Monday, October 11, 2010
Anyone else ever bothered by how much useless knowledge you have? Or how that space you'll never get back could have been used for more productive or profitable information?
I constantly think about this, and it goes beyond just having meaningless trivia knowledge. I'm talking about stuff that has been ingrained since my elementary school days. Stupid stuff that we have no real need for and never will, even the trivial stuff comes in handy when watching Jeopardy with friends, trivia night at bars, or filling out crossword puzzles. The stuff I'm talking about is truly useless.
Two examples taught to everyone in my generation (and presumably still being taught); hand writing and Roman numerals. I can think of no point in time in my life beyond the point where I was being graded for my knowledge and expertise of each subject that I have needed either of these arcane literary tools.
Hand writing- The generation prior to mine was probably the last to need this, and even then it was for a small window in time. Why are we still wasting time on this? If I never needed it, kids today certainly won't. Ever since about the 5th grade the only time I've used cursive is signing checks and/or legal documents. That's it. Teach these kids how to create a rock star signature (I personally spent hours perfecting mine on Little League baseball photos made to look like actual baseball cards), and just leave it at that. An awesome signature will take you places in life, much more-so than perfecting the lower case z. Start teaching kids to type, give them a skill that might actually get them a job, assuming there are still jobs in this country when they get older. If I see one more co-worker pecking away with just their index fingers I'm going to snap. You're an adult, type like an adult.
Roman Numerals - Of all the subject matter I've retained in life this is by far the biggest waste of space. Aside from Super Bowls (which needs to stop, I'm sure the average country bumpkin NFL fan has no clue what these mean anyway) I've never needed this. For that matter I'm pretty certain the majority of my ancestors have never needed this either, yet we keep teaching it to children. Roman numerals were replaced sometime during the 14th century! Kids aren't taught Latin anymore because its a dead language (even though its far more relevant and useful than Roman Numerals), yet we keep pushing this system that was deemed replaceable 700 years ago (for obvious reasons, think about how confusing multiplication would be, trying being eight years old and wrapping you're mind around X x X = C). Do you think the Japanese are wasting time with this foolish system? I don't. They dropped the abacus a long time ago, its time for us to drop this. You want to teach the kids a neat form of code? Teach them computer/internet code. Unless the kids are aspiring to careers that involve cave drawings, I'm pretty sure learning a few basic lines of code a year will benefit the them and our future society much more.
The American job market is evolving, our education system needs to do the same. It's too late for my generation, at least give the next one a chance, and besides, someone needs to support my social security checks when I retire.
Monday again, bringing another week of middle managing for the CW. Probably the biggest reason I started this blog was to take my mind off the fact that Monday-Friday from the hours of 10-7 I am a robotic, cold, soul-less middle manager. At least I hope I am.
Allow me to explain. You see, I have all the responsibilities of a middle manager (aka annoying crap), along with a slight power and salary edge over the members of my team, all key indicators pointing to being a middle manager. I however have noticed two things in the past few months that have made me think I may be even lower on the totem poll than I thought. Somewhere lower than middle manager, yet higher than entry level employee. A little slice of
First, and this is definitely the more important of the two, I haven't received a corporate issue Blackberry. As we all know, the corporate Blackberry is the international symbol of the middle manager (some of you might point out that executives also carry Blackberry's and are now wondering how you can tell the difference between a happy, successful exec and a miserable, depressed middle manager. Have no fear, as a general rule of thumb if the Blackberry is a current or very recent model they are presumably an exec, if the Blackberry in question is a few model years old and built like a tank you can presume the person in possession is a middle manager). Middle managers live and breathe their company 24 hours a day with the small hope of some day making the executive level, this is most evident when observing their bionic hand feeding them a constant stream of corporate communications and client e-mails that they are able to delete immediately upon receipt, as opposed to just waiting until 10 am the next day as I currently do.
Secondly, my manager is definitely a middle manager (all the aforementioned responsibilities, power, salary, and he has the blackberry). By default I don't think I can have the same title as the person I directly report to, that would cause the kind of corporate chaos that led to the downfall of Initech. No, my title and status have to be a rung below his if only to keep the actual middle manager's self-esteem high enough that the company can deflect their responsibility to provide depression counseling. I think I'll title myself a "Lower Level Leader." It's alliterative (always a plus when introducing new corporate jargon), and pretty accurately describes my current status level.
My question is should I be happy about this? I've avoided the public stigma (in my mind) that goes with being a middle manager, but I've ultimately admitted that I'm a level lower. Leave a comment, let us know what you think, or where you rank in the corporate ladder.