Sunday, October 31, 2010

Comfortable In My Own Skin

The mental exercise of looking for a job has left me with some interesting running thoughts as I waited on Friday for a call that never came through - as I have at least two other times this year, the "sure things" that were going to move to the next level.

One of the interesting thoughts is finances. How much money is enough to justify uprooting my family to relocate in the middle of a school year? As much as I make now? More? If more, how much more?

Another of the interesting thoughts is career. How badly do I want to relocate for a career that is okay but not my heart's desire? What position would make it worthwhile: Associate Director? Director? And why do I want that position anyway: for power, for money, for the title after my own on a business card?

The reality may be that I am being reactive to events rather than being proactive towards them.
And by being reactive I mean that I may be making choices based on my interpretation of others about my life than my own.

If I think about the directions of my life in the past, what I tend to find is that they are either other's interpretations of what success would mean that I adopted or a subtle intrusion of my thoughts into that this is what I needed to do to succeed as demonstrated by others. I want to be fair though - I can't blame this process on anyone else but myself. I've made plenty of really poor decisions on my own, squandered numerous opportunities to move closer towards what I truly wanted by thinking only of today and not of tomorrow.

But as the saying goes, that was then and this is now. I am currently in a position where we are somewhat isolated from friends and family with a life that in many ways is going very well indeed. In an interesting way, this period of time is being used by God to clear away a great deal of the mistaken actions and detritus of our former lives. It's hard to be sure, but is definitely creating some space in and around us for better things.

However, in order to work towards those better things, I need to make sure that I don't recreate my former mistakes: that I am proactive rather than reactive. In other words, that I make choices that are reflective of the decisions that I have come to, not the decisions that I think others want me to come to or that I adapt to my life in the mistaken belief that they will do for me what they've done for others.

At 43 years old, can I finally become comfortable in my own skin? Can I finally make decisions and run my life as an individual rather than as compilation of the thoughts, dreams and intentions I think others have about me or adapting the dreams and goals of others to myself?
Can I individuate in a thoughtful path that does not seeing my casting my life off the cliff one more time yet allows me to begin to seek my own way?

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Gut

Speaking with Silverline yesterday, she indicated that she had an opportunity. It was good opportunity, allowing her to go to school while working and getting her out of an unhealthy environment. "But flying home" she related "I just didn't feel right about it. It would allow to do everything I want to do. There was just something about it."

How do we analyze the intuition that we call "gut instinct"? It's a funny thing. Sometimes it can be cast as a view of our own limitations, the boundaries we set up for ourselves. Sometimes it simply a sense of fear of the unknown masquerading as good sense. Sometimes it can be physically related, that we had no sleep or a bad day which impacts our decision making ability.

But sometimes there really is something there.

If I look back on my own life, especially the incidents that I would define as "epic failures", almost without exception I can see a moment when my gut instinct told me to do the exact opposite. It was not always a "Hey, don't do this" voice in my head: sometimes it was a moment of hesitation before the plunge, sometimes it was based on the reaction of someone else who said "Is that really a good idea?" and my inner response of "I don't know - is it?" even as I put on a good face. But that moment was always there - and I can completely picture the scenes in my head to this day (is that because they were epic failures in the end, or that they were significant life events?):

- The moment when I decided to join The Firm.
- The moment when I decided to turn in my notice at work to join The Firm.
- The moment when we had a chance to not buy the new house but decided to anyway.

Interestingly, I cannot think of the same examples for things I did right. I don't have the same vivid memories about gut instincts that worked out for the best. People possibly - people I didn't get involved with and shouldn't have - but not any events or choices in my life that the gut instinct turned out to be a wonderful decision.

Does that mean intuition usually only works for a bad decision, not a good one? Not sure - but I do know, at least in my own life, that when my gut says "Hey, let's think about this a minute" I have enough experience to think reconsideration is a good idea.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

An Opportunity?

I have an interview on Friday.

