Thanks for clarifying my understanding
January 21, 2021 2:08 AM   Subscribe

The finest of Corporate TikTok: @tegaalexander's Every work email thread ever, @cearajane's Every millennial vs. their boomer boss, @charles_rojas' SexySlack.
posted by adrianhon (67 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
The work email one is disturbingly accurate. Good to know it's not just the British civil service writing like that.

I'm also familiar with the "um, you asked me to set it up?" element of the other one. Painful.
posted by knapah at 3:42 AM on January 21 [13 favorites]


Multiple "As per my previous email..." quotes in one email thread is pretty much a declaration of war.
posted by Paladin1138 at 3:52 AM on January 21 [17 favorites]


Upsettingly accurate, especially the work email thread with one department in my previous job.
posted by Braeburn at 4:03 AM on January 21


The first one is too accurate and I am somewhere between enjoying it and weeping quietly while remembering two recent email exchanges in which I repeatedly begged people to open the attachment for hours as they sent me more and more tetchy emails because they refused to just open the attachment to get the information they were being upset about not having.

The second one: boomers (57-75 years old) are mostly too old to have a kid at soccer practice that they need to pick up.
posted by sciencegeek at 4:29 AM on January 21 [17 favorites]


Yeah I'm the age of the boss in that second one (horrifyingly reviewing my behavior to see if there's even an inkling of resemblance) and my parents are the boomers. Are we Gen x?
posted by Tandem Affinity at 4:32 AM on January 21 [2 favorites]


I want to know where SexySlack is going to go on vacation - maybe the apartment complex pool? 😂
posted by Tandem Affinity at 4:34 AM on January 21 [1 favorite]


The first one is perfect except I didn't see "friendly reminder" in there
posted by Morpeth at 5:26 AM on January 21 [4 favorites]


I regret to inform you that Gen X doesn't exist, and anyone older than 30 is referred to colloquially as a Boomer now. Thank you.
posted by Room 101 at 5:43 AM on January 21 [35 favorites]


The second one: boomers (57-75 years old) are mostly too old to have a kid at soccer practice that they need to pick up.

Not so; the kids could be aged anything up to 35.
posted by Cardinal Fang at 5:46 AM on January 21 [15 favorites]


OMG, the email hits home with me so accurately...

Just yesterday, I had sent a message with an: "IMPORTANT - please do not do 'X', because your files will be deleted".

An hour later, the original sender responded with: "I did 'X' and now all my files are deleted".

Of course, I hauled out the "As per my previous email, I explicitly told you not to do 'X' and gave you instructions for how to stop synchronizing your files, instead of deleting the folder". (I really wanted to add a: "... I am so disappointed", but I held off...

Am so sick of people refusing to actually read and comprehend email - these are engineers and managers and people with more education than myself. At one former government client - no one would actually respond to emails (especially anyone with the phrase 'manager' or 'director' in their title), because that would leave a "paper-trail"...
posted by rozcakj at 5:54 AM on January 21 [5 favorites]


In certain corporate cultures, "As per my previous email" works best if there is no previous email. It will send people scurrying around trying to locate that email, rather than invite shame by admitting they might have lost it, or invite conflict by suggesting they might never have received it.

It's the electronic successor to the "Unrelated Memo"; to inaccurately quote from memory the adult Nigel Molesworth :-

From: C. Fang
Subject: Recent proposal
---
I can't say at this point whether I am in favour or opposed. But, assuming that you are accepting responsibility for the outcome, by all means proceed.
posted by Cardinal Fang at 5:59 AM on January 21 [15 favorites]


work email tiktok- it me in my life

i want drumline to give dramatic soundtrack to my passive aggressive requests for ppl to do their fukin jobs
posted by lalochezia at 6:51 AM on January 21 [1 favorite]


I regret to inform you that Gen X doesn't exist, and anyone older than 30 is referred to colloquially as a Boomer now. Thank you.

