Tag Archives: Reflections

Beautiful Friends

Two Beautiful People
Andrea and Aundris (Lil Man), visiting and helping for the wedding.

I was sitting last night, watching Andrea play with–then struggle with–Aundris, and I realized that they are beautiful. Everyone (myself included) has had so much to say about these two people and their lives and who’s in it and who’s not, but they are beautiful and they are people.

Why haven’t we respected their sovereignty?

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Untenable Workplace Hotshots

When Smart People are Bad Employees” offers up three types of hotshots in the workplace:

The Heretic:
“However, sometimes really smart employees develop agendas other than improving the company. Rather than identifying weaknesses, so that he can fix them, he looks for faults to build his case. Specifically, he builds his case that the company is hopeless and run by a bunch of morons.”
The Flake:
“Then Roger changed. He would miss days of work without calling in. Then he would miss weeks of work. When he finally showed up, he apologized profusely, but the behavior didn’t stop. His work product also degraded. He became sloppy and unfocused.”
The Jerk:
“When used consistently, asinine behavior can be crippling. As a company grows, its biggest challenge always becomes communication. Keeping a huge number of people on the same page executing the same goals is never easy. If a member of your staff is a raging jerk, it may be impossible. Some people are so belligerent in their communication style that people just stop talking when they are in the room.”

I’ve seen these, if we’re to buy Horowitz’s trichotomy of troubled genius employees. According to his take, the person really has to be a genius for any of this to be applicable.

Ben Horowitz writes in the article, “You may decide that you will personally mitigate the employee’s negative attributes and keep them from polluting the overall company culture.” I don’t think that lasts long. So far, I’ve always seen there be a turning point with folks that fit the Heretic and Flake labels: there’s a point where even a stretched thin manager will realize that the impact on the culture has become greater than the value of the contributions.

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A Letter to 2011

Hello, 2011,

I’ve taken to writing to you in my personal journal, and in three days it’s already stopped being cutesy and creepy and started being fer skerious. We have words to exchange, 2011. More than words.

2010–bless her heart–was a year of fractured interests: I set a date for my wedding. I changed jobs. I branched out in role-playing. I attacked the hell out of my debt. I wrote in public.

2011, you’re the year of finishing: I’m going to finish my last sliver of debt. I’m going to finish not having a long-term financial plan. I’m going to get married. I’m going to finish my novel. I’m going to finish not being happy enough.

I’m going to bring cohesion to my life. I want peace, I want focus, and I want simplicity.

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Keep Telling the Difficult Stories

I had dinner with some friends about a week ago, and I retold (part of) a story that I’d been told of a painful in vitro experience that included the selective culling of some of the fertilized eggs. I hadn’t thought twice about it–if you go shopping for one kid and end up with four (!!) fertilized eggs and the doctor offers to cull the herd in a standard (albeit risky) procedure, there’s little issue with taking said option.

My nurse friend didn’t say anything, but she got a look on her face. Oops? The word “abortion” never even crossed my mind as a label for that until I saw her face.

We didn’t have a discussion about it, alas, but I mentioned the situation to a woman I work with, and we had this exchange:

Her: I probably wouldn’t have shared that story.

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