Tag Archive: Bosshole


“Bulls make money, bears make money, pigs get slaughtered.” – CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramercramerpigs

Which decision requires more mental gymnastics?

When to buy?

When to sell?

The author of Almost DailyBrett humbly opines that when to sell is the tougher call.

Why?

There are two kinds of remorse: ‘Darn it the stock kept going up after I sold’; and the worse one, ‘I could have sold when the stock was up, but I was a pig … and oh fiddlesticks, now I am selling when the stock is down.’

Yep, there are a lot of potential could-of, would-of, should-of when it comes to selling.

So what should you do in the view of this humble retail investor (read: Charles Schwab account)?

Don’t Fall in Love

“…Sometimes the most obvious question really is the question. In Enron’s case: How do you make money? – Bethany McLean, Fortune Magazine

Preparing to teach Corporate Public Relations/Investor Relations to Central Washington University seniors and a few juniors starting this coming Wednesday, yours truly will pose the same simple question that Fortune’s McLean posed to Enron’s Jeffrey Skilling: “How do you (Enron) make money?”

Communicators need to have elevator pitches at their ready when asked this very same straightforward question about their own employer. The same is true for investors: How does a company make money? If the answer is clear; you like the company; you understand the business strategy; you have done your homework including consulting with your financial advisor, then it may be time to purchase shares of the company stock.bullandbear

This particular company’s stock is now part of your diversified portfolio, which in turn represents a portion of your retirement savings, a child’s college education, that dream vacation etc.

All is good, but when does it make sense to sell?

Buy and hold is a sure loser. Why? At some point, stocks will stop growing. Your invested company certainly will change, and not necessarily for the better. Circumstances may shift and a wave of caca may hit a company or an industry.

Remember the Internet bubble two decades ago? It burst.

Remember the housing bubble a decade ago. It burst.

Don’t fall in love with your securities. Follow your instinct and your plan. When it is time to pull the trigger and unload the stock, then sell the shares.

Have a Plan

“I love the company. I hate the stock.” – Jim Cramer on Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA)

Okay, it’s time to confess: I fell in love with the Elon Musk Ion-Lithium Battery/Electric Car story at Tesla. Yes, I bought the stock and road it up and down (pardon the pun) and eventually got tired of the downward roller coaster.muskcar

Before I weighed selling, I considered at what average price point did I buy the stock and how low would it have to go before I would sell the stock? It hit that point, and it was time to sell.

Maybe at some future time, it will be low enough to once again purchase the stock, but only when one is convinced the company has a realistic plan for long-term profitability.

The same is true when selling a stock that is going up. Social media stock LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD) recorded a blow-out quarter and the stock exceeded my prearranged sell price point. As Joseph Kennedy reportedly said: “Never apologize when taking a profit.”

And we should never worry about paying taxes on our profits; profits are taxable.

The point here is to follow your game plan and sell when it’s time. That’s a good thing, really.

What are some other signs that it is time to sell a stock?

