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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Change is Coming

Dave has gone over to the evil side. He has morphed from an objectivist to a dogmatist (is that a word???). He believes that the collectivist state is descending upon us and a Obama victory will turn the USA into a socialist paradise. I am more pragmatic. I look for personal independence and no matter which party controls the government, I have not felt constrained. The worst of it was when I was growing up and we still had a draft so that our government could feed American humanity into the shredder that was Vietnam. The USA has been controlled by various parties and political factions for well over 232 years. The Federalists, the Whigs, the Republicans and Democrats (and a few more). We have survived all of this as Rome survived its emperors, both good and bad.

No matter who triumphs next Tuesday, we'll survive. That being said, I have rarely seen a government that had less interest in the welfare of the American people as that which has inhabited the executive branch for the past 8 years. The price is being paid by a disrupted economy, rampant self interest (nothing new here) and overseas entanglements that have bogged down in never ending wars which we will surely lose by the simple act of attrition. The so called socialist state exists here already but the socialism or collective exists in an oligarchy that benefits the few rather than the good of the many.

What was it that Spock said? The good of the many outweighs the good of the one. He wasn't talking about socialism even though our friends on the far right, steeped in their dogma and religious righteousness, would have us believe so. They cast fear about in mannner similar to that of the Caesar's who cast coins and bread to the mob of Rome.

What will take place Tuesday will be a slaughter (or so I believe). The very conservative, religious Republican Party that came of age in the early 1990's under George Bush the first, will be thrown out. The voters will decide the future of the country for the next 2-4 years not some elite oligarchy that has served itself well with little concern for others.


I met Jake at Forbes Mill this morning. We ran the warm up in 25:40. My legs felt good but then I had had two full days off. Hank showed up for the hard loop. Jake was on his game today and led us up in under 11 minutes. Hank took off as soon as we made the turn. I pulled away too but I kept at tempo effort while Hank put the pedal to ther floor.

In the end we all broke 21. Jake ran 20:51, I ran 20:19 and Hank was well under 20 minutes.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It is what it is.

66 minutes yesterday morning. My legs were still tired from the Thursday-Saturday combo. I dragged much of the run which tells me that I am not strong enough to do this sort of thing (yet..if ever).

I believe the HRM will be the rule. The slower the better like it or not with one AT run every week or so.

It is what it is.

No work yesterday. It was nice.

But I am going back in for some unspecified period of time. That should start next week. I will parcel my every other day runs out between the morning's and lunch. It worked in the past.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


My last day "in role" at my latest client was Friday. Now it is over. I am still helping them to find a Director of HR but that does not require me to be there. I can work from home and be as involved or non involved as I wish.

I realize that my fatal flaw in consulting is not contracting more effectively going before going into the job. My relief pitcher mentality is not fail safe. I don't mind coming in with the bases loaded and none out as much as I mind coming in and finding out that my infield is sitting in the dugout chewing sesame seeds while I am out on the mound.Or even worse there was never any intention of there being an infield at all. That is exactly what happened to me over the last 3 months.

As a colleague once said to me, "If you can be free why not be free right now."

So in retrospect, and without guilt, I should have walked out the day Donna left. I stayed and I paid a price for that over and above the price they paid me for my services. But it wasn't their fault. I was the one who didn't leave. The only thing we really control is our reaction to something. The event will happen anyway.

The last several weeks in situ, with two of us there, I could see how the job was doable even though all I became was a more superior clerk. Or if I stayed, the head of the req committe or as we used to call it back in Atari: The baloon troop because when it was someone's birthday, baloons somehow magically appeared in your office.

I am moving on. Dunkirk and the battle for France is over. Now for the Battle of Britain.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Memory Workout

Another late morning. Didn't make it to the club run but did arrive in time for breakfast. I had already decided to run later and try a different type of workout.
I went out just a hair past 1 pm and ran 22 minutes easy and then hit the De Anza track. I ran 6 x 800 at just under an 8 minute pace with about a 100 meter walk recovery. It was really more of a memory run because an 8 pace doesn't come easy anymore. So I broke it down into digestible segments just to get the feel.

