8/18/2014

Twists and Turns

Bad news.  My wife's company is splitting and moving out of Florida.  So she's out of a job.

But wait, one of the company's they spun off offered her a job.  Same building.  Same pay.  Same tenure.

But guess what, the company's home office is in Germany.  And every new hire has to go to Germany for a week for new hire training.

Which means I'll be going to Germany for a week to escort the Mrs. during her travel.

Passport time.  We've never been to Europe.

The Universe has bigger plans than our human minds can comprehend.  So don't get worked up when negative news present itself.

Everything happens for a reason.

Time to Wake Up

If I had one regret in life it would be this.  Growing up, I did not live my authentic self and did whatever it took to fit in.

By fitting in, I blended in with the crowd.  Avoided the spot light.  Dumbed myself down.  Didn't have any opinions.  Let others win.  And didn't stand up for any beliefs, because I didn't have any.

But I believe this situation is prevalent in our society.

Why?  Because it's safe.  There's strength in numbers, being part of the herd.  We've all seen on the nature channel the deer who gets separated from the pack, they become lunch.  Same with our culture.  If people spot someone who's different, they are targeted or labeled and who wants that.

We accept our invisible membership card in the trivial, mass produced, superficial, fake, shallow masses.

The downside?  We don't follow our dreams.  We settle for mediocrity.  We never find our true talents.  Because of "Fear".  Passed down from generation to generation.

Ah, we mentioned the fear word.  Fear runs so deep in our culture.  Fear of being different.

Why do you think people abhor speaking in public more than death.

I used to have that fear.  Probably why I never raised my hand in class in 12 years of public school. And roamed the halls of school invisible.

Except eventually I woke up.  Not sure when it happened, probably in college, from taking mushrooms one time.  I realized that fear is an illusion.  It stunts growth, keeps people prisoners.

And that nugget of insight gave me the freedom to explore, be different, state my opinions, figure out my likes and dislikes, to push the boundaries without the heavy weight of society pulling me down.

I turned in my badge of mediocrity.

And the truth is, most people are robots.  Wearing false masks.  Going through the motions of life.  Thinking we have all the time in the world.  Doing what's expected.  Trying to live up to impossible expectations.  And living hollow desperate lives.

Many people I went to school with, did the right thing.  Got out of college, got a married, a job, kids, worked for a few decades.  Then the marriage fell apart.  They tell me they followed society's  rulebook and they still lost.  Well the rule book is flawed.  And they are bitter with regret.

After I awoke, I took the road less traveled.  I wandered into the wilderness, alone and unafraid.  I told the Universe that I loved life and wanted to be of service. 

Without fear, there were no limitations.  Once an idea surfaced, it manifested into reality.

Instead of accepting limitations, I became a creator of possibilities.  And overcame impossible odds.

I don't need self help books or a guidance councilor or guru or personal coach.  Nor do you.  You have to have the courage to be yourself, to find your own path and find your own personal truths.

Because the garbage they feed you as a member of the herd will keep you prisoner to an unsatisfied life.  Never having enough.  Never doing what you dream.  Keeping you in idle desperation.  Consumed by fear.  They are feeding you an illusion.

It's time to wake up.

8/17/2014

Had a Blast

The wife and I took a trip to Disney this past weekend.  Left the house 7am Saturday, got Starbucks, gas and ice for the cooler.  Got to Orlando, the monorail was down so we took the bus to the Magic Kingdom.

Once there, we rode Thunder Mountain twice and Splash Mountain twice.  Then climbed the steps on the tree house.  By that time it was Lunch time, we had reservations at Liberty Bell.  Got there early, seated and ordered the best Clam Chowder ever, then had the Turkey special.

The two families next to us had kids, and were really loud and obnoxious, which is exactly what happened the last time we were there, must be hereditary.

Then we walked to Main street, got a Starbucks, got on the train around the Kingdom.  It started lightning so they parked the train and we walked around some more.  Then took the Ferry back to mainland.





We waited for the tram, but it took forever, so we walked it back to the car, didn't get rained on, and we got there before the Tram did so it was a good decision to not wait.

Then we drove to the hotel and checked in.  What a nice place.  Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa.  They checked us right in, the room was ready and we unpacked.  Then it was raining, so we went to the gym, what a nice place, new equipment, good music and they had solitaire game on the treadmill.

Then we went back and showered and headed for downtown Disney, had reservations at the Rainforest Cafe.  Place was great, so was the food, even had sweet ice tea.

Then we decided to head for some ice cream at Giordellis, holy toledo was that good.



Double chocolate scoop with Marsh mellow topping and sprinkles.  Then back to the hotel to relax.

Next day, up at 5am, we brought egg breakfast heated in microwave, then off to the gym.  Showered and packed and off to Hollywood Studios.  I thought it was similar to Epcot, which means there's not much to do there, except eat and walk around.  So we left around noon and headed back to Downtown Disney, and ate at the Planet Hollywood.  Food was good, service too and big portions.

Suffice to say I really need to go back on the diet, big time.  So then we decided to go to Orlando Discount Mall, a popular place to shop.  First of all, I don't buy retail, my wife does.  Second of all, what a busy, noisy, crappy place to spend your afternoon.  The bathrooms smelled so bad, just disgusting.  Next, the people walk right into you, they don't bother getting out of the way.  In fact they aim for you, a bunch of self centered, arrogant bunch of shoppers.  I felt sick to my stomache the entire time being there.  Even had to pay for valet parking as the scene was so busy, people were arguing over parking spots.  I'll never go back there again.  Prices weren't that good either.

