fighting the lack of good ideas

professional lying – or is it laziness?

I have noticed an unusual percentage of professional CVs/work histories/resumes on LinkedIn (specifically) that have some fairly blatant errors in them.

For example, I have seen people list multiple full-time jobs that they could not have had at the same time (eg, both at one employer and also at the company that acquired their old employer).

I’ve also seen people claim to have accomplished things or be in a role that is either flat-out wrong, or worded in a weaselly way that looks like they’ve accomplished a lot more than they really did (eg showing only their current title at their current employer, but listing the start date as their initial hire date, and only listing their current accomplishments/roles (or listing all of them, but implying they did something that other individuals were actually responsible for)).

I’ve also seen LinkedIn profiles that are spartanly-populated – which is cool, that kinda follows my personal philosophy of never putting anything on my resume I don’t want to be asked about. But the ones that are full of – at the very least – questionable entries on their work history seem very troubling to me.

why have email confidentiality notices?

Lots of corporations automatically append something like the following to emails sent outside their own servers:

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This email communication is intended only for the personal and confidential use of the recipient(s) designated above and may contain information which is subject to Federal and/or State privacy laws. In the event that you are not the intended recipient or the agent of the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any review, disclosure, or use of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited. Do not copy or use the information contained within this communication, or allow it to be read, copied or utilized in any manner by any other person(s). If you have received this communication in error, please notify the sender immediately, either by response e-mail or by phone, and permanently delete the original e-mail, any attachment(s), and copies.

I’ve never understood this – if you were NOT the intended recipient, why would you keep the message, and not just think it was spam? Or, if you’re feeling charitable, why would you not reply to the sender and tell them they have the wrong person?

I think message like this are added by administrators who don’t grok how email works – it’s an electronic postcard: there is no special security, so if you misaddress it, then who ever gets it, gets it.

Email stops, and potentially is collected, at some many different places along its delivery path that such a “disclaimer” is completely pointless.

the two things

I recently came across “The Two Things“, a somewhat old, but possibly still accurate (or at least humorous look) at a variety of topics.

You know, the Two Things. For every subject, there are really only two things you really need to know. Everything else is the application of those two things, or just not important.

It’s got me wondering – if you had to give The Two Things about your job/field, what would they be?

And – if you had to describe your whole job in a tweet (<= 140 characters), could you do it?

gaming expense reports? really?

At various stages in my career, I have traveled extensively – yet never even thought of “gaming” the expense reproting system the way it has been recently reported by CNN.

Being terminated over charging a movie to your room? Seems harsh (getting the $9.95 back from the employee would seem to be easier) – but breaking the rule is breaking the rule.

Being terminated over buying gum? Ok, so I WOULD terminate somebody over that … but I hate the stuff 😉

But it’s repulsive, revolting, and wrong
chewing and chewing all day long
The way that a cow does*

There are a host of ways listed in the article – that I find truly shocking – to cheat on expense reports: blank receipts? buying gifts and then selling them on eBay? double-billing? Wow. The sheer effort taken by some people to cheat is astonishing!

Where I work now has a corporate credit card issued to every traveling employee. The only time we submit non-AmEx charges is if a place doesn’t accept AmEx: it’s just way easier to use the corporate card than it is to try to give all the supporting documentation of a personal card. Plus, there’s the benefit that it’s not my personal limit that is being affected if a customer delays in paying a bill.

Everyone that works where I do now also follows the expense guidelines we have – don’t exceed the IRS per diem rate for your region (on average). If you want to eat someplace nice for dinner – that’s fine. Just eat someplace less expensive the next day. Sticking within the rules isn’t that hard … so why would you want to try to evade them and end up with employment history issues like termination on your record?

personal vs professional blogging

A friend of mine recently pointed me at the newspaper-associated blog of a “recent Appalachian State University graduate and now a freelance reporter for The Charlotte Observer”.

Ms Penland seems like a nice person – but her writing is not at all what I would expect for a blog associated with a newspaper – it is far more like a personal journal of a teenager than a professional blog of a reporter.

I’m all for personal voice showing-up in folks’ writing (it certainly does on all of the blogs I follow – and on the ones I write ;)) – but when you’re writing reviews for a newspaper, it would seem like you’d try to be a bit more … professional in your writing.

Besides the myriad grammar errors (I know – we all have them, but certainly some proofreading should be done to catch things like “was is“), it seems she has a routine dislike for “chains” – and yet visits many. She also refers to her boyfriend in many of her reviews: a perfectly fine thing to do in passing, but she ends up making some of them more about him than about the place they went.

As a “recent graduate”, I wouldn’t necessarily expect Brittany’s writing to be on par with, say, Malcolm Gladwell, but I would expect it to be at the level of, well, a college graduate. (I have seen some collegiate writing that appalled me when I was in school – writing submitted by 4th year English Majors that looked like it was pulled from a 6th grade student’s portfolio: but those folks don’t [typically] get hired by newspapers… do they?)

I hope Ms Penland’s writing improves dramatically through her “freelance” association with the Observer, but I also hope that the Observer doesn’t have too many folks like her writing in association with them: it reflects poorly on their editorial staff and hiring practices if they do.

digital lostness

As with many others, I suppose, I have various email address come and go: perhaps via job changes, or graduating/changing schools, deciding to sell a domain, or any of a host of other reasons.

There’s a problem with that, though: when those changes happen, sometimes access to other digital resources becomes…difficult. For example, I have an old (now unused) merchant credit account that I opened about 7 years ago. For reasons I cannot now recall, I linked that account’s digital updates to my school email address. Problem: I graduated school Dec of 06, and my account ceased to exist sometime after that.


And the password reset goes to that email address.

Double woops.

So the question now becomes – how do you ensure that when you switch email addresses, you don’t lose anything “important”?

It’s a problem I have yet to solve – any thoughts?


I’m trying to do some research regarding swagbucks, but so far haven’t found much about them – other than they appear to be legit.

Are they the 2011 incarnation of iWon?