Monday, March 31, 2014

Dancing With The Sword

Last night I did iaijutsu for fun.

I realized yesterday morning as I was trying to get in some practice before I had to go run to do something else that my entire iaijutsu life for the past year plus period has been completely consumed by my menkyo preparation.  For that period of time I have been focusing on a very specific group of kata, both sword and open hand.  It is important work of course - achieving my menkyo certification is something which I need to do at this point - but the I realized something as I practiced in the morning:  all the fun had gone out of it.

That is a problem, of course.  If we are not doing something we supposedly enjoy for the fun at some level, it simply becomes another chore that we have to accomplish - in other words, the job that we do not really like but know that we need to do.  Our hobbies become our work, and then our life becomes all work with scarcely a moment of joy in it.

So in the evening I went out for fun.

I bought myself Pompeii by Bastille, geared up, took my shinken,  and went outside to practice.  We had some kind of front blowing through so the wind was whistling around my hakama.  Drums and chorale arrangements around head, the sky completely dark without a hint of the moon, I danced with the sword.

I made certain that I did not of the kata which I am currently learning.  Instead I practiced other kata I had learned or made up my own, practicing cuts and putting them together in ways that are probably as impractical as they are fun.  Back and forth, blocks and cuts and footwork, music soaring me away with the wind.

I probably did not accomplish anything formally wonderful last night.  My menkyo certificate is probably no closer than it was before I started.  But for a time I practiced the sword for the joy of practicing the sword, at least in my imagination letting the music chords lift me in the cutting and thrusting to the swordsman I always see in my dreams.

It was wonderful.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Decisions

The Fork in the Road
looms faster than I wish it,
but it still is there.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Hammer Fall II

So it happened again, like it did here.  Hammer Fall.

Fortunately (and I use that word advisedly) I was spared as were many of my coworkers.  But if you work in any industry, you know the drill.  Some were not.  Some were friends.

The internal workings of the mind seem to be the same, interestingly enough.  First the curious thoughts of seeing certain individuals where they shouldn't be.  Then the rumors start:  maybe a call.  Maybe an e-mail.  Maybe actually seeing someone.  And the Fear starts.

What is going on?  Is it us?  Are there more?   Who are they?  Are they done?  Perhaps an e-mail comes out but that does not always relieve the stress - this was not really known before, who knows if this will truly be the end?

One finds out what one can of course and tries to at least communicate to calm a department.  Yes, this is happening.  No, I do not know who all is affected.  Yes, there will be a follow up meeting.  Yes, we will sort through it at that time.  No, I did not know.  Until then, just carry on.

And then the  meeting.  obviously emotional.  The most uncomfortable kind of meeting.  Silence.  Ironically it is in the same room as where most meetings happen, so in the midst of a very somber tone the faint echos of happier times rebound in the back of one's memory. 

Someone speaks, Someone else speaks, the same.  Rationale and reasons are given, new direction vaguely discussed (the fallout is not fully understood), and the inevitable "Are there any questions?" is asked.  Utter silence ensues.  Someone coughs.  Lots of looking around at the ceiling, the floor, each other - and maybe towards the individual who asked that question, even as the eyes are carefully shaded to avoid making contact.

The day is pretty much shot of course.  One tries to accomplish this or that but it always seems to come back to that single question:  What next?  And how does it impact me?

I cannot know the future and would not guess if I could.  The only thing I can accurately say is that having been through this before there will be a changed environment when I get back.  Like it or not, realize it consciously or not, everything will be underpinned by the slightest sense of what happened.  Holes in lunches will be noted.  A lack of names on e-mails will be a constant reminder.  Above it all, the uncomfortable reminder that  bad things can really happen to good people - and the unfortunate knowledge that we can do little to prevent it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Animal Person

So I am an animal person.

I would love to have some land, something where I could have livestock (sheep - sheep have always attracted me for some reason - or maybe goats, but that would be for cheese) and poultry (chickens - I love chickens).  Alas, this is not my life at this point in my history.  So we make do.

