Thursday, October 31, 2013

Finding The Space To Fill ... Day #31

Thursday...Feels Like Friday

 This is all about filling space. 

Would I like to work here?

Would I like to make things happen here?

This has been a challenging week.

The edits from the LHH guy are in.  They are not bad.

Logistically it was a 'car issue' week.

You need to spend money to make money.

You need to spend money to get from place to place.

I've been thinking a lot about my post from yesterday.  The best part was the link or the text I embedded that said you can make money doing things you love.  That's the theme for the next twelve hours.

If you don't want to work for dumb people, work for yourself.  You are a quick learner.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Do Creative People Have Jobs? ... Day #30

Google that!
I hear 'Google that' often and want to punch the speaker.  Do some real work.  Hit the card catalog or "The Reader's Guide to Periodicals."

I 'Google' a zillion times a day and just Googled "do creative people have jobs."  It's not clear if that quote requires a question mark.  That punctuation might not be required given that everything typed (or spoken, if hip) is a question.

The first result was interesting:

Whether you studied visual arts, music, filmmaking or writing, there are definitely jobs for creative people out there and you CAN make a living doing something you love. For example, art majors can find freelance arts jobs or look for art teacher jobs, art therapy jobs or art education jobs.

The image of a left-handed (as am I) artist was encouraging.  The important phrase in the quote was " CAN make a living doing something you love."

I love Google (even though I use Yahoo more often).

The second result had a few suggestions:

1. Teacher
2. Fashion Designer
3. Chefs/Cooks
4. Software Engineer
5. Management Consultant
6. Landscape Architect
7. Public Relations Specialist
8. Human Resource Specialist
9. Game Designer

Unfortunately my first response to all all of them is that they pay about 25% of what I earned as a C-Level executive.  Of course I had no life.  My world has touched on most of these with a couple of exceptions. While I have an appreciation for good design in many forms I don't think I'll be a fashion designer.  

Google Knows What I Should Ask
A few years ago (2?) Google inquiries started to prompt you with the results of millions/billion/trillions of inquiries entered by people smarter, or more likely dumber that you.  I typed "do creative people" and Google completed that with "think differently."

"The Daily Galaxy" provided the following insight:  "The study published in the journal Neuropsychologia, reveals a distinct pattern of brain activity, even at rest, in people who tend to solve problems with sudden creative insights, which are commonly referred to as “Aha! Moments”, that differed distinctly from people who tend to solve problems, and think in a methodical fashion."

"Aha" moments pretty much describe my approach to things.  It was always interesting in the 27-year gig.  People did not appear particularly creative and most said they were not creative.  The architects sort of breathed creativity but it really appeared that they were more of the cut and past creative mode.

"Thank You Google" for this one...

This is the one that I want to re-visit.  LHH has this precursor to a resume called a 'marketing statement' or 'position statement.'  What I like about this Google result is that it defines some structure and principles to a more creative (and hopefully satisfying) life.  That's not to say that it's not achievable in the C-Level suite.  It is a confirmation, however, that I spent a long time trying to sell ideas and solutions to people who did not want that and never would or will.  Thanks, Google.  I'll see if Eric Schmidt and his Google team can solve some of my personal problems. 

Utility Day ... Day #30

Knowledge Acquisition
My style as a manager is to encourage employees to continually improve their skill sets, to ensure that they are always employable elsewhere and when it's about the time to leave for the day, do one more self-improvement or organizational-improvement task.

Managing takes a considerable amount of time.  Generally you should spend at least one-half your day interacting and teaming with your staff, face-to-face or in live collaboration.  The administrative and company partnering time should consume the rest of the day.  Your personal challenge is to improve your own skills, not just management skills but also your technical skills.  That probably ends up being an off-hour challenge.

About ten days ago I realized that having things plugged in my ears or on my ears was OK but that streaming audio going from my PC or iPhone to a portable speaker would be good.  "Bluetooth" popped into my head.  While heading to Best Buy or Target could have worked I trolled through the Amazon options and ended up with the Sharkk bluetooth speaker.  For thirty-one bucks it has awesome sound and now is part of my personal and business go-bag to enhance conference calls over the phone, sharing audio, etc.  There is also an SD option to use it as a stand-alone device.

A few years ago I was an early adopter of bluetooth headsets but found the whole discovery and connection process tedious.  This experience was very positive.

Personal Logisitics
  • senior care financial management
  • daughter's car in for maintenance
  • truck in for oil & brakes
  • wife's car for tires and oil tomorrow
  • online bill payment
  • small business support (accounting, A/P, inventory, marketing)
  • space renovation issues
Professional Logistics
  • call to Bush guy at top of list
  • meeting with LHH contact THU PM
  • schedule lunch with TR for next week
  • messaged various contacts via LinkedIn 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Day Twenty-Nine ... It's About the Queue, You Know.

Getting in the Right Queue
Finding the right queue should really be easy.  Some places have 32 queues.  Of course only a few queues are open to anyone, and some queues are open just to people with fewer items.  

Finding, or picking, the right queue is a lot like looking for a job.  You look at the person controlling the queue.  They appear competent, perhaps pleasant, but things just don't move along as they should.  It should go smoothly.  Everyone knows the process.  The facts are clear.  The transactions simple.

HR people are the check-out and check-in people of the employment world.  It's a potential bottleneck that needs to be leveraged or avoided.
It's interesting that some companies have streamlined their employment queues, automating the process to look for key words, expressions, dates and probably errors of omission. 

In this particular store/queue scenario the business has, for whatever reason, not implemented the really slick self-checkout lines which usually eliminate the queue.  Home Depot's self-checkout is problematic.  Cub's is pretty good.  WalMart, the easy-to-hate company has done a great job.  Their manual check-out process was tedious and a bit unpleasant.  Eliminating the check-out person and replacing that with really good equipment and software has made the process much better.

