whistle

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Image Credit: ForWallpaper.com

The wailing whistle moaned through the still morning, drowning out the rhythmic humming of steel on steel.
Progress and industry passed while most rode the REM express across dreamland, bridging night and day.
Moonlight glinted off the tracks before slipping into the streaming beam chugging after the thundering reverberations.

Shaking the very foundation:
The moment slipped away,
And time turned on its wheel.

The distance and future beckoned from the horizon, where the soft light of the heavens danced atop the ocean’s surface.
The whistle signaled its approach, its mile by mile victory, and cried with despair at being ignored and slowly forgotten.
Track and train would soon rust to dust in the shadows of the love they had once received.

They would not be grieved:
Death would be less rotten,
Than to be deemed worthless.

spin, spin, spin the black circle

A bird in the hand was worth two in the bush when I purchased my turntables.

I knew that I shouldn’t deplete more than half of the money I had in savings.  I knew that it was a big risk and I’d probably never make that money back through gigs.  I knew the smart thing would be to either buy cheaper turntables (rather than the top of the line ones you’d find in clubs) or to be realistic and buy nothing at all and continue to save that money for life.

But, at that time, having those turntables and getting to learn on them and become a DJ for a few years was worth far more to me than anything in the future I could have used that money (and the interest it would have accrued) for.

Spin me right round, like a record baby.

riddle me this

I’m not a car person.  Or a van or truck or wagon person for that matter…  I didn’t grow up spending my weekends under the hood tinkering with this or that.  I didn’t seek out that knowledge and it wasn’t something readily on offer either.  I have, over the years, picked up the ability to do a few things, a few little maintenance items, through trial and error on my own and muddling through with the help of someone who did know what they were doing.  (Thanks Haole.)

In my limited experience I’ve come across the same annoying, aggravating, baffling situation in several of my cars.  To replace one of the headlights I have to remove the battery.  It seems a bit absurd that the people who designed the engine compartments would make something as simple as changing a light bulb excessively difficult by placing the battery in such a place as to block access to that light bulb.

Luckily, in my truck, I can move the battery without disconnecting it.  In my wife’s Honda however, you have to disconnect it to create the space to get in and change the bulb.  Which then means you have to reset all of the electronics in the car afterwards… just to change a light bulb.

So, my question to the blogosphere this morning is: Did they do that on purpose?  Is that some kind of industry joke that we non car people just don’t, and aren’t supposed to, understand?

I wish I were(n’t)

Oh, the hypocrisy that is me…  We’ve been down this road before, haven’t we?

I wish I were a published author.  I guess I should submit something I’ve written to an agent or publisher.  I wish I were less lazy.  I wish I were more motivated.

I wish I were a better writer.  I guess I should take some classes and attend some workshops and conferences.  I wish I were richer.  I wish I were able to justify the expense.

I wish I were paid more for my 9-5 job.  (Okay, it’s actually 7 – 4, but you understand.)  I guess I should look for ways to advance my career.  I wish I were in a more stable industry.  I wish I were more dedicated to my work.

I wish I were no longer living in California.  I guess I should try to find a job in a different state to facilitate the moving process.  I wish I were capable of predicting the future.  I wish I were able to see a silver lining here on the silver strand.

I wish I were more confident.  I guess I should be happy with what I’ve achieved so far in my life and the path I am on.  And I am.  I have a college degree, a good job, a beautiful wife, a good little condo, two crazy kitties, and a child on the way.  I’ve travelled, I’ve learned, I’ve loved.  I wish I had all the answers.  I wish it were that simple.

I wish I weren’t such a hypocrite.

…..

Written in response to this week’s writing challenge: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/10/29/weekly-writing-challenge-i-wish-i-were/

want to play?

When did our jobs become a game?

More importantly, when did this game become an essential part of success?

Perhaps I’m old-fashioned. Perhaps I haven’t adapted to the changing times as smoothly or as quickly as I should. Perhaps you have no problem with the current environment. But, whatever happened to finding a job, making it your own, and holding it (progressing up through the direct chain of positions as opportunities become available and as desired) until retirement?

I understand that our current economic situation has played its part in the downfall of that sort of career, but setting that factor aside there would still be a large amount of job hopping going on: this new game where the winner is the employee that can successfully jump from position to position to advance their “career.”

I work for a major company: multi-national, over 200,000 employees, large presence in the market, etc… We are a key player.

It isn’t official policy, or documented in our procedures, regulations, or anything like that, but there is an unspoken directive that employees should job hop every two years. The idea is to follow this timeline: the first six months is the learning period where you figure out the how and why of your new position, the next twelve months is the “own it” period where you do just that – own it – excel, improve upon current processes, etc…, and the final six months is spent looking for the next position to jump to.

Some people have no problem following this unspoken rule. They move from position to position seamlessly, learning, growing, advancing. It’s these people who move up the ranks and are eventually selected for executive roles.

Don’t get me wrong, I can see the benefit of it: by learning firsthand all different aspects of the company these employees have a better idea of how all the pieces fit together and are, therefore, better at understanding how their decisions in one department can affect the rest of the company. It’s good to have employees like that. It’s good to have them advancing through the ranks.

But to desire it from all employees, in all types of positions? Is that really necessary? Whatever happened to doing rotating internships to discover what you are really passionate about and then pursuing that as your career for the rest of your working life?

What if I really only like one aspect of my industry? Should I continue to swap my positions and take on roles and responsibilities I’m not passionate about, that I’m not good at, and that leave me feeling unfulfilled, unhappy, dreading work each day? How is that good for the company?

My company has not been an exception in the last couple years. There has been round after round of layoffs, restructurings, and the like. Sometimes those layoffs made sense: the roles were surplus or related to functions that were no longer going to be needed going forward. Sometimes those layoffs only made sense when you thought about this unspoken rule, this game of job hopping, and realized the people being shown the door had become stagnant – they hadn’t changed positions in a few years. They were good employees, they were good at their jobs, but they had stayed in the same role for too long.

I find myself worrying about that. I don’t like the idea of job hopping. I don’t like this new game. This is in part due to my sense of loyalty to the managers who gave me a shot at the positions I’ve held – I want to repay their trust by being good employees for them. I also don’t like the idea of purposefully switching jobs so frequently, especially in our current economic crisis, because it doesn’t seem very stable – what if I choose the wrong job to hop to and that’s the group that gets downsized, displaced next?

I’m not sure I have it in me to take that chance…

Then again, I’m not sure why I’m worrying at all. Due to the layoffs and shifting departments within my company I’ve had four different positions, five different bosses, in four different departments in the last five years (including a four-month spell unemployed), so I’m well within the two-year timeframe anyway.

As long as that trend continues I’m good to go, right?

I really don’t like this game.

How about the rest of you? Are you experiencing similar trends in your positions and/or industries?