Big Dan's Ramblings

Ramblings from a Boston Boy stuck in New York

Tag Archives: life

Similarities Between Snowboarding and Life

But back in college I was reading an article about a professional rider and they were quoted about their views on snowboarding and life. Now, I can’t remember the rider or the exact phrase (and about an hour worth of Googling didn’t help), but it went something like this:

Snowboarding, for all its inherent coolness, is not much different from life; it’s all about charging the gap and dealing with the consequences.

It always has stuck with me as a simple truth – in life, as in snowboarding, you have challenges that you need to conquer. Even when you think about the worst case scenario and decide you’re willing to deal with it – see my previous post on Father Knows Best – you still need to execute. Just charge hard and figure it out when you get through with it.

Father Knows Best – The Best Advice I've Ever Received

How my old man has guided my decision making throughout the years.

You spend the first part of your life providing unconditional love to them, the next part insisting that they are wrong at every corner, and the rest of your life realizing that they actually knew what they were talking about. Of course, I’m writing about fathers.

My old man was, and still is, a straight shooter. Want to know where you stand with him, just ask. He won’t pull any punches. And, from the beginning he was always looking out for me and guiding me to be the man I am today. How did he do it? By providing a solid role model who never took the shortcut and always did the right thing, no matter how hard and socially-unaccepted it was.

He lived by one motto when making a decision and it still holds as the best advice I’ve ever received. Very simply, it goes like this:

Think of the worst thing that can happen and it probably will.

Yes, it’s a pessimistic look on life – at the beginning. At first it seemed like he was all gloom and doom – expecting the worst possible outcome at every turn. But, I learned over the years that what he was really saying was:

Think of the worst thing that can happen. Are you willing to live with that outcome?

Want to touch that hot stove when you’re a kid? Are you ready to get a burnt hand? Want to skip doing your homework in junior high? Are you ready to get detentions (and probably punishment at home)? Think you’re ready to bring that relationship with your girlfriend to ‘the next level?’ Are you ready to be a dad (that was a BIG one to think about in high school)?

It’s always been a question I ask myself. Hell, I even use this advice in smaller life situations. When I was thinking about whether I was going to keep my earrings in during interviews I thought about whether I was willing to lose a job I really wanted due to some older person’s misguided opinion. In the end, I wasn’t and took the earrings out for the interview (I got the job – although I don’t know that taking the earrings out was what tipped the scales).

So, thanks Dad! You’ve helped me make the right decisions in life and have taught me to think before I leap. Sometimes I wish I didn’t – I’m less spontaneous because of this advice – but, for the most part, I’ve made the right decision because I think through the consequences of my actions.

What’s the Haps, Jack?

Once again, I go a while without update. But, there is a good reason for it. I’ve been busier than a, well, I’ve been pretty damned busy.

Let’s see, last you heard, it was early March and I was just working a job as a contract/temporary mechanical designer while still getting the house done. Here’s what’s happened since:

House
Ris and I got all the painting done that we wanted to do. The living room, dining room, kitchen, master bedroom, 1/2 bath, and den are all done. Thank God! That just sucked! I’m so glad it’s done.

We hosted Passover and Easter at the house this year (the two reasons why the painting got done) and they went off without a hitch. We could use a bit more furniture in the house for folks, but it definitely fits everyone. It was nice to have everyone at our place for a change. And the wife made some GREAT food!

Now that the weather has warmed a bit, our attentions have turned outside. We planted a couple of vegetables (tomatoes, broccoli, eggplant, red peppers, and green beans). I think we planted a little too early though. The peppers seem to have died and the eggplant and tomatoes seem to be clinging on. We do have a few sprouts of green beans though! I’ve got some more tomatoes, peppers, and a few other items that I’ll be planting now that I believe the weather is warm enough. Actually, I had this great idea for this really big garden, but when I went to till the soil, I found out that the area I chose (which was marked off by the previous homeowners) actually had a tree in it. The previous owners ripped down the tree, but didn’t remove the stump or roots. So, now I’m going to spend my entire spring working this big f’ing stump out of the ground. Yippee! I probably won’t have it out in time to plant either. Pisses me off.

