Free Book Give Away

The #AmazonGiveaway (for a chance to win: Lone Gunman: Rewriting The Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention.) ends July 6th and would really love to give away all six books, but time is running out!

Please share so I can give out all the prizes. It’s a numbers game so, like voting in Chicago, enter early and often.

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/6e63564c0d5f92bb NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of Jul 6, 2019 11:59 PM PDT, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules.

Open to US residents only, sorry folks

#authors #workersafety #workplacesafety #workplaceviolenceprevention

#workersafety

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Safety Can Never Be A Science

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Phil La Duke
Author
I Know My Shoes Are Untied Mind Your Own Business and Lone Gunman Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence

I have often said, put three safety nerds in a room and you will end up with seven opinions.  This is conceptually fine—after all we are all entitled to our own opininons however stupid they may be. But we aren’t entitled to our own facts. Facts must be sacrosanct in safety because supposition and snake oil get people killed.  I want you to think about that for a second. When people make up theories and models and money-making schemes in safety it puts the very people we are charged with protecting in jeopardy of being harmed, and scientifically speaking most of the theories out there aren’t really theories, instead they are hypothesis.  What’s the difference between a hypothesis and a theory? “In science, a theory is a tested, well-substantiated, unifying explanation for a set of verified, proven factors. A theory is always backed by evidence; a hypothesis is only a suggested possible outcome, and is testable and falsifiable. … Scientific laws explain things, but they do not describe them.

If we look at some of our most cherished beliefs in safety the BEST we can say is that they seem to make sense; only under closer scrutiny they don’t.

Henry Heinrich’s theories aren’t really theories at all.  That statement is not meant to vilify the man, it’s just that what has been long accepted as fact is really just supposition. People have strong allegiance to Heinrich; he has become as much a folk hero as DB Cooper or Pretty Boy Floyd, and that’s fine, but instead of worshiping the man why aren’t we trying to replicate his work and justify his findings.  Some people are. Carsten Bush, Fred Manuel, Alan Quilly have all contributed substantially to the study of Heinrich’s notions (I am hesitant to call them hypothesis) but in the end most of us fall into the Heinrich was a god versus Heinrich was a monster argument.

I’ve been guilty of fanning the flames and I am unrepentant.  I don’t believe we should build an entire business discipline on the work of one man, who studied one population, in one industry and take that as Gospel.  People criticism Heinrich for not taking notes, an assertion that cannot be proven. People criticize him for being a devotee of eugenics, and while that has an ugly connotation now, it was once—like phrenology or spiritualism—an accepted science.  What proof do we have that he believed in the intrinsic inferiority of a given ethnicity or race of some people? I think that his finding worker ethnicity as a root cause (or even contributor) to an injury strongly suggests this, but a suggestion or an inference is not proof. I could go on and on about the criticisms of Heinrich, but he was a pioneer in our field and for that he deserves a modicum of respect.

But we have taken so many concepts and without a shred of scientific evidence ascribed a universality to them.  Take safety observations. Paying someone to watch another person work and provide some sort of feedback as to the safety with which the worker performs the required steps is downright insulting, pits worker against worker, and creates a sort of a snitch mentality. But positioned differently, the Behavioral Observation could be an important tool in evaluating the competence of workers, not as a tattle-tale exercise or an exercise in bureaucracy, but as a way of coaching workers who may have drifted from the standard and also as a way of validating the SOP.  Of course the person doing the observation needs to know how to do the job, but that is not an insurmountable obstacle. 

We need to stick to things that can not only be proven, but replicated and verified. One study does not provide universal truth, opinions should be treated as hypothesis until they can be scientifically studied and shaped into theories which after enough time and study should become the Laws of Safety.

