Friday, April 30, 2010


Stress walked into the room this morning and sat down on the couch.

I was already a bit grumpy due to the fact that I had to be up early this morning and had not gotten a great deal of sleep anyway. Fantastic, I thought: just one more fabulous way to start the morning.

"So how's it going?" Stress asked in the rising tone which indicates a person knows very well how its going as he stretched out, nearly knocking over my coffee in the process.

I grimaced as I rescued my coffee from nearly going over. "Fine, fine" I said. "To what do I owe the honor of this visit?"

Stress smiled broadly again. "Oh, nothing I suppose. You've just been spending a great deal of time with me lately in work, in not sleeping, in your personal life. I just thought that with all this time, we should probably just make a day of it."

I looked at the clock and sighed. I did not have time for this along with everything else I had to do today. "Look", I started, "today's a bit much for me and I'm really not going to have a lot of time to speak with you. Anything in particular, or just your usual 'Hey, the world is ending' routine?"

Stress smiled languidly. "I'll not be that easily deterred. You're under a lot of stress right now. You're eating up your personal life to make other parts of your life work. It's good for me, of course, because I thrive on this stuff. I actually just stopped by to tell you to keep it up."

I started to rebuke him, then stopped. He was right, of course: my entire personal life, my spiritual life, my family life, my romantic life - all of it was becoming sacrificed to the great tyranny of the urgent and stress.

"Leaving me with what?" I said out loud, forgetting anyone else was in the room with me.

Stress smiled again. "Oh, with nothing really - except me, of course."

He slowly stood back up. "Guess I'm done here" he remarked as he stretched back and forth. "Hopefully I'll see you again today. Maybe not."

And with that he was gone, leaving me to mull over my life through stress's prism as seen through a half warm cup of coffee.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thought for the Day

"Grant me, Lord, to know all that I should know, to love what I should love, to esteem what most pleases You, and to reject all that is evil in your sight. Let me not judge superficially by what I see, nor be influenced by what I hear from ignorant men, but with true judgement to discern between things spiritual and material, and to seek Your will and good pleasure at all times and above all else." - Thomas A Kempis, The Imitation of Christ

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Self Death

"There is hardly anything in which we have such a need to die to self as in seeing and suffering things that are contrary to our wishes, especially when we are ordered to do what appears inconvenient and useless." - Thomas A Kempis, The Imitation of Christ

I have been slowly reading my way through The Diary of David Brainerd, Missionary to the Indians (1718-1747). He was a contemporary of Jonathan Edwards. The diaries were edited by Edwards after Brainerd's death (likely from tuberculosis) at age 29. He dated his conversion to an event at the age of 21, so he had only 8 years of service (and life).

To read his diary is slow going, both for the denseness of the text as well as trying to actually absorb it. What emerges (at least what emerges so far) is a man who was passionately in love with God, hyper-aware of his own sinful nature, and often very depressed. Yet in spite of his sinfulness and depression and the conditions under which he labored (literally in the forest in 18th century colonial America), he stayed faithfully at his post until he literally could no longer serve.

I juxtapose this with the above quote from Thomas A Kempis because it seems to represent the other side of the same coin. I have often talked and thought about the concept of dying to self but don't know how to do it; here, A Kempis shows one of God's primary methods of doing it. By seeing and suffering things contrary to our wishes, by doing this which appear inconvenient and useless as commanded by others, A Kempis suggests that we are building up our ability to die to what we want in a practical fashion.

It's not that it sounds pleasant, nor is it from my experience. But that does give a different slant on things that occur in my day: maybe the purpose of at least some of them is not so much that I accomplish anything because of them but that I embed in my character how to die to self - so that in some greater circumstance (the extreme being Brainerd), such things will not seem so onerous or undoable but merely an extension of what I have already done.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Happy Birthday.

This is one of the oddest birthdays I can think of - for no other reason that more than any year previous, it simply feels neither festive nor like a birthday.

(Yes, I'm aware it's 0545 and things seldom seem festive then).

Maybe it's related to the fact that my life has been overwhelming both in terms of sheer volume of things to be done and my relative lack of enjoyment of most of it. Maybe it's due to fact that I'm grappling with the fact that everything I wanted to do seems out of touch and out of reach now and there's nothing to really fill the vacuum. Maybe it's because every day is becoming more and more a repeat of the one that went on before, so that one is not so much living life as marking time.

