Money, teeth, and playing hookie

It’s been an interesting weekend.  Not exactly the kind of weekend that you would like to rewind and play again, but interesting none the less.  The wife and I have been looking at appliances for the new house for a few days and decided to head over to Best Buy (the anti-christ of bait and switch) and see what kind of packages they had.  We had no intention of buying anything, however the wife presented with a package deal that was drastically reduced, the opportunity to say “we saved xxxx” was too great to ignore.  At the end of the day, I had to increase my limit on the Best Buy card to pay for it all, a requirement to get the additional % discount that made the deal workable.  We walked out of the store with my thoughts focused on “we purchased appliances for a house we don’t even own yet”.  I sure hope they can take a cancellation if anything happens between now and then.

The daughter and I decided to head out for lunch yesterday because we hadn’t for a while.  It was her choice to pick and of course, McDonalds it was.  Thankfully they serve breakfast all day now, so its tolerable and I’m not praying to the porcelain God to make it all stop a few hours after eating said McDonalds.  As I was eating the second breakfast burrito, my tongue was scraping on something stuck in my tooth in the back.  Well, it was something stuck, it was the familiar edge of a broken tooth, back molar to be exact, that was now not a whole tooth but a 3/4 tooth.  Upside, it wasn’t painful so the break below the gumline hadn’t made its way to the nerve.  Downside, I now had to decide if I wanted it pulled or capped, neither of which I have money for at this point (see previous paragraph).

On top of all this happening this weekend, my wife informed me LAST NIGHT that we had the home inspection on our new place at 9am and it would take about three hours.  She “asked” in a tone that said “be there” for the inspection as she needed to head out for work before the end of the inspection.  So now, after taking off the week of our move and eating up all my paid time off, I now had to fake being sick so that I could be there to the end of the inspection.  My job pays all the bills and keep the house going and my wife’s job is her play money and is part time.  I’m not trying to lessen her contribution to the household, however there needs to be some priorities when the income that sustains the house is being sacrificed for a part-time job.   I’ve got a strong work ethic and I had lying to get out of work.  The only positive out of this is that the lie I used was to get my cracked tooth fixed, so technically its a half lie, but that doesn’t make any of it any better.

I’m skeptical at this point that this move is going to be a smooth one.  I can easily see lots of issues that will cause some frustration in the very near future.  The fact that my mother-in-law just had her knee replaced is making the non-medicated wife even more on edge than usual and its been a struggle to get anything other than attitude and tone from her.  Even the simplest things have become hard in my opinion.  Only time will tell if this is the right choice or not.  Everything is tolerable as long as my office (room in the basement) is not utilized for anything other than my office.  I need a cave to hide and recoup every once in a while.

Exit, Cold, Enter, Almost a week down

My last day was last Wednesday with my old company.  It was interesting being there telling everybody essentially the same thing.

Yeah, I’m heading out.  Going to an architectural design and infrastructure control software company that is only 30 minutes from home blah blah yadda yadda this that and the other thing…….

I got to the point, where I was just staring at a white screen of an empty inbox, that I was thinking what the hell was I still there for?  It was that point where I shutdown, handed my laptop to the dude next to me and turned in my mobile phone.  It was a crappy iPhone, so I didn’t have an issue getting rid of it.

GettingSick

Last Monday I started to feel the beginnings of a stupid cold.  My luck of course, I would get a stupid cold before my first day with a new company.  You only get once chance for a first impression, so I did my best to make it seem like I wasn’t sick and washed my hands so much they were pruned all day long.  I’m like a little child when I’m sick and no one in my family likes to be around me when I’m sick.

Yeah, pretty much
Yeah, pretty much

Now that its been almost a week, I’m feeling much better.  It’s a good thing too because there is a huge security audit next week that I’m pretty much running.  Nothing like being thrown to the wolves, wearing a meat suit, dipped in gravy and tied to a tree outside the wolves den.  My new manager said “information security is the same everywhere, don’t need to know the systems to protect the data.”  Uh, OK, apparently that’s how its going to be.

