Business Is Always Business. Personal Is Always Personal. Please Make A Mental Note.

This might get harsh.

I’ve come to accept there are three things I will never discuss, debate or pontificate upon in public, and in business.

Religion. Politics. Abortion.

Religion. It’s one of those “no proof no winner” topics. Those who love religion and feel it is the source of all the good in the world will never be swayed from their beliefs, religion being rooted in beliefs. And those who don’t love religion and see it as a source for all the troubles in the world, will never be swayed from their beliefs, their value system being rooted in beliefs. It is, essentially, a Mexican stand off. So, in terms of the business world, we should all just take a nap.

Politics. Red or Blue. That’s the Western way. (Okay, in Canada we had an Orange Wave that eclisped the Red, but that was unexpected. RIP, Jack) One wins the argument for four to eight years in America, a term or two in a Parliamentary Democracy, and till someone lops your head off in a dictatorship…then someone else takes over and spends their time blaming their predecessor for all the woes in the world. In the end, we digress, digress a little more, and then forget why we’ve digressed, so we go back to blaming someone else. The topic is a general lose-lose in business, so we should all just take a nap.

Abortion. This is an easy one. I pee standing up, by design, and while I applaud those members of the feminine gender who have acquired the skill of bellying up to the aluminum concert trough to relieve oneself (the female self), it doesn’t change the fact that this is not a topic for the genetically engineered up-right relievers. It is a topic that neither I, nor anyone with a grain of sense, would bring up in business. Standers or squatters. No need for a nap. My eyes are WIDE open on this. Noooo talkies.

In an effort to take this in a direction devoid of hate mail, let me weed out the topics that are not up for “Albert Opinion” today. Religion and the other one no one wants to debate.

So I guess that leaves us with Politics. Or me, at least.

In a recent municipal election campaign, I was added to a mailing list of “supporters” for a local mayoral candidate.

I should stop here for a moment: If you added me, it was okay with me. If you didn’t, it wasn’t you. And if you couldn’t help but Google me after our email exchange on the weekend, yes, I’m writing about you. And reminding you of one house you’ll never list. Oh, the power of the internet. Old angry guys from the Old Boys Club never really see these coming.

So I was getting these friendly update emails from the election team for the previously mentioned, but not named, mayoral candidate, and I’m sure in a moment of need to correct an error in shared information, the “sender” sent out an update without suppressing the list. An innocent mistake, but none the less, everyone on the recipient or “supporters” list was exposed. Big deal, right? We’re all like-minded folks. Apparently not. There was a reply from one guy. A very stupid guy.

He went on a tirade asking why he was receiving the emails, and explaining why he wouldn’t support this candidate. Hey then proceeded to explain all the reasons not to support the candidate and why he was supporting another candidate.

This was all written to an entire list of supporters.

Following? Amused at the stupidity?

The person hit “reply to all”. He’s a businessman. And he just went on a rant to the candidate’s supporters as to why he didn’t support the candidate.

Here’s the simple math:

“Reply to All” + “Unlike-Minded Recipients” x “Politics” = REALLY Bad Business Decision.

Imagine telling a hundred, or several hundred, people that they are wrong; that they are making a mistake. Okay, that’s a political opinion. That’ll get a few people riled up. Now imagine telling the next 100 or 200 people who call your business – or walk in the door – that they are wrong about their opinions. They haven’t asked you for your opinion, mind you, you have just decided to launch an “Opinion Assault” on them for no reason other than to satisfy your uneducated ego.

Sounds pretty stupid, doesn’t it. But it happened. Probably not the best thing to do for his business. Especially when his business category (real estate) relies on referrals. And for the life of me, I can’t imagine what that guy was thinking.

Maybe that’s it. Like to many business people, he probably wasn’t thinking.

Politics. Religion. And the other one. It is never worth it in business.

Just shut up and sell my house.

Albert Berkshire is a writer, producer and voice actor. He lives, writes, plays, and consults with clients on Canada’s West Coast. He writes about both personal and business experiences, regularly helps his clients make good decisions, and always suggests you not hit “reply to all” unless you’re replying to your family – and even then, it’s not always advisable. Clarity of thought and no “reply to all” button on his email program, has helped make his company, GreatCreative.Com, successful. For a much shorter, and less frequent rambling, follow Albert on Twitter @albertberkshire.

Help Me Obi Wannawrite

– by Albert Berkshire

There’s a disturbance in the Force.

I’ve felt “off” all day. Anxious, annoyed, conflicted, and challenged. Not challenged in the sense of mental capacity, that is a Carnation can of St. Jude’s worms you never want to open. But in the sense of focus. I’ve been distracted the entire day.

I express this, not so much for your amusement, although I’m sure some would delight in Albert being off his game, but more for the purpose of outward therapy. Not the kind of therapy a portion, a rather large and unnerving portion, of the population finds through Dr. Phil, but the kind in which a writer needs to indulge (sans a case of wine a week) in an effort to avoid thrusting a blade into one’s stomach and lifting upwards.

