And that’s all I have to say about that…

Once upon a time the government had a vast scrap yard in the middle of a desert.

Congress said, “Someone may steal from it at night.” So they created a night watchman position and hired a person for the job.

Then Congress said, “How does the watchman do his job without instruction?” So they created a planning department and hired two people, one person to write the instructions, and one person to do time studies.

Then Congress said, “How will we know the night watchman is doing his tasks correctly?” So they created the Quality Control Department and hired two people – one to do the studies and one to write the reports.

Then Congress said, “How are these people going to get paid?” So they created a timekeeper and a payroll officer position. Then hired two people.

Then Congress said, “Who will be accountable for all of these people?” So they created an administrative section and hired three people: An Administrative Officer, Assistant Administrative Officer, and a Legal Secretary.

Then Congress said, “We have had this command in operation for one year and we are $18,000 over budget, we must cutback overall cost.” So they laid off the night watchman.

Sunday Share: The Robot Chronicles Times Two

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(Image: http://itmakessenseblog.com/files/2013/05/unemployment-line.jpg)

In the course of my blogging I’ve “met” many people; one, Aline Kaplan, seems to see eye-to-eye with meon many employment issues (and, in fairness, not so much on some other issues… but then, that’s life!).  She and I seem to have acted as mutual foils, and each has written essays that have spurred the other to follow through and build on the concepts.  It’s been interesting!

In her recent post, The Robot Chronicles Times Two, she links to both her and my essays about robots / AI, and the looming Jobpocalypse.  Thanks, Aline, and here’s hoping we can generate some traffic on this.  Perhaps more importantly, perhaps we can prompt some serious and sober discussion and thought about the fact that while technology has always displaced people from their existing jobs (which, in principle and historically, has not been a bad thing), this time the scale, scope, and pace of technology replacing people is utterly unprecedented in human history.  Ordering FLANK SPEED! into uncharted waters where multiple lookouts can already see, and are pointing out, breakers on reefs entails a great deal of risk both to the rank-and-file people manning the ships, as well as those giving the orders to do so.

And no discussion of the Jobpocalypse would be complete – IMHO of course – without also mentioning Neil Patrick, who runs a great career-related blog, is one of the high-ranking job search / career development people in the UK… and who, I believe, coined the twitter hashtag #dearrobots in his commentary also expressing concerns about technology not augmenting, but replacing, people.  (And on the topic of careers; Neil and another fantastic career coach, Marcia LaReau, have a book coming out soon about the new career landscape and how to plan for it… watch out for it!)

 

The true content of America’s character…

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I’m Jewish.  I make no bones about it, I make no apology for it.  My mother was a Sabra – someone born in the Holy Land – as was her mother.  I am also a proud Zionist, believing that Jews need Israel as a nation and focus.*  (I wear a yarmulke as a reminder of my faith; the only overt incident of anti-Semitism I’ve experienced in person was here in New Hampshire… conversely, in my work-related travels to “deep dark red” states like Texas and Louisiana have been met with nothing but courtesy, and a genuine curiosity about my faith.)

On my father’s side, I have two ancestors who fought in the Revolution to whom I can, through records, tie myself; two others lurk in the mists of time awaiting my ability to focus on my genealogy – and a statement by my late father hints that I can join the Mayflower Society when I manage to get back that far.  I bleed red, white, and blue; I fly Old Glory, and only that, at my house.  I love this exceptional and unique country.

I am a mix.  As is my family.  As are my children.

America, too, is a mix; possibly the most mixed country on the planet.

Who You Admire Is Indicative

I’ve proposed many “penetrating questions” for candidates to ask in interviews; some are meant as attempt to gauge the interviewer’s character.  One such question was:

If you could have a civil, peaceful dinner party with five people from history, language aside, who would they be, why, and what would the main course be?

As an exercise, I answered my own question.  It was an interesting thought experiment, and hopefully revealing of my character.

