2008-09-22

A Blogger’s Manifesto

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Back in July I decided to start a blog... clearly. What may not be as clear is that it was a decision driven primarily by the realization that the right side of my brain had begun to atrophy after 3 years working as a CPA. Since then the response can perhaps best be described as irrationally exuberant, as friends begin to find this site and most begin to wonder why someone with a 9 – 5 job (or 8 – 8 as the case may be) would decide to undertake something so personal and potentially time consuming. I mean we all work enough as it is, right? Still others have asked what I possibly hoped to accomplish in the few hours a week that I could conceivably hope to devote to the site. To answer all that requires an exploration of a word that I have always sought to avoid; passion.

Who am I?
I have previously provided a more thoroughly ridiculous answer to that question here , however I will only further add that I would characterize myself as someone who is continually overwhelmed by what is required of my time, yet someone who actively seeks to carve out time for the real passions of my life. The concept of passion has always frustrated me though. I don’t know if it’s because I have never been absolutely sure what my passions were or simply my unwillingness to repeat the all too common responses of “people” or “new experiences”. What I do believe however is that not having an answer to that question has led me down the path of least resistance, and plopped me down smack dap in the middle of Corporate America.

Passion, in my opinion, is the ethos of high school or college thanks in part to a plethora of new and exciting experiences which virtually define that chapter of our lives. However once graduation passes and the excitement of starting your first job begins to wane, the reality of the working world is left in its wake. A reality that for many, leads to a near state of depression as a result of a job that they either don’t enjoy, or a career in which they feel trapped.

This realization led me to conduct a case study whereby I tested the correlation between a person’s happiness and their work experience. This study was performed on my immediate group of friends, and the results ended up looking identical to a demand curve (i.e. as you increase the number of years at a specific job, inevitably demand for that job decreases). What's worse is that it took on average two years for someone to go from day 1 at their first job to beginning the process of looking for another one. Business owners take note.

So what does this mean to someone still at the very beginnings of what some experts have described as a “Career destined for greatness” (ok maybe only I say that)? It means that it should come as no surprise that the #1 casualty of starting out in the working world is losing the passion which defined our lives up to that point. A truth that is further exacerbated if our paths were set without fully considering the consequences of where we would ultimately end up. It seems that the financially secure path, may in fact end up costing more in the end.

Why “One Stop Schop”

“For every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.”
- Arthur Schopenhauer

A quick background story about the origins of this site begins when I finally decided to take the leap into the highly intellectual (debatable I know) world of blogging. The bug first bit me after reading Bill Simmons’ marathon pop culture and sports related posts (still convinced he has one of the best jobs around) and Andrew Sullivan’s professionally crafted political commentary. But it wasn’t until I found sites like Tech Crunch, AVC, TedTalks (the #1 Podcast hands down), etc… however that I decided I needed a place to track my thoughts. Currently, as my friends and family love to point out, politics seems to consume much of my conversations outside of work, yet my passions extend well beyond the realm of whether or not Obama is elected in November. Although I do apologize if the focus of this blog is severely skewed in one direction until the election is over, especially since “free time” has gone the way of the condor with increased demands at work, planning a wedding, playing in a city softball league, and various other "important" tasks on my plate.

The first hurdle I had to clear, once the decision was made, was the obvious; what word or phrase could possibly convey all the thoughts that were swirling around in my head? The site I wanted to create would link / comment on news varying in degree from what new start-up Union Square is backing, to what is currently consuming Matt Chandler’s (my Pastor) thoughts and prayers, to what music the good folks here, here, and here are listening to.

Through that brain-storming session, I came upon hurdle #2; Google Blogger is free. Now don’t get me wrong, I love things that are free. Free is almost always the preferable choice. The unfortunate truth about “free” in the context of blogging though is that it creates a world with no personal incentives. In fact I challenge any of you to type:

http://(insert_witty_phrases_here).blogspot.com/

See how long it takes before you find an unclaimed site. It's ridiculous.

The more I thought about a concept however, the more I kept coming back to my original idea of creating a site that encompasses the multitude and diversity of my pursuits… a “one stop shop” if you will (also taken). I then came across the Schopenhauer quote above which fit nicely into the theme and thus the title "The One Stop Schop" (for “Schop”enhauer) was born.

My fiancé gives me a hard time about my many theories on life, but one such theory (we’ll call it The I'm Right, Your Wrong Theory) is that each of us continually operates under the assumption that we are 100% justified in our actions, while others are not. A belief innocent enough in a vacuum, yet one that poses intense problems when confronted by another opposing set of beliefs (i.e. my continual bout with road rage) . If this is the result of living in a free-market society that preaches the value of pursuing one’s own self-interest or simply human nature, I’m not sure, but what I do know is that we all too often fail to see the inherent limitations created by our own lack of understanding.

Enough Already!
Ok so while some people believe that the purpose of blogging is to reap various physiological benefits, the purpose of this site will ultimately be to start a conversation of sorts with whoever chooses to join in (anyone... anyone... Bueller...?). A conversation that despite being framed by the contributors of this site, will be one that continually entertains, challenges, and occasionally enlightens (though highly doubtful) everyone who decides to listen in and occasionally partake.

However, due to the aforementioned constraints on both my time and intellectual aptitude, this blog will never portend (SAT word of the day) to provide any expert opinions. Because quite frankly, opinions are overrated and everybody’s got one. Or as Andy Swan eloquently points out, “Information used to be power. Now it is pedestrian.” Google it seems is the great equalizer.

Welcome and enjoy!
Mike

1 comments:

Andy Swan on 24/9/08 said...

Love it. Great post.

Now, get disqus commenting on this thing so we readers can participate in conversations!

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