The Cabbie and The Maid

cab copy

In the last few weeks I’ve noticed my Facebook feed filling up with some individuals telling others that their jobs are shitty. Basically.

Of course, it’s never stated that blatantly. But that’s the gist, and the rhetoric most recently was positioned against “blue collar” or “working class” jobs–though some “white collar” jobs weren’t out of bounds either. So here’s how it manifests: someone in some direct selling company has some amazing business opportunity but it’s just not quite good enough to stand on it’s own, so he (or she) tries to use a generally unimaginative but fairly reliable marketing gimmick that creates dissonance, and does so by applying it to someones current vocation to make their opportunity sound better. Ready to sign up? Let’s go! And while that approach may make me want to buy a juicer (or better yet, a Nutribullet–does everybody know how much I LOVE my Nutribullet?), when I see it used against someones vocation it makes me want to throw up. Yeah, really.

A few days after I noticed some of these Facebook posts, I read (and actually reposted) an article about the behaviors of “rich” people, and while I found it highly interesting and extremely useful for personal development, after some more research I also found a callousness to the original editorial written from the extractions and assumptions of this data. It doesn’t make me like or value the data any less. It just makes me like the authors a little bit less.

A part of that message was, essentially, that getting rich is a reward for hard work. That’s just not true. We all know a lot of people who work really hard that are not rich. Some of them work harder than you and me. I also know a surprising number of rich people who don’t (and didn’t) work THAT hard to become rich, though of course they are also in the minority. Without question, hard work and putting food on your table are directly related. Productive activities generally lead to productive results–there’s no debate with the obvious. But the variables get a little more complicated as you go into higher categories of income.

One of the reasons why I found the “rich people behavior” data fascinating and helpful was because I love personal development and learning from other people. Where the thinking becomes dangerous, however, is the point at which we look at our own aspirations and automatically assume the path we choose or seek for ourselves is also that which everybody else should be doing–that if they follow the same formula it leads to a solution called “being rich.” That’s too far in the other extreme.

After a few days of processing, I realized most concretely why it bothered me:

1. It’s disrespectful, and if not arrogant than a bit oblivious. When someone thinks one person who does a certain job is better than another, it’s no different nor any less patronizing than passing judgment on the car you drive or the clothes you wear. Unless, of course, you’re wearing clothes like I used to wear when I lived in New Jersey–then, by all means, do everybody a favor and patronize away. 😉  This is the danger of associating “good” jobs from “bad” jobs, or “rich” people with “poor” people.

There are some people whose God-given talents are totally interweaved with whatever job they’re doing however “working-class” that or they may be.

In other words, that very well might be someone’s destiny that you’re shitting on. 

My 1st generation Lithuanian grandfather pressed coats at Hart Shaffner Marx for many decades–I believe he worked there well into his 80’s. I’ll bet he was pretty good at it, he took it very seriously. My also-1st-generation Lithuanian grandmother used to clean houses and offices. I’ve always been proud of them and their work. Both were smart and clever, but also wee poorly educated–I don’t believe they made it beyond the 5th grade (then my dad took it to the other extreme w/ two masters and a PhD in rocket science).

Are there certain people brought into our lives, or whose lives we’re brought into, to help move them along onto a different path? Yes, for sure. Never would I discourage someone from developing themselves or moving to another “level.” I’ve probably been on one extreme of chasing the next thing, wanting to do more, and being a bit restless and dissatisfied with whatever current state I’m in. And as a person who has had a lot of people work for and with me over the years, I get the attraction of moving people forward. Partly, because it’s a key success factor if you’re running a company or division. And partly, because the greatest gift of leadership is seeing someone–or an entire team–succeed. So I totally get the aspiration to see other people keep improving and progressing, but it requires discernment so that you don’t trounce over the work they’ve done to get to where they are.

This “your job sucks” also carries an edge–it suggests that we’re the sole author of our definition of a successful job, title or status  (whatever “that” is: CEO, doctor, lawyer  (kidding 😉 ), investment banker, millionaire or insert-your-own-typical-categorization-here.) This also isn’t true. On a confident (read: cocky) day I can look at my own life and self justify any success I have had. But on most days, I fully recognize that I’ve been given many breaks along the way. I could rattle off 50 in two minutes and we’d just be getting started.

2. It’s the ultimate turn-off. When the message gets shrouded in the dissonance created about ones vocation and livelihood, well it’s this simple: the message gets lost. And that’s a bummer. When trying to convey to someone another business opportunity, or perhaps instilling some behaviors that can help him or her become better, at times the noise keeps the message from being heard.

Of course, there’s a flip side to this, which is that people can live a lifetime of poverty, bondage and/or resignation wanting something more–but never actively seeking it out and doing the hard (like, really hard) behaviors and activities that will help achieve the progress they desire. So, don’t do this either.

3. Finally, there are people who have fought and clawed their way to those jobs. They deserve respect, because it’s respectable. You think otherwise? Go take $200 and spend it on ten cab rides in New York City and ask the back story of what they’ve done, where they came from, how they grew up, who they take care of–just listen to their story. I’ve done this at least 30 times. Eight out of ten conversations you’ll leave inspired. And quite a bit humbled.

And for those that know me, this isn’t coming from some sore spot personally–I’m not in a “working class” job, but you can be sure as heck that I respect those that are.

It’s what makes America, America.

And I’m thankful for it.

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all time. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good health, its doubtless significant for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

During a Meeting This Week in New York City…

Jeff Gordon Pepsi Max Test Drive
Jeff Gordon Pepsi Max Test Drive

There was a “bit” of tension. It was all good, but it was more than just a tad though certainly not a lot.