Our current menagerie is one bird, one hamster, one dog (Syrah the Mighty), three rabbits, and two guinea pigs.  I have to admit that my routine with them in the morning has become one of the highlights of my day.

I have a circuit.  Start with the guinea pigs (they are new to us, but our previous guinea pig was the same):  carrot, check food, hay.  For these little guys I like to pick them up and hold them a minute to get them used to us.  Then on to Bella, the first rabbit, who already has her head stuck out of the cage.  Food, Cheerios, hay and the occasional carrot for her - although what she really wants is the attention, so we spend a few minutes getting pets.  Then to the hamster, who is gnawing at the bars of her cage.  She likes Cheerios one at a time:  pulling them out of my fingers, she gnaws them down delicately and stuffs them in her cheek.  Check on the bird, usually who just needs a little bird seed and water.  Bella wants another pet, so spend a few minutes petting her again.

Then to the other rabbits, Midnight and Snowball.  Snowball starts running around in his cage as soon as he sees me; he wants out.  I let him out and he immediately starts hopping around me, wanting to climb up on my leg.  Midnight is more sedate:  she wants her carrot.  I offer it to her and she immediately pulls in from my hand and starts eating.  Often I will hold it in my hand to prevent it from falling through the cage; she eats, an act of trust with my hand a few inches from her throat.  Snowball is still hopping around for attention.  I load up their food as well - food, hay, Cheerios, and another carrot for Snowball - then pick him up.  He is happy for the attention, gratefully sitting in my arms with his eyes closed.  Sometimes he will look up and me and sniff my nose, his whiskers and breath tickling my face.  Midnight will also occasionally come over as well and want pets as well so I sit crouched down and balanced, a white rabbit in my lap and a black rabbit at eye level who is grateful and licks either my hand or the edge of the cage, whatever is convenient (little known fact:  rabbits lick as a sign of affection).

The dog, of course, is always happy (black labs are).  She knows when to ignore me and when to follow me around in hopes of a small snack - and she certainly knows when it is time for a walk!

I like animals - in fact, I seem to like them a great deal more than people.  They are peaceful. They go about their lives.  They have small mannerisms and gestures I have come to know.  And each, in their own way, knows how to show affection.  They fill my life in a way no people seem to be able to.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Overwhelmed and Gritting

Yesterday as I drove into work I was completely overwhelmed by the amount of work that I knew was waiting for me as I exited the car.  Nor was I to be disappointed as I actually walked in the door:  96 e-mails; 1 major audit; and people running me down as I went from place to place asking if I had a moment or two to discuss something with them.  By the time the end of the day had come around I was completely drained, driving home almost in a stupor.

The more I seem to try to the more I seem to be completely overwhelmed by everything that has to be done.

For one brief moment I played with the idea of extending my hours just a bit in order to complete some stuff.  That is fine of course, except it violates two of my fundamental rules.  The first is that if companies regularly depend on employees to work overtime to complete regular tasks they have not appropriately resourced.  The second is that working that much is seldom if ever is recognized and really does not result in any actual improvement.

I really wish I knew what to do.  Gritting my teeth and carrying on seems to result in precisely nothing except more gritting of my teeth.  Yet I cannot seem to think myself outside of this career box that I am in - every time I think of another industry or even another career the answers return "Oh, that will take too much time"  or "You cannot really consider doing something else at this point" or some such thought of this nature.

Interestingly I have been down this road before.  I know the sense of being overwhelmed by work and feeling like the meetings and due items are overwhelming my ability to perform them or even live a life I am happy with.  It seems that every time this happens, something suddenly turns and I am on to something else.

So maybe that is the lesson to take from this:  if I am feeling this way and these things have happened in the past, they are likely to happen again in the future.  Maybe we really are reaching a turning point.

And maybe at some point that gritting of teeth will turn into a smile.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Separation From The World?

