31 October 2007

Coming Tomorrow: A Real Entry

Sorry for the delay - I've been in Florida playing baseball while simultaneously trying not to tear my rotator cuff. We'll see if I succeeded in the next few weeks, I guess.

In the meantime, here's more sports for you.

18 October 2007

Kids These Days

To all of you that are a couple years out of college and don't think you've really matured, believe me, you have. At least where work environment is concerned anyway.

I work at a big company comprised of several different business units and everyone always wants to tell you how easy it is to move between units for "new opportunities". To that end, one of the business units had a panel discussion yesterday to talk about the different kinds of jobs available in the department. I think the panel was mostly aimed at the kids they hired right out of college, but I figured, hey, I'm a new hire, and I clearly need some new opportunities, so I decided to go.

After I had been seated a few minutes, this big oaf of a kid came and sat next to me. Casual is acceptable in my office, as I've mentioned, but he was pushing it. Wrinkled cargos, a faded red polo, Reef flip flops, and a doofy Luke Ridnour-at-Oregon haircut. You know, the kind that looks totally cute on a 20-year-old social chair, but rather silly on an adult.

During the panel, which was only an hour long, he must have changed positions 35 times. He tapped his feet, clicked his pen, yawned about seven times, doodled on a sheet of paper, whispered with the girl next to him, wrote on his hand...it was unbelievable.

Or rather, it was totally believable, since it was exactly how everyone behaved during lectures in college. Wonder how long it takes to learn that you're not in college anymore (toto).

15 October 2007

Work/Life Balance?

I got yelled at for surfing the web too much at work. Well, that isn’t entirely accurate. My boss told D., the team lead, to talk to me about it. D.’s opinion was basically that as long as my work is getting done (which it is, he verified), he didn’t think that it was really a problem. That everyone reads things at work and I was kind of unfortunate to sit right in front of my boss.

The tag-team approach is sort of irksome, but I guess I do see the advantage to playing good cop/bad cop. My boss doesn’t need to have much to do with me on a day to day basis (in terms of work, I mean….we sit three feet apart) and the team lead does, so it makes sense to let him take my side. He’s pretty sincere too. He said she’s brought it up in the past and this is the first time he’s said anything to me, so maybe he really does see my side of it.

I think this is a fairly common issue, and though I can’t speak for others, I can say with some certainty why it comes up for me:

The first is work style. In college, there were some people who could sit in the library all day on Sunday with one food break and a couple of email checks. I've never been a worker bee like that. I’ll work for an hour and then watch an episode of the Simpsons. Work for another hour, put away my laundry. I think I'm effective at this for two reasons – I get bored easily and I work quickly compared to the average bear. Call it arrogant or simply confident, but through 17 years of school including college, I would be willing to bet I took fewer than ten tests where I wasn't first or second in the class to finish.

There's also, of course, the obvious - that is, that the job isn't particularly challenging or stimulating. I do bring some baggage to this, coming from three years of prior work experience with not enough to do. Unfortunately, that really reinforces the habit of finding, shall we say, extra-curricular activities to augment your job. With this job, if I really dug around, I might be able to find enough work to occupy 40+ hours/week, but there's still the problem of the tasks themselves. Some of the client relations stuff is kind of fun, but a typical project otherwise might be receiving a list of 150 funds and logging into the system to put a period at the end of each fund name so we don't have a duplicate issue when we combine the two databases. I'd be a little suspicious of the imagination and maybe even intelligence of anyone who could worker bee that.

So you need a little entertainment. Everyone does. My boss is not a web surfer, I've noticed. But Tina stops by her cube to talk about Britney Spears' latest legal troubles, Pete stops by to talk about how much he drank over the weekend, she talks to her parents, makes restaurant reservations....and I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that. There isn't. I'm more of a loner and I check espn.com for the ALCS preview and read the NYTimes Magazine instead. If the work's done, the work's done. That's all I'm saying.

(I realize there's some rationalization in here. And perhaps the most important outcome is that this isn't the career for me either. But it's not a terrible job, and perhaps it will open up something else.)

12 October 2007

I Realize This Is Annoying

and I'll stop eventually and leave it to live or die on its own, but here's another post up on the sports blog.

10 October 2007

A Little More Marathon

Thought you all might appreciate Richard Roeper's Sun Times column on the same general topic. I think my favorite point of his is that it's not really a race unless you have a hope of winning it. For the rest, it's just a (potentially deadly) hobby. What were they thinking indeed...

08 October 2007

The Marathon

Check out this article on the rather ill-fated 2007 Chicago Marathon in mid-August-like weather this weekend.

20% of the registered runners didn't show up for the race at all and of the approximately 36,000 who did show up, only 2/3 of them finished. There weren't enough cups or water to be had and the fire department opened hydrants and even stood on top of trucks with hoses to spray runners. Check out the photo gallery in this article (I wouldn't recommend reading the article - it's from the RedEye and is thus terrible) and you'll begin to see why more than 300 ambulances were pressed into service. After 3 1/2 hours with the temperatures in the high 80's, race officials effectively cancelled the race. Anyone who had not reached the halfway point was turned back to the start while those past mile 13 were strongly encouraged to walk.

Many runners complained about this decision, even with other runners collapsing left and right (one 35-year-old man was pronounced dead later that day. dead). A first-time marathoner from Chicago whined, "I put my whole summer into this. My entire marathon is gone. I'll never have another first marathon experience."

Now, I have my patience for joggers and even serious runners to a point, but this baffles me. Your marathon is gone? You still have your damn life! What they're saying to you is, if you go down, *they might not have an ambulance for you*! I'd say that's a pretty legit reason to cancel a race. If you want to run a marathon, honey, you can do it anytime you like. Including right now - the volunteers and half bananas are just to make you feel important.

If you want to know the truth, the whole scene (admittedly, I just saw it in photos meant to make it look dramatic, but I did play soccer yesterday - it was HOT) reminded me of some kind of mass cult suicide. People staggering through piles of cups and banana peels with ice packs on top of their heads, dousing each other with water bottles and being sprayed with fire hoses, keeping on in literally dangerous conditions (last year's winner, a *Kenyan*, complained about the weather) for no other reason than...what? Pride? Obstinacy? Absolute blankness of mind?

All we were missing was Jim Jones or David Koresh...

04 October 2007

An Adventure

A perhaps very bright friend suggested I start a blog dedicated solely to sports. I think partly because she's sick of hearing me talk about college football, and partly because she thinks it has the potential to lead to a career for me.

I'll admit, I was kind of skeptical. Even assuming I have the talent, I'm not entirely convinced that talent is a determining factor in these kinds of endeavors.

But the more I think about it, the more I realize it's a fantastic idea whether or not it leads anywhere. though I certainly don't mind my job now, and there are aspects of it that I like, I'd be lying if I said it captured my interest. And when I think about it, the only thing that really has day in and day out, is sports.

So here you go, comments are more than welcome, as are other readers you think might be interested. The new one will be a lot less personal, hopefully a bit more pointed, definitely not written all in one sitting. This blog will continue as is, but probably with slightly less whining about football referees.

Enjoy, let me know what you think!