So we imposed a coffee break into the meeting at the “bit” of tension point, and during the down time one of the guys asked me “Have you seen the Jeff Gordon video yet?”

I hadn’t, thinking to myself “I don’t want to watch a video at this moment.” But he pulled it up online, and a small group of us watched it and shared in the laughter. And it shifted the dynamics after that point as well.

So, here it is, one of the funniest videos I have seen in a REALLY long time. Totally worth the four minutes. I have no idea whether it’s real or not, but it’s still a riot.

And, a lesson learned from one of my business colleagues on diffusing a bit of tension by leveraging a funny distraction to allow everyone to regroup and come back slightly refreshed in order to work through the remaining issues.

Pepsi Max and Jeff Gordon “Test Drive” video

And if you found that one amusing, then here’s the other video previously released a while back, featuring Pepsi Max and Kyrie Irving as “Uncle Drew”

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all period. What is the most significant data you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good health, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

9/11: Dreaming with a Broken Heart

We spent the weekend of September 11th in New York City a few weeks back (for those still trying to figure it out, I moved out East in June and took a job to run a start-up company, our update in a forthcoming post). I was in the City all day Friday for meetings, one that was supposed to last 90-minutes which continued for eight hours. By the sixth hour of meetings, with no end in sight, I told E and the kids to come into NYC and we’d stay the night. We’d already planned on getting up early to drive in to spend the morning at the 9/11 memorial. By the way, before I dig much deeper, please note all photo credits go to the amazing photographer and writer Jodi Kendall; www.jodikendall.com

We had a great night that evening over Tomoe Sushi during the kick off of “Fashion Week” in Manhattan, and the following morning we awoke early and caught the R subway line down to Rector Street, but not before taking the kids to a typical Manhattan-style coffeecart (“regular” with two sugars for me and E), a kaiser roll with butter, and an everything bagel w/ cream cheese. Kids loved it.

Riding the subway south brought back so many memories; the hotel we stayed at Friday night was, literally, less than 300 yards from my old start-up company in midtown (right by Macy’s, 35th and Broadway). And I used to take that exact subway from our apartment, departing from Rector and jumping off at the 34th street. On this particular day, Saturday,  September 11th 2010, I was doing the reverse commute nine years later, down to the area where we lived during the event.

As the subway clickity clacked from stop to stop the late summer smell of the subway brought back so many memories; a smell of heat and humidity, sweat and metal, urine and basement…Oddly pleasing yet borderline nauseating. Like skunk.

“Rector Street, Rector Street next stop! Brooklyn-bound R-train last stop in Manhattan” barked the conductor, and I wandered ahead with one kid in tow tightly wrapped around my hand, and another kid being corralled by Erica. I can’t remember which kid it was, but I was squeezing her hand so tightly–never forgetting for a minute the time I saw a guy fall into a subway that came all too close to being crushed by an oncoming subway train. As well the time when I was ten years old in Chicago and having a guardian angel change my life as a result of a near-death subway experience. I’ll forever compensate for those experiences by overprotecting our kids in subway stations. It’s now in my DNA. It’s interesting how life’s experience dramatically change you. Sometimes, in ways that you can’t or won’t let yourself change.

As I started to walk out the subway on the gum tattered steps, the morning sunlight rays streaking through the underpits of Manhattan transit as I climbed the steps, I forgot about kids, work, my wife, and my life.

Transcendence, I think is what they call it. The colloquial definition, not the Kant definition.

And I was lifted back to nearly 10-years ago on such a crisp summer morning; this Saturday was no different. I walked over to Broadway, one block south of our old apartment, two blocks north where the World Trade Center used to gallantly stand. And the memories flooded. As did the emotions coming with it.

Sorrow, at the tragedy that happened years ago.

Inspiration, to be able to see and hear again the stories of so many people who were so valiant during such a difficult part of time.

Anger, at not just the events that occurred years ago, but also those who used the day as a platform to espouse personal political belief, like those who maintain a conviction that 9/11 was an “inside job” to the  drama around the mosque as well as proposed burning of the Koran’s (all of which I also have personal opinions about, but the 11th was a day to memorialize those lost–not to use as a platform for  political gain or statement-making).

The sights and sounds so powerful, the air resonated deep with conviction. I’d been downtown since the actual attacks, staying in our apartment a few blocks south of the WTC after 9/11, to our move out of the City a month thereafter, to various visits over the years. But, Saturday, well, Saturday was different.

Trinity Church, made very well known during the events of the day and thereafter, lined with flowers and luminaries memorializing the many who passed.

Feeling the methodical notes played with the breath of human life through the bagpipes singing solemnly in the background as we walked closer to the memorial.

The quiet rustle of people walking by, calmly and contemplatively, with shared glances of an understanding of the sacred ground on which we stood.

Hearing, name after name after name, hours and hours worth of names, read by family and friends for those whose lives were savagely claimed.

Seeing the bright morning sun eclipse through the 9/11 memorial as I stood with both kids and Erica by my side, near my sister Jodi, as I stood with many others and simply cast a gaze upon the worksite of regentrification as well great sorrow.

Watching other Americans, one with a British accent to my left, an Arab-American to my right, a group of Amish Mennonites standing behind me, with every other imaginable nationality in close proximity, all paying tribute to those whose time had past.

An experience that can’t be articulated or “explained”, but something that, again, has changed the way that I look at the world and our life.

It was, simultaneously, not enough and also too much.

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all time. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good soundness, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.