Working Title   Leave a comment

“Everybody’s working for the weekend” – Loverboy

“I don’t wanna work, I want to bang on the drum all day” – Todd Rundgren

 One of my favorite memories of my high school years was Friday nights as an equipment manager/statistician for the football team, riding in the equipment van to away football games.  The radio station we listened to on the way played the same set of songs every Friday at 5:00, leading off with the two songs quoted above.  At that time, they were just catchy tunes that I heard every Friday.  I was many years away from truly understanding why playing them on Friday at 5:00 had any real meaning.

Unless your parents have the last name Bezos, Gates, Buffett, Zuckerberg, Walton, or one of a handful of others, you have to (or will eventually have to) work for a living.  A precious few of us manage to earn a living doing something we truly and thoroughly enjoy.  Most of use our God-given talents to find the most lucrative job we can tolerate.  Even in a 21st century where work-life balance has gained a tremendous amount of emphasis, far too many of us still hold jobs where the real or perceived pressure to perform at our jobs results in working so much that we end up sacrificing one or more of the following: relationship with spouse, relationship with children, physical well-being, emotional well-being, spiritual well-being.

If you are an employee and that last sentence describes you, I’m not here to advise you on what to do other than make the decision that you feel is best for you and your family.  If you are a director, manager, or anybody else who has a significant influence on the work-life balance of others, I’d kindly ask that you consider what I have to say.

One of the biggest problems is that our work world rarely intersects with our other worlds (family, friends, church, community activities, etc.).  For many of us, how we treat people at work is never known by any of the other people in our lives.  I’m a perfect example.  Now I’ve only been at my new office for eight months, but I’ve yet to run into anyone I work with outside of work, and I’ve yet to meet anyone outside of work who knows anyone I work with.  I could be an entirely different person at work than I am anywhere else and nobody would know.

If you are in a position of authority at work, I kindly ask you to think about how you treat your staff.  Now imagine that your spouse followed you around every day at work.  What would (s)he think?  What about your kids?  What about your friends?  What about the pastor of your church?  Would any of them significantly change what they think about you if they saw how you treat people at work?  If so, what does that mean?

As a manager, I understand that managers have responsibilities.  We have an obligation to our employers to enforce certain rules and hold employees accountable for certain things.  There are clearly times when decisions have to be made that are not popular with some or all employees.  However, I try my hardest (with the recognition that I am far from perfect) to keep in mind that everybody who works for me has a life.  I’m paying them to do their jobs because nobody is going to do their jobs for free.  They want to earn their paychecks but then they want to go do other things.  I shouldn’t be exercising my authority to worsen their work-life balance just because I can.  I shouldn’t do it just to go on some kind of power trip, or because that’s how one of my managers treats/treated me, or because I got discriminated against by someone else, or because I’m jealous of some life situation of theirs compared to mine.  I don’t want to unnecessarily be the reason someone doesn’t get to go to their kid’s baseball game or dance recital, or is late for their Thursday night poker game, or has to cancel a family vacation they have planned.

Your hear a lot of people say that the world would be a better place if we’d all just be nicer to each other.  That applies at work just as much, if not more so, than anywhere else.

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Posted April 21, 2018 by Andrew Cabiness in Family

Furloughed (Again): Hour 45   Leave a comment

Two things I’ve been hearing over and over the past 45 hours that have really been getting on my nerves.

1) The constant mention of National Parks as the major impact of the shutdown.  No, sorry, the fact that some family from Australia can’t go to the statue of Liberty is not nearly as significant as the lost wages from Federal employees that is already in the millions of dollars

2) The constant mention by Congressional Democrats that the shutdown is the Republicans’ fault because they control both houses and the Presidency.  Nope, sorry, when you invoke the 60-vote filibuster rule in the Senate to prevent a simple majority from passing something, you don’t get to go on TV and blame the majority party.  That’s the textbook definition of hypocrisy.  There are plenty of other hypocritical things being said by both parties right now, but that one is awful and borderline unethical.  I’d like to see one of them have the guts to actually sit face to face with a furloughed employee and say that.

Speaking of furloughs, I get my official papers in about 13 hours.

Posted January 21, 2018 by Andrew Cabiness in Government Shutdown 2018

Here We Go Again . . .   Leave a comment

As of nine minutes ago, the Federal Government is once again in a shutdown.  I will have more thoughts later, but I want to make two points right now that are being grossly overlooked by the media:

  1. The shutdown does not have “minimal impact” over the weekend.  My agency, the Census Bureau, has thousands of Field Representatives and Telephone Interviewers who work weekends.  They (and the work they are supposed to be accomplishing) start getting severely affected at 9am Saturday.
  2. Nearly all of the aforementioned Field Representatives and Telephone Interviewers who will now not be working this weekend, are not full-time employees.  As such, they are not entitled to the back pay that Congress has always agreed to provide full-time employees after the shutdown ends (though they have yet to do so this time).  So, in about 9 hours, Federal employees start losing wages through no fault of their own that they will not get to recover.

