Sprung

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Sorry for being (mostly) MIA this week.

A major project and presentation was sprung on me two days ago and I had/have less than nine days to get ready for it. Oh, and that also means I have to prep for it and plan it while still doing the rest of my job.

Sure, I have a team to help with it some, but in order to have them help I have to have interim meetings along the way…which means planning for those meetings…

Thankful for a job, but hating it these days.

Partied out

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It was a long weekend that started on Thursday night.

It was a weekend filled with food, celebration, and family.

Too much family.

Too much planning.

Too much to do to actually enjoy it.

Anyway, three birthday parties in two days…one on Saturday and two on Sunday.

All at my house.

It was a good time, but it was exhausting.

What’s worse is that there is always some family members that are there that you just rather wouldn’t be there. That’s harsh to say, I know, and I love them and all but they just make anything and everything more work.

Everyone had a good time. At least I think so.

I did and I didn’t.

At least it is over. I am partied out. I could care less if there are any more this year.

Asking, for a friend…

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Asking for a friend. It’s a rhetorical question, really, but I still need to ask just to get it off my chest. You can provide your answers to the question in the comments, if you are so led. What would you do?

Scenario:

If you knew someone (let’s say a really good friend or even a family member) was struggling financially and you know that they had a history of making really poor decisions, what would you do when you learned they made yet another one?

Said someones are on state and federal assistance, have four kids, can’t keep up with rent or other bills, has debt collectors “knocking on the door,” and is basically using every sort of charity they can qualify for to meet needs the other sources can’t or won’t meet.

It’s tax return season and they likely will be getting a pretty substantial return based on the low income from the previous year and the number of children. There is also a pending 3rd stimulus payment coming up, so there is money coming in that could be used to do what needs to be done to get caught back up.

But, instead of using the money to do the right thing, some of the money is being used to ponder a move to another state, has been used to purchase flights to the possible state, and of course the spending for the trip will go up from there. The trip is being seen as a “vacation,” almost a scouting trip for their plans.

Advice?

They have been advised that moving is expensive (especially to a new state). They don’t have any prospects of a job at the place they would move. They have no real clue what the living expenses are like there.

They won’t listen to good counsel. Others have told them this is a terrible idea. Yet they charge forward.

So, I am asking for a friend…

What would you do? How would you address this? How would you go forward in this situation?

What now?

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So, over the last couple of days I have gotten some rather distressing news regarding my daughter and her high school graduation. Suddenly, graduating on time is in question, which up to this point it was not.

She is, for the most part, on track to graduate on time. She is heading into the second semester of her senior year and she is in progress of completing her final credits. She has been doing Running Start at the local community college and enjoying those classes too. Her grades aren’t going to light the world on fire, but she is very successful in the areas of interest and moderately successful in areas that aren’t so much.

Well, two days ago it was brought to our attention that she still needed to fulfill an additional requirement to meet the state standard in math. She didn’t meet the state standard her sophomore year and because of the pandemic they did not administer the test last year and it looks like they won’t again this year. So, she took a third year of math thinking that would satisfy the requirement since she didn’t pass the test in her sophomore year.

Now we find out that wasn’t enough.

According to her counselor, she needs to take the ACT and pass that with a certain score or she needs to take the college math placement test and then take and pass a college level math course.

SAY WHAT?

My daughter has struggled with math for three years. She has managed to get over the bar each time, but there were times that bar was wobbling, so to speak, and passing the class wasn’t totally a certainty. So, to see that she has more math to do isn’t a pleasant surprise.

Being realistic, she likely wouldn’t score high enough on the ACT to get credit that way and taking the college placement test will likely qualify her for a remedial level course, not a college level course, so she won’t be able to complete the requirement going that route in the last quarter of her final high school semester.

NOW WHAT?

Here’s the problem: We are just finding this out now. NOW!?!?

I called the high school counselor to ask why we were just finding this out now. He seemed a bit perplexed as to why I was asking. REALLY? Your job as the counselor is to make sure your students know what is needed to make it graduation. As it turns out, he never met with each senior before their senior year to outline the steps they needed to take care of to meet their graduation requirements. So his seniors didn’t get an individualized consultation looking at their progress and future path forward, that would have had an individualized plan laid out for each one of them.

