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Posts Tagged ‘change’

Fortunate

I graduated from law school in 2004. I had no interest in practicing law, so I moved to Japan and taught English there instead. Though I was supposedly the teacher, I learned a lot and had a blast.

I moved back to my hometown for family reasons and took a job temping in a small HR office. Job opportunities did not abound, so I was simply glad I could pay my bills. I felt the same when I took on a temporary administrative role at a larger company before long. I sucked at it, but did my best to find silver linings, of which there were many.

As my temporary admin gig neared its conclusion, a woman I’d met exactly once offered to take me onto her team as an admin. I sent her a copy of my resume; once she saw I’d gone to law school, she became determined to get me negotiating software contracts on her team. I rejected at first, saying I’d have taken the Bar if I wanted to do anything law-related.

She persisted, thank God. I soon began negotiating contracts, and felt (happily) challenged for the first time in years. I loved learning about hardware and software, which I had to do to be effective at negotiating. I enjoyed negotiating and was grateful to have an encouraging, supportive manager nudging me outside my comfort zone.

I worked on software contracts for a decade. Then, two years ago tomorrow, I began working as a software licensing contractor. My commute to a full-time job with great benefits was just too long. I accepted job uncertainty as a small cost compared to the benefit of not spending four hours in my car daily.

My first few months as a contractor were deeply uncomfortable. There was a lot of ambiguity, which frustrated me until I took it upon myself to lessen the ambiguity. If anyone didn’t like how I was doing that, I figured, they’d be sure to tell me. 

Taking risks, I found myself growing. I found joy in that growing, though I’d started out discombobulated.

As that contract wound down, an opening came up for a software asset management position. I seized the opportunity. Sure, I’d never done it before and didn’t know a thing about helping ensure neither too many nor too few licenses were procured, but I knew I’d grow. I knew that any frustration I felt at being a noob the first few months would be counterbalanced by the ultimate joy of learning.

I “knew,” but I didn’t really know. ‘Cause, see, I had no idea how much I’d learn, nor how much I’d be encouraged to learn. I couldn’t have fathomed how much support I’d have, nor how mistakes would be treated as just a part of the journey of learning. I had no idea what it’d be like to feel genuine psychological safety for the first time in my life, among a team that makes me laugh while pushing me to do better every day.

I took a risk two years ago tomorrow, and another one fifteen months ago. Because of those risks, my whole life feels so much richer than it did two years ago. For how rough my life began, it’s pretty rad now.

This is all a necessary background for another story to come. For now, though, I want to say that I am more fortunate than I sometimes remember.

I’m thankful to be challenged to remember this.

Peace derived from truth

As I type this, militarized police are assaulting Native American water protectors. The protectors’ offense? Standing against oil interests while fighting for water, for earth, and for their peoples’ land.

If you still confuse Washington Post, New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, Huffington Post and their kin for news providers, this is quite probably news to you. If you have seen anything about this, it’s likely been vague allusions to hostile protestors–or, in short, a skewed representation of reality which helps you avoid seeing the many ways the U.S. government favors corporations over breathing citizens.

This isn’t anomalous. It’s part of the same system that criminalizes acts that don’t even warrant charges in other countries, the better to have cheap prison labor available for U.S. corporations, and the same that conceals from you massive prison strikes protesting such labor system.

It’s part of the same system that tells its people, “We want a no-fly zone over Syria for humanitarian reasons,” all while failing to explain that creating a no-fly zone is an act of war–one, in this case, that could bring the U.S. and prominent Syrian ally Russia to nuclear conflict. While conveniently failing to mention that its hostilities toward Syria began when Syria rejected a U.S.-beneficial oil pipeline that would have run right through the middle of Syria, or its non-humanitarian destruction of Yemen, where it helps starve those not killed by its bombs. While definitely not mentioning its decades-long history of forcing brutal regime change, or the fact it’s effectively committing genocide by bombing seven Muslim countries. Read more…

Our old tree

One of my landlords came by
Thursday evening to explain
they need to remove the tree
in front of our garage;
the tree’s roots
are beginning
to impact
the garage’s
foundation

Walking with
my six-year-old son later,
I explained what would
be happening

He got really quiet
and clouds gathered
on his face

Read more…

acknowledgment, an act of love

Yesterday, black Republican United States Senator Tim Scott took to the Senate floor to describe being pulled over seven times in one year as an elected U.S. official. In some cases, he was pulled over for speeding; in others, “driving a new car in the wrong neighborhood or some reason just as trivial.” He explained how this is common among the black men in his life, regardless of their position, income, or disposition:

His brother, a command sergeant major in the U.S. Army, was once pulled over for driving a Volvo. The officer thought it might be stolen.

One of his staffers was pulled over so many times for driving a nice car, he traded down for a less-nice model.

“Thank God I have never been bodily harmed,” Scott said, adding that he is nevertheless keenly aware of the currently slanted scales of justice.

Today, he will follow up with proposed solutions.

I hope you’ll listen to yesterday’s speech, and sit with some of Scott’s parting words: “just because you do not feel the pain … does not mean it does not exist.”

To acknowledge this
is an act of love;
the beginning
of change

 

 

 

Why I blog

We live in an amazing world. Everything is changing, and it is changing by the second.

More and more by the second, those with internet access have the ability to see what life is like for people around the world and in walks of life incredibly different from their own.

This is amazing, yes, but I think it can be terrifying, too. I see behind some fearful assertions questions like, “How the heck am I supposed to take in what someone else feels and believes if I don’t even know what I feel and believe yet? How am I supposed to answer questions today that couldn’t have existed outside science fiction a decade ago?”

I am exhilarated by the change. I’m thrilled to be living in this world where objective and subjective information is becoming ever more available, if I’m less thrilled by how easily the subjective is currently confused for the objective.

My fifteen-year-old self dialed up local bulletin boards in the early 1990s. She thought it was amazing to connect to dozens of strangers in her own community. After she created her own website in 1995, she was even more astonished when she began receiving emails from around the globe. She suddenly understood the world to be so much smaller than she’d realized!

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Fifteen-year-old me would be flabbergasted by 2016 reality, which is that people around the world will soon experience connectivity in ways we can’t fathom today. The horror lover in me finds this a little creepy, but most of me thinks the world will probably be less lonely and less exhausting as we learn to see the commonalities underlying all the apparent differences between people.  Read more…

Crying with my hands

I wept the moment I saw the school director’s sympathetic face.

“Are you OK?” she asked.

“Could I get a hug?” I asked, eyes suddenly overflowing.

“Sure,” the director answered while walking around her desk.

After she hugged me, we talked briefly about the dozens of logistics I’m constantly juggling mentally as my older son prepares to start first grade next month.  Read more…

Words changing lives

Rachel Platten sings that “a single word can make a heart open.”

I’ve harnessed and witnessed the power of words countless times in my life. Only last week, I read a few sentences that will have changed my whole life before long.

Words are powerful generally, but sometimes, a few words can change entire lives and history all at once.

I read such words today, and remembered why I ever wanted to be an attorney.

I wanted to be like my mom’s attorney, Bill. It’s easy to remember that.

Another large part, a part forgotten until some external circumstance jogs loose a distant sense of longing, was wanting to work the kind of word-magic that could change lives for the better. I wanted to wield my pen for a better world, for better, safer lives, for joy and for happiness. I envisioned being a lawyer as like being a superhero whose superpower was words.

Today I read the text of the U.S. Supreme Court decision on OBERGEFELL ET AL. v. HODGES, DIRECTOR, OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, ET AL.

I felt like I was witnessing a superhero at work, not in the end decision but in the actual steps leading up to it. Read more…

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