It's interesting in that it is back in Old State, but not in Old Home.

I'm not really sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, I of course want to do my very best. Current position is driving me nuts - I have now reached the point where I am double-booked during the day, yet somehow we are not suffering from a resourcing problem.

On the other hand, I simply am at a low point about this industry and my position in it. In so many ways, every day feels a little less relevant, a little more like flailing against the machine, a little less like my life is having a significant impact on anything. The thought of taking another job - even if it could be a long term step up, higher paying, and put me within range of family - is much less exciting than it might seem.

And there are so many reasons that I don't want to relocate. Na Clann have really taken to their school and the environment. The Ravishing Mrs TB has made connections personally and professionally. We have a good church. I like the beer and BBQ here.

I'll do my best, of course. At the same time, how do I reconcile a location I like but a job that I do not in a place where jobs in my industry seem scarce?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Linked Verse

Living in the world of Facebook (yes, I have an account; no, unless you already know I'm not going to give it out - part of the wonderful "mystery" of the Internet) I have had the pleasure of reconnecting - mostly with high school friends (interestingly, my college friend connection rate is much lower). One of the amusing - and fun - pleasures I've had recently is engaging in the practice of "linked verse" with another old friend, whereby they type a poem and some part of that gets used in a response to them.

It's fun - both for the creative process involved as well as in seeing what the responses will be. But more importantly, it has allowed me to reconnect with a sort of oddball, intellectually fun-loving side of myself that I don't get to exercise a great deal.

Intellectual exercise and fun. Who'd have thought it?

It also points out the disconnect between parts of my present life and career and what I really enjoy doing. I write these verses for the sheer pleasure of using the language in a creative way. It's not like cranking out yet another "Standard Operating Procedure" or carefully parsing my words for the thousandth time on an e-mail I am about to send. The linked verse may be a bit silly - but in reality, it seems to have more impact and more joy to people than anything I've ever written at work.

Bringing joy through words - what could be simpler? What could be more fulfilling? Why aren't I doing more of this?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Break In Case of Emergency

I took one step towards a new future yesterday.

Right in front of my desk, between my two monitors, I posted a envelope that says "Break in Case of Emergency". In that envelope is a resignation letter with spaces for the dates to be filled out.

Bold? Suicidal? Possibly both. It was initially a mentally exercise to type the letter, an exercise in expressing an embryonic freedom that I am not trapped at my job - yes, I have to bear the consequences of every decision I make, but bearing consequences is not the same as being trapped like a slave or indentured servant.

However, the reality was that changed my day. I suddenly had the sense that I was not trapped anywhere, but that I had a choice (perhaps a rock and a hard place choice, but a choice none the less). It changed how I worked at work. It changed what I chose to work on. It changed the fact that after 8 hours, I simply said "I'm done and it's time to go home" rather than fret about everything else that had to get done.

Can I work better? We all can. Can I be more efficient and dedicated at work? Again, we all can improve. But the way a free man works and the way a slave works are two different things. And the difference is dictated by how we view our position where we work. Are we enslaved without hope - or do we have choice?

The answer to that will determine a great deal about the future course of our lives.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Meaning and Purpose and Self Confidence

"Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose." - Viktor Frankl

"The secret of success is focus of purpose." - Thomas A. Edison

Back to meaning and purpose again. I didn't mean to get here. I truly didn't. However, these two quotes jumped out at me last night and again this morning.

I say jumped out, but really they were there in plain sight. The thing that got me thinking about them was the realization yesterday that I have precisely zero self confidence in my ability to accomplish anything.

Zero, you say? That's pretty extreme.

Yup, it sure is. But as we sit through the Financial Peace seminar, ticking off things we shouldn't do and things we should have done and realizing how badly I got off track trying to find something which substituted for meaning and purpose (and just got me failure and debt instead), I am suddenly overwhelmed (there is no other word) by the sense that I simply cannot bring anything to completion.