Yeah, my immediate first thought, too, and it's really starting to grate, actually. I guess Gen Xers really will spend our whole lives being culturally ignored and erased.
posted by LooseFilter at 6:59 AM on January 21 [26 favorites]


I can't say at this point whether I am in favour or opposed. But, assuming that you are accepting responsibility for the outcome, by all means proceed.

Was this written by my old boss??
posted by knapah at 7:02 AM on January 21 [1 favorite]


I guess Gen Xers really will spend our whole lives being culturally ignored and erased.

ok boomer
posted by thelonius at 7:04 AM on January 21 [55 favorites]


The sound of a Slack message coming in started to give me anxiety when we first started working from home. And I have one colleague who sends staccato messages one sentence at a time, so after a meeting, I can have like 15 notifications from him. After a year of this, I'm mostly Sexy Slack guy, muting my notifications and setting my status to sandwich.
posted by gladly at 7:12 AM on January 21 [2 favorites]


I guess Gen Xers really will spend our whole lives being culturally ignored and erased.

Sure, but... whatever.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 7:14 AM on January 21 [29 favorites]


I guess Gen Xers really will spend our whole lives being culturally ignored and erased.

The hilarious part to me, as a Gen Xer, is how often the memes entirely ignoring the fact of our existence revolve around a theme of one of the other generations complaining about how they are being trivialized. (Go ahead, ok boomer me, I can take it.)
posted by solotoro at 7:15 AM on January 21 [4 favorites]


Once I sent a five-word email of which only four words were read:

“When was the company sold?”

“Yes.”
posted by scratch at 7:21 AM on January 21 [10 favorites]


There is an IT person in our institution that is notorious for extremely long-winded and convoluted emails that are incredibly hard to parse and understand for the layperson and even for those of us who are rather tech-savvy. It is so bad that folks actively say, "I didn't read the email, but where do you mention how to fix this thing?"

Her "as per my last emails" are hilarious because half the time, she can't find where she mentioned the relevant thing in the 650 line Viking saga she sent out as a feature update reminder. When she finally does find it, the followups tend to devolve into a series of screencaps and masses of text showing where she said the thing that is barely understandable tech-ese.

I've taken to sending summaries to my staff just so we can have some sort of documentation that is actually read by folks rather than poorly-crafted, jargon-filled dissertations that no one reads or understands.
posted by teleri025 at 7:38 AM on January 21 [5 favorites]


An anecdote about Gen-X erasure: I was in a committee meeting (university) back in 2019 and an AVP was running it and asked me the icebreaker they'd used at the previous, first meeting (which I'd missed). It was about favorite movies, and I said that while I don't have a specific favorite, one of the most personally impactful movies I've ever seen is Synecdoche, NY; especially because I watched it as I entered middle age.

The 60-something VP sort of stared at me intently and I thought "oops, that answer was too esoteric for the room," but then he asked "are you old enough to be middle-aged yet?" I looked around the room and realized that, while I was maybe bringing the average age down a bit, I didn't feel out of place, so I said "well, I'm 47, I think that qualifies as middle-aged," and he kind of laughed and moved on. Reflecting on that, I realized that--like so many Boomers who just are not retiring from management positions--he still thinks of himself, approaching age 70, as middle-aged! It made a pattern really clear to me, so many folks who are continuing to work well into their 70s still look at 40- and 50-something Gen Xers as 'youngsters,' and so no wonder that Millenials feel like they're still being treated like kids into their 30s. The actual ageist erasure I've experienced in the workplace has not at all been of the "ok, boomer" variety, but rather the "ok, kid" variety that Boomers have been giving us our whole lives--and it still happens, even as I near age 50.

