Dad for Beginners - Amateurism at its best Dad for Beginners - Amateurism at its best

Dad for Beginners

Amateurism at its best

spanking

May 19, 2017
by Creed
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Why Spanking Ruined My Life

My parents never spanked me as a child. In fact they never hit me at all. I think this is where my dysfunction began. In the absence of spanking.

I was punished, albeit, benignly. Spanking wasn’t in my parent’s handbook of discipline. I was sent to my room or put in the corner or even occasionally prohibited from seeing my friends for a few days—grounded—they called it. But I was never hit. And that is wrong.

As a functional adult, I often struggle with how to manifest my power without violence. In my professional management position, I routinely counsel subordinate employees through discussion and logical understanding supplemented with suggestive coaching or even leading by example. I simply cannot bring a subordinate employee into my office and beat the shit out of them as a display of both my power and disapproval for whatever unacceptable action they just committed. For my inability to physically dominate and humiliate otherwise innocent humans in the workplace, I blame my parents.

When my 4-year-old son misbehaves, I often find myself trying to learn why he has misbehaved instead of spanking him. For perhaps it is my fault—my poor parenting—that caused this. At times I’ll even stoop to unimaginable lows and give him a hug, trying to console him with loving touch instead of physical violence and degradation. For my unwillingness to punish my son with physical aggression, I blame my parents.

Sometimes my wife and I argue. Sometimes we outright fight. But that’s the nature of long-term monogamy, right? Tensions build but ultimately the greater good shines through. I find it pretty simple to argue with my wife. I even get irrationally mad at times, particularly when she is right and I am wrong. But I just can’t bring myself to hit her. I cannot lay hands violently on a woman, especially one whom I love. For my inability to solve my marital conflicts with violence, I blame my parents.

I’ve been known to dabble in the illicit substances. As a young man I was wrapped up pretty deeply in drug use and even to this day as a man I’ll go through periods of excessive alcohol consumption. But my rationale and ultimately, my self-conceived justifications for these less-than-desirable personality traits are on me. If only my parents had beat me for my wrongdoings as a child I would have an eternal set of alibis for my disgusting habits. If only my parents had hit me, I’d never have had to learn about accountability. Because I have to be accountable for my mistakes, no matter how much I might resist it at times, I blame my parents.

I dropped out of college. Once. I picked up the pieces of my shattered education, regrouped, and went on the graduate with honors. Unfortunately, my collegiate failures were due to my addiction and inability to get my priorities together. My teachers, professors, and associated educators never hit me. And that is truly sad. I had to own my failures as truly my own, regroup, and persevere. For the lack of physical abuse I took in school leading to mistakes that were wholly my own, I blame my educators and by proxy, my parents.

I’ve had some marital strife in my life. Who doesn’t? But my wife and I have typically been able to work together through any problems by admitting faults and amending mistakes. In these scenarios, I have to face my failures as a man. I can’t lean on the crutch of childhood abuse as a reason for my shortcomings as a man. For my inability to justify my marital vices by way of a violent childhood, I blame my parents.

This is where the problem lies for me. Spanking. I was never taught that physical violence solves problems. Because of my inability to exact physical violence on others by way of spanking, hitting, swatting, or punching, I am forced to use my mental faculties and love to understand and solve problems.

I have problems at work that I cannot bring myself to solve with violence. I have moments with my son that are perhaps deserving of punishment yet all I can do is love him. I have marital problems that I have to be accountable for and own. I have a personal history of poor health choices, poor life choices, and educational failures. I don’t get to blame any of this on my violent childhood. For all this, I have to be accountable. And for that I blame my parents.

baby clothes

May 7, 2017
by Creed
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How to be Fearless

Fear is a primal emotion. Everyone has been scared. Even in adulthood, everyone is scared of something. People try to couch their fears inside rationality—nest them in a space of solace—so as not to have to realize them. This doesn’t mean they are fearless, it means they are protecting themselves.

There is only one known way to be fearless — be a child.

Children are not inherently fearful. They don’t know how to be. Think about it. Think about what scares you as an adult and why it scares you.

Perhaps you’ve lost something—or someone. Perhaps you’ve been fired, or cheated on, or experienced a near-death event. Perhaps you’ve seen one too many Jason Voorhees movies. Whatever the case, something scares you. It is something you’re aware of—aware of enough to implement protections against it.

But as a child, most haven’t seen fear. Some have. Unfortunately there are always those that have been raised in an environment based on fear, even if unintentionally by the parents or guardians. For most children, however, they don’t know how to be fearful nor should they.

A child will jump off the countertop for fun, not realizing that he or she is risking the bone integrity of their ankles in doing so. A child will call a fat person fat, not understanding that the person may take offense to this, may feel shame, or may react in a retaliatory way. There are countless other examples.

Because most children haven’t experienced true fear, they will try virtually anything—say virtually anything—do virtually anything, until they experience an emotional repercussion.