Let me illustrate what I mean.  There was a time when the connection between worker deaths and a failure to lock out was a hypothesis; someone looked at the data and thought, “I bet if these dead and seriously injured workers had only taken a moment to isolate the energy and somehow prevent it from electrocuting, crushing, or otherwise causing equipment to kill or cripple a worker I think we could reduce these kinds of injuries.  At this point the hypothesis was that if one isolated hazardous energy one reduced the risk of a catastrophic outcome. After examining fatalities where people were locked out versus the number of people who worked without locking out, researchers came up with the theory that locking out/isolating hazardous energy greatly protected workers. Unfortunately, that research proved nothing. It’s still a theory that people who lock out are safer than those who don’t.  I know this sounds like heresy but we don’t have an accurate idea (or maybe we do, but essentially we are just guessing) as to the total population of the people who worked without locking out and survived. So at best this becomes a theory. A theory bolstered by the fact that the incidence of people killed while locked out is, I must believe (but again, have no proof) that this is the case. To prove that locking out saves lives we would require a control group (a group of workers who NEVER locked out) and the experimental group (a group of workers who always locked out). From there we could count how many people died from not locking out and have proof that locking out results in fewer deaths than not locking out. Such an experiment is grossly negligent and unethical to the point of criminality, none-the-less it is the only way to prove our theory.

Lack of a critical piece of data is where the predictive element of Heinrich’s pyramid falls apart; we don’t know how many near misses we have with any certainty and therefore cannot postulate the statistical probability of fatalities.  

Certainly there are some things that are so obvious that we can take them as true just by using common sense.  This leads us to some dangerous areas. Remember there was a time when common sense told us that Eastern and Southern Europeans, Blacks, Jews, and women were intrinsically intellectually inferior to others.  Common sense told us that the bumps on a person’s head could be used to predict whether or not the person would be predisposed to a life of crime, and that the world is flat.  

Belief without proof is religion and if that’s how we want to address worker safety why don’t we just sit in our offices and pray; it’s as likely to produce positive results as a hypothesis, thunk up by an academic, without anything approaching proof.

I am proud to announce the hard launch by Marriah Publishing of my second book, Lone Gunman: Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention.  This is all new material that cannot be found anywhere else. In light of all the talk and panic around gun violence, and the shamefully bad advice some “experts” are giving I hope some of you will read it and pass it along to your executives and HR leads (go ahead, expense it, they will be glad you did.)

It can be purchased in hardcover or paperback at Amazon or Barnes & Noble 

I should warn you, this isn’t a book that is pro- or anti-gun ownership rights.The book has extensive sections on spotting an unstable employee (some people’s lives will take a dark and desperate turn long after you have hired them but there are always signs), the types of work environments that tend to trigger these events, and I recently returned from Dublin, Ireland where I spoke on how companies can leverage technology to protect workers from workplace violence.  But all the books, and magazines, and speeches in the world won’t change a damned thing if you keep thinking that it can’t (or probably won’t) happen to you or someone you love. You can bet your life that we will see more similar shootings in the weeks or months as people who are currently at the brink of sanity see the news reports and think, “now’s the time”. WAKE UP, PEOPLE!!!! This book is pepper with the sarcasm, self-deprecating humor of the first book, but it also makes use of my extensive knowledge of violence prevention in the workforce (that I gained as head of training and OD for a global manufacturer.) 

Of course, my first book is still for sale, and you might rightly ask yourself, why on God’s green Earth would I read a book that contains previously released material? Simple, like the rain forest and the polar bears my work is disappearing from the web very quickly.  All but a handful of my works for Facility Management Magazine is gone, and you can basically only go back 2 years on my blog (8 year’s worth of my work that ranges in quality from magnificent to mindless dreck.) And besides, about a third of the book is new material that cannot be found anywhere else. So buy it. It will teach you, entertain you, and make you want to read more it can be ordered here I Know My Shoes Are Untied. Mind Your Own Business or on Barnes & Noble.com.

 

Four Things Happened in New Orleans Last Week

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By Phil La Duke
Author
I Know My Shoes Are Untied Mind Your Own Business and Lone Gunman Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence

Four things happened in New Orleans last week—well a lot more than four things happened but I only am going to mention four of them.  Event 1: I spoke at the American Society of Safety Professionals about workplace fatigue an audience filled with great people one or two of them who actually enjoyed my speech (spoiler alert: I was one of them).  Event 2: my iPhone 5S finally gave up the ghost, and Event three and four two women were murdered by jealous boyfriends while in the workplace in two separate incidents.