Speaking of synecdoche, the average ages in Congress being so high now is a feature of our current society, not a bug; it's replicated in leadership personnel all over the place.
posted by LooseFilter at 7:46 AM on January 21 [56 favorites]


I haven't held a normal job for decades (perhaps ever) and I am bad at corporate-speak. When I have to have a conversation with these people I'm so very bad at it. I say what I mean, and expect them to as well, and then I start laughing when they use jargon on me, and then we're just stuck being confused at each other. I'm concerned that that makes me like the woman with the hummus container tucked into her seatbelt, but unlike her I have absolutely no power.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:09 AM on January 21 [7 favorites]


Millenials feel like they're still being treated like kids into their 30s
And now 40s.

I guess Gen Xers really will spend our whole lives being culturally ignored and erased.
This thing where we pretend Boomer means old and Millennial means young is getting increasingly ridiculous, but I'm kind of surprised that you'd demand full attribution in a TikTok about selfish nightmare bosses.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 8:17 AM on January 21 [2 favorites]


As an old person (53), do you know what annoys me? I will tell you! Young people acting like not being old yet is like some sort of .....accomplishment, that I am supposed to admire and be deferential to. I wasn't any better, of course.
posted by thelonius at 8:21 AM on January 21 [4 favorites]


but I'm kind of surprised that you'd demand full attribution

I don't think it's about full attribution, I think it's about that kind of treatment being par for the course for Gen X. Generally treating them like they never mattered and they don't exist.

I'm a millennial, but often I imagine it's pretty depressing to be Gen X. Maybe, just maybe, that's why they were thought to be so cynical.
posted by deadaluspark at 8:23 AM on January 21 [2 favorites]


but I'm kind of surprised that you'd demand full attribution in a TikTok about selfish nightmare bosses.

That's a severe misreading of my comment, it's not about that at all: it's about the fact that her "boomer" boss is likely in their 30s or 40s (current soccer mom, thus young kids?), and so her whole satire is premised incorrectly. Gen Xers do exist, and we have our own, really annoying, age-cohort-based behaviors--distinct from actual Boomers--that we'd like to be recognized and mocked for, too, thankyouverymuch.
posted by LooseFilter at 8:36 AM on January 21 [23 favorites]


Gen Xers do exist, and we have our own, really annoying, age-cohort-based behaviors--distinct from actual Boomers--that we'd like to be recognized and mocked for, too, thankyouverymuch.

Did I ever tell you kids about the time that my band opened for 10,000 Maniacs?
posted by thelonius at 8:38 AM on January 21 [27 favorites]


Once I sent a five-word email of which only four words were read:

“When was the company sold?”

“Yes.”


My boss (pretty sure she's Gen X!) does this ALL THE TIME. She'll ask for options, and upon receiving an email that says "Do you want to do:

1. Option 1
2. Option 2, mutually exclusive from options 1 and 3
3. Option 3, mutually exclusive from options 1 and 2?"

and she will reply

Yes

Or she will ask for complex info, which I will summarize in neat bullet points, and instead of reading the email she will read the subject line and maybe her name before sending a succession of unthreaded replies asking "But what about X?" where X is the value of bullet point #4 and "I need Y" where Y is the value of bullet point #1, and so on, such that I copy and paste each individual bullet point in response to these unthreaded questions and she congratulates herself on managing my work successfully.

Anyway, I just got my 2019 eval back and she wants me to work on my communication skills.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 9:02 AM on January 21 [34 favorites]


I am Gen X and have taken calls from various points of child transport, although I also use a calendar and read my email and review agendas, so there you go.

I still thought it was funny, although not as funny as the first one.

Gen Xers do exist, and we have our own, really annoying, age-cohort-based behaviors--distinct from actual Boomers--that we'd like to be recognized and mocked for, too, thankyouverymuch.

I've been thinking about this lately because I do think my staff (who are Gen Z) have a very different relationship to work, at least in their early careers. As a Gen X member I kind of admire their ability to set boundaries and walk away from things like being offered additional shifts, where for me I feel like my Achilles heel for anything approximating balance in my life is always being the most responsible individual in the room who won't ever walk away from a problem or even a potential problem.