This is the saddest part of all childhood. When a child becomes fearful.

We should be free to do or say or think whatever we want. We are, politically…but also we’re not. And we all know it. We know what scares us and it isn’t an arbitrary life form from a bad childhood memory based on a movie—like an alien or a murderer or a whale—it’s from a real-life event that manifested in an inherently disappointing way and the emotion, not the event itself is what scares us. It’s not a fear of a thing, it’s a fear of a feel.

It’s shame or remorse or guilt or anger or betrayal or something similar. That is what scares us—our emotional reaction to a stimulus, a reaction which we predict based on our experience.

Children don’t have this, they learn it.

All children will learn it. It is inevitable. Everyone is fearful in their own right in time. Just like children aren’t born as racists or misogynists, fear too is a learned behavior based on environment and emotional experience.

Young children are fearless. Learn from them while you can, because they grow up to be just like us. And that is something to actually fear.

smartphone

April 20, 2017
by Creed
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Using a Smartphone – a 3-year-old versus an 81-year-old

Watching a 3-year-old manipulate a smartphone or a like item such as an iPad is both an amazing and saddening experience. What took people like myself (I’m 31) months and even years to master, a 3-year-old raised with this technology can seemingly master it in a matter of months.

For people older than myself, like my parents, the task of operating an iPhone or iPad effectively took significantly longer. My own father, rapidly closing in on his mid-60s only recently purchased his first iPhone in the last year or so and although his proficiency has progressed nicely given his age, he’s been technologically savvy for most of the internet-era (he was an Al Gore fan, duh) and gained competency on the iPhone relatively fast. My mother, on the other hand, who is now just an eyelash shy of 60, has had a steeper learning curve with her iPhone and although she’s owned one longer than my father, she is just now coming into full-on mastery of the device after probably close to four years of ownership.

Recently my 81-year-old grandma purchased her first ever smartphone. After 81-years on earth, it was finally time to have a means of communication consistent with the century she’s living in. However, the learning curve for an 81-year-old with a new smartphone is approximately in the same range of the competency spectrum as a gorilla learning Cantonese or an inebriated man at open mic night exercising any type of realistic restraint. In short, it’s a steep curve…comparable to the one she probably walked, barefoot, uphill, both ways, during a blizzard.

By comparison, my 3-year-old son operating his iPad and my 81-year-old grandmother operating her new smartphone are not that far apart on the learning spectrum of modern technology. Although the rapidity by which one learns far outpaces the other, the current state of smartphone proficiency between the two is as close as it will ever come to being even, with the advantage tilting more each day in favor of the 3-year-old.

As a fun example of a particular niche of smartphone usage, please refer to the below text messages, one formulated by my 3-year-old while monkeying with the text function on my phone, and the other a legitimate message from my grandmother in response to some pictures I sent her. The resemblance is uncanny.

smartphone

Exhibit A: 3-year-old composes a text

smartphone

Exhibit B: 81-year-old composes a text

While they’ve both strung together some nice words, the 3-year-old actually typed more dictionary-legitimate words while the grandma typed a letter, a word, and a period, perhaps as an indication that the incoherent text message was complete. Autocorrect certainly factors in for the 3-year-old although he managed to slip in a ‘7’ which is lucky and the word ‘skin’ which is not at all creepy. The grandma, on the other hand, still in the infancy of her smartphone pilgrimage, is forgiven for her duo of messages consisting of just a letter, a word, and the punctuation symbol typically used to end a sentence.

There is little doubt that both will improve on this initial performance almost instantly, however it will be the 3-year-old, with his rapidly developing cognitive function, who grasps the finer points of iPhone usage more quickly. At this exact stage, however, their abilities with technology are remarkably similar.

As mentioned at the outset, there is a component of sadness in all this. While certainly a 3-year-old learning to use an iPhone will progress far more rapidly that an 81-year-old, they’ll forever be bound to the crutch of technology for executing even the most rudimentary functions of life. Even I as a 31-year-old can distinctly remember a time before the internet and still I struggle to complete literally any professional assignment without heavily leveraging technology. If the wifi in my office goes out, everyone may as well just go home, because no work will be done…literally none.

My grandma, by comparison, has lived the vast majority of her natural life executing both life and job functions without any such advantage. There is no utility in her learning to use an iPhone in what is likely the final decade of her life. Her incentive for proficiency in such a device is virtually nothing and is entirely based on novelty. For my young son, however, his future ability to communicate and perform meaningful learning or work will be hugely facilitated by his competence in searching, finding, learning, and recalculating data on a screen.

It makes one wonder what sensory experiences we unknowingly sacrifice every day simply due to our reliance on technology. Whatever it is, it’s only worse as each day passes. At least at this point my son still prefers the outdoors and physical interaction to his screen but at times even he, just three years into existence, needs a nudge and a reminder. And that in itself is quite unfortunate.