Anyway, I’m now almost a week into the new job and I’m really liking the challenge of learning totally new systems while at the same time owning something that I have no clue how to own.  I’m holding my own despite the challenge.  I’m finding it hard to find the time to get online and write, however I think that will subside once the audit is complete next week.

Merry New Job Eve…… oh boy

Having the unfortunate luck of having a mild cold on the eve of a new job, I was reflecting last night on my life to this point.  There have been several major milestones in my life that are easily recalled and thought about in vivid detail.  Graduating High School, getting my first real job, getting my first promotion, meeting my future wife and then getting married, buying my first house, having a daughter, etc.  I started thinking about everything as chapters in a book that isn’t finished yet.  I have not had anything earth shattering or life changing compared to anyone else and my book of life would be rather boring honestly.  Anyway, it was interesting none the less.

Thinking about my new job, a deviation from anything in my career thus far, I suddenly started feeling nervous about this new chapter.  I’m prepared, more so than other times, to start this job from day one.  No break in period or kicking the figurative tires.  They need me to start being productive and effective almost immediately.  The thought of trying to figure out my place while at the same time showing I already know my place is a little frightening.  I’ve never had to do that in any previous position I’ve started as I brought experience and knowledge to the table.  That was the reason I got hired.  This job is the first job in my life that I was hired because of my personality and demeanor rather than my technical knowledge or background.  Scary realization time!

What....what the hell?
What….what the hell?

I’m assured by the people soon to be my co-workers that I’m going to be successful at whatever I do.  Do they have to say that?  This is what I’m thinking most of the time when I hear things like that.  I’m my own worst critic and often will beat myself up more than anyone else.  It’s my way of learning from my mistakes, but will unfortunately give a perception to others that is often negative.  I’ve worked on this aspect of my personality for years and have improved, but still tend to head down that rabbit hole.  My biggest fear though is that I won’t be able to keep up the extrovert exterior when I’m at my core an extreme introvert.  Only time will tell in that case I think.

Have my fingers crossed!

Be color brave and achieve on your own

MellodyHobsonMellody Hobson: Be color blind or color brave

Having been a TED viewer for a few years now since Jamie Oliver did his documentaries on school cafeteria food in the U.S., this one struck a cord with me.  It’d definitely worth the 15 minutes to watch the whole thing.  I was overly impressed with her ability to convey what she was thinking in a manner that didn’t cause shock and awkwardness, which she explains during her talk.

A friend has posted this to their Facebook page for a clearly different reason than what the talk is actually about.  Their focus was on the two points in the talk.  The first point was her going to a prestigious talk with a colleague and being mistaken for “the help”.  Their second point was focused on the question “When will it be weird to walk into a corporate board room and see all white men?”; a point that took less than 30 seconds to explain and which they were also totally out of context and off base with their comments.

Here is a woman that has faced adversity her entire life, for many reasons I’m sure.  A few she touched on in the talk.  Despite her having to endure this adversity, she has become a successful woman as a Board Chairperson, one of two in the country of Fortune 500 companies.  I personally don’t find that surprising given that I’ve known for years that hard work, perseverance and determination to get what you want always pays off in the long term.  I’ve also long held the belief that if you’re qualified for a position you have as much a chance as anyone else to receive it.  Nothing other than experience and education should be considered but unfortunately that isn’t the world we live in right now.

Prior to the real world, our children are learning that “everyone wins” and you get as many chances to get it right.  Everyone doesn’t win, its a fact of life.  I grew up with the ideal that few win and many lose.  I’m OK with that, I’m stronger for that.  I’d like to know when that changed so drastically that a millennial will cry and complain when they don’t get a job or their friends are hired before them.  The culture that was pressed into them was one of inclusion and winning, but the real world, approximately 80% of their life, is completely the opposite.  Why are we condoning this kind of teaching to our children?  The children that will be running the country in 20-30 years that we’ll, as pre-seniors, rely upon to make decisions on our behalf.

