Monday, pleasant Monday

Today turned out to be one of the more pleasant Mondays in recent memory, and I think it may be because I found out I have thirty-two unused hours of vacation time. I’m ignoring how such knowledge would have been valuable around the time of my move as I don’t want to defile such a good thing.

Perhaps the wonderful nap I took earlier (I know, I know, I said I needed to stop doing that, but sleep is just so nice after being so busy with something like moving while still working a forty-hour-a-week job). Or the dinner Brianne made.

Beginning to play catch-up on NBC’s Hannibal isn’t hurting, although I will admit that it’s not the best dinner accompaniment in terms of TV shows. I’m only about seven episodes into it, give or take a few (I actually can’t remember at the moment as a lot of things are just sort of blending together lately). I’m trying to remember why I stopped watching it for as long as I did, especially since I have such easy access to season one on DVD.

Admittedly, Monday and I don’t always get along and so having such a laid-back, relaxing start to the week is almost unsettling. I realize there’s something genuinely ridiculous in saying Monday is an inherently bad thing, especially given the number of people who no longer find their work-weeks confined to the Monday-through-Friday nine-to-five. This isn’t a post about “Well, it’s all a matter of how you look at something” or blah blah blah positivity. Nope. Just enjoying a particularly pleasant Monday just a little more before I head off to bed and prepare myself for…well, another day at work.

How did everyone else find this Monday? Hopefully it wasn’t too unpleasant.

Managers and Bosses and Leaders (Oh My)

It’s Day Ninety, I think. Or probably close enough. I need to not do this again any time soon, as it has been a soul-devouring experience.

Today’s post was one I should have made last week around this time, but I shuffled my feet a bit. I’m glad I did, as I received more relevant news that only made me want to wait until I knew I could do this topic justice. Hopefully I can manage that much tonight, despite being quite tired and behind on other responsibilities (I’m looking at you, Family Guy/Simpsons crossover article I need to write for Screen Robot). Moving, to state something rather obvious, is brutal. Moving along.

I don’t talk about my day job on here in much detail, and it’s largely because I know the pitfalls and dangers of doing such things. I can, however, say that it is a company that stresses leadership over management. I’m not a store manager, but a store leader. I’m not a boss, but someone who leads by example. I hope I’ve accomplished this so far, at least, and I constantly strive towards making that happen.

In the past week or so I lost two of my District Leaders, both of whom I hold in very high regard. Dan hired me (and, on more than one occasion, was so kind as to call me one of his best hiring decisions), and Bill chose me for my promotion to store leadership.  They were mentors to me, and genuinely good people. They were, above all else, leaders. When they were in the trenches, so to speak, they would perform tasks at the store they would expect other employees to do so as to lead by example. They showed genuine interest in the people who worked for them. At no point did it feel like there was some great, looming power in the store when they would visit.

They weren’t bosses. They weren’t managers. They were leaders. I feel like my life has been enriched by knowing them, and I’m hoping I can take the lessons they’ve taught me and improve myself both in and outside of my job.

I doubt very much Dan or Bill will ever find this (I’m hoping not, at least, because it’s a lot more sentimental to me than it may necessarily appear). They were why I was, and am, so enthusiastic and passionate about my day job. Innovation and all that good stuff. Needless to say, this post is in honor of my two District Leaders who did me a world of good. I strive to make every week a great week, and “do more with less; God bless”.

Find your own kind of brilliance

Warning: posting this from my Android phone. Who knows what kind of silly shenanigans will follow?

Short summary of my day, better known as The Movening: I got very little done compared to my goals. This is thanks to me finding a groundhog’s dwelling with my foot, falling back on my left leg, and spraining my ankle quite badly. It’s been a symphony of swearing today. The ankle in question is bundled up neatly in an AirCast. It still really hurts.

I also started rereading Stardust for the hundredth time. There’s something in the magic of Neil Gaiman’s writing that fills me with such a yearning to get off my ass and do some of my own writing. The moving mentality I have seems to blot that out a fair bit, sadly.

And then there are the inevitable pangs of envy. Wanting to be able to create something as fantastically brilliant of my own. Lindsey, beta-reader extraordinaire and terrific writer, told me Joshua Harkin and the Wicked Nightmare King read like a collaboration between Neil Gaiman and the author of Howl’s Moving Castle. That is, without a doubt, some of the highest praise I have ever received, but it also got me thinking.

There’s nothing wrong with never achieving Neil Gaiman or Terry Pratchett level brilliance. No matter how much I try, I won’t. What I will, I suspect, eventually manage is to create my own kind of brilliance. Even if it’s never on a massive scale, it’ll be me and the creative style that is entirely mine. That’s something I hope all creative folks can embrace.

Find what you do well. Make it brilliant. Make it your own. Love it and pour your soul into it, and then rip it apart and fix it until you reach such a point where you can’t bear to look at your work anymore. Let it rest, and do it again.

Above all else, be happy with creating something. There are so many other, similar artists out there, but none of them are exactly the same.

