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Friday, March 27, 2015

YOU'RE FROM WHERE?

BRYCE ON LIFE

- America is a country separated by a common language.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

As I was growing up my father moved the family around quite a bit due to the nature of his work (he was a pioneer in the systems and computer industry). My grade school years were predominantly spent in the Northeast (Delaware, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and New York), except for a stint in California where we were told on more than one occasion we spoke with a distinct East Coast accent. I didn't think much of it at first, but I started to keep track of the peculiarities of our language. When we moved to Chicago, again we were told of our East Coast affliction, but when we moved to Cincinnati, the "Gateway to the South," we were told that we now had a hard Midwest accent. Eventually we moved our business down to Florida which is actually an amalgamation of many accents as people from just about everywhere move here. I suppose I now possess a "Heinz 57 Varieties" of American dialects.

Accents can be both charming and confusing at the same time. Aside from this, there are other expressions we use which distinguishes people from one geographical location to another. For example, the dialect of people from Boston is distinct and well known, but there is one word the computer people there use that I have not seen elsewhere; instead of the word "data" (pronounced "day-tah") they will say "dater" ("day-ter") which is a bit baffling and very unique to the area.

In Cincinnati (pronounced "sin-sin-at-ee") natives are more inclined to say "Cincinnata" ("sin-sin-at-ah"), but the real distinguishable idiosyncrasy of people from the "Queen City" is their constant use of the word "please." Instead of just using it to request something, it is commonly used when someone doesn't understand something in a conversation; instead of "I beg your pardon" or "Could you repeat that?" or simply "Huh?" Cincinnatians will say "Please?" I have found this to be very unique to Cincinnati. No other city in Ohio, including nearby Dayton, uses "please" in this manner, making it a very distinct characteristic of Cincinnatians.

I don't remember any particular expression in Chicago other than they commonly use the expression "Chicagoland" to refer to the general metropolitan area. I know of no other city that does this. You'll hear "Chicagoland" primarily used in television and radio commercials, as well as print advertisements. As an outsider moving to Chicago, I thought it sounded rather pompous, making Chicago seem like it was a separate country or at least the Ponderosa.

Australia has a distinct accent and the natives are quick to point out the dissimilarities between an Australian accent, and those from the UK and South Africa. Most Americans cannot hear the differences at first, but if you listen carefully there are distinct differences. One word that caught my attention down-under is the use of the word "rubber"; whereas Americans tend to refer to this as a prophylactic, Australians use it to refer to an eraser, such as on a pencil. Note to male Australians visiting corporate offices in the United States: do not ask an American female for a rubber, you might be accused of sexual harassment.

I've been to Canada many times and there are several expressions unique to our neighbors in the north, primarily Ontario. "Eh?" is perhaps the most commonly used word in their vernacular and is shorthand for "Don't you agree?" or "I beg your pardon?" Aside from this, words like "out" and "about" sound more like "ewt" and "a-boot." If you are a project manager, it is not uncommon to say "shed-ule" and "pro-jecht" as opposed to "Schedule" and "project."

Here in the South, natives will talk with long drawls, kind of like Huckleberry Hound, but just about everyone says "Y'all" ("You all") including displaced Yankees who have migrated here (as well as yours truly). "Y'all" is so popular, I'm convinced it's contagious.

I have only scratched the surface here of local idiosyncrasies. I'm sure you know many more. As I said, some of these expressions can be both charming and confusing. George Bernard Shaw said, "England and America are two countries separated by a common language." I would take it further, "America is a country separated by a common language." Between our regional dialects, expressions, and slang, it is no small wonder that English is the hardest language to learn, particularly for our own people.

Originally published: February 5, 2010

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  BOM PROJECT ESTIMATING - If Bill of Materials is good enough for engineering and architecture, why not systems and programming?

