Friday, August 22, 2008

Worketty Work/Sum Beh Nim/41 Approaches

I've spent the better part of the past 2 weeks completely buried at work. The Director of Marketing I've worked under at my current job was let go a couple of Mondays ago, and as a result I've been scrambling to take control of the things he was in the middle of, or had been responsible for, etc.

So, yeah, it's been a busy 12-14 days. We've got a trade show coming up in about 3 weeks that he'd been taking point on (I was responsible for the next two, but he said he had a lot done and it would be easier to just finish running this one. I think the real reason had more to do with his history with the primary organizer of the event, but whatever), and unfortunately, when he was let go it became apparent that whatever planning he'd done had been done in his head, as no actual planning, design, reservations, or projects seem to have been undertaken. And with deadlines for early reservations expiring this week I had to move quickly to get things squared away in order to save our lil' company some much needed cash.

I think I'm on the other side of THAT particular nightmare now -- all advance orders have been placed, and I can now get on with the task of planning that actual booth layout, courting and coddling partners, playing kiss ass with vendors to try to get some special treatment, and so forth. With any luck I'll get this thing in shape and slam-dunk it, thereby HOPEFULLY setting myself up for something of a promotion sometime in the near-future, when we get a little more funding.

It's all very complicated. And not a little bit exhausting.


Got my second stripe in class a couple of Tuesdays ago. By all accounts my test was terrific and I knocked it out of the park. Which is nice. I have to admit it's a bit odd having other students bow to me as a senior student -- Sum Beh Nim -- now (in our dojang, the students bow to the senior 1st gup on the mat after bowing to the instructor and the senior dan). I thoguht I'd get a thrill out of it, but instead I feel a bit awkward. But still, it's fun. If anything it's helping to push me to put out extra effort during class, to work harder on my own performance and to take the role of senior student more seriously. It tends to put me in the mind of watching my juniors a bit more closely, and of trying to lend guidance when I can without being cocky about it.

It's a tricky role -- we've all known the guy who thinks he knows everything and wants to just keep pointing out your flaws so that he looks terrific in contrast. I really don't want to be that guy. I think the trick is to continually remember my kyum son, my humility. When I spot something in a junior that needs change or improvement, I try to make sure I explain how I used to do this same technique completely differently, and how and when I realized thaere was a different or better way to approach it. That more often than not I made the exact same mistakes they may be making for weeks and months before I gained insight into how or why it should be different.

I've never felt I'm anything special in Tang Soo Do -- quite the opposite, actually. I feel like I have very little natural ability, and whatever gains I've made have been due to working twice as hard (at least ...) as the people that seem to just "get it" naturally. As a result of these efforts I think I have developed some solid skills as a technician, if not any particular affinity or grace. I tend to know when thigns are technically right or wrong, and I tend to be able to articulate these things pretty well, but I firmly believe thatany student who commits to the art and puts the time I've put in would be just as apt, just as capable, just as accomplished. I'm nothing special. I just bust my ass more than some others.

I try to make sure I communicate this and keep this in mind when I work with my juniors, in the hopes that it will be apparent to the people I work with that I'm just trying to help, and I don't expect anyone to think that I'm anything all that special at all. That the things I try to show people are the results of hard work, distilled to a few things I can get right more often than not. I like to think I don't dispense pearls of wisdom so much as drops of sweat. And if you've worked out with me, you'll know that I sweat a lot -- if only all of that sweat was true knowledge.


So, Sunday will mark 41 years. No big observations this year. My job is great, my family is beyond fantastic, we are all healthy and doing well. We have a fantastic new house, one that I still occasionally wake up in and think "How the HELL did I wind up here?" I'm not walking around in a personal Nirvana or anything -- I spend a lot of time feeling spread far thinner than I'd prefer, money is tight thanks to our fabulous Bush-engineered economic meltdown, and I've seen more than a couple of friends fall by the wayside this past year: that last one continues to sting more than I expected it would, but there's literally nothing to be done about it. Are there things I change if I could? Sure. But all in all, this has been a terrific 41st year on the planet.

So, Happy 41st Birthday to me.

Mood: Full (big birthday lunch)
Now Playing: Assorted Artists, "Big Blue Ball"

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