In Brief Featured

9:59am EDT July 22, 2002

Are you tired of all the hype, all the questions and speculation, all the media coverage about the Year 2000 problem? So are we. But every once in a while, there comes a take so different, so fresh, that it breaks free of the background noise and grabs the attention of even the most jaded listener.

That applies to a recent comment by John Perry Barlow, a former member of the rock band The Grateful Dead and the man credited with coining the term cyberspace. Barlow appeared recently at a cyberspace symposium in Cleveland. Following his post-dinner comments, a gaggle of devoted fans followed him out of the lecture hall at the Great Lakes Science Center, shooting questions at him like groupies from his former life. "Let's continue this little society out on the sidewalk," the raspy voiced cyberbard said, "because I've gotta grab a smoke."

But when it came to a question about the Y2K problem, his response was like none we had heard before. "We'll figure it out. I mean, human beings are extraordinarily adaptable. We have to give up this myth that we have control. We have this belief in this country that all we need is a bigger hammer [to solve every problem] ... It will be one of the most spiritually transforming things ever for us. We will all be like the homeless. And it will be one of the best things for us, because it will build community."


Generation X takes another hit

Though they get high marks in technical skills and educational background, the members of Generation X get thumbs down in the work ethic department, according to a KeyCorp small business survey conducted by Wirthlin Worldwide.

"As businesses become more sophisticated, small business owners tend to rely more on the technical expertise of younger employees," said Sandy Maltby, vice chairman and head of KeyBank's Small Business Division. "However, concerns about young workers's motivation and attitudes were a recurring theme."

According to the survey, small business owners across the country agreed that employees under the age of 35 fall below employer expectations. The study also found:

  • More than 69 percent of respondents said Generation Xers have poorer work ethics than previous generations. Less than 7 percent said they have a better work ethic.

  • 50 percent said those under 35 produce a lower quality of work. Less than 10 percent said it is higher.

  • More than one-third said Gen Xers are less competent. Less than 14 percent said they are more competent.

The survey results correspond with another national survey conducted in 1998.


Lawyers doing something for free?

Your doctor took out your kidney instead of your appendix and you're getting sued by the slacker you fired last week. Now what are you going to do?

How about surfing the Web?

Prairielaw.com is a 10-month-old Web site providing free information, from the plaintiff's perspective, from lawyers in four fields: personal injury, medical malpractice, workers' compensation and employment law.

The site offers the Lawyer Connection Directory, an interactive list of plaintiff lawyers around the country. The Prairie Law Journal provides articles and tips on law. It also moderates four civil trial law listservs and discussion groups covering the four areas of law. A general store sells audio, video and written materials to provide the wronged with even more information.

Live weekly chats have recently been added to Prairie.com, where professionals and the wronged and injured can interface on specific topics.

The site was founded and is moderated by Kevin O'Keefe, a trial lawyer, member of the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin Academy of Trial Lawyers and a sustaining member of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America.

The site is receiving more than 500,000 hits a month and growing. For help getting that kidney back try, www.prairielaw.com.


Don't worry, it's a piece of cake

You've seen them used in marketing copy and advertisements. Heard them spoken in speeches and lectures. Maybe even used a few yourself in pep talks to staff. They're "motivational" mottos that some still think of as tried and true slogans.

Fact is, they're truly trite. And we're tired of hearing them. Worn-out phrases such as "Make money hand over fist" and "Keep the wolf away from the door." Mundane maxims including "Employees are our greatest asset" and "Many hands make light work."

But, wait. Tompkins Press wants to hear more of them. In connection with its latest book, Revolution: Take Charge Strategies for Business Success - which debunks management by fad-Tompkins is searching for "The Most Trite, Generic, Hokey, Overused, Cliched or Unmotivating Motivational Slogans" that haunt the halls of corporate life.

It's a contest that offers you the opportunity to wow 'em with your worst and win $1,000 cash and a vacation package including two round-trip tickets to any US Air destination in North America.

Log on to the company's Web site at www.tompkinsinc.com/contest.html to check out the rules, then, e-mail entries to slogans@tompkinsinc.com or fax them to (919) 872-9666.

Then, cross your fingers, hit the sack and hope for the best. Even if you don't win, the next day will still be the first day of the rest of your life.


Ups and downs

By Dustin S. Klein

Ups...to the Coliseum. Or should we say former Coliseum. It's being reclaimed by the National Park Service, proof that you can bury a white elephant.

Downs...to telecommunications consolidation. Bell Atlantic Corp. buys NYNEX, then gobbles up GTE Corp. and AirTouch Communications. Didn't the government break up Ma Bell?

Ups...to Ohio's business climate. Site Selection magazine ranks it #2 for business. Gotta wonder if #1 North Carolina used the same methods that helped Utah land the Olympics.

Downs...for Gen Xers, who lack a solid work ethic, according to 72 percent of regional business leaders surveyed by KeyCorp. Or are the "suits" just jealous of people who bring their dogs to work?

Ups...to the euro, the first virtual currency. After a successful Jan. 1 launch, it's holding its own against the dollar. Not bad, considering the bills and coins won't be available until 2002.

Downs...to the NBA. Yawn. (But spring training starts this month.)

Ups...to the U.S. airlines, which didn't have a single fatality last year. But those lines at the security gates are killing us.