LAST TIME:  AT THE BREAKING POINT - Ramblings regarding the ideological divide in this country.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) "The Town Square" with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington "The Morning News" with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim's channel on YouTube.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

SPECIAL: GOP STEREOTYPE SEASON

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- The season is officially open.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Now that Senator Ted Cruz has thrown his hat into the presidential ring, many others will likely follow suit shortly. This can only mean one thing; the GOP Stereotype season has officially opened. The main street media will now begin to characterize Republican contenders as either mean or crazy, or both. Let us not forget how they portrayed Senator Dan Quayle as a dim-bulb when he was announced as President George H.W. Bush's running mate, even though it was Quayle who pushed for the development of the Patriot missile which was successfully used in the Middle East. Many people genuinely believe Governor Sarah Palin said she could "see Russia from her back yard," when, in reality it was SNL comedienne Tina Fey who made the comment. In fact, Palin was actually an effective governor. And let us not forget how out of touch Governor Mitt Romney was portrayed with the working man and the poor. Somehow his successful run as Governor of Massachusetts and his work in the Utah Olympics was completely overlooked. Interestingly, the press somehow overlooked the time Democratic Senator Al Gore got lost in the woods shortly after being elected Vice President. Hardly anyone remembers the incident.

Recently I sat down with some friends to talk politics. When I asked them what they thought about Donald Trump, they shook their heads and said, "Oh, that hair," in a Pavlovian Dog type of response.
"Beside the hair," I asked, "What have you got against him?"

They balked.

"Is he a good business man?" I continued.

"No question," they replied.

"Does he know economics and world politics?"

"Of course," they replied.

"Then what have you got against this man?" I asked, "Surely it is not just his hair."

No reply and they thought about it. The point had been made.

As we enter the Presidential Primary season, we must all be mindful of how the media will spin the character of the candidates, and it behooves all of us to take people to task when the candidates are fallaciously branded, regardless if they are our personal candidate or not. Let us reveal just who truly are the mean and crazy ones.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) "The Town Square" with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington "The Morning News" with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim's channel on YouTube.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

AT THE BREAKING POINT

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- Ramblings regarding the ideological divide in this country.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Liberal friends simply do not understand my comments and resent it when I take a stand against their agenda. I am often accused of being insensitive or unreasonable. As an aside, have you ever noticed you are "unreasonable" when you do not agree with the other person's position? It's like saying, "Agree with me or I'll call you a name." Conversely, my conservative blood boils when I listen to the liberal diatribe. I look at them as if they have lost all sense of reality and common sense.

Keep in mind, I have many friends who are Liberals, and aside from this foible, I enjoy their company. I suspect they feel likewise with me. The truth is though, a line in the sand has been drawn and neither side wants to cooperate. My politics have cost me some friends, but I would rather cut them off than listen to their blather, and I suspect they feel likewise about me. It is like we are living in two interpretations of America. Consider the recent speech by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to a joint meeting of Congress; One speech, two entirely different interpretations. The point is, it is not that we just have gridlock in government but we also suffer with it in our society, putting us very much at edge as to what should be considered right and wrong.

We have gone from mere friendly jousting, to testy debates, to visceral attacks, followed by a break in relations. Courtesy and civility are quickly lost. For example, liberals will often try to bait me with antagonistic comments. I learned a long time ago not to lower myself to their level and simply delete their comments as opposed to responding to them. Face it, whatever I say will be rebuffed with insolence. The liberals go bananas when I delete their comments, but I remind them this is my column and they are welcome to write their own as opposed to poisoning mine.

Today, we are being asked to choose political sides in just about every institution we are involved in, be it companies or nonprofits. Consequently, we gravitate to those groups who share our interest and the chasm widens further. Frankly, we do not respect our opponents and the noise level rises with the passing of each day.

As conservative talk radio host Joy Tiz explains it, the way you fight the liberals is with facts. Yet, for every fact Conservatives produce, Liberals will have a conflicting one. Again, inconsistencies in the truth. Even when a hard fact is presented to the other side, they reject it. For example, when I point out the Gross Domestic Product is a paltry 2.2% (as reported by the U.S. Department of Commerce who monitors such figures), my opponents will argue this is simply not true, or attempts to misdirect the dialog to some other observation, e.g., "It's Bush's fault" or how "unreasonable" I am being.