"In weighing this question he (George Muller) was impressed with seven reasons or motives, which lead him to these tours....6.  To promote separation from the world and deadness to it, and so to increase heavenly-mindedness in children of God; at the same time warning against fanatical extremes and extravagances, such as sinless perfection while in the flesh." A.T. Pierson, George Muller of Bristol:  His Life of Prayer and Faith

I have been increasingly aware of the fact that I am seemingly becoming more enamored of the world and engaged in it rather than less.

If I look at my life in the intervening 10 years - and it has been quite a 10  years stretch - I find myself increasingly enmeshed in the things of the world rather than the things of God.  Can I honestly say that my life increasingly a testimony to God, that I am growing in holiness and becoming dead to the things of the world?  Or, as seems more apparent, am I becoming increasingly more a part of this world rather than less of this?

Are my entertainments and interests more of God or of the world?  When I seek to spend time, is the first thought to improve myself or merely to entertain myself?  Am I leading my family more towards God or less?  Am I mistaken more for a follower of Christ or just another person that is working their way through the world, a sort of fellow traveler?

What I do not seek in any of this is that uncomfortable disapproving holiness that makes people self-conscious and too often is an impediment to the Gospel.  What I am seeking is fruit of a believer in Christ, fruit which I should be seeing.  Fruit which should be the outcome of a life of separating myself more from the world and worldly amusements rather than seeking them.

Am I willing to pay the cost?  Am I willing to cut off those things which do not edify - perhaps not that they are intrinsically bad but rather that the prevent the better, the life of Christ in me?  Or when Paul calls us to be in the world but not of, do I merely look at it, consider it another unattainable perfection, and simply carry on? 

Ultimately how serious am I about Christ and His mission?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Foregoing Facebook

So I'm thinking about taking a Facebook break.

I like Facebook.  I have been able to meet and catch up with a number of wonderful people.  I get to see pictures, I get to post pictures, I get to laugh and cry and support others - and get support.

But two things have come to my mind recently.

The first is that Facebook is becoming a crutch for me in the sense that if fills that need I have for approval.  How many times do I check on my phone or at home a day to see if any one has responded to my comments or mentioned me in a post?  Answer:  A lot.  A lot more than I should be.

The second is a lot more prosaic.  I once again veered closely towards engaging in a politico/religious/ethical commentary.  I have learned long ago that such things never truly go well.  One never convinces another on Facebook of the rightness or wrongness of a position.  All one does is create arguments, raise one's blood pressure, and alienate others.

And so, a foregoing.  Perhaps not a total foregoing - I find that people have been uplifted by my posting of inspirational quotes. And certainly the picture function is useful for family and friends who are not here.  But beyond that, time to take a break.  Make my entries and leave.

It is a little crazy to me that I am having the conversation with myself at all.  5 years ago I had barely heard of Facebook - now, I find myself having to tear myself away from it.

But it is so much about me and my - what do people think about my posting, my picture, my thoughts.  Are they paying attention to me?  At this time of the Christian calendar called Lent, is this not another way that we can somehow deny ourselves?

It seems - to pick up on yesterday's posting - that I have a problem.  Time to deal with it now.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Resolving Problems

I do not like to deal with problems..

Oh, I know we have discussed aspects of this before.  How I like to keep my options open.  How I like to think that I have multiple choices and do not want to fence myself in with any one.  But this week - literally yesterday - I came to another conclusion:  I do not like to resolve my problems.

I do not.  I would rather let things ride, hoping that they will work themselves out.  In fact, I will go to great lengths to avoid having do to something in the expectation that events will work themselves out.

This is occasionally true, of course.  Sometimes things get better.  Sometimes the rattle goes away or the calcium deposits dislodge themselves from the water valve or the cut heals.

Sometimes.  But not often enough.

The reality is that most of the times problems do not work themselves.  They simply become worse.  Because nature of problems is that they expand, not contract.  Why?  Because typically they represent an aberration in the functionality of a system or process which have been caused by factors that are resulting in the problem.  Without eliminating the factors that caused the problem the condition will only worsen, not get better.

