Monday, June 28, 2010

The Importance of a Short-Term Memory

In any relationship, there is nothing more valuable than a short-term memory. Grudges kill. Most indiscretions are forgivable, and learning to let it go is paramount to maintaining a healthy life. You can carry the baggage of past mistakes forever, or you can let it go and move on. A slight, a mistake, a misconception, a bad day, these things happen.

Sometimes, "sorry" has to be enough penance to pay.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Quality Culture

The new corporate buzz phrase sweeping the nation: Quality Culture. Everywhere you look, there are signs asking: How has Quality Culture affected your work area?

I think we’ve gotten ahead of ourselves. Corporate America hasn't created an environment where the goal is quality. We’ve created an environment where no one wants to take the blame.

We don’t go into projects saying, “How can I make sure this is the best project ABC Co., can do?” We go in saying, “What can I do to make sure I’m not to blame if this project fails?”

From a form that gets kicked back because it’s missing the date, to projects sitting at a standstill while each cog in the wheel argues over whose job it is to define what's needed, too much time is wasted pointing fingers and assigning blame.

You won’t often hear: “Let me help you,” thereby helping the company. Instead, you hear (either in words or actions) “It’s not my job.”

A few months ago, at my company, one department needed a non-standard fix to a problem. Finding a permanent solution would take months and the project would have missed the federally mandated tax deadline. So the department asked, “what can we do for a quick fix now, and then come back and find the solution when we have time?”

What they got in return was “That’s not how we do it. You need to figure out a solution for yourself.”

Today, I stood in front of the entrance to one of our restricted warehouses waiting for someone to acknowledge my presence. You can only enter with an escort. For five minutes, I stood there as no fewer than three associates walked right by me, each of them multiple times.

It was finally an associate from the other side of the building who came to help. The entire time I spent in the actual area I needed? Less than thirty seconds.

That is not a quality culture. That is a culture of “find someone to blame” but “don’t look at me.” Like most companies, everyone is looking to blame someone else, but no one wants to take chances for fear they'll be blamed if it fails.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Nothing new to update. Been away from the computer, mostly. Took the week off and just spending time doing summer things with my kids. Been to the neighborhood pool, a lot. Cleaned the garage. Played in the water sprinkler, a lot. Went to a water park yesterday, and going to the drive-in tonight to watch Toy Story 3. Good times.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Pieces of peace have me puzzled

Sometimes it life, you come to a crossroads where you can keep on doing what you're doing, or you can make a change. You can stay with what you know, or you can learn something new.

I've come to that point in my life. It wasn't a moment, a spark, an epiphany. It's not like I got cracked on the head and woke up Scrooge-like with a different attitude on life. I just realized that what I've been doing isn't working, and so I have to do something else. I've been accused, at times, of being a drama queen. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. I hate drama. I hate drama in friendships, in relationships, at work, at play. I hate it.

Unfortunately, my distaste for drama is often overwhelmed by my inability to sit quietly and not respond to criticism, or what I perceive to be an injustice.

Change isn't easy, but I've been weening myself away from the things in my past life that are just too chaotic, too stressful, too . . . not what I want. I've been distancing myself from the things that cause drama or don't fulfill me in ways that are healthy, or make me feel better about myself. However, from time to time, I dip my toes back in, and, lately, it doesn't take long (minutes) for me to remember why I wasn't there before. Growth is hard.

Staying in a bad relationship, or putting yourself in the same bad positions time and time again isn't healthy, and it's not the way I want to live my life. It took me a long time to understand that I control my environment. Life isn't a puzzle where everything has to fit. If I don't like the pieces around me, I can change the pieces. It's an ever-changing picture that you create based on whichever pieces you place. Don't like this one? Get rid of it. It's interchangeable with a million others that might work better. And there's no limit to how many pieces you get to try. You're not going to run out of chances.

It's not like you're stuck with your choices. You're not. "Hey, this sucks!"

Fine. It sucks.

Now do something about it. Change the pieces.

Over here, in my world, it's calm, and quiet, and peaceful. I like it here. It makes me want to live, and play, and enjoy each day. And it's because of me. It's my doing. I decided what I wanted, and I did it. I was in charge of my happiness. Why I never understood this before is beyond me.

I guess that's why they call it growth.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Busy Beyond Belief

Between work and freelance, there's been no time for me. No dreaming, no playing.

No writing.

I envy those who have the luxury of time. Lately I've been consumed by pressure from work and my various freelance gigs. It's a bit much.

Perhaps more than a bit.

People say you need to make time, but you can't make more time. There are only so many hours. Mine are filled, and to find more, I'd have to sacrifice something else. Like right now, for instance. I should be working out, but I'm taking a moment. And I feel guilty about it. Guilty because I know I should be doing something else, and I'm playing.

For just a moment.

Now back to it.