Don’t “quit!” Find a new boss…

5 06 2015

They go by a variety of titles:  foreman, chief, supervisor, manager, director, chief operating officer, chief executive officer, president, chairman, founder, employer…  The title most often missing is “leader.”  Regardless what title the person you report to may wear, beneath the surface he or she must be a leader, “the head guy or gal, the one running the show,” “a person who rules or guides or inspires others,” as defined by[1]

Look no further than the pages of Fortune Magazine[2] to find a list of the world’s greatest leaders.  They come from business (Tim Cook, CEO, Apple), finance (Mario Draghi, President, European Central Bank), government (Xi Jinping, President, People’s Republic of China), religion (Pope Francis, Pontiff, Catholic Church), show business (Taylor Swift, Pop Star, Big Machine Records), and every other imaginable source. How do these high profile over-achievers compare with Bernie Smallowitz, supervisor on the 12-8 shift at Any Ironworks in Everytown, USA?  Does Bernie lead/guide/motivate you to be the very best pipefitter on the shift, in the company, in the industry?

According to The Wall Street Journal,[3] the standard mix of bosses/employees stood at 1:10 since the 1930’s.  Most recently, that ratio has grown as high as 1:56.  So, pick a number.  For the sake of argument, a ratio of 1 boss for each 25 employees should be reasonable.  With a current labor force of 157,469,000[4], according to the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 6,300,000 or more of them have a job title that calls for some level of leadership.  Obviously, they cannot all function at the levels of Cook, Draghi, etc.

The questions then are:

  • How do you measure your boss’s leadership?
  • What do you do if your boss’s leadership is unsatisfactory?

Use this simple guide to measure your boss’s leadership:

Characteristic Rank (1-5)
Is your boss honest with you/others?
Is your boss intelligent/knowledgeable?
Is your boss organized (Planning/follow-up)?
Does your boss offer recognition?
Is your boss dedicated to the company?
Does your boss communicate well?
Is your boss reasonable?
Does your boss trust/believe in you?

With 5 being excellent and 1 being unacceptable, rank the people to whom you report.  If the final score is 36-40, you are a lucky person; 30-35, better than most; 20-30, not good but fixable; 0-20, find another job.  If your response to the first question is less than 5, you may choose to go no further.

As you ponder this dilemma, some thoughts to consider:  Does upper management support your boss?  After all, they chose him/her for that position.  They may be unhappy with his/her performance.  Are you alone in your feelings?  Always look within first.  Perhaps you can change the situation by offering support and constructive criticism.  If you sense your boss’s dissatisfaction with you, then carefully weigh your effort, and attitude.  Do you like your job, your employer, your work environment, fellow employees?  Answers to those questions will help you decide whether to:

  • Sit down with your boss and iron out your differences.
  • Seek a position in a different department within the same company.
  • Find employment elsewhere.

The process of carefully evaluating your employment by establishing specific parameters for your situation and then fixing values for each one should begin on your first day of employment and continue on a quarterly/semi-annual/annual basis throughout your career.  The process will help you establish a baseline and measure changes. Career decisions will then be determined logically, not emotionally.

Fifty years in the labor market is a long-long time.  Advancement will keep you fresh and motivated. Stagnation and boredom will drain your energy and steal your health.  Rarely do companies give out gold watches for thirty or more years of loyal support. No one cares about your future more than you.  Two thoughts that come all too frequently as retirement age approaches:

  • “If only I had found a way to fix my issues and stayed with that company…”
  • “I never really liked my job…”

You were selected for employment because of your intelligence, your knowledge, and your experience, not your emotions.  Apply those resources to career management, and you will enjoy a fruitful, productive, rewarding career.




21 02 2018

Reverend Graham’s passing is a stark and painful reminder of just how far we have strayed from the world of our youth.  May those memories be a lasting final gift and a beacon of hope in a troubled world from this man who placed his faith above all else.

The question that begs an answer:  Did the world change, or did we change?

After World War II, there has been a global shift toward prosperity fueled by advancements in all sectors:  Manufacturing, Technology, Medicine, Business, etc.  Some have suggested we are living in the “real” Renaissance, the previous 30 years being the “real” Dark Ages.

While many are experiencing a crescendo of achievement and unheard-of success, there are underlying factors that remain unchanged or have even gotten worse: poverty, disease, violence, etc.

