Flow

November 8, 2014 · 0 comments

flow

Do you have an activity that causes minutes/hours/days to float away without you noticing? Years, even? That is called flow. (Or possibly amnesia or a neurodegenerative disease of some kind, or perhaps even a heavy drinking problem.)

But maybe it’s just because you are doing something you like.

I get in this state while (1) reading something interesting (2) writing something interesting (this post doesn’t qualify) (3) designing things (blog/graphics/website design) (4) listening to music, but only if I’m in the mood, which strangely only occurs in bursts every few months (5) researching stuff online that is interesting (6) in bookstores or libraries; where I am often confused to notice people turning out lights and looking expectantly at me to leave. (I could live in the library or bookstore, by the way… I’ve tried but they seemed to object to my putting up some curtains and stuff… I just thought it needed a little something.)

Anyway, I am not sure what this means to my livelihood but since I’m not really pursuing graphic arts or web design as a career, then let’s hope I can at least manage to have the writing or researching part in there, so I can experience some kind of flow at work. On the other hand, if I do a job that has no flow, my life will feel much, much longer.

 

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kit3 (2)

forget soft drinks and put a kitten inside your glass

I did a google search for my blog name and the first result  was an analysis by “qirina‘ – which had determined in its infinite wisdom that my blog was about soft drinks. Sure. What else? Looking forward to the day when data mining robots are in charge of things. What could go wrong?

softdrink

It went further to suggest that if this wasn’t correct then the owner of the site could probably improve this analysis by doing some SEO.

Ironic this.

I purposely turned off SEO (indexing etc.) on this site because I started to freak out that as people do searches (employers or future clients or neighbours or professors/tutors or, I dunno, stalkers or whatever) that stuff like the following might show up:

seo2

Sure, some people will be fans of the sperm stuff… but perhaps not others.

I guess I need to optimize the site or just take it down. Better to be known for sperm than for soft drinks. (See, I’ve just killed any chance at working for a soft drink company due to that little joke.)

I’ve mentioned this before, but at first this site was mostly so I could learn about WordPress design (check) and publishing (check) but then I started to have a bit of fun. At some point my focus shifted to thinking of how others perceived the blog and then I started to experience this grand case of writer’s block. Well, not so much writer’s block, but more like the sort of self-consciousness that seems to paralyze creativity and fun . Total buzzkill.

I’ve always struggled with how to meld my humour writing (my true passion and one which feels effortless, except for all the work involved in it, and fun) with more traditional work environments and also with more “serious” styles of writing. The moment I started to think “gee, you are nearing the end of your communications program and now future clients or employers may look at this blog and think you are lame” then all the fun went out of it. I froze. I felt I should grow up already. Blog about communications theory or diffusion of innovations or whatevs. Put together a proper writing portfolio and whatnot. Problem is that I can’t bring myself to do something on a volunteer basis (i.e. not get paid) unless it’s interesting, unless it’s fun, unless it’s real and not just for postering. Scuze me for not wanting to blog about Harold Innis or whatever. Oh shit, I did that, didn’t I?

(And again, like with the sperm, some people wouldn’t be a fan of the “oh shit” stuff… you know, boring people.)

I also haven’t been writing here lately because my school work and life as a parent takes all of my time but I MISS the spirit in which this blog started out. I miss that exciting sense that I had back in 2010 when I thought I could find an outlet, finally, for my humorous and tangential style of writing and thinking. An outlet outside of work or school where I could be free to just write as I wish. But the internet doesn’t forget and what if I end up a grown up job and then an article I did about lazy assed grilled cheese sandwiches pops up alongside a serious publication about emergency response during a plemodonaicitc epidemic or something? How will that look? Can I even handle the seriousness of a job where the public relies on me to communicate about plemodonaicitc matters? (Yes, I can. It’s nice that I finally get this now.)

communication

So… yeah… I’m sure after I finish up my courses I’ll be blogging again… whether it will be here or somewhere else… we’ll see. Hopefully it’ll be really fun and make you laugh so hard you can’t catch your breath. Or else it will make you cry so hard because it’ll be about the seriousness of the plemodonaicitc epidemic.

Take care for now.

d

 

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“We are told about the pain of chasing after pleasure and futility of running from pain. We hear about the joy of awakening, of realizing our interconnectedness, of trusting the openness of our hearts and minds. But we are not told all that much about this state of being in-between, no longer able to get our old comfort from outside but not yet dwelling in a continual sense of equanimity and warmth. Anxiety, heartbreak and tenderness mark the in-between state. It is the kind of place we usually want to avoid. The challenge is to stay in the middle rather than buy into struggle and complaint. The challenge is to let it soften us rather than make us more rigid and afraid. Becoming intimate with the queasy feeling of being in the middle of nowhere only makes our hearts more tender. When we are brave enough to stay in the middle, compassion arises spontaneously. By not knowing, not hoping to know, and not acting like we know what is happening, we begin to access our inner strength.”
Pema ChödrönThe Places that Scare You

 

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Totally excellent article by Byron Vincent about spending his youth “in and around “sink” estates.  He argues that corralling the poorest people perpetuates criminality.”

BBC News – Viewpoint: Escape from the ‘sink’ estate

I totally agree. Along the same lines I’ve often thought that corralling a bunch of youth together in school (eg: high school) leads to many of the same sorts of issues. Why on earth would we throw a whole bunch of youth together in a highly artificial and oftentimes stressful (or boring) environment and expect good things. I say mix kids into the rest of the world (along with supervision and the influence of other age groups with more fully developed brains) and  watch many of the problems disappear… dilution.

