So you wanna telecommute?

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I was this article on The Huffington Post today and I think they missed a few key points so I shared them on the Facebook this morning. I think I’ll also share them here.

Telecommuting is great, but it isn’t honestly for everyone. Some people do need that shuffle of the office. But for those who can deal with working form home and who have understanding families that know work is a state of mind not a location and just because you’re down the hall doesn’t mean they can come ask you to go and get some milk mid-day then Telecommuting is absolutely worth it. I’ve been working form home since I started with AT&T and for me it isn’t any different form working in an office since 100% of my job is remote based work.

Telecommuting works. As someone who works form home I offer up a little free advice for anyone about to make the switch from the work office to the home office.

      • Dedicate your workspace:I have an entire room dedicated to AT&T. My home office is a nice sized (15×18) room with a large U shaped desk that has everything I need to do my job, including a door. Your space may vary but you get the idea.
      • When you’re at work….you’re at work:That may sound redundant but its important to remember when you work from home and other family members will be around during your normal work hours that they completely understand when you are working you may as well be at an office downtown.
      • When you’re not working leave the office: Having that separate workspace is very important. It’s one thing if you work from home once in a blue moon but if you telecommute full time don’t work form your dining room table because if you don’t separate the home office form your home space you may burn out because you feel like you never leave the office.
      • Don’t use your home phone for work related calls: Either use a company supplied Cell phone or get a secondary phone line so you can use the phone when you need it for work and just as importantly don’t place your private home phone in your office if you can help it. Let those telemarketers calling your house go to voicemail just like they did when you worked in a corporate office.
      • Take normal breaks and lunches:One of the hardest things to remember is that just because you work from home doesn’t mean you still can’t take that 10:30am smoke break. Or that noon lunch. And when you take that break, leave your dedicated office and go eat lunch in the dinning room or kitchen. It’s good to move around.
      • When work is done…work is done:Now I’m not saying don’t stay past 5pm ever. But remember to treat the home office as you would your current corporate office. If you don’t need to spend all weekend working on something then don’t do it, because you need to keep your social life outside of work, for your sanity and those around you.
      • Resist the temptations that distract you form work:You’re at home after all. Make sure you have the will power to stay self motivated to continue to work and make sure you aren’t slacking off, watching TV past your work start time or playing games on the computer or updating your facebook status….you get the idea. Working form home does require you to be self-motivated and more importantly it requires you to work without someone keeping you on task.

That’s my take on working from home. You will find we are all different. If you work from home or are making that transition then I wish you luck and congratulate you on making that step.

Why don’t you support gay rights?

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Earlier today I kinda hijacked a Facebook thread. Something rj would yell at me for so I decided I’d pose my quandary here by putting my message here. And sincerely asking the question why. I’ve blurred and removed the names (except my own).

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Just so I’m clear ***** what you’re saying is that while you support *****’s basic human rights you wouldn’t support them if she were gay. Regardless of your personal beliefs of whether gay is a choice or is wrong or whatever you believe if you’re gay you are in face a second class citizen?

I’m trying to make sure I understand what you mean when you say you don’t support gay rights. So let me put this another way if you decide to vote for a law in Tennessee for example to not allow the marriage between a man and a man or a woman and a woman I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you that the efforts the Women’s Suffrage Movement are the reason you can vote now. You’re sex was treated as a second class citizen, as were African Americans and now the gay community with their rights to marry, among others are being blocked by people with your viewpoints, which to me honestly makes no sense. Why anyone would not support someone’s basic rights as an American based on creed, race, sex, or sexual orientation is completely beyond me. Especially (and I am going to pre-apologize for how this is going to come across) individuals who use God as their reason to stop someone else’s rights to the same freedoms as their own. That to me doesn’t sound very godlike at all.

Now, for a moment as I step off my high horse I go back to my original question as to why you don’t support gay rights. I’m not asking if you agree with the, as you may likely put it “lifestyle choices” I’m asking why you would rather put some people in a classification lower than your own in relation to the freedoms they have as a citizen of this country. I’m simply asking why? Why do that to another human begin? Why, in the name of whatever cause or reason, would you choose to say no I don’t support your rights to have the same rights as I do? Why? And this is a question at the core of all the controversy I can never seem to understand an answer to. I actually understand, while I don’t’ agree with, why many Christians feel being gay is a choice, and a wrong one at that. I understand that because not understanding and having an emotional connection to a belief can be a strong motivator to just know in your heart it is wrong. But by that same token (the very same token you used to express ****’s right to support gay rights in fact) would someone not support another person’s rights, period. Gay, straight, black, brown, white, yellow, male, female or transgender….