Maybe it's because Tuesday's are the least festive of all days of the week to have a birthday on.

I'm not sure, and possibly there is no good reason. What I do know is that of many of the birthdays I can remember, this one seems the least fraught with the expansiveness of possibilities of another year.

Monday, April 26, 2010


I made a decision yesterday.

It was not a truly significant one: after months of having to borrow a mower, I decided to go out and buy one.

The decision was made as I stood at our neighbor's door, knocking to borrow the mower (again). I suddenly made the decision that I wasn't going to borrow anyone's mower anymore. And back to the house I went to go out and buy one.

It felt good, making that decision. And then it hit me: my life is a series of not making decisions.

When asked, I defer. When pressed, I demur. In all cases, I tend to not make decisions rather than make them, even in such non-threatening things as lunch.

Where does this extreme reluctance to make decisions come from? Admittedly I've never been a great decision maker, but this has reached the point of insanity.

On one hand I'd say it was The Firm. That was a decision that I made - and the repercussions of it still continue to echo through my life. If anyone desired a case study of "Decision gone bad", that is it.

The other one is my fear of not doing what God wants me to do. This is an even longer running saga between what I perceived was my calling in my youth (Ministry) and where that led me, which was anywhere but. I have always feared that by choosing something, I would choose the thing that I was not supposed to do. What this tends to breed over time is not just a looking to God for direction (which is good) but a slavish reliance on signs - any kind of sign - whether a decision is the correct one or not. One starts looking for flights of birds or the slant of sunlight or even the voice in the night. Again, taking too far this leads to constantly waiting on others to indicate action.

So how does one overcome this - because it felt so yesterday to make a decision, so empowering and visceral and in-control? The secret, it seems, is simply to do it: no, not necessarily go off and make a life altering decision based on minor circumstances, but just start getting into the habit of making a decision when a decision is called for.

If one makes decision after decision, who knows where it will lead?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Where Have All The Dreams Gone?

The ever supportive Otis and I were having an e-mail conversation this week about the earlier posting (here) involving Himself. Otis' point was that he was in for the long haul, not only to be there but to help achieve the dreams I had.

The whole comment about dreams got me to thinking and pondering - mostly to the extent that I suddenly realized that I don't think I have any anymore.

"What?" you may say in shock. "You? The great dreamer, the great imaginer of many different things? No dreams? How can this be? Is it the result of your apparent mid-life crisis?"

I don't really know - I just know that at Otis' prompting I suddenly turned around and looked and the horde of dreams that used to follow me around were completely gone, leaving a desolate mental wasteland to my mind's eye.

Why have the gone? A couple reasons, I would submit. One, of course, was that many of the dreams I had were just that: dreams, imaginings that could (and would) never come true.

A second reason - not that 's any better - is that the choices that I have made have ruled some of them out. As we choose a career, a marriage, and children, we simply have less original choices available, and many of those dreams become unattainable as we work within the consequences of those choices.

The third reason - and the one that is most bothersome - is that I have simply seem to have given up. Those dreams that I have tried for generally failed. As a result of my choices, I have responsibilities which must be fulfilled. Dreams become subsumed by responsibilities and choices, until one's day, one's week and one's life becomes a long list of things that must be done and expectations that must be met. Any hope one had of changing that seems to grow more and more distant every day, leaving only the dull ache of duty in it's place.

How does one come about new dreams? I'm not sure I would even know where to start. As a child, one acquires them as a result of what one wants; now, it is all hedged with the starting knowledge what one actually has to do in life - which immediately comes up every time a dream is proposed: "Yes, but..." and "That would be nice, but here's what I have to do..."

Have to. Must. Responsibility. Duty. Dream killers all.

So here is my question: What is the catalyst to reawaken the dreamer and dreams? How does live change from an adventure to be lived instead of a duty to be endured?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thought for the Day

"It is a small thing to endure hard words from time to time, if you are not yet able to bear hard blows. The reason why you take such trifles to heart is that you are still worldly, and pay greater regard to men's opinions than you ought. Because you fear their contempt, you do not like to be corrected for your faults, and you take refuge in excuses." - Thomas A' Kempis, The Imitation of Christ

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dreaming Again

Another wretched night: up at 3 AM, last known dream about work, last know dream about work being laid off from work.

