Tuesday, September 18, 2007

September 24, 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 the physical appearances of people and their work space.


Your appearance says a lot about how you regard others. Someone who is well dressed and groomed will command more respect than someone who is not. Today, tattoos and body piercings are very popular among younger people. Regardless of your attitude towards them, there are still many prejudices against such body art in the corporate world. Understand this, the higher you go up in the corporate ladder, the more you become a visible symbol of the company you represent. If your body art doesn't convey the right image, you won't be going anywhere. So, if you happen to like that new nose ring you put in, don't expect that big job promotion anytime soon. Like it or not, if you've got body art, do yourself a favor and keep it under cover. The same is true in regards to unkempt hair, facial or otherwise.

If you have to wear a tie to work, make sure it is contemporary as well as conservative. Learn to tie a decent knot (people tend to giggle at clip-ons) and the length is somewhat important. For example, a tie resting well above your belt buckle implies inadequacies in the individual, and a tie resting below the belt buckle implies someone prone to excess. The tip of the end of the tie should rest on the top of the belt buckle.

One last thing in terms of dress, "business casual" certainly does not include wearing T-shirts, jeans, shorts, gym shoes or sandals. If you clean up your appearance you will be surprised how people treat you.

Office Appearance

Your desk and office space says a lot about your character. Because of this, you should make an effort to keep your physical surroundings as clean and up-to-date as possible. As an example, the military typically operates under a philosophy whereby you either work on something, store it away, or dispose of it. This forces people to be organized. There are those who would argue "A cluttered desk is the sign of a brilliant mind." Nothing could be further from the truth. A cluttered desk represents laziness and disorganization. People, particularly customers, prefer an orderly workplace. Think about it next time you go to a grocery store.

The point is, our physical surroundings affect our attitudes towards our work. For example, I know of a small print shop with a manager who insists on keeping it spotless. Their paper products are packaged and shipped promptly, inventory is well stocked and maintained, waste is disposed of immediately, and the machines are routinely cleaned and kept in pristine form. Further, the printers are dressed in uniform jumpsuits to keep ink and chemicals from soiling their clothes underneath. Contrast this with the typical print shop that is often cluttered with debris and the machines are infrequently cleaned. The printers of the "clean" shop have a much more positive and professional attitude regarding their work than other printers working in "dirty" shops. Further, absenteeism is not a problem in the "clean" shop and the printers are proud of the products they produce. Basically, they see their workplace as an extension of their home and treat it as such.

As a footnote, I asked the manager of the print shop why his printers kept the facility so clean when others were so dirty. He jokingly confided in me, "They don't know any better." In reality, the manager had set operating standards and routinely inspected the premises to assure they were adhered to. Over time, it became a natural part of the print shop's culture and now he rarely has to inspect them.

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... "Your appearance sends subliminal messages to those around you who will treat you accordingly."


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

LIKE TO WIN AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF MY NEW BOOK? Be the first one to e-mail me a message with your name and shipping address. In the SUBJECT or BODY of the e-mail, be sure to write "Morphing Book 092407". E-mail it to me at Only one free book per person. I'll announce the winner on next week's broadcast.


I have seen a lot in my +30 years in the Information Technology field, everything from mainframes, minis, PC's, to the latest line of gadgets we seem to be enamored with. I've also met a lot of people in this industry, everything from serious professionals who made noteworthy contributions to charlatans peddling the latest line of snake oil. It's this last group that disturbs me though. True, there has been some very nice technology introduced to help expedite programming and systems development, but I find most people are suckered by those that promise speedy results at a fraction of the current price. It's interesting how people take the bait, get reeled in by the vendor, and wonder what hit them when they end up in the boat.

I don't believe I.T. people are alone in this regard. If you watch late night infomercials, most try to seduce our primal weaknesses, specifically health, sex, and greed. Bottom-line, they are telling us, "Don't sweat, take the path of least resistance." For example, we all know that in order to lose weight we need to watch what we eat, and get some exercise, but that sounds a lot harder than taking some diet pill or compound. The same is true in finances where we need to maximize our income and minimize our expenses. Instead we have a lot of self-proclaimed gurus offering to show us their secret way to making millions, for a nominal charge of course. I always ask, "If these guys are so smart, why are they letting us in on their little secret?" They may very well have been successful with something but what makes you think you will be able to emulate their success? I suspect their answer requires a life changing experience of major proportions and if you cannot make the change, well I guess that's just too bad for you. I notice none of these people offer money-back guarantees.