The whole thing came off okay given that it was in the low 80's and probably hotter on the track. In fact it felt like someone had a giant hairdryer pointed right at me. Eventually these should me miles. We'll see how I well I recover.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I am really beginning to detach from my present client. All the HR clerical stuff has been transitioned and I am just focusing on filling the HR Director over this week and next. There will be a moment when I will have to let that go too. What I do know is that I won't come this way again. The lesson was brutal and I am still puzzled on why the hell I stayed in there for 12 weeks. Yeah, I know. Duty, honor and professionalism but the price was way too high. Even in the transitioning process, I found that my successor kept blowing off meetings with me to huddle with the payroll clerk. I did win over the CEO but even that will be transitory. Once I depart, the imprint I leave will be the same that a hand leaves when pulled out of bucket of water. On the other hand, that will be preferable.

In a sense, I was never really there anyway.


It was Thursday at Forbes Mill. Last week I really sucked the big one and could not run hard. This week with normal sleep, I slapped on the HRM and ran a 20:38 staying between at or below 85% of max most of the way with a spike up around 90% towards the very end. It's a long way from sun 20 but it is was it is as Jake says. Jake ran well just failing to break 21 minutes, his best run in a year or so. Anyway, for the moment we're both back.

We both agreed that we need to shift to 3 days of running a week. So now I will make that move and see what happens.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Whoa (not woe) to the aging slogger

In 1990 I struggled with the fact that my body no longer was responding to every day running. In late 1990 I shifted to every other day training and within six months my racing times came back down rather sharply.

I may be facing another of those shifts. I now run 4 days a week and I have really become a slogger which in my mind is one step below a jogger. It is age and time on legs. I get that. Adding in more running and more time on my legs won't work. I know that from experience.

I am thinking of going to a 3 day running week and maybe another day or two of walking. Of course I will have to slap the HRM back on and test myself to see if I improve. I will also shift my calculated max down to 190. It may be higher but my guess s that it is no longer 195. What I am trying to elicit is a training response.

So 190 will be my max.

176 will be 90%

148 will be 70%

The goal is to become a jogger again. Per chance an age group runner. The quintessential 8-8 or 9-7 team (in NFL terms). Right now 2008 has been a 4-12 year. Maybe even 3-13.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Walking towards the gun

I think we are now a democratic socialist country or at least that is where we are headed. A 770 billion dollar bailout of businesses had taken the bottom out of any belief I might have held that there is a free market economy in the USA. In a way it had to be done. There is an historic precedent for this especially in 1892 and again in 1907. The government didn't do this in 1929-1932 and for various reason we tumbled into a deep depression with close to 25% unemployment (at tops).

What we have is freedom to speak our minds whether we have agreement with each other or not.

But I do hear much talk of helping each other and the common good and the disparity of earnings between the rich and poor and the word "poor" is now being expanded to cover those who we would once have called members of the middle class.

That is what this election is all about. It is a national rejection of an idea of free markets and allowing big business to operate in this market place. But big business blew it too and many of the "players" did not operate responsibly. The bailout came to prop up those who failed to follow good business practices, those who were impacted but were getting sucked down into the vortex and to keep some semblance of what we had before.

But enough people are tired of a presidency that didn't seem to care about the common man. That acted irresponsibly in putting us into a pointless war. That put us into harms way so to speak. I am not saying that all this was true but it sometimes seems that way. We'll never really know because we weren't in those smoke filled rooms of power. Maybe history will tell us.

In any case the price we have to pay is a democratic liberal congress and a democratic liberal presidency. How long we will have to pay this price, I don't know. The electorate will decide this. I even wonder if Ayn Rand were still alive how she would react to all of this.

There is no simple answer because today we have a world economy and our failure effected much of that which exists outside of our own borders.

It certainly has changed my plans. We took heavy paper losses on our investments. I still have plenty of F**K U money but now I can't just walk away. I stayed in a contract I hated longer than I wanted (it is ending this week). I am probably going back to a former client for another contract job but I have negotiated going in as an employee so that I get medical benefits. The costs of paying my own (you should try it some time) was getting out of hand. 40K last year for our family. That includes premiums and out of pocket. This will reduce that cost sizeably. When the job ends I will have COBRA which will take me to medicare (hopefully it survives). It will save me having to earn 60-65K a year just to net enough to pay for insurance.

My wife asked why I was going back inside. She knows I revel in being a consultant.

Someone had to take a bullet, I answered. But it is not an act of sacrifice. I am OK taking this bullet. In fact I am walking towards the gun barrel to take this "shot" because the work is something I want to do.


