Second Citizen MK II

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Merovigan 11-15-2011 01:24 PM

The Comings and Goings of Mero
 
I don’t post here anymore, for a variety of reasons.

Still, I did post here for a very long time, and amongst the same group of people, and I’m slightly surprised to find myself a little connected to some of you. I care enough to read the site and hear what you have to say, even though I don’t actually contribute. It’s actually kinda nice to see where threads go, when I’m not in them. I imagine that some of you care about what’s happening to me but if not then I suggest hitting the back button and moving on with your day.

A lot has come full circle for me over the past two months. About a year ago I pitched an idea to my company’s innovation team. I talked with Luci about this – basically I wanted to create IT training aides using games to model our client’s environments. The team shot it down, without comment. It sucked because I had worked pretty hard on it, but I shrugged it off. I didn’t know what was wrong with the idea but clearly something was, if I couldn’t sell anyone in the executive team on it.

Well, that was a year ago and though my first attempt to get the team to do what I wanted failed, I didn’t quit. I kept going to meetings, I kept giving my ideas, I kept “showing up” and I’m proud to announce that, as of today, I am the Chairman of the Innovation team and I can do whatever the fuck I want to do! I’m meeting with our IT guy today to discuss the first implementation and to re-christen the team with a new charter. I’m hoping to reinvigorate my company by injecting software design into our service-model. So yeah, there’s that.

Something REALLY shitty happened to me about three years ago. I work on a site that has about 10 federal managers. One of them is more important than the rest. This guy, lets call him Chuck, tried to strong-arm me into hiring his friend, about three years ago. I refused because his friend was asking for too much money and wasn’t really qualified. I was told it would be in my best interest to hire him. I still refused because my best interest is the bottom line – I’m not employing anyone for a loss, I don’t care whose friend they are.

Well, my boss overruled me and about a month later my “services were no longer required” when dealing with that one client. I was still good enough to deal with the other 9, but this one guy didn’t like the fact that I “say things as they are” a little too much.

Well, today’s the day I get to fire the guy we hired! It kinda sucks, now, because we managed to get him off of that task and onto another one where we made a buttload of money on him. But, as it turns out, he’s under-qualified (gee, who called that?) and unable to perform the duties and this client wants him gone. I’m hoping this guy’s buddy doesn’t make an issue out of it – time will tell. And I really hate firing people (part of why I don’t like to hire people who aren’t qualified) but this isn’t the first time and at least I don’t have to do it right before Thanksgiving. I had to do a termination last year, literally the day before Thanksgiving.

It’s an interesting time of life. I’ll be 33 in a few months and in some ways it feels very much like I’m slogging my way through my thirties, but as I step back and look it’s clear that I’m making progress. I’ve been at the same company for over four years now and they seem to like me. Once the contract is over I might even be picked up by corporate. It depends on a lot of things but if I can get the company moving into software development I should be setup to either direct a contract or, at least, project manage it. I’ve worked hard to get us 9% profit on a $50 million contract and not many people can do that. Hopefully they’ll recognize my skills but even if not it feels nice to know for certain that I have skills. It’s nice to be confronted with life’s difficulties and to be able to put them behind me and I’m always in wonder about which of today’s seeming impossibilities will be tomorrow’s success stories.

So, yeah, that’s life, as of today. I miss the ones I love, and hope you're all well.

Govi 11-15-2011 01:30 PM

/me smells mothballs on your motley. "Hi!"

Textured Surface 11-15-2011 01:49 PM

Hey Mero. :)

Merovigan 11-15-2011 02:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Govi (Post 409236)
/me smells mothballs on your motley. "Hi!"

Please stop sniffing at me there!

Bard Jameson 11-15-2011 03:17 PM

Your forum avie is now an Infinite Non- Sequitur Loop. Fix that, will ya? :p

Lucifer Baphomet 11-15-2011 04:07 PM

Been missing you here.

And on GTalk (hint, hint)

JohnnyVann 11-15-2011 09:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Merovigan (Post 409235)
So, yeah, that’s life, as of today. I miss the ones I love, and hope you're all well.

Hi, are you new here?


:p




jk Nice to hear from you Mero

Cale Vinson 11-15-2011 09:13 PM

We need to do a Bush-like "Are you missing me yet?" piccy for Mero. :p





And yes, I am just teasing, and it was good to hear where you were at Mero.

