How to handle a problem

Problems fill our daily lives. Sometimes they’re trivial (“where are my keys?”), sometimes they’re pretty significant (“how do I hide this dead body?”); sometimes you can solve them on your own (“they were in my jacket pocket”), and sometimes you need help (“Mr. Wolf”).

How you approach a given problem shows not just your critical thinking process, but also a lot about your character. People will react in different ways to the same problems, even seemingly trivial ones. Some people try to solve problems on their own, while others will look to others to solve the problems.

In a busy work environment, problems are frequent. And I’ll argue that putting the solutions in the hands of a few people is a recipe for disaster.

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Where to find great Indian in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a long way from India. It’s also a long way from Vancouver and Calgary, which are the two places where I’ve come to really know and love Indian food. (It helps that both cities have large Indian populations.) When we came to Costa Rica, we were ready for Latin American cuisine, and thus far we’ve not been disappointed.

But still, you hanker for the things you love. Like a good butter chicken.

So image our surprise when Alex talked to the owner of Tandoori Palace in Lindora … and finds that he lived in Calgary once upon a time.

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A visit to the CIMA ER

This weekend past was not one of your healthier ones, Mi Pequeña Niña. On Saturday, we noticed your nose was running, and you were coughing again. We’ve almost come to expect this since you started going to school a few months ago. Until then, you were the picture of health, barely having the sniffles from teething.

Since going to school, you’ve had a variety of illnesses, coupled with ear infections and your final teeth coming in (you’ve got all your baby teeth now), and it’s been a bit of a challenge for you and Mommy. You’ve seen the doctor a few times, now.

But you gave Mommy and I a bit of a scare last night.

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What I think of the new Star Trek movie

Last night, I saw J.J. Abrams’ re-envisioning of Star Trek. It didn’t suck. But I’m not about to stand up and laud the praise that so many others had. I’m not convinced it deserves it (or the #71 ranking in the IMDB’s Top 250), but it’s a vast improvement over some of the shlock that Star Trek movies have been of late.  

I went in, admittedly, with higher than normal expectations (press is hard to ignore entirely, and even Wil Wheaton claimed it was awesome). So there is a certain amount of disappointment. But now that I’ve had time to ruminate on the film, the plot, the acting, etc., I’d like to think I’ve got a decent view.  

And for those of you who haven’t seen the movie: Beware! Thar be spoilers ahead!

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The power of responsibility

With great power comes great responsibility.
Various sources

I’m sure you’ve heard this quote before. It’s a good one, often used to reinforce the need for people to not slough off their priorities. Don’t get me wrong, it’s all fine and dandy, but I don’t really like it. It works for superhero movies and parental figures. It fails in my mind because it puts more of a burden on responsibility, rather than the sense of freedom one gets from being responsible.

Instead, I prefer this variation:

With responsibility comes a sense of great empowerment.
– Me. ‘Cuz I just said it.

I know what you’re going to say…

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A Day In My Life

Over the last (almost) year, I’ve had a number of people ask me what a regular day is like for me. It’s not an easy answer. First of all, there is no such thing as “regular” or “ordinary” in my job. Every day is different (one of the few things I truly love about the advertising world), so there’s no set pattern to easily relate to you.

Even where there is pattern, it’s high level: I get up, I get ready for work, I go to work, I work, I go home from work, I spend time with my family, I go to sleep. The details vary almost constantly, epecially with the “I work” part — in the 9 years I’ve been with this company, I’ve yet to have the same day twice.

And I’ll tell you — explaining all that ain’t easy. But I’m gonna try…

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The blinding effect of an ego

One of the most dangerous things for anyone to have is an unchecked ego. I say “dangerous” because egos lead to a significant number of problems between team members, and can even lead to teams being pitted against other teams for no good reason.

I’ve seen ego problems not only as a manager, but also in myself — so I know what I’m talking about. I’ve seen all sides of egos, from the underappreciated, to the benign and humble, to the offensive. And yes, dear readers, all of them require some form of attention. Not because they’re all necessarily bad — some of them can be considered good traits — but because all of them need some form of nurturing.

All developers have an ego. (I’m focusing on developers because that’s who I manage. Egos exist in other disciplines, too, but my ego isn’t so big to think I can lump everyone into the same bucket.) Those egos express themselves in different ways. Some can produce outstanding work, but downplay their involvement. Others use their experience to educate.  And there are those who choose to oppress.

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Guanacaste Weekend

Hey Kiddo!  

You probably won’t remember any of this when you finally get around to reading this, so I’m going to slide you a few details of the weekend.  

1 May in many parts of the world is known as “May Day”, or “Labour Day”. Thanks to the Cold War, many people also think of 1 May as the day that Soviets drive tanks and nuclear missiles through Red Square. The Soviets kind of missed the point, there, as the goal of May Day was not to celebrate one’s military strength, but the power of your own proletariat — the workers themselves.  

Here in Costa Rica, most people go to the beach.  

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