~rev

From an ESTP to an ENFJ

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Considering that 19 years ago when I took this test in College I was an ESTP but only slightly the flip form P to F and the S to N surprised me a little bit… So I ask for those who know me, especially those who’ve known me more than 15 years…is this right?

ENFJ Description – by Joe Butt

ENFJs are the benevolent ‘pedagogues’ of humanity. They have tremendous charisma by which many are drawn into their nurturant tutelage and/or grand schemes. Many ENFJs have tremendous power to manipulate others with their phenomenal interpersonal skills and unique salesmanship. But it’s usually not meant as manipulation — ENFJs generally believe in their dreams, and see themselves as helpers and enablers, which they usually are.

ENFJs are global learners. They see the big picture. The ENFJs focus is expansive. Some can juggle an amazing number of responsibilities or projects simultaneously. Many ENFJs have tremendous entrepreneurial ability.

ENFJs are, by definition, Js, with whom we associate organization and decisiveness. But they don’t resemble the SJs or even the NTJs in organization of the environment nor occasional recalcitrance. ENFJs are organized in the arena of interpersonal affairs. Their offices may or may not be cluttered, but their conclusions (reached through feelings) about people and motives are drawn much more quickly and are more resilient than those of their NFP counterparts.

ENFJs know and appreciate people. Like most NFs, (and Feelers in general), they are apt to neglect themselves and their own needs for the needs of others. They have thinner psychological boundaries than most, and are at risk for being hurt or even abused by less sensitive people. ENFJs often take on more of the burdens of others than they can bear.

TRADEMARK: “The first shall be last” This refers to the open-door policy of ENFJs.One ENFJ colleague always welcomes me into his office regardless of his own circumstances. If another person comes to the door, he allows them to interrupt our conversation with their need. While discussing that need, the phone rings and he stops to answer it. Others drop in with a ‘quick question.’ I finally get up, go to my office and use the call waiting feature on the telephone. When he hangs up, I have his undivided attention!

(ENFJ stands for Extravert, iNtuitive, Feeling, Judging and represents individual’s preferences in four dimensions characterising personality type, according to Jung’s and Briggs Myers’ theories of personality type.)
Functional Analysis Of An ENFJ

Based on Jung’s framework of mental functions – by Joe Butt

Extraverted Feeling
Extraverted Feeling rules the ENFJ’s psyche. In the sway of this rational function, these folks are predisposed to closure in matters pertaining to people, and especially on behalf of their beloved. As extraverts, their contacts are wide ranging. Face-to-face relationships are intense, personable and warm, though they may be so infrequently achieved that intimate friendships are rare.

Introverted iNtuition
Like their INFJ cousins, ENFJs are blessed through introverted intuition with clarity of perception in the inner, unconscious world. Dominant Feeling prefers to find the silver lining in even the most beggarly perceptions of those in their expanding circle of friends and, of course, in themselves. In less balanced individuals, such mitigation of the unseemly eventually undermines the ENFJ’s integrity and frequently their good name. In healthier individuals, deft use of this awareness of the inner needs and desires of others enables this astute type to win friends, influence people, and avoid compromising entanglements.

The dynamic nature of their intuition moves ENFJs from one project to another with the assurance that the next one will be perfect, or much more nearly so than the last. ENFJs are continually looking for newer and better solutions to benefit their extensive family, staff, or organization.

Extraverted Sensing
Sensing is extraverted. ENFJs can manage details, particularly those necessary to implement the prevailing vision. These data have, however, a magical flexible quality. Something to be bought can be had for a song; the same something is invaluable when it’s time to sell. (We are not certain, but we suspect that such is the influence of the primary function.) This wavering of sensory perception is made possible by the weaker and less mature status with which the tertiary is endowed.

Introverted Thinking
Introverted Thinking is least apparent and most enigmatic in this type. In fact, it often appears only when summoned by Feeling. At times only in jest, but in earnest if need be, Thinking entertains as logical only those conclusions which support Feeling’s values. Other scenarios can be shown invalid or at best significantly inferior. Such “Thinking in the service of Feeling” has the appearance of logic, but somehow it never quite adds up.

