Saturday, April 26, 2008


Future business writers:
This has been a very productive semester in business writing. We have done a lot of work and learned a lot of skills that will be useful once we graduate and go off into the business world. I have enjoyed this class and my project group, and I hope you will have as pleasant an experience as I have had this semester.
To give you some advice, I would like to advise you to stay on top of your work. There are a lot of small assignments that don't take long, but make sure you don't let them pile up or they can become overwhelming. Check the class Web site every week so that you don't miss any assignments and lose easy participation points off your grade. Be sure to choose a project group you enjoy, because that makes the work much more bearable and even fun at times. Come to class and participate and you are sure to succeed in business writing.
Good luck and have a great semester!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Ethics Research

Recently in class, we have discussed the significance, weight, and consequences of unethical business writing. Although we all grew up learning right from wrong and that it wasn't nice to lie, oftentimes people slip into such temptations as adults trying to survive in the business world. However, just because people feel like they need to lie to get ahead or be successful or avoid serious issues, the truth is always the best choice.
We have been doing research to find examples of ethical lapses in communication in the real world. My group chose to focus on the true story about which the movie "Erin Brockovich" is based. This story is about a California company that decided to illegally dump chemicals into ponds in Hinkley, California. It didn't seem to be a big deal at first, but after a few decades, the chemicals began to have negative effects on people. Many people and animals who lived in the vicinity of this company died, so people began to wonder if there was a connection to the company. After investigation, it was discovered that the chemicals being dumped into the pond were known to be cancer-causing. In efforts to cover up this incident, the company published and distributed flyers about the chemical, claiming that it was not harmless, but on the contrary, actually beneficial in small doses. These flyers, however, were misleading and inaccurate, both skewing and omitting important information. This situation turned into a huge lawsuit, due in part to the unethical, incorrect flyers and information provided, and it cost many lives as a result.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ethical Lapses

This article was rather informative and enlightening about the issue of ethical lapses in the business world. The statistics related to these lapses in the workplace were much higher than I expected. I was surprised to discover the number of lapses business people claim to have encountered and the frequency of such lapses in the work world. I agreed with the words of Paul Robert, an associate director of some part of United Technologies Corporation, when he stated his belief that ethical lapses hurt the view and expectations people have of the business world in America. I also agreed with him when he commented that "questionable behavior by one employee can demotivate others, and an accumulation of small incidents detracts from productivity and job satisfaction." This is a very true statement. If employees observe their coworkers practicing bad or inappropriate behavior and getting away with it, they will probably be either frustrated by this and lose their motivation, or see the behavior that they, too, can get away with and lose their motivation. So it seems ethical lapses are an all-around negative situation for businesses that need to be addressed, or we will likely see further deterioration of the integrity of the corporate world.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Different Styles of Writing

Writing on the Web and writing on paper have both similar and contrasting features. In both of these forms of writing, brevity is important, especially in the business world. In today's busy world, it is necessary for writing to be concise. Writers must say everything they need to say as succinctly as possible. This is true for all business writing, whether on paper or on the Web. It is also important in all forms of writing for the writer to determine a purpose and audience. This helps focus the writer so that it will be concise and appropriate for whoever will read the writing. One contrast between Web writing and paper writing is that paper writing is generally more formal than Web writing. For example, it is acceptable for me to be somewhat more informal on this blog entry than it would be if I was writing a class paper on the same topic. If I was transferring a piece of writing from paper to the Web, I would want to make sure it was concise and make sure I cited the source from which I retrieved it. I would also want to make sure it was in PDF format (like Angie suggested for our portfolios) so that the document could not be modified or changed.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I left my heart in New Orleans...

Last week for spring break I had the opportunity to go down to New Orleans for a few days with nearly 400 other Clemson students from FCA to do various forms of mission work around the city. We departed from Clemson in the wee hours of Saturday morning and arrived in the Big Easy around 5:00 that night. Saturday night and Sunday found us exploring and experiencing the unique cuisine and abundant culture of the city. On Monday morning, my group of thirteen students set out for the New Orleans Mission, our work site for the week. When we arrived, we were given a list of projects that the mission needed done. The New Orleans Mission is a homeless shelter for the people of New Orleans. They house approximately 150 men each night and a smaller number of women and children. I learned that the homeless population of New Orleans, which was about 6,000 before Hurricane Katrina, is thought to have doubled or tripled since the storm, to a number between 12,000 and 18,000. The mission can only help a tiny percentage of those who are still without homes, but the impact they have in the community is making a difference nonetheless. We originally thought we were going to have direct contact with homeless people, but we ended up doing odd jobs around the shelter. We built cubicles so that social workers can come in to the mission and have a place to meet with the shelter's clients and help them find jobs. We built shelves in a linen closet, patched a hole in the wall of the new addition to the shelter, and organized their warehouse and clothing donations they have received to make things easier to find and access. Overall, we had a very productive week at the mission. We were all sad to see the week end and come back home, but it was a very good learning experience for us all. This was my third trip to New Orleans, and I have learned more and more with each visit. I hope to continue going down there to help out because, although a lot of progress has been made to rebuild, there is still a long way to go.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Article Reflection

This was an interesting article to read. I strive to be honest in all I do and say, so the idea of lying on a resume has not really occurred to me. The article made some valid points. I agree with its statement: "You jeopardize your future when you lie about your past." This makes perfect sense to me, because I have learned over the years, both from personal experience and the mistakes of others, that a lie cannot continue forever. The truth will eventually be discovered. So it seems to me that the best path to take is to be honest. Dishonesty is unfair to everyone. Lying may seem worth it temporarily, but the consequences to which it will lead are far worse than just telling the truth all along.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Presentation Reflection

Recently in class we spent time giving and listening to presentations on a wide variety of topics. Overall, the presentations were very interesting to hear. Our class members shared things about which they were interested and/or knowledgeable, which ranged across a broad spectrum. My personal favorite presentation was done by Michael Wade. He talked about Clemson football, and since he is a football player, he was able to tell our class a lot of interesting information that I did not know before he spoke. He talked about the team schedule during the "off-season," although there really isn't an off-season for football players. They always have practice or weight training or mat drills or meetings or something going on, even when they are not playing games on sunny Saturdays in the fall. I thought it was neat to hear about the football program from a inside perspective. Michael did a good job with his presentation. It taught me something new about something I enjoy.