Working From Home

Recent news from Yahoo and Best Buy about either banning or limiting telecommuting, the technical label for working from home, caught my attention.  I have read some of the reasons behind these changes and they seem valid to me.

Yahoo Banned All Telecommuting

Yahoo’s CEO checked the VPN logs, which shows how often employees log in from home, and found they were not logging in enough so, based on that, and I suspect their productivity for the jobs they were responsible for doing, determined it would be best for them, at this time, to ban all telecommuting and, I assume, either bring all of the telecommuters back into an office in Sunnyvale, California or let some of them go.  Bringing them back into any office will be an enormous expense to the company as office space, furniture, and equipment will have to be acquired unless they have an enormous unused space now.  I am sure they considered this before the decision was made and announced.

My personal opinion is this seems drastic to me but I do not have all the facts and know sometimes drastic changes are necessary in order to bring about the change a company needs so I do believe the CEO made the decision she thinks is needed for Yahoo at this time. I do wish her well and hope they do bring the results she is looking for.

Best Buy Requires Telecommuters to Have Manager’s Approval

Best Buy will allow some if it’s 4000 telecommuters to work from home if they discuss it with their manager and get their approval, which, apparently has not been a requirement to date.  That seem perfectly logical to me, a “duh” moment, as I would have expected this to have been happening all along.  It doesn’t make any sense to me why it wasn’t.

Why would I care?

You might ask yourself why these stories would interest me or why would I care. It’s simple really. I have been a telecommuter for the last 10 years so if these type decisions do become a trend it could affect me. I cannot speak with any first-hand knowledge about Yahoo or Best Buy’s telecommuters but I can speak about my experience. I don’t really think many, if any, other companies will make this type of change just because others have but this may prompt them to look at their own telecommuter productivity and monitor that, as they should, to see if any adjustment are warranted.

Advantages of Telecommuting

Advantages of telecommuting are many.  Some of these include less cost for the physical office, less sick time for the employees, more hours worked for employees who are not spending time commuting to an office, more productivity from the employee, and the employee theoretically, at least, can have a better life outside of work whether that be with family, friends, hobbies, or whatever interests they enjoy. For employees there is also less expense for clothes, fuel, food, and auto maintenance. In recent years with the cost of gasoline this advantage is huge for telecommuters. Some would consider a side benefit of this as being good for the environment as well.

Disadvantages of Telecommuting

Some jobs are best done with people meeting face to face in an office setting and some people need this interaction in order to reach their peak productivity level. If you are trying to climb the corporate ladder then you will probably need to be working in a physical office in order to get very far toward this goal.  For some people, telecommuting does not fit their personality.  They need the physical interaction with co-workers and that is hard to get over the phone.

My Story

For me, I can probably count on one hand the number of sick days I have taken over the past 10 years. There have been many days when I would not have gone into the office that I have been able to work from home. When I last drove to the office I had a one hour commute one way so two hours a day I was in the car not working and not spending time with my family. I had a co-worker in California who had a two hour commute one way on a good day so she regularly spent four hours in the car not working and not spending time with her family. If the company just got half of this commuting time back in hours worked it should mean a significant increase in productivity.

I have always tried to work more than I typically would have in the office just to eliminate any appearance that I was not carrying my weight and getting my job done working at home. I often go much too far overboard with this and it is hard to determine when work ends and when time off begins, one of the primary disadvantages of working from home.

I do not take this privilege for granted. I am thankful for my job as a Project Manager and developer and the challenges and rewards it provides. Based on my performance appraisals over these years my managers do believe I am doing a good job. If that changes I suspect my status as a telecommuter would be up for review as well.

However, these past two weeks I have seen my family much less than most traditional office workers likely would have as the project I am currently working on has required significant time above and beyond what would be considered as a normal work day.  I don’t call this overtime because it is just what is required to get the job done from time to time and usually comes and goes in cycles.

My family is very understanding (they often go overboard with their understanding) but it does begin to wear on all of us when it continues for extended periods of time as this current project has. I do know this is time I will never get back and that is the hardest reality for me.

I have had this topic as one I would like to write about for some time but these past two weeks have prompted me to write this today. This is also the reason I did not get another blog post out this week, which is really insignificant in the grand scheme of things to say the least.

