Happy St. Patrick’s Day

HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY

We just recently celebrated St. Patrick’s Day. Though most view it as a secular holiday, the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day has a religious origin. This has been lost over time, with his work and accomplishments having been long forgotten by most people.

After embarking on your favorite St. Patrick’s Day rituals and routines, don green attire, or imbibe in adult beverages of questionable coloration, let’s have a quick review. But, don’t worry; you will not be tested on this material.

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Click To Tweet
  • Patrick is not really a Saint. That is, he was not canonized by Rome.
  • He was not Irish. He was English.
  • He did not rid Ireland of snakes. That is folklore.
  • Patrick did go to Ireland. Actually, he went twice, the first time, unwillingly as a slave; the second time willingly, as a missionary.
  • For 30 years, he traveled Ireland, promoting Christianity and setting up churches and monasteries

He died on March 17, 461 (yes, a long, long time ago), marking the day that we commemorate his life—by celebrating his myth.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Visit peterdehaan.com to receive his newsletter, read his blog, or connect on social media.

Daylight Saving Time

daylight saving time

Last weekend, most of us in the United States had set our clocks forward one hour for our springtime jump into Daylight Saving Time (DST).

We will stay in this mode for seven months, at which time we will “fall” back to “normal time.”

This means that every man, woman, and child in the US will realize an annual time savings of exactly—zero.

That’s right; it is a gross misrepresentation that Daylight Saving Time actually saves time. All it does is shift the clock setting forward one hour so that dusk has the allusion of being delayed. Of course, the tradeoff for this is that dawn likewise seems to arrive one hour later. So on one end, we seemingly have more time to play and on the other side, more time to sleep in. Yeah, right!

The result is that no time is created or lost in the process, merely the perception by some that they actually gained something through this temporal sleight of hand.

So, what will you do with all this extra time that you save?

Do you think Daylight Saving Time actually saves time? Click To Tweet

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Visit peterdehaan.com to receive his newsletter, read his blog, or connect on social media.

How Much Does it Cost?

the cost of

I’m not one who spends money easily or frivolously. It should surprise no one that at some point in a purchase decision I will deliberate on the cost of the item in question. Can I afford it? Is it within my budget? Is this a wise use of my money? Will I derive sufficient value? Is this an emotional or intellectual decision? If I buy this item now will it preclude a more relevant purchase later? Yeah, I do that.

When I’m at a restaurant I also look at prices. No, I don’t ask all of the above questions, but cost is an important consideration.

I resort to judging the amount of food by the cost of the meal. It always serves to save me money and often serves to save my waistline. Click To Tweet

For the first part of my life, price was a financially practical contemplation. Did I have enough money to pay the bill? I would only order what I could pay for with cash—be it with bills or coins.

I’m at a different place today. Though I never want to overpay for a meal, the primary reason I look at prices now is that I perceive price as being an indicator of the quantity of food. You see, I was taught to eat everything on my plate and to not waste food, so what the restaurant gives me, I will eat, even if I’m full.

If the portion is too big, I will end up eating too much. So I resort to judging the amount of food by the cost of the meal. Though not an error-free method, it always serves to save me money and often serves to save my waistline.

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Visit peterdehaan.com to receive his newsletter, read his blog, or connect on social media.

Two Different Ways to Go Paperless

paper or paperless

Several years ago, sending customers their invoices and statements via email became a trend. Businesses that did so save the expense of printing and mailing paper documents. For consumers, they received their information faster and could file it digitally, without the need to waste paper (but I wonder how many printed it anyway).

This is a practice that I both love and hate.

I love it when companies email me my invoice as an attachment. It is easy to access, view, and file. Time is saved and natural resources are not consumed.

I hate it when the email notice simply tells me my invoice or statement is available online. Then I need to go to their website, login—often a multistep process, navigate to the appropriate page, select the desired document, download it, open it, and then save it.

The process might be a tad easier if I click on the link provided in their email, but I don’t do that in order to protect myself from being victimized by a phishing scam. (To make this even more frustrating, one institution doesn’t even notify me via email when my statement was ready—I need to go through all these steps just to check.)

