Best Job Ever?

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Hello Gents!

This week has been one of the more frustrating weeks I have had at work since relocating to St. Louis and trust me that is saying something.  What does a person do while having a frustrating day at work, I mean besides daydreaming of playing professional baseball?You spend a lot of time on Linkedin and job sites blasting out resumes.  I mean, I didn’t.  Of course not. I only know this because my friends tell me that is what THEY do.  I love St. Louis.  I may have texted a friend to see if her church was interested in having me start a new campus location here in St. Louis!  You know you are having a rough day or week when going into the ministry sounds like a good idea!

Thankfully after downing a quick Jack and Coke I went home to spend time with my two favorite ladies and everything turned out great.  I also received an encouraging tweet from a friend and frequent (?) reader of my blog which may or may not have led to dust getting in my eye and the mistaken belief I was crying.  Even better it helped to pull my head out of my ass and put yesterday behind me (thanks Collin!)

Anyway, it seemed like a natural progression to start thinking about all the different jobs I held over the course of my 39 years and which one of them would be my favorite and preferred career choice if all things were equal.  I have a feeling you might be surprised by the answer (can you feel the suspense?)  This doesn’t necessarily equate to a dream job of course.  My dream job would be General Manager of a baseball team.

Before we get there I certainly have had some really shitty jobs.  I used to work at Tom Thumb (The Finger!) when in high school.  For those of you not from Minnesota, Tom Thumb was a local convenience/gas station store.  Apparently they still exist but the branch I worked at closed when the family who owned it were found to have laundered money and were now facing bankruptcy. Thankfully I wasn’t working there when they closed.  That was a terrible job because who doesn’t love working the late shift on a Friday and Saturday night and dealing with 50 year old drunk people and 80 year old kleptomaniacs?

I also spent about two days de-tassling corn.  If you don’t know what that means then good for you.  I lasted exactly two days because it was a terrible job.

By far and away my worse job however was when I worked a temporary gig one summer for Wells Fargo.  It was one of the summers while I was in law school and a legal staffing firm placed me with Wells Fargo for about a month and-a-half.  Wells Fargo had sold a number of parcels of land and a large group of us (I want to say 10 – 15) spent that time in a large conference room making small changes on deeds and recording them in log books.  Not only was it boring as hell but our boss refused to allow us to listen to music or have a television on to help pass the time.  Such a demand was somewhat understandable as it was important we were paying attention to details but it certainly made the job one of the worst ever.  It was just so mind-numbing that I literally wanted to poke my eyeballs out of my head and run screaming into traffic (which I probably should have then I wouldn’t have all this student loan debt!)

But my BEST job?  The one that I find myself missing, especially in the spring and summer?  It would have to be groundskeeper at the Edina Community Center in Minnesota.

4775118_GAll summer long all I did was mow grass, weed wack and help paint football fields.  On days when it rained we would sit in the garage and do nothing all day long.  You had two 15 minute breaks plus your lunch break and always went home right at 5pm.  I got an amazing tan every summer, listened to music all day while mowing and never really had to talk to any one.  Better yet when special events came up I could opt to work and make double-time and overtime to really boost my paycheck.  I can’t imagine a more stress free and relaxing job than that.  On some days when I was all caught up with my mowing I would hop off the mower and duck under some tree and take as snooze for an hour or two.  Man that was so relaxing!

I didn’t have to worry about politics in the office,  never received nasty emails from Executive Directors who should know better and certainly never felt like I HAD to have a drink on my way home from work just to relax.

The only way that job could have been better was if she worked with me. Instead I was dating a crazy ass girlfriend (my only regret)
The only way that job could have been better was if she worked with me. Instead I was dating a crazy ass girlfriend (my only regret)

It really was the sweetest gig I ever had and every year around this time when I smell the sweet scent of freshly cut grass I miss those days on my mower.  If I felt I could support my family comfortably in that kind of position I would quit this job in a heartbeat no questions and no regrets.  Until then I will continue to slave on until I hit the Powerball or the zombie apocalypse takes place.

I want to hear from you guys!!  What was your best job?  What was your worst?  Do you wish you still had the best job?  What if anything is preventing you from going back to that kind of work?

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Devotional Tuesday – Failed Leadership

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“Your brother is back…and your father has killed the fattened calf.  We are celebrating because of his safe return.” The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. Luke 15:27-28

Once again courtesy of Tony Dungy and his Uncommon Life

It’s one of the most familiar stories in the Bible, the parable of the Prodigal Son.  A father has two sons.  One day the younger son asks for his inheritance on the spot, essentially saying to his father, “You’re dead in my mind, and I’m out of here!”  Most of the time, the younger son gets star billing in a discussion about this story; after all, he makes a mess of his life,  then comes to his sense and returns home.

Equally significant is the father’s response when the younger son returns, a picture of God’s response to us as our heavenly Father. The father is filled with compassion, patience, and grace – even for a son who, frankly, doesn’t deserve it.  Sound familiar?