I'm increasingly of the opinion that traditional jobs/queues are losing their appeal and reward to the self-checkout and self-defined job options.

Monday, October 28, 2013

My Son Was Right...I Missed A Day #28


Go To Your Room!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I Said "Write A Blog Post Every Day!"!!!

"Don't Argue With Me.  I Am You."

Sunday (Day #27) was not a good day, for personal reasons.  Isn't everything in one way or another personal?  That's not an adequate excuse.

My son was right.  This is a difficult personal challenge.

Day #27 Is Water Over The Dam, Yesterday's Breeze, An Opportunity To Smile Missed.  Worst Of All It's Something That Should Have Been Said, Just Like Not Telling Your Best Friend How You Feel Until They Are Gone.

Day #28

The good part of Day #27 and Day #28 were spent 'up north.'  Winter and deer season are just around the corner.  My expanse of irrigation hoses have been buried under snow once already.  Everything has been fenced, including all last springs new trees and bushes and this summer's grape planting.

The major failure this year and last were my fruit tree grafts.  The root stock survived so it looks like 2014 everything will work.

Tomorrow I'm going to get on my LHH guy to see if he made any resume edits.  I'm also going to call the Bush Foundation Grant guy TUE PM.  Over the weekend I also found that the State does major art grants every other year.  I've missed it for 2013 & 2014 but will work on an application for 2014 for the 2015 year.

There has been previous comments about distractions.  During my 'up north' computer time the stinky little bugs that look like pleasant lady bugs kept landing on me.  Here I have spiders descending periodically in front of the screen.  My standard background/headphone approach is either "The Best Radio You Have Never Heard" or KZSC.  Unfortunately KZSC just started playing some Led Zeppelin which has distracted me and the stimulation for this paragraph.  I'm sure Robert Plant and Jimmy Page are not trying to write a blog post every day, but of course they are employed, sort of.

The photo is of some simple boxes I make for a local boutique.  The designs are typically free-form pyrography, stenciled images, air brushing, etc.  This time I did some relief carving.  The next round will include relief carving of the image objects.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Where Oh Where to Work....Day #26

A Place To Work
Early in this trip, about twenty days ago, I visited the Minneapolis and St. Paul CoCo locations. The networking, social events, technical events and ambiance were inviting.  The St. Paul location felt less so, a bit like bad college apartment living.  Minneapolis offers cheap parking but that still remains a commute and I don't want to spend money on downtown lunches and eating out of Tupperwear long ago lost it's appeal.  While I may stay on top of their events I believe there are other locations that I can write, design and code.  Home works OK at times, especially when you don't want to shower but there is always the frig calling or the need to quickly do something.  Working where I am today feels good.  Clean bathrooms, coffee, space, nice lighting and a chair that communicates 'get to work' and not comfort is feeling pretty good.

The Resume
There are a few refinements in-process.  For years I've used my middle initial, 'F', for Fredrick, my maternal grandfather's name.  He was a hard-working, long-living Norwegian.  In hindsight he rarely spoke, was a good provider but was not really a contributor to his daughter's happiness or success.  There is always a tendency for us to respect parents, grandparents and others, but as I've grown I don't believe he contributed much to my life or success.  When I think of influences I immediately think of my paternal grandfather, his dry sense of humor and his chuckle and his many acquaintances.  He, too, was a hard worker but in a more technical area and primarily self-taught.  I'm going to consider changing the resume and perhaps my name.  I'm going toe drop the middle initial from my resume name.

Back in the day, I was deep into industrial psychology, organizational development and management.  This is an area that I need to stress, too.  My expertise goes beyond IT, touching also into human resources, executive leadership, strategic planning and believe it or not, marketing.  Good design, both in space and objects, but also in teams and organizations is a comfortable place.

Boutique Consulting
Yesterday at the MK gig a chat with a customer included the obligatory 'what do you do?'  Not many people ask me what I do.  Perhaps the geezer appearance is an issue.  The target of my question responded that he had a 'boutique' consulting business.  It's still not clear if that meant it was small, nichey or smelled like potpourri.  Regardless, I like the idea of niche expertise; I always have.  I think I have a lot of niche expertise in a lot of areas.  I'm going back to the LHH Marketing Statement and elaborate on my niche areas of interest and expertise.

Last Night's Party
I was the oldest person at the party.  There were two people, including the guest of honor, who were 50 and thought that was quite special.  Ha.

The guest of honor was the tallest person at the party.

The dog of the house, a golden retriever, was eight and a half.  Even considering 'dog years' I was the oldest.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Just Under The Wire ... 16 minutes left of Day #25

Just Under the Wire

This evening included a trip to Plymouth for a birthday party for a salesman who was turning fifty.  The invitation was appreciated, especially because now that I'm unemployed sales people have no reason to call.  It's a bit of a letdown to go from a $4.5 million budget one day to, well, nothing the next.  It's a quick shirt from prudent, thoughtful corporate spending to prudent, thoughtful personal spending.

The Clock Is Ticking
We've moved far away from people having clocks that they need to wind or that they hear ticking and I guess wristwatches, which eliminated pocket watches are disappearing because Verizon and the other cells carries have better time.

Ten Minutes to Say Something Good...Preferable About This Photo And the Job Consideration
There was not a response from the RHH assignee so I'll make another revision SAT AM.

At the party numerous people asked if I was retired.  I was probably the oldest person there by a decade.  That was really weird.  Everyone was enthusiastic and most seemed employee in good consulting or tech jobs.  I was probably the only executive (unemployed) there.

Moving forward as every post has alluded to involves looking at the options and throwing my hat in the right (correct) ring or spending my quarter in the right....OK, I give up.  There are six minutes left in this day and this post is going nowhere.  Like I always say, you need to be comfortable with what you are not good at and I'm comfortable ending with this.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

OCT 24th, 1981 ... now OCT 24th, 2013 ...Day #24
Thirty-two years is a long time.  My son made a nice post on Facebook today congratulating us on our marriage of 32 years, 32 times longer than his.  There is much to be thankful for.

