Tuesday, September 29, 2009

How Do You Climb The Corporate Ladder When You Are The Ladder?

One of the nicest things about being your own boss is you can set your hours, and you have better working conditions than in an office. Unless of course your office has something like Larry Ellison or Bill Gates on the door. In this case the office is usually something like a yacht the size of an aircraft carrier, often with a corporate jet parked on the deck and accommodations so lavish they would make King Tut feel self conscious.

My work conditions are quite nice since I have a room set up in my home with everything I need. I still don't have the cats trained to fetch me food and drink from the kitchen yet, so I'm forced to make the sacrifice and actually take care of that myself.

But there are plenty of other perks. Start with... no meetings! I figure in a corporate environment, (and in many ways there is no difference between that of private industry and government), you can end up spending a third of your career zoning out in meetings. Not that zoning out is a bad thing, and in meetings it's probably the most productive use of your time. Zoning out is not recommended at all times, however, as for someone like an airline pilot it is a bad thing.

Another great perk is no managers. I give myself directions, and expect myself to follow them. And if I don't, make up excuses. And if I don't believe my own excuses, then I can fire myself. Hmmmm... wonder if I could get unemployment if I do that? It could be worth a try.

But the work does bring in a bit of income, and it helps give me a sense of self worth. I'm embarking on a new venture soon, selling training software called LearningZen. It's a great looking product, and I hope I can make a go of it. I would also like to be taken on as a contractor to EPA, and am preparing a proposal. Hopefully all this will work. I have no feeling one way or another what will transpire, but as they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

More Rambling Thoughts

When I was with EPA, I got in a fair amount of travel. This was partly because I was in demand for my data consultation services, and partly because my boss could get some peace and quiet by having me out of the office. Last week I had my first business trip since retiring and setting up my own business. It was to the Hualapai reservation in northwest Arizona. They are a client, and a good group to work with. The visit itself went smoothly. I came way with a better understanding of what I'm expected to provide.

The trip itself made me wish I could find a surplus Harrier jump jet at the local airport I could buy. It would have saved me a lot of driving, which ended up taking a lot more time than the actual flights. I decided to take the cheaper flight to Phoenix instead of the longer and more expensive one to Las Vegas. For a start, any flight out of Houston means careful planning, beginning with getting to the main airport, (Bush), in the first place. The traffic to Houston is god awful at rush hour, so my first task was getting flights in off hours. I decided on a 4 PM departure, and return flight that would get me in at about 8 PM. So far, so good.

I threw a couple days worth of travel gear, including my laptop of course, into the trunk of the faithful Corolla and set out. The drive to the airport was uneventful. I left the car at a very well run and convenient off airport parking lot, took a shuttle to the terminal... and proceeded to walk 512 miles to the gate for my flight. Bush is spread out. I got to the gate, and was promptly told the plane to Phoenix was broken and I'd have to wait for a new unbroken one before I could be on my way. Oh well... it gave me time to start on the latest Clive Cussler novel, Spartan Gold. As an aside, it's not his best, but it ended up being entertaining.

Finally, I was in the air, and two and a half hours later, was in Phoenix. First time I've flown into there in about 20 years. First time I've rented a car there. First time I found out the car rental center is located somewhere just north of Wyoming. Fortunately there is a free shuttle from the airport to the car rental center. More fortunately, the shuttle had functioning ac, which in Phoenix is always a good thing.

I got the car, a rather nice Nissan Versa. But I was disappointed. I was staying in Kingman, which is off old Route 66, so a 1963 Corvette would have been much more appropriate, as fans of the old TV show by the name would appreciate. But sadly, the last one had been rented out just before my arrival. Next time....

Anyway, by this time it was starting to get dark. But at least the rush hour traffic, (and it is brutal in Phoenix), was pretty much over. The drive itself was ok, and I was treated to a pretty nifty lightning display a few miles off the freeway. The downside was the drive was over 4 hours. So counting the time from my house to the Houston airport, waiting for my flight, actual flight time, driving time from Phoenix to Kingman... and let's just say it was a very long day. By the time I got to my hotel, I wasn't in the mood to tack on a couple more hours of driving to party in Vegas.

The return drive was made during the day, so I got to see the scenery I missed since the first drive was made at night. And there was some quite nice scenery, enough so that I want to return and tack on a day or so to play tourist. I especially want to see more of the Grand Canyon, and then divert to Sedona afterward.

Now if I can just be certain that 1963 Corvette is available.