Circumference of Me – Chapter 14

14. ‘Tis better to shovel than bail

It is an old axiom, but a business truism just the same, that shit flows, rolls, or bounces downhill, depending on the individual consistency and age of said waste. 

It’s a fact of business life: You will have unimaginable and unimaginative chores to do in a corporate environment. There often are tough assignments that nobody wants to do, but almost everybody has to do.

The avalanches of shit you will face in business will be awe-inspiring – or downright scary. Learn to master and manage them, not to be buried by them, and to shovel shit with efficiency and aplomb. Learn to look over and past them to the emergent light on the horizon.

Lesson 1: Accept shoveling shit as a rite of passage. Know that the company CEO was a Supreme Shit Shoveler in his day. Follow his or her example: Do your duty, shovel to the best of your ability, and move on.

Lesson 2: It’s impossible to pick up a turd from the clean end. Grab it with both hands and dispose of it as quickly as possible.

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Circumference of Me – Chapter 13

13. Where’s my ladder?

Ambition is like a ladder. Without two strong sides and rungs arranged at regular intervals, chances of a safe climb are very slim indeed.

Young managers want to scamper up the ambition ladder. The faster the pace, the better they like it. Seasoned managers, either patient and not in an unrealistic hurry to be put in a position that might expose their weaknesses, or who have decided later in their careers to tackle the climb, use each rung as a learning experience to assist them on their vertical climbs in their chosen professions.

Is there one route that is best? To each his own.

But on principle, each rung of a career ascension should be used as an opportunity to learn about your company and yourself.

A career should not be judged by how fast a person gets to a certain position, but what the person brings to the corporate table when placed in a decision-making role.

 Whatever your pace, make it your ultimate goal to learn how to manage in a way that realizes the most efficiency and effective benefits for your company.

Find the company that you know is a good fit. Secure the ladder that fits your personality, abilities, and goals.

There’s no elevator to the top of the ladder. It takes hard work and you need to be in shape to climb it.

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Circumference of Me – Chapter 11

11 Tunnel vision with eyes wide open

Just like the whaler who is so proud of his vigilance for his prey, all the time unaware that he has been plying his trade from atop a humpback, too many managers firmly believe tunnel vision is an admirable trait, useful for every project.

It never has been, is not today, and never will be. Tunnel vision — an accepted way to see projects that must be viewed and worked on with blinders in shower-curtain position — is a specialized tool for a specific job and only should be put into action on special occasions of the short-term variety.

A seldom-recognized trait of great managers is the ability to focus on tasks at hand while at the same time developing the peripheral vision necessary to watch out for unexpected opportunities.

That’s the hard part about being a see-all, do-everything manager: keeping focused on critical, short-term tasks while maintaining the secondary focus required to look around corners, over hillocks, behind obstacles, and past the horizon.

Focus, yet see beyond the obvious.

See unseen opportunities while keeping your focus.

Be able to shift visual and cerebral focus on command, yet never lose sight of the task at hand. It’s a trick that the world’s best have mastered.

It can be a difference maker between being successful today or being successful today and tomorrow.

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Circumference of Me – Chapter 9

9. Company goals drive ambitions

Great managers constantly search for ways for their efforts and the efforts of people in their department to help other departments and managers succeed for the good of the business.

Good managers become great managers by building coalitions through mutual respect, and offering assistance on common projects. Building a strong partnership on a single project can help you climb innumerable rungs on your career ladder.

Seeking a successive string of promotions and title enhancements is a sign of a focused manager. Managers only interested in bigger titles may get them, but they might be the only goals they attain, at the cost of greater and more valuable goals, like gaining deserved responsibility and respect through your ability to address challenges responsibly. Do that, and your titles will come.

A title is only as good as the character of the person who holds it.

Great managers never let their egos, turfs or quests for titles interfere with the primary goal of corporate wellness.

A mixture of a strong grasp of reality and a helpful spirit pours the foundations of strong corporate careers.

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Travel Log: Greece 2019

By Ron Munden

30 May 2019: On June 11 my wife Deloris and I will be in Greece. This will be her first trip to Greece. I will be returning after 40 years. I know it was 40 years because:

The Three Mile Island Unit 2 reactor, near Middletown, Pa., partially melted down on March 28, 1979. This was the most serious accident in U.S. commercial nuclear power plant operating history, although its small radioactive releases had no detectable health effects on plant workers or the public.