This is becoming a trend.

Of the three, I don't know which is the most annoying: The fact that I cannot sleep past 3 AM on a workday (weekends: no problem) is annoying and somewhat physically degrading. The fact that I dream about work is annoying because I do it but it at least is not consciously controllable. The whole "I get laid off thing" - that, I have nothing for.

Something is going on - something inside my head, or something inside my life that I'm either ignoring or not conscious of. How do I figure out what this is? How do I act on whatever I is eating at me?

What am I trying to say to myself? Why can't I hear it?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Friendship and Fish

I've been thinking about Himself again.

I don't know really why. This year marks the fourth anniversary of last contact, and the fifth anniversary of the failure of The Firm. It's not as if I have moved on in time and space from that event, but there it is.

I go through this periodically. I'm not quite sure what to call it: Nostalgia? Regret? A nagging sense of guilt? A restless sense of failure? A need for closure that is not there?

This isn't about The Firm. That has been long closed out in my mind and in my soul - and given the current state of that industry, the fact that I am still not in it has more than likely greatly reduced my stress level.

No, it's more the personal aspect and side of an relationship that (if I live long enough) will arguably encompass 13% -20% of my lifespan. Not many relationships last that long (good heavens, many marriages don't last that long!). A relationship that for many years was the standard against which I judged the relationships of myself and others, a relationship that withstood the test of different locations, different states, different jobs, and different life experiences.

But either could not take the stress of business - or the stress of a friendship with business.

But then my mind asks itself, "If contact were to come, what would you say? 'How's your job going? What are the kids doing?' Be honest, the contact would be no more than reconnecting on Facebook with someone you went to school with 20 years ago." And in that my mind is probably right: there are some relationships that seem to pick up where they left off, even after a long period of time. However, there are others which lie there flopping on the pavement like fish out of water, gasping for air, counting the moments until they can be pulled out of this uncomfortable situation and plunged back into their regular environment.

I used to believe that friendship was a resilent thing, taking time and tide without fail. What I've found is that it is far more like an aquarium fish: pH, temperature, and water quality all affect the quality of it, even though they are not visible to the outside.

What prevents me from going back into that aquarium? I don't know which is more powerful, fear or shame: fear, that I will either be rejected or hear the feedback I don't want to; shame, because of this incessant need to find out why and how and the neediness it may be indicative of.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Deceit of Sin

"If we say we have not sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from unrighteousness." - 1 John 1: 8-9

The thing about sin that I find so amazing (if in fact one should consider something about sin amazing) is the multiple layers of it within my own life, and how easily I am deceived by it.

I can start out with the best of intentions and discover sin lurking there. I peel that layer off, ask for forgiveness, and move on. Right underneath it is another layer, slightly better hidden but still there. Peel that one off and move on. And then, when I think I'm starting to reach the core of altruism, there's another layer, heavily spiced with good intentions and "thinking of others".

The reality is, sin is warp and woof of who we are: it's permeated into everything that we do. Without Christ, the attempt to act with sin is simply that: an attempt, one that will eventually lead nowhere.

Even with Christ it is difficult for the Christian to live on a day by day, moment by moment level without sin trying to run (and ruin) anything. Unless focused, the mind runs away with itself; unless constantly reminded of my true purpose here on earth, I can easily become enamoured of lesser things that lead not to Christ and His glory but me and my satisfaction - all the time vehemently protesting that I am not thinking of myself but Christ.

But for the Christian it starts with what John says above: that if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and have no truth in us. Ponder that for a second: Christians, who say that they follow the truth, can have no truth in them. It's only when we acknowledge the fact that sin by confessing it (for to confess something, you have to know you have something to confess) that we receive the cleansing and forgiveness we so desperately need.

In a way it's a frightening thought: everything I think and everything I do has the potential to be a carrier of sin to myself or others. But at the same time, it's a liberating thought: I have the power through Christ to be forgiven and overcome that sin on a moment by moment, day by day basis.

