Tag Archives: work

Blood, Swag, and Tears


Remember that episode of Friends where Joey pretends a Porsche parked on the street as his own?  Then to try and play it up he covers himself, head-to-toe, in Porsche merch.  Ross passes by him on the street and asks him, “Did a Porsche throw up on you?!”  Our house is getting to be like that, kind of, with swag from my wife’s company.  She was gone on a week-long trip, I opened up her suitcase to put stuff away, and all the leftover swag that didn’t get into the hands of potential clients fell out.  It was like like her luggage was spitting up her swag a little in the hallway.


Everyone has their dreams they dream.  Some people work harder than others to achieve their dreams than others.  Then there are some who dream, don’t do any work, and wonder what is wrong with them.  Or they wonder how the people who are seeing the rewards of their hard work got so lucky.  I can be that way temporarily at times.  I hear of cool things people acquire for whatever reason, and I think they are so lucky.  Then I remember whatever the reason they are getting whatever cool thing they get is because of the work they put in, possibly for years and likely for very little reward for a long time.  I’ll tell you what I am talking about.


There are a couple of podcasts that I listen to that are not part of larger media outlets like NPR, or The New York Times.  A couple of the shows started as a couple of people in their garages or living rooms, turned on microphones and a computer, and pressed record.  These shows have created a following of loyal listeners.  Their show didn’t start off as a hit, or immediately go viral like NPR’s Serial or S-Town.  It was a slow build.


As well as podcasts, I have heard other stories of authors or public speakers and how long they had been doing their work before they were an “overnight success”.  One way I saw it was in a “Successories” type of quote that said “Overnight Success Takes Years.”


One particular podcast that I listen to was started by two guys literally in one of their living rooms.  It is a hockey podcast, and they have listeners across the world, with a very loyal following in Australia of all places.  Loyal listeners in the the country often send the show hosts a local dessert from Australia.  Other listeners around the world send them hockey jerseys of their local teams, or just jerseys of teams with cool logos.  When they are opening packages they receive and describe it, I get a little jealous sometimes.  I ask myself, “Why don’t I get free stuff?”  These guys don’t get paid to do their show, though.  Sometimes they have sponsors, but for a long time they paid to produce the show and give it out for free.  It is a weekly show, each episode is often two hours or more, and they have not missed a week in ten years.  THAT is why they get free stuff.  Listeners are grateful to have the podcast and want to show their appreciation and thanks.  There was a period of time they were recording the show during a graveyard shift because that was the time they had access to recording equipment.


I also listen to a local morning radio show and follow their Instagram account where they post pictures of free food local places will send over for promotion or just for fun.  What did they do to deserve all those cupcakes?  Or those yummy looking sandwiches?  Or all that pizza?  Oh nothing.  They just spent 20 years making people laugh in the morning on their way to work, put on concerts with some of the most popular bands in the world, and just generally entertain people.  That’s all.  Just that for 20 years.


For us normal folk, the rewards and spoils of life take hard work.  It might take a more time for some compared to others, but hopefully there were a few lessons learned along the way.  As kids, most of us can’t understand how other people get so lucky.  Recently, my youngest wasn’t advancing having a hard time getting motivated to go to karate class.  She was frustrated that it had been sooo loooong since she earned her last stripe (the dojo we go to has a 3-stripe process to advance to the next belt).  She forgot, however, that she had taken a couple of months away from karate class and was only going once a week to play hockey instead.  Hockey ended, she picked up karate again, and after three weeks she got her next two stripes on back-to-back days.  She remembered the benefits of hard work.


It is hard to remember in the moment, for all of us of all ages at different stages of life, that things take time, sometimes the road takes longer than expected, and the process is just as important as the destination.  Two things to remember:  Work takes work and it’s worth the work; and kids are looking to you as role models.  They love copying you, so copy some hard work and they might follow in your footsteps.


A good reminder is you reap what you sow.  It may sound cliche, I know, but you can’t deny that it’s true, can you?  Sure, some kids are going to grow up trying to avoid hard work no matter what you do.  Or if you are a lazy parent, your kids might do the opposite of you.  Who knows, but I know my girls are watching me so it’s up to me to set the best example I can.


When my daughter earned her stripes, she was so proud of herself, and I was so proud of her as well.  She was a little disappointed that she has to wait a month before she can officially get promoted and get her next belt, but in the meantime she is more motivated to go to class compared to the beginning of the month.


Also, since Christianity and faith in God rule our house, my wife and I encourage our kids to do their best because we serve God in what we do.  What we do matters also because as we serve God in our actions, people are watching and seeing how we react and walk in the world.  This is important to me, because that means I need to clean up my act too.


Whatever you do, put in the work.  Yeah, most days it sucks to work hard.  I certainly wish I didn’t have to, but I know there is a greater reward down the line for me.  The reward may not even be for me, but if my kids are rewarded by my hard work and learn how to build on it, that would be worth it.


Now go bust your ass!


After you watch this video:  https://youtu.be/ZqWa1c4sf9Q

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Remember When I Was Cool? Neither Do I


I was never really subject to peer pressure or social pressure when I was growing up.  I was sort of “cool” when I was in school.  I had friends on both sides of the social ladder, but I was not in the 1% of cool kids.  Like the kids in high school who were drinking at parties or were freshman hanging out with seniors, that wasn’t me.  Not that I wanted to be, but I did look up to that 1% of my peers.

