Thursday, 28 January 2016

immigrants with no second language? it’s true britishness

There seem to be one or two problems about 'other languages':
Why do the English need to speak a foreign language when foreigners all speak English? | Daily Mail Online
Three-quarters of adults 'cannot speak a foreign language' - Telegraph
Most Europeans can speak multiple languages. UK and Ireland not so much | News | The Guardian
Ukip culture spokesperson urges crackdown on speaking foreign languages in schools | UK Politics | News | The Independent

Here's a rather sarcastic look at the Brits and their difficulties in learning a 'foreign language':

Immigrants with no second language? That’s true Britishness

The British attitude towards language is one of the reasons we’d be hopeless at terrorism

At last the Prime Minister has insisted that foreigners must learn English properly, if they want to be allowed to stay. This is only fair, because when the British move abroad we make sure we’re fluent in the local dialect within a fortnight. 
Wander through the Costa Del Sol and there’s no way of telling who’s Spanish and who’s from east London, so integrated have we become, with characters such as Nobby “Flamenco” Wilson, who within seven years learned to say “adios” in a Dagenham accent, causing his mates to shout “blimey, hark at Picasso”, while watching West Ham vs Watford in a pub by the beach in Marbella.
Despite us going to all that trouble, when the Spanish come over here they speak English with a slight Spanish accent. Is it any wonder we get fed up of Europe when they mug us off like that?
One complaint about immigrants who don’t speak perfect English is they can’t work here, as they won’t be understood. This compares to the English who move to France, who have all mastered French so perfectly from a year of GCSE French, they can work anywhere they like, understanding even the finest details. 
For example, if they were in a call centre, and a frustrated French businessman rang to report his internet connection was down, the average Englishman living in France would have no problem replying “the cat is in the garden”.
If they worked in a hospital and someone came through the door screaming their appendix had burst, a plucky Englishman would be able to helpfully inform the patient “J’aime le football, mais je n’aime pas le tennis”.
So we should go further with these plans to deport people who can’t be bothered to learn the language: anyone wanting to move to Liverpool should have to do a course to learn grabbing someone in a headlock and saying “you’ve gorra have a laugh mate”, or they’re not allowed in. 
Before you live in south London you should have to attend a gangsta study group. Your exam to become an accountant will include an oral test, in which the examiner says “listen up blud, I have bear cash, you get me, so a man say I come to you for advice on capital gains tax and shit”.
This effort isn’t just out of politeness – our security depends on it. David Cameron says Muslim women who don’t learn English are “more susceptible” to radicalisation. This must be because, once they can understand Take me Out with Paddy McGuinness, they’ll realise there’s so much fun to be had there’s no point in blowing things up.
It also suggests the only language that opposes radicalisation is English, and that all the languages a Muslim might speak don’t have any words for “don’t go to Syria and blow yourself up you idiot”, or “I think you should put that rocket launcher down, you could have someone’s eye out”.  
Even so it’s worth a try. It may be that the better someone speaks English, the less jihadist they become. So we should send elocution teachers out to direct their videos, and say “No, no, NO Jihadi Gerald. It’s ‘we shall kill WHOMEVER aids the infidel in glorious oceans of blood’. Now let’s try again with a nice round mouth on the O for Holy.” Eventually, when they sound like Prince Charles, they’ll realise the error of their ways and come back to be Master of the Hunt in the Cotswolds.
The British attitude towards language is one of the reasons we’d be hopeless at terrorism. Because if we were making a film of someone in a hood with a sword, we wouldn’t bother learning the language of the people we were trying to terrify. Instead we’d shout the bits they didn’t understand, going “We’re going to reap mighty vengeance, no, VENGEANCE. You know. VENGEANCE. Oh for God’s sake they don’t understand a bloody word: VENGEANCE, understand? KABOOM. Yes, that’s it. VENGEANCE.” 
This is why the Prime Minister’s announcement may actually amount to a subtle trick. Because we’re insisting that immigrants integrate into our culture, but it’s those who fail to learn any English at all who are actually going to great lengths to adopt real British customs – by being unable to speak a word of a foreign language. And it’s the ones who learn to speak English perfectly we should be wary of. Don’t they understand anything about the country they’ve moved to?
Another clue is that, despite David Cameron’s insistence on proper English, last June the Government cut the funding to the organisation that teaches English to immigrants, from £45m to £20m, which resulted in 47 centres closing. This proves what a difficult but rich language English is to learn, as it takes a while to grasp that the phrase “I insist we have more of something” sometimes means “I’m going to cut it in half”. But if a determined foreigner sticks with it, they’ll soon pick it up. 
Then, when we’re enjoying the peace we’ve created, we should go on to the  next stage, and insist foreigners have  to learn English if they want to stay in  their own country as well. Otherwise they will be forever susceptible to all kinds of mischief, listening all day to their funny foreign words.