 

manager

April 12, 2017
by Creed
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Be Your Own Manager, pt. 2: The Role of Formal Education

The middle management class is enthralled with itself. No other rung of people on the spectrum of professionalism feel as proud and accomplished as the middle management demographic. A manager, however, is an easily replaceable and typically only moderately important position. There has become a strange prestige in being a manager that is attached to neither personal passion nor financial gain. Managers are, on average, abundantly clear about the stress level of their jobs and most are poorly compensated given their average tenure of experience and relative educational levels. So absurd this paradigm has become, that universities are now educating people specifically to become managers, as if being a manager garners any sort of financial gain or intrinsic value usually inherent in the tenets of education. This development runs in opposition to the traditional reasons people attend college, which is usually to follow their bliss or find a calling that benefits them handsomely in their wallets. Being a manager is not congruent to either quality of life or wealth, and yet strikingly so many people truly seem to want to earn managerial positions.

The saddest part in all this is that young people sincerely aspire to become managers. The culture of work relative to education has become so delusional that there are literally entire university programs orbiting the eventual dead-end careers of Human Resources Administration and Hospitality Management, among others.

If you take a step back and think about college, the typical attitude of a young person enrolled in a university takes on one of two mindsets: major in something you love or major in something that yields the largest potential future income. However, these management programs, as hugely popular as they are, don’t seem to meet either criteria. It is tough to believe that young people dream of being managers and truly hold this idea as a passion worth pursuing in college. Additionally, it is remarkable to think that anyone believes managers are handsomely compensated and are using this path as a route to wealth. The desire of young people to become part of the management sector is a paradox because it seemingly has nothing to do with passion or financial success.

Instead of pursuing an actual childhood dream – something like art, dance, or a particular sport – kids shift their focus into these management programs because they’ve been benignly steered away from creative enterprises based on the presumptuous phrase “you’ll never make a living doing that.” Perhaps this is when capitalism is at its most malicious – when it quietly coerces the next wave of young people into believing that management is a fun, exciting, and lucrative career path. In fact nothing can be further from the truth.

Yet somehow, the existing managerial class propagate this mentality through a cultural fascination with bragging about their inane and trivial employment status, using it as a benchmark by which they can silently compete with their colleagues, former coworkers, and friends. The entire concept of LinkedIn is built on this presupposition.

The secret that no one wants to tell these kids who aspire to become managers is that they’ll never be free from the title of manager no matter how high they advance. You’ll always have a boss and a subordinate. Each job you advance to, although distinctly different in some regard, will be eerily similar to each job you’ve held prior. You will take directions from above and pass them down. You will answer for the failures of your subordinates and have your own boss take the credit for any of your success. It’s predictably cyclical at every interval from an entry level salaried supervisor all the way up to the highest levels of a company.

Tragically, most people have also been successfully convinced that being an effective manager requires any education whatsoever. It doesn’t. Being a manager is rooted far more concretely in professional experience than it is in education. There is no intellect in management. There’s no need for it. So long as you can operate a myriad of computer programs, string together a semi-coherent typed sentence, perform the most basic forms of mathematics, and read, you can be a manager. The irony in this is that although university education has taken a turn towards offering a wider range of ‘management-centric’ degree paths, the businesses themselves are looking for experience, not education. In fact, the uneducated yet experienced manager is far more respected, capable, and effective than the freshly minted college grad with a business admin degree.

Very commonly these young kids straight out of college, brimming with positivity and college-certified management skills are quickly crushed beneath the more experienced managerial class around them. Believing that their education laid the foundation for excellent managing, they rapidly learn that the workplace the universities train for is not the workplace of the real world. They get discouraged quickly and quite often, quit.

Optimistic college grads routinely flounder when hired directly into management roles. The reason for this is because a given management culture of any business doesn’t operate on the principles of innovative collaboration in the common good of the company. It operates in a cyclically political nature of blame and cover-ups based on the needs of individual self-preservation. Advancement is less about ability and more about simply surviving longer than the guy sitting next to you. Negotiating the political space in any managerial job is as important, if not more so, than doing the actual work itself. College training does not account for this. In fact, being an immature high school-ish gossip constantly tangled in a web of your own lies prepares you far better for the professional sphere of management than any micro economics course ever will.

Because of this climate, often times the best managers are the ones who worked their way up from hourly positions. They are uneducated in the formal sense but they possess an astute knowledge of the business from the ground up and this gives them sufficient leverage to buy more time in learning how to be a manager. While their skills in turning a blank spreadsheet into a comprehensive pivot table may be nonexistent, their ability to acquire this knowledge is available and only limited by their own desire to learn.

By comparison, the college grad who can expertly rework a particular field of data into a functional spreadsheet is only doing so in the context of the spreadsheet, not in the context of the business and certainly not in the context of the interoffice politics of the business. By this logic, a student proficient in excel could do this work in any capacity if given the information. The difference between these two people is that the student has far less recourse for learning the basic functions of the business than the uneducated manager does in learning the basic functions of excel. Because “education” comes with an expected level of hubris, many educated “new” managers do not believe that learning the most basic functions of the business matters anyway.

