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But now, USB drives are everyone and are no longer a conversation piece among the geek set. In fact, one of the few ways you can get attention regarding a USB drive is if you do not have one! And if you are concerned about your USB drive getting returned if it is lost, then you want it to attract attention.
One of the things that I have been toying with is a company that makes personalized jump drives. This seems to work on a psychological level in several different ways:
I’ve picked up a couple of custom USB drives over the past few months and spent the extra money for something unique and I am happy to report that I have not lost them yet, primarily because I never let them out of my site. I still keep a few of the cheaper flash drives floating around because I want to have a quick and simple way of giving files to friends, etc. without having to worry about them getting the drive back to me.
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Fill up the comments with your pick and convince me that this is the best way to go!
A salesperson walks into your office today and tells you that you have to buy a new, pre-built, expensive desk for every one of your employees. You have to buy a new desk today and replace it every three to five years. Additionally, there are no options for the desk and you may not alter it in any way - one desk is all we make and you have to buy it from us. You see, you don’t really own the desk; you’re simply purchasing a license to use the desk. Chairs are sold separately and we have the corner on the market for chairs that are 100 percent compatible with the desk. The chairs are also very expensive.
Does that sound like a scenario in which you wish to participate? Preposterous, you say? Is it? Now, what if I told you that you do have a choice of desks? In fact, just across the street from your office is an entire mall filled with desks and chairs from which to choose. Here’s the exciting part: The desks in that mall are all free. That’s right, free. Take as many as you want. You want chairs? They’re free too. If you want to customize your desk - or even build one from scratch - you can. What’s stopping you? Go pick up your free desks and chairs.
I’m feeling your reluctance to load up on those free desks and chairs. What’s the problem? Do you believe that there’s something wrong with those desks because they’re free? The free desks and chairs are just as good as the expensive one, plus they’re customizable down to the most minute detail.
If you’re like most, you’ll opt for the “one size fits none” expensive desk. Having choices, even if the other choices are free, often doesn’t make it any easier to choose. Sometimes it’s a “follow the crowd” mentality. For example, if your insurance company, family physician, elementary school and engineering company all bought the expensive desks, who are you to go in some other direction? A mind of your own is a terrible thing to waste.
Who cares if, while using your expensive desk, you occasionally have to open all the drawers and reclose them for the desk to work properly. Again, it’s what everyone else bought and it’s good enough for him or her, so why should you go to the trouble of learning how a new desk works or messing about with some new-fangled chair? After all, if something goes terribly wrong with the desk, you only have to call the manufacturer and someone will fix it, right?
The desk manufacturer assumes no responsibility for the workmanship or the maintenance of your desk. That’s left to independent businesses or individuals who’ll charge you to fix the desk. The manufacturer releases semi-annual patch kits to fix any anomalies you find with your desk. However, there are numerous manufacturer freebies: Cute drawer handles, holographic arm rest decals and fun paperweights to make your desk-using experience more enjoyable.
One word of caution: You should make nightly copies of all your desk’s contents and store them in a larger, more expensive desk that no one uses. Yes, you have to buy a chair with that desk too. Don’t become too attached to your current desk (now that you have it arranged just as you want) - you have to upgrade to a newer, heavier and better version in a couple of years. Not to worry, if the new one is so cumbersome and unstable that your productivity slows to a crawl, the manufacturer will have a better version in a couple of years for you to buy. You’ll buy it and again you’ll be just like everyone else.
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I stepped out of the room for a couple of minutes and then returned to the search. “Miraculously”, only a few seconds after rejoining the search, I “found” the absent penny!
Anyone who has had children knows exactly what I did. I went into our change jar, dug out a different penny and then planted it in my daughter’s room where it was found and solved the problem.
The reason that this works because for people, perception is reality. My daughter perceived that I had found her lost penny so, in her mind, I did find her lost penny. The fact that he penny she has now is not the same penny that she lost is irrelevant. In her mind, this is her penny.
This same principle holds just as true for managers and employers as it does for five year old girls with lost pennies. It can be very easy for IT personnel to give the people that they answer to the perception that they are busy working on projects when, in reality, they are doing other things.
For example, it is quite difficult for your boss to know the difference between you researching for the new mail server upgrade project and researching your hobby. Or writing a post on your blog looks an awful lot like working on that server documentation.
Here’s the thing. You may get away with this for a while. In fact, you might get away with it for years! But, in the end, it will come back to bite you on the backside. Here’s why.
I know the temptation to pull the wool over your employer’s eyes is strong. It is so easy to do. But the long term damage that you could be doing to your career just does not justify it. RESIST!