Top Ten Ways the World Would Be Different if Everyone Were Named Kevin.
I just got back from the Hash and have too much to write about tonight... I'd like to go to bed, but I did that last night so I'll give myself an hour tonight.
Several things I thought about tonight... number 1 is how it is so sad that I loved the apartment the on-on was held at tonight... a huge, great balcony (on each side of the apartment) with broad views of the city. If you have to live in Tokyo, that is definatly how to do it. The sad part is that even if I had enough money to rent a place like that, I would still be living in my little one room 100 year old tatami mat place with the moldy bathroom, and all the money would be rotting away in my savings someplace... why do I have to be so dang cheap? I blame it on my parents.
Of course if my company insisted on getting me a place like that I don't see how I coud refuse - unless the living stipend was cash I guess.
Number 2. Just three weeks ago I was appalled to find that at the end of the day, the brand new pair of socks I put on in the morning had huge holes in them already... again because I am so cheap I buy my socks at Uniqlo (which doesn't seem to be doing so well lately). If you will remember though, a few weeks ago I took a friend's daughter to a World Cup game, and tonight I received the greatest thank you gift ever... although she may have lost a sale since for the past 2 months I have been seriously considering buying a pair of the great running socks her company sells. I would have never have guessed that $15 for a pair of socks would be worth it, but try these socks and you will understand that despite what my mom thinks, sometimes spending money can get you nice things... I recieved a few pair a couple years ago and I wear them at least once a week and they never wear out. Anyway, she lost the sale because she gave me a couple pairs of both running and dress style socks that are by far the most high quality pieces of clothing I own. The amount of stress this will save me every morning when I look for socks is enormous.
The question came up whether or not I ever wish I hadn't written something on the Bastish Net... if I ever want to erase my previous post? Yes and no.
Sure I find that I wish I hadn't written something, but the problem is not that I wrote it, but that I thought it. I realize I was wrong or a little too hasty, or maybe even (gasp) a jerk. Do I want to erase it? No. Whatever I write I write because that is how I feel at that time... I never write something that I could not handle if someone wrote the same thing about me, and I (hope I) don't write anything bad about individuals, and everything I write is pretty much in line with my goal which is to keep family and friends updated. I honestly still can't figure out why people I don't know read this.
Last week I was in a foul mood, and I guess looking back I may have "bad-mouthed" the hash, and I know I "bad-mouthed" my job in some peoples eyes, but hey, that's how I felt and I made no claims that what I wrote was 100% set-in-stone fact.
Obviously if I hated the hash as much as it may have seemed like (by the way no one commented on the hash posts in particular) I would never be going there in the first place. The same thing for my job. I write how I felt at that day, and what I write aint the half of it... I hope no one is fool enough to think that I am actually writing everything exactly how I truly feel it! I would love to get more real and be more honest (especially to myself) but it's not so easy. It's amazing, but not really suprising, how many times people lie in just 5 minutes of daily conversation. It would be unreal to think that I don't try to make myself look a little better here.
Since I have started this little project, I have found that writing these things where other people can see them and give feedback, and I can re-read them with the knowledge that other people are reading it too gives me a much more valuable perspective than if I just kept it all to myself, wrote it in a diary, or even shared it with only my closest friends... when I read it and think that the group I am "bad-mouthing" may be reading it too, I wind up looking at it how (I imagine) they would look at it, and I am able to quickly recognize where I am wrong. If I keep it to myself, or even share it with an understanding friend, we all just sit there and agree with me... forever and ever... I am always right.
Along the same thread, I realized something cool today at work. The less I do, the more other people do. Like I said above, my work is not as bad as I made it out to be last week. I heard some people thinking today, maybe and idea or two popped out from somewhere. My problem is that I expected people to realize things as fast as I realized them... then when they didn't, I went ahead and tried to do it myself, or just wrote it off because I didn't have time to do it myself.., Now I see however that it may happen slower than I hope, but it does happen. I am a happy boy.
About work: I was talking with a Japanese company owner today who told me that their company would not allow me to go to the gym on my lunch break (as I used to about a year ago) even if I stayed within the allotted 1 hour lunch time. This turned into a conversation (at least in my mind) about what an employee owes a company. A year ago I was all for expecting nothing less of WOW from an employee, but after a talk with a French guy a while ago (French only work a little over 10 hours a week by the way), I came to realize the obvious that if the company doesn't provide any value for the WOW, why should the employee give it?
I used to work a lot of overtime, and when friends would tell me I should think more about myself, I didn't realize what they where talking about... I was thinking about myself. At that time, I saw great value for me personally to spend long hours at work, and I liked what I was doing too. Now however, I have begun to value my time more to be used on my own projects and study, as I feel great value in them. When I am at work, I still strive for WOW, and then when my time becomes my own I strive for my own WOW.
Regarding the prospect of providing value if one wants their employees to work overtime (I mean really work... not like Japanese overtime which is too often just biding time until everyone agrees that they can all leave and no one has to feel embarrassed to be the first to leave) the friend made an interesting comment that I will have to explore... People who recognize the value to themselves, and think about working for that value rather than simply putting in their time are not available to small companies such as my friend owns. All those people run their own companies. This is obviously an exaggeration, and there are obviously people who work for other people who are WOW, most of them all snatched up by the big popular consulting firms etc... but it is an interesting point. My own boss once lamented to me about all the exceptional people who worked for his company through the years, and have moved on... many to start their own businesses.
If that is gong to happen anyway though, why not encourage it? Get that kind of people before their ready, use them and benefit from them and help them until their ready, and then congratulate them when they leave... why look for people you think will stay with you? I'm sure someone has done a study, and I would love to see what the long term value is of a mediocre employee who you can trust will never leave (not that all people who stay at a company are mediocre) vs. the value of a string of WOW employees that will be moving on (or up) in a few years.
I just read that the New York tobacco tax was raised from $.08 to $1.50... Nice. I also read a few weeks ago that smoking on the street in some sections of Tokyo was made a crime... This is great. If you think that a lot of smokers are rude in the US, you aint seen nothin yet. In Tokyo it is impossible to walk down the street without having a smoker walking in front of you, blowing the smoke over her shoulder into your face, or sanding on all sides of you at the crosswalk waiting for the light to change.