Thursday, July 26, 2007

Dumb Corporate Email No. 1,256

How many times do I have to tell you senior execs to stay away from emails doing something shady? When will you start to listen?

The latest alleged miscreant to ignore my advice is Greg Reyes, former CEO of Brocade Communications, whose options backdating case goes to a federal jury tomorrow. If he goes down, it will be due to the fact he, like so many others, decided it was less work to use email than dial the phone.

Evidence of my wisdom, and his folly, is this from The Wall Street Journal’s reportage of closing arguments. Note that Reyes is accused of illegally backdating options 2000-2004.

“In summarizing the government's case, Mr. Reeves ran through evidence for 10 reasons why prosecutors allege Mr. Reyes knew full well that backdating was illegal. As the prosecutor spoke, he left a large whiteboard on an easel facing the jury, displaying the government's Reason No. 1: An October 2004 email that Mr. Reyes sent to another company's board member in which the Brocade CEO wrote, in capital letters: "IT IS ILLEGAL TO BACK-DATE OPTIONS GRANTS.''

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Take This Job And .....

I recently asked LinkedIn members if they had ever walked into a boss' office and declared, "You can take this job and shove it." The best answer came from Bob Fornal of Columbus, Ohio.

" I have. It was pretty depressing how few people actually cared."

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Free Agent Generations

I recently interviewed Bruce Tulgan, a researcher, author and speaker who focuses on how to understand Gen X and Gen Y. Like the insightful Dan Pink, he sees the workplace becoming a collection of free agents -- something he believes fits perfectly with the thinking of tomorrow's leaders. A few exceprts follow.

For example, the old-fashioned workplace was filled with onsite, long-term, uninterrupted, exclusive employees. The future of the workforce is shorter-term, non-exclusive people who might even leave and come back later.

I think . . . that it is the future of work, whether someone is on a payroll or or under a contract.

In some cases jobs are positioned as old-style – onsite, ongoing and so on. But even people in those roles over the span of their careers are experiencing work they way contingent workers do. That’s clearly the trend.

In addition, the distincition between an old-fashioned employee and a contingent is becoming less significant. Frankly contingent workers are getting more respect, more benefits and doing more significant work and those in traditional employee roles will probably say they have less and less security.

But the biggest mistake a manager can make is looking at someone and say, “we've got them.” It’s like if you got married, said "I've got you," and then started acting like a jerk. That’s not a formula for a long relationship, even among people who stood up before family, friends and God to swear loyalty unto death. So why should your employees tolerate that? After all, it’s just a job.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Executive Privilege Not

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Loyal even after leaving the White House, President Bush's former political director Sara M. Taylor obeyed his instructions and declined to answer most of Congress' questions Wednesday about her role in the firings of federal prosecutors.

I don't understand why ex-White House employees think they get a pass on this kind of thing. Under this scenario, a floral arranger could refuse to discuss presidential flower preferences if George told him to keep his mouth shut.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Tough Love for Laid Off Newspaper Journos

Having resigned from and been fired from newspaper jobs, having done corporate and tech PR, having run my own consulting business, I offer this advice.

Do not take a break and decompress. Your severance is your lifeline, not a bonus. Start now to look for your next role in the marketplace because it will be more difficult than you think. Kudos if you began working on it before the ax neared your neck.

Park your ego. Every journalist invests a big chunk of ego in what they do. Despite the value of your last job, it's over and you need to be realistic when you knock on potential employers' doors.

Look hard at your skills. A friend once said to me, "Hey, I can write about anything, I'm a newspaper reporter." A year out of the business he said, "Don't tell anyone I said that." Today, the writers most eagerly sought are in marketing and advertising. And they tend to specialize in sub-categories such as direct mail, online and so on. If you don't believe me, check out the job boards.

A bright spot: If your skills apply to the farther end of the editorial process -- copy editing, pagination, production editing -- your job hunt will be shorter than faced by your colleagues who got to leave the building to earn their paycheck. But understand you're more likely to guide a catalog or a brochure onto the press than anything sexy.

The freelance thing. You know it's a tough grind. But if you want to give it a go, understand it's all about niches -- and, sometimes, niches within niches. Your reporting and writing skills will be invaluable. But most publications need people who are knowledgeable about their specialty. Sure, you covered Cisco, but what the bleep do you know about networking technology and products?

Also, think about the vast space between daily journalism and hacking out news releases. Alumni magazines, Web content and trade publications focused on things you know. Big bucks? Probably not. But if you can balance what they pay against the time you need to put in, you could create a regular income stream.

PR? -- Most companies and agencies today want experienced PR people. (Again, look at the job boards.) Your newspaper credentials will be recognized, but only as they apply to what you covered. Business writer? Great. But are you current on the issues and trends affecting my company/client? Think PR is beneath you? Go get a paper route.

Teach? -- ESL, yes. Journalism, no. People are lined up out the door for journalism gigs and they usually pay less than the cost of the gas it takes to drive to work.

Try something completely different --
You know how to interview people, paw through databases, grasp what details are important and recognize what questions must be answered before the final product is released. Those are excellent skills that can be applied to almost any venture in life.

Required reading: Dan Pink's books. I know him and he understands the future of work.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Scooter's Commuted Sentence

He doesn't have to go to prison.

But he remains a convicted felon, which means his law license is toast, his right to vote is gone and he can't go quail hunting with his former boss because he can't be in possession of a firearm.

Sounds like enough for now. For a guy like him.