work

Use what you got

Thought of the last day or two: "Don't let what you don't have keep you from using what you do have." (Lou Holtz) Or in my case, "Don't let what you can't do stop you from doing what you can do."

Which reminds me of the song, Use What I Got, by Jason Aldean.

The need for discipline disappears when ...

“The need for discipline disappears when you love what you’re doing.”

~ paraphrasing Tony Gonzalez from a Hall of Fame interview this past week

The frustration of working with people who aren’t “A” Players (or don’t care)

Let me start by saying that I don’t know if I’m an “A” Player. In part, that definition depends (a) on what work I’m doing, and (b) who you compare me to. For instance, if you compare me to Linus Tourvalds as a Linux C programmer, I’m very clearly not an A Player. Shoot, I’m not even a player.

But if you were to judge me on other skills, I’d like to say that I’m at least a B Player in the things I care about. As I wrote in my book, A Survival Guide for New Consultants, my superpower as a programmer/analyst is empathy; I care about my work, and about my success and my client’s success. If you pay me $100,000 to do some work, I want you to make at least 2X or 10X or more from my work. I want my clients and sponsors to succeed.

Beyond that care, since I began paying attention to Apple and Jonathan Ive starting back around 2005, I’ve become more interested than ever in quality. When I work on something, I imagine that I’m either working with Mr. Ive, or that I’m going to have him review my work, and I want it to be impeccable.

Quotes about work and Zen (practicing Zen at work) alvin June 23, 2019 - 9:54am

For many years I struggled with how to combine two of my main interests, Zen and work. I have read that the Zen mind is the mind before thinking, so it seems like Zen and work must be totally unrelated. Over time I came to understand phrases like, “When working, just work.”

This article contains a collection of quotes that have been helpful to me in understanding the relationship between Zen and work. Please note that I don’t wrap each quote in double quotes, and I also try to attribute each quote to the correct author/speaker. If you’re interested in how to combine Zen and work, I hope you’ll find them helpful.

A feel-good list (for those very sick days) alvin June 21, 2019 - 6:47pm

These days I generally feel very good, but as I go through some of these medical treatments they can make me feel pretty miserable, especially when combined with the effects of the MCAS. During times like that I usually just meditate in bed or in a recliner, generally not thinking about anything, just breathing, letting the inside and outside become one. I do this almost all of the time.

But other times when I can’t do that for one reason or another, I started to create a little “feel good” list to reflect on. This is something that when I’m not feeling well and I can’t meditate, it helps to remind me that life has generally been very good to me. I think about various things, all of the favorite times I’ve had in my life, meeting my wife, playing baseball, all of the dogs, good vacations, fun with friends, etc.

One thing I hadn’t thought about in a long time that came to mind recently was that when I was 32 years old I worked for a company I called the Evil Empire, and something good happened on my last day there. (That wasn’t their real name, but some of the owners of that company inspired me to give it that name.)

My preferred writing environment

When working from home, my preferred writing environment is to use a huge fixed-width font on a large monitor with a matte finish, and nothing else on the screen. I write my text using either Markdown or LaTeX, depending on what the output format is going to be. And Yoda and Meditating Guy make me feel a little less crazy when I’m talking to myself. ;)

“The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender” alvin March 24, 2019 - 9:44am

“The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.”

~ Vince Lombardi

Teams need leaders, passion, energy, positiveness, joy alvin March 9, 2019 - 9:55am

“If you’re best player has an unhappy attitude when he shows up to work, there’s no joy, there’s no passion to what he brings, that affects the team, it affects the locker room, it’s huge. Teams need leaders, teams need passion, teams need energy, they need positiveness, they need joy.”

~ Chad Brown, about thirteen minutes into this 104.3 The Fan recording, in a discussion about star player Kyrie Irving of the Celtics constantly appearing unhappy, and the team being 10-2 without him.

Strive for beauty and elegance in every aspect of your work alvin March 6, 2019 - 11:49am

“Strive for beauty and elegance in every aspect of your work.”

~ Daniel Read