CNO: Chief ‘No’ Officer

Finally catching up on weeks of RSS news I haven’t read, and I came across this on Seth Godin’s blog:

Appoint a CNO—chief no officer. No longer can someone say no to an idea and leave it at that. If you want to turn something down, you’ve got to pass it on to your boss. Then either he says yes or gives it to his boss. For a “no” to be official, it’s got to be approved by the chief no officer and countersigned by every manager along the way.

As he says, it’s not that simple, but it could be! This kind of an idea, this kind of attitude, could fix most problems I have with large companies. The culture of no, that I’ve spoken about to collegues multiple times, is a good part of what I have a problem with working for large companies. It’s far easier to do nothing than to do something, that after a while attempting to do the right thing becomes far more work than it’s worth, fighting against all the no answers between you and the top rungs. Businesses that maintain the status quo die, and the entire bureaucracy of the business is setup for people to protect their fiefdom’s and maintain the status quo. This is why you will find me working for small companies for the foreseeable future after this job is over.

A few funnies for today

This guy seems to find a lot of funny shit.

I didn’t vote!

Couple of comments in the last post about me not voting in the last presidential election. Well, as with all things I don’t do it usually comes down to laziness. I moved to Washington and didn’t get around to registering to vote here, because I had never changed my drivers license to establish residency. I was still registered in Arkansas, but I didn’t get around to setting up to vote absentee. So I didn’t vote. However, I’ve never bought into the idea that since I didn’t vote I can’t complain. I tend to take the George Carlin view of things, which I’ll quote here:

“I don’t vote. Two reasons. First of all it’s meaningless; this country was bought and sold a long time ago. Secondly, I believe if you vote, you have no right to complain. People like to twist that around – they say, ‘If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain’, but where’s the logic in that? If you vote and you elect dishonest, incompetent people into office who screw everything up, you are responsible for what they have done. You caused the problem; you voted them in; you have no right to complain. I, on the other hand, who did not vote, who in fact did not even leave the house on election day, am in no way responsible for what these people have done and have every right to complain about the mess you created that I had nothing to do with.�-George Carlin

Blog War!

I love Politics. It gets people so riled up, myself included. To give you an update, since this has been transpiring in the comments sections of our blogs, Sarah wrote a post, which basically asks, if you were a photographer and George W. Bush was drowning, would you take a Pulitzer winning photograph or save the man. I left this comment on her blog:

Sadly, in a situation like this, anyone who would look at anyone as anything other than a human being is no one I’d want to be associated with, I suppose yourself included. However, this “Moral Question” is total crap to begin with, and either if you wrote it yourself or are simply passing it along makes me wonder why anyone would bother to read your ramblings.

I thought it was pretty appropriate. Obviously, I pissed her off, because she left this comment:

Judging from your comment on my blog, you must be a republican. (There’s a warning in my profile that you won’t like what you read if you’re a republican, btw)–so why didn’t you just heed the warning and pass it by? I know how repugs don’t like to read anything that doesn’t agree with their own skewed view of the world.

You say I’m a horrible person for “not treating people like human beings”. Are you KIDDING me?! Do you REALLY think George W. Chimp treats the average Americans as a human being? Give me a break! Georgie doesn’t even KNOW any poor people–he’d have to PAY some poor guy to come visit or talk to him just so he could say he KNEW a poor person.

Georgie-Boy didn’t give a rat’s behind about all those poor folks trapped in New Orleans. It took him FOUR DAYS to even get off his couch in Crawford and reluctantly schlep back to Washington.

That being said, why do you think our Chimp-in-Chief should be treated any better or with any more respect than he treats the average middle class or poor American?

Firstly, she assumes I’m a Republican. I tend to vote Republican in a lot of positions, but I’m a swing voter. I would have voted for Kerry had I have bothered to register to vote in State of Washington. Secondly, what is up with people and their hatred for and assumptions about someone they don’t know? It can’t possibly be healthy to hold that much resentment for someone to where you spend the majority of your waking life filled with hate and spite for someone who merely holds a political office. I wonder about these people, especially the political bloggers, because they are consumed by their politics. I don’t even think the politicians are as consumed by their politics as these people.

