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The Snowflake Test: Personal Edition

Well, some of you wanted it, so here it is. I know I posted some of the questions in Kyle Reyes’ Snowflake test in my last post about it, and I provided some personal replies, but I thought, and a couple of readers agreed it would be fun if I answered all of the questions honestly, and provided the opportunity for you guys to do the same in the comments section.

Soooooooooooooooooooo…. Let’s see if Kyle thinks I’m a snowflake and whether he would hire me.

  • Outside of standard benefits, what benefits should a company offer employees?

Opportunities to expand their skillset, opportunities to advance, and parking. Parking is a biggie for me, living in DC and paying $25 per day if I want to drive to work.

  • What should the national minimum wage be?

There shouldn’t be one. Period. Employees and employers enter into a mutually beneficial contract, for whatever the price of employee’s labor is that takes into consideration both what the value of said employee’s labor is to the employer, and what the employee agrees to be compensated for said labor. If the government interferes and forces said employer to pay a higher wage, the employer will likely have to weigh the cost of increasing the value of the product and passing that on to the consumer, risking a decline in sales, or just not hire the employee and force others to pick up slack that could have been filled by someone seeking experience and a few extra bucks. Entry level jobs aren’t meant to be careers. They’re meant to be providers of experience and skill, and if someone is sitting in a minimum wage “career” and not advancing, but demanding a higher wage for the same crap, they’re slugs and looters, and they need to go away.

  • How many sick days should be given to employees?

Depends. I understand the idea behind sick leave. It’s not vacation time that you spend relaxing. Generally speaking it’s shitty days you spend in the hospital, at the doctor, or in bed hoping for a quick death. But it is leave – for whatever reason. So give employees sufficient amounts of regular leave, so they’re not trying to justify it with doctor’s notes and stuffy, achy, coughy-sounding phone calls and still have enough to take a vacation during the year. Everyone needs a break.

  • How often should employees get raises?

When they merit them.

  • How do you feel about guns?

Best tools of self-defense on the market.

  • What are your feelings about employees or clients carrying guns?

Just keep your booger hook off the bang switch and don’t point it at anything you don’t intend to shoot, and we’re good.

  • What are your feelings about safe spaces in challenging work environments?

Unnecessary and a waste of resources. Challenging work environments develop human beings as people and as employees.

  • In a creative environment like The Silent Partner Marketing, what do you envision work attire looking like?

As I said previously, dress appropriately for the day. I dress in a suit if I have a meeting or a briefing – especially for senior policy makers. Otherwise, I wear comfortable slacks, a blouse and a blazer or a dress. In a more creative and less structured environment, the normal day without meetings may be different. Don’t look like a freak. I don’t think that’s too much to ask. And if you’re wondering what a freak looks like, here’s an extreme example. Don’t be this guy.

  • Should “trigger warnings” be issued before we release content for clients or the company that might be considered “controversial”?

No.

  • How do you feel about police?

They are to be respected and appreciated for the sacrifices they have chosen to make. That said, the badge doesn’t come with a halo. They aren’t always right, and there are corrupt and inept police officers out there, just like there are in any other profession.

  • If you owned the company and were to find out that a client is operating unethically but was a high paying client…how would you handle it?

Address it with the client directly and respectfully. You have become aware that they are operating unethically. This is not the culture we condone in our company. We can help you fix it, or you can find another marketing firm.

  • When was the last time you cried and why?

At my son’s Army Basic Training graduation. Tears of joy.

  • You arrive at an event for work and there’s a major celebrity you’ve always wanted to meet. What happens next?

I do my job.

  • What’s your favorite kind of adult beverage?

Bloody Mary.

  • What’s the best way to communicate with clients?

Directly, honestly, and respectfully. At the same time, you’re the subject matter expert whose services they sought out, and you need to be firm if the client demands are bad for them or for you. “Customer is always right” only goes so far and should be resisted if the customer’s plan is bad practice.

  • What’s your favorite thing to do in your free time?

Hiking, shooting, reading, writing.

  • What are your thoughts on the current college environment as it pertains to a future workforce?

Colleges are leaving graduates woefully unprepared for the real world. Grading on curves, providing safe spaces, stifling free speech in favor of FEELZ, and treating legal adults like fragile children that should be coddled, while providing a substandard education that focuses on the political/social agenda of those who run the school will leave graduates unable to function in high-pressure environments, unqualified for work that involves critical thinking, and wholly unsuited for today’s competitive work place.