There is a sense within myself that I can't. Just can't. Doesn't matter what, just can't. I can list project after project that I started strong in, showed high levels of interest in, then just tapered off.

I lack staying power. I would guess this probably comes from lacking goals and purpose, but goals are often based on some kind of purposed or meaning to them. Mine too often seem to be the thing that has most recently caught my eye or someone else's goals that I think are pretty cool and want to do because it sounds like a good idea.

You've no idea - unless you've lived it - what a weight is on your shoulders when you are overcome by the sense that nothing makes a difference, that you can't accomplish what you set out to do, that all that you are doing is simply filling a wide void that will never be filled.

How do you gain gain self confidence from a position that you can't see anything to the end?

Thursday, October 21, 2010


"Argue for your limitations and they're yours to keep"

What are we truly capable of?

As human beings we are certainly not infinitely powerful and can't do anything - but on a purely physical level, we have individuals who can climb to the top of Mt. Everest without oxygen, run over 100 miles, lift a lot of weight (confirmed record is 1008 lbs), and swim 312 miles non-stop (down the Danube river). On an emotional level, there are individuals who can overcome incredibly negative backgrounds to achieve great things, leave great backgrounds to do significant things, and individuals who just by the fact that they make it through another day do more living than many of us. Individuals have invented machinery, harnessed diffuse light into lasers that heal and manufacture, modified grasses into food, and plumbed the depths of space and time.

So what am I truly capable of?

We tend to underestimate our ability to do things, either physical or mental. Part of it I suppose is attributable to laziness, but part is also due to the fact that we get comfortable - too comfortable in fact. We slowly construct the walls of our lives with creature comforts to make less than perfect life bearable and suddenly realize we've built a home without doors or windows.

Pushing myself is hard - either physically (really hard) or mentally. I too often like to do things halfway and believe that I've "made an effort". Making an effort is good, but it's only a start - one needs to know what one is truly aiming for to gauge the level of one's success.

So here's the challenge: what if, for one day, you lived your life at the edge of your limits. One day. What would that look like? What would that feel like?

If you did it, would you do it again?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Love, Passion, Energy

"What career lessons remain the same as they were 40 years ago when the book was first published?

That's easy. Job-hunting is a repetitive activity in the life of each individual. No one is coming to "save you". You are the one who is in charge of your job hunt, with whatever allies you may enlist to help you. You must take yourself as "the given" and find work that matches you - your gifts and passions, not (as is commonly done) taking the job market as "the given" and trying to contort yourself to fit. And you must ask yourself not what you do well, but what you most love to do, because love gives birth to passion, passion gives birth to enthusiasm, and enthusiasm gives birth to energy. Every employer is trying to hire focused, committed energy, regardless of the field or job." - Richard Bolles, Author of What Color is Your Parachute

As I read that commentary - I think it merits the word insightful - what leaps to my mind is how often I (and probably lots of others) get it wrong. In a way, it's like Musashi's admonition that often we assume that we know how the other side thinks and act accordingly: we assume we know what the market or companies want, and so we create the things that we believe they will want to hear. Our resumes brim over with recommendations of those that review them. We hear how bad the market is and seek to contort ourselves to meet what we think people want. In so many ways, the job search process has become similar to offerings to a pagan god: we walk up to the altar, make our sacrifice and then hope that something happens because it's a mysterious process and we've no idea how it actually works or who we can talk to. We approach the job search and application process from a position of weakness, crouching in fear before a perceived process that we can neither influence nor control, but only endure. And if we are seeking to be that which we think others want, we become even weaker, not have our core person available to defend and excite but only the feeble shadow of "what can I do to get this job?".

Here's the thing (and Bolles is right on about this): if you don't love what you do, you will never be good at it.

You know this. Surely at every job you've had you've worked with people that were there at least physically but not mentally, who gave a certain level of effort and that was all, who simply never sought to improve at all. Yes, environment and management policies and lead to this but the reality is that good skilled people come out of lousy work environments all the time. It's the individual, not the environment that determines this.