Kick Frenzy 11-18-2011 11:54 PM

WOAH!

I finally got around to reading this thread and I gotta say... I'm pretty fuckin impressed!
CONGRATS on the new CI gig!!
That's fucking ROCKS! :kick:

It's good to see you roaming the halls of SC again, yer part of the ingredients that make SC the flavor it is. :)

Merovigan 12-01-2011 11:10 AM

An update of sorts. I didn't have to fire the guy. I dug a little and it turns out the guy didn't even do anything wrong so I went to have a chat with the client. We agreed that terminating him was premature so, win there.

After reviewing the status of the innovation team I'm appalled. One good idea, and we didn't even do anything to enable it - it was half done and the guy submitted it just for the recognition. Well, this has to improve!

Other news: No raises this year. I was feeling bummed about having to explain it to my staff when I realized that I wasn't getting one either. That didn't help me feel less bummed.

Such is life as a capitalist.

JohnnyVann 12-01-2011 01:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Merovigan (Post 411241)
Such is life as a capitalist.

Life is hard

Kick Frenzy 12-05-2011 12:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Merovigan (Post 411241)
I was feeling bummed about having to explain it to my staff when I realized that I wasn't getting one either. That didn't help me feel less bummed.

On the other hand, it probably made it easier for them to receive the news. ;)

Bard Jameson 12-05-2011 01:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Merovigan (Post 411241)
Such is life as a capitalist.

You poor dear.

Merovigan 12-05-2011 06:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bard Jameson (Post 411510)
You poor dear.

I know, right?!

Wait.

I get an odd feeling that you are being less than sincere.

Merovigan 12-08-2011 02:34 PM

The past couple weeks have brought back a stress I thought had gone: My daughter in the care of others.

See, my kid’s pretty awesome. People generally like her and get along with her. People who don’t like kids appreciate how well she leaves you alone when asked. People who like kids appreciate how fun and interesting she is. We, her parents, appreciate what a great person she is and earnestly enjoy our time with her.

But, for some reason, my kid struggles when she is under the care of others. When she was in day care, she would refuse to sleep and sometimes refuse to eat. I didn’t see a problem with that, and neither did the Mrs. In hindsight, this was kind of the problem – we didn’t see the big deal. So what she won’t sleep on demand or eat on demand – she’s a person and expecting those things is just out of line.

What we didn’t understand was that this was a prelude for things to come, and our unwillingness to take it seriously or punish her would manifest in public school.

So a couple years after daycare my daughter is getting sent to the principal’s office on a daily basis, because she “doesn’t do what she’s told, and then refuses to move or respond to us.” That was what caused her to be suspended the first time – her unwillingness to move from the library to the classroom.

Then she got hit with the five-day suspension for WRECKING the classroom. I mean, kiddo tore that place up. Desks overturned, pencils and paper everywhere, bookshelves knocked over and not a single chair on its four legs. My wife said that when she walked in there was our kid in one corner of the room and three adults in the other corner. That’s my little badass.

I don’t see this problem improving any time soon. The teachers in modern Northern Virginia are about 90% female (kiddo doesn’t respect female authority the same way she respects male authority) and most of them are under thirty. Dunno about you, but when I was in school most teachers were these ancient women who were grandmothers and who actually know something about taking babies and making them grownups. They learn to not let things escalate, and that a pouty lip can be all the warning you’re going to get before someone goes off on you. Today’s teachers are just a few years matured from sucking random dicks at parties and wondering “Will he respect me …?” So, our choice is to send her back to that or …

Homeschool. Which makes perfect sense, for us. The wife has a Masters in Childhood Education and is a certified Virginia teacher. I’ve always believed in hands-on parenting and never felt comfortable with public education on several different levels. It’s more expensive than education should be costing $5,000 per pupil instead of $500 for home-schooling supplies. The textbooks are often outdated and always expensive. The lunches suck. It’s loaded with unions … etc., etc.

I feel guilty – I see so much of my own behavior in my kid. Neither of us respects undeserved authority and we have a nose for sniffing it out, like a horse with an inexperienced rider; we’re dangerous to be around if you don’t know what you’re doing. I feel guilty for being proud of her actions, even though on an intellectual level I know they were wrong. Still … my kid fucked up a classroom, that is how strong she is, how confident she is. She fears no authority, but respects valid authority like me and her mom, and rejects, with force, people not worthy of their title. I have brought a powerful terror into the world, and will shelter her while nurturing her power until she is ready to be your master.

