Archive for August, 2016

08/30/2016

Going Off Script

So I was catching up with one of my mentors recently over drinks who is making her own life shift and we had a very insightful and empowering conversation.

We started talking about family and one thing that came up was the grief both our parents are giving us for not having kids (for them, grandchildren) yet. We started laughing because here were were, two very committed yet family oriented professionals with very good accomplishments…and all it seemed like was the level of grief we get about for not being parents yet is pretty overwhelming in those small moments when we choose to care about the subject.

Now, I’ve thought about being a parent myself, and my reasons for having not taken on that endeavor yet are pretty traditional…not having found the right person, not situated in life enough to want to look after another human in that way. But I think the grief my mentor and I get from our parents periodically isn’t about our ability to parent, but rather the fact that we’ve gone off script…the script they may have had for us.

Even though society has evolved in many ways, there’s still some expectation that you have a career, get a house, own a career and have children. Truthfully, in this time period for some income brackets, it is a real struggle to assume the mantle of parenthood in a viable and sustainable manner. It is also a different sort of struggle to hear folks, women in particular, who choose the career path and had foregone the idea of parenthood. And while our folks may mean well, my mentor was indeed correct when she said that occasionally whenever this subject comes up, “that shit hurts when they talk about it”.

That’s why I don’t mind the fact that I’ve gone somewhat off script by choosing to delay this idea of the eventual entry into the fraternity of fatherhood. I’ve seen too many people, including my mom, struggle to create the best possible outcomes for their kids. While they did OK with me, I’m just trying to ensure I can do better that they did. It’s hard to bring a child into the world knowing that they don’t have a good shot as you to find their own path.

So why do it if one is not fully committed?

08/27/2016

Sink Or Swim; Always Be Graceful

So for folks who watched the Olympics this year, the games have finally ended. Now to me, this spectacle has lost a lot of its lustre, but every once in a while we’ll see great acts of sportsmanship and some asses who should have been left back in their own closet back home. People love gossip at the Olympics.

The host country supplied some with the very public break up of a pair of Brazilian female synchronized swimmers where one kicked out her junior partner to have a late night marathon tryst with a male canoeist. Of course they didn’t medal, but it would appear that this episode was the last straw that destroyed a strained working relationship. I’m sure that’s one story no one will ever live down:

Brazilian Synchronized Diver Kicks Teammate Out of Room For "marathon sex session" With Olympic Kayaker

There was an Irishman who ran a ticket scalping scheme that got busted and is looking at a super high bail and some serious jail time.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-olympics-rio-tickets-idUSKCN1120EFhttp://www.reuters.com/article/us-olympics-rio-tickets-idUSKCN1120EF

When it comes to sports, there’s nothing worse than sore losers. Hope Solo had a Hope Solo bad girl moment with her disparaging remarks about the Swedes who knocked them out of medal contention in women’s soccer. Now, Hope has always been known for a few outspoken moments like this, but still…some may say that she should have just sulked when the cameras are off, and not shit on opponents who just beat the US team badly like that in public. The consequences for her latest comments are very interesting indeed:

Even worse than Hope Solo was Ryan Lochte. If you’ve missed it, essentially he is one of the more recognizable male swimmers for the US to ended up hanging out someplace with a few fellow Olympians. Apparently, they got drunk, trashed the placed and security was called with guns drawn when they refused to pay for damages. Instead of handling the situation responsibly, it got spun by the swimmers that they were robbed at gunpoint. Now, after more investigation was done, the swimmers recanted the initial story. What a black eye for Brazil (currently with its own issues), and a black eye for the swimmers themselves. Lochte’s behavior reminded us that in all these snippets, the cover-up was much worse than the crime (at least Solo didn’t shy away from hers). People make mistakes all the time, but because we choose to handle them in egregious ways it just makes the situation worse. Being gracious does take practice.

Sometimes when grace is applied correctly, it helps to make the process of healing a lot more palatable.

 

08/16/2016

Managing Our Fears Around Change

 

So I went to a small BBQ last weekend, as one of my friends who is a physician is transferring out west. Both he and his wife are pretty excited – she has always loved the West coast and he has been an East coast guy essentially his whole life. As much as I’m sorry to see them both go, I’m excited to see them move on to something better.

What stood out to me was a conversation I had with another friend of the doctor who was leaving that day. We were talking about the doctor’s move and he started talking about his own “thoughts to do something different”. He runs his own business and pulls some serious 10 hour shifts.  He talks about his wife and his young children and how much harder it is to make a move to do and see something different. So as the conversation rolls only, he drops a bombshell as to how his mortgage is almost paid off and how he wants to reevaluate things after the lease at his business expires in a few years, and how the kids wouldn’t be as much of a problem in terms of making the move.

“So you have an idea. “ I said to him. “It’d be one thing if you wanted to make a change but hadn’t thought it through, but you have a framework for an idea.” He looked at me and smiled. I remember wishing the gentleman well and hopeful that he ends up in a place where he is satisfied if he chooses to make some changes.