What are our gifts and passions? What are we really enthusiastic about? Those are the things that will eventually lead us to personal and professional success, not making ourselves into images that others want.

If I'm the given and not the market, how does this impact my job search - and my life's path?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Stress and Sickness?

At what point does stress pass into sickness?

I've been contemplating this around the Toirdhealbheach Beaucail household as both myself and The Ravishing Mrs. TB have been dragging around our traditional October sicknesses. For myself at least, it seems not only related to any potential bug that has been generously brought home to me by Na Clann; there is an abiding sense of inability to sleep for longer than 3 hours at a time, a general sense of exhaustion, and now this headache which gnaws at my face during the day and at night.

Yes, I know there is something going around - but I'm also conscious of a more general sense of work beginning to overshadow and overpower all other aspects of my life. An analysis of what I still need to accomplish reveals over 100 separate tasks by the end of the year, plus the day to day items that continue to add up. When does all this knowing - and not enough time or resources to accomplish it all - pass over into physical effects?

I'm not sure - but this cannot be maintained forever.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Wallowing amidst the near miss of a cold yesterday, I followed up on an outstanding item floating through the background noise of my thoughts and took a brief quiz on The Five Love Languages. This was a followup to something that Nighean Gheal had said about the quiz that The Ravishing Mrs. TB had suggested she take.

I took the online test (it's free!) and was not surprised to discover that my "love languages" are Physical Touch and Words of Affirmation. I then went ahead and tried to "figure out" what the love languages of The Ravishing Mrs. TB are as a project.

Later that night before we went to sleep, I told her about my taking the test, what I found, and wondered what she thought hers were. She listed them - to my surprise, the first one she listed was not the one that I had guessed (number 2 was probably correct).

It gave me reason to rethink the matter of communication and how we communicate: simply put, we often talk and listen to people in the context of ourselves, or how we believe that people are and need to be communicated with. In the very simple example just given, what The Ravishing Mrs. TB thinks and what I think about what communicates loves are completely different - so it's not a wonder that things that I think communicate love are not even understood by her as meaning the same thing.

But I can extend that to virtually every relationship I have. I communicate out of my own basis of knowledge, often trying to communicate with another person how I think or perceive they want to be communicated with, not necessarily how they receive it. It's as different as trying to carry on a conversation between two individuals who do not speak a common tongue: both sides are trying to say something but neither one is heard; a sort of bilingual monologue, or "Dialogue of the Deaf" as Dr. Stephen Covey would call it.

But obviously we cannot get to the level of knowledge of our spouse with every relationship we maintain - yet in order to successfully function day to day we need to effectively communicate with every relationship that we maintain. Do we think about how we are communicating - are we effectively speaking to the other person - as much as we consider what we are communicating?

Communicating - first effectively with your loved ones, then with the greater circle of relationships around you - is one of the greatest determining factors in whether you have a successful marriage, family relationship, or personal/professional relationship of any kind.

Are you communicating in a way they can understand?

Friday, October 15, 2010


How do I develop a greater sense of urgency?

I'm one of the least urgent people I know. Most things I deal with are things I will do, but there is no particular sense of needing to do them "right now". Occasionally something - usually an emergency - falls into this category, at which point everything is dropped and the issue is resolved - and then everything goes back to normal.

There are probably a number of things which need to have "Gazelle Intensity" (as Dave Ramsey says) in my life, yet more often than not I tend to be laid back about them - perhaps to the point of being lazy?

Why no sense of urgency? Part of it is due to the fact that often resolving urgent issues involves confrontation, something I typically do not enjoy. Another factor is that I have spent too much of my life dealing with the urgent, only to see the outcome of it - which more often than not is simply that my urgent "project" at best made no difference, at worst was a complete waste of time.

