Out of the storm

2008 – 2009 was a pretty tumultuous year for the financial world. The housing market bubble burst, many were homeless and jobless. The United Stats government had to step in and bailout the major banks with billions of dollars.

It was the beginning of the great recession. Since 1948 there have been 11 economic recessions. A recession is an era of economic decline A recession requires to consecutive quarters of decline if there is only one quarter of decline it is just a contraction. Most economies experience contractions and recessions.

Recessions are more notable in the history of an economy because, of the damage and unemployment that comes with recessions.

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Employment provides much for the employer. Through employment people find, a salary to use money to feed their family, health benefits (at least in the United States), purpose and social interactions. To loose in one fell swoop money, health benefits, purpose and social interactions is jarring and traumatic and I think this is why comparing a recession to a storm is apt. Recessions are bleak and can lead to depression, during most recessions suicide rates rise! How can we weather these storms.

It is possible to not only survive recessions but some have come out of recessions even stronger, Microsoft, Electronic Arts, iRobot, Airbnb, Slack, WhatsAp, Square, Uber, Instagram and Pinterest were all founded during recessions.

The recession storms are not good but, if you can find a way to get money, health benefits, social interactions and purpose outside of your workplace you may discover that, surviving or even thriving during a recession is more likely what happens.

Most people spend forty hours a week at work, and it can be tempting and easy to use work to develop our social structures. When this is done however we run the risk of the storm taking away everything. It can be exhausting but rewarding now and in the future. Building a robust and fulfilling social life is and should be a big part of our mental health. Brunch with friends and rotary meetings are more than just alcohol breakfast and gossip sessions they are mental health work outs.

That’s nice

Just the other day I finished a task that was assigned to me in one of the software programs used by my team at work. After finishing each task the software plays a gif that has confetti exploding and I have to admit it makes me feel kind of good. The software we use is Monday dot com. Monday is project management software and uses project boards and to do lists. To do lists are powerful hacks that, when used properly make us very productive.

The reason that lists are considered a hack is because of dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical that the brain releases and makes us feel good. Dopamine helps move signals in our nervous system. A healthy happy person will have an appropriate level of dopamine in their body. When we cross off a list item and see confetti we trigger a dopamine release in our brains. Other ways to trigger the release of dopamine are, eating foods that are high in magnesium and tyrosine as well as engaging in healthy habits that make us happy like exercise meditation family time and petting a happy pet. Checking off things from a to do list is probably one of the closet things we can do at work that resembles petting a happy well behaved dog.

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Besides dopamine, lists offer focus. So until we can bring our dogs to work I will stick with my to do list. No if they allow me I would bring in my four legged friend and keep the to do list.

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Without them

Women are the reason everyone is here on earth right now. It’s true through birth women bring human life to earth. Women rock, I was raised by a strong woman and have had the guidance and support of strong women in my family and friend group for my whole life.

Today is International Women’s day and we should of course take the time to celebrate and thank the women in our lives but we should also adhere to and promote this years IWD theme which is Embrace Equity.

Equity is fairness and impartiality. There is a major difference between equity and equality, equality provides men and woman equal pay (this is not currently happening) equity is providing every worker what they need to be successful. Often, women are the primary care care providers for families and because of this role many women may need (as well as equal pay) flexible schedules or childcare provisions and support and understanding from colleagues.

I am willing to bet that among my two readers of this post there is not a person who can change women’s pay in their workplace or their schedule however there are probably, among my tow readers, at least one person who works with a woman. As a colleague you can be a voice and an advocate and a help. For our women coworkers we should be willing to sacrifice and help bring equity to the workplace. Working around their schedules and in rare and extreme circumstances when we can sacrificing our personal time for women in the workplace.

These actions and advocacy will help influence the culture and ultimately change the workplace and maybe the nation. Do you believe it? I do, but let’s all work towards equity and see if it’s true.

Again happy IWD 23!!!

Always moving

Today is a Monday and this morning for me started slow then, it became a busy monday morning

Today is a Monday and this morning for me started slow then, it became a busy Monday morning. I started fielding calls for various issues. the day went quickly from slow to fast and I felt a little dizzy. It felt like the day was spinning and moving with me onboard and not strapped in. I could not get a good bead on the days movements. I took care of the issues at work then created a task list.