So the fatigue speech was all that I promised because I was certainly suffering from fatigue.  I won’t spoil the surprise (I will be posting the slides and recording when I get it) but sufficed to say after back-to-back weeks of travel, speaking at least once a week for the past month or so I was pretty fatigued BEFORE the waitress at the Acme Bar forgot to bring me my dinner and rather than wait headed out for Hurricanes at Laffitte’s Blacksmith Shop.  Despite the fatigue, I powered through it and delivered what I think most people would consider a decent speech. The one I did in Dublin kind of stunk up the place—I had to follow a guy who basically did a 15-minute infomercial on his company; I mean how can I follow that? I felt like Fred Kaps celebrated magician who followed The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show.  Still, of the 14 people crammed into a pipe-and-drape cell, none of them got up and left (owing largely to the fact that you would literally have to physically crawl over people to escape; trust me there were times that I felt like doing just that. My speech lasted 13 minutes but seemed much longer. So by comparison and in its own right, the ASSP speech was better by a good measure.

Also last week, back in New Orleans my phone stopped charging and my wife lost her phone (you can quit looking the Uber driver returned it two days later) leaving us both completely disconnected. I went to an AT&T store on St. Charles that is short-listed as the retailer that provides the worst customer service in the world.  I’m sure they will get it. I ended up not getting a new phone there and feeling like slapping the smirking simpleton who was “servicing me”. If you are in the area stop by and tell them I said “hi”.

Oh and finally, two women were shot and killed (at least that is the word on the street—bigger stories—two women were shot and killed by their estranged boyfriends ironically, this was happening at the same time the person responsible for booking author events turned my PR Manager down cold, saying (of Lone Gunman: Rewriting the Handbook of Workplace Violence) doesn’t sound like something people would be interested in.”

He’s right of course. People don’t care about workplace violence because it won’t happen at their workplace.  And if it DOES happen it’s likely to happen to a woman involved with some jealous jerk that it’s her own fault for dating.  It’s okay if you feel that way, hell lots of people do. It’s okay that you don’t care (caring involves doing something about it and most of you aren’t. You sit on the sidelines and wait for someone else to do something, or you don’t want to get involved, or you are just a lazy bastard.)

I know this for certain.  Take for instance two articles I wrote for Entrepreneur, one on automation eliminating jobs Robots are Stealing Our Jobs and the other on domestic violence in the workplace Domestic Violence Is Often the Cause of Workplace Violence  the one about job loss went viral thanks in part to a Democratic contender tweeting it out to his followers and the one about domestic violence basically fell flat.  I get it. Dead women you don’t know just doesn’t mean that much to you, whereas losing your job to a robot means a lot.

So what if one day that woman is your mother, or sister, or your wife? If robots are stealing jobs than these murders are just job openings, right?

I never wanted to write this book. My editor and publisher insisted.  It’s a dark subject and no one wants to talk about it. We all seem to think that this is going to happen somewhere else to someone else’s mother, sister, wife, or daughter.  We shrug and we say, “the problem is too big, what can one person do?” This isn’t global warming or world hunger, this is about YOU doing simple things to predict and prevent workplace violence, protect those at risk, and save lives.

The two women who were murdered in the workplace didn’t even make the national news.  What’s a couple of bodies compared to the loss of tourism? But on the plus side, I did buy a new phone.

Okay, the new book, Lone Gunman Rewriting Workplace Prevention has been out since January, and it’s time to pick up a copy.  I haven’t been pushing it all that hard because owing to a printer’s error it was full of typos that, for once, weren’t mine. Since then every half-wit and snake oil salesmen have pulled together dangerously poor presentations on how to survive workplace violence.  I have attended too many professional development sessions on surviving workplace violence presented by dolts who sound like they are doing a C– fourth-grade book report. If you are a woman, love a woman, were born of a woman, or have wives, sisters, daughters, or mothers who work you should read this book. Or if you are a boss who managed unstable workers you need this book.  Buy an extra copy for your boss. You’ll thank me.