I ran another easy 60 minutes this morning. I tried to run a faster 800 in the middle someplace but frankly I didn't have the will power to carry it through. Getting back to running at a quicker pace is way off in left field for now.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Things I am learning from stock traders

I am reading about stock market traders. This is a world in which I have never spent an iota of time. But there are some lessons that carry over to any venture whether it be business or personal.

1. Patience. Classically market traders who fail (and even those who succeed) sell too quickly. On the other hand when things are going down, they often hang on too long.

2. Don't get attached to "things". Stock trading is both an art and a drug. It is an up and down game with big mood swings especially until you get the hang of it. Stock traders to show some of symbol of success buys fancy cars, homes and even airplanes. Things they lose when the market goes down and they get wiped out. You don't need a vacation home in Hawaii. That's what condo rentals and hotels are for. Stay lean.

3. Get out of the market now and then just to clear out the pipes. When you are in, you often can't see clearly. Get out when your gut tells you to. You can get back in later on.

4. Learn from others but go it alone. This is critical. No two people do it exactly the same. If you hook up with someone who is a success, listen and learn from them but don't worship at their alter. To be successful, you have to go it alone and trust your gut and feel.

5. The sound of panic and success in the market are often not what is really happening.

6. When things are going well, anyone can be successful. When things are going badly, the good ones either sell short or just get out. In any case stay lean and mean.

7. Never bet everything on one play.

8. Nothing goes up forever but sometimes the bottom can be very permanent.

9. Research and know your market.

10. You won't do well at something if you aren't passionate about it. The greatest traders were drawn into the game. They gave up education, safe careers and the opinion of others so that they could play in the market.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Very Strange Two Edged Sword

I was sitting in the CFO's office and he was talking about how the CEO was trying to meddle with Human Resources.

I am working all sorts of long hours, he said proudly. My wife had to go on her vacation alone because I couldn't get away from work.

Visiting family is not a vacation, I interjected. He pause slightly but didn;t really understand the irony of what I had just said.

Of course it was bulls**t. He works long hours because that is what he has surrounded the core of his life with. Hard work and long hours are his merit badges. His wife could be waiting home for him every evening (every day for that matter) and he would still be at work. He had retired but got bored sitting home on his duff waiting for things to happen. The death knell of the old. The only thing that is going to happen is death unless you have another purpose. It can be working on your tan. Let's not get moral about it. Just something you enjoy doing. Something that gives you happiness.

That can be a return to work if that is what is gets your rocks off.

But he has made it into a religion. A place of worship.

I work such long hours.

I do real work.

I work so hard.

No one appreciates me.

A modern Babbitt.

The unawareness of others is his hallmark but tempered by his general kindness and approachability. A very strange two-edged sword.


Afternoon running is becoming addictive. The cooler weather has made this a real bonanza. I jogged an easy 50 minutes around the neighborhood.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

F**K U Money

The 17th came and went and I am still there. On coming and going from jobs: I never keep my promises. I just deliver work. I am definitely in the final transitional phase though. It is beginning of the end not the end of the beginning. The CEO wants me to stay but I told him that I would remain under two very important conditions.

1. The job reported to him.

2. I could physically move HR away from finance.

Of course I knew he wasn't ready to do this. He knew it. I knew it. We were honest with each other.

I didn't even discuss how the position would need to a VP level with a decent amount of stock. I didn't even go there. I didn't discuss how I could make the whole thing happen so that the CFO wasn't pissed off and that everything stayed in place. This will simply be one of those opportunities where I didn't reach for the brass ring.

It's good to shrug your shoulders now and then and move on. Besides if I took this, I would have to wonder why I didn't become VP of HR at Silicon Image several years back.

I am sleeping again. Two nights in a row. I decided that for now I am turning my back on the investments. They are fairly safe and will bob up and down until things settle down and the panic and fury have ceased. I still have F**K U money. I can still leave or be fired and survive for a decade or longer. That was my goal anyway.

It's not retirement but then I never planned on really retiring. At least not now. I won't be that old man on the beach laying in the shade of the cliffs with all the free time in the world. It all ended up differently than I originally figured it would but different ain't that bad.


I ran 60 minutes this afternoon. I threw in four 20 second striders towards the end. It has occurred to me that it is about 3 months since I last injured my calf.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sleepless in The Valley (again)

Ocean of Paperwork

Another crummy night's sleep. Things are seeping through the cracks in my brain. The cortisol is giving out.