No Single Answer for All

Any news regarding telecommuting is always on my radar. Telecommuting is not for everyone but for those who can be productive and do not need the physical interaction with others in an office it is a very productive arrangement for both the employer and employee. It has been a very good arrangement for me so far. However, it is not as easy as some might think. It should be an agreement first from the company to allow workers to work from home and then a discussion and agreement between the manager and employee. That is the only way I see it working.

That is my perspective, peculiar or maybe not, and will not change even though I know I could be working in an office at some point in the future if my situation changes.

I would love to hear your thoughts so please do leave a comment if you would like to share them.

Until next time…

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 03/30/2013

Yes, No or Not Now

Need to be reminded

 

Many of you may already know this or maybe not. I guess that is one of the reasons I write. Those that have knowledge on a particular subject, including me, often need to be reminded. Those that don’t might just learn something new or get a new perspective on what they already know. Come to think of it, that is one of the reasons I read too. I like to learn new things and often need to be reminded.

 

Today’s post is about a topic I have known to be true for many years. I remember hearing a sermon on this subject when we lived in Birmingham in the late 1980’s and have heard it many times since then in other sermons, bible studies, and in conversations with others, which is who I normally have my conversations with.

God, Not Listening?

Many people claim they have been praying for something for years and God is not listening to them or must not care about them because He hasn’t answered their prayers.  You might be wondering to yourself,

“I wonder what Garth Brooks has to say about this?”

Well, he did have a song several years ago on the subject of thanking God for unanswered prayer.  I couldn’t help it because of my peculiar mind but every time I heard this song I either said to myself or to anyone who might be with me at the time, “there is no such thing as unanswered prayer” as that is what I believe.

Could our interpretation be wrong?

The prayers of God’s children, those who have accepted His gift of salvation and eternal life, are always heard by our Heavenly Father and always answered. However, we are often not perceptive enough or wise enough to understand the answer.

No

Often, we will get a no answer and believe it can’t be true because we “know” God wouldn’t do that to us so we ignore the answer and continue following our own plan.

Yes

Sometimes we get a yes answer and have a similar reaction. “God couldn’t really want me to do that” so, again, we ignore the answer we didn’t want to hear and forge our own path. That is called free will, which we all have, but along with that we have to accept the consequences of those free will choices we all make.

Not now

Probably the hardest answer to accept is the not now answer. This is because we all live in the “gotta have it and gotta have it now” world. This could be God trying to teach us patience, which is often a hard and painful lesson to learn or He could just be saying we are not ready yet or He has something better in mind.

.

How do I know what God is saying?

 

The way I understand this is our prayers are us talking to God and God’s Word, the Bible, is Him talking to us. Yes, He still speaks to us today every day through His Word. Of course the catch there is you have to be spending time in His Word to be able to hear and discern what He is saying to you. One of the benefits of my new Early to Rise challenge is helping me be much more consistent spending time in God’s Word reading my Bible every day.

Don’t be anxious

It Philippians 4:6-7 we are told, 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” ESV

The peace that is mentioned here is one way I believe prayers are answered. You will not get an audible yes or no from God but He will give you a peace about a decision you are struggling with or praying about.  I have trouble with the not being anxious part from time to time but when the peace comes it is obvious.

I have received all three answers to different prayers in my journey through life so far. What you might see too is sometimes when you are praying and hoping for a yes from God He will give you a not now and you keep praying and the not now will become a no. At that moment it is often hard to understand but when we get past this experience and look back on it we can see how God has directed us to the best path for us – not just a good path – and it might not look anything like our original plan.

Sometimes our prayers change

You might also see that request you were asking for change to a different request as you pray and listen (read His word). This happened for me when my mother was battling cancer, which she did valiantly for 17 years. My prayers went from removing the cancer and healing her, which He did for a time, to removing the pain and cancer permanently by taking her home to be with Him, which He did as well.

Don’t take my word for it. Find out for yourself.

Don’t take my word for whether this is true or not. My words will not always be accurate, not because I am intentionally trying to say anything not true, but just because I am human.

His Word, on the other hand, IS The Gospel Truth. Take His Word for it.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” John 1:1 ESV

Until next time…

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 03/25/2013

Sheep are dumb

While reading Dr. Kevin Connors post this morning called “The Lord is My SHEPHERD  this morning I was reminded of a truth from the Bible that is a little bit humorous to me as well as being a good reminder of who we are and who God is.  His post is very thought provoking or convicting depending on how your perspective and I recommend you take a look if you have a few minutes.