And guess what? My original (in all senses of that word) book I Know My Shoes Are Untied. Mind Your Business: An Iconclast’s View of Worker Safety   continues to sell well, buy one or better yet two. It is directly related to your job duties so expense them both and give one to your boss.  It will him/her good to hear some unvarnished truth. And at $15 bucks you can’t beat the price. 

Buy and Expense 6 Copies of Lone Gunman: Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention

Why buy six copies? It’s easier just to show you.

Just a quick note

As I rush around preparing for my speech at the American Society for Safety Professionals I just want to take a moment to send out my heart felt gratitude to the many people who read this blog, read the published articles, and buy and read my books. No ulterior motive just thank you.

This Could Have (And Should Have) Been Prevented

shutterstock_1199666680By Phil La Duke
Author

I Know My Shoes Are Untied Mind Your Own Business and Lone Gunman Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence

At the risk of being accused of being gauché, opportunistic, or just an out-and-out insensitive son of a bitch;  I told you so. A few days ago there was another workplace shooting in Virginia, by a disgruntled worker, In EXACTLY six months I have written five articles on preventing workplace violence (for the love of all that is Holy can we PLEASE stop treating workplace violence (which tends to have specific targets with mass shootings where the sole intent is a large body count) and a book that outlines EXACTLY How to prevent this? The following is an excerpt from Lone Gunman Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence:

“People are primates and primates are violent creatures. Any of you who have dated a chimp with a drinking problem knows how dangerous they can be.  They also don’t take criticism well, but that’s for another book. Some of the men aren’t that much different from chimps; push the wrong buttons and you end up with a broken jaw.

It is impossible to completely prevent workplace violence—the terrifying reality is if a madman wants to kill people in the workplace he will likely succeed and there is little you can do to stop a carefully planned and executed attack, but you can greatly reduce the risk of an incidence of workplace violence through some simple changes to your company policies.

Prevention Begins With Recruiting

Throughout this book, I will use the pronoun “you”. “You” could be a Human Resources Vice President, or ‘you” could be a supervisor, or “you” could be a coworker, or “you” could be a potential victim.  If YOU are too stupid to figure out whether or not I am talking to YOU then stop reading this book and pick up a copy of Curious George a book I have always enjoyed.

For those of you still reading, a good way to avoid a workplace shooting is to avoid hiring people who are unstable and/or who demonstrate a pattern of violent behavior. This is sometimes a lot more difficult than it seems.  When I think back to the rogue’s gallery of socially maladroit misfits with whom I have worked I am shocked that I haven’t been gunned down, or at very least shot at while I ran cravenly to hide under a desk or behind a file cabinet. In this day where people blithely post sometimes outrageous and ominously threatening statements that provide a hidden glimpse into their personalities, it’s now easier than ever to legally gain information on an individual’s mental state and volatility.  

Even as individuals try to conceal embarrassing posts it is still possible to gain important insights. Here are some potential red flags that are worth considering, as you read through them remember there are two conditions for which you are screening 1) someone who is at high risk of committing workplace violence and 2) someone who is a likely victim of workplace violence: (Note: a company shouldn’t dismiss a good candidate simply because of the presence of a single red flag—then again these red flags should be strongly considered before hiring (or even interviewing) a candidate.)

  • Hate Speech. This should be fairly obvious, but it can be surprisingly common for an individual to post an overt, or thinly veiled, racial slur, ethnic insults, or negative comments indicating bigotry toward one or more subpopulations.  This isn’t a call for people to be politically correct to a nauseating extent, but if a candidate is comfortable enough to attack a protected class in public posts, he or she probably lacks the judgment that God gave geese, and ultimately these bigotries will likely manifest in the workplace.

    A person who posts or who allows his or her contacts to posting hate speech comments unchallenged on his or her posts is also a red flag, as the adage goes, birds of a feather flock together. Seriously though is this really something a recruiter or hiring managers need to be told? With the amount of hate speech being posted and the number of the people who are posting it I have to conclude that yeah, they do.