I have often found that lists help me regain focus, I like to create and work with lists. As I build the list I gain focus and as I work through the list I feel the oxytocin high from the hormones released by my hypothalamus. Another thing that helps with days like today is to a clear vision of how and what is going on with my day and lists help with that too.

You, me, everyone, and everything are always moving. Here is an interesting article about that,

To keep your balance, you must keep moving

Albert Einstein

Once we understand that we are moving, even if we don’t want to, we can gain perspective and develop good plans for our day, month year and life. One more thing that is important is to make sure we are flexible within our plan.

Nothing is more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it.

Lau Tzu

As you move on today remember that you are part of something big and moving and dynamic.! No matter what comes at you you can and will handle this

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Close to you

Promotions are a function of proximity. My oldest son started his career during the covid pandemic. He worked for his firm for a full year without ever visiting that firms office. Now that the world is entering the endemic phase of the Covid 19 virus he has of course visited the office but his in person schedule is still a little flexible.

There are business coaches who are now encouraging young people to get back into the office even if it is optional. Putting in face time really matters. People are social and physical creatures and connections matter. I have been reading and listening to many experts weigh in on the way the current and future workspaces look and every time I hear and read about the physical office and facetime I cannot help but think about the song (They Long to Be) Close to You by the Carpenters.

I am also reminded of a movie starring Bruce Willis called Surrogates. In the movie the whole world lives in their homes and send out surrogate bodies to the physical world to work and do their business. The movie is a dark sci fi movie and you learn the importance of connection to the visceral in the movie.

No matter how much human beings try to remove themselves from other humans and the physical world the fact that we are part of community and the physical world is inescapable.

The importance of showing up is often not given as much credit as it should be.

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That’s a tough one

If you could be someone else for a day, who would you be, and why?

On the surface this question seems easy to answer. Of course I could find someone who seems to have a charmed life and choose them. I could find a loved one and choose them so that I could help them and or see how they see me. But what makes a person the person they are? What would it be like to be a different person?

a thinking, intelligent being, that has reason and reflection, and can consider itself as itself, the same thinking thing, in different times and places

John Locke

Being a person means we can move with our imagination to different places and times. The question points to a time and place by mentioning “for a day”. The place would be the person. Every figure inhabits some position.

No to answer the tough question.. I would love to see what it would be like to be Super man. Super man is not my favorite super hero, Spider man is but I would love to have Super Mans powers if just for one day. All the physics that seem to inhibit me on earth wouldn’t exist for a day. I could fly to China in less than an hour without boarding a plane!

Ok non fiction person that I would choose or to be real.. I would probably love to be Joe Biden for just one day. I would love to get insight into what the leader of one of the most powerful countries in the world is privy to. I am sort of afraid that it might be boring but what if it is not? What if the president of the United States is briefed daily on the nations and worlds secrets? Man then I would love to know all of that.

secrets are pleasant to each child of eve

Hannah Cowley

It is a fun mental exercise to change places with others but at the end of the day I am pretty happy with being myself.

All I can do is be me whoever that is

Bob Dylan

Just over Broke

Do you enjoy your job?

I sat in the conference room and watched the presenter write the words Just over Broke on a white board. He then told everyone that the word Job was an acronym and stood for Just over Broke. The presenter let us know that he was offering a career not a job. It was a hard sell on selling. I tried the door to door salesperson thing and it wasn’t for me. I enjoyed meeting with new people everyday I did not enjoy meeting with an agenda. The agenda was to sell.

I have worked in a few industries and each business industry has its own nuances and idiosyncrasies. I honestly have not found a favorite industry or skill in the modern workplace. I have however enjoyed almost every job I have worked at. I have tried very hard to find the silver lining with every situation and my job is no different.

The jobs that I have enjoyed the most though have all the same aspects.