Or do your taxes, or whatever will make her happy.

So, we have notified the Supernintendo and will send a letter to school next week. Order is important on this - if we alert the school first, they can charge us with truancy which is a $600 fine (per day) and some jail time. I'm sure the teacher's union fought hard for that - "make replacing us as hard as possible!" unions usually say.

Jen 12-08-2011 02:40 PM

Good luck.

Govi 12-08-2011 02:54 PM

In the third grade, I created an incident similar to the one your daughter created: shoving all the desks around, cornering the teacher and the other students in my fury. In my case, it was an extremely upsetting home life: parents who fought with each other in a frightening-to-me way, a room shared with my two siblings (which would have been fine, except there was no place or time created for us to be quiet), staying away from home and at the homes of friends as much as I could to escape, and consequently being under stress at school because I wasn't doing the homework, homework which I've learned through experience is an integral part of my learning.

What happened as a result of my incident was an increased focus on helping me cope with life; no changes to it, but better coping opportunities given: time and a quiet place to study, a little attention to my results in school, a teacher who felt she knew my family better (she had come to our house several times after my incident and I remember her now with great love for her care for me).

From what you've written, it seems to me that your daughter's school should not be busy bullying you, as they seem to be doing, but instead working with you to understand your daughter's character well enough that she can be given better opportunities to roll with whatever punches life is dealing her and to land on her feet without having Authority come down on her.

Oryx Tempel 12-08-2011 04:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Merovigan (Post 411886)
I’ve always believed in hands-on parenting and never felt comfortable with public education on several different levels. It’s more expensive than education should be costing $5,000 per pupil instead of $500 for home-schooling supplies. The textbooks are often outdated and always expensive. The lunches suck. It’s loaded with unions … etc., etc.

Not to make light of your issue, but I read this as "loaded with onions" and was all, "Wow, the cafeterias put onions in their food?"

On a serious note, my friend home schooled her kid because he was having emotional problems (with the other kids, not the teachers) and he has turned out to be an awesome young man. Public schools can be the pits.

Merovigan 12-30-2011 01:30 PM

It warms my heart that I'm not the only person reading this page at the moment.

Anyway, here's the official list of books I read in 2011

I tried to read “a lot” of books this year. For me, a lot was 12 (one a month). I know that’s probably nothing compared to some of you literate people out there but it was the most books I’d read in a year. I actually beat that number and read 15, here they are, in order read:

http://www.amazon.com/Split-Second-David-Baldacci/dp/0446614459/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1325265802&sr=1-3 by David Baldacci

http://www.amazon.com/Outliers-Story-Success-Malcolm-Gladwell/dp/0316017930/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1325265618&sr=1-1 by Malcom Gladwell

http://www.amazon.com/Rolling-Stones-Robert-Heinlein/dp/1439133565/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1325265849&sr=1-1 by Robert Heinlein

http://www.amazon.com/Sellout-Politics-Racial-Betrayal-Vintage/dp/0307388425/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1325265875&sr=1-3 by Randall Kennedy

http://www.amazon.com/Black-Kids-Sitting-Together-Cafeteria/dp/0465083617/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1325265926&sr=1-1 by Beverly Tatum

http://www.amazon.com/Spare-Parts-Campus-Reservists-Journey/dp/B000C4SEUM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1325265952&sr=1-1 by Buzz Williams

http://www.amazon.com/Canticle-Cleric-Quintet-Book-I/dp/078695325X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1325265975&sr=1-1 by R.A. Salvatore

http://www.amazon.com/Gospel-Living-Dead-Romeros-Visions/dp/1932792651/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1325266021&sr=1-1 By Kim Paffenroth

http://www.amazon.com/Dying-Live-Kim-Paffenroth/dp/B005Q5ROU8/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1325266042&sr=1-1 by Kim Paffenroth

http://www.amazon.com/Operation-Family-Secrets-Mobsters-Murderous/dp/0307717720/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1325266066&sr=1-1 by Frank Calabreses Jr.

http://www.amazon.com/Day-Dragon-WarCraft-Book-No-1/dp/0671041525/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1325266086&sr=1-1 by Richard Knaack

http://www.amazon.com/Lord-Clans-Warcraft-Book-2/dp/0743426908/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1325266105&sr=1-1 by Christie Golden

http://www.amazon.com/Red-House-Mystery-Milne/dp/1619491354/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1325266127&sr=1-1 by A.A. Milne (same guy who wrote Winnie the Poo,
wrote a mystery! Who knew)

http://www.amazon.com/Tarnsman-Strange-History-Counter-Earth/dp/B001GFYFCC/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1325266162&sr=1-2 by John Norman

http://www.amazon.com/Outlaw-Gor-John-Norman/dp/0345314115/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1325266188&sr=1-1 by John Norman

Hope to read even more books in 2012!