Part 1: Be Your Own Manager

emotion

April 1, 2017
by Creed
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The Emotional Continuum of a Small Child

By far one of the most challenging aspects of having a child is adapting to the hail storm of emotions coming at you from every angle. There are tidal waves of emotions from the moment the baby is born and continuing throughout the rest of their life. The emotional reactions of children are often more extreme and intensified than those of adults because children cannot speak and articulate as well and are also experiencing everything for the first time. The level of tolerance and understanding a new parent must possess in emotional situations is the highest it will ever be, as the emotional outbursts of children are like nothing else in existence.

The first and most frequently occurring emotion to be prepared for is rage. The reason this is top on the list is because at any point, literally any other type of emotion can cease abruptly and spiral into rage. For many men who have been married for any length of time, you’re already aware of how rage can manifest from virtually nothing at all. The same applies to kids. Because being a baby or toddler has vocal and physical limitations, frustration of any form can quickly transform into unbridled rage that is seemingly endless. There are limited ways to console rage as often times babies and toddlers become so enveloped in sheer anger that they practically stop breathing. Dealing with a fury of infant or toddler rage does not have an immediate solution. There will be, just like in any angry adult, a break in the fit and a cool down period. There is little the parent can do in these situations.

Another relatively frequent emotion that children experience is frustration. Frustration is different from rage because frustration reveals itself most often when a child cannot accomplish something. For example, small children are wiggly and mobile but lack the ability to walk. Once they gain the bipedalism, they are still awkward and lack the ability to run. Once they master the running, they’re still new to it and fall down a lot. All of these examples are intervals where frustration sets in. Again, similarly to rage there is little that a parent can do to cool down the frustration. The ability to be a calm and collected role model and not a total spaz is perhaps the most effective way to show your child that not only do you support them but that you’re impervious to the ambient effects of their frustration. By remaining so aloof that you’re barely even present you can help your child figure things out on their own which will better help them overcome frustration in the future and prepare them remarkably well for adulthood where no one helps anyone in a positive way ever.

A lesser realized but ever-present emotion children experience is fatigue. Fatigue is commonly interpreted as rage or frustration because the symptoms present as anger and annoyance when really the kid is just tired. Being a baby is exhausting work because coupled with all the brain development, physical growth, and material-based learning is just the daily task of being totally helpless and dependent on another form of life to keep you going. Babies and small children sleep a lot and missing these periods of sleep quickly leads to fatigue which is reinterpreted as something else by the parent due to the environment. For example, a shrill, screaming baby can be any of the aforementioned emotional states at any moment but the vast majority of the time they are just tired. If being an adult has taught you anything, you should be well aware that crying is ok and a nap cures almost anything. The same applies for babies. While later in life adults don’t typically consider fatigue to be an emotion because it’s really more of a physical state of exhaustion, fatigue in children is present so often that it needs to be treated with a proper emotional response. The trick is that children do not recognize how much they need and enjoy sleep and they fight it at every available juncture. The silver lining for parents is that children enjoy sleeping so much that once they’re actually asleep they will stay that way for hours on end and you too can do what you do best anyway, nap.

The final emotion that occurs with predictable frequency in children is joy. Babies and young children get elated extremely quickly much like dogs or inebriated college men at a karaoke. The elation escalates quickly, so quickly in fact, that children are often reduced to a series of voluminous yelps and squeaks that should be interpreted as overwhelming happiness. The attention span of a child lengthens in these instances until the stimulus causing their joy is totally used up and expired. A good example of this is a child’s natural attraction to fire. Young children find fire (i.e. burning candle, campfire) absolutely fascinating and will do nothing but shout joyously while watching the flames for literally hours on end until the fire extinguishes itself, even if that takes multiple days to occur. Pure, unencumbered happiness is probably the only childhood emotion that can veil all other emotions simultaneously. At times parents will be endlessly frustrated at how short a child’s general attention span is but when the stimulus of said attention sparks the joy emotion, a child will be engaged for hours on end.

The emotional experiences of children occur with greater unpredictability and are far more intense. However it is a reminder of how emotion is designed to be experienced because it is raw and unrefined. As children age they slowly learn how to better handle, disguise, and repress their emotions just like adults and while that provides some relief from the intensity of each emotional reaction, it’s actually the saddest change in all of childhood.

sick

March 24, 2017
by Creed
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How to Identify Illness and Care for a Sick Child

There is a lot to complain about as a new parent. The daily routine of keeping your child alive is a difficult task. Moreover, there is a laundry list of items that can complicate it. One of the more irritating, painful, and exhausting experiences for a parent is trying to cure a sick child. Children get sick for the same reasons adults do, the only real difference is that a child, particularly a baby, cannot articulate their pain or symptoms. This is where you as the parent have to be nothing short of a magician in healing them. Channel your shaman-esque mystical healing powers because truly, caring for a small child who’s sick requires superhuman strength.