And I think my sympathy and really support for them in that sometimes leaves me back in Gen-X latchkey mode where they've all gone off to their own activities and I am listening to podcasts setting up for an event on my own or whatever.
posted by warriorqueen at 9:08 AM on January 21 [6 favorites]


I’m just relieved that the people in the email video were able to de-escalate before one of them dropped the Tsar Bomba of passive-aggressive office warfare: “Please advise.”
posted by MrBadExample at 9:21 AM on January 21 [13 favorites]


> "well, I'm 47, I think that qualifies as middle-aged," and he kind of laughed and moved on. Reflecting on that, I realized that--like so many Boomers who just are not retiring from management positions--he still thinks of himself, approaching age 70, as middle-aged!

Oh gods I have had this exact experience so many times. That goddamn bemused chuckle.
posted by desuetude at 9:46 AM on January 21 [6 favorites]


I've stopped thinking of myself as middle-aged at 53. Am I going to, or want to, live to 106? No.

You see this all the time with republican politicians, talking about awful things they did when they were 47 or 55 as "youthful shenanigans".
posted by maxwelton at 9:55 AM on January 21 [3 favorites]


This is hilarious. I loved the last link.

Gen Xers do exist, and we have our own, really annoying, age-cohort-based behaviors--distinct from actual Boomers--that we'd like to be recognized and mocked for, too, thankyouverymuch.

Like what for instance? (Genuinely curious, I am Gen X)
posted by Omnomnom at 10:28 AM on January 21


The corpse in the library: I haven't held a normal job for decades (perhaps ever) and I am bad at corporate-speak.

I once quit a job after someone asked me if I could prioritize an action item on my agenda.

I mean, the job I'd been interviewing for called and hired me, but it felt like fate rather than coincidence.
posted by telophase at 10:39 AM on January 21 [2 favorites]


Re: emails and the language of sublimated conflict:

Going on ten years ago, I saw someone in an email chain pull a quote from someone else in the chain and add some bolding to highlight the point they were engaging with. That part's normal. But at the end of the block quote, instead of the normal caveat of "[emphasis added]," they wrote "[emphasis supplied]," as if it were the failing of the original author for not highlighting the point this other person would be making two days later.

Sometimes I just randomly remember that, and I still feel a little breathless at the incredible originality in passive aggressiveness on display.
posted by solotoro at 10:42 AM on January 21 [9 favorites]


That's a severe misreading of my comment, it's not about that at all: it's about the fact that her "boomer" boss is likely in their 30s or 40s (current soccer mom, thus young kids?), and so her whole satire is premised incorrectly.

Just like a "Millennial" is someone younger that you with "bad" opinions you don't like, a "Boomer" is someone older than you with said "bad" opinions.

Are a current 16 and a 18 year old arguing with each other online? Younger one is the Millennial, older is the Boomer.

Don't like the definitions? Then stop believing in Astrology for Sociologists™
posted by sideshow at 10:59 AM on January 21 [17 favorites]


The second one with management lecturing the woman about to show her slides saying "this could have been an email" totally undid me. Also- I think it's easier to appreciate if you ignore the millennial vs boomer labels and just go with "workers" versus "management" for what I think gets at the nub of this.

This might be my experience in academia talking, but whenever I hear management say "this could be an email, not a meeting" that's management speak for "I don't want to share power or acknowledge what's going on by being forced to be in the same room with you for a discussion to actually make a decision and talk through how it might impact you."

I think the whole "this meeting could have been an email" experience is very workplace-specific - some workplaces way overdo it on meetings, some way overdo it on email. Most should try to find a good balance. But speaking for myself, my experience has been that the same people who rant about how we should have more things by email and not meetings are..... also remarkably bad at managing and responding to their email.
posted by mostly vowels at 11:10 AM on January 21 [4 favorites]


Did I ever tell you kids about the time that my band opened for 10,000 Maniacs?

