Friday, October 28, 2005

Got to Love Your Work?

Millions of people across Canada, U.S and the rest of the world, go to work everyday, dreading what they do. Many of these people have no choices as to what they can do for employment and need whatever job they can get to support themselves and their families. On the flip side, some individuals had all the choices in the world and are capable of getting many different jobs, but still work somewhere they hate. They do things they do not like for money, but as Mrs. Davis, my English teacher said: “it’d have to be an awfully large sum of money to make me do something I didn’t enjoy.” The question before me today: “should an individual do what they are better at, or what they enjoy more.”

I am one of those individuals that had, through out their life, hundreds of wonderful opportunities. I am relatively successful in school and come from a well off family. The chances of me being unemployed, on the street, and begging for food (out of necessity) are very low. When I grow up there will be a lot of jobs that can sustain me and many that I can prosper from. The big challenge for me is deciding if I should pursue what I think (on average) will give me more enjoyment, what I am better at, or what my parents want me to be.
What I enjoy and what I am good at are often diametrically opposed. I enjoy poetry and political science and many other humanities. I am good at Physics, Math, and Computer Science. I do enjoy physics, math, and computer science, of course, but I do not believe that I will enjoy them as careers. On the other hand I would enjoy things relating to political science much more, but my skill in them is significantly less. The third factor is what my parents want me to be, and what they were before. My mother wants me to be a doctor, so that I can take over her practice when she decides to retire. My father has a duel PHD in Mathematics and Physics and if I enter the science field I will always live in his shadow.

Better At
Doing something you are good at, gives you more chances to succeed in the field. Personally, I enjoy all the little glimpses of success I see. Being more successful also means more influence and more money. With more influence you can make a bigger difference in more lives, and thus make your life, and the lives of others, more meaningful. An increase in money means you can set up your family better and leave them more when you die. Usually money also brings more travel and easier access to different hobbies.

Enjoy More
An enjoyable job means you can put more effort into it. More effort could lead to more success and money just like a job you are good at, but it is less likely. On the bright side, if you really enjoy your job, then you will not need finances for hobbies. You job will become your hobby. A better and more enjoyable atmosphere at work makes for a happier person. That same happiness can be passed onto other people, thus benefiting your family. Influence can be gained because you would have more interest in socialization in your workplace. Workplace socialization, just like more effort, might give the same results as a job you are good at, but it is less likely.

The best option is having a job you are both good at and enjoy. That is not always possible though. In the cases when you can not have both joy and goodness in your career, you must take a risk and decide which way to go. In the end it is really a debate on if money can buy happiness. If money can buy happiness, then do what you are good at. If money can not buy happiness (as many allege), then get a job that you will enjoy.


Thursday, October 27, 2005

Why We Hate IE6

Another small post because as the reader can see, I have been remodeling my blog lately (and that took away writing time). I have been making the posts resize to fit your screen. I know it might look kind of bad right now, but I will be adding another sidebar on the left with navigation and things will look better. Expect more improvements soon.
Unless of course… you are running IE! Gah! I tested my new CSS style on Mozilla Firefox and it was flawless. Oliver then checked it on his Mac with Safari and it was flawless, too. However, when you run IE on the Mac, the sidebar becomes superimposed over the post text. If you are running IE6 on Windows then the sidebar is just gone. Just freaking gone!
I am very much angered by IE’s incompatibility with all other browsers. In due time I will fix up the errors happening with IE, but for now all the IE users will have to put up with no sidebar. Sorry.
I cannot wait until IE7 is released along with Vista. Hopefully version 7 will be at least half-decent.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Not Growing Up

Today, I was talking to my mom on the phone. She kept going on about how I will have to leave Saskatoon as soon as grade 12 is over, and that I need to grow up and be a man. I always wanted to grow up and be an adult when I was a kid, but now that I am here at the borderline... I really do not know if I want to be an adult. I understand the importance of responsibility and I understand I have to grow up sometime. But I also see merit in the light heartedness of childhood and see the potential to delay adulthood. Many of my actions constitute me as being an adult; some make me more of an adult than many of my peers. Many actions, though, still keep me in a state of childhood. I do not want to take on the responsibility and consequences of being an adult. Right now, I am living as a non-existent person, because I have forgotten to renew my papers. My passport is expired and my license needs renewing, I have assignment deadlines drawling up on me from all around, but I still (completely intentionally) put off working for things like this blog, conversations with friends, “hormones” as Mrs. James would say and Counter Strike. I have the ability to whip myself into adulthood but I can not justify doing so myself. I think I am clinging to the parts of childhood I might have lost when I was younger and doing my best to stretch out what I have of my youth. Our lives fly past our lives at a constantly increasing rate. I am stuck in a dilemma between clinging on to what is left and setting myself up for the future. I think this is as good a time as any to whip out my notebook of musings and post a childish excuse for a poem:

Grade 12

No matter how agog you objurgate
You’ll not silence the cheerful knell of times
But with mal spirit you can desecrate
The kid within as your adulthood chimes
Yet, you can’t abscond your obligation
To go from child to man and back again
For you’ll always need shards of your creation
As the effulgence of life begins to drain

And no matter how stoic your aberration
You’ll confuse yourself about your age
As your mind fumbles graduation
You’ll see both pain and joy in every page
The years engraved like marble silhouette
The question lingers: “are we grown ups, yet?”

