Showing posts with label Work. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Work. Show all posts

April 9, 2019

Solving Computer Problems

Funny T-Shirt on solving computer problems:

Does it work?

Did you screw with it?

Does anyone know?

Can you blame anyone else?

This little flowchart seems to capture so many issues in the office like:

- Accountability

- Problem-solving

- Doing the right thing

Oh, maybe that's a different flowchart. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 4, 2019

What Makes Happy

So the same things don't seem to drive happiness for everyone. 

Some like big jobs and lots of power. 

Others are happier with more work-life balance. 

Some like to pursue lots of degrees and certifications.

Others like to learn on their own and through life experience. 

Some like to travel the world.

Others like a day in nature or at the museum. 

Some like big families and lots of people around them. 

Others like smaller families, close friends, intimacy, or even being more on their own. 

Some like lots of money. 

Other are happy with having what they need.

Some like to be tremendous athletes. 

Other like to just stay fit or maybe are more comfy as "couch potatoes."

Some like to be very religious and follow all the laws.

Others prefer mindfulness, a sense of spirituality and being a "good person."  

Some like lots of activities and to always do different things. 

Others are more comfortable with routine and incremental change. 

We all have basic needs, but we also have different values, priorities and comfort zones. 

Happiness isn't a yes or no answer, but what makes us feel on track and doing good. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 4, 2019

Monday Signs

Starting a new week...

Pick a sign for your desk:

- Good morning let the stress begin

- Step away from my desk and no one gets hurt

- I found your nose, it was in my business

- I'm pretty sure I have no idea

Which one would you pick?

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 6, 2018

An Alarm Clock - My Gag Gift

So we had our holiday party today, and guess what I got?

Yes, a Sharp Twin Bell Alarm Clock!

Of course, with each gag gift came a mini-speech by some of the managers as why they choose this gift for you.

So of course, I am consistently the first one in every morning and the person who opens up for everyone else--reliable, dependable, and hard-working Andy! :-)

Some of my other colleagues got a hula hoop, a toy toolkit, a mini teapot, a little school bus, coffee mugs with funny sayings, a rock and roll trophy, mini boxing gloves, stuffed pillows with smileys, and more. 

Each came with its own unique story.

Pizza, beer, and bowling were part of the festivities. 

It's nice when people appreciate each other and can have some fun. 

Thanks for the holiday party and the alarm clock.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 1, 2018

Bad Little Mousey

So a colleague told me about an awful experience at work. 

They came into the office and had a big surprise. 

I won't ask you to guess what it was. 

I'll start off by giving you a hint.

It came from a mouse. 

Yep, they actually had what they called, "mouse poop" on their desk. 

Have to laugh even at the term...

But this is not what you want to have to deal with first thing in the morning, or anytime for that matter. 

What can you do though?

We share the world with other living creatures and if they want to poop on your desk--what are you really gonna do about it? 

I suggested setting some traps, but they said they want to see if it happens again. 

That's two too many times for me.

Now though I learned to be grateful if my desk is poop-free. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 19, 2018

Impact of Hyperwork on Family

I am seeing this all the time now... 

Parents of little children, or even older children, who are too busy working to pay much, if any, attention to their families.

Call it a disease of the industrial revolution + information technology. 

Whether people worked on the assembly line making widgets or nowadays on the computer and smartphone answering their bosses and colleagues compulsively--it's become a global obsession. 

On one hand, with the impending robot and AI revolution taking over jobs, people need to be grateful to even have a job to earn a living for the families.

On the other hand, with the connections to each other and our work 24/7, the depression-era saying of:
Brother, can you spare a dime?

Has morphed into:
Brother, can you spare some time?

Yes, we all need to be responsible adults, earn a decent living and pay our bills. 

But in the end, it's not money or things that we give to our families that is the most important.  

I would argue money and things are the least important, and what is truly most precious is the love, time, and attention you give to yours. 

As the old saying goes:
Money can't buy love.

But time and attention given to your loved ones can build meaningful relationships that last a lifetime and beyond. 

Yes, of course, people need to work to earn a living and productively contribute something to society, but it is also true that work is used as an excuse to run away from parental and familial responsibilities. 