Introverted Thinking is frequently the focus of the spiritual quest of ENFJs. David’s lengthiest psalm, 119, pays it homage. “Law,” “precept,” “commandment,” “statute:” these essences of inner thinking are the mysteries of Deity for which this great Feeler’s soul searched.

Open Letter to Random House

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imageThis is the letter I wrote to Random House regarding the book I will be talking about on an upcoming podcast. I’ve been asking for comments from them and in general women in the IT world, as well as a few of the more strong woman leaders like Laci Green who are trying to change perceptions in a male dominated world. And since thatstupidpodcast.com doesn’t really have a blog I decided to put this up here for now. And if you’d like to give me your opinion leave a comment or call me @ 480-STUPID-9 and leave a voice mail for me to play on the podcast in a few weeks.

I’ve also called and left a message with an Associate Publicist at Random House in the hopes I’m able to at the very least get a comment from the publisher  or at the best (in a dream world) have a sit down interview with the publisher and the book’s author and answer some real questions about why, while women are treated as second class would a female author of a children’s book in 2013 write and then publish a book that devalues women without hesitation. And with that I leave you with my letter.

~rev


Random House Children’s Publishing
1745 Broadway, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10019

Public Relations;

The book entitled I Can Be a Computer Engineer (Barbie) By Susan Marenco; illustrated by Random House is something I am planning on speaking about in a publication soon and would like to know if Random House has any comments about the book or its author. I host a newly formed weekly podcast over at thatstupidpodcast.com and one of the focal points of my new podcast is women in geek culture and how they tend to be treated as second class citizens. I’ve interviewed and given a platform to one such “geek girl” so far and after a friend was given your book (which I later purchased a copy of to see for myself) I was appalled at the way this book is expressing how women act and are treated in the world of technology.

The highlights if you will that can be gleaned from this publication and therefore are passed down to the children reading or being read the pages therein are as follows:

“Computer engineer” Barbie is designing a video game (so far so good) but when her sister asks to play it she laughs and says she’s only drawing the picture, and that she needs help from 2 boys to make it a real game.

  • This means that girls can’t really code which enforces a horrible stereotype at a young age.
  • Additionally it shows that a girl needs a boy to do anything of value.

Her laptop then dies due to a virus and won’t boot up. She promptly kicks her sister out of the way, and sticks her USB drive into her sister’s laptop, which (shockingly to them) gets infected and crashes.

  • She has no respect for the boundary her sister has offered to her (needing to complete her own assignment) and does what she wants regardless of potential consequence.

She goes to class and asks the teacher for help, and the teacher tells her to take the hard drive out and plug it into the library computer to recover the data, which she tries but needs “Steven” to come to her rescue. “Steven” and the other dude then save all of her data, her sisters data, and write Barbie’s programming assignment for her.

  • Again enforcing her inability (and therefor the inability of women) to fix her own computer problems.

Barbie then takes the fixed computer home to her sister — taking full credit for fixing it, and hands in the programming assignment (that Steven wrote for her), ALSO taking full credit for it, and the teacher is so impressed she gives Barbie extra credit.

  • So she didn’t learn from her mistake. She enforced the stereotype that girls can get boys to do their work for them and simply take the credit (or extra credit as the case were in this story) and no one need worry about who actually did the work since it’s obvious a girl couldn’t have done it by herself anyway.

Did I get that about right? Is this what we want to teach young girls? When does the madness end? When do we stop enforcing invalid and horribly bias stereotypes that girls “just aren’t good enough” to compete with the boys when it comes to technology? I look forward to hearing from you. You may call or me personally to discuss this book and what it’s teaching the potential future for our engineering workforce.

Thanks,

Stephen Charles Rea | host, writer
that stupid podcast | political prowess
www.thatstupidpodcast.com | ( 480-STUPID-9)

A Bone to Pick with Presenters

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Maybe it’s the former radio personality in me, or possible the voice over actor, or more likely even the teacher in me who’s given a few thousand presentations in his life, or a mixture of the above but I have a bone or two to pick with the world.

If you speak to a room of technically minded people and you have more twang to your voice than Jethro Clampett, said room will find you to be both ignorant and completely stupid. More so if you use filler words, and not just the simple minded uhs and ums you will lose all credibility. Replacing an um with phrases like “well in reality” or “to get off of it” or <insert whatever phrase just popped in your mind> then you’ve done very little to improve your presentation skills and instead have insulted your audience because we truly know better.

