Elevator or Everest?


(The new program for making your employees healthy)

Get Your Employees Involved to Experience the Ultimate Challenge and Long-Term Benefits

Following the recent legislation moves, you are supposed to freshen up your office work by persuading your employees to move along more than they usually do.

Here is what we offer: get them to forget about the elevator and climb Mount Everest instead!

As a start, the challenge will equip your employees with pedometers to log the number of steps they make every day, thus taking part in a prize-offering internal competition. Participation in the step-logging initiative will be enough so that they may win a prize, not considering the actual numbers they achieve.

The real incentive, however, will be the virtual climb of Mount Everest. At each stage your employees reach, they will celebrate their conquest by sticking the flag, so to say, and covering a stage of the real Everest climb. The south passage route will be used in that virtual quest, showing photos of base camps, scenery, along with information about the environment and even “current” details, such as outside temperature, the weight of the equipment they are “wearing and carrying” at that particular moment of their climb, etc. Your employees will see a route map where their progress will be shown along the track to the top. And since the Everest climb is not a quest for loners, your division leaders will be able to form teams which will cooperate in the collective task, thus building stronger internal bonds and benefiting from the team spirit in their future work.

Teaming together employees whose actual working stations are located in separate office sections or on different floors, is a possible approach. Thus, Jimmy from “Sales” might ignore the phone when he needs to talk to Mary from “Customer Service” and take the actual steps towards her office. Or, perhaps pizza-loving Pete will decide in favour of Mount Everest and skip the elevator ride to his breath-taking fifth floor, knowing that his teammates depend on his steps in order to reach the top sooner that the other teams.

In addition to the mission accomplishment, your employees will enjoy better fitness, brighter mood and warmer working environment (especially as opposed to the temperature figures they will be “experiencing” on their virtual quest), which, in the not-so-long run, will benefit your company immeasurably.

© 2011 Mariya Koleva

(This is a sample article, and not a real advertisement. Please, do not send inquiries as to the specifics of the program! Thank you!)

Latest outcome of a court saga

That is part of the outrageous outcome of the widely discussed trial of Maxim Staviski,  who in August 2007 caused a road accident where a young man was killed and a young girl was left in a humiliating state of incapacity for the rest of her life,  at least so far. The latest court decision became the reason for the present article. Here is the decision, as reflected in Bulgarian media.

Here is a brief synopsis of the event and what happened in the following years:  At around 19:45 h.  in the evening of 5th August 2007,  near the river of Ropotamo (south Black sea coast in Bulgaria) Staviski (who at the time was the advertisement face of BTV’s campaign entitled “If you have drunk,  get off –  I want to end this journey alive”)  was driving his Hummer (a present for the world champion in figure ice-skating)  over the speed limit and after drinking alcohol (test result –  1.1‰, at 0.5‰ permitted by the law).  As a result of the accident,  23-year-old Petar Petrov from Sliven died,  and Manuela Gorsova,  18 at that time,  remained in a state of coma.  At the end of January 2008 the Court in Burgas announced its decision –  2.5 years of suspended sentence with 5 years period of probation and 4 years deprivation of his driving rights,  where the penalty for such cases provisioned by the law is between 3 and 12 years of effective imprisonment.  Mr. Staviski’s defendants requested the so-called summary proceeding,  for which the court needed to sentence below the statutory period.  As per the court decision,  Mr. Staviski had to pay compensation to the families of the two victims –  BGN 90.000 to Petar Petrov’s parents and BGN 80.000 to Manuela Gorsova’s parents. Information: here.  [In Bulgarian]

Next year,  the Appellate Court in Burgas and then the Supreme Court of Cassation changed the ruling to a certain extend,  slightly increasing the sum of money the athlete had to pay to the victims’  families (here).  [In English.]