It's easier to give an Amazon gift certificate or a Gameboy then to actually spend the afternoon with the kids. 

These days, people say ridiculous things like:
I love going into the office to get away from home.  

But you can't run away from your problems at home--you need to work on them and solve them.

The diabolical murderous Nazis used work as a tool to enslave, torture, and exterminate their victims as the sign over the gate of the Auschwitz (and many other) concentration camps read:
Arbeit Macht Frei  (or Work Sets You Free)

But as we all know inside, true freedom is being able to give generously from your time and effort to your loved ones, and slavery is not being able to let go of your work. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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August 23, 2018

A Cherry Tomato B4 Your Pie

So this was funny at our work social hour today. 

The person organizing it brought in snack foods--pretzels, cookies, chocolates, and apple pie. 

Of course, there were also some token vegetables and dip. 

So as you'd expect with all the junk food on the table, no one was eating the vegetables.

So one colleague goes:
Eat a cherry tomato and then you can have some pie.

The response from you know who was:
Ah, if you want us to eat a tomato then you better just put it inside the pie!

By the end, there was no more pie, but there sure were a lot of leftover cherry tomatoes. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 15, 2018

Making A Real Difference

I saw this sign posted at an organization's office. 

I thought it was a nice way to motivate people working there. 
"What people are saying:
You are making a difference."

Later in the sign, it says:
"The work you do is important."
Isn't this really what is critical to people--that what they do is important. 

Yes, we need to earn a living and pay our bills. 

And sure, we'd like something left over to save for a rainy day. 

But our lives are more than materialism. 

We are spiritual beings inside. 

At the pinnacle, we need to know that our lives mean something!

- That we are touching people's lives. 

- That we will be remembered for the good we did. 

- That our good deeds and words will live on. 

- That our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren (etc.) will carry the lessons and message forward. 

- That we've contributed in some meaningful way to the fight of good over evil in this world and the next. 

- That we've shown proper respect and worship to our L-rd/Maker/Sustainer. 

When we make a difference, it's about so much more than what money can buy. 

It's about our soul, our contribution, and even destiny.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 1, 2017

The Games People Play

The title sounds ominous, but I mean it differently.

People like to play games--the type you have fun at.  

We learn to play when we are kids. 

We get the attention of our parents and friends--and we have fun just being together, acting silly or even competing with each other. 

Whether it's over a game of Life, Monopoly, Risk, or Connect Four, or even these days going online with a game of Minecraft or Crush.

Sports is another type of game--great to play and others like to watch and cheer for their favorite teams or athletes. 

This week at work, someone said to come to his meeting because:
"...everyone would have fun."

Have you ever heard that at work--a fun meeting or for that matter anything being fun in an office setting?

The guy is a genius--people actually showed up in droves at the meeting. 

They had to choose between various meetings going on at that time--and low and behold, people chose this one that was going to be fun!

In the meeting, there was a big bowl of candy and chocolate in the center of the conference table.

And the mood was relaxed as we got down to some business. 

While we did the business, people felt free to be a little silly and laugh with each other too.

The tone had been set for some fun.

The person who hosted the meeting explained that he wanted people to have a good time coming to the meeting (and to work).

He called it "gamification."

The idea is why not make things into a type of game and have some fun with it instead of everything being so stuck up and nasty all the time. 

Listen, it was still a meeting and work had to get done, but it was nice to see a different lighter perspective put on it. 

People want to enjoy what they do--whether it's time with their family, friends, or why not even their work.

If we can make more things in life into a game of sorts and put "fun" into the equation of what we do--people smile, laugh, and let down their guards a little. 

Why shouldn't adult play games and have fun too? ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 24, 2016

Money Makes The World Go Round

I remember from years ago hearing this song called, "Money makes the world go around."

It's an unfortunate song. 

"The clinking clanking clunking sound."

Then this week, I saw this sign in someone's office. 

It was hung under a framed dollar bill, and said:

"VERY IMPORTANT MONEY FIRST"

It doesn't say G-d first, or family, or integrity, or compassion, or anything meaningful and good. 

No, instead just money. 

What is wrong with people?