You played at the Jan 6 Capitol insurrection?
posted by benzenedream at 11:16 AM on January 21 [6 favorites]


You played at the Jan 6 Capitol insurrection?

WELL ACTUALLY it was at The Cotton Club in Atlanta.
posted by thelonius at 11:20 AM on January 21 [3 favorites]


Speaking of synecdoche, the average ages in Congress being so high now is a feature of our current society, not a bug; it's replicated in leadership personnel all over the place.

I’m thinking it’s still a bug. If they were older but still mentally agile and curious that would be one thing. Instead we’ve got sclerotic, hidebound, and senile. We’ve got elected reps being propped up like Weekend at Bernie’s because they’re unwilling to retire. Ginsburg helped set in motion the destruction of her legacy by not retiring in Obama’s first term (when she was 80!) Feinstein is barely there anymore.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:42 AM on January 21 [5 favorites]


I remember meeting Strom Thurmond in the Congress during a visit in the late 90s (I met Jesse Helms on the same trip, it was like wishing on a monkey’s paw). Strom, looking like an evil Yoda with bright orange hair, was being led slowly through the halls by a young bottle-blonde aide. He was smiling, waving, and had absolutely no idea what was going on.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:50 AM on January 21 [3 favorites]


Heh. I just* wrote a scene in which my teenage protagonist OK Boomers a middle-aged guy, to have him futilely protest "But I'm Gen-X!"

Personally, as a Gen-Xer I'm tired of being erased. But that's what the story wanted.

* Well, just last month.
posted by Quasirandom at 12:11 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]


Also- I think it's easier to appreciate if you ignore the millennial vs boomer labels and just go with "workers" versus "management" for what I think gets at the nub of this.
...
But speaking for myself, my experience has been that the same people who rant about how we should have more things by email and not meetings are..... also remarkably bad at managing and responding to their email.


Thank you for articulating this! It took reading your comment for it to finally click that the meeting/email thing isn't about the most efficient way to share information, it's about the most expedient way to exercise power over subordinates. When my boss calls a meeting because she can't be bothered to read the email, and either spends the meeting asking questions answered in the email or blows it off entirely with a request to just email her the info (she will ignore all subsequent emails and eventually send a salty inquiry about my failure to provide the requested info), she's not actually trying to get information. She *thinks* she's requesting information, but what she's actually doing is exercising her right to divert time and energy to her caprices, thereby shoring up her tenuous conviction that she is doing all the leadership.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 12:20 PM on January 21 [5 favorites]


I guess I should thank the powers that be that very few emails or meetings go like that at my current workplace. Actually, am struggling to think of anything approaching the passive-aggressiveness of that first video, and my bosses have all been much nicer.
posted by peacheater at 12:46 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]


Hey now, I have to have meetings with my Gen Z staff because they are remarkably bad at processing information in written form. (Fitness industry probably has something to do with it.) In this case it would be a much better use of my time to insist on email, except that then I would have to fix 25 issues.

I hate meetings but sometimes I've used my power to eliminate them and had bad results for both information sharing and morale.

(I'm working on a video repository for training though.)

To communicate well, the means of communication has to work for as many people as possible. That might be about power, but it might also be about how your peers or even your boss communicate best.
posted by warriorqueen at 12:58 PM on January 21 [2 favorites]


warriorqueen: Hey now, I have to have meetings with my Gen Z staff because they are remarkably bad at processing information in written form. (Fitness industry probably has something to do with it.)

I've noticed it in every generation I've worked with. People Don't Read. You can build a respectable technical career simply by being the person who actually reads the instructions.

People will think you are a wizard. And, given how much time wizards are depicted reading books of spells, perhaps you are. Maybe wizards have always just been the people who bothered to read the instructions.
posted by clawsoon at 1:10 PM on January 21 [70 favorites]


I'm a millennial, but often I imagine it's pretty depressing to be Gen X. Maybe, just maybe, that's why they were thought to be so cynical.

