Monday, December 26, 2011

Occupy… Something… What? I Dunno

Are you making New Year’s resolutions this year? Three years ago was the last time I did so. I worked hard at it too. I created three categories – Healthy, Wealthy and Wise – and made two resolutions in each. It was a serious endeavor. (No one who knows me would be surprised. I have been told I am too serious since I was in the second grade.) It took me two years to achieve them all. I am still tired from the effort.

Despite my exhaustion, I feel compelled to have another go at it. This time, I’ll keep it simple. My resolution is to Occupy something. I am not sure what just yet. But I will do it. I will Occupy something.

Many serious commentators have made Occupy their Word of the Year. Indeed, Ben Zimmer who heads the Word of the Year effort at the American Dialectic Society told NPR that Occupy leads this year’s voting (although he admitted his personal favorite is Humblebrag).

Occupy has several meanings, of course. I don’t mean that I will Occupy something in the conventional sense. If I Occupy my Lazy Boy recliner, that won’t count. It’s doubtful I could Occupy it any more next year than I did this year anyway. Taking up residence somewhere else doesn’t count either. I could plop myself in a first class airline seat on my way to the capitals of Europe or Occupy a suite at the Four Seasons; but, that wouldn’t capture the essence of the resolution either.

Nor, do I mean Occupy in the military sense. The US military Occupied Iraq for eight plus years. It’s not what I mean.

Occupying my time with something would not require much resolution either. I already occupy my time writing this blog and reading about this and that.

The real resolution to Occupy something requires that I embrace and idea or concept and immerse myself in it. The folks who Occupied Wall Street made a serious commitment to an idea. They physically and visibly took up residence in a downtown NY park. Their idea – and their attitude – were picked up throughout the western world and went viral (that phrase – went viral – must have been the word of the year sometime in the past).

In my professional career, I have found that for change to be effective in any institutional setting there must be a physical and visible manifestation of it. If the CEO wants a realignment of functions to be effective, he should move people’s offices around. Preferably this should happen during the work day so that everyone can see it.

I have a good friend and colleague, Larry Litowitz, who, as CEO of a manufacturing company, moved his desk to the factory floor to make sure everyone knew he was serious about getting in touch with his workforce and the need to improve equipment and safety.

That’s how you Occupy something!

So, I must decide. What will I Occupy? Maybe you can help. Any suggestions?


  1. Harold Bernaert • I will be preventing everybody from occupying me.

    If that is not a contradiction in terms :-)

  2. Stewart Lenox • I hope to occupy about 10-15% less space via diet and exercise.

  3. John Kittler • I will be occupying the ballot box,,,

  4. Mark Stolarski • A job!

  5. John, Forgat your Lazy Boy recliner. Lets just "occupy" a couple of seats in a cozy ginmill and drink a toast to a happy and healthy New Year. Ted & Sue

  6. John Kittler • Amen, Mark, I can see we have both gotten some of that "change".

  7. Charles Frederick • My "occupation" will continue to be Teaching while looking forward to the Ambassadorship of Poland.

  8. Mark Stolarski • For those of you that have not yet met Charles Frederick, I have known him since July 1980. I'll let him tell you about his credentials, but I fully support him for U.S. Ambassador to Poland and hope to one day occupy a guest room at the U.S. Embassy in Poland!

  9. Occupy Facts.

    It's amazing the amount of opinions thrown about in the commercial news media (one TV network whose name rhymes with "box" comes quickly to mind) and how precious few of those opinions are founded on fact.

    So my suggestion John, is to always strive to Occupy Fact. Call out others to do the same. And call out others when they don't.

    We simply can never have meaningful progress in any field, be it in science, economics or politics, if we can't have meaningful dialog. And we can't have meaningful dialog unless we deal in facts.

    Best to all for 2012, Bruce Scottow

  10. Erwin Smout • I hope that on MAR 26 2012, I will be allowed to occupy some space at Humboldt university.

    But I don't expect anybody to understand that. I just felt a need to express this.

    And I hope to be occupying some space in Paris too, some time soon. Perhaps I can go see if those statues are still at the Sorbonne that caused me to have to leave ...

    But I don't expect anybody to understand THAT either.

    Sorry. I'm just in that mood ...

  11. Stephen Padilla • On December 21st, 2012, I expect to be occupying something Mayan...

  12. Andrew Hall • Harold, I like that, is it them occupying, by controlling, or occupying your time.
    I will occupy my new role and try and make a paradigm shift in how things are done.

  13. David Rettig • I will occupy the chair in my office & the sofa in my living room.

  14. Eric Werme • My usual resolution is to make no resolutions. I'm not sure if I've been successful.

    Beyond that, I'll spend too much time occupying just like the last couple of years.

  15. Lee Collins, PMP • My own space

  16. I am going to try to occupy my time. How many times have we all said, Where did my day go? Where did the month go? How did my kids grow up so fast? Too many times I passed up on opportunities to spend with family and friends because I believe something was more pressing, more important. So I would work through the night/weekend. When I look back I realize what I did could have waited until the next day, the next week, what didn't wait for me was my life.
    2012 I hope to occupy my life.

  17. Occupy your mind with something that will fulfill you and make you the better version of you. Think of something that you dream of accomplishing in your lifetime. Sure, short-term and mid-term goals count, but think of something that will give you golden eggs for the rest of your life - something that will give to the world more than you ever imagine.... Sounds like an impossible dream, I know. But for people who are very capable, only accomplishing impossible dreams will fulfill you.

    Lunch next week?

    Dr. Leilani O. Baumanis
    Professor, College of Business
    Johnson & Wales University
    1701 NE 127th Street
    North Miami, FL 33181