But what about the older brother?  Was his anger justified? Sometimes I wonder if he may have been partially responsible for his younger brother’s rebellion.  No one was in a better position than the older brother to mentor his younger sibling.  Where was his leadership?  We don’t know if the older brother reinforced his father’s goals and ideals or if he tried to counsel his younger brother and stop him from running out on the family.  But I wonder what might have happened if he had truly taken his brother under his wing.

Fathers aren’t the only possible mentors in a child’s life.  And it isn’t up to teachers, coaches and supervisors to always be responsible and take the lead.  Sometimes it falls to older siblings because they are in the best position.  All of us can fill that mentoring role at some time.  All of us can step up and offer leadership.  We all can nurture lives of value and create “coaching trees” of people whose lives we have affected.

And it doesn’t have to be a biological sibling, either.  I spoke to the Minnesota Vikings at their chapel service before a game, making just one point.  Too often we wait on coaches or others in “authority” to lead, but leadership opportunities are all around us.

Act on them.

Uncommon Key –> Have the  right attitude about being a “big brother” to someone and mentoring them.  When you touch the lives of the people right around you, you increase the number of potential leaders exponentially.

Fashion Friday: Essentials for Every Man’s Closet – The Crisp White Shirt

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There are several pieces of clothing that every man really needs to have in their closet.  All 6 pieces pride themselves on versatility, so whether you are dressing up or dressing down you will not be left in the lurch.  Over the next few weeks we will be highlighting them here so if you don’t currently posses these items I highly suggest you use some of your tax money to get your wardrobe in shape!

Perhaps the most versatile of all of these items is the crisp white shirt.  To keep it crisp pass on the starch and only use a low setting on your iron.

White Shirt Don Draper

This particular shirt will come in handy for all you men who have to dress business casual or for you hot shots who attend board meetings.  While it is great at work it is just as effective when you are off the clock.  You can rock this look with a casual blazer and it will even stand up on its own.

LBM Blazer

White Eton Shirt

Two men who are constantly being recognized for their style utilize this essential fashion tool and are always at the top of the “best-dressed” lists.  George Clooney often uses the crisp white shirt in the more classic style.  Meanwhile Tom Ford, has no problem showing the great range and versatility of this garment.  You can see him pair it with a full tuxedo, a suit and tie and even leaving it unbuttoned.  Although I wouldn’t recommend you leave it THIS unbuttoned.

White Eton Shirt

One of my personal favorite looks is ditching the jacket altogether and wearing the shirt on its own.  Women go crazy for guys wearing a white shirt and jeans.  It is a clean, sharp and very masculine choice.  Be sure you roll up your sleeves for extra masculinity, unless of course that is going to expose your Hello Kitty tattoo.

White Eton Shirt

As long as you always wear this shirt tucked in it is almost impossible to wear it incorrectly.  Thus, you have a locked-in look that will never catch the ire of the fashion police.  Because it is so versatile you really can’t own too many.  This is a classic shirt and look that will never go out of style, so be sure you are well stocked with these bad boys.

Next Friday we will look at another piece that is essential for any man’s wardrobe.  Have a great weekend!

Until tomorrow, make it a better day.

Andrew

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Letter From a Disrespected Father

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Only one more day until the weekend is finally here and with summer just around the corner (and baseball already here) it is one of the best times of the year! I hope you are able to get out this weekend and enjoy yourself.  Be sure to make a point to do something that makes you happy, as life is too short not to.

Last night my wife asked me if I would run to the store to purchase a bottle warmer for our 2 month old.  Even I have to admit I was getting tired of nuking water for 2 minutes and then placing the bottle in the coffee cup of scalding water for another 2 -3 minutes. Doing so at 6pm is one thing, doing it at 4am is totally different. Anyway, call us lazy but I agreed that said purchase would be worth the money, although not worth $160 as one model was going for.

As I was looking at the various kinds of bottle warmers, I picked up one made by Nutto, which is a company based out of Chicago.  As I was reading the back of the packaging I got really pissed off when I read the following statement: “Resume watching your husband in awe as he tries to figure out how the onesie works…again.”  Do all women believe men are this moronic?  I found this attempt at humor to be very disrespectful towards fathers.  I realize I am probably one of the few dads (or maybe the only one) that cares about shit like this, but so what?  It is just how I am made!

The picture is terrible but this is the back of the packaging I am referencing.
The picture is terrible but this is the back of the packaging I am referencing.

My wife is an amazing mother.  I know plenty of friends (especially single mothers) who are also amazing mothers to their kids. Childbirth and breastfeeding?  No thanks.  I don’t want those jobs and for good reasons.  However, I have all the respect in the world for moms and my wife especially for all she has endured in that last two months.  I would never intentionally disrespect motherhood, for any reason.  Being a parent is tough, even more so if you are trying to be a good at your job; this applies to fathers and mothers alike.

Granted I know there are plenty of guys who take the first few years (or more) “off” from parenting which I think is truly sad.  While they might be happy to pass on the stressful, frustrating and other challenging aspects of the first few months/years they also miss out on so many great things too (such as seeing your child smile, laugh or fart for the first time.)