The reality is that we have changed.  We were born with an innocence that our parents protected and fostered.  Having struggled through the darkness of the Depression, dishonest and immoral leaders, and war, our parents tried to protect us from the realities of a difficult life.  The most common parental expression was, “I want you to have a better life than I had.”

They wouldn’t let us wear sneakers or jeans to school.  There were kids we weren’t allowed to associate with.  Their authority was well-established through a difficult and challenging system of punishments for even minor infractions of rules carved in stone.  “Children don’t speak unless spoken to!”  “Go to your room!”  “You’re grounded!” “Bring me the paddle!”

On the positive side, there was Boy/Girl Scouts, Brownies/Cub Scouts, Sunday School, Youth Fellowship, and Dancing School.  School included Band, Choir, Student Council, etc.

Parents tried to shelter us from the vagaries of a violent and sometimes evil world.  We were devastated when tragic deaths stole classmates and friends from us.  Death was anathema to us, our only prior exposure being comedic representations in Farmer Gray and Ben and Jerry cartoons.  There was no way to equate Wiley Coyote’s murderous pastime with the reality of our lives.

There is no innocence in today’s world.  Children from the earliest imaginable age are just one click away from the most sordid, evil, violent sides of life.  Video games strive to deliver the most realistic depictions of violence and mayhem.  Information of all types is delivered unfiltered to the masses.  Who knew anything about presidential promiscuity when you were growing up?  Posted by students, live videos of the Parkland massacre spread throughout the Internet like wildfire.

There is a pervasive thought that evil only exists in the minds of naïve, backwards thinking, people who are out-of-touch with the world.  The concept of “good vs. bad” has been supplanted with “better and best.”  Win or lose, everyone gets a trophy.  Away with negativity.  Reinforce positive behavior.  Downplay all else.

The result is a world where “morality” has become an outdated cliché.  We have failed to introduce balance in the human value proposition.  Without a guide, compass, or beacon, young people do not comprehend the concept of a “path through life.”  They are scattered, distracted, and lost with thoughts and emotions that are beyond their understanding yet nurtured by unlimited resources.  In today’s world, if a person chooses to worship chocolate bunnies, there probably exists a myriad of sources supporting the importance – the value of that endeavor.

Having allowed that world to evolve, grow, and consume our youth, we as parents and grandparents have no choice but to watch the devastation and death foisted upon us by youthful miscreants devoid of values and lost in their self-centered world.

We changed the world, and now we must suffer the pain of our permissiveness.  Let us pray that someone with clarity and purpose, with the strength of conviction, will rise and speak in a voice that will carry a message of hope to the world.

It happened – once.


6 02 2018


“The fruit for this wine comes from vineyards in the Carneros region owned by the family and select growers…

Sustainable farming practices throughout the growing season were tailored to each block with the assistance of aerial photos produced using NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) technology. The fruit was hand-picked at night and sorted in the vineyard.

The grapes were gently whole-cluster pressed while the fruit was still cool. The juice was pumped to tank to cold-settle overnight before it was racked to barrel for primary and malolactic fermentation.”


“Enticing aromas of vanilla, melon and mango are layered with apricot, creme brulee, butter and a slight minerality. Those scents are echoed as flavors on the creamy, rich palate, along with peach, pie crust and baking spices. The long, smooth finish is marked by mouthwatering acidity.”


3 02 2018

Carl Hiaasen, a columnist with The Miami Herald for 33 years and author of a series of novels, observed in his column on February 2, 2018, that:

FBI agents are more courageous than Trump will ever acknowledge

Hiaasen went on to describe in painstaking detail as only he can, the violent deaths of agents Benjamin P. Grogan and Jerry L. Dove, an event that touched him deeply.  The emotional reflection upon this event, however, drew Hiaasen away from his Trump-bashing theme.

There is no question that the President has been extremely hard on the FBI, and not without cause.  Without listing the litany of FBI missteps here, even CNN acknowledges that “Trump is right about the FBI” in a story released on 12/30/17.

The story confirms that “The FBI has traditionally enjoyed a highly favorable reputation among a majority of the nation’s citizens,” and not without reason.  In its 109 year history, 67 agents have “lost their lives in the performance of their duty.”  36, including Grogan and Dove, have been designated as “Service Martyrs,” having been “killed in the line of duty as the result of a direct adversarial force or at or by the hand of an adversary.”