Make it a great week

The Hell of my last week transitioning from my current dwelling to my new one is upon me. Wednesday and Friday will be nothing but moving things, cleaning up the old place, and probably a fair bit of swearing and frustration. These things happen, I suppose. To be fair, last night gave Brianne and I some powerful motivation to move out of this place in the form of our bathroom door locking. That may sound like a simple problem, except the doorknob for our bathroom is the kind you’d use for an exterior door. And the door trip makes access to the locking mechanism impossible. And the screws holding the wall panel in place next to the door are painted over, thus they are impossible to remove.

Short version of the solution: I had to jam one of those flat metal spatulas used for cake decorating into the door. It took over half an hour, and was pretty damn awful.

I mention this because this week looks horrid, and I will be sure busy, but I know it’s all for a great improvement in my life. It’s going to be a great week.

Before I go on, however, I should mention I’m borrowing these words from my boss. I’m sure he won’t mind. Each Monday morning starts with the promise of an inevitable conference call, and my boss always ends such calls by saying “Go out there and make it a great week”. Normally, I hesitate to admit, those words just signal it’s time for me to hang up and resume whatever task I was focusing on prior to the call. Perhaps it’s the chaos of moving, or the lack of sleep, or even how I’ve been teetering precariously between being sick and being mostly well, but those words resonated with me this morning. I’m about to get a bit soapboxy here, folks, so brace yourselves.

The week, starting with Monday (or Sunday, depending on how your work schedule goes I guess), is only as good as you decide to make it. I’m aware that there are certain things the Universe can throw at a person that will most certainly turn a week to utter shit, but a lot of those things can be reversed or made better. Yeah, it’s a fair bit of effort, but it’s worth it. Right? A bit of work in favor of sanity, success, and so on, or something like that.

I look around me and I see a ton of things that need to be packed and moved. Two couches that need left out for garbage pick-up. What I’m focused on is how my internet and cable set-up dates worked out perfectly. How my customer service experience with Peoples Natural Gas continued to be exceptional even though I won’t have them anymore (my new apartment uses fuel oil instead, which is provided by the landlord; thank god for that). Above all else, how this move will get me the Hell out of my current living situation. Those things and a good few more are all reasons why I’m looking to make this week a great one, even if it is crazy-busy.

Try it yourselves, readers. It may just prove helpful.

Finding balance in work and play

Today was a suitable counter-balance to yesterday, I think. I cut the grass at my new apartment, moved a good deal of things in (though there are still many box-loads to go, I’m afraid), and decorated a little. It certainly was no day of playing World of Warcraft and relaxing in my current home, but not every day can be like that (I mean, they could but I would end up very unemployed, very fat, and quite unhappy, among other things), and so the work was both a necessary evil and a nice change of pace.

However, as far as daily balances of work and play (or leisure or whatever) go, I am not particularly good at finding such a nice equilibrium. Some days are very work-oriented, with me accomplishing a great deal of productive tasks. By nighttime on those days, I am tired but I feel fulfilled. It’s all very positive, really, ignoring the exhaustion and that there are some such days I still feel like I fell short of where I should have been. There are other, very similar days, when I have shirked responsibility in favor of relaxing and recovering. Days filled with video games, movies, books, and so on. They don’t really serve a practical purpose, but they leave me feeling rejuvenated and prepared for the next day of hard work.

It’s very possible to make those two days into a daily thing. I realize this is all very “hey, that’s obvious” territory, but I excel at the obvious.

What I’m talking about in this case is a total revamp of my schedule as I know it. It’s probably going to be Hell for a while, but I think if I can pull it off that it will provide me with tremendous benefits. That’s what I’m going for here, by the way. A Phil who can find a daily balance of hard work and relaxation time in the face of working eight hours five days a week and trying to become a writer, all while pretending very well at being a responsible adult. A lot of this will revolve around me making a number of relatively large changes over however long it takes, and I imagine it will involve a great deal of swearing along the way. Continue reading

Problem-solving, and a terrific quote

I was big on problem-solving today. I had the choice to either face the problems that have accrued lately or just say the hell with it and let them crush me. I chose the former, of course.

The good that came of those solutions is that I won’t have to work fourteen days in a row, even though I still have a couple double-shifts. Such is life. I also decided I need a new bank after finding out the replacement debit card I requested after the business with my previous one getting stolen (the info was stolen, anyway) had never actually been ordered/sent out/whatever. That’s some pro-level incompetence right there.

Tomorrow will feature a post about picking your poison, in which I talk about bourbon and my choices of booze. Monday will focus on the difference betwee villains and antiheroes (no spoilers for that yet). For now I’d like to share aa great post Joe Lansdale, an author whose wisdom I was pointed to by Zachary T. Owen (a writer of remarkable skill and wisdom of his own). I’ve not read any books by Joe Lansdale, but I think that’s something I need to correct eventually. Eventually. Hoping you all, dear readers, are having a great weekend. You should like Joe Lansdale’s Facebook page, by the way, and check out his works (like my lazy, simple self needs to as well). I lay no claim to this Facebook post, obviously; it’s just some damn good food for thought.