Edit

Whoops! Forgot these two:

http://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Moon-Lee-Martinez/dp/0316093556/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1325275740&sr=8-1 by A. Lee Martinez - This was my favorite book of the year. It's totally crazy but it helps you see things more objectively and helps you challenge your pre-conceived notions.

http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Dead-Zombie-Undead-Trilogy/dp/1897217803/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1325275767&sr=1-1 by A.P. Fuchs

JohnnyVann 12-30-2011 01:55 PM

How was Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria
by Beverly Tatum? I heard about it but haven't read it.

Merovigan 12-30-2011 02:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JohnnyVann (Post 413831)
How was Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria
by Beverly Tatum? I heard about it but haven't read it.

Honestly, I couldn't remember! I had to go pull my review:

The first portion of the book focuses on being Black, and coming to terms with what Dr. Tatum, and many others in the Black community, see as America's inherent racism.

This part of the book talks a lot about "White Privilege." If you don't know what that is, basically it's that feeling that society is designed to fit you, and that causes you to take a lot of things for granted, and to not be sensitive to other people's feelings.

My whole problem with Dr. Tatum's point of view is that it focuses on the external - you become "black" not because of who you are, but because of how other people treat you, and that's a really bad way to get to self discovery and identity, in my opinion. You will always be defined as "other" that way, because you focus on hurts. I imagine that after doing this for long enough, that whole "self-fulfilling prophesy" thing kicks in.

Dr. Tatum addresses people like me (raceless) in a very condescending manner, because we don't fit into her paradigm. To her, we are just ignoring reality and eventually we're going to get our comeuppance, and there won't be any black people to commiserate with because we didn't bond with them when we had the time.

I hope that we are advancing toward a country where "American" becomes a race, and we can all simply take our place inside of its great culture.

One thing I've noticed is that Dr. Tatum's responses to basic questions are ... off. When her child asks why they (she and he) are in America, if Africa is so great, Dr. Tatum starts in on slavery. To me, his question was "Mommy, why don't we move back to Africa where all the other black people are?" Why, indeed.

Another is when a white student stands up and asks "How would you feel if someone stood up and said 'all the white people should meet up'" and her response was "that would be a good idea." This dodges the point and allows her to be insensitive, condescending, and avoid answering the question - the question was how would it make you feel, not "is it a good idea?" The Dr. didn't answer the question, because she knows damn well it hurts to be excluded, no matter what race you are.

Still, as much as I think Dr. Tatum's views suck, I do think this book is a valuable resource to provoke thought and discussion.

JohnnyVann 12-30-2011 02:51 PM

Thanks. I always thought Dr. Tatum's writings were good for book club readings as it was great for conversations. Pointient and "near" the mark, always addressing important issues but I disagreed with a lot of the assumptions.

Definitely not a read for everyone

Jen 12-30-2011 03:39 PM

Re. AA Milne- I knew the Real Christopher Robin [he lived at Mohonk Mountain House for a while]. I'd heard of the Red House Mystery but never read it. Is it worth looking up?

Merovigan 12-30-2011 03:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jen (Post 413841)
Re. AA Milne- I knew the Real Christopher Robin [he lived at Mohonk Mountain House for a while]. I'd heard of the Red House Mystery but never read it. Is it worth looking up?

I would read it again, but I have been told that my tastes suck. It's not a fantastic ystery but it showed he was capable of doing the genre it's justice.

Lucifer Baphomet 12-30-2011 04:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Merovigan (Post 413827)
The Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne (same guy who wrote Winnie the Poo,
wrote a mystery! Who knew)

In Which Eeyore Loses a Tail and Pooh Finds One

JUST SAYIN'

Oryx Tempel 01-03-2012 04:19 PM

My mother gives me the books that she's done with. Most are silly quickie read mysteries, but some are pretty good. Right now I'm backed up at least 4 books. (I give them to the library when I'm done with them. My bookshelves are properly snobby).