What I get tired of are moms who think if you have two testicles and a penis, you are horseshit when it comes parenting.  They assume because you are a man you can’t be trusted to be alone with a newborn for fear of a) the house burning down; b) your child having a life threatening accident and/or c) the end of the world.

I love when Sharlay and I can be out of the house so we can show off our daughter to the world.  I mean she is one of the most beautiful kids to ever drool and fart in this world.  What annoys me is how many strangers come up to me and say “Oh you are being such a great dad.” Or, “Your daughter is lucky to have such a responsible father.”  I am a great dad (thank you!) but it turns out I am just doing the best I can with no experience.  I have been wanting to be father my whole life and especially the father of a daughter.  So yeah, I am working as hard as I can to be a good dad, but that is no guarantee of positive results. The assumption that mothers make better parents has always pissed me off.  It is a double standard that drives me crazy.

Now before I get a bunch of angry tweets, emails and comments from mom’s, please understand that I do know you have to deal with similar things.  This website isn’t about motherhood so please lay off.

In the meantime here is the email I sent the company.  I will keep you posted should I ever receive a response.

Hi –

I have to say that I was very disappointed last night when I was shopping for a bottle warmer for our new baby girl (my wife and I are first time parents) when I came across one of your products. While reading the back of the packaging I was shocked to find the following statement “Resume watching your husband in awe as he tries to figure out how the onesie works…again.”

I couldn’t believe a company would put something so disrespectful to fathers on a product. While I certainly understand there are plenty of dad’s who struggle with being a dad (especially first time dads) that doesn’t mean we are morons. Furthermore, there are a lot of men like me who are dedicated fathers who love their children and put in just as much work (and sometimes more) at raising our children as our wives/partners.

Needless to say we did not purchase your product. While I understand the importance of celebrating motherhood and helping moms be better at raising kids by offering easy tools for the job, it doesn’t mean you should take cheap shots at the dad’s out there to accomplish this mission.

It is hard enough getting credit for being a good parent as a man. Stupid things like this only make it more difficult. While I doubt any of the above will change what you put on your packaging, I wanted to be sure at least one dad’s voice was heard. Thanks.

—–

Until tomorrow, make it a better day.

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Never Give Up On Your Dreams

If you follow sports then I am sure you heard last week that the Philadelphia Eagles have signed Tim Tebow.  If you aren’t familiar with Tim, it still won’t matter for the purposes of this post, so I hope you keep reading.  In short, he may be one of the most polarizing sports figures to come our way in the last 20 years.  This is mostly due to his unwavering commitment to his faith and what many see as questionable skills on the football field.

Regardless of how you feel about Tim’s football talent or his personal beliefs I hope you can set all of that to the side for now and find encouragement in what follows.

Mr. Tebow has always had a dream to play quarterback in the National Football League (NFL.)  He was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the first round of the 2010 draft and played QB for them that following season.  He took over as starter for a 1 – 4 Denver team and led them into the playoffs, including an amazing TD against Pittsburgh in first round which you can see here.  He was later traded to the NY Jets who eventually cut him after he played in only a few games over the course of one season.  He then received a training camp invite with New England but was cut before the season started.  He didn’t play anywhere last year.

Do you realize the significance of that statement?  He didn’t play ANYWHERE.  He could have easily played in the Arena Football League (AFL), the Canadian Football League (CFL), NFL Europe or some other random league somewhere in the world. but he didn’t. Do you know why he didn’t?  Because he never dreamed of being a QB in any of those other leagues!

Sure you could criticize him for not keeping his options open and playing in some kind of football league to keep his skills sharp.  He actually received an offer from at least two different AFL clubs which he turned down.  When asked why he wasn’t interested he said that his only dream was to play QB in the NFL. In other words it was the NFL or bust!  Even I have to admit I thought he was crazy to not at least play somewhere, yet Tim stuck to his dream and refused to compromise on what he wanted.  Now after two years he is back in the NFL (or at the very least back in an NFL camp.)

There is certainly no guarantee he will make the team after training camp, the Eagles do have three other QB’s on the roster including Mark Sanchez and Sam Bradford.  Even if he makes the team it is likely he would be third string at best behind the aforementioned players.  Regardless of all that, you have to admire his perseverance and refusal to accept what he considers a second best opportunity in another league.

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Whatever it is you dream to accomplish in your life I hope you refuse to never give in and never relent in your pursuit of it.  Life can be tough at times.  People can (and often do) betray us.   You will find the road to your dream is not a straight path and at times you may feel further from your goals than when you started.  Your course will be fraught with many perils, all designed to knock you down and make you want to quit.

Today is not that day gentlemen.

Do not go quietly into that dark night.  Fight for the cause you have been given and stand up for what you believe.

Wherever you find yourself on the road to pursuing your dreams I hope that today you will renew your commitment to following them no matter what may come.  You can do this.  Stick with it!  Don’t give up!

Until tomorrow, make it a better day.

And for you Rocky fans here is a bit of additional (if not cheesy) inspiration.

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