Now, the humorous thing about this is that Sarah is obviously a Democrat, and immediately, with no prompting from me, you can see her attempt to steer the debate to Bush being ignorant of the problem of poverty in the US. Nice diversion, but I’m not falling for it. Hell, I totally agree that Bush has a terrible track record on addressing poverty. However, this firstly wasn’t about Bush, it was about Sarah, and secondly it certainly wasn’t about poverty. My comments were merely about that I felt the question was incredibly crass and stupid to begin with, irregardless of the politics. If I saw Adolf Hitler drowning I’d attempt to save him (besides the fact that it’s nearly impossible to recognize a drowning man), because no matter what a man has done in his lifetime, he deserves the same amout of respect in an emergency as anyone else. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use caution, since there’s no way of telling how much respect they’ll give you.

To Sarah: again, this wasn’t about politics. I happily read perspectives from both sides of the aisle daily. I enjoy good writing and healthy debate. Zealots are of no interest to me. If you’re unable to see why I felt your “Moral Question” post was both inane and inhumane, if you can only see the world in red and blue, if everything is about your political affiliation and nothing is about actual people, caring and human decency, then there’s really not much else to talk about. If you’ve lost your ability to empathize with a drowning man, no matter the man, and extend out your hand to help save him, then I am truly sorry for what must have happened to you to make you look at the world in that way.

“No man is a failure who has friends.”

My wife likes to make extensive fun of me for reading Wil Wheaton’s blog, mainly because of his former stint at Star Trek TNG. However, the frequent posts full of brilliant writing keep me coming back. A good writer relays to you a story that not only keeps you entertained, but causes introspection and thought for days to come. Wil is a good writer. In a recent post, Wil says:

On the way back to the freeway, we passed this lumber yard on Ball Road that always has interesting sayings on its sign. Yesterday, the sign said, “No man is a failure who has friends.”

The truth is, for a couple of months, I’ve felt like a huge, colossal, stinking failure in a lot of things that I’m not willing to go into right now. But spending a weekend with my friends, and a surprise Monday with my wife reminded me of some advice I’d been given and forgotten: Don’t let your work become your life, because when work isn’t happening, then what do you have?

Work may be frustrating, but life? Life is good.

I’m thankful that I can use Wil’s words, as mine often fail me. This sums up very well exactly how I’ve been feeling recently. Things are looking up for me though. Job prospects are good, lots of cool stuff happening on the personal front, including the move back to Fort Smith. I’ve felt like I’ve been a slave to work for so long, and I’ve really had an epiphany recently that I think it takes a lot of people well into their 30s and 40s to understand, which like Wil says, I need to work to live and not live to work. This is exactly why I’m moving home. I was asked recently on IRC why I would consider moving back to Arkansas from an area that offers considerably more options for entertainment and culture than Arkansas. The problem is, I’ve lived here two years and done none of them. On top of that, I’ve not cared that I’ve not partaken of the fine dining experiences, theatre, art galleries, and live music scene. It’s too much effort. I’m a homebody. My idea of a good time involves doing exactly what Wil did over his weekend, which is hang out with some friends, cook some food, drink some wine, maybe toke a bit, and chill for the evening. My idea of fun for a Saturday? Put on sweatpants and watch bad movies with my wife. I can do that anywhere, and I might as well do it where I can be my own boss, be near my family and friends, and afford to own a nice home.

I’m so excited about the way things are going, I can barely contain myself. This is such a stark contrast from where I was even a month ago, that if I was asked what advice I could give for such a turnaround, it would have to be to take control of your life and your destiny and stop letting your job, your income and where you live control it. Simply taking control of my future and my employment has liberated me. Am I concerned that I won’t be able to provide for my family? Sure, but I have more faith in my ability to run a business than I have faith in my employer to not decide to up and lay me off any day.