Merovigan 01-06-2012 04:02 PM

I feel hopeless. Sad doesn’t begin to cover it – every inch of me feels beaten. Lost. Failed. There’s no reason for it. It’s all just chemicals. Stupid, irrelevant, feelings. If I were sane, rational, objective, I’d be able to take proper stock of things and would not get caught up in the happenstance of Serotonin levels. I should write an app – “Your appropriate feeling” based on the situation in which you find yourself. I could feed in all the particulars – time of day, weight, temperature, marital status, GDP. Then I would wait for the code to tell me how I’m supposed to feel, because I am pretty damned sure the way I do feel is not the way I’m “supposed” to feel.

I was at headquarters the other day. “We really want to keep you on after the contract is over” they said. “That’s what this Innovation thing is all about – if you have a major task like this it’s easier to justify bringing you on board. But if it doesn’t produce anything, you’re out. But we know you, Mero, you’re gonna wow us.”

No pressure or anything, but whatev – I will wow them because I’m fucking made of wow. That’s not the point. The point is I planned this. I sat down one day, me and my little brain, and I went “Hey, I’d like to work close to where I live. How can I make that happen.” And a few chemical exchanges later I realized I had to kiss the right ass, make a few right decisions, turn a profit on my tasks, and make a few jokes. I set the plan up and now I have the best chance possible of jumping from a five year contract to a corporate position that is only one level below executive (and I’m only 32.) What’s more, I get to see everyone’s good ideas meaning that I’ve sort of turned myself into a bottleneck for the company’s future projects, so I’m getting a lot of good experience.

But I can’t shake the feeling that while I’m building something someone should be impressed by, I am not, myself, particularly impressed! This is kid shit. Ghengis Khan wouldn’t have been impressed by this. Thomas Jefferson woulda rolled his eyes. I am nothing, no one. Completely irrelevant to everyone but a few, and those few are not relevant to me (no offense intended, but if I didn't work there, I wouldn't know you.)

It feels like life is a Special Olympics contest and most of my time is spent winning the event and then turning around to behold, with contempt, the rest of the participants. People unable to keep a job, unable to make people like them, unable to learn to care for themselves. But, then I realize I haven’t won, I’m just ahead of the losers. There are millions ahead of me and to them *I* am that pathetic loser, just a little bit ahead of the back of the pack.

What if I could get into that race? I’d like that; because I bet I could beat those mother-fuckers too. Given even half a chance I could run with any CEO. I can out work them, I can out smart them, I can out charm them, and I can earn them.

But, like Eminem said, “The balls’ in my court, but I’m scared to dribble it out.” So, I sit between the bottom and the top and hope this is simply a phase … I hope like hell this isn’t me at the pinnacle, because it isn’t enough.

Cocoanut Koala 01-06-2012 07:07 PM

Sounds like a bit of post-partum depression. You get somewhere, and then think,

is that all there is?
is that all there is?
if that's all there is, my friends
then let's keep dancing
let's break out the booze
and have a ball
if that's all
there is

When I was in my twenties, I made the discovery that nobody is EVER on top. There is ALWAYS somebody ahead of you, someone who has gotten farther, someone whose last greatest hit was better than your last greatest hit.

That's because everyone is different. No matter how outstanding you are, someone is always more outstanding, at various points along the line.

That's okay. It's cause you're not them. When they are busy being outstanding, you aren't, and vice versa. But if you are outstanding at the point where you are outstanding, at what you are outstanding at*, that's what counts.

The consolation is, there is always more room at the top, if you have what it takes to be there.



*which for me is currently in a field. I am outstanding in my field. Or could be, in just a minute, if I step outside my back door.

Merovigan 01-06-2012 07:38 PM

It's probably just depression, not post-partem. Seven years is a bit too "post" to blame the kiddo.

Cale Vinson 01-06-2012 08:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Merovigan (Post 414248)
There’s no reason for it. It’s all just chemicals. Stupid, irrelevant, feelings. If I were sane, rational, objective, I’d be able to take proper stock of things and would not get caught up in the happenstance of Serotonin levels. I should write an app – “Your appropriate feeling” based on the situation in which you find yourself. I could feed in all the particulars – time of day, weight, temperature, marital status, GDP. Then I would wait for the code to tell me how I’m supposed to feel, because I am pretty damned sure the way I do feel is not the way I’m “supposed” to feel.

