And why am I here?

We all know the Bobs.

We all know the Bobs.

It’s a simple question I ask at practically all of the meetings that I attend.  Sure, I was invited, silently beckoned by the electronic summons, so innocuous, almost tempting.  But, more often than not, it’s a time sink.  It’s a meeting to talk about things, poke holes in potential action plans, and ultimately get nothing accomplished — except perhaps the scheduling of another useless gathering.

I’d like to think that as a person moves up in a company they would have more importance.  In some cases that is true.  They are true leaders, setting the tone of the operation, making things happen, clearing obstacles to success. But from what I have seen, it’s almost the opposite.  With an elevated position, there is more noise.  More obligations without action.  More “steering.”  What is that?  “Steering.” More committees.  More meetings.  I could see that as you get further up the corporate ladder, you could endure hours upon hours of meetings, conference calls, contact meetings, and reviews only to look back at your day and truly not be able to concretely answer the question, “What did I accomplish today?”

Maybe I like slaying the dragons too much, putting out the fires.  But it lends itself to a sense of accomplishment.  It makes you feel like you’re moving the ball forward.  There may be many balls, and the movement may not be great, but there’s still progress.  And after listening to Marcus Buckingham talk about playing to one’s strengths, it makes sense — you should find ways to not only practice and apply your strengths everyday, but also to deliver that sense of accomplishment when the clock tells you it’s time to go.

One recent example I had was a seemingly ridiculous request that was made of a co-worker of mine.  As is the norm in my workplace, it involved taking the output of another system, shuffling and repackaging it, and creating yet another periodic task to maintain. . . just in case there may be some value in it one time out of 50.  The exercise was futile.  Could it be done?  Absolutely.  Was it the best use of my co-worker’s time?  Absolutely not.  So, how could I make this into a positive?  Go for the strengths and the interests.

Enter my love of Excel and Access.  Very nerdy, yet very useful. My friend shares some of my interest in these programs, though not to the same neurotic extremes.  But, it was an opportunity.  An opportunity for me to practice and develop something that I enjoy and am good at, and an opportunity for her to expand her knowledge base in something that could be useful to her in the future.  So, that’s the direction I’m taking it.  A “teachable moment.”  At least when all of this is said and done, I’d be able to provide a tangible answer to that daily question that would make the difference between slowly slogging through the parking lot, wondering how much longer I will be able to endure this to proudly  strutting to my car wondering when the next time I will get to feel this will be.  Big difference.

My wife hopes I die before her

A little tip of the hat to The Bloggess on the format for this one. She does a lot of me/Victor (her husband) posts that never fail to crack me up.

As we got ready for bed tonight, K and I were in our bedrom and we turned down the bed. There was. . . how shall we say. . . evidence of our last intimate encounter on the sheets.

K: “That’s nice.”

me: “What?”

K: “All I’m going to say is that it sucks that all the cleanup is on my end now.”

me: “So, what? You want me to go back to wearing condoms?”

K: “No, we can’t do that. We’re Catholic. And we confessed it already. We’d have to go to confession again.”

me: “Yes, but I already confessed the vasectomy. Both of them. So we wouldn’t we using them for birth control. Just for cleanliness.”

K: “And cleanliness is next to godliness.”

me: “Exactly!!”

K: “I hope we die together.”

me: “Why?”

K: “Because you’re the only one who’s going to be able to talk your way out of all the bad shit we’ve done when we have to go answer for it.”

me: “Well, that sucks. If you die first, I give it three days, tops, and then I’m dead. Thanks. Thanks for that.”

K: “Wouldn’t you just die of a broken heart?”

me: “Yeah. That’s it. Uh huh.”

I love these conversations. A close second is the conversation with my four year old describing what his plans were with the package my daughter received tonight, a few days shy of her birthday.

4: “I’m just going to look at her box. I’m not going to touch it. It’s her box. I won’t open her box. She can open her box on her birthday, but I’m not going to. I’m just going to look at it.”

K: “Ok. Let’s just stop talking about your sister’s box.”