gurustu's muse the daily thoughts of an every day guru
Daily Guru Thoughts
Friday, April 30, 2004 Paranoia According to Policy One of my team members start maternity leave today, and my manager told me very specifically that there is no be no contact between us during the time she is out; because even "how are you doing?" can be construed as undue influence and the company can be sued. Has it come down to this? Have we become a country so litigious that it's acceptable to get millions of dollars for a hot cup of coffee, but compassion and concern are too expensive?
I made the policy known to her today, so she understands the unusual shift from being a manager who communicates a lot to complete silence. I let her know that I will continue to inform the rest of the team about what is going on, and if there's any contact between them, then that's their business. I hope there's no rule against that too.
I think she understands. I don't **, but I'll comply.
** I mean, I DO understand... I understand why the company does what it does; I understand why any big company does what it does; and I understand that people sue instead of taking personal responsibility; and I understand that lawsuits are more complicated than the general public sees... so, yeah, yeah, yeah, I understand already... I just don't understand how we let this get so far off track
Round Two I feel like I just finished Round One in a boxing bout at Caeser's. I mentioned to the chiropractor that my jaw sometimes dislocates when I'm sleeping, and she "did me over" pretty good. Driving home my bite was great and I was feeling real good...
Then the pain started... just in time for dinner. I could hardly open my mouth. Perhaps it was Life's way of shutting me up :-)
Wednesday, April 28, 2004 Do the right thing... The Town Center project was approved by our city counsel just yesterday, paving the way for a very modern, tre cool, pre-fabulous development some two years from now. Last week I wondered if they had ever secured the domain for the name that they made very public just days before. They had not. I was stunned. They knew all about building monoliths, naming them with flag waving names, but forget to protect that name effectively.
I bought the .com's.
Years ago, people would hold them for ransom of thousands, perhaps millions of dollars. Today, those names would point to some adult web site of some sort. I really had no intention of either of those. I did toy with the idea of creating an "honorable" tribute to the plan. That could draw huge amounts more hits to this site.
But it really wasn't mine. My suggested name was Enchiridion, which talks about being proud of what is yours, and not of what is not yours.
Today I wrote to the owners of the Town Center and told them of my actions and my intentions. Within hours they were very happy that I was proactive and, more importantly, on their side.
I would've loved the traffic, but would not have earned it. I did the right thing today... and I feel proud.
Tuesday, April 27, 2004 One block and a world away... They were doing some work on my street, so I had to park my car one block over; two blocks up. It could have been worlds away. I've lived in the neighborhood for one quarter of my life, but I've rarely been down that particular street. What a pleasant surprise!
I saw homes I had never seen before; and walked past a man and his granddaughter, which became today's LifeWatch. It got me thinking about Life; about how a simple little shift can lead to a whole new view of something you thought you knew well.
Makes you wonder about everything else we take for granted, eh?
Monday, April 26, 2004 Fruition... and other food products... Well, there was a lot of work done last week, all which bore fruit today... or rather, spam. Being "Mr. Communications" I helped everyone get their email announcements all packaged and ready for prime time. I just didn't expect them to all send them, all at the same time. It looked like my portfolio in everyone's inbox.
Oh well, I can use the publicity.
I must be hungry though, since today's theme seems to be all about food (fruit, spam) now what?... the club... this time, "not being a part of..."
Last December I had Jury Duty and was unable to attend a Leadership Program. Now that my department is so into "follow-ups" I'm all left out. I don't have the results of my pre-work survey because they refused to give it to someone who didn't attend. That makes attending follow-ups useless. It's good to have that extra hour to my day, but being the only non-participant for the rest of the program could have its consequences.
Friday, April 23, 2004 On the next Survivor? Linda of Auterrific says that she would like me to be part of "10 bloggers you'd like to have on a deserted island." Based on some of her other choices, that would be a very interesting group for sure.
Maybe we should all get a giant group blog and just see what happens.
Thursday, April 22, 2004 Live by example... Today, I heard of another meeting of "leaders" where blame was laid where a foundation should have been. Seems these people prefer to shoot the messenger rather than take the personal responsibility for not reading the numerous amounts of emails on the very topic they were complaining about. Seems that meeting was pretty much,
Group: "why didn't you tell us?"
Messenger: "I did FIVE times"
Group: "Well, I didn't know this was going on "
Messenger: "Then why are your people already working on it?"
Group: "What are you going to do to get my people to talk to one another?"
Messenger: "What are YOU going to do to get your people to talk to one another?"