WTF?

I taught high school history for 15 years and most of those years were to juniors and seniors. I can’t think of a time when the seniors hadn’t met with the counselor before their senior year so they knew exactly what needed to be done going into their senior year. My students always had that meeting. It was standard procedure at the school.

To my surprise, this doesn’t happen at my daughter’s school. In fact, it sounds like they have never even considered it as part of their aid to helping students graduate. REALLY? So how many other seniors are in the position of not graduating because of this? Granted it may not be a large number, but is should be a number that equals zero. Is this guy incompetent? Is he stupid? Does he really even know what his job is? Honestly, that pretty much his whole job – meet with students and help them plan their path to graduation. How does this not happen?

If we had known at the beginning of the year, going into her senior year, we could have made sure she took the high school level course that was offered at the school. Or, we could have made sure she took the college placement test, taken a lower level math course, and then progressed into a college level course naturally. Instead, we didn’t know this and we are left scrambling to figure out a way to make it happen. (Or, we cross our fingers and hope the state waives the requirement for this year like they did for last year – right now it looks like the Class of 2021 will have done a full year and a half of online learning.)

Needless to say, my frustration level is quite high. Not just for my own daughter, but for others who are in the same boat.

Waiting till the last minute to lay out this news is piss poor work. You had one job and you sucked at it. Get your crap together for next year. It may be too late for my daughter and others, but at least you could fix your crap for those who come after.

Not even

red and yellow stop sticker

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You’ve probably heard this one:

“Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on my part.”

It’s a great saying. I like it. I try to keep it in perspective when dealing with my personal and work life.

But there are a lot of people who seem to feel the opposite. Everything is an emergency, and it has to be taken care of right now! Like seriously, right now!

We see it all the time in the “Me” culture.

What’s more worrisome is that parents are allowing it or, worse, encouraging it. Children who have every need and want catered to when they are young, instead of having to earn it, work for it, struggle for it, are causing us to see it in society at large. What’s even worse is when two people in a house can’t agree how to handle “emergencies” when it comes to adult children and bad choices. As such, there are a lot of “emergencies” in my life that frustrate the hell outta me.

Anyway, seen a “Karen” lately?

Probably. Definitely can be attributed to the “Me” culture, but could it also be that we have conditioned ourselves to “everything’s an emergency”? As such, people expect to have their every need and want fixed right now.

Let me say, not even.

Karen, children, others…all need to hear that saying above WAY more often.

 

 

Lacking

mockup of white clipboard with blank paper

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Time.

Content.

Motivation.

Actually, there is plenty of content and motivation. I have been making drafts like crazy for things I want to Piss and Moan about, but I haven’t done a very good job of getting this stuff ready to publish ahead of time. Work as been so busy that my mornings and the usual time that I post stuff has gotten away from me. It’s hard to keep up when you’re buried.

So, nothing new today except excuses. Sorry.

Guess I better do a better job of planning to get content out and get those drafts written so there is content ready to go before I start new stuff.

Tag-alongs

five white sheep on farm

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Nope. I’m not talking about small, over-priced cookies distributed by your little local vested gang…

I am talking about family members (adult children, really) who don’t ever make any plans on their own, but just “tag-along” on the plans of others.

Birthday parties, Thanksgiving, Mother’s/Father’s Day, etc…never their own plans, always the question that comes one of two ways, “What are the plans?” or “What are you doing?”

Both of those questions are then followed up by the assumption that they are automatically invited to the event (even if it doesn’t really involve them) and don’t have to put in any effort into it. Sure, sometimes they offer to bring something minimal but most of the time they just show up and consume with little to no appreciation.

I have watched from afar and up close and personal, so here’s an example of which I speak:

Mother’s Day planning is done for an elderly mother. Plans are made, set, decided upon, and food is purchased for said get together. Planning has been done by the child of this mother BUT what soon follows is the children (the adult grandchildren of the elderly mother) of said mother doing the planning don’t plan anything for their own mom. Instead, the children just horn in on the plans for the grandmother – they don’t make any effort to plan anything for their own mother, other than just going to the gathering for the grandmother.