So why do I refuse to deal with such things?  Why do I turn my face away, hoping in hope - often the most vain of any exercises - that something will get better?

Because (if I think about it) dealing with a problem actual has costs and consequences. It can mean time.  It can mean money.  It can most certainly mean that you were wrong about the way you were addressing the situation and that you need to change.  Most importantly, it means that you are actually taking responsibility for the problem, that you will become the point person for resolving the issue.  It is far easier to merely sit back and hope that the situation resolves itself - or hope that someone else will see the issue and try to resolve it themselves.

But no more.

My problems - all of them - are not going away by me hoping that they will.  They will only get resolved by making a decision and taking action - indeed, taking responsibility - towards their resolution.  In some real sense, it means growing up and realizing that you are the one that has to resolve them, not somebody else.

Problems happen.  But resolutions will not necessarily do so - unless I make it so.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Weight of Sin

Most of the time we are very comfortable with our sin.

Sin becomes something that we come accept as do the weight of clothing on our bodies, a thing that we wear every day and so it no longer becomes something remarkable.  Certainly there are times when it may wear a little uncomfortably, as with a shirt that has something which is scratching us, but we either cut out the offending item or just adjust it to a different location.  In fact, we become so comfortable with it that sometimes we even seem to forget that it exists.

Oh we know that it does.  Sometimes we do something or see something and realize "Hey, this is a sin" - but most of the time we find a way to shift it around until it no longer bothers us or merely accept it as part of our human condition, say a short prayer for forgiveness, and carry on.

But occasionally we are brought face to face with it.

This usually happens when there are consequences to an event which we had not anticipated or not foreseen - the real outcome of the actions of course, but something which we never believed would happen.  Suddenly the rawness and evil of sin is revealed to us in all of its horrible glory. 

The worst part, of course, is that sin cannot be undone.  The actions are complete, the outcomes now transparent to ourselves and anyone in the know.  The thing we believed was a light weight to be flicked off suddenly becomes the stone we cannot move; the thing that we thought "everyone will understand" is demonstrated to be excuses of our own making for our weakness or inability to face reality.

It is then we realize that what we believed to be light or of little importance was only so because we thought it so in our minds.

Is there a remedy for this?  Forgiveness exists, of course, but forgiveness does not eliminate the outcome of the actions that we have taken. Unlike clothing, merely removing it will not undo the consequences of it.  We can work to make things better - fill the gaps of our lives, seek to reveal and strengthen the weaknesses we have found, ask for even more grace - but perhaps the greatest thing we can do is simply this: recall the feeling that we had the moment that the sin went from something we thought was weightless to something that found had the weight of a thousand suns, and resolve to never go there again.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Powerful?

I was out throwing sheaf with The Viking last night.

Monday nights are for heavy sheaf, whereby one takes a fork (a modified pitchfork with either two or three tines), inserts it into a 20 lb burlap bag of twine (mimicking a bag of grain) and tosses it for height.  In our class we use 16 lb bags in competition; 20 lb bags are for practice with the heavier bag to get our form right.

Coming from nothing and working with a great sheaf thrower (who has world class in him to my belief) he has helped me make incredible process.  He has helped me correct my form, fixed my grip and worked on my timing. 

But my sheaves still do not fly.

Oh sure, they can get 14 or 15 feet, but that is it.  Hardly the sort of thing I will need to be a better competitor.

Night after night we try.  Night after night I fly to the height I fly to. He has even commented that my 20 lb bag flies as high as my 16 lb bag..  Night after night we toss.  Night after night it flies low.

Last night, watching me after I had done something to my timing, he said "I know you are powerful than you think you are.  I have to find a way to drag it out of you."

That thought triggered a cascade of words and feelings as I let them roll over in my mind.

I do not typically think of myself as powerful.  I think of myself as, well, me.  Sort of in the background.  Competent in a sort of general way, but certainly not to the level of the A class of any activity or sport. 