Bill Gates recently gave a speech at a High School where he gave them 11 rules that weren’t taught to them in school.  These are the same kids that will be looking for jobs and expecting the same type of treatment they had in school.

  1. Life is not fair – get used to it!
  2. The world won’t care about your self-esteem.  The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.
  3. You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school.  You won’t be a vice-president with a mobile phone until you earn both.
  4. If you think your teacher is tough, wait until you get a boss.
  5. Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity.  Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping:  they called it opportunity.
  6. If you mess up, it’s not your parents fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.
  7. Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now.  They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were.  So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.
  8. Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT.  In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer.  This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.
  9. Life is not divided into semesters.  You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF.  Do that on your own time.
  10. Television is NOT real life.  In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to real jobs.
  11. Be nice to nerds.  Chances are you’ll end up working for one.

Tying this all together, Mellody worked her ass off to get to where she is.  She didn’t have to learn any of the rules above because they didn’t apply to her.  Her Mom was the inspiration she needed to just “know” nothing wasn’t within her reach to achieve.  My views on teaching and the school system are the main reason that I do not have a strong relationship with my only brother.  I’m not willing to accept my daughter learning how NOT to be and struggle for years until she learns these life lessons.

I’m about to embark on a new job in a few weeks that I achieved on my own.  No one helped me, no one gave me a pass.  I worked hard, learned tough lessons and most importantly “lost” a hell of a lot before I started winning.  These kids should listen more to people that know better, instead I witness a 20 something check his mobile phone during an interview I’m conducting.  WTH?

Half-assed Tech

I should know better by now than to trust that technology, any technology, is implemented in such a way that its actually trustworthy enough to do what you expect it to do.  It seems that the more complex and cumbersome something is to install, administer, and maintain the harder it is to have it do what you need it to do.  More often than not it fails when you need it most.

Take my foray into technology gone wrong tonight.  Long story short, rebuilt a server OS from 32-bit to 64-bit, re-attached a SAN (storage attached network) and it was blank.  I know there was almost 250GB’s of data on that drive BEFORE I did the rebuild, so you can imagine my dismay and shock when it re-appeared as blank.  No production data, don’t pass go, your ass in the fire despite it not being your fault…  you get the idea.

Panic mode set in, and I started paging and calling everyone I could to try and figure out what happened.  As I was talking to the guy that actually runs the SAN systems (Clariion if anyone is interested), the data just re-appeared.  I didn’t reboot, rescan, or do anything of a nature that would trigger the data to stop by and say “Hi” to me again.  It felt like a warm blanket got pulled over me on a cold morning where you forgot to close the windows the night before……

Regardless of whether the data came back in the end or not, there is no excuse why a billion dollar company, not being named, should have technology systems in place that are so crude.  The unfortunate thing is that this scenario is played out hundreds of times around the world for the exact same reason.  No company likes to spend money on things that suck its bottom line like a vampire for a made up number that is referred to in Accounting circles as “return on investment”.  With that said, I believe that there are three schools of thought where you spend money for two reasons:

  1. IT guy sees a cool new technology, pitches it to management and gets a green light without knowing the true cost of being bleeding edge technology leaders.
  2. IT department utilizes resources and decides the best fit for their company and makes wise purchases.
  3. Company is stuck in the mode of thinking “this is how we’ve always done it” and refuses to purchase anything other than old parts off eBay to repair aging infrastructure.

Most companies, even though they would never admit it, fall into #3 almost always.  Companies like Google fall into #2.  Small companies with younger employees generally fall into #1, until they realize its expensive and morph into #2 or #3 over time.  I don’t know where my company falls currently, as they’re so big its hard to judge.  Based on some of the health reports I’ve seen lately, I think they’re in danger of falling into the #3 pit to hell where it’ll be time for me to jump ship looking for the #2 golden opportunity.

Ok, I feel better now 🙂