  1. I accomplish things. For jobs that I have enjoyed more than others I find that getting a sense of accomplishment is important. I get such a oxytocin high from starting my day off with a list and then crossing off the tasks as I finish them. Here is a great read about the importance of accomplishment.
  2. I worked with people who acted compassionately and kindly Jobs that I have enjoyed included teams full of positive kind and compassionate people. Work is always a team event and good teams are made up of good team members. Having a great team makes work that much better.
  3. I have worked in companies that have singular missions and ones that have missions that are convoluted. Singular missions seem to work better Everyone at work has there own reasons for being there and usually=y that is monetary however firms have vision statements and a reason that is not just “create profit”. Firms that have all employees working towards that vision are almost always better jobs.

Collaboration is a key part of the success of any organization, executed through a clearly defined vision and mission and based on transparency and constant communication.

Dinesh Paliwal

So I do enjoy my current job and I have no doubt it is because the workplace has me working on meaningful tasks, with great people and all of that is happening with one clear vision.

That cat was a genius

There was this comic strip panel that made the rounds in the 80’s, in the panel Garfield the Cat is wearing his pajamas and is frowning and slumped over. His thought bubble reads “I hate Mondays.” When asked in a Gallup poll how people feel about Mondays, 70 % of the people polled replied to the poll that they hate Mondays. Mondays can be tough especially when coming back from long weekends.

Monday is a change of sleep pattern and pace. Some of us are still in “weekend mode” and Monday morning requires exiting weekend mode and getting into “work mode”. Usually I am a big fan of Monday mornings. Monday is the beginning of something new. Everything that happened last week is over and now we have new opportunities and challenges. Sometimes though it takes a while for me to get out of “weekend mode”, and on those days it takes me a little longer to get started. On those days I have to find ways to start my week.

A good strategy for me is to start Mondays with a last week wrap up and begin to write out work tasks for this new week. Once my tasks are written I find one “easy win” task and try to accomplish this one first. The win helps motivate me and gets my Monday morning started.

Strategies can help us when dealing with the Monday Blahs. Whatever your startegyuis I know that you can do it! Good luck and have a great week and Monday!

That smell or ….

The lobby of a movie theater, the airport concourse, a train station, and the snack bar at a ball game. These are places as a child and an adult that give me an energy from smell and sight and feel that is almost indescribable. I love the feeling while I am in these places. I get excited.

Watching a movie or play is an event. The audience gets to join the actors in an hour and half on a escapist treat for the mind and the senses. Taking a trip to a different place is an event, the passengers of the train plane or automobile will soon be at a new geographic destination. A sporting event involves watching athletes perform and a huge amount of escapism. before and during events like these there is a nervous energy and an excitement that feels and smells different than everyday activities.

Doing new and exciting things in a safe environment is healthy and needed for growth.

Did you feel the excitement of the ride to come? If so, then you have felt potential energy.


Generating that excitement comes from learning and trying new things and it is hard to describe or bottle up but it is enjoyable. There is a smell and feeling to it and I wish this for everyone everyday. Never be to afraid to do something that gives you this feeling. Make today awesome

It’s a toss up

What is your favorite drink?

When I read this question I immediately thought of this book. The book is titled The History of The World in Six Glasses, in the book Tom Standage goes through the history of the world using the worlds most popular drinks. The book begins with beer and ends now in the modern era with water. The book was a great read and I suggest it to everyone when they are talking about drinking. I really enjoyed this book.

You heard right the book begins with beer, Beer was recorded in ancient Mesopotamia and used as a form of currency. Workers were paid with beer rations in the form of chits. Beer ran the ancient economy and is one of my favorite drinks.

Today there are over 100 different types of beer and I would love to try them all. micro breweries seem to be popping up all over the world and developing their own take on beer. Big breweries are also joining suite and developing different flavors.

There are basically 2 types of beer out there, maybe 100 flavors but they all fall in lager or stout. I really couldn’t tell you which one of the two beers or the 100’s of flavors is my favorite. I really enjoy a lot of the IPA styles however I am also enjoying the hard ciders (many say that the hard ciders are not beers at all).

Another drink I enjoy is coffee. I drink it every morning and sometimes in the afternoons. Coffee like beer also comes in 100’s of flavors and variations. Maybe it is the variations and differences that make me enjoy coffee and beer so much..

I t is important to embrace change as often as we can and why should my favorite drinks be any different?