Grace

Last Sunday night I drove to Asheboro to play with the Zinc Kings.  I didn’t really know what the gig was, just that I was supposed to be there.  So after my pottery studio meeting in the afternoon I packed up and drove. One of the things that I find tremendously therapeutic about my schedule is it is regular and predicable.  It lets me do interesting things on my own time, like pottery, or hikes, or… playing gigs.  And it’s fun. But this gig wasn’t like my other gigs. It wasn’t part of the predictable comforting routine. This one was a cancer benefit for a 17 year old girl whose parents have no insurance.  When she came in (on a walker) she was led to the center of the room, handed a microphone and spoke very briefly.  In less that two minutes of soft, compelling speech she had leveled me. She wasn’t blindly optimistic.  Or even really that sappy.  She was matter-of-fact, thankful… and though resolute,...

You’re fired.

Last week my brother sent me a link to a video called “Fire the Wrong People Today.”  In summary, he says that it’s as important to get rid of the lousy workers as it is to hire excellent ones.  I thought about this in a couple different contexts, among them office work, music, and education.  Here’s what I think: I agree with him for the most part, but I’d like to talk about why and how.  I work in software now, though for the last 8 years academia has been my life.  In the video he’s talking about a business environment, and business environments have a very concrete measurement of success: money.  The bottom line of good leadership is financial success.  But what’s interesting, is that good leadership means getting the right people to do the right things. And he comments on it in the first couple minutes; highly qualified people will work together to get things done.  If they don’t, they’re not really qualified, and therefore not really a good employee no matter their individual skill set. In a follow-up conversation with my brother, I said that the gist of the video is: Here are your objectives and the metric by which you shall be measured I see that you are not meeting your goals, so here is some support to help you succeed You still are not meeting our desired objective, so you are not a good fit. That seems cut and dried, and it’s never quiet as surgical a conversation as that, but it’s an interesting perspective to think about life. I’ve seen that things are...

Now THAT’S What I’m Talking About

This last weekend I did stuff.  That’s what people in Asheville do: Stuff.  Stuff with hiking boots.  Stuff with mountains.  Stuff interspersed with glasses of beer. A friend of mine invited me out to dinner to say thank you for dog sitting for her.  We ate at Asiana buffet, which was enormous.  It was a trainwreck of humanity, with a trough of food.  It was absolutely fascinating.  And more than a little disturbing.  I steered clear of the troughs of gravy-soaked-fried-meat and had sushi.  It was, despite the preceding sentences, quite good. Saturday I was invited hiking with a group of new friends and we headed to Graveyard Fields.  It was a good, if slightly moist, hike*.  Then I took a nap.  To be fair, I napped before the hike too.  Two naps in one day?  Hell yeah. Sunday my friend Jenna and I went to The Biltmore.  We work on the kiln at our pottery co-op, and performed some emergency surgery on it for the Christmas rush.  We got two free tickets in appreciation for our effort.  I’d never been there before, but it’s one of the major tourist draws in Asheville.  I usually don’t care for the touristy stuff, but whoa.  Just whoa. I’m not going to tell you what to do.  But see it.  Seriously.  Or else. We spent all day there just wandering.  Jenna made fun of me for my enthusiastic inability to speak in complete sentences.  I would point at things and gum a few syllables and look at her to complete my sentences. Then we toured the winery and drank.  Just in time...