Tuesday, August 07, 2007

August 13, 2007


The following is an excerpt from my new book, "MORPHING INTO THE REAL WORLD - A Handbook for Entering the Work Force" which is a survival guide for young people as they transition into adult life. The book offers considerable advice regarding how to manage our personal and professional lives. As a part of this, I found it necessary to discuss what it means to be the New Kid on the Block:


What you learned in school, of course, will be useful to you in your adult life, but more importantly, it means you possess the faculties to learn, that you can be taught; two important attributes employers are looking for. They are not so much interested in what you have learned in school as much as your ability to learn and adapt, which is what the diploma represents. Regardless of your degree, most employers are going to spend a period of time debriefing you and then teach you how to do things in the manner in which they want things done. This is an important first step in acclimating into the corporate culture. And just because you have graduated, don't think this is the end of your education. You will be learning lessons for the rest of your life. Our schools and universities do nothing more than train your mind to learn. That is their mission.

I had a friend who graduated from a trade school in Cincinnati as a machinist. He was very bright and graduated at the top of his class, making him an ideal candidate for a local tool and die company who hired him. Although my friend knew a lot about being a machinist, the company first put him through their in-house school which taught him their approach to building machines. He later confided that although he was at first skeptical of what he was going to learn, that he thought he was already suitably trained, he said what he learned from the company was light years ahead of what he learned in school. The lesson here was twofold: never be too cocky to think you know everything, and; there is always room for improvement.

Regardless of the type of company you are joining, getting debriefed is a natural part of entering the work force. Do not be insulted and resist it, learn from it. Keep one thing in mind, you are still an unknown quantity to the company and, as such, they want to point you in the right direction in starting your job. Further, you can expect quite a lot of supervision in the early stages of your employment as the company wants to be sure you are doing your job properly.

Debriefing can take many forms, a formal school like my friend experienced, classroom "hands-on" training, or simply on-the-job training. Regardless, now is the time to pay attention to detail and take lots of notes.

Being the "Newbie"

Being the new kid on the block (aka "Newbie") has its advantages and disadvantages. In terms of advantages, it's hard to blame the Newbie for things they are not expected to know yet. This means you are allowed to make certain innocent mistakes for awhile, but don't make a habit of it. You are also allowed to ask the naive "dumb question" which nobody else will ask. In fact, the veterans are expecting you to make certain slip-ups for which you will naturally be kidded about. Take this in stride and learn from it. The disadvantages are that you will be given mundane tasks to perform initially, many of which can be called "Gofor" work, e.g., "Go for this, go for that." The point is, as a Newbie, you are being tested to see not only how well you can perform, but how you react to certain situations. You are going to be gauged in terms of your performance, patience, persistence, diplomacy, risk, teamwork, etc. Most, if not all, of the veterans have gone through these same assignments and in order to gain their approval and trust, you must demonstrate your willingness to accept and execute such assignments. You may rightfully believe some of your tasks are below your dignity. Regardless, the best way to rise above this is to simply tackle any job they give you, do it well, do it fast, and do not gripe about it. Ultimately, how you perform in the Newbie stage establishes you on the totem pole (your seniority). It is also wise to remember this experience as it will have a bearing on how you relate to the next Newbie who comes along.

If you would like to discuss this with me in more depth, please do not hesitate to send me an e-mail.

OUR BRYCE'S LAW OF THE WEEK therefore is... "You cannot move to the top of the ladder by breaking rungs and breaking rules....we all must move through the learnings, the little successes, the disappointments, to develop and grow."

(courtesy of Michael B. Snyder)


Friends, as mentioned, we have just published a new book entitled, "MORPHING INTO THE REAL WORLD - A Handbook for Entering the Work Force" which is a survival guide for young people as they transition into adult life. Reviewer Bill Petrey praised it by saying, "Every young person entering the workplace for the first time should be given a copy of this book." The book includes chapters to describe how a young person should organize themselves, how to adapt to the corporate culture, develop their career, and improve themselves professionally and socially. Basically, its 208 pages of good sound advice to jump start the young person into the work force. Corporate Human Resource departments will also find this book useful for setting new hires on the right track in their career. It not only reinforces the many formal rules as contained in corporate policy manuals, but also includes the subtle unwritten rules we must all observe while working with others. The book lists for $25 and can be ordered online through MBA or your local book store. Complementing the book is a one day seminar of the same name which can be purchased separately for $4,000.00 (U.S.) plus instructor travel expenses. For more information on both the book and the seminar, visit our corporate web site at:
ISBN: 978-0-9786182-5-4