  • What’s your typical breakfast?

COFFEE! Dark. With a spoonful of coconut oil and heavy cream. Sometimes a few slices of salmon and/or cheese.

  • What’s your favorite drink when you go to a coffeehouse?

Latte with heavy whipping cream and one small pump of sugar-free cinnamon dulce syrup.

  • How do you handle bullies?

Depends on the situation. My reactions range from ridiculing them until they cry, to actual physical self defense. I’ll never start a physical fight, but you can bet I’ll finish it. Ridiculing them is fun. They’re not used to being the object of scorn, so they generally fold like cheap lawn chairs when faced with someone who won’t put up with their shit. Many of them have been in that position of power for so long, and have grown so accustomed to never being challenged, that their mental acuity muscles have atrophied.

  • How do you handle it when your ideas are shot down?

I try to come up with better ones. If I’m convinced my idea is great, I’ll try to persuade with logic and reason.

  • What do you do if a coworker comes to the table with an idea and it sucks?

“That actually sounds interesting, but maybe we can modify it this way? Or how about something in this vein?” If the coworker sucks, “This is the worst idea ever! Slap yourself. With a chair.”

  • What does the first amendment mean to you?

It means the freedom to speak your mind without worrying about government prosecution. It means being able to engage in political activities -whether speech, expression, written word, or assembly, without being targeted by those in power. It means being free to exercise whatever religion you want, or not. It does NOT mean being free of the consequences of exercising those rights. That means, yes, your employer has the right to fire you for being an embarrassing douchebag and spewing your rhetoric in a way that embarrasses the company. It means yes, a baker is allowed to be narrow minded and bigoted and to decline to bake a cake for a gay wedding. It also means that potential customers have the right to shun that baker, but the government has no right to fine him. It means, yes, you have the right to speak, but I’m not obligated to provide you with a microphone or a means of disseminating your message. It means you can worship in any way you want, but I’m not obligated to build you a church (read that as: taxpayer funds shouldn’t be used to build houses of worship).

  • What does faith mean to you?

Absolutely nothing. Never been a faith person. Faith is, by definition, something you exercise without proof. Not my cup of tea, but y’all should feel free. (And yes, I realize how strange it is to say when my dad is a religious Jew, and when my family was deprived of the right to practice our religion in the former USSR.)

  • Who is your role model and why?

Hmmmmm… that would be my dad. My dad dropped everything he knew in the USSR, including a decent job, to start a brand new life in the United States with zero language skills, because he knew that as a Jew, I wouldn’t have the opportunities there that I do here, and he wanted a better life for me. My dad – with his two Masters Degrees in engineering – came here and got a menial labor job until he could learn enough English to find an engineering position. My dad never got welfare. He picked up bits of furniture and electronics from other people’s trash on their curbs, fixed them up and cleaned them, and provided furniture and some basic entertainment for his family. My dad sacrificed everything to come to a brand new country, assimilate into a brand new culture, and learn a brand new language – all for me. All so I could have a future.

  • “You’re in Starbucks with two friends. Someone runs in and says someone is coming in with a gun in 15 seconds to shoot patrons. They offer you a gun. Do you take it? What do you do next?”

I have my own, thanks, but I’ll always take an extra, although it probably won’t be a .45 ACP like I carry. Find cover with a good line of sight to the entrance. Ensure patrons move away from the entrance and take cover. Gunman comes in blasting? There’s only one door. Thermopylae.

  • What does America mean to you?

America means freedom. America means opportunities, if you’re willing to work for them. America is the ability to succeed if you have the will and the skill, without consideration for your race, religion, etc. America is the ability to express yourself without worrying about being kidnapped in the middle of the night and tossed into a dank cell. America is accountability – both for government officials and for the regular guy. America is not easy, but nothing worth it ever is.

  • You see someone stepping on an American flag. What do you do?

Throat punch incoming. That said, I am also aware and willing to face the consequent assault charge. Freedom of expression is not without consequences. If one engages in this type of repulsive behavior, one should expect visceral reactions from a number of groups of people – even those who are aware of the consequences that can range from citations to criminal charges.

  • What does “privilege” mean to you?

A privilege is a special right granted to one person, but not to another.

  • What’s more important? Book smarts or street smarts? Why?

