Work
typewriter
Write With Acceptance, Edit With Compassion
How do we writers feel when something we thought was perfect is changed—even slightly—or commented on, or sometimes deleted? Do we become “all sensitive” and refuse to accept that maybe someone actually liked our work,  wants to make us sound erudite and really wants to get our message across? In fact, someone felt strongly enough about it to want to use it in the first place? Do we resent any suggestions and rather than accept changes, pull the piece from publishing and silence our voice? A while ago, I edited a piece written by a woman whose native language was...
walking
The Middle-man
“This can’t be right…” As Dave studied the lush landscape through the spots on his windshield he quickly concluded that he had made an error somewhere along the way. From a young age Dave had come to acknowledge certain facts about his life. He would never be the biggest or strongest. The things that fascinated all the “cool” people held no interest for him. But Dave had two things that very few people could match, an insatiable curiosity that drove him to learn everything he could about subjects that piqued his interest and a deep hatred for being wrong.  This...
aerial violinist_1
Not Your Ordinary Day Job
“At what point do you say, ‘Wow, I really want to dangle upside down from silk scarves and play the violin for a living’?” This question was posed by myself and couple friends of mine as we reconnected over a cup of coffee. We were discussing life paths and career choices– still trying to figure out what we wanted to do “when we grew up”, despite having  graduated from college and started various jobs, families, and all recently having reached the milestone 30th birthday. It was in this context that one of my friends mentioned the aerial violinist, Janice Martin. We collectively...
long road
Keeping Hope Alive
Maurice woke up from yet another night of nightmares, his pillow once again soaked with sweat as he waited for the images to fade into dim memory.  Checking the time, it was only 7:40 a.m. and once again, there were no messages for him.  So once again, he laid in bed and let the feeling of helplessness and rejection wash over him.  He liked to give it full reign for about a half hour before he pulled together the will to once again face another day. With something approximating optimism, he got dressed.  He couldn’t muster the energy to go...
marbles
There’s Nothing Wrong With Weird
Far too many work environments in our time and place  are cesspools of mediocrity.  It wasn’t always this way, but in recent generations, something dreadful has happened to the work ethic of our society. Every so often you hear of a company or an organization that grabs headlines, generates buzz about performing at the top of their industry, and becomes known as a place with very low turnover and a line of applicants desperate to get through the door. They are a rare find. But even in the countless places where dreams of excellence go to die, you’ll find people who are...
working stiffs
Working Hard or Hardly Working
When did we develop and idolatrous relationship with work?  Now, don’t misunderstand me.  I’m not talking about productivity over laziness.  What I mean is that we tend to place value on people based on how hard we believe they are working.  Besides simply being thinly veiled judgmentalism (and possibly several other -isms as well), we don’t even seem to agree on a proper definition for “hard work.” Is it earning wages?  Is it a function of the number of hours one puts in?  Is it the kind of work one does?  It seems to have been reduced to “I know...
Yin_Yang
Here Today; Where Tomorrow?
As a teenager, I was one of those kids who hadn’t a clue what I wanted to be when I grew up. My twenties came and life just kind of happened.  I had opportunities.  I took advantage of them.  I gave it my all.  And life unfolded from there. By the time I was 23 I was in a mid-level retail management position overseeing about 20 employees. And I thought to myself that by the time I was in my thirties I wanted to be a senior level manager in my company with a big profit sharing portfolio on a trajectory toward...
162110vmup2eflb
Use Your Inside Voice
I quit my job recently.  It was a good job…a relatively well-paying job with good benefits and a dental plan.  I liked my boss and enjoyed my colleagues.  I found the work interesting as it frequently provided a chance to be creative, innovative and kept the cat in kibble.  On the surface, everything appeared as though I was on the path to upward mobility and the good life. But inside, I was dying a little bit each day.  Each day for the last several months, my soul was being diminished rather than enlarged and I was finding the emotional, spiritual,...
quite_a_road_block
Obstacle Illusion
A few years ago my wife and I were planning a big vacation. We had narrowed it down to either Seattle, Washington or Portland, Maine. We decided on Portland. It was easy for us to see the vacation in our minds as we planned. There would be a long drive up through the eastern US where we would see cities and countryside that we had never seen before. We would spend a couple of days enjoying the coastal town of Portland, perhaps trying Maine lobster for the first time at one of the locally owned restaurants. A day would be...
distorted face
The Trade
We learn at an early age all about trades.  In our lunchrooms and playgrounds we eagerly trade away tuna for peanut butter and we willingly give up half a dozen second-string players for a long-coveted rookie card. As we grow, the stakes involved in our trades get bigger.  We trade our hard-earned fast food paycheque for a car that is held together with duct tape and prayer, we trade time with our friends for time with our textbooks, and more often than not, we trade our dignity and self-respect for the chance that the pretty girl in class might pay...
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