One Year In

This week marks my one year anniversary at Intel. Changing jobs was a big deal for me, and so far it’s been fantastic.

Yes, an entire year since moving from my previous employer of fifteen years. Scary, weird and totally worth it.

 To be honest, I’m more interested in having a career than a job. I’ve been able to blend experience in engineering, public speaking and multimedia production into an interesting career path. And because I want that career to keep advancing, I am reluctantly moving on.
“Leveling Up” (July 20, 2011)

Intel tries to reinforce this concept of “work-life balance” … finding the point where you’re effective at work without sacrificing the life you’re supposedly working for. Working at home makes that hard, since there’s an invisible line between work and the rest of the domicile. Airplanes, hotels and customer sites make that line a bit clearer when I’m on the road, but it doesn’t change the daily discipline of separating work from friends & family.

Over fifteen years I have had some wonderful advances in my life. I’ve gotten married, moved to another state, bought a house, built a house, added friends, traveled the world, become an uncle twice (once by blood, once by friendship), accidentally taken over part of one of the world’s biggest sci-fi conventions and (thanks to my wife) fundamentally changed the way I look at love and relationships.
“Leveling Up” (July 20, 2011)

Take it from a black belt, preserving balance it a tricky thing. Balance isn’t a permanent point in space, it’s a constant set of adjustments. Nothing will reinforce that point more than a guy with “Grand Master” on his business cards rotating the world around you with the flick of the wrist and a turn of the hips.

 I know my work is appreciated and beneficial, but I can’t feel like I’m settling for something comfortable and safe if I stay. There might be new opportunities there in the future, but I don’t know how long I’m comfortable waiting for them to appear.
“Leveling Up” (July 20, 2011)

Nothing worth having in life preserves your balance. Nothing. And that’s not bad.

In a few hours I’ll leave “work” to teach a martial arts class, specifically one on using traps & locks in self-defense. Experience tells me I will spend more of that class teaching people how to stand instead of how to actually do the damn locks. Locks are easy, balance is hard. People want to do wrist locks with just their hands, but they don’t work without the use of your entire body. You have to establish your balance before moving, only to re-establish it when shifting position. If you want the space the opponent occupies, you have to be balanced to take it.

Balance … react … balance … move …

It hasn’t been perfect. Some days I work too long because the laptop is right there next to the TV remote. Some days I have to leave the house (my “office”) to work, because chores and hobbies are too close to the same laptop. Starbucks and airports love me, flight attendants remember my face. I traveled more over the past twelve months than I ever have in my career. I do get the airline miles, but I also get the time away from home.

Except for the fact that insecurities, by their very nature, limit your life, increase your fear, and constrict your happiness and that of your partners–whereas moving in the direction of greatest courage offers you a better life. — Franklin Veaux

In the end I found my version of work-life balance, re-balancing my life around where I want to be. Even though The Pope and Copernicus will both disagree, you are the center of your own universe. Move to where you want to be, even if you have to bend the world a bit … then get ready to move again, because it’s not a fixed point in space.

Sidenote: Given the current economy, I wish my Delta Gold Medallion and Platinum Medallion cards were actually made of gold and platinum (turns out they’re plastic). I also wish they were real medallions, cause a guy likes to feel like an Olympic athlete sometimes (or a pimp, take your pick). See also my Starbucks Gold card.

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