Get on base.

Some teams need you to hit the home run. Others just need you to get on base.

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A Chance to Win $500,000

“I have 3 businesses. Last year I worked about 4 hours per day, and I made $500,000 after taxes.” – Anonymous

OOO, how tempting that is. It’s alluring to think we can do that to. My mind starts racing thinking of the possibilities. I think of how I might get there. I think of what I could do to get there. I think I could get there. I believe it.

Then I think, I love my life. I don’t make 1/10th of what that person makes. I work 10x more than that person. My life is probably a less secure than that person. But it is going to be hard for him to be as happy as I am.

We glorify the success stories. The millionaires and superstars. It’s great. It’s something to strive for, and some of us might get it. But don’t let it delude you into thinking being a superstar is the key to an easy life. Examples abound of superstars who have trouble. Actors and athletes are two very obvious bunches. But we also know the local business owner who is mad at the world. We know the entrepreneur who is a complete jerk to everyone. We see the CEO, who is divorced and has a face like a red balloon because of all the stress.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t try to be more. Or that we should keep at our shitty job because the alternative may be just as shitty. I’m saying don’t beat yourself up because you don’t have the life someone else has.

If you want, change it. Quit your job take a chance if you have the opportunity. Or stay at your job and start pushing outside your comfort zone at work. Or keep your job and conserve your energy for an after-work venture. Or keep your job and save your energy for that nice girl you pass each day. The possibilities are endless. But maybe change isn’t what you need. Maybe you need to be more content with your situation and realize what a great gig you have.

Don’t get caught up in someone else’s life. Live yours. Be proactive and change if you feel the need to change. But maybe the only thing that needs changing is your attitude.

Slow Days

Today is July 5, and for some employees this is the perfect vacation day. It gives you a long weekend and the max time away from work.

I like working on days like July 5. It’s a slow day, not many other people are in the office, and the latitude to diverge from your normal routine is greatest.

How you use days like July 5 can vary dramatically. You can use it as an in office vacation day and spend time around the water cooler with co-workers. You can use it to get ahead of other employees for a competitive position. You can use it to explore aspects of your job that may be foreign to you. You can use it to engage your boss in a conversation to enhance your job responsibilities. You can engage a co-worker about a project you’ve wanted to collaborate on. You can visit other departments to get a better understanding of how they work and how your departments interconnect.

July 5 will no doubt be a slow day. You just had July 4 off, and you’re staring at the weekend. Take advantage of it. In any way you see fit. Save the vacation for a busier day when it’s more hectic.

Fighting Bored at Work

According to Forbes a lot of people surf the internet while at work. According to the article employees attribute this to a lack of challenging work, which I include bored and unsatisfied in this category, and compensation.

I can sympathize with the desire to find *something* to do. We’ve been taught in school to wait for the teacher to give us something to do, and that carry over is felt in our jobs. Add to that the neurotic impulse to check email, reddit, ebay, etc. and it feels almost like an addiction.

I am trying to reject this addiction for a few reasons.

I want to feel useful. I can’t wait for my boss to hand me challenges. Finding a challenge is in itself a challenge. The obstacles in that challenge are the distractions. Can I overcome those distractions and live up to the challenge? That’s a fight I am in every day. My boss isn’t going to fight it for me. He doesn’t care as much about me as I do, and even if he did, who is to say the direction he sees for me is the same one I want? I find it much better to have whatever control I can over the situation, even if it’s only a miniscule amount, every little bit counts.

I also want to have a productive career. Using time wisely is almost like building an emergency fund. While other people are surfing, you are setting yourself apart. It may not pay off for years, but I find generally the best payouts in life are those that take a while to pay dividends.

Lastly, I find wasting time at work slips over into home life. Is there a difference between checking our email 200 times at work and watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory at home? I don’t think so. When I’m productive at work, I tend to be productive at home. The correlation is noticable to me.

It’s draining being bored at work, surfing through piles of internet that you’ve already looked through. Ugh. The alternative is much harder and seems to go against my very nature, but the days when I am successful at it I go to bed content. It’s hard to beat that feeling.

Company Culture

Is not your culture. Culture can be changed. It requires a change agent.

So you have two options when your values don’t match the company values: conform to the company culture or slowly begin to alter it to your personal culture.

You don’t always have to leave to have an impact. Maybe the biggest impact you could have is by staying.