Mercenary for the Man

Nov 13th, 2009 | Filed under Opinions and Perspectives, Travel, Work

Although almost two decades have past,  my time employed with a  large North American electronics company, still deeply effects my perspective on corporate  life. I started out as a simple salesman, but over time  moved myself up through the various positions the company offered, and by the age of twenty two I had a hundred and fifty people below me on the corporate ladder, and only two above. I was making myself quite a decent income.

During my last two years with this company, I found that my boss had started to ask me to take over more and more responsibility. I was told that if I did the work now, great wealth would follow, as time went on, I gave more and more of my time and energy to the company, sixty plus hours a week was pretty normal, often with business trips thrown in, where I was basically “at work” 24 hours a day.

After a couple of years,  I began to go beyond asking, and demanded the raise they had promised me, there were various long winded “reasons” why it could not be given to me, but the truth was, that the pay of my non-owner boss above me, would have had to be slashed to pay me for all his work I was doing for him.

The incredible work hours of the last two years, had taken a huge toll on my social life without helping my financial status at all. They had me working my ass off for nothing. I was “chasing carrots” I would never be given.  I cant believe I let them do this for me for almost two years.  I had been given much more responsibility, and many more headaches,  but no reward. My corporate slavery had distanced me from my close friends,  and ended up losing me my girlfriend. My work had become the unhealthy centre of my life.

Disgusted at how the company had strung me along for two years, and heartbroken over my lost love, I quit the job, though they tried tossing money at me to get me back, I had already lost my faith in them, so off I went. I took the money I had  saved from working there for so long, bought myself a backpack, and began to travel around the world.

Sixteen months later, while hanging out on a beach in Thailand I ended up meeting five English teachers on vacation from their work in Korea. We spent a few very fun days together, since I was starting to run out of travel money, but didn’t really want to go home, I began asking them about their work in Korea. They all agreed with one another that they didn’t like the job, and even went on to say they didn’t like the country, the people the boss or anything.

I was a bit taken aback by their unanimous dislike for their job, and asked them “Why on earth do you work there then?”

One guy said something that has stuck with me to this day, and I have often considered just how much I agree with this, he said: “I don’t work for companies, I work for myself, I do it for money, I am a mercenary.”

Obviously he wasn’t a real “mercenary”, he was an English teacher, but I liked his idea. He didn’t do what he did for his company, or his boss, he just did it for the money.

Since that time I have always approached work this way. I don’t care what a jerk my boss is, or if I like the company, and I don’t do things to help my boss or the company for free, because in the end, the company and the boss only care about the money, they don’t care about you. They only want you to do things for free, because it saves them money.

Of course I still do my work as well as I can, you need to do a very good job to be a demanding employee, but if people ask me to take another responsibility, I will ask if there is an immediate raise involved before i agree to do it. My loyalty now has a price.

I also became a mercenary for the man.

Developing Countries and Robots

Nov 10th, 2009 | Filed under Interesting, Opinions and Perspectives, Travel

The Term Developing Countries is thrown around quite a bit in “Developed Countries”, there are actually very few people in “Developed” countries. In common practice, only Japan in Asia, Canada and the United States in northern America, Australia and New Zealand in Oceana  and Western Europe are considered “developed” regions or areas. In international trade statistics they consider, the Southern African Customs Union, and Israel as a developed areas.

If you look on a map, this isn’t really that much of the world, obviously places like Australia and Canada are huge, but they only contain a combined  total of about 55 million people so if you start considering populations, again its just not that many people.  In fact all “developed” nations all trade together and have international stock exchanges. They are sort of all from the same club.

