Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Key to Happiness

I don't worry about happiness. That's the key. It's a "watched pot never boils" kind of thing. If I sit around lamenting how unhappy I am, I will never be happy, because, by definition, sitting around lamenting things is an unhappy activity. Just accept that jobs suck; we both have plenty of empirical evidence to support that. There is no perfect job. And while I am insatiably bitter about losing my last job, I can move on because I've also come to recognize that maybe I am using my talents; only, my talents aren't what I thought they were or what I wanted. I work and do my best to make my work day enjoyable. Then, when I go home, I ride my bike or read a book or work in the yard - all things I enjoy. If it wasn't for the work (that I might not enjoy so much) I couldn't do the other things that I do enjoy.

It hasn't been easy; but the rewards are great. I sleep much better. My wife and I have a good relationship, especially considering we've been married almost 19 years. We travel pretty much wherever we want, which is possible because of my ability to now detach myself from work - no more vacations worrying about work, or, worse, not even taking the time off because I'm afraid of the work that will back up. Let it. I don't care. It will back up regardless of my presence. So why worry about something that's inevitable? Work will always be there. And I am thankful of that, actually, because it's through that work that I can do the other things I want. Like have a family and a home. And food. I love my food.

I've gotten very Zen about life. Sure I have depression still and that sucks, and there are tough days. But I am treating my life like driving down the road. I can only control the vehicle I am in, and I can only see the obstacles around me at any given moment. There could be a baby sitting in the road five miles ahead but I can't know that. So I ... let go of the desire (and resulting depression) to know what's outside of my control.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Four way stop

This isn't exactly a work or leadership post. So if you are one of the two people who come here expecting biting commentary on working and leadership, prepare for something else.

I'm going to talk about four way stops.

Because it bugs me.

The rules are pretty simple. The car that gets to the stop line first gets the right of way. If two cars get there at the same time, the car to the right has the right of way. If the cars are across from each other, then the one going straight has the right of way.

Being nice and letting other people go at the four way stop doesn't help anyone, and really isn't being nice at all. You see, when you do that, the rhythm of a crowded four way stop gets thrown off, and it is really an inconvenience to the cars behind A) you; and B) the other cars at the intersection.

And don't get me started on the jerks that take the right of way from somebody else.

The lesson in this is that kindness to one person can often be an unkindness to a whole group of other people. There are certainly circumstances in life where we should be kind to someone at the risk of spoiling things for others. But the four way stop isn't one of those situations, because the other people are not expecting or wanting that kindness. It isn't needed. If you're the sort that believes in Karma, you're really wasting Karma points. (I am too lazy to look up if Karma is a proper noun; but I'll capitalize it anyway, just in case, because capitalizing Karma hurts nobody and maybe gains me some Karma points.)

It is my belief that most of the time when people do this it's because they haven't paid attention to whose turn it is. So pay attention, follow the basic rules, and we'll all get home in the most efficient way.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Labor Day

Labor Day:

The only problem I have with Labor Day is that I have a lot of strongly anti-union friends who take the day off. This is one of those holidays where people want to have their cake and eat it to. There is no more pro-union event in the country than Labor Day.

I don't understand the anti-union folks. Not that unions are great; they're not. They are as prone to corruption as any other organization that holds a lot of power. The lesson of unions today is that power corrupts; but anyone who has half a brain already knows that. As a concept, though, I am strongly pro-union. They have made our nation a better place. Don't believe me? Imagine World War II if we had not had unions in place to help make our manufacturing system the strongest in the world at the time. Read The Jungle if you have any doubt that unions made our nation better.

Short post today. Happy Labor Day to all of the working humps, from the C's on down. Just remember why you work and who does the work. That's what the day is about.