“Why Assholes Fool Themselves”

1. You and your organisation are effective despite rather than because you are a demeaning jerk.  You make the mistake of attributing success to the virtues of your nasty ways, even though your demeaning actions actually undermine performance.

2. You mistake your successful power grab for organisational success,  The skills that get you a powerful job are different – often the opposite – from the skills needed to do the job well.

3. The news is bad, but people only tell you good news.  The ‘shoot the messenger’ problem means that people are afraid to give you bad news, because you will blame and humiliate them.  So you think things are going great, even though problems abound.

4. People put on an act when you are around.  Fear causes people to do the ‘right’ things when you are watching them.  As soon as you leave, they revert to less effective or downright destructive behaviour – which you don’t see.

5. People work to avoid your wrath rather than to do what is best for the organisation.  The only employees who can survive your management style devote all their energy to avoiding blame rather than fixing problems.

6. You are being charged ‘asshole taxes’ but don’t know it.  You are such a jerk that people are willing to work for you and your company only if you pay them premium rates.

7. Your enemies are silent (for now), but the list keeps growing.  Your demeaning actions mean that day after day, you turn more people against you, and you don’t realise it.  Your enemies don’t have the power to trash you right now, but are laying in wait to drive you out.

– from the book “The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t” by Robert I. Sutton.

No more dead tree computer books

Microsoft Office 2010 Inside OutIt was Ed Bott tweeting about his new book Microsoft Office 2010 Inside Out, which finally prompted me to proclaim:

“No more dead tree computer books!”

(Messrs Bott & Siechert have released a DRM-free eBook)

I have a collection of printed computer reference books, from “C by Dissection” to “Microsoft SCCM 2007 Administrators Companion”.  Taking up valuable storage space.

And here’s the thing.  I might have read them cover to cover, once maybe.  Now I use them as reference books.  My latest dive into a book was to refresh my memory on how to upgrade a Microsoft SMS 2003 server to SCCM 2007.  Something which can be more easily referenced via an electronic copy.  In PDF format, it will also be phrase-searchable.

And the other reason for me to go electronic?  It’s cheaper.  Take Microsoft Office 2010 Inside Out as the example.
$54.99 for the printed edition, $43.99 for the electronic version.  Total cost for the printed copy, landed in Australia?

Electronic books wins hands down for me.

I feel for O’Reilly Median and Messrs Bott & Siechert, as I suspect they’re going to lose some sales to piracy.

Learning T-SQL – Revisited

Teach Yourself Microsoft T-SQL In my current job, I get to write data extracts.
eg. extract data from an SQL database, using Microsoft Access as the front-end. Not my preferred tool, but it’s what I’ve got.

Thought it would be useful to brush up on my T-SQL, so I purchased the book on the right.

Best darn little book I’ve found on Transaction SQL. The 10 minutes refers to each lesson. And there are 30 lessons all up. This will be a book which I’d going to end up using as a quick reference.

Now if you want to teach yourself T-SQL, I’d suggest the following:

  1. Sams Teach Yourself Microsoft SQL Server T-SQL
  2. SQL Server 2005 Express Edition with Advanced Services
  3. .Net Framework version 2
    (if you don’t already have it)
  4. Membership of SqlServerCentral.com (it’s free), the question of the day is worth it for knowledge reinforcement.

Update August 2009:
Writing SQL Queries: Let’s Start with the Basics, by Microsoft is worth reading as well.

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Life is not fair … get used to it.

50 Rules Kids Won't Learn in School 1. Life is not fair. Get used to it.
7. If you think your teacher is tough, wait until you get a boss. He doesn’t have tenure, so he tends to be a bit edgier. When you screw up, he’s not going to ask you how you FEEL about it.
15. Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping. They called it opportunity…

You can buy 50 Rules Kid’s Won’t Learn in School here.

The trip back – returning home from England

Qantas 747 interior There’s not a Qantas counter at Heathrow departures. You line up at the British Airways counter.

It was good to start the journey home. Had a quick look though the duty free shops. It’s all junk, trust me. Stocked up on water. BA airline club was jammed packed. Had a shower to wash all the grime off.

Onto the aircraft, another aisle seat, but it was a centre aisle seat which meant that the couple next to me could exit out the other side.

Dial up the A/C vent, strap myself in, and watch the safety presentation. That’s the last I remember until waking up 3 hours later, feeling hot and bothered.

The A/C vent was off, not sure how it happened, but I do feel awful.

Churchill's Bodyguard - Walter H. Thompson Get up for a stretch and walk. Get back, turn the A/C vent back on, and start reading Churchill’s Bodyguard.

A/C goes off, as the woman two seats over closes my vent.

“Excuse me, but what do you think you are doing?”
‘It’s cold’
“It can be adjusted, you should have asked first”
(thinking to myself, ah so this is the phantom vent closer).

The British Airways/Qantas club at Singapore has metal knives. Amazing. Metal knives are considered too dangerous to have at airline clubs in Australia, but here’s a selection of them in Singapore. good thing I’m not a terrorist ain’t it.

The “free” telephones don’t have a dial tone. Spent 25 mins trying to find a work phone. Found one in the business PC area.

Singapore to Melbourne
Back on the aircraft, Mervyn has swapped seats with his wife, the phantom vent closer. Turn A/C vent up full and belt in.

Finish Churchill’s Bodyguard, and arrived into Melbourne.
The landing? That’ll will be the pilot’s three “touch and go’s” for the year.

Queued up for customs – Answered YES to two questions on the customs form

Been to a rural area? Any foodstuffs?

Which guarantees being sent down the “something to declare” line. The customs guy asked where I’d been (rural England) and what I had (BBQ sauce), and after a bit of a conversation, said “Fair enough, off you go”

Melbourne airport to home
The taxi driver was an Aussie!, not a new Australian.
Dropped my work gear at work, and travelled home.

The dogs were happy to see me. Slept.

Cabin photo pinched from here.