But how much of that is self limiting. How much of that is as much the fact that I do not believe it, that I may hold myself back (consciously or unconsciously) as it is the fact that I do not have the ability?  How much of it is me seeing the problem or opportunity, thinking that " I cannot", and then just turning aside to the lesser course?

I believe that within me are abilities and energies of a far greater capacity than what I can drag out and use on a daily basis.  I know that they are there.  I know that, somewhere down deep inside of me, I am powerful, even though it often feels like the world and those around me do not see it - or do not believe it is possible.

The question is how do I get this power out?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Friday, March 14, 2014

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Moving Slow

Moving slow this week.

This is the Spring Break in our neck of the woods (The Holiday formerly known as Easter Break), where na Clann have the week off.  One of the unlooked for benefits of such a week is that my commute is drastically reduced as apparently over half of the people commuting in New Home are not trying to get to work this week.

The practical outcome of all of this?  My mornings have been getting later.  I write this to you know have rising less than an hour ago instead of the typical two hours that I would already have been up before writing this.

It means I am not getting as much done in the mornings as I typically would like; for example, my reading and other writing input has really taken a productivity plunge this week.  And I do not know that my postings have been up to the usual "standards" I have (whatever those actually are).

Still, it has been kind of nice this week to not have the usual rush of "I need to get out the door" immediately followed by "I am sitting in traffic moving nowhere"  feeling.  There is a certain relaxed sense to the morning which exists even though I still know that work is waiting at the end of my drive.

One can only dream of what such a morning would be like - every morning.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Cold Front

Cold fronts in New Home are something I had never experienced heretofore.

In Old Home, cold fronts were not so much events as they were seasonal.  Everyone knew that around the end of October it slowly grew colder until it was Winter.  Cold fronts were pretty much simply there - at least it felt cold - until March or so when Spring returned.

Here it is a completely  different experience.

Cold fronts come blowing in from the North as if driving by a supernatural fury.  The wind begins blowing until it is raging through the trees, around houses, and through every crack in a fence or gate it can find.  And the wind does not seem to let up:  it just blows and blows as it brings the cold air rushing through and around. 

Even as I write this morning the cold front - it was 80 F yesterday! - continues to blow as it has since I went to bed last night, almost 7 hours of constant wind moving past the windows and past the house.  It makes for a miserable night's sleep of course and woe betide you if you have failed to fully close a gate the night before; it creaks and shakes until, grumbling, someone gets up at 0300 to close it.

Interestingly enough the warm fronts do not arrive with the same sense of zest and power:  things simply begin warming up until all of a sudden it is hot.  It is only the cold fronts that spit their power and rage in the form of wind for hours on end.


I wonder - in my more lonely moments - what such fronts would have seemed like in the 1800's when there was no electricity and few cities, just small isolated settlements or little towns with the wind howling in the trees and the darkness. It would, I imagine, make for long nights and a great deal of introspection.

I will get up from there and prepare for the drive to work this morning, watching and listening to the wind sing outside my car with songs of the frozen north and mountains I cannot see from here and snow laden plains.  I will listen, and I will be glad.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Cowardly and Cold

We are too often a people too cowardly and too cold.

We cry out for change but we consistently remain the same.

We want bravery and honor in the world but reward cowardice and dishonor.

We say our ideals are more important than any money we can earn and then happily sell our ideals out for money.

We desire understanding but never take the opportunity to understand.

We say we believe in equality and discussion and representation but exercise raw power to enforce our will in our way.

We desire others to look out for interests but seek the interests of ourselves above others.

We wish for love but pursue our lusts.

We are nothing that we claim that we wish to be, yet are shocked that things do not turn out as we believe that we should.

We believe that we are destined for great things, yet will not recognize that that which we choose not to do is what will move us towards those great things.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Appalled






As you probably know, I typically do not comment on politics on this blog.  This was a decision I made almost as soon as I started writing regularly as I found that politics tended to fog people's ability to actual discuss and listen to certain issues.  (I found other outlets to put those comments into).  As a result, for at least seven years the fate of political world has gone virtually unnoticed if you just scanned the contents of what I write about.