Rear View ...
A few posts ago I commented that cars were all about going forward.  There were few provisions for viewing or thinking about where you had been.  Even the comment "find a place to turn around when you can" implies that doing so will be a bit a hassle, something that takes extra time.  You may have missed a sign, missed a turn or missed your destination but "going back" just is not right.

Crafting one's future involves initiative, some foresight, some ideas, creativity and a few objectives that are achievable. This stupid resume has been a challenge, but I did share (collaboratively, not an email attachment) version 2.2 with the LHH guy late today.  Getting this down is a tangible objective.  Determining where that resume should go, to be seen by whose eyes is a work in process.

The resume typically focuses on your accomplishments, results that may, or should, capture the readers attention.  Perhaps it could be all about your ideas for the future but you are really trying fit yourself into someone's organization.  This is not all about you or your ground-up creation.

How do I look to people?  How do the people behind my back see me?  How do the people covering my back see me?  It appears that they see my shirt tag.  Frontally you may look good but doing a quick 360 degree review is good.    You are attempting to fit in not just frontally but 360-wise.  When I interviewed professional services firms I'd ask for references.  Offered up would be engagements where the solutions were awesome, budgets met and final products delivered on time.  My second round of interviewing always included a request for references where there were big problems.  I wanted to know how the services and product firms dealt with schedule compression, over-budget problems, bad personnel and bad products.  This was far more valuable.

Mr. LHH suggested putting my resume up against a few CIO job postings.  I'm going to do that but I'm also going to review a few more resumes to pick up on those conflict/failure projects.  Most sales pitches fail.  Most wars fail.  More than half of all marriages fail (not yet, here).  Most IT projects are never completed.  How does my success rate fair?  Are there any shirt tags exposed?  I need to tuck those away.  You could suggest cutting it off but those are part of this automobile, guidepost, guideline theme, too.  The shirt does not fit right if you put it on backwards and you're going to do that 50% of the time without a tag.  

Forward Tomorrow...
I did some research on grants today and tomorrow I'll contact the Bush Foundation resource.

Blog Thought...
This has been good.  My fourth copy of "Writing Down the Bones" has not arrived, but neither did the present I purchased for Linda for our Anniversary.  Tomorrow things will come together. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

10-23-13 Day #23 A Little Comfort, A Little Accomplishment

Smail Nail ... Pleasant Receipt
Yesterday there was a notice of a certified mail letter awaiting my attention.  The short drive to the no-standard-service Post Office which is about a mile from the full-service Post Office resulted in a letter from the City of Shoreview.  There were six or seven eighty year old red oaks that I had marked for removal because of oak wilt.  The city came through the neighborhood and re-marked my marked trees and gave me a December 13th deadline to have them gone.  This will be somewhere between $2500 and $4000.  All the wood needs to be removed so there will not even be the satisfaction of them becoming firewood.  

The pleasant snail mail arrived today in the form of correspondence from a former, long-time board member with a long history in the commercial construction industry.  We worked well together and shared common perspectives on technology in construction and Bollinger Bands in stock market analysis.  There was a remarkably supportive letter of recommendation, unsolicited.  Doing the right thing takes effort.  I appreciate it.

The Resume
Version #1 went under the knife today.  The question was "what is the purpose of this resume?"  Ever over-analytic, I thought about the typical psychologist inquiry and started to talk in circles.  Perhaps the pursuit of a job was incorrect?  Perhaps I needed to craft a future outside of conventional jobs.  Am I unfit for employment, for leadership, management?

Well, it was a much simpler question relating to the structure and the content and the format of the resume.  Who was it intended for?  C-Level people?  Potential consultant gigs?

In my typical fashion I had attempted to explain my lot in life.  As per Mr. LHH's astute observation (he's probably been through this 10,000 times) he was attempting to stress the point that the resume is the the person you are giving it attempt to capture their attention.  Let them ask the questions.  I left with a number of suggestions and my own observations.  The interesting recurring thing is that the minute you start to explain your work to someone else you see the flaws, omissions, typos, etc.  That's valuable in and of itself.  I guess I could guess walk next door and show it to one of my annoying and boring neighbors and skip the trip to Bloomington.  If this is still in process this winter (hopefully not) I'll consider that to avoid traffic.  It was a good trip.

Leaving I noticed an entire wall of success, customers that went through the process and found new gigs.  Do I want my name on that wall?  Perhaps, but only if there a licensing agreement, personal monetization if you will.

Next Steps

There are options. This process will work.  Thursday I'll share an electronic version w/ Mr. LHH after a thirty-minute re-write and review.

Other Than the Resume
This week I did reach out to a couple of former co-workers with connections to open positions and consulting opportunities.  There was also confirmation from a long-time-ago peer that "There is a lot of work out there, especially if you are willing to pursue and work in unconventional approaches.  That's pretty normal for me.  This friend recently had a heart attack.  He did not see a white light.  All is well.

The former gig is rapidly being compressed into a few bullet points.  It's clear that big children bully little weak children.  In business little men bully strong men.  It is employment at will, and that's how it goes.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Too Much Time to Waste <><><> #22

"You have too much time to waste."
My daughter pushes her phone in my face (with Facebook open).  "You have too much time to waste."  We're friends on Facebook.  She generally likes my posts, not because she's my daughter but I think she enjoys them, especially the more offbeat stuff.

For some reason my profile picture must have put her over the edge.  A while ago it seemed logical to learn Inkscape, an open source, free graphics tool.  My goal was to work on it every day and to get good, challenging myself to change the image every day.  I'm way behind.

