Category Archives: Culture

Teens most likely to struggle with technology addiction

A survey finds that younger people have the most trouble putting their devices down.


By Sarah D. Young

For most people, a digital device is never too far out of reach. And between text message alerts and constantly changing social media feeds, technology begs to be paid attention to.

For some, the desire to dip into the digital world can spiral into an unhealthy relationship with technology, and some age groups may have a more difficult time unplugging than others.

Findings from a new survey conducted by global research experts, GfK, show that teenagers and higher-income households are most susceptible to technology addiction. Younger age groups, the study found, tend to have the most trouble taking a break from technology.

Teenagers most susceptible

Nearly half of 15- to 19-year-olds (44 percent) surveyed agreed with the statement, “I find it difficult to take a tech break, even when I know I should.”

Slightly fewer twenty-somethings (41 percent) agreed that they struggle to take a break from technology (their mobile device, computer, TV, etc).

The percentage of respondents who admitted they struggle to put down their device dropped to 38% for those in their thirties and dropped even more for the older age groups — 29 percent of those in their forties and 23 percent for those in their fifties. Just 15 percent of people aged 60 and over said that they had a problem turning off their technology.

Differences across incomes

Additional findings from the study suggested that members of high-income households are the most likely of all income brackets to find it difficult to take a break from technology.

According to the report, 39 percent of people living in high-income households find it difficult to take a break from technology even when they know they should; 30 percent of low-income households said they grappled with the same dilemma.

Overall, one in three people who responded to the online survey of 17 countries said they find it difficult to unplug, even temporarily.

Dealing with internet addiction

Although it’s not officially recognized as a disorder in the latest edition of the DSM, technology addiction (also called internet addiction) has been on the radar of health professionals for some time.

The results of a 2006 phone survey conducted by Stanford University researchers showed that one out of eight Americans have at least one possible sign of problematic internet use.

Some experts say people who use their phones or browse the internet for many hours a day experience a “high” similar to addiction and feel withdrawal when cut off.

When excessive internet use begins to adversely affect a user’s mental and physical health, daily life, relationships, and academic or job performance, it may be time to seek help.

While only a professional can diagnosis an internet addiction, this online screening tool can help you find out if you have an unhealthy relationship with the internet.

#Adulting SUCKS!!!!!

-by Tim Elmore

“I recently spoke to a university faculty member who told me a student just chewed her out because she “sucks” as a teacher. When the professor inquired as to why the student felt she was inadequate, the student was unprepared to answer. After stumbling over his words, the sophomore replied, “Because you gave me a bad grade after I tried really hard.”

Universities are now reaping the consequences of thirty years of misguided parenting styles.

At the risk of sounding as if I am stereotyping, let’s look at the meta-narrative. Too many parents delivered the following sentiments to their children growing up:

“You are special and deserve special treatment.”
“If you participate, that’s all that matters.”
“You don’t need to let others influence you.”
“You deserve the best because you are the best.”

As a parent and a teacher, I believe there is a kernel of truth in each of these statements. Every kid is, indeed, special. Participation is important. Kids need to embrace their own views and they can, indeed, be the best at what they do.

But these are partial truths that lead them to poor conclusions.

Kids should not expect special treatment
Employers will expect much more on the job than participation
Others do play a role in our viewpoints and have an opinion that matters
And most are not automatically the “best” on a project, compared to others

These incomplete perceptions have wreaked havoc on a generation of students and they are causing angst in the aftermath. When something goes wrong, some kids go ballistic. Students actually NEED the input of adults other than their parents.

I had a respected educator email me recently with a request. He said:

“One area I would like you to address more specifically is student discontent and the behavior that is sparked when things ‘go wrong’ for them. When they are mistreated (bullied by professors or coaches), I can understand they need to respond. But, when they ‘perceive’ they are mistreated, they will lash out to ‘hurt’ the people or parties they feel are responsible. I have come to interpret that ‘lashing out’ as a way to get revenge, in order to ‘feel better’ about themselves.”

He then offered two examples of this scenario:

“Two students compare grades on a paper in English. One gets a B and one gets a D. Explanatory notes are written on each paper explaining the points taken off (but also points of merit) that explained the grade. The student with the D goes into a rage of sorts and starts trashing the professor through Social Media. This includes making remarks that are irrelevant to the paper and corresponding grade.”