I find it funny how one country or group of countries (like a club), can decide who will,  and who will not be considered “developed”. Of course there are some countries that and “more shiny” than others. If you go to countries like The United States, Canada, and Australia, you we astonished at how well they are laid out. The reason for this is they have been developing their cities and towns and roadways etc, with the modern day inventions of telephones, electricity, and automobiles considered in the planning. If you go to the newest places, like most of Australia, and the west coast of the United States and Canada, these cities are so new, all has been logically pre planned before the city was even built. This is in large contrast to older places where people build houses without the consideration of all the things that had yet to be invented. I mean when Varanasi in India was built six thousand years ago, they didn’t consider where the cars would go.

It is true that most modern scientific inventions are accredited to “developed” countries, or at least almost all International Patents are registered by “developed” countries. Basically being a member of the club means you know its systems, and membership does have privileges.

I am faced with issues on the money making side of my life currently where artists over in “developing” nations have drawn some artwork that another company in America is actively copywriting for themselves, cutting this small company, that is not “in the know”, out of the profits, and the ability to sell their own designs. Sad isn’t it?

An average person arriving from a “New” country to any old country tends to judge a book by its cover, traffic congestion, overhead wires, crooked streets, non sequential addresses, and old buildings, just don’t look the same as the new shiny glass buildings, with underground wiring, on strait roadways.

The wild dogs and in the streets in some “developing” nations, are considered dangerous to people from western countries that have never dealt with wild dogs before,  they think the country just doesn’t know how to deal with those issues, when the fact is the religion says to just leave nature to nature and they don’t believe in killing them or “fixing” them. I have been walking around packs and huge groups of wild dogs for about 8 years now and have never been bit. In fact I am glad they are there, because they will bark at strangers, and help keep my little road safe for us people who live here.

Too many people travel from these types of places, judge the book by its cover and make a decision that they should be the teachers, since it is obvious they are superior.

Obviously “developed” countries, do have some things to teach “developing” ones about things like technology, and modern day business, but having the ability to build robots,  does not mean they are superior at everything else.

Some people are so full of themselves they think that they, coming from a developed country,  can somehow teach Indians how to play the guitar, which India  actually invented themselves thousands of years ago. Or cooking, like we all don’t know how to cook. I mean maybe they don’t make a better hamburger or fish and chips in Asia than they do back home, but thank god they have so many other things to cook that taste better and are healthier for us.

Some thick headed idiots actually get mad at people in non-English speaking countries for not speaking English…

When I was twenty two, I went to several doctors in Canada about a nasal infection I had. I was recommended many prescription drugs and when they didn’t work eventually an operation. I decided I wasn’t bothered about it enough to get an operation. When I saw a doctor in India about it, he gave me a little device similar to a chicken baster and told me to squirt water with salt in it up my nose 2 times a day. This cured me in about a week. The same doctor recommended on a different occasion chewing on some raw ginger for my sore thought, it didn’t taste that bad and I only had to do it once a day to get rid of my sore throat for the day. Did you know drinking warm water breaks up phlegm when you have bronchitis, and cold drinks make it worse? Makes sense doesn’t it?

I have an 8 year old son that has been living in “undeveloped” countries with me for the last three years. At home in Canada children that are less than about 10 years old are generally kept inside or supervised by the parent, to keep them safe from sickos and perverts. In Asia you just let them run free and so do all the other kids, and all the neighborhood kids and parents, and anyone else that lives there looks out for them and they are safe.

We run over to these countries so often for work, or holidays, and often don’t bother to listen or ask what they have to teach us. We teach them all we know and leave. In the end they have all their knowledge and all of ours. This isn’t really a good plan for long term competition. You cant speak and listen at the same time. Our big headedness could one day be our downfall.

No one ever asks why some things are better in “developing” countries than the in “developed” countries, I mean we build the best robots, so obviously we have nothing to learn from anyone else, right?

Wrong! Living life has absolutely nothing to do with making robots.

Railroad Tracks, Space Shuttles, and Horses Asses.

Nov 8th, 2009 | Filed under Interesting, Opinions and Perspectives

I received this from a friend by e-mail, I tried to find where it came from and did a search but was unable to find the author, or the title of the original posting.