If I had become a porn star, I’d have taken the name Harry Karry. Certainly I couldn’t have remained Albert Berkshire. I’m sure someone would have delivered the news to my mother, and that tawdry career update would have been deemed a fate far worse that having a son who hasn’t yet finished his book…or any of the three currently under construction.

I’ve digressed. It’s the Force, I’m certain of it.

If we can loop back around, or crawl out of the garbage disposal, as it were, I’ll direct your attention the aforementioned point that I’m distracted. At first I thought it may be the three rather large and complex advertising campaigns I’m currently writing, but upon further analysis, I have come to the conclusion that two of the three are firmly under control and the third is underway. Thusly, the daunting task of starting (often at the end, first – trade secret revealed, should you care) the last item on my must-complete-this-week list is now diminished. Trust me, when they appear to be huge, they usually are.

Speaking of huge, I once had a girlfriend who had really large hands. I found it terribly intimidating. They were veiny, too. Man hands. Freaked me out. That was all I could look at when we were out. I used to pine for winter so she’s have to wear gloves when we went for a walk. My ghad, that’s a horrible revelation, but it is a terrifying truth. But, still, not the source of my current distraction.

I’ve considered that my writer friend Tommie Closson (aka the other Tommie Lee) who innocently posted the other day his successful 4000+ word writing day may have been toggling about in my head, but in the grand scheme of things, we who write don’t really compete. There’s no reality show for writers. There’s no grand prize (save for Booker and the like) that make us dedicate our weekend to writing versus a couple of long runs in preparation of an upcoming half-marathon. Although I would have loved to have spread 4000+ words on the page over the weekend, it seems Mr. Closson AKATOTL had the day. And kudos (not the mobile service, thank you) to him.

Sidebar: It has occurred to me, as I am certain it has to you – should you still be here – that I could be laying down chapters with these words right now. When I consider that, I wonder if perhaps I am. I mean, if you’re reading this, you’d be likely to…read this. <the writer pauses for dramatic effect>  There is definitely something not right in the Force’s head.

Yesterday I was watching CBC Television. I’m a fan of Mark Kelly’s Connect. Alarmingly, I noticed he has rather small hands. It could be the camera angle – having never met him in person – but I found it incredibly distracting. I was reduced to thoughts of the fictional character Austin Powers (aka the other Mike Myers) repeatedly ranting uncontrollably, “molay molay molay”. Juvenile, perhaps, but I was still alarmed. It’s not uncommon for me to have these experiences. And it doesn’t diminish Mark in any way. He’s frikkin’ brilliant. And in comparison, I have a bald head but might still be considered effective at my job, and possibly still (if ever) somewhat attractive. (I’ll do a survey and get back to you if the results turn out in my favour).

The odd thing is (assuming you don’t find all of this to be rather odd) is that I felt compelled to write to a friend about the whole “hand” ordeal. I actually struggled with it for several minutes. Then, one of my studio cats (an actual feline, not a man from the 70’s with an afro, bell bottoms and a bass guitar) jumped onto my desk, messed up my neatly piled papers, and proceeded to serve as a short term distraction.

I might be channelling David Mitchell, having recently overdosed on his soapbox videos on You Tube. Not that enjoying a good series of rants about improper grammar, ambiguous writing, and the flagrant use of emoticons is something on which a writer can overdose.

😐   :@(   ;o)

Okay…that’s just silliness wrapped up in a pastry. (The second one reminds me of a pig.) But this whole “the world is upside down and I’m explaining it in superb sentence structure and a British accent” thing does tend to make you wonder what else is wrong with the world. And then here we are – examining if there might actually be a disturbance in the Force. (The fictional “Force”, I assume you understand, but in the greater scheme of the Universe – the energy around us that makes us feel comfortable in our surroundings. For some this is a supernatural being (God, Allah, Jehovah, Ringo), and for others it is simply energy, or a Snickers bar. But this is a digression best left for…well…never.)

That wasn’t a visually impaired emoticon above. It was actually a period inside a parenthesis.

All of these things were thoroughly reviewed as possibilities as to why I feel something is so “off”. And still, I came up blank.

And now it hit me. It was my turn to drop some words on the page. It was my turn to break te bloc de l’auteur. The pent up frustrations (not those) that have prevented me from writing a single word that is mine (I do write all day for a living, but rarely my own work) have overflowed and finally (“FINALLY!” he cried) let me get back to the thing I love the most.

Writing.

Hello, old friend. I told you I’d be back. Is that the Force in your quill, or are you just happy to see me?

I'm certain the Force had something to do with this sunburn pattern on my head. I look like a Sith from Star Wars episode 1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Albert Berkshire is a writer, producer and voice actor. He lives, writes, plays, and consults with clients on Canada’s West Coast. His creativity is fueled by his muse, is a fan of all conversation interventions, and his hope that he’ll write something profound “today” is what gets him out of bed each morning. That, and the studio cats who like to be fed at 6am. Well crafted writing is a passion, and has summarily helped make his company, GreatCreative.Com, successful. For a much shorter, and less frequent rambling, follow Albert on Twitter @albertberkshire.