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Upsets? Please. These Are Sure Things

March 12, 2012
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It's time to make picks for the final 16 topics in the Workforce Impact and Pop Culture brackets tournaments. Some commentators will laud the favorites and refuse to go out on a limb when making picks in tournaments like these. For example, Ed Frauenheim picked all things Internet to make a big run in the Workforce Impact bracket. Way to go out on a limb there, Eddie. It's like Dick Vitale breaking down the secrets of Kentucky every time he talked in the recent NCAA tourney. We get it, Ed. We got, Dickie V. You like the favorites.
Somewhat less obvious was the stylings of Todd Johnson. Todd took a step back and, instead of picking technology as a favorite in every part of the bracket, identified Women in the Workforce as the big winners. If that seems like front-running to some, consider for a second that women haven't exactly been on equal footing in the workplace for most of U.S. history. Nicely played, Todd.
Me? Instead of telling you the Internet looked strong in the first round, I gave you upset specials, delivering seed-based upsets including WKRP , Outsourcing, Flex Time and Talent Management Systems. That's four correct upset picks out of six. I lost money by picking Clerks to upset Broadcast News (c'mon Gen-Xers) and was robbed when the AARP bused laptops to thousands of retirees in a ballot stuffing exercise to deliver Lou Grant over my last upset pick, The George Lopez Show .
Four out of 6 on underdogs gets me a job in Vegas. On to my final sixteen upset picks.

Workforce Impact Bracket

To be honest, the final sixteen in the Workforce Impact bracket is a high-seed fest. There's not much left to pick in the way of potential upsets. Here's what I came up with:
Email (6 Seed) over The Great Depression (2 Seed): Were you around for the Great Depression? I'm not talking about the one in 2008 when your 401(k) got cut in half – I'm talking about the one in the '30s where people didn't have food. No? Did you get an email from Workforce on Tuesday? Yes? Game over.
That's' the best upset available in the Workforce Impact Bracket. I don't call 2s vs. 3s upsets or 1s vs. 4s. Two vs. 6 is as good as I can do.

Pop Culture Bracket

More fodder at this bracket. KD likes these upsets:

The Simpsons (13 seed) over The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1 seed):
That's a bad one seed, and MTM is up against an opponent that's more like a four seed for this tourney. Homer, Bart and, of course, Mr. freaking Burns. I could go on. The only way I lose this is if the AARP visits that retirement community in Florida that used to advertise on Fox News and forces the old folks to vote for MTM. Now that I think about it, she probably lives there: http://www.thevillages.com/.
WKRP (14 Seed) vs. Erin Brockovich (10 seed):
Not much of an upset seed-wise, but WKRP knocked off a 3 and 6 seed to get to the Sweet 16 led by playmaker Dr. Johnny Fever, scoring from Venus Flytrap, and the dapper-dressed coach, Herb Tarlec. The Cinderella story continues!
Those are the stone-cold locks for the final 16. Pick these three during your time at the casino book, and, please, tip your waitresses.

Let's face itanytime you're doing a March Madness bracket at work, you have two main goals in mind:

1. Never get beat by Sallie (the receptionist), who claims to never have watched sports and picks winners based on which mascot would be the most fun to cuddle with.

2. You need upsets by seed that other people won't get. To do that is pretty straightforwardyou need to find weak high seeds that have tough matchups against undervalued lower seeds.

I can't help you with Sallie; she knows more than you about sports. But I'm here to help you on the seeds on the Workforce Impact and Pop Culture brackets that are in play as part of Workforce's 90th anniversary. I've got three upset specials in each bracket that most people won't get. See below to get the goodness and remember: Your bookie doesn't care about you. He'll break your legs if that's what it takes to collect. Good thing Vegas isn't taking action on the Workforce brackets.

Happy Birthday Workforce. You look pretty good for 90.