“A basketball player gets upset over playing time. When the coaches explain why AND what that player can do in an effort to get more playing time; the player equates effort with promotion. So, after he/she works harder in an effort to get better, the player expects to play more whether he/she actually got better or not. Plus, he/she looks at the player ahead of him/her getting more playing time and comes up with a variety of criticisms against that player.”

“I have seen this happen multiple times over the last two years and have struggled with coming up with effective ways of dealing with it.”
Three Steps We Can Take to Help Students’ Perceptions

1. Explain the difference between reacting and responding.

Students who receive a poor grade or evaluation have a weapon they’re often unready to handle well: social media. They can “vent” at a teacher or coach who gives them a poor assessment and fail to see what’s happening. Emotion usually follows a negative evaluation immediately. Logic comes along later. As teachers and leaders, we must remember these truths when it comes to our students:

Sometimes people feel guilty—because they are guilty.

Sometimes coaches don’t give more playing time—because a player is untalented.

Sometimes students feel like their work is a failure—because they actually failed.

And usually they’ll vent at your feedback before they benefit from your feedback. The best leaders don’t try to remove their guilt if they’re guilty. Nor, tell an athlete they are awesome, if they are not. Or, inflate a failing grade a student earned.

When students want to react, expressing the negative emotions they feel, that is one thing. They’ll never improve, however, until they learn to respond to an evaluation. Reacting is about emotion. Responding is about logic. This means welcoming a third party to help them see an issue objectively. Once the student matures past venting, we can ask them for a logical reason why their paper deserved a better grade or their talent deserved more time on the field. Logic requires rationale, not emotion.

When students are guilty of something, don’t tell them they’re not. If students fail at a paper, don’t lie to them and tell them it was good. We can offer compassionate feedback that is logical in order to help them think logically. The best time to bring this up is at the beginning of a year, before anyone can take it as a personal vendetta.

2. Help them separate performance from performer.

We must enable students to separate who they are (as the performer) and what they did in their recent performance. A failed assignment does not mean the student is a failure. Failure is not a person. It’s an experience that can change. Martin Luther King, Jr. received a C- in public speaking while in college. His skill simply needed to improve. Thomas Edison was asked by his teacher to not return to school as a student. He had to learn on his own. And he did. Too many American kids have grown up ill-equipped to handle negative feedback. This is criminal on the part of the adults who raised them. We must teach them to seek growth, not affirmation. Affirmation usually follows growth quite naturally.

This is a vital step our young must learn to take to help them grow. We must relay to them that we believe in them and their ability, but that their recent work did not reflect their potential. It’s actually a compliment. We are saying to them:

“You are better than this.”

“I have high expectations of you.”

“These critical comments are because I believe you’re capable of more.”

“And because I believe in you, I refuse to dilute the standard due to a bad performance.”

Once again, the answer is not to dilute the truth. A truthful response, communicated with empathy and concern is what enables them to mature.

Far too many young adults are unable to separate “performance” from “performer” and hence, they take every comment personally—as if it is a personal attack on them. We must enable them to get past this or they’ll never be able to keep a job or keep a relationship in tact.

3. Play a game with them called: What’s it like to be on the other side of me?

Too many students (and adults for that matter) struggle with self-awareness. I believe becoming self-aware is step one on the leadership journey. So why not sit down with your upset student and play this little game where both of you relay to the other what it feels like to be on the receiving end of their communication and style? My friend Jeff Henderson calls this game: “What’s it like to be—on the other side of me?” It’s a brilliant set up for honest conversations where I can both listen to my students assess my style, but also share with them how they’re being received by others. Once I have conveyed my evaluation, I will often say: “I’m pretty sure you don’t mean to come across this way.”

I received a phone call from a former intern, who I let go before her internship was over. It was hard for both of us. The phone call, however, was a positive reflection of her time with us. She left angry but was now grateful. We had both shared “what’s it like to be on the other side of me.” To put it simply, it was eye-opening for her. This young woman called to thank me for being honest, and for turning her “misperceptions into meaningful perspective.”

I believe that’s one of the leader’s primary jobs.”

Distracted youth

Researchers say extensive use of media has led to greater distractibility

03/14/2017 | ConsumerAffairs |

By Christopher Maynard

“The rise of smartphones has allowed consumers to multitask and get more things done than ever before, but researchers state that it has led to greater distractibility amongst young people.

In a recent study, scientists from the University of Helsinki tested participants between the ages of 13 and 24 on their ability to perform working memory and attention tasks. They found that this younger generation had trouble filtering out disturbances and sticking to the task at hand.