There have been 20 FBI directors with 8 of those serving as acting directors.  Few realize that 8 FBI directors and 1 acting director have been implicated in a variety of questionable and even criminal acts resulting in forced resignations and terminations for two:  William S. Sessions and James B. Comey.

While J. Edgar Hoover was by far the most controversial, here is a partial list of others:

Louis J. Freeh Judicial Watch pointed to a ‘legacy of corruption’ at the FBI under Freeh, listing the espionage scandal at Los Alamos National Laboratories, as well as “Filegate, Waco, the Ruby Ridge cover-up, the Olympic bombing frame-up of Richard Jewell, [and] falsification of evidence concerning the Oklahoma City bombing.
Clarence M. Kelley Kelley misleadingly (though apparently unwittingly) claimed the FBI had stopped conducting illegal break-ins in the mid-’60s. (They’d continued into the ’70s.) On top of this, there was the affair of the valances (as it was called at the time): It is not the job of the FBI to install window drapes in the home of its director, but they did for Kelley at his house in Bethesda, Maryland, and he got caught out.
L. Patrick Gray L. Patrick Gray stepped in to replace Hoover as acting director and was nominated by Nixon to serve as the permanent director. He soon withdrew his nomination, however, and resigned as acting director in April 1973, after admitting to destroying Watergate-related files.
William J. Burns Burns “dispatched agents to dig up dirt on Sen. (Burton) Wheeler (who uncovered the Teapot Dome scandal). Not finding any, he and (Attorney General Harry) Daugherty concocted baseless corruption charges against Wheeler that only backfired.”
Alexander B. Bielaski During Bielaski’s tenure, Congress investigated mass federal enforcement of the Selective Service Act. The FBI rounded up and illegally detained Americans until those who were detained could prove they had registered for the draft. Ultimately, Bielaski was forced to resign in February 1919 for his handling of the raids.
Stanley W. Finch Congress finally took its revenge on Finch in 1913 by starving his specialist anti-prostitution unit of funds, once again charging financial irregularity — and forcing his retirement.


The following is an excerpt from a CBS News story published on February 19,2004:

“An internal FBI report kept under wraps for three years details dozens of cases of agents fired for egregious misconduct and crimes, including drug trafficking, attempted murder, theft, misuse of informants and consorting with prostitutes.

The report, released Wednesday by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, found that about one in 1,000 agents was dismissed for serious misconduct or criminal offenses by the FBI during the period examined, from 1986 to 1999. The average was between eight and nine per year.”

Is Hiaasen’s reverence for FBI agents misplaced?  ABSOLUTELY NOT!!  The agency’s accomplishments far, far outweigh its shortcomings.  Our country would be an entirely different, lawless place without the dedication and diligence of FBI personnel at all levels.  Consider the sordid past of Phenix City, Alabama.

Is President Trump’s criticism of the FBI wrong?  DEFINITELY NOT!  Bad apples appear on every tree.  The owner of the orchard is obligated to demand and oversee their removal before someone becomes ill from contact with poison fruit.


5 10 2017

The 2017-18 NBA season promises to be exciting and competitive as throughout the league many of the biggest stars have transitioned to new teams and others have begun to show their age.  Predictions about playoff bound teams are valueless as players learn new roles and build new working relationships.

Thirty years ago, the National Basketball Association granted an expansion team to Miami.  A team named the Miami Heat was formed and entered the league in 1988.  Throughout the 30-year history of the Heat, no-name players have risen to stardom while seasoned, experienced players have provided a rock-solid backbone to a team that seems to perpetually flirt with playoff and championship opportunities.

The Miami Heat team is coming off a record-breaking turnaround in the second half of last season.  Players came together in a tight-knit unity and singular focus to post the best second half comeback in the history of the NBA.  The nucleus of that team is entering the new season virtually intact.  Its scrappy, balanced defense and aggressive offense will carry over and offer fans exciting moments and impressive results.

This loyal fan will follow the Heat every step of the way this season.  The ups and downs will create breathless moments and every win will elevate spirits to new highs.

Improving on Perfection, or How a Trolling Motor Changed My Life

9 07 2014

My son, John, and I took up salt water fly fishing five years ago. We started with 6 months of casting lessons from an 80+ year old retired Command Sergeant-Major, Green Beret with the patience of Job. Sarge taught us a variety of casts for normal conditions, windy conditions, around docks, etc.