I drove over to Forbes to run with Jake, did two loops and a bit extra but there was no gas in the tank so I kept it easy. Had a nice breakfast with Jake and Wally afterward.

The good thing is that I almost finished with my present client. Tomorrow is really my last day even though I believe that things will roll into next week but more in a transitional sense. There is an insanity there I cannot fix. The root cause if the leadership of F&A and until that changes nothing will really change.

The CFO is a nice guy. I like him.

Say it one more time and then don't say it again, but man does he have a warped leadership model. I am certainly going to miss the ocean of paperwork.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bad Night at Black Rock

Bad night's sleep. Got the heebie-jeebies about our investment portfolio. I was so nervous that I went out on a run anyway. 62 minutes for 6 miles. I just took it as slow as I could. I almost fell asleep on the run.

Fighting off desire to stay at client. Things are better but the job still doesn't report to the CEO. It's still a finance job and that is clearly out of bounds for me.

Need to work on being calm. Yeah Xanax works but I need something else. Yoga. Meditation. The running helps big time as slow as it is. Give me a big crisis and I am fine but give me the day to day seige stuff and it wears me down.

Don't think that the real David Crockett just doesn't want to drop over that wall and take my chances out there. But this Davy Crockett just can't.

Surely thought by Davy Crockett while at the Alamo.

Late in the day I talked to Priscilla. Looks like I will be going back into SIMG as a recruiter. Normally it would be a contract job but I wanted it this time just because it wasn't. I get to work with really good HR people and I get medical benefits. I know the organization as well as anyone. The job is low enough in the hierarchy so that I can do some good without being distracted by rank and the innumerable meetings and garbage that go along with it. I can focus on what I do well.

Mostly it is the last stand of the Silicon Valley Warrior. The Thermopylae of my career.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


I have had a number of consulting assignments over the past. I guess I have been moderately successful. If I look at the jobs Where I went inside I would rate them this way using the same grading system we used when I was in school.

By the way, my rating is based on a combination of things but primarily include my general enjoyment of the assignment and my perceived effectiveness.

Sonic Wall: C+

Larscom: B+

Sun: B+


Schoonerinfotech: -D

Guidewire: D

If I look at the last year and a half, I would have to say there has been a marked deterioration of my effectiveness and enjoyment. I have been fooled twice. Both Schooner and Guidewire played to my weaknesses rather than my strengths. In both cases I was talked into coming in when my gut told me otherwise.

The lack of the use of the word "no" on my part comes to mind.


I ran another 65 minutes Sunday afternoon. Great conditions excluding some wind gusts that knocked me to a standstill. Generally the wind was mild. No complaints. I am just not fast anymore. A 9 minute pace feels like a 7 minute mile used to feel with one exception. I don't seem to be able to drop the hammer and pick up the pace. It's like I have two speeds. Slow and slower.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


It has been quiet at work. Busy but quiet. My desk is starting to fill up again. The CFO and I are working well together and my HR Specialist and I are actually teaming. If this was what the job really was I would have planned to have stayed beyond next Friday. But Jabba the Hut (N) is still there lurking but keeping out of my way for now. The job is crazy but I have now identified her as the definitive linchpin or the crux of the problem.

She goes AWOL from good behavior when the stress get turned up and her favorite target is me. But for now she has been warned off good and straight. She knows I will fight back and the CFO has told her that any more tirades will put her harms way.

So the non-zen lesson is if a bully starts to push you around P-U-S-H back. Unfortunately I seem to have to learn this one over and over again. That big target on my back. I know it is there.

In any case, I can almost trick myself into staying for another two week. One can become used to ones prison.

On the running front: Once again it's Saturday and I did not go over to the club workout. I woke up slowly, drank a mug of coffee and then went over to meet the guys for breakfast. In the early afternoon, I ran a slow and easy 65 minutes through the neighborhood.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Thermopylae and Peace

I brought my badge and key into work today expecting to leave it but instead was convinced to sat until the 17th. I am working on some projects and helping the new HR Specialist out (we finally talked today). She is working 11 hour days.

"Yes, I know. I was in your job," I reminded her. I looked at her desk. It's a mass of paper just like my desk was last week. She is trapped the same way I was. "Let me help," I offered.