Immigrants with no second language? That’s true Britishness | Voices | The Independent

power, prison and punishment: the stanford experiment

How can you manipulate other people's behaviour?
Jay Doubleyou: positive power and influence

This blog has already considered rather disturbing experiments into how people behave:
Jay Doubleyou: milgram experiment
Jay Doubleyou: the wave: lessons in manipulation

Also at:
Milgram experiment - Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Wave (2008 film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

But how do 'good people turn evil'?
The Lucifer Effect by Philip Zimbardo

We have seen Prof Zimbardo on this blog looking at another experiment:
Jay Doubleyou: jane elliott - brown eyes vs blue eyes

Jane Elliott Brown Eyes vs Blue Eyes - YouTube

He was the psychologist who put together another experiment in 1971:
Stanford prison experiment - Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It has just been made into a film:
The Stanford Prison Experiment (film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Which still has the power to shock:
Power, Prison, and Punishment: The Stanford Experiment | Foundation for Economic Education

Here is the trailer:

The Stanford Prison Experiment Official Trailer #1 (2015) Ezra Miller Thriller Movie HD - YouTube

Here is a BBC documentary from a couple of years ago:

Psychology: The Stanford Prison Experiment - BBC Documentary - YouTube
Feature Film - The Stanford Prison Experiment (Documentary) - YouTube

Parallels have been made with the Abu Ghraib prison:

The Stanford Prison Experiment - YouTube

Here is a recent piece from the BBC:

Stanford prison experiment continues to shock

Media captionPsychologist Philip Zimbardo and some of the former students who took part recall the experiment
Forty years ago a group of students hoping to make a bit of holiday money turned up at a basement in Stanford University, California, for what was to become one of the most notorious experiments in the study of human psychology.
The idea was simple - take a group of volunteers, tell half of them they are prisoners, the other half prison wardens, place them in a makeshift jail and watch what happens.
The Stanford prison experiment was supposed to last two weeks but was ended abruptly just six days later, after a string of mental breakdowns, an outbreak of sadism and a hunger strike.
"The first day they came there it was a little prison set up in a basement with fake cell doors and by the second day it was a real prison created in the minds of each prisoner, each guard and also of the staff," said Philip Zimbardo, the psychologist leading the experiment.
The volunteers had answered an advertisement in a local paper and both physical and psychological tests were done to make sure only the strongest took part.
Despite their uniforms and mirrored sunglasses, the guards struggled to get into character and at first Prof Zimbardo's team thought they might have to abandon the project.

'Very cruel guard'

As it turned out, they did not have to wait long.
"After the first day I noticed nothing was happening. It was a bit of a bore, so I made the decision I would take on the persona of a very cruel prison guard," said Dave Eshleman, one of the wardens who took a lead role.
The site of the infamous Stanford prison experiment
Image captionThe experiment took place in California in 1971
At the same time the prisoners, referred to only by their numbers and treated harshly, rebelled and blockaded themselves inside their cells.
The guards saw this as a challenge to their authority, broke up the demonstration and began to impose their will.
"Suddenly, the whole dynamic changed as they believed they were dealing with dangerous prisoners, and at that point it was no longer an experiment," said Prof Zimbardo.
It began by stripping them naked, putting bags over their heads, making them do press-ups or other exercises and humiliating them.
"The most effective thing they did was simply interrupt sleep, which is a known torture technique," said Clay Ramsey, one of the prisoners.
"What was demanded of me physically was way too much and I also felt that there was really nobody rational at the wheel of this thing so I started refusing food."