“[Participants] had a harder time filtering out distractive stimuli. This was also seen as higher activity in regions of the frontal lobe, which can be a sign of excessive strain,” said lead researcher Mona Moisala.

Competing for resources

The researchers theorized that young people who extensively use multiple types of media use brain resources differently than other people. To test this, they monitored participants’ brain activity through functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as they attempted to complete a task that required listening and reading.

The participants in the study were selected, at least partially, due to their extensive use of several types of media; the findings showed that those who had the most trouble during the task also had the most competition for neural resources in relevant brain areas. This, the researchers say, is a major limiting factor that could help explain the poor performances.

Moisala says that the study findings could go a long way towards understanding how screen time affects young people. She states that additional studies could help reveal how technology affects the developing brain and how negative outcomes could be avoided.

“Taken together, the results from these studies are of great importance, since it is vital to understand how the increasing amount of on-screen time might affect or interact with the cognitive and brain functioning of the current youth,” she said.

For more information, Moisala’s full dissertation concerning the study can be found here:

Teen Lingo

four teens in school hall

-Brisa Ayub, 3/22/16

“From “TMRW” and “WYCM” to “vamping” and “vlogging,” the current digital lingo resembles that of an encrypted secret language — a secret code only known to those still waiting for their driver’s licenses. Students are coming up with clever, short, and to-the-point phrases that can make communication quicker and in many ways more interesting. But some of this lingo warrants a second look.

For those of us looking to keep a pulse on what our students are talking — or texting — about, first we need to know how to decode their shorthand. Our Digital Glossary gives parents and teachers a window into the world of kids’ digital lingo.

We’ve highlighted a few popular terms from our glossary to give you a leg up on cracking the code.

“Dox” is short for “dropping documents.” The term is used when someone maliciously reveals someone else’s personal information such as address, phone number, or private social media username on a public site or forum.

Among kids, doxxing might be done in revenge when a romantic relationship ends. The vigilante hacker group Anonymous has been known to dox people to draw attention to an issue.

Similar to doxxing, swatting has the potential for some serious consequences. The term refers to a particular type of prank, which involves calling in fake police tips in an attempt to send a SWAT team to an individual’s home.

The term gained some serious attention when a Canadian teenager pleaded guilty to 23 charges related to an international binge of hacking, pranking, and harassment including swatting and doxxing unsuspecting victims. The teenager’s rampage led to a Florida school lockdown and even caused part of Disneyland to temporarily shut down.

Two acronyms used to indicate when an adult is present. “PIR” stands for “parent in the room”; “POS” indicates “parent over shoulder.”

Can anyone guess what TIR stands for? (Hint: Not parent in the room, but __ in the room.)

Not all kids’ lingo is worthy of concern. “BAE” stands for “before anyone else.” It’s used across the Internet as a term of affection for a significant other or crush. “FTW” stands for “for the win.” For example, on a photograph of a friend wearing a purple jumpsuit, another teen may comment, “Purple jumpsuits FTW!” The acronym can be used seriously or sarcastically.

On Fleek
Still trying to figure out what “on fleek” means? Don’t worry if you don’t know this term. It seems the world doesn’t really understand it, either, yet people continue to use it. It’s essentially a synonym for the phrase “on point,” and it originated in a Vine video by a user known as Peaches Monroee, wherein she refers to her eyebrows as being “on fleek.” Now, rapper B.o.B has released a song called “Fleek,” and popular celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Nicki Minaj have posted on social media with the popular caption.

Millennial fired after 2 hours



-by TOBIAS SALINGER NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Monday, February 22, 2016, 9:25 PM

A Yelp customer service rep got fired because she posted this letter to the company’s CEO on the website Medium on Friday, she said.
A Yelp employee who slammed the company’s wages got fired after her letter to Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman went live online Friday.

The 25-year-old woman who goes by “Talia Jane” revealed what it’s like living in San Francisco on her $1,466-per-month and $8.15-per-hour salary after taxes in a post called “Dear Jeremy” on the website Medium.

Company executives at the restaurant rating service featuring 95 million user-generated eatery reviews denied she got canned over the viral post. Yet Jane – whose real name has been withheld from media reports – said she received word from her former employer that she lost her job because the post violated company policy.

“Every single one of my coworkers is struggling. They’re taking side jobs, they’re living at home. One of them started a GoFundMe because she couldn’t pay her rent. She ended up leaving the company and moving east, somewhere the minimum wage could double as a living wage,” Jane wrote in the post.