Not Nearly Enough Time to Waste
When you are a teenager you have nothing but time to waste.  Never have I wanted to go back in time.  My daughter is wrong on her comment.  The reality is that I don't have nearly enough time to waste.  I need to make the best of it.  Other than the basic financial obligations I want to waste as much time as I possibly can, doing what I want to do.  I've wasted enough time doing other peoples work, making money for other people, etc.  My daughter does a good job of encouraging me by liking and laughing at my work.

"You won't keep up on your blog.  It takes a lot of work."
My son knows how to push my buttons.  That's his mother in him.  He also knows that I really enjoy making stuff, making ideas, creating things, making up stories, telling stories, living a bit of a 'what if?' scenario.  He does a nice job of encouraging me to do what I enjoy, knowing that I've worked on the other side of the street for a long time.  

The regular encouragement to write a book has been appreciated.  It's just been hard to work at the craft.  About twenty years ago I sat in a parking lot reading my first purchase of Natalie Goldberg's "Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within."   For a half-Norwegian it was very emotional.  I keep going back to that book.  I've purchased at least three copies.  I don't lose many things, especially books, but these seem to slip through my fingers.  It's possible that I leave copies where I think I'll need them but I don't make it back to that special spot.  Not having any idea where any of them are I just ordered another copy, the 2010 version for $8.31 on

"Go do some art things in the barn."
Two days from now I will have been married for thirty-two years, to the same person.  There are a lot of topics to cover in that many years.  Right now I'm getting good advice on crafting the 'go-forward' time.  I appreciate that encouragement.   After this many years, even if it's a bad day or a bad month you know that you can count on someone to get you to the emergency room.  This is not a life or death crisis but it is a life opportunity.  Helping me see that in the right light (as a artist, preferably mid-day light from the south) is very helpful.

Twenty-Two Days and Counting
The bad taste is not totally out of my mouth but I'm getting 27 years wrapped up in a few bullet-point talking points...short points.  There's some freedom in that.

The first consultant at RHH was all about, well, the first consultant at RHH first and secondly about getting back into the network and connected with another executive job.  He left the executive world a bit early.  Even with a big executive ego there was probably a compelling story to define everything not just in corporate terms.  I'm not sure how getting another corporate job would help me, in any way, waste as much time as I want to waste doing what I want.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Looking ahead, into the dark...#21

Charting the future is a challenge.  There are guidelines that cautions us from moving too far to the left or the right.  When we've been down this route we have a hunch what's there.  Perhaps we've seen it, perhaps not.

Today it looks dark.  I'm cautious because of the white light.  Cars are interesting.  There is very little facility for where we've been.  It's all about moving forward.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Weather & Venue Change .... Day #20

Annual Events & Outcomes
  • Budgets
    • Not much
  • Strategic Planning
    • Not much
  • Employee Reviews
    • Not much
  • Personal Income Taxes
    • Hopefully no audit
  • Changing Oil
    • Annually is not enough
  • Remembering Your Anniversay
    • Annually is not enough
  •  Your Birthday
    • ho hum
  • Other Birthdays
    • buy something
  • Planting trees
    • Deer eat half
  • Bud Capping Pine Trees
    • Deer eat half   
Special Events
  • Leaves changing color
  • First snow
  • Favorite songs
  • Low tire pressure
  • Leaving jobs
  • Finding jobs
  • Creative activities
  • Repeating and improving creative activities
  • Being happy with special events.
  • Letting annual events go as they might

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Day #19 So many bosses, so many losses...

Boss Retrospective
We often talk about our jobs in terms of the people we work for.  Lucky people have good bosses or bosses that just leave them alone.  Most of us are not lucky.  Many of my bosses have had the first name "F'ing."  I'm not sure why so many had the same name.

From First to Most Recent

Ray at the Dairy Queen:  Inventor of the Buster Bar, really nice guy.

Pete at the sporting goods store:  Really nice guy.  Taught me a lot about retail.

Greta at the meat packing plant restaurant:  German war bride.  Likely Nazi.

Professor Don & Professor John:  Do not work for professors.

Professor Art:  Landed at Normandy at D-Day +2.  Good guy.

Doug at GCCC:  OK.

Mike at GCCC:  Kept his distance.  OK.

Tom at Public Safety:  Friendly.  Slept a lot at work.  Drank a lot of Black Russians.

Dick at BCBSM:  Usually fell asleep while talking.  Probably needed med adjustment.

Merlin at North Star:  Focused primarily on Merlin.

Tim:  We had similar backgrounds, totally different styles.  Bell curve of respect and support over time.

Last Guy:  I really could not understand the agenda.  Did not talk to me in 2013.

I'm sure there were others.  But our work experiences are shaped even more by our co-workers and people that work for us.  Those are the resources that really support company initiatives.  Bosses can buy lunch but are also more likely to pull the grenade pin and not save their subordinates but go in a new direction.

Was my first name "F'ing," too?
It seems that more people enjoyed working for me.  I did run a lot of interference.  The politically astute ones know that I took a bullet for them.  I'd do it again.  They were great people, even the ones I let go.


Day #19 adequate gas is required

Out of Gas...
Last night I finished what I consider an 'OK' version of 'the resume.'  It's a bit of a different spin combining the all-touted LHH 'marketing statement' and a more or less traditional resume.  I really liked the CEO sample resume from the very experienced person who seem confident but also was quite indifferent about the whole pursuit issue.

It's easy to doubt your competency, your skills, your motivation and perhaps your interest level.  Yesterday I did a delivery for MK to an engineering firm, to a large training room where there was obviously going to be some sort of presentation.  My first inclination was to check and make sure the projector worked, take a test stand at the podium and do a mental run through of the greeting and welcome and a quick explanation of the agenda.

That was pretty humorous. The company people in the room probably did not notice the geezer delivery guy.  I was in total confidence of my ability to control the room and the agenda.

So you need the skills and the interest and something combustible and something to ignite the whole mess.