Mero, first of all: :hug:

Second: you have the above completely wrong. :)

You know me, right, you've seen my "analytical side" countless times here at SC2. Its important, sure, but we are *so* much more than that. There's some seriously deep shit going on somewhere in that blobby mass of wet junk inside our heads, from which emerges many of the things that make life truly meaningful, like beauty and wonder. And, I think, they come from "the same place" as those "stupid irrelevent feelings" you describe above. Sure, ultimately, everything comes down to chemical reactions, but there is such a layering of complexity on top of those that, from our perspective, "looking down from above" as it were, the chemical reactions aren't the key thing that defines "us", its the process that emerges from them, that we call our selves. And sure, that process has its own flaws too, but its what makes us *us*.

Being a robot is nothing to aspire to Mero, you end up being remembered only for stuff like becoming Skynet. :p

:hug:

Cocoanut Koala 01-06-2012 09:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Merovigan (Post 414273)
It's probably just depression, not post-partem. Seven years is a bit too "post" to blame the kiddo.

No no no no. I don't mean literally your kid.

I mean each thing you "birth." Each accomplishment can end in feelings like post-partum depression.

Like when you finish writing a book.

Lucifer Baphomet 01-06-2012 09:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cocoanut Koala (Post 414278)
No no no no. I don't mean literally your kid.

I mean each thing you "birth." Each accomplishment can end in feelings like post-partum depression.

Like when you finish writing a book.

Yus, sometimes completing something, or getting somewhere or whatever, is so anti climactic it deflates you.

And of course it doesn't help when youre made to feel unappreciated over it, like Mero does right now with the suits dangling the sword of fucking damocles over his head.

Cale Vinson 01-07-2012 01:02 AM

The following is offered from someone who fully acknowledges that they haven't got their own "what is the meaing of it all?" issues sorted. Caveat Emptor and all that. :)

Personally, I think its not productive, or even sensible, to measure oneself too closely against others. I mean, sure, some of that is inevitable and desirable, but ultimately everyone gets to decide what value one places on things.

If I won the lottery tomorrow, I'd be richer, but I wouldn't feel I was suddenly a "better" person - how could I be, as a result of blind luck? You can extrapolate that idea right back to birth - being born smart (for example) is not something you have any control over, its the luck of the draw. What you do have control over is how you develop/make-use of those smarts. The only thing any of us can ever do is attempt to reach our potential, whatever that potential might be. Best example I ever saw of this was an Aussie swimmer, being interviewed after a race in which he didn't finish in the top three. The idiot interviewer asked "Aren't you dissappointed with that result?", and the smiling swimmer replied: "No, it was a Personal Best, how could I be dissappointed with that?".

Now, OK, maybe you agree with the above, but feel that your potential will never be reached because you haven't (or won't) reach some level of seniority, like CEO. To which I would take a note from Jen's book, and ask: is the CEO role the map or the territory? Do you want to be a CEO because that's the end-goal in and of itself, or is it because you associate that position with other opportunities to realise your potential, like the opportunity to provide vision, lead others, etc? If it's the latter, there may be other ways to provide those opportunities, ways which are more under your control.

One final comment. I think there are a lot of very unfamous people out there who have lead very impactful lives. My two high-school maths teachers had a major role in my life, and given that I'm nothing special I'd guess that by the end of their careers there'd be hundreds of other people who would make the same claim. And the kicker there is that those teachers may never even really know how many people they impacted positively.

Envoy Costagravas 01-07-2012 04:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cale Vinson (Post 414292)
And the kicker there is that those teachers may never even really know how many people they impacted positively.

Find them.
Tell them.

Beyond the basic fact of just how much they altered your course (and I vehemently disagree that you are "nothing special") you may not possibly imagine how much you telling them how much it meant could actually mean to them.

Please trust me, Cale: that feedback from a former student is a joy and fulfillment beyond most anything else.

Cocoanut Koala 01-07-2012 03:38 PM

Here's something interesting I just ran across:

In research on highly educated professionals, almost half of the subjects could not become satisfied even as they accomplished their apparent goals because they did not recognize their accomplishments and instead created an irrational image of themselves. (Thurman 1981) — P.41

http://www.amazon.com/100-Simple-Secrets-Happy-People/dp/0061157910/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1301304045&sr=8-1
I haven't yet been able to find more information on this research.

