Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Direchihuahua's Rules of Professional Conduct #1: Never Show Employers Who You Really Are

Many professional consultants tell you to show your personality when you write a cover letter or go into an interview with a prospective employer. This is good advice if you are Jesus or Tim Tebow. It is not good advice if you are part of the 99% of the human population who are really, really odd.

In the end, employers want to know that the person they're hiring is essentially bland and uninteresting, and therefore unlikely to cause any trouble or make things exciting in any way.

To this end, an assessment tool has been designed, known as the Essential Lebowitz Blandness Assessment Test, or ELBAT. It is worth noting that this acronym is TABLE spelled backwards. There is much speculation as to the significance of this fact.

In today's problematic economic situation, employers are having great success with using this tool to weed out sub-standard employees. Some of the questions on the ELBAT include "Is the applicant more well-informed than you are about your job?","Does the applicant enjoy doing things that do not involve work?", and "Is the applicant Jesus or Tim Tebow?"

Thus, the best and most surefirest way to get a job in today's economy is to hide everything that makes you you. If your hair looks like it tends to grow toward the nearest source of light, shave it off. If your laugh sounds like Hilary Clinton got into the helium tank again, keep a few cotton balls nearby to choke it off.  
If you have a predilection for collecting the toenail clippings of saints and U.S. presidents, for goodness sake, don't talk about it or bring them in to the office. Please.

Quirky McQuirkQuirk, whoever you are, save all those quirks up for later, once you've been hired and people think you're completely normal.

Then, once in a while, when your coworkers least expect it, trot out your quirks just to terrify them. Revel in their expressions of abject horror. Then, return to being perfectly normal.

Someone will probably complain to your supervisor. If this happens, don't worry. Just shrug and remind him or her that you scored a perfect 100 on the ELBAT.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Own Little World

I like spending time inside my own head. It's comfy in there, and we've got snacks.

Because I enjoy spending time in my own head so much, I've developed a few bad (though often useful) habits: drifting off, and going on autopilot.

Drifting off is something I did just a few minutes ago when I was thinking about what to write for this blog post. I just sat in front of my computer screen for a while, eyes out of focus. Usually when I remember where I am and what I'm doing, I shake myself a little to make sure my body knows that my mind is available for directing it again. Drifting off is useful when you're not interested in being bothered by people you don't like. It's very inconvenient when you're married, and your wife is trying to talk to you about her day. Sorry honey.

Going on autopilot is something that happens when I'm doing something boring, repetitive, or both. It's like drifting off, except a part of my mind is still telling my body to do things. I do this often at work. It's nice because time seems to fast-forward a little, and longer shifts are a little easier to get through. It's very bad, in that I have difficulty hearing and/or responding to my coworkers. I also have difficulty following directions, though I'm afraid I'd have that problem even if I wasn't on autopilot. This makes me seem kind of stupid. I swear I'm not. I'm just a little bit distracted by the entire world living behind my eyes.

Unfortunately, it seems that the qualities that make me somewhat spacey are the same qualities responsible for my creativity. I need my introspective nature, despite the problems it often causes for me.

What about you? Do you resonate with any of this, or are you a hyper-focused guru of focusedness? Talk back to me.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Game Review: Civilization V

If you've played any of the other Civilization games, this one will hold very few surprises for you. In some respects, Civ IV felt more unique and innovative. 

However, none of that should stop you from playing the game, because it's still a great title.

The first step in playing any Civ game is to choose what kind of game you would like to play. Most of the usual options are present, including how long you want the game to go, how large the game map is, what kind of map you'd like to play on, and what difficulty the game is.

The next step is to choose your civilization. Civ V includes a plethora of civilizations, each with their own unique special abilities, units, and buildings. Most of the familiar civilizations are there, but a few new ones have been added as well, including the Siamese and Songhai. Several civilizations have been restricted to DLC (downloadable content), a move that irritates me just a bit. Everyone's jumping on the DLC bandwagon these days. As if it's not enough that most high-end games cost around 50-60 dollars, which is about the size of my monthly grocery bill.

Rant over.

Anyway, Civ V gameplay is very similar to that of past Civ games, except for two major changes. 

First, there are city-states, little cities that exist independently of the major empires. They can do all the normal things an empire does, except expand. You can leverage influence over these city-states by paying them money or doing favors for them. In return, they'll give you some of their resources, units, or culture, depending on what kind of city-state they are.

Second, there are social policies, principles your empire can adopt that give you certain special abilities. These policies are clustered together in trees. The Tradition tree, for instance, has the policies "Aristocracy," "Oligarchy," "Legalism," "Landed Elite," and "Monarchy."

There is one other distinctive that separates Civ V from the other games. Remember meeting the leaders of the other empires? Remember how stale they were? Not anymore. Now the leaders all speak their own languages and have distinct personalities. It's pretty neat!

All in all, it's a solid game with good graphics, and it's as fun to play as Civ IV. But please, don't buy it at full price. It's not spectacular enough to deserve that much of your money.


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The Institute for Circular Reasoning by Peter Semple is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.