Interesting Article
Entrepreneur magazine had a short article about a guy, a writer, whose stories about a neighborhood caregiver was now a widely viewed British TV show.  He wrote about what he knew.  A few years ago I wrote a letter to Bill Holm and made the comment that writing about snaking a floor drain was probably worthy writing.  Going back a few years "Writing Down the Bones" had the same theme.  I purchased at least two or three copies that book.  Finally I writing every day.  In the memory of Bill Holm I've not written about floor drains but I did cover the removal of a dead chipmunk in the dryer vent.  Perhaps the path is more set than I realize. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Day #18 you cannot win if you don't play

The Odds Are Not in My/Your Favor
When I first visited with the staff at the consultant ridiculed me when I mentioned I was concerned about my age.  During departure conversations with my previous manager I offered the comment that at my age this ended my career as a CIO.  All the numbers indicate that over 60 it takes about a year to find a comparable job.  Unless the entire world is lying I think LHH is FOS on the issue that age does not make a difference.

When on the hiring (versus begging) side of the interviewing table you go
through the calculations in your head while sort of listening to the candidate and you come to some conclusion about age, enthusiasm, learning ability, etc.  This normally does lean to the 'more senior side' unless you're hiring senior gigolos for the cruise ship scene.

You Need to Buy a Ticket
Taking the 'not likely' position is realistic.  In negotiations we try to find a way to turn a negative point in to one of advantage.  Often the best way to defend yourself against an overpowering aggressor it to run directly into the fire.

I'm not sure that all the LHH stuff about pitching maturity and experience is necessarily the direction I need to follow.  It seems more logical to pitch is to go after the interim placement or put a hard deadline on it with the promise to leave them (the employer) with an even better candidate.

The very best way to find a successor is to have the very best incumbent fine them.

The resume will be explicit about age situation and time frame for employment. 

Lottery Ticket Report
I have about twelve tickets...I will check them now.   There were ten Powerball tickets and three Mega Millions tickets.  After $23 was expended in this investment in the future.  There was one matching Powerball number paying $4.  Nineteen dollars expended is probably OK for possibly winning the future rather than crafting the future

Generally Speaking
  • Progress was made on the resume.  I'm meeting w/ LHH next Wednesday but will send a draft off SAT (Day #19) AM.
  • Created a custom URL w/i LinkedIn...first 'John Leeper' with that idea.
  • The city people walked through the back yard and marked six trees that I had already marked as having Oak wilt.  In total we've lost about fifteen large oaks from the back yard; that's pretty much all of them.
  • Progress was made on a new graphic challenge for the MK enterprise.
  • I was not as distracted as I was yesterday.
  • The reality of a non-ringing cell phone and no text messages and no email alerts about some company crisis is sinking in.  Perhaps I should create a 'fantasy work' world along the lines of fantasy football.
  • I did have one great idea on a cookbook layout.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Day #17 I'm going to remain easily distracted

On the Positive Side of Things:
The first draft of the resume is done.  Writing a resume at the same age that you can collect early Social Security is pretty odd.  Perhaps it would be simpler to just go get a $10/hour job at Home Depot to buy gas money.  That's not what I want.  Mixed demographics in the workplace is what I enjoy when there is the opportunity to be distracted creative.

So How Easily Distracted Am I?
Doing a good first draft is not all that difficult.  It just requires good seat time.  During my first 14 years at 'the recent gig' I had a good chair, not fancy or infinitely adjustable but solid with good lumbar support.  When we moved offices I received a new chair that was infinitely adjustable but it was never stable feeling much like sitting on a moving animal.  During the night I took my old chair home and have been writing from it for the past 13 years.  So, every day, for the most part, I have sat in the same office chair for 27 years.  The chair was so comfortable that when I brought it home I also took two other identical ones.  
Even inf my own chair fails or breaks in the next few minutes I have two backups, and assuming even somewhat lessor lifespans for them, I have a place for my butt until I'm 112.

Working on the resume involved a number of distractions.  I stood up to go floss my teeth because I hadn't flossed for at least two hours and I have a dental appointment in December.  The refrigerator called me because of an excess of craft beer that needed to be shuffled.  I shuffled and ended up with a hard cider from some nowhere place in Wisconsin.  Focus on the resume.

A few years ago I had a tear in the retina in my left eye which resulted in some issues, including more distracting debris.  Now every time I have some weird reflection or something new moving about I clench up anticipating laser repair work.  Right in the middle of the 'Value Propositions' and 'Competencies' section of the 'difficult to complete' Resume #1 I believe something is moving in my eye, something new, something that might be serious.  It was a spider, not in my eye but descending from the ceiling.  It's located in the image just to the left of "Ready When You Are.'

Obviously I was also distracted by the new L.L. Bean catalog, an Eddie Bauer catalog, a knife catalog which will be my last if I do not order, an issue of Forbe's Life and a Minnesota Department of Revenue Sales and Use Tax Bulletin, a bag of cashews and notice next to my keyboard from my opthamologist to schedule an appointment in November.  Focus.  I checked three email accounts, my Facebook account a couple of times for a pointless debate with a pointless Tea Party advocate and three or four Wikipedia topics.  Focus.

My chairs, actually chair #1 will probably outlast my eyes and my 'mental.' 

This was a successful day.  Tomorrow AM I will send off Resume Draft #1 to my LHH guy who will be nice but rip it apart.

I've really been enjoying not having the alarm clock beat me up at 6:00 AM.

Did I mention that Spotify can be distracting, too?


Day #17 .... Failed the Day #16 Goal ... Under Pressure at 7:54 PM

Defining Success...
It's easy to set five goals for yourself (or your children) and hit rock bottom when you don't achieve the by the goal dates, especially when you are in the power seat.

Celebrate the success of any of the five and re-schedule the others.  It's not like you are a brain surgeon or you are on a rescue mission to intercept a meteor that will destroy humankind.

