“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” – Abraham Lincoln

Alright.  I’m back.  Back back.  Back for more.  Back with a vengeance and a bone to pick.

WARNING: It’s not usually like this around here, but I say the word “shit” a lot in this one.

One of the positive things that has happened over the past year is that I got fired from my job.  Wait what?  Yeah, I said it.  Getting fired from my job was one of the better points in my year.  I hated that job.  I worked 55 hour weeks getting paid peanuts to stock beer in grocery stores.  It was long and the company was/is a joke.  When my dad got sick the second time and went into hospice, do you know what my boss told me?  “Remember, you’ve still got a job to do.”  Cold-blooded, man.  The salesman that covered my region said the same thing.  One of the many things that my father bestowed upon was a stellar work ethic, so getting the job done was never an issue, but they chose that route.  It was a bad place to be.

So anyway, I worked Friday-Tuesday.  I came in one Friday and my boss pretty much lays into me because the beer in the cooler wasn’t rotated.  All he ever told me was that the beer needed to be rotated on Mondays and Tuesdays.  He yells at me, my supervisor calls as I’m walking to the back of the store and he gives me hell.  Then I get back to where my boss is and he starts up again, ultimately asking me “do you even want to work here anymore?”

I didn’t have an answer.  I didn’t want to work there.  I didn’t want to not have a job but I definitely didn’t work there.  So I shrugged.  That was enough for him and the end of my time there.

Whatever.  Their loss.  That’s not my point.

Neither is this.  I went for about a week trying to find something, anything to get some money coming in.  I applied for unemployment.  I sold some of my belongings.  I did what I could.  After that first week, a friend of mine that just worked weekends at the beer place calls and says that he might be able to get me on at the traffic products company he worked at during the week (his “real job”).  Traffic products?  I thought.  I don’t know.  But I needed money like nobody’s business so I told him I was in.  So I came in and I busted my ass like I always do at work.  I hustled to learn the products and processes.  I was making less than I did at the beer job, but like I said, I have a pretty damn good work ethic so I got in there and did the damn thing.  Within a week, I went from being a floater to having a legit position.  Within a few weeks, the owner promoted me to Warehouse Foreman.  Over the next few months, I continued to hustle and learn and get the warehouse into shape.  A few weeks ago, I got promoted to Production Manager, overseeing the warehouse and the in-house sign shop.

And that is part of my point.  Hustle is important.  Work is important.  Responsibility is important.

Now that I’m a manager, I get to, well, manage other people.  I’ve got the Production side of it, but I’m not a huge fan of, well, other people.  I’ve got about seven guys total that I supervise and their kind of a mixed bag.  A couple of them are something else and one in particular has proven to be a real piece of work.  He’s been there for about a year.  He stayed around even after a bunch of people broke off and created a competing business.  He stayed even when shit got real heavy and we were overwhelmed with the size and numbers of sign orders coming in. That’s great.  But he also makes a bunch of mistakes.  And he gets stoned a lot of time before work.  And sometimes during work.  And probably always after work.

So he’s gotten in trouble for other things that may or may not have had to do with him being stoned.  I don’t think he’s a bad guy and I could give a shit less what he does after work, but I can guarantee that his personal stuff is bleeding into his professional performance.  He’s had some more issues lately and made some dumb mistakes and we’re also (unrelated) trying to cross-train some other people (myself included) to do the sign design on the computer, a task which, until now, was more-or-less exclusively his to do.  Now, he’s (understandably) worried that he’s training his replacement (not necessarily true).

I’ve been in this situation.  I trained a guy a few jobs back that wind up getting the promotion that I had been training for.  It’s a terrible feeling.  But I didn’t give up and let things fall to the wayside.  I’ve never gotten into a bunch of trouble at work (just fired out of nowhere!) and been worried about someone else taking my job, but I imagine it’s not too far off.  I imagine that I would be walking on egg shells trying to make sure that I didn’t rock the boat or piss the big bosses off.  But what does this guy do?  He rocks the boat.  He pisses the big bosses off.  And now he’s that much closer to actually losing his job.

This blows my mind some, but what really gets me is his response to getting formally in trouble today.  He assumes the role of the victim.  Oh, everyone’s so hard on him (they’re not).  Oh, he’s done so much for the company (not really).  Oh, he was just taking a few minutes to vape in the warehouse (big no-no).  Oh, nobody likes him (not true).  What the hell, man?  You messed up.  A lot of times.  And you got a hundred extra chances.  And everyone coddles you and tries to make it easier for you so as not to ruffle your feathers and you don’t feel appreciated?  Give me a break.

My point in telling you all of this, whoever you are, is that you have to take responsibility for you: yourself, your actions, your life, etc.  No one’s going to take responsibility for a grown man.  No one wants to spend extra time and effort making your life easier at their expense.  Maybe they will for a little bit, but not forever.  And why would you want that?  If you’re unhappy somewhere, go somewhere else.  God Bless America.  40 hours a week is too much time to spend somewhere that you hate that much.  Also, are you giving it your all?  All 110%?  Roll up your sleeves, do it to it, and see if your situation improves.  If it doesn’t, it probably wasn’t meant to be.  And that’s okay.  No one’s going to hate you for wanting to do something else.  No one’s going to kill you for leaving your desk, your office, your job.

