Monday, September 22, 2008

Why I like games

I love my job, and I think that most of the time it brings out the best of me, but it's been wearing me down.

During September and October, I have to be more of a manager than a leader. Leadership is my comfort zone: I'm good at listening, bringing people together, solving problems, breaking down siloes, working with ideas, helping people connect to things that are bigger than their day-to-day jobs. Being a leader is such a big part of who I am that I tend to walk around on that same skin at other times, including in my social life.

But in September and October each year, I have to be more of a manager because there is no time for the bigger ideas: it's about execution.  So the past few weeks have been really hard.  As a manager in this period of high stress, the team has to rely on each other.  In terms of any measure of personality type, I have one of the most diverse groups you can find.  But they're the same in that everyone is a perfectionist.  There is very little room for forgiveness, and at this time of year we forget to forgive.  So I have to behave myself and hide my own frustration with individuals or dynamics; I have to mediate disputes and take in complaints with as straight a face as I can, not encouraging second-guessing or whining, when I just want to scream with the same frustration as everyone else.

Playing games with friends is the antidote to this.

Some people use alcohol to unwind and take off their psychological business suits.  And, yes, it does unwind me, too.  But put me around a table with good friends -- or even strangers! -- and let me play a game of poker or a board game or anything where it's me against them, and I become my true self.  I can be competitive, creative, resentful, playful, silly.  I don't have to contribute ideas, I don't have to listen, I don't have to solve other people's disputes with each other, because the cards do that.  I might second guess myself on a hand, but because a game of poker has hand after hand or a board game has round after round, I revel in the learning curve.  (OK, I will still remember the two kings I folded, still thinking about the size of the pot, so I'm not perfect there.)  But I do love playing again and again, always trying anew.  (I guess I'll blog separately about how poker is like baseball.)

Helping people and community and team always do better is why I love my work. Being a part of a group of people playing cards, an impromptu community, but not having to lead it, is the best way for me to unwind.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I'll be talking about Obama now

I went to hear Jon Carroll interview Anne Lamott this evening, and she read to us her just-published Salon article.

It's a nice way to think about how to get out through this and to focus again on solutions.

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Palin Hypocrisy List

I'll be adding to this as I come across more. Not meant to be comprehensive. I can't expect to document them all, there are so many.

Emphases are all mine.

From a statement issued on Monday Sarah and Todd Palin:

“We’re proud of Bristol’s decision to have her baby...."
Bristol can make this choice even with legalized abortion.

Rick Scarborough, a pastor and the founder of the conservative advocacy group Vision America:“From what I see this family is dealing with it honorably. They are going to carry this baby to a full term as a further testimony of their commitment to life.” NYT 9/1/08. If abortion were illegal, they would not have the choice to be "honorable" and "testify" to their "commitment to life."

James C. Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family ... commended her for “not just talking about their pro-life and pro-family values, but living them out even in the midst of trying circumstances.” NYT 9/1/08. So candidates should do more than just talk about their values: they should demonstrate them by having family members get pregnant and not have abortions?

Palin's Daughter Pregnant, Campaign Announces

"Bristol Palin made the decision on her own to keep the baby, McCain aides said. ..."

Embedded in this is that this 17-year-old had a decision. McCain/Palin oppose allowing women to make decisions for themselves about their pregnancies -- and, I'm sure, oppose choice for minors. They express pride that Bristol Palin made the decision they approve of ... but they don't want other girls to show the same courage by making that choice themselves.

Sarah Palin's choice to continue her pregnancy after she found out her child would have Down's syndrome is also touted as an act of courage. It was the first thing many of us learned about her. However, once again, she is being praised for the courage to make a decision she doesn't want others to make. The Republicans have to decide: are Bristol and Sarah Palin courageous women for the choices they make? If so, they should support the right of all women -- and girls -- to make the same choice.
About Sarah Palin
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost