Friday, April 27, 2012

Tired of All the Anger

Tired of All the Anger

We're angry in this country. Angry, exasperated, outraged, filled with righteous self-indignation. We're a nation of upset people, and there's no apparent reason for it.

Whose fault is it? Who's making us so mad?

The Other Guy.

If you're into politics, it's the other side's fault. If you're in business, it's the competition's fault, or the customer's fault. If you have a neighbor, it's his fault.

Someone cut in line? They're an awful human being who laughed at the end of "Dolphin Tale." Someone cut you off in traffic? Quick, race up onto their bumper at 60 miles an hour and act like you're going to smash into them, possibly killing you both. Your neighbor hasn't mowed his lawn in 10 days? He's clearly a Nazi/Communist/Fascist/Ralph Nader supporter. We should sue, or tell the home owners association on him.

We're mad as hell, and we're not going to take it anymore.

Whatever "it" is.

So we've become a nation of shouters, trying to out-shout the Other Guy. Political pundits have turned what was once reasonable discourse between two or more mature adults having a well-reasoned discussion about serious issues into a bunch of whiny brats arguing about who wants the biggest piece of cake. Rather than have a mature discussion, they shout and get angry at each other, like a bunch of 3-year-olds having a screaming tantrum.

If children acted this way in public, even the most rabid anti-spanker would be tempted to swat a kid on the butt for acting like this. And yet, not only do we accept and expect this behavior from so-called adults, but we emulate it ourselves, flying into towering rages online, screaming at each other in real-life discussions, and generally making asses of ourselves every chance we get.

I say this as someone who has shouted at fellow motorists for going too slow in the far left lane of the highway. (Although to be fair, the left lane is for passing only. And if you're only going 1 mph faster than the car on the right, then YOU NEED TO GET THE $&#% OVER!)

Think we don't do that? Look at what happened in Lakeland, Fla. this past week. A McDonald's manager was beaten by a guy with a baseball bat, because the guy thought he had been skipped in line.

He shouted at the manager after being skipped, stormed out, and came back 20 minutes later with a bat. He jumped the counter, hit the manager in the ribs twice, and ran away like the panty-waisted little coward that he is. He even had the foresight to open the door with his shirt so he wouldn't leave fingerprints.

The guy may be a raging idiot, but he's no dummy.

It's understandable to be a little annoyed when you get passed over in line after you've been waiting for a while. And yeah, yell at someone who's probably having a crappier day than you, if it makes you feel better, because nothing helps you grow as a human being more than tearing someone else down.

But beating a guy up with a bat? Come on. It's McDonald's. You just assaulted someone over a $3 hamburger with a mayonnaise and Thousand Island "secret sauce." At the very best, that deserves a stern look and a sarcastic "Really?!" But to jump over the counter and bash a guy in the ribs because you had to wait an extra turn means you have some serious anger issues.

If you're getting that upset at waiting an extra 30 seconds for a cheap, bland hamburger, you need to reexamine your life choices that brought you to this place in your life — both physically and emotionally.

What's worse, is that in the amount of time it took him to retrieve the bat, he could have eaten two burgers, had a second Coke, and ambled out to the car at the Burger King across the street instead, after storming out, shouting, "I'm never coming to this restaurant again!"

There's really no need for all this anger. Our overdeveloped sense of righteous indignation is wearing thin. The polarizing screamfest that passes for politicial commentary has soured most of the country on politics in general. A lot of people are getting tired of the hate and anger, but their response is to angrily shout right back, and behave like the people we're mad at — the Other Guy.

We just need to take a deep breath, count to 10, and speak in a calm and rational manner, like mature adults.

Because if we don't, I'm going to hold my breath until I turn blue. I'll show you!



My book, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is available on Amazon.com, as well as at Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy.


My NEW book, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing is also out. You can get it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million in October, or get it for the Kindle or Nook.

---
Like this post? Leave a comment, Digg it, or Stumble it.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Modern Rules of Etiquette

Modern Rules of Etiquette

After reading an article in Inc. Magazine on business etiquette — ignore your phone during face-to-face meetings, send a thank you note, observe the 'elevator rule' of not speaking about the people you met with until you reach the bottom floor — I realized there are other rules of everyday etiquette most of us fail to follow on a regular basis.

For those of us who have forgotten what our moms told us, here are a few basic rules of etiquette we should all follow, whether in the office, out in public, or even in the privacy of our own homes.

1. Don't race to take the biggest cookie/piece of cake/piece of pizza. It makes you look like a pig, and shows everyone you care more about yourself than anyone else. Instead, let other people go first, stand nearby, and glare menacingly at anyone who reaches for what's yours. Not everyone will notice, and you'll look like you're showing restraint. If you can't manage the evil eye, then whisper to the offending grabber, "I already licked that one."

2. Don't play video games at full volume. Be considerate of the people around you, as they probably aren't as interested in your marathon game of Halo 3 or World of Warcraft. Similarly, don't whoop, trash talk your opponents, or shout loudly whenever your character gets killed. Other people are trying to work, and your boss' office is 30 feet away.

3. Don't photocopy your butt on the office photocopier. Today's photocopiers are not built as strongly as photocopiers from 30 years ago. And as Americans have gotten bigger, most copiers are not built to support our bare-bottomed bulk. So, use your cell phone instead. But if you are small enough to successfully pull it off without cracking the frame, remember to wipe down the glass with a disinfecting wipe for the next person to use.

4. Don't spend hours in a coffee shop, journaling through your feelings. For one thing, journaling is not a verb. And you look pretentious writing in your little notebook. (Unless it's a Moleskine. Those are cool, and totally make you look like a real writer.) Instead, you should be using a laptop. They're faster and more efficient.