While this was happening in the United States, I was on a cruise ship that took me from the Canary Islands, into the Mediterranean and finally to Greece.

During that trip we visited many places but the place that still stands out in my mind is Mykonos. I have always felt I needed more time in the Greek Islands. That is what motivated me to book a return trip to Greece and the Aegean Islands. They say, “you can never go back – it is never as good the second time.” We are about to find out.

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Just Scream

By George Smith

Ever felt like you needed to just open your mouth and scream? Not just a scream, but a primal scream, an ear-splitting, guttural sound emanating from your lower intestine, tearing thought your stomach, resonating off your diaphragm and creating a noise that actually scares the virtual devil out of those around you?

That’s the way I feel today.

After almost three weeks visiting Scotland and Ireland, I came back to the United States ready to renew my affirmation and love of this country. But then the realization that this country – the 2019 version – is not the version of my youth. Nor is it the country I want for my grandchildren.

The innocence, the beauty of its people, the diversity, the respect of other religious the friendliness shown by strangers to strangers, the love of family and the belief that nothing is stronger than blood ties, is elusive, if not downright missing from the moral fiber of the country.

I came back to these headlines and stories about the world’s most important nation:■ Transgender protections rolled back■ Mississippi, Alabama pass laws banning abortions even in cases of incest and rape■ Trump flails at companies hiring foreign workers; Trump hires foreign workers■ Trump puts $20 makeover on hold; slave master Jackson gets nod over Harriet Tubman■ Mike Pence tells West Point grads to “get ready for war. It will happen.”■ Florida lawmaker says “God told me to introduce abortion legislation”■ DOJ on crash course with intelligence agencies■ Trump mocks politicians opposed to tariffs as ‘babies,’ including some Republicans■ U.S. halting visas of same-sex partners of diplomats■ Trump helped his parents evade taxes, ‘including instances of outright fraud’■ ‘Good time’ to be a farmer, Trump says as he announces $16 billion in aid.■ Trump insists Chinese tariffs will cover $16 billion farm trade aid package■ Banker charged after lending millions to Paul Manafort in exchange for Trump job■ Judge suspended over anti-Trump remarks

And the list goes on…..

What has this nation become when millions accept an emperor-in-waiting as the political messiah and millions more see him as the rise of the end of democracy in the nation?

The bottom line?  The 45th president commits horrible acts of rudeness simply because of his title and personality; he is juvenile in his use of the “bully” pulpit and his utter distain for women and anyone who disagrees with him; he is not smart in protocols of diplomacy or understands the basics of the foundations of this country (including separation of powers and the responsibilities of the different branches of government.

This self-labelled “stable genius” does not read, has no realistic sense of history, no compassion for those suppressed simply for being “different,” no comprehensive of today’s global economy and America’s place in it, and does not trust men and women who have spent decades in specialized areas of global intelligence, he has no idea of the correct use of the global economy as a deterrent to aberrant behavior by rogue nations or how the U.S. economy and politics affects the world.

And most of all, thr president does not understand nor care that he is, (almost single-handedly with sufficient help from his so-called party  friends like Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn, Jim Jordan and Lindsey Graham) is destroying the Republican Party.

“Republican Party” actually no longer applies to the conservative branch of politics. It is now the Trump Party, lock, stock and elephant.

Past heroes of that party – the Bush groupies, the John McCains supporters, the true followers of Reagan – are all lamenting the position taken in total opposition to compassionate conservatism, balanced budget and the paring down of big government.

As a nation we must rise above partisan politics and personal pettiness. That is not possible with Trump, a pompously pious, personally pedantic, would-be dictator in the White House.

We’ll see what this country is made of in a short 18 months.

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Draining the Swamp: How’s That Working?

By George Smith

Are you ready to look at the condition this country finds itself and make a determination based on facts or are you okay with a litany of “alternative truths”?

This column contains information – facts, facts and more facts – that some readers may not want to hear or even believe. Feel free to check them out; I did and if you find any figures or statements are in error as stated, call me out. Some conditions: You have to state your “facts” and source; you cannot divert the message by mentioning Hillary Clinton, President Obama or Robert Mueller.

First, let’s talk about the president: Donald Trump once stated he owned four companies that declared bankruptcy; Clinton countered that in a debate in 2016 and said the number was six. Clinton was correct. Trump’s companies that have gone bankrupt include: Trump Hotels and Casinos, three Atlantic City, N.J. casinos, New York City’s Plaza Hotel and Trump Entertainment Resorts.