Power of situations

He was put in the janitor's cupboard - solitary confinement - and the other prisoners were punished because of his actions. It became a very stressful situation.
'Prison guard' Dave Eshleman
Image captionDave Eshleman, who played the role of a prison guard said the experiment rapidly spun out of control
"It was rapidly spiralling out of control," said prison guard Mr Eshleman who hid behind his mirrored sunglasses and a southern US accent.
"I kept looking for the limits - at what point would they stop me and say 'No, this is only an experiment and I have had enough', but I don't think I ever reached that point."
Prof Zimbardo recalled a long list of prisoners who had breakdowns and had to leave the experiment. One even developed a psychosomatic all-over body rash.
The lead researcher had also been sucked into the experiment and had lost clarity.
"The experiment was the right thing to do, the wrong thing was to let it go past the second day," he said.
"Once a prisoner broke down we had proved the point - that situations can have a powerful impact - so I didn't end it when I should have."
In the end it was a fellow psychologist who intervened.
Prof Zimbardo had been dating Christina Maslach, a former graduate student, and when she saw what was happening in the basement she was visibly shocked, accusing him of cruelty. It snapped him out of the spell.
Prison disturbances in the US drew attention to the Stanford experiment and, all of a sudden, the dramatic results became well known in the US and all over the world.
"The study is the classic demonstration of the power of situations and systems to overwhelm good intentions of participants and transform ordinary, normal young men into sadistic guards or for those playing prisoners to have emotional breakdowns," said Prof Zimbardo.

'Ethically wrong'

The abusive prison guard, Mr Eshleman, also felt he gained something from the experiment.
"I learned that in a particular situation I'm probably capable of doing things I will look back on with some shame later on," he said.
"When I saw the pictures coming from Abu Ghraib in Iraq, it immediately struck me as being very familiar to me and I knew immediately they were probably just very ordinary people and not the bad apples the defence department tried to paint them as.
"I did some horrible things, so if I ever had the chance to repeat the experiment I wouldn't do it."
But prisoner Mr Ramsey felt the experiment should never have taken place as it had no true scientific basis and was ethically wrong.
"The best thing about it, is that it ended early," he said.
"The worst thing is that the author, Zimbardo, has been rewarded with a great deal of attention for 40 years so people are taught an example of very bad science."
But Prof Zimbardo calls this "naive" and argues the work was a very valuable addition to psychology - and its findings were important in understanding why abuse took place at Abu Ghraib.
"It does tell us that human nature is not totally under the control of what we like to think of as free will, but that the majority of us can be seduced into behaving in ways totally atypical of what we believe we are," he said.

Stanford prison experiment continues to shock - BBC News

Saturday, 23 January 2016

meaningless corporate speak

So much language is in fact meaningless:
Jay Doubleyou: plain guide to english
Jay Doubleyou: eschew obfuscation

Corporate Jargon and Buzzword generator
Buzzword Bingo

Action #087 Play bullshit bingo | Action Tracker by We Are What We Do > web > web economy bullshit generator
Buzzword bingo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

And this can not only make it difficult to understand anyone but can be very demotivating:
Jay Doubleyou: motivation

This is from today's Independent:

Punit Renjen: Discovering the thinking behind Deloitte chief's demotivating new year email

Tom Peck on the email from the new Deloitte boss that left employees cold
Punit Renjen appears to know a lot about life. His father’s businesses failed when he was a teenage boy, growing up in India. He was forced to spend long hours working in the family factories after school. He didn’t wear a suit for his interview at Deloitte in 1989, because he didn’t own one.
It’s possible that this extended and admirable dip into the real world that preceded his 28 years climbing the ladder at one of the world’s great corporate behemoths made him particularly useless at motivational messages.
Or it may be sheer competitive spirit that compelled him to the space he now occupies as the undisputed king of meaningless corporate speak.
January is a bleak enough time, particularly for any of the 219,999 of Deloitte Global’s 220,000 employees who are less well remunerated than Mr Renjen, so it may be that the company-wide email the new CEO sent out last week, entitled, “Let’s Swap Resolutions: Living Our Purpose,” was not well received.
Deloitte’s purpose, you may be aware, is to advise companies and do their accounts. In order for employees to “live Deloitte’s purpose”, you might think they would merely need to spend as much of their waking lives as possible advising companies and doing their accounts.
But evidently it is more complicated than that. Staff must sign the “Deloitte Journey Declaration”. Why? “Because it will take all of us to achieve our global aspiration!” And what is that aspiration? That is not entirely clear. “To deliver an exceptional, and consistent, global talent experience across the Deloitte network” might be it. But given that something cannot be both exceptional and consistent, and delivering a global talent experience is impossible on the grounds that it doesn’t mean anything, that might not be it.
The journey, we learn, is in fact a promise. And a promise that is articulated through pillars, one of which will “accelerate your ambition”. It’s possible this sequence of events has been lifted directly from ancient Greek myths, where articulate pillars of promise that speed up your desires are more plausible, but their relevance to the life of a management consultant is not immediately certain.
Very occasionally, such nonsense can inadvertently contain meaning. The footballer-turned-pundit Michael Owen once observed that “Liverpool have a problem with their defence going forward,” and he was right, in a sense, just not in the way he meant. 
We can only hope Mr Renjen sees the error of his ways going forward, or indeed going backward. The Deloitte Journey, being a journey, will almost certainly have to go forward. Journeys going backward are not impossible, but many find they make them feel queasy.
In the notorious book Rip-Off!, former management consultant Neil Glass admitted: “We were proud of the way we used to make things up as we went along.... It’s like robbing a bank but legal. We could take somebody straight off the street, teach them a few simple tricks in a couple of hours and easily charge them out to our clients for more than £7,000 per week.”
It consisted, he says, of “lies, lies and even more lies.”
In such rarefied spheres of bullshit, it is unsurprising that a little corporate speak must be used to lubricate the wheels. If it’s your job to convince a business that a 21-year-old straight out of university knows how to run it better than you, you are going to need big words. As the Bee Gees and latterly Boyzone observed, words might very well be all you have. But the perspicacity of applying such techniques to one’s own employees, who are almost as well versed in the stuff as you are, is questionable.
Writing such mumbo jumbo can surely be barely any more enjoyable than reading it. And if it is meant to motivate staff to work harder – staff who, it is safe to assume, are not afforded the time to compose such absurdly empty platitudes – it can only possibly have the opposite effect. At the end of his note, he promises to “achieve a bit more work-life balance.” If something’s got to give, make it the emails.