And if you do choose to present you’re magnificent gadget or doodah to a room full of technically minded people, remember that we’re not stupid. One thing I think we’ve lost in the world is honesty in presentation. And I mean actual honesty in the face of a question I don’t know the answer to guess how I respond. I say, “Well I just don’t know.” I don’t do it to feel superior I do it so I’m not wasting the time of my informed masses who have taken precious time from their day to listen to what I have to say and would rather they know I’m only going to provide what information I can be and will be an authority for. I usually offer to find the information and get back to them as a courtesy but in the end it’s the honesty I offer and the transparency I wrap around my ignorance to what I don’t know that solidifies the words and my authority of said words for the topics for which I am informed and sharing to my audience.

Take that PowerPoint Presentation and shove it right up your ass. Now I won’t even begin to stand here (or sit as I type this) and tell you I’ve never used nor will I ever use PowerPoint Presentations in my speeches, demonstrations or the like, because I have, I am, and I will again many times. What I’m saying is simply move around a little and for the love of god stop turning your back to the room while you present. Didn’t you create these slides? And I assume (incorrectly it seems) that you practiced the presentation and as such had the projector failed (which can, has and will happen) you wouldn’t miss a single beat? I’m reminded of my interview with a small Training Franchise all the way back in 2004 when I decided to change careers and go teach for a while. I was asked to prepare a presentation and a “teach” on the Seven Layers of the OSi Model. FYI, if you don’t already know it’s about as dry a topic as one might expect to those who aren’t all geeky like me. One of the reasons I was hired (as I’ve been told by the franchise owner) was due to the fact that the projector did in fact fail during my presentation. And I not only didn’t skip a single beat, but I got more animated as a result.

So be animated. If you’ve seen me present you’ll notice I move around a lot, I wave my arms, I jaunt back and forth and I’m not the only one. Think back to a presentation that (no matter the subject covered) simply captivated you. Now remember did that presenter simply stand behind a podium. Of course not he or she was likely making as much use of the space provided as humanly possible. And even in small meeting rooms and tiny cramped conference tables you have ZERO excuse to not make use of your space.

Now I know what you’re thinking. But rev I’m always presenting on phone calls and I’m just not able to move around. Honestly, that’s a lazy excuse and a bad one at that. My current job has me working from home which means that 100% of my job (like many telecommuters) is entirely virtual and done via phone calls. When you’re on the phone talking to a group (large or small) you will learn, if you haven’t already there are a few key ingredients to what makes for both good presentation and good conversation. And that my friend is the first lesson. When you are talking on a conference call remember this is a conversation, not some single sided word vomit spewing from your mouth to their ears.

So firstly learn to listen, and I don’t mean fake listening or active listening, although if you haven’t mastered active listening by now please go learn that as well. The type of listening I’m referring to goes beyond that, because as you recall you’re here presenting the solution to their problem which means you’d better be listening as most problems are rarely spoken coherently the first time. You need to weed through the bull and find the root of the issue and respond directly to it. Don’t dance around it, don’t pretend like you have the panacea if you don’t and when you speak, as in the case of a phone call your voice is the entirety of your being to these people, remember to speak clearly, slowly if needed (but not patronizingly so) and with purpose. Don’t fill silence just to fill silence. Don’t speak with an accent, and if you don’t think you have one you do, unless you’re from the middle Ohio Valley where accents go to die. Don’t use colloquial slangs and “isms.” Do speak professionally, but always remember your audience. Don’t use vocabulary that would speak up or down to your audience and be ready to change said vocabulary as the conversation moves on. Have no idea what vocabulary to use for your specific audience? Then go back to listening.

Lastly but as cliché as it sounds be yourself. I know I just told you not to speak with an accent, but that’s more about keeping your credibility than anything else. By that same token if you bullshit a room and “fake it” trust me they will know, and you’ll come off like a complete ass. Will you become the best presenter in a day? Of course not, that will take time, so practice. And when you’re done practicing go practice some more. If you have a big meeting coming up or a presentation to give at a corporate retreat or trade show make sure you present it to your family friends and anyone else willing to listen to you drone on about crap they could care less about. Its good experience and its necessary to better your presentation skills.

~rev
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