Sheep are dumb animals.  They don’t do much thinking of their own and tend to follow the crowd even if the rest of the crowd is walking off the edge of a cliff.  My point is they are not very intelligent creatures.  You might be wondering what this has to do with you or me.  Well, here’s the thing.  We, God’s people, are compared to and called sheep many times in the Bible.

English: Very dumb sheep at Treanscrabbagh She...
English: Very dumb sheep at Treanscrabbagh Sheep are not renowned for their intelligence, but these really take the prize for stupidity. But on the other hand, they are most unlikely to escape into the road, and there need be no worry about the bottom falling out of the market for lamb. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The pause and extra space there was intentional.  Did you get the intended meaning? Sheep are dumb. We are called sheep, so, consequently we are dumb creatures too. This is a little bit humorous to me as I try to not take myself too seriously so I don’t mind being called a sheep.

It is also a very real reminder of just how much we really are like sheep and that we need a shepherd.  Jesus is the shepherd.

If you know Him when you hear him you will know his voice.

I hope you do know Him.  If not, He has a book out that has been a best seller for years.  It is His love letter to you. Get it or open yours and read it.

If you don’t have one you can get one free here at Bible.com for your computer, tablet or smartphone.

You can hear His voice and you can know Him too.

The Lord is my Good Shepherd
The Lord is my Good Shepherd (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Until next time…

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 03/20/2013

Fog

It was very foggy here on the way to church this morning and that got me to thinking.   Anyone who knows me very well knows that can be dangerous, not really in a physical sense but in the sense you just never know where that may lead.

Fog in Seattle
Fog in Seattle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What does fog make you think of? 

Anything other than you need to turn your headlights on and pay more attention to the road and possibly slow down?

For me, this morning, it made me think of God and His plans for us, His children.   There is a Steven Curtis Chapman song called God is God that has the lines, “God is God and I am not.  I can only see a part of the picture He’s painting.”  That came to mind for me this morning in the fog.  You can see a live performance (well it is a recording of a live performance) here God is God (Live).

Me? A Masterpiece?

God is painting a masterpiece, which happens to be our lives, and He does only show us a part of the masterpiece He is painting.  It can be — usually is — frustrating for us because we want to see the end of the story or three steps ahead but we are only shown the next step.  After we take that step, then we can see more.

We can fight against this reality as much as we like but God will not show us our next step until He knows we are ready for it or until we have learned the lesson He is trying to teach us where we are now, which is one way He shows how much He loves us.

Have children?  Do you act like them or do they act like you?

For parents this is much like we try to teach our children.  We love them and want the best for them but we know if they do not experience the challenges and setbacks that are often painful for us to watch they will not grow or learn and are destined to keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again, and will never achieve the victory they strive for.  As much as we might like to take the fall for them we know that the lessons we have learned well are the hard ones so I suspect that is how they will best learn them as well.

If you are anything at all like me you have given your son or daughter a task to do, knowing that if they are obedient and do the task with the attitude and effort required to do their best job, without complaining, you have a reward for them.  That reward could be taking them to get ice cream or to the movie or a new video game or whatever would be fun and a reward for them.  You don’t tell them you have a reward in mind because you want to see if they will be obedient first.

God does the same for His children.  He requires and expects our obedience to do what He is telling us to do without complaining.  He has a reward for us.  The fog this morning reminded me of that.  Maybe it will be a reminder for you too.

Until next time…

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 03/17/2013

Abstract or just a different perspective?

Today I am just taking a cue from the WordPress Daily Post from a couple of days ago which begins with, “No matter how long you’ve been blogging, there is always more to learn.” I have no trouble believing this because that is what I have always believed and try to live by,

 This is true of blogging, or trying to tell a computer to do something which is what I do for a living, or parenting, or anything else you might do.

This particular challenge was to take a photo and modify it here on WordPress.com to make it abstract or not readily recognizable.  Since I have recently done that with the header on my blog I thought I would take the challenge and challenge you too if you want to play along. Take a look at this photo, which is the header of my blog and see if you can recognize what this picture is or where it was taken.

cropped-masters-wed_cx7430001.jpg

OK.  Got it?

