On Dr. Seuss and Why I Should Take Vacations, But Don't

On Dr. Seuss and Why I Should Take Vacations, But Don't

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What's "life outside of work"? Okay, I'm exaggerating a bit; friends and coworkers know I love TV, read a lotta books, and spend good time with my misses. And that's important.

However, my work, as I define it, consumes me.

altruism1-meme

To be very clear, nothing here is altruistic, rather, it's usefully directed dysfunction.

I'm a nerd, old-school, 1950's style, born soon after Dr. Seuss invented the term. That means minimal social skills, and no instincts for social norms. It manifests in areas like a passion for scifi, technology skills, and obliviousness to fashion.

Sure, I can simulate social skills, maybe up to 90 minutes, but it's a simulation.

Anyway, I figure we're living through a major singularity now, comparable to the invention of the printing press, but much bigger. Serious printing presses are expensive and the property of the powerful.  However, the Internet is everyone's printing press.

nerdak-memeThey say that "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." Well, it's time for nerds and everyone of good will to connect for the common good, whatever that is.

In my case, that started with a mailing list where I both wanted to give back to those who helped me out and to connect better with my community.

That evolved into a place where we help people put food on the table, where people can get that table, where people can find a roof to put the table under.

In 1999, I decided that I'd like you, almost 100%, to keep the cash you'd otherwise pay for less effective advertising, instead of taking that money, and maybe 40 years later, do something like building a library.

Not altruistic; that's turned into a good business model.

Nowadays, I fulfill a commitment to customer service and community protection, but go further into public service and philanthropy. You'll see on my craigconnects.org site a list of my initiatives, areas where I'm committing substantial assets, basically influence and money:

  • veterans and military families
  • women in tech
  • trustworthy journalism
  • effective voting rights
  • grassroots funding for good efforts

Aside from the little fun described above and life maintenance, that's my life, it's work, and I'm near continuously engaged. For example, I'm working on means to support all these initiatives via influence, and recent specifics include:

  • anyway I can better bridge vets groups and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • how I can help military kids schools and high poverty schools via DonorsChoose.
  • is there still any hope for trustworthy journalism? Should I help fund one more grassroots voting org in Florida?

Again, nothing altruistic, it's just a good way to channel dysfunction into something that's good and that's satisfying. Which, for me, is sorta like what others define as a vacation. It's important to make sure that life's satisyfing.

So, Life Outside Work? That doesn't mean much to me. I'm committed as long as I live; after that, it's over.

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3 Comments

Susan Johnson

Hello Craig (I feel like I know you well enough from a cursory read of your blog to take the liberty of a first name address),

At the age of 65 and with a neurotic backwards attitude about social media, you have prompted me to post my first ever entry on a blog. (Not even sure what that is…) As a long time old-school social worker, your philosophies, intentions and actions resonate with me. As I face "retirement" in less than 10 months (namely, no obligation to show up for 40 hrs a week somewhere), I contemplate what I can do in some small way to make a real difference, one person at a time – not altruism but "just doing what feels right". At some point, I will have a very small amount of funds to start a small foundation – I even have the name picked out – so I will come back to your blog from time to time for inspiration. Thanks for your serious contribution to making the world a better place.

Lori Bravo

I don't take vacations because I love what I do, and I know that's the same with you! I hope you continue to pursue all of your initiatives, in particular relating to the Vets.

Amos

Great post! finding new meaning in daily interactions is one of the most powerful motivators – especially when you get to see the results of your endeavours. That's a great aphrodisiac.

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