Monday, 5 November 2012

I'm Goin' Abroad

I'm Goin’ abroad …

For those who may have read some of my earlier blogs, this is not about womens. The squeamish may continue reading. And, to really come clean from the start, I admit to a lie almost as big as the one I’m dealing with here. I ain’t goin’ abroad.

I ran into a discussion that began with the question of whether ‘you’, which I took to mean me, agreed with a Harvard study which concluded that people who travel abroad are more creative, better managers, have better luck starting businesses etc. Not wishing to travel even as far as Boston, I didn’t chase after the study and read it. I’d much rather shoot from the hip at a blurry target with a large load, hoping I might graze part of it and chase it away.

In the interest of saving time for those who are only hanging in here long enough to find out what my answers is before they do something constructive; NO, I don’t agree. There. The rest of you might consider getting a real life. Until you do that, you might want to examine the quality of my load.

My first inclination, and all of those I’ve had since, is to presume this is a poorly constructed study of an atypical population. I rawthah (Harvard thing, you know) presume this is a study designed to make the children think there was a reason to go abroad other than to chase (or be chased by) feriners and probably drink un-American beer. Most of the young have not learned to appreciate the finer rotguts yet, nor has the novelty of unshaven legs and armpits, on womens, worn off.

Having seen through the base purpose of this thing, it’s my pleasure to desiccate the finding, whether real or made up. If I’m wrong, a remote possibility, then the project is worthwhile, we should use government money to send everybody abroad, and we wind up with the greatest country in the world. It might work out even better if properly selected individuals were sent abroad with one-way tickets.

As to the creative thing, of course people who travel the world are more creative. Dummies wouldn’t think of going abroad, or even to St Louis. Those who are smart enough not to need to be creative are staying home too. They’ve pretty much got everything they want right here. The most creative ones of all are the parents who have figured out how to get the kids out of town so they can finally have a peaceful summer.

I’ve traveled abroad quite a bit and there are few who describe me as more creative (of anything good) than before I went, or maybe any kind of creative at all. Yeah, that’s the smart ones again. Point proven without grant money.

As for being better at starting a successful business, let’s face it; it’s not about foreign travel. Those who can afford plane tickets to someplace there is really no good reason to go, also have a little bit more startup money. The pauper ain’t getting on that plane and he ain’t developing the credit line to go spurs a flying into anything much bigger and a lemonade stand or a franchise for Lucy’s 5 cent advice.

I’ll grant that the rare observant traveler might realize that, when he goes home, he can pack slugs in snail shells and sell them to France. Or it might be obvious that he can pack anything, even ball bearings and hamsters, in beer and sell them to Germany. On the other hand it would be clear that anything tasteful, or flavourful, isn’t going to go over real big in England, unless you boil it, including ball bearings and hamsters, for several days.

The last conclusion that I bother to remember is that the time spent in Paris or Bolivia isn't going to create a better manager. Unless were talking soccer coach here, or maybe in the latter case, bribery, this is mainly wishful thinking or bait from a travel agency. Since this is a proper discussion about something from an Ivy League institution, I’ll relent and call it sushi from a travel agency.

Those of us who have any concept of the annual review system know better. That is where a group of peers or bosses get together and decide who the best managers are. You will rarely see a token representative of the managed asked for input. Jealousy and politics play a much bigger role than performance. Because those who have money will more often have the college degree which definitively predicts how successful a manager is, they are most like to rise, like cream, to the top. Those are the same fools who went to Europe or Bangladesh. By the way, when selecting that school, it’s best to remember that Harvard trumps a satellite campus of Southern Appalachia State Community College around the old review session.

Most of what you have just worked your way through is most of what showed up, wanted or unwanted, in my response in the discussion. I’m not sure how it went over since I was either the first or the only participant. Either that or nobody had anything better to add. I may get drunk enough someday to go back and check.

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