Yesterday I committed to a draft resume by midnight.  I failed.  Well, I did not totally fail.  There were four sample resumes that I read.  I decided to copy the format of the shortest one.  That person had great experience, exhuded confidence and actually seemed a bit disinterested in pursuit of the next gig.

  Watch dogs have been assigned.  I'm not allowed to use the restroom or leave the restroom until progress has been made on the resume.

Yesterday did not result in a printable first draft.  It's 7:54 PM.  I have no excuse.

The choke collar is tightening.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Day #16 Post #2 Resume' Resumation

One of the blogs that I follow is named something like The Lazy FarmerFollowing a comment that I posted about monetization of blogs, yada, yada, yada, the author took my comment and wrote a blog post about it.  He writes a lot about broken equipment and rain.  Perhaps I just gave him new material.  Giving other people material is something that I'm pretty good at.  Getting my own stuff done, my own stuff written is another problem.

It appears that many people have moved to Facebook, shortened their posts and thoughts and focused on posting pictures of cats or muffins.  I follow a guy on Facebook who writes under the name of "Independently Speaking."  He writes well and publishes in three journals and has at least a book or two out there.  I'll look and see if he blogs outside of Facebook.

Resume the Resume'
I am committed to having a draft resume together before midnight.  My LHH guy sent me four resumes that he thinks are good.  Two of them really depressed me.  Those guys seem to really have accomplished a lot.  They seem to be from India.  One by a woman was 1.75 pages and engaging but the best was by a CEO whose resume came across almost as if he were disinterested.  I'm going to copy that one.  I'm really good at what I do but I'm really not interested in office/company politics, offices, regular schedules, etc.  Really what I like is a computer that works, a good keyboard and decent headphones and the opportunity to create things...words, thoughts, ideas, concepts, etc.

Day #16 ... A Dream Woke Me Up...

About 1:30 AM I woke up.  My dream world was focused on 'referential integrity.'  This was a regular topic and reference point that I would discuss with my database and ERP and application development staff.  I might need to go back to work if that's how my REM time is working.

As published the first time this post carried the title "A Dream Wok Me Up..."  Given my standard suggestions for dining that might be appropriate, too.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Day #15 ....not to expect much from a goofy schedule...

Up Too Late...
For years I was on a 'get up at 6:30 AM' schedule which over time seemed to push me into forever earlier 'hit the rack' schedule.  After the workday, the commute, eating and miscellaneous life tasks little time was left.  Weekends compressed, as well.  

Last night I felt compelled to watch two episodes of "The Sons of Anarchy" which for a few reasons relating to character development was more engaging than "Breaking Bad."  Unfortunately that meant staying up quite late, sleeping late and compressing my Tuesday schedule, which is always under pressure for 'farmer's market' reasons, even more. 

I need to put some metrics into play on both a daily and weekly basis.  I need a scorecard.  That would be easier if I knew what game I was playing.  When I played golf I would occasionally not keep score because of my unmanageable slice out of the tee box but not keeping score meant the only thing you had to do was count to 18 and those counting points had pretty easy signage.

I don't want to get hung up on unnecessary metrics.  In my car I have buttons on the wheel that allow me to change stations and volume.  Those are absolutely worthless.  The tachometer really serves no purpose either, other than balancing out dashboard esthetics.  Something tells me also things about 'Trip A' and 'Trip B' but I don't care.  I'm not even sure after 108,000 miles that I care about my mileage on a particular trip or in total, either.

This probably needs to start simply on the basic checklist, all of which are timely and due, now:

- the Bush Foundation guy
- marketing statement
-BKV Architects

...will be the day

Monday, October 14, 2013

Day #14 ...residue...

There are a lot  of reasons to go off the end of the dock, other than simply making a big splash.  Seal Team #6 would go off (or on) the dock with no splash; that's classy and for particular reasons.  

I chose to leave with class.  Be professional, as professional as anyone could be.  Set a new standard.  Do it quietly and gracefully.  
Now it's time to finalize the departure, making a big splash in a new venue, washing off the residue. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Day #13 Post #2 one can never have too much honey

Beekeeping has been a real challenge for the past 15 years and particularly challenged in the last five due to the release of a new class of pesticides which is devastating honey bee populations.  The key is to not be
near any corn or alfalfa.  This next spring I'm going to plant about five acres of clover and another five of alfalfa.  Farmer's typically cut their alfalfa before it flowers to retain protein as a forage crop.  Hopefully I can find an non-hybrid alfalfa seed source that will re-seed itself.  The demand for raw, local honey has been increasing steadily.  That's good for the beekeeper.

During the trip 'up north' I glanced out the window and spotted these tundra swans.  There were another half dozen just out of view.  Interestingly they have a 3700 mile one-way migration each spring and fall.  They live about 20 years.  I did the same eighteen mile one way commute for 27 years.  I am so very glad that migration is over and I'm creating new directions.

Day #13 monetary & logistical traction...

Having a job = Getting income
Fortunately I am not totally desperate.  Our children are out of the house and we've forgone any fun, vacations or conspicuous consumption (Thorsten Veblen) for years.  That has come at other costs, but I have some 'reserves.'

The best advice to anyone leaving their job and it's pay is to supplement with anything.  If you have $500 and spend $100 per week you will be out of cash in five weeks.  That part-time job at Home Depot might only net $20/week but it gives you 20% more time before you hit the bad '$0.'

Ray Kroc started to make real money when he was over sixty (check Wikipedia on that).  My comment to my LHH guy was that I'd like to make $1M over the next 5-10 years.

Now the flip side of supplemental or new income is to cut expenses.  There are obvious immediate savings from not having a job:
  • auto expenses
  • lunches
  • coffee
  • clothes
  • happy hours with co-workers

The non-work expenses can be cut quickly, too.  Obviously food is much cheaper to eat at home.  A six-pack of beer or Mountain Dew Kickstart purchased for home consumption is
dramatically cheaper than the onesy twosey purchases at the local bar or convenience store.  A big item that I'm going after is our insurance.  We have a bundled policy that includes home insurance, car insurance and a liability rider.  After even a quick review I believe I can save 20% or more with just a little effort.  Interestingly 'the bundle' that was to save me a lot of money actually costs more than the competitors in the individual market segments.

