Going Postal

Some weeks ago there was a notice by our mailbox at home saying that mail delivery might be cut back to only 3 days a week. At the time I was not surprised since we get most of our bills electronically and a good portion of the mail we actually get is a lot of junk.

I read here and there that the postal service is in trouble and losing money. I am not as close to all of that anymore since it has been a long time since I worked for a company that actually did direct mail. Not too far back I did do a project with some address standardization, but I had no direct contact with anything even remotely related to the USPS.

This week Daniel and I were discussing the mail taking a long time to deliver some important things and it all came back to me. If we do start getting less and less mail, the delivery service will slow down. I remember how in Colombia mail only comes once in a great while when you get an actual letter. Most bills were distributed by the companies own carriers.

This reminds me of how Japan Post is a pretty big private company now, but I have no clue if that has been a success or a failure. Now the news media outlets are all buzzing with “plans to save” the USPS. Also tomorrow the president is supposed to speak on his plan for job creation… but if the USPS fails, that is a lot of jobs, that is a lot of money, scary really.

I wish I had some insight to share here, but it is just me wondering what the mail will look like five years from now. Is the digital age killing more than just news papers and media like CDs and DvDs?

Netflix eventually ran blockbuster out of business, like blockbuster had done to the local video store. Robots are replacing people, maybe not the humanoid looking ones, but every time that you get something from a vending machine… well that machine replaced a human.

Our society is changing rapidly. It might feel that way because we are witnessing it as it unfolds, but this century things are changing at a staggering pace. I am very curious as to how the president is going to address the job creation thing, not just from the now perspective but also about the future… how are we going to retrain the country and also the world to move into the digital age. Its not that it is coming anymore, it is here.

When Culture Clashes with Corporate

While linked in might not be looked at in the same light as facebook or twitter, it still has the component of social media of connecting you with people you might have lost contact with over the years. I just recently saw a name again that brought a lot of great memories.

I had seen my Dad work for a big company my whole life. Our house was full of little reminders of where my Dad worked. Postobon is the distributor of Pepsi down in Colombia. I spent a lot of weekends in that company and got to see my the inner workings of a production plant and also the accounting department where my Dad worked. Remember that back then not everyone had an old mainframe level of computing power in their pockets. So being able to do data entry on an old monochromatic green screen was just awesome.

My Dad worked many weekends while I was growing up, and it was fun to go into the office with him. I met many of his coworkers that way and it gave me a view into his world that was probably not all that accurate. An office is a lot different on a Saturday that during the week. Everything I had know about corporations up to that point was through my Dad’s eyes.

I am not sure how it is in Colombian now, but it seemed like for my Dad’s generation once you got a job with a company, you retired from it. That is kind of how I approached my first full time job. I thought, I will help this company grow and be here forever. Even though that first job taught me so much, it was also one of the worst experiences I had in a workplace.

The reason linked in comes into this post is because one of the things that I learned thanks to that person that just popped into my head when I saw their name was the sense of gratitude. When I say to an employer, thank you for the opportunity; well, its not just something I read in an interview guide, I do really mean it. I was extremely grateful to many people for that first job… but then I learned a lot about the inner workings of a small company.

For a long time I felt so attached to that job, so thankful of the first opportunity, so thankful for everything that I had learned that I did not think leaving for another job was an option. I used to think of the job itself as something of a gift, and yes in these difficult economic times good jobs can be hard to come by and should not be taken for granted.

I don’t remember exactly why I made up my mind about leaving, I do remember that it was a lot about the job just not being balanced with the rest of my life. I do remember that what gave me “permission” mentally about leaving was a conversation about who had “given” me the job.

That person I just found again in Linked in told me. You should never feel like someone gave you the job, someone gives you the opportunity might even get your foot in the door, but your work will speak for itself; don’t feel like you owe anything to anyone.

The best part of the story is that the entire time I had worked there I thought I was considered for the job solely on someones recommendation, but as it turns out, it was actually someone completely different that actually pushed for me to get the opportunity.