Take responsibility, take charge of you and all of your shit and figure it out.  Because no one else is going to do it for you.

That’s all.

 

Responsibly,

Glass

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“Now did the Lord say that machines ought to take place of the livin’? And what’s a substitute for bread and beans? I ain’t seen it! Do engines get rewarded for their steam?” – Johnny Cash

[Gotta love Johnny Cash]

I read an article LinkedIn the other day that talked about how cell phones are the new cigarette.  The author compared the once-popular “got a light?” icebreaker to our tendency to pull out our phones when we have a spare moment or when we are in an environment that may be new or intimidating.  It’s kind of interesting to look around and see everyone staring down at their phones, focusing their attention on the virtual instead of the actual.

A quick story:  At the end of September 2012, after almost seven months of being unable to find a job and unable to pay phone bill, my phone got cut off.  As tragic as it was at the time, I really feel like it was a blessing in disguise.  I had had whichever iPhone was new at the time (I think a 4S), and I was very much accustomed to being on it.  A lot.  I would be on it at work, either playing mindless games or writing and I would do a lot of the same when I would get home at night.  It was beginning to have a negative effect on my relationship with my wife and infant daughter.  So, like I said, it got shut off and I wound up spending the next two years without a cell phone.

[Once I got a job, we could’ve afforded one, but we lived so close to where I was working and I was always either at home or at work, that it wasn’t Incredibly necessary.  I have a phone now because I work farther away and we’re in a much bigger city, but I have a flip phone so it’s pretty much for calling and texting.]

I pay a lot more attention to the world around me and it’s an amazing feeling.  My wife and I have always been adventurers but not being buried in my phone has opened the door for more spontaneous sidetracking.  My mind is clearer and I feel like I’m more focused when I get going on a project.  I also fell out of touch with a lot of the websites I would spend a bunch of time on, so that time was spent on my family or my work.  Definitely a good feeling.

Mrs. Glass and I are really big fans of the TV show Parks and Recreation and particularly of Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman, respectively.  We recently watched Offerman’s American Ham comedy special on Netflix and it was pretty damn good.  There’s a part in there where he talks about how foolish all of this disconnected connectivity (my words, not his) is and how it really takes the life out of situations, even those like shoving your way through busy New York streets, that really make up the human experience.  We have to put down the screens and pay attention to what’s happening around us.

[We also recently started watching a lot of Grounded For Life on Netflix which is a really nice middle-of-the-road sitcom if you need something light to binge on.  In one episode, the dad’s vexation towards cell phones, especially when they are being used in public places.  They flashback to a time in a restaurant where the dad has a really over-the-top fake conversation to mock a guy at an adjacent table who is eating alone but talking loudly on the phone.  Good stuff.]

This goes much deeper.

I don’t want to get all Terminator here, but our reliance on technology has some pretty menacing implications.  Automation is king these days and it eliminates the need for human employees in a lot of industries.  I saw something else recently that said it takes six weeks to make a Rolls Royce and a few hours to make a Toyota.  It was meant to be inspirational because quality takes time and everything, but it kind of freaked me out.

Why should it only take a few hours to make a car?  Where is the attention to detail or even just the human element in all of this?  I don’t mean who’s manning the machines.  I mean which person is getting their hands dirty building the car or growing the food that is going to maintain the well-being of the individual.  Machines are supposed to be tools and tools are meant to be extensions of the person, but there are millions of machines out there replacing  human in the workforce.  You can train one of those people to maintain the machines, but the math doesn’t work on that.

Look:

Let’s say a ballpoint pen factory (whatever; I’m just using what’s around me) has ten workers who assemble the pen parts into the finished product.  If they are each replaced by one machine, then there are now ten machines with maybe one or two of those original people to maintain them.  In order to completely counterbalance the unemployment of the remaining eight or nine people, you would need forty or ninety new machines!  To make pens! Who is going to use all of the pens that these machines are cranking out?  And who is going to make the machines that make the pen-making machines??  It’s too much!

Sorry.

I’ll take a deep breath and we’ll continue.

My ultimate concern is that 5.5% of Americans (8.6 million people) are unemployed as of last month and these numbers haven’t changed much from previous months.  If we could take a bilateral approach and create jobs AND reduce the number of jobs that are eliminated by technology or outsourcing or whatever and get everyone squared away, I think that inherent increase in production costs would most likely be diluted and would make for a higher quality product as well as less waste from inferior products.

So.  We need to get away from our screens, look at the world around us, and demand more from it.  There is hope out there.  And it’s handcrafted, made not machine-made.

Productively,

David Glass

P.S. – If you’re looking for a good read, try Kurt Vonnegut’s Player Piano.  It really delves into the notion of machines replacing humans and the resulting social and psychological implications.

P.P.S – Here’s a picture of my old school flip phone and the other rather high-quality/low-tech items I carry around everyday.

Every single day. #everydaycarry #carry #gerber

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