I was actually in a meeting with the Messenger and not that group meeting, so this is what I had to relay:
"Well, I'm a bit disappointed in a group of leaders who do not demonstrate the very core values that are expected us. As leaders, they not only have to encourage that type of behavior, but exemplify it. When I think of those core values, I should immediately picture them as shining examples; and I do not. I do not see Respect, because they are yelling at one another; I do not see Teamwork, as they are willing to tear apart the very fabric of the group; and I especially don't see Communication. They have a lot of work ahead of them."
I know the Messenger would never say that to them, for fear of career threatening retribution, and that's a shame. I am a leader in my area, and I hold myself MORE accountable to those core values than I expect my team to be. I cannot expect behavior that I am unable, or unwilling, to live by myself.
If only one person comes to understand that, then the values really will hold their worth.
Wednesday, April 21, 2004 What you don't do... To get a real sense of accomplishment, it's important to focus on what you DO accomplish. When you ignore all the good work that someone does, and just focus on what they are NOT doing, you set them up for frustration and eventually for them to just give up. I try to do that for my coworkers as often as I can... I know they just want the recognition... someone to at least notice them, if just a little.
Monday, April 19, 2004 Carb-fessional I think I had a carb-hangover today. This weekend was filled with Peking Duck Pizza from California Pizza Kitchen, rolls at Wood Ranch and Potatoes from Ikea. For a carbaholic such as myself, that's a serious off-the-starch-wagon violation. So today I'm back to very low carbs and have been feeling anxious all day.
Carbaholism affects millions of people and is only now being taken seriously by people. It is an "ism" just like the others and it affects the decisions that people make on a daily basis. To me, a nice shiny roll is like a shimmering glass of chardonnay. It is a craving that I have to fight. The price I pay is heaviness, lethargy and an actual stomach ache. Why do I do it then? 'cause it's so gooooooood goin' down.
You see? You see? Please pass the low-fat Ranch dressing please. I'll just have the salad... I'm drivin'
Sunday, April 18, 2004 Life happens... Certain portions of the technological world failed me throughout the weekend; forcing me (gasp!) out into the world. That was okay... I had plenty of errands to attend to. If everything worked out well on my computer, I might have just stayed shut in anyway.
Besides the usual gym, groceries, blah blah blah... I went off to help friends take their preliminary look at new furniture at Ikea. Since everything is set up there, it's fun to dream, get ideas.. and basically play Talk Show host in the living rooms and Emeril in the kitchens (we'll just leave the other rooms out of it for now, ok?). It was definitely a fun place to be, and it's understandable, though amazing how Ikea has turned its owner, Ingvar Kamprad, into the richest man in the world.
He's put together quite a ladder of success for himself... some assembly required.
Friday, April 16, 2004 Easy to be me... Today was a perfect example of how much quicker things goes when you do what you do best. I've mentioned in the past how slow my day's have been as I struggled to do techie stuff... well today I was asked into a meeting to come up with something "creative."
Two people whom I hadn't met before, but who had seen my work and already thought I was a genius (I liked them from the start), first presented me the purpose of their project, then their "idea." It wasn't a bad start, but not quite "there" yet... a tweak there, an embellishment there and voila! we had it.
Thursday, April 15, 2004 Respecting Time... "Anyway, I've got to go..."
"Really, I have someplace I have to be..."
My client wasn't good at taking hints, however blunt. The reason is, he doesn't respect the time of others. In fact, as I was packing up my stuff, he "brags" about keeping someone at work the night before... until 10:30 at night. To top that, the guy's wife, whom also works for the company, had to wait, as they only have one car.
This is not something I would be proud of. After all, Life is about balance... and to have balance, you must have boundaries.
To violate that is not just to disrespect each other... it's to disrespect Life itself.
Tuesday, April 13, 2004 Picture this... It wasn't like the site was missing something... or that I've had this yearning need to write even MORE... it just started as a seed of an idea. Maybe there's a little need to CONNECT more. I don't just want to observe the inside of my cubicle. I'm here to live LIFE... to capture those tiny moments that so often go by unnoticed. Snapshots of a passing moment.
And I want to express it in my own way... not a photojournal, since these kind of moments slip past a camera's shutter... plus I'm a writer... and so I will write... and let your imagination fill in the rest.
Monday, April 12, 2004 Why I'm an introvert... People didn't believe that I am considered an introvert according to the Myers Briggs personality test, because I'm so outgoing... but my energy really does come from within, much more than "without."
Today was a very quiet day, and for me it was noticably different. Whenever there's lots of outside noise, I get all shut in and can't concentrate. I don't even listen to music when I work. Words are like heavy weights on my brain. Silence, on the other hand, is like a sponge to me... waiting to be filled... pulling ideas out of me. This one project that just refused to budge last week, now seemed to flow smoothly onto the screen. Ahhhh!
