IT Pilgrimage

A Journey From IT to Freedom

Archive for October, 2008

Straight Libertarian

Posted by IT Pilgrim on October 31, 2008

Looks like for the first time, the Libertarian party has made it into the straight ballot category. For the first time, they have a candidate in almost every single race. I was looking for my absentee ballot form and ran across the sample ballot for this year. There is now an option to vote straight party libertarian. Now, while I don’t like the laziness it allows, on the other hand, I do like the implication of equality.

Its sad that Bob Barr didn’t make it into any of the debates. I personally think the candidates were scared, which they should be, but that is still no excuse for the kind of two party debates we are stuck with. They like to make it seem like they are the only two parties in existence, which is far from the truth. The party also does not have the kind of advertising budget that say, the Obama camp has, but who does?

I like to think that its a sign that people are tired of the same ole big two and their messes. Small steps my friends.

Ballot edited to remove all signs of location, to help protect my anonymity.

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I don’t understand unemployment.

Posted by IT Pilgrim on October 30, 2008

I don’t understand unemployment.

Maybe I am dumb, or naive, but somehow, I don’t understand the concept of being un-employed. Perhaps my disbelief at least partially stems from never having had a problem with getting a job. Perhaps it stems from having a different sort of pride. I recently ran into an ex-coworker who got laid off from a so called gold collar job. One of those jobs that pays so much, you stay no matter how much you hate it, just because it is so hard to get paid that much anywhere else. I left that job just before he did, and this was almost a year and a half ago. He’s still on unemployment. What?! What the heck man? I asked him, and he said, he hasn’t been able to get the same kind of job. I just about went nuts on the guy. You can’t get any job, I asked. No, he said, I can’t get a job like that one. This is one of the things I see fairly often, and it drives me nuts. The reason it drives me nuts, is because I am willing to work myself practically to death, doing 2 or 3 jobs if I have too, and here this guy sits on his butt because he is too proud to work fast food or retail?

Do people not take pride in their work ethic anymore? People say the job market is so tough. Well, I’m sorry (not really sorry) but I beg to differ. It may be tough to compete for those fancy, cushy jobs, but there are others out there. Can’t get a job in your field? Well, there’s a now hiring sign at that fast food joint down the road. I just don’t get it. How can people have so little pride? Maybe the problem is really too much pride. I think I am starting to believe that we have done ourselves a disservice with the implementation of welfare and unemployment. People should have to work for what they get, or maybe, contributions should be voluntary. I am totally OK with not ever getting benefits.

Grant you, I will concede that there are situations and events beyond a person’s control. What I am talking about is the blatant laziness of our society. I am tired of paying for other people to be lazy. And that friend of mine … I am on the fence as to whether report him or not. ON the second thought, that will just trigger movement of bureaucracy, and cost me more money anyway. Sigh, I guess I’ll just settle for having given him a piece of my mind.

Photo by Amen-Ra via Flickr

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Calling all other non-degree-rs out there

Posted by IT Pilgrim on October 29, 2008

Calling all other non-degree-rs out there …

I think its time to call to order an unofficial and hereto-for ignored community out there. The non-degree-rs.

Whenever people meet in a professional setting, they always have to exchange college information, where they went, when, like it is what defines them as a person. I have always found that sad, and am still amused at the shock I get when I say I never went. More and more though, I am seeing my own kind out there, the few, the proud.

So here comes my wakeup call … your degree, where you went, your graduate school time, that does not a rockstar make. Ladies and Gentlemen, you want to be the company rockstar? You want to be the name that companies fight over and throw money at? Your degree will never do it for you. In fact, it can be a hindrance. You see, while you were at the local college kegger, the non-degree-rs were working. Often work two or three times as hard to prove that they were more than capable of doing the job you were bidding your time for. Usually starting off as minimum wage workers, we push and claw and teach ourselves to make our own path to the top.

It is not some piece of paper that makes a rockstar. Far from it. Rather, it is the attitude, the work ethic, the tireless drive of a self-made man or woman. That’s the real American dream. I personally, spent evey waking hour cramming my head with any technical book I could get my hands on. That tireless drive to constantly learn more, faster than your competition, to always be improving your skills, to trade sleep for knowledge. That is what make the rockstar. I am far from alone in this. I survive job cuts that few others do, by always having some new skill to throw out, by proving I can take over new jobs that others balk at. Its that breadth of experience, from doing all the crappy jobs that the people with their degrees couldn’t be bothered to do that makes the difference.