  • The Music Stopped: Once upon a time, Intel (e.g., microprocessors), Microsoft (e.g., software operating systems) and Cisco (e.g., Internet routers and switches) were literally rocking and rolling. We couldn’t get enough of these stocks until … the music stopped. The PC is yesterday’s news. The 1990s came and went. It became time to sell and move on.
  • Commoditization: Just like Intel’s microprocessors became a commodity to serve as the brains of social, mobile and cloud, the same is true for all other semiconductors and those that build semiconductor manufacturing equipment and electronic design automation (EDA) software. Intel’s rumored takeover of Altera, similar to Avago’s absorption of LSI Corporation, are more signs of industry consolidation. If you have not sold already, it’s past time.
  • High Volatility: Sometimes an investor can benefit from a highly volatile stock. A perfect example is Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM). Lost track of how many times, yours truly has bought, sold, bought, sold, bought … this stock. As long as the trend line is consistently up, it’s okay to let go of the shares now and then, only to become reacquainted at a later date.
  • New Management: Tim Cook is proving that there is life at Apple following the ultimate demise of Steve Jobs, but that is the exception not the rule. Companies change. Business plans shift. Circumstances change. Markets explode or implode. Almost DailyBrett has always followed the mantra that if the old boss or new boss is a bosshole, it’s time to pass on the stock or sell the stock. Translated: Stay away from Larry Ellison and Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL)
  • No Balance Between Fiduciary and Corporate Social Responsibility: The best run publicly traded companies do NOT see “doing well” and “doing good” as being mutually exclusive. Publicly traded companies with their brands under a digital 21st. Century microscope must appreciate their respective brands are trading in the cloud 24/7/365. Worshipping exclusively at the altar of fiduciary responsibility will no longer cut it. If so, it’s time to sell.
  • Caca Happens: Planes land at the wrong airports (e.g., Southwest). Companies name shoes (e.g., Umbro) after the cyanide gas used in Nazi concentration camps. The CEO falls dead in the backseat of a car (e.g., Texas Instruments). Oil wells explode and gush on global video for three months (e.g., BP). Guano hits the fan. This is precisely the reason not to fall in love with any stock.

Sometimes, it is time to say goodbye.

Breaking up is hard to do.

http://www.thestreet.com/story/10292084/1/bulls-bears-make-money-pigs-get-slaughtered.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_P._Kennedy,_Sr.

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/what-happens-when-the-music-stops/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/10/06/how-does-a-company-make-money-2/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/07/18/donate-to-united-way-or-invest-in-tesla/

http://finance.yahoo.com/video/cramers-stop-trading-tesla-motors-135400997.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/farewell-lsi-logic/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/fiduciary-responsibility-vs-corporate-social-responsibility/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making Change Your Friend

“For a lot of people, ‘What if I do nothing?’ is a no-brainer … Do you think you can go sideways and hum along? There is no sideways in life. Life applies friction.” – Entrepreneur and motivator Jonathan Fields delivering a TEDx Talk.

The mileage as the crow flies between Eugene, Oregon and Ellensburg, Washington is 330 miles, give or take a feather or two.

Both are Pacific Northwest college towns (University of Oregon and Central Washington University respectively).

marboro1

 

Mother Nature  lavishes rain on Eugene’s seemingly endless groves of Douglas fir trees and an evergreen landscape. Ellensburg is high desert and reminds one of “Marlboro Country” with its wide spaces, grazing bovine and of course, the county rodeo. That is no Extreme Bull.

Yes, this will indeed be my first rodeo.

As they say, “All good things must end.” Eras come to a close, while others are just beginning. New adventures are on the horizon.

For the author of Almost DailyBrett, there was a LaLaLand era, a Sacramento tenure, a Portland time, a Silicon Valley marathon, a lengthy stop in Eugene and soon it will be a new beginning in Ellensburg.

Many have literally spanned the globe in their life changes. Alas, for me it has been the three continental states that touch the Pacific, but nonetheless it has been a wild-at-times roller-coaster ride.

But for many, even modest change is something to be feared and dreaded. And yet these timid souls try to go sideways, even though that is really not an option.

Same Bed, Same TV, Same Beard, Same Pension and No License to Drive

“Don’t tell me it can’t be done. Show me how it can.” – Plaque in the office of former House Speaker Jim Wright

We all know them.

They always have an excuse. They are always ready with a rationalization. They always have something, anything wrong that will never, ever get better.

eeyore1

Sometimes they can’t get out of their own way. They prefer living at home, sleeping in the same bed and watching the same 21” standard-definition television set with the rabbit-ear antennas (slight exaggeration). Someone will not cut his beard or hair. Someone artistically gifted will not start his own business because he or she is locked into public sector golden handcuffs (e.g., public sector pension). And someone will not learn how to drive and therefore will not be able to compete for a better job and improve her or his life and the lives of impacted offspring.

Another year of “muddling through?” Are Food Stamps and disability payments far off? Is life reduced to running out the clock to the final inevitable day? Pass another PBR.