Sunday, April 11, 2004 Scavengers... I've been Mugu'd. My guest book got its first taste of "I dey there oooooooooooooooo" and knew something was up. The Mugu isn't one person, but a large group of people, sitting around darkened internet bars and back alleys in search of email addresses from other people's guestbooks. It's fairly low-tech, as far as scavenging for addresses are concerned. It's just that it's tied into the Nigerian Scam where you're asked to help secretly get money out of the country. Only problem is, the Country and the money going out is yours. Because "a fool and his money is soon parted" the scammers call themselves "Mugu" which stands for "fool" in Nigerian.
Then they sign it "Keep off" as if to mark their territory. Too bad they don't take their own advice.
This also explains my popularity in France. I mean, I'm no Jerry Lewis... but when someone promised to 'tell all his friends' he wasn't kidding. Several guests have come by, saying the same exact thing, and all linking back to some web cam someplace.
Poor people, so many legitimate jobs out there. So much good these people could be doing. Instead, the go after @'s in search of $'s.
just wish they'd buy a shirt while they're here...
Saturday, April 10, 2004 Time and tempers fly... Five months have gone by since I was in the same room with Mr. Wazzu and Mr. New Yorker. The "incident" created by Mr. NY in November still left a bad stain on my memory... and when chaos was already starting BEFORE he got there (he was calling from the wrong freeway in a frantic state) I knew the quiet part of the party would soon be over.
Mr. NY is someone who thrives on attention and just being obnoxious. He's the tolerated drunk at the party, only because "you have to see him at work... he's really a nice, quiet guy." I don't work with him, so I can only take the eye witness' testimony. His behavior at get togethers doesn't support this case.
There were a number of newbies to Mr. NY, so sitting quietly on the sofa I got an interesting view of what friends and strangers thought of him. His loud, obnoxious behavior seemed entertaining to those who expect it, yet very put-off-ish to the new people.
Man sitting next to me: Why hasn't someone punched him yet?
Me: Give it time
The "entertaining" recanting of the story went over well, with animated recreations of the restaurant...
Man sitting next to me: What did you do during all this?
Me: (thinking about blogging and perhaps making another cartoon) Observing... so I can either write about it... or testify.
As the alcohol flowed, so did the insults. Some were subconscious, such as asking the only African American woman in the room what she thought of Condoleeza Rice, and the Asian men in the room what they thought of William Hung. Others were just blatantly confrontational.
By the end of the evening "Guy" couldn't take it any more and demanded that Mr. NY show some self-respect and at least apologize to the ladies that just spent the last few minutes being spewed on with insults. Obvious to Mr. NY, the problem was clearly Guy's and if Guy wanted to "take it outside now" they could. By this point, Mr. NY was being escorted to a chair and every other guy in the room was standing in the middle of the ring, with the opponents on the outside.
Me: (to self) Now why don't I like to go where this guy is? Oh right... standing between Mr. NY and someone who could break him into pieces.
Friday, April 09, 2004 Bitter, Party of One... It feels good to be "back." It takes a lot to get to me, and work really had... oh it took a long time, but work wasn't going anywhere... it had plenty of time to wear me down. Realizing that, and "coming back to my senses" is a welcome relief. Nothing has changed since the day I started; maybe the faces and the titles of the people I report to, but the games and muddled moments sound like reruns of Survivor. The only thing that really changed was my attitude... as soon as the "we can do anything" 'tude changed to "oh why bother" everything was lost. So now, it's found... whether that means I just woke up or went back to sleep, I will leave open to discussion...
What's very apparent though is just how pervasive this negativity is around me. Just talking to this woman about a newsletter opens me up to a barrage of "well, THAT'LL NEVER HAPPEN" and "Gooooood luck.... you'll need it around here..." and "Is strangulation a violation of company policy" (I checked, and I think it still is... at least in the literal sense... strangulation of another's career however is still considered a viable alternative). I felt like the "Fool" next to her... smiling still, telling her that I'm going to have a wonderful day and that everything is going to be "greaaaaaaaat."
You know, round peg in the square hole not withstanding, it was a greaaaaaat day. Two days ago I thought this upcoming meeting was just going to be painful... and it would've clearly been if I still believed it by today. Thanks to my cheerfulness, the meeting went just fine and I think we can really get something out of it down the road.
And besides, the weekend is back here already, and that's the best 'tude up you can have.
Wednesday, April 07, 2004 Barometric Pressure This seems to be a time of getting back together with some old friends. It's always a joy to reconnect, and once again, it acts like a weather report of progress since the last time we met...
