With income taxes due in one month, we clear our writing surface to make room for Form 1040 and its supporting papers. What follows are workplace notes, quotes, ideas, etc., that recently piled up on the desk.
HOPEFULLY HELPFUL: Here are hints for effectively reprimanding subordinates: "Do not smile; smiling indicates approval. Reprimand as soon as possible after the problem occurs. Explain specifically what was wrong and how it fell short of expectations. Make it clear that you are criticizing just one particular action, not the employee's work in general. After giving the reprimand, don't dwell on the problem; get back to work." (Practical Supervision) . . . "If you're embarrassed about being unemployed, tell friends that you're 'between jobs.' This phrase tells the truth yet sounds less desperate than simply, 'I'm looking for a job.'" (Ann Passanella, business consultant.)
NOTES & QUOTES: "We have the best Congress money can buy." (Mark Twain) . . . Did you know the president of the United States and the vice president cannot come from the same state? . . . Somebody quipped, "If this is supposed to be a service economy, where's the service?" . . . Sad note: In just three months from this week, days begin to shorten again. . . . Tomorrow night on cable TV (Channel 17 in Baltimore county), we bring you "Money Matters" with Dean Witter's Larry Adam and Mr. Ticker. . . . Speaking of TV, I now host a 4-minute live business segment every weekday morning, WBAL-TV (Channel 11) at around 6.40. . . . Think inflation is dead? A Catonsville couple told me that their son's Middlebury College tuition, already $18,000, rises eight percent next year.
RECESSION UPDATE: Pearl Grimm, B. & J. Bookstore and Newsstand, Hampden, told me, "Things are no better; they got worse with the Persian Gulf war when everybody stayed home and watched TV and they haven't picked up much since." . . . Joel "Bud" Finkelstein, CEO, Ace Uniform Services, said, "Things are a tiny bit better, not much. People pay their bills, that's good, but 'layoffs' still exceed 'add-ons' on industry uniform rentals. It's very quiet; people are hurting." . . . "There's no recession here; people who dine at Marconi's are recession-proof; they eat out five nights a week and they're Republicans." (Waiter at Maison Marconi, Saratoga Street) . . . "I'm unhappy with all the major candidates' statements on economic policy. And none of them mentions the deficit, although that's still a severe problem." (Nobel economist Milton Friedman.)
WORKPLACE WISDOM: If you wonder how to keep employees from overspending on hotels and food, Success magazine, April, says, "Set a limit but when someone comes in below it, rebate him/her a percentage of the savings. If your allowance is, say, $130 and someone hands you $90 in receipts, why not rebate 20 percent of the savings, or $8? You save $32 and the employee gets a reward."
MID-MONTH MEMOS: "Men are taught to apologize for their weaknesses, women for their strengths." (Lois Wyse, i.e. Mrs. Harvey Meyerhoff.) . . . A 1920 campaign button, "Vote for James Cox and Franklin D. Roosevelt" is worth $35,000 . . . "Each one percentage point drop in interest rates costs the over-55 set about $19 billion in interest income but, at the same time, puts some $13 billion into the pockets of the 25-54 age group, a larger group that does the lion's share of spending." (U.S. News & World Report, dated today) . . . Asked by the New York Times editorial board for his views on the economy, Patrick Buchanan sent a photograph of himself, a brief biography and copies of three speeches.