I need only acknowledge The Truth.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


I spent the afternoon and evening last night reading Beyond The Khyber Pass: The Road to British Disaster in the First Afghan War by John H. Waller. It covers the history of the British in the Punjab and the initial British involvement in Afghanistan leading to the First Afghan War culminating in the virtual destruction of a British Army corps and their camp followers (16,500) in retreat.

The book is the kind of history book I best enjoy: well written, giving the historical back story, showing the many small points and people that went into a very poor decision. It’s also the kind of book that makes one think, both about current events (for obvious reasons) as well as the scope and focus of one’s life.

To read of these characters – British, Russian, Afghan, Indian, Sikh, and wandering adventurers – and to read of their plans and goals and dreams and machinations is look through the mirror of history 160 years. Of these matters of great import – the “Great Game” – where are the nations that played it now? Of those who sought to advance goals and plans for corporate, national, or personal enrichment, how did they turn out? Where are they now?

It gives a moment’s pause in reflection to look upon my own life now, my own aspirations and goals. Where will these be in 50 years? In 100 years? I can tell you that they will be in the same place that the Queen’s Own 44th Foot is today: scattered and buried in the brown earth, forgotten and having no impact.

This may initially sound morbid. It is not. It is a clarion call to the fact that anything we do here on earth that is not mingled with Christ’s purpose – anything – can have no lasting impact in the light of eternity. It is only when we turn our purposes and goals away from ourselves – to “deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow Christ” – that we put our lives into something that lasts. It is the difference between spending and investing in something. In the first case, we receive a good now but that is all; in the second case, we work now to receive something better in the future.

We desire, we crave impact – Christians and non-Christians alike. But we set our sights too meagerly on impact: we only look to this world, the here and now, while Christ wants us to look for eternity.

If I were to truly deny myself – if I were (as John MacArthur writes) to “invest totally in His kingdom, unconditional surrender all rights, retain no privileges, make no demands, safeguard no cherished sings, treasure no earthly possessions, and cling to no secret self indulgences” – and seek my impact and goals in Christ’s, what would my life look like? What would eternity look like?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Demanding Success of Others

"Therefore a skilled commander seeks victory from the situation and does not demand it of his subordinates." - Sun Tzu, The Art of War

How often do I demand that others create my success rather than myself?

Check Spelling
I write this both as a manager and as one who is managed, who is responsible for and responsible to individuals. I hate the feeling myself, when I am expected to perform a task on behalf of a superior knowing that I am doing his or her work - but do I do the same thing to others? And is insuring they get credit enough?

But is that true of my personal life as well - do I want to involve others in my ideas (or, let's be fair, crazy schemes) not simply because I enjoy doing things with others (which is true) but because at worst I want to share the labor or at best I want someone else to do the work?

I would point to things that I do, to projects that I get involved in. Is it something that gets done by me, or is only when other people are "involved" that something happens?

Sun Tzu here seems to be pointing the fact that a great commander gains his victory from the situation, not placing the burden of the success on those reporting to him. This does not mean that the commander does not employ the individuals working for him or that there are expectations from them. What it does mean is that the commander understands the nature of the situation and his goal and uses those to create the victory. It's a subtle difference, I suppose much like the idea of lifting a rock by yourself versus using a lever to do it. You and the rock are the same participants in both situations; the lever changes the situation by moving your success to it rather than yourself.

It's a good thought and one to be cognizant of, especially if you manage others: are you making them responsible for your success, or the situation which you're in? One is tyranny, the other the mark of a great leader.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Writing With No Subject

There are mornings (like this one) that nothing springs to mind or to my fingers as I sit at the keyboard. This is the third time of typing; the previous two got were one or two sentences long, then quietly got deleted with the rapid tap tap tap of the "Delete" key.

How do ideas germinate for writing? I couldn't really tell you. Sometimes they appear in my head the night before; sometimes something I read in the morning speaks to and through me. Sometimes simply beginning the process initiates the winding trail of finding a subject for that morning.

But there are also times - like today - where none of that happens. Whatever part of the brain starts the writing process just sits there looking at me with a dazed expression, as if to say "I've got nothing. How about you?"

Is writing communication or an exercise? It's both, really. I'd like to think that it is the process of me communicating to my theoretical readers things that I find important or useful or even silly upon occasion.