It has been my observation conservative attacks are less visceral than liberals, but I'm sure the left would argue otherwise. Whereas liberals relish a comedic stab at conservatives, they cannot seem to accept it when the tables are turned. Even SNL producer Lorne Michaels admitted this recently. Whereas conservatives tend to take bitter satire with a grain of salt, the slightest malignment of liberals is treated like heresy.

This is not the first time I've discussed this subject, but the discourse seems to get more vicious with the passing of each year. It is similar to the relationship Fox News has with the main street media who would like nothing better than to see Fox obliterated. Yet, Fox continues to win the ratings wars. Maybe the reason Fox succeeds is because there are still more conservatives than liberals in this country, at least according to Gallup. Liberals are baffled by this which fuels their energies to "take down" anything remotely related to conservatism. They try to intellectualize their arguments and make the other party feel stupid, but the reality is, the other side is not buying it as it goes against common sense.

If you dare to criticize President Obama, the typical response is, "Where was all this venom when George Bush was in office? He did more to ruin the country than any president before or after him." Somehow the left suffers from selective memory. I cannot think of a president more maligned by the left than George W. Bush, and this includes Richard Nixon.

In an interview years ago, John Wayne made the observation his generation of actors didn't discuss politics when working on a picture. Everyone knew each other's politics, which varied wildly, but to maintain harmony on the set, politics was considered a taboo subject. The studio brass also encouraged their stable of actors and actresses to remain quiet on politics outside of the studio as it would hurt them at the box office and their popularity with the public. This is no longer the case in Hollywood where people vent their opinions openly on camera or in front of the paparazzi. So much so, Hollywood is also split along ideological lines, with conservatives in the minority and losing work due to the liberals who control the studios and produce movies. Today, if you do not have the right politics, your career is threatened. Ask Dennis Miller, Janine Turner, Victoria Jackson, or Clint Eastwood whose "American Sniper" movie lost at the Oscars because it offended liberal sensibilities.

Perhaps the biggest difference between then and now is the media's spin on the news today, and social media where we post any joke or news item that tickles our fancy. When it is spread over the Internet to the hundreds or thousands of "friends" we have, it inevitably triggers some form of response, be it for or against, and the battle lines draw tighter.

At a high school class reunion a couple of years ago, I was asked to give a eulogy for the classmates who passed away. Some people objected and worried I would turn it into a political platform. As someone who has led several Masonic funerals over the years, I take this matter rather seriously, and delivered the class eulogy with poise and aplomb (at least my classmates told me so). My message and delivery surprised those who were afraid I would turn it into a political donnybrook. They were simply mystified I could deliver such a speech.

The point is, the battle lines have been formed and I see it only getting worse. I believe, everything will somehow end up in court based on nothing more than our discourse (as if our courts have nothing better to do than interpret First Amendment rights).

The confrontation between left and right is getting so strong, it reminds me of the rifts developed during the American Civil War, pitting father against son, brother against brother, and neighbor against neighbor. So, the question becomes, has America become dysfunctional over politics? Maybe not yet, but we are getting dangerously close. Perhaps next year's election results will tell the story. After suffering through eight years of government stagnation, if something doesn't change, we may very well see a another episode of father against son, brother against brother, and neighbor against neighbor. I see no alternative. Do you?

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  YOU'RE FROM WHERE? - America is a country separated by a common language.

LAST TIME:  PROJECT MANAGEMENT INTEGRATION- Success resides in taking an integrated approach, not piecemeal.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) "The Town Square" with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington "The Morning News" with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim's channel on YouTube.

Monday, March 23, 2015

PROJECT MANAGEMENT INTEGRATION

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

- Success resides in taking an integrated approach, not piecemeal.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

About ten years ago I wrote a paper titled, "Why Project Management Fails." In it, I contended one of the reasons for failure was because of a "lack of consideration for the magnitude and complexities of project management and attack it in piecemeal." Frankly, nothing has changed over the last ten years to lead me to believe this has changed.