    Nothing I like more than when some mouth-breather works himself into a froth and starts spewing threats and insults at me. I simply respond with how much I admire their courage; to so openly and freely use pejorative language, with complete confidence that their bosses, customers, potential employers, prospective customers, and romantic interests all share the feelings, and secretly applaud their open use of language typically reserved for a Klan rally. That generally gives them pause.

  • Belligerence.  Some people enjoy provoking others; I do, for example, but that is a major part of my job, and if I haven’t provoked you or creeped you out by now you might have a problem.)  I have to use provocation to move people out of their comfort zones (the irony of this particular bullet point is not lost on me) so that they can change. But the candidate for the accounting clerk that you are considering probably isn’t being belligerent to make the math work, so a belligerent tone or a pattern of belligerent posts should be weighed against the job and its requirements.

  • Volatility.   Even a saint can be pushed to the breaking point and post or say something that he or she wished he hadn’t, but what can be really telling is when a person shifts from mildly argumentative to the post equivalent of a screaming frothy rage. This “flick a switch” going from zero to raging gaping maniac (not my first choice of word) is a strong red flag.  

    Even though we know that people often act in a way online that they would never act in person, they still secretly or silently harbor these feeling strongly enough to post them in a public forum and the right stimuli could set them off.

  • Obsession with guns.  This might seem obvious to some and unfair to others.  I have a social contact who almost exclusively posts photos of automatic weapons. Another is a self-described gun nut. In and of themselves these two would seem to be people you don’t want to hire.  In fact, one of them is in ROTC and the other is an artist that draws weapons for a popular single-shooter video game and requires the guns for research for his job. Neither of them is belligerent or exhibit any violent tendencies; again these are indicators and have to be considered in a larger context with the other red flags and when taken with other red flags should be used in making an informed decision as to how to handle the individual.

  • Obsession with Violent Events.  Whenever there is a high-profile single shooter event the social networks are littered with posts relative to the event. But there are also individuals who post memes, articles, or statements that form a pattern that suggests if not an obsession with violence a keen interest in it.  This behavior goes far beyond keeping up with current events and is clearly indicative of at very least a morbid curiosity with violence and at worst a propensity for violence.

    Personally, I would also steer clear of people who post pictures of their cats dressed in holiday costumes—they may not be dangerous or violent, but I’m not going to share a cube with these cat-fanciers.

  • Hostility toward an ex. Personally, I don’t trust anyone who has an amicable relationship with their ex-lover or ex-spouse. When people used to ask me if I was still friends with my ex-wife (she is since deceased, and no, I didn’t have anything to do with it) I would say that if we were friends we would probably still be married, but that I bore her no ill feelings (which was true).  

    I’ve also have had ex-romantic entanglements who, when she broke it off, expressed an interest in remaining friends. I always say “no, I have enough friends and I would have to have a friend quit or die before I can make any additional friends; I can put you on a waitlist if you like.” Inexplicably there have been no takers thus far.  

    Even so, I don’t bear them any ill will, and when someone posts virulent, angry posts about how horrible a person his or her ex is, at very least you can glean a bit about their temperament, and/or the temperament of his or her ex.

  • It’s Complicated Relationship Status. Tread lightly here.  In many countries, it is illegal to ask or to use as a criterion for hiring, a candidate’s marital status, and that is not what I am suggesting. But the response, “it’s complicated” could indicate marital strife, difficulties with an on-again-off-again partner, marriage to a semiaquatic mammal,  or a variety of things that should raise a red flag, but then again it could indicate a relationship that is completely innocuous and in no way predictive of workplace violence.

The point being is that any vagueness that could indicate a propensity for future workplace violence needs to be considered, but merely considered for the purposes of future heightened awareness should you hire the person, not as a criterion for such a hire.

  • Excessive alcohol use. Is there a preponderance of posts of alcohol use? Does the candidate proudly post the details (at least what they can remember) or the previous weekend bender? Are the pictures disproportionately of alcoholic drinks or of social events where alcohol is served? Does the candidate often check in at bars or parties?  

    In most of the workplace violence episodes, alcohol is usually involved.  The perfect formula for a workplace single shooter event is unhappy relationship+quick access to a firearm+mental illness with violent tendency+alcohol.

