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Stephen Viscusi

Stephen Viscusi

Posted: August 26, 2009 10:13 PM

Prediction: Katie Couric's Report on Texting Will Save More Lives Than Her Campaign on Colon Cancer. And Guess What? It Will Save Your Job as Well!


Texting. I talk about this new technology (addiction) all the time to audiences who come to hear me speak on how to "Bulletproof Your Job," or use my Viscusi method for "Bulletproofing Your Resume" to find a new job -- fast. I was invited on Oprah, The View, Tyra, and The Wendy Williams Show, where I tirelessly told people that "texting" on the job was the fastest way to the unemployment line.
I allege (just guessing here) an unproven theory that many recent fatal train, subway, bus and perhaps even plane crashes happened due to employees texting while on the job.

For me, as a workplace expert and author of the HarperCollins' bestseller Bulletproof Your Job: 4 Simple Strategies to Ride Out the Rough Times and Come Out On Top at Work, the idea of "texting" equals "stealing time from the job and the boss," which eventually equals "getting fired" with cause. (meaning no unemployment) Got it? Work is not a Democracy!

Texting is worse than a personal phone call. Have you even been in a retail store (i.e. Starbuck's. McDonald's, etc.) and seen an employee texting? How do you feel? While your BIG MAC is sitting there getting cold, and well, at Starbucks, you just expect to wait for expensive coffee.

I understand that these companies have "no texting" policies... so don't write me. But why don't they take their cell phones to the door? Do managers at these stores ever look at the tape from the cameras around a Starbucks, McDonald's, Target, or Wal-Mart? Never mind the shop lifters, just look at the employees stealing time from you by being on the phone... or texting.

Well, enough about my shallow thoughts on texting. Katie Couric is the editor for the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, which means she actually selects and helps create the stories. Couric picked a winner last night. Before you start rolling your eyes and telling me that no one watches Katie on the CBS Evening News, I want to take a stand. I have to admit to watching Katie on NBC's Today Show show for many years.

We are the same age. Her husband died of cancer the same year my mom died young from cancer. She is reported to be smart, frugal, and real. Dan Rather was an obnoxious bore and Brian Williams is great (but lucked out). I have to confess that Charlie Gibson was my first studio boss when he was one of the hosts of "ABC's Good Morning America" in which I was a frequent unofficial contributor on workplace issues. This was before they made it a real position, and felt they needed a woman.

Charlie Gibson coined my nickname when he introduced me as Stephen Viscusi, "America's Workplace Guru." So, I owe him, respect him, and watch his news as well as Katie's. (Well, with a little help from TIVO, that is). Besides Charlie is on vacation.

(BTW -- a little inside scoop: When I last did an ABC news segment, it was for the "online" division" for the studio above Charlie's, and you have to take a stairway down to his ABC news studio. I had acknowledged Charlie Gibson for giving me that nickname in my book, so one of the producers went to bring him a copy. It ends up that modest Charlie Gibson had (at least when I was there last) an armed guard. Yes, one guard with a gun. I was wondering what it was like to report as President Obama's guest at his town meetings while you an anchor, has an armed guard? Interesting right?

So back to Couric. BTW, sorry, this report goes way beyond losing your job. It has to do with losing your life, your children, and your world. Losing one's job seemed trivial after I saw this report. It's a British film--(not PG rated) made to show the statistics and horror of young people texting while driving.

Kati Couric introduced to us last night the most graphic public service video (it's a half hour video created for teens in England). The video will be like when the baby boomers, of which Couric was one of, saw their first "seat belt," "stop smoking," or "colon-cancer" public service commercial.

Couric's new story last night, is just us at the beginning. Yes, I have been telling Americans that texting is the fastest way to lose your job. But, I had no idea that while driving, it was also the one of the fastest ways to lose your life!


You're always welcome to write me with your career dilemmas, and I'll answer you on this column. Follow me on Twitter @ Workplace Guru and add me on Facebook or email me at: stephen@viscusi.com. Disclaimer: The scenarios and events portrayed in this article are products of the author's imagination. Stephen Viscusi. All rights reserved. Article can be duplicated in part of full without author's permission.

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