But not to be discounted is also this question of what qualifies as urgent - too often, those things that I do define as urgent are not, while those things that I tend to be laid back about are. That is an issue of values and time management, not an issue with urgency itself.

So how do I develop a sense of urgency - about the right things?

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Hey, it's Thursday - and that means...

it's Thursday.

Thursday is rapidly becoming one of my favorite days of the week (okay, there are seven so it's not that difficult). Because Thursday, even more than Friday, is a sign that the work week is rapidly coming to an end. There is a light at the end of the tunnel - and it's not an oncoming train.

It's not that the workload on a given Thursday is any less than any other day of the week, nor that traffic is any less congested or that people are somehow magically more "friendly". It's that the promise of the non-work days is tantalizingly before us.

From here, it's just a skip and hop through Iaido, then to bed, then to Friday - and then to the weekend!

I know there are folks that say "If you look forward to the weekend, you've got the wrong attitude about your job." Maybe that's true - but perhaps again, it's written by those who don't constantly feel the sense of being mis-employed, of enduring because that's what you do until something else comes up.

No matter - it's Thursday!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Inseparable Life and Message

Coming home yesterday on the radio I heard a segment on The Hugh Hewitt show about a young lady named Katie Davis, a young girl who at age 18 went on a mission trip to Uganda, and then decided to go on mission there. Her blog site is here.

To read her blog site is to be confronted not only with the reality of a world that most of us do not know (and cannot really imagine), but the power of God in changing lives and in changed lives. (For the record, she currently is 21 years old and has adopted 14 children).

One thing that touched my heart (re-reading her blogs, I suspect there will be more) is the focus of other centeredness and loving others. Which kind of leads me to believe that most of the problems in my own life are self inflicted due to my life being about me so much.

If the church (and by the church, I mean myself and you) wants to have a true impact on the world, this is the road to it. Not necessarily going to Uganda, but showing love and reaching out where we are. To read her blog postings (and I need to read more), one cannot connect the good work she is doing from her faith in God and Christ. She is a living witness - the kind of witness that we are all called to be as Christians. People should not be able to separate our lives from our message.

If I tried - just for one day - to live for God and others instead of myself, what would that look like?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I Don't Care!

I tried yesterday. I really made an effort.

I went into work yesterday with the attitude that I was going to make it work, that I was going to be diligent and productive during the day. It worked in a way - even in the midst of trying to get my computer going, even in the midst of making a list of everything to be accomplished (6 pages worth), even in the midst of asking questions I'm pretty sure won't be popular.

But then the afternoon came, with the meeting - the meeting that went 2.25 hours instead of 1, the meeting that kept me there after 5:00 PM, guaranteeing I would not be home before 6:00 PM.

I left work completely drained and exhausted? Why? Because I realized, about 45 minutes in, that I really just didn't care about the meeting and what was being discussed - not that it wasn't corporately important, not that it didn't potentially matter, but I simply didn't care about it and I couldn't generate the interest to do so. However, the meeting droned on for another 1.25 hours (and of course I couldn't step out), leaving me to be there becoming slowly more frustrated and more exhausted.

It drained me to the point that when I arrived home in the evening, I had nothing. My energy levels were so low I barely made it through the list of things I had - things that in theory are fun and enjoyable, not something I should want to suffer through. Dinner brought me enough energy to try and pretend I had a family life, before I eventually crashed into bed (and, to add insult to injury, I couldn't fall asleep right away!).

Even more than what I do, this may be the crux of the problem: that on a very deep level, I need to care about the work I do - and currently I simply don't.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mapping Time

As an exercise in life yesterday, I sat down and made a time chart. Using 168 hours (7 days of 24 hours each), I mapped out what I did in a day and what I proposed to do.

The result was astonishing. Between work, commuting and sleep I have 52% of my week pre-allocated. When all was said and done, I had a mere 7 hours a week not otherwise allocated to any other areas.