Yes, we all need money to live.

Life isn't free. 

There are bills to pay and money to be saved for a rainy day.


But, "money first"???

"Very important!"

There is definitely something wrong with some people's values.

They think:

To hell with doing the right thing if you can make lots of money.

To hell with being honest in business if you can make more money.

To hell with earning a decent day's pay for an honest day's work.

No, to some misguided people, it's simply money first. 

And money also means power.

More, more, more...at almost any cost that is. 

Sell your souls to the devil for a buck fifty.

Is the temporary satisfaction that money can buy you really worth it.

No, money is not first, and never should be. 

Money is a means to an end, but never an end in itself.

Money is not the root of all evil, but perhaps underlying greed is. 

Take that awful sign down and the dollar bill in the shiny frame at the very top of the wall too! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 23, 2016

Work Is For Work

So when I saw 2 awesome colleagues bright and early in the morning standing in the hallway on the way into the office already talking about work--I said, "You guys are already talking shop?"

Now it happens that these 2 actually carpool in together...

So I asked, "Didn't you have enough time in the car to talk about this [business]?"

To which one person replied, "Oh no, we don't talk about our work in the car!"

At first it seemed funny that you would wait an hour's drive and not say what you have to about work and hold it until you just get in the door.

And then after a split second--well of course, that's their time!

Work is for work. and free time is your personal time (for personal care, health, G-d, family, extra-curricular activities and interests, travel, etc.)

It's good to have some healthy separation--to mentally box them out and to keep each sacrosanct. 

We can live and work (not just "live to work") each in it's own rightful time and place and get the most done for our jobs, ourselves, and our families. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attributio to AmatuerX)
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January 1, 2016

Homesick or Heresick

It's funny, my dad used to tell a joke about not being homesick, but being heresick (wherever that "here" may be for somebody--they just want to get out of there)

Recently, at work though, I have found there are many people that don't want to go home at the end of the day--and it's not because they always still have so much work to do (although sometimes certainly they do). 

Yesterday, I asked someone at work--on New Years eve--what they were still doing there late in the day.

Someone with a fairly new baby at home, jokingly winced at me, and said something about it sometimes being better to stay a little later at work, because when he/she gets home, they start all over again with the spouse and kid(s)--like so many of us. 

It's strange to me, because I love and value home. 

And it's like the old rhetorical question about do you work to live or live to work. 

Just yesterday, in the Wall Street Journal, there was a book review about someone who opined about how home is where the heart is--and in anthropological terms--it's always been that way!

Home is our sanctuary, for ourselves and our beloved family, it is where we are "king of the castle," and where we do everything from shelter, comfort, reproduce, share, and generally love and care for each other. 

Yet, back to work, many people these days don't want to go home to crying babies and dirty diapers, nagging spouses and the evening fights, encroachment on private spaces, and errands galore (it's a 2nd job almost)--cooking, cleaning, shopping, laundry, and bills--or even just plain loneliness there. 

So people hang out at work--they schmooze, they snack, they Internet, they may go to workout, or they dilly and dally--just so they don't have to go home. 

As someone recently said to me, "It's quiet. I like it there. Nobody bothers me there."

They are homesick--not missing and yearning to be home, but some almost to the point of sick at the thought of going home. 

Work or anywhere else then becomes a refuge from the home that home is supposed to be. 

Sometimes it's just a temporary thing at home, sometimes it's more ongoing or permanent.

Everyone has a different home--for everyone it should be a true home. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 9, 2015

Sit-Stand Computer Desk 1-2-3


This adjustable computer desk stand from Veridesk for sitting and standing is awesome. 

Someone got this in the office, and it is the talk of the town. 

It comes as one piece, no assembly required and you just place it under your computer--simple, easy!

Just push the handles on either side and the desk height adjusts variably up or down. 

I found it on Amazon for just $325-$400 depending on the size and whether you have a double monitor. 

My colleague at work said just try it and you will feel so good--this seems like a good healthy deal. ;-)
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September 19, 2015

The Many Faces Of Coffee


Coffee wakes us the "f--- up". 


There is enough time to sleep when we are dead. 


Coffee isn't just a nice to have.


