Dirty Little Secrets

Do you know any “dirty little secrets” related to your work or hobbies or anything else? These are things that are not necessarily always true, but true in many cases.

Example 1:

Small businesses, especially sole proprietorships, sometimes make much more in profits than they report fot tax purposes. This is because they have the ability to throw in many of the owner’s personal expenses as business expnses, and the IRS has no way of catching them. This is basically like a 35% discount on most of your personal spending. Wouldn’t we all like to have that luxury?

Example 2:

Corporate layoffs, AKA “restructuring”, or “buyouts” or “cost reduction programs”. I sometimes help make decisions on these for my company. The dirty little secret is that we primarily layoff middle-aged experienced employees with big salaries while business is slow. We know full well that when business picks up, we’d have to replace them. But we obviously replace them with entry-level low-salaried employees thereby saving the company substantial salary/wage expenses. And to prevent age discrimination suits, we also layoff a bunch of known slackers of all ages.

Speaking as a middle-aged, experienced employee that got laid off a couple of years ago, I have to say that this isn’t really much of a secret.

I agree, except that I know that the media never describes this in the manner that I did. And management would never admit that this is the way it really works. And most people simply assume that the job-cutting occurs for jobs that won’t ever be replaced.

I’m curious, wouldn’t letting a large portion of your older, established and experienced help and replacing them with younger, less experienced people be a detriment to the company in the long run? Maybe not, I’m just curious.

Well, this probably really isn’t that much of a secret, per se, but:

  1. Pretty much any museum in the world only has about 5% of its collection on display at any given time (generally because of space constraints);


  1. That stuff you donated from your great-aunt Matilda? We have no idea where we put it. Haven’t seen it in years. Could be anywhere.

(just kidding on number 2).

No one said that Management is always wise. In many cases, the people that are replaced could probably make better decisions. The real answer is: It depends. I’d rather not get into the details in this thread.

Stake out/surveillance work isn’t glamorous and exciting. It’s very, very, VERY boring.

I hope that isn’t much of a secret, but if I can save just one soul from becoming a private investigator…

Well now I feel dumb, I never knew that! I never even thought about it really. Sounds like incentive for me to go to the art museum more often though. How often do museums change the exhibits?

Medical transcriptionists get to hear every little detail of your medical problems and we often laugh at you if you do something dumb like get your penis stuck in a cock ring. In fact, the doctors often laugh too. Sorry.

And we forward them to our fellow transcriptionists to laugh at, as well.

If you treat your doctor like shit, he/she does let whatever physician(s) they refer you to know about it. In detail.

You know how your physican asks you to do things like quit smoking, and to exercise, and to lose weight, and drink more water, and then you turn around and don’t do them? And then you complain about how “run down and fatigued” you feel? Yeah, that pisses them off. Know what pisses them off worse? When you bring your kids in and it’s obvious you feed them shit and don’t make them exercise and they’re being diagnosed with DM2 at 12-years-old. That gets 'em hot under the collar, big time. They rant about you. A lot. Loudly. To whoever can hear, including the transcriptionists.

You might think you’re kidding, but I know it’s (semi) true. At least, anything donated recently will be well tracked, but the items that your great-aunt Matilda donated 50 years ago are likely gathering dust in a warehouse corner somewhere, forgotten about except on a list stuffed in a drawer that noone has looked at for 50 years.

Corii, most museums change their exhibits 3 times a year, usually (roughly) in conjunction with college semesters, September, January, and May/June. Often 50% of their collections are ‘junk’ and will never see the light of day. Stuff they have to hold on to but will never show. Often items donated by weathy patrons, who also donated large sums of money, and thus they have a ‘reason’ (need) to hang on to it. Sometimes the items could be of interest if they were restored, but there isn’t enough money even in the wealthiest of institutions to restore everything, so the items are useless.

Most registrars I’ve worked with would love to weed out their collections but can’t. And even when they can, the paper work and hoops they have to jump through take so much time and effort that it rarely happens.

One collection I brought into storage at my warehouse included a dozen old moldy horsehair mattresses (among many other items, including the antique bedframes those mattresses went on). It took the registrar over a year to get permission from the board of trusties to dispose of those mattresses. Those mattresses took up a 6x10 area of floor space, at $3 per square foot per month, that was $180 per month. Meaning that museum spent over $2000 storing something they knew they were going to throw away anyway, but had to have all the paperwork in line before they were allowed to do so.

Does that qualify as a 'dirty little secret"?

Mishell said:

Well (and I am generalizing here), most museums have a core display that addresses their main theme(s), which generally remains fairly static over time, with minor revamps as needed, and if they’re lucky a major re-working every 20-25 years.

Lots of bigger museums now have made room available for “Event” travelling exhibitions, that may have bugger-all to do with their core mandate, but sell tickets and bring in people who might not normally go to a museum. Here in Victoria, we have a great example in the Royal British Columbia Museum, which has hosted things like the Ghenghis Khan, Leonardo da Vinci, Treasures of Egypt, etc., exhibits…really neat stuff, but no real connection to local natural or cultural themes. Cost a lot to bring in, but they did bring in a lot of coin, too.