Does that make sense? I tried to explain that as clearly as possible, but I am not sure I did it successfully.

Anyway, this kind of tag-along thing happens all the time and, quite frankly, the mother needs to say something about it but doesn’t have the heart to speak up and tell the kids they need to do their own planning.

Of course, I can’t speak up either because that is a battle I can’t win no matter how I approach it. I am sure you can assume you know how that would all go over.

Irritating, really. And all I can do is sit back and watch it happen…

Unsolicited Advice? If you have are an adult child with parents who are still around, make your damn own plans! That might be challenging depending on family situations and timing, but the effort is noticed and appreciated. DON’T just tag-along (even if you are invited to). Grow up, be responsible, and truly appreciate your parents instead of just relying on them.

 

Buried

Not dead yet. Yet. Not six feet under. Not yet.

Just buried “at” work, though I am not AT work.

Make sense?

Now that schools have finally decided “in person” instruction isn’t going to take place again this year and distance learning is now kicked off, “full-steam ahead, engines be damned,” there are lots of things that teachers are trying to do to make online learning work for them. As they adjust the way they do things, they are looking for ways to make it easier on the kids, and themselves, as change can be hard…especially when it is forced on you without any time to prep for it.

So, I have been getting ready for a plethora of presentations to the teachers in an effort to help them live in this new reality. Our software has tools available to help the teachers, but for a lot of them they are either afraid to try it or just don’t know what to do once they do try it. As such, training via remote applications is what we do almost on a daily basis so we are out here prepping and presenting, since we are the “experts” on a sort of remote learning.

Anyway, I almost forgot to complain about something today. Is this a complaint? Not really. Or maybe it is. I’ll let you know.

I am working on my next presentation that came about at the beginning of the week as a casual conversation, then a casual presentation, to a full-fledged and full-blown training of over 150 teachers over the next two school days (Friday & Monday). There’s a good possibility that more sessions will be added. The training will be recorded, of course, so there will also be video production after all is said and done so that an “on-demand” training video can be used in the near future.

Whew! I will need a drink after prepping today and definitely after Monday’s training.

 

 

(Un)Invited

board game box business card

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Don’t you hate it when people don’t RSVP? What’s the deal?

In today’s day and age, there really isn’t any reason to not RSVP. There are so many different ways that invitations get set up and sent out that it really couldn’t be any more convenient.

I mean really. It seems everything is done through social media any more so when something is planned using one of the many different options available and all one has to do is hit the button to instantly respond, there really is no excuse.

Look at the invite date and time, look at your calendar, look at the invite again, and then press a button – Yes, Maybe, No.

It’s that freaking simple!

So, when you are planning something and you get little to no response it’s rather infuriating. Perhaps I just won’t invite any of them the next time.

Maybe it’s time for new friends and family…

Planning

photo of group of people in a meeting

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So, I am doing a training today. Teaching teachers to use the software the should be using for grading students.

I am usually the type of guy who doesn’t mind someone pointing at something and say, “Do it.” I show up, and do it.

BUT, this morning is a bit different. I wasn’t a part of the planning of this and I found out yesterday there are all kinds of factors that could make this morning go very poorly.

First, this training was supposed to be to one district who requested the training. Somehow members of another district managed to get into the training. I think I nicely took care of that issue by letting them know that the training was indeed intended for a specific district and that they weren’t really invited.

Second, the registration website being used to sign participants up for the training says the training starts at 8:30am. My calendar says it starts at 9:00am. So which is it? OK, I am flexible and can go with the flow….except for the last thing…

Finally, there is a meeting scheduled in the room where the training is supposed to take place. The meeting is scheduled from 7:30-9:00am. Uh, that is a problem! Not only can I not set up and prepare for my training, but if the training is truly supposed to be at 8:30am what am I supposed to do with the people who show up on time for the training?

Yeah. This could turn into a CF real quick.

I know my stuff. I don’t have an issue working on the fly. Hell, I taught high school for 15 years. I can go with the flow with the best of them…but at least I had some control of my environment to some degree. In this case, I have little to none.

And on top of it all? I am wearing slacks on a Friday, which is supposed to be casual day at the office. Damn.