What to do?

A couple of weeks ago The girl I was dating at the time and I were faced with the difficult decision of whether to get involved with a family situation where we would have to tell a teenager’s parents about their kids behavior. Until today and reading Michael’s post about his dilemma on a similar situation I had forgotten completely that I was faced with this situation before.
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Mental vs Physical labor

My job is not hard work? I have had multiple discussions with people about whether what I do for a living is hard work or not. The implication goes beyond stating that what I do does not involve physical labor. Sure it is not hard physical labor but what I do for a living is hard work. When I get home at the end of the night I am mentally drained. It is at times so taxing that I cannot even relax and stop thinking about the work that I have to do. That is not even counting my ability to telecommute and continue working after I’ve had dinner.

It is a difficult subject to discuss because there are several ramifications, cultural, social and economic. My Mother always told me that if I wanted to keep a friend I should never discuss politics or religion with them, well I think this subject is up there in that category also.

I also want to include a little side note here. I hope it will illustrate the respect that I have for the people that do perform physical labor type jobs on an every day basis. What I did last night is a job that I certainly would not want to do every day. One of our ceiling fans at home became loose, so Cielo and I tackled the task of fixing it, which by the way we completed successfully. I had looked into the attic when we first bought the house and it looked crammed but not too bad. I thought going up there was not going to be the most difficult part of this little electrical endeavor.

Well I had a surprise coming to me last night when I had to literally crawl to move up there. I am still itchy from the insulation all over my arms. I spent probably 15 minutes there fixing the support for the ceiling fan with limited oxygen and limited maneuverability. So don’t think for a second that I do not have the utmost respect for people that perform physical tasks everyday for work. Also I want to note that I was a UPS loader, not for very long at all (I think about a month) but I did experience how difficult and taxing on your body it is to perform physical labor. All my jobs in the service and fast food industry I consider borderline.

Where to draw the line is the first murky decision that needs to be made to steer this discussion. I could draw a line between professional jobs that require a college degree and vice versa, but for this subject I think we can concentrate on mental vs. physical labor. It is a lot more difficult than just that, because how can we say that a doctor who performs a job that at times can be very mentally taxing does not have to also perform tasks that push the human body to its limits. Wow, when I first started to write about this topic I did not think it would be this difficult.

To simplify things lets just say that I have had people come up to me as a computer programmer and told me that a days worth of my work is not the same as their job as a carpenter building houses. I don’t have the skills to perform that job and vice versa. But at the end of the day did he work harder than I did? Is he more able to relax since he cannot perform his job while not at the site, but I am left to still think of how to make a program bug go away?

I am on call pretty much 24-7. The times for support come and go with projects, some require me to work 30 hours straight until something is completely set up and running, others a call in the middle of the night: come out of a deep sleep to remember details on how to make something work. My point is not that my job is a lot more difficult, I just want the recognition from people that perform physical jobs that what I do while not physical is still hard work.

Bad Neighbors

Well, this has been an interesting experience for me. I have always tried to be polite and not get into any problems with any of my neighbors. Growing up, neighbors knew each other and were part of each other’s lives in many senses. Now days you are lucky if you know the names of the people you live around. I guess it is a matter of taking the initiative and making friends with people but who wants to after an experience like this. Read more…

One of the lessons learned

I don’t believe that being positive is something that you are born with, but a concious decision you make. I posted not too long ago about free will, and I think being positive plays a huge role into decision making. It has taken a lot of pain in my life to become the positive person that I am today… I know at first glance that statment does not make a lot of sense but I will elaborate.

Having difficult times in life really shapes who you are, I would not take any of the moments in my life that might be seen as painful… mainly because I believe that they truely shape who I am. I have made the concious decision not to let all the negative things in my past, present or future to turn me into a negative person, I choose to be positive, I choose to look at the good side of things… I feel like there is no other way to look at life. The glass is always half full for me and for the I am starting to see that it does work.

Being positive has built incredible freindships in my life as well as keeping me sane through some rough spots. If I can say anything to anyone at a moment of depression is that, nothing bad happens unless something good is right around the corner. Counting your blessings always helps the fight. Try to be positive for a whole day (if you are not already) smile at people and you will see what kind of difference it makes.

A think that I always like to do when dealing with someone in customer service in any situation is trying to make them laugh if I can. If they are trying to solve a problem for me, I always make sure I acknowledge that they are not the person that cause the problem, but hopefully will be the ones that are going to help me solve it. 99% of the times this strategy has worked for me, and I have gotten a lot more than if I would have been nasty and demanding… don’t get me wrong if I do not get results I alwasy ask to talk to a manager ;) but always in a positive way.

Do computers help us or hinder critical thinking?

“Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.”
– Pablo Picasso

Computers are moving us forward, they are making us more productive than we have ever been… or are they?

I used to think that human interaction was being stopped by computers until I joing a motorcycle message board. Then I got to meet a lot of people that I called friends around the Chicago area. Then when I moved to Michigan I met a lot of new friends using the message boards and different chat services. So are the computers killing human interaction or redifining it?

Like Picasso said, computers are really useless they can only give you answers. We are the ones that present them with the questions, we are the critical thinking minds that drive them. Even artificial intelligence is just a poor attempt to mirror our capabilities. Would it ever be possible to create a machine that can do critical thinking?

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