Monday, June 24, 2013

Who Gets the Chair?

During the late 1700's, few American colonists lived on big plantations.  Most eked out extremely meager existences in one-room wooden houses.  Because their houses were so small, family dining generally took place on a table pushed close against one wall.  The young children sat on a long wide board which folded down from the wall while the bigger children and wife sat on a rough sanded bench on the other side. 

Most households only had one chair which was generally very ornate in design.  During the day the wife would use this chair to tend to the children, crochet, knit or mend clothing. However, the chair was always reserved for the man of the house when it was time to eat.

Should a special guest be over when  a meal was served, that special guest was normally offered the chair to sit in while they ate their meal while the rest of the family, including the man of the house, would sit on the board attached to the wall or on the wooden bench.  Consequently, for someone to be asked to sit in the chair meant they were important - either an honored guest or perhaps someone in charge of something. 

The person to sit in the chair was commonly referred to as the 'Chair man' or 'Chair person'.  Today, this same expression or title is used in all levels of government - Federal, State and Local.  We use the word 'Chairman' or 'Chairperson' to signify who is in charge of our board and committee meetings in government.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Climbing the Corporate Ladder - - What's the purpose of it?

A large tourist ship dropped anchor off the shore of a tiny Greek island and several American tourists decided to go to shore. While on the island, the Americans were invited to enjoy a delicious lunch served by a local fisherman's family.   When lunch was finished, they asked, "How long did it take you to catch all these wonderful fish?"

"Not very long," was the reply.  
"Wow! That's wonderful.  Why don't you guys stay out longer and catch more fish?"  The fishermen explained their small catches were more than sufficient to meet both their needs and those of the occasional tourists such as us who drop by. 

"But what do you do with the rest of your time all day?" asked another American.  
"We sleep late, fish a little, play with our children, and take a long siesta with our wives.  In the afternoons, we have a little snack and lay on the beach and watch the waves.  Many times we go into the village and visit our friends or maybe we go to a local pub and drink a little Ouzo and dance the afternoon away.  In the evenings after supper, we go to a local tavern and play the bouzouki, drink a little more Ouzo and sing a few songs with our friends."

Another American tourist interrupted, 
"Well, I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you.  You should start fishing longer each day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch and with the money you make, you can buy a bigger boat."

"And with a bigger boat, you can make even more money and you can buy a larger third boat, and fourth boat and so on until you have an entire fleet of new trawlers."

"Then, instead of selling your fish to a middle man at the local market, you can negotiate directly with the food processing plants on the mainland and in a few years, you can open your own food processing plant and distribution center.  With all the money you make, you can leave this little village and move to Athens and from there you can direct your huge new enterprise by cell phone and computer."
"How long would that take?" asked the Greek Fisherman
"Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years," replied the tourist.

"And after that, then what?"  asked the Greek Fisherman.
"After that my friend is when it really gets interesting," answered the American.  "When your business gets really big in about 25 years, you can start buying and selling stocks and make millions!"

"Millions?  Really?"  replied the fisherman.  "Yes and after that, then what?" asked the Greek fisherman.

"After that you will be able to sell off all your boats, properties and investments and retire.  You can move to a tiny village near the coast or perhaps to one of the beautiful islands where you can sleep late, play with your grandchildren, catch a few fish, take a siesta in the afternoon with your wives and spend days with your friends and your evenings drinking Ouzo and singing and dancing," said the American. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Secret to Success --- is simple!

One day, a young man approached Socrates ... the Great Greek Philosopher and asked, “Sir, I have come to seek your wisdom.  Will you help me?”
Socrates looked at the lad and replied, "How can I be of assistance son?
The young man responded, “Socrates, I want to be a great success. Will you teach me all I need to know so I can be a great success?”

Certainly, my son,” replied Socrates. “Walk with me”.  Socrates started to walk towards the sea. Once on the sand, Socrates continued walking right into the water as the young man followed. When they were both chest deep in the ocean, Socrates reached up placed his hands on the young man's head and pulled it down, forcing the young man's head under the water.

After about ten seconds, the young man fought his way to the surface and began to gasp for air. Socrates released the boy’s head, turned around and started to walk away.

The young man was appalled. He had traveled a great distance to meet with this scholar.  Socrates was a man of wisdom whom he admired and respected and all he did when he asked for the secret of success was to put his head under water. Never again, vowed the young man, would he seek the advice of Socrates.

Time, however as we know, has a way of healing wounds and after a week, the young man thought maybe he did something to upset Socrates. So back he went to visit the great scholar.  Again he beseeched Socrates to teach him all he needed to know to be a great success.

Socrates smiled and once again willingly agreed.  He asked the young man to follow him and again he began to walk toward the ocean.  Just like before, Socrates walked into the water and when the water was chest high, Socrates grabbed the young man by his head and dunked him under water.

This time, however, the young man was ready.  Before going under he took a big gulp of air and was able to hold his breath; almost for thirty seconds passed before he had to come up gasping for air. As he wiped the water from his eyes, he saw Socrates walking away.

Now the young man was furious. Twice he had asked this  scholar for the knowledge he needed to become a great success and twice Socrates took him to the ocean and dunked his head. Never, ever again would this young man return to Socrates and be insulted and humiliated.

Well, thirty days passed and the young man had a lot of time to reflect. He truly wanted to be a great success and decided to go see Socrates one final time. Upon arriving at Socrates’ home, he wrapped on the door. When Socrates appeared, the young man said, "I hope you remember me?
Socrates smiled and said, “Certainly, I do. You’re the young man who wants to be a great success.” Socrates once again started walking toward the ocean with the young man following in step.

This time the young man was extremely prepared; as soon as Socrates grabbed his head the young man took a deep swallow of air and held his breath for almost two minutes. When he finally surfaced gasping for air, Socrates was already back on the shore walking back home.

The young man, now livid, ran after Socrates.  When he was a few feet from Socrates he shouted, “Socrates, why is it every time I come to you and ask for wisdom on how to be a great success all you do is walk me out into the ocean and dunk my head under the water?”

Socrates turned around - faced the boy and said, “Young man, three times now I have tried to teach you the secret to be a success.  The secret is simple: When you want to succeed as much as you want to breathe, I assure you you will be a great success.”