9-17-16 Hodgepodge

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Title Says It All

In "Don't Pretend to Have a Question Just So You Can Talk About Yourself," Allison Green of Ask a Manager advises against a practice that used to annoy the bejesus out of me. She starts off speaking about job interviews, but expands to life in general:

A similar version of this is true of questions that people ask not because they really care about the answer, but because they think the act of asking the question will look good. That's not what this time is for, and it's often pretty obvious when someone is doing it (because they tend not to appear to be thinking critically about the answer, just running down a list).
The realization that this tactic was obvious made the practice less annoying to me, although, as Green rightly points out, there is still the matter of wasted time.

Weekend Reading

"In other words, although lower taxes stimulate investment and production, the more important value -- i.e., the redistribution function of a global welfare state -- requires a willingness by producers to pay higher taxes." -- Peter Schwartz, in "Fact-Checking The Fact-Checkers" at The Huffington Post

"Lying undermines your relationship with your employer and it imposes burdens on you." -- Michael Hurd, in "Lying Can Be a Full-Time Job" at The Delaware Wave

"If you want to reduce stress, think about how to modify your attitudes and beliefs." -- Michael Hurd, in "Doing Less Does Not Always Mean Less Stress" at The Delaware Coast Press

"I'd much rather [Clinton's] opponents focus their energies against her public policy positions." -- Paul Hsieh, in "No, There's No 'Smoking Gun' in Clinton's Doctor Letter" at Forbes

"Our enemy is defined, not primarily by their use of terrorist means, but by their ideological ends." -- Elan Journo, in "15 Years After 9/11, We Still Don't Understand the Enemy" at The Federalist

My Two Cents

In addition to health-based attacks on Hillary Clinton distracting from substantive issues and making the GOP less creditable, I have noticed they are causing Democrats to speculate about replacing her with Bernie Sanders. Somehow, I don't see Sanders saying, "I'm tired of hearing about all the damned hacking." I really don't want this to turn into a contest between two of the few people who could make me consider voting for Mrs. Clinton.

Is the Medicine Also This Advanced Down Under?

My interest in open-source software has led me to the following interesting nugget about an Australian medical agency:
There may not be as many of these people in 2016, but they're still there! We don't know if these are FreeDOS or some other DOS, but there's the car company that uses an old Compaq laptop running DOS software to service luxury McLaren F1 cars and the South Australian Government is still running their electronic health records on a DOS-based system. Probably my favorite example is author George R.R. Martin (author of the 'Game of Thrones' series) writes all his books and manuscripts on a DOS computer, running the WordStar word processor. [bold added]
That said, FreeDOS is something to look into for middle-aged folks feeling nostalgic about the computer games they used to play -- and somehow still in possession of the requisite stack of floppies.

-- CAV


Jennifer Snow said...

I detest the kind of managers who say "if they don't ask questions at an interview, I won't hire them, because that means their not interested". No, that means they're the kind of person who expects to figure things out as they go. Some people are just not natural question-askers. They expect you to give them the information that you have, not force them to participate in a guessing game where they're trying to figure out what you hid in the box. I find that asking questions when people are trying to convey information to you is a great way to derail them and make sure that the information comes out all garbled.

Gus Van Horn said...

Well, it could mean there's a lack of interest, or preparation, or focus, or even intellect, but anyone who would make such a conclusion on that alone has no business hiring.

As far as questions possibly derailing an explanation, I think that's a fair point. It's probably best to save them for the end unless one is really, really lost. I have even seen some presenters explicitly request their audiences to save questions for the end. Others, though, err on the side of not losing their audience.

Jennifer Snow said...

It's an intriguing side point to me that I often find that the desire for really pat categories (like no questions = not interested) is not a very good sign.

Of course, I know people who are pathologically afraid of any kind of generalizations as well. Both groups rarely have anything particularly interesting to say.