HA THERE IT IS RIGHT THERE. WERE. GEN X IN THE PAST TENSE. WE'VE ALREADY BEEN WRITTEN OUT OF THE STORY.
posted by nushustu at 1:11 PM on January 21 [5 favorites]


(I'm working on a video repository for training though.)

At my company we've found that video training doesn't work well, either, because people's attention drifts. As frustrating as it is ("this could be so much more efficient if people just paid attention!!"), the most reliable way to get people to learn something is to have them do it while guiding them through it and being available to answer any questions they have. Even showing them while being available to answer questions doesn't work. They have to do it. The hands remember better than the eyes.

I'm no expert, and I'm sure there's educational research on this (some of which probably contradicts what I'm saying), but this has been my experience again and again in my career.
posted by clawsoon at 1:17 PM on January 21 [2 favorites]


Even showing them while being available to answer questions doesn't work. They have to do it. The hands remember better than the eyes.

Agreed 100% especially as we are, ironically, a training organization that trains very specifically (martial arts). But the admin issue here is we have a few procedures that only come up so often, like annually, and no one can remember how to do them, and even a screen-by-screen sheet detailing the steps is insufficient. (They have time to review before they have to. And yes, working on making it simpler too.)

And as a small business sometimes it's hard to get the right person there although we can coach via Zoom now that everyone's a pro, which helps soo much - I can watch them do it on their screen. But I'm trying to get a repository together so the keen people can self-remind.

I know that's off-track but I think one reason some people over-meeting (and I have dealt with that!!) is because people either remember, or other people from the meeting at least remind them that they should remember the information. I still thought the video was funny though. :)
posted by warriorqueen at 1:36 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]


Here's a little tip for the sad Gen Xers out there:

If you don't want to be called a boomer, stop acting like one! Half the Gen Xers I work with have that stank of entitled establishment all over them. Just because you're 52 doesn't mean you have any good excuse for being dismissive of folks in their 20s or unironically quoting Reagan.

Act more like the cranky old socialist punks you should be and the rest of us will like you just fine.
posted by phunniemee at 2:07 PM on January 21 [17 favorites]


It's interesting to hear folks here say that the expression "this meeting could have been an email" is something that managers say. Where I work, it's typically managers who want and who call meetings, not the rank-and-file.

If you think about it, a meeting invitation demands a lot: it says people should devote an allotted time to you, and generally you're supposed to accept meeting invitations by default (if you want to decline, you're expected to have a reason, so the burden is on the recipient). People at my workplace will schedule 1 or 2 hour meetings with multiple attendees with seemingly little thought to whether this is a good use of people's time or not. There are recurring meetings that take place whether there is anything to discuss or not - sometimes I get asked to create a topic for discussion just because a meeting is coming up. I have a hard time staying focused through meetings in general. It might be just me, though, because I don't hear other folks complain much about it.
posted by splitpeasoup at 2:17 PM on January 21 [5 favorites]


Gen Xers do exist, and we have our own, really annoying, age-cohort-based behaviors--distinct from actual Boomers--that we'd like to be recognized and mocked for, too, thankyouverymuch.

That character is a Gen-Xer, though, she just said “Boomer.” And it’s not really an age cohort behavior she’s illustrating, it’s an age and station-in-life behavior.
posted by atoxyl at 2:17 PM on January 21 [2 favorites]


deadaluspark: "I'm a millennial, but often I imagine it's pretty depressing to be Gen X. Maybe, just maybe, that's why they were thought to be so cynical."

Hey, we're still here and IN THE ROOM.
posted by chavenet at 2:19 PM on January 21 [7 favorites]


telophase: "I once quit a job after someone asked me if I could prioritize an action item on my agenda.

I mean, the job I'd been interviewing for called and hired me, but it felt like fate rather than coincidence.
"

I hate to be "that guy" but it sounds like you simply ... prioritized an action item on your agenda.
posted by chavenet at 2:22 PM on January 21 [7 favorites]


People will think you are a wizard. And, given how much time wizards are depicted reading books of spells, perhaps you are. Maybe wizards have always just been the people who bothered to read the instructions.

