The Game of the Workplace

Whether you’ve been in the game for a while or are just entering the game, there’s some core concepts to truly understand in order to build a career to a place of satisfaction.  Having now been around the block a couple of times i.e. I’m old, I’d like to share a few more workplace truths to tack onto my 2012 piece about Perception Management.

Concept #1:  Your career advancement is not based solely on merit

In other words, just because you may be a high-performer, doesn’t mean you’re going to earn that snazzy title and a solo-office…or a corner office.  WHAT?!  Say it ain’t so!

Maybe you’re the fastest programmer with least bugs and consistent best end-user experience, maybe the top sales person, perhaps the highest performing middle manager, etc., whatever.  And yet, you’re still not getting promoted.  Why is that?  Have you considered your ability to manage-up?

Managing-up is simply managing the relationship with your superiors, in all facets.  This means you have to manage how you are perceived in addition to “Exceeding Expectations” in your performance.

If you’ve worked in any organization long enough, you’ll inevitably encounter upper management or executives and wonder how the heck they got there.  Managing-up is how.  Control the narrative around your career and you at least have a chance at controlling your advancement or stasis.

Combining the ability to positively manage others’ perception of you with your own ability to outperform to expectations is a great way to garner success.  Not the best way, but a great way.

image.png

Concept #2:  You catch more flies with honey, and…

It is easier to win by cooperating and complementing your teammates’ skill-sets.  Even if that teammate is a competitor, by working together, you can both achieve more.

Cliche?  I know.  But why do you think this concept is constantly reiterated in sports and in the workplace?  Better to play nice and lift each other up than to look down  your nose, judge, plot, and scheme.  Leave the plotting and scheming to the talentless hacks who solely manage perceptions to cover for their absence of talent.

Concept #3:  Discipline!  Discipline is the key!

I said out-performance and perception management are great but not the best.  Combine those two notions with discipline and there’s the true formula for success.  Proven over and over; not statistically but visually, anecdotally, and through the countless commentaries of the successful.

How many stories have you yourself read about some successful person you admire where they comment on discipline.  It’s also known as the ability to outwork, to consistently apply the process, stay focused, etc.  Whatever you want to call it, discipline is about mental-toughness.  And combining discipline with concepts 1 and 2, my friends, is how you win in business.

Sure, this is a broad generalization.  There is nuance to all concepts, but the core concepts are the truth to success in the workplace.

image.pngNow all that being said, am I some successful, retired-early, self-made millionaire?  No.  I work for a living with the hopes of getting there one day soon.

But I’m just north of 40 years of age and I ignored those three concepts for the bulk of my multiple careers.  It cost me.  I have had a modicum of success and am just young enough to still apply these concepts and hopefully reach my business goals that much faster.

If you’re in your 20’s or 30’s or any age and have somehow come across this post, I implore you to please not ignore these simple lessons shared.  They seem like common sense but we all know how uncommon good sense can be.

If you consistently apply these three concepts in the workplace, then like the great coach Herman Boone says, “…like Novocain.  Just give it time, it always works.”

Really? You Didn’t Know?

Come on.  Who didn’t know that at some point when you make virtually everything about your life freely available to the public, or at least approved “friends”, that the data shared would eventually be misused?

Any rational person knew that.  It was inevitable.  But do the majority of Facebook (“FB”) users actually care?

There are so many different types of users of FB.  I would wager that there are vastly more users who care so much more about maintaining their public status and perception, than incursions into their personal freedoms.  Mind-blowing, right?

Which means that FB will continue to be a cash-flow gold mine, despite account closures and losses of ad sponsors from corporate partners.  Mr. Market will tell us the answer before 2018 is over; maybe a lot earlier.

The stock has taken a quick, hard thrashing since the last week of January.  Intra-week losses (Hi to Lo) are at 23% since that final week in January, with a chunky 10% during the week before last.

image

Don’t expect the Senate or Congress to actually take action.  FB lobbies, and I don’t know if you knew this, but FB pays taxes, too.  A lot of’em.  My guess about this whole Cambridge Analytica-thing, “This too shall pass.”

Look For The Wick

I have come to utilize charting techniques less and less as their ability to help handicap asset price movements continues to wither away.

You’re either trading algorithmically in front of the market or you’re a trading loser.  Every single chart pattern and set of indicators in every conceivable combination has already been mathematically expressed by people smarter than technical analysts, and easy profits have been completely arbitraged out of the market from visual chart cues.

There will always be pockets of sheer luck.  There are always exceptions.  But earning consistent profits on price/indicator pictures…get real.

I have come to rely more and more on fundamental analysis, experience (see “gut”), and semi-quantitative tools to manage the risks of trading capital.  Like a degenerate heroine addict, I still chart.  I’ll never give it up, but it’s just another input.  Mostly noise.  Sometimes valued signal.

Despite all that, here’s one visual cue I think a lot of professionals are probably waiting for and that is a second long-stem on the S&P 500.  It could potentially indicate that risk appetites have returned.  If the HFTs see this then we could see a “schooling” move upward, like fish or a flock of birds, as the programs feed on each other’s momentum calls.

Take a look to better understand.  We are looking for a 2% to 3% wick below the weekly closing price.  That’s it.

Everybody's Waiting for a Stem - SPX (3-28-2018)

That might be all it takes to re-engage risk taking.  Not without increased volatility, of course, because liquidity is draining and conditions are tightening.