Even smaller museums will try and have a rotating gallery of seasonal or annual displays, usually tied in to a particular facet of the museum’s mandate, aimed at a particular segment of the local population, or an anniversary of an event, or what have you. You gotta market yourself, these days!

By the way, just because something isn’t ever on display doesn’t mean that your tax dollar is wasted, or that you shouldn’t have donated the item; a very important part of our role is to maintain research collections and archives. You want to study development of Shaker milk churns in 18th century Massachusetts, early American copper tax tokens or Zuni fetish items? Chances are there’s a climate-controlled warehouse full just waiting…

And you can always call up your local museums to request a behind-the-scenes tour of the conservation/storage areas, if you’re really interested. They may be short-staffed, but it’s worth a try! Newer facilities are being built with “visible storage,” where you can see a bit more of the collections, even if they’re not officially on display. This works best for big stuff, like at the Canadian Aviation Museum, in Ottawa.

Well, what EarthStone777 is certainly valid: we had a very loosey-goosey accession policy in the “good old days,” and now we do have a lot of plastic bags of bits and bobs that are really of little or no good, interpretively or for research use, but we cannot de-accession.

We are much, much more selective now when acquiring or accepting anything for our collections (not least because we now take the cost of conservation and storage into account!); and a much more detailed paper trail is created–including a full release from from the donor.

It’s something of a standing joke that every National Historic Site in Canada has at least 3 spinning wheels in its back storage room, whether they have anything to do with the story of the place or not–we have one, and we’re an 1890s - 1900s artillery fort! People used to just empty out their attics of “ole timey stuff” and hand it in willy-nilly.

I feel your pain on those horsehair mattresses…can I interest you in about 600 pound of smelly oil-impregnated military canvas?

You’d be surprised how many organizations claim to know how important backups of their data is, and how its a high priority; yet when it comes to budgeting money for backup hardware and software, all of a sudden getting adequate resources is near impossible.

You’d also be surprised how inept IT staff is at operating/administering their backup environment. Until the CEO deletes an email and requests an immediate restore, and he/she discovers the staff is clueless.

I learned that from watching Seinfeld.

LOL! Not my pain, not in the slightest. Remember they were paying me (my company) to store them. Paying prime $$ to store them in a state of the art, climate controlled warehouse when I don’t have to worry about them getting damaged, or having to take extreme measures to preserve them (Like I did have to do with many other items) Wrap them in triple layers of poly bagged plastic, so the mold doesn’t spread to any thing else in the warehouse (and charge the client for time and materials to do it), stuff them into a corner and forget about them. Bring em on! I could only wish all my items were so easy to deal with.

I’ll also second Rod Hill in saying that you shouldn’t feel like your tax dollars are being wasted (anymore than the government already wastes your $$). Most museum staffers are very dedicated to their jobs and do everything they can to make the most of their limited budgets. They really care about the items in their care and in using them to inform and educate the public while preserving our past for future generations.

Ok, museum hijack over. Back to dirty little secrets…

You may or may not know that truckers are required to keep logs of the hours they put in, with federal regulations stipulating how many hours they can drive in any given day, and/or week, thereby guarenteeing they have adequate rest and sleep.

Yeah right…

Many drivers, especially independant owner/operators (who work for themselves) only get paid when their wheels are turning and will ‘fudge’ their logs by showing any time not spent behind the wheel (actually driving) as ‘bunk time’ meaning it counts as sleep, even if they are wide awake doing something else, like eating, loading or unloading their truck, etc. This maximises the time they can spend driving and thus how much money they make.

If I can give you one piece of advice that might save you life some day… Never cut in front of a tractor trailer. They usually keep a larger following distance in front of them because it takes them longer to stop (in the event of sudden breaking on the highway). Many drivers use that space to change lanes, because it’s so convienent. But if traffic suddenly slows, and the truck driver is tired with slow reactions, he’ll go over your compact car like it’s a speed bump.

When an I.T. person tells you to reboot your computer, it’s because he has no idea what is wrong with it and hopes it (and you) will just go away.

I was rather disturbed when, as I sat on a delayed plane on the tarmac at Newark, the flight crew announced that they had been unable to figure out a problem with the onboard computer and were turning the plane on and off again to fix the problem. As an I.T. guy, that sounded suspiciously like poetic justice sneaking up on me.
Certain theme parks raise their prices in response to price raises at other parks, because of something called "perceived value."

In other words, “since we cost as much as Disneyland, we must be just as good!”
Billboard advertising for television shows does not and never has increased viewership.

This has been proven statistically, and yet it somehow cannot penetrate the minds of network marketers. “Friends” sells itself, even in syndication, yet the stations that syndicate it feel compelled to advertise that fact.

Don’t put a lot of stock in statistics. (Not the theory of statistics, but actual numbers quoted in newspapers, magazines, etc.) Both in grad school and in my current job I’ve produced those numbers, and the accuracy is not all that great. There’s usually a fudge factor in there somewhere, and sometimes when you can’t get a certain data point, well, you just put in your best guess. So they’re probably usually around the right number, but if a statistic says 23%, consider that ball park instead of gospel truth.

Court reporters do sniggle at the dumb things people say and do in court. :stuck_out_tongue:

Yes, you could say it was misfiled during inventory, if you consider the locked dumpster as a proper place for some items. :stuck_out_tongue: