We should all have four day work weeks.

At least, that’s what V laughingly suggested earlier. It’d work only if every other country out there did it, otherwise us people in Australia are gonna be just a wee bit too laid back for work to function.

One for rest, one for family, and one for… moping aka dread about the next day being an inevitable work day. She loves the great countdown.

I’m thankful for long weekends though. Way behind on my basketball these days, but the urge to hibernate is just so strong. Cold weather obviously, doesn’t help. Does dribbling the ball at home help? Does throwing stress balls around the office help? Hopefully they do.


It’s fascinating how much time seems to be a crawl for certain topics, but yet absolutely seems to streak like a bolt of lightning in others. For example, the kids seem to have been around forever, but it’s only been a short three years.

It’s hard to summarise how much of a lifechanger they have been, but I guess it’s a make-or-break process: either you make it and you come out the better for it, being a more responsible/mature/patient/rational-at-times human being for it. OR you rage quit and become a really shitty parent. Not much of a choice really, I’m trying hard to be the former.

On the other hand: can’t believe it’s been bloody five years since Andrew first left Melbourne for his stint in Singapore. And here’s the clincher: my brother’s actually hitting 30 in a couple of years. Well, it’s less impressive when my 36th (!) birthday will happen three days before his 30th. It’s a logical thing, but just a little unnerving to imagine him being 30 already.

Un-bloody-believeable.


Things have been up and down on the work side. I survived a rather severe round of retrenchments, and it was rather upsetting, to say the least. Numerous people I’d come to view as part of my life, were just ripped away in the space of a day. Work is work, and I got over it, but it was an experience. We’re still trying to get our footing under us, and I’m trying to help with more things on the side while juggling my usual tasks, but it hasn’t exactly been easy. I suspect I’m gonna be catching up on things for a while.

Less mentioned, is the fact that the bunch of guys I always had lunch with also left within weeks of each other. That also left somewhat of a hole; just miss laughing at all the shit we talked about every day. I’m glad they’re on better gigs, but the past months with the gang truly remains one of my fonder memories at this job.

The PnR side has been rather interesting, to say the least. I was, and still am rather drained by the constant writing. It’s slowly getting easier as I learn to write quicker, but it’s still a tiring process at times, especially when you know you’re racing against the clock to put something out. Game 2 is tomorrow, so full steam ahead – let’s hope it doesn’t degenerate into a lopsided victory.

The good side, is that the weekly newsletter will be rotated among the core moving forward, and I can take a six-week breather in between.

The constant urge to keep innovating on the site however, has taken a backseat for now. I guess I finally ran out of gas; it was bound to happen sooner or later, given the breakneck pace I was driving myself to work at. Things need to be done, but it’s no longer a “never put off what you can do today” mentality; I’m just more mindful when it comes to spending more time with the family and resting myself up these days. It’s a marathon, not a 400m sprint, and finding the right pace is pretty important.

I’m a real stickler for using the right words, so here’s a pet peeve: the use of “we” when the task involves only one person (usually me). Last time I checked, we involves you and me at minimum. Don’t make it sound like teamwork (yay!) when it’s not. Be specific, outline the task and name the participants involved.


More random comments.

  • Fuck it’s getting cold.
  • The first season of The Flash has ended (r/FlashTV has been awesome), I’m bored. It might just be time to check Daredevil out. Introduced V to the series during our last weekend getaway, and she’s slowly binge watching her way through. Slowly.
  • And did I mention Google Inbox is pretty cool? I hate the lack of an archive button though.
  • It’s been a long time since I last read a new book –I do have a list of to-reads though– driving has taken that away from me. I know, audiobooks are an option. Still deciding if I should stop listening to basketball podcasts, but Bill Simmons’ departure from Grantland definitely makes the debate a lot easier.
  • Definitely not a life milestone: stalked so hard on bemusedtots’ blog. Some of the things I read there are really fascinating (like Chinese poems, life thoughts and movie reviews), and some are just fond reads because they talk about people I know. The cheerful, guile-less writing just seems to flow and make it all such an easy read.
  • Was kinda engrossed (I’m 100% in on most things I do, and gaming is sadly one of them) in the Transformers: Rising mobile app for a while, until I realised almost every other MF player was a VIP (aka paid) account, and there was no way I could overtake or even catch up to them, despite spending consistent effort. Not worth my time, NEXT.
  • Re-read the comic version (all 252 issues) of 大唐双龙传 because it’s still a cool story. Funny how re-reading it actually made me cast a more critical eye on the artwork, and notice how shoddy some parts of the series are (it felt like filler arc artwork in an anime series), and how the artist actually changed towards the end – the difference in art was frankly, quite noticeable. Filing this under things you nitpick when you get older.
  • Finally caught up on Dear Boys Act III up till chapter 78 (aka first chapter of vol 19), albeit in raw format. I can’t understand kanji even if my life depended on it, so dialogue aside, all I know is the basketball side of thing’s still progressing really well. Damn foul trouble though.
  • Just read about a pre-2014 Mac backdoor vulnerability that is not going to be fixed, and the only precaution you can take is to disable sleep mode. Good job Apple.
  • Kickstarter addict finally received a few packages recently. Stackerware is pretty cool, I love that all the lids are the same damn size, and I don’t have to ever hunt for those odd-sized lids again. And having plastic containers that are freezer/microwave/dishwasher-proof, are very handy. Also received Growfloats (aka hydroponics), I’ve yet to get started on it (no seeds purchased yet).
  • The biggest epiphany or life lesson I had this week: the virtue of focusing on a task (or staying focused in the moment) cannot be overstated. Immersing yourself fully in the experience makes it all the more richer for yourself and everyone else. Skimming by half-heartedly and with poor comprehension or doing a half-fucked job because you were distracted/multitasking, is a disservice that you should seek to avoid.

So there you go, a super condensed entry with random thoughts on the life of yours truly. Hopefully I’ll be more consistent with writing moving forward.

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Three Employee Archetypes in the Workplace

Three broad categories, from excellent to horrible. Which category do you belong to? Be honest with yourself, go!

The Innovator

If I’m an employer, these are the people I want. Not content in merely doing their jobs, they constantly think of ways to make work easier. Not only for themselves, but for the people around them, and for the company as a whole. Some people might call them agitators, troublemakers for upsetting the peace, but it’s the movers and shakers like these, that help a company to grow organically in little ways, beyond the official policies that are being set down.

The Executor

Most of us belong in this category. The executor can be trusted to carry out tasks independently within defined boundaries, without causing too many problems. Do what’s needed, get things sorted out, go home. The end. Just grinding away, yo! Ain’t got no time for complicated things.

The Parasite

Like how Bill Simmons would put it, this is the Keep Getting Dem Checks (KGDC) guy, except there seems to be no work involved. The kind of person we secretly envy, and at other times wonder at the value of their existence in the company. What the hell does this guy do at work, exactly? A lot of people probably have that same question.

 

Bear in mind, we all probably drift from category to category at different times of the year, depending on how we feel. If you’ve lost all interest in your job, it’s no surprise you’re turning into a KGDC guy while keeping a lookout for new opportunities. Learn to love your job and appreciate the positives, try and make things better. We could all use a little upside in our lives!

The most important resource in life, and what truly matters.

I used to think that money was pretty important.

After I recovered from my illness though, the perspective changed drastically. Call it an epiphany, maybe.

Time, not money, is both the most valuable and limited resource we possess. Without time, there’s no way we can accomplish anything of worth. Nowadays, I assess potential tasks and projects with two questions:

  1. Can I commit the time necessary to get them done, and
  2. Is the outcome worth my time and effort?

In a way, this loops back to the stuff I learnt from Tim Ferriss and the Four Hour Work Week long ago. Time is precious, free yourself up from things that can be effectively outsourced.

Perhaps it’s the fact that work keeps me so busy during the day, my personal time has become much more precious. Or maybe, it might be because of the workload that’s forced me to reassess my time versus output ratio. I’m not even going to go into the projects I had on my plate outside work. It’s a good thing quite a few of them ended at the same time for various reasons, otherwise I would honestly be dying right now.

For good or for worse, this shift in mindset is definitely going to change the way I prioritise tasks. I’m viewing it as a “good” for now. The important thing to always remember though, is that two things are always going to be worth our time. Our passions, and the people that matter.

Getting back in gear.

Well, well, well.

Hello again to full-time work! It certainly has been a long while. This new role certainly hasn’t been a walk in the park so far, and I am woefully out of my depth so far. Learning about the people, technology and daily routine has the brain moving in fifth gear right now, and to attempt to troubleshoot without enough information of the situation and knowledge of how things work, is just a bad formula for me. I’m the sort of guy who likes to know everything inside out, so that when problems occur, I can rule out things right away because I know. And I don’t know jackshit right now. Still, it is a pretty flimsy excuse.

Goal in the days ahead: I’m just going to focus on getting to work early, get stuff done before people start streaming in, and slowly document while understanding the entire company’s infrastructure better. I don’t mind taking less time on lunch to get work done, but I need to leave on time, especially when staying another five hours will not make me any more productive.

