Friday, January 28, 2005

Playing Pool

One of the guys at work, Ben, and his wife just had a baby a couple months ago. He is leaving for three months to be a stay at home dad. Last fall he won a pool party at Jillian's, so he invited the whole office out last night to go play pool.

Only six people eventually showed up, but that was OK because we made our own fun. Irene, a 60-something woman who has worked in the office as long as I have is a fun person to invite to something like that. She gets everyone laughing, and it's OK if they're laughing at her. She would miss the cue ball, or send it off at impossible angles, uselessly rolling against the rail without hitting anything. We tried to give her tips, and she would try, but it was still pretty funny.

On the way to the party, I was riding in Ben's car with Irene, and all of a sudden Ben asked me, "Are you self conscious about your big feet?"

This is kind of like the old gag of asking "When did you stop beating your wife?"

Irene started laughing and then I threw back, "Why, are you self conscious about your ugly face?" Of course I was just joking, but I was so taken back by his question I just reacted. Meanwhile, this whole exchange sent Irene into gales of laughter for two blocks.

Turns out Ben was just being Ben, asking an innocent question, because something was on his mind. Sure enough, he was thinking about another guy in the office (Bill) who really does have big feet--size 15's-- and who said he was self conscious about it. Well, Bill is about 6'6" or 6'7", so he needs big feet.

In the pool hall, we wound up using two tables, with some people taking turns. We enjoyed making up our own rules, cheating when necessary and generally making a mockery of the whole process. We all seemed to improve as the night wore on, and that was gratifying to see. I even sank three balls in a row at one point.

Who are the people we work with? Is it possible to be friends outside of the office? Possibly, but it's so strange, spending more time with them than you do with your own family. Maybe you need a break from them after a long week in the trenches. There are annoying quirks you will tolerate at work because you have to. You don't necessarily want to deal with all that once you leave the office.

Considering that this week I did performance evaluations on several of the people at the party, it was a little more stressful for me than it might have been at another time of year. I don't know if they cared or not, but I did.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005


OK, so it's kind of cheating, but here is a link to a great article about the need to keep your brain engaged, even if you retire. William Safire (OK, maybe he's not your favorite, but you must admit he knows language), wrote it-his last column as he himself retires to take up a new challenge. Check it out here:

Monday, January 24, 2005

Mom always said

When we were younger (and even when we weren't so young), if we were taking too long to do something like clean our rooms or wash the dishes, mom would say, "Don't make it your life's work!" As in, don't take too long, just get it done. We had no idea what our life's work was supposed to be, but we were shocked to think that some mundane task could possibly take all our lives to accomplish. Needless to say, we were spurred to action.

Years ago in the 70's I interviewed for a job for a computer training school. The work consisted of doing presentations to people who had answered their ads and come down to hear a pitch about computer careers. The interviewer actually told me that in these presentations I would be telling people that their lives were worthless and that they needed the computer school to make something of themselves. My job would be to tear down their self esteem until they agreed to sign up for the program. These presentations were done on Saturdays. During the week, I would have to call the prospects and hound them into enrolling in the school. Fortunately, we both realized I wasn't that cold blooded and I did not get the job.

That interview was part of my education. Every interview, and all you do in your job search is an opportunity to learn more about your life's work.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

At the zoo Posted by Hello

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Inaugural post

There are people who like to write, and there are people who don't. There are people who plan their careers and there are people who "fall into" something. The difference between these classes of people may be talent, inspiration or knowledge of basic principles.

Since I like to write, here I am. Did I plan my career? I was not aware of it at the time, but I made certain decisions that may not have been planful, but they helped assure my future. Things like finishing college, getting a teachers certificate, moving to Ohio, asking for advice, and poking around in the right places all contributed to a plan.

So, among other things, this space will be devoted to career musings, and ideas to help inspire and educate anyone interested in planning "your life's work".