The Gift of Free Labor

Having recently acquired a new home I had to put some elbow grease into it to make it livable from myself, my wife, and our first child when it arrives. It isn’t quiet finished yet, but progress is being made on an almost daily basis. Although I have the good fortune having been taught a lot of different trade skills via my father and other tradesmen I have grown up with I have not mastered everything and still require some help.

I have the good fortune of having some relatives whose job is in a specialty trade. My best example would be my uncle who deals mostly HVAC, but is also a skilled plumber. He bestowed upon me as a housewarming gift of free labor fixing the small handful of things I needed done to get my heating up to snuff. The only thing I had to pay for was a couple of small valves that had to be replaced.

If you own a home or have owned one you should know how much money I just saved there. Without getting into detail it could have easily turned into a $300 dollar service bill before parts consideration.

You may be wondering what the hell I am pontificating about at this point. Well, if the title didn’t at least foreshadow it for you let me spell it out. If you happen to possesses a certain set of skills don’t be afraid to offer them as a gift to friends and loved ones. A day or weekends worth of free labor is sometime worth more than your weight in gold for someone because it doesn’t require them to hire a professional and pay a large sum of money to someone who may not be a true “professional”.

My jack of most trades carpentry skills/ standard issue grunt strength has accounted for some birthday/ house warming gifts in the past and have always been well received.

 

How Low Can You Go?

While watching one of my favorite vloggers  , Phlip Defranco , he said something that struck a cord with me. To paraphrase, ” Maybe its because I expect so little from people.” My brain stalled for a second when he said that and then I realized that I have that same mindset. I  promptly decided that was bullshit and I should be able to expect more from people.

It was a long time ago that I understood that for the most part I shouldn’t expect much from people in general. This unfortunately includes some family members and previous co-workers. However, I still think that is complete bullshit. I shouldn’t have my expectations bar set so low that anyone and their cousin Leroy could trip over.

Yes, there should always be a minimum expectation that is relevant to the task at hand, but I have always tried to expect a little more from people. The only reason I believe I can expect a little more form people is because I always expect that little bit more from myself. I don’t think I’m being unreasonable here to expect at least the minimum.

 

Learn Something New Everyday

I forget where I heard those words long ago, but it struck a cord in me and I have done just that. I make it one of my personal daily goals to learn some new tid bit of information. I don’t go so far as to go digging up some factoid and then committing it to memory. There’s to much information out in the either for that and I normally only hang onto things that are significant or important to me.

When instructing one of my students or scouts I make that the minimum barrier. I may not be able to convey the entire concept or skill, but so help me the student/scout(s) before me will have learned at least one thing before they leave me for the day.

The point I am trying to make is that everyone should be striving to learn something new everyday. I’m not saying run out and sign up for a college course or sign up for basket weaving classes, but take a second and read the paper, have a more meaningful conversation with a friend or co-worker, go for a walk in your neighborhood and be more observant. You never know what might be gleaned that could improve your life even just a little.

A Series of First’s

Since June 4th I have been on a roller coaster ride of first’s and some lasts as well. Incase you missed it I got married back on June 4th. This is my first marriage and as far as I am concerned my last as well. To quote Luke Dane, “The 0nly way out now is in a body bag.”

Fast forwarding to a couple of weeks ago we purchased our first home. Short of a major promotion this will be our only home that we purchase as well. Full disclosure it was not our first attempt at purchasing our first home. That saga is a story for another time.

For the final first we have to rewind back to the tail end of January when my wife and I found out that we will be having our first child in September. This will not be our only child. Plans are to expand the clan out by at least 2 younglings.

When experiencing each of these first’s it was always a mixed feeling of sheer terror and boundless joy. Imagine Homer Simpson’s patented scream and “woo hoo” back to back if you will. I’m sure everyone that was or will be in my position can sympathize. Still trying to figure out how to “adult”, but soon will also have to figure out how to parent as well.

