I spent the majority of last week in San Francisco at an annual corporate training / team-building / liver-decimation exercise. It’s the only time each year that they bring together the consultants from all the regions and branches of Indirect Tax, and while the training sessions were particularly useful and informative this year, what it really represents is a chance for a very decentralized team (about 50 people from four continents) to gather together as a group and renew the personal connections that allow us to rely on each other at two in the morning when the proverbial shit and the metaphorical fan become a lot less proverbial and metaphorical. The latter is accomplished with structured activities, face-to-face time, conversations over dinners, a few war stories between Type-A personalities, and an open bar.
While “what happens in Frisco STAYS in Frisco” I will share the following sequence of Wednesday night texts from a good friend and colleague of almost five years, unedited:
ME: Did we lose you?
HIM: Jiffy saute g’day HDTV
HIM: Sarah heftier jiggly
HIM: Tree grey hoots
HIM: Fucjir I can’t tyie
ME: Where the HELL are you man??? That looks like a serious good time in progress!!!
I’m not going to lie, “Sarah heftier jiggly” became something of a theme and a mantra for the rest of that night. Was this a person, a place, an event? I won’t tell you the answer, but I will say it’s none of those things and all of them. And maybe the best auto-correct fail I’ve ever been a party to.
In a few hours I will have completed thirty-five trips around the sun. This isn’t a tremendous accomplishment, for the most part I was just along for the ride and hanging on for dear life; and based on the average maximum age of the men on both sides of my family, I’ve got about ninety years in me, so I’m still a decade away from half way there.
Still, a friend of mine pointed out a few days ago that thirty-five is “the age when even the elderly don’t think you’re young anymore.” That kind of hit me.
Ok, I know I’ve missed a few weeks of posting. I know I say “work issues” a lot as an excuse. I know a lot of you think “damn it man, how do we even know you’re really working?” Well, this last week I spent my time at a company retreat/working session/tech conference/happy hour [added that last one entirely based on a joke in an IM with essaytch; credit where credit is due] where we gathered as an organization from around the world (four continents and counting) and took over the Hilton in Downtown Portland. Aside from the Saturday night post-activities activities that will remain both secret and legendary, the highlight for me was the award dinner on Sunday.
I will say that organizational awards, like any peer award, carry a certain amount of politics. I will also say that there were others in attendance who deserved the award just as much as I did. I will ALSO say that it felt DAMN nice to receive. Oh, and I had absolutely NO idea I was getting it, so that made it a really nice surprise.
Anyway, from now on, when I say “sorry, I was busy with work” I’ll at least have something to look at and know that the people who pay my salary and write my performance reviews recognize my commitment and contributions. And really, that feels by far the best of all.
The other day I was reading a blog linked from another blog that I read regularly, and a light went off. I instantly understood why I don’t post as much on Bad Pants as I did on Dead Charming. I think of my writing as articles and essays, not as posts. It’s hard to write essays and articles when you’re busy with your “day job” for twelve-plus hours a day.
Which reminded me that I’m now allowed to talk about my day job in my blog. The company that bought the company that I work for has a “uniform policy for personal internet communication, social media, and online networking” (and I deeply love the fact that they used the serial comma) which was distributed as both a .pdf and a printed brochure (which, frankly seemed redundant) during our onboarding process. Now that the rules about talking about my job are more clearly defined than “pull a Dooce and we fire your ass,” I’ll regale all (six) of you with a description of what I’m sure you will agree is the single most boring job description in the world. The job itself is FAR from boring, but describing it is like watching paint dry.