“Another wrote on those neat whiteboards we’ve got on every floor begging for help because he was bound to be homeless in two weeks. Fortunately, someone helped him out. At least, I think they did. I actually haven’t seen him in the past few months. Do you think he’s okay?”

Jane, a customer service rep, was spending about 80% of her income on rent at her East Bay apartment, with little left over to pay utilities or transit fees, she wrote.

She said bread, which is free on the eighth floor of tech firm’s plush San Francisco office, was a luxury she couldn’t afford at home. Her poverty caused her to depend on a 10-pound bag of rice for meals, and a CVS employee felt so bad for her he loaned her $6 out of his own pocket when he heard her discussing her struggles with her boss, she said.

A Yelp spokeswoman declined to discuss her compensation or firing. She said in a statement that the company is expanding staff in its Phoenix office in part because executives “agree with her remarks about the high costs of living in San Francisco.” Stoppelman himself responded to Jane’s post in a series of tweets Saturday.

“I’ve not been personally involved in Talia being let go and it was not because she posted a Medium letter directed at me,” Stoppelman said. “Two sides to every HR story so Twitter army please put down the pitchforks.”

His former employee spoke in an interview with business news site Quartz about the more than $1,800 she’s received in donations since the post as well as backlash she got over past food pictures she displayed on social media. She was asked what she had in mind when she decided to write the letter.

“I know this sounds naive, but the original plan was I didn’t have a plan. I woke up hungry, and I thought I would send some tweets to the CEO and maybe he would see them,” she said. “I was looking at them and thought, ‘These are stupid. This doesn’t show any sense of validity or urgency. This is just a person being annoying.’”

She continued, “I figured I would write this all out. … And then everything f——- exploded.”

talia jane

An Open Letter To My CEO

Dear Jeremy,

When I was a kid, back in the 90s when Spice Girls and owning a pager were #goals, I dreamed of having a car and a credit card and my own apartment. I told my 8-year old self, This is what it means to be an adult.

Now, seventeen years later, I have those things. But boy did I not anticipate a decade and a half ago that a car and a credit card and an apartment would all be symbols of stress, not success.

I left college, having majored in English literature, with a dream to work in media. It was either that or go to law school. Or become a teacher. But I didn’t want to become a cliche or drown in student loans, see. I also desperately needed to leave where I was living — I could get into the details of why, but to sum up: I wanted to die every single day of my life and it took me several years to realize it was because of the environment I was in. So, I picked the next best place: somewhere close to my dad, since we’ve never gotten to have much of a relationship and I like the weather up here. I found a job (I was hired the same day as my interview, in fact) and I put a bunch of debt on a shiny new credit card to afford the move.

Coming out of college without much more than freelancing and tutoring under my belt, I felt it was fair that I start out working in the customer support section of Yelp/Eat24 before I’d be qualified to transfer to media. Then, after I had moved and got firmly stuck in this apartment with this debt, I was told I’d have to work in support for an entire year before I would be able to move to a different department. A whole year answering calls and talking to customers just for the hope that someday I’d be able to make memes and twitter jokes about food. If you follow me on twitter, which you don’t, you’d know that these are things I already do. But that’s neither here nor there. Let’s get back to the situation at hand, shall we?

So here I am, 25-years old, balancing all sorts of debt and trying to pave a life for myself that doesn’t involve crying in the bathtub every week. Every single one of my coworkers is struggling. They’re taking side jobs, they’re living at home. One of them started a GoFundMe because she couldn’t pay her rent. She ended up leaving the company and moving east, somewhere the minimum wage could double as a living wage. Another wrote on those neat whiteboards we’ve got on every floor begging for help because he was bound to be homeless in two weeks.

Fortunately, someone helped him out. At least, I think they did. I actually haven’t seen him in the past few months. Do you think he’s okay? Another guy who got hired, and ultimately let go, was undoubtedly homeless. He brought a big bag with him and stocked up on all those snacks you make sure are on every floor (except on the weekends when the customer support team is working, because we’re what makes Eat24 24-hours, 7 days a week but the team who comes to stock up those snacks in the early hours during my shift are only there Mondays through Fridays, excluding holidays. They get holidays and weekends off! Can you imagine?). By and large, our floor pummels through those snacks the fastest and has to roam other floors to find something to eat. Is it because we’re gluttons? Maybe. If you starve a pack of wolves and toss them a single steak, will they rip each other to shreds fighting over it? Definitely.