There are five basic activities in Project Management: Planning, Estimating, Scheduling, Reporting, and Control. These activities work best when they are applied in an integrated manner, not separately. Let me illustrate:

* Project Planning involves such things as defining Work Breakdown Structures (WBS) and precedent relationships (methodology). This becomes the bedrock of all other project activities. However, planning also includes the application of human resources to project assignments. To do so, a Project Manager needs to consider what human resources are available, their skills and proficiencies (Skills Inventory), and their work schedules (Resource Allocation).

* Project estimating is an expression of the amount of time necessary to complete a project task. It is also used to calculate costs and project schedules. Ultimately, estimates represent personal commitments by workers to project assignments. Of course, we cannot calculate an estimate without the WBS as defined in project planning.

* Project scheduling is a projection of start and end dates of project tasks, and is calculated from worker estimates, their work schedule, and work environment (an effectiveness rate which considers interferences). This also requires the WBS and precedent relationships as defined in Project Planning.

* Project reporting - workers must routinely report their progress by reporting the amount of time spent on project assignments during a given period (usually weekly), along with the amount of time remaining on each task. Over runs and under runs against estimates cause a chain reaction in project schedules. Again, this requires the WBS and precedent relationships as defined in Project Planning. For example, if a project task is completed early, the ensuing tasks can start early. Conversely, if a project task is completed late, the ensuing tasks will be delayed. Project reporting also analyzes the amount of time expended, its cost, which is normally billed to a user area. Time reporting includes Direct Time (work on project assignments), Indirect Time (interferences), and Unavailable Time (e.g., vacations, holidays, time off). The reporting of Indirect Time and Unavailable Time is useful for calculating realistic schedules and managing the worker's work environment. Capturing time in this manner has the added benefit of developing standards for estimates.

* Project control - without the other activities, project control is impossible. It studies estimates versus actuals, schedules versus actuals, the amount of time and costs expended versus time and costs remaining. Tolerance rates are used to detect when estimates and schedules have slipped to the point it is necessary to take corrective action (e.g., replace people) and recalculate estimates and schedules.
Each project activity is important in its own way, yet synergy results when all five activities work in concert using an integrated approach. When executed autonomously, inconsistencies and discrepancies ensue. For example...

- Developing a project plan that estimators and schedulers will ignore serves no purpose.

- Developing a project estimate that cannot be used to drive project schedules is a futile gesture.

- Developing a project schedule that fails to recognize Indirect and Unavailable Times (nor is tied to resource allocation) is useless.

- Reporting time without applying it to project estimates and schedules does not permit project control.

- Project control is impossible without a road map (methodology), estimate or schedule.

To succeed, it is necessary to remember Project Management is a philosophy of management, not an elaborate set of tools and techniques. I will not deny there are some fine software tools out there, but unless they can be seamlessly integrated into all of your project management activities, it will be counterproductive.

The lesson is simple: do not attack Project management in piecemeal, take a comprehensive approach. You will have a better chance for success and produce superior results.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com
For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  AT THE BREAKING POINT - Ramblings regarding the ideological divide in this country.

LAST TIME:  WORLD WAR III? - Has it already started?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) "The Town Square" with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington "The Morning News" with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim's channel on YouTube.

Friday, March 20, 2015

WORLD WAR III?

BRYCE ON WAR

- Has it already started?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Something the media and the White House dares not mention is the concept of World War III as it is considered political poison. For that matter, the president cannot even mention Islamic Terrorism, let alone the concept of a new world war, yet there are some compelling arguments the war has already begun and, as usual, the United States is going to have to play catch up.

As I mentioned last year in "Birth of a Nation," the ISIS movement is gaining in strength. Whereas is was originally confined to Syria and Iraq, it has now spread to Algeria, Yemen, Libya, Indonesia and other places. There have also been terrorist attacks in France, Denmark, Canada, and the United States. Problems are brewing in Europe where Muslims have immigrated and are now politically skirmishing with the native citizens there. This is all reminiscent of Germany at the start of World War II where they "liberated" the Sudetenland, Austria, and Poland. As Naziism spread, it engulfed most of Europe and considerable portions of Northern Africa, the Middle East, and the Soviet Union. Today, ISIS is slowly gaining in stature and spreading throughout the Muslim world. The big prizes though will be Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Europe.

