“Knock… knock,” he managed to utter, as he lay dying on the desert floor, having gone without water for as long as the human body was capable, in an attempt to tell the driest joke in history.
Saw the following via Avinash Kaushik on Google+. Too good not to share, and on so many levels.
It is worth highlighting that the power of the “default option” is a very real one.
Organ donation is a good example. Whether organ donation is an “opt-in” (i.e. the default option is not donating), far fewer people tend to go for it, as compared to when it’s an “opt-out” (i.e. the default option is donating).
I’m a big believer in this effect, and use it often when scheduling meetings, among other things.
For example, when scheduling meetings, I like to give options, but always ensure that one of them is the “default” or “preferred” option, even though there’s no reason for it to be (“We can meet either Thursday 2pm or 5pm, though I would prefer 2pm. “)
It helps expedite things: if the recipient can’t make it at 2pm or 5pm, it’s an easy choice, the recipient just chooses the alternative. If the recipient can make it for both, the recipient just chooses the default (2pm).
Without the default option, if the recipient can make it for both, it’s likely the recipient would wait till the last possible moment before responding, keeping options open in case another meeting crops up.
Tired and socially exhausted after a very nice company dinner (a common predicament for introverts), I was looking forward to some me-time on the taxi home. But it was not to be — the taxi driver was a little chattier than I’d hoped.
Having seen me catch his taxi amongst a group of foreigners whom presumably were my colleagues (yes, they were), he was curious as to what I did — “what do you work as?” I told him I worked in the education industry, and briefed him a little on what my company did.
I then went into a little bit more of the specifics — what my role entailed (“I’m a sales/business analyst. You know… business, IT, data, analysis…).
But I saw he wasn’t really getting it (“you analyse?…”)
In the end, I went on to the fall-back option of saying, “I work in sales and marketing.” (I’ve faced this issue many times before. See my post “What do you do? I’m an analyst.“)
And he got it. It seems he got it real good.
A most unexpected look of shock followed by abject pity came over his face. “Boss,” he told me, “I used to work in marketing. But look where I am now.”
I noticed we were in a taxi.
“Boss,” he continued (“I’m a boss!” I thought to myself), “before I started driving a taxi, I used to work in marketing. Earning big bucks. Then my company restructured and I got retrenched. I earned too much.”
He paused, as if reminiscing of the good ol’ days rolling in dough, then said, “You know, in marketing, as long as you earn money by only talking, anyone can take over your place and do your job. Let me give you some advice: don’t just stick to marketing. Go out and learn more.”
I realised that no, he didn’t really get what I did (yes, I work in sales and marketing; but no, I don’t do “marketing” per se).
And I couldn’t help but debate in my head if he meant “sales” and not “marketing”.
My head pounded. Was it the wine? Probably not.
I half-opened my mouth wanting to say something. But you know what? He looked so happy (1) reminiscing about his glorious past; and (2) revelling in the present dispensing career advice to a chap who desperately needed it; that I couldn’t bear to break the spell by saying “you got it all wrong, sir.”
So I nodded in silent agreement, and promised to look beyond marketing. A promise made good as soon as it was made.
I’m an analyst. And I’m bloody glad I am.
There’s a wonderful cartoon on running over at The Oatmeal. Beautiful as always, especially to this avid runner without a chance in hell of winning any running awards (“so why do it?” they ask — not quite understanding that I run for running’s sake. I just don’t get it, either).
Fyi, I’d actually gotten my wife (then girlfriend) a Brother labeller a couple of years ago (I think). And though we weren’t as trigger happy as the lady in the video up there, we haven’t been too shabby either.
Here’s our Brother labeller that I’d bought:
And here’s a couple of stuff we’ve labelled. Notice the plug for iPad? I once plugged in my iPod with this, and felt a strange numbing sensation as I turned the power on. Realised it was the current travelling through my fingers 🙁
And maple syrup (yum!) that came with me from Canada after my business trip there. Brought back two tins. Totally worth it.