March 26, 2014

Be Awesome


There are a lot of things I'm good at that I don't necessarily enjoy doing. I'm good at running meetings. I can get along with difficult people. I can troubleshoot IIS and a MySQL database connection.

But if you offered me a job managing a group of sysadmins, for instance, I'd turn you down so fast your head would spin. (Unless you offered me a million dollar salary, in which case I'd do the job for a year, then quit.) I don't want to spend every day mostly doing things I dislike. There's no incentive for me to excel, and I would spend most of every day annoyed.

Recently, some of my coworkers invited me to connect on LinkedIn, so I took the opportunity to update my profile to reflect my current job. I get a lot of messages on LinkedIn from recruiters for jobs that I wouldn't consider unless I were truly desperate. For example, javascript programming jobs with a two-hour commute. I decided to fix my profile so I don't get any more of these messages. I like my current job a lot and don't want to be bothered by any proposal that isn't staggeringly attractive (e.g. the aforementioned million dollar salary).

I went through my list of skills and thought about each one: if this were the only thing I did in my job, would I still want to do it? If I couldn't answer yes, I deleted it. I also deleted things that I can do but am not actually very good at (e.g. public speaking). What remained were the things I am good at and that I want to be good at. Plus javascript, which I left in there because a lot of people had already endorsed me for it.

I want to be awesome at these things. I aspire to do them well, and feel a great sense of accomplishment when I do. These are the things I want to learn more about, the crafts I want to hone, the passions I want to discuss with people who have similar interests. I'm at the point in my life and my career now where I can choose to focus on these skills. Paring down this list was a good reminder of where I need to focus.

I don't need to be good at everything. I just want to be awesome at a few things.

February 22, 2014

Poem: Identity

It's not your weakness that makes you special.
Honestly, your weakness is common,
Ordinary, dull.
Strong, maybe, and terrifying, yes, 
But also 
Exactly the same
As the fundamental weakness
Of every other person on earth,
Since people first began.
Your weakness doesn't make you unique;
It makes you
Human.
Everything else,
Everything that's left
When you look beyond the weakness,
(There is something there, I promise.)
That is what makes you
You.

January 1, 2014

2014 New Year's Resolutions

I'm not going to bother linking to last year's New Year's resolution post, because I didn't keep a single one of them. On to bigger and better things!

2014 resolutions

Resolution #1: Lose 15 pounds

One weird tip...
I've looked at several size charts online today to make sure I have these numbers right: my waist is a size 14-16 and my hips are a size 6-8. This means that there is not a pair of pants outside the maternity department that fits me properly. I am tired of pants that fall down unless I wear a belt tight enough to cut off my circulation. I am tired of showing my butt to the world every time I bend over or squat down. I even bought a pair of high-waisted "mom jeans," hoping this would solve my problem. They also sag unless I cinch them mercilessly with a belt.

Back when I weighed 15 lbs. less, I didn't have this problem. So I'm hoping that if I lose the weight, I will also solve my pants problem. In the meantime, I'm going to wear more dresses and skirts.

Resolution #2: Do something creative for 20 minutes each day

If music be the food of love, play on, for at least
it is calorie-free.
I got the idea for this resolution from this post on copyblogger: The New Year's Writing Resolution You Can Actually Keep. The author recommends resolving to spend 20 minutes each day in January writing. The idea is that after a month, this will develop into a habit. And if you can't commit to 20 minutes, try 10. And if that's too much, try writing just one sentence every day.

Because I'm such an INTP, I couldn't limit myself to writing, so I'm going to spend 20 minutes each day either writing, playing the mandolin, or making art. And I'm counting this blog post as today's 20 minutes, since it took me longer than that and involved both writing and photography.

I thought about committing to completing a specific ouvre, but since I failed utterly at resolutions like that last year, I'm just going to work on whatever inspires me at the moment.

Resolution #3: Clean out the living room

This week on Hoarders...
A few years ago, we refinished the floors in the office and family room, so everything in those two rooms got moved into the living room. Then, before we managed to put everything back, we had to do some major kitchen repairs, so everything from the kitchen and hall closets went in there, too. This is in addition to all the stuff that's actually supposed to be in the living room.

We've finally been able to start moving things back into the kitchen, but it's been slow going, since the cabinets and drawers aren't finished yet. A lot of this junk is exactly that: junk. It needs to leave the house by the back door, go directly to the dumpster or the Salvation Army, and never be seen again. The pile is so large, though, that I've been putting off dealing with it. No more!

In my fantasy, the living room will become a reading and music room. My boys will learn to play the piano and I will sit at the secretary and keep up with my correspondence. This room will also be a beautifully decorated cabinet of curiosities where I can entertain my friends. We will sit in the
vintage chairs and hold jam sessions while sipping cocktails. But this dream will never become a reality if I can't get rid of things like that stack of 20 empty yogurt tubs I thought I might need someday.

If I can accomplish even one of these resolutions, I'll be doing better than last year. Here's to progress!