On Corporate Rigidity and Efficiency

June 23, 2015 § Leave a comment

Efficiency is something that corporate America values.

Values? No, fuck that. It thrives off of efficiency. The problem is that the corporate world’s view of “efficiency” is vastly differently from what the textbook definition of the term entails.

The next time you’re sitting in bumper to bumper traffic on the way home from work, thank corporate America. The modern American 9-5 schedule is a direct result of an inefficient and untenable corporate system which rewards reliability and monotony over real innovation and efficiency. Instead of embracing the concept of efficiency, most major American companies emphasize the phrase itself. Being “efficient” sounds great. I work 40 hours a week. I’m “efficient”. However, of the millions of people who work 9-5 jobs, just how many of them are actually putting in 40 hours of honest work every week?

This isn’t a call to arms for middle management and bored state bureaucrats to push their corporate cattle to work harder. Rather, it may be time that many major companies started to look toward more interesting (and…efficient) methods of employing some of their most valued resources. I won’t pretend to know what the magic number of hours or days per week is. Every industry and every position is unique. Some have taken a stab, but it’s much too complex of an issue for there to be one answer.

A glimpse of the future can be found in any number of new companies, almost all of which are in the tech industry. Tech start ups give a level of flexibility to employees (and shareholders) that hasn’t existed since the dawn of the American corporate age. As the tech industry spreads to other industries (ahem..automation), they too will become more dependent on a work force which not only doesn’t need to be on site from 9 to 5, but will expect otherwise.

In the mean time, the best thing to do if you find yourself in a field which isn’t subject to these changes quite yet is to learn a skill set which may one day assist you in transitioning into a more independent lifestyle. Whether your goal is to one day create your own start-up or become an independent contractor/freelance, the important thing is to learn as much as you can from your current position. Introduce yourself to as much as possible and gain as much as you can. Because say what you will about large corporations, they certainly offer a large cluster of expertise and experience which can’t be found in many other places. Take advantage of your situation, even if it isn’t ideal.

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Thoughts: Road Trip 2015

June 13, 2015 § Leave a comment

I plan on leaving July 4th, 2015 to begin a trek westward. Although I’ve managed to snag a few really great deals on AirBnB for a good portion of the trip, almost everything west of Colorado is up in the air. And that’s the way I like it. There’s nothing more American and adventurous than a winding road trip across North America from East to West. And let’s be honest, east to west is the only way to do it. Regardless of where you grew up in the United States, the “East” represents everything human beings tend to dislike about each other’s company. Big crowds, less space, dirtier air. So on and so forth. As one travels west from the urban cityscapes and sprawl of the eastern seaboard, a grand, vast openess begins to fill the landscape. And with that openess comes a certain freeness. The wide open spaces of the American west provide a sense of comfort, escape even, for those of a particular mold. The East represents everything familiar, rigid. Stereotypical cultures, accents, socioeconomic profiling. That’s what the east represents. That isn’t to say that the Mississippi is some majestic dividing line separating the barren and materialistic east form the bucolic Marxist-esque nature of the west.

No, despite the natural beauty which abounds in the part of North America found in the Rocky Mountains and westward, the scene at the ground floor is hardly flawless. As humans crept west they brought their own unique ugliness that only humankind is capable of. And although the Wyoming countryside is nowhere near as cold and unwelcoming as Detroit’s blighted streets, certain trends in human population growth has already produced its inevitable effects: “more people, more scars upon the land”.

But that’s what makes the American west just that– distinctly American. The natural beauty of the western countryside is seamlessly mirrored by the unique and welcoming culture found there. The west is a place of discovery, of travel. At no other point in modern human history has such a massive spread of untamed land been open to the whims of a first world civilization. It’s a unique phenomena that no doubt played a major role in making the West the home of the 1960’s counterculture, among other popular American movements.

I’m bringing Katie along, and this is the first time she’s been on a trip of this magnitude. Frankly, I’m excited for her.There hasn’t been a single time that I set my sights west and didn’t come back feeling like a more whole person. You need to lose yourself before you can truly mold yourself (I refrain from using the cliche “find yourself”. There is no “you” to find. Create it instead). The beautiful thing is that even if this entire road trip is a complete and utter disaster. Even if Katie decides she hates driving in my car for hours at a time. Even if we break down and nearly get stranded. In some way, we will learn from this. I realize that’s easier to say from the comfort of a computer chair. I can guarantee that if any of those things actually happened I’d be a mess in the heat of the moment.

But sometimes that’s how memories work. Some things are better that way — as memories.

So here’s to a trip we will remember for a lifetime. Who knows, and maybe beyond? My soul lusts for adventure. For thrill. For new experiences. And although the rigors of being a full time professional can wear me down at times, I don’t forsee this thirst for new experiences dying out anytime soon.

To adventure. To youth. To stupidity. But most importantly: To life.

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