Indeed. (How long until a link to a Game of Thrones clip gets an "OK Boomer" eyeroll? Already?)
posted by maxwelton at 2:28 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]


Tiktok referral is a work of art.
posted by firstdaffodils at 2:36 PM on January 21


I recently reached a point with some people I work with where I was delighted to just ditch all the email fluff and get straight to the point.

I had been working with these people for the bulk of two years and they have heard a lot of me slowly and repeatedly walking them through why the various things they were asking for weren't going to be possible. No, not even if they say "but we must be able to!" And all because they asked me to help waay too far along the critical path. They'd missed their chance.

Despite their deep familiarity with this routine, some of them still emailed me to say "we're seeing up this thing, can you help us to do X?" To paraphrase Tim Minchin, my diplomacy dyke gave way, so I went basically straight to "This email is going to be extremely blunt. It is not personal, simply a statement of facts." And then laid out in painful detail why their own decisions, which they refused to consider amending, were the obstacle to me doing what they wanted.

About twenty minutes later, I got an email back that just said, "thanks, that was very clear." Extremely satisfying.
posted by knapah at 3:58 PM on January 21 [8 favorites]


KIND REGARDS
posted by automatronic at 4:17 PM on January 21 [5 favorites]


I'm Gen X, my take on "OK, boomer" is that it means the exact same thing as "whatever".

It means, "You win this argument for institutional or structural reasons and once again my needs will be minimized and ignored, as expected, congratulations."

So when I get an OK, boomer it's time to take stock.
posted by Horkus at 4:45 PM on January 21 [13 favorites]


Gen X: we are too world-weary to want to change the workplace, but will make wry observations about the eternality of things.

Also Gen X: Instead of organisations where a new entrant might realistically hope to get promoted from the floor to leadership, we will create firms and business arrangements structured specifically to break the link between management and non-management, creating separate offices and companies, and deploying the full statutory power of the State to make sure the app-employees, subcontractors and the like, will never even be able to meet their boss except through the app they 'work' on. Flexibility!
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 5:00 PM on January 21 [6 favorites]


Last few days I've worked with a consultant that made a very astute observation. We both spend our entire days fighting 'business' fires caused by someone else. It slows our actual work down, but we keep the business running at our schedule's detriment. We are for all intents and purposes - firefighters.

Now with that said... with those people who can be readily identified as the root causes for all this repeat and distracting work, that routinely send us spinning... If we're the firefighters... doesn't that make them serial arsonists?

It has opened my eyes to my instructions of 'Don't do that!'
posted by Nanukthedog at 7:32 PM on January 21 [6 favorites]


I want to know where SexySlack is going to go on vacation - maybe the apartment complex pool? 😂

I was waiting for that part of the video! I was waiting for him to just turn around and be like oh, still here, vacation time....in the apartment.


At my company we've found that video training doesn't work well, either, because people's attention drifts. As frustrating as it is ("this could be so much more efficient if people just paid attention!!"), the most reliable way to get people to learn something is to have them do it while guiding them through it and being available to answer any questions they have. Even showing them while being available to answer questions doesn't work. They have to do it. The hands remember better than the eyes

I've found this too. Like it was kinda cool recently to record a set of video trainings and hold a training Q&A session afterward and have to field almost no questions, but I'm not sure that's an indication that everyone has necessarily effectively learned the thing we recorded the training videos on. As it turned out, half the folks in the room hadn't watched them yet at the time of the session. Heh. So that's a work in progress.

The problems with video trainings are myriad, not least of which is that technology changes so rapidly (especially appearance and features of websites), it's likely that training videos will go out-of-date, and if a given video includes multiple things, that means you might have to rerecord a whole other video with all of those things, which doesn't actually save all that much time. (Yeah, I know, video editing exists, and this could probably be planned for better—one of my goals for this year is to learn more effective video production to address it. But editing video adds time to the process.)