I haven’t bought groceries since I started this job. Not because I’m lazy, but because I got this ten pound bag of rice before I moved here and my meals at home (including the one I’m having as I write this) consist, by and large, of that. Because I can’t afford to buy groceries. Bread is a luxury to me, even though you’ve got a whole fridge full of it on the 8th floor. But we’re not allowed to take any of that home because it’s for at-work eating. Of which I do a lot. Because 80 percent of my income goes to paying my rent. Isn’t that ironic? Your employee for your food delivery app that you spent $300 million to buy can’t afford to buy food. That’s gotta be a little ironic, right?

Let’s talk about those benefits, though. They’re great. I’ve got vision, dental, the normal health insurance stuff — and as far as I can tell, I don’t have to pay for any of it! Except the copays. $20 to see a doctor or get an eye exam or see a therapist or get medication. Twenty bucks each is pretty neat, if spending twenty dollars didn’t determine whether or not you could afford to get to work the next week.

Did I tell you about how I got stuck in the east bay because my credit card, which amazingly allows cash withdrawals, kept getting declined and I didn’t have enough money on my BART Clipper card to get to work? Did I tell you that my manager, with full concern and sympathy for my situation, suggested I just drive through FastTrak and get a $35 ticket for it that I could pay at a later time, just so I could get to work? Did I tell you that an employee at CVS overheard my phone call with my manager and then gave me, straight from his wallet, the six dollars I needed to drive into work? Do you think CVS pays more than Yelp? I worked a job similar to one at CVS. A manager spends half an hour training you on the cash register, you watch a video, maybe take a brief quiz, and you’re fully trained to do the entire job. Did you know that after getting hired back in August, I’m still being trained for the same position I’ve got? But Marcus at CVS has six dollars in his wallet, and I’m picking up coins on the street trying to figure out how I’ll be able to pay him back.

Speaking of that whole training thing, do you know what the average retention rate of your lowest employees (like myself) are? Because I haven’t been here very long, but it seems like every week the faces change. Do you think it’s because the pay your company offers is designed to attract young people with no responsibilities, sort of like the CIA? Except these people don’t even throw away their trash, because they still live at home and this is their very first job and they don’t have to take an aptitude test like at the CIA. Do you know how many cash coupons I used to give out before I was properly trained? In one month, I gave out over $600 to customers for a variety of issues. Now, since getting more training, I’ve given out about $15 in the past three months because I’ve been able to de-escalate messed up situations using just my customer service skills. Do you think that’s coincidence? Or is the goal to have these free bleeders who throw money at angry customers to calm them down set the standard for the whole company? Do you think there’s any point in training a customer service agent to learn and employ customer service skills? Or is it better to attract those first-time employees with their poor habits and lack of work ethic with the same wage part-time employees at See’s Candies make for standing by the door in a stupid outfit and handing out free chocolate? Do you think those free chocolates cost $600 a month per employee? Have you ever seen an angry See’s Candies customer? You know what I could do with $600 extra a month? For starters, I probably wouldn’t have to take money from Marcus at CVS just to get to work.

Will you pay my phone bill for me? I just got a text from T-Mobile telling me my bill is due. I got paid yesterday ($733.24, bi-weekly) but I have to save as much of that as possible to pay my rent ($1245) for my apartment that’s 30 miles away from work because it was the cheapest place I could find that had access to the train, which costs me $5.65 one way to get to work. That’s $11.30 a day, by the way. I make $8.15 an hour after taxes. I also have to pay my gas and electric bill. Last month it was $120. According to the infograph on PG&E’s website, that cost was because I used my heater. I’ve since stopped using my heater. Have you ever slept fully clothed under several blankets just so you don’t get a cold and have to miss work? Have you ever drank a liter of water before going to bed so you could fall asleep without waking up a few hours later with stomach pains because the last time you ate was at work? I woke up today with stomach pains. I made myself a bowl of rice.

Look, I’ll make you a deal. You don’t have to pay my phone bill. I’ll just disconnect my phone. And I’ll disconnect my home internet, too, even though it’s the only way I can do work for my freelance gig that I haven’t been able to do since I moved here because I’m constantly too stressed to focus on anything but going to sleep as soon as I’m not at work. Should I sell my car? It’s not my car, actually, it’s my grandpa’s. But the back left tire is flat and the front right headlight is out and the registration is due to be renewed in April and I already know I can’t afford any of that. I haven’t even gotten an oil change since I started this job (in August). But maybe I could find someone on Craigslist who won’t mind all of that because they’ll look at the dark circles under my eyes and realize I need the cash more than they do.