As I said, the results were astonishing.

I believe the results to be comprehensive - where there was an activity that occurs once a week but absorbs time, it was entered. Where activities occur 7 days a week, they were entered. Where family time is set aside - not knowing what we will do any given weekend - that too was entered.

What it showed me, beyond the fact that I really am pretty busy, is that I may be overstructuring my time on things that don't really matter.

I have come to realize that in reality we have the ability to do not as much as we would like to do in life - at least not well. There is an opportunity cost to every activity that I choose to do - even if it is an activity which does nothing more than please me. The questions I am starting to ask are 1) Is it truly worth it?; and 2) Is this something that, knowing what I know now, I would continue to do?

Fortunately, I think most of my activities fall into both of those categories. They are activities which I have chosen and stuck with over the years (imperfectly at times, to be sure). I have added a few new ones - iaido, for example - but there is nothing which I inherently need to discard.

It does bring up a second issue however: with a mere 7 hours a week free, if I want to do more I need to either stop doing something or figure out a way to use my time more wisely. Which brings us right back to the fact of what I really want to do with my life.

Life is like money. Am I getting the most value out of the time I have, squeezing every minute for what it's worth - or am I operating under the mistaken assumption that it is an endless resource, when in fact it could stop at any moment?

Friday, October 08, 2010

Plans Do Work Out

Thoughts (happy, mostly) for Songbird, who officially became retired on Wednesday, not fully by her own choice.

She has been on my mind over the last week as we suspected this was coming, both for the fact that it was coming as well as the fact that she and Le Quebecois were not caught flatfooted by this event. They had carefully planned and readjusted their lives such that, when the event ("enforced retirement"? "unplanned departure"? Not really sure what to call it) occurred, they were already looking at a trailer for travel the next day to for this new phase of their lives.

I contrast that with so many people (myself included lots of the time) who simply don't plan for the fact that reality happens. People leave, jobs go, sickness and financial turmoil happen - yet so often we simply live our lives as if none of this was a possibility, and then are seemingly caught "by surprise" when such things occur.

So kudos and happy trails to Songbird and Le Quebecois as they begin this next phase of their lives together, scooters and trailers rolling down the interstate. Let it be a strong reminder to the rest of us that such things can come out well, and that failing to plan is planning to fail.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Misty Sorrow

A vague sense of sadness washed over me this morning as I woke up which has not completely disappeared.

I wish I could tie it something, so I could resolve it in my mind. There are things which I could tie it to - layoffs of friends, continuing concern about direction of my career, the general malaise of things at large, even just being tired and it being Thursday - but not one thing, the something I could indicate "Hey, that's it! That's the reason I'm out of sorts."

These sorts of times are the hardest for me to deal with, simply because there is no evident cause. It's not like a depression - those I tend to be quite clear about why they're occurring. It's a sense of something not being right and not knowing what to do about it, of wanting to simply go back to bed, dim the shades, pull the covers up over my head, and hide for the day.

How does one deal with this quiet gentle nagging of the soul which will not go away? Routines do not quell it, writing does not draw it forth, and questioning it brings no clarification. It just hangs there, a gentle misty aggregation of quiet sorrow encompassing my mind and soul, waiting as if to say "I'll answer - if only you'll speak the right words"

But what words can you speak to that which you cannot apprehend?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Finding Time

I've found some time.

It turned out to be in the most unusual place: pinned in front of my usual morning routine.

I have been endeavoring over the last 2-3 months to readjust my life and my schedule, to pack in the things I want and need to do while dealing with the realities of my existence. Unfortunately, The Ravishing Mrs. TB pointed out that what this was doing was basically isolating myself from my family when I got home to do this. Additionally, I never seemed to get everything done that I was hoping to get done. Also, those things that I needed to concentrate to do - language study, reading, even working out - seemed to be impossible in the wash of the post work environment.

My solution: Get up an hour earlier.