JohnnyVann 01-07-2012 06:08 PM

This is what I found at Amazon I thought sounded good

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0312649940/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=httpwwwwasabi-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399373&creativeASIN=0312649940

Jen 01-07-2012 08:29 PM

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
Winston Churchill

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tLBb6JUxq6...Bchurchill.jpg

Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.
Albert Einstein

https://encrypted-tbn3.google.com/im...q51zvFn0wNuhHQ

There is only one success - to be able to spend your life in your own way.
Christopher Morley

https://encrypted-tbn2.google.com/im...OIKNhIYwnhWDkg
The thermometer of success is merely the jealousy of the malcontents.
Salvador Dali

http://www.friendsofcannabis.com/dir...vador-dali.jpg

JohnnyVann 01-07-2012 09:37 PM

My Mother hung me on a hook once.

Once.

-- Johnny Dangerously

http://www.michaelkeatoncentral.com/...erously544.jpg

Oryx Tempel 01-08-2012 01:50 PM

We're all running the race. I'm running a race in trying to create a local, sustainable living. I know that there are people out there doing it better than me. I know that there are people out there doing it WAY better than me. But I also know that there are people out there who don't even know they're racing, and are just walking along the road, picking their noses. I'm somewhere in the middle - I won't win, but I won't lose, either. At least I'm trying.

That's really the key. Knowing that you're in the race, and knowing that you're trying. To not even know that you're in the race is sad, shallow, and silly. I think you're doing just fine, Mero. Sometimes you just get that "man, life sucks and I'm just on a treadmill" feeling.

If you're asking for advice, and I'm not sure that you are, but I'm giving it anyway, I'd suggest finding something interesting outside of work, or something more outside of work. Learn to play the guitar. Start a garden. Train for a 10k. Something. Anything. Goals outside of work are vital for life satisfaction.

Merovigan 01-26-2012 05:58 PM

I was given a choice to share the chairman job with another employee who isn’t out on contract. He’s part of the company and sits in the physical office of the corporation. He is part of the “Executive Team”. Thus, he has all the access I need to have but can’t because I have to do two jobs, each focused in a different location. So I take him on and share the power because it’s the right thing to do. It’s wrong if I’m all power hungry but I recognize that, perhaps, I am not the most fantastically amazing human who has ever walked the earth and, again perhaps because I could be wrong here, having someone I can tap who is physically located next to the President of the company is a big deal.

His first action, as co-chair with the authority to send emails on behalf of the team, is to send an email stating, among others things “[Mero] is the chairing the Innovation team this year.” Thus, he has stated “I am giving you all the power, because I have other shit to do, but if you need help like sending bullshit emails I got you covered, and if this goes really well I will expect some form of tribute.” This is exactly how I am accustomed to working.

We had some auditors come in today, from corporate. Actually, one of them was the Innovation co-chair. We talked for a while and they pointed out that almost all of my turnover was from my staff going native and joining the government. I remarked that I hated this and that it would be worse, except for the fact that the government hires former military before civs. They’d tried to create a position for this one guy on my staff, but former military kept applying and so my civilian’s resume never even made it to his desk.

This made me realize, and I have to check with HR to see if it’s allowed, that I no longer want to hire former military. In fact, this should be the best practice for all government contractors. It makes no sense to go through vetting and on-boarding someone, all of which is a cost of business that must be eaten, only to lose them six months later and, even worse, to lose the right to put someone in that slot and, thus, watch your contract get smaller. So, I’m not sure if I’m allowed to legally discriminate based on this criteria but if I can, I totally will.

Changing gears.

I was on the metro, train. I had seen this woman before and my reaction to her had been “She’s pretty when she smiles, but she clearly has her defenses as far up as they’ll go, and that detracts from her beauty.” I’d seen her for years and, you may or may not be aware, when you see the same person for years you develop a small amount of trust with them. “They belong here because I see them all the time” sort of thing. They become a reassurance when you are lost or unsure. You see them and know “Hey, I’m where the things I see all the time are so; I’m ok.” On more than one occasion I have gotten a bit lost on the metro and felt comforted that I “knew”, if only by sight, most everyone around me.