  • An overall negative outlook. Everybody gets negative once in a while, but as you read through a candidate’s posts do they seem overly angry, depressed, or just see the world as filled with personal injustices and unpleasantness? If so, how qualified does Eeyore have to be for you to say, “gosh darn it,  this candidate’s post makes ME depressed but I still want ‘em on my team?”

    Negativity can be contagious and it can spread with alarming speed, also, a person with a negative outlook is also less resilient which correlates to more absenteeism, and difficulty rebounding from personal or professional setbacks. Even if the person isn’t a potential killer, who wants to have this person at the company picnic?

  • No social media presence. In an age when grandparents have Facebook pages and Twitter accounts it is practically unheard of for someone under the age of 70.  If someone doesn’t have a social media account it may indicate that they have deleted the account or are using a pseudonym. This is hardly damning, the person may merely want to get rid of the public displays of youthful indiscretions. Personally, I don’t see why my Facebook page is festooned with posts of me drinking, spewing obscenities (some of which I made to pup (patent pending…fingers crossed)) and dubious check-ins. But I like people to have a good idea who they’re dealing with, plus as an author who is known for his poison-pen and tongue dripping venom, I get away with a lot more than most.

As for your average candidate, again, it shouldn’t be a deal breaker but should be considered another possible indicator. If you were considering bringing me aboard when you started reading you probably have since changed your mind.

Again none of these things in itself identifies a dangerous individual but it provides an important piece of the puzzle that you really need when you hire a person, and you need that information BEFORE you bring the person in for an interview.

All this sounds like a lot of work, and it can be, but it is far less time consuming and gut-wrenching as telling the loved ones of someone murdered in your workplace that you could have prevented the death but it was just too darned much work.

I’ve heard arguments that social media is protected speech and a person has every right to post whatever he or she pleases. It’s a fair point, but people too often believe that freedom of speech includes protection from the consequences of spewing malodorous dreck from your mouth.

You do have the right to say (within limits) what you want. Most people don’t read the social networks’ terms of services and these terms of service often severely curtail what you can and can’t say. Even if social networks didn’t have this in place there is nothing protecting you from people thinking you’re an asshat.

Of all the rights that people choose to exercise sadly, too few exercises the right to remain silent.” Freedom of speech is not freedom from consequences.” —Lone Gunman: Re-Writing the Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention, Chapter 3

The book also has extensive sections on spotting an unstable employee (some people’s lives will take a dark and desperate turn long after you have hired them but there are always signs), the types of work environments that tend to trigger these events, and I just returned from Dublin, Ireland where I spoke on how companies can leverage technology to protect workers from workplace violence.  But all the books, and magazines, and speeches in the world won’t change a damned thing if you keep thinking that it can’t (or probably won’t) happen to you or someone you love. You can bet your life that we will see more similar shootings in the weeks or months as people who are currently at the brink of sanity see the news reports and think, “now’s the time”. WAKE UP, PEOPLE!!!!

I am proud to announce the hard launch by Marriah Publishing of my second book, Lone Gunman: Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention.  This is all new material that cannot be found anywhere else. And I can now say that it is finally safe to order it (we have corrected the quality control issues and expect to have it out this week). In light of all the talk and panic around gun violence, and the shamefully bad advice some “experts” are giving I hope some of you will read it and pass it along to your executives and HR leads (go ahead, expense it, they will be glad you did.)

It can be purchased in hardcover or paperback at Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Of course, my first book is still for sale, and you might rightly ask yourself, why on God’s green Earth would I read a book that contains previously released material? Simple, like the rainforest and the polar bears my work is disappearing from the web very quickly.  All but a handful of my work for Facility Management Magazine is gone, and you can basically only go back 2 years on my blog (8 year’s worth of my work that ranges in quality from magnificent to mindless dreck.) And besides, about a third of the book is new material that cannot be found anywhere else. So buy it.

Did you like this post? If so you will probably like my book which can be ordered here I Know My Shoes Are Untied. Mind Your Own Business or on Barnes & Noble.com.