I recently drove from the South to the Midwest and back again. It has been quite a while since I've driven a long distance (about 1,000 miles each way) and it caused me to remember why I don't like to take such trips anymore. We all have our own little idiosyncrasies for driving; for example, older people tend to move more slowly and cautiously than younger people who race pell-mell down the highway; and people tend to drive according to the customs of the geographical region they come from regardless where they currently are. Nonetheless, I have assembled a "Top 10" list of the basic driving habits that really irritates me and, if corrected, would make driving a lot more bearable for all of us. There is nothing earth-shattering here, just some observations on common driving deficiencies:

10. TURN SIGNALS - I guess I'm among the few people who still know what that little stick to the left side of the steering column is all about. It amazes me how many people do not use turn signals anymore. Maybe its because most of us are driving with one hand on the steering column and talking on a cell phone with the other. I guess letting another driver know where you are turning pales in comparison to asking Aunt Edna what to pick up at the grocery store. I tend to believe people who drive with a stick shift are more inclined to use turn signals as they are less likely to be talking on the phone as they are shifting (although I have seen it done). As trivial as the turn signal appears to be, it is a simple and effective means of communicating to other drivers what your intentions are, be it a turn or a lane change. But I think most drivers just want to keep others guessing what they are doing.

9. TAILGATING - You see this a lot in situations where younger and more aggressive drivers are frustrated with the old codgers driving below the speed limit. Its a little nerve-racking seeing someone draft another car like it was the Daytona 500. It makes you wonder why there aren't more accidents. Maybe the best way to overcome this problem is to assign times during the day when we are allowed to drive, thereby overcoming the problem of different driving speeds; for example:

16-226:00am - 7:30am11:30am - 12:00pm3:00pm - 4:30pm
23-657:30am - 9:00am12:00pm - 1:00pm5:30pm - 7:00pm
66-909:00am - 11:30am1:00pm - 3:00pm4:30pm - 5:30pm

You are on your own anytime between 7:00pm - 6:00am.

8. OBNOXIOUS TRAFFIC LIGHTS - This is more of a problem with the Department of Transportation than a particular set of drivers. I don't know who programs the traffic lights these days, but someone seems hell bent on gnarling traffic during rush hour. Maybe its a game someone is playing with us as to who can cause the biggest traffic build up. I've had people tell me that traffic lights are becoming very expensive. If this is true, maybe it would be more economical to replace them all with traffic cops who at least know what they are doing. I realize we have some pretty sophisticated computer technology to help us with traffic but I for one don't see how it is helping us. When it comes to traffic control, I still don't believe a computer can match the commonsense of a human being.

7. WEAVING - No, I'm not talking about drunk drivers driving erratically on the highway. Instead, I'm talking about the younger people who are weaving between lanes at breakneck speed, either on motorcycles or high performance vehicles. Weaving has become somewhat of a national pastime on our interstate highways, a dangerous game of "Chicken" that could kill not just the drivers, but the other innocent drivers who are trying to mind their own business as well. Why can't they just stay home and do this on their X-Box or Playstation as opposed to driving the rest of us crazy?

6. LOST "OUT-OF-TOWNERS" - You know what I mean; those people who are just plain lost and instead of reading a map, they are content to slow down at every intersection to see if this is the road they should turn into. Wouldn't it be nice if the out-of-towners simply drove in the right-hand lane with their emergency signals flashing to let us know they are lost and to avoid them? It will never happen.

5. RUBBERNECKING - This drives me particularly crazy as I have been tied up in miles of bumper-to-bumper traffic too many times only to discover that drivers were rubbernecking to look at some insignificant problem on the highway. I don't care if the problem is large or small, keep your eyes looking forward and drive the car. You can always read about the accident in tomorrow's newspaper. Hey, maybe that's it: Instead of sending out a tow-truck or emergency vehicle to the site of a problem, let's rush a news team to the site first so they can report on the accident which the other drivers can tune into on their radios.

Rubbernecking turns small problems into larger ones.

4. LACK OF COMMON COURTESY - How many times have we seen people cut off others, or someone not allow another driver to enter traffic? Far too many I'm afraid. I tend to believe how we drive is a reflection of our socialization skills. As opposed to cooperating, we tend to viscously compete on the roadways which, of course, leads to road rage. Wouldn't it be nice if we had some other signal to use other than the one finger salute?

3. SLOW TURNS - Lately I've been seeing a lot of drivers who don't seem to know how to make a turn. Instead of just slowing down a bit before making their turn, I'm seeing people come to almost a standstill; kind of like having an invisible red light they are obeying. I hope they are not seeing something that I'm not.