I understand these steps are required to protect my information from being accessed by the criminally-minded. But really, being forced to go paperless isn’t a customer-focused practice.

If a business is truly interested in serving their customers, they wouldn’t force them to jump through all these hoops just to receive their statements. They would offer options: paperless or paper. It’s the right thing to do.

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Visit peterdehaan.com to receive his newsletter, read his blog, or connect on social media.

Does Freedom of Speech Have a Responsibility?

Freedom of Speech

One of the core tenets of living in the United States is a right we revere: “Freedom of Speech.”

Within very broad limits (such as not screaming “Fire” in a crowded room) we, in the USA, enjoy the freedom to say what we want, when we want, and in the way we want. At least in theory.

But if everyone is talking, then no one is listening. The flip side of “freedom of speech” then is the “responsibility to listen.”

With 'freedom of speech' comes with the 'responsibility to listen.' Click To Tweet

That doesn’t mean we need to actually hear and consider every voice, but it does mean we need to show respect. Our freedom of speech doesn’t permit us to yell louder than someone else, shouting them down and thereby denying them their right to speak.

Sadly, I see this happening today, especially when the voice is advocating something unpopular or a “politically incorrect” view.

We are beginning to lose sight of all that freedom of speech entails. And if that happens completely, we might lose even more, including the very right itself.

[Freedom of Speech is provided for in Article 1 of the Bill of Rights.]

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Visit peterdehaan.com to receive his newsletter, read his blog, or connect on social media.

There Has to be a Better Way

I don’t know if I wasn’t listening or am slow to catch on, but it wasn’t until later in life that I realized how to land a job:how to land a job

  • The purpose of a resume is to secure an interview,
  • the purpose of an interview is sell yourself well enough to receive an offer, and
  • the purpose of an offer is to negotiate a compensation package for your new job.

Being able to pen a compelling resume or conduct a convincing interview is no measure of one's ability to actually do a job, merely their ability to obtain a job. Click To Tweet

Silly me. I thought that people should just hire me because I could do the work—and would do it well. (I wouldn’t have applied if I didn’t believe that.) I viewed the application/resume and interview steps as unnecessary irritations in the process. As far as compensation negotiations, just skip that part and pay me what I am worth.

The sad reality is that—except for a few positions, such as sales or marketing—being able to pen a compelling resume or conduct a convincing interview is no measure of one’s ability to actually do a job, merely their ability to obtain a job. The result is that unsuited people are hired and—I fear—good people are overlooked. There has to be a better way.

The same is true in politics. You need to be able to raise money to campaign and you need to be able to debate well to raise your poll numbers and you need to speak with conviction to create interest among the electorate. But these skills have little bearing on your ability to lead well.

Whether it is obtaining a job or being elected, the conventional processes do not allow the best person to prevail. There has to be a better way.

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Visit peterdehaan.com to receive his newsletter, read his blog, or connect on social media.

Three Kinds of Capitalism

Entrepreneurial capitalismCapitalism is under fire. Pundits take potshots at capitalism. They decry its evil nature and harmful outcomes. Indeed much of this criticism is warranted. Just look at the many people who practice it wrong. I call this, greedy capitalism.

Greedy Capitalism

Greedy capitalism is the insatiable lust for more. Profits, not for any real purpose other than to increment their money scorecard by another dollar.

Monetary gains sought with no ethical compass to guide it. This includes exploiting workers, defrauding investors, cheating on taxes, stealing from the innocent, backstabbing stakeholders, and insider trading. The list goes on. It’s no wonder practitioners of greedy capitalism receive the sneers of those who witness it.

Yet not all capitalism is greedy. There are two other kinds we don’t often hear about.Capitalism is good; greed is bad. Join me in decrying greedy capitalism, while upholding virtue. Click To Tweet

Entrepreneurial Capitalism

Entrepreneurial capitalism is the backbone of prosperity. It’s the driver of small business, those men and women with a vision to produce a product or provide a service. For their efforts, they dream of earning a profit to care for themselves and provide for their families.

Entrepreneurial capitalism is the backbone of what made the United States great. It is us pulling themselves up by our bootstraps. We pursue industry, raise our standard of living, and become self-sufficient.

