Sunday, April 17, 2011

Now they tell us! How to succeed by REALLY trying

Editor's Note

I posted this article [below] about 2 weeks ago, then took it down after complaints that I was comparing communist parties to capitalist business enterprises.

Since then I've been mulling over the 7 points in the article, and I have decided to re-post the article. The 7 points are completely obfuscatory when they concern work in a capitalist enterprise for most workers, since for most workers these issues do not even exist. When one sits in a cubicle all day, the 7 sins are easily avoided. But when one joins a communist organization as a probationary member, they are 7 cornerstones of survival and correct orientation to a new group with its own valuable traditions and methods of work.

In 1989 I had the privileged of joining the US SWP. I wish that someone had handed me this list and told me to take it seriously back then. I was not so arrogant as I am today, but insights can mean important things no matter what one's age. Joining a revolutionary party offers plenty of opportunities for new recruits to make fools of themselves. Older cadre can minimize this with conscious attention and active mentoring. That was my experience, I am pleased to recall, in the SWP.

When others mocked and laughed derisively at Donald Rumsfeld's acknowledgment of the challenge of what he called "unknown unknowns" I -- though not sympathizing with this cretin's special pleading -- understood immediately what he meant. Joining a political organization of long standing, it is the "unknown unknowns" that create the most uncertainty. One must cultivate a "negative capability" quickly and efficiently to keep going. And trust in the good will of more experienced comrades, to say the least.

In my time in the communist movement, I have seen cadre isolate themselves unnecessarily by not thinking carefully along lines laid out in the article below. I'm sure that as we read the 7 points, we will all remember occasions when such errors [our own and other comrades'] could have been prevented with a little guidance and forethought. This is particularly true in the mass movement. If I were speaking with a young cadre newly assigned to work in the prisoner solidarity milieu or around Pro-Choice issues or any other in a host of matters, I would try to convey to them in a fraternal way the content of this article.

Instrumentally speaking, it is also useful to keep these 7 points in mind if a communist is helping colonize a workplace and needs to protect herself/himself against self-isolating and politically self-defeating gaffes and errors that set back or end hope for consistent political activity on the job.

Those who still feel I am slandering Leninist parties should append their comments below. Comments free of profanity will be posted as quickly as I can approve them.


for Marxist Update


Seven Deadly Sins for New Hires

By Larry Buhl, for Yahoo! HotJobs

Congratulations, you landed the job! The hard part is over, right? Not exactly. Your first few weeks in a new company are crucial -- they can determine whether your future is paradise or purgatory. And we're not talking only about mastering the technical aspects of your new job. How you behave in your new work environment is just as important -- if not more so.

So when you start a job at a new company, avoid these seven deadly (or at least career-killing) sins:

1. Ignoring the Culture

"Our company asked 250 advertising and marketing executives what the greatest challenge was for those starting a new job, and four out of 10 said it was acclimating to the corporate culture," says Donna Farrugia, executive director of How much should you socialize? Do coworkers prefer phone calls, emails or face-to-face conversations? Dress shoes or sneakers? Many aspects of a company's culture can be subtle and easy to overlook. Instead, observe everything. "Come in 30 minutes early and stay a little late just to observe how people behave -- when they get their coffee, where they take their lunches, how they wrap up at the end of the day," Farrugia says.

2. Arrogance

"Companies can set up new hires for this by treating them, when they're hired, like they're saviors," says Sue Edwards, leadership team coach and president of Development by Design. "As a result, they sometimes come in and insist on doing everything their way, because they're supposedly so brilliant." Instead, listen and learn. Take time to understand the company and how things work before you decide to be a maverick.

3. Hiding Out

The flip side of arrogance is timidity, which hunkering down with your own work can look like. Instead, build relationships from day one. "Take the time to network with your colleagues by having informal conversations to learn what others do and how it affects you," Edwards says. "It's also a good way to learn the culture."

4. Not Clarifying Expectations

When you don't know what's expected of you, it's hard to deliver. Instead, meet with your manager to discuss the responsibilities of your position and how success will be measured. What are the priorities? How should you provide project updates? How will your performance be measured?

5. Refusing to Admit Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes, and new hires make plenty. But don't make the mistake of thinking that if you don't admit them, nobody notices them. Instead, accept ownership, learn, make the correction and move on.

6. Rocking the Boat

Implementing changes before you get buy-in from others -- and before you understand why things are done the way they are -- can lead to jeers, not cheers. Instead, keep an open mind. Fully understand the current processes and procedures before proposing your changes (if you find they're necessary), so you can make a good case for why they should be made.

7. Not Asking for Feedback

You don't have to wait six months or a year to learn how you're doing. In fact, waiting that long could put you, your team and even the company off course. Instead, ask your supervisor for a brief meeting after one month. Discuss what you've done right, where you've hit some snags and how you can make corrections.

You Can Turn Vice into Virtue

Beginning a new job is never easy. If you know you're prone to one of these sins, stop and turn that knowledge into a virtue -- before it's too late. "Remember, nobody knows you on your first day," Farrugia says. "You want to make a lasting impression, but be sure you stand out for the right reasons."


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