Trump stated he counted the three New Jersey casino bankruptcies one as a single filing, even though they were filed separately. Regardless of the number, those bankruptcies left investors and small businesses sucking wind, with Trump declaring more than once that he was just using the existing laws to his advantage.

Trump has repeatedly stated he only hires the “best people.” Yet, he has a turnover rate of 68 percent of his closest White House advisors in only 27 months. Some key positions (chief of staff, communications director, press secretary, etc.) have turned over multiple times. The 68 percent figure is “by position”; if three or more people have held a single position (chief of staff, communications director, etc.), the multiple turnovers are not included in the 68 percent figure.

Now, about draining that swamp: Andrew Wheeler is Environmental Protection Agency director; he is a former lobbyist for the oil and gas industry; Betsy DeVoss, a former fund raiser and unabashed cheerleader for private religious schools, is Secretary of Education; Wilbur Ross, secretary of commerce, and Steven Mnuchin, treasury secretary, are both billionaires who added to their wealth substantially during the 2008 recession, are in charge of creating national economic policy. Ross kept his investments in firms that the Commerce Department oversees;

It’s hard to forget that early in the Era of Trump, 15 women claimed to have been sexually assaulted by Trump before he was president; the White House staff and website have touted First Daughter Ivanka Trump’s line of jewelry; First Lady

Melania pushed her line of jewelry and “timepieces” on the QVC channel; First Son-in-Law Jared Kushner’s sister worked hard to persuade Chinese businessmen to invest in a family development project, touting the fact that Kushner was hot stuff at the White House; Kushner and his spousal unit also received security passes first denied by the White House security clearing house.

The attorney general, William Barr, was named to the post because he was already on record as being in Trump’s corner on whether or not the president could obstruct justice. He fulfilled Trump’s hopes for him with a decidedly less-than-stellar performance in a senate hearing and then blew off the Democrat-controlled House hearing. Barr lied (not “fudged the truth,” not “misspoke’ and not “erred on the side of confidentiality” … but flat-out lied to Congress) about what Mueller’s report and the procecutor’s sentiments about Barr’s interpretation stated.

Meanwhile, the thriving industry of operating private prisons are in an economic boom with the Trump Administration’s affection for tent cities. Coupled with the nation’s zero-tolerance for illegal immigrants, and Trump’s edict of separating children from their families, the figures published for the daily cost of each detainee varies widely from upwards from $133 to almost $800 per day.

Of course, the private contactors charge what they can get and there has been little pushback from any federal official who can make decisions on the unreasonable costs. The Department of Human Services (DHS) estimates the cost of maintaining families (mother and children) together costs $319 per day; separating children from their parents and housing the children (including babies) in “tent cities,” in fenced-in enclosures costs $775 per person per night.

Okay, what is this costing you, the taxpayer? DHS reported that more than 51,300 immigrants, on average, were held in detention centers each day in fiscal 2018.

You do the math, using a combination of the figures above. I did and threw up in my mouth. Just taking the $319 figure, that would be more than $16,270,000.

Why does it cost so much and why is the government doing to keep costs down? The administration could have children stay at the Trump’s International Hotel in D.C. for a measly $575 a night, have room service and still save money.

Shoot, the Day’s Inn in El Paso is only $64 a night and a double room at Super 8 in Brownsville, Texas is only $54.55.

This administration cut taxes bigly on the wealthiest one-percent and corporations, gave the middle class a pittance and then took away certain deductions so the pittance handed out was an enlarged pittance that was so much of a pittance as to not really count for much at all.

As you have probably already figure out, this administration does not care about costs or the working economically wounded – it is not spending its money, it’s spending your’s. And this administration does not care about costs, unless it’s money coming out of the pockets of the Richie Rich’s of the high-dollar crowd.

Drain the swamp? If I was not crying, I’d be laughing.

“First, let’s take stock of where we are: The EPA is run by a former coal lobbyist. An ex-oil lobbyist heads the Department of Interior. Betsy DeVos, funder and champion of private religious schools, runs education policy. Steven Mnuchin and Wilbur Ross, billionaires who profited handsomely from the 2008 collapse, are in charge of protecting the economy. And at the Department of Justice, a top official who recommended that the federal government put more immigrants in privately-run detention centers hopped over to a job at the GEO Group, which pays immigrants $1 for a day of labor but can’t seem to find a way to prevent detainees from dying. No wonder the United States has plummeted in the corruption ranking maintained by Transparency International.”

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