Money May/Mystic Mac Prediction

The outcome of the fight tonight will be a 12-round decision for Mayweather.  That’s been my thought process from the beginning.  His defensive wizardry and experience will rule the day.  Look no further than the Canelo fight for a clear, recent example of how Mayweather treats younger, bigger, and stronger guys.

Even up till a couple of days ago you could get +300 on your money for a Mayweather decision.  Seems like a ludicrous prop on a book’s part, but the bookmakers make the lines for a reason.  They know.

None the less, Mayweather in twelve.

In a fight, it’s been my observation and very limited experience that 6 factors consistently seem to rule the outcome.  These factors are from most important to least:  1. Skills  2. Experience  3. Ferocity  4. God-Given Power  5. Speed  6. Combinations.  Mac is favored in all 6 of these categories for a fight against Floyd.

In boxing, the factors are in a different order and defense replaces ferocity.  They are:  1. Skills  2. Experience  3. Defensive array(catching, slipping, spacing, etc.)  4. Combinations  5. God-Given Power  6. Speed.

The importance of throwing effective combinations in boxing rises dramatically in a 12 round match.  That second or third punch that slips through to a liver or behind the ear can often be the opponents unseen fight ender.

Floyd easily outclass Mac in all 6 of these areas in the ring, but it’s specifically number 3 of the boxing factors that’s going to give him the decision.  Enjoy the spectacle.

There’s Only One Pound For Pound King, And His Name Is…

GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX!  Let me repeat that for you in case the bolded, underlined CAPS-LOCK wasn’t clear enough.  Guillermo “El Chacal” Rigondeaux is the best boxer in the world in any weight class, hands down, bar none, mic dropped.

For those that know boxing and have watched multiple fights of every purported top ten pound4pounder, I dare you to credibly dispute the claim.  For those that don’t know boxing but are intrigued by the claim, Rigondeaux is the ultimo artista in the ring.

He’s got two knocks against him for why he’s not a household name.  First, he’s 5’5 and weighs a buck20.  Unfortunately, casual fight fans just don’t want to watch little dudes weighing less than nothing showcase their defensive artistry for $59.99.  Which leads to the other knock against The Jackal.

He’s boring.  His footwork and spacing are so perfect he never has to engage in battle.

He happens to have perfect timing along with the skill to perfectly place shots so he hits but is rarely hit.  The casual boxing spectator simply doesn’t appreciate his fight style because it doesn’t look like boxing.  It looks more like a boring spar session.

Rigondeaux provides first hand, real time lessons to professional fighters what true skill looks like.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t drive paper-per-view or gate sales.

Most of the time, El Chacal is an undercard fight.  The best boxer in the world consistently warms up the crowd for the headliner.  I know it’s all about the numbers and the money but that just isn’t right.  Can we please get the Lomachenko fight?!!!

Somebody Fight Me, Please IIPhoto courtesy of fightland.vice.com

He’s a soft-spoken Cuban who defected to the US far too late in his career.  The quiet nature is why we don’t hear him promoting himself non-stop like another money-hungry, recently retired, defensive artist we all know.

The late defection is part of why he’s fought virtually nobody.  Guillermo is 36 now.

He was simply stuck in Cuba for far too long.  He’s arguably the greatest amateur of the last two decades, having won back to back Gold medals in 2000 and 2004.  Yet despite his supremacy in two Olympics and his complete domination of bantam and super bantam, he’s still a relative unknown.

He’s fought 17 fights total as pro and ten of those fights have been title defenses with a perfect 17 – 0 record.  And forget that recent no contest.  Still a title defense in my book.

Now the fight world is putting a lot of focus on Vasyl Lomachenko and many pound4pound rankings have Lomachenko ahead of Rigondeaux.  Lomachenko is itching to move up to welter at 135, but there’s still time to get a big money fight in with Rigondeaux at 130.

Rigondeaux needs this fight with Lomachenko.  Guillermo has only fought one name that fight fans will readily recognize and it’s Nonito Donaire.  And that damn fight was 4 years ago.

Rigondeaux effectively ended the career of Nonito.  At the time of their fight. Donaire was the supreme ruler of their weight class.  El Chacal then pummeled Donaire’s face for 12 straight rounds, embarrassing the Pinoy fighter to a 12 round decision while taking absolutely no damage.  It was a pugilistic sight to behold.

El Chacal Smashin Donaire IIIPhoto courtesy of boxingwales.com

Donaire was never the same after that fight.  Never.  That’s how damaging it was to the psyche of Donaire and I strongly believe Rigondeaux can do the same to Lomachenko.  Maybe I’m wrong and Lomachenko’s youth and power will rule the day.  I’m betting Rigondeaux’s experience and artistry prove my stance.

Rigondeaux is the best boxer I’ve ever seen.  He’s probably not the best ever, but he’s the best I’ve ever seen.  That includes Money May, Andre Ward, Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard and Robinson, and even my new current fave, Errol Spence jr.

If you haven’t had the pleasure yet, go and find some YouTube footage of Guillermo Rigondeaux.  One word…CLINIC.  Every match is a boxing clinic for the spectators and his poor opponents.

Rigondeaux is repped by Jay’-Z’s ROC Nation.  I hope they do him right by getting him the huge purse fights he deserves.  Yes, Rigondeaux is aging but he’s taken such little damage in his days that he could very well box into his early 40’s if needed to get that big payout, and he still may retire with an undefeated record.

Pay your respects to the real pound for pound boxing king, GUILLERMO “THE JACKAL” RIGONDEAUX.