So...immediately review your insurance.

Life insurance is a good topic.  If you are in the position of leaving large debt you might want to keep it.  If you want to leave a nest egg that's fine, too.  Other than those two reasons it's probably a waste of money.  Disability coverage is often the more logical purchase than life insurance for younger working people but at 60+ you might want to trash that, too.

I've left my job.  I am not replacing a six-figure life policy and very good disability policy primarily due to cost.

Back to the income topic...
This morning I 'monetized' this blog using Adsense.  We'll see how annoying that can be.  Obviously I need to get the writing and themes cleaned up a bit.  There are a lot of blogs with ads and I can only assume that they are at least getting gas money out of the deal. Take a look at the following blog.  This guy is pretty funny, obviously spends a lot of time farming but manages to get words down on paper.  I ask myself all the time "making money talking is a good gig but getting money for writing has to be close to a perfect gig, too. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Day #12 challenging...

This turned into a bit of an administrative day including household chores, a trip to the tire store and a few hours at Marianne's Kitchen.  The last week has been very busy, especially for the better half, and recovery time is in order.

Thomas questioned my ability to keep up on daily blogs on this transition year.  Linda's cousin Mary Ann told me I was nuts to try to write every day after working for 27 years.  Her opinion is rooted in 27 years of not having a job.  Mary Ann's sister Barbara agrees in concept that writing every day is good.  Mary Ann told me about a web site that blows up or deletes all your work if you stop writing.  I like that.  I might just delete all these posts every month, perhaps doing a monthly recap.

Thomas worked pretty hard to keep me from thinking and writing today.  Obviously we miss him and Heather during their Denmark adventure so when we connect it's great to keep talking.  Today we'd talk for a while and be disconnected.  He may have learned deviance from his sister.  I know her inclinations.  The disconnections were numerous.  Once I heard some chopped up words and then "...we are leaving for Berlin" and then Al Gore's internet pooped out.  Perhaps Thomas was attempting to keep me from writing by pulling the plug on his router.  That's probably not likely, though, given the Denmark socialism; you probably cannot escape the internet once the government commits to it.  Regardless, it was good hearing 65% of his side of the conversation.

During yesterday's meeting with the LHH dude which certainly is not a typical adviser role for him I did commit to writing a marketing statement and resume over the next two weeks.  I simply don't want to make any quick decisions.  After 27 years my head remains a bit biased.  I'm going to follow my commentary from yesterday's post and give myself at least until  day #30 or so before I have high expectations.

SUN is committed to deer fencing, bee work and some quality 'art' time; 'art' for art.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Day #11 ... getting there

Years ago I worked for a start up organization named North Star Casualty Services.  The senior management was excellent at attracting and developing talent.  After five years of many hours, nights and weekends it crashed with one bad reinsurance deal.  Thoughtfulness is important.  Actually, your need to put a great deal of time into thinking hard.  You need to understand the environment and the economics of your business or personal situation and then bring your creativity into action with strategy.

That's were I am today.  Another session at LHH is moving me closer to getting a few options framed up.

Back to the former company.  I was there five challenging years but three days after leaving I left 95% of it behind.  At the same rate I should have absolved myself of the past 27 years in a total of 15-18 days, certainly by the 20th of October.  Good for me.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Day #10 Re-grouping... starting
Overall I'd say this first week has been a bit chaotic.  Focusing on the future had more time before 'non working' actually began.  I've been looking at the future as one might watch a stage, hopefully that someone will enter from stage left or stage right or descend or rise as appropriate.

That's all fine and good but this is the point where I am the writer, producer, stagehand, etc.  It's time to move from the audience and create some dialogue and movement, leaving the anticipation to those who shall remain seated with their cell phones off.

Turning things around is good.  So after hesitantly turning the iPhone camera around I began.

Job Leads...
  • AEC firm consulting ... called and left message
  • ECM (electronic content management) professional services firm ... back on to do list
  • Large commercial construction firm ... work on marketing statement before calling
  • MPLS Property Mgmt firm ... pursue network contact with connection
  • Hospital Group Lean Program  ... schedule lunch

  • Talk with Bush Foundation guy ... call FRI AM
  • Promo piece for Emmitt D. Williams
  • Professional blog
Marianne's Kitchen...
  • Web site progress
  • Worked on additional staff
  • Denmark trip for Linda ... start pushing for FEB 2014
Up North
  • Fall bee preparation started
  • Finlayson clean-up in process
  • Groningen fencing supplies ready

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Day #9 My Home Office Stinks

For years I've promoted the notion that remote working (a.k.a. working at home) was a very reasonable alternative, especially for salaried workers.  Commuting problems usually deduct from the productive work of the day more often than they add to the length of the day.  Everyone has electricity and internet access, cell phones, etc., and everything you need is probably stored 'in the cloud.'

Today my home office really stunk.  Yesterday there seemed to be something faintly rotten.  Today it was full blown.  We live in the woods and get a few mice in the fall.  After a quick round of the three traps in the basement it was clear I was imagining it all and decided to take a load of towels out of the dryer.  Oh, boy.

The short story is that once in a while the flapper cover on the dryer exhaust stays open, especially when the yard boy forgets to clean the lint off it.  After disassembling things you should only have to disassemble when moving or when
purchasing a new dryer the resident (and deceased, really deceased) chipmunk was removed.  It's now eleven hours later and the Vicks nasal coverup has worn off but I still smell dead things..

Work-focused activities du jour...
There were several work-related email exchanges today.  I've not been keeping up on my IT reading and research and will get cracking at that soon.  I'm still excited about leveraging Amazon's AWS, S3, Cloudsearch, etc.

