Work shouldn’t be measured by how ‘active’ you are online

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I was video-chatting with a friend a few weeks ago while he was taking a short break from work.

Every couple of minutes I noticed he was fiddling with something on his desk. “What are you doing over there?” I asked.

“Oh, uhhh… my manager keeps an eye on our team’s chat boxes to see if any of our little green status dots move from active because then he thinks we’re not working,” he replied sheepishly.

Because all of us who’ve been working at home the past 18 months have actually been on vacation, right? Because if your boss can’t…


We’ve been talking, and…

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Hey, you —

The 29 of us have been talking, and we’re worried about you. For years, your random bouts of banality seemed curious and innocent. But lately, you appear to be taking it to new extremes.

Like last weekend, for instance, when we were on the checkout line at Aldi market. You had only one carton of eggs, but that family with the full basket of stuff — who were curiously not wearing any shoes — cut right in front of you. …


And another thing…

Back of the envelope image: Author

Dear Dick,

I know you go by “Richard,” but as far as improper nouns go, you’re Dick. And if you’re wondering who changed the name on your office door placard — spoiler alert, c’est moi!

We’ve always had a rocky relationship, starting five years ago when you interviewed me. You and Chad (the CFO) were curious why such a “pretty, little thing” was interested in an accounting job.

When I asked about general accounting practices at Dick Corp, it should’ve been a red flag when you said things were more “Back of the envelope.” …


A story of professional commitments

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It took longer than I expected to fully understand who I am as a professional — the better part of two decades, in fact. At work, the earliest version of me was one aspiring for a quick ascension up the company ladder, filling in knowledge and skill gaps along the way.

I traversed positions on a somewhat normal path, moving from coordinator to manager to director, and so on.

This worked, for a time. The first dozen years of my career were spent navigating interesting-yet-limited roles, largely throughout one particular industry.

And this was the way it went until I…


People can make our lives easier and better

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  • The spouse, partner, friend, or family member who made you breakfast — or the same grouping of people who ate the food you made
  • The person who — with a friendly wave of the hand — let you cross in front of them on the road while driving
  • Your coffee shop barista who nailed today’s triple-whatever latte
  • The person who pointed out that you left your car’s window open
  • Your colleague who held an elevator door to make sure you didn’t miss it
  • The boss who ended a Zoom meeting 15 minutes early
  • The sandwich shop owner who gave you…


And enjoying the view

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It is so simple in fiction, or, at least it appears that way. We notice good characters, bad characters, and characters whose intentions we haven’t yet determined. And even on the latter — or, in fact, with all three characters — the “same page” to which they come presents with three truths:

Their truth,
the “other” truth,
and “the real” truth.

Who are we to know — and how are we to know it — when any character is truly good, bad, or undetermined when we can’t even assume which truth they are living?

In all three characters, and in…


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This is how we measure a memory


Here’s what I learned writing a weekly diatribe for 8 years

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On one unremarkable Wednesday in July 2013, I was feeling particularly sassy.

I had a few minutes of free time in the morning, so I decided to post 10 rants on my Facebook page. These ranged from the physical woes of aging to German words to the badness of Texas’ drivers. The post got a lot of attention and comments, so I decided to repeat the effort one week later.

Still, lots of engagement and response, so I followed suit the following Wednesday. And the Wednesday after that.

And so it went — for eight years.

Over One-Fifth of My Life in My Write Mind

With the exception of…

Evan Wildstein

Small southpaw writing about work, levity, and life.

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