Well howdy! I think for my first time out of the gate, I'm going to engage in a little stream of consciousness. I don't have a topic. I don't have a plan. If you knew me at all you'd know that both of those things, a topic and a plan are central to my very existence. No matter, let's press on. Some of the things on my mind today are of course, the mid-term elections being held tomorrow. Folks that know me are aware that I'm an unapologetic Christian and political conservative...but don't necessarily wear them on my sleeve. I don't put bumper stickers on expensive cars and aside from attending a McCain-Palin rally during the '08 election season, am largely an onlooker.
I just don't seem to have the time or energy to be an organizer or zealot, but make no mistake, I'm keenly astute to what's going on my country and don't like it much. I do subscribe to the notion that the November 2nd elections are indeed a referendum on the Obama administration. Call it voter remorse, perhaps.
Let's see...what else can I type about that will help you "get" me? Well, one thing is certain, I'm not a corporate drone. I tried off and on, but just don't seem to have what it takes to pull that off. I tried the buttoned-down, open-collar with khakis and loafers...just not me. What I have found since I've matured a bit is that I do my best work in shorts, a t-shirt and flip-flops. I'm a home office ninja! Make no mistake, I do on many occasions put on the navy blue pinstripe suit with french cuffs and hold my own at meetings inside the Beltway, but for pure, unadulterated excellent work, my home office is my kingdom. And since I'm talking about the drones, why not take a shot or two at them and their lifestyle? It's not my intent to demonize, but this syndrome is so prevalent in our society, I'm concerned that I haven't seen anything written on the mind-numbing creature we call the "exempt employee." Or, better yet that human being...person we warmly refer to as "headcount." Can there be anything so detached from humanity than this? Yikes. First time I heard a person referred to as "headcount" I nearly burst a blood vessel!
These EEs (exempt employees) have lives (or dream of such a thing). As we progress through our work-a-day existence, we seem compelled to spring into action the moment the blackberry makes a sound...and even when it doesn't. "Is it possible I didn't hear it???" We give lip service to this notion of a so-called, "work/life balance." That concept was created by the HR community to make themselves feel good that people do in fact have interests outside the corporation. The reality is that most EEs are stressed-out, burned-out and enslaved to respond to the corporation 24/7. Look into their eyes...they're dead. They can make the most mundane conversationalists, too. Try talking to one of them for more than 30 seconds while they recount the round of golf they played (on a course they couldn't afford), or the dinner they had (at a restaurant they couldn't afford). They will go miles out of their way to make sure they send emails out at 11pm, just so someone will know they are putting in extra time. So, what's all this nonsense about? Security. People need to feel secure and will do most anything to feel it. It goes back to the old Maslow's hierarchy of needs. People cannot progress from one level in their lives until they fully achieve the one below it. Security is a basic need that all people have. But how does achieving security turn good folks into drones? Easy. It's the greedy bastards at the top. While they don't even have direct contact with the drones, they apply constant, ever-increasing pressure from their perches to those just below them. By the time that pressure flows downwardly through the chain, it actually increases with strength and velocity. The poor sap of a manager bears the full force of it and without so much as a whimper, takes on additional burden, braves each day with a seemingly indellible, ceramic smile and quietly plots his boss' demise on his commute into the office. This isn't healthy...but it provides something we all need...security. Security to make sure that they can continue to play golf courses, shop at Nordstrom's, buy timeshares, put the kids in private schools...all things they cannot afford. Man, I can go on forever about this, good thing this is a blog and I can cut it up in pieces, huh?
Wow, that really got me humming. So, is it possible to achieve security without losing your identity...and while maintaining close personal relationships and meaningful enjoyment? I've heard some people actually pull this off. While I don't know a lot of things for sure, I do know that at least for me, life is too doggoned short to waste it making someone else wealthy while it makes me sick.
Another thing I've learned over the years, probably from one of the preachers I listen to is that stress is actually good for people...stay with me on this. Stress is actually a positive force that helps us get through situations we encounter in life. As you might have already surmised, there is also a negative force that messes with our emotions and our physical bodies. This is called DIS-Stress. It's the anti-stress...and it ain't good for us. Another thing I've learned is that when a person has pile after pile of distress heaped mercilessly upon them, it overtakes and overwhelms them. Being overwhelmed is a terrible feeling for anyone...and we all handle it in different ways. Excessive drinking, divorce, infidelity, self-pity, angst...the list is endless, but the common denominator here is distress is present.
This is what we allow our jobs to do to us. While I know it isn't true for everyone, it is sure true for me. I think I've finally matured enough to allow myself to be "ordinary." Ever the overachiever, I have been on a self-inflicted quest for advancement my entire life. I suspect I'm not alone here. Promotions, perks, bonuses and increases are all wonderful concepts, but what we typically have to do to "earn" them, I've discovered, just ain't worth it anymore...for me.
So, what's the alternative? If one believes that doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result is foolish, the only alternative is CHANGE. That's what I'm doing. Is it risky? Heck yes! Is it worth it? If I can break the bondage I've put myself in...heck yes! So there it is. If you don't like where you are in any area of your life...you have the power to change it.
I'll be making my changes in the very near future. Can't wait. It sounds good, right? Well, it'll just have to be good, because I have a policy...never go backward. I haven't and I won't.
Until next time.
Question: Who reads these things, anyway???