That is not about to change with this post either; instead, I want to comment on the reactions to a particular political situation and the impact I have seen in the social media.

The situation:  The ongoing soft invasion (I do not see how you can define it any other way) of Ukraine.  The Social Media:  Facebook. 

I admit that am an international relations junkie - so much so that sometimes I find it difficult to disengage my regular life to not follow events.  And I admit that I am perhaps more conscious of such things that the bulk of many people I know.  But it is with a great deal of sadness and shame I conclude that we as a group have become almost completely narcissistic and perhaps useless.

Facebook, as you may know, trends things.  They have also "helpfully" put little news blurbs on the main page now.  The listings?  Social updates:  Bieber meets Selena in Starbucks, death of such and such, someone wins an Oscar.  Not once since the situation started in the Ukraine would anyone have an idea that something was going on somewhere else in the world.

And the postings?  From an otherwise highly interactive and vocal group about this group's rights or that party's failings, nothing.  It's as if the whole situation never happened.

It depresses me deeply.

Why?  Because it is indicative of a malaise that runs through the body social and the body politic.  We have become so trivialized and so focused on us and our little part of the world and what we believe should be going on that we have lost the ability to look at the larger world around us and realize changes there affect us as well.  Oh, many people will argue that we need to be globally active for something like climate change, but we miss the fact that political systems and regimes can have as much impact on our here and now as anything climate based.

Not one person I know has posted anything.  Not one person I know has posted anything indicating solidarity with the Ukrainian republic, the same group that will fall over themselves to post graphics for their own chosen political or social cause.

It saddens me.  It depresses me.  I admit that I am an anachronism, someone that holds that people should living under governments they themselves choose and should be free from inconveniences such as the fear of invasion or economic blackmail.

I admit I am an anachronism.  I am just a little shocked that I should find myself to be so alone in my beliefs.

Friday, March 07, 2014

10 Years Ago

10 years ago I was at the Shepherd's Conference in Southern California.

10 years ago I had just quit my job and was going into business myself at The Firm and was never, ever going back to my last industry.

10 years ago I had decided that we would be moving to a different house.

10 years ago I only had two clann.

10 years ago I lived in Old Home and had no intention of leaving (ever).

10 years ago I was sure I understand God's plan for my life.

BUT...

10 years ago I did not have Nighean Dhonn.

10 years ago I did not throw cabers or stones.

10 years ago I did not practice iaijutsu.

10 years ago I had not written a book (or even a blog post!).

10 years ago I did not know half of the people I know now and my life was not the richer for it.

10 years ago I did not have a dog, rabbits, a guinea pig, a hamster, and a bird.

10 years ago I had not been married to The Ravishing Mrs. TB for 10 more years.

10 years ago I did not realize that I could do almost anything that I put my mind to.


It is funny the difference 10 years can make.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Lent 2014

Another season of Lent is upon us.

The workings of Lent are always a mystery to me.  I feel as if I should be getting more out the experience than I ever do.  Sure, I give up something and take in something else and perhaps add a little bit of extra Scripture and prayer to my daily rounds, but it scarcely feels like something which is impacting my life as radically as I think that it should be.

I know that there are those - especially among the evangelical community - that consider Lent in particular, and the concept of a church calendar in general, as something that is constructed by man instead of inspired by God and therefore a hindrance.  I personally disagree with this:  we have a normal calendar that follows the seasons of the year.  It should be no different for our religious life as well.

And Lent is a good thing.  A time of subduing, of consideration of our sin, of denial of pleasures and luxuries is something that the church often claims we need to do more of.  Lent, that commemoration of the great denial of Christ in the desert 40 days without food or water, gives many a vehicle to do that in a way that is regular, planned, and helpful.

But that still does not help me with the fact that I do not get everything out of it I should.

Should I deny myself more?  Should I seek longer hours in prayer and more time in Scripture?  Certainly none of things are bad in and of themselves, but do they really get to essence of what Lent should be? Or do this just (as seems likely) add another set of traditions and works where they do no good?