In any case, read the article. I found it heartbreaking and spot on and very well written.

Of course, the ultimate answer is alleviation of poverty altogether but as the author suggests that would require the “architects of the issues” to do their part… ha, good luck on that one. Ditto with scrapping the school system.

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In reading this article at Charity Village on creating job descriptions (and other work that goes on before posting for a job): Human Resources Q&A: Before the job posting! Part 3 of a 3-part series I was reminded of a peeve (as a candidate and reader of many ads) of nonsense phrases used in job ads. For example, the use of the word “energetic” which I have blogged about before.

absurdjobdescriptions

Many (most?) job ads are not written, it would seem, by people with any sense of the people reading them. (Or with any sense, in many cases, of the job itself.) We candidates are actual people reading these words and wondering if the ads are generated by cutting/parsing robots which spit out nonsense speak. Sometimes I think this must be the only explanation. It’s as though the creators of many of these ads are merely tossing about a list of ingredients and randomly throwing in a pinch of this and that for good measure. And don’t get me started on how completely unscientific and unverified I believe most of the traits asked for are to the actual job performance (this is a whole other post). I believe that for most run of the mill jobs you could pretty much grab the first reasonably intelligent person you find and stuff them in the job and they’ll figure it out. Without the requisite  3-5 years of experience in XXX and a degree in XXX. Blah, blah, blah. Okay, you need someone with expertise in aortic dissections… fine, I’ll agree they require specialized training for that. But for office management, say… I think we can relax just a bit and get that most people could do this. (Whether or not they can figure out how to deal with the very baffling recruiting and selection process is a whole other thing still… perhaps the perseverance of candidates in the face of the oftentimes tortuous job selection process is the real test… if you don’t lose your mind trying to get in then perhaps this is proof of some sort of resilience.)

j

(Another one that makes me either chuckle or pull hair from my head, depending on when you catch me,  is when the organization says that experience using a certain software package is an absolute requirement. HA! What the ?

dubious

Do they truly believe people cannot learn a new software package? Oy. Don’t we all pretty much do this all the time now? To me, in this day and age, it is like asking only the drivers of Honda’s to apply… “experience driving a Honda Civic is an absolute requirement of this position”.  I have to wonder what happens in this sort of organization when they get new software? Do they fire all the people and then hire new ones with the new software experience? Does this make any sort of sense? If it doesn’t then I suppose we should all accept that most of us can learn to use a new software package, much like we can learn to drive different cars.)

Another peeve is the oft-used nonsense phrase: “works well in a team and individually.” I see. Really hedging the bets here, aren’t we? Likes to live on the ground and on the high floor. Likes to stay at home and read a book AND attend large cocktail parties.  Has to be energetic but we expect you to also like to sit glued to a desk and not move for 8-10 hours. Got it.

I recently came across an ad that said something to the effect that the candidate should be someone who shows up at work on a regular basis. Setting the bar high… (I guess we have to assume they’ve had a real problem with attendance… interestingly, as a candidate and/or as a person with an public relations sort of slant, this phrasing makes me wonder why people don’t want to show up for work at your organization? I think they would do well to wonder that themselves, but also to be aware of how this sort of ad bears upon the public perception of this organization. I don’t think a lot of companies spend enough time worrying about how human resources and/or recruiting efforts impact the public image of the company… for example, I’ve been interviewed by organizations that have so bungled the process that I come away with an unfavorable opinion of the whole of the organization… not only do I not want to work there after this sort of experience, but as a potential future customer/patron or affiliate of some kind the impression will linger.) 

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffet

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Preteens who changed schools frequently when they were children are at increased risk of developing psychotic symptoms, a new study suggests.

via Frequent School Moves May Harm Kids’ Mental Health – US News.

As a preteen who experienced a rather unsettling (though pretty run of the mill) move at age 14, I read this article with some interest. I believe I have also read similar studies  in a past psych course about frequent moves being associated with schizophrenia (along with other interesting factors like urbanicity at birth — this is interesting too because there seems to be an association between risk of developing psychosis based on living in urban vs. rural environments.)

So, frequent changing of schools as a preteen seems correlated with later psychotic symptoms and greater exposures to the urban environment are associated with greater rates of later psychosis. Not necessarily a direct cause and effect of course… for instance if you were to look at why the family is moving so much in the first place? Perhaps the moves are because of employment or social instability and that may account for some of the risk… either as a “marker” for other issues and not just as a result of the stress of moving and all the social and other disruption… this may factor into the urbanicity correlations as well… Interesting though… I could think about this sort of thing all day… fascinating.

But as a parent the idea that moving may in some way add some risk to the mental health of my children is worth keeping in mind. Moving at age 14 was one of those experiences in my life that caused me a lot of stress… perhaps it shouldn’t have… my brother and sister seemed to roll with it without issue, but for me I lost a lot of my mojo and I’m not sure I ever truly got it back… which of course is not nearly as devastating as psychosis but still… some of us are orchids and do better without abrupt changes in environment, at least at certain points in their life… some of us are a little more sensitive and ever so slightly less resilient to change.  Or maybe the move made no difference at all but I simply attributed some adolescence angst to this factor when in fact I would have experienced it regardless. Who knows…

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I just watched a moving short documentary about a hairdressing competition for prisoners in Scotland…  http://aeon.co/film/cutting-loose/

It was very well done and so helps us see the prisoners as the human beings they are.

Everyone needs something to do… some way to contribute… some way to make a living… some way not to fall back down the hole… or better yet not to start out in the hole to begin with…

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