Mike asked me how N could get under my skin. "You are an exec level person. She is a payroll clerk."

I told him that I am a consultant and that in my rule book consultants don't fight back unless that is their job. He asked me how I would handle it. I told him that she would be on a PIP and on her way out if she continued to target people in the way she had targeted Donna and myself.

"But that isn't what you want me to do, is it?" I asked rhetorically. What amazes me is that they tolerate that sort of behavior at all. How can she ever learn it's not alright to act that way? She won't here. At least not now.

I guess if I was a Spartan then I would be dead on my shield or laid out by the sandy shores of the Aegean at Thermopylae. It was very peaceful there the day after the Spartans fell to the last man.

It was peaceful today. The most peaceful day of work I have had in 10 weeks.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Pork Chop Hill

There are these "endless tapes" running in my head about this job. It is like Borland. It is easy to reshuffle things and think that I could have done it better but the plain fact is that I played it the best I could given the circumstances and lost out. As a friend said jokingly, "So you really didn't make a difference". We both laughed but I agreed. It was a bit like Pork Chop Hill where a USA army unit takes this hill in Korea in 1953 but has to give it back up after the peace is signed. The hill became part of the DMZ.

I am still there up on the hill for now but am getting ready to go back down. I seemed to be cut off. I send emails to the HR person, payroll and the CFO but they don't respond. My best guess is that I am being frozen out (see last post). My plan right now is to get out suddenly and rather quickly. At this point I will win no points by staying plus right now I am undergoing subtle humiliation (I am very hard to humiliate but I do have the air of the walking dead about me). This has to be the toughest part of a bad contract. Leaving. There is no good way out except to be cut the cord. If I stay I will be humiliated. If I go some people will be disappointed but the having to take crap end right away.

So my plan is simply to leave my key and badge in my office and send an email afterward saying I have left the building. Pretty cheap behavior but since the CFO refuses to stop the whippings, I really have no choice. It all falls in line with guerrilla fighting. Hit, run, attack, withdraw. Don't be a target.


Guerrillas must plan carefully for withdrawal once an operation has been completed, or if it is going badly. The withdrawal phase is sometimes regarded as the most important part of a planned action, and to get entangled in a lengthy struggle with superior forces is usually fatal to insurgent, terrorist or revolutionary operatives. Withdrawal is usually accomplished using a variety of different routes and methods and may include quickly scouring the area for loose weapons, evidence cleanup, and disguise as peaceful civilians.


Ran with Jake this morning @ Forbes. He wanted to try and break 21 minutes on our second up and back. I let him lead and he got us "up" in 11:20 but then he decided to take a short break and I glided back down the hill in 9:26 running 20:46.

Frankly, I was tired so I was glad to run off pace going up. I knew it meant that I would not break last week's time but that is OK. I don't need to set a PR every week. That leads nowhere good.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Subtle But Sudden Change

I ran an hour this morning. Finally got back to the college track and hooked up with Nadia. It's been months. We ran some laps together and caught up. The run was good. My legs felt rested.

Work was a mixed bag. There has been subtle but sudden shift away from me. The HR Specialist has chosen to ally herself with the former HR Manager and the payroll person. This means that she doesn't come to me for advice at all. I am supposed to leave on the 17th but this latest development tells me to get out earlier. I have quickly become irrelevant. My emails have gone way down and the whole transitional part of my job has become unimportant.

My plan is that if this continues into Thursday and Friday (and I have no reason to believe it will be otherwise) I will simply leave and let them know by email.

After ten weeks in this hole I am no longer courting anyone's favor. Either the organziation that put me in in the first place, nor the CFO's. The HR Specialist has voted to not use me and she may have been the last reason I was hanging in there. I get why she has allied herself the way she did because ultimately she has to survive and I am yesterday's history.

Very against type for me but this is the game I am playing. I may not have controlled how I played it, but I can control how I walk off the field.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Creeping Back In

When you occupy a job where there is already a strong culture, you can expect that upon leaving, no matter how hard you tried to bring about a change, the the old culture will creep back in.

That is what will happen when I leave my present client. I can see it already.

The I can do it coach, heroic culture is seeping into the ground I cleared for my successor.

The CFO will step back in and become the supposed leader of HR. He has not made move to bring in another consultant to take my place.