But I have also come to appreciate that it is just as much an exercise, or a series of exercises. It's an exercise in collecting one's thoughts and laying them out. It's an exercise in creativity to some extent, finding something to write on every day. However, mostly importantly (for me, anyway) it's become an exercise in persistence, in 5 days a week sitting down at something and creating - even if it is not good, even if it is not what I had intended. One of the great struggles in my life has always been keeping with something overtime. In some small way, this blog helps me along that path.

So writing, then, is about persistence and keeping a commitment to myself.

Hey look, I found a subject after all.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday Morning

The Morning silence
again invades my senses:
dog quietly snoring,
refrigerator humming,
the slightly humid air slowly swirling.

A cool cup of coffee sits at hand,
waiting to be washed down and then refilled
with the overhot coffee in the pot.

It is a moment of background noise
yet intense quiet, the day waiting to begin:
a welter of thoughts and actions struggle
in my consciousness trying to get out and take action
before their time.

But I will sit here, at least for a few more minutes,
enjoying the peace that is not silence
and the state of relaxing
before the coming storm.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


So I have this problem with gossip.

Mostly, it's at work. I am a junkie for information, for data, for theories, for then taking all of that information and working out grand schemes about people and policies and directions and motives. I collect data like some collect baseball cards: carefully filed away by player and knowing the statistics on the top twenty cards.

And I use it. I use it the way nerds in high school use magic tricks to gain acceptance, demonstrating my industry experience, my knowledge and my ability to call a person or situation as a freshman would make a handkerchief disappear. It buys me currency in the realm of popularity and solidarity against those who often (it feels) treat me poorly or have my fate in their hands without any consideration of me.

But is it right?

The acid test is this, I suppose: Would I mention that information if they were in the room? Not the "Oh sure, in my mind I would do it (wind blowing in hair, courageous music playing in background) but "Would I do it and feel good about it if they were in the room but out of my sight (no wind, no music, just piles of paper and fluorescent lighting)?"

Done too long, this becomes an acidic canker in the soul, always eating away at every perceived intention and comment, carefully weighing words and motives to put them in the worst light or the light which is most helpful to my theories, not the reality - until one reaches the point that all motives and all theories are suspect except my own.

I was reminded this morning of 1 Peter 2:18: "Servants (employees, in this case), be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the kind and good but also to the harsh." Submissive, among other things, is not engendered ill will among others. Paul goes even further in Chapter 3 of Colossians by stating "But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth" (verse 8). It's as if Christ was whacking me over the head, saying "Does this engender respect of your leaders of work? Does this build a more cohesive work environment, or one where you get to be the most popular at the cost of the respect of others?"

And that most damning question of all, "Is it Christlike?"

I'm going to try an experiment: for one day, I'll say nothing involving gossip or negative language about my work situation or those in it. One day. Perhaps not much, but maybe it's a start.

Monday, April 12, 2010

What is Personal Growth?

So what is personal growth?

I'm 631 posts and 5 years into this blog plus 20 years (this year) of journaling, spending a fair amount of time looking into my life and the actions around my life. Am I any better or different for having done so?

I don't know. I certainly don't feel like it - more that whatever changes have occurred have taken place as a result of circumstances I've been rather than some conscious choice to change or improve.

It hounds me a bit because my pits and flaws and failures only seem to become more self evident to me, while the changes and improvements made seem few and far between and hardly noticeable at all. Any effort to try more almost feels doomed to the same sense of failure.

Which is why I bother to ask the question at all: What is personal growth? What are the signposts, the roadmarks, that indicate that progress is truly being made? Am I truly as stagnant as I feel, or is there evidence that such growth has occurred, even if it is not visible to me?

Do I have too great a hope for personal growth or change? Perhaps I'm laboring under the illusion that it will be like high school or college, where change was swift and felt as such. Perhaps the very nature of change is more subtle as one grows older, not that it is not present.

I'm not sure - all I know is that for all my jottings, I should feel, I don't know, different.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Bang Your Head

I have been mulling over the night Otis's comment from yesterday post. I include the relevant comment here:

"I would challenge you as I have in the past that maybe the reason you are at your current job or industry isn't to necessarily accomplish things on paper as strange as that sounds. Maybe you are there for a different reason. How can you be an influence and as an example to those who you interact with on a daily basis? This can maybe help you adjust your thought process and attitude away from the tasks. Just a thought."