And now,  we are presented with the latest judicial masterpiece of a decision –  the victim of a crime (not alleged,  at that,  mind you)  is sentenced to pay the trial costs,  because the court sentenced against her family’s claim demanding that the insurer of Mr.  Staviski pay their daughter compensation for her injury and continuing treatment.  The court’s motives are that the family paid for the victim’s treatment in Israel with money from donations.  In everyday discourse,  that sounds like a popular phrase of a literary character inhabiting the early independent years of Bulgaria:  “You had plenty of cash, so you paid it.” (Bai Ganyo,  by Aleko Konstantinov)

The fact that thousands of people and some companies,  too,  sympathised with the victim and her family,  does not release the offender’s insurers from their obligation to cover her medical costs, say some law-practitioners.   The fact may not,  but that was exactly what the court did.

A day after the publication of their decision,  and the furious public reactions it arose,  the court had to face the music,  so to say,  and make some announcement.  The presiding judge stated that morality rarely has much to do with law.  And so it seems.  Next thing we ask ourselves may be if justice has anything to do with law.  If not,  why care for justice,  or law?

P.S.  It is important to be just to all parties involved,  so here is a summary of their reactions.  Mr.  Staviski was shocked by that decision and claimed he would never demand any money from Manuela and her family (here).  [In Bulgarian]

Mr. Staviski’s insurer Generalli’s position:  They publicly refused to claim any money from Manuela and her parents (here).  [In Bulgarian]

© 2011 Mariya Koleva



(Or could we survive without the mobile phone, the computer and the microwave?)

It seems our life was better without modern technologies because it was simpler. And simple, they say, is just next door to genius. We could argue even further – simple suggests emptiness, which, in turn, suggests freedom.

There is hardly a living person on earth – men and women alike, who would deny that their mobiles tend to enslave them. Remember that sunny Sunday when you were having pancakes with your family, and your boss decided to ask where “that file” was? Or the summer holiday when you were sunbathing, a cocktail in your hand, and the office rang you to come back urgently? Didn’t you dream of the sweet moment when your phone will be out of range, or even better – lost in the deep sea beyond salvage?

How many a businessmen have gone diving in the azure sunny bays taking their mobiles along, in the vain and wild hope they would feed them to the sharks? And you thought Mr. Big Shot was actually showing off with his state-of-the-art PDA, hurriedly asking the steward to tuck it away in a totally useless plastic case he had purchased at a sleek shop on 5th Avenue for a fortune after seeing the advertisement assuring him that the case was completely waterproof! Well, you had better think twice! That gentleman is most probably dying to lose it (or diving, as it were), but needs to appease his consciousness, too. Thus – the fuss. Unfortunately, thanks to the diligently helpful steward the nefarious device is safe. Again. For now. Later, the steward would wonder how come Mr. Big Shot never gave him any tip.

Even without being big shots, we have all come to realise that having a mobile phone shouldn’t mean we are on duty 24/7. Or at disposal, for that matter. Unfortunately, more often than not, it does.

Do you remember when you first heard the word “computer” and learned its meaning? Oh, that surely was a brave new world. We believed so much good would be achieved through computers. Yet, it somehow got twisted. Come on, admit it – when was the last time you actually helped make the world a better place using your computer? How many good deeds have you accomplished, as compared to how many games of solitaire? Not to mention the more complex games, which constitute a whole industry in themselves, requiring better, faster and more expensive computers, designed for the main purpose of … gaming. Not exactly saving the world, is it?

When there were no computer games, children still played, as most of us remember. All we needed were friends, toys, and playgrounds. Now, we have a whole cluster of industries around playing games – each of them requiring and pre-conditioning the existence of another one. Make no mistake. We are being immersed in “modernity” in order to keep spending – money, time, energy, you name it. The gaming software industry requires better parameters in computers, faster Internet connection, and safer virtual environment. Safety requires better protection – both by means of more software and a new branch of law enforcement, especially dealing with copyright protection and online abuse risk. In simple words, it means now we need highly-qualified computer-competent police officers to protect our children at play. Of course, that calls for new legislation and so on – the list continues. And all that – to enable children play online chess with their next-door neighbours! Or chat with their sister in the attic!

Most likely, we could survive without modern technologies. After all, we still remember how to do things the old way. Yet, apart from survival, there is little else we could do without them. Notwithstanding our attitude, reality has changed, and so has humanity… for better, or worse.