More exciting news about the move to come in the next few weeks I hope. The report from this writer’s desk is: Life is Good.

Follow-up to the last post

In my last post, I hilited a letter to the editor in the local paper from my hometown, the Southwest Times Record. Adam, a friend of mine from Jersey, left some comments that caused me some thought which I thought would be best fleshed out in a blog post.

The letter in my last post was not so much an example of racism as it is a pervailing attitude of fundamentalist Christians that they have the lock on the true path to righteousness. Unfortunately, this kind of attitude is generally passed down generation to generation, and the only way to break the cycle is, in my opinion, education and exposure to the people and things they find so abhorrant. This man has likely never been to New Orleans, never likely been farther away from home than he can drive. He is a victim of an education system which does not force him to think and reason and a religion which spoonfeeds him the opinions he recites so dutifully. His opinions are not based in racism, they’re based on the fact that people in New Orleans live a lifestyle that is fun. Fundamentalist Christians believe fun is equivalant to sin. New Orleaneans have wanton sex, they drink, they do drugs, they stay out late, they live life for the now and most offensively they give not a care for the ideals and morals that organized religion was supposed to have pounded into them. Fundamentalist Christians are, were they to admit it, less apalled at the behavior of others, but scared most of all of becoming irrelevant when people who are outside their sphere of influence realize, that if you reject the idea of paying pennance in this life for a life which may not exist after death, that you might actually enjoy yourself in this life and ignore those which have chosen to throw away the only life they know for certain to exist on living for the next life.

Bringing this back to my move and Adam’s comments, I never took time to know those people. The difference between where I live now and where I’m moving to in these terms is only that I am now geographically closer to a higher number of these people, but in terms of affecting my day to day life, they just don’t. I know they’re there. In politics, they’re definitely the squeaky wheel, but 99% of people do not behave in the manor of this person, and the reason the local paper chooses to publish such letters is to allow people like that hopefully to see what asses they make of themselves. Most Christians have a bad taste in their mouth reading a letter like the one from this person, and they’re just as outcast by those members of their religion as they are by the rest of society.

Honestly, I’m not going to say that racism doesn’t exist in the south. In the places where education still continues to fail the populace and poverty still persists in alarming numbers, racism is a real problem. I’d like to try to help fix that problem, because Arkansas has more people below the poverty line than just about any other state (save maybe Mississippi, Kentucky and West Virginia). It’s one of those unfortunate statistics where we rank in the top 5 instead of the bottom 5. There’s no reason that problem isn’t solvable though.

I’d rather spend an entire life living next to people I despise and attempt to educate them in the ways that human beings should behave, attempt to change the political system to help the next generations improve, and build a life where my children will be examples to the ones who spread hate than to spend an entire life living next to people with an entirely different set of problems. I care about the people where I’m from. I identify with them, and I feel like my life will be better working with the system from within than criticizing from afar. I could instead choose to live the coastal lifestyle of not really getting to know anyone, keeping everyone at a distance, especially the ones you work with since those are your competitors, continually trying to improve my material situation (god knows everyone needs a BMW), only associating with people at the right restraunts and the right bars (because we don’t want to be seen in a dive), making sure I’m dressed properly, knowing the right people at the right parties, and trying to climb my way up the social ladder. I could be successful at that, and then at those same parties I could discuss the plight of the impoverished, how those poor people have been mistreated, while the in same breath obviously exerting my superiority over those people because I’ve been educated, I’ve seen the world, and I’m a better person. I’ll do this, all while not having gotten to know anyone truly, because I’ve been too busy worrying about myself.

Just because I’m choosing to move back near these people, doesn’t mean I can’t say bad things about them. Just because I choose to live near them, doesn’t mean I can’t shine a light on their faults. They’re certainly choosing to pass judgement on people they don’t know. I have plenty to say and dislike about a lot of people everywhere, but the end, my decision to move is all about family, friends, and being at home. There’s a reason most people die within 50 miles of where they’re born.

links for 2005-09-17