If not, don’t scroll to the bottom yet!  See if you can figure it out.

Here are some clues.

This is one of the most recognizable places in the world of sports.

To be a spectator at this sporting event requires you to secure one of the hardest tickets in sports and are allocated by a lottery system.

Many dream of being here and work for years to make it but never do.

Cattle were allowed to graze here during World War II.

The house built here is believed to be one of the first concrete houses built in this part of the country.

The annual event contested here got its official name in 1939.

Participation in this event is by invitation only.

Winners and runner-ups receive medals.

The first television broadcast of this event was in 1956.

The event had its first international winner in 1961.

The event founder died in 1971.

It is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

It is one of my favorite places in the world.

The event co-founder died in 1977.

The event contested here takes place the first full week of April every year.

Okay, if you don’t have it by now then you will probably not get it so here is the full picture.

Magnolia Lane
Magnolia Lane

This is Magnolia Lane, the entrance for participants and members into the Augusta National Golf Club, home of The Masters. I was able to acquire some of those hard to get practice round tickets in 2007 for all three days and again in 2010 for Wednesday. It is one of the most beautiful places in the world to me and The Masters is one of the most spectacular sporting events held.  They keep improving it and making it better every year but also manage to keep the concession prices very reasonable for the patrons, which is what the spectators are called.  They are still much less than most other professional sporting venues.

Well if you played along, I hope you enjoyed it and maybe even learned something. Remember, there is always more to learn.

If you want to know more about The Masters or Augusta National you can visit their web site, which is also a first class productions at http://www.masters.com, It will be here this year in about 3 and a half week and signals the official beginning of spring for me each year.

Until next time…

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 03/13/2013

Early to bed, Early to rise, Makes a man healthy, wealthy and blog?

“Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” 

This proverb is most often attributed to Benjamin Franklin since it appeared in his Poor Richards Almanack but was really just a proverb he was repeating.  He never took credit for being the originator of this proverb.  In any case there is wisdom contained within this proverb that many of us who like to think we are “smart” often do not follow.

I am a prime and very stubborn example of this as for most of my 51 years on this earth from high school until about a week or so ago I have stubbornly been trying to disprove this truth.

For the past 8 days though I have been trying something new, going to bed early and getting up early.  To me going to be early is any time before midnight and I have done that on 7 of the last eight nights.  I have been up anywhere between 5:00 and 6:05 AM every morning.

Healthy

As for healthy I have been blessed so far in my life with good health but rising early allows me to get some exercise, what would be considered very low impact weight training on a Total Gym and Ab lounger, the early models of both.  It is something I have been able to do regularly and earlier in the day before life, work, and excuses “force” me to postpone this for another day.

Another health benefit is rising early allows me to get my daily Bible reading and quiet time done and done regularly which improves my spiritual health and builds spiritual muscle which benefits me in everything else I attempt to do.

Wealthy

As for wealthy, rising early allows me to get my physical and spiritual exercises done so I am not feeling guilty for not doing them all day when I am working on my day job.  This makes me much more productive at work and, in time (once I get a handle on the current project I am working on) will allow me to spend more time with my family after work.  Many days there seems to be no “after work” time (working from home is another subject for another day) and I want to change this.  I am not there yet but I can see the “getting there” now.

Being more productive at work might not make me wealthy but will allow me to perform at a level that should keep me employed and allow for me to provide for my family.  Obviously, there are no guarantees here though.

Rising early has provided me with the courage to start this blog, something I have been contemplating for months if not years.  I don’t expect it to “change the world” but I do expect it to change my world by allowing me the opportunity and platform to write and express some of my thoughts and ideas.  I am selfish in that I am writing for me. My secondary hope is that something I write will resonate with anyone who reads the words I string together and make them laugh, cry, go hmm…”why didn’t I think of that” or trigger another thought that really has nothing to do with the words they read.

Wise or Bloggier?

So for me,“Early to bed, Early to rise” does make me healthier, wealthier, and bloggier” (not sure that is a real word).  I hope the wisdom will come someday too.

What Triggered This Change?

My parents often told me I should get more sleep and that not getting enough sleep was going to catch up with me some day.  My wife and even my children have all told me on numerous occasions for many years I should go to bed and get more sleep.  So you can see I have been told, warned, cautioned that this was a good idea.  I guess that proves I just ‘might be’ one of those “stiff-necked people” that God talks about.  I am sure those who know me would have no trouble believing this.