Hitler's fanatical goon squads and SS troops were essentially no different than today's ISIS terrorists. The major differences between them is three-fold; Whereas Naziism was a brand of political ideolog mixing socialism with dictatorship, ISIS is driven by the Islamic religion, complete with Sharia Law. Both were supremacists and claimed their approach would eliminate the social woes of the world.

Second, atrocities were the hallmark of both the Nazis and ISIS. The Nazi concentration camps were used to exterminate the "undesirables" of Europe. Likewise, ISIS is butchering everyone who doesn't agree with their point of view, be it by decapitation, fire, or a bullet to the brain. There is no sense of humanity in any of this. It is also remarkable that antisemitic sentiments are rising once again, just as in Europe before the Nazis marched in.

The third difference between the two is leadership. Whereas Hitler became the demigod for the Third Reich, ISIS hasn't yet found its true leader yet (thankfully). There is much talk about establishing an Islamic "caliphate" which is a form of government led by a "caliph," the political and religious successor to the prophet Muhammad. While the ISIS goon squads remain active, they are awaiting their own demigod to unite them into battle. There are, of course, leaders in the ISIS movement, but nobody has come forward yet as "The Chosen One" or "Mahdi" (the "guided one").

There is the possibility that Iran may become the uniting factor, a country with a stable government, resources, and potentially a nuclear arsenal. It is hard to imagine an Islamic caliphate armed in this manner. Their disregard for humanity would lead us to conclude they wouldn't hesitate to use such weapons, starting with their favorite adversary, Israel. Fortunately, Israel is well armed, including their own nuclear arsenal and would doubtless fight back.

Instead of allowing the Middle East to fester and get worse, now is the time to nip this tinderbox in the bud, before another Hitler comes to power. Estimates of the size of the ISIS military ranges from as few as 20,000 people to 200,000. Their forces may be small and unsophisticated, but they are growing in size and capturing more land every day. To combat their threat, President Obama is primarily offering air power, but this does not seem to be an effective deterrent. After our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, the president is hesitant to send infantry forces. Instead, he is counting on Middle Eastern countries to put boots on the ground.

There is more than one million troops total in the Middle East. On paper, it sounds like an impressive number of troops to be deployed, but aside from Iraq, which has been ineffective thus far, the rest are not battle proven. What they need is someone like the United States, with its military prowess in terms of leadership and technology, to unite the forces, form a strategy, and direct operations. Yet, the president appears unwilling to make such a commitment. Here again we see another example of how the administration leads from behind, and our last analogy.

During the second world war, Britain was led by Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain who wanted to make peace with Hitler despite his acquisition of adjoining countries. Like Obama, Chamberlain knew the British people were tired of war and desperately tried to keep his country out of another one. Receiving a meaningless document from Hitler, Chamberlain naively claimed "Peace in our time," which, of course, was not to be. This delayed Britain in rearming itself and cost them dearly in putting the country on a war footing. Fortunately, Chamberlain resigned which paved the way for Winston Churchill, someone more adept at fighting a war. Chamberlain's naive actions and in-actions are frighteningly similar to those of the president.

Mr. Obama and the media may not like hearing it, but it appears we are entering a viscous third world war, whether we want it or not. From a military perspective, it would be smarter to conquer the problem now as opposed to allowing ISIS to grow in terms of members, resources, and captured territory. If they get the caliph they are looking for, their movement will only grow with resolve. Now is not the time to declare "Peace in our time," but to notify the American people what is going on and what must be done to stop them. The public would be more supportive in such a campaign if they truly knew what was going on and the need to stop it now. If not, we'll have to wait for another Churchill.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  PROJECT MANAGEMENT INTEGRATION - Success resides in taking an integrated approach, not piecemeal.