Two days ago she wasn’t her defensive self. I was sitting facing the front of the train and she was sitting across the aisle also facing forward. Something happened and I heard a male say “Excuse me” while she was sort of doing this shocked “How dare you” gasp.” But, it’s the Metro so I don’t get involved. No one’s bleeding, no one’s screaming, and there’s no hiss of gas, so eyes forward and mind your business. Then he stands up and goes to the door. She gasps and makes some other really upset noises. He leaves and I feel her, maybe see her out of the corner of my eye, begin to seek camaraderie. She’s looking for someone to validate what just happened to her and I have no idea what it is but … one of the objects in my reality is not acting right and it disturbs me so I investigate.

“Did you just see that?!” she says after I remove my cowl, put on my lopsided grin, and make eye contact.
“Nope, what happened?”
“He hit me!”
“Oh my god!” I say, earnestly upset for her.
“I keep my elbow over the back of the seat, and he didn’t like that because it meant he couldn’t read his paper, so when he was leaving he hit my arm! And then when he got up and stood at the door, he stood such that his middle finger was flipping me off.”
“Wow, what an immature asshole. But ya know, there are a lot of immature assholes in the world.
“Yeah” she says. And then she says something that made the figurative turntable going in my head screech. “And it’s usually fifty year old white men who are the assholes!”
My eyes widened but I didn’t miss a beat, responding in my best politician “Well I can’t speak to that, but I can certainly tell you that there are a lot of assholes in there world.”
She doesn’t let up. “Oh, I CAN speak to that! See I’m a little bit older, so I know …” and she then proceeds to tell me the whole story over again.

Now I know that I’ve said a lot of negative things about the baby boomers but I feel ok doing that online, not in real life. In real life you can’t just treat ideas as playthings to toss around and explore, at least not on the metro. Discussing this topic amongst the other objects of my daily life could cause them to change their interaction in both negative and positive ways and after a hard day at work I’m not really ready to parse out all the possibilities and listen to my own conversation from 10 different empathetic points to discern if what I’m saying will upset anyone. So, while I see what she means and disagree with the way she is saying it, I’m not going to engage in this debate in this topic at this moment.

I listen patiently and say, making sure to give her my “I mean it” eyes and a friendly smile, “I’m really sorry that happened to you.” She smiled, and after saying goodbye when my stop came, I figured this would be a good story and nothing more.

I was wrong.

The next day, there she was again. I’m wondering, do I see her this often usually or am I just seeing her more now that something’s happened? Do we notice objects that have more relevance to us? Yes, so, I’ve probably seen her just as often but now I’m aware of something about her so I “see” her more.

I wave and sit down in the same scenario as before, her across the aisle, both facing ahead. I can’t be sure, but I feel her not like that. I feel her want me to sit closer so that … she won’t have to be so defensive? To recap why all old white men are racist, sexist assholes? I don’t really care – mind your business, keep your head down, and nothing will have the right to hurt you.

But it doesn’t feel right, anymore. It used to feel just fine to sit here and ignore her but, now I’m actually intentionally ignoring her and that’s new. Before I had no problem glancing at her to confirm that she was still uptight and angry. Now, I know when we make eye contact she won’t be. We had no reason, neither her nor I, to engage before. The guy who hurt her (or she perceived as hurting her. I'm pretty sure she interpreted happenstance as enemy fire) created a need in her and I was there to fill that need but, that’s certainly not my role.

But there’s this stupid tugging. It won’t shut up about making her feel welcome and comfortable. It hates how defensive she is and wants her to be comfortable in her surrounding and it realizes that I am way more than capable of providing that and it kinda hates me for being so self-involved as to not even mention what had occurred before, in order to give her a chance to modify any conclusion she thought I had come to. The tugging is so damned certain that the right thing to do, once you come to an understanding about something, is to incorporate it into your life. You can’t just sit here and pretend there isn’t a scared and angry woman, that wants to not be a scared angry woman, sitting there. You have to acknowledge, and help. Hell, I was part of it, in my own way. She mentioned that she noticed what book I was reading (sorry I forgot to change my pic, I'm reading Post Black by Ytasha Womack) and she was born in Apartheid South Africa. That combination of past and current signals helped configure her reality filter.

The tugging wins. I look up and her eyes are on me and she’s smiling. The defensive, closed off, person isn’t there. She wants to talk ... I think. I say “I feel like I should sit behind you so that when your elbow intrudes on someone else’s space he doesn’t take a shot at you.” She laughed and asked that I do just that. I didn’t, right away. I was still fighting it. I still wanted things to be the way they were. But after a few more backs and forths I sighed and moved to sit behind her. We spent another metro ride discussing race, religion and life.


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