In much the same way adults fall ill, so to do kids. The relative immunity of children is surprisingly strong given they’ve been exposed to so little throughout their brief lifespan. However, when a child does fall ill, there isn’t initially an abundance of ways to identify it. Babies and young children are inherently needy creatures and so when a child is wailing, often times the legitimate reason is simply no reason at all. Kids wail. That is a well-established fact.

In identifying illness in a child, often times it is through the variety of bodily fluids excreted from their many orifices. Children are leaky. That’s probably an engineering flaw in the intelligent design that’s never really corrected over time…only controlled to a greater degree as they age. However, the color and consistency of bodily fluids leaking from the many cracks and crevices of a child are often an indicator of illness. Typically as a parent you’ll develop a certain expectation for the mucus and discharge oozing from your child’s holes since you see it and clean it literally every few hours. Over time, you’ll become keenly aware of when some bodily substance is slightly off, whether it’s a bit discolored or sludgy or slimy. It is in this way that identifying sickness in a child isn’t entirely different from diagnosing a malfunctioning vehicle. By cleaving to the normalcy of your child’s daily leaks, you can better hone your ability as a ‘mechanic of the flesh’ and be aware instantly of when a seemingly benign bodily substance may need a higher degree of attention.

Aside from the mucus and pus seeping from your child’s body, there are countless other physical clues to help you in diagnosing your child’s illness. Most of these clues involve screeching or crying at a higher-than-average-volume. Because young children cannot vocally articulate where or why something hurts it is their natural instinct to just scream uncontrollably until you, the parent, do something about it. After what’s assuredly been several months’ worth of sustained noisiness anyway, you’ll be surprisingly well-connected to recognizing the sound of an “I’m sick” scream. In much the same way whales communicate through a variety of multi-frequency pulses, you too can navigate the physical pain of your child using only the prolonged wails of agony to identify potential illness.

In your quest to answer this question and ease the pain your child is experiencing, you’ll notice behavioral symptoms as well that can help you even further pursue the proper course of action. Similar to the routine handling of bodily fluids, the routine behavioral cues of your child will change as well when he or she is sick. Whether it be through a lack of play, a change in sleep habits, a refusal to eat, or an impromptu reenactment of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, something your child will do will be out of the ordinary and will symbolize a need for medical intervention.

It is common for parents of a sick child to immediately think that a doctor or even a hospital visit is mandatory when a child falls ill. This, in fact, cannot be further from the truth. Children are strong, rugged, and built for endurance kind of like a jeep. There are various at-home, do-it-yourself cures a quick search through the interweb will reveal, usually involving things you already have in your own home. Old world remedies work great in these situations and are often times solutions your own parents used that may or may not have gone out of style. It’s a little known fact that the most effective way to cure the common cold in an infant is to rub vodka all over their naked skin and sacrifice a cantaloupe beneath a full moon. Look it up.

The most important thing to remember in these situations is not to panic. All children fall ill at some point, just like all adults. It is normal and natural and in many instances, actually healthy to be sick on occasion. The late George Carlin once recollected that the reason he never received a polio vaccine was because he grew up swimming in the polluted East River near New York City and was thus immune to virtually everything. In a similar fashion, children possess a far greater physical strength to illness than adults most likely because their bodies have not yet been compromised by the unhealthy and damaging “recreations” that we grown-people indulge in so much. The best thing you can do for your child is to let him or her sleep and attend to the tidal force of neediness as it comes. Odds are he or she is fine and if not, then certainly your insurance company offers a reasonable deductible for infant services.

manager

March 13, 2017
by Creed
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Be Your Own Manager

Modern adults are enthralled with their professional achievements. Professional upward mobility along with job title has become a source of solace for huge numbers of people, so much so that entire social networking mediums exist for people to bombast their professional achievements under the guise of ‘professional networking.’ Entire personal identities are wrapped up in work. In everyday discussions between strangers, particularly men, the question ‘what do you do?’ is often one of the first topics broached. People in general (but especially men in particular) find a bizarre pleasure in self-identifying based on the means they use to accrue currency. This tends to be a function of the managerial sector more so than anything else, as you’ll rarely hear someone bragging about their position as a cashier at Chevron or a drug lord.

The middle management class has grown exponentially over the last hundred years with more and more people acquiring work just slightly above the blue collar laboring class but still well below the affluent upper crust. This group of people is the middle management sector, a group that social economist Henry George once suggested shouldn’t exist at all in industrial society. However, middle managers are critical to greasing the wheels of capitalism. They don’t do any of the work nor do they reap any of the benefits. They are middle men in the truest sense of the word, taking instruction from above and delegating it down. For their role as the buffer between the capitalist uber class and the hourly wage slaves, they typically earn a moderate $50 – $70k, which is plenty to live on but not plenty to live comfortably on.