Thankfully, our family’s situation is not the same as it was 4½ years ago, but there are plenty of others who have already lost a lot.

Posted January 20, 2018 by Andrew Cabiness in Government Shutdown 2018

We Created This Mess   Leave a comment

I Googled the phrase ‘Mike Pence would be just as bad’ and the top four results came from opinion pieces from thehill.com, thenation.com, New Yorker Magazine, the Twitter account of an Upworthy writer.  All had the same basic theme that despite all the negatives associated with our current President, his resignation or removal and the promotion of the Vice President would not improve anything.  I’ve seen the same comment from no fewer than a half dozen friends on Facebook.

Think about this for a minute:  the current President is a habitual liar, attacks anybody who disagrees with him on Twitter, has been accused of all sorts of sexual misconduct, and has alienated a good chunk of his own political party.  Yet somehow we think a guy who has done none of these things isn’t an improvement?

I have been struggling for a while to encapsulate what is wrong with politics in our country, and I think the “Pence would be just as bad” sentiment does it exactly.  Our politics have become so polarized that we equate everybody on our side as good and everybody on the other side as bad without actually thinking about the people we are labeling.  Yes, it’s true that a Pence Presidency would not likely produce any better results for those who feel strongly about a woman’s right to choose or income inequality, but if we can’t start viewing politicians as individuals who have shades of grey rather than just members of political parties who are strictly black or white, then we are going to continue to have more Donald Trumps, Al Frankens, Roy Moores and John Conyers representing us because we are completely abandoning character in favor of ideology.

This may be easier for me to grasp, because I’m more politically moderate and there are a few things about both parties that I like and a lot of things about both parties that I don’t like.  Mike Pence is far more conservative than I, and Elizabeth Warren is far more liberal than I, but as far as I know both of them are of outstanding character and if either were in an election against a politically moderate candidate with whom I aligned more closely, but were a person of questionable character, I’d have little hesitation in voting for the Pence/Warren type candidate.  I’m just that sick of terrible, despicable human beings winning elections just because of their political party.

I don’t know how to convince people to abandon blind loyalty to a political party, but if we don’t figure it out, things are only going to get worse.  I certainly don’t need another government shutdown that occurs because of blind party loyalty overruling practical common sense.

Posted December 3, 2017 by Andrew Cabiness in Politics

Notre Dame Football Scheduling   Leave a comment

In this era of the College Football Playoff and the criteria used for selecting playoff teams, I’ve started to think that Notre Dame needs to change how they construct their football schedule.  After learning a couple hours ago that an 11-1 Alabama team, who did not even play for their conference championship and whose two best wins were over #17 LSU and #23 Mississippi State, was selected for the college football playoff, I’m fully convinced that a change needs to occur.

Since 1998, Notre Dame has had a very unusual scheduling arrangement with Southern Cal and Stanford.  In even-numbered years, ND plays Stanford at home in October and at Southern Cal Thanksgiving weekend.  In odd-numbered years, ND plays Southern Cal at home in October and at Stanford Thanksgiving weekend.  As a result, the Irish play in California on Thanksgiving weekend every year.  This arrangement is good for ND alumni, who get a California trip every November.  This arrangement is good for ND students, who don’t have to miss class to take their longest trip of the year.  This arrangement is good for Southern Cal and Stanford, who never have to worry about the weather in South Bend in late November.

This arrangement is not good for the playoff aspirations of the Notre Dame football team.  Every year, they play their last game of the season on the road, almost always against a ranked team and more often than not a highly-ranked one.  In the last ten years, the Irish have won their Thankgiving weekend game only twice, and both of those times were when Lane Kiffin was coaching the other team.

It’s a competitive disadvantage to play your last game of the season on the road against a ranked team.  It’s borderline insane to voluntarily do this every single year.  Now I understand the Southern Cal arrangement has been in place since 1960, so I’m not expecting that to change.  The Stanford arrangement is more recent, and if Notre Dame is serious about ever competing for championships, it has to end.  Either Stanford needs to agree to schedule the game earlier in the year both home and away, or the series needs to end.  A Shamrock Series game (a game played at a neutral site but where ND is the home team for TV purposes) would look good on Thanksgiving weekend in odd-numbered years in place of the trip to Palo Alto.  The game could still be in a warm location like Florida, Texas, or even California, but the game would be at a neutral site against a more manageable (but not pushover) opponent rather than in a hostile environment against what is at worst a Top 20 team and sometimes a Top 10 team.

Yet I would take this even a step further.  In any odd year in which BYU or Army would be willing, schedule the Shamrock Series game on the first Saturday in December instead of Thanksgiving weekend.  You may not even be aware that this is possible.  The first Saturday in December is not reserved just for conference championship games.  Any team not in a conference with a championship game is allowed to schedule a game just like any other Saturday during the season.  The Big 12 and their ten teams did this up until this year when they re-instituted their championship game.  Think about this, Notre Dame could simply schedule themselves to play on Championship Saturday while all the power 5 teams have to work all year to earn the right to play that day.  Guaranteed TV exposure on a day with a limited slate of games right before the playoff committee makes their selections.  Does this not make tons of sense?

Posted December 3, 2017 by Andrew Cabiness in College Football, Notre Dame, Sports

November 17, 2017: Full Circle   Leave a comment

“Back and better than ever”
-Mike Greenberg, thousands of mornings from 2000-2017

Note: I really wanted this post to be more timely, but it’s been a very hectic several weeks.  I hope to get one or two more posts out today after this one because I have a lot on my mind.

On September 27, 1999, when I started my career with the US Census Bureau at the Chicago Regional Office, ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning was still fourteen weeks away from debuting.  It would be another sixteen weeks before I discovered the show that got me through my morning commute to the Census Bureau in three different cities over the next 17½ years.

Friday, November 17, marked the end of one era and the beginning of another.  As ESPN goes through a series of reorganizations of on air talent and programming, that day was the last day that Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg hosted their iconic morning show together before moving on to new and separate shows.  It was also the same day that, due to my previous decision to transfer back to the Chicago Regional Office, our family moved into our new home in Munster, Indiana.

On both the first and last days I ever listened to Mike & Mike in the Morning, I commuted back and forth to the same office (though the office itself did move in the meantime).  While their show was a constant for all those years, my life sure did change quite a bit.  I went from being single and living alone to married with two kids, and too many ups and downs along the way to count.

While I have been very frequently been sternly reminded by a higher power, usually through messages delivered by others, that I am not in full control of my life, I do both hope and believe that I am now settled in a home that will see my kids graduate from high school and my eventual retirement.  While I have visited, semi-regularly attended, and regularly attended many churches over the years, for the first time I’m actually attending a church that I truly feel called to be a part of.  I very strongly believe that I am where I am for a very important purpose, though I don’t know exactly what that is yet.

I’m anxious to reach the point where I’m ‘settled in’ and can start getting more involved in my church and community.  If you live in the Munster/Hammond/Lansing area and happened upon this post I’d love to make some local connections via Facebook and/or LinkedIn.

Posted December 3, 2017 by Andrew Cabiness in Family, Indiana, Sports

Holding Out for a Hero (or 25)   Leave a comment

“I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero ’til the end of the night
He’s gotta be strong
And he’s gotta be fast
And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight” -Bonnie Tyler

About eleven months ago, our world entered an apocalyptic age.  Since the triggering event very early on the morning of November 3, 2016, the following things have happened:

  • Donald J. Trump was elected President of the United States
  • A series of four earthquakes hit central Italy, killing thirty-four
  • A magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit China, killing twenty-five
  • Hurricane Harvey hit the Caribbean, Texas and Louisiana, killing seventy-five
  • A pair of earthquakes hit Mexico, killing 457.
  • Hurricane Irma hit the Caribbean and Florida, killing 124
  • Hurricane Maria hit the Caribbean, most notably Puerto Rico, killing at least sixty-eight
  • Tens of thousands of acres in the western U.S. have burned in wildfires
  • The United States is on the brink of nuclear war with North Korea

It might seem that humanity’s headlong rush toward the end times is irreversible, but alas, there is hope.  The number of men who can reverse humanity’s course is few, and their window of opportunity is short, but it is possible.  Between October 3 and November 1, there are 225 men, amassed in groups of twenty-five throughout nine major U.S. cities, who have a chance to accomplish the seemingly impossible task.  They are based in Los Angeles, Cleveland, Houston, Washington, Boston, Phoenix, New York, Denver and Minneapolis.

If you are from one of these cities, you may already be partial to one of these groups of men.  If not, then please adopt one of them as your own.  Cheer for them, pray for them, wear their colors to show your support.  If one of these groups is actually able to accomplish the task, they should be hailed worldwide as heroes, but if we all wake up on November 2 and none of them have been able to succeed, then God help us all.

2017mlbplayoffs.jpg

 

Posted October 1, 2017 by Andrew Cabiness in Baseball, Sports

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