I think this "Take the easy way out" mentality says a lot about our gullibility. Somebody's got to be taking the bait, otherwise these infomercials would have disappeared a long time ago. This eternal quest for the golden bullet is tied to our childhood belief in such things as comic book heroes, the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny. For example, consider the millions made on movies such as "Superman," "Batman," "Spiderman," "The Matrix," "Star Wars," etc. All touch a nerve with the public who honestly hope and dream to emulate such characters. It's kind of scary when some people cannot distinguish between reality and pure fantasy. Yet, isn't this what the charlatans are peddling?

No Virginia, there is no panacea, everything requires some sort of hard work to see something come to fruition. Sorry. I remember when Bruce Lee, the legendary martial artist, made it big in Hollywood. Everybody thought if a little guy like Bruce Lee could kick and punch his way to success, so could they, hence the enormous growth of the martial arts industry. What they didn't realize was the amount of time and effort Lee put in to master his craft. I'm not saying Lee could not have been emulated, but it requires the same level of commitment Lee put forth, which most people are not willing to do.

I coached Little League baseball for years and I was always amazed by the parents who thought their youngster was going to be the next Major League superstar. One by one I watched their balloons burst as they finally discovered their son didn't have a future in baseball and should be doing something else instead.

Frankly, to be successful in anything, you have to find your niche, master it, and work your ass off to make something happen. In other words, you have to be honest with yourself, and know your limitations. Either that or blind, dumb luck, such as winning the lottery.

What do these people who peddle the latest panacea know that we don't? That P.T. Barnum was correct, "There's a sucker born every minute."

Caveat Emptor Y'all!

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 an interesting letter regarding an earlier piece I wrote entitled, "The First Thing We Do, Let's Kill all of the Bean Counters."

A P.B. in New York wrote:

"Thanks for sharing these perspectives. It seems as though CEOs or CFOs do make changes with reference to the bottom line. Accountants are definitely influential when discussing mergers and acquisitions, etc. Long range goals are often taken into account. The character of the people on the board of directors is key. They often serve on other boards. What is the mission of the company? How does it tie in with the health of the country both mentally and environmentally? I don't know. I think the decisions of these entities affect all economies."

My "Pet Peeve" on "The Death of Romance" generated a lot of responses:

An A.P. in Orlando, FL wrote:

"Great article. I refuse to believe romance is dead. Courtship, yes, but not romance. If there's no more romance, then what the hell is the point?"

A V.V in Florida wrote:

"I totally agree with you. Romance is very important if you want a healthy relationship besides love making without romance is simply sex and that you can easily get anywhere."

An L.G. in Maryland wrote:

"You're absolutely right Tim. Parents have a tough job ahead of them. My husband and I know that if we are to teach our children to see sex as something that should be a part of a loving relationship we need to be careful what they watch on TV but we also need to show them what such a loving relationship should look like - through our marriage. We try to be as romantic as we can be with each other. And the kids do take notice."

A D.R. in Canada wrote:

"You may be peeved, but it's encouraging to know that North American males who miss romance still exist :-)"

A D.N. also in Canada wrote:

"I personally think that the youth (and us older folks) are being trained to have a "me first" attitude with overtones of instant gratification ... with none of the reminders that real gratification is rarely instant. I only hope that youth, such as my grandsons, have the chance to have a long and lasting relationship with their spouse, where it only gets better every year!

I finally got tired of the brainlessness of TV and cancelled the service we had. On talking to friends, we've found that we're not the only ones to do this. Now we're wondering how we managed to have time to watch TV ... we're having too much fun interacting and doing things rather than sitting on the couch being 'zoned' out."

An R.R. in Georgia wrote:

"I am still a romantic, I still try to do the little things just to see my wife smile, that is the only payment I need. Doors are still opened, little notes are still left, just because I know she does, and will smile, period."

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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  • Employees do not have the right to inject their religious beliefs into a company context. This allows them to exclude anyone from company procedure who is not a member of the employee's particular religion. And, if a company projects a particular religious doctrine in company policy, it should be stated as such in the company's policy.
    "In God We Trust" is NOT specific enough to include or reject any employee.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 1:05 PM  

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