It's always coffee time.



Coffee beans give us the sharp flavor and the quick pick me up.


Coffee is not only for working, but for relaxing.

I'll take mine iced with half & half and plenty of sweetener. 

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

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April 16, 2015

CIO, Social Butterfly Or Tyrant

So I've seen it both ways...

There are those who "lead" by friendship, as if the workplace is one big playpen; and the notion is that those who have the most office buddies wins; to them it's not the mission or work that is important but rather it's a popularity contest, plain and simple--they are immature and still stuck in the preschool mode of thinking about what leadership is and how to work productively with others. 

Then there are others who "lead" by tyranny--it is a one person show and they are it; no one else has an viewpoint or idea that matters; anyone else who is good to great is a threat to them--they are insecure and narcissistic and the scariest thing in the world to them is to surround themselves with people smarter than themselves or give credit, respect, and honor to others.

Now there is nothing wrong with doing a coffee, lunch, or happy hour, networking, and building relationships with good people...in fact, interpersonal skills is a critical part of the job and of success.

However, those who flutter around smoozing it up with anyone and everyone, and unlike normal working discussions that have a congenial, "how you doing?" aspect and a serious, let's get down to business part, these social butterflies never get past the game on last night, their trip to Paris, or their one night stand...it's all personal, conferences, speeches, but no real work getting done (maybe some smoke and mirrors). 

Similarly, there are times, when decisions need to be made and the debate must end, and not everything in the office can be a vote where majority wins--sometimes tough decisions and trade-offs need to be made, authority exercised, and responsibility taken.

Nevertheless, it's when moderation and good judgement is lost and a person's emotional issues, personality disorders, and social anxieties take over that they act the fool--and they either rule by shaking hands and kissing babies (or the office equivalent of favors, favortism, and coffee or drinks, I'm buying!) or they are hard-a*sed, prickly jerks who cannot work with anyone that can pull their own weight and instead we see a flurry people make a dash for the exits. 

How do either of these types of people become leaders of anything? Don't the executives they report see or hear the chaos in the ranks below and the projects going bottom-up, kaput?

We've got to get along and nothing wrong with work friends, but we are here to do a job and do it well and for that we need to come together as decent human beings who treat each other with respect, dignity, and where everyone can make a valuable contribution--CIO social butterflies and inglorious tyrants begone! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 2, 2015

The Lights Never Really Go Off

It was interesting at work recently, when a colleague was contemplating what to do about some key person being out of the office and unavailable...

And they go: "Next man or women up--last one flips off the light."

In other words as they say, the show must go on!

So hurry up and let's get the person's deputy, "second," or the next one on the ladder read in and working on this. 

When it comes to work, we can't stop because someone is "out of pocket"--the job presuposes any particular person or persons.

While many peope think (or wish) they are irreplaceable, the truth is that with the exception of your closest family and friends, we are all just shy of, "Okay, whose up next?"

I remember a friend who told me many years ago that he believed that the whole world revolved around him (yes really), and that everyone else was "just a figment of my imagination."

Ha, I'm pretty sure that a lot of people have had a similar thought or sentiment about themselves. 

But the truth is that while everyone is unique and invaluable--there are over 7 billion of us out there and growing--so there is always someone else waiting in the wings to jump on an opportunity to fill someone else's shoes (no matter how big). 

It is a harsh world and reality--but we are here as long as we are here, and then there are others who come after. 

In a sense, this is a good thing, because as mere mortals, we don't want everything to depend on us--we are frail, we get sick, we die--but by having others who can step in and carry the flag forward, our efforts do not end with us. :-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Niklas Morberg)
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November 7, 2014

Lighting The Shabbat Candles

Wanted to share this beautiful picture

The mother is ushering in Shabbat.

The children are gathered around.

The father is in synagogue.

The mother lights the holy candles.

She covers her eyes, and makes the blessing.

"Blessed are you, G-d, King of the Universe, who made us holy with his commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Shabbat light."

She then blesses her loved ones. 

Shabbat is here, and it is time to stop all the routine, mundane things from the regular weekdays. 

There is no work on the 7th day--it is the day for Hashem!

