Banks County Opinions...

MAY 22, 2002


By: Angela Gary
he Banks County News
May 22, 2002

Advice to graduates entering the work world
As hundreds of students in our area approach graduation, I thought it would be a good time to offer some advice for those entering the work world.
When I graduated from high school in the mid-1980s, I didn’t know the first thing about the work world. Fortunately, my first boss instilled a work ethic in me that has served me well. At the time, I thought she was too tough but that’s often what it takes to teach young (and even not so young) people a strong work ethic. I’ve seen too many people who have little or no work ethic.
These tips, which apply to those already in the work field as well as those about to enter it, include:
•Don’t be rude to the person who pays your salary, whether it be your boss or a customer who comes into the store where you work. If you do, you will be looking for a new job soon. If you never seem to get a raise you might re-evaluate how you are treating your bosses.
•If you work in a public retail or restaurant business, don’t chat away on personal calls while a customer is in line waiting. Actually, personal calls should be limited and short no matter where you work. Talking with a friend for more than 10 minutes, or even 30 minutes, during the work day is not acceptable and your boss notices whether you think they do or not.
•Be on time for work. Don’t make a habit of coming in five or 10 minutes late. It could easily turn into an hour or more of being late and that doesn’t impress anyone.
•Be willing to learn new skills and handle a variety of duties. Taking an attitude of “that’s not in my job description” won’t get you very far. It’s also not a good idea to question your boss or supervisor. If you’re asked to do something, you should do it and not ask why you have to do it.
•Dress appropriately for your job. If you deal with the public, you shouldn’t look like you’ve been cutting the grass. Not only will your boss not take you seriously, the public won’t either.
•Have a positive attitude about what you do. If you’re not happy with your job or your co-workers, you can’t be doing a good job. Instead of bringing everyone around you down, find another job. If you think you should make more money, find another job. If you think your boss is stupid, find another boss. A bitter attitude is not needed in the work place.
Good luck to all of the seniors out there and happy job-hunting! Just remember these handy tips because no matter how good you are at your job, if you have a poor work ethic you never will get anywhere.
Angela Gary is editor of The Banks County News and associate editor of The Jackson Herald. She can be reached at


By: Phillip Sartain
he Banks County News
May 22, 2002

Speaking in code
As a kid, I spent almost my whole career trying to outsmart my parents. On the whole, I wasn’t very successful. And that’s because we didn’t speak the same language. Then I got married and started a family of my own. Now I spend all my time trying to outsmart my children.
In the process, I’ve learned something truly amazing - I’m bilingual. I didn’t know that I could speak another language. After all, I didn’t go to school or take lessons or listen to any tapes. That being so, I can only conclude that everyone is born with another language hidden deep within their genes and that childbirth stimulates a biochemical response that raises the Parental Speaking Code to the surface.
As it turns out, I’m very fluent in the Parental Speaking Code. And that may have something to do with the fact that there is really only one grammatical rule at work here - everything you say to your children must ultimately mean “No”.
Those of you who have never used the Parental Speaking Code may not understand, but those of you with children not only know it, but you use it on a daily basis. It’s a survival technique. Without it, we’d all be dried up little carcasses on the living room floor after a couple of hours of interacting with our children.
The Code comes into play heavily at about age four or so and that’s when it’s the most effective and can be used almost casually. For example, you might be trying to read the paper when your preschooler comes in and wants to know if he can fly to Paris on the Concord for lunch. Instead of saying “No,” the Code calls for a different response: “Gee I don’t know, I’ll have to look at my calendar and get back to you on that one.” It works every single time.
The only problem is that the Code has a fairly short shelf life. Between the ages of four and nine, you have to constantly update your vocabulary. And it takes a lot of time and effort to be consistently vague and evasive.
My personal favorite is to say, “we’ll see” in response to every inquiry made by my kids. It’s a versatile response suitable for all situations and all ages. I’ve actually used it in my sleep. Typically, I’m napping on the couch and the kids come barreling in and ask if they can have lawnmower races in the back yard. Since I have auto pilot locked on, I’m able I mumble “We’ll see” between snorts and they go away. In other words, I buy myself a little time.
I also like to use “I’ll think about it”, which really means that I thought about it before you were even born and the answer is “No”. My wife, on the other hand, likes to use “Maybe”, which means that maybe you can do that on some distant planet in a parallel universe, but not here. And sometimes, I combine the two and say “Maybe I’ll think about it”, which translates to “Maybe I’ll think about it, maybe I won’t”.
My kids have gotten me back, though; in response to the Speaking Code, they have recently developed sudden and unexplained episodes of total deafness. It usually occurs when I ask them to make their bed or to perform some other onerous and burdensome task.
First I ask politely. Then I repeat myself seven times in six different octaves. Then I take them and show them the bed and explain it very slowly. And somewhere in the midst of the explanation, they mysteriously regain their hearing and the response is always the same, “But Daddy....” And then they launch into some weird explanation as to why they can’t make their bed that would confuse a seasoned psychologist.
And it’s at that point in time that I am physically transformed into a horrible and contorted looking beast from the underworld. In other words, my veins bulge, I start to slaver like a rabid dog, and I get real close to their face like that scene in the movie “Alien” and just before I bite their little heads off, they look at me and say, “Daddy, your breath stinks.”
And that’s when I usually just make the stupid bed myself.
Phillip Sartain is an attorney in Gainesville.

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