How about this: instead of telling you about all the ways I’m withering away from putting my all into a company that doesn’t have my back, I offer some solutions. I emailed Mike, Eat24’s CEO, about a few ideas to give back to our community for the holidays. He, along with someone named Patty, politely turned them down. But maybe you could repurpose them?
Originally, I suggested that Eat24/Yelp employees volunteer at local soup kitchens and food banks to give back to our Bay Area community (I see on your twitter that you care deeply about the homeless epidemic in our city) while also helping the different departments meet and mingle. Maybe instead, you can help set up something to allow Eat24/Yelp employees to get food from local food banks and soup kitchens? I’m pretty proficient at rice, but some hot soup would sure make up for not being able to afford to use my heater.

Originally, I suggested that Eat24 offer a matching donation with customers where they can choose a donation amount during checkout and Eat24/Yelp would match it and donate those profits to a national food program. Maybe instead, you can let customers choose a donation amount during checkout and divide those proceeds among your employees who spend more than 60% of their income on rent? The ideal percent is 30%. As I said, I spend 80%. What do you spend 80% of your income on? I hear your net worth is somewhere between $111 million and $222 million. That’s a whole lotta rice.

Originally, I suggested that Eat24 offer special coupon codes where half of the code’s value ($1) goes to charity. Maybe instead, you can give half the code’s value ($1) to helping employees who live across the bay pay their transit fares? Mine are $226 monthly. According to this website, you’ve got a pretty nice house in the east bay. Have you ever been stranded inside a CVS because you can’t afford to get to work? How much do you pay your gardeners to keep that lawn and lovely backyard looking so neat?

I did notice — and maybe this was just a fluke — that Yelp has stopped stocking up on those awful flavored coconut waters. Was that Mike’s suggestion? Because I did include, half-facetiously, in that email he and Patty so politely rejected that Yelp could save about $24,000 in two months if the company stopped restocking flavored coconut waters since no one drinks them (because they taste like the bitter remorse of accepting a job that can’t pay a living wage and everyone kept falling over into the fetal position and hyperventilating about their life’s worth. It really cut into the productivity that all those new hires are so prolific at avoiding). I wonder what it would be like if I made $24,000 more annually. I could probably get the headlight fixed on my car. And the flat tire. And maybe even get the oil change and renewed registration — but I don’t want to dream too extravagantly. Maybe you could cut out all the coconut waters altogether? You could probably cut back on a lot of the drinks and snacks that are stocked on every single floor. I mean, I could handle losing out on pistachio nuts if I was getting paid enough to afford groceries. No one really eats the pistachios anyway — have you ever tried answering the phone fifty times an hour while eating pistachios? Those hard shells really get in the way of talking to hundreds of customers and restaurants a day.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. I know they’re not worth your time — did you know that the average American earns enough money that the time they would spend picking up a penny costs more than the penny’s worth? I pick up every penny I see, which I think explains why sharing these thoughts is worth my time, even if it’s not worth yours.

Your Friend In Food,

UPDATE: As of 5:43pm PST, I have been officially let go from the company. This was entirely unplanned (but I guess not completely unexpected?) but any help until I find new employment would be extremely appreciated. My PayPal is, my Venmo is taliajane (no hyphen). Square Cash is$TaliaJane. Thank you so much for helping my story be heard.

Corporate meets Academia




single hand of drowning man in sea asking for help
single hand of drowning man in sea asking for help
Happy group of students sitting at the park talking
Happy group of students sitting at the park talking

This is hard for you because you think of the students as cuddly bunnies, but you can’t. You just have to drown the bunnies … put a Glock to their heads.” – Mr. Simon Newman, previously President of Mount St Mary’s University, a Los Angeles equity fund manager.

By Paul McMullen, 12/17/14

EMMITSBURG, MD – “Simon Newman told an executive search committee that after nearly three decades “making very rich people richer,” he was looking for a change.

It is not, however, as if the Los Angeles-based financial executive had patterned his life after Gordon Gekko, Hollywood’s 1980s model of greed.

Newman founded software companies, led turnarounds, turned a tidy profit in the European pay-TV market and raised more than $3 billion in equity funding.”