Yet there is a risk when entrepreneurial capitalists become too successful, when profits far exceed needs. Then they place themselves at risk of becoming a greedy capitalist, but there is a third option, a higher calling.

Philanthropic Capitalism

Enterprise for the benefit of society. This is where philanthropic capitalism come in. Its vision is to first provide for oneself and then to care for others: donating money to worthy causes, financially supporting others so they can help those in need, using business as a means to benefit humanity.

Capitalism is good. Greed is bad. Join me in decrying greedy capitalism, while upholding the virtue of entrepreneurial capitalism and philanthropic capitalism. May we use money wisely to care for ourselves and benefit others.

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Visit peterdehaan.com to receive his newsletter, read his blog, or connect on social media.

Should Everyone Really Have a College Education?

college educationSeveral years ago, the United States made a concerted political push to increase home ownership rates. The idea was to help renters become buyers. Politicians argued this would have many benefits for those who made the jump. This included an increased standard of living, greater self-esteem, and financial security (by building up equity). As a result, many people who shouldn’t have bought houses, were pushed into doing so.

This was exacerbated by some lenders who got greedy, sub-prime loans, and the assumption that balloon payments would not be a problem. The belief was that the housing bubble would not collapse. We now know that these forces conspired together to create a perfect storm for economic disaster.Should everyone really have a college education? Click To Tweet

We now know the truth, not everyone should own their home.

A Free College Education

It seems that the political emphasis has switched from owning your own home to getting a college degree. Indeed the current mantra is “a free college education for everyone.” Never mind that not everyone is college material.

Some need to pursue a trade, join the service, or directly enter the workforce. Sending the ill-equipped, the unmotivated, and or uncaring to college will do nothing to make them better. But attending will saddle them with student loans. It will also harm the overall learning opportunities offered at the institutions they attend.

In addition, if everyone obtained a college degree, then those seeking to distinguish themselves will feel a push into grad school. Indeed some fields are already like that.

If this effort to send everyone to college succeeds, the result will not be them getting a better job, but merely an upward push on required qualifications, as well as more money spent on schooling and increased student debt.

It will only be a matter of time before the college bubble bursts—just like the housing bubble before it.

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Visit peterdehaan.com to receive his newsletter, read his blog, or connect on social media.

How Much is Enough?

how much is enough

When asked “How much would be enough?”, John D. Rockefeller reportedly answered “just a little bit more.”

That push for more has propelled people to accomplish some amazing things, but left unchecked and unexamined it can leave a wake of devastation—destroying lives, organizations, and resources.

Are there changes you need to make in the way you live or with your attitude towards money? Click To Tweet

When the push for more focuses on wealth, it is never satisfied. Seeking more can become an inescapable snare.

Many people live beyond their means. For them, they desire just a little bit more. They are, in fact, greedy.

A few people live at their means; they spend responsibly, not letting their reach exceed their grasp. But even these people are often one paycheck away from the collapse of their subsistence. They are living on the edge; financial disaster is knocking at their door.

It is rare for people to live beneath their means, to live more simply than they can afford, to save money and give money away. They are wise.

Whichever category we find ourselves in, we’ll do well to ask, how much is enough?

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Visit peterdehaan.com to receive his newsletter, read his blog, or connect on social media.

Have a Happy Normal Day

With Christmas and New Years Behind Us, It Is Time to Get Things Back to Normal

normal day

It’s great to have time off from work for the holidays, wonderful to spend time with family, and enjoyable to feast upon holiday foods and delectable deserts. However, it is also good to return to a regular routine—for things to get back to normal.

For as wonderful as the holidays are, I like normal, too. Normal is how I keep disciplined and remain focused; it allows me to get important things done. Normal is how I keep disciplined and remain focused; it allows me to get important things done. Click To Tweet

But the transition from holiday mode to normal mode takes time for me. I think it does for others as well. The days after the holidays did not seem normal and I think many people shared my struggle to return to normal.

However, I think today was nearly normal and I suspect tomorrow will be completely normal. At least I hope so, because I have work to do!

Have a Happy Normal Day!

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Visit peterdehaan.com to receive his newsletter, read his blog, or connect on social media.

%d bloggers like this: