Posted in Uncategorized

The Thrill and Agony of Competition

Brought my daughter to her volleyball tournament, it started off pretty good. They were scoring points and having fun, but they made a mistake and couldn’t get back on track. They lost the first set and then lost that match. And they lost the next match, and had a break, and soon the last match.
Sports, like in real life, we spend a lot of time thinking about what we did and not what we are going to do. And we focus on people’s past mistakes and not the giving any opportunity to see if things can change. When we spend so much time in the past, we over think and second guess, and end up making worse mistakes than if we would have just seen the new opportunity clearly and not through the lens of past mistakes.
The other thing that happens, is we forget why we are doing what we are doing in the first place. When it comes to sports, they are supposed to be fun. When we lose sight of that, it becomes a stressful job. I see the kids upset when they lose, but unfortunately when you pay a game someone has to lose, otherwise it becomes boring.
We just need to remember, to have fun in life, and if your going to get upset at the thing that is supposed to make you happy, find something else to do.

Posted in Uncategorized

Office Politics

Getting up and going to work can be fulfilling and grueling.  Starting my career after graduating was probably the most educating experience, I learned how to apply my education, but I also learned the enigma that is office politics.  Getting my work done was the easy part, navigating the waters of fragile egos and gray hair, and dealing with kingdom protectors definitely kept things interesting.  If I only had to deal with engineering problems, I might have gotten bored, but thankfully there was so much more to deal with.

When I started my career, I kept my mouth shut and my head low, and just did what I was told, no matter how stupid the people directed me were.  As I started learning more, and my hair got grayer, I started saying what I was thinking, and breaking the unspoken rules of the office.  The only difference between what I was doing and what other people were doing, was I said it with a smile and a humor.  It is amazing to basically call someone a moron, and not have to deal with HR.  I remember starting my third job, and I was warned about a co-worker who was going to report me to HR if I wasn’t quiet.  Right after I was told that, I said “Let them, I have work to get done, and I don’t give a rat’s ass if I get reported, what the worst they can do……Fire me.  I’ll pack my shit now if they want me to go.”  I didn’t realize it at the time, but that co-worker was in their office and heard everything I said.  Funny thing is, I was as loud as usual, and they never reported me to HR or ever said anything to me, but they reported other people around me.

I never really understood, what was going on.  But the only thing I could figure, is that since I wasn’t afraid of losing my job, there was no leverage or point of reporting me.  I had similar experiences when I started doing work that was outside of my kingdom, because it wasn’t that difficult and it was taking way too long by people who were hoarding the work to protect their job.  They would threaten me, and I would tell them to report me, they never would, and after it was done once, that same person never did it again.

I had the head of drafting pull me aside to tell me his drafters had a problem with me. I told him I wanted to get the job done, and if he wanted, we could go to the director of our group and I would gladly hand my project over to someone else.  He did not take me up on that offer.  I had similar run ins with many people through out my career, many of them I consider friends today.

I did get tired of the office politics and go with one my good friends and co-workers and we started our own company.  Even there, I cannot get away from office politics, but it is a little easier to control.  The engineering is the easy part, managing people is the real challenge

Posted in Uncategorized

Wasted Time and Money (Part 1)

As promised, I said I would discuss college and here we go.  How valuable is a college education?  To answer that we need to view it from a return on investment perspective for each class that is required.  Not all classes are created equal, and some are required just to justify other college degrees.

We spend over 13 years going from kindergarten to our senior year in high school, and every year we get some form of English, history, physical education, music, and other random electives.  Then we go to college because we were told we had to if we wanted a good job, and have to take those same classes all over again no matter what degree you want to get.  But can anyone tell me the purpose of English class once we get to high school?  Maybe some people had a different experience than I did, but 9th through 12th grade English did little or nothing to prepare me for the real world.

English should be about teaching kids how to effectively communicate an idea to an audience, not reading books that need English to English translations.  You know what I am talking about.  No one except English teachers understands Shakespeare, yet every year we have another Shakespeare play to read.  I am an engineer, if I did my presentations and wrote my reports like Shakespeare, would I still have a job?

The other favorite authors are no better, go ahead and recited Mark Twain in public and give me a count of your bruises if you made it out alive.  Salinger wrote one book about a cursing teenager, that somehow inspired crazy people to assassinate other people.  While I do not necessarily believe in toxic masculinity, Hemmingway made a living off of promoting it.  And let’s not forget Dickens, who wrote about poor orphaned children, in Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, and David Copperfield, but is best known a story about a greedy man who gets scared into being a good person on Christmas.