In full: Deloitte chief executive’s memo

We have said “Hello, 2016!” and now it is time for resolutions. One of my resolutions is to deliver an exceptional, and consistent, global talent experience.
This promise is articulated through four key pillars: 1) to help you make an impact, 2) inspire you as professionals, 3) accelerate your ambitions, and 4) connect and celebrate your unique strengths. 
To deliver this promise, Deloitte will invest to set expectations and help develop consistent capabilities within each role level. So no matter where you practice, you have the same exceptional skills as your peers. In return, I ask that you resolve to live Deloitte’s purpose and join our journey to undisputed leadership. 
At the World Meeting this past June, participants signed the Deloitte Journey Declaration attesting we would take this journey – together. Since then, I have travelled the world and asked partners and directors to join the journey (over 7,400 of them have signed). Now it is time for all Deloitte professionals (you) to declare the same commitment...
These resolutions spring from the foundation of what it means to be Deloitte. We will take this journey so we can proudly declare we have kept our promises to ourselves, to each other, and to all those we serve.
My best, Punit

Punit Renjen: Discovering the thinking behind Deloitte chief's demotivating new year email | Business | News | The Independent

Saturday, 16 January 2016

rating your company; or 'empowering the employee' and 'taking control of your career'

There is an increasing trend out there of 'rating' your former company - and these services are being used more and more by people looking for jobs:

The 7 Best Online Resources To Burn Your Bridges When You Quit Your Job

burn bridges jobOfficially, as of August 12th, I changed employers. I used to work for a massive global computer consulting company, with 60,000 employees across the globe. After suffering through the last few years, I decided it was time to look for a company that better values its employees. After “managed vacations” (a.k.a. forced vacations), unpaid furloughs and the ongoing and never-ending threat of layoffs, it became more than apparent that it was long past time to leave this poorly managed computer consulting conglomerate.
However, just leaving didn’t really feel like my style. I mean, I’ve worked for the same company for 13 years and it just didn’t seem cool to just silently walk off into the sunset. Therefore, I decided to share the management shortfalls and corporate shortcomings of this company with the entire world. I decided to “burn my bridges” I guess you could say.

7 Resources To Share How Companies Fail Employees

One thing that I noticed when I was job hunting – around the time when I wrote about the 10 most effective job hunting websites – was that there are a few websites out there where former employees provide completely honest reviews of what it’s like to work at the company. Those sites provide such a great insight of what it’s really like at the company.
Ann offered a few great websites where you can vent about your job or boss, but during my explorations, I discovered 7 more awesome sites where I could provide other job-seekers a similar service, once I quit my job for greener pastures.

The 7 Best Online Resources To Burn Your Bridges When You Quit Your Job

According to this site, it's about 'empowering the employee' and 'taking control of your career':
Rate My Employer — Pre-Employment Screenings - YouTube

There are a lot of these services out there:
Rate your boss and avoid bad bosses with eBossWatch
Rate your employer at Employer Information - providing honest objective feedback about employers, and their work environment
Ever Wish You Could Publicly Rate Your Employer? InHerSight Gives Women The Chance - Forbes