The strangest evolution of these middle management plebeians is the immense amounts of pride they take in their roles as the intersection between the rich and the poor. Using their titles (and possibly the hubris of whatever tiny amounts of power they do have) they’ve crafted an entire social space of pseudo-elitism based solely on their titles as ‘manager.’ It’s now become a cultural underpinning of managerial society in general to feel proud of the moderate accomplishment of ascending even a few rungs up the proverbial ladder.

But where does this pride come from? Surely none of these people are fulfilling their childhood dream of Restaurant Manager or Human Resources Manager or Operational Excellence Continuous Improvement Lean Manufacturing Line Quality Resource Manager. The titles are stupid, contrived, and completely made up. No child dreams to be a manager. No one does nor should they. If you look around other segments of society for ‘managers,’ what you very often find is a person who’s given a job because they’re not capable of excelling beyond the title of ‘manager.’ In football, quarterbacks who are referred to as ‘game managers’ are often those quarterbacks not entrusted to adequately run a prolific offense and are holding the position only insofar as they don’t severely jack something up. While the other players surrounding them pick up the slack, the ‘game manager’ quarterback hands off the ball, throws short routes, and tries his best not to fuck something up. That’s a game manager.

The typical ability of a manager in a business sense is not that far removed from the ‘game manager’ description of a mediocre-but-not-totally-terrible NFL quarterback. After all, if a business manager in any capacity were truly gifted, they’ve have grown past the title of manager. What you very often find, however, are individuals holding the title of ‘manager’ who are well into their 40s, 50s, and 60s – even up until retirement. Oddly enough, these older managers very commonly express the same inexplicable pride for their jobs as the younger generation of managers. I’m still waiting for someone to explain to me where the esteem in being a 55-year-old Food & Beverage Manager is – I simply cannot understand it.

If you make a quick pass through LinkedIn, you can get a fun visual example of how the simple act of acquiring income as a manager of some aspect of a business has become an entire social subculture based on literally nothing but job title. People of all ages scream their titles from the high heavens at one another, as if to say “I’m somebody.”

So proud of their suspiciously average accomplishments, most of these managers are barely fit to manage their own personal finances, much less drive a successful business while concurrently maintaining morale amongst a group of subordinates. Despite all the fanfare these managers bestow upon themselves and their colleagues for the moderate levels of success they’ve achieved, most are quite literally incapable of running efficient departments, motivating their staff, driving revenue, or (most importantly) keeping their upward mobility moving. They’re stuck as managers – most of them – forever, and in a bizarre twist of professional irony, they seem entirely okay with it.

Because the simple act of being called ‘manager’ now carries with it a unique prestige, people seem content with occupying this category and serving out years and years in these roles. They’ll couch it in different terms, perhaps as an act of emotional comfort for themselves, by saying they’re building experience, strengthening their resume, or acquiring seniority in their company. Those who find themselves unable to advance professionally will say they’re focusing on family or they’ll lie outright, saying that they are actually happy in their jobs and do not want to advance. This is the most dangerous realization for the management class – when they realize they’ve hit their ceiling and instead of pushing forward in a different direction, they’ll use happiness as a justification to explain why they’ve been a Hiring Manager for twelve years. No manager is happy as a manager in the same capacity for years on end, do not believe these people.

More importantly, do not believe these people, the ones who populate the sick LinkedIn demographic, that suggest being a manager at any level is a position of prestige and should be desired. Working in a management capacity should be a last-ditch avenue for those who have totally failed to achieve their dreams. There is nothing more tragic than seeing bright and intelligent young people of conscious who pursue higher education in the fields of business management, human resource administration, or hospitality, but that’s a post for another day.

instagram

March 11, 2017
by Creed
0 comments

Dumpster Fire: Social Media and Adults, pt. 2. – Facebook

Facebook, in short, is human experience gone berserk. And adults are to blame. Through the years, Facebook has taken on a variety of guises and has seemingly gone through epochs of existence. Facebook of yore was an archaic digital ‘ high school yearbook’ that served no other purpose besides connecting virtually with people you were already friends with in real life anyway. As a natural development of this, it began to include photos shared in a very yearbook-esque fashion. Along with the rudimentary networking functions were the personal biographies, likes, and personal favorite quotes in the ‘about’ section.

As Facebook became more and more advanced, it became a tool for the sharing of larger ideas, advanced networking, and social commentary. Nowadays, Facebook is far more than an online family photo album to share with the handful of people you know and love in real life. Instead, Facebook is now a platform for broadcasting the most envy-inducing side of your family or lifestyle in order to create a fictional fantasyland depicting your existence as meaningful and fulfilling. Initially, the subconscious purpose of this was the show those you befriended in the digital world how perfect your life was. By showcasing only the finer moments in your life, anyone could manufacture happiness for presentation to their friends. However, this continued fabrication of one’s rich and fruitful lifestyle, however false it may be, now allows people to view their own fake timelines as direct correlations of their actual lives and thus, their actual happiness. Essentially, oversharing on Facebook, although it began as a means to show off to others, is now just as much so a means to show off to yourself. There is a prevailing undercurrent of pseudologia fantastica that runs subtly within virtually every active member’s feed. That is, they’re consoling themselves emotionally by believing the feigned happiness they created which was originally designed to impress others.