Is it easy? Not necessarily. Is it hard? Not as much so as you might think. My inspiration was this gentleman (You should stop and read the article. Really.) who does far more than I would hope to accomplish. If can do what he does on minimal sleep, so can I.

How's it going? Better than I thought. The sleep thing is somewhat hard to get used to, but I am learning to cope with it in the sense of hopefully training my body to take advantage of the sleep it's offered - and it's not as if I've lived this way before for less worthy things. And my items to cover? By the time I leave for work, I definitely feel that I have accomplished a great deal important to me, and have done so without sacrificing my family time.

Where can you find time today?

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

On My Own Terms

Tuesday at the end of the world.

There is a certain sense, as I walk in my work building every morning, that change is coming. I've spent enough time at companies that have undergone it, and have felt the personal bounds swelling against the boundaries of my soul.

I met with a candidate yesterday for a position well under his current one. He assured me that he was interested, that the "downgrade" in responsibilities and skills was not one he worried about. A man with almost 20 years experience in my industry. I'm to interview another on Friday, a higher level who assures us of the same thing, with the years of experience.

When high level people begin accepting lower level positions and saying that "of course it's not a problem", one knows that something is changing - and change only tends to accelerate.

What cannot happen - what will not happen - is that I am in that same place ten years from now. When that time comes, I want to go out on my own terms, not be trapped into begging a position, assuring others that I am willing to be less for the sake of a job.

"Own your career or it will own you" says Sally Hogshead. Truer words were never spoken.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Fulfilled and Proud

"In the long run, the point isn't to make more money. The point is to consistently create work that makes you fulfilled and proud." - Sally Hogshead

What a concise and precise statement about work.

Yes, more money generally is better. But at the same time, doing work that you are neither fulfilled to do nor proud of will in the end probably ensure that you will not earn that more money either. It is extremely difficult to continue to succeed in something that you neither enjoy nor are committed to.

Which makes me reflect on my current situation. Am I creating work that makes me feel fulfilled and proud? Can I create such work that will make me feel so?

If the question is no (and I think that it is at this point), what do I do about it? As I wrote here, there are two elements to consider: the situation and the field itself. If it's a no to the first, a change in location is called for. If it's the second, a change in latitude (and attitude) is called for.

Simply put, you cannot continue to product good work in a environment that neither values it nor values you. Most often, you either get pulled down to the level of the company - or move to another company. Seldom are there examples of individuals that are not signficant management that have created drastic changes in their work environments - creating an environment where work is fulfilling and one can be proud of their actions.

I can no longer bear the burden of any company that cannot or will not allow a such a workplace. The burden is portrayed as being on you to make things better; the reality is, the burden is on the workplace for creating such an environment.

And environments can only be changed or departed from. There is no third option.

New Home Morning

In morning's dark light,
the floating crescent moon shines
over silent oaks.

Friday, October 01, 2010


How does one develop staying power?

As we went through this week achieved higher and higher expectations at work to the point of making 2 submission and releasing 21 lots of material. Have to do it, have to get everything out. There is an incredible amount of focus and drive.

And then comes the day after, when everything is done. Suddenly the drive is gone and there is nothing but a drained sense of exhaustion.

I pontificated to Otis last night that I cannot really contemplate the idea of doing that over and over, having the same level of drive day after day. Certainly and not expect to have a life after work.

But is that really part of my own problem?

I can argue - perhaps successfully - that the incentives are not there. If I maintained that high level of drive - 13 hours a day, 5-6 days a week - lots would get done, but I'd have nothing to show for it; in fact, an argument could be made that I am merely setting the level of expectation higher for myself and my coworkers with no corresponding increase in money or ability to succeed.

On the other hand, if I applied that level of effort to anything - not just work - what would I be able to accomplish? Have I let the reality of my current work environment influence my ability to understand that success in anything is a result of persistent effort?

How do I pull my general output to the next level? What can I do to motivate myself?