About the same time, John bought a boat. Actually, it was an old and tired 14’ Sears Gamefisher with a 25 hp Mercury tiller motor. After gutting the boat entirely, he fabricated and installed resin infused stringers and ribs, put down a solid deck, mounted a bench seat, a center console and a fishing platform in the bow. He created a jack plate out of an 8” aluminum I-beam and mounted a Honda 40 hp, 4-stroke motor with cable steering from the center console. John affectionately named her “Greeny” after her white deck over green hull custom paint job. A stern mount, tiller trolling motor with 30 lbs. of thrust helped us navigate skinny water, and a Stick-It Anchor Pin held us in place when we stopped.

For the next four years, Greeny reliably delivered us to myriad fishing spots in the Indian River Lagoon from Vero Beach, FL south to the Saint Lucie Inlet in Stuart. We fished the Loxahatchee River, the Saint Lucie River (North and South), Bessy and Taylor Creeks, and occasionally ventured out to Lake Okeechobee.

When John found an immaculate, 19’ Hewes Redfisher with a 150 hp. Johnson motor, he decided it was time to move up. After bringing her home, John’s first addition was a Minn Kota Riptide ST bow-mount trolling motor with 80 lbs. of thrust and i-Pilot® GPS Remote.

Although we have only had two chances to fish with the new gear, the differences are so stark and obvious that it’s really easy to draw a comparison. While I expected the move up to a longer, wider, faster, purpose-built platform would be the biggest difference, in reality the trolling motor is far and away the most amazing, most significant improvement.

First and foremost, I no longer have to feel the pain of John’s almost constant frustration as he tried to put me in position for the “perfect cast.” I don’t have to hear him getting up and down over and over in order to adjust the trolling motor speed or direction. All of that can be accomplished with the remote.

When the ads say that you can, “Lock onto a fishing spot – and stay there,” they don’t give full disclosure to the importance of that feature. One of our favorite spots to fish is under the Roosevelt Bridge in Stuart. The spot is not 50’ from the popular, highly trafficked channel used by boaters on their way to the inlet.

The wave action caused by passing boats was rhythmic and almost hypnotic in Greeny until the anchor line was drawn taught and there was a sudden “snap” as Greeny suddenly changed direction. That direction change couldn’t be anticipated and made standing in the bow a real challenge. The i-Pilot® takes the frustration out of that challenge, as the boat is allowed to ride up and down unimpeded. Once the disturbed water has passed, i-Pilot® simply returns the boat to its former position.

Fishing with John is my favorite pastime. The Minn Kota Riptide ST 80 with i-Pilot® has completely eliminated the least enjoyable part of that experience. Just imagine how much fun we’re having now!

A Recipe For Growth and Prosperity

2 07 2014

Select a group of three or four successful business people from a specific geographic area (a county, city, town, or village). Grow the group slowly through an application/member voting process, establishing firm guidelines for membership.  Meet every Wednesday for networking, breakfast, introductions, and brief presentations by a different member each week. Continue the process for 28 years.  After nearly 1,500 meetings, the results will be astounding!

Each week, a different perspective on business values is presented.  Members are given a chance to describe their business to the assembled group and in so doing, important business characteristics are shared.  An exterminator says, “I won’t accept a job that requires opening up walls, because I’m not a contractor.”  The group is reminded of the risks of overreaching.  A sales manager says, “I insist that sales people provide a rate card only after the value proposition has been established.”  The group is reminded that a quality product/service is more important than a competitive price.  A professional marketer says, “Accomplishment is more important than experience.”  Sixty businessmen find a new way to measure candidates for employment.

There will be some business people who will subscribe to the values and make them their own.  Others will perceive them to be flawed and will reject them completely.  Those people will ultimately leave the group in search of something more closely aligned with their business philosophy.

As the group grows, its influence in the community will flourish.  Picture 60-70 businesses in any community that all display an American flag in front of their businesses on the 4th of July.  Driving through such a community would generate feelings of patriotic pride.  Imagine as many businesses sharing beliefs in character, honesty, integrity, fairness, respect…  The entire community would benefit from such an image.

Stuart, FL, has always enjoyed a reputation for uniqueness; as a desirable place to do business; as a great place to raise a family.  A group like the one described above continues to thrive and grow in Stuart.  As Martin County Business Exchange members strive to help each other succeed, the entire community derives benefit.