Motivation

A variety of things motivate me to get things done. At current my inability to fall asleep is motivation to type this BLOG and work on a few other things on the interwebz so that I can hopefully fatigue myself into sleep,  but also have some prep work done for myself so that when I rise in the morning whether it be at my usual waking time or later due to the prolonged departure into dreamland I will either be ahead of the game or on schedule.

Let’s examine something else that helps me stay motivated in the face of irksome tasks and weighty responsibilities. There was a mantra that I learned a few years back the helps keep motivated. “If not you, then who? If not now, then when?” It’s mostly a self application thing for when it comes to work and personal things when I’m feeling unmotivated. In terms of work it comes down to I need to get said objective completed so that:

  1. I am not passing the buck on to someone else. I loath when someone does it to me so I am not going to do it to them.
  2. I am not screwing myself. When at the pharmacy sometimes I am all there is to get the task done so I’m either dumping more work on myself for the next day or later in the day. In terms of teaching it turns into me figuring out how to cram something in again either the next day or later that day and then potentially making some other part of my lesson plan suffer as a result.
  3. In the rare instance where I do have to pass the buck onto someone else my request to complete the task I couldn’t is not meet with chagrin, but instead with an acceptance. The person picking up the ball and running with it for me knows that all best efforts were made not have the shit kicked down hill to them, but are going to get it done anyway.

When it comes to getting my personal chores and other miscellaneous tasks completed I base things around a personal rewards system. I will set rewards out for myself in both the short and the long term. That way I am rewarding myself often enough that I’m not getting a gold star for every little thing, bur also so that I don’t have to ask myself why I’m putting such a prolonged delay on gratification.

These are just a few of my thoughts on how to stay motivated and are pretty much adaptable to most work and life situations. If my thoughts on the subject aren’t helpful then here’s FULL METAL JACKET’S Gunnery Sergent Hartman to help motivate.

I Don’t Like Change

Much like every other human being I am a creature of habit. Although I can easily adapt to a change in my daily routine every once in a while a deviation from the normal path keeps me lost in the woods for a bit. Today was one of those days.

When working in the pharmacy we have a lot of standard operating procedures (SOP’s) to help govern what we do, but to also keep us on a good work flow pace. Occasionally a wrench gets thrown into that, but we can normally adapt to that. Today however, I had to participate in a conference call in the middle of my shift in order to prepare for a project that I am attached to. When I finished with it I tried to return to my normal operations, but found myself kind of walking around with the constant feeling that I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to do.

In all reality I pretty much have most days planned out start to finish of what I am going to do. Just makes my life easier. Normally I just use my mental punch list of things that need to be done, but occasionally I will make a more complex list for myself just so I don’t get distracted and keep on grinding. At the same time though I also keep time built into my day to allow for the unexpected deviations that may occur. I also find it helpful to place assign a priority level to the days tasks just incase I find that I need to shelf or way lay something due to time needed to be dedicated to other tasks or again the unexpected getting in the way.

To illustrate my point here’s Stewie from Family Guy.

Good Things Are Happening

Since the start of the new year many good things have been taking place for me. I’m actually going to take a minute get on my soap box and blow my own horn for a bit.

Although the year started off with a bit of a hiccup everything is progressing forward and I can safely say that I have more tally marks in the positive column than I do in the negative one. Despite the current political climate I foresee a maintained positive through the rest of the year as well.

The second best thing I currently have going on for myself is I am currently dropping weight. I have had family tell me in recent months say that it looks like I loosing lbs., but its a little different when it comes from my patients. They don’t see me everyday and they have little to no obligation to actually be nice to me let alone give me a compliment. (Truth be told I’m terrible at taking compliments.)

For those of you close to me who decided to stay on the positivity train with me thanks for being part of it even if I brought you along initially against your will. (Your welcome.) Train leaves the station again tomorrow morning bright and early.

For those who are wondering why I chose the second best thing and are wondering what the hell could possibly be better than getting compliments about weight loss you’ll just have to wait and find out. Like I said lots of good things still to come.

“Keep your stick on the ice. We’re all in this together.” -Red Green