Saturday, July 25, 2009

Its 10 O'Clock Do You Know Where Your Children Are?

Yesterday morning, on my way out the door with the dog, I discovered that our condo and cars had been egged. One other person in our area was egged as well. It took half a day just to cleanup the mess and I'm not finished yet. And the smell is nauseating and there are compounds in eggs that eat away at paint finishes. This happened after midnight. We have a 10 p.m. curfew in our community for minors who are not gainfully employed.

What do the eggees have in common? Both have members of their families that are school teachers that taught or teach at the same school.
I beseech all of you who have children, to keep track of them at night. Instill in them early, that teachers are people who have feelings and real lives. Let them know how hurtful and destructive this kind of behavior is. No one deserves to be treated like this. It's a form of bullying and intimidation. This is not just a child's prank.
Children have a greater capacity for understanding when you make it real for them. Take the time, invest wisely in your children. Invest in your Community.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Office Politics Part II - Is Isolation the Answer?

I hit a bump in the road on this one; better yet, a sinkhole. I don't have a clever solution. So I stopped blogging for a while, which became a almost a month of retreat. I have been working from home and going into work once a week to get my social fix. And, I have felt better. But yesterday I went into work and talked with a friend and I got an earful. My tension levels went through the roof and my friend even noticed the change in my demeanor.

Well, isolation works as long as you can stay away from the fray indefinitely. But if you care deeply, you can easily get sucked back into the grinder. Several people have asked me in the past few weeks whether I was considering finding employment elsewhere. I don't even have to say that I'm overwhelmed. They just seem to know. I haven't been complaining either. I'm really surprised that people notice, since this seems to be par for the course for most of us.
The distillation of this is that we can choose. We can choose to keep our heads down. We can choose to rail against the machine and get noticed in a negative way. We can choose to play and get caught up in the game. We can choose to leave and find a place to work that is more compatible with our personal beliefs and work style.
I yearn to see a change in corporate structure that puts an end to self serving behavior and the desire to make more money, more money. One would have thought that the financial meltdown would have shaken people enough to start the ball of change rolling. But those that have survived have become more entrenched not less. They are scared and are relying on what they know rather than focusing on the unfamiliar yet more productive way of approaching business.
While economists and analysts are focussing on the next consumer crisis: the dependence on credit to finance lifestyle without the ability to pay it back; I am wondering why they aren't focusing on corporations that are doing the same thing. Businesses have adopted new ways of viewing profitability that ignore the simple mathematics of: profit = revenue - costs. The truth is hidden behind the huge debt these companies have, their frequent refinancing of that debt, and paying the minimum on the debt while accumulating even more.
This may seem a digression from the topic of office politics, but I believe this mentality has everything to do with the disconnect between executive management and priorities and the realities of delivering the services to customers and providing a fair working environment for employees.
Customers and employees are given the minimum amount necessary to retain them. Instruments are used to retain customers - given freebies at the onset and then held to contracts that have painful withdrawal clauses. Employees are given just enough income to make it appear they are being paid more than workers in other companies, but the demands on their time are so much greater. Employees become used to the income and find it hard to leave and take the pay cut.
This kind of environment is not healthy and actually intensifies the game. As Harry said to Hermione when talking about Umbridge's punishment with the flesh engraving pen, "This is anything but simple"
So, we are back to making choices.
The first choice is that of awareness: recognizing the situation the way it is and not falling prey to spin and other instruments of denial.
The second choice is that of self preservation: choosing what I need to do to maintain my sanity, security and self integrity.
The third choice is that of service to others: choosing to treat people the way they should be treated rather than following the corporate pattern. I may not be able to effect change on the corporate level, but I can make a co-workers life easier by recognizing their true value as a human being.
Isolation is dangerous. Without information I cannot be aware, make choices that preserve my interests or improve the welfare of those around me. This doesn't mean embroiling myself in these discussions and obsessing on them on a daily basis. Rather, a choice to take in and process information to maintain my awareness of the working environment. Anger and outrage do nothing to help me or others around me. These emotions feed on themselves and create anxiety. It all comes down to, and maybe you could see this one coming, to having "the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference."

Friday, July 3, 2009

If you play hard ball you better be ready when the ball comes back

I've refrained from discussing much about Sarah Palin - because I couldn't keep myself from making it very personal. I'm glad she is leaving. I'm glad she hammered the nails into her own coffin. She made her own bed and now she is lying in it.

She wanted to run with the big boys - but didn't have the stamina nor the wits to know how outclassed she was. She threw out hate, bigotry and lies . All of this is coming back to smack her up side the head. As almost all conservatives are wont to remind us, we have to take responsibility for our actions and our actions have consequences. Sarah, you are no victim. You threw out the ball and its coming right back at you. Here's to your consequences!!!