Speeding or the subway

Honesty can manifest itself in many ways but in its truest form, honesty only exists in yourself. You can showcase to others how upstanding you are and how you always do the right thing. But that is only a glimpse at what you truly are. It’s easy to do the right thing when others are watching. It’s also easy to be honest when others are watching. And it means nothing. Why? It’s no different than obeying the speed limit on the highway when a police car is driving behind you. I think we all can say we would follow the speed limit in that instance. But we wouldn’t always say we always follow the speed limit.

The most important thing is being honest with yourself and doing the right thing when you can get away with doing something, well, not so right. It’s what truly determines our character. We all seek acceptance from our peers, our friends, our family and go to great lengths to please them. When compliments flow when we’ve succeeded, we feel good about ourselves.

But if the compliments arise as a result of acts we wouldn’t replicate if no one knew about them, then we’re only fooling ourselves, and our peers, friends and family will eventually catch on. And then the gig is up. Being honest and doing the right thing shouldn’t be about gaining the acceptance of others or appearing to others as an honest individual. It should be about making ourselves feel good, regardless of what others think or see.

It means not littering when no one is watching, It means letting a senior citizen sit down on a subway when no one you know is around. It means giving to charity when no tax deduction is received. It means going the extra mile when you know the extra half-mile is all that’s needed. I could go on and on with examples but I think you get my drift.
Your honesty and goodness are defined by yourself. Act in a way that keeps you happy and makes you feel good. You don’t need to seek acceptance. It will find you naturally.

ranjeR on!

Reaching Gilligan

After a long and challenging year, heading out on vacation seemed like a nice reprieve from normal responsibilities. Heading out to a remote island, the belief was that the days would be filled with relaxation and freedom from the day to day complexities that come with everyday life. However, that wish was quickly shattered when the chime and vibration of the corporate smartphone occurred. The remote island was now just an island and no longer remote. Reaching over and reading the emails that were streaming in quickly highlighted that the two week, uninterrupted vacation mandated by the Human Resources department was merely a policy and not actually intended to be followed.

The transition from our unconnected existence to one of always on that’s occurred over the past twenty years has not been free. While we love the capabilities we’ve gained with the new technology, some are starting to mourn what we’ve lost – our free time. When I started in the corporate world in the early 90’s, I was thrilled to get my first company laptop. Wow, I felt so special. A computer that I could use to work on the train, on a plane, in a car, on a boat. Dr Seuss, look out. I could work anywhere now. I was unstoppable. Then came VPN that allowed round the clock access to my files and corporate email. If I felt special and unstoppable before, imagine how great I felt now – they must really like me to give me this new technology…It was simply awesome. But I guess the awesomeness of being so special blinded me to the reduction in free, unencumbered me time. And so it went.

A few years later, a wonderful invention was created in Canada that would forever change our personal and working lives for the better. I don’t think I have to tell you what it is, but just in case, it’s a type of berry and it happens to be black (although it can be blue or red or silver or white). If a laptop with VPN was the Cadillac of working tools in the corporate world, then this new gadget was the pinnacle of German automotive engineering. I had to have it and my company was more than willing to oblige. I would no longer need to fire up a clunky laptop and wait 5 minutes to logon and read emails – I could do it instantly, 24/7 just by taking this little gadget out of its holster. I felt like the prize gunfighter at the OK Corral, able to draw my weapon and respond to emails with multiple cc’s, proving I was the fastest gunslinger to all. And so it went.

Until the vacation on the no longer remote – remote island. My ability to have some downtime had practically vanished over the past twenty years. It didn’t happen at once and I was a willing participant. And I want it back. No one can be on at all times and be effective. We all need to disconnect from our work lives a few times a year. To clear our mind. To relax. To rejuvenate. That’s what a vacation on a remote island is supposed to do. Until it can’t anymore. And that’s just the work aspect. Throw in the social networking and the addiction bridges the divide between career and personal lives. Checking into that clinic to detox just became more important.

But how? An automated out of office response is useless nowadays as the email coming in always says “I know you’re away but can you please look at this quickly?” An RNR (for the less tech savvy, Read No Response) is almost a mortal sin. What I needed was a way to say “Leave me alone, I’m …” (insert whatever you want at the dots). If I say I’m unavailable or unreachable, guess what, I mean it. If I wanted to work, I’d be at work. If I wanted to respond to your text, I’d respond.

And so ranjeR was born. As a means to control my time, as a means to manage my contacts. After all, isn’t that what a contact manager’s supposed to do? I’d never buy a new car that I had to pedal – I’d get a bike. Why would I settle for a contact manager that doesn’t manage?