If Lent is about repentance and meditation on our sin and unworthiness and Christ's great suffering, what can I do that actually makes this more meaningful?  The answer, at least for me, is as staggeringly simple as it is difficult:  be more like Christ.

Be more like Christ.  Seek to root out the sin in my heart.  Look at the Beatitudes and truly ask "Is this my desire?"  Look around me and say "Am I loving my neighbor as myself?"

Am I denying myself, taking up my cross, and following Christ?

Because here, it seems to me, is the unusual part:  If I would simply do this, I would find that focus is truly on Christ and becoming less of a sinner and more like Him. 

And that, really, is the point of Lent in the first place.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Not Feeling It

Not feeling it today.

We had the potential of a "wintry mix", which could mean that the roads would be iced over.  Na Clann's schools are all delayed two hours.  And so, hoping against hope, I looked at the computer and phone.  Nothing. Work is on as usual.

I feel completely demotivated.

It is like I am in school again, hoping against hope that something intervenes to keep me from going to work today.  Because I really do not want to go.

I have to, of course - meetings are scheduled, deadlines exist, and of course there is that minor thing about salary that needs to be dealt with - in other words, the realities of life do not yield to my minor kvetching about things.

But there is something here, something that I need to latch on to. Something that my brain is trying to tell me - or maybe heart.  Because this feeling is becoming more and more common as I rise up in the morning, knowing that on the other side of the door lies a day which has come to be like almost every other day. 

Ah well.  Delay or no delay, the phone calls and documents await.

Sigh

Monday, March 03, 2014

Job Search 2014

So I am in the market.  This is about as public a declaration I make about such things.

The fact that I state this is not really the point however.  The point - really more of a tip - is how I am going about it.

The idea actually originated in a discussion with Bogha Frois as we were talking about different ways to job search and how it never really felt like one was making any progress.  We always found ourselves nagged by a sense of guilt that somehow we were not "doing enough", even if we could not find anything at all when we looked.

"Why do we not schedule it?"  I suggested.

The core of my idea is this:  there are only a finite number of jobs in any one industry and those are only ever listed in certain amounts - for example, in my industry most jobs tend to get published on Sundays (probably true for a lot of jobs).  There is not really any point in looking every day for the one or two that will get published in that time; instead, better to conserve one's efforts.

But the world is changing as well.  Depending on the state of the industry (and mine is a little shaky, to be honest), one should be expanding into other areas as well.  And what about those independent areas, those part time interests or hobbies that we would like to see pay for themselves rather than cost us money?  Where do those fit in?

And so I came up with the idea of the schedule, a fixed time where I would look or support different areas.  Mine currently looks something like this:

Sunday:  Current Industry
Monday:  Other Industries
Tuesday:  Hobbies/Self Developed Business
Wednesday:  Other Industries
Thursday:  Current Industry
Friday:   Hobbies/Self Developed Business
Saturday:  Hobbies/Self Developed Business

I have left my hobbies/self developed business to coincide with both my Iaijutsu on Tuesday nights (learning to someday possibly, maybe teach), Fridays (when my energy tends to be lowest and thus doing something interesting to me is helpful) and Saturdays (when I can carve out several hours of free time).

What will I do?  For my current industry it is pretty easy:  search the appropriate sites.  This will perhaps take an hour on Sunday, much less on Thursday.  Other industries are more difficult initially as I have to put together a revised resume and start seeing what is out there.  Hobbies/Self Developed Business is the true undiscovered country at this point - when I understand it, I will let you know.

The thing I like about this is that it is a schedule.  Every day I am taking action.  I can now never allow myself to point at myself and say "I did not do a job search today.  I did not not do enough."  Did I do what I was supposed to do that day?  If so, I can happily tell myself to shut up.  I am making progress.

I cannot rely on simple events or the help of those above or around me to make my current situation better - as I have to remind myself almost daily, No One Is Coming.  If there is to be change in my life, I will have to go to it - and go after it with regular, practiced action.  It will not come to me.