In addition to the ones named in that essay, another one of my American heroes is Martin Luther King, Jr., whose words about freedom and race ring in my ears.  I strive, every day, to live true to his Dream that one day people would judge each other not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I even wrote an essay in praise of this, and of the concept of diversity, Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations; my co-workers are white, black, and every shade in between, as are my students.  I’ve had straight and gay people in my classes, and I don’t care; their orientation makes not a whit of difference to me.

The Spirit of America in a Heartfelt Letter

So here comes an open letter from a resident of Louisiana – a white man – to President Obama about the latter’s recent caution to Louisiana’s residents to not discriminate in their rescue and recovery attempts:

Dear Mr President,

I want to thank you for reminding us in South Louisiana not to discriminate against anyone based on race or religion. Had you not reminded us of this I don’t know what we would have done. See we rode around in a boat saving people and well race or religion never entered my mind. Not once. It didn’t enter my buddies mind or my wife’s. Just saving people.

I understand you may be miss informed because of all the race baiting that the media did a couple months ago here is South Louisiana. But I assure you that’s not what we stand for in South Louisiana. We love each other when the times get hard. We look out for our own. Now I know this doesn’t fit your agenda. But facts are facts.

O and by the way stay up in DC play a little golf and enjoy your last couple months in office. Make sure you clean out your desk. Clean out the house you’ve occupied for 8 years cause your time is up. Let ya buddy Ms Clinton know we don’t need her either. She needs her rest. Lord knows she needs rest more then the residents of South Louisiana do. She may could put some of that Clinton foundation blood money to good use down here helping others. But why would she do that. She already knows Louisiana doesn’t belong to her come November. If this was a state she needed she would have been on the boat with me. But that’s OK we got this we are strong here in Louisiana. Something you will never understand.

Thanks
The true citizens of Louisiana

To this white man, helping his neighbors and fellow citizens regardless of race or creed – per Luther’s dream – I can only say this:

Well done, sir.  Well done… and well said.  Thank you for showing the true SPIRIT OF AMERICA.

© 2016, David Hunt PE

 

* I make no apology for my zealous defense and support of Israel, whether in person, with charitable help, or online defending it; Israel, about the size of the state of New Hampshire (if that!) is the only nation in the world whose neighbors have – within living memory – repeatedly tried to wipe it out.  It is the only nation in the world that has neighbors whose founding documents call for its destruction, the only nation that is the focus of other countries who hold rallies screaming “Death to Israel!” and who paint, in Hebrew, messages like Israel shall be destroyed on their test missiles.  Israel is the only nation in the world with permanent agenda items in the docket in UN meetings, and the only nation in the world counseled to exercise “restraint” when missiles fired from its neighbors land in its cities.  And despite there being, what, scores of “disputed territory” situations around the world, Israel is the only one that gets worldwide attention… thus showing that Jews are still marked for “special handling” by the world.

Just as an exercise, imagine if Lithuania fired missiles into Vladimir Putin’s Russia… do you really think it’d take more than a week of three-a-day before Putin stomped Lithuania flat and he sent in troops to scrape it clean?  Can you imagine him waiting for over a decade, having over 13,000 mortars, missiles, plus numerous tunnels under the border with armed incursions into Russia?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.

So for all you LinkedIn weenies out there not liking my stringent and strident defense of Israel and pushback on the Arabs and other anti-Semites attacking Israel on what is, and should be, a professional networking site – STUFF IT.  When your ancestral and spiritual homeland is attacked and vilified and slandered – daily – in an attempt to so tarnish its existence that when it is attacked people will view its destruction as a good thing (just as Jews were so tarnished through years of propaganda in pre-WWII Germany, and for the same purpose) – then we’ll talk.

Thursday Thoughtful

So, who is at the top of your list*?  (Rhetorical question, I don’t really want to know!)

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(I wouldn’t be surprised if I was on someone’s list…)

In a parallel vein, a friend of mine and I sometimes hypothesize about one day a year when you could be absolutely, positively, totally and brutally straight-forward at work, no PC-bullsh*t, speaking your mind about any topic, without any consequences whatsoever.  (Almost like the movie “The Purge” except just vocally…)

* Reminds me of a joke: “Hurting you is the last thing on my mind… but it IS still on the list.”