Friday, January 7, 2011

Strange day at work today ...

It has been a strange day at work today. I had to write the staff performance review and it hasn’t been an easy task to do. I know, it’s part of the job and I use to do weekly performance review with all team members but … writing down a short summary (not longer than 4 or 5 lines) for a year of work is not the same thing.

…ain't the same ballpark,
ain't the same league,
ain't even the same fuckin' sport.
(Jules Winnfield – Pulp Fiction)

Sometimes it’s easier: have you ever written a performance appraisal for someone with outstanding performance? If the response is yes, you surely know what I mean (and you are lucky).

It’s a little more difficult to write a performance review for someone who is definitely a “C” performer, isn’t it? It’s surely unpleasant but is only a matter to find out the right words to summarize the bad performance.

But people doesn’t use to be consistent. To use the words of cite Alistair Cockburn:
  1. People are communicating beings, doing best face-to-face, in person, with real-time question and answer.
  2. People have trouble acting consistently over time.
  3. People are highly variable, varying from day to day and place to place.
  4. People generally want to be good citizens, are good at looking around, taking initiative, and doing “whatever is needed” to get the project to work.”
And again
  • People need both think time and communicating opportunities.
  • People work well from examples.
  • People prefer to fail conservatively than to risk succeeding differently; prefer to invent than to research, can only keep a small amount in their heads, and do make mistakes, and find it hard to change their habits.
  • Individual personalities easily dominate a project.
  • A person’s personality profile strongly affects their ability to perform specific assignments.

Now I don’t want to bother you with my job...

Have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Things and furnitures in the office

Hi! Today I'm trying to boost my vocabulary with things and furnitures that are easy to find in the office. Some terms are easy:
  • pen (“the pen is on the table...”)
  • desk
  • desk drawers
  • office chair (or desk chair)
  • phone
  • laptop
  • file cabinet
but others are less known (well, to me):
  • I use to carry documents and other things in a bag, but it's a special kind of bag a briefcase
  • I keep papers in folders or ...
  • in transparent folders
  • and in binders
  • Papers are joined with paper clips or with...
  • staples binded by a stapler
Now an “homework” to improve English listening abilities. I'm going to watch a Star Trek (The Original Series) in English with English subtitles. Shatner/James Kirk is not too easy to understand but it's surely better than Travolta/Vincent Vega and Jackson/Jules Winnfield (can you remember Pulp Fiction).

And that's it!
See you later.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

42 - Label things in your house or office with post-its

Thanks for your comment Claudia, and thanks for the suggestion (great idea!). She found the way n. 42 to improve English:

“The easiest vocabulary to learn is the vocabulary of things you see and use everyday. If you can write the names of things around you on slips of paper and stick them on the real thing, this is a great way of learning useful vocabulary. If you can leave them there over the following days and weeks, this is a very easy way of revising the vocabulary until it is properly learnt.”
(from 70 ways to improve your English)

Ok, I cannot leave post-its and labels all around my house of office, but I can tag some picture. Let’s start with bathroom (Ehi! This is not my bathroom, thanks to Google images.).

Unfortunately the devil is in the details: there are a lot of things that I’d like to name.
But this is just a start. And it’s more than the Tim Ferris’s 100 most common spoken or written words (How to Learn Any Language in 3 Months).


1 - Start your own English language blog

I was looking for a way to improve my English when I found an article titled “70 ways to improve your English”. If you want, you can read the article at

Not bad after only 2 minutes of searches on google: 70 ways are a lot for a busy (and lazy) English student that cannot study during the day.

And what is the first way, according to the article’s author? Can you guess it?

Very Good! The first suggested way to improve English is to start a language blog.

It sounds fun but, for a non-native English speaker, is not an easy task to do. And the real question is: is there a probability, also a small one, that someone will read the blog, will understand the meaning on the posts and will want to provide suggestions, encouragement, or comments?

Well, there is only a way to find out…

See you!