I AM

It is amazing to find things that truly resonate with you. A nice piece of art, an awesome song that makes your soul move, or in this case a movie that illustrates exactly how you feel.

For years those close to me have heard me talk about how relationships and connections with other people is what is really important. When a connection is severed or a bond it lost, I really feel it. The movie I AM really puts things in very simple language and truly makes you think

So many people spend countless hours trying to obtain wealth and status only to feel empty in the end. I know understand the need for money to survive but there has to be a point of balance where getting more “stuff” should yield to being a better person and capable of sharing with others. I don’t think is all about giving your money away either, but just being truly able to share yourself with others.

The wife and I just spent a wonderful weekend with friends from out of town and their kids. It was an amazing time connecting, sharing and just being happy. It is amazing what can happen when people are open to create and awknowledge the importance of connections and how that is what we really are all about as humans. It is not about the individualism of “I have to be first!”

Well Done Osama

After the death of Osama Bin Laden was announced there were many emotions floating around. From the sadness of some at the display of disregard for human life, not just of the people that died in the raid but the reminder that so many have lost their life to terrorism, to the joy of many in America for what it feels like a closed chapter.

The most important thing to come out of the story of his death to me was that he had very clear plans on how to further hurt our way of life. That he planned on starting racial tension by making the face of terrorism even more multicultural. Every time I hear the song by the Black Eye Peas, where is the love…

I think the whole world addicted to the drama
Only attracted to things that’ll bring you trauma
Overseas, yeah, we try to stop terrorism
But we still got terrorists here livin’
In the USA, the big CIA
The Bloods and The Crips and the KKK
But if you only have love for your own race
Then you only leave space to discriminate
And to discriminate only generates hate
And when you hate then you’re bound to get irate, yeah

… it truly makes me pause and think of that word, terrorism.

I say good job Osama. He managed to start an economic downturn that snowballed into a recession. I am no economist and I am sure that the bubble with housing, hedge funds and everything else that smells of pure greed would have exploded like the dot com bubble did, but you cannot deny that after 9/11 our economy suffered. He also managed to make it impossible for you to have a good travel experience. I had traved a lot before but since then it feels more and more like caddle herding. He managed to make Islam more known as a religion for all the wrong reasons. Good luck trying to disassociate muslim extremist from terrorist in your head.

Just think of how much life has changed since that horrible day. I know it really changed mine and it made me realize that I was not safe from terrorism at all by living in the US. I also think that our media has become a big propaganda machine thanks to all of this. More and more people are just ruled by fear than ever before. More people are addicted to the drama. I sure hope that Osama being dead is truly going to make us realize that the more we don’t “stand united” the more we will be pray of those that just want a herd full of scared sheep.

To Be a Man

This morning I had a really interesting conversation. Most of it centered around a good friend venting about relationship issues, but then I starting to think about how most of the problems centered around not having the notion of what it means to be a man. Then things got a lot more complicated in my head. What does it really mean to be a man… it could mean so many different things to so many different people.

My definition is pretty straight forward. A man is a provider and protector. His word is bond and he does not engage in childish behavior. A man has his priorities in check and plans ahead. A man has an open mind, but also clearly defined set of morals and values his integrity as well as that of those around him.

One of the situations that seems to be the most confused by people is that to feel like a man, testosterone has to be involved. Out-drinking someone, punching the lights out of someone, having a bigger car, being the ladies man are all things that simple minded people see as a mark of a real man. That is not to say that a real man cannot be or do any number of those things, but he is not defined by them or need to have them reaffirmed to solidify his manhood.

Nobody is perfect though, and we all make mistakes when it comes to wanting to feel macho by answering to nobody and just getting crazy. I know when I go to Michigan and hang out with some of my friends out there debauchery and childish behavior ensues. However, I don’t need to get drunk every single week and be out all night to feel like I am a real man.

So my question is pretty simple, and it goes out to both sexes. What is your definition of a real man if you are a woman. And dudes, what things make you feel like a real man? Do you need some kind of reaffirmation? Do you need a man-cave?

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