His life, though tiring, appears to be going extremely well... a lovely wife whose "worst offense" was getting teary eyed in front of the new doctor when they talked about his own child; a beautiful daughter with two and a half teeth and a penchant for Goldfish crackers and the cat's tail; a brand new home, and a business that has some major competition running scared. They both looked tired... in a very good way.
As for my report... "Gurustu" looks bright and sunny; My health is fair (some sunshine with good eating habits, great gym attendance, but a chance of rain, with that ever-so-pesky numbness 'thing'). Work is still overcast, with jokes about Dilbert, discussions of how I'm not the Corporate Type and "it's all a means to the end" blah blah blah. Tonight though, in between recanting some "can you believe that?" stories, I covered some of the positive aspects of work, and the company. After all, the atmosphere hasn't really changed all that much; just my attitude. I have the choice to bring sunshine or a little black rain cloud with me. It's up to me "weather" it's worth it or not.
So the "report" overall... partly cloudy, warming, with a chance the sun breaking through a little later.
Tuesday, April 06, 2004 Three magic words... Oh, I know... they always say that "I... love... you..." are the three magic words. I mean, they are, yes... but I'm talking about something else now...
I was just taking one of those online personality tests for fun and it asked me to describe myself in three UNIQUE words... "funny" and "creative" are off limits cause they're boring... so come up with something interesting. So I did (I think)...
Contemplative. I think I think I think too much... I look at everything as some giant "why" to be experienced (...and so I can have something to blog about)
Empathetic. I feel your pain... and your joy... heck, even other people winning cars on the radio get my heart racing (okay, some may say that's just "pathetic")
Didactic. This can count as a "word of the day" cause it sounds cool... or something out of the Flintstones. It means "Intended to instruct. Morally instructive. Inclined to teach or moralize excessively."
Monday, April 05, 2004 Guru Word of the Day - Flagitate Sitting around with so much to say that I'm speechless, I wondered what the word of the day should be. Then this came...
FLAGITATE. Flagitation. \Flag"i*tate\, v. t. [L. flagitatus, p. p. of flagitare to demand. To importune; to demand fiercely or with passion.
To ask repeatedly with passion... which brings to mind the "squeaky wheel" ... to keep asking for something you want until you get it (I guess till you're annoying enough that everyone else gives in just to shut you up).
At work I know that I've become quiet; having stopped asking a long time ago. The fight wore me down. I just wanted to do what I could do. I know it's different than the passionate one I was when I got there. I know I still want to do the best I can, but I just felt lately like I've not be able to even try... and so I've put my energy into my site, which I love more; and can control more; and can contribute to more.
Perhaps though it's time to get up again, dust myself... and ask again.
Namaste "I honor the place in you where Spirit lives
I honor the place in you which is
of Love, of Truth, of Light, of Peace,
when you are in that place in you,
and I am in that place in me,
then we are One."
Namaste is an ancient Sanskrit greeting often performed by Hindus as an acknowledgement of the Divine within another person.
Whenever I get a few free moments, I like to visit Blogger.com's home page, to click on one of the most recently updated blogs at random. (Just hitting the refresh key, you'll get a sense of just how many people are out there blogging). Sometimes I find teenagers going through the angst of homework and first love gossip, other times there's last entries from the year before bidding the web "adieu". On occasion I've come across some really fascinating ones, from homeless people who manage to get to a computer and others who manage to get to a home... to political pundits... to people just trying to get through life like the rest of us.
On occasion I am compelled to add a comment, which often leads to long trails of conversation in forums and email inboxes. The connections that can be made using the web is amazing. It's simply Divine.
Thursday, April 01, 2004 Refractions and reflections Took a much needed day off. It's time to see the tax guy, whom I call Santa Claus because he looks like him and last year was very good to me. It would have been too much to go to work then try to see him, so staying home was the best thing I could have done. It gave my schedule and blood pressure a break. It gave me a chance to have lunch and catch up with an old friend. It's always good to get back after a period away, because you get a "status report" on how you both are doing... not related to some underbudgetted, overangsted project.
A torrential downpour caught me by surprise, creating a waterfall over my balcony, as I got ready to hit the long drive on the freeway. The ride would have been excruciating, since speeds never got much above 15 mph the whole way, except for a miraculous view. The cars in front of me were kicking up a mist and as the sun broke free from the clouds behind me, it create a rainbow around every one. Not even a camera, if I had one, could capture the beauty of that moment.
Then, a faint rainbow appeared off to my right, growing ever deeper as I dragged onward... finally bringing in a twin rainbow along side. Set against the stark whiteness of snow still clinging to the mountains, I almost forgot that I was now heading toward an hour late for my appointment.
The drive home was free, though my taxes are gonna cost me. Ahh well, it's all part of the journey...