Archive for June, 2017

Crossfit. Beast mode. Warrior Series. Mud Runs. Iron Man triathlons.

We’re a generation of Pain is Glory. Of pushing limits, many of which are totally arbitrary. Just about everyone I know has run some kind of road race. Many of my friends are multi-time ½ and full marathoners.

Our X Games legacy. Our desire to prove ourselves. Our escape from the cubicle of life.

It’s inspiring, really, to think so many of my contemporaries aren’t afraid of the hard work it takes to bike 100 miles or run 26. I feel gratified that somewhere out there some group of adrenaline junkies is sitting around thinking up the next great challenge.

American Ninja Warrior. Yesssssssss.

When I present my work models – the autonomous, asynchronous, results-oriented approach I think is the next evolution of the time card – I’m often rebuffed by traditionalists who claim the structure we have – the Industrial Standard – is so deeply imbedded that we cannot break free.

It’s just too hard to imagine change.

Too hard.

My father told me to disassemble the hourly-based work environment would “open a whole can of worms.”

Fucking open it.

We have significant problems in this country. Immigration, security, education, healthcare, and the widening gap between rich and poor. Add to that systemic racism, homophobia, fear disguised as nationalism and misogyny and we’re a hot mess around here.

We need to rethink just about everything.

Siri? What does it mean when everything is wacky and we need help?

Here are the results I found for ‘everything is wacky…’

Hard work. We need to put in some hard work. Some 25 reps of 90 lb squats kind of hard work. Some run until your legs are numb and then run five more miles hard work.

So why don’t we? Why do we keep looking for the cheap and easy solution to these deep and complex problems? Why do we keep pacifying and placating when we should be dissecting and solving?

Our generation (Xers, I mean you) has never had it “easy.” We grew up fearing nuclear war and drugs (Just say no!). We grunge-era’d our way through our own addictions, depression, and suicides. We graduated college into a recession. We’ve sat behind Baby Boomer managers for our entire careers, waiting for them to give up and go home.

Some of us are entrepreneurs. Some of us are scrappy and hungry. Some of us are still playing by someone else’s rules.

It’s our time. We cannot shirk this responsibility, we cannot wait for the millennials to pick up the slack. For fuck’s sake, they want a Universal Wage. WTH? (side note, don’t label them, cuz ya know, they’re all special.)

We have to recreate what balanced looks like. We need hard questions and complex answers. We have to Do or Do Not. There is no Try.

Come on, folks. We’re not afraid of hard work. Let’s get out there and get the job done.

Young, Scrappy, & Hungry

Posted: June 23, 2017 in Uncategorized

Sometimes I wish my handwriting, my voice, or my laughter could precede me into a room. These are the stylistic traits of myself with which I am the most free. I will gladly pen something, speak up, or let loose a chortle without second-guessing myself.

My wardrobe is a different story.

Recently I’ve taken to wearing what I call my “writer gear” to 1 Million Cups, a business networking event I co-organize every Wednesday.

Writer gear consists of my U2 concert t-shirt and a slim skirt. My Hamilton “Young, Scrappy, and Hungry” t-shirt and a jean skirt. My First Amendment shirt and a pair of denim capris. I wrap my bracelets up my wrist, put rings in every earlobe hole (5 total), and wear my Chuck Taylors without socks. My Achilles’ tendon tattoo is on full display.

This is me and I want to be ME in all things.

Professionally, I wear dresses or slacks, high heels, and sleeveless shirts. These are me as well. They’re client-facing me, not quite interview-ready me, but a step up from business casual and two steps away from Hamilton tees.

When looking professional and being myself are not the same thing, I am deeply uncomfortable. I feel like I’m pretending to be something I’m not. I worry that my credibility isn’t really showing. That my costume is doing the work my voice ought to be doing.

A 1 Million Cups co-organizer said to me today, “You don’t have to prove you’re smart. The minute you start speaking, it’s undeniable.”

So, if I show my tattoos and wear concert t-shirts, and let my Jeep hair and piercings – the style I dig – represent me, do I have to work harder when I speak to get past that first impression?

Or does my “smart” voice fit my writer persona?

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How much am I sacrificing if I decide to be me instead of conforming to the business norms?

The older I get the less inclined I am to accept “norms” of any kind. Just because it’s never been done doesn’t mean it can’t be done. There’s a rebel in me that’s hitting pay dirt. I let others influence a good bit of my career. Now it’s my turn to lead.

I’m reluctant to don the costume, the cape and mask. I’m reluctant to perpetuate the myth of “business” in the traditional, industrial sense. Rather, I feel revolutionary in a creative and energetic way. I feel like I’m making something new over here and it’s worth paying attention to, dammit.

I am unwilling to wrap what I do and believe in the words someone else would say or in the costume someone else would like to see.

These are my words and I believe them even if others aren’t convinced. Even if others think I’m opening a can of worms. Even if others think people might listen more to me if I were wearing a suit. I know people who say others might be more willing to listen if I were working under a major university’s label or if I looked more like Sheryl Sandberg or Sallie Krawcheck.

I’ll just keep writing and speaking and pushing what I know to be true into the universe. Let my words precede me into the room and my wardrobe simply round out the vision of Revolutionary.

 

I learned a new term this weekend. It’s the term being applied to the enemy. It’s the nom de guerre for those asshats who plan to sell us down the river and ruin our nation.

Globalists.

Apparently, Globalists are more interested in raising up the poor, impoverished nations of the world than they are in providing for our citizens here in America. Apparently, the only way to do that is to shift our resources – primarily financial – to those countries. Apparently, the Globalists think it’s okay to put us at a disadvantage in order to provide advantages to those countries who can’t help themselves.

Assholes.

Except, in our nation we have resources going to waste because citizens won’t use them, don’t know about them, or can’t qualify to receive them.

And, in our nation we have an embarrassment of riches like clean running water, public education, roads and law enforcement, and waste disposal. We have infrastructure and we are way ahead of a lot of other nations.

When those evil “Globalists” talk about diverting our resources to raise up second- and third-world nations, are they considering that providing a Chik-Fil-A and a Starbucks may not be the best place to start?

I have a friend who worked for a year in Liberia building the legal infrastructure to prosecute sex crimes. Legal infrastructure. That’s a good place to start.

I have another friend who sat as the US representative to the World Bank in Southeast Asia. Financial resources for nations like Cambodia including entrepreneur loans, roads, and healthcare services. That’s a good place to start.

There are three ways to civilize the world: 1) export everything that’s good about America like MTV, Nikes, and Zest body wash and let the free market do its work; 2) develop strategies that work through a global governing body to protect human rights and educate citizenry and let bureaucracy do its work; and 3) wait for time to elapse and let Darwinism do its work.

We tried mass exportation. I remember being in Ukraine in 1997 and the only splashes of color were Marlboro and Coca-Cola signs. A Chik-Fil-A might prevent suicide bombers from walking into a Middle Eastern market but we can’t say with any certainty that “We didn’t invent the chicken, just the chicken sandwich” translates to Farsi.

The United Nations, funded by the US, has worked to implement secular strategies that will address infrastructure and try to establish rule of law. But the UN is rife with corruption and nations like Ghana have been razed by sanctioned bullying. Aid organizations frequently evangelize religion in return for meeting basic needs. These are unprecedented times. We do not know the extent to which strategies and cooperation will suffice. Never before have we attempted to civilize the globe with intention and compassion. Are we shocked we haven’t been immediately successful?

So, that leaves option 3: do nothing.

Nationalists claim that we must protect our borders (which are arbitrary, by the way), and protect our resources (read: horde), and take care of our own legitimate citizens before we divert resources to others.

Except our citizens, for the most part, aren’t committing terrorist atrocities out of desperation. One approach to ending terrorism is to provide security and prosperity for as many global citizens as we can. It’s the humane thing to do, the Christian thing to do, and we’ve been doing it.

Until now.

Now we’re being directed to look out for our own first. Like feudalism, this approach is guaranteed to fail. We cannot build a Utopia of prosperity and safety while denying that the security and satisfaction of the world directly impact our own stabilization. What’s more, we’ve destabilized other countries for decades in pursuit of resources and labor. When we “divert resources” (read: fund) for prosperity elsewhere, we are paying reparations for when we took approach 1 above.

Above all, the urgency is what worries me the most. When we rush to give or rush to take, we risk not examining the long-term effects of our actions. Many Globalists suffer from the arrogance of self-actualization; they assume other nations are ready for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness when, in fact, they still need clean water, roads, and stable legal infrastructure.

So who’s right? The Globalists know security is fickle and that no matter how many positive initiatives we fund, corruption and desperation are difficult opponents. The Nationalists know that we’re stronger when our own citizens are healthy and protected, and that no matter how much we try to isolate ourselves, we are a global economy.

I suggested to my debate partner (Happy Father’s Day, dad!) that we seek to improve cooperation, reduce predatory practices, and encourage other nations to take up the responsibility of funding international organizations. More than anything, we must recognize the vision we all have of a stable, secure, and healthy, world is a luxury. We’re a long way from global equity and prosperity. That doesn’t mean we stop working on it.