That is just high school, then to get my engineering degree I had to take two more years of English in college.  When I mention this to people after the fact, I get the same response, “It was to make you a more well-rounded person.”  To which I respond, “That is what high school was for, but I am paying for this now.”  And those English classes were not about putting together reports to communicate the results of the experiments we did in engineering class, it was more literature written 100 years before I was taking that class.

I would have understood a little better if they had me take a technical writing class, but instead I got to learn the same stuff I learned in high school, and pay for it.  I at least took those classes at community college where it cost about a tenth of the price as it did at the University of Houston.  I am convinced the only reason we have to have more English classes in college, is so all of those English majors have a better chance of finding a relevant job when they graduate, instead of having to learn something new on the job.

At the end of the day, about half of the time in college falls into the same category as those English classes, a complete waste of time and money grabbing scam.  And much like hazing, we all feel like it is a right of passage, and think our kids have to suffer like we did.  How about we drive down college costs, but cutting out the worthless classes, can we could all save about half of our money.

Posted in Uncategorized

Kids Sports Conundrum

Kids love to play games, from the moment they discover a ball to the time they make friends, they find a way to play and compete. Competition is a good thing, and a wonderful thing that makes everyone strive to be better, whether at a game or just life in general. Keeping competition healthy is the key, because too much of a good thing can be bad.

My daughter plays competitive volleyball, and I don’t mind it because she wants to do it, even though it is a massive amount of time. Between leaving work early for practice, having to wake up on the weekend like we’re going to work, along with having to spend a whole weekend away from home in a hotel, there is a lot of commitment to volleyball.  I am not expecting or really wanting my daughter to be volleyball star, so when we go to practice and the tournaments I am just there to have fun and support my daughter.

I think it is good for her, because while she doesn’t like losing, she still has a smile on her face, a laugh in her heart, and has learned that hard work and team work have when the tournament is over. But I see other kids and parents who are sad, crying, or angry after a loss, and I wonder why do something if it is going to ruin your day or more. We always talk about good sportsmanship, but isn’t part of it enjoying the opportunity to play whether you win or lose?

Even though my daughter loves playing the game, she has injured her shoulder, and because the practices are long, we stay up late to finish homework.  She is still a good student, but once you make the commitment for the year, it is difficult to walk away in the middle if grades or their body start to suffer. Since I brought up college in my last post, I think it is important to acknowledge a lot of kids are playing these sports to get into college, and preferably get a scholarship, instead of just for fun.

I have to admit that I think it is difficult (not impossible) to get a degree that will lead to a good paying job (which is reason for college in the first place, right?) if all of your time is spent training for a sport, and that most college players aren’t going into professional sports for their career. So, between injuries, the amount of time that needs to be dedicated, possible education sacrifices, and the money that needs to be spent to play, is it worth it if you’re not just doing it for fun or a hobby (after all it isn’t supposed to be job)? If we remember that hobbies can be a commitment of time and money (whether they are trains sets, model planes, card collecting, video games, sports, etc.) then maybe we can enjoy sports, like the other hobbies, a little bit more.

Posted in Uncategorized

My First Blog Post

Reality Unfiltered

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

I want to thank everyone who has decided to read this blog. Most of the time it will be funny, always unfiltered, and depending your point of view it can be controversial. The topics will vary wildly depending on my day. Politics (both of corporate America and government), religion (from a more practical aspect), and life in general will be touched on. The blog will always be open to thoughtful discussion, but idiocy will not be tolerated. I hope that all of you that decide to follow will enjoy what I post, whether we agree or disagree.

Posted in Uncategorized

Who am I

I am just your average American, from a mixed heritage of European and Caribbean (I hope I spelled that right) decent. Democrats from Europe and Republicans from the Caribbean. A family that started off poor with a dad who had me while he was still in college and mom who worked to put him through. Grew up middle class and sought to become my own boss. I have an interesting family to say the least, and an interesting relationship with my wife and kids.

I annoy my wife and kids by the simple fact that I say what I think and dress the way I want, and sometimes that embarrasses them. Sometimes we agree and sometimes we disagree, but that’s life. We don’t have to agree on everything or even on anything, doesn’t mean we can’t get along or even be friends. I hope that everyone who joins me on this journey will be able to tolerate and be friends with people they don’t agree with.