LAST TIME:  THE FRUSTRATION FACTOR - How we become more impatient as we enter our sixties.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) "The Town Square" with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington "The Morning News" with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim's channel on YouTube.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

THE FRUSTRATION FACTOR

BRYCE ON LIFE

- How we become more impatient as we enter our sixties.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

My daughter came home for a visit recently. During the course of our conversations, she made the observation, "Dad, you're not as patient as you used to be." This caught me off guard, and in reflection, she was right. Whereas I was more tolerant years ago, now I am more black and white. At first, I dismissed the subject until I happened to consider the state of some of my friends locally who are also displaying the same characteristics, and we're all in our early sixties...

I have a doctor friend who has been practicing internal medicine for a number of years. He has always been a kind and professional doctor who genuinely cares about the patients he treats. In the last few years though he has been overwhelmed by government bureaucracy which is preventing him from practicing medicine. New government regulations pertaining to the maintenance of patient records, Medicare/Medicaid, and now the Affordable Care Act is frustrating and causing him to dislike the profession he used to love, thereby making it a tremendous burden. It has gotten so bad, he is considering taking an early retirement, as are many other doctors like him who are fed up by obnoxious government regulations.

I have another friend who is a restauranteur and is also burning out due to government regulations. In addition, he has problems with personnel, particularly between cooks where a rift is brewing. Even though my friend has tried to iron out the differences, a change is likely in the offing forcing one of them to leave. This will cause my friend to hire yet another person and teach him the proper way of cooking according to his standards. Feeling harassed and frustrated, my friend constantly laments it is time to "pack it in."

Another friend, a salesman, has been with his company for over thirty years. He has been the top salesman for many years and until recently sincerely enjoyed his job and company. His trademark for success was a professional attitude, customer service, and a line of top rated products at reasonable costs. However, the company began to change its corporate culture a couple of years ago and a line of new young managers were put into authority. Suddenly, things like professionalism and customer service were considered passe and replaced by a "bean counter" approach to management. He too is ready to move on to new pastures.

As for me, I have been a management consultant in the area of information systems for nearly forty years. I am proud of our company's accomplishments, but the Information Technology field has changed. It is no longer a matter of doing what is right, but what is expedient. They also tend to think small, not big. As someone who is hired to tell people what is wrong with their business, and offer a solution, I grow weary watching people commit the same mistakes over and over again. I see this in both commercial enterprises as well as nonprofit organizations which are run by some well meaning people who haven't a clue as to how to run a business. I am often asked why I keep beating my head against a wall.

More than anything, the frustration factor is caused by repetition. Think about it, over the course of our professional lives we have knocked on many doors, met and talked to hundreds of people, made a few thousand pots of coffee, traveled thousands of miles, wrote a ton of letters and e-mails, and always got up at the crack of dawn even when are bodies yearned for more sleep.

We have experienced great joys in our lifetimes, such as anniversaries, watching the birth of our children and how they grew into adulthood, with graduations and weddings along the way. We've been pleased to win a new contract, make a sale, or solve a problem that nobody else could. However, we've also experienced tragedies as well, such as a firing or demotion, losing a sale, accidents, and the death of family and friends. Due to repetition, holidays have lost their novelty and are viewed as burdens as opposed to joy.

Experience teaches us what works and what doesn't. Our strong sense of history makes it frustrating to watch others commit the same mistakes you made. Consequently, we do not like what we see in business, in politics, and society in general. From this, we are all too willing to speak out, and offer our opinion, good or bad, and whether or not it was solicited.

Some would argue we resist change as we get older. I would argue, we readily accept changes that obviously help us, but resist what appears to be change for the sake of change. In business, many such changes are implemented based on naivete or ignorance of the past, and this is what my age group stubbornly resists. We also have trouble digesting unnecessarily complicated changes. For example, producing a system of medicine whereby the doctor spends more time completing patient records as opposed to practicing medicine, restaurants which are forced to reorganize kitchens over a minor health infraction, or using an order processing system that extends delivery as opposed to shortening it.

Over time, frustration builds up. Even though you bit your tongue for many years in order to maintain harmony, you can no longer help yourself in complaining about a situation, large or small. You feel entitled to complain based on your years of experience. There is only one problem though, you tend to turn people off and label yourself a dinosaur when you begin by saying something like, "Back in the day..."