 

So You Want To Be A Contributor to Entrepreneur

shutterstock_687504658By Phil La Duke
Author

I Know My Shoes Are Untied Mind Your Own Business and Lone Gunman Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence 

“So you want to be a rock and roll star? Well. listen here to what I say. Just get yourself an electric guitar and take some time to learn how to play,”— Jim McGuinn and Chris Hillman

Since I was first published in my college newspaper people have often asked me how they too could be a writer.  The requests came more and more frequently after the publication of my first book, I Know My Shoes Are Untied, Mind Your Own Business! An Iconoclast’s View of Worker Safety, and then jumped exponentially with the hard launch of Lone Gunman: Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention But what really moved the needle was my two recent articles in Entrepreneur magazine, published about a week apart, Robots Are Stealing Our Jobs and Domestic Violence Is Often the Cause of Workplace Violence. Violence Is The Leading Cause Of Death For Women Who Die In The Workplace.

Suddenly I was deluged by people asking me how to get published, specifically, and overwhelmingly in Entrepreneur magazine.

Well, bad news on that front. Entrepreneur Magazine is changing how contributors are changing so this post won’t be an “If you do these things you will get published in Entrepreneur” but the good news is this will tell you the things that—if you don’t do—will keep you from getting published by all but the worst rags in the business.

So here goes:

 

  • Pay Your Dues.  I’ve been writing as a side hustle since high school. In college, I would write term papers and sold them, which I still contend was no different from any ghostwriting or work for hire. The miserable low-lifes who bought them and submitted the paper as their own work were cheaters and liars, but if you are going to live on the fringe (dope dealers, real estate agents, back-alley abortionists, or writers-for-hire) you have to expect that your customers will drip at least as much sleaze as you do. I spent years writing everything from advertising copy, video scripts, product descriptions, speeches, training courses, and press releases—essentially any material for which people are prepared to shell out a buck—it’s not sexy (nobody ever got laid for writing a product cut sheet, trust me I’ve tried—but it pays the bills at least if you’re any good at it.

    After years of this, I had a boss who insisted that I write for the company website and start a blog.  I resisted, but when he intimated that he would fire me if I didn’t I buckled under. Mostly to spite him, I developed the grab you by the throat and shake you by the head style you’ve grown to loathe. One day, I wrote a piece, I guess it was a white paper, whatever the hell that is,  for our website that was published without my permission by Fabricating & Metalworking magazine, so I called the editor and asked him how that had happened? He explained that he had run across my white paper and liked it so he published it.  He attributed me as the author and the original source so I told him I was not only not mad but was delighted. He asked me to write more content, which I did and it culminated into a monthly column. Around that time I approached the editors of Facility Safety Management magazine and ISHN (I am deliberately not giving names because I don’t need a bunch no-talent hacks sending them dreck in hopes of getting published.  By this time I had about 100 published works eligible for citation and that, at least for publishers made me an expert.
  • Create A Brand.  That’s not a typo, I didn’t mean that you should create bland material that isn’t fit to line the bottom of a birdcage.  You need to develop your own voice. People read me because what I write is different. Some find it interesting, some just want to get me in trouble, and some genuinely look to take offense. I write for myself if I write something that I think is crap I scrap it and start over.  Above all be genuine, honest, and true to yourself. So much of the shit out there is thinly veined sales propaganda and I think most people are as repulsed by it as I, but I call them out. You can’t fake a brand, eventually, your fraud will be found out.

 

  • Write A Blog. Van Gogh reputedly said that he needed to paint to remain sane, Vincent and I left that line behind us a long time ago.  I write because I am compelled to do so; I honestly don’t think about how people will react. People as a general rule are rapacious baboons that will destroy what they don’t understand, and they don’t understand very much.  Generally speaking, I value the friendship of a good dog than that of the average person—at least the dog will occasionally hump my leg, if for no other reason than to show its (both male and females will engage in this demonstration of dominance) position in the back.  I air hump them right back; I didn’t get into this business to play second fiddle to a schnauzer-rottweiler mix.
  • Write with Passion. Why do you want to write for Entrepreneur or write for publication at all? Another of my favorite Van Gogh’s quote is, “I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process.” Fully committing to writing, saying what you feel, the consequences be damned, is its own reward.  Are you passionate about being a whiney little sycophant? If so you will only produce the worst kind of unreadable dung that has ever been produced. When I speak, or write (especially my books) I am not self-editing because it might piss someone off, anything heartfelt will scare people and people who get scared get pissed off. Tough.