While this domain is still held by those in the academy, it is dormant. When first launched in 2005, it persisted in ostensible use until 2011, the “sleeping giant”, Japanese would say. Mature scholars realize the pettiness, and fruitlessness of it all in the absence of civility, patience, charity, good humor, and benefit-of-the-doubt we constantly owe to our superiors and elders. However, the following does make its salient argument well, imho:

University, not day care….

November 23, 2015
Dr. Everett Piper, President
Oklahoma Wesleyan University

“This past week, I actually had a student come forward after a university chapel service and complain because he felt “victimized” by a sermon on the topic of 1 Corinthians 13. It appears this young scholar felt offended because a homily on love made him feel bad for not showing love. In his mind, the speaker was wrong for making him, and his peers, feel uncomfortable.

I’m not making this up. Our culture has actually taught our kids to be this self-absorbed and narcissistic. Any time their feelings are hurt, they are the victims. Anyone who dares challenge them and, thus, makes them “feel bad” about themselves, is a “hater,” a “bigot,” an “oppressor,” and a “victimizer.”

I have a message for this young man and all others who care to listen. That feeling of discomfort you have after listening to a sermon is called a conscience. An altar call is supposed to make you feel bad. It is supposed to make you feel guilty. The goal of many a good sermon is to get you to confess your sins—not coddle you in your selfishness. The primary objective of the Church and the Christian faith is your confession, not your self-actualization.

So here’s my advice:

If you want the chaplain to tell you you’re a victim rather than tell you that you need virtue, this may not be the university you’re looking for. If you want to complain about a sermon that makes you feel less than loving for not showing love, this might be the wrong place.

If you’re more interested in playing the “hater” card than you are in confessing your own hate; if you want to arrogantly lecture, rather than humbly learn; if you don’t want to feel guilt in your soul when you are guilty of sin; if you want to be enabled rather than confronted, there are many universities across the land (in Missouri and elsewhere) that will give you exactly what you want, but Oklahoma Wesleyan isn’t one of them.

At OKWU, we teach you to be selfless rather than self-centered. We are more interested in you practicing personal forgiveness than political revenge. We want you to model interpersonal reconciliation rather than foment personal conflict. We believe the content of your character is more important than the color of your skin. We don’t believe that you have been victimized every time you feel guilty and we don’t issue “trigger warnings” before altar calls.

Oklahoma Wesleyan is not a “safe place”, but rather, a place to learn: to learn that life isn’t about you, but about others; that the bad feeling you have while listening to a sermon is called guilt; that the way to address it is to repent of everything that’s wrong with you rather than blame others for everything that’s wrong with them. This is a place where you will quickly learn that you need to grow up.

This is not a day care. This is a university.”

Sissy Nation




MAY 10, 2012
A “Generation of Sissies”

-by John Mariotti, CONTRIBUTOR
My Other Website

The “elephant in the room”— one big question in the minds of so many Americans is—“Why has the middle class in America lost so much ground, and when will it recover to earn better wages (and close the gap between the top earners and the middle class)?” The answers are brutally simple: ”Because America’s middle class became non-competitive globally,” and, “Not until American middle class workers—and the kind of work they do—become globally competitive again” There are two huge problems facing the America in the future: one is demographic, the other is cultural.

1) “Baby Boomers” are retiring from the work force at the rate of 10,000 per day, and will do so for 17 years. Most of them don’t have enough pension or 401(k) assets to support retirement for their life expectancy (15-20 years). Too few employers will hire these older folks, with their potential problems of age—reduced stamina and more health-related problems (and higher health care costs).

2) In recent decades, American parents have raised a “Generation of Sissies”—of spoiled, lazy, pampered and over-rated youth—who are highly educated, but in things that the world doesn’t value very much (and thus won’t pay for). The top 25% may be as good, as bright, as motivated as ever, and will likely be as successful as ever. The vast majority of this generation consists of formally educated, but spoiled, soft post-adolescents, who will struggle to be self-sustaining as adults. Because of this, they will not be able to support the massive wave of retired “Boomers,” who will be going broke in their later years. In eras past, the elderly were supported by the coming younger generation(s). Those days are gone.

Members of this “Generation of Sissies” have been the victims of being coddled, babied, pampered, misled, misguided, and under-educated so badly that their “take care of me” upbringing cannot be sustained as they move into adulthood. The parents, who did this, also share in the responsibility for the failure of America’s educational system.