Many of the changes we are getting are due to someone else's complaint or registered grievance. Yet, when you complain, you are considered the problem in the way of change. You also find you have to vent your frustrations, be it with a person or an inanimate object. The sad thing is, the inanimate object always wins the argument.

Such frustration is causing people of my age group to scream, "Enough is enough!", which explains why a lot of people are ready to pack it in. However, in our eyes, we see ourselves as the child who exclaims, "The emperor has no clothes!" We deliver advice in the hopes people will not commit a mistake, or to point out techniques and tools that have been proven effective, and are frustrated when it falls on deaf ears. Our choice is simple, register a bitch or back off which is something we dislike immensely.

Yet, I suspect this phenomenon is not unique, that it has been going on since time immemorial. Being in our early sixties, we still have a dance or two left in us. It is not that we are physically tired, all my friends are still capable of performing their jobs. Instead, we grow mentally exhausted watching the world commit the same mistakes. Maybe this is nothing more than the passing of the torch.

So, yes, my peers are tired of the BS and are willing to tell people so. This leads me back to my daughter's original observation; Yes, I am not as patient as I used to be, and for good reason!

"When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years." - Mark Twain

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com
For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  WORLD WAR III? - Has it already started?

LAST TIME:  REPUBLICAN IDEOLOGY - Expressing the GOP agenda through the quotes of the presidential hopefuls.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) "The Town Square" with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington "The Morning News" with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim's channel on YouTube.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

IS OUR FLAG STILL THERE?

BRYCE ON THE AMERICAN FLAG

- Old Glory under attack.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
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There have been several incidents recently which would lead us to believe the American flag is under attack.

At UC, Irvine, the Student Government voted to eliminate all flags, including the Stars and Stripes, from outside of their building. This was done to make the offices more "culturally inclusive" for all students. Following this, 60 professors signed a letter supporting the flag ban claiming "US nationalism often contributes to racism and xenophobia." The decision to ban the flags was later overturned.

Last week, a group of judges told the Portsmouth County, VA, Sheriff to remove an American flag display from the court house. The flag was a special gift from the Portsmouth Fire Department.

A Texas school painted over an American flag-like mural on a school under construction in a new development. The reason? Red, white and blue were not approved colors in the subdivision where the school is being built.

In the recent photo showing President Obama leading the 50th anniversary march of Selma, not one American flag could be seen in the photo. This is in sharp contrast to the photos of the original 1965 march where the flag was highly visible.

Just this past weekend, protesters in Ferguson, MO, ripped an American flag in two and others stomped on it. In Virginia Beach, an American Flag was stolen from a restaurant, as well as from a community in Morgan Hill, CA.

Old Glory hasn't taken such a beating since 1968 when Yippies protested the Viet Nam War and the Democratic Convention in Chicago. Interestingly, the flag comes under attack in times of cultural crisis. Just as in 1968, the American people are very much divided along ideological lines with one side wanting to radically change the underpinnings of America, while another wishes to maintain the moral values from which the country was founded upon. One side wants to proudly wave the flag, the other is bent on desecrating it.

The question is why? The flag is a symbol of our country, not representative of a hate speech or sign of inequality, discrimination, or political correctness. It was originally designed to represent the unity of the states, and honor the original thirteen colonies.

However, some people now want us to be ashamed of our country through our flag. It is true that America is certainly not perfect, but then again what country is? Have we made mistakes? Certainly. Will we continue to do so? Undoubtedly. But we also have many more things to be proud of as a country, such as our freedoms and liberty, a land of opportunity and the free enterprise system. Soldiers and sailors have followed it into battle numerous times to defend this way of life. And finally, it is also a beacon of hope to the outside world.

No, we should not be ashamed of the American flag. We may be critical of some of our politicians and institutions, something we have only ourselves to blame for not taking them to task or voting. Instead, the flag is something we should take pride in, so that we may continue to disagree as well as work together, in good times as well as bad.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) "The Town Square" with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington "The Morning News" with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim's channel on YouTube.