S: In our current vignette, Bill Nissen describes how his previous boss told him to speak his mind. He said his door was always open. However, it backfired when his boss actually resented his honesty. Have you ever experienced something like that, Heather?

H: Not quite but years ago I did get a harsh lesson in office politics. Basically I had just joined the company and I foolishly spoke ill of one staffer to another. I believe I was right in what I said but I shouldn’t have said anything until I had determined whose loyalties lay where. Because long story short, the person I complained to was very close to the person I was complaining about. And the person I complained to told the person I was complaining about, passed on what I’d sad. From that point on, I was irrevocably on their bad side. In retrospect it was especially foolish because the person I was complaining about had been at the company for a while. All I can say in my defense is that I was very young and inexperienced. 

S: Some lessons have to be learned the hard way, I guess. Nissen goes on to say that he began to burn out, that it was a struggle to get up in the mornings, 

H: That sounds like a real danger sign. I’m glad that the character got out of such a stressful environment and I hope that more and more people will be able to do that in real life as well. I’m sure many people try to soldier on through destructive situations because they have career dreams and they’re conscientious employees but no one, no one should sacrifice their mental or physical health for a job. I would say to them “Why should you destroy yourself? Why should you go to such lengths for a company that obviously would not do the same for you? If they’re not willing to show you the devotion that you’re showing them, then they don’t deserve you. Look for something else. There must be something else.”

S: The vignette also discusses how Millennials are spending more money on experiences, which is hurting retail stores.

H: We had a story on this in the paper not too long ago.   Apparently department stores and fashion buildings in Japan are trying to tackle this problem by offering rental or experience-based services. According to the article, Sales are department stores were down 40 percent in 2016 from their peak in 1991. So now we’re seeing things like a Japan department store that offers workshops for making accessories. Another location was hosting one-time lessons in things like photography and English conversation under the theme of casual self-improvement. Their aim was to attract young women on their way home from work.


S: The conversation finishes up with a description of the store of the future. 

H: It certainly sounds convenient with facial recognition and the rest. But I hope that human sales staff don’t become a thing of the past. I think a lot of us enjoy chatting with salespeople and the human being can suggest unique combinations or items that a machine might not recommend. I think it would be best for stores, too, not to get rid of them entirely. I’ve certainly been persuaded to buy things by talented salespeople in the past and I don’t think a computer would have the same ability to sway customers.