Thursday, July 31, 2003

Accept No Substitute!

Okay, so I like to tell rambling stories I think will make a useful point. If you've got a problem with that, go find another blog.

If you're looking for work and are willing to stretch an analogy a bit, read on.

I once lived in a studio apartment in the city. I was tending bar at the time so was getting home very late, long after all of the other car-driving city-dwellers had parked for the night. As a result, finding a space for my own vehicle tended to be a rather dicey proposition.

One night, I started the usual routine of checking out the most likely spots for parking near my apartment. Nothing doing, so I expanded the circle a bit and continued cruising for a space. Still nothing, so I expanded further.

Twenty minutes later, dog-tired from a night of pouring drinks for other people, I was starting to feel a bit desperate. I was now looking for parking four and five blocks away from my domicile - farther than I'd ever looked before. Although it was not a part of town where people generally cared to come visit of their own volition, safety wasn't really an issue. I just didn't feel like walking that far. When the search pattern had expanded to six blocks, though, I started getting angry.

At forty minutes into the process, somewhere around seven or eight blocks, a huge calm washed over me. The scene had become downright ludicrous. This far away, I was now practically in another part of town, one I probably wouldn't even choose to drive through under normal circumstances. There simply was no way I was going to park there. Whatever other choices I felt I had or did not have, parking this far out (especially in that area) was no longer under consideration. I crossed it off my mental list.

Once I was clear on that, I started back in closer to my apartment. I made up my mind that, however it had seemed earlier, I simply would not even look beyond a two-block radius of my home for parking. It wasn't worth it to me and I had become convinced that getting desperate enough to tolerate something that was otherwise unacceptable to me had not helped. From that point forward, I was determined that I would accept only what I really wanted in terms of a parking place - two blocks from home, no farther.

Under the circumstances, this can seem a terribly foolish demand to make. Did I think the parking fairy was going to come grant my wish every night at 3:30am? Maybe I thought some of the nicer neighbors would save me a spot. Yeah, right.

I won't say it was always easy. There were times when my resolve was sorely tested. Even so, I never went more than 20 minutes after that looking for a place to park. And I always found one inside that two-block radius I insisted on.

I can't say I really know how it worked but clearly it did. I lived there for about a year and the process never failed me, not even once, in all that whole time. I do think I know now what it took to work though, so I'll share that - I'm certain the concept is transferable to just about anything else related to a search, whether you're talking about parking, a place to live, a job, or a spouse.

  1. Absolute clarity - if you don't know exactly what you want, it's tough to know what's acceptable and what's not.
  2. Laser focus - if something doesn't meet your criteria, don't waste your time on it; it's not worth it.
  3. Patience - when it doesn't happen the way you want right away, it's fair to look again at your criteria and change that if it doesn't suit you. Do not, however, be tempted into giving up #2 just because it's taking some time.
  4. Go ahead and believe in magic. Okay, this one is gratuitous. Sometimes, though, the unexplainable happens and it's simpler just to call it magic until it can be explained; if you're at least open to the possibility, it increases your awareness so that it's easier to see things you might have missed otherwise.

When you really want something, what works for you? Send your ideas or your questions to so I can share or respond.

Make a choice to accept only what you truly want in life. Don't waste your time in tolerating anything less.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Good For a Laugh

A while back I mentioned mechanisms for coping with change. Humor is always one of my favorites. Although I'm a big fan of the darkest black gallows humor, I find that it is easy to get too much of it. Or addicted to it.

And you can just plain forget the nasty caustic humor us geek types so often fall back on. Tearing down someone else for our own amusement isn't funny for long, if at all and the Us vs. Them mentality it fosters just doesn't equal progress in my book. Besides, it's bad karma, eh?

So that leaves just the stupid, wimpy humor, right? Where's the fun in that? Finding the in-between can take some effort but the pay-off is big when we can find it.

There's the good ol' Dilbert standby of course. And while he does poke fun, the geeks get ribbed as much for their foibles as do the managers, marketing-types, and vendors.

One of the best curtain-pullers I know right now is Jon Stewart and the rest of the Daily Show crew. They've gotten so good at seeing the crazy truth behind what passes for current events these days that I find it the most watchable (and often the most informative) news source I can bother to tune into anymore.

I've recently also started paying attention to a couple of relative new-comer's on the comic strip scene. They don't always have me totally on the floor busting a gut... but they're amusing and often very pointed in their humor. When you need a good laugh, check these guys out:

Geek Salad - Because salad is good for you!
User Friendly the Comic Strip

What makes you laugh? For real and really makes you feel good enough to keep going when the going starts getting tough? Let's get a collection of geek humor going - send your favorite links to me at

Go for the laughs - the real ones - it's a great endorphin rush, spurs creativity and burns calories. Honest!