Regardless of my social status, some of my personal habits didn’t lend to the “cool” lifestyle. Mainly, being a morning person meant I wasn’t sleeping in, and it meant I wasn’t staying up late at night either.  In college on a normal day, I would wake up at 5AM, go to the gym, get ready for class, take a 20 minute power nap, study a bit, class for the day, go to work if scheduled, home to study, and in bed by midnight. Repeat. Well, one Friday night I was beat and asleep at 9:30 PM. My buddy, Ryan, calls me at 9:50 and wakes me up from a dead sleep.

Ryan: Hey buddy! What’s up?! What are you doing?! What’s going on?!?!?!?

Me: What? Yeah, uhhhh, I’m good.

R: Are you ok? What’s going on?

Me:  Why are you calling so late?

R: So late?!?! What are you talking about?!?!?! It’s NINE O’CLOCK!!!

Me: {just laughter}

I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was 2 in the morning.  Not exactly the party animal lifestyle.

Once I got my first job, it wasn’t much different. My shift started at 8, but I tried to beat some traffic and would get there about 7, sleep in my car for maybe 20 minutes, then go in and read in the break room until work started. My commute took me about 45 minutes, so I would wake up at 5:30, eat and get ready, and leave by 6:30. I learned that if I left just 5 minutes later, it would lead to double the amount of traffic. During the first couple of weeks of doing this, I was so tired I was going to bed at 8:30 PM. I was used to college where I would go to one or two classes, come home in the late afternoon and take a nap if I didn’t have to go to work. Then by Friday I was beat, and it didn’t help that I worked Saturdays. Again, not exactly the typical thing a guy in his mid 20’s does.

Being a morning person has been beneficial as a parent since kids typically wake up early.  As discussed in my “Guyde” (http://charliesdadlife.com/dowhatiwant), waking up early has made me appear helpful to my wife when I would wake up early to take care of the kids when they were newborns only to get them to go back to sleep so I could play video games (my story about that: But It’s The Playoffs!).  But being a morning person as a parent hasn’t improved our lifestyle as adults trying to keep up with single people or couples without kids. Tasha and I have been invited to a couple of outings, or hear the story from friends or coworkers and their night out that the event didn’t START until 9 P.M. We gasp at the horror of how late that is and how tired we either are or would have been if we went.

Being a parent is exhausting. We’ve talked to parents who try really hard to maintain some semblance of pre-parenthood life. They put their kids to bed at whatever time, usually 8 or 9, then go and watch TV, get work done, or some other non-kid activity (let’s keep it clean here people). We have brought some of it on ourselves because we have to put our kids to sleep rather than the sleep training that other parents try and do. As newborns, we had to rock our kids until they fell asleep. As toddlers, we get them to fall asleep on their own, but we have to either be in bed with them or, with Haley, I have to walk her around. So what ends up happening is we fall asleep while trying to get our kids to fall asleep. Sometimes I wake up and play, read, or write, but a majority of the time I fall asleep too. That happened one night when Tasha and I were supposed to talk and “not let the sun go down on our anger.” She had to wake me up. That didn’t help my cause.

It is too exhausting to try and pretend to live like you don’t have kids. Tasha knows when I haven’t had enough sleep or haven’t eaten breakfast yet because I am very cranky and yell at my kids. Other people are probably the same way. They are “having a bad morning” or “can’t function without their coffee” first, but if they just went to bed instead of pretending they were in college still, some of the grumpies might go away. Now the coffee thing or the bad morning may be true, but I don’t think anyone can deny the fact that they could use more sleep as a parent no matter who you are.

I have never been a big fan of staying up until midnight on New Year’s Eve. Most years I end up falling asleep on the couch at 11 and someone wakes me up to tell me it’s midnight. We live in a golden age of media, because even though, when we had cable, we only watched 10 or so channels of the however many hundred channels we had available, we were thankful for CNN on New Year’s Eve. We started a small tradition a couple of years ago to celebrate New Year’s Eve on East Coast time, so 9 PM for us living on the West Coast. Great idea!

The first year we did it, which was the first New Year’s Zoey was around, I think there was a novelty to it and we had a pretty good group. Anyone like us who was too tired to stay up until the real midnight enjoyed it, and anyone who wanted to party like it’s 1999 (another good, timely reference, I know) could leave and go to a real New Year’s party. The funny thing, too, was most people left around 10, but one of our friends from out of town ended up staying until 1 AM talking and catching up. That defeated the whole purpose of celebrating early!

The second year it wasn’t as big of a hit, but we still had a good time, and the couple of people that did come enjoyed themselves enough. The third year was with only one other couple and their kids who are roughly Zoey and Haley’s age (4 and 2 at the time). The part the kids loved was having DVR, which allowed them to countdown over and over again. They loved screaming “Happy New Year!” and clinking their plastic champagne (don’t worry, just Martinelli’s) flutes and saying to each other, “Cheers!” In typical kid fashion, we rewound and counted down to midnight at least 5 times. And in typical parent fashion, we got bored of it after the second time.

Parenting is tough, don’t get me wrong. If you’re too tired or they’re too tired, those kids can be scary at times. You never know when one of them is going to blow. You’d better be prepared, so get a good night’s sleep. There will be a time for you to do what you want. Subscribe and read my “Guyde”, and that will help you!

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