How many people do you know that are overworked, underpaid, under-appreciated, underutilized and under the gravitational pull of a bosshole? How many more are in a bad relationship, and they know they are in a bad relationship, but for some reason will not throw off their chains?

For far too many these desultory scenarios are exactly the case. But Jonathan Fields correctly points out that there is no sideways in life. Life applies “friction” in many ways … and some of the nastiest scrapes can be sudden and unpleasant.

Sometimes Change Cannot Be Controlled, But It Can Be Managed

Happiness does not come from a job. It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs,”  — Michael Rowe, Host of “Dirty Jobs.”

Even for the successful, the achievers, the Type A personalities caca does indeed happen. A close family member may die. A hereditary disease may strike. You may simply be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Your organization may be acquired. You may come under the influence of a bosshole. The economy may go south. The list goes on-and-on-and-on.

Everyone wants to decide when she or he comes and goes, but many times that is not an option.

We cannot pretend change is not going to happen, but we need to accept that it will … and not always in a nice way.

As mentioned before in Almost DailyBrett, we need to manage or be managed. So how can we manage change?

Acceptance Mode. No more anger. No more denial. No more bargaining. No more depression. Let’s skip all of the above and get to acceptance. What is your plan for the future? What comes next? You know there will be a “next.”

Look to the Future. The past is gone. The present will soon be gone. What have you done? Where do you want to go? What do you need to do to reach this goal? Life is too frickin’ short. How can you improve your chances of success? Manage your future.

Change of Venue? Sometimes there are better opportunities over the horizon, in another town, in another state or maybe another country. Are you limiting your options because you will not even for a nanosecond consider a change of personal venue?

Don’t Hate, Celebrate. Don’t hold grudges. Instead of being jealous of achievers and wishing them Schadenfreude, learn from their successes. If a rising tide lifts all boats, how can your dingy become a yacht? There is a way.

tigger

Be positive. Growing up, Tigger was always more appealing than Eeyore. Show Speaker Wright and others exactly how it can be done. Be rational, but instead of merely defining the problem, what is the solution? How can your life and the lives of your loved ones change for the better

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize. There is always something new to learn. The reason for the unprecedented success of Silicon Valley is lifelong learning. Engineers (e.g., Tesla’s Elon Musk) are not afraid to fail. They are always trying to solve the latest and greatest puzzle before moving on to the next one. What will you learn today?

Every Stranger is a Friend You Have Not Met. There will be new people. There will be new experiences. Some will be better. Some will not. As the Realtors always say, “There will be tradeoffs.” Make change your friend. And yes, you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you just may find, you get what you need.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkFRwhJEOos

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Wright

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/prostate-cancer-a-piece-of-cake-compared-to-valley-fever/

http://books.google.com/books?id=OGoXa1Au0n8C&pg=PA49&lpg=PA49&dq=Speaker+Jim+Wright:+Don%27t+come+in+and+tell+me+how+you+can%27t;+tell+me+how+you+can&source

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%BCbler-Ross_model

http://toprightnews.com/?p=2872

 

 

 

Celebrate, Not Just Tolerate

“Go where you are celebrated, not merely tolerated.” – Paul F. Davis, motivational speaker and life coach.

Davis also said: “If you don’t feel it, flee from it.”

pauldavis

Aren’t these quotes diametrically opposed to the legendary: “Winners never quit, quitters never win”?

The answer is affirmative, but so what? Life is simply too short.

As the stubborn economic downturn moves from year-seven into year-eight, there remains a tremendous amount of emphasis on the officially unemployed, 10.9 million; underemployed. 7.7 million (e.g., part-time jobs with no benefits); and to those who simply gave up the fight to find a job, 762,000.

That’s nearly 20 million Americans, if you are scoring at home.