The HR Specialist will not really have day to day help (because in reality do we really need two people when we can work one to death) and she will gradually assume the same role that my predecessor had. In fact the predecessor is coming back to show her how to do stuff. I told the specialist not to let her pull her back to the old model but I can already see it happening.

The old alliance between payroll and HR are being repaired. I ripped it asunder because it fed on itself but not "asunder" enough for it not to begin to come together again in the sea of paper strategy that burned out the last HR person.

It is a bit like abandoning the city to the jungle. Come back in a decade or so and you'll find the vines and crawlers have covered over much of the stone, reclaiming the buildings for the jungle. In time you'll never know that the city was actually there.

My presence will be like a hand in a pail of water. It will leave little of no imprint. It also gives me permission to leave early. The 17th is a handy date but if things go south as I believe they will, then I will ride out of Dodge one morning when least expected.

They will hate that but at the same time they will be relieved.

Note to myself: This is the first place I have worked as a consultant where it seems to be a crime to take lunch.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Zoo Animals: How to Get Out Of Dodge

Bad jobs can slowly kill your spirit. They can destroy your enjoyment of life.

Don't stay any longer then it takes to find a new job and if you can't wait that long, quit and spend the time you used to toil at work looking for that next thing.

No, you are no weaker in your job search if you are out of work. It is all in your head or in your wallet.

My first recommendation to a worker is to put 6 months salary in the bank. This is separate from anything else you save. This is critical. It is your emergency account. Not for that new car or HDTV but in case you are fired or choose to leave your job voluntarily.

Oh, I can't do that?


You have to do that and in fact a year in the bank is even better.

You own the job or the job owns you.

Tahiti people say you eat life or life eat you. I think that was the Marlon Brando version of "Mutiny on the Bounty".

I have left jobs for every reason under the sun but I have also hung in there (by my neck) because I was handcuffed to work by the need for money. The worst was my last full time regular employee job. I had a great deal of stock vesting but worked for a real bastard of a boss. But I stayed in there, took daily flak (and it was daily) and eventually cashed in after the company went IPO. The verbal beatings were those of a vicious bully who terrorized half the company into silence. After cashing in, I stayed on just to help get rid of him instead of getting out of Dodge. He was eventually fired but the price of staying was high. It took me months to recover. For 9 months I just lazed and relaxed. Then I went back to work as a consultant.

We are trained to stay and suffer. How silly. I still have to relearn that lesson. Money doesn't free you up if your mind is that of a zoo animal. The bird who lived in a cage so long that even when they took the top off, the bird never tried to fly away even though there was nothing restraining it from taking wing.

Zoo animals.


On Monday I am going to begin the strategic physical withdrawal from my present client's territory. In a way it is like pulling troops out of an occupied country. You have to do it in stages. At first it appears as if you might not actually be moving out but within a few days it becomes obvious as the time factor kicks in. The plain fact is that in 14 days my presence will NOT be there anymore. So a quick transition, a promise of availability by phone and email and puff.


Saturday, October 04, 2008

Urban Legend

I joined the running club for breakfast this morning and couldn't help noticing that a new woman had joined us. Her name was was Irina and it didn't take me long to figure out that she was Russian. She had already been warned about me. I guess there is an urban legend about how I chased off one gal by asking her if she was going to pick up her bosses laundry. She was an executive administrative assistant.

"You son of a bitch," she said as she walked out on the arm of her boyfriend, James Dean. No, not that James Dean. I haven't seen her or Dean since.

Can't people take a joke?

That gal was sort of plump and I think she really didn't like running that much anyway.

Irina wasn't phased at all by my reputation. She is looking for a job and I gave her my card. Russian girls are tough.

I asked her send me her resume. Seems that she is 34 and going through a divorce. Dimitri was at the breakfast table too but made it plain to all of us that the club was sacred and a relationship with a member would make is awkward. Sounds like me when I was much younger and single and avoided asking out Marilyn, a very cute little blond, for much the same unenlightened reason. But that was back 30 years ago.

Besides if Dimitri wants to get married he can always join one of those Russian Bride sites. Their seems to be an infinite supply of Russian women who want to marry older American men so they can immigrate to the USA, then drop the guy, go clubbing and marry a much younger man.

All Russian women these days seem to be blond even if they are not.


I ran an easy 62 minutes this afternoon shortly after a series of rain clouds swept through the Bay Area wetting down the streets. The air felt clean and fresh.

