Monday, April 04, 2022

Old dog


I try to avoid commenting about work in my blog. But I've spent the last three Fridays and finally my birthday in an all day leading with purpose workshop. This is not a training I've sought out. It is not a training I would have sought out. There is nothing that involves four full days of psycho babble that I would purposedly seek out.

It's not that I don't want to learn new things, but these consultant led trainings, on Zoom not in person complete with virtual break out rooms aren't learning opportunities. They are mindnumbing wastes of time. I am not a stupid person, but the language of consultants and management training is incomprehensible. 

Things like "generous listening." It translates to paying attention to what someone is saying to you even though it is stupid. There are 360 surveys that give you feedback from peers, direct reports and your manager. They are all over the map --say more, say less, listen more, act more, stop rolling your eyes.

I don't like feedback. I can dissect myself with a blunt tool without someone else's opinion. But providing feedback that I don't like feedback is not socially acceptable. I must drink the Koolaid and adopt the lingo, at least until I actually retire or expire.

At my age I am set in my ways and I don't think making lists and personal goals is going to change that. I can't even remember half of the crap I've "learned" in trainings anyway. 

This dog don't want to hunt no more.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Gray and white


I live in a gray and white world, literally and figurative. At times it seems like there is never sunshine in the Pacific Northwest. The sky always seems gray and blotched with drizzle. It seems worse than it was when I first moved here more than 40 years ago. Maybe it is climate change. Maybe it is just me aging, graying and whiting.

My hair is gray and white. I am like a printer running out of ink. I am fading.

Maybe it's the pandemic or social unrest or the economy or the war in the Ukraine that making me gray. Or should that be blue? 

Was it a coincidence that Oscar Wilde's character was Dorian Gray? But I suppose his portrait grayed while he stayed black and white. Though I wish I had a portrait that grayed and aged while I stayed the way my mind sees me -- young and strong. The mirror, however, betrays me.

Which is why I try to avoid mirrors. But there are times, like when I am getting my hair cut, that I can't avoid the mirror. Even on the endless video meetings I am forced to stare at my gray face and double chins. More than two years of this has taken its toll.

And speaking of being invisible (there's one of those old digressions) there is nothing like being in a video meeting with about a hundred people that makes you actually invisible. No one really sees you. If they did see me, I wonder if they would think they are tuning in an old black and white television show.

Friday, February 11, 2022

Free as a bird

So I think I've set a new record for not blogging. Something about a pandemic that just keeps my muse from musing. It's difficult to be motivated to write when nothing seems too amusing.

I did go into the office a couple of weeks ago for the first time in almost two years. I was greeted by a stack of mail a foot high on my desk.

The monkey playing cymbals was watching over it for me. He hasn't changed. He did seem a bit more skitterish than I remember.

I also noted my desk calendar was open to March 2020, the month when it all seemed to go to hell. It was like something right out of the Twilight Zone. This whole scenario is like a bad dystopian novel.

Speaking of dystopian plots, I began watching this series on HBO Max called Station Eleven. It is about a future world where many of the people were killed off by a deadly flu. 

Sound familiar?

It's odd, but the pandemic seems to be losing steam, not because COVID had gone away but because people are just sick of it (pun intended). The intensity of the first year was replaced by hope that vaccines would end it last year. But the endless variants threw a wet blanket on hope towards the second part of 2021. And now people just seem to say WTF. Lots of mask mandates are being lifted.  

I've never liked wearing masks, but I've done it. The biggest pain is remembering to put them on. And I have never found a good solution for keeping my glasses from fogging up. Plus they make my ears pull down and look even bigger than they are. And they really draw attention to my double chin.

Not that my looks matter. I've become even more invisible during the pandemic. I still walk every day. And my wife gave us a family gym membership for Christmas. But working out in a mask sucks. And I'm really sick of walking the same routes for almost two years.

Anyway, why, you ask, is this post called "Free as a bird?" Because it strikes me how ironic that phrase is, especially now that we are all more or less captives in our homes and communities.