There are millions more who are literally trapped in lousy jobs (a large percentage of 43.8 percent of the nation that make up the total working population). Some of these workers are in dead-end positions. Some are under the thumb of authoritative bossholes. And even more may be sent packing in the next reduction in force (RIF), downsizing, rightsizing, duplication-elimination exercise, restructuring or whatever pleasant term you want to attach to the elimination of jobs.

edelmantrust

There is also the question whether employers, who have taken their employees for granted and/or treated them miserably, fully understand the consequences of their totalitarian behavior. For example, the Edelman Trust Barometer once again in 2013 revealed the public is more inclined to trust businesses, patronize their stores and purchase their products that have a track record of treating their employees well.

Quiz: What is one of the first things that come into mind when you think of Walmart? Low prices? How about the widespread perception that the retail giant is less than generous with its 2.2 million employees or associates in Bentonville-ese.

walmartemployees

The $474.8 billion world’s largest publicly traded company (NYSE: WMT) has even sponsored a food drive asking its associates to assist other less-fortunate associates make ends meet for the holidays. Talk about a public relations disaster. How do you make lemonade out of lemons on this one?

Almost DailyBrett opined repeatedly that all recessions/downturns/economic funks eventually come to an end. The Laws of Economics with their cyclical natures simply do not go away.

What does this mean for today’s employer despots? It means that “retention” will someday (it’s coming, trust me) become a scary word. Think of the start of the Indy 500 with the pace car heading off the track and the green flag flying as their free-at-last, Oh God their-free-at-last employees head for the exits to the siren call of the recruiter cherry pickers.

These employees will indeed go where they are celebrated or at least where they believe they will be celebrated.

The hardest questions to answer in this discussion are how much longer will it be before the coming economic upswing? Even tougher to answer is whether a barely tolerated underutilized and underappreciated contributor should just wait for better days or should she or he seek out right now that opportunity to be celebrated?

Clearly, there are hundreds of thousands who are not “feeling it” when it comes to their present state of affairs. Should they flee?

The easy answer is, “yes,” but sometimes pulling off that feat in the face of kids in school, spouse with a job in town, underwater mortgage, not enough other opportunities make fleeing risky and problematic. Keep in mind if one stays and is laid off, change is at hand whether wanted or not.

As a Type A personality, who is perpetually proactive, I believe in always being prepared, keeping on the lookout for opportunities to be celebrated, and more importantly to be respected. Think of it another way: No Guts, No Glory.

eagle

We have discussed before the wisdom of an up-to-date resume, a complete LinkedIn profile that sells your story, and a digital network of former superiors, subordinates, and present colleagues, partners and friends who are ready and willing to help.

There is also the need to Google (corporate verb) yourself and appreciate what others are potentially reading about you, and conceivably what is being said and illustrated by people around the world who coincidentally share your name.

This is the time to take every step conceivable to protect your reputation and to manage the most important brand on the planet: Your personal brand.

As you come to the end of 2013 and look toward 2014, you don’t have to put up with bad behavior. You deserve the best that life has to offer. You are only here once. Go out and be celebrated before it is too late.

http://followpics.net/if-you-dont-feel-it-flee-from-it-go-where-you-are-celebrated-not-merely-tolerated/

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/126432-if-you-don-t-feel-it-flee-from-it-go-where

http://www.paulfdavis.com/

http://www.gallup.com/poll/125639/gallup-daily-workforce.aspx

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm

http://www.edelman.com/insights/intellectual-property/trust-2013/

http://www.edelman.com/post/earning-consumer-trust/

http://business.time.com/2013/11/18/walmart-seeks-food-donations-to-help-needy-employees/

 

“Dear applicant,”

I could have called you and I chose not to.” — Comedian Jerry Seinfeld on the growing use of texting and emails to deliver unpleasant news

There was always bad news, and even a glimmer of good news, with the traditional “Dear John” letter.

The bad news was obvious: Your relationship with a particular mademoiselle or madame was finis.

dearjohn

The good news was at least she knew your name and she took the time to pen a note and let you know the final score, even if she did not want to tell you in person or over the phone.

