Graveyard shifts and moments of privilege

I was setting up a Nest Thermostat today and ran into some trouble figuring out the wiring. I called the Nest helpline and the support was fantastic.

As we were waiting on the Thermostat to turn on, I asked my support representative if she was from the Philippines (I recognized the accent). When she said yes, I asked her what time it was.

It was 3am.

She explained that she had been doing the “graveyard shift” for 3 years now on Nest support.

It was one of those moments when I became deeply aware of the privileged I’ve accumulated in the past years.

I work fairly hard during the course of the week. I don’t complain about the work – I love it, aim to give it my best shot, and make the associated trade-offs consciously.

But, I don’t have to weigh the trade-offs of a graveyard shift. That speaks to more privilege on a daily basis than I often realize and a reminder to never complain about the trade-offs I get to make.

The return

For Manchester United fans, yesterday was all about the return of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo left Manchester United just as he became the (joint) best football player in the world. In the 12 years since, he’s won everything there is to win and returned to United for his final act.

36 years of age is typically when most footballers retire. But, Ronaldo has always defied logic. And, today’s return was marked with 2 goals. He’s made it clear that he’s here to win. Few would bet against a prolific 2-3 year run.

I felt more of that warm fuzzy feeling watching him score than I expected. There was something fitting, nostalgic even.

Seeing him at the top of his game was a reminder of the power of focus and dedication. He’s known for how well he takes care of himself and his obsessive pursuit of excellence.

There’s a lesson there somewhere for all of us in our chosen paths as well.

Like my father

I listened to Jax’s “Like my father” this morning. It brought a tear to my eye.

The song (lyrics below) got me thinking about the many things I can do better as a father and husband. And it managed to do it while still making me feel good about myself.

The best kind of feedback. :-)


I wanna come home to roses
And dirty little notes on Post-it’s
And when my hair starts turning grey
He’ll say I’m like a fine wine, better with age
I guess I learned it from my parents
That true love starts with friendship
A kiss on the forehead, a date night
Fake an apology after a fight

I need a man who’s patient and kind
Gets out of the car and holds the door
I wanna slow dance in the living room like
We’re eighteen at senior prom and grow
Old with someone who makes me feel young
I need a man who loves me like
My father loves my mom

I want a road trip in the summers
I wanna make fun of each other
I wanna rock out to Billy Joel
And flip our kids off when they call us old
He’ll accidentally burn our dinner
And let me be the scrabble winner
And when my body changes shapes
He’ll say, “Oh my God, you look hot today”

I need a man who’s patient and kind
Gets out of the car and holds the door
I wanna slow dance in the living room like
We’re eighteen at senior prom and grow
Old with someone who makes me feel young
I need a man who loves me like
My father loves my mom

And if he lives up to my father
Maybe he can teach our daughter
What it takes to love a queen
She should know she’s royalty

I need a man who’s patient and kind
Gets out of the car and holds the door
I wanna slow dance in the living room like
We’re eighteen at senior prom and grow
Old with someone who makes me feel young
I need a man who loves me like
My father loves my mom
I need a man who loves me like
My father loves my mom

Checks and the future

In the years preceding my move to the San Francisco Bay Area, I never wrote a check. Time spent in places like Singapore and the UK drove home one point – checks were antiquated. We lived in the age of online transfers.

But, as I pulled open my check book recently, I realized that I’ve written many checks during my time here.

It is fascinating because it’s been more than 2 decades since online payment took its roots here. And, at this moment, many an entrepreneur in the area is focused on reinventing payments again with crypto.

And, yet, here I am writing checks.

The idea that “the future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed” rings so true.

But I thought I would be beautiful

Shrek:
Fiona? Are you all right?

Princess Fiona:
Yes. But, I don’t understand. I’m supposed to be beautiful.

Shrek:
But you are beautiful.


This is a beautiful exchange at the end of the movie (Shrek) when Princess Fiona expects to be beautiful – a.k.a. human.

Shrek’s response is both simple and profound.

Examining a relationship that matters

From time to time, it is worth taking stock of the relationships that matter in our lives.

While it makes sense to focus on the people that matters (family, friends, colleagues, etc.), one area that is worth examining in depth is our relationship with money.

Specifically, how do we feel about it? How are we doing with it? What would we want to do with more? Why?

A healthy relationship with money is as important as any.

Don’t think

Someone I know told his nephew in jest – “Don’t think. Thinking is dangerous. Just do.”

Of course, the nephew told his teacher this and our uncle was reminded to better moderate his advice.

As with all extreme advice, it isn’t universally applicable. But, the spirit of the idea is applicable in so many situations.

It is easy to get caught mulling if a choice is the right one. Outside of “type 1” /one-way door decisions that are existential and irreversible, it is often helpful to just make a decision and get on with it.

The cost of giving extra

The cost of giving extra or “going the extra mile” in our careers for any period of time inevitably means being a below average partner/parent/friend/child/sibling for that period of time.

Nobody “has it all” or “does it all.” Not without a ton of help, support, patience, and understanding from people that matter in all those other areas of our life anyway.

We just make trade-offs. And they’re best made intentionally because we get to live with the consequences.