So when I see loads of people going back to college because they have trouble finding a job, I cant help but be confused. Why? Perhaps, that, really is the difference, the willingness to reach, to grab whatever it is you want. I can’t say how often I’ve gotten jobs, that on paper, one would never think I was qualified for. What that has taught me is that a job description is kind of like a keyword search, an attempt to grab anyone or anything that might be even remotely related. so what’s the point of this ramble you might ask? The point really, is that piece of paper can define you, if you let it, but so can the lack of it. Sometimes shear audacity and drive conquer all.

And as to what you can do with that degree, see below:

Photo by davekellam via Flickr

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Aspire to Be

Posted by IT Pilgrim on October 28, 2008

what is there to aspire to anymore?

Seems like most people aspire to be rich and famous. Perhaps you are still trying to climb that corporate ladder, to what, CEO? Or maybe you like those of us who have tried all of the above, and all those diamonds have lost their shine.

Maybe I have just grown out of all the dreams I had as a child, which, I supposed is part of becoming an adult. Now, the only thing I aspire to is to achieve some level of freedom, the ability to do something that is not just for money because there is no joy to be found there.

Trust me, I know. So here continues the process of freeing myself from attachments … Perhaps I was always meant to be a nomad, but either way, I have to wonder how many other people out there feel that way too. Do you have any diamonds left up on that hill?

Photo by Wayne’s World 7 via Flickr

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Impressions from the road…in LA

Posted by IT Pilgrim on October 21, 2008

Impressions from the road…in LA. Los Angeles is clearly the land of milk and honey for so many people, but it is also clearly not for so many others. Rarely anywhere else do you see such poverty and yet such wealth at the same time, rather Mexico-like really. I have to wonder, how much of that is nothing more than an appearance of wealth.

As a business traveler, I do not know the city, and will never be anywhere long enough to learn it, so I end up seeing lots of different parts of town, GPS devices are indifferent such things after all, and I really don’t know any better. Driving around the other day, the view of it all brought to mind that song or poem maybe that was attributed to Baz Luhrmann. It was called Wear Sunscreen and was passing around quite a bit a few years back. It said,

Live in LA but leave before it makes you soft.” Remembering this, I look around with a slightly different perspective, seeing the restaurants, the cars, the palm trees and the balmy weather. I see the miles of endless concrete, and just how very domesticated everything is, hemmed in and controlled at every turn. But there is definitely an undercurrent here, a feel on the air.

It was on the air the minute I stepped off the plane, and it is many things, but mostly, it seems to be desperation. Its that wild crazy desperation that you see in the eyes of a caged animal. With that in mind, I have to wonder how living in LA could ever make you soft. Sure, there is ease here. There are Spas and such, everywhere. There are also rules, rules upon rules, with more signs advertising voting for more rules.

There is also the tension between the haves and the have-nots. The tension is unbelievable, and really, only the haves seem to be unaware of it, or maybe, they choose to ignore it. The have-nots also don’t seem to exude quite that rat-race desperation that the wealthy do. Instead they seem to try to avoid that fever pitch of everyone trying to make that one extra buck. Perhaps they are just trying to avoid getting run over, quite a feat all in its own. LA made me realize the horror of this hamster wheel we have all locked ourselves into that we are too afraid to jump off. I can’t quite shake that desperation I feel on the air, and it makes me think that all that appearance of wealth is nothing more than a pose.

These people are all actors on a huge stage, and they’re all hoping someone will yell “Cut” before they all fall over in exhaustion. Never before have I seen quite this particular combination of beauty, hate, rage and fear. Perhaps I too am just too jaded by the rat race and realizing that there is no end. Somehow, it seems like LA is just a little microcosm of the country as a whole. I am traveling more and more now, so I guess time will answer that for me.

Are we all racing towards that giant meltdown? Will we see the end of the lives we have made for ourselves any time soon? Where will it all end, perhaps when the weight of all our new rules becomes too much to bear? I leave you with the words of Ayn Rand.

We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force.

-Ayn Rand

Photo by kla4067 via Flickr

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