It's a fine thought, and probably a good one. The fact that it makes me bang my head is probably not relevant.

Questions, always questions. If influence is the question, why this situation? Why couldn't I influence people in a situation that I might enjoy more - you know, as a writer or maybe in this industry but not in a pressure cooker? If I'm an example, what am I an example of - how to slowly go mad, or perhaps how to question your career choice 12 years after you made it?

(Banging of head commences)

Somewhere inside of me, I know I should be grateful - as The Ravishing Mrs. TB pointed out, at least I'm not in a job where the ceiling literally collapses on you and buries you underground, and I certainly know the pain of not having a job to go to. At the same time, I grow weary of going to a job that I tolerate not because of some esoteric attachment or even because it's actually doing some good somewhere, but because that's what I do now and the possibility of changing to something else is remote at the time. I would, as I have only a few times in my life, like to get up to go to work with a sense of excitement and pleasure, instead of the dull sense of necessity that propels me out the door virtually ever morning.

If an influence or example, it would at least feel helpful to see some of that in my daily existence, instead of not seeing or feeling the impact - if ever. Probably the only thing worse than spending time in any activity which serves no purpose is the illusion that you spent your time there to fulfil a useful purpose, only to find that you were wrong after the fact.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

The Wan Downslide of the Soul

So here it is, Thursday. One would think that I would be more excited - after all, we've entered the downhill side of the week, we made it through Wednesday, and there are only two workdays left (in a four day work week, no less) until the weekend.

One would think.

Part of this is simply due to the time at work - it's my cycle to work late, so I'm spending 10.5 hours a day work plus the commute time so it easily becomes 12 hours a day, so by the time I get home, have dinner with An Teaglach, put Na Clann to bed, my energy is low. Things I would like to finish or even do seem inevitably to fall off my list.

Another thing that I think is impacting me is the follow-on that always seems to come after I sit down for a goal setting/life improvement thinking session. I walk away from those with great energy and great thoughts, only to get slammed by the reality of my life (and in this case, an extra heaping of work). It seems that every time I do this, I crawl home that evening almost in tears, painfully aware of the huge gap between anything that I would like to accomplish and the reality of my life as it is. The mental discussion with myself then slides one of two ways: either I am foolish to perform those kind of activities based on the realities of life (24 hours in a day, work at least 8, need to sleep at least 7) or I am a failure because I can't do those things so therefore I must lack the will to do them. This will again somehow end in tears and frustration at my life.

The sort of surprising thing that happened yesterday was the thought "Let's just leave it all. Just pick up and go."

A surprising and not altogether happy thought - but it brings into vivid belief for myself the "Mid-Life crisis", that time culturally speaking for American males that they see to go off the deep end, seeking a lifestyle of youth or even something extremely risky or different. Why?

If they are in a version of the same situation as I (and I suspect many of them are), they simply feel trapped by the lives they are in. They've reached the beginning of what are typically the prime earning years, usually are well ensconced in their marital and child rearing relationships, and have many of the accouterments of having worked for years - but come to the screeching realization that the life they have is probably now the life they will ever have, and the thought of another 20 years of living in the same mold is suddenly revealed for the long tunnel it really is.

And so the urge to find something completely new and different, live differently, live without responsibilities at time when they seem oppressively bearing down on the soul of the youth inside of them who was a poet or a writer or an explorer, a desire to taste again (for some length of time) the excitement of discovery or living extemparenously or doing what one wants to do -instead of the rigid schedule, unchanging responsibilities, and drab realities of life.

In their heart of hearts, maybe they grasp that the promise is not there, that shucking large portions of a life they've built for 20 years is neither as simple or as rewarding as it appears and that the damage done by living for themselves is brutal to those around them and probably does not deliver what they are hoping for.


But sitting in the car, commuting in the dark for the umpteenth time to a career of shuffling papers without impact, feeling trapped by the life one is in without the hope that writing a series of "100 things to do before I die" will make difference doesn't really seem to be a viable option either.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Work Dream

Work dreams are the worst. There is nothing less fun than waking up from a dream about work only to realize that you have to get up to go to work. There is very little that is more demotivating.

