Didn’t You Get The Memo?

I visited a friend from high school not long ago.  In high school, he wasn’t part of the inner circle, though he wasn’t an outcast either.  But he fielded his fair share of bullying and cruel comments.  He never lost his temper about it, or even seemed to mind that much.  He said his father had told him to just let it go, that someday he would be their boss and make them all jump as high as he wanted.

My friend started a business that has become quite successful.  I met him at his office–lots of glass and steel and polished wood everywhere, and you can always tell when a place that’s decorated in the modern style is doing well or not by whether they can afford someone to clean all the smudges and fingerprints off of all the reflective surfaces every day.  When you’ve got that much square footage that’s got to be cleaned that carefully that often, you have to employ top-notch cleaners.

Anti-Advertising Agency and Finishing School on Flickr; modified for size

Anti-Advertising Agency and Finishing School on Flickr; modified for size

Anyway, I met him at his office.  Perfectly clean, not a smudge in sight, even though it was vibrating with activity.  Clearly doing quite well.  I was talking with him about old times when he winked at me, summoned his secretary into the office (his executive secretary, mind you.  He’s got two others) and gave her a message to email to the staff right away.  She left, and about a minute later, the entire building exploded with people running everywhere, clutching papers and looking really anxious.  Sadly, no one jumped, but I still almost fell out of my chair from laughing so hard!

So take heart, young ones.  Also, if you ever find yourself in my friend’s enviable position, be sure to include something in your memo about jumping, for my sake.

Training conferences by Dave Chappelle

I’m at a training conference. I like training conferences, they remind me of college. Except that I usually skipped lectures in college, and never ever attended a lecture before 10 AM, on principle. But it’s a nice change, sort of relaxing…a little too relaxing…all right, when they turned on the powerpoint and turned off the lights, I fell asleep.

Which is how I’ve come up with my latest idea: I think that training conferences should be planned and drafted by experts in the field, but they should be performed by professional comedians. Those guys know how to keep your attention for a long time without resorting to slides, overheads, or handouts. Plus, if you don’t like how things are going, you can heckle them. I would definitely pay attention if I got the chance to heckle the presenter. All I get to do now is write snarky comments on my notepad and slide it across to my table mate. It’s not fun if you don’t get to throw things.

Personally, I would like to see my training conferences performed in the style of Chappelle’s Show. I want lots of profanity, a healthy dose of cultural insensitivity, and little bits of stand-up in between the panels. There could be lecture skits about “When Keeping It Real Goes Corporate”, and we could hear about the financial impact of paper vs. digital from Rick James. I know you know what I’m talking about! If conferences were like Chappelle’s Show, I’d never miss a panel.