Authors on Working

Several Cents Worth of Common Sense

  • “The best work that anybody ever writes is the work that is on the verge of embarrassing him, always.” -Arthur Miller-
  • “You should not confuse your career with your life.” -Dave Barry-
  • “Do not whine…Do not complain. Work harder. Spend more time alone.” -Joan Didion-
“Notice”

  • “Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson-
  • “Apparently I lack some particular perversion which today’s employer is seeking.” -Patrick Kennedy Toole-
  • “If you can do a half-assed job of anything, you are a one-eyed man in a kingdom of the blind.” -Kurt Vonnegut-
  • “In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not subversive.” -Bill Waterson-

-K-

Some More Thoughts on Warning Signs

or Knowing When to Stop

It’s hovering around 100 degrees out here in the Midwest, and I’m drinking my second cup of coffee while tapping away at a couple thoughts. It was my Pops who told me hot coffee on a hot day helps regulate the body temperature. I never asked where he picked up that bit of wisdom. Did he learn it growing up in Harlan County, while serving in the Army, or maybe while working as a chemical operator? With his passing the origin of that piece of advice is lost much like the origin of his advice about knowing when to stop.

“Stop Sign”

Pops warned me that there wouldn’t always be clearly posted stop signs throughout life. Sometimes I would have to use my best judgement, to realize that many individuals and institutions do not have my best interests in mind. He told me knowing when to stop, when not to follow, or when to go my own way wouldn’t be an easy skill to master but was one worth learning. Pops’ advice wasn’t unique. Most of us have been taught something similar at some time. But many of us (myself included) need to develop this skill now more than ever. I mentioned a couple weeks ago that warning signs abound and we often ignore them for one reason or another. Maybe we’ve become a little too complacent. Maybe we need to work a little harder at keeping an eye and ear out for those not so clearly posted stop signs.

-K-

Some Thoughts on Warning Signs

or What We See and What We Ignore

There is the before, the antecedent, the harbinger, and the posted point of no return. There are warning signs all around. Some are physical, some are mental, some are subtle, and others are so obvious you can’t miss them. Warning signs can come to us in the form of our own ‘spidey sense,’ as advice from friends, or from strangers who feel they know what’s best for us. Warning signs, we see them, hear them, and sometimes even feel them.

“No Smoking”

Warning signs abound. We can’t seem to go a day without seeing some sort of warning label. We can’t go a night without hearing a news station broadcasting some kind of dire warning. Maybe that’s why we don’t mind them, overlook them, or down right disregard them. Is it a defense mechanism, some sort of denial, a or maybe we are just desensitized to the vast number of warnings that bombard us on a daily basis. What is it about warning signs?

-K-

A Final Thought on Getting By

Are You Better Today?

It’s odd that my final thought on getting by is at the tail end of a busy couple weeks spent struggling to get by (insert cliché line about life imitating art). I think many of us have, are, or will spend portions of our lives feeling like we are just getting by. When we find ourselves in that state of getting by, when we are struggling, and when we feel like we are on the hook that’s when it’s time to do some extra work.

“On the Hook”

We need to work beyond simply getting by. This is my final thought, when you feel like you are struggling to get by ask yourself if you are better today than you were yesterday. If you can answer yes to that question then you’ve moved beyond getting by and are on your way to getting ahead.

-K-

Getting By in 2020

and Getting Ahead in 2021

We spent the last year or so in a variety of ways but I dare say the most common were isolation and idleness. Getting by appears to be the default mode of 2020. We experienced isolation from acquaintances, friends, and family. Hell, I’ve had friends tell me they miss the staff from the local Dunkin’. Many of us found ourselves in some form or another of forced idleness. Our jobs, hobbies, and assorted pass times were not compatible with a lockdown lifestyle and forced many of into a year long holding pattern of sorts. Simply getting by was the daily grind for many of us last year (and the first part of this one too).

One use of alcohol in 2020.

But we got by in 2020. We didn’t give up. We embraced the distance in our interpersonal relationships and made them work. We found ways around the idleness. Those ways may have added a few pounds or worked the liver a little too hard, but we ground it out and found ways to keep active. We got up, and we got by. Now that there seems to an end in sight to this craziness let’s move from getting by to getting ahead in the rest of 2021.

-K-

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