Archive for March, 2004

Actually work isn’t really hard, it is just long (no sexual reference intended). As explained more scientifically here, it is difficult to write nice long, well thought-out posts when I don’t have time to think anymore.

All my useless opinons, which are very important to me, are harder to formulate when I don’t have the time to dwell on them. On the other hand, time to think isn’t always a good thing.

What all this has to do with my website is that I have noticed the frequency of my posts have increased, while the quality of writing has deteriorated. The entries have gotten shorter too.

And I always thought I was such a good writer?? Maybe its just that I had more time to put into it.

Additionally, as outlined here, thinking is something done by the idle. Labor is concerned with bread and water, not its cosmic significance. I have yet to decide whether or not a J-O-B is a good thing or not in the philosophical sense, but I am sure of one thing:

It makes you a hell of a lot more boring.

Perhaps that is because you must be interesting to be useful if you are not working. If you are jobless and interesting, you’re an idealistic dreamer trying to beat the system. If you are jobless and boring you’re just a loser.

If you are working you don’t have to care whether or not you are boring…you’re still getting your shit done.

Still, I hope to have the leisure to consider a few twisted, useless and unrealistic thoughts every once in a while. Otherwise I may just have to go rob a bank or something….

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I couldn’t resist. The company where I am working has a huge client database with names and contact information for each client.

Microsoft is one of the clients and it lists Bill Gate’s phone number (425 882-8080). I didn’t figure it was a direct line, but the temptation was too great so I called it today.

Unfortunately it was just a general number. A secretary answered.

I wish it had been his voice mailbox or something. I wanted to ask if he had an extra billion dollars lying around.

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Right now I am in training for 8 hours a day.

Classes in college lasted, at the most, an hour and a half. I couldn’t stay awake even then. 8 hours is an eternity.

We’re learning something about a database and using a bunch of acronyms that I’d rather not remember.

It isn’t exactly unbearable though. Coffee, Cokes, and food are free. I’ve had two cups of coffee and a Coke, so far this morning….at least I’m awake, if a bit jumpy.

Ok….now its hours later: 6pm. I’m freaking tired and need some food. I think I’m gonna go home and watch a movie or something. Good thing I only live 10 minutes from work. Otherwise I’d have to fight the mindbending Altanta rush hour traffic.

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I just got back from Altlanta. I have a new job and a new apartment and I’m tired from the drive.

I’ll tell you some amusing bits about my first two days of work tomorrow.

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Today is one of the most boring days I can remember. I have been sitting at home all day waiting for one phone call. I’ve received 4 phone calls, which is 4 more than I usually get, but none is the one I’m waiting on. I’m just wasting time, waiting.

Waiting alone is not a good thing. The house is empty. I’ve drunk so much coffee I’m sort of fidgety. My dog is infinitely patient sitting near the gas logs napping, which makes my impatience all the more intolerable. I went to bed at 12:30 and stayed in bed till about 12, again waiting.

You have weird dreams when you sleep that long. The 4 phone calls this morning all woke me up, which is why I remember the dreams. I can’t return those calls otherwise I’d tie up the phone. Of course the minute I get on the phone, they would be trying to call to offer me a job.

I’ve been looking for a job a long time. My dad told me last night he was proud I have been so patient in looking for the right job. “A lesser man would’ve settled for something 6 months ago and been unhappy with it,” he said.

I say a better man would’ve found a good job six months ago, and as far as being happy with it: I’ve never proven I can be happy at a job; what makes me think I can do it now? Actually, I was happy at camp….although that lasted only 10 weeks.

Actually, this time I have a good feeling about my potential job satisfaction. Why? I’ve learned a great deal about self-control over the past 5 years. The best and most sustainable way to achieve some sort satisfaction with your life is to decide that it will be so.

This is exceedingly difficult to do, and requires a degree of mastery of self that is near impossible. How well can you police bad thoughts and remove yourself from negative environments when you often don’t know if the thoughts and environments are negative until after you’ve experienced them? By then it’s too late.

I think, really, the discussion is moot. I’ve said I will get a job, for reasons explained in earlier posts. This is both a decision and a realization that, without working, food clothing and shelter can become a challenge.

Our preoccupation with happiness is a seldom recognized affliction of modern affluence. How wonderful is it to be able to worry over the capriciousness of our wandering spirit? In the past no one cared whether or not you were happy, least of all the unhappy. A hungry stomach is indifferent to the mental state of its vessel.

Before civilization I doubt we even had a dim grasp on the many shades of happiness. It is only with the dawn of excess a few thousand years ago that people were afforded the extended idleness needed to consider whether or not they enjoyed existing.

As we got better and better at making stuff we created enough surplus for ever larger numbers of us to be idle to consider our inner state. We went from a few Greek playwrights to, thousands of years later, entire movements of literary thinkers lounging around Paris essentially complaining that life was meaningless because they no longer had to scrounge for food, clothing and shelter. Only the well fed can afford to be depressed.

This brings us to today, where it is assumed that happiness is a birthright. It is no coincidence that unhappiness has increased as a result. As I have found through experience, thinking you must always be happy can itself become a source of unhappiness when you find it is impossible to attain, thus believing that it is some defect in yourself or unfairness of the world that is impeding your eternal inner peace.

When modern life, with all its complexities, is seen in these terms, we should be grateful even to have the opportunity to consider whether or not we think we are happy.

Before that Buddha stated it quite simply: All Life Is Suffering.

And in those days, it likely was.

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Tuesday I’m going to Clemson to speak with the head of the Economics department.

I’d been trying to arrange a meeting with anyone who’d agree since December. On January 29 I wrote an email to Robert Tollison, who I was told is the most senior and respected economist on staff. Here is his reply: “I am sorry but I am terribly overcommitted at the moment. If you could wait until June, I would be happy to meet with you.

June?? He doesn’t have an opening on his calender until June? If I am ever that busy please shoot me. In his defense, at least he didn’t say no. In fact, I am planning to write him back at the end of May to set up a time…..just for kicks.

I can’t figure out why it takes so long to do things. Maybe one day I’ll get it. I remember reading advice about how long to wait to follow up with a recruiter or potential employer. Most sources suggest a week or 2. Most of the time it is a month or more before I hear back from them. Sometimes they call and it has been so long since I originally applied I don’t even remember who they are or what the job is. I just end up sounding like an idiot.

I told Bobby McCormick I was researching an article called “FAQ about the Economy”. He agreed to meet with me. My next post will have to be called “FAQ about the Economy” so that, technically, I will be researching such an article and not make myself a liar.

I really don’t know what I expect him to say. I’ve been collecting these questions for a long time, and many of them I’ve answered myself. Still, it should be interesting.

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