Monday, January 22, 2007

My little boy is no longer.

Saturday morning I got up bright and early to attend a practice competition between his Jr. ROTC drill team and others in the Broward area.

He is the last one on the right.

As I watched him marching around the field in his green uniform I squinted to try and see the child I had seen grow up. I looked for the little toddler I would headbutt. I tried to see the youngster who I would spend hours with inventing superheroes. I waited as he turned back to march towards me to see if he still looked like the pre-teen who went from listening to boy bands to hip hop to the Beatles.

Not a sign of him.

Instead I saw a man. A tall, handsome and confidant man. I watched him as he took initiate and command with those around him; making sure things were being done and done correctly. He joked with the other guys on the team like a man. (Yes, the others on the team were just "guys"...John was a MAN) He spoke like a man, He carried himself like a man.

Then there was that one moment of parental redemption I will hold onto tightly for as long as I can.

His platoon sergeant came by with last minuet suggestions before they entered the parade route; apparently they look for everything during these things. I was laying back and trying not to impose myself on what he was doing but as I looked him over I spotted something.

"John," I whisper/yelled "Straighten your gig line!" He quickly got his shirt, pants and belt in perfect line. When he was done he looked up at me for approval. In his eyes was tat same anticipation and search for approval I got when he was a little boy making sure his shoes were tied correctly solo for the first time. Instantly, he was that little boy again.....until he snapped to attention and the man walked out onto the parade field.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Well, this week has been fun at work. Yesterday, I got called into the office of the two Assistant VP's who run our division to get my ass chewed for my "protest" on Saturday. As I walked towards his office I ran through my mind all the possible lines and diversions I could give to this much anticipated disciplinary session.

"I was just trying to bring some humor to a tense situation; whatever do you mean 'protest'?"

"I knew some people weren't happy with being there, I was just turning it into a joke, what do you mean defying your authority?"

But, no; I grabbed my balls and owned up to it. Through the course of our almost 30 minuet session I laid out exactly how I, and many people on the floor, were not happy with having a mandatory meeting as part of a 3-day weekend, how working conditions have eroded over the past year and how those conditions have contributed to the general poor mood on the floor.

As our "conversation" continued I marveled at the shade of crimson in face across from me and kept time by the beating of the vein in his forehead. There was actual conversation through all of this and a sharing of viewpoints; still it was an ass chewing session and that is what happened. I left his office and was later brought into my immediate manager's office for the paperwork; it turned out as no more than a verbal warning about violating company dress code. My manager laughed as I leaned back in relief; I had expected a day off or something, so this was a relief.

Am I sorry I did what I did on Saturday? No. Do I think it made management stop and think about their "management style"? No. Do I think what I did made a difference? To "them.....No. But at least the rest of the grunts on the floor like me know that someone has the nerve to put some voice to their frustration. I'm feeling more and more like Kevin Spacey's character in "American Beauty"; "I'm just a little guy with nothing to lose."

Saturday, January 13, 2007

OK, so I haven't started off 2007 so well with my blogging.

My first week of the year was spent with my son. John and I basically just hung out. Most days we didn't wake up before 10AM. GOD! That felt great! Although, it did keep us from going to Orlando as I had planned, but still it was good simply to relax. We went shopping one day and also out to the movies one day. The rest of the time was taken up with TV, DVD's, movies, the computer and video games.

I just loved going back to work this past week. Although I did notice that the week off did relax me, even at work. No longer was I frantically going from place to place around the office but taking my time and not rushing.

The one thing about work that did get to me this week was a MANDATORY meeting. As such, mandatory meetings usually don't bother me too much. It's just that the boobs who run our department set a mandatory meeting on a Saturday which was part of a 3-day weekend. They continue to show their total disregard for their employees as people. So I showed up in pajama pants, a t-shirt and my bear feet slippers. If they were going to call a meeting for 8:30 on a Saturday I decided to give them what I would normally be wearing at this time. I was surprised that I was allowed to stay but right afterwards I stopped to speak with my manager and she said I should leave quickly. I don't know how the upper management took my gesture but all the regular employee got it and that's why I did it.

The first post of a new year is usually a reflection on the past. This year I would like to look the other way. I always like to think of myself as optimistic and I think it's about time I approached New Year's the same way.

I have already started making some moves to improve things in the coming year. This weekend I will have my stand-up samples ready to go to Drew Hastings, the comic I met in November. I wan to get his review of my work and get myself on the stage at an amateur night within the first half of the year.

I dug up the phone number for my friend George's agent in Hollywood. I plan on pitching to him to take me on as a voice actor. I have the connections with a studio here in Orlando which would enable me to work on projects from California while staying in Florida.

I have changed what I am doing in Starfleet and am loving it. I am now the Regional Coordinator here in Region 2. For the non-geek, that means I oversee 32 chapters in Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. There is a little less of the politics and infantile personality conflicts there are at the Fleet level and, more importantly, I am working with close friends. Being an RC also means that I may have a better hand in trying to affect Fleet policy that I would have in my previous position. There are some things wrong with Fleet and I will be working to make some positive change there while making things fun here at home for my friends.

Oh, and work! Well, there are option in movement on that front as well. I am waiting on word on the next step on my interview process for the training department. I really need to get off the phones and out from under the management of my department. Our company has a 62% turnover rate and spends an ungodly amount of money of this turnover. And it's all the good people who are leaving; another friend of mine, and a good employee, has given his 2-weeks notice to go work for the Post Office.

I am also working on a possible exit strategy. After giving 9 years to the company and being told my a member of senior management, "Thanks but what have you done for me lately" and the continued eroding of personal freedoms of the employees; I am starting to finally reach my limit. I would prefer to stay where I am and hope that things will improve. But after months of being told that there was a light at the end of the tunnel I can only feel the tunnel collapsing because it is dug beneath a manure farm.

Hopefully, whine I get to January 2008, I can say that I was able to accomplish some of my goals for the year and to see if I did make the improvements I have in mind. Let's see how much fun can be had along the way!