 

 

  • Don’t Suck. Just because you’re mom told you that you are a special, special boy or Mrs. Hendrixson your 6th grade English teach saw real potential in you doesn’t mean its true.  You may, and in fact probably do, suck. You will have to come to grips with the fact that you may not have what it takes to be a successful writer. Maybe I should have started with this one.

 

  • Read the Publications To Which You Wish to Contribute. Reading the publications to which you wish to contribute will give you a flavor of what their styles are like, and what topics they have recently covered.  No matter how artfully written your article on urinary tract in grizzly bears it won’t get published if the magazine has just published something on how much it hurts when a grizzly bear pees (a lot, just for the record).
  • Develop an article proposal. You can save yourself a lot of time and aggravation by writing a crisp and clean proposal of exactly the type of story you would like to write. Writing a book or an article and shopping around is largely a waste of time.
  • Make Your Deadlines.  If you can’t make your deadlines no one will accept your work from then on. This applies to any job, but it is more essential when the deadline is just that, which is to say, your story is dead if it isn’t delivered on time.

 

 

So how did I get into all of this? I wrote a blog and participated on LinkedIn and the editors came to me—except for Entrepreneur.  When it came to Entrepreneur I reached out to an associate editor and sent links to my more impressive works (guest blogs for Monster, etc.) and pitched a story. My first contribution went over well so they asked for another, and then another, for reasons I would rather not get into I decided that working with the editor at the time wasn’t worth the trouble so I just quit submitting articles. It was around that time that I was fired from Fabricating & Metalworking and Facility Safety magazine, okay not fired per se but just told to submit less frequency.  Then I saw that the editor with which I was having such difficulty had left the magazine, so I contacted the current editor with a story idea.  He liked it and since I had never severed ties with the magazine I was technically still a contributor. I wrote more and more until I was submitting three stories a week.  As time progressed the articles got weirder and weirder The Second Slowest Gazelle: A Secret To Success Mediocrity Has Its Place. Where Success And Survival Are Synonyms, Not Dying Is Winning, I Used Social Media and Blogging to Become Famous for Nothing, 5 Leadership Secrets Stolen From Famous People, 6 Tips for Goal-Setting That, Trust Me, They Don’t Teach You in College, and probably the oddest, The Imaginary Life and Wild Times of Milo Quaife suddenly fewer and fewer of my works appeared in print, but by then I was looking to write things more substantive the 5 Tips for better feedback. Now I am more judicious with what I submit.

By this time I had enough of a global following to have magazines and ultimately a book publisher contact me. So writing for publication is as easy as putting in the time, effort, and hard work.

I am proud to announce the hard launch by Marriah Publishing of my second book, Lone Gunman: Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention.  This is all new material that cannot be found anywhere else. And I can now say that it is finally safe to order it (we have corrected the quality control issues and expect to have it out this week). In light of all the talk and panic around gun violence, and the shamefully bad advice some “experts” are giving I hope some of you will read it and pass it along to your executives and HR leads (go ahead, expense it, they will be glad you did.)

It can be purchased in hardcover or paperback at Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Of course, my first book is still for sale, and you might rightly ask yourself, why on God’s green Earth would I read a book that contains previously released material? Simple, like the rainforest and the polar bears my work is disappearing from the web very quickly.  All but a handful of my work for Facility Management Magazine is gone, and you can basically only go back 2 years on my blog (8 year’s worth of my work that ranges in quality from magnificent to mindless dreck.) And besides, about a third of the book is new material that cannot be found anywhere else. So buy it.

Did you like this post? If so you will probably like my book which can be ordered here I Know My Shoes Are Untied. Mind Your Own Business or on Barnes & Noble.com.