5. Don't spend those hours screwing around on Facebook either. Facebook is not considered real work. If all you're doing is taking up space and sending out sappy inspirational quotes about angels and unicorns, do that at home. Some of us need to send important motivational business quotes on Twitter.

6. Do end cell phone calls before you get on an elevator. No one wants to hear you shouting, "I THINK I'M LOSING YOU. CAN YOU HEAR ME? CAN YOU HEAR ME? I SAID, CAN YOU HEAR ME?" You're inside a metal box that's inside a giant tube of concrete and steel. Nothing, including your cell phone call or everyone else's prayers for your slow, painful death, is going to get through.

7. Create a clear separation between work and personal life. While a lot of companies are trying to infringe on their employee's lives by making them work more hours for the same amount of pay, it's important to set boundaries and expectations. After all, you're working to support your family, not living to support your employer. To help establish those boundaries, rather than having a mature discussion with your boss, do small things to send a loud message. Invite your family to lunch in the company board room. Call your boss at home on the weekend with a work-related question. Show up to work in your pajamas. Eventually your boss will get the message and let you spend as much time with your family as you want.

8. Communicate clearly and loudly to people who assist you. They may look disgusted, and you may draw disapproving looks from everyone around you, but feel free to speak down to people in service positions, especially those people who assign your airplane seats, serve your food, or clean your hotel room. They love their jobs serving ungrateful mouth-breathers, so your comments are just one more in a big slop bucket of happiness and sunshine. And don't think about the fact that they're alone with your airline reservation, your food, or your toothbrush.

Those are just a few basic etiquette rules that everyone should follow in order to make the world a better place, or at least to follow around me. I'm trying to watch Netflix on my laptop at my favorite coffee shop, and you're distracting me.



My book, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is available on Amazon.com, as well as at Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy.

My NEW book, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing is also out. You can get it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million in October, or get it for the Kindle or Nook.

---

Like this post? Leave a comment, Digg it, or Stumble it.

Friday, April 06, 2012

A One-Sided Conversation: Christmas Photos Ruin Christmas Spirit

Christmas Photos Ruin Christmas Spirit

"Sit there with your mother, kids. It's time for Christmas card pictures."

"Yes, it's August, but I figure it will take us three months to get this right."

"Buddy, quit wiggling. Sit up straight."

"Wait, the camera was in sleep mode."

"Okay, hold on, let me set the timer."

"Buddy, sit up. Quit laying on your sisters."

"Because no one wants to see you flopped over at Christmas. You sit here in the middle, and quit flopping on everyone."

"Sweetie, why aren't you wearing your sweater? Don't wear that shirt."

"No, Star Wars does not celebrate the meaning of Christm—Honey, shut off your iPod and take out your earbuds."

"No, Sweetie, your basketball shirt doesn't either."

"Why can't you just put on the Christmas sweaters everyone else is wearing?"

"It's not hot in here!"

"Because I cranked up the AC. No one should be hot."

"Because you guys are stressing me out."

"Sweetie, put on your sweater."

"Okay, let me set the — dammit, it's in sleep mode again."

"Hold on. Nobody move. I've just got to set the timer."

"Wait, I can't find it."

"Yes, I've read the directions. It's just been a while since I've used the timer."

"Because you don't use the timer on action shots. I take photos of things that are happening right at the spur of the moment. Real photographers don't do timers."

"I am too!"

"Because I have a photojournalist's vest and my camera has a removable lens."

"Found it. Okay, are you guys ready?"

"Honey, don't text during picture time."

"Because it's Christmas."

"Yes, I know it's August. Pretend it's Christmas so we can all get in the Christmas spirit."

"Sweetie, put your stuffed dinosaur down. He can't be in the picture."

"No, they weren't in the nativity."

"I don't care what Aunt Martha said. Dinosaurs lived millions of years ago, not thousands."

"Buddy, sit up! Honey, put your phone away. "

"What? I am in the Christmas spirit."

"I'm just trying to take a happy picture of a happy family, and I can't get the kids to cooperate."

"I am happy. See, I'm smiling."

"I am not constipated."

"I've got my sweater on, I've got Jingle Bells playing in my head, and I've already decided what to get you for Christmas."

"Now, let's get this — dammit, sleep mode!"

"Alright, I'm setting it. No dinosaurs, no cell phones, and everyone is sitting up straight. Ten seconds from. . . NOW."

"Slide over, Sweetie."

"Buddy, sit up!"

"Honey, can you go without your cell phone for 10 seconds?"

"Okay, here we go, everyone smile!"

*click*

"Let me see how it looked."

"Hold on, you blinked, Dear."

"Let's do it again."

"There's a two second timer, but I'm pretty sure our friends and family don't want to see my butt for Christmas."

"I've never done that!"

"That was a complete accident. She shouldn't have been looking in the front door."

"Okay, one more try. Ten seconds starting. . . give me that freaking phone! Give me that stupid dinosaur, and if you don't sit up, dude, I'm going to hang you upside down by your ankles for this picture. Now everyone cut it out and straighten up so we can get this stupid thing done and get back to our summer!"

"Because this is a happy family occasion! Now everyone get in the Christmas spirit, before I get pissed!"

"Here we go. Ten seconds."

"I'm not being a grinch, I'm just trying to — *click* — DAMMIT!"




My book, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is available on Amazon.com, as well as at Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy.


My NEW book, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing is also out. You can get it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million in October, or get it for the Kindle or Nook.

---
Like this post? Leave a comment, Digg it, or Stumble it.