidate. Guess he is not so important after all. NO, he will never be called again.

Do NOT tell Senior Head Hunters you know better than them, you would be surprised at the mandates we receive. Some executive somewhere is paying us to find the best. To presume that you know better, is to essentially say that the Senior Executive who gave us the mandate is stupid. Do you really want to do that???

Our Consultancy is actually just that, a High End IT Consultancy, we all have over 25 years of actual IT experience. Some more technical than others. Never did we plan on doing Search, but after being lied to and scammed by several agencies in the past, we ascertained that there HAD to be a better way, our clients agreed. We started in Search with more mandates than we could ever possibly fill.

Just because you feel some sense of importance having received several calls for new positions, do NOT become arrogant. People speak, even competitors. High End Head Hunters also speak with their clients and will give names of individuals to ‘KEEP OFF’.

Our database literally has hundreds of names marked with the notation , KEEP OFF’.

People who were rude, chauvinistic, arrogant, do not return phone calls, did not deliver on promises, have bad references, were fired repeatedly, have fake degrees, fake job titles, have resumes on Linkedin which bear NO resemblance to the 5 we currently have on file, or are on the take.
It is easy to be arrogant when the market is booming, but it always crashes, and many of the rudest people are the ones who call back like they are your ‘NEW BEST FRIEND’ …do you really think we are remotely interested in helping them??? If they are rude to us, just how rude are they within the companies where they work??

If a Senior Head Hunter gives you advice on anything from dressing, etiquette, hygiene, comportment, listen to them. A Senior Executive is paying for their expertise, and you are NOT the only person out there.

For those of us who have survived numerous recessions and even depressions, our clients come to us for a reason, and they are paying for our expertise. We actually do understand the mandate and are seeking the brightest, best out there, and manners figure very loudly into that equation. And YES, we are paying attention. If your behaviour is rude or arrogant, how can we possibly trust you to work within the client environment??
Taking yourself too seriously will have us running to find someone with a sense of humour and humility.
Yes, I absolutely used the word humility. Don’t have any, don’t call us.

Wake up people.
You are just NOT THAT SPECIAL.

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.

Trying to get perspective