Short-term goal? To get this current disaster fixed one way or the other, and move on.

Today was an eye-opener though, because I have had the privilege to see one of the most insightful, energetic, tactful and humble people in my life so far. Total respect, enough said. Looking forward to working together with him!

That being said, I’m glad too to have a boss who’s cut from the same bolt of cloth as I am.

What do I want in a job now?

This question yields different answers at different times, and it’s the same for me.

Right now, I’m looking to move into a job that’s preferably less involved in operations. Being on standby duty is no longer as fun as it was, and I’ve more or less had enough of being on 24/7 duty, after having carried the mountain for the past years in my old job. I don’t mind being involved in presales, postsales or even planned migrations, but please count me out of the outage firefighting team. I’m not as keen to keep plugging away in the network field as well, much as it’s been my rice bowl for the past years.

Another question at this point is whether I really am interested to move into writing as a part-time, or even full-time career. After having had a taste of writing on a freelance basis these past months, I’m not so sure I want to be an automaton that cranks out content at scheduled times. I still love writing, but being constantly required to produce fresh content independently on a regular basis is nothing but draining. Parenthood saps my life energy enough as it is right now, thank you very much. That being said, I’d love to write if constant direction is given on topics though.

So, where to next? I want to find opportunities to move into project management, and another interesting thought surfaces here: do the certificates make the man, or is it the other way round?

I had a comment today about how my expected salary could easily hire a PMP qualified project manager. While the angry comeback would certainly be a “screw off and hire someone else then!”, the rational eye would admit to that market rate. Window dressing aside, does the lack of industry certification make me any less qualified in managing projects though? The comment could easily be seen as a leverage tool to talk the price down as well.

Decisions, decisions, decisions. Food for thought in the days ahead.

Anticipation: the close and the start.

It’s funny how quickly things end and begin sometimes.

Come March, mum’ll be here. With that, Operation SAHD comes to a close for a while. It’s been a gratifying seven months of experience, endurance and patience, without which I would be a much lesser person. Once again, I am thankful for having had the chance to grow together with Elly, and to have a shot at understanding my little girl that much more. It wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows, but one does one’s best even through the tough patches. Appreciation and thanks would have been good, but all I ever needed was the belief that I was doing the right thing for her.

Come March, I’ll be flying off to the States once more, this time with V. A long holiday is something we have been looking forward to, and at the same time I’m hoping to grow myself further with the opportunity to attend a C’s game as a member of the media. New learning opportunity, new growing opportunity. Gotta love life for giving fun opportunities like these.

Come April, it will be time to look for a job once more. I’m hoping to bypass the dreary interview route, so if you hear of something that could be good, please let me know. Everything is an option, literally everything. I’m not really picky on jobs, the criteria is usually no excessive OT and no overly stupid management. You can only take stupidity that far before you blow your top. It seems like a long while since I have been in a full-time job, but reality says it’s only been seven months – not too long ago. I’m sure I will not have any problems in adjusting back to full-time work, but that’s just me talking; reality could be otherwise.

Working style – TBF (Tough But Fair)

Credit: The idea was first exposed to me in a Piers Anthony novel, Golem In the Gears (Xanth series). Delightful books full of puns, if you’re into that sort of thing.


Out at work, one has to learn to look out for oneself. No one else is going to stand up for you all the time. All too often, the corporate environment dictates that maximum effort be reaped from the employee, and minimum reward be given in order to harvest the highest possible output. This is why we have laws on overtime pay, minimum wages and so on, just so that sweatshop bosses have their hands tied.

How then, are we supposed to work? Do we just do the barest minimum of what is required and leave it at that? I’m never the kind to subscribe to something like this. At work, it’s all about giving your all and doing the best possible job you can. How do we gauge the situation however, so that we do not get abused?

This is where TBF (Tough But Fair) comes in. I liken it to using a mirror where the actions are reflected in kind.

  • If you have an understanding boss who appreciates your work and does his best to cut corners and make life better for you, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give your all.
  • On the other hand, employers that treat you like a slave and demand you take on as much work as possible “because the company is not doing well” and that “the situation will be reviewed in six months or so”? Watch out. This is where you should learn to watch out for yourself, and understand you need to take a firm stance for yourself.

In summary it means this:

Always give your best. If your employer is a good one, keep it up. Should your boss be a slavedriver, repay it in kind.

One good turn deserves another, and if you are under a manager with no concept of two-way loyalty, he deserves to be ditched or repaid with what he is sowing. Loyalty begets loyalty, so if you are ever in a position to handle others, bear this in mind.