Goofs and Gadflies

Friday, July 29, 2005

Let's do it.

In a move that stunned a few people last week, I made a very significant and life altering change.

I quit. I resigned my position at the company I have worked for in some capacity or another for the last 16 years. I gave my two weeks notice and I am moving on to a similar position in a similar field.

That's where the similarities end. I asked myself what I didn't like about my job and what I felt it was missing. Then I went to apply at a company who could offer me those qualities in a job. Three interviews later I am hired, and I am now beginning the exciting new solo adventures of a sales guy in a large corporation.

Doubt springs eternal. Can't let it get you down though. Have to soldier on in spite of the fear of failure. For what is failure but another opportunity to learn and eventually succeed. Indeed this blog post is probably the result of a past failure to write something someone would find vaguely interesting.

Why did I do this? I was getting a stale taste in my mouth. I was beginning to feel like an order taker and not a salesman. I was functioning in a repetitive loop that wasn't bringing me new challenges or successes. Life became about maintaining a bunch of plates spinning on sticks. I wasn't learning new skills or addressing weaknesses in my performance. I had no goals or measurements for success. I needed a mentor, some structure, and a defined territory in which to develop the skills that I lacked. What good is an abundance of opportunity if there is no one to teach you how to reach for the golden ring?

This is also the chance for me to get out of the shadows of my father. He is a brilliant salesman who is highly regarded in the industry. It never was a case of nepotism or favor incurred on his behalf. Every deal I put together or assisted on bore the mark of my efforts. There was nothing given to me that I didn't add to and make into something better. But the politics of having a famous father in the business meant that sometimes the questions were raised. Fair or not, my position and success were always measured in the terms of who I was the son of and not how I created business from vision and effort.

I go on to my new position feeling like this will be the true test of my abilities. I will see if I am meant for a life in sales because this position is a pure sales job. This is a force of professional sales people which I am joining. I have to control my rogue instincts and learn to function in a supportive environment. Too often I would say "screw it" and do things myself, holed up in the office until darkness fell. I have to learn to trust others to work on my behalf. I have to learn a thoroughness and attention to detail so that I may communicate effectively through my work and not through my words. I must plan my day ahead of time, and be prepared to accept new challenges without disrupting the goals I have set.

The journey is to become a complete and skilled individual. I'm excited because I have always dreamed of working for the company that hired me. Ever since I was a kid, this company represented the gold standard for professionalism in my industry. People aren't surprised I made the jump. Its a good fit for me and the resounding opinion is that I will be very successful in this organization.

But will I be happy? The job change was one of three key areas I needed to adjust in this new era of personal responsibility. This trio of personal improvements were conceived of in a moment of clarity onset by the descent into madness. I said to myself "If I could just do these three things, I could be happy" Well that's only half true. I said it would allow me to do something that would make me happy. What are the other two areas? Not really something I think would make for an interesting blog, but if I ever get to the point where I have accomplished these further two goals I wil revisit their appropriatness as topics for discourse.

What's my motivation? It changes. I don't cling to notions. That would just keep me hanging on. I'm here, feet planted firmly on the ground, ready to take some steps on the moon.

I'm feeling apprehensively overjoyed.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

One is the Lonliest Number

February Stars
Floating in the Dark
Temporary Scars
February Stars
-Dave Grohl

There are some places in my head which are truly isolated. Spaces which are rarely tapped into but convey the true nature of my existance. I have this connection to the world that defies explanation. It reveals itself as a predispostion to kindness and sensitivity, but it is born from a collective unconscious that I belong to. I feel a connection to others that could be described as deeply magnetic. I am drawn to people and the stories they tell in their eyes. So when I get to tap into that isolated area, the area of my mind I keep just for myself (a secret garden), it offers me a vision of where I am in relation to no one else but myself.

A record of solitude
The impression stands
Get in a pool of tears
Flexible, fervent streams

Fleeting fame from a sidewalk window
facing North and South for the first time
Compasses galore, with no one to follow
Walk to the place I would never find

I took some time on the weekend to meditate on the concept of singularity and isolation. I attempted to disconnect myself from everything and everyone in an effort to be reborn into myself. I turned off the cell and the chat messengers. I walked, shopped, and exercised some more. I was with other people but isolated in my mind. I was in a trance like state, oblivious to all that I had ceased any emotional connections to the world. This was a test of my inner strength.

As I drove home from the gym, I focused a set of thoughts in my mind. I created a mindset to map a logical order of the systems in my life. I shut down my consciousness and as I drove (slightly worried about getting into an accident because I was vanishing in spirit) I felt my essence disappear from the collective energy I feed into. My sense of belonging and identity went out the window as I drove in complete silence. I felt a darkness and silent lucidity overcome me as the wheels spun against the cracked pavement. Nothing is perfect, and there is nothing left to lose. My heart contains a fire that is fueled by the breath of others. The fire runs dim, it needs nourishment to regain a healthy glow. It is easier to slip into these moments of isolation than ever before. These are the thoughts I shared with myself as I drove myself home.

I finished the exercise in failure. I could not refrain from connecting to the comfortable safety of others. I reached out. I yearned for a connection to the outside world that sought me as well. My own company was insufficient. That is something I would like to work on. I need to find validity in the essence of self. I had set out for a day of isolation, but found that I was sick of myself. I think that if nothing else, that observation made the entire exercise have some value.

I saw the movie "Crash" last week. Written by Paul Haggis (Million Dollar Baby), it recounts the supercharged atmosphere of Los Angeles as experienced by a number of radically different people. But they are all connected, and that is what I was trying to do, find myself among the connections I have made in my life. Capture my essence in the ethreal elements of a friend's smile. See myself in someone else's eyes. I needed a paradigm shift and a affirmation that I am what I say I am.

The day also led to furious bouts of writing. My thoughts clicked through the keyboard like a torrential rain on the Gulf Coast. Most of it will never see the light of day, but may be the start of a fictional book I've been writing in my head. Unfortunately, "Are you there G-d, it's me Margaret" has already been written. The book I want to write would read like a collaboration between Judy Blume and Hunter S. Thompson. I actually have about 5 posts sitting in the Draft Folder waiting to be pieced together. Unfortunately I seem to enjoy the summer heat and the beat on the street, so the blogging outlook will continue to waver between "half-assed" and "negligent".

Till then.