You can’t say the same about a Dear applicant email sent robotically and clinically by a secretary on behalf of someone important with that special extra tender touch in which applicant (that would be you) is spelled in lower case.

It’s even more special if its sent the day before Thanksgiving.

Kind of makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Almost DailyBrett has commented before about how digital technology (e.g., Web 2.0), despite its ubiquitous nature and 24/7/365 worldwide communication capabilities, has in many respects made it easier for organizations to deliver unwanted messages without any splash back.

As the global economic malaise stretches into its seventh year (when will this funk be over?) with stubborn high-single digit/low-double digit unemployment and underemployment percentages, more-and-more qualified (and overqualified) individuals are competing for what seems to be fewer-and-fewer positions.

Naturally, cool superstars with lofty market values (e.g., Google, Nike, Amazon, Apple, Facebook…) are overwhelmed by thousands of cover letters and resumes. Their respective Catberts (e.g., Human Resources Departments) cannot respond to every one of these applications.

The problem is solved by automatically generated acknowledgement emails, immediately lowering the hopes of the applicant, setting the expectation that only the best and the brightest will be contacted for interviews. Fair enough.

But what happens when the applicant hails from inside the organization? What happens when the applicant is actually encouraged to apply? What happens when an applicant has spent eight hours or longer running a gauntlet of interviews from the mail-room dude to the CEO, followed by the obligatory thank you notes, and knows that she or he is a finalist for the brass ring?

These questions are magnified in cases in which applicants literally expended hours preparing targeted cover letters, updating CVs, securing reference letters and developing online or hard copy portfolios of work.

All of the above are the price for competing and (hopefully) securing high five-figure or six-figure positions in today’s economy.

After all of this effort and more on the part of the job seeker, is a terse Dear applicant kiss-off email from the executive secretary, appropriate?

Wouldn’t you rather receive the equivalent of a Dear John (or substitute your own name), particularly from the hiring manager, instead?

Of course you would.

The next question that comes to mind is: What does the terse digital Dear applicant message say about the organization (e.g., corporations, agencies, non-profits, college or university departments) that treats job seekers this way?

Almost DailyBrett opines that no one naturally wants to hear bad news. This is human nature and to be expected. More importantly, people want to be treated in a straight forward manner. Most of all, they want in the words of the legendary Aretha Franklin to be R-E-S-P-E-C-T-ed.

The Dear applicant diss speaks volumes about the organization. It projects arrogance. It signals coldness. It conveys callousness. Come to think of it, does the job seeker really want to work for this organization? Is the hiring manager really a bosshole?

The Edelman Trust Barometer has repeatedly reported that people are more willing to do business with companies that treat their employees well. That conceivably also applies to those who seek employment with a given company.

“Never play with the feelings of others because you may win the game, but the risk is that you will surely lose the person for a lifetime.” – attributed to Shakespeare.

And what about that poor sap, Teddy Roosevelt’s Man in the Arena who competed to the best of her or his ability, only to receive a “Dear applicant” message?

That person most likely will neither forget nor forgive. That person could have been a future customer. That person could have been a major donor. That person could have a form of hegemony over the Dear applicant organization. The organization could have kept that person on a first-name basis. Instead the organization burned a bridge, and for what purpose?

execsecy

The Dear applicant epistle sent from an executive secretary, who could care less, is without any conceivable doubt bad public relations, poor reputation management and atrocious brand management all in one.

These walk-the-extra-mile applicants deserve personal recognition, respect and to be treated with dignity, not a careless boilerplate message.

What is the old saying: “What goes around comes around?”

Some very wise person said that once, maybe even one who received a Dear applicant kiss-off.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dear_John_letter

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Dear%20John%20Letter

http://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Dear-John-Letter

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aretha_Franklin

http://www.edelman.com/insights/intellectual-property/trust-2013/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/03/28/losing-the-art-of-verbal-confrontation/

http://www.edelman.com/post/rebuilding-trust-through-employee-engagement/

http://www.billoreilly.com/video?chartID=610&vid=-686347981610326466

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