Both are important depending on the situation. Tactically, street smarts are more important. Street smarts allow you to react to real world situations. They help you use rational thought and logic to achieve the best outcomes. Street smarts are common sense; they are a survival mechanism. Strategically, book smarts give you perspective to deal with those difficult situations. They provide the tools you can call upon in times of need. Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. At the same time, books also make you a more interesting, well rounded person.

OK, Kyle! Would you hire me?

As for you guys, leave your own responses in the comments. I realize it will make the comment incredibly long, but what the heck.

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19 responses

  1. Yes. But only if you would agree to be our Personnel Placement manager…..

    Thermopylae. LOVE it!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. LOL!

      Dude, I’m not sure I ever have enough patience to work HR. Too much stupid!

      Like

  2. $25 per day? That seems designed to make Uber or Lyft very competitive.

    Like

  3. Somewhat off topic, but am i the only one who finds 21 and over laws completely stupid? I mean you turn 18 and can enlist and get shot in the military, buy cigarettes, and buy a Barrett m107. But you can’t buy alcohol, or buy a Glock 19 until 21, why? You’re either an adult at 18 or you’re not.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Absolutely not the only one.

      Like

      1. Only caveat is that some are indeed adults at 18 but many are still children at 21. (Or at 31, these days.) I don’t have an answer to that.

        Liked by 3 people

    2. That was the argument during the Vietnam War: I’m old enough to be drafter (18) but not old enough to have a beer at the EM Club?

      Like

  4. To expand on Nicki’s “sufficient leave” point…think of food service employees with Martian Death Flu who come to work because they do not get paid sick days and cannot afford to lose a day’s pay and so spread it to the patrons and other employees. Suddenly sounds like a bit of a better idea, no?

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Free time… sex. Then writing about sex, reading about sex, hiking to a place where I can have sex, shooting… being male, I immediately snorted my usual breakfast out my nose. That would be coffee and two hard boiled eggs. Ow.