I won’t lay all the “blame” for these failures on American youth—although they have been willing accomplices. Parents and educators failed to prepare them for adult life in the cold harsh world, and where they must compete for gainful employment. Then the youth chose easy and fun majors in college; not the ones in that are in demand by employers. Thus they can’t find jobs, or certainly not good paying jobs.

For too long, American parents have also abdicated the responsibilities for educating and raising their children to a cadre of teachers and educational institutions ill suited for the task at hand. Parents used to prepare children to take care of themselves—sort of an apprenticeship in becoming an adult. Along the way, they used to teach them, and demand of them, that they learn critical personal skills, and useful, responsible habits—like earning your own way in life. Not any more.

Now, because of globalization the jobs have gone to wherever qualified workers will do them for the least pay. American workers have fallen behind global competitors. Thus, the American middle class, now and for the foreseeable future, will have to “play catch up” —learning new skills and how to apply them—and then employers will have to regain the work that provides the jobs. Otherwise, the middle class will continue to languish with subpar wages—at least until it becomes competitive again, if that ever happens. The only part of the middle class with growth prospects are employees of new, small businesses that grow–when they are not stifled by an oppressive government regulations.

Worse yet, is the untimeliness of this “Generation of Sissies,” who think that there are no winners or losers. They learned this because everyone got rewarded just for participating. Trophies no longer represented hard work and winning to them. Success meant just being involved and “showing up”—and sometimes, not even that. News flash for Americans of this Generation of Sissies: In the cold, harsh world of 21st century global business there ARE winners and losers—and YOU are losing!

The “Generation of Sissies was victimized by too-busy parents, who abdicated their responsibilities, and tried to pass them off onto schools and teachers. The teachers were not prepared to handle these new responsibilities. Add to this the expectations that have been created: “free meals” (government funded, means “free”) that go far beyond the old school lunches; “free transportation” (or being driven to school); “free extracurricular activities,” and much more. And for this, all they had to do was“show up.” Even grades are no longer a dose of reality. Kinder words replace letter grades, to soften the truth of impending mediocrity.

Schools now teach “softer studies” (some of which used to be taught at home by parents) make up over 1/3 of total credits: “21st century life,” or “career-technical education, or “health, safety, & physical education,” or “visual & performing arts,” and “language arts literacy.” Many students can’t write a grammatically correct sentence, and some don’t even see the point in learning to write (cursive) at all. They use Text-messages and Tweets. Signatures are nearly obsolete.

Schools still require a modicum of Math and Science, but not enough to meet todays employment demands. In many cases, one 3-credit course (out of 110 credits) is offered on financial, economic, business, and entrepreneurial topics. Teachers are not held to the highest standards either, since doing so would require compensating the best ones more, and removing the worst ones—and teachers’ unions (and tenure) simply won’t allow that. Today’s youth learn that being late, or absent isn’t so bad, because there is always an “excuse.” But when they get in the world of work, employers expect employees to show up, on time, every day, and actually work all day.

Then parents pay a fortune (instead of putting it away for retirement) for college because it used to be a sure path to a decent job (Now students graduate deeply in debt—over $1 Trillion and rising). A degree in the arts or humanities may have once been the ticket to a job, but it’s not any more! The youth of today and the adults of tomorrow simply have not been educated in the reality, the necessary skills and the knowledge they need to be competitive and self-sufficient. Many do not have a clear understanding of how much hard work and commitment they must invest to ensure their own future.

Too many people feel sorry for these “underachievers,” even though part of the failure is their own fault. The “Occupy movement” is filled with members of this “Generation of Sissies.” They expect someone to “take care of them” and give them what they cannot or are unprepared to earn for themselves. Who has what that they want? The very people who worked hard to get a good education, studied, learned, applied themselves and learned to compete.
There will be negative comments about my title: “Generation of Sissies”—as being demeaning. These comments will come mostly from the very same segment of society that helped create these problems—and still condones them. To them I say, “Prove me wrong.” Right now, the results confirm what I have written. Until America puts the onus for education back onto the people where it belongs—first on youth and their parents, and next on quality schools and good teachers—the American middle class is doomed to remain stuck where it is. Any other outcome is a delusion.

Can these problems be fixed? Yes, but it took an entire generation or more to create them, so the fix will be slow and painful–as it is proving to be right now. There is an even larger question. It is not, ” WILL AMERICA COMPETE in the global economy of the 21st century? It is, “DO AMERICANS HAVE THE WILL TO COMPETE? Will Americans take the necessary actions to make themselves and future generations competitive. We can only hope that the answer to this question is YES!