Other than that, all is well with the house. The yard is being maintained nicely (it’s in dire need of a grooming though) and the rest is good!

Work
I got a job! A real “you have benefits and vacation” job! I’m working as a Manufacturing/Reliability/Mechanical Engineer at a company out in Westhampton Beach. So far, all is well. I love it. The best part is that I’m working with a lot of people from my old company, so it’s quite comfortable.

That’s about all for now…more updates later.

Greener Pastures

Here I go again. I can’t sit still. I can’t create a foundation. I can’t enjoy consistency. I can’t stand the status-quo. I always wonder what-if. I can’t say ‘no’ to a potential change. I can’t stand stagnation.

That’s right, I’m changing jobs again.

For those of you that know me, this shouldn’t come as any great surprise. I have this tendency to go to a job, do a great job up front, make good contacts, get bored and move on. Hey, give me credit. I lasted about 2.5 years this time.

I’ll write more about the new job later – I’m on a (current) work computer right now. Needless to say, it’s a move in the right direction for my wife and I. I’m very excited/anxious/curious/scared about the new position. But, that’s nothing new. Those are all emotions I’ve felt every time I’ve switched jobs. OK, more new later…I’m going home soon.

MiT?

Management in Training?

One can only hope/dread… The long story turned short is that my boss, the Mechanical Engineering Supervisor, had jury duty last week and is in Malaysia this week for work. The guy under him with the most seniority was finishing up his last week here (off to greener pastures), so I was left in charge. Apparently my robust 2.5 tenure here as allowed me the benefit of being the most suited for the job.

It was actually a good experience for me. I’ve been thinking about which direction I’m looking to go in – management or technical – and this gave me a flavor of the management side. I, obviously, have a feeling for the technical side. Now, after being able to eat from both sides of the table, I’m not sure which way I want to go. The technical aspect is great – I get to be on the leading edge of technology and build the ‘machines of tomorrow.’ Meanwhile, the management side is very interesting because I can help mold the direction of the company while being responsible for certain projects.

I tend to lack a general confidence in my technical ability and that, along with my innate sense of needing/wanting organization, is actually making me lean towards the management side. There are a LOT of things I need to work on, however, if I’m going to be a manager. Just to name a few:

  • Ability to say NO: I’m a pleaser. I always have been. You need that print? Let me stop what I’m doing and get it for you. You need a solid model of that assembly? Give me 15 minutes. I need to be able to step back, access my situation and be able to tell someone that I’ll have time at the end of the week or that I simply can’t do that in the time frame they are dictating.
  • Quick Thinking: My thought process is a bit more plodding and methodical than most and I tend to not be able to think quick on my feet. It’s something I need to build on.
  • They aren’t going to eat you: Upper management is a fear of mine – I’m afraid to say the wrong thing at the wrong time to the wrong person. It takes a great build up of nerve for me to disagree with a superior. Going back to my thought process – I tend to try to think what they are thinking before I disagree and that tends to make me look slow and more like a ‘yes man’ than I need to be.
  • Total Recall: There’s a reason why I write things down – my memory is shot. I don’t remember specifics at all. I know exactly where I need to dig to get specs, technical info, notes, etc. BUT, I suck at recalling them off the top of my head. I’m horrible with names as well.
All that being said, management is looking like the option for me – at the moment (I reserve the right to change my mind). I like organizing everyone and having my hand in the pot a bit more. I guess there’s also a little bit of ego/power-trip going on there too. I like being the go-to guy – as long as I have the info. That was the hardest part of this week. I was the go-to guy, but I didn’t have access to schedules, data, budget, or product specs like a normal manager would. That made making some of the decision rather difficult. All in time though.

So, guess I should start looking into that MBA a bit more now.