It was already worded so well I didn’t change anything.

 

 

Railroad tracks.

Isn’t this fascinating?

 

No…. It’s scary!!

Be sure to read the final paragraph; your understanding of it will depend on the earlier part of the content.

The  US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That’s an exceedingly odd number.

Why was that gauge used? Because that’s the way they built them in England, and English expatriates designed the  US railroads.

Why did the English build them like that? Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that’s the gauge they used.

Why did ‘they’ use that gauge then? Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they  had used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.

Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing? Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long distance roads in  England, because that’s the spacing of the wheel ruts.

So who built those old rutted roads? Imperial  Rome built the first long distance roads in Europe(including  England) for their legions. Those roads have been used ever since.

And the ruts in the roads? Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels. Since the chariots were made for Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing. Therefore the United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot. Bureaucracies live forever.

So the next time you are handed a specification/procedure/process and wonder ‘What horse’s ass came up with this?’, you may be exactly right. Imperial Roman army chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the rear ends of two war horses. (Two horses’ asses.) Now, the twist to the story:

When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRBs. The SRBs are made by Thiokol at their factory in Utah.

The engineers who designed the SRBs would have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory happens to run through a tunnel in the mountains, and the SRBs had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track, as you now know, is about as wide as two horses’ behinds.

So, a major Space Shuttle design feature of what is arguably the world’s most advanced transportation system was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of a horse’s ass. And you thought being a horse’s ass wasn’t important? Ancient horse’s asses control almost everything… and

Modern horses asses are controlling everything else.

Nothing to Write Home About.

Nov 7th, 2009 | Filed under Soul Asylum

Since the age of 22 I have spent most of the last 15 years of my life  overseas. I am on holidays sometimes, and work sometimes, its about a fifty- fifty split.

It is nice to work in a place like japan for $100 + US per hour then go to tropical beaches in places like Sri Lanka where you can live quite well on twently dollars per day. Obviously saving is a very big part of this lifestyle. So I cant afford to go out every night, but I still manage to a fair bit.

It is always hard being away from my family for so long.

This is a song that has been ringing around im my head for the last 15 years or so.

Soul Asylum – Nothing to Write Home About

Dear mother, what can I say
It’s been so long since I went away
And yes, I miss the comforts of home
But I guess I’m better off on my own

No one told me people could be so cruel
Nobody told me about any of this in school
Still nobody understands the things that I don’t understand

I’ve nothing to write home about
Nothing I have figured out
Still I have the same old doubts
Nothing to write home about

Dear John, that ain’t my name
I’m just hangin’ ’round to take the blame
I’m filled with guilt, I’m filled with shame
Too much or not enough it’s all the same

And no one wants to talk about the loss
No one wants to talk about the cost
Every one just looks away, just like any other day

I’ve nothing to write home about
Nothing I have figured out
Still I have the same old doubts
Nothing to write home about

Who can teach me how to change my ways
Who will come and save the day
Who will tell me what to say
When there’s nothing left to say

Nobody told me about any of this in school
No one told me I’d be taken for a fool
And everyone just looks away, and tries to make it through the day

I’ve nothing to write home about
Nothing I have figured out
Still I have the same old doubts
Nothing to write home about

We have now moved here from Blogger.

Nov 5th, 2009 | Filed under Work

Hi all,

Sorry I didn’t get to post yesterday. I was very busy installing this WordPress Blog on the main Website, and migrating my posts over from Blogger.

I would just like to say to anyone that doesn’t work with any sort of computer languages much, it can be a very frustrating experience, it can be very painful to get things just right, and you will pull your hair out, shout out loud, and learn to curse more than you should. However in the end it is nice to see that you could follow through with something so difficult.

It is similar to climbing a mountain I guess, it is sure painful getting there, but once your there you are proud you have done it.

Anyhow, the proof is in the pudding, the Blog is up and running, and although it still needs an awful lot of tweaking, it works !

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