Parts of our lives are forcing us to grow up but I am just avoiding letting them control me. I am stuck in limbo between childhood and adulthood. I am ready to live alone and function as an individual, I am ready to leave my parents, but I am not ready to understand and appreciate all the responsibilities involved with it.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Connections to Keep or to Lose

I have not posted since a short post on Friday, so I guess my plan to post once a day has failed. However, I am still going to post regularly and keep to the plan outlines in my first post. This blog is primarily for my musings and to keep in contact with people, which is today’s topic.
Today in English class we talked about the importance of high school friends and the contact you keep with them. It was an interesting topic and I thought it would make a good blog entry and would be in the spirit of my web log. In class we dealt with such ideas as our ten year reunion and some little blips about who would become who. Obviously, I was most likely to be a drunken hobo on the street (which I am planning to do, but that is a different issue) in my class. Since I am enrolled in the advanced program, that was not to much of a prediction.

The “Advanced” Mentality
I have not really talked to any of my schoolmates about this to get their opinion, so the following is mostly my interpretation. In the advanced program we develop a closer bond than most of the other students, since we share many of the same classes and think from the same branches. We are mostly liberal minded (or democratic for all the Americans). Some are on the more conservative end of liberal *coughs out Phil’s name*, and others are very much left wing. The liberal minds could be from our “better” education or maybe the more free forming structure of our classes. I have never taken the time to analyze the program in enough detail and such issues are probably best asked of Jennifer W.
Through my four years in the program I have had time to analyze a general feel of the class. My assessment is not substantiated by exact case studies or extensive research but comes from the feeling deep in my gut. Personally, I think that feeling is a much better guide on a tentative matter like this. In general I believe the comradeship we form as classmates is undermined by our “smartness” and the competitive tension between us. As individuals everyone is solid and righteous, but as a program we are much farther from the human ideals.
I have seen many people sacked by their friends because they were causing an ineffective group dynamic. I am sure the same has happened to me many a time, but it is harder to be objective when looking at one self. To bring up an exact example: a friend of mine was working in a group with a bunch of other friends (I was in a different group) and he performed very much up to the standards required and even surpassed them from many angles. When the time came for group self-evaluation the group did not even take one moments hesitation from blaming all their problems on the one individual, just because that would raise their individual marks. To display my point with a more extreme example: if suddenly one of our teachers seriously offered to fail us (and had the actual legal means to do so) if we did not sabotage a friend’s project, most of us would not hesitate to do so or at least would seriously consider it.
I would like to think that I am different and would never stoop to such a low level. However, I am not completely sure that I can say that honestly, as much as I wish I could. Accurate self analysis, even though it is taught to us in the program, is extremely hard to accomplish. Many of my classmates might react with a rash: “I would never do such a thing”, but that reply would only raise the question of how good/bad their self analysis is.

The Better Mentality
The lack of quotation marks is not an omission my part, because I honestly believe there is a better mentality. Like outlined in the previous section the advanced mentality has many flaws with it. I think the best connections for the future are developed outside of the school’s social setting. Sports teams, clubs and good ol’ activities outside of school is what builds close ties. This is especially good for non competitive things. Surely the relationships you develop inside of school are good… but they are good for one thing: school. So if ten years down the road you have a question about math, you can go ahead and call your math wiz. If you want out of jail, though, I really do not recommend calling him with your “one” phone call.
To reinforce this point: there are plenty of people I socialize with only in school and about school. I might be interested in their day to day life (just because I am a nosy brat) but they have no interest in mine. People like that and I keep in basic contact. I might be able to help them in one area, and they can help me in another. If however socialization with such people is expanded outside a school setting a whole new field of contact opens.
To summarize, what you can use your connections for depends on where you made the connections. If you made them in school, you can use them for school. If you made them in sports, you can use them in sports. If you made a personal connection you can use them for personal things. Therefore, the best connections are ones made on a personal level.
The mentality comes in with a person’s willingness to make connections. The problem with being in advanced for four years is that you learn to over-analyze. When you go make connections with an advancee you are open to being over analyzed. Advancees are just an example; the main point is that one of the factors of mentality is level of analyzing. The second factor is the comfort level. If a person is fine and dandy where they are they are more bent towards conservatism and not making new connections. If the person is out of their element, then they are more liberal and have to make connections.
Hence the best atmosphere is one where there is little competition and everyone is new.

Applications of this knowledge can be varied. For me, the biggest application is in choosing a University. I believe that the people you go to University with are much more important that the education from that University. All Universities (of the same level) have the same education but are attended by different groups of people.

As my mind runs out of things to spur out I have decided that this post has not really said much. It is important to keep all the connections you can, because it is good to have a variety of different friends. Each connection has its own traits and each connection has different demands, rewards and consequences. I think it is essential to keep all the connections that you can. For me, I think I will use this blog as the primary way of keeping in touch, because it is less demanding than email. So, if you are planning to read (and especially if you do not like my pink background) then add me to your Google Reader, or other RSS feed reader (

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