Archive for the ‘People’ Category

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Blackberry Etiquette for Dummies

April 16, 2009

crackberry

I’m normally not one to generalize, so I’m going to throw this out there right off the bat: I don’t believe that all Blackberry owners share the same behavioural characteristics.  In fact, the following guide on Blackberry etiquette probably only applies to certain types of people, namely corporate big-shots, celebrities and other narcissistic egomaniacs that still believe  owning a smartphone is the answer to their boring, socially-bereft lives.  It’s not difficult to spot them in our society.  Simply look for a hunched-over figure, staring like a corpse at a 3″ screen while fumbling with miniature buttons and a glowing white pebble that loosely resembles the look and functionality of a trackball.  I’ve attempted using one of these things out of pure curiosity.  Let me tell you, there’s nothing convenient about having to rotate the scroll “orb” 3-5 times in order to highlight an adjacent icon.  Nor is it convenient to type a full-length e-mail on a keypad with Tic Tac-sized buttons using only my thumbs.  I’d rather try to cut my own hair with hedge clippers.  Here’s a thought, RIM: Instead or spending millions in research developing a long-life battery containing enough harmful chemicals to re-enact Hiroshima, why not just make the buttons on your keypad a little bigger?  People will spend less time typing, deleting, then typing again, and they don’t have to worry about their wireless device exploding in their palm due to some sporadic chemical reaction.  If sending e-mail wirelessly and having a quasi-functional QWERTY keypad are the only benefits to owning a Blackberry, I’ll pass, thank you very much.  And yet some people spend more time with these things than their own families.

At any rate, here’s a quick guide to Blackberry etiquette:

1.  First and foremost, if you’re going to own RIM’s flagship of inter-human communication, simply storing it in your pant pocket will not suffice.  You will need to purchase a Blackberry “holster” that will clip to your hip.  It is highly recommended that this holster have a magnetic flip-top for quick removal of your RIM device.  Having to fumble with your holster to remove your Blackberry is uncool, downright embarrassing and frowned upon in the Blackberry community.

2.  Once you’ve spent some time with your new Blackberry Pearl, Curve, or what have you, now is a good time to solicit it’s superior functionality to non-owners, or “outsiders.”  Make sure they realize the benefit of such things as custom ring tones, a full QWERTY keypad and the uncanny ability to check the 7-day forecast from the palm of your own hand.  Remind them that even though they may not use all of the device’s 2,043 features, except to show other outsiders, it’s always better to have and not need rather than to need and not have.  And if they ask why the data plan would end up costing them nearly as much as their mortgage, gently tell them that you can’t put a price on convenience.

3.  Once you’ve garnered a decent list of contacts and are receiving a consistent flow of PINs, e-mails and text messages (if you’re receiving a text message, it’s likely from an outsider, so here’s another opening to solicit), it’s probably time to start practicing your Blackberry game face.  This face, which should ideally mirror a rendition of your lifeless cadaver in a morgue, is an important visual cue to would-be conversationalists.  It’s a non-abrasive way of telling someone (without actually telling them) that you’re involved in an exigent repartee that can under no circumstances be interrupted.   And while outsiders may initially be taken aback and consider it rude, over time they will understand and learn to avoid verbal contact with you while you have your Blackberry game face on.  No one likes to be around a loose-lip while they’re going pee.  It’s awkward and distracting.  Feel free to exercise use of this analogy where necessary.

4.  While the former item addresses situations in which you’re in the process of sending a PIN, the following outlines behavioural characteristics to adhere to when your Blackberry receives a PIN or phone call during a conversation with an outsider.  The main thing to keep in the back of your mind is that no matter how important the conversation may seem, it should never be prioritized over an incoming PIN or phone call.  That being said, there are a few ways of approaching this situation, all of which are acceptable, but they may trigger different responses from your outsider friend.  The easiest and most common method is to simply remove your Blackberry from its holster and immediately divert your full attention to it without uttering a word.  The outsider may attempt to continue the conversation with you, in which case you can keep them at ease by occasionally nodding your head, and saying things like, “Mmm hmm.”  If it’s a phone call, then it’s probably best to make some brief eye contact with the outsider, and then turn and start walking in the opposite direction.  An alternate technique to this method – and studies prove this method to be slightly more acceptable in the outsider community – is to raise your index finger upwards before taking the call, as if to say, “One minute.”  In theory, the outsider will believe that you are merely taking a brief detour from your conversation with him or her, but in actuality there is no guarantee that the conversation will ever pick up where it left off.  In fact, it ought not to.  You’re far too important to be wasting time on small-talk.  The last method, although widely recognized to be the most acceptable by outsiders, is considered the least efficient and may directly affect your ROP (Rank of Importance).  This method involves interrupting the conversation gently by raising a hand and pronouncing, “Excuse me, I need to take this.”  The Blackberry community tends to consider this method a last resort, and should only be used if the other methods fail.

5.  As a Blackberry owner, it is imperitive to stay on the leading edge of technology.  Thus, whenever RIM releases a new Blackberry model, it’s in your best interests to purchase the new hardware as soon as it hits the market.  Doing so will not only help you to minister to outsiders in a new and savvy way, it will also boost your ROP instantly, as nothing advertises your corporate preponderance like a flashy new piece of hardware.  Keep in mind that the transition may require purchase of a new holster.

And there you have it.  Happy PIN-ing.

~B

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You’re Fired, Rick

April 9, 2009

Economic downturn, recession, depression…  Whatever words you use to describe the current state of the economy, chances are that not a day goes by where you’re not involved in some sort of discussion of the topic.  Chances are that if you’ve actually taken the time to find and read this article, you’ve already been handed a pink slip yourself.  Maybe it’s just a temporary lay-off, or maybe it’s permanent.  Maybe you saw it coming.  After all, corporate execs typically frown upon such things as lack of punctuality, spending too much time chatting at the water cooler or using the boss’s laptop to check your Facebook profile.  Nowadays companies are much more likely to implement cost-saving measures and trim the fat off their staffing levels.  Roles are being combined; salaries are being slashed.  Not even upper management is safe anymore.

Enter the life of Rick Wagoner, former CEO of General Motors.  Now arguably, holding the title of Chief Executive Officer merits a certain amount confidence in your job security.  One could make the reasonable assumption that at that level, the only person that could fire you is, well, you, unless the following criteria are met: One, during your nine-year reign you somehow contribute to the company losing 10% of its market share, causing a $60 drop in share price for an overall loss of $85 billion.  Two, this man happens to walk into your office to talk business:

Barack Obama

It officially sucks to be Rick Wagoner.  Granted, I’m sure he’s not hurting for cash.  You don’t make a $1.5 million salary and not make some good investments.  But why use a warhead to destroy an ant hill when a shovel will do?  I can’t think of a more humbling experience.  Isn’t there a board of directors that can take control of the company if profits are plummeting?  Didn’t they think to enact some emergency powers after the first $42.5 billion were flushed down the corporate toilet?  Maybe Barack was just miffed because his Yukon XL broke down on the way to Camp David, but whatever the reason, being fired by the President of the United States can’t be good for your reputation, or your resume.  Good luck finding another job, Rick.  Just don’t have anyone call the White House for references.

~B