That exchange got me thinking. Sometimes we are own our worst critics whenever life is calling out for us to do something different. Now, some of the changes we need to make can be done in a gradual, systematic way. Others, life puts us in a situation where immediacy is the name of the game. Either way, whenever we get the itch to make a change, there’s usually a significant reason behind it that needs to be explored in its entirety.

No change is easy. I remember moving to the US literally 10 days after my last undergraduate class and it was a punch to the gut. It was such an adjustment that it took me about 12 months to start to be OK with the move, with a ton of second-guessing during that first year. Still, it was a move I HAD to make because I knew for me, the alternative was dire. Now, over a decade later, I am faced with making another similar type shift in order to move forward with the next stage of my life course.

I’m sure my doctor friend has some nerves about his move. I know I do have a ton on what I’m working on offline. But how we manage our shifting sands will depend on being smart with our opportunities and staying true to why we needed to make these changes in first place.

Change for the sake of change can be the same as shuffling deck chairs on a sinking boat; the goal here is to fix the leak or go escape safely, not to drown in stagnation with style.

 

08/14/2016

There’s No “I” in “TEAM”, but an “I” in “FIRED”…

 

So I recently go into this show called Criminal Minds. It’s essentially a long running series about a team of FBI agents that profile serial killers and solve complex cases. The show has been around for a long time – over 12 years – and I just started watching it. Now, it’s very dark and hard to stomach after a while, simply because the writers are some good in terms of their research and storytelling. To me, the writers are the real stars in showing just how far/low/depraved/twisted etc the human psyche can be when it crosses certain lines.

Why bring all of this up? Today, as I was working through a brief malaise while mapping out parameters of a life plan for the next 18-24 months, I saw an interesting article about the show.

Here’s the link: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/criminal-minds-star-thomas-gibson-fired-cbs-show-article-1.2748743

Essentially, one of the long tenured actors got fired for kicking a writer during a disagreement. Now, this actor wasn’t one of the new actors…nope, this was Thomas Gibson who played the team’s section chief, no less. So WTF could have happened to cause a man who was playing one of those life long career defining roles to get the Donald Trump Apprentice style treatment?

According the NY Daily News (who probably sourced this from other places), Gibson has been on the writers’ bad side before – and may have been a bit of a diva on set with other incidents. Well, many actors are divas – among other things – but are gifted cash cows when the lights are on and the brightest. So how do you manage to tote the line or putting up with the “peculiarities” of a talent who is on an exceptional level? Guess CBS thought that this was the last straw and have cut bait with Gibson in an unceremonious manner, just have many other places have done to many others who “finally wore out their welcome”.

Such a situation reminds me of some of the stuff I’ve seen at my current employment sight where management has axed some really talented people over other indiscretions relating to on the job behavior. Now, most managers aren’t saints here – certainly none of those exist where I work – but I was taught at a young age to never give management an easy reason to fire you. In fact, a colleague just got herself axed because she literally disappeared for nearly 2 weeks – “no call, no show” style. Sometimes, we’re in a good situation and get too caught up in the trappings of the successes at the expenses of the efforts needed to maintain the successes.

Yes, even in 2016, “pride cometh before a fall”.

 

 

08/12/2016

An Old Friend’s Call

Wow.

It’s been that long since I sat at a PC to do this. So much time has passed. So much has happened, is happening now, and will happen within the next few months. Where do I start?

I’ve experienced a few more family losses since last time. I’m currently experiencing a transition with regards to work; having been the one a part of numerous send offs of long tendered colleagues, I now stand at the starting point of making that walk myself in earnest. Also what lies before me is the task to complete my master’s degree and all its promises and pitfalls, before really starting to move my career forward with earnest. Throw in a health issue that’s somewhat resolved and some relationships in various stages of (ill) health, possible relocation questions and it’s no secret as to how and why things got quiet around here for so long.

On the meso level, communities have died, some been reborn, some have experienced all sorts of metamorphosis. On the national level, we’ve got an election cycle that has the  look of a train wreck of epic proportions. Cops shooting civilians and civilians firing back. Cuba slowly opening back up to American influences. Taylor Swift isn’t as perfect as her image dictates;  Kim K. and Kanye are still perfect in how they keep the spotlight trained on them.

Still, throughout it all…I’ve gotten older since my last go ‘round here – wiser in some areas, sillier in others.

Some things are still the same – my sentences are still too long and compound for their own good; the flirtation with technology, and the overarching commitment to walking the fine line between the old and the new. The new stuff: more lessons learned, more stories to tell and new insights to be discovered together.

What does this me for me going forward? What do you know when you’ve forgotten more than you know to recall, yet are stuck remembering too much of those things that you should really try to forget?

Who knows, really. Here’s hoping you are still willing to stick around for the ride.

The journey on the life course continues…and yes, the Bar is open, under New Old Management.