How Will They Learn? (Problem Solving)

question_mark_400_clrEmployers are frustrated because new employees are deficient in soft skills like problem solving, communication and team work.

Post-secondary promises to deliver these skills but is overwhelmed with both the technical aspects of the programs and the demand for breadth courses.

High schools are evaluated on how well students do on standardized testing. Accordingly, teachers have become increasingly focused on test scores. Continue reading “How Will They Learn? (Problem Solving)”

How will they learn?

boss_looking_over_work_1600_clrWe all wish that new employees had better soft skills. Employers agree that they can screen for the prerequisite technical knowledge. But soft skills, people skills, problem solving skills – those are tough. I know we agree because I have done research. You know because you see it every day.

You hired that promising new employee – Amanda. Her resume was a little light, but she was just starting out. Bit nervous in the interview but she’s young. Great academic record. Excellent grades, an award winner – you knew because she told you.

So what happened? Continue reading “How will they learn?”

Ten in computer years

woman_computer_work_station_1600_clr_7855I wrote this way back in 2004. When you are talking about computers – that is really a long time ago. But I think it holds up. You will have to forgive the reference to the dial-up modem internet connection but if you’ve lived with that you will appreciate the problem. On the other hand – if you don’t remember when the computer used the telephone to talk to other computers I can only say that you missed an interesting bit of history.


I have made an important discovery. I have discovered how computers age. Not the process by which they age, but rather the speed at which they do so.

Computers age slightly faster than dogs and with apologies to dog lovers, computers are much smarter. The rate is 6 computer years to one human year. I offer the following as evidence.

When your computer is new, you have to provide it with all types of learning experiences in the way of programs. You have to set parameters, user preferences, and other guidelines. The computer may display some crankiness and that is to be expected. This is caused by both of your inexperience. When the computer is frustrated or tired it will express itself by freezing – the electronic version of holding its breath. Still, during the first year you will experience many hours of joy discovering your computer’s capabilities. Continue reading “Ten in computer years”

Data held hostage

Secure dataIn common parlance, governance is the responsibility to take care of things – the ownership of which lies elsewhere. It is all about taking care of other people’s stuff.

So when an employee’s responsibilities include protecting a city’s computer system and its data – to whom does  that employee owe the duty of trust?

According to the San Francisco Chronicle – this was the issue confronting a computer engineer, Terry Childs, in June of 2008. Mr. Childs fully understood that San Francisco’s data was sensitive. He was well versed in system security and knew the need to protect the network from viruses, hacking and corruption. Unfortunately, Mr. Childs had grown to believe that the biggest risk to the network was his co-workers. Continue reading “Data held hostage”

Customer service anyone?

boss_looking_over_work_1600_clrIf you think you are not in customer service you might want to think again. Whatever  you do – you do for someone. And that person is your customer. We get so caught up in what we do –clean sewers, enter data into a system, reconcile accounts, make widgets – that we forget that there is a reason for doing it. If you have completely lost sight of why you do what you do, you have my sympathy. But maybe this article will help you find a reason for going to work every day.

Continue reading “Customer service anyone?”

Joy of travel

I wrote the following in 2011 and – for some reason – I never posted it. I just reread it and found it mildly interesting. So I hope you enjoy it. 

I have been on vacation – enjoying a cruise. I was quite pleased to find that I couldn’t use my Blackberry on board the ship. I am certain that with a tiny bit of effort I could have found a way – but quite honestly I didn’t have the will. There was an Internet café but to get to it I had to pass a bar. Need I say more?

I’m on my way home now, which is everyone’s least favourite part of any vacation. Let’s face it. Many of us love to travel but whoever said that “getting there is half the fun” must have been half in the bag. Really? I hate travelling. But I’m in Toronto, getting closer to home, and there is a story I want to share.

Continue reading “Joy of travel”