Thursday, March 26, 2009

8 weeks in:

A pace is becoming apparent, and it's something unfamiliar: forgetting about being in a hurry. There's plenty of time.

Unconsciously, the schedule has let out a sigh and smeared itself across the calendar.

(like the water spilling over the watertight compartments in the titanic?)

But seriously; get a few things done here and there over the course of an entire day unmarred by having to lease the old brain out for 8 hours to try to reassemble it enough to be productive after 5. Ah, take a break to sit in the sun in the back for a while.

What an incredible luxury that is. I don't know anything about what's called the 'slow food' movement;

but is there an equivalent 'slow life' movement? Is 'getting by' at a slower, more contemplative cadence possible?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The twin disasters of 'closure' and 'self-esteem':

A quick note, trawled without credit from somewhere online:

Individuals scoring high on need for closure are likely to quickly grasp closure by relying on early cues and the first answer they come across (Chirumbolo, et al., 2004). The need for closure is also said to lead to a very narrow information search and a higher tendency to use cognitive heuristics when it comes to finding a solution to a question (Van Hiel and Mervielde, 2003).

In studies on creativity, individuals rating low on need for closure produced a larger frequency of novel solutions that motivated and inspired others in their group. Low need for closure members were more productive and outcomes of projects were rated as more creative (Chriumbolo et al., 2004).

Some researchers have reached the conclusion that a desire for simple structure is the true cause of cognitive closure (Neuberg, et al., 1997). Others predict that stressors such as time pressure lead to a tendency to stick with a given strategy because of a heightened need for closure (Kruglanski, et al, 1997).

Meanwhile, The growing expectation placed on schools and parents to boost pupils' self-esteem is breeding a generation of narcissists, an expert has warned.

The end product: depression?

Thursday, March 12, 2009


It's been about a week since I popped this cherry.

I've descended from a retreat to the windswept alps of New Hampshire where some friends and I hiked across the moonscape and emptied our heads for a few days.

It was 40 yesterday, and now it's 20 and windy, and the little boy has pinkeye, but hopefully he's recovered enough to not have daycare call me to collect him early. I've got a book to work on and a house to clean and probably should be looking for some kind of job but I don't need that kick in the nuts just now.

So yes, the book. I'm fully aware that I am not an author, and I understand what real authors keep telling us pretenders.

So what.

Writing is something I've been passionate about for as long as I could form sentences, so why not work on cheesing out a book while the professional world has decided it has no further use for me? At the very least I can say I tried while pumping gas after the severance runs out.

Yes, it was inauguration day, I was driving to work listening to all the hopeful people on the radio waiting for the big event, and a tear even crept from my eye at all the exuberance. Two hours later, I was driving home, ditched from the career I'd had for the last 13 years, with a tear creeping from my eye at the thought of having to go through the utter horseshit of pretending to be interested in something less interesting than what I'd been doing.

Gar put it right when he got me the position way back when, by telling me that this wasn't something to quit from in two weeks when it got frustrating. Of course within two weeks he was dead, and I was trying to figure out how to sink or swim in an organization that had finally taken me on after two years of applications.

I bit down on my pride, learned to suffer through the monotony of the 9-5, and struggled with the fact that good ideas were not necessarily what innovation was about. Often they took a back seat to politics, and of course expediency. 'We're not building a grand piano/stealth bomber/rome!', etc. As the company and technology matured, we got bought and sold to repeatedly larger and dumber organizations, and our management was replaced over and over again by people brought in by other people who did not understand the fundamentals of our products. We'd lost our way.

Then the economy shit the bed, so we began losing our jobs: not the people making the bad sales projections, or the ones manipulating the stock price; but the ones who knew how the products, customers, and industry, worked. The slide was long and painful with ever more poorly thought out ideas to expedite for month after painful month until their progenitors in the corner offices took the time to understand that their misinformed notions had failed.

It's all moot when you're sitting there in your cold kitchen in february with your ex-wife telling you she needs money, the COBRA paperwork demanding money, the daycare needing money, and the house a mess and the groceries unbought. The tipping point came when I flipped open the nice corporate blue dossier sent to me by the 'career transition team' my former employers had thoughtfully signed up for me on my departure. It was an entreaty to 'foster a sales and marketing approach' to finding a job; to become a 'product' to be 'marketed'.

Something snapped, and besides the futility of shaking my fist at the silent heavens, I decided there had to be a way to scream my rage at the stars. At about this juncture I began joking with a publisher friend about writing a book about it all. We laughed about potential titles and left it at that, but over the next few evenings I found myself laughing about it some more, so I began writing.

Proposals, tables of contents, chapters; it's all forming up, which is interesting from the standpoint of somebody who's unsure of how the book will end: it's evolving; it's ALIVE!

So this blog will keep track of progress and whatnot, but it will not be a reflection of the books' contents nor will it be written in the style I'm using for the book. This will be a raw and unedited brain dump from the mind of a newly divorced dad who got laid (off).

Now to find out where all this is going next.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Clearing of the decks:

Coming out of a month of being laid off and six weeks of the divorce being finalized; trying to see the forest for the trees but remembering that I've been wrong about the whole thing before. Writing a book, I hear from the hive mind that a blog is obligatory. So here, gentle reader, this is for you; by being for you, of course it's for me, too. Nice how things like that work out.

Who knows, in a year or two this may be another dead patch on blogspot; I can't say I care. I'll be wherever I am then, and this will be what it is.

More about the rest of it later. There are a lot of notes to put together to allow a good public slaparound.