What has triggered this change for me you might ask?  Well, since you did ask…while reading a guest post by Andy Traub on Chris LoCurto’s Leadership and Business blog  I learned about his book Early To Rise: Learn to rise early in 30 days.  He was also giving away a free copy.  The title of the book intrigued me.  His post and thoughts validated, reinforced, and reiterated what I had been told many times before.  I did not win a copy of his book but bought my own copy a few days (actually 3 weeks in people time) later and decided it was time to take action on what I have known and have been told for years. So the book was not ‘the’ reason I decided to make this change.  It was a culmination of what I had been told and really known for years.  The book was just the trigger or catalyst or “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

So that is how I got to where I am today with this new discipline I am trying to cultivate into a habit.  It is still a work in progress as am I and there are still kinks to be worked out but I “finally” believe it is a discipline that is worthy of pursuit. Maybe I am getting wiser too.

Until next time…

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 03/09/2013

A Peculiar Perspective begins!

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailWelcome to my blog called Peculiar Perspective.  More about the title I chose in a moment.

“THE END!”  This is how Zig Ziglar begins his most published and read book, which also happens to be my favorite See You At The Top.  This was an effective and attention grabbing way to start this book, which gave me a new perspective on life and changed my life for the better.  I am glad I didn’t stop reading there.

Steven Covey tells us in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to

“Begin with the end in mind” and “Seek first to understand, Then to be understood.”

His points are valid when taken in the context they are given.

I understand the points these authors are making in their books but if interpreted or used in the wrong way, or just taken out of context, one could use these as excuses for never getting started whether that be in writing a blog, changing jobs, exercising more, losing weight or running for president.  I have been doing that for too long in regards to writing and that has delayed the debut of this blog but that ends today!

(Wait for applause here…)

Thank you, thank you.  Please be seated.  Thank you for that warm welcome to the blogoshpere. 🙂

Peculiar by definition means odd, strange, weird, unusual, irregular, abnormal, unconventional, curious, or atypical, to name a few synonyms.  I have been referred to as all of the above at one time or another.  Some have told me I have a warped sense of humor.  I don’t understand that.  To me everyone else is warped and I am normal.  God called the Israelites a “peculiar people”.  He also called them “stiff-necked” (or stubborn) on multiple occasions but I will not go there right now.

Perspective is just someone, anyone’s viewpoint, outlook, perception or point of view.  Everyone has one of these and since everyone includes me, I do too.

Peculiar Perspective is what I chose as my blog title since I am a peculiar person, either by God’s or man’s definition, and I do have a perspective or point of view.  I am of the belief that my peculiar perspective on things is similar to many others and really is not peculiar at all but is what was known in an earlier time as common sense.  As this blog develops over time this theory will either be validated or disproved.  Time will tell.

I really do not know what this blog is going to look like as it develops.  I have a lot of ideas rattling around in my brain and this may take many different directions before it becomes focused or it may never become focused on one theme or topic.  I have been on this earth for a little over half a century (that sounds like a long time when quantified that way) so I have many experiences and lessons learned that should be appropriate, interesting and helpful to someone.

I am also not going to try to pin down a specific frequency for new posts.  I expect it will be weekly or maybe 2-3 times a week to start and then will be adjusted based on how that goes.

Jeff Goins says in You Are A Writer (So Start Acting Like One),

“You don’t have to have it all figured out yet. You just need to begin. You’ll figure out the rest as you go.”

That is what I am doing, beginning and figuring it out as I go.

Jon Acuff says in his new book START: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work That Matters ,

“the only line that you can control is the START line.”

Zig Ziglar often said, 

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”

That doesn’t mean my blog is going to be great.  That is my intention.  However, I will never know unless I start.

So, I am starting right now, right here, today.  No more questions to get answered, books or blogs to read on writing or blogging, over-analysis of whether I should or should not write and what I should or should not write about.  No more trying to make it “perfect” before I publish it.  My delaying tactics are done.  This blog has begun.  Hey, that rhymes. 🙂

Thank you for joining me on this journey into odd logic, or common sense, from a somewhat atypical angle.

Until next time…

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 03/08/2013