The stone cold, lead pipe locks from KD:

WORKFORCE IMPACT BRACKET

Outsourcing (12 seed) over Chavez (5 seed): Let me get this straight, we've got a major workforce trend that almost every family in America has been touched by in some way (outsourcing) over the past decade as a 12 seed? No respect. But good news. Outsourcing is up against a paper lion of a 5 seed in Chavez, who is largely unknown by the vast majority of working professionals under the age of 40. Sure Chavez was important to the labor movement and is held in high esteem by deep, progressive thinkers like Workforce Management senior editor Ed Frauenheim, but can Chavez really match the workforce impact of outsourcing? No. Take the points and look like a million dollars to your friends after the first round of the bracket.

Flex Time (11 seed) over H1-B Visas (6 seed): A close one, but an opportunity to get an upset most people won't have. H1-Bs have been instrumental in bringing some of the best minds in the world to America, where they flock for opportunity and living conditions they can't get in Bhopal and Turkestan. We're happy to have those brains join us to chase the American dream, but they're up against a trend in flex time that almost every working American has dreamed about, and smart companies have actually embraced. Wouldn't it be great if your boss and employer trusted you to get the work done, and didn't really care what your specific offices hours were as long as you were available enough? That's flex time, the ability to figure it out on your own. This one's close, but I like the upset just off the emotion of what people actually want at work.

Talent Management Systems (13 seed) over Jessie Jackson (4 seed): This one is for the selection committee. Putting Jessie Jackson in as a 4 seed is the hoops equivalent of giving an at-large bid to Northwestern and letting them host a regional bracket of the NCAA March Madness. If this was Martin Luther King, there's no upset possibility. He'd run the regional table and be a lock for a trip to the Final Four. He's largely responsible for Title VII and a lot of other good stuff in American history. He'd be the favorite to win the whole thing. But it's not MLK; it's Jessie Jackson folks. A 12 seed for Jessie? Maybe. A 4 seed? The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is a 3 seed; Jessie's a 4? Are you out of your mind? Look at some of the 5 through 10 seeds in this bracket. True, I wish I had a stronger dark horse than Talent Management Systems as a 13 seed, but I'll take it and the upset. Don't let me down ...

Clerks (15 seed) over Broadcast News (2 seed): Broadcast News is a 2 seed? Are you kidding me? Whoever the 15 seed is here has a chance, and that's helped by the fact that this 15 seed happens to be a great movie on working class America, Clerks, with Dante (I'm not even supposed to be here today!) running the stop-and-go store where working America comes to get beer, cigarettes and spend their welfare checks. Also, it's the debut of Jay and Silent Bob, who are unemployable. A 2 seed? Broadcast News? Here's a clip from Clerks exploring the personal politics of using independent contractors to build the Death Star in Star Wars. Game. Set. Match. Broadcast News, please …

WKRP (14 seed) over 30 Rock (3 seed): 30 Rock is a legit 3 seed. But WKRP is the sneaky team full of battle-tested seniors from the Patriot Conference that nobody knows about. There's no film on them, because they're not on TV anymore. What 30 Rock will see when this one gets started is a lineup featuring the following folks who know their role: Lonnie Anderson. For the guys, I could stop there, but there's more. Dr. Johnny Fever. Herb Tarlek. Venus Flytrap. Unbelievably deep talent, and while it's close, WKRP is going to pull it out.

George Lopez (13 seed) over Lou Grant (4 seed): By now you're saying, "Could Kris get any more white, picking against Jessie Jackson, Chavez and H1-B Visas?" But remember, this isn't personal, it's about picking weak high seeds. But, I end with an upset of one of the whitest shows in history: Lou Grant. Look it up on YouTube. If this show were any whiter, it would have a blue blazer with gold buttons for formal occasions, and a pair of gray New Balance shoes for walking. Translationa weak 4 seed. Take the points and stick with George Lopez, whose network TV show was actually good and brought everyone to the tent (Latinos for sure, but white Americans as well) by featuring clean humor, a busybody mom and a smoking-hot wife. Sounds like what we want America to be, and it is. Lopez has a fair 13 seed, and gets the matchup against the weaker high seed. Go with Lopez. Extra points for the episode with the cameo from Tommy Chong.

Kris Dunn is a frequent Workforce Management contributor. He is chief human resources officer at Kinetix and writes the blog The HR Capitalist. He is also the head blogger at Fistful of Talent. To comment, email editors@workforce.com.

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