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  6. Benefits: a Flexible Savings Account (FSA) to pay for co-payments, non-prescription OTC remedies, glasses – in short, what your regular insurance does not pay for. Had one of those for 15 years. In addition, training to advance skills related to the job. Employees should grow more skilled with the job.
    National minimum wage: Currently, it’s $9.00/hr if your employer does not offer health insurance/care benefits, $$7.25/hr if they do. $9/hr after taxes is less per month than I get from Social Security. However, the minimum wage is NOT supposed to be a career pay plan. It’s the base for unskilled labor and skilled labor gets more than that. The minimum wage is NOT meant to be your lifetime earnings. Even waitresses do better than that.
    Sick days/year: 10 maximum, not the same as paid sick leave for major something-or-other which is 62% of regular pay, benefits still the same. Annual leave and sick days were separate from each other.
    Raises? Have annual raises gone down the drain? No one is going to want to stick around for an employer who refuses even a modest annual COLA to employees.
    Guns: Some day I’ll tell you about that obnoxious Navy CPO who wouldn’t let me hold a .38 pistol with both hands.
    Employees/other wearing guns: that’s their business, but I have to jump through hoops in my state to have one. Please just make sure there’s a fire extinguisher nearby if there’s a verifiable threat of some kind.
    Safe spaces? Those are fire escapes. Windows that open if needed. Someone who does not have the emotional maturity to work in a challenging environment, or cannot stand not getting constant attention will not be a good coworker.
    Appropriate clothing for a creative work environment: see John Molloy’s ‘Dress For Success’ (for women or men). I will always lean toward navy blue with a white blouse. You dress for the job you want. You also have to take the clients into consideration. It’s not an opportunity to display bad taste. They should notice you and your presentation, not your clothing.
    Trigger warnings for a client???: The client should be clear ahead of the first meeting in regard to what he expects in content, language, artwork, and presentation. Anything in the way of controversial matter should be discussed and agreed upon in the first meeting. No one likes unfortunate surprises. I can’t emphasize that enough.
    How do I feel about police: I’m on very good terms with my local police because of a crazypants stalker/wannabealawyer from Florida who now owes me attorney’s fees.
    High paying but unethical client: Bring it up right off the bat. If the client won’t operate in an ethical way, politely decline the job. If he acts like Guido the Legbreaker, show him your own gun.
    Last time I cried: my cat died of old age. I miss him.
    Major celebrity at work: Depends. John de Lancie and Patrick Stewart were great, but I had to ignore them because I was busy watching the overgrown children not do what they were supposed to do. (Long story involving Star Trek and Steve the Stickyfingers.)
    Favorite adult beverage: A cheap Tuscan white wine that goes well with pasta carbonara, the REAL stuff made with eggs (not Alfredo sauce).
    Best way to communicate with clients: Be nice, courteous, and interested in them and their needs. They aren’t selling to you; you are selling to them. Your approach is or should be about them. And always, always, always answer the phone with ‘Thank you for calling XXX Company. This is Delilah Twozzle speaking. How can I help you?’
    Favorite free time things: I write sci-fi novels and really bad romantic poetry; I hike in the forest preserve with my camera, shooting birds and wildflowers (sample images available on request); and I slap paint on canvas.
    Current college environment in re: future workforce candidates: some are sticking to traditional curricula and expect results. E.g., my sister teaches pre-med students. That requires a higher standard than someone who thinks a degree automatically means a job. Other institutions are turning out people who are physically adults but who are completely unprepared for the work world, where real results are expected.
    Typical breakfast: weekdays: toast and nice, crispy bacon, OJ and milk, hot or iced tea; weekends: eggs sunnyside up on toasted shredded wheat biscuits, nice crispy bacon, OJ, hot tea
    Favorite drink in a coffeehouse: iced tea or strong, hot black tea
    Bullies: sometimes I just start at them, as if they’re some peculiar insect; other times, I let that nastiness just wash over them and then ask them if they’re having a bad day…again.
    My ideas shot down: nobody’s perfect; come up with something else.
    Someone else’s idea is dreadful: “I don’t think the client is quite prepared for that aspect. Perhaps you should try a different approach, one with out the doodads and flying monkeys.”
    The first amendment: A very wise person told me once “you can do or say whatever you like, as long as you’re willing to live with the consequences.”
    Faith: I lived in Chicago for 30 years. I always believed that, no matter what, the CTA buses would show up at my bus stop on time and I’d get to work on time. They never did. Always 45 minutes late, 45 minutes of wondering how long it took to freeze to death in the beastly wind coming off Lake MIchigan in the winter. Same thing at night, in a blinding snowstorm: I was ALWAYS sure they’d show up on time (not) and ALWAYS sure the driver would go all the way to Howard Street so that I wouldn’t have to change buses at Wrightwood. And I always had to change at Wrightwood, or even worse, at Diversey. You just have to believe the bus will be there, no matter how much proof you have to the contrary.
    Role model: I never had just one. There were many of them.
    Someone’s coming to shoot people! As I said, in my state, it’s difficult to get a gun, so I’d be looking for the nearest fire extinguisher and ask the counterpeep to give me a big cup of boiling hot water.
    What does America mean to me: it’s my home. Love it or leave it. And take your trash with you.
    Someone stepping on an American flag: pick it up, fold it, thank them for finding my lost property and walk away.
    Privilege: an opportunity afforded to one person but not necessarily to others
    Book smarts or street smarts? Both of them. Without both, you have no balance of perception.
    Thank you for your time and consideration. If you want to see my portfolio, I’ll be happy to send it to you, as well as links to my blog and to articles that I’ve written and published in other venues.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Difficult to get guns? I thought you lived in my state, where the gun is fairly easy, the (unconstitutional, dammit!!!) permit slightly more difficult but feasible.

      Guess not.

      Like

  7. A “safe space” is where the big first aid kit, any appropriate rescue gear to the facility, a large fire extinguisher, and maybe the Emergency Chemical Shower are. . .