Rest, peace, and spirituality are upon us. 

Let us celebrate together and rejoice. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 31, 2014

Monday Blues

This was a funny sign on the large computer display overhung in a prominent medical facility around Washington, D.C. 

I remember as a kid, Monday's were notorious for being called "Blue Monday."

Further, Blue Mondays were in stark contrast to Sunday Fundays!

Already on Sunday evenings, many people would start getting the doldrums and sort of want to just mellow after 5 or 6 pm--I think mostly to deal with the anxiety of a new week. 

My father always used to tell me never to worry, instead to have faith in G-d that he will always do what is best for you--essentially, that faith and fear do not mix. 

I don't know about wanting to "break up" with Monday, but it would sure be nice if the week instead started with Tuesday. ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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May 16, 2014

Making The Transition

Came out of the hospital yesterday.

Able to walk with a walker--thankful for this miracle already.


Thanks to good 'ol technology, I was able to send my surgeon a photo from my smartphone this morning, so he could see for himself what was going on and advise me. 


Later today, having nursing and physical therapy to the house and am glad to have yet another set of eyes on me, while I heal up.


Emotionally, it's trying. 


I am a very active and structured person, and for now I am just physically limited--no getting around it. 


As I push myself to walk, I can see my body pushing back to give it more time. 


Overall, I am determined to get back to myself with G-d's merciful help. 


I've already logged onto work--telework--and been in touch with my team trying to keep things moving forward.


I'm also here, on the blogosphere, sharing my experience. 


While in the hospital orthopedic unit, I got to meet many others with similar or even worse situations.


One guy had a knee replacement in January and was already back and had his hip done. 


Another, I was told had one hip done, followed about 2 weeks later, by the other one.


All sorts of amazing stories of people fighting to recover and get back on their feet, literally. 


One more time, I just want to say how my wife has been amazing through all of this, and I can't thank her enough.


And truly, as my parents told me, "If you have your health, you have everything!"


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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January 24, 2014

Addictions R Us

I was having an really interesting conversation with a friend--okay, and it got a little deep. 

He said something fascinating to me--which is that everyone is addicted to something. 

Think about it--some are addicted to the hard stuff...drugs, alcohol, smoking.

Others are addicted to sex, work, shopping, exercise, even religion. 

In modern times, there are new addictions to technology, gaming, and social media.

My friend is smart and we discussed or alluded to a number of reasons for the addictive nature of all people. 

1) Meaning - Many people have a tough time dealing with the seemingly meaningless, mortal nature of their lives. Without a strong purpose and meaning, we can sort of float through every day looking for some anchor, stability, or rhythm. Addictions, for better or worse, can provide that habit or repetition compulsion. While not very meaningful itself, these addictions help people forget--temporarily, during their high or while they are being kept busy--that they are perhaps lost amidst it all. 

2) Pain - Everyone has pain--emotional, physical, mental--these cause stress on people and their ability to deal or cope can be stretched thin, and they turn to some sort of addiction as a "crutch" to help them get through the day. It reminds me of a very crude song that I overheard years ago, called "F*ck the pain away" (excuse the language here, please). Anyway, simply replace the first word, with "work, shop, drink, and so on and poof, you have opiates (i.e. pain relief) for the masses. 

3) Fear - People are afraid--afraid of living, afraid of dying--and addictions take us away from having the time to stop, think, and have to deal with our fears. If every minute, I am running around doing a million things--then I don't have the time to shut it all down and out, and deal with what's really going on inside. In fact, some people credit the Holy Sabbath day, as being beneficial to us to just stopping all that daily stuff at least for one day a week!

We are all human, and there is no one who is immune to looking for meaning, avoiding pain, and dealing with their fears. 

The question is do we just throw ourselves into something to keep going or do we take more of a Buddhist approach, accept that life is suffering and try to raise ourselves above it through healthy balance, contemplative meditation, compassion and thinking about others, doing good deeds, and so on. 

Keeping busy is good too--but going through life in a drug or otherwise induced fugue is not--then we've lost ourselves, which is maybe the point for our crazy world where addictions abound and we are all too happy to dive right in. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Miles Cave)
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