And this one was one of the better ones. Simply put, I got fired.

Oh, it wasn't that straightforward, of course. The people involved were a combination of individuals I have worked with throughout my career: a coworker from my first job in the industry, an HR person from two companies ago, a Vice President from 3 companies ago, my current boss, and a current coworker.

The crux of the dream was the fact that I was fired.

Fired by my current boss (he was the one in the dream). The ironic part was that he didn't remember that he had fired me and could not remember the reason that he did. One of my coworkers (the current one) couldn't believe I had been fired; the other one (the one from long ago) continued on working on his tasks, even as he had no clue either why it had happened to me.

My last day there, my boss came up to me and asked me if I had scheduled my going away lunch. I looked at him somewhat strangely and said no, I hadn't. He wondered if I should.

I went to HR as my last stop, which was strangely my old college. I struggled to get HR's attention but finally got it; when I told them I was fired, they couldn't believe it and hadn't been informed. They called in the president (my old VP) who assured me that I wasn't fired - show up for work tomorrow. She then drifted off, leaving me to my own devices, to wander back to my home.

Finally, I called my boss. "Why aren't you here?" he asked. "I got fired" I replied. "Fired? No-one was fired" he replied. "When do you leave for your audit?"

At that point I woke up, rolled over to see the clock was at 4:53 AM, and then had that sinking feeling realizing "Hey, now I get to go to work and really live it!"

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Work Tuesday

And here it is, Tuesday.

I am sitting here in the cool overcast New Home darkness, the wind rustling the trees as I mentally and spiritually prepare for the work week ahead. It's a form of willing suspension of disbelief, as I consciously ignore the problems and issues I know await me there.

Which begs the question: is this the way things are supposed to be?

I know, I know: all work, at some level, involves toil and struggle, and I certainly do not labor under the fact that it is otherwise. Still, I have to wonder if this level of essentially ignoring the way things are going to be is the way things have to be - or is this an aberration?

Certainly now, due to contractual obligations, I am not in a position to do anything about it - but I can begin to plan to do something about it.

The interesting thing is that, when I ponder it, every time I have made the determination that I am going to find a new position - truly find one, not just dabble - I have. So much for "I can't do it". The other reality is, I seldom have traded up in my positions. In responsibility, in job function, in the state of the companies I come to, all things tend to be the same. So is the the fault of where I go, or is it the fault of how I choose, what I am, and how I present myself.

The reality is that in any industry, the very best (in the sense of most competent and most skilled) always have employment. It's the second tier, the third tier, that is constantly struggling to find another position, find a higher position - who are trapped.

I hate feeling trapped in a job, that there are no options, that I must stay. It's then that the compromises of character and ethics begin to take place -"I have to do this, or else I'll lose my job."

Not for me - at least, not anymore. I will compromise neither character nor ethics for a person or a position.

The job is replaceable. The character and ethics are not.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Charting a New Course

I've had a delightful time with my parents being here this weekend - although it's been an interesting period of introspection for me.

I'm a man trapped in two places: New Home and Old Home. I find that both of them are holding attractions for me, in different ways: New Home in the fact of what opportunities it has afforded Na Clann, Old Home in the fact that my heart lies in the Ranch.

But in either event, I've come to realize that the possibilities that exist in either - or both - locations are not going to happen unless I make them happen. Doing what I've continued to do will not get me any closer to any of the things that I would like to accomplish. In other words, I've got to work on changing things.

And things within me. I've realized that I'm working for people that are more educated than I, but not smarter. The learning can be had.

My contractual obligations are coming up on their conclusions, and my ability to chart a new course in my career will become open.

The date cannot find me unready to act.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday.

What was Christ thinking as He prepared for this morning, His last morning before His Trial, Crucifixion, and Death?

Was He exhausted as He woke up?
Was His mind filled with things that He still had to do?
What did He think when He saw Judas that morning? Peter?

Was He already walking through the Last Supper in His mind?
Did He hear the snap of the whips, feels the spikes?
As He walked through Jerusalem and saw the Passover lambs, did He think of the task before Him?

Did He already see the glory set before Him?
Did He already hear the "Well done" of His Father?

What was Christ thinking as He arose to die?