And then the ride back home with a visit to Starbucks and the Assisted Living facility to visit a relative and finally back home to a warm welcome from 3 energy filled golden retrievers.  Our dog sitter took excellent care of the little rug rats.

And that's the story of our weekend get a way to Disney, action packed, fun filled adventure.

Had a blast~!

8/14/2014

I'll Be Happy When...

I'll be happy when.....

Fill in the blank.

When you get your dream job?  Hit the lottery?  Pay off your debt?  Find your true love?

What happens the day after your dreams come true?

Ah, good question.  Reality.  That's what happens.

Laundry still needs washing.  Need to eat.  Sleep.

Life doesn't stop the day you make it.  Movies would make you believe otherwise.

Guy overcomes obstacle.  Gets the girl.  Catchy music soundtrack.  Fade to credits.  The end.

It's kind of dream if you will.  A fantasy.  Truth is, sometimes the wind is at our backs, other times we are moving against a headwind.  That's life.

The satisfaction from obtaining a dream is real, except the duration of happiness will soon wane.  And it's back to life.

So don't fall for the myth of happily ever after.  Take each day one at a time.  Do your best.

Life is not a destination.  It's simply a journey.

And there you have it~!

Fudging a Resume

Do people lie in interviews?  I suspect they do.  Claim they have more experience than they actually have.  Exaggerate their skill level.  Creative liberty with the resume.  Filling in time gaps.  Saying they have certain skills, which they read about in the latest magazine, with the latest buzz words.

Personally, I've never done that.  In fact, I'm probably guilty of the opposite, under selling my skills.  Its tough to consider yourself an expert in any language.  There's always people with more years experience, better technical skills, or project experience.

My current job, I never had an interview.  I was working part time, doing a contract at night, and one of the clients offered 40 hours per week so my boss offered me full time.  There was no formal interview.  My performance on the job sold my skills.

Hard worker.  Follow through.  Complex logic.  Problem solver.  Converse with the client.  Attention to detail.

I was never a fan of interviews, they are manufactured.  They ask question, you answer them.  If they like you, you're hired.  If you can do the job, even better.

Once you're on the job, you either sink or swim.  And that's when the hiring manager realizes if you were telling the truth during your interview.  Which can take time and could be costly, by hiring a dud, with all the training costs, getting them up to speed on the business, HR stuff, it can be quite costly to hire someone who doesn't work out.

The interview process is a game of cat and mouse.  The hiring company wants a qualified candidate and the interviewee wants a good job.  I'm not convinced the current hiring technique of question / answer is the best method for finding a good match.

Word of mouth trumps everything.

And so it goes~!

Estimate Your Project Wisely

Working as a consultant, you have to treat time differently than working a full time position.

Because when you bid for a contract, you have to estimate the size and effort of the work, known as scoping the project.

This is actually a difficult task, because you have to determine how many hours each task will take, validate your data and assume you will get the level of help needed from the client.

As difficult as that seems, the real difficulty is estimating the unknown factors.  Such as tracking down business rules, obtaining good test data, servers going down, getting database back ups and refreshing data.

There are so many unknowns, you have to allow time in your estimate.

And if that's not enough, the real trap to watch out for is Scope Creep.  What is that you say?  Well, with reports, sometimes the end user has a general idea of what they want, but once they see an actual report, they always have changes.  Align this, change the font, make this bigger, you know cosmetic changes.  And then there's always new fields to be added, extra functionality, link to other reports, there's really no end to the amount of changes they could ask for.

And this is an unknown.  So when you estimate your project, you MUST account for this.  Because it always happens.  So when working on the project, you always throw in some extra functionality, but there's a fine line where you must go back to the client and say, this is a change request because the level of effort is longer than expected, so perhaps a Phase 2, or append your Statement of Work to account for the extra time.

Sometimes the coding of the reports is rather quick, but it's the changes that eat up much of the budget, so watch out for this trap.  In the end, the Client has to sign off on your work so you can get paid, and you don't want to be doing work for free, so learn how to estimate your level of effort and account for the unknowns.

That's what I've learned working as a Consultant.  You want your client to be happy, you want to produce a quality product and perhaps get repeat business.  So estimate your projects wisely.

And there you have it~!

Not in Todays Workforce

One of the worlds richest people, Warren Buffet is proclaimed a business genius.

Amassing billions of dollars.

His every word is listed to for nectar of insights.

Here's a recent article:

https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140812123613-283620963-the-critical-hiring-data-you-re-not-collecting?trk=tod-home-art-list-large_0

Man, if this guy is so smart and so rich, why is he still working?

He owns more companies than anyone can count.  Has more riches than can ever be spent.

Here's my take.  Sure the guy is smart, rich and famous.

What if he was growing up in today times.  Just graduated from high school, big decision to enter college, join the military or enter the work force.  I just don't see him repeating his success in today's day and age.

He was in the right place at the right time.  Made something out of nothing.

I just don't see today's youth having the same chances of his success as he had.

And so it goes~!

Movies with Character(s)

Here's a movie about life.

"The Legend of Bagger Vance"

Here's a clip that sums up the movie:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvT6fcvuu9o

"A game.  A game that can't be won.  Only played."

"Now is the time Junior."

Matt Damon is a top notch actor.  I saw his first movie "Goodwill Hunting", recommended by my roommate at the time.

Which also starred Robin Williams, who's recent passing stunned the world.  A brilliant performer who's career spanned decades.

Here's another clip with combined characters, the park scene:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qM-gZintWDc

Enjoy~!