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Monthly Archives: October 2008

It is extremely easy to go with the flow, accept what the majority is doing as right, to follow popular opinion.  I say it is easy because most times it requires minimal to no effort, you are surrounded by like minded individuals who will not offer much resistance to your stance (after all, they feel the same way about said issue as you do).  The challenge comes when you go against the grain, that you do not agree with the popular opinion, that is when you are met with potentially a lot of resistance.  So what do you do?

If going against the grain is hard, then why do we do it?  There are times in life where following along with the majority is simply just not the right thing to do.  It takes courage to stand up and challenge the accepted believe, challenge it becuase you think it is wrong and there is a better way.

In business, if you are challenging a decision, you can be seen as a trouble maker, a loon, off your rocker, the list goes on.  But what if you are challenging the decision because you know that the decision is the wrong one, that it does not support the mission of your company, or the long term effects may be negative for the company?  Should you not speak your peace and stay quiet and potentially let the decision have long term negative effects on the company?  Or do you go against popular opinion, knowing that it could jeopardize a future promotion or pay increase because it is what is right for the greater good?

It happens in politics too.  Members of a certain party go against what is popular opinion for their party and “reach across the aisle” to do what is right for the country, not what is right for their party.  It is worth noting that McCain has demonstrated this several times throughout his careers, this reaching across the aisle even when it is against the popular opinion of his party.  Speaking of his party, there have been several members of it lately that have gone against the grain.  But it is not simply reaching across the aisle, they have gone a step further.  Republicans like Colin Powell and Former Senator Larry Pressler are breaking with party ties and are endorsing Obama for president.  They are no longer towing the party line, they recognize that there is something much greater at stake and do not support the candidate for their own party.  In my opinion, this takes tremendous courage, and it is something I am thankful that they have done.

Going against the grain is never easy, if it was, perhaps more would do it.  For those that have, whatever the situation is, I applaud you.

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When I started blogging almost two years ago, I was very hesitant that I would have nothing to say, that no one would want to read my drivel and that even if I did find things to write about, eventually I would run out.  There have been times over the course of the last two years that I have felt like I may be approaching that wall, but then there are times that I felt like I have so much to say and not enough time.  Luckily for those that read my blog, I have not closed up shop and moved on, I know that what I write has become so critical to their daily lives (everyone can go ahead and laugh now) :-).

I have learned a lot throughout this time, have gotten some great comments and feedback, and have even managed to pick up a few new readers along the way.  I never thought that by me blogging that it would lead to anything, it was more of a way for me to write down my thoughts.  I have friends that are much more prolific bloggers and have seen the fruits of their labors first hand, from meeting new people to even landing new jobs.  Blogging is an amazing thing, you never know what can come of it.

Today was that day for me (in a small, but meaningful way).  I received an e-mail from someone at BrazenCareerist and they wanted me to be a guest blogger for the career community.  At first I thought it was a joke, but low and behold they were for real.   They are a career site more geared towards the Gen Yers, (I am just a tad outside of that generation), but they liked my blog enough to want me to be a guest blogger.  I am honored and thankful, proud that enough people find my blog interesting enough to want to include me in their community.

For those that have thought that they would like to start blogging, but think they do not have the time or that no one will find what they have to say interesting, I say go for it.  You never know who is going to find what you have to say interesting or where it may lead you, but you will never know unless you try.

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A lot has been said about Twitter since it inception.  From WTF? to this is the greatest thing since sliced bread and everything in between.  I must admit, at fist I was skeptical of it, gave it a try early on and was not hooked.  About a year ago, I came back to it and noticed that it had picked up a little steam, so I thought I would give it another try.  I did and have stuck with it ever since.  I have various conversations with people who did not get it or did not think that it would become main stream.  I am not saying that it is completely main stream, but it is certainly making great strides.

Today I witnessed first hand how the Twitter effect is having an impact on the main stream.  I got a tweet today from a friend of mine that stated:  “Twitter AMBER ALERT @genochurch‘s 14 yr old daughter is missing http://ping.fm/SUJAl – PLEASE RETWEET”.  A few minutes later, I got this tweet from another friend:  “http://tinyurl.com/5yodvb – Missing 14-year old girl in SC area. Pass it on. (We’d all want someone to do the same for us.)”.  I immediately re-tweeted this message so all those that follow me could spread the word. 

It in a situation like this that a mechanism to get important and vital information out as quickly as possible is of the utmost importance.  Twitter provides the platform to accomplish such a thing and today it did just that.  Within 10 minutes, other major news outlets started picking up the story, but by that time it had spread throughout the Twitterverse.  In the past, the AP wire served as the vehicle to get important news and messages out, but it seems as if there was a delay associated with that.  In this day and age of citizen journalism, Twitter provides a much faster way in which to disseminate that information.

It would be great to see Twitter set up some sort of posting mechanism that public service organizations could send a message to and then Twitter could tweet it out to everyone in the Twitterverse.  Of course this suggestion is littered with the potential for abuse, but I am sure that there are certain technical hurdles not to mention process hurdles that could be put in place to cut down the possibility of abuse.  One would hope that the greater good of humanity would outweigh the possibility for abuse, but you can never be certain.

Say what you want about Twitter, but the power of the tool cannot be denied, and in situations like this, you can see how it does in fact serve the greater good.

As the afternoon moved along, I took a look at what the stock market was doing.  It should not have surprised me, it has been going down for the last 5 days.  It was down around a hundred points at the time I checked, I figured oh well, it will probably drop 150, could be worse.  That was a complete understatement, it dropped 678 points, today.  Just when I thought it could not get any worse, it did.  So it left me thinking now what, what is going to happen next.

Let’s make no bones about it, we are in a recession.  I always thought that was the sort of thing that you read about in the history books, not something that would actually happen during my lifetime.  We are in the midst of the worst financial crisis in the last half a century.  In the last 100 years, there has only been one worse than this, the great depression.

On my way home today I thought about my wife’s grandfather and grandmother (they are not married, one is her mother’s father and the other her father’s mother) and how they grew up during the great depression.  I have heard stories of what life was like, and it sure did not sound pretty.  I am certain that once the great depression was over and their respective families got back on their feet, they thought that it could never happen again.  Fast forward to today, and they are smack dab in the middle of another great economic crisis.

I can only hope that our nation will pull together and get through this as a united nation, not divided.  I do not know what is going to happen next, but I am sure thankful for what I have.  I am lucky to have such a supportive, loving family.  I am so grateful to be surrounded by such a caring wife and sweet children, they are my strength.  Together, we will get through whatever lays ahead of us.  I have no idea what will happen next with our economy and our nation at whole, but I have faith that we will all pull through.