2. EXPRESS LANE DRIVERS - Another name for the express lane is "passing lane" which perhaps more accurately describes the intent of the left lane on our highways. It disturbs me when it isn't used for this purpose. For example, some people get into the express lane and do nothing more than the speed limit, if that. They act like a pace car when the danger flags are out. I don't know why they do this other than they want to deliberately irritate the other people driving around them. It is kind of like them saying prissily, "Well the speed limit is 55 and I'll be damn if I'll let anybody go faster than that." I just wish I had a James Bond type of car where the rear axle would extend with knives on the end to rip out their tires.

1. CELL PHONES - Well, Duh!! What did you think my number one would be? I wish I had a jamming device which would shutdown all cell phones around me when I'm driving. This would force the other drivers to use both hands on the wheel and concentrate on traffic.

The rules and regulations of the road are really not that complicated. I remember when I first took the written test when I turned 16. The one section I found humorous is where they asked you to identify various street signs. For the "Crossroad" sign they gave you the following multiple choices: 1-Crossroad ahead, 2-Church ahead, 3-A person died on this spot. I wonder how many people got this wrong? Interestingly, I remember the Valedictorian of my High School class (a real "Brainiac") failed the written test three times. I guess he was looking for the meaning of life in a stop sign.

Driving should be a simple and pleasurable experience. Unfortunately, it's not. It seems we go out of our way to misinterpret the rules or devise our own on the fly. Which makes me wonder who is passing out the drivers licenses: 1-Homer Simpson, 2-American Foundation for the Blind, 3-Your local gas station attendant (Hint: we haven't had gas station attendants in 30 years).

Back in 1965, CBS aired the National Drivers Test during prime time, the purpose of which was to educate adults and try to determine the level of driver competency. This was well received and helped improve awareness of basic driving techniques. Sounds like it's about time CBS ran it again.

Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.


Folks, a couple of years ago I started to include my "Pet Peeve of the Week" in these "Management Visions" podcasts. They have become so popular that I now syndicate them through the Internet and they are available for republication in other media. To this end, I have created a separate web page for my writings which you can find at Look for the section, "The Bryce is Right!" Hope you enjoy them.


I received quite a few responses from my "Pet Peeve" regarding "The Driving Top Ten":

A C.P. in California wrote:

"I lived next to a Suburban Nazi. She was always snooping over my fence and called the police when I was on vacation complaining I left my cat outside the entire week. The police showed up at my door when I returned to give me a fine. I promptly showed them the receipt for my cat's care at the kennel. I hope they let my neighbor know she was a nosy, meddling witch."

An M.H. in Pennsylvania wrote:

"I can relate. I live in a plan in the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh and have to deal with the same type of Nazi regime. Shortly after moving in, I had to install a network of French drains to combat a growing problem with natural springs behind my house. Following all the county rules and guidelines was not enough.

The neighborhood association is now complaining about the 'green slime' that is forming on the side of the road where my water constantly runs to the sewer drains. I guess they would rather I be stuck with a stagnant backyard pond rather than to see something so vile on their precious street. So, every couple of weeks I have to hose down and brush the slime off the street to keep them happy. Give me a break!"

An F.H. in Tampa wrote:

"My coworker lived at a very small condo site with a HOA. He spoke of a constant harassing president. They had the police there for his antics. The police never once had him arrested. They never could make anything stick. His antics included mooning some folks at the pool, told an African-American family that the pool was closed and shot a member’s dog with a pellet rifle. He was also able to do background checks on members. Never again. Your happiness means more than another person’s lifestyle choice. Most of those 'lifestyle choices' only revolve around forcing someone’s will on another. Folks love to have their thumbs on your throat and in your pocket books. Don’t try to get even, the HOA’s seem to have politics and the law on their side. Just move on."

And finally an I.L. in New York wrote:

"This is the kind of crap that makes me glad I rent."

Thanks for your comments.

Keep those cards and letters coming.

MBA is an international management consulting firm specializing in Information Resource Management. We offer training, consulting, and writing services in the areas of Enterprise Engineering, Systems Engineering, Data Base Engineering, Project Management, Methodologies and Repositories. For information, call us at 727/786-4567. For a complete listing of my essays, see the "PRIDE" Special Subject Bulletins section of our corporate web site.

Our corporate web page is at:

Management Visions is a presentation of M. Bryce & Associates, a division of M&JB Investment Company of Palm Harbor, Florida, USA. The program is produced on a weekly basis and updated on Sundays. It is available in versions for RealPlayer, Microsoft Media Player, and MP3 suitable for Podcasting. See our web site for details. You'll find our broadcast listed in several Podcast and Internet Search engines, as well as Apples' iTunes.

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Copyright © 2007 by M&JB Investment Company of Palm Harbor, Florida, USA. All rights reserved. "PRIDE" is the registered trademark of M&JB Investment Company.

This is Tim Bryce reporting.

Since 1971: "Software for the finest computer - the Mind."


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