I guess there are economies of scale from it, though, if you'd otherwise have to plan and schedule sessions with multiple groups on, say, a platform. But for smaller groups, yeah, hands-on synchronous training, recorded for participants to revisit (and anyone who missed it to review), is my preference, too. It builds in accountability, because it's harder to skip a scheduled session, so everyone has to learn together. I also think it's a much more effective way to combat ageism and other discrimination, especially in tech, because learners of all ages and backgrounds come in at such highly different levels of understanding. Knowing how to notice those moments where they gloss over or dismiss a little detail you could teach them is important for ensuring they don't just tune out and decide they're unable to learn the technology (and get excluded from use of technology or roles that require it accordingly).

Some people learn better from being able to watch a video and pause and restart it to follow along at their own pace. And there's something to be said for having a set of shorter, more targeted videos broken out, rather than someone having to attend an entire 1 1/2– or 2-hour synchronous session or watch a video that length to learn. So I respect that, too. Video trainings can also be a lot less accessible, though, unless you add closed captions, and captioning requires time, skill, and/or cash (plus some technical vocabulary on the part of the captioner!). So I don't think it's universal that video is better. So much depends on participants' ability, experience, and learning style.

I guess I have a lot of training thoughts! While I never saw myself as a teacher earlier in my career, now I'm at the point that training face-to-face (on a video call, even) is so much more interesting to me than painstakingly recording something in detail that you're not sure people will watch, trying to account for all possible use cases or details that folks of various experience levels and backgrounds might not realize. I also just enjoy the challenge of learning my product so well that I can field both the questions that are asked and the things people don't ask but are clearly wondering. There's a lot to be said for building confidence in a product by demonstrating preparation and product knowledge. Training is as much of a sales exercise as anything, after all—fostering buy-in and adoption for a new product or method.

Alas, I know this was a meme thread, haha.
posted by limeonaire at 7:34 PM on January 21 [3 favorites]


been that the same people who rant about how we should have more things by email and not meetings are..... also remarkably bad at managing and responding to their email.

Well - in my experience that can be true - but, people who have an endless parade of requested meetings every day for status updates, where the attendees no longer have time to work on the actual work of which status is being request - is also an issue...

Meetings are for managers - the following holds true for most people who actually have to "produce" something (code, documents, training materials, physical products, etc.):

Maker's Schedule , Manager's Schedule

Caveats about the above link - opinions of Paul Graham are those of a very successful "techbo", and in my opinion - many/most of his essays suffer from "engineer's syndrome/disease" - but it does not make all of them inaccurate or worthless.
posted by rozcakj at 10:13 AM on January 22 [5 favorites]


The second one: boomers (57-75 years old) are mostly too old to have a kid at soccer practice that they need to pick up.

I just assumed that this was a lie (one that the boss is unaware they've been using for a quarter-century now) and that, like everything else, the younger employee knows it but is not allowed to point out.
posted by AlSweigart at 11:02 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


I just assumed that this was a lie (one that the boss is unaware they've been using for a quarter-century now) and that, like everything else, the younger employee knows it but is not allowed to point out.

Related, I have a coworker who repeatedly misses a scheduled call because she has to pick up her daughter from school.

I recently learned this daughter is 20.
posted by phunniemee at 11:09 AM on January 22 [2 favorites]




Well - in my experience that can be true - but, people who have an endless parade of requested meetings every day for status updates, where the attendees no longer have time to work on the actual work of which status is being request - is also an issue...

All day long I sit in meetings in which people ask me where the things are that I am supposed to work on, and I have just started to say, bluntly and out loud, that I'm in this meeting instead of working on them.

I do not get to begin my actual work tasks until about 4:30 pm on any given day.

I am ready to send them my laptop in tiny little pieces via fedex.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:52 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]


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