While certainly Facebook is now a viable medium for everything from pop culture to comedy to recipes to current events, it’s still the forceful oversharing of feigned prosperity that hangs like a cloud over almost everyone’s personal timeline. No matter what news, sports, businesses, charities, or vocational trades a person ‘likes’ on Facebook, everyone’s personal timeline is still peppered with the blissful nostalgia of themselves, their friends, and their family. This is an unavoidable aspect of Facebook and so long as one maintains real life friendships in the virtual world, it will persist.

Facebook is not to blame for this trend of vainglory. Most certainly Facebook has an abundance of functions and business purposes that are real and meaningful. We can find art and culture, economics, politics, and entertainment media there just as we can anywhere else on the internet. Facebook brings that all together for us in one convenient location and is malleable, simply by what we do or do not choose to ‘like.’ Where this becomes problematic is in how easily the Facebook fact-viewing experience can be tailored to a specific worldview. For example, the biases that exist in news media are no secret but given the short ‘clip-show’ nature of Facebook content, particularly video, we can make our proverbial blinders that much more blinding by choosing to only ‘like’ the news sources that pander to our cultural worldview. Of course, we view the media in such brief intervals that we get virtually no facts at all. Instead, we get an extremely rapid and opinionated two-minute clip that is guaranteed to meet our sociopolitical approval because we’ve ‘liked’ sources we know will align with our beliefs. This is, in a technical sense, news – however in a realistic sense it’s the furthest thing from it. It serves no enlightening purposes and instead only makes our worldviews that much more narrow and widens the schism between meaningful dialogue between opposing perspectives.

By continuing this trend of digital self-promotion and selectively biased ‘liking,’ Facebook, originally a tool used to bring people back together who may have drifted apart, is now a forceful and effective way to drive people apart rapidly while simultaneously convincing everyone that they’re part of a grand community sharing ideas and experiences. The sheer irony of this is astounding. Millions of users engage in the vainglory and isolated worldview culture of Facebook based on the assumption that what they’re sharing is for others to consume. It is egocentric behavior branded as shared interest and executed under a delusional sense of altruism. Moreover, the wedge being driven between people is maliciously benign, in essence, it’s so subtle that’s it barely discernible as damaging because it’s done in the interest of ‘likes’ and ‘friends’ that is almost never perceived as intentionally deceitful, dishonest, or done solely for personal gain.

Dumpster Fire, part 1

manners

March 1, 2017
by Creed
0 comments

Kids and Manners: a manual for new parents/pitiful role models

Encouraging good manners and behavior in children is a difficult endeavor. It is made even more challenging once parents realize that the real key to promoting manners and kindness is based on role modeling. Most modern adults are simply unable to be decent examples for children, mainly because modern adult society is foundationally build on the principles of avarice and greed. Adults who are genuine role models for children are few and far between. However, there are other ways to solicit good behavior from children that do not require the parent to always be an exceptional role model. Although certainly the “lead by example” method is the preferred course of action, use the following suggestions as secondary means to bring out the best in your child.

If you live in a mental fantasyland where adherence to 19th century parental dictums is acceptable, corporal punishment represents the easiest way to promote good manners in children. By forcefully hitting your child with a variety of objects you can punish bad behavior and simultaneously positively reinforce good behavior. If you hold no qualms about your child fearing you, fearing adults in general, experiencing excruciating pain, crying, wailing, bleeding, developing a lack of trust in all humanity, or learning to accept the belief that physical violence solves problems then surely corporal punishment is a viable option for teaching good behavior. If you can do it in a public venue and also illustrate to your child that humiliation and ridicule are acceptable means for eliminating poor manners, then consider your job done and your transformation into a monster fully complete. You’ve successfully altered the behavior of your child by exercising your superior strength and cleverly crafted an atmosphere of goodwill based on fear and intimidation. Good for you.

Another less harmful yet effective way to solicit good behavior from a child is negotiation. Children are master negotiators. It is a well-documented fact that most children are born as used car salespersons and only through growth and education do they become anything else. If left unchecked and uneducated, the world would be overrun with unemployed used-vehicle hawking charlatans due to lack of available work. You can negotiate anything with a child so long as the reward is worth their time and effort. Children will share, eat healthy, sleep, and readily adopt exquisite manners if they’re led to believe it will benefit them in another way. Also referred to as bribery, skillful negotiation can be one of the greatest tools a new parent can hone for bringing out the best in a child, albeit temporarily.