First rain!

Career versus Job

I was watching comedian Chris Rock do a bit on a job versus a career. It was pretty funny but had some core truths.

A job is 9-5. You get in, you get out. You clock watch. You get breaks and short lunches.

In a career you don't clock watch. You want to be wherever it is that you practice your craft.

In a job the boss the man (as in working for the man).

In a career, you are the man (or the woman).

In a job you get pay raises and performance reviews.

In a career you get paid and sometimes you don't but you don't really care about reviews. They can't stop you from doing what you do. They may not pay you but that is not the key element.

In a job, your skills are not visibly portable. You focus on the place you work and allow yourself to get fenced in.

In a career your skills are portable. You can take them with you. No job is the job. No company is the company.

In a job you never do 24-7.

In a career you are always 24-7 but people around you aren't that aware of it.

Career is a state of mind. You can have a job but treat it as a career, You can have a career and treat it as a job.

I hate jobs (or gigs as I call them).

I realize that whenever I accept a consulting assignment that looks, tastes and feels like a job, I usually end up unhappy.

Words to watch for: "We do real work here."

Real work means a job not a career work.

Say yes to career and no to jobs.

My soon to be last assignment is a job. Surrounded by job folks. That is the reason I have hated it as much as I can hate anything. Not the people but rather the framework. The CFO's mantra is that he values real work.

I never wanted to come in on the weekend and catch up. I tried several times but couldn't make myself get in the car and go. I never wanted to stay late. I tried that too. It's not that I believe coming in on the weekend or staying late is necessary. It's that when I am doing career work, I never thought about it. I would just go do it.
At this place I thought about it all the time.

Friday, October 03, 2008


I have shortened my @work hours.

@work is the same as "at Work". I am beginning the long slow glide out of this place. The 17th will be my last day. I am exhausted and there is a constant tightness across my chest when I am there. I am tired of living on Xanax and cliff bars. Today was sane because my specialist is kicking in and doing good work. I worked 4 hours and then got out as quickly as I could which turned out to be early afternoon.

Get out

Get out

Get out

Two weeks to go. A job that was but never should have been. I had better be smarter next time around.

Yesterday afternoon I ran 35 minutes with Shel over at Stanford. We tried to go to the The Dutch Goose after for dinner but there was a McCain-Palin event going on there. The Republicans had taken over the place. Long lines to order food and not enough people behind the counter or on the grill. We ended up not staying. I drove home and made myself a salami and cheese sandwich on wheat with a coca-cola chaser. I watched the debate.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Departure & Blowup

From the Black Swan by Taleb

I gave my client notice today. My outside departure date is October 17th.

To leave this place
To which I should never have come
A cloud of paper
A morass of process
I put it all down
And leave it to them
Those who stay to be buried under the weight of it
I was never any good at it anyway
It will be a relief for them and me
But mostly for me.

On another topic: This whole fiscal disaster is a black swan event.

Nobody really predicted it. Not the way it came down. It was considered highly improbable and even though a few seers foresaw a possible fall from grace, the reality is that had we seen it coming we would all have moved to safer ground. Especially those deeply invested in the market. Now it has come but not gone. Panic has set in. The herd is running towards the cliff. Any one of us could stand our ground and face this off but once allow ourselves to get caught in the flow, we're dead men. Hurtling out into space, our final moment of cognizance focused on the long fall to earth.

The fault is that our lives are based on money and the greed for things and more things rather than life itself. It controls us rather than we controlling it. So we are open to attack. We are exposed horribly. Panic is insatiable. It creeps up your spine to your throat and chokes you.

We are all Chicken Little and the big blue sky is falling (even if it is not).

I called my broker the other evening just to wish him well after what I knew had been another tough day. He was wound so tight I wasn't really sure he was human anymore.

I can't talk now.



I can't hear you!

I can't talk now.

Maybe I got the wrong number. It must have been another person's broker.

It made me laugh. I have been there. I know what it is like. How silly we sound. We shriek rather than talk. We devolve backward to apes again. Sitting in the trees overlooking the great rift valley, 3 million years ago, shrieking when a beast of prey comes close.


I ran a 29 minute warm up with Jake this morning and then ran a loop in 20:39. Jake didn't try to stay up. He of the back to back to back hard days. I ran 7 minutes slow afterward to get rid of the effort.