There was a back and forth messaging with the Bush Foundation Grant person and I need to call again on THU and will do that on my Pine Lake commute.

Fall is looking pretty good on the bee issue with those treated organically and with sticky bottom boards seem to have weathered the mite issue well.  There has also been an absence of corn within normal distances so the pesticide risk is down, too.

There has been a problem getting together with the LHH contact so I'm going back to a regular schedule w/ him, probably heading there on WED.

Back to the stink...
Organizations, like visiting relatives start to stink, too.  So with the sunset of one organization context tomorrow brings a better, newer day with opportunities ripe for immersion.  This is all good.  

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Day #8 Tuesdays are Rough

OK, it's officially been 24 hours more than a week since I had a job at 'that place' working for 'what is his name' and spending my time doing exactly 'what?'  Generally speaking were it not for an inflow of cash I'd say this might work out well.  

There is no alarm clock; I wake up when the neighbor's dog barks.  I've not had to iron any shirts because where would I go that required an ironed shirt.  When putting on my shoes I pick those that are appropriate to the task or which feel best.  I may only wear cap-toe black shoes for funerals in the future.

Tuesdays are tough because I help with the Shoreview Farmer's Market. It's been something 'we' did for the past 15 years.  That's fine, a tradition if you must, productive in 'gas money' and an opportunity to sit side-by-side with my better half; that's nice.

My focus on 'what is next?' has been on a sabbatical for a few days but now I'm going to get cracking.  There have been several inquiries and opportunities and I don't have a 'marking statement' (thank you Lee Hecht Harrison) or a resume.  At some moments I believe I'm past the office/executive thing and at other moments I realize that I'm just on day #8 of a long needed vacation and mental re-focus.

Putting together the time and the venue for this re-focus has been a challenge.  Perhaps thinking I could do this in the several months leading to my departure was naive.  Those days were goofy because I was still going into the office and somewhat involved in my staff's work.  That is 100% over now.  

Excited dogs are known to sneeze.  My guess is that dogs with clogged noses get eaten by wolves.  Over the millenium dogs that sneezed lived.  I need to sneeze for a while, clear out the accumulated debris.  When I smell as well as my friend 'Misty' (Dogs smell in technicolor.  Humans smell in black and white.) this will start to fall in place.  My other blog, 'Twenty Year Shot Clock' is about the time you have left at 60+.  There is no millenium remaining.  The wolves are at my heels and I shall not tarry.

There is really no excuse for people who post pictures of dogs and cats.  It's difficult, though, to not say 'that is a nice dog.'

Monday, October 7, 2013

Day #7 One Week

Seven days ago I had a 'C-level' job with a good sized company.  Now there are magazine subscriptions and free-lunch invitations that I'm no longer eligible for.  That's good.  Despite the hectic past week I have looked at and noticed many images and opportunities that in previous weeks were like fast-passed objects in the freeway ditch...probably something...probably not anything valuable...certainly not a dead person.

Today I've starting re-construction of life order.  Hopefully I'll work in a call to a guy I met on Facebook (weird) who received a Bush Foundation grant to rehab and open  a small cafe in a dying MN prairie town.

It's back to the 'Cities' either this evening or early TUE AM.

Have to call the LHH contact, too.

Day #6 Really Behind

This was a typical 'head up north' day including the never-ending stop at Home Depot and Mennard's for fencing and misc.  The last few years have been way over-booked.  That's probably not the correct expression since most of 2011 and 2012 was committed to my mother's last months.  We have heaps of 'senior relatives' everywhere, in the garage, in the house and 'up north.'  I've probably forgotten where and what most of is.

 This is a good indication of how far behind we are.  These are boat licenses which are good for three years.  They've been sitting on the table.  The boats are in storage or turned upside down making great mouse havens.  I won't have to look for the registration cards now to re-new.  It's simpler just to bring in the old license.

Looking forward is difficult if you are bogged down by your past.  It might just be time to dispose of boats, legacy employment thoughts and ideas that are grounded in the past.  The focus is creativity and innovation.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Day #5 Post #1

  1. SMB
    1. Retail vendor dropoff
    2. Retail vendor demo
  2. Art
    2. Black shirt
    3. Conclusion:  Etsy, not craft shows.
  3. Networking
    1. Set up OCT with AEC CIO
    2. Exchanged messages w/ architecture IT contact
  4. Professional
    1. Thought about Inkscape
    2. Though about Ruby on Rails
General Activity

Following a three-hour engagement for a vendor demo my 'partner-in-demo' and I headed west out of Cannon Falls in pursuit of a sign that we read on HW52 that said something like 'Art Fair S???? Val???? 5.5 Miles.'  Arriving at a farm down in a valley...ah that's the Val???? word we saw another similar sign that explained the 'S' word as Sogn.  The art fair is a free parking, no-fee event in the rolling hillsides.  This is the 41st year.  I've never heard of it.
  We wandered about a bit and saw quite a few people that we had just seen at Ferndale Market.  The vendors included potters, jewelry artisans, a beekeeper, painters, etc.  There was a live band playing country rock from the entrance of a machine shed and a couple of food vendors vendors.  We enjoyed the visit but spend no cash in support of the arts.  I was inclined to spend but did not.  Being an artisan out under a tent in the heat and the rain and the cold is a tough gig.  Etsy seems the way to go.

Back to the cities by 4:30 PM and a little more SMB and a bite to eat and it's a wrap for the day.  Of course I did have to put this post together to meet my daily commitment.

Next Steps
Sunday it's 'up north' for a couple of nights.  This includes some bee work, some barn work, some honey work, some craft work (folk art) and some basswood tree decomposition.  The Groningen Farm property had a basswood come down and I've been getting ready to saw it into working pieces for this winter's bowl carving.

The professional blog has a single post.  That is lame.  Perhaps I'm on an intellectual/professional sabbatical and have not admitted it.