Mr. Peanut and I in healthier times
I’ve been off work for the past few days taking care of a sick cat. Great that I have a week of vacation for this. The cat recently had surgery to repair/reconfigure the surgical procedure he had done in August. The cat is leading the family in surgical procedures in the past year…
So from my spot on the kitchen floor, I’ve spent a lot of time working on the spring newsletter for the Lackawanna Historical Society and getting some grad school work done.
I’ve also been working on a series of posts about social networking – something that I get to do at work each day. I’ve used my time off work thinking about a few social network questions that I posed to myself about a month ago:
- what’s hype and what’s real?
- what’s here to stay and what’s a fad?
- where should we put our online efforts?
- what’s talked up just so people can waste their time on it?
Of course, I’ve found some time to spend on the popular networks as well. One of the best things about Facebook and Twitter is all of the favorite quotes everyone will post. Best one I’ve seen this week?
“Everyone wants to change the world. No one thinks of changing themselves.”
The Dow is up. So is the number of first-time unemployment filers and the housing foreclosure numbers. Retail sales are down as is the net worth of an American family.
I’m not sure whether this is an economic slowdown, recession, reset, or whatever word you want to call it.
Sure, it’s bad. And every commentator wants to compare it to something: Early 1990s, Early 80s, 70s stagflation, Great Depression, Panic of 1873, etc. There’s no doubt that folks are aware – very aware – that the economy is in a difficult stretch. Not that we’re oblivious to past recessions, but this one has some teeth.
Maybe I’m paying more attention. But maybe there is something to all the talk that this is a turning point that will change how our system works.
I made some decisions to alter my saving and buying habits before everyone started to feel it. I’m looking at our apartment and wondering whether we should opt for a place that has a bit better infrastructure – say at least insulation in the attic. We’ve passed up a few of the kitchen gadgets. We’re paying down debt. We’re seeking our masters degrees. We’re trying to stay ahead of the knowledge economy.
I’m hoping we use the opportunity to make other changes though. Advanced degrees makes us look smarter, but dropping the land line for cell only makes sense. I’d love to back up my computer files to the cloud AND be able to get rid of all the paper I’ve lugged from apartment to apartment. I’d like to reduce our energy bills (and consumption) – through insulation and by monitoring when we run the washer and dryer. I’d like to eat out less and eat healthier at home.
As for the news? One of my colleagues was talking about something else, but could have been talking about this today: This is a great time to keep your head down. Keep busy and don’t look up.
This past weekend, my wife and I went to a hockey game in Wilkes-Barre. The “Baby Penguins” are celebrating their 10th year. In baseball terms, the team is the AAA affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Fans pack the 10-year-old Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza. The arena has about 8,000 seats to hold rabid hockey fans. And the fans love the hockey – or at least the action.
Two players threw down their gloves 5 seconds into the game. The crowd went wild. The hockey really hadn’t begun, but the fighting had started. Binghamton and Wilkes-Barre. Really? This isn’t the Browns and Steelers or Cowboys and Redskins. This isn’t the Red Sox and Yankees or Ohio State and Michigan. This is Binghamton and Wilkes-Barre. Not your Grade A rivalry. But don’t tell that to the folks of Luzerne County.
As for the game, Binghamton won 2-1. The fans were disappointed, and I don’t blame them. Binghamton’s players sure appeared to knock off the net intentionally several times. The refs missed the Penguins’ lone goal. The review booth had to go back and give credit for the goal at the next stoppage.
It was nice time – just like the other three times watching a Penguins game. I was a bit more impressed with the Capitals game that I saw in 2000. But this is a much more intimate arena. This is one of two major teams in the area. Well, major as in major points of pride. They’re minor league teams. The fans love the fact that they have a local hockey team. They’re proud, and the team isn’t a cellar dweller.
One other random note from the night. It really isn’t a sporting event if there isn’t some form of a race between sausages, pop bottles, or some other goofy thing on behalf of a section or row. We weren’t paying much attention and were surprised to see that our row was represented by Diet Pepsi in the race. We weren’t too enthusiastic and were surprised to watch our pop bottle win. Now I have a gift certificate for some soda fountain drink for the next time I go back. Unless I frame it first.
One of my grad school classes this semester is focused on leadership. We’ve talked about the ways that leaders act and communicate, and we’ve covered some of the best-practices to build and demonstrate leadership.
We’re reading and reviewing The Leadership Challenge by James Kouzes and Barry Posner for the assignment that’s due next week. The book is very outline heavy: It has a five-part framework; each part has two practices; each practice has two focuses. Each practice has three action steps… You get the idea.
I was glancing through some of the underlined and starred passages today while getting ready for the project. One of the highlighted sentences stuck in my head and connected to a running conversation I’ve had with a few people. “If work comes to be seen solely as a source of money and never as a source of fulfillment, organizations will totally ignore other human needs at work….” The authors go on to mention all sorts of needs they see – self-worth, learning, pride, service, etc.
Yikes! I hope nobody derives their self-worth solely from their career. That’s a sign of an unhealthy work-life balance. I spend more time at work than I do on anything else in a week. I hope to always have a job that’s stimulating. I hope I take it upon myself to learn and to volunteer without being told by a boss though. That’s just something you do to excel – just like busting your butt for your employer.