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Benefits would include help paying for continuing education, such as college classes or seminars, as long as they helped improve my job performance, either directly or indirectly. A minimum wage is not an option in my opinion. It is just another way for the left to keep the poor in their same condition. Communicating with clients is always respectfully, but also truthfully. If something is simply impossible, or not in their best interests, you have a duty not only to them, but to your employer to tell them, tactfully, but directly. This goes for seeing that they are doing the wrong thing. Now, if they are doing something illegal, and have been doing it for awhile, you should of course take this to your boss first. But I could never knowingly ignore immoral or illegal behavior from a client. Sick days, and other benefits, like that, are the responsibility of the employer to offer as incentive to keep good workers. That being said, it is hard to put a number on sick days. I like the notion of being able to accrue sick days up to a certain point, say 6 per year, and build them up to 30 days. These are not to be used as vacation, but as legitimate sick days. Vacation, I had 5 weeks built up at my longest job, of 35 years, but a reasonable starting point is 1 week, after 6 months, and then another week after 2 years or some such way. Breakfast, often just coffee and toast, sometimes a full breakfast. I don’t do coffee houses. Safe spaces on college campuses, I find a bit counter productive. I think that a college campus should be a place where students should be challenged to stretch, to leave the safety of their parents house, and to face different beliefs and ideas from people of other backgrounds. If the student demands a safe space, I would send them back to their parents and tell them to come back when they felt safe enough to face the real world. Bullies, as an adult I deal with them probably more kindly than I should, but I can also be known to tell them off in a nice and polite way. As a younger man, I was an athlete, and people avoided picking on me just because of the way that I carried myself, I guess. I am always ready to defend myself and others from bullies, if necessary, but am a peaceful man as well. Faith, I am a Christian, I attended Bible college for a year long ago, and learned much. I also am no longer a part of any established religion, because of my understanding of the Bible from my study, and the fact that I am what many would call a bad Christian, because I don’t try to look good to others, just trust in my God to save me. As to my role model, I have to say that of course, my parents, but mostly my old high school football coach and teacher. He was a former Marine, a Vietnam vet, twice wounded. He taught me to never accept anything less than my best effort in anything that I did. I may not succeed in everything that I attempt, but I will always give my total effort, every single time. I cannot remember a time when I have done less than that. I worked with coworkers who often had ideas that were not all that good. I tried to work with them to make their ideas into something that we were able to use, sometimes almost completely changing them before they were usable. Then I always made sure that I told everyone how great of an idea the my coworker had, and how he made it a great process, or how it made the job safer, etc. If someone were coming in a Starbucks with a gun, I would first make sure that people retreated as much as possible. To cover, of course, and also make sure that the police were on their way, who I respect, and who have good and bad just like foundry workers and writers and Doctors, etc. I would engage only if absolutely necessary, but I would do so. I have already made my mind up to be able to do so, or I would not carry a gun. To me, America is first and foremost, the beacon on the hill. The one place in the world to which many people flee, or to which they aspire to come for opportunity. America has a black eye, from the beating she has taken, but she still stands tall, and always will. I have faith not in the political class, but in the people, no matter how broken we may be. It is only because of the people that we have a chance. And if someone wants to deface our flag, I believe that is their right, in a free land. I also would have to stop them, and face the penalty for my actions. Many find that to be an unfair response, on my part, and I have been called out on it on a number of occasions. I can only respond that I have many who I love and respect who have defended and given their lives for the ideals that the flag represents, and if someone defaces that flag, they are disrespecting my loved ones sacrifice, and I simply can’t sit by and allow that. As to the first amendment, I can tell this story. I was getting surgery for a kidney stone. An older nurse, in her mid 60’s, saw that I had an NRA hat, and said, “You must be a strong supporter of the 2nd amendment.” I looked at her and quickly said the first thing that came to mind. ” I am a strong supporter of the entire bill of rights.” She gave me a kind of pat on the arm, and a wink. We both knew, that although many people separate different amendments out from each other, they really should be taken as a whole. Each one is important, and no one is more important than another. Many are often forgotten about, and many are routinely ignored in today’s modern era of big government. That is why they are all important, and why a strong understanding of the ENTIRE constitution should be required for graduation from high school. I had a government class in school that was required for graduation. We never once touched on the constitution. What a waste, and what a shame. As for these comments getting too long, Nicki, I think that you are probably used to that from me by now. I am glad that you don’t have to pay for paper to print them all. Be well, and this is a great way to get to know not only you, but others who come here as well.

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  9. Put my answers on my page. (I’m not going to take up your bandwidth here)
    I did find some of the questions interesting.

    Like

  10. […] The Liberty Zone has the Snowflake test […]

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  11. Nicki,
    you had me right up to the coconut oil in the coffee?!

    Like

    1. Believe it or not, it’s actually really good. REALLY good. Look up “Bulletproof coffee.”

      Like

  12. Your discussion of book smarts versus street smarts seems to me to support saying that street smarts are (generally) tactical and book smarts are (generally) strategic – would you agree?

    Like

    1. That’s exactly it. You need both, and I think the book smarts gives you the tools to use in tactical situations.

      Like

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