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Week of 16 September 2019: Bean Bags and other Nonsense

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I haven't seen this situation in any actual pulp and paper mill offices yet, but I am sure it is coming. It is hard to resist fads and the more outlandish, the harder they are to oppose.

I am speaking about these modern office layouts. The ones with cubicles separated by partitions shorter than girls' skirts in high school in 1968, the ones with huddle rooms, bean bags and jungle gyms. The last time I was assigned to a space with a jungle gym was Mrs. Porter's Kindergarten Class, Kyle Elementary School, Troy, Ohio, September 1955.

And, I apologize for my criticism to friends whose companies (suppliers to the industry) have created office spaces such as this in the last few years. I have visited some of these and they look nice--but what is the productivity? WeWork ( is the epitome of this craze, for there you not only have the toys I described, but you are comingled with other companies, thus offering an environment conducive of destroying trade secrets, too. In my humble opinion, they should call it "WePlay."

And maybe this is working fabulously for some companies. If it is, I would love to hear about it--from a manager charged with getting real results. Email me at I'll keep your frustrations confidential as to your name and company.

If the intent is to promote creativity, I ask you, just how much creativity do you need? I have always been told I am very creative, but I can tell you my best creative thinking has always been in the shower. Hey--maybe group showers are the answer!

*** has hundreds of registrants! [12.12.19]


I started my career on a drawing board working for a gentleman who had been a Colonel in the US Army in WWII. His office was a "fishbowl" where he could watch all of us in the "drafting bullpen." His slogan was he wanted to see "a---es and elbows" as he gazed out his expansive windows. If he looked up from his work and happened to see someone goofing off, he was not above stepping to his office door and barking, in his best command voice, "get back to work!" So maybe you youngsters can forgive me for my attitude.

I have been selling some fantastic goods and services for a very long time. Years of doing this have led to creating a list of human flaws and traits that is posted on my desk. I'll share it here, and you tell me if these new office layouts correct the bad ones and encourage the good ones in what I have noted as people's natural tendencies.

  • People are not creative nor do they have much vision--you always have to spell it out.
  • People are selfish with their time and money.
  • People like praise and inquiries about themselves.
  • People do not want to hear about you.
  • People are lazy when it comes to being altruistic.
  • People react to fear and their own egos.

Again, maybe I am being too harsh and someone has developed some new management theories that are superior to the tried and true. Going way back, what I was taught was that a manager's job is not to make employees happy; it is to motivate them. Motivation takes everything in the emotional bag of tools from fear to high praise--just look at how a coach or manager operates in sports. Hey there's an idea, replace the benches on the sidelines with bean bags!

Well, regardless of your work environment, you must stay on your toes when it comes to safety. Don't get caught lying down on the safety job.

Be safe and we will talk next week.

___________________ has taken off like a rocket! Over fifty jobs are posted, in many interesting categories. These jobs are in at least 15 different US states. [12.12.19]


Employers are on board with There are nearly forty employers located in fifteen different US states and six other countries. [12.12.19]


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