Back from the Islands

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Island Vacation

Island VacationThe 2012 Huether Island Vacation has come and gone. To use it as an opportunity to grow, I wanted to do things outside my comfort zone.  What qualifies?  Let’s start with everything that has anything to do with relaxation.  I’m a “let’s do stuff” kind of guy.  My wife is a “let’s relax and unplug” kind of gal. And, our son is a “Mom, have you seen my Trapper Keeper” kind of kid. My wife thought I was a little crazy when I proposed going on a cruise to remote islands with little or no technology. But, we did it!

So, what did we do to make everyone happy?  We went on a cruise and also rented a private bungalow on a small island.  We did crazy stuff like race horses (bareback) on Grand Turk [I have pictures] and went swimming with dolphins. We ate 3+ meals a day as a family and listened to our son grind his teeth every night.

I will admit, I kind of wanted to poke my eyes out after the first day at sea. Seriously, sit in the same chair IN THE SUN all day long?  Fortunately, they had all-you-could-drink coffee and a decent gym.  Getting on a boat with really bad Internet and a wickedly short list of television channels forces you to do weird things like talk with your family.  I think we did pretty well.  I wasn’t constantly checking my phone.  I wasn’t thinking about work. I was interacting with my family.

As a family, we did discover one thing we all missed.  We missed being able to look up strange facts any time we wanted.  Our son wanted to know what a Trapper Keeper was. My wife wanted to know if that Peter Max painting should really cost that much. I wanted to know why we couldn’t bring Cuban cigars back into the United States.  Certainly, I could write a lengthy blog post about feedback loops and flow of the lines through Customs.  Instead, I just wanted to say what I did on vacation.

I am now fully charged and ready to get back to work.
Get ready for some exciting news in the coming week.  The technology fast is officially over.

Image Credit: Pictofigo

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Walt Disney Quote

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As my family and I were walking through Disney World last week, we noticed a lot of construction going on.  Come to find out, Fantasyland is getting a big face-lift.  We could see what appeared to be another castle being built and some mammoth big top tents.  We were told that it will be completed in 2012.

But this post is not about Disney World construction, it’s about giving credit where credit is due.  As we were racing to get from one side of the Magic Kingdom to the other, my wife said she saw the perfect sign for me.  I’m sure I shot her some kind of momentary puzzled look without slowing my pace.  I was focused on getting from point A (Frontierland) to point B (Tomorrowland) in the shortest time possible.  It’s tragic that I was at the wonderful world of Disney’s Magic Kingdom and I couldn’t stop and soak in my surroundings.  Don’t worry, I got better as the day went on.  But let’s get back to this sign that my wife spotted.

Clearly my wife knew this sign was more important than getting to Tomorrowland in record time.  She was able to get me to look her right in the eye and this time she said “Honey, it talked about a project.”  I paused, processed the new information, did an about-face, and made a B-line for the sign.  Yep, she was absolutely right.  The sign was awesome.  Too many times I get my blog post ideas from my wife and I never give her credit for them.  The sign said

“When we go into that new
project, we believe in it all the
way.  We have confidence in our
ability to do it right.”

– Walt Disney

So, let it be known, my wife gets full credit for spotting the sign and inspiring this post. Without her, it wouldn’t have been.  If you’re leading a team or just a member of a team, don’t forget to listen to others.  You have to accept that some of the best ideas are going to come from them.  When those awesome ideas come your way, don’t forget to give them credit.

Back from Vacation

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Yes, I’m back from vacation.  I won’t go into great detail.  I’ll save that for future posts.  In short, I gathered up the family and took them to a resort in Florida.  I got an opportunity to meet some new people and make some new memories.  I even got to ride in a Space Shuttle simulator at NASA!

It was kind of poetic.  As we arrived in Florida, the sun was setting.  When we left to return home, the sun was just rising.  I can honestly say, I will miss the people I worked with for the last few years.  But the services I provided for them are in the past.  If they ever want Agile coaching, Agile consulting, or Agile training, I have the resources to help them.

As the sun rose today and I returned to Washington DC, a whole new future was on its way.

Be on the lookout for posts like “Disney Pull System” or “A quote from Walt Disney” or “C3PO Timebox ” or “A Disney Opportunity”.

Drawing by Pictofigo

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Sometimes It Is Best To Just Listen

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The Doctor Is InToday was a very interesting day.  It was the first day our team had been together in a week.  The DC FedGov closures have really rattled people.  As contractors and consultants, we are not Government employees.  We play by different rules.  Depending on your contract, if the FedGov is closed, you may not get paid.

For those working under a corporate umbrella, where paid time off is offered as a benefit, this has left a lot of people very unhappy.  Without an opportunity to work from home, some were asked to take paid time off or leave without pay.  Either way, it hurts.

I can see both sides of the coin and empathize with both.  From a contract holder perspective, if they compensated each of their employees the 4 days the Federal offices were closed, it could do irreparable harm to the bottom line.

From the contractor and consultant side, there are feelings of desperation and abandonment.  I heard story after story about vacations being canceled or accepting a day without pay because they felt there was no other choice.  32 hours of the rainy day fund just left their accounts and there isn’t a damned thing anyone can do about it.  The lack of control has put many on tilt.

Listening to people speak their minds, some had real rancorous opinions of the situation.  I’d like to think there is a happy ending in all this and it will all work out in the end.  Unfortunately, there is snow in the forecast next week.

Image courtesy of ournameisblog.blogspot.com