Perhaps the most effective way to enforce good manners and behavior in a child is scare tactics. This is different than the aforementioned corporal punishment because scare tactics do not physically harm the child and if executed properly, will result in minimal emotional scarring as well. An example of a good scare tactic is identifying something a child dislikes and using that very thing against them to improve their behavior. If you have something that you know your child dislikes and/or is scared of, like for example a scary Halloween gorilla mask, use this item in a semi-benign yet still threatening manner to quash that unwanted behavior and bring out the positivity. If your child knows (through your subtle and infrequent reminders) that at any moment you might reappear as a gorilla, you should be able to keep their behavior in line with acceptability without actually having to pull your gorilla mask out of the crawl space.

While all these suggestions will certainly help you mold your child’s behavior in the ways you are seeking, it is critical to remember that literally all of them are to be used only when you, the parent, have totally failed to be a reasonable example of how to be a suitable human. Human decency and compassion should not be that difficult for you to muster and the average adult is fully capable of being a positive role model for a child, although most don’t seem to know how to harness their role modeling skill set. If you are such a tremendous waste of life that you cannot summon the ability to intermittently serve as a good example of how to be a polite and well-mannered functioning human, then use the above suggestions to aid in keeping the behavior of your child in check until you are capable of becoming a well-adjusted individual. If there is any lingering doubt that you cannot accomplish the task of leading by example, there are agencies that will set your child up for adoption at virtually any age.

travel

February 21, 2017
by Creed
0 comments

Children and Transportation

As a parent, there are certain things you’ll just have to accept are purely and utterly ridiculous and there is simply no changing them. Chief among these is traveling. Whether it be by airplane, motor vehicle, or simply walking from point A to point B, the presence of a small human makes literally any form of transit unbearable. Unfortunately, being a parent means toting your tiny life form around with you virtually everywhere you go. You’d think science would’ve found a means to optimize baby travel but it hasn’t. Transporting a baby is exhausting and cumbersome at literally all times.

The worst experience in the life of any parent is taking your baby on an airplane. Airplanes, for all the fanfare they receive, are nothing more than city buses of the sky and air travel (other than the time saved traveling great distances) has been blown out of proportion as a fun and exciting means of transportation. Infants and toddlers on an airplane thus represent the apex of suffering in the adult world. There are few enterprises that can rival it. Children are inherently energetic and have little self-control over their need to be mobile. A child will never sit still in their seat for the duration of a flight no matter how long. The altitude changes and cramped quarters will be a continual source of pain and immobilization. The relative lack of a lengthy attention span in children will force you as the parent to be a constant source of entertainment. Being trapped in a pressurized metal tube cruising at 30,000 feet filled with the general public while an infant sits on your lap is the leading cause of suicidal thoughts and potential self-harm in adults. The average adult might be of the belief that there is nothing more annoying than sitting near a crying baby on an airplane but there is, in fact, something much more irritating – namely, being the parent in such a scenario. The key in these situations is to remain calm and remember that no matter how much your baby freaks out aboard an aircraft is inconsequential because in essence you’re serving a purpose. You are the physical manifestation of birth control awareness. You are a living, breathing PSA. A true beacon of altruism.

Traveling by motor vehicle, although significantly less stressful than aircraft, is yet another common form of transportation that can be substantially more difficult than normal with a small child. Most federal governments regulate vehicle travel for kids by requiring them to sit in a safety seat based on height and weight that supposedly offers better protection. This is good in theory until you experience the sheer resistance of a child to being confined in a single location. While certainly there are periods of time when a child will be comfortable and docile while strapped in their car seat, there are continuous periods of attempted escape followed immediately by prolonged and consistent enraged caterwauling due to the inability to roam freely. There are two real options for a parent in car-seat resistance situations. The peaceful solution is to allow your child to accept the car seat on his or her own terms by affording them the opportunity to freely traverse the stationary vehicle until they are comfortable climbing into and sitting nicely in the seat. While this option will typically prevent the aforementioned caterwauling, it can also result in the onset of death by natural causes and tardiness to one’s appointment, as it takes the average child between 30-65 years to willingly sit down and stay put. The other option is to exercise your superior strength and firmly place the child in the seat, strapping the seatbelt, climbing into the driver’s seat, and driving straight off the nearest cliff, using the chorus of furious and impassioned wailing as your funeral hymn.

The final and by far most preferred option for traveling with a small child is by foot. Children are typically far more accepting of vehicles like strollers, wagons, baby slings, wraps, and normal walking because it offers them the freedom and utility they crave so much. While you will not be able to travel anywhere outside of about a 3-5 mile radius from your home, you will not be the victim of any public backlash or enraged screeching which will aid your quality of life and lower your stress level. The most valuable way for a parent to preserve their peace of mind and enhance their quality of life is simply to not travel with a baby anywhere unless it is by stroller or some means related to walking. After experiencing the three primary means of travel with children, you’ll quickly agree that there isn’t anywhere worth going anyway that can’t be walked to.

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